Friday, July 29, 2011

SOS Update 3:25

AM - Powerful WS with Leonie H and others. Too much good stuff to report.

Good lunch meeting with Brian and a woman from Portland Or who wants to start grassrooys move. Table for 4 grew to about 8. Yelena stopped- Had hurried lunch then ran off to buy 50 Metro tickets to get people from UFT bus to march tomorrow. Leroy Barr gave her the job to org this and she has been awesome - contin spent time here making sure this works - amazing job. Let's hope it all works out from NY end.

Rethinking Schools workshop

Too great to manage blogging about with one thumb. Panel is fab. Karp, Fine etc. Bob Peterson who founded Reth Schools and is now Pres of Milw Tchrs union tells story of Madison tchr sick-in but also how 85% of tchrs at his own school called in sick - and princ winked in support. Cheers for good principals. Audience: Deb Meier, Jon Kozol, Fordham's prf Mark Naison, Brian Jones, Mike Klonsky, Leonie Haimson, James Boutin, Garret - on Boston TU ex bd, Leo Casey and lots of others I can't see to pick out. Klonsky mentioned Core Chi victory - some applause - not Leo - who I saw cornering CORE's Jackson Potter earlier - also asks Peterson how his victory affects natl debate. Announced Sunday morn meeting of natl labor interest.
Really good, rich discussion.

Just in: Liza Campbell who hurt right wrist in minor bike accident and was delayed a day is in traffic on I95 - we've really missed her - will try to get pic of paired bike acc right wrists.

Gotta stop now.
Maybe more later.

Norm Scott

Education Notes

Grassroots Education Movement

Education columnist, The Wave

nycfirst robotics

Sent from my BlackBerry

SOS update - Leaders Turn Down White House

Just heard SOS leader Rick Meyer tell people about White House deflection attempt to meet before march that SOS turned down.

See Valerie Strauss and Ed Week for the latest. And read my pre-scheduled post about Obama as Republican.

Yesterday GEM workshop was superbly executed by the crew to a packed room and follow-up positive comments have been rolling in.

Busy and long day. Workshops then Parents Across America reception at 5:30 and our movie at 7:30. They tell us they may have to use 2 theaters if overflow. Tickets going for 10 bucks to non conf registrees.
Taylor Mali opened with his famous and great poem.

Ravitch keynote
Wish I could type. So much good stuff.
Ackn Leonie and Class Size Matters - she donated her Moynihan prize money to CSM.

Diane interviews herself.
Runs through 100 year history of US ed in crisis and points to how current ed "crisis" is manufactured. Focus on impact of poverty and responds to attacks that this is an excuse. Turns it back on them as them using ed deform as excuse not to address poverty by claiming rediculous reason for poverty is poor teaching.

Really impressive facts. Hope this appears online.
Nclb and rttt worst ever.
Eval tchrs by test scores worst idea ever. George bush dream but took Dem pres to sell this idea (see today's earlier post.)

Can't keep up with typing. There will be other bloggers reporting.

Logging off for now. May be back later.

Norm Scott

Education Notes

Grassroots Education Movement

Education columnist, The Wave

nycfirst robotics

Sent from my BlackBerry

GEM Movie goes to South Korea

Friday, July 29, 2011

From a man in South Korea who is the head of an organization there called 21st century education initiatives:

"Nowadays the education in Korea have the same problems with US.I hope to translate the DVD into Korean and deliver it widely with korean subtitle to Korean people. Of course with not commercial purpose but as a grasroot educational movement in Korea."
Bill Perkins (one of his aides) requested a copy today as well, thanked us for our work and signed up for the GEM listserve. We are up to 2423 on the DVD list and international mailings today included India, Singapore, Canada and South Korea.

Sam Coleman will be traveling to CT on 8/1 - their state union is showing the film and he is going on our behalf and they are donating $500 towards the film!

Showing in DC at the SOS march tonight!

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Is Obama a Republican in Drag? A Manchurian Candidate?

Remember how we laughed at the right wing conspiracy charges that Obama was a Manchurian Candidate who as a young child was turned into a Muslim terrorist sleeper agent? Now I'm thinking there may be some truth to the MC story - with a twist. Obama was really a sleeper Republican acting like a liberal Democrat. OK. He's not quite George Bush but how much further does he have to go?

Read Gene Massick"s take I posted at Norms Notes
It's crunch time, and Republican President Obama is delivering to his Wall Street and Corporate Masters.
 Mark Torres has a different take:
Sisters and Brothers,

Obama is not a Republican, by saying that he is neglects the obvious, that the Democrats and Republicans are in the pocket of Corporate America.  His behavior is consistent with the Democratic Party's role of incorporating liberal, centrist and conservative politics under "its tent."  While the Republican Party plays the role of conservative and reactionary ideologue.  Throughout U.S. history the parties have interchanged in playing these roles but have used them effectively to keep Corporate/Business/Rich Landowner elites in the driver's seat.  

If we aren't clear about this then we will continue to entertain the illusion that the Democratic Party is part of the solution.  

When we put things in there correct place we come up with the obvious conclusion, that we need our own political party, one that will truly represent progressive forces in this country. That party does not yet exist, it is up to us to create it.

Your brother in struggle,

Mark A. Torres 
People Power Movement

I agree the Dems are in the pockets of corporate America but I have mixed thoughts on the third party concept which the left always talks about but given that when you get 2 leftists (who are in so many splinter parties) in a group you end up with 3 groups the idea of a third party is like planning a trip to Mars. Can't really type much more but I am rethinking things more along the lines of a split in the Dem party - is the Green Party a real option?


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sos notes - Kozol Keynote

Weds July 27
Got in 4:30. Took Metro - really dim, dismal system - into DC to scout out Sat march locations and do short sightsee. Met up with other grp for dinner.

Thurs July 28
Kozol Keynote
NCLB and RTTT cannot be fixed - must be abolished.
Ineq in funding greater than ever.
Racial segreg higher.
Sep and unequal has returned.
Seg in and of itself has a crippling effect.
Seg so as not to contaminate the ed of the priv.
Duncan busy doing Plessy vs Ferguson - Sep and "equal" has and will never work.
Driving teachers out in inner cities - trying to turn me into a drill seargent.
Class size matters. Ed def say not as imp as teacher - if only tchrs would do their job. Ask them where they send their kids. Rich boarding schools - Exeter -13. Andover - 12. Bush went to Andover.
If sm cl sz and ind att good enough for them good en for poorest child in Amer - Applause.
Obama ed policies will dishonor him in history.
Powers shld listen to voice of tchrs.
Despite prop there's a rising tide of teacher and stud activism nationwide. Crit energy. Rem him of 1965 and civil rghs. We need sim today.
Love being a Jew preaching to delinquent Christians.
FOX tv sociopaths.
Will keep defending teachers till day he dies. Stand Ov.
Now at Deb Meier workshop.
Saw film about open classroom. OC still an aspiring an idea was to me in late 60,s early 70s. How to even conceive of this today - exc for some elite priv schls.
Talking about impact of poverty.

Lunch then more workshops from Chicago's CORE, Diane Ravitch/Mike Klongsky - who I met for first time and gave him a dvd of our movie, and some other good ones. But GEM workshop is same time.

Then a 5:30 film.

More later - maybe.

Norm Scott

Education Notes

Grassroots Education Movement

Education columnist, The Wave

nycfirst robotics

Sent from my BlackBerry

Expect Spotty Coverage at Ed Notes Over Next Few Days

I can post short pieces with left thumb blackberry and will try - but check the Fight Back Friday blog on my blogroll for pics and more as we will be meeting up Michael Solo from John Dewey HS who will be trying to post from DC. I also have a few volunteers in nyc who may take dictation. Enjoy!

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

At the ICE blog: Jeff Kaufman Lays Egg on UFT Law Suit

Can Jeff be referring to the sam UFT Attorney Adam Ross who got his job through nepotism? Oh, my!
You guys know my position - the UFT never intended to ultimately win this suit and filed it for PR purposes to make it look like they were doing something. Ahhh!

Don't you get it? Want to make sure to lose just in case you get the right/wrong judge? Put Adam Ross on the case. (I still have a pdf of his clumsy job/bribe offer to Betsy Combier).

And just let me say how nice to have Jeff and James out there keeping the ICE lantern glowing. For comparison go check the New Action blog - if you can find it.

Bargaining With the Devil: How UFT Attorney Miscalculation Led to the Recent Charter School Victory

Riding high from their school closing victory in the Supreme and Appellate Courts last year the UFT and its co-plaintiffs started to see that their interpretation of these decisions were not the same as the DOE’s. Seeing that the DOE was going ahead with its charter co-locations in most of the 19 schools prevented from closing, DOE counsel sent the court a letter on May 28, 2010 complaining that the DOE was not following the Court’s decision.

Specifically UFT counsel asked for a conference with all sides to stop the co-locations arguing that the invalidated PEP vote also prevented the co-locations. The DOE appeared to believe that the decision only invalidated the PEP vote that closed the schools.

A conference was held and on July 14, 2010 a letter “agreement” was submitted, which, incorrectly relied upon by the UFT, seemed to answer their concerns. The letter agreement laid out a plan to provide services to the affected schools.

As usual the UFT claimed a great victory and everyone went on their merry way until it became clear that the DOE had not given up its plan to close most of the schools originally planned and co-locate charter schools. 

The UFT cried foul and based their claim of swindle on the letter agreement which they started to call a stipulation. Few, if any of the services “promised” in the letter agreement were provided or were provided so late in the year that they could not prevent the closing of the schools or the co-locations.

By May 2011 the UFT assembled its prior co-plaintiffs and decided to commence a lawsuit with a request for a temporary injunction to stop the DOE from the closings and co-locations. A temporary restraining order was consented to by all parties on June 21 pending a decision by the Justice Paul Feinman.

Then, on July 21, 2011 Justice Feinman issued his opinion right after the State permitted the DOE to close the schools. He denied the injunction paving the way for DOE celebration.

What went wrong?

As hinted at above the bottom line, relied on by Justice Feinman, was that the DOE never really agreed to provide the services of the letter agreement as a condition before closing the schools. Justice Feinman relied on Joel Klein’s affidavit which clearly claimed that if there were any conditions he never would have agreed. Adam Ross, a UFT attorney, admitted, “Thus, while Defendants are correct that the Agreement does not foreclose the DOE from ever seeking to close these schools, their contention that their promise to provide specified supports for these schools in the 2010-2011 school year (Klein Aff., pp6) is completely irrelevant to any further decision to close is incorrect.”

Feinman made clear in his decision that there was never any representation, implicit or otherwise, on which the UFT could reasonably rely that the DOE waived any of its authority to co-locate or close the schools. To grant the injunction, Feinman ruled, would relegate students in these allegedly failed schools to an inferior education.

Klein, Murdoch and Rhee

 Not exactly Abraham, Martin and John. 

Michelle Rhee and Rupert Murdoch: Thick as Thieves?

When Rupert Murdoch gave his testimony earlier this week in London, former New York City School Chancellor Joel Klein was sitting directly behind him. After a stormy tenure in New York City where he fought teachers unions and closed schools according to the Michelle Rhee School Destruction Model, he left and took what looked to be a cushy job at News Corp helping Murdoch launch his for-profit education products.
Getting in the middle of another public dustup was the last thing on his agenda when he joined Murdoch’s media empire last November as a $2 million-a-year executive vice president, leaving his flap-prone post as chancellor of New York City’s school system to sit on News Corp.’s board of directors and advise the company’s entry into the for-profit education market. Klein is nothing if not savvy in the ways of big media companies; his wife, Nicole Seligman, is chief counsel for the Sony Corp.
But Klein doesn't just have ties to Rupert Murdoch. He's also "like this" with Michelle Rhee from his time in New York., in 2009:
Michelle Rhee touted her red-track/green-track teacher pay proposal last night at Pace University, saying it’s made such a splash that Mayor Bloomberg asked Chancellor Joel Klein if they could bring a similar model to New York. The proposal, which is being negotiated with the D.C. teachers union right now, would award some first-year teachers nearly $40,000 raises in exchange for giving up their tenure rights — while others could choose a “red” path where they retain tenure but are paid less.
Rhee said the model came up in a recent chat with Klein, who she said she speaks to regularly to share “best practices” and to commiserate. Klein told her that Mayor Bloomberg had asked if they could bring the red/green plan to New York.
“Apparently Klein said to him, ‘Not even you have enough money to do all of that in New York City,’” she said. Rhee’s plan, if passed, will be financed by private philanthropy for the first five years, she said.
See that private philanthropy claim there at the bottom? This is a Rhee hallmark. She rides into school districts on promises of private benefactors if only those schools will just clean up their acts and get it together the way she envisions. She doesn't name the private benefactors, so let me name a few who spend millions of dollars on Rhee's enterprises: Devos, Walton, and the Friedman foundations, whose sole goal is to turn public school districts private.
She'll deny that, of course, but as was reported over at Daily Kos, she slipped up and let it out with regard to Tennessee:
In essence, Rhee has been edging out of the closet on this issue, showing her opposition to collective bargaining first and foremost through her actions, but slipping every now and then and letting it come through in her words. That's what happened in Tennessee over the weekend, in which she talked about her support for school vouchers privatization, and:
She also praised the Tennessee legislature for its recent stances on education, calling its work "aggressive and courageous laws."
That would be a clear reference to the Tennessee bill eliminating collective bargaining and preventing teachers' unions from making campaign contributions or lobbying the state legislature; it was passed at the same time as a bill allowing corporations to give direct contributions to political candidates. To this point, Rhee has been working the "Democrat who saw the light" angle as she works overwhelmingly with Republicans. That image has deteriorated to the point where she had to shore up her credentials as a non-Republican by hiring DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan to shill for Students First. But at this point, you have to wonder why she's making the even a halfhearted effort to pretend she's anything but a John Kasich-Rick Scott-Scott Walker Republican when it comes to education issues.
The Nation ties it up in a nice neat package:
But what’s been less well understood is the impact the scandal might have on Murdoch’s attempt to make a profit off the American public sector, most notably through seeking to provide technology services, such as data-tracking systems and video lessons, to public school districts. Last November, shortly after hiring Klein, News Corp. acquiredWireless Generation, an education technology firm that had worked closely with Klein during his tenure as chancellor on two projects: ARIS, a controversial (and buggy) data system that warehouses students’ standardized test scores and demographic profiles; and School of One, a more radical attempt to use technology to personalize instruction, reorganize classrooms, and reduce the size of the teaching force.The acquisition put Klein, who was set to supervise Wireless Generation, in an awkward position vis à vis city ethics regulations.
Back to those non-profits for a minute. It's no secret that Rhee has set a goal of securing $1 billion in donations for her Students First organization in order to evangelize her message to reform privatize our public school system and destroy unions. Those goals are perfectly in line with Murdoch's business model with regard to his education products too. So do they have a connection, given the common links with Klein? Possibly, as The Nation reports.
But scrutiny on Murdoch’s school agenda is growing. Aware of the media titan’s relationship with former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, education reporter Alexander Russo tried to find out if Murdoch had donated toStudentsFirst, Rhee’s PAC. The group’s goal is to act as a political counterweight to teachers’ unions.“After two days of emails and phone calls—they must have been freaking out behind the scenes trying to figure out what to do—a Rhee spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the Murdoch money,” Russo wrote.“Our policy doesn't allow me to reveal who our donors are or aren't,” the spokesman said.
Watch this space for more. It would be great if the FBI would look at those ties in addition to what they're already investigating. I'll be watching.


From Leonie Haimson

Excerpt: What Murdoch meant by “innovation” was spelled out more clearly at this year’s G8 meeting in France. He referred to education as “the last frontier” - a vast market waiting to be invaded, conquered and financially exploited by News of the World and other companies.

He cited approvingly what he called Sweden’s “IKEA schools”, the Knowledge Schools chain, the owner of which has said: “If we're religious about anything, it's standardisation. We tell our teachers it is more important to do things the same way than to do them well.”

What attracted Murdoch, sniffing for dollars like a dog at its neighbour’s bum, was this: “Like IKEA, a giant Swedish furniture-maker, Kunskapsskolan gets its customers to do much of the work themselves. The vital tool, though, is not an Allen key but the Kunskapsporten (“Knowledge Portal”), a website containing the entire syllabus.”

Note, students are “customers”. The chain of schools to which Murdoch referred has 700 employees and teaches nearly 10,000 pupils, with an operating profit of SKr62m last year on a turnover of SKr655m. ($A1 = SKr6.7).

Murdoch wants to take this approach internationally.

Not mentioned here: this Swedish chain of for-profit on-line charters that Murdoch extols below is being given space within Tweed next year – the NYC DOE headquarters – in a cozy arrangement decided by Klein when he was chancellor.

Joel Klein “oversaw the Clinton White House’s responses to the Whitewater inquiry”  I never knew that; if true, he did not seem to have done such a good job to quell that non-scandal.  Here’s a press briefing he did:

This is interesting: In April, after London’s Metropolitan Police arrested three News of the World journalists on suspicion of hacking, some executives pushed for an investigation that would have the full backing of the company’s board and senior management, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions taking place at the time.  Mr. Murdoch opposed the idea outright. Standing firmly in his corner was Mr. Klein. 

That’s the Joel Klein we know and love.

In his first few months at News Corporation, he quickly assimilated and seemed happier than ever before to several longtime friends. He gave up BrickBreaker, the addictive BlackBerry game that he had grown fond of as schools chancellor, saying he no longer needed it because his stress levels had fallen. 

This is what he was doing on his blackberry during PEP meetings

Was disgusted and exhilarated to see Joel Klein sitting right behind Rupert Murdoch at the hearing in London,
looking extremely unhappy, as if he wished he were anywhere else but there. Disgusted to see again the
owlish face of this sellout -- and exhilarated to see that he had sold himself to the Devil and landed in Hell.

But recalling his past as chief prosecutor against Microsoft and Gates (with whom he later allied himself)
and as chief persecutor (while Chancellor) of the teachers here in NY City, I grew somewhat apprehensive
that Murdoch had him on his side as a shrewd (and well-connected) legal henchman.

In any case, the connections between News Corp's paranoid leader and megalomaniac leader (who keeps
secret tabs on all of his chief employees, attempts to cultivate and control leading politicians on several
continents and peddles smut to the masses while attempting to brainwash them into supporting his political
agendas)  and the likes of Bloomberg and Klein here and their local and national counterparts elsewhere will
now hopefully begin to become clearer.

But be prepared for counteroffensives of the worst kind. You'll learn of these from the NY Post and Fox News,
his local and national organs here.


Wayne Barrett on Murdoch, his influence in NYC, and relationship with Giuliani

Former Schools Chief Emerges as Murdoch’s Unlikely Ally

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shakeup at Tweed Parent Outreach Operation/Gotham Humps e4e again

I know most teachers who stop by here may not be aware of the disaster the parent outreach operation was under that master manager Joel Klein -good luck Rupert! Today Walcott shook the tree but with the Bloomberg political agenda no matter how well liked the new guy is (remember Martine Guerrier who so many of us liked but turned into one slick operator about 10 minutes into the job), there will always be problems. Let District 3 parent leader Noah Gotbaum tell you more:
Well, after telling us in April and then again in June that he had “100% confidence in Ojeda” and that OFIA was “doing a great job” Walcott has woken up and smelled the coffee of a department in shambles. Elections a complete disaster and being challenged, CEC members walking out of OFIA’s training in protest, the politicization of Parent Coordinators, and CPAC and dozens of CEC members across the City calling for an independent parent run organization to replace OFIA and the DOE in the oversight, administration, training and elections of CEC’s, Councils and other elected parent organizations.

Despite Walcott’s charm offensive, relations between the DOE and parents are at an all time low. Surely OFIA has something to do with this, but it’s also because 4 out of 5 parents simply don’t support the Mayor’s policies of high stakes testing, pushing charters while letting our district schools fight over scraps, accountability for everyone except the DOE, and balancing the budget on the back of our kids.

Good luck Jesse!


Note: No story on this at Gotham yet at 3:40 but another piece of drivel about  E4E. I left this comment:
Like who gives a crap? You guys look for any scrap where you can mention E4E while ignoring GEM, a group of NYC educators and parents who happen to have made a movie which has been requested by thousands of people around the world and is headlining at SOS in Washington this Friday night while also playing in multiple cities this weekend.  You don't think our response to Waiting for Superman and the reaction to it merits some stories? Obviously a sneeze out of E4E merits more attention.

 Oh yea, while E4E supposedly has 4000 members - i had my wife join so I can read their funnies - check how many show up tonight - GEM had 4000 requests for the dvd of the movie and people actually contribute real money - GEM don't need no stinkin Bill Gates money to promote our film.
Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Da Wrist: A Surprising Turn of Events

Before I start - a shout-out to all the well-wishers. Thanks to NYC Educator for stopping by last Saturday to cheer me up for a couple of hours and leave me with a Bluegrass DVD and to the UFT's Michael Mendel for his get well call last week.

I also want to wish a blogging pal and friend, who underwent an extensive medical procedure yesterday that makes my travails look lite, the best of luck.

I can't even do this to Arne Duncan at SOS

If you asked me yesterday at this time if there was any possibility of my joining the GEM crew, most of whom are leaving tomorrow or Thursday, at SOS events in DC I would have looked at me throbbing wrist encased in a semi-soft cast and said "zero."

In my world view of broken bones, you wear a cast until the bone - in my case bones - knit, often a period of 6-8 weeks. When cast comes off you don't recognize your limb as it is half the size of the other one. Then you start weeks/months of torturous rehab.

Well, was I surprised when the doc yesterday just cut off my less than one week cast - and left it off. There was the ugliest looking scar running down the inside of my wrist that makes it look like I tried to off myself after listening to a 3 hour Randi Weingarten speech. My cell camera phone malfunctioned and my wife was too bummed looking at it to get a proper shot. I felt like Frankenstein.

There was my plate-laden wrist holding itself up. Of course, the plate is like an internal cast. "We'll get a removable brace on and start you on rehab." Amazing news to be able to stop schlepping the cast around.

The therapist built a custom brace right there and started me on exercises. I can remove it once a day to shower - "thank goodness", I know more than a few people are thinking.

I mentioned to the therapist that I was bummed about not going to SOS to be part of the festivities and our film. "Go," he said "as long as someone is driving." Checked with doc and it was ON. Secured a few possibilities for rides to and fro and the ball is in play. We're going to take my SUV for room - we have 5 - with Julie driving - biggest question - will her feet reach the pedals?

Look for some short live left-handed Blackberry blogs from the scene.

By the way - the uft bus on Saturday is pretty booked up. Yelena Siwinski (ICE) has done a great job organizing it. GEM's Bill Linville is bus captain and will try to show our movie going down. Word is that Al Shanker's widow Edie, from what I hear a very nice lady, will be on the bus.

Also note that many other cities are doing local SOS activities, with our film as part of them in places like Vegas and Tuscon and Sacramento.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Monday, July 25, 2011

UPDATE: NYC parents file new Lawsuit Against Charter Co-locations and Illegal Free Rent and Services to Charters

From Julie C.-
Lawsuit is based on state law requirement that charters pay rent in public buildings. Lisa D and Patrick S. along w Leonie have been examining this for a long time. It is finally happening. Let's hope it is successful: 1. We need the $ and 2. We know charters are only spreading like wildfire, especially the kind like pave, because they get the free rent/business start up- wout the business start up, we will see their applications dwindle I am sure. And don't miss the disgusting report on DOE tactic at end of email.
The Class Size Matters charter school co-location lawsuit against NYC DOE, joined by the NYC Parents Union and other NYC parents as plaintiffs, was filed this afternoon in the State Supreme Court, Index no. 108538-2011. 

For links to the legal complaint, fact sheet and press release, please  click here:

 After DOE found out about our press conference at Tweed at 1 PM, they programmed their own press conference at a KIPP co-located charter in Harlem at the exact same time to draw the media away; pretty sneaky!  But we hope for good coverage anyway.  The case was filed this afternoon in the State Supreme Court, Index no. 108538-2011.

July 25, 2011

Mona Davids, NYC Parents Union, (917) 340-8987
Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters (917) 435-9329
Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq., Advocates for Justice, (917) 923-8136

New York City Parents File Lawsuit Against Separate and Unequal Charter Co-locations and Illegal Free Rent and Services to Charter Schools

The New York City Parents Union, Class Size Matters and public school parents today filed a lawsuit charging the New York City Department of Education with creating a "separate and unequal" education system through the co-locations of charter schools in public school buildings.

In New York City, charter schools are private non-profit education corporations which have contracts called "charters" with an authorizer such as the New York State Education Department or State University of New York to provide educational services.  Charter schools are publicly funded but, to date, have usually been managed either by a for-profit corporation or by a non-profit corporation who has hired a for-profit corporation to assist with management.  In these cases, a private entity is deriving a profit -- a profit that is not necessarily benefiting our children.  The NYC Department of Education provides space and services to charter schools for $1 per year that according to state law should be charged “at cost”.  Next year the amount of space and services provided by the city to co-located charters will be nearly $100 million per year.  These are funds desperately needed by our public schools at a time of scarce resources and sharp budget cuts.  (see attached fact sheet).

Arthur Z. Schwartz of Advocates for Justice, lead attorney in this litigation says:  "For several years now the NYC Department of Education has done all that it can to promote charter schools, acting not only to bring them into existence, but providing them with resources far in excess of what children in non-charter schools receive.  The most odious circumstances arise where schools are co-located.  Today we are filing and serving a lawsuit which addresses the unlawful nature of the DOE's program.  We are going far beyond a procedural challenge, alleging far more than that the DOE didn't follow the steps in the statutory process correctly. Today we raise three substantive challenges.

First, we are challenging to provision of free space and services to charter schools.  There is no question that this action violates state law, providing an unlawful subsidy to co-located charter schools.  It is a policy which allows them to spend their money on staff, supplies and equipment rather than rent and  creates gross inequities between the charter schools and their building-mates, and between charter schools in their own facilities and co-located schools.   We are also challenging the DOE on the impact of co-location on the education of the public school students in the building asserting that the co-locations will increase class size and undermine children's constitutional right to a sound and adequate education. Finally, we are challenging the co-location process, which is supposed to be a "meaningful public process" as being nothing of the sort:  dominated by boilerplate documents, difficult for parents to understand, not properly translated, and issued beyond statutorily mandated deadlines.  Parents’ views are solicited but ignored, and  in the impact statements, inadequate attention is paid to children with disabilities and English language learners.

This is not an attack on charter schools. Our plaintiffs include charter school parents. It is an effort to force the NYC Department of Education to pay attention to the impact of its actions on public school students, and provide them with the education they have a right to."

Muba Yarofulani, Vice-President of New York City Parents Union and a parent plaintiff in the lawsuit, says: "Our public school children continue to be served in an educational system where quality and equal opportunity are not the norm. We will continue to fight to the end for equal access to a quality education for our public schoolchildren."

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters, a citywide parent advocacy group which is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, says: "The New York charter school law clearly states that if a district chooses to provide space and services to charter schools, it must do so at cost; and yet the NYC Department of Education provides this to charters for $1 per year.  Using figures from the Independent Budget Office, we estimate that the space and services DOE will provide to charters next year are worth nearly $96 million.  These are funds that our public schools desperately need and could be used to prevent devastating budget cuts, the loss of teachers and sharply increased class sizes next year.  As it is, each student in a co-located charter receives nearly $1000 more in public funding on average compared to a district public school student, a situation that is highly inequitable and needs to stop."

She adds: "We also believe that the co-location policy pursued by DOE and imposed on our public schools is deeply wrongheaded; as educrats use every available inch of space to jam a new school into a building; without any regard to how this will increase class size or prevent schools from being able to reduce class size in the future, which the state’s highest court said is necessary for NYC public schoolchildren to receive their constitutional right to an adequate education.  And yet these damaging effects are nowhere reflected in the DOE’s Educational Impact Statements – a critical and potentially illegal flaw."

Faye Hodge, a parent plaintiff of a child who attends a charter school in private space says: "It is not fair that charter schools located in private space receive nearly $1,000 less than co-located charter schools.  My charter school does not have enough books, does not provide academic intervention services, and cannot renovate our cafeteria or gym because we have to pay for rent, utilities, insurance, food service and cleaning services, while co-located charters are illegally subsidized by the New York City Department of Education. That is not fair. "

Mona Davids, the President of the New York City Parents Union, the President of the NY Charter Parents Association and a charter parent says, “We believe all children must have equal access to a quality public education. We respect the choice a few families made in removing their children from the public education system and enrolling them in publicly funded, but privately managed charter schools. However, public education is a cornerstone of our democracy and will always serve all children including children with disabilities, English Language Learners, homeless children, low performing students, and new immigrants. We must ensure all these children receive a quality public education and their rights are not violated by a separate and unequal system created by the New York City Department of Education.”

Inside Report: The Agony and The Agony

My fellow patient

Minutes before operation, July 19
Monday July 25, 8AM

I figured I would peck out an update before heading off to the doctor.

If you don't know, I had a bike malfunction on Thurs July 14 mangling my right wrist so badly I needed an operation with plate, etc. In brief, spent day in emerg room at Penninsula Hospital, was admitted overnight for operation next day - Friday July 15 at 1pm but got bumped from OR minutes before, got sent home till Tues with splint but without setting wrist - too unstable- but with lots of Percacet pain killer. Immediately called hand surgeon I had seen the last time I fell off my bike and broke stuff 8 years ago and made apptmt for monday July 18. Resplinted me for comfort till operation next day - July 19. They loaded me wth morphine etc all night at my request.  Out of hospital Weds. - pain, discomfort, blech. Thursday was worst day due to reaction to meds. Since then slow improvement.

I haven't been total recluse. Got out both Saturday eves. July 16 to Rockaway Theatre Co great production of Annie Get Your Gun which I managed to tape by setting up tripod. This past Saturday got to go out with college pals visiting from Washington - one couple were supposed to be our house guests but opted for hotel in city rather than listen to me whimper for 4 days. Another local couple have an apartment in Williamsburg (where 2 of the guys grew up - talk about culture shock) and we ate Italian on N.6th and Berry a few blocks from where I spent my last assignment in District 14. When we left reataurant at 9:30 the streets were packed. Really an astounding scene if you knew the area just 15 years ago.

Gotta go get ready to go to doctor. Check this out. I haven't yet but see what you can glean about what uft is not telling.

Info to principals on new atr agreement - video format

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"No Excuses" Bill Gates Makes Excuses for His Ed Deform Failures

Do I need to remind you of the rousing reception our own 800 plus Unity Caucus delegates to the AFT convention last year in Seattle gave Bill Gates while booing and hooting at the people who walked out?

Was the $5 Billion Worth It?

A decade into his record-breaking education philanthropy, Bill Gates talks teachers, charters—and regrets.

NYC Teacher and former GEM activist Seung Ok comments

It's interesting how Gates seems to give every excuse in the book for why he "failed" to drastically improve academic achievement despite the time and money spent on his mission.

His first excuse is that compared to the cumulative 600 billion dollars in government spending on public schools, he only had 5 billion to spend. Of course, he is talking as if that 5 billion was equally scattered among all the public schools in the United States. We know that his small school models had enough funding and opportunity to test whether his experiment would work, which by his own admission, did not meet his standards.

Then he and the writer of the article suggest that it was the powerful teacher unions that thwarted the success of Gates foundation initiatives. But later on, even Gates admits there seems to be no correlation between student achievement and the strength of unions in particular states. Although suprisingly, the two states he mentioned as being strong union states, Massachusetts and New York, are ranked # 2 and #5, respectively by NAEP results in student performance.

If it sounds like a man who is grabbing at straws, he is. He admits as much when talking about measuring teacher effectiveness. I was slightly embarassed for him, when he mentioned the movie, "To Sir, With Love" as an inspiration for his new initiative in taping teachers in real classroom settings. You don't see the president of the United States saying," I watched the movie Saving Private Ryan", and then proceed to discuss how the war in Afganistan can be won. What presidents usually do is to talk with military experts, diplomatic advisers, academics, political advisers, etc.

But not this guy - he wants to watch hours and hours of tape on military engagements in the mountains of Afganistan and write a report on how soldier effectiveness can be rated. The thing is, if he were really a scientist, I'd say fine - but he isn't one really. What he is - is a businessman. Unfortunately, what business knows about computer chips and factory output doesn't translate into the complex lives of human beings.

So what is Gates thinking, that through extensive studying he can produce a script? If student A yawns, then teacher Does B, then student A goes to Harvard. Certainly teachers know there are a variety of ways to redirect a students attention back to a lesson. But we also know, that no single method may work on the same student on successive days. We also know that there are a thousand other factors affecting a student's attention span - hunger, problems at home, lack of glasses, ADD, abuse, neglect, peer pressure, depression, anxiety, illness, etc. - most things things that the video camera will unlikely catch.

But teachers welcome any new insight into practices that may make our jobs easier. If our students perform well, they are happier, and are nicer to us. It may be hard for Gates to accept, but most teachers - for some inane reason - do measure their happiness at their jobs by the performance of their students. This is why areas with low academic performance are also known as hard-to-staff districts. Unfortunately, the teachers who are dedicated enough to stay, are punished by the likes of Gates and Bloomberg with ridicule and closure.

And as far as KIPP charter schools being an inspiration - maybe Gates should put on the scientist cap for a second and try to figure out what is the X factor - the "independent variable" - the one thing that is different from the control group (public schools). Well, any budding scientist knows that conclusions are invalid when there is more than one difference between the two groups. Now we know that charter schools have a self selected sample of students with motivated and involved parents. We also know they "engourage" students they deem disruptive or having learning disabilities to transfer to public schools. Even though most charter schools have non-unionized teachers - is seems that watching these teachers is as unilluminating to Gates as watching Sidney Potier's character in To Sir, With Love.

So please, Mr. Gates, get out your popcorn and your notepad and please do write up a lab report for the rest of us. And a personal pedagogical request - I've always been stumped by the appearance of doodling that occurs on desks - especially in the back rows. I'm very interested in knowing whether they tend to occur in the beginning, middle, or end of the period. Thank you.

Tea Party Group Admits It Wants to "Shut Down Public Schools" - Unions Must Educate, Organize and Mobilize to Fight Back Instead of Compromising With Ed Deformers

“We think public schools should go away,’’ says Teri Adams, the head of the Independence Hall Tea Party and a leading advocate — both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — of passage of school voucher bills...Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only, eventually returning responsibility for payment to parents and private charities. It’s going to happen piecemeal and not overnight. It took us years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it.”
Also read WSJ where Bill Gates admits he prefers vouchers but the political climate isn't right.

Where to start on this one when you are talking to the choir? People have to start ignoring the rhetoric from the ed deformers. Above is the intent of the privatizers ala Milton Friedman economics and the small government movement, with teacher unions being the major target. The idea that the way to fight back in this war is by focusing on organizing charter school teachers and trying to legislate limits on charters (pretty much the UFT approach) is farcical. Sure, organize charter school teachers (into thousands of separate contracts that can at most close down one school and easily be broken) but also educate them about the charter school ultimate threat and intent. The reason our movie is getting such a response is because so many people are seeing it as one of the most effective pieces in the fight back. And it is effective because it comes from the rank and file and didn't push the official union half-measure response line.

Charter schools are the trojan horse. And we in GEM take them head on in the movie and in our pamphlet "The Truth About Charters." Thus, let's start challenging those who say they favor choice and charters but no co-locos because that battle is ultimately a sham to cover up what is really going on. While I was not opposed to the NAACP-UFT law suit the loss was expected (last year they settled before they could lose - a loser of a settlement anyway.) But, hey, it gave slime bucket Marc Sternberg a chance to have a party.

So I'm a hard ass on UFT/AFT/NEA compromises by mouthing support for so many aspects of ed deform. And charters are the cutting edge of the assault. The idea of charter schools may be noble but we can't separate the theoretical intent of charter schools from the reality of the outcomes.
The "I believe in choice" argument has been misused. I believe in choice - when it comes to cars or corn flakes. But not when it comes to public institutions like a neighborhood school. The choice offer is being rejected by wealthy suburbs for a good reason. "Choice" becomes a dangerous concept when the result is a form of apartheid.
MUST READ at Seattle Education:   
Danny Weil on the Neo Liberal Language of Ed Reform
Weil links to this ed deform double speak video with the following description:

The idea of working to close the so-called "achievement gap" in education is very similar to the concept of "greenwash" in environmentalism.

Greenwash is the term used to refer to propaganda deliberately used by polluters to cover up what they are really doing. A typical example would be the plant-a-tree days that are funded by big oil and auto companies. Obviously, no amount of tree planting will ever undo their damage, yet the public relations people know that greenwash is a great way to protect their profits from costly calls for more government regulation: it distracts people from real causes. It encourages people to "take personal responsibility" rather than blame corporations who are made to look like leaders of environmentalism.

Similarly, when we look at education, we find that its new mission around the globe has, ever since NCLB, become "closing the achievement gap," that is, leaving no child left behind. I call this "gapwash" because it covers up the real problem of the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor, a gap which was caused by globalization and technology which together have dealt a death blow to the "decent jobs" of yesteryear's working class and given rise a new super-class of billionaires. "Closing the gap" gives educators a feel- good mission of raising test scores and graduation rates as it preserves the illusion that they are actually doing something to raise children out of poverty.
~ continued at
See it directly on you tube:

Below, read the truth instead of the eduwashers.

Tea Party Group Admits It Wants to "Shut Down Public Schools"

Tuesday 12 July 2011
by: Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress | Report
As ThinkProgress has documented, a tightly-knit group of right-wing Political Action Committees (PACs) and corporate foundations have unleashed an assault on public education, pushing school voucher schemes nationwide that would funnel taxpayer dollars away from public schools and toward private schools instead. In doing so, many of these voucher advocates claim they simply want to expand school choice and improve the quality of education for all.

Yet one group that has been influential in the school voucher push — the Independence Hall Tea Party, which has run a major PAC that operates in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — is finally admitting that its true goal is to abolish public education.

In a series of e-mails and interviews, Teri Adams, the president of the Independence Hall Tea Party Association, explains that her organization is involved in its voucher advocacy because it believes “public schools should go away.” Adams said that their ultimate goal is to “shut down public schools and have private schools only“:
“We think public schools should go away,’’ says Teri Adams, the head of the Independence Hall Tea Party and a leading advocate — both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — of passage of school voucher bills. The tea party operates in those two states and Delaware. They should “go away,” she says, because “they are hurting our children.’’ [...] Adams says the current voucher program “discriminates” against wealthier students by providing public subsidies only to inner-city children in allegedly failing schools. Her group’s e-mails pushing vouchers caught the attention of James Kovalcin of South Brunswick, a retired public school teacher who asked Adams for clarification. She responded via email: “Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only, eventually returning responsibility for payment to parents and private charities. It’s going to happen piecemeal and not overnight. It took us years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it.”
“It’s refreshing to see a vouchers promoter who is honest about her real intent — to destroy public education,” responded Julia Rubin, a spokeswoman for Save Our Schools, a New Jersey organization that is opposing the voucher push in the state. “Fortunately, most New Jersey residents understand how devastating vouchers would be for our excellent public schools.” (HT: @DianeRavitch)

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.


But as the title of the film's central theme song says "The Hero Is You". That is, there is no superman coming to save us. It's up to the people watching the film who care about the fate of  public education to get active, organize, and engage in one of the key struggles of our times.   

Russell Branca is organizing the event. The film's co-narrator Brian Jones will be representing the film.

Everyone loves this shot of Michael Fiorillo in the film

Here is a link to the webpage for the July 24th screening.


Real Reform Studios and A Grassroots Education Movement Production, produced, directed, filmed and edited by Julie Cavanagh (teacher), Darren Marelli (school social worker), Norm Scott (retired teacher), Mollie Bruhn (teacher), and Lisa Donlan (parent). narrated by Julie Cavanagh, Brian Jones, & Daren Marelli,
(2011,  66 min)

WHEN:  Sunday July 24, 2011  1:15 pm
WHERE:  Community Church NY Gallery Room 28 East 35th st. btwn Park and Madison Aves.
ADMISSION:  Free, donations appreciated
SPECIAL GUEST: There will be a post screening Q&A with the filmmakers


In 2010 writer and director Davis Guggenheim, the director of the influential "An Inconvenient Truth",  featuring Al Gore, turned his attention to the issue of public education in America and produced the film "Waiting For Superman". The film was widely acclaimed in the mainstream press, praised lavishly by the White House and Education Secretary Arne Duncan,  and, particularly with its sympathetic portrait of Charter schools, met with much enthusiasm from those in the corporate driven "education reform movement".

The response from many teachers, parents, and students was another matter. For them, it was a salvo against the public education system with the long view of eventually privatizing it, an attack on the Teacher's Union as a central obstacle blocking reform, and the inevitable acceptance of standardized testing as the essential measure of accountability.

In "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman" a group of New York City teachers and parents came together not only to counter claims made in the film that they have found inaccurate, but to offer a powerful rebuttal to the film's philosophy. Or as they say on the film's website :

"We reject "Waiting for Superman" and the privatization of PUBLIC Education by hedge fund millionaires and corporate interests.  PUBLIC Education is not for sale!"

TITBWFS begins intensely with an opening scene of NYC students angrily chanting against the Department Of Education (DOE).  While the intensity undergoes various permutations and variations throughout the film, it never really lets up.  This is an impassioned film that takes place in a city that has seen an intense struggle in the public education policy. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg took control of city schools in 2002 and appointed Joel Klein as Schools Chancellor the battles began but when he appointed Cathie Black, a highly successful corporate CEO in the publishing business but with no connection or experience in education as his replacement in 2010, the uproar and lines of resistance were ferocious. She lasted just 95 days as her problems with parents, teachers, and students seemed overwhelming and irresolvable.

This is the emotional cauldron in which the film takes place. While NYC teachers Brian Jones and Julie Cavanagh are the central protagonists, an ample platform is given to parents, students, and teachers, to address the top down corporate CEO model of organizing education verses a participatory approach integrating parents and community. They take on the issues surrounding Charter Schools, teachers and tenure, standardized high stake testing, the closing rather than improving of public schools that are doing poorly, the co-location of Charters with public schools creating competition for space between the two, and other consequences.

The film has its villains both local and national; Mayor Bloomberg, Joel Klein, Cathie Black, the head of Harlem Children's Zone Goeffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee the ex-head of public schools on Washington D.C.  who was eventually rejected by D.C. voters, President Obama and Arne Duncan who both enthusiastically embrace the charters, and the various billionaires who lobby Washington and have invested fortunes in bringing a far right ideological agenda into the education debate.

Diane Ravitch, the ex Under Secretary of Education who once supported the Charter school movement but who now is one of its most ardent critics, is heralded as one of the film's heroes, along with Karen Lewis of the Chicago UFT, Sam Anderson a NYC teacher and education activist, or parent Leonie Haimson. But as the title of the film's central theme song says "The Hero Is You". That is, there is no superman coming to save us. It's up to the people watching the film who care about the fate of  public education to get active, organize, and engage in one of the key struggles of our times.  

The hero is you
Since our mantra is Educate, Organize, Mobilize, I would say our film is accomplishing all of the above.Russell took the initiative on this on his own. I remember at the first production meeting last August, this "hero is you" theme was hammered out and Julie's husband Glenn wrote the perfect song.

We got a check for almost $300 from last week's Albuquerque (try spelling that on pain killers) screening from the awesome Francesca Blueher. See her wonderful emails from last week: Albuquerque screening of "The Inconvenient Truth B...

One aspect is that after people see screenings they want copies to set up their own events. We have nothing to do with these screenings. They are all happening spontaneously. So far the only disapppintment to me is that here at home base in NYC the percentage of teachers who even know about the film is small. By the end of next school year I would hope most NYC teachers will have seen the film. But that is up to people out there - like you guys who read this blog. You can even invite me as a guest for a lunchtime or after school film session. I promise to be off the pain killers - jeez, typing with my left hand only is so tedious.

We are trying to keep world-wide screenings updated on our film site: but it has been hard. Interesting how many colleges are requesting the film. One prof from England wants to put it up on their faculty network. Lots of union leaders and officials and even school board and Superintendents are asking.

By the way, feel free to donate to help us in this massive distribution effort - we are almost done with 4000 dvds and may need to order more. The mailing process is costing a bundle. We especially want to get the film shown to as many NYC teachers as possible. GEM doesn't have a bank account yet so I've donated the Ed Notes corporate account - yeah, I'm the CEO. Or is it OEC? Or EEEEIOO? I love this pain killer. Anyway, send us some love:

Make checks out to:

Ed Notes, Inc.
518 Beach 134 St.
Rockaway Park, NY 11694



Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Join Marc Sternberg and Tweedies in Happy Hour celebrating their court victory tonight over the thousands of NYC parents, teachers and students who begged them not to close their schools and/or squeeze their students out through damaging charter-co-locations

UPDATED (again): Saturday,July 23, 9am - Did they notice the guy with one arm and a video camera up his nose?
Alas, twas not me.

Here is a report:
TheRadioRahimShow catches up with DOE Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg at a happy hour he hosted on Friday, July 22, 2011, to "honor this important moment for New York City's public school families! Please forward - all are welcome!"

We made ourselves welcome, and asked Mr. Sternberg why he thinks closing 22 struggling public schools and squeezing charter schools into 15 more is a cause to celebrate.

More info at:

Michael Best - at his Worst

This item pulled me out of my funk over my operation on Tuesday for my severely broken wrist. Wish I could go and tape. Hope somebody does. I find Sternberg one of the typically arrogant Tweed POS. Has real John White potential. Find your favorite Tweedie on the recipient list:

This came in from Leonie:

Marc Sternberg and company celebrating their court victory tonight over the thousands of NYC parents, teachers and students who begged them not to close their schools and/or squeeze their students out through damaging charter-co-locations.
He phrases it as "an important moment for New York City's public school families! Please forward - all are welcome!"  But it was instead an important moment for arrogant and heedless Tweed educrats.
Apparently Tribeca Tavern is the venue, at 5 PM at 247 West Broadway, in case others want to go and share in the merriment.

-----Original Appointment-----
From: Sternberg Marc
Sent: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:52 PM
To: Sternberg Marc; &DPP All Staff; Best Michael (Legal Services); Grimm Kathleen; Suransky Shael; Thompson Saskia; Greenberger Sharon; Conforme Veronica; Gibson Dorita; Rodriguez Laura; Weiner David; Thomases Joshua; Bell-Ellwanger Jennifer; Tyack Justin; McNally Courtney; Stuart Rosemary; Chase Johannah; Buher Andrew; Tragale Michael; Guinan Elizabeth; Gawkoski Krista; Friedman Anna; Vasiliou George; Weiss Emily; Lopatin Adina; Thompson Ashleigh (Nikki); Connelly Katherine; Ulevitch Anne; Wang Candace; Pimentel Chad; Pancholy Ritu; Chan Annabelle; Singer Robin F.; Greenfield Robin; Jackson-Chase Courtenaye; Feijoo Laura; Conyers Donald; Kleinhandler Sarah; Shear Jeffrey; Taratko Thomas; Khan Rana; Fetter Sarah; Sobelman Jenny; Speiller Lenny; Okezie Nnennaya; Morgan Barbara; Mittenthal Matthew; Ravitz Natalie; Thomas Francis; Miller Deidrea; Brack Ryan; Teitel Rachael; Konstan Elayna; Orzo Anthony; Rampersant Mark; Allen Keishea; Hall Ojeda; Kurzweil Martin; DSouza Simone; Ashton Eric; Feinberg Rachel; Becker Lawrence; Brodsky David; VanderVeen Arthur; Gillett Stacey; Cannon Joanna; Brawer Sandy; Marlin Carrie; Ades Emily; Crane Stephanie; ; Kulig Antoinette; Argudo Theresa; Billington Louise; Greats Chantell; Moore Alma; Chasan Rebecca; Jackson-Thomas Dawn

Subject: Happy Hour!
When: Friday, July 22, 2011 5:00 PM-7:00 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada).
Where: Tribeca Tavern, 247 West Broadway
Last night:
New York Supreme Court Justice Paul Feinman denied the UFT and NAACP's request for a preliminary injunction preventing the Department of Education from moving forward to close 22 failing schools and co-locate 15 public charter schools in DOE buildings.  The judge's ruling allows the DOE to move forward with the closings and co-locations.
Come join us for a drink to honor this important moment for New York City's public school families! Please forward - all are welcome!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Riveting Video: Jeff Kaufman Blows the Lid off Tenure Denial Scandal at Aspirations HS and UFT Bureaucrats' Attempt to Deflect Their Do-Nothing Policies by Blaming Kaufman

UFT Foils While Tenure Burns: A Case Study in DOE and UFT Perfidy

On July 12,  I interviewed Jeff Kaufman, one of the most knowledgeable union people I know. Whenever someone with a union problem contacts me I often send them to Jeff or James Eterno rather than the UFT. To say Jeff has a contentious relationship with the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership would be a gross underestimation. They despise him even more than they do me after his 3-year stint on the UFT Exec Board representing the Independent Community of Educators (ICE) where he regularly took apart the phony Randi Weingarten agenda.

In this riveting video Jeff takes us step by step through the process of how all 8 teachers at his school who were up for tenure had their time extended and now face the prospect of having to wait for a 5th year. The lies and perfidy of just resigned principal Matt Malloy (who often referred to these Teach for America young women as "Matt's Harem") and Superintendent Amy Horowitz who did zero supervision of Malloy while he did no observations and pushed almost all the administration burdens of running a new school onto these young and inexperienced teachers.

And then there are the UFT bureaucrats - VPHS Leo Casey and District Rep Charley Turner (one of the all time sleazeballs who even outranks Washington Sanchez in that category)  who instead of providing assistance to the teachers, attempted to use this as a way to undermine Jeff with his colleagues -a long-time tactic of Unity Caucus with people who oppose their policies.

Direct Vimeo link:

The video is mostly focused on the actions of the principal but it is a microcosm of not only what went on in so many schools but of the helpless reaction to this crisis by the UFT leadership. Jeff wrote a companion piece on the ICE blog July 16 focusing on the UFT and the tenure story.

UFT Fiddles While Large Numbers of Probationers Are Denied Tenure

Here is an excerpt but go read it all:
A note on tenure…

We have explained before, in this blog, what tenure is and what it isn't. Briefly stated the law defines tenure as that period of time, usually 3 years, where a teacher has performed satisfactorily. Tenure fundamentally changes the employment rights of a teacher from being an "at-will" employee while under probation and fired for any or no reason at all to one that is entitled to a due process hearing where the DOE must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the teacher should be fired before an arbitrator.

Education Law 3012 provides, in relevant part: "At the expiration of the probationary term…, the superintendent of schools shall make a written report to the board of education …recommending for appointment on tenure those persons who have been found competent, efficient and satisfactory, consistent with any applicable rules of the board of regents adopted pursuant to section three thousand twelve-b of this article. ...Each person who is not to be recommended for appointment on tenure, shall be so notified by the superintendent of schools in writing not later than sixty days immediately preceding the expiration of his probationary period."

The statute provides that tenure decisions must be made solely on a teacher's competence, efficiency and satisfactory service. The part of the statute which refers to State Regulations only refers to the new, 4 part, evaluation system, effective September 2011 which make no mention of probation or tenure at all.

So why is the UFT so conspicuously absent in the face of such a radical change in working conditions for so many teachers? Perhaps, their lawyers believe that since tenure is not a subject of bargaining there is legally little they can do. While, admittedly, legal avenues are limited although there are actions that can be brought if the Union knew or cared about its members.

Now, we must wait for a FOIL request to be filled (they can take months or even years) and teachers who have provided competent, efficient and satisfactory service must serve additional probation time or be terminated.


Kaufman on E4E

I put up a separate excerpt of the video the other day where Jeff focused on the E4E people in his school and the contradiction between their support for that organization and what happened to them. In that short video Jeff points out how E4E is anti-union:  ICE's Jeff Kaufman Dissects Educators 4 Excellence and Judges Them "Antiunion" -