Thursday, February 27, 2020


CS 211 in District 12 in the Bronx is yet another school to send to ICEUFT a vote of no confidence resolution against their principal. The principal is Tanya Drummond. The resolution is copied in its entirety below and hopefully will get some action from the UFT/DOE/press so this staff under attack can get relief from what 85% of chapter members who signed the no-confidence resolution called a "hostile work environment."

Our Executive Board correspondent informs us that the chapter presented its arguments at the UFT Executive Board meeting this past Monday. 85% of a chapter is a pretty strong no-confidence statement. We stand with this chapter fully.

Please no CSA apologists saying I don't have all the facts. When 85% of a chapter agrees that something is wrong with leadership, that should be more than sufficient to get the UFT, kind of like the cavalry, to come charging in to save their members. This resolution goes back to last April so as of now my understanding is the cavalry did come in but they need a more significant charge.

Public School X211

Dear Esteemed Superintendent J. Rosado,

We, the undersigned educators of Public School X211, are writing to express a “Vote of No Confidence” for Principal Tanya Drummond based on her failure to lead our staff, run our school, and most importantly create an environment conducive to educating students. 

CS 211 has historically been a school characterized by collaborative decision-making and synergy. Collectively, we prioritized students’ learning and benefited from visionary leadership of our administration who consistently respected and support teachers. For reasons set forth below, we seek to shed light on the tenure of Principal Tanya Drummond that has resulted in our expression of a “Vote of No Confidence”. 

1) Hostile Work Environment

Principal Drummond’s behavior towards both staff and students has created a toxic and hostile work environment. Resulting from this toxicity, teacher turnover rate at 211 has increased drastically under Principal Drummond. Moreover, there is an unprecedented number of teachers that anticipate leaving at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year due to Principal Drummond’s antagonistic and erratic behavior. 

Most notably, Principal Drummond’s comments communicate a disregard for teacher turnover and consequently, student learning. For instance, she has commented numerous times publicly “everyone is replaceable”; “CS 211 is like a revolving door”, and  “the grass isn’t greener on the other side” apropos of staff leaving. Furthermore, she told students in the auditorium, “when you complained and didn't like a teacher, I got rid of her.” Additionally, germane to the collective bargaining agreement during a professional development, she told staff that “contracts are meant to be broken.” She routinely tells teachers in need of support that they should “start making plans elsewhere for next year”, threatening to discontinue staff, and thus threatening the careers and livelihood of educators. These comments have created a school culture replete with disengagement, apathy, and hostility that affect student learning. 

Throughout the past school years we have had many concerns regarding Principal Drummond’s leadership, specifically regarding trust, collaboration, decision making, her lack of respect for parents and staff, and communication. This year she continues to regularly belittle and discipline staff members in front of students, colleagues, parents, and fellow administrators. She has made numerous concerning comments to staff members including but not limited to:
- “I’m going for the jugular!”
- “These paras are dead weight!”
- “I am not going down without a fight!”
- “This is all the adult’s fault! There is only a few adults who are on the right team!”
- “I am the Principal! I have the power to deny your tenure or take it away!”
- “I am tenured! I will always have a job!” 
- “I don’t beat kids and I don’t steal money, so I am not losing my job.”
- “The only reason we moved out of the red [academic data] in my first few years was because I was a bi-otch.” 
- Proposing to teachers that letters to file can be removed if teachers chose to speak positively of Principal Drummond. 

Principal Drummond bullies teachers with lengthy observations, continuous visitations without providing meaningful and consistent feedback, and both criticizing staff publicly and privately. She consistently blames the staff for the behavior problems in the school. In the middle school, the students run through hallways, skip class, use inappropriate language at and about each other as well as teacher’s, fight in the classroom, and disrespect authorities. In the elementary grades, students often run out of classes, have fights in the classrooms and in the cafeteria, run on desks, flip chairs, and also disrespect authority figures. Elementary and middle school students receive little to no consequences for the disruptive and at times dangerous behavior that interrupts learning. Instead, teachers are both privately and publicly blamed for the behavior of the students. Teachers and paraprofessionals are threatened or discouraged to file safety reports because “it would draw the wrong attention to our school and identify our school as unsafe!” We are here to say that our school is in fact unsafe. Teachers report inconsistently being able to contact the office via multiple extensions to inform administration about severe behaviors. When asked for more support in the halls, Principal Drummond states this is impossible. However, she always has school aides strategically positioned throughout the complexes to monitor and prevent hallway chaos when it is time for her own PPO. 

Leaders seek to be collaborative and encourage others. Unfortunately, Principal Drummond demonstrates a repetitive pattern of seeking to divide and conquer. She frequently speaks badly about teachers behind their back and in front of other teachers. She also seeks to discredit the union leader at our school thus undermining our union solidarity. 

Principal Drummond inappropriately uses pre-observation and post-observation time to express her chagrin, irritation, and anger about DTOE (Don’t Tread on Educators Blog), instead of providing meaningful feedback for teachers. The forum currently has 100 comments and replies which detail how staff at 211 is treated by Principal Drummond. 

Principal Drummond this year aims to, in her own words, “protect herself.” This has manifested in the form of giving out an alarming amount of 48-hour notices for disciplinary meetings. She has escalated this in recent months to include an increased number of letters to file, many times negating teachers the right to have adequate union representation, as well as an opportunity to defend themselves. Many times, Principal Drummond chooses to ignore the Step 1 hearings. A concerning number of these 48-hour notices were unwarranted and in several instances, in direct breach of teacher contract. For instance, Principal Drummond may claim that teachers are unplanned, but according to Article 8E of the teacher’s contract, they had in fact been planned. 

While Principal Drummond claims to have an “open door policy”, there have been many documented instances in which Principal Drummond has demonstrated retaliatory behavior in response to those that raise concerns directly to her. Resulting from the extremely hostile and toxic work environment created under Principal Drummond, there have been numerous documented instances of staff falling ill with anxiety-related symptoms. Staff is constantly uneasy both in and outside of work worrying that, for one reason or another, they may quickly and undeservingly be targeted by Principal Drummond.

Furthermore, according to last year’s school perception survey, only 39% of teachers trust Principal Drummond. However, the 2018-2019 school survey should indicate a sharp decline of this already disconcerting statistic.

2) Student Learning 

Principal Drummond claims that it is “all about the students” yet offers them absolutely no extracurricular activities. Our school has no CS211 sports teams, no performances, no clubs, no assemblies (besides being in the auditorium so students can be spoken at by Principal Drummond regarding poor behavior), and no opportunities to ever celebrate our students. The only “extra-curricular” type of activities are provided in after-school via Children’s Aid Society for only a part of our student population. Our students and community once had opportunities to express their artistic attributes through shows, concerts, ballroom dancing, and marching band. However, during Principal Drummond’s tenure, all of these types of activities dissipated along with her regard for school culture. Not only are these types of activities age appropriate, but also are developmentally appropriate for our Pre-K-8 students. Depriving students of opportunities to express themselves via exploratory and extracurricular programs negates students’ ability to access a well-rounded student-centered education. As such, student cognitive, academic, social, and emotional development and growth is impeded.

Principal Drummond fails to implement programs and curriculums effectively thus hindering student learning and adversely affecting school culture. She boasts that our school offers many social-emotional related programs for students. The reality is that money was spent on programs like Leader In Me, Brain Power, the Vision Committee, etc. However, all have failed in consistent implementation and effectiveness. PBIS was intended to be launched months ago but like other programs, once an urgent priority is now delayed. Principal Drummond defends curricular choices, for example by stating that we are a “pseudo-TC” school. However, our middle school ELA team has had no consistent reading curriculum during Principal Drummond’s tenure; she may claim that teachers have access to TC reading curriculum however this is false. Inconsistency in following through with programs, as well as curriculums, is a chronic illness at CS211, one that under Principal Drummond has no remedy. 

In addition, the needs of students with an IEP are not properly met. Principal Drummond routinely amends IEPs to meet her scheduling needs which negatively impacts student learning. For instance, when ICT classes due to ratios are maxed, or about to be maxed out, students’ IEPs will be amended to SETSS (even if they still should have ICT). In 2016, Principal Drummond orchestrated a mass amendment period at CS211 where all ICT students’ IEPs were amended to remove science and social studies ICT periods, as she did not have a science and social studies special education teacher(s) on staff. Her rationale for misinformed parents was that science is a “hands-on class” so their child’s specialized learning style and needs will be met. Additionally, Principal Drummond claimed she would offer protected time for SESIS during after school PD time, however only does so for certain tenured teachers. Other teachers are forced to do SESIS encounter attendance, write IEPs, and complete mandated IEP work on their personal unpaid time which is in direct violation of the teacher’s contract. 

3) Racial and Cultural Insensitivity 

Principal Drummond frequently interjects at professional development disrupting the learning and engagement of teachers. Many times, her comments are inappropriate. For instance, during the latest PBIS presentation at PD, she interjected and engaged in a near 15-minute monologue that included but was not limited to stating how our students are “Dominican poor”, identifying in front of the whole staff specific students in school who are struggling emotionally, and including a factually inaccurate history of MS-13 alluding to how our immigrant students are possibly escaping hardships like this in their native countries. Principal Drummond’s inability to stay on topic in her interjections results in staff being confused, frustrated, and wishing they had more time to attend to other teacher duties for the betterment of our students. Although Principal Drummond intends to connect with her staff via personal story sharing, her connections are superficial and limited to her sharing about her salary, how she is a strict parent, and how she lives in a desired neighborhood in the Bronx. 

We believe that Principal Drummond has failed to abide by her mission statement as she has not created a safer school environment. Rather, she has created a toxic environment for both students and staff. Without the recognition of mistakes or the willingness to listen to her own trained competent teachers, there is no hope for learning or improvement and thus no way forward.

We feel she has a lack of attention to preparation for, or appropriate prioritizing of, the academic requirements and interests of our entire student body, as well as a failure to recognize and respect the expertise of the educational professionals in the building.

We feel she has inconsistency in application of rules and an ongoing of respect toward many of the staff. A school cannot be run successfully with a one-way avenue of communication. Even when input is sought, there is a failure to follow through or a total disregard for the ideas of many; when communication occurs, it is too often delayed and incomplete. 

In closing, in the words of Principal Drummond, “it’s all about the kids.”  For this reason, as well as the reasons stated above, we the undersigned express our “Vote of No Confidence” for Principal Tanya Drummond. We believe that you Superintendent Rosado, as a valued educational leader and role model, will act in the best interest of children. We advocate on behalf of ourselves, 211 students,  and 211 families in saying that we are in need of, and deserving of, a change in leadership.

I sign below in hopes for a resolution to our concerns and for the future of CS 211.

______________________________________________     Date: ________________

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


I almost fell off my chair watching last night's Democratic presidential debate as I started screaming at the TV when Michael Bloomberg had the audacity to state, "We treated our teachers the right way and the unions will tell you that."  What? As a UFT Executive Board member for part of Bloomberg's term and a teacher and chapter leader for all of it, I can tell you that his statement is just plain false. The audience reaction at the debate to Bloomberg was just a little too positive. It looked like a rigged audience (donate big bucks to the Democratic National Committee to get in) as this story shows but I want to concentrate here on Bloomberg's education record which Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden did not even respond to.

For the clearest evidence of how Bloomberg was wrong when he claimed he treated teachers well, go to a 2008 article in the NY Daily News. The title is Teachers Flunk Joel Klein. Klein was the lawyer who was Bloomberg's handpicked Chancellor who ruled the schools or rather misruled them for eight long years. 80% of us gave him a failing rating in a 2008 survey. His successor was Cathie Black who was a magazine publisher with no education experience. I could go on about how Bloomberg, Klein and Black closed 150 schools, including Jamaica High School, where the public came out and strongly backed the school which was doing alright but that is just me talking personally. 

Parent activist Leonie Haimson, who is the leader of Class Size Matters, has done a detailed takedown of Bloomberg's education record for the Indypendent that should be read by everybody for a full trip down memory lane. 

Leonie has not given up the fight for lower class sizes. She will have a strong presence at the Friday, February 28 City Council hearings on the issue at City Hall at 10:00 A.M.

Leonie's Indypendent piece shatters any myths anyone might have on Bloomberg's education record.

It's all there. Some highlights:

For voters who do not live in New York City or never sent their children to public school here,  you might not be aware that Bloomberg embodied an aggressive free-market ideology with policies that were contrary to research and hugely disruptive — in the worst sense of the word. Far from the benevolent, pragmatic centrist his campaign likes to portray,  Bloomberg and his chancellors reigned over NYC public schools for 12 years with an iron fist, autocratically imposing destructive reforms with little concern for how they upended the lives of communities, students and teachers.

You want specifics?

On class size:
In many respects, his policies contradicted his campaign promises. When he first ran for Mayor in 2002, he didn’t mention the wrecking-ball he later deployed on the school system, but instead pledged to implement a proven reform: to lower class sizes in all schools to 20 students or less in grades K-3. Class-size reduction has been shown to benefit all kids but especially students of color, who make up the majority of kids in New York City schools.

Instead of following through on this promise, subsequent audits from the state and city comptrollers showed, his administration misused hundreds of millions of state dollars meant for class-size reduction. As a result, class sizes stagnated and then rose sharply in his second term.  

 In 2011, at a speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bloomberg announced that if he had his way, he would double class sizes by firing half the teachers. He would “weed out all the bad ones” and pay the rest more. It would be “good deal for the students,” he insisted. What he didn’t mention, of course, is that his own daughters attended a private school where class sizes averaged 14-18 student per class, while over 300,000 NYC public school students were enrolled in classes of 30 or more. By 2013, his last year in office, class sizes in the early grades in public schools had risen to the highest levels in 15 years. 

Testing Mania
Instead of focusing his efforts on improving learning conditions in the schools, Bloomberg and his hand-picked chancellors ratcheted up pressure on students, teachers and schools by basing their fates on standardized tests. 

One of the first indications of Bloomberg’s ruthlessness occurred in 2004, when he precipitously fired two of his own appointees to the mayoral-controlled school board, called the Panel on Educational Policy, after they expressed opposition to his plan to hold back third-graders on the basis of their test scores alone. This event was soon known as the Monday night massacre.

Grade retention based on test scores has no backing in research, which instead shows that holding back kids leads to lower achievement and higher drop-out rates, as he was warned in a letter — signed by 107 educators, advocates and academics, including four past presidents of the American Education Research Association, the chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Appropriate Use of Educational Testing, and several members of the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council. 

Yet Bloomberg went on to expand this regressive policy to students in all grades through 8. He was also careful from then on to appoint individuals whose jobs were reliant on city funding or donations from his personal fortune to the school board.

By 2012, his administration finally ended the grade retention policy when, just as experts had predicted, the city’s Department of Education (DOE) found that it had indeed led to higher drop-out rates. Their own analysis revealed that 46 percent of children who were held back more than once had left high school before graduating, compared to 29 percent who were held back once and 11 percent who were not held back at all.

In 2007, Bloomberg also implemented merit pay for teachers based on student test score data. After the city spent $52 million on the merit pay scheme, it was abandoned four years later, when it was found to be ineffective in raising achievement, according to several independent studies.

Intensified School Segregation

Bloomberg’s over-emphasis on high-stakes testing exacerbated stratification and segregation across the school system. Studies show that while he was mayor, he closed many zoned, comprehensive high schools and increased the number of selective or “screened” schools. The percentage of high schools designed to admit a balanced number of high, low and average-achieving students dropped from 55.4 percent to only 27.7 percent by 2009.

He also closed or phased out more than 100 schools that enrolled a disproportionate share of black and low-income students, causing displacement and uncertainty for tens of thousands of students, as well as the loss of permanent positions for many of their teachers. At the same time, hundreds of small schools opened, many of them funded by the Gates Foundation. They refused to enroll any students with special needs or English language learners. Their openly exclusionary admission policies prompted parents to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the US Department of Education in 2006.  

Though this official exclusion policy eventually ceased, many of the new small schools adopted either “screened admissions,” which are dependent on student grades and test scores, or required students’ families to attend information sessions as part of the application process.  The demand that parents attend these sessions at schools sometimes miles away from where they lived or worked was a serious barrier for many of those with little available time or disposable income.

As more and more small schools opened, many of the larger, unselective high schools that remained in place were further destabilized, as they became even more overcrowded with the high-needs students, many of them recent immigrants still learning English, whom the new schools failed to enroll.

Under Bloomberg, the number of specialized science high schools that base admissions solely on one high-stakes test — an exam that has never been evaluated for racial or gender bias — grew from three to eight schools. At Stuyvesant, the city’s most selective high school, the number of black students admitted fell precipitously from 109 in the year 2000  to only seven in 2010, out of a yearly class of approximately 1,000 students.

Charter School Champion

But perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Bloomberg years is how he encouraged the growth of privately-run charter schools by spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build them separate facilities or even more frequently, give them space inside public school buildings for free. This too-often forced public schools, which already inhabited those buildings, to lose their libraries, art or music rooms and sufficient access to their dining halls and gyms.

As was frequently noted, NYC charter schools tend to enroll far fewer of the neediest students, including English language learners, students with severe disabilities and homeless kids. Many had “no excuses” disciplinary policies, leading to high rates of suspension and teacher attrition.

There's so much more including likening our union to the NRA and the Cathie Black debacle. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


I am not going out on a limb by prognosticating that the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association will lose in their upcoming binding arbitration because of pattern bargaining. One municipal union settles on contract terms with the city and that sets a pattern that other unions follow. The civilian pattern is usually a little lower than the one for uniformed city workers.

From the Chief Leader:

Arbitration dates have been rescheduled for the Police Benevolent Association, with the union’s case for a pattern-busting pay raise to begin April 27...The PBA arbitration was sidetracked when the chairman of the three-person panel, John M. Donoghue, was forced to withdraw due to illness shortly before arguments were due to begin Jan. 27. The two sides quickly agreed on veteran arbiter and mediator Martin F. Scheinman—whose vast experience in public-employee-union labor disputes includes extensive work in cases involving the Nassau and Suffolk county police unions—as his replacement.

Further down in the Chief article:
In the weeks between the postponement of hearings and the setting of new dates, the city’s hand may have been strengthened by the ratification of contract terms by both the Captains Endowment Association and the Lieutenants Benevolent Association that Ms. Campion has contended constitute a uniformed-union pattern. They made those deals, each running for at least 39 months and featuring 7.95 percent in raises plus another 2.25 percent in differentials, as part of an eight-union uniformed coalition that reached basic terms last December.

Yes, those raises are better and the contract length is shorter than the UFT's current 43 month contract. However, PBA members still earn significantly less than cops in most surrounding areas and often for a more dangerous job in NYC. The tradition since Ed Koch's time is for the uniformed unions to earn slightly higher salary increases than civilian unions but those raises aren't that much higher.

Personally, I believe the higher raises and better pension tiers for uniform employees is pure sexism as those who wear a uniform are more likely to be male as compared to civilian city employees who are more likely to be female. However, expecting our civilian union leaders to figure this out and actually fight for equal pay increases is asking for too much. Back to the PBA arbitration.

PBA President Lynch's comment:
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch reacted to the CEA’s ratification early this month predictably, saying that while the 10-1 ratio in favor of the deal showed it met that union’s needs, it fell well short of what was required to close the considerable salary gap his members face in comparison to cops in neighboring jurisdictions, including those employed as State Troopers and Metropolitan Transportation Authority cops who are also deployed in the city.

The arbitration panel also includes PBA representative Kenneth Feinberg, a compensation expert best known for his work at the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and the city’s designee, former Labor Commissioner Robert W. Linn. In 2015, while still serving as Mayor de Blasio’s chief negotiator, Mr. Linn was able to convince then-PBA arbitration chairman Howard Edelman that he should be guided by a pattern set nearly a year earlier by the uniformed coalition that began with two 1-percent increases.

I have argued in front of Scheinman and we all know how former Commissioner Linn is married to pattern bargaining. This deck is totally stacked against the union.

Here is what I need help understanding:

  • Why does PBA President Lynch keep insisting on going to binding arbitration when he knows he will not break the pattern set by other uniformed unions?
  • Why doesn't the Municipal Labor Committee (an umbrella group of all the city's municipal worker unions) get together and say in the next round of bargaining we insist that the PBA settle first and set the pattern for our raises?
  • Why doesn't the PBA get involved to oust UFT's Michael Mulgrew and DC 37's Henry Garrido from office as these two unions consistently set lousy pattern raises for each round of bargaining that is only marginally improved on by uniform unions? Maybe they could let us join the PBA en masse. My guess is most teachers and DC 37 members would jump at that opportunity but it will not happen. 
I really can't comprehend why DC 37 and the UFT go first in setting patterns for each round of collective bargaining between the municipal unions and the city. Clearly, the PBA should go first because they have the best argument that their members are underpaid compared to police officers in surrounding areas and as the article says, some of these people actually work in NYC. If the PBA set a pattern based on their strong case for pay parity with surrounding jurisdictions, precedent says the city would be stuck with it and have to give it to the rest of us. If they didn't follow the pattern, then that would be the end of pattern bargaining, which isn't a law, only a tradition.

Lynch is known for his bluster and I do respect how he backs up his members no matter what but they will never get paid as much as police in the suburbs if they keep letting the UFT and DC 37 settle first with the city in each round of bargaining.

Monday, February 24, 2020


I am sometimes a little cautious, maybe too cautious, about lists of good bosses because it can influence working people to be coerced into giving a supervisor a positive rating he/she may not deserve. That said, I think the UFT Solidarity Caucus certainly has a decent idea to publish the names of administrators who care as well as keeping a list of those who need improvement. It harkens back to when John Soldini was the UFT Vice President for Academic High Schools and he would give out "Apples and Worms" to certain administrators in his newsletter for high school teachers. The 21st Century UFT will continue to publicize the "Apples" but not the "Worms" so Solidarity is now doing it for both.

Here is what Solidarity says about who qualifies as an administrator who cares:

I see you, CARE List nominees!

Collaboration is key to a healthy and safe school community that fosters education for our 1.1 million students. While many of our 1,800 schools communities lack quality educational leaders, we are happy to report that we have been hearing positive stories of great educational leaders in our schools. UFT Solidarity has made it our mission to find these diamonds in the rough and celebrate them here!

We asked the community to nominate not just principals, but any administrators that are leading adults and children with love, logic, fairness, and dignity. This includes instructional coaches, assistant principals, district leadership, and borough support staff.

Our hope is that by having this list out there positive change can occur to benefit the students, staff and entire school communities affected.

If you want to nominate a leader for this list, go here.

I personally know of one administrator on Solidatiry's list who is Cheryl Quatrano from Veritas Academy in Flushing. From everything I've heard, the recently retired Principal Quatrano is certainly a collegial leader who was respected by her staff and the students. I worked for administrators like Cheryl too.

The first two that come to mind are Bob Consigli, who hired me at Jamaica High School, and his Assistant Principal of Guidance Harris Sarney. Sarney would later go on to a successful stint as Principal of Bayside High School. My first direct supervisor was Assistant Principal for Social Studies James Killoran who was very pleasant to work for although he left administration to write some successful history review books. I don't know if I would have survived my first few years if I worked for less supportive administrators.

If we're talking real leaders, I would be crazy if I didn't mention the last principal I worked for who was Linda Siegmund at Middle College High School. She rescued me from the ATR pool when it was not a politically wize move for her to do so. Linda was such an inspirational person that I think I would have washed her car if she asked me to and figured out a reason why I wasn't violating the UFT Contract by cleaning it. Letters for the file and ineffective observations were unheard of under Linda's leadership yet somehow the work got done, the students learned and people were generally content. She cared about everyone in her school.

There are the "Apples" but UFT Solidarity also exposes many of the "Worms" and unfortunately, their updated Administrators in Need of Improvement list has almost 300 names on it. That number hurts.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


There are truly caring school administrators in this country. One of them was Dr. Joe Rella, longtime Superintendent of Comsewague, Long Island School District. Dr. Rella passed away yesterday.  Dr. Rella was a fighter for public school educators, parents and most of all students. He was a leader in the opt-out from testing movement that spread across Long Island and  most of New York State outside of NYC.

When we in NYC were up against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, our union President Michael Mulgrew was agreeing to allow pro-deform, anti-teacher State Ed Commissioner John King to create New York City's Teacher Evaluation System. In those days Mulgrew was also threatening to punch anyone who took away his Common Core. Rella at that time was fighting against Common Core and high stakes testing.

Here is part of a letter to state elected officials Dr. Rella wrote about low test results on state exams in 2013:

The majority of young children will receive the clear message that since these tests are predictors of college success – they are not college material in the 3rd, 4th, 5th grade???!!! That message is unconscionable. It is hurtful to our children.

I first heard about Dr. Rella when I met Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association President Beth Dimino (now retired and acting) and her Delegates Brian St. Pierre and Rob Pearl (now a principal) in 2014. They didn't have a negative word to say about their Superintendent. How different it is from New York City where Mayoral Control has led to dictatorial Chancellors doing little, if anything, to actually improve our schools.

Here is what activist Marla Kilfoyle said about Rella on twitter with a reply from Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson:

Rest in peace Joe Rella. Please join me today in celebrating the life & work of Dr. Joe Rella. He was one of the 1st Supers 2 stand up 2 the corporate disruptors. He told parents 2 opt out & always asked "How are the children? Are all the children well?" I will miss u Joe.

This is from the With a Brooklyn Accent blog:

I just found out that one of the most courageous and inspiring educators I have ever met, Dr Joe Rella, passed away. At a time when every powerful politician in New York State was pushing Common Core aligned state tests to rate teachers schools and entire school districts as well as students, and when they were forcing special needs and ELL students to take tests that were developmentally inappropriate, Dr Rella mobilized his entire Long Island district to refuse to take the tests. In doing so, he inspired thousands of parents and teachers, first throughout Long Island and then throughout the state, to follow his example! In so doing he helped build the most important Opt Out Movement in the nation, one that brought people from all points of the political spectrum together in a way that the state, and perhaps the nation, had never seen before. As this movement grew, I had a chance to speak from the same podium as Dr Rella on several occasions. He was as kind and compassionate and caring as he was courageous. He genuinely loved his students and that love motivated him to stand up to powerful forces which were humiliating them and jeopardizing their futures. He also had a spiritual force that made everyone around him a better person. I will miss his smile, his sense of humor, his boundless courage and his ability to bring Conservatives and Liberals, Republicans and Democrats together to protect everyone’s children. I will miss him terribly Never more than now do we need inspirational, unifying figures like Dr Joe Rella.

I can only echo what those who knew him said. He is most definitely missed.