Written and edited by Norm Scott: EDUCATE! ORGANIZE!! MOBILIZE!!! Three pillars of The Resistance – providing information on current ed issues, organizing activities around fighting for public education in NYC and beyond and exposing the motives behind the education deformers. We link up with bands of resisters. Nothing will change unless WE ALL GET INVOLVED IN THE STRUGGLE!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Public Schools in District 14 under assault
Yesterday my daughter received a letter and an application soliciting her to apply to Williamsburg Charter HS. She is a sophomore at another high school. I have no idea how they got her address! She never applied there as a freshman. Then today letters were sent home to parents about the D14 CEC meeting. A charter school person is the slated guest. A new charter school is going into PS 297. These charters are desperate to recruit. There are small charter schools all over the district.
Don't forget to check the side panel for updates and other important information.
Fusing the Human Atom
I guess the one operative principal has been in the belief in releasing the latent energy inherent in not the splitting, but the uniting of the human atom. People fusion.
I was thinking about the enormous energy released when the atom is split and the analogy to the energy generated when masses of people become politically active. I have always believed if a mass movement of politically conscious teachers became active in alliances with parent and community groups and took this alliance beyond education into other unions (many parents are union members too, or would like to be) the energy released would be enormous, creating a sort of atomic social movement by bringing people together. Would the BloomKlein education deformers have gotten away with all their crap if such a movement existed?
A true union would be doing this but with the UFT AWOL, the only way for this to happen is to do it ourselves. This is where I part ways with some of my colleagues in ICE and other critical voices within the UFT. I think they spend too much time addressing the structures set up by the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership, time that would be better spend organizing in their own schools and beyond. But I seem to be in the minority. And there is a point to be made to use the union structures to pressure the leadership. My issue is I have no faith in the leadership to do anything but mislead.
This leads me to the "Save Public Education" conference we helped organize this past Saturday and the building of a coalition to fight back against the education deformers. We looked at it as a beginning of building a grass roots movement, not as a one-time event. The break-out sessions worked on future strategies and we're holding an organizing meeting (see side panel) tomorrow to follow up.
About 80 people came out on a rainy Saturday, mostly teachers, but some parents and representatives of community groups, like Time Out From Testing and students like Global Kids (two of them spoke and were extremely impressive.) Pretty interesting. Just as interesting was the organizing efforts behind it.
My experience as a teacher/activist certainly worked for me. In the 1970's I was part of a group that met almost every week and we were enormously active. While teaching was tiring, I walked out of these meetings energized for both my job and the other activities. So many teachers feel isolated in their schools, the boost they get from meeting with like-minded people has a positive effect on them on the job and in dealing with the political mind field school politics can so often turn out to be.
Now I know that things are very different today, as the DOE has turned schools into sweat shops and teachers are exhausted. But I've also seen the way teachers we've been meeting with feel as a result of these meetings. And it seems to be a good thing.
Over the long term, the number of people involved in active organizing, call it a core, is the key to creating change. I realized the importance of an active core after the last UFT general election in 2007 and was resolved not to do that again unless a core of committed activists emerged. it doesn't have to consist of an enormous number of people because the energy released in the human fusion process is enormous. But countering the massive Unity machine requires such a core. Thus, after that election, my attention shifted towards working to build a core. I knew we wouldn't get anywhere without tapping into the new teacher social activist group and trying to bring the older, union conscious people together with them.
With Teachers Unite aiming at reaching the newer teacher crowd and creating a higher level of union consciousness along with a social justice viewpoint (register for the 4 week course at the TU website) and the increasing interest of some members of NYCoRE in the union, there was a natural affinity to merge some of the work we were doing in ICE and Education Notes. Thus, for the first time, various scattered forces began to come together, like circling rocks in a pre-planet stage beginning to coalesce in a very loose manner. I would say it's still in the Saturn ring stage, but the conference was a sign that some rocks are sticking.
That the March 28 conference was well-organized and actually worked like we planned is somewhat astounding. I generally expect things to go wrong all the time, sort of like sitting on a cliff waiting to be pushed off. But having people like Angel Gonzalez and Sam Coleman pulling things together taught me a great deal about how to get things done. You know, that old dog thing was operating here.
I won't get into all the details of the conference at this time. I spoke on ATRs and seniority and being forced to organize my thoughts coherently into a 6 minute presentation was very valuable. I will post something soon. Sam did a great job on the high stakes testing issue and Michael Fiorillo nailed the grand unification theory of the attack on public ed in his usual brilliant way – hey Michael, how about a written account? TAGNYC and some rubber room people were also involved as well as other independents. (Read Pissed Off Teacher's report on the conference.)
As interesting as the event itself was the process behind it. Process over product is way more important I believe. Think of the way the ed deformers take the opposite, bottom line approach which is so ruinous to education. So let's look at the process.
We started with an ICE ATR committee in January focused on just that issue. I remember John Lawhead taking it beyond that at an ICE meeting, fusing the concept of high stakes testing and the emerging closing schools issue. John's points unlocked the narrow view I held and allowed a broadening concept to emerge. This group started to meet regularly and put out a few leaflets and we made contacts with people at closing schools, along with people active in the Ad-hoc ATR group that did such a good job organizing the November ATR rally (see the part 1 and 2 of the video I did showing the UFT selling out the rally The Video the UFT Doesn't Want You To See: The ATR Rally).
At the same time, we've been involved with the Justice Not Just Tests subgroup of NYCoRE and we've been passing around a petition to stop the use of teacher data reports and the misuse of tests. We've also been doing work on the merit pay issue. We got 200 signatures at the March UFT Delegate Assembly (see pics in the previous post to this), with even some Unity Caucus people signing it.
It seemed a natural step to merge the work of the ICE ATR committee, which renamed itself ASC-ICE (ATR/School Closing) and we started holding joint meetings.
Concurrently, Angel Gonzalez and I took a labor study course given through NYCoRE and we worked closely with the organizers of the study group, giving a presentation on the union at the culminating event a few weeks ago to a group of mostly young teachers. Since this was on a Friday night, a bunch of us went out to a bar afterwards, where fusion really works over a few beers. (I was over 2 times older than most of them, so I was pretty well fused.)
Some of the work of that group became incorporated into the committee planning the conference. A few teachers connected to ISO and TJC also became involved in the planning committee.
Beside being able to pull off a successful event, it is just as important for the core to keep coalescing and there's no better place to let gravity work than in a bar.
Thus, after a long day of conferencing, ten of us retired to a local bar Saturday to do some coalescing. That this is not a pre-planned group but anyone who felt like going makes things very open ended. No matter how many meetings you attend together, the socializing after is often more important in building bonds and trust. Unfortunately, this bar charged $7 a beer and food was expensive, so we did some quick bonding and trust building and headed off for the rest of the weekend, only to gather again tomorrow afternoon at CUNY to plan the next steps. Ahhh, there's nothing like some good old Core knowledge.
The only thing that bummed us out was that a bunch of our compadres in NYQueer held another conference the same day, which went pretty well I hear. (Organizing to Create Safer Schools for LGBTQ Youth)
Next time we will double check our calendars. So much organizing to do, so few troops.
Emerging coalition to defend public education: The Grass Has to Have Roots
This is a great chance to get involved, there will be lots of new people and lots of new energy. We are connecting to parent and community groups and hoping to get lots of teachers involved in the struggle.
The grass has to have roots!
WHAT: Emerging coalition to defend public education meeting!
WHERE: CUNY grad center, room 5409 (bring photo id)
N,Q,R,W,B,D, F,V to 34th street. Grad. Center is on 5th ave.
between 34th and 35th street.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 1st, 5:00-7:00
Who: Everyone interested in defending public education from the falsely labeled education "reformers" and their corporate, for profit, agenda!
Pics of Protest
Have you circulated the Justice Not Just Tests petition in your school calling on the UFT to take a stand against teacher data reports and the testocracy?
Protest at PS 153 Washington Height, NYC (More photos)
Don't forget to check the side panel for updates and other important information.
TODAY: PROTEST BUDGET CUTS AT GOV PATTERSON OFFICE, 5:30
Monday, March 30, 2009
Duncan Appoints 7-Year Old as Top Aid
Ed Notes Foundation to Fund Microsoft Reform
The Ed Notes multi-billion dollar foundation has announced a software reform movement with the aim of getting Bill Gates' Microsoft corporation to produce software that won't cause your computer to want to pack its bags and head off to Australia.
"Since Microsoft resists the expansion of competitive operating systems, browsers and other software that would lead to higher quality products and Microsoft monopolists resist measuring and rewarding effectiveness, this is a long overdue reform effort," said Ed Notes spokes animal Pinky, the cat.
Ed Notes spokes animal, Pinky
"In fact evidence shows no connection between the quality of Microsoft software and most of the measures used to determine the pay of its employees, who appear to be compensated by the length of computer code they write, rather than how well it works. The quality and superiority of software from companies like Apple -- these all are mostly irrelevant to the market place, with Microsoft using ruthless tactics like sending blue screens of death that have been one of the leading causes of computer suicides."
New measures of measuring the effectiveness of Microsoft's software engineers will be implemented. One purpose of measurement would be to deploy the best software writers to the neediest departments of Microsoft, and pay them accordingly; another, to fire the worst. "But the main point," Pinky said, "is that effective software engineering can be taught: The biggest part is taking the people who want to be good -- and helping them."
See Norms Notes Bill Gates is as Ignorant as Bill Maher
Related: The Bill Gates Joke Page
Voices of Brownsville: The Rally at PS 150
Sunday, March 29, 2009
"Shut Down Tweed" Says Charles Barron
You want to build some charter schools, then go buy your own building.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8aBdcJfLD0
Parental choice? Let me tell you, you don't choose the charter school, the charter school chooses you.
They're lucky we're rallying in Brownsville. The next rally, we should go down and take over the Tweed building and let them know we're not going to stay in the neighborhood.
They turned our schools into test taking mills.
Jay Mathews: KIPPer Minister of Information
Photoshopped by David Bellel
Jim Horn at Schools Matter reports:
When he is not shilling for Kaplan's dominance in the child testing industry (Kaplan being that part of the Washington Post Company that pays more than half of the company's profits), Jay Mathews functions as the chief propagandist for the mind and body control camps of KIPP...More at:
Mathews's recent book, Work Hard Be Nice, celebrates the excellent education adventures of KIPP's infantilized bully founders, Davey Levin and Mikey Feinberg, whose bare-knuckled pedagogy is presented as the innocent over-exuberance of two irrepressible young uber-educators. The moral lapses, ethical breaches, and illegal acts by the terrible twosome (at least the acts that have been publicly exposed) are given the Mathews treatment, which is to say a Cliff Notes version of reality done up in etherized prose.
KIPP Information Minister Continues to Ignore Abuses and Ethical Meltdown
Matt Taibbi on The Big Takeover
...this was a casino unique among all casinos, one where middle-class taxpayers cover the bets of billionaires.
People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.
AIG is what happens when short, bald managers of otherwise boring financial bureaucracies start seeing Brad Pitt in the mirror.
The Democrats, tired of getting slaughtered in the fundraising arena by Republicans, decided to throw off their old reliance on unions and interest groups and become more "business-friendly."
Paulson used the bailout to transform the government into a giant bureaucracy of entitled assholedom, one that would socialize "toxic" risks but keep both the profits and the management of the bailed-out firms in private hands. Moreover, this whole process would be done in secret, away from the prying eyes of NASCAR dads, broke-ass liberals who read translations of French novels, subprime mortgage holders and other such financial losers.
the Wall Street crowd has turned the vast majority of Americans into non-participants in their own political future. There is a reason it used to be a crime in the Confederate states to teach a slave to read: Literacy is power. In the age of the CDS and CDO, most of us are financial illiterates. By making an already too-complex economy even more complex, Wall Street has used the crisis to effect a historic, revolutionary change in our political system — transforming a democracy into a two-tiered state, one with plugged-in financial bureaucrats above and clueless customers below.
A MUST READ
Related: Naomi Klein's Nov. 08 piece, The New Trough
Ravitch Savages BloomKlein - Again
• Paul Hovitz on the incompetence of Tweed
Paul Hovitz on the incompetence of Tweed
• State and city laws routinely flouted by this administration.
State and city laws routinely flouted by this administration
• Demystifying Mayoral control: Diane Ravitch on mayoral autocracy...
And don’t miss:
• Announcing a new Mayoral control troll in town! Heeeere's Abby Sugrue of secretly funded pro Bloomberg Learn NY revealed Announcing the new Mayoral control troll in town!
All the above if you missed the individual links at:
thanks to David Bellel as always….
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Credit Recovery and Drive-By Diplomas in NYC
This winter, Jamaica High School has followed other schools by starting something called “Credit Recovery.” A pupil who has failed a class can make up an entire course by showing up for three mornings for three hours during winter or spring break. The academic standards have fallen so much that teachers now joke that vehicles better roll up their windows when they pass by our school or they will have a “drive by diploma” thrown in their car. We understand why the SAT scores are down. Standards are virtually nonexistent. Kids are smart. They know this. We know we are not alone and that what is happening at Jamaica is occurring in many other buildings. We are told by administration that if the graduation and promotion numbers don’t improve, the DOE will shut down our school and get rid of us.
Below is a fascinating discussion between Leonie Haimson and David Bloomfield who heads the principals' academy at Brooklyn College, a NYC parent and major critic of BloomKlein, though he does support the concept of mayoral control.
Leonie Haimson writes:
Thanks so much, David; this is truly fascinating stuff.
I’m not sure who Mr. Marino means by “They have tried to stop this action but as I see it, it is still occurring. “ If this refers to DOE, I would doubt its veracity.
In extended questioning at the Brooklyn Assembly hearings last week, Eric Nadelstern passionately defended the current practice of credit recovery and also claimed this it was a long-standing policy of the NYC schools, even before the current administration came into office.
As he was seated with Marcia Lyles, Chris Cerf, Deputy Mayor Walcott, Jim Liebman, and the entire top brass of DOE except for Klein, and Michael Best was seated just behind him (the chief counsel of DOE) and none of them contradicted his remarks, one can only conclude that the DOE very much supports the current policy, whatever they may have stated to SED to the contrary.
Indeed, this comment from SED is reminiscent of their recent statement to the press about the class size increases in NYC schools this year:
"Although the New York City Department of Education made measurable progress in the first year of their Contract for Excellence, we required them to take corrective actions this year. Both the State and City are working together to fully understand this new class size information and decide what further actions are needed to address this situation."
Either the state is more naïve than one would think possible, or another interpretation is in order.
About the following statement in Marino’s email that you reproduce below: “NYC DOE did publish a statement from the Office of School Improvement that Credit Recovery was not acceptable for students to earn credit other than the way I mentioned.”
Could you possibly ask Mr. Marino if he could forward you a copy of this statement, and ask him where and how it was published by DOE?
I have not seen it in the Principals weekly or otherwise. I wonder how it was circulated.
From David Bloomfield
Subject: [nyceducationnews] credit recovery
I thought people might be interested in a post by a NYS Education Department official about credit recovery, posted on the Long Island School Leadership's listserv for aspiring administrators:
As an Education Associate for the New York State Education Department there is no such item in the Commissioner Regulations as 'CREDIT RECOVERY' and this is a misconception. The only way a student can earn credit for failed courses is that the student have the 180 seat time in the course and go to a summer session for 5-6 weeks and then take the appropriate test at the end of the summer course. Anything less, is a violation of the commissioner's regulations and a school can be sanctioned for this. Hope this is clear to you!
Mr. Marino went on to state, in response to whether "component retesting" is possible to allow students to pass a course (i.e., if they flunk the course, could they would only then have to "pass" the parts of the course that they failed in order to receive credit):
The answer to your question is no! If the course let say is Integrated Algebra and the student fails different topics of the course and has a failing average of the course, then he has to repeat the course. I think your thinking of component retesting. That is totally different from course elements. If a student has the seat time in a course and fails the regents exam twice with a grade of between 48 and 55 then they can take the component retest in specific topics and if they get enough credit on this test the scale score is added to the regents grade to help them pass the regents, but not the course. They can pass the course without passing the regents exam. I hope I have made this clear. I also believe that this may be the last year for component retesting.
The good news (though don't hold your breath) is that Mr. Marino states, in response to my question about whether SED will make the DOE crack down on the practice and track credits obtained in this way, he stated:
At the present time the NYC DOE did publish a statement from the Office of School Improvement that Credit Recovery was not acceptable for students to earn credit other than the way I mentioned. They have tried to stop this action but as I see it, it is still occurring. At the present time the legal department of the state and city are working on something, for students to recover credits but it has not been published. Yes you may pass on the information I sent as a reply and I hope others will read this and see that there is no such item as credit recovery in the commissioner's regulations!!
Friday, March 27, 2009
PRESS RELEASE: DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION: COUNTER THE EDUCATION DEFORMERS
Conference/Strategy Session on fighting testing/school closings/ATR
WHEN: SATURDAY MARCH 28 FROM 12-3 PM.
WHERE: JOHN JAY COLLEGE, RM 1311 NORTH HALL BUILDING, 445 W 59TH ST
A,C,D,B, 1 TRAINS TO 59TH ST
Will charter schools and small elite schools drain away the highest performing students, leaving the public schools and the teachers in them to be branded as failures because they are working with the students who need the most help but are denied the resources to do an effective job? Have we seen the end of the zoned neighborhood schools in poor urban school systems? As school after school is closed, often for nefarious reasons, will we end up with a corps of teachers forced to move from school to school teaching in subject areas for which they were not trained in what is fast becoming a dead end career? And a corps of children and parents shut out of their own neighborhood schools?
We see this conference as a first step in building a coalition of teachers, parents and students to plan campaigns to take back public education from the privateers.
Angel Gonzalez, Sam Coleman and Norm Scott, three of the organizers of the "Stop the School Closings/Defend Public Education" Conference at John Jay College on March 28 appeared on WBAI radio Thurs. Mar 26. at around 7:40. Education At The Crossroads WBAI - 99.50 fm with Basir Mchawi http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/090326_190001eatcrossr.MP3
See the video ad produced by Education Notes for the March 28 conference to save public schools at John Jay College in NYC, is a prime example of the manipulation of the community by charter school advocates. Harlem Success, led by Eva Moskowitz has pushed its way into public school spaces with the support of the NYC Department of Education. The push by Bloomberg and Klein to support charter schools is a prime example of their failure to solve the problems that exist in public schools. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEp7rg_L5JI
The CONFERENCE SPONSORED BY:
THE INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY OF EDUCATORS AND
THE NEW YORK COALITION OF RADICAL EDUCATORS
Endorsers: ATRs-School Closings Committee of ICE/UFT, Justice Not Just Tests (JNJT), Federacion de Maestros de Puerto Rico – Support Committee of NY, Teachers for a Just Contract - TJC/UFT, Teacher Advocacy Group NYC – TAGNYC, Teachers Unite, People Power Coalition, Center for Immigrant Families
Norm Scott: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 917-992-3734
Angel Gonzalez: email@example.com, 718-601-4901
Sam Coleman: firstname.lastname@example.org
An ATR Writes
Why can't Article 17 be utilized. Also, why is it that special education teachers with no general ed background are being forced to teach general ed classes and the UFT is doing nothing about it. Special Ed Teachers and General Ed teachers are not the same. I am a special ed teacher and it is not fair to me that for ten years I taught in my license with 12 students. Now I am being forced to teach 20 - 30 students at a time as well as other content area subjects that I am not trained in like gym, science, music, drama etc. This is not what I signed up for and I agree the DOE will not stop what they are doing until we (Teachers) get this out to the media. We have to expose what is being done to us because the UFT is not going to do it.
Why is the UFT turning a deaf ear to teachers complaints. Guidance Counselors that were displaced are placed in their titles, ESL Teachers are placed in their titles as well as speech teachers but why not special ed teachers. I have addressed this before with the UFT with no response.
See Marjorie Stamberg's report of the Mar. 23 UFT Exec. Bd meeting is at Norms' Notes. Attempts have been made and are still being made to create pressure on Micahel Mendel who has been placed in charge of the atr issue.
ATR Issue Brought to UFT Executive Board
Derrick Townsend assistant principal at PS 154 in the Bronx has been reassigned
(Become a stringer for ed notes reporting on your school)
It has been learned that Derrick Townsend the assistant principal that assaulted a 9 year old last month and left bruises on her arm and leg has been reassigned to the Teacher Reassignment Center otherwise known as the "Rubber Room."
This action was taken immediately after a swarm of investigators descended upon PS 154 this week and were looking into Derrick Townsend for having allegedly dragged the girl up to 20 feet when she refused to stop crying and come with him.
The investigation is ongoing as is the investigation into Principal Linda Amill-Irizarry's alleged cover-up of the assault.
A criminal complaint against Derrick Townsend have been filed with the NYPD and the investigation is ongoing.
We have seen countless teachers sent to rubber rooms over trivialities. I heard from a friend today who was totally cleared after spending 6 months in the rubber room, sent there by an abusive principal on trumped up charges from a kid who said she made a racial slur. The principal left the system and gets off scot free (there are still teachers from the school in the rubber room after years).
Our reporter touches on an important point. The principal protected the AP and he was allowed to remain in the school despite the fact that people have been reporting the actions of the AP for many months. It was only after the story came out in the press that the incident was addressed by the DOE. Klein was sent letters about Townsend months ago. Leaving a supervisor accused of these acts in the building for months amounts to criminal behavior. I've often said Klein would one day be led out of Tweed with his coat over his head. Now's as good a time as any.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Why We Need to Defend Public Education? The Harlem Success Pro-Charter School Rally
This ad produced by Education Notes for the March 28 conference to save public schools at John Jay College in NYC, is a prime example of the manipulation of the community by charter school advocates. The Harlem Success Schools led by Eva Moskowitz has pushed its way into public school spaces with the support of the NYC Department of Education. The push by Bloomberg and Klein to support charter schools is an admission of their failure to solve the problems that exist in public schools.
PRINCIPAL PROBED IN BIZARRE BUDDHIST 'HATE CHANTS'
Organizing to Create Safer Schools for LGBTQ Youth
Ed Notes has been urging people to attend the conference to save public schools this Saturday at John Jay College.
I wanted to alert you to another conference on the same day. "Organizing to Create Safer Schools for LGBTQ Youth" is an important event that our colleagues at NYQueer (NYCoRE) have planned in conjunction with other groups. This event, the third in a series, was planned before ours, but with the pressure of closing schools and the vacation coming up, we had few dates available.
Check out the flyer. I posted the schedule on Norm's Notes
Organizing To Create Safer Schools for LGBTQ Youth Saturday, March 28th 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
ICE/NYCORE Conference Organizers on WBAI Thurs. Eve
Education At The Crossroads (show starts at 7pm)
WBAI - 99.50 fm with Basir MChawi
Whither the UFT and a GEM of an Idea
Imagine if every school in the NYC turned into non-unionized charter schools? What would become of the UFT/Unity Caucus machine as it hemorrhaged dues? Well, they have a simple plan. Just organize charter schools into the union.
Not so simple kemosabe. From Gotham Schools - a suggestion that all New York teachers should be able to decertify the union. Of course, these are the two much talked about KIPP schools (KIPP Academy Charter School in the Bronx and the KIPP Infinity Charter School in Manhattan) as the KIPP empire strikes back for the UFT daring to try to organize a Brooklyn KIPP school, efforts that may be floundering.
On the surface, one would think the massive, dues soaked UFT holds all the cards. Many of us lined up as internal critics think not.
Any charter school teacher who takes a peek at the most sophisticated teacher blogs will see what's in store for them as the level of hostility directed at the UFT leaderships is barely a smidgen less than that aimed at BloomKlein. So why would they step into the muck of the UFT?
Many of the union missteps occur because of the fundamental lack of democracy, the complete top-down management and the gap between the leadership and the members. With an absolute almost 50 year lock on control, including the buying off of New Action, the former opposition party, there is no hope of reform. Some people may be fooled into believing changes are coming because they think Randi Weingarten is walking into the sunset of the AFT, but that is not a sure bet and whatever happens, there will be no loosening of the reigns because Unity has built such a tight, foolproof structure.
I've been against these efforts, taking the position that if UFT internal critics cannot grow enough to organize an effective force, then bringing in another union would replace the old boss with the new boss.
Thus, it was gratifying to see all sorts of groups and people involved in the UFT informally gather for lunch at the Labor Notes Troublemakers School this past Saturday.
Members of ICE (Independent Community of Educators,) NYCORE (NY Collective of Radical Educators,) TJC (Teachers for a Just Contract,) ISO (International Socialists,) Teachers Unite and independents joined Puerto Rico's teachers union president Rafael Feliciano in a conversation about democratic unions (the FMPR is one) educating members on the issues and organizing and mobilizing them into a force that can counter the collaboration of the UFT by building a grass roots movement that could not be stifled by the union institutions.
Thus, while the lock on power would remain in the hands of people at the top, the rank and file teachers in the schools they have abandoned could start to move in a more militant direction.
If such a movement actually occurs, it may transcend caucuses like ICE and TJC and pay less attention to the rigged institutions of UFT power like the Delegate Assembly and certainly the total Unity dominated Executive Board (81 members out of 89 with the other 8 handed to New Action through Unity endorsement.)
Meanwhile, today is the March Delegate Assembly and we will all still be there to do our thing.
We will be joining Justice Not Just Tests in getting petitions on high stakes testing – the root of all evil – signed.
A resolution on closing schools – the 3rd time the UFT will take a position calling for a moratorium on closing schools – had a provision calling for a mass meeting of teachers from every announced closing school. The UFT leadership took it out. They will take potshots at rallies at individual schools to allow teachers to vent, but will not take concerted action to stop them. Why? Because the UFT believes in the policy of closing schools even though it creates ATRs - over 1700 and counting.
We will be handing out our flyer for this Saturday's conference at John Jay College (starting at 12 pm) which we hope will turn out to be a first strike in building a Grassroots Educators Movement - GEM. (Angel Gonzalez came up with the idea this morning, not bad for one of us oldies but goodies.)
Consider attending or encouraging someone from your school to attend, in particular if you are in a closing or soon to be closed school. If the UFT won't get people together, we will.COMING SOON: VIDEO I TOOK AT THE HARLEM SUCCESS CHARTER SCHOOL RALLY LAST WEEK. THAT ALONE SHOULD GET YOU TO GIVE UP YOUR SATURDAY
This Saturday! Education Notes Joins the fightback to save public education -
Substance - News From Chicago
Serial: UFT 2014 Contract Vote Lessons
Chicago: Reasons to Oppose Common Core
Real Estate Real Estate Real Estate2 days ago
This looks like fun3 weeks ago
Save Our Schools People's Convention10 years ago
The ICE Platform in 2010
ICE balances social justice unionism and trade unionism and sees them as 2 sides of the same coin.
The 2010 ICE platformPart I: Introduction
Part II: What we confront in public education
Part III: Strategy and tactics for a good contract
Part IV: Learning conditions
Part V: Working conditions, professional autonomy, seniority, salary and benefits
Part VI: For a militant, progressive, democratic UFT
Part VII: ICE supports local neighborhood public schools
Part VIII: A distorted school system
Part IX: Our union and government priorities
Dave Barry End of Year Review -
"The press is free to those who own them."
Public School Shakedown (Our Fave Bloggers In One place)
WELCOME ABOARD! - - The Progressive Magazine is revving up the movement to save our public schools. On this site, we are pulling together education experts, activ...9 years ago
NYC Rubber Room Reporter
UFT Individual Election Results Including Non-Slate
Paper(work)-thin: I Thought We Were Supposed to be *Teaching*
UFT Election Vote Comparison: 2004-10
A Personal Historical Perspective
Why Karen Lewis Read Ed Notes
"A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"Ed Reformers" want to cash in on public education and to control its content and outcome, not improve it. Provide great education? Baby boomers had as close as this country has ever gotten to it when we were growing up. The Ed Reform Movement has no interest in seeing such a well-educated, democratically astute population ever again.
Web Sites We Touch Base With
History of the UFT Pre-Weingarten Years
Naturally, from a certain point of view. But, despite certain biases, Schierenbeck, a great guy, was one of the best NY Teacher reporters so this is worth reading. Jack suffered a debilitating stroke many years ago (I used to get secret donations to ed notes from him through a 3rd source.)
This chapter looks interesting:
Class struggles: The UFT story, part 3
“The schism in the union over radical politics [is] a major reason for stalling the growth of a teacher union for decades.” Revolutionary politics and ideology take center stage, as the original Teachers Union becomes a battlefield, pitting leftist against leftist and splitting the union.Clarence Taylor's "Reds at the Blackboard" focused on the old Teachers Union which disbanded in 1964 after suffering from anti-left attacks.
Of course for another view, check out the review at New Politics of the Kahlenberg Bio on Shanker by Vera Pavone and me: Albert Shanker: Ruthless Neocon
Effective Union Organizing
The first series was called New Media For Union Activists Roadmap and it's still available on-line at:
I watched some of them and need to rewatch as they are loaded with information.
The second series started last week and it's called "Online Campaigning for Union Activists"
You can sign up for this free series at :
Total Pageviews Since July 2009
State of the Union
Reforming the UFT is the Prime Directive
Visit the new SOTU blog http://sotuuft.blogspot.com
Must read: The Case for Large High Schools
Diane Ravitch: Great new site (warning: satire)
A DC teacher's story:
Oldie but goodie; Norm mentioned on FAIR Re; Education Nation
You Don't Have A Choice - Join the Revolt
Hedges says, There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history.
GEM Teachers and parents OCCUPY DOE- VIDEO FROM OCT 5, 2011
Norm's Message from the Trenches: A Little Bit of Personal History on School Organizing - Part I
I haven't done Part 2 yet but hope to soon.
GEM (Norm) Debates E4E (Sydney) on Teacher Seniority in Costco Mag
MUST READ: How theCorporate Right Divided Blacks from Teachers Unions and Each Other
Friday, June 17, 2011
How the Corporate Right Divided Blacks from Teachers Unions and Each Other
Great Debate in Chicago
Class Bias, Class Size and Online Learning
Good Article on Value-Added
Ex-Harlem Success Teacher Comments on Eva the Diva
I am a former Harlem Success teacher. Not many people who work/worked for her like her very much. I once made the comment that she is very nice when I first was hired. Two of her closest colleague responded immediately almost in unison, "Eve is not nice!" Over time I realized that there was a lot of political games going on. Another colleague once said to me that he was tired of "being part of a political campaign." Sending out 15,000 applications for only 400 seats in a school is reprehensible. The money that paid for those mass mailings could have paid the yearly salary of another teacher not to mention the heartache of all those parents who applied but did not get a spot. She does good work trying to give disadvantaged students a quality public school education but at a great cost to staff AND the school's educational budget! school budget.
GEM's Julie Cavanagh Debates E4E member on NY1 on LIFO and Seniority
Davis Guggenheim Compared to Riefenstahl
Professor of African American Studies and History
A Familiar Voice on Unions
- Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933
How Teaching Experience Makes a Difference
- Leonie Haimson on Parents Across America web site
Full article with charts here.
Outsource our children
Weingarten/Gates Foundation announce drone-driven teacher evaluation
According to a press release issued by the Gates Foundation, the AFT and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, these three have entered a ground-breaking partnership to evaluate teachers utilizing the drone technology that has revolutionized warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. A bird-size device floats up to 400 feet above a classroom and instantly beams live video of teachers in action to agents at desks at Teacher Quality Inspection Stations established by the AFT and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
When asked if the drones were authorized to drop bombs on teachers who exhibit inadequacy, Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, replied, "Don't be ridiculous. Gates money puts other methods at our disposal."
Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.5-million-member American Federation of Teachers said the powerful union has signed on to the drone project...More at Substance
Rare, undercover footage from a principals’ retreat in Omaha
My Old Co-Worker and Chapter Leader, David Dow Bentley III, Now a Theater Critic
Teacher Value-Added Data Dumping by Norm Scott
The Real Reason Behind Push for Standardized Tests: It's All About the Adults
Written by an insider who has worked as a test scorer, the article outlines a multinational industry based on an army of temporary workers paid by the piece at $0.30 to $0.70 per test, translated in the need to grade 40 tests per hour to make a $12 salary. The article goes on to show how the companies gauge the grading "results" based on the need to ensure new contracts to continue profiting off of our youth. The original article is from Monthly Review. Here it is on Schools Matter blog.
Rockaway Theatre Company 2010 Highlights- See Norm Act (badly)
Notice the balding guy in Odd Couple. Not Laurence Olivier.
Did You Attend One of Eva's Harlem Success Academy Soirees for the Rich?
Moskowitz Aims Charters at Wealthy- So Much for Closing the Achievement GapYou know, let's close that gap for rich kids. Why should their parents pay 30 grand for a private school when the public can foot the bill?
See Gotham Schools report
From Sharon Higgins
A must, must, must, must read.
Parallels between America today and Germany in the 1920's and early 30's
The US Is Facing a Weimar MomentPublished on Sunday, March 15, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
It's Class Size Stupid
A Howl of a video as our friendly robots talk education
Thanks to Sharron Higgins
So you Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities?
Brian Jones on Education Nation Panel with Brill, Rhee, Weingarten, etc.
"Charter Starter": a video spoof
Sean Corcoran Findings on Value Added Measurement of Teachers Raises Doubts
Wide margins of error, instability on city’s value-added reportsClick above for Elizabeth Green report at Gotham Schools.
Chicago View of Unity/UFT on Charters
After many meetings and debates, the Chicago delegation succeeded in working with the New York United Federation of Teachers, Local 2 (UFT) to push the AFT to take stronger stands on charter school accountability and school closings — though many delegates from Chicago would have liked the language to have been even stronger.
Generally speaking, the New York delegation represented organizing charters as the best model for handling their role in reshaping unions, despite the fact that according to many reports few charter schools in New York have been organized as is the case in Chicago. This logic is the same touted by the Progressive Caucus of the AFT. The few that have been organized are a part of the UFT local though they have separate contracts negotiated with the help of UFT. The Chicago delegation reflection the mindset that allowing new charters to continue to proliferate while attempting to organize existing charters is an end game in which public schools and the union lose.
Jen Johnson, CTU, Local 1 in Substance
Video of Chicago/CORE Deal with UFT/Unity on School Closings at the AFT Convention
Ravitch: Why Public Schools Need Democratic Governance
NYC Parent Commission on School Governance
More Videos of HSA vs. Mosaic Prep
Harlem Success Academy Vs. Mosiac Prep - Voices of Parents and TeachersRose Annette Jiminez and other parents speak at the Harlem Success Academy attempt to expand in Mosaic Academy.
Norm's Article on Seniority in The Indypendent
By Norm Scott, in the Jun 2, 2010 issue
Surprise: On AOL - Analysis of Closing of Metropolitan Corporate Academy in Brooklyn
Part 1: Did 'Failing' School Get Failed by the System?
Part 2: Champion Debate Team Rejects City's Verdict
Part 3: How Education Reform Can Turn Into a Shell Game
Part 4: When a School Year Ends in Purgatory
Ed Notes Greatest Hits: HSA Rally and Founding of GEM
Angel Gonzalez and I attended that rally and used the footage to promote our conference on Mar. 28, 2009, which is where the concept of a group like GEM emerged. Until then we had basically been a committee of ICE working with the NYCORE high stakes testing group. The actions of Eva and crew helped spawn GEM. Mommie Dearest!!
I have more video somewhere. I was hoping to get Leni Riefenstahl to edit it but she died. We would have called it "Triumph of the Hedge Fund Operators."
Video - Bill Gates at the AFT: Bringing in a Trojan Horse
Charter School Scandals - from Sharon Higgins
Ravitch Debates Charter School Shill James Merriman
Diana Senechal on Harlem Children's Zone
Washington Post Class Struggle
The writer takes a look at the Harlem Children's Zone where failure is not an option but some grades are not mentioned.
Parents Speak Out Against Mayoral Control of Schools at Tweed
MUST READ- Leonie on Eva
An Oldie But Goodie: The Disparity Gap
Video of Chicago's George Schmidt and CORE Shredding Arne Duncan and the Chicago Corporate Model
Labor Beat video hosted at:
The video is hosted on blip.tv: http://blip.tv/file/2428857
Great Post on Teacher Quality at the Morton School
More at: http://themortonschool.blogspot.com/2009/07/its-teachers-stupidright.html