Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Principal Uphappy at Cashin Support for Despised Networks as Backlash Against De Blasio Ed Moves Begins

...let's hope this is not another case of come meet the new boss, same as the old boss... NYC Principal
Photo from Gotham Schools
A very concerned principal expresses concern that networks may be staying around given Cashin's statement (State policymaker with a city stake wants to keep networks):
Kathy Cashin is a very bright lady. She is also very astute politically. If she is talking about keeping the network structure it probably means that she has heard through the Grapevine that de Blasio is leaning that way. This would be terrible as parent voice has been effectively (and intentionally) eliminated through this structure .... empowered COMMUNITY superintendents  in geographic Districts need to be brought back with a proper support staff to address parent concerns at the community level....let's hope this is not another case of come meet the new boss, same as the old boss....
Right now there are 3 concerns about de Blasio:
  • Support for continuing the networks created not only by Joel Klein but by urban ed deformers all over the nation which allowed the de-coupling of neighborhood schools from each other. 
  • Will the search for Chancellor be an open process?
  • Just how reformy will the new Chancellor be?
There is a myth out there that Kathy Cashin is somehow a real reformer because she has had some recent criticisms of a deform agenda, which she supported as principal in District 22 (pre-Bloomberg), District 23 Superintendent, Region 5 Supe (Districts 23, 27 and 19-- where she handed over space in 2 public schools for the UFT charters). She has had the support it seems of people like Sol Stern, Diane Ravitch and Leonie Haimson, who gave Cashin a 2012 Skinny Award for her voice on the NY State Board of Regents. Cashin has been lobbying for the job since she was tossed on the scrapheap by uncle Joel after she got too much favorable press for trying to stick to a core curriculum in the face of the early Teacher College onslaught. In fact the reaction against the TC stuff was due to horrible implementation -- you need small class sizes to make it work. Cashin was never about a progressive, child-centered environment and that won her friends in the Sol Stern "phonics police" camp.

As our principal points out, Cashin is a political operative (she comes out of the late former Chancellor Frank Macchiarola machine). And her comment is a sign that DeB will keep the networks.

I will do a separate piece on the hated networks by so many, though principals from some of the higher socio-economic schools were pressured by their network to sign a letter of support over a week ago. [no time to find the link].

I am not against the idea of schools with common goals banding together in a network of sorts but I basically support some kind of district structure where the center of power and choice resides at the school level.

One more thing about Cashin - the UFT wants her given a favorable history - she is the reason the UFT located their charters in East NY. There is a story that she once issued a directive with 60 ways for teachers to staple things to bulletin boards which I think was ridiculed as over-management but the blame was deflected to Tweed.

De Blasio won’t make his top picks for schools chancellor public. (GothamSchools, Daily News)

I'll let RBE at Perdido St School carry the ball on this one:

De Blasio Is Full Of @#$% Over Chancellor Pick Process Flip Flop

And so we get the first slimy move post-election by de Blasio:

Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that when he called for a public screening of schools chancellor candidates, his point was merely that the city must avoid a repeat of the Cathie Black debacle.

De Blasio was asked to explain an apparent reversal: He said at a mayoral forum a year ago that schools chancellor candidates must undergo a “serious public screening...We need a chancellor who is presented to the public, not just forced down our throat.”

But Monday, as he mulls his own schools chancellor pick, he said there would be no “beauty contest” where finalists for the job are publicly identified and scrutinized. The change angered some education advocates.

A reporter pressed de Blasio on how a public screening could be possible if the public is not informed of who the candidates are. An irritated-sounding de Blasio replied only: “I’m defining what I was saying then and what I’m saying now.”

He's defining what he was saying then and what he's saying now? What the hell does that mean? That's a slimy way of saying,"Yeah, I said I wanted a public process last year, but now that I'm elected mayor, I don't want one." In short, he's flip-flopped.

Won't be the first flip-flop, but it is not a good sign from Mayor-Elect De Blasio that he is already full of crap a month before he takes office. That last statement has to be read a couple of times to be believed. It's perfectly Clintonesque in its full of shitness..

Well, he did make his bones working for Big Bill back in the day, so I guess he's learned how to parse words from the best of them. As I have said before, de Blasio will have to be watched very, very closely. The kind of flip flop he engaged in yesterday over the chancellor pick process should raise some concern over what else he'll decide to flip flop on after he's sworn in.
And even RBE is astounded at this one:

Did De Blasio Interview Kaya Henderson To Be The Next NYCDOE Chancellor?

If de Blasio reached out to Kaya Henderson for either reason - to interview her for the DOE job or just to ask her advice about something or somebody else - it's another troubling sign. That's a big if, of course. This story could just be one of those "planted" things by some DFER or Eva Moskowitz ally looking to stir things up. Nonetheless, I think it is important to warn de Blaiso publicly that holding Henderson in anything other than contempt for her education record and policies is unacceptable.
 Kaya Henderson? A Rhee clone. Why doesn't deB consult with Michelle Rhee? Or just make her chancellor?

I've been saying this from before deB's election: If Eva actually has to pay serious rent I will eat my MORE tee-shirt -- with ketchup.

Some links from Gotham Schools:
  • The de Blasio team started reaching out to rumored candidates Kaya Henderson and Josh Starr. (Times)
  • At a pre-K presser, de Blasio said his chancellor search is an “open process.” (GothamSchools, WNYC)
  • Kathy Cashin, another oft-floated name who wants the job, declined to comment. (GothamSchools)


  1. The fact that the union is behind her is enough to cast doubt for me. She is from the old guard. Joshua Starr is the only superintendent to work in a district that turned down RTTT funding in order to keep a teacher eval system that wasn't based on testing. He was also the first one to call for a moratorium on testing. Ravitch didn't even know about PAR or Starr until I pointed it out in her comment section. Then she included him on her Honor Roll. Is Cashin the one who came from Bayside? If I recall, she ran that school with an iron fist but I might be thinking of another principal. And I do agree that the networks must go. Network managers are pushing their own people (friends) into principal positions. They are supposed to be there for support, but I know of one Queens district where the network superintendent is a total bitch and goes into schools not help, but to destroy. deBlasio really has to think this one through.

    1. Cashin was not a high school person but an elem principal of PS 193K in District 22 and then Dist 23 in Ocean-Hill Brownsville. She was pushed by certain influential forces, including the UFT -- Peter Goodman was her District rep in 22 and was mute when she gave certain teachers a hard time. I believe one of them was the chap ldr.

  2. Follow the $$$$$.....Ask yourself - why the media is pushing the 100 or so principals who support the network structure- 1500 principals will not sign it. and how many network leaders pushed their principals to sign?

  3. Pete Farruggio, Assoc Prof Bilingual EducationSaturday, December 7, 2013 at 11:23:00 AM EST

    The first bad sign from de Blasio was his quick decision to re-hire Mr Stop-and-Frisk Bratton as police commish. Just like Obama's immediate 2008 post election statement that he wouldn't prosecute US officials for war crimes. Huhhh??? Wasn't that a big reason they got so many votes, to change the previous authoritarian policies?? Sad to say, but get ready for a new crew of Ed-Deformers to run NYC education. I think even non-revolutionaries have to agree with Chris Hedges that any semblance of real reform and democracy is currently impossible under the corrupt plutocracy and its bought off electoral system. Time to focus on grassroots organizing, such as continuing the fight for control of the union. Courage!

  4. Is this really a full-throated endorsement of the networks, or cherry-picking by someone at GothamSchools who is sympathetic to the networks and/or is fishing for a story? Cashin seems to be sympathizing rather than endorsing to me.

    She said a letter in support of the networks, signed by over 100 principals last month, showed that the structure works, “as long as we have a clear chain of command.”

    “You know why networks are so important right now? Because they have community and people have been living alone or on their own,” Cashin said.

    “It means so much to them to be together,” she added. “I think that’s why they’re objecting to going back to the districts.”


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