Sunday, January 31, 2010

This is Why We Need Our Own Newspaper

I just read an article on the Daily News' website called "State Education Department eyes closure of Newtown High School".  It can be accessed at this link.

This article leaves many questions unanswered.  It was written by Clare Trapasso, Daily News Writer, so I will direct my questions to her.

Dear Clare,

You say “More Queens high schools are facing the axe—this time, wielded by the state.”

Question:  What do you mean by “this time, wielded by the state”?  Who wielded the axe before, and why the difference? 

You say Newtown High School in Elmhurst is one of 10 Queens high schools the state Education Department has deemed “persistently lowest achieving.”

Q:  What do you mean by “persistently low achieving”? 

You say students, alumni, community members, and Hiram Monserrate vowed to fight closure of Newtown High School.

Q: Were there any teachers there, or don’t they count?

The Principal of Newtown HS says that many of the students come from other countries and don’t speak English making it hard for them to pass standardized tests.

Q:  How exactly will replacing the principal and half the staff change this?  Will the staff to be replaced include older, more experienced teachers with higher salaries, or younger, less experienced teachers with lower salaries?

Q:  How exactly will rewarding staff who boost student achievement change this?   Will the teachers who score the exams be the same teachers who receive the salary boost?  Sounds like conflict of interest to me.  How will cheating be prevented?

Q:  How exactly will converting Newtown to a charter school change this?  Will the charter school be able to deny admission to students with low test scores forcing them to travel outside their neighborhoods to other high schools whose scores will be affected by the influx of  children who can’t speak English?  Will the charter school have the same budget as Newtown?

Q:  How exactly will shutting Newtown down change this?  What will happen to the building?  What will happen to the money in Newtown’s budget?  Where will the neighborhood children go to school?

I'm not a journalist, Clare, but it seems to me that you have avoided asking the hard questions journalists should be trained to ask.

Do the editors of the Daily News encourage their journalists to ask challenging questions?

We need newspapers with editors and journalists that challenge state and city officials with hard questions.  Those that don't are incompetent and should be closed down.

Sincerely, Untamed Teacher

Build It and They Will Come: Our Own News Media

I suggest that those who oppose Mayoral Control and the Privatization of Public Schools establish an online news journal  that will unify the hundreds of parent and teacher blogs that have been created in the last ten years.

This  Web Journal would be an alternative news source to the ones controlled by Bloomberg et al.

Instead of depending on mainstream news stations such as CBS and NBC to give a fair and unbiased version of the story, let's make sure that our story gets into the public domain through video news casts created by us.

Instead of depending on the New York Times, the Daily News, and the New York Post, to exercise journalistic integrity, lets give up on them, and go into competition against them.

How to Fund the Web Journal

Reach out to the parents and teachers of the 1,000,000 children in the New York City Public School System.  Reach out to the parents and teachers of the 100,000,000 school-aged children in the United States.

I would  pay $100.00 toward the creation of a website that would contain professional journalistic photography, video, and writing that tells my side of the story.   I don't think I'm alone. Solicit donations to be paid through PayPal or

I personally would pay $10.00 a month to link my blog to the website. I don't think I'm alone.  Keep the site free for those who want to inform themselves, but solicit subscriptions for those who want extra benefits.

Sell advertising space.  Sell stuff (T-shirts, mugs, etc.). 

How to Staff the Web Journal

This cannot be a website run by volunteers and amateurs.  We need real journalists with lots of experience in traditional journalism.  They have inside knowledge of how mainstream newspapers and TV news stations are run and will give us credibility.

We can use young journalists with good computer skills, good writing skills,  and lots of bright ideas and enthusiasm.

We need professional producers, cameramen and editors--preferably with experience in TV broadcasting.

We can use volunteers (students, retirees, and others) who would like to learn journalism and broadcasting from professionals.

How to Promote the Web Journal

The bloggers themselves can promote the Journal.  Also, hand out flyers at demonstrations;  hand out flyers near schools as parents drop off and pick up their children; at parent-teacher conferences and meetings.  Post flyers in delis and small businesses where they will be seen.  Advertise.  Twitter. 

Who Sets This All in Motion and Keeps it Virtuous?

I suggest an Executive Board consisting of a fair representation of the opposition groups.  It should not be about one political party, one culture, one religion, etc.  In reality, it will be whomever shows up to do the work of getting this started, and then sticks around to provide oversight.  Lots of work.  Little pay.  High Profile.

Beat Bloomberg At His Own Game

Bloomberg is winning not only because he is rich, but because he is a master of P. R. and owns the traditional media.  People just aren't being given an opportunity to hear the other side.  It's nice to have lots of demonstrations, but who is going to hear about it if it is not reported?  Who is going to care if you are portrayed in a negative way?

Bloggers Unite

I believe that we have reached critical mass.  It is time to take the next step forward, which could be in reality a quantum leap.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Protest Against School Closings

Shut Down City Hall Not Our Schools!

We say:

-Fix Public Schools, Don’t Close Them!

-Public School Buildings for Public Schools Not Charter Schools!

-We want a People’s Board of Education Not Mayoral Control!

Protest at the Panel for Educational Policy

Show UP and Speak Out

*****WEAR RED!****

Tuesday January 26, 2010

Starting at 4PM

@ Brooklyn Tech High School

29 Ft Greene Place

Directions: B,M,Q,R to Dekalb Ave.; C to Lafayette Ave.; G to Fulton St (B,klyn); or 2,3,4,5 to Nevins Street. For detailed directions visit

For more information contact


Coalition for Public Education/

Coalición por la Educación Pública

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rubber Room Interview

Major Breaking Education News

History will be made by CBS Channel 2 Television News

When: Monday, Jan 25 11 PM

Where: Channel 2, CBS, NYC

Who: Legendary News Reporter

Pablo Guzman


Attorney Dr. Joy Hochstadt, Esq.

Representing and with:

David Pakter


Anna-Marie Thomas

Leevert Holmes

What: Lead Plaintiffs in major Federal Class Action Lawsuit

seeking to permanently close

New York City's infamous

"Rubber Rooms"

Why: Because the Public has the right to know that such abominations

should NOT exist

in a Free Democratic Society

This Monday 11 PM CBS Special News Report

will be followed by a full extended News Special

that will be posted on the CBS News Website on the Internet at the end of the week.

The so-called NYC Dept of Education "Rubber Rooms"

are places spread around New York City

where NYC Teachers are "disappeared",

sometimes for years, on trumped up charges.

While a small number of these Teachers should be removed,

Most teachers in the "Rubber Rooms" ended up there

Because the NYC Dept of Education decided they were allegedly "too old",

Or were earning "too high" salaries,

Or because they were Whistle-blowers who reported,

Widespread corruption and waste of Tax Payer money,

As well as the breaking of Federal Civil Rights Laws.

Watch the Monday night CBS Special News Report at 11 PM

Watch the Extended Pablo Guzman Interviews on

CBS News Internet Website later in week.

WCBS-TV News in New York City deserves much credit

for being the first TV News Program in America

To expose the Truth about New York's "Rubber Rooms"

This is Education News History

No one can afford to miss this News Special Report

Please post, circulate and tell your friends.

Pickpockets vs Stormtroopers

Let’s suppose that you’re watching a parade. Suddenly, you notice that someone has liberated you of your wallet. A blankety blank blank pickpocket has stolen your grocery money, your rent money. You imagine all the things you would like to do to the creep if you could just lay your hands on him. People like you should be protected from people like that. Where’s a cop when you need one?

Thank God you can turn to your brother, sister, best friend: your entire support network will get you through this. They haven’t been pickpocketed, but if it ever does happen to one of them, you’ll be there to help. Your bad experience with a petty thief is your individual problem, and you can solve it as an individual.

Now let’s suppose that the parade you’re watching is Hitler’s Stormtroopers marching into Poland. You’ve still got the same problem—no money for groceries and rent--but the army marching past you makes that problem look like the Empire State Building on a satellite photo. In other words, from that perspective, it’s so small you can’t see it. Soon you and your whole support network could lose all your property and be on a train headed for a concentration camp. Or perhaps, you might be drafted into Hitler’s army and eventually freeze to death somewhere in Russia. Or you might get blown to smithereens by an Allied bomb. This is not an individual problem, and you can’t solve it as an individual.

Mayor Bloomberg marched into the New York Board of Education in 2002. He let it be known that while MOST teachers were good, hard-working professionals, there was a small number who should be removed. Of course, every teacher including myself, could think of a few that really shouldn’t be in the classroom. They were the pickpockets that spoiled every parade. The emphasis, however, was always on the word THEY. It was always someone else who didn’t belong in the classroom.

Then, back in 2005, I received my first U-rated observation. The message was loud and clear. I was one of the teachers—the small number of teachers—who didn’t belong in the classroom. I was one of the pickpockets. That’s when I started this blog. I argued, I wrote lengthy responses to letters in my file, and I grieved in more ways than one. All to no avail. When I refused to leave quietly, the letters in my file got more frequent and the charges became more and more serious.

I just got an e-mail from a very nice person advising me that on Monday night on channel 2 Pablo Guzman will be interviewing two very nice people, David Pakter and Joy Hochstadt, about Bloomberg’s Rubber Rooms. In a flyer that I am supposed to print and post there is a phrase that says, “While a small number of teachers should be removed, most teachers ended up there because…”

So, a small number of people in a crowd are probably up to no good and should be removed, but the majority are law-abiding citizens. What the hell, does that have to do with the fact that the Stormtroopers are marching into town? What the hell, does Mr. Ditto have to do with the fact that Mayor Bloomthug is dismantling the public educational system of the City of New York in order to funnel 17 billion dollars a year of public funds into his own hands and those of his thug friends with no public oversight?

Stop talking about the pickpockets, people, the Stormtroopers are here.

FAIR WARNING: Do you still want to talk to me about Mr. Ditto and how much better you are than he--or me? Go ahead, make my day, asshole.