Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Charter Shill and Slimeball Michael Benjamin Joins Corporate attack on Leonie Haimson As People Rise to Her Defense

What has Leonie done wrong? See below these supporters from Change the Stakes and Leonie's response for her crime of exposing their agenda. What can one say about former failed politician Benjamin? Just do a search for previous Ed Notes pieces on him. I still have some video somewhere of his shameful performance at the Bill Perkins charter school hearings years ago before he went slinking out of office with his tail between his legs.
Here are the Leonie supporters out in force:

Julie Cavanagh
From Michael Benjamin a charter and "choice" advocate. Note his attack on teachers too as he is trying to paint Leonie as being "hypocritical".... Those greedy high paid teachers with lavish benefits are the cause, or should be the target, of large class sizes- not of course budget cuts, co-locations, and millions wasted on data/testing/"accountability". Truly ridiculous op-ed... Of course not surprising given the author and the paper.

Carol Burris
I think it is very poorly written, grasping at anything to make her look bad. I think we can expect more attacks...too many people are speaking out against testing, inBloom the CCSS.

Fred Smith
Another attack on Leonie. He couldn't refute her one-woman fight to reverse the InBloom giveaway of private data, so he left that one out of his multi-count indictment Leonie's hypocrisy.

Loretta Prisco
The powers that be definitely know where the greatest threat to their powers is coming from--the person who consistently speaks bold truth to them. Discredit her they must. They never like to be challenged or forced to settle for only 99% of the pie. Using leonie to attack unions and ignoring the incredible work that she has done! Why do reporters go to her? Because she has the information, does her homework, and does represent the interests of parents and kids. I think Letters to the editor from public school parents thanking her for supporting their kids- and not acting ot of self interest are in order - the fact that her son doesn't go to a public school makes the untiring work that she has done even more noble not hypocritical.

Tory Frye
I agree that these attacks are about inBloom and what is turning into a true backlash against corporate takeover of our schools. We need help here. We need to start an IndiGoGo or one of those fundraising things for Leonie; we need to show how MANY public school parents support her and her work. Maybe a petition, where parents sign their names and their children's schools.
This really is because we are finally closing in on the monstrous, beating heart of reform: high stakes testing. If we get enough parents to turn against it, they have nothing to work with; all of our kids data is useless w/o the outcome measure.
Stay strong Leonie!!! We are completely behind you!!! We would be lost without you.
Disgustedly, Tory

Jane Maisel
The attacks on Leonie should be seen as a badge of honor---they are a measure of her true effectiveness. inBloom and its cronies are extremely annoyed with Leonie for alerting parents to the inBloom problem. I agree we should stand with Leonie, and also help parents see the link between the testing, CCSS and data "sharing" which we can legitimately call data stealing. Ad hominem attacks are meant to distract from the real issue. Leonie, thanks for your fabulous work.

Happy Birthday! Thank you for your tireless efforts advocating for an equitable education for all school children of NYC. I am borrowing Fred's idea here and using Ghandi's quote, I think you are fast approaching the third comma.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”


Leonie Responds:
Thanks guys. It happens to be my birthday….some birthday present to wake up to!

I am flabbergasted at the amount of venom directed towards me personally, I guess because they can’t attack the issues we address. If any of you want to see the blog post he is referring to, which is mostly devoted to the DN reporter’s explanation of why education issues are nearly always framed as the mayor vs. the UFT, it’s here:

NYC Public School Parents: Why do the media nearly always frame education issues as the UFT vs. the Mayor; and Ben Chapman's response

My originally point was that the media too often ignore that parents have legitimate concerns on many issues, including class size and co-locations, separate from the union, and that the mayoral candidates could be responding to parents’ concerns as well.

It had nothing to do with how much I personally am quoted or not. Perhaps the attacks are motivated by the fact that we attempt to disrupt the dominant narrative -- that only the union matters – and that threatens the powers-that-be.

And here is Leonie's post about the event exposing inBloom:

Video and news from our explosive Town Hall meeting on student privacy

We held a Town Hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall about the NYS and NYC plan to share personally identifiable student information with a corporation called inBloom inc. and other third party vendors. 
About 150 people showed up, including two Regents (Regent Kathleen Cashin of Brooklyn and Regent Betty Rosa of the Bronx), and two representatives from the NY State Education Department (Dennis Tompkins, Chief of External Affairs and Nicolas Storelli-Castro, Director of Governmental Relations), who listened to the presentations and the passionate objections of parents. Adina Lopatin, Deputy Chief Academic Officer of NYC DOE spoke and answered questions.   I also gave a presentation about inBloom  and DOE provided a  FAQ here. Unfortunately, inBloom and the Gates Foundation refused our invitation to attend.
Some of the disturbing revelations from Adina:  The city and state have already shared confidential student data with inBloom.  They don't know how much they will have to pay for inBloom's "services" starting in 2015.  If there is a data breach from inBloom (as many people believe is nearly inevitable) the state will be legally and financially liable, since the Gates Foundation has insulated itself and inBloom from responsibility.  

If this highly sensitive information leaks out, it could lead to class action suits against the state for many millions of dollars.  Just yesterday, it was reported that LivingSocial suffered a massive breach from a data cloud.  Living Social is partially owned by Amazon, which will host the inBloom data cloud.  Why is NY State -- the only inBloom participant currently committed to sharing student data from throughout the state -- insisting on gambling with millions of children's privacy and security along with all these financial risks?  I am left wondering, even more than before. 

On the blog is video of Part II of the evening, with passionate statements and questions from the audience. Video of Part I , with introductory remarks from Margaret Kelley of the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, Stephen Boese of the Learning Disabilities Association of NY, a few outbursts from parents, and my presentation and that of Adina’s, are still on the Livestream site
I have also sent follow-up questions to Adina and I will post her answers when I receive them.  Thanks to all of the co-sponsoring organizations, all of you who came and to the Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz for hosting this event.  Now please contact your legislators and urge them to support the Student Privacy bill!
Thanks, and please forward this message to others,
Leonie Haimson
RBE has a good post on this story:

Parents Fight The InBloom Inc. Plan


I'm not fan of backstabbing Mona Davids who heads yet another astroturf "parent" group, who has turned into another slug with word out there that she was pushing the press to expose Leonie for sending her kid to a private school in addition to stabbing Julie Cavanagh in the back (a story for another time). But when Mona was (briefly) on the side of angels she took on Benjamin in this post on Ed Notes:

Parental Choice: Mona Davids Responds to Michael Benjamin

1 comment:

  1. So, Leonie can't advocate for public school parents and children but billionaires with business degrees whose children never stepped foot in a public schools can? This author is disingenuous. But, what do you expect coming from a failing newspaper like the Post?


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