More “Superman” Mendacity

Leonie Haimson, the executive director of New York’s Class Size Matters, has just eviscerated the fact-checking team over at the Waiting for Superman house. It turns out that it’s ok to just spout off pseudo-facts as if they were truth…until someone actually fact-checks your story. Kind of sounds like the stuff that gets shoveled at DPS parents, doesn’t it? Like the one about how great the district is performing?

Seriously, these people aren’t even trying anymore.

Just making it up

Leonie Haimson, the executive director of New York’s Class Size Matters, has just eviscerated the fact-checking team over at the Waiting for Superman house.  It turns out that it’s ok to just spout off pseudo-facts as if they were truth…until someone actually fact-checks your story.

From Haimson’s post over at the NYC Public School Parents blog:

As a parent, I support a higher standard for teacher tenure and more rigorous teacher evaluation systems. I have seen my own children suffer as a result of poor teaching, though this has occurred as often in schools without union protections as those that were unionized. An improved evaluation system would take into account not only test score data, but also feedback from other teachers, administrators, students and parents.

But at this point, we simply cannot trust the corporate oligarchy currently making policies for our schools to create a fair evaluation system, including those who backed Waiting for Superman, given their proclivity to misuse and distort data, as shown by the egregiously inaccurate figures cited in the film.

Rather than a documentary, perhaps the movie should be re-categorized, with an appropriate disclaimer, as an urban myth.

Indeed.  Read the rest of the blog post here.

Kind of sounds like the stuff that gets shoveled at DPS parents, doesn’t it?  Like the one about how great the district is performing?  What a great thing that Tom Boasberg wants to do everything New York City does.  But don’t worry: he won’t get any achievement gains, either.

Read, then come back and comment.

How to file a discrimination complaint

The U.S. Department of Education has information on how to file a discrimination complaint if you feel your student has been discriminated against at school, or if the school district has discriminated against you.  According to their website:

Anyone who believes that an education institution that receives federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age, or who believes that a public elementary or secondary school, or state or local education agency has violated the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, may file a complaint. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination but may complain on behalf of another person or group.

There’s even a link to an online grievance form: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html

IMPORTANT NOTE: You have to file the grievance within 180 days from the time that the offense occurred.

Help us document civil rights violations at Montbello High

A parent writes us:

I wanted to pass along some more info on what is happening up at Montbello High School.  On Thursday Mr. Smith (principal) let all the students know that they are no longer allowed to have water bottles in the class room.  The reason behind this is because they don’t know what is actually in the bottles.  Next they had an incident that should have put them in lockdown.  The incident was a student was making threats that he was going to shoot some people at school.  Basically he was going to bring a gun to school.  They did call the authorities but never went into lockdown.  Also tensions are so high that there are at least 2 fights a day, on some days there are more.  Our son feels that this is caused by what is happening with the school and the tensions between the staff and the administration.  I do hope that things don’t get too out of hand where all the parents feel the safety of their child is compromised.

It’s obvious that Principal Smith has lost control of the situation.  It appears that he’s ready to call the police when it’s time to harass students but not when their safety might be compromised.

What did Boasberg promise you for your complicity, Smith?

We’re also hearing reports of violations of civil rights of students, including non-lawful confiscations of cell phones and other personal property.  We do know that students were corralled in the school building on the day they decided to protest and were met by the Denver Police as they tried to leave the building.  We’re also hearing that parents are no longer allowed in the building.

Are you hearing stories as well?  Are you being harassed at Montbello High?  Send us an email at info@defensedenver.com.  Your personal information will be kept confidential, and we will use the information to determine whether legal (or other) help will be needed.

We are also starting to gather video testimony from students and parents about the situation.  If you’d like to participate, again, email us also at info@defensedenver.com and include your phone number.  If you are a student, please have your parent or guardian send us a permission email for you too.

It’s time for the rest of the city to truly understand what’s happening at Montbello.

Easley snubs Black educators

Apparently Nate Easley (Northeast Denver’s school board member) blew off a meeting with the Black Education Advisory Council, because we were copied on the following email:

11/30/10

Dr. Easely,

As you suggested, I worked out a meeting date with Tiffany in your office for 5:00pm, Tuesday, Nov. 30.  I talked to her on three occasions regarding the time, place, date, prospective attendees, Etc.  BEAC had four representatives at the agreed site, The Warwick Hotel, as agreed upon.  You did not show up for the meeting on Black teacher employment.  You nor your office called or e-mailed me that your plans had changed.  You did not give BEAC the courtesy of notification that you would not attend.  This was a shocking lack of professionalism, perhaps an intended insult to BEAC.  I have never in many years working with school boards and elected officials in cities accross the country seen such callous disregard for citizens addressing the public’s business.  If you don’ t intend to deal with public issues and groups you should resign your position, or as they say in my neighborhood, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

You amaze me.

Lawrence Borom
Chairman, Black Education Advisory Council

Perhaps Nate was hanging out with Geoffrey Canada instead.  Whatever it  was, he apparently doesn’t think that African-Americans have anything important to say about education or about the need to have culturally-competent classroom instruction for Denver’s kids, or maybe even about potential discriminatory hiring/firing practices for teachers.

Maybe it’s time for the heat in the kitchen to switch on.