The UFT has finally jumped on board with an article in the NY Teacher written by Francis Lewis HS CL Arthur Goldstein: the struggles at Forest Hills High School.
Eterno at the increasingly disturbing ICEUFT blog (due to the numbing comments) gives Arthur and the UFT grudging credit for finally putting up an article on a school with a lousy principal. Arthur has been up front on his blog in posting about FHHS. NYCEducator is the most widely read and respected blog not only locally, but nationally.
I had to put up this comment:
Forest Hills HS teachers contacted bloggers like James, Arthur and myself and we put up their views. The little dig at Arthur as a "former dissident" and the claiming of credit here is disingenuous. And when they came to the Ex Bd meeting last spring they were supported by Arthur, Mike and Jonathan from New Action. Arthur has taken on this fight as much as anyone and asked follow up questions on Monday at the Ex Bd. We complain when the NY Teacher doesn't cover but when it does it is reported begrudgingly. There are clear signs that the UFT did work behind the scenes in this case - they never do enough - but there would have been no massive vote of no confidence without their working behind the scenes. Our job along with Arthur and Mike is to keep the pressure on whether publicly or behind the scenes.Some teachers at the school came to we bloggers late last spring and we encouraged them to come to the UFT Ex Bd meeting and some did -- that always seems to wake up the union leadership.
But let's give credit where credit is due - Sue Edelman from the NY Post - her articles exposing principals have had more impact than any blog.
Clearly if you read the NY Post article, the DOE will jump over hoop after hoop without removing Sherman.
I have a contact on the PTA who has slammed Sherman.
Aiming their ire at principal Ben Sherman, moms and dads said kids are confronted with constant pot puffing at the high-achieving school – and that administrators aren’t doing nearly enough.
“My son’s a freshman in the school this year,” one irate father told Sherman and several Department of Education administrators. “Since he came to the school his asthma increased ten times. And it’s from the smoke in the hallways…So if you can’t take care of it then get someone else here who can do it!”
A mom in the crowd of roughly 50 said illicit inhalation has become common in school stairwells and bathrooms, according to her son.
“I have come here at 9 am to meet with someone I respected at the school and there are kids standing on the street corner in broad daylight smoking pot,” she said. “This is not normal.”
While academically vaunted, the school of nearly 4,000 students has been rocked in recent months by complaints from teachers, kids, and parents over rampant weed use — which was first reported by The Post.
In a rare move, teachers issued a resounding no-confidence vote in Sherman.
Hoping to quell the insurrection, the DOE assigned Queens South Superintendent Andre Spencer to probe the school’s practices.
The former Houston administrator conducted Tuesday’s meeting and served as a bureaucratic buffer for Sherman in the face of parental anger.
Spencer calmly fielded most of the posed questions Tuesday while Sherman looked on.
“This is a safe school,” Spencer said. “This is a safe school. I have spent several days at this school over the past week…Are there some challenges? Yes there are some challenges. Are we addressing those challenges? Yes we are addressing those challenges.”
Spencer said the overflowing school of 3,800 would hire two new school safety agents and that additional staff would be brought on to help monitor student conduct.
The DOE also assigned administrator Sean Davenport to serve as a supervising superintendent at the school during its rehabilitation.
Spencer insisted Tuesday that marijuana incidents are addressed — and that a task force would ensure that the school complies with DOE disciplinary codes.
But under a new system, kids caught with small amounts of pot are issued largely toothless warning cards to avoid contact with law enforcement.
While most parents focused their displeasure on Sherman, some in the crowd urged greater parental vigilance and less dependence on school staff.
“It’s our job as parents to check out kids bags,” said one mom. “We can’t trust these kids. These are teenagers. They are going to lie to us. That’s what they do.”
Another parent agreed, saying that the school’s academic metrics remained robust and that moms and dads had to shoulder more responsibility. “Where are the parents?” she asked.
Other parents complained that administrators have left entries and exits unguarded and that kids from other schools roam the hallways at their leisure.
Sherman spoke sparingly, but tried to reassure parents that their interests were aligned and that he would do more to crack down on corridor chaos.
Founded in 1937, Forest Hills boasts a long list of notable graduates – from former US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Low to former talk show host Jerry Springer.