Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Is Attempt to Close JHS 145, a Political Giveaway to Eva Moskowitz?

...a full 3 weeks before the DOE’s closure proposal even becomes official, and 2 months before the PEP vote takes
Stop Eva from getting this building
place, and despite the DOE’s claim that the closing has NOTHING to do with the charter school, Success Academy’s website has begun advertising for applicants to its new middle school, opening in 2017, at JHS 145. In recent weeks, Success Academy staff members have been measuring our classrooms, apparently 100% confident that the PEP will rubberstamp our demise in March.... JHS 145 teacher Jim Donohue
Last night at the UFT Exec Bd meeting, I had the pleasure to meet JHS 145X teacher Jim Donohue who  has led a noble fight to save the school he has taught at for his entire seventeen year career. Jim and a colleague, published an op ed in the Daily News recently.

Ed Notes has published an account of the battle to keep the school open before:
Many of us in MORE have taken up the fight and the MORE connected bloggers are telling the story he told to the UFT leadership - minus Mulgrew who was not present. I can't speak for the Unity Caucus crowd but those of us in MORE and New Action who were present were immensely impressed with Jim, who has been in touch with MORE recently and was encouraged to attend this meeting to ask for assistance in the struggle directly from the UFT leadership. At the next two PEP meetings, Feb. 28 and March 22 - when the PEP vote will be taken - we will try to be there to support the school community and hopefully the UFT leadership will bring people out to show their support too. Since there is a DA scheduled for March 22, I would urge them to adjourn early and head over to the PEP, which will be at Fashion Industries HS on 8th Ave and W. 24th St, en masse.

I've always considered school closings political not educational decisions. Eva wants the building and the de Blasio/Farina administration is willing to sacrifice the school to keep her quiet because they know she and the FES people will go on the attack for keeping a struggling school open. It's an election year, after all.

Here is what Jim Donohue said to the UFT Ex Bd.

Hello. My name is Jim Donohue.

I’d like to start by thanking you for allowing me a few minutes to speak tonight, and I’d also like to thank Carol Harrison and Mary Atkinson from the Bronx chapter for their support in what has been a very difficult couple of weeks.

I’m an English teacher at JHS 145, where I’ve worked for the past 17 years. JHS 145 is a renewal school, and we were told (through a leak to the New York Times) that a proposal has been made to close the school at the end of the school year.

I want to share a quote with you because it precisely defines the situation my colleagues, my students, and our school community find ourselves in today. It reads as follows:

“For the past 12 years, New York City’s ‘answer’ for struggling schools was simple: warehouse our neediest students, starve the schools of support, and then close their schools if they didn’t miraculously turn around. “

As you may have guessed, that was spoken by Mr. Michael Mulgrew back in 2014 in response to Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of the Renewal school plan.

Mr. Mulgrew used the term “warehouse our neediest students.” Well, I’ve come to you tonight directly from the warehouse. How else to describe a school whose students come NOT FROM ONE OR TWO zoned elementary schools in their district, but from 94 different schools located in EVERY BOROUGH of NYC? How else to describe a school with 140 students who arrived at its doors DIRECTLY from the Dominican Republic? How else to describe a school with 53 (20% of its population) shelter students, another 50 classified as Special Needs students, and another 20 with Interrupted Formal Education? We’ve done some research. NO OTHER MIDDLE SCHOOL IN THE BRONX has demographics to match this.

Mr. Mulgrew used the term “starve the school of resources”. Well, I come to you from a place of terrible starvation. How else to describe a situation in which 140 out of 298 students are English Language Learners but had NO ESL teacher for the entire 2014/2015 school year, and only 1 this year. How else to describe a situation in which 60% of a school’s population are English Language Learners, but have NO Bilingual math teacher, NO bilingual science teacher, NO bilingual English teacher and No Bilingual Social Studies teacher? How else to describe the following absurdity: One year into the renewal program, a program that promised ADDITIONAL RESOURCES to schools like ours, the DOE allowed the Success Academy to take 18 of our classrooms, which scattered our staff and students across 3 floors of a building occupied by 4 different schools, and forced us to dismantle our computer lab in order to convert it into classroom space?

Mr. Mulgrew mentioned the closing of schools, which brings me to my true purpose tonight. After attempting to systematically starve JHS 145 to death, the DOE now calls for the school to be closed. And I say “ATTEMPTING TO STARVE TO DEATH” because we are far from dead. Despite DOE claims that our students “FAIL” the state ELA and MATH assessments, we have data that shows otherwise.

Our students come to us reading at levels between Kindergarten and 4th grade. Do they miraculously (another term used by Mr. Mulgrew) achieve grade level scores on these tests at 145? No, they do not. What they do is move, consistently, from Kindergarten levels to 2nd grade, from 2nd to 3rd or 4th, from 3rd to 5th or 6th and so on.

Despite years of neglect, our students have won the Thurgood Marshall Junior Mock Trial Competition 8 times, more than any other school in the citywide tournament.

Our students have won the BronxWRITeS Poetry Slam more than any other school in the city, recently sharing the stage with Mayor De Blasio and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy in an exhibition at Goldman Sachs.

The DOE’s 2014-2015 School Quality Snapshot tells us that “86% of this school’s former 8th graders earned enough high-school credit in 9th grade to be on track for graduation,” a number that is nearly identical to the citywide average of 87% and better than the district average of 81%.

Our kids are some of the most vulnerable in the city, living in the poorest congressional district in the country, but they are smart and capable and worthy of respect. They are not failures.

Finally, I want to use a term that Mr. Mulgrew didn’t use. That term is DIRTY POOL. Because a full 3 weeks before the DOE’s closure proposal even becomes official, and 2 months before the PEP vote takes place, and despite the DOE’s claim that the closing has NOTHING to do with the charter school, Success Academy’s website has begun advertising for applicants to its new middle school, opening in 2017, at JHS 145. In recent weeks, Success Academy staff members have been measuring our classrooms, apparently 100% confident that the PEP will rubberstamp our demise in March.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m here to ask you for 4 things:
We ask that the UFT publicly demand that the proposal for the closing of JHS 145 be pulled from the PEP agenda.
We ask that the UFT utilize its resources in the form of media, social media, twitter, etc. speak out against this proposal.
We ask the UFT to help us move the PEP from Manhattan to the school so that the community can attend, and if that proves impossible, to supply a bus for community members to travel to the PEP.
Finally, and perhaps mosti importantly, we ask that Mr. Mulgrew come to our school to witness or participate in the student march to the District Office that we are scheduling for next week.
Thank you.

Please Contact
Jim Donohue 917-318-8762 donohuenyc@gmail.com
Craig Moss  poet145@gmail.com
Deidre Walker deidremw@gmail.com

3 comments:

  1. Mr. Donohue's 4 requests are reasonable. If UFT leadership fails to grant them, it is proof positive that they care more about getting DeBlasio re-elected then looking out for the dues paying teachers and the students the UFT claims to care so much about. Please keep us posted on this situation, Norm. Roseanne McCosh

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mulgrew apparently can't be bothered to attend his own Executive Board meetings, so why should he visit an endangered public school that employs his lowly rank and file members? He's obviously far too important for that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel that we demand that Mulgrew, who is not our boss and who is an elected official, to explain his absence to the EB meetings. We are using our dues to pay his salary and it is time for some salary deduction for being absent at EB meetings. If teachers were not present for many of the school's PD or monthly meetings, they would get a letter in their files. Yet I'm hearing about a MIA UFT president constantly and that's does not make him a good role model.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).