I got an email last night from Leo Casey at the United Federation of Teachers, informing me that the UFT had just received a dump of emails from the New York City Department of Education, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Leo noticed that Deborah Meier and I were mentioned several times in the emails and so he shared the trove with us.
Pretty ugly stuff. Read it here, in two parts, if you can open a google document:
The first thing I noticed was the chummy exchanges between the public officials in change of the New York City public school system and the top dogs of the charter leadership–the Wall Street hedge fund managers, the leader of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the leader of the New York City Charter Center, and various others. It comes clear that there is a strong and concerted effort to hand over as much public space as possible to the charters. The charter leaders are not the poor and oppressed of New York City; they are the powerful and monied, and the public officials who are paid to protect and support the PUBLIC schools of New York City are working hand-in-glove to advance the interests of the privately-managed charters, not the public schools. You will also notice, in one of the emails, that the charters are very concerned to make sure that there is no cap on their executive compensation. Heaven forbid! It’s important that their leaders continue to pull down $400,000 a year to oversee a few small schools.
The collusion between those who are sworn to protect the public schools and those who are incentivized to privatize them is surely the most important thing to be gleaned from this correspondence.
For me, the other interesting point is that they are so afraid of any criticism. They are especially afraid of Deborah Meier, me and Jonathan Kozol. They refer to columns by Deborah Meier and myself–she an educator with decades of experience, I a historian with a long view–as “moronic” and “idiotic.” They refer to Jonathan Kozol and me as “deranged crackpots.”
How can anyone take these mean-spirited, ignorant, arrogant people seriously?
The only thing frightening about them is that they are clamoring–with some success–to take control of the education of innocent children. Now, that is really scary! That is the scary thing that happened last night.