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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The NYC DOE Strategic Response Group Intercepts All Communications To The Chancellor

 
NYC DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza
One question I have for Chancellor Carranza (I actually have MANY, but the one I am asking here) is, "Are you keeping the Chancellor's Strategic Response Group?"

Oh, you want to know what the SRG is?

This is how the NYC Department of Education describes this entity on the 2nd floor of the Tweed NYC DOE headquarters at 52 Chambers Street:

As part of the New York City Department of Education, staff in the Chancellor’s Strategic Response Group (CSRG) responds to correspondence written to the Chancellor. Staff in the CSRG works on the Chancellor’s behalf to research, coordinate and respond to inquiries received from the NYC school community regarding policy and actions of central and district offices, as well as individual schools within the school system. As part of the Department of Communications, CSRG staff also works closely with the Offices of Public and Community Affairs, Intergovernmental Affairs, and Family Engagement to address issues raised by constituents at school/community meetings and events.

In August 2015 I posted the following article on one of my blogs:

Carmen Farina and the Chancellor's Strategic Response Group...and Other Useless Ways To Contact the NYC Department of Education

 
When you have a problem with the New York City Department of Education, who do you go to?
UFT President Mike Mulgrew, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC DOE
Chancellor Carmen Farina
If you are a parent of a child with special needs (an IEP, a 504 Plan, or other related service providers) you would go to the Committee on Special Education for your district.

If you want to ask for an Impartial Hearing to obtain public funding for a private school for your child when the NYC DOE does not give your child a free and appropriate public education, you send an email/letter to the Impartial Hearing Office and to the New York State Education Department. (Full disclosure: I represent parents and children at Impartial Hearings as the Parent Advocate).

For suspensions and Office of Hearings Online (SOHO) database you can contact the Office of Safety and Youth Development (no one will tell you that the SOHO reports exist, parents and teachers are forbidden from seeing these discipline histories even for their own children). See here as well, Chancellor's Regulations A-450. (Full  disclosure: for 9 years I represented parents and their children at suspension hearings, and these hearings are a farce, designed to punish children - especially special needs children - for having a disability. Think about suing.)

For violence in the classroom committed by students:
*if you are an administrator, you contact the Office of Special Investigationsby sending an email to them in the Online Occurrence Report (OORS). By doing this, you are setting in motion the process I have written about in my article The Gotcha Squad. When OSI gets involved, their mandate is to create paperwork that says the violence in the classroom was committed by the teacher, not the student. This paperwork will be used in charging the employee if he/she is tenured, with 3020-a; if he/she is a probationary teacher, this person will receive a letter of discontinuance saying that the reason is that he/she harmed a child in his/her classroom. There is no option to receive a hearing within the DOE. The reason is that the NY State Education Department keeps a record and publishes this record of the State's most violent schools. Principals do NOT want to be on the VADIR list. They get bonus points for getting rid of the teacher as the culprit, instead.

*if you are a teacher, the best thing to do if you are assaulted in the classroom or a child is hurt in a fight, is to call 911 and get a police report. You most probably will be charged with something for doing this, but if you dont do it, and the principal gets a report into OORS, you will be charged with committing the harm. It's a catch 22.

And who do you contact if you have a big problem that no one will solve for you? The media.
The TWEED building, NYC DOE headquarters
52 Chambers Street, Manhattan
You thought that I would say UFT President Mike Mulgrew? No, he does not read or reply to any members' emails or letters, unless you have a personal relationship with him. I know. I used to work there.

How about the Chancellor? Carmen Farina, just like her predecessors, has a group at Tweed (DOE Headquarters) who intercept all the mail and emailsent to her. It is called the Chancellor's Strategic Response Group:

"ABOUT US

As part of the New York City Department of Education, staff in the Chancellor's Strategic Response Group (CSRG) responds to correspondence written to the Chancellor. Staff in the CSRG works on the Chancellor's behalf to research, coordinate and respond to inquiries received from the NYC school community regarding policy and actions of central and district offices, as well as individual schools within the school system. As part of the Department of Communications, CSRG staff also works closely with the Offices of Public and Community Affairs, Intergovernmental Affairs, and Family Engagement to address issues raised by constituents at school/community meetings and events."
In 2007 I post this on my website "Parentadvocates.org":
Anyone Out There Looking For a Great Job Answering All of NYC BOE Joel Klein’s Emails and Letters?
All you need, it seems, is a high school diploma to become an employee of the New York City Board of Education's "Chancellor's Strategic Response Group". The salary is $34,166+...what's the +?????
          
From Betsy Combier:

I hope I’m not bursting anyone’s bubble when he/she believes that Joel Klein has responded to an email, personally. There is triage going on, as far as we can see. Several years ago I was trying to get transportation for a boy with cerebral palsey, and I decided to call Joel at Tweed. For some reason I was transferred to the Chancellor’s Strategic Response Group, where a person said, “Hello?” and I said, “Hi! May I speak with Joel Klein, please?” and the person said, “Oh no, we are the CSRG, who are you?” I said, “I’m a parent advocate trying to reach him about a boy I’m helping.” And the person said, “Well, we intercept all of his emails and letters, and answer them. “ I said, “That’s interesting!! How does this work?”

For the next 20 minutes I got the full rundown. And now they are in need of hiring someone!!! I would apply, but I’m too busy right now, so is there anyone out there who will – the deadline is Nov. 19 – and let me know, ok? Maybe if you get hired you’ll let my emails go through? Joel hasn’t responded to me since he whispered in my ear at Gracie Mansion years ago, “You know, Betsy, I’m not as bad as you think I am”…I said, “Joel, I hardly know you! It’s the system that you have set up that isn’t working!!! As I batted my green eyes.

Here’s the job(Think of the policy directives that you can give parents, teachers, students and everyone!):

Tracking Code

4827

Job Description

Position Summary: The Chancellor's Strategic Response Group (CSRG) responds to correspondence written to the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education (DOE). The Communications Associate works on the Chancellor's behalf to research, coordinate and respond to inquiries received from the NYC school community regarding the policies and actions of central and district offices, as well as of individual schools within the school system. As part of the Department of Communications, CSRG staff members also work closely with the Offices of Public and Community Affairs, Intergovernmental Affairs, and Family Engagement to address issues raised by constituents at school and community meetings and events.

Reports to: Director, Chancellor's Strategic Response Group

Key Relationships: Acts as a liaison between schools, DOE management and central offices by working closely with personnel to track ongoing school community issues and trends.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Receives, researches and responds to correspondence addressed to the Chancellor (by e-mail, US Mail, fax, etc.) from local community constituents on educational issues and concerns.
Responds directly in writing or coordinates responses with others to constituents, including community groups, in accordance with DOE policy.
Assists in the development of an internal communications network to establish a uniform system for problem-solving and troubleshooting local school community issues.
Represents the Chancellor and follows up with constituents and community groups as needed.
Synthesizes and analyzes statistical data on trends and issues in order to review current policies and forecast possible scenarios.
Serves as a "storehouse of knowledge" for current issues facing public schools in New York City.

QUALIFICATIONS

Minimum Requirements

1.High school graduation or equivalent and three years of experience in community work or community-centered activities in an area related to the duties described above; or

2. A combination of education and experience that is equivalent to "1" above.

Preferred

A baccalaureate degree in English, Journalism, Communications or a related field.
Excellent writing skills.
Exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to communicate orally and in writing with internal staff and the New York City school community.
Ability to multi-task and manage multiple deadlines in a team environment.
Ability to work well under pressure to get accurate information from diverse sources.
Ability to be self-motivated and to handle numerous responsibilities in a timely manner.
Excellent working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and other programs.
Salary: $34,166 +

Applications will be accepted through November 19, 2007. Applications will not be accepted without both a resume and cover letter.

NOTE: The filling of all positions is subject to budget availability.

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

It is the policy of the Department of Education of the City of New York to provide educational and employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, alienage and citizenship status, age, marital status, disability, prior record of arrest or conviction (except as provided by law), sexual orientation, gender (sex), and to maintain an environment free of discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, or retaliation as required by civil rights law. Inquiries regarding compliance with this equal opportunity policy may be directed to: Office of Equal Opportunity, 65 Court Street, Room 923, Brooklyn, New York 11201, or visit the OEO website at http://schools.nyc.gov/Administration/Offices/GeneralCounsel/OEO/default.htm

Job Location

Tweed (52 Chambers Street) (TWEE)

Position Type: Full-Time/Regular

New Posting: Yes

Readvertisement: No

Recanvass: No

District: N/A
******************************************
In 2005, we obtained the salary list and job titles of the employees who work at Tweed, the headquarters of the New York City Department of Education. We called a few of these employees who had, it seemed to us, an unusual job description - such as "PRIN ADMIN ASSOC", and "ADMIN SPACE ANALYST", etc., and we found out that these positions are not at all what the titles suggest.

We are FOILing the training materials:

The E-Accountability Foundation
Parentadvocates.org
Betsy Combier, President
betsy@parentadvocates.org

VIA E-MAIL

Ms. Christine Kicinski November 12, 2007
Central Records Access Officer
Office of Legal Services
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

ckicins@schools.nyc.gov

Dear Ms. Kicinski:

Under the provisions of the New York Freedom of Information Law, Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, I hereby request to obtain/inspect records or portions thereof pertaining to:

1) all emails, notes, memos, and training materials given to any employee of The Chancellor’s Strategic Response Group (CSRG)that describes the responsibilities, job requirements, bonuses, and training for any employee of the CSRG.

2) all correspondence to/from the CSRG with the name “Joel Klein” in any form, electronic or other, that is intercepted/sent/received by the CSRG during the 2006-2007 school year.

After the inspection, I may decide to purchase copies of the entire records or certain portions thereof.

If you have any questions relating to the specific records or portions being sought, please phone me at 212-794-8902 so that we may discuss them.

As you know, the Freedom of Information Law requires that an agency respond to a request within five business days of receipt of a request. Therefore, I would appreciate a response as soon as possible and look forward to hearing from you shortly. If for any reason any portion of my request is denied, please inform me of the reasons for the denial in writing and provide the name and address of the person or body to whom an appeal should be directed.

Sincerely,

Betsy Combier
Editor, Parentadvocates.org

We received a Power point on the SRG, which I made into a pdf file.

Enjoy. Just do not believe you are contacting the Chancellor when you send him an email or when you try to call him. Fugeddaboutit.
The NYPOST Reporter Carl Campanile called this group "Klein's School-Gripe 'SWAT' TEAM'" in 2004. Did I give you that story, Carl?

Julia Levy wrote about this group in 2005:


I had heard about the CSRG for several years before I tried contacting someone there, and I was lucky and actually reached a person who works there.I guess she must have believed that I was an administrator, because she chatted with me for quite a while about how busy the office was, the ridiculous comments and emails she had received in the morning of that day, etc. When I asked her how she decides what to answer or when to send on an important matter to a "higher up", she told me that she just answers everything the same way and it doesn't matter what the email/letter says. Usually the person who sent the email/letter to the Chancellor never re-sends or answers the form reply.

In June, a parent whose child is desperately in need of a new school sent the reply from Ilana Rudolf of CSRG to me after the parent wrote a long plea to Chancellor Farina:

"Thank you for your email to the Chancellor on behalf of your daughter who is a registered student at J.H.S. in Manhattan. We appreciate you sharing your concerns with us.
Upon receipt of your email, I contacted Principal for information. Principal informed me you met with her and Ms. to address the concerns referenced in your letter. It is my understanding that they informed you that as the bullying incidents referenced in your email were unsubstantiated, your daughter does not qualify for a safety transfer. Additionally, Principal told me that your daughter's attendance was discussed at the meeting and school personnel recommended a re-evaluation of your daughter’s Individualized Education Program. However, I understand that you have refused a re-evaluation at this time.

Given that your daughter does not qualify for a safety transfer, I strongly recommend that you continue to work with Principal , the District Family Advocate, Ms. , and school-based personnel, as they are in the best position to address your concerns. Moreover, please be advised that the Department of Education strongly urges parents to ensure that their children are attending school at least 90 percent of the school year, as attendance factors heavily into student progress and promotion.

I hope this information has been helpful. Thank you again for writing to the Chancellor, and I wish you and your family a safe and relaxing summer.

Sincerely,


Ilana Rudolf
Communications Associate
Chancellor’s Strategic Response Group
NYC Department of Education
52 Chambers Street, Room 215, New York, NY 10007


IRudolf@schools.nyc.gov"
You could have applied to be an intern for the summer:





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