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Stop Weiner now

Posted by Sonia on July 6, 2013 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

JULY 1, 2013 11:41 PM

After Job Cut Vow, Parent Coordinators Union PAC Splashes Anthony Weiner Sexting Pix


Anthony Weiner wants to take parent coordinators out of the city's public schools. Now, their union's PAC is on a mission to take him out -- and they're kicking it off by splashing his cringeworthy self-portraits on the web.




District Council 37's Local 372 has launched a pre-primary broadside against the ex-congressman and mayoral hopeful, bannering two photos from his 2011 sexting scandal -- one showing Weiner gripping his privates -- on its PAC's homepage under the headline, "Disgraced Weiner Attacks Parent Coordinators."


Local 372 President Santos Crespo Jr. says with Weiner climbing in the polls -- and bent on cutting the 1,600 coordinators, who act as liaisons and advocates -- "We're going to do what we need to do to take him out."


Weiner has said parents should be involved in their kids' schooling, but believes it doesn't require paid intermediaries.


"I would not want to dismiss the possibility that [Weiner] may be the Democratic contender after the smoke clears," said Crespo, who's also a vice president of DC37, the city's biggest municipal worker union.


"Since [Weiner's] already indicated that he wants to come after our parent coordinators, I need to stop this before it gets worse down the road."


That means gearing up Local 372 for what Crespo says will be an anti-Weiner "full-court press. It's going to be press conferences. It's going to be rallies. It's going to be door-to-door [visits and] phone calls."


The point: "Aside from [his] lack of integrity and class, we’re reminding folks that this is a guy who outright lied when he asked if he had done that," Crespo said of Weiner's sketchy snapshots.


"A lot of people unfortunately do not remember that," said Crespo, who says his local will work with community and parent groups, as well as confer with other unions, to go after Weiner. "You've got to think, 'Gee, I wonder what else he would lie to the public about?'"


Local 372's warning comes across loud and clear on the PAC's website: "For those Parent Coordinators who believe their jobs are safe, we want you to understand, that if Weiner becomes mayor YOUR job will be terminated because there will no longer be Parent Coordinators in New York City Public Schools."





Crespo, whose public-school-worker local represents 27,000 of DC37's 121,000 members, isn't the first to identify Weiner as a serious problem.


In a story I wrote for Monday's News, 32BJ/SEIU President Hector Figueroa called Weiner a major threat to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn -- and vowed to help stop him cold. (In that same story, I questioned whether unions and other campaign surrogates would bring up Weiner's career-derailing debacle in a way the candidates themselves have largely avoided.)


DC37 as a whole has backed a third Democrat, city Comptroller John Liu, in the mayor's race. Crespo said certain union locals, including his, can make independent endorsements. Local 372 has yet to pick a side, though Crespo says he personally backs Liu.


Representatives of the Weiner campaign and of DC37 had no comment Monday night.


Local 372's decision to give Weiner's "junk mail" the Return To Sender treatment online came shortly before the launch of a separate website, stopweiner.com.


Both web pages, which focus on the school workers who act as liaisons between families and city teachers, are the work of Mona Davids, the new political director of Local 372.


Davids said stopweiner.com, which she registered only Sunday night, is a joint effort with Local 372. It's is also meant to highlight Weiner's lewd past and publicize his call for the elimination of the parent liaisons in his "Keys To The City" blueprint for the mayoralty.



Wrote Weiner, "Parent involvement is important, and participation in the Parents Association should be a rite of every school mom and dad. But the current policy of having paid parent coordinators is a waste of money and misunderstands the importance of parents being part of the oversight of a school -- not the staff."


Women hold lots of those jobs, Davids and Crespo noted; many are single moms.


By getting rid of the coordinators, "He's about to destroy 1,600 families if he's mayor," Davids told the News.


"We will bring the wrath of our 27,000 members on his head by Sept. 10."


With Susannah Griffee

Flatbush autistic artist struggling after artwork featured at the Met and Lincoln Center

Posted by Sonia on August 11, 2012 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

For one gifted autistic artist from Flatbush, a once- promising future has quickly come into doubt.

After Amoako Buachie, 21, was last featured in the Daily News, his paintings hung from the walls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lincoln Center.

But now Buachie is out of school with no artistic guidance and his mother fears that if he doesn’t get help soon, his dreams of becoming a working artist will soon be dashed.

“I’m very worried about it. It hurts me so much,” said Akosua Mainu, 49. “You want your children to do well and succeed in life and if it doesn’t happen it will break my heart.”

Buachie has made huge strides since he suffered from horrific late night tantrums that would last for hours at a time and prompt neighbors to call the cops.

His screaming fits have subsided the more his artistic skills have flourished.

Just a year ago, Buachie was a member of a top art program in the city and was even featured on WABC-TV for his work that made it to the Met.

But after graduating from a special needs program at Public School 370 in Brighton Beach in June, Buachie now spends his days split between a day program for adults and drawing at home.

Since art supplies are scarce, he uses No. 2 pencils to draw his own cartoons that are in the spitting image of Looney Tunes and Disney cartoons. His sketchbook is quickly running out of room and uses computer paper to draw his characters.

Mainu said her son’s mind is so focused that all he needs are simple directions before turning an idea into a masterpiece.

“With all of this boy’s ability, work is nothing. He can do it.” said Mainu.

Sister Janet Lovell - a religious figure from a non-denominational church - said she’s seen herself how Buachie can make complex ideas into reality.

Lovell gave Buachie specific instructions for a cartoon and was impressed when he nailed down every last detail using Microsoft Paint.

“His mind functions at a higher level than ours does,” said Lovell. “He remembered everything right off the bat. You just have to tell him once and he does it exactly. It’s amazing.”

Both Lovell and Mainu have dreams of seeing Buachie flourish in a collegiate art program before someday working for a big time animation company like Warner Bros. or Disney.

But with Mainu’s modest income as a house cleaner, the single mother said it’s a virtual impossibility.

Meanwhile Buachie continues to sketch his art, hoping someone can help take his talents to the next level.

“I want to go to art school,” said Buachie as he effortlessly sketched a cartoon. “I like drawing very much. It’s my favorite.”

To help, please call 718-258-1944


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/flatbush-autistic-artist-struggling-artwork-featured-met-lincoln-center-article-1.1131998#ixzz23ASVVz9x


Why Teachers Quit, And Why We Can?t Fire Our Way To Excellence

Posted by Sonia on August 11, 2012 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

In the past few weeks, two major reports on teacher turnover and retention have been released. One was rolled out with extensive media coverage, and has been the subject of much discussion among policymakers and education commentators. The other was written by me, along with Teachers College doctoral student Clare Buckley.


The first report, “The Irreplaceables: Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America’s Urban Schools,” was prepared by TNTP, an organization formerly known as The New Teacher Project that prepares and provides support for teachers in urban districts, and that advocates for changes in teacher policy. The second, “Thoughts of Leaving: An Exploration of Why New York City Middle School Teachers Consider Leaving Their Classrooms,” was released by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, a nonprofit research group based at New York University. (The research alliance published a report by Will Marinell in February 2011 that examined detailed patterns of teacher turnover in New York City middle schools apparent through the district’s human-resources office.)


There are some important similarities between the two new reports. Both surveyed teachers in large urban districts about their plans to stay in their current schools or to depart either for other schools, other districts or other careers. Both also sought to understand the features of teachers’ work on the job that were influential in their plans to stay or leave. The study of New York City relied on a large, anonymous sample of middle-school teachers: roughly 80 percent of the full-time teachers in 125 middle schools across the city. In contrast, the TNTP study surveyed smaller numbers of teachers in four urban districts (one of which appears to be New York City), and the surveys were not anonymous, because TNTP wanted to link teachers’ survey responses to what the authors viewed as measures of teachers’ performance, such as value-added scores or summary teacher evaluations.


The headlines from the two studies aren’t that different: In any given school, many teachers think about leaving, and it’s not easy to predict why some teachers are more poised to move than others.


Related Stories


Stone and Fire: A Tale of Two Teachers, Part 1 February 24, 2010 1

Randi signals she isn’t afraid of D.C.’s efforts to fire teachers October 27, 2008 0

Report: Districts can do more to retain their strongest teachers July 30, 2012 15

TNTP soliciting city teachers’ views in national retention study December 2, 2011 17

Bill would give city the right to fire teachers in sex abuse cases May 29, 2012 18

The New York City study suggested that the rhythms of teachers’ lives matter, including their pathways into teaching and the positioning of teaching in a life with adult family responsibilities. The teachers prepared through alternate routes such as the NYC Teaching Fellows and Teach For America — 26 percent of those surveyed — were more likely to consider leaving their classrooms and schools, even when other teacher characteristics were taken into account. And teachers who were separated, widowed, or divorced, and those with responsibilities for raising children, were less likely to think about leaving, perhaps because of the financial risks. Commuting, too, takes a toll, with teachers who commute an hour or more each way to their jobs more likely than those with shorter commutes to think of leaving their current schools — but not more likely to think about leaving teaching altogether.


But regardless of teachers’ biographies, administrative leadership and support — and student behavior and discipline — matter a great deal. Teachers are more likely to consider leaving their classrooms if they believe they aren’t getting adequate support from their principals, and if they believe the school doesn’t function well as an organization. Good leadership is not randomly distributed among schools; on average, New York City teachers report less satisfaction with the leadership in schools serving high concentrations of low-achieving, high-need students.


The key divergence between the two studies is that the TNTP report sought to identify high-performing teachers — whom the authors labeled “irreplaceables” — and low-performers. These groups, the TNTP authors believe, are stable; a teacher identified as a high-performer early in his or her career is likely to stay that way, and low-performers, although they may work just as hard, unfortunately rarely get better. Rather than try to provide extensive support to struggling teachers early in their careers, TNTP argues, it’s more efficient to invest in retaining the “irreplaceables,” and to counsel out — or move more aggressively to push out — low-performers who may well be replaced by teachers who will be “better.” To date, the authors suggest, principals have not been this strategic, leaving who stays and who leaves pretty much up to chance.


I’m less sanguine than the TNTP authors about the ability to easily identify those teachers who are “irreplaceable” and those who are — what? Expendable? Disposable? Unsalvageable? Superfluous? The terms are so jarring that it’s hard to know how a principal might treat such a teacher with compassion and respect. Given what we know about the instability from year to year in teachers’ value-added scores as well as the learning curve of novice professionals, a reliance on a rigid classification of teachers into these two boxes seems unrealistic.


I don’t doubt that there are some individuals who are natural-born teachers, just as Michael Phelps has shown himself to be a natural-born swimmer, and perhaps their talents are revealed on Day One. But there are thousands and thousands of children and youth around the world who are competitive swimmers, and none of them is Michael Phelps. For these children and youth, as for most teachers — and there are approximately 3.5 million full-time K-12 teachers in the United States — technique and practice can yield great improvements in performance. This is perhaps even more true in teaching than in swimming, as there are many goals to which teachers must attend simultaneously, rather than just swimming fast to touch the wall as soon as possible.


Principals must, it seems, strike a delicate balance, seeking to cultivate a professional community of successful teachers through a mix of selection, “de-selection,” and professional development. But even in systems that view principals as “mini-CEOs” of their schools, knowledge of teaching practice is distributed throughout the school and district.


It’s true that teacher professional development is often weak and ineffective, and, particularly in the early career, probably requires a more coherent strategy and division of labor than currently exists in most school districts. But that’s not a convincing rationale for giving up on professional development for all teachers in favor of the quick termination of those teachers who don’t hit the ground running.


There’s a reason revolving doors are frequently out of order.

Gov. Cuomo to veto special ed bill that could make it easier to send kids to private or religious schools

Posted by Sonia on August 10, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo Tuesday plans to veto a controversial special education bill that critics charged would have made it easier for parents to send their children to private or religious schools at taxpayer expense, a source confirmed Monday.

The legislation, which was approved with bipartisan support by the Senate and Assembly earlier this year, would have required public schools to consider “home environment and family background” when deciding whether to place a special-needs child in a private school.

School officials and Mayor Bloomberg vigorously opposed the measure, arguing it was too broad and would have racked up millions of dollars in extra costs.

Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups lobbied heavily on behalf of the bill, claiming that some children are best served by learning in environments that closely resemble their home lives.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/gov-cuomo-veto-special-ed-bill-easier-send-kids-private-religious-schools-article-1.1125427#ixzz23AU3VP35


Preventing sexual abuse is focus of training for clergy, others at Staten Island workshop

Posted by Sonia on June 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A taboo topic which is very much in the news these days will be the focus of a free child abuse prevention program on June 28 at Temple Emanu-El in Port Richmond.


While the event is open to all, the flier specifically invites clergy, community leaders, teachers, parents and concerned adults.


Rabbi Gerald Sussman said he is hosting the event because he sees it as an opportunity to provide an important service to the entire community of Staten Island. He noted that "no one is immune" from the such incidents which occur in every religious, ethnic and economic group.

"I think it's important to have some training because it is something which is sadly a lot more prevalent than people would like to think," Rabbi Sussman said.


Statistics indicate that one out of six boys and one out of four girls will be sexually abused before the age of 18, according to a flier announcing the event.


"Rather than sweeping it under the rug, we should let people know what to watch out for and what to do when they come across these kinds of things," Rabbi Sussman said.


Sometimes the people who learn of the abuse don't know what to do or how to react, he noted.


"Maybe by being alert to it we could prevent it from happening and when it does happen we could react in a more constructive and positive way and will know better how to help the victims," Rabbi Sussman said, adding, "We could prevent a lot of hurt and damage."


The training is underwritten by a grant from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The event is sponsored by Dayenu! Enough!, the Domestic Violence Initiative of the New York Board of Rabbis, which has trained about 2,500 people in the New York Metro area since initiating the child sexual abuse prevention training in 2007.


Attendees will be taught seven steps to prevent, recognize and react responsibly, said Diana Gerson, program director for the New York Board of Rabbis.


"It's always tough to find a congregation that wants to host the program," Ms. Gerson said. "It's a tough topic for people to talk about; it's just a tough reality."


She thanked and praised Rabbi Sussman for his leadership in hosting the event.


Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children -- Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training is billed as "the only prevention training that is third party evaluated and proven to work" on a flier announcing the event.


"Preventing child sexual abuse is a job for adults...Protect their only childhood" the flier reads.

The training will count for three credit hours of continuing education units for social workers and counselors.


The training will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, 984 Post Ave. RSVP by June 22 by e-mailing Ms. Gerson at [email protected] or call (212) 983-3521, ext. 21.







Posted by Sonia on June 6, 2012 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Job Creation Effort from your NYS Governor:


Job Creation Effort from your NYS Governor:


Governor Cuomo is using your hard-earn taxes and says that he is working hard to put "our economy back on track and get unemployed New Yorkers back to work."


As part of National Job Fair Month, the Governor announced that New York State is holding 11 job fairs across the state. These job fairs, which begin tomorrow, bring together more than 375 employers statewide and feature more than 10,000 job openings.


Tomorrow, June 7th, there are 5 job fairs happening across New York City:



12:30 to 4:00 PM

Bronx Chamber of Commerce

1200 Waters Pl. #106

Bronx, NY 10461



12:30 to 4:00 PM

St. Francis College Gym

180 Remsen St.

Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201



12:30 to 4:00 PM

York College

94-20 Guy Brewer Blvd.

Jamaica, NY


Staten Island

12:30 to 4:00 PM

Petrides High School

715 Ocean Terrace

Staten Island, NY 10301


Manhattan (Harlem)

10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Harlem Armory

1 W 142nd St.

Manhattan, NY 10037


Click below for a full list of job fairs.


At the events, job seekers can receive help with their resumes from state Department of Labor (DOL) staff, attend workshops on job search tips and interviewing techniques, and scan resumes into the DOL's SMART job search system. Participating local businesses will also be conducting on-site interviews for a diverse offering of jobs at various skill levels.


Job seekers can also visit the Governor’s JobsExpress website (link below) for more employment resources and opportunities.


Pass the Word: Have a friend or family member looking for employment? Please encourage your fellow New Yorkers to explore the free state resources available. Learn more at www.Labor.ny.gov.

Related Links

NYS Department of Labor

Job Fairs

Jobs Express




Parent Coordinator Allocation

Posted by Sonia on June 5, 2012 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (2)

Parental involvement is a core tenet of the Mayor’s and the Chancellor’s Children First Reform

Agenda. As part of Children First, each school is allocated supplemental resources to establish a

parent coordinator position. The coordinator serves to involve parents in their child’s learning and

life in school and responds to parent concerns. Schools are allocated personnel and other than

personnel (OTPS) funds, as detailed in the attached table.

Due to this year’s stable budget condition, principals of schools covering only grades 9-12 can no

longer choose to excess a parent coordinator. Parent coordinators are mandated for all schools.  


We have some great news!

Posted by Sonia on June 5, 2012 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Last night, the NYS Assembly passed legislation allowing New York City to make kindergarten mandatory.

Our heartfelt thanks to Speaker Silver, Assemblywoman Nolan, and every member of the Assembly who voted in favor of this important legislation.  A special thank you as well to everyone who's signed our online "Kindergarten is a Right!" petition.

Thousands of children enter the first grade each year without ever having set foot in a classroom simply because kindergarten isn't mandatory.  That's why we've been working with Assemblywoman Nolan and Senator Flanagan, who are sponsoring S7015 and A9861, to help change this and make sure every child in NYC gets a strong, healthy start in school.  Thanks to the Assembly's action last night, we are now a major step closer to that goal.

However, additional action is still needed from the Senate and Governor Cuomo in order to make mandatory kindergarten a reality.


If you haven't had a chance to yet, please take a moment to sign our online "Kindergarten is a Right!" petition.  Help us make that final push before the state legislative session ends this summer!  (You can find the petition online here:  http://www.council.nyc.gov/html/action_center/mandatory_kindergarten.shtml.)  And  please urge your family, friends and neighbors to sign our petition too.  Together we can help make sure all of our city's children enter school ready to succeed!

Thanks so much, and we'll be sure to keep you posted on any new developments and actions you can take in support of this important effort. 



Christine C. Quinn