Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Video: Carmen Farina at CEC 2 Town Hall

I was asked to tape this event at the brand new building housing PS 59 and HS of Music and Art - by CEC 2 head, the always amazing Shino Tawikawa - see the wonderful well-deserved tribute to Shino at the end. [Something went wrong with my camera and I didn't get Carmen's opening speech - but the entire 45 minute Q&A is here.]

It was certainly insightful to see an adoring public gush over Carmen, who was part of the fabric of District 2 for so many years.

Leonie Haimson -- the 2nd speaker - didn't gush but instead asked some hard questions about class size. 

What was clear was a genuine delight in the new tone at Tweed - throughout the meeting people talked about how open and cooperative the new DOE was with parents.

So how ironic to see Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, the Grim Reaper of Closing Schools under Bloomberg, sitting there grinning like a Cheshire Cat as her years of work were in essence being trashed. Some symbol of change. I have so much video of her staring - grimly - as students, parents and teachers pleaded to keep their schools open while she justified every single despicable act of the BloomKleinCott administrations.

But other than that note, there is no question that for some parents the change from Bloomberg is astounding -- and this is a caveat -- District 2 is wealthy and engaged - as is District 15 in Brooklyn.

It was a shlep for me to leave lovely Rockaway and take the subway to get up to 56th Street - on the night of the Rangers game - but I got back in time to see the 3rd period - and I've been such bad luck over the years - it is best if I don't watch it all. (My pals banned me from watching the 7th game Stanley Cup victory game with them 20 years ago.) But if Shino asked me to climb Mt. Everest I would - well, maybe not that one.

Upon leaving the meeting I caught the elevator and there was Carmen with her crew going up. It was a slow elevator so I had time to negotiate a new version of the contract with Carmen on the way up -- class sizes of 20, ATRs permanently assigned to schools, mechanisms for teachers to deal with abusive principals, and a few more bucks.


Here is an excerpt of Leonie on class size and Carmen's response.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is this the same wonderful Carmen who just slammed the door shut on Jamaica High despite pleadings from the community and political leaders from Queens? I think you are just looking at a fa├žade because clearly the Bloomberg/Klein years are still alive and kicking at Tweed. The contract was the first sign and this closing the 2nd. And people from Klein's days are still running Tweed.

Tone in this case just means respect for the audience. Actions however reflect the DoE we all voted against in this election. Shame on deBlasio!!!