SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Steven Brill Has Cooties

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Steven Brill Has Cooties

I haven't had the time as of yet to read all of the Steve Brill hit piece in today's New York Times yet. To be honest, I only made it through the first couple of paragraphs when I had to stop because I was laughing harder than I did when I saw originally saw the wrestling scene from Borat.

First thing I laughed at was Brill's claim about the Contract that, "not only specifies everything that teachers will do and will not do during a six-hour-57 ½-minute workday but also requires that teachers be paid based on how long they have been on the job" First, get your facts straight about the six hour and 57 1/2 minutes and secondly, I believe that pay is based on longevity for cops, firefighters, EMS, parks employees, sanitation workers, correction officers, etc... Why not complain about these?

Secondly, Mulgrew had his deer caught in the headlights moment when Brill asked him in regards to his press secretary Richard Riley, "Suppose you decide that Riley is lazy or incompetent,” I asked Mulgrew. “Should you be able to fire him?” Mike responded that Riley is not a teacher. Decent answer, but not how it should have been answered. How should Mike have answered?

Mike should have told Brill that he wouldn't try to separate Riley from his paycheck for holding a coffee cup, holding a Coke, bringing plants to the UFT offices, for disagreeing with him, for not kissing his ass. Mike could have reminded Brill that if he has an issue with Riley, that he would try to work out the problems first, that he would treat Riley as an adult. Mike could have also mentioned that he would never berate nor degrade Riley in front of others.

But Brill is being disingenuous. He never defined incompetent. Or even lazy. Did Brill ask what the parameters of Richard Rilely's duties are? I have no idea, and I am a dues paying member. So without this information I say Brill's point is moot. But let's pretend it is not.

Let's say Richard Riley was having a bad day. Pretend his wife had left him for some trucker who fancies himself a country western star and she ran off with him to live in the local trailer park and at the same time emptied Richard's bank account. But being the trooper Richard is he comes into work, but there is a press conference later that day. I am sure Mike will give him a break, let someone else do it. But if Riley were a teacher, at 8 30 he would have to forget all about his personal life and be "ON." And God forbid he was moping around, having a tough day, he would here from his principal. "You are a professional, deal with it!"

But, wait there is more. No Riley is as good as the people working under him. Does Riley have to deal with the subjectivity of employees under him? Or even for that matter Mike?

Are there employees at the UFT headquarters that have parents that do not show an interest in them? That do not show up when employee evaluations are handed out? If Mike or Riley were to call in a parent of an employee does that parent come to 52 Broadway drunk at 8 45 in the morning? Would an employee when not getting his or her way decide to trash the office by throwing chairs? Would that employee then run through the halls?

See Brill, this is kind of what teachers deal with every day. And more. Kids afraid to go home, kids that have cigarettes put out on their arms. The little 2nd grade girl who is being babysat by a male 2nd cousin who decides that he is horny and violates the girl. The sleeping on the floor at night to keep out of the way of bullets. The elevators that stink of urine, and the hallways too! The parents who show no interest in their child's education. The parent who gives their child Cheetos and grape juice for breakfast. The child that needs to be hospitalized but the parent ignores all pleas from the school to do so.

Brill, come to the inner city. Speak with teachers. Learn. I find it ironic that you of all people are apt to criticize teachers for perceived failings when anything you have been a part of has failed.



All superbly stated, SBS.

The great Leonardo da Vinci, who once said:

"The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips performance"

would have been proud of all the folks at South Bronx School.

I myself, lacking such poetical gifts, will simply add:

Brill the Shill,
Has been fried,
On your Grill.

Will repeats be necessary;
I'm sure that they will.

Chaz said...


You see Steve Brill is correct...not about Riley but look how Michael Mulgrew keeps that incompetent boob, Leo Casey around. Leo cares more about Darfur than the teachers yet he still is using our dues to collect a second pension.

Pete Zucker said...

Fill me in about Leo Casey. Email it to me. Leave out the teddy.