It's teacher hunting season!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

NYC Charter School Spending Straining City Education Budget

This in, Thursday, March 29, 2012 from the New York Times Schoolbook, all the ed news fit to go on line, but not on the newsstands' hard copy:

Budget Analysis: Charter Spending Squeezing Education Budget

[Remember, it needs bearing in mind: charter schools have a dubious achievement record. And everything that they represent flies in the face of social commonwealth traditions. Where is the rush to privatize/charterize the police, fire, military, traffic departments??????????? And don't forget the 800 school aides dismissed at the beginning of the 2011-2012 year. There's money for DOE Tweed Office and charter largesse, but austerity and cuts for the classroom. The dismissed aides' work? -child labor in the school replaced it. Teachers, honestly, you know how it works. An administrator says, "Johnny, can you help us for a few minutes?" Parents, don't put up with it! It is exploitation, unpaid [slave] labor.]

By Anna M. Phillips

New York City’s Education Department will spend $51 million to open more than two dozen new charter schools next year, according to a report released on Thursday by the Independent Budget Office.

The analysis of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s preliminary budget also found that the city had slightly overestimated how much the Department of Education’s budget would increase next year, while minimizing the amount by which general education spending may have to be cut to cover rising costs in other areas.

Earlier this week, Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott assured schools that regardless of the Office of Management and Budget’s early estimates, he would find a way to protect schools from cuts and essentially keep their budgets flat.

According to the city’s preliminary budget, the Education Department would have to impose a $64 million cut to general education spending next year, but the Independent Budget Office report estimates there will need to be $203 million in cuts.

Education Department officials continued to say schools would not be hurt.

“As the Chancellor testified on Tuesday, we do not foresee reductions to school budgets or system-wide layoffs at this time,” Barbara Morgan, a Department of Education spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail message.

At a City Council hearing on Tuesday, city officials said they did not know how much 28 new charter schools with roughly 3,800 students would cost next year — they typically do not supply such figures until later in the year — and so no figure was factored into the education budget.

The Independent Budget Office, however, estimated $51 million in costs for the new schools — a figure that city officials did not dispute — which partly accounts for the disparity in estimates of anticipated school cuts.

Charter schools are public in that they receive public financing for students’ education, but operate their schools independent of the Education Department bureaucracy.

According to the Independent Budget Office report, the city could spend approximately $830 million on charter schools next year, including the expansion of schools that are already operating. If a similar number of charter schools were to open in 2013 — the mayor has pledged to open 50 before he leaves office — costs would continue to increase beyond the city’s projections, the report states.

Charter schools, along with special education programs, pension contributions and transportation, represent an increasing cost for the city’s Education Department, which outpaces any additional money that the city has added to the overall department’s overall budget, the report says. That means while the budget will climb again, to $19.6 billion next year, individual schools’ allocations are expected, at best, to stay the same.

The city is also opening 30 new public schools next year, which it has estimated will cost $12 million.

LI Student Chokes Teacher Over Cellphone; Telling Policy Failure

The New York Daily News reports that this week a high school student put a teacher in a chokehold when he told him to turn down the music.

And how did this situation come to be? Administrators teach students an essential lessons, "Rules don't apply to you if you are a student." They doggedly refuse to confiscate cellphones and other electronics. And students get to listen to teachers' request to hand over the personal electronics or shut them off. They get a good derisive laugh at the powerless teacher. This is a win-win: the child gets away with continuing to be disruptive, and the diminished classroom attention lowers the performance. BINGO! Ammo to get rid of the teacher. --Bad test scores, you know.
One suspects whether Elmont administrators back-slide on confiscating cellphones as they do in New York City. In the latter, giant signs tell students no personal electronics. And administrators over and over and over ignore the infractions.

"Long Island teacher choked after telling student to turn down music from cell phone: Teenager busted in attack on 50-year-old Elmont teacher
A student
was walking through the hallways of Elmont High School when the 50-year-old teacher told him to mute the music.

When Hameed refused, the teacher confiscated the phone — and the student responded by knocking the older man to the floor and putting him in a chokehold.

And parents join in on the attack on teachers, literally. This story from California, "MUSD – Parent Assaults Teacher at John Muir Elementary in Martinez."
the teacher, according to several parents of students in the classroom, apparently wouldn’t let a child use his/her cell phone, and when the mother of the child found out, she came to school and allegedly verbally & physically assaulted the teacher.

And some schools coddle the phone-addiction hobbled students by caving and fantasizing that they can be productively used in class. Can you say NAIVE!?!? Think of all the phone-monitoring that the teacher must do. So much time lost. The cost-benefit analysis shows that this is a waste of time.

This blog's gripe is an issue with you? Well, if so, dump all state tests. Don't hold teachers to that fire when parents shower kids with electronics, instill no self-restraint in the kids, and have parent and child-terrified administrators flee from enforcing any standards of restraint of using personal electronics.

Download GEM's Opt out of Testing Flyer

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Can You Afford Not to Join the State of the Union [UFT] March 10 Meeting?

The United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew made a historic capitulation to the city, ceding the ground on evaluations, instead of challenging the flawed thinking behind them. This catastrophe sell-out will mean that Mayor Michael Bloomberg will realize his dream of eliminating half the teaching force. Members looking at Mulgrew's agreement with Mayor Michael Bloomberg are scratching their heads, asking questions, like who will decide who will be among the 13 percent of unsatisfactory ratings that get appealed? Unity clique cronies?
The UFT under the Unity caucus has pursued flawed strategies of agitating via court cases, instead of mobilizing its members or educating the public as to the realities behind education policy controversies. The UFT leadership has not countered the ideological yellow journalism or the privatizing objectives that it serves; instead it has conceded the agenda, and at times has incorporated the ideology. The result: the members are isolated, without leadership on arguments versus the ideological trends. And especially in the past two weeks, with no outlet for regular expression or action, the members are likely demoralized.

Members can act and can avoid dejection. Teachers of different viewpoints are uniting to save the union and save the profession. For, the UFT's capitulation actions jeopardize the viability of teaching as a profession beyond a two to three year stint after college.

A new blog has gone live at Check it out for regular updates and info on the State of the Union conference, photos from Fightback Friday, and beyond.
But do not merely read blogs, liking something on facebook or signing an online petition. ACT!!! Do not mourn; act to change the union: organize and mobilize.

As EdNotes online astutely wrote Monday,
*The UFT/Unity leadership's prime directive is to hold onto power at any cost.
*Understanding this basic fact is crucial for any potential opposition.
*If there were a real opposition force within the UFT to challenge Unity, the UFT would not be taking the positions it has.

The progressives' prime task ahead is to say NO to these dictates.



MARCH 10: 10 AM - 4 PM
Address: Graduate Center for Workers Education, 25 Broadway, New York, NY
1 or R trains to Rector Street, or 4 or 5 trains to Bowling Green

On February 4, over 200 people attended State of the Union – Part 1, featuring 15 workshops focusing on issues facing the UFT in the age of ed deform.

That was only the beginning.

Join us on March 10 to help plan the next steps in moving our union forward, and unite those who came together on February 4th into a common organization.

As the UFT and NYSUT agree to an evaluation system that requires 40% of evaluations to be based on state or local high stakes tests, mandates unannounced observations, and allows for an independent appeal on only 13% of first time ineffective ratings, it becomes even more urgent to discuss how we can build a movement in our union to fight for an alternative to the concessionary approach.

We are asking for a $5-$10 contribution at the door to pay for expenses incurred for this event.

Childcare available upon email request before Thursday 3/8:

For more info, find the State of the Union-Part 2 on Facebook or email

Flyer for distribution at your school: email

Here are some questions that will be discussed:

What should the organizing priorities of union activists be right now?
What are some basic points of unity that bring us together?
What strategies and tactics can achieve the change we want to see?
What is a union caucus?
How could one be democratically structured to include the diverse political and pedagogical views among our membership?
How can our rank and file chapters be more organized?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Polls Could Suggest Militants are Winning War vs NYC Mayor

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) basks in the glory of polls showing more public trust in the UFT than in New York City's Department of Education.
Has the UFT leadership ever considered that those that did the ground-breaking work to expose the DOE's lies and policy outrages have been the dissidents outside the Unity clique controlling the union?
The union is winning the war of public opinion; and the dissidents are probably the ones that spurred this turning of the tide.

The wrath of school communities: At a Feb. 9 PEP meeting at Brooklyn Tech HS, over 2,000 teachers, students, parents and supporters from 23 closing schools packed the room to the rafters, putting the city on notice that it is failing its communities.

A round-up of the mayor's F rating in the public opinion polls, as reported in New York newspapers:
See in the NY Times ( re Quinnipiac poll:
in Daily News:

NYC Rubber Room reporter, drawing from a January 17, 2012 New York Post story: "Mayor Mike Booed...NYC Just Doesn't Like Him (With Good Reason): He’s Mayor Boo!berg"

Students revolting vs Walcott at Bronx School meeting, from the Daily News:
School organizers were forced to abruptly end a meeting at a Bronx high school Tuesday night when it was interrupted by angry students, causing Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to leave. Students at Evander Childs in Williamsbridge jumped from their seats, yelling about the city’s “failed education policies.” The students disrupted the meeting about a half-hour after it began, saying it was payback for a meeting last week at Herbert H. Lehman High School, where students were only allowed 30 seconds to speak about their closing school. “They don’t even care about what we say,” said student Jesse Aponter, a junior at Lehman. After a five-minute attempt to calm the rowdy crowd, the meeting was adjourned and Walcott left.
Read more: "Dennis Walcott leaves meeting at Bronx high school after angry students interrupt him: Students yelled about city’s 'failed education policies'," Daily News, February 1, 2012.