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Rumor: DeWitt Clinton HS Principal Santiago Taveras removed

November 23, 2016 pm30 5:14 pm

Is this true?

Any confirmation? Sources?


When the Department of Education (still under Bloomberg) failed in its attempt to shut down Clinton four years ago, they didn’t give up. They planted two mini-schools in the building, eating up a floor and isolating the library. They discouraged middle schools from sending their students, causing enrollment to plummet. And they brought in Santiago Taveras, with a checkered pedagogical resumé, to demoralize the staff. Which he has done. Nice, smiley guy, who empowered arbitrary, impossible, unreasonable hatchetmen.

Last Spring he manipulated a personnel issue (Clinton has faced multiple years of down-sizing) to “get” the then-UFT Chapter Leader out of the building. We, the whole union, should have gone to war over that. Mentioned indirectly here.

So today, if he really was removed, we should want to know more. What for? Why? And what changes does this signal for the school, and for high schools in general?

Until we know more, it is not possible to know if this change (if it happened) will help bring DeWitt Clinton back, or push it deeper into the hole. Stay tuned.


Advice for myself

November 12, 2016 pm30 7:25 pm

From the Spring:  Speak the truth.   Work for Change.  It’s not about you.

Needed additions:  Act against racism. Act against anti-immigrant bigotry/hatred. Act against sexism. Act against homophobia.

Also:  Act for fairness. Act in solidarity.

Looking away = acquiescence (and is absolutely unacceptable)

What to watch for Tuesday (and still get to sleep)

November 5, 2016 pm30 10:03 pm

many of you care deeply about Tuesday’s results. And in the rush, you may find yourself hanging on every update, trying to figure it all out. The stress will be unreal. Teaching Wednesday will be hard.

What you need is a crib sheet.

At 7:00 Virginia polls close. Look for a quick call for Clinton. If it takes them a while, try to be patient. But if they call it for Trump, start studying how to speak Canadian. It’s probably over, and a disaster.

At 7:30 Ohio and North Carolina polls close. If either of them is called for Clinton, go read a book, drink something soothing, and turn in early. It’s done. Clinton won. And if neither OH nor NC goes her way, it’s still ok.

At 8:00 Pennsylvania polls close. Assume for the moment it goes for Clinton (probably will). Also at 8:00, New Hampshire and Florida polls close. If either of them go for Clinton, go read a book, drink something soothing, and turn in early. It’s done. Clinton won.

If some of those four, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Florida go Trump, not a problem. If all of them go Trump, then you have to keep watching, it’s going down to the wire.

At 9:00 PM, Michigan polls close. Should go for Clinton. But let’s look at the two potential trouble spots:  If Michigan goes Trump, then Clinton can make up for it by winning North Carolina or Florida. If not, that’s probably a Trump election. If Pennsylvania goes Trump, then Clinton can make up for it by winning Florida. If she loses PA, and wins NC but not FL, then it’s down to the wire. If she loses PA and Michigan, then she needs Florida, or it’s all over. Add NC, and she wins, or else add NH and it’s down to the wire.

Review. By 8:30 or 9:00 if  – [remembering that (Michigan) is a 9PM close]

  • C: Clinton has VA, PA, (Michigan) and at least one of: Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, or North Carolina, that’s a wrap.
  • C: If Clinton has VA, PA not (Michigan), and has Florida or North Carolina, that’s a wrap
  • C: If Clinton has VA, (Michigan), but not PA, and has Florida, that’s a wrap
  • C: If Clinton has VA, but neither PA nor (Michigan), but she has Florida and North Carolina, that’s a wrap.
  • IDK: If Clinton has VA, PA, (Michigan) but none of: Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, or North Carolina, it’s down to the wire.
  • IDK: If Clinton has VA, (Michigan), but not PA, and has NC, but not Florida, that’s down to the wire
  • IDK: If Clinton has VA, but neither PA nor (Michigan), but she has Florida and NH but not North Carolina, that’s down to the wire.
  • T: If Clinton has VA, PA but not (Michigan), not Florida and not North Carolina, that’s a Trump win
  • T: If Clinton has VA, (Michigan), but not PA, and not Florida, and not North Carolina, that’s a Trump win
  • T: If Clinton has VA, but neither PA nor (Michigan), and not Florida, that’s a Trump win
  • T: If Clinton lost VA, you should have stopped watching.

What does “down to the wire” mean? Mostly it means, Nevada, whose polls don’t close until 10PM. Sorry. It also might mean the stray single electoral votes in Maine and Nebraska. It might mean Iowa, but if Clinton has lost Ohio, she’s probably already lost Iowa.

By the way, can Clinton lose PA or MI and make it up in Ohio? Highly unlikely – if she loses PA or MI she’s probably already lost OH.

In summary, watch 7 states (or 8, if it goes down to the wire):

  • 7PM Virginia (must win)
  • 7:30 Ohio
  • 7:30 North Carolina
  • 8PM Pennsylvania
  • 8PM New Hampshire
  • 8PM Florida
  • 9PM Michigan
  • 10PM “down to the wire” Nevada

If they talk about Clinton losing Georgia, didn’t matter. If they talk about Clinton winning Connecticut, didn’t matter. It’s just the 7 (or 8) above. That covers about 97% of what might happen. And it probably gets you to sleep soon after 9.

Election Trivia Question

October 16, 2016 am31 6:32 am

When was the last time 4 candidates each got 10% or more of the state vote in a presidential race? 

A Current poll (Y2 Analytics) has an interesting race in Utah:

Trump: 26%
Clinton: 26%
McMullin: 22%
Johnson: 14%

McMullin, in case you didn’t know (I didn’t) is a Republican running as an independent, on the ballot in 11 states. He is also a native Utahan, and a Mormon, and is polling well enough to get some interesting attention. (I wonder if he is having any impact in Idaho, Colorado, or New Mexico)

Anyway, here’s the question:

When was the last time 4 candidates each got 10% or more of the state vote in a presidential race?

October Surprise – in Iraq

October 15, 2016 am31 8:24 am

Off-topic, since I haven’t been writing on topic.

But there is an “October Surprise” coming. Not only that, it’s not a surprise.

ISIS has been losing ground in Syria. Since June they lost the entire Turkish border, hundreds of miles, mostly to a coalition militia (SDF) dominated by Kurds (but with other ethnicities, including Arabs). The rest of the border they’ve lost to the Syrian opposition (FSA), with direct backing by Turkey. That offensive continues, winning a town or village at a time, heading towards a large town, Al Bab. The SDF now holds Manbij (pop 100,000). The next obvious move in Syria would be towards Ar Raqqah, with a quarter of a million people and ISIS’s organizational leadership.

But none of that makes an October surprise. For the surprise, we need to look to Iraq. Over the last two years the Kurdish forces (Peshmerga) and the Iraqi Army have an impressive list of victories. One at a time. With gaps in between. Of months. The Iraqi Army has taken Tikrit, Hit, Fallujah, Ramadi. The Peshmerga have taken areas around Mosul. They took Sinjar. They have linked up with the Kurds in Syria, creating a continuous front.

All of this was spread out, over the last two years. Progress has not been regular front page stuff. But it’s about to be.

There is a massive offensive planned, could start any day, against Mosul. Mosul is a huge city. It used to have 2 1/2 million people. It’s an “oil capital.”

It’s not a secret, here’s a few 1, 2, 3, 4, descriptions of what’s coming up. And week by week the different armies and militias report moving men and materièle into position. Pre-offensive bombing has been ramped up. And political leaders say soon, or sooner. And ISIS is preparing defenses, and bracing for it.

And that’s it. Two weeks, or ten days, or five days before the US election, a massive offensive against ISIS will begin. Front-page, evening news stuff. Fighting will be raging as Americans go to the polls. The photos and video on tv will be of ISIS soldiers dying on one side, and “our allies,” but not Americans, on the other. The pictures of Americans will be limited to Obama, Generals, Diplomats, members of the State Department, and pilots, returning, giving thumbs up.

Donald Trump, already pretty much dead in the water, will watch as ISIS takes a beating on a huge, front-page stage. Even without him contributing stupid tweets (and he probably will) that counts as an October surprise.

After primary loss, Robert Jackson is still fighting for public education

September 18, 2016 pm30 7:40 pm

Robert Jackson is not the typical politician. He did not support public education so he could win elections, no, it was the reverse – he ran for office, in part, to help public education. And in defeat (he lost but a few hundred votes last Tuesday) he remains committed to public education in New York.

Here’s the classy letter he sent out:

Jonathan —
Thank you for standing with me in this incredible campaign and giving me the opportunity to run for State Senator.I am deeply grateful to each and every one who came to our Headquarters to make calls and those who reached out to their friends with “Dear Neighbor” letters or Facebook posts; or stood outside a subway station, an elementary school or polling site to hand out campaign literature; or read these emails and time and again helped us meet our funding goals; or simply greeted me with a smile at my daily morning and afternoon subway stops, on the street or at a senior center.

Thank you also to the many labor unions, education and community activists and progressive groups who worked so hard on our behalf. And I especially want to thank our great interns who did so much to propel this campaign forward and hopefully were inspired to be part of the political process.

While we finished 693 votes — out of more than 25,000 votes cast — short of winning, we can all hold our heads high and be proud of the race we ran. We worked hard, put together an amazing and diverse coalition of support and ran with energy, heart and integrity – standing up for the right priorities, staying true to the principles in which we believe and never wavering in support for better schools, affordable housing and more jobs and opportunities for all.

While this campaign has ended, the work goes on and the challenges continue. My commitment to the community and causes came long before I decided to run, and will continue now that this race is over. I will continue to fight for a real Democratic majority in the State Senate, to reform Albany and our campaign finance laws and continue my lifetime fight for education, hope and opportunity to give every child the chance to succeed.

In fact, starting October 2nd I will once again walk to Albany on behalf of our children as part of the AQE Education Walk to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court decision which ruled that the state is systemically underfunding Black, Latino, and low-income students in many districts. We will demand that NYS finally fully fund education in every district in NY. And while I had hoped to go as a Senator-elect, I am excited to participate as a parent leader, just as I was when we first made this walk. (read more here)

I am proud of all we have accomplished and look forward to continue working with you for our community. You can email me at with your thoughts, ideas and concerns. I hope you will stay in touch.



-=-=-Jackson for Senate 2016 · United States

By the way, those great interns? One was a former algebra student of mine. I was so proud!

The Day After – Looking Back

September 12, 2016 am30 4:20 am
tags: ,

August 1998 Rudolph Giuliani put a fence around City Hall with police checkpoints. The public could no longer gather by City Hall steps, not to watch press conferences, not to demonstrate, and not to hang out.

Why was Giuliani taking 9/11 countermeasures three years before 9/11 occurred? He was not. There was a movement afoot to restrict freedom, to restrict the press, to restrict the right to assembly, and that movement was pressing hard and limiting our freedom before 9/11.

Airport Restrictions, The Department of Homeland Security, preventing the public from accessing public buildings – there was a blueprint for all of these things BEFORE 9/11.  They were just waiting for a good enough excuse. (City Hall steps were blocked to the public ‘because’ the US launched missiles at Afghanistan and Sudan. Pretty flimsy excuse).

On 9/11 our city was attacked. It was personal. Many of us lost friends or family. All of us lost some sense of security in our own city. We know who attacked us, and in our country’s way, it got even (killed bin Laden, invaded a few countries that had not attacked us). Slowly those of us who survived and did not breathe the poison recovered, some of us continue to recover.

But on 9/12 Giuliani and his ilk launched an assault on our freedoms that continues to this day. There is no wall that will keep Tom Ridge out. Chris Christie need not fear a Seal Team. The damage done to us on 9/12, we need to begin addressing that.