Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Keith Wright Has Had Enough of Mayoral Control -- Don't You Wish Mulgrew Channels Keith

Interesting.  As I recall, Wright supported Basil Smikle's pro-charter challenge to Bill Perkins in the last State Senate primary.
In a message dated 1/31/2012 7:12:14 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, leonie@att.net writes:

Schoolyard Showdown

Keith Wright Wants To Take Control of City Schools Away From Mayor Bloomberg

By Hunter Walker 1/30 1:11pm
Keith Wright (Photo: NYS Assembly)
Assemblyman Keith Wright said the Department of Educatio n’s plan to close the middle school at Wadleigh Secondary School of Performing Arts is the final straw that has convinced him to propose a bill that would repeal mayoral control of city public schools.
“People are up in arms. They are quite frankly tired of the dictatorial and despotic policies coming out of City Hall where they just arbitrarily and capriciously decide that they’re going to close schools,” Mr. Wright told The Politicker. “This is the Alamo as far as I’m concerned right now. This is the absolute Alamo and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Mr. Wright brought up the issue at fellow Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell’s town hall meeting on 147th Str eet Friday night where he described attending last week’s rally against the Wadleigh middle school closure.
“I made a rather emotional statement. I said that I am ready tomorrow or Monday to go up to Albany and to repeal mayoral control, because we have been through too much,” Mr. Wright said. “I’ve had enough of this mayor in so many ways and I’ve had enough of mayoral control of our schools. So, you may see a bill coming out of my office to repeal mayoral control very, very soon.”
Mr. Farrell said he would co-sponsor the bill and Councilman Robert Jackson, who also attended the meeting, said he would propose a Council resolution in support of the bill.
After the meeting, Mr. Wright explained to us why he opposes the Wadleigh middle school closure.
“This is a good school, it’s a school that was not failing. It had just received an ‘A’ rating no less than three years ago, and then, they took away well over a half-a-million dollars from the school. Thus, its rating went down to a ‘C,’” Mr. Wright said. “I have no doubt that the mayor wants to phase out the school and put in a charter school. I have nothing against charter schools, I just think they need to find their own edifices.”
Mr. Wright said he definitely plans to follow through on the plan to introduce a bill repealing mayoral control of schools.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The sooner, the better.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012


This might be a wonderful way to bring yourself up to speed with the many issues
our public schools are currently facing.  A way to better understand the complex connections between testing, charter schools and the teacher's union.  Learn from experienced and informed teachers, parents and education activists who have been battling these issues for years.  Their experience will help shed light on the past and give direction toward the future.  

----Janine Sopp, parent, member of GEM


Greetings GEM Membership,
If you are in the NYC area next Saturday, Feb 4, make sure to register and attend the State of the Union Conference.  This conference is being organized  by rank and file teachers and parents allies. Mayor Bloomberg declared war on our union and on public education in his State of the Union speech last week. Now more than ever is the time to rebuild a fightback inside our unions. Join with teachers, community members, students, parents at this conference to create the union we need!
Register in advance for the discounted rate of $10 which will be used to pay for the space and childcare. Day of event will is $15.
On line registration is at
http://stateoftheunionconference.eventbrite.comScholarships/Info: stateoftheunionfeb4@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you next Saturday, Feb 4th at the State of the Union Conference.

The State of the UNION Conference

Saturday, February 4th, 2012 

10:00 am to 4:00 pm

at The Graduate Center for Worker Education

Public education is under attack! 

Stand up, fight back!

As educators we are strongest when our voices are united. 

That is what a UNION is for. 

The UNION makes us strong.

For far too long the leadership of our union, the United Federation of Teachers, 

along with the national American Federation of Teachers, have been silent, thrown up minimal defenses too little too late, and have even collaborated in the assault on our profession, our students and their families.

It is time to re-imagine our teachers’ union. 

Come meet other UFT members who want a new kind of union

Learn about the history and functioning of the UFT in workshops facilitated by rank and file members, union delegates, 

and fellow teachers.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lois Weiner: Teacher Unionism Reborn

Published on New Politics (http://newpol.org)
Home > New Politics Vol. XIII No. 4, Whole Number 52 > Teacher Unionism Reborn
Teacher Unionism Reborn


by Lois Weiner
In the past five years, we have witnessed a demonization of teachers unions that is close to achieving its goal: destruction of the most stable and potentially powerful defender of mass public education. Teacher unionism’s continued existence is imperiled — if what we define as "existence" is organizations having the legal capacity to bargain over any meaningful economic benefits and defend teachers’ rights to exercise professional judgment about what to teach and how to do it.

Rye Principal Retires to Fight Ed Deform

Osborn School Principal Clarita Zeppie announced she will be retiring at the end of 2011-12 school year to fight the "unhealthy" and "wrong" direction of the State's education program for grade-school students.
Photo Credit: Luke Lavoie

Osborn Principal Clarita Zeppie.
Photo Credit: Luke Lavoie
RYE, N.Y. - Osborn School Principal Clarita Zeppie announced in a letter to schools Superintendent Ed Shine and the Osborn School staff that she would be retiring as principal at the end of the 2011-12 school year.

For most people, retirement signals an exit from the spotlight, but for Zeppie it's the exact opposite.

"It was a difficult decision because I really do love what I do, and I do love Osborn," Zeppie said. "But the actual reason I'm retiring is because I'm very disappointed in the direction of education, and I want to dedicate myself to fighting education reform."

Zeppie said Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent implementation of standardized testing reviews is unhealthy and wrong.

"I don’t believe in stressing kids out so that they have no childhood," Zeppie said. "Sooner or later it will trickle down and lead to more suicides in children."

According to Zeppie, the increased emphasis on standardized testing for third, fourth, and fifth graders has forced the Osborn School to cut interesting and valuable programs.

"These children are going from nursery school to a rigorous academic program that allows for no growth," Zeppie said. "It's taking away the main purpose of education, which is learning."

Zeppie has been in touch with several advocacy groups around the country but has a special interest in getting involved with the advocacy campaign for "the Race to Nowhere", a film that attempts to expose the "silent epidemic in our schools."

According to Zeppie, there has been a large outpouring of community support for her decision.

"I have support from parents, from all of the teachers, and many of my colleagues who are administrators," Zeppie said. "Many people agree with me, but unfortunately many do not have the luxury to retire and pursue what they think is right, but ill be carrying the word for them."

Stop Tying Pay to Performance: Harvard Business Review

All the pts below and more apply to teacher merit pay – doesn’t work, unreliable, causes narrowing and manipulation to achieve numerical goals, & undermines intrinsic motivation

Stop Tying Pay to Performance
The evidence is overwhelming: It doesn’t work.
by Bruno S. Frey and Margit Osterloh
Time frame: next week | Degree of difficulty: operationally easy, psychologically hard | Barrier: greed, economic theory
We’ve talked about this since the financial meltdown. Now it’s time to do it: Unlink pay from performance. The evidence keeps growing that pay for performance is ineffective. It also may induce executives to take company-killing risks. There are other ways to motivate employees that yield better results at lower cost.
Thanks mainly to provisions linked to performance, CEO compensation has skyrocketed in recent decades, while its correlation with actual corporate performance has remained as weak as ever. This has been most true in the U.S., where among the S&P 500 the ratio of average CEO pay to average employee salary went from about 40:1 in the 1970s to 325:1 in 2010. The ratio isn’t as extreme in most other countries, but the trend is the same. Below the top level, mismatches between pay and performance aren’t so acute. But all variable-pay-for-performance schemes still suffer from four inescapable flaws:
1. In a modern economy, where new challenges emerge constantly, it’s impossible to determine the tasks that will need to be done in the future precisely enough for variable pay for performance to work well.
2. People subject to variable pay for performance don’t passively accept the criteria. They spend a lot of time and energy trying to manipulate the criteria in their favor, helped by the fact that they often know the specifics of their work better than their superiors do.
3. Variable pay for performance often leads employees to focus exclusively on areas covered by the criteria and neglect other important tasks. This is known as the “multiple tasking” problem.
4. Variable pay for performance tends to crowd out intrinsic motivation and thus the joy of fulfilling work. Such motivation is of great importance to business, because it supports innovation and encourages beyond-the-ordinary contributions.
The idea that people work only for money has been thrown overboard by leading scholars. Research has shown that human beings are not interested solely in material gain. They care for the well-being of other individuals and value recognition from coworkers. Many employees apply themselves because they find their work challenging and worthwhile. These nonmaterial motivations point to better ways to get results from the members of an organization.
One way is to select employees more carefully, hiring people who are truly interested in the work—not people whose primary goal is earning the highest pay. Another approach is to pay fixed compensation but adjust it on the basis of a comprehensive evaluation of employees’ work after some time. This avoids the multiple-tasking problem. At the end of the year companies can also distribute part of their profits to employees according to their contribution to overall performance, rather than preset criteria. Awards and recognition are effective motivators as well. Research suggests that effort increases among both the winners and other employees when awards are given out.
Variable pay for performance, while it may seem attractive in theory, creates more problems than it solves. There’s no proof that it helps achieve its intended purposes, and other approaches not only work better but also strengthen employee loyalty.
Bruno S. Frey is the Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Science at the UK’s Warwick Business School and a professor of economics at the Univer­sity of Zurich. Margit Osterloh is a professor of management science at Warwick Business School.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education: What's at Stake?

Announcing the release of Michael Fabricant and Michelle Fine's new book!

Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education: What's at Stake?
by Michael Fabricant and Michelle Fine

Foreword by Deborah Meier


"A spectacular book—needs to be published yesterday." —Deborah Meier, New York University

“Fabricant and Fine have fearlessly peered behind the Waiting for Superman hype. Everyone interested in the future of American education needs to read this insightful analysis of how our public schools are being dismantled under the banner of reform.” —Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News columnist and co-host of Democracy Now!

“A compelling analysis of the promise, politics, and problems of charter schools. The authors go well beyond a defense of the status quo in offering a progressive agenda to more fully realize education's democratic ideals." —Gary Rhoades, Professor of Higher Education, University of Arizona

“Fabricant and Fine present an invaluably clear, historically textured, and carefully argued account of the charter school idea and its transformation from progressive, teacher-driven experiment to corporate, neoliberal edge of the wedge against public education and the public sector writ large.” —Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

“The authors help us see that the emperor has no clothes when one truthfully examines the entire heavily funded charter school movement and the emerging privatization of public education. If you think it does not or will not affect you, please read this revealing book.” —Barbara Fields, Executive Board Member of Black Educator Alliance of Massachusetts and Former Senior Officer, Office of Equity, Boston Public Schools

This book will reset the discourse on charter schooling by systematically exploring the gap between the promise and the performance of charter schools. The authors do not defend the public school system, which for decades has failed primarily poor children of color. Instead, they use empirical evidence to determine whether charter schooling offers an authentic alternative for these children. In concise chapters, they address a series of important questions related to the recent ascent of charter schools and the radical restructuring of public education. This essential introduction includes a detailed history of the charter movement, an analysis of the politics and economics driving the movement, documentation of actual student outcomes, and alternative images of transforming public education to serve all children.

Book Features:
•       An overview of the key issues surrounding the charter school movement.
•       A reframing of the recent discourse on public school reform •   A comprehensive comparison examining the promises of charter schooling against the empirical evidence.
•       An examination of how charter schools impact communities of color and larger public school systems in poor urban areas.
•       An exploration of the relationships among the rapid ascendance of charter reform, economic decline, and fiscal austerity.

Michael Fabricant is a professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work and executive officer of the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare.
Michelle Fine is a distinguished professor of Social Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

January 2012, 168 pages, Paperback: $25.95, ISBN: 978-0-8077-5285-2

To order visit us on the web: www.tcpress.com or call 800-575-6566 Follow us on Twitter @TCPress
For special bulk sales, please contact TC Press at: (212) 678-3919 For exam/desk copy requests go to our website and click on Information Desk

Ed Tweet Links on Obama SOU

Results for #EdSOTU

Rachel Levy
Stop teaching to the test? Okay, then stop making policy to the test.
Katie Osgood
Did call for more people to be fired in any other profession besides teachers in ?? Yeah, didn't think so...
Mike Klonsky
RT : contradiction between words and policy reality on "teaching to the test" are glaring and offensive
xian barrett
The best way to keep kids in school is to make school a decent place to be. Mandating it just makes it that much more like prison.
matter. But so does poverty- See
Renee Moore
And we should be glad about this? “Obama: My education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and States.
Sabrina Stevens
Wait, so they can do their jobs w/o fed agency looking over their shoulders, but TEACHERS CAN'T???? I am trying so hard not to cuss
Democracy Prep
Higher ed can't be a luxury, it's an economic imperative that every family should be able to afford. So k-12 must prepare every kid
Katie Osgood
Agreed. The section was a joke. He will lose the teacher vote & it will cost him. Fool.
Rachel Levy
If our edpolicies are making more kids drop out, we'll just mandate that they can't.
Anthony Cody
U say "Stop teaching 2 the test" yet NCLB waivers require states 2 evaluate teachers & principals based on test scores. Why?
Just heard subtle ref to merit pay, which is unsupported by evidence. Here's better info on motivating teachers
Jersey Jazzman
"...In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test..."
Anthony Cody
How do you intend to IDENTIFY good teachers? Current plans emphasize test scores in spite of yr words.
Joy Resmovits
Also, as a lobbyist suggested to me yesterday, administration will seek to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling.
Joy Resmovits
Obama isn't planning on uttering the words "Race to the Top" tonight. Mentions "education" 8x, "teacher" 12x.
Joy Resmovits
Obama will announce "a plan to shift federal aid away from colleges that don't keep tuition down" (via )
Anthony Cody
Why would anyone choose to teach in high poverty schools when testing pressure is the status quo?
Joy Resmovits
is about to start. here's my bet on likely content. via
Minutes before uber guru Bill Gates issues state of the foundation letter.
Democracy Prep
RT : "Let's make sure our young people dream big dreams" President Obama
New Leaders
Sneak peek of : "The America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people."
Economic prosperity depends on a highly educated workforce. Supporting schools is a smart jobs plan.
We hope Prez understands that career readiness = learning in all core subjects.
Have Qs about how tonight's statements or proposals match up with high quality, peer-reviewed research? Ask away.
Hello ! Looking forward to tonight's speech, panel & conversation.
NSBA | School Boards
RT :Who did the first lady invite? Teacher from PA
NSBA | School Boards
Following , a panel of senior advisors including will be taking questions @ & White House’s FB page
Theme to tonight's "Blueprint for an America Built to Last".
Sabrina Stevens
Heads up: 's doing a panel right after the , ~10 Eastern. Not that he really listens, but maybe worth a try?
Connect All Schools
No secret what we want to hear in the : set goal to bring to all US schools
Sabrina Stevens
Ah! School board friends are on it. Tweet to track the convo around during tonight.
Joy Resmovits
State Of The Union Speech Text: Excerpts Released via
Sabrina Stevens
Hey, Tweeps: how can we distinguish our tweets from everyone else's? Anyone in favor of or something like that?
Joy Resmovits
Guys, not only is there tonight. There's also , courtesy of . Who else will be watching for content?
NSBA | School Boards
Join in an discussion during the tonight @ 9pm EST @ Please RT
Watching the State of the Union tomorrow? Share thoughts on the president’s plans for w/
On 1/24, join State of the Union Twitter chat using . Share thoughts on President’s comments & PK-12 edu plans. Thanks, !
Joetta Sack-Min
Twitter chat at on education issues during the State of the Union
NSBA | School Boards
Twitter chat at on education issues during the State of the Union
Twitter chat at on education issues during the State of the Union
is hosting a chat during the State of the Union Tues night. Use
Twitter chat at on education issues during the State of the Union: The National School Boards Associatio...