Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote for DeBlasio, Escalator of Homelessness and Perpetuator of Education Deform

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio has put on a show of being a progressive mayor.

But in reality his housing policies exacerbate the crisis of the unaffordability of housing. His rezoning polices allow gentrification to escalate.

Just read these articles:
In the Indypendent: https://indypendent.org/2016/03/assessing-de-blasio-affordable-housing/
In Grist:  http://grist.org/cities/new-yorks-housing-plan-will-displace-longtime-residents-so-neighborhoods-are-fighting-back/

And, as you can read in the Chaz blogs at chaz11.blogspot.com, he has continued the counter-productive, anti-teacher, anti-student policies of Michael Bloomberg, with no shakeup of the administrators at the Department of Education.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Why Does Bill De Blasio Get a Pass on Separate But Unequal Segregation in New York City Schools?

       NYC MAYORAL CONTROL, BREEDING SEGREGATION IN DOE SCHOOLS
Bill De Blasio inherited a public school system tremendously harmed by New York City's previous mayor, Mike Bloomberg. The latter, among his changes, had shut down dozens of schools and had them broken into small schools. This trend particularly happened at the high school level.

Yet, De Blasio has pushed hard in recent weeks for the renewal of mayoral control. With mayoral control he could have spent the previous three years reversing the damage that Bloomberg began. Instead, he continued it.

We see in rampant segregation in New York City schools the results of the changes that Bloomberg started and De Blasio continued. The New York Post yesterday posted an article on one parent who is suing the city for unequal resources. Some of the issues addressed in the story are the mere tip of the iceberg of the inequality issues in the city's high schools.

The disparity described in the article is regarding exclusive access certain physical education and disparate funds. An elite school in the former John Jay High School campus, Brooklyn Millenium High School, has access to a pool and $115,255 in a given year.  Park Slope Collegiate School and the other two schools in the campus do not have pool access and received $41,045 in the same year.

This echoes disparities easily evident in the 2017 New York City High School Directory. The pattern immediately becomes evident: small schools, particularly those with African-American and Latino populations have limited offerings. Few foreign language offerings. Limited sports activities. The schools do not offer Advance Placement courses. Instead, we see online instruction offerings. Continuing with Brooklyn, take for example, the Cultural Academy for the Arts and Sciences ine East Flatbush, at the former Tilden High School campus, which has a student body of 354. Only one language is offered as a foreign language. The description of Academics includes some topics that are more likely after school: "College Partnerships ... International Partnerships." Online learning gets mention in the first line, "Aventa/Fuel Education Blended On-Line Learning Courses." There are no AP courses.
Continuing with Brooklyn, Edward R. Murrow in Midwood with 3,885 students offers five foreign languages. There are 13 AP courses. This sample of offerings in the Academics section represents real classes not after-school programs: "Law Program, Psychology, INTEL, Journalism, Writer’s Institute, Film Review, Social History Electives, Shakespeare, Holocaust/African/Latin Literature."

Where is the outrage? Where is the coverage among the television network affilates?  Where are the hearings by the city council's education committee? It has gotten so bad that finally the New York Times in the last 12 months finally brought itself to address the issue. The Times recognizes that the segregation starts with Pre-K and that school choice has triggered this. De Blasio last month defended what has become the status quo. An education department spokesperson uses the word "diversity" to characterize the city system, instead of "segregated." Of course, no principled reversal of the Bloomberg destructive public school policies is in sight.

This shame of segregation is a scandal that De Blasio gets away with because his chancellor unresponsive to the public and the mayor and chancellor's rubber-stamping Panel For Educational Policy is an undemocratic institution. This is all the result of mayoral control. The media and political classes are silent abetters. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

WATCH: Very Explosive Documentary Exposes Trump's Russian Connections

The Dutch Zembla TV outfit has published a powerful, credible case that Donald Trump has ties with Russian figures practicing racketeering.
Trump, 2013, on the eve of his Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow

ZEMBLA - The dubious friends of Donald Trump: the Russians

After Trump's colossul 1990s bankruptcies, Trump turned to lenders of last resort: Russian mob figures. The key figures from Kazakhstan are named. The main hinge with the Trump Organization is the Bayrock Group. 

We see the essential details: that Trump's business doings of the last 20 years are intertwined with organized crime figures with Bayrock. We see his deposition with a dubious disavowal of familiarity with Bayrock managing director Felix Sater, followed by the revelation that Trump soon after bestowed Trump Organization legitimacy on Sater, with a Trump Organization business card and email address.

The video has strong credibility with powerful quotes by author and former CIA agent Malcolm Nance, attorney Frederick Oberlander and unofficial Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio.

After you watch the video you will come to the same conclusion that Oberlander, that charges can be brought against Trump, and after that it will be "all over."

US publications in the last week addressing the explosive revelations:
Fortune:
Here’s A Closer Look At Donald Trump’s Disturbingly Deep Ties To Russia
The Oregonian: 
Donald Trump closely tied to Russian mob, could face racketeering charges, Dutch TV doc claims

And earlier: The Financial Times of London: 
Trump’s Russian connections: Donald Trump’s ties to Russia are back under the spotlight after the CIA concluded that Moscow had interfered in November’s presidential election to help the Republican candidate
And a Forbes writer appearing at the DC Report blog: 
The Kazakhstan Connection: Trump, Bayrock And Plenty Of
Raw Story:
Here’s why Comey may have stayed silent on the Russia probe before we voted — and it should terrify Trump

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bill De Blasio Friday on WNYC Radio: No Criticism for Cuomo's Tuition Plan

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio, today on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, is uncritical of NY governor Andrew Cuomo's very limited free tuition proposal. But he's supporting the standing off girl statue, and recognizing that the charging bull represents unrestrained Wall Street. 
 
Cuomo's "free" tuition policy is so limiting that even moderate columnist David Brooks recognizes in today's New York Times that it is regressive.
 
We need him to do substantive things for the underprivileged, not just good government class neutral policies like this overblown statue struggle.
Example of the latter: De Blasio proudly announced that the NYPD is cracking down on TLC licensed taxicab drivers (or any drivers) are not allowed to have cellphones mounted on car windshields. Yes, we need safe driving, safe streets, but this is something a politician of any ideology could support.
 
De Blasio needs to address pressing economic concerns of economically hard-pressed New Yorkers, not devoting himself to attention-grabbing symbolic issues.

Friday, April 7, 2017

DOE's Reign of Principal Terror Breaking Point & What We Must Remember

Seven parents occupied the school auditorium at East Harlem's Central Park East 1 school ("CPE1") last night in solidarity with the teachers that are chafing under working for an oppressive principal. See Dartunorro Clark's "Parents Stage Sit-In at Harlem School in Latest Attempt to Oust Principal" in DNAinfo today.
Parents protesting principal Garg last night at CPE1 in East Harlem

Just a very few months ago students were sitting in, in the hallways of Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, Queens. There they were protesting also against a draconian principal, Rosemarie Jahoda. See here on the sit-in and here on the state of the struggle in more recent weeks.

What these schools have in common is that they have histories of being progressive in climate and as serving the more advantaged half of the city's students. While it is quite laudatory that students and parents are mobilized at both campuses we must remember that there are dozens of other schools across the school with equally oppressive principals. However, these schools serve more black and Latino populations that come from lower income families. They do not have as much clout as parents at progressive Manhattan schools as in CPE1 or students at elite examination entrance schools as in Townsend Harris.

Perhaps these profiles are why NBC New York has given attention to the CPE1 struggle and the New York Times gave a few articles to the struggle at Townsend Harris.

Second, it must be noted that what allowed for draconian principals and a completely aloof process allowing the principals to have free reign and the city to give them a blank ticket for being rude to students and dictatorial to teachers has been the complete removal of any semblance of democratic input, with previous mayor Michael Bloomberg's replacing the Board of Education with the Department of Education.

The former system had greater opportunities for parental input, public forums for engaging parents, and a process for elected leadership of the school system. The current system is a top-down corporate model with no room for authentic popular input. All power stems from the mayor. As we saw a week ago the rubber stamp Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), all decisions in the NYC Department of Education are done deals. There is no place for popular expression to be heard around how to run schools, whether public schools are to be supported or whether charter schools are going to be given privileged status in the school system.

So, we applaud the parents, students and teachers mobilized at these schools. But we must remember the unrecognized oppression at other schools in the different boroughs. We must end the undemocratic regime in the city so that principals can no longer rule without any checks against their power.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Did DeBlasio Took UFT For Suckers?: NYC is Floating Automation Over Substitute Teachers

No, you cannot make this up. About a month ago New York City mayor Bill De Blasio made a surprise appearance at the UFT's Delegate Assembly for an endorsement.

Yet, just weeks later the New York City Independent Budget Office  is showing how much the city hates teachers. The agency is floating an idea of using "e-learning" in the place of paid, live, substitute teachers at the high school level.
So thinks the mayor-controlled DOE?

As the New York Post reported Thursday,

“Under this option, high schools with a teacher who is absent fewer than three consecutive days would no longer use per diem substitutes but rather assign students an e-learning period for the affected class session,” the report states.
E-learning, as laid out by the IBO, would entail that high school students work on “online assignments” that would “ideally be related to the current class syllabus, credit recovery, or extra credit.”

The annual report, released Thursday, included more than 90 other belt-tightening prescriptions the city might try to cut costs and raise revenues.

 All to save $9 million dollars yearly. Let's see if De Blasio shows himself to have progressive cred and rejects the budget office's anti-human staffing plan. His decision will be a test of his true colors.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

100 Thousand NYC Students Homeless & PA OKs $3.5B for New Bus Terminal

*New interactive map on homelessness levels in specific NYC schools -Thursday; same day: $Bs for new bus terminal
The spitfight between New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio and New York governor Andrew Cuomo is a distraction from the reality that they have the power to influence spending and construction priorities in New York City, yet they do little to use that power to address a mounting homelessness problem in the city.

The Port Authority on Thursday authorized a capital spending plan that would includes replacing the 40th to 42nd Street bus terminal with a new structure. However, the amNew York reports that this will not come near addressing the full tab for this: $10 billion.

This giant expenditure is questionable on a number of grounds.
Why are the supposedly progressive city and state executives not interceding against this and instead addressing the need for more affordable housing in New York City? The fact that the New York City Department of Education teaches a number of homeless children that equals a small city --100,000, according to numbers this past fall, as published in "The Homeless Crisis in New York City's Schools" -- is indicative of an absolutely outrageous condition. See this more recent report this week in DNAinfo, citing a new interactive map on the distribution of homeless students in New York City schools. The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness reported that if Chancellor Carmen Farina's New York City Schools' homeless students had their own district, the district would exceed the size of the Boston and Seattle school districts, combined.

Yet, there is no attention by mayor DeBlasio or governor Cuomo on this true emergency. (And do you think that charter schools are zealously seeking to pick up homeless children for seats in their schools, schools that Cuomo accommodates with regular increases in the charter school caps?)

And if the Port Authority wants to channel billions into a giant project, it should acknowledge that the bus terminal is adequate, as evidenced by the ample headtimes between buses in the terminal. It, and DeBlasio and Cuomo ought to support more urgent project needs such as building a new pair of train tunnels to replace the aging pre-World War I North River Tunnels of Amtrak that Amtrak and New Jersey Transit use to travel between Manhattan and Hudson County, New Jersey. (The walls and cables for the tunnels have been damaged by sea water, especially during the Hurricane Sandy storm.) Port Authority and the two politicians ought to lend their cooperation with politicians in New Jersey for extending the Metropolitan Transit Authority's 7 train to Union City, New Jersey. That city and the Hudson County cities adjacent to it are density packed cities, yet they lack speedy access to the Manhattan. The present options of bus or light rail travel to Hoboken are inadequate because their trips to the Hoboken terminal are too slow. Likewise, bus travel through the Lincoln Tunnel is unacceptably slow during rush hour. A 21st century metropolis should not have such slow transit options for the major population area that Hudson County is.

But this is all not a shock. DeBlasio has ignored the housing emergency, as he has favored new housing developments that absurdly bill themselves as mixed income when what they consider is modest income is truly at the upper 25 percent of incomes. And meanwhile the city is 550,000 units short of housing for families making under $45,000 per year.