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Friday, April 20, 2007


April 20, 2007 (GBN News): While many news outlets are reporting on the restructuring “deal” made between the NYC Department of Education and Mayor with the UFT and other groups, they have provided no details of the meeting where the deal was struck. However, GBN News was able to have one of its reporters secretly observe the meeting, and can now provide some of the missing “transparency”.

Reports that the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee (CPAC) was not invited to participate were apparently untrue, though the Committee was at first reluctant to come to Tweed Courthouse given that recently a number of them were held hostage there by the DOE. According to the Chancellor, the DOE had even tried to have Pupil Transportation Services bring them to the meeting, but unfortunately after they were picked up, Transportation Chief Donald Rumsfeld loaned their buses to the Defense Department for troop transport. Chancellor Klein said that CPAC’s participation will most certainly be welcome, just as soon as they complete their tour of duty in Iraq.

The Chancellor began the meeting by apologizing for the accommodations. He indicated that he would have held it in a new lounge that the DOE is renovating, but logistical difficulties had slowed the construction. However, a buffet lunch consisting of a variety of cuts of meats and budgets was catered by Alvarez and Marsal.

Participants were then seemingly taken aback when the Chancellor started the meeting by suggesting that everyone join him in playing the game, “Children First: A Game of Irony”. The Parker Brothers game, similar to Monopoly, pits stakeholders against each other to try and win enough “test points” to control the City school system. The participants were clearly skeptical about this idea, especially given that the rules of the game give the Chancellor the right to change those rules during the game, and the Mayor the right to declare himself the “winner”. However, they had all heard reports that the Chancellor takes this game seriously, and that some people have won actual buildings from him playing this game. They decided that even the remote possibility of gaining something from this would warrant going along with the idea.

The players competed for most of the day, and surprisingly, neither the Chancellor nor the Mayor have as yet invoked their right to change the rules or declare the outcome. However, the game had to be adjourned, as no winner had yet been established. Many of the people at the table were still concerned that the outcome was pre-ordained and that they were being “hustled” by the Mayor and Chancellor. And skepticism persisted as to the fate of CPAC and other stakeholder groups. Yet the “deal” was struck, and they agreed to continue holding meetings and will play the game until the outcome is resolved.

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