Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tonight: Laurel Sturt's "Davonte's Inferno" - Reading and Discussion

Reads like a Steven King horror story.

I started reading Laurel Sturt's "Davonte's Inferno," her story of 10 years in hell in the NYC school system under  the Bloomberg years, on a beach in Florida in February.  There were so many disturbing incidents at her Bronx elementary school, I had to put it down and pick up something lighter so as not to ruin my beach karma. Every page enraged me. It is not only the personal story of a successful career changer who wanted to give something back but also a history of the criminal tenure over the NYC school system under BloomKlein. In fact, it may be the first fairly comprehensive history of those years - of which I'm hoping many more are to come.

When I attended the May 9 UFT Executive Board meeting to argue against the proposed contract, I held up a copy of "Davonte's Inferno" and talked about how she went through the hell of 4 BloomKlein era principals, each more horrible than the one before, and how this contract codifies the omnipotent principal who can turn teachers' lives into a hell and offers no protection.

In addition, Laurel is a great writer, using some of the most vivid and eloquent prose to tell her story. And she lets it all hang out. No political correctness here - she puts the parenting of the children and their behavior right up front, no holds barred. And some of her snitching fellow teachers too. But the people in power, from the school level to Obama, take the big beating.

I'm still reading the book because there is so much I want to talk about I am taking notes. So look for more comments from me.

Tonight Laurel is doing a reading and book signing at the Nuyorikan Poet's Cafe, 236 East 3rd Street. I will be there if my wife gives permission to not be home yet another night - I am trying to entice her to go with the offer of dinner.

Oh, and the proceeds are going to MORE.


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