Sunday, January 23, 2011

Good Riddance to Nadelstern


I hate Bloomberg. But he brought a smile to my little face as he butchered Nadelstern’s name, when he announced that Cathie Black would be promoted over him, and then when he announced that Nadelstern’s deputy would be also promoted over him......He knew what his subordinates did not – he knew that the progress reports were garbage, that quality review was disruptive, that shutting and reopening schools was destabilizing without benefit. He knew that he was doing harm, and he did it anyway."- blogger JD2718

These comments also brought a smile to my face - exposing the hypocrite professional educators who have sold out to ed deform for career advancement.

I know very little about Eric Nadelstern but as a rabid supporter of ed deform he was on the wrong side. When I heard he resigned while riding the subway yesterday heading to the Fight Back Friday press conf at Tweed, I said to myself, "Good." All these slime supporters of Klein who gave up their principles - Nadelstern was once considered a progressive educator who opposed standardized testing - deserve what they get. I hope Cathie Black replaces him with a figure skater.

Gotham has an exclusive interview with Nadelstern - but with no follow-up questions to deal with so many points raised in the comment section. Too bad he wasn't asked how he could in all conscience support an Iris Blige as principal or so many Principal Academy horror stories.

Unreal made the most comprehensive comment laying out all of Nadelstern's "crimes."
Eric solely destroyed the large high schools which served its communities. He single handily removed neighborhoods from their schools and forced children to select specific schools nowhere near their communities. Parents, students, and community leaders gave up fights for THEIR local schools because NO ONE was going here. Brilliant plan for destruction! Now you have high 342 high schools, some of which include 6 in one building. Imagine 1 auditorium and 1 gymnasium with 6 separate principals and schools. Auditorium events are being booked 2 years ahead of time at my CAMPUS MODEL SCHOOL.
Thanks Eric ….. For destroying the competitiveness between rivals and the historical battles between schools which was healthy and exciting for communities. We now have NONE! The only two systems nearby that De-zone schools are NYC and Yonkers. Everyone knows you don’t buy a house in Yonkers if you’re starting a family because of the school system. Eric is the mastermind of demolishing the foundation built in all 5 boroughs! He also is responsible for the ridiculous quality review which grades a school. You know it's BOGUS because last year the entire South Bronx school area received A’s and just one year later, they all dropped to C’s. How’s that possible? They realized it's improperly graded and false. He’s also responsible for NETWORKS. Why doesn’t Gotham do a piece on “What a Network is and does?” Nobody knows the answer to that because they don’t do anything except have retreats once a year where 23 year olds explain how to teach.
The truth will NEVER come out because people don’t want to hear it! People know what’s really happening! Schools are having hearings on closure while schools replacing them already know they’re coming in. You have the answers BEFORE the hearings! Where are the write-ups on this here on GOTHAM? People don’t want to talk about it because its EMBARRASSING!!
(I had similar words at the Jamaica HS hearing the other night that I directed at Queens HS Superintendent Juan Mendez, also a supposed respected educator. See the video I referenced at the top:
I wish all these gutless educators would leave - they know what they have done.)

Michael Fiorillo said
The entire purpose of breaking up the comprehensive high schools - not that there weren’t many of them that were challenged and needed help, help they were systematically deprived  of - was to divert resources away from students and the classroom, and towards administration, to break up senior faculties that were often centers of opposition to those same administrative follies and UFT complicity with them, and to destroy the neighborhood school as an institution.
Nadelstern was a bona fide educator, who helped start and administer an excellent school (Queens International HS), but that legacy is overshadowed by the immense destruction that resulted from his service to the hostile takeover of the schools.. 
Here are JD2718's similar comments on Nadelstern
January 21, 2011
by jd2718
Were he an idiot, his passing would not merit mention. But he was a real educator. Smart. Clever. Rumor made him a good principal, but that was ages ago. And he used his experience – not to help the system, but to tear it down.

His mass-produced mini-disaster schools (or rather, Nadelstern failure academies) captured Gates money for his cronies, while accelerating a downward spiral in the high schools in the Bronx. His role in structuring and restructuring and Empowering bureaucracy (while disempowering parents and educators and whole communities) allowed him to advance his own career by pushing around and punishing those who had the audacity to be poor or to teach those who were poor.
Full piece at: Nothing became Nadelstern in the DoE as his leaving it
Leonie Haimson also had some comments on Nadelstern on her listserve, where some people were praising him for what he once was:
Not having known the “good” Eric, pre-Klein, and not sure what the relevance that has to what his record over the last eight years, I can say this:

Nadelstern was indeed partly responsible for the fiasco that led to the new small schools being able to exclude our neediest students, taking disproportionate resources and space from the large schools, and helping to bring about their demise .

But a lot of other people were involved and implicated in that effort as well, including Michelle Cahill, Bob Hughes of New Visions, the Gates Foundation and others too numerous to mention .

On the other hand, as far as I know, Eric was primarily responsible for one of the worst ideas implemented at DOE under Klein: principal empowerment. This benign-sounding concept came to mean that principals were empowered to cheat, misuse funds, and abuse staff and students – as long as test scores went up.

I was at several CPAC meetings at which parents complained bitterly to Eric about the lawless and destructive behavior of their principals, who were let loose without any supervision as a result of the elimination of the district structure and the disempowering of superintendents.

This included parents relating how they had been barred from their children’s school, even though they were PTA or SLT members, because they had complained about the fact that the school’s “fair student funding” supplement had been used to redecorate the principal’s office (which use of those funds, by the way, was just fine with DOE.)

Nadelstern’s response was always “email me and I’ll look into it” which wore a little thin when parents said they had emailed him many times already, without any acknowledgement or reply.

For the predictable results of this destructive and wrong-headed policy, see the recent TAPco scandals, the school which has earned the top-ratings of any school in the city, based entirely on cheating and fraud.

An even worse example is how Iris Blige, a graduate of the Leadership Academy, has been left in charge of the Fordham High School of the Arts, despite a scathing report by the DOE’s own Office of Special Investigations, which found she had forced Assistant principals to give “U” ratings to teachers who dared disagree with her policies, and how she had sent teachers who resisted her unfair practices to the “rubber room”, leading to huge teacher and AP turnover at her school.

There are countless other examples of these kind of abusive principals, many of them trained at the Leadership Academy, who have been empowered and even encouraged to target teachers who dare protest their tyrannical decisions by giving them “U”s . These are the same principals, by the way, that the DOE and Cathie Black argue should be able to fire any teacher they want, and deny tenure to those who have gotten “U”s, regardless of their experience level or actual teaching ability. .

As (retired Bronx HS District Rep) Lynne Winderbaum writes on the GS website,

Principals like Blige who ruin lives, ruin careers, rule by fear and intimidation. Signaling the robotic foolishness of Cathie Blacks talking points, Blige is an example of how the dedicated, vibrant, caring new teachers that Black wants to save from layoffs are the ones whose careers were cut short by the vindictiveness of this principal. Bishop, Hidalgo, Street, Troy, all popular and well-liked young teachers, were cut down early in their promising careers. On one occasion a student at the school asked me “why does Ms. Blige get rid of all our favorite teachers?”

So harsh were the conditions under her tyranny that from 2007-2008 she had a turnover rate of 70.5%. Dozens of teachers have left every year since 2004 because of this principal. Of the more than a dozen APs in her school in fewer than since 2004, at least ten have left many testifying against her in this investigation and others. Evaluations, which are designed to improve instruction in the classroom, were being instead subverted into a tool to intimidate teachers and stifle dissent.

The fact that the DOE doesn’t terminate Blige should serve as a dire warning for anyone who believes that the can evaluate leadership for our schools. Principals like Iris Blige are not instructional leaders but people who maintain their power by using their authority to rate staff to impose their will.

Iris Blige who, when she was not giving out unjust ratings and firing new teachers, was sending them to the rubber room for petty or no reason.

A former UFT chapter leader, Rick Coscia, spent two years on trumped up charges which were ultimately dropped. Fannie Davis, a twenty-seven year award- winning teacher, spent two years on an allegation coerced from AP Ahmed Edwards. There were never any charges, investigation, or decision. Her “crime” was that she exercised her right to file a Step 2 grievance for improper excessing. When she returned from the hearing, Blige had her promptly shipped to the rubber room by forcing Edwards to say Davis threatened her or she would deny him tenure.

Blige claimed that Raqnel James also threatened her. After an unblemished eight-year teaching career, this beloved teacher found herself facing deportation when Blige falsely charged her as well. The District Attorney has now asked for twelve postponements over two years as James is dragged through the court system.

After over 400 students, teachers, and even administrators demonstrated against her in March 2009, she threatened every student who participated. She sent a guidance counselor to tell them they would not get their diplomas. She told them they could not participate in student activities. She threw one girl off the School Leadership Team. Robert Small, the OSI investigator was given a list of 13 such students to interview.

The result? A fine. Good luck NYC.”

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