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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Newark Students Will Walk Out of Their Schools on Friday May 22, 2015 in Protest Over Cami Anderson and the $70 Million Deficit


by Peter Greene

Teacher and writer; blogger,

Who's Listening in Newark?
Posted: Updated: 

The mayor of a state's largest city joins protestors in blocking the main street during rush hour. Just imagine how that would play out anywhere else. Bill DeBlasio joins high school students to stage a protest shutting down Times Square. Rahm Emanuel joins members of the Chicago school community to bring traffic through downtown Chicago to a grinding halt (okay, that last one might not actually be noticeable).
But when Mayor Ras Baraka joined a student protest on Newark's main drag last Wednesday, it was if New Jersey media had collectively decided they were going to silence the dissenting voices of Newark. Go ahead and search for news about the protest on google -- you'll find nothing. You can find an account from independent journalist Bob Braun and not much else.
Mayor Ras Baraka
The protest was just one more in a long series of protests featuring the Newark Students Union and students from East Side High, groups that have consistently called attention to the embarrassing educational train wreck that is Newark.
Here's how reformsters keep telling us this is supposed to work: After collecting data that shows certain schools are failing, the powers that be will rush to make sure those schools get the assistance and support they need. That data will make sure those students (who often turn out to be not white and not wealthy) are not invisible. It's the civil rights issue of our era!
Here's how it actually has worked in Newark: After collecting "evidence" that the schools of Newark were in "crisis," the state took the district over, pushing out the superintendent and the elected school board. Today, Newark Schools are run by an outsider who won't meet, speak to, or respond to the students, parents and citizens of Newark, saddling them with a school system that is a bedraggled mess. They have elected a mayor to speak for them on this issue, and he, too, has been ignored. It has taken a series of demonstrations and protests to get the students and citizens of Newark any kind of attention at all. It's almost as if they're invisible.
Newark is what the solution to the "civil rights issue" of our time looks like. An entire community silenced, cut off from access to any power over their own schools, forced to create a larger and larger fuss just to get people to notice and acknowledge that things are not okay.
People want to be heard. When they are ignored, they just raise their voices, and keep raising them. The strategy of the PTB in New Jersey (which includes the news media) has been to ignore those voices, and to keep promoting a charterized system as a great way to meet the needs of the people, even as the people are out in the street blocking traffic and explaining just how un-met their needs are.
As quoted by Braun, here's what Ras Baraka had to say last Wednesday:
This struggle is not emotional. It's not about us being angry at Cami Anderson. I don't want to make it about her and me or make it about her personality. We're opposed to what's going on and, who's ever down there doing it, is wrong. No matter who they are or where they come from, it's wrong.
We're not against it because she's from New York, but because she's wrong. We're not mad about her personality. We're mad because she's wrong. We're not upset about anything else except for the fact that she wrong.
She was supposed to be here helping public schools grow, not closing them down. That's what we're upset about.
Why am I upset? Because we have a 70 million budget deficit for the Newark schools that keeps growing because she keeps putting teachers on the EWP list, putting them in rubber rooms, putting administrators on the list, too,  and making the city pay for it. The taxpayers are paying for it -- not just the state taxpayers but Newark taxpayers -- are paying for that, too. That's why we're upset.
We're upset because she keeps 'renewing' schools and it's not working,  the renew school thing is not working, but she keeps doing it and it's not working.
We're upset because she says she's going to turnaround  schools but that's a code name for closing them down. She's getting money from the state for the turnaround and we don't see any of that money. The state is supposed to be working with the schools for the turnarounds but that's not happening either.
We're upset because she is splitting people's families up. Because she's sending kids with special needs to schools and the schools  don't offer special needs programs. We're upset because she's sending English language learners to schools without English language learner programs.
That's why we're upset.
Cami Anderson must go, he concluded. "Not tomorrow. Today."
The mayor of New Jersey's largest city stood in the street, blocking rush hour traffic with students and community members, and the press chose to ignore it.
I do not know how folks like Cami Anderson and Chris Christie imagine this is going to end. Do they really think that at some point, the citizens and students and parents and community leaders of Newark will shrug and say, "Well, we tried, but I guess they're going to ignore us, so let's go home and just quietly enjoy being disenfranchised, ignored, and silenced. It probably won't be so bad." Is that what New Jersey's bosses think is going to happen.
The whole business reminds me of Patrick Henry's Speech in the Virginia Convention and his response to those who insist that more "proper" and "quiet" means of trying to resolve differences must be tried.
Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free -- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending -- if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained -- we must fight!
I don't know how things are going to end in Newark. The activists of Newark are thoughtful and committed. I admire how they have been able to respond to the situation with strong concerted action, but without lashing out in anger. As they raise their voices louder and louder, nobody will be able to ask why they didn't try more reasonable or appropriate ways to be heard. What people should ask is why in all that time, nobody in the halls of power bothered to listen.
The students of Newark have announced their intention to walk out of school this Friday, May 22. Let's watch and see if anybody listens this time.

Special Education Teachers Are Given Uncertified Substitute Paraprofessionals in D75 Schools and ICT Classes


Because uncertified substitute paras are cheaper, and untenured. So, they will do whatever they are told to do by the principal. What they are told to do may have nothing to do with the health, safety, and welfare of any student.

This is serious stuff. If you, a tenured teacher, ask why the para is uncertified, or why you and/or the substitute don't have the Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) of the students, you will be charged with 3020-a.

What is the solution?

Speak up, document your speech (tape and email), and when charged, hire someone who will fight for your rights under 3020-a (2)(a) - probable cause -, Just Cause, New York State Special Education Law, 75-B, and all of the other laws and rules you can submit to defend your rights.

Betsy Combier

Careers in NYC Schools

Substitute Paraprofessionals

Currently Employed Substitutes

Responsibilities of the Substitute Paraprofessional

Substitute Paraprofessionals are contacted on an as-needed basis to cover absences reported by school-based full-time paraprofessionals.  The role of the substitute paraprofessional is to assist teachers with class work and/or assist with the daily care of students with emotional, cognitive, physical handicaps, autism and other special needs.  Their responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following tasks:

• One-on-one or small group instruction as outlined by the teacher 
• Reinforcing behavior through the use of positive behavior support 
• Teaching daily living skills such as independent feeding, dressing, toileting 
• Aiding occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and adaptive physical education providers during instruction 
• Guiding and assisting students in small group instruction settings with class routines and in transitioning from one activity to the next 
• Teaching students, under direction of teacher in the following areas: recreation, motor, vocational, socialization and communication
• Assisting students with ambulation within the school premises and on class trips 
• Lifting, feeding, toileting and diapering after receiving appropriate training 
• Collecting data documenting student behavior for instructional purposes 
• Writing anecdotal information concerning student behavior 
• Providing language assistance for bilingual students

Pay Rate & Incentives

Substitute Paraprofessionals are paid at the contractual rate of $132.22 (as of January 2015), for the actual days worked; they do not receive any benefits. 
• Substitute Paraprofessionals who complete 25 days of service and possess the New York State Teaching Assistant certificate are eligible for consideration for full-time Paraprofessional positions.  Please note: Appointment to a fulltime position is based on each school's vacancies, personnel needs, budget, and other considerations, is competitive and NOT guaranteed. 
• After 30 days of service, Substitute Paraprofessionals who do not have any college credits become eligible to participate in the Career Training Program, which pays for tuition for up to 6 credits of undergraduate study at a participating college/university. 
• Substitute Paraprofessionals are represented by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

Eligibility Requirements

The minimum eligibility requirements to apply for a Substitute Paraprofessional position are the following:

• Online Nomination by a school Principal 
• A high school diploma (or its recognized equivalent, e.g., GED) 
• Proficiency in reading, writing and speaking the English language 
• Authorization to work in the USA

The Hiring Process

Applications for the Substitute Paraprofessional position are only made available to individuals who have been nominated by a school principal, using our online process.  Each school may nominate candidates for the position based upon the prevailing or projected vacancies (i.e., number, location, schedule, etc.) and the special requirements for some positions (e.g., gender, foreign language proficiency, lifting/toileting, CPR).  If you are interested in becoming a Substitute Paraprofessional, contact the school(s) of your choice directly.
After a principal has completed the online nomination, an email will be sent to the nominee with instructions on accessing and completing the online application form for the Substitute Paraprofessional position.  Once the nominee submits the application form, an email will be sent to the candidate listing the next steps, to be processed as a Substitute Paraprofessional in the New York City public schools.

Application Stages

In order to become a Substitute Paraprofessional, the candidate will be required to satisfy various requirements, at different stages, as listed below.

Stage I:  Nomination

• Have a high school diploma or equivalent.  
• Be proficient in reading, writing and speaking the English language. 
• Have authorization to work in the USA.
• Obtain nomination from a school principal and subsequently complete application
Stage II:  Assessment
Candidates meeting the requirements listed in Stage I will be invited to advance to Stage II.  Those invited must complete the requirements listed below, within a specified time period.

• Demonstrate oral proficiency in the English language. 
• Demonstrate proficiency in written English by responding to an assigned topic.  

Any candidate who does not demonstrate English language proficiency will not be permitted to reapply for the position for 12 months from the date of assessment.

Stage III:  Pre-Processing

Candidates meeting the criteria listed in Stage II will be emailed detailed instructions for Stage III, which requires completing the requirements listed below, within a specified time period.

• Complete NYCDOE’s mandatory Employment Forms online
• Be fingerprinted and photographed by the NYCDOE.  There is a fee of $130 for this service.  Candidates who have already been fingerprinted by the NYCDOE or have sent their fingerprint results to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) need not be re-fingerprinted.  However, they are required to be photographed and must submit the appropriate forms.  
• Successfully complete a NYSED approved workshop on Child Abuse Identification. 
• Successfully complete a NYSED approved workshop on School Violence Prevention. 
• Successfully complete a NYSED approved workshop on the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).
• Successfully complete the New York State Assessment of Teaching Assistant Skills (NYSATAS) test or provide proof of registration for the test.  
• Successfully complete the NYCDOE supported and authorized online training program for Paraprofessionals.  There is no additional fee for this online training program.   Information on this online training program will be disseminated at a later stage.  
• Create an online profile with the New York State Education Department, Office of Teaching Initiatives.  There is no additional fee for the online profile.
• Use the NYCDOE’s online portal to schedule a date for the Processing Event 

Stage IV:  Processing Event

Candidates meeting the requirements listed in Stage III will be invited to a processing event where they will:

• Submit documentation confirming the fulfillment of the requirements listed earlier.
• Submit a $30.00 money order payable to the NYC Department of Education 
• Receive information on handling Blood Borne Pathogens, and SubCentral, the NYCDOE’s automated absence management system.
Stage V: Staffing
Subject to receiving clearance (fingerprint & appraisal of record) from the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Personnel Investigations, the nominee will be staffed as a Substitute Paraprofessional and approved to serve throughout the New York City Public Schools, for the current school year.
Stage VI:  Continuation of Substitute Status
To continue substitute status for the next school year, the substitute is required to fulfill the renewal requirements, which are updated annually and can be accessed via the following link:

Substitute Paraprofessional Renewal Requirement for 2015-2016

The renewal requirements include the following:

• Provide at least 20 days of service as a Substitute Paraprofessional during the school year.
• Maintain a positive record in the schools worked and be in good standing (as determined by the Office of Personnel Investigations)
For additional information, write to or visit NYC Department of Education, Office of HR School Support, 65 Court Street, Room 504, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

Click for information about 
Substitute Teachers.