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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Once Again, The Teacher Tenure Debate: It's About Who Will Get the Billions In Public Money, not Teacher Effectiveness

I wrote a short post on my view of tenure after one of my daughters' teachers disappeared without a trace when she was in the 11th grade at NEST+M. The Principal, Dr. Olga Livanis, who had followed me to NEST after I spent 8 years at Stuyvesant High School with 2 of my daughters and hoped never to be in the same building with her again, didn't like English teacher Adam Miller, for reasons known only to her. My daughter and all of her friends thought that Adam was the most amazing teacher ever, and he was going to write their college recommendations for them, until he just wasn't there anymore. He sued and won his job back, at NEST, but my daughter had started college by then.

What happened when Adam left? Dr. Livanis had substitutes, one replacement (for 2 days) came from Bronx Science, and the last was a young guy that was just starting out in a career of teaching. The kids liked him a lot, so decided that he was ok, and he stayed until the end of the year.

I went to parent visiting day, and the teacher from Bronx Science tried to teach the students, and she was probably an excellent teacher. But the students wanted her to bring Dr. Livanis to the classroom and tell them what happened to Adam. Finally, she went to get Dr. Livanis, who eventually came into the classroom with Superintendent Alexis Penzell, who I knew quite well from the theft of money at Stuyvesant HS. Dr. Livanis and Ms. Penzell tried to explain that there are decisions that had to be made, and that was that. This insufficient response pleased no one. The teacher in place that day resigned her position at NEST+M and, I heard, went back to her former position.

I watched all the mini-tenure advocates with first, amazement; and then admiration. They wanted Adam Miller back, and stood up for what they wanted.

Unfortunately, all the students did not learn what they could have learned, academically, but they all did well on their Regents and SAT tests, because they were all G&T, which masked the fact that the curriculum was interrupted permanently by Dr. Livanis' game-playing.

 The debate over teacher tenure is a debate about politics in education and who is going to get paid the $billions in public money, not about teacher effectiveness. See Good Teachers Denied Tenure: Harris Lirtzman


Chronicles of (the conceptually incoherent & empirically invalid world of) VergarNYa

Betsy Combier

The Teacher Tenure Debate
NYC Rubber Room Reporter 2010
Theresa Europe, Director of The Administrative Trials Unit, NYC Board of Education (pictured at right)

Is holding onto a tenured teacher a policy of the past that has no value for the present?

I've read alot about tenure, especially after being involved in the rubber room process for seven years as a journalist/paralegal/educator, yet I am a parent, too, of four daughters.

I dont hear very often about how children see "teacher effectiveness", or how a child feels when a teacher disappears, so I asked my youngest daughter, Marielle, who is now 17 and heading off to college in September. She recalled the day two years ago that a teacher she liked suddenly disappeared without explanation. She remembered every detail, and she told me that all of her friends were tormented by the disappearance. She and her friends valued the way this teacher listened to their statements in class, and how this teacher respected their answers, telling each of them that there was value in every perspective. This was a social studies teacher who also was funny at times, serious with his aim to focus on the lesson, but always respectful of each student and his/her contribution to the daily conversation.

One day he was there and the next day a substitute sat at his desk. Marielle and her friends were insulted at the Principal's lack of concern for their feelings, and never totally forgave her (the Principal).

I'm going to continue to ask the kids what they think, because isnt all the talk about teacher tenure really about educating young people to become the best they can be? We all must listen to all voices, no matter what age and/or training he/she has in the biography.

Is Teacher Tenure Necessary?

Tenure is under attack. The century-old system of protecting experienced teachers from arbitrary dismissal — long viewed as sacred — has triggered hot political debates in several states.

"Teacher effectiveness" has emerged as the biggest buzz phrase in education policy circles. Because teachers have such potential for affecting the quality of children's education, some people are starting to argue that it must become easier to get bad teachers out of the classroom.

"There seems to be a lot of drive to do away with tenure," says Sandy Kress, who helped write federal and state education laws as an adviser to George W. Bush and other policymakers. "Tenure has proved to be just a horrible barrier to getting rid of that small percentage of teachers who are just not effective."

Action All Over

This is not merely an academic debate. A bill in Colorado that would change tenure rules and tie them to student performance passed out of a Senate committee last week and has the support of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter. A Florida bill to abolish tenure was vetoed this month by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, but a similar bill is pending in Louisiana.

Debates about tenure rules are happening at the local level as well, notably in Washington, D.C., where a proposal to eliminate tenure and seniority rules in exchange for higher pay led to protracted arguments over the local teachers' contract.

Washington state, meanwhile, along with Maryland and Ohio, has recently lengthened the number of years teachers have to wait before becoming eligible for tenure. Elementary and secondary school teachers can become eligible for tenure after as little as two years on the job, although the time frame varies by state.

"What's become so problematic about tenure is that it's awarded almost automatically, without regard to performance in student learning," says Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, which advocates changes to the teaching profession.

A Matter Of Due Process

Unlike tenure for university professors, tenure for K-12 teachers does not, in theory, shield them from dismissal. Instead, it's simply a guarantee of due process — that if a teacher is fired, it will be for cause.

The advent of tenure, which coincided roughly with World War I and the suffragist movement, was meant to protect teachers, who, in olden days, were often fired for reasons that had nothing to do with their work, including race.

Teachers were often let go when a new political party came to power locally, or if the principal wanted to hand out jobs to his friends, or even if a teacher got pregnant.

"These laws were passed in state after state to protect good teachers from arbitrary actions," says Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, which is the country's largest teachers union.

"Due process is necessary in order to avoid the type of abuses of the past," he says. "It's very upsetting that in 2010, under the guise of improving schools, we suddenly get rid of protections from firing teachers for inadequate or wrong reasons."

Are Protections Still Needed?

Advocates of overhauling tenure say they favor due process. But they point out that tenure predates subsequent labor laws that guard against discrimination or other employer abuses. "So much has changed about our larger legal framework," says Tim Daly, president of The New Teacher Project, which helps place teachers in urban schools. "A law about teacher tenure, by far, is not the only thing that would protect you."

This point now is commonly made, but Susan Moore Johnson, who teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, says, "I'm not really convinced there are more protections now. You continue to hear stories about how favoritism is alive and well in public schools."

For his part, Daly doesn't advocate the abolition of tenure, but he does believe it needs to be changed. Dismissals should be job related, he says. But the problem he sees is that there are so many legal and managerial hurdles involved in dismissing a teacher that tenure has become a de facto shield against firing even the worst teachers.

"Tenure says you can't be dismissed unless you are shown to be incompetent through the evaluation process," Daly says. "But the evaluation process doesn't work at all, so tenure is seen as an ironclad guarantee of a job."

Change May Be Coming

That's where policy advocates have spotted an opening. It's clear that the way teachers are evaluated will undergo change. The federal Race to the Top program, a $4 billion pot of money meant to encourage states to pursue innovative educational strategies, insists on tying teacher evaluation to student performance.

The ins and outs of how student scores on standardized tests are weighted in evaluating teachers can quickly turn into a topic of interest only to insiders. In contrast, the public can understand and respond to the idea that a lifetime job guarantee has become anachronistic in today's economy.

Getting rid of tenure is still going to be a tough sell. Teachers unions are generally considered among the strongest lobbies in most states, and job protection for their members goes to the heart of their mission.

Johnson, the Harvard professor, says that unions make convenient targets for blame in such matters, noting that even teachers without tenure are rarely dismissed. She has studied some of the few districts where teachers are regularly let go — which are those where joint panels set up by unions and administrators sit together in judgment.

"Principals will say, 'The reason I don't dismiss anyone is because the union will stand in the way,' " Johnson says. "But where teachers are dismissed, it's through a peer review that guarantees due process."

Less Than 1 Percent Fired

Firing teachers is hard. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have each fired fewer than 1 out of 1,000 of their tenured teachers in recent years. Those numbers are not unusual.

Administrators complain that the process is too draining. Reviews of dismissal cases can take years to make their way through the system, costing tens of thousands of dollars each.

Teachers say that administrators are themselves at fault for performing perfunctory, "drive-by" evaluations. One study of selected districts in four states found that 99 percent of teachers receive "satisfactory" ratings.

Sometimes, bad publicity can curb the worst abuses on either side. The Los Angeles Times found last December that L.A. schools deny tenure to fewer than 2 percent of probationary hires, with evaluations often amounting to nothing more than a single, pre-announced classroom visit lasting 30 minutes or less.

Following the report, Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines pledged greater scrutiny. In February, the district announced it would fire more than 110 nontenured teachers for performance -— three times the annual rate in recent years.

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers announced the city would close the district's "rubber rooms," where teachers are paid to sit and do no work, often for years, while awaiting the outcome of dismissal hearings.

Newspaper and magazine articles about the rubber rooms — which Bloomberg labeled "study hall for teachers" — had embarrassed both the city and the union. Now, teachers will be assigned to administrative or nonclassroom duties while cases are pending, with the city hiring more arbitrators to speed up the process.

Good Teachers Denied Tenure: Harris Lirtzman

I wrote Harris Lirtzman's story in 2013 when he won his case against the New York City Department of Education, and then we at The E-Accountability Foundation awarded him an
"A For Accountability Award" and you can read all about his disturbing account of the attack on him by his employers and Principal Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson after he spoke out about the lack of resources and services for special needs students under his care.

Shame on the NYC DOE!!!!

Tenure rights for teachers is good public policy and must continue, as Arthur Goldstein says in his post below, the children in public schools of NYC need these tenured teachers to help protect the health, safety and welfare of all students.

Betsy Combier

Harris Lirtzman

Teacher tenure: For good apples, too 

We need to be protected from our principals

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 4:30 AM
Every day, it seems, I read about a new lawsuit to do away with teacher tenure. The crusade reminds me of my friend Harris Lirtzman. It’s because of tenure that I teach and he doesn’t.
Harry used to be a deputy New York State controller until, in 2009, he decided to become a math teacher of special-education students in the Bronx. He offered experience and a depth of understanding few could match — but his discerning eye proved to be his downfall.
He studied the kids’ Individualized Education Programs, the documents that state what services special-education students require, and discovered that many were being underserved, possibly to save on school expenses.
Harry began asking questions — and learned exactly how unwelcome they were when, in December 2011, he was denied tenure.
Harry now tutors at-risk students in Yonkers. If he’d had tenure, he’d still be helping city public school kids.
Without tenure, I’d probably be in Harry’s place. I teach English as a second language, usually to beginners, at Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
One year, I had two students who spoke English but couldn’t read or write. One had been kicking around city schools for years.
He had a strategy for pushy teachers like me. He listened intently and participated orally as much as possible. But when I sat him down and wrote words like “mother” and “house,” he could not decode them at all. I contacted his mother, who knew of his problem. I sought help in the building.
Around this time, I read an article in the paper about ESL. I called the writer to comment. The story of my illiterate students came up, and he asked me if he could write about it. I wasn’t sure. He asked me whether I had tenure. I told him I did; he said it shouldn’t be a problem.
After the writer asked the city Education Department about my two students, I was immediately summoned into the principal’s office. He heartily condemned my ingratitude.
I could see I had broken some unwritten rule. From then on, I was scrutinized constantly. In a series of meetings in his office, the principal glared at me as we met with guidance counselors, the school psychologist and others.
No one was asking whether these kids were being helped. The only concern, apparently, was one teacher with a big mouth. For reasons never made clear to me, both kids left the school before any action became necessary.
I’m absolutely sure this principal would have fired me if it had been possible.
Shortly thereafter, I requested books for my students. For some reason, they were unavailable. My colleagues could get books, but I couldn’t. By then I had less than one class set, so students had to share them.
Months later, I learned the United Federation of Teachers contract said the school had to provide supplies. I threatened to file a grievance, something I had never done up to that point. A week after my threat, my kids got two brand-new class sets of books.
Tenure doesn’t only protect the so-called bad apples, or teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence. It protects all teachers. This is a tough job, and despite what you read in the papers, it also entails advocating for our students, your kids, whether or not the administration is comfortable with it.
I meet passionate and effective teachers everywhere I go. How many will stand up for your kids when schools don’t provide the services they need? How many will demand deserving kids pass classes even if they fail a standardized test? How many will tell state Education Commissioner John King that failing 70% of New York City’s students is not only counterintuitive, but also counterproductive?
It’s hard to say. Abolish tenure and that number will drop very close to zero.
Goldstein is an ESL teacher and UFT chapter leader at Francis Lewis High School.

On Special Education, Spurned Teacher Is Vindicated

Perhaps it pays to heed Harris Lirtzman.

A passionate fellow, this teacher warned his principal last fall that their Bronx public high school was routinely violating the rights of the most vulnerable children, those in need of special education.
For speaking up, Mr. Lirtzman — who served as a deputy New York State comptroller before turning at age 53 to public-school teaching — saw his career ground to dust. He was denied tenure, and the principal, Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson, asked him to leave immediately. When he took his worries to the investigative arm of New York City’s Education Department, the investigators opened a file on him instead.
I wrote of Mr. Lirtzman’s struggle in May. His vindication arrived in the mail in June.
The State Education Department investigated his charges and sent him a copy of its report. It sustained Mr. Lirtzman’s allegations, one violation of state regulations after another.
High school administrators at the Felisa Rincón de Gautier Institute for Law and Public Policy in the Bronx had put unqualified teachers in charge of special education classes. They pushed these students into classes crowded with general education students.
And most egregiously, when faced with teaching vacancies, the administrators brought in a conga line of substitute teachers on “rotating” one-week stints to teach special education classes. That treads perilously close to educational malpractice.
It’s hard to scrape a usable quote from the state report, which is written in Haute Bureaucratese. Perhaps better to leave the talking to Mr. Lirtzman.
“There are a lot of gray areas in teaching special education in a big city,” he says. “But a fair amount is black and white: A kid is either getting the services required by federal law or not.”
This is not quite the end of the story. The city’s Education Department evinced little interest in Mr. Lirtzman’s allegations in May. Now a spokeswoman says it has commenced its own investigation.
The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals, argues that the fault lies with the city’s Education Department, which imposes budget cuts and ever more demands on principals. Higher-ups, they say, approved Ms. Laboy-Wilson’s decisions, including placing substitute teachers in special education classrooms on a rotating basis.
Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson
The principal, they say, is not at fault.
You’re going to find that the mistakes they make up above are landing on the heads of my members,” said Ernest A. Logan, the council’s president. “This is a case in point.”
The council added in a written statement that history shows that the city and the state often have “inconsistent special education guidelines.”
Let’s posit, as it is true, that Mr. Logan and his staff are intelligent advocates who often stand at the forefront of fighting the most unreasonable aspects of the Bloomberg Education Revolution. They offer a properly stout defense of their members. And they passed along internal department memos that indeed show education officials have turned a blind eye to special education violations, and have directed principals to make do in ways that skirt these regulations..
It’s also true that the city’s Education Department shoulders a heavy burden. It dedicates 18,000 teachers to special education. Each student is required by law to have an individual educational plan.
But those words — “inconsistent special education guidelines” — are a not-so-lovely euphemism for violating the rights of underserved children.
I asked the State Education Department if it is unfair to blame a principal for failing special education children.
Kids are supposed to get an education, and they are supposed to get it from properly qualified teachers,” said Tom Dunn, a department spokesman. “We said there are violations. They should fix it now.”
All of which brings us back to Mr. Lirtzman. He went to that high school in the Bronx for a job interview just before school began in 2009. The principal hired him on the spot, and a few days later, he was teaching a special education math class.
He had a wild toboggan ride of a time and came to love his students. Several parents said he was one of the best teachers their children ever had.
But when the department denied him tenure and the principal forced him out, he had enough. He retired.
His coda arrived a few days ago, again in the mail. The principal, Ms. Laboy-Wilson, filled out his final evaluation, in accordance with regulations. She rated him satisfactory over all.
On a long list, she listed him as unsatisfactory in just two areas: He did not keep a professional attitude and maintain good relations with supervisors.
If that’s the price of dissent, suffice it to say Mr. Lirtzman can live with that.


Helping Special Education Students, and Paying With His Career

There was no particular moment when Harris Lirtzman decided to blow the whistle, and so close the door on his teaching career.
A former deputy state comptroller, he had decided to give public school teaching a midcareer whirl. In 2009, he landed a job as a special education math teacher at the Gautier Institute for Law and Public Policy, a Bronx high school.
He describes that first year as a cross between a hurricane and a tornado, learning his craft in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. He came to love his work.
But in September 2011, school administrators placed uncertified teachers — and a conga line of unemployed teachers who came for one-week stints — in classrooms filled with special education students, which is to say those children most in need of expert help.
This violated federal regulations.
Mr. Lirtzman, 56, decided to speak up. As he was not yet tenured, he stepped gingerly.
“I am NOT trying to cause problems,” he wrote in an e-mail to his assistant principal, but, he added, “we’re violating” court-mandated educational plans for students.
Mr. Lirtzman, unwittingly, became sand in the school’s gears.
He had received nothing but satisfactory evaluations. But in December, he said, the principal, Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson, said that she would not recommend him for tenure. The next day, she told him to leave immediately.
Mr. Lirtzman took his allegations to the Office of Special Investigations, an in-house unit at the Department of Education. An investigator asked for proof.
Mr. Lirtzman handed over 20 student programs, all of which showed that administrators placed students in classrooms with uncertified teachers. The investigator informed Mr. Lirtzman that these were confidential documents.
Now I am opening an investigation of you, she told him. It would be enough to bring a smile to the lips of Kafka.
“These are the most vulnerable kids, the ones no one really looks out for,” Mr. Lirtzman said. “This wasn’t a gray legal area. This was black and white, and the Department of Education decided that I was the problem.”
The Department of Education portrays Mr. Lirtzman as disgruntled at his failure to get tenure, and the principal declined to comment on his allegations.
New York City does not shoulder an easy burden trying to care for its tens of thousands of special education students. More than 18,000 teachers are dedicated to special education. Each student is required by law to have an individual educational plan, or I.E.P.
It’s also true that the city, over many administrations, has failed many of these students. Therapy is in too short supply; students — who wrestle with emotional and learning disabilities — are crammed in classrooms that are too large; and administrators sometimes conspire to push out troubled children. Graduation rates for these students are vanishingly low.
As Kim Sweet, executive director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York, said: “We see cases of schools violating I.E.P.’s all the time. Our phones ring off the hook.”
Mr. Lirtzman acquired a crash course in these multiple neglects. And, although he does not phrase it so grandly, he also helped rescue a few of these children.
One such teenager, Derek Chestnut Jr., had more or less thrived in middle school, but ran upon the academic shoals at Gautier, where he was stuck in classes with a changing cast of uncertified teachers. One day, Mr. Lirtzman talked to the student’s father, Derek Chestnut Sr.
“He kept hinting something was wrong, and finally he told me there were rotating aides and teachers,” Mr. Chestnut recalled about their conversation. “The administrators told me otherwise, and I really didn’t appreciate when they tried to pull the wool over my eyes.”
Mr. Chestnut took his case to the upper reaches of the education bureaucracy. Quickly, without the usual resistance, he obtained an unusual legal letter that entitled him to place his son in a private school for special education children, all paid for by the city.
“They admitted off the bat that my son’s I.E.P. was being violated,” he said. “I owe this to one honest man, Mr. Lirtzman. He became an advocate not just for my son, but for all special education students in that school.”
Mr. Lirtzman acknowledges that he burns hot. The Department of Education now says Ms. Laboy-Wilson filed a harassment charge against him after he sent her several particularly heated e-mails. Mr. Lirtzman, who showed me dozens of his e-mails, insists his correspondence included no threat.
He has worked at high levels in city and state government. He was not intent on career suicide.
“I wanted to be a teacher; I wanted to get tenure,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to commit kamikaze so that I would feel good about myself.”



Mona Davids Fools No One, as Her Foolhardy Lawsuit Against Teacher Tenure Gains Thousands of Opponents

Mona Davids and Her Children Mymoena and Eric
From Betsy Combier:

Mona Davids doesn't know what to believe. So she goes where the wind - oops, the money - blows. See the articles below. First, Ms. Davids uses her children to get good teachers out of their classrooms, and Attorney Arthur Schwartz will be opposing her foolish and frivolous lawsuit against teacher tenure. Then, further below, you will see how the UFT gave Mona $10,000 and Attorney Arthur Schwartz was her attorney.

Huh? Where are these people's values and integrity, I might ask?

Drop the lawsuit Mona.

Betsy Combier

Parents, education advocates plan to defend teacher tenure against lawsuit filed by parents' reform group

Attorney Arthur Schwartz said he expects to file a motion in Staten Island Supreme Court within two weeks claiming his clients should be named as co-defendants of the city and state’s Education Departments, which were sued two weeks ago by the New York City Parents Union for failing to provide quality education to all kids.

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 11:57 PM
About 50 parents and education advocates plan to defend teacher tenure in court alongside the city and state, arguing that job protections ensure quality classrooms.
Labor attorney Arthur Schwartz (pictured at left) said he expects to file a motion in Staten Island Supreme Court within two weeks claiming his clients should be named as co-defendants of the city and state’s Education Departments, which were sued two weeks ago by the New York City Parents Union for failing to provide quality education to all kids.
“They believe that the only way to attract qualified graduates to the profession is if they are afforded job security,” Schwartz said of his clients.
The Parents Union suit, which seeks class action status, names 11 city students whose constitutional rights were allegedly violated by bad teachers who couldn't be fired.
But Schwartz said that teachers with job protections were not the reason for poor student achievement.

“This lawsuit in fact diverts attention from lack of (education) funding and excessive class size,” he said. “There's no evidence that systems of job security harm students.”
The president of the Parents Union, Mona Davids, had no comment on the possibility of new defendants in her suit.
She was inspired by the so-called Vergara decision, in which a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that ineffective teachers are disproportionately represented in poor neighborhoods.
That ruling in California, which is under appeal, also led journalist-turned-advocate Campbell Brown to announce she will soon file a similar suit in Albany.
NRGloda/Getty Images/iStockphotoThe Parents Union suit, which seeks class action status, names 11 city students whose constitutional rights were allegedly violated by bad teachers who couldn't be fired.

A spokesman for her advocacy group, Partnership for Educational Justice, did not respond to a request for comment.

Schwartz said he expects to intervene in Brown’s lawsuit, as
Observers say that both suits in the Empire State face daunting legal hurdles compared to California.
Reform efforts are already underway, including a new teacher evaluation system and new bonuses intended to lure quality educators to impoverished neighborhoods in the city through bonuses.
Lastly, in California teachers are granted tenure in just 18 months, while in New York educators face a three-year probationary period.

The Frivolous Case of NYC Parent Mona Davids v Tenure

New parent group all $nug

 with UFT

Tom DiNapoli
It’s the new teacher’s pet.
A nonprofit touting itself as an “independent” parent advocacy group has quickly cozied up to the United Federation of Teachers — and to the union’s deep pockets, The Post has learned.

The New York City Parents Union, which supported the UFT’s legal battle against charter schools being housed in public buildings and which recently ripped the mayor’s handling of the schools system, has already received $10,000 from the teachers union since launching in April.

The relationship between the two groups will take center stage tonight when the Parents Union hosts its first annual awards benefit — honoring none other than UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the UFT’s downtown headquarters.

Also honored for community leadership will be the state’s NAACP chief, Hazel Dukes — who has railed repeatedly against charter schools — and Arthur Z. Schwartz, a longtime labor lawyer who represented the transit union during its unlawful 2005 strike, which crippled the city.

His new group, Advocates for Justice, filed a lawsuit last summer on behalf of the Parents Union that echoed the UFT’s losing legal bid to keep struggling schools from being shuttered.

A host of other unions were also donors to the event including the AFL-CIO, Teamsters Local 237, SEIU 32B and the Transit Workers Union.
School-choice advocates accused the new parents group of being an arm of the UFT.

“It was always clear that the UFT was behind this organization, but now they aren’t even trying to pretend there is any separation,” said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform.

Parents Union founder Mona Davids insisted her group is not a union tool, saying it “welcomes and appreciates alliances with other individuals and organizations who share our interest in obtaining the highest-quality public education for all children in New York City.’’

Additional reporting by Yoav Gonen