Monday, June 04, 2018


Someone from Forest Hills High School has been in touch with us to document abuses by Principal Ben Sherman. We have known of Sherman's poor human relations skills from his prior school East West School of International Studies where he harassed one of my good friends who was lucky enough to get out of there. I went with three teachers from East-West to support them as they complained to the Queens UFT about this principal. I don't recall much being done to reign Sherman in back in 2011.

In the infamous Department of Education tradition of fully supporting and promoting administrators who don't work collegially with teachers, Sherman was moved to Forest Hills High School, a prestigious neighborhood school. It appears his human relations skills have not improved much since 2011 as is documented below and also at Ed Notes.

We issue our own mock Declaration of Independence to highlight our grievances.

The brief history of the present PRINCIPAL OF FOREST HILLS HIGH SCHOOL is a history of repeated injuries, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the School. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has taken a school with multiple A ratings and attempted to humiliate in the following, numerous ways its hard-working staff.

He has deprived Deans, math teachers and E.L.L. teachers of their much-needed workspace, attempting to cram them into already over-utilized rooms in a most crass and uncaring manner, proclaiming, “it is not a democratic process.”

He has threatened to “flip” teachers’ schedules without any understanding about the necessity of having the staff matched to best meet the needs of the students.

He has mishandled a lockdown on March 15, 2018, dubbed a “limited passing,” which had students crying in their classrooms, teachers trying to comfort them, and parents terribly worried, all while he was holed up in his conference room.

He has let the hallways of the building go to ruin, turning his back on disturbances, while attempting to micromanage teachers in their classrooms.

He has made it known he will put teachers in hallways, disciplining students with little-to-no power and/or backup.

He has left student bathrooms unlocked and unsupervised, creating unsafe conditions in which lewd acts, vaping and intimidation can occur.

He has reduced Circular 6 choices to only seven, with the seeming intent to force more teachers to take on a sixth-class, gratis (“small group instruction”) and peddle substandard pathways to graduation (“eight to one credit recovery”).

He has needlessly, through the reduction of C6 choices, deprived students of the opportunity to expand their social and intellectual horizons by participating in a wider array of clubs during school hours.

He has, similarly, through the reduction of C6 choices, deprived students of the ability to receive beneficial tutoring during their free periods.

He has targeted teachers who have raised valid objections to current policies with gratuitous observations immediately following their comments.

He has attempted to intimidate teachers in a vindictive manner based on non-evaluative Student Perception Surveys given to a single class.

He has encouraged teachers who raise concerns to retire from the profession.

He has attempted to win his way with threat of punitive measures, including a non-SBO day ending at 4:51 p.m.

He has put letters in file for trivial matters, including the entering of his office without an appointment.

He has attempted to force teachers to adopt teaching styles more fit for elementary school than for college readiness, namely “Word Walls” and “Turn and Talk.”

He has forced his propaganda, “Happenings in the Hills,” upon teachers, informing them of his “expectations,” some of which are non-contractual in nature, while depriving teachers of any voice in their school.

He has encouraged teachers to dispense with paper records in the name of using programs with data that can suddenly disappear or even be manipulated.

He has forced teachers to rely on Skedula, a system known to have many glitches, as the last legal word for attendance for New York State.

He has made it known that teachers will be forced to adopt a grading policy through which students can come as late as they want to class and turn in late work with little to no penalty.

He has targeted the school’s Chapter Leader and attempted to impair the functioning of the Union.

He has applied questionable measures in the collection of lunch forms on a relentless pursuit of Title-One Funding.

He has and continues to place false and misleading data numbers above the well-being of the school and the college readiness of students.

He has forced teachers to stay beyond their workday (and, next year, arrive earlier) to move their time card on the premise that he is concerned with their health.

He has created conditions of stress in the building which are detrimental to the functioning of a healthy school community.

He had forbidden teachers to leave the building on Conference days for professional development opportunities, claiming that only his meetings (practically the same offerings as last time) are “relevant.”

He has made it impossible for the Consultative Council to meet between the November and March meetings and now encourages it, with the intent to readily dismiss the viewpoints of its constituents.

He has blocked traditionally held UFT meetings following Faculty meetings on the premise that “I have one contract, you have another.”

He has made the workplace no longer a welcoming environment.

He has charged the staff with Anti-Semitism based on a picture used by a Jewish blogger in an article which named him as one of the most untrustworthy City Principals, as rated by the teachers at the school he founded, East-West.

He has threatened the peace and concord of the home of two-hundred teachers and their young charges.

Given this long list of abuses, We, the teachers of Forest Hills High School, mutually pledge to each other our fortunes and our Sacred Honor. We pledge to stand together in defense of the interests of our students, the traditions of Forest Hills High School and the careers and dignity of our colleagues.


Janusz said...

I salute teachers of Forest Hills HS for standing together to face the issue instead of back stabbing each other for the place under the Sherman's table. Which usually happens( I have lived through it in Gateway)

Highly Effective King Clovis said...

It's ok because I am sure the Times will write a piece on what an amazing person he is and the the teachers at that school are clearly just vindictive and lazy...(sarcasm by the way)

Anonymous said...

Who cares what the Times writes?! They’re still predicting a Hillary win over Trump. -Atlas

Anonymous said...

Another principal another disaster in a school rich with tradition. Mike Bloomberg created this theme of miserable people, miserable schools, hate, pit against each other. The NYCDOE schools are infested with these kinds of people who have made the lives of solid, hard working intelligent people miserable for no apparent reason.

The good ole days of schools in NYC being a happy environment has turned into a third world infested crime scene filled with illegal immigrant students, immigrants galore, principals who are miserable, teachers who have no choice but to be miserable. We can all blame Mr. Mike Bloomberg for this incredible way of life of baby sitting illegal immigrants who speak no english, immigrants who speak very little english and then have to listen to ignorant bloomberg principals who are as corrupt as can be.

Anonymous said...

Immigrants aren't the problem.

James Eterno said...

So many wonderful students are immigrants. Why throw in nativism here? Makes no sense. Go Forest Hills.

Anonymous said...


The rank and file are with you!!!

Anonymous said...

Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like my principal

Anonymous said...

Print out a certificate UPGRADE TO COMPLETE ASSHOLE and stuff his mailbox

Anonymous said...

let's end "elite" schools so they all suck.
equality and solidarity a la venezuela.

waitingforsupport said...

And at University Neighborhood HS in Manhattan

Anonymous said...

I stopped by this school to drop off a resume when I was excessed.

This ass hole had security escort me out of the building bc I was ‘not invited’ by Sherman personally.

Anonymous said...

He is going to bring the school to the ground as Dwarka did.

Anonymous said...

Does dwarka get in the line of duty if she has issues with her knees for well you know. Being on her knees to keep her ‘job’?

Anonymous said...

At least 16 of the items on that list are happening in my school. I am told by the more seasoned teachers, that this is the new normal.

Anonymous said...

I hope the UFT actually does something to help and not just rush in and take credit if the protests are successful.

Anonymous said...

This happens everywhere in the Bronx. Why is it only when white/asian/indian schools have an issue everyone finds their collective moral conscience? The rot is now showing. Move on or shut up.

Anonymous said...

Ben Sherman looks like an amiable fellow.

If he exhibits anti-Union animus and violates the Taylor Law, then people should be filing Improper Practice Charges with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

Don’t wait for the UFT to consider doing it. File on your own!

David Suker said...

I agree. If people only knew or cared what was going on there. Genocidal disinterest!

Ibeth M. said...

I appreciate Mr. Eterno for all your hard work and your devoted dedication to teachers... always fighting for our rights and just defending us for what is FAIR!! thank you for exposing the light of some of these Principals who just have their own agenda to harass teachers. I also salute all the teachers in Forest Hills coming together to fight against the wrongness of their Principal... Going STRONG TEACHERS NEVER GIVE IN and NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Anonymous said...

This blog, a blog by NYCeducator, and a third blog by EdNotes are now prominently displayed on Union bulletin board at Forest Hills High School opposite the time clocks where everyone can see it. This includes the Principal.

Anonymous said...

The Forest Hills faculty thank all of you for your support.

Anonymous said...

University Neighborhood HS is oppressive and is led by a micromanage, shrewd, sneaky manipulator. Anything new at that school?

Anonymous said...

It's a fortress.

Anonymous said...

What is the UFT doing? Nothing like always.

ed notes online said...

We're working on a possible meeting of people from a few schools with abusive a-Hole principals looking to brainstorm some actions. Focus for now is on the high schools. Email James or me if interested.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is going to happen. Look it at Dwarka she is still there.

Anonymous said...

This is sad. Forest Hills has been an excellent community school for years. They are one of the only successful large comprehensive high schools left.

Anonymous said...

I'm going into the school next year. I am PRAYING that the brave teachers there will remove him and a new, more capable principal will come along and erase his corrupt and abusive policies; oh, I have a dream!!!!