Joel Klein’s Attorneys are Still Deeply Rooted in @NYCSchools

Educators and parents,
It’s been a tough decade for us here in NYC. Unfortunately, many of those responsible for the poor policy, including emphasis on high stakes testing, school closures and co-location, are still here .

My battle, initiated by a growing number of NYC Department of Educationemployees, hits the 800 day mark today. 800 days ago (January 30, 2012) Principal Linda Hill of IS 49 wrote the first two disciplinary notices of my career and called in three separate allegations against me. Yes, all in one day. She’s stated that this was done after the getting advice from DOE Legal. To me, that’s the day they made the decision to end my career.

Now I was told, and I learned through my experience, that the NYC DOE is actually run by the Legal Department. When Chancellor Joel Klein left, some say it didn’t matter who the chancellor was after. They were a name and figure head like the Queen of England.Someone’s name to marker onto a rally sign and do ours conferences. Co-locations, school closures, procedures and regulations, and much, much more did not come to fruition without the lawyers at DOE legal.

One day last fall UFT President Michael Mulgrew made the same statement to us. He said something like “…there are several hundred lawyers and accountability experts. The lawyers run the DOE!”

The last administration had a devastating effect on countless students, families and school communities. The damage was done, but is it going to continue We are hopeful that it will not, yet we still see the same rhetoric, with some changes. Not enough changes and not quick enough. I base that on the large number of teachers who call and email me on a daily basis. New teachers telling me their administrators are targeting them. Now…today…still. I’m not talking about bad teachers. I’m taking about young untenured teachers being discontinued by superintendents who rubber stamp principal requests. I’m taking about veteran and experienced teachers who have 20 years of unblemished records and are now being rated injustice and brought up on verbal abuse charges. I’m talking about whistleblowers still attacked and retaliated. I’m talking about grievances being denied and denied with the assistance of attorneys at the Office of Labor Relations.

The point is that unless we see a change in staffing and/or policy from the legal department, don’t expect too much change. Just last week, Elsa Hampton esq., director of the DOE’s Office of Equal Opportunity told me she will not be looking into retaliation claims or even looking at hard evidence I have about an administrator’s retaliatory acts. Not Bloomberg DOE…this one.

Let’s not forget that this DOE is now falsely arresting teachers. Workplace Bullying Continues -33hrs behind bars.

Today is 714 days since I was falsely exiled and paid not to teach. According to former HR Executive Director Andrew Gordon, the lawyer involved in that decision was Courtenaye Jackson-Chase. She sat right smack in the middle of Bloomberg’s Panel for Educational Policy. Right next to the chancellor. Where is she now


General Counsel Courtenaye Jackson-Chase at the right hand of the chancellors then and now

The list is much longer than this…

General Counsel Courtenaye Jackson-Chase in the DOE Since 2006

Chief Deputy Counsel Tracey Cooney in the DOE since early 2000’s

First Deputy Counsel Judy Nathan is in the DOE since early 2000’s

Director of Labor Relations David Brodsky in the DOE since 2006

Hmmm… 2006 huh Any major changes to labor relations after that point Perhaps an increase on the attack on tenure and a decrease in tenure approval Mr. Brodsky


Other top attorneys still in the DOE from previous administration

Deputy Counsel Robin Greenfield

Senior Counsel Robin Merrill

Associate Counsel Robin Singer

Director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI)

OLR Attorney Karen Solimando

Do not fret though. On Monday, we had 20 new educators come to us and we are arming them with knowledge on how to fight back against those who are looking to derail their once successful careers. We met in the basement of a church in Brooklyn. With us we had the former president of the National Union of Teachers from the UK. More on that soon.

Look out attorneys hiding behind the curtain. We will be planning rallies outside the CSA union, UFT, Tweed, 65 Court Street and even Queens Plaza (Senior Field Counsel). Not to mention outside schools where abusive administrators are negatively affecting the working and learning conditions of our students.

Tread lightly.

Don’t Tread on Educators

Movement of Rank-and-file Educators

Badass Teachers Association


About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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