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Saturday, May 30, 2020

NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza Says To Parents: "Do As I Say, Not As I do"

Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack
We parents know that in NY City there are different rules for people of different races, economic levels and political connections.

If you live on the Upper East side of Manhattan, for example, and you have a great income and job, you have the full array of options available to you, namely excellent private schools , charters, religious institutions and public schools. If you have money, the people who work at these schools will listen to you more often than not or you can hire an expensive lawyer to cut through the fake news and get what you want.

If you live in a poor neighborhood and/or you are black or Hispanic and/or you do not speak English well, you may not get what is given to parents with financial or political resources and connections unless you have the stamina to battle every administrator/educator at the public/charter/religious institution every day, sometimes every hour. A common theme for media reports on the NYC Department of Education is that NYC schools are racially segregated. I agree. I see it.

Many people don't want this, and I'm speaking as a parent/teacher advocate. I have 4 children who went through the public schools of NYC and I was able to get 3 of my 4 graduated before they were crushed. With one of my children the attacks and lies by people at the DOE showed me the way the NYC DOE works to crush parents and children and also allowed me to learn strategies to survive and win what was needed, which I now pass on to people who ask for my help.

I have written on this blog several times about my advocacy for parents, which is centered on the following: stay focused on what your child/career needs, and get out of the NYC public schools if you can. Don't allow your child to be a guinea pig for the bumbling curriculum changes of the NYC DOE, the huge class sizes, and the disrespectful behavior of administrators. I believe in school choice. I do not agree with Department pushpins such as Diana Ravitch, whose anti-charter talk is, as far as I am concerned, irrational and simply narrow-minded and wrong. Sure there are bad charters and there are good public schools. Each parent should be their own judge of which educational setting is best. Homeschooling? This can be ideal for the right child and the right family. Again, families should choose what is best for their child.... not Ravitch, not Carranza or de Blasio pushpins and not leaders of parent groups who want one thing: to have you agree with their perspective and stay in NYC public schools to help them fight for their agenda.

Astonishingly, Carranza's own army of Deputy Chancellors and Superintendents don't follow the policies that Carranza is ordering that all others follow, as you can see below in  two recent articles from the NY POST. Carranza clearly approves of his closest administrators' putting their children in screened schools and/or specialized high-schools, the same schools that are too racially unbalanced for the general public.

So at the same time that Carranza is promoting an end to screened admissions as well as testing for specialized high schools, his Deputy Chancellor, Josh Wallack, is ignoring these directives and putting his child in those very schools.

Parents, teachers, everyone else should not approve this "Do as I say and not as I do" policy.

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

DOE official in charge of NYC admissions debate sent his child to top screened schoolby Selim Algar, NY POST, May 28, 2020

The Department of Education official overseeing the city’s school admissions debate is sending his child to a highly selective and disproportionately white Manhattan middle school, sources told The Post.
Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack resides in Brooklyn’s District 15 in Park Slope, which scrapped screened admissions in 2018 to spur diversity in its racially segregated schools.
Among other roles, Wallack heads the Office of Student Enrollment, “which manages . . . efforts to advance school diversity and equity,” according to the DOE website.
But rather than enroll his child in one of these unscreened schools next year, Wallack instead successfully vied for a middle school spot at the competitive Institute for Collaborative Education in Manhattan’s District 2.
District 15’s decision to get rid of screens has sharply remade demographics at Park Slope’s top schools. For example, the white population at coveted MS 51 dropped from 47 percent to 28 percent while the number of low-income, homeless, and English Language Learner kids hiked from 34 percent to 56 percent, according to DOE figures.
At ICE, which extends from grades 6 through 12, the school is 48 percent white, 22 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent Asian.
“The man has every right to send his kid to the school of his choice,” said a District 2 parent. “But for the DOE to moralize to others who do so or to try to get rid of those opportunities for other parents is a blaring double standard. It’s like we have two sets of rules.”
According to DOE records, there are no English Language Learners at the school, a category commonly correlated with recent immigrants to America.
In announcing a plan to diversify District 1 schools in 2017 through modified admissions, Wallack espoused goals that some said contradicted his eventual schooling choice.
“The aspiration we’ve set is that each school would reflect the socioeconomic and linguistic diversity of the district as a whole,” he told The New York Times that year.
Jean Hahn, a Queens activist, said parents were growing tired of an apparent chasm between the DOE’s public rhetoric and the personal choices of its top officers.
“The hypocrisy is just unbelievable,” she said. “Truly unbelievable.”
Wallack told The Post Thursday that he toured his local District 15 schools and was drawn to many of them.
“While my wife and I were impressed with so many of the D15 options, my son, an outspoken and determined young man, fell in love with ICE,” he said. “It is a diverse school in many ways, uses multiple measures for admissions and a progressive teaching approach. It was a uniquely good fit for our family.  We would have been thrilled at any number of schools in D15, but this was my son’s first choice.”
Wallack’s selection comes at a delicate moment in the ongoing war over the future of the city’s screened schools.
Opponents argue that they favor families with resources who are able to better prepare their kids for admission and should be completely eliminated.
Despite their predominance in the school system, many talented black and Hispanic kids are elbowed out of contention unfairly, critics charge.
“This appears to continue a pattern of privileged enrollment for upper echelon DOE staff,” said CUNY education professor David Bloomfield, who opposes screened public schools. “It also undermines confidence in the deputy chancellor’s commitment to diversity.”
Bloomfield argued that Wallack and his colleagues have been largely ineffective in combating entrenched school segregation.
“This is consistent with the foot dragging attitude of the de Blasio administration towards diverse enrollment,” he said.
A member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group, which opposes screened schools, also questioned the choice.
“There are a lot of parents committed to undoing this unjust system,” she said. “At some point we are going to need leaders to join us.”
Backers of screened schools contend that academically advanced kids should have the chance to learn in accelerated environments and that an expansion of competitive seats would boost diversity.
Eliminating them altogether, they argue, is misguided.
Veronica Flores, of The Bronx, who normally travels 90 minutes to a Gifted and Talented school in Manhattan each day because there are no local advanced programs for her daughter, questioned Wallack’s choice.
“If he believed in his own rhetoric he would have sent his child to a District 15 school,” she said. “But he is taking advantage of what the DOE speaks against. Hypocrisy is the word here on every level.”
The Institute for Collaborative Education enrolls roughly 500 kids.
It makes a point of not counting state exams towards entry and instead admits kids based on grades and individual interviews conducted by parents.
“Basically they curate as they please and somehow, just somehow, despite the demand, the school is half white,” said a District 15 parent. “It’s the same thing at Beacon and a lot of other places.”
Wallack is one of many top DOE officials who have demonstrated a preference for exclusionary schools.
Deputy Chancellor Cheryl Watson-Harris sent her kids to IS 154 Christa McAuliffe in Dyker Heights and Mark Twain for the Gifted and Talented in Coney Island – both of which are tightly screened. Ms. Watson-Harris will, it now seems, be moving to Georgia. [See prior posts, Ms. Watson-Harris wants to leave the NYC DOE, and Deputy Chancellor Dr. Andre Spencer has already found a job in Texas - Editor Betsy Combier].
Chancellor Richard Carranza sent his child to San Francisco’s top screened high school while leading that city’s school system but has since critiqued the practice during his time in New York.
Chancellor Richard Carranza with Students
NY POST Editorial Board, May 27, 2020
“It might be problematic for word to get out that the DOE is encouraging folks to make noise,” wrote anti-testing activist Miriam Nunberg. But word did get out, and “problematic” isn’t the half of it.
Nunberg, co-chair of the New York City Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation, had already blasted word that top Department of Education officials were actively pushing for opposition to PLACE, a parents’ group trying to maintain standards in the city school system — specifically, the screened admissions at some of the city’s best middle and high schools.
The Post’s Selim Algar got his hands on both Nunberg’s original e-mail enthusiastically passing along the DOE request, and her followup asking people to keep quiet about how the supposedly nonpolitical bureaucrats are playing political hardball.
Chancellor Richard Carranza has gone to war against all selective admissions, charging that any effort to uphold standards is racist. To him, the top schools are bastions of “white privilege” — never mind that white students are usually in the minority at those schools.
And he’s exploiting the pandemic in his war: The state’s cancellation of year-end testing — and his own decision to end serious grading and all attendance-taking — badly complicates screening for the next round of selective middle-school admissions.
Carranza’s on record saying it’s wrong to “waste” this crisis. So when his DOE insists, “We have not yet made any decisions on this policy, and will not do so without hearing first from our students and families,” you’re right to roll your eyes.
Meanwhile, the chancellor still refuses to confront the real problem: Far too many public schools in the city’s poor and minority communities just don’t work — even as public charter schools in the same ’hoods regularly achieve excellence.
Carranza needs to quit trying to undermine schools that work and focus on replacing the ones that don’t.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza Gets a New Title From Irate Asian Americans: “Race-Trafficker-in-Chief’’

NYC Schools' Chancellor Richard Carranza
Oh boy, here we go again. Carranza and his assistants are so obviously in power without a clue as to what to do, it's embarrassing. It seems that they jump the minute they are told to do something, and they pick whatever is on the closest shelf.
Now he is starting bias training to fight bigotry targeting Asians. When Carranza arrived here from out West, he picked on the "toxic white" people in the NYC Department of Education administration, showing his implicit bias against Caucasians. He threw out several high-level white Superintendents and replaced them with minority individuals, which started the "toxic white" lawsuits against him.
Then he found discrimination against black and Latino kids, who were supposedly barred from the toxic white-dominated Specialized High Schools and other Gifted and Talented programs. So, he set up anti-bias training to stop this bias. 
Now Chancellor Carranza is seeing - or being told to see - bias against Asians, and has started  a training program to stop this.
Those 'toxic white people' just are biased against everyone, right? Oh, wait. Are blacks and Hispanics also getting the anti-Asian bigotry training, or are they only victimized by toxic white people? I'm actually getting confused. Who is biased against whom?
Maybe Carranza's new title, "“race-trafficker-in-chief’, is appropriate after all, and I can leave this quandary for another time.
The latest news did allow me to recall one of my favorite books, Alice in Wonderland, and the delightful nursery rhyme about Tweedledum and Tweedledee:
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
    Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
    Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
    As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
    They quite forgot their quarrel.[1]

Susan Edelman and Kate Sheehy, NY POST, May 24, 2020

A Chinese-American advocacy group says that having city schools Chancellor Richard Carranza oversee instruction to fight Asian bias “is like having the KKK run training on anti-Black bigotry.”
The group, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater New York, issued a statement ripping the “race-trafficker-in-chief’’ after the Department of Education told The Post on Saturday that Carranza now wants his controversial anti-black- and anti-Latino-bias training to also fight bigotry targeting Asians.
“Unbelievably, the man who commits explicit anti-Asian bigotry just added anti-Asian bigotry to his implicit-bias training for Department of Education staff,” the group said.
“This is, after all, the man who smears Asians that they think they ‘own’ admissions to Specialized High Schools, while he pursues policies that seek to exclude large swathes of Asians from these schools,” according to the statement.

A rep from the DOE called the remarks “toxic rhetoric” that just creates division.

“We’re going to continue implicit bias training because it is not about any one race or ethnicity — it is about giving people the tools to prevent and confront bigotry, and as a city, it’s something we need now,” the rep, Nathaniel Styer, said.

“This is a distraction rooted in baseless attacks while the chancellor is working around the clock to keep students and staff safe and engaged in learning during this crisis. We invite everyone to join us.”
The group was referring to Carranza’s push to eliminate entrance exams involving the city’s elite high schools, tests that many Asian-American students have traditionally done well on.
“This is, after all, the man whose DOE uses code phrases such as ‘schools that don’t look like the city’ to disparage Asians for not having the right look,” the group said.
“This is, after all, the man whose DOE sponsored the Center for Racial Justice in Education that declared that Asian Americans ‘benefit from White Supremacy’ by ‘proximity to White privilege.’

The Center for Racial Justice has been paid about $400,000 by the DOE to helm workshops, including in communities, as part of Carranza’s anti-bias initiative. The claims that “white supremacy’’ and “white privilege’’ have aided Asian-American students were made by CRJ presenters at a gathering with Manhattan parents in 2019.
“To have Carranza run training on anti-Asian bigotry is like having the KKK run training on anti-Black bigotry,” the CACAGNY said.
“Anti-Asian bigotry is a serious problem for Asian Americans, not to be used for such exploitation.
The first step for the DOE to address anti-Asian bigotry in NYC is to get Carranza out of NYC.”
The scathing release came the day after The Post reported that Carranza was starting up his “implicit-bias” training again — this time remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic — and that it was so sorely needed because of bias against Asian-Americans. The global contagion is believed to have started in China.
“This workshop is necessary now more than ever,” DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer told The Post on Saturday.
“The city has seen an increase in bias and bigotry directed at Asian and Asian-American New Yorkers. These trainings prepare our staff to be a part of the fight against this bigotry.”
DOE rep Nathaniel Styer responded in a statement, “There is no time for this kind of division and toxic rhetoric, and we’re going to continue implicit bias training because it is not about any one race or ethnicity – it is about giving people the tools to prevent and confront bigotry, and as a city, it’s something we need now.
“This is a distraction rooted in baseless attacks while the Chancellor is working around the clock to keep students and staff safe and engaged in learning during this crisis. We invite everyone to join us.”
See also:

Saturday, May 23, 2020

NYC Department of Education Wins the "Who Are You Kidding Award" After Losing Gifted and Talented Entry Exams

In 2005 we started giving out the "Who Are You Kidding" Award to people or agencies that commit fraud, or assist in creating or promoting fake news.

The 2016 "Who Are You Kidding Award" Goes to Carmen Farina (for the Second time) and Mayor Bill de Blasio

Carmen Farina Wins the 2015 WHO ARE YOU KIDDING? Award as the "Best Talent" the World Has, To Run the NYC DOE  

The Second "Who Are You Kidding Award" Goes To Dennis Walcott

The "Who Are You Kidding??" Award Goes To: Joel Klein, New York City Board of Education Pretender 

The NY POST's article (below) tells us that the New York City Department of Education has lost the entry tests of 61 kids who applied to Gifted and Talented Programs in NYC.

Oh, how convenient is this? The NYC DOE hates G&T Programs, and believes that 'all children can learn' and G&T programs are discriminatory and divisive. Every child should get the same curriculum, and can succeed at the nice average middle (not incapable of doing the work, but not too bright so that there are boredom pranks).

Mr. Carranza: is anyone looking for the missing documents?

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

NYC parents frantic after DOE loses Gifted and Talented program entry exams

City parents are livid after the Department of Education lost the entry tests of 61 kids applying to advanced academic programs and schools.
A total of 12,834 4 and 5-year-olds kids took the Gifted and Talented exam in January to vie for admission to coveted district and citywide programs.
But dozens of applicants who took the exam at PS 89 Liberty School in Tribeca didn’t get their scores last month when the DOE released results.
After weeks of evasion, the DOE finally admitted that they had lost the crucial tests in a May 15 email to parents.
Officials said UPS lost the exams while transporting them to a testing vendor for scoring.
With Gifted and Talented placements scheduled for release next month, impacted parents said their children will be unfairly cut out of the competition.
“The degree of incompetence and lack of transparency are really disconcerting,” a Chelsea parent said.
Sharon DeWitt of Tribeca ripped the DOE’s handling of the bungle.
“They went weeks before finally admitting they lost the test,” she said. “Finally, on May 15, boom, ‘we lost your score,’ that’s it, with no gameplan. Many families plan their family life around this test.”
A DOE spokesperson said it will attempt to offer make up exams but acknowledged that the coronavirus is complicating that effort.
“We immediately informed families when we found out UPS lost these tests and will offer retests as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Katie O’Hanlon. “Placement results will still be released in June but these families will still have the option to enroll in a G&T program if they qualify.”
But parents wondered how their kids would qualify without having  a chance to take the test in time.
“In the 15 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never heard of scores being physically lost — with no trace,” said city education consultant Alina Adams. “This is new and exciting for a DOE screw up.”
Parents often expend time, money and energy preparing their kids for the exams.
“They’re grief-stricken and they don’t know what to do.” Adams said.
Roughly one in four test takers score high enough to qualify for a spot. But due to demand, only a fraction of them eventually secure seats via lottery.
Detractors of the Gifted and Talented system argue that young children should not be taking standardized tests to determine their educational future.
Backers assert that advanced children should be placed in appropriately rigorous academic environments.