Posts Tagged ‘Carmen Farina’

Linda Hill: An Opportunity For Farina To Exorcise the Lingering Presence of Bloomberg

February 28, 2015
Linda Hill

Linda Hill

Until very recently Linda Hill, principal of Dreyfus Intermediate School on Staten Island , was known, when at all, as the chief tormentor of teacher Francesco Portelos, whose career and reputation she tried and failed to destroy, even if she did cause the man an enormous amount of hardship. Portelos’ offense was to point out to the powers that be that Hill was ripping off the public by claiming to be doing two jobs at the same time in different places: an impossibility. For his courage, Portelos was rubber roomed, investigated endlessly by the Office of Special Investigation (OSI), eventually vindicated but nonetheless, crazily, fined $10, 000.
He has also been proven right. The same OSI that hounded Portelos has confirmed that Hill was doing precisely what Portelos said she was doing.

Not that it matters at all in the strange universe of the Department of Education, made all the more strange, and strangely corrupt, during the reign of Michael R. Bloomberg. Indeed, during the darkness of the Bloomberg years, in which experienced principals were given buyouts and newly minted Leadership Academy replacements were urged to think of themselves as CEO’s, their primary function was apparently to hound, demoralize and degrade teachers as much as possible.
Think of a corporate mini version of Mao’s Great Leap Forward which produced the Great Chinese Famine. Bloomberg’s maneuver, in turn, created a different kind of famine but a famine nonetheless. As a bonus, principals who proved incompetent, insane, sadistic or criminal were not fired but merely shifted to another school or warehoused at Tweed where they continued to collect their significant salaries. I know. I had one who managed to fill all four of those categories and the last I heard she’s still collecting Disgraced Former Principal Dole. As with the mafia or the IRA or the Ivy League, once you were admitted into the club it was very, very hard to be tossed out.

The New York Post, which shamelessly cheerleaded for all things Bloomberg during his twelve nightmare years as absolute ruler of New York City schools, has attempted to somehow link Hill’s criminal behavior with current Chancellor Carmen Farina’s tenure; this despite the fact that Hill’s $55, 000 worth of thievery was done under the watch of Bloomberg’s trio of preposterous non-educator Chancellors of Education, Joel Klein, Cathy Black and Dennis Walcott.

That said, OSI’s confirmation of Hill’s criminality merits an immediate and appropriate response from Farina, namely Hill’s firing (at the very least) and (as much as I know it will never happen) a public apology to Portelos for the hell he’s been put through.

Failure to do so will not merely make a mockery of justice but it will make a mockery of Farina, and billboard what every Leadership Academy scandal reiterates: the ghost of Mike Bloomberg is still very much present.

This is an opportunity. I hope, for the good of all, that Farina uses it and uses it well. But, sadly, I am not holding my breath.

The Daily News: Carmen Farina Loses Her Mind Under Mulgrew Voodoo

February 10, 2015
The Helplessly Seduced

The Helplessly Seduced

For the past decade American public school teachers have been attacked like no legal profession in our history. None. The attacks have been particularly prevalent of late in New York due to the extraordinary ultra right wing proposals of Governor Andrew Cuomo, he who has vowed to break “the last monopoly,” formally known as the public school system. Indeed, one can scarcely pick up a newspaper these days, especially in New York, and not find some ignorant editorial or columnist pontificating about the pernicious state of American public school education, the treachery of teacher unions and the wisdom of Cuomo’s proposals: this despite the fact that the latter is nothing more than a litany of repeatedly failed or wholly discredited whims and notions — on steroids.

No matter. None of this stuff has anything to do with education anyway so…

Central to them all is the myth of the un-fire-able bad teacher who, for the sake of the nation, must be fired but can’t be. ( For a truly insidious example of this see the November 2014 Time Magazine.)

Alas! Where is Ronald Reagan with his jet black hair on his bold white horse when we need him?

No need to despair: We now have Andrew Cuomo in Albany who has moved further to the right on this stuff than Reagan ever dared.

Firing teachers has become the idee fixe of both reformers and their pals in media who, through constantly echoing this idiocy, are doing their best to insure it seeps into the skulls of the overworked and exhausted masses in a process not unlike osmosis.
This is one of the ways in which perception management works.
It might be working.

If one is to remain relatively sane under such ceaseless attacks, it is by both fighting back and finding humor in them wherever one can, even of the dark variety which invariably it is. It was dark humor, I’ve been told by friends who have survived totalitarian regimes of both the left and right, that allowed them to persevere under the constant absurdity, cruelty and indignity of related propaganda campaigns. Sometimes it’s impossible to find such humor and sometimes it’s just there, like an unexpected gift at your door. Yesterday’s Daily News editorial attacking nothing less than the “impotence” of New York City Chancellor of Education Carmen Farina who, like all knowledgable and actual educators, is dead set against Cuomo’s proposals, was one such gift.

The editorial board of the News, not an educator among them, is or pretends to be both mystified and horrified by Farina’s complete rejection of Cuomo’s wisdom, a wisdom that centers on almost completely avoiding the realities of education and focusing almost entirely on creating reasons to fire teachers, while making the as-yet-to-be-fired teachers as miserable, demoralized and powerless as possible. In short, it is slightly veiled union busting. Very slightly. After all, the man did vow to “break the last monopoly.” Under the pretense of “reforming” the public school system, Cuomo is attempting to systemically degrade the profession of teaching beyond recognition, to the place where no sane person with any choice whatsoever would ever even consider entering it and most who foolishly do will soon enough be out of it. Farina, a life long educator — indeed, the only New York City chancellor to be an educator in 12 eternal years — knows this well and, more, knows how reckless if not outright insane Cuomo’s proposals are. More: she knows what they will do — what they must do — to the students and schools who are served by such a system. The News, alas, is clueless.

Or pretends to be.

“All this isn’t just deeply depressing, it’s especially ironic,” they write. “As a principal and district superintendent, Farina became famous for turning around schools by giving bad teachers walking papers.”

What happened, they wonder, to make this former teacher-firing dynamo so wimpy and irresponsible that, in no time at all, she has degenerated “apparently to the poisonous point of giving failing educators a pass?”

What happened, The News insinuates, can be discerned in a profile in Sunday’s New York Times which ” reveals how cozy Mayor de Blasio’s Department of Education, led by Fariña, is getting with teachers union boss Michael Mulgrew.”

Hmmmmmmm. “Cozy.”

What happened, we are left to deduce, is that Farina, a 70 year old grandmother, was evidently the victim of some kind of mystical Irish super whammy voodoo by evil Michael Mulgrew, president of the UFT, and under his diabolical spell the woman has completely lost her values, her ethics, indeed, her entire sense of reality. In the process she has completely sold out the children of New York City whom she vowed to educate. How else to explain how this once child protecting educator has become little more than an adult protecting Mulgrew zombie ?

The Vile Seducer

The Vile Seducer

How else to explain her bizarre and “dumb” rejection of Cuomo’s “smart” proposals?

Further evidence of Farina’s descent into Mulgrew- induced madness is cited in the letter signed by Mulgrew and Farina and sent out to the 1200 NYC school principals obliging them to cease harassing teachers by collecting their lesson plans. Of this the News writes thunderously: “Two unnamed high school principals “chafed” upon reading the directive.

That’s right, two principals. Of 18,31. So what if that’s even less than 1% of the 1% who own 40% of the nations’ wealth, many of who have bankrolling “education reformers” like Cuomo for years. So what if they were unnamed. So are the editors who wrote the editorial. That alone doesn’t make them wrong. And, like Campbell Brown, don’t they need to protect themselves against the wrath of uber-violent teachers? And you better believe those two principals were seriously chafing.
And why wouldn’t the two principals chafe, coming to terms with the chilling realization that it is perhaps only the editorial board of the News, Governor Cuomo, Meryl Tish, Wall Street, President Obama, the richest people and the most powerful politicians on earth and themselves who are trying so desperately to hold adults accountable and stand up for the kids against the ungodly and evidently irresistible maneuvers of Michael Mulgrew and the teachers’ union ?

Thus Spake The Daily News: “Over to you, Governor.”

What is Meryl Tisch Really Saying Here ?

November 17, 2014

In a move that is disturbingly reminiscent of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s undermining of Mayor Bill de Blasio ‘s legal mandate to run the New York City Public School System, New York Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch yesterday vowed to shut down the very 94 struggling city schools that di Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina recently announced he would spend the next three years trying to help.

As it happens, I work in one of those schools.

Tisch, in short, seems to be saying that the state will do what it will, regardless of the plans of Mayor Bill di Blasio or the will of the people who voted him into office. In fact, like Cuomo’s reckless giveaway to charter schools, Tisch’s words seem calculated to humiliate de Blasio and to crush the political will of the city with the power of the state.

That and, of course, demonize teachers while praising the miracle of charter schools.

“If we do not see movement with these lowest-performing schools in terms of their ability to retool their workforces by the spring, we will move to close them,” Tisch told John Catsimatidis on his AM 970 radio show.”

“Retool their workforces” is apparently a euphemism for
“firing a bunch of teachers,” the mindless reform solution to all problems of education.

But, of course, you cannot retool without “leverage” — which might be translated as abrogation of due process.
“The main issue, according to Tisch, is that the principals need leverage to fire educators if they don’t meet standards.
“It’s not just saying, ‘We’re gonna fix these schools,’” she said. “You gotta give the new principals and assistant principals the ability to hire the teachers that they want and fire the teachers that they don’t want.”

What “new principals and assistant principals” is Tisch, an unelected billionaire with almost no educational experience speaking about, I wonder. Is there a mass bloodletting of administrators in the works?

And I wonder, too, what is really going on here in this strange turn of events in which a couple of weeks after di Blasio and Carmen Farina announce a plan to save struggling schools that, although far from perfect, is in many ways a radical departure from the rank idiocy of the Bloomberg years, Meryl Tisch is announcing to the world her intention of shutting the same schools down.

Sadly, and revealingly neither de Blasio nor Farina felt the need to defend their own program.

“The mayor’s office didn’t respond to request for comment, referring questions to the city’s Department of Education.
“As Chancellor Tisch said, Chancellor Fariña is committed to doing what is best for children — and this means all options are on the table to turnaround these historically struggling schools,” a spokeswoman for the DOE said.”

What I do know is this: These relentless attacks are exhausting and debilitating and are the exact opposite of what one would be doing if one had any intention whatsoever of allowing a flourishing school system. I know this too: when the power of a state is allowed to crush the political will of a city we have moved even further into a horrifying new American darkness.

A Rally to End the Fourth Term of Michael R. Bloomberg Tomorrow at 4:30 at Tweed

June 9, 2014


Five months have passed since Carmen Farina assumed the role of Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education following 12 years of the sadistic reign of Michael R. Bloomberg. And while, unlike her three predecessors, Farina is indeed an educator, little at Tweed, other than the tone and rhetoric, has really changed. The institutions and the policies remain eerily similar to that of Walcott and Klein.

To wit: Tweed remains bulging with lawyers charged with advising principals how best to fire tenured teachers. The loathed and exorbitantly expensive networks are still running around pretending that they are actually working and actually know what they’re doing. Sociopathic principals are still ruining the careers of new teachers without a second thought, while the cases of hundreds of unfairly U rated or discontinued teachers remain wholly unexamined. The Leadership Academy continues to churn out new “business model” principals by the sackful.

And the newly ratified UFT contract goes near none of this.

In many ways, teachers are struggling through what can rightfully be called Bloomberg’s fourth term.

The first real volley to demand an end to the Reign of Bloomberg will be a rally to take place tomorrow on the steps of Tweed from 4:30 -5:00, organized by the newly created Don’t Tread on Educators. (

All those who can attend should attend. Nothing will change until we make it change and we have no one to depend on but ourselves.

Resentful Moskowitz Whines About a Lack of Transparency

February 23, 2014
Eva and Joel in happier times.

Eva and Joel in happier times.

File this under black comedy.

Eva Moskowitz, whose emails between herself and former NYC Education Chancellor Joel Klein required a FOIL to be made public, is complaining of a “lack of transparency” in the NYC Board of Education concerning charter schools, in particular her chain of charter schools. This is rich considering the fact that for years Moskowitz used her cozy relationships with Klein and Mike Bloomberg to make back room deals in which vast parcels of public school space was handed over to her Success Academy chain via Bloomberg’s shills on his repugnant Panel for Education Policy (PEP). But it is also indicative of Moskowitz’s post-Bloomberg fall from extreme privilege as well as a movement in the right direction by Chancellor Farina and Mayor De Blasio.

Compare these two articles, one that came out yesterday, the other from four years ago.

Things appear to be moving in the right direction. May they continue to do so. Meanwhile, you can rest assured that Moskowitz and her billionaire backers are plotting the downfall of both Farina and de Blasio and anyone else in their way night and day.