Thursday, December 26, 2013

Farina Delay: Charter lobby, ed deformers and UFT and allies working behind the scenes?

Who might be opposing a Farina appointment? I know some people are left scratching their heads at what seems on the surface an unholy alliance. Can we talk?
We know that de Blasio has been getting pressure from the Obama administration to appoint a pro-test person. As Naison says, given that she wants the job and de Blasio supposedly wants her, Farina should have been announced a week ago. That she wasn't means there is something funky going on behind the scenes.... RBE at Perdido St.
I often trust Vera Pavone's instincts. She looks at the delay from the point of view that Farina is not so desperate for the job as to be a lap dog and in fact is making her own demands to de B for certain resources and personnel if he wants her to be chancellor -- probably the only person he can choose at this point that would not lead to a massive public outcry of "sellout... Ed Notes
With many real reformers having settled on Carmen Farina as the best we could do at this time, what seemed like a slam dunk 10 days ago is causing concerns over the delay given that we are days away from the end of the Bloomberg reign. Farina is certainly not perfect given her ties to the old ed deform BloomKlein regime but for educators with a progressive, child-centered view, Farina's history before the BloomKlein era might point to a lowering of the test-tosterone.

Last night I was with a friend who confirmed she got it directly from Farina when she left Tweed that Farina was told (not sure by whom but I'm guessing Klein) that she didn't have the skill set for the job.

Mark one for Farina.

RBE at Perdido Street School has a post today worth sharing. No Chancellor Pick Announcement Coming Today 
And so we wait, and the longer we wait, the more I wonder what is going on behind the scenes to delay the announcement. Mark Naison has been tweeting all kinds of warnings about de Blasio picking a reformy chancellor, suggesting that is what may ultimately happen:
Kamagana @ya_kamagana
@McFiredogg you are scaring me with your posts.. do you have inside information?

Mark Naison @McFiredogg 
@ya_kamagana Some. Carmina Farina should have been appointed a week again. Something happened and it's not good.
So, Mark Naison has some inside information and he is concerned. His wife is a long-time progressive principal in District 15 and probably has some ties to Farina. Which to me means there is concern in the Farina support camp.

RBE points to Obama/Duncan.
I would agree that the delay is unsettling. We know that de Blasio has been getting pressure from the Obama administration to appoint a pro-test person. I would say one thing - you can bet the reason for the delay in the chancellor announcement from de Blasio is not a good reason. 
While Obama - and maybe the Clinton's - might be doing behind the scenes work -- and given Farina's original ties to BloomKlein -- I don't see why they would think her such a great threat to the testing program as to get involved -- I
have a somewhat different take and view things in a more local manner.

My friend Vera Pavone shared her analysis at a party we were at last night when I brought up the story of the Farina appearance at PS 15 2 weeks ago with Diane Ravitch (and Julie Cavanagh) basically at the flash point of an expected announcement by deB for her as chancellor. I believe there is a connection to the delay.

But first let me bring in the UFT which prefers Cashin and I imagine they and their astroturf supporting orgs worked behind the scenes. (That Cashin has disappeared from the conversation is not a slam dunk she is done -- from what I know of her she will not give up until Yogi Berra sings to the fat lady.

One interesting thing happened -- an internal email inside the UFT requesting "information" on Farina. I didn't hear a similar request for Cashin.

Back to the PS 15 story.

When I heard the day before the Ravitch/Farina event that Farina was going to introduce Ravitch, I said, "No way she'll show" given the swirl of her pending announcement. I was assured she would show but was still surprised she did.

There were a few factors in my reasoning that she might be hurting her candidacy with this act.
  • PS 15 was the epicenter of one of the major co-location battles with a charter school and Farina was thus sort of taking sides in her support of PS 15. The charter lobby must be fuming.
  • Support for Ravitch, who by the way as a major deB supporter but in the deform community is poison.
  • Julie Cavanagh and the prominent role she has played in the battle against ed deform (especially our movie) plus of course her role in MORE and the fact she ran against Mulgrew. PS 15 is a MORE school top to bottom. How does the Farina connection to the school play inside the UFT?
When I heard Farina did show I figured she might be making a mistake and until Vera's analysis last night, was sure she had.

So Vera's point is that Carmen knew exactly what she was doing that evening and in fact was sending a message to de Blasio and the ed deformers -- and maybe even the UFT leadership (as opposed to the rank and file teacher) that she would not be a patsy and if de B wanted her it would be as much on her conditions as on his.

I often trust Vera Pavone's instincts. She looks at the delay from the point of view that Farina is not so desperate for the job as to be a lap dog and in fact is making her own demands to de B for certain resources and personnel if he wants her to be chancellor -- probably the only person he can choose at this point that would not lead to a massive public outcry of "sellout.

If this is true my respect for Farina rises. But I worry that she adheres to the ed deform concept that the way to improve education is to improve the teachers (or replace them). Meaning: PD and U-ratings will not go away.

A litmus test would be just how a Farina admin would address a Portelos-like case where an outstanding teacher who sacrifices enormous amounts of time to do stuff for the school eventually comes up against an incompetent and repressive school administration.

===
Read the Gotham Schools Report on the PS 15 event (also check the comments).

Chancellor candidate Farina praises Ravitch, but keeps distance

6 comments:

  1. I think we are going to have some interesting FOIL responses a year from now. There is something going on behind the scenes and maybe only a skillful FOIL request would bring it to light.

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  2. After Starr, Carmen would be my first choice. But the woman is no idiot either. Her ties to PS 15 are strong, and the fact that 2 people who are on Randi's shit list was also there may have the UFT running for cover. deBlasio owes Washington nothing. If anything he can bring sanity to the madness surrounding education by appointing Starr. Cuomo has to set himself apart from Obama and the rest of the idiot Democrats, and should welcome another approach that will either end in a teacher resigning or being fired and still have due process rights. With just a few days before his inauguration, we will see if he is the candidate I voted for or just another Quinn.

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  3. I sent my post below (on my blog) to Bill and I posted it on all my blogs, facebook and twitter. Carmen never accounted for the $225,000 missing from PS 6. She cannot be Chancellor with the harm that I saw at PS 6, and everyone experienced at PS 6, District 15, and with Special needs kids when she was Deputy Chancellor. I have it all carefully documented.
    See this link to my post: http://nycrubberroomreporter.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-case-against-carmen-farina-former.html

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  4. Whoever the new Chancellor is they certainly will have their work cut out for them. See this comprehensive review and analysis of ed reform in New York City with proposals for a better path: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/20/tweed-insider-where-the-bloomberg-administration-went-wrong-on-education/

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  5. The UFT has not opposed any of the people on the "short list". I would not blame DeBlasio for limiting the ability of the current regime to interfere with his pick and his start up. Tweed is like a den of thieves who would love to get their tentacles into the next chancellor. Why anyone would consider keeping Suransky around, when he personally engineered so many of the manipulated school closings, I don't know - unless they were bent on similar data obfuscations of civic responsibility.

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  6. HEY- I DO BELIEVE THAT D.B. IS WAITING FOR MONDAY TO APPOINT A CHANCELLOR. INSIDE INFO THAT I RECEIVED WHILE DRINKING WITH KLEIN AND BLACK THIS PAST WEEK. THEY HAD JUST GOTTEN OFF FROM CONFERENCE CALL WITH REX RYAN. SOMETHING ABOUT A THING CALLED A "WAIVER". ISN'T THAT SOME TYPE OF CHEER AT A FOOTBALL GAME?

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