Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Revelations in DOE “Tell-All” Book

May 29, 2008 (GBN News): It may not be quite the bombshell that Scott McLellan's book is proving to be, but a new “tell-all” book about the inner workings of the NY City Department of Education is causing more than a little consternation at the DOE. GBN News has obtained an advance copy of, “What Hit Us: Inside the DOE’s Culture of Deception”, written under the pseudonym, “A. Source”. The author is a former DOE spokesperson, and the book could be so potentially damaging, it could pose a serious threat to the chances for renewal of mayoral control in NY City.

Among the revelations in the book:

*The obfuscation and lack of transparency in the DOE budget process arose out of Joel Klein’s ambition to be named CIA Director. The budget process was his way of demonstrating to the next President that he can keep a secret.

*The Mayor and Chancellor saw the “war on cell phones” as an integral front in the war on terror. They viewed cell phones as part of an Al-Qaida plot to distract children in school by sending incessant text messages asking children if they want beef or fish for dinner. The hiring of Emomali Rakhmon to head up DOE school security arose out of this concern. In the DOE’s haste to address the issue, Mr. Rakhmon was not fully vetted for the position. He was hired solely on the basis of his strict cell phone policy as dictator of Tajikistan and his willingness to use any and all means to enforce it. The zeal with which Mr. Rakhmon approached his job resulted in an embarrassing moment for the Chancellor, when his own Blackberry was confiscated by school security.

*Jim Leibman’s famous “run from parents” after a City Council hearing last December was not as spontaneous as it appeared. Liebman actually trained for his run for months.

*The failure of the DOE to comply with State physical education requirements was actually part of a cost saving measure recommended by the consulting firm Alvarez and Marsal. With the space no longer needed for gym, school gyms could be used as classroom space. By combining classes into the gyms and increasing class size to as many as 150 students, the DOE would save money by excessing numerous teachers, who would become part of the Absent Teacher reserve (ATR).

*Alvarez and Marsal also recommended that the DOE set up a secret disaster plan for the event of a major hurricane. Under the plan, as soon as a hurricane warning is declared, all ATR’s would be sent to schools in flood prone areas for the duration of the storm. After the storm, the flooded schools would be closed down, and the ATR’s would remain permanently assigned to those schools.

A DOE spokesperson declined to comment on the book, telling GBN News, “You’ll just have to wait for my own book to come out.”

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