Posts Tagged ‘charter schools’

School Children Again Used as Props as Taxpayers Pay for the Opening Salvo in Moskowitz’s Mayoral Campaign

October 7, 2015


As I write thousands of New York City charter school students and their parents are unwittingly preparing to play their vital roles in what is being billed as a Rally for School Equality. In actuality, the event is not merely a massive, insidious and grossly unfair attack on Mayor Bill de Blasio, but the publicly funded opening volley in education entrepreneur Eva Moskowitz’s mayoral campaign. Moskowitz, the founder and virtual queen of Success Academy Charter Schools which have received unconscionably preferential treatment from both the Bloomberg administration and Governor Cuomo, has made no secret of both her outright contempt for de Blasio and her lust for political power. The rally will consist of students drawn solely from publically funded privately managed charter schools. Accompanying the charter school students will be hundreds of charter schoolteachers, charter school administrators and charter school staff. All will be on the clock and paid by public funds provided by NYC taxpayers.

Those wondering why not a single public school teacher, administrator or staff will be present at a rally ostensibly for school equality are advised to ponder NYC Department of education Chancellor’s Regulation D-130, which states: “Personnel may not be involved in any activities, including fundraising, on behalf of any political organization during working hours.”
Rest assured, any public school student who participated in this rally would be marked absent and the school held accountable. More to the point any public school teacher who participated in such a stunt would, at the very least, have their pay docked for thief of services and be brought up on disciplinary charges. Any principal would be seriously reprimanded and may well find his or her job in jeopardy.

Somehow this inconvenient fact, like so many inconvenient facts, has escaped the attention of Eva Moskowitz and Families for Excellence Schools in their heroic efforts to create equality in schools.
To circumvent the unseemly, if not out right reprehensible reality of using school kids as political pawns and public funds for a political rally, Moskowitz and her allies have done what Moskowitz and her allies do: they abuse the language and call it something else.
(See the use of “scholar” for “student.” ) In this case, the transparent political nature of the rally is deemed irrelevant by calling the event “a civics lesson.” The public are meant to perceive it as a kind of gigantic field trip, if one in which the hedge fund managers and billionaires who bankroll Families for Excellent Schools just happen to fund buses, lunches, and entertainment (in the form of Jennifer Hudson ), as well as tee shirts, hats, balloons, and posters. The entire latter items are branded with the slogan – “Don’t Steal Possible” – that is of itself a political accusation, if one that is highly ungrammatical.
By its name alone The Rally for School Equality should be seen by people who respect language as a transparently political event. At any rate, any conceivable room for debate was rendered absurd by the FES’s shockingly cynical and massively aired video in which a voice oozing concern and outrage tells of a white child is said to be going off to college while a black child, condemned to a “failing school”, is headed to hell. The ad ends by blaming such a situation, itself a lie, not on Mayor Mike Bloomberg who ruled NYC schools like a deranged king for twelve long years, but on de Blasio who has had do deal with the deliberately destructive policies of his predecessor.

Other than allow people like Eva Moskowitz and Families for Excellence Schools to privatize the public school system, it is unclear what the protesters want de Blasio to do. Close schools certainly and fire mass numbers of teachers to be sure but they can’t come right out and say that. They seem to suggest that all de Blasio need do is wave his magic wand and make “equal” what people like Eva Moskowitz and organizations like Families for Excellent Schools have done everything in their power to systemically make unequal for years now. What else can result from cheery picking students, booting out all who threaten to fail the sacred tests, commandeering any and all public school space they can get their hands on; above all, swathing their students in the ill-gotten largess of their hedge fund backers so as to make public schools children feel like decidedly second class citizens.

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Their cynicism is as is breathtaking as their stated goal is irreproachable. After all, what decent person can be against school equality?

That Moskowitz and her confederates would use children as political pawns and public funds for political rallies should only shock those who have not been paying attention for the past five years or so. That she is has been allowed to do so again and again and again should enrage and disgust us as it reveals the rank cowardice of our elected officials, Danny Drum being a very notable and courageous exception. Despite all this, we expect favorable coverage from all local TV networks. Expect glowing editorial praising Moskowitz and FES in tomorrow’s New York Post and Daily News.

This is the place we have fallen to in what was once the most sophisticated of American cities.

Addendum: This concerning Ms. Moskowitz from the ever watchful Perdido Street School:

Advocates For Children On NYC Charters: “Civil Rights Suspended”

March 20, 2015

Of the many disgusting tactics of the billionaire and hedge fund messiahs who are almost entirely responsible for the catastrophe collectively known as “education reform,” none to my mind is more disgusting than their usurpation of the language and iconography of the Civil Rights Movement,perhaps the most spiritually charged and heroic undertaking in American history. This usurpation is never more evident than in their slick and ceaseless propaganda for charter schools, the publically funded privately managed institutions so beloved of hedge funders and so destructive of community and the public school system itself.
Less than two weeks before Governor Andrew Cuomo threaten to lift the cap on such institutions, comes this report by Advocates for Children that speaks truth to money and should be read by every citizen in the state of New York and beyond.


Charter School Front Buses Thousands of Children To Albany To Use As Human Props

March 4, 2015

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Playing by their own rules while crying about being oppressed has been a charter school tactic for years and, with the compliance of a wholly subservient media, a highly successful one. When a charter school “co-locates” with a neighborhood school and their demands for whatever space they desire are not immediately met, you can rest assured they will launch a PR campaign claiming that their rights are being violated, and you can rest with equal assurance that the media will report it so. Playing by their own rules took a significant leap today as, under the aegis of the hedge fund created and bank rolled front Families For Excellent Schools, charter chains emptied their schools to bus thousands and thousands of school children to Albany to be used as human props in their ceaseless campaign for more and more of everything at the expense of everyone else. Given the fact that almost all charter schools are anti union, the little ones should be seen, too, as unconscious and innocent extras in the campaign to break the teacher’s union,
clearly the long term goal of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Please note that the principal of any public school who pulled anything remotely like such a stunt as shipping her charges hours away on a school day in the dead of winter would be fired and possibly arrested, as well he or she should be.

Charter school entrepreneurs fear no such consequences and claim, with straight faces, that the thousands of kids were engaged in “a civics lesson.”

Yes, they actually say that.

At times today, everywhere you looked you saw kids decked out in red shirts and red caps both bearing the Familes For Excellent Schools slogan, “Don’t Steal Possible” — about as poorly a constructed sentence as you can make but… what the hell? It’s all about the kids, no ?
I ‘d be curious to see the bill for the thousands of hats and shirts, the mountains of sandwiches, and the hundreds of buses for this excursion but, as with all things charter school, I rather doubt such information is easily obtainable.

This young fellow does not like "failing schools"

This young fellow does not like “failing schools”

I have yet to see any corporate news reports of the use of these children in such a cynical manner in a struggle that they cannot possibly understand, but I am confident that all major media will find it not merely acceptable but as heartwarming as a movie by Disney.
As George W. Bush used to say most blasphemously as he plotted and schemed and conned and terrified America into invading Iraq, “And may God continue to bless America.”


Addendum: And then there’s the astoundingly arrogant Jeremiah Kittredge, CEO of Families For Excellent Schools, seen here doing his best to not answer questions (and distance himself from the much loathed Eva Moskowitz) even if he does admit (very, very testily) that, “I am not an educator.” Not being an educator, apparently, qualifies one to play savior to the “800,000” kids who are “failing” in the “education crisis” created by real educators. Kittredge’s non educator and non educated status is, however, evident in his occasionally mangled syntax and incoherent statements ( shared, it seems by all Families For Excellent Schools messiahs and adherents), as in when he declares the the entire New York school system ” steals possible.” On the other hand, given that Kittredge and his charter school confederates enjoy the luxury of making their own rules with impunity, perhaps the man is simply extending this principle to English grammar. Clearly, Kittredge is a man accustomed to giving orders and being obeyed and with that sense of regal entitlement shared by so many education messiahs, is transparently pissed that a guy as important as he, Jeremiah Kittredge, has to actually answer basic questions. Note that as Kittredge and his handler (“That’s a wrap.”) bolts, a reporter states plaintively: “You should probably wait and let the rest of us ask our questions.”

No chance of that.

At any rate, after viewing this clip ask yourself this question: would you buy a used car or anything under heaven from Jeremiah Kittredge ? These poor charter kids can have no idea how cynically they are being used and by they time they realize the hustle it will be too late for many.

Moskowitz Backs Down (For the time Being)

January 8, 2015


We have almost 2300 signatures on our petition with more coming in.
Now we need to stand strong and turn out for the hearing to let SACS, SUNY, and the DoE know that District One is strong, District One is united, and District One says NO THANKS!

Public speaker sign in starts at 5:30. Hearing begins at 6pm.


Rosie Mendez Addresses the forum at Anna Silver School.

Rosie Mendez Addresses the forum at Anna Silver School.

Twenty-four hours before a public meeting on yet another of charter entrepreneur Eva Moskowitz’s machinations — in this case switching districts in which to open up another unwanted Success Academy — the Department of Education (DOE) suddenly announced that the meeting was to be called off.

No reason was given.

Members of Community Education Council 1 simply received word that the meeting was not to be held.

Hard cheese old chap!

Insulted at such cavalier treatment, CEC 1’s fearless President Lisa Donlon decided to hold a public forum in its stead in which members of the Lower East Side community could speak their mind about Moskowitz and her ever expanding charter empire.
This they did. Fervently. Angrily. Passionately.

The forum began with a speech by Lower East Side Councilwoman Rosie Mendez , a fierce supporter of public school in her district. Later in the evening New York State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, also a strong supporter of public schools, arrived in support of the community.

Somewhere in the middle of the many speakers it was announced that some guy named Cohen from the DOE was there and wanted to explain what happened. He spoke very briefly and in a somewhat penitent tone stated that since the Moskowitz “ charter proposal had been withdrawn for August 2015”, the DOE saw no reason to hold the public meeting.
Cohen did not explain why they waited until twenty four hours before the meeting to announce that.

CEC 1 President Lisa Donlon was quick to point out to that Success Academy had not withdrawn its application.

Speaker after speaker told horror stories about dealing with Success Academy and while there was a sense of relief at the DOE’s announcement, there was no misunderstanding the fact that Moskowitz and her hedge fund backers would be back when they sensed the time was right.

The crowd of about 200 people included parents, principals, and teachers, including a contingent from MORE. It was refreshing to witness such a display of rebellious intelligence and community.


The Thanksgiving Gift of Ted Morris Jr.

November 26, 2014

After my initial disgust at the news I am, upon reflection, thankful this Thanksgiving for the labor of 22 year old smiling hustler and would be charter school operator “Dr” Ted Morris Jr. for providing teachers and defenders of the public school system with a priceless example of the outright shoddiness, incompetence and contempt for the people of New York of the New York Board of regents: a contempt shared by their super rich allies who lord over public school teachers and parents with self-righteous indignation at every opportunity. Morris, a complete fraud who apparently did not even graduate from high school was granted a charter school by the Regents on the basis of nothing more than a fictitious resume (that, even if true, was a joke) and a ready smile.
Indeed, the example is so outrageous, so semi- criminal, that the entire Board, including the increasingly bellicose Meryl Tisch, should, in a semi -just world, be pressured to resign.

Very fat chance of that, but we can certainly demand it.

It gets better. “Dr.” Morris resigned his newly awarded position, not after the lofty Board of Regents came to their senses and actually did some modicum of work, but only after scrutiny from local press discovered his fraud. Better still: the charter board still plans to open Morris’s school “Greater Works Charter School,” in September 2015.

Now that’s what I call a two-headed nickel! A 22 year old con man who is somehow granted a charter school is exposed for what he is, only to learn that his publicly funded school will open anyway. How is this conceivably justifiable ?

Are the judgements of the Regents infallible even when they are founded on lies ?

From this day forward, the name of “Dr.” Ted Morris Jr. should buzz in the ears of every Regent and every professional charter school cheerleader in the state and beyond like gnats in the night. It should be heard every time one of these characters starts moralizing about the need for ever more “accountability.” It should be heard every time another clueless hedge funder or their employee Andrew Cuomo talks about the need for “choice “ and the wonderful effects of ceaseless competition. It should be sung every time one of these reckless, irresponsible people dare speak of bettering the lives of children who, at the taxpayer’s expense, they would happily and mindlessly place in the care of a Ted Morris Jr.

Thank you “Dr.”Ted. You have served an important purpose. And if nothing else, your timing is impeccable.