Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Message to UFT Leaders: Where's the Change of Tone as Hundreds Call for Ouster of Bryant HS Principal Namita Dwarka?

A handful of students said the principal threatened them, warning they would not take part in graduation if they attended Monday’s rally. Teachers told the Daily News Dwarka has doctored their performance records, canceled their after-school programs and fired them from coaching positions when they’ve spoken out in opposition to her practices... Daily News
 How funny when we hear Mulgrew and crew talk about the change of tone at Tweed. Sure, a change of tone at the top. But in the schools, the wars between Tweed appointed principal and teachers, parents and students still rage.

But maybe the gaggle of principals who punish teachers and students for speaking out falls in line with the way the UFT/Unity leadership runs the UFT. 

Bryant HS (Joel Klein's alma mata - rumored the reason he protected it from closing) is also a school with one of our old ICE pals, Sam Lazarus, as CL. Here it is not just teachers but parents and students sending a message to Tweed. If the UFT really wants to support this school, pick up the phone and call Ernie Logan at the CSA and make it clear - the CSA if it wants any support at any point from the UFT has to apply pressure on the mad dog principals.

James Eterno posted the story on the ICE blog.

200 EDUCATORS, STUDENTS AND PARENTS PROTEST OUTSIDE BRYANT HS AGAINST ABUSIVE PRINICPAL

What should the UFT be doing right about now to support its members?  A good start would be to encourage more protests like the one that occurred at Bryant High School in Queens. 200 adults and students were out in the street calling for the removal of a less than stellar principal. 
There was coverage of the event in the Daily News.

“This is the end of my 30th year teaching here. No principal has ever treated staff like garbage like this one does,” said teacher Mary Bozoyan, 51, who attended the high school herself. “Everyone’s waiting for the next ax to drop on their head.”
I am fairly certain there are stories like this one in many schools across NYC.  Let's see if this type of event is repeated elsewhere.
The full Daily News article.

CBS also had a story pointing to Namita Dwarka's negative style of management.
High School Won’t Allow Injured Queens Teen To Learn From Home
M'Kayah Walker Worries She Won't Be Able To Graduate On Time


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens teenager is in the battle with her high school, saying she should be allowed to learn from home.


But as CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported exclusively, the Department of Education does not agree.
High school senior M’Kayah Walker of Woodside, Queens, said she was injured while playing soccer.
“I was playing soccer. Kids fell on top of me,” she said. “And I found out my knees were dislocated.”
That sports injury has Walker struggling to get around on crutches. But she never dreamed it would disrupt her academic future.
She said making it up the steps and in to William Cullen Bryant High School in Woodside is painful.
Her mother requested home instruction for Walker, allowing the teen to graduate with her peers. The answer was no — not once, but twice.
“Just give me the home schooling so I can get my diploma,” she said.
Instead, the school issued her an elevator pass. But getting to it was tough and then she says she had to wait.
“They have taken more than 15 minutes to open the elevator,” she said. “When I use it, I’m late, and the teachers yell at me.”
CBS 2 attempted to speak to Bryant High School principal Namita Dwarka, but was told to leave.
When CBS 2 asked about Walker’s two petitions for home instruction, the Department of Education issued a response.
“Everybody has a right to request this service and it’s taken on a case by case basis,” the department said. “We’re still looking in to this.”
To help Walker avoid stairs, her guidance counselor and some of her teachers have been sending coursework home to her. But for every day she doesn’t walk in to the school building, she gets marked absent.
“I don’t know if it’s money, or if it’s incompetence, or whatever it is — it’s wrong,” said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th).
Van Bramer said Walker is being “unnecessarily delayed.”
“She just wants to graduate,” the councilman said.
And the ordeal is not easy for Walker either.
“Now I’m depressed,” she said.
Walker waits to find out when she’ll graduate, eager to go on to college and major in psychology.
Next month, Walker gets surgery to repair her knee. Without home instruction, she believes she won’t be able to graduate until next summer.

29 comments:

  1. You can no longer get the full Daily News story unless you like them on FB and I refuse to do that. So that article reads like a redacted CIA report.

    Farina is keeping the status quo. This is going to be horrible for any teacher to stand up to an incompetent, evil principal.

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    1. Ms. Dwarka discriminates, reatliates and harasses good veteran teachers.

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  2. Ms. Dwarka retaliates against anybody who is critical of her management style, she turns students against teachers and she has forced APs to rate good veteran teachers unsatisfactory.

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  3. Dwarka has rated good veteran teachers unsatisfactory by altering observation reports, and ordering APs to target veteran teachers.

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  4. Veteran teachers are being bullied, performance records are doctored. This kind of abuse is not proper of a good leader. But the DOE keeps investigating her and nothing happens.

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  5. Lawsuits are piling up for age discrimination/harassment, she is a liability for the DOE.

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  6. She has got rid of 100 veteran employees, and The UFT seems to protect Dwarka.

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  7. Where is the change of tone in the DOE, when Principals like Ms. Dwarka retaliates against whistleblowers, harasses and discriminates against veteran teachers? Where is the UFT?

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  8. As a result of the bad decisions of our leader the percentage for passing the regents for June 2014 is a complete disaster. A disaster for the AP puppets, and for our leader and mentor. Once more she continues in a collision course, although the graduation rate went up. Many teachers feel more pressure to pass students, eventually her bad policies are starting to have a negative impact on the school. Shame on you, you are the only one to blame for the disastrous results, but your punishment will come soon. We thank all the experienced and good professionals who got us off the Persistently Low Achieving list, but her bad policies may take us back there. Those of you who are silent are part of this mismanagement of Bryant.

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  9. Almost 200,000 dollars unaccounted for and the DOE keeps protecting her. What a sham!

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  10. NYCDOE Age Discrimination against Teachers and other DOE staff (Guidance Counselors, School Secretaries, Paraprofessionals) over 50 that are being pushed out to replace them with cheaper, inexperienced labor. They want a staff who will not question anything, that will blindly march to their orders and do it at a cheaper cost. They wish to eradicate every trace of the past. No matter how good you have been, it does not matter. Never late or absent too much in 30 years, doesn't matter. Attended every Parent/ Teacher Conference, doesn't matter. What matters is if you are at top salary, you are a liability. Newer Leadership bosses who have the nerve to call themselves CEOs treat classrooms as stockrooms and students as inventory. They will now come into your room, rattles your nerves all to plant the seed that your retirement date is coming soon and maybe you should be thinking about that option; and in the meantime we will encourage you to take that option, BIG TIME. Do not mind us we will come into your room first period Monday or last period Friday or even any days in between. We will write and write and take notes. Lesson Plan, Great, we don't care, we'll find something to label you ineffective. We'll break your confidence in yourself, we'll make it so hard for you that you want to start using your sick days. Why? You are too damn expensive, I can get two teachers for what you cost me. You’ll eventually get it, that it is easier for you to put in your papers then stay here. So, are you now on the endangered species list? Yes you most certainly are. Is there anything you can do about it asides from the UFT who will stay silently in the background and say “ C’mon you did your time, enjoy your life, retire”.

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  11. They are keeping her because she probably slashed the budget in half, by pushing the most experienced staff members out.

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  12. If the students are handed credits as candies, how are they going to be college ready if they cannot pass the regents?

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  13. The DOE, and other branches of government is investigating her, that tells us that we cannot count on these investigators.

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  14. The United Federation of Teachers has long been perceived as a powerful union in New York City. So, why would so many of its members find themselves in need of legal representation when they find themselves unfairly targeted by an unethical principal when members pay so much in dues?

    This is the question many teachers are asking. So many of us are being harassed, abused and even brought up on false charges. In the age of “accountability,” the only accountable people seem to be teachers. Administrators do not need to account for anything, even abusing their employees. Teachers will call on their chapter leader and district reps only to be given false information. The UFT does NOT want members to know their rights. Why?

    LuHi

    When teachers find themselves unfairly targeted by their principal, even after an excellent career, there is very little they can do. Their only course of action is to get an attorney. Expensive veteran teachers are encouraged by their union representatives to retire. Whether they are financially able or not is irrelevant. Untenured teachers are told to just resign and move on to other careers. It doesn’t matter if the accusations against the teacher are founded or not. If the principal decides you are the target, you have no chance. If that principal wants to lie, manipulate, use other teachers against a particular teacher, there is nothing the UFT will do about it.

    That’s the little secret the UFT doesn’t want to get out: they are powerless and they don’t want members to know.

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  15. While she pushes hard working people out, she also mismanages the money

    Bryant Parents, Teachers Demand Answers On Missing Funds




    BY LIZ GOFF

    Teachers and parents of students at William Cullen Bryant High School are demanding answers from officials and Department of Education (DOE) officials – an accounting of almost $200,000 collected from students to support phys ed and student activities at the Astoria school.

    Local leader and former Bryant Parents Association president Gus Prentzas said he and physical education teacher Peter Maliarakis last year sent a letter to th city Department of Investigation and DOE seeking answers about the missing funds.


    Where's the story?
    PointsMentioned Map2 Points Mentioned
    Prentzas said the money comes from items purchased at the Bryant Student Union store, where students buy food, drinks, gym uniforms and other “authentic” school gear. The funds are supposed to pay for phys ed equipment, repairs to the school gymnasium and school activities, Prentzas said.


    After a year went by without a response to their letters, Prentzas and Maliarakis reached out to the office of the Regional Superintendent for help, Prentzas said. “Still, no one has come up with any answers,” he said.

    Maliarakis said he sent an email to Mayor Bill deBlasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and other officials in September 2014, telling them he had just two basketballs for use by 150 students in his three bale gym classes at the school.

    Maliarakis said in his email that the two tattered basketballs are “at least” 10-to-15-years-old and they are “falling apart at the seams.”

    On the following day, an assistant principal walked into the gym and handed over seven new basketballs to Maliarakis, he said. “But they were all girl-size basketballs. They’re smaller ad lighter than basketballs used by the boys,” making them useless as replacements he requested in the email, Maliarakis said.

    Prentzas said he sent an email last September to school officials, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) officials and school network officials demanding an accounting of the missing funds. “I asked them to show us what happened to the money, to show us deposit slips, receipts – anything,” Prentzas said. “ I asked them how and when the funds were used to support th physical education department.”

    Prentzas said he has yet to receive a response on the whereabouts of the missing funds.

    Prnetzas also spoke up at a September 19, 014 meeting of the School Leadership Team (SLT) about “thousands of dollars” in charges that had accumulated on a school credit card used by Bryant principal Namita Dwarka, including “$500 dinner charges.”

    Prentzas said he questioned th4 charges again in a recent email to deBlasio an Farina, after SLT officials failed to respond to his original request.

    “I’m not demanding answers just for myself,” Prentzas said. “I want answers for other parents, teachers and for students who want to know how the credit card funds are being spent. What dinners” With whom, and why?” Prentzas said.

    Prentzas said he and Maliarakis filed a Freedom of Informaion request last year demanding an accounting of the missing Student Union funds. DOE officials responded, saying they were unable to find receipts for student purchases at the school store from 2011 to 2013 – and had only found several receipts from 2014, Prentzas said.

    A DOE spokesperson this week said the agency is investigating the matter to determine exactly what happened to the money.

    Will we ever get an answer? I hope so, but I doubt it,” Prentzas said. “Just like in the past, they’ll sweep it under the carpet and never give us an answer. No one will ever be held accountable.”

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  16. Someone who has bullied and disrespected the staff, should not give lessons on bullying or being disrespectful.

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  17. A New York Federal District Judge in the interests of justice reversed his own decision, allowing a former NYC Assistant Principal to have a jury decide whether the Principal fired her for refusing to discriminate against older African American teachers in the school. In September 2008, Christina Villavicencio, a Hispanic female, had been employed by the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) for fifteen years.

    During the 2008-2009 school year, Villavicencio served as an assistant principal at P.S. 316 under the supervision of Principal Elif Gure-Perez. Her status was probationary. The allegations by the plaintiff Villavicencio against the New York City Department of Education and Principal Gure-Perez are as follows: that Principal Gure-Perez instructed Assistant Principal Villavicencio to “aggressively supervise ‘older staff members’ at PS 316 to shake them up.” All of these staff members were minorities, and all but one was African-American. The principal directed Villavicencio to re-observe two African-American teachers whom Villavicencio had rated “Satisfactory” because Gure-Perez “wanted these teachers to be rated Unsatisfactory . . . because they were ‘old’ and African Americans.” She instructed Villavicencio to use “fear” and “intimidation” against a third teacher in order to “make her retire.” When Villavicencio suggested to Gure-Perez that “it would be fair to give these [minority] staff members . . . a little time before they were formally observed and/or evaluated, Gure-Perez sneered: ‘So you think these teachers are entitled to work in this building?’”

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  18. When there is distrust and dishonesty practiced by our leaders, an organization is doomed to fail.

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  19. Investigated from various agencies, spending 500 dollars in dinners to keep her position. Nobody like her would be Principal in a country with a sound foundation in education.

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  20. This is a cabinet of puppets protecting each other, and looking way from corruption. They just cover up corruption and their incompetence by putting up shows with bad actors. But the students and staff know that they are hypocritical.

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  21. When bad decisions are made only the students suffer, but when we look the other way we all suffer.

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  22. I am also a whistleblower and have enjoyed every second of it. I became a teacher to help students not hurt them. If we continue to come forward , we can start to neutralize the corruot DOE,UFT,OSI and SCI organizations. Everyone is in on this as you had mentioned. So quicker we educate our colleagues , the quicker we build a coalition to stop this destruction of the education system. Farina is not looking to put a halt on what is really going on. She is playing the game like change is coming, but at this pace she will be far out of office before anything substantial gets done. DOE your corruption will continue to get exposed and the embarrassment will spiral out of control. Continue programing everyone from top to bottom to destroy in order to protect their jobs. Great business model you crooks!

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  23. Rally in support of William Cullen Bryant HS
    Thursday, March 26, 2015
    3:30 – 6:00 PM
    48-10 31st Ave
    LIC, NY

    Principal Namita Dwarka is an abusive administrator, and she must go!

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  24. It looks like another AP is getting the boot. The Principal of Bryant High School can change grades, mismanage funds, discriminate and destroy the careers of good veteran teachers because she knows that the DOE of NYC will protect the corruption going on. She can bully and be racist, everything she does she is protected by her corrupt friends of the DOE of NYC.

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  25. We may stand alone, or with a thousand other people, but on Thursday March 26, 2015, we stood for something. We were there to support the students and staff of William Bryant HS and push for the removal of Principal Namita Dwarka.

    William Bryant HS Rally - UFT Solidarity / New Action


    Despite unfavorable weather and lack of support from the UFT Queens Office’s Rona Freiser, James Vasquez and UFT Central, we stood tall and spoke to many parents, students and some staff. Principal Namita Dwarka has made sure to get rid of tenured teachers and leave mostly nontenured

    “Wait, hold up. Can I put this on Instagram?” one student from a group asked.

    “Sure.”

    “That’s how we organized our student walk-out last time.”

    Imagine that. Students using social media to organize a walk-out in protest of the Principal that de Blasio Carmen Farina continues to protect.

    We distributed the below flyer to parents, students and staff walking in and out of Parent Teacher Conferences.

    Community Rally for William Bryant Day Of Flyer
    Community Rally for William Bryant Day Of Flyer



    “I’m all down with that!” one parent exclaimed as she walked by and saw our signs. “Let me get one of those flyers.”

    More statements from the students:

    “She cut programs. We used to have more variety.”

    “I graduated last year, but called her out as soon as she got here. Get her the ____out! Place has gone to ___ since she’s been here.”

    “They hide safety issues. They don’t report what they should.”

    “I was attacked and filed a report and they yelled at me, not the other girl. Not even safe.”

    “They got rid of some of our teachers or they left or whatever, but they were good.”



    Although many teachers walked in for Parent Teacher Conference, avoiding eye contact, some gave us a quick thumbs up, a wink and mouthed a “thank you.” Some stopped and told us of the conditions and how the place used to be a good one to work at. As recent as last month, Principal Namita Dwarka made a veteran teacher with the highest regents scores an Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) or as the media and DOE spin them “unwanted teachers.” You have high scores, are a loud voice for the students and staff and then labeled ‘unwanted teacher.” Isn’t there an American flag in front of each classroom still?

    In any case, UFT Solidarity was happy to have New Action and DTOE.org along side in a united front against a bad educational leader.
    Do not expect anything from Mulgrew and the Unity team, they will throw any teacher under the bus. The Queens office of the UFT will defend Dwarka over any teacher. All type of age discrimination tactics are protected by our leaders in the DOE of NYC, look up for more bad results for the regents.

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    1. Photos of that "rally" with a few New Action retirees -- . After months of advertizing, they couldn't get people out - no one from the school - and excuses, excuses as to why. DTOE, Solidarity, New Action etc. Next time a rally is organized try to have some people in the school.

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    2. Of course nobody from the school, the Principal retaliates and targets everybody who testifies in an investigation or anybody who reports about corruption. Everybody wants her out but they are afraid of being targeted. She pushed out 100 staff members, some of them very good experienced professionals.

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  26. She engages in age discrimination tactics by targeting older teachers, and whistle-blowers. She does even targets the incompetent teachers, and the Chancellor keeps protecting her. It is a corrupt system.

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