Monday, December 27, 2010

Whitney Tilson Blows It Again

Would there be a sound if a tree falls in the forest and Whitney Tilson is under that tree? In fact would anyone care? Every time I read Whitney's emails I can;t help but think of Tommy and "See Me, Feel Me." This caustic desperation for attention that Whitney is so desperately seeking, so desperately lacking.

In fact I hate to say it, in one of today's email from Whitney, I agree with him about something he wrote. Yes, a clock is always correct twice a day, and Ruben Brosbe can use the bathroom my himself.

In The New York Times of December 26, 2010, Sharon Otterman writes that it is far from an exact science of rating teachers using value added assessment. Whitney, in his email goes on to say, "That value-added systems are far from perfect and must be improved, and also need to be used with care when evaluating teachers." Hey, way to go Whitney. All right. I had a smile on my face. Perhaps he found religion. Or perhaps after years of searching interstate rest area rest rooms he came (pardon the pun) across that perfect companion and was in a joyous mood.

Unfortunately reality knocked came a knockin'. I read on, "But we mustn’t let perfection be the enemy of the good," Whitney blabbered. Perfection is the enemy of good? God is perfect, so can we therefore claim that God is the enemy of all that is good? But Whitney blustered more, "Even if the system can only correctly identify the very worst teachers, that’s REALLY (Whitney's emphasis) valuable given the damage such teachers do to children."

Smell that? I smell a contradiction. Whitney says, and I agree, that the value added system is far from perfect. But on the other hand, he is claiming that using this imperfect system it can correctly identify not bad, but the worst teachers.

Now, it is entirely possible that Whitney read only what he wanted to read. Perhaps he missed this from the Times, "The rankings are based on an algorithm that few other than statisticians can understand," so Whitney what enables you to understand these algorithms? Do you have some power we don't know of?

What about the teachers at PS 321 in Park Slope? "In three other classrooms at this highly ranked school, fourth-grade teachers were ranked among the worst in the city at teaching math, even though their students’ average score on the state math exam was close to four, the highest score." So are these the worst teachers? You yourself just said that imperfection in VAA is OK as long has it identified the worst teachers. Well these three teachers were identified as the worst. Do you think they should be terminated.

I'm not going to go into why VAA is wrong. I have done it enough in this blog to do so. The only other analogy I can think of right now is my opposition to capital punishment. I have many reasons, but one of them is as long as there can be one iota of a chance that the wrong person will be put to death, that is one person too many. Our justice system no matter how highly we think of it is imperfect. The same with VAA. It is imperfect, and as long as there can be one iota of a chance that a teacher will be wrongly judged or terminated, that is one teacher too many.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Apathy And Ignorance At The DOE

Many years ago I traveled to Albany to hand in paper work at the state ed. department. This was back in the day when the offices were in the same building as the New York State Museum. With such important paper work I felt that it was better to hand it off to a person and it also expedited the time it got filed. I still do it if I have to, and besides I look for any excuse to go to Albany.

So this one time, in fact my first time there, a gentleman came out to greet me. He was a grumpy, cranky man. In all probability he was sitting behind a desk for too many years with too big a case load and no appreciation. As I handed him my paperwork he noticed something amiss. He explained what I needed to do and I promptly rectified it. As I re-handed him back my paperwork he proclaimed, "Teachers are the stupidest people out there." Being that I wanted him on my side and to do what I needed of him I agreed with him.

Which brings me to 2010. I was having a conversation with a teacher last week inquiring if this teacher still reads my blog. The teacher told me that she no longer reads it because it has gone all "political." I guess the drama of when I was reporting about the goings on in my school was the only thing palatable to her, but to each their own.

I started to explain of the seismic shift going on, that she does need to keep up with the political stuff. If not here on my blog, but other blogs, the newspapers, or forms of media. "What is happening out there can happen to you," I told her. The answer I received from her was, "What do you mean?"

What do I mean? I explained that someone with bug up their ying yang can come in to our school one day and close it down, put in a charter school, do whatever. I explained to her that in an instant she, through no fault of her own can become an ATR (Absent Teacher Reserve). "Oh no way, it won't happen. I'm too good of a teacher." I explained that means jack diddly. I pointed out to her that she has almost fifteen years in the system and is approaching forty years of age. That her salary is reaching the upper echelons of the scale and that those three factors alone will hinder her, if God forbid, she was to be put into ATR status.

"Well, anyway, I know a lot of people. I can go out and get a position with them, at their schools," she explained to me. At that point I gave up trying to explain the realities of what is out there. Yes, it sure does help to know someone. But if the someone you know doesn't have a position, or the money to create a position what good does it do to know that person?

And this goes to what I discussed with Karen Lewis on my radio show back on November 23. It all begins at the school level. Yes, we can kvetch and whine all we want about the UFT, but why should the UFT fight when there are teachers who won't fight back and just lay down like lambs?

Apathy and ignorance of what is going on with education today will ultimately be our undoing. I understand that a teacher has a zillion things going on at once and it is difficult to add more things to worry about. But without knowledge, without caring, without being proactive we are just allowing the deformers, the billionaires, the hedge fund managers, and yes, the UFT to walk all over us, to take us for granted and be able to claim they don't hear us.

Any teacher out there can be the "next one" to be screwed. Apathy and ignorance are what is fueling the beasts. It is time to start starving the beast. It is time to look out and around and stop having our eyes wide shut.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ruben Brosbe Idiot Savant Of PS 310 The Bronx

When last we left Ruben Brosbe in October, he had knifed 80,000 NYC teachers in the back in his own little sycophantic method. Ruben, somehow, someway through either his Ivy League connections, daddy's assistance, or a combination, wrote a guest column in The New York Post endorsing the release of teacher's value added assessment scores of the standardized tests. Not only did he do that, but one had to deal with his kvetching and whining about his own, and the crack team has since learned of more, many shortcomings as a teacher.

Not only is Ruben a kvetcher, but somewhat of a clueless savant. Yes, the crack team here is amazed that he is able to pull it together and actually hold a high pressured job due to his cluelessness at life around him.

Ruben also has a blog in which he goes through life and teaching wondering why and how things happen, never taking a stand, and just his shocked that there is a life beyond the ivory wall that he grew up behind, and still lives behind.

One our favorite posts from Ruben's blog cracked up the crack team (pardon the pun) here at SBSB last month. Entitled, "What's an Assistant Teacher?", Ruben theorized on what is an assistant teacher;
Assistant Teacher? You mean, like someone to help the teacher provide extra support and attention to the students in their classroom? But why would any effective teacher who has mastered differentiation need someone else to help them with their students? It's almost like this school thinks more individual attention is something valuable for their students. Weird.
The crack team here at SBSB was able to get it hands on an unpublished blog post from Ruben. It goes;
My hand, I see I can move my fingers in unison, or as individual fingers. I also can move two fingers and they can touch each other. If I place my ring and pinkie together and my middle and index finger together I make the Vulcan salute. This is neat. I now go to my toy chest and take out my communicator, tricorder, and phaser an pretend I am Mr Spock.
But we are not here to bash Ruben. Only to expose him for the hypocrite, two faced, wants to have his cake and eat it too person that he is.

In today's Gotham Schools, (the crack team is still wondering how he got that gig, but we have our theories.) Ruben lamented what has become of education with all its high stake testing. Ruben writes, "In many ways, and to varying degrees depending on a school’s approach to test prep, kids are deprived of meaningful, rich, effective instruction in the weeks or months leading up to the state exams." Very good Ruben, your savant side took over. Yes we are depriving them of instruction. Ruben then is able to figure out that, "First, when Kaplan or Pearson test-prep materials take the place of a well-planned read-aloud or time for guided reading, the kids don’t learn as well. Second, the pressure and dullness of test prep certainly takes most of the fun out of learning for the kids. So ultimately students are learning less, and they’re enjoying learning less. This is not a formula for long-term success." Bravo Ruben, bravo.

But one thing perplexes the crack team here at SBSB. If you are kvetching about this, why are you a member of Educators4Excellence? An organization that condones, if not supports, the policies of Bloomberg, Klein, and now Black? Why did you participate in the December 15 soirée sponsored by E4E for Michelle Rhee at a super duper secret location?

It gets worse. On the front page of there is a video. In that video, which the crack team noticed at Gotham Schools, who do we see at 3:15? Yes, it's Ruben in a savant moment sharing all his knowledge, his understanding, himself. But Ruben, Michelle Rhee is the one of the, if not the exact, reasons why you are kvetching about testing today. How dare you play both sides of the fence. You just want to be all things to everybody. Why do you make this video? You are supporting poor educational choices made by those who are in it for themselves. Those who want to turn a profit. Those who don't truly care.

But that is what you are Ruben. You are in this for you, and only you. You want to impart your ways on students and families you feel are beneath you. You don't care. You are a phony and a fraud. You think that because you came from a life of luxury that you know what is best. You don't. You don't get it and you never will.

You will complete your third year as a teacher and then apply to some law school. You won't be teaching in five years from now. You boosted your resume, you have that shining light behind your head, and somehow pulled the wool over the eyes of your students.

You keep on exposing yourself. Put a robe on.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

This Tuesday night, December 21 at 9 PM history will again be made! The Mind of a Bronx Teacher takes its first foray to the south as we welcome our first administrator as a guest. John Robinson a high school principal from Newton, NC will join us live. John, also know as @21stprincipal on Twitter also blogs at

As always, the call in # is 917 932 8721

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Duct Taping Michelle Rhee

Sorry if I am late for the party. At least here on the blog. I think back in September I posted on Twitter about how Michelle Rhee mimicked and mocked the speech patterns of her African-American students when she was the greatest teacher ever in Baltimore. According to audio made by Rhee at the Columbia Heights Education Campus, and reported by Alexander Russo and the Washington Post, Rhee, "I took little pieces of masking tapes and put them on everybody's lips." At this point in her story the crowd laughs. She goes on to explain that, "their skin is coming off and that they are bleeding," and the crowd still is laughing. This is just demented.

So why after three months or so of this being reported am I finally sharing my two cents? I guess it is seeing the launching of Seeing how Oprah is scheming to replace Gayle with Rhee as her new best friend. Watching someone has intelligent as Steven Colbert inviting having Rhee as his guest. Or just knowing in my heart of hearts that I need to do what is right in my corner of thew world to stop this evil, nasty, mean spirited woman.

But what has gotten me most riled up, gotten my gander up, has bunched up my Froot of the Looms is that a close, close person to me in another state has been reassigned because he dared to joke about taping students mouths. Now don't get me wrong, it was stupid to joke in this way. No doubt about it. But it should not involve a police investigation.

I decided to google past transgressions of teachers taping students mouths and wondered if these teachers were able to skate by as did Michelle Rhee. The names are not meant to "out" these teachers in no shape or form. These names, the accusations are widely available. It is only meant to "out" Michelle Rhee for what she truly is.

In 2008, Pamela Dahnke was terminated for taping a student's mouth shut. She was an eighth-grade health and nutrition teacher at Battle Ground Middle School in West Lafayette, IN. Did she get the same treatment as Michelle Rhee?

In 2009, Laura Gatlin a 1st grade teacher in Cleveland County, Arkansas was accused of taping students mouth and to the chair. Her lawyer's comment is here. Has she been afforded the same accolades and laughter as Michelle Rhee?

In 2006, in Katy, Texas, Jennifer Silva reportedly taped some the mouths of several students. When the superintendent got wind, he notified her he would recommend she was terminated. Why was she recommended for termination yet, Michelle Rhee is seen as the savior of education?

Just earlier this year, a teacher was accused of duct taping a student's mouth in Mishawaka, IN. This student has Asperger's syndrome. The website, said, "There are certainly many creative things that people do with duct tape. But using it on a child's mouth, and on the mouth of a child on the autism spectrum, is (serious understatement) not one of them." Does this website feel has vehement about what Michelle Rhee did and will lead the charge to make sure that Michelle Rhee is no longer near students?

And in January 2008, a well-liked Driscoll School, Brookline, MA, science teacher, Christopher Huggins , is out of a job last week after allegedly duct-taping a 12-year-old girl’s mouth during class. Michelle Rhee is not well liked. Why isn't she removed from the entire scene?

In 2009, a first grade teacher at Spaulding Elementary School, Emily Metcalfe, in Townsend, MA, used duct tape on several students' mouths. The principal was quoted as, "The superintendent went on to say that the teacher may have thought at first this was a joke, but that there was a lack of professional judgment." Didn't Michelle Rhee show poor judgment?

I am in no way condoning, nor condemning what these teachers had done. They have every single right to be proven guilty, not to prove their innocence. That is how the American system works. But, does the punishment fit the crime? Especially in light of Michelle Rhee's acknowledgment of what she has done and the education deformers sweeping it under the rug? Do these teachers not deserve the same benefit of the doubt and second chance that Michelle Rhee has received?

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Is Not Students First, Rather It Should Be Priorites First

Several weeks ago, Michelle Rhee launched her RheeFirst, oops, I mean Studentsfirst website. Like at the end of a long day when I need a good laugh or distraction and listen to Sean Hannity, studentsfirst serves the same purpose.

I came across a propaganda film in which a under thirty somethings (yes, there were a few teachers over forty) espoused how they put students first. Two of the hypnotized that never lies stood out to me. One was Jane, a statistics and economics teacher at some school who said, "So for me it is not about 3 o'clock and the bell rings and it's time to go home. It's about did everyone learn today."

That is really nice. Super. I recall when I was first hired I was asked if I was willing to stay late. I said sure, why not? For a month I stayed late. For the sake of staying late. There were no students to see since they had all left. I was a cluster and did not have a classroom to keep up. It was all appearance and it soon ended.

Then right after Jane there is Steve, a fifth grade teacher. Steve is young, and he has that sexy five day growth type of beard. Steve says, "It's not all about me. It's about all 26 kids, or the year before that, 27. Or the year before that, 28. Whether or not I wasn't feeling well, or wasn't particularly excited about what I needed to teach, it wasn't about me it was about them."

Steve, you make me feel so guilty. When I had strep throat with 104 degree fever I should have come into to work that day. I was so selfish. Even after the fever broke over the weekend and I had an allergic reaction to the Ceftin I still should have come into work. Several years ago my wife made Hamburger Helper for dinner and the next morning I just leaned over the bed and deposited it on the floor, I should have come in to work.

I really hate this students first mantra. Yes, students should come first. But when you are at school. When you are doing school stuff. Please, I want to be spared this liberal, empty catch phrase. It means nothing and when said I do not believe it.

What comes first for me? My son and wife. Plain and simple. I know if given the choice to rescue my wife or my son my wife would insist I rescue my son. I have given up a lot of chances for per session money because I want to be with my son in the afternoon. For many years my wife worked in the city and did not come home until late. Or I coached all his sports teams and that was quite time consuming. Or I just wanted to be with him. My son, my family comes first, yesterday, now and forever.

Second, God. I have a lot of issues with this guy. I wonder if he is there, I wonder if he exists. But God comes in second. The type of person I need to be in his eyes (if he does exist) guides me.

The USA is third. We live in one fucked up country right now, and Obama is a waste as are all politicians, but this is my country and I want to do something to leave it a better place for my son.

The students, my job comes in fourth. Sorry, that is just the way it is. Doesn't mean I don't care about the students, or don't care about my job. It doesn't mean I don't want to try to improve. It just means that I have my priorities straight. I know what I have done for students. I don't have to list them here. I will mention one, **cough cough** Numb Nuts **cough cough**. I know my heart is in the right place everyday I walk into my building. But there is more to staying late, coming in when you are sick, or just too beat to show that you care about your students.

One thing that would have impressed me in that video is if one teacher, just one said that when students are being wronged by higher ups they go and fight for those students to the decision makers. That they will risk their jobs for what should be right and what is right. Unfortunately I doubt either of them have ever done it.

Just stop this students first or children first crap. It is empty and hollow. It like when I ballplayer signs with a team and claims it "isn't about the money." Road apples.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

Joining us Tuesday night, December 14 at 9 PM will be the authors and the brains behind one of the leading education blogs in the country, Failing Schools ( Mark Friedman is an educator, writer, and community organizer who has been teaching high school in Rochester, New York for five years. Sabrina Stevens Shupe is a teacher, writer, and activist who has worked with students in struggling communities in Philadelphia and Denver. She launched the Failing Schools Project to empower teachers, students, and parents The pseudonymous Maria Sallee is a bilingual teacher, writer, and advocate for children and parents. She has worked as a teacher of young children for over 15 years in Denver area schools.

Call in # as always is 917 932 8721

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alex Coss & Karen Blummer v. Bloomberg & Steiner

After the success of Whitney Tilson blessing us here at SBSB sharing the email to principals from Cathie Black, the crack team decided to put on its Buddhist hats and try a little "nam hyo renge kyo." The crack team was hoping for some kind of information into the Cathie Black fiasco. After five non stop hours of chanting an email came in. We immediately deciphered it to be the petition of Alex Koss and Karen Plummer, both parents with students in the DOE, against a litany of plaintiffs. What is this the third law suit in relation to the The Talking Cathie Doll? Michael Best must be one busy beaver of late.

Some interesting stuff was read. Amongst what was read:

In facts 31 and 32 it was argued that;
30.Faced with this rejection by his own hand-picked Advisory Panel, Respondent Steiner, in an attempt, on information and belief, to: i) placate Respondent Bloomberg, and ii) salvage Ms. Black’s nomination, suggested an alternative plan, i.e. that he would consider granting the waiver if Respondent Bloomberg were willing to appoint an assistant, who actually had a legally and educationally acceptable background in education, to Ms. Black.

31.This novel proposal by Respondent Steiner on its face would create a two-headed Chancellor, one, whose only claim on the job was her friendship with the Mayor and her expertise in the private corporate world, the other, someone with the credentials which a qualified Chancellor should have.
But if we go down a bit we see in fact 39;
39........Mayor Bloomberg, in response to a question about the authority of the newly created position of Chief Academic Officer, told reporters “There will be one person in charge. Make no mistake about that.”
And just one more thing stand out at to the crack team, which is quite disturbing.

Fact 36;
36.The billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, the former employer of Ms. Black and future employer of Chancellor Joel Klein is quoted thusly, “education in the U.S. is a $500 billion sector ‘waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching.’” He has just purchased 90% of Wireless Generation, one of whose clients is the New York City School system. (Staci D. Kramer, “News Corp Shells Out $360 Million for Ed Tech Company Wireless Generation,”, 22 November 2010.) [Exhibit 9]
So thanks to the crack team here at SBSB we share with you the petition of Alex Koss and Karen Plummer.

Petition Article 78 Coss v Board of Regents

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oy Vey! Kosher Franks And Beans

Back in 1984 I was a counselor a very well known sleep away camp in the wilds of rural Connecticut. It was a heady time. The summer of the Los Angeles Olympics, the summer of the Detroit Tigers, Bobby Meacham was the starting shortstop for the Yankees, and Reagan was up for re-election.

I'll never forget visiting day. Some parents wanted to take a photo of their son with his counselor Chuck. Chuck wasn't the handsomest counselor in camp. Like Stork, he had a face like a pepperoni pizza. His hair, swimming in too many dabs of Brylcreem. And to be honest, Chuck wasn't the brightest bulb in the bunch. But that is not was special about Chuck that day.

As the parents were taking their photo with their son and Chuck sitting on the steps of the nature lodge, something was amiss. Now remember, back in those days of the tube socks, shorts were actually shorts. As dad prepared to take the photo Chuck's franks and beans were hanging out through the leggings of the shorts. Of course Chuck was oblivious to it all. Not I, as I watched the photo being taken. It was all I could do to keep from laughing. Dad snapped the shutter on his Instamatic and I am sure when mom and dad got home they raced to the drugstore to develop the photos. I have always wondered what their reaction was when they saw Chuck's junk.

Why do I bring this up? A little over a year ago at Mark Twain IS 239 in Brooklyn there was a rabbi who happened to be a teacher there. He was kind of like Chuck. Socially dim bulbed, and not the most hygienic person in the world. he was not the type to buy his clothes at Men's Warehouse, or even Sears. His clothes were old and tattered, but he was comfortable I guess.

One day this rabbi and teacher was with students. The inseam on his pants leg was torn apart and apparently his underwear was not the correct size. It just so happened that unbeknownst to him he had a Chuck moment. Yes, the Kosher frank and beans were out in all their glory. How much, I do not know. The crack team here at the SBSB have tried beyond all hope to ascertain if the helmet was seen. But that is beside the point. Subsequently, the principal, Carol Moore, screamed holy hell and the rabbi after being questioned by her was off to Auschwitz, er I meant, the Rubber Room.

So after spending sometime there last week he finally gets furloughed. The crack team at OSI or CSI didn't charge him. Everything was dropped. It was a grievous mistake on his part.

So the rabbi goes back to IS 239 and Principal Moore like Mussolini from the balcony refuses to let him back in the school. Phone calls were made, chits were called in, tantrums thrown. The rabbi was sent back to where he was reassigned.

While not condoning the rabbi's lack of self-awareness in his guys hanging out, as well as the lack of hygiene, and proper dress I do have some issue at how this was handled. Firstly, there is no reason for this have taken as long as it did. Please explain why this matter could not have been over in a week? Why couldn't someone take him aside and explain to him that perhaps he should see a tailor? Secondly, in the years I have been teaching I wish I had a dime for every cleavage, bra strap, spandexed booty, cameltoe, nipples when it is cold, too short skirts, jiggling boobs, etc... I would be able to retire. But, I am sure these female teachers are just taken aside and talk to respectfully to change their style of dress.

This was a complete waste of money, and yet shows again the inability for principals and the DOE to see things in shades of gray.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Please Bill Gates, Go Very Far Away

In the December 6, 2010 issue of Newsweek, the seemingly and suddenly expert on education Little Bill Gates wowed us with his convoluted expertise on education. Little Bill in an article written by “journalist” Jonathan Alter lamented that teacher tenure is a “quality killer.” Quality how so Little Bill? I think it is time that Little Bill, and others of his ilk get, pardon the pun, schooled on tenure.

Tenure is no way, no how, guarantees a job for life. Only justices on the Supreme Court are guaranteed such a service. What tenure does guarantee is that a teacher, is protected against the whims of a principal, and the promise of due processes. I would hazard to guess that as an upstanding American and a supporter of the United States Constitution, Little Bill would be at the forefront of protecting the rights of not only teachers, but also all hard working Americans.

Tenure was enacted to prevent a teacher from being terminated for being pregnant (in fact I knew of a principal who bemoaned a female colleague once with the comment, “why didn’t you use a condom?), to living out of wedlock with a partner, to belonging to the wrong organizations, or something just as mundane as that the principal does not like the teacher. In fact in The Sunday New York Daily News of December 5, 2010, a reader left a comment, “Tenure acts as protection against insecure administrators and financial crises but that is all.”

And please stop blaming the unions for protecting bad teachers. The onus is on the principal, and subordinates to effectively observe and leave a paper trail to remove an ineffective teacher. Where is the outcry against these administrators for failing to do their job?

Which brings us to what an effective teacher is. Certainly it can’t mean a “boring” teacher. In “Board of Education of the City of New York vs. Arrak, 28 Educ. Dept. Rep. 302 (1988) (page 24)” that being boring was not being incompetent, that the teacher showed a “minimal level of knowledge.” That is what the law states. That is what the law is. Learn it. Deal with it. Oh and please don’t give us the value added assessment ideal that has already been widely scorned and ridiculed by true educators.

The teacher that killed himself in Los Angeles, Rigoberto Ruelas, will all due thanks to the Los Angeles Times deeming him ineffective, always reached out to the toughest kids. He would tutor them on weekends and after school, visit their homes, encourage them to aim high and go to college. A former student of his said she used, “to struggle at math, but he taught her to succeed and not to give up,” and, "He told me it is not about where you are from but if you don't go to school you are nothing in this world," she said with tears in her eyes. "Now I am doing real good because of him." Did he not earn tenure? Was he not effective? I would have been proud to have this man, a man I had never met to be my child’s teacher. But, Little Bill, in your eyes he would be shown the door.

Little Bill, as you and your ilk lament the union protection and tenure, actually due process rights of “bad” teachers, why not do the same for the protection of criminals? Seems that all defense lawyers want to do is to protect criminals, keep them out of jail. Why not use the same argument? Why isn’t the Gates Foundation spearheading a drive to whine about how defense lawyers protect criminals as you do unions protecting “bad” teachers and tenure?

You see Little Bill just as criminals have rights, so to do teachers, civil service workers, anyone who works for a government entity. This pesky, annoying thing protects all. It is known as the 14th Amendment, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. What’s that? Yes, Little Bill. It is Due Process. Just to remind you, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” To reiterate; that is what the law is. Learn it. Deal with it.

So Little Bill, it is time to stop attacking teachers. Because when you do, you wind up attacking true Americans who believe in our American way of life and the words, the meaning, of the greatest parchment know to man, the United States Constitution.

Leave us be.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast. A Correction

The next show is not tonight, rather it is Tuesday night. A misprint was had in the the previous post.

On the next show, December 7 at 9 PM, famed educator Mike Klonsky joins us from the Windy City of Chicago. Mike has written such books as ,"Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society (Positions: Education, Politics, and Culture)" and "A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools (Teaching for Social Justice Series)." Klonsky, an advocate of small schools consults for Small Schools Workshop; and blogs at; You can also find him on Twitter @mikeklonsky

Mike is a professor of education at DePaul University and University of Illinois-Chicago.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On the next show, December 7 at 9 PM, famed educator Mike Klonsky joins us from the Windy City of Chicago. Mike has written such books as ,"Small Schools: Public School Reform Meets the Ownership Society (Positions: Education, Politics, and Culture)" and "A Simple Justice: The Challenge of Small Schools (Teaching for Social Justice Series)." Klonsky, an advocate of small schools consults for Small Schools Workshop; and blogs at; You can also find him on Twitter @mikeklonsky

Mike is a professor of education at DePaul University and University of Illinois-Chicago.

As always the call in # is (917) 932-8721

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cathie Black's Baffling Email To Principals

I don't know about others, but I have had a tough time getting my hands on a copy of The Talking Cathie Doll's mass email to principals (teachers for some reason were exempt) that she had sent out this past Tuesday, November 30. Last night on Twitter, @QueensTeacher1 mentioned that she heard it was not well written. This made me want to get my hands on it even more. The crack team here at SBSB place many calls, called in many chits to get a copy of this email all to no avail. A miracle was needed. Some on the team went to shul this morning to pray and put a good word in to God for guidance on how to get this email. Others on the team were planning to go to Mass for the first time in years tomorrow morning. This email was coveted and needed.

Our prayers were answered this morning as we opened up an email. Our pal, our friend, Whitney Tilson couldn't help but spill the beans. He somehow got a copy and decided, probably unauthorized, to share it in one of his mass emailings. We thank him for answering our prayers.

So with all the kudos Whitney rightly deserves, we here at SBSB present The Talking Cathie Doll's email. Comments from the SBSB team are added after the email.

From: Black Cathie
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 5:47 PM
Subject: Hello from Cathie Black

Dear Colleagues,

I am reaching out to you to introduce myself and thank you for welcoming me to the Department of Education. Now that the State has officially approved the waiver, I am eager to become fully immersed in the exciting work ahead.

The past few weeks have been nothing short of a whirlwind for all of us, but like you, I am fully committed to our mission to provide every child in New York City with a high-quality education. That’s why I took this job—to build on the unprecedented progress that our public schools have made under the watch of Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, and all of you.

You might have heard or read a little about me in the past few weeks, but I would like the opportunity to tell you in my own words who I am and why I am excited about this job.

For four decades I devoted my professional life to blazing trails in the magazine and publishing industry. I got where I am today by working hard, making bold decisions, and listening closely to the strong teams I’ve had around me. I intend to proceed in the same way during my upcoming tenure at the DOE. I know that this is my most important mission yet, which is why I will need all of you with me over the next three years as we continue to transform the system to put children first.

As you know, I will appoint Shael Polakow-Suransky as Senior Deputy Chancellor and Chief Academic Achievement Officer. In this new role, Shael will be responsible for the administration and supervision of all instructional initiatives and will serve as my counselor on all matters related to teaching and learning. Shael has more than fifteen years of experience in New York City’s public schools in nearly every capacity. I am thrilled that he has agreed to take on this critical position. I also look forward to working closely with Sharon Greenberger as my Chief Operating Officer. Sharon will continue to be responsible for managing operations and will also serve as my key advisor on critical policy, governance, strategy, and communications issues.

Over the next few weeks, I will be working with Joel, the Deputy Chancellors, and all of you to make sure this is a seamless transition. I am especially excited about getting involved in the innovative work happening throughout the Department and beginning to identify areas for improvement and new opportunities. I know that I have a lot to learn about the inner workings of the system, but I am also confident that my fresh perspective, combined with your deep experience, will help us rise to the challenge of preparing all NYC public school students for college and careers.

Thank you for your support. I look forward to getting to know you.


Cathie Black


1. thank you for welcoming me to the Department of Education.

Who has welcomed here? All there has been is sucking of teeth and rolling of the eyes.

2. Now that the State has officially approved the waiver,

You mean now that Steiner has caved and been bought off, had future promises made, and his cat was released your waiver has been approved.

3. but like you, I am fully committed to our mission to provide every child in New York City with a high-quality education.

But Mayor Bloomberg said said you were the closer. The right closer for what? To lay off over 6,000 teachers? To implement cuts in the DOE? To throw more money at charter schools? How then do you claim to provide every child with a high quality education?

4. For four decades I devoted my professional life to blazing trails in the magazine and publishing industry.

How have you done this? I hate to say this, but Rupert Murdoch has been more trailblazing than you have. So has Stan Lee. So has Charles Townsend. And let's not forget Hugh Heffner.

5. I got where I am today by working hard, making bold decisions, and listening closely to the strong teams I’ve had around me. I intend to proceed in the same way during my upcoming tenure at the DOE.

So have teachers gotten to where they are by working hard. Please don't try to make yourself special. Is one to assume that with this statement you will make your decisions independent of Mayor Bloomberg's wishes?

6. need all of you with me over the next three years as we continue to transform the system to put children first.

You know what? Get off the "Children First" crap. It is empty. Please.

7. I will appoint Shael Polakow-Suransky as Senior Deputy Chancellor and Chief Academic Achievement Officer.

You yourself appointed Suransky? Please share how you came to this decision. Or was he thrust upon you?

8. Shael will be responsible for the administration and supervision of all instructional initiatives and will serve as my counselor on all matters related to teaching and learning.

Translated: Shael will explain to me very slowly in words I can understand how to do my job. I will learn from Shael the difference between guided reading and hands on mathematics. Shael will also explain to The Talking Cathie Doll that it is wrong to think of Mexicans and African-Americans as servants.

9. Shael has more than fifteen years of experience in New York City’s public schools in nearly every capacity. I am thrilled that he has agreed to take on this critical position.

You are thrilled he is there as your beard.

10. I will be working with Joel, the Deputy Chancellors, and all of you to make sure this is a seamless transition.

Why aren't the teachers and parents mentioned here? Don't you want to work with them? Hey instead of visiting schools, visit the neighborhoods. Come down to 149th St. Come hang out on 153rd and Melrose Ave. Visit Brownsville. See these neighborhoods from something other than your limo and from the interstate.

11. but I am also confident that my fresh perspective, combined with your deep experience, will help us rise to the challenge of preparing all NYC public school students for college and careers.

You have no perspective, you have no clue. You will fail. You will have a complete fail by the summer of 2011. How is this known? Your mouth. You just can't keep stupid things coming out of the hole under your nose.

Please Cathie, go find another line of work.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Steiner Waves With One Finger To The People Of New York

A sad day today as New York State education commissioner David Steiner failed to show any backbone, any guts, any chutzpah and granted the waiver to be chancellor to The Talking Cathy Doll, Cathie Black.

The crack team at SBSB has read the report from David Steiner elaborating on his position of why he is granting the waiver to The Talking Cathie Doll, and we have taken umbrage, and quite some concern at some of what Steiner has written.

On page 7 of his report, Steiner cites, "Ms. Black does not possess a master's or higher degree."

This is bothersome. The Talking Cathy Doll graduated from college some 40 odd years ago and never once too the time to better herself, or even had the intellectual curiosity to pursue a master's?

But let's look at what Commisioner Steiner saw as The Talking Cathy Doll's qualifications.

On page 9 Steiner blabbered, "Throughout her extraordinarily successful career in publishing, Ms Black has demonstrated superb management and leadership skill."

How? Why no mention of specific things she had done? USA Today? This paper is basically given away free. It is McPaper. It is written for those who are ADHD. Cosmo? Thanks to this magazine millions of teenage girls feel they are not good enough. Anyway I can think of plenty of entrepreneurs who have been just as, if not more successful than The Talking Cathy Doll. How about Stan Lee of Marvel comics? He has been with Marvel for over fifty years. He created practically the whole stable of Marvel super heroes. He wrote, edited, did everything. He also started the movie production end of Marvel. Stan Lee is a true visionary.

Continuing on page 9, at Hearst "she led a team that produced titles in over 100 countries, launched a number of publications."

So did Stan Lee. Go to the most remote corner of thew world. Do they know Spiderman or whatever bubble head that was on the cover of Cosmo?

More of page 9, "She was at the forefront of advancing and implementing including the expansion of online and mobile advances."

Wow. Impressive. Nothing that a complete dork who lives in his parents basement and has a Barberella poster on his wall couldn't have thought up. But then again without The Talking Cathy Doll, we would not have the Cosmo sex tip of the day.

Still blabbering away on page 9, her "ability to lead a large multi-faceted organization confronting enormous challenges and complexities."

She published magazines. Why not Hugh Heffner, Larry Flynt, or Stan Lee. Heck what about Bud Selig? His vision of the Internet brought untold revenue streams to Major League Baseball.

Onto page 10, "She is an effective communicator diverse stakeholders implementation of her vision."

Stakeholders? Or do you mean shareholders? Please, if you mean stakeholders as in the children and families of New York the only experience she has had is knowing that Mexicans work on her yard and to be sure to allow the African-American servants in through the backdoor.

"She also has substantial experience in dealing with limited resources and making difficult financial decisions."

So does Minnesota Twins general manager Bill Smith. This is a team that has half the resources of the Yankees and is always in the thick of the pennant race. Why not Bill Smith as chancellor?

But Steiner does take a swipe at her claiming her lack of knowing anything about human diversity, and how her service at Notre Dame is as empty has a suit at Syms still on the rack. And that her role at Harlem Village Academy is nothing more as some taking up space adviser.

Yes, The Talking Cathy Doll,has sat on boards, has appeared to taken an interest in some form of education but there are two reasons for this. $$$ and appearances. She is not there. She is a phony, and a shill. Someone Herr Bloomberg can control.

Sadly we must make with what has been served us. The Talking Cathy Doll is empty, both in mind, ideas, and spirit. I predict a major fail by June.

Something Odd About Shael And Cathie

Separated at birth?

Lumpy Rutherford's father Fred, and former Alan Brady producer, Mel Cooley

And new NYC DOE Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky

And actor David Spade

And new NYC DOE chancellor Cathie Black

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Who Is In Charge?

In 1980, Ronald Reagan to allay fears that he was not ready for the presidency came thisclose to tapping former president Gerald Ford as his vice-president. Ford, as part of his pre-condition to accept the nomination wanted a "co-presidency" and control of all executive appointments. Reagan than nominated George H.W. Bush as his VP. The lesson, you need someone in charge.

From 1961 to 1962 the Chicago Cubs did not have a manager. What they had was known as the "College of Coaches." These coaches rotated as managers of the team at one time or another during the season and invariably there was no discerning pattern, philosophy of the team. The Cubs record in these two years was 123-193. No one was in charge.

In the Brady Bunch, Greg and Marcia had convinced mom and dad to allow them to babysit the rest of the kids whilst Mike and Carol went out on the town and Alice was out with Sam ostensibly to help him with a meat problem. Needless to say, mayhem soon took over the Brady household. Greg insisted he was in charge, Marcia insisted it was her.

In 2010, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner decided that no one would be in charge. He gave an out to Herr Mayor, His Holiness, and Mystic Ruler, Michael "Zod" Bloomberg. His out? Put an education person as second in command, a co-chancellor if you will, in the form of Shael Suransky.

I just don't see how this can work out. Truly, who is the subordinate? Yes, I know, both Cathie Black and Shael are ultimately subordinate to Bloomy, but they are human. Both have ambitions, both want to be heard, both will have factions. Both want to be heard and have their point come across. Who will the drones at Tweed suck up to?

The New York Times listed the responsibilities of Shael, but it seems this is what a chancellor should do. What exactly are the Talking Cathie Doll's duties?

No one can win this. There can only be losers. And the worst part is the ultimately, yet sadly the children of New York and their families will pay the ultimate price. Why? Because of the adults. Bloomberg, because he is impervious to hearing what the people want, The Talking Cathie Doll, because she is so self absorbed and can't see the forest through the trees at how she is already disdained, and Suransky for he has no qualities, that he allows himself to be led around by a leash. All three of these so called adults lack any humility.

But lest we forget David Steiner. He and only he could have put a stop to this. He didn't. He failed the students and the families of New York City. Four, count them, four members of his panels recommended that The Talking Cathie Doll not be granted the waiver. I would hazard to guess that these four were not the ones with ties to Bloomberg, but miracles do happen and I could be wrong. But Steiner has dropped the ball. What recourse does anyone have with Steiner? None, sadly.

It seems I have left out our governor elect Andrew Cuomo. Andy put it so eloquently when he said, "Mayoral control means that the mayor can pick anyone he wants to." Yes, that is true. But would you say the same thing if Bloomberg had chosen Super Dave Osborne? The president gets to choose who he wants for cabinet positions and the Supreme Court. But there is this thing called senate confirmation. Check and balances. Something we lack here in the City of New York.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On Tuesday, November 30 9 PM "The Mind of a Bronx Teacher" welcomes Julie Cavanaugh from GEM, Grassroots Education Movement; GEM focuses on stopping the drive to privatize, real reformers campaign. Julie is a special ed teacher in Red Hook Brooklyn. Her school faced a co-location from a charter that prompted them to form a school-community based advocacy group, CAPE(concerned advocates for public education), that is a model for parent-teacher collaboration.

Call in # is

(917) 932-8721

Friday, November 26, 2010

How To Beat Unity And The UFT

This past March we had UFT elections. Somehow, someway, Unity received 91% of the vote. How could that have been with over two thousand ATR's, almost a thousand Rubber Room inmates, conditions worse than they ever were, and a leadership that seems dumb, deaf and blind to the rank and file?

This past Tuesday night I interviewed Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union on my radio show. Karen and her group CORE managed to beat the entrenched leadership of the CTU. Unfortunately, I was not able to specifically get into how CORE won, but one point Karen made was that change starts at the bottom, at the school level. I agree with her, and that is what needs to be done. But, we can affect the change at the top which will trickled down to the school level and I have given this a lot of thought over some months on how it can be done.

1. ICE/TJC needs to select a candidate for president now.

Why should we wait until late 2012 or early 2013? We need to choose the best candidate for the job now. This person needs to be a shadow to Mulgrew. Whenever Mulgrew makes a proclamation, our candidate come out with a retort. Get the name and face out there, and NOW!

2. Once a candidate is chosen, start the fund raising immediately.

Bake sales, car washes, happy hour mixers, whatever it takes raise the money. It can be done, but that is why we need to start this several years ahead of time.

3. Direct mail

Yes, the old Karl Rove ploy. But it works. Radio ads are nice, so is free publicity. But teachers as a whole are lazy, especially the younger ones. At the very least we can get the mailing least of the UFT paper. Once we have all the names, addresses, etc... direct mail can be targeted to young teachers, minorities, teachers nearing retirement, teachers that are reassigned, etc.... Put Unity on the defensive.

4. Newbie teachers

This is a difficult group. The younglings of today have not been brought up in a world in which there have not been strong unions. We need to explain how even if at this point in their careers they feel they are fine with things, that one day they can become a target and will want that union there for them.

5. District leaders

Identify one person in each district that can organize other teachers. These "district leaders" can then get one person in each school in the district to get information out to the teachers in each school. Meet once a month to discuss what is and isn't working. Constantly adapt to what to what needs to be done.

6. Florida

We need someone down there to speak to the retired chapter frequently, to explain our positions, to listen to their concerns.

7. See #5

If this is done early enough each school organizer can be a de facto candidate for chapter leader in 2012. If we start early each "school leader" can shadow the CL, can be a person the staff comes to as well. Start showing that they can get things done as well.

8. Reach out to other unions in the City.

The TWU seems pretty radical. Might they be of assistance? It doesn't hurt to try. The other municipal unions need to realize that once the City is done with us, they will go after the other unions.

I know this might simplistic, or easier said than done. But I truly believe that Unity is ripe to be plucked. The pushback needs to start now, and not just in a small way. We need to announce our presence with authority.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On the next Mind of a Bronx Teacher Internet radio show the scheduled guest is Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis. This Tuesday night, November 23 @ 9 PM EST

And as always the call in # is (917) 932-8721

Whitney Tilson Stereotypes Jews

I obliterated my junior year in high school in 1981. My parents instead of sending me to the regular local summer school instead sent me to a tutoring, education based camp in Maine. It was awesome. Instruction in the morning, afternoon free, study hall at night, what more could a 17 year old ask for.

We were basically on our own. Little two bed cabins were our quarters. I had a bunkmate named Gustavo from Columbia. I'll never forget the day he found out I was Jewish. I guess I was something of an aberration to him since there are not many Jews in Columbia. Anyway, he asked me point blank if I was Jewish. When I answered in the affirmative he replied, "Are you a good businessman?" I laughed. It was just another Jewish stereotype. He didn't know better.

The reason I am bringing this up is that Whitney Tilson in his ADHD written email today informed the known universe that he had just gotten back from Israel (God I wish I had known, I would have called Shin-Bet) and commented on the Israeli educational system. But what disturbs me is comment Whitney made about the system. Whitney blabbered, "was a shock to me because if there’s one thing that’s defined Jews for 4,000+ years, it’s an overwhelming focus on education." You are not Gustavo, you are not 17 years old, we are not in Maine, and you should know better.

To borrow a line from fellow blogger NYC Educator, really? Is this what you think Jews are only about? I guess I am guilty of stereotyping too. Think of how I stereotype you? The photo at right with you in front of the phallic shaped object whilst in Israel makes one wonder.

But enough about you and your rest room proclivities. Let's first explain to you about education in Israel, and why I think the college graduation rate is low.

The Israeli education system is broken up into several parts. There are; state (Mamlachti), state-religious (Mamlachti dati), Independent (Haredi) schools (Chinuch Atzmai) and Arab. Now yes, the majority of the population attends the state schools. But unlike here in America in which the government gives zero dollars to private and religious schools, the other non-state schools do get some funding by the government but are free to hire their own teachers.

The Haredi schools offer intensive Jewish studies programs and emphasize tradition and observance. Obviously, this is for the more Orthodox and hard core Zionists. The Chinuch Atzmai schools the emphasis is almost entirely on Torah study and offer very little in terms of secular subjects. So like my great grandfather that never worked but just read the Talmud, these two systems seem to focus more on the religious, non-secular education.

Did you know that Israel is not a homogeneous country? Like the United States, the population comes from many different countries and cultures.

What I think also might hinder the graduation rate is that Israeli males are required to emlist in the IDF at the age of 18 and are committed for three years. Israeli women are committed for two years. But then again even when they are out there is that pesky reserve system of the IDF which one must serve in until the age of forty five for up to one month a year, or for any national crisis. I am sure this skews one's college experience a bit.

What also skews one's college experience is the bombings, the rockets, the walking through every day life with wondering if you will be attacked for no reason other than being a Jew.

Now do I know this as fact? No. But I am capable, unlike you, to speak of the Jewish experience.

Now to your stereotypical remark. First off we, and I mean the Jews, have been here a lot longer than 4,000 years. This is 5771. Do the math. However, I doubt that the Jews were getting formal schooling that long ago.

I think where you get this absurd notion that Jews are all about education is that the Jews who came through Ellis Island were mostly from Eastern Europe. They knew that education was the way to go. But remember, your alma matter Harvard, really wanted nothing to do with Jews until about 50-60 years ago. Whitney, Jews weren't even allowed surnames until early in the 19th century.

What you said not only perpetuates this myth, this stereotype, but to claim that this is the only thing that Jews are known for is their educational prowess just smacks of ignorance. Aren't we known for losing 6 million? Aren't we known for our fine cuisine? Aren't we known for our keeping of traditions that are almost 6,000 years old? Aren't we know from bouncing back from adversity whenever shits like you open your mouths?

Whitney, your email, this blog post is being forwarded to the Anti-Defamation League. A person in your position, of your imagined stature should not be making comments such as this.

What you said makes one think about how you not only feel about Jews, but what you truly think of the boys and girls of color you so profess to care about.

Oh, and here is a video you might enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Parts Are All Interchangeable

One is the same as the other is the same to the other to the others.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

Tomorrow night's show, November 16 @ 9 PM our guest will be the esteemed, the irreverent, the opinionated, the frank, and the honest Arthur Goldstein. Arthur is UFT chapter leader and ESL teacher at Francis Lewis High School in Queens. Arthur write for Gotham Schools, Huffington Post and the Indypendent. Tonight we will discuss the Mayor 4 Life Bloomberg's decision to hire Hearst Corporation president Cathie Black has the new chancellor. This is sure to be riveting radio. As always, the call in # is (917) 932-8721

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cathie Black's Qualifications

So the crack team here at SBSB search long and hard over the last 48 hours to find some clue as to what qualifies Cathie Black to run the schools here in New York City. It was quite an exhaustive search. Many Diet Cokes were downed along with many deliveries from Domino's. Sadly we could not find anything that qualifies Cathie. However, we did come to one conclusion. Using a old Greek mathematical formula initiated by Pythagoras, the team was able to come to the conclusion that Cathie Black will be nothing but a sock puppet.

But, we were not done. The team stayed up another 24 hours and brainstormed others more qualified than Cathie Black to lead the schools. It is a quite impressive list and if Mayor Bloomberg had actually taken the time to have a national search, he would have found several viable candidates from the our list.


My 9 year old son

His best friend Greg

His friend Eli who always walks around with his fly open

Mr Ed

Mr Sulu

Neil Peart

Hugh Heffner

Deanna Troi

Mr Worf

Michael Scott

Dwight Schrute

Geddy Lee

Yoko Ono

The crew at White Castle on Southern Blvd

Ba Ba Booey

High Pitched Eric

The Big Show

Charles Baron

Charles McCord

Harry Harrison

Carol Miller

Gabe Kaplan

Howard Hesseman

Arnold Horshack

Mrs Crabtree

Ben Stein

Chevy Chase

Larry Mondello's mother

John Ratzenberger


Gene Simmons

Ron Jeremy

Judd Hirsch

Tony Danza

Vince McMahon

John Cena

George "The Animal" Steele

Sarah Silverman

Bill, the single cell Amoeba

My cat

My grandmother who has been dead for 23 years


William Shatner

Yogi Berra

Yogi Bear

Jethro Boudine

And there are just so many more. Bloomy, please how can we have the "Children First" line when clearly you are putting cronies first?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Teachers Are Not Ewoks And We Do Not Live On Coruscant

I was pulling into the parking lot at the White Castle on 149th St and Southern Blvd when I heard the news briefly over the radio. Some dude named Klein resigned a job to become Rupert Murdoch's best buddy and Mayor Bloomberg hired a black woman.

I immediately called the crack team at the SBSB cave. I relayed the information I had heard on the radio. Instantly, they fed said information into the technologically advanced SBSB computer looking for the answer to what I had just heard. After five minutes, the answer came through on the radio loud and clear. Besides, the SBSB computer spat out a card with a bunch of holes on it that no one was able to decipher. But not from the computer. Joel Klein resigned as chancellor of the NYC schools, he accepted a job as executive VP in charge of Chancellors Who Have Been Unceremoniously Asked For Their Resignations Immediately And That Have Their Best Buddies Find A Nothing Job For Them at News Corp., and some magazine chick by the name of Cathie Black of Hearst Magazines, and formerly of USA Today has become the new anointed one. Great someone who gave us the McPaper is now going to give us the McSchool

The only thing I am not surprised about is the Uncle Joel went to work for Rupert Murdoch. I was mocked by thousands last month for a post I had written concerning Ruppie and Uncle Joel. But the photo turned out to be pretty prophetic, eh?

So what to make of this? Before we start dancing around like the Ewoks, and the population on Coruscant had after Vader was killed and the Death Star exploded, know this. Mayor Palpatine is still amongst us. The Sith Lord always has an apprentice. We are not at Episode VI yet. No, we are halfway through Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. Count Dooku is gone, now Vader has taken its place. The fight must not end.

El presidente de UFT, Michale Mulgrew released this statement; “I look forward to working with Ms. Black. As a teacher, I will help in any way I can to help the children of New York.” Lame. Wrong answer. Again I turned to the Crack Team here at SBSB for them to formulate a better response than Mulgrew gave. After many hours, and several deliveries from Domino's later there was nothing. I then turned to be nine year old son, catching him during a commercial break of iCarly. In five seconds he came up with what Mulgrew should have said; "After eight years of a non educator running and ruining our schools in which there has been no positive affects on students learning, inflated graduation rates, the scapegoating of teachers, closing of schools, and several convoluted reorganizations, we call upon SED chief David Steiner to deny a waiver for Cathie Black, a woman who has had no experience whatsoever in education, to be chancellor of the NYC schools." Wow, imagine that from a nine year old.

This is not the time for us to roll out the welcome mat and bring cookies and milk. This is the time to start taking the offensive. I believe the deform movement is on the ropes. They have overreached and now the public is staring to see what they truly are. Klein was sacrificed. Mayor Mike has seen the albatross that Klein has become. How else can he be the Jewish Ross Perot in 2012 with Klein around his neck? The only thing that should be on the neck is the UFT's foot on the DOE's neck and we don't let up until we get back the right for students to be properly educated in this city and the respect each and every parent, as well as teachers deserve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

tonight show we are welcoming back Mona Davids. We will discuss, among other topics, Mona's attempt to allow charter school meetings to be videotaped. Also, Eva Moskowirtz's special relationship with Joel Klein. Sure to be riveting radio!

Show time is 9 PM EST.

Call in #: 917-932-8721

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Natlie Ravitz Needs To Walk In Other's Shoes

Oh Missy Natalie Ravitz is at it again. Tweed's Minister of Propaganda wrote something in the Huffington Post this past Wednesday which the ideas, words, and thoughts are attributed to her.

Yest again, Missy Natalie is taking on Diane Ravitz, who wrote an op-ed piece in the Daily News last Monday.The last time she did, the crack team here at SBSB deciphered her meandering blabbering easier than touching one's finger to their nose. So with equal ease tonight we yet again expose that Missy Natalie is not only way off base in her writings, but show how embarrassingly simple her thought process, or the thought process of the actual writer is.

Diane Ravitch has concluded that schools hardly matter when it comes to academic success; it's really about how much money a kid's parents make. ;

No Missy. Gee, didn't we go over this last time about your inaccuracies in quoting Diane Ravitch, as well as your seeming ability to take things out of context. Let's look at the entire context of what Diane wrote.

Certainly teachers are very important - the most important cause of student success within the school. But scholars agree that factors outside the school are even more important than the teacher, especially family income.

Yes, teachers are important, but "within the school." What Diane actually did here was quote scholars. Scholars, though unnamed, not only have more of an understanding of education than you do, but Diane Ravitch has enough street cred in my book to not have to be named.

You then blabber; Ms. Ravitch argues that factors "outside the school are even more important than the teacher, especially family income," because rich kids' parents "take them to the library and museums... give them good medical care and nutrition... travel and... endow them with a large vocabulary before the first day of school."

Yeah income is very important. But have you ever been in a classroom? Have you ever actually taught? Natalie, how do you think you got into UMich and London School of Economics? You think if mummsy and dada had you sit in front of the TV watching He Man and the Masters of the Universe all day, and Tom and Jerry all night you would have succeeded? If your nannies and hand maidens didn't speak to you in many different words and got your critical thinking skills working would you have succeeded? Maybe Yes, maybe no, but your vocabulary was never lacking.

I, and others see it every single day. The lack of vocabulary. Now, one might quibble over whether or not it has anything to do with the income level of the parents. I tend to also include class and parents education level. But to look down the end of your nose and say that vocabulary has nothing to do with a students success in school and standardized tests is just not only ignorance but clearly a lack of critical thinking skills on your part.

She claims that after a "close reading," the methodology of value-added data is not to be trusted

Please share with all of us the algorithmic equation used. One of our spies at Tweed came up with this.

Actually, we do, which Ms. Ravitch would know if she'd taken even a passing glance at our value-added model.

Again, where it be? And one more thing. You, and your cronies at Tweed would understand what it is like to be a teacher if you ever just took a passing glance at what we do.

Indeed, perhaps the most crucial fact about value-added data is that it accounts for the background of students in a given teacher's classroom -- factors such as poverty level, English language proficiency, ethnicity, gender, disability status, absenteeism, the number of suspensions, and class size, just to name a few.

I for one am a tad confused. You take all this stuff into factoring a student's VAA, but why then can't Diane Ravitch factor in what she says is most important to whether or not a student succeeds? I smell a contradiction.

The last thing we want is for teachers to be judged based on factors outside their control. The value-added model ensures that this does not happen.

OMG!!!! I laughed so hard that a Reese's Peanut Butter cup blew out my nose and onto the computer screen.

Value-added data is not the full measure of a teacher.

Yeah, sure. Tell that to Rigoberto Ruelas

You know Missy Natalie. You know what you are? You are just a hack. An overpaid, under qualified hack. You have no, none, zero, ability to think for yourself. You only do the bidding of your masters. You are a minion. You are a nothing. You need to get out of those $300 shoes, go to Pay Less and see how the other half lives. Once you live your gilded life, once you replace the silver spoon with a plastic one than you can share what you claim are your opinions.

Live life in someone else's shoes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pedro Santana Slithers Into East Ramapo

Back on June 27, 2010 we here at SBSB reported on the greatest principal in the world, Pedro Santana being featured in the New York Times. The Times, and Pedro Santana led the reader to believe what a dedicated, child first, back to his roots principal Pedro Santana truly think he is. Mr Santana was such a hit with his male students that several sixth grade boys were quoted as saying, "they talk about 'guy things,'as one of them put it, 'like wrestling.'" Kind of interesting and troubling sat the same time.

But a funny thing has happened to Pedro Santana on his way back to reconnecting with his roots. He left his roots. Pedro Santana is now, sit down and have a stiff drink, Assistant Superintedent for Secondary Education/Respond to Intervention/RTI for the East Ramapo (Rockland County NY) school distirct. A CREATED position at $145K a year. This when East Ramapo had to lay off teachers. Don't believe it? Let's have a looksee.

Pedro Santana lasted all of four years where is roots are. Letitia Laberee, 54, the school’s coordinator for English as a second language was so close to being right. “I thought, he’s just another one. Three years, he’s gone.”

But what happened at 391? And what does East Ramapo know, or does not know?

Do they know......

Last year, 59 percent of its seventh graders passed the state math test — below the 81 percent who passed citywide, but enough of an improvement to help the school earn an A on its report card." Of course this is without the adjusting of the grades, so it is probably worse than the 50 percent.

"Ninety-five of the school’s 253 eighth graders did not graduate this month (summer school may save many)."

Pedro Santana has three open investigations against him. According to the Times, "In April 2009, he was removed from the school for several weeks, after allegations that he had failed to properly report an off-campus sexual assault involving two students. The investigation remains open, the most serious of three pending complaints against him."

"she said she saw the mother abusing her child and reported it to the authorities. Mr. Santana, citing other witnesses’ accounts and the counselor’s own comments, later called the child welfare agency to say the counselor’s report had been false."

At PS/MS 279 he went behind the principal's back, a principal that was a mentor, a mother to him, and conspired with parents in a letter writing campaign to remove her around 2002.

Yet, when this year's test scores came out the eight graders who were seventh graders last year, only 16.6% of the students passed. This means that Pedro Santana is sending 80.4 % of eighth graders unprepared for high school math!

Sixth graders this past school year, only 19.7% of students passed and 25.9% of seventh graders passed. Why then is Pedro Santana held in such high esteem?

Where oh where is the scrutiny from the East Ramapo school district? What truly happened in NYC Pedro Santana? Did you leave on your own volition, or was it suggested that you just slither away akin to the snake that you are? Is Dr. Ira E. Oustatcher aware of your past idiosyncrasies?

Parents, the community, and The Journal News should be asking these questions.

A Very Special Internet Radiocast

This coming Tuesday night, November 2 will be a heartfelt, emotional Internet radiocast. My guest will be Fidgety Teach. Fidgety Teach has been in reassignment hell for three years because of the vindictiveness, the evilness of social misfit principal Kristine Mustillio of PS 97, District 21 in Brooklyn. I am reprinting the blog post of March 18, 2010 for those who are not familiar which FT's situation.

Remember, November 2, 2010, 9PM

Call in # is (917) 932-8721

Read on:

A pre-k teacher is in the Rubber Room for two years. Her crime? Her class of 18 pre-Kindergarteners at PS 97, District 21 is in a trailer. She complains to the new Leadership Academy principal, Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo that there is a moldy floor with holes. Seems reasonable. A teacher is thinking of the Children First doctrine created by Joel Klein and so indoctrinated into Leadership Academy drones, yet not adhered to. The class is moved inside the building and set up to resume at two lunch tables in an open area.

Not even a classroom, an area. Where can the children display their work? How safe is it? Are exits secured? Are center areas, which are so important to the pre-K experience, in the “area”? Are bathroom facilities readily available? Does this area have a lot of foot traffic by others?

Just a week later her para is out sick. The new principal, Kristine Mustillo never calls a sub, even though by NYS Education law a para must be in there. The teacher isn’t even informed that the para is out and calls the office.

If you don’t see the making of a set-up you must be blind. Or a principal. Or Joel Klein. Or Whitney Tilson. Or a fucktwit.

The teacher requests a sub several times and is told that the secretary didn’t call a sub because she was “following the direction of the prior principal who had just retired”. The principal insists, “Well I am the principal now and I believe that every Pre K should have a para” As a result, no para was called.

So Kristine Mustillio believes a para must be called, but since she is so incompetent, or desperate to set up the teacher she willfully breaks state education law. The class no better how you slice it is out of compliance with state education law. This is the principal’s responsibility.

The teacher is alone at dismissal. The kids and parents who are mostly Chinese and don’t speak fluent English are still getting used to the new routine. As are the children and we know how difficult change of routine can be on children at that age. That is except Krisitine Mustillo who has never been in education before. A boy in her class follows another boy out the door. The other boy’s mother picks up the boy three days a week and is on the blue emergency card as well. The child naturally gravitates toward this mother who is a family friend. The teacher does not realize the boy is gone until five minutes later when the other boys mother brings him to the office saying that she brought the boy around the building to look for his grandmother. She realized that it was daylight savings time and the grandmother probably wasn’t aware of the change in time.

The principal calls OSI immediately. WTF?? This could not have been handled in house? At worst a counseling memo. Why the need to cal OSI? I know. Mustillo is incompetent and she needs to show she is important. But I think there is more to it than meets the eye. Read on.

In the course of the investigation the parent's of the boy who, for lack of a better word, wandered, insist they are not upset, they love the teacher, and take full responsibility for not having been there for dismissal.

I am a tad confused here. If the parents are not upset, and insist they love the teacher can’t Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo see this or does she have a bigger agenda?

The teacher files a grievance.

Oh no!!

At the hearing the principal admits that she was out of compliance. She says, "I'm new, I didn't know what the rules are."

Ignorance is no excuse. You know Kristine Mustillo a lot of the rules are just plain common sense.

It took two years from the hearing date for the teacher to be denied the grievance.

Denied by the incomparable, and always integrity filled Pedro Crespo.

The teacher, who turns 46 this year has been a teacher for almost 20 and has an impeccable record. Her class had been taken over by a 22 year old first year teacher.

There you have it. There is your answer. A teacher 44 years old making around $85K, and only a mind of her own, but has more knowledge in one eyelash than Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo who has in her own anorexic body.

Why Kristine Mustillo do you feel threatened? Why Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo could you not just let this go with a verbal or written admonishment? Please Kristine Mustillo share your qualifications to be principal. Yes, opposing viewpoints are always welcomed here.

Even more curious is what happened to Kristine Mustillo at her previous school? Seems that she came into a perfectly fine school, as an interim principal because the current principal is on leave. After one month Kristine Mustillo singlehandley ruins the school, and turns all the teachers against her. When the principal returns Kristine Mustillo is promptly shown the door.