Government Lies, Corruption and Mismanagement
Bureaucracy Turns a Hero Into a Rogue
This is a story of an almost unfathomably mindless school bureaucracy at work: the crushing of an occupational therapist who had helped a young boy build a record of blazing success. The therapist, Deb Fisher, is now serving a suspension of 30 days without pay for official misconduct. Her crime? She raised money on Kickstarter for a program that she and the student, Aaron Philip, 13, created called This Ability Not Disability. An investigator with the Education Department’s Office of Special Investigations, Wei Liu, found that Ms. Fisher sent emails about the project during her workday at Public School 333, the Manhattan School for Children, and was thus guilty of “theft of services.”
The story posted here about how teacher Deb Fisher helped Aaron Philip, a student with cerebral palsy, published in the New York Times will disgust and disturb you.
The corruption and malicious prosecution of the New York City Department of Education is oozing from the walls of secrecy behind which the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) , Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), the Sturmabteilung "brown shirts" - Department of Investigation, Office of Special Investigations, Special Commissioner of Investigation, and Office of Equal Opportunity have hidden their collaboration and approval.
This website and other blogs such as NYC Rubber Room Reporter, New York Court Corruption, and National Public Voice have highlighted the actions of these groups and the individuals within them, such as Chancellors Joel Klein, Cathie Black, Dennis Walcott, Carmen Farina, the Gotcha Squad (here and here) and the attorneys - Adrienne Austin and Jade Fuller, Arbitrator attorneys Haydee Rosario, Doyle Pryor, just to name a few - who convict people without facts or the law behind them. Particularly disturbing is the tainted actions of the investigators who should be honest and fair in their investigations, and are not, deliberately and maliciously. The stories of teachers Natalya Sokolson, Glenn Storman, Lucienne Mohammed, Glen Fox, and countless others have been written about on this website and the blogs mentioned above. Their lives were destroyed for no reason, and I know each of their cases extremely well. This is again evident here in the story about Aaron Philip, posted below from the article in the New York Times.
I want to add that I have a disdain for bloggers and reporters who ignore wrong-doing in order to please their political allies. In particular, historian Diane Ravitch and blogger Norm Scott would rather take down their respective blogs than mention any article or story ever seen on any of my blogs. As it seems that they have suddenly awakened from a long sleep while too many educators were harmed, and are now looking at the corruption inside the NYC DOE is, I believe, disingenuous, and I don't care how many people bombard me with comments about their ignoring the limitless badness for so many years, and not writing about it simply to ignore my work. We all must expose all the corrupt acts of those who take public money and then attack innocent people, and not let bias get in the way.
Anyway, the story of Aaron Philip and Deb Fisher must be distributed, and we all must take notice that Deb Fisher was wrongfully suspended, yes....and that she would have been fired if she did not have the protection of tenure.
We need to protect the public school teachers like Deb Fisher, and keep tenure rights in New York City, just as we need to get rid of the brown shirts and leadership of the NYC Department of Education. The NYC DOE is not interested in putting the needs and achievement of children above the false charges against innocent people who challenge their fraud and corruption.
Bureaucracy Turns a Hero Into a Rogue
This is a story of an almost unfathomably mindless school bureaucracy at work: the crushing of an occupational therapist who had helped a young boy build a record of blazing success.
The therapist, Deb Fisher, is now serving a suspension of 30 days without pay for official misconduct.
She raised money on Kickstarter for a program that she and the student, Aaron Philip, 13, created called This Ability Not Disability. An investigator with the Education Department’s Office of Special Investigations, Wei Liu, found that Ms. Fisher sent emails about the project during her workday at Public School 333, the Manhattan School for Children, and was thus guilty of “theft of services.”
The school system has proved itself unable to dislodge failed or dangerous employees for years at a time.
Ms. Fisher’s case seems to represent just the opposite: A person working to excel is being hammered by an investigative agency that began its hunt in search of cheating on tests and record-keeping irregularities. It found nothing of the sort. Instead, the investigation produced a misleading report, filled with holes, on the fund-raising effort.
By omitting essential context, the report wrongly suggested that Ms. Fisher was a rogue employee, acting alone and in her own self-interest.
In fact, the entire school, including the principal, was involved in the Kickstarter project, with regular email blasts counting down the fund-raising push. And the money was to be used not by Ms. Fisher, but by Aaron, who is writing a graphic book and making a short film about Tanda, a regular kid who is born with a pair of legs in a world where everybody else has a pair of wheels.
Aaron has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to navigate the world. Ms. Fisher has worked with him since kindergarten.
“It’s beyond measure, the greatness, of how she has exposed Aaron to so many things,” Aaron’s father, Petrone Philip, said.
Aaron writes a lively Tumblr blog called Aaronverse. He has addressed all the employees of Tumblr as a guest of David Karp, who created the platform. He was taken under the wing of Fred Seibert, the founder of a hugely successful animation studio, Frederator, who had mentored Mr. Karp when he was a teenager inventing Tumblr. On his blog, Aaron urged Good Housekeeping to make sure that its research arm included disabled children in its testing of toys.
All of this was possible because he is a powerful presence, and he had Ms. Fisher at his side, according to the boy’s father. “She goes above and beyond the call of duty,” Mr. Philip said.
During a brief period of unemployment for Mr. Philip, the family moved to a homeless shelter. Learning this by chance, Ms. Fisher began a relentless campaign to get them permanent housing in an accessible building. She helped set up swimming lessons for Aaron. Ms. Fisher, 55, is passionate and hard-driving; her phone calls and emails can be like buckshot. She and another therapist started “Master Arts” for children with disabilities, devising tools to help their painting efforts. She received a mayoral commendation.
Last year, when Aaron wanted to create the book and the film, he and Ms. Fisher realized he was too young to run his own Kickstarter drive. Instead, Aaron told the investigators, they created an organization to help children like himself.
“We are all very excited to share our partnership with ThisAbilityNotDisability.org,” P.S. 333’s principal, Claire Lowenstein, wrote in an email on Jan. 11.
The goal was to raise $15,000. The school’s office regularly sent out updates like these: “7th Grader Aaron Philip is Almost 2/3 of the Way to His Goal”; “Aaron Philip is $1,621 Away From His Goal.”
In the end, he raised $16,231. The school celebrated at a town hall session.
In the meantime, a co-worker with whom Ms. Fisher had had continuing disagreements made a series of charges against her. Ms. Fisher had complained that the co-worker was physically bullying and taunting her. The special investigators found that none of the serious allegations against Ms. Fisher were true, but said she was guilty of fund-raising for “her own charity.”
The report made no mention that the entire building had been involved with the effort, nor did it try to determine whether Ms. Fisher would profit from it in any way. She was suspended on Sept. 15 until the end of October.
The school disciplinary system is often said to be broken. The case of Ms. Fisher would seem to prove the point.
The Education Department did not comment on the case.
Correction: October 3, 2014
An earlier version of a picture caption with this column misstated what grade Aaron Philip is in at school. He’s in the eighth grade, not the seventh.
There are other outrageous acts in the New York City Department of Education where administrators from hell maliciously target teachers: Thomas v Jimenez, Albetta, Bradley, Hernandez, et al.,US District Court 14-CV-8019(JMF)