SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Timmy the ATR Widget

Meet Timmy. Tim says hi. Timmy is an ATR. Tim has been an ATR for some time now.
Timmy always puts his best face forward when arriving to a new school and always bent over backwards for the school community. Timmy, while he doesn't love being an ATR, wants to do what's best for the kids. The students in the schools where Timmy has been have liked him.

Timmy has a masters degree in Educational Widgets. Timmy at one time had been a widget staff developer as well as a widget coordinator in his school. Timmy knows his widgets. Timmy has been to many a school where the widgets are not being integrated with the curriculum. Timmy's widget knowledge would, in theory, be beneficial to whatever school he is in.

Over the summer there was a posting for a widget staff developer working out of the Widget Department at Central. Timmy was excited. Timmy read the requirements and while he did not have some, he had most. This position would be perfect for Timmy.

Timmy wrote a great cover letter and spruced up his resumé. He emailed it in by the deadline. All Tim wanted was an interview. Nothing more or nothing less. Timmy didn't want anything handed to him.

Timmy knew getting the position would be a long shot. But Timmy was thinking. Central is already paying his salary. Wouldn't Central rather pay Tim's salary having Timmy contributing and doing something that would benefit the students if not all of mankind?

It's been almost a month, and Timmy hasn't heard back. Timmy doubts he will get the position let alone be interviewed. Timmy is stoic. Timmy will not give up on getting a permanent position.

Poor Timmy.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The UFT Hides While Teacher Aida Sehic Suffers Alone

Here we go again.

In yesterday's Post there is a story about an ATR, who escaped war in Bosnia only to walk into another one within the NYCDOE.

This, according to the Post, is some of what happened to Aida Sehic...
"...rampaging pupils broke her nose with a bag of metal rulers, stabbed her with a mechanical pencil, demanded sex acts, trashed her classroom and hurled epithets at her including “white bitch.’’
Of course, guess whose fault this was? The system? The DOE? The schools in which she taught? The administrators? The students? The students parents? Nah.

It was, of course, the teacher herself. Heck, Aida even tried to take the high road in attempting to appeal to one student's mother only to have the student retort back...
“...When my mother comes in tomorrow, she’ll deck you,”
Aida reached out to anyone and everyone she could. The DOE, NYPD, and the UFT. She got nowhere other than being brought up on 3020-a charges in 2016 for incompetence.

Isn't it possible, that the constant threat to one's physical well being, the constant fear for one's safety, just might have an affect on one's pedagogy?

Aida was excessed in 2011. She has been teaching since 1999. Three schools, IS 218 in the Bronx, MS 322 in Manhattan (School site and Inside Schools), IS 143 (Which was closed for poor performance according to Inside Schools) in the Bronx were the schools where she was abused.

Anyway, Aida was lucky. I guess. She kept her job. She was fined, $7,500. But she could have lost her life at any moment and left her two children without a mom. As one colleague shared with me who had been through something very similar to what Aida had been through...
"Wait until a teacher is killed. It's coming, people."
I don't think so. I hope not! But sadly, if it did happen, I would not be surprised.

But something is bothering me more. I am not upset at the lack of any action by the DOE or the NYPD.What I'm upset about and sadly not surprised at all is the lack of any action by the UFT. 

Why would the UFT ignore this teacher's desperate pleas for help? Where was an action team from the UFT when Aida needed one? Where were her chapter leaders? District leaders? 

This story was in in yesterday's Post. It was on the Post's website Tuesday night. Today is Thursday, September 13.Where is a statement, a communique, and email to the rank and file in support of Aida and calling for outrage against the DOE for the way her situation was handled? Something. Anything?

But I'm able to get a robocall last night at 7 PM from the UFT imploring me to vote for Cuomo and his crew. And then, guess what? I got another robocall this afternoon (As did many other teachers) again requesting that I sell my soul for Cuomo. WTF????

The UFT has time for this inane electioneering for Cuomo but doesn't have the inclination nor the time to have a teacher's back? What the F*** gives? If Aida were a cop, Patrick Lynch (as much as I think he is a turd) would be front and center having her back!!

But not our union. Not the union we no longer have to pay $100 a month to (even though I will).

Well, Aida has filed a federal lawsuit. Good for her. Even better, she has hired Bryan Glass as her attorney. She can't go wrong there. She is damn good hands. Get some fuck you money from the DOE.

We, each and every teacher, must fight back in a united method against the UFT.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Is MORE Becoming the Omega House of UFT Caucuses?

One of the reasons I chose to be on steering back in the halcyon days of MORE was I did
not think that MORE had done, nor was doing, enough to help teachers in who were having difficulty.

I thought, and others had as well, that MORE turned it's attention to too many of these irrelevant issues that just didn't affect teachers in any way. When it comes down to it teachers want bread and butter issues. They want to know when and if that next pay check is coming, will there be food on the table to feed my family, will I be able to put my kids through college. Will they have a job come September?

MORE showed no inclination to grab the real issues by the proverbial balls and lo and behold, this is why we are where we are now. Or why MORE was up in Ithaca trying to find itself.

The Crack Team has been pouring over the MORE retreat notes from their August retreat in Ithaca and many things (Which will be shared on these pages in the upcoming weeks) caught The Crack Team's eyes. One came from a session entitles, "Vision and Mission."

The question put forth to the standing room only crowd of 12 is...
...Role of a caucus in our union how do we imagine our caucus moving the union/acting within the union structure as a whole?  What should our approach to the Unity leadership be?
OK, fair enough. Good question or topic, or whatever it is called. So there was a good response from someone.
Some caucus have set up a grievance hotline – that’s effective – direct response to people. Sometimes you can help them directly, other times help them think about organizing on an issue.
Not bad. Very lucid and well thought out. Something like this is what I had been pushing for with MORE but sadly, they were disinterested. Kudos!

One response to the above caught our eyes here at SBSB.

The response is from Mike Stivers. He teaches at Millennium High School in Park Slope. For those that do not know about MHS in Park Slope, it is a ...
...a small, selective school with strong academics and a friendly vibe.
That's just super.

So Mike Stivers responded...
 MORE is not a consulting space. We can’t drop everything and help everyone who comes in
What are you talkin' about Willis Mike?

But Mike, that is real organizing. Rolling up your sleeves, getting your fingernails dirty, getting in the much and organizing and helping people. The very people you claim to want to help.

My 9th grade Algebra teacher Mr Tina would say when faced with an easy problem, "That's a piece of Entenmann's" or "It's a Twinkie." Both terms for "piece of cake." Millennium High School is an Entenmann's Cheese Danish Twist. Try some real organizing. Come to the South Bronx or try Boys and Girls High School. Leave Omega House and try Delta!

Can't drop everything? I have many a time when a teacher in need as contacted me. And I have a wife and a son. And Sparkles the Cat. Why can't you? 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Open Blog Post to a MORE Member

I got this email yesterday in regards to the piece I published on Wednesday night. I thought long and hard about whether or not to make my response private of public but decided to go with the latter for complete transparency and to clarify some things from from Wednesday's post and my general mindset when it comes to MORE.

I want to first thank the person who sent it. This person will remain anonymous and I want her to know that in no way does Wednesday's blog post nor my feelings towards MORE are not any reflection upon her. In fact I have a great deal of respect for her and find her an passionate organizer and supporter of teachers, students, the communities, and education. She is a person I would want in my foxhole.

I respect her for not only taking the time out to email me feeling that she can email me and share with me what is on her mind.

Here is the email:

Peter, why are you writing these articles against MORE? We are on the SAME side. You’re just creating divisions. With so many issues to tackle, can’t you find something worthy to talk about...perhaps on of the million of struggles we have? 

I understand there are many issues you might disagree with in regards to MORE. But how is this helping the cause in any way? I’ve done much work for MORE, and am deeply concerned about the plight of public education. Do you think it’s right to criticize people like me who are just trying to make a difference and help others?

In your article, you said, 

Time for MORE to stop worrying about itself and this "struggle" and agenda and trying to get kudos from the ISO crowd and start rolling up its sleeves and doing something for others, not themselves.”

 I’ve spent so much time working with MORE and other public education activism groups in general, at the cost of my own health, relationships, loss health & free time and time to just plain rest. It’s articles like this that dissuade me from the cause. Why should I bother when people who have the same concerns and struggles as I do write such offensive articles. Although there members from the ISO in MORE, they spend as much time and efforts in this struggle as you do, if not more. I am NOT an ISO member. But I respect the enormous amount of time, work and sweat they have put into this struggle. 

If you and others think that these kind of articles are indeed in any shape, way, or form productive to the struggles in public education, then perhaps there is no hope for the plight of public education after all. 

Although I have committed much time to MORE and other types of public education activism, there was NEVER a time when I looked forward to giving up my time with loved ones, my family and partner, and attending to my own health. I worked with MORE because I felt I had a duty to. For all of those teachers, students, parents and other public education employees who are voiceless and haven’t the faintest inkling that they can make a difference, it is for them that I continue the fight. In other words, my activism with MORE and elsewhere has always been a GREAT sacrifice, even though I have grown to respect and love SO many of the individuals involved. 

In essence, I am deeply offended by your article, saddened that someone from the same cause would write such a thing, and essentially, am wondering if the fight is really worth it or if it will get anywhere at all because of individuals like you who write viscous blogs against the very people who are on their side. 

Sincerely and deeply offended,
XXXXXXXXX 
 
I'm going to try to address point by point but I'm to address the overall gist first.

If you will notice on the front of this blog on the right hand side there is a clock entitled, "Days The MORE Duo Have Been Banished." As of me typing these words the clock is at 139 days, 5 hours, 42 minutes, and 50 seconds. That is the amount since both Mike S and John S have been banished from MORE. I need not write once again what stand up people they are. We all know that. I however will link the posts of what MORE has turned into (here, here, here, here, and here). Let me ask you this. Would you not be abhorred  with these shenanigans from any administrator, the NYCDOE, or even the UFT to any staff member either in your school or one that you just met in line at Target? What would you comments be if you read this on Facebook and it was the DOE doing this to a teacher? Knowing you, knowing what a kind, caring, ethical person you are, you would not stand for it, would you? 
 
Both Mike and John were labeled  as nothing more than misogynistic pigs. John was labeled as violent for supposedly threatening someone. In fact this person he "threatened" threatened John!

It would have helped so much if in your own way (Unlike mine and others big mouths) you spoke up for John and Mike and for truth. You think that within about 6 weeks of a new Steering committee that 3 members were extra-judiciously removed from Steering?

Three like minded members that along with two others formed a majority that's sole purpose was the betterment of what you say is the "struggle." Members that the Man Wearing the Red Star (And it's not a Heineken red star!) could not control.

I am sure you sacrificed much in this "struggle" (Which I would rather call a cause) as have I. But I will be honest with you. I know MORE and myself don't have the same goals, and I'll tell you another thing. I don't think you and MORE have the same goals either. You and I are on the same side. It is a side that MORE isn't on. This "struggle" is not for just a few, it is for the many. Your work has shown me that you know this.

The point of my blog on Wednesday was that I was trying to show that MORE, of course this is my opinion, still doesn't get it. That where the retreat was located, the message of the place it was located is so elitist. That MORE time and time again shows that the rank and file, that the downtrodden and middle class means nothing. Take you car. Drive through the Catskills, Upstate, Western NY, or the Southern Tier and these are the towns and the people that are struggling and want help. But help that doesn't come from the end of someone's nose. 

Anyway, thank you for your time in reading this. I hope we can continue to communicate constructively in the future. In fact, if you still have my number, feel free to call anytime. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The MORE Caucus Can't Get It's Cheese Right

You know that seen from the Three Stooges in which Curly upon seeing a mouse goes batshit crazy screaming, "Moe, Larry, the cheese, Moe, Larry, the cheese..."? MORE has become Curly. Or rather, Curly is smarter than anyone currently in MORE.

Think about it. If Curly were in MORE and needed the cheese he would first be asked to assure those in MORE that the cheese he wants his not GMO and that it is pre-approved by PETA. Soon there will be breakout groups and discussions on the type of cheese and if the workers struggled to make the cheese. Then someone would throw a hissy fit because Curely would go "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk," when he he sees a female. Well, you know...

MORE would fuck up Curly's cheese. Just give him the damn cheese and be done.

I say this because while I had found out that MORE was planning a retreat, which I think was a great idea (In theory) they again overthought the matter a dang fucked up again.

Why choose Ithaca NY? I love Ithaca, I was there in February with my son touring Ithaca College. It was beautiful then. I can only imagine how nice it is in August. But Ithaca is super liberal town. Again, perception.

But once in Ithaca one can stay at one of the chain hotels? No, not with MORE. The EcoVillage, where one can be...

...part of a global movement of people seeking to create positive solutions to the social, environmental and economic crises our planet faces.

BARF! Again perception.

Right there MORE is showing it wants to make its bonafides with the Shining Path Red Star Javier Chavista Hipsters.

Want to do something right? There are plenty of small towns and small cities in upstate New York that are economic basket cases. Ithaca is not one of them. Hudson, Binghamton, Ellenville, Poughkeepsie, Monticello, Elmira, Corning (so-so), Columbia County, the Southern Tier, that a decent hotel could have been found, perhaps a golf course, or even better a casino. But MORE chose to make themselves feel good instead of putting money in the pockets of those who need it.

I touched on this topic back in April when I wrote about how the Democrats are out of touch. MORE is nothing better than the current state of the Democratic Party.

Two weeks go we drove through Western New York and the Southern Tier and I saw the towns that were dead. That are dying. That need help. I was going to write this blog about the rest of the agenda, which let me just quickly touch on.

Not one mention of anything to do with the desperate state of the emotional, financial, and professional needs of teachers as well as not one thing on the agenda about MORE looking inward in how it has gone off the rails and decides rules on the whim, how one person has become the de facto "big head" and rules by fiat. No mea culpas, no "OMG, what have we done," no nothing. But I digress.

MORE, or at least those members that just sit around and sniff their own farts all day...Dare I name them? OK, two of them are "The Special Little Boy" and Greg Marmalard. Dinner on me if you can guess who I am talking about. But I have digressed again.

As I was saying. Time for MORE to stop worrying about itself and this "stuggle" and agenda and trying to get kudos from the ISO crowd and start rolling up its sleeves and doing something for others, not themselves.

Read:

   MORE Retreat on Scribd


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Scarsdale Student Desperately Needs Help to Continue His Education

The following is written by a dear dear friend of mine from high school. His son is entering
his senior year at Scarsdale High School. They both are from rural Virginia and his son was sent to live with his aunt (My friend's sister who had guardianship) in Scarsdale before his freshman year. The boy being Asian was being bullied relentlessly in Virginia because of his ethnicity and his grades had suffered. Once he was ensconced at Scarsdale High (which happens to have a sizeable Asian population) he thrived academically and socially.

Well, as we know, families tend to fight. My friend's sister and his brother in law have just notified my friend and his son that he is no longer welcomed back. Yeah, you read that right, several weeks before his senior year. This young man deserves to graduate with his class and his friends. My friend is looking for a host family and it is all on the up and up. He will pay expenses, etc... Tuition at Scarsdale is $28k

Anyway, let him explain it. If you can help, please share this, email me (Sobronxschool@gmail.com), leave a comment. School starts in about three weeks. Any advice, advocacy, whatever, will be helpful. Names have been changed. Bold added for emphasis.

I am looking for a family in Scarsdale who would be willing to be a host and guardian family to my 17 year old son.  
 
Hello, my name is Hank, my son’s name is Bill. Bill has been living in Scarsdale for the last 5 years, and should be a graduating senior at Scarsdale High School (SHS) this upcoming year. Bill lives with my sister and her husband in Scarsdale for the majority of the year, and then he comes home to rural, Virginia during his breaks and summer vacations. 

 The reason Bill is living in Scarsdale is because there are very few Asian students in our school district in Virginia. My son and daughter are both half Filipino and half Caucasian, and unfortunately his peers in school bullied him with racial jokes and taunts, making his school experience a pure hell.  My sister in Scarsdale whose youngest two children were recruited to Princeton for their fencing, offered to home school Bill and to make him an Epee fencer like his cousins. With hopes to get him into a great college, at the time it was an offer I could not refuse. My wife and I knew it was going to be hard sending our boy away, but it was with family, and it was the best we could do for him given the situation at school wasn’t going to get better. I prayed Bill would be able to handle being away from us at age twelve, but we felt the education he would receive would be extraordinary. We also felt Scarsdale is a beautiful community offering a much more diverse population, so we knew he would feel more welcome.

After two years of home schooling, my sister said it would be advantageous if Bill enrolled in SHS, and I agreed. Seeing our little boy, who was a C-D student in a not very academically challenging school system, to one of the top elite high schools in the country, my wife and were bursting with pride. 

Bill has been at Scarsdale High for 3 years now, he has challenged himself by taking some of the more difficult courses offered, and has been rewarded with great grades and teacher accolades. Right now after the end of his junior year, Bill boasts a 3.71 GPA and got an outstanding score on his ACT and is a member of the Honor Society. All his hard work has truly paid off, and he is quite proud of his accomplishments. 

 A few days ago, my brother-in-law called my wife Susan and said that Bill was no longer welcome in their house to finish his senior year! This was a decision made by both my brother in law and my sister. He told Susan that Bill talked to the school counselor without their permission. They felt Sam undermined their rules and he discussed family matters with outsiders and betrayed them. Bill had also gotten into a verbal argument  with his 23 year old cousin and they weren’t going to put up with that either. So they said Bill was not welcome to come back to their house after the summer vacation. Unfortunately, I have no way of changing or fixing this situation. My sister has already filed papers to dissolve their guardianship. I have tried to have other family members help or intervene but to no avail. My brother lives in Hartsdale (right down the street from my sister), said he was more than happy to take Bill, but because she is giving up Bill’s guardianship it also gives up his residency, so Bill can’t stay there and commute. Scarsdale High School does offer a $28,000 out of district fee for graduating seniors who have completed 11th grade which he has. Unfortunately this is not an option we are able to afford. 

I would happily pay all attorney costs, all Bill’s food, clothing, medical and anything I might be forgetting if someone would be kind enough to open their heart and their home to a boy who wasn’t divulging deep family secrets. He was only discussing what every 16 year old who is trying to keep up his grades, his fencing, and social life , basically anxiety... I’m proud he made the choice to talk to someone and not keep it bottled up, just sorry for the drastic consequences. Please help, I don’t know anyone in Scarsdale and have run out of options.
Thank you for your time,

Hank Henry

Please, if anyone has any ideas, any one that can advocate, facilitate, come up with an idea please let me know.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Crack Team Announces It's Contract Demands

With DC 37 caving into the City and setting a pattern with a 7.42% raise over 44 months that's what it looks like UFT members will get once we get a new contract.

The Crack Team has gotten together and is willing to endorse such a pay raise but the support is conditional. Conditional upon what The Crack Team wants in return. This shall be known as The Crack Team's contract demands.

All ATRs must be placed. Not force placed, but rather intelligently placed. Each to the best of their abilities and each to a school in which the ATR can thrive and work in an environment that is conducive to the growth of said ATR and the school's students.

End Fair Student Funding. Mulgrew has said that the UFT cannot bargain budgetary demands. The Crack Team calls bullocks! When there is a will there is a way.

Bye-Bye Monday PD. A complete waste of time. There is no real professional development occurring.  I'd much rather watch hours upon hours of Kathy Griffin.

ATRs must be observed and rated as per diem substitutes are. In lieu of all ATRs being placed, ATRs must be treated as the DOE sees us. As nothing more than substitutes. Treat us the same way.

End Field Supervisors. If the above is impractical than do away with the field supervisors. Create with the UFT a truly transparent and fair method of observing and rating the ATRs. However the guiding philosophy must still be Teaching for the 21st Century.

Two observations per year for tenured teachers. I'm getting tired of meeting teachers from all over New York State and looking at their faces as I share with them we have 4 observations.

Bye-Bye Danielson. 'Nough said.

Discipline must be scaffolded. The contract states a "Counseling Memo." How often is a counseling memo used? All discipline at the school level should and must begin with a counseling memo. Too much mundane bullshit is settled with a letter to the file.

Clearly define what one needs to attain tenure. Too often now newb teachers are left in the lurch with subjective decisions on whether or not they will receive tenure.

All letters to file can be grieved. This was an injustice was this ended. Not being able to grieve all letters to the file just gave principals the ability to pile on the mundane crud.

Ability to face your accuser. Principals testifying by telephone? So much is missed when one can't see body language.

Principals held accountable. It is time that these principals are treated and subjected to the same methods as teachers are. Principals who are sued should stop being indemnified.

Bye Bye lawyers. Better uses for these lowest of pond scum can be put to better use by keeping the Trumps out of prison.

Bye bye 75% of the dead weight at Tweed and 65 Court St. McDonald's has been using computers to place orders. Stop and Shop has more self check out registers than manned ones. It's all the same.

Supply all ATRs with M&M's. Once a month all ATRs receive a bowl of M&M's, but there is a caveat. No bowl shall contain blue M&M's (Thanks to Van Halen for that idea).

If these demands are enacted (And any others I have missed) The Crack Team can live with the shitty raise.