March 14, 2009

In the face of tyranny

I wrote a follow-up report on the protest at Fordham Arts as a guest post for Ednotes yesterday morning. Here's an excerpt of it:

Highlights of the protest at Fordham HS for the Arts on March 13th

. . . after a hard day’s work for most of us who labor in NYC schools

Yesterday’s rally was organized in support of teacher Raqnel James, who has recently become a victim of Blige’s miserable judgment and management skills. It was reported at a recent union meeting that Blige arranged for eleven cops to come and arrest her at school, claiming she had written a letter that had included threats. Lacking evidence (the letter was faked), the police refused to charge her. Blige remains unscathed, protected by a chancellor who seemingly condones, and maybe even asks for administrator misconduct that borders on or exceeds legal limits (who knows).

Another gruesome story came from Fannie Davis, a veteran teacher of 32 years who had been a popular dean of students when Blige decided to excess her. She grieved, and after what looked like a successful hearing, Davis returned to the school to face a pissed off Blige. With the help of one of her APs (who later rescinded his statement and apologized to Davis personally for his action), Blige trumped up a cause for Davis's removal. Into the rubber room went she the very next day, where she remained sans allegation, sans charges, sans meetings, sans everything.

One full school year later, out of the blue, came a simple letter telling Davis to go back to work, which she did, but only to serve in a series of activities hardly matching her 34 years of teaching expertise: cafeteria and bleachers supervision, and copy machine duties (they told her to watch TV while she was down there doing that).

After some months of this, and fearful that a U-rating would be doled out come June no matter what, calls were made, emails were sent, lawyers were convened, and solution was found. She's now teaching her own subject at two different sites, free of Blige and enjoying her profession once again.

Blige, by the way, is footing the bill for this. Sweet!

Joel Klein is burnishing his legacy.

[Full report and sporadic editorial remarks over at Ednotes . . . . ]

Watch a video of part of the demonstration here.

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