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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Francesco Portelos, ATR Teacher and Attorney Bryan Glass Lose Their Case at the Court of Appeals

Francesco Portelos
ATR is "Absent Teacher Reserve", a label put in place by the Department to show that the employee has been re-assigned, excessed, or formerly charged with 3020-a. Francesco Portelos was charged with 3020-a . Here is the decision of the 3020-a Arbitrator Felice Busto:

Francesco Portelos' guilty verdict at his 3030-a arbitration

He is a very bad guy, I think, to have anywhere near children in a school. He is also not cleared to work with children - his fingerprints are flagged with a problem code. You are warned.

Angry, vindictive Francesco filed lawsuits against the Department of Education and the UFT Chapter leader at his school. He lost at trial his Federal Lawsuit against Linda Hill and has not won any case filed as of yet. he and his lawyer Bryan Glass have failed to show that any of his ranting and raving is protected under the First Amendment free speech statute.

Francesco Portelos will now have to pay the $14,000 to the Corporation Counsel after he lost his Federal Case at trial in the Eastern District Court.

Indeed, Francesco's attorney Bryan Glass has had a particularly bad couple of weeks, losing  three Court of Appeals cases in rapid succession.

State’s top court overturns lower rulings that reinstated NYC’s ‘bad-apple’ teachers
Bryan Glass was the attorney for Terrell Williams and Amira Beatty.

Francesco was charged with 3020-a, fined $10,000 and warned not to pursue his cyberbullying by Arbitrator Felice Busto. Shockingly, he did not appeal the decision nor did he listen to the warning.

 Let's look at the sustained 3020-a charges Francesco was found guilty of (in the Opinion and Award of Felice Busto):


During the 2011-2012 school year, Respondent disclosed confidential Department information, including, but not limited to, witness statements, on a non-Department website, including, but not limited to,


During the 2011-2012 school year, Respondent inappropriately accessed and/or retrieved Department information, including, but not limited to, a Department email account and/or email messages of another Department employee.


During the 2011-2012 school year, Respondent inappropriately accessed a Department email account and/or email messages of another Department employee.


On or about January 28, 2012, Respondent, without consulting, notifying, and/or seeking authorization from Principal Hill or the I.S 49 administration, accessed the school website,, as a site administrator and manipulated the settings to revoke the administrative rights and/or privileges of all individuals previously granted such administrative access.


On or about February 2012, Respondent refused to transfer control and/or ownership of the school website,, to Principal Hill, I.S. 49, and/or the Department after agreeing to do so at a meeting with Principal Hill and Superintendent Erminia Claudio.


On or about November 2012, Respondent, without consulting, notifying, and/or seeking approval from Principal Hill or the I.S 49 administration, altered the website, which Respondent had created for the school with Principal Hill's approval, to automatically transfer visitors to his alternative website,, which contained derogatory information about I.S. 49, Principal Hill, and/or the Department.


During the 2012-2013 school year, Respondent, without consulting, notifying, and/or seeking approval from Principal Hill and/or the Department, altered the school website,, to automatically redirect visitors to his website,, which chronicled his issues with various groups including Principal Hill, I.S. 49, and the Department.


During the 2011-2012 school year, Respondent recorded a video in a school facility, namely, I.S. 49, of a student during school hours, without permission or authority.


On or about December 12, 2012, Respondent notified I.S. 49 Superintendent Erminia Claudio that he showed the video referenced in Specification 33 to parents, without permission or authority.


On or about and in the month of September 2012, Respondent:

A. Sent an email message to a parent without permission or authority stating, in sum and substance, that the teacher who sent their son to summer school was not certified to teach and that this message identified the teacher and indicated that her teaching certification had expired.

B. Failed to notify and/or confirm with I.S. 49 administration that the teacher referenced above lacked certification prior to contacting the parent.


By committing one, some, or all of the actions described in the above Specifications, Respondent's actions:

A. Had a disruptive and/or negative impact on students, staff, and/or administration at I.S. 49 and the Department.

B. Caused negative publicity, ridicule, and notoriety to I.S. 49 and the Department."

Then he posted the grades of a student and her name on the internet, violating the student's FERPA rights.

The sender of the email below was a tenant in Francesco's building which he owns, and operates during the school day, according to this tenant. The building is in Staten Island. The tenant had to move out because his girlfriend was so ill. The tenant also told me that he was tutoring the son of Jia Lee, the teacher running against Francesco Portelos for UFT president in 2015, and the minute Francesco heard about this, the tenant was harassed endlessly to give Francesco information about Jia's son that Francesco could use against Jia:

"Subject: What is wrong with you
> To: "Francesco Portelos" <>
> Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 12:37 PM
> You text me telling me that you're
> confused, that I owe you rent for the month of November, and
> that you did nothing wrong.
> So us repeatedly being sick to the point that we've lost
> wages, due to the state of your property,
> Nasty orange water falling on us from the bathroom ceiling.
> Mushrooms growing from the bathroom walls and ceilings and
> you want to open the ceiling, exposing us to more spores and
> getting us more sick, and letting in more insects, instead
> of waiting until we leave. All so that you can rent the
> apartment immediately, no matter what effect it has on our
> health. You blame me for not reporting a leak, that I
> couldn't have known was happening.
> Mosquitos, beetles, drain flies, spiders, crickets and
> centipedes, on the walls our clothes, our food and  our
> bodies. Bugs whose existence you repeatedly lied about,
> whose presence I repeatedly told you that my fiancé was
> highly afraid of. Bugs that you failed to exterminate,
> because they live inside of the entire foundation of your
> property,
> The fact that there is little to no insulation which makes
> the apartment unbearably cold in the winter. The fact that
> there was a hole under the bathroom sink from which cold air
> from outside blew into the bathroom on a daily basis because
> for about 3 to 4 months you refused to do anything about it.
> Even though you assured me that the hole would be covered
> before I moved in.
> The fact that you promised to clean the apartment before I
> moved in, but instead I walked into a completely dust filled
> apartment.
> The fact that you lied about the washer and dryer being free
> more than once.
> The fact that you refuse to get a new washer and dryer even
> though E, the repair man and I all told you that the
> machines do not work properly and need to be replaced.
> I'm the one stuck paying the electricity bill for for this
> old beat up machine that I barely even use, that E
> doesn't have to pay for, but uses daily around the clock.
> You unnecessarily decided to bring in people in a full month
> in a half in advance, before our lease ends, while telling
> me that people want to move in before our lease ends, which
> suggest that you want us out. You suggest several times that
> we can leave early if we want, all so that we can forfeit
> our deposit and then you tell me that I'm at fault for the
> time period in which people can view the apartment, and I'm
> at fault for you not being able to find a tenant, because I
> don't want you and some strangers around our pets and our
> belongings while were not home.
> We keep getting locked out of the building in the cold and
> in the rain because no matter how many times I tell you that
> the door is malfunctioning, you always reply that its the
> batteries, when it is in fact the door itself and not the
> batteries at all. You wouldn't even give us a key.
> You suggest that I can move out sooner, while retaining my
> deposit, then change your mind and try to make it seem as if
> you paying your bills is somehow my responsibility. What you
> owe a bank has nothing to do with me. You try to make is
> seem as if a new tenants deposit, is my deposit, which it
> isn't, and has nothing to do with me.
> You sent a stove repair man, who shat on the bathroom floor
> and left it there.
> You sent an exterminator, who smelled so bad that we had to
> open the doors and windows for hours to clear the apartment
> of his body odor.
> The fact that we are well beyond stressed out all due to
> these conditions that you caused, provided us or didn't even
> care to take care of or prevent.
> The fact that you you refuse to acknowledge that any of
> these things are or your responsibility to take care of or
> to have prevented before hand, the fact that we are up
> coughing or can't sleep at night due to these conditions.
> Almost every single time that I told you that I had an issue
> with your property, you immediately replied that the
> conditions that we moved into were somehow my fault, or you
> replied that I had to spend my own money to fix these
> conditions
> I do not owe you and I am the one who is confused. Its
> surprising that you could treat people like this without a
> care in the world. You really don't care about how sick
> we've been, you don't care what happens to your tenants so
> long as you get rent.
> These conditions are more than legitimate reasons for our
> agreement to be broken and for you to return our deposit.
> Instead you refuse to acknowledge any wrong doing, You
> refuse to do the right thing. Even though these things are
> all on you, even though M and I have never done
> anything wrong to you or to your property, even though we
> paid rent in full every month, you simply don't want to
> return our deposit. You patronize me as if I'm a child, as
> if I don't know how things are supposed to work, by saying
> that you know this is my first apartment, as if I have no
> rights or as if I'm unaware as to how a tenant should expect
> to be treated.
> You need to get off of your privilege high horse.

> From: Francesco Portelos <>
> Subject: Re: What is wrong with you
> To:
> Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 3:55 PM
> What is it
> that you want?
> On Wed, Oct
> 26, 2016, 2:25 PM Francesco Portelos <>
> wrote:
> Let's be
> adults, honest and call it is as it is...
> You want money
> for a deposit on a new place and want to break you agreement
> to get that deposit. However, instead of saying so ahead of
> time to try and work with you, you come up with this. I
> chips have advertised it as November 1st.
> Through your own
> admission, in your email, you state that I called repairmen
> and an exterminators. In fact I addressed your concerns as
> soon as you informed me. From stuck doors to battery
> replacement.
> Please indicate
> if you will allow me to enter and fix there bathroom
> ceiling.
> Francesco

In my opinion, these facts show a dangerous man harming innocent people . After UFT Rep. Richard Candia did not help Francesco attack Principal Linda Hill, and after Francesco went after Mr. Candia's girlfriend, also a teacher, Francesco sued Candia in the NYS Supreme Court but the case was quickly disposed by the judge. See PORTELOS, FRANCESCO vs. CANDIA, RICHARD, Index no. 0100309/2013.

Betsy Combier

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

FRANCESCO PORTELOS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LINDA HILL, PRINCIPAL OF I.S. 49, in her official and individual capacity, ERMINIA CLAUDIO, CITY OF NEW YORK, CITY OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Defendants-Appellees, DENNIS WALCOTT, Chancellor of New York City Department of Education, Defendants.


    Decided: December 04, 2017

Present: ROSEMARY S. POOLER, RICHARD C. WESLEY, PETER W. HALL, Circuit Judges.Appearing for Appellant: Bryan D. Glass, Glass Krakower LLP, New York, NY Appearing for Appellee: Scott Shorr, Assistant Corporation Counsel (Kathy C. Park, Assistant Corporation Counsel, on the brief) for Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, New York, NY
Francesco Portelos appeals from the August 23, 2016 jury verdict and the October 31, 2016 order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Hall, J.), finding, respectively, that he had failed to establish First Amendment retaliation and that he was not entitled to a new trial. Although Portelos's briefs also contain arguments challenging the district court's August 13, 2016 partial grant of summary judgment to Defendants, he did not include that order in his notice of appeal. In this context, that means we do not have jurisdiction over the district court's summary judgment decision.
We have jurisdiction only over rulings designated in the notice of appeal. See Fed R. App. P. 3(c)(1)(B); Shrader v. CSX Transportation Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 256 (2d Cir. 1995). Although we read and apply Rule 3's requirements “quite liberally on the understanding that mere technicalities should not stand in the way of consideration of a case on its merits,” United States v. Caltabiano, 871 F.3d 210, 215 (2d Cir. 2017) (internal quotation omitted), we simply “do not have the authority to waive the jurisdictional requirements․” New Phone Co., Inc. v. City of New York, 498 F.3d 127, 130 (2d Cir. 2007); see also Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 147 (2012); Smith v. Barry, 502 U.S. 244, 248 (1992); Torres v. Oakland Scavenger Co., 487 U.S. 312, 317 (1988). Since Portelos appeals from a ruling other than the final judgment that does not have a similar effect as a final judgment, we have jurisdiction only over the particular ruling mentioned in the notice of appeal. Shrader, 70 F.3d at 256. Here, Portelos names the jury verdict and the district's order denying his motion for a new trial in his notice of appeal without naming either the final judgment or the summary judgment order. Even interpreted liberally, this is insufficient to give notice to Defendants that the summary judgment order was being appealed. It is of no moment that Defendants nevertheless responded to Portelos's arguments regarding the summary judgment motion. They do not have the power to waive the jurisdictional requirements contained in Rule 3. See New Phone, 498 F.3d at 131.
This defect in the notice of appeal leaves us with jurisdiction only over Portelos's challenges to the district court's rulings during trial and its denial of the Rule 59 motion. We assume the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts, procedural history, and specification of issues for review.
Portelos's leading argument is that the district court erred in finding his instances of speech at a United Federation of Teachers meeting and in emails to fellow UFT members were not protected by the First Amendment because they were not matters of public concern. Whether a given instance of speech is protected under the First Amendment for the purposes of evaluating a retaliation claim is a matter of law. See Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 150 n.10 (1983). We review conclusions of law de novo. Cf. United States v. Kopstein, 759 F.3d 168, 172 (2d Cir. 2014). “[W]hen a public employee speaks not as a citizen upon matters of public concern, but instead as an employee upon matters only of personal interest, absent the most unusual circumstances,” they do not receive First Amendment protection. Connick, 461 U.S. at 147. Generally, “an employee's dissatisfaction with the conditions of his employment[ ] does not pertain to a matter of public concern.” Sousa v. Roque, 578 F.3d 164, 174 (2d Cir. 2009) (citing Lewis v. Cowen, 165 F.3d 154, 164 (2d Cir. 1999)). Portelos's speech falls into this category. Even if he couched his plaints in impersonal terms, he was expressing concerns about the way union leadership was treating him.
We also find unconvincing Portelos's argument that the district court erroneously dismissed the New York City Department of Education (“NYCDOE”). Following the Supreme Court's decision in Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), a municipality (as opposed to an individual government employee) can be liable only for a constitutional violation when “the municipality itself commits the misdeed, that is, when execution of a government's policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury․” Walker v. City of New York, 974 F.2d 293, 296 (1992) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Whether a given municipal employee's actions can be taken as the municipality's depends on state law, but generally the question is whether the employee “possesses final authority to establish municipal policy with respect to the action ordered.” Id. This can be established in several ways, but at issue here is whether “an official has final authority over significant matters involving the exercise of discretion․” Nagle v. Marron, 663 F.3d 100, 116 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal citations omitted).
Two NYCDOE actions are at issue here. First, it is uncontested that Portelos's suspension is attributable to Laura Brantley, acting as designee of Chancellor Walcott, whom state law gives the final authority to suspend teachers. N.Y.C. Dept. of Educ. Chancellor's Reg. C-770. But it is contested whether Brantley had any retaliatory motive. Portelos acknowledges that he did not introduce any evidence showing that Brantley had such motive, but says that he would have done so (and has such evidence in reserve) had he known that this issue would have come up at the Rule 50 stage. Absent an argument as to why the district court's conduct was improper or biased in preventing the presentation of certain evidence, we will not speculate about what evidence outside the record may or may not have shown. Portelos implicitly concedes that the evidence in front of the court did absolutely nothing to establish that Brantley had any retaliatory motive or even knew that such a motive might be in play, and that is fatal to his appeal. Cf. Galdieri-Ambrosini v. National Realty & Development Corp., 136 F.3d 276, 289 (2d Cir. 1998) (discussing the “complete absence of evidence” standard for Rule 50).
Next, Portelos argues that Superintendent Erminia Claudio both had final authority to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him and had retaliatory motive. The district court found that Portelos failed to establish Claudio's final authority. On appeal, Portelos points to N.Y.S. Education Law Section 2590-j(7)(b), which states quite clearly that Section 3020-a “charges may be initiated by the community superintendent․” So, as a matter of law, Portelos is correct that Claudio's actions were attributable to the NYCDOE. But that is not the end of the matter. Even assuming that Portelos properly preserved his objection, this error was harmless. Monell liability cannot attach absent proof of an underlying constitutional harm, and Portelos has not demonstrated that here. Cf. United States v. Quinones, 511 F.3d 289, 312 (2d Cir. 2007) (holding error harmless when it does not influence the jury verdict).
We have considered the remainder of Portelos's arguments and find them to be without merit. Accordingly, the order of the district court hereby is AFFIRMED.
Catherine O'Hagan Wolfe, Clerk

Pension Payment Data Show The Underhanded Way That The NYC Department of Education Help The Rich Stay That Way

I am always very happy when a hard-working public servant finishes up a 30+year career with a great pension. Kudos to them. But I have a problem with the manner in which the NYC Department of Education fights to keep those people who do wrong and keep paying them out of public funds.

Betsy Combier
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 16, 2018
Contact: Abigail Salvatore
518-434-3100 x109
Over 80,000 NYC School Pensions Added to SeeThroughNY

Pension payment data for 81,411 New York City public school and City University of New York retirees were added today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

The data from the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System (NYCTRS) show that the 795 teachers and school professionals who retired during 2016 with at least 30 years of service credit collected pensions that averaged $66,158 during 2017. Over 3,000 retirees collected $100,000 or more during the same period—an increase of nearly 23 percent since 2016.

These data are made public thanks to the Empire Center’s successful court challenges against efforts by public agencies to conceal information from taxpayers. The Center remains involved in litigation to protect and expand the public’s ability to examine public pensions and spending.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

De Blasio’s questionable school consultants cost taxpayers millions

Bill De Blasio
March 7, 2017
Two key elements of Hizzoner’s costly improvement initiative — which critics have called a failure — are the hiring of “leadership coaches” to boost principals’ performance and the contracting of nonprofits to supply students with social services and after-school programs.A retired principal who lied to corruption investigators, the co-author of a book written by Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and a nonprofit headed by an insurance fraudster are among those riding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s School Renewal Program gravy train, The Post has learned.
Individual pay rates for these consultants reach a staggering $1,400 a day, and the overall spending on those contracts totals around $40 million a year.
That comes on top of an $8.5 million payroll for 72 Department of Education bureaucrats dedicated to the Renewal push, as revealed by The Post in October.
Records recently obtained by The Post through the Freedom of Information Law show taxpayers shelled out nearly $2.1 million for 42 outside leadership coaches in the 2015-16 school year, while 35 have been paid more than $1.6 million this school year as of Feb. 3.
The current roster includes Gregory Hodge, who retired in 2011 as the “tough love” principal of the Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem — despite an official recommendation that he be fired and barred from ever again working for the DOE.
In 2007, schools Special Commissioner for Investigation Richard Condon blasted Hodge over a probe into nearly $25,000 worth of payments to the mother-in-law of Douglass Academy Assistant Principal Thomas Ajibola.
“Throughout the various interviews, Hodge was evasive when questioned by SCI investigators . . . and lied,” Condon reported.
Hodge was fined as a result of that report, the DOE said.
Hodge, who pocketed $100,404 in pension benefits during the past fiscal year, has been making $660 a day as a coach to the principals of two Renewal schools — the Leaders of Tomorrow School and the Young Scholars Academy.
But Hodge’s advice failed to keep Young Scholars from the chopping block. It’s now one of three Renewal schools that the DOE plans to merge into other schools in September for failing to “show meaningful progress” toward “sustainable improvements.”
“He should have been dismissed — and not hired after retirement to coach principals. He’s not the right person to be leading others,” said former DOE Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern. “We don’t encourage principals to lie to SCI.”
In 2007, schools Special Commissioner for Investigation Richard Condon blasted Hodge over a probe into nearly $25,000 worth of payments to the mother-in-law of Douglass Academy Assistant Principal Thomas Ajibola.
“Throughout the various interviews, Hodge was evasive when questioned by SCI investigators . . . and lied,” Condon reported.
Hodge was fined as a result of that report, the DOE said.
Hodge, who pocketed $100,404 in pension benefits during the past fiscal year, has been making $660 a day as a coach to the principals of two Renewal schools — the Leaders of Tomorrow School and the Young Scholars Academy.
But Hodge’s advice failed to keep Young Scholars from the chopping block. It’s now one of three Renewal schools that the DOE plans to merge into other schools in September for failing to “show meaningful progress” toward “sustainable improvements.”
“He should have been dismissed — and not hired after retirement to coach principals. He’s not the right person to be leading others,” said former DOE Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern. “We don’t encourage principals to lie to SCI.”
Hodge is among a cadre of coaches supplied by the Executive Leadership Institute, a nonprofit arm of the principals union. Records show the ELI was paid nearly $2.1 million during the 2015-16 school year and has received $1.5 million so far this year.
Ernest Logan
In January 2016, union president Ernest Logan blasted the Renewal program as a “recipe for disaster,” but a spokesman recently said Logan’s opinions had since “evolved.” Logan declined to comment for this article.
Another $660-a-day ELI coach with questionable qualifications is David Morris, the former principal of Beach Channel High School, which the DOE closed in 2014 due to a dismal graduation rate of 46 percent and “widespread dissatisfaction” among parents, students and teachers.
Morris, who retired in 2015 and collected $98,449 in pension money last fiscal year, is advising the principals at Flushing High School and the tiny Leadership Institute, which has just 180 students, records show.
A former Beach Channel teacher called Morris’ consulting gig “a reward for failure and a waste of my taxpayer money.”
“You need a principal to walk the halls and be on top of things,” the source said.
“The kids thought he was a joke.”
One of the highest-earning leadership coaches is Laura Kotch, who was the top aide to Fariña as deputy schools chancellor. In 2008, Fariña and Kotch co-wrote “A School Leader’s Guide to Excellence,” an instructional manual reissued in 2014.
Records show Kotch is paid $1,200 a day as a leadership coach and pulled in $142,800 in 2015-16.
That’s eclipsed by Sandra Kase, an ex-DOE superintendent who commands $1,400 a day, pulling down $167,994 last year.
Kotch and Kase also have annual pensions of more than $137,000 and $184,000, respectively.
Nadelstern blasted the deals scored by the two, whom he described as “Carmen’s old friends.”
“Hiring cronies is hardly a reform strategy,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DOE last year awarded a series of two-year contracts worth a combined $77.2 million to 35 community-based nonprofits for after-school programs that include counseling, mentoring and parent workshops.
Options to extend the contracts by three years could add $115.8 million to the tab, according to a request approved by the DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy.
A DOE report raised red flags on nearly two-thirds of the nonprofits — with only 12 of them avoiding black marks for “significant adverse information.”
Findings included the fraud conviction of Joseph Robles Jr., who chairs the board of St. Nicks Alliance of Brooklyn and was hit with five years’ probation and a $10,000 fine for a 1991 insurance scam tied to his family-owned business, Knights Collision Expert Repairs.
Robles “was arrested again in 2000 and 2006 on similar charges” that were later dismissed, the DOE report says.
Fraud and tax problems have also dogged the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans, where an aide to crooked ex-lawmaker Efrain Gonzalez stole nearly $35,000 through a “no-show” job from 2004 to 2006.
Miguel Castanos served 10 months in federal prison for the scheme. In 2013, the group also agreed to cough up more than $1.1 million to the IRS for failing to file returns or pay nearly $1.5 million in payroll taxes for 2010 to 2012, the DOE report said.
Staffers at other Renewal consultants also have run afoul of the law, including Steven Walters, who is serving four years for molesting three girls while working for Good Shepherd Services at PS 300 in the Bronx. And Colette Robertson, a home health aide for the Children’s Aid Society, is serving a 25-year federal sentence for taking sexually explicit photos of four prepubescent girls.
Mona Davids, president of the NYC Parents Union, likened the Renewal payouts to a “money pit.”
“They’re spending exorbitant amounts on consultants and contractors, instead of the classroom,” Davids said.
DOE spokeswoman Toya Holness defended the hiring of the nonprofits, saying: “These contracts include established organization that have other contracts with the DOE and other city agencies. There is a thorough background-check process to ensure vendor responsibility.”
She also denied any cronyism, noting, “These are lifelong educators with decades of proven experience turning schools around.”

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New York City Hopes That NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina Retires Permanently...We Don't Need Her

Carmen Farina
From Editor Betsy Combier:

The Carmen Farina I know is far worse than the person described in the media.

In the article written by Susan Oschorn below, you can read
"...her leadership a study in alienation, mistrust, and a careless disregard for democratic governance."
"She was a good soldier in a regime driven by standards-based accountability, market forces, and wealthy financiers..."

When my youngest daughter was four years old, my husband and I decided that we would try to get her a seat in the well-documented, well-funded PS 6 near us on the upper east side of New York City. I and my other 3 daughters all attended the all-girls' school Nightingale-Bamford, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, but we believed in the public school system, and wanted to be part of the diversity in the New York City Department of Education.

Nightingale reunion, 2017 (me at the far right)
I applied Marielle to PS 6 which had a TAG (Talented and Gifted) program. However, my daughter only got onto the waiting list because we were not zoned for PS 6. So I wrote Carmen a letter telling her about how my husband came from Peru, (Carmen is also spanish-speaking, from Spain) and the hard work he was doing. The next day I received a call from Carmen, and she told me, "Betsy, you really know how to play the game".

I had no idea what that meant.

When we started in September 1997, at the parent orientation Carmen came over to me and welcomed me. She said that she knew that I was in the arts (my mom was a Broadway producer, funder) and I taught playwriting, and she wanted me to think of a way to get funding for the arts at PS 6 and PS 198 located at 96th Street and 3rd Avenue. PS 198 had a vastly different school population than PS 6, with a majority of the families being African-American and Hispanic.

Gloria Buckery
The PS198 Principal, Gloria Buckery, was herself African-American. I liked her. She now works for the Leadership Academy.

I was honored to be asked to help Carmen, so I went home and spent the night creating the Arts Together Community Partnership, with a brochure, how it worked to involve the parents and community, and an initial budget. I was paid nothing at any time. In fact, I told Carmen, when she told me she loved the project, that I did not want to handle any money. Carmen agreed to be in total control of incoming funds. This was my mistake, but I trusted her.

Cover of ATCP Brochure
Drawing by Leigh Zagoory,
PS 6 kindergartner
Gloria Buckery was the first member of the ATCP.

For two years Carmen and I worked on this project, and I gathered parents and members of community businesses together to create a partnership for the arts at PS 6 and PS 198 and continue to fund arts programs after the $225,000 grant from the Annenberg Challenge For the Arts ran out, in 2000. Carmen paid for Great Books to train me, and I co-taught an after school program at PS 6.

What Carmen never told me or anyone else was that the money went to the Center For Arts Education, and no arts programs were set up at PS 198. I did not find this out until May 23, 2000, when Carmen asked me to talk about the ACTP at the Annenberg Challenge Conference at Riverside Church. I spoke about the PS 6/PS 198 partnership, and how Gloria Buckery and Carmen were setting up arts programs to follow up on the grant received from Annenberg, when two teachers from PS 198 came over to me and told me that there were no arts programs at PS 198, and Principal Buckery never mentioned anything about a grant or the ATCP.  Many years later, Arts Education still failed the students in NYC - the money seems to be going somewhere other than to arts programs.

I saw PS 6 Assistant Principal Alice Hom (now Principal at PS 124) at the conference (Carmen was not there) and I went to her and asked her what was going on. She said in a non-convincing voice "Oh, I don't know", and rushed out.

Alice Hom
When I returned home later that day, my telephone rang, and it was Carmen. For the next 20 minutes she screamed curses at me, called me a thief, a liar, and b**** and many other things. I hung up on her after I simply could not take it anymore.

I resigned from the PS 6 Executive Board, not because I did anything wrong, but I did not want to be in the room with Carmen Farina. I was still a parent of a student in the school. Then parents and teachers started talking with me about the "real" Carmen. They told me they were too afraid to speak against her when she walked around the school with her arms around me. They told me that she despises the UFT and tenured teachers, they told me. She also despises Gifted and Talented programs, (she ended the G&T Program at PS 6) and thinks all children should be equal, and get to level 2 or 3, not 1 or 4. She pushed a terrible math program, TERC, to the detriment of the children at PS 6, who valued traditional math with long division and addition and subtraction. When my daughter Marielle wrote an article about TERC and this article was published in the Riverdale Review, she was removed from the PS 6 math Team, and told she was too stupid to be on it. Before her self-esteem got too destroyed, I signed her up to take the Center For Talented Youth (CTY) Test, and she succeeded in getting into the math and English programs with a 99th percentile score. In 6th grade she moved on to the G&T school NEST+M, from which she graduated as a member of the National Honor Society.

For Marielle, it was a close call. She was almost a victim of the NYC Department of Education's mobbing.

I reported Carmen after her screaming lunacy for not setting up the PS 6 School Leadership Team according to the regulations and law. She was reprimanded by the NYC DOE and she was removed from PS 6 in February 2001. Stunningly, she went to District 15 as District Superintendent and set up the ATCP there, under the title "First Tuesdays". I own the copyright for the ATCP as I was never paid for the work I did on it at PS 6, so I let them know at District 15. I found out that she was working closely with Bill De Blasio, so I contacted his office.

Then my other 3 daughters, in 2001-2010 all in the public schools of New York City - 2 at Stuyvesant High School and 1 at La Guardia High School - were all attacked by their teachers and/or administrations of their schools. Carmen's long arm of revenge reaches far and wide.

Scandals followed Carmen until, to the dismay of all the parents and teachers at PS 6 and beyond, Joel Klein brought Carmen back as Deputy Chancellor. She was told to "retire" or "be fired" after the Lee McCaskill scandal and then Bill De Blasio brought her back again when he was elected Mayor.


The Case Against Carmen Farina, Former Bloomberg/Diana Lam Partner in Crime

"Carmen Farina: Politics Wins With Her Appointment as Deputy Chancellor in New York City"
"A Question For Carmen Farina, NYC Chancellor: Where's The Money?"
"DOE Axing Wife of Retired Brooklyn Tech High School Principal"
"The Problem With Carmen Farina being Chancellor Is...."
"Carmen Farina: Politics Wins with Her Appointment as Deputy Chancellor In New York City"
"Despite Too Many Questions of Improprieties, Carmen Farina is Named Deputy Chancellor For the New York City DOE"

Let's all wish her well as she retires again, but please, politicians everywhere, don't hire her again for any reason!!!!

Betsy Combier
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Bill De Blasio's Schools Chancellor Is Leaving: Who Will Restore The Joy to Early Ed?
Susan Oschorn, ECE Policy Matters

Not long before New York City’s public schools closed for winter break, Katie Lapham posted to Twitter a drab black-and-white photograph of a testing manual she had found in her mailbox, the imprimatur of Carmen Fariña in the upper left-hand corner. An elementary school teacher and long-time critic of education policy, Lapham felt sick. “We will continue to refuse the tests,” she wrote, with the hashtag #OptOut2018.

Within days of the delivery, Fariña confirmed that she was stepping down from her perch as chancellor—four years after Bill de Blasio had coaxed her out of retirement to run the nation’s largest school system. Her appointment had elicited guarded optimism among the city’s educators. They took comfort in her half-century of service, including a longtime stint as a teacher in Brooklyn and principal of a well-regarded elementary school in Manhattan. But Fariña’s more recent work was suspect.

As deputy chancellor under Joel Klein, her predecessor in the administration of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Fariña was tasked with carrying out a policy agenda that many found problematic, if not repugnant. She was a good soldier in a regime driven by standards-based accountability, market forces, and wealthy financiers—from which, despite de Blasio’s best intentions, he has failed to fully extricate himself.

At the press conference convened to announce the news of her retirement, Fariña noted that she had not taken the job to win a popularity contest. She said she was “most proud of bringing dignity to teaching, joy to learning, and trust to the system.” De Blasio called her departure “bittersweet,” announcing a national search, already underway out of public view, for her replacement.

After a lifetime of service, nearing 75, Fariña is entitled to put the finishing touches on her narrative. But the cognitive dissonance could not be more acute.

She has left teachers and parents with an acrid taste, her leadership a study in alienation, mistrust, and a careless disregard for democratic governance. A battle with the parents of Central Park East I, an elementary school known for child-centered, play-based learning, became a flashpoint of her tenure as she continued to support an incompetent and abusive principal, out of sync with progressive ideals.

Fariña’s response to the city’s entrenched segregation—highlighted by a damning report issued by U.C.L.A.’s Civil Rights Project in 2014—reflected astonishing tone deafness. Let the children get pen pals, she urged; her solution to a deep wound and massive systemic failure seemed heartless and woefully inadequate.

The chancellor brooked no dissent. While Fariña softened her opposition to test refusal amid early talk of retirement, she was a staunch opponent of opting out, silencing critique of the city’s policies, and directing her deputies and administrators to follow suit with parents and teachers. In 2015, the New York City Council passed a bipartisan resolution in support of informing families about the right to have their children boycott the tests. Yet, as the season of the high-stakes Common Core exams began last year, the department of education had not cooperated, parents left in the dark.

De Blasio shared custody with Fariña of universal preschool, his signature education initiative. I welcomed the mayor’s bold venture, which began with a historic number of four-year-olds—more than 50,000—in the fall of 2014. Designed to address New York’s deep income inequality, “PreK for All” represented an attempt to level the playing field. Last fall, a limited number of three-year-olds joined their older peers. A “game-changer,” he had called the expansion, conceding the challenges that lay ahead.

The mayor, however, neglected to mention the risk to child well-being of toxic education policies. During his first term, the Common Core standards cast a dark shadow over our youngest children, condemning them to a treadmill of benchmarks and assessment before they can even lace up their running shoes. Their human right to a rich, joyful educational experience has been violated, rote learning, worksheets, and scarce time for play foisted upon little ones whose social-emotional and fine motor skills are in formation.

I posted the news of Fariña’s retirement to my Facebook page on the day of the winter solstice. Within minutes, a group of early childhood educators had gathered, offering their appraisal of the chancellor’s tenure and venting long-held grievances. The thread quickly grew longer.

The term child abuse appeared. A growing number of early educators across the country are anxious about the harm they’re inflicting on young children, the legacy of misguided education policies in place since the early aughts. Malpractice, they call it, and many are leaving, beaten down by the stress.

The vast wage gap between public school teachers and those in community-based organizations also cropped up. Most of the city’s three- and four-year-olds are enrolled in settings outside the public schools. Like the children in their care, these practitioners often live in difficult circumstances, while moonlighting to make ends meet on their subpar salaries. Such is the case nationally, the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine piece by Jeneen Interlandi. But the problem is especially urgent in New York, threatening the sustainability and success of de Blasio’s program.

Here, I’ve extracted some comments by early childhood educators, lightly edited:

I truly hope they get someone who will respect children, teachers, families, and child development principles, and who knows and respects that children need play and outdoor time and FUN!—Ellen Jaffe Cogan

The department of education requires two hours and ten minutes of play-based learning and one hour of gross motor (skill-building) in preKs. Unfortunately, many preKs—both school- and community-based—believe they must get children ready for kindergarten. If kindergarten was developmentally appropriate, there would not be pressure to do more rote-like teaching—Lisa North

The chancellor has no meaningful understanding of what early childhood education should look like, or respect for the work of early childhood teachers—Jeannette Corey

Since Bloomberg, kindergarten has not been an early childhood grade. That has helped to turn kindergarten into first grade. Disgraceful!— Renée Dinnerstein

The teachers are not supported by administrators. They are trained to be developmentally appropriate…but are told by their administrators to follow a canned curriculum that does not individualize. There is very little time for open-ended, spontaneous play—Dana Doyle

Those who are not on the ground don’t really understand the current situation and the gross inequities—from salaries to lack of nurses and security—between community- and school-based preKs. What they fail to realize is 3K for All and PreK for All are completely dependent on the community-based workforce, the physical spaces we have, and the expertise we all bring—Chloe Pashman

Who will, indeed, restore joy to learning, dignity to teachers, and trust to the system?

In this closely guarded search process, most of the people whose names have been floated haven’t captured my imagination. Missing are Michael Hynes, the superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford school district on Long Island, and Jamaal A. Bowman, founder and principal of the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action middle school in the Bronx. Each of them makes a powerful case for bringing joy and excitement back to learning, and they live and work by their words.

During Hynes’s four years in his large, diverse district, he has doubled recess time in kindergarten through fifth grade, brought yoga and meditation to all students, and reintroduced play and project-based learning into kindergarten through second-grade classrooms, from which they have been rapidly disappearing. He understands that children cannot be deconstructed, that their physical, emotional, academic, and social selves are inextricably linked.

Bowman caught my eye in 2015, when he wrote an op-ed for the Daily News, a paean to the whole child. A former teacher and the father of a preschooler, he understands the richness that all students bring to the process of teaching and learning, and the urgency of getting it right. As he wrote in a piece I published at my blog a year ago:

There is unlimited talent and potential within our schools. Children come to us full of excitement and infinite ideas. They believe and know that anything is possible. They are fearless, and not tainted by age, time, or the ridicule of failure. They are natural leaders; and when they find a passion, they’ll work vigorously to achieve mastery without provocation.

For New York’s next chancellor, we need a radical change of direction. The stakes have never been so high.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Teacher Deyshia Hargrave is a National Heroine After She is Arrested For Asking Why the Superintendent Got a Raise

In Louisiana and the world, teacher Deyshia Hargrave is a heroine. She bravely stood up at the school board meeting for her district and asked Superintendent Jerome Puyau why he got a raise while she and other teachers had not seen a pay increase in a decade.

Kudos to you, Ms. Hargrave!!!!

Betsy Combier
Editor, Advocatz
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Deyshia Hargrave
Louisiana Teacher Deyshia Hargrave Speaks Out for the First Time Since Being Handcuffed Monday; School Chief Takes Part of the Blame
The teacher who garnered national attention for her dramatic arrest outside a school board meeting in Louisiana Monday has spoken out for the first time since the incident, saying she was “appalled” at her treatment and refuses to be “silenced.”
Deyshia Hargrave, a middle school English language arts teacher at Rene A. Rost Middle School in Kaplan, Louisiana, first talked about the incident in a video shared on the Facebook page of the state teachers union, the Louisiana Association of Educators, emphasizing the free speech rights of teachers. The union also released a statement in support of Hargrave.
“I’m appalled at this, and you should be too,” she said.
Hargrave spoke with the Today show Thursday morning, as did Jerome Puyau, the district superintendent whose pay raise was the source of Hargrave’s protest.
“I don’t support our people getting arrested. I do not,” the superintendent said. “However, a person has to follow the rules.”
But Puyau defended his raise. He told KATC that it was his first pay increase in his five years, and that the district has experienced significant improvement under his watch.
“You can always use more money in the classroom,” he told NBC. “But when is a good time for the superintendent to get a raise?”
The incident at the meeting began when Hargrave questioned the superintendent and the school board about a performance-based raise of about $30,000 for Puyau. A city marshal asked Hargrave to leave the meeting after she was ruled “out of order” and then arrested her in a dramatic confrontation in the hallway for “remaining after being forbidden” and resisting an officer. News cameras captured the whole thing, and videos quickly went viral and sparked an outpouring of support for Hargrave.
The superintendent’s new contract will increase his salary from $110,130 to $140,811, KATC reported. The board voted 5–3 Monday to approve the new contract. The average teacher salary in the district is $47,522. Teachers in Vermilion Parish haven’t had a salary increase in almost 10 years.
Puyau said his staff and family have received death threats and obscene messages since the meeting. He told NBC that many of his relatives are educators and “it is not fair” that they are being hurt by the negative publicity.
In an interview with CBS, Puyau, who was at the meeting, took the blame for the backlash over Hargrave’s treatment, saying he should have stood up for the teacher’s right to speak.
Puyau did not respond to The 74’s requests for comment.
The city attorney and prosecutor have said Hargrave will not face charges in the case. The school board has indicated it does not wish to press charges either.
School board president Anthony Fontana said in a radio interview that the teacher needed to be escorted out because she was not following meeting rules and that the officer who arrested her was just doing his job.
“This is not about the board, it’s about the teacher, and everybody wants to side on the poor little woman who got thrown out,” he said. “Well, she made a choice. She could have walked out and nothing would have happened.”
Fontana’s law office said Thursday he would not answer questions about the incident.
KATC reported that the officer in question, who is a city marshal and serves as a school resource officer in the parish, was previously accused of using excessive force on the job. Shortly after a 2011 incident that involved accusations that he and another officer slammed a man into a building and against a slab of concrete, he was terminated from the Scott Police Department. The lawsuit was settled in 2016.

Superintendent challenged over pay raise says he "should have stood up" for teacher

A Louisiana school superintendent is speaking out about the controversial arrest of one of his teachers. Deyshia Hargrave was taken into custody Monday after questioning the superintendent's pay raise at a board meeting. The former teacher of the year was arrested, but will not be prosecuted.
Vermilion Parish Superintendent Jerome Puyau told CBS News' David Begnaud there are things he wishes he did differently at Monday night's board meeting. He vows the district will learn from this incident, but says the backlash has taken a toll on him and his family.
"I hated what happened," Puyau said.
The superintendent said he and his staff have been receiving threats ever since Hargrave's arrest.
"Twenty-eight years of my life is dedicated to the students of this community it's so hard to see this negative. It's tough," he said.
The turmoil began at a school board meeting Monday night, when Hargrave questioned why the superintendent was slated to get a roughly $30,000 raise.
"At the top – that's not where kids learn. It's in the classrooms," Hargrave said during the meeting.
The board president ruled Hargrave out of order after she tried to speak for a second time. A deputy city marshal told her to leave and she complied. Then she was forcibly arrested outside in the hall.
Hargrave released a video Wednesday saying she hopes people aren't afraid to speak out after seeing what happened to her.

Puyau's new contract bumps his yearly salary from $110,000 to roughly $140,000 – still less than average for superintendents in Louisiana. Teachers in the district also make less than the state average, and they haven't had a raise in a decade.
"Within the next few months we're going to be bringing to the board a plan where we can bring a raise," Puyau said.
While emotional over the backlash, Puyau says he doesn't blame the deputy marshal who arrested Hargrave.
"I'm the superintendent, I'm to blame," he said. "I should have stood up, okay? That's what you want to hear and it's the truth, I should have stood up ... Let her speak.
Puyau said no one on the board directed the city marshal to escort Hargrave out. The marshal was contracted to work security at the meeting, but Puyau said they don't plan on having him again. He also noted the deputy is a well-liked school resource officer at one of the district middle schools, and does not plan on firing him. CBS News has reached out to the marshal but has not heard back.

"I'm the superintendent, I'm to blame. I should have stood up, okay? That's what you
want to hear and it's the truth, I should have stood her speak." - Jerome Puyau says following the arrest of Deyshia Hargrave in Abbeville