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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."

Saturday, October 5, 2019

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

NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza
From the desk of Betsy Combier:

Throughout the New York City public school system and all its' constituents is a progressively angry discussion about NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza's "race war" against 'Whites'. See my previous post, Carranza's Book For New Teachers and The Essay "Dear White Teacher"

Anyone who has had children in the public schools of NYC can see that schools are segregated.

I have been a teacher and parent advocate for more than 20 years, with 4 children going through the NYC DOE, and I have seen the gap between "good" schools and "bad" schools. My standards are: the level of safety for all students; school management of discipline; school administration of policies of respect for all; and rigorous teaching and creative learning opportunities. Full disclosure - two of my children went to Stuyvesant High School, another, La Guardia High School ("the FAME school"), and the fourth attended NEST+M - all of my children went to "good" schools as described above. But it took a lot of work, research, and creative thinking to find the right place for each of them.

In my opinion, the NYC DOE has not shown any ability or care in rolling out strategies for implementing policies of any kind. Everything the DOE does seems to be governed by politics and vendors selling the flavor-of-the-month textbooks or curricula which are purchased at fraudulent prices both above and below the table at DOE headquarters.

In blunt terms, NYC DOE policy is focused on political, and not educational, outcomes and Chancellor Carranza's focus is anything other than what is best for the children enrolled in NYC schools. He fits his policies to his needs (which seems to be a "children last" program) and not what the very diverse population of kids in NYC public schools want or need.

In the past year Chancellor Carranza has been attempting a minority-based coup where he replaces white DOE Deputies with people of minority backgrounds. He is being sued by several Superintendents.

Even if he claims he is not doing what is claimed in this lawsuit, the language of intent to discriminate is flowing through the DOE and the press is taking note, as can be seen in the article re-posted below published in the NY POST on October 1, 2019. Jackie Cody, a member of Community Education Council 22, seems to be buying into Carranza's poison.

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

Carranza accused of ‘pitting parents against each other’ along racial lines
by Selim Algar, NYPOST, September 30, 2019

An African American member of a volunteer schools advisory board referred to Asians as “yellow folks” during a group email exchange with more than 100 people — leading one recipient to blame the “toxic racial environment” created by Chancellor Richard Carranza.

“The tone comes from the top,” fumed Lucas Liu, a member of the Community Education Council 3, which covers the Upper West Side and part of Harlem.

“I think this is representative of the environment Carranza has created. It’s a toxic racial environment pitting parents against each other.”

He also said that Carranza “has successfully intimidated white families into not speaking up by playing the race card, but failed to achieve the same success with Asian families.”

Carranza has repeatedly stirred controversy through a series of moves intended to increase diversity in the city’s schools and change the curriculum in favor of “culturally responsive sustaining education.”

Jackie Cody

Liu, who is Asian, saw red on Friday when Jackie Cody of Community Education Council 22 in southeast Brooklyn sent out a message in favor of eliminating the city’s specialized high school exams and “gifted and talented” programs.

“To be blunt, certain Whites and certain Yellow folks on this list serv continue to focus on a very narrow view and misunderstanding that what they’re advocating for is damaging to White and Yellow children as well!” wrote Cody, who is African American.

“You see, perhaps if we bring to the forefront that 90% of white and 85% of yellow children are not accepted into Specialized High Schools nor G&T Programs, there’d be a better acknowledgment and understanding of the need to gut this system.”

 In response, Liu fired off a message expressing outrage at Cody’s choice of words.

“Thank you Jackie. Your use of a racial slur … speaks for itself,” he wrote.

 The back-and-forth led the administrators of the “Yahoo Groups” list to announce on Saturday that they were changing its protocols so that only a handful of moderators would be able to send messages to the entire group.

“Some of the threads have become deeply offensive and toxic for many members,” wrote Shino Tanikawa and NeQuan McLean, both members of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group.

“While we asked that members reply only to the sender and NOT to the listserve, this rule has not been followed diligently.”

Liu said Monday that “the term ‘yellow’ is clearly a derogatory term.”

“I don’t know if she deliberately put this out there in that way,” he said.

“But I would say that there are some terms you don’t use no matter what, and ‘yellow’ is one of them.”

Cody insisted she meant no offense, saying, “I had no intent like that at all.”

“We are split up into colors these days. Black people are black, brown people are brown, white people are white,” she said.

“My only purpose was trying to get people to understand that every child is gifted and talented. Once you really authentically understand that, things will be seen in a different perspective.”

Department of Education spokesman Will Mantell said in an email, “This was an unacceptable comment made by one parent on a message board, and it has nothing to do with the Chancellor.”

Additional reporting by Bruce Golding

Additional reading:
$90 million lawsuit: 'Toxic' whiteness purge at NYC

Bombshell suit claims Carranza’s ‘toxic’ whiteness purge cost DOE execs their jobs