Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lisa Donlan Judges Bloomberg Ed Legacy in Comparison to the Old System

The argument ed deformers made for mayoral control was
corruption, chaos, inequity and cronyism by the old school boards. Many of us fought to reform that system, not to eliminate it. In fact I and my pals went to many school board meetings in District 14 through the 70s arguing for less supervisors and lower class size and for fundamental reform.

But the horror story of the chaos, inequity and cronyism under Bloomberg though Tweed makes the old days look like chicken feed.

Lisa Donlan, parent activist on the Lower East Side (District 1) supreme takes over from here:

Tweed was at least as guilty, if not more so,  given the magnitude and lack of transparency of their own
corruption, chaos, inequity and cronyism.

The recycling of bureaucrats, often double dipping pensioners in the new SSOs and CBOs and other private partnerships (ie: Region 9 Head Sup Peter Heaney  to America's Choice; Lelsie Zackman, Alice Young, and Barbara Gambino,  Region 9 Supes to New Visions); the inter related hedge fund  charter board board members (Spencer Robertson, son of titan Julian,  head of  PAVE charter and wife Sarah past Board Pres at Girl Prep, for example); the DoE charter school office  to charter management and edu-biz profit making organizations (Michael Duffy, Victory, the for-profit CMO (along w/ colleague Aquila Haynes), and Great Oaks Charter; Recy Dunn now at New Leaders along with Jean Desravines, Christina Grant to ED of NYCAN... the list is long - for example see articles like this GS column:
Dunn is the third person to lead the charter office since the law was passed last May. The former director of the city’s charter office, Michael Duffy, left the DOE in July. Aaron Listhaus, the charter office’s former Chief Academic Officer, stepped in as interim director, before Dunn took over the office in the middle of the school year. Listhaus has also since left the office to lead the Hebrew Charter Center.

But one of my fave's, anecdotal as it may be, is rich in symbolism:

The hiring of ex Bear Sterns exec as DoE CFO, post Wall Street melt down, who then bilked the city of time/money including siphoning off almost $400K for hypnosis for Tweedie birds to learn to "manage change"!
You can NOT make this stuff up! 

William Howatt, a new age hypnotist and fellow Bear Stearns alum, to boost morale in the Education Department. They later found Howatt did much of his work from his home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Read more:

And this just in from Diane Ravitch blog:

Most Surprising Conclusion of the Week

by dianeravitch
During his three terms as mayor --12 years--Mayor Bloomberg developed a data-driven strategy for school reform that relied heavily on high-stakes testing to close schools and replace them with small schools or charter schools. He eliminated neighborhood high schools and even neighborhood middle schools. "Choice" and test-based accountability were the central themes of his reforms.
The school closings were an annual ritual. Thousands of parents and teachers protested the closings but were routinely ignored by the mayor's Board of Education, whose majority served at his pleasure, knowing the mayor would fire them if they bucked his wishes.
He closed scores of schools and opened hundreds of new schools. Some of the schools he closed were "new" schools that he had opened.
By the end of his tenure, polls showed that no more than 22-26% of voters approved of his education policies.
Many, it seemed, wanted a good neighborhood school, not a cornucopia of choices.
Yet at a recent discussion of the Bloomberg reforms, a report was released hailing this era of "reform" that the voters rejected. What was strange was that the report praised the Bloomberg era for what it did not demonstrate.
“Perhaps the mayor’s greatest education legacy is the belief that good public schools for all are possible,” the researchers, from the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, write in an introduction. ”Yet the challenges, including resource challenges, remain huge.”
Not many teachers or public school parents are likely to endorse that statement.
Sadly, Bloomberg did not create a system of good public schools for all, nor did he encourage the belief "that good public schools for all are possible." Instead, he promoted the idea that those who wanted a good school should leave the public school system for a privately managed charter school.
That heroic task is now on Bill de Blasio's to-do list.


  1. In regards to Leslie Zackman, she is the one who brought in INDEPENDENT literacy consultant Olivia Wahl into the now defunct region 1 to do literacy developing with the teachers and principals. Later when regions were abolished by Bloomberg, principals were given the right to hire Olivia and provide staff developing to the teachers. However, people need to be careful when it comes consulting and planning with Olivia Wahl because she has no morals and will help 'gather up material' on teachers per request by principals to start up a paper trail.

    Even though Leslie claims that Olivia is a goddess when it comes to literacy development, Olivia's methodology does not allign with CC or with behavior management.

    For more on Olivia Wahl, here is her website...for more information on Olivia, check out her Linkedin profile. She also has a total # of 5 years teaching experience.

  2. Recy Dunn was also head of Early Childhood at the DOE before he became Charter Schools Office Executive Director.


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