Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Parent activist Lisa Donlan leads Real Reformers at the mic at the PEP
The first of a bunch of reports - check Gotham for more links
How am I going to be able to manage the wealth of information related to the Cathie Black nomination for chancellor and last night's PEP meeting? The best thing about last night were the wonderful Real Reformers with their red RR capes. There was lots of press around to tape them but let's see if any of it gets on the air. Of course we have footage - lots of it.

There's a Delegate Assembly today, followed by the Gotham Schools fund raising party - they were trying to get Black to make an appearance, which I doubt. But if she was as smart as they say she is and had any clue at all she would get her ass in there and try to charm the pants off everyone. But I bet she has no clue as to what Gotham is or the importance it occupies in the local and national ed world. Which is why I sent in my hundred bucks but intend to eat at least double that amount. But if by some miracle Black were to show without paying, I'm going to take home a doggie bag.

But first I have to stop by the UFT for the DA. YAWN! I didn't even waste time and money putting together an Ed Notes. I'm only going for social reasons. I could stop by Evan and Sydney's E4E party (which conflicts with the Gotham event) with DOE officials coming to talk about how value added ratings for teachers will add 20 years to their life expectancy but you have to sign a loyalty oath swearing allegiance to merit pay and bowing down to the VA gods before you can get in. I was going to write more but I turned that story over to my pals at Gotham, who have been way too solicitous towards Evan and Sydney, who are clearly backed by the Tilson/Murdoch types of the world as they try to undermine the teachers union, which has been doing a great job of undermining itself.

Here's a report from Harold, a teacher at John Dewey HS -with the photo above -  about last night's meeting: See more photos here: 
The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) is the school board arm of the Dept of Education (DOE). Some would say a puppet school board, they serve under the Chancellor. PEP holds these public meetings throughout the year in all the 5 boroughs. Tonight was Brooklyn's turn. The meeting was held in the magnificent auditorium of Brooklyn Tech High School in Fort Green.

Tonight's meeting had a lot of controversy surrounding it. They had to deal with a resolution that dealt with Mayor Bloomberg's pick for Chancellor, Catherine Black. 
Since Ms Black has no background or experience in Public Education, she must receive a waiver before she can take the job. 
There was a resolution on the table to allow the PEP be the sole entity that can issue such a waiver. Otherwise the mayor alone could issue the waiver. 
It was put to a vote and rather then stand up to the mayor and demand someone who is an educator to run the DOE, the PEP folded like a cheap suit and voted the resolution down giving away their power to the billionaire mayor. 
The public was invited to speak and most speakers objected to the choice of Ms. Black and complained about the state of public education under outgoing Chancellor Joel Klein.
There was a lot of frustration in the air because all the public attendees who were advocating for better schools knew their words would be forgotten by members of the PEP board as soon as they step back into their limos. 
City government in action once again. Ha!

Harold also shot a video of last week's Fight Back Friday rally at Dewey:
Fight Back Fridays Video from Nov 12th.

Sol Stern has a great piece running at The City Journal. Oh what fun to see Sol, who used to support all the ed deform crap in a previous life - along with his pal Diane Ravitch - use one of the bastions of right wing NYC journalism to take down Bloomberg and the Black appointment - though Sol, can you write one piece without hocking us with your phonics?

To give the mayor his due, this description of qualifications for the chancellor’s job is consistent with everything he has said since taking over the schools in 2002. Bloomberg always insisted that the managerial and entrepreneurial skills needed to run a successful private-sector company were perfectly applicable to the task of improving the schools. And that renders moot the question of whether Black needs to know anything about education and instruction. The national adulation that Bloomberg has received (some of it self-generated) for his “breakthrough” school reforms has obviously confirmed him in this fundamental belief.
Though significant doubts have now surfaced about the extent of academic gains made by the city’s students during the Bloomberg era, there is little question that Gotham has become the nation’s most visible example of what I have previously called the “incentivist” approach to education reform. For education incentivists, what matters most is efficient management, backed by a series of internal market interventions to maximize the productivity of the workforce (that is, teachers and principals), which will produce better results (higher test scores). The issues related to instruction don’t factor in the equation. Since Bloomberg clearly remains convinced that Klein, a chancellor without a background in education, oversaw eight years of achievement gains simply by creating the proper incentives, there’s no reason for him to believe that Black ought to know, say, the difference between phonics and whole language.
And you may have hears rumors of a very public hug between Joel Klein and myself - I'm still way behind Randi in the number Klein hugs. Julie Cavanagh ran over to take over the camera and made sure to get the video. I was going to burn it but it is being processed now. More later on the reaction of my pals, who sent over hand cleaner, told me they wouldn't go near me until I took a shower and generally shunned me for the rest of the night. They're just haters.

At Randi's last Executive Board meeting in July 2009, she also spoke about how she would miss me and we shared a big hug, which George Schmidt, in town for the week, tried to capture on his camera but was a second too late. The point I tried to make to both Randi and Klein is that my opposition to them is political, not personal - though Randi always tried to paint it that way.

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