SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Dirty Little Secret: NYC DOE Reopening is a Pipedream

NYC school buildings will not be opening in September. We will be doing remote learning.

There I said it. I don't have any current knowledge nor any clairvoyance. But think about it, it is not happening.

One reason is that I do not trust the DOE to do the right thing. And even if they tried to do the right thing as far as opening the buildings it will be a failure of epic proportions. And, as of now, I am giving the UFT and Mulgrew the benefit of the doubt that they will not agree to any reopening unless ever t is crossed and i is dotted.

Plus, where are the hundreds, if not thousands, of extra teachers going to come from if each school is split into cohorts?

We have massive outbreaks in states down south. Will these manifestations of COVID slowly creep up here?

Will too many teachers suddenly take up smoking and receive an accommodation to teach remotely?

Each point I made is valid, but it doesn't tell the entire reason why there will not be a reopening come September. There is one cohort (pardon the pun) that no one is thinking of which will decide the fate of a reopening.

The parents. I'll tell you why.

When 9/11 happened I was at a school in the Bronx a few blocks from Yankee Stadium. Around 10 AM or so parents started lining up to take their kids home. Originally I assumed that the Stadium and the Bronx Court House which was nearby as well were likely targets and the parents shared that thought. But I soon learned after the attacks in speaking to other teachers, that all schools were emptied out by parents that day. The school I was at was was a ghost town by 11:30 AM.

Now fast forward to 2020. 9/11 was a less direct threat to the well being of the system's students. COVID is much more existential threat to the health and safety of students.

COVID, or CoronaVirus, can be anywhere, unseen, at anytime. One place not cleaned right, not scrubbed, or sanitized can wreak havoc. Are they going to screen for temperatures for those entering schools? How then do you keep those who are asymptomatic out?

Look what happened in Chappaqua this past weekend. There is now a cluster of 19 people infected because one putz went down to Florida and brought it back with him.

Where are results we can see? That the parents can see? Will one be able go to DOE website and find out the cleanliness and safety of their school?

In fact, where is the transparency of the "walkthroughs" that have been ongoing for the last several weeks? Why can't we see them? Are there results?

We're going have a plan in two weeks? That's too fucking funny. Should've had 10 plans in place by the end of May.

The parents and the communities control if the buildings open. The parents and the communities don't want dead children. The school buildings are not opening in September.




Thursday, June 25, 2020

THE RETURN TO BUILDINGS SURVEY IS OUT!!

Some years ago, well actually in 2005 whilst doing family research, I asked my dad if his
dad ever voted. Being that my grandfather was a precinct captain in the Bronx for Tammany Hall and my dad regaled with how my grandfather manipulated voting, I was curious.

My dad's answer wasn't yes or no, but rather; "Do you mean how many times did he vote on Election Day?"

Turns out my dear old grandpa voted early and quite often on Election Day. He used different names, different birthdays. All for the guys at Tammany.

So how does this matter to you, the DOE employee? The "Return to Buildings Survey" is out!!!!!!!! (click to enlarge)


So as you read this you think, why is this blogger so excited? The Crack Team's computer guy, Zippy the Brain Damage Chimp found a flaw.

Just like my grandpa, you can fill it out early and often on the survey. Here's the link

Take the survey as many times as you wish. In fact, send the survey to grandma, grandpa, you family all over the world. Does your pet have opposable thumbs? Let Fido or Fluffy take the survey!!


Just remember, fill it out early and often. If doing survey on phone, look for arrow in lower right corner. If on desktop, click next.







Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Teachers, Smoke if You Got 'Em!

About a month or so ago I wrote a blog post wondering if teachers lives matter in reopening the schools. It seems that we are moving closer to seeing that teachers loves do in fact matter.

At today's delegate assembly, these words were actually spoken by Mulgrew...
Medical accommodations--We're advocating with DOE and CSA--We need to know approved medical conditions for accommodation. If anyone needs to do this they will ask for accommodation due to condition, so as to work from home. These people will do remote instruction. Hope to have it by end of month to send out to all.
Good. It's a start.  Or it could be an end. But in my opinion it is headed in the right direction.

We saw something like this last week in an email from Mulgrew...
The DOE has committed to offering accommodations to staff members with high-risk medical conditions in accordance with CDC guidelines.
So what are those medical conditions that are in accordance with CDC guidelines?Who might be eligible to teach from home next year?

Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease
Most are specific. The immune compromised category seems rather broad, and for a good reason. But it is good that the DOE will not come up with their own, make believe, guidelines and follow the actual guidelines of the CDC. But what is one to do if one still does not feel safe about entering a building next school year and you don't fall into any category.

Simple. Smoking (see above). If you have quit, start smoking again. If you are trying to quit, throw away the Chantix, the patches the gum or whatever you're using. And if you are still smoking, smoke more. But remember, get a doctor's note.

Yeah, cigarettes are too expensive. But smokes go for $8 in Pennsylvania or buy a cheap off brand. Or go the loosey route. As an ex smoker I will share with those that ask where to get loosies on the Bronx.

Go out, get a pack, or a carton, of Newports, get a doctor's note, and teach from home in September.

Friday, June 12, 2020

BREAKING NEWS!! ATRs Do Not Get Pass On Evaluations

Just a few days ago on these pages, June 9, we here at SBSB asked the question, "But what about the ATRs?"  This was in reference to that Governor Andrew decreed that teachers that fall under APPR will not be evaluated for the 2019-20 school year. Oh joy. There was dancing in the streets. Celebrations enveloped Coruscant.

I was skeptical. ATRs do not fall under APPR. And neither do others who work in the schools and offices of the DOE. What about these people? At press time on Tuesday, there had yet to be any clarification.

The Crack Team got the clarification.

As of now, ATRs, guidance counselors, school social workers, deans, etc... any one that does not fall under APPR will still be given a year end evaluation.

Of course.

The UFT is awaiting word from the lawyers whether Governor Andrew's gracious offer is extended to The Others. The UFT should be getting an answer soon. This is the best information that The Crack Team got and will pass along more when it is known.

You know what? This is a swift kick to the crotch of ATR and all that do not fall under APPR. None of us were properly observed this year. None of us were properly supervised during the last three months. How can this be?

If the UFT doesn't fix this it yet again amplifies how uneven the playing surface is for ATRs. Yes, The Others are just as affected as well but having an evaluation. But The Others are not on the precipice of losing their careers every year for farting in a non DOE manner, or getting written up for leaving a toilet seat up.

The school year ends on June 26. Two weeks from today. We need an answer. Soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

...But What About the ATRs?

The heavens opened up yesterday and Governor Andy proclaimed, or signed something,
that teachers and principals will have their evaluations waived for this school year. Oh, and teachers will still be able to be tenured if everything is copacetic.

According to Chalkbeat....
State law mandates school and district leaders assess teachers and principals using the so-called Annual Professional Performance Reviews, or APPR. The evaluations, which include classroom observations and student performance data, can influence tenure decisions and trigger firings.
OK. Good. This year has been unlike others. 

So no evaluations is a good thing? Yes. But...

State according to state law evaluations are based on APPR which includes MOTP and MOSL. ATRs are still evaluated under Teaching in the 21st Century using the old S/U system. If we go strictly by the law, it is possible that ATRs are not included in in Governor Andy's proclamation.

Yes, I know, I am overthinking this. But, ATRs are still the overlooked step-children of the DOE. We are the crazy uncle that you keep in the attic when company arrives. There should be some clarification and certainty.

There has been too many stories of ATRs getting ONE letter to file and are given a U rating for the year. Too many ATRs have had the rug pulled out from under them in JUNE with unfavorable observations that lead to a U rating for the year.

I have reached out and have either not gotten an answer or the answer was not clear and concise. I know the UFT can and will come through with further clarification. The DOE is not to be trusted. Just look how they have twisted and turned taking away seven vacation days from us and told us to take it or leave it four additional days added to our CAR. Bupkus. Big whoop.

Remember the Sunday morning TV show on Channel 5, Wonderama? Bob McAllister sang "Kids Are People Too"at the end of every show? ATRs are teachers too, and we're people. We fall through the cracks at time. Forgotten about. Looking at the inside from the outside. Feel like we're shunned. Sometimes it is real, sometimes it's our perception. But perception is reality. We just want communication. And clarity.


Monday, June 1, 2020

$949,181 Is Paid to Five People in Carranza's Office!

So the Richard Carranza is claiming there isn't any more fat to trim from the budget.
Meanwhile, schools might have to go without art, music, supplies, and teachers.

But let's just look at the Office of the Chancellor. Carranza has a chief of staff, assistant chief of staff, two special assistants, and an executive assistant.

Carranza has we know pulls in the big bucks at $352,763. Think he can take a $150k pay cut? Yeah, probably won't cause much of a dent in the budget but at least it'll look good.

Carranza's chief of staff, Edie Sharp has a sweet gig. According to SeethroughNY she brings in $187,028. Edie has zero background in education.

Next up is Mary Wall. She is deputy chief of staff. According to SeethroughNY she brings in $166,156. Read about Mary here.

So now that we are done with the worthy chiefs of staff let's move on. Next up are the "special assistants." Ooh, sounds important.

Chantell Griffith is special assistant #1. He brings home $118,345. What does a #1 special assistant actually do? Seems that Chantell came over from the city's Department of Records and Information Services (She's number 66 under that named department.) What that has to do with education The Crack Team is trying to figure out.

Special assistant #2 is Juan Rosales, who according to SeethroughNY lists him as an  Administrative Educational Analysis and $125,017. But elsewhere he is listed as special assistant. Let's learn more about Juan here, and we can see he is, but of course, a lawyer, or at least graduated from law school.

I'm leaving off two names who I believe are secretaries, therefore union workers, work for a living and besides, they're innocents.

So the five names mentioned here make a combined $949,181. That's five people. 1-2-3-4-5.Five is half of 10, one third of 15. How many books can $949,181 buy? Pencils? Real PD? Why aren't any of the above mentioned offering to take a pay cut?

Why isn't the UFT listing all non-union personal's titles and pay?


Monday, May 25, 2020

Mike Mulgrew, Please Follow the Example of Ron Swoboda

This blog post is dedicated to my friend, James Eterno. James is a great guy and true blue
Mets fan.

In my blog post of May 20, I kind of lamented how the town hall question and answer period has become somewhat predictable. There about 14,000 callers and probably a few thousand people waiting in the que with questions. Maybe, just maybe, questions should be emailed ahead of time. Perhaps questions can be selected to answer by Mike Mulgrew or he can pick the questions randomly out of a drum.

I know what you are saying, "But wouldn't Mulgrew just pick the softball questions?" That is a possibility, unless he follows what Ron Swoboda did in 1975.

I was 11 years old in 1975. I was on Tracey's Shoe Shoppe in the Ardsley Little League. Our annual father-son dinner was being held at the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle and Ron Swoboda was to be our guest speaker.

This was the first time that I was to seat alone with the team. I talked my dad in sitting at my brothers table. My reasoning was that it was my brother's first year in little league (He was 8) and that my dad was co-manager. I would not have to worry about my dad all night.

The dinners always had a question and answer period of the player (Unfortunately, it was always a Met as the guest. I had to sit through Ray Sadecki, Jim McAndrew, and Bob Apodaca to this point). It was always mayhem hundreds of boys raising their hands at once. Except 1975 was the year of the new Q&A format. We would now write our questions on a piece of paper which would then be collected and given to the guest.

Now mind you, at this time in my life I only knew of Ron Swoboda of having played for the Yankees, having come over in a trade during the 1971 season for Ron Woods. And frankly, in the 2 1/2 seasons Swoboda played for the Yankees he kind of sucked. The Braves even cut him during spring training in 1974. Again, I did not know of his 1969 World Series heroics. I am sure some of the more mature readers he do.

I decided on a question. Of course me being me I wrote: "Were you a scrub?"  The boys, and even the fathers, at my table said there is no way that Swoboda would read the question.

Guess what? He did!

Swoboda is up at the dais and going through the questions and just blurts out, "Were you a scrub?" He pauses, and decides to give a life lesson. He tells us how the 25th man on the team is just as important as the 1st man on the team and yada, yada, yada. Looking back on that answer it makes sense. Hey, he got to play Major League baseball and be a hero in a World Series.

About 10-12 years ago he was at a card show at the Westchester County Center. I took my son with me and he got an autograph. I also took the time to apologize to Ron Swoboda and, he graciously accepted (He had ZERO memory of that night).

But you know, looking back I was impressed that he didn't take a softball question. He faced that obnoxious question by an ADHD 11 year old and he met it head on. Sometimes answering the hard questions, the questions that people might not like the answer for is the way to win converts and have people come to your side.

Next UFT Town Hall Q&A let's keep on wishing for less ""What gave you the idea for Flat Stanley?" questions and more questions, to use a baseball parlance, that are knuckleballs.

We are in this together. UFT should always be aware that actions are better than just words.