Union scuttles Newark schools ‘E-plan’

larissaNo sooner had city school officials given teachers the option of working Election Day than they had to cancel school when the union told teachers they didn’t have to work if they didn’t want to.

Larisa Shambaugh, the city’s chief talent officer, sent a letter to teachers telling them she was forced to close school Nov. 8 because union President John Abeigon had monkeyed up plans to keep schools open.

“Mr. Abeigon recently directly communicated to teaching staff to ignore our calendar and invoked a provision in state law directing members to take Election Day off if they  desire,” Shambaugh argued. “This action created a serious concern about whether there would be appropriate coverage for students.”

Abeigon fired back in his own letter to teachers:

“Newark Public Schools seek to blame everyone else for their mistakes and attempt to nullify a law that clearly states ‘No teaching staff member shall be required to perform his duties on any day declared by law to be a public holiday,’ ” he wrote.

The union boss charged that Shambaugh displayed “arrogance, disrespect” and a “refusal to respect the community of Newark.”

Abeigon said he never encouraged members to ignore the school calendar or take the day off. “In fact, we asked staff to give administrators plenty of notice if they would be absent (which they are not required to do) to insure coverage would be available.”

Shambaugh said she would schedule a makeup day later in the year.

The rift comes amid widespread publicity surrounding Abeigon‘s confusing, on-again, off-again fundraising campaign.

He had said the GoFundMe idea was aimed at replenishing the union’s legal-defense fund but days later pulled the plug on the website http://bit.ly/2drVAm3 after critics questioned the union’s financial management.



Newark union chief: ‘Fundraising effort to be revived soon; stay tuned’


Union chief John M. Abeigon (njspotlight.com)

Newark Teachers Union chief John M. Abeigon says the group’s plans to raise money to defend public teachers have not been dropped, despite any public perception otherwise in the wake of “technical kinks.”

Abeigon‘s assertion comes just days after the union president pulled the plug on the organization’s funding site https://www.gofundme.com/2bhyjaty following critics who said the effort to raise money went south due to lack of support.

“The GoFundMe site is down temporarily and will return once we have worked out technical kinks,” Abeigon said.

The union boss has steadfastly denied the critics who complained the project was ill-fated due to the public perception that the union is awash in cash and needs no further financial help to defend embattled teachers.

He added: “We remain dedicated to fighting fire with fire and look forward to teachers negatively impacted by so-called ‘reforms’ to support us.”

Asked whether he has dropped the fundraising effort in the face of skepticism, Abeigon stated emphatically: “no.”

The union leader initiated a public fundraising campaign recently that he said was designed to help finance the onslaught against teachers, especially senior faculty members whose tenures are under fire.

But after the effort went dry, with no donations, Abeigon said the funding website was only up for testing. He quickly pulled it down, however, amid questions.

GoFundMe officials said people who create funding pages often don’t immediately publish them while they make final touches to their campaigns. Bartlett Jackson, regional communications manager for GoFundMe, said he wasn’t familiar with the details of the Newark case.

Abeigon insists he will re-post the funding page soon.



Union chief: ‘Fundraising campaign needed to fight fire with fire.’


John M. Abeigon

 By TED COHEN/Editor

The president of the Newark Teachers Union came out swinging against critics of his fledgling fund-raising campaign, saying the organization needs extra cash to “wage a successful campaign against the war on teachers.”

“There’s no shame in fighting fire with fire,” John M. Abeigon said in an exclusive interview with this blog. “The war on teachers is being funded with taxpayer dollars. Our only source of income is union dues from members. We don’t receive any taxpayer funding.”

Abeigon has come under fire from some critics who say the union should have plenty of money to do its work defending teachers with their contributed dues and shouldn’t have to create a special defense fund to bring in more dollars.

In a blistering headline blasting Abeigon‘s money-raising campaign, http://njleftbehind.blogspot.com said the idea for the fund came from “the Department of Chutzpuh.”

An editorial from EAIonline.com‘s Mike Antonucci said:

“The union claims this unique project is necessary because ‘we don’t have access to the same funding sources as those who want to destroy our public schools.’

“That might be literally true, but NTU has an annual budget of about $3.4 million and is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, a parent organization whose budget is $188 million. The idea that it requires a GoFundMe campaign for $100,000 is laughable.”

But Abeigon is undeterred by his critics. He said the onslaught against senior teachers requires hiring lawyers, and that costs alot of money.

“School districts and the state are using so-called evaluation systems to retaliate against senior teachers to force them out the door,” Abeigon said. “They’ve been pushing tenure cases against our senior members, forcing litigation. Whether they’re being defended for evaluation or for tenure, defense attorneys cost money. Unlike the corporations that are funding the war on teachers, our pockets are not bottomless.”

He added: “We’re not begging. This is a vehicle to assist us bringing in money to fight the crimes being committed against working people, accumulating enough money so we can afford a respectful campaign against the war on teachers.”

Abeigon said that, contrary to what some critics have claimed, the nonprofit “ERC Foundation” he is setting up as a repository for the money isn’t ready yet for public donations. He contended the gofundme website was up only for testing. It was apparently taken down minutes after our interview:


“We only had it up briefly for testing purposes to get the kinks out,” Abeigon said before pulling down the website. “We haven’t launched it yet. If you try to donate, you can’t yet.”



Teachers union goes mute – refuses to explain “foundation”

If you want to know what the “ERC Foundation” is, don’t bother asking Newark Teachers Association President John Abeigon, who has refused to respond to repeated  press inquiries.


John Abeigon (Facebook)

Abeigon’s silence comes amid myriad published reports of the union’s so-far unsuccessful effort to raise money through a newly formed “foundation” called the ERC Foundation.

The failed campaign has even caught the eye of the Washington Examiner. http://washex.am/2cNrXJp

“Maybe it’s due to poor promotion, or maybe it’s a hoax,” The Examiner’s Jason Russell wrote. “But after five days, a fundraiser for the Newark Teachers Union has raised $0. As of 5:30 p.m. on Monday, a GoFundMe page for the union had zero donations since its creation on Sept. 14.”

On its page http://bit.ly/2d1ZUYw the NTU writes:

“With Newark educators, their unions, students and public education under constant attack, the Newark Teachers Union is announcing an innovative way not just to fight back but educate the public about why public education must be supported and strengthened.

“Are you as angry as we are—the Newark Teachers Union—about the unrelenting attacks on teachers, their unions, their students and public education? This war is funded by the state, which is using taxpayer dollars to destabilize public education, especially in the poorest districts, like Newark.

“We need to fight back, but we don’t have access to the same funding sources as those who want to destroy our public schools. If you’re mad as hell and want to help us launch a real campaign to make sure Newark students, their educators, their families and communities have the strong, well-resourced neighborhood public schools they need to thrive, then consider donating whatever you can to our struggle.

“Any amount you contribute is greatly appreciated.”

Veteran teacher to union: Defend us – or we all succumb to Turnaround’s ilk

Just what is the NTU’s…

“Education Resource Foundation?”


Abigail Shure

Longtime Newark teacher Abigail Shure argues that if the union used teachers’ contributed funds for their intended purpose – defending embattled teachers – rather than for lobbying, public education would benefit.

Shure’s triggerpoint was the Newark Teachers Union’s crying poverty – creating a questionable “foundation,” the details of which remain murky and mysterious – while teachers fight their own battles without union backing.

If the forces trying to defenestrate public education – most notably Turnaround for Children Inc. – prevail, it will be thanks to a misdirected union.


Now, Shure’s essay, which broke on the web under Ed Notes Online http://bit.ly/2cnIlje:

By Abigail Shure

The Newark Teachers Union (NTU) an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) opened a gofundme.comaccount as first reported on Bob Braun’s Ledger http://bit.ly/2cAI5QW.

Donated funds are to be funneled through ERC Foundation. Repeated Google searches, however, have unearthed no information on the mysterious charity. Requests for clarification from the NTU have not been returned.

To make matters worse, the AFT is flush with cash. Opensecrets.org totaled up $1,273,694 in 2016 AFT federal campaign contributions. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton raked in $22,880 while former Democratic candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, got a measly $8,229.  Unfortunate U.S. Sen. Corey Booker, D-NJ was only granted $15.

Back in 2015,watchdog.org detailed AFT donations to Clinton affiliates as $250,000 to Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation, $250,000 to Clinton Global Initiative and $100,000 American Bridge 21st Century (a Clinton allied research group).

The AFT has plenty of money to spend on political candidates and politically aligned organizations with questionable agendas in regard to the future of public school education, whereas the teachers the union purports to represent have to resort to begging.





Ex-CNN choker Campbell tries Turnaround – on MSNBC

OMG – look who showed up on the boob tube among the chattering class.

Campbell “Get-Rid-Of-All-Teachers” Brown.

You remember her – the failed cable gal?

The one who then started her own lobbying gig to fight public education?

Hey, it’s all good. (Use search box on this blog to see our previous honoraria for Campbell.)

So, Brown apparently put her name in to MSNBC “just in case you need an old (failed) hand in a pinch.”


Brown appeared on the cable network – that would be the one with some of the worst news ratings known to humankind – interviewing the wife of Bernie Sanders.

Wonder whether Brown ‘felt the burn.’


Enjoy Campbell:


Turnaround’s buddy Katherine Bradley’s infamy catching up with the blog of record

katherine bradley city paper

Good morning Washington!

City Paper is onto us. I mean, really. We had the Katherine Bradley effect two years ago.


And now City Paper has done a follow-up to our work.

Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery!


(Glad to see City Paper catching up with the blog of record.)

Here as a public service we link two additional postings of ours from past years on Katherine and her pals at Turnaround for Children Inc.



Failed CNN anchor Trumped by Turnaround irrelevancy?

Campbell Brown


Having failed to work up a head of steam with a self-serving website, ex-newsie Campbell Brown is now trying to get back into circulation by beheading Trump.



Brown posted a widely publicized challenge to her ex-colleagues – wait, she had colleagues? – to keep The Donald off TV.

Aww, come now, she can’t be serious.

Right, she can’t be serious.

That’s why CNN canned her eons ago.

Failed CNN anchor and Pamela-Cantor-bosom-pal Brown: see if you can Turn(THIS)around! ‘Sorry, class, I’m late – again LOL.’

campbell brown

Campbell Brown turns a cold shoulder LOL

Hey Campbell http://www.the74million.org Brown – see if you can do a little work on the unions that are protecting pure incompetence.

Like, how can a teacher be late 111 times and still be, uh teaching?


NEW BRUNSWICK — An arbitrator used scathing language to describe the conduct of a public school teacher who has been late to work several dozen times in the last two years but also rejected the district’s attempt to fire him, according to a ruling in a tenure hearing reached earlier this month.

Arnold Anderson, a teacher at Roosevelt School, was late 46 times in the most recent school year through March 20, and another 65 times in the previous school year, according to the text of the arbitrator’s decision, which was filed Aug. 19.

The state-appointed arbitrator, David Gregory, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law in New York, was dismissive of Anderson’s claim that the quality of his teaching outweighs his frequent tardiness.

“At most, [Anderson] uses micro-quibbles of a few unpersuasive explanations, with a macro-default position that even when he is late he nevertheless delivers a superb educational experience to his grateful students,” Gregory wrote.

Gregory was likewise skeptical of Anderson’s claim that his lateness does not merit disciplinary action, adding that Anderson offers “no credible explanations for his tardiness record.”

But Gregory, citing his nearly 15 years of service, also found that summary discharge was not appropriate for Anderson, who is entitled to due process and progressive discipline prior to termination. Anderson has been denied raises as a  result of his lateness, Gregory noted, but was never given at least 90 days’ notice to correct his behavior.

Ravitch rhymes with … failed CNN anchor Campbell Brown, the Turnaround mistress who is 1/2 right 1/2 the time

campbell brown


The prolific ed-blogger and author Diane Ravitch has some tough talk for failed CNN anchor Campbell Brown as the latter embarks on her new “project,” a so-called online, education-reform news platform.

“As you begin your new advocacy, there are a few things you need to know,” Ravitch lectures Brown in a blog post by the former.


For example, “I realize that you are very concerned about the fact that 50% of our students are ‘below grade level.’ I want to make sure you understand that ‘grade level’ means ‘the median,'” Ravitch tells Brown. ‘It is the midpoint, and it doesn’t have a set meaning. There will always be 50% above grade level, and 50% below grade level. That is the definition of ‘grade level.’”

Ouch again!


Brown launched her new venture amid great fanfare, without the fan.