Posts Tagged ‘The New York Post’

Perception Management 101: While Thousands Gather to Reject Cuomo’s Proposals, the New York Post Babbles on About a Retired Radical

March 29, 2015

Since its inception, “education reform” has been almost entirely a product, not of public debates, but of public relations and perception management campaigns. Fueled by billionaires and corporations, propagated by a compliant corporate media often owned by the same billionaires, the premises of “education reform” have entered into the skulls of millions of Americans who are barely aware of how they even got there. This, of course, is precisely how such premises are intended to be received. The process is akin to osmosis. Something or someone is targeted. Stories that make the target look bad are planted. Stories that allow the target to look good are wholly ignored. Exceptions are painted as the rule. Lies and exaggerations are repeated in different forms endlessly over. The animation of envy and fear is constantly attempted. In these campaigns, the lines between public relations – a dubious enough field in itself — and perception management, it’s more sinister and militaristic cousin, often gets blurred.

In the area of education, America has been treated to one long, well oiled, professionally enacted, deliberately induced poisoning of the well, along such lines as above. One goal is to deflect the attention of the average citizen away from forces and institutions that are systemically stripping us of our rights and plundering the commonwealth, and — think Wall Street and K Street – blaming the incontrovertible degeneration of the United States into a oligarchic farce on something or someone other than the forces or institutions that are actually causing it.

For the past decade this something has been the public school system, this
someone has been a public school teacher.

America, according to the “education reformers” and their allies or employees in the media and all levels of government, would once again blossom into a Ronald Reaganesque Eden if only we privatized the public school system, rid ourselves of the pestilence of unions and fired hundreds of thousands of teachers, many of them outright incompetents, deviants or unrepentant radicals, as reported in the newspapers and portrayed in major motion pictures.

This, or some version of this, has been poisoning Americans via the airwaves, TV screens, newspapers and movies for years now. In terms of demonizing a profession, the ferocity of the sustained campaign has no precedent in American history.

What’s important in such campaigns, of course, is not whether a story is true or false or even relevant. All that is important is that emotions are stirred and attention is deflected from real issues and focused instead on the targeted enemy. Think for one moment of the horrific fact that some 85% of Americans allowed themselves to be tricked into believing Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 and that the invasion and consequent destruction of Iraq and murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis was necessary for our national security.

Such was a diabolical accomplishment, that much the more in a nation that considers itself a bastion of freedom.
Such is also a triumph of perception management.

In that light, consider today’s New York Post.
Yesterday, despite the unseasonably chilly weather, thousands and thousands of parents, teachers, students, members of the clergy, union leaders, and elected officials from all over New York state, gathered in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 41st St. office to denounce in no uncertain terms the entirety of Cuomo’s reckless assault upon the public school system, public school teachers, and public life itself.

According to the New York Post, these people are not news worthy.

According to the New York Post, these people are not news worthy.

As far as I can see, the New York Post, even as it worshipfully reports on the billionaire based charter campaign, devoted not a single word to this event, this despite the fact that Cuomo’s proposals will, if enacted, adversely affect the lives of millions of New Yorkers.

Neither are these.

Neither are these.

Instead, Post readers were treated to a lesson in perception management 101. Under the hysterical and misleading headline, Weather Underground Bomber Unmasked –as City School Teacher, the Post spent over 1700 words on an absurdly irrelevant article about one Ronald Fliegelman, a former member of the idiotic Weather Underground who, following his days as a would be revolutionary decades ago, worked for many years as a New York City schoolteacher before earning his retirement in 2006. At no point in the article was there any indication that Fliegelman was somehow “masked.”

Nor is there any indication whatsoever of Fliegelman’s talent or lack of talent as a teacher. Such discussions would run the risk of distracting the reader from the article’s main ( and only) point: Ronald Fliegelman was a radical who worked as a teacher. What is important in perception management is the planting of particular seeds in a person’s head, the more insidiously the better. The seed here is that New York City teachers, and by extension the New York City Public school system, are not to be trusted.

But somehow this guy is.

But somehow this guy is.

Rest assured, if Ronald Fliegelman had gone on to be a dentist or a postman or a plumber, Post readers would not have been treated to this article. To be sure, whatever idiotically violent acts or plans this man was involved in some 40 years ago are completely secondary to the fact that he retired as a schoolteacher, for it is the image of a school teacher, and not a dentist, or a postman, or a plumber that has to be relentlessly tainted if the “education reform” campaign is to succeed.

A massive amount of time and energy and money has been dedicated to such success.

Consider how The Post insinuates that the fact that Fliegelman appears to be enjoying his retirement is somehow shady if not outright criminal.

“His life now appears to have taken on all the trappings of the leisure class. On Thursday, he was seen walking a small white dog in idyllic Park Slope before climbing into a Subaru Forester SUV.”

The “exclusive” was ostensibly based on a finding in a new book entitled Days of Rage. But rest assured that this completely irrelevant non-news has been saved for precisely just this kind of moment.

So, readers of the New York Post would know nothing of the thousands who gathered to denounce the radical right wing agenda of Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday, but would have learned a great deal about the life of a retired teacher whose politics would be anathema to just about every one of them.

This is one of the ways perception management works.

It would be funny if it were not so dangerous and effective, but it is.

Addendum: Doing my bit at the rally.

Patrick Walsh – Teacher

Is the New York Times a Subsidiary of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

December 3, 2013

Sez "Common Core is Good For You !"

Given their recurrent vicious if vacuous opinion pieces on the deceitfully named Common Core, I was under no illusions that the editors of The New York Times were in any way supporters of public education and public school teachers. Not by a long shot. Even still, I could not help but be appalled by the editor’s parroting of virtually every platform, no matter how discredited and despised, of the corporate reform agenda in the guise of advising Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio on how to handle the United Federation of Teachers in the wake of Mike Bloomberg’s disastrous twelve year reign.

If the editors were less weasel worded and more honest their advice to de Blasio could have been delivered in a single sentence: Wreck the school system if you have to, but continue the work of your predecessor in breaking the union to the point where it exists but is utterly powerless so we may have political cover when the school system is finally completely privatized.

Instead, they chose to suggest de Blasio implement failed policies and repeat ugly and false statements not merely as it they were true, but as if they were common knowledge. Consider the following line, on loan, apparently from the New York Post : “The union must also let go of the unspoken presumption that every teacher is entitled to a job for life.”
I’m not sure what an “unspoken presumption” is or how, if “unspoken,” the editors of the Times divined it, but I do know that I have been a member of the UFT for almost a decade and I’ve never heard or divined anything remotely resembling this sentiment. Quite the contrary, I, like thousands of my fellow teachers, have heard UFT President Mulgrew state openly and unambiguously that teaching is tough work and not everyone can do it.

Continuing to exhibit the astounding ignorance of its opinion writers, the editors go on to bemoan state laws protecting teacher seniority — laws common to all civil service jobs and passed as a modicum of protection against racism, nepotism, and cronyism — as if these were the handiwork of the union, designed specifically to protect lousy old teachers at the expense of “excellent” young ones.
Note: “Excellence”, like “flexibility”, are words that no piece of reform propaganda can do without.
The editors find a splendid model for de Blasio to work with in the “progressive systems like the one found in Washington D.C., which made big gains on federal assessment tests.” Incredibly, the editors seem wholly unaware of the scandals looming over that city ever since Michele Rhee flew out of town on her broom. The goal of the D.C. system, intones the Times “is to keep the most talented teachers.”
Generously, the editors leave to the reader’s imagination the goal of the NYC teacher’s union.

Apparently, in much the same way that for hedge funders “charters schools” are monuments of “civil rights, ’ for the editors of the New York Times, “progressive” is now synonymous with “corporate business model. ”
Like all education reformers the editors of the Times are deeply concerned with the well being of young teachers because “ younger teachers start out with relatively low salaries and are at risk of leaving the system for higher pay elsewhere.”
But not to worry. “ The scales should be rebalanced so that teachers who are judged highly effective under the new evaluation system can move up quickly in the pay scale.”
Wow! Combining a divisive and decomposing scheme like merit pay (that for decades has failed and failed and failed ) with an evaluation system that is as loathed as it is incomprehensible as a platform for “excellence” takes some kind of editorial cake! Even in the flatulent halls of education reform!

The editors then go on to steal a page from the egregious Campbell Brown, who has parlayed her status as a former ersatz journalist into a career as an ersatz parent activist with one issue: teacher sexual misconduct which, she claims, the UFT monstrously protects. This despite the fact that, contractually, any teacher found guilty of such charges must be fired. Brown, like Bloomberg, finds it outrageous that arbitrators find many who are accused of such despicable acts innocent and, like Mike Bloomberg, wants the chancellor to be the judge and jury in every case, due process be damned.

Apparently, and disgracefully, so do the Times. Except, unlike even Campbell Brown, they haven’t even the courage to spell it out.

Finally, knowing that every union busting agenda is incomplete without lines about the wonders of the “ city’s thriving charter schools “, which the Times erroneously states are “on average, out performing traditional school.” Of these miraculous institutions the editors write the following: “One of their advantages is that individual charter schools can set many of their own rules, scheduling longer school days and making more time for parent-teacher conferences. Traditional schools often follow a by-the-book approach that dictates the length of the day, frequency of meetings and so on.”

By claiming that charters can make “ more time for parent-teacher conferences, “ the Times sells the charters way, way short. Charters seem to be able to do just about anything they want. Charter schools can and do force parents to sign contracts with them, obliging the parents to do all kinds of things or find their charge out in the street, a trick not legally available to a “traditional school.” And who can forget Eva Moskowitz leading hundreds of children and teachers on an anti de Blasio protest over the Brooklyn Bridge in school hours on the public dime. Indeed, if a public school tried any of such stunts – the contracts, the expulsions, the publicly funded political action during instructional time — the principal would unquestionably be fired and possibly arrested and featured for days on the cover of the Post.

I find it impossible to believe, cocooned that they are, that the editors of the times are not aware of these facts. And reprehensible that they pretend not to be.

Like the Time’s “ unspoken presumption that every teacher is entitled to a job for life,” the Times “ by-the-book approach that dictates the length of the day, frequency of meetings and so on, “ of public schools is something I have only heard of and heard of only from corporate reform union busters. I have never ever remotely experienced such a thing as a teacher.


So there you have it. Every word of an editorial from the most powerful and influential newspaper in America that could have been issued from the public relations department of the ubiquitous Gates Foundation or the Broad Foundation or Students First or any number of the ever multiplying billionaire based “reform” groups who care so deeply about America’s children and speak so contemptuously and ignorantly about America’s teachers.

Every word.

And here we are.

“Grass Roots” Educators4Excellence Make $250,000 Commercial

February 19, 2013

You know there is something seriously wrong with any teacher evaluation plan that is pined for by the likes of the minuscule and despicable Educators 4 Excellence, a whole cloth creation of Bill Gates, Democrats for Education Reform and other union busting privatizers lusting to get their hands on our public school system and remake it in their own image.      You know there is something even more wrong with the thinking of the United Federation of Teachers who, with very minor differences, were willing to sign on to the same plan before Mayor Mike Bloomberg “torpedoed “ it at the 11th hour over the UFT’s insistence that this radical experiment in union suicide and  systematic destruction of teachers have a two year sunset clause. ( Like all ideas favored by Bloomberg, Bloomberg believed the experiment should  go on in perpetuity: a goal he is apparently seeking for all of the  insane ideas that blossom in his fertile head  in his final 10 months of power. )

Now here we are some six or so weeks later and Governor Andrew “I am the government”   “ Cuomo is poised, somehow, to pass legislation allowing  New York State Commissioner John King the right to  impose his own evaluation plan, union  contacts, and laws be damned, if the existing plan is  not ratified.

This is what passes for binding arbitration in our time.

Inexplicably, my union, the UFT,  seems to be quietly fine with that arrangement.  Much more loudly, E4E is demanding precisely that, and the New York Post, which can be seen as the house organ of E4E, is as ever happy to spread their word.  (Note: As Commissioner King taught for a mere three years before being handed power over education in New York State,  he may well feel an affinity for the leaders of E4E and they for him. )

A couple of  months ago, E4E held something purporting to be a rally at City Hall Park in favor of the wretched plan.   The affair was darkly amusing in its pathos, what with the E4Eer’s chanting idiocies in their billionaire bought green beanies and going on and on about how excellent they were.  “I am not satisfactory!  I am excellent” was a cringe inducing fave.

One after the other they barked on about how they craved feedback from their administrators, all but admitting to being as helpless as infants in their classrooms without an assistant principal telling them what to do and how to do it.

And  yet these were the very same adults who  were demanding the right to influence state educational policy and radically rewrite or outright remove the teacher protections that their predecessors  risked their careers to obtain for them.

A wee bit of a contradiction there, I’d say.  But what the hey!

There were ignorant if almost passionate lamentations  about using the 250 million dollars of Race to the Top extortion money to buy laptops for their students,  as if one dime of the tainted loot was ever going near a   class room and not going straight to consultants and test makers. I attended the rally (and wrote of it in an earlier post) and spoke to some of the beanie wearing crew, all of whom were clueless, some of whom were very pleasantly so.   This morning I  was mailed the on line version of E4E latest effort and — lo and be hold! — there are the same few faces in the video as at their tiny rally spouting the same lines, albeit  it, in  somewhat gentler and infinitely  more somber, even funereal tones.    Alas, what else can you do when your budget is in the millions but your membership is in the hundreds but trot out and re cycle the same people over and over. Indeed, one of them is the very lady who was handed a platform by the NY Daily News on January 3.

The Post does again what it has done since the creation of  E4E , even repeating the nonsense about E4E  forming spontaneously, like Athena out of Zeus’s head, from a couple of frustrated Bronx teachers — neither of whom of is still teaching, but rather living large on their corporate sponsor’s welfare  — in a in a lonely February kitchen under a dim bulb with a sad minor scale violin solo playing in the distance.

( OK, I made up the part about the dim light bulb and the violin but  they made up the bullshit about the kitchen.  You can rest assured, like so much of corporate education reform schemes,  the idea for  this repugnant organization was  vomited  up ages ago in a well lit boardroom. )

A mere two or three years later and here’s E4E with a snazzy midtown office, a branch in LA and   no less than a quarter of a million dollars to spend on a commercial!

My favorite line from the Post’s puff piece?  “The nonprofit E4E has drawn criticism for relying in part on funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates and Carnegie foundations.”

“In part.”   That’s a good one.

My bet is that there has not been a single dollar raised by teachers for this egregious organization.

And yet here again is E4E, possessors of zero credibility, with less than 1 % of NYC teacher as members again presented as if it is a legitimate organization and an “independent” voice of real educators.

I know of no other group that so completely embodies the fraudulence and deceit of corporate education reform and the willing complicity  of the media to aid in such fraud and deceit as E4E.  Think about it.  A quarter of a million dollars for an ad for a group that was “hatched in a kitchen” three years ago.  There is a story here.  It is the story of media complicity with insidious corporate reformers.  And how that story  goes on and on and on.

And there is another story here, one even darker in its way that the fraudulence of E4E.

And that story is this:  how did it happen that a group like E4E, that was created by billionaire  privatizers  for the sole purpose of   stripping  teachers of their rights,  and an organization like the UFT, that was created by teachers to  grant them rights and protect their rights wind up agreeing to essentially the same teacher evaluation plan ?


My question:  on what level of Dante’s hell are we trapped in and how the hell do we get out dignified and alive?

We have reached the hour when everything must change or we will enter decades of data based, billionaire orchestrated, illuminated darkness.

Independent teachers group demands Albany eval plan

  • By ERIK KRISS, Bureau Chief
  • Last Updated: 3:07 AM, February 19, 2013
  • Posted: 1:55 AM, February 19, 2013

ALBANY — A group of reform-minded city teachers is taking to the airwaves today to demand the state impose a teacher-evaluation system on the Big Apple soon, The Post has learned.

Educators 4 Excellence plans to flood network and cable TV stations in the city with a 30-second ad calling on Albany to impose an evaluation system as soon as possible in the face of an impasse between Mayor Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers.

Gov. Cuomo will introduce legislation this week for a state-imposed system — but the measure could give the city and UFT until Sept. 17 to agree on their own plan before it takes effect.

But that could push implementation of any teacher-evaluation plan into the 2014-15 school year, E4E says.

“It will be incredibly difficult to train teachers and principals on a teacher-evaluation system that isn’t finished until the beginning of the [next] school year,” E4E executive director Jonathan Schleifer told The Post yesterday.

“We need a system put in place soon,” he said, adding that there is “no local deal in sight.”

The ad buy is expected to exceed $250,000 and may run longer than a week, organizers said.

It’s aimed at Cuomo, who faces his own deadline this week to amend his state budget proposal by adding his mandatory teacher-evaluation plan.

State lawmakers are expected to approve the budget for the state fiscal year that begins April 1 by the end of March.

E4E says it wants evaluations to provide feedback to teachers based on multiple observations, “student growth data” and student surveys, among other factors.

With school out for winter break, E4E members also plan to fan out across the city today to collect petition signatures calling for a state evaluation system to take effect as soon as possible.

“A meaningful evaluation system will tell me what’s working — and help me be better for my students,” Queens seventh-grade mathematics teacher Jemal Graham says in the ad.

“With feedback and support, I will be a stronger teacher for my students,” adds Rafael Gondim, a math teacher in Queens.

The city already lost $250 million in state aid by missing a Jan. 17 deadline for an evaluation plan that must be agreed to by the UFT.

It stands to forfeit another $224 million if the sides miss the September deadline.

“We can’t afford any more empty promises and empty programs,” Gondim says, with Bronx special-education teacher Susan Keyock adding, “Our students deserve better.”

The nonprofit E4E has drawn criticism for relying in part on funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates and Carnegie foundations.

A UFT spokesman questioned how “a supposedly grass-roots teacher organization with limited membership and resources can afford an ad campaign — unless of course the campaign is being funded by outside sources,” adding that the union hopes the state facilitates “binding arbitration” in the absence of a negotiated settlement.

Cuomo’s office had no comment and a spokesman for Bloomberg did not return a request for comment.

E4E was hatched about three years ago by several Bronx teachers frustrated over the lack of teacher input on school reforms. It has also advocated for merit pay and stronger tenure requirements, and opened a Los Angeles chapter in late 2011.

The teacher-quality and school-choice advocacy group StudentsFirstNY ponied up over half a million dollars in December for a citywide TV and social-media ad campaign to pressure the city and UFT to reach an agreement before the January deadline.

Trouble viewing this email? You can View this Message Online

Educators 4 Excellence: An Independent Voice for Teachers

Dear Karl,Good morning.I wanted you to be the first to know. As millions of New Yorkers watch TV today they are going to see myself and two other E4E-NY teachers calling on Albany to act immediately and deliver a meaningful evaluation and support system for New York City’s teachers.You’ll probably see it during your favorite news and shows this week, but you can also watch the 30-second video here:

This message couldn’t come at a better time – yesterday the NY Post reported that the Governor would give the City and Union until September 17th to try to get a deal. Unfortunately, though we hoped they could work something out before, we’ve seen they haven’t been able to – even when a quarter of a billion dollars for our students was at stake. I remain optimistic, but we need Albany’s leadership to guarantee that we will get the feedback and support we need to help our students.

E4E teachers have been asking for meaningful evaluation and support for two years now and we can’t afford to wait until the start of another new school year. In order for an evaluation system to have a meaningful impact, we need time to implement it thoughtfully by training principals, setting up a feedback loop with teachers, and lining up high-quality professional development to support teachers. No more kicking the can down the road!

The video will be seen by millions of New Yorkers, but our voice is strongest when you join Susan, Rafael, and me. Here are two quick things you can do right now to help share this message:

•    Forward this email to your friends and colleagues.
•    Share the video on Facebook and Twitter


Jemal Graham
Seventh grade math teacher, Queens
E4E-NY School Captain


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© 2012 Educators 4 Excellence

333 West 39th Street, Suite 703, New York, NY 10018About E4E: For far too long,education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table – the voice of reform-minded classroom teachers. Educators 4 Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization, is changing this dynamic by placing the voices of teachers at the forefront of the conversations that shape their classrooms and careers. To learn more,

Right now, educators are working through E4E to drive positive outcomes for students and elevate the teaching profession. Help grow this movement. Please donate today.

“Meet New York’s New Hero: “: Sgt Nick Penis to the Rescue!

November 16, 2011

The following  is, admittedly, very small potatoes in the wake of the nocturnal raid on Zucotti Park but since it was written before that fact and is part and parcel with the same mentality I send it forth.

“Meet New York’s New Hero: “: Sgt Nick Penis to the Rescue! 

 I know it’s the New York Post and one should expect nothing less than this kind of macho fascistic nonsense but somehow the praising of a former member of the NYPD  — a man who once swore to uphold the law —    photographed in the act of  dragging a human being outside a building as if he were a bag of trash seems to me to cross a line.

Even for the New York Post.

Here, however, is how the Post puts it: “Tough-as-nails ex-cop Kevin Hiltunen drags Occupy Wall Street protestor Adam Weissman from a Queens auditorium yesterday for interrupting the swearing in of Rep. Bob Turner.”

Just so you don’t miss their  point,  beneath  an action shot of Hiltunen’s heroics and a  typically  juvenile headline ( “Ass Haul” ), the Post placed a  head shot of  “Tough-as-nails ex-cop Kevin Hiltunen” bad-assing  the camera while  sporting the perfect Sgt Nick Penis haircut.

And here from the surreal attendant article:

“I guess you could say I sorted him out,” said Hiltunen, 48, his jacket and tie barely mussed after dragging the scruffy protester out on his rear end.

“I’m a citizen who believes in democracy. I did not ask this man if he was part of any movement,” the former cop said.

Hiltunen was a member of the NYPD from February 1994 until June 2009, when he retired in good standing on a disability caused by an accident, a source told The Post.

Some questions.

What right does this person have to “sort” anybody out ?   Is that a perk of former members of the NYPD ?

Does this man look “disabled” to you ?   What, precisely,  is this guy’s disability ?

Would I be wrong to suppose that the disabled Hiltunen, who worked for the NYPD for a grand total of 15 years, receives a pension rewarding him ¾ of his salary tax free for the rest of his earthly life thus allowing him ample time to volunteer to help Tea Party anti socialists (excepting those socialistic policies that grant disabled NYPD employees ¾ tax free pensions for life) like Bob Turner?

Most importantly, can anyone explain to me why this man was not arrested for assault and battery?  Especially when there is what appears to be an active uniformed member of the NYPD prancing a few feet away from this vicious scene ?

Does being an ex-cop really allow you to make your own laws ?

Or is that only if you have a haircut like Sgt Nick Penis ?

Updated: Mon., Nov. 14, 2011, 10:29 AM

WS heckler from congressman’s swearing-in


Last Updated: 10:29 AM, November 14, 2011

Posted: 1:09 AM, November 14, 2011

Meet New York’s newest hero.

Kevin Hiltunen, a former NYPD officer, yesterday grabbed an Occupy Wall Street demonstrator by the collar and dragged him out of a Queens school where he’d been heckling US Rep. Bob Turner at the congressman’s swearing-in ceremony.

“I guess you could say I sorted him out,” said Hiltunen, 48, his jacket and tie barely mussed after dragging the scruffy protester out on his rear end.

“All I was doing was trying to stop this historic occasion from being disrupt-ed. There is a time and place to exercise your First Amendment rights,’’ said Hiltunen, of Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, who was identified by people at the ceremony as an ex-Marine.

Adam Weissman, 33, of Astoria, was one of three demonstrators to disrupt Turner’s local swearing-in ceremony at Metropolitan HS in Forest Hills.

Turner won the congressional seat once held by disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner by defeating Assemblyman David Weprin.

“Bob Turner has only been in office for two months and . . .” was all that the bearded heckler could blurt out before he was taken down by Hiltunen.

Holding a sign that read, “Rep. Turner [heart] the 1%,” Weissman remained seated and quiet until Turner, who was there with his wife, Peggy, took the stage about 1:30 p.m. and began to speak.

“He was close by to where I was standing, and he started yelling something about Bob Turner,” said Hiltunen, who described himself as a Turner supporter and a volunteer for his congressional campaign.

“So I grabbed him by his sweat shirt and escorted him out. I just had to do what was right. I was just here to witness this historic occasion.”

Afterward, Turner blasted the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators and praised Hiltunen.

“Protesters are on the wrong track. Socialism has been tried again and again, and it doesn’t work,” said Turner. “He picked the wrong guy to pee off.”

The no-nonsense Hiltunen said he hadn’t known Weissman was part of the raucous demonstration based at Zuccotti Park since Sept. 17.

“I’m a citizen who believes in democracy. I did not ask this man if he was part of any movement,” the former cop said.

Hiltunen was a member of the NYPD from February 1994 until June 2009, when he retired in good standing on a disability caused by an accident, a source told The Post.

Weissman, meanwhile, was unapologetic for disrupting the ceremony. After getting the boot, he was distributing OWS fliers on Metropolitan Avenue.

“Before I got grabbed by those people, I wanted to say that Bob Turner has only been in office for two months and he has already sold out his supporters,” said Weissman, adding that he twisted his ankle in the melee but otherwise was “OK.”

“How can you support a man who is a backer of free backdoor trading with China?” he asked.

Additional reporting by C.J. Sullivan

Educators 4 Excellence: Brought to You by the Insidious Arm of the Disgustingly Rich

January 29, 2011
Brought to you by Bill Gates and and a whole host of hedge fund managers !

Brought to you by Bill Gates and and a whole host of hedge fund managers !

After a bit of pondering, I’ve concluded that from the list of cynical, disingenuous, insidious and astoundingly arrogant characters that make up the relentless billionaire backed hydra-headed campaign to privatize American public education, few are more cynical, disingenuous, insidious and astoundingly arrogant than Mr. Evan Stone and Ms. Sydney Morris, the two 25 year old teachers who founded and front Educators 4 Excellence (or E4E), a recent recipient of a $160,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and so much more. Gates, as anyone paying attention to the issue can attest, is the self-appointed de facto national education policy maker and as such he would top the list referred to above.

On Wednesday, January 25, 2011 Stone and Morris and their eight month old organization were the subject of not merely a luminous article but also a positively worshipful editorial (“ Teachers For Excellence” ) in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

All that was missing was an audio of heavy breathing. But who knows what next week will bring.

The Post was only the latest in a long line of major media attention this bold young lion and lioness have garnered. They’ve been praised in The Wall Street Journal and all but genuflected to on Fox’s Varney and Company. This virtual shill convention must be seen to be believed. On it Stone not only compares himself to the founders of the United Federation of Teachers who risked their jobs and pensions to build the union this man is being paid to discredit but Varney and another talking head go much further: they liken Stone to the founders of American unionism itself, repeatedly referring to him and his front group as “ revolutionary.” The entire preposterous dialogue is entirely scripted and vehemently anti union.

Throughout it all, Stone humbly accepts this absurd comparisons and praise, oblivious to the fact that real fathers of unionism — men such as the Molly Maguires — would have hung the likes of corporate shills like Evan Stone from the nearest and highest tree.

It gets weirder: Despite the fact that he’s been teaching for three years (and has a completely unremarkable record at that) Mr. Stone was invited to sit on an education policy panel featuring the brilliant Diane Ravitch and then-Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky (currently employed as Cathy Black’s brain.) Then there’s the elevated crowd they’re suddenly hob-knobbing with, not to mention and the A List funding their work has inspired.

Helping Gates help E4E is a Who’s Who of the corporate education reform campaign, which, like the Tea Party, is a billionaire backed media effort passing itself off as a “grassroots” “movement. ” Among the prime movers of the E4E arm of the movement are John Sabat of mega hedge fund, SAC Capital, John Petry of Gotham Capital, and Whitney Tilson’s omnipresent front group, Education Reform Now and Democrats For Education Reform

And these are the only one’s I’ve been able to find out about.

And just who are this wunderkind who have created ex nihilo “a powerful group of teachers more concerned with kid’s futures than the fine print of their labor contract? ” Who are these youngsters “ giving parents new hope and making leaders of their union sweat. “? What exactly are they doing that’s causing all this excitement and raising all this money – not mention the sweat?

Fearless Leaders

Fearless Leaders

Have they created some wonderful new pedagogic method that will help our children grasp the fundamentals of math and science?

Are they proposing some revolutionary teaching method that will explain to students why the USA has the greatest disparity of wealth and poverty in the Western World?

Are they teaching their charges how to feed themselves in a world without work?

Are they for standing up to the billion dollar corporate scam that is the standardized test industry?

Are they horrified at an education so impoverished that is renders our children culturally illiterate?

Are they incensed at the state of an education policy that leaves our children virtually defenseless against an increasingly predatory pop culture?

Are they bucking the ever-metastasizing corporate hijacking of every aspect of reality including our schools systems?

No, no, no.

Nothing like that for these mavericks. Like the motto of Bloomberg’s DOE, the concern of E4E is
“ putting children first.”


In fact, that collection of words somewhat approximating a thought is all over E4E’s website, a website bearing the greatest collection of platitudes I’ve seen in a long, long time. Check it out for your self ! It’s a scream!

E4E are also deeply concerned about the prestige of the teaching profession and, while they don’t come right out and say it, more than a little embarrassed by some of the union protected scumbags they work with who very clearly do not put children first. Mr. Stone and Ms. Morris want these parasites out and “good teachers” in. And who can blame them? And after teaching for a full three years who can possibly question their judgment? Who dare?

Revealing the same totalitarian impulse shared by some of their backers and many cults, the site also implores you to sign a pledge that you agree to E4E’s “principles. “

The major principle of E4E upon which all other principles rest, of course, is putting the children first. The insinuation, of course, (their only identifiable talent appears to be insinuating) is that that everyone who is not in E4E is putting kids somewhere else. Again, who can question their judgment?

E4E also wants to “ have a voice in the creation of polices that affect their profession and affect their students.”

Well, who doesn’t?

But wouldn’t that mean you actually knew something about the field you wish to affect?
And wouldn’t such knowledge take time and experience to accrue? And don’t you already have a union representing these very things? A union, like all unions in the USA that is being attacked from all side and at times?

I’d like to believe that anyone entering a field as complex, as nuanced, and as unpredictable as education would have at least a little humility – at least until you have some idea of what you’re doing. Humility, after all, is what allows you to learn.

Mr. Stone and Ms. Morris, mind you, have both been unremarkable teachers for three years. This last year they have apparently worked but one day a week.

Yet, somehow they know all the answers. They don’t actually say they have all the answers. As I stated above, like everything else they do, they insinuate that they have all the answers.

Allow me to repeat something: Mr. Stone and Ms. Morris have been full time teachers for three years.

I may be wrong but they seem to be demanding the right to negotiate their contract and to do so not through the UFT but somehow around the UFT — the same UFT that provides them with every protection and benefit they have. They seem to be demanding nothing short of a seat at the table.

The big, big table.

And they seem to be demanding it for no other reason than to surrender everything the good and brave men and women fought for, everything good and brave men and women risked creating a union so that fools such as themselves might be treated as professionals and have some dignity.


Even in an age as demented as is ours, does something about these two people and this organization strike you as insane? Does anything about these two mediocrities and their absurd, insidious organization merit the amount of media attention they’ve received? Does anyone doubt that the huge amounts of cash dropped at their feet is in direct proportion to the degree their masters believe they’ll succeed in undermining the UFT?

Allow me to state the obvious: to believe you can speak with authority about teaching, about contracts, about what is means to “put students first ” after three years experience is beyond arrogance.

It is beyond foolishness.

It is hubris.

And the idea that, after three years you should
“ have a voice in the creation of polices that affect their profession and affect their students” is mind-boggling.

Indeed, everything about these two people and E4E is simultaneously ridicules and disturbing. Outside of their preposterous (or super-natural) conceit of knowledge, Stone and Morris make several claims that display a staggering lack of integrity. They claim, for example, that they are not anti union.

This is a lie. A hideous, insidious lie.

Consider E4E positions on everything — particularly tenure and seniority — two subjects they display no understanding of whatsoever. Contrary to Mike Bloomberg and his pals at the New York Post– conscious liars all — tenure does not mean and has never meant ” a job for life,” a phrase they repeat as often as they can for no other reason than to stroke the blind rage of a citizenry increasingly jobless and terrified.

Tenure means due process. Nothing more and nothing less. It means a teacher cannot be fired on the whim of a crazy principal or because he or she has a nephew who needs a job. It is difficult to understand what Stone and Morris are talking about when they talk about tenure. They seem to want tenure to be something that is earned on an annual basis, meaning whatever it is they are asking for, is not tenure in any recognizable sense of the word.

This change, they claim, is necessary to keep teachers from becoming complacent and thus failing to keep the students first. Tenure, according to the Stone, does nothing less than encourage complacency. A complacent teacher, by definition, does not put students first. Stone knows. He’s been a full time teacher for three years.


Can you imagine any real teacher espousing this condescending, toadying idiocy? Can you imagine any teacher with any understanding of the arbitrary viciousness of the DOE under Bloomberg even considering this lunacy? More to the point, can you imagine any one who is not a paid and protected agent of union busting billionaires even suggesting this stuff with a straight face?

Seniority, on the other hand, E4E wishes to abolish altogether. Again, they wish to do this not for reasons of selfishness, mind you, nor to please their pay masters but for the kids who deserve the best teachers.

And E4E, saintly and wise beyond their years, knows exactly who they are and how to identify them.

As Gates and Broad and Bloomberg know, even if the idiots running E4E do not, the abolition of either of tenure or seniority would spell the death of the union. That same union that, somehow, E4E is not against.

It would also instantly usher in an era in which teachers would be virtually defenseless against a growing army of vindictive and clueless administrators, already growing like a cancer due to absurd institutions such as Bloomberg’s Leadership Academy and Eli Broad’s similar “academy” for instant superintendents. Both, needless to say, have been created exclusively to stock as many schools and school systems as possible with the monstrosities that are the logical result of the insane idea of the principal as a CEO.

Somehow, according to E4E, teachers stripped of rights and due process would create a world that would be better for kids, a world where teachers could be free to put students first. Somehow this world would then attract and retain dedicated professionals such as themselves. Just as importantly, such a world would repulse and reveal all those clock-watching scumbags who seem to surround them and make them so sad.

They know. They have been full time teaching for three years.

Is it merely a coincidence that the policies lusted after by Gates, the Wal-Mart family, Democrats for Education Reform, Eli Broad and Mike Bloomberg’s DOE and every other union busting organization in the nation and the polices sought by E4E are exactly the same?

Not similar, here and there, mind you, but exactly the same?

Consider too E4E’s desire for the scam called “merit pay.” Forget for a moment that ample evidence shows that merit pay makes no difference whatsoever in what is chillingly called “student achievement.”

Consider too that if there is a way to distribute merit pay fairly it has yet to be discovered. Consider then that merit pay gives teachers every incentive to game the system, garner the best students, avoid those most in need, and destroy the collaboration necessary for any decent school environment to function, never mind flourish.

In short, the desires of E4E – which are the desires of every privatizer in the US of A – are fundamentally and profoundly opposed to the ethos of solidarity and fraternity that is at the core of any true union. And anyone who has any knowledge or understanding of what a union is — or for that matter of basic history — would find these positions and these people repulsive.

They would also find the attempt to pass them off as anything but repulsive as contemptuous.

The Post’s love letter to E4E centered on a “conversation” between the followers of E4E and UFT President Michael Mulgrew, whom the paper slanders as often as possible. I must admit that I was mystified why a man of Mulgrew’s statute and intelligence would dignify this ridicules and miniscule group with a meeting. Still, I must assume he had his reasons. From all accounts, the meeting was unremarkable – except for something former Chancellor Joel Klein said to Mulgrew before his the Klein’s departure: “Chancellor Klein told me before he left: ‘I’m going to pit new teachers against older teachers and I’m going to do it by trying to make it look like we’re doing layoffs.’”

Despite the fact that city officials immediately denied that Klein ever said this, the statement rings true to me. Very true.

In fact, after I read it the idea came to me that Klein may well have been referring to Mr. Stone and Ms. Morris. How else to explain the fact that two teachers three years into the job are allowed to work one day a week in a public school system? How is that possible? Who is permitting it? On what grounds? Who is protecting these horrible people?

One hint can be found in a Gotham Schools post of last year, which tells of E4E throwing a party to celebrate the DOE’s announcement that there would be no teacher lay offs. And who was their guest of honor? Why none other than that friend of teachers everywhere — party animal Joel Klein!

Can you imagine any self-respecting teacher in all of NYC inviting this loathsome person to your party? Can you imagine Joel Klein showing up at a party held by any other group of teachers besides these champion ass kissers? Klein, mind you, is the man who needed police protection at PEP hearings.

The more you look at E4E the sleazier it gets. Nothing makes sense with these people or this organization. Nothing, that is, except that in exchange for being shameless shills for their billionaire backers and conscious operatives hired to undermine the UFT as much as possible, they will be given extraordinary privileges, protections and recompense.

Their work situation with the DOE should be investigated forthwith. It stinks to high heaven and points to collusion with the DOE.

Creatures of zero imagination, creativity and integrity, Mr. Stone and Ms Morris are of no importance in themselves for in themselves they are but ciphers and nothings who can only echo the weasel words of their masters and employers. What importance they and E4E does have is in what they reveal. What they reveal is the fragmentation of this nation. What they reveal is the logic of so many dwelling in perpetual survival mode where empathy is not and life is “an endless war of one man against all others.” What they reveal is a moral and spiritual void where only power over others is honored. What they reveal is the alignment of much of the media with the most anti democratic forces and individuals in the nation.

Above all these two fools reveal the ruthlessness of the dangerously rich who believe it is their right to strip us of our rights and to impose their will upon all they can, however they can. Mr. Stone and Ms. Morris are merely two willing and utterly shameless collaborators in that process. And rest assured, neither one of these “revolutionaries” have any intention whatsoever of working under the conditions they are demanding for others. Their job now is to tell others how to do their job — and how to put children first, of course.

They need to be exposed, all of them, as people who loathe democracy and the freedom of anyone other than themselves.