Education Whistleblowers Wanted. Inquire Within

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Dear taxpayers,

    With a budget of $25 billion there is plenty of room for corruption in the NYCDOE and those who uncover it are not protected. This has to change.

More and more NYCDOE employees reach out to us for assistance in fighting back retaliation after they raised serious concerns in our schools. By “us”, I mean the groups I helped form ( UFT Solidarity Caucus, Don’t Tread on Educators) and my attorney Bryan Glass, Esq.

Betsy Combiers’ and Norm Scott’s sites also receive these retaliation complaints.

The members tell us of their visit to Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon’s office and how they attempted to obtain Whistleblower Protection. They were ALL denied protections. There is always one common denominator in the story though…attorney Daniel Schlachet.

Daniel Schlachet doesn’t work alone though and pretty much the whole office is the same as it was under Mayor Bloomberg.

In fact, since 2006 over 207 NYCDOE whistleblowers tried to obtain Whistleblower Protection and according to Daniel Schlachet ZERO deserved it. I guess as all of them “just had it coming” and their speaking out has nothing to do with their supervisor’s subsequent retaliatory acts. See Part 11 of my SCI series.

What we are doing now is collecting these whistleblowers and their stories in order to take action. If you fall into this category, please email me at Mrportelos@gmail.com

Also contact Councilman Danny Dromm, Education Chair ddromm@council.nyc.gov and Councilman Vincent Gentile, Chair of the Oversight and Investigations committee vgentile@council.nyc.gov

Also see today’s Sunday news where we are sure this principal will not obtain any whistleblower protection either.

Principal says she was fired for reporting teachers fake internship Lori Evanko, ex-principal of JHS 125 in The Bronx, accuses teacher Kandis Rivera the daughter of a retired city principal of faking paperwork for a Fordham University internship last year, records show.

About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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36 Comments

  1. What also most invariably happens in such cases, the person making the request for whistle blower protection is immediately targeted. Bogus investigations and charges are then launched against said person. The aftermath The purpose of such retaliations===to discourage others from coming forward with their knowledge of corruption in an already corrupt system

  2. There is this law enforcement mentality at SCI which translates to……. “oh, you’re seeking whistle blower protect What criminal activity did you engage in that you are trying to cover up..”. It is also the first defense by the entity reported for corruption. They will say. “John Q Public seeks whistle blower protection because they did something not not that I did anything wrong. Get it The DOE is a very well oiled machine of corruption inside and out.

  3. THANK YOU for your hard work in the face of unending assaults from The Powers That Be, Francisco! It is a relief to know that there are skilled organizers with an open ear out there! Solidarity Forever!!!

  4. I, Lori Evanko want to thank all those who have stood up and faced unspeakable acts of retaliation to protect our children. My teachers and staff at JHS 125 worked day in and day out for the children. It was an honor and privilege to have lead the school and worked with such dedicated and caring staff. The level of dedication and professionalism was and I am sure still is amazing. The teachers, assistant principals and staff at JHS 125 Henry Hudson have taught me so much and I will be ever grateful to them all. I can only hope that those in power will begin to do what is right not what is easy and help the children of JHS 125 Henry Hudson. Those children deserve the best education and support groups like the network, cluster and superintendent who are working for our children’s future, choosing right over wrong.

    • Wow. Just received this comment as I was looking for you on Facebook.

      • I am tired of teachers being blamed for everything in NYC. Who is holding the superintendents, network leaders and cluster leaders accountable. They count on people not speaking out because when you do speak out and do the right thing you are punished. Where is the outrage over the children missing out on an education they deserve I am still hoping that people will do the right thing for the children.

  5. And why shouldn’t the UFT be held accountable for failing to defend its members as they collect dues!!!

  6. Don’t worry Lori, the network leaders and cluster leaders will soon be a thing of the past. Wish I could say the same for the UFT unity. They have all the votes of tier I retirees. They will be hard to dislodge. But hearing your story only reinforces further in me the feeling that anyone with integrity will NOT thrive in such a setting as the DOE.

    • I have to tell you that I am truly heartbroken. To have lead JHS 125 and achieved so much for the students in such a short time and have my former network leader Rudy Rupnarain, my former Superintendent Timothy Behr and former Cluster Leader Jose Ruiz dismantle it all in a matter of days after removing me is horrifying. My teachers worked 7 days a week along side me, no kidding we were there on Sundays and the students loved coming in on the weekend because they were learning to read, think critically and do math. In turn we the adults were learning from the students. We also all worked late into the night on curriculum and lesson planning and strategies to meet ALL of our students needs and our students entered 6th grade with 80% reading and doing math at a K-3rd grade level. Our progress was amazing because for the most part all of my teachers and staff wanted to learn how to teach our children to read and do math.

      As a middle school teacher you do not expect to have students who are especially in general education not able to read or reading significantly below grade level while you are expected to teach common core rigor. But that is exactly what they did, I asked them all to become reading teachers and they did. As we all learned together the students learned and excelled. Look at our progress report from an F to a B in 8 months my first year and our Quality Snapshot for this year was excellent in reading and we missed closing the achievement gap by less than one percent.

      We did not need the reports to tell us we were on the right track, our students were showing up 7 days a week and asking for books to read day in and day out. Even with our struggles, not having math teachers and no help from our network or cluster or superintendent to get one we used after school and weekends to support our math loss. We were exhausted but excited to see our students thrive and excited to see that we made a difference in their lives. We gave them the opportunity to learn and become part of an informed world.

      I was made to sit in the district office the day after I was terminated. I was put in a corner in one of the bull pens and my former network people from 608 came back from my school, smiling and laughing and were so happy that I was gone.

      It is unfortunate that one of my teachers Kandis Rivera decided to fake her internship, it is even more disturbing that so many people are involved in the cover up. I had no choice but to report this, and yet I am astonished that I am being punished for doing my job while she gets a raise for lying and faking her education and internship.

      However, I do not think that the unethical nature of this teacher bears any reflection on the amazing educators that I have worked with and led throughout my educational career. This was a very unfortunate experience for me to have to deal with, but these people who are involved have to learn that they cannot hold positions of power, acting as agents of the children while doing unethical and fraudulent things. These people, just like all of us educators have to follow a code of ethics, Standards of Leadership just like the rest of us.

      I think the most disturbing thing for me was that my school and its educators and staff were under so much attack and so many people were told about the abuse and no one did anything to help us. I even begged network affiliation to change my network because of all the damaging things they did to the school. I always think of the poem: People stand by and watch as those of us who speak the truth are punished, one day their turn may come and those that did not support us will have no one to help them.

      First They Came …. poem by Martin Niemller
      By thecounterpunch
      “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

      — by Martin Niemller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, best known as the author of the poem First they came….

      • Lori, why couldn’t you change networks We have heard horrible things about Ruiz’s network from others. Feel like writing up your story, naming names and having us post it on DTOE.org You could also nominate administrators on our ANOI list. http://www.DTOE.org/ANOI

        • I was not appointed. 2 years and no appointment. They wanted to close the school when I took over. If they would have told me that, I would not have taken the job, I am not a closer, but a fixer. Mr. Timothy Behr, my superintendent was angry with me because I wanted to fight for the school, teachers, staff and students. He and Rudy Rupnarain and Jose Ruiz told me and my staff many times that “we send you 3’s and 4’s and you make them 1’s and 2’s”. Well, I did some digging to see if that was true and after a comprehensive root cause analysis I put together a report showing that that was not the case at all. The children were coming in from our 2 main feeder schools PS 119 and PS 36 unable to read, write and do simple basic math.

          I just want to say that I do not blame the feeder schools, but I could not allow my teachers, assistant principals and staff to be blamed and belittled any longer. So, I wrote to the chancellor, laid out a 4 year plan and he granted us the time to stay open, we were slated to close.

          My supervisors mentioned above had their own agenda and it had nothing to do with our students. They wanted me to “U-Rate” all of my 3 assistant principals and most of my teachers before even getting to know my staff. This was crazy, I would not ruin peoples professional careers to save mine, so I was harassed, bullied and shunned by many. It was difficult, but even with all that we managed to make significant gains with our students because these people that I work with have hearts that are so big and caring.

          Back to the changing the network, since I was appointed I was not allowed, but last year I wrote to everybody and told them all the awful things that network 608 did to us and they finally gave us a new network, but when I reported the fake internship with Rivera, Cashin, Fordham and Colon, they rescinded the change and days later I was terminated.

          In addition, my union representatives were part of this whole problem, they worked very closely with the superintendent and in no way had our interests in mind. Tenure is a very important need for educators, because I was not appointed and did not have tenure the union would not help me.

          Anyway, times are changing drastically and with the new evaluation systems educators must speak up for themselves.

          • Wow !!

            So impressed that a school administrator is finally speaking out.
            Please tell us more about how principals are encouraged to target teachers

            These abuses have been going on long enough

            Farina has done nothing to change abusive atmosphere in schools

          • ” I wrote to everybody and told them all the awful things that network 608 did to us and they finally gave us a new network” who is everyone

  7. You can post this, it is no secret I have been begging for help for the 2 years I was there.

  8. network affiliate, Timothy Behr, dorita gibson and others in high positions. Timothy Behr told me that I had to be loyal to the network and would never allow a change. I was not the only administrator that he would not allow to change the principal prior to Mr. Martin was not allowed to change.

  9. All I can say is that I was threatened to target my administration and teachers. Support was withheld, even as we continued to thrive. They had spies in the school and those that were sent to sabotage us; and they admitted it freely. My network leader has said things to us like; “we have people here watching you and reporting back to me” You would think that someone would have stepped in to help after seeing the amazing work that my staff was doing. I got into education to help children and I became an administrator to help my staff help children.

    At the opening of last school year, our school was the only school in the building that was not cleaned. We had to work the weekend before the opening to clean our own rooms and fix up for the students. My staff was amazing, they came and did what we had to do for the children. I have all of this as well as others documented with pictures and emails. I was told by my Superintendent to stop asking for the custodians to clean even though the children and parents were upset.

    I cannot tell you the unspeakable things that they did to us, because I choose to do what was right. My superintendent told me that I was “too loyal to my teachers”, I said that I would not allow anyone to defame them any more when we have hard data in multiple sources that shows quite clearly that they are doing an amazing job.

    I will say this, educators have to start standing up together and speak up for their rights and the rights of their peers. Too many people are allowing this to happen because they have gotten away with it for so long.

    It is sad because we created an amazing learning environment for our students, I purchased beanbags and rugs for each room, floor pillows, and thousands of books, and provided teachers with massive pd sessions and opportunities to lean with and from each other. All that was thrown away when they took me out. All of those things and much more created a comfortable environment for my students and teachers to engage in long periods of reading. It would fill my heart when I would enter a room to see the teacher engaged in reading with the children. Look at our statistics, look at the data, we were doing great things and getting real results.

    • Can you explain why UFT sits back and lets it all happen

      What’s in it for them What deals, if any, have been made

      • Maintaining the status quo,keeping “business as usual”, keeping invested in the aims of The Democratic Party- which they are The Handmaiden of- these I believe are what motivates the UFT’s “See/hear/speak no evil” approach to the NYC DOE. Even more cynically, could it be that Mulgrew was given a “devil’s bargain” by the Bloomberg Admin when he was caught messin around at Grady with another man’s wife-as has been alleged as the reason our union rights were sold down the river big time in the years that followed his exposed escapade Anything is possible with the UFT leadership- this is the descendant of Boss Tweed’s Tammany Hall- damn, they outta switch buildings with the DOE’s Tweed Courthouse!

      • In my case with the CSA, my representative Stephen Bennett was good friends with Timothy Behr my superintendent. Also, Margarita Colon who was involved in the “faking” of internship hours was also our CSA representative for District 8. So, I paid my dues and received nothing in return. Lucky, I found out early on that Stephen Bennett was not on our side, when we were at the meeting that might close our school, he sat and laughed with my superintendent. It was disgusting to look at, he told me word for word, “you are a drama queen”. I am a drama queen because I was speaking out positively about my school I am a drama seen because I am telling you that I am being bullied and harassed by my superintendent, cluster leader and network leader
        This is just the tip of all the nonsense that hurt the school and the children that we had to endure. I will never support the CSA.

      • I don’t know, but we have to start asking tough questions, looking at data, analyzing data and keep at it until we get answers.

      • Many UFT preps are given prissy jobs that require little work in exchange for being double agents.

        • Double Agents, I like that term, it fits just right. The part I can’t wrap my head around is, how do good people stand by and let these things happen to people. The war on educators has gotten out of control. Its enough that the politicians are pounding educators, its worse when its your own fellow colleagues. I truly believe that most people took this job to do what is right for the children. I know that there are always going to be people who do not have a good moral compass, but it seems like everyday I read about an educator who was bullied, wrongfully terminated or retaliated against for doing the right thing. What happened to these people Were they always like this I feel very strongly, that people need to stand up and speak out about what is going on in the DOE. I know there are many administrators who are threatened and bullied. I also know that they are afraid because they have other family members, like children working in the DOE and are afraid if they stand up, people will go after their children. I understand this, but I also know that we have an ethical and moral obligation to protect our students and those educators who work for us. Take a stand today!

  10. your story is in the NY Post today. Of course the DOE is gonna cover themselves and say your removal had nothing to do with your complaint to SCI, but we shall see.

    • My performance speaks for itself and is posted under the statistics section of JHS125 for all to see. I am analyzing my data compared to other district 8 schools and my peer schools and JHS 125 did significantly outperform all the schools in many different areas. The data speaks for itself. The sad part is that my teachers and Assistant Principals were so browbeaten before I came by the Network, Superintendent and Cluster Leader. They wanted to divide and conquer and they did just that. They had my staff believing that they were not performing, that the children were not reading and doing math on grade level because they were not teaching effectively. When I came the first thing I did was go to the data. I poured over the State test scores of incoming 6th graders and our 7th and 8th graders. Me and my Assistant Principals went through every single students cumulative folder which was very bare most of the time but still held important information. We discovered that the F & P reading levels of the incoming 6th graders did not match any of the pre-tests that the students were given upon entering jHS 125, in fact the students scored significantly lower. It did not take long for the teachers to realize that the students could not read or write, but Mr. Martin the former principal and DATA Analyst at Network 608 did not share all the data he had, he just re-stated what Rudy Rupnarain Network 608 Leader said, “we send you 3’s and 4’s and you make them 1’s and 2’s”. We found binders of student data for JHS 125 that Mr. Martin left behind and poured through them. It was obvious that the students were coming to JHS 125 significantly below grade level.

      The 6th graders entered with 80% reading and doing math significantly below grade level. That is huge. Anyone who is a Reading teacher knows that a student cannot gain years of reading catchup in months and these children were falling in the K-3rd grade reading level. They all knew that, the Superintendent, The Network Leader and the Cluster Leader, but they falsely created the narrative that it was JHS 125 staff who was not doing their job. Jose Ruiz Cluster Leader 6 told me that my Assistant Principals and teachers were, lazy and stupid. This was repeated to me many times by the Network Leader Mr. Rupnarain and Mr. Behr the former Superintendent.

      My staff was not lazy nor stupid, they were being railroaded. Our network leader worked for the Superintendent not for JHS 125.

      I have the data to prove that JHS 125 under my leadership flourished in all areas. Why they created this false narrative, I am not sure.

      Kandis Rivera, I don’t know why she did what she did, and I don’t know why Fordham University, Kathleen Cashin and Margarita Colon would all allow this to happen. However, I am not going to let Kandis Rivera weaken my resolve that there are many dedicated teachers out there every day doing what they are supposed to do to earn their degrees and internships.

      I know what me and my team did, we brought the school from a F to a B in less than 8 months and continued with our success. This year if I was still there would have been even better.

      I would love to have a discussion about Dignity for All, how come that does not apply to educators in the DOE

      I am not staying quiet, I have much to tell. When I worked for the DOE I advised my direct supervisors and their direct supervisors of troublesome practices and could only wait for them to change things or fix things that they never did. They terminated me, so they have no control over what I say or do anymore and I have documented everything that happened in the two years at the DOE. Everything I say is true and is backed up with multiple documents. So, maybe if anything, these people and people like them will think before they ruin children and educators lives for their own greed. They may worry that some of us will not stay quiet, some of us will become more vocal.

      I was in the Leadership Academy, which at the time I thought was a miracle because I had my administrative license and years of teaching and administration under my belt. They taught me a lot, 2 very important things were data analysis and resilience. If anything I am resilient and I will work to help other educators in my position and to help the children who are supposed to come first.

  11. Your story makes me sort of regret now that principals have no tenure. Makes me want to harkin back to the days when it was just as difficult to remove a principal as it was to remove a teacher. Hopefully those days will return.

    • I agree, tenure is very important for educators at all levels. I got into education to help children and when you stand up for children you need protection because too many in power are putting themselves first. This war against tenure has to be stopped, otherwise many will end up like me, terminated. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but I do believe in “what goes around, comes around”.

      • Lori,

        Thank you for standing up for children and teachers. I wish more administrators were like you. What we seem to have is many administrators, both school and district, are only out for themselves and will say or do anything to advance their careers, even if it hurt children. I like to call these folks faux educators. They trash anyone who stands in the way of the destroy-public-education agenda.

        Keep fighting the good fight. Be prepared for them to call you crazy, incompetent etc. Keep your head high and you will prevail.

  12. Your story makes me feel that if you genuinely care about the education of kids and building a strong educational environment within your school you will be targeted by the powers that be for termination. What is going on here Shouldnt it be about the kids and what is best for them Makes me so feel that the future is so bleak for our kids.

  13. I would like to believe that with the New Year we have renewed hope that people who got into education for the children will take this time to reflect on their past practice and if they made mistakes start fixing them.

    You can blame the “DOE” but the DOE is us, educators who work for the DOE who make choices to either go along with abuse or stand up against it. I understand that people get tired of fighting, especially when they feel that no one is listening, but when you give in to wrongdoing you loose yourself sometimes bit by bit and sometimes all at once. You have to stay the course and know that at least you did everything in your power to protect the children you love and serve.

    I hate to think that all these people started out in education to do harm to children and other educators. I think that somewhere along the way they got lost and placed their loyalty in the wrong hands. With the New Year I hope that some people will have a change of heart and put children first.

  14. Lori, I agree about what you said about “losing” ourselves just as the DOE’s tactics of lies and misconduct are causing us to lose the future, which is our children

  15. I try very hard to keep up hope and be thankful for everything that I have been given in this life. Some days are harder than others, but they are all hard, because for me the “DOE” is not an entity in and of itself. It is colleagues that I worked with that have faces and dreams. Unfortunately, I met too many that left there dream behind and like to blame the “DOE” for their bitterness, or carelessness in caring for teachers, staff and students. I would like to ask them why they became educators in the first place Did they start out so mean and vindictive or did other people hurt them, bully them, harass them, or threaten them. And, if this was the case what did they do about it, who did they tell

    What is the point of telling the students about Dignity for all and the very people that Demand educators follow it for students and teach it do not practice what they preach

    What ever happened to apologizing when a mistake was made An educator, and in my case a teacher, Kandis Rivera, faked her internship with me at JHS 125. How is it possible that she still has her job with a significant pay raise that she falsely received because she never did an internship and never earned her masters program and I am terminated. How is it possible that a New York State Regent, Cashin was her professor and allowed her to hand in work that was faked, she was advised of this and still allowed her to graduate. How is Cashin allowed to be a Regent when she is involved in this fraud

    How can Fordham University have allowed her to receive her degree after knowing that it was a fake. And believe me they knew. Dr. Lee, Dr. Ghram, Dr. Cashin, Mr. Kaminski they were all aware, fully aware of this situation and they allowed her to receive her degree anyway. Why I did some research and I found out that they all worked at the same point as superintendents or other means. Could this have clouded their judgement in doing the right thing

    This is a sad state of affairs for our education system not only in New York City, but in New York State. If the very people who are charged with overseeing our school systems do not follow their own code of ethics, what hope do our children have, who follow the rules, do all the right things and are made to take a back seat to other peoples unethical agendas.

    When did it become ok to destroy educators lives When did educators give up the right to speak up and do what is right

    From the NYSDE website:

    The Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education

    The Board of Regents sets overall education policy for the State of New York and heads The University of the State of New York (USNY). While USNY has one main purpose – providing knowledge and skills to all – it carries this policy out in many ways.

    When we look the other way, when we become just a bystander, when we don’t speak up for our children, for ourselves, what does that say to our children

    Good people are needed in education, we can’t let those that care so little for the children that they claim to support continue to ruin our educational system.

    I would like to end with how grateful I am to all.

  16. Practical piece ! I was enlightened by the details – Does anyone know if my company might be able to locate a template What My Family Needs to Know version to type on

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