Wednesday, September 1, 2010

PEP Boys and Girls: First Reactions

I know I'm a bit late with this but I had to get some serious beach time in today. And then out to dinner. And then the Yankee game. 

Here are some reactions to the PEP meeting of August 30 to makeup for the disrupted one of Aug. 16. There were various groups there and some parents and teachers blew bubbles and launched balloons during the fuzzy math presentation. I will have my own report tomorrow after the video is processed.

Lower East Side parent activist Lisa Donlan talks about the Tweed spin:
And what of the years of the crowing and spinning and lying that Klein and his mouthpieces have done in the media and political mailers over this false bubble of smoke and mirrors progress?

Let's collect all of the quotes where he (and the Mayor who appointed him) take credit for the increase in scores, and claim these as evidence of the improvements they (and mayoral control) have brought to the "old' supposedly corrupt and dysfunctional system before these miracle workers came to show NYC AND THE REST OF THE NATION AND THE WORLD how its done.

Did we tell them so?
Oh yes- we did.
So the "we did not know", "it is the state's fault" excuses are not valid.

Don't forget the exchange for autocratic mayoral control was supposed to be accountability.

Who is accountable in NYC?

When will these guys stop excusing themselves- with "this takes time"? "give us time" " we have further to go" ?

8 years and counting and no evidence of improvement or progress?

Yet they close schools, fire teachers, make kids repeat grades, give out bonuses, open unproven charters and new small schools (to the detriment of the nearby schools) on much less data, over much shorter windows.

A child who started in First grade in 2003 when Klein imposed his (first of many) visions on our schools is in 8th grade now.

Can we give those children " more time"? Can we "push them to reach a higher standard"?

If they are not just liars and fakes, if they mean a single word of what they say, they will resign immediately, admitting failure and corruption and dysfunction.

Failure to own up to this debacle is proof to me that this whole "reform" is not a sincere effort to change the conditions of children in our poorest communities. It is a mere power grab and co option of a large public budget for political aims.

They have shown that this is really about adults and what is good for them!
A teacher responds:
Preach it lisa. If bloomklein hadn't used test scores to justify ramming their agenda of closings, charters, and accountability down our throats it would be a lot easier to simplify the testing issue. The truth is they knew those numbers were an illusion and they manipulated the public using that faulty data to promote their free market ideology at the expense of our children. (While cutting budgets, narrowing the curriculum, attacking teachers, restructuring how many times, and expanding the top brass positions at the doe... Criminal!)

Lisa Donlan then says:
And just last night at the PEP Shael Suransky the latest Accountability Czar dared to justify the last 8 years of mayoral control and the test score debacle because "the old school boards used to steal from district budgets".

Can someone please run a comparison:  old school board scandals- net worth from 1995-2002 vs: DoE's no bid contracts, sweetheart deals, theft,  corruption,  Conflict of Interest, double dipping and hidden or untraceable budget line items from 2003- 2010?

I bet the money handed over to Harcourt Brace, CBT McGraw and IBM for Aris, standardized tests,  test prep material , interim tests in that period far outstrips any printing deals to relatives  or old school pianos that were taken home,  etc

Lots of familiar elements here, including conflict-ridden board and principal once hailed as a "Champion of Children" apparently absconding with millions.
I was pretty pissed when Shuransky made his low ball comment about districts steaing in the old days. Of course there was theft but as Lisa points out it was penny ante stuff compared to the BloomKlein big time crooks. Lisa was responding to this story:
L.A. Unified moves to close charter school over alleged misuse of $2.7 million

An audit finds that the founding principal at NEW Academy Canoga Park allegedly misused or misappropriated money, depositing funds into an Ameritrade account and claiming payments to a nonexistent company.

Read: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-charter-20100831,0,3493919.story


Here is NY1's Lindsay Christ's story and video of the PEP meeting:

Parents, DOE Go Head-To-Head Over Test Scores

By: Lindsey Christ

http://www.ny1.com/content/news_beats/education/124669/parents--doe-go-head-to-head-over-test-scores/
Communication broke down Monday during a meeting that was supposed to allow parents and school officials to share opinions on state test scores. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
On Monday night, the Department of Education was prepared to hear from angry parents --- and there were plenty.
The meeting, held on Manhattan's Upper West Side, started quietly, as DOE officials explained that the state raised the bar for proficiency this year, which is why so many fewer city students passed. But when the public comment period began, the auditorium got louder. Forty people signed up for two minutes at the microphone, and they were angry.
"Real harm has been caused. Testing-Gate has caused harm to students, parents and tax payers," said David Bloomfield of the College of Staten Island.
"Pretty much we feel that we've been lied to in terms of the score of the test. They were saying that we had a higher score and then we find out that isn't true and a lot of schools have been closed because of that," said parent Elbibio Molina.
This was the second time the DOE had tried to address this issue. The first time, two weeks ago, angry parents shut down the meeting when the panel refused to even consider a motion to hear public comment.
Only half the panel members showed up for the rescheduled meeting Monday and parents said that was another indication of how little their voices are heard. By the time Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and his deputies spoke, parents shouted over them, walked out en masse, and turned their backs to the stage. In the end, both officials and audience members claimed the other side just wouldn't listen.
DOE officials say students have still made progress even though according to the new standards, many fewer students are proficient. But parents who attended the meeting say they want a better explanation for the lower scores.

6 comments:

  1. Mulgrew has an editorial in the Daily News today. He is taking a stand regarding test prep. More slight of hand between the UFT and Bloomklein. Maybe Mulgrew has offered to paint Bloombergs mansion as an incentive. Test Prep is the issue of the moment at the UFT.

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  2. I read that today and it just irked me to no end. This should have been Randi's stance and as one of the many 9%ers who voted for Jim Eterno, "we told you so". He is a male Randi no ands, ifs or buts.

    It seems the 9%ers have taken this stance for years. Now today, our union leader (term used loosely) wakes up to smell his sell-out to his rank-and-file.

    As the year approaches, I think many of the 91% who voted status quo may see the writing on the wall. Not only does Obama, Cuomo, Doucheberg and Klein bash us, but our union does nothing to stop the ed deform movement.

    I read your blog daily via NYCEducator and just appreciate the work you guys do to keep me abreast of what is going on. I try to tell fellow teachers in Staten Island (I teach middle school) to read your blogs and question the actions of the SI UFT representatives who drink Mulgrew's Kool-Aid.

    Have a wonderful year even as the bashing continues.

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  3. I still believe it is a question of both scale and checks/balances.

    I imagine the folks in the district, who by definition kept their corruption local, were often caught because everyone around them could see whatever did not add up, eventually.

    You knew when the superintendent's brother-in-law got the job or the contract, because you could see it or at least hear about it on the street or maybe even confront the people involved in a local school board meeting.

    That the old BoE had no centralized checks and balances on finances and academics, as many maintain, seems criminal.
    Sounds like something to fix, not necessarily destroy and replace.

    Now that the whole system is centralized and hidden from view, we do not even fathom, and have no way of knowing, where the billions and billions are going.

    But even worse is the undeniable fraud based on bogus tests that have become the whole system of "accountability" used to punish kids, teachers, schools while real teaching and learning- the true goal here- is completely lost.


    Lisa

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  4. Root and branch corruption may look similar but there is a real difference in the different power distribution. Distributed power with lots of areas of local corruption may look harder to manage on the surface but is actually easier to root out and control as opposed to putting power in the hands of one.
    The old system could have been fixed and there were moves to do that in the 5 years pre mayoral control.
    As we struggle to find alternatives we should take a hard look at the old system and see what would need to be done. It may take another decade of lies and coverups before people totally give up on mayoral control and by that time only a cinder of a public school system may remain but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be calling for alternatives now.

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  5. Agreed. The system which existed between the partial re-centralization in 1997 and the imposition of Mayoral dictatorship in 2003 was, at its best, more responsive to local concerns and issues on a District level, and, where there may have been problems, it seems to me, they could have been fixed by a central administration paying attention and exercising proper oversight.

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  6. In all the time between when I started to get involved in what went on in my kids' district office and community school board (1996), and when the Bloomberg-Klein coup began (2003), the worst allegation I heard was that the District Superintendent had spent more than necessary on the furniture in her office. I realize that there may have been Districts then that were worse, but even so, this is small potatoes compared to the levels of abuse or misfeasance that are possible these days.

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