Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The UFT is Hard at Work for You

A scorpion wants to cross a river but cannot swim, so it asks a frog to carry it across. The frog hesitates,
afraid that the scorpion might sting it, but the scorpion promises not to, pointing out that it would drown if it killed the frog in the middle of the river. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies, "I am sorry, but I couldn't resist the urge. It's my character."

I have had a revelation. No longer will I blame the DOE, principals, and administrators for anything that befalls teachers. They do what they do because it is their way. They are the scorpions. 

Who is at fault? It's the UFT, the Unity Caucus. The UFT are the enablers. The UFT are the culprits. Uncle Mike Mulgrew is the frog. Uncle Mike Mulgrew is the one we should turn our blame to when we are crapped on, when we are rated, when we are harassed, or when we are not treated as professionals. Or worse, when we are not treated like human beings. The silence from 52 Broadway is loud. 

I was U-rated for the 2022–23 school year. I filed an appeal immediately. June 29 of last year. I have not had my hearing yet. I have been told from the UFT in no uncertain words, "It might take another year or two." 

When I asked why, I was told, "COVID backed everything up." Wait, COVID has been done for a few years now. For two straight years, everyone and their mother got effective or satisfactory ratings. How many U-rated appeals must there be? I was met with silence from the UFT.

Even if true, isn't there, or at least there should be, some type of right to a speedy hearing? Do criminals have more rights than teachers? 

Another teacher, a teacher that is currently in a 3020a and got a U rating the same year as I did, had her U rating appeal hearing in the middle of a 3020a hearing. Yes, you read that right (more on how the hearing went at another date). 

So here we have a teacher fighting charges. This teacher in the 2021–22 school year received a developing rating, but their MOTP was ineffective. Betcha didn't know they could use that MOTP to bring you up on charges. Oh, by the way, But they nailed this teacher for two years in a row of allegedly bad teaching. 

But I have digressed. So what would happen if the teacher won their U rating appeal? Does the 3020a hearing end? Or say if there is no decision for the U rating and the arbitrator terminates the teacher and the appeal comes back in favor of the teacher? Does the teacher get their job back? Along with the back pay?

Another teacher went out on sick leave not to return this year. The teacher's leave began in the last week of February 2024. The teacher's health was in perilous condition. The teacher had been observed twice and was rated as developing the year before (2022–23).

The teacher received an email with her rating sheet at the end of June. She was U-rated. Like me, she was removed arbitrarily and capriciously from Advance and given a rating that was not deserved. Her appeal will probably be heard around 2030, before mine ever sees the light of day. 

Why does all this happen? Because the UFT-Unity allows it to happen. 

When we appeal, that should stop the clock. No further actions should be taken on 3020a's. We should be able to work per session. We should have all we should have while anything is on appeal. This is a civil rights matter. We are being denied our due process. 

The source of your hurt must no longer be directed at your administrators. Your hurt should be directed at those out of touch with reality working in the fantasy world they created at their gilded castle at 52 Broadway. 

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Lying Liars of the NYC DOE

 The APPR travails continue. 

When last I blogged I shared how my principal, XXXXXXXX XXXXX of PS XXX did an end run around me. I was refused to be observed and rated through Advance. But, however, thanks thus for to the
Bronx UFT this case shan't wither away. We will have a step 1 hearing come September and I am sure this will go further. That is in addition to the appeal for the bogus U rating I received. 

But I believe in getting all the information possible. And apparently others do as well. In my blog post of June 29 I posted just a memo with the agreement to Advance, who will be under it, etc... But it is just a memo. Or whatever. How much juice would it have?

Blogger NYCDOENUTS contacted me last week and suggested I look to the contract. OK. I looked. In Section 8J Part D Covered employees, Section 2 it states...

Same words, but in the contract. But codified. In the contract. But yet another method that our administrators pay no heed to the contract, to a legal agreement. Just because they feel they are above the law. McDonald's managers are more honorable. 

Thank you DOENUTS! You're a mensch.

So during one of my conversations with Principal XXXXXXXX XXXXX of PS XXX I was told; 

"I am not sure if you are on Advance. I will have to check."

I made this inquiry in February regarding my IPC. Wouldn't a principal be aware of this without having to check? A manager at McDonald's would know who is qualified to perform each task (I in no way am belittling working at McDonald's. I worked at McD's myself in 1980). 

But someone, way, way up in the NYCDOE got in touch with The Crack Team concerning how one gets on or off of Advance.

"Your principal has the ability to make teachers eligible or ineligible based on the eligibility requirements listed here (section 1.1.1)" (Remember, the above mentioned memo)

So why would Principal XXXXXXXX XXXXX of PS XXX be uncertain whether or not I was in Advance? According to information received by The Crack Team it is the principal that determines whether or not one is on Advance

Is it possible I was on Advance and when I started asking for an IPC Principal XXXXXXXX XXXXX of PS XXX summarily removed me? I mean it was February, who asks to be observed, especially APPR observation? I am sure it was common knowledge. Advance was advantageous to me and other teachers, in particular ATRs that got a bogus letter to their files. 

Even if the new contract is ratified, the unchecked, unfettered abuse by administrators will continue unabated. 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Open Letter to my 2022-23 Principal

I just got rated U for the year. Here's the backstory.

I had an accommodation for this year. Working with small groups. OK. I filed the proper paperwork with SOLAS and HR kicked it to the principal to be approved or disapproved. It was approved.

When I entered the school in September, they had me "help out" the Kindergarten teacher. I was there for a few weeks, did coverages, etc...y end of September, beginning of October I was sent to an ICT class that was a teacher short. Again, an extra body. I did small group instruction. Worked with the neediest students. Did nap time two periods a day with pre-K and pre-3. My prep was different than teacher I was with. That's what I was thought of.

At beginning of the year I asked for a laptop. I was told no because I was an ATR. I eventually got a DOE laptop that I needed for my per session. I made a mistake. 

One day, it was a Wednesday in which I be with the outside chess instructor, I had laptop with me and was I was on it. A report to OSI that I was looking at porn. One student claimed he saw the porn from the glare reflecting off my glasses. There was no porn. Heck, OSI thought so too. OSI didn't find the students credible. It was bounced back to the principal. Anyhoo, I got letter to file for doing what everyone else had been doing during instruction time. But then and there I was told I can not use that laptop in the school. That it is not a school laptop. FWIW, this class, a 5th grade class is incredibly disruptive. The have driven their co-teacher to quit mid year, they are extremely disruptive, and get away with everything

When we come back from break in January I was assigned to the other ICT class. Originally I was to work with a very, very, very, challenging student. But after a few days they pawned the student off to a para. 

After I got letter to the file on February 9, I was concerned with risking a U for the year. I had yet to be observed yet. I thought, hey, let's get observed but this through Advance. That why the letter doesn't come into play. Well, here is a taste of things to come.

I had observation thinking, in fact, both me and AP thinking it was under advance. I met with her about 10 days later and she gave me a U, even though the observation was 15 minutes. She told me that if using Advance it would be a Developing. Fine, MOSL would have brought me to an Effective. When I kvetched, we met with principal and her way to fix this was to give me a formal observation with pre observation meeting. When I asked for paperwork, etc... of first observation she refused to give it to me. I know that the 2nd observation was pre-determined. 

 The following is of an email I sent to my principal, District 7 Superintendant Padilla, and other luminaries on June 19. Please feel free to comment. Or better email me if you have any ideas or question.

In case anyone is curious, the Union is taking action. 

  1. I was rated effective for the 2021-2022 school year. Therefore I was already in Advance and I am sure I was in advance at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Seemingly, at some time during this school year I ceased to be in Advance for PS XXX. Who was responsible for removing me, and if need be, who would be responsible for adding me to Advance? At what point was I removed from Advance? What was the rationale for being removed from Advance? 

  1. According to this document put out by the NYC DOE and on page 4 it states:

K-12 classroom teachers1 who teach 40% or more of a full-time position are eligible to be evaluated using the Advance system. A full-time teaching position usually corresponds to five teaching periods per day

  1. In our meeting of Friday, June 16, 2023 you stated to me when I first approached you concerning having an Initial Planning Conference, “I wasn’t sure if you were in Advance.”

Yet, on April 16, 2023 I received this email from Ms. XXXXXXX(emphasis mine) 

“Yes, let's meet on April at 2:45 pm for our IPC.” 

As well as this email of April 18, 2023 from Ms XXXXXXX which contained (emphasis mine): 

                 “Hello Mr. Zucker,

                           Thank you for meeting with me to conduct your IPC.”

          Ms XXXXXXX at the time was under the impression that I was in Advance. Not only was I under the impression, but I had no reason to think otherwise since Ms. XXXXXXX ’s email. However, our conversation where you told me you weren’t sure I was in Advance, was weeks before this email. At no time between our conversation and the email and IPC with Ms XXXXXXX was I, nor Ms XXXXXXX  informed I was not in Advance. At the very least should I have been notified? Should Ms XXXXXXX have been notified? Was I in Advance at the time and removed soon after?  Can you answer these questions I have? 

  1. At no time did I mention to you when I requested an observation, did I ask for a pre-observation conference, which would be under S/U. I asked for an Initial Planning Conference which would be under Advance.  

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 I mentioned, “I asked you several times to put me on the email blast, I’ve never been put on the email blast.” Even though paras and another in the ATR in the school have been.


  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 I mentioned that I asked Ms XXXXXXX  for a laptop and she replied something to the effect of,  “you do not get one because you are an ATR.” This doesn’t make sense because there is  another ATR in the building that received a device and uses it.

  1. Earlier this year you mentioned to me if you had known sooner that I would have been at XXXXXXX the full year you would have used me differently. I took that statement in a positive manner. It’s concerning to me that she wouldn’t know that since for the last three years it has been widely known that ATRs are to be with their school for the full fiscal school year. 

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you told me, “ You are not in Advance, you said you want one for support, I said ‘OK,’ I’ll support a teacher however they want to be supported.” I never said that this is why I wanted an IPC. 

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you said something like, “You said no one has been planning with me.” For the first four months of the school year I had a different prep than Ms Curry. When I was switched over to 214, I wasn’t part of the planning until April.. I was assigned to Ms XXXXXXX’ class to assist her. As per Ms XXXXXXX’s email of April 27, 2023; 


Starting this week Mr. Zucker will be staying with Ms. XXXXXX and Ms. XXXXXX during CP on Wednesdays.

The first day I met for common planning was May 3, 2023.

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you reiterated, “No one told us you would be with us for the whole year. Every couple of weeks I get an email saying you’re coming back.” I replied, “It is common knowledge.” You then replied, “It’s common knowledge you're not in Advance”. Should I not have been informed of this? I think I should have been informed prior to the observation since clearly, it’s not common knowledge to me..


  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 you said something like, “Based on what you said to me and based on how I worked with an ATR and I never worked with you before and I work with different ATRs differently. You said you work in small groups.” 

This is misleading. I asked for an accommodation to work with small groups. You granted it to me.  I originally put in for it through SOLAS and it was then sent to you to either be approved or disapproved. You approved it. 

I have the right to be treated no better and no less than my colleagues. I have the right to attain and be treated the same as them. Even though I met all the qualifications to be observed and evaluated under Advance, it was denied to me. 


  1. I would like to know why I am unable to see Ms XXXXXXX’s observation of June 1, 2023. This seems arbitrary and capricious. 

  1. At our meeting on Friday, June 16, 2023 when I asked why I didn’t get a laptop you exclaimed, “You don’t need a laptop! And first of all, I thought I was protecting you  because there was some confusion about how the laptop was being used. So, to help you so there would be no confusion, why use the laptop?”

Much, much, more to come.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Springtime for Mulgrew: Mike Mulgrew Stars in Mulgrewcare Version of The Producers

 Many don't know that Mike Mulgrew is an avid theater fan. And still many are unaware that Mulgrew leads a theater company known as "Mulgrew & Company." In fact, Mulgrew must always have the lead part. It's written into his contract. This has caused some issues when the theater company put on "The
Miracle Worker."

Anyhoo, the theater company is now in rehearsals of their version of "The Producers." But for some curious reason, instead of Mulgrew playing Max Bialystock, the character's name is actually Mike Mulgrew. And instead of a play about a conman ripping off little old ladies for a musical, it's now a musical about a conman ripping off little old ladies and little old men. 

Members of The Crack Team snuck into some of the rehearsals without audio but took copious notes of what they witnessed and we here at SBSB are sharing for the first time.

The Overture:

New York City was having trouble, what a sad, sad story 

Needed a man to save a lot of money 

Where, Oh where was he? 

Where could that man be? 

We looked around and then we found 

The man for Mayor Adams. And now it's..

Springtime for Mulgrew and Tom Murphy

Adams is happy and and won't say nay

We're marching to retirees to a faster death

Look out, there goes master health

Springtime for Mulgrew and the MLC

Winter for retirees and and in service

Springtime for Mulgrew and the MLC

Come on, New Yorkers, go into your dance

Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Unity party

Scene in Mulgrew's Office:

Don't you see, darling Bloom, glorious Bloom? It's so simple. STEP ONE: We claim  that the city is $600 million  in the hole and don't tell any of the rank and file about it.. STEP TWO: I tell lots of little old ladies, little old men, all retirees teachers, DC 37, the MLC, all the unions mayors . STEP THREE: You go back to work on the books, two of them - one for the retirees, one for us. You can do it, Bloom; you're a wizard! STEP FOUR: We set up with Aetna for Medicare Advantage plan. STEP FIVE, We act like we care, like we really believe the crap we're laying on the retirees and in- service members.And before you can say STEP SIX we watch more retirees drop dead and/or get denied and save the city big bucks !!! STEP SEVEN: We take our million bucks in kickbacks from Aetna and fly to *Rio!*

Tom Murphy (As Leo Bloom): My blanket! My blue blanket! Give me my blue blanket!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

A Tribute to Kings

 This is a repost. Figured since I'm on a roll with concert reviews why not revisit this concert? And I want to blog and still recovering from surgery on wrist and elbow and typing is a PIA. I'm in world of repeats.

Back on September 26, 2021 I was able to see live music for the first time in almost 18 months. Who did I see? I saw Primus. It was my first time ever seeing them.  Why did I go? Because they were to play Rush's 1977 album, "A Farewell to Kings" in its entirety. The show was at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT where they were supposed to play in July of 2020. But due to the COVID craziness everything was postponed. 

But being there is no more Rush ever again (Unless Geddy and Alex can recruit Ringo Dave Grohl to take over the drums or maybe even Mike Portnoy) I need to get a Rush fix whenever possible. Les Claypool took care of it for a night. By the way, I really enjoyed the show and I like Primus.

So I am embedding the the first three songs of AFTK. The title track, Closer to the Heart, and Xanadu. Enjoy. 

Update 4/12/23: Next up for me:  Daryl Hall, Capitol Theater in Port Chester 6/7/23





Monday, April 10, 2023

Mike Mulgrew Pulls a Dwight Schrute

 Sometime ago The Crack Team secretly embedded a microphone on Mike Mulgrew to get a first hand account of healthcare negotiations, meetings with members, and other inanity. This microphone was with Mulgrew for over a year. Unfortunately, members of The Crack Team were unable to upload the original recording due to a technical glitch. But when one door closes another door opens. Frank of The Crack Team had the foresight to transcribe the year long audio and tonight, for the first time anywhere, SBSB takes it's readers deep into Mike Mulgrew's plan to subvert our healthcare. 

Mayor Adams: There’s a decision that needs to be made, and I’m having an unbelievably a busy day. So I’m going to let you pick a health care plan for our NYC retirees and then explain it to the retirees

Mike Mulgrew: Yes. I can do it. I’m your man..

Mike Mulgrew: OK, first, let’s go over some parameters. How teachers can I fire?

Mayor Adams: Ah, none. You’re picking a health care plan.

Mayor Adams: If Mulgrew fails, then that is strike two, and good for me for, ah, for giving him a second chance. And if he succeeds, then, you know, no one will be prouder than I am. I groomed him. I made him what he is today. Unless he fails, and we’ve talked about that already.

Mike Mulgrew: What did I do? I did my job. I slashed benefits to the bone. I saved the city money. Was I too harsh? Maybe. I don’t believe in coddling people.

Mike Mulgrew: In the wild, there is no health care. In the wild, health care is, “Ow, I hurt my leg. I can’t run. A lion eats me and I’m dead.” Well, I’m not dead. I’m the lion. You’re dead.

Female UFT Officer: OK. Mike. Are you really in charge of picking the health care plan?

Mike Mulgrew: Yes. And my decision in final.

Female UFT Officer: This is a ridiculously awful plan. Because you cut everything.

Mike Mulgrew: Aww, times are tough. Deal with it.

Female UFT Officer: You cut more than you had to, didn’t you?

Mike Mulgrew: Sure.

Female UFT Officer: Well, why did you do that? You work for the DOE as well, don’t you want good insurance?

Mike Mulgrew: Don’t need it. Never been sick. Perfect immune system.


Mike Mulgrew: OK, everyone. Gather round. It has been brought to my attention that some of you are unhappy with my plan. So what I’d like you to do is to open chat windows and type down any diseases you have that you might want covered and I’ll see what I can do.

Two Teachers Collaborating during town hall meeting...

Teacher 1: So, let’s say my teeth turn to liquid and then, they drip down the back of my throat. What would you call that?

Teacher 2: I thought you said you were inventing diseases? That’s spontaneous dental hydroplosion.

Mike Mulgrew: Uh, someone forged, uh, medical information and that is a felony. Uh, leprosy? Flesh eating bacteria. Hot-dog fingers. Government-created killer nanorobot infection. I’ll have to interview each and every one of you until the perpetrator makes him or herself known. And until that time, there will be no health care coverage for any one!

The problem, is that people who are really suffering from a medical condition won’t receive the care they need, because someone in this office is coming up with all this ridiculous stuff. [reads off of paper] “Count Choculitis”

At a town hall meeting several weeks later....

Mike Mulgrew: I’m now going to read out loud your submitted medical conditions. When you hear yours read, please raise your hand to indicate that it is real. If you do not raise your hand, it will not be covered. Number one: Inverted penis.

Mike Mulgrew: OK, great. Dermatitis. Thank you. I’ll make sure that’s covered. OK, now. Who wrote this, hysterical one? Anal fissures?

Teacher from Staten Island: That’s a real thing.

Mike Mulgrew: Yeah, but no one here has it.

Teacher from Staten Island: Someone has it.

That's all for now. We can see all the hard work that Mulgrew has put in.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Pray Retirees Illnesses and Maladies Away

With all this talk of Mulgrewcare going on, the alternatives were never discussed. The Crack Team has come across information that Mike Mulgrew had seriously considered, in concert with Mayor Adams, to put all retirees on a Christian Science health care plan.

The plan known as "Pray it Away" would have cut out all hospitals, doctors, etc... The only cost to the city would be: buying each retired member "Science and Health," the monthly "Christian Science Bible Lesson" magazine, and a Bible. From what The Crack Team has heard Adams was against this but Mulgrew kept on pushing it.

We got a copy of Mulgrew's proposal and it is being published here for the first time ever.

"Pray it Away"

A  Healthcare Proposal

By UFT Presidenté Mike Mulgrew

As the cost of healthcare continues to rise in the United States, more and more cities are exploring alternative healthcare plans to provide for their residents, particularly retirees. One such alternative is the Christian Science healthcare plan, which has proven effective in providing quality healthcare to those who follow this faith tradition. In this essay, I will argue that the city of New York should adopt a Christian Science healthcare plan for retirees, citing how it would save money.

Christian Science healthcare is a faith-based healthcare system that provides spiritual healing to its members. It is based on the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science Church in the late 19th century. Christian Science that emphasizes the power of prayer and spiritual healing. Members of the Christian Science Church believe that healing can be achieved through the power of God, and that the mind and body are connected. Through prayer and spiritual practice, they seek to heal illness and injury.

One of the benefits of Christian Science healthcare is that it is cost-effective. Members of the Christian Science Church do not rely on traditional medical treatments, such as medication or surgery, and therefore, do not incur the same costs. Instead, they rely on prayer and spiritual healing to treat illness and injury. This can result in significant cost savings for both individuals and healthcare providers.

For the city of New York, adopting a Christian Science healthcare plan for retirees could result in significant cost savings. Retirees are one of the largest groups of healthcare consumers in the United States, and their healthcare needs can be complex and costly. By offering a Christian Science healthcare plan as an alternative to traditional healthcare plans, the city could reduce the cost of healthcare for retirees and ultimately save money.

In addition to cost savings, a Christian Science healthcare plan could also offer other benefits for retirees. Many retirees struggle with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. These conditions require ongoing medical treatment and can be costly to manage. Christian Science healthcare offers an alternative approach to managing chronic health conditions that focuses on spiritual healing and prayer. This could be an attractive option for retirees who are looking for a different approach to managing their health.

Another benefit of a Christian Science healthcare plan is that it could offer retirees a sense of community and support. Members of the Christian Science Church often come together to pray for healing and offer support to one another. This sense of community could be particularly valuable for retirees, who may be experiencing feelings of isolation or loneliness.

Critics of Christian Science healthcare argue that it is not a substitute for traditional medical care and that it can be dangerous to rely solely on prayer and spiritual healing to treat illness and injury. But we don't care. Pray it away is what can and will work. All the MLC needs to do is just tithe the Christian Science church now and again

In conclusion, the city of New York should adopt a Christian Science healthcare plan for retirees. This plan could result in significant cost savings for the city and offer retirees an alternative approach to managing their health. By offering a Christian Science healthcare plan, the city could also provide retirees with a sense of community and support, which could be valuable for those who may be experiencing feelings of isolation or loneliness. Adopting a Christian Science healthcare plan for retirees could be a cost-effective and beneficial option for the city of New York.