Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Deb Meier, Jane Andrias, Two Former CPE1 Principals Question Farina/DOE on Intentional Destruction

While Meier soared, Farina soured --- into a Joel Klein flunky.

Does Farina hate Deb Meier for her success and national and international recognition over the same time period Farina was an active educator and yet Farina never received similar accolades?

Or is it just that Farina can't stand the idea of democratic governance of a school? Then we hear that Farina knows full well how awful Monika Garg is but hates the parent activists so much she believes they (and their kids) must not be allowed to get away with winning this and must be punished. After all, what if other parent groups spring up?

Even if Farina goes out on a legacy of forcing most of the parents out of CPE1 and turns it into a charter clone, those parents who remain in the public school system at other schools around the city may just bring their level of activism along with them.
Unless the unstated intent of the recent failure to end the turmoil of these past few years has been to close CPE1 so the space could be used for other purposes, it’s clear that we now face a choice between either replacing the principal or replacing the students, families and the school’s mission. ... Jane Andrias, Deb Meier, former Principals of CPE 1
Unless you understand the unique culture of democratic decision-making at CPE1 over 40 years, the attack on the school by Farina and henchcrew seems to fall into the usual DOE attempts to drive out vet teachers. But there is something different going on here - it is the style of education at the school that is under attack. And maybe something personal.

This comment was left on the Diane Ravitch blog when she posted a link to Unsafe at Any Speed at CPE 1:
Jane Andrias
Deborah Meier has been having difficulty with her vision and is now dependent on voice activated devices for reading and writing. As a result an earlierresponse to the blog was incomplete.

In early April, Deborah and I wrote a response to Kate Taylor’s article in the NY Times on the conflict at Central Park East 1 (“CPE1”). The letter was not published. Taylor’s article raised many of the right questions confronting the institution but failed to explore why there has been no constructive solution to address the continuing conflicts within the school community and restore the safe and supportive learning environment for children and adults, which had been the hallmark of the school.

CPE1 was founded in 1974 as part of an East Harlem initiative to show what could be possible in what was at that time one of the poorest and educationally deprived communities in the city. The then District Superintendent, Anthony Alvarado, invited us to start a small, progressive and democratically governed school. Over the ensuing 30 years the school developed a national and international reputation for success in educating its children while maintaining a democratic culture. Faculty, staff, families and children all felt respected and heard even in times when internal differences or external policy changes challenged the integrity of the school’s core beliefs and highly developed practice. All important decisions were made collectively. One of the most notable features was the relationships that developed among staff, families and children, many of which last to this day. This continued and flourished long after Deborah left the school in 1985 under the leadership of the two principals who succeeded her.

While many of the attributes of the school have been threatened over the last decade, a third principal, who was the choice of the school community, succeeded in supporting the school culture and mission until she left to form her new school based on the principles and practices of CPE1.

The next principal who followed was also recommended by the school community but was not a strong enough leader to sustain and build on the mission of the school and the school began to erode. Three tenured teachers left the school at the end of her last year. Monika Garg was then appointed as the principal without the input or support of the school community. During the past two years with Ms. Garg as principal, the school’s mission has been totally undermined. Three more tenured teachers and one promising new teacher left the school at the end of last year.

A community that was once built on trust, compassion, the power of ideas and democratic process of decision making has become too distracted by controversy to function as a united and safe learning community for children and adults alike. Unless the unstated intent of the recent failure to end the turmoil of these past few years has been to close CPE1 so the space could be used for other purposes, it’s clear that we now face a choice between either replacing the principal or replacing the students, families and the school’s mission. We have made efforts over the past two years to join with the DOE to identify leadership that would build on the foundation of the past and restore the school’s excellent educational and democratic principles and culture. We are disappointed by the resistance of the DOE to take the necessary steps to constructively resolve this unrelenting and destructive conflict at CPE1.

Deborah Meier-1974-85-Founding Teacher/ Director, MacCarthur Award Winner
Jane Andrias-1981-2003 Art Teacher and Principal

2 comments:

  1. Has the UFT made any public statements on CPE1?

    ReplyDelete

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