Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I have as much respect and enthusiasm as a human being could possibly have for the opt-out from standardized testing movement that has spread throughout the state. However, if the movement is to truly succeed, it would be quite helpful if the New York City union, the United Federation of Teachers, would get behind opt-out. The UFT is the largest teacher local in the country as well as the state.

Opt-out supporters will not have an easy time meeting a goal I saw online of doubling this past spring's total of 220,000 students who refused to take exams. UFT support would certainly be welcomed. Opt-out is weaker in so called progressive NYC compared to much of the rest of the state.

New York City has now become in many ways the standard bearer for almost a kind of status-quo unionism. The UFT leadership is enabling the people who are trying to destroy us by still trying to play the appeasement game. Our leadership continues to call only for modifications of the test and punish policies that are killing public education.

State testing policy needs a complete ovehaul. Student exam results should not count for any part of a teacher's rating and should only be used for diagnostic purposes for students. Strong opt-out numbers give parents, students and teachers leverage in the battle to save the public schools as we know them.

The UFT membership needs to pressure the leadership to change their thinking. If the UFT was on board, I believe opt-out would have a much better chance of success.


Harris L. said...

When your entire strategy is to lay down with the lion in the hope that it won't eat you it should come as no surprise when it finally decides that you are tonight's supper.

Anonymous said...

The only OPT OUT I am looking forward to is the decision to OPT OUT of this union altogether. Hopefully the supreme court will give us this option soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree!

Anonymous said...

That will really be helpful to the cause of teachers.

Anonymous said...

Keep dreaming. The UFT will NEVER back the Opt Out Movement. However, that is not a big deal as the opt out movement is almost 100% parent led and driven. We all know that teachers can be brought up on ethic charges if they encourage their students to opt out. If NYC does not see large amounts of parents opting out, it is the fault of apathetic parents. In the end, it is not that big of deal as the rest of NYS will see massive growth this year in opting out.

ed notes online said...

Opt out is beginning to take root here in NYC. Don't even consider the UFT as a factor - this must be parent driven. MORE people have been involved from the beginning with Change the Stakes - which is where Jia Lee came from to MORE. Running the most prominent teacher leading opt out for UFT president will get the movement noticed beyond the union. We have principals now working with us - some behind the scenes. We started with 4 optouts just 3 years ago in the city -- look at the rate of growth. The DOE will do anything to can to kill the movement but it is something they can't stop because as long as there are these tests opt out will exist. When you look at the total assault on teachers, their unions and public education and the helplessness so many feel, the only thing that has the potential to protect people is the opt out movement.

Anonymous said...

A Jewish school administrator claims in a federal lawsuit that he was “tormented” by his principal who considered him “on the wrong side of God.”

David Possner, an assistant principal at MS 226 in South Ozone Park, Queens, claims in the Manhattan suit that colleagues texted him about a work assignment during Yom Kippur.

Because he used his phone to read the text and reply — which goes against Orthodox custom on High Holy Days — they called him a “bad Jew.”

When he alerted Principal Rushell White, a Christian, to the harassment, she allegedly replied, “Maybe you are a bad Jew,” according to court papers.

White also allegedly “callously targeted” Possner, who is demanding a transfer out of the school.

She once ordered him to pick up a half-eaten plum off the floor in view of school custodians, who then teased him and texted that he should “pick up fruit stuck in their butts,” according to court papers.

When a student set off third-floor fire extinguishers during the 2012-13 school year, White accused Possner, although he’d been supervising kids on the first floor, he charges.

White said she had “one Jew too many” in the school, Possner claims.

The Department of Education declined to comment.

Anonymous said...

This “rising star” has done some less than quality things while as principal. She ran the chapter leader out of the building by drumming up false psychological charges, embezzled money from school budget, and denied teachers thousands of dollars in per session money. She allegedly gets away with it because she is “associated” – closely – with Rep. Ruben Wills, who has had legal problems of his own.

Teach Stronger you have barely touched the tip of the iceberg in your observations concerning Principal Rushell White who deceived her staff, including myself, into believing that she would be the Captain of a sinking ship, MS 226Q, when she first took her position. I was so blindsided by her saccharine smile and profession of building community that I bought into her philosophy of education and her charming presence. I even singlehandedly nominated her for the channel 7 Above and Beyond Award for which she did become a recipient. I supported her and blasted colleagues who did not, only to find, as time went by, what a poor judge of character I was. i have profusely communicated my regrets to my colleagues. Ms. White has very strong political connections, most evident with Councilman Ruben Wills who although not part of our District 27, gives a great deal of funding to MS 226Q. Additionally, Ms. White has been seen frequently with Mr. Wills long after the school day ends. Ms. White has reduced many a staff member to tears with her false accusations, letters in file, and bullying. She has caused them to loose their position with false claims. At present, Ms. White and her Assistant Principal has mercilessly harassed the parent coordinator in an effort to get her to resign, a woman well known in her community and loved by them. She has had a teacher who holds a PHD removed from the classroom and doing hall duty on false claims of corporal punishment that never transpired. She has driven another teacher to the brink of a mental collapse because of her false charges against the teacher. She has had a wonderful custodian disciplined and removed with license removed after pressing false charges against him. Ms. White has harassed one assistant principal repeatedly that he must have an attorney clear his name. There are many other actions far too many to list that need to be addressed but staff are too scared to step to the plate. She has destroyed lives. What in God’s name can be done to have her removed?????? I am not afraid. I am newly retired after 48 years of service. I have many awards and recognitions as a Master Teacher with a sterling reputation. I am a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Ms. Whit is targeting two people in particular at present because they are my friends.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Rushell White, Principal of Virgil I Grissom Middle School, though a representation of evil incarnate, for her gross misconduct and acute mistreatment of staff, she appears to be protected by political cronies in her misdoings and is not made to answer for or to any system. Even today, 2015, she continues to drum up false and seriously flawed allegations concerning staff, places erroneous and fabricated letters in their file and will resort to anything to have a staff member removed. Why she has not been investigated to date is beyond my comprehension. Even Help Me Howard came to my home to interview and nothing came of it after I was accused of steeling state tests in June 2014 and was subject to Special Investigations Downtown. After a grueling process and scrutinization of my colleagues and others, I was completely exonerated . She tried to ruin my 48 years as an exemplary teacher with many awards and recognitions for years of unblemished service. The Chancellor herself wrote a personal letter of gratitude for my service.

Anonymous said...

Administrators at a Queens middle school are being investigated after widespread allegations they physically and verbally abused students, The Post has learned.

Principal Rushell White allegedly allowed three assistant principals at JHS 226 to drag pupils through school hallways and threaten to report them to mental hospitals, multiple sources told The Post.

One whistleblower claimed to have seen Assistant Principal Michele Cohen last year grab and pull a special-education student in a second-floor hallway while yelling, “Stop, stupid.

You better listen to me or I’ll EDP you.” The phrase is a police term for an “emotionally disturbed person.”

Three months later, the purported witness reported seeing a different assistant principal, Jennifer Shirley, slam her hand into the same student’s chest and drag him through the cafeteria screaming, “I am taking what is mine,” and, “What are you going to do about it?”

In another 2014 incident, special education principal Julia Adams retorted, “F–k you,” and, “F–k your mother,” during an argument with a special-needs student during a fourth-period cafeteria shift, according a complaint sent to the Department of Education and obtained by The Post.

The DOE’s Office of Equal Opportunity is investigating.

Anonymous said...

I believe she once discontinued a teacher because he was an orthodox Jew. At least all the evidence pointed that way. The union is less than useful - and in fact is involved in supporting some district 27 awful principals over the years.