Wednesday, August 26, 2009


A teacher at PS 241 sends an anguished outcry as the Eva Moskowitz blitzkrieg runs over another Harlem School just as school is about to open.

Ed Notes has been reporting summer at the battles at PS 123 in Harlem (search the blog for PS 123 and check out all our videos).

PS 241 had a different story. It was supposed to be a failed school and be closed, with the entire building being handed over to Eva Moskowitz. But that would leave that area of Harlem without a zoned school. What's a law to these gangsters? But the UFT sued and Klein was forced to keep the school open. But he cut out the PS 241 middle school and sent a letter to parents basically telling them they were crazy to send their kids to the school. (Similar to this letter –
Klein Letter to PS 150 Brownsville Parents, the other similar school in the suit.)

The Moskowitz attack dogs came out in force attacking the UFT for trying to keep "failing" schools open.
Then low and behold, PS 241 gets a good grade of B on the DOE's own stupid grading system - since we laugh at that system, we don't like to credit schools with "success" or "failure" based on Leibman's folly. But, hey, they wanted to close it based on a grade.

So, the summer passes and just as school opens, we get the letter to follow today from people at PS 241.

Check all the Ed Notes sources below which includes a previous letter from April.

Aug 26, 2009
Opening of School at Harlem's PS 241 Hindered by Moskowitz Harlem Success Charter School Moving In


News from PS 241- one of the schools embattled in early spring 2009 to save themselves from "Phasing Out" and being replaced with Harlem Success.

While news of the lawsuit pushed the DOE to back off and give us another "chance", it did not stop Harlem Success from being given the green light to move into the building anyway and target our students to fill their spots.

Our parents received heavy mailings, phone calls, and personal visits, as Harlem Success employees stood outside the school building at every dismissal accosting parents and cajoling them into signing up for HS. Staff members were told by parents just how persuasive and persistent Moskowitz's team was and wondered if they really had a choice. All the while DOE and Moskowitz/HS staffers were in and out of our building, offices, classrooms- sizing up what they wanted and making plans to get their way.

Her people even walked in and out of classrooms- DURING lessons (without asking our permission) and hovered daily after school in certain rooms (my office in particular as she practically drooled over where she would put her desk, etc. ) It was offensive, disrespectful, and inappropriate! But, DOE once again, gave M her free reign- at the expense of the two other schools already housed there (Opportunity Charter School has been in the building since 2006-2007 as well, chipping away more and more space each year.)

We acknowledge that our enrollment is dropping- certainly partly in due to the myriad of Charter Schools in the area sending their beautiful full-color brochures and promising longer hours (daycare!) and sometime monetary rewards as well for students to transfer out of the public schools. Add a well-funded, pushy Harlem Success Academy to the mix and we do not stand a chance!

Our funding has been cut so that we can not provide much in the way of after-school programs, so when they offer an opportunity to attend their school which starts at 7:00 and ends at 4:30- what parent would decline?

And now, we have had to give up so much space to HSA. Mind you they were caught in the spring time stacking their enrollment numbers to nearly impossible numbers so as to gain more space than needed. Our principal called them on this and M had to admit she had less than previously stated. Who knows what else she lied about. The DOE blindly accepted- seemingly happy to shove PS 241 out of the way?

Our Middle School students will be relegated to several classrooms in the basement, our principal has given up her office (adjacent to the main office) to a first grade classroom, we have lost our Art Studio, our elementary school science lab, our teachers lounge, parent room, offices for pull-out instruction, and now must share the gym, school yard and cafeteria with two schools. One can only wonder what time lunch will be served?

Recess will go on forever with the screams and laughter that permeates the classrooms and disturb the learning environment (the school yard is situated in a courtyard fashion) – no problem when it was only for an hour a day- but now?

Moskowitz is trying to smooth out the wrinkles by purchasing our silence and complacency. She has offered the following: new cafeteria tables, new gymnasium, new auditorium.

If these were so sorely needed, shouldn't our own DOE have made arrangements??? Don't our students deserve things too!

They have completely renovated the wing HSA took over: air conditioners (our students did not have any), new walls, new doors, smart boards in every room, beautiful cubbies placed in the hallway so as to leave more room for who knows what kind of furniture and other goodies that have an overabundance of money to purchase.

They also have staff members manning the hallways providing the much needed security to keep our students and staff members (and those of Opportunity Charter School) out.

This is just what I know about- I am sure there is much, much more!

I know our cafeteria staff and custodial staff members will be working longer hours (extended meal prep and serving, longer hours for custodial staff as their school day is longer and their teachers stay until 9-10 in the evening and request to come in over the weekend as well.)

Who pays for this? DOE, not HSA!

The last item I will mention- due to HSA moving in - our entire school has had to be shifted from one wing (separate building) to another and redistributed over four floors with several classes isolated either in the basement or on the third floor with the other Charter school.

Every classroom had to be moved. Every classroom teacher spent countless hours packing up during the last week of school– not just into closets,etc. as usual, but into packing boxes that could only hold a specified number of pounds. Boxes were supplied by DOE but ran short early on.

Teachers were overwhelmed with trying to teach and supervise their students while also ensure that no item was left behind. No teachers were compensated for this extra work- not in time or money. No movers were brought in until the teachers did all the packing. The movers simply moved boxes from one room to another.

Our custodial staff still had to clean up and move all the boxes themselves in order to do do. It is a MESS! Now, as we get set to return to school we are invited in to come next week- one week early, to start unpacking and setting up our classrooms.

The principal has tried- to no avail- to get DOE funding to compensate us for the amount of time it will take to start over this year. We know many teachers chose to come in early on their own - but this is not the normal new classroom set up! With everyone doing their best- boxes are still everywhere. Furniture is an issue as elementary classes will now be housed in previously middle school rooms. It will take a monumental effort an everyone's part to get classrooms up and running. However- teachers must volunteer their own time to do this. No help will be available to move boxes- many of which are stacked high- and remember what is in a classroom and imagine the weight in some of these boxes.

How can this be allowed?

How can DOE make us move and do nothing but provide one-time movers with no time, support, or understanding of what it will take to give our students warm, inviting classrooms to come back to on Sept. 9?

Forget what will be a stark and painful difference between the HSA classrooms that many of their friends, siblings and neighbors will be sitting in around the corner?

I am, and will probably remain,


Some previous posts on PS 241

From teachers at PS 241 in Harlem (back in April):

April, 2009

Good Morning All-
As some off you may have heard- DOE will not be closing the school down- they have been put off by the lawsuit! This is not a true victory however.
Please read the letter being sent to the parents carefully.
Parents are still being bullied to send their students to other schools.
Harlem Success Academy will still be placed in our building.
Middle school will be phased out.
Where will there be room for HSA? We would only lose our grade 6 students. We will be attempting to get back all of our parents who were forced to apply elsewhere- but how will they all be housed? Sharing facilities with 3 schools- how? We already do not have use of our gym- and struggle to share the other common areas with another charter school in the building. We will lose classrooms, we will lose our art room, we will have to figure out lunch and breakfast times and children will be eating at all kinds of hours.
PS 242 [another Harlem school]- has shown that three buildings cannot live peacefully and successfully in one facility without children suffering. Also- DOE says that if students come back to the school- and if 241 progresses well (by what standards and whose say so) we will stay open- otherwise we will still be closed. That means with HSA already in the building- they can take over. They will still have a way to rezone illegally in the future.
This must stop. This is not a victory- they have only shifted that battle.

More from Ed Notes

Civil War in Harlem Over Charter Schools

Destroying the Public School System in Harlem

Tweed Undermines Law Suit "Win" on Zoned Schools

Klein Letter to PS 150 Brownsville Parents

Letter to Klein from O'Donnell and Nolan re PS 241

Harlem Public Schools Outscore KAPPA, Schools Threatened With Closure Make Top 10 List


  1. _______________________________

    A Teacher's Anguish amidst Eva's Heartless Charter School Invasion

    This powerful Ednotes article brought back to me rather painful memories of another innocent teacher's heartbreak a few decades ago at my former schcol, Art & Design HS.

    My Medical classroom was on the third floor at the South corner of the building. The floor was used for many different subjects, both academically related and art classes.

    Immediately next to my room was the class of one of the most talented Master Social Studies Teachers I have ever encountered in a 40 year career.

    One year this Teacher decided to upgrade and refurbish her entire room. She spent countless hours after school and on weekends stripping off the old paint and repainting the entire large classroom and making all necessary repairs. She then redecorated the room so that it was a feast for the eyes, a policy I myself had subscribed to throughout my long career and in numerous schools.

    The above attitude is just one of the many traits that can always be discovered in a 100 per cent committed Teacher.

    How you dress and how you dress your room speaks volumes about anyone who claims to be an Educator and students pick up that message loud and clear, as well as their parents.

    After all the efforts made by my next door colleague, the Assistant Principal of English, at the time, informed the Teacher that this AP wished to install an English class in the newly refurbished room to facilitate having as many English Teachers as possible on the third floor where the English Office was located.

    I shall never forget the anguish this Social Studies Teacher experienced and suffered during the weeks she was so cruelly evicted from her classroom of many years and forced to spend countless hours packing endless boxes of books and educational materials and personally moving them to a delapidated classroom on a different floor much higher in the building.

    Despite the well known temper and legendary viciousness of the AP involved, I will still regret to the end of my days that I did not forcefully confront the AP over her dictatorial appropriation of my next door colleague's classroom.

    No doubt I was well aware at the time that I would have been immediately charged with "Insubordination" and reassigned to the District Office. Something which was to occur anyway, a decade later- and not once, but twice.

    End - Part One - Continued Below

  2. _________________________________


    A Teacher's Anguish amidst Eva's Heartless Charter Invasion

    The memory of what that colleague was forced to endure so long ago and the human indignity she was forced to swallow at the hands of a vindictive "supervisor" will haunt me into my grave, along with the countless memories of the myriad indignities NYC Educators have had to suffer over the years as their Union, the UFT, (happy to be enriched by monthly Member Dues), turns a blind eye to criminal behavior.

    I can well understand and empathize with the anguish of the Teachers in Harlem, and everywhere for that matter, as their classrooms, (their home away from home), are expropriated by the likes of people like the ever grasping Eva Moscowitz and her ilk.

    Abandoned, long ago, by our Union, outnumbered and outgunned, the Teachers of New York City, demoralized, splintered, and ATR-ized or relegated to the countless Rubber Rooms, try to fight on as best they can with whatever means are at their disposal.

    My own 3020-a Hearings are due to recommence on Sept 8 at 10 AM at 49 Chambers Street while my brilliant private attorney, Dr. Joy Hochstadt, Esq. continues to make progress in the Federal Courts.

    Someone I used to respect and defend at every opportunity, once said: "I feel your Pain".

    But those were simply mealy mouthed words that often issued from her lips at convenient moments for UFT Member consumption.

    That person was as familiar or capapable of feeling our Pain as the Man on the Moon.

    But on the graves of my Late Father and Late Brother, I can honestly Swear that I myself feel the pain emmanating from that Harlem Teacher's voice.

    I have seen that type of pain up close and experienced it personally myself.

    And if that Teacher who once taught in the classroom next to my own, decades ago, is reading this, may I humbly ask that you find it in your heart to forgive me that neither I nor anyone at the time, openly expressed our outrage for what was done to you at Art & Design HS by a vicious individual who by some quick of Fate was destined to be later reincarnated into the personage of an avaricious, unethical bully named Eva Moscowitz.

    Forgive me Susan Adelson for not understanding then what we all understand so well now.

    That is to say, that when people are fearful of standing up to and confronting aggression in the workplace, (or anywhere for that matter), it simply emboldens the aggressor's immoral and beastial modes of behavior.

    We who understand this fact must not relent in our efforts to confront in the Courts and in the Schools, the lackeys, stooges, enablers and lapdogs of that charlatan of charlatans, the uncredentialed faux Chancellor Joel Klein, Esq.

    We will, God willing, outlast and survive his brutal Reign of Terror and in time rebuild our Union, the upward looking and the light, of our hard working, dedicated and committed Union Members as well as a sense of Common Purpose despite the tragedies we are being forced to witness this week even as I write these words.


  3. Disgusting, Moskowitz is a pig!


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