Thursday, December 06, 2007

That's Not Cricket

The NY Post has been following the saga of 13 intrepid Bronx kids from PS 70 who wish to compete in a national championship chess tournament in Houston. Although the trip was privately funded, the principal canceled it for no apparent reason, finally agreeing to let them go if they left their coach, Jonathan Alejandro, behind. And waddya know--Mr. Alejandro just happens to be the UFT chapter leader.

Though principal Kerry Castellano declined to speak to the reporter, or offer any explanation whatsoever as to why Mr. Alejandro must be excluded, the DoE supports her decision.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigations said Alejandro is the subject of an ongoing probe, but refused to say when it started or what it involves. Alejandro blames recent clashes with Castellano growing out of his role as union chapter leader. "It's a disgrace. This is sick. They're trying to sabotage me," he said. "She claims we have too many differences. What does it have to do with chess?"

PS 70's team, known as the Bronx Bombers, was depicted in a 2005 TV movie starring Ted Danson.

Now parents of 10 of 13 members have decided to boycott the tournament if the coach is excluded. This is not an easy decision for a parent; it would really break my heart to prevent my kid from participating in anything like this. For a city that purports to value parental involvement, they're treating these involved parents very shabbily indeed.

UFT President Randi Weingarten and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were unavailable for comment, as they were at a party. As soon as they get back, though, it's Children First all over again.

Thanks to Schoolgal
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