Friday, October 31, 2014

Leonie Haimson on Success Charter Audit

What about the hundreds of teachers and students who leave her [Eva's] schools each year?  Perhaps that’s why she and the charter lobby fears the transparency that  a performance audit would achieve... Leonie Haimson
“Our critics,” Ms. Moskowitz said, “should speak to the tens of thousands of families who send their children to our schools, or are on waiting lists, and to the thousands of teachers who apply every year to join our magical educational community.”
These are phony waiting lists. Success can't even fill all its seats. Show us the waiting lists. Leonie posted some comments.
Note that Eva ran a PR visit to a Success School on the day the audit was announced.

Here's Leonie's comments.

More on Success Charters and audit

Two new articles about tours of Success charters offered to principals to share their “best practices”.  Both make clear the exceedingly strict discipline and penalties for students: 

Students who are not sitting correctly or who fidget are asked to change their posture in front of the class, and at least one student got a “check mark” for bad behavior for not keeping his hands folded in another classroom. (Three check marks result in a time-out, five in a written letter of apology, and so on.)
Students were often instructed to “sit like a professional.” A sign on one wall read “$cholar dollar fines” and noted the monetary charges for various misbehaviors: $1 for an untucked shirt, $5 for “not loud and proud,” and up to $10 for talking during a “zero” noise period. (Success students are called scholars.)

Does anyone know if these are real dollars or some sort of symbolic ones?

Makes clear that the intensive approach requires lots of staff time, including an asst. teacher in every classroom.  How is this to be replicated in NYC schools unless the DOE provides the budget for this?

See also in relation to the Comptroller audit, Eva claims her schools spend less that per student average for DOE schools.  Hard to imagine w/ two teachers in a classroom , plus her huge advertising and marketing budget.

In a statement released today, Moskowitz said, "Success Academy spends less per student than district schools..”

The NYT features a disagreement over whether the Comptroller has the right to do a performance/operational audit as well as a financial one. 

The chief executive of the New York City Charter School Center, an advocacy organization, quickly sent out a statement that Mr. Stringer was overstepping his authority, which the executive said was limited to auditing the finances of charter schools, not their overall operations.

The comptroller’s office “does not have auditing power over charter school operations,” the executive, James D. Merriman, said. “Those matters are overseen by our state’s charter authorizers.”

The disagreement appeared to stem from a difference of opinion about where Mr. Stringer derived his authority to audit charter schools.

A spokesman for Mr. Stringer, Eric Sumberg, said it came from the City Charter, which gives the comptroller broad auditing powers.
But Mr. Merriman pointed to state law, which, in a change made by the State Legislature this year, gives the comptroller the power to audit a charter school “with respect to the school’s financial operations.” Mr. Merriman said that state law superseded city law, and that the state law clearly limited Mr. Stringer’s authority.
Eva also critiques the critics by calling her schools “magical”:

“Our critics,” Ms. Moskowitz said, “should speak to the tens of thousands of families who send their children to our schools, or are on waiting lists, and to the thousands of teachers who apply every year to join our magical educational community.”

What about the hundreds of teachers and students who leave her schools each year?  Perhaps that’s why she and the charter lobby fears the transparency that  a performance audit would achieve.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Support the LES Community - STOP the Evafication of District 1 (Lower East Side) - Sign the Petition

Please help support D1 against Evification by signing the petition below. This new SAC school is the one approved for D2 but bait-and-switched to D1 at the last minute. We are now getting official notification, petitioned by Eva and her army, and maybe even a hearing, (even though none is required), thanks to the mobilization of parents and electeds. So the fight begins!... Lisa Donlan, CEC 1.

Petition Against Success Academy In D1 - PLEASE SIGN

Success Academy Charter Schools in D1!!

One day soon, you might be stopped on the street and asked to sign a petition in support of "great new public school option coming into the neighborhood." At the top of the petition, you will also see the words "Success Academy Charter Schools." 

Here in District 1, we want our schools to reflect our values, cultures, and diversity. Given rising class sizes, rampant overcrowding and inadequate funding, who wouldn't want another great public school? But the Success Academy claim is very deceptive. Success Academy Charter Schools take resources and space from our public schools. What’s more, Success Academy Charter schools do not serve the same number of high needs students as do our district schools. Our schools, which will lose resources to Success Academy, will enroll even more at risk students that Eva's schools will not take. 

Standing up to say no to Success Academy can help protect and support the community schools we already have in District 1. 

By signing this petition you are telling Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy that we are a strong, united community dedicated to supporting schools that truly serve our needs. 

Dear Success Academy, 
(click the link to sign the petition)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For Educators, Public School Parents, and Public Workers, Cuomo and Astorino Are No Choice - Norm in The Wave

I just submitted this for Friday (Oct. 31) publication but may have missed deadline.

School Scope
For Educators, Public School Parents, and Public Workers, Cuomo and Astorino Are No Choice

By Norm Scott

Go Green. That’s my vote is for Howie Hawkins for Governor and Brian Jones for Lt. Governor. And anyone who is a public worker or union member should join me. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have abandoned the working people of this nation and in this state, a major cause of the growing inequality that will lead to disastrous consequences rivaling The Great Depression. A consumer economy cannot be maintained by the 1% of the 1%. It is time for a 3rd party.

I wasn’t going to write this week about the election but Cuomo’s dastardly attack on public schools, teachers and the union on the eve of the election just went to far. Parent activist Leonie Haimson commented: Cuomo redoubles his intention to expand charters, break up the “one of the only remaining public monopolies” of the public school system (really? What about police, fire and other govt. services?), develop more “rigorous” evaluations for teachers. He also condescendingly claims that parental opposition to the flawed Common Core standards, curriculum and exams was because teachers got “ the parents upset last year about this entire Common Core agenda.”

I find it interesting that my colleagues on other public unions seem perfectly fine with attacks on the teachers and see no threat to themselves. Imagine if competitive “charter”-like options were offered to people who wanted options on the services of police, sanitation and fire.

The UFT’s behind the scenes support for Cuomo for their so-called little stool at the table is pathetic. The right-wing Astorino is no option. My UFT caucus, MORE, has endorsed Hawkins/Jones (who is a founding member of MORE). I’m going Green and urge all public workers and people who support them to join me.

Oh, and Happy Halloween. If you see a guy painted Green, it will be me.

Norm will be blogging in costume at

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bryant High School Staff Continue Opposition to Vicious Principal Namita Dworka

A couple of MOREistas stopped by what was advertized as a Tony Avella led rally. That didn't exactly happen. With the reign of terror by Dwarka the turnout is certainly affected. There are plans for monthly events. Here is a report from a MORE chapter leader who was joined by a MORE steering committee member.

We stopped by the Bryant event -- there were about 15 people there, maybe another 10 more if you count the students who were just kind of hanging out talking to former teachers. There was no rally and Tony Avella was not there. The crowd was current and former Bryant staff. MORE was well received and we have a small base in the school - some staff voted for us in the past and we had a few of their teachers at our contract event last spring.

From what I could gather this was organized by Bryant staff-  they are going to try and organize more of these including one next month. I told them I would try to get staff members from my school and other MORE folks out next time and they all agreed a day other than Monday would be better so people could come.

By all reports the principal in the school is terrible- lots of complaints about harassment and mismanagement from the staff. Last year there was a rally I stopped by organized by students that had 200 or so kids protesting. (See Ed Notes:

I have been to Bryant rallies in the past- for example the one three years ago when they tried to close it- and the school has a certain history of militancy and conflict with the DOE and this principal in particular. 
I couldn't make it over there due to a previous engagement with the family for a steak at Peter Lugers. Leftovers for lunch today.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Farina Follies: OSI Charges Substantiated Against Former Principal Arisleyda Urena, Most Recently Director of School Quality

Urena and Joel Klein

Due to the fact that Ms. Urena failed to maintain itemized receipts and records as mandated by the DFO Standard Operating procedure, this investigator was unable to account for over $11,000 in purchases that Ms. Urena made from Apple, Inc. Regardless of the school funds used, Ms. Urena acknowledged using school funds to purchase items that were intended to be used for educational purposes. It is clear that Ms. Urena did not use these items for any educational purpose. Rather, Ms. Urena chose to give the items to individual students as gifts, creating a condition in which other students at X365 were denied access to the same technological resources.
The allegations that Ms. Urena misappropriated school funds, by purchasing items that had no educational purpose, is therefore substantiated.

The allegation that Ms. Urena engaged in employee misconduct by giving DOE property to students as gifts is

Ms. Urena's poor record-keeping interfered with this investigation. In addition, the DF030 requires that detailed receipts be maintained for at least 6 years after any purchase is made with school funds. The allegation that Ms. Urena failed to adhere to the DFO Standard Operating Procedure is therefore substantiated.
Urena was promoted despite her record. When we examine the record of new superintendents appointed by Farina we will find further horror stories.

Details of the Arisleyda Urena ISO investigation below the break.

Department of Education
armon f.inna C/'m1cnllor
Courunayc Jackson­ Cbasc
General Counsel
Christopher J. Dalton
IA Director
Norris W. Knowles
Associate Director

DATE:            July 14, 2014
TO:                 Christopher Dalton, IA Director FROM:           Investigator Katherine Higginbotham
SUBJECT:         Arisleyda Urena, Director of School Quality, 1 File #733406 Office of School Quality
OSI Case #13-09422X

We Return from Sicily - Updated With More Photos

Palermo: View from hotel rooftop terrace at breakfast
We left on a 10-day Rick Steves tour of Sicily on Oct. 8 and returned last Sunday night. And what a time we had -- how great to be traveling in October while all of you are still working.

As I promised Bob Astrowsky, one of my favorite Unity people, I would say - thank you for my tier 1 retirement package - which unfortunately you decided to end in 1973 when you agreed to multi-tier pensions - like what are we up to now, Tier 12?

There were over 20 people on the tour, including a lawyer/Tea Party guy from Indianapolis, a big gas pro-fracking lawyer from Dallas, a big pharm guy from Florida and I was the designated
Big Pharm and Tea Party, now Marxists
leftist and oh what a time we had arguing, debating, learning from each other. There was also a retired airline pilot, a woman who does FIRST LEGO events in Ohio, a retired kindergarten teacher from the midwest, a businesswoman from Oklahoma who was, amazingly, liberal, an aide to a NY State Assemblywoman, a retired psychologist and speech pathologist, just to name a few. How great to get out of the narrow world of edtalk.

I learned so much from everyone. Some had an extensive knowledge of history and culture and it was like going to school. Note all that pasta accumulating in my belly.

Me and 2 lawyers - tea party and big oil/gas - I urged them to order bottles of fracked water
These guys knew so much about everything, proving that when leftarian meets right there doesn't have to be a food fight.

All the guys

And the ladies

And of course some things are the same all over -

The universal language

Here is my column in the October 24 edition of The Wave.
School Scope: Sicily

Excuse the bad writing. I’m still jet-lagged after returning from Sicily. (What’s my excuse the rest of the time?) Well, I’ve never seen a better 10-day period of great weather, though we could have used a bit less heat. Naturally we made some wrong decisions on clothing and found ourselves washing stuff throughout the trip but we were still down to the nitty gritty by the last day and when we opened our suitcases when we got home, the laundry walked out on its own and directly into the washing machine.

I could tell you all about the astounding food, the awesome views and the interesting people on our Rick Steves tour. But this is a School Scope column and education is our beat. As an undergrad history major with an almost Masters in the subject, I thought I knew the subject. But I knew little or nothing about Sicily, which if you are geographically challenged, is a triangular shaped island just off the southern tip of Italy on the western edge. Check out a map and see how close it is to Tunisia in Africa, with the island of Malta between them.

Sicily has one of the largest active volcanoes in Mount Etna, which we visited. And earthquakes. We also visited a winery nearby where we took home 2 bottles of high quality Etna wine. We visited mountain towns and coastal towns and spent some time in Palermo, the largest city. We also went to Syracuse, which at one time in the ancient world was the most populous city in the western world.

Here is the skinny on the pretty amazing long view of Sicilian history. Sicily has traces of civilization going back thousands of years. Look at a map and see how it is situated smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea between Southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East and you get an idea why Sicily was at various times under the control of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantium after the fall of Rome, then Arabs, then Normans (French/Viking people), assorted others, followed by Spain – those lovely people who brought us the Spanish inquisition which drove a flourishing Jewish population out of Sicily, then the Italian Bourbons and finally in the 1860s when Italy was unified and became a nation. Sicily still enjoys some autonomous status compared to the rest of Italy. And then of course there’s the Mafi… sorry, gotta run.

Norm continues to blog at ednotesonline despite taking a recent oath of Omerta. If you don’t see him around, well…..
Taorima - I think

for Brian

Friday, October 24, 2014

UPDATED: 1250 Broadway - den of ed deform - Chalkbeat Cozy With Ed Deformers: Chalkbeat NY and New Classrooms (Joel Rose's company) all share office space

Hi Norm,
Your post about Chalkbeat's office space gets a few significant things wrong. Here's what's actually happening:

1. Chalkbeat rents a room from New Classrooms. No special arrangements. We're paying tenants of office space. 
2. Lightsail no longer works in this space, and hasn't for as long as we have. 
3. We have disclosed our rental arrangement with New Classrooms wherever the organization has appeared in Chalkbeat since we moved here, including the Rise & Shine that you say didn't note that link. Not sure how you could miss it. I quote: 

Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson is criticizing a $420,000 city contract for New Classrooms, a personalized math program that was developed inside the Department of Education and now operates as an independent nonprofit. (Disclosure: Chalkbeat rents office space from New Classrooms.)

We did the same in a recent story about the iZone, which you can read here

I'd appreciate it if you would quickly correct your post. If you have any questions, as always, you can reach out to me directly.

Sarah Darville
EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Education Department official’s $420K contract violates ethics rules, critics say --- New Classrooms, started by [Chalkbeat roomie] Joel Rose, was granted a one-year contract for $420,750 in federal grant money to operate a learning program Rose created while working for the city. Critics say Rose promised the services free of charge in a previous deal... Daily News
I guess things still might get sticky when Chalkbeat people run into Joel Rose, who ran the School of One (another scam) under Joel Klein, at the water cooler if they did actual reporting.

Chalkbeat, Lightsail and New Classrooms all share offices in the same building.  Lightsail is selling itself as the ELA online platform as New Classrooms is doing for math....
Gideon Stein is the the CEO of LightSail and treasurer (!) of the board of Chalkbeat, on the board of New Classrooms, GreenDot, Teach Plus, Stand for Children; former VP of Success Academy Charters, and still apparently on the Upper West Success board.  Also, on the board of  Moriah Fund,[9] a private foundation.
So as Sarah points out Lightsail is not in that space but the connection to Stein seems to still be there.

Gideon Stein is a top-level ed deformer. Note that when Gotham went to Chalkbeat all the nightly reports of the blogs, which were the only places to read exposures of ed deform, were dropped.

Joel Rose is giving them a deal on the space? Is that corrupt?

But you all knew that Chalkbeat was not independent journalism. But then again neither is the NY Times -but there is no reason not to believe that Chalkbeat is an agent of ed deform.

Here is an interesting example regarding the conflict of interest over Joel Rose and his company, New Classrooms. Rose used his position as a Joel Klein hire at the DOE to make his bundle. Here is how Leonie Haimson, who has been on the Joel Rose case for years, reported the story.

Joel Rose and School of One get new NYC contract that violates conflict of interest rules and the terms of his earlier contract
NY Daily News reported that last month, the Panel for Educational Policy approved a contract for New Classrooms to teach math in city middle schools via an online program called the School of One.  The contract  charges the city nearly $200 per student for the licensing fee: “An estimated 2,220 students will be enrolled in the School of One program at a cost of $420,750 for license fees ($191.25 per student)."  This is the second contract granted New Classrooms; the original one was granted in January 2012.

Joel Rose, a former chief of staff to Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf, created School of One while at DOE, starting in February 2009.  He developed the algorithm and the program along with Chris Rush, a consultant then working for Wireless Generation, now headed by former Chancellor Joel Klein for Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp.   
Really, Mulgrew can crow all he wants about change of tone at Tweed and the PEP, but the games go on.
Of course the algorithm and methodology inherent in the School of One program was developed by Rose while he worked for the DOE – and would remain fully confidential.  The city’s Conflict of interest rules also say a former employee “may never work on a particular matter or project that you were directly involved in while employed by the City.” 
Yet somehow, despite the fact that Rose is head of the company and his company would clearly benefit from the contract, the conflict of interest rules were waived. 
Chalkbeat had a link to the Daily News story featuring Leonie in Rise and Shine:

The link was buried near the bottom - with no mention that the conflict of interest was about one of their roomies.

Here is the DN link:

And some financials on the interlocking directorates of ed deform.

LightSail Inc., an ed tech company, provides a tablet-based literacy platform for grades K-12 that combines tools to drive student growth. Its LightSail includes a personalized library of books for each student drawn from various acclaimed titles; an interactive e-reader with tools to support active reading and fast feedback; Lexile and Common Core-aligned assessments embedded in every text; real-time and actionable data for teachers and administrators; and Common Core State standards scaffolding for students and teachers. LightSail Inc. has a strategic partnership with Clever. The company was founded in 2012 and is based in New York, New York.

Chief Executive Officer
Director of Operations
Chief Strategy Officer
Chief Academic Officer
Director of Professional Learning

Address: 1250 Broadway
30th Floor
New York, NY 10001

LightSail Education Signs Strategic Partnership with Clever to Seamlessly Integrate Student Information System
Feb 25 14
LightSail Education announced that it signed a strategic partnership with Clever to seamlessly integrate student information system (SIS) data with its LightSail literacy platform. The collaboration will make it easier for schools to expedite and manage access to LightSail's expansive eLibrary containing thousands of digital books from virtually every major publisher as well as hundreds of smaller ones. The LightSail platform provides students with tablet-based libraries and embeds assessments and analytics in students' texts, monitoring their Lexile measures, Common Core State Standards progress and reading habits. For teachers, it delivers real-time data along with tools designed to support best literacy instruction practices in classrooms. The Clever integration allows effortless sign-on to LightSail, no longer requiring teachers to track multiple log-ons. It also provides a secure connection to a school's SIS, pulls student enrollment rosters and demographic data, and automatically syncs that data with the LightSail literacy platform.

Gideon Stein, CEO of LightSail, has raised over $50 million for education reform-related not for profit organizations and serves on the board of a foundation with an endowment in excess of $100 million that funds education reform around the globe. He is Vice Chairman of the Education News Network, Green Dot New York Charter High School, and New Classrooms, the nation’s leading organization focused on delivering individualized instruction. He co-founded and was formerly President of Future Is Now Schools, and was founder, Chairman, and CEO of the enterprise messaging company Omnipod, Inc. (now a division of Symantec.

New Classrooms | LinkedIn

Headquarters. 1250 Broadway New York, NY 10001 United States ... Gideon Stein · Gideon Stein: Director. Robert "Swan" Swanwick [].

Chalkbeat Overview - Company Information - aiHit

Oct 14, 2014 - ... currently serving in an advisory capacity: Sue Lehmann, Gideon Stein, and Jill Barkin. ... 1250 Broadway, 30th floor New York, NY 10001 ny ...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ravitch Savages Randi Pal Steve Barr Over New Orleans Charter Fiasco

In January, 2014, the news got out that McDonough was closing. Steve Barr said it was closing for renovations, and he didn’t want to disrupt “the culture.” Louisiana blogger Crazy Crawfish pointed out that enrollments were falling, test scores were abysmal, and costs were astronomical for the school. Some “culture.”  ... Diane Ravitch nails shyster Steve Barr: The Miracle That Wasn’t: Steve Barr’s Failure in New Orleans
The blogging world consistently makes the mainstream press look like incompetent fools - or rather intentionally incompetent on stories they don't want you to hear about.

I've been doing stuff on the relationship between Barr and Randi and the UFT/AFT -- no he is not related to UFT/Unity's Leroy. Here's my post from March 24, 2011:
Separated at Birth: Leo Casey, UFT - Steve Barr, Greendot Charter School Slug...Ed Notes Online, Mar 24, 2011
Note: online learning will replace teachers. Another example of the UFT being a partner in crime.

Leonie Haimson wrote:
On Inside City Hall last night, Steve Barr was selling the expansion of his "Green dot" charters in NYC, where he said he will focus on online learning, bring his "model" inside DOE, and he bragged about how he's working closely w/ the UFT,  including Leo Casey and Michael Mulgrew. 

He says "parents are owners" but so far neither the DOE, Barr, nor apparently the UFT have told anyone what schools  in the Bronx he intends to "turn around."

"If you can find that mutual co-option {between union and charter school operators], we can get beyond 3% [of students at ] charters, the great works happening at of charters should be scaled up as quickly as possible, we don't have time to play these adult games."'
I did a few more Barr stories:

Oct 18, 2014
Answering the Where Is He Now? question, on July 30, 2014, California Democrats for Education Reform announced that with their chair Steve Barr they're going to create a political consensus to reform education. No New ...

Aug 01, 2014
Hmm.. Steve Barr of Green Dot charters and then the pretentiously named “Future is Now” charters was always a favorite of Michael Mulgrew and the UFT. Several of his charters were started in NYC w/ their enthusiastic ...

Mar 24, 2011
On Inside City Hall last night, Steve Barr was selling the expansion of his "Green dot" charters in NYC, where he said he will focus on online learning, bring his "model" inside DOE, and he bragged about how he's working ...

Jul 26, 2007
Well, that is exactly what is happening in Los Angeles where Steve Barr of Green Dot charters, Randi Weingarten's ally in crime in setting up a charte r school in the Bronx, has formed a company union to compete with the LA ...
And here are the ugly details from Diane's post

SUNY Blames 'Administrative Error' for Success Academy Confusion

SUNY Charter School officials scrambled to explain this week's confusion about the apparent thumbs-up, saying it was a clerical error. At the same time, in a video recording, SUNY administrators said the school could move anywhere it wanted within Manhattan after being approved for Distr​ict 2....
Yes - SUNY and Eva are lying thieves.
Hello from DNAinfo — we have a follow-up to our story on Success Academy moving a planned school from District 2 to District 1 or 6.

SUNY Blames 'Administrative Error' for Success Academy Confusion

Mulgrew BFF Farina Changes Superintendents - Pity District 12 With New Supt Rafaela Espinal (Pacheco)

Two important points came up after Mulgrew's president's report, which I would characterize as the UFT bureaucracy's enchantment with Chancellor Carmen Fariña.  "Remember all those years with that moron up the street?” said Mulgrew (referring to Joel Klein and the Bloomberg years). Now with a “friend” in Tweed (“call me Carmen”), and the new contract, he said, "teachers have a voice" and the chancellor is telling the principals, "teachers aren't the enemy, they're soldiers in your army.”  Well, the brass and the troops have a very different standpoint, especially when we’re facing a war on teachers and public education.... Marjorie Stamberg, reporting on the Oct. 22 UFT Delegate Assembly
At yesterday's Delegate Assembly, Mulgrew was just dripping with love for Carmen Farina and pointed to the shakeup of Superintendents as a major step in removing the BloomKlein influence from Tweed.

I had to laugh out loud given the name of the new supt of District 12 in the Bronx - one Rafaela Espinal (Pacheco) - the Leadership Academy witch and rubber room queen who was the principal of my old school for about 5 years. Rumors were that her husband (now ex) worked for Bloomberg. And she originally came from District 15 we heard, so there is probably a long-time connection to Farina.

Espinal was known for standing at the door of a class and observing with a scowl and then slapping a post-it note on the door, always with negatives. In her years at the school there was no report of anything she said positively to a teacher.

So it was funny to hear Mulgrew declare yesterday that Farina told the Supt that teachers were not the enemy. Espinal would have to go re-education camp.

When Espinal left PS 147 to go to New Jersey and was replaced by another Lead Acad grad, who surprisingly turned out to be great, the members of the staff looked 10 years younger as they lost years of angst. This was not just the teachers. One secretary told me she was ready to retire but was rejuvenated by the new principal and remained for years.

Espinal had run a reign of terror at the school. One of my friends, a black teacher, who lost the election for chapter leader by 1 vote was targeted the next year. When a special ed child tried to run out of her room for the 3rd time that period my friend caught her and sat her in her seat, in the process a button came off her shirt and her fingernail may have grazed the girls neck - though photos taken by Espinal shortly after showed no mark.

How amazing that the principal immediately grabbed a camera to document supposed abuse - I remember all of us at the 3020 hearing looking at the photo for any sign of a scratch or even redness on the child's neck and shaking our heads.

WARNING ALERT: The teacher did not use a NYSUT lawyer but her own who was an utter incompetent. Rumors are spread about how awful NYSUT lawyers are but teachers should at the very least check out the one they are assigned before leaping to the cost of their own. NYSUT lawyers do not work for the UFT.

Espinal incited the parent to call the police and file charges and my friend was removed in handcuffs by 5 police officers, spent years in the rubber room and while not fired received a substantial fine  - for sitting a child in her seat -- (a runner who could have gotten hurt or worse if she ran out of the school). All incited by the vicious Rafaela Espinal. The teacher was black and another black teacher at the school claimed Espinal was a racist. But the climate of fear created by Espinal shut everyone up -- except my friend who was the only one in the school to challenge Espinal.

I spent some time attending the 3020 hearing and heard the mother testify for hours. That whole scene could be an off-Broadway play. But from her testimony it was clear the role Espinal played.

I even called up the lead detective who made the arrest and soon realized it was bogus - "bullshit" - was the word he used. I tried to get the UFT to do something - like get him in record, etc. but their position was that the teacher is no her own. I did take her to a UFT Exec Bd meeting to speak - again, useless.

Espinal put another teacher in the rubber room for 15 months over a comment she made to one of Espinal's lackeys in a private conversation with no children present that "some children will never get it." Shortly after a kid charged that the teacher told the class that black kids can never learn. The teacher was exonerated and sent back to the school, luckily after Espinal had left.  It should be pointed out that this occurred in January of the school year and the removal of an experienced top level teacher in a crucial 4th grade class led to chaos in the class for the rest of the school year and a drop in scores - which may have been a reason she left.

Espinal returned as principal of PS 125 in Harlem and we immediately began to hear of rubber room postings within her first month. She was ultimately removed as principal (for unknown reasons) but kicked up to a position of principal mentor - specializing in the use of water boarding. Then I heard that under Farina she was put in charge of some teacher evaluation unit - yes, Espinal, who evaluated teachers based on loyalty and trumped up charges.

Ed Notes on Espinal:
Mar 22, 2009
 Rafaela Espinal left the system to a great sigh of relief. She was replaced by another Leadership Acad Principal but this one gets high marks. Another teacher with an impeccable rep railroaded to the RR was ...
Apr 10, 2007
It is no small matter that the principal, Rafaela Espinal, is a Leadership Acad Grad and has had a great number of veteran teachers leave the school in the short time she has been there, with others looking to join them.
Apr 16, 2007
See Rafaela Espinal, principal of PS 147, say a few words of wisdom when she is not inciting parents to call the police on teachers. One of the things not included in the interview with Kathy Blythe in The Chief was the fact that ...
To me Rafaela Espinal is a criminal. So here is someone who could not last as a principal in at least 3 schools has been appointed as the new District 12 Superintendent.

Here is the list of Supes as published by Tweed:

There are 32 community superintendents and 10 high school superintendents, and we applied these changes to all 42. There are 15 new superintendents, of them eight were hired this school year:
District 2 - Bonnie Laboy
District 8 – Karen Ames
District 11 – Maria Lopez
District 12 – Rafaela Espinal
District 17 – Clarence Ellis
District 22 – Julia Bove
District 26 – Danielle Giunta
District 28 – Mabel Muniz-Saduy
Additionally, seven of the new superintendents were hired in the spring to fill vacancies. These new superintendents all still reapplied and underwent the new, thorough process over the summer. These are: 
District 6 – Manuel Ramirez
District 9 – Leticia Rodriquez Rosario
District 27 – Mary Barton
District 31 – Anthony Lodico
High School– Michael Prayor
High School – Fred Walsh
Transfer High School – LaShawn Robinson

These individuals were selected after a rigorous interview process and comprehensive background checks, and have all demonstrated extensive experience and a clear commitment to serving our students. There are two incumbent superintendents who did not meet the new experience qualifications (at least ten years of pedagogic experience, including at least three as a successful principal) but were grandfathered in per the regulation change – Gale Reeves (D5) and Anita Skop (D15). Today, October 21 marks the new superintendents’ first day. 

Here is a quote you can use from Chancellor Carmen Fariña: “To be a successful superintendent, you need extensive experience as an instructional leader and a proven record of success. I am thrilled to welcome this group of highly qualified leaders—they have the necessary experience, knowledge and understanding of what it takes to support principals, teachers and ultimately students. These decisions were about common sense. I want leaders at the helm who understand what it takes to ensure a supportive school community, and this is an exciting step forward to make sure our school system creates environments where all students and school staff will thrive. The new and existing superintendents will receive ongoing support, professional development, collaborate with each other and serve our greatest goal of directly improving classroom learning for students across the City.”
Right- I can see Espinal slapping giant post-it notes full of negative comments on schools.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Send a message to today's UFT DA: ATRs Deserve Union Representation

Support ATRs who are deprived of representation in any UFT Chapter, by calling for a new functional chapter of ATRs.

Here is the proposed resolution from MORE for today's Delegate Assembly:

Read and download on our DA flyer.

The UFT Delegate Assembly will take place on
Wednesday, October 22nd, at 4:15pm
UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway 
(2/3/4/5 to Wall St., A/C/J/Z to Fulton, 1/N/R to Rector)

Afterwards, please join us for a post-DA gathering at 6:15pm, just a few blocks away at the Whitehorse Tavern, 25 Bridge St, NYC.

See you this afternoon, 

Movement of Rank and File Educators

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ATRs of the World - UNITE! End Taxation (Dues) Without Representation - Force the UFT/Unity Caucus to Form a Functional Chapter

A new energy has infused the almost decade old ATR situation (beginning with the 2005 contract) with the entry of James Eterno and Francesco Portelos into their world. It is not easy to slime people who have been recognized as great teachers.

(For new readers an ATR is somone whose school was closed or who was excessed from their school and is now forced to rotate each week from school to school while under the gun of almost instant dismissal when 2 principals go after them.)

Many ATRs became so gun-shy and abused they had trouble organizing and acting.

Not much at all since the big Nov. 2008 ATR rally at Tweed, which the UFT/Unity, in alliance with the DOE, tried to undermine - see my video of the wine and cheese fiasco - the video Randi did not want you to see - and by the way for those promoting the sudden New Action interest in ATRS - they were perfectly happy to partake in the wine and cheese and ignore the rally taking place at Tweed - yes I have the unpublished video.
See ed notes wine and cheese reports
Oct 21, 2012
2008 ATR rally at Tweed that caused so much panic at both Tweed and 52 Broadway that the Gang of 2 were forced to come up with an "agreement" the day before followed by the infamous UFT wine and cheese diversion to ...
Jan 28, 2009
That day I went to the rally and it was sickening what happened with the boycott from RW. We waited for her in the bitter cold while she and her people were stuffing themselves with the wine and cheese. By the time she came, ...
(Actually, the event above led Angel Gonzalez, John Lawhead and I to create an ICE committee that turned into GEM.)

James had not been shy about blogging - ICEUFT Blog
ADIOS AVIATION HS; ATR ROTATION BEGINS . The ICE and Ed Notes blogs have been the most persistent voices standing up for ATRS since 2005, along with Chaz's School Daze.

And of course we know Portelos is never shy.

I found out how hard it was to organize ATRs in 2010 or 2011 when Angel and I started holding meetings. At the first one we had over 40 people when we expected 10. I tried to keep listserves, etc until I realized ATRs had to organize themselves. What they were missing was the kind of organizers and leadership that Eterno and Portelos bring to the table - especially with Portelos' tech skills.

What a pleasure to see this happening.
We are organizing the ATRs. We will hold elections for a new ATR coalition and then approach the UFT to be a functional chapter like all these others
Please share widely and tell every ATR you know.