SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The DOE Sucks Monkey Balls. This is Why.

WOW! It has been just about 6 weeks since my last blog post.

Imagine if you will (From the files of, "This Shit Can't be Made up!")...

A brand new teacher. In fact a second career if you will. You are in your mid 30's, married about 18 months, and a baby on the way. Heck, you coach high school hockey in your spare time, life is perfect right now.

You start at a school that is just above being the boil on the hairy ass of the South Bronx. Some good veteran teachers are around to show you the ropes, tell you how it is (And how it will be). You see that you have entered bizarro world, you see shit they don't imagine or even tell you that can happen in your teacher school but you persevere.

You're stoic. You have no choice to be.

But gosh diddly darn the kiddies sure do like you. Even administration likes you (Even the AP with the uni-brow). But you are hearing whispers from your colleagues.

"When Open Market comes get the frig out of this school." "Go to Westchester."  Stuff like that.

A few days before Christmas vacation and you are looking forward to being a daddy any day. You're busting with pride. Chest is puffed out. The best Christmas present in your life is coming nothing or no one can ruin this feeling you have.

That is except the DOE.

BOOM! You are sent to the Rubber Room post haste. WHY? You have no fucking idea except things you can only piece together in your mind.

Five and a half months in the Rubber Room. For what? Why? Because some parent called 311 with a false complaint. Made up. Bogus. Bullshit.

Why did it take 5 1/2 fucking months to clear this teacher? This couldn't be done in a week? People accused of murder get cleared in less time. What is the point of dragging this out? In fact it took another month from the when official word came that this teacher was cleared to the time he came back to his school.

Praise be to baby Moses that the administration was on his side. It could have been a lot worse for this teacher. What are the repercussions for the parent that took their tongue and told a lie?

The teacher shared with The Crack Team his feelings that he wrote when he returned. We are using it with his permission.

Staff was very pleased and happy to see me. Administration was so apologetic and real of how everything went down, disgusted at the fact DOE had me sitting there for so long not knowing anything about what the accusation was. 

They finally told me first thing and it was mind blowing that someone out there can actually make up a lie and get away with it , knowing nothing will happen to them. The fact that they can ruin someone's emotion, integrity and break an individual down is ok with them. 


Teaching my first class at 10 am, I wasn't the same teacher I was when I first entered 5 months ago.  My enthusiasm, courage and professionalism has completely drained and I don't know how long this will take to diminish. It's a horrible emotional feeling one can feel while going through this nightmare. I'm still not right. 


So to all of you, fight with everything you got, because what they are doing to us professionals is just not right. Nothing will ever be heard unless we take a step forward and report this. Unfortunately with me there is no physical evidence I have against this accusation other than my emotional well being. Keep the faith and do not let them get over on you. This is something I will never ever forget. Thank you for guiding me through this hard time and being there for me when I needed it the most. Don't give in, stand your ground and give them hell.

There you go NYCDOE. You taught this teacher in 5 months what it takes most of us a few years to realize. BRAVO!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Supporting Teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day

I have been blogging for a little over 10 1/2 years now. I didn't expect to be blogging this
long nor did I expect all the good and bad that came with blogging. I just started out thinking I had an original idea (found out after about 24 hours many others had the same idea) and it took off. And here I still am.

One thing that has been constant is that I truly want to help those teachers that feel so alone and helpless in their struggles. I was quite fortunate that I had a fantastic support system during the time of my 3020-a and I want to pay it forward and do whatever I can to help those teachers who feel so alone and abused by the system.

Back in February at the last (Last ever?) ICE meeting, I gave an impassioned plea for ICE to rally around and do whatever it can to help out a teacher. But Norm was right, ICE as presently configured was not set up for that. And that I understand. The MORE Caucus was never truly interested in rolling up its sleeves and getting down on the dirt to help teachers in need. Solidarity? Yeah, they really are passionate about the same thing, and they got a set of balls (I say that in a good way) but I am not crazy about some of their tactics and the "one size fits all" method of help. And of course there are other things.

But I will continue to do whatever I can. And if I don't know the answer, I will find out or do what is necessary. If it warrants an attorney, I will send a teacher to Bryan Glass or Jordan Harlow.

I know how painful and stressful going through a 3020-a is. I learned from Norm Scott and (I don't think I have ever mentioned this name) Patrick Walsh. They talked me off the precipice several times.

The teachers I have talked to, or helped, I have taken , I don't know how to say this. A personal (I am trying hard not to make this seem about me) stake? Living vicariously? Something or other, in their cases, in the outcomes. My support is 100% unconditional. Sometimes it might not have seemed it. There were times, I put myself first (not in a horrible way) and it was not right. But one thing I always thought of, besides giving support, is that I want that teacher protected and to know that God will always see what is right and karma will come and bite those on that wronged them right on their ass.

I have learned much from  these teachers I have supported. Each and every single one of them means something to me.

I don't think I dropped the ball ever, but might have lost a grip for a split second, and for that I am sorry.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

UPDATE!! The Lunch Teacher Tells the NYCDOE "You Can Suck My Culo Chica!"

The shit for the Lunch Teacher just got real. Yesterday, her 3020a hearing started and it got off to a very inauspicious start for the NYCDOE.

No just to update the Lunch Teacher is facing charges because she took her students to lunch at the proper time during testing in April of 2019 (You can read all past posts about the Lunch Teacher here.).

Before the hearing even began, the NYCDOE was desperate. They were in a "Oops, it seems like we really fucked up here," mode and were desperate. An offer was made.

Ready?

The offer was a fine of $5k, no mention of her 3020a in the federal lawsuit (there are other torts besides the 3020a) and enter the world of the ATR's.

Her response she gave to her lawyer?

"Tell them to fuck themselves!" 

The Crack Team has since learned that her lawyer relayed her request using language in a New York State Bar Association approved manner.

The first witness to be heard was a supervisor from the Office of Special Investigation. Why was it a supervisor from OSI and not the investigator himself? Good question. The reason is the investigator is no longer employed by the DOE and, stranger, is he is nowhere to be found. For all intents and purposes he has dropped off the face of the Earth.

Now, he might be in hiding. Seems that said investigator left something pertinent out of his report. When he interviewed the Lunch Teacher, she had told him she was bringing her students to lunch. He left this out.

The Lunch Teacher did not like this. When she found out she filed a report with SCI. The Lunch Teacher doesn't like to be screwed with.

The OSI supervisor couldn't testify regarding the case. All he was able to do was look like a putz and explain the procedure of an investigation. Ooooooh!! Her attorney, reportedly channeled Al Pacino's role in "...And Justice for All," and stood up for her by shouting, "This impedes her due process!" 

Obviously, the NYCDOE got caught with it's knickers down. There was a time out in the hearing while the both sides went to their separate corners.

The Lunch Teacher's lawyer inquired what would how much of a fine would be OK with her. "Not for one fucking dollar," was her reply. 

Round two is this coming Monday. Principal Palpatine and her two Sith apprentices are expected to testify.

How fucked up is this? Why would  the NYCDOE lawyers approve such a frivolous case? There was nothing done here by the Lunch Teacher that warrants the waste of thousands of dollars by the DOE for something that could have been handled at the school level. If there was such an appalling breech of testing protocol why not bring the state into the matter? Principal Palpatine surely has a rabbi within the NYCDOE.

Know what is even worse. The silence coming from 52 Broadway. Here's a question. Is Uncle Mike Mulgrew made aware of each and every 3020a hearing happening? He should be. We pay his salary. I bet Pat Lynch is aware of every cop involved in a departmental trial. Shouldn't the taxpayers hear from our UFT president how the NYCDOE is literally wasting away millions are bullshit frivolous teacher discipline "hearings" Kangaroo Courts?

This does not happen anywhere else than New York City. Not upstate, not Westchester, not Long Island! Only here. It happens time after time after time because the NYCDOE has enablers.




Sunday, April 21, 2019

The MORE Caucus is Dead

The Brooklyn Nets have had a great year (I even predicted that the Nets would be better
before the Knicks. More on my abilities later). Even though they are down 3-1 against the Sixers in the playoffs,, they have something to build on for next year and future years.

So what to do? Keep the core and attract a few free agents. If you were Kevin Durant where would you rather go? Knicks or the Nets? Give coach Kenny Atkinson and draft well. The Eastern Conference is wide open, even with the Greek Freak in Milwaukee.

But let's make believe the MORE Caucus took over the Nets. Ready?

First to go will be Kenny Atkinson. He will be replaced with a the coach from Leon Trotsky Middle School in Ithaca, NY. This coach actually doesn't know much basketball but rather he qualifies as a coach because he cares deeply about an indigenous tribe, called the Aswartere, of 15 members in the Brazilian rain forest. Their way of life and all 24 acres are being encroached upon by capitalists.   

Atkinson's firing will soon be followed by the jettisoning of D'Angelo Russell to Milwaukee for a 2028 2nd round draft choice. Russell fan afoul of new Nets Президент и генеральный директор (President and General Manager) Dermott Myrie and Peter Lamphere. They found out that D'Angelo is a capitalist.

Heck, both of them cut the entire team. In a press conference both Myrie and Lamphere claim they are not interested in winning and have signed the entire Washington Generals roster to replace the former Nets players. They even bring back Red Klotz from the dead to be an assistant coach. 

When asked from New York Post Nets beat writer Brian Lewis whether or not they want to win and if they are concerned about attendance and TV ratings Lamphere replied...
 "We really don't want to win. Wanting to win brings too much pressure. As for attendance and TV ratings, we only want the diehards. Only those that will believe blindly in whatever we do.  I don't care if 50 people show up at the Barclay's Center every night. Those are our parishioners; the Barclay's Center is our chapel, Myrie is their prophet and I am their God."
This is what the MORE Caucus has turned into. In 2016 the MORE Caucus received over 10k votes. This year, about 2,500. Pathetic (Read better analysis here and here).

WTF? How does a caucus that made a HUGE inroad three years ago completely muck it up? Because they wanted to. To be a member of the MORE Caucus, you had to be pure. You have to pray to the statues of Lamphere and Myrie. Both of them are delighted now. They have 2500 (give or take a few) people who they know will pucker up when they both bare their asses to be kissed. 

One last thing. I predicted that the MORE Caucus would receive no more than 5k votes (Last paragraph). I was ridiculed and mocked. But I was right. I am not claiming to be a soothsayer, just have very good intuition. Some people need to realize it. 

The MORE Caucus is nothing other than a charred pile of fecal matter now. It's time that Lamphere and Myrie look in the mirror and around them and see what they have wrought.

The only way to fix the MORE Caucus is to get rid of who is in charge and let the grown ups back. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Teacher Dies Yet Lives On in New Paltz

I turned 55 two weeks ago today. Along with the receding hairline comes a lot of thinking.
Thinking of one's mortality, where one has been and where one is going. Trying to eliminate the phrase "should have," and thinking of all the people that have come and gone from our lives.

Too often I want to re-connect with people who for lack of a better phrase have made up the story of my life. One regret I have always had came right came in late 1982. I was 18 and I reached out to the speech therapist I had seen from the age of four until I was in 3rd grade. I had wanted to show him the fruits of his hard work and that except for the slight lisp (the braces were what really curtailed it) that I talked fine.

Sadly, my mother died about a week before I was supposed to see him and I never even to notify him that I wasn't coming. I never called back. Never changed the date. He died in 2001.

About a month ago I found out that my 1st grade girlfriend had passed away. She was my age. Heart attack. We were friends on Facebook; we communicated, but she wasn't at any of the last two reunions nor did we see nor speak on the phone or whatever. The last time I saw her was over 30 years ago at the Fountain Diner in Hartsdale, NY.

Having said all this, I was saddened to hear about another long lost friend who died last week at the age of 53. Trish Rukeyser Lewis I knew as a camper and a counselor at Camp Sloane in Lakeville, CT, between 1977 and 1984. I was closer to her sister Jill (who was only there as a camper), and in fact Jill and I stayed in touch. Maybe until the mid 80's thereabouts.

I had heard that Trish was a teacher over the years from mutual friends and even recall hearing that she was battling cancer in the 90's. But I did not know the extent of the type of teacher she was. And you know what? I wasn't surprised.

This is from the New Paltz NY school district webpage (click to enlarge)...

One word. Wow! Second word. Amazing!

Talk about leaving a legacy behind. Talk about touching so many lives in which Trish will continue to live on in for decades to come. Is this, not what we want from our educators?

I want to do my best to avoid sounding cynical, but how the heck does one measure of put an algorithm on the type of teacher Trish was? Can an APPR do Trish or any teacher like her justice? There is no data, no professional development, no nothing that can measure her. This is what has happened to education in the last 15 years. We have all become a bunch of data collectors and have had all of our instincts surgical removed so we have become inane data driven drones regurgitating the latest soon to fail fad. The New Paltz community was blessed to have Trish and guess what? I bet her principal was blessed to have her as well.

Meanwhile, in NYC a teacher that questions why a student is in the wrong setting all of the sudden is facing termination. That it for the snark.

One more thing. Don't put off what can be done now. People die. Get to those people you have lost touch with or whatever before either of you die. Or do something that you been meaning to do now. Don't spend the rest of your years saying, "I should have."

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lunch Teacher Sends Students to Pee, Faces Discipline (I KID YOU NOT!)

The Lunch Teacher is about to become the "Bathroom Teacher, or the "Water Fountain
Teacher," or the "Shat Upon Teacher. "But for continuity, we shall still refer to her as the Lunch Teacher.

Remember, this shit can't be made up!

The Lunch Teacher had a bit of good news a couple of weeks ago. Apparently (and we here at SBSB always wait until the action occurs to make a definitive affirmation), the Lunch Teacher won a step 2 grievance. Sadly, it should have ended there but, it didn't.

The Lunch Teacher was summoned to meet with her principal because two of her male students had to go pee. And then decided to drink some water after the aforementioned urination.

Now mind you, there is no place for the students in question to do their business on the floor in which their classroom is. The students were faced with a Hobson's Choice. Do they go up a flight of stairs to pee, or down a flight of stairs to go pee? They chose the latter. I would have made that choice as well. It is better for the bladder to go down a flight than up a flight.

The boys (5th graders. Approximately 10-11 years old) sadly were seen by the principal. The principal was dressed to impress due to escorting really, really, big shots around the school. Now mind you, the bathroom happened to be right next to the cafeteria, a place where there are adults. But that is neither here nor there. Worse, these students dared to drink water after they had peed.

One problem is that the students were not carrying bathroom passes. Yes, all the teachers were made to sign for passes in October, but there is nothing in writing as whether or not it is mandatory for students to be with a pass when using the facilities. Nor are there any regulations on which bathrooms the students are to use. 

The principal was not pleased. She was in a foul mood and wanted to meet with the Lunch Teacher "informally."

The meeting took place this past Monday, April 1. The principal wanted to be so so helpful. She wanted help clarifying anything (of course the principal was as patronizing and condescending as possible) the Lunch Teacher was "confused" about.

But the Lunch Teacher held her ground as if she knew this meeting were a set up. The principal tried to get her to sign something acknowledging the concerns of the principal. In fact, without barely mentioning a word the Lunch Teacher was already being accused of insubordination.

But the Lunch Teacher held fast. She refused to sign anything right then and there. She requested time to read the letter and bring it back signed. At this time, there was no disciplinary letter.

But all hell broke lose the moment the Lunch Teacher contradicted the principal on a conversation on proper bathrooms to use in September. The principal claimed the Lunch Lady was being belligerent. The meeting ended. The Lunch Teacher was told that the next meeting she will need a UFT rep.

The Lunch Lady got a letter on Thursday, April 4 to meet THAT afternoon after school ended at 3 PM. That wasn't going to happen.

I smell a rat. The first rat I smell is the principal. But out of desperation people get stupid. So this might be a good thing. The other rat is the CL in that school. The CL lives in the principal's colon. 

What's bothering me is why matters which floor the students use the bathroom on? The floor above or the floor below? Either way the bathroom is equidistant from the classroom. Either way a flight of stairs must be used. An argument can be made if the students were up on the top floor. But they weren't.

If the principal is claiming that the students were unsupervised, well, we call bullocks! Even if the students went to the bathroom upstairs, would they not be unsupervised walking up the stairs? Would they not be unsupervised walking through the hall to the bathroom? Aren't the students unsupervised in the bathrooms?

This is nothing more than workplace harassment and piling on the Lunch Teacher.
The principal has created a hostile work environment for the Lunch Teacher.

Sadly this what is happening with the Lunch Teacher is not occurring within a vacuum. This is systemic across the DOE and enabled and condoned at the upper reaches of Tweed. This "bounty hunting" on teachers must end now!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Who I Voted for and Why on My UFT Ballot

The new ballots are in!! The new ballots are in!! The new ballots are in!!

And just for the record I can see into the future and know that Unity will win.

This has been the first time since 2007 or so that I haven't voted slate. I picked good people that I know. My vote might not mean anything, but at least I can live with my values. I have yet to vote for Andrew Cuomo (always have used a write in), did the same with Hilary Clinton when she ran for the Senate.

I vote for candidates from Unity, New Action, and even Solidarity. I refused to vote for anyone from MORE. I even noticed that MORE's equivalent to Greg Marmalard (Mike Stivers click here) and Douglas C Neidermeyer (Adam Sanchez click here) are running. PUKE!

So here who is I voted for and why.

President: Lydia Howrilka Solidarity

We have had our issues. We have gotten by that, and I see she has grown. She truly wants to help teachers and education and is not driven by ego.

Assistant Secretary: Mike Sill Unity

Mike is a stand up guy in an impossible job. He has come through other ATRs as well as myself. He works hard.

VP Elementary: Johnathan Hinesley Solidarity

John is a great guy. Very dedicated and very passionate.  He'll make a good VP.

VP Special Ed: Quinn Zannoni

Quinn comes highly recommended. I admired that he showed up, as well as Lydia and John, to ICE meetings in an attempt for reconciliation. That shows guts.

Executive Board at Large: Mindy Rosier-Rayburn Unity, Amy Arundell Unity, Mary Atkinson Unity, Michael Shulman New Action 
 
Does Mindy really need any explaining? She's great. I am honored she considers me a friend. Mindy will be independent and do what is right. Amy, same reason as Mike Sill. Both Mindy and Amy got me through my suspension. Mary Atkinson is very accessible, and I know she will do right by a certain school in District 7. Shulman? I have met him once, and I like him. Impeccable dresser and showed restraint and did not invoke the Castle Doctrine when a crazy person showed up at his house.

Convention Delegates: In addition to the above mentioned who are already running as delegates I am voting for Jonathan Halabi New Action, Bill Woodruff Unity, Arthur Goldstein Unity, Mike Schirtzer Unity, and Jeff Povalitis Unity 

Jonathan is as smart as a whip, and I have seen him in action helping a teacher. He is extremely caring of the teachers in his school and wish he ran for an office position. Bill Woodruff is my district rep and has saved my ass a few times and not just me. This guy really gives a shit.,

As for Arthur and Mike. I can't vote for them for HS exec board, but I can vote for them as delegates. I really wish people will leave them the fuck alone. I do not believe for one iota of a second that power has gone to their head or that they have been seduced. Along with Mindy I believe that they can better affect change from within and will be successful. Think of them as a virus that has been implanted within Unity. Or better yet, there are guaranteed to be three people on exec boards that you know you can go to and they will listen to you and help you unconditionally. Can't beat that.

As for Jeff Povalitis, I like him even though he is Phillies fan. He likes busting principals balls and if memory serves he was behind this getting the UFT involved quite quickly.

One prediction. Going by slate votes from 2016 MORE had over 10k votes. My prediction is that MORE's slate vote will be less than 5k. Which MORE will claim as a victory. Hell, if they got 25 votes for their fruity little caucus MORE will be happy, twenty five sycophantic brainless followers can serve them well.