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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Who really runs the NYC public schools?

CB, a veteran NYCATR contributor, has raised a disturbing question: 
Who really runs the New York City public schools?

Here is some information I recently learned from a school secretary at one of the many schools where I’ve been placed. I would appreciate feedback from anyone who can confirm or refute the veracity of this information, or who can answer any of the questions listed at the end of this entry. 

A few years ago, Learning Support Organizations, or Networks, were engaged or created to “integrate operational and instructional support for schools,” or, rather, to take over some of the functions of the districts. Despite the fact that the DOE School Support web page refers to Networks in the plural, the only one listed on that page is Children First Network. (It seems to me that there originally were others; what happened to them?) 

This secretary told me that for its first four years, CFN staff consisted of former district staff personnel, people who were knowledgeable about school operations and therefore helpful to school administrators and teachers. This staff was originally to have been kept for only three years, but they were kept on for another year. By the fifth year, CFN had all new people on its staff, and, according to this secretary, these folks had difficulty carrying out their functions because of lack of experience with the school system. The year after that, things became “so bad” that CFN staff members would not even answer their telephones. Now, in the seventh year, they still “don’t know what they are doing.” 

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the Networks are really part of the mayor’s not-so-secret plan to privatize the schools. The school secretary theorizes that Mr. Bloomberg’s model for the city school system is the University of Phoenix, whose only campus is a virtual one. 

Most or all of us remember when Regions were installed to oversee (or replace?) the Districts, then scrapped in three years’ time. I don’t think the CFN is going to go away so quickly. 

Here are some questions I’d like to see answered: 

*Is there information about CFN on any of the alternative teacher blogs? 

*What is the relationship between the DOE administration and the CFN? 

*Who hires CFN staff? What are their supposed qualifications? 

*What powers does CFN hold? 

*What is its relationship to the school districts? 

*What is its relationship to school principals? 

*How much does CFN cost the DOE, and what costs were eliminated with its creation? 

*Are there any other Learning Support Organizations? 

*What else should we know?

Picture credits:




  1. These are excellent questions and we should spread them far and wide and also ask why the press has not delved into this shadow structure.

  2. I can tell you there are certainly other support organizations. My school is affiliated with one. The rest I could not tell you.

  3. Good Evening!
    You may find this 68 page document revealing. Page 17 is an organizational chart that identifies the relationship between the CFN and the BOE.

    Btw as CL I direct all ATRs I meet to the website.

  4. There at least two networks of non-profits run by retired DoE employees. They are ripping the city off. Having worked for one I know. They do as little as possible and the schools where they work love it for they leave them alone. Also, they like to give gifts, bribes, to get their business for several years now....go figure......let the media look into this scandal.