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Friday, April 7, 2017

Parents and Staff of Central Park East 1 Want Principal Monika Garg Removed. Now.

Monika Garg, Principal of Central Park East 1
The outrage of parents and staff against Monika Garg has reached a boiling point and the NYC DOE has still not done anything to resolve the anger directed at "the worst principal in New York City".

One of the things that I dislike about Carmen Farina is that she HATES being told what to do. Hates it. Trust me, I know. And she HATES being told that someone she relied on is no good. hates that. She goes after the messengers. All of them, teachers, parents, staff.

The latest update from Norm Scott, well-known teacher advocate:
April 7, 20172PM

I'm just back from spending the day so far at CPE1 for the rally and the emerging by the people who spent the night in the auditorium. (See my earlier report --Parents Occupy Auditorium - Central Park East 1 Update: Rally, SLT Meeting and Overnight Stay Surrounded by Police)

I got there at 8:30 and there was a rally in front of the school. They ended occupation and came out for a press conference at around 9:30. I am putting up some brief video excerpts on my FB timeline. Go check them out. 

There was some press there this morning - NBC, CBS, NY Times - Kate Taylor was there last night too. There was muttering by some over the disappointing reporting she has done on education in general and on her previous report on CPE1 - like having a link to the website of a principal supporter but not the savecpe1 site. So they don't expect much -- like if 20 people speak against Garg and 5 for she will include a quote from one on each side, thus inferring an equal split.

So it was interesting after the press conf when they went back into the school to meet with YAUDOES - Yet Another Useless DOE Slug -- that someone said to wait outside to speak to Leslie Brody from the Wall St Journal who is a good reporter. How interesting that people seem to mistrust the so-called liberal NY Times and have more faith in Rupert's WSJ. 

I'm more skeptical but when Leslie arrived I listened in to her questions and she was the only reporter who really seemed interested in what has made CPE a progressive school -- stuff came out that I wasn't aware of. Now the article she writes will be small and probably won't include much if any of what they said, but at least she asked.

She had already left when the people who spent the night without sleep came out from the meeting and packed up to go home and get some sleep.

I spoke at length to a guy named Bruce, who was a teacher at CPE1 and then the principal at CPE2 who filled me in on some remarkable stuff (his wife still teaches at CPE1). We are same gen and talked about the old days and found we knew lots of people -- he was in Teachers Action Caucus - TAC - which morphed into New Action and we know lots of people in common. He did look so familiar. And after he left I asked his last name and it is Bruce Kanze who I did really know back then. Bruce told me today the essence of the problem is that they just don't trust teachers and CPE1 did - until Monika Garg showed up as an agent from the DOE to destroy them. (I'll go more into this teacher trust issue, especially when I address the CPE2 principal support for Garg.)

A few parents went off to get some breakfast and invited me along. I got some education. One left after an hour. The other and I spent another hour or more talking about so much stuff my head is crammed. I learned so much about the real shit Monica pulled from day 1 and how betrayed parents like this, who moved into the area partially to get into CPE1, are -- also about the political and racial situation around East Harlem (she is white) and so much more beyond the CPE 1 story -- about immigrants and daily panic they feel every day when they wake up - if they can sleep at all- some too sensitive for me to get into.

Oh, the depths of this story. I feel like that reporter for This American Life - the people doing the Serial series - especially the latest must hear S-Town Podcast - shit town

Yes, the DOE is Shit-Town in spades --Serial people, come calling if you are looking for a story for next time.

I may have more later tonight or tomorrow morning. I am going to head over to see my Unity slug pals at their little junket at the Hilton on 54th and 6th Ave. It is 3PM and I missed the Stronger Together meeting. Tomorrow I will meet up with Arthur and we will have some fun.

A Political Attack: Superintendent Alexandra Estrella Orders Chapter Leader Removal from 

Historic 3020a: Massive Parent Turn-Out to Support CPEI Chapter Leader on Few Hours Notice

Here is Eric Chazinoff's post: Chaz' School Daze

Reso to Support CPE1- Tabled by UFT Leadership

I had the good fortune to be on one of my 3020-a cases one of the days Marilyn and her friends - I'd say about 40 - filled the waiting room at 100 Gold Street, 3rd Floor, where 3020-a hearings are heard. 

Unfortunately as Marilyn did not request an open and public hearing, so none of these people were allowed to observe the hearing, but some stayed the entire day anyway in support of Marilyn.

Carmen, you must remove Garg. After she charged beloved Chapter Leader Marilyn Martinez there was no turning back.

Betsy Combier

Parents at 100 Gold Street 

***Breaking Update: Following a meeting of more than 100 parents, teachers and community members, families have been occupying their school at CPE1 since 6:30pm on Thursday, April 6th. The DOE has promised to send someone to meet with occupying families at 8am. Parents are asking Mayor  de Blasio to step in and resolve the crisis at CPE1 by removing Principal Garg immediately. Supporters and families will be holding a press conference and rally at 8:30am to explain their demands and next steps in their struggle.***


CONTACT: Jen Roesch (917) 319-7008 or
Kaliris Salas-Ramirez (718) 704-7387
Kenya Dilday,

Parents Sitting In at Central Park East 1 to Demand Principal’s Removal

Letter Sent to Mayor DeBlasio asking him to personally intervene after DOE’s failure to address long-standing issues

Majority of Families Want ‘Worst Principal’ in NYC Out; Retaliation Against Teachers, Abuse of Parents, Children Must Stop

Afternoon of April 6th, Central Park East 1 at 1573 Madison Avenue: Parents, including members of the Parents’ Association leadership and School Leadership Team, are currently refusing to leave their school until their principal, Monika Garg, either resigns or is removed. They say they represent a majority of parents who have signed a statement of “no confidence” in the principal. This letter was presented at the School Leadership Team immediately preceding the sit-in. Other parents and supporters are holding a solidarity rally outside.

Parents say they have appealed to the DOE for over a year about significant concerns but have not had their needs adequately addressed. Garg is statistically the WORST principal in NYC: she has had the greatest drop in ratings from parents and teachers on the 2016 DOE school survey of any principal in the city and oversaw the city’s largest drop in test scores after her traumatic first year at the helm (2016).  NYC has approximately 1800 public schools. They are refusing to leave until Mayor De Blasio intervenes. They cite his claim that his administration will make parent voice and building trust in our schools a top priority.

Parents cite serious concerns about Principal Garg’s leadership, including abuse of teachers, children and families. Two teachers have been removed from the school for investigations that parents consider retaliatory in nature. The investigations come in the wake of an open letter signed by tenured staff expressing concerns. Another third of the teaching staff left at the end of last year. All tenured teachers have faced investigations and disciplinary action under Garg’s tenure.

Parents say that children have been harmed as a result of these investigations. Garg interviewed very young children without parents’ knowledge or consent. Many only found out as a result of other parents whose children had told them. In one instance, a 7-year old child had documented emotional issues and was being assisted by the school guidance counselor. This child was interviewed without his parent or his guidance counselor being informed. He was asked about 2-year old incidents and told that his cooperation was necessary in order to keep his school safe. This parent failed to receive an answer to her concerns from either Garg or the DOE. More than 55 parents filed complaints with the DOE without any response. Children in the classes with teachers removed are suffering emotional and social distress and have not received proper support.

Since her appointment in 2015, which came via a questionable process, Garg has deliberately fomented division, mistrust and turmoil at the iconic public progressive elementary school. With the support of District 4 Superintendent Alexandra Estrella, Garg has harassed and retaliated against teachers, mistreated students and families, and undermined the school’s successful practices.