Friday, February 27, 2015

Condemnation of DeB/Farina PEP as "Same Old Song" And Increasing Opposition to Mayoral Control

Yup. Making mayoral control permanent would guarantee
that the next mayor, whoever he or she may be, could push even harder to privatize our public schools, close them by the hundreds, and push NYC kids to corporate-run charters and outsource their education to tech vendors, testing and curriculum companies – and get whatever corrupt contracts they like approved, no matter what watchdogs warn or how parents, teachers and community residents feel. It would be playing right into the hand of the hedgefund/privatizers/ profiteers.... Leonie Haimson
There are 2 interesting blog posts:

Leonie Haimson on the PEP contract fiasco: Approval of the huge Computer Consultant Services contract -- what de Blasio said that day in Albany, and the failure of mayoral control
and Arthur  Goldstein at NYC Educator Why Does Bill de B. Want Mayoral Control?

Leonie is livid:
[The PEP] proved once and for all that that the contracting and accountability reforms that were supposed to improve mayoral control are NOT working.   Yet de Blasio argued in Albany yesterday that the State Legislature should make mayoral control permanent, leading Chalkbeat to say: the move towards mayoral control “illustrates a growing consensus about how the city’s schools should be governed.”  Really? 
“Before mayoral control, the city’s school system was balkanized,” de Blasio said. “School boards exerted great authority with little accountability and we saw far too many instances of mismanagement, waste and corruption…. [Making mayoral control permanent] would build predictability into the system, which is important for bringing about the deep, long-range reforms that are needed.”


Funny, as opposed to this “growing consensus” for mayoral control that Chalkbeat imagines, many key Democratic Party groups in Seattle have voted against giving their Mayor two out of seven appointees on their school board.  And Chuy Garcia, who is in a run-off against Rahm Emanuel for mayor of Chicago, supports eliminating mayoral control in that town and creating an elected school board – though Chicago has had one of the longest runs of mayoral control of any school district in the country.  I don’t know of any city that has adopted mayoral control since Washington DC adopted it in 2007.

Former PEP people's champion, Patrick Sullivan - and it is clear why de Blasio wouldn't reappoint him --  suffered through the debate:

I watched the contracts debate last night. It was painful. The DOE procurement people could and should have used the years since CCS was party to the fraud to manage them out. Instead DOE only increased their dependency on them and had the audacity to claim their more expensive bid was considered more attractive because of CCS's track record with us. They basically claimed that we were painted into a corner and had no choice but to suck it up and give them the contract. Three years to watch that paint dry. Thank God for Robert Powell. The rest of them were thoroughly disappointing. I turned it off after Robert made his stand and before I had to watch him get voted down alone. And thank God for Leonie. Without her, DOE would have gotten away with getting the contract approved without anyone the wiser. The ironic thing is that DOE is let the whole thing explode in the Post and Juan Gonzalez's column on the very day de Blasio is in Albany asking for permanent mayoral control, essentially handing the legislature exhibit A against the case for permanent mayoral control. I bet City Hall was happy about that. Where's David Cantor when you need him?
A parent commented:
Ironically, the Chancellor made a comment that night about how this is *not* the same PEP as the last administration, and everyone laughed. Sheep, all but one of them. So far, the only substantive difference I've seen is that they "delay" a vote for a month....then vote the way they were going to anyway.
Back to Leonie:
Fabulous comments from Miriam Farer Aristy, given on her behalf by [MORE Steering Comm Member] Mindy Rosier.

Miriam wrote:
I could not be here so a representative (Mindy Rosier) is speaking on behalf of CEC 6 myself and many outraged parents in Northern Manhattan. As our DOE struggles to regain trust, transparency and more funding from our Gov how can we approve such a proposal with Custom Computer Specialists when we know they have cheated our children before?

How can we continue to give them our business and excessive amounts of money when we know they did us wrong before. If you truly embrace the Chanecellors new pillar, and community engagement, you will listen to the people tonight. The bodies in this room are not as many as those on social media outrages at this company even being considered again. Again I urge you to vote against the proposal to give Custom Computer Specialists more of our money.

It would be the right thing to do and send a strong message about who the DOE is today, not who they were. By approving this you will prove all the naysayers right that nothing has changed and never will.

Not to mention you are giving fuel to the opposition to critique the DOE and rightfully so. Again do the right thing stop corrupt past practices, VOTE no for Custom Computer Specialists, no place for that in our and Carmen’s DOE.

Thanks you, Miriam Aristy-Farer, CEC 6 President representing 41 Washington Heights, Inwood and W. Harlem elementary and middle schools.
List of PEP appointees here:

One of the Mayoral appointees is Norm Fruchter --- who ran the Annenberg ed operation here in NYC for years --- I never liked him and always saw him as a closet ed deformer; another is Roberto Carrion, son of a city agency head – which, according to Leonie, may conflict with at least the spirit of the conflict of interest laws which bars city employees from serving on the PEP.

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