Posts tagged "steven brill"
August 31, 2011
Eva Moskowitz did not generate the idea for Harlem Success herself; Randi Weingarten has been criticizing her successor, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, to her friends; and former Chancellor Joel Klein thinks that at least two of his former deputies have gone soft on reform in their new school districts. These are among the claims in “Class Warfare,” Steven Brill’s new book on the education reform movement.
Much of “Class Warfare” will be familiar to GothamSchools readers. The book’s main characters include, on one side, former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and, on the other, teachers unions president Randi Weingarten; many of its main plot points center on New York City, and some of the key classroom scenes take place in Harlem.
But the following insights — some of them more solidly sourced than others — were news to us. Here’s a run-down of Brill’s most intriguing New York-related reporting:
The war behind the war: Bloomberg v. Klein
- On labor issues, Bloomberg sometimes undercut Joel Klein. Klein’s team thought they could get the UFT to sign off on a change in the teacher termination process. But Bloomberg, who was nearing reelection, told them not to push their luck. “The mayor blinked,” the DOE’s one-time labor chief, Dan Weisberg, told Brill. “The mayor just gave up.” Weisberg said he “clashed almost daily” with City Hall over back-channel contract negotiations in 2005. (more…)
August 17, 2011
The accusation, levied by the philanthropist and hedge-fund manager Whitney Tilson recently, draws from a new book about the education reform movement by Steven Brill. But the suggestion that she was bought is simply not accurate, Ravitch told GothamSchools.
Brill, in an interview, also insisted it’s not the conclusion that his new book, “Class Warfare,” aims to draw.
In a short passage about Ravitch, one of the leading critics of the reform movement, Brill writes that she frequently spoke to teachers unions but did not disclose her speaking fees from them. He estimates that her take from groups that have resisted the movement, including teachers unions, might have exceeded $200,000 in just over a year.
In an interview this week, Ravitch told GothamSchools that she received “less than a third” of the amount of money Brill calculated from teachers unions. (That is, she has received under $67,000.) She said that the majority of her speaking engagements are done for free. (more…)
Will New York win the second round of the Race to the Top? We don’t know yet, but add one more item to the list of ways the state’s application has gotten stronger: More teachers unions signed on to the plan this time around, and they added fewer caveats to their endorsements.
The percentage of unions signing on to the plan is now 70%, up from 61% in the last round. That includes New York City’s United Federation of Teachers, which, though it signed on last time, added caveats along with its “yes,” as Steven Brill reported in the New York Times Magazine. One major exception was a clause saying that unions could ignore any part of the plan that violated a union contract — even though, in the same memo, the unions promised to negotiate new contracts following the plan’s main ideas.
In the first round, some judges noted the caveats and the 61% figure as a reason they docked points from the state’s application. I couldn’t find any caveats in this round’s Memorandum of Understanding documents that unions and school districts had to turn in by Tuesday.
Still, among the dissenters are some pretty major unions, including the ones in Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Albany. That’s three of the state’s “Big Five” school districts. A typical explanation why came from Buffalo’s union president earlier this month, in the Buffalo News: