Monday, September 30, 2013

Sept. 30: Portelos Hearing, Protest Eva Invasion of Seth Low, High Stakes Test Forum at PS 51K

Oy! On a beautiful day that I would love to be spending in my backyard contemplating my little garden construction project that has become my obsession (contemplate, not do actual work on it -- but look for a photo soon to show where I am at with it) I am about to leave for the Portelos hearing -- where I hear the slimy investigators will testify. I know Portelos did talk to them and no matter how innocent you think you are they will twist any word out of place and use it against you. This should be a good lesson for all of us to pass on about how to deal with OSI. My instinct is to refuse to say anything. Let them gather evidence -- you will have your day at the hearing. Of course people talk to them hoping they will hear your side and there won't be a hearing. Looking at the evidence, they are not interested in your side -- the interview is to catch you. But maybe I am wrong -- check with lawyers.

As I've been reporting, we are not telling details -- you can check the charges at Protect Portelos -- but so far all I hear is nonsense from the DOE -- without much to go on they are trying to paint Portelos as a terrorist -- someone to fear -- like the principal and staff are afraid of him -- taking some of the words of anger he used when he came under attack out of context. The DOE lawyer was already whining that some are intimidated by him and won't testify against him. As NYSUT lawyer Chris Callegy said -- "If I had a nickel for every person intimidated by the DOE...."

Callegy keeps pointing out that if these people in his school were upset at him they wouldn't elect him as chapter leader. Let's see how many of these people actually testify against him. Given the actions of the principal towards Portelos supporters there is much more fear of her than of him. Here's my report from last Monday's hearing. Portelos Hearing: DOE Legal Invalidates Chapter Le...
I expect other retiree MOREistas to attend.

STOP THE CHARTER SCHOOL INVASION THREATENING DISTR... I have to leave the hearing about 4:30 to get to the 5:30 rally at Seth Low at 99 Ave. P (near West 9th St in Brooklyn) where Eva is invading. Say what? This is white Bensonhurst. The border of District 20 and 21. A charter there? Well you know the Eva drill. Poor kids of color are passe. She need to build her political machine in all parts of the city to fuel her mayoral ambitions. There is a hearing at 6 and I will stay for a while. Click the link above for more info. (I will take some footage).

MORE/Change the Stakes Jia Lee and Fred Smith on P...
But then I have to get over to PS 51 at 350 5th Ave in Park Slope for the CEC 15 sponsored High Stakes Testing forum where our pals Leonie Haimson, Jia Lee and Fred Smith will be on the same panel with Shael Polokow-Suransky. I will tape if I can.

I don't expect to get home until 10PM or later. And I will be very hungry. Can someone email me a chicken parm hero?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

MORE Fundraising Brunch, Saturday, Oct. 5

Help counter the massive Unity machine. Can't make it? Donate anyway.

Join us for a Brunch Cocktail
Saturday, October 5
11:30am to 1:00pm
Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew
520 Clinton Avenue Brooklyn, NY
Homemade food
Brunch cocktail, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options available
Meet MORE’s educator activists
                                         Learn about our movement
                                                      Support our work to improve teaching and learning conditions

RSVP online to reserve your place at the table:
Suggested Donations: Adult: $20 Youth 10-20: $10

Parent Calls for Support of Oct. 9 "Win Back Wednesday"

Janine Sopp issues a call to her network. There are links to the Toolkit prepared by MORE for use in your schools, plus a great video prepared by MORE Media. The day will culminate with a rally outside the UFT Delegate Assembly (52 Broadway) on Oct. 9 at 4PM with a focus on the evaluation system the UFT leadership is pushing. If only the usual suspects are there they will be ignored.

The game will change when the day comes that we see hundreds of people with connection to hundreds of schools outside the DA putting pressure on the UFT leadership. (I still have to tell you my story of the Sept. emergency DA and the crap Unity tried to pull on distribution of lit.)

I know people -internally and externally who are critics of MORE for not coming up with an alternative system of evaluation. That is an issue for further discussion, though frankly, given there is no real way to judge a teacher's work through the use of data, maybe what we had (S or U - maybe add a middle rating like I) was the best way -- though I would create an independent investigative unit to take a close look at abusive principals who target certain people for political or economic reasons.

In Ravitch's "Reign of Error" she points to a question asked of many foreign educators: "What do you do about a bad teacher? Answer: We help them. Q: And if they are not improving? A: We help them some more. And if that doesn't work we help them find another profession." Actually, if they are basically competent in some ways but can't seem to manage the classroom situation, there must be some position in the ed structure for them.

Here is Janine.

Greetings Fellow Parents, Teachers and Friends,

As most of you know, we are facing a new year in our children's schools where standardized tests will have even higher stakes attached to them.  Because NYS has created a teacher evaluation system that is tied to the tests our children are mandated to take, we expect an even higher level of stress throughout the year.  With the implementation of the Common Core Standards and the creation of new tests that have not been fully aligned yet, and are often poorly designed, our kids will be used somewhat as guinea pigs, but the stakes are too high for this kind of experimentation.  Even our youngest students, in K-2, will be subjected to these measures and we will see the quality of teaching deteriorate under these circumstances.  

If you find all of this troubling and feel you have no power over what is happening, you are wrong. Now more than ever, parents are taking charge of their children's educational destiny and saying NO. At a time when we are choosing a new mayor to lead our schools in a new direction, we actually have more influence than we may realize.  We have the power to vote, we have the right to opt out, we have a voice that needs to be heard and many organizations with which to organize.  

Whether you are a parent, a teacher, an administrator, a student or a concerned citizen, you can show your support by joining others who are actively working toward shifting the conversation and the direction of education, the runaway train that needs us to step on the brakes.

Attached is an incredible tool kit, created to help your schools organize for a day of action to kick off "Win Back Wednesdays" on October 9.  Please share this tool kit with your school leaders, PTA, SLT, PAC, your families, teachers and administration.  There are ideas for actions, small and large, to support the empowerment of our students and our schools.  Know that there is a state wide movement to end the use of high stakes standardized testing and it's punitive effects.  Adding your voice, your action, will help grow the movement to make the shift to a more balanced, holistic approach to our children's education and give our children the schools they deserve.

Feel free to post photos of your actions to Change the Stakes and MORE Facebook pages.  Check out and share this Win Back Wednesday video.
 Want to learn more, come to Brooklyn for one or both of these events.
With regards,

626K   View   Download  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Reign of Error Review: Kozol on Ravitch, Speculating on Why There is No Middle Ground in the Ed Wars

Having Kozol review Ravitch is like getting the gold ring. Which means someone at the NY Times Book Review has some sense. The NY Post has a Michelle Rhee clone do the review. I imagine there are different forces at work within the Times and I expect we will see a different type of review when the daily Arts section, usually Janet Maslin, review the book.

In the school wars I am reminded of The Terminator where robots are out to stamp out humans. There is no middle ground. Resist or be wiped out. So I find it amusing to hear calls for both sides to lay down their arms -- as if the real reform humans are on equal footing with the ed deform robots with all the power, money and weapons.

There is no middle ground and articles like this one in The Atlantic written by a charter school teacher ends lining up with the robot deformers ("can't we support "good" charters like KIPP?)". There was a recent article in the same magazine (I can't find the link right now) comparing books by Rhee and Ravitch -- as if it is conceivable there can be a middle ground between them. We have a better chance of finding middle ground with Korea. Or Iran.

This Is Only a Test


The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools
By Diane Ravitch
396 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.95.
Over the past 20 years, a rising tide of voices in the world of public policy has been telling us that public education has fallen into an abyss of mediocrity. Our schools are “broken,” the mantra goes. Principals and teachers — their lack of “rigor” and “low expectations” for their students — are the primary offenders. The problem can be “fixed” only if schools are held to strict accountability. “No excuses” are to be permitted.
The pressure intensified in 2002 with the enactment of the federal testing law No Child Left Behind, which mandated high-stakes standardized exams that were supposed to bring every child to “proficiency” by the year 2014. When it grew apparent that this goal would not be reached, privatizing leaders pounced, offering business-modeled interventions as, perhaps, the only viable solution. Prominent figures in financial circles and at large foundations became interested in charter schools, encouraged their expansion and provided grant support to some of them. Others, with less philanthropic motives, saw a market opportunity and started running charter schools for profit. What had been a slowly growing movement now became a juggernaut.
Diane Ravitch was for many years one of the strongest advocates for the testing-and-accountability agenda. Because of her impeccable credentials as a scholar and historian of education, she was a commanding presence among critics of our schools. Some years ago, however, she reconsidered her long-held beliefs and, in an influential book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” parted ways with her former allies and joined the highly vocal opposition.
In her new book, “Reign of Error,” she arrows in more directly, and polemically, on the privatization movement, which she calls a “hoax” and a “danger” that has fed on the myth that schools are failing. Scores go up and down from year to year — usually, as she explains, because the testing instruments are changed and vary in their difficulty. But, pointing to the National Assessment of Education Progress, which has sampled math and reading scores every two years since 1992 and, in an alternate version, every four years since the early 1970s, Ravitch demonstrates that levels of achievement have been rising, incrementally but steadily, from one decade to the next. And — surprise! — those scores are now “at their highest point ever recorded.” Graduation rates are also at their highest level, with more young people entering college than at any time before.
Black and Hispanic children, nonetheless, continue to lag behind. The black-white gap, as Ravitch documents, narrowed greatly in the era of desegregation, but progress has slowed as the hyper-segregation of our schools and neighborhoods along both racial and economic lines has come to be accepted once again as the normal order of the day. Market competition has not reduced the gap. Charter schools — Ravitch says we ought to ban those that operate for profit — have an uneven record. They “run the gamut from excellent to awful” and, on average, do no better than their public counterparts. Those that claim impressive gains are often openly or subtly selective in the children they enroll. Most do not serve children with severe disabilities. Others are known to counsel out or expel problematic students whose performance might depress the scores.
What passes for reform today, Ravitch writes, is “a deliberate effort” to replace public schools with a market system. The “unnatural focus on testing” has produced “perverse but predictable results.” It has narrowed curriculums to testable subjects, to the exclusion of the arts and the full capaciousness of culture. And it has encouraged the manipulation of scores on state exams. “Teaching to the test, once considered unprofessional and unethical,” is now “common.”
All of this, she says, has continued unrelentingly under the administration of President Obama, who has given “full-throated Democratic endorsement” to “the longstanding Republican agenda.” The president’s signature education package, Race to the Top, is “only marginally different from No Child Left Behind.” In fact, it compounds the damage by requiring that states evaluate teachers, partially at least, on the basis of yearly gains in students’ scores — no matter if the teacher has a different group of children from year to year, which is usually the case, and no matter whether a teacher has more troubled children, or more with disabilities, than another teacher who comes up with higher scores.
In its funding practices, the White House has “abandoned equity as the driving principle of federal aid,” offering new funds on condition that states expand the scope of competition by opening more charter schools and outsourcing normal functions of public schools to private agencies. This, Ravitch says, is “the first time in history” the government has “designed programs with the intent of stimulating private-­sector investors to create for-­profit ventures in American education.”
Ravitch has her own ideas about how to elevate the quality of education. Among her proposals: vastly expanded prekindergarten programs introducing children to “the joyful pursuit of play and learning”; more comprehensive medical and mental-health provisions (“every school should have a nurse, a psychologist, a guidance counselor”); smaller classes (like those in costly private schools); and diagnostic testing that, unlike a standardized exam, shows us where a child needs specific help — but, because it’s not judgmental, casts no cloud of anxiety over learning.
In the long run, she puts her faith in teachers but wants to strengthen the profession with higher entry standards. We can’t rely on “enthusiastic amateurs” who teach short term, any more than we’d rely on amateur physicians. She rejects stick-and-carrot incentives like merit pay — “the idea that never works and never dies,” and that undermines the spirit of collaboration by pitting teacher against teacher. She also deplores humiliating practices like publishing teachers’ names beside students’ test scores, as has been done in California and New York.
If we are to cast about for international comparisons, Ravitch urges us — this is not a new suggestion but is, I think, a useful one — to take a good, hard look at Finland, which operates one of the most successful education systems in the world. Teachers there, after competing for admission to schools of education and then receiving a superb course of instruction, are “held in high regard” and “exercise broad autonomy.” They are not judged by students’ test scores, because “there are no scores.” The country has no charter schools and no “Teach for Finland.” But, as Ravitch reminds us, there is one other, crucial difference: “Less than 5 percent of children in Finland are growing up in poverty.” In the United States, 23 percent do.
Again and again, she returns to this: “Our urban schools are in trouble because of concentrated poverty and racial segregation,” which make for a “toxic mix.” Public schooling in itself, she emphasizes, is “in a crisis only so far as society is and only so far as this new narrative of crisis has destabilized it.”
In her zeal to deconstruct that narrative, Ravitch takes on almost all the well-known private-sector leaders and political officials — among them Arne Duncan, Joel Klein, Bill Gates, Wendy Kopp and Michelle Rhee — who have given their encouragement, or barrels of their money, to the privatizing drive. It isn’t likely they’ll be sending her bouquets. Those, on the other hand, who have grown increasingly alarmed at seeing public education bartered off piece by piece, and seeing schools and teachers thrown into a state of siege, will be grateful for this cri de coeur — a fearless book, a manifesto and a call to battle.
Jonathan Kozol is a former fourth-grade teacher and the author of “Savage Inequalities,” “The Shame of the Nation” and, most recently, “Fire in the Ashes.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

Join MOREistas in Win Back Wednesday: Our Children are MORE than a Score!

See MORE's entire Win Back Wednesday ToolKit, including stickers you can download and print at the MORE site:

And here is another excellent video from the MORE Media Team.

Leonie Haimson Goes to School and Finds Tweedie Implementation of Common Core Is a Disaster Movie

So, amongst all the inherent faults of the Common Bore, we have the totally inept Walcott-led Tweedies showing once again that they would find getting out of a paper bag a significant challenge.

Heeeeere's Leonie:
I toured school yesterday where majority of students are ELLs, either in dual language or transitional bilingual:

- Most teachers said that they were lacking Common core texts, workbooks and/or teacher guides;

- Meanwhile there were many big boxes in library full of materials that were excess or the wrong stuff, but that DOE said could NOT be returned;

- NONE of the Common Core materials are written in Spanish, making it impossible to teach literacy according to the dual language or bilingual model.

Thus there were classes full of students, some of them just arrived to the country, and others with IEPs, who were struggling with materials that they had NO chance of being able to read.

Add to this that the grade level of some of these Pearson texts are already way above the grades assigned them, even for fluent English speakers (see Clara Hemphill on this), for example, Charlotte’s web in 2nd grade; and an informational text on spiders for 4th grade, full of VERY difficult vocabulary and densely packed prose that I had difficulty getting through.

This is a perfect example of how the Common Core’s standardization model and difficulty level seem totally misguided – especially for ELL students and kids with IEPs, who have also assigned these materials.

Leonie Haimson
Change the stakes parents responded:
Teachers at my son's dual language school were concerned about this problem last winter, and seemingly nothing was done to address it. HST policies and now Common Core rollout have been incredibly damaging to dual language programs (which,as we know, have very strong evidence of success on many indicators of learning.) 
My son's school started using a a "common-core-aligned" math series this year.  I'm not sure whether or not there is a Spanish edition, but there is definitely not an English edition :-).

Pardon the sidetrack, but the definition of "core aligned" (based on my limited sample) seems to be "random quotes and references to sections of the common core standards sprinkled throughout the the text, with no discernible connection to the pages on which they appear."  If what I've seen is in any way representative, common core is nakedly nothing more than an excuse to sell the same old books in a new wrapper.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Rally at Seth Low (99 Ave. P in Brooklyn) Monday, Sept. 30 at 5:30 before the 6 PM meeting.

They're coming. Charter and co-loco invasions are coming to every nook and cranny of the public school system, even those who thought they were exempt from the carnage. But people are fighting back.

Many of us have been through this drill time and again, always with the same result. But with Bloomberg Tweedies soon to be vacating the premises there is some hope. A strong community demonstration just might have an impact. Or it might not, but now is the time to go for it.

Monday I will be at Round 3 of the Portelos hearing -- I may leave early to get over to Seth Low for the rally and the early part of the hearing before heading over to the CEC 15 High Stakes Testing meeting at PS 51 which will feature Leonie Haimson and MORE/Change the Stakes Jia Lee and Fred Smith on Panel HST Panel with Shael Polokow-Suransky, who people are guessing may be an interim Chancellor when the skunks dessert the mother ship. Shael tries to appear reasonable and parent friendly. Don't believe it.

Here's the text of the leaflet if you want to share.




Come to the Joint Public Hearing
At Seth Low (99 Avenue P)
On September 30th at 6 pm

Come to the hearing on September 30th and sign up to speak
By Phone: 212-374-0208
By Mail:  Charter Schools Institute@ The State University of New York, 41 State Street, Suite 700, Albany, NY 12207

Attend the Panel for Educational Policy Meetings (PEP) taking place @ Prospect Heights Campus, 883 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, NY on October 15th, 6 pm


Councilman Stephen Levin to Eva Moskowitz: "Prioritize pupils instead of politics"

Levin for KING!
“Forcing parents and children to march in a political rally is obscene and has no place in our schools,” said Levin. “It is insulting that someone who is supposed to be educating New York City’s children would choose to pull kids out of school in order to benefit her political agenda.”
Levin calls on Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott to intervene and prevent the political rally from occurring at a time when students should be in school.
Eva has a political agenda? I'm shocked. I truly love Eva. Her outrageous actions end up exposing all the deformers as they try to dance around her actions. Watch Walcott dance around this one. How great would it be for even one public school principal in this system to announce he/she is closing the school for a counter rally? That would make some fur fly as the Tweedies would come down hard.

And I just love the closing:


Statement from Council Member Stephen Levin
33rd District, Brooklyn


DATE: 9/26/2013
CONTACT: Matt Ojala

Stephen Levin to Eva Moskowitz: “Prioritize pupils instead of politics”

Calls on Chancellor Walcott to intervene and prevent Moskowitz’s political rally from occurring during school hours

BROOKLYN – Council Member Stephen Levin is criticizing Success Academy Charter Schools and its founder Eva Moskowitz for prioritizing politics rather than educating the children of New York. As reported by Gotham Schools this Monday, Eva Moskowitz has directed parents of the schools that they “must” plan to accompany their children to a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. She is delaying the start of school until after the march, which means students will lose most of the school day.

Levin is also calling on Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott to intervene and prevent the political rally from occurring at a time when students should be in school.

“Forcing parents and children to march in a political rally is obscene and has no place in our schools,” said Levin. “It is insulting that someone who is supposed to be educating New York City’s children would choose to pull kids out of school in order to benefit her political agenda.”

“This would never be allowed at a public school, and it has no place in charter schools either. There are 24 hours in a day, most of them occurring when class is not in session. I call on Chancellor Walcott to intervene so that Ms. Mosowitz’s political rallies are not being held at a time when students should be learning.”

See below for the full e-mail from Eva Moskowitz that tells Success Academy Charter School parents they must attend her political rally:

Dear Parents,

Your child’s education is threatened.  Our very existence is threatened.  Opponents want to take away our funding and our facilities.  These attacks are a real danger — we cannot stand idly by.

This is an outrage: There are hundreds of empty classrooms all across New York City, and more than 1,000 district schools share space without a complaint.  Yet our opponents want to penalize our success — and are proposing legislation to do so.

These issues are tremendously important.  If we lose ground – literally, if we lose access to public space – we cannot fulfill our commitment to you and your scholar.

Which is why you – you and your scholar, your friends and relatives –  must join us on Tuesday, October 8 to march with other charter parents across the Brooklyn Bridge.

What: Parent March across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of charter schools and parent choice!

When: Tuesday, October 8, 7:30am-11:00am.  Buses will pick you and your scholar up from school at morning arrival, and you will be dropped off at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn. We will delay the start of school until after the march.

Where: The march will start in Cadman Plaza, go across the Brooklyn Bridge, and end in City Hall Park (Downtown Manhattan).  All families will then take a subway back to school after the march to drop off scholars for the rest of the school day.

Don’t let opponents of ed reform steal your children’s future.  This is about your child, your choice.  Your voice must be heard.  We must show public officials that parents will fight for the right to choose excellent schools.

Eva Moskowitz
Founder and CEO
Success Academy Charter Schools

Matt Ojala
Communications Director
Office of Council Member Stephen Levin
250 Broadway, Suite 1820
New York, NY 10007
718-875-5200 (Office)

Susan Ohanian New Content: Sept. 26, 2013

I never get to all of the stuff Susan compiles with her great comments but am posting so we have an archive of links, especially when we need to collate stuff on common core. Can we work with the right/tea party gang to defeat this sucker? If I ever get some time off from sitting in the backyard and contemplating something or other I will write a piece based on my discussion with my friend's college prof son, a progressive who couldn't see why people are against the CC -- until I gave him the skinny. I don't know if I convinced him but those who are in the middle of the road with the truck heading at them feel it viscerally. I try to commiserate from the distance of my back yard -- as Susan does so well from her Vermont retreat.

I posted a little piece over at Schools Matter:
Bill and Melinda Gates Money at Work. It shows how Josh Edelman of Stand for Children is pushing Common Core

I'm sending the 'Offering Gov Scott help' piece again because Paula Meyer wrote such a terrific letter to Scott. Go forth and do likewise.

The Eggplant is back.


Drumroll Please: An ABC of Common Core Resistance
Susan Ohanian

I've compiled a state-by-state list of sites set up specifically to oppose the Common Core. It sure makes me wonder: Where are the progressives?

Common Core: A Lesson Plan for Raising Up Compliant, Non-Thinking Citizens
John W. Whitehead
OpEd News

Indoctrination through compliance is a major danger of the Common Core. Train kids from preK to be obedient responders who follow directions.

 Offering Gov Scott help: Are Progressives Up to the Task?
6 reporters & editorialists
Tampa Bay Times, Orlando Sentinel, & Miami Herald

There is a commonality about  coverage of the Common Core from three Florida newspapers. Reading all this commentary and reporting from three papers coverage of Gov. Scott's action  will test progressivist Common Core opponents' willingness to parse their categories of good guys and bad guys. Question: Are you up to the task? I suggest a way to help Gov. Scott out of this mess.

 The Two Faces of American Education
Andew Delbanco


We needed a review of the serious issues Diane Ravitch addresses, and we didn't get it. What we got was a soft approach toward Rhee's self-congratulation and. . . sparse treatment of the essential issues Ravitch raises.

I've subscribed to The New York Review of Books since their inception. I don't know when I've been more disappointed in a review.

To the editor
Stephen Krashen
Greenville News (SC)

Stephen Krashen is librarians' greatest advocate, as we all should be.

A Report Card on Education Reform
David Leonhardt
New York Times

Duncan sticks to his script. Head of Business Roundtable  unwittingly reveals what is fundamentally wrong with ed deform.

Crazy White House Proposal: Rank Colleges Based On How Much Graduates Earn
Les Leopold

Team Obama wants to turn higher education into yet another financial instrument, thus proving they can ruin education preK-infinity.

New York Times Declares Bill Gates Unfit for Microsoft Leadership Role

New York Times Deal B%%k

Bill Gates' many talents don't include effectiveness as chairman.

LAUSD halts home use of iPads for students after devices hacked
Howard Blume
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles school officials are in a panic because LAUSD students have figured out how to bypass security restrictions on iPads issued to them by the school district, giving them access to non-scholastic Internet sites.

I say good for the students.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation  and US Department of Education Join Hands to  Announce Operation STOP
Susan Ohanian
The Eggplant

It's The Eggplant. Proceed at your own risk.
And send Susan a contribution for her work:
Order the CD of the resistance:
"No Child Left Behind? Bring Back the Joy."
To order online (and hear samples from the songs)
Other orders: Send $15 to
Susan Ohanian
P. O. Box 26
Charlotte, VT 05445

Shame on NYC Ed Reporters for Supporting E4E in Event Closed to Anyone Who Doesn't Sign Their Pledge

I saw the names of the reporters who are going to be on the panel and was sort of shocked that the "neutral" press would be on a panel for an organization that has banned people who do not agree with their pledge. In fact at one point I tried to go in with my press pass and they had CUNY security throw me out. They said press had to pre-register. I asked the rest of the press if they had to and they said "No."

One thing we can bet on: Gotham will have a reporter there as part of the panel and will cover the event in a story. I would go and challenge this farce but I have to do what little hair I have left.

The Next Education Mayor Thursday, Sep 26 06:30PM
On September 26th at 6:30 PM, E4E will be hosting a discussion with local journalists about the upcoming mayoral election at Baruch College Conference Center. Join fellow teachers for a great opportunity to hear from those who know this critical race best. Journalists will answer questions about the upcoming mayoral election and the candidates' education platforms, speaking from their unique perspectives from the campaign trail.

Doors will open at 6:00 PM, and the event will begin at 6:30 PM, with a reception to follow. Please join us at 55 Lexington Avenue, on the 14th floor.

Baruch College Vertical Campus Conference Center, 55 Lexington Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10010

MORE/Change the Stakes Jia Lee and Fred Smith on Panel HST Panel with Shael Polokow-Suransky

I hope Shael doesn't join Marc Sternberg in jumping the Tweed ship before this event. Does he think he has a chance to be chancellor? (I'm betting on Cathie Cashin). But the word is that Shael could be interim Chancellor until the Sandanista appoints Raul Castro to the PEP.

You are invited to come to our Community Education Council

District 15 Public Meeting 

High-Stakes Testing and District 15 Common Core Test Results 

Date: Monday, September 30, 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Location:  MS 51

350 5th Avenue


Brooklyn, NY 11215
  • Shael Polakow-Suransky, Chief Academic Officer, NYC Public Schools
  • Anita Skop, District 15 Superintendent
  • Anna Allanbrook, Principal of Brooklyn New School, PS 146
  • Jack Spatola, Principal of Beacon School of Excellence, PS 172
  • Jia Lee, Parent Activist and Teacher at The Earth School
  • Leonie Haimson, Director of Class Size Matters
  • Fred Smith, Change The Stakes

How did your kid's school do on the Common Core tests? Representatives from the DOE will break down the scores for our district. A panel of educators and activists will respond with a critical discussion of high-stakes testing and its implications. They will present alternate perspectives on the 2013 test scores and what they mean to us as concerned public school parents, educators and administrators.  

District 15 Community Education Council

131 Livingston Street, Room 301

Brooklyn, New York 11201

Message from Eva, La General: Parents, You Don't Have a Choice NOT to Attend

And if your choice is to have your little scholars be in school that morning instead of being force marched over the bridge, screw you!

PS: I'm going to run for mayor against that sorry-assed Sandanista in 2017 and need you and your scholars for political fodder.

Then there is this post from Diane Ravitch

As previously reported on this blog by an anonymous teacher at Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter chain, parents, teachers, students, and staff have been directed to participate in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge on October 8 to protest any slowdown in allocation of  public space to charter schools or any effort to charge the charters rent for public space. Some readers doubted the authenticity of this claim, but in fact it is true, as reported by website Gotham Schools.

Another reader of the blog sent this comment about why she will not march, nor will her children. 

She writes:
I am also a parent of a child at Success…this email is Real and participation is MANDATORY. As Eva said in her advocacy meeting the only excuse parents have for not attending protests or rallies is if someone (that someone being a woman because men are not excused) is within two hours of giving birth. She also noted that there would be at least 10 “events” a year and we are all required to attend. What is insane to me is that they argue the importance of classroom time so much so that they do not consider a Doctor’s appointment during school hours an excused absence but she sees it necessary to close schools down for several hours to protest. These children (most of them being kindergartners and 1st graders) should not be made to march any bridge they are children not pawns. Needless to say, we will not be participating.  I believe in standing up for my beliefs.
The point is a political show of force to impress the mayoral candidates, especially the Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio, who has publicly said that he will impose a moratorium on co-locations and would charge rent instead of giving away free space.
On this website, we have occasionally debated whether charter schools are public schools. This mandated march--the schools will be closed so that everyone will participate--would be illegal if the Success Academy charters were public schools.
By the way, Eva Moskowitz (a lawyer and former member of the City Council) is now paid $475,000 a year for managing schools enrolling fewer than 5,000 students, about double the salary of the schools' chancellor who allegedly oversees the education of 1.1 million students.

This is the letter sent to parents. They are asked to support "choice," but they are not allowed a "choice" about whether to march in support of the charter chain.

Dear Parents,
Your child’s education My high salary is threatened.  Our very   My personal political machine's existence is threatened.  Opponents want to take away our funding and our facilities.  These attacks are a real danger — we cannot stand idly by.

This is an outrage: My 500 grand salary cannot be sustained if that schmuck makes us pay rent even though it is state law that we do. But who cares about state law when you have all the leaders on your side?

 There are hundreds of empty classrooms all across New York City, and more than 1,000 district schools share space without a complaint.  Yet our opponents want to penalize our success — and are proposing legislation to do so.

These issues are tremendously important.  If we lose ground – literally, if we lose access to public space – we cannot fulfill our commitment to you and your scholar.

Which is why you – you and your scholar, your friends and relatives –  must join us on Tuesday, October 8 to march with other charter parents across the Brooklyn Bridge.

What: Parent March across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of charter schools and parent choice!

When: Tuesday, October 8, 7:30am-11:00am.  Buses will pick you and your scholar up from school at morning arrival, and you will be dropped off at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn. We will delay the start of school until after the march.

Where: The march will start in Cadman Plaza, go across the Brooklyn Bridge, and end in City Hall Park (Downtown Manhattan).  All families will then take a subway back to school after the march to drop off scholars for the rest of the school day.

Don’t let opponents of ed reform steal your children’s future.  This is about your child, your choice.  Your voice must be heard.  We must show public officials that parents will fight for the right to choose excellent schools.
Eva Moskowitz
Founder and CEO
Success Academy Charter Schools