Friday, January 7, 2022

The Lunch Teacher is Back in the News

 On December 10 there was a UFTSolidarity/United for Change Happy Hour at the G Bar on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

I am there for a bit when I see a blast from the past. One of Lord Palpatine's Sith Apprentices. Hmm, I wonder thinking to myself, why would Darth Whatevertheirname be here? To spy? To chastise me for something I had written almost three years ago? 

It turned out to be the latter. I was confronted concerning the blog post I had written regarding how the Lunch Teacher was thrown under the bus by colleagues. I had moved on and wasn't obsessing about it for nearly three years. I have better things to do.

So later that night I called a meeting of The Crack Team and we promptly convened at the local Burger King. Over some fries and several Whoppers, we decided it was time to reach out to the Lunch Teacher and get an update on her what she has been up to. 

After commiserating with the Lunch Teacher not only myself and The Crack Team aghast, but quite faklempt as well. Seems her and food do not go well together. 

Seems that just before Thanksgiving the Lunch Teacher was being observed. In fact the students were so well behaved during the observation because they knew (and were looking forward to as well) there was to be a Thanksgiving celebration that day.

Regrettably, the class eats lunch first thing in the morning. One student was quite hungry. He had stomach pangs. Poor kid. He was hungry. He's little. He asked the Lunch Teacher for some food, like a cookie or a treat. Just something to tide his hunger over. Because the Lunch Teacher cares and loves her students so much she obliged. It turned out to be her undoing.

She got a developing for class management due to this act of kindness. So she should have the student to suffer? To starve? But if she had  refused the student's request, it would have been the same outcome. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. 

More to come on the Lunch Teacher.....

Saturday, January 1, 2022

What the UFT Must Do Now To Make Members Feel Somewhat Safer

So we are walking into the bowels of death on Monday. "But," the UFT says, "we have a plan! And we are now on top of things!" 

Yeah. Sure. Right. 

But what should the UFT do? The members know.

The Crack Team met with it's favorite near octogenarian earlier and we spit balled some ideas.

1. Set Up Member Hotline!

Why this hasn't been done yet goes beyond reason. A hotline number and/or form on UFT website should be set up posthaste so members can report themselves, students, what they hear or whatever is happening in their school. Other members asnd I do not trust, nor should we, information we get from our administrations, the DOE, the Union, and the Situation Room. Then with the information gleaned investigate, investigate, investigate!! Maybe the PR person on Twitter can spend time investigating. Or Hedley Lamar from District 25 can.

2. Cases On UFT Website

Look at SUNY Albany. They have a COVID dashboard. Listing cases among students and teachers, as well as those in quarantine as well as recovered.  This is what the UFT should have on its website. 

3. Where Are The Outbreaks?

Screw the Situation Room's friggin map. It's time for the UFT to have a real time map with real time information. 

4. Attendance Rates

List all attendance rates daily for students and staff. Updated daily!

5. Answer This Question

How can schools not be breeding grounds for COVID? One person from the union can answer this in the comments section. Maybe Hedley Lamar from District 25 can. 

6. Stop The PR Crap!

On Twitter we see several spewing the propaganda line of the DOE. Usually from a person who has never ever in their life set foot in a classroom nor wouldn't know what to do if they were in one. Or trolling like Hedley Lamar. 

7. Hold Principals Accountable 

Too many principals are sweeping positive tests under the rug. They are playing God. 

8. Testing In Schools

On the UFT COVID dashboard, there should be how many tests for the days system wide, borough wide, district wide, and for each school. Positive and negative results should be reported.

9. Complete Transparency

It is time now to know who is in charge of the Situation Room, who works there, and what qualifications one must have to work for the Situation room. Heck, where is it located?

Oh yeah. And from the UFT as well.  

Will the UFT implement any of these ideas? Doubtful. These ideas make too much sense. One thing we will hear is this: "We can't push back too hard. We need our seat at the table." 

Here's the dirty little secret the UFT doesn't know. The seat at the table is at the kid's table. All the other unions are at the grownups table. Not the UFT. I sat many a Passover at the kids table. We got the brisket last. The kugel last. 

The UFT's table is a Passover sedar. And guess who the City and DOE have looking for the Afikomen every year? Yep, got that right. And like usual the UFT falls for the same bit every year. For the last 8 years after finding the Afikomen, Uncle Bill told Mulgrew the dollar was in his pants pocket. This year, it will be Uncle Eric doing the same. And guess what? Mulgrew ain't grabbing no dollar.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Lydia Howrilka and UFT Solidarity File For Court Hearing

The Grim Reaper
Yesterday, Lydia Howrilka took the bull by the proverbial goodies and decided to show Mike Mulgrew how to lead. She filed an Article 75 on her on time and dime. 

Read on from Lydia:

Yesterday, I filed an Article 78 proceeding in NYC Civil Court protesting the reopening of NYC schools without adequate testing, mitigation measures, and allowing for a pivot of instruction to remote for January 3 to January 18, 2022. I have submitted the legal documents- a petition, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), an affidavit, an Order to Show Cause (OSC), and a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI)- and I am waiting for a judge to be assigned to our case. Many folks have been reaching out and want to know how they can help. A collective letter that we can send to the court with as many signatures as possible would be the best next step for members who want to support. Please click here and complete this form to e-sign the letter. Important note- No teacher has been disciplined for signing a petition or letter when they are not on contracted time. It is not illegal to sign a letter or petition either. Your signature will only be seen by Lydia, the judge, and the City’s Corporation Counsel.


So sign up and sign on. Stay tuned for updates!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Mike Mulgrew Folds Like a Cheap Suit For Eric Adams and a Mayor Who is Gone in Three Days

First kudos to Mike Mulgrew. He knows when to talk a tough game as he did on NY1 last week. Yeah, he shows he is "there for the members," that he actually his doing something. But as usual, he folds like a cheap suit from the Johnny Carson Collection that used to be sold exclusively by Sears. 

I was driving over the Tappan Zee Bridge this afternoon when I heard word of the latest failing by Mulgrew. I shook my head and contemplated driving into the Hudson River. I thought better that I control the means of my demise rather than my union that is supposed to protect all its members in the schools and me. However, I changed my mind. I mean, who then would be able to blog about this complete and utter shirking of leadership and responsibility?

Not me. I can't do this. This plan, that I heard over WCBS 880 and later read in a personalized email sent by our leader, has so many obvious flaws and leaves so many questions unanswered. I was aghast and just speechless. The Crack Team and I have decided to ask my neighbor's 8 year old son Timmy to rebuke Mulgrew. Take it away Timmy. 

The staff of the Situation Room will double in size, making it bigger than ever before and able to handle the current surge.

Bigger doesn't mean better. How long will it take to get to the numbers that will make the Situation Room effective? What are the qualifications to be employed by the Situation Room? What is the pay? Are Situation Room employees employed by the DOE are by outside contractors? Who is in charge of the Situation Room? Are there any medical doctors employed? Consulted with? Shouldn't the UFT President Mike Mulgrew share this with the rank and file? 

The city will double in-school PCR testing in every school every week. These tests will now include both vaccinated and unvaccinated students as well as staff. The city will make another push to get parents to consent for their child to be tested regardless of vaccination status.

Big deal! Will this be testing anybody, anytime? Why test every other week? What happens if the shit hits the fan (My daddy says this all the time!)when during a week of non testing? Will teachers be allowed to be tested whenever? Will students be mandated to be tested without a parents permission?  Details please, Mike Mulgrew!

Close contacts and classmates of positive cases will now have immediate access to two at-home rapid tests that they can take to monitor themselves for the days after exposure. 

This has so many flaws that I can't believe that I, just a child of 8, can see this, but Dear Leader Mike Mulgrew can't.  

Schools reopen January 3 inn a city where their are shortages of materials and every conceivable item for teachers and students. Why should we believe that next Monday there will be over 1 million test kits available for every student and employee in DOE? 

Who and what determines a close contact? Read what Pete wrote on Sunday. What happens if there is a false negative? How does one know if there is a false negative? Are schools to rely on the honor system of parents? Can you imagine if a student tests positive and yet is asymptomatic? Is it possible that a parent will not keep the child home but rather send the child to school? What if there is a choice between work and keeping a child home? What if the parent loses the test kit? 

But I keep coming back to this being a logistics issue. The DOE can't be trusted to do jack. How can the DOE be trusted to keep its word not only on getting test kits to everyone?  And at the same time keep its word on the Situation Room and the in school testing? 

There you have it. Timmy the 8 year old is able to take apart the agreement Mulgrew agreed to with the city. Let's look at the rest of Mulgrews email. 

Thanks to all of us working together to tell the city we will not accept unsafe schools

Bullocks. We are not working together nor Mulgrew for us. Mulgrew has a flush and is folding to de Blasio, Hochul, and Adams who each are holding just a pair. Besides, how can it be us when not one working stiff teacher has been consulted? 

We, as educators, are always prepared to do our jobs.

We are, Mulgrew still isn't.

The real issue is whether the city can do its job — ensuring that ample testing is available in every school and an improved Situation Room is actually in place by next week.

Timmy addressed these issues. He knows the real deal. Mulgrew doesn't.

We will continue to work through this week to advocate for you and our school communities and will update you on all the details of the new safety program before Jan. 3.

OMG! I laughed so hard reading this that I inhaled a Cheeto and had an accident. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

It's Official: The UFT Does Not Give a Shit and Mike Mulgrew is the Grim Reaper

 Who remembers Trixie the teacher? For those who don't remember, Trixie was the teacher that had sanitizer splashed in her eye and is teaching nuclear fission for grades K-2 without any coaching or anything from higher ups. Caught up? Good. Because the news gets nuttier. In fact so nutty, the news falls under the auspices of "This Shit Can't Be Made Up!"

Trixie teaches at the Speed Racer School. It is a K-5 school with a lot of students and teachers in the building. Whilst out caroling on Thursday with other teachers from her school Trixie found out news that made her so aghast, so upset that she puked.

For several days of last week (The days before break), an entire grade at the Speed Racer School was on quarantine. That includes the students, the teachers, the paras, and any wayward cucarachas. All students and their families, the teachers, the paras, and any wayward cucarachas were all notified. 


No, I am not making this up. 

"B-b-b-ut we did contact tracing," Trixie was told.

Yes Trixie was told that. But is contact tracing 100% effective? What happens if someone doesn't remember being near someone. Or someone is in the stall going #2 and someone else is at the urinal going #1? They are both in the same bathroom. How would the those at the stall and the urinal know who is in the bathroom with them? 

How would someone remember if they were just passing someone in the hallway? Or on the stairs? Or sitting together in the auditorium? Or, outside the building walking in?

Trixie is freaking out! She has health issues to begin with. But there are loved ones at home who are seriously immune-compromised.  Yes, Trixie and her loved ones are all vaccinated as well as having had boosters. But there is nothing guaranteed in this world except death and taxes.Wait, there is one more thing that is guaranteed: Mulgrew and the UFT leading from behind and not being proactive!

I'm not giving Mulgrew or the UFT and thumbs up, kudos, or job well done for last weeks email and presentation on NY1. It's all to little too late.

As much as a loath PBA President Patrick Lynch he would have the balls to tell his members to stay home. 

Trixie shouldn't be upset with her school administration. She should be upset with the DOE, the Situation  Room and the UFT.

But, the DOE and the Situation Room is not there for the teachers well being. They are not supposed to give a damn about us. However, at the very least the UFT is, at the very least, supposed to feign interest in its members well being. 

When Trixie came and shared this story with myself and The Crack Team we sat there incredulous. Yes, none of us expected the DOE to do anything? But the silence coming from the UFT on  this quarantine has been deafening as well as mind numbing. Of course the UFT knows about this shut down! How couldn't they? Why didn't the UFT notify the members of Trixie's school? And by the UFT, we want to know why 52 Broadway was silent, not the borough office. This falls upon those downtown to make sure are mitigation is being done right, to ensure there is social distancing, mask wearing, etc.. and to inform and allay concerns of the members as well as the parents. And what happens? NOTHING! BUPKUS! STUGOTS!

A kid with head lice or strep throat a note goes home. Head lice or strep are easily treatable and cured. COVID and Omicron it's "If we don't say it out loud or if we bury our head in the sand it'll go away."

How difficult is it for the UFT to lead?

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Mulgrew Doesn't Care Anymore About COVID or the Health and Well Being of Members.

 Mulgrew's mouthpiece is silent on Twitter. Mulgrew is silent. De Blasio blabbers away with stupidity. People will get sick. Some will die. Paraphrasing my favorite De Blasio comment: "We're not going to shut down, we're just going to get a shitload of vaccines in people." Jeez.

There is a surge going on right now with COVID and this Omicron variant. De Blasio has less than two weeks left and doesn't care anymore and has his sights on a some warped quixotic fixation on Albany. Mulgrew, I'm confused. Isn't he supposed to be there for the rank and file? According to him, we are doing "God's work." Would not God be upset with Mike if teachers doing His (God, not Mulgrew. Though I am sure Mulgrew conflates this) work start getting infected and dying off? 

 I saw this on FOX5 news about and hour ago. Does this mean anything to Mulgrew? 


But right now, as of today,  Mulgrew has abdicated any leadership in this almost two year old crisis and has literally buried his head in the sand.

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten about the scores of deaths of UFT members in the last two years due to COVID?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten about the mental and physical health crisis that is affecting the rank and file as well as the communities?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that many UFT members live with a non UFT member that have weak immune systems?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that many students are not getting vaccines. 

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that the schools are overcrowded, not properly ventilated, zero mitigation happening, zero hand sanitizer and masks, nothing, bupkus?

Maybe Mulgrew has forgotten that everyone is unique and that each person's body reacts differently to infection?

Maybe Mulgrew does not realize that one death, one hospitalization, is one too many and not in any way acceptable? 

Maybe Mulgrew has doesn't realize that while those who are vaccinated and/or have a booster if they get infected the repercussions will be much less. Thatthe infected are still carriers and can infect others.

Maybe Mulgrew doesn't realize that while reports show that Omicron is less virulent that shit happens? 

Does Mulgrew realize that there are teachers afraid to show for school tomorrow? 

Does Mulgrew care?

Where is Mulgrew? 

The answers: Not a bit and elsewhere.

Having said that, it is time to segue into what the UFT would be like in the hands of of a responsive caucus.  Click on link and find out how United for Change would respond to a crisis. Adults back in the room and control hopefully come July 1.

Camille Eterno has been nominated to run for UFT president. I have the utmost of respect for Camille. She will be there for the members.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

What United for Change Must Do When and If They Win

 It's December. The ballots for the upcoming UFT election will be sent out in April (Maybe this will be when we get our 2020 spring break pay?). Anecdotally The Crack Team is hearing many more rumblings and anti-Mulgrew fervor than in past elections. This could be a sign. The coalition needs to be ready. If
and when there is a changeover, there needs to be a plan.

The Crack Team and myself have spent the better part of today spitballing some ideas on how the coalition can show how it will be a true union, how it will be there for the rank and file, and how the UFT will governed and run for and by the rank and file. 

1. 100% Openness 

Can you imagine not watching Congress on C-Span? Not watching your local village, town, or city government on your local cable access channel? You can't. But if you are not a UFT delegate you are shit out of luck. Unless you schlep to 52 Broadway and watch a grainy feed on TV in a little cold room. 

In this day and age there is ZERO REASON for the UFT Delegate Assembly to be held in secret. The first thing the new ruling coalition must do is make the DA accessible for all! Live stream it across several platforms. Have the minutes of all DA's posted, as well as archived, on the UFT website as soon as possible.The same goes with the executive board. In fact, those who need to speak before the exec board should not be forced to come into lower Manhattan. Speakers can easily participate thorough video or streaming. Heck, even an email can be read into the record. 

Remember, a more participatory union is a STRONGER union. 

2. Voting

All voting at the DA and exec board will be done using technology. A simple add on to the UFT app will back this possible. We here at SBSB are darn sure there is enough bandwidth to go around at 52 Broadway to go around.

The same goes for union wide elections. There is no reason that union wide elections can't be done from one's UFT app or on the website. Mulgrew blustered at the DA on Monday about electronic balloting...

Electronic voting sounds great but how do we make sure it survives challenge. NLRB has frowned upon this. 

Yeah. Sure. Right.  Please if the UFT wanted to it could and would.

3. Avoid Cleaning House for the Sake of It

There are a lot of good, strong people working in the borough offices and at 52 Broadway. Find these people. Keep these people. 

4. Vote on Everything

Any change to the contract or to working conditions or if the DOE wishes to give us Zwieback in the morning it must be voted on by the entire rank and file and not approved by a few people. It's that simple. 

5. District and Borough Reps Must Be Elected

This goes without saying. The question is who does the electing? The chapter leaders are all members? 

6. Travel

There is one DA a month plus two exec board meetings a month. Why must both be limited to Lower Manhattan. Take the show out on the road. Why? Because participation is a good thing.

7. No Loyalty Oaths or Perks

If a CL is not a member of United for Change or any of it's member caucuses that CL still gets to spend the weekend in the Rye Town Hilton (It's been shut down for a year so wherever it is in the future) or gets to go to the AFT thingy, or is treated with the same respect that we would want.

8. No More Creamed Fish at Executive Board Meetings

It's gross. It makes Hank from The Crack Team puke. Please. This must end. 

9. The New UFT President Must Visit the Boroughs

How freaking difficult is it for Mulgrew to spend a week each month visiting the borough offices and having town hall meeting. There are five days in a work week and five boroughs. It works. And please, no per-ordained questions. 

10. Never, Ever Say "Doing God's Work"

This is a pet peeve of The Crack Team. We're not doing God's work. God (if there is one or one that cares about the DOE) can do God's work. In the opinion of The Crack Team ,this remark is patronizing, condescending, and reeks of desperation as well as empty nothingness. 

And last, but not least...


It goes without saying. Don't really need to elaborate. 

I am sure in the coming weeks and months myself and The Crack Team will come up with more ideas. Right now we are awaiting seeing the Bronx inundated with yard signs on all off ramps.