Sunday, May 27, 2018

Judge in PS 25 Win Asks: Where's the UFT support? “doesn’t the UFT care that the teachers will be put into ATR or the rubber room?” “doesn’t the UFT care that the teachers will be put into ATR or the rubber room?”

“doesn’t the UFT care that the teachers will be put into ATR or the rubber room?”.... Judge Katherine Levine
“Why close a school that’s doing so well?” said Leonie Haimson, the executive director of Class Size Matters and one of the lawsuit’s supporters. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”... Chalkbeat 
Did the UFT abandon schools on the closing list, in particular, PS 25K? The judge who ruled last week to keep PS 25 open for now seems to think so.

At the Feb. PEP, the CSA made a strong statement of support while the UFT was absent and also did not support this law suit.

I reported on the Major Victory: Court Keeps PS 25 Open - Leonie and Crew Big Win.

Below is a follow-up report with reports about the judge's reaction to the UFT not being part of the law suit from the parents, supported by Leonie and pro-bono attorney Laura Barbieri - see links to her brief below. And raising questions about the very rationale for closing schools.

And I linked to Leonie's own report on her blog:

The big reprieve from Judge Katherine Levine came last week as the judge asked deep and probing questions, including questions why the UFT was not part of the suit to keep the high performing school open. The DOE sites low and falling school population - which people at PS 25 attribute to the DOE driving population down to force the school to close to make room for charters, including possibly Evil Eva. There is evidence that de Blasio and the DOE don't want to pay the damn rent after the Cuomo give away to charters laws so they target certain buildings as places to shove charters.

The UFT kept hands off - and I leave you to speculate as to the reasons.

At the Feb. 28 PEP, Leoni's assistant Sabastian Spitz spoke up for PS 25 and other schools being closed, citing the class size issue for many of these schools. Also speaking up was the supervisors union's Raymond Gregory. The UFT did not speak up for PS 25.

Gloria Brandman was at the hearing the other day where the judge kept the school that the de Blasio/Farina tried to close -- there were charters involved in getting the building. Gloria took some notes:
Judge Katherine Levine was a smart, feisty judge who reminded me of Chief Justice Ginsberg (see the spectacular documentary about her "RGB")
"Why would the DOE close a school and then open another one? It doesn't make sense."
I believe Laura, the school's attorney, said that they do it all the time.

When the judge was looking at the list of possible transfer schools the DOE is providing for the PS 25 students (some out of district, the better ones already overcrowded), she said about one of the options, "That's 29 minutes away!". Later, she asked questions about transportation, and stated that she knows the DOE only provides buses to schools in the district. The DOE attorney did not respond.

She asked, "Why are they closing it", the answer given is that it's small. She responded, "So is PS xxx" (I forget which school she cited.)

Judge asked, "Did the CEC have any say?" DOE response- Multiple hearings were held. I believe the DOE Council stated that the DOE does listen. Many of us in the courtroom yelled out, NO THEY DON'T!

Judge asked, "If this school was 90% white and 10% black, would it be closed?"

Judge also pondered, "Would you conceded that the reason this is being done is because it has small class sizes?" and "What is the down side of keeping it open?" DOE attorney's rebuttal, "It's too small."
Judge wondered, What is the harm of keeping it open? "I'm keeping the stay in place."
"Disruption is not an option."
The judge also asked, "Are you telling me that there has never been a case where the parents have challenged the closing of a school?"

And regarding the UFT, judge was quite surprised by their absence. "Why wouldn't the UFT be a plaintiff?"
Why not indeed??
Also see the Chalkbeat article about the PS 25 win.  Several people are claiming that it is somehow selfish of PS 25 parents to fight to keep their school open or a “luxury” that DOE can’t afford.

Leonie's report included these links:
Congrats to the parents, students and teachers at this amazing school, to Laura Barbieri, our wonderful pro bono attorney, and my research assistant, Sebastian Spitz, who did much of the data and factual analysis for the case. Here are some of the legal briefs filed in the case, opposing the PS 25 closure:  
Memorandum of Law in Support of Preliminary Injunction to Stop the Closure of PS 25 
The memo of law explains the legal basis for why the DOE must keep PS 25 Eubie Blake open until the court is able to make a final decision on the legal merits, including the irreparable harm to its students if the school closes this year and they have to transfer to lesser schools.

Parents' Legal Petition Against the Closure of PS 25 This verified petition explains the background of the case, including PS 25's high quality, and the legal argument for why the DOE does not have the right to close the school.

Affidavit of Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters My affidavit explaining the research showing the importance of class size, and how PS 25's small class sizes are a critical reason for the school's success.

Appendix to Leonie Haimson's Affidavit: Summary of Class Size Reduction Research on the proven benefits, in the short term and long term, of small class sizes, especially disadvantaged children who make up the overwhelming majority of PS 25 student population.

Affidavit of Crystal Williams  Crystal Williams, parent of two students at PS 25 and the Vice President of the PS PTA, explains how PS 25 has helped her children and why she and other parents oppose its closure.
Order to Show Cause and Request for Temporary Restraining Order to Stop the Closure of PS 25 This document requests that the court prevent the DOE from taking any further steps to close PS 25 until the court decides on its legality. 

Here are the response documents filed by the City:

Verified Answer of DOE in PS 25 Case  The DOE explains why they want to close PS 25 – though they admit on p. 3 that according to their school performance dashboard,  it is the 2nd best public elementary school in Brooklyn and the fourth best n the city and outperforms all other charter schools than Success Academy Bronx 2 in its positive impact on student achievement and attendance.

Analysis of Public Comments on the Closure of PS 25 This document summarizes the various public hearings, etc. held about the school's proposed closure, revealing widespread public opposition to the plan. 

DOE's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Temporary Injunction and Show Cause
The Department of Education's argument explaining why they should have the right to close PS 25 before the court makes a final decision on the merits of the case. 


  1. The judge made the mistake of invoking logic.

  2. UFT leadership has sold out long ago. Bloomberg and Gates connections and influence, Democratic Party and the Clintons, Gates foundation money. Weingarten and Mulgrew se the rank and file as pawns in their power game.


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