5:01 p.m. | Updated City education officials announced Friday afternoon that the principal of Stuyvesant High School, Stanley Teitel, will step down before the start of the school year. Mr. Teitel shared his resignation letter on the school’s Web site:
Dear Students, Faculty, Parents and Alumni,
I have decided to retire as of September 1, 2012 after serving as Stuyvesant’s principal for thirteen years. It is time to devote my energy to my family and personal endeavors.
I began my career as a NYC teacher forty-one years ago. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving in each capacity as teacher, assistant principal and principal.
Thank you to the Stuyvesant community for all of the satisfaction you have afforded me for the last twenty-nine years. It was a genuine pleasure to have served you.
The Education Department did not give more details on Mr. Teitel’s departure. The school recently made news after 71 students were accused of cheating on state Regents exams.
Education officials said they would name a replacement for Mr. Teitel early next week.
In national news this week, a debate got nasty on Twitter when the former television journalist Campbell Brown and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, locked horns over the union’s position on teachers accused of sexual misconduct.
Ms. Brown wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that the system was essentially flawed because the independent arbitrators reviewing allegations feel indebted to the unions and tend to issue light penalties against most teachers, despite deeply unsettling charges of abuse.
“For many arbitrators, their livelihood depends on pleasing the unions (whether the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, or other local unions),” she wrote. “And the unions — believing that they are helping the cause of teachers by being weak on sexual predators — prefer suspensions and fines, and not dismissal, for teachers charged with inappropriate sexual conduct.”
The article set off a lively debate, mostly under the hashtag #protectourkids.
Ms. Weingarten argued that the union was not trying to protect predators, but that it was instead protecting innocent teachers from false charges.
“I & AFT members work day & night for kids. Claiming we fight vs protecting kids is libelous. Lying about teachers doesn’t #protectourkids,” she said in one Twitter message.
It turned especially hostile after Ms. Weingarten questioned the influence of Ms. Brown’s husband, an adviser to the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a board member of the group StudentsFirstNY, on Ms. Brown’s views.
In a Gotham Schools interview, Ms. Brown said that she should have disclosed her husband’s connection at the outset but that she stood by her argument that more should be done to remove some teachers from the classrooms.
In other news this week, the 24 struggling schools that the Education Department wanted to overhaul in a “turnaround” strategy of replacing many teachers and giving the schools new names and new principals were told to focus on getting ready for the new school year. This came after the city lost a court battle to proceed with the staffing changes despite union opposition. This week, the schools got their old names back.
Just to check, we looked up John Dewey High School on the Education Department’s Web site. It now has its page again. The school was going to be called Shorefront High School of Arts and Sciences at John Dewey Campus. That name also appears on the department Web site, but a visitor who tries to link to the Shorefront page is now told it no longer exists.
Also, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed a measure that would have affected a small group of special education students but drew a fairly big reaction.
The bill called for school officials to consider “home environment and family background,” like religion, when approving taxpayer-financed tuition for private schools. Students with special needs are currently allowed to seek placements in private schools if they can prove the public schools aren’t able to meet their individual needs. But the governor said that letting home and family environment become another factor “unfairly places the burden on taxpayers to support the provision of a private education.”
SchoolBook explains the politics and emotion underpinning the issue here.