Friday, March 31, 2017

NYSUT split sends vocal opt-out president packing

One of the few media outlets to report on this - though idea assigned to UFT in the article below that opt out movement seriously threatened federal funding is pretty absurd.... Leonie Haimson
Both Pallotta, Magee’s likely successor, and his ally Michael Mulgrew, the New York City union president, are seen as Cuomo supporters, and were criticized by some teachers for supporting the governor even when he was pushing for a stringent evaluation system.
Leonie found this nugget about the dumping of Karen Magee by Weingarten/Mulgrew. Astute observers knew from the day Magee came out for Opt out that she was in trouble.

I noticed the difference in the role played by Magee at the AFT 2014 convention when she was a big deal compared to the 2016 when she was marginalized. (But so was Mulgrew whose buffoonish behavior was deemed to embarrassing to showcase.) And let's not forget that Magee landed a position with Randi at the AFT as a reward for taking a bullet - by not running.

NYSUT split sends vocal opt-out president packing
Karen Magee delivered her message in no uncertain terms.

"I am saying that I would urge parents at this point in time to opt out of testing," the New York State United Teachers president said in a 2015 interview on the radio show "Capitol Pressroom."
The remark made Magee among the first high-profile union leaders in the country to explicitly encourage parents to opt their children out of state tests, fueling a movement that ultimately helped force a major shift in the direction of New York’s education system.
It also may have contributed to a rift between Magee and the very people who put her in office. Magee announced last month that she will not pursue a second term, after it became clear she would face two challengers, including one of her fellow officers.
The point in BOLD is a flat out wrong --- Magee didn't fuel any movement -- but what she did do is allow the ed deformers to make that claim -- that the union was behind opt out in order to try to hide its people from being accountable. This line was quickly picked up and used to defile opt out, which is fundamentally a parent-led movement. 

Fred Smith in WAPO: What N.Y. parents should know about 2017 Common Core standardized tests

Four passages that are well above grade level with 6 multiple choice questions most of which require that a student go back into the text and the answer is still difficult to figure out is ridiculous. Kids were twitching. Two of mine cried. I administered to 7 children with reading disabilities. They didn’t stand a chance. It makes me angry. I spent all year inspiring them to feel excited about learning and confident and in 10 minutes NYS made them feel like idiots…. Anonymous,

Fred Smith, a testing specialist and consultant, explains how the state is attempting to persuade parents not to opt-out, and what students face when they sit down to take the exams. Smith is retired as a senior analyst for the New York City public schools and a member of Change the Stakes, a parent advocacy group.

Seeking to turn back the opt-out movement, authorities are promoting a few scripted points to convey the idea that the testing program has been improved for 2017: The number of questions on the exams has been reduced, more teachers have been involved in developing them, and the tests are untimed.

On the surface these seem attractive. But fewer items make less reliable tests. The teachers who were involved reviewed but didn’t write the questions on the tests, which were created by Questar Assessment (which is being purchased by the Educational Testing Service, or ETS). And the removal of time limits means the tests are no longer being conducted under standard conditions, thereby nullifying attempts to measure growth.

Effectively, the results of the 2017 exams cannot be used to make meaningful comparisons over time, though the Education Department says the tests aren’t being changed enough so that comparisons will be valid.

Another selling point the state makes is that while the tests will continue to be given, no teachers or principals will be affected by the results as in the past, when test scores were factored into their evaluations. The state has declared a moratorium on directly linking student test scores to teacher evaluations. This may lull people concerned about the misuse of the tests into accepting their administration because negative consequences have diminished for teachers and principals, but the results can still affect schools, and the scores can be used as an “advisory” evaluation measure for individual educators.

In announcing the improvements, a department spokesperson said, “It’s up to parents to decide if their children should take the tests and we want them to have all the facts so they can make an informed decision.”

Really? There is no information on opting out — or about the field testing of questions, which allows publishers to develop future exams for free by trying out test questions on children — on the one-page document posted on SED’s Engageny , titled “2017 Grades 3-8 New York State Assessments: What Parents Need to Know.”  Evidently, they must know the tests are untimed, shortened, reflective of teacher involvement and will be given in some districts by computer.

Here are some more facts about  field testing on the 2017 exams that parents aren’t being told:

There are two approaches publishers follow to develop questions and determine which should be kept for subsequent exams.  The preferred way is to embed try-out material (reading passages and associated questions) in the test booklets that students are striving to complete.  In theory, students can’t tell which questions are experimental and do not count in scoring their tests from the operational ones that count.  Thus, they should be motivated to do well on the trial items.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

PEP Video: Where I Explain the Basics of Farina-ism - plus Rich Mantell, Gloria and Marilena from MORE

In this video ( I begin to explore the Farina legacy - which I dub "Farina-ism". Oppose parent, teacher and student influence and indeed punish those who dare to resist. You can see Farina-ism in operation at Central Park East 1 where a vicious vendetta against the Debbie Meier founded progressive school is playing out in all its gory details as teachers, parents and students are under attack.

The closing of JHS 145 is a Trump-Devos like attack on the many immigrant and Muslim children who have found a home there. And since Eva Moskowitz, who the day after the PEP vote had her people measuring the space to be vacated by 145, gets to replace them, that is a perfect dovetail of the DeVos privatization plan.

I didn't even get to mention the Townsend Harris story -- there was a parent and student rep who went after Farina over the claim that the student newspaper was reporting fake news.

UFT VP Richard Mantell was the only official UFT rep who spoke -- I saw one or two others early in the meeting but our call for the DA to be adjourned and have masses go to support the school went unheeded. But Rich did a good job and showed some passion about the issue.

MORE's Gloria Brandman who is a special ed expert focused on that issue and Marilena Marchetti nailed the corporate takeover of the school issue.

By the way, MORE had a big turnout to support 145 and CPE -- maybe 15-20 people. We called for the DA to be adjourned a half hour early and go to the PEP with a show of force. I'll report more on the arguments made at the Ex Bd meeting why we couldn't do that because we had so much important business to attend to -- Mulgrew was 17 minutes late to the DA.

Too bad the Unity/UFT leadership didn't get massive numbers of people there in support.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

NYSUT Update: Exposing Martin Messner's Mess

Let’s begin with NYSUT’s Form 990, which every tax-exempt organization is required to file annually with the IRS. The most recent one available covers the period September 2014-August 2015. It shows NYSUT with an $18.9 million deficit. It was signed on January 13, 2016 by Martin Messner, NYSUT’s secretary-treasurer.

Three months later, Messner addressed the delegates of the NYSUT representative assembly and told them the union had recorded its “second surplus in a row.” (at the 1:55 mark) He also stated that NYSUT pension fund was 86 percent funded. (at the 2:20 mark) Messner did not address the costs of post-retirement health care.

Less than four months later, NYSUT sent a letter to local affiliate presidents with quite a different story. Though the date on the letter is July 26, 2015, it was actually sent on that date in 2016, as the contents of the letter will confirm. The key details are:
In January of 2016, the NYSUT officers were notified of a looming pension spike for the NYSUT pension system that was extremely high. In late April of 2016, we received a second report from our actuary that was even more damaging and the numbers have reached a point that absent action they could jeopardize the entire organization.
Messner did not inform the delegates of the “looming pension spike” NYSUT was warned about in January, and his rosy forecast for the pension system somehow came crashing down only three weeks after his speech.
NYSUT Can’t Keep Its Stories Straight

Mike Antonucci has continued to cover the NYSUT story we have been reporting about. Here he quotes from our Mike Lillis post:
Michael Lillis is a candidate for the NYSUT presidency, and he told New York City education blogger Norm Scott that his caucus is “aware of the uncertain economic situation within NYSUT, and we have grave concerns that if not addressed properly, this house of cards could come tumbling down, leaving members vulnerable to the worst of the political winds out there.”  
Mike also did a piece about Harry Lirtzman's analysis- NYSUT is a Ponzi Scheme - Harris Lirtzman Analyzes... 
in this follow-up where he points to Harry's background and how that when Harry speaks people should listen:
With elections approaching, activists are taking notice. NYSUT’s officers dismiss critics outside the union, but it’s difficult to marginalize Harris Lirtzman, whose credentials both as a labor advocate and in the financial world are unique and seemingly impeccable.
Lirtzman became a New York City teacher late in life, after
Harris Lirtzman in NY Times piece
a long career at Merrill Lynch and the New York City Comptroller’s Office, rising to the position of deputy comptroller for administration. As a teacher, Lirtzman was profiled in The New York Times for blowing the whistle on violations of the state’s special education regulations, charges for which he was ultimately vindicated.
Lirtzman has taken a special interest in NYSUT’s finances. In a letter to New York City education blogger Norm Scott, he described its situation bluntly, charging that it used member dues to pay overdue debts.
“NYSUT is a Ponzi scheme,” he said. “So long as the cash keeps moving from dues-paying members to NYSUT to the AFT to the UFT and back around it can keep its doors open.”
But he suggested that if the flow of dues slows for any reason, the structure collapses. “No one ever suspected that the cash could stop,” he said. “But it will stop and soon.”
Lirtzman explained in layman’s terms the two ways to fund a retirement system. “You can either make arrangements to pay for those commitments by funding them over time and investing those funds to earn more money,” he wrote. “Or you can take cash that comes in today from member dues and use it to pay the benefits you owe your current and retired employees. The first way is prudent but can be expensive. The second way can work but only if everything plays out the way you hope.”
In this scenario, a Friedrichs-type court action that results in an end to agency fees (paid by non-member teachers who benefit from collective bargaining) or an economic downturn that forces downsizing of school staffs could create a crisis.
Lirtzman thinks drastic action is necessary. “We can keep the worst of this from happening if we take the time, now, to understand how badly NYSUT is managed, how terribly our money is being misused and how much we will lose if we don’t act,” he wrote. “I hope that the political strategy [voting out incumbent NYSUT leaders] works in the long run. I’m afraid that we don’t have the long run to find out.”
As The New York Times suggested in that profile, “Perhaps it pays to heed Harris Lirtzman.”

Video of CPE 1 Parents Hammering Farina for Supporting Principal Monika Garg

We posted this yesterday: UPDATE: Central Park East 1's Monika Garg is the WORST principal in NYC Based on NYCDOE's own criteria

Now here is some video from last week's PEP of parents going for Farina's jugular. Thirteen minutes of heaven. Oh, the joy!

Stories floating around that Farina has always been jealous of CPE founder and McArthur genius award winner Debbie Meier, a true educator who has always been consistent in her putting the interests of children first, unlike Farina. So Farina, before she retires, is making sure Debbie's legacy won't survive.

By the way - saw Marilyn Martinez last night at the UFT Ex bd meeting. She is firm and holding up -- they told her outcome should take 40 days.

Monday, March 27, 2017

School Scope: Opt Out of Test Movement is Still Alive Despite Attempts to Kill It

The WAVE -- - Publish date: March 31, 2017

School Scope: Opt Out of Test Movement is Still Alive Despite Attempts to Kill It
By Norm Scott

NYC schools chancellor Carmen Farina hates the opt out movement because it so threatens the education establishment which uses testing as a bludgeon. Even if your child aces tests, our claim has been that the process itself is harmful to overall development of children educationally, emotionally and intellectually. Many top performing nations have de-emphasized testing, especially for children under high school age.

Farina and the testing establishment have threatened schools, teachers and parents with all sorts of punishment and sanctions, many of them untrue. Principals at schools with high opt-out rates last year have been pressured to intimidate parents who even ask questions about opt out.

I know you will be reading this at the end of the week that ELA tests were given statewide, but there will be a math test the first week of May but even if your child took the tests and you are a believer in the value of tests I urge you to read this blog by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters: It's not too late to opt out & more reasons to do so-- including to protect your child's privacy and deny them the data!

A lot of people are not aware that their childlrens’ data is being shared and even sold. “Deny them the data” has become somewhat of a rallying cry.

Consider the points made in the letter to parents below by a parent of three children – and check out the link: Top 10 Reasons to Opt Out -

Dear Parents,

The state tests are coming up. Before your child sits for 6 days worth of standardized state exams please take a few minutes to review the reasons for considering to opt out of these tests.

I am both a parent and an education advocate, and will be opting my two children out of the state exams. Like every parent, I care deeply about my children's education and future. Actually, I care about the quality of every child's education and am concerned about these specific exams undermining public schools' ability to teach to the WHOLE child. The Opt Out movement has proven to be the best way to make systemic changes to public education.

Who else believes children should opt out of the state tests? Leading education experts such as Diane Ravitch, Carol Burris and Leonie Haimson, as well as the parents of 240,000 NYS students who opted out last year. This year, the New York State Teacher's Union (NYSUT) has even taken out billboards to inform parents of their right to opt out of the state tests.

Our children are not standard. They have talents and qualities that these tests will never measure and are not designed to encourage. They measure cramming, access to expensive tutors, and rote learning. None of these qualities are skills that will prepare our children for college and even less so for the real world.

Ultimately, the decision to opt out is yours. But before the kids go to school on Tuesday, take the opportunity to be informed about the movement. Again, please take the time to read through the links below. But just in case you DON'T open the links below, I'll sum it up with this: State exams are driven by politics and corporate greed while your child's learning and potential is a distant priority. A multiple choice test won't teach our kids what it takes to cure cancer or solve world hunger.


Johanna Garcia
Mom to Aries (3rd gr), Alexa (5th gr.) & Hailey (10th gr.)

“Awesome” said Jamaal A. Bowman Founding Principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action MS, who shared his own video on testing and opting out.

Norm never opts out of blogging at

UPDATE: Central Park East 1's Monika Garg is the WORST principal in NYC Based on NYCDOE's own criteria

 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Central Park East 1's Monika Garg is the WORST pri...":

I worked under Garg for two years when she was an AP. She literally turned our school upside down with mismanagement, corruption, bullying and unfair targeting of anyone she didn't like. She acted like an expert in everything when she knew so little about most things. She used her bully-style to make up for the lack of substance. When we found out she was leaving our school (and her awful boss Minerva), many teachers who were planning on leaving decided to stay.
Sign the CPE petition:

The funniest line of the night at the PEP was Farina saying that they do things in the interests of children.

Why does the DOE and UFT coddle bad principals who always get protection. There are so many mini-Trumps in the system who can brag they can kill someone in broad daylight and get away with it. And they do kill teacher careers and children's hopes.
Chaz's School Daze:  Anoither Case Of The DOE Double Standard When Disciplining Administrators - Santiago Taveras.
Chapter Leader Marilyn Martinez had her last day of hearing on Friday and will be out of the school at least for a month while waiting for a decision though experienced hands believe no matter the outcome she won't be allowed back at the school. And the UFT will be silent publicly.
Petition update

NYCDOE's own criteria Garg is the WORST principal in NYC

Save CPE1
United States


- Greatest percentage drop in English test scores, citywide*

- Greatest percentage drop in Math test scores, citywide*

- Lowest rating in Trust, citywide**

- Lowest rating for Effective Management, citywide**

- Lowest rating in Tracking Student Academic Progress, Citywide**

- Lowest rating in Awareness of What is Going on in Classrooms, citywide**

In addition to her exploitative use and abuse of students to target teachers, Garg had the greatest drop of nearly every measure for principal performance, citywide.

*Drop from NYS 2015 test scores to 2016 (see Chalkbeat, August 2, 2016)
**NYCDOE School Survey 2016

Please distribute this information widely, and continue to share our petition. Monika Garg must be removed for the safety of our children, the protection of our teachers and the existence of this magical school. #savecpe1

NYSUT Presidential Candidate Michael Lillis Comments on NYSUT Finances

In response to our recent coverage of NYSUT finances -
and our concerns that ST Caucus was paying attention, NYSUT ST Caucus presidential candidate sent us this response:

Thanks for your reporting on NYSUT budget issues and the upcoming elections. I'd like to give you the heads up on where ST is on the NYSUT budget issue. 

We have been concerned for sometime over NYSUT's finances; this is why we opposed raising the number of officers from four to five, two years ago. There is a lack of confidence in the reporting of the current leadership. At last year’s President’s Conference, Martin Messner’s budget report indicated NYSUT was on a stable financial footing. 

A couple of months later, however, during PSA negotiations, the officers claimed NYSUT was facing a financial crisis. Therefore, leadership’s budget discussions seem to be more about political messaging than they are about guaranteeing NYSUT will be stable in its vision and capability moving forward.

We have two platform positions that deal with NYSUT's financials directly. First, we are proposing reducing the number of officers from five to four. This would be a 20% reduction in officer salaries and expenses. Second, we are proposing reducing officer salaries by 15%. Though these efforts in isolation will not be adequate to restore NYSUT to fiscal stability, they are necessary precursors to any meaningful discussion with NYSUT staff.

We have been clear that any fiscal reorganization within NYSUT requires transparency, shared sacrifice, and shared vision. The current NYSUT leadership lack these, and are simply not up to the task of bringing fiscal order without negative fallout that could impact members. The most recent PSA negotiations are evidence of this.

We must also look at the metro funding rebates. Five of the largest locals in the state are reimbursed 32% of their dues as they decline field services, but they receive additional rebates to bring the total in some cases to 50%. PSA, for example, gets 50% of their dues reimbursed, or at least they did when Dick was President. He did this to prevent them from disaffiliating. We have made many requests to NYSUT to get current reimbursement data, and they have not been forthcoming. Instead, they have referred us only to public disclosure documents.

We must also remember that NYSUT's economic future is not just a fiscal issue. In the near future, members may have the right to refuse dues payments. To protect the organization, we must transform NYSUT to be focused on member advocacy. I've only been at this for a little over twenty years, so I'm not sure what NYSUT was like at its inception, but I believe we have lost our focus. Our advocacy seems to be more about the perception of being power brokers on the state and national levels, and not in representing teachers, aides, bus drivers, and professors. We have ceded control of the conversation to education reformers, and we have failed to correct the record.

If members are going to keep paying dues, they need to see us engaging in fights that have meaning to them. This is probably the most important variable in NYSUT's future.

In short, we are aware of the uncertain economic situation within NYSUT, and we have grave concerns that if not addressed properly, this house of cards could come tumbling down, leaving members vulnerable to the worst of the political winds out there.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Can Trump and Dems Actually Make a Health Plan Deal and Screw Freedom Caucus?

The Freedom Party makes Trump look sane.

Trump would screw anyone to make a deal that would make him look good. Ie. See Nixon goes to China.

Today's Times has an interesting piece. [Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War]
A precedent-flouting president who believes that Washington’s usual rules do not apply to him, Mr. Trump now finds himself shackled by them.

In stopping the repeal of President Barack Obama’s proudest legacy — the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years — from even coming to a vote, the rebellious far right wing out-rebelled Mr. Trump, taking on and defeating the party establishment with which it has long been at war and which he now leads.

Like every one else who has tried to rule a fissured and fractious party, Mr. Trump now faces a wrenching choice: retrenchment or realignment.

Does he cede power to the anti-establishment wing of his party? Or does he seek other pathways to successful governing by throwing away the partisan playbook and courting a coalition with the Democrats, whom he has improbably blamed for his party’s shortcomings?
Imagine this scenario: Trump thinks Freedom caucus is even crazier than he is and wants to get even. He rounds up 30 moderate Republicans and offers Dems a deal. Now Dems would have to admit that Obamacare is massively flawed and not try to defend it -- in other words -- the "fix Obamacare" line will not play. Admit the need to scrap it and start over.

Now comes the tricky part -- call for single payer which of course Trump and Republicans will never do -- but given the polls we see it is popular, especially when we see that we pay double per capita vs single payer plans.

Be like Bernie -- single minded. Criticize Obamacare for not having public option ---

The experience has put Trump in a dealing mode since his own party -- which we know is only expedient -- is so divided -- and the Dems may be holding more cards than we thought possible -- if only they were competent, which is what they are not.

The Dems will defend the past and justify the neo-lib Obama/Clinton agenda -- it is in their DNA -- and in the DNA of the uft.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

School Scope: War in the Democratic Party as Bernie Popularity Soars

March 24, 2017

School Scope: War in the Democratic Party as Bernie Popularity Soars
By Norm Scott

Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America, by a wide margin of 61% according to a FOX news poll ( . Yes FOX. Now Bernie is not actually a Democrat but calls himself a Democratic Socialist and at this point there is no such viable party in this nation as there is throughout the world. People tend to conflate social democracy with communism and nothing could be further from the truth. Stalin wiped out social democrats, as have every communist nation because SDs believe in private property, a fundamentally free market economy and regulated capitalism. Scandinavian nations are prime examples. Universal single payer health care is an essential, as is free education. Both of these were basic to Bernie’s program and both ideas seem to be fundamentally off the table to both parties. Don’t expect me to explain Bernie’s enormous popularity as his basic ideas are ignored and in fact often mocked, not only by the right, but by the center and even many liberals.

There is a tendency to place all Democrats into one big lump and declare them all liberal/lefties when in fact there is a wide range of division. The right-center flank of the Democratic Party is pretty much where the mainstream Republican Party was pre-Reagan. The so-called center is now being branded as the Clinton/Obama wing of the party, which includes the party leadership (Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi) while the left of the party is the Bernie wing. Make no mistake about it, war is raging in the party if not openly at this point but behind the scenes and certainly in print.

PEP Pops Video: CPE 1 Teacher Embarrasses Farina Into Silence

CPE 1 Teacher embarrasses Farina. Offers her speaking time to respond to question: What are your reasons for supporting Principal Monika Garg?
Raucous audience goes silent.
So does Farina.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Memo From The RTC: Chorus Line is A’Comin’

Memo From The RTC: Chorus Line is A’Comin’
By Norm Scott

Monday night, with the “massive” snow storm beating down on us, I headed over to the Post Theater at Fort Tilden, home of the Rockaway Theatre Company to check out whether the cast of Chorus Line was rehearsing. Also to see what snacks were being served. And mother hen Suzanne Riggs, without a doubt, one of the most thoughtful people on earth, certainly delivered some fine snacks. I almost forgot to check out the rehearsal.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

PEP Pix - CPE 1 Parent(s) Savage Farina and PEP

I've got a batch of videos and pix from Wednesday night's raucous meeting reminding us of the good old days of BloomKlein. There were 2 themes at the meeting -- the closing of the schools with JHS 145 the feature and in the latter part of the meeting, the CPE 1 parents who come to meeting after meeting ---  this time they came with banners.

Here is just one 3 minute video of parent outrage. More to come. (Excuse the bad camera work as I became so involved I became a cheerleader -- lucky I don't do this for a living.

Warning to Steve Bannon: BloomKlein Deconstructed the NYCDOE/UFT Administrative State - But Built Their a New One

Before I start, News of the Day: 
Last night we saw the NYCDOE administrative state standing on democracy and the people. Same old PEP as under BloomKlein-- words cannot describe last night's PEP meeting -- or we have described them for many years since BloomKlein days so you know the drill of closing schools and ignoring the public. So JHS 145 and the other -- done. Another charter hs - from the slimes at New Visions -- coming on to the Beach Channel campus to join zillions of other high schools -- The Charter Pestilence Hits Beach Channel Campus: ... - I had forgotten this was on the agenda and I should have spoken against it -- and the CPE1 people putting on a display month after month and raking Farina and the DOE over the coals as being liars and basically, criminals.

Now on to my theme of the day which I thought about during some of the low moments of the meeting last night, which ended around 10PM.

If Steve Bannon called for deconstructing the NYCDOE administrative state would we object? Well, actually that's sort of been done before.

-  Joel Klein/Mike Bloomberg took over the old Board of Education in 2002 with the same fervor and intent as Steve Bannon -- to wreck the administrative state of the BOE, which included its partner since the early 70s -- the UFT. And to a great extent they succeeded --- literally wiped out a massive number of people on every level --  and don't forget -- Klein disrupted -- his words --- multiple times.

It was the Trump-like equivalent we are seeing today -- the utter daily outrages of BloomKlein was shock and awe -- and the UFT was like the press today -- it didn't know which way to turn as they took away their privileged status as insiders.

It was also shock and awe to the many parent and community groups that had relations with the old BOE -- suddenly they were dealing with the same kind of people we see Trump installing today -- Michelle Rhee, John White -- Leonie can unroll a  massive list of these people.

Klein built another admin state to take its place -- and remember -- Farina was one of the remnants of that old admin state and managed to hang on for a few years -- until Klein et al dumped her (despite her revisionist claims that she left on her own) -- insiders tell me that she was told "she didn't have the skill set for the job" -- she still doesn't by the way. Can you imagine how the arrogant Farina reacted to that?

Then de Blasio takes over and brings Farina back - and she basically leaves the Klein/Walcott admin state in place -- other than to give superintendents more power -- and I remember how some of our allies said that was a good thing -- until you realize just what a collection of slugs and thugs these supt are ---

And then there is the UFT, which has wormed its way back into the administrative DOE state. Despite the claims to support JHS 145 being kept open and the sending of an officer to speak at the meeting, every other action of the union is to support Farina/de Blasio and that includes CPE1 and, yes, Townsend Harris.

I'm gonna stop right now or I'll need to start drinking before noon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Closing JHS 145: Farina Will Ignore State Law on Zoned Schools

Asked about the issue following a budget hearing Tuesday, Fariña denied the local education council had a role to play in the closure of JHS 145. “There are no zoning lines being eliminated and every school is choice there,” she told reporters. “Parents will be given three to four options of other schools they can apply to.”....
NY Post Public Advocate: City’s plan to close Bronx school is illegal

Yoav Gonen has a report at the NY Post. I love it -- a potential confrontation between Farina/de Blasio and Letitia James.

Typical Farina mimicking her former boss Joel Klein in the arrogant attitude of shutting community and parents out, especially when it comes to closing a bedrock school.

So for now I assume the PEP tonight will go ahead and vote to close JHS 145  -- Assume 4 votes - the boroughs - against with Staten Island voting to close. we might see some of the di Blasio appointments break ranks but not enough unless some of them react to the crowd, which will boo the hell out of them.

In a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, James objected to the proposed closure of six schools — but said JHS 145 in The Bronx was of greatest concern because of the legal issues.
“We are particularly concerned about the proposal to close JHS 145, since it is a zoned middle school and should not be closed without a vote of Community Education Council in District 9,” James wrote. “This vote has not occurred.”
Yoav reported before the CEC vote last night which I reported on late last night - Community Education Council, District 9, Bronx Votes 7-1 Against Closing JHS 145 - A zoned school--- actually 8-1.
In 2009, then-Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and the NYCLU teamed up with parents to sue the DOE over a similar bypass of local community education councils, which have few powers other than drawing school zoning lines.
Given this history, the next step would be for James or the UFT to sue.

So maybe the fact of this overwhelming vote, the charges that will be made tonight that the Far/deB and PEP are executing the DeVos/Trump privatization plan when they turn more public space over to Eva Moskowitz, will nudge a few PEPers into line.

Here is more of the Post piece- note that the list of issues reported somehow leaves out that when the DOE gave space to Eva that split the school and finished off JHS 145, which was hardest hit by the charter.
The city Department of Education is breaking state law by moving to shutter one of its struggling Bronx Renewal Schools without a vote from the local education board, Public Advocate Letitia James charged Tuesday.

A decision to close JHS 145 and the five other schools will be made Wednesday by the 13-member citywide Panel for Educational Policy — a majority of whom were appointed by Mayor de Blasio.

Asked about the issue following a budget hearing Tuesday, Fariña denied the local education council had a role to play in the closure of JHS 145.

“There are no zoning lines being eliminated and every school is choice there,” she told reporters. “Parents will be given three to four options of other schools they can apply to.”

Parents and education advocates have pinned the failings of JHS 145 on the city’s Renewal Schools program — which they say didn’t come through with promised resources or support.
They say the school lacks needed bilingual teachers and a science lab, while a planned health clinic has yet to open at the site.
At the budget hearing, the DOE for the first time detailed the program’s costs, which are roughly $188 million in the current school year.

This includes $108 million allocated directly to schools and $40 million earmarked for community based organizations.
Providing a director of school renewal for each of the 86 schools still in the program was pegged at $7 million.

Central Park East I Parents and Community WILL BE THERE at Tonight's PEP in Support of Marilyn Martinez and the School

Parents and supporters flood Hearing Waiting Room to Support Chapter Leader Marilyn Martinez at her hearing, March 10, 2017
why is the DOE expending so many resources in keeping this incompetent, despised and heartless principal in place? And why are our children being made to pay the price for this decision?
Jen Roesch... parent
If you know me, you know that I have been part of an 18-month battle against an abusive principal at our son's progressive, East Harlem school, Central Park East 1. We've had the majority of our best, most veteran teachers forced out over the last year and two (the union chapter leader and delegate) have been placed under investigation in an attempt to remove them from teaching.

Community Education Council, District 9, Bronx Votes 7-1 Against Closing JHS 145 - A zoned school---

... thus making it illegal for the PEP to vote to close it Weds night.
Watch Eva throw a fit and all her allies to go nuts attacking everyone they can.

I have to say that my experience at the March 6 hearing made me fall in love with the teachers from the school who spoke. You can see some of their videos here

But since there was word that Farina said that JHS 145 would stay open over her dead body... who knows what may happen at the PEP? But a big group of MOREs will be joining with whatever UFT leaders show up to stand with the school. As for what happened at Monday's Ex bd meeting regarding our reso, we'll report more on that -- but MORE will also be active at the DA before the PEP and many of us will leave the DA early to get on the speakers list. A big group of parents from CPE 1 will also be joining us at the PEP meeting and we will be working with them in their struggle too.

Kudos to Tish James for standing up for the school. If she were to run against de Blasio she would be my choice for mayor. On education over the years she has been one of the better people on the whole.

Leonie Haimson reports on her blog:

Letter from the Public Advocate: Why the Renewal schools should not be closed - & how the closure of JHS 145 is illegal 

 Tonight the Community Education Council in District 9 in the Bronx voted 7-1 against the closure of the zoned renewal school JHS 145.  If the Panel for Educational Policy votes tomorrow to close the school anyway it will be illegal, for the reasons stated below in the letter from the Public Advocate Tish James, Class Size Matters and Marilyn Espada, President of CEC9.. 

In any case, the members should vote against the closures of these six Renewal schools.  The DOE has refused to follow through in its promises to the state to reduce class size in the Renewal schools and to provide their students with sufficient bilingual teachers and classes.  It is the DOE which has failed and should be held accountable --  not these schools.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Are Dues Arrears Reports Fake News or is Mulgrew's Response Fake News?

If paying late is an accepted procedure then maybe no biggie -- just say so. Or is this part of the hidden game being played by the UFT/DOE partnership in order to buy UFT complicence and silence in so many areas? Mulgrew last night said the major problem was abusive principals -- but offered no plan to fight that. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. ....Norm comment
[Mulgrew] Says there is fake news about UFT being two months behind on dues. Says we are never behind on dues. In January city collects them and we don’t get them until March. We’ve always been on time. We have solidified financial shape of union... Arthur Goldstein, UFT Executive Board March 20, 2017--CPE1 in House, JHS 145 Reso Watered Down
Mike Antonucci in email to ed notes:
Uh, except NYSUT's LM-2 describes the situation as of August 31, when UFT's per caps were between 90-180 days overdue. Sooooo...
Now before I post Mike A's just now response to Mulgrew, I must point out that Mike does have an agenda -- and it is not friendly to unions. So I may have heard something Arthur didn't from Mulgrew -- maybe a hint - that people like me reposting anti-unionist's comments may be aiding and abetting our enemies. And I do get that. But there is fake news and then there is truth and if the UFT wants us to bury truth even if coming from places of bad intent, they are helping to dig their own grave.

Letitia James on Board: Big Boost to the Save JHS 145 Campaign

Public Advocate Letitia James today called on Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina to slam the brakes on plans to shutter six Renewal Schools, saying the DOE has failed to deliver on promises like smaller class sizes and bilingual teachers for immigrant students.
Good news from James and a press conference today in advance of tomorrow's PEP votes to close 6 Renewal schools. Keep in mind that this is an Eva Moskowitz takeover school and closing 145 and basically turning the building over to an anti-union, no-excuses repressive school is playing into the Trump/DeVos game plan.
James said she was “particularly concerned” about the DOE’s proposal to close Junior High 145 in the Bronx without the approval of the local Community Education Council. In a letter to Farina, James said state education law “states that CECs must approve any changes in school zoning lines. Elimination of a zoned school is a change in zoning lines.
In the past the UFT went to court to oppose zoned schools being closed without a CEC vote and won. It looks like the CEC is meeting later --- probably to try to force through a vote -- the CEC is split so that should be interesting and the press conf is right before that meeting. Sorry I can't be there.

Rumors that Farina has told people the school will remain open over her dead body. Farina believes in punishing people who resist the Farina-Borg.

Last night at the UFT Ex Bd meeting, MORE and New Action raised a reso regarding 145, motivated with great speeches from Mike Schirtzer (It's a shonda) and Marcus McArthur - one of the best speeches I have heard. (See minutes by Arthur: UFT Executive Board March 20, 2017--CPE1 in House, JHS 145 Reso Watered Down.)

JHS 145 teacher Jim Donohue has been in the forefront of the battle.
JHS 145 English Teacher James Donohue said James’ support is a huge shot in the arm for a grassroots campaign to keep the school open that is comprised of students, alumni, teachers, parents, elected officials, community groups, activists and the teachers’ union.

“We believe Mayor de Blasio and Education Department have a moral and legal obligation not to shutter JHS 145,” Donohue said. “Closing the school brings to mindthe Vietnam-era expression ‘We had to burn the village in order to save it.’ Surely, there are less devastating ways to help students than evicting them from their school and uprooting them. Surely, it is preferable to keep these vulnerable children in the place that they consider a home away from home - while providing crucial resources, like adequate staffing, that they unfortunately have been denied despite being dubbed a ‘Renewal School.’ ”
I posted videos from the March 6 JHS 145 hearing last night - Videos JHS 145 Hearing: Farina Closing 145 and handing it to Eva echos DeVos/Trump Ed Policy

View Jim's March 6 speech: How do you know when you're not important.
JHS 145 Hearing Jim Donohue

The campaign to SAVE JHS 145 from being closed by the Department of Education announces a big step forward – and will have a press conference late this afternoon.

The campaign to keep 145 open has widespread support, including City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, state Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner, Community Board 4, the New Settlement Organization, the United Federation of Teachers, parents, students and alumni.

Supporters of 145 will be holding a press conference this afternoon before the local Community Education Council meets. The Panel for Educational Police is set to vote on proposed school closings Wednesday, March 22nd.
Press Conference

When: TODAY, Tuesday, March 21, 4:30 pm

Where: PS 28 
1861 Anthony Avenue
Bronx NY
in front of the school

What: JHS 145 is calling on the DOE to withdraw proposal to close the school. 
The District 9 CEC has not approved the DOE proposal, and the zoned school cannot legally be closed without their approval. 

Videos JHS 145 Hearing: Farina Closing 145 and handing it to Eva echos DeVos/Trump Ed Policy

Here are links to some of the videos I processed from the March 6 hearing in the Bronx. Some really good stuff from teachers at the school, parents, community members and some MORE people. The last one is 30+ minutes of DOE gobbledy goop.

JHS 145 Hearing Muslim Community Rep

JHS 145 Hearing Tech Teacher

JHS 145 Hearing Jim Donohue

JHS 145 Hearing Spanish Speaker w Translator

JHS 145 Hearing Two Vet Teachers

JHS 145 Hearing PTA and Chap Ldr 

I'm the 3rd speaker
JHS 145 Hearing MORE Speakers - Mindy, Aixa, Norm, Jia

JHS 145 HearingParent and 2011 alum

JHS 145 Hearing Myrie and Rosalie Friend 

JHS 145 Hearing SBCC1 - South Bronx Community 

Here it comes - Elizabeth Rose lying through her teeth along with the slug Superintendent. For a half hour if you can stand it.
JHS 145 Hearing DOE Position and Response

Monday, March 20, 2017

NYSUT is a Ponzi Scheme - Harris Lirtzman Analyzes the Financials - Does ST Notice?

NYSUT ... has a salary structure unlike anything I've seen in any other organization. In 2014, NYSUT had about 500 employees on its payroll.  Something like 60% of the overall NYSUT payroll went to staff members making more than $100,000....

So long as the cash keeps moving from dues-paying members to NYSUT to the AFT to the UFT and back around it can keep its doors open.  When any part of that chain-of-cash gets broken, for example when its members stop paying a large portion of their dues, the weakest link in that chain will fail.  NYSUT is that weak link.... 
Harris Lirtzman, Deputy NYS Comptroller for Administration from 2003-2007
After I posted Mike Antonucci/EIA report of the NYSUT financials - NYSUT Blues - Dire Finances and ST Criticism of Non-Union Consultant - and the EIA NYSUT financials from last year and the year before - NYSUT Financial Reports from EIA, 2015, 16 
--- LM-2 reports always lag a year behind ---

I heard from old pal Harris (Harry) Lirtzman, who I met through MORE about 4 years ago. If you want to know why I've been involved in groups like ICE, GEM and MORE, one of the major reasons it that I get to know people like Harry, a deep thinker and someone you can talk to just about anything. Even when we have serious disagreements, we always manage to bury the hatchet - usually over lunch without food fights.

Harry's years spent inside the Democratic Party fighting for his core issues has given him an interesting perspective about the party, especially over the past year and has led to some interesting conversations, to say the least, about Bernie/Hillary and the future of the party.

Unlike me, Harry had a variety of jobs before he taught for a few years at the end of his working time. He was Deputy NYS Comptroller for Administration from 2003-2007, which makes him uniquely qualified to examine the NYSUT budget, which he actually did around 2 years ago, as he describes below. He offered the results to some of us to publish and I remember there were some discussions around that. My thinking is fuzzy but I recall possibly at a MORE meeting some people being concerned about falling into the "bash the teacher union trap" as part of the general attack on unions. After all, that is what EIA, an anti-union site, is doing. But that is the Unity line --- we have to band together and what? bury the dirt?

I believe the best defense of unions is to fight openly for a democratic, non-corrupt union. Tell me this: Unity fucked up by installing Karen MaGee as president 3 years ago and we have to pay for their mistake by bumping her upstairs to a made to order job. Do we bury that?

By the way --did you know that Stronger Together is running against Unity -- let me know when they broach the subject of NYSUT financials.

Antonucci posited this thought in his post last April: New York State United Teachers is the teacher union equivalent of “too big to fail.”

Hmmm. That led Harry and I into a semi-deep discussions this afternoon of what that idea could mean. We're doing lunch soon and will explore that concept further.

On NYSUT Financials 
by Harris Lirtzman
March 19, 2017

Two years ago, I reviewed in detail the NYSUT LM-2 for 2014, the same document that Mr. Antonucci reviewed for his analysis.
              I concluded a couple of things.  

              The first thing I found, just like Mr. Antonucci did, was that NYSUT is insolvent on paper and is able to operate only because it is using curious sorts of loans to and from the UFT and AFT and transfers from internal funds earmarked for teacher education and professional development to generate enough cash flow to keep itself running.  An organization can be insolvent on paper but still operate so long as it has cash flow to pay its bills--when the cash flow stops and it can't pay its bills it goes bankrupt (for those of you old enough, think about the New York City fiscal crisis in the 1970s when the City was in deep financial trouble for years before it finally ran out of money to pay its bills). If NYSUT goes bankrupt because 25-30% of its members stop paying dues when the Supreme Court upholds "Son of Friedrichs" or the Republicans pass a national right-to-work law, and because the UFT and AFT can’t afford to keep bailing it out, it will no longer be able to defend any teacher, much less Marilyn Martinez, or negotiate any labor contract for its member locals. 

              NYSUT is a Ponzi scheme. So long as the cash keeps moving from dues-paying members to NYSUT to the AFT to the UFT and back around it can keep its doors open.  When any part of that chain-of-cash gets broken, for example when its members stop paying a large portion of their dues, the weakest link in that chain will fail.  NYSUT is that weak link.  No one, but especially not the UNITY folks who now control NYSUT, ever suspected that the cash could stop.  But it will stop and soon.

              Mr. Antonucci is only partly correct when he says "...honoring the work and commitments made to NYSUT’s unionized staff has resulted in net assets of negative $413 million. The teachers of New York are on the hook for that."  He’s right about the desperate financial condition.  For better or worse, he’s wrong about who’s going to be left holding the bag. 

              The teachers of NYS are not on the hook for any retirement or health care obligations accrued by current and former NYSUT employees. Those employees are not protected under state law or the state constitution the way that public school teachers are.  There is no funded NYSUT pension system available to them like there is in the state and city for teachers. They are protected only by their contract with NYSUT.  NYSUT, and only NYSUT, is on the hook for contractual commitments it made to its employees.  If--more accurately, when--NYSUT goes bankrupt those retirees will have to get in the same line with every other NYSUT creditor. That means that they will have nothing but the piece of paper on which their contract was written to show for their life time of service on behalf of NYS teachers and will have to take their chance in bankruptcy court along with everyone else to try to get those commitments honored.  Good luck with that.

              The second thing I found when I looked at NYSUT was that it has a salary structure unlike anything I've seen in any other organization. In 2014, NYSUT had about 500 employees on its payroll.  Something like 60% of the overall NYSUT payroll went to staff members making more than $100,000.  Yes, 30-40 of these people are highly-paid attorneys.  As some of your readers may know, I was Deputy NYS Comptroller for Administration from 2003-2007.  I can assure them that I’m aware of no, zero, none, not one non-profit or government agency that pays 60% of its payroll to employees making $100,000 or more a year.  I doubt that even Wall Street firms pay more than 60% of their payroll to employees making over $100,000 and I worked as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch and Co. from 1983-1990.  

              No. 1 and No. 2 are connected to each other.  If you pay your staff very high salaries you will owe them lots of money for pensions and health care benefits when they retire.  You can either make arrangements to pay for those commitments by funding them over time and investing those funds to earn more money.  Or you can take cash that comes in today from member dues and use it to pay the benefits you owe your current and retired employees.  The first way is prudent but can be expensive.  The second way can work but only if everything plays out the way you hope. 
Things in the Age of T#ump are not working out so well. Hope is a frail thing.  When your strategy is based on hope you can wind up bankrupt.

              I circulated my findings to a group of people two years ago.  I wrote a cover memorandum explaining the enormity of what I thought was going on at NYSUT.  I admit that it's not 'sexy' stuff and people told me either that they hoped Stronger Together would take care of the situation or that we ought not to challenge NYSUT when Freidrichs was still on the Court's docket.

              We need to figure out what the people who run NYSUT, the UFT and the AFT are doing with our money.  We can no longer take at face value any assurances they give us about how they are managing the $1,000 and more that most of us give them each year from our paychecks. They are not using it well. None of this is rocket science.

              The people who run NYSUT now won’t be affected by any of this. They’re being paid big bucks or can, like Karen Magee, parachute into special gigs created for them by Michael Mulgrew and Randi Weingarten when they’re no longer useful to them.

              If what Mr. Antonucci and I think may happen does happen the people who will suffer are the people at NYSUT who work valiantly on our behalf.  Just as important, every teacher in the state will suffer because NYSUT’s attorneys protect us when our rights are threatened, NYSUT’s collective bargaining representatives negotiate our contracts every few years and NYSUT’s professional education and development staff give us the credits we need to keep our licenses.  We take them for granted.  But they may not be there a few years from now when we need them the most.

               We can keep the worst of this from happening if we take the time, now, to understand how badly NYSUT is managed, how terribly our money is being misused and how much we will lose if we don’t act.  I hope that the political strategy works in the long run. I'm afraid that we don't have the long run to find out.

              Teachers of the state unite!  You have nothing to lose but your union.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bernie is the most popular politician by far in the country at 61% As Dem Centrists Ignore the Message

Sanders has made himself and his platform relevant to Americans in a way Clinton and her crowd never did and still won't.  Fine, investigate the Russian - Trump connection but start talking about things that matter enough to people to get them voting. ... comment on NYCEducation listserve
Since Democrats have done things to reduce the role of government, they are in a poor position to defend against Republican attacks on government... On the Media
Words to make the Obama/Clinton wing that controls the Democratic Party cringe. I read somewhere that when leading Dems were asked whether they would go to the Bernie type economic message they said - nahhh, not now -- we'll stick with going after Trump and Russia and taxes --- go ask me if I'll sign another damn petition to see Trump's taxes.

I've been engaging in some debates over the concentration on the Russian issue and Trump taxes and how Bernie doesn't spend a lot of time there and stays on the economic message and health care. Diane Ravitch has chipped in and we are not on the same page on this issue. Here are some of thoughts I shared on that listserve.

The Clinton/Obama wing failed so miserably to address these issues in the campaign.

The Russians don't seem to have hacked the Senate, The House and all those states under total Republican control - or even in our own "liberal" NY state under the thumb of the Republican corrupt Senate and the renegade Democrats. Or the election of Cuomo and his charter giveaways.

Until we go after the roots and stop living in the tree tops we will see the Republicans increase their stranglehold on this nation.

If any other Republican had won we would still be facing the same kinds of cuts. People are comparing this to what Reagan did but at least he didn't control the whole ball of wax.

Instead of defending a flawed Obamacare, Dems need to be bold and call for single payer even if it looks like pie  in the sky -- let's convince the public that will end up being the best program for people.
Focus on Russia instead of health care is a distraction from the real work which is organizing a political fight back - not just resistance.
Hillary spent the campaign talking about Russia and attacking Trump - we watched the debates screaming in frustration at missed opportunities to teach the American public.

Like we spend 9500 a person for health care while France spends half of much with a top level single payer system.
How come no one knows about that when Hillary had a massive audience to tell them? 

The message needs to be about people in this country, not Putin.
And funny how only the left over the decades were the ones screaming about American interference and assassinations all over the world. Invasion of Iraq, anyone? And then there are those Obama drones.

The very Dems screaming today were part and parcel all that time.
 I was recently on a family cruise, some of whom are Trump supporters. Spending a week with our niece, hubby and 2 little girls -- the most decent people in the world - makes it hard for me to see them as enemies of the people. We have 25 people coming for passover -- we will be out of the liberal bubble that day.

I saw Reagan and Bush and their crews as deplorable - I mean Cheney/Rumsfeld, etc -- I have no scale of deplorable more than them. Count the dead.
So Trump is more despicable which is off the scale I guess.
They prepared the way for Trump and the Dems were handmaidens.

I See Pence as a religious zealot who would love to see Atwood's Handmaiden's Tale become reality.

We liberals spend a lot of time chasing after every single thing Trump does every day instead of being relentless like Republicans -- shaping our message and vision --- the difference maker in Bernie is that he is always on message -- relentless -- no matter how press tries to distract he stays on course.

If the Russia stuff never pans out -- then what a victory for Trump. All fake news and even the people who marginally support him move towards him.

We trashed wilileaks on Clinton but we embrace the spooks when they dish Trump?
This morning on CBS they did a story on Denmark - a managed capitalist social democratic nation with a 60% tax rate. The Democratic party doesn't want to go near there -- which is why Bernie has not been part of that centrist party that echos Republicans of the 60s and 70s. Instead of challenging Reaganism the Dems moved in that direction,

The Dems don't want to hear about Denmark or social democracy because that would mean stepping on their corporate buddies.

My relatives all went to college and I consider them quite bright. But they do listen on issues related to the economy and a rational discussion of health care. They will have to live through the consequences of Trump but I still don't hold out much hope when the world view is so narrow and they live in their bubbles. What I noticed a few weeks before the election when they thought Hillary would win was actual fear and a sort of desperation -- it astounded me and also made me feel something real was there and I started listening more carefully. 

I have engaged in discussions with them and I listen to them -- they are misinformed on many issues I believe but I have given up trying to inform FOX listeners.  

I try not to forget that my neighborhood voted 75% for Trump -- my block alone has a number of first responders -- they are not deplorable.

But we liberals live in our bubbles.

I just was listening to On the Media -- and I highly recommend this segment -

Below is the description of the segment --
The extent to which the [Trump] proposals would punish the poor was shocking to many in the media -- and statements made by Trump administration officials didn't help. Someone who wasn't shocked was Jack Frech, former welfare director in Athens County, Ohio (and guide for our series, "Busted: America's Poverty Myths"), who has been working with those in poverty for over 30 years. In that time, he has seen many proposals like these, chipping away at the few services available to the poor. Frech talks to Brooke about what he recognizes in the GOP proposals, why he believes the Democrats have often failed to do better, and why many who would be hurt under these plans are still holding out hope that Trump might deliver for them.

Fench points out that no Democrat has admitted they erred - the only one who says things straight out is Bernie. Call for single payer and show how it could work and people will start to listen. Unlike Palin they can't see Russia from here.

Fench points to the liberal media not really listening but trying to get Trump supporters to admit they made a mistake rather than listen to why they voted for Trump -- the liberal attitude they are dumb is what will keep Trump and his ilk in power - I actually see a one party system as center Dems continue on the path and put down the left.
I see the Russia thing as a way to avoid coming to grips with the failures.

Jack Frech points out how the Democrats over the past 30 years have enabled the Republican assault and the rise of Trump by agreeing that government was too big and must be cut and aided and abetted in that process -- both Clinton and Obama ---
Did the Dems get up and defend govt and point out the important things even in inefficient govt has done over time?

----where was the same outrage then from all the people complaining about Trump cuts?

Attacking welfare was OK. Where was the outrage when the Dems and Republicans - and the UFT/AFT pushed through NCLB and ed deform with no push back --- it was the Susan Ohanians and George Schmidts and a few others who were a tiny minority against testing mania in the 90s --- Betsy DeVos could not exist without the Democrats.

That more people lost food stamps under Obama than under Reagan. That public service workers declined under Obama -- that the Clinton and Obama admins did little or nothing for labor unions -- did they show up in Wisconsin?

REALLY, REALLY, REALLY --  listen to this segment:

Leonie Haimson, often the smartest person in the room, chipped in with this:
Latest Fox News poll finds Sanders the most popular politician by far in the country at 61%.

Reasons are pretty clear if you watched the MSNBC town hall from West Virginia with Sanders – with an audience made up of mostly Trump voters-- probably the best thing I’ve seen on TV in months. If you didn’t, I strongly suggest you watch it online.

Amazing, moving, informative show; and explains the anger and the total sense of devastation in these communities – where life expectancy and employment has been falling for years, and opioid addiction is rife. Not that Trump will likely reverse this trend; quite the opposite – as Sanders and others pointed out repeatedly. Here are some clips:

longer clip here:

The fact that Sanders isn’t a member of the Democratic party is completely irrelevant. The fact that the Democratic establishment successfully pushed for Tom Perez over Keith Ellison as DNC chair is very discouraging for many reasons, and really does suggest that the Clinton wing of the party hasn’t learned the real lessons from the election.

Perez is an awful spokesperson, with an unclear message; Keith Ellison is not only far more compelling speaker but is smart and has his finger on the overwhelming anger and discontent of millions of voters. He has been repeatedly been elected from a district with a majority white working class voters and knows how to appeal to a far broader constituency.

After Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Ann Case came out with their groundbreaking report showing white mortality rates rising sharply, likely for the first time in US history, Keith Ellison was the ONLY person from Congress to call him to ask why.

Deaton: …I’ll tell you another interesting thing: There’s only one Congressman in all of Congress who called us up to make an appointment to talk to us about the dying white people, because they were in his constituency and he was really concerned about them. Guess who it was.

Lowrey: Who?

Deaton: Keith Ellison! I was really impressed.