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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Email To All NYS Senators: Tell Us Where You Are on Mayoral Control and NYC BOE Reform

Dear Senators,

I am a parent of four daughters, all of whom have been, and one still is, in the public schools of New York City. I have been close to the politics of New York City my entire life, as my dad was Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York under Louis Lefkowitz, from about 1945-76.

As a great fan of the internet and the power of holding electeds -like you all- accountable for his or her actions online, I started a website called in 2002.

For the past ten years I have been active in the schools of New York City, as an advocate for the children and parents. What have I seen since 2002? Here is a partial list:

1. Removal – by force if necessary – of any child, parent, teacher, school staff/worker who speaks out about any theft, physical abuse, changing of grades, or other wrong that occurs and which is not properly addressed by the Principal or NYC BOE (whistleblower retaliation);

2. The implementation of a strategy to terrorize anyone who may advocate for a child, parent, or staff member who made a mistake or needs guidance and is not getting any;

3. Denial of services and academic support for all children who need the help, and violations of IDEA in notifying parents of what services/tests/guidance is being given their children, who is providing what services, when the IEPs are written and reviewed, and free and appropriate instructional support;

4. A school-to-prison pipeline for minority children with special needs using the “superintendent suspension” as a tool in making sure that all children who are “problems” are removed from the general education classrooms quickly by denying these kids remedial assistance;

5. Too many curriculum changes for any teacher to keep up with the training needed to be an excellent teacher, and the dumbing down of all major subject tests so that all students can graduate from high school at an eighth grade level. High school becomes what used to be middle school in terms of acquired knowledge;

This is what I have seen as an advocate who has represented the needs of children in NYC public schools at more than 20 impartial Hearings, countless IEP Reviews and Resolution meetings, and more than 100 superintendent suspension hearings. I know whereof I speak.

When you vote for any bill that continues Mayoral control you therefore agree to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg support in keeping his dictatorship over the schools, continuing the above-referenced actions, and keeping Joel I. Klein in his position as pseudo-Chancellor (he has no contract – see my article on my blog, “Fire Joel I. Klein” available here: (

We, the parents and teachers of New York City, will tally the votes given by each of you to the continuance of the strategies listed above.

What do you say to the stakeholders of the New York City public school system? We, your voting constituents, want to know.

Please reply by August 1, 2009 to I will post your answer on my blog, NYC Rubber Room Reporter, at If I receive no answer, I will assume that you support the Mayor and I will put your vote on my blog as such, for the general public to see.

Thank you,
Betsy Combier
NYC public school parent
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter

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