Friday, January 31, 2014

The Battle for NYSUT: Ebbs and Flows

We have reports that a 100 locals have signed on to the Iannuzzi slate. You can track what is going on at their site - NYSUT - STRONGER TOGETHER - Home.

While Phil Rumore's Buffalo may be leaning away from Iannuzzi, the article below show the other 3 cities -- Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers may be on the fence.

The bigger issue is whether a true resistance to a Mulgrew dominated NYSUT will grow out of this struggle no matter the result. Signs are pointing that way.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, who headed New York City's teachers' union before taking the national post, wouldn't take sides when confronted by reporters at a labor rally in Albany Wednesday. But she said she was disappointed by the rhetoric of the race, which has turned nasty. (See Iannuzzi and Pallotta's fight over a table at Governor Andrew Cuomo's Billy Joel-headlined bęrthday fund-raiser.)
“We have had state elections like this throughout the country—in Minnesota, in Florida, in West Virginia, in New Mexico—that have never gotten as divisive as this one,” she said..... CapitalNY
While some think Randi must be behind the move of the UFT to take over NYSUT completely and totally (they pretty much have a lot of control now) this doesn't have her fingerprints. What does she have to gain from trying to push out Iannuzzi - who she helped put in? Or pushing out Maria Neira who she promoted from the UFT Exec Bd to a NYSUT VP?

People are pissed and to me it seems the pro-Iannuzzi are more pissed (I call them the real insurgents) and most likely to go rogue after the election.
A source who attended the reception said it seemed like there was a line down the middle of the room separating the supporters and challengers of the current administration, with Pallotta floating between the groups. An similar scene followed Tuesday morning at a reportedly awkward breakfast hosted by New York City's United Federation of Teachers.
Here is some new news from the same source about the other big cities and it looks like they are ęn the fence - no matter how they vote if they are unhappy now watch them wee

Yonkers Federation of Teachers president Patricia Puleo said her union's delegates are free to decide for themselves who they'll vote for in April, and she questioned whether new leadership would make a difference in how the state Education Department goes forward with implementation of the Common Core standards. But she recognized that the city's teachers have grown frustrated.
“People are so upset that they are willing to make whatever changes they can,” Puleo said.
Kevin Ahern, president of the Syracuse Teachers Association, said his delegates aren't sure how they'll vote.
“We have to do what is best for our local, and we are waiting until we have thoroughly discussed where both slates are at in terms of what will work best for us in the long term,” Ahern said.
Rochester Teachers Association president Adam Urbanski said teachers have been dissatisfied with Iannuzzi's handling of some issues in the past, they “have also noted a marked change in his position with the call for a moratorium and with spearheading the vote of no confidence against Commissioner King,” he said.
“I think there is considerable dissatisfaction with the way things have turned out,” Urbanski continued, “and I think they want a stronger position to be taken by NYSUT than NYSUT has managed to take until now. There is absolutely no question about that. But they don't want change for the sake of change; they want change in position and the issues to be the focus point, not personalities.”
Read the entire piece here:

Read and download the MORE newsletter issue #2.
Print a few copies for your colleagues.

TODAY - Calling All Stakeholders - Feb 1: More than a Score: Talking back to testing event

This is going to be a great event. Ed Notes readers should try to attend. A true gathering of parents and teachers. A key day for creating alliances.

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Join like minded-parents, teachers and administrators who know the time is NOW to bring education back onto the proper track to serve our children and our schools.
More than a Score: Talking back to testing
Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School
140 West 102nd Street, NYC
Saturday, February 1, 2014
11 am – 3 pm
Find out how you can stop the overuse of High Stakes Testing in your 
Join the citywide effort to achieve real teaching and learning!
Workshops include:
• High Stakes Testing 101: The Truth About Testing
Change the Stakes
• Teacher Evaluation, Testing, and the new UFT Contract
The MORE Contract Committee
• Stopping the Test-Fueled School-to-Prison Pipeline
Teachers Unite
• Portfolio Based Assessments in Middle and High School 
Educators from Consortium (non-regents) High Schools
• How can Students Fight Back?
NYC Student Union
• Portfolio Based Assessments in Elementary Schools
Elementary school educators
Cost: FREE
Childcare will be provided.
To RSVP, e-mail
MORE, Change the Stakes, Teachers Unite, the NYC Student Union, and your fellow progressive educators, parents, students, and community members can’t wait to see you there!

NYSUT Rift Update: The Fat Lady Hasn't Sung as Hobart and Cortese Endorse Iannuzzi Slate

Rumore is making a gambit that Mulgrew would defend his local better than Iannuzzi? Who is he kidding? ... Comment on ed notes
Our pals at Port Jefferson Station have posted this. For NYC people Hobart and Cortese may not mean much but they have been heavy hitters in NYSUT. I've never supported them but their support for Dick carries some weight. Below that is a comment on Ed Notes, followed by emails from Mike Lillis, President of Lakeland Federation of Teachers with some heavy criticism of Andy. This battle ain't going away too soon.

I think a question to explore very soon is WHY? And how  this battle affects Randi and the AFT given the dominance of NYSUT in that organization. Some people are even whispering that this is a Mulgrew power play against Randi. Hard to believe but anything is possible.

Hobart and Cortese Endorse Iannuzzi, Neira, Donahue, Cutler

January 31, 2014
NYSUT Leaders and Members:
We are proud to serve as the Honorary Reelection Committee and to endorse the reelection of Dick Iannuzzi for President, Maria Neira and Kathleen Donahue for Vice President and Lee Cutler for Secretary-Treasurer of NYSUT!
We have been involved in framing the NYSUT mission and vision from its inception.  Along with many great unionists from across New York, we’ve watched our union grow and evolve in ways that place NYSUT at the forefront of the teacher union movement — in fact of the entire labor movement.  Dick and his team have a vision that is inclusive of every constituency group and local regardless of region or size.  They have made leaders feel and know that they are part of a union that cares about and advocates for every member.  They understand that leadership is about making the tough choices in tough times to save our members’ jobs, and about recalibrating our budgetary priorities and restructuring our organization to better meet our members’ needs.  They know that leadership is about leading and taking responsibility for decisions, not finger-pointing or scapegoating colleagues when times are hard.
Like each of us, the STRONGER TOGETHER team understands that a union best serves its members with a long-range strategy and vision that supports real change, but not change for the sake of change.
The future of NYSUT depends on a team whose vision looks toward the future with new ideas that engage a collective voice, and not one that seeks to look backwards and fails to recognize the value of every member.  Dick, Maria, Kathleen and Lee have the vision and experience to lean into the future on your behalf, and that’s why we are proud to actively provide our support.
In solidarity,
Thomas Y. Hobart, Jr.
President Emeritus
Antonia Cortese
Former  NYSUT First Vice President
Hobart/Cortese Endorsement Letter

Geo Karo has left a new comment on your post "Is Iannuzzi Toast?":
Important coverage here.
Opponents of Cuomo and King's corporate deformist policies that have ravaged teachers' working conditions and children's learning conditions should do all they can to build support among the remaining out of NYC and out of Buffalo teacher union locals.
And Rumore is making a gambit that Mulgrew would defend his local better than Iannuzzi? Who is he kidding? Mulgrew and his proxy Pallotta paid $10,000 for a table at Cuomo's (reelection) birthday party. What Kool-Aid is Rumore drinking? Has he forgotten that Mulgrew's beneficiary --Cuomo-- has threatened to take over the Buffalo School District, screaming that the BTF's APPR MOU is illegal?
Thankfully, Buffalo is not the only big non-NYC block of votes. Syracuse's union president Kevin Ahern was an early supporter of Iannuzzi's move vs. King. Think of all those YouTube videos of teacher union members across the state, railing against Common Core & King's tour. Like Ahern, we could expect that they will more likely side with Iannuzzi over Michael "put up a lame response to deform" Mulgrew.
This is a classic Which Side are You On struggle. Mulgrew is unapologetic re the most repressive APPR in NYS, Mulgrew defended CCSS on principle throughout 2013. Can NYS teachers afford to let Mulgrew's sham unionism seize tighter control of NYSUT?
Andy Pallotta/Mulgrew may win in a runaway but they have created longer lasting problems of divisions at the state level that won't go away soon. Will a serious opposition caucus to state Unity emerge? Even people who vote for Mulgrew will soon come to see that things will go backward.

Aside from the email below from Lakeland Fed of Teachers President Mike Lillis regarding the threat to the NYSUT legal department once Mulgrew gets his hands on it with total control, I've heard similar thoughts from people inside the legal dept -- that whatever support they give teachers currently will not be as strong. And I know that there are people who have said they wouldn't use their NYSUT lawyers but I've also heard some good things. Remember - UFT has no legal dept for teachers - only NYSUT lawyers.

I thought you might find this helpful.  For anyone who believes that Andy is somehow being held back by Dick, this article in Capital New York would be illuminating.  Since Andy got to Albany, the only meaningful means we have had to address our members concerns is the legal dept (APPR lawsuit, Tax Cap lawsuit).  Thankfully the legal dept is controlled by Dick, because if Andy controlled that as well our members would have no reason to hope for improvement.  Andy has mastered the Art of talking about hard work and doing nothing,except working behind the scenes for the last year and a half to  orchestrate a coup.
Here is his email to the Pallotta:
Michael Lillis

to apallotta, rianuzzi, mneira, dianuzzi, kdonahue, Lee

I am compelled to write to you regarding the recent article in Capital NY concerning the I.D.C. and their efficacy. After reading and agreeing with everything that Dick had said about the I.D.C. and the dysfunction that they have created in the Senate, I was shocked to read that rather than let Senator Klein answer directly for the lack of movement regarding our agenda items concerning testing, women's rights, and farm workers, you decided to intervene and allow Senator Klein to save face by not having to provide a rationale for why he is obstructing our agenda.  To see so many of our legislative agenda items either stalled or rejected by our "friends," it is high time that we more clearly and publicly delineate our agenda items as Dick has just done.  

We are at a crucial moment and we need the legislature to perceive us as unified and moving in a single direction with clear expectations for the Legislators behavior.  Significant work has been done to lay a foundation to turn back the tide of the education reform agenda forced upon us by the Governor, the Legislature and the Regents.  Within the next couple of months there will have been close to two dozen public hearings hosted by Regents and Legislators alike and they will hear a consistent message about SED overreach and incompetence.  For you to have so visibly sent out a mixed message about what we want is amateur and does not serve my members.   As evidence of how this undermines our agenda on educational issues I found the article in Capital NY through a link on  Clearly organizational dissonance undermines our effectiveness and will be exploited by people who want to marginalize us. 

We, the rank and file teachers in NYS, are at the breaking point over these curricula and testing issues.  We need action and the current structure of the Senate has proven itself to only enable inaction and an opportunity to blame others for why individual Legislators are not taking tough stands. Dick is absolutely correct to point out that it would be better if the Senate was completely controlled by either the Republicans or the Democrats, because then when teachers and parents go to vote, we will know who to blame.  

The next few months is going to provide us a unique and powerful opportunity to act quickly to get legislative action to slow down and reverse this poorly conceived education reform agenda.  If we squander this opportunity through our own legislative dissonance the membership will be justified in wondering, "how could such a once powerful organization have been marginalized so quickly"?  Nothing will marginalize us more effectively than sending a mixed message to legislators about what we demand.

Thank you,
Mike Lillis
President Lakeland Federation of Teachers

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is Iannuzzi Toast?

Iannuzzi’s only path to victory was to form a solid wall of EVERY non-NYC local larger than about 500 members (there are about 50 of them) and then use that momentum to start peeling off individual delegates elsewhere. Fuhgeddaboudit....It’s illustrative that few people even know, or particularly care, who Karen Magee is or what she plans to do as NYSUT president. It’s assumed by everyone involved that she is a proxy for United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew and New York City’s Unity Caucus.... EIA
Iannuzzi has gotten more aggressive in the recent weeks while the Pallotta/Mulgrew slate is still hanging out with Andy Cuomo and giving him bags of cash for re-election. The Orwellian nature of AFT/NYSUT/UFT politics never ceases to amaze. Literally up is down and black is white. The less aggressive "challengers" are getting supported because the Iannuzzi regime hasn't been aggressive enough.
You can't make this stuff up - Rumore is going to back the challengers who have been raising cash for Andrew Cuomo because Iannizzi and his slate hasn't been aggressive enough against Cuomo, even though they have ratcheted up the aggression in the past weeks....Orwellian beyond belief - but par for the course at the AFT/NYSUT/UFT. ...  Reality Based Educator at PerdidoSS
Below, Mike Antonucci does the numbers and they don't look good for Iannuzzi. Small locals will still resist and maybe even run a slate even if Iannuzzi withdraws -- I'm not basing this on any real info other than Randi working behind the scenes to get this settled without an election and try to create illusion of NYSUT unity in time for the AFT convention in LA in July.

But there will not be unity. Can there be a real insurgency in NYSUT? The problem is that Iannuzzi is damaged goods and can't lead it. I would think those 50 local union leaders would need to declare themselves publicly very soon.

I spoke to a very wise NYSUT person recently who was there at the creation when Al Shanker and Tom Hobart merged the AFT and NEA in NY State to form NYSUT. He made a comment at the time to a very happy person at the merger: Are you ready for dissolution - (he could have also said disillusion.) What comes together can come apart if there is not enough glue to hold it.

The small locals are outraged as the hemorrhage services and members and at the bully tactics of the UFT. If someone can cobble them together into an effective force the other big cities a year down the road will look at things anew as new leaders rise.

The problem is there is long-lasting hostility to Iannuzzi as evidenced by these comments posted on ed notes when the Phil Rumore/Buffalo story broke last night.

oh boy.. This does not look good.. I wonder if Rumore will be slapping himself in the a#$ if/when a new slate takes over and it does not go the way he would have intended. on Buffalo's Rumore Taking Stand in NYSUT Split?
And a response:
at 10:58 AM
When the NYSUT Representative Assembly met a few years ago in Buffalo the Buffalo Teachers Union walked out when commissioner King spoke to the assembly. President Iannnuzzi specifically told the delegates not to join in with our 'Brothers and Sisters" from Buffalo as they walked out. The commissioner had made some very harsh cuts to their education funding and the BTU wanted no part of King. Here is a reason for the lack of support for Iannuzzi. on Buffalo's Rumore Taking Stand in NYSUT Split?
Here is the full EIA piece from Mike.

Link to Intercepts

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 10:39 AM PST
I don’t like to try to predict the future. There are too many uncertainties and you usually end up looking foolish. But I’ll take that chance in this case. As much as I would like to see a closely contested election going down to the wire, it is inevitable that Karen Magee will be the next president of the New York State United Teachers.

It’s illustrative that few people even know, or particularly care, who Karen Magee is or what she plans to do as NYSUT president. It’s assumed by everyone involved that she is a proxy for United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew and New York City’s Unity Caucus.
It’s also noteworthy that there is significant opposition to this UFT move by individual teachers and locals, but the structure of NYSUT’s Representative Assembly doesn’t allow for a popular vote. There are about 2,000 delegates to the RA, allocated to locals based on membership size. UFT accounts for at least one-third of these delegates. The next largest local, in Buffalo, accounts for about 1.3 percent.
UFT’s delegates can be counted on to deliver all their votes to Magee’s Revive NYSUT slate. And the president of the 30,000-strong United University Professions local also declared for Revive NYSUT. That puts incumbent NYSUT president Richard Iannuzzi in the position of having to secure three out of every four remaining delegate votes just to squeak by. He can’t do it.

Iannuzzi has some support. The presidents of 50 locals got together to form Stronger Together on his behalf, and both sides are citing endorsements by various locals, but in all cases these don’t matter. The election won’t be decided by who picks up more locals that control 0.1 percent of the vote.

Iannuzzi’s only path to victory was to form a solid wall of EVERY non-NYC local larger than about 500 members (there are about 50 of them) and then use that momentum to start peeling off individual delegates elsewhere.

Fuhgeddaboudit. According to this Capital New York story, Buffalo is leaning towards Revive NYSUT, and the other large locals are uncommitted and far from glowing in their assessment of Iannuzzi’s tenure.

Insiders think the election will swing on the issue of buying 10 seats at a Gov. Cuomo fundraiser instead of three, but it’s strictly a question of counting votes. Those with an interest can now forget about the election itself, and start investigating exactly what the Revive NYSUT slate has in mind when it takes over.

Newark: Cami Anderson Storms Out of Meeting

Delicious stuff. Every one of Joel Klein's slugs seem to turn out this way. I hope Joel is hiring the same types for Murdoch.

Cami Anderson taking her agenda out of Joel Klein’s and Chris Cerf’s playbook

UPDATE: video link:

Education, taxes, housing, immigration, politics, and other issues that affect the people of New Jersey

Portelos Update, Farina Visits His School Today as He Undergoes Cross Examination Across From Tweed

Termination for what?...blowing the whistle on corruption at the school she is visiting. I hope she is aware and helps address the issues that have plagued my neighborhood school.... Francesco Portelos
Today is another day of cross examination. Instead of going to IS 49 Farina should stop and watch this farcical waste of money as DOE Legal's Jordanna Shenkman flails around trying to find chinks in Portelos' armor. Farina would learn much more about IS 49 if she walked across the street from Tweed and sat in on these hearings.

My bad back that I hurt when I fell on the ice 3 weeks ago healed and I finally managed to get back to the hearings on Tuesday. I missed most of his testimony and some of the cross examination. Tuesday had a number of almost laugh out loud moments watching Jordanna incompetently try to frame questions meant to catch Portelos in a lie. She badgered him over whether he used the word alleged when he wrote about people under investigation and when he tried to say he used allegedly she said "I asked you Yes or No -- did you use alleged"? I had to cover my mouth.

She has no interest in truth or what really happened. I know people think the prosecutor is supposed to do that but this is not about trying to put someone away for murder. She is just trying to play "gotcha." And not succeeding. At times she is coy -- purposely not showing Portelos a document to refresh his memory, hoping to catch him in a lie.

Some of her ridiculous questions need some explanation because there is not a simple answer. "Please instruct the witness to answer my question" or "witness is non-responsive" she whines to the hearing officer continuously.

Here is his most recent email:
Principal just sent an email out that Chancellor Fariña will be visiting my school tomorrow. I sent the chancellor and mayor an email the other day about issues. I wonder if it is related. Maybe not, however I will not be there as I will be across the street from her office being cross examined for the 4th day and present at the 19th day of my termination hearing. Termination for what?...blowing the whistle on corruption at the school she is visiting. I hope she is aware and helps address the issues that have plagued my neighborhood school.

Francesco Portelos
IS 49 UFT Chapter Leader
Here are some notes some of my MORE colleagues took when I was not able to attend.

I haven't been able to attend the hearings over the past few weeks - I was hoping to go today but have to drive a friend to the doctor. But here are some comments - anonymous -- and also some commentary from some MOREistas who did attend.

3 Anonymous comments on your post "Francesco Portelos: Teacher Under Assault by Princ...":

I was a member of SLT at IS49 as the title 1 rep. If Ms. Hill didn't like my questions and didn't want to answer them, she would act like a 12yr old and say, "you know ms. wright, i'm really trying to get along with you." if she made a face or disliked any of my questions then she had her puppets chime in and attack me with negative comments and discouraging me from asking or speaking my mind. she demanded 1500 dollars from the title 1 money ASAP. I told her I needed to speak with higher ups and she quoted me again with, u know ms. wright, i'm really trying to get a long with you. and asking me who do I need to speak with and when will I get back to her. I told her Tuesday, which was two days later and she huffed and puffed like she was going to blow me down. when saturday rolled around she sent me an email telling me to disregard her request.

I was the title 1 rep and when I asked a question at the PTA meeting about the safe room, I was told at an executive meeting that was set up to intimidate me from asking negative questions in front of parents. I was told by sherina peterkins the so called president of the PTA and the so called leader in charge, Ms. Hill, that I am to stop whatever I am doing and ask ms. hill these questions in her office. that if my question is personal that I am to go to the principal in private. you stupid clowns, my son goes to your school and everything that happened or happens in this school is personal to me. I told them whatever. that if I want to ask a question I will ask it at the PTA.

I was harassed by ms. hill's security officers. she had only two black females escorting me around like I was a criminal. everyone else walked in that school with no escorts except me. I called mike riley to complain. it stopped for 2 weeks and started up again. this was all because ms. hill didn't like that I was asking a lot of questions about the budget, the title 1 funds, questioning the CFN and just asking positive questions about the kids' welfare when it came to education. as a title 1 rep I was treated like shit. but I didn't care because I knew that heifer couldn fire me. one time even one of the officers interpreted for me in English back to English. go figure. I have a lot of stories about this piece of shit school

Don't Miss This Event on Saturday, Feb 1: More Than a Score - Talking Back to Testing

Again, with a new mayor, a new chancellor and a movement building, it's a great time to engage with others who envision an educational system that is centered on the needs of children, focused on real teaching and learning and what is possible beyond the corporate reforms of the day.

Connect with others who want to stop the over-use of testing in OUR schools this Saturday 11-3pm
Join the citywide effort to promote real teaching and learning!

Workshops, panels, keynote speakers, meet and mingle!
Reynolds West Side High School
140 West 102nd st NYC

Revserve your FREE ticket HERE

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More Than a Score:
Talking Back to Testing

Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School

140 West 102nd Street, NYC Saturday, February 1, 2014
11 am - 3 pm

Find out how you can stop the overuse of High Stakes Testing in your school! Join the citywide effort to promote real teaching and learning!

Workshops include:
• High Stakes Testing 101: The Truth About Testing Change the Stakes
•Teacher Evaluation, Testing, and the new UFT Contract The MORE Contract Committee
•Stopping the Test-Fueled School-to-Prison Pipeline Teachers Unite
• Portfolio Based Assessments in Middle and High School Educators from Consortium (non-regents) High Schools
How can Students Fight Back? NYC Student Union
•Portfolio Based Assessments in Elementary Schools Elementary school educators
Cost: FREE (Childcare will be provided)
To RSVP, e-mail OR find us online: twitter: @MOREcaucusNYC

MORE (The Movement of Rank and File Educators), Change the Stakes, Teachers Unite, the NYC Student Union, and your fellow progressive educators, parents, students, and community members can’t wait to see you there!

Buffalo's Rumore Taking Stand in NYSUT Split?

NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi is losing ground in his contested April election.... Philip Rumore, president of the Buffalo Federation of Teachers, said his members are frustrated that the current leadership wasn't as aggressive as they'd hoped in responding to the state's rollout of the controversial Common Core standards. “Many of the Buffalo teachers have not been satisfied with the positions that NYSUT has taken,” Rumore told Capital on Wednesday. “Let's put it this way: If anything, we are leaning toward a change in direction, but we haven't made a formal decision yet.” ... Capital Pro
Rumore has got to be kidding. He's unhappy because Iannuzzi has not been as aggressive as he liked but he thinks Mulgrew will be more aggressive? Dreamland.
This may turn out to be a clincher. I can't believe Rumore can think that Mulgrew will show more spine than Iannuzzi but I guess he senses a winner --

Will Iannuzzi stay in if the numbers begin to look really bad? Will Randi intervene to try to prevent an April bloodbath that might split NYSUT? Even an 80-20 split is not good since NYSUT drives the AFT Unity engine.

Here's the key: will the Iannuzzi supporters stay together and form a real opposition in NYSUT? If he doesn't take leadership can they develop into a force inside NYSUT once the Mulgrew/Pallotta crew show they will back Cuomo and get nothing back for it?

Buffalo teachers ‘leaning toward’ NYSUT challengers

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mollie Bruhn: Challenging “Waiting for Superman” in Kappan Mag

Our film was not the first nor the only thing to clue people in to the dangers of the corporate reform movement, but “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman” has proven to be an important piece of the ever-growing pushback and effort to preserve public education... Mollie Bruhn in Kappan on the making of "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman."
This article is available at PDK for the public until end of February:

Watch the film here or click the tab at Ed Notes.

When Mollie isn't writing she has Max read to her.
When the editor of Kappan, the organ of Phi Delta Kappa, an international association of professional educators, contacted GEM/Real Reform Studios last spring about doing an article on the making of "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman" many of us were busy with organizing in MORE and Change the Stakes, the two branches that had emerged out of the Grassroots Education Movement - the teacher/UFT oriented MORE and the parent dominated CTS.

There was no time to get back into more film work with Real Reform Studios, especially since two key people, Mollie Bruhn and Darren Marelli were about to have a baby. I offered to start writing the article but as usual got involved with too many things. Once Mollie got settled with new baby Max and also took a child care leave, she picked up the project and did a wonderful job in chronicling the work we did. Mollie is too modest to talk about her enormous impact on shaping the film. Her article captures the great synergy the entire crew developed as we engaged many of the leading people in NYC fighting ed deform in the making of the film.

When we began making the film in August 2010, the deform movement was rising like a rocket. I feel we were amongst the first people out of the box with a powerful deterrent that helped lead the counterattack that has gained so much speed since then.

Kappan has just published Mollie's article.

Challenging “Waiting for Superman”

  1. Mollie Bruhn
+ Author Affiliations
  1. MOLLIE BRUHN is a kindergarten teacher for the New York City Department of Education and was an editor for “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman.”


A group of New York City public school teachers, angry about the depiction of public schools in ‘Waiting for Superman,” decide to make their own film about the realities of the current education reform movement. They persevered even though they had no budget when they started and lacked a background in filmmaking. ‘The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman’ was released in May 2011 and has proven to be an important piece of the ever growing pushback against corporate education reform. 

You can read it here:

Here are a few pics.

From the Right: Educational Intelligence Agency on Randi, Common Core and TNTP Slug Tim Daly

If you think she’s (Weingarten) being shifty now, wait until someone asks her about Mulgrew vs. Iannuzzi. ...EIA
Last week the union announced 13 recipients of the grants. Nine of the grants are geared to ease the implementation of the Common Core standards. The NEA delegates approved the fund by a relatively slim margin (55.6% to 44.4%). The margin might have been slimmer yet, or even entirely overturned, had Van Roekel hinted that most of the money would go to Common Core.... EIA
Gee, someone should ask Randi where she stands on NYSUT issue. The fence will get a workout. I will speculate on the threat to Randi nationally if the NYSUT split lasts past April.

Here are 2 posts by Mike Antonucci at EIA with some interest. He breaks down the NEA resistance to common core and includes a link to the slugs at TNTP led by Tim Daly who actually try to make the point that E4E is one of the reasons Weingarten has to walk on the fence. I left a comment on Mike's blog about the joke they are.

He does talk about the BATS and the NYSUT story.

But also ends his quote of the day with a big chunk from James' posting on the ICE blog.

And what both Daly and Antonucci get wrong is that Randi starts out from the neo-liberal support for much of ed deform and backtracks as it falls apart.

But you must read the so-called "very insightful" Tim Daly piece for a batch of laughs. Daly and TNTP have been vampires living on the blood of the public school system for years. I left a few comments on the EIA blog.

Get Out of Dodge?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jan• 28•14

Tim Daly and Dan Weisberg have a very insightful post on the TNTP blog about Randi Weingarten and what they see as her varying positions on Common Core. They call it “the implementation dodge” because it consists of supporting Common Core while deriding its implementation.
Their analysis is spot-on, but I would change just one detail. They write, “Her track record has been less about staking out a thoughtful position and more about shifting from one position to another as political realities demand.”
I don’t feel Weingarten shifts from one position to another. To be a teacher union president requires holding two position simultaneously, even if they are contradictory. As the union’s representative to the outside world one must present the union’s best face, mostly consisting of concerns for teacher quality and the general health of the public education system over self-interest. But as union president, one must always be waving the battle flag, to remind the members that they are in danger from nefarious forces and only their membership in the union protects them from utter disaster.

Full post
And this chronicle of NEA and common core. I'm including the entire piece here because there's so much juicy stuff. And he ends with a long quote from James Eterno.

NEA Can’t Deliver Common Message on Common Core

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jan• 27•14
January 27, 2014

NEA Can’t Deliver Common Message on Common Core. It is the established policy of the National Education Association that the Common Core State Standards are a good thing. There is a sizable faction within the union that disagrees. The problem is that there is an ebb and flow to the strength of these opposing positions that NEA seems entirely incapable of managing coherently.

Last July, delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly approved the creation of the Great Public Schools Fund, financed with a $3-per-member assessment. The roughly $6 million raised annually would go to union affiliates that “demonstrate leadership in enhancing the quality of public education and to assist in the development and implementation of a proactive agenda that engages members and leads to success for every student.” That is a fairly broad description, leading to expectations that a broad category of activities would be funded.

Nevertheless, the ultimate authority to release the funds rested in the hands of only two men, NEA president Dennis Van Roekel and executive director John Stocks. Last week the union announced 13 recipients of the grants. Nine of the grants are geared to ease the implementation of the Common Core standards.

The NEA delegates approved the fund by a relatively slim margin (55.6% to 44.4%). The margin might have been slimmer yet, or even entirely overturned, had Van Roekel hinted that most of the money would go to Common Core.
The NEA president is expending a lot of energy to diminish the concerns of the anti-Common Core members, writing in an editorial that “change is hard.” He also states, without a note of irony about the history of union communications, that “as a general rule, doomsday scenarios rarely materialize.”

The Badass Teacher Association, which is home for much of the opposition to NEA’s support of Common Core, reacted with a “BAT swarm” to fill NEA’s Facebook page with negative comments.

As a practical matter, the BATs are a minor annoyance for NEA’s powers-that-be. Of more concern is the recent unanimous vote of the board of directors at the New York State United Teachers to withdraw its support for the state’s Common Core standards until major corrections are made and a three-year moratorium enacted on any consequences from standardized testing.

“We’ll have to be the first to say it’s failed,” said Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers.
So the national union is heavily promoting a program that its largest state affiliate is denouncing, while its members continue to pay to implement it.

If that’s not confusing enough, Iannuzzi might be out of office by April, and Van Roekel will be gone by September. Will this policy continue under their successors, or will there be a change in direction?

No wonder the members don’t pay attention.

Recent Intercepts. EIA’s daily blog, Intercepts, covered these topics January 22-27:
It’s Official: Civil War in NYSUT. Will it be New York City on one side and the rest of the state on the other? Inside the teachers’ union, that’s an even battle.

Quote of the Week. “Membership to the Unity Caucus in New York City is by invitation only. To be accepted into the caucus, one must sign a statement pledging to support the decisions of the caucus in union and public forums (the so called Unity loyalty oath). There is no public dissent allowed. In exchange for absolute loyalty, Unity members get all expense paid trips to the AFT Convention and the NYSUT Representative Assemblies where they vote as an enormous bloc. I very much doubt that the smaller locals in New York State have the funds to pay for their Delegates to travel to the RA and stay at the Hilton. The party discipline Unity has would make Mao envious.” – James Eterno, United Federation of Teachers chapter leader and member of the MORE caucus. (January 26 ICEUFT Blog)

Randi Shows Up in Newark with Old Pal Cami

“We ask you to stay the course and oppose attempts to impede the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards,” Weingarten and Engler wrote in their Nov. 26 letter to the governors. None of the governors responded....
the next time that Weingarten comes to your town with her bullhorn and satin handcuffs, along with her posse of fellow lawyers trained in obfuscation and the art of the diplomatic lie, and her well-rehearsed expressions of solidarity with parents, children, and teachers, I hope that you will ask her which of the policies that she now protests are ones that she did not support at some point in the very recent past, or even the present, or even the future--if we can just get it right....
While many hard working teachers who pay Randi's way resent the fact that she is paid more in salary and benefits than the President of the United States, she has been worth every penny in terms of her return for CorpEd.... Schools Matter 
Sometimes I want to smack myself in the head. My contact in Newark was sending me emails about Randi being at the big meeting last night.

Ravitch writes about how Supt Cami Anderson walked out.

t on Diane Ravitch's blog

Breaking News: The Hero Parents of Newark

by dianeravitch
Last night, the parents of Newark spoke out in unison against the bullying tactics of the Christie administration.
As veteran journalist Bob Braun reported, state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson stormed out of the meeting after a parent accused her of not caring as much about Newark's children as she does about her own.
I asked my friend if Randi walked out with her pal Cami. I've been saving this piece from Schools Matter for the past month that reviews Randi's history in Newark. I'll comment separately on the impact of the NYSUT split and with a post from EIA about problems in the NEA.


This is frightening. 
Very disappointing.
She supports common core for IEPs. Unbelievable.
---- Parent comments on Farina testimony.

Take this for what it is - I don't have the patience to read it. But when I sent it out to listserves some bad reviews were coming in.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Carol Burris Compares Common Core to NY State 2005 Math Standards and Gags

Why is support for the Common Core in New York so quickly sinking into the deep? Some contend that it is because teachers do not have enough materials to teach the Common Core. They argue that if teachers had more preparation and resources, all would be fine.  I disagree. Support is disappearing, not because schools don’t have the Common Core curriculum, but because for the first time they do.  After last year’s testing debacle, teachers are frantically attempting to implement the standards using the modules provided by the state. Kids and parents are reeling from the effects of teaching the Common Core standards, at the fast pace needed to get through them in time for the tests.... Carol Burris
Carol Burris must be getting some brain waves I've been sending out. For the past few weeks I've been reminding myself and others that as a teacher in NYC from 1967-2002 and contrary to popular belief -- even in our own union -- we had damn good standards. Wha' happened? I knew I was supposed to teach division of fractions at some point. You know the simple way -- reverse the numerator and denominator of one set of numbers and multiply across. Simple. Does that really teach the concept of what is going on? And what if they are still having problems multiplying? A hell of a lot of gaps - or metaphoric potholes had to be filled in on the road to math literacy. Read Carols comparisons to the current and the past.

And she doesn't buy the union line that the problem with the CC is in the implementation but in their very nature. Here is the message she sent
Here is my latest blog on the Common Core.  The NYS Senate is calling for King to “pause” and NYSUT has just redrawn its support of the Common Core and King.
In this blog, I also compare the NYS 2005 standards with the Common Core standards in K-5 math. When you see how they compare with the Common core, side by side on some topics, you will be shocked.  Please get this around. 
The full post is here, excerpt below.

Senator Latimer emphatically smacked the table while calling for a delay, likening the rollout of the Common Core to “steaming across the Atlantic” when there are icebergs in the water. The defiant King refused to acknowledge the icebergs, and remained insistent on full steam ahead. He let the senators know “you’re not the boss of me” by asserting that standards are controlled by the State Education Department and the Regents, not by the legislature.

MOREista Harris Lirtzman on Schoolbook: Cut Waste at NYC DOE Before Negotiating Teachers Contract

Before teachers are pressed to accept anything other than a fair contract, the D.O.E. needs to identify ways to reform its willfully incompetent management of the school system’s resources by reducing administrative overhead, fraud and abuse  -- and by opening its books for complete inspection by parents, teachers and education policymakers. Nothing less would be fair.... Harry Lirtzman, Schoolbook
If you don’t get a raise next year or don’t get paid retroactively for the last two rounds of contracts it won’t be because of “the economics.”  It will be because of “the politics.”  And the politics connected with the next round of contract negotiations will be the fiercest in a generation.  Michael Bloomberg and the people who have run this City are still coming for us and we need to be ready for them.... Harry Lirtzman, MORE blog.
If You Know Harry Like We Know Harry. And it's been a pleasure knowing Harry.

Harry Lirtzman has become a MORE stalwart very quickly. He only taught a few years and his career is varied and interesting. Harry brings so much to the table and here he delivers a 5 course meal.

From the MORE blog

MORE on SchoolBook:

January 28, 2014 — 
MORE Member Harry Lirtzman, former high school special education math teacher and former deputy state comptroller, speaks out about the bloated and wasteful DOE budget on, in a followup to his piece for MORE on the UFT contract negotiations.

Check it out here:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Updates from Weekend NYSUT Meeting: Locals and Counting Oppose Mulgrew Takeover

.... just last year, Mulgrew asked the State legislature and Cuomo to allow King to arbitrate a dispute Mulgrew was having with Bloomberg over APPR shows that UFT wants and needs King and Cuomo’s help.... Friday night, Mulgrew accused Cutler of undermining him at the UFT’s last delegate assembly because a motion was brought to the floor for UFT to not endorse Cuomo. Of course that motion was defeated.  It wasn’t Cutler that brought that idea to that UFT delegate. It was me Michael and you should have supported that resolution because Cuomo is not good for the UFT or the rest of NY State... Beth Dimino, Pres. Port Jefferson Station TA
Here is a report from the Long Island Presidents' Council listserve about the weekend from Port Jeff Station Pres Beth Dimino-- I'll follow up with analysis later. There is only one statewide caucus - Unity - an open caucus unlike UFT/Unity - and the state level is where the split is taking place. So all sides were present at the state Unity Caucus meeting on Friday night. These 50 presidents met separately on Saturday and formed Stronger Together
to support Iannuzzi. Beth uses lots of first and last names I don't know but we'll all figure this out later.
Date: January 26, 2014 at 6:37:16 PM EST

Subject: Fwd: Fw: LIPC Intranet: New Discussion Thread - [POSTSU...
This weekend I was in Albany with 50 other local presidents to address the upcoming NYSUT elections... please read my recent post on the Long Island President's website below and be sure to go to for updates as well...
Everything that is posted here was either told to me directly by the individuals involved or was witnessed by me.
Fifty Local Presidents from large and small locals, from all parts of the State, braved the snow and met to discuss the future of NYSUT, yesterday afternoon in Albany.  Everyone shared their ideas for how to move this organization forward after the insanity of the election is over. It’s no coincidence that the president’s meeting was Saturday afternoon. I anticipated that Friday night’s Unity Caucus meeting would be a fiasco and it was that and more as NYSUT members who attended the Friday night meeting informed the group.  I’m sure you’ll hear highlights of the Caucus meeting but what I’d like to inform you of is what mattered the most to the fifty presidents that were in the meeting with me.
1)     The revive slate is anything but a grass roots movement. Pallotta and Lubin, with Mulgrew’s blessing, have been planning the revive run for more than a year. I personally was courted at last year’s RA and this fall to run on the revive slate, as was one other LI local president. Andy “tapped” people to run with the promise that he would get Unity Caucus backing and therefore would win the election. Messner showed his loyalty to both Andy and Michael at the RA last year and was promised the Secretary Treasurer’s position. (Maria) Niera intimated to me that Mulgrew contacted Niera and told her that if she agreed to walk away from Iannuzzi and join Pallotta she would keep her NYSUT job. Only after Niera explained to Mulgrew that even though she felt great affection for her UFT brothers and sisters she NOW represented the interests of the entire State of NY, not just NYC, was Niera informed that Fortina [UFT VP and Teacher Center head] was “tapped” to run against her. I was personally told that neither Paul nor Nadia really wanted to run for Donohue’s position, but when the other LI local President and I turned it down, Paul agreed. Andy cannot divorce himself from the other officers. He was part of the “team” for 6 years and if he wanted to call the shots he should have run for President. Instead Magee was “tapped”. Magee is best known recently for three things, 1) introducing herself to a group of upstate presidents at a meeting last July as the next NYSUT President, 2) accepting another term as a TRS delegate when she fully intended to run for NYSUT President in October instead of serving on the TRS, and 3) Standing at a NYSUT Board of Directors meeting in December and asking that Iannuzzi reconsider endorsing Cuomo.
2)    All 50 presidents agreed that Cuomo’s tax cap is crippling every local except the UFT. NYSUT must not endorse Cuomo and Cuomo must know that today. Cuomo and King must acknowledge that King and the common core are hurting teachers and children. The fact that, just last year, Mulgrew asked the State legislature and Cuomo to allow King to arbitrate a dispute Mulgrew was having with Bloomberg over APPR shows that UFT wants and needs King and Cuomo’s help. Friday night, Mulgrew accused Cutler of undermining him at the UFT’s last delegate assembly because a motion was brought to the floor for UFT to not endorse Cuomo.  Of course that motion was defeated.  It wasn’t Cutler that brought that idea to that UFT delegate. It was me Michael and you should have supported that resolution because Cuomo is not good for the UFT or the rest of NY State. Most importantly for the 50 presidents in the  

Saturday meeting, was the fact that even though Friday night’s Unity Caucus meeting was a “shit show”, Iannuzzi was able to pull that dysfunctional group together to get the NYSUT BOD to agree to a vote of no confidence for King and withdrawal of support for CCSS.
  3)      What are the facts;
Iannuzzi and Niera got us the APPR.  After a year of the APPR, all of us agreed that it is a huge pain in the ass.  But, Unlike Mulgrew who had his APPR imposed on his local because he could not effectively negotiate with his Superintendent, the rest of the presidents in NY negotiated APPRs where less than 2% of all the teachers in NY were ineffective. The APPR needs revisions, and all of us agreed that Iannuzzi and Niera will get those revisions done. In regards to the tax cap, Iannuzzi directed the legal department to file the lawsuit.
Palotta and his legislative team got us tier 5, tier 6, charter schools, and merit pay. Palotta has not pushed back against Cuomo’s tax cap or the common core. Lubin may have been effective in his day, but his protégé Palotta is not producing. Further, one of Pallotta’s staff members asked me to “tone” down my presentation after a Flanagan meeting and Pallotta’s controlled Suffolk PAC asked me not to go into the room with them at the last Committee of 100 meeting with Flanagan. Long Island presidents were asked to support LaValle because Pallotta’s staff needed someone friendly they could talk to in Albany at the last President’s Conference. Pallotta and his directives to his legislative team do NOT represent the best interests of Long Island or NYS.
4)      50 President’s Conclusion: We will support the Iannuzzi, Niera, Cutler and Donohue slate because it represents the needs of all of the locals on Long Island and in NY State. We will work with Iannuzzi to insure that each and every NYSUT member knows that regardless of whether they are from a local that is large or small, rural, suburban or urban, whether they do any job in higher ed or pre k to 12, health care or life guard their voice will be heard and they will be represented.
Now that’s a Grass Roots Democratic Movement!

See James Eterno's excellent analysis now running on both the ICE and the Port Jefferson Station blogs.
MAKING SOME SENSE OF THE NYSUT LEADERSHIP SPLIT - Many New York City teachers view New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) as the group that offers UFT members discount insurance. It is so much more importa...

Newark NEW Caucus Update: The Mis-Adventures of Cami Anderson

After working for Joel Klein in New York, Newark Supt hand-picked by those paragon of virtues, the 2 Chrises -- Christie and Cerf -- continues her path of destruction.

Once again, there was LOTS of news this week.  
The BEST news of the week.  We warn you, it's 35 pages, but, we urge ALL concerned about public education in Newark to read it word for word.  It's a thorough analysis from Rutgers Professor of Education Bruce Baker and Mark Weber, Rutgers PhD student and aka Jersey Jazzman.  It challenges the "process" by which Anderson chose which schools were to be closed, and analyzes precisely WHY charter schools have gotten the undeserved reputation as superior to traditional public schools.  Please read!


Some news from our antagonists and some other generally bad news:

1)  Two articles from folks who truly represent the corporate education "reform" agenda.  One from the Star-Ledger demonstrating its completely undeterred support for Cami Anderson and her agenda.  The second is from Mashea Ashton, the CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund.  Obviously, they are frustrating to read, but worth it anyway to understand their lies.

2)  Two NJ Spotlight items, one article on school closings, the other a visual showing the length of the school day throughout New Jersey.

3)  Another, slightly more important article from NJ Spotlight, this one about a new bill in the NJ Statehouse that would help charters expand even further with more state aid!  

4)  Here is an interesting story from NJ Politicker about the Newark mayoral race.  It's informative on a number of levels, but in our view mostly because it shows how Shavar Jeffries is clearly viewed by corporate interests as the number one choice.  In other words, for them he is the person to fill the shoes of their beloved Cory Booker.  We all know what that means...

Now, a few pieces of news you make like (we do!):

5)  Website of an educators caucus in Seattle who we met this summer in Chicago.  They are trying to change their union there, just as we are here.  Check them out!

6)  For obvious reasons, we really like this one.  WBAI 99.5 (New York's excellent independent radio station) aired an entire segment on the battle for public education in Newark.  They interviewed a number of Newark activists, including Annette Alston of the NTA and Ras Baraka, but also NEW Caucus vice chair Branden Rippey!  It was a good program, and can be listened to at this link until Thursday.  The program is about an hour.  

Look for Education at the Crossroads, and click Play!

That's all for now...

See you all Tuesday!

In Solidarity,
Newark Education Workers Caucus
(NEW Caucus)