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Friday, December 7, 2012

ATRs: Have You Been Scanned When You Report To Your Assignment?


David Hedges





A number of ATRs (including me) have had the dehumanizing experience of being scanned and frisked by School Safety at the door of the schools where we are assigned on our weekly rotations.  That is not supposed to happen, ever.  According to the UFT-DOE ATR agreement (printed below), no ATR is ever supposed to be required to submit to scanning on the way to an assignment.

If this happens to you, drop me a line.

We are not supposed to be degraded this way.  It deprives our students of the unprejudiced view that we are professionals, not visitors or intruders.  The quality of their attention is compromised when we are treated differently as separate members of the educational community.  (Remember the "separate by equal" analysis of the Warren Court?  Separate is inherently unequal.)

A teacher who is being treated this way has good reason to feel degraded as if he or she is professionally unwelcome as an ATR. 

I hope this makes your day!

NYC DOE: Politics of Harm

Eva Moskowitz

Plan to push school for at-risk kids out, to move well-connected charter in

The city is planning to create more space for the Moskowitz charter school by moving the Innovation Diploma Plus school to a Washington Heights building that lacks science labs and a gym.

Comments (4)
A high school for at-risk kids is facing eviction from its home to make room for a well-connected charter school to expand, critics charge.
School reformer and former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz sparked outrage last year when city officials turned over space in the newly overhauled Brandeis high school campus on the upper West Side to the Moskowitz-run Upper West Success Academy.
This year, the city is planning to create more space in the Brandeis building by moving the Innovation Diploma Plus school to a Washington Heights building that lacks science labs and a gym.
The Diploma Plus school serves kids who have fallen behind on completing their degrees.
The move also means the school’s teen moms will lose access to day care because Brandeis is one of a few dozen locations where day care is provided for students, city officials said.


Brandeis High School at W. 84th St. The Innovation Diploma Plus school is slated to be moved out of the building, but as a result, teen moms currently attending that school will lose access to day care for their children.

The decision, which was scheduled for a hearing Tuesday night, has sparked fury in the community.
“I strongly urge you to reconsider,” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio wrote in a letter Tuesday to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
“This latest proposal by the Department of Education will undermine the education of at-risk students.”
Moskowitz, the Upper West Success founder, is a contentious figure because of her willingness to take on the powerful teachers union and because of the perception that she has an inside-track with the Bloomberg administration.
School officials say Innovation will now be closer to the majority of students’ homes.
“We are considering feedback from the community, and the relocated school will meet state requirements for physical education and science,” said spokeswoman Connie Pankratz.



FRANK OLEO2 days ago
Bloomberg and Moskowitz have turned the charter school movement into a joke. They intend to prove that with more money than public schools and all the advantage given to them by politicians that scharter schools can succeed. End public funding of this fiasco and you will stop pitting parent against parent and community against community.

SALESGAL318072 days ago
@Napoleon - education is no longer about education. It's now about politics, connections, grooming the next generation and money making. It's horrible and quite sad what's happened to the largest public school system in the country. I say this as someone about to graduate with a degree in education. I don't even want to teach anymore - that's how disguisted I am with the "system"

"School reformer"?????? .... She's a PROFITEERING LEECH, making HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND DOLLARS a YEAR from TAXPAYERS, while engaging in the SHIFTIEST back-room deals with the likes of Klein and other corrupt Bloomberg minions!!!!!! ... Which is WHY the Emperor is wasting OUR money trying to prevent turning over e-mails from Klein and Black!!!!!

From Betsy Combier:

The business model of education promotes the discarding of people who may get in the way of highest production, i.e. the kids and teachers at the non-charter schools within Brandeis. Bloomberg's "Go where the money is" throws public schools and everyone connected with them into the garbage.

The silence of the UFT and city politicians - including those running supposedly for Mayor next year - is deafening. 

Bernie Gassaway Speaks About Boys and Girls High School

Boys & Girls leader steals the show at lively pre-closure meeting

In a fiery, off-the-cuff speech delivered to supporters on Tuesday, outspoken Boys and Girls High School Principal Bernard Gassaway reiterated charges he has leveled for years: The city is keeping him from turning around his long-struggling school.
Just that afternoon, he recounted, he confronted and sent away an unwanted teacher assigned to him by the Department of Education.
“They sent a nut job here,” Gassaway said, to cheers from the crowd who turned out a meeting held by the department as part of a process to determine whether the school should close.
“But that’s what they think about kids,” he added as part of the 11-minute address. “You don’t think that’s not done intentionally?”
With a 37 percent four-year graduation rate and a 2.4 percent college-and-career-readiness rate, Boys and Girls ranks as one of the lowest-performing schools in the city and has for years. Demand for the school has also waned, as enrollment has dropped 40 percent — from 2,000 to 1,200 — since 2010.

Department  officials have publicly pledged support for Gassaway and last spring spared the school from undergoing a grueling turnaround proposal that ultimately failed in courts earlier this year. But after another year of low performance — and an “F” grade on its latest progress report, the second in a row — the city is taking a closer look and will soon decide if it should receive the same fate as other comprehensive high schools that have shuttered under the Bloomberg administration.
The school’s status under Gassaway has been unsteady for years, but he has enjoyed the support of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community, including many influential political, business, and religious leaders. The school’s advisory board includes City Councilman Al Vann, State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Regent Lester Young, Rev. Conrad Tillard and Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation President Colvin Grannum.
That support was on display Tuesday night. Vann, Robinson, Young, and Tillard joined U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and about 200 others to voice their opposition to closing the school.
“There’s a lot of history here. This is part of who we are as a community and a people. You can’t close that,” said Vann.
Dozens of speakers laid out familiar arguments for why the school should be saved. Many of them said other school closures in Brooklyn and Queens had caused a large concentrations of high-need students at Boys and Girls.
“We now have to bear their burden,” said Anthony Jones, a graduate who now works with the school’s track team.
“It’s not the school that’s failing at all,” said Deanna King, a student. “It’s the people who sit there and bring 1,800 students who are terrible and bring them into our school.”
Since ex-Chancellor Joel Klein handpicked him to lead the school in 2009, Gassaway has publicly stated a desire to get rid of teachers that he considered subpar, and recently he has begun criticizing the city for not helping him do that. Still, many teachers have left under his leadership, he said, adding, ”I’m feeling more optimistic with the staff we have in place now.”
Supporters said changes Gassaway has made would take some time to have an impact. Vann said younger students will be the first to enjoy the real benefits of the reforms, which include a partnership with Long Island University, where students earn college credits.
About 25 sophomores are part of the program’s first cohort. One of them, Armando Dunn, enrolled in the program so that his mother would allow him to attend Boys and Girls and join the basketball team. Both of his older sisters had attended ultra-selective city high schools.
“I can’t send you to a school where I see statistics saying that it’s failing,” Lisa Dunn recalled telling her son.
Now, Lisa Dunn is president of the school’s parent association and said she believes Gassaway should have more time to turn the school around.
Principals of schools facing closure usually keep a low profile at the city’s “early engagement” meetings, which are run by district superintendents. But after about 90 minutes of testimony, Gassaway appeared in front of the stage and addressed the crowd.
Gassaway began by saying he was done assigning blame.
“What we can’t do, and what I may have been guilty of in the past, is we can’t point fingers,” Gassaway said. ”There are powers that be that would love to have me stand up here and bash this group or bash that group. I’m not going to do that.”
But soon Gassaway was ripping the department for its deployment of teachers from the Absent Teacher Reserve, a pool of teachers who lost their jobs through budget cuts or school closures. Gassaway said that just hours earlier he was involved in an incident with an ATR teacher who had refused to resume teaching until a disruptive student was removed from the class.
“I looked at my kids. I tell them, ‘don’t fight’, so I couldn’t fight,” Gassaway said. “But I said to myself, let me get him out of here.”
“He’s not coming back,” Gassaway added, to cheers.

Hey DOE! It's Kind of Your Fault Boys and Girls High School is Under-Performing, Community Says

 Those advocating to preserve the current structure of Boys and Girls High School say the New York City Department of Education has failed to calculate the role it has played in contributing to the school's drop in performance in recent years.
The historic Bedford-Stuyvesant high school is facing the prospect of being phased out, radically redesigned and divided into several different district or charter schools -- after receiving poor performance grades from the DOE for the last three years.
Members of the Boys and Girls family, politicians and members of the surrounding community passionately reminded the DOE -- at a community meeting held at Boys and Girls last night -- that the school has admitted nearly 2000 underachieving students from around the borough in the last three years.
"You cannot ask a school to absorb 1800 students from all over the borough, who themselves have been dislocated, and expect that they will come together under one roof and...really function at optimal capacity," Congressman-elect Hakeem Jeffries told District 16 Superintendent Karen Watts and another DOE representative at last night's forum.
The influx of the 1800 dislocated students is a result of the DOE's decision to phase out a number of large high schools across Brooklyn in recent years -- including schools such as Canarsie, South Shore, and Tilden. The year prior to the infusion of students, the school earned a B grade from the DOE.
"The department of education created a climate of confusion here at Boys and Girls, and that's the reason why we're seeing the school not necessarily hit some of the performance measures," Jeffries said. "What we're asking is that the department of education take a very hard look at what it has done to hurt the progress here at Boys and Girls."
Watts insisted that no final decision has been made on phasing out the school. The DOE may instead opt to implement an intensive assistance program for the remainder of this school year to try and help boost the school's performance to a satisfactory level.
It's unclear how realistic it is to expect an assistance program of any capacity to lift up the school's performance in just a few short months. But, that appears to be the only alternative option available to the school if it hopes to remain intact.
The high school will have to improve upon its poor attendance rates, a 39 percent graduation rate for four-year students, low college matriculation rates and back-to-back F's from the DOE.
The DOE issued a report to community members stating that the department has given "considerable support" to the high school, "but unfortunately [the DOE's] best efforts have not turned the school around."
Boys and Girls Principal Bernard Gassaway -- who received much praise yesterday from parents, students and alumni -- said he envisioned that the high school would ultimately meet this crossroad.
"God has given me the prophecy to see this day three years ago. I knew this was coming," he told the audience. "We were not going to reject any of our young people who wanted to come to Boys and Girls High School."
Jason Lewis/Village Voice
Alumnus Lee Church declares the school is here to stay.
Students told stories of how Boys and Girls has helped boost their self- confidence, improve their academic performance, provide them with a since of belonging and guide them through tough times. Deanna, a senior student whose father has suffered numerous strokes in recent months, said the school has been a haven during her troubled times.
"No one understands the fact that this is our home, and I'm here until 9 p.m. at night doing my work or doing something educational. Why do people have to take this away from us?" she asked.
A number of speakers accused Bloomberg and the DOE of targeting the school, and others like it, for economic reasons and the real estate its campus occupies.
"It's about real estate and it's about money," Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, whose kids and grand-kids attended Boys and Girls, said. "Our children are not a business. We want to educate our children just like everyone else wants to educate their children."
Lee Church, former Boy's and Girls basketball star and current representative to Jeffries, made it clear that the Boys and Girls community will fight to preserve its school.
"You're not here coming into a school that doesn't have a plan. We don't need Mayor Bloomberg's plan. We don't need Dennis Walcott's plan," Church said. "We're here to prove a point and show the point that we are here to stay... [Bloomberg's] agenda will not, as much as I can stand in the way, happen here in this building."