Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Arne Duncan, Joel Klein To Guest On Next Pitbull CD

Misogynist rapper/charter school operator Armando Perez, AKA Pitbull, has announced that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will guest on his next cd.

Pitbull, who has worked with famed artists like Chris Brown, Jennifer Lopez, and Enrique Iglesias on his albums, told Education Week that he is very excited to be working with two of his biggest education reform heroes on his next cd.

"Listen, I met these guys at some education reform thing and we were in the club after, you know, just hanging, bottle in each hand, when Arne says 'Hey, man, I love that thing you did with Enrique, that song Come and Go!  What do you think about me and Joel doing a song with you on your next album?'"

Pitbull said it seemed like a silly idea at the time, the Education Secretary and the former NYC Schools Chancellor guesting on a Pitbull album, but the more they talked about the idea, the more it grew on them.

"You wouldn't think it, you know," Pitbull told Education Week, "but Arne, Joel and me have a lot in common.  We're all excited by innovation, whether it's in music or education reform, we're all into making the free market work for us, and we're all into big, fat booties.  Especially Joel - no one loves tapping that shit more than him!"

Still, the idea of Duncan and Klein guesting on Pitbull's next cd wasn't without pitfalls.

"We couldn't decide in the beginning what song to do together," Pitbull explained.  "I'm doing an album of remakes with special guests, you see, so it had to be an old song of mine.  Joel wanted to do That's Nasty, which I did back in '04, or Juice Box, which is from '09, while I wanted to redo Culo, my first single, or Jungle Fever with them.  But Arne said "Naw, naw, we gotta do Everybody Fucks, man!  We gotta do Everybody Fucks!  That song is the shit!'  So that's what we decided to do.  It'll be out next week on iTunes, in stores the week after."

Klein, Duncan and Pitbull will be sharing the stage at The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools Conference this week, but Pitbull told Education Week they won't be rapping Everybody Fucks at the conference. 

"Nah," Pitbull said, laughing, "We won't be rapping.  We'll be talking about 'No Excuses!' education reforms at the conference.  And union busting, of course.  That's what we're there for.  But Joel and Arne like to hit the clubs after, look for the ladies, you know, so who knows?  There might be a little late night or early morning activity for us before it's all over!"

Arne, Joel And Pitbull: Don't Stop The Party!

Misogynist rapper/charter school operator Armanda Perez AKA Pitbull is joining former NYC schools chancellor Joel Klein and current Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan at The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools Conference this week to promote all things reformy.

After a week of "Sex Creep Teacher" bashing in the New York Daily News, I wonder how it is that "Ben "Where Are The Perverts?" Chapman and the rest of the Perv Teacher Squad at the Daily News  aren't getting on Klein and Duncan for appearing at a forum with a guy whose first charting single was called "Culo" and who has another song called "Juice Box" with the following lyrics:

That juice box wet, she keep that juice box juicy, 
I like  
That juice box wet, she keep that juice box juicy, 
I like  
That juice box wet, she keep that juice box juicy, 
I like  
That juice box wet, she keep that juice box juicy,
I like
My life, 

Vincent Van Gogh couldn't paint it  
And I love that you hate it 
I fuck 'em, you date 'em, 
I'm hotter than Satan 
Look partner just save it

Yeah, that's classy stuff - Pitbull makes for a heckuva role model for both boys and girls.

Oh, wait - no, he actually doesn't.

Actually he's a creep (one might even say, from his lyrics, that he might even be a "sex creep".)

But the charter school folks love him and he fits right in because he's an innovator and an entrepreneur and a moneymaker and isn't that all that really matters in the world?

You bet.

Jane Pauley and Margaret Spellings will also be at this reformy shindig.

I don't know about you, but I'm really hoping Pauley, Spellings, Duncan and Klein join Pitbull for a lively rendition of "Juice Box" and "Culo" on stage acting out Pitbull's very classy videos:

Then maybe the Daily News can cover all of that.

Or, more likely, the DN will have another "Sex Creep Teacher" story and just ignore the whole Pitbull/Duncan/Klein soiree completely.

I mean, why should a little hypocrisy stop the charter school/reformy party?

I'm Sure More Standardized Testing And Standardized Rubrics Will Solve This Crisis

In an article entitled What It Takes to Make New College Graduates Employable, Alina Tugend writes the following:

A special report by The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace published in March found that about half of 704 employers who participated in the study said they had trouble finding recent college graduates qualified to fill positions at their company.

But, surprisingly, it wasn’t necessarily specific technical skills that were lacking. 

“When it comes to the skills most needed by employers, job candidates are lacking most in written and oral communication skills, adaptability and managing multiple priorities, and making decisions and problem solving,” the report said. 

Jaime S. Fall, a vice president at the HR Policy Association, an organization of chief human resources managers from large employers, said these findings backed up what his organization was hearing over and over from employers. 

Young employees “are very good at finding information, but not as good at putting that information into context,” Mr. Fall said. “They’re really good at technology, but not at how to take those skills and resolve specific business problems.” 

This isn’t a dilemma just in this country, but around the world, Ms. Swan said. A global study conducted last year of interviews with 25,000 employers found that nine out of 10 employees believed that colleges were not fully preparing students for the workplace. 

“There were the same problems,” she said. “Problems with collaboration, interpersonal skills, the ability to deal with ambiguity, flexibility and professionalism.”

Replacing the reading of fiction (which helps students to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and areas of grey in life) with non-fiction, promoting standardized rubrics and grading rules all across the curriculum (as is happening in many schools), replacing most personal response writing and assignments in the ELA classroom with argumentative and informational writing based only upon close textual readings - I'm sure that's going to help students learn collaboration skills, interpersonal skills, the ability to deal with ambiguity, and flexibility.

Oh, wait - no, it probably won't.

Common Core reform will exacerbate these problems.

ELA Common Core developer David Coleman famously said "No one gives a shit what your kids think or feel about anything..." and he proceeded to develop English Language Arts standards that put that particular value into practice.

But if you want kids to grow up to be employees who are flexible, can deal with ambiguity, can work well with others and can adapt to change, you have to help students to deal with their emotions.

This means actually caring about what kids think or feel about things.

That means having assignments and lessons where kids can explore their feelings about personal issues, societal issues, cultural issues and a host of other things.

Too bad David Coleman and the other developers of the Core either didn't know or didn't care about this kind of thing.

Next year we were told there should be very little text to self response in the ELA classroom if teachers want to be rated "effective."

Everything in the ELA classroom must now revolve around close readings of difficult texts, argumentative and informational writing around those texts, and tests that will assess those kinds of skills through the use of standardized rubrics and grading criteria.

You can bet this will not help kids to grow into adults who are flexible, can deal with ambiguity, can work well with others and can adapt to change.

The Daily News Is All Class

Anthony Weiner gave a commencement speech yesterday in Queens.

Here's the photo the Daily News ran:

Get it?

Isn't that oh so clever of them?

This is the kind of hard-hitting journalism former Murdoch hackster Colin Myler has brought to the Daily News ever since Mort Zuckerman hired him.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Scalia And Bloomberg Are More Racist Than Paula Deen

I usually don't agree with Bill Maher, but I do on this:

Taking a swing at the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act, Bill Maher mocked Justice Antonin Scalia as “more racist” than Paula Deen.

The liberal comic on Friday quoted Scalia saying it’s difficult to remove “racial entitlements” through the normal political process.
“Just the fact that he talks about black people voting as an entitlement, that is so much more racist than anything Paula Deen ever said,” Maher said on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”.

He went on to defend Deen’s recent flap over her use of the “N word” as a punishment that did not fit the crime.

“We have replaced having a conversation about race with ‘oh OK, liberals feel good about themselves if they make the bad person go away,’” Maher said. “Who’s the bad person? The one we caught saying that one word. Donald Trump is a worse racist but he gets to keep his show because he never said the word. Sarah Palin is a worse racist, she said Obama was shucking and jiving his way to victory. Newt Gingrich said he was the food stamp president. This is real racism.”

Let me add Michael Bloomberg, the man who said "Nobody racially profiles" even as his own "private army," the NYPD, stops and frisks more black males a year than actually live in the city to that list of racists.

This is the same man who claims too many white people are stopped, we need to stop and frisk more minorities.

Paula Deen is clueless and stupid and yes, racist.

But is Paula Deen saying the "n" word a worse act than what Antonin Scalia did to the Voting Rights Act or Michael Bloomberg did to the Constitution?

She's lost $12 million+ in endorsement deals.

Scalia and Bloomberg?

They're riding high.

Accountability is only for some in this country.

Notice how few rich white men are held accountable for anything in the U.S.

Tish James For Public Advocate

Almost all of the major unions who have announced endorsements in the race for New York City public advocate have backed Tish James.

Here's the latest:

After receiving nods from all but one of the city’s major unions thus far, Brooklyn Councilwoman Tish James public advocate campaign is continuing to roll out other notable labor endorsements.
Yesterday, Ms. James scored District Council 37, the city’s largest municipal workers’ union, and today, she’s adding UFCW Local 1500, which represents the city’s grocery store workers.

At this point in the race, bigger union endorsements for Ms. James are anything but surprising; she already has SEIU 32BJ, Central Labor Council, and the labor-backed Working Families Party. But for Ms. James, who has lagged in fund-raising and will need a small army of volunteers to get her message out, each one is certainly welcome.

“UFCW is proud to endorse Councilwoman Tish Jame … because she understands the challenges that working people in our city deal with every day,” the UFCW’s president, Bruce Both, said in a statement. “Tish has fought hard to protect good-paying jobs, preserved affordable housing in our neighborhoods, and stood up for the idea that New York City must work for working people, not just the wealthy and the privileged.”

Also in the hunt for the public advocate’s office race are three other Democrats: State Senator Dan Squadron, Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani and Professor Cathy Guerriero.

Mr. Squadron and Ms. Saujani are leading the pack in fund-raising, but with the exception of the well-organized Hotel Trades Council for Mr. Squadron, the pair have mostly focused on their support among other elected officials and advocates. Ms. Guerriero, loud and known for making her presence felt at forums, has steadily rolled out smaller trade and uniformed union chapter endorsements, of which she possesses dozens.

Saujani is the DFER/hedge fundie-backed ed deform candidate in the race (they supported her in a losing primary bid against Carolyn Maloney a while back), and while she placed last in a recent poll (with just 4% support), she will have a ton of hedge fundie/Wall Street criminal cash to try and win votes.

Just what we need, a hedge fundie/Wall Street-backed Public Advocate.

Actually, just what we don't need.

I am supporting Tish James in the race.

James has been very good on public education issues, economic issues, labor issues, policing issues, real estate issues.

I think she would make an excellent Public Advocate.

Saujani, on the other hand, with her corporate cash and hedge fundie/Wall Street-backing, would not.

Cathy Guerriero has come out in support of intrusive National Security Agency surveillance.

That disqualifies her immediately in my view.

The last thing we need is a NYC Public Advocate looking to make excuses for government spying and intrusion.

Isn't the Public Advocate supposed to do just the opposite of shill for excessive government power?

Here's A Stop-And-Frisk Audio Mike Bloomberg Should Listen To

From The Nation:

Exclusive audio obtained by The Nation of a stop-and-frisk carried out by the New York Police Department freshly reveals the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented on the city’s streets.

On June 3, 2011, three plainclothes New York City Police officers stopped a Harlem teenager named Alvin and two of the officers questioned and frisked him while the third remained in their unmarked car. Alvin secretly captured the interaction on his cell phone, and the resulting audio is one of the only known recordings of stop-and-frisk in action.

In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, “You want me to smack you?” When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, “For being a fucking mutt.” Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”

“He grabbed me by my bookbag and he started pushing me down. So I’m going backwards like down the hill and he just kept pushing me, pushing me, it looked like he we was going to hit me,” Alvin recounts. “I felt like they was trying to make me resist or fight back.”

Alvin’s treatment at the hands of the officers may be disturbing but it is not uncommon. According to their own stop-and-frisk data, the NYPD stops more than 1,800 New Yorkers a day. A New York Times analysis recently determined that more than 20 percent of those stops involve the use of force. And these are only the numbers that the Department records.  Anecdotal evidence suggests both figures are much higher.

The audio is at The Nation.

Mike Bloomberg said yesterday that "nobody racially profiles" and the NYPD stop-and-frisk policy isn't racist.

What would he call the stop-and-frisk documented by Alvin?

Christine Quinn's Campaign Infrastructure Is A Joke

The NY Times has a story out today reporting that Christine Quinn is sending out troops of volunteer  workers and interns to carry her message to neighborhoods all over New York City.

The Times says Quinn has 1,822 volunteers and interns going door to door for the City Council Speaker.

Here is the response some of those Quinn campaign workers are getting:

In the Bayside section of Queens, a volunteer had barely begun her sales pitch for Christine C. Quinn’s mayoral campaign when the middle-aged man who answered the door cut her off. “She was the one responsible, in the City Council, for giving Bloomberg a third term,” he barked. “I hold that against her.” 

The volunteer calmly countered that it was New Yorkers, not Ms. Quinn, who “voted the mayor back in.” 

In Astoria, Queens, a woman in her 30s told another Quinn volunteer that the candidate’s sometimes brash personality had rubbed her the wrong way. 

The volunteer gamely explained that Ms. Quinn’s flashes of temper “come from a place of love and passion.”

Not exactly winning the hearts and minds of New Yorkers over.

But the Times goes on to report that Quinn's ground game is the most extensive and well-funded of any of the Democratic candidates and is built on the premise that if Mike Bloomberg could win re-election in 2009 by having his campaign workers knock on 600,000 doors, Christine Quinn can win election to City Hall in 2013 by doing the same.

Except that it is not true.

Quinn is paying none of these volunteers and interns, the campaign operation is barely funded and nowhere near as sophisticated as Quinn's people want to project, and the contact stats the campaign is claiming it is making with voters are phonied up

Here is how the Times describes the Quinn ground game:

Drawing from the city’s elite private high schools and upstate universities, the Quinn campaign has established an elaborate internship and fellowship program, complete with weekly seminars, guest speakers and a recommended reading list. Among the suggested books is “Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout,” by Donald Green and Alan Gerber. 

Since April, her team has recruited 622 interns and 1,200 volunteers, who have knocked on 412,000 doors and called 234,000 homes, aides to Ms. Quinn said. 

In keeping with the campaign’s penny-pinching ethos, workers make calls from their own cellphones, pay for their own transportation and are instructed to return every pen. Inside Ms. Quinn’s political headquarters, near the World Trade Center site, there is a reminder next to the light switch: “The campaign pays for our electricity; don’t waste it.” 

But meeting the campaign’s high-octane goals has tested the patience and stamina of some young volunteers, a few of whom complained in interviews of insufficient training, punishing hours spent alone in unfamiliar neighborhoods and a preoccupation with breaking previous campaign records.
Elizabeth Westrope, a petite 22-year-old, recalled being sent to the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx on her first day as a volunteer with what she said was cursory preparation. Her team leader set a goal of knocking on 100 doors in an hour, a rate of nearly two doors per minute, according to a copy of the text message he sent to her. 

While canvassing in the Bronx on her second day, Ms. Westrope said, she was surrounded by a group of men who made sexually explicit remarks to her. When she sought permission to leave her post, she was told by a superior to stay in the neighborhood knocking on doors, then encouraged by a higher-ranking volunteer to develop a “thick skin,” she recalled. 

Ms. Westrope eventually quit in disgust. “They don’t try to have volunteers interact meaningfully with voters,” she said. “It’s pure quantity over quality.” 

A former intern, who echoed the complaints about the campaign’s high-pressure focus on numbers, said that its rate of contact with voters was at times unusually low. An internal e-mail shows that on a recent day, when volunteers knocked on 16,000 doors, they spoke with voters 8.5 percent of the time.

Gotta love that - a campaign volunteer has a scary encounter with strange men in a strange neighborhood in the Bronx and when she calls for help, they tell her to get back to knocking on doors.

And the Quinn people are so cheap that they're making the "volunteers" use their own cellphones for campaign calls and pay for their own transportation - because there's nothing less winning in a campaign than exploiting naive high school and college kids.

The Quinn campaign says no one has this "extensive" or "sophisticated" a campaign infrastructure, but the Times article just makes the Quinn ground game sound bush league.

Weiner may have no one working for him, but if Quinn thinks she can beat anybody with an army of exploited volunteers and interns using their own Metrocards and cellphones as they go around the city trying to win people over to her, she's fooling herself.

This so-called vaunted Quinn ground game operation that is now exposed as a joke is just another example of why Quinn will not win the Democratic primary and may not even make the runoff.

Anybody who runs a campaign this badly cannot win.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bloomberg: NYPD Doesn't Stop Enough Black, Brown And Yellow People

Yeah, he really did say it:

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that police “disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little” as compared to murder suspects’ descriptions, sparking criticism from activists and some politicians in a city that has been immersed in a debate about law enforcement and discrimination.

Speaking on his weekly WOR-AM radio appearance, Bloomberg echoed an argument he has made before: that the stops’ demographics should be assessed against suspect descriptions, not the population as a whole. But coming a day after city lawmakers voted to create a police inspector general and new legal avenues for racial profiling claims, the mayor’s remarks drew immediate pushback.

The measures’ advocates accused the mayor of using “irresponsible rhetoric,” some mayoral hopefuls chastised him and some City Council members said his remarks only emphasized the need for change.

“Our mayor’s comments prove he just doesn’t get it,” said Councilman Robert Jackson, who co-chairs the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna said the critics were “fabricating outrage over an absolutely accurate comment.”

“What they should be outraged by is the number of minorities who are being killed and that successful police efforts to save minority lives are being hampered,” he added.


About 5 million stops have been made during the past decade. Eighty-seven percent of those stopped in the last two years were black or Hispanic. Those groups comprise 54 percent of the city population.

There is no need to fabricate outrage over that Bloomberg comment or the way he is trying to mislead people into thinking this is just police work, with cops looking for suspects who match a particular description, including racial description.

Here was how one community activist group pushed back against Bloomberg:

The group Communities United for Police Reform called Bloomberg’s view misinformation, noting that most stops aren’t spurred by suspect descriptions. Police department records of the stops also list such reasons as “furtive movements” or suspicious bulges in clothing.

“Mayor Bloomberg should cease with the irresponsible rhetoric and seek to work with the council on a constructive path forward,” said Communities United for Police Reform spokeswoman Joo-Hyun Kang.

I've never understood why Bloomberg isn't vilified for being a racist dictator the way Rudy was.

Frankly, the racist police state policies are worse under Bloomberg than Rudy.

Doesn't Ruben Diaz Sr. Belong In Jail Too?

I'm going to leave the rebuttal of the ridiculous charge made by State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. that the teachers union protects sex predator teachers to my friend, NYC Educator, who does an admirable job of dispensing with that myth here.

But so long as State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is smearing innocent people as "sex creeps" and "sex predator teachers" even though they have been exonerated of allegations and charged with no crimes, I'm wondering if we can talk about how it is he has managed to avoid indictment up there in Albany.

Diaz was connected to a corruption scandal that took out his pal, Pedro Espada (now serving five years in prison) back in 2012.

Here is how the NY Post described that scandal in March of that year:

It was a tough week for state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. 
On Monday, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the indictment of Clement Gardner, CFO of the Christian Community Benevolent Association — a nonprofit founded by Diaz in 1977 and which he ran until 2003.

On Wednesday, the federal corruption trial of Diaz’s friend and former colleague, ex-Sen. Pedro Espada, got under way.

In charges first brought to light in years of Post reporting, Espada is accused of looting hundreds of thousands from the Medicaid-funded Soundview Health Care Network to finance his lavish lifestyle and employ numerous relatives and associates.

The two cases shed light on New York’s kleptocratic culture, in which politicians use taxpayer dollars to enhance their political and personal status.

Schneiderman charges that Gardner embezzled as much as $400,000 from CCBA between January 2004 and May 2007 — a time when Diaz was showering the organization with cash through the corrupt member-item pork-barrel process.

Between 2003 and 2005, Diaz and his son, then-Assemblyman (now Bronx Borough President) Ruben Diaz Jr., reportedly directed $940,000 in member-item support to CCBA — a charity for the elderly and needy that would contribute nice sums to other Diaz-connected political organizations. In 2006 and 2007, Diaz the elder authorized another $500,000.

So, with $1.4 million in public money pouring in, should anyone be surprised that CFO Gardner — also Diaz’s onetime campaign treasurer — opted to help himself to some of the goodies?
Diaz claims to be “shocked” over the arrest, but isn’t worried that he might be implicated in the AG’s investigation, because “I’m not in the business of taking; I’m in the business of giving.”

Well, thanks for the clarity, senator.

That sentiment perfectly captures the essence of the culture: It’s about “giving,” all right — giving away other people’s money to friends, family members and “community” cronies.

Clearly, Espada was a “giving” guy, too — giving Soundview-related jobs to his uncle, son, daughter-in-law and son’s mistress, among others.

Whether Diaz turns out to be as nakedly crooked as Espada remains to be seen — that’s a pretty high standard — but both stand as poster boys of an ingrained, corrupt culture of spreading around taxpayer dollars for political and private gain.

Espada isn't the only convicted criminal Diaz liked to pal around with.

As the NY Times reported in March 2012, two other close political associates and friends of Diaz's, Carl Kruger and Hiram Montserrate, are also in prison for corruption.

Ruben Diaz, along with Espada, Montserrate and Kruger, was once part of a group of State Senators so close they were known as the "Four Amigos."

You can see the "Four Amigos," sans prison stripes, enjoying a bite to eat in the photo at the top of this post.

Diaz is the only one at that table not currently serving time in prison on corruption charges.

Somehow Diaz has managed to escape indictment, but given how close he was to the other three criminals and given all the funkiness around his non-profit, you can see where some might question his innocence.

Diaz himself scolded the press for convicting him in the public discourse when no charges have been filed against him by federal or state prosecutors but he seems to have no problem doing the same to NYC schoolteachers.

You see, in Diaz's world, allegations are enough to prove guilt and convict - at least when it comes to teachers.

But under that worldview, shouldn't Ruben Diaz Sr. be sharing a prison cell with his friends and partners in crime, Pedro Espada, Hiram Montserrate and Carl Kruger?

I mean, it's hard to believe he wasn't stealing along with his other three good amigos.

Sure, we don't have any proof of that criminal action, but who needs proof, facts or evidence when allegations alone are enough to prove guilt and convict?

NYC Mayoral Race Most Wide Open Since 1977

Harry Enten in The Guardian:

At the end of the day, though, any of the top three candidates can advance. I went through the polling that I could find since 1989, and I can't find a single poll this late in the mayoral primary campaign when the leading candidate had less than 26% and certainly not less than 20%. There simply is no precedence for this in the past 30 years.

Indeed, the only race I can ever remember that shares the slightest resemblance to this one is 1977. That race featured Democrats Bella Abzug, Herman Badillo, Abe Beame, Mario Cuomo, Ed Koch and Percy Sutton. Abzug was thought of as a favorite with Beame close behind. Polling in that race had Abzug leading with right around 20% until mid-August. Then Koch "surged" forward to win the first round with less than 20% with Cuomo close behind, while none of the six earned less than 10%.

The lesson from that campaign that should be applied to this one is that when the candidates are polling so poorly and close to each other anything can happen. I wouldn't even count out Bill de Blasio who is lurking with 10%. If you buy the Quinnipiac poll, he's less than 10pt back. With two months to go and most voters not tuned into the race yet, it could be 1977 with someone we wouldn't think of coming from behind. I don't expect it, but in this race expect the unexpected.

Read the whole Enten piece.  He gives some good reasons for why Quinn's support has cratered, why Weiner has picked up support and why Thompson may have stealth support not being counted in the public polling.

I still think de Blasio has to make some move to set himself apart from the rest of the field right now, before the summer gets really going.

But if nothing else, it is good news that the race is this wide open.

Remember that back in February, just four months ago, Quinn was the presumptive frontrunner who had never trailed in any poll and was approaching the 40% threshold to get her over the runoff hump.

That changed fast, didn't it?

Martha Stewart Wants To "Shag" Bill Gates

Don't drink any coffee while you're reading this or you might channel Danny Thomas:

Martha Stewart is no Paula Deen. Instead of buttering up her foods, Stewart’s been slowly buttering up the public, introducing a new side of herself that’s light and friendly.
A source tells Confidenti@l that over the past four months, the domestic diva has made a conscious effort to wear shorter skirts and say funnier things in an attempt to show people that it’s not just her oven that gets warm — and she’s enlisting the help of Bravo’s Andy Cohen to help with the makeover.

We’re told in early June, when Stewart, 71, held a talk at the 92nd Y in New York, she had one request — that Cohen ask the questions.
At that interview, Cohen got Stewart to play “Shag, Marry, Kill,” a naughty game where you have to choose whether you sleep with, marry, or off a celebrity. After he suggested Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates, Stewart laughed.

“Trump kill. Bloomberg marry, definitely. And I would do Gates,” she replied.

She also admitted that she has sexted. When asked if she had ever had a threesome, she replied, “Maybe.”

Our source adds that in May, after Stewart had posted a personal ad on the dating site, she realized how much positive feedback she got just by opening up and showing she had a softer side.

“She’s trying to reinvent herself and realizes maybe the new Martha can appear approachable,” the source said. “Bethenny (Frankel) for 10 years had been chasing Martha and now Martha sees that reality TV can make you successful.” Frankel has said that she modeled her career after Stewart’s.

The source adds that off camera Stewart can be “hilarious.”

“There’s a sassy side to her. Her favorite phrase when she doesn’t like something is, ‘That’s disgusting.’”

Martha's right about one thing - all of this is "disgusting."

The image of Martha "shagging" Gates -  that sure counts.

You may find it difficult to see Bill Gates as a sexual being, but if you think about it, he's been screwing with public schools and teachers for years.

Okay you can go back to drinking your coffee.

Uncle Tonoose is not coming for dinner!

Daily News Politics Blog: De Blasio Candidacy Is In Trouble

From Daily Politics:

Democrat Chris Quinn hit the stump Thursday with sign-waving supporters from the Hotel Trades Council -- a politically savvy union whose endorsement of her mayoral bid could spell trouble for rival Bill de Blasio. 

 HTC -- among the last major labor players to pick a side in the primary -- joins 32BJ/SEIU, the city's biggest property workers union, in endorsing Quinn.

While smaller than other top unions -- its membership includes 50,000 workers and retirees -- HTC has won acclaim for running smart ground games, particularly in Queens, and vows to spend as much as $2 million to help get Quinn the win.

The HTC nod to Manhattanite Quinn is a clear blow to de Blasio, who's been one of her loudest critics and from the early days of his campaign has framed himself as the champion of outer-borough middle- and working-class voters.

De Blasio does have the support of 200,000-member 1199/SEIU, the largest healthcare workers' union in the country. Its president, George Gresham, has said 1199 will spend what it takes to get de Blasio to the November general.

But Baruch College’s Doug Muzzio said de Blasio’s victory plan was heavily predicated on selling a populist message that would let him lock up the kind of broad labor support that helped propel him to the public advocate’s office in 2009.

Aside from 1199's backing, that union coalition “just didn’t materialize for him,” Muzzio said. "No matter how [they] want to play it, it’s got to be a disappointment to the campaign... [HTC was] making a judgment about winnability here."

HTC backed Bloomberg's third term, so the Quinn endorsement isn't a total surprise.

But I would agree that the broad-based labor coalition de Blasio was hoping for hasn't materialized, his support is stagnating, and he looks to be, barring a miracle, an also-ran.

I have yet to see him get above 10% in any recent poll.

Maybe he ought to go after Weiner, calling him on his hypocrisy, his corporate ties, his racist mailer from the 90's and the sexting thing with the seventeen year old.

I know that the de Blasio campaign was testing some negative ads against Weiner, including one with the sexting/17 year old line of attack.

Now might be the time to start unleashing those.

De Blasio could accomplish two things with that line of attack:

1. He could cut through the muddle and finally get some headlines and media attention for his campaign.

2. He might be able to take some support from Weiner, or at least damage Weiner's support.

He's going to have to do something soon to make a move or he's basically finished.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Arne Duncan, One Of The Biggest Common Core Proponents, Insists Feds Have Nothing To Do With Common Core

Rick Hess wrote the following last week as attacks from the the Tea Party right threatened to take down Common Core implementation in some states:

Sec. Duncan needs to give a speech in which he pleads "mea culpa" and acknowledges that federal involvement and money played a nontrivial (and perhaps, in hindsight, an unfortunate) role in the early stages of the Common Core. Doing so will allow the conversation to move off that sticking point, and reassure the skeptics that the proponents are finally speaking to their fears of slippery slopes. Duncan can then pivot to what comes next. He should signal support for proposals by Congressional Republicans that would prohibit further federal involvement with the Common Core and issue bright-line guidance to make clear that ED will not be sticking its 800-lb. thumb on the scale in the future when dealing with waivers or anything else.

Did Arne Duncan take Hess's advice?

Of course not.

Duncan instead went on the attack against Common Core opponents and skeptics, calling them liars and/or ignoramuses, and exhorting the press to to expose all Common Core criticism as ill-informed or plain wrong.

Here is what Hess thought about Duncan's speech:

Yesterday, our earnest Secretary of Education delivered a big speech on the Common Core to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. In a move that will surprise pretty much no one, he disregarded my advice from last week on how to tamp down some of the push-back to the Common Core. Instead, he basically opted to double down on the administration's rhetorical approach, offering skeptics the back of his hand, and not much else. You can read the whole thing for yourself, but here are seven things that struck me:

1. From the Catch-22 file: When U.S. Secretary of Education is one of the most prominent and vocal champions of Common Core, it makes it harder to argue that this is a state-driven exercise.

2. Duncan was, of course, entirely correct in reminding the editors of the difference between standards and curriculum, and in telling them that agreeing to standards does not mean a state has selected any particular curriculum. Moreover, Duncan sounded a reasonable note when he pointed out the misinformation out there, and blasted critics for "say[ing] that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, it doesn't, we're not allowed to, and we won't. And let's not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping."

3. If Duncan was going to go after "misinformation," though, it would have been gracious and constructive if Duncan had conceded that some of this might be due to advocates not doing a very good job of engaging the public or anticipating reasonable concerns, or had acknowledged that such worries are understandable in light of the current IRS and NSA scandals. Indeed, since he was talking to the nation's editors, he might have posed this as a reporting challenge. Instead, I read the "misinformation" point entirely as an indictment of those goofy yokels who mindlessly fear federal overreach.

4. Duncan offered a slight nod to the role that federal funds, Race to the Top, and ESEA waivers have played in pushing the Common Core forward. He acknowledged that the Obama administration "supported[ed]" and "encouraged" the enterprise. He could have used this as an opportunity to sketch a bright line regarding federal involvement and to convince reasonable skeptics that the feds aren't on a slippery slope. Once again, he passed, saying of the standards: "The federal government didn't write them, didn't approve them and doesn't mandate them, and we never will. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading." Uhh, hold on now, Sparky. This depends on what the meaning of "approve" and "mandate" is. Duncan certainly made adoption of approved standards a key in Race to the Top and mandatory for obtaining ESEA waivers (and there weren't a lot of options besides Common Core). He's free to argue the semantics of "approve" or "mandate," but he's over the line in asserting that those who disagree are "misinformed or willfully misleading."

5. On a related note, Duncan again passed on the opportunity to say it might not have been the greatest idea for the 2012 Democratic National Platform to credit Obama for the Common Core, or for the President to take credit for Common Core adoption in this year in this year's State of the Union.

6. In telling the editors what questions their reporters should be asking, it was interesting to see the questions that Duncan didn't encourage. He told the editors to challenge skeptics to show federally created curricula or textbooks (knowing they can't find such examples), but said nothing about looking into federal funding for the testing consortia (which will devise the tests that will drive instruction and curriculum) or whether all the experts agree that the Common Core is as rigorous and generally awesome as he asserted.

7. Duncan said nothing about his "waiver waiver" decision from the other week (which dealt with the challenge of adopting new teacher evaluation systems while changing tests). This pointed to a larger omission, which was the utter absence of any discussion of the implementation challenges posed by the Common Core or how solid reporting might help state and local officials and educators anticipate, understand, and address those.

This all matters because Common Core adoption is not self executing. It depends on the breadth of support and on the intensity of the opposition. The Duncan line of attack doesn't do anything to help on that front and may very well agitate opponents even more. 

I'm glad Duncan doubled down on his defense of Common Core, ratcheted up the attacks against Common Core opponents and skeptics by saying they're either misinformed or lying about the Core, and failed to address any of the legitimate concerns people might have about the NCLB waivers he gave out that almost certainly forced states to agree to Common Core implementation and the data tracking that comes with it, the government's role in funding the Common Core testing consortia, or any of the other worries people have about the CCFS.

It means Duncan will, as Hess suggests, agitate Common Core opponents and skeptics even more and make the implementation of the Core more difficult and the eventual demise of the Core more likely.

This is a pattern with education reform zealots and Common Core proponents - rather than address the very real and legitimate concerns of Common Core or education reform skeptics or opponents, they go on the attack and dismiss anybody who hasn't consumed the Core/Reformy KOOL AID as a moron or a unionized hack desperate to hold on to the status quo.

Most recently we saw this when ELA Common Core standards developer David Coleman went on the attack against skeptics and critics of the APPR teacher evaluation system in NY State at David Steiner's CUNY education reform forum.  NYSED Commissioner/rookie teacher John King also went on the attack at that forum, whining that the press was not fully explaining the complexities of the APPR teacher evaluation system or the Common Core tests to the public and therefore was helping opponents to bring the reform movement down.

It took reformer Paul Vallas to speak truth to the reformy KOOL AIDers:

“We’re losing the communications game because we don’t have a good message to communicate,” he said. In separate comments, Vallas criticized evaluations as a “testing industrial complex” and “a system where you literally have binders on individual teachers with rubrics that are so complicated … that they’ll just make you suicidal.”


The Bridgeport, Conn. superintendent — who has served stints in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans and earned a reputation as a turnaround consultant for struggling districts with big budget gaps — said reforms he backed were at risk of collapsing “under the weight of how complicated we’re making it.”

“We’re working on the evaluation system right now,” Vallas said of Bridgeport. “And I’ll tell you, it is a nightmare.”

You can tell who is winning the Common Core publicity wars by which side is whining the most about the unfairness of the press.

Arne Duncan telling reporters to carry the water of the Common Core, coming one month after David Coleman and John King whined to their fellow ed deformers about the lack of media support for the Common Core (an absurd charge, btw - all the editorial boards in NYC support the Core unequivocally), shows us that Common Core proponents and their political functionaries know the public is turning against them.

As Hess noted in his post, had Duncan been smart, he would have distanced himself from the Common Core and let other figures take the lead in defending it (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, or Cory Booker, for example.)

But Duncan was not smart and instead he went to the mattresses with Core opponents and got headlines like SECRETARY DUNCAN DEFENDS COMMON CORE - the kind that will just make the people fighting the movement to fight even harder against it.

Heckuva job, Arne.

Heckuva job.

Anthony Weiner's Lucky He's Not A Teacher - Ben Chapman Would Have To Write About Him

I eagerly await Ben Chapman's Daily News article investigating Anthony Weiner's Twitter communications with a seventeen year old female two years ago.

You see, Ben specializes in writing sensationalized articles in the Daily Mirror, er, News, on "pervert teachers" - even one's who have been cleared of wrongdoing.

But who cares if these teachers were cleared of the allegations?

For Ben Chapman and his corporate masters at the Daily News, the allegations alone are enough to prove guilt.

But while Ben's on the "pervert teacher beat" again, I suggest he ought take a closer look at former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his Twitter communications with a then-seventeen year old two years ago.

Weiner was communicating with this seventeen year old via Twitter at the same time he was sexting with other women and sending them pictures of his penis over his Twitter account.

Weiner claimed he never sexted with the seventeen year old, sent her any photos of a sexual nature or had any inappropriate communications with her, but he said the same thing about Ginger Lee, the porn actress who did indeed receive sexual communications and photos from Congressman Weiner.

When one of those photos was sent out to his entire Twitter feed, Weiner tried to get Ginger Lee to lie about the matter, even offering her his p.r. team to help her craft lies to feed to the media.

Lee declined that help and told the truth, helping to put an end to Weiner's Congressional career.

Given how Weiner tried to get Lee to lie about their sexual communications on Twitter and continued to lie about the matter himself until no one believed his b.s. anymore and he was finally forced to tell the truth, the claims Weiner has made about his Twitter communications with the seventeen year old bear some scrutiny.

Weiner's now running for mayor and has placed first in the latest Marist poll for the Democratic primary and second in the latest Quinnipiac poll.

If Weiner were elected mayor, he would be the head of the NYC school system.

It is quite possible that the head of the NYC school system could be a man who sexted with a seventeen year old a few years ago.

Seems to me this would be a story right up Ben "'Pervert Teacher' Beat" Chapman's alley, but so far, he is too busy going after teachers who have been cleared of wrongdoing to look into the Weiner matter.

The DN covered the Weiner/17 year old story a little a few years ago.

How about getting Ben Chapman and Campbell Brown back on that beat and getting to the bottom of that story?

Anybody Sick Of These Education Deform Buzz Words And Phrases?


Research Shows...


Flipped Classrooms.


Assessment (if there are high stakes attached to it, it's a "Test".)

21st Century Skills.



Any others I'm missing from this year?

CIA Agents Joined NYPD In Doing Domestic Surveillance

Not only does Bloomberg have his own army, he has his own spy agency too:

WASHINGTON — Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general’s report

That officer believed there were “no limitations” on his activities, the report said, because he was on an unpaid leave of absence, and thus exempt from the prohibition against domestic spying by members of the C.I.A. 

Another embedded C.I.A. analyst — who was on its payroll — said he was given “unfiltered” police reports that included information unrelated to foreign intelligence, the C.I.A. report said. 

The once-classified review, completed by the C.I.A. inspector general in December 2011, found that the four agency analysts — more than had previously been known — were assigned at various times to “provide direct assistance” to the local police. The report also raised a series of concerns about the relationship between the two organizations. 

The C.I.A. inspector general, David B. Buckley, found that the collaboration was fraught with “irregular personnel practices,” that it lacked “formal documentation in some important instances,” and that “there was inadequate direction and control” by agency supervisors. 

“While negative public perception is to be expected from the revelation of the agency’s close and direct collaboration with any local domestic police department, a perception that the agency has exceeded its authorities diminishes the trust placed in the organization,” Mr. Buckley wrote in a cover memo to David H. Petraeus, then the C.I.A. director.

Just another example of how we now live in a fascist police state where they're watching everything and spying on everybody.

Remember when the CIA wasn't supposed to operate domestically?

Oh, yeah - I remember.

That was back in the day.

 A day that is no more.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How To Appeal A Regents Exam Grade

This info from NYCDOENUTS in a comment at Gotham Schools responding to somebody asking how a parent goes about appealing a Regents exam score:

Here's what I learned today:
As a parent, write (and print) a brief letter (or send an email) to the principal. It doesn't have to be anything big or long. Just include your child's name and identify the test (or tests) in question. Say that you are appealing the grade and would like the test to be re-scored.

Thompson In Statistical Tie With Quinn, Weiner In Runoff (UPDATED)

More from the Marist poll showing Anthony Weiner leading the race for the Democratic mayoral primary:

It wasn’t just Anthony Weiner who got encouraging news from the new Wall Street Journal/NBC New York/Marist College poll.

The poll also suggests former city Comptroller Bill Thompson’s position is improving. He’s still in a statistical tie with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in the multi-candidate primary, according to the poll. But he’s also tied in potential runoffs with Mr. Weiner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Mr. de Blasio trails them both.

That could add strength to the Thompson campaign’s argument that his candidacy is stronger than it looks. As the only black candidate in the race, Mr. Thompson hopes to win 70% of the African-American vote–a figure his aides say is in line with past black candidates. Coupled with a strong showing among Latinos, and provided large numbers of both groups show up to vote, that would likely be enough to put him into the runoff.

That black support is showing some signs of materializing. In a Marist College poll last month , Ms. Quinn led among African-Americans with 26% of the vote compared to 15% for Mr. Thompson and 17% for Mr. Weiner.

This month, Ms. Quinn slipped among blacks. She and Mr. Thompson are essentially tied–he had 21% and she had 19%. Mr. Weiner had 26%.

And while all voters aren’t paying much attention to the race, minorities are paying the least. Among whites, 47% say they’re following the race closely or very closely, compared to 43% of blacks, 33% of Latinos and 26% of Asians. The Thompson campaign’s strategy rests on the idea that as black and brown voters begin to tune in closer the the Sept 10 primary, they’ll identify with Mr. Thompson and support him.

That might not happen. Mr. Thompson faces strong competition for minority voters from his rivals. When more Democrats start paying attention closer to the primary, they could look at Mr. Thompson and decide to support someone else. Two unions with heavily minority memberships, 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East and DC37, which represents city employees, have endorsed Mr. de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu, respectively.

Still, in potential runoffs where he’s running even with Ms. Quinn and Mr. Weiner, Mr. Thompson seems strong. He leads the better-known Ms. Quinn among blacks by 11 points and is tied with her among Latinos, according to the poll. Against Mr. Weiner, who also has higher name recognition, he loses Latinos by 8 points but is tied among blacks and wins overwhelmingly among whites.

Mr. de Blasio has tried to make inroads among black voters, in part by putting his biracial family on view.  But in potential runoffs with Ms. Quinn and Mr. Weiner, he loses them handily, according to the poll.

As he left a candidates forum Tuesday night, Mr. Thompson, who narrowly lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009 after polls predicted a much wider margin, said he’s not paying attention to them this time around.

“These polls have shown themselves to be incredibly inaccurate,” he said. “If you go back to 2009, I think they said it was going to be a blowout, and I almost won that election. So I don’t really place a lot of faith in these polls.”

On Twitter, Jonathan Prince, his chief strategist and a former official in President Barack Obama’s State Department, voiced a similar sentiment and suggested that the other two candidates were leading because they’re better known, calling it the “The Name Rec Shuffle”.

I think Thompson just has to make the runoff in order to become the next mayor of NYC.

It's possible that Quinn and Weiner will be the two players in the runoff in September, but I'm betting my 2013 "S" rating that one of them doesn't make it and Thompson does.

Here's why I think that:

Quinn and de Blasio are going to go nuclear on Weiner now that there's a poll showing him in the lead.

They have to take him down now before the meme that Weiner has all the momentum solidifies and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As often happens when candidates go negative, they drive down their own numbers along with the target of their negative ads.

Quinn has seen her numbers drop from 37% in February to 20% now.

De Blasio has never gotten more than 14% in any poll for the race.

If and when they go at Weiner, they probably can take some of his support away from him, but I wouldn't bet that it goes to them.

It just might go to the one candidate who doesn't engage in the negative advertising - Thompson.

We'll see how this all plays out.

But right now, if you're Thompson and you're looking at a slight uptick of support in the Marist poll and a statistical tie in a runoff with either Weiner or Quinn, you're feeling really good about your chances.

No wonder the UFT endorsed Thompson.

They think they may have a winner on their hands.

And the way the polling is looking right now, that may just be a good bet.

UPDATE: Quinnipiac poll out tonight showing Quinn, Weiner, and Thompson in a statistical dead heat:

Bill Thompson's up, Chris Quinn is down and Anthony Weiner's the man in the middle in a new Quinnipiac poll showing a dead heat in the Democratic race for mayor.

  Quinn, the City Council speaker and perennial frontrunner -- at least until a WSJ/NBC/Marist poll showed Weiner jumping to the head of the primary class this week -- remains in the lead in the just-released Q poll.

She's at 19% support, trailed by Weiner at 17% and Thompson at 16% -- a statistical tie.

“Former Comptroller William Thompson’s spurt – no doubt spurred in part by his endorsement last week by the United Federation of Teachers – is the big news in this new poll. The other news is Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s slide and that’s more puzzling,” said Quinnipiac's Maurice Carroll. 

This poll just reinforces what I was thinking about the race after the Marist poll.

Quinn is in trouble.

Weiner has some momentum but hasn't gotten much scrutiny yet - we'll see what happens to that momentum after he gets targeted by Quinn and de Blasio.

De Blasio is essentially dead in the water - stuck as always at 10%.

And Thompson is picking up support.

Quinn lost six points, Weiner gained two, Thompson gained six.

We have a wide open race.

More U.S. Hacking Claims Against News Corporation

From The Guardian:

Lawyers working for a Hollywood stuntwoman allegedly hacked by News Corp journalists said Tuesday they are working with more potential victims.

At a press conference in New York, Norman Siegel, lawyer for Eunice Huthart, Angelina Jolie's sometime stunt double, said they had spoken to a number of people who claim they have been hacked by journalists working for News Corp.

He refused to give details but added: "There are a bunch of people, the majority from England but some from here, who want to bring claims."

Siegel is part of a team bringing the first case for alleged hacking in the US courts. He is working with Mark Lewis, the British lawyer who has represented nearly 100 clients, including the family of Milly Dowler, the kidnapped 13-year-old whose voicemail is said to have been hacked by reporters from the now-closed News of the World tabloid.

News Corp initially dismissed the hacking scandal in the UK as the work of a "rogue reporter", said Siegel. That case grew into a scandal that has led to more than 100 arrests and the closure of the News of the World. "Six years later we are on this side of the Atlantic looking at one case but at something that will clearly go further," said Siegel.

Huthart, who is British, worked with Jolie on movies including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Salt and Mr and Mrs Smith. According to a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles: "illegal activities were undertaken [by News Corp employees and their representatives] ... principally through the two newspapers, the Sun and the News of the World".

The suit alleges that Huthart's personal messages were intercepted and used in several stories by the UK newspapers, including the fact that Jolie had started a relationship with co-star Brad Pitt on the set of Mr & Mrs Smith, something that only their bodyguards, their PAs and Huthart knew.

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch regularly called the editors of his newspapers to discuss their top stories and "knew or should have known that executives, employees and agents of The Sun and News of the World were engaged in widespread phone hacking", the suit alleges.

This is the first time that News Corp, parent company of News International, which controls the UK newspapers, has been named as a defendant in a case. It comes as the Justice Department continues to investigate News Corp under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), used to pursue US companies accused of bribing foreign officials.

Siegel has also worked with the relatives of 9/11 victims who were also reportedly hacked by News Corp employees. Siegel said it was his understanding that a FBI investigation into those allegations was ongoing.

Klein-watchers should keep an eye on this story.

News Corporation has been split into the entertainment division (21st Century Fox) and the print/education division (News Corporation.)

These court cases will affect the print/education division.

The legal fees, penalties, out of court settlements and the like will all come from that division.

It doesn't bode well for the future of Amplify that the education division starts out having to fight the hacking claims cases.

No Accountability Measures In Place For NYCDOE Educrats

Accountability, it seems, is only for the little people:

Top administrators at the city's Department of Education haven't been subject to formal evaluations during the Bloomberg administration, a break from past practice and an unusual occurrence among school districts across the U.S.

The disclosure follows the culmination of a yearslong battle by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to implement tougher teacher and principal evaluations in the district.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has been on the job since April 2011, said formal job reviews weren't necessary because he informally evaluated his staff daily, and he was evaluated daily by the mayor. Teachers, he said, were in a different position.

"They're in front of the classroom and teaching our children, and we need to have a sense of how well they're doing," he said. "With us, we're not teaching children directly, we're setting policy. And I don't think it's hypocritical at all."

Oh, yeah - that's not hypocritical at all.

Teachers are in front of a classroom teaching "our" children while the NYCDOE educrats/hypocrites are in Tweed courthouse setting policies that affect those teachers who are in front of a classroom teaching "our" children - but that doesn't affect "our" children at all.

Who's Walcott kidding?

The Wall Street Journal goes on to show that none of the top officials at Tweed get formally evaluated ever:

The Wall Street Journal filed a public records request in February 2012 seeking the senior-staff evaluations after the department successfully fought to release scores for individual teachers' performances based on students' test scores.

In a response dated June 11, the department's public-records officer said no evaluations had been created since at least 2001 for the following positions: chancellor, chief of staff, chief academic officer, senior deputy chancellor, chief schools officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, deputy chancellor and general counsel. Mr. Bloomberg has appointed three permanent chancellors.


Superintendents across the U.S. are usually evaluated under a formal process, generally by elected boards of education, said Bruce Hunter, associate executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association. The reviews are intended to help superintendents improve, he said. An increasing number of superintendents are also judged by their staff and community members, he said. "The jargon for it is a 360 evaluation," he said. "Almost nobody goes without evaluation now."

Superintendents in several other districts controlled by the mayor, such as Boston and Washington, D.C., also receive formal evaluations every year.

Before Mr. Bloomberg won control of the school system in 2002, evaluations of chancellors were comprehensive and touched on many areas under a superintendent's purview.

Former schools Chancellor Rudy Crew's last evaluation praised him for progress on issues such as reading scores and the expansion of prekindergarten but criticized him on several points, including the school-construction plan, according to media reports at the time. Mr. Crew, who was fired in 1999, couldn't be reached for comment.

Klein and Bloomberg (through his spokesperson) defended the lack of formal evaluations for the top Tweedies by saying that Tweed educrats were informally evaluated daily and anybody who wasn't up to snuff was "terminated."

That claim may not stand up to scrutiny, as it has previously been demonstrated that Tweed rarely fires a principal for misconduct, incompetence or anything else that might lead to termination in Bloomberg's beloved private sector.

What's worse, in negotiations with the DOE, UFT President Michael Mulgrew says the Tweedies were always promoting the need for formal accountability for teachers because everybody needs to be evaluated:

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the DOE would argue during teacher-evaluation negotiations that "all workers get evaluated."

"It's a monument to hypocrisy," he said. "They're setting policy and making decisions that affect over 1 million children, and they don't feel they need to be evaluated in any formal way whatsoever?"

Indeed it is.

But not a surprise in the Bloomberg administration, where a lack of accountability for the people in power has been a hallmark of his governance.

Why Weiner Going Ahead In A Poll May Help Thompson

Marist released a poll last night showing Anthony Weiner in first place in the Democratic primary for NYC mayor.

Weiner received 25% of the vote, Christine Quinn 20%, Bill Thompson 13%, Bill de Blasio 10% and John Liu 8%.

Quinn lost four percentage points from the last Marist poll, Weiner went up six, Thompson went up two.

On the face of it, this looks like a good poll for Weiner and a disaster for Quinn.

But the poll may also be good news for Bill Thompson too.

Here's why:

First, it proves Quinn is no longer the "frontrunner" and she's been a paper tiger all along.  The "frontrunner curse" has been broken and the race is now officially wide open.

Second, she's going to be desperate now and we can expect her to go very negative on Weiner.  She already targeted him in a speech last week, but with the first official poll out showing her in second place (confirming what she already knew in her private polling), she's going to have to continue to go negative at him.  That's the kind of thing that drives down the poll numbers of not only the target - in this case, Weiner - but also the politician doing all the negative advertising - in this case, Quinn. That's also the kind of thing that helps a third candidate who doesn't go negative - say, like Bill Thompson.

Third, with Weiner now topping a poll for the first time, he's going to get some serious scrutiny.  Yes, it's true that he got a little when he first entered the race, but not the kind he's going to get now.  Questions over TwitterGate will arise (perhaps even the question of whether he lied about sexting with a seventeen year old), but so will questions over his maturity, his leadership qualities, his temperament and his inability to hold on to a staff.  It's better that Weiner top a poll now and get some serious scrutiny in July and August rather than go ahead in late August and get some momentum going into the September primary.

Fourth, Thompson's support was undercounted in the 2009 race and it's quite possible it's being undercounted now.  This sometimes happens with minority candidates who garner support from minority communities.  Are the pollsters reaching people in these communities who do not have land lines?  It's quite possible that Thompson's support is stronger than it appears so far in the public polls - something Thompson himself seemed to suggest last night after being asked about the Marist poll.

So there's lots to chew over after the Marist poll, and while the poll is undoubtedly good news for Anthony Weiner and bad news for Christine Quinn, it may not be the worst news Bill Thompson has ever heard.

Let the scrutiny of Weiner really begin now and let's see where we stand in a month.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weiner Leaps To First Place In WSJ-NBC News/Marist Poll

I was expecting this:

Two years after Weiner torpedoed his political career by sharing lewd pictures of himself online and then lying about it, the former congressman now leads Quinn 25% to 20% among the city's registered Democrats.

After largely disappearing from the public grid after the scandal, Weiner started sending up trial balloons this spring.

He officially launched a bid for the mayoralty in late May, putting out a video in which he asked New Yorkers to give him a second chance after making "big mistakes" he deeply regretted.

Quinn, the City Council speaker, has long led the packed field of contenders from any party.

The new survey shows Quinn, whose frontrunner status has long made her the target of teardown attempts by her foes, still ahead of former Comptroller and 2009 Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Thompson, who polled at 13%, followed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 10% and current Comptroller John Liu at 8% support.

“The race has been scrambled by Weiner’s candidacy,” Marist pollster Lee Miringoff told the Journal.
“Weiner’s candidacy has gotten more acceptable to voters since he announced, (and) Quinn’s having a difficult time reversing what has been a slow but steady decline in her numbers,” he continued.

There was a reason Quinn went negative on Weiner last week, and this was it.

Her private polling was telling her she was falling into second place.

She's had a very rough time of it since February and I am starting to think she may not make a runoff at all.

In fact, the runoff may be between Weiner and Thompson.

Notice Thompson picked up a few points in this poll while de Blasio remains mired at 10%.

Thompson's just seven points from Quinn.

Thompson picked up the UFT endorsement and more endorsements from politicians last week.

Weiner's a paper tiger front runner, the way Quinn was, and his rise to the top could turn just as quickly if something damaging comes out about him and his past.

If I were Quinn, I would want to get some of that opposition research she's sitting on about Weiner out before Thompson passes her and she falls into third place.

If Thompson's support is being undercounted in these official polls, as Errol Louis suggested often happens with minority candidates, he could actually be a lot closer to second place than anybody thinks.

Remember how close Thompson was to first place in 2009?

Or perhaps I should say that if Thompson's support is being undercounted, Quinn could a lot closer to third place than she is to first place.

It's going to be an interesting summer.

In case there was any doubt about Quinn's diminished frontrunner status, that's been put to rest by this poll as well as her going negative on Weiner last week.

Expect some shots at Weiner now that he's placed first in at least one public poll.

And if I were Quinn, I would unload on him before August to take some of the gloss off those poll numbers.

Maybe it's time to ask NYC residents how they feel about Weiner sexting with a 17 year old?

A Story Of Shifting Regents Scores

From a comment at Gotham Schools:

The remainder of our missing English Regents scores came into today. Many of the scores that we already had were changed. Many of the students who originally had zeros in the writing sections now have higher scores. Some of the scores rose by more than 20 points. From what I hear, there were quite a few graders who were not licensed to teach high school English grading that test. This whole thing has just been a disaster. How do we know if all the exams that were graded incorrectly have been re-graded? How can we trust that the tests were graded fairly and objectively? Will we have the opportunity to review our students exams, or will McGraw-Hill conveniently destroy them when they are done?

When I was grading the ELA Regents exam last week, the person running the grading room told every teacher there that she/he should go back to school and look over the Regents exams of students who failed the test after the exams were brought back, so I do not think McGraw-Hill will be destroying the exams as the commenter wondered.

But the advice to look over the exams when they are returned to the individual schools is good and should be followed.

The potentiality for errors is much higher this year than in the past because of the scanning issues, the computer system glitches and breakdowns, the extended grading window, the driving of the tests to Connecticut and trying to get them all scanned as the clock ran down on the grading time.

I am sure there have been plenty of errors in the grading and scoring of the exams this year and while I'm certain the NYSED and the NYCDOE will try and head off calls for an audit of the exam grades, given how chaotic and messy the whole process was and given how high the stakes are for students, teachers and schools, that's exactly what should be done.

This is especially so if this story of shifting scores on the exams is true - a story that is still unconfirmed.

Has anybody else heard of shifting scores from last week to this week?

Has anybody else heard of any other funkiness around the scores?

Michael Fiorillo Explains Why The Regents Grading Fiasco Was A Success From The DOE Perspective

From a comment Michael Fiorillo left at Ed Notes Online on the Regents grading mess:

The purported lack of trust is really an attempt at greater control and oversight over teachers. The system is called the McGraw CTB Evaluation (for the kids) and Monitoring (for the teachers) System.

It's there to time us, to rate us as "easy" or "hard" graders, and to see if our grades are within the range given by other teachers, or if a disproportionate number of the exams we grade require a third reader.

As always with the DOE, where does the incompetence end and the malice begin?

From the perspective of the DOE, they got what they wanted out of the Regents grading.

First, they took the test grading out of the hands of teachers, quite literally, by putting them online.

Second, they got to take teachers out of their schools and put into detention center cubicles, isolated from their colleagus and chained to their computers.

Third, they got to rate the graders, both for range but also for productivity, and call out those not working fast enough or grading the way they wanted.

Fourth, they got to hand close to $10 million dollars to an outside company, always a plus for the Tweedies when they can hand money out to the testing industrial complex.

I'm sure the Tweedies wish that the scanning issues and computer glitches hadn't happened, but I bet they're willing to give both themselves and McGraw-Hill a pass for those.

As Michael noted in his comment, this was all about greater control and oversight of teachers.

Since that was the goal of the system, they can consider this a "heckuva job, mission accomplished!"

Petition To Have Your Child's Regents Exam Rescored

There have been a host of problems with the Regents exam grading - from out of license teachers grading them to computer system crashes to scanning problems to "norming" issues at the grading sites.

I wrote last week that these scores are dubious at best and parents should try and have their child's test rescored if they receive a failing grade.

As we approach the end of the school year and the NYCDOE is scrambling to get all the tests graded before Wednesday, I think it is imperative for parents to understand that there was NOTHING "objective," "scientific," or "rational" about the grading system.

You cannot know if your child's test was graded by a teacher at 8:55 at night, bleary-eyed from working all day and then reading computerized test scans for five hours after school.

You cannot know if your child's test was graded by an out of license teacher and, if so, was regraded by a teacher in license.

You cannot know if McGraw-Hill scanned your child's test booklet correctly so that the words could be read on a computer screen.

You cannot know what "norming" process took place at the site where your child's test was graded or if that process aligned completely to the state standards for grading.

You cannot know these things, but you can be sure all of these may have affected how your child's Regents exam was graded.

Thus if you are unhappy with your child's score or believe it may not show the full understanding and mastery of the subject your child has in the subject she/he was tested in, you should petition to have your child's test rescored

The NYSED and the NYCDOE are not going to be happy if they get hundreds or even thousands of requests for rescoring.

But too bad for them.

Both of these bodies have placed high stakes to these tests for students, teachers and schools and so we must make sure that these tests have been graded correctly.

Who Will Bill Thompson Turn On?

The Wall Street Journal looks at the broad coalition of supporters mayoral candidate Bill Thompson enjoys - from Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch and some in the corporate education reform and charter school movement to Randi Weingarten and the UFT - and asks which one of those groups Thompson eventually screws.

A teacher in the article really gets to the crux of the conundrum for me:

Ben Wides, a Manhattan high-school history teacher, is leaning toward supporting Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. He said the role of Ms. Tisch, who launched more rigorous standardized tests that angered teachers, in the Thompson campaign gives him pause.

"As a teacher it makes me suspicious, very suspicious of Bill Thompson," he said. "I don't understand how someone could have Merryl Tisch as their campaign chair—who has been pushing relentlessly the implementation of these state tests that UFT members myself included have been very upset about—and then say that he's going to represent the interests of the union."

With Tisch as his co-chair, Al D'amato as one of his chief campaign bundlers, and a host of charter school and education reform types meeting Thompson in the Tisch Family rec room to hear assurances from Thompson that little will change under his administration, I don't think there is any doubt which group Thompson will continue to support and which group he will turn on.

You can bet that Thompson will not turn his back on his wealthy charter school/education reform supporters - not with the kind of cash they'll pony up to him to keep the reform train going.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Did Joel Klein Help Break Up Rupert Murdoch's Marriage?

Read the entire Michael Wolff piece on Rupert Murdoch's impending divorce to his third wife, Wendi, for a Game of Thrones-like story of familial intrigue, plotting and backstabbing within the Murdoch family and News Corp inner circle, but definitely take note of what happened to Rupert's marriage to Wendi when Joel Klein came aboard:

In a world whose main currency was having Rupert's ear, Wendi had altered the balance of power, to the consternation of executives and family. There followed the orange hair; the Prada suits; the kooky diets. And there was the discordant Wendi voice: not just her accent, widely mocked, but her straightforwardness: her mentioning Rupert's Viagra in Vanity Fair; and her own often hilarious jibs, complete with mimicry, albeit with a Chinese accent, at the other members of Murdoch family.

What to do about Wendi became a major corporate and family preoccupation – and a constant worry for Murdoch himself. Buying the most expensive apartment in New York and having her decorate it was one of Murdoch's strategies to keep her busy. Encouraging her to produce movies was another. Still, he liked being with her. In public, he would take her hand. She became a key aide during his 2007 takeover of the Wall Street Journal.

At least one intimate judged that an abiding concern for Rupert in the 2008 and 2009 period was holding his marriage together – that it was an issue for him of pride. It was important for him not to fail at what everyone said would fail. The winds and cross currents between them were very strong with almost nobody, in the family or in the company, ready to say if they were becoming closer or growing further apart. Not least of all because Rupert, trying to cater to all the various interests of his court, often told people what they wanted to hear.

Vacationing with Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg on Diller's yacht, they appeared to be deeply in love. Not long afterwards, he told his son Lachlan it was over. At some point, Wendi's base of social gravity moved from the media set – David Geffen, Barbara Walters, Ivanka Trump, Arianna Huffington, Graydon Carter – to a different jet set. Dasha Zhukova, the girlfriend of Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich, and Larry Gagosian, the international art dealer, became her close friends and business partners.

An article in the New York Times quoted sources described as friend's of Wendi as saying she was living more and more an independent life. In fact, she was, trying to hold on to her life, while Rupert, in the company of trainers and message therapists, seemed to be more and more removed from her.

Wendi had made a particular enemy of Joel Klein, the lawyer and News Corp executive who more and more was Rupert's closest corporate confidant and one of the company's chief plotters. What's more, the most damaging results of the hacking scandal for Murdoch had been an increasing breach with his children and an urgency, on his part, to calm the internecine feuding. Wendi, again, was the odd person out, even the expendable one in the Murdoch family.

Interesting how Wendi managed to survive all the various plotters in the Murdoch circle until Joel Klein became Rupert's closest corporate confidant.

Michael Wolff describes Klein as one of News Corporations' "chief plotters" and Wendi as an "enemy" of Klein's.

You have to wonder what poison Klein whispered into Rupert's ear to help move Murdoch toward divorce.

Maybe Wendi Deng took out the wrong guy at the Parliament hearing when she defended her husband against a man attacking him with shaving cream.

Maybe Klein was the real enemy.