Along with sobering new findings on Teach for America and the effect of smaller class sizes, the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in New York City produced a modest insurgency against Mayor Bloomberg that has resulted in the release of a letter accusing him of supporting "racial fear" and "anti-Arab prejudice."
Thirty education professionals signed the single-spaced missive, including professors from at least 10 universities.
Their subject is Mr. Bloomberg's relationship with the founding principal of an Arabic-language school in Brooklyn, Debbie Almontaser, who resigned her position last summer but now is saying — in a lawsuit that is pending trial after several twists and turns — that she was forced out.
The lawsuit accuses top aides to Mr. Bloomberg of violating her First Amendment rights by compelling her to leave after she was quoted in the New York Post as saying T-shirts bearing the slogan "Intifada NYC" were not an expression of violence.
The professors and educators are accusing Mr. Bloomberg of forcing Ms. Almontaser out and, in the process, supporting "a campaign of lies, racial fear, and anti-Arab prejudice."
One of the letter's signatories, the Chicago educator Michael Klonsky, said the letter idea came out of the AERA conference last week. "There was so much support among the leading educators around the country, we thought we should do something," he said.
The letter says the city's treatment of Ms. Almontaser "represents a threat not only to our rights as educators and citizens in a democratic society; it is also an attack on the small-schools movement and on the push for diversity and equity within our system of public education."
A spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, Connie Pankratz, declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
Professors at Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University, Bank Street Graduate School of Education, and the University of California, among others, signed the letter.