Friday, October 23, 2009

PS 15 Teacher Calls on "Moaning" Mona Davids, Self-Proclaimed President of the NY Charter Parents Association, to Apologize for Race Baiting Remarks

I'm posting a letter from a teacher at the Patrick Daly School (PS 15) in Red Hook, Brooklyn to "Moaning" Mona Davids, self-proclaimed president of the NY Charter Parents Association over the outrageous comments she made at Gotham Schools blog where she tried to pull the divisive race card. (These "Parent Associations" are often funded by the same philanthropists backing the privatization movement. See the work of the Perimeter Primate cited at the end of this posting.)

It is worth checking out all the comments on the Sept. 18 posting at Gotham.

Davids apparently created an organization, got an office on Water St. in Brooklyn, and made herself president. Nice work if you can get it.

On Sept. 17, Davids came down from her perch in Co-op City in the Bronx to make an appearance at the Dist. CEC 15 meeting in Red Hook Brooklyn to castigate the teachers for coming into Red Hook from outside the neighborhood. You can't make this stuff up, but I have the video of Moaning Mona's speech on you tube,

Long-time PS 15 teacher calls for Davids to apologize for her remarks:

Ms. Davids:

I am a teacher at The Patrick F. Daly School in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I am writing in response to the comments Ms.Davids made at the CEC meeting which was held at PS 15 on September 17th, and also to the comments she wrote on the blog at Gotham Schools (Here is an excerpt from that blog entry):

“Every teacher that spoke last night was white, did not live in the community and at the end of the night got into their cars and left… The PS15 teachers who all got into their cars last night and drove out of the community are the ones who need to get out of PS15.”

Ms. Davids…How dare you say that I am not a part of the Red Hook Community. I have supported the children of the Red Hook Community for over 15 years.

I have worked with the Red Hook Community to teach its children both academically and morally. I have joyfully given my time and energy to guide my students to reach their personal potential and goals. I have collaborated with parents to help each child perform to their best and mature in an ethical manner. I have made myself available to my students and their families in order to work together to this end. My students have grown and I have delighted in their progress.

I have grieved with the Red Hook Community when a student in my class was killed in a snowplow incident over a weekend. I have counseled my students and helped them cope with the death of a classmate. I have taught my students to focus on the positive aspects of a person when their life is ended and to celebrate their life, while also experiencing the sadness of their death.

I have celebrated with the Red Hook Community at many functions. I have shared food with them at our annual Thanksgiving dinner. I have laughed with them at the after school's annual Halloween festival. I have been entertained with them at the multitude of performances both by our band and chorus, and by our after school program. I have attended softball games of my students in the Red Hook ball fields. I have used the facilities of the Red Hook library and I frequent various Red Hook establishments. And…..I travel by the Red Hook Buses … not by a car.

I have been on network television on The Oprah Winfrey Show with the Red Hook Community. Due to the efforts of my class, every student in our school received a generous gift certificate and hundreds of students and family members were treated to a Knicks game. I attended that game also, with other members of the Red Hook Community and…I took the subway…not a car.

You focused on “color” in your remarks, Ms.Davids. What color am I? I am a multitude of colors Ms.Davids. My life has been touched by every person I have encountered in this lifetime Ms. Davids. I am a kaleidoscope of colors and mirrors, reflecting the connections I have created by my ability to see people AS people….NOT as a statistic….and most definitely, Ms.Davids….MOST DEFINITELY…..NOT as a “color”.

By the way, Ms.Davids…I am the person who approached you after the CEC meeting and told you how your comments affected me. You did not offer an apology then Ms. Davids. I am requesting one now. I am requesting an apology from you for ALL of the teachers and staff who give so much to the Red Hook Community on a daily basis. You chastised us for defending our school We must be praised for defending our school, for in defending our school, we are standing up for our students. What better tribute to their students can teachers give?

Ms. L.Pantuliano Teacher-The Patrick F. Daly School, PS15 Brooklyn

Michael Fiorillo commented at Gotham Schools about Davids:

...a quick bit of research shows that she is the head of Azania Holdings, which is describes itself as involved in "business development," "strategic investment," "marketing" and "branding." Which is exactly what the push for charters is all about. Azania Holding focuses on South Africa, which has endured the widespread privatization of public resources that is one of the hallmarks of neo-liberalism. Some people recognize a great business opportunity when they it, I
guess, and are investing accordingly.

CAPE also commented on Davids' business connections to the Bloomberg administration:

This Bronx parent advocate has way deeper ties to the Bloomberg Administration and the business world than her role as President of Charter School Parents Association, or she, reveals. We love how this article states that she just decided to start this group up, and mentions nothing about the money and support behind her, let alone her business dealings. It reminds us of the new trend in politics; astroturf movements as opposed to true grassroots movements. Here is a woman, who came from the Bronx into Red Hook to scream at a crowd of concerned educators and parents and tried to divide them with racial undertones and vicious attacks on teachers. This same woman runs a company that is the only bridge to new development in South Africa and NYC, which the Bloomberg Administration is seeking investment with. Let us be clear, the goals of business investment and commerce between the United States, specifically NYC, and African nations is a good one; what is questionable is the ties and connections and the 'back-scratching' nature of it all; not to mention the fact that Mona presents herself as a neighborhood parent advocate, which apparently according to her, white people and teachers can't be, when really she is a very savvy, very organized, very funded, and very connected business woman. This is certainly does not negate her role as an active parent, we just ask for truth and transparency. When one hides or misrepresents who they are or what their interests are, it makes you wonder...

Sharon Higgins at the Perimeter Primate wrote about the "creation" of charter school parent organizations. Here is an excerpt:

Maria Guadalupe Mena of Garfield High School "Community members stated they were offered monetary compensation [by Green Dot] in exchange for their signature on a petition."

The Parent Revolution group Ms. Mena refers to is also known as the Los Angeles Parents Union, and is a descendant of a Green Dot “project” called the Small Schools Alliance.

The 2007 Form 990 for the Broad Foundation shows that it gave $75,000 to
the Small Schools Alliance, “To match SEIU funds to support the launch of the Los Angeles Parents Union.” Broad also gave $75,000 directly to the Los Angeles Parents Union (aka The Parent Revolution”) to support its business plan. It’s almost certain that more Broad contributions will show up for 2008; when I get access to those records I’ll let you know. Incidentally, Broad directly gave $1,210,040 to Green Dot Public Schools in 2007. Green Dot is Steve Barr's charter management organization which took over LA's Locke High School and brought an armed security force to campus.

I believe the money supplied by Broad is what would be paying for the propaganda (leaflets, on-air spots, websites, etc), to make it seem like the movement is being generated by "the people," when in fact it is a carefully planned, targeted marketing campaign.

So this is how it works.

Green Dot invents an organization called Small Schools Alliance (“SSA”). Then Eli Broad gives that organization some money to give birth to another organization they will call the Los Angeles Parents Union (aka The Parent Revolution). Then Broad delivers another chunk of money directly to support the business plan of that secondary organization (LAPU/Parent Revolution). This is probably not the only money the organizations have received; there's a strong likelihood other pro-charter "philanthropists" are making huge contributions, too.

Sharon's full piece is at:

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