Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Monika Garg has, in the words of the NY Times, "stepped aside" as Principal of of Central Park East 1 Elementary School in Harlem. This story was reported on  Education Notes earlier.

When Chapter Leader Marilyn Martinez came back to CPE 1 completely cleared of charges on Monday, apparently Principal Garg couldn't face her. The UFT Delegate Catlin Preston is still facing charges and will hopefully also be cleared.

It took an extraordinary effort from this school community but this is a true victory for parents, teachers and students. A well organized group of teachers, parents and other activists can still be successful in fighting an abusive principal, even if a small minority of teachers and parents support the principal.

Perhaps the highly publicized removal of the principal from Townsend Harris High School and now the reasignment of  CPE 1's principal will give hope to teachers, other staff, parents and students struggling against anti-union administrators throughout the system. It takes a real collective effort from a school community but it is possible to stand up to a principal who is clearly not willing to work with parents and teachers. If someone is not a good fit for a school community, he/she should be reassigned or not assigned in the first place.

It is my humble opinion based on what I have heard that CPE 1 and Townsend Harris are just the tip of the iceberg. Many other principals need to be removed or at least reigned in.

Here is the letter from Acting Supt Dolores Esposito via Ed Notes:
Dear CPE 1 Community,

Since arriving at CPE 1 yesterday, I have met with members of the school community including students, school staff and families.

I want to share an important update. Principal Garg has chosen to take a new position in the Department of Education and will not continue as the Principal of CPE1. This is effective immediately. During her tenure at CPE 1, she has focused on serving the needs of the whole child while providing a high quality education.

During the transition, I will continue to serve as Acting Superintendent in charge of CPE 1. Together we will focus on identifying the next leader for this school in accordance with Chancellor's Regulations. My primary focus continues to be delivering a high quality education for all students in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment. With nearly 30 years as an educator and as a former graduate and adjunct professor of Bank Street College, I will use my experience in progressive education to support the school.

I look forward to working together with everyone at CPE1 to advance equity of opportunity and excellence for all students.




Anonymous said...

Why does Garg get a new position?

Abigail Shure

James Eterno said...

Simply because this is the NYC DOE. Once you are in the administrators club, you are taken care of. You have to do something extraordinary to get thrown out of the club. Membership has its privileges.

Michael Fiorillo said...

So, James, would you say this is a vindication of the UFT's "We're working behind the scenes" strategy," or did De Blasio tell Farina he doesn't want to continue being hounded by CPE parents (bless their hearts)?

I'm inclined to choose Door #2, but am curious about your takeaway.

Teacher Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Eterno said...

Clearly public pressure works but there is a place for the behind the scenes approach. However, without a real threat of being out there in public, the behind the scenes approach has no leverage. The UFT specializes in giving up its leverage.

Teacher Mom said...

With all of that, it still took an entire year and a half. This situation is truly what you said - extraordinary. Even with the publicity, the DOE refused to act to put a stop to what was going on! In many respects the damage was done. Those teachers went through pure grade D hell. I hope with this that the undoubtedly many more school communities that are similarly suffering, will take heart and begin to fight back. I also hope that our union will not continue to stand idly by while we are continue to come under assault daily.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Anonymous said...

1 unsuitable principal down, 399 more to go - according to Farina's statement that there are at least 400 that should not be leading schools.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy for the staff of CPE1 that doesn't have to suffer at the hands of this monster but what about Dwarka, Cruz, Hawkins, and countless others? We are not blessed to have parents that are educated, politically active, and fearless with plenty of spare time on their hands! Do we deserve to continue suffering?

The UFT has failed us in so many ways. It is despicable.

Anonymous said...

Too little, too late. The entire system has collapsed.

Anonymous said...

Dwarka was praised by the Chancellor the other day, unreal with the school being completely destroyed.

ed notes online said...

The other schools are missing a key ingredient - parents who want the principal out. When it is just teachers they don't listen. These parents at CPE1 were astounding - and relentless. I remember when a few of us first me with some teachers -- some of whom are also parents at the school- and we told them about PEP meetings, which they had never heard of. The went to the very next one with about 20 people and spoke up and at least a few of the parents went to every PEP since then - about 14 months ago. Their presence at Marilyn's hearings won it for her.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Norm every school has 20 parents who can go to PEP meetings and follow mayor around. Most high schools do not have 20 parents active in PTA. We pay union dues and expect union to back us up.