A NYC Teacher/Parent Asks: Closing Schools - WHY?

    In my social circles, I speak with a number of people that have children in both private and public schools. Many of the parents are completely dumbfounded by the fact that a public school can just be closed down by the DOE WITHOUT any consultation with the parents or the community.

    Closing the schools in a neighborhood completely changes everything for the people living there. Children must be registered with new schools, education is disrupted, bussing schedules changed, life must be completely reorganized. Parents and children must change everything to scramble to get their children into new schools and start over again.

    NOT that these parents WANT ther children to be sent to a school where violence is strife, or the atmosphere does not contribute to learning. The BIG question is this: WHY can't the existing schools be made more productive, without closing them, and turning them into other schools?



    It would seem to me with all of the geniuses that hold Harvard and Yale degrees in the offices of the DOE,that rather than blaming the teachers, there would be some studies made at the schools where there are problems to pinpoint precisely why schools fail. The simple fact is this- the school is an extension of the community- if the people that most have a vested interest in education of their children are kept out and excluded from the educational process (parents, teachers, school administrators), how could ANY school have the opportunity to turn itself around? Aren't those of us most directly involved more aware of what makes a school work than some bureaucrat sitting in Tweed?

    Still, we let these bureaucrats close these schools, and we just let it happen. My opinion- it's time to put the word PUBLIC back in education and in service. Call me naive, but, aren't these PUBLIC servants like Bloomberg and Klein supposed to be answering to US?

    It's time to grow a pair, people, and not only speak up, but GET the control back to where it belong- the people that pay the salaries of the Kleins and Cerfs- US!


Post Title

A NYC Teacher/Parent Asks: Closing Schools - WHY?


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People need to know what is happening in Chicago--forecast for the US

    People need to know what is happening in Chicago because it is a preview of the national agenda for urban schools.

    Since 2004, under Arne Duncan, Chicago has been closing neighborhood schools in African American and Latino working class communities and turning them over to charter schools, selective enrollment schools for new gentrifiers, or to an outside “turnaround specialist.”

    We have been fighting for quality neighborhood schools in every neighborhood and against these school closings every year. This year Duncan, before he became Sec. of Ed, recommended closing or turning around 22 schools on a few weeks notice. In the end the Board of Ed. voted to go ahead and close or "turn-around" 16 neighborhood schools, rocks of stability in their communities, each with a compelling story to tell. We saved 6.

    We, a multiracial coalition of grass roots community organizations, teachers, parents, and students are angry but not surprised. They ignored research data (2 reports that disputed their reasons for closing the schools), the data from the parents and teachers and students who testified for hours and compiled elaborate piles of documents in their defense.

    At the Board meeting, Board members admitted not one had read the testimony from these hearings -- the tears, anger, pleas, careful documentation and reasoned argumentation of hundreds and hundreds of African American and Latino working class parents and children and their teachers and administrators.

    This travesty of democracy and disrespect, this crass closing of neighborhood schools for gentrification and charter school give aways, this "cost cutting" on the backs of Black and Brown communities is made possible in part because the mayor, who works in collaboration with the most powerful corporate and financial interests, runs the school system and appoints the Board of Education and CEO of CPS. They are completely unaccountable. Now Arne Duncan recommends Detroit (and what other cities?) follow Chicago’s lead with mayoral control.

    After candlelight vigils in the cold, many many community meetings, 2 mass rallies and marches, a tent city sleep over in front of the Board of Ed in subfreezing temperatures, and many other kinds of protests, we are tired but unbowed.

    We are pushing for a retroactive moratorium on school closings in the state legislature right now and regrouping for the next phase. It's the parents, especially women, and youth and community members who are the heart and soul of this fight.

    Their courage and determination to fight, to picket and march and speak out day after day, to become media spokespeople overnight, and to rise up as grassroots leaders should inspire us all. It's a long fight because the stakes are high. People need to know. This is the national education agenda on the horizon. We have to stop it.

    For good coverage of the recent phase of our struggle see http://www.substancenews.net/

    Pauline
    Teachers for Social Justice, Chicago

    Pauline Lipman
    Professor, Policy Studies
    College of Education
    University of Illinois-Chicago
    1040 W. Harrison, MC 147
    Chicago IL 60607-7133
    312-413-4413

Post Title

People need to know what is happening in Chicago--forecast for the US


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South Bronx School exposes the sham of rubber room and 3020-a hearings

    South Bronx School exposes the sham of rubber room and 3020-a hearings.

    So this teacher is removed from school for probably a year for supposedly being unfit to teach, but by paying extortion money to the DOE, it all goes away. They might as well send Vinny the Collector to the school in the first place and skip the rubber room and 3020-a hearing.

    SBS writes
    the 3020-a process is used not only to remove unwanted teachers from the school, but to extort them as well with fines up to $10K! The teacher in question was offered a deal before the hearing in which a $5K fine would be paid, a classroom management class attended, put into the ATR system, and signing the stipulation "with prejudice" which in legal terms means that there can be no further legal action. Now after Ramona Duran's alleged twisting of reality, the DOE's lawyer's upped the fine to $10K.

    School: PS 157 Bronx
    Lying supervisor: Ramona Duran
    LIS at time: Donald Conyers- now Supt Dist 23
    Donald Conyers was the former principal of PS 18X and know that the school was in complete chaos during his reign there. Mr. Conyers never left his office, because he spent more time on the internet instant messaging than educating.


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South Bronx School exposes the sham of rubber room and 3020-a hearings


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Eva Moskowitz Succeeds at "Harlem Success"


    ...In Raking in the Big Bucks.

    Thus spawneth the market-based ed reform movement.

    A must read if you want to see what the evils of the ed "reform" movement bring forth. Juan Gonzalez in the Daily News reports on one of the more disgusting people in NYC education/politics. Charter schools have license to steal from the public coffers while private interests fuel a gravy train. What next, a Harlem Success corporate jet?

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2009/02/26/2009-02-26_former_city_council_member_eva_moskowitz.html
    "Moskowitz, who makes no secret of her desire to create 40 charter schools across the city and run for mayor some day, raked in $371,000 in salaries in the 2006-2007 school year from organizations connected to her four schools," Gonzalez writes. "Charter schools are free to use the money they raise from outside sources any way they see fit - even if that means huge salaries for the chief executive. Given that Moskowitz routinely complains that the Department of Education has failed to provide a fair share of funding for her students, it's fair to ask why she's paying herself so much for educating so few. Charters get about 90% of what it costs to teach each child and raise funds for additional money."

    That's all for about 1000 kids from grades K-3 who attend Harlem Success.

    Let's see now. At this rate, if Moskowitz was the chancellor, this would come to around $1,200,000,000 based on the per child rate. Hey Joel, you're underpaid.

    Photo credit: Costanza for Daily News

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Eva Moskowitz Succeeds at "Harlem Success"


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A Call to Action – Seeking No-Bid Contract Whistleblowers in New York City Public Schools

    Guest column

    By Malia Politzer

    Since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, no-bid contracts have ballooned from roughly $700,000 per year to $40 million.

    We are three graduate students at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University investigating why this jump in no-bid contracts within Department of Education took place.

    By filing a Freedom of Information Law request, we’ve acquired a list of every no-bid registered with the city comptroller’s office during the span of the Bloomberg administration. But sources tell us that there are even more no-bid contracts that are not filed with comptroller.

    Here’s where you come in. We’ve been doing our homework—but there are hundreds of no-bid contracts, and only three of us. We need your help to narrow the scope of our investigation.

    Linked here is a complete list of no-bid contracts filed with the City Comptroller’s office under mayoral control. This second list is narrowed down to no-bid contracts for technology, teacher trainings, testing, and data-collection.

    We’re requesting that concerned teachers, parents, officials within the DOE—or anyone else with inside knowledge and an interest in improving education—take a look at this list and tell us if there are any contracts that they think ought to be further investigated.

    Our focus is on data, testing, and teacher trainings. Who’s making money off of these contracts, and should they be? Are the contracts going to the right vendors? Are any companies getting the contracts because of insider-connections (a wife, friend, golfing-buddy etc.) Are testing, trainings or data-taking actually effective in public schools?

    Are you an educator who is suspicious about a why your school is using a specific testing system or data collection method? Are there certain teacher trainings that feel like a waste of time, and that you think providers aren’t qualified to give? Or perhaps you are a vendor who lost a contract with the DOE you feel you should have gotten? Do you know people who used to work in contracting in the DOE? Email me.

    You can reach me anytime at my email address: malia.n.politzer@gmail.com.

    We also want to talk to parents, teachers, students, and administrators about execution – are these no-bids getting the bang for their buck? Are the teacher trainings beneficial, or a waste of time? Are that data-taking initiatives helpful or hurtful? Testing?

    If you have information, experience, or opinions on these issues – please take a look at these contracts, and contact me directly. Thank you for your help.

    Complete no-bid contrast list: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=psLbSNUMNpHIwlHtKh77zYQ&hl=en
    Narrowed-down by topic: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=psLbSNUMNpHJnEjTRevhYfg


    --
    Malia Politzer
    Stabile Fellow
    Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
    c: 480-316-9696
    malia.n.politzer@gmail.com


    Ed Note:
    Check the list above of no bid contracts and see if your school used any of them. Let Malia know how the vendors did. Were there any signs they got the bid because they had naked pictures of Joel Klein?


Post Title

A Call to Action – Seeking No-Bid Contract Whistleblowers in New York City Public Schools


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Missing The Union Label


    Someone called the East New York Prep Charter School and asked " Are the teachers in your school in a union?" The answer was a definitive "No".

    Why is this an interesting factoid? The UFT mouthpiece, the NY Teacher, ran an ad for the school.

Post Title

Missing The Union Label


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Shtupping in the Charters: Bait and Switch


    Some Upper West Side Parents Fit to Be Tied Over Tweed Manipulation

    It's not all about horror stories for NYC teachers.
    Want to see how the Joel Klein team operates with parent communities?

    Here are some excerpts from Bijou Miller, Co-President of District 3 President Council, followed by Leonie Haimson.
    Click on the link below to read it all.

    For those of you who did not make the joint Pres. Council/CEC meeting at PS 241, I wanted to post this because, in my opinion, what happened tonight was the DOE at its worst- In point of fact, I thought I had seen its worst, until tonight.

    this "hearing" was being held under the auspices of the Charter School Institute of the State University of New York. I also found out that someone had bused in a busload of children who were given caps blazoned with the Harlem Success Academy logo.

    John White, the Office of Portfolio Development, who is running this show stated that the feeling was that 241 families would not put their kids into another public school-that the DOE felt a charter would attract more families. Let me also say that the DLT was told there were at least two viable options for 241, one a charter and one a public. The DLT was never ever given any information on the public option. We asked for info but he put it off or changed the subject at least twice. It was quite obvious that a charter was the DOE's choice and that Harlem Success was the specific choice. At the second meeting, White had even invited Harlem Success parents to come and "testify" about how great their school was. So the deck was definitely stacked
    Leonie Haimson:
    I agree with Bijou that this is one of the most outrageous things that the DOE has ever tried to do -- and they have done alot.

    To close a zoned school w/out the CEC's approval -- essentially eliminating the zone -- and putting a charter school in its place is blatantly illegal: state law and chancellor's regs require that all changes in zoning must be approved by the CEC.

    Privatizing the system and turning the best schools into charters, which then excluded the neediest students, is what they did in New Orleans but it took a nearly unprecedented national disaster to do it. here we only have Hurricane Bloomberg/Klein.
    The full posts at:
    District 3 (Upper West Side) Meeting and Comments

    More from Bijou on charters and PS 241 at the NYC Parent blog.

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Shtupping in the Charters: Bait and Switch


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Rise and Fall Back Down: Charter School Comments Galore


    Diane Ravitch at Politico.com on Obama and charter schools
    President Obama's enthusiasm for charter schools is baffling. Doesn't he realize that they are a deregulation strategy much beloved by Republicans? Deregulation works brilliantly for some schools as it does for some firms. But it produces many losers too. If he thinks that deregulation is the cure for American education, I have some AIG stock I'd like to sell him.
    http://www.politico.com/arena/

    The Klonsky Brothers are all in a twit over Diane's critique of Obama's ed policy.
    Mike writes: What a joke! Obama has done more to save public education in one month than the entire Bush regime did in 12 years.

    Ravitch, who high stakes test resisters used to despise, has been one of the strongest voices in NYC on the impact of BloomKlein. We have also seen her in her debates with Debbie Meier seem to move beyond the narrow local issue to the wider view of the impact testing regimens have and how the scores can be misused. Some people on ICE mail who are, and continue to be, critical of Ravitch, have also wondered exactly where the Klonskys stood during all the years of the Chicago school reform model. But we'll leave some of those comments for another time.


    Comment on Lorri Giovinco-Harte Examiner post on Charter Schools
    I am a public school teacher who is now interviewing with charter schools. I am not impressed.


    Susan Ohanian, arm in sling, goes slingin'
    Read about the start- of-school hazing procedures enforced by this KIPP leader. And much child abuse. Fresno charter school in furor: Unusual punishments, testing violations alleged as principal resigns from the Fresno Bee posted by Susan:
    http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=8427

    More on charter schools at ed notes.


    Randi Weingarten said she considers Michelle Rhee’s recent kind words “an apology.” (Washington Post)
    Randi watchers know she is looking for a reason to make nice with Michelle. My view is this dance was all worked out in advance. Randi: Michelle, I can't sell out the DC teachers until you tone down the rhetoric.
    Thanks to Gotham Schools for the lead.


    On Obama's speech
    Pissed off has words for Obama
    I'm sitting here listening to Obama talking about education and I am thinking how totally clueless he is when it comes to this topic.

    Miss Eyre had a cogent comment on our post on the speech
    Did Obama Fail His Ed Test?
    Obama did say that "post-high-school education" includes community college, vocational training, and the military...I see nothing wrong with encouraging students to complete education beyond high school, as long as the "beyond high school" option is right for the student.

    Bracey: On Education, Obama Blows It


    Chapey finishes 3rd for City Council Seat in Queens (including Rockaway).
    Too bad. We wanted her to get ZERO votes. I voted for my fellow Wave columnist Lew Simon, who at least would have brought an air of comedy (unintentional) to the Council. Still glad to see Lew more than doubled Chapey's vote. Read my WAVE column on how she pulled a Rudy B by trading her vote for a seat on the NYS Board of Regents for her mom. Ulrich, the winner, is about 12 years old, so they better have some video games at Council meetings. Who does he know?

    32nd CD (Queens, with 82.73 percent of eds reporting):
    1. Eric Ulrich: 2,820 2. Lew Simon: 1,368 3. Geraldine Chapey: 607 4. Mike Ricatto: 541
    Thanks to David Quintana for the numbers.



    Follow-up:
    Great meeting last night with the Justice Not Just Tests NYCORE group. Two soph college students studying to be teachers were sent by their instructor. With old retirees Angel G and myself and 2 teachers late in their first decade of teaching, it made for a great mix. Yesterday's ed notes post on the abuse of teacher data reports dovetailed with our petition campaign, which we will gear up. Focus on the March 25 Delegate Assembly. We need an army of people out there to get signatures. Join us. We're also working on an ICE/JNJT conference. Save the date: Saturday, March 28. We follow up tonight at the ASC-ICE meeting.

    Trying to be a reporter and an organizer can interfere with the easy life style of a retiree.


    More: reading great book by Iain Pears: The Dream of Scipio
    There is a lot of discussion on the fall of civilization in 3 eras. And lots of Vichy stuff. I'm more convinced than ever that the actions of New Action vis a vis Unity and the actions of Unity/UFT vis a vis the ed reform movement are analagous to the rationales of Vichyites - we're just saving civilization from the Nazi barbarians by collaborating. This concept deserves a separate post.


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Rise and Fall Back Down: Charter School Comments Galore


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Did Obama Fail His Ed Test?

    So what exactly did Obama say in his speech tonight about reforming education? You see, it's not just about getting resources for schools but about, you know, reform. Like incentives for teachers - you know - merit pay. And charters. And early childhood ed. Well. 1 out of 3 ain't zero.

    But as you drill down it gets worse. Shame on you if you don't graduate from not only high school, but college. Does he know that an overwhelming number of jobs over the next decade - if there are any – will not require a college education? I mean, he is telling us his stimulus plan will stimulate infrastructure jobs - mostly vocational-like skills that do not come from a college education. Then in the next breath he makes it look like you are a failure and unpatriotic if you don't go to college. If anything, he should have talked about NOT going to college and learning how to do the kinds of work with your hands that is so missing in this society.

    Other than the education aspect, I like the speech. But then again, all I really have any understanding about is education. If I knew economics, I might be screaming bloody murder.

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Did Obama Fail His Ed Test?


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Blog Posts of the Day: Feb. 24, 2009

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Blog Posts of the Day: Feb. 24, 2009


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Student Abuse Ignored by DOE

    Even BloomKlein critics have given them credit for breaking up the old political machines that ran local schools for so long. But did they?

    Ed Notes reported on the situation at PS 154X in in District 7 the Bronx on Jan. 22. Principal Linda-Amil Irizzary was Supt. of District 8 last year. She was asked to leave. Yolanda Torres, her good friend, is currently the Supt of District 7. They are rumored to be well-connected to certain political entities.

    With reports surfacing with increasing frequency of some administrators at the school using more force than necessary one must wonder how it is possible for a teacher to end up in the rubber room after sneazing near a kid while adminsitrators can face serious charges, yet be allowed to, not only continue on the job, but be allowed to conduct the investigation into their own behavior.

    The Rubber Room Reporter blog had a follow-up on Monday Feb. 24th,
    Disarray at PS 154X in the South Bronx, Teachers There Report, asking:

    What is going on at PS 154X in the South Bronx? And what is Joel Klein doing about it?

    Related
    http://southbronxschool.blogspot.com/

Post Title

Student Abuse Ignored by DOE


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Will Bloomberg dump Joel Klein?


    Is the question NY Magazine's Intelligencer asks. There is an attempt at analysis in terms of the UFT:

    ....the problem for Klein is not so much in the data (though critics have accused him of juicing the numbers) but himself. This is a big problem for Bloomberg’s dreams of a third term as “education mayor.” He can’t pay off the United Federation of Teachers, which sat on the sidelines last election, with a better contract this time. “If the UFT decides, based on Klein, to oppose Bloomberg, you’re talking about a lot of troops on the ground,” says labor activist Jonathan Tasini. Knowing this, the union is said to be pushing the mayor to sacrifice Klein. While lawmakers have piled on the chancellor, UFT head Randi Weingarten has restrained her attacks in recent weeks, stirring speculation of a pact with Bloomberg. Weingarten answers gamely: “I’ve found the mayor easier to deal with and more responsive than the chancellor.”
    Walcott says, “The mayor is not one to make deals for anything that sacrifices individuals.” But on the question of Klein’s fate,

    There's a lot of meat in this section to analyze. The UFT tries to separate Klein and Bloomberg in teachers' minds. This is a political ploy designed to make it seem this struggle is just about individuals and not a massive corporate attack on schools. Why? Because the UFT is aligned with the corporations and does anything it can to divert the members into focusing on Klein as the problem, as if Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago, and New Orleans didn't exist as part of the fabric of the reform movement. Remember, Randi gave her blessing to Arne Duncan as Ed Secretary when he is, supposedly, just a more likeable version of Klein. And a better rebounder.

    Klein is irrelevant and all attempt to talk about how he is disliked is a smoke screen. So if Klein does go they can use it to claim victory and slide by their tacit support of Bloomberg's third term - see we supported Bloomberg 3rd term, a fait accompli – and got this massive victory in getting rid of Klein.

    Total distractive bullcrap.

    Michael Fiorillo added this comment on ICE-mail:
    Somewhat interesting to see, although one reaction of mine is,

    "(If we) Meet the new boss,
    (He'll be) Same as the old boss."

    Two other reactions:

    - Everyone, Randi included, continues with this good cop/bad cop thing with Klein and Bloomberg, when the transparent reality is that Klein is Bloomberg. They may disagree on tactics, and Bloomberg may throw Klein overboard in his own political self-interest, but they share the same worldview about education, as will Klein's (hypothetical) successor.

    - On a deeper level, the piece shows the willful naivete/stupidity of the mainstream press with a statement such as, "Both he (Klein) and Bloomberg are... corporate minded,and distrustful of ideology." That's a hot one, since to be "corporate-minded" is by definition ideological: axiomatically anti-labor, obsessed with control over "production" and the pursuit of narrow interests.

    How much more ideological can you get?

    Best,
    Michael Fiorillo

Post Title

Will Bloomberg dump Joel Klein?


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Teacher Quality and Class Size

    I have to go back to the Leonie Haimson well for this post. It's like I have all these thoughts incoherently wrestling with themselves. The price of aging brain cells. And then Leonie, like a cowboy with a rope, writes something that corals them into semi-rationality. I've been meaning to write about the heroic teacher concept you see plastered all over subway cars.

    All you need is a quality teacher with proven high test score to handle this crowd.

    Hey, I was one of these heroic teachers in my early years, devoting my entire life to the classroom. Then came the realization that there was a lot of socio-economic stuff going on - which led to the idea that becoming politically active was as important as the work I was doing in the classroom. But that's a story for another time.

    In The myth of the great teacher, hopefully euthanized once and for all on the NYC Public School Parent blog, Leonie credits recent writings by Diane Ravitch and Skoolboy (Aaron Pallas) for taking apart those ridiculous Nicholas Kristof education columns.

    Leonie sums up with
    In fact, one study from San Diego cited by the report shows that “35 percent of teachers initially ranked in the top quintile remain there in the second year while 30 percent fall into the first or second quintiles of the quality distribution in year two. Apparently, even using different tests can affect the stability of estimated teacher effects.

    Of course all the phony ed reform crowd cares about what can be measured like test scores. Read any teacher blog and you will see the ability to deal with kids' behavior effectively – and I mean going beyond simply controlling a class (some teachers I saw used to do it brutally) but with some level of humanity – is often considered by other teachers one of the highest levels of skills and probably a key indicator of teacher quality. But there is no way to measure this skill, so out the window it goes.

    Now, this high level teaching skill is most affected by class size.

    In the fall of 1979 we had three 6th grade classes, all with fairly low class sizes. As usual, they were grouped homogeneously. In my school traditionally, the administration (old hand teachers who rose through the ranks) made a conscious effort to keep class size in the more difficult classes to a lower number, enough of an incentive for some people to volunteer to take the position every year just for the low class size.

    This policy changed in 1979 with a new test-driven politically appointed administrator with no teaching experience who ignored these finer points. But this was her first full year and she hadn't gotten total control yet.

    Of course 30 years of fog clogs the brain but the numbers were from around 20 in the 6-3 class to about 27 in the 6-1. I had the 6-2 with around 22. The bottom class with the neediest kids was below 20. For all of us the situation was a unique opportunity and I would guess by any measure of Teacher Quality we were better than ever.

    But being a doom and gloom guy, from the first day, I expected them to not allow this to continue and that they would cut one class. I had the lowest seniority, so I knew it would be mine.

    The district made the decision to cut a position in December, of all times. The 3 classes were cut to 2 with each class having 35-37. (I had one student who 15 years later when she was a parent herself, used to complain about what happened - why did you get rid of me she used to cry?)

    They took the top half reading scores and folded them into the top class, which turned heaven to purgatory. But for the teacher with the more difficult class, going from 19 kids to 35 was hell. But both of the teachers were extremely skilled in dealing with kids and they persevered.

    I was placed in a special ed cluster position teaching 4 emotionally handicapped and one CRMD (mentally retarded class) a day. The class sizes were 10 with a para. It was my first experience with kids who could be so irrational or such slow learners, that someone like me with no training didn't have a clue how to teach. In the interest of full disclosure, I ended up there because the teacher with least seniority was bumped. (I know, I know, the attacks on union rules will be forthcoming but that I was an experienced teacher vs. a newbie even with training - I call it more than a wash.)

    If someone checked my TQ factor they would have seen a serious drop from just a few weeks before. But being a prep coverage position, I was able to recoup after each class without too much damage and began to figure things out. The experience taught me that many of the techniques I had learned in over a decade of teaching needed modification.

    Which goes to show that Teacher Quality is not an absolute, but a moving target that can change by the year, the month, the day, the hour. And in the 1979-80 school year, for me, by the minute.

    I went racing back to regular ed the next year. It wasn't until the crack babies started filtering into regular ed a few years later that we all began to see that same irrationality of the kids. My 79-80 experience did make a difference.

    Resources:
    Skoolboy

    Why Are People So Gullible About Miracle Cures in Education?The Miracle Teacher, Revisited

    Nicholas Kristof column in the New York Times.

    My last post NY Times Ends Black Out on Class Size - Sort Of
    David Pakter left a comment with a list of private school tuition in NYC where parents pay all that money for low class sizes. He also sent it to the NY Times.

Post Title

Teacher Quality and Class Size


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NY Times Ends Black Out on Class Size - Sort Of

    Today's NY Times actually addressed the class size issue. That there is such a lack of unquestioning acceptance of Bloomberg's point of view is of no surprise from the Bloomberg News Service - er - the Times. We hear the "quality teacher vs. class size debate raised whenever the powers that be try to slip slide away. At least the Times does mention the famous Tennessee study, so ignored and intentionally misrepresented by the phony ed reform gang who try to paint teacher quality as digital - you are or you aren't a QT when in fact TQ is a moving target dependent on a number of variables, with class size being one of the keys.

    The Accountable Talk blog, run by an actual NYC middle school teacher, takes Bloomberg to task in this post:
    Accountable Talk: Spot That Fallacy
    the mayor presents the situation as an either/or, when it is nothing of the sort. Most Long Island districts, as well as many districts upstate and in Connecticut, have shown that you can have both low class size and pay teachers well. What makes Mr. Bloomberg's utterance a particularly good example is that he has utterly failed to do either one.

    Yes, where are the calls in Long Island and Connecticut and Westchester for reduction in union influence and an end to seniority? Where are the calls for asking parents, who actually seem to have a say in who runs their schools, to make a choice between class size and so-called quality teachers?

    Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson's
    analysis on the NYC PS Parent blog is so cogent, it deserves to be re-posted far and wide. If there's a song to sing, it is "No Body Does It Better" than Leonie. Here's her post from her blog:


    Bloomberg administration blames parents for larger classes

    See the article in today’s NY Times, Class Size in New York City Schools Rises, but the Impact is Debated, a follow up to the article on Wednesday, Class Size Makes Biggest Jump of Bloomberg Tenure.


    Though it is one of those typical “on the one hand this, on the other hand that” pieces– citing research that is either outmoded or easily refuted -- it is important because it is the first in-depth article in our paper of record to have dealt with the issue of class size in at least five years.


    Indeed, the Times has had a “black out” on class size through most of the Bloomberg administration – as the former education editor admitted in June of 2006 – though at that point, she promised “to explore the class size issue” soon after -- which has not occurred until now, almost three years later.


    This omission has persisted, despite the fact that our public school students continue to suffer from the largest class sizes in the state, smaller classes have consistently been the top priority of NYC parents, and in subway and TV ads, the administration has claimed to be reducing class size while being repeatedly cited for misusing hundreds of millions of dollars of state aid meant for this purpose.


    In today’s article, the administration once again tries to evade its own responsibility for failing to reduce class size, despite a state mandate passed in 2007. In the previous Times article, Garth Harries of DOE attempted to blame the economy– even though the state provided an additional $400 million this fall, with $150 million of that targeted for class size reduction. He also attempted to shift the blame onto principals, which Chris Cerf tries again in today’s article, without acknowledging that it is the DOE’s duty to see that these funds are spent appropriately.


    But now, even more outrageously, they are trying to blame parents – with Harries actually arguing that large classes are the result of popular schools where parents insist on sending their kids.


    As I pointed out to the reporter, the vast majority of children attend their neighborhood zoned elementary and middle schools– and DOE entirely controls the admissions for high schools, so blaming parents for the systemic problem of large classes is entirely unwarranted. Who will they blame next – our kids?


    Indeed, at the same time that the administration goes around claiming that mayoral control means accountability, they are quick to shift the blame on everyone else when they fail to create more adequate and equitable learning conditions for our children.


    The article also repeats the administration’s canard that there is a trade-off between teacher quality and class size, when the two factors are actually complimentary. Indeed, the main reason we have such a high teacher turnover rate here in NYC is that our teachers so often leave for a new profession or to work in suburban or private schools -- because their excessive class sizes do not provide them with a fair chance to succeed.


    In a recent national poll, 97% of teachers responded that reducing class size would be an effective way to improve teacher quality – far above any other strategy, including raising salaries, instituting teacher performance pay, or providing more professional development. Indeed, the only way we will ever obtain a more experienced and effective teaching force here in NYC is by reducing class size.


    But the most ridiculous part of the article is the “evidence” offered by the administration that smaller classes don’t matter, by referring to an unpublished (and probably unpublishable) internal DOE study that purported to show that the grades schools received on the “Progress reports” weren’t correlated with smaller classes. No mention is made of the fact that most experts have found that the grades schools receive are mostly random – with almost no correlation from one year to the next -- as an article by the same reporter in the Times pointed out last year.


    In contrast, the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the US Department of Education, has concluded that class size reduction is one of only four, evidence-based reforms proven to increase student achievement. (None of the policies that the Bloomberg/Klein administration has introduced are on the list, by the way.)


    In fact, the DOE has devised another formula – a “value added” model to evaluate teacher effectiveness, in which class size is included as a “predictor”, the ONLY factor included in the model under the school system’s control. This is an admission that the larger the class, the less a teacher is expected to raise student achievement. All the other factors in the model pertain to characteristics of the students themselves, such as economic status, prior test scores, absences, etc.


    See the model here – which includes average class size at both the classroom and school level, showing that both should be taken into account when assessing a teacher’s performance. The DOE also states that the model used “draws on 10 years of city-wide data (test scores, student, teacher, and school characteristics) to predict individual student gains.”


    Check out the accompanying FAQ:


    Is the DOE’s Value-Added model reliable and valid?


    A: A panel of technical experts has approved the DOE’s value-added methodology. The DOE’s model has met recognized standards for demonstrating validity and reliability. Teachers’ value-added scores from the model are positively correlated with both School Progress Report scores and principals’ perceptions of teachers’ effectiveness, as measured by a research study conducted during the pilot of this initiative.


    Anyway, please send a letter to the Times at letters@nytimes.com with your name, address and phone number. Let them know what you think – and whether it’s fair to blame parents for the fact that NYC classes have remained the largest in the state, with no significant improvement under this administration.

Post Title

NY Times Ends Black Out on Class Size - Sort Of


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Hugo Bloomberg....

    ...Michael Chavez

    Based on Elizabeth Benjamin's post on the Daily News Politics blog (Feb. 18, 2009) in a piece titled Bloomberg: No Connection Between Me and Chavez the Economist Democracy - -heh- heh -- in America blog posted this:

    ERIN EINHORN of the New York Daily News deserves some sort of award for this question. Last year Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, got the city council to repeal the law that prevented him from seeking a third term. This week, Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, won a vote (insofar as the polls there can be trusted) allowing him to run for as many terms in office as he likes. Cue Ms Einhorn:

    Q: Mayor, it’s hard to compare New York City to Venezuela but as you know, Hugo Chavez did his second effort - this time sucessful - to extend term limits. You chose to go through City Council. Do you have any second thoughts about this? Do you wish you should have had a chance to take to the...

    A: I don’t understand your question. What on Earth do we have to do with Hugo Chavez?

    Q: Well, like you, he wanted to extend his term.

    A: If you wanted to ask Hugo Chavez, call him up! Maybe he’ll take your call. My suspicion is he doesn’t have press conferences and let people ask questions or if they ask questions, he probably throws them, I don’t know what he does with them...Who knows? (Laughs). I still fail to see a connection.


    Mr Chavez doesn't throw too many press conferences, but he does host hours-long radio shows and TV shows where citizens can toss questions at him. No one's suggesting that Mr Bloomberg should do that.

    More from Benjamin

    Mayor Bloomberg did not take kindly today to a question from the DN's Erin Einhorn about whether he wished he had followed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's lead and allowed a public term limits vote.

    As Erin noted, this was Chavez's second attempt to scrap term limits. After Venezuelans voted down a similar proposal in December 2007, Chavez, who was facing ouster from office in 2012, spent considerable government resources on this second - ultimately successful - effort.

    Unlike the first proposal, which would have only applied to the president, the one that passed earlier this week applies to all elected officials (sound familiar?).

    Here in New York, opponents of extending term limits are still holding out a slim hope that the courts will force a third public referendum on the subject. But so far, the legal challenge hasn't been going so well.

    Despite the efforts of Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Sen. Kevin Parker, it doesn't appear a bill that would require a public referendum for any term limits change - even the one Bloomberg signed into law last November - will be brought to the floor in either house in Albany.

    This isn't the first time the mayor has been unfavorably compared to Chavez. During the City Council's term limits debate, Councilman Charles Barron urged Bloomberg to "be like Hugo, and let the people decide."


Post Title

Hugo Bloomberg....


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Charter schools and the attack on public education

    Charter schools and the attack on public education(Posted at Norms Notes)

    by Sarah Knopp, teacher in Los Angeles (morph Knopp just a bit and we end up with you know who - Sarah Knopp as the anti Wendy Kopp.)

    From: ISR Issue 62, November–December 2008

    ...because the noble intentions of some of the pioneers of the charter school movement (to create laboratories that prove what all educators know: that creativity, individual attention, and curricular relevance are the roots of good education) took shape so recently, and because there are some good charter schools, many progressives are disoriented in the current climate. Teachers who support the idea of public education, while recognizing the horrible state of some of our schools, aren’t sure what to do or what position to take when their unions fail to oppose charters, or worse, even endorse them...

    A long article, but with a strong analysis of charter schools with some attention to Green Dot. "Many suspect Green Dot of signing somewhat toothless union contracts as a way of keeping more combative unions out." While talking about SEIU in LA, it might as well apply to the non-combative "we've laid down our arms" UFT, which also is chasing the Green Dot charter school blues - or dues.

    Here is s short excerpt from Sarah Knopp:

    The slow destruction of union power that occurs when subcontracting creates lots of small workplaces—in place of large, highly unionized ones—has been a fact across many industries. “Whipsawing” is a term used to describe the effect on unions like the UAW when workers in smaller, spun-off shops get inferior contracts, and those contracts are used to pressure workers in bigger plants to accept similar concessions. The same could apply to the effect of charter schools in education.

    Some suggest, then, that we have to seek out “pro-union” charter operators and make deals with them. But if we are speaking of privately run CMOs, then genuine power for their teachers would threaten the board’s hegemony in the schools. Some, like Green Dot, are willing to allow teachers a contract, and claim to be pro-union. But in their contract with the AMU/CTA/NEA teachers’ union, one can find few guarantees of any kind of real teacher voice (in the form of voting). According to the contract between Green Dot and the “union,” in effect until 2010,

    It is understood and agreed that the Board retains all of its powers and authority to direct, manage and control to the full extent of the charter school law and the regulations of a 501.C3 California corporation. Input from the staff will be considered and decisions will be derived in a collaborative model; final decisions will rest with the Board. Included in, but not limited to, those duties are the right to: ...establish educational policies with regard to admitting students; ...determine the number of personnel and types of personnel needed; ...establish budget procedures and determine budgetary allocations; contract out work and take action on any matter in the event of an emergency.51

    The Board will make all staffing decisions. By contrast, the United Teachers of Los Angeles contract with Los Angeles Unified District requires faculty votes on key aspects of running the school, like the schedule and certain discretionary budget items, and guarantees that class assignments will be chosen by the teachers, through seniority, and not arbitrarily by the administration.52 This vision of unionism, typified by SEIU (a representative of which sits on Green Dot’s board) is antithetical to real power or democracy for teachers. A large union cuts a deal with the employer, quickly begins to collect dues from members, and in exchange for “neutrality” on the part of the boss gives away key workplace rights. Green Dot specifically aims to hire younger, more inexperienced teachers and gives incentives for senior teachers to leave.

    Many suspect Green Dot of signing somewhat toothless union contracts as a way of keeping more combative unions out. This wouldn’t be surprising given the presence of SEIU on their board of directors. SEIU is currently engaged in undermining the legitimate teachers’ union of Puerto Rico (the FMPR) in the wake of the strike that the FMPR led last spring. After the strike, the Puerto Rican government decertified the FMPR. SEIU helped the Asociacion de Maestros (coincidentally, the same name as the teachers’ union at Green Dot schools) to try to win representation of the Puerto Rican teachers. The FMPR was not allowed to contest them.

Post Title

Charter schools and the attack on public education


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Obama's Education Policy is Third Term for President George W. Bush

    In education, the new administration is as ruinous as the old

    by Diane Ravitch, Historian of education, NYU, Hoover and Brookings

    At Politico

Post Title

Obama's Education Policy is Third Term for President George W. Bush


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TFA, TQ and NTP


    Teach for America Trolls Pay A Visit

    Ever wonder how people who work Teach for America spend their days?

    Their trolls search the web for negative publicity.

    Thus, not long after posting Studies Show Teach for America Teachers Are... , Ed Notes got these visits from TFA offices in 2 cities:

    Organization TEACH FOR AMERICA/ MCGRAW COMM , Washington
    Organization TEACH FOR AMERICA, Chicago

    Must be a light week at TFA.


    Teacher Quality and the New Teacher Project

    There are other trolls out there who tell us about "studies" and "research" with vague references. often by biased self-interest groups. Joel Klein and his minions do this all the time. As does the press. Eduwonkette and Skoolboy have pretty well demolished the "teacher quality studies show" line of bullshit.

    This post Skoolboy Savages Kristof was visited by "Jacob" a Socrates-like clone (Socrates posts responses to attacks on the phony ed reformers all over the web under various aliases and pretenses and clearly shows signs of being a paid responder) who disingenuously wrote:


    There is actually ample evidence, see any report by the new teacher project, the national counsel on teacher quality, or the national governors association. For information regarding the effects of effective teachers see the work of Sanders or Goldhaber among others.

    To use research by the New Teachers Project is akin to accepting a North Korean study showing the high level of democracy in that nation.

    Rebecca responded:

    The "teacher quality" debate is about classism-pure and simple.
    Have you ever noticed that the debate rarely centers around middle class suburban students and their relationship to their teachers? Why do you suppose that is?

    It's because most middle class suburban children arrive at school with their needs already met. Their teachers simply teach and miraculously the children learn.

    The debate is an attempt to draw attention away from the vast inequities in lifestyle, health care, nutrition and wages which exist in high-needs schools.
    It is an abomination that private interests push the teacher debate as a way to avoid the horrendous class divisions which they have helped to create.

    It is laughable that the above comment directs attention to the New Teacher Project for evidence.

    The same organization that consistently short changes high-need children by sending in poorly trained teachers?


    When the truth comes out about what these private interests have been doing, the public will be outraged.

    Make no mistake about it-it will come out.
    More importantly, however, how do these individuals live with themselves?


    NYC Educator followed up:

    The New Teacher Project takes millions from NYC, then writes reports suggesting we fire TPD teachers, twisting and manipulating statistics so outrageously that a layman like myself can detect it on one cursory reading. I wouldn't trust Tim Daly as far as I could throw him.

    Incredible he can take all that money from Klein and have the audacity to present himself as an objective observer.

Post Title

TFA, TQ and NTP


Post URL

http://kingsavenuetattoo.blogspot.com/2009/02/tfa-tq-and-ntp.html


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Studies Show Teach for America Teachers Are...


    ....Ten thousand times more effective than other teachers.

    The hype grows and grows and grows. The Detroit News editorial today says:

    Bring 'Marine Corps' of teachers to Detroit schools

    Guess who they are talking about?

    A growing [like a fungus] body of [uncited] research shows Teach for America instructors' impact on student academic achievement is two to three times that of teachers who have three years of experience.

    Wow! The factor of effectiveness keeps growing - like Pinocchio's nose.

    Last week we read this:

    What's the Best Way to Make Teachers?


    A new federal study
    on teacher quality has found that teachers who enter teaching through an alternative route have roughly the same impact on student achievement as teachers who come from regular teacher education programs.

    As we all know from these growing studies, TFA first year teachers are at least thousands of times more effective than any other teachers that ever lived. That ought to raise Socrates from the dead. Of course all these "studies" are based on test results and no other factors. I knew every trick in the book on getting good results, tricks that I used sparingly because they cheated the kids of real teaching time. If I were still teaching, I could be the most effective teacher ever and qualify for all sorts of bonuses. Darn!

    You can read both articles at Norms Notes:

    Studies Show Teach for America Teachers Are...

Post Title

Studies Show Teach for America Teachers Are...


Post URL

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A Fatal Exception Has Occurred

    ...and it's Bill Gates, who is even dumber about education than Nicholas Kristof

    NYC Educator points out in his inimical way

    Mr. Gates Unleashes the Parasites

    Excerpt:
    It's nice to have billionaires, whose kids wouldn't attend public schools on a bet, running around stating what they think should be done about public education. Gates, of course, has no idea why the Nassau schools five minutes away from NYC do as well as KIPP without union-busting, or kids and teachers working preposterously long weeks. I could tell him, if he weren't already so in love with Jay Matthews. In fact, he thrilled the audience by giving them free copies of Matthews' book about KIPP.

    Personally, I heard nothing new or surprising from Gates. His description of the KIPP classroom sounded like no big deal at all. I've watched his "reforms" in action, and aside from much-enhanced PR and larger-scale rigging of stats, there's just not a whole lot to jump up and down about. We can do better for our kids, and it's unfortunate that their futures are, to whatever extent, in the hands of ignorant galoots like Bill Gates.

    If Microsoft and its lousy multiple try software with all the glitches were tested the way Gates wants to test kids and rate teachers, we would have a much more virus free world and no blue screens of death (you've got to see this video of the BSoD with Gates standing there and a great Sun commercial).

    This Gates guy really has some nerve. Yet money talks and he now controls a serious number of schools. I bet there is some quid quo pro on using Microsoft products in many systems. Someone should start scratching around Gates supported schools in NYC and checked just how much money flowed to Microsoft products from these schools.

Post Title

A Fatal Exception Has Occurred


Post URL

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Updated: Skoolboy Savages Kristof

    DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLE TEACHERS?
    CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP BY PUTTING JESUS IN EVERY CLASSROOM.

    UPDATED:

    Horn and Bacey at Schools Matter and Diane Ravitch on The Miracle Teacher Revisited

    I tend to believe things I read. And I would usually believe Kristof. But when you actually know something about something and see a guy getting it so wrong, I wonder why I should take anything he writes seriously. Word to the wise: Don't write glowing reports about the education reform movement or about how important a good teacher is until you have a real clue.

    Nix on Nick Kristof’s Claims

    by Aaron Pallas (alias Skoolboy)

    Breathlessly, Kristof reports in Sunday’s New York Times that teachers are “astonishingly important.” “It turns out that having a great teacher is far more important than being in a small class, or going to a good school with a mediocre teacher,” he writes. “A Los Angeles study suggested that four consecutive years of having a teacher from the top 25 percent of the pool would erase the black-white testing gap.”

    Wow, erasing the black-white testing gap in four years sounds like a pretty good deal. And just from being taught by some really great teachers! There must be some evidence of this for it to show up in the New York Times, wouldn’t you think? Some study somewhere that actually showed that black students exposed to teachers in the top quarter of the teacher effectiveness distribution for four years in a row can routinely move from the 16th percentile in the test score distribution (roughly the black average) to the 50th percentile (roughly the white average)?



Post Title

Updated: Skoolboy Savages Kristof


Post URL

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Eduwonkette in Australian TV Program on NYC Schools

    You and your readers may be interested in this report on NYC schools aired on a public affairs program on a public broadcast TV station in Australia last weekend. The program is called Dateline. The Dateline website is: http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline/

    The video of the program is available at:
    http://video.sbs.com.au/player/news/index.php?mmid=31566&chid=13

    As you will see it is disappointingly uncritical, although it does interview Jennifer Jennings (Eduwonkette) who makes a salient point.

    Regards
    Trevor Cobbold
    Save Our Schools

Post Title

Eduwonkette in Australian TV Program on NYC Schools


Post URL

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Politics is –

    A: Local B: Global C: Sleazy
    D: All of the Above

    by Norm Scott

    (For The Wave, Feb. 20, 2009, www.rockawave.com)

    They say all politics is local. Or maybe in the flat world of Thomas Friedman and worldwide financial meltdowns, all politics is really global. Or both.

    Politics, both global and local comes together in next week’s election for the vacant City Council seat in Rockaway, Howard Beach and South Ozone Park. That the issue of education has been put on the table makes it all the more delicious. First, some facts.

    Democratic District Leader Geraldine M. Chapey is running against Lew Simon and n
    ewcomer Glenn DiResto, amongst others. A DiResto ad in last week’s Wave charged Chapey with underhanded tactics in challenging his petitions on a minor technicality, causing him to be tied up in Supreme Court and denying him public campaign funding. DiResto claims Chapey received $55, 000 of these funds. He has since been restored to the ballot and the Wave is endorsing him, but his supporters are livid at Chapey’s tactics, as evidenced by a number of letters to the Wave (“Chapey’s Disgusting Tactics.”) Hey, haven’t I been telling you all politics, global or local, is sleazy? And so are most politicians. But that’s an article for another time.

    Then there is the little matter of Chapey’s million-dollar taxpayer subsidized bus service over the past decade and exactly how it is used – Chapey has refused to reveal how the funds are being spent. (I’ll leave those details for you to read elsewhere in the Wave.) Sleaze squared.

    Now, onto the education connection. Chapey’s mom, Geraldine D. Chapey, has been on the NY State Board of Regents since 1998. How did she get that seat? Wave editor Howie Schwack reports that when Floyd Flake gave up his congressional seat and wanted his assistant Greg Meeks to
    replace him, Chapey junior held the deciding vote and traded it in favor of Meeks in exchange for the Regent seat for her mom. Rudy Blagojevich, where are you when we need you? Sleaze to the third power.

    Ah, it doesn’t stop there. Let’s look at the role Chapey the elder and the rest of the Regents have played in enabling the Michael Bloomberg/Joel Klein assault on the school system, part of the nationwide attack on urban public school systems and the rights of parents and community to make basic choices as to who will run their schools. Oh yes, and the focus on blaming teachers for all the failures of the system with the consequent assault on basic union rights.

    Chapey senior and her buddies gave Joel Klein the lawyer his waiver to be chancellor and have supported BloomKlein in just about every scheme they have foisted on the public, from allowing the manipulation of tests that show phony results to the just as bogus graduation rates where teachers joke about drive by diplomas – just leave your car window open as you drive by the school and they’ll toss it in. And how about the worm-ridden state education department headed by Richard Mills, one of the worst commissioners in the nation, all supervised by the Regents? Chapey and her buddies at the Regents make basic decisions about approving charter schools.

    Enter charter schools
    Remember those old movies about the opening of the west where the settlers lined up behind a rope and made a mad dash to claim their land when the rope was dropped? Reminds me of how the charter school movement has led to the movement of public school buildings into the hands of private interests. That is the essence of the charter school movement where most schools are non-union and very unregulated. Think: Real Estate scam. Just in the last few weeks, we have heard of the announced closings of large high schools Brandeis (upper West Side) and Bayard Rustin (Chelsea) and the smaller Health Professionals (Grammercy Park). Guess in whose hands these massive buildings built and maintained with public funding, all in Toney neighborhoods, will end up?

    Add closing Catholic schools to the mix
    Wait, we’re not done yet. With the announced closing of many Catholic schools – due to a great extent because the free charter schools have drained away so many students – Mayor Bloomberg has offered to come to their rescue by turning them into charters.

    Now I spent years working in Williamsburg and saw how parochial school interests – in that case the Hasidic community – glommed onto as much public money as they could. (At one point, $7 million just went up in smoke, a crime for which no one spent one day in jail.) They even managed to set up a bi-lingual Yiddish school, claiming it was open to all students. Somehow, they were not inundated by Black and Hispanic kids. Believe me, it won’t be long before every denomination will seek to turn their religious schools into charters.

    Now mind you, the NYC public schools are overflowing and could certainly use the often large buildings the Catholic Schools occupy – remember all those arguments that there is not enough room to reduce class sizes in NYC schools to a limit that comes close to the suburbs. But instead of trying to lease these buildings or buy them outright, Bloomberg wants to turn them over to private interests. Maybe even the church itself. Mr. Archbishop, tear down that cross – or don’t tear it down at all. Just cover it up from 8-4. There is a plan afoot for the Church to create a non-profit so they can continue to manage the schools, though, by law, no religious instruction could be offered. So, what exactly is the Church’s purpose in trying to manage these schools?

    Just as I’m sitting down to write this column, Lorri Giovinco-Harte, NY Education Examiner, sends this piece she wrote on the web, based on a February 17th Daily News article:

    Bishop's questionable 'donation' made to daughter of woman who assists in the approval of charters:

    Just one month before Mayor Mike Bloomberg made the announcement that some city Catholic schools would be converted to charters, Brooklyn/Queens Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio made his first ever donation to a political candidate - a political candidate whose mother is involved in the approval of charter schools. Bishop DiMarzio donated the money to Queens candidate, Geraldine M. Chapey, whose mother is a member of the Board of Regents; the governing body which approves the creation of charter schools in New York. The Bishop dismissed accusations that there was a connection between the donation and the subsequent announcement that several struggling Catholic schools would be converted to charters.

    The $250 dollars is minor, but it is matched by over $500 in taxpayer money. The Daily News quoted DiResto (I guess religion has a place in politics now), Simon (I've never seen the church speak out on a candidate before) and Chapey (The bishop is a citizen, and he's participating in the democratic process.) She said there was no quid quo pro for her mother to ease the way for the funneling of massive amounts of public money into the hands of the archdiocese.

    Is Chapey following the same script Illinois Senator Roland Burris is using in denying he made a deal with impeached Governor Rudy B who tried to sell the Obama seat?
    Sleaze to the – sorry, I’ve lost track.

    Gee, politics really is global.

    Related:
    Bloomberg Is as Bloomberg Does from NYC Educator

    The Examiner article

    The Daily News article



Post Title

Politics is –


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Is Seniority Killing Pawtucket Schools?

    This is the way teachers are assigned in Pawtucket, RI. Have we heard calls for an end to seniority due to failing schools? Do they even have failing schools? Oh, they must. After all, the system is run by dreaded and evil seniority rules.

    Teachers Pool

    Who: Any teacher in Pawtucket may participate.

    Where: Auditorium of one of the schools

    When: Thursday after the last day of school in June

    Why: Collective Bargaining Agreement has said so.

    What: The assistant superintendent stands in front of the crowd (generally 500 seated teachers with others crowding the aisles) everyone carrying a card listing their seniority number.
    The assistant superintendent stands before a large screen that has projected all of the available vacancies across the district for the next school year. The assistant superintendent starts by saying, "Ok, numbers 1-79, stand up if you see a position you would like and are certified for." Mr. x, a 9th grade math teacher holding onto a card with the number 54 on it, who hates his high school, sees that there is a projected vacancy at the other high school, stands up, and says, "I will take the math position at Tollman High School." Assuming no one else has bid into that position, he is the new 9th grade math teacher at Tollman High School.

Post Title

Is Seniority Killing Pawtucket Schools?


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