Sunday, December 18, 2016

MULTIPLE PRINCIPALS FROM HELL IN QUEENS HIGH SCHOOLS

The story of Rosemarie Jahoda, Interim Acting Principal at Townsend Harris High School, is now well documented in the press and on the blogs. Jahoda was an assistant principal at Bronx High School of Science who had 20 teachers in the Math Department file a harassment complaint that was substantiated by an arbitrator but rejected by the Department of Education's Office of Labor Relations. What a great background to be promoted to principal. Jahoda is upsetting the entire school community in her new job at Townsend Harris.

She is not a rogue principal. Queens has two other interim acting high school principals who deserve to be publicly blasted as they too are creating extremely hostile teaching and learning environments in their buildings.

Kayode Ayetiwa is the Interim Acting Principal at Humanities and the Arts Magnet High School. For full disclosure let the record show that my wife Camille is an English teacher at Humanities as well as being the UFT Delegate. Each evening Camille comes home with another horror story of Ayetiwa or two of his assistants AP Moussa or Stergiopolous disrespecting staff members and/or students and getting away with it.

Teachers are working five or six periods in a row in violation of the UFT Contract; administrators are entering classes and berating teachers in front of students; observations with mostly 1's and 2 ratings on the Danielson scale are given out with regularity to many of the veteran teachers; bulletin boards are micromanaged beyond belief as are substitute lesson plans.

When Camille and Chapter Leader Lowena Howard complain to the Principal, he does nothing. Camille has filed many APPR complaints, grievances - including several for union busting - and is appealing for arbitration over last year's ineffective rating that was done by Stergiopolous and the previous principal Rosemarie Omard.

In response to grievances or APPR complaints, Ayetiwa either ignores them or he goes well beyond the time limits specified in the contract. When he finally hears grievances, he denies all of them, no matter how obvious the contractual violation, while telling Camille to sign his decisions as if she agrees with them. In one hearing, Ayetiwa actually sat there and laughed through the entire conference as Camille meticulously exposed numerous contractual violations. No resolutions to the violations are ever sought by the principal even though Chapter Leader Howard continuously asks how the issues can be resolved.

To their credit, the UFT has taken all of Camille's grievances to the Chancellor's level and she is one of the 13% going to arbitration on her rating. However, the central UFT refuses to do anything to publicly expose Ayetiwa or any principal from hell. They leave it up to the school. AFT President and former UFT President Randi Weingarten used to say the UFT would come down on abusive administrators like an 800 pound gorilla. The gorilla must be asleep these days or maybe sleeping with the administration (figuratively that is).

Harsh publicity is what is needed to reign in the likes of Jahoda and Ayetiwa, particularly since we are entering a mayoral election year and Mayor Bill de Blasio needs to be held accountable for keeping former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appointments at the DOE essentially in place. de Blasio and his Chancellor Carmen Farina have shown virtually no respect for us as they continue the war on teachers started by the previous administration.

Townsend Harris and Humanties and the Arts are not alone. This past week another story came to us about a different school with an interim acting principal abusing people. We heard from both staffers and other members of the school community at the High School of Applied Communications in Long Island City. There is video of a student walkout last week protesting new principal Michael Weinstein's policies. The UFT knows about it and had a presence at the protest but again there is public silence from the union. There is another new principal in a different school who we have heard negative reports on that we are attempting to confirm.

When there are multiple schools in the same superintendency that all have the same issue, isn't it time for our union to do something more than just having behind the scenes conversations with the Superintendent while telling members to file grievances? Add in the veteran principals such as Jose Cruz at Math/Science, Howard Kwait at Bowne and Namita Dwarka at Bryant who have been abusing staff with impunity for years and it adds up to a real crisis. Complaints have also come in multiple times concerning two of the principals at the building where I used to work, Jamaica High School. Jamie Dubei and Carlos Borrero are two principals who have been able to get away with problematic behavior for a long time. Dubei has had almost a complete turnover of staff since the school started in 2008 while Borrero is the subject of a lawsuit that would have gotten a teacher removed from a school in about five seconds.

Much more needs to be done by the UFT to expose these bully principals. The Chancellor and Mayor need to know we are not going to stand for this a second longer.

Instead, AFT President Randi Weingarten will soon be holding a fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio's reelection at AFT Headquarters. Randi might want to consider what her members are facing here in Queens High Schools under Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina before raising big bucks for the Mayor.

As for UFT President Michael Mulgrew, I have been to three Delegate Assemblies this fall and I haven't heard Mulgrew talking much about abusive principals. Mulgrew calls NYC schools a model for the country. He obviously doesn't see or want to see what is going on in many of the schools he is responsible for.

19 comments:

  1. I work in Queens now, but I worked in the Bronx the decade before under the BloomF*Ck admin. Hell is the Bronx. If I am correct the Queens Superintendent & her deputy are from the Bronx. They are bringing all they learned about abusing teachers and closing schools to Queens. I wonder if there is a deliberate scheme here: Queen is a good target because Queens has such a high immigrant population. The UFT did nothing to protect teachers when I was in the Bronx and I am sure they will not magically change. So many teachers don't understand, that the UFT is just as bad as the DOE. I actually think they are worse because we pay them to protect us and they don't. I hope that before this ship goes down, we really fight like hell, fight like we have nothing to lose - not just hope for a seat at the table.

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  2. Yes, everything being done in Queens was tested in the Bronx first and is still going on in the Bronx. (Sort of like England used to do to Ireland before exporting their experiments to Africa, the West Indies, India, China and the Americas.) Sorry to say, it's going to get much worse in Queens and the UFT will do nothing.

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  3. when Randi made that 800 pound gorilla comment I said that it was a 2 pound rhesus monkey.

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  4. Um. Brooklyn District 23 is in on the same scheme. 90% staff turnover in a school is no accident. And where is the UFT? Telling individual members to keep notes on their harassment. Disgusting!

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  5. well at The High School of Applied Communications at 30-20 Thomson ave LIC NY 11101 5th floor The acting Principal also has a sexually touch a teacher last week. so what is going to be done about that we want this mr. weinstein out of our school nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww or

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  6. well at The High School of Applied Communications at 30-20 Thomson ave LIC NY 11101 5th floor The acting Principal also has a sexually touch a teacher last week. so what is going to be done about that we want this mr. weinstein out of our school nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww or

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  7. The Uft takes our money - that's about it. It can take days for them to return calls and emails. I even talk to reps who list for me all of the things that they can't help us with because they have already sold us out - 90 minute commutes who cares - abusive assassins try and be more accommodating and proactive - I just want to cry every day . So sorry about Camile - the sweetest woman on the planet - how dare he mess with her but alas typical

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  8. It is shameful and very disheartening that experience teachers at Humanities and the Arts High School have to go through the humiliation and antagonistic treatment of inexperience and manipulative administrators who really do not care about students. It is a blatant disregard for NYC DOE and NYS Policies and Procedures and yet nothing occurs. How long must our colleagues experience this unfair and inequitable level of treatment before our union who takes our money for COPE takes action. How many of us must be sacrificed.

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  9. Teachers should hire buses and protest in front of Randi's banquet for Bill DeFlairso! (he is a failure)

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  10. The best way to deal with incompetent admins is to ORGANIZE at the school level. Teachers, students and parents. Communicate the problem to all and get them on board and then assemble a large protest in front of the building every day. Contact the press. Large enough numbers and enough noise coupled with an articulate spokesperson and these incompetent admins will roll over.

    Hey, come to think of it, isn't that what our union should be doing??

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  11. At Humanities & The Arts High School we are asked to keep anecdotal record of possible discipline letter etc., but this offers no relief and this is not working because when you are living it. It is hard to maintain your level of professionalism after constantly being belittled, insulted and demoralized by incompetent/ ineffective Administrators.

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  12. Judy Henry has been destroying teachers' life for more than a decade. Since 2012 she had almost complete turn around in Queens Gateway. She assembled pretty dynamic "hit squad" from APs( Samaroo, Santiago) and staff+CL. This people will attack anybody in the building just for sheer satisfaction. Henry and Santiago are being sued. Santiago was terminated for serious offense for 2 years and brought back by DOE. They have a "guardian angel" Superintendent Mendez. What a shit show. They bit the commie regime with this( AP Samaroo and CL Akomodi were educated by commies in Moscow- PRIVIET MF...)

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  13. We'll add her to the list. Principal Ayatiwa saw this piece and apparently was not happy. He has ruined lives and expects no push-back. What arrogance.

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  14. Don't forget Ben Sherman at East West International.

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  15. I see so this is personal. Not about the UFT.

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  16. It certainly is personal and about the UFT. It's been both for me since I became a chapter leader in 1996. Now that it is impacting on my own family I now have to live it. We don't deserve this nor do so many other families who have had teachers railroaded by malicious administrators. I'm not certain as to how or when but we will get justice in the end.

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  17. Mrs. Eterno is an amazing English teacher. It is a shame that Principal Ayetiwa is allowed to continue bullying teachers at Humanities. Our teachers new and experienced are losing faith in the system. Schools are being ruined by inexperienced ill trained principals. I don't really blame the ineffective principals Like Jahoda and Ayetiwa. It is their superiors and our Union's fault for allowing them to continue to exist and ruin our children’s future. Look at previous principals that used these dirty tactics. They are now sitting with high turnover schools and no real experienced teachers. Example: Mathematics, Science Research, And Technology Magnet High School and Mr. Cruz. That man totally destroyed the reputation of that school. He is one of the reasons that the entire building school tone has deteriorated. They don't understand how to effectively control or discipline the students. You can guess who is mentoring the incompetent Ayetiwa. He is getting advice from Cruz.
    I just feel sorry for all the parents, teachers, and students that have to live with this terrible learning environment.

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  18. So many others like her.

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  19. UFT Chapter Leader at the High School for Applied Communications needs to be removed from her position and from the school. She physically manhandled a student and put him in the corner of the classroom for the purpose of mocking him in front of his peers.Michael Weinstein has allowed this behavior and he himself is threatening parents and students. Bottom line....they are BULLIES and need to be removed the emotional and physical safety of the students.

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