Monday, September 3, 2007

Another NY Times Puff Piece on Klein

Check today's Times' article written by David Herzenhorn and Jennifer Medina. The vast amount of criticism out there of BloomKlein is basically muted with a mild rebuke from Diane Ravitch (I'm sure she said a lot more. See below.) Note how there's no quote from Weingarten. Since she's really on their side, what can she say? Better nothing than the usual, "There have been some positives and negatives.)

Herzenhorn has not been happy when this blog has characterized the Times coverage as being basically uncritical of the catastrophes visited upon students and teachers and parents by BloomKlein and even sent me a sarcastic email when I claimed Klein was given credit for hiring a "persistent critic" in Martine Guerrier (see our post here), when in fact Martine was the mildest sort of critic, as I pointed out in my response where I asked him to point to one example other than her vote against the 3rd grade retention plan? I never heard from him again.

Since the people running the Times have been totally supportive of BloomKlein. So have the people running the Post, News and Sun, but ironically, we've seen more aggressive reporting on the foibles of BloomKlein by reporters from these papers, though there was nary a word on the Feb 28 rally – which even scared the UFT leadership over the possibility they could not control the planned rally on May 9th – and the aftermath that lead to a deal with the UFT in April which ended up killing the rally. (You can follow all of this by checking the archives from March-May).

How the Times does a piece like they did today without some word from Leonie Haimson is beyond me. The smart reporters in this city are on her listserv and get some picture of the kind of blistering critique of BloomKlein that is out there. For instance, what about questioning experts on whether such a plan of principal power - which is a basic way for BloomKlein to absolve themselves of responsibility - has been tried anywhere and why not try it as an experiment in a small section of schools to see if it works before inundating the entire system? So be it for all the other organizations? Reminds me of the Times' coverage of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Et tu Judith Miller?

This is the best line:
"Certainly there have been improvements. The dozens of small high schools that have been created in the last 5 years posted an average graduation rate of 73 percent. Still, roughly half of the high school students in the city do not graduate in four years."

That's about it. Their toughest critique.

No questions about how these figures are arrived at. No talk of the lack of special ed or bi-lingual kids. No talk of the creaming. No talk about the kids from closed schools being forced into overcrowded large schools as a way to ensure failure. No questions about why they don't try to fix the large schools. Well. you know the drill.

See Diane Ravitch's full piece posted at Norm's Notes.

An except:
1. NYCDOE gives no list of the 'new, small schools' included in its calculations for the spin release, so...
2. They give percentages, not raw numbers, for their graduation rates: you can't even try to work backwards to see what was included.
3. Most importantly, they gave no numbers for 'still enrolled,' nor for 'discharged.' ...NYCDOE is notorious for mis-reporting dropouts as having enrolled elsewhere, i.e., discharged from a NYCDOE school's rolls.
4. The numbers for graduates who earned local v. Regents diplomas is also critical, and missing. In prior years, local hs diplomas predominated. According to the NYS Court of Appeals' CFE [Campaign for Fiscal Equity] decision, a local diploma resulting from passing RCT [low-level competency examinations] put a kid-depending on the subject—at between the 6th and 9th grade level. This isn't exactly college prep.

But there is some good news for teachers. Klein wants to stay beyond Bloomberg's term of office. You know, in any organization where about 98% of the employees despise the CEO, his administration would be considered a total failure. And the stock price would take a serious hit. Ignore that fact too, NY Times.

Report from Hot Yoga - I survived - barely.

Off to the beach now to give try to stop all my teacher friends from going swimming in deep water.


Anonymous said...

Check out Klein in today's NY Daily News. It appears he wanted to fire ATR"s but guess what?? He cannot! Why do you suppose ATR"s cannot be fired?? The contract has a NO LAYOFF CLAUSE. So much for your pontificating. Stick to YOGA or is it Yogi-ism????

Anonymous said...

I, too, caught that interview in the NY Daily News.

Here is what he said:

Q: The city has a large pool of "excessed" teachers working as highly paid substitutes. What's the solution?

A: "After a certain period, we should be able to terminate those employees, absolutely. Unfortunately, that's not where we are now, and I think it's wrong."

THIS IS SCARY!!!! ALL SENIOR TEACHERS ARE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE!!! I guess in the next contract, Randi will accept a 2 percent pay increase to allow senior teachers who have been excessed to ATR-land to be fired. She will call this a great compromise with a tough negotiator.

17 (really 15) more years said...

I read the interview, and it made my blood run cold. The problem is this: the ATR pool, to my knowledge, consists mostly of teachers from high schools that were closed and then split into smaller schools. Since this appears to be a phenomenon that affects one particular group of teachers, there is a general lack of interest among elementary school (and some middle school) teachers. Correct me if I am wrong, but if you wave a few bucks in front of some teachers, it seems they'll vote for anything, regardless of how it may affect another group.

ed notes online said...

To anon (9:16) - (and we know it's you again Rick)

Klein wanted to end seniority too. And guess what? He did, enabled by you guys in Unity. And does anyone doubt that he will everntually figure out a way to fire ATR's? All part of the sham dance concocted by BloomWeinKlein.

Anonymous said...

Norm, while you were posting this new blog, I was Replying to Leonie's post in nyceducationnews about Klein in the Daily News today. We both hit the parallel to Iraq at the same moment.

I wrote at nyceducataionnews .....

Unfortunately, sounds really familiar: Iraq.

Lying to start it and spinning to keep it going
Fuzzy objectives
Overthrow and annihilation rather than gradual reform
Incomprehensible tenacity to staying the course in spite of expert advice to do things differently
A ton of people still getting hurt
And the guy wants to stay longer to finish "the work that's necessary."

Precisely what "work" is that?


For those who think it might be insensitive to compare the killing in Iraq with what is going on here in NYC: An educated population is the only way we can keep ideological campaigns such as this one from obliterating our basic human rights. While Klein may not be doing our kids physical harm, he is certainly keeping them from mastering the kind of skills they'll need to do well in life personally and recognize governmental crusades like this one that are ultimately not in their, or their children's, best interest.

Anonymous said...

what is it that you really want?

You want a 'company' to provide you with health plans, pension plans, job security, etc - you dont want to have to do anything 'extra' that may in fact benefit you, the students, and the schools.

Instead, the plan is give you time within your work schedule, so you forgo other responsiblities, in order to make new ideas work to the benefit of students... I love reading these blogs, and i do agree with many of the questions raised about what is going on - but what I never see is anyone saying 'This is how I would do it' - y'all never look beyond your own classroom and look at what may need to be done for the SCHOOL SYSTEM you are a part of - you are not an island unto yourself - you are a public servant - hard working ones, but also ones who try to hide directly behind the union as often as possible - lest you work some extra hours without getting $44 for each one... not many folks in ANY CAREER get paid that much to learn things to stay current within their field... never an acknowledgement of the obscene benefits and things you receive - entitlement syndrome to the fullest... i can ramble, ramble, ramble, but i will stop there and would love to see some responses.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:16 should be asking why the firing of teachers who have done no wrong is even under consideration. It's obscene that Unity has left ATRs so vulnerable to attack. Why aren't excessed teachers placed before Fellows and Open Market transferees with less seniority?

What does Unity stand for anymore???

Anonymous said...

Anon9:16-The point is that the rumors started on this site is that ATR's would be fired. That cannot happen, there is a no layoff clause. That is the whole ball of wax. It really is simple, do not scare members with false information that you know is incorrect. Raise a real issue and people will offer honest opinions. Not this scare the hell out of the members when there is no substance to the gripe...

P.S. Not Rick ,but close..

Anonymous said...

In response to anon. at 2:43 . . . .

I want:

A chancellor that keeps class size down, gets the bucks he needs from all the levels of govt that are holding it back, builds new buildings, maintains learning environments that are clean and efficient, leaves educating kids to the educators, has no over-riding ideologies, doesn't keep a PR department and doesn't spin, doesn't advocate controversial, is not in the pocket of corporate interests, and fosters public education body and soul -- would put his own kids into our city schools -- ANY of them.

A principal who respects me for my knowledge of my subject and let's me teach it in time-honored ways that work.

In return, I would CONTINUE (!) to: teach my guts out to kids at any level or ability, work on weekends and commutes, keep lessons refreshed and relevant, attend to the needs of individual students even if I go over the number of hours stipulated in the contract, perform all clerical duties required in the job, hone my skills, continuously rethink every aspect of class management to get the best out of the kids, and keep teaching even if/when I am attacked by nasty supervisors, overburdened parents and misbehaved students.

For all of these, you don't need to change the pension, the job security, the health plan, or any of the other benefits teachers get. What needs to be changed is the way education is being run in this city, and across the country for that matter.

Anonymous said...

In response to anon 3:29. . .

How dare you. No one has ever said anything about us being fired at the present time.

But since this union leadership has not staved off:

irrelevant staff development,
longer days,
shorter summers,
huge classes,
non-teaching duties,
elimination of a viable grievance procedure,
the loss of our careers when we end up subbing),
relative autonomy in the classroom,
(have I forgotten anything?)

What makes you think that they can stave off layoff? Money aside, they have no recent history of protecting anything that matters to those of us still slogging away in schools . All of a sudden you think they are going to grow a backbone, or learn how to democratize this union and make us strong again and speak in a single voice?

We are not scaring the hell out of the members. We are giving voice on the internet to what they are saying in the hallways.

Anonymous said...

Well just a few minutes after speaking to an Ice person in my school an ATR starting saying that; I hear that ATR"S will be fired after 3 years. This site has continuosly drawn the conclusion that ATR'S will be terminated. For example; quoting the clause regarding ATR's and suggesting that a severance package if not accepted by a member will lead to termination. Where does it state that in any of the contractual language in the contract???

Anonymous said...

Julie said it well but I will repeat to all the Unity Hacks who are living high off my union dues and delivering only givebacks to BloomKlein.

No, ATR's cannot be fired now. Randi Weingarten has shown NO interest in their situation. The open market system directly discriminates against senior teachers. She has only lauded it. What else could senior teachers think?

Randi doesn't care about us. She would and has and will sell us down the river. She and UNITY have allowed the horrible ATR situation to even exist. She will certainly allow ATR's to be fired. I wait to hear what she has to say about Klein's interview....I bet she says nothing.....


Anonymous said...

The ATR's are on Klein's hit list. I'm sure he'll make such a big stink about it that the next mayor or chancellor will want to get rid of them, with Randi's help of course, when the contract ends in 2009. Teachers are fighting a war on two fronts, with UNITY on one side and BlommKlein on the other. I don't understand why experienced teachers are not a valued commodity in Kleins DOE.

Anonymous said...

Posted on NYCEducationNews listserv:

From Leonard Brown, Ph.D.
Re: School Year's About to Start, and So, Too, Is a Big Change


Why won't you and your paper ever print the truth and the mayor and
the chancellor! Klein and Bloomberg have raped the educational system
of New York City. Teacher morale is about as low as concentration
camp victims for Auschwitz. Many teachers have been sent to detention
centers known facetiously as "rubber rooms". Others have had their
classes excessed from out of them even though many have been teaching
for over 20 years. They are then sent to other facilities and told to
find a job for themselves. No principal will hire these teachers
since they cost more than a novice teacher. If they can't find a
position, they go around day by day as ATR's (i.e., substitute
Klein and Bloomberg have played a shell game with the student
population. They have closed schools, removed the special ed students
from the schools, changed the type of students who go to these mini
schools, and then claimed eminent victory when the statistics go
up. "There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics".
They claim they want excellent teachers in the classrooms but then do
every thing they can to defeat excellent teaching. They tell teachers
what topics to teach, how to teach, and how to arrange their
classroom chairs. They remove veteran teachers from their classes for
frivolous, capricious and/or trumped up charges. They remove
experienced teachers from the classrooms by excessing them and then
replacing them with inexperienced but less costly teachers.

They have created a principals academy based largely of young
recruits who have had little teaching experience but who have been
indoctrinated to abuse and get rid of older teachers. You know, the
ones who are not sycophants and tell things they way they see it.

This is the legacy of the Bloomberg and Klein dictatorship. And this
is the best Chancellor that NYC has ever had? I guess Stalin in the
best premier that the Soviet Union ever had.

And what about the NY Times? You have "blood" on your hands for
refusing to print teachers' points of view even though you have heard
the outrage of many of us throughout the tenure of Bloomberg and

Anonymous said...

You're gonna catch a lot of heat for the Auschwitz reference.

Let me ask this question.

What union rules prohibit Klein from doing what he wants with the school system?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile at edwize, Steve Perez posted (TODAY!!!) that he wants to "share with you pictures and an update on the UFT’s campaign to unionize home child care providers so they have the dignity, justice and respect at work that Labor Day celebrates..."

Yeah, that's important for teachers when tomorrow is the first day of classes with the new reorganization, there are countless senior teachers who are ATR's and Joel Klein today said he wants to fire these senior teachers who are ATR's.....


Stop trying to get larger by absorbing anybody other than NYC Public School teachers....focus on us!!! Stop trying to get more union dues from others!!!

OH, yeah...and Leo Casey posted today about Cesar Chavez...a very noble man who would have hated everybody in UNITY and what they are doing to the union and its membership......

Anonymous said...

Home child care workers are gonna be so screwed if they join the UFT.

Anonymous said...

This year my school has hired 5 new first year teachers. They all seem like very nice people, but I do not think it is right. I would like to add one more reason for principals to choose new teachers over ATR's. They tend to be young and more easily manipulated. In addition they tend to be single (at least nor married) and have no children. Mix these things together and you have employees you can easily control and come in early and stay late. My principal's moto is "make it work". She says it all the time. What it actually means 99% of the time, is "do it on your own time." And, guess what it gets done. Why because some don't know any better, and those that do know better, know they are not as well protected as they used to be and can easily find themselves being pushed out the door.

And, on a quick side note to the Anon who is trying to manipulate the ATR job security situation. You really can't be that dense? Can you? The point is that given our current negotiating history, and Randi's unwillingness to take a stand for anything, the speculation is that ATR's are doomed. Yes Currently they can't be fired, but as we are already seeing (and predicted by everyone but UNITY) the mayor is already beginning to build public support (by using the clearly biased media) to make an argument for their dismissal. I mean really this isn't rocket science. Hell, it isn't even 2nd grade math. What it is, is crystal clear.


proofoflife said...

Man I am depressed! Really and truly sadden by what is happening to our senior teachers!It's a damn shame!!!

Anonymous said...

8:29 I feast....

"What union rules prohibit Klein from doing what he wants with the school system?"

A. The Memorandum of Agreement, which he negotiated and signed.

B. AN ACTIVATED MEMBERSHIP that will stand up when it needs to and not be bought off with a well-placed $750 before a vote.

Anon. 5:30 "This site has continuosly drawn the conclusion that ATR'S will be terminated."
Making predictions on SEVERE givebacks that have already happened is very different from saying ATRs will be terminated. The first is a hint of what we can expect based on past occurrences, the latter is a lie. This site never said it. You did.

And "... quoting the clause regarding ATR's and suggesting that a severance package if not accepted by a member will lead to termination."
Did you read the apology from Anon. at 4:30 p.m. saying that he/she had misread the wording? Or is it too important for you to keep making up your own pinatas, so you can keep knocking them down yourself and continue your Unity spin?

Bypassing this rhetorical question, however, I do believe that the severance package will happen, that it will be voluntary first perhaps, then it will be obligatory, and it will be pocket change. What on earth makes you think otherwise?

Anonymous said...

This comment was sent by Vera to ednotes online:

Thanks for your comments. My blood started to boil this morning when I read the article, especially because it shows the Times and their lackey reporters continuing to give credibility to the big lies:

"He has sought to break what he regarded as a vise grip by the teachers' union on work rules;"

Can't experienced reporters Herszenhorn and Medina find anyone (union leaders, teachers, other people in the educational community) who can explain how work rules actually benefit students and the educational environment?

"to divide large failing schools into small schools" and "to put traditional public schools into competition with charter schools"

Couldn't H & M read their own publication to find out all the questions that have been raised about small schools and charter schools actually being more successful: getting a higher achieving pool of students and eliminating students with special needs; getting a disproportionate share of resources; forcing the larger, traditional schools to be even more overcrowded and receiving those students who have the least chance of succeeding.

"to end what he viewed as a monopoly by the mostly white, middle and upper middle class on good public education services"

Do H & M really believe that Klein and Bloomberg are the champions of the non-white, non-middle class children just as the Bush administration and NCLB really want to equalize educational opportunity nationwide? Has their investigative reporting shown that quality educational services exist only in white, middle and upper middle class public schools? Do they believe that test scores tell the whole story? Even if it's true that on average teachers in higher achieving schools have more "credentials", this doesn't explain why so many highly skilled, educated, talented, and hardworking teachers don't produce higher test scores in failing schools. Both H & M have been writing about education for some time now and should be able to recognize that "good public education services" have to be suited to the needs of the students, something that is very rare now for any of our students, rich or poor, white or non-white.

And did I miss it, or did they forget to mention class size?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry to read your lament on the Times' coverage. But surely you do know the old boys' network there. Let's see - Klein hires Roland Fryer ($10 for test score experiment) who wines & dines with the Freakonomist author who has a blog on the Times and that is just one trail

proofoflife said...

I heard today that there are more than ten ATR's at Walton H.S. today. Already some teachers are asking me what we are going to do about this in our next contract.I guess when you see an ATR in front of your face you cannot deny that we were sold out! Can we ever win back any thing that we gave up?

Anonymous said...

I actually met a first year teacher today who said she is getting paid a full salary as a substitute. She will be answering phones, covering preps and helping with lunch duty and a few other things. This is certainly weird! Will get more info.