Forced segregation.


We just came back from a long weekend in New York. Brooklyn mainly.

As diverse a city as Chicago is, it is hard to imagine any city in the world as diverse as New York. It is one of its many glories.

We spent most of Tuesday with our grandkids who were out of school because it was a professional development day for teachers. As my seven-year old grandson ran around a playground with his grandmother, my twelve-year-old granddaughter and I walked and chatted about the usual things: Life, school and friends.

To get to school she takes a train and then a bus, she explained. The parents of the kids from other neighborhoods and who go to her school have arranged for them to ride the train together. They wait for their train and meet up in the conductor’s car.

Her elementary school was mainly African American, she told me. Her middle school is more white and Asian.  We talked some more about her experiences with race and attitudes toward Gay students. She struggles with how to deal with what she perceives as the bigotry of some of her classmates.

It was a big-issue conversation I can only imagine having with a kid from a big diverse city like Chicago or New York.

While I was in New York the schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, came out against what she called “forced integration.”

Stepping into a charged debate over school segregation on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Chancellor Carmen Fariña said Wednesday that while diversity benefits all students, integration should not be forced on families.

I was reminded of similar statements from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Whatever we can do to continue to increase integration in a voluntary way—I don’t think you could force these kinds of things—we want to be very, very thoughtful and to try to do more in that area quite frankly.

What is the problem with these alleged education leaders? What is it with their obsession with the imaginary threat of forced integration?

Carmen Fariña was responding to parents who wanted changes to district boundaries so that overcrowded schools would be less overcrowded. This could only happen if the schools are integrated. She refused to support the boundary change when she made her “forced integration” argument.

When Fariña and Duncan take their shots at what they call forced integration I wonder what America they think they live in.  The American history I know is one of forced segregation – legal forced segregation of schools until Brown v. Board of Education – de facto forced segregation in the years since.

In 1954 the Supreme Court decided forced segregation hurts the students of color who are segregated.

That is still true.

Richard Rothstein, responding to Arne Duncan’s forced integration remarks, wrote:

He stated that we should “increase integration in a voluntary way—I don’t think you could force these kinds of things.” Secretary Duncan is young (only 48 years old) and may not realize that in 20th century discussions of integration, “voluntary” was a code word for massive resistance to desegregation, and saying you can’t “force these kind of things” was the most common rationale for maintenance of black subjugation.

We know that segregated schools hurt children of color.

Who does integration hurt?

Carmen Fariña and Arne Duncan should take a walk with my granddaughter in the park and have a talk.

They could learn a few things.

Watching from a distance. NY teacher evaluation blows up. Updated.


New York’s bully-boy Mayor.

Watching from a distance, I responded with a smile when I heard that the negotiations over teacher evaluations between the UFT and New York’s Mayor Bloomberg blew up yesterday.

Governor Cuomo had put a deadline for an agreement to evaluate teachers based on student test scores, a stupid idea to be sure.

We’ve covered that territory before.

Cuomo threatened that without an agreement the city schools would be denied $250 million.

Now some in the NY press are screaming that the teachers (read the Union) cost the schools all that money.

Not that $250 million is chump change. But really it is.

It’s probably not much more than the total value of all of Bloomberg’s homes.

Here’s a question: Why should adequate funding of New York’s public schools be dependent on an evaluation agreement between Bloomberg and the teachers?

NY teachers have been without a contract since 2009, before Bloomberg’s re-election.

Many of my NY friends were justifiably concerned that UFT President Michael  Mulgrew and the UFT leadership would cave to the bully-boy Mayor on this.

You can read UFT leader Leo Casey’s description of the bargaining here.

Maybe we can thank Bloomberg for being too big a jerk for even that to happen.

NY’s Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) which organized a street protest of the deal yesterday, said :

The passing of the January 17 deadline for a new evaluation agreement is not an ending but a beginning. Now the DOE will work overtime to spin doctor the failure to reach an agreement on new teacher evaluations, mandated by New York State’s version of Race to the Top, as the fault of Michael Mulgrew and union leadership. This despite the fact that every indication shows it was Bloomberg who failed to negotiate in good faith.

While we applaud the UFT leadership for standing their ground, the MORE Caucus has no intention of giving up the fight to prevent our teachers and students from being given over to the standardized testing regime. We know there will be efforts in the future to convert our schools into low-level thinking factories and our teachers into low-skilled, low-paid bureaucratic functionaries.

The call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad.

Today we start a week of ISAT testing. I’m just sayin’.

In New York, Bloomberg is threatening to layoff thousands of teachers. Some schools would lose half their faculty.

Union leaders dismissed the layoff document as a scare tactic from Bloomberg, who last year called off planned teacher layoffs.

Teachers union President Michael Mulgrew – who supports the current seniority rules – rejected the projections as “fear-mongering from Mayor Bloomberg” and “irresponsible.”

“With a $3 billion budget surplus, he doesn’t need to do layoffs at all,” Mulgrew said about the unexpected boost in tax revenues.

Says JD2718:

He is trying to line up political support and public opinion against seniority. It is a fraud because layoffs are not necessary. The money is there. He wants this crisis.

Says NYC Educator:

This is a man who’s made his motto “Children First.” How does he put children first? Apparently, by letting them know precisely which of their teachers are to be fired. Likely he will explain how getting rid of an objective layoff system will reduce the layoffs–by targeting higher-paid teachers he will be able to retain a higher number of them.


Innaharda, ehna kullina Misryeen! “Egypt is NY!”

I was down on the floor doing my morning crunches. I don’t usually watch Morning Joe on MSNBC, but I was hoping to see some pictures from Cairo. Instead I heard Chris Matthews say he was ashamed to be an American because we are deserting our friend.

His friend is Hosni Mubarak.

Whether or not the US is deserting Mubarak remains to be seen. But I watch the Egyptians, maybe a million, in Liberation Square, and I know that they are my friends.

Not that old dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

Matthews can see young people in the streets, risking death for freedom on the one hand, and see an old tyrant of 30 years on the other?  And then identify with the tyrant and not the young people?

Innaharda, ehna kullina Misryeen!

Today, we are all Egyptians.

In Fort Greene, Brooklyn a crowd of several hundred students and families chanted and sang out in the cold as panel of Mayor Bloomberg’s friends voted to close 12 more schools.

The NY Times says that closing schools is the signature policy of the Bloomberg administration. What a legacy!

The seven-foot, blue-eyed beaver mascot in a red Jamaica High School sweatshirt bobbed his head above teachers and parents chanting, “Whose schools? Our schools!”

Many protesters said they knew that their shouting would not change how the panel voted.

Above them, a 12-foot-high JumboTron screen, set up outside Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, broadcast rock-music video montages of past protests to a crowd of hundreds. 

Students blew whistles, rang cowbells and shouted, “Save our schools.” Christopher Martinez, 16, held up a sign with the words “Egypt is N.Y.,” in a nod to the continuing pro-democracy protests there. “We want to show that our voices can be heard here, too,” he said.

Bronx principal sexually harrasses teachers. Klein says, “So what?”

Thursday protest at Fordham Leadership Academy.

From JD2718:

It’s time to say something. The problem has been there for years. Just last June, the Daily News reported, but nothing’s been done.

Fordham Leadership Academy has a problem – Principal, Richard Bost

Fordham Leadership Academy has another problem – Tweed protects Bost

Informational Picket /Thursday, September 16 / 3:45 – 4:45 / Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology / 500 E Fordham Road /  the Bronx (former Theodore Roosevelt building)

Principal Richard Bost has created an unpleasant work environment

Accused of mishandling funds, but rumored to have received just a letter to file (a mere slap on the wrist)

Multiple accusations of sexual harassment, unwanted touching, and worse- extending over several years, and continuing to today

Accusations that staff who refused his advances have faced retaliation – undesirable assignments, lost programs, disciplinary action, and derogatory ratings

The Office of Equal Opportunity found that he had engaged in sexual harassment.

After the OEO finding, Bost was removed, BUT TWEED PUT HIM BACK

Support Fordham Leadership Academy Staff!

Hands off our staff and teachers!

Remove Bost from supervising anyone!

Informational Picket

Thursday, September 163:45 – 4:45

In front of Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology

3000 E Fordham Road, the Bronx (former Theodore Roosevelt building)

Stop by, even for ten minutes

show Klein we are watching  –  show staff that we support them.

1,000 NY students walkout to protest Metro card cutback.

At least a thousand NY public school students hit the streets of Gotham to protest the plan to eliminate free Metro cards.

The millionaire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, was unmoved. As usual, his only concern was test scores.

“If I were them, I’d just think long and hard someday,” he said. “If I didn’t pass a test, I’d always go back and wonder, ‘Was it that afternoon when I was trying to be cute and be out there and picketing was better than being in class?'”

Bloomberg gets what he wants. Vote at 3AM to shutter schools.

Last night, in the early hours of the morning actually, NY’s Mayor Bloomberg had his minions vote to close 19 public schools. Thousands had shown up at the meeting where the vote was to be taken, but only a hundred or so were left when the vote actually took place at 3AM. This, of course, was the plan.

JD comments:

So today or tomorrow our union will haul them into court. Is the UFT seeking an injunction?  To nullify the vote? Sometimes I know this sort of stuff in advance. Today, I don’t. Maybe there are details of the law that will help us.

And none of this is really a surprise. Except maybe winning the SI vote on the procedural delay (didn’t matter) and all four major boroughs on the big vote (last month I was sure about only Manhattan and the Bronx).

But at 3 in the morning it was mayoral dictatorship, and this morning’s sun is not (yet?) the dawn of a new day.

Bloomberg declares war on tenure and teachers’ union.

On Tuesday it is expected that President Obama will dramatically escalate the war in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 more troops “to finish the job” most Americans don’t believe can be finished.

Yesterday, NY’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, standing alonside Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, dramatically escalated the war on teacher unions. Ignoring the collective bargaining process and the laws of the state of New York, Bloomberg declared that he would act to make test scores the basis for New York public school teachers’ tenure and employment rights.

The NY Times reports:

The Bloomberg administration contends that it already has the power to use test scores in tenure decisions. But, he said that the Legislature should require all districts in the state to evaluate teachers and principals with “data-driven systems,” one of the factors Mr. Duncan will use in deciding which states will receive Race to the Top grants.

The mayor also said the state should allow teacher layoffs based on performance rather than seniority, as they are now. It is a particularly crucial topic now, because the city may face large budget cuts and potential layoffs.

How obvious that even the pro-Bloomberg Times knows that this action by the New York mayor of laying off more experienced and therefore more expensive teachers has more to do with budgets than it does with quality education. Only the union stands in the way of the Bloomberg/Duncan agenda.

And what will the union do?

Michael Mulgrew, the president of the city’s teacher union, said he was “very, very disappointed” in the tone of the mayor’s speech.

He did not rule out filing a lawsuit once the details of the mayor’s plan have been fleshed out.

He said that using the test scores was a poor way to measure teachers, citing criticism that the tests have become too easy, with so many students showing large improvement that they have lost their meaning as gauges of learning.

“How do we constructively fix that instead of saying let’s play political agenda and propaganda?” Mr. Mulgrew asked.

There is a lot more wrong here than just “tone,” and it will take more than a lawsuit to fight this battle. And believe me, this is not just New York’s battle to fight.