This web site is dedicated to hundreds teachers and other schools staff members -- guidance counselors,
secretaries, paraprofessionals, etc. -- falsely accused by students
of misconduct, languishing in the rubber room, denied due process, and who
have endured the most
abject indignities as I have. I was removed from
the classroom on
December 7, 2004 for
accusations unknown to me until I received the OSI's report in
Integrity and competence
are not the DOE's administrators' forte. Predictably, this website
has become an issue :
it eclipsed the initial, flimsy allegations. To intimidate me into shutting it down
I will when Hell freezes over -- , they are now accusing me of violating my students'privacy by
their confidential records (e.g. grades) ! What for ? The purpose of the website is to expose
their incompetence and their abuse ; it is not about students records.
Their evidence ?
Material illegally downloaded from the server that hosts the website.
I borrowed this website's title from Voyage au bout de la nuit, by Louis-Ferdinand Celine (1932),
a grim novel on a shuddering facet of human condition, based on the writer's vivid experience :
it is about "hallucinations which reality provokes" (Andre Gide), not unlike the ones we experience,
as teachers, in New York City public schools. The purpose of the site is to recount a
journey into a system deserted by the light of reason, as embodied by these three rogue principals -- evil made flesh.
| MYRNA WALTERS, ERASMUS HALL H.S.
FOR BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY
When Affirmation Action Goes Awry and
Mediocrity Perpetuates Itself
She was hired in 1995 by a "sister", Joyce Copin, the then Broolyn High Schools Superintendent, epitome of incompetence and tyranny, a token minority for a school district where 64 % of students are blacks or Hispanics. She owed them her position but failed them. For instance, they had to wait for years until Chancellor Joel Klein came in and address their low enrollement in elite schools and "gifted" programs , in the face of hostility from white college-educated parents.
School Shut Down in 2005
Myrna Walters has become an APR administrator equivalent of ATR : Absentee Teacher Reserve.Sent to Canarsie HS before it was shut down
(see adjacent box)
Dr. JOEL SHAPIRO,
CANARSIE HIGH SCHOOL
& Unethical Behavior as Second Nature
Haughty, he could be seen listening to classic music and smoking cigars in his office, which is illegal. Indifferent to drug-dealing in the school. Disrespecful to teachers. A memorable episod of his tenure : a score of teachers stormed his office and demanded that he apologize to their chapter leader he publicly berated -- shaking, the coward complied. The cripto-racist -- minorities were his pool for the rubber room --, was forcibly sent to retirement in 12/2004.
School Shut Down in 2007
Dr. MICHAEL WILTSHIRE,
MEDGAR EVERS PREPARATORY SCHOOL
The embodiment of
nepotism, incompetence & impunity at the DOE
Removed from his position after 1 year in the job; reinstated within weeks thanks to protectors ; twice investigated for sexually harassing
two female teachers; engaged in academic fraud to complete his doctorate ; tampers with grades to artificially increase graduation rate. You need not be a clairvoyant about what's going on after his school became an "empowerment school", i.e. more autonomous in exchange for .... higher graduation rate.
These parasites and their cronies are at the heart of the DOE medieval system in which corruption and impunity reign.
In former Chancellor Joseph Fernandez's words "How some of the people there [ New York City]
ever got into education in the first place is beyond me." ( Tales Out Of School , Little Brown and
Company, 1993.) For Joel Klein,Esq., to become education chancellor, boredom and never-satiated
vanity come in mind -- he never taught in his life. Thanks to the corruptive influence of his billionaire friend,
the mayor of New York City, he was appointed chancellor despite of his lack of education background.
Under Klein's stewardship,
in the name of "school reform", the wholesale violation of
teachers' constitutional rights by the
Department of Education -- a governmental agency widely known
as corrupt and incompetent -- ,
became routine amidst general indifference : indifference to
teachers' plight and indifference to
million dollars wasted on maintaining a dozen facilities to imprison
them, literallly. Throughout the
country incompetent "educrats" scapegoat teachers to cover up their
miserable failure to provide the right
leadership to bring a decent education to children, but Klein took
the enterprise to another level :
he set up a machinery to prosecute tenured teachers on trumped-up
incompetence charges to force them
to resign or get fired. Such assault could not go unchalleged.
Teachers4action, an organization created
in response to the abuse, has filed a complaint in federal court
on 1/21/08. Shortly before, the DOE
retaliated against the organization's president, Florian Lowenstein,
over the letter he sent to mayor
Bloomberg on January 15 about the violations of teachers' due process
and constitutional rights :
he was sent back to the rubber room on that day with new allegations of verbal
abuse (of students).
You entrust these people with your children's education , far from imagining them being abjectly used
to make false accusations against teachers. It is illegal, immoral and ignoble -- it is really tragic that the
general public entertain such rosy assumptions about school administrators.
|There is nothing reliable in what they say;
Their inward part is destruction itself
Their throat is an open grave;
They flatter with their tongue.
Hold them guilty, O God;
By their own devices let them fall!
In the multitude of their transgressions
thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You
PSALM 5 : 9-10
" Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent--the LORD detests them both. "
God has sickened their hearts.
A painful doom is theirs because they lie.
"When the earth is rocked with her final earthquake, when the earth shakes off her burden , and man cries: What is the matter with her? On that day she will tell her news, that your Lord has commanded it. On that day, the people will issue from every direction, to be shown their works. Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it , and whoever has done an atom's weight of evil will see it."
KORAN 99 :1-8
Click here for the timeline of my story, and here for the latest episode of my Calvary :
DOE KANGAROO COURT
THE CHARTER SCHOOLS
Democracy or Plutocracy ?
America is rich. Why is American education so poor?
The right-wing ideologues have a convenient culprit : "selfish" teachers and their unions. Not surprising in a world where nearly 60% of the Republicans -- the birthers -- believe that Obama was not born in the United States.
Relevant More Than Ever
"Dissatisfied with long hours, churning turnover and, in some cases, lower pay than instructors at other public schools, an increasing number of teachers at charter schools are unionizing."
What do you expect when you inject The Market into education and hire lawyers to run schools ? Playing us for suckers, the kleptocrats had been saying ad nauseum : "The market adjusts itself and brings efficiency" , until the recession of the century ummasked the plunderers.
Publicly funded, privately run ? What kind of market is that anyway ?
Apparently, for many education is a new entrepreneurship frontier, unique in its kind : subsidized by taxpayers to American children's misfortune.
"Man on The Moon" did not Dissuade Some People from worshiping It. No fact will change the minds of the charter schools cultists either.
46% of charter schools provide education comparable to surrounding public schools ; a mere 17% of them proved superior ; 37% deliver learning results that are significantly worse.
ARE NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS' STUDENTS
REALLY LEARNING UNDER CHANCELLOR KLEIN'S TENURE ?
Chancellor's sales pitch :
statistics to be taken with a grain of salt.
"In his arrogance the wicked man haunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises." Psalm 10 :2
Deconstructing Klein's System :
"How to mismanage a school system and blame it on others "
We wholeheartedly acknowledge Joel Klein's success in restructuring and managing the school system's bureaucracy : the current business-like organization vividly contrasts with the cacaphonous, amorphous,and corrupt organization he inherited, although patronage is still palpable.The fluidity of operations and information is commendable thanks to the use of information technology. One achievement is noteworthy : abolishing NYC nightmarish licensing's labyrinthine structure, and relying on the NY State's licensing, in coherence with the rest of the state. Alas, this achievement is largely tainted with the witch-hunt against tenured teachers and top-salary educators, mainly for fiscal reason, on trumped-up charges of incompetence or corporal punishment (of students.) The most honorable solution was to buy them out. It was inconscionable to humiliate and dispose of them like dirt, people who spent 20 to 30 years of their lives serving the City and its children.
The learning front, the front that ultimately matters, turned out to be calamitous : Klein antagonized and bullied 80.000 + teachers he yet needs to carry out his "reform" : despite his successful aggressive PR campaign to demonize teachers and their union and force Randy Weingarten's hand to obtain contractual concessions, the student performance proved mediocre, or stagnant at best, as discussed below. To make the situation worse : teacher's morale has plunged, while fear and resentment, and high turnover -- inevitable corollary -- , are undermining learning in New York City. And yet, Bloomberg and Klein managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the legion of uninformed, thanks to teacher-bashing newspapers like The New York Pest, their hysterical mouthpiece, the embodiement of mercenary journalism.
"Questions of whether the state tests have been dumbed down grew in 2007, when the results of a federal test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress , showed that the city's eighth graders had made no significant gains in reading or math under the mayor's control. (Fourth-grade math and reading scores on the federal test rose; new federal results are expected this fall.) Average SAT scores for city students fell 2 percent from 2004 to 2008 (...)
Critics ask: If students were really learning more and better, as opposed to just better learning the state testing protocol, wouldn't their performance rise on all manner of measurements?" "Controlling Interest", New York Times 8/4/09
Indeed, how do you explain that "the national test found just 34 percent of fourth graders in the city “proficient” or above in math, while the state test showed that 74 percent of fourth graders met that standard" ? Click here for an answer. With Chancellor Klein, Esq., accountability seems to have taking on a new meaning.
Reacting to the NAEP Report, we recall the chancellor blaming "incompetent teachers" and their union in a Pavlovian reflex all too familiar to us -- he announced his intention to hire more lawyers to weed them out. However, in light of the fact that Klein hired 7000 to 8000 teachers every year since 2002 -- while thousands quitted or retired in disgust as the former prosecutor set up his kangaroo court and micro-managed classrooms -- , a couple of pertinent questions arise : Have his own recruits proven more competent ? What percentage of the teaching body is still incompetent, in his view ? Didn't he obtain the modification of the teacher contract to implement his policies as he wished ? Evidently, this never-ending incantation about "incompetent teachers" is a convenient cop-out, a distraction from failure.
In his defense of the suspicious rosy results of the NY standardized tests, Chancellor Klein, Esq. said to a NY Times reporter : " You can't pass the math test if you don't know how to do algebra..." True for any test but NY State standardized tests. The students are fed testing techniques the way Tyson and Perdue feed their chickens -- under permanent artificial light. Click here for a tiny sample.
Progress Reports grade each school with an A, B, C, D, or F. These reports help parents, teachers, principals, and others understand how well schools are doing—and compare them to other, similar schools"
NYC Department of Education.
In 2009 nearly 85% received A's ! Mission Accomplished ?
Longing for real results that have been eluding it -- we know why -- ,
the DOE took refuge in fantasies akin to false pregnancy : inflated barren womb that will never produce a baby.
The sorcerer's incantation will not change that.
Even the teacher-bashing New York Pest, in a rare moment of lucidity,
wrote : " Of the thousand-plus schools graded, nearly 900, or 85 percent, scored an A -- up from fewer than 400 last year.
A mere 27 received C's, D's or F's. We know the schools are improving, but that's a little ridiculous." (Editorial 9/4/09.)
Something authentic at last. A great change from the daily phony outrage playing to people’s worst impulses.
“All you need to do is understand that when you are telling parents that all of our schools are A's and B's or that all of
our students are proficient, we are not providing a clear view of what is really happening in a school or with a student”
(Merryl H. Tisch , the chancellor of the State Board of Regents.)
A diplomatic way to say : we are deceiving parents and
the public in general.
Hardly surprising : the phony statistics were built to support Bloomberg's agenda -- be it mayoral
reelection or governorial ambitions.
THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING
If Chancellor Klein, Esq. really believes that learning has vastly improved under his tenure, then, to put this issue to rest once for all, we challenge him to have an independant body evaluate the performance of 2007 high school graduates who went to college, just for 2007-2008 school year : 1) GPA ; 2) Math grade ; 3) English grade; 4) number of hours of remedial courses taken, if any. A random sample of , say, 5000 students, easily secured from the DOE database, would do the job. For obvious reason, students from the three elite schools -- Stuyveysant HS, Brooklyn Tech, and Bronx HS of Science -- should not be included.
How many NYC high school seniors would pass the math test of the Brevet , the French national diploma which attests to the
acquisition of general knowledge during middle schools ("collège" in French : nothing to do with college) ? 10% would be overly optimistic. Please, compare New York Regents math exam in January 2009 with the Brevet math exam in July 2009 , my translation from French.
(Source : france-examen.com.)
It is indisputable that NY Regents math exams' format encourages the drill-to-kill type of preparation : tricks, recipes, and the rest. From 20 not long ago , the number of multiple-choice questions ( Part 1) is now 30 out of 39 or 60 credits of 87. With 65 the passing grade, the dumbed-down charge is quite justified. A poorly prepared student making random choices, would hit 10 right answers, at least, with probability of 0.11 ; 7 right answers, at least, with probability of .49 -- almost fifty-fifty chance ! Thus, by virtue of the law of large numbers, a sizeable number of test-takers get many questions right without breaking a sweat. The only 9 questions designed to test students' ability to really analyze and solve problems, would be laughable to the French 10th graders. Go explain that to someone who knows more about imprisonning people than education, and too fixated on DATA. As the saying goes, garbage in , garbage out : submit meaningless input to the computer, it will process it and produce meaningless output.
By contrast , the country of Blaise Pascal -- founder of modern probability -- has little taste for multiple-choice questions in assessing students knowledge.
To be fair, unlike the NY State Education Department, the French Ministry of Education that runs all exams nationwide, does not have to fear about lawsuits and political lynching mobs when an exam turns out to be "hard". Remember June 2003 Math A exam ?
"Though many districts have not finished tabulating their scores, superintendents, principals and math department heads are reporting preliminary results that some described yesterday as "abysmal," "disastrous" and "outrageous."
Here is a sample of headlines at the time to refresh memories :
New York Daily News: Test Mess Threatens Diplomas .
New York Newsday: Math Test Too Tough?
New York Post: Testy Teachers Blast 'Too Hard' Math Exam .
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Huge Numbers Fail Math Test .
Buffalo News: Many Seniors Fail Crucial Test .
Now, please, compare this infamous test with the French middle schools math test : which one is harder ?
While teacher quality is certainly a major issue in this country, it is only one facet of a bigger picture. The others, hypocritically ignored by the reformism tartuffes, are : incompetent administrators ; teachers treated as replaceable parts and their authority undermined ( a recipe to turn off the best) ; rampant student indiscipline ; public schools as source of patronage ; last but not least, parental irresponsibility, blatant in neighborhoods where "hard-to-staff" schools abound. In light of all this, what seems reasonable -- performance pay, student data to evaluate teachers, etc. -- becomes a farce.
Teacher unions are rightfully opposing the demand that teachers' legal protection (tenure) be sacrificed on the altar of the faux reformists' church.
QUESTIONS FROM MATH SURVEY QUIZ ADMINISTERED TO CUNY FRESHMEN
Students who answered correctly
Write 3/8 as a decimal
How much is 0.2 divided by 5.0 ?
Find the value of 5 + 3 (4 + 6)
Solve the equation x^2=9
(SOURCE : A Report of the City University of NY Math Chairs. )
Apparently, ACCOUNTABILTY does not apply to Klein and Bloomberg
|A Nice break from mercenary journalism
Andrew Wolf, NY Sun's reporter
"To base any evaluation of our schools on bogus testing — and even pay bonuses (with your tax dollars) on the basis of the state scores — is nonsensical (...)If the state scores are bogus, now increasingly accepted as fact, then the Bloomberg education legend is exposed as mythology."
|I was unaware of CUNY's math survey until I recently read an article in the Daily News, months after I wrote : " we challenge him [Chancellor Klein, Esq.] to have an independant body evaluate the performance of 2007 high school graduates who went to college, just for 2007-2008 school year : 1) GPA ; 2) Math grade ; 3) English grade; 4) number of hours of remedial courses taken, if any." As far as math is concerned the chart above is a damning indictement of the Klein/Bloomberg's "reform". With 70% of its students coming from NYC School District, how does CUNY address the issue ? By offering summer remedial math courses -- a band-aid given the depth of the innumeracy.
HIGH-TECH LYNCHING OF
A FIRST-RATE MATH TEACHER,
MURRY BERGTRAUM HIGH SCHOOL (MBHS)
Olga Batyreva's capital sins : being over 60 and for reporting her supervisors' grades tampering to the SCI -- a subsequent investigation corroborated her assertions. No action was taken. Well, not quite, a different kind of action was taken : despite the fact that her students' success rate in school exams ( 55%) exceeds the school's average (45%), she was banished to the rubber room for incompetence -- barely two days after she alerted Joel Klein, Esq., the very person who has the least incentive to act, to put it mildly. Thus, Olga met the same fate as David Pakter's and other whistleblowers' who stood up for the children's welfare. The phony basis for this infamy ? An avalanche of reports of U-rated lesson observations by single-digit IQ supervisors.
The DOE is now seeking her termination in its kangaroo court's trial under NYC's discriminatory version of Section 3020-a of NY Education Law. The fact that Olga is also a Teachers4action's member, an organization that launched a federal lawsuit against the DOE/UFT, can only be classified as damning circumstances from a corrupt arbitrator's perspective. Before reading OLGA'S STORY , I suggest that you make sure you are not far from the bathroom : you might not be able to overcome an urge to vomit.
A.P. and Head of The Math Department,
Medgar Evers Preparatory HS, Brooklyn,
Holds A Mere Bachelor's Degree In Math,
When A Master's Is Required To Be A Teacher In NY State !
Adonai and Wiltshire, principal (an impostor who paid me in Spring 1994 to do his academic work !), slapped me with 4 lesson observation U-ratings in less than 10 weeks -- to document my "incompetence". A glimpse into my "incompetence" : | 1 | 2 | 3 |
RUBBER ROOM MOVIE TRAILER
LISTENING TO THE VOICELESS
What's Happening To The New Blood ?
Fiction : the DOE's apprentice sorcerers present teaching fellows -- mostly professionals from various industries, or newly graduates (with social conscience) from top schools -- as wonderful substitute for the incompetent-burned-out-costly-tenured teachers clogging the system : they will increase teaching quality and reinvigorate the school system.
Non-tenured, cheap labor, they are dismissable at-will : "
The UFT has filed a grievance on behalf of approximately 130 teaching fellows who face termination on Dec. 5 because they have no full-time teaching assignments.
" NY Teacher, 11/06/08. We are talking about people recruited in September despite of hundreds of experienced teachers reduced to ATR work.
Many teaching fellows, disgusted with the rampant, systemic student discipline problems, disgusted with unsupportive, incompetent principals, leave on their own within months, unless suspicious charges abridged their new careers.
Breaking the Silence: Overcoming the Problem of
Principal Mistreatment of Teachers