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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Zero Tolerance Loses Support Nationwide

My post on my blog National Public Voice

Zero Tolerance as a School Disciplinary Policy is Not Effective

The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

Backing Away From Zero Tolerance

Students entering their Chicago high school
Schools across the country are rightly backing away from “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies under which children are suspended for minor misbehavior that once would have been dealt with by the principal and the child’s parents or with a modest punishment like detention. The schools are being pushed in this direction by studies showing: that suspensions do nothing to improve the school climate; that children who are thrown out are at greater risk of low achievement and becoming entangled with the juvenile justice system; and that minority children are disproportionately singled out for the harshest, most damaging disciplinary measures.

A new study of Chicago public schools by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research shows that the trend is beginning to take hold there as well. Beginning in 2009, the district started using policies that were intended to cut down on suspensions and expulsions by solving garden-variety disciplinary problems within the school walls. Among these was the Culture of Calm initiative through which high schools stepped up counseling and introduced a peer-driven system for student juries to mediate disputes that might otherwise have led to fights and suspensions.
Judging from suspension data, the initiatives seem to be working. In the 2013-14 school year, for example, 16 percent of high school students received an out-of-school suspension, down from 23 percent in 2008-9. Over the same period, both high school students and high school teachers have reported in surveys that their schools felt much safer, less disruptive and more orderly.
While these data are promising, out-of-school-suspension rates in the district are still too high, particularly for at-risk students. For example, 24 percent of high school students with a disability and 27 percent of the lowest-performing high school students received out-of-school suspensions in 2013-14. Suspension rates for African-American boys were unacceptably high, with a third of them receiving at least one out-of-school suspension that year.
Principals and teachers are clearly doing a better job of resolving disciplinary problems without excluding children from school. But schools serving the highest-risk students clearly need more support services and training to help those children as well.

Behind the Scenes, Everyone Pays to Gag Wrong-doers

The tenure lawsuit is going forward.

Linda Hill
All you must remember that when the NYC Parent Union started, Mike Mulgrew, President of the UFT, gave $10,000 to Mona Davids, and then he was given an award? See my post below from the NYPOST November 10, 2011.

That's how it works, you do something that helps your organization or you remain quiet about illegal actions by the Department/school(s), and you are rewarded. Who can say that the UFT is still not assisting the NYC Parent Union or Campbell Brown succeed with ending tenure? Has the UFT stood up against the national forces that want to end tenure?

Michael Mulgrew
I certainly don't think so.

And then there is the commendation by Education Update to former Superintendent Erminia Claudia, who now works for CSA, and not only tried very hard to squash Francesco Portelos, but supported Principal Linda Hill. Ms. Hill is "retiring".

Mona Davids Attorneys Withdraw

New parent group all $nug with UFT
, November 10, 2011
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

Dreyfus Intermediate principal tells staff she plans to retire in June
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Embattled Dreyfus Intermediate School Principal Linda Hill has told her staff she plans to retire in June.
Ms. Hill, the subject of a probe by the city's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) for misappropriation of funds, received a letter of reprimand and was made to pay back $800 to the Department of Education that should not have been allocated to her. She has been principal of the Stapleton intermediate school for more than a decade.
She broke the news to her faculty Monday at the conclusion of a morning staff meeting, according to several faculty members there.
Ms. Hill told staff she is stepping down after a 40-year career with the school system as an educator and administrator, adding that she would stay on until the end of the school year.
If she retires before the end of June, in addition to her pension, union officials said she could be eligible for a one-time, lump-sum payout  -- perhaps as much as  $70,000 -- in retroactive wages under the contract agreement reached between the city and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA).
The DOE  could not confirm her pending retirement until paperwork had been filed and completed. A spokesman said she remains as the school's active principal.
The DOE began to inspect Ms. Hill's workplace time-sheets in early 2012, after a teacher at the school tipped off investigators that the longtime administrator may be abusing the per session or overtime system.
The whistle-blower, former Dreyfus science and technology teacher Francesco Portelos, alleged Ms. Hill was clocking overtime for supervising an after-school program, while she was actually attending monthly meetings of the School Leadership Team.
A lengthy OSI probe found Ms. Hill misallocated a total of $800 over the course of the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.
Payroll records show that Ms. Hill, who earned a salary of $146,713 last year, took home an average of more than $11,000 in per session (overtime) fees in 2010 and 2011, before the allegations of her double -dipping surfaced.
Ms. Hill admitted under oath that she double-dipped during a court deposition last October, but denied that it was done intentionally. She said she stopped double- billing the district after being informed that she was under investigation for the practice, according to court transcripts.
The allegations, which charged she skirted purchasing limits on her DOE-issued Procurement Card or P-Card, by splitting up payments made to the same vendor, were also brought to the DOE's attention by Portelos.
The former Dreyfus teacher, who now serves in the district's Absent Teacher Reserve pool, was removed from the classroom in 2012 and spent two years in a rubber room while under investigation for dozens of misconduct complaints initiated by Ms. Hill, that he claims were lodged in retaliation for reporting her financial improprieties.
Last year, an independent arbitrator found Portelos guilty on 11 of the 38 charges brought against him and recommended a $10,000 fine, but denied the DOE's request to terminate him and ruled that he could return to the classroom. He now serves as a substitute for absent teachers at schools across the borough.