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Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Daily News Says Teacher is Guilty of Racial Slur

But this is not the whole story.

Op-Ed from Betsy Combier:

Once again, the Daily News shows its true colors as a public relations rag for Joel Klein and Mike Bloomberg. On Friday May 1, 2009 Daily News reporter Elizabeth Lazarowitz decided to throw good reporting out the window by publishing a story about how teacher Elvira Sacco should be punished for allegedly saying the "N-word" in her art class. Ms. Lazarowitz does not have all the facts, but we can expect nothing else from the Daily News staff. See my article on The Gotcha Squad, The Gill Commission and Teddy Smith. The Daily News (reporter Carrie Melago) published an article saying that teacher Teddy Smith was a potential killer after Richard Condon's SCI sent out a press release "substantiating" an alleged threat that Mr. Smith's former Attorney told ATU Director Theresa Europe that he, Teddy, said. Only it wasnt true. . . AND the investigators never even asked Teddy whether he had said anything about harming his arbitrator when they interviewed him!

Ms. Lazarowitz told me that she could write the article because OEO "substantiated the charge," and therefore the "facts" are that Ms. Sacco "did it". Make note, dear reader, that The Daily News staff, just like those people at the New York Post and New York Times, work for the City of New York and it's famous Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Their mandate is to get teachers out of the system quickly.

In July 2008 I asked Ms. Mecca Santana, the Director of OEO whose salary is paid by the NYC BOE (she makes $115,000 per year; she is pictured above) to look at a situation of racial discrimination and verbal abuse at NEST+M that involved an attack on my daughter, and she came up with nothing, despite 20 statements to the contrary and a pile of emails to/from the Principal contradicting her report.

The New York City Board of Education seems not to understand the meaning of the word "investigation" as "a systematic, minute, and thorough attempt to learn the facts about something complex or hidden; it is often formal and official". I say this because the NYC BOE just doesn't get it right, much of the time. The agencies involved, Office of Legal Services, Office of Equal Opportunity, and Special Commissioner of Investigation, are all funded by the New York City Board of Education. (See NYC Rubber Room Reporter article News To Use: New York City Government Payroll, FOIL, PERB, Budget, and More" We know what this means. If Joel Klein says "punish the teacher...", then the 'facts' will conveniently fall into the column titled "guilty". The act that the teacher did to be found "guilty" does not really matter, and often the character of the teacher or past history of stellar performance doesn't really impact the conclusion either. By the way, Ms. Sacco told me she has never received a "U" (unsatisfactory) rating for her teaching.

Mr. Dennis Boyles, an investigator paid also by the NYC Board of Education, told a teacher in the presence of his UFT representative that he, Boyles, had been asked by the Principal to come to the school "to find [him](the teacher -Ed) guilty". His subsequent testimony at this teacher's 3020-a was ridiculous, and embarrassing for OSI, his employer. Here is his payroll entry in the article on this blog "New To Use": Boyles, Dennis; Education Admin, Department of; Annual $66,988

Several years ago I brought two 15 year-old girls to be interviewed by Mr. Dennis Boyles after both were beaten at their school in Brooklyn. Between the two girls' testimonies, Mr. Boyles told me, "listen, it only cost me $5,000 to get my 15-year old daughter out of trouble". I believe he was suggesting that the girls pay $5,000 in order to be found innocent. No one paid anything, and both girls were suspended from their school for beating their attacker, who didn't have a scratch on him. Both girls had been sent to the hospital. I researched the man who hit the two girls and found that he had a long criminal record of harassment at the Brooklyn NYPD. The NYC BOE had allowed him to take a position at Sheepshead Bay High School without checking his criminal record? Was Mr. Dennis Boyles suggesting that I give him money to let the girls go free?

I have spoken with Elvira several times, and I have information that indeed Ms. Lazarowitz should have investigated. For example, one of the students interviewed by the OEO investigators from the very inept Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) headed by Ms. Mecca Santana, was not a student in Ms. Sacco's classroom.

According to my sources, Candace George has filed complaints against four teachers, two Assistant Principals, the Principal, and even charged the Dean with assaulting her son Pryce. Ms. George filed a complaint against Ms. Sacco in the fall of '08 for showing her son a picture of Michelangelo's statue of David, now on display in the Galleria dell'Accademia,Florence, Italy.

Pryce is a student who, according to Ms. Sacco, was failing Ms. Sacco's art class, and spent his days throwing objects across the room. He called Ms. Sacco a "white Jew bitch" and added "my mom will have you fired" on the day in question, after he trashed the classroom computer's hard drive. He has been removed from the school.

Elizabeth Lazarowitz told me that since the OEO had substantiated the charge of verbal abuse, this "is news" and she must publish the information. So what if she never received any information to the contrary from Ms. Sacco?

I think we, the public, need to protest the "investigatory" techniques that 'prove' a person guilty too early, and unfairly.

Teacher Elvira Sacco gets detention for using N-word
BY Elizabeth Lazarowitz, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER, Friday, May 1st 2009, 7:10 AM

Elvira Sacco Ponsot who called her students the N-word, a Department of Education investigation says.

A Park Slope middle school teacher used a racial slur while scolding unruly students, a Department of Education investigation has found.

Last December, several students alleged that Elvira Sacco, 55, a teacher at the Secondary School for Journalism on Seventh Ave., lost her cool when seventh- and eighth-graders became disruptive during a movie and launched into a tirade that included the N-word.

"I was like, 'Oh, my God, how dare [she]!'" said Candace George, 37, a city welfare fraud investigator whose child was in Sacco's class. "I thought I was going to lose my mind."

George said she was especially upset by the incident because Sacco is white - and about half the students at the school are black.

George's son, Pryce-Gary Forbes, 13, was among the students city investigators spoke with about the incident.

Pryce-Gary, who has since transferred to another school, previously told the Daily News that the enraged teacher had yelled: "You don't know how to act. You're acting lower class. You're acting like a whole bunch of n------."

An inquiry by DOE's Office of Equal Opportunity found that the teacher had made "inappropriate comments" based on race and violated DOE nondiscrimination policies, according to a letter obtained by The News.

"I did not get any notification," about the results of the inquiry, said Sacco, who declined to comment further.

DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg confirmed that the claims against the teacher were substantiated and said that the principal had informed Sacco of the findings.

After the incident, Sacco was sent to a reassignment center - a "rubber room" - and disciplinary action is still pending, Feinberg said.

George said she had spoken to Sacco in the past about using profanity in the classroom and said she worries that the teacher will get little more than a slap on the wrist. "I feel sorry for the children who are left there."


rashad_scorpio May 1, 2009 11:16:10 AM Report Offensive Post
I don't blame the woman for snapping, I would have! These kids grow up with no fear of being punished because everybody is so afraid to speak their mind or beat the hell out of these brats! Everybody was brought up under the "Big Mama" rule, if one of us gets in trouble we all get in trouble. I had teachers who kept that mentality and those were the best behaved classes in the whole school. Students will get the message once they learn that one screwup means they get punished too.

thescoop May 1, 2009 11:21:29 AM Report Offensive Post

nylegaldivamom May 1, 2009 11:23:21 AM Report Offensive Post
TO NYBORN, I don't care if they NEVER stop using the word amongst themselves and they won't, I said in my initial post EACH AND EVERYTIME I hear someone say it I call them on it! white, black, purple or orange if you use the word in my presence you will hear about it from me like it or not and its not just the N word either profanity or any racial slur uttered by a minor in my presence hears about it, I've been called everything but a child of God, told to mind my business etc and am probably endangering my physical safety but if their mamma didn't tell them I will. She is supposed be an educator and her use of the word whether or not they use amongst themselve is unacceptable period,she had no right and the poster that called students MONKEYS that poster too would rue the day he or she called my kid a monkey. My kids, now young adults knew and know about respect for themselves as well as others. Teachers were put on notice at the begining of the school year just because their are m

nylegaldivamom May 1, 2009 11:32:33 AM Report Offensive Post
To Rashad, I certainly agree with you to a point. The younger generation today not only have no fear, they have no respect. My mom was a "spare the rod, spoil the child" mom. For the most part we got put on "punishment" depending on the offense, if it was really bad we got a "whipping" with a belt nothing else so now as an adult I do not think my mom abused us. But this whole theory you support of "one in trouble, all in trouble" is some BS in my own humble opinion because if one kid did something there is NO WAY IN HELL I'm going to let my child be punished and my mom didn't either. My kid has no control over some other kid's behavior or for that matter any control over that kid's parent's lack of good parenting skills so they should not be punished and if they are that teacher, the principal, school board and superintendant are not going to be happy when I come in for the conference.

rashad_scorpio May 1, 2009 11:45:21 AM Report Offensive Post
@nylegaldiva: you're entitled to you own opinion but I speak from experience. I wasn't too happy about that rule my damn self but I got with the program quickly. I wasn't the one causing problems but if I wanted to get through the class and actually learn something I had to be the one to step up and keep certain individuals in check. That theory sticks with me because it got results. If the students want to learn then they have to take responsibility. Disruptions in the class makes sure they cannot. If they can't keep one in line then how can they do anything once they get out of school?

Inertia May 1, 2009 12:42:25 PM Report Offensive Post
"George said she was especially upset by the incident because Sacco is white"

profenglish May 1, 2009 3:21:53 PM Report Offensive Post
These racial slurs are only hurtful only if you are what they mean...

Miss Dee May 1, 2009 8:32:13 PM Report Offensive Post
hmmm...I am Black. I am interested in reading the transcript of the entire incident...perhaps the teacher was right and was using their behaviur to show the difference between acting like a socially responsible person and a ******, which by the way was simply defined as "an ignorant person" prior to 1976

pjones2623 May 2, 2009 6:57:52 AM Report Offensive Post
She should be terminated

ditpam May 2, 2009 11:23:55 AM Report Offensive Post
Some one apparently found my post offensive so here it is again. This woman is disgusting. She needs some good hygiene and a dentist. This is not the kind of role model I would have for my children. She is supposed to be a professional. She should have some control. This woman should be fired from the NYC school system post haste.

New York State Commissioner of Education: Where, Oh Where Can You Be?

Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor

Contact information for current members

2011* Tisch, Merryl H.; B.A., M.A., Ed.D.
Chancellor; At Large
9 East 79th Street, N.Y., N.Y. 10075
Phone: (212) 879-9414 Email:

2012* Cofield, Milton L.; B.S., M.B.A., Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor; Judicial District VII - Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates
98 Hickory Ridge Road, Rochester, N.Y. 14625
Phone (585) 248-8494 Email:

2010* Bennett, Robert M.; B.A., M.S.
Chancellor Emeritus; Judicial District VIII -- Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming

201 Millwood Lane, Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: (716) 645-1344 Email:

2014* Cohen, Saul B.; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

At Large
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Phone: (914) 633-7889 Email:

2010* Dawson, James C.; A.A, B.A., M.S., Ph.D.

Judicial District IV -- Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington
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New York State needs a new Commissioner of Education. So says the ad below. Who will apply? Someone who knows something about education or someone who has alot of money and can buy the public relations that can convince anyone that he/she knows what he/she is doing?

NYSED / Commissioner of Education Search

Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York

Milton L. Cofield, Vice Chancellor

New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234

An Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer
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The New York State Board of Regents seeks applications and nominations for the position of Commissioner of Education. Our goal is to find an accomplished leader who will bring New York State to the forefront in educational achievement. We need a visionary to manage the State’s educational resources to raise achievement for all students, close the achievement gap, and raise the State’s graduation rate.

This person must have:

Demonstrated experience in identifying, developing and implementing creative solutions to challenges confronting education at all levels; success in the urban setting is a plus.
Proven experience leading a complex organization where staff development, organizational change, fiscal accountability and technology have been used to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction.
A commitment to diversity; an ability to work effectively with and value the perspectives of all groups and individuals.
An ability to effectively communicate with, motivate and lead staff and stakeholders toward excellence.
Proven experience working with a board to effect change through policy development and shared governance.
Demonstrated commitment to enhancing the role of education in economic development.
Experience working with local, state and federal elected officials.
Appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Board of Regents, the Commissioner is the Chief Executive Officer of the State Education Department and President of The University of the State of New York (USNY). The University is one of the largest and most comprehensive educational systems in the world.

Incorporated by the Legislature in 1784, the Board of Regents is the oldest continuous policy-making board of education in the nation. Under the State Constitution, the Regents head the State Education Department and The University of the State of New York which oversees and assists more than 7,000 public and independent elementary and secondary schools; 270 public and independent colleges and universities; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; 25 public broadcasting facilities; 3,000 historical repositories; 436 proprietary schools; 48 professions encompassing more than 761,000 licensees plus 240,000 certified educators; and services for children and adults with disabilities.

Competitive salary commensurate with experience.

For more information:
Qualified candidates should send a resume and letter of interest to:

Commissioner Search
P.O. Box 127
Albany, NY 12201-0127

Nominations may be sent to the same address.

Review will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Last Updated: May 1, 2009

Former Commissioner Mills

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