Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The NYC Department of Education Demonstrates that DeBlasio Opposes Human Employment


One of the distinguishing characteristics of the modern economy is the orientation to hire as few humans as ever possible.

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio demonstrates this with his Department of Education's site. All aspects of the Department of Education human resources telephone number 718-935-4000 are oriented toward steering callers away from the phone number and steering number and toward online systems. At the beginning of the telephone contact a long and insistent toned voice encourages the caller to use any system other than the actual system.

DeBlasio stands in solidarity with the principle of not hiring people. 

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.