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Some notes on the PEP in the Bronx

December 18, 2009 am31 8:39 am

Went to the Panel for Educational Policy meeting in the Bronx last night. Noticed a few things:

1. “Mismanagement” may be a good description of how the DoE operates, but it makes a lousy chant.

I think mismanagement is far too weak to describe much of what they do… but listening to the smaller stuff at the PEP, mismanagement seems present in all the little stuff. School closings? Intentionally destructive policy, meant to harm kids, hurt teachers, disrupt neighborhoods. They are not closing schools out of mismanagement, but mismanagement pervades the entire process all the same.

I bet some linguist or speech person could explain how the stress pattern (short-long-short-short) makes a lousy chant. Bad rhythm. Hard to understand. Just not punchy.

2. Closing schools is on the agenda.  Even if the PEP pretends it is not.

The audience was loaded with kids, faculty, parents from closing schools. Columbus had the most. But Monroe Academy of Business and Law was there. SCRL. New Day. A bunch of kids and a few faculty from Global Enterprise. FDA. And school closings were a major part of public comments. They seeped in during the middle of the meeting. And they were all that came up at the end. School after school, student, teacher, parent, principal got up to challenge the DoE. A few challenged “school closing as policy” – most made the case for keeping their own school open.

Two UFT VPs spoke, strongly. Lisa Fuentes, principal of Columbus, was wonderful. But all, kids and parents and teachers, all were important last night.

3.Good guys won one.

There were also people from schools that were on last night’s agenda. One Bronx PS came loud, and in numbers. And they were losing their 6th grade, when their neighborhood is a few years from gaining a middle school. And that neighborhood, on the slope of a ridge, is sealed off from the closest middle school by a highway. The Bronx PEP person was sympathetic. And then another. And another. Then the DoE just withdrew the proposal before it went for a vote.

Now, ten minutes conversation made clear that the idea was bad. Why hadn’t it happened earlier?

And why hadn’t this been reported anywhere? Yeah, maybe Highbridge matters less to some people…

4. Klein is very busy

On his blackberry, more or less beginning to end. Audience called him on it towards the end, quite a bit. When he looks up he has an awkward smile on his face. Eccch.

(on our side. if people are going to be looking at you, maybe because you are going to be a major speaker, probably better not to do like Klein. Someone might notice)

5. I didn’t try to count during the event. But at the end, after most had gone home, there were still 60. I’m going to guess there were 200 or so at the peak.

6. It was nice to see so many Columbus people. Lots of hellos. I left that school in 2002, and it was good saying hello. My mentor (from 97) was there. People I helped when I worked with the UFT. And just other familiar faces.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2009 pm31 9:35 pm 9:35 pm

    I think there’s a huge distinction between mismanagement and sabotage–and only one is deliberate.

  2. December 18, 2009 pm31 9:46 pm 9:46 pm

    Direct sabotage reflects their policy towards the schools, teachers, kids, neighborhoods…

    They still mismanage the little stuff.

    The two are not exclusive, although I think we (2) are more concerned and we (all) should be more concerned with the deliberately destructive actions.

    I think there is a sharper line to be drawn in particular over school closings: should school closings be “last resort” or should “school closings as policy” be ended?

  3. December 19, 2009 pm31 5:02 pm 5:02 pm

    Of course they should be ended. It’s their job to fix schools, not destroy them.


  1. Remainders: Word of the week is “mismanagement” | GothamSchools
  2. More on the Dec 09 Bronx PEP « JD2718

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