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Thursday, October 31, 2019

NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza and His "Toxic Whiteness" Social Justice

NYC DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza
From Betsy Combier:

The New York City Department of Education Mayor-appointed Chancellor Richard Carranza has shown himself to be, in our opinion, a vindictive, prejudiced and angry man who is deliberately allowing his agency to belittle, insult, or demean white employees.

Now four DOE Executives of the Department are suing him over what they call racial discrimination.
Even if these four employees lose their case, there is obviously something going on which reeks of misuse of public funds. And we are talking about the salaries of Mr. Carranza and his cronies while he treats white execs differently than those who are not white.

I am a taxpayer, and excuse me for saying this but how dare you get paid to discriminate with my tax money?? I would shut up quickly if my tax money/public funds went to cleaning up the lead in the water of NYC's public schools, especially in the areas where the kids are mostly minority (the group supposedly favored by you); if you followed the mandate to make class sizes smaller; if you made sure that every child has the books, online accounts and other resources needed to succeed; and countless other expenditures that do not go into or near your pocket. Oh, and let's not forget the sham Special Education policies that do not give children with 'differences' in thinking, moving, or whatever, what they need, mandated by Federal Law.

We also have the disturbing letter sent to the US Department of Justice in Washington DC in 2003 by NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg's General Counsel, Michael Cardozo, requesting that the DOJ allow Bloomberg to remove the vote for school board members from citizens in NYC who are mostly Black or Hispanic, and don't  vote anyway. This is the Mayoral control disaster that we have never supported, posted on

Here is the submission (broken into random sections) by Michael Cardozo, NYC Corporation Counsel, dated Oct. 31, 2003, that violates the Constitutional rights of citizens of New York City from June 30, 2003-4 until June 30, 2009:

Michael Cardozo's introduction to his submission which removes the constitutional rights of NYC citizens
Pages index -11
Pages 12-25
Pages 26-41
Pages 42-58
Pages 59-80

It seems that Bloomberg believes that ordinary citizens do not know who to vote for, and maybe even what to vote for, so he wanted all figurehead education executives to be appointed so he could "guide" them into doing what he, the benevolent autocrat, "knew" would be best for all the citizens.

I don't know how many "ordinary citizens" like me called Mr. Rich at the DOJ to protest, but I certainly did. I told him that I objected to having no vote for school board members, and told him to reject the request by Bloomberg and Cardozo. He told me he would call me back.

He of course never did.

Thank you for listening.

See also:

Final proof de Blasio has done nothing to improve NYC schools

NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza and His "Toxic Whiteness" Campaign Inside The Department of Education

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza accused of demoting admins because they were white
Bombshell suit claims Carranza’s ‘toxic’ whiteness purge cost DOE execs their jobs
NYC schools chancellor is accused of branding 'whiteness' as 'toxic' and pushing out white administrators in favor of less qualified people of color
NYC schools chief sued for hostile environment against whites, accused of demoting admins for skin color to curb ‘toxic whiteness’
Chancellor Carranza is Criticized For Deplorable Conditions at School For Special Needs Kids
NYC DOE Chancellor Carranza Rules With Hate

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

 Fourth white DOE executive sues over racial discrimination

by Susan Edelman and Selim Algar, NY POST, October 1, 2019

 Leslie Chislett became the fourth plaintiff to accuse Carranza of creating an atmosphere in which white DOE employees are “swiftly and irrevocably silenced, sidelined and punished” if they object to being stereotyped by their minority colleagues.

Chislett’s Manhattan Supreme Court suit says her treatment included a May meeting where co-workers stood up in succession to bash her for being incapable of “doing the work” of racial equity.

She’s seeking $10 million dollars in damages from the DOE and Carranza for allegedly violating the city Human Rights Law against racial discrimination, and another $10 million from Carranza personally if he’s “determined not to have individual liability” under the City Code.

Chislett, 60, who lives in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, formerly spearheaded the DOE’s AP for All program, an initiative hailed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as one of his administration’s signature education policy triumphs.

According to her suit, the DOE has been plunged into a state of racially fixated dysfunction where whites who object have been cast as irredeemable racists incapable of leadership and deserving of belittlement.

“Unfortunately, under Chancellor Carranza’s leadership, something has gone very wrong with the Equity and Excellence agenda,” Chislett said in a statement obtained by The Post.

After joining the DOE in 2007, Chislett was tapped to help lead the AP for All initiative in 2017 as executive director of Advanced Academic Access.
Leslie Chislett
A former city schools administrator filed a $20 million discrimination suit against the Department of Education and Chancellor Richard Carranza on Monday, claiming she was relentlessly demeaned and forced from her job for being white.

But while the program consistently met its benchmarks under her stewardship, Chislett said she was targeted for harassment and denunciation because of her race.

All DOE employees, Chislett said, currently find themselves immersed in racial “training” sessions where notions like “excellence and perfectionism” are decried as by-products of “white supremacy.”

During a January session, a DOE-sanctioned speaker explained that “equity would only be satisfied if children of color are privileged over Caucasian children in the classroom,” the suit states.

At a May 2018 gathering, speakers from an organization called Border Crossers explained to participants that “values of white culture are supremacist,” court papers state.

At a June 2018 presentation entitled “Beyond Diversity,” senior DOE executive Ruby Ababio-Fernandez told her audience that “there is white toxicity in the air and we all breathe it in” and that the thrust of her address was to “interrogate whiteness.”

When Chislett objected to the non-stop racial content, she was “marked as not willing to do the work of diversity,” the complaint argues.

On June 27, 2018, Carranza told assembled staffers at DOE headquarters to “get on board with this equity platform or leave,” the suit states.

The proclamation was a “totalitarian threat to his employees salaries and financial future that Carranza used to silence Caucasian DOE employees impact by his discriminatory actions for no other reason than their race,” according to court papers.

Chislett is being represented by lawyer Davida Perry, who also filed a $90 million discrimination suit on behalf of DOE employees Lois Herrera, Jaye Murray and Laura Feijoo in May.

Chislett said she frequently clashed with underling Deonca Renee, and once quizzed her for not being present at a meeting she was supposed to conduct.

Renee shot back that she “does not begin her day until 9:15” and later told Chislett “how dare you approach me out of your white privilege.”

The suit states that Renee soon began publicly excoriating Chislett at meetings and questioned her ability to serve in a leadership capacity.

At a February meeting held by DOE racial consultant Darnisa Amante, Renee targeted Chislett’s commitment to the cause, according to the suit.

“I wonder if members of our leadership team are defending their own comfort,” she said.

Despite this internal discord, Chislett said the AP for All initiative was thriving to the point that Carranza and de Blasio held a celebratory press conference.

But when it came time to appear in front of the cameras, Chislett wasn’t invited, the suit states.

Chislett’s complaints were met with either indifference or retributive hostility, according to court papers. She was eventually stripped of managerial duties and went from supervising 15 staffers to none, according to her suit.

Fearing that she would soon be excised entirely, Chislett hired an attorney in April — a move that intensified the resentment towards her, the suit states.

That month, members of her division were told that there would be additional racial training — and that participants had to begin their conversations with the statement “as a black woman or as a white woman,” papers state.

At another meeting that same month, the DOE’s Executive Director of Educational Equity, Paul Forbes, said that he was unconcerned by mounting scrutiny of the department’s practices “because this chancellor truly has our back.”

 Chislett reached her limit at a May inquisition helmed by Ababio-Fernandez where she was singled out as a dangerous dissident who “should just go.”

“Sitting among us there are those that don’t believe,” Ababio-Fernandez told roughly 50 people.

With that, Chislett said she was castigated in ritual fashion.

Ababio-Fernandez “permitted other members of [the Office of Equity and Access] to stand up in protest of Chislett, one-by-one stating names of children in their life that motivated them to pursue equity work and that they were protecting from people like Chislett,” the suit states.

During the same meeting, “numerous members of the team were permitted to literally stand and berate Chislett, in her workplace, and openly shame her by saying ‘You are not willing to do the work,’ despite her contributions to AP for All’s accomplishment of its goals.”

Chislett left the meeting in tears and eventually quit the DOE in September after taking medical leave.

In a prepared statement, DOE spokesman Will Mantell said: “We reject these allegations of ‘reverse racism.’”

“We’re focused on serving kids and families, and we’ll continue to foster a supportive environment for all our employees. We’ll continue our work towards equity and excellence for all students, and we’ll review the lawsuit,” Mantell added.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Students Can Graduate Without Attending Class - a Loophole For Funding Without Seat Time

I can't wait for our teen population to see the news that they don't have to go to class, and our malls and arcades are going to be full every day, all day. Truant officers are going to be upset. What do we do with these folk, Chancellor Carranza? You just wiped away a whole segment of the city's workforce.

Does anyone wonder why many colleges are setting up NYC Graduates with remedial classes to accommodate their lack of knowledge?

Oh, wait - our teens already know that they don't have to fill the seat every day. I wonder what college they will get into.

On September 21, 2019 the NY POST did a story on Maspeth students who rarely went to class, never did homework, and graduated:

I was always stoned, drunk and skipping class — so they let me graduate early: Maspeth alum

In other words, this seat time policy must get rubbed out of the DOE policy manual real quick, no one is being helped by this ridiculous rule.

Thomas Creighton
And, who's this guy Thomas Creighton, and why is he allowing himself to be the poster do-nothing student of year? Are he and his mom anticipating a movie/book offer? TV Series?

Just askin'.

Betsy Combier
proud mother to four children who attended school every day

Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials    

NYC students can graduate without attending school in absence policy loophole

Susan Edelman, NYPOST, October 19, 2019 
Going to class is not required to receive a city diploma.
It’s not widely advertised, but under Department of Education rules, students cannot be denied credit or graduation “based on lack of seat time alone.”
Under state law, school districts may adopt a “minimum attendance standard.” New York City does not. While city schools must take attendance, kids can still pass or be promoted even if chronically absent, which is missing more than 10 percent of days.
Instead, students who “meet class expectations” must receive credit, and “are not required to make up the exact hours of missed class time,” the DOE says.  NYC students need 44 credits to graduate.
The loose policy — each school defines its own “expectations” — leaves room for dishonest educators to let truants skate by with minimal make-up work in English, math, and other core subjects, experts say.
Maspeth High School, currently under investigation by the Queens District Attorney’s office and the DOE, has exploited this loophole by giving “worksheets” to teens who have missed months of classes. Expectations are low.
“If students hand in anything, whether it’s correct or not, you have to pass them,” said one of multiple Maspeth whistleblowers who described pressure by administrators to pass kids who do not earn it.
One class-cutter filled in worksheets with “random nonsense” but still received a passing grade and credit, his teacher said.
Another teacher sarcastically titled a student’s make-up assignment: “I was absent the entire year and need to learn everything to pass the Regents’ packet.” It was spotted in the school’s trash.
Four Maspeth students marked absent for four to five months straight this year graduated after showing up once a week to turn in worksheets to a dean. They all received Regents diplomas and were invited to join the June commencement ceremony, records show.
Ex-student Thomas Creighton told The Post he spent 11th- and 12th grades drunk or stoned and blew off his studies. Finally, he said, the school gave him “a few worksheets” to complete in a week. He had a pal fill them in, and received a diploma six months early. When his worried parents asked to see his work, the school had nothing to show but insisted Thomas earned a passing 65 in all classes.
The alleged abuses at Maspeth — which touts a 99 percent graduation rate — are extreme, but teachers at other high schools witness similar shortcuts.
“It’s going on all over the city,” said a teacher who recently left DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx.
“If the student comes in at the end of the year in June and asks for makeup work, we have to provide it — even if they never attended.
Teachers get no guidance on what to include, the staffer said. “There are no standards for what a make-up packet has to look like — nothing.”
Kids who do come to class and work hard “know there’s something wrong when people they haven’t seen all year move through the grades with them or receive credit. It sets a very low bar for all students.”
At Forest Hills High School in Queens, failing teens get a last chance to pass by showing up for “academic boot camp.” The teens sit in a classroom several hours a day for five days at the end of the school year.
“They could skip class most of the year and not deserve a grade, but as a result of attending one week and doing worksheets, they could get credit for an entire year’s class,” a Forest Hills teacher said.
The teacher sent students to boot camp, but did not provide any work for them — and did not grade their work — so doesn’t know whether the students learned anything.
“I think it’s fraudulent,” the teacher said.
After The Post and other media exposed a massive grade-fixing scheme called “Project Graduation” at Dewey High School in Brooklyn, a 2015 DOE probe confirmed that students lacking credits were put in bogus classes and given work “packets” without instruction by certified teachers, as required by law. Kids dubbed it “Easy Pass,” but were robbed of an education, a state audit found.
In 2011, then-state Education Commissioner John King asked the state Board of Regents to consider letting students earn credit “through competency-based activities, not seat time.” Classes consist of 180 minutes of instruction per week.
King did not return a request for comment. A state Education Department spokeswoman said no action was taken, but confirms that students who lack class attendance can still earn credits by showing “mastery” or “proficiency,” regardless of attendance.
Under old DOE Chancellor’s regulations, promotion decisions were based on a “comprehensive assessment,” including whether a student had 90 percent attendance. The attendance part was dropped in 2009, officials said.
DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson said students who miss class “are given opportunities to make up the work to demonstrate mastery of content.”
But it’s up to each school to define mastery and decide how rigorous the make-up work should be.
That leaves the door wide open for abuse, said Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education professor David Bloomfield.
“The DOE is responsible for quality control, but the city seems complicit in these practices as a way to raise the graduation rate,” Bloomfield said.  “The repeated scandals are the worst kind of Groundhog Day.”
In 2015, ex-Chancellor Carmen FariƱa announced a $5 million “Regulatory Task Force on Academic Policy” to guard against grade-fixing and credit fraud after a series of schemes were exposed in The Post. The panel last filed a brief two-page report in June 2017, and the DOE gave no update.
The DOE’s Filson denied that guidelines are lax.
“All instruction must meet rigorous standards and we have a strict academic policy citywide to ensure our students are challenged and meet their full potential.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Francesco Portelos' Poison - Threats To Principals

“Issues at Your School” – An email no NYC principal wants to receive
Turning the tables. That’s what progressive caucus UFT Solidarity began to do when members contact us that they are under warrantless attack. For almost a decade NYC DOE administrators had unfettered power to destroy careers. Problem with a teacher who grieves contractual violations or want to get rid of a pesky chapter leader? No problem. All a principal had to do was start building a paper trail of trumped up charges and fraudulent observations. Sometimes a simple phone call to the DOE’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) would do the trick. The teacher would be removed for months or years without knowing why they were removed. That’s if they were tenured. If not, the would be discontinued and out in a few days. The union? The UFT has been absent in thwarting attacks against members and sometimes is actually involved in helping the members get railroaded See [UPDATED] Bizarre Behavior Coming from Queens UFT Office.
So what is a member under attack to do? Well, luckily we live in the age of technology and have come up with some tools to fight back. This is how it works, and it does work. (Not all the time but it’s getting better.)
At UFT Solidarity, we have collaborated on an email we send to administrators who are bullying and harassing our members. The email is written in a way where we let the administrator know that the members in their school and not sitting ducks and will have support. We let the administrator know that we are educating their staff on how to fight back and encourage them to support and not continue their attacks. What we hope, or assume, happens is that that the administrator sends it to their superintendent and DOE lawyers. In turn we hope that the superintendent and lawyers respond to the administrator with something like this:

“Oh no. We have seen these before and it can get ugly. Expect there to be Freedom of Information Law requests on your records such as time cards, financial records and emails. They even obtain video surveillance footage. Your staff is probably already secretly recording you. Expect stories of you to be

added to social media with comments being added by staff, students and parents. You will be added to their Administrator’s in Need of Improvement (ANOI) list online if you have not been Expect them to launch investigations on anything you have done that violates a chancellor’s regulation, policy or law. Investigators will be coming. Finally, expect a group of their members and your staff and students, albeit small, to be outside your school with flyers and signs. If you have not bought a Costco size bottle of Tylenol, then we suggest you do that.”
At least that is what we hope the lawyers tell the administrator and they second guess their future actions.
The Email:

Principal X,

Unfortunately your school has come to the attention of our teacher advocacy group. Apparently there are allegations of harassment and unwarranted attacks on educators at your school. As you could imagine, an atmosphere of workplace bullying and harassment is not conducive to a nurturing learning environment for our students.
Just as a courtesy, we are letting you know that we are educating your staff members with information on how to defend their careers so they may continue to instruct and nurture students to their fullest potential. Those tools can be in the form of legally audio recording, using the Freedom of Information Law to obtain information necessary to prove their allegations against you, organizing rallies and creating various social media articles.
Perhaps your best recourse would be to speak with the superintendent, your senior field counsel and Borough Support Center representative, to figure out ways to support educators rather than treading on their careers.
Thank you. Sincerely,
UFT Solidarity
“Building a stronger union.”

If you don’t believe me, then you can perform an internet search on many of the administrators we have listed on our ANOI list. You can ask Principal Micheaux and AP Martinez of the Bronx. Ask Principal Adonna McFarland or Principal Namita Dwarka. Our list is over 100. Namita Dwarka and her school has been on the cover of the NY Post the last three days. The brave people responsible are UFT Solidarity members and supporters who have been following our playbook.
Also see our campaign page as our team and platform are growing. For this reason I have not been able to blog
much here. My time has been spent building and organizing with great educator activists and enjoying time with my family. My sleeves are rolled up and we are ready to increase our work this September. Our ATR Alliance group is also growing and becoming more knowledgeable. A similar letter is being drafted for ATR Field Supervisors.

As we delve deeper into the UFT 2016 campaign season, expect more push back in more schools. We will bring positive change one way or another. Improving the classroom settings will improve the classroom learning.
UFT Solidarity - "Building a Stronger Union."

From Editor Betsy Combier:
If you want to follow up this post with more information about Francesco Portelos, please see the following:

 And, at his sons' former school PS 013, (Francesco's sons were taken out and moved to another school after the incidents shown below), Francesco Portelos wanted to be elected to the School Leadership Team, and believed that the Principal was trying to stop him from winning. Francesco retaliated by verbally abusing people in the school, parents, and anyone else, according to his own website's papers:

“How to File False Allegations Against a Parent” by Principal Paul Martuccio

It’s Election Day. Imagine as you walk into your polling center, a candidate’s people are inside handing you $200 gift cards and the polling volunteers are telling you who to vote for. Well, that’s kind of what Principal Paul Martuccio orchestrated at his school. Read below.
The day of PTA elections of May 2018, Principal Martuccio and his admin told teachers, secretaries, custodians, school nurses and even a substitute to come back to vote against me, as he could not have someone challenge him, ever. Instead he wanted minions ignorant of rules, laws and procedures.

I get it though, it’s easier not to be challenged. Just ask any dictator, ever in history. Just ask King George III about that annoying George Washington and his buddies who dared to not want taxation without representation.
Whether they knew it or not, Principal Martuccio, Assistant Principal Stephanie Fremer, Assistant Principal Panzella and Assistant Principal Nola were directly violating Chancellor’s Regulation A-660, that states:

“The principal, parent coordinator, and other school officials must not interfere, directly or indirectly, in the PA/PTA’s internal affairs, including the election of officers and allocation of funds.”

Seems pretty black and white and any violation of this chips away at the democracy within our schools. After staff members told me this occurred, I made a decision to find out what Principal Paul Martuccio, and the PTA board, did not want me to know. I was made aware that they knew of my history of blowing the whistle at IS 49, a school PS 13 feeds into, so what reason would a public school have to not want a whistleblower around, unless they are hiding something.
I started by sending the below emails to them and district personnel. My defense/offense began at that point. The line was drawn in the sand. Remember, he and those involved, started this with that single action of badmouthing me to my children’s teachers. Up until that point it was pretty calm at the school and they have no evidence to show otherwise. My timeline of events is accurate.
From: Francesco Portelos <>
Date: Tue, May 22, 2018, 8:51 PM
Subject: Election issues. Didn’t have to be this way.
To: PMartuc2@schools. nyc. gov <>
Cc: Panzella Valerie (31R013) <>, Nola Danielle <>, Fremer Stephanie (31R013) <>, Richards Teresa (31R013 ) <>
Paul and admin, 
    Well done with tonight. I was going to email you a few days ago, under the assumption that the administration was going to go around and tell the staff to come to the elections and to not to vote for me. I didn’t want to make that assumption, but I’ve been around the block long enough to know that that was going to happen. 

It didn’t take long for your staff to start talking and now it’s all out there that this indeed happened. It’s unfortunate, because my intentions for the school were just like I said in my speech. Yes, I’ve been the subject and the complainant in many investigations, but I do not regret any of them. I have to live with the fact that I had to fight hard and that scares people. However, know that your staff already started talking. 

For almost 2 years, as a parent in your school, I’ve been very, and I mean extremely, quiet. I love the education my children are receiving, but the fact that you and your administration went around to the staff and did this is unwarranted and uncalled for. Also, it’s a violation of Chancellors Regulation A-660. You, not me, made this bed and now you have to deal with it.  
We could have worked very well together, if you just give me a chance. Ms. Nola and Ms. Fremer, please make sure to keep all the documentation from the sign in tonight. Thank you.  

Francesco A. Portelos
I went into FOIL mode and made several Freedom of Information Law request with I wanted to know what they were hiding, if anything. Spoiler alert…they were hiding.
” Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law, please provide to me, by email, a copy of all financial records from the PS 13 Staten Island PTA. These should include bank records, as in deposits, withdrawals, cleared checks, statements and/or transfers as well as purchases and/or purchase orders from September 1, 2015 to June 15, 2018.
Per Session records for PS 13 Principal Paul Martuccio for years 2012 and 2014 as indicated on website (Not sure if the 2012 $14,088 amount and 2014 $9,870 amount are calendar years Jan-Dec or school years Sep-June.) Records should include time cards and respective per session sheets, as well as spreadsheet indicating dates, hours worked and amount paid.
Results: Excerpts of what I received show that the PTA, right after I announced my campaign to run in the PTA election, spent $8,000 to buy the teachers Staples gift cards. Not to raise any red flags, they also broke the payments down into $2,000 increments. There were no meeting motions, no approvals from membership, and data shows they had never done that before. So now Martuccio and minions tell teachers to vote against a troublemaker and the PTA hands them $200 gift cards. Sounds pretty legit, right? The PTA also spent over $56,000 without parent membership approval.
Here is one copy of the checks signed by then PTA President Michele Sammarco and Vice President Marci Dispenza to Staples.

One over the checks made out to Staples around election time.

No worries though, as the NYC Special Commissioner’s office received the allegation from the district about this and referred it down to NYCDOE’s Office of Special Investigation. OSI Investigator Clinton Silvey interviewed me and then closed down the case without interviewing anyone else. NYCDOE #2 attorney Charity Guerra signed off on it. See below. Remember that after some previous botched OSI investigations, DOE attorneys had to start signing off on reports. See the stories of Wei Liu.

It’s actually a great tactic by the NYCDOE Office of General Counsel and OSI team. If you don’t want the cases substantiated, the evidence is strong, so just don’t ask any questions and close it out. I mean, who is going to stop them? I’m told SCI has reopened this case and others for re-investigation, but we will see.
The summer came and went and I made the decision that I need to actually pull the stops and increase my involvement in the school. I do not scare easily and pushing me away only peaks my interest as to what is happening. Also, getting even more involved was the only way to make a positive difference for my own kids and their schoolmates. The crooked actions of the PTA and principal Paul Martuccio were not going to deter me.
I attended the PS 13 September School Leadership Team meeting. School Leadership Team Meetings are open to the public in every school and I actually had a small part in that with my friend Michael Thomas. I asked to speak as an observer and was allowed to. I believe my speech then involved working together and I gave positive feedback. Thought I’d try the honey approach by commending the school and PTA.
Unfortunately, as time progressed in the weeks ahead, things continued to deteriorate. I kept asking for the mandated Title I meeting parents were supposed to have and Principal Paul Martuccio kept sidestepping the issue. I kept pushing that PTA meetings and SLT meetings be live streamed so parents who work can be informed. However, why would Principal Paul Martuccio wants us parents deciding how he should be spending federal Title I money in his school?
I could tell he had enough of me asking questions and raising issues at meetings, but how could he stop me? Could he observe me and give me poor ratings? No. Could he push me out like he has done to his staff before? No. What about false allegations to obtain a “limited access” letter against me and prevent me from going to meetings? Turns out I was several chapters ahead in their paybook.
The Ish Hits the Fan
It was time for the October 2018 School Leadership Team meeting. Tensions were high and even PTA Treasurer Jodi Reen stopped me outside of school to yell at me stating “You are making this a lot more work. This is a volunteer job and now we have to put financial reports together!” I think that was in response to the fact the PTA never shared a detailed treasury report. Why should they? Parents send money in with their kids for smencils and snacks, and Paul and the PTA spend it as they please.
Some people are very predictable. While I do not prefer to audio record, I knew I should anytime I spoke with PS 13’s PTA and administration. I am glad I did. I asked to speak at the October 9, 2018 meeting and was again allowed to. I spoke about:
– The fact that the school lacks in parent involvement as is evidenced by the poor turnout at meetings and response rate to the parent surveys every year.
– How I taught at schools that had very strong and involved PTA that brought a lot to the classroom.
– How the administration was involved in the PTA election and it violated Chancellor’s Regulation. I pointed out some staff members like Matthew Santarpia, SLT secretary, and how he never went to a PTA meeting except when it was time to come vote for Principal Paul Martuccio’s candidate.
-Community Education Council president Mike Rosen was there too and he along with PTA parents took the opportunity to take shots. Mike Rosen was actually removed as PS 13’s liaison and also removed from the CEC due to conflicts of interest.
In any case, I made it clear that historically, when I am trying to help a school, like IS 49, and I am pushed away and attacked, some would say it can be dangerous. Dangerous in that I am familiar with rules and laws, and that I do not scare or back away. Dangerous in that if I smell something is afoul and it negatively affects children, I investigate.
Well….that’s all that they needed. They heard that word “dangerous” and with the help District 31 attorney Lisa Becker, and Paul Martuccio’s CSA union reps, they launched a trumped up attack. Continue reading to see how they all fabricated and corroborated on reports.
I filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for all of PS 13’s safety reports between a certain time period. Call it a hunch, but wouldn’t you know that I was reported as “dangerous” while simply speaking cordially, as a parent, at a School Leadership Team meeting? In addition, I filed FOIL requests regarding investigations launched against me at the school. Even though the NYCDOE Office of Special investigations does not have jurisdiction to investigate a parent, PS 13 staff and PTA launched more than 4 investigations. Turns out I wasn’t alone. PS 13 has filed false allegations against other parents and guardians for getting involved and speaking up.
I ran into a PS 13 guardian in Home Depot who used to come to meetings and ask questions with me. He and his family had disappeared. “What happened to you?” I asked. He goes on to tell me a story of how ever since I brought him into meetings at PS 13, and he was speaking up with his family, that child services start showing up at his house. He told me they showed up three or four times and found nothing yet they kept coming back. They stopped showing up to meetings and ACS stopped showing up at their house. This connects to another story I heard from another parent who said she was advocating for special needs students at PS 13 and all of a sudden investigators showed up at her house as well. She too stopped showing up at PTA meetings.

Here is what the FOIL reponse furnished.

I don’t even know what Mr. Turner’s car looks like, nor do I even remember walking towards my own car that might have been in her car’s direction.

…and there you have it, BUT what about the recording? Wouldn’t you agree that even ten corroborated false witness statements are not as strong as an actual audio recording?
Here is the entire 14 minute recording. At 4 minutes into it I said “I tried to help a school [IS 49 in the past], and I was pushed out, and then I try to help from the outside, and that is when some would say I become more dangerous.”
What do we do when a parent and staff members file false reports? Well, according to the Office of Special Investigation, NYCDOE Family and Community Engagement and some District 31 personnel, nothing needs to happen when public employees lie against parents. You’ll also notice that in a cowardly fashion, Principal Paul Martuccio did not put his name on anything. Staff told me that’s how he operates  
Listen to the part in the end where Principal Paul Martuccio says this was “good, good, good.” In other words, they can use this speech to come at me. Did I sound like an aggressive man looking to hurt people, or a parent that wants to see positive change and is hitting roadblocks? Stay tuned for the next post where we share the DOE and District 31’s reactions or lack thereof. 

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About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.


  1. Mr. P, you know that the teacher who wrote you up, Mr. Santarpia, is dating his supervisor in the school an AP right?
  2. I heard the audio and while it still only seemed slightly heated it appeared to be on the part of the other people talking. Not sure who they were as they did not state their name but it was two different women and gentlemen. Who were they? Did they get written up for getting heated about cleaning up and upset about your statements?
  3. It sounds to eveyone here that you are just a BIG baby, you lost twice in the PTA elections. You are FAKE news. Spend some time with your family instead of this crap. And for people who really want to know about this big baby, just Google his name!!! Please!
    • Michelle Sammarco, just tell us the REAL truth of how you were president of the PTA, wanted no opposition, didn’t advertise meetings, and then wrote checks for $8,000 to Staples for the staff with absolutely no oversight. Tell us what paragraphs, or sentences here are not true. You couldn’t pull these stunts at your kids new school. Their PTA actually does what they’re supposed to.
      • FAKE NEWS!!!
      • I’ve known Ms. Sammarco for a long time, she has done great, wonderful things for our school. So don’t even go there. She has volunteered all of her time to do great things for the school, unlike this new PTA. Why is the treasurer leaving? Could it be guilt.
      • People of you really want to get to know mister portelos just Google his name and you will learn alot about him good and bad things. But when you lose you job any the DOE again I am going to sit back and laugh.
    • You sound like a child. What’s fake here? You fail to answer that.
  4. FAKE NEWS!!!
    • All the name calling at Portelos is an attempt to distract and to project the guilties wrong- doing. Can any of you that are throwing hatred at the truth, bring a lucid and evidence- based counter argument? Probably not. Name calling and insults is all you have. The saddest thing is that most of the ignorant on this thread are probably the same people that call themselves “educators”. Shame on you. Preach Portelos!
      • During the PTA election weren’t you outside the school soliciting people to vote for you as the PTA president and didn’t you also have the PTA federation there to make sure that the voting went correct.
  5. As someone that has worked with you and has seen first hand the shit that you had to deal with, and at any time could have said fuck it and given up, but you kept on fighting for what was right…that is truth…don’t let this trash get away with anything…you are a man of integrity and these pieces of shit are scared of being exposed
  6. Move on with your life. You have spent entirely too much time worrying about something that doesn’t concern you. Your children no longer attend this school. You didn’t get your way, so your trying hard to dig up dirt that doesn’t exist. Fake news. No one cares about what you have to say. Get a life and worry about your family. You are spending so much time on this, maybe you should worry about what your wife is doing!!! Or should I say, who she’s doing. Have a great night loser
  7. Ewww. Who else would be so angry at this post other than those Mr. Portelos exposed here. Look how crazy you sound. You are really not making a case for yourselves.
    • The funny thing is that you preach about bullying but all you do is bully people at the SLT and PTA meeting. Just because you didn’t win the election .
    • And then there is the post on SouthBronxschool (teacher Peter Zucker's blog):