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Sunday, June 11, 2017

New York City Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina Unveils a New Plan: Integration

Oh - NOW Chancellor Carmen Farina says the integration of the NYC Department of Education is something she has believed in all her life?

From the Daily News article below:

“This is something I’ve believed in all my life,” Fariña told The News exclusively on Tuesday. “And I think having it on paper, where people can see it and the vocabulary is the same for everyone, is very important.”

Then why has she waited so long to talk and do something about the wide-spread segregation and disparate treatment of minority children? See Carmen's face in the photo below that's what she really believes. Nothing.

Long-Awaited Plan for Integrating Schools Proves Mostly Small-Bore

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, in February. On Tuesday, a principal critical
of their new plan to increase diversity in public schools said, “It’s not a plan to integrate the schools.”
Most people involved in the NYC DOE no longer find Carmen credible. I certainly don't.

Betsy Combier

New York City unveils plan to improve diversity in public schools
Ben Chapman, NY Daily News, June 7, 2017

Carmen Farina
Education officials on Tuesday revealed a master plan to integrate city schools that includes everything from enrollment targets to ways to make it easier for busy families to apply to sought-
after schools.

In a 12-page report, the Education Department detailed how it will expand desegregation programs already in place at some schools to bring in more kids from underrepresented communities.

On Monday, the department exclusively told the Daily News another pillar of the plan is to enroll more black and Hispanic kids in elite high schools.

The city’s new program seeks to ease barriers faced by families looking to enroll children in public schools by:

* Eliminating requirements to attend school open houses.

* Posting applications online.

* Boosting school programs that set enrollment targets for demographic groups by expanding them to privately run prekindergarten programs.

* Launching a web page to share information and resources related to diversity efforts.

* Opening 15 new schools or programs over the next three years that have specific plans to serve diverse populations.

By 2021, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña wants 50,000 more kids enrolled in schools with student bodies that reflect the system’s overall racial makeup.

Currently, there are about 300,000 kids enrolled in such schools, Education Department officials said, of 1.1 million students systemwide.

The Education Department is clarifying the city’s mission to support “learning environments that reflect the diversity of New York City” and establishing an advisory board to issue recommendations on how to desegregate the schools.

Schools in New York suffer from the worst racial segregation of any state, with city schools earning similarly dismal marks for diversity, according to a 2014 report published by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

But Fariña, who’s worked in city schools for five decades, said she’s proud of the new plan that’s intended to serve as a roadmap to diversify classrooms.

“This is something I’ve believed in all my life,” Fariña told The News exclusively on Tuesday. “And I think having it on paper, where people can see it and the vocabulary is the same for everyone, is very important.”

Fariña and Mayor de Blasio have been under fire to develop a plan to desegregate the public schools since the landmark UCLA study was published three years ago.

Influential figures such as NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes praised aspects of the plan, but other local leaders slammed it for doing too little.

“It’s a bunch of gobbledegook,” said Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union. “If the mayor and chancellor really wanted to address the problem, they would start by eliminating school zones and creating enrollment lotteries for every school that has more applications than seats.”

Success Academy charter school founder Eva Moskowitz ripped the plan for failing to mention charter schools, which enroll about 10% of city students.

“It’s disappointing that the mayor is ignoring the role that charters can play,” Moskowitz said.

In answering critics of his efforts on school integration, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, has largely blamed New York City’s residential patterns for the problem, because most children go to elementary school near their homes.

But District 1, which includes parts of the Lower East Side and the East Village, is different. There, families choose where their children will go to elementary school, and in 2016, 84 percent of families got one of their top three choices for kindergarten.

But their choices still added up to segregation.

Though the elementary school population is roughly half Hispanic, with the other 50 percent close to evenly divided among black, white and Asian children, few schools reflect that distribution. White families largely cluster in a handful of schools with a progressive bent. A school with a Mandarin-English dual language program is 71 percent Asian. At four of the district’s 16 elementary schools, at least 90 percent of the students are black or Hispanic. Those schools lag far behind the district average in performance.

A group of educators and parent leaders has been pushing the city’s Education Department to let the district adopt a system called “controlled choice,” which takes into account families’ preferences, but also factors like socioeconomic status, with the goal of making each school reflect the demographics of the district. In 2015 District 1 got a federal grant to develop a new admissions policy, but work appears to have stalled, in part because of clashes between parent leaders, who want quick action, and city officials, who have been taking a more cautious approach.

In the diversity plan released by the city on Tuesday, the department says it will work with District 1 to create “a districtwide equitable admissions model” in time for the 2018-19 school year.

Some in District 1, like Naomi Peña, 37, a parent who is a member of the district’s Community Education Council, think the department has been afraid of alienating rich white parents who, as she said at a recent council meeting, might “lawyer up” if their preferences were blocked.

But as the city proposes to move forward on desegregation, conversations with dozens of District 1 parents of all races over the past few months suggest that it is not only wealthier white parents who might be disappointed by their assignments under a new system, at least in the beginning. Parents choose schools for a constellation of reasons, including the simplicity of going to a nearby school, a preference for a certain educational approach, or a desire to see faces similar to their own in classrooms and at parent-teacher association meetings.

For many, the choice comes down to feeling at home at a school. Nancy Zhang sends her two children to Public School 184, the Shuang Wen School, the district’s majority-Asian elementary school. She and another Chinese-American mother said they feared their children would be bullied at other schools in the district. But more than that, Ms. Zhang said, “here I feel and also the kids feel more comfortable.”

When Rita LaRosa was looking at schools for her daughter, she visited two that share a building on East Third Street. At the S.T.A.R. Academy, which takes a traditional approach, 84 percent of the students are black or Hispanic, and the same portion qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. At the Neighborhood School, which has a progressive philosophy, close to half the students are white, and just 39 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

Ms. LaRosa, 44, chose S.T.A.R. “In S.T.A.R. Academy, I feel like my voice is heard,” said Ms. LaRosa, who is Hispanic. When she interacts with Neighborhood School parents, she said, “I feel like I have to talk a certain way or express myself a certain way, because I feel like I’m being judged.”

In contrast, Ella and Brett Leitner, who are both white, gravitated toward the Neighborhood School, where students call teachers by their first names and have a say in deciding whether the class will study, say, the civil rights movement or the debate over the Dakota Access pipeline.

“For us the social-emotional piece was such an important metric of what made a school good,” said Ms. Leitner, 43. If they had not been able to choose a progressive school, she said, they might have tried to get a scholarship at a private school or sent their children to a traditional school and pushed for a more progressive curriculum.

The district started the progressive schools in the late 1980s and early ’90s, in an effort to stanch a steady loss of students from the district, mostly to District 2. (It also allowed students from outside the district to enroll, and today 30 percent of elementary school students live elsewhere.) Hispanic, black and Asian families apply to the progressive schools at lower rates than whites, and the schools are all whiter than the district as a whole, with fewer low-income students.

Bradley Goodman, the principal of the East Village Community School, said the imbalance was “something that we’ve been thinking about and talking about for a long time and wanting to address.” His school is 55 percent white. He and the other principals from progressive schools have been part of a diversity initiative that let them set aside a certain number of seats for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch or who are still learning English. The four schools met their targets this year, though both Mr. Goodman’s school and the Neighborhood School made offers to several families who ranked their school as a fourth, fifth or even sixth choice, while turning away other families who ranked it first. But drawing more black and Hispanic parents may be tough.

Over time, parents’ choices can solidify into a school being known as a “white school” or a Hispanic one, said Amy Stuart Wells, a professor of sociology and education at the Teachers College at Columbia. That identity becomes self-perpetuating. “When you ask parents to make choices within a segregated system, they choose segregation,” she said, “because they don’t want to be the only family or just a handful of families that go against that.”

Sade Scroggins, 29, has a son in second grade at P.S. 64, the Robert Simon School, which shares a building with the progressive Earth School. P.S. 64 is 85 percent black or Hispanic, and 93 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. The Earth School is 48 percent black or Hispanic, and 46 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

Ms. Scroggins had friends who sent their children to P.S. 64, and through them she had gotten to know some staff members. But when she came to register her son for kindergarten, she said, she walked into the building’s entrance on Avenue B, which is used by the Earth School. Ms. Scroggins, who is black, recalled being charmed by the art on the walls.

“It looked kind of, like, village-y,” she said. “It was like walking into a futuristic type of school, just the paintings and the art and the animals.”

But when she got to the office and asked for P.S. 64, they referred her to the office next door.

Did she consider registering her child at the Earth School instead?

No, she said. “I didn’t know anybody who had a child who was in the Earth School,” she explained. “Everybody that I know had their children in 64.”

Lilah Mejia’s three younger children started in the fall at the Children’s Workshop School, another progressive school, which has managed to draw a sizable number of Hispanic families.

Ms. Mejia, 39, said she loved the topics that her children were learning about, but was concerned that they were not getting much homework and that the teachers were not correcting their grammar and spelling. She said her first grader’s teacher had explained that she did not correct students’ grammar because she wanted them to just write. “I love the teacher, she’s amazing,” Ms. Mejia said. But, she added, “I was just a bit taken aback by that, because that’s not how I was raised.”

Ms. Peña, from the education council, said she looked at one of the progressive schools for her youngest children, who are twins. But she decided against it because she felt that her family would not fit in. “No parent wants their child to be the only black or brown child in the classroom,” she said. “And parents don’t want to walk in having to defend their background, their language, their culture to other parents.”

Her twins now go to P.S. 20, the Anna Silver School, which is roughly half Hispanic, a little more than a third Asian, 8 percent black and 4 percent white. It has both Spanish and Mandarin dual-language programs. While it does not perfectly replicate the district’s racial breakdown, its population does reflect the district’s economic diversity.

“It’s a really nice window of what the perfect school should look like, in my opinion,” Ms. Peña said. She said her daughter had a good friend who was of Chinese descent. “That’s exactly what I want for her,” she said. “Some people may look like her, but she’s also friends with people who don’t look like her. It’s really comforting.”

Jonathan Wolfe and Yuhan Liu contributed reporting.

The Arrogance and Stupidity of Manhattan Bridges High School Assistant Principal Georges Mathieu

The main point, I think of the story of Georges Mathieu is that when you talk to someone at any public school in New York State - which is a one-party state - assume you are being taped.

But it seems to me that Assistant Principal Georges Mathieu is so arrogant that he probably cannot think about anything but his own immunity from any prosecution, anytime.

This is, as we now know, a mistake.

No one below the principal/Superintendent/Chancellor level is immune all the time in every situation. notice I say anyone "below" those positions. Anyone who is a principal/Superintendent/Chancellor can do anything they want. A case in point is Santiago Taveras, who changed grades at DeWitt Clinton High School because he could as principal, was found guilty by the Office of Special Investigations, and was removed.....only to re-surface at a re-assignment center where he makes his salary and now has a new job and title, something to do with training principals. He is not going anywhere, not even a 3020-a.

Why? he knows too much. He gets put into a 3020-a and big heads -VIPs at the NYC DOE such as Carmen Farina - would roll. In other words, if he gets charged, he may spill alot of beans on important people at the top, and they cannot afford to do that.

So back to Georges. His life as he knew it is over, and he should resign and move on. He wont, he will wait around, hoping for a deal which includes a nice raise and  new title.

Betsy Combier

Listen to this assistant principal try to ‘seduce’ a student

, June 10, 2017
A city assistant principal who boasted “I haven’t gotten caught for anything” was caught apparently trying to seduce a female student who secretly recorded his creepy come-ons, The Post has learned.
Georges Mathieu, 54, an AP at Manhattan Bridges HS in Hell’s Kitchen, is heard on tape pressuring a resistant 17-year-old senior to meet him outside school so they can “spend time” together.

Georges Mathieu
"If things can blossom,” the alleged lothario tells the girl. “My philosophy is this — if you think it’s good, go for it.
“Honestly, I shouldn’t be thinking like that, but I don’t want to be like a 100 years from now thinking I should have … Life is short, you got to enjoy it.”
The city Department of Education has bounced Mathieu — who collected $130,600 in salary and $20,500 in overtime last year – to a disciplinary rubber room.
The office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools has an open probe, a spokeswoman confirmed.
Manhattan Bridges High School in Manhattan
Mathieu’s conduct came to light in late March after the teen confided to a teacher and guidance counselor that he was sexually harassing her. She turned over a tape of one conversation so officials would believe her, a staffer said.
When asked about the accusations, Mathieu said, “That’s incorrect,” but would not elaborate. “I got to go,” he said, and hung up.
On the tape, obtained by The Post, the girl rebuffs Mathieu’s advances, while prompting him to explain his aggressive pursuit.
The conversation starts when Mathieu confronts the girl near the cafeteria and presses her to explain why she seemed so upset in a conversation he had overheard.
“I know it wasn’t your mom,” he says, speculating that she had an argument with a boyfriend.
“You shouldn’t let a guy have that much control over you to get you so upset,” he says, adding, “You left me for that guy?”
“What do you mean I left you?” she asks.
“You keep running away from me,” he says.
“I need to run,” she replies. “You’re basically one of my teachers.”
“No I’m not, I’m an administrator,” he says.
The girl says she won’t give Mathieu the address where she works after school “because you can’t go.”
Mathieu repeatedly insists, “Why not?”
He calls it “an opportunity to meet, spend time.”
“What do you want to meet me for?” she asks.
Then he explains his philosophy: “If you think it’s good, go for it.”
She tells him, “Well too bad. You’re the administrator and I’m a student. You know if somebody finds out what’s going to happen to me.”
“Nothing,” he says.
“Oh no, everybody’s gonna know — and people are gonna laugh at me … People are not stupid.”
“People are stupid, they are. Take my word for it,” he says.
“You think they’re stupid,” she replies. “When you think somebody’s stupid , they’re smarter than you.”
“Listen,” he says. “I haven’t gotten caught for anything I’ve done in life, and I’ve done things you shouldn’t do.”
The girl retorts: “This is not the first time you’re doing it. You sure you don’t do it to another girl? … I see you talking with a lot of girls.”
A Manhattan Bridges junior told The Post that Mathieu made her uncomfortable last year. She met privately with him to complain about an older boy she had rebuffed who was calling her “a slut” around school.
During their talk, Mathieu asked questions about her relationship with a former boyfriend, she said: “He asked me who I lost my virginity to, and why did I have sex with that person.”
Manhattan Bridges serves many low-income kids and immigrants. All 525 students qualify for a free-lunch, 99 percent are Hispanic, and nearly half are English language learners, records show.