Tuesday, March 13, 2012

John Dewey HS Leads Opposition at Meeting With Elaine Gorman

March 13, 2012
John Dewey HS teacher-created button. Email for copy.
Last night the UFT and Brooklyn Borough Pres Marty Markowitz set up a venting meeting with Elaine Gorman. Call it damage control on the part of the DOE and the UFT. I still believe some deal will be in the works to keep a few of the schools open. On what basis? Let's see now. The big ticket item for the UFT is Maxwell HS which got an A. And note that is the base of UFT District HS Rep/Slug Charlie Turner. Maxwell is a strong Unity school and if any school is off the chopping block that will be it. John Dewey has the biggest pushback with the most publicity and also a Unity chapter leader. Could that be the ticket for them?

In the meantime, Tweed is advertising for new teachers to replace the ones who won't be hired and pushed into the ATR pool (I got a message from an ATR yesterday livid at the subway ads). Imgine the scenario: newbies taking over for experienced teachers in schools that are difficult to start with while the experienced teachers go into the ATR pool at enormous cost. While Tweed and the NY Post rail against this outrage, they still have to pay them. Imagine the next step: threatening layoffs and high class sizes due to the ATR situation.

Here is a report from a John Dewey teacher who was at the meeting last night:
Brooklyn schools that would undergo the "turnaround" model were invited to Brooklyn Borough Hall on Tuesday evening by Marty Markowitz to gain information about the proposed turnaround model from Elaine Gorman, the executive director of school turnarounds for the Department of Education.

Markowitz started the meeting by stating that Ms. Gorman has come voluntarily and that while the audience may disagree with the DOE, as he does, they should remain respectful. Markowitz introduced the Brooklyn UFT officials as fierce fighters on behalf of the students of New York City for decades. Although Markowitz did not stay for the entire meeting, his aide led the proceeding for much of the evening. Teams representing individual schools spoke at the microphone.

Highlights from the meeting:

Markowitz : "I do not get it" in reference to breaking up large high schools for smaller ones. "I am for a modification of mayoral control and a better way to select a chancellor."

Elaine Gorman : " I was eager for the opportunity to work with "turnaround" schools. The work appeals to me so that I can help improve education in this city."

Significant John Dewey H.S. representation in this packed hall. About 150 Deweyites in the room.

Automotive HS student: "We need stable leadership in our school. Getting rid of our teachers will accomplish nothing."

IS166 teacher: "Stand by what you say. We were supposed to be involved with the transformation model for three years. We are making significant progress. Why change the model now?"

John Dewey HS student: "We are attached to our teachers. Losing our teachers will be devastating to our school."

Sheepshead Bay teacher: "We work our butts off at Sheepshead Bay. The problem is not with the teachers. Many of our students have significant needs and we are doing great work with them."

Bushwick Transfer HS teacher: "The accountability system is flawed. That is why we are on the PLA list. Rather than focus on targeting the teachers, fix your flawed system."

Maxwell HS was in attendance with the letter A raised high over the heads of their contingent. They received an A on their recent progress report from the DOE.

Anthony Sclafani UFT district rep: "None of this makes educational sense. Schools are being closed by a narcissistic, vindictive, bloodsucking mayor. Shame on everyone in Tweed who drank the Koolaid and went back for another sip because it tasted so sweet." He then shouted "Free THE 33" as the entire hall erupted in "Free The 33" in response.

The evening ended with members of the audience asking Gorman questions. Most significant one: "Is anything that any of us stated here tonight going to really make a difference or is this a sham just like the PEP will be?"
Also see Rachel's tweets at Gotham Schools.
Use https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23turnaround.


Anonymous said...

Did Ms. Gorman answer the most significant question of the evening? Does any of these protests matter at all or is it a waste of our time?

Anonymous said...

Was FDR high school there?

Anonymous said...

There were 5 or 6 people from FDR there. FDR also has a Unity Caucus chapter chair.

Unknown said...

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