Sunday, September 10, 2017

A WTF Moment: Marc Sternberg Comes Down From the Mountain to Attack ATRs

Marc Sternberg, the director of K-12 education for the Walton Family Foundation, was a deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education during the Bloomberg administration.... NY Times Op ed

Isn't an attack on ATRs below Mark Sternberg's pay grade? Dragging out a major ed deformer warrior like Marc Sternberg, one of our leading Joel Kleinites who made his bones (and fortune) in the ed deform industrial complex and now occupies a top level position with the Walton Foundation, to attack the ATRs in our city in a NY Times op ed is a sign of desperation among the deformers.

The establishment of the ATR pool in 2005 in agreement with the UFT, despite its attempt to rewrite history (UFT's Fake History - Denies Responsibility for ATR Pool), is one of the linchpins of the assault on teachers nationwide because it opened a major wedge in the seniority protections and allowed them to start closing schools with impunity without having to worry about placing teachers from those schools.

The real reason there has been so much press and publicity and ed deform frenzy is that the ending of the ATR pool with forced placement of the teachers undermines one of the pinnacles of ed deform -- ending the seniority system in total and making every teachers an at will employee -- vis a vis the charter schools which have proven they cannot retain teachers and must rely on a constant turnover pool of young, inexperienced teachers to keep them going. Witness the current controversy over the attempt to reduce NY State requirements for teacher certification for SUNY authorized charter schools do a minimum.

Sternberg claims he hired fantastic teachers when he was 90 day wonder principal - how would he know when most of them had little or no experience? How can he claim in his op ed that having a great teacher is so crucial when he helped implement a system that focused on hiring TFA types with 6 weeks training? In other words, the goal is not great teachers, but cheap and replaceable parts teachers.

Note how Sternberg focuses on the minority - not calling for those who have had good ratings to be placed. Part of the duplicitoud, dishonest nature of these people -- and Sternberg was one of the worst, along with John White, not the Supt of Louisiana schools, Michelle Rhee, Cami Anderson, etc -- a veritable rogues gallery of Joel Kleinites.

Sternberg points to "Other big cities, like Chicago and Washington, have set reasonable limits on the period of time that unplaced teachers can continue to draw a paycheck."

It is true that the ATR pools in other cities do lose their jobs and those systems are or have been in chaos.

The ed deform movement and its accompanying fawning press has been thrown into a dizzy by the attempt to place around 800 teachers from the ATR pool, two thirds of whom have had no disciplinary actions taken against them but lost their positions due to schools being closed or from budget cuts. And of the third (around 280 teachers) who did have some disciplinary actions against them, an arbitrator ruled that whatever they were charged with was not consequential enough to fire them.

Arthur Goldstein posted a piece on Diane Ravitch's blog, Arthur Goldstein: The Myth of NYC’s “Rubber Room” of “Bad Teachers”
in response the op ed by Sternberg.

Diane shakes out the Sternberg bio:
... became an instant principal during the Bloomberg-Klein regime and left to join the rightwing billionaire Walton Family Foundation, as director of its K-12 program. The Waltons despise public education and spend hundreds of millions backing charters, vouchers, and other modes of privatization. The WFF claims credit for funding one of every four charter schools in the nation. The Waltons individually spend millions on political campaigns to support privatization and undermine the teaching profession. They are avowed enemies of public education, the teaching profession, and collective bargaining.
Sternberg was a golden boy in the Bloomberg-Klein era. He graduated Princeton in 1995, joined Teach for America, picked up an MBA and MA in education at Harvard. Only nine years after finishing college, he was a principal in New York City. He quickly became a Klein favorite and moved up to become Deputy Chancellor in a few short years.
Now, at the pinnacle of rightwing power, with hundreds of millions to dispense every year, what really annoys him is that Mayor de Blasio plans to place hundreds of displaced teachers into classrooms.
I used to run into Sternberg time and again at various closing school hearings, PEP meetings and other events. The last time was at some tony event around the time of the Chicago Teacher Union was talking strike in 2012. He came up to me to ask what I thought would happen in Chicago. "I hope they strike," I said. "And I hope one day we do that here too."

He put on a phony look of concern - "Can it happen here," he asked, knowing full well Mulgrew was a puppet of Randi the collaborator.

"Not with your pals at the UFT in charge," I told him. He objected, saying something about Mulgrew making militant noises.

I laughed, referring to Mulgrew as a weak-kneed lackey who would do nothing to resist. He didn't argue.

Recent Ed Notes blogs on ATRS
The Sternberg op ed


  1. Walmart. The company that puts up signs asking customers to contribute to their employees Thanksgiving dinners because it doesn't pay them enough. This is the company that wants to make inroads in education. Your post is excellent and brings up many points some don't know or have blocked from their minds - especially the UFT's involvement in its creation and the fact that it's not working on changing Fair Student Funding. Many ATRs don't want to opt out of paying dues, but when the UFT spits in your face it difficult to keep paying them.

  2. Seniority and tenure protections are all that stand between stability and the implementation of a chaotic employee at will free for all. Teachers who remain will operate in complete fear of administrators. Scripted lessons and "on-line learning" will proliferate. There will be no veterans left to stand up for children and for democracy.

    Abigail Shure

  3. I get a little bit of joy knowing that Amazon is gutting WalMart. How quickly WalMart goes under is anyone's guess (probably much faster then Sears did because Wal Mart sells garbage).

    Once the Walton's start feeling the need to become stingy with their inheritances, will Jeff Bozos step in and pick up the slack funding attacks on teachers? I think he might, since he also hates unions. Maybe Sternbeg should start kissing Bozos' butt.

  4. Marc Sternberg is the lowest of the low. I remember seeing him at all the school closing hearings that he headed. What a creep!

  5. "Mulgrew as a weak kneed lackey who who do nothing to resist." Mulgrew never gave Bloomberg what he wanted as far as the ATRs go - Bloomberg wanted to be able to fire them - That's the main reason I think we never got a new contract from Bloomberg. Mulgrew to my knowledge never stated that this was the real sticking issue. Why? Maybe because he feared a backlash from the members who wanted their raises and could give a shit about ATRs and those stuck in the rubber room. In any case, Mulgrew did not give Bloomberg what he wanted regarding the ATRs so on this point I don't think he was being a 'weak kneed lacky..."

    1. There was no way mulgrew could have given up Atrs without a revolt.
      But the issue I had in that conversation with Steinberg was over uft striking like chicago.
      Funny thing is that chicago. THE sj caucus so admired did give up their Atr's.


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