Thursday, June 11, 2015

Class Size Matters Celebrates Opt Out, Proponents of Real Reform at Skinnies

Ain't no party like an opt-out party...

Parent Nancy Cauthen Accepts for CTS
MOREs and Change the Stakers were in the house at Leonie's 7th annual Skinny (not Broad) Awards dinner celebrating the leading opt outers Tuesday night. There were so many great fighters for real reform present -- ed deformers could have wiped out some of their key opponents with a drone attack.

Amazing bloggers Arthur Goldstein (NYC Educator), Gary Rubinstein and Mark Webber (Jersey Jazzman) were in the room. Peter Goodman was the only Unity/UFT person I recognized, though I hear the UFT bought a table. Francesco Portelos was there and we had a nice chat. MORE's Lauren Cohen and colleagues from her school, PS 321K, had a big presence. I'm
always happy to see Lauren so happy at her school given her escape from 6 years with a principal from hell a few years ago. MOREs (and old ICEers) Lisa North, Gloria Brandman, David and Pat Dobosz were also there. (Despite the mixing of different groups in MORE, hanging with my old colleague ICEers always makes me feel good (and nostalgic). And they show up for stuff like this.

I got to speak to Diane Ravitch for a while and she seems so sturdy after her recent medical issues. 

Former teacher and City Councilman Danny Dromm was there all night and I find him to be such a decent guy and given that he is in the political sphere there are certain positions he has to tread carefully around -- like the UFT -- you can't really oppose them from the left or risk suicide.

I always love talking to climatologist Michael Oppenheimer, Leonie's husband.

That's David Dobosz to my right
Most of the men wore suits, so me in a reprise of the Tommy Bahama shirt I wore at the recent Destination Wedding in Turks and Caicos I went to, stood out - but people said it made them think they were in the Caribbean. (Given that the shirt and my pants must be dry cleaned, my wife suggested I get one more wearing out of them- that is why we aren't poor.)

A few non-teachers asked me out Unity Caucus gets away with running such an undemocratic union but after Fred Smith treated me to my 2nd glass of wine I was not in shape to give a cogent reply.

The evening belonged to the wonderful parents leading the NYC and NY State opt out movement - Change the Stakes, NYC Opt Out and NYSAPE. Nancy Cauthen accepted for CTS and Janine Sopp for NYC Opt Out - 2 tireless parents who make me feel tired.

Here is Leonie's report on the dinner.

Thanks so much for all who came to our "Skinny" award dinner last night – and also to those who contributed but couldn't make it.

Special thanks to those of you who came from as far away as Rockland and Westchester Counties, Long Island and NJ.

It was a great pleasure for me to be able to honor the leaders of the state's Opt out movement – NYSAPE, Change the Stakes and NYC Opt out. As Nick Tampio tweeted last night, it is important to celebrate our victories.

Thanks also to CMs Danny Dromm and Corey Johnson for their inspiring messages, their support for Class Size Matters and for their efforts to improve our public schools rather than privatize them. As CM Johnson reminded us, children are not commodities.

Hope to see you next year at the "Skinnies" and just remember, as Diane Ravitch pointed out, we are winning!

If you haven't yet joined our Facebook page, please do as we will be uploading photos of the event later today, and feel free to upload your photos, or send them to

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