Sunday, May 27, 2018

Support the Work Leonie Does by Attending The Skinnies, June 19

Leonie Haimson and Class Size Matters has been the major consistent and persistent advocate for teachers, students, parents and community over the past 15 years. She runs a major fund raiser every year at a restaurant with the leading resisters to ed deform in the room called The Skinny (not Broad) awards. I've attended every one of them and if you want to spend a few hours in a space with people you'd want to hang out with, especially in these times, this is the evening to do it. More info will come soon but read about just a few of the victories that Leonie has helped lead -- yes, she is a better advocate for us than our own UFT leadership.

That is why every year, the first group I contribute to is Class Size Matters to help Leonie continue her great work. Details will be available soon.

Save the date for the Skinnies! & our win yesterday in court to save PS 25!

1. Please save the date for our annual Skinny awards, which will be held this year on Tuesday, June 19. We will be honoring some very special people and you don’t want to miss it! It’s always one of our most joyous annual events, in which we celebrate our wins and gain strength for the battles to come. More info soon on time, place and how to reserve a ticket.

2. Speaking of victories, we had a big win in court yesterday in the fight to keep PS 25 open, an extremely high needs school in Bed Stuy Brooklyn with small classes. The DOE wants to close the school despite the fact that it’s the fourth best elementary school in NYC in its positive impact on learning. More about why we believe this school should be kept open is in my letter to Chancellor Carranza, published in yesterday’s Washington Post; and my account of yesterday’s win is here. Our win to keep the school open for at least another year was also reported in the NY Post and Politico.  Thanks to the brave parents of PS 25 who refused to give up, and to our attorney Laura Barbieri of the pro bono law firm Advocates for Justice.

3. In other law-related matters, I filed an appeal to the DOE on their refusal to respond to my Freedom of Information requests, which are now more than two years old; we will take this to court if the information isn’t provided by June 5. And our class size lawsuit vs the state and the city will be heard in Albany on June 15.

4. There is lots more on the blog about the problems with the new teacher evaluation bill, on Chancellor Carranza’s first time testifying before the city council, and the culture of corruption at DOE that allows sexual harassment to flourish. In a refreshing change from our previous chancellors, Carranza admitted to Council Member Treyger that yes, class size DOES matter, and that when he taught 20-25 students he could do so much more for his students than when he had classes of 40. So I have hope that we may see more humane and rational policies to come.

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