Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Would the President of NYSPTA Support John King but Not Parents and Teachers?

There's a lot of Upside Down in Education These Days

After perusing this statement from the President of the NYSPTA, Lana Ajemian, I have to say I was struck with something of an epiphany on the entire upside down cake of American education these days. Here we have the alleged president of a Parent Teacher group castigating fellow parents and teachers for venting their displeasure and frustration with the anti-student, anti-teacher machinations of John King, Pearson, Cuomo, Tisch et al. Listen to her condescending tone and observe how she spins the chain of events to demonize parents and teachers for their frustrations and exonerate John King for his arrogant insistence on hogging the mic when it was the audience's turn to speak because someone pissed him off with a shot across his bow on the topic of his sending his own kids to a private Montessori school. He even insisted the meeting would not continue until he was allowed to speak-- during the audience's speaking time.  

The purpose of the Town Hall meeting was not to hold a protest rally, nor to provide a forum for insult, personal attack, or overall disregard – this disregard was not only between the audience and the Commissioner but between audience members themselves. Some asked to be allowed to hear responses while many out-shouted their ability to do so. Despite requests by the Commissioner and NYS PTA to be courteous, disruptions continued and escalated. 

Did responses to question take longer than anticipated? Yes, they did.  This part of the program ran 15 minutes beyond what was planned. But, we cannot ignore that much time was spent trying to settle the audience. 

Prior to beginning, it was agreed to extend the statement period to allow the allotted time, if the program ran behind. During the statement period the Commissioner requested to respond to some comments to clarify inaccuracies. Those commenting felt this imposed on their time. Their level of frustration was raised, precipitating more jeers and shouting from the audience and adding to an already hostile environment. It was not constructive or productive to continue. 

It will come as a surprise to nobody that Lana's son Chris happens to be the CEO and founder of a testing prep company called CATES. Does that strike anyone else as something akin to a conflict of interest? Or maybe it explains why she so rabidly defends an inept, politically appointed puppet like John King whose agenda counts high stakes testing as one of its main lynchpins. Mr. or Dr.  Peter Ajemian more accurately has had a wee peck of trouble with Johnny Law, something about a misunderstanding with some Long Island RR workers who either were or weren't disabled. Surely a big mixup. My point really isn't to drag the fam through the mud here as much as point out why this particular NYSPTA Presdident's loyalties are bafflingly anti teacher and anti parent yet mind bogglingly pro-John King. Have a look at the restitution the good Doctor had to make for his transgressions : In addition to his prison term, AJEMIAN, 63, of Oyster Bay Cove, New York was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. He has also agreed to forfeit $116.5 million and pay $116.5 million in restitution, and was ordered to pay a $200 special assessment. Oh thaaaat. I remember once I screwed up with the IRS and had to pay them 117 million. No wait it was $1400. 

O.k. Mr. teacher blogger, nice going, you just blew up this poor lady's son and husband because you don't like her allegiances to the NYSED Commissioner John King, you might be thinking. Well not really, but when people pretend to be looking out for my interests as a parent and a teacher but in reality have the interests of people who seek to destroy public education and my profession so they can get even richer, I guess it's fair to say I have a huge problem with that. Again, it's just like John King thinking he could do some smoke and mirrors schtick, bullshit everyone about how Montessori and Common Core Standards are virtually interchangeable curricula. As if nobody would go hit the internet afterwards and start tearing that fairy tale to shreds. Well I am insulted by Lana Ajemian's lame attempt to play the distressed  Margaret Dumont character shrieking "Won't Someone Please Think of the Children" while Mongol teachers and Hunnish parents ransacked, pillaged and set fire to the halls where John King's sensitivities were traumatized to the point that he had to pull a Jonas Brothers and cancel the rest of his Tour. For now I have to ask the obvious again, why is a person with no interest in the welfare of students, parents or teachers parading around with the title President of NYSPTA ? It strains credulity. 


  1. Good sleuthing finding the link to Ajemian and her staunch support of King as the mistreated little boy. Her response regarding the cancellation of the Town Hall Meetings didn't make sense to my logical side. Now I know why. Of course, the BN just regurgitated another one sided article about the cancellations somehow rationalizing that it's okay because parents were planning to protest anyway. The news will NEVER publish any responsible articles that tell the whole story. By the way, how many education reporters do they need anyway? I thought with the addition of D. WIlliams they would double team teachers and schools but NOW they have Mary Pasciak writing about schools again and they have picked up some stories from other news outlets. Yikes!!!

  2. Yes the Buffalo News is a good little outlet for NYSED and any kind of anti-teacher tripe the local Ed Reform crew cares to spew. They've never allowed for the obvious truth the entire state is chewing on now, namely, that King was all talk and no ass and when it came to crunch time he crumbled like the arrogant pet lamb of the Reform Caste he always was. We've pretty much scratched this bully to reveal the punk and he's done the rest with his petulant cancellation and his accusations that parents and teachers are akin to lobbyists. Shame on him for lacking the balls to face the people whose kids he's been using as guinea pigs in a rigged experiment meant to further enrich the rich and pillory the teaching profession. He can't go soon enough.

  3. I don't know whether the PTAs of each state have autonomy in determining their official positions or whether they must toe-the-line of a national organization. But let's not be naive about the purity of words: there is no way of forcing them to mean, in a specific context, what they are intended to signify. There's no way, for instance, of stopping China from calling itself a "People's Democratic". And consider the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Sounds perfectly innocuous: dedicated to the development of trade. But they are virulently anti-union and pro-business. The PTA is not necessarily an equal partnership ( or indeed a partnership at all). between parents and teachers.

    1. Kinda like the DPCC, District Parent Coordinating Council? Actually, it's 3 people in a room coming up with ways to out-wonk each other by saying that EVERYTHING the schools and district does is not being done by some nutty book of regulations. What do they coordinate? Nothing. Who is on the 'council'? Three know-it-alls.

  4. And furthermore I have read of several districts who changed their group to a PTO thus denying the national PTA governing body a significant kickback of dues. Did you see someone being naive here ? I didn't either.

  5. I read that the NYS PTA got $2million from the Gates Foundation. If so, that sure explains why she us throwing the very people her and her organization are supposed to represent, under the bus. Shame on her.

  6. You hit it on the head. Thanks!