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Sunday, January 4, 2015

New York's Schools Fail To End Racial and Economic Segregation

New York City Chancellor Carmen Farina

The Central Crisis in New York Education


Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s forthcoming State of the State address is expected to focus on what can be done to improve public education across the state.
If he is serious about the issue, he will have to move beyond peripheral concerns and political score-settling with the state teachers’ union, which did not support his re-election, and go to the heart of the matter. And that means confronting and proposing remedies for the racial and economic segregation that has gripped the state’s schools, as well as the inequality in school funding that prevents many poor districts from lifting their children up to state standards.
These shameful inequities were fully brought to light in 2006, when the state’s highest court ruled in Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New Yorkthat the state had not met its constitutional responsibility to ensure adequate school funding and in particular had shortchanged New York City.

A year later, the Legislature and Gov. Eliot Spitzer adopted a new formula that promised more help for poor districts and eventually $7 billion per year in added funding. That promise evaporated in the recession, spawning two lawsuits aimed at forcing the state to honor it.
A lawsuit by a group called New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights estimates that, despite increases in recent years, the state is still about $5.6 billion a year short of its commitment under that formula.

A second lawsuit was filed on behalf of students in several small cities in the state, including Jamestown, Port Jervis, Mount Vernon and Newburgh. It says that per pupil funding in the cities, which have an average 72 percent student poverty rate, is $2,500 to $6,300 less than called for in the 2007 formula, making it impossible to provide the instruction other services needed to meet the State Constitution’s definition of a “sound basic education.”
These communities and others like them are further disadvantaged by having low property values and by a statewide cap enacted in 2011 that limits what money they are able to raise through property taxes. And last year the New York State United Teachers union said that the cap had been particularly harmful to poorer districts.

These inequalities are compounded by the fact that New York State, which regards itself as a bastion of liberalism, has the most racially and economically segregated schools in the nation. A scathing 2014 study of this problem by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, charged that New York had essentially given up on this problem. It said, “The children who most depend on the public schools for any chance in life are concentrated in schools struggling with all the dimensions of family and neighborhood poverty and isolation.”
The Cuomo administration seemed not to acknowledge these issues in a letter last month to the chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents and the commissioner of education in which it promised “an aggressive legislative package” to improve education in the state. Among the dozen issues it said it wanted to address were strengthening the teacher evaluation system, improving the process for removing low-performing teachers and improving teacher training.

The regents agreed that these were legitimate issues needing attention. But they also noted that these reforms were unlikely to improve the schools unless they were paired with new investments along the lines of the $2 billion in extra spending that the regents had recommended earlier. No less pointedly, they urged Mr. Cuomo to address the “deeply disturbing inequalities in resources” that exist between poor and wealthy districts, as well as the destructive pattern of segregation. Mr. Cuomo must take on both of these central issues.

South Bronx Blog: Obtaining NYC DOE Personnel's Emails

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Your Guide To Fun With Google Mail


Francesco Portelos has been MIA since December 23 and I figured I might pick up the
slack (Yes, it is unsolicited, but what the heck?) of a little primer of my own (Not taking anything away from DTOE's own resource's page) which I hope can be added over there. And when Francesco is found he can add anything to this if he so wishes. 

The NYCDOE uses Outlook for all it's email purposes. However, all Outlook email is subject to FOIL and any and all discovery requests in a court of law. The NYCDOE is
a public entity and all those working for the NYCDOE are in the realm of public employees. 

Even if the emails are deleted they are stored indefinitely in servers at, I believe, MetroTech. 

But some people, and not just at the NYCDOE, have figured out a way around
using "official" email. As someone in government said to me, "Here is my personal
email. Use this to communicate with me it is not FOILable."

But back to the NYCDOE. Yes, some schools have set up email domains and
accounts through third parties. GoDaddy, Yahoo, Hotmail, and yes, even Google Mail
or as we call it, Gmail with their owndomains. 

But let's focus on Google mail.

Through Google mail one can have their on domain (instead of one can
have something like, which might make one think they are
impervious to any FOIL requests or discovery requests.

This is false.

Once a private email provider (In this case Gmail) is used to discuss business, especially
one like a government agency that email account is than considered to be a government account subject to all laws of FOIL and discovery. 

But Kevin Smith of Fort Lee NJ asks a question;
"What if the emails in question have been deleted by the account? Then what?"
Good question Kevin!

The Crack Team checked with several people in the industry and with people at Google.
The answers we got back were pretty much the same;
"With over a million servers world wide the deleted emails remain on the Google servers forever"
See, problem solved Kevin. We guess Kevin won't be deleting any emails anytime soon, right Kev?

But how does one get those emails? This was the question put forth to us by Kevin Jones
of Fort Lee NJ.

Thank you Kevin, The Crack Team has researched your questions and please click here 
and for those who can;t wait some of the highlights are below.

We here at SBSB hope that this post and the information below can and will be helpful.

What kinds of data do you disclose for different products?

To answer that, let's look at four services from which government agencies in the U.S. commonly request information: Gmail, YouTube, Google Voice and Blogger. Here are examples of the types of data we may be compelled to disclose, depending on the ECPA legal process, the scope of the request, and what is requested and available. If we believe
a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.
  • Subscriber registration information (e.g., name, account creation information, associated email addresses, phone number)
  • Sign-in IP addresses and associated time stamps
Court Order:
  • Non-content information (such as non-content email header information)
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena

What's the difference between a subpoena, a search warrant and a court order under ECPA? And what information can a government agency get from Google with each?

It's complex, but here's a summary of the different forms of legal process covered by ECPA:
Of the three types of ECPA legal process for stored information, the subpoena
has the lowest threshold for a government agency to obtain. In many jurisdictions, including the federal system, there is no requirement that a judge or magistrate
review a subpoena before the government can issue it. A government agency can
use a subpoena to compel Google to disclose only specific types of information
listed in the statute. For example, a valid subpoena for your Gmail address could compel us to disclose the name that you listed when creating the account, and the
IP addresses from which you created the account and signed in and signed out
(with dates and times). Subpoenas can be used by the government in both criminal
and civil cases.
On its face, ECPA seems to allow a government agency to compel a communications provider to disclose the content of certain types of emails and other content with a subpoena or an ECPA court order (described below). But Google requires an ECPA search warrant for contents of Gmail and other services based on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.
ECPA Court Order
Unlike an ECPA subpoena, obtaining an ECPA court order requires judicial review. To receive an ECPA court order, a government agency must present specific facts to a judge or magistrate demonstrating that the requested information is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.
With such a court order, a government agency can obtain the same information as a subpoena, plus more detailed information about the use of the account. This could include the IP address associated with a particular email sent from that account or used to change the account password (with dates and times), and the non-content portion of email headers such as the "from," "to" and "date" fields. An ECPA court order is available only for criminal investigations.

Does a law enforcement agency in the U.S. have to use legal process to compel Google to provide user data or will a phone call be enough?

The government needs legal process—such as a subpoena, court order or search warrant—to force Google to disclose user information. Exceptions can be made in certain emergency cases, though even then the government can't force Google to disclose.