How New York City Department of Education Protects Principals Accused of Sexual Misconduct

This is sickening

Diane Ravitch's blog

Susan Edelman, reporter at the New York Post, often gets scoops, and this one is a doozy.

Several principals have been accused of sexual harassment. Some have caused the city to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars for their misconduct, but they are seldom punished. Instead they are reassigned to headquarters with their pay and pension intact.

When Shaunte Penniston complained that her principal was making sexual demands, the city Department of Education not only failed to investigate, she alleged, but immediately notified the principal — who promptly had her fired.

The teacher then filed a lawsuit, which has dragged on in court for five years, the city fighting it at every step. But even if Penniston wins her case, it’s too late for the DOE to punish her alleged tormentor, Antonio K’tori. Under state law, educators with tenure cannot be brought up on disciplinary charges more than three…

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Jitu Brown: “We Call for a Moratorium on School Privatization Now!”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Watch this powerful 2-minute video, in which civil rights leader Jitu Brown tells the dramatic story of the Dyett hunger strike in Chicago, which lasted 34 days and compelled the city to keep Dyett open and invest $16 Million in the new Dyett.

Jitu Brown leads the Journey for Justice, which is leading a national campaign to stop school closings, privatization, and charter schools. They are fighting to create thousands of community schools.

This video was created by videographers Michael Elliot and Kemala Karmen. It was funded by the Network for Public Education.

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DeVos Declares: In Public Schools, the Child Becomes a Constituent, the State Replaces the Family


Uh-oh!  Last week Betsy DeVos got in trouble again. Every time she speaks about her work at the U.S. Department of Education, DeVos gets herself in trouble.  We’ll see if it happens again today as she testifies in Congress before the House Education Committee.

A little review:  The last time DeVos embarrassed herself was in March, when she went on 60 Minutes, where she told Leslie Stahl how education should be improved:  “What can be done… is empowering parents to make the choices for their kids… Families that don’t have the power…. and they are assigned to that school, they are stuck there. I am fighting for the parents who don’t have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices.” After Stahl followed up, asking DeVos about how to improve the public schools in the neighborhoods where families live, DeVos pronounced her standard, convoluted answer: “Well, we…

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dissents Ferociously from 5-4 Decision Curbing Workers’ Rights

Diane Ravitch's blog

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented in strong terms from today’s Supreme Court Decision curtailing workers’ Rights.

As the oldest Justice, age 85, she has many admirers who count on her to fight for the average person, not the powerful. She is now affectionately called The Notoriously RBG.

Trump’s appointee Neil Gorsuch provided the decisive vote in the 5-4 Decision. He may be the most conservative Justice on the Court.

“In Monday’s case, decided by a bitter 5-4 vote, the conservative majority ruled that employers may forbid employees from banding together to fight wage and other workplace issues covered by arbitration agreements. The court said a federal arbitration statute overrides federal labor law intended to protect workers’ bargaining power.

“Speaking for the four liberal dissenters, Ginsburg said the decision threatens to return the country to a time in the late 19th century and early 20th when workers were forced…

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Duncan: Boycott School Until Gun Laws Change

While the initial thought of this sounds like it has possibilities. Somehow, the DeVoss, the Waltons, Kochs, and Jeb Bushes of the world would try to twist this into another excuse to promote vouchers and charter schools.

Diane Ravitch's blog

From Politico:

Former Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan endorsed the notion of pulling all public school children out of school until gun laws change. Duncan’s former aide, Peter Cunningham, tweeted on Friday: “Maybe it’s time for America’s 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws.” Duncan said it’s a “brilliant” idea that’s “tragically necessary. What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?” (The Twitter links are in the post.)

Now, they know that nothing happens quickly in Congress. They know the NRA controls the Republican majority. Even if Democrats won both houses of Congress (a big if), Trump would veto anything bill that offended the NRA? Are they suggesting that schools should close for…

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Philadelphia: Project Based Learning and Standardized Tests Don’t Mix

Diane Ravitch's blog

This article by Amadou Diallo in The Hechinger Report describes schools in Philadelphia that rely on project based learning rather than standardized testing. Unlike many such articles, it acknowledges the differences between schools with selective admissions and those that accept all applicants.

A snippet:

An unqualified success for these new schools would be results like those at Science Leadership Academy, a magnet school that is home to the district’s longest-running project-based learning program, which opened in 2006. The school combines rigorous research with student-driven projects that have impact beyond the school building. One student project involved putting on a city-wide Ultimate Frisbee tournament. In the 2016-17 school year, 99 percent of its seniors graduated, and 84 percent attended college immediately afterward. Algebra, Biology and English literature proficiency scores at the school are more than double the district high school average.

“Projects are really hard, collaboration is really hard.”

“As a…

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Democracy’s Schools: A Good Read


The unprecedented pan American public education system arose between the end of the Revolutionary War and the beginning of the Civil War. In Democracy’s Schools, Johann Neem explains the origins of the egalitarian spirit manifested in the uniquely American system, the systems rapid development from the bottom up and he presents evidence about ideological debates that are still unresolved in the twenty-first century. These explanations are informed by impressive scholarship.

Cover Photo_05192018

The Cover Art for Democracy’s Schools Employs Charles Frederick Bosworth’s Oil on Wood Painting, “The New England School” (ca. 1852)

Massachusetts philosopher and Unitarian church minister, William Ellery Channing, had a profound influence on egalitarianism in public education. He believed that within each person were “germs and promises of growth to which no bounds can be set.” Everyone was seen as inherently equal and deserving of education that develops the capacity for creating “self-culture.” Neem paraphrases Channing, “To educate some…

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Stop Talking, You Sound Ridiculous

On Friday, May 18, 2018, there was yet another school shooting. This time in a town just south of Houston, Texas. This was closely followed by many hollow expressions of “prayers and concerns” for the victims and their families. BUT yet this keeps happening,  deadly violence in schools.

“Actions Express Priorities” Mahatma Gandi

The above quote is part of the signature line of every email that I send while I’m at school. It helps remind people that their actions are actions are far more important than their generally hollow words. There occasionally, politicians that do what they say they are going to do, but generally most don’t follow-through.

On Saturday, May 19th, Lt. (little) Dan Patrick decided to basically blame the victims by making the following statement:

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says there are too many entrances and exits to schools, and that is why shootings are able to happen. “Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe he would have been stopped.”

— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) May 18, 2018

Yes, it is probably true that there are too many entrances to the building, but yet I have not seen any legislation requiring safer school designs.

It has been 19 years, yes 19 years since the Columbine tragedy that was the beginning of this new era of school violence. In that 19 years, there has been zero legislation regarding building design and school safety. In 19  years, some schools have taken on the responsibility of designing safer buildings without the requirement of the State of Texas. When the schools take on the task without legislative support, then they are also left to fund the cost of the upgrades or redesign. Most schools are not in the financial position to pay for the upgrades or redesign.

It is time for little dan to put some money where his mouth is by putting legislation in place that requires schools to upgrade or redesign to improve security and then provide funding to make it happen.

In my current building, it could take a million dollars or more to retrofit this building with the necessary safety requirement. There are multiple 10-15 double glass doors entrances. Each would have to be replaced with solid metal doors, with fire alarms and video cameras to monitor each door. It will require adding personnel to monitor the cameras and more personnel to conduct daily searches using metal detectors and x-ray machines. In the morning there must be enough personnel to get 3000 students into the building in 30-45 minutes.

One Southeastern Texas district, Spurger ISD is being proactive about making some minor changes to improve the security of each classroom in their district. These changes are not overly expensive but will help to secure classrooms in the event of a dangerous intruder in the building.

Along with all the structural upgrades, there must be a changed in philosophy regarding school counselors. Most counselors spend their days working on student schedules, making sure students have the required credit and on track to graduate. Most do not have time to “counsel” students” because their student load is excessive. Many counselors carry a load of 350-400 students which leave them little time for counseling students. More funding must be provided to increase the number of counselors so that their teacher-to-student ratio is reduced to a manageable level.

Lastly, little dan needs to stop saying that arming teachers is the best solution for the problem. No, it is not, it is just the one that keeps him from being responsible for taking any action on his part.

As Eldridge Cleaver once stated “You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.’

Right now little dan is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

David R. Taylor                                                                                                                                    30-year Teacher, Coach, and Principal



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William Mathis: Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain

Diane Ravitch's blog

William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, wrote this post for the Blog.

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

A Closer Look at the Changing School Privatization Claims

​Flashed on a 1939 version of a jumbotron, the great and mighty Wizard of Oz appears, wreathed in great billows of green smoke, as a reverberating announcement commands Dorothy, the Tin man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion to “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” Of course, as we all know, the mighty wizard was all pretense, magnification, and illusion flanked by great balls of fire.

​And so it has been. The privatization wizards have issued countless press releases saying that charter schools In Boston, Florida, Chicago or almost anywhere else are a great success because of standardized test score increases.

For years this omnipresent claim is that turning schools over to…

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Ralph Ratto: What Are They Doing to My District?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Read this story if you want to understand why teachers need tenure and unions.

Ralph Ratto is in a state of shock.

His small district is successful by current measures. But a new superintendent decided to disrupt everything and everyone.

Today the administration decided to shuffle the personnel in our very successful district. Our small K-6 district (New Hyde Park- Garden City Park) has 4 buildings and 145 teachers. I am the local President ( full disclosure).

“Take a look at our NYS report card. Even though I am totally against this type of data, the data shows that we are extremely successful. With this success, one would think that our new Superintendent and our 4 brand new building principals would look towards our successes, collaborate with staff and look to build on them.

“Unfortunately, they have chosen to do the exact opposite. They announced a major shake…

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