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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

NYC Wants the Chancellor Fired. Now.

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza
Well, now it seems that there is an official "Hands Off" policy which forbids anyone from investigating either the NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio or NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza, exactly as we wrote in our prior post. This block seems to be state-wide.

NYC ALERT: Do Not Criticize Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza

This is alarming. Our tax dollars pay the salaries of these two ($$258,750 for Mayor De Blasio, and $ $345,000 goes to Chancellor Carranza every year). For photo opps just like the one at the top.

Richard Carranza spars with Rep. Grace Meng on Twitter: ‘No more politics’

What we have seen in the past few days is how broken the NYC public school community is. The Mayor needs to repair this, but we don't see any accountability by Carranza for causing any of it. That is unfortunate.
What I do not condone is belligerent, insulting and hysterical comments by anyone to anyone. So, if Carranza is not responding to parents calling him names and insulting him, I think he may have reason to ignore them. However we are looking at all of Carranza's actions, including hiring improper staff for high positions, allowing cheating and assaults of teachers and students without trying to put a stop to these events, and basically looking down at anyone who criticizes him. The total sum equals zero. He must go.

We urge the Mayor to fire Chancellor Carranza, and replace him immediately with a person who can heal the broken community of people in the New York City public school system, the biggest in the country. Please Bill, it's time.

Former NYC School Chancellors On Carranza Playing Race Card: ‘Put On Your Big Boy Pants’
January 29, 2020 at 11:15 pm

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former city schools chancellors spoke out Wednesday about allegations by the current education czar that he’s been the subject of racial attacks as he tries to reform the school system.
Some told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer they’re stunned.
It has been a way of life since, well, pretty much forever — schools chancellors on the receiving end of the wrath of public school parents.
Cathie Black got skewered over proposed school closings. Carmen Farina was attacked over the Common Core English exam. So Richard Carranza is no exception, though he sure doesn’t seem to be weathering the storm as stoically as his predecessors.
“Just look at the abject racist things that are said about me: ‘Go back where I came from,’ ‘taco-eating Carranza,’ ‘fire Carranza Ai Yi Yi,’ with the exclamation points in Spanish. Absolutely, they’re racist,” Carranza said recently.
There have been nine full-time chancellors in the last 30 years. Six have been African-American and Latino. Kramer spoke to some of the former school bosses and they told her they were frankly stunned by Carranza’s attitude.
“Put on your big boy pants,” one former chancellor said.
“Playing the race card is [expletive], a cop out,” another said.
Carranza’s incendiary charges came in response to questions about why he walked out of a recent public meeting in Bayside, Queens, when emotional parents demanded answers about a number of disturbing incidents at their middle school, including a violent lunchtime brawl, a reported case of sexual harassment, and an alleged sexual assault in a bathroom.
“Walking out on the parents at the Queens school was dumb,” charged one of Carranza’s predecessors.
Carranza’s sulking over the ongoing criticism, his public pity party, had a predecessor offering advice.
“Don’t personalize things. You’re the chancellor of New York City schools. You should expect to be beat up. It’s New York City. You get paid to take it,” the former top educator said.
The chancellor’s ability to deal with public criticism and parent protest is expected to be challenged again Wednesday night. Sources told Kramer protests are scheduled before and during a meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy, which Carranza is expected to attend.
NY POST Editorial Board, January 29, 2020

Carranza’s Failure -  The callous chancellor must go

Karol Markowicz, NY POST, January 27, 2020
Coward! Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (c.) walking out of a town hall with parents outraged over violence in their children’s schools.

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 

City blocked investigations of de Blasio, Richard Carranza: whistleblowers

by Susan Edelman, NY POST, November 23, 2019

Hands off.
An explosive whistleblower complaint sent to three city councilmen claims the agency charged with investigating wrongdoing in city schools has blocked probes of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and their allies, The Post has learned.
The Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) for city schools is sitting on nine cases of waste, fraud and corruption involving the upper echelons of City Hall and the Department of Education, according to a type-written, four-page letter that catalogues the wrongdoing in detail.
One of cases cited involves first lady Chirlane McCray’s embattled $850 million mental health program, Thrive, which has a large school component.
The insider document blames Special Commissioner Anastasia Coleman, who was appointed in February 2018, after prevailing in a power struggle with former Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters, an aggressive prober of the mayor’s administration and city agencies.
“Under Coleman, SCI is continuing to hold or redirect investigations into City Hall, Chancellor Richard Carranza and de Blasio allies with business or that are connected to the DOE to protect de Blasio’s image while he runs for president,” says the anonymous Aug. 20 letter signed by “SCI Investigative Staff.”
De Blasio dropped out of the presidential campaign on Sept. 20.
Other mothballed cases included a probe of possible mayoral interference in an investigation of Orthodox Jewish yeshivas that get city funds but skimp on required secular education; contract spending on de Blasio’s aborted “Renewal” program for failing schools; and allegations about Carranza and his top aides.
“SCI investigators assigned to investigations involving executives at the DOE and City Hall, including the Mayor, have been directed to instead focus on matters not related to the mayoral administration, his allies, etc,” the letter says.

SCI agents, it adds, “have been denied support in conducting these investigations and their independence in pursuing leads . . . that point towards City Hall and top-level executives at the DOE.”

In response, SCI said that Coleman “is aware of the anonymous complaint as well as its recipients,” adding that the letter was forwarded “to the appropriate agency for review” — referring to the city Department of Investigation.

Coleman denied the accusation her office has protected the powerful. The statement says, “the Commissioner added, unequivocally, that SCI has not, and will never, slow-walk an investigation based on the subject or the subject matter of the complaint.”

Jane Meyer, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said, “Any Implication that  City Hall directed SCI  to slow walk Investigations is untrue and ridiculous. We respect the Special Commissioner of Investigation’s independent authority.”
Coleman was at the center of a battle between City Hall and former DOI chief Peters. In February 2018, Peters tried to seize control of SCI. He fired Coleman after she reportedly resisted his attempts to have more say over SCI investigations. That led de Blasio to issue an executive order giving only the mayor power to hire or fire SCI commissioners.
The mayor canned Peters, a former close friend and campaign treasurer, in October 2018, after a series of damning DOI probes of city agencies, including major problems at the Administration for Children’s Services following a toddler’s death.

In a letter after his ouster, Peters accused Hizzoner of axing him in retribution for past probes and to stem ongoing investigations. Peters said the mayor had screamed at him in a late-night call, accused him of trying to bring his administration “down,” and demanded he keep the January 2017 ACS report under wraps.
The recent incriminating missive was sent to City Council members Ritchie Torres, chairman of the oversight and investigations committee; Mark Treyger, chairman of the education committee, and Robert Holden, who has called for a federal RICO investigation of academic fraud in city schools.
Holden said he forwarded the letter to the Queens District Attorney’s office, which is overseeing a probe of grade-fixing at Maspeth High School.
Both Torres and Treyger told The Post the letter raised red flags they have already recognized.
“The letter confirms what we’ve long known: The SCI, as constituted, appears fundamentally ineffective at overseeing the DOE,” Torres said. “The overseer needs oversight of its own.”
He added: “It’s strange that the DOE — the behemoth of city government — is subject to the least amount of oversight.”
The DOE’s $34 billion budget makes up about a third of all city spending.
Treyger agreed: “The largest department in the city of New York deserves a robust watchdog that can effectively do its job.”
Torres and Treyger have met with Coleman and stressed the need for SCI to conduct pro-active, systemic investigations of the DOE, and offered to help with funding if needed.
Since then, the  SCI issued a review of the DOE’s training to combat student-to-student sexual harassment. In September, SCI issued a blistering report finding that the DOE paid nearly $9 million for 6,000 school-bus GPS units while up to 80 percent were never turned on. The bungling also prevented the city from obtaining Medicaid reimbursements for special-ed services.
But the SCI has punted on academic misconduct. The agency received 880 complaints of test-tampering and grade fraud in the past three years, but sent 823 to the DOE to investigate itself. The DOE won’t give the results.
Naftuli Moster, executive director of YAFFEDJ.C. Rice
On the yeshiva issue, frustration has plagued Naftuli Moster, executive director of YAFFED, an advocacy group that triggered the DOE’s investigation in July 2015. Still waiting for the probe’s completion, Moster has long suspected the mayor’s office made DOE drag its feet to pander to Orthodox Jewish leaders.
“Now it appears the investigation into possible mayoral interference is also being stonewalled,” Moster said. “We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Torres complained that SCI has ignored big issues.
“The NYCHA inspector general had a leading role in exposing the lead crisis in public housing.  By contrast, SCI had no role at all in exposing the lead in city schools,” Torres said.
“SCI is MIA.”