After the mingling, we were finally introduced to Ms. Eva Moskowitz for a question and answering session. She was introduced by one of her associates before coming out and speaking to her prospective employees. Ms. Moskowitz gave a little dossier on her life. She was born and raised in District 5 and clearly stated that the schools were bad then as they are now. She is married with 3 children and once her children started school, she became concerned about the schooling for her children I was not actually writing so much down at this point. I did not want to look so conspicuous.
Since Ms. Moskowitz was looking for schools for her children, she decided to make a network to create a system for other children (but we've heard this before). Ms. Moskowitz told everyone that it irritates her to no end when the media describes her organization as a test- prep factory or sweat shop factory for high test scores. Ms. Moskowitz said, 'This is slander, how dare they say that?" She also told everyone that teachers unions do not like her (gee, I wonder why). Ms. Moskowitz also gets pissed (she actually used the word pissed) when teachers and administrators start speak in Edu-speak. She can't understand why a teacher has to teach a child to say, "Lets make a text to text connection. Ms. Moskowitz doesn't understand why the child can not learn to say, "This story reminds me of a time or of another book....".
My Commentary: BELOW THE FOLD
For the Q & A session and listening to Eva, the one thing that I was actually impressed with was that Eva is a pretty honest and direct person. By no means in that I am softening but this is probably the one positive thing about Eva Moskowitz. The impression that I perceived was that she seems to be honest and direct and does not have a problem telling people who likes and does not like her. It also seems that she is a no-nonsense individual who says exactly what is on her mind, regardless if she is right or wrong. She is also pretty open with using certain slang, for example using the word, 'pissed.'. In my years in the profession, I have never heard a professional use the word pissed to a large group audience. I am guessing this is what makes her a politician and what got to take public school funding from the NYC Dept of Ed.
Then came the questions and answers session with Ms. Moskowitz. One teacher who works for the DOE in a 3 grade CTT asked about support services for special education students. Ms. Moskowitz explained that her network provides some services but not enough for many severe concerns. She said that there are times when there are students in her schools who are so emotionally disturbed and they do not belong in HSA. It was also mentioned that they do not have psychologists and social workers to help support these children. Eva then stated to the prospective employees that sometimes you have to "eventually throw in the towel and say, 'There is nothing we can do anymore and they need to go". Ms. Moskowitz also explained that parents would come back and ask, 'How come my child is not learning?". The HSA response would often say or think, "Have you tried teaching this child with all of these severe concerns?".
Another prospective employee asked about funding and where the money comes from. Ms. Moskowitz explained that most of the money comes from the DOE and when Joel Klein was chancellor, it was a lot easier to receive as much money as she wanted. However, Eva also explained that when Cathie Black was chancellor, it was more difficult to receive money from the DOE because when 1 person doesn't exactly know what they are doing, things were not always done and more people had to go asking around in order to allocate the money to Eva's network. Eva also said that she was pissed (yes, she really used the word pissed at this recruitment function) that she does not get the same equitable funding for her students that the DOE gives to their students. Each student in HSA is worth about $13,500 and each NYC public school student is worth about $22,000. Its sick how children are numbers, objects and money now. Meanwhile, I wish I or someone else asked why she thinks its okay to take public school funding away from the children in New York City for her schools? Why can't she go somewhere else for the money? Or I should really say, we know that the network is receiving money from elsewhere, so why does she need public school funding money? Instead of putting the money into her sham schools, the money can go into providing all public schools the resources and accommodations that they need in order to succeed.
Eva also explained how she wants her teachers and principals to always stay connected to the parents. She admitted that she hates waiting on the phone when when she has to call her childrens' school and the secretaries put her on hold. So each staff member has their own cell phone. Ms. Moskowitz also does not understand why the DOE has a policy why its not okay to send children out for recess when its below 30 degrees. Her reasoning is that "children love to play outside regardless and love the snow. Why can't they catch snowflakes on their tongues? This is what children do." She called the public school teachers lazy,tired and just did not feel like taking their students outside to play.
(My commentary- its also important that children are not outside for long periods of time when its below or even above temperature for safety reasons. It is also not a NYC policy but for many school districts in New York State. As a pre-k teacher, I took the children outside almost everyday, weather permitting. Her comment was also offensive to many teachers all over New York State).
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