Friday, March 29, 2013

What Is A Doenut?

Folks who read this blog tend to call me doenuts. Folks who read it and know me call me John Doenuts. While they're both cute and cheeky ways to address me, the fact is that addressing me as doenuts sort of misses the point.

The label doenuts isn't intended to be a reflection of me. Rather, it's intended to reflect anything that is crazy and silly about the  comings and goings of the New York City Department of Education. For instance:

 This history lesson about public opinion during the Vietnam war has long been lauded as a model for excellence in a high school social studies classroom. It does everything an excellent lesson should do: It displays excellent planning, excellent student-driven teaching  and models authentic assessment. The teacher is world class, the lesson is world class and the video has been studied by teachers and future teachers for support with perfecting their craft. Yet when measured against one of the sub-domains of New York City's 'Danielson rubric', this very teacher in this very lesson is ineffective, or developing with regard to her questioning techniques.

Excellent time honored teaching seen as poor and ineffective? That's a doenut.


The Mayor's confession at MIT that he'd like to double the size of our classes, because good teaching can overcome large class sizes!

Education mayor suggesting to put 1.1 million school children in jeopardy because he A) Wanted to make headlines or B) Doesn't know what the sam hill he's talking about with regard to education? Yeah. That's a doenut.


Chancellor Klein insisting that it's totally cool to release teacher's names and test score numbers, that it's alright if those test scores didn't reveal good data and that it's completely acceptable to ask the press to FOIL this information so that it didn't appear as though he wanted to do it.

To be clear: When your boss hates you so much that he wants all of your names in the newspaper, that's a doenut. And it won't ever be anything but.


Cathy Black. (doenut), the Fair Funding Formula (doenut) creation of at ATR pool (doenut) or pretty much anything related to how Francesco Portelos is being treated by our employer (doenut)

Taken as whole, given the true nature of their random zaniness (and the totally true zaniness of their random nature), these instances comprise what I like to think of as doenuts (crazy things that happen in the NYCDOE). Ergo, this blog: A collection of thoughts spotlighting some of those crazy things that happen in New York City's public schools. 

So, you see, I'm not doenuts. This blog is about them. 

And I'm so disappointed that I actually had to explain that!

Ask This Chapter Leader Why the UFT Leadership Won't Debate Julie Cavanagh and He'll Say...

John Elfrank-Dana is the UFT Chapter Leader of Murry Bergtraim High School in Lower Manhattan -and a member of the MORE Caucus of the UFT. He dropped these thoughts today about why the leadership isn't having a debate during it's elections and I thought I'd share.

... sorry but I have to break ranks here.  

I don't blame Mulgrew for not debating Julie Cavanagh of MORE. Did you see what Julie did to that E4E teacher she debated on NY1? No mercy! She pummeled that poor woman on every point. Our leadership needs to remain aloof! A public spanking like that can only embarrass our union. 
Mulgrew has too many pressing concerns than to prepare for a beating. He waits by the telephone for orders from Albany about what the next steps will be on teacher evaluation. He is busy planning to preserve mayoral control for Mayor Quinn- our union's next regret like not supporting Thompson, supporting mayoral control under Bloomberg, experimenting with teacher data reports, ending seniority transfer and the 2005 contract.
So, there's no time for debate.

John Elfrank-Dana
UFT Chapter Leader
Murry Bergtraum High School

Thanks to John for letting me share that on this blog He's got one of his own here. Check it out). For my part, I'm actually beginning to think that the president isn't all that bad. It's his caucus that kind of stinks! Imagine being a take-charge alpha male and being stuck with a bunch of subordinates who really don't think they should do a whole lot for their members but think they should absolutely be wary of their own control. Talk about a buzz-kill! You have a straight forward guy on the one hand and a whole bunch of people who couldn't, na wouldn't know how to 'come at you straight' if they tried on the other. #awkward!

And although he prefers to be called 'Mike', they all  still refer to him as 'the president' when they're at meetings. After this many years. Yikes, that's telling. Man, if Julie weren't at the top of the ticket for MORE, I'd want Mike Mulgrew to be. I think his style would match MORE's 'fight' philosophy a whole lot better than Unity's 'Quick! Lay Down!' approach to unionism.

Anyway, my take? Mulgrew is being advised not to debate Julie.

(although, full disclosure: I still don't know much about unionism .. it's so different than teaching).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why I can No Longer Support Julie Cavanagh of MORE for President of the UFT

Checking the comments from a post on the MORE blog, you might see that Unity members are jumping all over Julie Cavanagh, the MORE candidate for UFT president (whom I was supporting), for not  speaking at a UFT Delegate Assembly. This comment, from some dude named Stuart, is a good example of what I'm talking about.
Where’s Julie???
Has Julie been to any of the Delegate Assemblies? I’ve never heard her ask a question or speak for or against a motion to the agenda, or a resolution on the floor.
I’ve heard her MORE Comrades, but never Julie. Why is that?
... Mulgrew speaks to the entire delegation which ... Isn’t Julie a Chapter Leader? If she is then isn’t she at Delegate Assemblies? When was the last time she spoke. We have heard Peter speak, we have heard Gloria, where’s Julie? 
At first I thought "oh, these guys are full of it. How dare they?" But then I started thinking. I haven't seen Julie Cavanagh speaking at a great many places lately. Then I began to wonder myself: Is she really serious about being president of MY union?

So I drove home from Pennsylvania today with this thought in my mind and decided to put this new concern  to the test.

  • I stopped in to get a cup of coffee at the local Quickmart before my trip began. I didn't see Julie Cavanagh anywhere! "Where's Julie?" I wondered.  
  • Along the way, I had to stop in New Jersey to fill up the tank. I said to the gas attendant, "$45 of regular please, and I'd like to speak with Julie Cavanagh". He just sort of  looked at me in a sad way like I was crazy. (And, again, there was no Julie).
  • When I got back to my house, I had to stop at my local Starbucks for some real coffee. I looked high and low in that place for a teacher speaking about teaching and what real education is. Alas, no Julie. 
  • I came home, unpacked and put the luggage in my shed out back. No Julie there. 
  • Ran to the supermarket to pick up some groceries  No Julie at the local Stop N Shop.
  • Then I stopped at he hardware store to pick up a glue gun. No Julie (either in the store OR the parking lot!)

So after careful consideration, and an empirical experiment, I've come to the conclusion that the Unity guys are right: Julie Cavanagh must NOT be serious about being the UFT presidency. Why? because:
  • She's not speaking at a gas station or a Starbucks out on Long Island 
  • Or at a QuickMart out in Pennsylvania 
  • Or at my local hardware store in Suffolk County ....
  • ... Or at a Delegate Assembly in a different universe. 

They're all right, And I can no longer support Julie's bid to become UFT President this year. Sorry, MORE. The Unity guys are just making too much sense. It's just not gonna happen.


Now maybe you may think along the same lines that NYCEducator when he says that her speaking at the DA is of little significance:
it's beyond absurd to maintain that the few minutes Julie Cavanagh may or may not get to speak at the DA is a substitute for debate.  In fact, her opponent presides over the DA. Perhaps some Unity members believe democracy entails your opponent moderating and controlling the debate.
Or what one commenter said on the ICEUFTBlog about exactly how important the Delegate Assemblies are in the first place:
After going to many nonsensical, windy DAs and witnessing not very much happen, ever, I've taken to reading your sharp reports. It takes much less time than driving to Manhattan, and saves me over 20 bucks on parking each month.

I want to thank you, James Eterno, from the bottom of my heart, for attending these things and giving such a clear picture of what happens, so that I don't have to.

Or maybe you're a Julie apologist. Maybe you buy the excuse that the blogger from EdnotesOnline gives for why she's really being attacked by these brave Unity people:
"So after the Unity Caucus slugs turned down a resolution at the UFT delegate assembly calling for a debate between the only 2 presidential candidates ...the slugs started showing up on the ICE blog attacking Julie, who was home with a sick child, for not attending the DA."

Or, like this commenter, John Yanno,  are one of the people who have been helped by Julie:
In 2010, the NYC DOE proposed housing Millennium Brooklyn in the John Jay High School campus where I teach. While Millennium Brooklyn is not a charter school, many of us at the John Jay campus were opposed to the co-location because of the scarce space in the building. There was also the problem of the DOE failing to release promised funds to the school (outrageously, they told us that allowing Millennium Brooklyn in would release those much-needed funds for our crumbling building). I knew Julie from the Grassroots Education Movement (this was way before MORE) and her fight at PS15. After telling her about what was happening at my school, Julie attended a joint parent and teacher meeting at my campus to help explain what would happen next after the proposal and what steps we could take to prepare for the hearing and the PEP. Julie also attended the hearing at my school and spoke powerfully both to the DOE from the microphone but also privately to at least one CEC member about the failure of the DOE to fund the schools at John Jay. Again, this was before there was any MORE, before Julie was running for any office. Julie, a true activist dedicated to education justice, came and said what the UFT leadership didn’t.

Or maybe you believe her earnest attempt to set the record straight on the MORE Blog and published on the ICEUFT blog.

But I just don't buy it.

And I suppose, you may want to talk about the things she's done in the name of protecting education and say that I'm just plain stupid for pulling my support. Sure, I've seen her defending teachers and teaching here and here and here and here (ok, and then there's here and here and here), but so what? I mean, honestly, is that supposed to make up for the fact that she wasn't at the Quickmart in PA when I was ready to listen to her speak?

Because the bottom line is if she's not willing to standing and talk for 35 seconds at a DA, while the president of the union looms over here and speaks for the rest of the session, then she must not ready.

You see, it all makes perfect sense! And that is why I can no longer support MORE's presidential candidate.

Repost: Cavanagh Defends Her Record and Asks Mulgrew to Debate His

This post was written way back in 2013!!! Since then, Julie Cavanagh has become a principal, Mike Mulgrew arranged it so that I could remain home and safe for an entire year during a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic and, thanks to UFT UNity and Mike Schirtzer, teacher-parents all across the city enjoy several weeks of paid family leave after they welcome a new child into the world. 

Since that time, I make literally two times as much as I did then and, thanks to the grievance process and a union who worked hard for members, I work half as hard for it. 

At the same time, the public tone coming from the UFC join slate on social media is absolutely deplorable. I'm sorry. There are no other words to describe it. Some of their goals are great but the tactics used to achieve those goals have demeaned the tone among pedagogues and have already turned a healthy election among educators into an ugly school yard brawl. These are the tactics Trump used. This is the way Trump campaigned. The goals are nice, but the tactics are beneath even me. I have stopped actively supporting them. 

I urge anyone reading this to avoid voting for any one slate and, instead, to consider supporting individual candidates from both sides. I also urge you to take steps to discourage the attacks and harassment on social media of individual persons to immediately stop. In addition to this, everyone reading this should start talking about the real threat on the horizon -the over $1 billion cuts to NYC education next year, including a $130 million cut to projected teacher salaries. We are facing historical forces related to the decline of our population and we simply haven't the time to watch activists act like children. 


By Julie Cavanagh
Wow. While having breakfast with my husband and almost nine month old son (who is finally on the mend after more than a week of a fever ranging 102-104 every day, during the same time my best friend’s 18 month old daughter was in the hospital, who by the way, is also a teacher and a single mother of two young children), I picked up my phone to see a mention on Twitter from Arthur Goldstein (teacher and chapter leader in Queens). I frankly couldn’t believe what I was reading. Usually a mention from Arthur has me in stitches. Not this time.
Now instead of relaxing while my baby takes a nap, I am writing this in response to comments on the ICE and MORE blogs attacking my commitment as a unionist and chapter leader and questioning my worthiness as a candidate for UFT President. All of this because I, and the caucus I represent, had the nerve to insist that Michael Mulgrew engage in a forum or debate with me so that our members can be fully informed and engaged when it comes to their voting choices in the upcoming election.
First let me say that I do not feel I need to defend my role as a chapter leader. Nearly every UFT member in our school, signed my petition for UFT President, and many of my colleagues are actually running in this election with MORE.
Second, I certainly do not need to defend my attendance at Delegate Assemblies. While I do attend, often, DAs are not a democratic forum. As I am sure the commenters on the ICE and MORE blogs know, and as all Unity folks know, the room is not even large enough for all of the CLs and delegates to be seated and when you do go and sit, you listen to Mulgrew practice his stand up routine for an hour or so, after which you *might* have the chance to ask a question or bring a resolution to the floor if Mulgrew recognizes you. Regardless, it is an effort in futility because it really doesn’t matter what you say, ask or bring to the floor; the ruling Unity caucus will disagree with it or vote it down, since they control the DA. If the UFT leadership actually held Delegate Assemblies each month that were informative and provided fair and ample time for discourse and discussion, I would be there in a New York Minute. As this is not the case, I attend as many Delegate Assemblies as I can, but sometimes other events such as a childcare issue, my son being ill or an important meeting in my community to bring a new partner into Red Hook to service children and families with disabilities will take precedence. I do not need to go to the delegate assembly to prove who I am or that I am committed to my union; I act every day in a way that highlights why I should be president of the UFT.
I am a mother and a teacher. I have been a teacher for thirteen years, and have been working with children with special needs and their families for even longer. I have stayed in the same community and school since moving to NYC in 2001, because I am committed to the process of leading school change and improvement from the school level. I became chapter leader at the request of my colleagues a few years ago and have worked hard with them, our parents, and our principal to make sure our children and our teachers have the best learning and working conditions possible. I fought for my school during the dictatorship that my union handed to the mayor, during a co-location of a charter school in my building that my union didn’t adequately help fight (which is difficult since the UFT leadership chose to co-locate its own charter), while our class sizes rise steadily and our budgets are slashed, while teacher’s choice was eliminated and insultingly reinstated to cover no more than a few boxes of pencils, while ATR’s rotate in and out of my building- some of whom  have approached me on the brink of tears desperate for someone to listen to their struggle, during a time of a tidal wave of assaults on our children, our schools, and our profession.
Throughout this time, I not only worked in my own school community, I worked with parents and union members across the city and the country to fight back. You can find links to some of my work here, but I will list a few highlights: I co-wrote/edited/produced/and narrated a film that stood up to corporate education reform, a film that has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people in every state and on every continent (except Antarctica); I have appeared on several TV and radio programs and written several articles where I have spoken out forcefully against corporate education reform and for the schools our children deserve – and I was invited or asked in every single case to participate, so while those in Unity caucus pretend to not know who I am or what I have done (but yet ”know”, falsely, that I am not at DAs) apparently the national media does; I have also worked with other union members in the city and nationally  I helped organize a conference, and attended and facilitated, in Chicago in the summer of 2011 with other teacher union members; I helped lead the solidarity efforts with Verizon workers at the end of that same summer. I have sued, with a parent and a student, Mayor Bloomberg for the right to protest school closings and co-locations on his block and successfully organized and co-led that protest. I was the only teacher petitioner in the effort to stop and overturn the appointment of Cathy Black and also recently the only teacher on record to join with parents in sounding the alarm of student and teacher data privacy issues regarding SLC/inBloom data systems (Randi Weingarten, by the way, sits on inBloom’s advisory board). I say all of this not because I think anything that I am or that I do is so special, I share this information to highlight the outlandishness of the attacks from people whose usual line is there should be no attacks on union folks because we are under attack from outside forces and therefore need ‘unity’. I also share this because these are the things the president of a union should do.
Beyond of all of this, if Unity caucus can attack me for the number of times I went to the DA (this year I believe I have been to four DAs), the number of grievances I have filed (none), the number of UFT trainings or committees I have attended (none), then I wonder why they nominated Randi Weingarten as their presidential candidate, since she never attended a DA as a chapter leader, was never a chapter leader, and therefore never filed a grievance, attended the trainings, etc.
I personally do not think any of those things are what makes someone qualified to run our union. What matters is leadership. What matters is vision. What matters is the philosophy by which one will govern and represent the membership. I believe in a union that is member led and member driven. When I, or a candidate from MORE caucus, become president of the union, you will not have to attend a DA and sit idly and listen. The DA will be yours. When we take over leadership of our union, we will organize, support and build fighting chapters at the school level with elected district representatives who are trained organizers.  When we run the union, leadership and staffers will make salaries equivalent to the teachers we represent — there will be no extra perks, no double pensions.  When we lead our union, you will not go more than three years without a contract, at least not without organized job actions and a fight.
When Unity’s stranglehold of the leadership of our union ends, the members will have representation that believes in solidarity with other unions and in the power of our collective action. You will have a union that educates, mobilizes, and organizes our members and the public and who organically partners with parents and young people. You will have a leadership that truly understands that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions, that a harm to one is a harm to us all, and that we must stand side by side with deep roots in the communities we serve to fight for social, racial and economic justice in our schools, in our city and across the country.
I am more than ready to share who I am with the members of the UFT and I am happy to answer their questions. In fact, that is precisely the reason I sent the email below to Michael Mulgrew. I believe a union membership with a less than 30% voter turnout needs to be engaged and exposed to open discourse and conversation between the two people who seek to represent them.
Mr. Mulgrew, I am still waiting for a response.
Sent: Mar 14, 2013 8:01 PM
I hope this email finds you well.
While we have differences and disagreements concerning education policy and union democracy, we both are committed to our union and the children we serve. In that spirit, we should be able to engage in an open conversation during election season so we can ensure our fellow members are informed and engaged.
To this point you have ignored outreach regarding your participation in a debate or question and answer town hall with me. I would like to directly and formally ask you to participate in such an event.
I believe that our members deserve the opportunity to ask questions of their presidential candidates and I strongly believe this kind of open and honest discourse strengthens our union: an educated and engaged membership that is listened to and participates makes us stronger.
There is precedent for an event such as this between presidential candidates during election season.  As you know, Randi has participated in presidential debates in the past: one in 1999 and again in 2001.
I am open to a debate format with a third party moderator or a town hall question and answer event with the membership. My only specific asks are that the event be filmed and/or livestreamed so that we can maximize member participation, that the date, which I am open to any, be agreed to a few days in advance, so that I can secure child care and that the date be as close to April 3rd as possible, so that we provide a fair amount of time for members during the election timeframe.
I look forward to your response.
In solidarity,
Julie Cavanagh

Friday, March 22, 2013

Yet Another Cool MORE Video!

I think I'm the last to show it. Some might call it late. I equate it being the last one to open presents on Christmas Morning. Enjoy

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MORE's Latest Request for Equal Access From Leadership

Past experiences with gaining equal access to fellow colleagues during this election season have proven, well, disappointing. So when Peter Lamphere, one of MORE's young and brilliant leaders, sent Amy Arundell (the Unity person who they contact to make sure that the election is being held fairly) this email, it piqued my interest.

Dear Amy,   
As per Landrum-Griffin, we request the right to have a MORE election email sent to the UFT email list.   
Thank you,    
Peter Lamphere for MORE

The email was sent sometime before 10:00 PM on March 18th, 2013.

ps ...When he mentions Landrum-Griffin,  he's referring to this federal law which (among other things) requires a union's leadership to act appropriately during times like these. I'll publish some commentary about this tomorrow and link it back here.

Where Are the Jobs?

I have a question: Where are the jobs?

I mean those high-tech college-only jobs that we're supposed to be training every student who graduates high school for. I mean those jobs that can only be gotten through the efforts of students who are college ready? You know, the jobs that Common Core was created to help prepare our students to compete for? Yeah. Those jobs. So where are they, exactly?

I've been looking around, on the Labor Department website for highly skilled job sector growth and I can't seem to find any.

I've been looking in the newspaper and on and they don't seem to be visible.

We are seven years into a recession (and don't give me any of that crap about the recession starting in '07. Bush sent me MY first stimulus check back in 2006, so let's just all be real and start there, shall we) and it has been darn near impossible to find a good paying job since then.

A former student, with a college degree and 3.8 gpa is selling stuff door to door. For him, there was no college job. He's not the only one who my best efforts went toward experiencing that. Not by a long shot.

And yet, we're being told that we have to prepare every high school student for college (and not spend time preparing them for plumbing, our auto mechanics or electritical work) so that they can be ready for " tomorrow's high paying, high skilled jobs".

Ok, so where are these jobs I keep hearing about?

(You know, the ones that my job is going to be glued to if my kids from Title I and blue collar homes don't suddenly develop an interest and proficiency in advanced readings of complicated informational texts. Yeah. Those jobs).

Something has been sticking with me for a few weeks now. I saw Lois Weiner speak at a MORE conference and she asked 'why aren't experienced teachers being valued and why is teaching being dumbed down? Because the menial jobs that our society is offering require only menial teachers to prepare our students -teachers who will leave the profession in a few years and who need a rubric like Danielson's in order to function."

Or something like that. I mean, I was really taken back so much by the thought that I didn't take much time to detail the quote.

Because the very thought is bone chilling: The only jobs out there are   retail jobs (you know, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot. Jobs like that). Besides those, the thought goes, there are no jobs.

I'd like to prove her wrong. But, for the last few weeks, I really haven't been able to because, like I said, I can't seem to notice any college-required jobs.
I mean, it's nice to go to college. It's great to have a degree. It's wonderful to be educated. But where are the jobs that all of our students are supposed to be college educated in order to compete for?

I don't see THOSE jobs. Do you?

Look, I broke my brand new Google Nexus 7 this past weekend. I loved that tablet. I loved it with all of my heart. I called Asus (the company who manufactures the device) to ask how much it would cost to repair. The highly trained customer service rep I spoke with was in India. I called my mortgage servicing company to ask about refinancing last week. That rep? Was from India as well. Oh, and the very highly trained Norton expert who cleaned my computer's registry right in from of me and cured it from its virus? Yeah. India, too.

Funny that India doesn't have Common Core, isn't it? Or Danielson performance reviews?

And not ha ha funny either.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

'Closing Schools' is Big Business

First, a little seemingly unconnected history from a history teacher. Bear with me for a moment. 

You've probably never heard of Jacobo Arbenz. He was a pretty cool dude. In the 1950s, after being elected president of his country,  he tried to give over one million acres of farming land to the peasants. The CIA then moved in with a 'black-op' to overthrow his Guatemalan government. When that didn't work, they just bombed the capital. Arbenz  fled and gave up his presidency -and the peasants never did get that land.

What could lead a foreign government to stop a man from giving away free land to poor peasant farmers?

The answer is money. You see, that land had already been owned by Dole Fruit (which was, at the time, known as 'el pulpo' (the nickname for the United Fruit Company).  After complaining to two close friends in the US government that its private, for-profit banana plantations had been taken away (and given to poor peasants all things),  the CIA launched 'Operation PBSuccess'. Plan A of the this operation called for rebels to try to overthrow the government. Plan B was to bomb the capital until the government fell apart. Plan B worked and Arbenz learned an important lesson; that in the United States, 'Bananas' is big business. (see here)

Thanks for letting me talk about history for a while.

Over the past decade, the City of New York has identified roughly 20 schools per year as 'failing' and has closed them. To justify these closings, the city has pointed to data showing that the schools are falling far behind and must be closed (in the name of putting students first).

That a large part of this data has been greatly questioned (see here or here for just two of Gary Rubenstein's brilliant pieces about that data) doesn't seem to matter. That communities and other stakeholders have, in the past, tried their very best to stop these closures (see here) doesn't seem to matter either. Every time they meet, the PEP (the mayor's rubber stamp education committee) votes the way they're told and the schools have been closed. This year, that number is twenty two (see here). That means that twenty two schools are slated for closure at the end of this academic year (see here for Francesco Portelos' awesome post about last week's PEP).

What could lead a local school district to ignore the complaints of so many stakeholders and close, instead of fix, neighborhood schools?

The answer to at least part of that question is money.  What fails to make the headlines each and every year (even on Gotham Schools)  is the sheer amount of money involved in closing a school and opening another -and doing this many times over each and every year.

For instance:

Every book owned by the closing school must be destroyed and new books purchased for the opening school(s).  For a large high school with 2,000 students, this number might be as high as 12,000 (an average of six books purchased for each student). That's 12,000 perfectly usable books which are destroyed only to be purchased again with tax payer dollars as the new schools in that building open up. Why is this the case? Well, because books are owned by the school not by the district.  If there is no school, then there is no legal use for the books. They must be destroyed and new books must be purchased. (Funfact: Chancellor Walcott was so impressed with the person who caught this rule (a principal of one of these closing schools) that he put her in charge of closing schools across the city.)

Every piece of computer hardware owned by the closing school must be destroyed and new computers purchased for the opening school(s). Imagine the cost of laptops for students, and Smart Boards for teachers, then desktops and laptops for teachers and support staff, a new License for CASS, new machines for the the library to catalog the books (which yes, should all (by law) have to be replaced). That's a pretty significant number.

The same holds true for every piece of software. Think of just some of the software that is used for a school. With the exception of Office, Adobe Writer and Photoshop, the licenses are not city-wide, they are classroom or school-based. If the school closes, the licenses are no longer valid. The software must be replaced and re-purchased (with new taxpayer dollars) by the new incoming schools.

Copy (and Riso) machines. These are also licensed to the school. Two things about this type of equipment, 1) Like books,  they must also be turned in and new ones must be purchased 2) The often used model of installing four smaller schools into one larger one requires a few more of these machines to be purchased than the old school needed to have, so this actually equates to new business for that industry. I have a friend who works for one of these copy companies who's supervisor once told him that the school closings had provided enough new work to save his job from layoff.

Furniture must be inventoried and anything identified as 'old' must be discarded. Of course, new furniture will have to be purchased by the new school. While this is largely left up to the leaders of the new school, and doesn't always happen, it's well worth mentioning here.

Oh, and let's not forget consultants to help with new, inexperienced teaching and leadership staff. It's commonly known that much of the staff of the closing schools are let go and, in New York anyway, turned into glorified substitutes. As they take their decades of experience with them, new staff is brought in to take their place and must be trained. They need supports in order to learn their new job.  Those supports come partly in the form of teacher training consultants; an industry that has been identified by this Hechinger Report/Schoolbook piece as "big business" all by itself. It used up $97 million of tax payer dollars during the 2010-2011 school year alone.

Is that big in a school budget that runs as high as New York City's? Probably not (I figure it to be less than one percent of the annual city education spending). But that doesn't mean it's not big business.

And the 'new' stakeholders in the school closing movement -the copy machine and book publishing companies, the furniture and software providers, and those consultants (who may or may not be for profit, but who's leaders still command a salary comparable to for-profit CEOs)- are having their way against the wishes of natural stakeholders -school and community leaders, parents and teachers, honest academics and politicians.

In fact, you might say that they're running the table.

Personally, I don't think they should be allowed to have anonymity as well, but anyone outside of social media just doesn't seem to care that, in New York City, 'Closing Schools' is big business.