An injustice the Rev can’t bother to fight | New York Post

My latest NY Post column (8/29/2014):

On Saturday and again on Monday, TV personality and civil-rights activist The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke of the need to separate bad apples from the bag of good cops. But without skipping a beat, he bleated on about truncating due process for the police officers involved in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Among the honored guests at Sharpton’s Staten Island march and rally were American Federation of Teachers chief Randi Weingarten and United Federation of Teachers honcho Michael Mulgrew. The AFT and UFT are long-time sponsors of the Sharpton-led National Action Network.

The police unions are livid: A brother municipal union is abetting the trampling of due process for cops.

Given his relationship with the AFT/UFT, it’s not surprising that the opinionated Rev. Sharpton has been silent on teacher evaluations, incompetent and pervy teachers and teacher tenure.

Yet when Sharpton rails against the “school-to-prison pipeline,” I’m certain he’s well aware that that many schools in minority areas are saddled with U-rated (for “unsatisfactory”) and misbehaving teachers.

Sharpton sees a conspiracy in the “over-policing” of minority neighborhoods (despite the higher rates of crime against minority residents), yet sees no conspiracy in UFT efforts to thwart education reforms.

I’ve been unable to locate instances when the Rev. Al has spoken out against pervy teachers or led a march against persistently low-performing schools in minority communities. And in all my years as a charter-school supporter, I don’t recall him praising the work of successful charter networks.

Yes, in a debate last year with Campbell Brown over teacher misconduct, Sharpton conceded that the UFT “defended situations that I don’t agree” — but he went on to insist, “The teachers deserved to be defended.”

In Rev. Al’s mind, misbehaving and incompetent teachers deserve union protections and due process — but not police officers suspected of misconduct.

(That kind of unequal treatment infuriates police union leaders Pat Lynch and Ed Mullins. Mullins is so annoyed that he borrowed a tactic from Sharpton’s playbook, publicly urging the Democratic Party to not pick New York for its 2016 convention because he fears the city will no longer be safe.)

In the past 10 years, newspaper accounts have detailed that the only times Sharpton has delved into education issues is when his groups were paid.

In 2009, a $500,000 donation from Education Reform Now (which funneled the cash from Plainfield Asset Management, a hedge fund where former schools chancellor Harold Levy was a managing director) bought Sharpton’s cooperation with then-Schools Chancellor Joel Klein on the Educational Equality Project.

Critics charge that Sharpton manages to get paid by both sides in the education-reform battle.

He’s his own Switzerland, snowy peaks and all.

The UFT and AFT have been regular funders of NAN.  

Last year, NAN collected over $350,000 in donations from the AFT. So long as the teachers’ union keeps paying the freight for Sharpton’s web of organizations going, he’ll carry their water on education issues.

The Rev’s penchant for calling out police misconduct and systemic police brutality stands in contrast to his blind eye towards teacher misconduct and the systemic educational of violence done to black students.

Could it be because the cops don’t pay?

Carrying a book and a piece of chalk shouldn’t exempt one from scrutiny and being held to higher standard of conduct.

And donations from teachers unions shouldn’t buy anyone’s silence in the face of the harm done to minority children by our city’s worst schools.

http://nypost.com/2014/08/29/an-injustice-to-the-rev-cant-bother-to-fight/

Posted in African Americans, Education, Education Reform, Media, Politics, Public Policy, RAce Relations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bronx ChronicleThe Bronx Chronicle endorses Jeffrey Klein for re-election to the 34th State Senate District (Re-post) – The Bronx Chronicle

The Bronx Chronicle endorses Jeffrey Klein (leader of the Independent Democratic Caucus) for re-election to the 34th State Senate District.

http://thebronxchronicle.com/2014/08/30/bronx-chronicle-endorses-jeffrey-klein-re-election-34th-state-senate-district/

Posted in Elections, Government, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Larry Benjamin: This Writer’s Life: Catching Up With…Stacey Thomas, the Philadelphia Wedding Chapel

http://authorlarrybenjamin.blogspot.com/2014/08/catching-up-withstacey-thomas.html?showComment=1408457376464&m=1#c7570084264405120662

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bronx Talk TV 79AD Debate Tonight at 9pm

Bronxtalk TV 79 AD Debate On Bronxnet public access Monday (9/1) at 9pm. (h/t Anthony Rivieccio, Northwest Bronx Democrats)

Spoiler alert: The debate was recorded between the candidates for the Democratic Primary in the 79th AD in the Bronx. 

Of the six candidates, only three showed up. Michael Blake, Frederick Ricks, and Raul Rodriguez participated in the debate. Bronx Democratic party favorite, Marsha Michael as well as Lanita ‘Princess’ Jones and George Alvarez skipped the debate.

The debate will air at 9:00pm Monday night on Cablevison’s BronxNet channel 67 and Fios channel 33. The show is hosted by Gary Axlebank.

Posted in Elections, Government, Media, Politics, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bronx ChronicleThe Bronx Chronicle endorses Jeffrey Klein for re-election to the 34th State Senate District (Re-post) – The Bronx Chronicle

The Bronx Chronicle endorses Jeffrey Klein (leader of the Independent Democratic Caucus) for re-election to the 34th State Senate District.

http://thebronxchronicle.com/2014/08/30/bronx-chronicle-endorses-jeffrey-klein-re-election-34th-state-senate-district/

Posted in Elections, Government, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sampson unfit for office because of corruption charges: rivals | New York Post

Rivals seeking to oust indicted Brooklyn state Sen. John Sampson in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary slammed him as unfit for public office during a feisty debate Thursday night. In an NY1 cable-TV face-off, union coordinator Dell Smitherman confronted Sampson with details of the corruption …

http://nypost.com/2014/08/29/sampson-unfit-for-office-because-of-corruption-charges-rivals/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peace Comes To Ed Reform Land

This post has been edited.

Since my post, “Trouble In Ed Reforn Land,” appeared online yesterday hinting that AG Eric Schneiderman’s consolidation motion in the teacher tenure cases wasn’t sitting well with Campbell Brown and the heavy hitters behind her Partnership for Education Justice (PEJ), I was informed late Wednesday afternoon that attorneys representing plaintiffs in Wright v State of New York had filed a letter advising the Court that they did not oppose the consolidation motion.

The Davids plaintiffs are declaring victory. But that letter was filed with the court back on August 22. So, why all the drama if the letter was filed last week Friday afternoon?

Perhaps, this Mona Davids statement in today’s Washington Post might explain PEJ’s discomfort.

“We have very different reasons for filing this lawsuit,” Davids said. “We want to improve [educational] outcomes for all our children. We don’t need to get rid of tenure. We also want to work on improving our neighborhoods.”

As I wrote in my previous post, it appears that the teacher tenure reform stage isn’t big enough for two. The pesky Mona Davids and her independent NYC Parents Union have irritated charter school supporters with their lawsuit to force co-located charter schools to pay rent. Until Governor Cuomo’s intervention last winter, a successful outcome would have cost charter schools thousands of dollars. Many of those charter school players are now backing Brown’s PEJ. The notion of having to work with Ms. Davids probably causes many of them to grind their teeth. Just ask Randi Weingarten, the UFT and the city Department of Education.

Sometimes the righteous are blinded by their own light. I’d recommend that Ms. Brown and Ms. Davids don pairs of Blu-Ray HD glasses and work out a deal.

The stakes are too high.

PEJ Consolidation Letter – on behalf of Wright v State of New York plaintiffs

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

Posted in African Americans, Education, Education Reform, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fat Lady Has Sung. Election Cases Over. Maybe…

NYC BOE Poll Site App

NYC BOE Poll Site App

Yes, the election law calendar is closed. The Mack v Joyner and Jones v Blake election cases are over.

The fat lady, i.e., the NYS Court of Appeals did not grant any motions to reargue. The cases are closed according to insurgent sources.

The Eliezer Eliot Quiñones case, however, is now in Federal Court because three 32nd SD (BX) voters allege that their voting rights were infringed upon by harmful administrative actions taken by the Commissioners of the NYC Board of Elections. Mr. Quiñones, a Bronx Democrat, filed sufficient signatures to run against incumbent firebrand Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., was first ruled on the ballot then iff a few days later. When his legal team went to serve the objector to his petition signatures, they discovered that the objector had given a false address. His inability to serve the objector properly led the BOE to invalidate Quiñones motion to validate his petitions.

State Supreme Justice John Carter affirmed that referee’s report that ruled Quiñones off the September Primary ballot. Last week, the Appellate Division, First Department denied Quiñones’ appeal.

The Board filed its reply to Donald Dunn’s memorandum of law this morning. Dunn, now in his sophomore season as an election lawyer, represents the aggrieved voters. Dunn has won praise for his tenacity and quick grasp of the arcana of the election law. Mr. Dunn says he has not yet had a chance to review the BOE’s response.

062112_1932_NewYorkPrim1.jpgThe window for a federal court mandated reversal (ie, restoring Quiñones to the ballot) is closing quickly as ballots are being finalized for printing and distribution to absentee, military and overseas voters.

 

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trouble In Ed Reform Land

[NOTE: I was informed late Wednesday afternoon that attorneys for plaintiffs in Wright v State of New York had filed a letter advising the Court that they did not oppose the consolidation motion back on Friday, August 22. Click here.]

Since my initial report about NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman quietly filing a motion asking the court of original jurisdiction (in Staten Island) to consolidate the two teacher tenure lawsuits, Davids v State of NY and Wright v SONY, into one case, i.e., Davids. It appears that AG Schneiderman’s motion isn’t sitting well with journalist-turned-ed reformer, Campbell Brown and the heavy hitters behind her Partnership for Education Justice (PEJ).

Word is slowly leaking that efforts are underway to muscle the Davids plaintiffs (led by the pesky Mona Davids and the NYC Parents Union) and their Staten Island attorney off the teacher tenure stage. Apparently, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has nothing over Ms. Brown and PEJ when it comes to crushing the competition..

I’ll be writing a fuller account as more information becomes available (ie, unintimidated witnesses come forward).

Michael Benjamin is a columnist and blogger as well as a former state legislator who represented the 79 AD, 2003-2010.

Follow him at http://CorruptionCrusher.com/;Twitter:@SquarePegDem;andwww.Facebook.com/SquarePegDem;www.YouTube.com/SquarePegDem; on Skype:SquarePegDem

Posted in African Americans, Education, Education Reform, Public Policy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Bank Hosts Series of Candidate Forums on Neighborhood Issues – Claremont – DNAinfo.com New York

NEW YORK CITY — With primary season just around the corner, the Food Bank For New York City is hosting a series of nonpartisan candidate forums to focus on hunger and other issues affecting New York’s neighborhoods.

The seven forums, moderated by DNAinfo New York, begin Tues., Aug. 26, with candidates for Bronx’s Assembly District 77, which has had an open seat since November when former Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson left after winning a seat in the City Council.

Each forum will be held in a district where there’s a competitive race and where hunger is an issue, according to the Food Bank. [Note: The 77AD debate tonight is being held in Norwood (3021 Webster Av/204th St) which is outside the district.] They start at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. 

For full schedule of debates, click on the link below.
http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140825/claremont/food-bank-hosts-series-of-candidate-forums-on-neighborhood-issues

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment