Sunday, December 18, 2011

Audio of My Statement at the PEP/ Bloomberg's Biggest Failure (In a long list)....

.... Meglomaniac/Incompetent/Psychotic Principals ... and the contined support of them no matter what they do.....

There is not more outrage than the purposeful destruction of a teacher's career for political/personal reasons. Tweed's allowing this to happen and supporting it undermines every single thing they say about wanting teacher quality and enforces the idea that what they want is teachers to be sheep and go baaaaaa (I heard a lot of this on sheep farms in New Zealand) on call.

In the earliest PEP meetings going back to Klein's early tenure I raised this issue regularly and told Klein that unless he put a stop to political vendettas every single initiative to improve the teaching corps would fail. Unfortunately I was standing up alone - actually with one or two others but there was never a sign of the UFT - and even today you see the UFT often ducking this issue, preferring to talk about how they want to streamline the process of teacher extraction. I wouldn't streamline anything until cases like Peter Lamphere no longer exist.

I raised this issue at the PEP the other night in relation to the Peter Lamphere/Valerie Reidy/Bronx High School of Science situation where despite a court vacating one of his 2 U ratings, the DOE was continuing to challenge the ruling. I didn't expect to be called so my remarks are very off the cuff. (I couldn't tape myself so the sound is a bit sketchy.) I wanted to point to the hypocrisy of Walcott's supposedly wanting quality teachers when in fact Peter won a reprieve of his U rating last week Walcott's minions objected.

Using U-ratings for political vendettas undermines the DOE position they are interested in quality teachers. Peter is a noted math instructor - my voice is garbled where I mention a young math teacher driven out by Reidy who ended up teaching at one of the elite public schools in the city (meaning that what Reidy found unsatisfactory was NOT endorsed by another great school). Peter mentored her and she told me he was one of the best math teachers.

I was prompted to speak based on this:
DOE spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said officials are contemplating their next step. 
“We are disappointed in the decision and are weighing our legal options,” she said.
 Shame on you Barbara.

By the way - Peter raised money for his lawsuit. I don't have all the details of what support the UFT gave Peter but I do not think there was financial support for the suit - I'll get more info and update when I do and before I say Shame on the UFT.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Judge Overturns Arbitrary U...
Riverdale Press:

This came in from Perry on ICE mail:
I've been re-reading some stuff about the infamous Iris Blige

She's the principal on Fordham Road who instructed her APs to U-rate teachers before they had even classroom-observed them.

Some of the APs went ahead and did it. One refused outright . Another declined, was reminded that he was a probationary AP himself and..... you get the picture: he went out and U-rated the principal's target.

It strikes me that Principal Blige is extraordinary only in that she was dumb enough to *explicitly* tell the APs to engage in unethical and ... I've never been clear on this part.... possibly *illegal* acts.

My suspicion is that this goes on commonly... perhaps even routinely... in schools around the city. The instigation is just more indirect. Subtle. Discrete. Wrapped at all times in the trappings of "plausible deniability."

My guess is there are many principals as evil as Blige , but few who are as flat-out *dumb*.

My own experience suggests also that the *vast* majority of APs will "oblige", (excuse the pun) when placed in a similar circumstance. The system rewards nothing more than obedience and adherence to hierarchy. People attracted to administrative work may have (usually very) briefly been teachers, but are... in my experience... a different breed of human being altogether.

Or perhaps I'm too cynical?


  1. Good job, Norm. Sean and I had to leave before we could see and hear you give it to them. Thanks for posting the audio of your statement. We will be back next month with increased numbers. We will not go away.


  2. Norm, I've worked in 4 schools, and in every single one, they have seemingly arbitrarily (until you look at their salaries) selected people for giving U's to, in the hopes of running them out. It's more than a professional affront; it has depressed and physically sickened people. And, of course, the teachers they selected were no worse or better than anyone else. They were all professional and dedicated. It's horrible, and no, you cannot be too cynical.


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