We heard today from Jay Hershenson, a senior official with City University, with more of that institution’s views about Gerald Walpin, the Americorps inspector general who was fired last week by President Obama.
Walpin was fired for being “confused” and “disoriented” and acting strangely in a board meeting, according to a letter to Congress written by a White House lawyer.
Just prior to his firing, though, he had released two reports which criticized the CUNY Research Foundation’s Teaching Fellows program and the Hope Academy, a school run by former NBA star and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Walpin has insisted that he was fired in retaliation for those findings.
Walpin argued that the Teaching Fellows program, which places mid-career professionals in the public schools, was not a proper place for Americorps funding, essentially because it’s redundant. “Taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth,” he wrote.
Hershenson, the senior vice chancellor for community relations, wrote to say that Walpin was not only acting outside the scope of his authority, but he was wrong in his central criticism of the Teaching Fellows program.
“Mr. Walpin did a disservice to the successful graduates of the program and therefore to the public that has a right to expect a high standard of fairness and accuracy from those responsible for oversight,” Hershenson wrote.
Hershenson also pointed out that the AmeriCorps general counsel Frank Trinity wrote May 4 that “More than 90% of participants in the RFCUNY teacher corps program successfully completed their terms of service and earned education awards.”
And he noted that AmeriCorps Acting CEO, Nicola Goren, wrote that same day that the funding strengthened a professional corps to help address the shortage of high quality teachers in the NYC public schools.
The folks who run AmeriCorps, we should add, have criticized Walpin’s findings, and have refused to follow his recommendations to cut off funding for the CUNY program and demand return of the money.