Of course the Hempstead School
District could have done much much better!
And so can the Board of Regents.
And so can the State Education Department. And so can the legislature and governor. Please read the press release at the bottom
of the Eric Stevenson Exploratory Campaign for Congress – 15th
The politics certainly gets in the way
in Hempstead and reminds me of Donald Trump making things up all the time. There have been a lot of collusion and
obstruction of justice for the community.
I loved watching the CBS Report, but let’s be honest about it. I would never have wanted my own work to have
been presented in the way it was presented.
There are too many generalizations even as specific things are
presented. I am talking about
accomplishments. You can watch for
yourself and learn from what I write.
The key thing about the school is clearly that students were not doing
well enough. Focus on that statement and
let’s go to the video tape to see the improvements mentioned. That’s a lot of viewing and that means
intense viewing (117 minutes). In a
report of an hour and seventeen minutes there should be more about the players:
the superintendent, the teachers, the parents, the students, the board members,
and the community including elected officials.
Let me get to important things first
as a road map. I have talked to Randy
Stith (board member) and emailed Hempstead for Hempstead. I am just being brief about this to set the
stage. You really do not see a community
in great need in the presentation. With
sixty percent of students not graduating for years, we have no clue how those
students are going to make it in society.
What is the level of unemployment in Hempstead as a result of not having
a diploma? What is the increase in
people on social welfare assistance also?
How many people are going to jail and how early in life do they end up
incarcerated or in detention houses? What is the effect on families and its impact
in school? Where is the mention of the
“pipeline to prison” that I hear in communities around our nation? The reporting does cite decades of problems,
but revolutionary or significant change requires lazar like moves that impact
greatly and those moves require superior knowledge. And the problem is as much about community as
it is about the people in the schools of Hempstead. In 2002 I learned that I could not count on
reporters to write about my best ideas and I had my first article published in
Spanish in a newspaper in Brentwood and never looked back as several hundred
articles came pouring out to help people.
I will quickly tell things that you
can learn to make things better. When a
student appeared on his way to getting suspended, I gave the required helpful
information to the parent the afternoon before to prevent it. When students were being held back by staff
from taking the G.E.D. I was the only teacher who spoke up against the
administration. When parents were making
the wrong decision about keeping their child in class instead of taking the
test, I provided information to help the student earn the diploma sooner. I cited the correct interpretation of the regulations
of the State of New York instead of going along with a program that was holding
the students back (December 19, 1999 NY Newsday article on that), When students were in class longer only to
reach a slightly higher test mark to get into college, I wish I had known at
that time that student who passed the test could retake the G.E.D. one more
time in order to satisfy the college’s requirement to share with students in
that situation. That student might have
gotten a job with the diploma and studied more after passing the test to gain
admittance to college. When the
instruction was wrong or bad, I intervened.
Students were told that they could leave the program and take the test
on their own. I used to tell the
students that people who did leave the program came back and waived their diplomas
at the administration when the diploma arrived in the mail. There was no parent involvement as schools
know parent involvement, but if there had been real parent involvement, I
probably could have caused a revolution in the G.E.D. programs in New York
City. What I have wanted for Hempstead
since the early 2000s and especially since I wrote an article in La Tribuna
Hispana USA is for each graduating class to have 100 percent graduation through
the Hempstead High School diploma and the G.E.D. And in stating all this, I can assure you
that the Regents of the State of New York, the New York State Assembly, and the
governor have conspired to hold people in Hempstead and other communities
back. I wrote days ago to the
assemblywoman featured in the CBS presentation and I have not heard from
her. At one point in the Carolyn Gusoff report,
Shimon Waronker points out the need for pre-GED and GED programs (apparently
there has not been any). I will get to
Shimon Waronker missed certain
deadlines according to opponents of Waronker.
That was not addressed strongly in the report. Waronker’s contract did stipulate that his
company would be paid and people would be hired. That clearly shows no corruption of his mind
which is important in determining guilt.
Now if he had never had that part of his contract redacted, there might
have been another story to tell. It was
wrong for people to say that he was “raping” the students because of that
money. And the majority of the board was
hiding when it was revealed that the money for the investigation into Waronker
had to come from teachers’ salaries.
There is no consistency in the arguments of the majority. I have spoken to Melissa Figueroa about
Waronker and I thought that he was probably not the best person for the job. Here is what I was thinking beside what I
have written about him. What did he put
in place in Hempstead that he used in J.H.S. 22 Bronx and used successfully? For example were gang members brought into
the student government? I wrote to
Hempstead for Hempstead and never got a response from the president. The response I got was in June 2017 and it
looked promising. After various messages
exchanged this was the reply, “Thank you very much I will definitely read and
forward to the executive board of HFH.”
Lots of material was sent to that FACEBOOK.
There are so many generalizations made
about and against Waronker and about and against the opposition. I wanted to see things that specifically
supported Waronker such as the gang piece being instituted. He was there for many months and he should
have had a plan that people could refer to since it was repeatedly mentioned
that he had no plan and he had a plan.
What were the five best things instituted by his educational group while
they were in the Hempstead School District?
What amazing things did the students feel that he accomplished,
particularly where those things could be compared to the previous
administration or administrations? How
was parent involvement changed? There
are lots of things that could have been mentioned so that we get a clearer
sense of his accomplishments in the district.
Just being a Harvard grad and being written up in the New York Times are
insufficient, but denigrating his accomplishments should not be tolerated
either. And keep in mind that Randy Stith wanted to see how an administrator
from an urban situation in the South Bronx could accomplish things in a
suburban setting called Hempstead. The
common elements shared by the South Bronx and Hempstead have been obvious to me
for decades, its people and problems.
And we would want to see what things that Waronker became famous for in
the Bronx were discarded in Hempstead.
Everything counts, everything matters.
I was very suspicious of Hempstead for
Hempstead, especially since I watched their own video on FACEBOOK as they were
overjoyed about taking back the district.
The district belongs to everyone.
I have gone through that with people from El Salvador in the Brentwood
School District as there were warring factions there back in the early
2000s. Hempstead’s performance may not
be entirely the result of the school board, but advertising the students who
were selected by Ivy League schools may not be the result of the hard work of teachers. Great students often succeed across racial
and ethnic lines and learn very little in the classroom. They’ve got talent and the skills to make
things happen and can do it anywhere.
Getting back to Shimon Waronker and
the G.E.D. is a one sentence statement without any supporting information or
material. Did he make that request in
writing to the school board? Did he make
that request in writing to the state education department? If he did what was the response? I know that the Hempstead School District cut
out the G.E.D. program in CASA when Ed Mangano took office. I know that the New York State Education
Department including the Regents have made horrible decisions related to the
G.E.D. program. CBS should finally do an
exposé of those governmental entities that have created big losses of
G.E.D./T.A.S.C. since forever. I know
Chancellor Betty Rosa and I have talked with and corresponded with Roger Tiles
and I gave up on both. I have sent
information to the secretary of the Board of Regents and spoken to him
often. Now I am sure that the Regents
have done other work that is either good or superior, but they have failed millions
of people. The governor is involved as
well. The Hempstead School District
should immediately report the numbers of students who did not graduate and who
took and passed the TASC exam.
As a G.E.D fanatic I have had a
profound influence and largely because my knowledge is superior. Specifically I have impacted on the office of
Jeb Bush when he was governor (everyone should take note of the fact that New
York State Education Commissioner was rising to the top in Florida in those
says and I helped correct a situation with William Ammons in the governor’s
office). I informed the governor of New
York and he immediately transferred $2.1 million into the state budget in
2007. I have helped people pass the
G.E.D. who live in other countries including Bulgaria and Argentina. I help people a lot by phone and by email,
even a day before one of them took and passed the test in Ohio. And people ask what I do as in where do you
teach? I helped a Salvadoran that BOCES
would not even accept in its program because he only went to the second grade
in elementary school. I have either
helped and/or given advice that was helpful to students who dropped out of
Stuyvesant, Bronx High of Science, and Brooklyn Tech in New York City. And now I am deeply committed to helping
former New York State Assemblyman Eric Stevenson who will be meeting community
organizations as he prepares his run for Congress in the South Bronx. The very same things that are needed to excel
in teaching G.E.D./TASC/HISET are needed in preparing students to pass all of
their classes. So with great numbers of
students who are deficient in Hempstead schools, those students really do not
have to wait for four years to be turned around. They could learn the basics from a school-based
FACEBOOK page that could reach the home and make parent’s much better informed
of their children’s progress. If fifteen
percent of the students, for example, do not know about the 3,4,5 right
triangle, send the information home to the students on FACEBOOK and watch them
learn. It can be that simple. And students that don’t seem to know the past
tense in Spanish, for example, could benefit from one of the best lessons that
a teacher has to provide and learn yo pasé mi vacación en México. Far fewer students would have fallen through
the cracks in the year that Waronker spent as superintendent. And there’s much more that the Regents can
provide to CBS News. I also want to know
how many students who graduated in 2019 were expected to graduate on time two
years before in 2017 and how many students who were expected to graduate on
time did not graduate on time. And why? And I hope that students will be able to get
tutoring that will make a difference, a badly needed difference.
I watched about 20 segments from
Hempstead School Board meetings and there were hardly any parents there. I know that parents are busy, but it is
unacceptable and has anyone done a survey to find out why parents hardly
attend? Parent involvement matters! In the last several months I spoke with and
emailed the president of the high school and he never called me to invite me to
talk to the parents.
The anti-Semitism that has come out
still has not been explained to my satisfaction. I learned about the anti-Semitism in a
conversation from a board member. It
seems that the pot was stirred when Waronker held a meeting on a Sunday, which
Randy Stith was critical of, because people were in church on that day. And there was a community person that seemed
to cite “racism” for the same reason.
The Sunday meeting could have been provided to the entire community by
video to help the community and that kind of divisiveness was not necessary,
particularly since Waronker is an observing Jew and apparently the meeting had
to be held on a weekend. It was understandable
to people except Randy Stith and others had to put a divisive spin on it. We Jews are always conscious of being Jewish
among others and we sometimes use being Jewish to make a difference in the
lives of people. John F. Kennedy thought
that African-Americans could learn a lot from Jews as the Civil Rights’
struggle heated up. I just told Eric
Stevenson how a so-called “three-time loser” and a “menace to society (stated
by a judge)” became my G.E.D. student around 1997. I took him to eat in a kosher deli in Astoria
where I recommended that he order the pastrami sandwich. As he sat there, he asked me would it be okay
to put mayo on the sandwich and I replied no you have to put mustard. This reminded me of a Black man who asked me
on a subway platform back in the 1970s what he should put on a Gabila knish
(the square one) and I replied mustard no ketchup. My student went to jail again and he said
that I was the only person who wrote to him.
And the pastrami sandwich story spread among the inmates. This portraying of a Chasidic Jew as being
“racist” even in the CBS report, stirs the pot of anti-Semitism and will reach
communities all across New York State.
And that is dangerous, especially since we know there is a spike in
anti-Semitism and we see attacks on Jews in Brooklyn on television. So that part of Gusoff’s report needed
editing to show healing instead of pointing a finger at Waronker who is a very
Then we should ask what effect Jack
Bierwirth has had on the progress in education, the educational component. How did his suggestions boost state test
scores or even classroom test scores?
The results for 2019 have to be certified for this troubled
district. And the need for change is
still there. September will be a time to
put many of my ideas into action. Here is my previous article about Hempstead
that should finally make the news. I think that it will take another documentary
about all of the players and the mistakes that they have made to turn Hempstead
I want to share with you a video and
material that was sent to me which I decided to include. Long before there were Koufax and Roseboro in
the World Series and the New York Mets playing in Shea Stadium not far from
Hempstead, New York (of course the Mets played first in the Polo Grounds in
Manhattan), there were Johnny Podres and Roy Campanella. It was an amazing baseball experience in
1955. The Bums won! I met Roy Campanella’s granddaughter in
Philadelphia where we were panelists in the Afro-American Museum.
“With the weekend of Juneteenth ending
I feel as though slavery never really ended doing the work of civil rights
today I see so many egregious things happening to the African-American
communities this structural violence and ending it is my work today, We the people must eradicate structural
violence.. we have a public health crisis, until the public is healthy, and we eradicate racism, by dealing with the
ugly truths, we can never create public
safety being the granddaughter of Roy Campanella I think little black boys
still have less opportunities to play the game especially in the inner cities..
the cost for single moms just can’t afford it I believe that my grandfather
would probably turn over in his grave in 2019 to know that the very things that
held him back still remain the same today.”
Campy was driving home to Glen Cove when he had the accident that
paralyzed him in 1958.
Shimon Waronker worked in JHS 22 Bronx
and I met Campy in JHS 22 Manhattan, where the Dodgers favorite was a guest
speaker long after the accident. At the
age of eleven, I pitched in Ebbets Field before the Dodgers’ game, but
unfortunately I didn’t have the honor of meeting and pitching to Campy that
night (Al “Rube” Walker was the catcher that night in 1956).
Gale Muhammad, Campy’s granddaughter
asked me to share the video and I took immediate action. That’s what we all need to do now
The work of Mark Cohen should
interest my readers. Mark paints
Holocaust and Black Lives Matter. Here
is his work. Artist
Mark Cohen has a collection of Black Lives Matter artwork including one of the
Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston. Here you can study his
work called The Charleston Nine. At the end of his paintings are the
photographs of Red Morgan who has devoted 40 years of his life to photographing
African Americans. Red Morgan has many photographs of church life and
even one of Busta Rhymes.
Race In America
The 400 Year Struggle For
Have you clicked the red
letters to enter?
Release Eric Stevenson Exploratory Campaign for Congress – 15th
Congressional District June
that every member of every family should be a graduate of either high school or
an equivalency (TASC, G.E.D. HISET).
This includes our very important immigrant community. The ethnic statistics for G.E.D. that have
been published since 2008 reveal that New York has a major problem and the
program existed for decades before and that is not enough adults are graduates
of an equivalency. In fact New York has
lagged behind most of the nation, particularly in the granting of diplomas to
African-Americans. The South Bronx can
count on my support to introduce a bill to the Congress of the United States
that will make the TASC test free, funded to the maximum needed, and all
states’ and local rights’ will be removed and have federal protection. No longer will our people have to wait for
two months up to seven months as happened in the past. The test will be given to people within days
through the calendar year. In addition
the Spanish test will be given in all testing sites in New York and across the
United States of America. It is
estimated that more than 1.6 million people in New York has no diploma at all
and the South Bronx may have much more than one of every four adults who need a
diploma for either jobs or college or the military. In addition this new -generation of high
school equivalency will provide the assistance to our youth at the earliest
possible age making them much more productive throughout their lifetime. New York City has hundreds of thousands of
disconnected youth who get involved in trouble instead of education and the
I am ready
to write a position paper to explain more than has been presented here. I am ready to fight for the people and
produce great things and position myself as the candidate that is needed to