Monday, November 29, 2010

Parents and Educators See Red!

Parents and Educators To Challenge Steiner’s Approval
of Cathleen Black as NYC Schools Chancellor


Who:  Deny Waiver Coalition
What: Parents speak out against and announce challenge to Steiner's waiver decision
Where: Steps of Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St.
When: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 4 PM


Parents demand a rigorous and transparent search within and outside of New York City for the best possible public education leader for the job.  We seek an experienced and enlightened educator who sees our kids as more than test-taking widgets, our public schools as important community centers in need of investment rather than assets to be opened and closed a till, and our parents and teachers as vital partners in our children's education rather than as competitors to the corporate leaders who run our public schools! 


TIME: 4:00PM

Trains – 4,5,6,N,R,J to City Hall
   2,3 to Park Place
   A,C,E to Chambers Street



Call: Chris Owens, 718-514-4874
Noah Gotbaum, 917-658-3213
            Mona Davids, 917-340-8987

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Come tomorrow and speak out against the waiver deal made over this holiday weekend with the clear intent of silencing parent and community voices!

P R E S S   A D V I S O R Y

Who:          Deny Waiver Coalition
What:         Parents speak out against the deal to grant a waiver for Cathleen Black
Where:       Steps of Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, NY, NY
When:        November 28, 2010 (Sunday) at 2:00 PM
Chris Owens:    718-514-4874    646-450-3552
Mona Davids:   917-340-8987

Friday, November 26, 2010

Students and Parents are Losing Resources!

Budget cuts continue to destroy valuable services to our students!  We are sharing the following press release from United New York Early Intervention Providers.

Nearly 8 months ago, NYS Early Intervention through the office of DOH Commissioner Richard Daines, embarked on a mission to dismantle NYS Early Intervention in the name of fiscal responsibility. Small agencies were closed, home-based independent contractors, the front-line of NYS Early Intervention, were met with a 10-20% rate decrease and, now the children of early intervention, the children with developmental disabilities are no longer receiving the services that they are eligible for through IDEA Part C.

On April 15th of this year, fifteen days after the directive was issued to reduce rates, the United New York Early Intervention Providers (UNYEIP) and Parents As Partners (UNYEIPAP) coalitions whose members include Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapists, ABA Teachers, Special Educators, Nutritionists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Vision Therapists, parents and caregivers, and other supportive professionals (attorneys, physicians, compensation analysts, academicians, accountants) was founded. Now 700 strong, we are working with attorneys, unions, legislators, professional organizations to enable change and initiate the restoration of services for our children and their families, to return equity, and to initiate the focus on true evidence-based practice.

In the name of fiscal blindness and led by committees and decision-makers with little to no active, current hands-on experience, the DOH has established guidelines that have forced small business entrepreneurships to close their doors across the state, that have increased standards for eligibility and thus left many children and families with no other options. New cases for interventionists are few and far between and those that are realized are accompanied by non-therapeutic mandates. Essentially, in their efforts to achieve fiscal austerity, the NYS DOH has limited and dissolved the most precious of jobs – home-based early intervention. Is this in keeping with President Obama's Federal Stimulus Plan and ARRA whose primary goal is to preserve and create jobs? NO!

It was Governor Mario Cuomo, who on September 17, 1992, signed the Early Intervention Bill (Chapter 428 of the Laws of 1992), landmark legislation. Can we count on his son to renew this commitment to infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities or delays? For more information, please call Leslie Grubler at 347 853 4241 or email at

Kindly refer to the webpage at for additional information and membership information. If you are either a parent of a child who has received early intervention or is currently receiving early intervention or a provider of services in any discipline, join us.

I have also provided a link to our Petition for your easy access:


Leslie Grubler MA, CCC-SLP, TSHH
Founding Director, UNYEIP/UNYEIPAP

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's still called the Department of EDUCATION isn't it?

Dear Commissioner Steiner:

CAPE, Concerned Advocates for Public Education is an advocacy organization representative of the parents and educators at PS 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an elementary school that is outperforming 95% of all elementary schools in New York City.  Ours in one of the first groups of its kind that bridges the divide between parents and educators for the purposes of accessing their united voice to inform and influence education policy, of which they are the true stakeholders, but are all too often ignored.

CAPE strongly opposes the appointment of Cathleen Black as the Chancellor of New York City’s public education system.  Not only was this nomination made hastily and in secret by a Mayor who has ignored our voices over the last eight years; she is unqualified for the job.  Mayoral Control has been a destructive force here in New York City.  It has been a gateway for a privileged few to gain access to our children’s schools often molding them in an image that they would not accept for their own children.  It is time to bring democracy back to the governance of our schools here in New York City.  Mayoral Control was not meant to be a dictatorship, there was and is an expectation that any elected official would be responsive to the communities they serve.

We have no illusions that the appointment of someone with zero experience or credentials in education is anything but another step in an agenda to undermine public education.  We demand a qualified chancellor with a record of service to public education that can be publically judged. The law requires it. And our children deserve it.

Respectfully yours,
Concerned Advocates for Public Education
Parents and Educators Working Together to Protect and Preserve Public Education

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Civil Rights Leaders Call For Fairness in NYC Chancellor Appointment

Watch below for coverage of today's press conference demanding a transparent process in the appointment of our children's Chancellor...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stop the Drive to Privatize! More than 8 Years of Bloomberg Arrogance and Failure Must End. Take a Stand!

The appointment of Cathie Black as chancellor, someone with no qualifications for the job, is a critical important turning point in the history of the Bloomberg administration. Why?

It has provoked a firestorm of controversy, with the rest of the city waking up to the way in which the mayor's uses his money, power and influence to disregard the normal rules of civil conduct. This editorial in El Diario is good example of the widespread disgust.This citywide moment of clarity has occurred previously only two times before: when Bloomberg fired three members of the PEP who disagreed with him right before a critical vote, and when he announced his intention to overturn term limits.

Parents and education advocates have long known and their kids have long suffered from the way in which the mayor behaves as though the public schools are his personal fiefdom to do with whatever he wants, regardless of what research shows and how parents, educators, and the advocacy community feel. Finally, New Yorkers as a whole are realizing the damage represented by his autocratic behavior. It is a critical moment of time that we must act on immediately, by joining together to reject this appointment and the abuse of power it represents.

1. First sign onto the letter below, written by civil rights attorney Norman Siegel and Michael Meyers, director of the NY Civil Rights Coalition, and join us in a press conference tomorrow, Sunday Nov.14 in front of Tweed. The letter clearly shows how the mayor's selection of Black, done in secrecy and without any public process, is inconsistent with the principles of equal employment which have governed candidate searches in the public and private sector for more than three decades -- to ensure that qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds were fully considered before making a final choice.

If you'd like to sign onto this letter, just send your name and any affiliation you like to before 10 AM tomorrow morning. And please join us tomorrow, Sunday at Tweed at 1 PM; bring your kids if you can!

2. Then sign the NYC Kids PAC petition at

Even if you've signed onto other petitions already, please sign this one as it doesn't just sit there, it automatically sends messages to all the key education policymakers in Albany, including Commissioner Steiner, who will make the final decision as to whether to approve Ms. Black's waiver. As of this morning, it has nearly 1200 signatures, and had generated over 10,000 emails to Albany in 2 1/2 days.

3. Attend the PEP meeting Tuesday night at Brooklyn Tech and make your voice heard! Come at 5:30 PM to sign up to speak; and join the movement in opposition to the mayor's abuse of power. For directions, go to

And please forward this message to others who care about NYC children and the future of our schools.

The letter from Norman Siegel and Michael Meyers follows.
Leonie Haimson
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011
November 12, 2010

Hon. David Steiner

Commissioner of Education

New York State Education Department

89 Washington Avenue

Albany, New York 12234

Dear Commissioner Steiner:

We the undersigned concerned citizens, parents of public school students, and current and former public school students and teachers of New York City are outraged by the recent action of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in announcing his choice for the next Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, one Cathleen P. Black, without even having conducted a public search for the best qualified candidates. It is shocking to us that his choice, Ms. Black, appears to lack not only teaching experience but is lacking any of the educational credentials and qualifications for the appointment to the major post of a school superintendent in New York State.
Because the leader of the New York City Schools is critical to the raising of academic achievement levels of our children, and because we believe in equal opportunity as the best process for recruiting and evaluating competitive candidates for a job that deserves excellence—consistent with your own efforts to raise standards for teachers, staff and students—we respectfully and strongly urge you to hold the Mayor’s appointee to the standards and qualifications set out in the statute for school superintendents. Accordingly, we urge that you deny the City’s anticipated request on behalf of Ms. Cathleen Black for a waiver from these qualifications.
We stress the impropriety of there being no public search whatsoever for this top educator’s position. On the very day and at the very hour that incumbent Chancellor Joel Klein’s resignation was announced, Mayor Bloomberg announced Mr. Klein’s successor. Hence, there was no opening that was advertised; no recruitment period for applications; and no equal opportunity process for qualified candidates of any race and both genders to apply and to be considered for this top educational post.
The fact that Mayor Bloomberg did not undertake a public search in accordance with equal employment opportunity principles in itself raises significant public policy issues, as well as the specter of cronyism. How can it be that the position of leader of one of the nation’s largest school systems can be filled in such a cavalier manner—without any kind of notice or recruitment period for the consideration of capable and talented individuals—persons who are educators, who have the statutory qualifications and certification, and the requisite experience and skills to understand the best practices of pedagogy? The school superintendent for the New York City School District should have knowledge of curriculum and instruction and assessment, as well as extensive teaching experience.
At a time our school children deserve only the best qualified people at the top of the school system and throughout the ranks of the teaching, supervisory and administrative staff of our public schools, at a time minority group children in particular are not performing at grade levels much less with proficiency in core subjects, and at a time this city is mired in disputes as to the accuracy of testing data and about appropriate educational strategies, it is especially important that we have someone at the helm who can deal with these issues with expertise and authority.
Given that the city school system is rank with systemic segregation by race and ethnicity—and Mayoral control has been sharply criticized for inattentiveness to due process, and for refusing to provide for meaningful parental involvement in decisions affecting the welfare of their children, it is even more necessary for the citizens and parents of New York City to be confident that the next Schools Chancellor is the most capable and qualified person available for the job, and that the process was open to all segments of the population and not just a crony of the Mayor.
In these circumstances, and because we are shocked and appalled that no public search for qualified candidates was even conducted, we urge you to reject the City of New York’s request for a waiver for Ms. Black, thereby forcing the City to conduct a real search and to consider diverse candidates for this top educational post. That is how you got your job—and it is how the next Schools Chancellor—whoever he or she may be—should and must earn this City’s top educator’s post.
A nationwide search for capable candidates will undoubtedly produce qualified persons worthy of meeting the challenges of reforming the New York City public school system and capable of bringing into existence a system of high expectations and achievement for students, teachers, and staff. Excellence has to be the standard for all “stakeholders” in our school system—students, teachers, their supervisors, administrators, and school superintendents alike.
We urge you to do the right thing; reject the waiver request and give clear instructions and guidance to the City of New York that you will not consider candidates for this post that have not been recruited and vetted through a genuine search process in which all qualified applicants may be considered and evaluated on their merits.
Norman Siegel, civil rights attorney

Michael Meyers, Director , NY Civil Rights Coalition

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters and NYC public school parent

(add your name here)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Doubt It!

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a member of the organization Save Our Schools is quoted in reference to  Cathleen Black, the mayor's choice to replace Joel Klein as school chancellor this January.  It seems her discussion with the reporter was not accurately reported and much of the context left out.  CAPE  supports the work of Save Our Schools (SOS), most importantly the fight against high-stakes testing.   However, we do not agree to give Ms. Black "the benefit of the doubt." The members of CAPE reject Cathleen Black as a valid or even reasonable choice for our new chancellor and in no way see her as an ally.  We have no illusions that the appointment of someone with zero experience or credentials in education is anything but another step in an agenda to undermine public education.  We demand a qualified chancellor with a record of service to public education that can be publically judged. The law requires it. And our children deserve it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tired of the education deform onslaught against parents, students and teachers? Get Involved!

There are many opportunities to work for REAL education reform.  Here are two:

1.  Sign this petition to deny Cathleen Black a waiver to become our new Chancellor. It is a reasonable request that the leader of our schools has a deep  knowledge of teaching and a respect for students, parents, educators and school communities!

2. Protest Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein`s puppet school board, the Panel for Educational Policy. 

This administration  has overseen the school-closing assault and promoted other attacks on our public school system, including:
  •  Increasing the number of charter schools colocated with our public schools, causing increased overcrowding.
  •   Cutting school budgets while NOT providing the support schools need to help students.
  •  Promoting the use of standardized testing as the only method of evaluating students progress and teachers effectiveness.
  •  Threatening to publish teachers test scores, despite scandals exposing the tests as inaccurate and flawed.
  •  Increasing the number of quality teachers in the excessed ATR pool who are denied seniority rights.
 This will be the first of an ongoing series of actions to protest the disastrous educational policies that are trying to dismantle public education
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Meet at 5:30pm
Brooklyn Technical High School
29 Fort Greene [Place] Brooklyn, NY 11217
[G train to Fulton (at So. Portland Av.); C to Lafayette Av. (at So. Portland Av.); Q, R or weekday B to Dekalb Av. (at Flatbush Av. Extension); 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St. (nr. Fulton St.); D, N to Pacific St./Atlantic-Pacific (on 4th Av.); LIRR to Atlantic Ctr./Flatbush Av.; map: -t.] 


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Name Changes, but the Song Remains the Same...

Join the Real Reformers on 11/16 

Don a Real Reformer SuperCape and participate in our rap song extravaganza in front of the next PEP meeting
No talent necessary
Capes and lyrics will be provided
We’ll meet up at 4:15 at the corner of DeKalb Ave. and South Elliot Pl. by Fort Greene Park for a mini rehearsal and then go over to Brooklyn Tech HS at 5:15 for the performance. 
 Join with us and let your voice be heard


Let’s tell the Puppet PEP that we are not going to let them deform, dismantle and destroy our schools and our students’ education!
See our previous performance at:
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Meet at 4:30pm
Brooklyn Technical High School is at 29 Fort Greene – Brooklyn, NY 11217
B, M, Q, R to Dekalb Avenue, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins Street, G to Fulton Street.


Monday, November 8, 2010

A Message From Parents and Community Activists: Don't Believe the Hype!

On Wednesday, parents and community activists are going to protest the NYC Education “retrospective” which will present papers on the Bloomberg/Klein “Children First” education policies.

We have reasons to believe that this event will whitewash the Bloomberg/Klein record, and that little or no mention will be made about rising class sizes, overcrowding, state test score inflation, high discharge and “push out” rates, the spread of substandard credit recovery programs, and/or the fact that parents and communities have been completely excluded from having any say as to how our children’s schools are run.

 Please join us!

Where: Wednesday, November 10 from 8AM- 10 AM

Where: New York Marriott Downtown, 85 West Street at Albany St., map here: (take the 1,4,5,N,R to Rector St.)

For more on this conference, see here:

 All are invited; please also let us know if you’d like your organization to be listed on the flyer as a co-sponsor.

Co-sponsored by: Class Size Matters, CAPE, GEM, NY Charter Parents Association, and the Brooklyn Young Mothers' Collective.

And please spread the word!


Leonie Haimson, Lisa Donlan, John Battis, Mona Davids, and Hannah Wohl


June 4th City-Wide School-Community Based Protests: No School-Based Budget Cuts or School Layoffs

June 4th City-Wide School-Community Based Protests:  No School-Based Budget Cuts or School Layoffs
Parents, Students, and School Workers at PS 15 Demand Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein Prioritize Spending for Public Education!

Public Education in NYC has faced over 500 million in cuts since 2009. The Mayor must seek other revenues instead of cutting our schools and other important services that are the lifeblood of our communities!