Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Did Klein Know About Lehman and When DId He Know It?

Gotham Schools is reporting that the whistle blowing teachers at Lehman HS will be investigated over the fact they allegedly sent student records as proof of the cheating, apparently a violation of some law that does more to protect cheating admins that students.

City officials will investigate whistleblowing Lehman HS teachers

The teachers approached Gotham Schools with students’ transcripts after some of them had submitted the same transcripts to the Office of Special Investigations, but had not heard back for months and assumed the investigation was dead. Former Lehman teachers stood by their decision to share the documents. The principal “has a three-year contract and it takes the DOE an average of two years to complete any investigation,” one teacher said. “So she gets her bonus for increasing graduation rates and we’re supposed to keep quiet?”

The DOE sees fit to allow all sort of info to be released to charter school operators. And can phony grades manipulated by the principal be considered real grades being released?

I sent this to the NYC Education News listserve re: the Lehman HS cheating scandal, which I wrote about yesterday: Lehman HS, School for Scandal

What needs to be pointed out is that Klein was told Lehman and did nothing. He is as complicit as can be and the investigators should include him. What did Joel know and when did he know it?

My old buddy David Cantor, Tweed press chief, responded:

From: david cantor
Sent: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 9:18 pm
Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Now playing at ed notes: Lehman HS, School for Scandal

Norm, I don't know why you say the chancellor "did nothing" after learning of the allegations at Lehman. He was contacted by a teacher at Lehman in late March and asked general counsel Mike Best to follow up. Within a few days, I believe--I can get you the dates--Best met with teachers from the school, after which he referred their allegations to the Special Commissioner of Investigation (who in turn referred them to the Office of Special Investigation). The investigation began in April and has continued since. I'm not aware of any lack of timeliness around the DOE's response to the charges.
David Cantor

My response:

David, The smoking gun.

Let's see now. It seems to be almost November. Let me count the months.
Hmmm, 7. I didn't get to the point where I had to take my shoes off to count past 10, but if the story didn't come out at Gotham I believe I would have had to take off both shoes before we knew anything.

If Klein knew about Lehman in late March and many of the issues reported were going on in relation to graduating students, then nothing was done to interfere in a process that just happened to lead to "improved" grad rates that June. Boy, these investigations seem to take so long. Maybe it will be completed by the end of
Bloomberg's 4th term.

By the way, even little ole me knew about it months before that and was linking to the barely disguised 19 credits blog.
I see the teachers will be investigated and I would bet much more effort will go into that aspect and they will suffer much more than the cheating administrators, just as happened at JFK HS a few years ago when the whistle blowing teacher was sent to the rubber room and the admins got off scot free. We know you have your priorities.

And if the principal tampered with student grades, can they really be considered true student grades and therefore did teachers violate any law in releasing phony grades? Should make an interesting court case.

Oh, yeah, what about all that student info charter school operators are allowed to access in recruiting kids?

Best Norm

As this story goes citywide and beyond, we want to point out that Ed Notes, due to our impeccable sources, had the story for months and worked with the teachers to get the story out to the press. Why didn't we break the story last spring? Because the teachers were feeling their way as to the best route to take and we were there to help in any way possible. I was asked my opinion and I and the teachers thought Gotham Schools was the way to go. And of course we love Gotham's Anna Philips over here at Ed Notes. And not only because she treated us to dinner, but listened to the entire history of Ed Notes and ICE for two hours without falling asleep into her dinner plate (though I thought I saw a few yawns being stifled).

1 comment:

  1. "Your reflex goes to the Manicheanism too often in view here; a quality I consider, with respect, to be the main intellectual flaw of the list." -- David Cantor, DOE.

    Now those of us who express deep and ongoing concerns over current DOE policies under the Klein chancellorship are "Manicheans" according to a spokesperson for the DOE. As in Manicheaism, an ancient religion whose governing principles were based on "an elaborate cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness"? (I settled for Wikipedia, which while admittedly not the world's most authoritative source, seemed adequate for this purpose).

    So who exactly represents the spiritual world of light here, and who the material world of darkness? I know what's implied by Mr. Cantor's comments, but I think there are many, many parent activists and others concerned about public education in NYC who would see the two categories exactly reversed from the previous writer's implications. However, I don't view this as the major issue, since the original point is silly and rather pompous semantics anyway. This is not a battle of spirituality versus materialism, not even a battle of good and evil, but simply significant disagreement over public policy on education.

    The real issue here is one we witnessed repeatedly during the Bush II Presidency -- taking your own flaws and weaknesses and ascribing them to those who oppose you. In this instance, those who comment to this listserv are apparently incapable of seeing anything but good and evil and hence saddled with an "intellectual flaw" that more or less automatically negates the value of their viewpoints, comments, concerns, suggestions, or analysis. In point of fact, it's the Mayor and Chancellor whose behavior for the last eight years has been repeatedly to tell public school parents and anyone else else who objected or sought compromise that "it's our way or the highway." There has never legitimately been two sides of debate on any education issue in the last eight years, beginning with the Mayor's infamous "massacre" of his own appointees in the early days of mayoral control in the "debate" over ending social promotion and his continued insistence that PEP exists only to rubber stamp his decisions. The ground rules on public school administration were set quite clearly back then at the time of the "massacre," and the Mayor for one has never hesitated to tell the public, in so many words, to shut up and get the hell our of his way. Under this Mayor, it has always been a world of false dichotomies, "You're either with us or you believe in chaos (a word used threateningly by the Mayor not long ago) and anarchy." If that's Mr. Cantor's definition of Manichaeism, then I would say we've lived with it for the last eight years.

    Regrettably, Mr. Cantor mistakes for one-sided blindness (I presume this is what he means in his reference to Manichaeism, seeing everything in terms of good versus evil) for honest, experience-based opposition to policies combined with frustration, disgust, anger at being belittled when not being outright ignored, and (most important) a quite real fear for the future of our city's public schools and the children who attend them. I believe I can speak for many contributors to this listserv when I say that I do not see Mr. Bloomberg or Mr. Klein as being evil people. Rather, I see them being aloof, high-handed, dismissive of the public they are paid to serve (even if just $1), uninterested in listening to others and unwilling to compromise or modify, and altogether too sure of the righteousness of their actions. Wasn't that last one, by the way, the "intellectual flaw" of our previous President?

    Steve Koss


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