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Monday, March 16, 2020

Health Officials Talk About Resigning Because of Mayor De Blasio's Mismanagement of Coronavirus Strategies

In this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, file photo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, with Dr. Oxiris Barbot, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reports on the city's preparedness for the potential spread of the coronavirus in New York.(Mark Lennihan/AP)

Mayor De Blasio has shown his lack of leadership throughout his years as Mayor, but his current mismanagement of the COVID-19 strategies and effects  is going to be his most visible legacy.

My 2 cents

 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 

NYC health officials threatened to resign over Mayor de Blasio’s coronavirus mismanagement: sources

MAR 16, 2020

Leadership at the city’s health department threatened to resign over Mayor de Blasio’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, The Daily News learned.

The unrest between the department and City Hall began shortly after New York’s first case of the coronavirus two weeks ago and top health officials threatened to step down as recently as last week, sources said.

At least one deputy commissioner and multiple assistant commissioners in the Health Department warned they would resign over de Blasio’s mismanagement and reluctance to take the advice of doctors in his own administration, according to an agency source.

The threat came while health officials tried to push de Blasio into taking a bolder approach to stop the spread of the potentially deadly virus, including implementing stricter “social distancing” measures, sources said.

They stood down, at least for now, after assurances from the mayor’s office that he was committed to following guidance from the agency.

When de Blasio announced schools would close until at least April 20, staffers at the Health Department’s Long Island City headquarters clapped, the agency source said.

“The staff is feeling much better because they can now implement those tactics,” said another source familiar with the discord between the agency and de Blasio’s office.

New York City has 463 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Monday morning -- up from just 20 a week before.

The surge in cases has prompted the city and state to limit public gatherings where New Yorkers, including those without symptoms, could help spread the virus to more vulnerable populations.

[More on Coronavirus] Ohio governor seeks to delay presidential primary over coronavirus but voting still set for Tuesday in three other key states »

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people and shutting down all gyms, movie theaters and casinos Monday night, Gov. Cuomo announced.

De Blasio is also ordering all bars, restaurants and cafes to only offer delivery or pickup beginning Tuesday. Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses and concert venues will also be forced to close.

But until a few days ago, de Blasio has mostly stressed increasing the city’s capacity to test and track down individual cases as opposed to broader measures that will have a wider impact on families, businesses and the public.

“There has been a push for aggressive action and quick decision making by the health department and even the smallest decisions have been big fights and taken longer than they should have -- to say nothing of larger consequential decisions like banning large crowds,” a source familiar with the matter said.

City Hall has also held up the agency’s own guidance to healthcare providers and the public about coronavirus, requiring all communications to go through the mayor’s office, the sources said. De Blasio even approves some personally.
[More on Coronavirus] Coronavirus updates: The latest important developments from NYC and around the world »

"It is a frightening thought for the mayor to override health professionals in his own administration for the sake of micromanaging optics,” said another source familiar with the situation.
The discontent got “really bad” when the city shifted from treating a few patients to facing a larger crisis with dozens of cases spread across the five boroughs, one source familiar said.

“They’ve disagreed mostly about the slow pace to adapt to information about how quickly this was advancing and how dramatically we had to change our policies to that,” the source said.

The deputy commissioner for disease control at the agency, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, stopped attending public briefings with the mayor last week.

And de Blasio’s relationship with Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot has grown “toxic.”
[More on Coronavirus] 'One of the best men on earth’: Coronavirus kills NYC Correction Department official »

“He’s been yelling at her in meetings in front of other people,” one source familiar said.

De Blasio has also given conflicting information to the public during the outbreak.

On Sunday, de Blasio said on WBLS that the disease “appears” to transmit “when people are symptomatic.”

NYC Press Release on COVID-19 and Schools' Closing

NEW YORK, NY 10007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2020, (212) 788-2958


New Yorkers should text COVID to 692-692 to get regular updates on the latest developments regarding COVID-19; Text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced new updates on the City’s response to COVID-19. The City will move towards a remote learning model for all school days until Spring Recess. Students will not report to school buildings for instruction until Monday April 20, 2020 or longer if necessary.

“As we learn more about COVID-19 every day, we are keeping every possible option on the table to keep New Yorkers safe. That’s why we are asking the people of our City to make hard choices as we introduce more restrictive measures to create greater social distancing—including the temporary closure of our school buildings.  We all need to change our lives—in ways both big and small—to keep each other safe,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“The health and safety of our students and families remains our top priority, and we are committed to providing instructional opportunities for all of our students,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “We know that millions of New Yorkers depend on our schools for education, but also so much more, and we will be supporting each of them during this time. We have the best students and most dedicated staff in the world—and nothing will change that.”

There are now 329 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City and 5 fatalities.

Update on City Schools
Effective tomorrow, March 16, New York City schools will close. Starting March 23, the City will move towards a new Remote Learning Model for all school days until Spring Recess. Students will not report to school buildings for instruction during this time. School buildings are scheduled to reopen to students following Spring Recess on Monday, April 20, 2020. Grab-and-go meals will be available for students throughout the entirety of the closure.

The schedule for this week is as follows: 

Monday, March 16: Citywide closure. Students, teachers, and principals do not report.  

Tuesday, March 17- Thursday, March 19: Teachers and principals participate in professional development on remote learning. 

Thursday, March 19-Friday, March 20: Students who need it will be able to begin process of picking up the technology necessary for remote learning. Additional guidance for families will be sent this week.  

Monday, March 23: Remote learning launches, with additional guidance provided throughout the week of the 23rd. 
NYCDOE-specific instructional resources in English for students in grades Pre-K through 12 are currently available online at More information about remote learning, meals, and other core services will be made available for families at

To help all students adjust to remote learning environments, Apple and T-Mobile will ensure that in the coming weeks, 300,000 New York City public school students who don’t currently have an internet-connected device will have one for their schoolwork, beginning with 25,000 iPads that will be distributed next week

To keep healthcare providers unaffected, the Mayor is calling upon New Yorkers to watch the children of their neighbors, friends, and members of the community who work in the healthcare sector.  

Update on Senior Centers
The Mayor is instructing all programs run by Department for the Aging to close and cancel all congregate meal, recreational, and educational services and activities, effective immediately. Senior centers will operate strictly to deliver food to seniors, either as take-home meals or meals delivered to homes. Centers are advised to create a phone bank to call the center’s participants to ensure they are well and to help avoid social isolation.

New Guidance for Businesses
Members of FDNY, the New York City’s Sheriff Office, and the Department of Buildings will actively inspect businesses and issue fines to those who do not comply with the City’s new restrictions and guidance on Sunday and Monday evening of this week. The guidance, issued Friday, requires businesses with an occupancy of 500 persons or less to maintain an occupancy level at or below 50%. 

Department of Correction
To reduce exposure for COVID-19, DOC will suspend in-person visitation beginning Wednesday, March 18. The City is also taking additional measures to help detainees stay in contact with their families and communities, including increased access to phones and postage stamps. For the first time, the City is also working to implement a televisit initiative that will allow people contacting detainees the convenience of using their own personal PC or mobile device to complete the teleconference.‎ 

New Guidance for Health Providers
To minimize possible exposures to healthcare workers, vulnerable patients and reduce the demand for personal protective equipment, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will advise patients with mild to moderate illnesses to stay home. DOHMH strongly recommends against testing these persons who can be safely managed at home, unless a diagnosis may impact patient management.    

Healthcare facilities should also now plan for enhanced surge capacity. Per CDC & WHO guidance, patients can now be managed with droplet precautions along with gown, gloves, and eye protection.  This means that patients can be evaluated in a private examination room with the door closed.

Additionally, DOHMH recommends healthcare workers do not need to use a fit tested N95 respirator or Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) for routine (non-aerosol generating) care of a COVID-19 patient.

New Guidance for HRA Centers
HRA benefit applications for food and utilities, as well as other forms of emergency assistance, are currently available online. Pending State approval, HRA will not take any adverse action on cases where clients are unable to keep their appointments.

Over 337,000 New Yorkers have signed up for the City’s COVID text notification system. To get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692.  New Yorkers can text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. If you have any questions on finding medical care call 311.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The UFT Charter School Says "Basta Cosi, Grazie" ("That's Enough, Thank you" translated from the Italian)

How many people know that the UFT had a charter school?

Anyway, it doesn't matter anymore, as the school is closing due to mismanagement and staff discontent.

 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 

From Mike Antonucci, E.I.A. Intercepts
R.I.P. UFT Charter School
Posted: 11 Mar 2020 11:51 AM PDT
Last month, New York City’s United Federation of Teachers announced it wanted to convert the charter school it founded in 2005 into a traditional public school. This brings to an end an era when teacher unions wanted to prove they could run schools better than those we hire to do the job.
I wrote about the UFT Charter School many times over the past 15 years, with my main focus being how quickly UFT could abandon its stated principles about schools and labor relations when it came to an enterprise it owned and managed.
We have seen this phenomenon when teacher unions negotiate with their own employees, and we saw it with NEA affiliates back when they were sponsoring charter schools.
How many ways did UFT circumvent its own rhetoric on charters?
* The UFT Charter School was funded by a corporate billionaire. The Broad Foundation gave the union $1 million over four years.
* They used some of the money to hire an outside consultant to “help us navigate the rules and regulations of the charter process,” according to then-UFT president Randi Weingarten.
* After an incident in which first-graders were forced to clean a bathroom, UFT summarily disciplined the school’s principal, though it was unclear whether she received adequate due process.
* Another principal resigned in 2008, “after clashing with teachers and union leaders,” according to this New York Times story. His tenure was defined by a number of problems that shouldn’t be associated with a union-run school, such as teachers who spoke with the Times anonymously “for fear that they would suffer professionally if they were named.”
* Weingarten downplayed the school’s difficulties, and pointed to standardized test scores as evidence of its success, even though she had previously stated that using standardized test scores to evaluate teachers and students “distorts and constricts our understanding of quality teaching and learning.” Her stance backfired two years later, when the state revamped its tests to counter inflated results. The UFT Charter School “showed one of the most severe declines, to 13 percent of eighth graders proficient in math, from 79 percent,” according to the Times.
* By 2011, the teacher turnover rate at the UFT Charter School had grown to 33 percent.
* In 2015, UFT closed the K-8 portion of the school and carried on the charter as a secondary school. In 2018, the teacher turnover rate was still 24 percent.
Chalkbeat NY hit the nail on the head when it reported that the UFT Charter School was “opened to prove a point.” That’s a bad reason to open any school. New York City should be careful it doesn’t allow UFT to make the same mistake with this proposed transition to a traditional public school.
“Our students, parents and teachers love their high school, and are proud of the individualized support our school gives our students, but they have told us that they want to be a part of a broader community,” said UFT president Michael Mulgrew.
This is a transparent attempt to lay the blame for the school’s history on its existence as a charter, and deflect the blame from the union’s oversight. It also rids the union of an albatross that interfered with its general anti-charter policies.
In a way, we will all benefit from teacher unions staying in their lane. Unions will be able to singularly devote themselves to labor representation, and the public will not have to endure them as management, a role for which they are poorly suited.

UFT analysis finds exclusion is key to results of the most successful charter schools

Charter schools as a group enroll a significantly smaller percentage than the public schools of English language learners, special education students or those from the poorest families.  A new UFT analysis of individual charter schools clearly shows that the schools most successful at excluding these kinds of students are the charters with the highest test scores.
For the 2018-19 school year, the latest for which city and state data are available, charters as a group enrolled half the citywide average of ELLs, significantly fewer students with disabilities – particularly those with the most challenging needs – and fewer students from the poorest families.
Chart 1: New York City Charters vs. New York City Traditional Public Schools
New York City Charters vs. New York City Traditional Public Schools
Source: 2018-19 School Quality Report, Elementary, K-8, Middle & High Schools

But even within the charter sector, the varying degree to which such students are excluded proves to be an important factor in individual charter school success.
Using the most recent state English language exam as a starting point, the UFT broke down the New York City charter sector into four groups: Tier 1 was the most successful, with a pass rate of 67% or higher; Tier 2 was charters with pass rates of 55% to 67%; Tier 3, 44% to 55%.
Tier 4 was made up of the nearly 50 charters that failed to reach even the citywide ELA average (raising the question that if charters are such a magical solution to school system woes, why do fully one-quarter of them lag behind the citywide average?)
As the table shows, Tier 1 charters have about half as many English Language Learners as the charters in Tier 4, only two-thirds the number of students with disabilities and significantly fewer students in poverty.
Chart 2: Charter Reading Scores and Student Demographics
 % ELA ProficiencySchool Count% English Language Learners% Students with Disabilities% Poverty
Tier 167.2% - 100.0%485.7%13.3%74.3%
Tier 255.1% - 67.1%487.0%13.3%74.3%
Tier 344.0% - 55.0%486.6%17.5%80.7%
Tier 415.5% - 43.9%489.6%22.5%83.5%
Source: NYC DOE 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot and Test Scores
How do charters – particularly the ones most successful on standardized tests – find ways to minimize the number of the neediest pupils?
While the charter admission process appears to be completely random, in fact the students in the pool from which charters draw have parents with a knowledge of the system and the motivation to enter their children in the charter lottery – a particularly high bar for immigrant parents and those whose first language is not English.
This phenomenon of family knowledge and commitment is not unique to charters, but has been found in national studies to be part of the apparent success of many parochial and private schools.
Robert Pondiscio, an author with many sympathies for the charter movement, wrote most recently in his book on Success Academy (“How the Other Half Learns”) that the idea that essentially the same kinds of students attend both public schools and charters, while “deeply satisfying to charter school advocates… is also misleading and even false” because parental motivation plays such a large role in what amounts to a self-selection process in charter -- and non-public school -- admissions.
Student attrition then plays an important role, at least in the most academically successful charters.
Our analysis of all K-8th-grade charters from the 2010-11 to 2018-19 school years shows that Tier 1 – the most academically successful group – had a loss of 26% of the students who started in the cohort in 2010. Meanwhile, the 2010 cohort in the less successful charters actually gained students.
Chart 3: Impact of Student Attrition
Impact of Student Attrition Chart - Tier 1 Charter Schools
Source: NYC DOE Demographic Snapshots, 2010 to 2018-19
Impact of Student Attrition Chart - All Other Charters
Source: NYC DOE Demographic Snapshots, 2010 to 2018-19
Given the data, it is hard to avoid the obvious conclusion that Tier 1 charters are consciously shedding academically struggling students – and reaping the results in terms of higher test scores. Only actual student academic records would refute such a conclusion, and it is unlikely that the charters will see it as in their interest to provide those records.
Given the high rate of student attrition, what role did suspensions or other disciplinary actions play in families’ decisions to leave? Repeated suspensions are a key tactic in persuading students and their families who do not fit in to find other schools (generally in the public system).
The charters certainly aren’t going to tell us. But state data shows that charters as a group suspended students far more frequently than public schools did, and that Tier 1 charters – with a suspension rate of more than 8% – led the way.
Chart 4: Suspensions: NYC Public Schools vs. NYC Charters
Suspensions: NYC Public Schools vs. NYC Charters
Student Suspension rate is determined by dividing the number of students who were suspended from school (not including in-school suspensions) for one full day or longer anytime during the school year by the Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) day enrollments for that school year. A student is counted only once, regardless of whether the student was suspended one or more times during the school year. Suspension data are lagged a year because data for the reporting year are reported in October following the close of that reporting year. Source: 2016 State Data,

The burden of charter costs

The charter sector consistently claims superior student results, while denying the effects of its exclusionary policies, particularly in the highest-scoring charter schools. Those misleading assertions have helped to drive the sector’s expansion to the point that an estimated $2.4 billion in city Department of Education funds will be diverted in Fiscal 2021 to charter operations.
This number is scheduled to grow as current charters – with no further regulatory or legislative action – expand their grades in future years to add as many as 50,000 more students.
Approximately 121 charter schools are now co-located in public school buildings, too often involving the loss of libraries, labs, music rooms and other facilities for the public school students involved. According to an estimate by the organization Class Size Matters, from 2014 to 2019, the total amount of public funds spent for co-located space and for charter school leases and lease assistance reached $377.5 million.
Yet these enormous public investments are going to many schools that exclude the neediest students – and rely on such exclusion to fuel their claims of success.
Related Topics: Research shows

Resources for Learning From Home From the NYC Department of Education

 The NYC Department of Education has posted resources for parents and students to use while at home, as have other organizations. See below.

Chancellor - close the schools, create new ways for the homeless and parents who work to protect the kids!

UFT- amend the contract to stop members from being charged for sick days after 10 absences! Sending members to 3020-a arbitration for missing 11 days or more of work for genuine illness is absurd.

  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 
Chancellor Richard Carranza

·         Home 

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·         Learn at Home

Learn at Home

The materials on the Learn at Home pages are designed to provide supplementary learning resources to students in the event that students may need to be home from school. We encourage you to use this time to continue your student’s learning while they are at home. To help students engage in educational material, we have shared the resources below for students in all grades, from Early Learn through elementary and middle school, and for high school. These materials do not replace what your child has been learning at school, but during this unusual time it is important that students continue to read, write, do social studies and science activities, and work on math problems.

The materials on the grade specific pages below include:

·         Suggested daily study schedules

·         Guides and materials for instructional activities

·         Recommended educational television shows

·         Links to a variety of books, magazines, and websites on a wide range of topics that appeal to children at all ages

·         Early Childhood

Get resources to help your young students learn at home.

·         Kindergarten

Get activities and resources for your kindergarten student to use at home.

·         First Grade

Get activities and resources for your first grade student to use at home.

·         Second Grade

Get activities and resources for your second grade student to use at home.

·         Third Grade

Get activities and resources for your third grade student to use at home.

·         Fourth Grade

Get activities and resources for your fourth grade student to use at home.

·         Fifth Grade

Get activities and resources for your fifth grade student to use at home.

·         Sixth Grade

Get activities and resources for your sixth grade student to use at home.

·         Seventh Grade

Get activities and resources for your seventh grade student to use at home.

·         Eighth Grade

Get activities and resources for your eighth grade student to use at home.

·         High School

Get activities and resources for your high school student to use at home.

·         Additional Resources

Get links and resources to support learning at home for your student.