Today, intrepid reporter
Officials at New Visions have told principals at the start-up schools that they will not get any funding unless they also sign New Visions up as their PSO, or Partnership Support Organization, for the next five years, which means paying them substantial funds out of their limited school budgets.
A principal was quoted that she feels "blackmailed":
"I thought, 'Oh, my God, what a huge conflict of interest,'" the principal said. "We have to join their PSO and pay them for support in order to get this grant that we qualified for?"
The Gates foundation refused to comment; a DOE spokesperson said that "it's too early to comment on what rules PSOs will be required to follow or whether New Visions had broken them."
Just like the Children's First game, or the new Survivor version, this reflects the administration's way of making up the rules up as they go along, to make sure that no one will know what they are until it's too late! Luckily, in this case, the DOE may not be the final arbiter -- there are laws about this sort of thing.
In related news, the LISs (or Learning instructional supervisors, whose positions were established just a few years ago and are now being eliminated) are running scared. They have been reportedly warned by DOE officials in charge of the internal Learning Support Organizations that they will get jobs only if they persuade enough principals that they still supervise to sign up -- and promise to pay cold hard cash -- to the LSO.
A message from an insider at
"LISs and others seeking to stay employed have allegedly been told that their invitation to join an LSO will be dependent upon how many schools they bring in with them. Principals are reaching out to colleagues and friends across district and borough lines to put together networks. Parents seem to be out of the loop. The Chancellor made it clear that the choice of support organization is the PRINCIPALS alone."
Is this the sort of school system we want for our kids?