It's teacher hunting season!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Meet the Press today highlighting the voices of education deform

NBC's Sunday morning news show, "Meet the Press," is running along the trajectory of "Waiting for Superman." It is having as lead guests Education Secretary Arne Duncan, possibly out-going Washington, DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

The first two are the lead proponents of only holding teachers accountable for educational performance. They singularly focus on testing. They do not consider the importance or impact of administrators, parents or students. How can teachers be held to have the exclusive determining factor as to whether students? When students are oppositional, distracted or disruptive, what do the local education leaders (principals, assistant principals) do? Nothing. They cite the teacher as causing the disruption, because the lesson did not "engage" [entertain] the students.

We'll here none of this perspective today; Weingarten doesn't raise this.

UPDATE: Suprise! Robert Bobb, cial Manager, Detroit Public Schools, another guest on the show, actually recognized that principals have some responsibility (not just teachers).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

By now: Chicago primary schools occupied for a week

The specific details of the circumstance vary:
There is a class between a private school and a public school, and the city takes the private school side. This happened during the conflict over access to ball fields and elite schools in New York City. And this has happened several times in the same city between charter schools and regular public schools.

In Chicago, the community supporters have take more assertive direct action: they occupied their school to defend it.
The city's charge that the school building was dilapidated rings reminiscent of local governments and "slum removal" with the 1950s, 1960s demolition of neighborhoods for housing projects.

The one of the latest dispatches from "The Chicago Sun-Times:"
The six-day standoff between Chicago Public Schools officials and protesters demanding a library for a Pilsen elementary school showed no signs of ending Monday, with both sides indicating they were ready for a drawn-out fight.

Parents, children and activists have occupied a field house at Whittier Elementary School around the clock since Wednesday. CPS says the building is unsafe and must be demolished because there is no money for renovations, but protesters insist it could be converted into a library for less than the cost of demolition.

The two sides have not spoken since Friday, when more than 100 parents, students and teachers prevented CPS officials and police from carrying out their threats to remove the protesters and arrest them.

"We're going to stay here as long as it takes," said parent Araceli Gonzalez, whose daughter, Daniela, 10, is a Whittier student. "We've got inflatable mattresses, bathrooms, food and support from the community -- everything we need. Our children deserve a library."

A potential breakthrough came Monday when Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said CPS CEO Ron Huberman had promised not to demolish the school before meeting with protesters. But protesters say they won't end their occupation first, a condition CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond says must be met for the meeting to go ahead.

"Despite our warnings, they are assuming the safety and security risk for the children and adults staying there," Bond said. "There's no rush to demolish."

But protesters say union workers have volunteered to work for free to help transform the building into a library, and that their engineers believe CPS' safety concerns are overstated.

"We've got Huberman paying attention, now," activist Gema Gaete said. "They have to listen to us."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Great show evoking 60s, 70s rock scene in New York City

The Steven Gallery is showing an exhibition of photos over the venerable 1960s, 1970s rock club, Max's Kansas City. The show is running from September 15 to October 9, 2010.

Go to 521 W 23rd Street, a few paces west of 10th Avenue (near the newly opened High Line, a former freight rail line, reopened as public park space).

The hours there are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.
Call Steven Kasher Gallery for more info: 212 966 3978.

See this introduction to the gallery at this Leonard Lopate page at

On the same longitude, up three blocks is Loretta Howard Gallery, which is also running a show on Max's Kansas City's performers.

Here's the long introduction that "The New York Times" published on the two shows.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Does Gray win in DC signify a "C" or "D" for Fenty/Rhee?

District of Columbia City Council head Vincent Gray soundly defeated Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty in September 14, 2010's primary.

To our headline's question, "Atlantic Monthly's" Natalie Hopkinson (a former Washington, DC "PTA mom") would answer, "YES!"

Hopkinson noted that Rhee politicized her fate earlier this year:
Rhee brazenly politicized her job as Schools Chancellor in a way that may be unprecedented for education bureaucrats. Back in the spring, the charitable arm of Wal-Mart and other corporate foundations threatened to yank millions they had donated to break the teacher's union if Rhee was not retained. Then Rhee not so subtly hinted to a reporter that she would not work for Gray. Finally, the weekend before the election, Rhee hit the campaign trail along with Fenty to round up votes in the wealthiest ward in Washington.

Voters' reactions? Hopkinson would say that Rhee was definitely a negative factor in their voting choice in the primary election:
A majority of black voters cited Rhee as a reason to fire her boss, while a majority of white voters cited Rhee as a reason to vote for Fenty. But the stink swirling around education reform in D.C. goes beyond race. The hundreds of millions of corporate dollars used to break the D.C. teachers' union have dangerous strings attached.

**The News Details**
Early news reports indicated Fenty's loss as stemming from voter anger with combative schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and a perception that Fenty cared more about the white, upscale Northwest Washington, D.C. neighborhoods than about the less advantaged parts of the city. The last paragraph of "The Wall Street Journal" analyzed preliminary reports of voting patters and has interpreted Gray as getting stronger support in the lower income, mostly African-American areas and Fenty as getting stronger support in Georgetown and Northwestern city neighborhoods.

It remains to be seen what this will all mean for chancellor Rhee. The media have reported that Gray will not announce the fate of Rhee's job until after the general election.

There has been the assertion by one commenter that Gray supports charter schools. But most of the news headlines don't seem to give that indication.

Hopkinson's description of Rhee's effect on students in Washington sounds a lot like the haphazard experimentation and constantly shifting policy in New York City under Joel Klein:
D.C.'s high-profile status as nation's capital means that for decades, our kids have been the subjects of virtually every passing education fad and experiment--like lab rats. But usually the meddling comes from Congress. D.C. is the only city where Congress pays private school tuition. About 40 percent of public school kids go to charter schools, also thanks to Congress. All of this "experimentation" and "competition" has destabilized the system so badly that the most competent D.C. school administrators rarely know how many kids are enrolled in public or charter schools on a given day.

Hopkinson said it best toward the end of her article, "How 'public' is it when Wal-Mart can blackmail D.C. voters?"

Why Michelle Rhee's Education 'Brand' Failed in D.C. - Natalie Hopkinson - Politics - The Atlantic

Why Michelle Rhee's Education 'Brand' Failed in D.C. - Natalie Hopkinson - Politics - The Atlantic

Hard hitting piece on DC voters' feelings for Mayor Adrian Fenty and Schools Chancellor Rhee in "The Atlantic Monthly."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update on New York Republican Party primary results

UPDATES on the New York Republican side of the primaries, September 14, 2010:

In the competition for the GOP nomination to oppose incumbent Democrat Charles Schumer in this November's election, Jay Townsend beat Gary Berntsen, not only for the Republican but also for the Conservative Party nomination.
Opposing Kirsten Gillibrand in this November's special election is Joseph DioGuardi, having won both the Republican and Conservative primary contests. Both the Townsend and DioGuardi candidacies put the lie to the claim that the Conservative Party needs to have voters chose the Conservative Party in the gubernatorial contest, in order to retain its ballot access status. Voters will be able to support the Conservative Party but voting for Townsend of DiotGuardi.

Paladino created the Taxpayers Party of New York, which endorsed him of course, and for Schumer's contest: the party nominated Gary Berntsen, and Gillibrand's seat: David Malpass.
Thus, there is a divided right field for the Senate seats, and a divided right field for the Governor's seat (Rick Lazio retains Conservative line). The Taxpayers Party is the apparent party manifestation of the Tea Party. Malpass is the favorite of the local far-right Tea-Party-associated media personalities (e.g., Sean Hannity).

Randy Altschuler (electronics recycling millionaire) won First congressional district (eastern Suffolk County on Long Island) to challenge incumbent Tim Bishop.
This is a great article on Altschuler personally and on his defeating Tea-Party-endorsed Cox on both the RP and Conservative lines.
Altschuler had a 45% victory, resounding defeat of George Demos, 31 and Christopher Cox, 24.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tea Partier Paladino defeats GOP stalwart Lazio

In the biggest contest it appears that Carl Paladino (Tea Party-affiliated) gubernatorial candidate appears heading to defeat establishment Republican Party candidate Rick Lazio. As of 10:41 PM, Paladino was leading over Lazio, 68% to 31%. (Source: WABC-TV)

We are still waiting to see which candidate comes out ahead in the Suffolk County Republican primary for the congressional district race. Different candidates are attempting to receive the Tea Party nomination. Candidates for the Republican nomination are Randy Altschuler, Chris Cox and George Cox.

**Senatorial nomination going to mainstream Townsend**
There have been two Republicans vying for the nomination of challenge U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat), Townsend and Berntsen. In contrast to the Paladino-Lazio race, Townsend has remained ahead of Tea Party-affiliated Berntsen.

Racist, psycho PINI goes off on Haitian family --will he go into rubber room-like status?

The New York Post and company will malign an entire profession, projecting onto all teachers the misdeeds of a few, abandoning due process, casting as guilty when an allegation is issued.

Interesting that this treatment is reserved for teachers alone. Apparently there is an unquestioning judgment in this hierarchy, forever granting legitimacy and propriety to the reputations of supervisors.

So, it is interesting to hear of two Queens supervisors at a Queens Village elementary school, a principal and an assistant principal, as they engaged in racial harassment of two disgruntled Haitian parents with questions about their children's report cards.

Click here for the story, as it was reported in NY1.
Here is how the Gothamist reported the story.

We wonder if the administrators accused of racist verbal abuse will be taken out of daily service at PS 135. My bet is probably not.