Archive for July, 2011

Bronx HS Teachers: Is your principal competent?

The Learning Environment Surveys create another source of questionable data. However, many teachers do respond to direct questions about their principals. What follows are the results from almost every Bronx high school.

Question: “The Principal is an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly”
Answers: “Strongly Agree” (10 pts), “Agree” (6.7 pts) “Disagree” (3.3 pts) or “Strongly Disagree” (0 pts).
Score: based on average response.
Percent: based on percent of answers “to a great extent” or “to some extent.”

The best: Score of 9 or higher, or 95% or higher, or both:

School Principal Note Yes Score
Bronx Academy HS Gary Eisinger Transfer 100% 10.0
Renaissance HS for Musical Theater and Tech Maria Herrera @ Lehman 100% 9.6
Crotona Academy HS Anthony Harris Transfer 100% 9.6
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS Nancy Mann 100% 9.5
The Cinema School Rex Bobbish Monroe Campus, growing 100% 9.3
HS for Teaching and the Professions Gary Prince Walton Campus 97% 9.2
Bronx HS for Medical Science William Quintana Taft Campus 96% 9.0
Collegiate Institute for Math and Science Estelle Hans Columbus Campus 96% 9.0
Bronx Regional HS Colin Thomas Transfer 100% 8.8
HS of American Studies Alessandro Weiss specialized 100% 8.8
East Bronx Academy of the Future Sarah Scrogin 6-12 96% 8.7
Bronx Academy of Health Careers Marvia Lindsay 97% 8.6
Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics Edward Tom 100% 8.3
Validus Preparatory Academy Brady Smith 100% 8.3
Bronx Expeditionary Learning HS D White Taft Campus 97% 8.3
Bronx Health Sciences HS Miriam Rivas @ Truman 95% 8.2
Mott Hall Bronx HS David Tinagero 95% 7.0

The worst: Score of 5 or lower, or 50% or lower, or both:

School Principal Note Yes Score
Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology Richard Bost Roosevelt Campus 33% 2.5
Jane Addams HS for Academic Careers Sharron Smalls CTE 20% 2.6
John F Kennedy HS Lisa Luft JFK Campus 30% 2.7
Celia Cruz Bronx HS of Music Willie Rodriguez Walton Campus 25% 3.1
Eximius College Preparatory Academy Tammy Smith was 6-12, phasing out MS 30% 3.3
Samuel Gompers CTE HS Joyce Mills Kittrell CTE 33% 3.5
Performance Conservatory HS Eulynis Matthias Fridie 35% 3.5
Gateway School for Environmental Research and Technology Clifford Siegel Stevenson Campus 36% 3.6
Schomburg Satellite Academy Marsha Vernon Transfer 23% 3.8
Theatre Arts Production Company School (TAPCO) Lynn Passarella 6-12 28% 3.8
Bronx Early College Academy for Teaching and Learning John Barnes 6-12 39% 3.8
Bronx HS of Science Valerie Reidy specialized 40% 3.8
Academy for Scholarship and Entrepeneurship Zenobia White 6-12 45% 3.9
Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy Lori O’Mara 6-12 45% 4.1
Bronx Aerospace Barbara Kirkweg Evander Campus 45% 4.2
Monroe Academy for Business/Law (MABL) Charles Ogundimu Monroe Campus 50% 4.2
The Marie Curie School for Medicine, Nursing, and Health Professions Rodney Fisher 30% 4.3
Leadership Institute Marta Colon 41% 4.3
Explorations Academy Susana Hernandez 38% 4.4
Bronx HS of Business Enrique Lizardi Taft Campus 48% 4.4
School for Community Research and Learning (SCRL) John Tornifolio Stevenson Campus 53% 4.5
Alfred E Smith Rene Casanova CTE 50% 4.6
Health Opportunities HS Carron Staple 49% 4.7
Peace and Diversity Academy Andrew Turay 42% 4.8
Pan American International HS Bridgit Claire Bye Monroe Campus, growing 44% 4.8
Academy for Language and Teaching Arisleyda Urena 46% 4.8
Bronx Guild Sam Decker Stevenson Campus 50% 4.8
Frederick Douglass Academy III Secondary School Rahesha Amon 6-12 55% 4.8
Herbert H Lehman HS Janet Saraceno 51% 4.9
Bronx Academy of Letters Anna Hall 6-12 60% 5.0

To see the rest click

School Principal Note Yes Score
Bronx Community HS Flora Greenaway Transfer 94% 8.3
Discovery HS Rolando Rivera Walton Campus 91% 8.3
Pelham Preparatory Academy Jane Aronoff Columbus Campus 86% 8.3
Urban Assembly School for Careers in Sports Johanny Garcia 93% 8.1
Monroe Academy for Visual Arts and Design (MAVAD) Richard Massel Monroe Campus 92% 8.1
Grace Dodge CTE HS Robert Hernandez CTE 85% 8.1
New Day Academy Mara Ganeles 6-12 86% 7.9
Millenium Art Academy Maxine Nodel Stevenson Campus 90% 7.8
The Metropolitan HS Carla Theodorou 88% 7.7
Bronx Latin Leticia Pineiro 6-12 87% 7.7
New Explorers HS Jacob Hobson 91% 7.6
Foreign Language Academy of Global Studies Leba Collins Augone 78% 7.6
HS for Contemporary Arts Francisco Sanchez Evander Campus 77% 7.6
Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies Charles Osewalt Morris Campus 86% 7.5
University Heights Secondary School Hazel Joseph Roseboro South Bronx Campus 85% 7.5
HS of World Cultures Ramon Namnun Monroe Campus 82% 7.5
Marble Hill HS for International Studies Kirsten Larson JFK Campus 90% 7.4
Community School for Social Justice Sue-Ann Rosch 87% 7.4
Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science Kenneth Baum 6-12 86% 7.4
Bronx Leadership Academy HS Kenneth Gaskins 83% 7.3
Bronx Haven HS Lucinda Mendez @ Smith, Transfer 70% 7.3
Bronx HS for Law and Community Service Michael Barakat Roosevelt Campus 66% 7.3
Jonathan Levin HS for Media and Communication Nasib Hoxha Taft Campus 85% 7.2
HS of Computers and Technology Bruce Abramowitz Evander Campus 84% 7.2
Harry S Truman HS Sana Nasser 82% 7.2
Green Dot NY Charter School Ashish Kapadia Charter 80% 7.2
Pablu Neruda Academy for Architrecture and World Studies Sabrina Cook Stevenson Campus 85% 7.1
International Leadership Charter School Elaine Ruiz Lopez Charter, growing 85% 7.1
Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice Meisha Ross-Porter 6-12 83% 7.1
DeWitt Clinton HS Geraldine Ambrosio 82% 7.1
Belmont Preparatory HS Stephen Gumbs Roosevelt Campus 81% 7.1
International School for Liberal Arts Migdalia Carrillo Walton Campus, 6-12 79% 7.0
Urban Assembly Academy for History and Citizenship for Young Men Avis Terrell Taft Campus 82% 6.9
School for Excellence Carmen Bardeguez Morris Campus 80% 6.9
Christopher Columbus HS Lisa Fuentes Columbus Campus 76% 6.9
Eagle Academy for Young Men Jonathan Foy 81% 6.8
Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy International Panorea Panagiosoulis Roosevelt Campus 77% 6.8
Astor Collegiate Academy Sandra Burgos Columbus Campus 65% 6.8
Bronx Career and College Preparatory HS Kizhaya Roberts growing 85% 6.7
Bronx International HS Joaquin Vega Morris Campus 80% 6.7
HS for Violin and Dance Franklin Sim Morris Campus 79% 6.7
South Bronx Preparatory Ellen Reddon Flanagan 6-12 75% 6.7
Wings Academy Wayne Cox 71% 6.7
Bronx HS for the Visual Arts George York 69% 6.7
Bronx Lab School Christopher Lagares Evander Campus 76% 6.6
Hyde Leadership Charter School Betsy Olney K-12, 6-10 surveyed 74% 6.4
Providing Urban Learners Success in Education (PULSE) HS Carol Wiggins Transfer 72% 6.4
Bronx Theatre HS Deborah Effinger JFK Campus 67% 6.3
Felisa Rincon de Gautier Institute for Law and Public Service Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson 63% 6.3
Bronx Prep Charter School Jacqueline King-Robinson Charter, growing 77% 6.2
Banana Kelly HS Joshua Laub 70% 6.2
The Bronxwood Preparatory Academy Janet Gallardo 70% 6.2
West Bronx Academy for the Future Wilper Morales Roosevelt Campus, 6-12 67% 6.2
In-Tech Academy Yvette Allen 6-12 64% 6.1
Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science Nicholas Paarlberg 6-12 58% 6.0
NYC Charter HS for Architecture and Engineering Eugene Foley Charter, growing 58% 6.0
Bronx HS for Writing and Communication Arts Steven Chernigoff Evander Campus 77% 5.9
Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy Karalyne Sperling JFK Campus 69% 5.9
Mott Haven Village Preparatory Academy Flavia Puello Perdomo South Bronx Campus 69% 5.9
Kingsbridge International HS Ronald Newlon Walton Campus 66% 5.9
Jill Chaifetz Transfer HS Anne Fennelly Transfer 75% 5.8
New World HS Fausto Salazar 69% 5.8
Bronx School of Law and Finance Evan Schwartz JFK Campus 69% 5.8
Women’s Academy of Excellence Arnette Crocker 55% 5.7
International Community HS Berena Cabarcas 54% 5.6
Fordham HS for the Arts Iris Blige Roosevelt Campus 59% 5.5
Holcombe L Rucker School of Community Research Sharif Rucker 59% 5.3
Dreamyard Preparatory School Rod Bowen Taft Campus 65% 5.2

Bx HS teachers: Do you trust your principal?

The Learning Environment Surveys create another source of questionable data. However, many teachers do respond to direct questions about their principals. What follows are the results from almost every Bronx high school.

Question: “I trust the principal at his or her word”
Answers: “Strongly Agree” (10 pts), “Agree” (6.7 pts) “Disagree” (3.3 pts) or “Strongly Disagree” (0 pts).
Score: based on average response.
Percent: based on percent of answers “to a great extent” or “to some extent.”

The best: Score of 9 or higher, or 95% or higher, or both:

School Principal Note Yes Score
Bronx Academy HS Gary Eisinger Transfer 100% 9.8
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS Nancy Mann 100% 9.6
Bronx Community HS Flora Greenaway Transfer 100% 9.4
East Bronx Academy of the Future Sarah Scrogin 6-12 100% 9.3
The Cinema School Rex Bobbish Monroe Campus, growing 100% 9.3
HS of American Studies Alessandro Weiss specialized 96% 9.3
Renaissance HS for Musical Theater and Tech Maria Herrera @ Lehman 94% 9.3
Crotona Academy HS Anthony Harris Transfer 89% 9.3
Validus Preparatory Academy Brady Smith 100% 9.2
Collegiate Institute for Math and Science Estelle Hans Columbus Campus 100% 9.1
Bronx Regional HS Colin Thomas Transfer 95% 8.9
Bronx Expeditionary Learning HS D White Taft Campus 97% 8.7
Bronx Career and College Preparatory HS Kizhaya Roberts growing 100% 8.6
Bronx Academy of Health Careers Marvia Lindsay 97% 8.5
Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics Edward Tom 95% 8.3
Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies Charles Osewalt Morris Campus 97% 7.8

The worst: Score of 5 or lower, or 50% or lower, or both:

School Principal Note Yes Score
John F Kennedy HS Lisa Luft JFK Campus 27% 2.6
Bronx Early College Academy for Teaching and Learning John Barnes 6-12 25% 2.8
Jane Addams HS for Academic Careers Sharron Smalls CTE 28% 2.8
Celia Cruz Bronx HS of Music Willie Rodriguez Walton Campus 30% 3.1
Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology Richard Bost Roosevelt Campus 29% 3.3
School for Community Research and Learning (SCRL) John Tornifolio Stevenson Campus 24% 3.5
Eximius College Preparatory Academy Tammy Smith was 6-12, phasing out MS 43% 3.6
Samuel Gompers CTE HS Joyce Mills Kittrell CTE 37% 3.8
Bronx HS of Science Valerie Reidy specialized 38% 3.8
Performance Conservatory HS Eulynis Matthias Fridie 38% 3.9
Gateway School for Environmental Research and Technology Clifford Siegel Stevenson Campus 50% 4.0
Health Opportunities HS Carron Staple 41% 4.1
Explorations Academy Susana Hernandez 32% 4.2
Monroe Academy for Business/Law (MABL) Charles Ogundimu Monroe Campus 50% 4.2
Pan American International HS Bridgit Claire Bye Monroe Campus, growing 45% 4.4
Academy for Language and Teaching Arisleyda Urena 46% 4.5
Fordham HS for the Arts Iris Blige Roosevelt Campus 42% 4.7
Theatre Arts Production Company School (TAPCO) Lynn Passarella 6-12 47% 4.7
Bronx Aerospace Barbara Kirkweg Evander Campus 55% 4.7
Holcombe L Rucker School of Community Research Sharif Rucker 62% 4.8
Frederick Douglass Academy III Secondary School Rahesha Amon 6-12 57% 4.9
Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy Lori O’Mara 6-12 57% 4.9
Bronx Guild Sam Decker Stevenson Campus 50% 5.0
Academy for Scholarship and Entrepeneurship Zenobia White 6-12 56% 5.0

To see the rest click Continue reading ‘Bx HS teachers: Do you trust your principal?’

Bronx HS Teachers: Does your principal collaborate with you?

The Learning Environment Surveys create another source of questionable data. However, many teachers do respond to direct questions about their principals. What follows are the results from almost every Bronx high school.

Question: “School leaders invite teachers to play a meaningful role in setting goals and making important decisions for the school”
Answers: “Strongly Agree” (10 pts), “Agree” (6.7 pts) “Disagree” (3.3 pts) or “Strongly Disagree” (0 pts).
Score: based on average response.
Percent: based on percent of answers “to a great extent” or “to some extent.”

The best: Score of 9 or higher, or 95% or higher, or both:

School Principal Note Yes Score
The Cinema School Rex Bobbish Monroe Campus, growing 100% 9.7
Community School for Social Justice Sue-Ann Rosch 96% 9.7
Bronx Academy HS Gary Eisinger Transfer 100% 9.6
Validus Preparatory Academy Brady Smith 100% 9.4
Crotona Academy HS Anthony Harris Transfer 100% 9.3
East Bronx Academy of the Future Sarah Scrogin 6-12 100% 9.3
Bronx HS for Medical Science William Quintana Taft Campus 96% 9.2
Renaissance HS for Musical Theater and Tech Maria Herrera @ Lehman 95% 9.1
Bronx Expeditionary Learning HS D White Taft Campus 100% 9.0
Schomburg Satellite Academy Marsha Vernon Transfer 100% 9.0
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS Nancy Mann 97% 9.0
Bronx Regional HS Colin Thomas Transfer 95% 9.0
HS for Teaching and the Professions Gary Prince Walton Campus 97% 8.7
Eagle Academy for Young Men Jonathan Foy 96% 8.7
Collegiate Institute for Math and Science Estelle Hans Columbus Campus 95% 8.7
South Bronx Preparatory Ellen Reddon Flanagan 6-12 96% 8.5
West Bronx Academy for the Future Wilper Morales Roosevelt Campus, 6-12 96% 8.5
HS for Contemporary Arts Francisco Sanchez Evander Campus 95% 7.8

The worst: Score of 5 or lower, or 50% or lower, or both:

School Principal Note Yes Score
John F Kennedy HS Lisa Luft JFK Campus 24% 2.4
Monroe Academy for Business/Law (MABL) Charles Ogundimu Monroe Campus 23% 2.7
Bronx HS of Science Valerie Reidy specialized 32% 3.5
School for Community Research and Learning (SCRL) John Tornifolio Stevenson Campus 29% 3.9
Jane Addams HS for Academic Careers Sharron Smalls CTE 38% 4.3
Samuel Gompers CTE HS Joyce Mills Kittrell CTE 45% 4.7
Performance Conservatory HS Eulynis Matthias Fridie 46% 4.7
Bronx Early College Academy for Teaching and Learning John Barnes 6-12 45% 4.8
Gateway School for Environmental Research and Technology Clifford Siegel Stevenson Campus 50% 4.9
Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy Lori O’Mara 6-12 58% 5.0
Celia Cruz Bronx HS of Music Willie Rodriguez Walton Campus 59% 5.0
Bronx Haven HS Lucinda Mendez @ Smith, Transfer 60% 5.0
Frederick Douglass Academy III Secondary School Rahesha Amon 6-12 50% 5.2
Pan American International HS Bridgit Claire Bye Monroe Campus, growing 50% 5.4

To see the rest click Continue reading ‘Bronx HS Teachers: Does your principal collaborate with you?’

Bronx HS teachers: Does your principal support you?

The Learning Environment Surveys create another source of questionable data. However, many teachers do respond to direct questions about their principals. What follows are the results from almost every Bronx high school.

Question: “To what extent do you feel supported by your principal?”
Answers: “To a great extent” (10 pts), “to some extent” (6.7 pts) “to a small extent” (3.3 pts) or “to no extent” (0 pts).
Score: based on average response. 
Percent: based on percent of answers “to a great extent” or “to some extent.”

The best:  Score of 9 or higher, or 95% or higher, or both:

School Principal Note Yes Score
The Cinema School Rex Bobbish Monroe Campus, growing 100% 10.0
Collegiate Institute for Math and Science Estelle Hans Columbus Campus 100% 9.9
Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS Nancy Mann 100% 9.8
Bronx Academy HS Gary Eisinger Transfer 100% 9.6
Crotona Academy HS Anthony Harris Transfer 100% 9.6
Bronx HS for Medical Science William Quintana Taft Campus 100% 9.6
HS of American Studies Alessandro Weiss specialized 96% 9.5
Validus Preparatory Academy Brady Smith 100% 9.4
Renaissance HS for Musical Theater and Tech Maria Herrera @ Lehman 89% 9.3
Bronx Expeditionary Learning HS D White Taft Campus 100% 9.2
East Bronx Academy of the Future Sarah Scrogin 6-12 97% 9.2
Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics Edward Tom 91% 9.2
Bronx Community HS Flora Greenaway Transfer 94% 9.0
HS for Teaching and the Professions Gary Prince Walton Campus 97% 9.0
Community School for Social Justice Sue-Ann Rosch 100% 9.0
Bronx Regional HS Colin Thomas Transfer 95% 8.8
HS for Contemporary Arts Francisco Sanchez Evander Campus 95% 8.8
Belmont Preparatory HS Stephen Gumbs Roosevelt Campus 96% 8.6
Bronx Career and College Preparatory HS Kizhaya Roberts growing 100% 8.1

The worst:  Score of 5 or lower, or 50% or lower, or both:

School for Community Research and Learning (SCRL) John Tornifolio Stevenson Campus 18% 2.7
John F Kennedy HS Lisa Luft JFK Campus 31% 3.1
Celia Cruz Bronx HS of Music Willie Rodriguez Walton Campus 30% 3.6
Monroe Academy for Business/Law (MABL) Charles Ogundimu Monroe Campus 32% 3.7
Jane Addams HS for Academic Careers Sharron Smalls CTE 36% 3.9
Bronx HS of Science Valerie Reidy specialized 40% 4.1
Gateway School for Environmental Research and Technology Clifford Siegel Stevenson Campus 47% 4.2
Samuel Gompers CTE HS Joyce Mills Kittrell CTE 44% 4.4
Performance Conservatory HS Eulynis Matthias Fridie 42% 4.4
Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology Richard Bost Roosevelt Campus 33% 4.6
Eximius College Preparatory Academy Tammy Smith was 6-12, phasing out MS 52% 4.8
Theatre Arts Production Company School (TAPCO) Lynn Passarella 6-12 47% 4.8
Pan American International HS Bridgit Claire Bye Monroe Campus, growing 55% 5.0
Bronx Aerospace Barbara Kirkweg Evander Campus 45% 5.7

To see the rest click Continue reading ‘Bronx HS teachers: Does your principal support you?’

Dignity for All Teachers (Draft Resolution, for October, if necessary)

If June’s no layoffs agreement works as planned, many more ATRs may find regular appointments in the fall. But if in the fall the position and conditions of the ATRs are not improved, then New Action will introduce the following resolution at the October Delegate Assembly:

Dignity for All Teachers

(Draft Resolution for the October DA, if necessary)

Whereas each year for the last several years a significant number of our members have been assigned to the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR); and

Whereas most teachers who are in the ATR arrived there as their schools were shut down; and

Whereas the teachers in the ATR have been subject to a campaign of media vilification, falsely claiming or implying that teachers in the ATR are less able or are bad teachers, and intentionally conflating them with teachers facing disciplinary proceedings; and

Whereas the teachers in the ATR have been targeted for layoff or termination several times over the last several years, including by the Department of Education during contract negotiations; the anti-union group Educators for Excellence in its seniority reform proposal this spring; and Mayor during his campaign to undo Civil Service law in Albany earlier this spring, thwarted each time by the United Federation of Teachers, and its leadership; and

Whereas teachers in the ATR often are made to feel like outsiders in the schools where they work; and

Whereas teachers in the ATR, in too many instances, are forced to perform inappropriate work in the schools where they work; and

Whereas teachers in the ATR, to the extent they are made to feel like outsiders or feel vulnerable to being moved, are often reluctant to seek appropriate relief; and

Whereas the new budget agreement allows teachers in the ATR to be moved from school to school multiple times each term; and

Whereas the UFT values the dignity of all our members;

Be it resolved the UFT will direct its chapters and Chapter Leaders to reach out to members of the ATR who are assigned to their schools, to welcome them, and to support them; and be it further resolved that

the UFT will educate Chapter Leaders about the rights of teachers in the ATR, and direct its chapters and Chapter Leaders to proactively protect those rights, and to intervene if those rights are being infringed upon by administration, as the ATR may be justifiably reluctant or fearful of speaking up; and be it further resolved that

the UFT will designate a representative or committee Centrally, or will designate a representative in each borough to handle ATR issues; and be it further resolved that

the New York Teacher will run an article on teachers in the ATR, including how teachers became part of the ATR; and be it further resolved that

the UFT has always and will always stand for the dignity of all teachers, including our most vulnerable: probationers, teachers under investigation, and teachers in the ATR.

We win! No layoffs! (but the war with Bloomberg continues)

June, 28  2011

We won. Yesterday four thousand teachers were wondering how they would pay rent or mortgages this summer. And today they know – their jobs are safe.

We won by demonstrating, by phone banking, by winning over the City Council.

We have won a big battle. But the war with the mayor continues. He will come back at seniority next year. And school closings. And collocations. We are still working under an expired contract.

We need to keep pushing. We need to hammer away at the wasteful contracts. We need to mobilize as we have. But we also need to mobilize in a way that draws more of our members into the fight. New Action continues to call for school-level actions, including meetings and pickets, as appropriate. Picketing is not a panacea, but engagement by the entire membership is crucial.

 ATRs

Today’s agreement has a series of complicated-looking provisions that may help ATRs get regularly appointed. It would be fantastic if this works. But we have had contract language and side agreements designed to help ATRs get positions in the past, and the DoE has ignored or violated them (think about 18D!). We will need to watch how our brothers and sisters in the ATRs are treated very closely. If their conditions and positions do not improve, New Action will introduce a resolution (see reverse) for the next Delegate Assembly in October.

 Focus on conditions in the schools

Schools just had their budgets cut again yesterday. While this cut is not huge (average is under 3%) this is the latest in a series of cuts stretching back several years. The cumulative effect of is over 20% for some schools. Schools are bleeding not from a gash, but from a thousand paper cuts. And our children are losing necessary programs.

We will lose through attrition at least 2500 teachers. Again, this is on top of ten thousand more positions already lost in preceding cuts. Despite the CFE case, the DoE is forcing our students into larger classes.

Mayoral Control

Bloomberg’s brinkmanship over layoffs would not have occurred without the legislation that gives him direct control over the schools. It is time to end mayoral control.

Oppose ‘Mandate Relief’ – New Action Exec Board member

Testimony before New York State Regents opposing Proposal #1 mandate relief – to remove School Psychologists from CSEs.

Good evening, my name is Maria Ramos, I have been a School Psychologist for 16 years and before that I was a general education teacher. I am an employee of the NYC Department of Education. I am also an Executive Board Member of the United Federation of Teachers.

When I was 18 years old I volunteered to work at Willowbrook State School –  Some of you may remember the pictures of that school when in 1972 Geraldo Rivera revealed the autrocities of that place — and what I witnessed for my self – the horrendous conditions that children were subjected to —-I had to quit after only two weeks because it literally made me sick and depressed.  It was then I knew that I wanted to be part of the solution – so this would never happen again. As a school psychologist I have blown up into poster size  PL 94-142  of 1975.   I have it on my bulletin board in the parent teacher conference room. It is the guide to Least Restrictive Environment which states that “to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities…are educated with children who are non-disabled”; and that special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

It is the school psychologist through the psychological educational evaluations,  observations, clinical interviews working with other staff members and parents, who determines the severity of the disability—and therefore we the school psychologists safeguard children’s rights to be educated in the least restrictive environment.

In conclusion I want to leave you with these words from Stephen Jay Gould in The Mismeasure of Man

“We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.”

Our role as school psychologists and what we do is intertwined in the very civil rights of our children. And if this mandate relief is passed — I think it puts us on a very dangerous road that can lead back to Willowbrook State School.