Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bloomberg: King's Evaluation System Will End Up In The Courts

Herr Mayor on his radio show today:

State education officials are set to release their plan on Saturday for how the city should evaluate its teachers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the state to impose an evaluation system after the city and teachers' union couldn't agree on a plan earlier this year.

While the new guidelines have been in the making for weeks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he thinks they will wind up in court.

On his weekly radio show, the mayor said similar plans upstate are not working because officials are making side deals with teachers' unions.

"All these upstate small districts signed evaluations agreements so that the governor wouldn't cut their money and then signed secret letters that have come to light saying to the union don't worry about it, we won't enforce any of it," Bloomberg said.

Not sure what these comment signal.

The mayor is worried the system won't be harsh and punitive enough for him and he'll have to sue King and the NYSED?

The mayor is worried that it will be harsh and punitive enough for him but the union will sue King and the NYSED?

The mayor was smoking crack with the Toronto mayor again?

Hard to know exactly - Bloomberg has been known to talk out of his ass on his radio show, just riff thoughtlessly, saying whatever comes to his increasingly senile brain.

Maybe these comments signify nothing other than Bloomberg filling air time.

Or maybe they signal that he really does think the new system will wind up in the courts.

I'm skeptical about that because I don't think the UFT wants to sue over this.

Not after they stood on stage with Cuomo, King, Tisch and Iannuzzi two Februaries ago and declared APPR the bestest thing in education since chalk.

And I seriously doubt that NYSED Commissioner/rookie teacher John King is going to unveil a fair system - not with his corporate reform agenda.

But these comments by Bloomberg are interesting.

The Worse King's System Is, The Better It Is

The Daily News and the Post editorial boards are asking NYSED Commissioner/rookie teacher John King to institute the harshest, most punitive teacher evaluation system in the state.

NYSED Commissioner/rookie teacher John King is going to announce what the new system will be tomorrow at 4 PM.

The spinning has already begun, with UFT President and APPR pom-pom supporter Michael Mulgrew sending out an email to members last night telling them he believes the King system will be fair because the union helped develop it.

It's difficult to see how rookie teacher/charter proponent John King, the man who saw no issue with the Hare and Pineapple Pearson piece and who has defended every piece of crap corporate reform the state has pushed with every breath he has, will give us a fair evaluation system.

Rather, it is more likely that the system will be as punitive as the DN and Posties want it.

But in the end, the worse the system is, the better it is.

Because the more complex and convoluted they make it, the more they use junk science like value-added measurements that suffer from wide swings in stability and large margins of error, the more they add absurdities like growth measures on Student Learning Objectives that entail keeping student portfolios in every subject in every grade that will be used not to assess student performance but to evaluate whether teachers have "added value" to their students' performances, the more they force the Our Way Or The Highway lesson plan onto every teacher, the more likely this piece of garbage will fall apart under its own unworkability or die under the weight of court challenges.

There are, of course, two problems with this:

First, there will be teachers whose careers and reputations will be destroyed while that is playing out.

That is the most tragic part of this whole mess.

Second, Michael Mulgrew and the UFT leadership are bragging how this is their baby, how they helped develop it and how, if there are problems, it will not be with the system itself but rather with the implementation of the system by the DOE.

That suggests to me that the UFT leadership will not be challenging this system in court any time soon, unlike the Buffalo union, and if we in NYC want protection from it, we're going to have to mount the court challenges without the help of the UFT.

But even that problem might have a positive side effect.

See, that will show UFT members how little the UFT leadership cares about them or can protect them from the ravages of the corporate education reform movement and how, maybe they need a new UFT leadership who can do just that.

So in the end, I say, give the Posties and the DN and the DFER's and the Asshats and the rest of edu-reformers their harsh, punitive system with the many different moving parts.

Because in the end, the worse you make this system, the more complex and convoluted you make it, the more you rig the system so that a teacher can be ranked effective or developing on all three parts but still be ranked ineffective overall, the more likely this will not last.

NYCDOE Purposely Underfunds And Under-Schedules Summer School Session To Promote Online Credit Recovery

From the NY Post:

Sloppy math by city education officials has left this year’s summer-school calendar four days shorter than needed — making each high-school course six hours short of a full credit, leaders say.

The abbreviated summer-school calendar has just 26 days for high-school students — down from the normal 30 — because of a later-than-usual starting date of July 8.

Even with scheduling overhauls, students could earn only credits in two courses over the summer rather than the typical three — despite the fact that many students need three to graduate in August, according to principals.

“It’s just completely being mishandled,” said one Bronx administrator. “Obviously somebody at Tweed [the old courthouse building behind City Hall in lower Manhattan, where the Department of Education is housed] — whoever did the calendar — made an error and nobody caught it,” the administrator added. “Now it’s their job to fix this.”

School leaders said extending the summer-school day beyond its normal 8 a.m.-to- 1 p.m. schedule is not an option because it would be prohibitively expensive.

Schools would have to serve lunch to all students and teachers — something they don’t currently do — as well as pay teachers for dozens of hours of added overtime.

Yet summer-school funding has dropped from $81 million in fiscal year 2007 to just $44 million this year, according to DOE documents.

“We don’t have money,” said a Queens high-school principal. “Summer school is so underfunded, it’s pathetic.”

DOE officials insisted the scheduling was purposeful. They pointed to online or credit-recovery courses as options for students who need the maximum number of credits.

I'm going to take DOE officials at their word - they purposely underfunded and under-scheduled summer school sessions in order to promote online credit recovery programs that make money for their cronies in the for-profit education world.

In addition, this sets up a wonderful model for coming years when they want to extend the school year.

One of the pushbacks on the extended school year is what wil lthey do about students who need to make up credits in summer school.

Now the DOE can say "Summer school?  What's that?  There's all-year round school and anybody who needs to make up credits can take the Rupert Murdoch/Joel Klein credit recovery program.

It's either that or, as Yoav wrote in the Post, somebody at Tweed screwed up.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mulgrew On King's Evaluation System: We Supported And Shaped This Piece Of Shit (UPDATED)

Mulgrew is spinning the evaluation system decision already:

Dear colleagues,
Late on Saturday, June 1, State Education Commissioner John King is expected to release an evaluation plan for K-12 teachers in New York City. It will be done through a binding arbitration process and take effect in September.
The mayor and the DOE will no doubt try to spin Commissioner King’s decision to their advantage. The UFT staff will be working through Sunday to get accurate information about the new system out to you by Monday morning in a form that is both clear and concise.
The process to create a new evaluation system has been long and contentious. The final decision came to rest with the commissioner because the city Department of Education proved incapable of negotiating in good faith with us.
The UFT and the DOE each submitted lengthy proposals to the State Education Department on May 8. Arbitration hearings are taking place in Albany today and tomorrow. Commissioner King will consider the proposals and decide on the final evaluation system on June 1.
We have the opportunity to use our collective-bargaining rights to modify aspects of the evaluation plan during future contract negotiations. Practically speaking, since we are in fact-finding now, if any changes were negotiated, they would not take effect until the 2014-15 school year.
Because the commissioner’s plan must be in accordance with the 2010 state law on teacher evaluation that this union supported and helped shape, we expect it to be fair, professional and focused on teacher development to the benefit of our students. The new evaluation system as set out in state law is designed first and foremost to help teachers improve their skills throughout their careers. Teachers who are struggling will get support tailored to their individual needs.
We have our work cut out for us in September, given this DOE’s terrible track record of translating policy to practice compounded with the fact that they will probably be gone come Jan. 1. We have started working on a professional development plan and we will use our rights to make sure that the new system is implemented fairly. It is a big help that we already have an appeals process for New York City teachers nailed down that will give our members stronger due process rights than they have ever had.
I hope this email clarifies where we are and what we can expect. Working together, we will make this transition. You can count on your union to continue to fight to get you the support you deserve. Thank you for all that you do for our city’s schoolchildren.
Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew

Let's repeat - the union supported and helped shape this piece of shit.

Remember that next year when the nightmare commences.

This is Mulgrew's system - he supported APPR, he helped design the SLO's, he promoted growth models, he signed off on the VAM's.

And let's not forget that he gladly conceded power to John King, NYSED Commissioner/rookie teacher, to act as an independent arbitrator in this when King is anything but that.

This is Mulgrew's piece of shit all around.

Remember who to blame when this piece of shit splatters next year.

Not Cuomo.

Not Bloomberg.

Not King.


He could have fought this, he could have issued an alternative vision to APPR.

He instead chose to support it.

The problem will not be with implementation by the DOE.

The problem will be with the system itself.

The problem will be that our union helped design it and supported it all the way through.

UPDATE: Very good piece at NYC Eye on the difference between the Buffalo Teachers Federation and the United Teachers Federation in dealing with APPR.

Just more evidence that Mulgrew wants this APPR system.

The Union Endorsements In The Mayor's Race So Far

De Blasio got 1199 and CWA District 1.

Liu got DC 37 and CWA Local 1180.

Thompson got a coalition of law enforcement unions.

And Quinn just got UAW.

To say no candidate is running away with the endorsements would be an understatement.

Common Core Critiques Showing Up At Mainstream Sites

No wonder NYSED Commissioner/rookie teacher John King  felt like he had to go to corporate CEO's and exhort them to defend the Common Core Federal Standards - the attacks against the movement is growing and it is in trouble.

When you see the following kind of article at Yahoo News, that's when you know Common Core is in trouble:

All but four states have adopted the complete Common Core Standards.

Those four states—Texas, Virginia, Alaska, and Nebraska—have been slow to warm to the uniform, but divisive, national standards for public school testing. Minnesota chose to adopt only the reading standards and declined the math standards.

Meanwhile, several other states, according to the Associated Press, are pushing back against the standards after formally adopting them, and heated politics are now seeping into the controversy.
Edward Fierros, a Villanova education professor, told TakePart that the standards have both “ardent supporters and loud critics.”

He said, “Many educational experts agree that the CCSS in and of themselves will have a limited impact on improving student learning outcomes. However, states that fail to adopt CCSS or similar lose their eligibility for federal Race to the Top funds or NCLB waivers. States are required to adopt college and career-ready standards, and the CCSS are one way to demonstrate this goal. What is unclear is if states lose their eligibility for federal Race to the Top funds or NCLB waivers if they have already received such funding or been granted an NCLB waiver.”

Earlier this month, Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence suspended his state’s adoption of the Common Core. He signed the Common Core “Pause” bill into law, which stops the implementation of the standards until state agencies, teachers, and taxpayers better understand what is at stake.
“I have long believed that education is a state and local function and we must always work to ensure that our students are being taught to the highest academic standards and that our curriculum is developed by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers,” Pence said at the time.

In Louisiana last week, the state Senate voted against a bill to block implementation of the standards, but only after a roaring debate about the standards and how they are “unduly influenced by the intervention of the federal government.” For now, the standards will go forth in Louisiana.
Similar bills to stop the standards failed earlier this year in Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, and South Carolina. More bills are expected to pop up in legislatures in 2014.

Supporters of the standards say they are better than the mixed bag of educational goals that states previously had without any synergy.

Opponents, however, have varied reasons why they are against the standards.

The Tea Party focuses on the federal control regarding the standards, and Progressives also have issues with them because they could emphasize more standardized testing. Both groups are against the corporate influence around the standards, and some educators feel they didn’t have enough influence in shaping the Common Core.

In New York City, principals sent a letter to New York Education Commissioner John King this month expressing concern over the standards and the testing that accompanies them. They state that the testing doesn’t align with the standards, thus creating a false sense of accuracy about what students are actually learning.

“For these reasons, we would like to engage in a constructive dialogue with you and your team to help ensure that moving forward our New York State Exams are true and fair assessments of the Common Core Standards,” they wrote.

States that have refused to adopt the Common Core are relying on their own standards and are adamant about keeping CCSS out of the classroom. Earlier this month, the Texas House of Representatives voted 140-2 to pass language prohibiting Texas from participating in the standards. Texas, however, has never adopted the standards and likely will not.

As Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry has said more than once, “The academic standards of Texas are not for sale.”

Professor Fierros said that there’s a legitimate question “about whether federal and state budgets will be able to provide the professional support necessary to make the Common Core work for students.”
Mark Naison, a professor at Fordham University and an expert on the Common Core movement, told TakePart that opposition is growing, and more states like Texas may very well reverse their adoption of the standards.

“Because Common Core Standards are being imposed without trial implementation to test their effectiveness, or even see what they mean ‘on they ground’ in actual schools and school districts, they are looking more and more like a full-court press from the government and large corporations overriding the long-standing tradition of local control over public schools,” he said.

“What makes this even more suspect is that test companies like Pearson stand to make huge profits from their implementation. Given this, we can expect opposition to the standards to grow, not diminish in coming years.”

It used to be that articles about Common Core at places like MSN, Yahoo News and the like were puff pieces full of platitudes about how wonderful the new federal standards were.

Now we're seeing pieces full of criticism about the standards, pieces that raise real questions about the agenda behind the movement and just what, in the end, will be accomplished by spending all this money and energy on implementation.

It's not that these kinds of pieces didn't show up before.

It's that they're showing up at Yahoo News in between the celebrity photos and the stories about potato chips that look like Jesus.

How Bad Will King's Evaluation System Be?

The sham testimony for the APPR system for NYC teachers takes place today and tomorrow between Commissioner King, the UFT and the DOE.

King will announce something this weekend.

You can bet the system is already a done deal and the "testimony" is nothing more than a formality.

How bad will it be?

Since the UFT happily abdicated negotiation to an "independent" arbitrator who is anything but independent (the head of the NYSED and a former charter school hack/pro-testing champion), it's going to be pretty bad.

The good news is, Mayor Bloomberg is out of office in a little over seven months.

The bad news is, he may be replaced by somebody who will keep whatever system King imposes in place rather than negotiating changes with the UFT.

If there is a bright side to all of this, it's that the more unworkable and insane the system is, the more likely the whole thing falls apart under it's own unworkability and insanity or is successfully challenged and killed in court.

Still, it's going to be a rough time for students, teachers, and schools under this insanity.

What I Wish John Liu Would Do

I really like Comptroller John Liu.

I think he has been an excellent comptroller, holding the mayor's feet to the fire on contracts and fiscal matters very effectively.

I think he has an excellent political platform and would make an excellent mayor.

I would be happy working under his leadership as a NYCDOE employee.

I also know he cannot win the race.

The campaign finance fraud case that his aides were embroiled in has ensured that.

Anthony Weiner has very high negatives and probably cannot win the race.

John Liu has negatives that, while not as high as Weiner's, are higher than anybody else's in the race - including Christine Quinn's.

He cannot overcome these negatives and the albatross that hangs around his neck from the campaign finance fraud case is too heavy (never mind that Bloomberg bribed Independence Party officials with millions of dollars three times to get on the ballot - for some reason, Bloomberg is seen as "clean" while Liu is seen as "dirty.")

Liu received DC 37's endorsement, and that is a big thing, but that will not help him overcome the disadvantages he has in this race.

He will ultimately lose the race.

I wish he would see the futility of his running, decide to drop from the race, and ask his supporters to vote for the next most progressive candidate in the race, Bill De Blasio.

De Blasio is languishing at 11%-14% in the polls and hasn't made any movement upward.

If Liu were to drop from the race and throw his 6%-8% support to de Blasio, it's possible that de Blasio could actually catch a little momentum, leave Bill Thompson in the dust and get close to Weiner for second place in the race.

It's hard to know how much support Weiner is taking from de Blasio, as they are different kinds of candidates (Weiner is, despite his MSNBC appearances, quite conservative while de Blasio is more liberal.)

It may be that Weiner is taking some outerborough support from de Blasio, however, since they both are from Brooklyn (although Weiner now lives on Park Avenue South.).

If some of Liu's support went to de Blasio, that really could help offset the Weiner entrance in the race and give de Blasio a shot to make the runoff.

As things stand now, we are looking at a Quinn/Weiner runoff.

There is a lot of time between now and September, of course, and a lot can happen in that time.

Weiner is having a good week so far, but you never know when some skeleton from his Twitterverse will surface and put an end to that.

Still, I think if you're Thompson or de Blasio, you have to worry that Weiner is going to suck up a lot of the excess air in the race and make it much more difficult to gain some momentum.

Liu dropping out and throwing his support to de Blasio could change that.

I don't think Liu is going to drop out, but I really wish he would.

Not because I don't want him to run - I simply think he cannot win but he could help the next most progressive candidate to win.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Levon Helm Memorial Boulevard

Very nice:

State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk announced legislation to designate State Route 375 as “Levon Helm Memorial Boulevard” has passed the Senate unanimously after passing the Assembly last month.

“Levon Helm is a true American icon,” Senator Tkaczyk said. “And as a critically-acclaimed international star he could have lived anywhere in the world, but made his home in Woodstock and did so much for his community and for the local economy.”
Helm held the first of his famous Midnight Ramble Sessions in January of 2004 at his Woodstock studio.  His monthly Rambles at “The Barn” became wildly successful and he was joined by a Who’s-Who of blues, rock and jazz greats.
“These shows were a huge boost for tourism and for the Ulster County economy,” Senator Tkaczyk said.  “They attracted music lovers from all over the world.”
 When he was just 12 years old, he formed his first band with his younger sister and they played shows and won over audiences at the local 4-H clubs. Many years later, as a member of the The Band, Levon left his imprint on American Music.
Living together at the House known as “Big Pink” in beautiful Woodstock NY, Helm and The Band created wonderful music that recalled the country, blues and bluegrass that had first influenced them.
The measure (A.5176/ S.3935) sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill in the Assembly, would designate state Route 375 leading into Woodstock as “Levon Helm Memorial Boulevard.” It passed the Assembly last month, and now goes to the Governor for his signature. The measure was sponsored in the Senate by Senators Tkaczyk and John Bonacic.

“This is a fitting tribute to a musician from Arkansas who became a symbol of Woodstock, and who did so much for Upstate NY,” Senator Tkaczyk said.

 A fitting tribute to a good man and a great musician.

Bill Thompson: I'm Not Worried About Polls Or Weiner

From Capital NY:

"I think these polls are wildly inaccurate, I think they will continue to be that, and I don't place—to be blunt about it—I pay almost no attention to them," Thompson told reporters after a speech at Hostos Community College. "They really don't matter."

Thompson has reasonable grounds for skepticism. He cited the 2009 polls that predicted Thompson would lose in a "blowout" to Michael Bloomberg, when he actually only lost by a few points. And his eventual support among certain key constituencies in the Democratic primary are arguably more likely to be underpredicted in current polls (which show him trailing both Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner among African-American voters, for example) than any other candidate's.

A Marist poll released yesterday showed Thompson holding steady at just 11 percent support, trailing Quinn, Weiner and Bill de Blasio.

Asked if he was concerned about the amount of attention that Weiner currently commands, Thompson shrugged.

"Eh, I think the one thing that you realize is that things come and go," Thompson said. "There's ebb and flow. I just continue to move forward with the campaign. We're continuing to ratchet things up on a daily basis."

"Am I concerned about it?" he added. "No, not really. I think that in the end it comes down to people are going to have to make a decision in September when they go to the polls. If I present a vision for the city of New York, if I'm in front of them and they know that I'm out there and they agree with that direction and that vision, I believe they're going to vote for me."

Thompson also had some good proposals here:

Thompson was taking questions after a 20-minute speech on how the city can combat poverty, by focusing on job training and "mid-range office jobs," while improving access to housing, food and health care.

He proposed a program called “Partnering with Parents” that would offer expanded educational opportunities to low-income single parents, and said he would priotorize homeless families in receiving Section 8 housing, along with creating a Chief Jobs Officer for his administration.
Thompson has a point that polls in 2009 undercounted his support.

But Thompson fails to remind us that his campaign didn't have an internal pollster so they had no idea how close they were to beating Bloomberg.

This Guy Could Be Mayor?

From Schoolbook:

It was billed as the first debate among the Democratic candidates about education, but Tuesday’s event was more notable for the absence of City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn and the presence of newly minted contender Anthony Weiner than the actual positions argued.

The former congressman, who left office because of a sexting scandal, was swarmed by photographers as he took his seat. He seemed to relish the attention, opting to stand while answering questions and making sweeping gestures as though he was holding court at a town meeting instead of laying out an education agenda to a modest group of parents, teachers and policy wonks at New York University.


As the newest candidate in the ring, Weiner seemed more comfortable at times with his trademark wit and pugilistic style than with the finer details of education policy. He often looked at his notes, and at one point was caught without an opinion when all of the candidates were asked if former City Council member Eva Moskowitz had been given too much license by the Bloomberg administration to open her Success Academy charter schools in district school buildings.

“I have no bloody idea,” he said, before adding with a laugh, “sure, seems to be the answer of the day.”

He hasn't thought about education at all.

It's obvious from how he handled the debate questions.

All he's trying to do, by tacking to the right on issues like school discipline and merit pay, is to set himself apart from the other candidates.

But it's clear he doesn't really care about public education policy or schools all that much - or policy or governing in general.

This was all about Anthony Weiner being the center of attention again, the straw that stirs the drink as another ego maniac, Reggie Jackson, once put it about his own need for attention.

That he's picking up support even as it becomes clear he's not very interested in governing as mayor, but is interested in the perks and the attention he'll get as mayor, is very, very troubling.

How A Republican Wins The Mayor's Race In 2013

You can see the set-up.

Twitter-perv Anthony Weiner jumps into the Democratic primary that has seen no candidate catch fire and the presumed frontrunner, Christine Quinn, lose support over time.

Weiner does the usual "It's all about me!" schtick in the race, but for some reason, a segment of New Yorkers dig it.

(The latest Marist poll shows Weiner now leading among Democratic men and also engendering the most "strongly support" votes - 29%)

Weiner makes the runoff against a wounded Quinn, unleashes his "charm" campaign in September (which to be honest leaves me feeling uncharmed, but whatever) and beats her in the runoff.

Meanwhile in the GOP primary, former Giuliani budget director Joe Lhota easily beats the Gristedes slum lord for the nomination.

Weiner faces Lhota in the general.

The business community unleashes a torrent of ads against Weiner, licking their lips at a Lhota term (even though Weiner throughout most of career was an outerborough conservative and has put forth some pretty friendly pro-business, anti-union policies since he rejoined the race.)

The Republicans are sitting on more Twitter photos which they unleash a couple of weeks before the election - photos of Weiner masturbating or holding his penis next to a ruler or some other offensive images sure to tank his support.

Lhota, despite being one of the scummiest people on the planet (he actually challenged a 77 year old man to a fist fight last year at an MTA board meeting), then shifts his campaign to "Weiner doesn't have the morals or ethics to run this city."

While Weiner still garners significant support from the same chowheads who are supporting him now, it's not enough to beat Joe Lhota in November.

Joe Lhota becomes the next mayor of NYC.

Within days, his transition team begins to plan a Chicago-style mass closure of NYC schools as Lhota, the ed deform movement, the charter industry and the business community lick their lips at another four years of dismantling public education and profiting off students.

Think it can't happen?

Look at the latest Marist and Quinnipiac polls and you can see how it can happen.

Murdoch: Aggressive Cost-Cutting Coming For Amplify, Newspapers

From Reuters:

As News Corp prepares to separate its publishing business from its entertainment assets, Murdoch said that while some brands face individual challenges, as a whole the publishing portfolio is "undervalued and underdeveloped."


The new publishing company, which will retain the News Corp name, officially kicks off on June 28 with properties such as: The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, The Times of London, Australian pay-TV services, book publisher HarperCollins and fledgling education unit, Amplify.

The spin-off comes as newspapers face plunging advertising revenue and readers who increasingly prefer to get news for free on their smartphones and tablets. Shares of newspaper companies - once considered blue-chip investments - have tumbled over the past decade as investors fear a permanent drain in ad sales.

Against this backdrop, the publishing company's new chief executive, Robert Thomson, said there will be "relentless" cost cuts in store for the business. He gave no specifics.

News Corp executives took pains to note almost half of the publishing company's revenue comes from sources other than advertising. One revenue source is Dow Jones, which sells news and information to financial institutions and competes with Thomson Reuters Corp and Bloomberg LP.

This is the death knell for the NY Post.

The newly-created Murdoch newspaper/publishing/education division cannot afford a newspaper that loses $110 million a year.

Unless another buyer takes it off their hands, the NY Post is going to go through a vicious cycle of buyouts, layoffs and cost-cutting until they finally close it.

Joel Klein is not going to be given free reign to lose millions at Amplify either.

Without FOX News and the entertainment division to support them, the newspapers and Amplify will have to swim on their own or follow The Daily to the graveyard.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weiner: No Extra Funding For The Arts In Schools

More and more, Anthony Weiner is distinguishing himself in this race as Bloomberg Mach IV:

It's not as if Anthony Weiner would have had any trouble standing out at an education forum today, given the almost ridiculous levels of media attention that greeted his every movement, but he distinguished himself anyway.

He stood up to answer questions while his opponents remained seated, wore a blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves while they all wore dark suit jackets and ties, and said he wouldn't provide special funding for arts instruction in public schools, while all his rivals said they would.
His appearance at the event, organized by New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (a group that is opposed to many of the Bloomberg administration's signature education policies) and held at N.Y.U., marked the first time Weiner fielded questions from an audience alongside his rivals for the Democratic nomination.
Weiner's answers on a number of questions were different from those given by his rivals who were there (including Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Bill Thompson and Sal Albanese), and less likely to please the group that hosted the event: in addition to the answer to the question about arts funding, Weiner also defended his previous call to make it easier to remove disruptive students from classrooms, and refused to ban co-locations of charter schools without community approval. 

His education polices are by far the worst of all the candidates in the Democratic primary - worse than Quinn's, worse than Thompson's.

Merit pay, charter co-locations, screw the arts, punitive discipline measures for students - that's the Weiner platform.

Marist Poll: Weiner Gains Support, Quinn Loses It

Not looking so good for Quinn, looking better for Weiner:

Quinn: 24%
Weiner: 19%
De Blasio: 12%
Thompson: 11%
Liu: 8%

Quinn has lost two percentage points since April, Weiner gained four.

Notice that neither De Blasio nor Thomspon are catching fire.

Quinn is really tanking - even before Weiner, she was tanking, but post-Weiner, she's really in the tank.

She's technically still ahead, but the trajectory for her is ver,y very bad.

If one of these campaigns is sitting on some Weiner photos, it's only going to take a couple more polls like this, with Weiner gaining, Quinn losing and everybody else stagnating, before those things surface.

Unless of course it's Quinn sitting on them and she's hoping to hang on until a runoff where she can use them then.

Weiner still has very high negatives - 44%.

But it's now starting to look plausible that he could make a runoff.

Unless more damaging information comes out on him, of course.

He's admitted there may be more out there.

But who knows? 

Maybe New Yorkers won't care if their prosepctive mayor sent Twitter photos of his penis to strangers and those additional photos surface during the campaign.

Daily News Propaganda Says Public Employee Contracts Will Wreck NYC

You can read it here.

The gist:

Speaking for Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway recently called on the unions to accept zero raises for outstanding contracts, relinquish back wages and help finance future raises by having workers contribute to health care coverage.

“In any scenario, granting retroactive contractual salary increases for the period covering the recession would open multibillion-dollar budget gaps and force a dramatic reduction of city services,” Holloway warned, while the unions declared that they would make their demands on the next mayor come New Year’s Day.

The powers that be are worried they're not going to get a mayor who automatically insists on 0% increases, no retro and paying for health care, so they're going on the offensive to get that out to the public now.

The public employees unions must agree to these things or NYC will die.

It's interesting how they have money for tax breaks for real estate interests and tech companies that employee 17 workers, but raises for teachers who have gone without for five years - nope.

Can't give them the 4%/4% that every other union got or NYC will die.

Weiner, of course, is already hinting at this kind of tact.

Don't be surprised if that doesn't bring the oligarchs around to supporting him.

They don't care about Twitter photos if the next mayor is willing to force "the unions to accept zero raises for outstanding contracts, relinquish back wages and help finance future raises by having workers contribute to health care coverage."

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Thompson Question For The UFT Leadership

From Pogue:

Question: Why would Thompson deserve a UFT endorsement now if he didn't rate one back in 2009?

The answer, of course, is that the geniuses at the UFT thought Thompson couldn't win and they were still sore over endorsing three losing candidates back in 2001.

I'm with NYC Educator that the UFT should have endorsed him back in 2009 when he was the alternative to Bloomberg (and only 5% away from beating Herr Moneyness) but the UFT should not endorse Thompson now.

Not with Merry Merryl Tisch working as his co-chair, Al D'amato and Randi Weingarten raising funds for him, and Thompson signaling that while he will temper some of Bloomberg's reform excesses, he will keep many of them.

There is a reason Merryl Tisch and Al D'amato are supporting Bill Thompson.

As Norm Scott noted in a comment in the same post:

The Tisch and D'Amato involvement in the Thompson campaign puts him in the category of Bloomberg's choice once again as he abandons Quinn.

It's possible that Thompson, who has seen no movement in the latest polls, doesn't get the UFT endorsement.

After all, the UFT's primary goal in endorsing a candidate this time around is to pick the winner and despite all the money and high profile endorsements from Tisch, D'amato, and Weingarten, Thompson is looking far from the presumptive winner right now.

But I'm betting Thompson is the candidate they endorse in a couple of weeks, and just as the UFT leadership have been wrong on so many things in the past few years - from teacher evaluations to contract negotiations to candidate endorsements - they'll be wrong if they endorse the Tich/D'amato/Weingarten favorite for mayor.

Weiner Says If Teachers Want Raises, They Must Concede On Health Care Costs

From Politicker:

Anthony Weiner took one of his strongest shots yet against Mayor Michael Bloomberg Sunday afternoon, criticizing the mayor’s attitude dealing with teachers and the teachers’ union.

“Would any business treat its employees—meaning teachers—as badly as their boss is treating them?” the ex-congressman said following a Memorial Day service in Co-op City in the Bronx.
“It’s frankly just not a productive way to be a boss. I’m not going to do that,” he said. “I honor the teachers and contributions they make.”

The comments came in response to a question from retired city math teacher Ted Wachtel, 64, who said he has been deeply frustrated by the mayor’s attitude toward teachers. He asked Mr. Weiner for his thoughts on the city’s expired labor contracts.

“It’s reprehensible how the union members have been taking the brunt of all the problems in the city,” Mr. Wachtel said.

But instead of bemoaning the situation like many of his rivals, Mr. Weiner said he was excited by the idea.

“The fact is that being this long without a contract is an opportunity for the next mayor. It really is,” he said. “I mean, to be honest with you, I like the idea that if I’m fortunate enough to get elected, I’m going to have a chance to engage in these conversations fresh.”

Mr. Weiner has proposed forcing city employees to pay a percentage of their health care premiums, which as he told Mr. Wachtel, would give him more leeway to boost salaries. Mr. Wachtel said he appreciated the approach.

“He makes some substantial points,” Mr. Wachtel said of the former congressman, who was forced to resign from office two years ago in the wake of a sexting scandal. “People deserve a second chance … America is a forgiving country. And they forgave Clinton. And you have to just bone up and acknowledge when you do something wrong.”

I'm going to leave aside Weiner's proposal here for a moment and focus on Ted Wachtel, the retired teacher who "appreciates" Weiner telling him it's time for city employees to pay for their health care if they want salary increases.

Mr. Wachtel, you do know teachers missed out on the 4%/4% that every other union got as part of the pattern without having to give any concessions on health care?

And yet you're all right with Weiner telling you if teachers want raises, they need to concede on health care?

Sorry, Mr. Wachtel, I and tens of thousands of other working teachers are not all right with that nor do we appreciate Weiner promoting that as one of his campaign platforms.

As for Weiner and his proposal, it's a non-starter with me and every teacher I have spoken to at my school has said it's a non-starter with them.

We have been working five years without a raise, we did not get the 4%/4% that every other city union got as part of the pattern and we will not be appreciate making concessions on health care to the next mayor.

That message needs to get out to both Anthony Weiner and Ted Wachtel, the retired math teacher who "appreciates" Weiner's approach to the next teachers' contract.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Who Does Weiner Help?

Seifman in the Post:

Bill Thompson is the Democrat voted most likely to benefit from Weiner’s unlikely candidacy.

He’s the only African-American contender, and there’s not much chance of black voters suddenly jumping ship for a flawed white candidate.

“If I were Thompson, I’d just stay out of any fight and let everyone beat each other up,” recommended consultant Michael Tobman, who is not affiliated with a mayoral campaign.

Thompson’s performance on the campaign trail has been flat.

So the intense media focus on Weiner gives Thompson a chance to glide, at least for a while. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn doesn’t have that luxury.

Her once-dominant lead in the polls has come down to earth, and both she and Weiner are going after the same moderate white Democratic voters in Queens.

Weiner’s old congressional district included parts of the borough where he once lived. The second day of his campaign, Weiner dropped by three Queens weekly newspapers for editorial-board meetings. It wasn’t coincidental.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is, as one analyst put it, “in a pickle.”

With deep roots in Brooklyn, he’s been counting on landing a large chunk of the ethnic white vote that hasn’t warmed to Quinn.

“Now they have another place to go,” said the analyst, referring to Weiner. “De Blasio’s path was difficult before. Now it’s extra difficult.”

Thompson's stuck somewhere between 10% and 13% of the vote.

So is de Blasio.

Quinn has fallen from 37% to 25%

Weiner cannot get elected, but he sure does make the race much more like 1977:

In 1977, things got ugly when a large field of evenly matched Democrats went at it in a fierce primary. Remember “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo”? Ed Koch ended up winning that contest with 19.8 percent of the vote, followed by Mario Cuomo at 18.7, Abe Beame at 18, Bella Abzug at 17, Percy Sutton at 14.4, and Herman Badillo at 11. 

We'll see what happens. 

Maybe more photos of Weiner come out and he's forced out again.

That might be the best thing that could happen.

Weingarten And Her Years In The Teaching Trenches

Some commenters in this thread discuss whether Randi Weingarten should actually be called an "educator".

Norm Scott gives the history:

 Once the decision was made to make Randi Sandy Feldman's successor (sometime around 1990 - when Shanker was still alive and no doubt helped make that decision) Randi needed to get some teaching creds (and courses -- find someone who took ed classes with her and you'll find Jimmy Hoffa) so she was handed a position as a teacher at Clara Barton HS -- near Bklyn Bot Gardens so she could be near her home in Park Slope. Casey was the chapter leader there to protect her. She technically taught there for 6 years but only 6 months full-time. She coached the debating team for comp time and reports were that she taught 2 periods a day. But she was also negotiating the 1995 contract (which we turned down the first time - a major defeat for her) while supposedly teaching. The Village Voice did an expose on her. Question that came up since she never got a regular appointment -- did she sit for the exams? -- was whether she was on leave all those years she was president and the UFT was reimbursing her salary so she could get pension credit? All was muddled. When she became pres she took Leo with her.

Another commenter writes:

Randi was in the trenches for one period a day with the best students; I think AP students at Bard HS Early College. This is a school where the principal and the majority of the teachers have a PhD and the students are highly motivated. Leo Casey was a teacher there fore many, many years.

My understanding was that she taught that one class a day, not a large class, for 6 years. Leo Casey was her mentor, showing her how to write lessons, the technique of presenting the lessons, and asking questions that assesses the students' understanding of the lesson.

How can she call herself a "teacher in the trenches" when teaching one class a day does not make you an experienced teacher? What about those teachers who teach 5 periods a day, for 180 instructional days a year, for over 20 years? Those are teachers in the trenches! She was a politician and union hack in the making using the classroom and those students as stepping stones. Wait a minute. This sounds exactly what TFA does to our students.

It is time for someone to FOIL her year-end evaluation rating sheet and find out the amount of time she spent in the classroom.

When Randi talks about spending seven years in the trenches as a teacher, she's talking about a part-time gig that was created specifically so she could call herself an "educator" at a school that was atypical of most schools in NYC.

Quite frankly, Weingarten is an "educator" the way Dennis Walcott is an "educator."

Of course, Michael Mulgrew really was an "educator" and he's been selling us down the river too, so perhaps it's a moot point whether Randi really should be considered a teacher or not.

But it does stick in some teachers' craws the way she throws that so-called teaching trench experience of hers around - experience that is nothing like the experiences of real working teachers in NYC public schools.

RIP: Ed Shaughnessy

From the LA Times:

Ed Shaughnessy, whose mutton-chop whiskers and swinging rhythms made him one of the most famous drummers in jazz during his nearly three decades with Doc Severinsen's "Tonight Show" band, has died. He was 84.

Shaughnessy had a heart attack Friday at his Calabasas home, said William Selditz, a close family friend.

While his nightly gig on "The Tonight Show" brought him the kind of drumming fame previously bestowed on giants such as Gene Krupa, Shaughnessy also delved into more far-reaching musical realms. He studied for three years with legendary Indian tabla player Alla Rakha and played with such cutting-edge artists as bassist/composer Charles Mingus and trumpeter-bandleader Don Ellis.
"Ed's one of the only guys I know from his generation who's open-minded enough to try something new," Ellis once told an interviewer.

Buddy Rich called Shaughnessy "one of my all-time favorite drummers" — high praise from a musician whose dynamic, virtuosic style contrasted with Shaughnessy's profound belief in the drummer as a vital member of a band's rhythm section.

Times critic Leonard Feather agreed, writing in 1992 that Shaughnessy "does what jazz drummers were originally called on to do: Keep a firm swinging beat and play a supportive role."
An early advocate of bebop, Shaughnessy performed with Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet.

For decades, he taught privately as well as conducting more than 600 clinics at high schools and universities.

Edwin Thomas Shaughnessy was born Jan. 29, 1929, in Jersey City, N.J. His father was a longshoreman and his mother sewed in a garment factory.

At 12, Shaughnessy started taking piano lessons and continued until his father brought home a drum set two years later.

Still in his teens when he became a regular participant in New York City's thriving jazz scene, he worked with Jack Teagarden and the popular bands led by George Shearing and Charlie Ventura before he turned 20.

He also played in numerous small jazz groups with such big names as Billie Holiday, Horace Silver and Gene Ammons. His big band career began in the 1950s with the Benny Goodman and Count Basie bands. He replaced Buddy Rich in Tommy Dorsey's band.

In the mid-1950s, he was a staff musician at CBS, performing on the Steve Allen and Garry Moore shows.

From 1963 to 1992, Shaughnessy was the drummer with Severinsen's band on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show." In Shaughnessy's 2010 memoir "Lucky Drummer," Severinsen called him "the superb engine that drove our Tonight Show Band for thirty years … with spirit and immense skill."

In the early 1970s, Shaughnessy helped a young singer named Dianne Schuur, who had been blind since birth, arranging for her to appear at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival. Her career soon took off.

He was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2004.

Here's an interview with Shaughnessy conducted by his granddaughter and a great clip of Shaughnessy and Buddy Rich from the old Tonight Show:

Even This Brookings Institute Shill Says APPR Won't Work

Given that this was in the Daily News, I had to check twice to make sure this writer was saying what I thought he was saying - the NY State teacher evaluation system based upon student test scores is unworkable as currently designed.

The Obama administration was mad as a hatter to require states to promise to evaluate all their teachers in part based on student academic growth, and the city and the UFT have fallen down the rabbit hole into this fantasyland.

Why? Because, despite reform rhetoric to the contrary, student growth can be calculated reliably and linked to individual teachers only for English language arts and math in grades 4 and 5 — a small fraction of those in the system.

To start, the universe of teachers taking the state test that allows for “value-added” calculations encompasses English and math teachers in grades 3 to 8. Kindergarten and first- and second-grade teachers are out. So are high school teachers, who cannot be judged on the Regents exam, because that’s an end-of-year test that cannot be used to measure student growth.

But even in that narrow subset, we start ruling even more teachers out. Third-grade instructors can’t fairly be included because their students don’t have the prior-year test scores that are necessary for growth to be calculated.

In fourth and fifth grade, teachers generally have their students for the full day, so they can legitimately be held accountable for results. But when students move to middle school (usually in sixth grade), they have different teachers for different subjects. The result is that their gains on the state English and math tests aren’t easily attributable to a single teacher.

Taking into account all these factors, as well as the churn of teachers as they move between schools and grades, the portion of the teacher workforce eligible for evaluation based on student growth is easily below 20%.

(And, it should be pointed out, even when a teacher can legitimately be measured using relative gains on student test scores, that portion of their evaluation adds up to just 20% of the overall evaluation, with 60% being principal observations and 20% being other locally determined measures.)

The only way around this would be to implement standardized testing of course-specific knowledge at the beginning and end of every class in every subject and in every grade. That’s a massively complex and expensive undertaking that New York does not propose to undertake.

What all this means: The union and the city have locked horns in a fight that neither can win, because evaluating all teachers fairly and validly based on student growth on standardized tests is, in the near term, a pipe dream.

The Brookings Institute shill thinks we should devise a system where all teachers can be evaluated using test scores but until that time, classroom observations and other criteria ought to be used to evaluate teachers.

He never gets into the unreliability of VAM or the wide swings in stability the system is known for when used on teachers.

But even this guy says that APPR will not work because it is not designed well and the test scores cannot be "calculated reliably and appropriately attributed to individual teachers."
Let the lawsuits begin!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weingarten Talks Out Of Both Sides Of Her Mouth

@ The Chalk Face:

 It’s something I could never do: talk out of multiple sides of my mouth. I try not to have it many ways, but one, the way I know and feel is right. Granted, we all do things that run counter or contrary to that of our employers. We seek a balance. Many of us do that quite well.

The president of the AFT does it best. Her connections to the power players, the profiteers in education reform, are numerous. Now, we are seeing connections to the roundly criticized firm inBloom. Are the members of the national AFT aware of this? How is this conflict of interest not entirely inappropriate? Well, it is, but it does not seem anyone cares, least of all Ms. Weingarten.

Now, I can already anticipate the defense. We need to be at the table, perhaps. We as educators need to be at least in the room when decisions are made. I have two responses to that. One, where has that gotten us? And two, it will allow them to say they’ve consulted teachers when in fact all they’ve consulted an executive who seems more interested in preserving her own employment and that of close allies than effectively serving the long-term interests of members.

Beware, my friends. Brakes on stakes, a staged arrest in Philly, all part of this triangulation. You’re just an acute angle. Nothing more.

All a show, made to fool you if you're not paying close attention.

But her act is growing stale and tired and many of us have seen her diversionary tactics before.

She and her fellow sell-outs at the AT fool fewer and fewer people these days.

Weiner's Former Colleagues: Weiner Did Little For 9/11 Workers

How do you know when Anthony Weiner is slinging horse hockey?

Why, he's talking, of course!

WASHINGTON — Some of mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner’s former Capitol Hill colleagues are questioning claims about his role in the legislative effort to aid 9/11 workers.

In the video he released to announce his candidacy, Weiner said he “fought to get sick 9/11 responders the help they deserved” when he was in Congress.

Democratic aides and Congress members said Friday that Weiner joined the 11th-hour push for the bill — helping corral members to stay in town for the final House vote, for example.  But that was after standing by for years as others carried the ball, they said.
One New York lawmaker who asked not to be named noted that after the bill passed, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanked leading Democratic supporters — but did not mention Weiner.

Weiner's problem, besides sending around pictures of his penis to strangers, is that he is full of shit on so many of his claims about his career in the City Council and Congress.
This is a guy who's primary activities while in legislative bodies was not legislation but public relations.
All he cared about was getting on TV and getting in the papers.
He has no accomplishments to speak of, other than PenisGate, and every time he opens his mouth and claims some, he is full of shit.

It's important to remember that about Weiner.

Many politicians are ego maniacal crazy people - Andrew Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg come to mind.

But those guys, for all their problems, actually tried to get their policies made into law.

Weiner, on the other hand, spent most of his career trying to get on Olbermann's show, catch the eyes of the 22 year old interns in the Capitol elevators, and increase the visa slots for foreign models.

Weiner's "Whatever Works" Approach To Public School Education Policy

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner in the NY Daily News:

Take a “whatever works” approach to education. I went to public schools my whole life. My mother was a math teacher in the system for 31 years. No one deserves more credit for making New York the middle-class capital of the world than public school teachers like her.

But that doesn’t stop me from seeing the tragedy for New York that is the loss of more than 60 parish schools in recent years. Or being impressed with the successes of some charter schools. Or being concerned about the safety of children in yeshivas.
The Bloomberg administration deserves great credit for making education a priority and putting the money behind it. But we have to end the war of words and take a simple, unifying approach to the hot-button education fights. We should not be afraid to try new things, and we should ask teachers, parents and politicians to double down on whatever works for our kids.

So much to parse here.

First, not much criticism of the Bloomberg reforms.

He credits Bloomberg for putting money to education, mildly admonishes by saying the "war of words" in the education battles must stop.

Never mentions the battles over closures, co-locations, PCB's, standardized testing, teacher evaluations, LIFO, etc.

Says we all must get unified in helping "our kids" succeed in schools.

Doesn't seem to care that the battles over closures, co-locations, PCB's, standardized testing, teacher evaluations, LIFO, etc.mean there can be no unified approach to education.

Sorry, Anthony, you've got to take a side here.

He also says he's "impressed" with the success of charter schools.

Which ones?

The ones that raise $7 million from the Wall Street criminals and hedge fund crooks like Success Academy recently did?

Given that Weiner is raising funds from the same people that Eva Moskowitz is raising funds from, you can bet not much would change in how the city handles Mistress Eva and her charter industry if he is elected mayor.

Next, notice the shout outs to Catholic schools and Yeshivas - he's going for the middle of the road Catholic and Jewish vote.

Interestingly enough, nothing has harmed Catholic schools more than the charter school industry, but Weiner seems intent to support both.

Perhaps he doesn't know charters hurt Catholic schools by stealing their students?

More likely he doesn't care and is simply trying to appeal to both Catholic school and charter proponents.

Finally let's look at his "Whatever Works" statement about education.

What does that mean - "Whatever Works"?

I guess he means that a Weiner administration will not be influenced by ideology or political affiliation in how it runs the school system.

But to me, the statement means he hasn't really thought very deeply about any of the issues that have brought about controversy during the Bloomberg years and has little to say about them.

So he issues some jive ass "Whatever Works!" slogan to cover up his lack of specifics in policy.

Of course "Whatever Works!" sounds an awful lot like corporate deform proponents slogan from a few years back "We Know What Works!", so it could be a dog whistle to the charter school industry and corporate reform movement too.

In any case, there is little in this DN piece from Weiner that makes me think he gives two hoots about education policy or children or schools.

There is little in this piece that makes me think he cares about anything other than himself and his own career.

His education slogan "Whatever Works!" might just as well apply to his own career.

He has no core principles, no core beliefs, no morals, no ethics - he's happy to use "whatever works" to advance his own career.

Crooked Principal Does Consulting Work For Imagine Me Leadership Charter School

The nice thing about charter schools is that no matter what kind of crime you do, they'll hire you.

Case in point, the charter support network that hired a financial officer who was still on probation for bank theft who then stole over two hundred grand from them

Or the former DOE principal fired for fraudulent activity and theft who does consulting work with the Imagine Me Leadership Charter School:

NEW YORK CITY — The executive of an educational consulting firm who was banned from working for the Department of Education in 2009 has been working at a charter school in East New York since winter.

George Leonard, who runs an nonprofit consulting firm called Friends of Bedford, has been contracted at the Imagine Me Leadership Charter School in Brooklyn even though he was barred from working for the city school system four years ago for misuse of funds while principal of Bedford Academy High School.

Leonard had been declared ineligible to work for the DOE following a 2009 investigation that found he used thousands of dollars to pay the salaries of employees who were not qualified to be regular DOE employees.

In 2011, Leonard's Friends of Bedford billed the DOE for $59,000 for professional development and tutoring services it provided Brownsvile’s Mott Hall Bridges Academy, which drew criticism from city investigators who claimed the DOE was not doing enough to prevent blacklisted firms from obtaining contracts.

Sources at the school said its new director, Katherine Corbett, took over during the winter and hired Leonard's firm. They said Corbett essentially started her own LLC, which the charter school pays, then she pays Leonard's firm. The teachers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, shared documents relating to the school with the Friends of Bedford logo on it, in addition to memos from school officials where Leonard is CC'd.

Teachers at the school have been disgruntled since receiving letters in April saying they were being fired at the end of the year and they would have to reapply for their jobs.

The Department of Education had no comment when asked whether contractors on its banned list were eligible to work for charter schools.

So teachers who have done nothing wrong are being indiscriminately fired from the Imagine Me Leadership Charter School while the crooked former principal, barred from working with regular DOE schools, and the crooked leader of the charter school have some kind of quid pro quo going on there.

That's the wonder of the charter school industry in a nutshell - corruption, theft, fraud, arrogance and teacher attrition all tied up in one neat little bundle.

Daily News: Business Community In Panic Over Mayor's Race

Buried at the end of this article about a poll commissioned by somebody to try and get NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly into the mayor's race is this:

The poll — conducted by Opinion Access, a company in Long Island City, Queens — also asked if the voter was happy with the current field of candidates for mayor.

Despite Kelly’s insistence that he isn’t running, some people continued to try and talk him into it, said one political insider.

“There is a great deal of apprehension in the business community,” said the source.

For many, that apprehension turned to panic when former Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, announced he was running, he said.

“They were going to him before Weiner entered, but now people really feel it’s become a circus atmosphere,” he said.

For those of you who think the business community thinks they can Joe Lhota elected, please note the number of stories about Ray Kelly.

The reason these people are desperately trying to convince Kelly to enter the race is because they fear Lhota cannot win and they will not be able to control whichever Dem does.

Now I'm a cynic, so I think whichever Dem wins, they will have no problem controlling him or her - especially if the eventual winner is either Thompson or Quinn.

But I guess 12 years of Bloombergian autocracy has spoiled them - they're used to getting exactly what they want without having to buy anybody off.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weiner Has Known Subversive Thrown From Event

Dem Senators Fawn Over Obama's Corporate Criminal Nominee For Commerce

Dana Milbank:

Call it the revenge of the 1 percent.

President Obama bested Mitt Romney by portraying his Republican opponent as a rich businessman who used offshore tax havens and ran enterprises into the ground without regard for working people.

On Thursday, senators held a confirmation hearing for Obama’s nominee to be commerce secretary: a billionaire who benefits from offshore tax havens, whose family owned a failed savings and loan and who is accused by unions of mistreating workers.

Turns out the wealthy didn’t lose the 2012 election; rather, the Republican rich lost to the Democratic rich.

This is not to question the qualifications of Penny Pritzker, the Hyatt hotels heiress and Democratic mega-donor Obama nominated. I suspect she’ll be a fine commerce secretary when she is confirmed, as she surely will be.

But her confirmation hearing was a reminder of how wealth is power in Washington. A multimillionaire president nominated a billionaire who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaigns, and he sent her to be confirmed by the millionaires’ club that is the U.S. Senate.
“You will certainly have my vote,” commerce committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (average estimated net worth: $103 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics) assured the nominee (net worth $1.85 billion, according to Forbes).

“My hope,” said Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner ($228 million), is that “this committee will recommend you.”

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill ($22 million) told Pritzker, “I find it very refreshing to find someone who is stepping up like you are in this position.”

Another committee member, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut ($100 million), didn’t speak at the hearing but issued a statement calling the heiress “a longtime friend with a lifetime of business experience and acumen that will serve her well.”

There wasn’t a mention during the two-hour hearing that the nominee had recently informed the committee that because of a “clerical error,” she omitted more than $80 million in income from the financial disclosures she filed.

The hearing was in its closing minutes before anybody mentioned the tax havens. The ranking Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, did so almost apologetically, saying he was “going to channel Sen. [Chuck] Grassley,” a Republican who is not on the committee, who had said it would be “hypocritical” not to press Pritzker on “the kind of tax avoidance activity that the president dismisses as fat-cat shenanigans for others.”

“I am the beneficiary of offshore family trusts that were set up when I was a little girl,” the nominee replied. “I didn’t create them. I don’t direct them.” Neither Thune nor anybody else followed up on her 70-word answer, and the family’s stake in the failed S&L got similar treatment from Thune.

The audience was packed with Hyatt workers in red shirts and baseball caps representing Unite Here, a hotel-workers union that opposes Pritzker’s confirmation on grounds that Hyatt has “a broad pattern of labor abuses, including aggressive outsourcing, low wages and the mistreatment of housekeepers.”
But the only senator to mention the union complaint was Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who appeared content with Pritzker’s assurance that she has a “good relationship” with labor before they moved on to discuss what the nominee called “the importance of salmon.”

Republicans probably went easy on Pritzker because they saw her as the most pro-business appointee they’re likely to get from a Democrat. And Democrats weren’t about to give an ally a hard time.
Pritzker and her husband have donated nearly $1 million to federal candidates since 1990, almost all to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance. She raised at least $500,000 for Obama’s 2012 campaign and was his campaign finance chairman in 2008. She contributed $250,000 to Obama’s second inaugural and about $120,000 to Democratic committees in the last two election cycles.

This doesn’t mean the lawmakers were bought. But it does add to the impression that the nominee and her interrogators are all part of the same club of the wealthy and the powerful.

About half the members of Congress have a net worth of more than $1 million, the center found — about 15 times the worth of the typical American household. And it’s a bipartisan club, from Republican committee chairmen Darrell Issa ($480 million) and Michael McCaul ($500 million) to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi ($94 million). The Senate’s wealthiest member was John Kerry ($236 million), but he left to join an even more exclusive club.

How exclusive? Well, it’s about to land a billionaire.

Democrat, Republican - all the same.

Corporate criminals.

They're As Crooked As The Clintons

Sure Weiner wants to fight for the middle class:

A fierce advocate for her husband, Ms. Abedin was among the final holdouts two years ago who insisted that Mr. Weiner hang onto his Congressional seat, even as the cascading scandal sent allies scurrying and prompted Democratic leaders, including Representative Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, to abandon him.
She married Mr. Weiner in 2010 at a ceremony where Mr. Clinton presided and the groom was teased about his future in Gracie Mansion. In recent months, she has been eager to end a difficult period of social exile during which she and her husband were virtually absent from the public eye — and Mr. Weiner’s access to influential circles was often tied to his wife’s close connections with the powerful world of the Clintons.
The couple live in a spacious Park Avenue apartment owned by a Clinton donor. And it was at a Clinton Global Initiative conference last fall that Mr. Weiner, who at the time was something of a recluse, made one of his few public appearances, drawing stares among the A-list invitees.
In late March, days before he revealed his interest in running for mayor, Mr. Weiner joined his wife and the Clintons in the Dominican Republic for a beach weekend with the fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who owns a villa there. The former congressman mingled with a boldface crowd that included Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his girlfriend, Diana L. Taylor.

These are people with no principles, no scruples and no morals other than "How do we advance our careers and cash in as much as we can as quickly as we can?"

In that, the Weiners are just like the Clintons.

How did the Clintons, who  had a modest savings and owned no property when Bill first ran for president in 1992 become so wealthy anyway?

Cuomo Was Right The First Time

Cuomo, when asked by a newspaper editorial board how he would react if New York City elected Anthony Weiner mayor, said "Shame on us!"

That story made the circuits around the Internets and then, suddenly, tough guy Cuomo was pulling it back.

It was just a joke.

Just kidding.

Come on, Andy.

You're a tough guy.

Stick with what you first said.

We all know it's what you really believe.

More Weiner Photos To Come

Ruh-Roh, Anthony:

Ginger Lee, a stripper caught up his sext-tweet scandal, said the idea of Weiner moving into Gracie Mansion fills her with dread.

“I do not think Anthony Weiner should run for mayor of New York City,” Lee said in a statement. “There will be a new flare-up of jokes, inaccurate statements and hurtful remarks.”

According to Lee, who had an online correspondence with Weiner, there could be more crotch shots to come.

“Even now, nearly two years after this story broke, there are still details relating to other women that have not been exposed,” she said.

I wish these things would just come out now so that they could finally destroy Weiner's campaign once and for all and send him back to the rock he's been hiding under for the past couple of years.

Here is Ginger Lee's statement on Weiner in full:

Statement of Ginger Lee In Response to the Decision of Anthony Weiner To Run For Mayor Of New York
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner has now decided to launch his campaign for Mayor of New York City. In 2011, when the unfortunate events that became known as “WeinerGate” occurred, members of the media, bloggers, and other intrusive parties called, emailed me, & even camped in front of my home. As I stated during the height of this scandal in 2011, I am an innocent party who just happened to agree with many of the issues Congressman Weiner championed in Washington.
I made a statement in a press conference on June 2011, and I would like to reiterate that statement today.
“When I started interacting with Anthony Weiner, it was over politics and once the electronic communication began we did communicate on a fairly regular basis. However, I did not sext Anthony Weiner. I did not send photos to him or receive any from him. Anytime that he would take our communications in a sexual direction, I did not reciprocate.
When the tweet regarding his crotch went out, I had already been told by him about a Twitter sex scandal on the horizon. At the time, I did not think it would be what it became. When the scandal broke and people started e-mailing me, I didn’t know what to do. I asked Congressman Weiner. He asked me to lie about our communication.
I put out a three sentence communication that he told me to say. My statement to the press said “I haven’t met Rep. Weiner. I follow him on twitter because I support him and what he stands for. I have been hounded by his political opponents but that hasn’t changed my view of him and what he fights for.” I didn’t want to say anything further. I refused to lie so I went silent and went into hiding. Part of the reason I went silent was that he was someone I respected politically and I never thought what happened after that would happen.
However, things kept getting worse and he and I kept communicating about what I should do. Once it got to a point that he lied on national television, then I knew that anything I said after that would have to be either a lie or an admission. I didn’t want to do either.
On June 2nd he called me and he told me what to say and do and how to deal with the mounting pressure from the press and how to handle it. He told me if neither of us said anything over the weekend the story would calm down and die. Therefore, I did what he told me to do. I stayed in the house, avoided cameras and photographers and hoped the scandal would die on Monday, but it did not. After all the speculation in the press, I felt that if I started talking that it would not be right.
I had already been having extremely bad lupus flair and the stress from this just made it worsen. All that I could do was get out of town. I knew I couldn’t lie for him, but I couldn’t be the one who kicked him under the bus. Finally, after realizing that I could no longer go through this nightmare and after receiving threats from an individual who threatened to release a statement from me which I did not authorize I contacted Ms. Allred. She helped me to understand my options and now I feel that I have the support that I need to finally speak out to tell the truth and that is what I have done today. It might never have turned into this if he had told the truth, but he kept lying. If he lied about this, I can’t have much faith in him about anything else.”
I also called on him to resign. The next day he did. I was glad that he resigned. I think that he made the wisest decision for himself, for his family, for everyone else drawn into this scandal and for the Democratic Party. I wished him the best and hoped that the treatment that he would receive would help him to control his impulses and make better judgments in the future. However, I have no idea if his treatment has been effective.
Even if his treatment has been effective, I do not think Anthony Weiner should run for Mayor of New York City because even now, nearly two years after this story broke, there are still details relating to other women that have not been exposed. Each time Anthony Weiner deflects or obfuscates these details, my life and perhaps the lives of other women are made more difficult by the increased attention from the media. Every new headline and news story about him reminds reporters and bloggers that we exist, and the cycle starts all over. There will be a new flair up of jokes, inaccurate statements and hurtful remarks.
At this point, I would just like to go on with my life and career in business without having to think about Anthony Weiner. I think that city of New York can do better than having a Mayor that is the butt of jokes and has been involved in scandal. Thank you.

 Ms. Lee really puts an exclamation point on why Weiner needs to just go away.