Cathie Black District 14 Town Hall: No Sex, but Plenty of Lies and Videotape


    District 14 Principal Brian De Vale with Teddy Bear pal
    LAST UPDATE:
    Tues., March 1, 8AM

    Links to coverage of last night's meeting:
    Parents and community members lambasted Chancellor Cathie Black in Williamsburg. (Brooklyn Paper)


    Preamble
    I was able to view tonight's events from a different perspective than I usually do since I knew the scene and the players so well, having spent over 35 working in District 14 (Williamsburg/Greenpoint). To me this was a sign that BloomKlein did not totally stamp out the old and bring in the new. But even one of the new Leadership Acad grads who I know (and like very much) seemed to be on our side. See videos in upcoming posts.

    I returned to the scene of the crime tonight when I attended the CEC 14 Cathie Black town hall meeting at IS 71, the home of the old district 14 office and the monthly school board meetings where I and other radicals used to question the basic policies of the old school board. It was old home week as I saw so many people from the old days - principals, teachers, parents - even a former student - who now has 2 grandchildren - does that make me a great grand teacher?

    And now we were all on the same side - opposing the policies of Black & Bloom. Many of the schools seemed to be represented and anger was pulsing throughout the auditorium.

    There was to be no direct questions from the audience but the usual tactic of having people write questions on index cards to keep Black from having to look her questioner in the eye.  I didn't know what to expect from the CEC, which consists of parent leaders. Would they cull the questions to be less confrontational. But they came up BIG, with one question after another directed right at the gut of Black, most of them anti-charter school in nature.

    The audience hooted and hollered at Black and her responses and there were pro-unions signs all over the place.

    And then Principal and District 14 Council of Supervisors head Brian DeVale took took the mic to confront Black directly., holding a Teddy Bear to symbolize President Theodore Roosevelt who created the civil service system. When he finished, Black said, "Don't I even get the bear?" Brian came up and offered it to her but she told him to give it to a child.

    This will be making the news and NY 1's Lindsey Christ was there to get it - so check out her reports. I got all the video too but it will take my a day or more to figure out what to do with so much good material.

    After Brian's speech most people left but there was some great stuff to follow.

    Question: Do charters have the same disciplinary code as public schools?
    Answer: No.
    Duhhh!

    I had some fun with Santi Taveras when he tried to pull a political stunt when he expressed outrage that one question on a card said, "Why can't we fire the kids?" I asked him directly: Don't charter schools fire kids every day? He wouldn't answer.

    Another principal asked him directly if he actually believed the PEP was listening to the community or was the question pre-decided. Taveras staked his educational rep on the fact that it was an honest process. The principal looked at him incredulously. Taveras immediately jumped 10 spots up the food chain of dishonest Tweedies.

    Here are some pics taken by GEM's Lisa North.






    Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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Cathie Black District 14 Town Hall: No Sex, but Plenty of Lies and Videotape


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Ed Deform and Neoliberalism

    People are comparing Egypt and Wisconsin. The link? Neoliberalism. Tattoo the word on your arm. Look at the entire ed deform program in the context of neoliberalism. Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" is the bible ed deform resisters. Paul Krugman on Friday referenced Klein's groundbreaking work. Now if only Krugman would tie the  string to the ed deforms and tell people that charter schools are the battering ram of neoliberal assault on the public school system. Leonie Haimson's husband, Michael Oppenheimer, teaches at Princeton with Krugman. Michael should whisper sweet anti ed deformer words in his ear.

    Confused about the Democratic Party support for ed deform? The Clintons are classic neoliberals and the rest of the party is in step.

    Confused about why the UFT/AFT/MulGarten crew won't put up a defense? They too are neoliberals, who are close relatives of neocons. That was why Vera Pavone and I titled our review of Richard Kahlenberg's "Albert Shanker: Tough Liberal" Albert Shanker: Ruthless Neocon. We could easily have called it "Ruthless Neoliberal" but didn't want to confuse people who think neolineral is a modernized version of classic American liberalism when it is exactly the opposite.

    Union leaders like Weingarten differ from the anti-union neoliberals in that they feel unions should exist - naturally - but in limited format - in support of the government/corporate state more than the membership. But of course they support the concept of unions - look how well they have done as leaders who misdirect the energies of the members. That is why Weingarten is helping find ways to get rid of teachers. See NYC Educator: A Fine Day for a Sellout

    With the myriad of anti-teacher crap pervading the headlines, AFT President Randi Weingarten thinks it's a good time to discuss faster ways to fire us
    If things ever get sticky just watch where they stand.

    What is neoliberalism?

    Yves Smith at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/02/al-jazeera-on-egypts-revolt-against-neoliberalism.html  has the links:
    In his Brief History of Neoliberalism, the eminent social geographer David Harvey outlined “a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.”

    Neoliberal states guarantee, by force if necessary, the “proper functioning” of markets; where markets do not exist (for example, in the use of land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution), then the state should create them.

    Guaranteeing the sanctity of markets is supposed to be the limit of legitimate state functions, and state interventions should always be subordinate to markets. All human behavior, and not just the production of goods and services, can be reduced to market transactions.

    And the application of utopian neoliberalism in the real world leads to deformed societies as surely as the application of utopian communism did…..
    KRUGMAN ARTICLE BELOW THE FOLD

    Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

    By PAUL KRUGMAN



    Published: February 24, 2011

    Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.


    As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.”
    The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.
    Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.
    In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.
    What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.
    For example, the bill includes language that would allow officials appointed by the governor to make sweeping cuts in health coverage for low-income families without having to go through the normal legislative process.
    And then there’s this: “Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).”
    What’s that about? The state of Wisconsin owns a number of plants supplying heating, cooling, and electricity to state-run facilities (like the University of Wisconsin). The language in the budget bill would, in effect, let the governor privatize any or all of these facilities at whim. Not only that, he could sell them, without taking bids, to anyone he chooses. And note that any such sale would, by definition, be “considered to be in the public interest.”
    If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?
    The good news from Wisconsin is that the upsurge of public outrage — aided by the maneuvering of Democrats in the State Senate, who absented themselves to deny Republicans a quorum — has slowed the bum’s rush. If Mr. Walker’s plan was to push his bill through before anyone had a chance to realize his true goals, that plan has been foiled. And events in Wisconsin may have given pause to other Republican governors, who seem to be backing off similar moves.
    But don’t expect either Mr. Walker or the rest of his party to change those goals. Union-busting and privatization remain G.O.P. priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets.

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Ed Deform and Neoliberalism


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What I Learned From a Former Student: Ernie Silva One Man Show Rocks - Today is Your Last Chance

    Ernie Silva (center) with Mendez (left) and Mark-Viverito
    Friday night I went back to see R. Ernie Silva's one man show, "Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame" at LATEA for the 5th time since last April (Ernie lives in Los Angeles and returns periodically) and it gets better and better. I was pleasantly surprised to see two City Councilwomen in the audience, Rosie Mendez and Melissa Mark-Viverito. (I've seen Ms. Mendez at various charter school co-loco hearings on the lower East Side and she has been a rock.)

    Ernie will be performing for a month at the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

    Every time I see Ernie, who was in my 4th grade class in the early 80s (he's around 39 now - oy!) I learn something new. (It was also nice to see Dino, another former student from the same class who is a former NYC teacher. Dino is always there to support Ernie.)

    His performance gets better as he hones his story (the first of an upcoming trilogy). His characters get sharper and more distinct, reminding me of the great Nilaga Sun who wowed people with her one woman show, "No Child Left." - see video here. And he keeps adding topical material. And there and more interaction with the audience. I know this bothers some theater people. I went to see Ernie perform with my acting teacher during the summer and his only criticism was this breaking of the "4th wall" because he feels it took Ernie out of character and into stand-up comedy territory. Ernie as a former stand-up comedian falls naturally into this role and it works for me.

    There were a some ladies in the audience who grew up in the same projects as Ernie (and still live there) and totally identified with Ernie's life. One, in tears, thanked him so much for making the connections. I spoke with Rosie Mendez after the show and she is also is a Williamsburg gal, going to an elementary and middle school not far from the Bushwick projects.

    Most important for me was the lessons for educators (I wish every teacher gets to see their students grow up and interact with them - there's a better chance if you remain in one school and neighborhood.) I wrote about it before:
    I've been telling teachers that this is a special show for them. How Ernie was disparaged for reading too much and told his fate was drugs. How he lost 8 of his friends to aids, drugs and murder by the time he was 17. I feel this show lays lies to so much of the ed deform crap - Ernie was a good student yet still had to go through so much shit. Unless we as a society figure out how to help tackle the shit kids have to go through we will be pedaling backwards.
    Every ed deformer who says that education through the right teaching/teacher will override all the outside stuff should hear Ernie's story, which is focused on his family - two brothers were involved in drugs - both died very young. Ernie and his friends were accosted by cops - just for walking as a group in the streets. I wonder if the "scholars" at Harlem Success Academy will be defended by Eva Moskowitz when they are teens hassled by cops for being black?

    Ernie is so articulate and well educated. It showed especially during the post-show Q&A talk back where the audience got to ask him questions. People were congratulating me for my supposed role in  Ernie's education. I laughed. I had nothing to do with it. Ernie was in one of the two "One" - top- classes I had and could read years above level when he came into my class. And his dead brothers probably were good readers too - good readers tend to run in families. Ernie graduated from Murry Bergtraum HS and went onto college, eventually getting a scholarship to grad school at the USC acting program.

    Read this description about "Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame."
    A product of the Bushwick projects in Brooklyn, New York R. Ernie Silva honed his talents while sleeping on odd couches, in random hostels and homeless shelters, and while riding freight trains around the country. The story of this journey, Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame, has won the NYC’s One Festival; been nominated by LA Weekly for Best Solo Performance and most recently won the Hola Award for Best Solo Performance. Ernie’s story and performance was described by the LA Times as “inspiring.”
    In the talk back, when asked how he escaped his brothers' fate, he said show business was another side of the hustle his brothers went through in the drug world. Actually, he shared some wonderful insights - wish I had a tape.

    You can see Ernie on video:
      Promo 3 min: "Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame


    Weight of a Flame" is a critically acclaimed one-man show starring R. Ernie Silva



    Really, if you are in the city today check it out - I'm just not sure if it is a matinee or evening performance. Best 20 bucks you can spend. Here are the links.

    at the CSV Cultural and Educational Center
    107 Suffolk St New York New York 10002
    212-529-1948
    Click below to purchase tickets
    ---------

    Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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What I Learned From a Former Student: Ernie Silva One Man Show Rocks - Today is Your Last Chance


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Whose Schools? Our Schools! Register for NYCORE Conference- March 26. 2011

    Is this another event that will be ignored by the press while E4E gets extensive coverage?

    If you read Gotham Schools you would never know that NYCORE - NY Collective of Radical Educators - exists. A group with outreach at least 5 times that of E4E. A group that gets 60 people to each membership meeting, mostly young teachers. A group that at last year's conference had at least 400 people attending, with lots more expected this year.

    And GEM - Grassroots Education Movement - another group that has attracted teachers with a decade and under in the system also gets nary a mention. I guess it takes getting money from Bill Gates to make the grade.

    2011 Conference

    Overview
    Join educators, parents, students, activists, and community members from across the city and beyond for a one-day conference focused on exploring the connections between education and social justice.  This conference is an opportunity to network, inspire one another, and build a movement.



    Conference 2011 Theme: Whose Schools? Our Schools!
     
    The challenges currently facing our educational system can be daunting and discouraging. Critical thought and effective pedagogy seem to be buried under the flood of calls for “accountability” and “increased test scores.” But in the face of all these challenges, educators are working together with youth, parents, and community activists to keep the fires of critical thinking and curiosity alive. Committed educators know that there is no silver bullet, no magic wand, and no place for rescue from above. We know that the true superheroes are those who work every day with dedication, creativity, and compassion. We know that we change lives not with promises of rescue, but by working in solidarity with youth and their families to be our own heroes and heroines.


    This conference is an opportunity to get together and share how we are doing this, in our classrooms, our schools, and our communities. Join us in celebrating the daily courage of educators in our city and beyond. Join us in networking, connecting, and building a movement of educators and community members who care about social justice.

    REGISTRATION | SCHEDULE | WORKSHOPS |


    2010 Conference – 2010 NYCoRE Conference Program

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Whose Schools? Our Schools! Register for NYCORE Conference- March 26. 2011


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Black Blinks: New Date for CEC President's Meeting with Chancellor Black

    If you read our piece Black and Bloom Try to Screw Mulgrew on CEC Meet a... where Tweed tried to scuttle a meeting set up between UFT President Mulgrew and parent leaders by scheduling a meeting with Cathie Black on the same night, you will have a bit of joy in reading this:
    Hello CEC and Citywide Council Presidents,

    We are pleased to announce that we have changed the date of the meeting with Chancellor Black.  It was not our intention to schedule anything in conflict with another meeting.  In an effort to accommodate as many CEC and Citywide Council Presidents or their designees as possible, our new date will be Monday, March 28th, 2011 at 6:00 PM.  

    Thank you to everyone who replied to the previous invitation.  However, please note that there will be no meeting with the Chancellor on March 7th.  

    The new meeting on March 28th will take place in the Second Floor Conference Room at the Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007. 

    The purpose and agenda of the meeting is to meet and greet.   During the meeting, the Chancellor will share the work she is doing and her thoughts about the work ahead.   We are inviting you to share any major themes from your work with parents that you would like her to hear.

    As previously indicated, Chancellor Black will be joined by the new Director for the Office for Family Information and Action, Ojeda Hall, and our CEC Manager, Ewel Napier. Please RSVP by March 21st to Juan Rosales: jrosales@schools.nyc.gov

    Please note that this invitation is for CEC and Citywide Council Presidents or their designee.  Feel free to RSVP and send along a representative if the President cannot attend.  We look forward to seeing you on March 28th.

    Sincerely,
    Ojeda Hall and Ewel Napier
    Office for Family Information and Action

Post Title

Black Blinks: New Date for CEC President's Meeting with Chancellor Black


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Ending LIFO Another Form of Racism?

    Last Update: Friday, Feb. 26, 2011, 3pm

     Under BloomKlein the percentage of Black teacher new hires has dropped each year from 28% to 14% (as of 2008). 

    Ending LIFO will make the teaching staff whiter.

    What has a greater impact on kids? Having a sign on your classroom that says your teacher went to Duke, or having a teacher who comes from your neighborhood and had similar experiences growing up?

    You just have to take a look around many schools to notice something painfully obvious: the number of senior black teachers and the numbers of younger white teachers.

    A few weeks ago I was invited to speak at chapter meetings in a Harlem elementary school, a school that has been invaded by a charter school. I was somewhat surprised to see that of the 25+ staff members that attended the meetings only one was white and only a few were in their twenties. It could be that there is a different demographic that didn't attend the meetings but the overall staff seemed to be people of color.

    In contrast, just about every teacher I saw at the charter school was white and young. But the teachers did have signs on their doors advertising the fancy colleges they went to. I didn't notice one CUNY college, a place where you might actually recruit teachers of color. Does Teach for America even consider them colleges? Racism? You judge.

    I wrote about this a few weeks ago: The Racial School Divide in Harlem
    Almost the entire staff of the public school is black or Latino/a and senior while almost the entire staff of the co-located charter is white and young. And this is Harlem where all the kids are the same color of the public school teachers. What has a greater impact on kids? Having a sign on your classroom that says your teacher went to Duke, or having a teacher who comes from your neighborhood and had similar experiences growing up?
    So what has this to do with Last in First Out? It should be obvious - that there is a higher percentage of older teachers of color than there is of younger teachers and an end to LIFO will make the staff younger and whiter.
    A POINT OF IRONY
    At yesterday's ICE meeting one of my long time colleagues from the 70's reminded me that in the massive layoffs of the mid-70's LIFO was attacked as being racist because many Black teachers had been hired since community control came into effect in 1968/9 and were the younger teachers being laid off. Our group, which consisted of many progressive members who had gone in to work during the UFT 1968 strike because they considered it a racist attack on the community, went through a difficult decision making process but ultimately came down on the side of preserving LIFO because it was such a lynchpin of protection for all teachers, arguing that in the long run it would protect even these Black teachers. And so it has come to pass.

    I want to point out that I had this very same discussion with a young 4th year Black teacher at the school 2 weeks ago. She supported LIFO but was concerned about layoffs. I pointed to the fact that LIFO gave her rights over all the teachers who came before her - what would stop her principal from choosing a first year teacher over her without LIFO? I also pointed out that if she were laid off under LIFO she retained rights of return in the same order she was laid off, something that would probably disappear if LIFO ended.
    Racist Hiring policies at Tweed?
    Look at the hiring policies since BloomKlein took over. I wrote about it a few times based on the work of Sean Ahern, a founder of ICE.

     Racial Policies at Tweed: Disappearing Black Teachers
     Joel Klein calls the achievement gap "The Shame of the Nation" as he races to black churches to sell his program of change in the NYC schools. But the real shame just may be the drastic drop in the number of black teacher hires in the BloomKlein years from 27.2% in 2001/02 to 14.1% in 2006/7 according to a report from the black educator blog.

    From 1990 - 2002 it rose steadily from 16% - 27%.
    Also the % of Hispanic teachers has dropped from a high of 18% in the mid-90's to 11% today, though the numbers are fairly consistent under BloomKlein and the drop began before they took over. At the height, Hispanic an African Americans mader up over 40% of new recruits and that has dropped to 25%. And the % of white teacher recruits has risen from 49% - 65%.
     Sean worked with the UFT to put together a diversity resolution which addressed this issue and it was passed at a recent Delegate Assembly. Sean sent this email around yesterday.
    "It is an urgent tactical and strategic necessity that  the defense of seniority be joined with the effort to stop and reverse the disappearing of Black and Latino educators."

    Bloomberg wants to be able to lay off senior higher paid teachers in order to retain newly hired, untenured, lower paid teachers.  In order to do this the NYS legislature would have to change existing law.  

    The senior teachers most at risk are more likely to be Black and Latino teachers. New teachers are more likely to be white as a consequence of Bloombergs hiring policies. Since 2002 there has been a yearly decline in the percentage of Black and Latino teachers being hired.  In addition the senior teachers who are being most targeted for layoff are those in the absent teacher reserve (ATR).  The Bloomberg policy of closing schools in the Black and Latino communities disproportionately affects Black and Latino teachers who are concentrated in these schools.

    The link to the article by Jeff Kaufman http://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/, former UFT Executive Board member and a leading rank and file spokesperson for ICE (Independent Coalition of Educators) one of the opposition caucuses in the UFT, provides useful background on the activities of a group set up and funded by the Gates Foundation which supports teacher layoffs without regard to seniority.  

    Missing from Brother Kaufman's otherwise excellent article is a racial profile of the teachers that are most at risk;  the senior teachers, and the ones more likely to be retained in the event of an layoff;  the newly hired teachers.   We can't force a social consciousness onto Gates and his flunkies but we can speak for and practice justice in our own schools and union.

    The layoff of senior teachers over newly hired teachers would accelerate the disappearing of Black and Latino educators from NYC public schools.  It is an urgent tactical and strategic necessity that  the defense of seniority be joined with  the effort to stop and reverse the disappearing of Black and Latino educators

    The joining of these two issues cuts across caucus affiliation and is the touchstone of solidarity at this moment within the UFT .  The extent to which union activists  raise our own awareness and that of the membership and public at large will go far in determining the strength of our common defense of learning and working conditions in the coming months.  Leaders and caucuses existing and in formation will be measured by their words and deeds on this touchstone of solidarity.
      
    Defend seniority rights in the event of layoffs!
    Defend learning and working conditions - Renew the Millionaires tax!
    Stop and Reverse the Disappearing of Black and Latino Educators!
    Implement the "Resolves" in the UFT Resolution on Diversity!

    Peace,
    Sean Ahern


    Resolution promoting diversity in the New York City teaching force

    January 19, 2011
    WHEREAS, it has been a long standing policy of the UFT to support the existence of a diverse teaching force, both in the interest of equity and because education research has consistently proven that African-American and Latino students who have had teachers of color as positive role models achieve greater educational progress; and
    WHEREAS, a study of the UFT Committee on Civil and Human Rights found that in relation to the numbers of African-American and Latino students in New York City public schools, African-American and Latino educators are dramatically underrepresented;
    WHEREAS, the Committee found that while the hiring of new African-American and Latino educators had steadily increased into the early 2000s, there has been a troubling reversal of this trend under the tenure of Chancellor Joel Klein with the effect of exacerbating, rather than abating, the dramatic underrepresentation of African-American and Latino educators; be it therefore
    RESOLVED, that the UFT demand that the New York City Department of Education rededicate itself to a policy of actively recruiting and hiring teachers of diverse backgrounds in order to reverse the downward trend of the last eight years in the percentages of African-American and Latino classroom teachers and to diminish the considerable gap between the numbers of African-American and Latino students and the numbers of teachers of color; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that the UFT use all its resources to compel the Department of Education to take affirmative action to increase the numbers of teachers of color in its contracts with third party entities engaged in teacher recruitment on its behalf; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that the UFT use all of its resources to compel the Department of Education and the third party entities engaged in teacher recruitment on its behalf to target recruitment at public universities such as the State University of New York and the City University of New York; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that the UFT lobby the Federal, State and City governments to develop and expand scholarships and other incentives to encourage and support college students in entering the educational profession; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that in conjunction with the NYC Department of Education, the UFT encourage the development and expansion of future teacher programs in the NYC public high schools, and highlight education as a viable career path by encouraging its development through the use of financial supports; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that the UFT use all of its resources to compel the Department of Education to provide expand its support for existing programs which produce large numbers of experienced and qualified African-American and Latino teachers – the career ladder program for para-professionals and the Success Via Apprenticeship program for aspiring Career-Technical teachers; and  be it further
    RESOLVED, that the UFT continue to combat the negative depiction of teaching and the teaching profession which can only result in turning away prospective teachers from our profession, and be it further
    RESOLVED, that the UFT through its own efforts and in conjunction with the Department of Education persuade the Teach for America program to expand its pool of potential teachers to include more teachers of diverse backgrounds and advocate that both Teach for America and the NYC Teaching Fellows actively recruit more African-American and Latino teachers.


    ADD ON
    Attack on Public Employees Deals a Sharp Blow to Blacks



    By Steven Pitts

    Even though the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, the subsequent jobless recovery continues to inflict great pain on working families. This is especially true in the black community, where the unemployment rate of 15.7 percent in January was higher than at the end of the recession (14.9 percent). Conservatives ignore this misery and call for fiscal austerity. And as events in Wisconsin and across the country are showing, the demand for austerity is a subterfuge for a frontal assault on public employees and their freedom to bargain for a middle class life.
    This attack casts a particularly sharp blow to the black community. Before the recession, 18 percent of black men and 23.3 percent of black women were public employees, making this sector the leading employer of black men and the second leading employer of black women. In contrast, 14.2 percent of white men, 19.8 percent of white women, 7.5 percent of Latinos and 14.9 percent of Latinas were public employees. It is important to note that these are national figures. In urban areas with large black populations, the role of the public sector in providing good jobs and creating a middle class for the black community is undoubtedly greater.
    As we fight for a genuine economic recovery, we must not forget that the economy did not serve workers well before the Great Recession. There was rising income inequality and flat wage growth. This was especially evident in the black community, where unemployment levels routinely doubled that of whites and 42.7 percent of fulltime black workers earned less than $30,000, compared with 27.3 percent for white workers.
    The persistent reality of racial inequities regardless of the state of the economy reminds us that in our quest for a just society, economic justice and racial justice are intertwined. The union movement cannot limit its battles to fights for family-sustaining wages and a voice at work. The fight for dignity at work includes a fight against all forms of racism in the labor market.
    Advocates for racial justice cannot limit their economic demands to calls for job creation and anti-discrimination enforcement in the workplace. Without the collective power that unions can exert in the labor markets and at the ballot box, employers will drive wages to the lowest possible levels and subject workers to arbitrary whims. They also will discriminate against people of color and sow divisiveness among workers.
    Fifty years ago, when Martin Luther King Jr. spoke before the AFL-CIO convention, he said the interests of blacks and labor were identical as they both faced a twin-headed monster spewing forth anti-labor and anti-black epithets. We justly praise those remarks.
    King’s favorite unions were those that saw their mission as fighting the twin evils of racial and economic exploitation in the community, the workplace and the union. We would do well to follow their examples, not just during Black History Month, but all year long.
    Steven Pitts is a labor policy specialist at the University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.

    Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Post Title

Ending LIFO Another Form of Racism?


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Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana - New York? Video of Rally at FOX News

    It won't be as drastic here, but it is coming. Attacks on just about everything union related using the opportunity of a financial crisis, real or imagined, to go after the working class. Of course our UFT/AFT  leaders have been telling us we're not part of the working class - we are a union of professionals. How's that working out? (When ICE's James Eterno suggested years ago that we ally with the Transit Workers and threaten a joint strike, he was laughed at.) Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine
    pretty much laid out the plan.

    NYC Educator has a great post up today that nails a lot of what I would say - how great those younger guys can get up early and do the work for me: Wisconsin--Not the End Game
    Politicians like Walker indulge in Shock Doctrine. Walker not only took advantage of a crisis, but actually created it by initiating a tax break that caused the shortfall he claims, with a straight face, he must eliminate collective bargaining in order to close. He's also heavily financed by New York's Koch brothers, a fact even the staid New York Times editorial board arose from its slumber to note this morning.
    Yesterday I went into Manhattan to see a performance of the Jamaica HS and Queens Collegiate student play about the closing of the school and the disparate resources at an off-Broadway theater. The discussion afterwards was rich and revealing and I taped it all. A few blocks away, demonstrators were gathered in front of FOX News to show their support for Wisconsin - the Middle East in the Middle West - union members. I went over and caught the tail-end of the rally on video. I urge you to watch it - I cut it to less than 10 minutes. I went around asking if anyone had seen one of our UFT leaders around. Here's the you tube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1iGVkTUMZc




    Here are just a few quick links of many - check my blogroll for more (which as a reader of this blog is a MUST since I can't get all the info up here).

    GENERAL STRIKE!!! Will Wisconsin Have the 1st General Strike in Over 70 Years?

    Denver's Rally for Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers

    Three hundred California teachers are flying in Wednesday to join the embattled Wisconsin teachers and other public workers. This was in today's Wisconsin State Journal, reporting on the announcement from the Madison teachers union.

    There will be some kind of response from the "official" union leaders here in NYC on Thursday at noon. See below the fold for info.

    Media Advisory

    Ring City Hall!
    Wisconsin - New York -- One voice

    WHAT: Municipal Unions representing over 30,000 workers will rally at city
    Hall Park at 12 Noon to protest Mayor Bloomberg's anti-labor policies and
    in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin.

    WHERE: City Hall Park, corner of Chambers and Centre Street

    WHEN: Thursday, February 24th from 12 Noon to 2PM

    WHO: DC 37 Locals 375, 768, 154, 1549 and 1113 will be joined by other
    workers,
    including members of the TWU, UFT, and DC 1707.

    Hundreds of City workers will place a ring around City Hall to show that
    city government belongs to the people. Echoing attempts by Scott Walker in
    Wisconsin to end collective bargaining rights for public sector employees,
    New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is trying to get State legislation
    passed to gut the civil service merit system, changing hiring and firing
    from merit-based to patronage. New York City workers say enough! We're
    standing in defense of our rights and explaining to our fellow New Yorkers
    that our interests and their interests are the same.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Behrouz Fathi, President, Local 375
    212-815-1375
    Jon Forster, Secretary, Local 375
    917-539-4584

Post Title

Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana - New York? Video of Rally at FOX News


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Don't Miss Educators4Excellence Party - Thurs, Feb. 24 at "The American Conference Center," 177 Prince St. on the 2nd floor

    Thanks to South Bronx School for doing the scut work.  Before you can party you have to learn how to do grassroots undermining the union organizing. Maybe they'll even talk about running a caucus in the UFT elections. Hey, I can do a seminar on how to get the signatures on the nominating petitions. Unity may even help them out, along with New Action their bought caucus so a true opposition won't get traction.

    Cross post from South Bronx School

    It Is Time To Party With Educators4Excellence!


    Hey, E4E is having a party! Yes! As reported by Norm over at Ednotes, Educators4Excellence, Uncle Mike's favorite excellent educators are having a party, a get together, a kegger, a hoe down, a coffee klatsch, this Thursday, February 24. But, it is a secret. The location is a state secret.

    The crack team here at SBSB find it somewhat curious as to why the locale of a E4E shin-ding is draped with all this secrecy. Surely, to attend one of their propaganda round tables one must not only give their name, but their home address, their phone number, their school, and their blood type as well. We here at SBSB question why such details are needed. Is this to be put on a mailer? Is it to be put into a contest to spend a night with E4E Princess Sydney Morris? Enquiring minds want to know!

    But good fortune came to us here at SBSB the other day. A mole deep inside E4E has been in contact with the crack team. After many sessions of debriefing the mole, and promises made to the mole of New Jersey Nets tickets, and just appealing to the mole's values we here at SBSB have found out the location of E4E's Thursday, February 24 @2PM hoe down is going to be.

    The E4E Grassroots Training Party will be held at the "The American Conference Center," 177 Prince St. on the 2nd floor. We here at SBSB suggest that you take public transportation due to the fact that parking will be limited, and that the E4E upper echelon's limos will be taking up spaces on the street. The closest subway stop is Spring St on the 8th Ave line.

    Now, just a few tips on crashing a party. You can try the Abbott and Costello method of walking in backwards so they think you are leaving. Also, a method that worked for me at a Jets game once. A friend and I walked into a private suite. If anyone asked we were to say that we are meeting Joe here. Everyone knows a Joe, so just say you are looking for Joe. Or, you can just walk in.

    But whatever you do, be sure to be on your best behavior, dress appropriately, and partake in any free food and/or beverages. Also, please give the respect the Little Evan and Princess Sydney think that they deserve.

    Currently we are awaiting from our embedded mole an estimate of how much this get together will cost. I am sure Bill Gates said no problem to cost, so let's party!!!

Post Title

Don't Miss Educators4Excellence Party - Thurs, Feb. 24 at "The American Conference Center," 177 Prince St. on the 2nd floor


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TODAY at 5PM in NYC - At Fox News - Rally for Wisconsin Unions

    I know this is short notice. I was heading into the city to see the Jamaica HS student play about closing schools at 4PM and will head over to 6th Ave after the discussion. I will try to get some footage.

    Dear MoveOn member,

    Have you seen what's happening in Wisconsin? 

    Teachers, nurses, students and firefighters have occupied the state capitol building for the past week. On Saturday, 70,000 Wisconsinites took to the streets of Madison to protest their tea party governor's radical attack on public workers.  

    Wisconsin has become the national rallying point in the fight that will decide whether our economy works for all Americans, or just the super-rich. Republicans are using budget deficits as an excuse to attack workers, cut funding for crucial public services, and threaten successful programs like Social Security.
    With the groundswell in Madison, we have our best opportunity yet to stand up to the radical Republicans who think we can cut our way to prosperity. Dozens of progressive organizations are organizing solidarity rallies this week in cities across the country, including one today in New York.
    Can you come out today to make clear that we'll fight back as a national movement, not just state by state? The rally is at the Fox News Building, at 1211 6th Ave, in New York. It starts at 5:00 PM today.
    11 other states are considering similar bills. And in nearly every state, politicians are using budget shortfalls—caused by a Wall Street-driven recession—as a justification for cutting necessary public services.
    So let's get out there today and show our solidarity. Can you join us at 5:00 PM in New York?
    Thanks for all you do.
    –Daniel, Tim, Joan, Eli, and the rest of the team

    See Diane Ravitch today on:

    I Stand With the Teachers of Wisconsin

    Dear Deborah,

    As I write, thousands of teachers are staging a protest in the state capitol in Wisconsin. Others stand with them, including the Green Bay Packers, other public-sector workers, and even public-sector workers who are not affected by the proposed legislation, namely, firefighters and police. The teachers and other public-sector employees are speaking out against Gov. Scott Walker's effort to destroy their collective-bargaining rights. Gov. Walker demanded that the teachers pay more for their health benefits and their pension benefits, and they have agreed to do so. But that's not all he wants. He wants to destroy the union.

    I wrote an article about this contretemps for CNN.com, not realizing that the teachers had already conceded the governor's demands on money issues. The confrontation now is solely about whether public employees have the right to bargain collectively and to have a collective voice. Monday's New York Times made clear, both in a column by Paul Krugman and in its news coverage, that the union is fighting for its survival, not benefits.

    It's time to ask: Why should teachers have unions?
    MORE: I Stand With the Teachers of Wisconsin

Post Title

TODAY at 5PM in NYC - At Fox News - Rally for Wisconsin Unions


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Why Won't Unity/UFT/AFT Leaders Fight Back? See Puerto Rico and Wisconsin

    A union can't mount a rigorous battle unless it is a democratic union.
    NOTE: Come and meet Puerto Rico Teacher union (FMPR) President Rafael Feliciano when he will be in NYC in about a week to 10 days - look for more info at ed notes
    ACLU-PR Director Ramirez anti-police-UPR-terror event in NYC

    I am constantly asked why Randi Weingarten and Michael Mulgrew - or MulGarten - won't put up a fierce battle to stop closing schools and the invasion of the charters in order to defend teachers and public education. Recent events give us some insight into the power of government over unions and how they treat "good (cooperative)" and "bad" (fightback) unions.

    In Wisconsin we are seeing an attempt to totally scuttle unions whether good or bad by removing collective bargaining rights, forcing a union election every year and taking away dues checkoff. Less drastic but certainly moving in that direction is what we see here in NYC with a massive attack on the basic protections teachers have with tenure and last in first out.

    As we've been reporing, instead of a rigorous defense of LIFO (Why Won't Mulgrew Defend LIFO?), MulGarten has punted, talking about how we should tax Wall Street. Now this is certainly a move in an interesting direction for the union, which has always avoided attacking the bastions of the rich because, as staunch supporters of capitalism, they wanted to keep class warfare off the table. I remember writing about it the spring of 2008 (months before the big crash) when on the day the UFT held a rally at City Hall begging for a few hundred million in the restoration of ed funds, Bear Sterns - just a few blocks away - was being bailed out with billions.

    Not one mention was made of the connection between the funneling of massive monies into private hands and the ed deform movement that purposely talks about "teacehr quality" as the key while disparaging solutions like class size reduction that might actually make a difference. (From the first time I heard Randi Weingarten sign on to this TQ idea I told her she was leading us down a slippery slope that has turned into a free fall.)

    In order to fightback a union requires an informed membership and a democratic structure that makes everyone feel they have a real stake and say in union policy. But opening up to other voices is dangerous for a union leadership like Unity Caucus because it could ultimately threaten their control. So they make the choice to cooperate with the powers that be - to be known as a "good" union - rather than stand and fight.

    A union can't mount a rigorous battle unless it is a democratic union.

    Now, as you will read below, the governor of Puerto Rico, fed up with a union that has fought him - successfully - at every turn, has taken the drastic step of firing every leader of the FMPR which would  make them ineligible to run the union. This act is even worse than what is happening in Wisconsin, disenfranchising 40,000 teachers in PR.

    This after failing to undermine them by removing dues checkoff, running a bogus group from SEIU against them and other tactics. I should report that the FMPR removed itself from the AFT in 2003 (just search this blog for FMPR or Puerto Rico to get a weatlh of articles) because they were paying enormous dues to a national union that wouldn't fight for the workers.

    Here's the gory story:
    Entire Leadership of Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR) Fired from their Teaching Positions

    Puerto Rican Education Secretary Jesús Rivera Sánchez dismissed the 11 members of the executive committee of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR)  [unaffiliated with US teaching federations] from their teaching posts and blocking them from exercising their profession in public and private systems. 

    The teaching licenses of the FMPR leadership were permanently revoked.

    The union's president, Rafael Feliciano, together with the ten other dismissed leaders, characterized the measure as repressive and unprecedented, with the goal of destroying the union leadership and intimidating the teachers from struggling against the current administration's plans to privatize the schools and liquidate the teachers' retirement fund.
    The struggle against privatization, against labor rights violations, the right to union, the right to strike, freedom of speech and assembly in Puerto Rico needs your solidarity.   The FMPR is an independent democratic social justice justice union that has defied their version of the repressive Taylor Law (Law 45) and have had successful strikes and continuously organizes walk-outs with parents, students and communities against the horrible school conditions. We can not allow colonial Governor Fortuño to destroy the FMPR with fascistic repressive & union-busting measures that serve to escalate the privatization of  public education (Kindergarten to University) and all public services.

    Spread the word.  Angel Gonzalez
    -----------
    Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Post Title

Why Won't Unity/UFT/AFT Leaders Fight Back? See Puerto Rico and Wisconsin


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We in Nebraska are fortunate to still have control of PUBLIC schools

    Anonymous comment on Waiting for Superman review in Lincoln, Nebraska
    It's unfortunate than in its coverage of this film, the Journal Star missed an opportunity to investigate the issue Waiting for Superman misrepresents. The film review suggests that the film is "not journalism," but the reviewer doesn't perform much in the way of journalism either. Nowhere are LJS readers presented with an analysis of either the real issues the film purports to address OR an analysis of the filmmaker's egregious manipulation of the facts. This is no big secret--a number of easily accessible pieces from highly respected journalistic enterprises have outlined how Guggenheim re-staged scenes, presented factual errors as truth, and engaged not in documentation of the challenges that education in America faces, but rather a polemic that places all blame on teachers and legitimizes privatization of schools. The JournalStar suggests that the film has "generated debate" but its reporters offered no suggestion of the issues that caused that controversy.

    What IS clear is that we in Nebraska are fortunate to still have control of PUBLIC schools with elected boards of education that we the people control. We also have public schools that attempt to educate ALL children. So unlike the charter world where, amazingly enough, even though it's a "lottery" for admission, significantly fewer of the students are English language learners, have special needs, are on federally-funded or reduced lunch, our public schools here in Nebraska deal with every kid who comes through the door. A free public education for all people is the genius of America. Do we really want to turn our schools over to charter corporations (check it out in New York--they're legally set up as corporations, not non-profits)that get to cherry pick students, and get rid of the students as well as the teachers who don't perform? (The film also fails to note Geoffrey Canada's well-publicized "firing" of an entire class of middle school kids who didn't score well enough on standardized tests. Where did those kids end up? Oh, yeah, the public schools. . . .)

    And regardless of how much you like the mayor of your city, do you really want him or her running the school system as a department of his/her office, with no direct public access to open discussion and decision-making like we have through regular school board meetings? This is the model that Waiting for Superman suggests--the mayors have taken over schools in New York and D.C., handed public money to private corporations (try to go to one of their board meetings)and painted all public schools and all teachers as the sources of the problem. The people who are really trying to remake education are the teachers in our community (and thousands across the country, including big cities)who get up every day and go to classrooms where they deal with a huge variety of student capacity, background, parental interest, resources and more. But that's not nearly as dramatic as a system that creates winners and losers in some sort of made-for-the-camera ritual.

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We in Nebraska are fortunate to still have control of PUBLIC schools


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Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest

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Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest


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On Wisconsin, NY Testing Con - and Rochester Teachers: 94% No-Confidence in Kleinite Brizard

    UPDATE: Forgot to clue you in to this story in Rochester where former NYC Kleinite and grad from Eli Broad Academy of Ed Deform Jean Claude-Brizard had a 94% no-confidence vote by the teachers:
     

    So much going on I am tied into knots just trying to figure out what to put up. I could do 10 posts a day but I'm wearing you out already, so I'll try to combine them.

    I'll try to get to it later but make sure to read Jeff Kaufman's excellent take-down of E4E bullshit misleading manifesto at the ICEUFT Blog

    I'll try to do more in depth on Jeff's story - make sure to find his report on his attendance at an E4E meeting - Jeff's school is a hotbed of E4Eers.


    On Wisconsin: There's no point in my adding to some of the superb posts out there by other bloggers and commentators. I loved the Ed Show Friday night live from Madison where he called out the right wingers - note how they exempted police and fire but they were turning out anyway to support the teachers. Loads of stuff out there:
    STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    • Diane Ravitch: Teachers are rallying against Wisconsin plan to cut their benefits, union rights
    • She says teachers have been singled out for blame on America's education problems
    • Ravitch: How can we improve schools while cutting funding and demoralizing teachers?

    "Walker then used the deficit he'd created as the justification for assaulting his state's public employees." 12 Things You Need to Know About the Uprising in Wisconsin | AlterNet 

    Paul Krugman has a great piece in the Times today: Wisconsin Power Play "
    "What’s happening in Madison isn’t about the state budget"

    RBE at Perdido St. School
    Many Pro-Union Demonstrators Outnumber Anti-Union Demonstrators
    The wingers brought in Joe the Plumber and Andrew Breitbart to rally the corporatist forces in favor of the Walker plan to bust the unions - but they were outnumbered four-to-one:


    And NYC Educator: How Far Is Wisconsin? I left this comment:
    In GEM's new film responding to Waiting for Superman a parent says, "First they came for the auto workers." Paul Krugman points out how they went after the private sector unions first.
    We have to look at Wisconsin as part of "The Plan" to undermine and destroy teacher unions not only in this nation but around the world. Lois Weiner has been doing workshops on this issue for a long time and has a book out about it, all dovetailing with the work of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. Teachers are the focus because when they are organized they theoretically have the ability to reach into the homes of every parent with children in this nation. As a political force the right wing considers teachers especially dangerous as a force to battle their ideology. Of course they don't take into account the Randi Weingartens of this world - you make an excellent point - the unions have already given in to so many of the demands the right smells blood. Negotiations start right there instead of from a point where we will compromise on how much to give. Any fiscal crisis can be manufactured for political and ideological reasons and I believe we have a similar situation here in NY. Note how Bloomberg is manufacturing the layoff crisis to end LIFO.
    It will be interesting to see how the union reacts here when things get stickier - look for the same - "we give" on many issues other than the ones that might weaken their control over the members - as a yearly election or end to dues checkoff would do. I've heard some anti-Unity Caucus people say "good." Sure it might open up the union to other groups - but if they were to replace Unity there would not be much of a union left. How ironic would it be if it ever came to the Wisconsin law here - we would all be forced to stand with Unity to help keep them in power, well, forever.


    NY Post on the NY Testing Con
    From the NY Post, no less - but it places most blame on former State Ed comm Richard Mills - come on, Meryl Tisch and the other Regents are off the hook? There was some great commentary on the NYCEdNews listserve. I extracted some of it and posted on Norms Notes.

    New York's school testing con: Commentary on Sue Adelman NY Post



    Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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On Wisconsin, NY Testing Con - and Rochester Teachers: 94% No-Confidence in Kleinite Brizard


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Who's Been in Power Longer? Arab Dictators or Unity Caucus

    Last Update: Sat., Feb. 19, 1pm

    So I was watching the News Hour and an expert on the Middle East was talking about those fossilized leaders of the Arab nations in revolt and how the lack of democracy had created a status quo situation that was a major cause of the unrest. He ticked off each dictator:
    • Tunisia's Zine: 24 years
    • Mubarek: 30 years
    • Bahrain: 40 years
    • Ghaddafi: 44 years
    And I was waiting for the longest running dictatorship to come next:
    • Unity Caucus in the UFT/AFT: 45 years +
    How outrageous that the News Hour has Randi Weingarten as our voice on the Wisconsin issue? Whining how the unions want to talk and give up everything but the governor won't sit down. Let me tell you, the unions in Wisconsin are extremely fortunate that the right wingers are so rabid they won't sit down with the likes of Randi Weingarten. They should talk to Joel Klein and Bloomberg and ed deformers in other major cities (Detroit, Chicago, Washington DC) to see just how easy it is to get most of what they want.

    The exact same mechanism of decay and failure that is tearing down the Arab states is operating in the UFT and AFT. Except there is a greater chance of every Arab state being toppled than Unity Caucus, which will be left standing long after the union is an aging white dwarf.

    Add-on
    See the NY Times today on the use of cell phone cameras: Cellphones Become the World’s Eyes and Ears on Protests

    But not in the UFT. More irony in that because I took some video at a Delegate Assembly and at the UFT wine and cheese party  - the UFT banned video at DA's.  Randi tried to pin the rap on me that I was blogging live from meetings. Mubarek and the Arab leaders learned at the feet of Unity - shut down the proof of your crimes.

    Here are links to the 2-part video I made of the ATR rally: Part 1 - Wine and Cheese, Part 2 - march to Tweed to meet the ATRs who were there for 2 hours waiting for Randi and Unity to show up.

    A Tale of Two Rallies

    Watch the rank & file hold their own spirited rally while the UFT staff holds a wine and cheese infomercial.


    The Video the UFT Doesn't Want You To See: The ATR Rally

    See Randi Weingarten scream, "Norman, put down that camera!"

    Hear her approach me near Tweed and ask me to hand over the tape.


    Hear people boo her and shout her down in front of Tweeed.

    No wonder she pushed through a gag-rule resolution at the Jan. 28 Delegate Assembly (read James Eterno's account at the ICE blog.)



    ------------
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Who's Been in Power Longer? Arab Dictators or Unity Caucus


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Black and Bloom Try to Screw Mulgrew on CEC Meet and Greet

    So the CEC Presidents - that's the remnants of the school boards - send out a meet and greet invite on Feb. 9 to Mulgrew to meet with them on March 7.

    Then on Feb. 17 the DOE parent shills sent out an invite to the CEC presidents:

    On Feb 17, 2011 12:53 PM, "Office for Family Information and Action" OFIA@schools.nyc.govt; wrote:
    Hello CEC Presidents,
    We know that many of you are eager to meet with our new schools Chancellor Cathleen Black and hear more about her vision. To this end, we're pleased to invite CEC Presidents to a meet and greet with Chancellor Black on March 7, 2011 at 6:00 PM. This meeting will take place in the Second Floor Conference Room at the Tweed Courthouse,52 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007.
    Family Information and Action, Ojeda Hall, and our CEC Manager, EwelNapier. Please RSVP by March 1st to Juan Rosales:
    jrosales@schools.nyc.gov
    One parent wag said:
    It took OFIA (Information and Action my eye) a whole week to come up with this effort to divide, anger, separate and dis-empower parents. They must think we are dopes....or they have a bloc of folks from the deep Brooklyn communities of faith already lined up for the event. And if anyone out there believes this is an innocent mistake by OFIA, have I got a bridge for you!
    Steve Koss followed with:
    I was on the D2 CEC a few years ago but was never its president. Nevertheless, I know without doubt what I would do under this circumstance -- honor the prior commitment to Mr. Mulgrew and the UFT and respectfully decline the Cathie Black invitation. For the Black/OFIA DOE to schedule the exact same group of people for the same evening is beyond unforgivable; closer to incendiary. You don't "reach out" to the community by knowingly creating (and refusing to resolve) a conflict that is inherently divisive.
    Given what's going on right now in Wisconsin, it's the honorable thing to do, and it sends a message to Ms. Black and others that the UFT is an equal partner and equal constituency with an equal claim on CEC members' time and interests. I watched a couple hours of Wisconsin union member protests this evening, and it's scary to realize that what's going on in NY is only different right now in degree (but perhaps not different in its ultimate goals).

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Black and Bloom Try to Screw Mulgrew on CEC Meet and Greet


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NYTimes Spins for Bloomberg - Leonie Haimson blows a hole through Times coverage on cost overrun on HS Admissions

    Two articles below about a new City Comptroller’s audit, showing huge cost overruns in DOE’s HS admissions system that everyone hates, with a $3.6 million contract for a computerized enrollment system to balloon to more than $23 million . The audit is not yet posted, but there is a good summary in the NY Post and a longer article in the NY Times, reprinted below.
    Yet David Chen of the NY Times writes, adopting the PR spin of DOE: “With the advent of mayoral control of the schools shortly after Mr. Bloomberg took office in 2002, the Education Department overhauled the nerve-wracking and lotterylike process by which students were admitted to high schools.” 

    Clearly Mr. Chen has no children who have recently applied to HS.

    The HS admissions process in this city has become even more nerve-wracking and downright confusing for most students and parents, with the closing of many of the zoned neighborhood schools, the advent of a HS catalogue more than three inches thick, w/ new schools proliferating like mushrooms, w/ no track record, no accountability, and no oversight as to whether they actually provide the programs they claim. Can you imagine how confusing this is for most parents who have little time to attend all the information sessions or even get through the catalogue? 

    In addition, ELL and sped  and immigrant kids are locked out of most of these new schools, and the DOE allows no chance of transferring out of a HS if your child is miserable in the school that s/he is assigned to.  The system is ridiculously difficult to navigate; for some recent observations about how much parents hate the current HS admissions process, see Inside Schools here:

    http://insideschools.org/blog/2011/02/17/high-school-hustle-no-more-tears-why-and-how-admissions-must-change/

    Finally , when the bureaucrats at Tweed  took over the preK, middle school and G and T admissions process from the districts, in the name of equity but really a power grab, the process has consistently led to botched results, and even more agony for parents, esp. those w/out internet access, and even less equity for poor and minority kids. 

    The NY Times article, w/ four consecutive paragraphs w/a consistently pro-Bloomberg spin, follows.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/nyregion/18schools.html?_r=2&ref=nyregion

    Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

Post Title

NYTimes Spins for Bloomberg - Leonie Haimson blows a hole through Times coverage on cost overrun on HS Admissions


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Educators for Excellence Smoking Grassroots

    UPDATE LINK: Accountable Talk:  An Asshat By Any Other Name


    Well, they've won me over. Those whacky kids from E4E are doing grassroots training - it's all for the kids you know. On Feb. 24th you can learn all about advocating for kids - by attacking the rights of seniority and LIFO protections for the kids' long-time teachers. If only the kids could vote...

    But as GEMers we love it when people use the expression "grassroots." Even the UFT is talking GR. So, come on now, head on over to E4E training on Feb. 24 at 2PM - do you have anything better to do during your week off? Of course for Evan and Sydney this is not a vacation week since they only work one day a week with that Gates and DFER subsidy.

    They're even going to throw you a party at 4PM. It's all so much fun.

    E4E planning UFT election run?
    I'm thinking - Coming soon: The E4E UFT Caucus to run against Unity in the 2013 election, fueled by big bucks from Gates and DFER. There already a group in LA doing the same thing and backed by similar money. That is part of the ed deform strategy - place 5th columns in all the urban unions to create confusion. They were too late for Chicago where CORE jumped the gun and won power as a reform slate. E4E-like anti-union movements benefit from corrupt, status quo, anti-democratic leaderships, and Unity is a prime target. By sending out their message a certain way they will be able to fool many members and garner support from the increasing numbers of anti-Unity people. They won't win but manage to give the impression that there is more support for their policies than there really is.

    I bet that Unity big wigs are actually happy about E4E (maybe explains Mulgrew visit) since Unity can't lose in a stacked deck and an E4E candidacy fueled by big money will drown out any other CORE-like opposition party. And don't forget the Unity-bought New Action Caucus stalking horse to further confuse things.

    My advice to the usual opposition groups: walk away from this unless you can bring a strong ground game to match Unity in 50% of the schools. E4E will have no ground game but won't really need one with the big money and a few full-time organizers working the campaign.

    Question: Will E4E also try to get some of their people to run for chapter leaders and delegates? I bet not as that will take them into an arena that is way over their heads.

    Take Action:
    • Looking for something fun to do over the Feb. break? Join us for a Grassroots Training Party so you can get the tools and resources you need to become a better advocate for your students!
      • WHEN: Thursday, February 24th (2:00 - 4:00PM with a party afterwards!)
      • WHERE: Location TBD
      • RSVP: By clicking here!
    All our best,
    Evan and Sydney
    E4E Co-Founders
     

    Thu., Feb. 24, 2011
    E4E Grassroots Training Party
    Are you looking for an interesting way to help your students over the February break?  

    Come join E4E to learn how to become a better advocate for kids.  E4E is hosting a two hour grassroots training event to help give you the advocacy tools you need to maximize your impact for kids.

    The event will be followed by a party to celebrate your accomplishments so far this year and to acknowledge your continued commitment to students. 

    Location: TBD
    When: 2:00 PM
    Ends: 4:00 PM

    Tickets
    LevelDescriptionPrice#
    E4E Grassroots Training PartyCome get the tools to help you advocate for your students!FREE click here!

    If you are going, send reports of all the fun. Reports that the location has been discovered and there will be pickets outside are unsubstantiated.

Post Title

Educators for Excellence Smoking Grassroots


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