Thursday, July 17, 2008

Online Via C-SPAN: House Committee on Education and Labor

Thursday, July 17, 2008

House Committee on Education and Labor - Full Committee


Hearing on "Mayor and Superintendent Partnerships in Education:
Closing the Achievement Gap," scheduled at 10:00 a.m. in room 2175
Rayburn H.O.B.


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
New York City

Chancellor Joel I. Klein
New York City Public Schools

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
District of Columbia

Chancellor Michelle Rhee
DC Public Schools

Beverly L. Hall
Atlanta Public Schools

Arne Duncan
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Arne Duncan, the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools
JUST TESTIFIED that we need to move away from a culture that SHUTS OUT
parents and the community!(Bloomberg said parents shouldn't "run" the
school - I'll go back to that later!)

In Chicago he has Community School/Centers that have school-based
health centers, 12 hour days for families, afterschool classes where
siblings can join each other and GED, Computer and Literacy classes
for the adults in the family.


All they are talking about is teachers, teachers pay, teachers incentives, and federal funding going to the mayors and giving the mayors control over education!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Parenting & Politics

Funny, I was never interested in becoming a "politician" but that is exactly what happened when I joined the PTA.

I went from bake and candy sales to testifying before the NYC Council and even going to LA to speak about how hard it was being a single mom interested and totally INVESTED in participating in my kids' education.

Seven years later, with one in college and two more to follow, I feel as if I'm still fighting City Hall.

Below is my current battle for all of you NYC moms (and dads) but I'm always interested in what any parent who participates in what their kids are learning thinks.

On July 17th, the House Committee on Education and Labor will have a hearing, "Mayor and Superintendent Partnerships in Education: Closing the Achievement Gap". ...

What's Goin' On In the Schools of NYC? &

and the Youth Researchers For A New Education System has a survey of 500 NYC public school students and young adults!

A diverse group from all over New York City (NYC) who have come together for a common goal: to be instruments of change in the NYC public school system. Because of our experiences as public school students and now researchers on public schools, we are yearning for something enormous: radical change within the NYC public education systemWe are an independent youth organization that worked on this project in partnership with the 'Education is a Human Right

Campaign', and two member groups of that campaign, The National Center for Schools and Communities at Fordham

University (NCSC) and the Independent Commission on Public Educatiion. (iCOPE)

for more documentation please check out our "PA-RANT" sites at: http// &

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Brooklyn Technical High School's 85th Anniversary Dinner is $400 per person

$400 for an individual ticket during this recession is an insult, an outrage. I am angry and I am pissed and I am being politically incorrect (a habit I have for over a decade now) because I will not
shut up when I feel I am being left out simply because I am:
Latina, Black, Indian, Poor, Middle Class, Not in the In Crowd, too liberal, not liberal enough, don't part my hair on the right side, believe in all religions' rights, believe in peace and not war...

No one can ever tell me that I don't love TECH and what it has been for me in my life or what I have done for the advancement of my school, it's ORIGINAL VISION for students and what it is to me now as
a contributor to my community.

When I became a member of the Board of Directors after the 75th Anniversary it was apparent that the Association (now called the Foundation) was a "Good Ole Boys" network. My hats off to them really.
They did what us "young uns" couldn't do. They kept it together, they kept the yearly gatherings together but I also guess it wasn't too hard when the prestige of TECH in the 40s, 50s and 60s was very different.

So getting me, this outspoken, no longer shy Latina with an opinion was hard for them too. After all, I was a newbie and my experiences in business or on the internet meant very little to them. It was
turbulent to say the least!

To be very straight forward I took it hard, I took it wrong and I was not cool about it. I simply quit it. I thought it was "classist" of them when all I heard at meetings was that they needed new blood and I
kept asking "but for what?" To do the grunt work?

It took me years but now I can say with clarity that I wasn't totally right and I wasn't totally wrong. This is a "Class" issue but it's a group of men who have reached a level of affluence who are now continuing to make this about their legacy to OUR school and not about the school and the students it has produced.

TECH went through hard times just as the families of those students in the 80s and 90s. Our generation is coming into our own if we have not done so somewhat for our families. As recently as eight weeks ago I met with hundreds of my classmates and while many are on solid ground, as many and even more are like me, making my way as best as I can for my family.

Tell me, who will this dinner serve most? We do not weigh in on where the millions go anyway. Have you ever received a ballot of some sort for you TECHNITE members of the Foundation for your opinion? Some will say that the decision should be the schools' administrators and the teachers who need the help that this money can bring to TECH. I won't even open this bonnet of bees...

This dinner is to celebrate all that is great about TECH so who will be there? Will we get a head count as to how many TECHNITES will go as individuals or will TECHNITES beg their corporations to buy a table
just so they can score a ticket for themselves.

It's how I made it to the 75th, but the tickets were $175 then and that was ten years ago. Yet many were in a good place financially ten years ago. We were early in our families and our businesses.

I love TECH and the Vision I was taught when I attended. There were no issues of class or of diversity or inclusion or the latest buzz words for “play nice everyone”. We were a family instinctively, naturally and we came from every corner of the earth. The stereotypes were left at the door for many of us at TECH. I know it might not have been that way for everyone but for so many in our year, it was the biggest issue discussed that Homecoming Weekend as we came together like a family, through dinner, and the day and then spending more time together, LIKE A REAL FAMILY. I wonder how diverse this dinner will be.
Someone tell me because $400 pays my utility bills for the month.

Carmen M Colon,
Class of '83
Mechanical Engineering

Carmen M Colon, An Independent Latina and Woman of Color, join me:

I am proud to be a registered African American Role Model

James Baldwin: For these are all our children. We will all profit by,
or pay for, whatever they become.

Ralph Nader: I start with the premise that the function of leadership
is to produce more leaders, not more followers.

Later that day…
I'm being told that I'm making something out of nothing but after seven years watching the people with the power to make change making nothing out of something, I must say, times must change.

Privatizing contracts within the public school system, Friends of PS or IS or Alumni Associations of business people trying to circumvent what is supposed to be a democratic process... We've had eight years of this crap and our children are either no better off or worse.

In, wrote:

Carmen I agree with you. I could not have said it better. $400 is definitely too much. This could have been priced this way to keep out the people who "Could not" afford it. And if you cannot afford
it, then they don't want you there. I could be wrong, but even if I could afford it, I would not pay it.

Re: [BTHS1983] Re: Have You Received The 85th Anniversary GALA Invitation? What's Up With That?

In, wrote:
I have another perspective. I partially agree with Carmen. They are trying to raise money and quickly. Your $20 / $40 just won't do it. It's that simple. They would need Yankee Stadium to raise the money if they did it that way. In all actuality, the affluent people you'd meet there, that could help your career and personal endeavors, actually suggest that many of you can't afford not to be there. You've lived 25 years after college and can't afford $400 for a dinner. Hmmm.... Think about it. It's not abnormal, and there is nothing wrong with not being able to afford it, but because you can't, doesn't make this only a class thing. To make more money, you must learn and do things that people who have a lot of money do.

Think outside yourselves a little bit, and figure out what you can learn that you don't already know. If I lived in NYC, I'd attend. And if I did, I would get a business card from 90% of the people in that room, and I'd use those contacts to better my situation. It's an investment in yourself. Affluent people you can relate to because they went to the same high school with you. And for that evening, since you paid to get there, you are affluent also. Think about more of what you can get, vice what you can't get. The problem is that most people on this distribution don't have anything they could do with those contacts. Granted some do, but most probably don't. Again it's not a knock on us; it just is what it is. If you were trying to raise $100 million dollars, who would you invite? They aren't trying to have like 20 of these dinners.

Now granted there is some truth to what Carmen said. But think of the cause. If you are trying to raise money, than $400 a head is more appropriate than you all are willing to admit. That's more than lunch money. It's not about you, it's about the cause. Granted, there is an air of eliteness, but it's a better strategy than renting out Yankee Stadium and having us all come and pay $20 / $40 a head.

Think about it. Just offering another perspective. It really does make sense from their standpoint. And also, no matter the dollar figure, even at $100 a head. Someone or some group of people wouldn't be able to afford it and they'd feel left out also. Granted fewer people would be left out, however the same sentiments would arise. Who are we to decide the cut? Money talks. That's why it’s imperative to be successful financially. It levels the playing the field; it's a pass card. The rules of engagement are clear. Only people without the tools and the money want the rules changed. That's just how it is.

In the NBA only the people who can't shoot the 3 pointer, want the 3 point line moved in. Don't sweat the small stuff. There are other battles to fight.

Re: Have You Received The 85th Anniversary GALA Invitation? What's Up With That?

I'm sorry Kerry, you know I love you but I also know this group.

It's been a push for YEARS about the LEGACIES of these men.

What you speak of is called Corporate Sponsorship packages. Not INDIVIDUAL tickets for TECHNITES to participate. That is who these tickets are going to - TO US! They are talking about us spending an
average $1000 per person (after all I'd need a dress, some shoes, heck an ad in the journal if you're all about the money and the connections, and of course it would be nice to bring someone!)

If it was all about networking then it's all about networking with people who find it simple to spend that amount of money without blinking. No one can convince me that the majority of TECHNITES are in that group.

One of the Committee members is thinking about running for the Mayor of NYC for goodness sake! This is what Billionaires do! So I'm thinking, have a dinner with the high rollers, call it a fund raiser for TECH and on the backs of OUR reputation as hard working and committed classmates get some money makers to see you as a possible candidate.

Now is this a personal attack on that individual, no. Heck if Bloomberg can pay for a candidacy then any other billionaire can and nothing this loud Puerto Rican says means diddley. What I'm saying is that the so-called VISION of the Alumni Association was to provide support to the school.

So all this money should be going to the cost of the students and in the classroom right?!?!? I mean if the average HS student is getting $15K spent on them by the Board of Ed (really don't get me started
there) then with the last $10 Million I figure our school must be the most fully resourced public school in the country.

Look, that dinner is not about opportunities or else it should be called a conference. That dinner is called a celebration of the birthday of our High School. That means every TECHNITE has a right to be invited and the invitation should have been created not only with corporate sponsorship packages in mind for those coveted Billionaires but ALSO for those of us that have dedicated FOR FREE thousands of
volunteer hours at the school over the years, whether through Junior Achievement, Open Doors Program, Gear up, Afterschool Task Force, the PTA, becoming teachers and deans and administrators or helping out at Homecoming once every five years. ALL THAT MATTERS, not how much money you can get out of an individual.

I will say it again. Money is a resource, a tool, not a way of life nor the end to all means. Money doesn't make anyone smarter, or cleverer, wiser or more qualified. TECH was not about who could make the most money but about HOW WE ALL HAD (and still have I might proudly add) THE ABILITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.


A school where EVERY CHILD find themselves and their potential!

--- In, wrote:

Different perspectives are ok and necessary. What I take away from Carmen's concerns is not only the ticket price, which is great if all the funds actually go toward educating and enlightening students and not toward wasteful things "they" deem appropriate, is that the "they" are the very elitist and self absorbing "haves" dictating an agenda that serves their legacy. There is an evolving legacy at BTHS that encompasses the 70s 80s and 90s, the "new blood". We are truly lost if we live life looking at everything as a networking opportunity. Our greatest role, I believe is what we do for others. Our greatest assets in all endeavors are people. I did not achieve success, as I define it (and yes I have achieved financial success), simply to amass wealth or perpetuate myself but to do for others. I am privileged but do not defend the City of Privilege or guard its gates to keep others out. I like Carmen want to open the gate wide for all. What we are talking about here is a celebration not just a fundraising opportunity or about making contacts to make more money. It is about a school that has supported us and in return we support it whether at $175 or $20. I only say less because you can’t put a price tag on something that has been created to give.

Indeed, if every alumnus gave the $20 or $40 on on on consistent basis you could achieve the same result. Last word, Happy Birthday Tech.