Monday, July 31, 2017

Leadership Academy Scandals - and MTA Too

I used to compare the NYC Leadership Academy training to the Nazi SS - where they would give a new recruit a dog when they arrived, allowed them to bond and ordered them to kill the dog to complete their training. 

People have been writing about the NY Post report on the Leadership Academy stable of unstable principals.

Leonie also added this on her listserve:
David Ross who oversaw numerous DOE fraudulent & wasteful contracts and who should have been fired years ago just joined MTA
"Summer of hell just got worse"
Meanwhile, the DOE’s sweetheart deal with the Leadership Academy has cost millions – without any documentation of the “work” done for schools
The city Department of Education has awarded contracts worth up to $101 million to the NYC Leadership Academy — but didn’t keep track of where the money went, a bombshell audit by City Comptroller Scott Stringer charges.
The Long Island City-based non-profit has collected $45.6 million from the contracts to coach “aspiring principals” and teachers. But the DOE failed to produce records to prove the $183-an-hour coaches did what they were paid for.
“If the DOE can’t be sure whether or when the professional coaching even happened, how do we know it was effective?” Stringer asks in a scathing report obtained by The Post.
….The comptroller’s auditors reviewed $559,667 in DOE payments to the Leadership academy, including $394,007 for “leadership coaching.”
“Disregarding the safeguards in its own contracts and procurement rules,” the comptroller said, the DOE spent $385,612, or 98 percent of the coaching payments, without the required documentation.

Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Isn’t Over - New Yorker

“Do not underestimate the resistance of the Democratic establishment.”.... Bernie Sanders, New Yorker

In Trump’s America, the Independent senator is fighting to win back the heartland for Democrats.

New Yorker: Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Isn’t Over


 A good piece in this week's New Yorker. Contrast Bernie - a Brooklyn born Jew -- digging in deeply in Trump territory - while say someone like Chuck Schumer, another Brooklyn Jew -- hides out in Washington with the Dems so-called Better Deal. The internal battle continues as this selection illustrates:

Bernie said on MSNBC -- which by the way no matter what the rhetoric, side with corp Dems because they are a corp.
Democrats would continue to lose elections “unless we have the guts to point the finger at the ruling class of this country.” Hayes asked Perez if he shared that view, and Perez wearily issued a talking point: “When we put hope on the ballot, we win.” Clinton, Hayes pointed out, had put hope on the ballot. She had not won. Whereas Perez offers the liberal abstraction of inequality, Sanders insists on naming an enemy, the billionaire class.
Some excerpts:
Since the election, the Democratic Party has tried to move closer to Sanders’s views. Last week, in a small town in northern Virginia, Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, announced the Party’s platform for 2018, “A Better Deal,” which is aimed at winning back working-class voters. The platform includes a fifteen-dollar minimum wage and a trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure, plans that Sanders has long promoted, often with little support. Many people in the Democratic Party believe that, when it comes to policy, Sanders has prevailed. Sanders does not see it that way. He told me, “Do not underestimate the resistance of the Democratic establishment.”

When the Democratic Party fractured, in the primaries, it was like a bone cracking—the Clintonites on one side, the Sanders faction on the other, with no obvious way to repair the break. Sanders’s supporters deeply resented the Party’s obvious preference for Clinton; Clinton’s backers accused them of sexism. Last July, at the Democratic National Convention, in Philadelphia, the Sanders faithful shouted down podium speakers, marched out of the hall and occupied a media tent, and covered their mouths with tape, on which some of them had written the word “Silenced.” The two camps clashed again this winter, in the contest for the Democratic Party chair. Tom Perez, who was President Obama’s Secretary of Labor, narrowly defeated Representative Keith Ellison, of Minnesota, the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus and an ally of Sanders. The insurgents had come up short again.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

School Scope: Why Not Medicare for All?

My column in The Wave, Rockaway's local paper. Published July 29, 2017

School Scope: Why Not Medicare for All?
By Norm Scott

I write this on the morning before the Senate Republicans are about to vote on their version of death panels. And I’m thinking…..

Imagine a medical care system where you can get your health taken care of without worrying about finances. I’ve been in the midst of dealing with some not too serious (so far) medical issues and as a Medicare (with GHI supplement) patient I haven’t paid a dime, despite lots of visits to more than one doctor. And every doctor I use accepts Medicare – apparently they can manage to live on what they pay.

Should I feel guilty about costing our economy money I might not have been willing or able to spend otherwise? Not when we see that if I lived in just about every other advanced nation, not only people over 65 but everyone would have the same system I have. The major difference is that in these foreign systems the costs to the system and for drugs are significantly lower.

I'm amazed at how the so-called liberal press lets the Democrats off the hook. Eduardo Porter had a good piece in the NY Times about single payer health care around the world in a letter to Republicans ( He might as well have included most of our Democratic Party leaders. This article should be read out aloud in every hall of legislature and also to convince the public -- instead we hear all about Russia all the time. This would be the best way to fight Trump and the Republicans but the Dems spin their wheels. Their “better deal” will not turn out to be that much better as long as they are bought by big pharm and other corporations.

In a single payer system, there is a big bump in taxes, but no one has to buy health care and there are no insurance companies to take a profit. And big pharm has to come into line on costs. Pretty much a win-win for almost everyone. So why not here? Ask our own local politicians, weather Republican or Democrat why they aren’t doing more to educate their constituents on this issue to counter the propaganda from big pharm, insurance companies and the politicians who are bought by them?

What country is Porter talking about? Rwanda. Can you imagine the day post Republican health care when we flock to Rwanda to get better care?

Teachers to Eric Ulrich on supporting Bo Dietl - Say It Ain’t So
Teacher's union has hijacked our classrooms. When I'm mayor, teachers will pass drug tests and performance evaluations. I'm not for sale… Bo Dietl tweet.

Last week I posted an Eric Ulrich tweet supporting Bo Dietl for mayor. Dietl has made it a specialty to attack teachers and the teacher union. I think Ulrich owes the teachers in his district an explanation.

Arthur Goldstein had some comments about Dietl at his blog, NYC Educator (

Circus clown/ Arby's pitchman/ mayoral hopeful Bo Dietl is on Twitter making statements about what things will be like when he's mayor. There's some teacher at John Adams accused of allowing a student to sit on his lap, and Bo is outraged. Bo…says teachers caught having sex with students shouldn't be paid. The only problem is that this teacher has not been caught having sex with a student, and no one is saying otherwise. Inconvenient for Bo, though, is that allegations have to be proven here. You know, there's that whole innocent until proven guilty thing in the United States. Bo has had it with all that mollycoddling, evidently, and just wants to declare people guilty of whatever. As for drug tests for teachers, I don't support them, but Bo has got another thing wrong here: Performance evaluations? Teachers already have performance evaluations.

For proof that Dietl is blowing smoke up his ass on teacher evaluation:

Norm blows smoke wherever every day at

Friday, July 28, 2017

Memo from the RTC: Producers Produce Laughs (Lots)

Published in The Wave, July 28, 2017

Memo from the RTC: Producers Produce Laughs (Lots)
By Norm Scott

Don’t say I didn’t warn you over the past few weeks that getting into see the Rockaway Theatre Company production of Mel Brooks’ The Producers would not be easy unless you reserved early. On opening night someone who attends most of the shows said this may be the best cast ever. A reviewer from a Brooklyn newspaper said, “You will never top this.” And people who won’t get to see it will roll their eyes when I maintain that I liked our cast and production better than the Broadway version with Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane.

There are still two more weekends to run including a special July 27 Thursday night performance, which for the first time in RTC history is sold out. So I’m not going to tell you about the awesome performances at the sold out opening weekend. I’ll let you see for yourself – if you are lucky enough to have a ticket.

I’m not going to rave about first time RTCers Jeremy Plyburn and Craig Evans, playing the leads with perfect timing that deliver a laugh a minute.

Jeremy is a quadruple threat. With a big voice that could reach the back walls of even the largest theater, he also adds singing, dancing and acting in addition to being a comedian - you can tell that Jeremy has worked in comedy clubs. A big man to start with (he is thinner than you think since they added a fat suit to his costume), he plays Max Bialystock “Big” in all ways. His "standing ovation" line brings down the house.
Carmen, Roger, Max, Leo watch in horror as Atsushi Eda does a split

Craig as accountant Leo Bloom (he is also an accountant in real life) clearly comes from a professional acting, singing and dancing background in his earlier life. “His facial expressions are extraordinary,” a friend of mine said. Watch his body language – that of a extremely repressed character verging of being on the spectrum. Watch especially his stiff initial interactions with Ulla. Watch him dance with the chorus girls in the dream sequence, some of whom verge on professional dancers. Watch him interact with his blue blanket and think of Gene Wilder in the movie.

Last year we met two newcomers to the RTC, Erech Holder-Hetmeyer (La Cage) and Brian Sadowski (Follies and La Cage). Both also appeared in A Chorus Line this past spring. In The Producers they team up as the gay couple, Roger Debris, and his assistant, Carmen Gia. I’m not sure how to even describe the goings on in their scenes other than to say they are knock down wild and funny. Erech is a young man who graduated from Edward Murrow high school in Brooklyn five years ago. I know they have a strong theater program. Did he learn how to act, sing and dance so well there? I think it is innate talent. Erech in real life is learning to be an electrician. Brian, who impresses every minute he is on stage in every production, has been a teacher and is now an assistant principal at an elementary school in Brooklyn. Brian will be in the Frank Caiati directed “The Elephant Man” in September.

It says a lot about Director John Gilleece and Producer Susan Jasper and the RTC as an organization that they were willing to cast Max and Leo with newcomers to the RTC, in addition to giving two other key parts (Roger and Carmen) to relative newcomers. That they were willing to pass by some experienced RTCers who auditioned. That the RTC is an open organization that incorporates talent from anywhere. So much talent that when you see even the minor roles in the over 40-member cast you are seeing actors, dancers and singers who have played leads in past productions taking on tiny roles just to be part of the show. (More about them next week).
Franz gives Max and Leo the oath

For the other two key roles, Gilleece went back to the tried and true.

I don’t have to tell regular RTC audience members about the talents of John Panepinto as Hitler (and pigeon) lover Franz Liebkind. This is John’s 14th performance on the RTC stage and whenever he is on the stage he practically brings down the house. I first met John when he starred in How to Succeed in Business… and he can carry an entire show or play featured parts to perfection. Whenever he came on, I ran from the dressing room to the back of the theater to watch him and his pigeons. His comparison of Churchill’s paintings with Hitler’s ability to paint an entire apartment in one afternoon – two coats – gets some of the biggest laughs in the show.

I’m definitely not going to tell you about our local superstar Catherine Leib’s performance as Ulla. I mean how many times can I rave about her beauty, brains and talents? “Why aren’t you on Broadway,” said more than one theater goer to her last weekend? We missed her for a few years when she was on tour but she came back with a vengeance last fall in Toxic Avenger and this spring in A Chorus Line. Her audition dance has every male in the audience (and some females) join Bialystock and Bloom in having their tongues handing out. If you can take your eyes off Ulla, make sure to notice how the guys are reacting. As someone who has gawked in awe at Catherine Leib for a decade, how do I react as the judge when Catherine sidles up to me and starts flirting? If I tell you I’ll have to kill you.

When Norm is not gawking at beautiful women, he blogs at

Steven Wagner, Andy Guzman, James Dalid, Myles Rich prep for their parts (photo by Adele Wendt)

NAACP Issues Report Supporting Public Schools and Demands Charter Reforms

With the expansion of charter schools and their concentration in low-income communities, concerns have been raised within the African American community about the quality, accessibility and accountability of some charters, as well as their broader effects on the funding and management of school districts that serve most students of color.”... NAACP report
I attended a debate - of sorts - sponsored by the NAACP and moderated by a somewhat clueless Politico reporter - about a month ago. Carol Burris was very effective in her presentation. The charter slugs were - well, slugs.

This just came in from Carol and the Network for Public Education:

Something wonderful happened again at the NAACP convention. Despite enormous ed-reform and political pressure, the NAACP stood strong and issued a remarkable report in support of public schools that demands charter reform.
In this WAPO Answersheet blog, I summarize the report. You can read it here.

You can also read the full NAACP report here.
Now it is time for us to thank the NAACP.
Send a "thank you" note. We make it easy. Just click here.
If you are not already a member, join the NAACP today.

Thank you for all that you do. Now please thank the friends of public education at the NAACP.

Please share the link to this email with family and friends.

Carol Burris
Executive Director
Network for Public Education

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fight the Moskowitz Success Academy Gulag: Tell the SUNY Charter Board that charters are not qualified to certify teachers

I'm assuming that most readers of this blog know about another major charter scam -- mainly to support Evil Eva who wants to be able to drag teachers off the street and lock them in as indentured servants -- they would only be "certified" - and I use the term very loosely - to work in SUNY charters -- Funny how the very same people -- deformers -- who screamed and yelled about "qualified" teachers are silent or actively supporting loosening teaching standards -- even as we admit the current certification process for public schools is ridiculous and must be changed - but in a rational manner. Does course work help be a good teacher? I wouldn't know since I was a 6 week wonder and then got a masters in reading -- which did help me.

Tell the SUNY Charter Board that charters are not qualified to certify teachers. Send your email today.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jacobin: Message to the Left - Stop the Damn Marching and Organize

I've been posting stuff on the moral bancruptsy of the Democratic Party. Some people on the progressive wing think the party can be salvaged but I don't think so -- it will destroy itself I believe and out of the cinders something else will rise -- maybe a social-democratic type party with real chops. Though the left will often savage itself over sectarian politics -- so hope in that end is also bleak.

So read the article below in that light.

If you look at the Ed Notes masthead you'll see Educate, Organize, Mobilize -- in that order. Don't skip the educating and organizing and skip to Mobilizing without passing GO, something the drooling left seems wont to do all too often.

I've seen a lot of that in MORE activists who will race to any rally that touches on social justice but when you want to talk about the crappy policies on bulletin boards -- ho, hum.

Some of us in MORE (and I hear in the Chicago Teachers Union too) have been pushing back against what we see as endless campaigns that often go nowhere instead of focusing on their own schools and localities.

So the leftist Jacobin mag has an article telling people in the left to quit the marching and focus on organizing which according to people who follow these things has caused some people on the left who believe that mobilizing alone can get people active to get very agitated over this article.

If you are someone who delves into these issues arising on the left jump into this one.

If you don't know about DSA -- Democratic Socialists of America -- this is an interesting piece written for activists.

Don’t March, Organize for Power

The socialist left needs more organizing and less mobilizing.

--- Jacobin

UFT Update: Internal Wars - Engler and Schoor

Engler is still employed and makes $215,447 a year... NY Post - UFT director sends scathing emails with typo to secretary
Engler is the power behind the throne at UFT & Mulgrew defers to her .... anonymous
The NY Post has a story about emails from a year ago from Ellie Engler complaining about Howie Schoor's comments to Bronx staffers.
“I had a disturbing meeting with the Bronx folks about what you said to them,” Engler wrote last August in an e-mail to Schoor that was copied to UFT boss Michael Mulgrew and other top personnel. “They reported that you said, everyone hates Ellie and I am getting in your way to do the work you want to do.” 
A year ago I reported:

Mulgrew Removes Brooklyn Borough Rep Debbie Poulos - Was She too aggressive on certain abusive principals?

Insiders blamed Engler and some of her cohorts for Poulos' removal. Howie Schoor was Poulos' mentor and supporter.

Engler was a Randi implant and is viewed as her agent within the UFT. Note this comment on that blog post:
Of course Engler is her agent. She is not even a UFT member and was made one of the Direcor's of Staff because she was Randi's roomate in college. You can't imagine how hated she is by UFT staff.
Did Howie Schoor, who is now the union secretary and former Brooklyn and Bronx borough leaders -- and makes an equivalent salary as Ellie Engler --  leak these emails or did he forward them to someone who did? Little birdies in Unity Caucus have been chirping. Funny how much the Post puts emphasis on a typo clearly due to a computer error. What idiots at the Post.

My report last year
There is speculation that Poulos had stepped on some toes in the UFT hierarchy who have especially close relationships with officials in the Farina's DOE administration who are unhappy with UFT officials who are considered too aggressive. There are rumored names of those in the UFT hierarchy who had it in for Debbie but at this point that info is not confirmed...
As I said, Howie was Debbie's mentor and boss at the Brooklyn office before being moved to the Bronx to clean up a major mess there. (Note that Amy Arundell is replacing the retiring Rona Freiser at the Queens office -- where there was also a bit of a mess).

You might note that with the pressure MORE and New Action has been putting on the UFT leadership -- they seem to have been more aggressive with abusive principals and superintendents. Howie and Debbie were known to be advocates of that policy.

I reported a  year ago--
There is speculation that Poulos had stepped on some toes in the UFT hierarchy who have especially close relationships with officials in the Farina's DOE administration who are unhappy with UFT officials who are considered too aggressive. There are rumored names of those in the UFT hierarchy who had it in for Debbie but at this point that info is not confirmed 
Insiders told me that Engler forms a troika of sorts in the hierarchy- I forget with whom - I think these emails possibly confirm that Engler did play a role in Poulos' removal.

By the way -- Engler's claims -- she was never a teacher -- she has devoted her life to the union pales in comparison to Howie's career -- he has been in the UFT since the Civil War.

Read my post of a year ago here.
Below is the full NY Post article.

Where are the Dems? Bernie on the Case for Mississippi Auto Workers

The Democrats have abandoned unions no matter what the rhetoric. Did Shumer and other slugs talk about this as part of their "better deal"?

Mississippi Nissan workers hope for historic win in 14-year fight to unionize

Support from Bernie Sanders and Danny Glover helped provide momentum to a campaign ‘about overcoming the effects of slavery’

“I’ve never seen a labor campaign of this size,” says the civil rights movement veteran Frank Figgers. “This is a historic struggle about overcoming the effects of slavery in Mississippi.”
Figgers is attending a meeting of 100 Nissan workers at a church preparing for the last push ahead of a historic union election for 4,000 Nissan workers set to take place on 2-3 August in Canton, Mississippi.

The vote is the culmination of 14-year campaign to organize the Nissan plant, 80% of whose employees are African American, and a major test for unions who have struggled to make inroads in the southern states as manufacturing jobs have migrated south.
For years, many workers have doubted that they would get enough support to be able to call for an election at all. But after more than 5,000 people, including the former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and the actor Danny Glover, took part in the “March on Mississippi” in support of unionization at Nissan in the spring, the drive took on a new sense of momentum. If the union vote is successful, it would be the largest union victory in Mississippi in more than a generation. A win in Canton would send a bolt of energy into the growing labor movement across the south.
Read more ---

The Insanity of Democratic Party War Hawks

After Boris Yeltsin won re-election in 1996, Time magazine ran a gloating cover story – YANKS TO THE RESCUE! – about three American advisers sent to help the pickling autocrat Yeltsin devise campaign strategy. Picture Putin sending envoys to work out of the White House to help coordinate Trump's re-election campaign, and you can imagine how this played in Russia...
What most Americans don't understand is that the Putin regime at least in part was a reaction to exactly this kind of Western meddling... For all the fears about Trump being a Manchurian Candidate bent on destroying America from within, the far more likely nightmare endgame involves our political establishment egging the moron Trump into a shooting war as a means of proving his not-puppetness.
Paul Begala, Donna Brazile, et al have lost their minds...
........ Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
There is almost too much irony in the current state of affairs where Dems and Republicans are insane over Russia, as Matt Taibbi shows in Rolling Stone. There has been a century old campaign against Russia. One of the guys in my writing group wrote a novel about American army troops being sent to Russia AFTER WWI ended to fight the Bolsheviks. I actually think Trump makes sense here vis a vis Russia and Putin. Of course they interfered in elections here, there and everywhere, same as we do. In fact one of Putin's gripes is that he felt Hillary tried to interfere in his election.  Yes, they may have something on Trump. But if someone else were president the neocons would be pushing for the same policy.

Here are some previous Taibbi, who spent a lot of time in Russia, pieces:

  What Does Russiagate Look Like to Russians?

Russia isn't as strong as we think, but they do have nukes – which is why beating the war drum is a mistake

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dem Centrists Need To Read About Rwanda on Health Care

I'm amazed at how the so-called liberal press lets the Democrats off the hook. Eduardo Porter has a good piece in the Times about single payer health care around the world in a letter to Republicans. He might as well have included most of our Democratic Party leaders. This article should be read out aloud in every hall of legislature and also to convince the public -- instead we hear all about Russia all the time. This would be the best way to fight Trump and the Republicans but the Dems spin their wheels.

In Health Care, Republicans Could Learn From Rwanda

Republicans, you are probably tired of hearing how so many Americans are sicker than their peers in other rich countries, lacking access to needed medical care. There are only so many times one can take being unfavorably compared to Denmark.
As you regroup after the collapse of your bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, hoping to figure out some new approach to dismember it, you might want to think not about Denmark, but about Rwanda.

Rwanda’s economy adds up to some $700 per person, less than one-eightieth of the average economic output of an American. A little more than two decades ago it was shaken by genocidal interethnic conflict that killed hundreds of thousands. Still today, a newborn Rwandan can expect to live to 64, 15 years less than an American baby.

But over the past 15 years or so, Rwanda has built a near-universal health care system that covers more than 90 percent of the population, financed by tax revenue, foreign aid and voluntary premiums scaled by income.

It is not perfect. A comparative study of health reform in developing countries found that fewer than 60 percent of births there were attended by skilled health workers. Still, access to health care has improved substantially even as the financial burden it imposes on ordinary Rwandans has declined. On average, Rwandans see a doctor almost twice a year, compared with once every four years in 1999.

Rwandan lives may be short, but they are 18 years longer than they were at the turn of the century — double the average increase of their peers in sub-Saharan Africa.

More than 97 percent of Rwandan infants are vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae Type B, polio, measles, rubella, pneumococcus and rotavirus, noted a 2014 study led by Dr. Paul Farmer, of Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, then Rwanda’s health minister.

Almost all Rwandan adolescent girls are vaccinated against human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer. That compares with about four in 10 girls in the United States.

Republicans, I know Rwanda — with its poverty, illiteracy and autocratic government — is not in the same peer group as the United States. But in some dimensions of health care, it gives the United States a run for its money.

Its infant mortality rate, for one, dropped by almost three-quarters since 2000, to 31 per 1,000 births in 2015, vastly outpacing the decline in its region. In the United States, by contrast, infant mortality declined by about one-fifth over the period, to 5.6 per 1,000 births. In Portugal — a developed country that is not quite as rich — it fell by almost half, to 3.

Critically, Rwanda may impress upon you an idea that has captured the imagination of policy makers in even the poorest corners of the world: Access to health care might be thought of as a human right. The idea is inspiring countries from Ghana to Thailand and from Mexico to China to develop, within their political and financial limitations, universal health care systems to offer some measure of access to all.

Politics. My Doctor, Democrats and Cuomo the Slime

I seem to be going to a variety of specialists every week for various minor issues. A year ago I had one primary and one specialist. Now I have five. Monday's visit was to an infectious disease guy. Next week to the urologist.

I made my annual trek to my politically conservative skin doctor yesterday to check out some of those pesky pre-cancer skin spots (he removed two).

At every visit, after we finish official business, he loves to talk politics, as I seem to be one of the few lefties he comes across. Yesterday he indicated he was a climate change denier when he said "How come there were ice ages?" -- which coming from someone connected to science, made me think, "What else doesn't he know?" I responded that, yes there will one day be another ice age but in the meantime we are in a heating period as there have been in the past and since this is the first one with billions of humans running around how could be not have an impact on climate, unless we believe the last heating period was caused by dinosaur breath?

He hated Obama and Hillary and at last year's visit which was in the height of the election season, he clearly wasn't comfortable with Trump. So yesterday I was looking forward to his views on Trump. He figured I would be pretty bummed at the outcome. I told him I was enjoying the Trump/Republican follies and the Democrats were so bad, they would shoot themselves in the foot.

"I think Trump will not  last very long," was his comment. I responded that I think Trump can be re-elected in 2020, which shocked him. He repeated that Trump won't last out his term. I said the next president would be the first woman president - Ivanka Trump. He left the room laughing.

I was only half serious.

Which leads me to Andrew Cuomo, one of a horde of Democrats positioning themselves for 2020. The Republican debates of 2016 will look like a small gathering by the time we see this crew out there.

A close member of my family, who will remain nameless due to the fact I won't be eating dinner if I mention that person's name, was a strong Hillary supporter and couldn't understand how I could waste my vote on Bernie and consider voting 3rd party in the general election (which I didn't). This anonymous person despises Cuomo so much - and not because of his positions on education, etc, but just for general reasons of slimy despicableness. So I asked if it came down to a Trump/Cuomo election would she vote for Cuomo.
"Absolutely not," was the response. Now she knows how so many people could not pull the lever for Hillary. I won't vote for Cuomo under any circumstances either.

Read Arthur Goldstein's blog today for more on His Dispicibleness.

Wolf in Bernie Sanders' Clothing

Monday, July 17, 2017

MORE's 7/12/17 Hardcore Contract Training Notes

Here is a draft of the notes at the MORE Hard Core Contract Training event last week -- a very difficult job given the range and number of people there and the wide range of issues discussed. If you were there and we missed something or you want to amend leave a comment or email me. Thanks to Jia Lee for doing such an often thankless task and putting these preliminary notes together.

This didn't turn into a training session as there weren't a lot  of specific contractual issues raised -- the paperwork issue was on the table as were bulletin board issues where there are possible contractual remedies. More details in a follow-up post later in the week.

We view this event not as a one-off but a springboard to further discussions to try to devolve solutions. We will be contacting the participants to get more feedback.

Farina Political Coverup on Yeshiva Education

Pro-secular-education Jewish group Yaffed triggered the review in July 2015 after sending a letter to education officials, identifying 39 New York City yeshivas it says do not provide academic instruction required by state law. The review has lagged, according to critics, who accuse the city of purposely stalling... NY Daily News
Carmen Farina denies stalling of probe into yeshivas is political ..... What a load of horseshit
For years a group of former Hasidic students have been trying to get the DOE to address the scandalous educational conditions and outright misuse of public money in the yeshivas. I have lots of tape from their appearances at PEP meetings time after time, only to be stonewalled by Farina and her minions.

We all know what is happening -- de Blasio political pandering to the Hasidic community which votes as a block.

So in this Daily News report that there is a delay in the DOE investigation we at least see the press beginning to pay attention to serious stuff instead of chasing de Blasio around on his frivolous stuff.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Memo From the RTC: “The Producers” Attract International Cast

We are officially into HELL Week - full rehearsals every night starting tomorrow before opening Friday night. (I reported in a previous Memo from the RTC: Memo from the RTC: Adolph Hitler Coming to Rockaway).

I have a small role, playing the judge near the end of the play in Act 2. So you might think I can sit back and enjoy the show, but instead I am fully invested during the entire show in moving scenery between scenes. I will never get to see the entire show as the audience does, other than scenes from the wings and I can't watch the scene before I appear in as I am outside waiting to load in my props.

This is one of the funniest shows I've seen with a cast that delivers on every level.

Come on down:
Here are the dates and times:
Friday, Saturday nights - July, 21, 22, 28, 29, Aug. 5, 6 at 8PM.
Sunday matinees - July 23, 30, Aug. 6 at 2 PM
Thursday eve, July 27 at 8 PM ( possibly the best time to get tickets.)

Ways to get tickets:

Here is my latest column from Friday's WAVE:

Memo From the RTC: “The Producers” Attract International Cast
By Norm Scott

Veronika Bochynek , Craig Evans, Masumi Iwai
The Rockaway Theatre Company has developed quite a stable of talent over the years, some involved for a decade or more. They have become local RTC stars. We have watched an entire generation of performers, some of them so young we were able to watch them grow up before our eyes. And many of them are involved in the upcoming production of “The Producers.”
Jeremy Plyburn

But one of the impressive things about the people running the RTC is how they are always seeking out new talent. When new faces show up at the Rockaway Theatre Company to act, sing, and dance in the various productions, I’m always interested in the process that led them to the Post Theatre in Fort Tilden, especially those originally from outside Rockaway.

Newcomer Craig Evans, who plays Leopold Bloom (Matthew Broderick in the play and Gene Wilder in the movie), comes to the RTC, locally, from his home in Arverne by the Sea, but internationally, from western Canada, a nation that sends us a lot of talent. Craig fits that mold perfectly as someone who can play leading male roles in musicals (he can sing, dance and act). Craig is an experienced and former professional performer who has appeared off-Broadway and once held an Actors Equity card. Having a talent who is local to Rockaway bodes well for future projects. From what I’ve seen at rehearsals he will be a big hit.

Also new to the RTC is Craig’s co-star, West Virginia native Jeremy Plyburn, who plays Max Bialystock. (Nathan Lane in the play and Zero Mostel in the movie). OK, so though technically West Virginia is not international, don’t quibble. I only got to speak to Jeremy briefly but discovered he did a lot of community theater around his home town of Huntington WV and in NYC has done a lot of comedy club work. That makes perfect sense after watching Jeremy delivering a laugh a minute while doing Max. Physically he is tall and thinner than the Max type and at first I thought he didn’t quite fit the physical type but he plays so well into it. And that fat suit he wears really works. Watching Jeremy and Craig work together would make you think they were a long-time team instead of having just met for this play.

There two new female dancers coming from far and away in the production.
Dancer Masumi Iwai is from Nagoya, Japan, the 3rd dancer from that nation we’ve had at the RTC over the past two years. Masumi lights up the stage with her dancing and big smile. She is learning English very fast, especially with the jokes in “The Producers” coming fast and furious.

Veronika Bochynek is an elegant dancer from Stuttgart, Germany. A play with some of the cast putting on heavy German accents must give her quite a kick. She is a music educator and is working on a thesis related to historical roots of tap-dancing, which she also practices assiduously by taking classes. RTC audiences will notice her right away.
The RTC is also thrilled to have back another Japanese dancer, the spectacular Atsushi Eda, who has appeared in Guys and Dolls and last year’s La Cage Aux Folles. Atsushi’s dancing is so athletic, it is hard for the audience to take their eyes off him when he is on stage. Atsushi recently had a role in a regional theater production in New Jersey.

That the RTC is attracting such professional level talent is quite an achievement for an outer, outer borough operation. The RTC is one of the great features Rockaway has to offer.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

School Scope: Erich Ulrich Loves Bo Dietl, ATRs, Charters

I wrote this column for this week's Wave but it didn't get in.

School Scope: A Bit of Riff and a Bit of Raff
By Norm Scott

Summer should be a slow season for ed news, but things never seem to slow down. Here are a few push button issues that you might want to google if interested.

DOE to place 400 teachers from ATR pool
In the old days, teachers got assigned to schools based on seniority. Now it’s a free market system. If your school is closed down or there are an excess of teachers in your license area, instead of being assigned permanently to a school, as people were pre-2005 contract, they are put in a pool and rotated from school to school. Unfairly, the entire pool has been branded in the press as incompetent. Some teachers did undergo disciplinary hearings and were fined or suspended. Some of these cases were instances where principals were retaliating against outspoken teachers or those who insisted on their union rights. (I attended some of their hearings and saw for myself from the testimony.) Due to rules instituted in 2008 by Joel Klein, known as Fair School Funding, school budgets are penalized for hiring higher salaried teachers, not only a major disincentive to hire senior ATRS, but also an incentive to pressure long-time senior teachers to retire or leave the school. The Dept. of Education has decided to start draining the ATR pool by assigning 400 of them to permanent placement in schools. If principals are charged for having to carry high salaried teachers, they won’t be very happy. Will the DOE to work something out to soothe the pain?

Charter teacher certification rules loosened
To become a certified teacher in NY State, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops and spend a lot of money. Charter schools, with their tremendous turnover rate, having to compete with public schools salaries, are having problems meeting their needs. Charters have been able to hire 30% of their teachers as uncertified but they still have to pay competitive salaries, albeit while forcing teachers to work a lot of hours. As part of the machinations going on in Albany over mayoral control and other ed issues, charters authorized by SUNY may soon be allowed to pull people off the streets to teach., even if they have not taken any courses related to educating children. (I can see them gang pressing people walking out of their college graduation.) The NY Post cheered the decision to hire unqualified people for charters. Ironically, but not surprisingly, the Post also condemned the DOE plan to place ATRs, who the Post branded as unqualified, in classrooms. One blogger was left scratching his head: “How can you support the hiring of untrained and unqualified people to teach students on one hand and then be against the hiring of veteran teachers who are properly certified and experienced? “ Read his entire post at:

It's the Attack on Unions Stupid: NY Times Doesn't Get Why Pay Lags Job Growth
“U.S. Job Growth Picks Up the Pace, but Wages Lag Behind” a recent front page of the NY Times declared. “This is not a market we have typically seen,” said Michael Stull, senior vice president at the staffing company Manpower North America. “We have not before seen unemployment drop, low participation rates and wages not move. That tells you something’s not right in the labor market.” Something's not right in the labor market? -- Duhhhh! I know I’m spitting in the wind when I say the reliance on free markets to balance workers and employers is faulty. Only organized workers in unions can redress the balance.

Eric Ulrich loves lunatic Bo Dietl for Mayor
Ulrich wrote on twitter after Republican Paul Massey pulled out: I will be encouraging the GOP to take a 2nd look at @BoDietl for Mayor. He has the fire in the belly…” Oy! I listened to Bo Dietl on Imus for years and while at times entertaining, suggesting he would make a good mayor is irresponsible, something I would not expect from Ulrich. Though he is a Republican, which automatically makes him irresponsible. But that’s a story for another day. A quick hit from Wikipedia tells us, “On May 4, 2017, the Wall Street Journal revealed Dietl claimed he was hired by Fox News network management to discredit the harassment claims by former anchor Gretchen Carlson and former producer Andrea Mackris against Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.”

Eric is a smart politician, given he wants to run for mayor in 2021 but didn’t have the fire in his belly to take on a very flawed De Blasio ---- who even leftists like me despise. Actually there is a candidate running against de Blasio – Republican State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis from Staten Island, who apparently does have the fire in her belly. But if she does well against deB, even if she loses, she becomes a very creditable challenger to Ulrich in 2021. So why not promote a guy like Dietl who would send investigators to go after women who charge powerful men with sexual harassment, which given the firings at FOX, apparently were true?

Norm’s fire in the belly is due to acid reflux but he keeps blogging at

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12: Can MORE Prove the UFT Contract Is Not Worthless?

I am opening up today's MORE Hard Core Contract event at The Dark Horse - 17 Murray St. and that has had me thinking -- a dangerous thing -- about things I haven't thought about in 15 years. I saw the contract being violated regularly in my school, often related to teacher assignments for the next school year. Most people wouldn't file grievances but as chapter leader I tried to use my weekly newsletter to put pressure on the administration.

Some people out there think the UFT contract is a worthless piece of junk. But don't give up on using the contract where possible but using the contract backed by some schoolwide political campaign enhances the chances of winning. One of my main gripes with the UFT over my decades of activity was their advice to keep grievances behind closed doors. I urged people to make their stories public to build support in the school. Why leave the narrative, which would be negative towards the teacher, to the principals and their minions?

Experienced contract guru James Eterno will be schlepping in from his Queens outpost to be a resident expert on the contract. (See his post yesterday on the ICE blog: TRS WORKSHOP; MORE CONTRACT TRAINING

In many schools, with knowledgeable union reps and an engaged staff, there is more enforcement of the contract than in other schools.

Experienced chapter leaders in MORE have supported people on the chapter leader listserve who have contractual questions.

Here is a recent one:
We had 13 staff up for tenure and all were denied, including guidance counselors, speech teachers, regular teachers and an AP. We have a particularly ruthless superintendent but curious if this is the case elsewhere. Some teachers had been extended in the past and as you can imagine, it's very demoralizing and disheartening.
Curious how it's going in other schools...
Is this situation an outlier or indicative of a chronic situation? Depending on how many people who come and the issues they bring, the MORE event today will attempt to gather information on this type of issue -- can we pin this on a particular supt?

We get lots of personal issues, like this one:
A teacher in my school teaches an extra period. We have a staggered schedule. Her normal day is period 1-8, but she teaches period 9 pro rata. During Regents, is she required to stay the extra time or is her day also 6:50?
One of the issues we want to touch on is to develop a guide on what to do when an incident is used to remove a colleague from the classroom, the school (rubber roomed) and how to know what is coming. Or how to prep people for a possible 3020a hearing. One thing I've noticed is that DOE legal will often contemplate adding a charge to people who contact parents for support. So we urge people to be careful and use stealth. I asked Peter Zucker to give us a summary of what he learned.

So many people are in the dark about the process. Catlin Preston of CPE1, who told me he spoke to Peter before his hearing and felt Peter was a great help, will be out of town but may call in. We discussed a follow-up with a working group coming out of this meeting where people with experience develop a guide with a roadmap of what a principal, OSI, etc are likely to do -- and how to interpret their actions.

If you have had issues in your school or want to share issues you have, or can offer some advice - or just to sit down and have a beer or two - or three - and some decent bar food, come on down.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The End of the Party: Clinton/Obama Democratic Center Counter Attack

The split between the Clinton/Obama centrist and the Bernie left Wings only grows more bitter. See the article I recently posted: The Democratic Party’s Deadly Dead-End.
And also this op ed by Bernie:
Will there be a split in the Democratic Party and the growth of a new party? I think the articles below indicate there may very well be, but it will take a few election cycles for the process to work itself out. Think of the Whigs from the mid-1830s to the mid 1850s and the emergence of the new Republican Party from the ashes.
"the Whigs are best understood as an American major party trying to be many things to many men, ready to abandon one deeply held ‘conviction’ for another in the drive for political power."....
The articles below are examples of the Clinton/Obama wings striking back. The first oped appeared in last Friday's NY Times and I read it with my mouth ajar -- and by the way, our own UFT/NYSUT/AFT pretty well lines up with the Clinton centrist wing, which used and abandoned labor unions, especially teachers, no matter our union leaders' rhetoric.

Remember that the "new" Republican Party captured the presidency in 1860 by taking a stronger stand on slavery -- a radical position at the time -- and basically kept power until FDR in 1932 other then the Wilson years (1912-20) and 2 terms by Grover Cleveland, who was a conservative Democrat -- or a quasi Republican.
An ass looks to chew its own ass

The center Dems turned away from the New Deal, as indicated by the NY Times opinion piece by Clinton apparatchik Mark Penn and, holy shit, a dug up Andrew Stein. I mean, how desperate are they getting? Below that read the NY Observer piece on how they are running a primary candidate against Bernie in Vermont. That should end up well for the Dems. Note that Jared Kushner owns the NY Observer so anything you read there should be taken as working in the Trump interests.

Let's parse the Penn/Stein piece. My comments in red.

Back to the Center, Democrats

The path back to power for the Democratic Party today, as it was in the 1990s, is unquestionably to move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left, whose policies and ideas have weakened the party.
Really? How many state houses do the Dems have? How about the routes in Congress since the 90s when the Dems lost control of Congress in the majority of terms since then?
In the early 1990s, the Democrats relied on identity politics, promoted equality of outcomes instead of equality of opportunity and looked to find a government solution for every problem. After years of leftward drift by the Democrats culminated in Republican control of the House under Speaker Newt Gingrich, President Bill Clinton moved the party back to the center in 1995 by supporting a balanced budget, welfare reform, a crime bill that called for providing 100,000 new police officers and a step-by-step approach to broadening health care. Mr. Clinton won a resounding re-election victory in 1996 and Democrats were back.
Every issue cited was related to the Dems losing in 2016.
But the last few years of the Obama administration and the 2016 primary season once again created a rush to the left. Identity politics, class warfare and big government all made comebacks. Candidates inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups have embraced sharply leftist ideas. But the results at the voting booth have been anything but positive: Democrats lost over 1,000 legislative seats across the country and control of both houses of Congress during the Obama years. And in special elections for Congress this year, they failed to take back any seats held by Republicans.
This is a remarkable 2-faced turn of what really happened -- the Clintons did all of the above they are claiming Bernie did. And they attack Bernie with their other face by saying he didn't pay enough attention to identity politics and thus lost the black vote.
Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.
Wait a minute. They are saying this happened without the Clintons? Are they blaming Obama too? The world is turning upside down.

In the next section, they go right at the New Deal and join the Republicans in the attack on government. Astounding.
Bigger government handouts won’t win working-class voters back. This is the fallacy of the left, believing that voters just need to be shown how much they are getting in government benefits. In reality, these voters see themselves as being penalized for maintaining the basic values of hard work, religion and family. It’s also not all about guns and abortion. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both won working-class voters despite relatively progressive views on those issues. Today, identity politics and disdain for religion are creating a new social divide that the Democrats need to bridge by embracing free speech on college campuses and respect for Catholics and people of other faiths who feel marginalized within the party.
There are plenty of good issues Democrats should be championing. They need to reject socialist ideas and adopt an agenda of renewed growth, greater protection for American workers and a return to fiscal responsibility. While the old brick-and-mortar economy is being regulated to death, the new tech-driven economy has been given a pass to flout labor laws with unregulated, low-paying gig jobs, to concentrate vast profits and to decimate retailing. Rural areas have been left without adequate broadband and with shrinking opportunities. The opioid crisis has spiraled out of control, killing tens of thousands, while pardons have been given to so-called nonviolent drug offenders. Repairing and expanding infrastructure, a classic Democratic issue, has been hijacked by President Trump — meaning Democrats have a chance to reach across the aisle to show they understand that voters like bipartisanship.
Immigration is also ripe for a solution from the center. Washington should restore the sanctity of America’s borders, create a path to work permits and possibly citizenship, and give up on both building walls and defending sanctuary cities. On trade, Democrats should recognize that they can no longer simultaneously try to be the free-trade party and speak for the working class. They need to support fair trade and oppose manufacturing plants’ moving jobs overseas, by imposing new taxes on such transfers while allowing repatriation of foreign profits. And the party seems to have forgotten that community policing combined with hiring more police officers worked in the ’90s — and it will work again today. It can’t be the party that failed to stop the rising murder rates in cities like Chicago.
Health care is the one area where the Democrats have gained the upper hand and have a coherent message about protecting the working poor from losing coverage. But the Affordable Care Act needs to be adjusted to control costs better, lest employer-sponsored health care become unaffordable. For now, the Democrats are right to hold the line in defending Obamacare in the face of Republican disunity.
No single payer for these guys -- let's continue the Clinton folly on health care. Do they forget that giving in to big Pharm and insurance companies is the main cause of costs spiraling out of control.
Easily lost in today’s divided politics is that only a little more than a quarter of Americans consider themselves liberals, while almost three in four are self-identified moderates or conservatives. Yet moderate viewpoints are being given short shrift in the presidential nominating process. So Democrats should change their rules to eliminate all caucuses in favor of primaries. Caucuses are largely undemocratic because they give disproportionate power to left-leaning activists, making thousands of Democrats in Kansas more influential than millions of people in Florida.
Twisting history --- hey, did Hilllary lose the Michigan PRIMARY to Bernie? No caucus there.
Mark Penn served as pollster and senior adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton from 1995 to 2008. Andrew Stein is a former Manhattan borough president and New York City Council president.
Both these guys are a joke.

Now on to the Observer --

ote the headline.
Bitter Clinton Supporters Try to Unseat Bernie Sanders in Senate Race

Opponents believe his ‘divisive politics’ have split the Democratic Party

Saturday, July 8, 2017

It's the Attack on Unions Stupid: NY Times Doesn't Get Why Pay Lags Job Growth

U.S. Job Growth Picks Up the Pace, but Wages Lag Behind today's front page of the NY Times declares.
“This is not a market we have typically seen,” said Michael Stull, senior vice president at the staffing company Manpower North America. “We have not before seen unemployment drop, low participation rates and wages not move. That tells you something’s not right in the labor market.” 
Something's not right in the labor market? -- duhhhh! The reliance on free markets to balance workers and employers is faulty. Only organized workers in unions can redress the balance.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Since our union leaders ignore the class size issue, parents do the heavy lifting.

This press release is also available here.

For Immediate Release:  July 6, 2017

Contact: Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters,
Wendy Lecker, Education Law Center,

Demand Department of Education Reduce Class Size as Mandated in State Law

Today, nine parents from every New York City borough filed a petition with State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia, charging the City Department of Education (DOE) with failing to reduce class sizes as mandated by the Contract for Excellence Law (C4E). The City’s Public Advocate, Letitia James, and two advocacy groups, Class Size Matters and the Alliance for Quality Education, also joined the parents in the petition.
Education Law Center (ELC) is representing the Petitioners.
Please see Parent Petitioners’ quotes below.

In 2007, as required by the C4E law, the DOE developed a class size reduction plan for the City’s public schools, pledging to lower average class sizes in Kindergarten through third grade over five years to no more than 20 students; in fourth through eighth grade to no more than 23 students; and to no more than 25 students per class in high school core classes. The State Education Commissioner approved the plan.

The DOE never delivered on its plan. Instead, class sizes have increased sharply since 2007, particularly in the early grades, and are now substantially larger than when the C4E law was enacted. As of fall 2016, DOE data show classes in Kindergarten through third grade were more than 18 percent larger, classes in grades four through eight were six percent larger, and high school classes were 1.5 percent larger than in 2007.

“The growth in class size from 2007 to the present is breathtaking,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. “For example, in 2007, a little over 1,100 students in grades one through three were in classes of 30 students or more. As of November 2016, a staggering 43,219 first through third graders were in classes this large, an increase of almost 4000 percent.”

“New York City students have waited too long for a better opportunity to learn, and it is unacceptable that the City has reneged on its legal obligations,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters. “The research is crystal clear that smaller classes benefit all children, but especially those who predominate in our public schools: students who are low-income,  have special needs, or are English Language Learners.”

“A decade ago, the City committed to reducing class sizes to appropriate levels, a resource identified by New York’s highest court in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case as essential for a constitutional sound basic education,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “But now class sizes are even larger than when the court issued its decision. It is past time for the DOE to live up to this legal obligation.”

“The research is clear: smaller classes are better for our children. This indisputable fact can no longer be ignored. I am proud to stand with a diverse coalition of education advocates to demand the city provide our students with the smaller class sizes they are owed. There can be no equity or excellence when students in The Bronx and throughout New York City must sit in classes this large,”  said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The Petitioners are requesting that Commissioner Elia order the DOE to immediately begin reducing class sizes to the averages set forth in the 2007 class-size reduction plan and to reach those averages in no more than five years. Petitioners are also asking the Commissioner to order the City to promptly align its capital plan for school construction to the class size averages in the 2007 Plan, another requirement of the C4E regulations.
Parent Petitioners Speak:
“My daughter has been in extremely large classes since Kindergarten,” said Naila Rosario, a parent in District 15 in Brooklyn. “This year, in fourth grade, she is in a class of 32 students. She cannot possibly receive the kind of personal attention and feedback every child deserves and needs to be successful in school. In fact, often her teacher does not even have enough time to answer all the students’ questions. There is no way my daughter or any of her classmates can get a quality education in a class this large.”

Deborah Alexander has two children at P.S. 150 in Queens, one in 1st grade and the other in 4th grade. Both are in classes of 3O students: “My fourth grader told me he doesn’t bother to raise his hand anymore, because as he said to me, there are too many kids, so I’m never picked. My daughter’s class is full of restless children, waiting their turn to be able to speak. Some of the children have social-emotional issues and clearly feel deprived, no matter how hard their teacher tries. It is time to aggressively address class size reduction once and for all so that all children know they are seen and heard.”

“My son, who has an IEP, has been held back twice and is at risk of being held back again,” said Rubnelia Agostini, who has a second grade child at P.S. 277 in the Bronx. “His class size is now 25, and he was in a class of 27 in Kindergarten at P.S. 205. After two months in Kindergarten he was bused to another school to address class size violations, since Kindergarten classes are supposed to be capped at 25. Now his independent evaluation says he needs a small class, but his school doesn’t have any small classes, and some are as large as 27. Why can’t my son receive the quality education he needs to succeed?”

Litza Stark’s son is in an inclusion, or ICT, Kindergarten class with 28 students at P.S. 85 in Queens. The ICT class contains 10-12 students with special needs: “Especially since this is an ICT class where students present an array of extra challenges, his class size causes excessive stress on the teachers and the students alike. PreK is important, but so is the quality of education for children in Kindergarten and up.”

“My son’s class has 24 children, many of them requiring close support, and his teacher is not able to individualize instruction as she could in a smaller class,” said Reeshemah Brightley, the mother of a Kindergarten child at P.S./I.S. 76 in Manhattan. “Classroom management is difficult, and students are more disruptive in a large class than they otherwise would be, making it hard for the rest of the class to focus.”

JoAnn Schneider’s son is a fourth grader in an ICT class of 31 students at P.S./I.S. 113 in Queens: “My son receives special education services and has been in an inclusion class since Kindergarten. He’s making only minimal progress because he needs a more focused environment that only a small class can provide. It is not right that my child should be denied the kind of education given to children elsewhere in the state where classes average only 20-22 students per class – especially when the law requires it.”

Johanna Garcia, a mother of two children at P.S./I.S. 187 in Manhattan, explained: “My son is in third grade in a class of 28. He receives special services, but his class is far too big and he has trouble keeping up. When he was in Kindergarten, his class size exceeded the cap, and that’s when it became clear to me that it was impossible for him to receive the attention he needed with so many other children in the class. My daughter is in a class of 29 students in fifth grade, and many in her class have been unable to stay engaged and afloat. The city owes it to my children and all other students in the public school system to remedy this egregious violation of their rights.”
To read the petition, click here ; a timeline documenting the DOE’s failure to reduce class sizes since the CFE lawsuit is available here; and data showing class size trends is available here.