Sunday, March 28, 2010

Klein appears ready to defy court order! What's Mulgrew's Next Step?

Exposing the fault lines of the UFT/NAACP law suit:

From Leonie:

The video on Fox News makes it sound like the battle won at least for next year and schools will remain open.

The stories below, however, from GS and Brooklyn Eagle, sound like once again, Chancellor Klein is unchastened and is ready to take the law in his own hands; starting today and tomorrow, he will send out HS acceptance letters as though the court ruled in his favor, assigning not a single student to any of the closing schools. Instead, there will just be a note in the letters that students may later be able to switch later to these other schools, depending on the outcome of the case.

Schools Chancellor Klein said in a statement late Friday, "Beginning tonight and continuing through the weekend, we will be sending out high school acceptance letters to students’ homes. We anticipate that by mid-week all students will have received their letters.

No students were initially matched to schools that were slated for phase-out," Klein said. "Depending on the outcome of the appeal of the judge’s decision, those schools might accept new students. As a result, students who applied to those schools will also receive a letter stating that, should the schools remain open, they may select one of them."

Thus if this accurate it makes a fait accompli that the schools will be empty of students in the fall. Mulgrew says they will ask the court to bar this from happening.

This is even worse than when Klein lost the lawsuit about closing the neighborhood zoned schools, without approval from the CECs, and subsequently sent letters to all the parents to take their kids out of these schools anyway.

Also see this:

From Gotham Schools: What happens to the new schools that were supposed to open and replace the closing schools?

City officials are confident they will still open. Fifteen new schools, including four new charter schools, were set to be co-located in buildings with schools that were going to be phased out.
Department of Education officials said many of the buildings are already so underutilized that it is likely there will be room for the new schools to open in those buildings anyway.

“We’re telling them that we’re evaluating, but we expect that there will be room for the new schools next year,” said DOE spokesman Danny Kanner.

But that ignores the court decision that says these co-locations are illegal, since DOE violated the required process!

The judge should call Klein in contempt of court, and throw the guy in jail!

Leonie Haimson

Dee Alpert called on action against the State Ed Dept., which is controlled by the state assembly. Again, the UFT with its influence has allowed the state ed dept to let BloomKlein run rampant without censure. Here is what Dee wrote:

On many issues, one must legally first ask NYSED, or petition NYSED, to do something about the problem before one can litigate. Unfortunately, that's the way the public education system in NYS is set up and governed, or in this case, not governed. It's a procedural requirement - if you don't do it, you can be thrown out of court. Essentially, when you go to court, you're appealing a NYSED administrative decision. (And that's why NYC folks got screwed re class size reduction in the C4E process. NYSED probably told Klein to do whatever he wanted and to hell with the law.) Personally, I would never give NYSED authority to enforce any education-related law because enforcement will become a political decision, and NYSED virtually always decides things the wrong way. You can thank Shelly Silver for that, since he selects the Regents.

While the NYS Comptroller audit didn't mention the NYCDOE, it establishes that NYSED has a pattern or practice of not enforcing its own regulations re p.e., and one could gather some information about the lack of p.e. in a sample of NYCDOE schools to show that while the audit didn't cover NYC, NYSED's pattern of nonenforcement is the same inside and outside of NYC - pervasive and statewide, including the NYCDOE.

"An action against NYSED to enforce the regs in NYC ..." would involve something called a "writ of mandamus," which is a legal move to coerce/force a governmental entity into doing something it must, according to law or regulation, do ... but isn't. (Or something it is doing which it has no authority to do, in reverse.) Mandamus are not necessarily easy to get, but given the vast amt. of public health data showing the harm - palpable - to NYC's public ed. system's students, who need p.e. in order to avoid obesity, Type II diabetes, etc. - might not be so hard to get. Obviously, you all need to speak to practicing attorneys to see what the current law and precedents are, but it's certainly worth exploring in depth. And get a few public health goo-goos to sue as co-plaintiffs.

NYSED has more complicated and bizarre regulations than you can shake a stick at, and the NY Education Law is similarly incredibly (and often uselessly) detailed. Some review of the entire set of regs. and laws, including for ELLs and special ed. kids, should be made and a Baker's Dozen of biggies which the NYCDOE is violating, at least in part because of miseries inflicted by co-location and school closings, should be developed. And then, after asking NYSED nicely to enforce ... these kinds of actions can be brought to bring both NYSED and the NYCDOE to heel.

F'rinstance, the NYCDOE's credit recovery scams - I've looked long and hard and prior to Oct. '09, it was illegal, and NYSED had no authority to approve the NYCDOE allowing this anywhere, any time, and ... to have done anything about this after the regs were passed would hurt kids who were inappropriately given diplomas because they were given (notice I didn't say "earned") these credits. It could have been stopped flat, bigtime prior to passage of those regs.

Both NYSED and the NYCDOE typically do whatever the heck they want because the laws and regs are so intentionally over-complicated that it's almost impossible for anyone to understand all of what they require. Nevertheless, a targeted review of the laws and regs. can provide potent weapons to bring both NYSED and the NYCDOE to heel - almost on a daily basis.

The underlying problem, which you're all dealing with, is that the system of governance for NYSED, and thus the entire NYS public education system, is appallingly corrupt. It needs to be revised and, frankly, reamed out. For starters, we need a truly independent Inspector General with a big budget and subpoena authority to review everything NYSED does, from school corruption to regulation of the NYCDOE's co-location program. Right now, there is actually no entity in NYS which has this authority - the system is governed in the dark, behind closed doors, and often from under some rock. We need an independent, powerful IG with authority to bring in some transparency, and then we can see what else is needed to get genuine accountability. The fish rots from the head and the head in NYS is NYSED.



  1. The class size regulations were, as written, nebulous, toothless, and unenforceable. They were written in such a way as to have no consequence if they were ignored. The governance law must not have been such a useless piece of crap, or they wouldn't have won the lawsuit.

  2. Here is §100.2(o)(2)(v) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education:

    "Performance review of superintendent. The governing body of each school district shall annually review the performance of the superintendent of schools according to procedures developed by such body in consultation with the superintendent. Such procedures shall be filed in the district office and available for review by any individual no later than September 10th of each year."

    Does the Chancellor have any accountability?

    Has anyone seen the written procedures of the Panel for Educational Policy regarding the Chancellor's annual evaluation?

    Has the Chancellor been receiving annual written performance evaluations?

    Where are they?

    Accountability is a two-way street!


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