On Tuesday, the Village Voice blog reported on the lawsuit some educators filed in federal court against the DoE's rubber room abuses. Pakter apparently sent in a comment, but I don't see it's been posted there yet. Maybe it will be, but for now it's in the sidebar of this blog.
ALSO read Betsy Combier's Dec. 5 post in the NY Rubber Room Reporter. She makes the point that "union members and administrators are treated very differently in the New York City public school system. A principal who discriminates or does something else that is illegal or corrupt does not get the same punishment as a teacher or staff member, who, more often than not . . . is removed from the school — either fired immediately if this person is not tenured, or re-assigned to a "rubber room." We've heard many of these kinds of stories: principals striking out at kids, demeaning staff in front of children, and doing very many weird things with the budget and special ed.
At someone's request, Pakter gives a 3-part update to his case in the comments below and has now sent around some pictures of his famous plants — the subject of the latest charges brought against him by the DoE. Since I can't illustrate the comments, here is one of the offending plants.
The other one is also green, I guess.
I've posted Pakter before (feisty alliteration) and need to do it again, not only for the breadth of his commentary, but for his insight into the way this malevolent chancellorship distorts a profession and maims a generation of kids.
He wrote this to Norm Scott of Ednotes fame.
In New York City, Whistle-blower Teachers
— of Joel Klein's School System —
Get Blown Away
I read Ed Notes religiously, every day, as well as some of the other excellent Education websites, although nothing even comes close to your Ed Notes- may it go on till you are one hundred and perhaps for a few years after that.
All the present fuss over New York City Teachers reporting cheating truly amuses this old geezer writing to you. Not that the topic is not important.
Shocked- just shocked. You mean to say there are really car thieves and illegal Betting Parlors in every big City in America. Impossible - How can that be ??
So what else is new. Cheating went on in every school I ever taught in and at the High School where I taught for twenty five years, mark altering / "improving"/ "updating" - was raised to a virtual "art".
I wonder if Principals demand Kickbacks for all the gallons of "white-out" they order every June to ensure that their graduation totals will look even better and rosier than the previous year's stellar "improvement".
As for using a "Passing" Regents grade as an excuse to ignore a Failing Class Grade score- how the heck do you think they come up with those "regents scores".
At my former school, and I am sure many would not be surprised to learn, at 99 % of the NYC High Schools, all Regents Scores are referred to as a student's "Raw Regents Score". That is to say- the actual grade the student earned on the actual Regents Examination.
Then at my former school, the teachers were actually given printed "Regents Score Conversion Graphs" that indicated what to enter as the student's final official Regents grade in a particular subject- such as Earth Science for example.
If the student achieved a real grade of 43 for example- the teacher just ran his/her finger across the graph to find that this "raw" score was to be converted to a 65, for example. You can imagine what a "raw score" of 65, became in the final adjustment. "Harvard University - here we come".
When it comes to grades and grading, the entire 23 Billion dollar NYC DOE is one big scam from A to Z.
As for a Teacher going to "The Office of Special Investigations"- please - give me a break.
That office is the slickest shell game of all. Sure, they bust a small time independent electrical contractor from time to time just to make it look like they are really doing "Investigations".
But their real purpose for existing is to put out potential political fires before they even have a chance to become fires. I went to them with tons of stuff and got stone-walled every time. I know everyone down there by name. That office is a total crock.
I shall never forget the day, after I was most unceremoniously removed from my school (after I refused to surrender evidence in my possession of egregious Federal Civil Rights violations as well as financial fraud being perpetrated by the Principal and her cronies), when I received a very brief call on my cell phone.
I had just been removed and illegally transferred to a Rubber Room gulag in Brooklyn. The caller was one of several SCI "investigators", (most of them former or retired NYC Police Officers), assigned to look into the allegations I had reported to that agency on several different occasions.
His words were- and I recall them as though it were yesterday:
"Mr. Pakter, I am just calling you to inform you that I have been ordered to close the book on your case". The call was that short and simple.
But then again, you find this situation existing in the NYPD, the US Army, Mega Corporations, the US Post Office et al. It is the way of the world.
Anyone who seeks to have any type of wrongdoing investigated, quickly discovers that he or she soon becomes the prime object of "investigation".
It is, and has been the way of the world since the Dawn of Time- "Bad News- Then Kill the Messenger".
When I observe all those teacher "nubies" running down to SCI at 80 Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan, a stone's throw from Wall Street, to report horrendous and outrageous criminal activity in the NYC DOE, schools system, I never really know whether I should laugh or cry.
Any one who Whistle-blows in NYC, or most other places just doesn't understand that he or she has just signed and Notarized their own "Death Warrant".
As for going to the Newspapers- "paleeeeeze"- give me a break. Who do you think owns and controls the news media- and I mean 99 % to all of it ???
But every year, as sure as Day follows Night, some young group of idealistic Teachers, God Bless their innocent and naive beautiful Souls, goes running all over the Universe- here, there and everywhere, crying "the sky is falling".
You bet it is, right down squarely on their soon to be chopped off innocent heads.
We old timers smile and just send out our warmest telepathic messages of Love to all the Teacher Whistle-blowers in Gotham and wish them our deepest and most sincere hopes for Good Luck and that they may emerge at the far end of the SCI gauntlet with a little of their tattered skin still hanging from their bloodied backs and torn and broken bodies.
Can an old Geezer like me fault these young idealistic Teachers for all their efforts to make the system better for all the powerless and vulnerable children in NYC- most of whom are already "at Risk", from the moment when they first emerge from their Mother's womb and cry their very first cry.
Who am I to fault and be the least bit cynical that someone wants to protect Gotham's children. When I stare at the face of a NYC Teacher "Nubie'", all pink cheeked and eyes shining, hurrying through the ever-revolving glass doors at 52 Broadway, knapsack heavy with text books hanging over their shoulders, who, my old friend, am I really looking at, but the perfect reflection of who I myself was, almost 40 years ago, starting out in the world of Education in New York City.
I thought back then, as a young Teacher, in the South East Bronx and later, working in Bed-Stuy and Harlem and finally via my self created Medical Program for gifted Minority students at Art & Design High School, that I could, by sheer dint of hard work and a driving Idealistic vision of the Universe make a difference.
That somehow "Good" would triumph over "Evil", honest "Idealism" would or could vanquish rampant corruption, and that somehow, by hook or by crook- I would make a "Difference"- even if just a small degree of difference.
Tell me dear God, I did make a difference.
Tell me my old and dear friend, Norman Scott, that it was not all for nothing.
And that those young Teachers presently fighting the good fight we both began to fight also, in our long distant Youth, so many decades ago, long before the present Whistle-blowers were so much as a glint in their Mother's and Father's eyes- oh please do tell me that they will succeed where we failed to make things better.
Hey Jude- please tell me that things can and will be better and that some good and healing force in the Universe- call it what you will, can and will wash away all those twisted and demented minds and sorry excuses for human beings, who for now at least, have temporarily hijacked the futures of all of Gotham's innocent children and are Hell bent on privatizing all Education in Gotham and turning it all into one gargantuan, multi-billion dollar, For Profit, enterprise.
In some cases trading their future lives and future hopes for a bag of Silver coins.
And I still see, when I lay me down to sleep each night all the laughing, beautiful faces and shining innocent eyes of my former gifted, so very gifted and talented, Medical students in Room 316, so radiant with great expectations and so deserving of Hope, that this present Chancellor, a pathetic "Legend in his own mind", via his countless lackeys, lapdogs and stooges and confederates, criminally robbed from their futures when I, as payment for becoming a Whistle-blower myself, was so violently torn from their school and so violently torn from their Lives.
David Pakter, former Teacher of the Year, STILL STANDING