SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL

Thursday, October 11, 2018

BREAKING!! The ATRs and the New Contract!!!

Today was exciting. There is a new contract agreed upon between the UFT and the
NYCDOE. Yippee! We all got the emails today from Uncle Mike Mulgrew which was more or less highlights which barely touched on details.

But right now I just want to touch on the part of the contract that will pertain to ATRs.

First, I want to dispel the rumor that I have read first hand that ATRs will be disbanded, not by layoffs, but rather than placing ATRs in schools. Like forced placements. That is not happening.

As James Eterno and Arthur Goldstein mentioned, the date that ATRs are placed in openings in the license area has been moved from October 15 to day one of the school year. This makes sense. Does no one any good to start in October.

But there is more.

The Crack Team has learned through sources within the UFT that schools won't be penalized financially anymore for hiring an ATR with a high salary. For instance: Say a school has all first year teachers and 22 year ATR is hired. Ordinarily that ATRs salary would raise the average of the school's teachers salaries. Now, that ATR, that expensive ATR's salary will be seen as on par (Haven't a clue how this is being worked out) with the 1st year teachers salaries. That teacher making $119k won't skew the schools budget. Again, the devil is in the details.

Something else that is new is a new program that will hire ATRs into a program called 4x4. ATRs will be hired into schools (This will start of as a pilot program) in which ATRs will work with small groups of students in group literacy intervention. You won't need a reading license to do this. The curriculum will be scripted out and the cost borne by the DOE. In my opinion this is a long time coming. I have always wondered why ATRs are forced to do menial sub work when they could be better used to target in need students either individually or in small groups. But as usual, the devil is in the details.

But we don't have the details and neither will the DA tomorrow night until after a vote. Why the UFT couldn't wait until Monday to have the DA ratify the contract boggles the mind. Shabbas candles are lit tomorrow at 6:02 PM. It would be safe to assume that some CL's and delegates are Observant Jews.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

MORE Misses Yet Another Easy Target

You know what is easy? Standing on a pitchers mound and having just get the ball to home plate 60 feet, 6 inches away. I'm 54 and a lefty. Dang I can do it! Heck, my son was able to do it at the age of 8!

MORE is turning into the Ba Ba Booey (Gary Dell'abate) of UFT caucuses by completely fucking something that easy up.

Instead of fighting for ATRs, work rules, working conditions, getting rid of the lawyers that permeate the DOE, fair student funding, teacher safety, teacher happiness, or any other of the myriad of other wants and needs we have going forward as we approach a new contract next year. MORE has decided to do the opposite. Or as one member has said...
"Dwindling health care benefits in exchange for a raise that will not help us meet the rate of inflation in NYC is a major problem for us."
This is the priority.


Yes, there are things I do not like. I do not like paying $50 to go to an urgent care center when the alternative is to see my GP when I have a cold or need to get in last minute. That is unless I go to Advantage Care Physicians which there is a $0 copay. The only issue I have is that there are 0 ACP offices in Westchester County. It does me no good.


I don't care for the $150 copay for the ER. Yes, I know it is waived if admitted, but not all ER visits necessitate being admitted.

I am not happy that first year teachers will have to spend their first year in HIP. But,most of these teachers will be young and healthy and do not need the care that the more mature teacher desires. Besides, I'm sure a goodly amount of the MORE people are young or living still on mommy and daddy's insurance 

I have no problem if my copays go up another $5. I really don't care. I have had a life without insurance. My right shoulder is a mess because I did not have insurance when I dislocated it. A dear friend of mine is dead because he did not have insurance.


What I do like is that I am paying $0 a month for GHI. That my wife has about $200k of hardware in her back, spent a week in Lenox Hill Hospital and two weeks in BurkeRehab Hospital and we only owe about $200.


I'm grateful for the hernia surgery I had last month was $0. I'm grateful that when my son broke his hand and needed surgery 5 years ago that the only cost was driving to NYU.

But again, another problem with MORE is they just can't or refuse to roll up the sleeves and see the world around them. In others words, REALITY. They think we have it bad.


Well The Crack Team did roll up it's sleeves and wishes to share a major dose of reality on the kiddies at MORE about health coverage across the country. These are true stories from real teachers.

I pay a little more than $450 a month for my daughter and me and ewe each have a $3000 deductible with a $5600 out of pocket maximum per year. We live in Idaho.

$1200/month for family coverage. $15 copay for doctor visits. In NJ, our healthcare contribution is based on our salaries so if you make more, you pay more for the same coverage. That jackass Christie came up with that. Prick. Can't live on my take home anymore.

For Chicago Public schools I pay about $18 a month for insurance, put in about $100 a month to an HSA w/ $600 contributed by CPS for the year, w/ a $2000 deductible. The insurance helps negotiate prices but basically doesn't pay anything until the deductible is met.

$350 a month premium, matched by the state (HI teacher), so $700 a month in premiums, $20 copay for everything, extra for lab work, TONS of other fees. They wanted $700 for an MRI that traumatized me to the core of my being and am refusing to pay.

I am paying $1400+ per month for coverage for a family of three. I would cheerfully choke someone out to pay $600 per month.

Albuquerque Public Schools, high option plan for family of 4 - approx $650/month, plus co-pays and percentage cost-sharing (which seem to get higher all the time!) $25-$40 co-pays for appts, $50 Urgent Care,  $150 ER, percentage of everything else.

I'm a public school teacher in the state of Rhode Island and I pay almost $400 a month for a single healthcare plan. I have different deductibles to meet for different things but just for regular doctors I have to meet $250 and then my co-pays Kickin, to go to a walk-in clinic it's now $100 and to see your primary care it's $25. I am ashamed that our state does this. Good for you and your school district not charging the teachers are ridiculous amount for health care. Best of luck on the rest of your school year.

In Michigan (law change in 2012) we now are required to pay 20% of the cost of premium.  A high deductible ($2700) with HSA account costs $270 a month for full family.  Same policy with coinsurance (%20 after deductible) costs $140 month for full family.  We formed a county consortium to pool policy members and help reduce the costs.  Before the consortium, we were paying $320 a month for the full family high deductible policy; which was our only option.

We do not use our district insurance because the premium is $1265 per month for our family of 4. Yes you read that right. Nevada has the worst insurance coverage in the nation for teachers.

$104 a month for the least expensive choice through my district, which includes my husband and two kids, dental and vision.  $7000 deductible, $10 doctor, $25 specialist, $52 urgent care, $75 ER
(unless admitted, then there is no co-pay). 


It's time for MORE to stop sniffing its own farts and get a reality check not only concerning the rank and file but life as well. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The ATR Wah Wah

I've been listening to a lot of George Harrison's solo work of late. I was a big McCartney/Wings fan back in
the day and never thought John Lennon had done much with his solo work. I bought Harrison's "Somewhere in England" back in 1981 because it contained the tribute song to John Lennon "All Those Years Ago."

But his song, "Wah Wah" from "All Things Must Pass" is really hitting home of late. For those who are unaware of this song...
...Harrison wrote the song following his temporary departure from the Beatles in January 1969, during the troubled Get Back sessions that resulted in their Let It Be album and film. The lyrics reflect his frustration with the atmosphere in the group at that time... In his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, Harrison explains that the song title was a reference to "a 'headache'
Yeah, I am having a special fucking ATR headache. And it ain't happening from the students. The illogic in the banality and inanity of this fucking ATR shit is giving me a damn wah wah!!!! But I refuse to cave. I refuse to not do what I have to do to get through each day, each week, each month, each school year.

We, all of us, ATRs have that ATR wah wah. Don't cave, don't give them what they want. Stay strong, you can do it!

Wah-wah
You've  They've given me a wah-wah
And I'm thinking of you me
And all the things that we I used to do
Wah-wah, wah-wah

Wah-wah
You made me such a big star an ATR
Being there at the right wrong time
Cheaper than a dime
Wah-wah, you've they've given me your my
Wah-wah, wah-wah

Oh, you don't won't  see me crying
Oh, you don't might hear me sighing

Wah-wah
I don't need no but I have a wah-wah
And I know how sweet life can be
If I keep myself free, wah-wah
I don't need no but I have a  wah-wah

Oh, you don't see me crying
Hey baby, you don't hear me sighing
Oh, no, no, no, no

Wah-wah
Now I don't need no wah-wahs
And I know how sweet life can be is
If I keep myself free in spite of wah-wah
I don't need no but still I have a wah-wah



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.