Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Video of SUNY Charter Giveaway to Eva Moskowitz

Noah Gotbaum asks essential questions. Then note the section as I tried to follow 3 members of the SUNY Charter School Committee into the elevator as they met with Success Academy's Jenny Sedlis who asked for a private meeting, followed by some brief comments by Noah outside.

Newly appointed chairman Joseph Belluck allowed the community to speak at the meeting, apparently something that has not happened before. This was so embarrassing to Eva Moskowitz -- allowing public comment that exposes her scam -- her agent Jenny asked for a private post meeting meeting with Belluck -- maybe to whip him into line for the next time.

He presented himself as a fair guy, but even if he is that won't last long as the rest of the committee is loaded with pro-charter people, as much of SUNY is. 


More video later --- Fios is being installed today so I may be down for some hours.

In the meantime, Leonie posted:

Thanks to the hard work of David Bellel, the SUNY Charter webcast from yesterday is now archived.

Sadly, as originally webcast, the sight and sound is not great and it doesn’t start until after Brooke Parker of WAGPOPs has given most of her brilliant presentation. But the best we have so far until Norm posts his video of what transpired yesterday.

part 1: https://vimeo.com/44691118

part 2: https://vimeo.com/44716357

part 3:  https://vimeo.com/44696000

 And this:

See below; the only mention I have found in media today of Eva’s victory yesterday of getting SUNY to approve 6 new schools to add to her empire & to grab even more space from public school buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn (where even Walcott admits there is no room for them ) while her management fee is raised to 15% -- enabling her to divert even more taxpayer funds to lobbying, PR and her political operations where she can further expand her influence (not to mention her already inflated salary).

Meanwhile SUNY charter committee was told by the head of the SUNY charter institute at the meeting yesterday the fairy tale that they should go along with this, because the schools’ independent board “asked” to be able to give more money to Eva’s CMO, as though the members of the board weren’t handpicked by Eva.  And after all, these schools have a surplus of $24 million – so why not?

Finally, in an interesting sleight of hand, the SUNY charter committee gave over the authority to approve the fee increase to the Charter Institute, because the new chair of the committee, Joe Belluck, said he wasn’t ready to decide on this issue but obviously wasn’t ready to delay the vote while he informed himself on the issue more thoroughly. 

The full SUNY board gives all the authority over charter matters to the SUNY charter committee, which then leaves the decision-making up to the Charter Institute, where the staff continues to behave as they are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Charter Inc. 

And when it comes to the most controversial issue of co-locations, Rossi tells the committee that they have no legal jurisdiction (even though the law says SUNY has to hold hearings on the subject of whether the space is “appropriate”) and that the siting of schools is merely the responsibility of DOE.

Talk about passing the buck!

Hopefully Powell will stay on the story; the NYT badly needs a critical eye on our schools now that Winerip has been taken off education and the other NYT ed reporters are all new to the beat and thus vulnerable to be taken in by DOE and the massively funded and staffed corporate reform PR spin.

Go leave a comment!

In East Harlem School Building, Uneasy Neighbors - NYTimes.com - http://goo.gl/X8udw


An Upstairs-Downstairs Divide at a Public School Building in East Harlem

Published: June 25, 2012 6 Comments
Karen Melendez-Hutt once presided over a fine success story. Early last decade, she became principal of Public School 30 in East Harlem, a school on the critical care list.
Scores had spiraled downward. Families felt trapped. The end appeared in sight.
She won grants to pull in counselors, and tutored children at lunchtime, during recess, on Saturdays. Test scores rose. The school earned A’s on progress reports. Then her staff proposed to renovate the playground, a vast expanse of asphalt fissured.
The Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, gave $180,000 in 2010 for the renovation.
“I called the Department of Education and said: ‘Isn’t this great? We got this money!’ ” she recalled.
An official cut her off: “There’s a lot more money than that coming,” he said. “But Eva Moskowitz has got it.”
In retrospect, this was the moment the center of power — and money — began to shift decisively in this public school building.
Eva S. Moskowitz, a former city councilwoman, is chief executive of Success Academy Charter Schools. One of her handsomely financed schools, Harlem Success Academy 2 Charter School, occupied the upper floor of the same building as P.S. 30. Another school, devoted to students with disabilities, also inhabits this building on East 128th Street.
Ms. Moskowitz, as Type A and politically connected as any charter operator in the city, had convinced the City Council to allocate $875,000 to renovate the same playground. Although the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, says this money was intended for the playground for all three schools, Harlem Success Academy 2 quickly took ownership.
“They made it clear they’d already hired an architect and they’d plan it,” Ms. Melendez-Hutt recalls. “I said, ‘No, no, no, for once you have to learn to play with others.’ ”
Ms. Moskowitz is a brigadier in the charter school wars that could define the next mayoral election. Armies mass on either side. The teachers’ union, parent groups and the organization New York Communities for Change oppose charter expansion. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has sent a trusted aide, Micah C. Lasher, to work with the hedge-fund-backed group StudentsFirstNY to push expansion.
Ms. Moskowitz embraces life in wartime. She yearns not only to compete, but also to drive the teachers’ union and some public schools into the East River. In e-mails several years ago to the chancellor at the time, Joel I. Klein, obtained by the columnist Juan Gonzalez of The Daily News, Ms. Moskowitz made clear her views. “We need,” she wrote, “to quickly and decisively distinguish the good guys from the bad.”
To this end, she has formed a network of charters that, with strict discipline and unrelenting emphasis on high test scores, have posted impressive results.
On Monday, the trustees of the State University of New York — which oversees charter schools — gave Ms. Moskowitz permission to open six new schools. And the trustees increased her network management fee to 15 percent, from 10 percent, which will infuse her quickly expanding empire with millions of dollars.
Her pell-mell success exacts a toll. Teachers’ hours are brutal, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evenings devoted to marking homework. Teacher turnover at Harlem Success Academy 2 approached 40 percent last year. Ms. Moskowitz drives herself no less manically. She lists her salary as $379,478 and pegs her typical workweek at 70 hours.
Say this for Ms. Moskowitz: Many students in poor neighborhoods have for years lacked quality schools; charters perhaps offer useful competition.
She glories in comparing her schools with hapless public school cousins. “The nice thing about co-location is that you can put the schools under a microscope,” she says.
Ms. Melendez-Hutt retired two years ago, and P.S. 30 has gone into a slide. It received a D grade last year, a fact that Ms. Moskowitz’s staff noted in e-mails and phone calls. The staff also sent a comparison of test scores, and it contrasted Success Academy’s wood cubbies and carpeted classrooms with the dingier halls of the neighbor.
In essence, I had an immersion in the same hard sell parents are given. Only nuance was missing. P.S. 30 students are distinctly poorer, and a far higher proportion receive special education. Its veteran staff members themselves outfitted a fine library with sofas and chairs.
Then there’s that playground. A handsome soccer field with artificial turf dominates the yard, as Ms. Moskowitz desired. P.S. 30 obtained one of its four desired basketball courts, which occupies a corner near the door.
“It was a very long, drawn-out process,” Ms. Moskowitz said. “It’s all about the art of compromise.”
No doubt.
E-mail: powellm@nytimes.com
Twitter: @powellnyt


Anonymous said...

And you wonder why I want to help get the DVD out there to the media? I am still waiting for them, unless you have changed your mind.


My Child is NOT a Test Score said...

Noah did a fantastic job articulating the case. Clearly, SUNY is in Eva's pocket.....