Friday, December 20, 2013

Portelos Update: A Para for the Defense, DOE Pulls Race Card, Theresa Europe Sits in to Intimidate Hearing Officer

There was only fear of the administration. YES everyone is in fear of them, not Portelos. .. former Para, IS 49SI.
According to Shenkman, a para - with a high school education - and a parent with 5 kids of her own - is not qualified to make a judgement as to whether someone is a good teacher. What arrogance and elitism. ... Report from Portelos hearing, Dec. 18
I finally was able to attend the 14th day of the Portelos 3020a hearing after missing the last few. Today there will be another and more after the holidays. For DOE lawyers and subsidiaries: ka-ching - At the afternoon session there were 4 DOE lawyers taking part, including Slug in Chief, Theresa Europe, who was there to make sure DOE Legal Slugette, Jordana Shenkman, pulled the race card with vigor (she did). But that was in the afternoon.

I'll do a follow-up about the afternoon testimony where we watched in amusement (and horror) as DOE legal beagle Shenkman pulled the race card on a Portello witness, as they had previously tried to do on Portelos himself - (also pulling the anti-semitic card on him). Shenkman should never be allowed into a China shop.

One thing is clear from these hearings: The absolute incompetence of IS 49 SI principal Linda Hill who everyone at the DOE seems to know is incompetent but is being protected by assaulting Portelos, who once he came under attack struck back with a vengeance. It is that vengeance he is being charged with while they try to bury the attack on him. I'll get more into the weeds in future posts.

A Para for the Defense

First to the morning testimony of a very strong witness for Portelos, a District 75 para (initials CS) at IS 49 who has since transferred to another school, who stood up to every attempt by Shenkman to break her, including an attempt so clumsy we had to hold our sides to keep from laughing out loud.

CS was a management para who followed the children she worked with from class to class through the day (except gym).

On Portelos as a teacher
Worked with him every year. Judgement of him as a teacher – very impressed – always put nice spin on teaching – kids very attentive. He gave Dist. 75 kids extra attention – especially one child with extreme difficulties. The kids were always orderly and listened to him.
Colleague to colleague he was very easy to work with – he once did rocket ships in school yard and included me, making me feel very much part of the lesson.
CC: Was it remarkable to be included by a teacher? CS: Yes [P was different from other teachers in the way he treated paras as equals.]
Shenkman OBJECTIONS and Cross Examination on this point alone:
 - anything you saw a first yr probat tchr do is not relevant (referring to how he treated one special ed child years ago when P was a new teacher). Then this from Shenkman:
JS: Not part of your resp to observe or eval tchrs.
CS: No.
JS: What is your ed degree?
CS: None. HS diploma.
JS: Was it your job to pay attention to special needs students – your job to stay focused on them – get them started with work – [meaning she couldn't know what kind of teacher P was if she was focusing on her job]
CS: I always instructed to help all public school children not just mine.
JS: You saw P one per a day – 8 periods – for 7 per follow assigned student – you didn’t see P teach other 7 periods.

According to Shenkman, a para - with a high school education - and a CS is also a parent with 5 kids of her own - is not qualified to make a judgement as to whether someone is a good teacher. What arrogance and elitism.

Note to Jordana Shenkman: Paraprofessionals are education professionals with the ability to make a judgement as to what good teaching is.

Jordana Shenkman with less qualifications to judge a teacher's competency than CS feels perfectly free to judge Portelos as not competent to teach (as she tried to prove by calling a network curriculum support person who was sent in to do a hit job).

How principal Linda Hill treated the staff
This testimony was so strong on how Linda Hill has run IS 49. (When the hearing is over we will print the transcripts). If a teacher said good morning Hill would not respond. "It was that way from the day I set foot in the school. At first I though it was personal but I was told she treats everyone that way so get over it."
We needed help – kids hitting teachers, wallet stolen –and we can’t report it - teachers crying – fear – always the principal against us – I worked in other schools – administration and teachers always worked together.
When there was a problem did you speak to Hill?
"She was unapproachable – she locked herself in her office all day."
On Portelos as a colleague
Shenkman: Are you aware of people having nervous breakdowns over fear of P or crying in hall? People filing police reports for fear of P? 


JS: You weren’t aware in fear of P stalking or following them? 

CS: There was only fear of the administration. YES everyone is in fear of them not Portelos.
On the April 2011 meeting where Portelos first spoke up about the safety issue:
CS: I wasn't at the meeting but the school was buzzing.
Did u hear what P did? He stood up and said things about security and safety of building? I said to him you are so young and naive – I knew there would be retaliation.
P told me – what do u mean? I spoke the truth.
But you opened can of worms – everyone should be backing you. I was very concerned he was going to be a target. He led everyone to be able to say something.
This was April 2011, 6 months before things began to blow up. And when they did in January 2012,
CS: I spoke to R(another para) – this is all because P spoke up at that (April 2011) meeting.
There's more to this testimony where Shenkman made an outrageous attempt to discredit CS, an attempt crude and truly disgusting. And how her D. 75 admins backed her all the way. Best to do that in a separate post.

And then there is the afternoon disgusting stuff where the hearing officer, maybe hoping to impress Theresa Europe, made an outrageous decision to allow a racist neo-Nazi publication that intentionally misquoted a Portelos witness into official evidence. Portelos lawyer Chris Callegy is usually a cool customer but in this case he was livid.

READ Portelos' latest post on his blog (he is gagged from commenting on the hearings until they end):

DOE’s Digital Duct Tape

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