Thursday, March 27, 2014

Giving Up on 4-Year-Olds

Giving Up on 4-Year-Olds
New York Times
MARCH 26, 2014

A new report released by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, examining the disciplinary practices of the country’s 97,000 public schools, shows that excessively punitive policies are being used at every level of the public school system — even against 4-year-olds in preschool. This should shame the nation and force it to re-evaluate the destructive measures that schools are using against their most vulnerable children.

Black students, for example, are suspended at three times the rate of white students. Minority children with disabilities fare worst of all; the race effect is amplified when disability comes into the picture. More than one in four minority boys with a disability — and nearly one in five minority girls — receive an out-of-school suspension. Students with disabilities make up 12 percent of the student population, but 25 percent of those are either arrested or have their disciplinary cases referred to the police.

This is distressing enough when it happens to adolescents. But the new data show that disparate treatment of minority children begins early — in preschool. For example, black children represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment but nearly half of all children who receive more than one out-of-school suspension.

The fact that minority children at age 4 are already being disproportionately suspended or expelled is an outrage. The pattern of exclusion suggests that schools are giving up on these children when they are barely out of diapers. It runs counter to the very mission of early education, which is to promote school readiness. It harms children emotionally at an age when they are incapable of absorbing lessons from this form of punishment. And it places those children at greater risk of falling behind, dropping out or becoming permanently involved with the juvenile justice system. Federal civil rights officials do not explain why minority preschool students are being disproportionately singled out for suspension. Regardless of the causes, there are ways to combat this crisis. Walter Gilliam of Yale University, who has studied the expulsion problem extensively, has suggested several ways to minimize it. Among other things, Mr. Gilliam has called for: limiting enrollment to 10 students per preschool teacher (preferably less) so that teachers have adequate time with the students; making sure that those teachers work reasonable hours; and giving them access to children’s mental health consultants who can assist them with the occasional difficult case. Young children with challenging behaviors should not be thrown out but should be assessed to see if a more therapeutic environment might better suit their needs. The goal should be to do everything possible to bring them into the mainstream.

The Obama administration has taken some steps to end practices that disproportionately and unjustifiably subject minority students to suspension, expulsion or even arrest for behavior that should be dealt with by the principal. It has ramped up civil rights investigations and forced some districts to modify their policies.

Earlier this year, it issued extensive guidance to school districts on how to recognize and avoid discriminatory practices, and it called for more training for teachers in classroom management. School districts need to re-examine how they discipline students, especially the youngest and most fragile in their care.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why is Uncle Sam subsidizing these YMCA CEOs?

Pat Libby, who runs the Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research at the University of San Diego, said lawmakers are starting to take a closer look at salaries paid to charity officials.

“It goes to the question of public tax dollars,” she said. “Should people receive a tax deduction for contributing to organizations where executives are so highly compensated?”--San Diego Union Tribune

See also Robert Reich: “Paid-what-you’re-worth” is a toxic myth

The San Diego YMCA pays $544,172 to President and CEO Baron Herdelin-Doherty.

The organization is a bit secretive: it doesn't put its
Form 990 (tax form) on its website. Perhaps one of these
years Herdelin-Doherty will pull in over $1 million like
his predecessor (see San Diego Union-Tribune article below--
the SDUT managed to get a look at the 2009 Form 990).

My experience

I was delighted last July with my clever decision to take exercise classes at the YMCA.

But it didn't work out well. I wasn't able to make it to the classes I wanted to take. I had scheduling conflicts, an injury and I was out of the state for six weeks.

This wasn't the fault of the YMCA, but I'm wondering about their policy of taking $38 out of my checking account every month without regard to whether I am receiving any benefit.

I am thinking in particular about older members who may become incapacitated physically or mentally and who aren't able to make it to the Y to cancel their membership. Some of them might not have email, which is what I used to cancel my membership today. How long will that money keep flowing to the YMCA?

I called to express my concerns about this, but the membership director at the McGrath Family YMCA wasn't available--she was out of the office and wouldn't be available to talk to me for an hour or two. At least, that was the story I was given. But the minute I asked to talk to the executive director, what do you know? The membership director suddenly happened to walk into the office and got on the phone with me!

I said that was serendipitous, and she claimed that she didn't understand what I was talking about and that I should talk to someone else. So I am writing this as I wait for a call from Jennifer Pillsbury.

While waiting, I Googled the San Diego YMCA and discovered that their Form 990 (tax form) is not on their website!

Charity Navigator, however, has collected some information:
Compensation of Leaders (FYE 06/2012)

$544,172 Baron Herdelin-Doherty President, CEO
$187,500 Richard A. Collato Former President, CEO [The former president is still pulling in all this money? No wonder it cost me so much for classes. See below for San Diego Union-Tribune story about Collato.]

Now get this. Here's the mission of the YMCA:
Character development is an important part of the YMCA Mission and through all its programs the YMCA works at teaching young people to accept and demonstrate the four core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility in their daily lives.

Doesn't "responsibility" include putting your form 990 on your website? Doesn't "caring, honesty and respect" include not taking money from people when giving them nothing in return?

YMCA chief was paid nearly $1 million
The nonprofit says it was a one-year anomaly based on a retention package for the successful leader
By Jeff McDonald
Dec. 9, 2010

Richard Collato

Tax form for the YMCA of San Diego County Pay compared

YMCA of San Diego County

President/CEO Richard Collato [Retired Sept. 30}
Compensation: $954,441
Gross receipts: $151.8 million
Employees: 4,178*
Endowment: $14.9 million

*Number provided by YMCA of San Diego County; 2008 tax records state 5,967; YMCA staff declined to explain the discrepancy

Story continued HERE.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

From the Dumb Teacher files: What is it about swimming pools that makes teachers act stupid?

Kayona Hagen-Tietz of Como Park High School in St. Paul

I had my own experience with swimming pool weirdness with Castle Park Elementary teachers in 2001.

School Slammed For Forcing Girl To Stand Half-Naked In Sub-Zero Temperatures
By: Robert Porter
Issue Hawk
March 5, 2014

A Minnesota school has come under fire for forcing a wet and half-naked student to stand outside in sub-zero temperatures. Fourteen-year-old Kayona Hagen-Tietz developed frostbite after being shepherded outside from a swimming class when the school’s fire alarm went off. A teacher at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul told her that there was no time for her to get her clothes or towel from the locker and rushed her outside while still wet in a swimsuit. The temperature outside was -5 degrees that day and was -25 degrees with the windchill.

“When they had seen that, they should have had some kind of protocol,” said the girl’s mother, Eva. “If I had a fire and brought my children out in that condition, you know, I’m sure I would be charged in some way or another if I didn’t instantly bring them into a neighbor’s house or someplace else. The ultimate goal is to keep them safe and protect your children, and, in this instance, they did a really poor job.”

Eva declined to pursue legal action against the school, but also wants them to issue a public apology and reexamine their fire policies. The school district issued a statement saying they regularly review such policies and intend to do so again in the future, which the school’s principal declined to comment on the scandal.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Due to daughter's Facebook post, headmaster who sued for wrongful termination won't get $80,000 from Gulliver Preparatory School

A school administrator who says one thing and then immediately does the opposite?

It's good I was sitting down when I read this article.

Of course, Mr. Snay's and his dishonesty were probably of service to the trustees of Gulliver Prep for many years. I doubt that dishonesty is the reason the school let him go. More likely, he made the wrong parent angry.

I'm guessing he wasn't as tolerant of dishonesty among the students as he was with himself.

It appears that the school settled to avoid a legal battle. It would have been embarrassing for the school to have to reveal in court what really went wrong.

And I suspect that Mr. Snay didn't need the $80,000. He preferred to embarrass the school. I don't believe that he admonished his daughter to keep quiet about the agreement. And what about Mrs. Snay? Why didn't she warn her daughter to keep quiet? She was in on it, too, it would seem. She admits to helping her husband make the decision to tell the daughter about the settlement.

Patrick Snay's wife with daughter Dana
Dana Snay’s Facebook Post Cost Her Dad $80,000
American Wire
Posted by: Steven Kenniff
March 1, 2014

After Patrick Snay had sued the Gulliver Preparatory School for wrongful termination, and won, he was supposed to keep his settlement a secret. That was part of the deal when the school agreed to pay the former employee approximately $10,000 in back wages and an additional $80,000 out of court settlement. If Snay did not keep the deal a secret, he would lost the additional settlement. That should have been easy, except for one little problem. Patrick Snay had a daughter who attended and recently graduated from Gulliver Preparatory School, and she couldn’t “keep her mouth shut” about the settlement on Facebook.

Patrick Snay believed that he should tell his daughter, Dana Snay, about the settlement because she was a former student of the school at the time of her father’s wrongful termination. Patrick believed that his daughter suffered mental anguish due to the school attempting to lash out at her father through Dana. To help Dana have closure on the issue, Patrick told Dana about the out of court settlement, and had apparently agreed to pay for a European vacation for the girl.

In a typical teenage outburst, Dana Snay took to her Facebook account to brag about the settlement and tell her friends what she was going to get out of the money. Dana wrote the following message on her personal Facebook profile:

“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

Sadly for the Snay’s, the school found out about Dana’s outburst and did not pay the out of court settlement. They claimed that because Dana posted the status update to Facebook in reference to the settlement, that he broke his agreement to keep it a secret. A settlement court agreed that the Facebook post was enough proof for the school to not have to pay the Snay’s their $80,000 additional settlement portion due to Patrick breaking the clause.

Ex-headmaster who won $80,000 age discrimination settlement against his school LOSES entire payout after his daughter posted 'SUCK IT' message on Facebook
By Ashley Collman
Daily Mail
27 February 2014

Patrick Snay, 69, worked at Gulliver Preparatory for several years when his contract was not renewed in 2010 He claimed age discrimination and won a settlement of $80,000 from the school

Patrick Snay is now the headmaster at another school while daughter Dana is studying at Boston College

The former headmaster of a pricey Florida prep school lost his discrimination case against the school when his daughter decided to brag about the $80,000 deal on Facebook.

Patrick Snay was the headmaster of Gulliver Preparatory in Miami for several years when they decided not to renew his contract in 2010.

Snay, now 69, claimed the $30,000- a-year school was discriminating against him based on his age and that they retaliated against his daughter Dana, then a student at the school.

Let go: Patrick Snay (left) worked at Gulliver Preparatory for several years when they decided not to renew his contract in 2010. He claimed they discriminated against him based on his age (he is now 69) and won a settlement

Good deal: Gulliver attorneys initially agreed to pay Snay checks of $10,000 in back wages; $60,000 for his attorneys and an $80,000 settlement

In November 2011, the school agreed to settle with Snay, paying checks of $10,000 in back wages, $60,000 to his attorneys and a $80,000 settlement.

But Snay never got a dime after Dana boasted about the win on Facebook - violating the deal's confidentiality agreement.

'Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver,' she wrote to her more than 1,200 friends. 'Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.'

That post was seen by current and former Gulliver students, and eventually made its way back to the school's attorneys.

Four days after the deal was signed, Gulliver notified Snay that he wouldn't be getting any of the settlement...

While Snay initially won an order to enforce the agreement, Gulliver appealed and won the right not to pay in Florida's Third District Court of Appeals yesterday.

'Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do,' judge Linda Ann Wells said. 'His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.'

As part of the agreement, Snay promised not to tell anyone about the agreement besides his wife.

In his deposition, Snay said he felt he needed to tell his daughter because she suffered 'psychological scars' from her time as a student at Gulliver and knew that he was mediating with the school's attorneys.

'We knew what the restrictions were, yet we needed to tell her something,' he said.

Snay is now headmaster at $20,000-a-year Riviera Preparatory School in Coral Gables. His daughter is now studying at Boston College, according to her Facebook.

Snay can still file a motion for rehearing and appeal to the Florida Supreme Court in the case.