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Speech from Fordham Rally

March 31, 2009 pm31 3:36 pm

On March 13, 2009, 400 teachers from throughout the Bronx rallied in front of the Theodore Roosevelt building on Fordham Road to protest Iris Blige, abusive principal of the Fordham HS of the Arts, and her latest series of outrageous actions: having a teacher arrested for a letter it is likely an administrator forged, and having her sent to the rubber room, and retaliating against those who asked questions.

Lynne Winderbaum was the first of several speakers. Lynne, UFT Bronx HS District Rep, deals with these abusive principals almost every day.

[It took me too long to type this, but it’s still worth posting.]

We are here today to let the DoE know, and the superintendant know, and the ISC know, that we are fed up with their support of principals like Iris Blige of Fordham Arts. Principals like Blige who ruin lives, ruin careers, rule by fear and intimidation

Why does the DoE tolerate a turnover rate of 70.5% in one year? Dozens of teachers have left every year since 2004 because of this principal. There have been 11 APs in her school in fewer than 5 years. 9 have left.

Talented, dedicated young teachers who have given extra time, taken on extra duties, and been populat with their students lose their jobs every year. Good teachers who are on the UFT Committee or who stand up for their rights are given predetermined unsatisfactory evaluations. Evaluations, which are designed to improve instruction in the classroom, are being instead subverted into a tool to intimidate teachers and stifle dissent.

Why does the DoE tolerate principals like Iris Blige who are not instructional leaders but people who maintain their power by using their authority to rate staff to impose their will.

Why does the DoE tolerate principals like Iris Blige who, when they are not giving out unjust ratings and firing new teachers, are sending them to the rubber room for petty or no reason?

A former UFT chapter leader spent two years on trumped up charges which were ultimately dropped. Another teacher who you will hear from today spent two years on an allegation coerced from an AP. There were never any charged investigation or decision. She simply came back from a Step 2 grievance downtown. That was her “crime.”

Now Raqnel James has been sent there with no evidence. Will she give two years of her life, too?

Release Ms. James! Remove Ms. Blige!

How does the DoE allow a school to be ruined by such a high turnover rate and loss of good, talented teachers? Because of Blige’s abusive treatment of staff, the school has been added on the “Do Not Apply” website and the teaching fellows are warning each other to stay away because the school is a career-ender. The only people who work here are those who regret that they had not known. But after today, everyone will know.

Fordham Arts cannot retain teachers or supervisors. Fordham Arts is run by a mean-spirited, hostile individual who shows no loyalty to her staff and tells them to “Leave if you don’t like it.” Fordham Arts cannot even tell its students that their favorite teacher will be back next year.

We are here today to demand the quality leadership that we deserve in our schools, to demand real instructional leaders, to demand professionalism, not autocracy, anger and intimidation.

Leaders are people who inspire others to follow. Those, like Iris Blige, who cannot lead, and must rule by terror, inspire others to leave.

My other posts about the Rally:


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Al Caholic permalink
    February 14, 2010 pm28 3:26 pm 3:26 pm

    Oh my thank God that other people know about this witch. I saw this women push a student down the stairs and she didn’t even get arrested . She hates men in all ways , yes I said it. My female friend told me. We had to interview a case in her school and when we left she told me that she gave out the vibe to my partner who is bi-sexual. That warden oopps I mean principal be arrested for civil rights violations. 11 APS in 5 years. Who is this rogue principles Rabbi ? This crazy women has no idea of my relatives that go to this school. I finally got my brother to remove his child from this school. This child missed his regents test because of a something they should not of been doing This student was allowed to take the test at a later date. If I reported this how many teachers would probably loose their jobs , everyone except this Hitler. what a shame that a Black Female is worst then a white racist. Mayor Bloomberg even if you FIX the election so you can run again, never again will I vote for you. I’m so sorry that I voted for you the first time. God help ALL those children in that school and the great teachers and AP’s that are stuck working under her.


  1. “A thick, dank, fetid cloud…” « JD2718
  2. Ruining careers for $475/month (18 month term) « JD2718
  3. Abusive Administrator – a Case Study in the Bronx « New Action – UFT
  4. Raqnel James – Not Guilty! « JD2718

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