Monday, June 30, 2014

How Will UFT Be Affected if Supreme Court Rules Negative on Dues?

Will disaffected UFTers quit the union? Will people think they are not getting their dues money's worth?
I know this decision might come down any minute but I wanted to speculate a bit before it does on how the UFT might be affected.

First, the essence of the case: You don't want to pay union dues (agency shop fees) if you don't support the union. So the court may rule you don't, what will that mean? Right now there are about 3500 people who are not in the union but pay agency fee dues. They are protected by the contract but not allowed to vote in union elections or on the contract. (All new teachers start their careers as agency fee payers until they are signed up by their new chapter leaders. Some are not doing it for political reasons but just aren't aware -- ie, CL not doing the job.)

The union argument is that your salary and benefits were negotiated for you by the union so you should pay. (See Naked Capitalism: Harris v. Quinn: Will the Supreme Court Abolish Public Sector Unions on Monday?)

I wonder how these people who don't want the union would feel if the union argued to cut them loose from negotiations and benefits and all the contractual issues? In other words -- if you want to be a free agent, go ahead and negotiate your own contract with your principal --- sounds just like charter schools, doesn't it?

This is usually a right wing attack. But I've also heard this coming from a portion of the anti-Unity crowd who are so frustrated at the way the union has operated - given the way they have set up union elections and other controls, right now 100% of the UFT Exec Bd is Unity endorsed - and has been since the 2004 election when we clawed out 6 out of 90 seats -- and felt that was a victory - which really is a joke given that gives you zero chance to influence policy.

Some have even called for starting a decertification drive where a vote would allow people to choose a new bargaining agent - like the Teamsters.

Others have called for the end of dues checkoff where instead of dues coming out of your paycheck automatically, the union would have to send Vinnie over to collect.

The argument they make is that there is no way to pressure the Unity leadership and no way to win changes other than to apply economic pressure -- let the Unity/Union leadership feel the same pain the rank and file are feeling. (How about if a District Rep can be rated ineffective and removed? Think that might result in better service?)

Internally, we have discussed these threats in MORE and worry about the ultimate destruction of the union even if in the chaos there would be an opportunity for an organized opposition to make some hay. But I don't see any glee in the eyes of MOREistas who say  better MulGarten that the alternative.

The left wing of the union opposition have consistently turned away these  arguments as union busting. But when asked how they can change the UFT, they have precious few weapons in their arsenal.

Some of this debate is being played out at NYC Educator blog where my pal Harry (Hamilcar) is expressing his frustration at both the UFT and the opposition (MORE). See: The Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly. at NYC Educator. I left a comment in response.

Sinc losing this case is considered a union buster and we may know in a very short time, consider the view from the anti-Unity right of the left. I bet we will see a number of anti-Unity people or people who are treated shabily by the union take their money and run. Add the charter school erosion of union members and the deficit budgets, the Unity leadership may be facing some lean years ahead.

That doesn't stop them from spending 2-4 million on taking 800-1000 people to LA in 10 days for the AFT convention at our dues expense. I am going and paying my way because I do care about union policy and I want to be able to report back to Ed Notes readers -- all 3 of them -- what is going down there.

I wonder if there are times when I see the same 800 people I see at the Delegate Assembly walking around with an all expense paid trip and knowing that in a rational system, I and other MOREistas based on our % of the vote would have certainly been entitled to at least 150 of those delegate positions, and if the unions lose this case, the little evil devil on my shoulder will pop up and say, "good for them" before I take a hammer and smash that devil down.

NYC Educator has some interesting pieces on this issue:

When's the Best Time to Activate UFT Activists?

If Union Is a Choice, Why Not Government?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eterno on End to Jamaica HS 122 Year History - Farina/deBlasio Silence is Endorsement of Bloomberg Closing Schools Policy

“This is the end,” said longtime teacher James Eterno, a 28-year veteran of the school, while choking up. “It’s bittersweet. It’s a celebration, but it feels like a funeral.”

James has the story at the ICE blog, along with a lot of good family news:
We said goodbye to Jamaica High School the other night and it was quite a farewell for about 25 graduates, their families,  many alumni, along with current and former faculty members. Full coverage is at the ICEUFT blog and in the press.

http://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/jamaica-graduates-go-out-with-bang.html

Have a great summer and as many of you already know, my wife Camille and I will be very busy with our newborn son Matthew John Eterno who was born on June 15, 2014.
Congrats to James and Camille. James is now an ATR due to the school's closing. Let's hope he finds a job.
Afterburn
I don't get it. Jamaica HS is practically a shell - what would it have taken for Farina to allow a freshman class to register if they so wished and actually make the school function again? Her allowing it to close is an admission of failure on her part - failure to come up with ideas to fix schools that have been branded, often unfairly, as failures -- broken maybe, but not failures. So may schools have had awful supervisors which again exposes the DOE to its own inability to figure out methods other than shutdowns and turnarounds which do not work for many of the kids. Claims that merely by making schools smaller is the answer have proven false. What is really behind closings is the dumping of staff, often senior teachers and replacing them with young, inexperienced teachers in the new schools. Of course these untenured people will jump when told and put in enormous hours of free labor while senior teachers might balk -- so from the corporate view, economic factors are operating -- trade experienced, high price labor for a higher volume of people. A business, not an educational model.
Well, maybe I do get it.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and His Lovely Wife Matilda - 100 years later, 56 Years Since I Was in the 8th grade

- OK, so Ferdinand's wife's name was really Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, as today we mark the 100th anniversary of the assassination. But to my 8th grade social studies class committee, consisting of 5 pubescent boys putting on a little reenactment of the assassination in front of the class as part of their report, she was his "lovely wife Matilda." (The teacher didn't laugh but I still break out laughing whenever the assassination comes up and think of our play.) We turned a few chairs into the car. I forget if it was me who played the assassin, Gavrilo Princip (right). Some of my family think that would make sense. So would some UFT officials.

I am an historian at heart - and with some training, having come close to earning an MA in history before I started teaching. I took courses that covered the roots of WWI (which did not earn that name until WWII broke out) and WWII - which, of course, are connected. I love the connections through history. No event exists in isolation. Look at the mid-East today -- their roots go back to that same period of time when these borders were being drawn. I have the latest book on Lawrence of Arabia sitting on the shelf. And since I lost my copy of Barbara Tuchman's "Guns of August,"(a summer project) in Sandy I just ordered a copy from the library (I am boycotting Amazon on books as much as possible due to their gangster tactics.)

And how about Sarajevo and Yugoslavia as the ground zero 100 years ago, then in the 90s horror show of the Yugo breakup and how the current Iraq situation is being compared to that? Really, the mistakes pre, during and post WWI just never seem to stop haunting the world. Which is why that event must be studied and studied.

Now just think of this - how old am I? When we did the play it had been 48 years since the assassination. It is now 56 years since we did the reenactment.

By the way -- I engage in some of these historical time line issues with my younger (and some closer to my age) when we talk UFT history. I always want to connect the dots to their origins. People accuse me of looking to the past. I certainly am -- but in order to explain the present and if you dig deep enough you can even discern patterns of the future.

I and others in MORE are doing an event on July 16 (the day after I take the Red-Eye back from the AFT convention in LA) on this very topic -- the historical role caucuses have played in the UFT - from Unity through MORE with the lessons that could be learned for current and future organizers. Save the date if you are in town -- I promise - no juvenile re-enactments -- like don't expect to see anyone play Al Shanker and his lovely whatever.

Shades of 2004: Balanced Literacy Plus High Class Sizes a Recipe for Failure

With the re-entry of Farina's pal Lucy Calkins and Balanced Literacy and its Workshop models we may find ourselves in the Tweed version of Groundhog Day.
One of my long-time colleagues in ICE/GEM/MORE is a grad of Teachers College where she was trained in Balanced Literacy and is a fan - in theory. She teaches in the heart of Bed-Stuy and since I've known her she says, "It's a wonderful program -- IF CLASS SIZES ARE LOW ENOUGH TO MAKE IT WORK.

Friday's NY Times has a piece on Carmen Farina bringing back the ghost of Balanced Literacy and Lucy Caulkins, the incredibly controversial program implemented in the early years of BloomKlein and then abandoned because it was so clearly unworkable without serious reductions in class size. Caulkins and the thousand dollar a day Aussies brought in as advisers were amongst the most hated people in those early years of Klein's first chief ed officer, Diana Lam.
In May, Ms. Fariña asked Ms. Calkins to host a seminar on her methods for hundreds of principals; in August, New York City teachers will be invited to a similar event.
The Education Department did not respond when asked how much it was paying Ms. Calkins’s program.
In the interview last week, Ms. Fariña emphasized that while she believed in balanced literacy, she would not mandate its use in classrooms or add it to the city’s list of preferred curriculums. “I’m just asking people to have a common-sense approach,” she said.
That Farina has learned her lesson from the past when she was part of the almost vicious imposition of BL on the entire school system is good news. But we know that the ambitious lunatic principal crew looking to make brownie points may force feed BL and the Workshop model back into their schools.
Under the method, long-winded lectures by teachers were discouraged, and students worked frequently in groups — called workshops — to read and write. Spelling and grammar were de-emphasized in favor of fluency. Textbooks were scrapped in favor of classroom libraries teeming with novels and plays. And students were encouraged to write about social justice issues and tell their personal stories. Balanced literacy took off in New York under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who mandated the approach citywide in 2003 as one of his early efforts to shake up the school system.
Bloomberg used a sledge hammer and Farina helped bring the hammer down and tainted many of the good aspects of BL for much of the teaching staff as principals force fed it to their teachers and used it against some senior people who were slow to adapt.

When Diana Lam went down in scandal, Farina was promoted into her spot and force fed BL down every teacher's throat. But  Farina is/was not a fan of low class sizes to go along with BL.

Personally, the idea of BL makes sense for kids who can handle being on their own to some extent with the teacher as manager. And this on Common Core is interesting since BL seems so at odds with CC:
“I don’t really agree with rigid, myopic interpretations of the Common Core,” Ms. Calkins said in an interview. “It needs to be a big tent.”

Some CC people are freaking, as is probably Sol Stern and his fellow phonics police who are CORE Knowledge fans. I have to state that there are elements of both that make sense - IF professionals - the teachers had real input they would find the way that works for them. Let me say this again in another way -  every teacher with 3 or 4 years experience needs to be able to find the path that suits their personality and teaching style -- and not have PD imposed on them ad infinitum. (For newer teachers, yes.)

I came face to face with the BL/Workshop issue when I mentored Teaching Fellows (a once a month visit to observe them) in District 15 where Farina was Supt before she headed Region 8 under the first Joel Klein reorganization, which included my district (14) and 13. She went on to replace Lam and implemented the program city-wide. It is no accident that she left in 2007 when Klein abandoned BL when he thought it wasn't getting high enough test scores - a dumb reason but to Klein data meant more than classroom dynamics.

District 14 and 15 were very different in management and in population. Farina took over Region 8 with the attitude that the "back to basics" D. 14 was corrupt (not totally untrue) but tagged the educators as not as fit as the "progressive" D. 15 educators.  I too wanted a more progressive system in D. 14, but one to take all factors into account - ie if you are going in the direction of D. 15, do it moderately in places with people eager and ready to try it - and shave class sizes to make BL feasible. In fact a blend of the D. 14 and 15 cultures would have made sense (I don't know the D. 13 culture but was never impressed.)

Instead, Farina came in an attitude of "my way or the highway." And the class size issue was always poo-poohed.

I got an inkling of what this meant when I went to see one of the Teaching Fellows I mentored (2002-5), a wonderful 2nd year 2nd grade teacher in Park Slope. She had around 22 kids in her class and her BL worked fairly well, according to her -- the kids seemed like readers and could work independently. But when they were doing the Writing Workshop and BL called for her to sit down with each group for a spell and then move on to another, one kid would not sit still and she had to spend time away from what BL called on her to do to make it work. I suggested she give the kid a workbook or rexo to work on until the lesson was finished. "Oh, no, we are not allowed to do that," she said. Workbooks and worksheets were banned. Thus, she had to take time away from the class and making BL work better because she had to deal with the restive child who at that point was not capable of doing the workshop model.

Farina had tied the teacher's hands behind her back in dealing with a kid who needed something to keep him busy for 20 minutes. Teachers have precious few weapons. And the "my way or highway" approach of Farina implementing Diana Lam is what caused so many teachers to turn off and created a hostile environment when attack dog Leadership Academy principals went after teachers who could not adapt fast enough to a very massive change in the style of teaching - especially those who had been teaching for many years.

I for one would have had trouble in the BL system given my belief that phonics was very necessary for the poorer readers - I felt there had to be intense work done to get them to decode -- and by the way, I have a Masters from NYU in diagnosis and correction of reading problems. I taught mostly in homogensous classes where they were grouped by reading scores - and my early administrators believed in making the so-called "bottom classes" smaller classes -- so you could adjust your teaching depending on the level of you class. But in heterogeneous mixed group classes you can't teach to the whole class - so in theory, small groups made sense and BL was one method of dealing with that. But imagine a class in Park Slope where the majority of the kids could read well compared to a class in my school where in a heterogeneous class you were lucky to find 30% reading well enough to work in these small groups. A potential nightmare.

Farina doesn't seem to see these complexities. Farina seems to see the educational world in a homogeneous way- her point of view. And with the re-entry of Farina's pal Lucy Calkins and Balanced Literacy and its Workshop models we may find ourselves in the Tweed version of Groundhog Day.

Here's a link to the Times piece and the entire article below the break.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Eterno on Final Graduation Jamaica HS Before Closing, Schirtzer Condemns Farina/UFT For Allowing It to Happen

With every passing day, despite the so-called change of tone, we see more evidence (here, here, here, here) for samples) of endorsement of Bloomberg's wrecking ball. James Eterno posted about this sad/happy day (for the final Jamaica HS grad class) at the ICE blog....
Today is a very emotional day for many people as Jamaica High School will hold its final graduation ceremony this evening.  I am sure friends at other closing schools such as Norman Thomas, Beach Channel, Columbus and many more are experiencing similar feelings.
For me personally, it is the end of a twenty-eight year teaching stint at the 122 year old Jamaica HS that will officially cease to exist. 
As of today, we are still trying to make sure every eligible student is permitted to graduate.

...and Mike Schirtzer lays blame. (Have fun at the soccer games in Brazil Mike).
I just want to add my personal view that the Bloomberg policy of closing community schools has proven to be a failure time and time again, when Chancellor Farina had the chance to halt these closings, she did not. I will never refer to her as "our partners". I've only known James Eterno for a couple of years, but there isn't a better union man to be found in 52 Broadway than James. He is a staunch defender of union democracy and a tireless advocate for his school and our union. If the UFT leadership had any chutzpah and if they knew right from wrong, James would have a union job yesterday. In a time when our union is coming under attack from gazillionares and their corporations, we need outspoken leaders to stand up and speak out on all our behalf. It's a shame that our own union leadership tries to silence the best of these voices. 
All the best to James, 
Mike

No Change of Tone at John Dewey HS: Principal Kathleen Elvin - A Principal Heading for Hell

Kathleen Elvin was sent into John Dewey HS as a closer a few years ago - to make sure to drive the final nail in Dewey's coffin and remove many of the teachers, mostly senior. But the UFT lawsuit stopped that process over the summer and Elvin had to switch gears.

Mulgrew and the UFT/Unity clones talk about the change of tone at Tweed. I pointed that the so-called change of tone is directed at union leaders at the top. Not so in the schools.  (Where's the Change of Tone as Hundreds Call for Ouster of Bryant HS Principal Namita Dwarka? and here).
The principal was at first resistant to having the UFT Rep there as "witness" to the "transaction", but, even the "server" said he had never served papers in 3 years of doing it where the UFT Chair was not present- he himself seemed shocked at the attempt to do it without a union presence!... Martin Haber, teacher, John Dewey HS 
John Dewey principal Kathleen Elvin is more subtle than Bryant HS Principal Dwarka. (We've heard about Kathleen Elvin in the past - See Diane Ravitch post below.) Until Farina deals with people like her the school wars will continue even as the UFT tries to cover them up and make nice about there being peace at the top.

The more I hear about Elvin, the more she moves into my POS pool of human beings. Elvin uses humiliation as a tool.

Before you read the report below from Haber, one of the senior teachers, I want to expand on the outrage of her trying to keep these teachers from having their union rep present and the comment from the DOE official that in his 3 years of doing the work of serving 3020a papers to teachers, he had never encountered a principal who tried to deny them even this basic right.

What would motivate Katheen Elvin to function the way she has? There's a special place in Principal from Hell for people like Elvin. And don't forget her little band of assistant principals - use the comment section to name and shame them.

Dear Friends:
4 tenured teachers were summarily removed from their teaching assignments in the 4th period (of 8 periods) on Friday, the 13th (!), at my school, John Dewey HS in Bklyn. A guy in a Yankees cap was sitting in what once had been a Guidance Suite  with rows of documents aligned across the table; these were 3020a papers, and this dude was there to serve them to my colleagues. The way it was done was, to my mind, especially brutal and humiliating, and intentionally so: everyone knows it is something sinister when the APO or one of his gopher AP's comes in mid-class to "cover" your class while you are told to report to an Administrative room; students see it, colleagues find out within minutes, and, of course, every Management Team member is already in the loop beforehand. The principal was at first resistant to having the UFT Rep there as "witness" to the "transaction", but, even the "server" said he had never served papers in 3 years of doing it where the UFT Chair was not present- he himself seemed shocked at the attempt to do it without a union presence! He also was vague at first about what he was doing and who he was, but then relented.

I am putting out this info to see if yesterday was "D Day " for any other Chapters, or just Dewey? And to see if the "process" is as bad or worse in other sites. Michael was able to at least establish that the 3020-a process leaves the weight of proof on the DOE side, since the new Eval system has not even issued its first ratings....so that was at least welcome news amid the gloom. This is another dark day at John Dewey HS, where tenured teachers continue to be scapegoated/harrassed/bullied/

profiled until they leave the school, and the system. A principal from lower regions of hell. A collection of sycophantic managers ready and willing to sell their first-born to get brownie points from her. So, a typical NYC high school of 2014!
(Also check out South Bronx expose of James Quail - a former principal and Supt in my old district 14 -

James Quail DOE ATR Supervisor Tries to Ruin a Career)

And here is the Ravitch post from a student almost 2 years ago.
Can’t anyone volunteer to be a principal? One who actually cares about the school? Not Elvin and her inexperienced crew. Shockingly, some of the new appointed AP’s have never taught/are not teaching any classes.
A Student at John Dewey Speaks
By dianeravitch
September 21, 2012


I wrote a post about the NYC Department of Education’s determination to destroy once-esteemed John Dewey High School in Brooklyn. The post was called “The Ugly Face of Reform in New York City.”

First, they turned it into a dump for the low-performing kids rejected by their small schools and charters. Then they began systematically starving it of needed resources. As this comment shows, even the students know the score:

I am currently a student at the school. Many people don’t realize how hurt we really are, we lack so many things. Our budget is dry, insufficient equipment, low enrollment, slashed programs and classes, new inexperienced teachers replacing traditionally great ones that have been their for DECADES before I was even born! We’re turning into a typical high school. A conventional one at that, and that’s not a good thing. There’s no such thing as bands or cycles anymore. Where is the liberty we used to have of changing our schedules to fit our own needs academically? Where is the freedom of being metal detector free (even though many high schools throughout NYC are implementing metal detectors anyway) and where are all the students on the campus?

It’s exasperating. We did not deserve this. I personally try my best to make a number higher in that school, my 92 average is for the school, and for my family. Not necessarily for me. I want to turn that 62% graduation rate into a 63, and I want my classmates to want the same thing. I don’t want Dewey to be another school on the list that reads “Closed Schools Due to Poor Performance” and I certainly do not want Dewey to be restructured into small schools with a sugar coated name. I also do not want another Insideschools page that reads “This school was closed in due to poor performance.” in the header. And no, I hope the administration doesn’t win this time. They’ve closed enough schools, far too many, and this is the breaking point!

Can’t anyone volunteer to be a principal? One who actually cares about the school? Not Elvin and her inexperienced crew. Shockingly, some of the new appointed AP’s have never taught/are not teaching any classes. The DOE knows the demise of Dewey, but they’re purposefully ignoring it. And they can get away with it, like the corporate rats because the people are sheep. A herd of sheep. They would rather kiss *** than to speak up for themselves. It’s sad. This is not like me, I don’t even know how I managed to type this much. Just know this proves my anger, as a Dewey student. This will not be the end for us. Trust me, we’re in this too deep and we’ve fought too much to go down now. The DOE picked the wrong school to mess with. The worst part is that this corruption is not only happening in NYC, but also in Chicago, and other cities.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bryant Principal Namita Dwarka Gets Caught Playing the "Manipulate the Test" Game And Loses

Oh, the glory! RBE reported on this story at Perdido St:
Just Make Every Student A Former ESL Student And You'll Magically Raise Your Test Scores!
In case you missed this story in the NY Post:
More than 100 teens in one teacher’s English classes were recently marked “FELL,” for “former English language learner.” The label grants students exam “accommodations” up to two years after they test proficient on the New York state English as a Second Language Achievement Test. But many students given extra time on the Regents exams are native English speakers, staffers said.
 Old-timers are not surprised. I worked for the mother of test manipulators who from the day she took over my school in -- check this year -- 1978 -- she found every wrinkle possible in test manipulation. I once said this to Joel Klein at a PEP - that I know all the games because I was taught by a master - the mother of test manipulation, as I dubbed my principal.

Here are a few of her tactics:
1. Identify poor readers in kindergarten and 1st grade and leave them back a grade early. This makes them a year older for the rest of their time in the school and an 11 year old 4th grader - even a poor reader - will do better on the test than a 10 year old poor reader.

2. Make sure there are as few non-English speaking kids in the school as possible. In fact make sure there are none. How to do this? Refuse to have a bi-lingual class and every parent off the boat who comes to register their child is sent to the school on the other side of the projects (now run by the great Brian De Vale). Those kids will drag down the scores pretty much for their entire time in whatever school they are in. Result: our school rose to 2nd in the district in test scores and the other school was at the bottom - year after year.

3. Push every kid into special ed as possible -- pressure teachers to do so - because in those years their tests didn't count against the school.

4. And of course one of my faves. Dump kids from the test where possible. I have 2 personal examples.

a. A few days before the exam I am informed that Matt, a difficult child from a problem family of difficult children - but funny and I had become pals with him --- would not be taking the exam with my class. Why? He had a slight speech impediment and due to his going out a few times a week for speech therapy, he would be classified special ed for this exam and separated out so his test wouldn't count. I was so livid I called the NY Times and spoke to an ed reporter who told me, "Isn't this the way things are done?"

 b. Bill was a silent, brooding-looking child who at first scared me but soon I saw he was a bit shy and by the time we were testing I loved having him in my class. His apartment had a fire and he went to live with his grandmother a few miles away in another school district. His mother said they would be back in the apartment in a month or 2. So he kept coming to school -- not as often due to traveling -- and I even picked him up and dropped him off a few times. No problems - until test time. A week before I get a transfer notice from the office sending him to the school near his grandmother's. I called the mother and she said she had nothing to do with it. I knew exactly what had happened and confronted my principal. She said "too bad," - at first. I had to convince her that not only was Bill a good kid but I guaranteed he would score well -- I rate this with Messier's prediction on the Rangers in '94. She relented and Bill did score well and graduated with his class in my school -- and by the way was back in his apartment not long after the test.

RBE closes with:
If Namita Dwarka survives all the scandals and investigations she's under by the SCI and the DOE, then you know that de Blasio's and Farina's claims about a new kind of DOE, one that is different than the Bloomberg DOE, is a lie. 
Well on this one issue I would put some money that there are a hell of a lot of principals who play similar games.

I'm Back on Stage this Sunday, Sunday, June 29th: Rockaway Theatre Company Prepares for Rockaway Arts Festival to celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden

Rockaway really does rock. With Patti Smith being a resident and bringing a celebrity crowd along with her, the opening this Sunday of Rockaway! at Fort Tilden is an exciting event for us all. The RTC is getting a performance ready, including the dance number from How to Succeed.. I was in. I was at the rehearsal last night and not only did I forget the steps but I am truly out of shape. And so many of the guys who did "Brotherhood of Man" with us in March cannot make it. So that means we are using a reduced group and I can no longer hide. Here is a report from one of my fellow cast member, Roger Gonzalez, who puts out a great newsletter/website called LocalTheatreNYC.

Rockaway Theatre Company Prepares for Rockaway Arts Festival to celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden

As rehearsals continue for the July 18 opening the classic musical "Gypsy" and The Rockaway Theatre Company begins rehearsals for "Godspell" (opening in September), the announcement that a free public arts festival coming Sunday, June 29th, has set in motion yet another unexpected flurry of rehearsals for a special presentation by RTC which will be offered free to the public at the Post Theater (in Fort Tilden) during the fair.

The free variety show of sorts will feature several numbers from past and upcoming shows in effect serve as a teaser and open-invite to the large crowds expected at the fort this Sunday. Both the company and the fort are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy and very much in come-back mode.

About the Fair


Rockaway!, a free public arts festival sponsored by the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) to celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway peninsula, opens June 29 and continues through September 1, 2014.

Invited by the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA), an association of artists based in and around the Rockaways, and the JBRPC, MoMA PS1 has assisted and supported the conception of this festival. Hosted by the National Park Service (NPS), which owns and manages Fort Tilden, Rockaway! showcases the natural and historical beauty of Fort Tilden, in which RAA has had a public gallery for the past 19 years.

Rockaway! was conceived by MoMA PS1's Director, Klaus Biesenbach, in close collaberation with Patti Smith. Featuring solo projects by Patti Smith, Adrian Villar Rojas, and Janet Cardiff as well as an international group show, there will be an additional group show in the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, organized in collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial.

History of the Collaboration
MoMA PS1's collaboration with RAA and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) began with the VW Dome 2, a temporary cultural and community center the museum constructed on Beach 95th Street in Rockaway Beach following the rescue and volunteer efforts the museum organized in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy. Operated through June 30, 2013, the VW Dome 2 was made possible by a long-term partnership with Volkswagen of American.

The National Park Service has had a long-standing relationship with the Rockaway Artists alliance, and this summer's endeavor brings that partnership to a whole new level.

Given its work on the VW Dome 2, MoMA PS1 was in a unique position to facilitate a coordinated effort between the newly established JBRPC, a public-private partnership with NPS and DPR dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula, and local artists and community groups in the Rockaways. Rockaway! is an encouraging example of the many collaborations that have developed through the challenging process of rebuilding the Rockaways.

The Exhibition
The acclaimed international artist, writer and musician Patti Smith - a Rockaway resident- conceived a large-scale installation, photography exhibition, and site-specific outdoor installation (The Resilience of the Dreamer) specially for Rockaway! Having witness personal belongings of Rockaway residents being destroyed and washed away during sandy, Smith will install a gilded four-post bed with pure white linens in a long-abandoned building that lacks windows and parts of its roof. The bed will wear down physically, yet remain in place, a symbol of courage and resilience.

In the RAA galleries, and exhibition of photographs taken by Smith over the last several years focuses on objects that were dear to their owners: Robert Mapplethorpe's slippers, Robert Graves's hat, Virginia Woolf's bed, Frida Kahlo's corset, and William Burroughs's bandana, among others. The adjoining gallery is dedicated to Walt Whitman and includes books of his poetry that visitors are invited to read. Smith has also placed five granite stones engrave with verses from Whitman's poetry along the trails of Fort Tilden to mark th far ends of this scenic urban park on the ocean.

In addition, the Argentenian artist Adrian Villar Rojas will present a selection of small sculptures made from unfired clay and straw, inspired by the nests of the tiny Argentenian birds known as horneros. Installed in several locations throughout Fort Tilden, these nests invite local birds to inhabit them, offering a temporary home in this beautiful and fragile environment. These nests- a number of which can be found along the impressive hills and former batteries - also highlight the military history of Fort Tilden, which was built to provice portection against a potential enemy invasion from the ocean.

Thanks to a lona from the Museum of Modern Art, Fort Tilden's military chapel - which was damaged by Sandy and is now being restored - will showcase one of the highlights from the MoMA collection: The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff, a spatialized adaptation of a sacred 16th century motet created by recording each member of a choir individually and giving each voice its own speaker.

The final component of the festival is a group exhibition organized in collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial on the grounds of the newly restored Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Beach 87th Street in Rockaway Beach. Following Hurricane Sandy, the Surf Club was one of the largest relief centers on the peninsula; their organizatino faciliated and directed over 5,000 volunteers, with major contributions from MoMA PS1. The exhbiition celebrates the efforts of hte Rockaway community of surfers and artists in rebuilding their neighborhodd.

Partnership
Rockaway is presented by the Rockaway Artists Alliance and MoMA PS1, the National Park Service, the Jamaica Bay- Rockaway Parks Conservancy, the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, and the Honolulu Biennial. The event is made possible by generous support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Rockefeller Foundaiton, and The Secunda Family Foundation, with additional support provided by the Moore Charitable Foundation, National Grid and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Special thanks to Volkswagen of America for prior and current support.

Hours: Exhibits at Fort Tilden are open to the public free of charge on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, noon-6:00 p.m. The Surf Club exhibit is also open to the public free of charge Monday-Friday, noon-midnight; Saturday - Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - midnight.

The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff will be open through August 17 only.

Admission: FREE
Directions: Fort Tilden (169 State Road) is accessible by the Q22 and Q35 buses, the A train/shuttle to 116th St. and weekend ferry service on the American Princess. Parking is available at adjacent Riis Park. The Rockaway Beach Surf Club (302 Beach 87th Street) is on the A train/suttle to Beach 90th Street; bus service includes the Q22 and Q52. Parking is limited to on-street.
Website: MoMAPS!.org/rockaway1

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

For Their Eyes Only - UFT Leadership Loves New Tone at Tweed -

UFT President Michael Mulgrew took a student awards ceremony Monday as a chance to praise the union’s partnership with the Department of Education. READ MORE -- Chalkbeat
Oh, the Unity/UFT leadership is qvelling like a pig in shit over the new tone at Tweed. You see, pre-Bloomberg, the UFT was part and parcel of running the DOE - partners in crime even if the teachers and kids and parents were getting screwed. All that changed with Joel Klein who shut them out completely. Their whining was all about them not having a say or access -- it wasn't about the rank and file at all.

So now they have access - and it's still not about the rank and file, especially those suffering under hundreds of bully principals, many out of the leadership academy. Farina won't address the issue and neither will the Unity/UFT leadership.  We'll get into specific cases in future posts.


Monday, June 23, 2014

PICNIC

Jia, moi, Gloria

What a nice afternoon at the MORE/CTS picnic.

Diana posted a batch of photos on fb: https://www.facebook.com/diana.zavala.50/media_set?set=a.10203290341072258.1021851444&type=3

Wednesday evening CTS is going on a Korea town eating binge led by Jia Lee, who will be heading home to California to her parents place outside LA for the summer -- and she will be joining us at the AFT convention. Parteeeee. 

Beating the Tweed Bureaucarcy? Do an End Run - Small Schools Athletic League WINS -

This just in from Dave Rosen after what must have been a successful rally today (All Kids Deserve Right to Play Sports - Rally Monday for Small Schools Athletic League).

For background read previous Ed Notes coverage (NYC Teacher David Garcia-Rosen Battles) on how Tweed/PSAL bureaucrats did little to assist the small high schools without sports teams, while Dave took action. Instead of supporting the League, they offered Dave a job, figuring that ought to shut him up. It didn't.
Dear Students, Coaches, Administrators, and Allies,

Comments From the Steps of City Hall Today 

Thank you Council Member Andy King and thank you to all the coaches, student-athletes, administrators, elected officials, and community allies who have worked so hard on behalf of our student-athletes.

This is a historic day for the student athletes of New York City and the future of high school athletics both here and across our nation. 

Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have made it clear with this budget that they will no longer accept a city where students go through our high schools without the opportunity to play high school sports.
This first of its kind investment is not simply an investment in sports, it is an investment in transforming the lives of our students through the power of sports.

The Mayor and City Council have provided the Small Schools Athletic League with the funding needed to continue building a high school sports program that is quickly becoming a model for the nation. The SSAL A PLUS model uses sports to turn drop outs into graduates, depressed students into leaders, and suspensions into celebrations.

New York City is now the first city to have a high school sports league that includes tutoring, mentoring, and life coaching for its student athletes. Our life coaches will work closely with our student-athletes to make sure their victories on the field, translate into victories off the field. They will make sure that all of our youth remember that they are a student first and an athlete second.

New York City is investing in a paradigm shifting sports league that uses sports to transform the lives of our most at risk students. The moments when traditional sports leagues kick students out, are the moments when we use sports to bring them back in.

Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have made it clear that High School sports in New York City will never be the same again. The High School Sports chapter of the tale of two cities is now on the fast track to being solved.

This is only the beginning and we will not stop fighting until every high school student in New York City has the right to play high school sports.

Thank you to the City Council! Thank You Mayor de Blasio! Thank You to all of our incredible allies in New York City and beyond. You saved the Small Schools Athletic League and you Let Them Play! 

Sincerely,#NYCLetEmPlay,
David Garcia-Rosen
Founder/Director Small Schools Athletic League
845-553-5626(C)    718-292-1372(F)

WWW.SSALSPORTS.ORG
 
Small Schools Athletic League
42 SMALL HIGH SCHOOLS, THOUSANDS OF STUDENT- ATHLETES,
ONE MISSION  
INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL STUDENTS IN NYC

Neo-Liberal Wayne Barrett, Pseudo-Progressive Anti-Union Charter School Lover

It's remarkable that someone as "progressive" as Barrett fails to comprehend the corporate influence on the modern Democratic party... NYC Educator
You sound like a shill for privatizers. I too am critical of the UFT for not advocating class size reduction and addressing poverty. .. but tenure is hardly the boogie man here, hence my skepticism. In Europe, especially Scandinavia, teachers enjoy tenure protections and hassle-free careers where they’re not observed in the scheme of relentless scrutiny that the UFT has agreed to. They have the most progressive systems on the planet. I know, I have been there many times to see firsthand. Yes the UFT is run by a corrupt political machine. And they have done more to advance what you think is needed. but anyone calling for the abolition of tenure or just gradually dismantling it as the UFT has been doing can't call themselves "progressive"... John Elfrank-Dana responding to Wayne Barrett anti-union diatribe

The most telling bit of information comes after his piece: Barrett is an investigative journalist. His wife is an aide to Gov. Cuomo. One of the things his wife, Fran Barrett, was put in charge of was Cuomo’s initiative to ensure that non-profit CEO’s don’t have salaries above $200K – esp. whose organizations that get more than 30% of their revenue from the state. Unfortunately, they never appeared to apply that rule to charter schools... comments on NYCEDNEWS listserve
Former Village Voice writer and charter school lover Wayne Barrett spent his 10 minutes in the classroom before becoming a so-called "investigative journalist" who can't seem to investigate why over 50% of the kids disappear in Eva's Success Academy and in the KIPP chain - See Gary Rubinstein: The time KIPP was booed off the stage at TFA:
[See below for the numbers -- maybe Wayne might bother to do a little investigating.]

Wayne (who has not been missed since he left the Voice), a self-described "progressive," joined the other whining neo-liberal ed deformers in attacking the UFT [leadership] - which of course he doesn't separate from the rank and file. Arthur took a nice shot at him:
NYC Educator Wayne Barrett Is Shocked, Shocked - It's important to Wayne Barrett that you know he is progressive. *I am a progressive, * How can you argue with that? After all, that's clear.
Barrett's piece is so inept it could qualify for one of those rotten strawberry awards they give to bad films. I met him twice -- at my childhood friend Marty Needelman's wedding in the 70s. Before that I worked with him and his wife Fran in the District 1 local school board election c. 1971 or 72. Supt Louis Fuentes was a target of the vicious UFT assault to remove him and radicals/liberals came out from under the woodwork to work in the campaign for Fuentes. So I guess I can get Barrett's anti-UFT stance. But how narrow can he get? Focusing his anti-UFT venom and directing it at teachers rather than a leadership with its own narrow agenda? Did the investigative journalist miss all the support the UFT gives to the charter movement, overt and covert, while at the same time trying to put up a militant face to the members that they have their backs.

Back to Arthur:
Wait a minute. Is Barrett stating that the United Federation of Teachers represents the interests of (gasp!) teachers? Now I'm shocked too! But what Barrett also does here is advance the meme that the interests of teachers are counter to those of students. Why aren't we out rallying for more work for less pay? After all, isn't that what the children of America need? Despite Barrett's boast of how amazingly progressive he is, teacher v. student is precisely the argument you'll hear from Michelle Rhee, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Chris Christie, and virtually all other supporters of corporate reform.
I am shocked, just shocked that anyone actually would declare the UFT represents the interest of teachers.

Gary runs the numbers on KIPP below the break.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Wave - Memo From the RTC: Gypsy Update - They Call me Mr. Goldstone



Published in The Wave, Friday, June 20, 2014
(www.rockawave.com).


Memo From the RTC: Gypsy Update - They Call me Mr. Goldstone
By Norm Scott

I’m a process person – fascinated by the nuts and bolts that go into just about anything. I have a “how is it made” mentality. So getting beyond the surface of the dynamic productions at the RTC is quite a treat. At that rehearsal they were blocking a long scene and I don’t come in until the end, so I saw how the sausage is made when I attended a rehearsal last week of the Rockaway Theatre Company’s production of “Gypsy” opening July 18 and running for three weekends (plus a Thursday). Not being much of a theater person, but having seen “Gypsy” revivals on Broadway, I am still surprised when a song pops up at rehearsal that I’m familiar with. The most famous is "Everything's Coming up Roses" – with the memorable and overwhelming Ethel Merman voice belting it out. So I’m sitting at rehearsal when up pops this famous song to close Act 1. And Louisa Boyaggi, playing the lead – Rose - the Ethel Merman role - just lets it all go and we’re all sitting there in awe,  just wowed. And everyone suddenly breaks into spontaneous applause when she is done. And this is freak’n rehearsal in front of about 20 people – who have been involved in the play. Jeez, Louise(a), I got goose bumps. Still do when I think about it.

I’m learning lots of new theater words, like, “blocking.” I have a tiny part but had to be there to be “blocked” – how I enter the scene, where I stand in relation to others, etc. This process takes a lot of time and thought and working out kinks. When we see a play as a finished product we don’t appreciate the “choreography” that goes into making sure people don’t end up crashing into each other as they enter or exit a scene or as they careen around the stage. My turn came. Director Susan Corning gave me instructions. I play Mr. Goldstone, a booking agent for a chain of theaters. My job is to be led in, put into a chair and sit and look stone-faced while people sing, dance and hand me stuff. I don’t have to say a thing. My wife wants me to play Mr. Goldstone at home.

Wikipedia says: “Gypsy has been referred to as the greatest American musical by numerous critics and writers, among them Ben Brantley ("what may be the greatest of all American musicals...") and Frank Rich. Rich wrote that " Gypsy is nothing if not Broadway's own brassy, unlikely answer to 'King Lear.'" Theater critic Clive Barnes wrote that " 'Gypsy' is one of the best of musicals..." and described the character of Rose as "one of the few truly complex characters in the American musical.... It is frequently considered one of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's conventional musical theatre art form, often called the "book musical".

The 1959 play, starring Ethel Merman as “Rose”, the penultimate stage mom (with revivals starring amongst others, Angela Landsbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, Patti Lupone with Rosalind Russell in the film version) is based on the memoirs of her daughter, Gypsy Rose Lee, who turned striptease into an art form (played in the RTC production by one if our faves, Kim Simek – I can’t wait to attend the striptease rehearsals). Just look at that list above of actresses playing Rose, one of the giant female leads in Broadway history. There were even rumors that Streisand was going to star in another film version, but that never came about. And here in Rockaway we have our own Louisa Boyaggi who can stand toe to toe with many of them.

Gypsy Preview at Fort Tilden Art Fair, June 29
The Wave reported there will be previews of Gypsy plus more RTC activities as part of this gala event, maybe some even outdoors.  I’ll leave it to our fearless leader, Susan Jasper, to elaborate in an email she sent: “The National Park Service has decided to make Fort Tilden more accessible to the public. They, along with the Rockaway Artists Alliance have secured a grant from the Museum of Modern Art for a big fair and Arts show on the grounds of Fort Tilden where our Theater is located and we have been invited to participate. There will be food vendors, entertainment, etc. for the public to enjoy. We will be doing mini- shows in our theater that day. We would like to present the “Brotherhood of Man” number from “How to Succeed…”.  I need to know who can join us for this very important gig. If you have plans – BREAK THEM.  You are all essential!  If you are … in a foreign country or foreign state…COME HOME IMMEDIATELY.”  Susan wouldn’t hesitate to call an astronaut down from space. And he would come. Or wouldn’t dare not to.

-NOTE - We will be reprising some of our performances at the theater in Fort Tilden on Sunday, June 29th throughout the day as that day is the opening of a major summer arts initiative at Fort Tilden with a free concert by Pattie Smith, who owns a home in Rockaway.

===
Hey, wanna come see a play?

All Kids Deserve Right to Play Sports - Rally Monday for Small Schools Athletic League

Ed Notes did a story on May 14 on Dave Rosen and the Small Schools Athletic League he founded: NYC Teacher David Garcia-Rosen Battles ...

Here is an update with a rally on Monday at 11AM at City Hall.

Please join Council Member Andy King and student-athletes from all over the city to urge the Mayor to make sure every high school student in New York City has the right to play high school sports!

BE THERE FOR A HISTORIC ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE FUTURE OF HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS IN NEW YORK CITY!



#NYCLetEmPlay,
David Garcia-Rosen
Founder/Director Small Schools Athletic League
845-553-5626(C)    718-292-1372(F)
WWW.SSALSPORTS.ORG
Small Schools Athletic League
42 SMALL HIGH SCHOOLS, THOUSANDS OF STUDENT- ATHLETES,
ONE MISSION  
INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL STUDENTS IN NYC

Johannah Chase, Farina Choice for Special Ed: Kipper and TFA

People are saying "same old, same old" -- keeping the old BloomKlein crowd around - people who defended some of the most horrific policies we've seen. Do they mean to say there is not one NYC current or former special ed teacher or supervisor qualified for this job? It really is a slap in the face of every special ed teacher and supervisor to appoint Chase to this job, even if she is wonderfully competent. It sends a message - the same message BloomKlein and other ed deformers have been sending for 15 years -- that experience doesn't really count.
HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED --In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.

1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?

2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all?

3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?

Staten Island Advance

I'll have some commentary from parents on this tonight as I gather some of the complaints. Here is Chase's resume -- jeez, how fast can you make a run out of the classroom? Didn't Farina say that principals should have a certain amount of years teaching? How about SOMEONE RUNNING SPECIAL ED?

Johannah Chase
Chief Executive Officer, Special Education at NYC Department of Education
Background
Experience
March 2014 – Present (3 months)
2012 – March 2014 (2 years)New York, New York
February 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 11 months)
2008 – January 2011 (3 years)
2007 – 2008 (1 year)
Teach for America
May 2007 – August 2007 (4 months)
2005 – 2007 (2 years)

The Staten Island Advance delved into the story:


Special ed CEO lacks credentials; Department of Education defends choice

By Diane C. Lore | lore@...
on June 20, 2014 at 12:01 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at












Johannah Chase is chief executive officer for the Department of Education's Office of Special Education.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Special education staff, parents and advocates complain that resources are scarce.
Parents say their children are not being served.
Some say their child's individualized education plan (IEP) isn't being followed.
Those responsible for delivering services to students in need complain they are mired in bureaucratic paperwork, hampering their efforts.
In short, the borough's special education system is a mess, and Staten Islanders -- ever passionate about the cause -- are not shy about expressing their displeasure.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina -- who has heard complaints from all sides during her visits to Staten Island -- has made special ed reform one of her priorities since she was appointed by Mayor Bill deBlasio in January.
Soon after she took the position, Island parents of special-needs children showed up in force at a public forum to tell the chancellor that Island public schools are not meeting the needs of their children, calling for more programs, as well as better training for teachers and support personnel.
"Here on Staten Island, nearly a quarter of our students have an IEP. We need to take a really hard look at the services being offered to see if they meet the students' needs," said Community Education Council (CEC) member Laura Timoney.
The Department of Education has begun to implement its initiatives for reforms, ambitiously titled "A Shared Plan for Success."
But the DOE's choice for the person in charge of implementing reforms has no state license in supervision or administration and no classroom experience in special education.
Classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must," said special ed parent and activist Laura Timoney.
In fact, while the position does not "require" specific credentials, Johannah Chase doesn't have a valid teaching license.
A DOE announcement of Ms. Chase's appointment in March described her position: "The chief executive officer of the Special Education Office is responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management of the SEO," as well as serving as "the lead and key point on all issues related to special education," under Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi, an educator with more than 30 years' experience in the schools as a teacher and administrator.
THE AMBITIOUS REFORM PLAN
The special education office is in charge of day-to-day management of the system that serves more than 200,000 students; involves supervising teams at 13 sites in all five boroughs, with more than 800 field staff; overseeing the administration of federal and state grants, and ensuring compliance, implementing services to children and working with parents, advocates, community members and union officials.
A central policy shift in the "Shared Plan for Success" reform is "home-zoning" of special education students.
In the past, a student with a particular special need would often be placed at a school with the resources best suited to meet that need.
Under the reform, the student remains at his or her zoned school and the school is now responsible for providing the service.
While the intended benefit is to keep students close to home, problems frequently surface when the school does not have the needed programs or staffing in place. The reform is aimed at "home zoning" all students, except the most extreme cases, which are shifted to an appropriate District 75 special education school.
ADVOCATE CALLS EXPERIENCE 'A MUST'
Commenting on the personnel decision, Mrs. Timoney, the CEC member and special ed advocate who is also a parent of a child with an IEP, said classroom experience with special-needs students is a "must."
"Special education reform is a huge undertaking. As a parent and advocate, I would hope that the boots-on-the-ground person in charge would at least have some experience with the special-needs population and people who work with them in the schools," she said.
One veteran Staten Island special ed employee with the DOE said part of the problem is that the reforms were rolled out without adequate planning: "The special education reforms were put in place with schools ill-equipped to handle the needs of all the special education students now remaining with them. Having special education leadership at the top lacking special education experience has translated into placing unrealistic expectations on schools ... and students pay the price."
"Special education reforms are a work in progress. It's an issue of accountability to our students," declared Laura Kennedy, a long-time advocate for special needs children and an Advance Woman of Achievement.
"The question that needs to be asked is whether the right people are being put in the right position to carry out these reforms successfully," added Mrs. Kennedy, who serves as director of the Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center.
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS   
In researching this report, the Department of Education was asked the specific questions listed below. The DOE's first response did not answer any of them directly. The public information office was given a second chance to respond, but did not. The agency also did not respond to the reporter's formal request to speak directly with the chancellor or the CEO.
1 -- Was the chancellor and DOE aware (of the appointee's) lack of licenses or special ed experience when they appointed her in March, as the DOE release says, to be the person "responsible for the overall leadership and day-to-day management" of special ed?
2 -- Is there a reason why she has no current license in education at all? 
3 -- How can she be the person in charge of the chancellor's special ed reforms without a license or any experience in the field?
HER ONLY LICENSE IS EXPIRED
State Education Department records show that Ms. Chase has only a certificate to teach middle-school math, which was issued in 2006, and expired in 2009.
Her DOE profile shows she joined the school system's central administrative staff in 2008.
Prior to that she taught eighth-grade English at Harlem's KIPP:STAR Charter School for a year, and was a 2005 Teach For America corps member, teaching eighth grade math at The Essence School in Brooklyn.
She began her career in education as a recruiter with Teach For America in Southern California.
She holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University, and bachelor's degree in government from Cornell University. Before being appointed to her current position in March, she was chief operating officer for DOE's division of students with disabilities.
DEFENDING THE DECISION
In response to a detailed e-mail seeking answers to a list of concerns and questions, including a formal request to speak with the chancellor and Ms. Chase, the agency's office of public information issued a general statement defending the leadership decision.
In the response, Deputy Chancellor Rello-Anselmi said she works as a team with Ms. Chase and staff, who report directly to her.
"The chief executive for special education is a managerial position," she said in the  statement. "Johannah manages a strong team that includes special education policy and instruction experts. Johannah's track record of success makes her ideal for this role."
She said her team, including Ms. Chase, is currently working to create more choices for Staten Island parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). "Given the needs of the Staten Island community, this will continue as we increase the availability of seats in these programs by 23 percent for the 2014-2015 school year."
After receiving the statement, the DOE was asked again to address the specific questions that were posed in the initial email. The public information office has yet to respond or agree to have the chancellor or Ms. Chase speak on the record.
lella.jpg"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications,'' said special education advocate Andrea Lella, who went on to outline what they should be.Staten Island Advance
Special education advocate Andrea Lella, of Families Helping Families, said lack of classroom and field experience in special ed, and lack of licensing and certification is a reoccurring problem she's encountered.
"My position is that anyone at the top level in a supervisory or administrative position in special ed should have three qualifications: An adequate level of classroom experience of at least five years; a proven and successful track record of at least two to three years in special ed supervision and administration, and most importantly, have a passion for special education, for dealing with the kids, the parents, the teachers and professionals, and the problems they face," Mrs. Lella said.

Sunday, Sunday Picnic - Join MORE/Change the Stakes Today at Brooklyn Bridge Park


... and check out MORE's 3rd Annual Summer Series...
View this email in your browser

OUTDOOR GATHERING SUNDAY!

According to Sunday's weather predictions, we're looking at a pretty perfect day on the water's edge of Brooklyn! 
 
The Movement of Rank and File Educators and
Change the Stakes
invite you to celebrate
the beginning of summer by
eating with us in the open air!
 
Outdoor Gathering
Sunday, June 22: 12 - 3 pm
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Empire Fulton Ferry/Jane’s Carousel
 
MORE will provide:  Chicken, baked beans*, potato salad*, cole slaw*
watermelon*
Drinks: Water and iced herbal tea
* vegan and gluten-free
We also encourage you to bring a dish to pass or your own meal.
Bring salads, desserts, appetizers or your favorite recipe to share!
Bring your own blanket.
 
**In the event there is rain, we will post to FB and listservs by 9 am if we will CANCEL.
MORECaucusNYC.org  @morecaucusnyc  fb.com/morecaucusnyc ★ more@morecaucusnyc.org