Wednesday, March 14, 2018

MAST'S Notorious Principal is History - Is this the Beginning of a DOE Housecleaning?

Jose Cruz, the principal at Math and Science Technology High School who gave 'Ineffective's to his nearly entire staff, is out. He had a penchant for driving so many teachers out that a few semesters he began with incomplete staff so much that about a third of students' programs read "vacancy." Teachers knew that if they were assigned there they could kiss their career good-bye, because they would end the year with a grossly tainted record.

Cruz was so notorious for his terrorizing staff that he ranked worst in rankings of Queens high schools, as noted in the Chaz School Daze blog.  His reputation was such that teachers would not apply to his school and no one showed interest in working at his school when his administrators went to the Department of Education job fairs.

He was the target of a few negative news articles in the New York tabloids. And yet, his connections in the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) union and in the association of Dominican-American administrators, ADASA, he was protected. So, amidst heavy staff turnover, repeat scandals and tanking test scores he was protected.

So, is the canning of Cruz the beginning of a much needed housecleaning, as has often been called for by the blogs?  Was his ouster the result of mounting complaints and investigations or was it the result of the Tweed finally cleaning house after media exposure of several terribly incompetent and unprofessional administrators in the Bronx and Queens? We would hope that his ouster was the result of the latter, but don't hold your breath.

If there is any justice the United Federation of Teachers will push to have the 3020(a) proceedings against teachers under Cruz halted, so that the teachers may be given fair hearings. Who knows how many careers were ruined because of Cruz's sadistic ratings?
At least his staff can rest easily this weekend.

Thinking of Joining the National Student Walkout? Be Careful

Yes, of course, nearly all of us are not just horrified by the slaughter of 17 students and staff at the Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida, but are also appalled by the stranglehold that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has on our politics.

BUT, please be advised that the NYC DoE will be ready to pounce on you with a letter in your file, and worse, if your admins don't like you, if you are not attending to your classroom. And besides, there could be some students that don't want to participate, and they need their education, as a right.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

De Blasio Remains Steadfast vs. Detectors After the Second Largest Public School Shooting in History

17 people died yesterday in the high school in Parkland, Florida.

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio still opposes additional metal detectors in the schools. Many schools with violence (though unreported violence, so we'll never know) have no metal detectors.

From the Daily News, July 21, 2016, slipped, during summer: Modifications of the city's school discipline code:
create the city's first formal protocols for adding and removing metal detectors from schools

After the school stabbing last fall in the Bronx, parents asked, where were the detectors?
Yet, a few weeks later the mayor balked at more metal detectors in the schools.
After yesterday's mass shooting in Florida, teachers, students, parents, administrators must wonder, why are metal detectors seen only exceptionally in the schools?

NYC school community, how safe do you feel, knowing that the choice is only in De Blasio's control, under mayoral control, and there is no truly public forum for the public to have democratic input on this vital safety issue?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why It Matters to Come to the Important Jan. 5 Meeting to Plan for a Pushback Against DeBlasio's Closure or Merging of 14 Renewal Schools

Come to the planning meeting of January 5, tomorrow at the City as School, 16 Clarkson Street in Greenwich Village, 4:30 to 6:30 pm with activists from the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) caucus of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

This meeting is for planning how to respond to Bill De Blasio's plan to close many Renewal Schools. It is essential to prepare for the February 28 Panel for Educational Policy meeting at M.S. 131, at 100 Hester Street. As veterans and close observers of the New York City Department of Education under Bloomberg and DeBlasio know, teachers have been blamed as the sole factor for student performance, and a result, the city has pursued several flawed policies. It has broken comprehensive schools into several smaller schools in the same building and it has pressured teachers into leaving the system early.
Difference only in name; same flawed anti-teacher, anti-student policies

Here is how the latter pattern works: the DOE forces teachers to reapply for their jobs. This is disingenuous, as the experienced teachers draw higher salaries. Under "Fair Student Funding" schools have limited budgets for staffing and principals have strong incentives to hire less experienced teachers at lower salaries. Teachers lucky enough to find positions find themselves working in schools in which far fewer teachers have the institutional memory of how schools worked well in the past; they also have a fewer teachers with a memory of how teachers were treated with professional respect in the past. Most teachers from these broken up schools will go into the Absent Teacher Reserve pool, and will rotate between schools, sometimes working as substitutes, sometimes working as teachers with regular programs. All told, this demoralizes teachers. Hundreds of teachers from these schools will become ATRs.

The union, the United Federation of Teachers? They will calmly parrot the DOE line that teachers need to polish their resume if they want a regularly assigned position.

Experts know better. As Alan Singer, an education professor from Hofstra University and director of there recently wrote, De Blasio's school closing policy is a failed policy that does not consider the impact of social inequalities..

Additionally, as Singer noted, the record has demonstrated that the school closing policy does not produce the desired results. Lastly, as the Chaz School Daze blog has cited, the schools under De Blasio and Bloomberg just show improvement under fraudulent pretenses. Teachers are pressed to pass everyone. And the result is that students are quite ill-prepared for college or careers.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

De Blasio has Failed on Education -Don't Relect Him

Mayor Bill De Blasio has failed in his job.
The teaching and learning experience has not improved in the schools.

Cellphones --wonder why your stats are down? You can thank DeBlasio for your tanking Regents and Common Core test scores - Research shows this is a disaster
In fact, in some ways, the situation in schools has gotten worse.
Cellphones were banned from schools under Bloomberg. Students cannot learn when there are cellphones in schools. They are rampantly misused in schools. Students will not pay attention to their studies when there is the option of looking at anything of their interest at the moment on their phones.

Research demonstrates that cellphones in the classroom are a disaster. An article in the journal Communication Education documented:
Students who were not using their mobile phones wrote down 62% more information in their notes, took more detailed notes, were able to recall more detailed information from the lecture, and scored a full letter grade and a half higher on a multiple choice test than those students who were actively using their mobile phones. Theoretical and pedagogical implications are discussed.
 Other research has suggested that student cellphone may reduce the quality of teaching. The study in question documented that teachers are feeling increasingly frustrated over the student use of cellphones.  Given all the research showing the negative impact, why are we still allowing cellphones in the classroom? This is a threat to students learning, and by extension this is a threat to teachers' careers. DeBlasio has said nothing on the widespread use of the phones and of course he has said nothing about reconsidering his reversal of the Bloomberg policy on phones.

DeBlasio has continued unabated the assault on teachers.Nothing has improved. The extremely oppressive administrators from the Bloomberg era remain.  De Blasio has not given a message to administrators to be humane and professional.

Preservation of undemocratic school governance. De Blasio has continued the denial of democratic representation. Thus, parents have no say. Certain issues do not see the light of day in public discussions.
This lack of community voice has led to disasters in school leadership.
Teachers, parents and supporters of public schools should not reward DeBlasio with another term.

Do not vote on the mayoral line, or vote Green. Just do not vote for DeBlasio.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Randi Weingarten Secretly Met with Steve Bannon -- Quisling!

Yes, you read that right. The Intercept on November 1, 2017 reported that this meeting happened. In a classic, but ignominious fashion, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers,did a collaborationist act and met with The Architect of Alt-Right demogoguery. We can just hear the rationales now, that she wanted to get a seat, or more likely, stool at the table.
Disgusting creep, that he was in the White House was bad enough; but Randi got snookered into meeting him to get a deal??? The stooge, she took the seat at the table thing to the most obscene end. This was merely the extension of the dumb move she made in not endorsing an opponent of Bloomberg, because she though she could get a good deal.
 This was merely the extension of the dumb move she made in not endorsing an opponent of Bloomberg, because she though she could get a good deal.
Here are the key quotes, from 'The Intercept':
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten met one-on-one with then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon back in March, following the announcement of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts and plan to craft a $1 trillion infrastructure package. The Intercept learned of the meeting, which has not been previously reported, independent of Weingarten or Bannon. It was instigated through a mutual friend and appeared to be part of Bannon’s effort to realign the parties, according to Weingarten.

“Look, I will meet with virtually anyone to make our case, and particularly in that moment, I was very, very concerned about the budget that would decimate public education,” Weingarten said. “I wanted it to be a real meeting, I didn’t want it to be a photo-op, so I insisted that the meeting didn’t happen at the White House.”

Weingarten didn’t take notes at the meeting, which was held at a Washington restaurant, but told The Intercept she and Bannon talked about “education, infrastructure, immigrants, bigotry and hate, budget cuts … [and] about a lot of different things.”

She came away a bit shook. “I came out of that conversation saying that this was a formidable adversary,” she said.

He was looking, Weingarten said, for some common ground that could assist him in realigning the two parties, his long-term goal in politics.“I think he sees the world as working people versus elites. And on some level, he’s thought about educators as working-class folks. But what he doesn’t do is think about the other side of educators, as people who fiercely believe in equality and inclusion. It isn’t an either/or philosophy. The [Martin Luther] King philosophy of jobs and justice is not the Bannon philosophy, let’s put it that way,” she said. “He’s trying to figure out where the friction is, and how to change the alignment. I think that’s really what he was trying to do.”

Hearing Bannon attack elites, including the types of hedge fund Democrats who fund the charter school movement, in the same way she would, was surreal. “He hates crony capitalism,” Weingarten said. “The same kinds of things [we say], you could hear out of his mouth, and that’s why it’s so — you sit there in a surreal way, saying, ‘How can you sit right next to all these elites?’”

Since the election, Weingarten has emerged as one of the most vocal leaders within Democratic circles to resist Trump’s agenda – regularly speaking out against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, deportation threats, budget cuts, and attacks on the Affordable Care Act. She was one of the first Hillary Clinton allies to endorse the Bernie Sanders-backed Keith Ellison in his race for chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Less than two weeks after the election, Weingarten and Maureen Costello of the Southern Poverty Law Center sent an open letter to the president-elect, signed by 100 other organizations, calling on him to forcefully denounce hate. “While you spoke against bullying, intimidation and hate crimes in your ‘60 Minutes’ interview, the appointment of ‘alt-right’ hero Steve Bannon as your chief strategist — which has been cheered by the Ku Klux Klan, the American Renaissance and other white supremacist groups — sends the exact opposite message,” they wrote.

Bannon’s embrace of the “alt-right” movement has at once propelled his rise and put a ceiling on it. It took him from obscurity to the White House and now to the head of a rebel conservative movement. But his ability to realign the parties is hampered by those more noxious elements of his coalition. It was reportedly Bannon, for instance, who urged Trump to not condemn white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, even after one of them allegedly killed a counterprotester with his car. That makes Bannon’s hunt for allies among labor unions and within the black and brown working class that much harder.

“This is one smart guy,” Weingarten said, “but I was pretty clear with him about my criticism of the white nationalism philosophy.” For Weingarten, who is Jewish and a lesbian, Bannon’s “alt-right” politics are more than an abstract threat. Indeed, in a typical White House, a labor leader would not ask to have a meeting outside the White House and then say nothing about it for six months.
In August, just days before he was fired (or resigned) from Trump’s administration, Bannon called Robert Kuttner, co-editor of liberal magazine American Prospect, to talk about a range of issues, including trade and identity politics. Kuttner published a summary of their conversation, remarking that he left “with a sense both of [Bannon’s] savvy and his recklessness.”

Weingarten came away with the same impression: “Let me say it this way: Kuttner’s download about their meeting was not surprising to me in the least.”

At the time of the meeting, the Trump administration had proposed slashing the federal education budget by 13.5 percent, a figure that would amount to more than $9 billion in cuts. The White House also proposed cutting Medicaid by $800 billion, threatening school districts with funding they use to provide health and special education services.

For the rest of the article, go to the original 'The Intercept' site.
Instead of meeting with Bannon, Weingarten should have been leading a real resistance in the schools and in the streets.
As they say, 'No words' for how disgusting her move was.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Gotham Gazette Lowers Itself to Using Tea Partyish Terminology for Democrats

So, you Google for information about 2017 New York City municipal races, and you get
Fox News / Tea Party -type terminology about candidates of the Democratic Party: Democrat, as in 'Democrat Party.' (The competing candidates are listed below, after the links to articles calling out the childish name calling that the Gotham Gazette used.)

Either the writer, Ben Max, at the Gotham Gazette is massively ignorant, or the writer is trying to employ a rightist dig against Democratic candidates: using the adjective-turned noun for Republicans and Libertarians, but using the epithet "Democrat."

There are several articles analyzing the conservatives' turning the term 'Democrat' into an epithet:

From 'The Economist:'
What's wrong with the "Democrat Party": It's not ungrammatical. It's discourteous

From 'The Minnesota Post:'
‘Democrat Party:’ The GOP’s childish name game

From Wikipedia:
Democrat Party (epithet) | Wikipedia

Ben Max's repeated use of 'Democrat' epithet: (He must have laboriously gone through and removed the letters, "ic" for each of the Democratic candidates.)

Below is a list of candidates for many city races of 2017. Keep in mind that some candidates will appear on multiple ballot lines, though we will not necessarily list them all.
Gotham Gazette will be editing this list on a running basis leading to Election Day, November 7, as well as adding more to our 2017 election coverage, including more detail about candidates, races, issues, campaign endorsements and fundraising, debates, and more.
---General election list updated October 3, 2017---
Bill de Blasio, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Nicole Malliotakis, Republican & Conservative & Stop de Blasio
Bo Dietl, Dump the Mayor
Sal Albanese, Reform
Aaron Commey, Libertarian
Akeem Browder, Green
Mike Tolkin, Smart Cities
Public Advocate
Letitia James, incumbent, Democat & Working Families
Juan Carlos "J.C." Polanco, Republican & Reform & Stop de Blasio
James Lane, Green
Michael O'Reilly, Conservative
Devin Balkind, Libertarian
Scott Stringer, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Michel J. Faulkner, Republican & Conservative & Reform & Stop de Blasio
Alex Merced, Libertarian
Julia Willebrand, Green
Bronx Borough PresidentRuben Diaz, Jr., incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Steven DeMartis, Republican
Antonio Vitiello, Conservative
Camella Price, Reform
Brooklyn Borough President
Eric Adams, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Benjamin Kissel, Reform
Vito Bruno, Republican & Conservative
Queens Borough President
Melinda Katz, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
William Kregler, Republican & Conservative
Everly Brown, Homeowners NYCHA
Manhattan Borough President
Gale Brewer, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Frank Scala, Republican
Daniel Vila Rivera, Green
Brian Waddell, Reform & Libertarian 
Staten Island Borough President
James Oddo, incumbent, Republican & Conservative & Reform & Independence
Tom Shcherbenko, Democrat & Working Families
Henry Bardel, Green
Brooklyn District Attorney
Eric Gonzalez, Democrat, incumbent (named acting District Attorney in 2016)
Vincent Gentile, Reform
Manhattan District Attorney
Cy Vance, Democrat, incumbent
(Marc Fliedner announced in early October that he's embracing a write-in campaign for Manhattan DA)
City Council District 1
Margaret Chin, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Bryan Jung, Republican
Aaron Foldenauer, Liberal
Christoper Marte, Independence
City Council District 2 - open seat (held by Rosie Mendez)
Carlina Rivera, Democrat & Working Families
Jimmy McMillan, Republican & Rent is 2 Damn High
Donald Garrity, Libertarian
Manny Cavaco, Green
Jasmin Sanchez, Liberal
City Council District 3
Corey Johnson, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Marni Halasa, Eco Justice
City Council District 4 - open seat (held by Dan Garodnick)
Keith Powers, Democrat
Rebecca Harary, Republican & Women's Equality & Reform & Stop de Blasio
Rachel Honig, Liberal
City Council District 5
Ben Kallos, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Frank Spotorno, Republican
City Council District 6
Helen Rosenthal, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Hyman Drusin, Republican
William Raudenbush, Stand Up Together
City Council District 7
Mark Levine, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Florindo Troncelliti, Green
City Council District 8 - open seat (held by Melissa Mark-Viverito)
Diana Ayala, Democrat & Working Families
Daby Carreras, Republican & Reform & Stop de Blasio & No Rezoning 4 Ever
Linda Ortiz, Conservative
City Council District 9
Bill Perkins, incumbent (elected in February special election), Democrat & Working Families
Jack Royster, Republican
Pierre Gooding, Reform
Tyson-Lord Gray, Liberal
Dianne Mack, Harlem Matters
City Council District 10
Ydanis Rodriguez, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Ronny Goodman, Republican
City Council District 11
Andrew Cohen, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Judah David Powers, Republican & Conservative
Roxanne Delgado, Animal Rights
City Council District 12
Andy King, incumbent, Democrat
Adrienne Erwin, Conservative
City Council District 13 - open seat (held by James Vacca)
Mark Gjonaj, Democrat
John Cerini, Republican & Conservative
Marjorie Velazquez, Working Families
John Doyle, Liberal
Alex Gomez, New Bronx
City Council District 14
Fernando Cabrera, incumbent, Democrat
Randy Abreu, Working Families
Alan Reed, Republican & Conservative
Justin Sanchez, Liberal
City Council District 15
Ritchie Torres, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Jayson Cancel, Jr., Republican & Conservative
City Council District 16
Vanessa Gibson, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Benjamin Eggleston, Republican & Conservative
City Council District 17
Rafael Salamanca, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Patrick Delices, Republican
Oswald Denis, Conservative
Elvis Santana, Empower Society
City Council District 18 - open seat (held by Annabel Palma)
Ruben Diaz, Sr., Democrat
Carl Lundgren, Green
Michael Beltzer, Liberal
William Russell Moore, Reform
Eduadro Ramirez, Conservative
City Council District 19
Paul Vallone, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Konstantinos Poulidis, Republican
Paul Graziano, Reform
City Council District 20
Peter Koo, Democrat, incumbent
City Council District 21 - open seat (held by Julissa Ferreras-Copeland)
Francisco Moya, Democrat & Working Families
City Council District 22
Costa Constantinides, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Kathleen Springer, Dive In
City Council District 23
Barry Grodenchik, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Joseph Concannon, Republican & Conservative & Stop de Blasio
John Y. Lim, John Y. Lim
City Council District 24
Rory Lancman, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Mohammad Rahman, Reform
City Council District 25
Daniel Dromm, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
City Council District 26Jimmy Van Bramer, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Marvin Jeffcoat, Republican & Conservative
City Council District 27
I. Daneek Miller, Democrat, incumbent
Rupert Green, Republican
Frank Francois, Green
City Council District 28 - open seat (Ruben Wills was convicted on public corruption charges)
Adrienne Adams, Democrat
Ivan Mossop, Republican
Hettie Powell, Working Families
City Council District 29
Karen Koslowitz, incumbent, Democrat
City Council District 30
Elizabeth Crowley, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families & Women's Equality
Robert Holden, Republican & Conservative & Reform & Dump de Blasio
City Council District 31
Donovan Richards, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
City Council District 32
Eric Ulrich, incumbent, Republican & Conservative & Independence & Reform
Mike Scala, Democrat
City Council District 33
Stephen Levin, Democrat, incumbent
Victoria Cambranes, Progress for All
City Council District 34
Antonio Reynoso, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
City Council District 35
Laurie Cumbo, Democrat, incumbent
Jabari Brisport, Green & Socialist
Christine Parker, Republican
City Council District 36
Robert Cornegy, Democrat, incumbent
City Council District 37
Rafael Espinal, Democrat, incumbent
Persephone Sarah Jane Smith, Green
City Council District 38
Carlos Menchaca, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Carmen Hulbert, Green
Devlis Valdez, Reform
Allan Romaguera, Conservative
City Council District 39
Brad Lander, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
City Council District 40
Mathieu Eugene, Democrat, incumbent
Brian Cunningham, Reform
Brian Kelly, Conservative
City Council District 41 - open seat (held by Darlene Mealy)
Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Democrat & Working Families
Berneda Jackson, Republican & Conservative
Christoper Carew, Solutions
City Council District 42
Inez Barron, Democrat, incumbent
Ernest Johnson, Conservative
Mawuli Hormeku, Reform
City Council District 43 - open seat (held by Vincent Gentile)
John Quaglione, Republican & Independence & Conservative
Justin Brannan, Democrat & Working Families
Angel Medina, Women's Equality
Bob Capano, Reform
City Council District 44 - open seat (held by David Greenfield, who is not seeking reelection)
Kalman Yeger, Democrat & Conservative
Yoni Hikind, Our Neighborhood
Harold Tischler, School Choice
City Council District 45
Jumaane Williams, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Anthony Beckford, True Freedom
City Council District 46
Alan Maisel, Democrat, incumbent
Jeffrey Ferretti, Conservative
City Council District 47
Mark Treyger, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Raimondo Denaro, Republican & Conservative
City Council District 48
Chaim M. Deutsch, Democrat, incumbent
Steven Saperstein, Republican & Conservative & Reform
City Council District 49
Deborah Rose, incumbent, Democrat & Working Families
Michael Penrose, Republican & Conservative
Kamillah Hanks, Reform
City Council District 50
Steven Matteo, incumbent, Republican & Conservative & Independence & Reform
Richard Florentino, Democrat
City Council District 51
Joseph Borelli, incumbent, Republican & Conservative & Independence & Reform
Dylan Schwartz, Democrat & Working Families