Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Is a Spiteful Little Man

The Crack Team got the phone call today at around 3 PM. We had been monitoring Uncle Mike's news conference yet briefly called away when the Chinese food had arrived. On the other end of the phone was one of SBSB's news stringers. He called to share that the mayor had made a proclamation in concern to the remainder of the week about the schools.

The mayor, our stringer reported, had declared that not only were students not to report to school on Thursday and Friday of this week, but that all staff were to report to their schools at their regular times this Friday, November 2. This, despite the fact that 200 of the 1,400 buildings operated by the NYC DOE have significant damage to be termed, "not operational."

According to Uncle Mike's sock puppet, Dennis Walcott who had sent out a mass email today at the behest of his lord and superior, the reason we are to report to schools this Friday is that;
Staff will be expected to report on Friday to prepare for school opening on Monday. 
If this is not convoluted logic, I don't know what is. Prepare for what? We are never asked to report the last day of a vacation to get the school ready. We are not required to report a week early in August to set up classrooms for the upcoming year. Heck, even the teachers at the damaged schools are reporting to other sites. But why? Don't these teachers have to prepare for the schools opening on Monday?

But it is crystal clear. Staff are in school for one reason only. To prepare for Monday. This means, and it should be adhered to, that no professional development will be in place on Friday, and in the opinion of The Crack Team, if any administrators contradict Sock Puppet Dennis Walcott's edict, they should be brought up on insubordination.

This is just clearly a power grab by a mayor that is an angry little man that desperately needs to show he has the power. He does this only because he can, and he does time after time.

It does not matter that if a teacher is unable to get to work due to the mess that the subways are. Just look at the updated subway map of what lines are and not running. Nothing below 34th St in Manhattan, nothing in NW Brooklyn or SW Queens. As of tomorrow, Metro-North is running a weekend schedule only on the Harlem and New Haven lines. The Hudson line is still closed. Only the Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma lines are running on the LIRR as of now.

I know of a teacher on Long Island that has had her house flooded, her car filled with raw sewage and no means to get to work.

But let's say you can drive in. The 4 East River crossings will be limited to cars with 3 or more occupants. What happens if you don't carpool? If you drive alone. According to Uncle Mike;
"hopes motorists will pick up strangers standing near bridges."
Yeah, we can see female teachers doing this.

I know of other countless teachers that have had basements flooded, have no electricity, trees down, and also rely on public transportation.

What about those who are expecting their basements to be be pumped on Friday? Those teachers that expect the trees on top of their houses to be cut apart? Those teachers awaiting the insurance adjuster?

Not only that, but these teachers also have children in schools that are closed this week and must be supervised. Do they have enough time to make arrangements?

But not to fret teachers of NYC. Sock Puppet Walcott has decreed;
If mass transit services have not yet been restored in your neighborhood, and you have no other safe and feasible way to travel to work, then you should use your judgment and delay your arrival. There will be no penalties for transit-related lateness.
OK, not bad. Does transit delays mean traffic delays as well? But it gets weirder from the sock puppet.
 If you cannot come to work, you should use annual leave, personal leave/CAR time or compensatory time to stay home....For those who have no applicable leave balance, leave may be advanced for this purpose.
Wow, what a guy. Tell me there won't be a principal that will hold a teacher taking Friday off against them.

Why aren't other school districts that have closed for the week having teachers come in on Friday? According to the Journal News;
All eight of Rockland County’s districts and Eastchester, Byram Hills, Blind Brook, Valhalla, Chappaqua, Ossining, Pelham, Mahopac, New Rochelle and Scarsdale became among the first districts Wednesday to concede that schools will be closed for at least this week
Why? Because these school districts are not run by little spiteful men, or women, like our mayor. These districts celebrate their educators, take pride in their educators, and do not see educators as interchangeable parts.

We have 14 months left with this little Napoleon of a man that is mean spirited, and worst of all, angry. He needs to get his way, only his way, all of the time. No one in this country has done more to destroy the professionalism and respect of educators than this little man.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Attention Whoring With Educators4Excellence

With the last two days off because of Hurricane Sandy, so many thoughts raced through my mind. One of them was how after watching the Tigers get swept by the Giants how did the Yankees get swept by the same team. Another thought took me back to the last hurricane to hit here, Irene and how Educators4Excellence made the death and destruction all about them. 

L-R Little Evan Stone, Hand Puppet Jonathan Schleifer
I wondered if this time would E4E show some humility and somehow not take to attention whoring themselves into the death and destruction of Hurricane Sandy that has permeated the area the last 48 hours. That hopefully, there would be silence on their parts and be mature and smart enough to be silent.

Checking my email this morning, sadly my best hopes went down the drain. Though, I do give them credit. In their sneaky way they left the statement off their Facebook page and their website. But nonetheless, they felt the need to ingratiate themselves into a tragedy.

The E4E team fared pretty well, but like many of you, some continue to deal with flooding and power outages. 

Praise the Lord!!!! I now can sleep. The E4E team fared pretty well. In fact I am sure Little Evan Stone and Princess Sydney fared better than the families in North Salem NY in northern Westchester that lost their sons, ages 11 and 13 when a tree came crashing down on the house. Perhaps Little Evan and Princess Sydney fared better than the Pearl River NY man watching TV with his family in which he was killed by a falling tree, and his wife and daughter are in critical condition at Nyack Hospital. Bet they did better than the man who was killed driving into a fallen tree on the Sprain Parkway in Greenburgh. And let's not forget all those who lost their homes in Breezy Point and all the others that had lost their lives. All that matter is the Little Evan and Princess Sydney are OK. 

Can you believe this? Two families lost their sons. They are dead at the ages of 11 and 13. As a father I shudder to think what these families are going through. I can't imagine what the all the other families are going through. But not once in the email did Little Evan or Princess Sydney give any word, or even a sense, of condolence or sympathy. It is all about them, themselves, and not others. Whatever they can do to leach onto others and make Little Evan and Princess Sydney look good is all that matters. 

In the days that passed and the days to come we’ve seen how our first responders, city and utility workers, and public leaders work together to do incredible things.

Guess what? Those first responders, city and utility workers are UNION WORKERS! They are subject to a pay scale, due process, pensions, and seniority rights. Why not tell these union workers what you really think about unions and workers rights? I dare you. But neither Little Evan or Princess Sydney will. As far as the shout out to the public leaders, please, remove your lips from the butts.

And we’ve seen neighbors lending a hand and caring for one another. We are proud to be a part of such remarkable communities.

Oh, please. Give examples of where you have seen neighbors lending a hand. I doubt if these "communities" knew of your agenda, your subterfuge, your back stabbing, would wish you to be amongst them. 

Thank you to those of you who have gone to help in the shelters, to those of you who are taking care of loved ones, and to those who are risking their lives to care for others.

Oh, you are welcome. Without the official approval of E4E, all what has been done and will be done will all be for naught. 

This is so typical of E4E, Little Evan Stone, Princess Sydney Morris, and their newest, clueless lackey, new executive director, Hand Puppet Jonathan Schleifer. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, it all comes down to them. To furthering themselves, to furthering their brand, to furthering their ignorance.

E4E is a toothless paper tiger in constant search of relevance and attention. They have done nothing for education as teachers and continue to do nothing for education as whatever it is they are now.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Uncle Mike and the DOE Celebrate Failure

We all read about it this week in the Daily News. Ninety percent of high school students in five Bronx neighborhoods are not college or career ready when they live the wonderful world of the NYCDOE that Uncle Mike has created for them. But, in "swanky Tribeca," 79% of high school students are college and career ready.

We all know the reasons for this disparity, no reason to go into it here on these pages. Only a dead person or an insane person would not understand such disparate numbers. Wait, did I mention "insane person?"

The NYC DOE in defending poster boy for insanity Uncle Mike's insane handling of city schools had this to say in the article about the lack of students that are college and career ready;
"noting that the citywide college readiness rate — currently 13% for black students and 15% for Latinos — is better than when Bloomberg took office. 'Since our administration’s reforms, college readiness rates have nearly doubled for black and Latino students — but there is still more work to do,' spokeswoman Erin Hughes said."

So if we take the 13% for black students and the 15% for Latinos and average it out, it comes to a whopping 14% of blacks and Latinos are ready for college and careers once they leave Uncle Mike's fantasy world. 

Funny how the DOE, and of course Uncle Mike are proud of such numbers. What about the 86% that are not college and career ready? But, let's look at those numbers in the real world. Since the DOE and Uncle Mike are so proud of only that 14%, how will one fare when one is successful  14% of the time in real life? 

If Uncle Mike only received 14% of the vote in any of the 3 elections he ran for mayor, he would not be mayor. 

If a NBA player on made 14% of his free throws, he would not be an NBA player. Of course Shaquille O'Neal is the exception. 
If Alex Rodriguez batted .140 in the 2012 post-season he would have been benched, and he was.

If Eli Manning completed 14% of his passes, the Giants would try to get Tim Tebow.

If a teacher's evaluation under the new evaluation system totaled 14 out of 100 that teacher would be terminated. Hint, hint, Uncle Mike. 

If a district attorney only won 14% of his cases he would be sacked.

If a teacher was late 14% of the time, she would be terminated.

If a school only had 14% of its students at grade level in literacy or math, it would be closed.

If President Obama had a 14% approval rating, he would no longer be president.

If Princess Cruises had only 14% capacity on it's ships, Captain Stubing would be out of a job.

If Lawrence Tynes made only 14% of his FG attempts, he would be beat up by Tom Coughlin and looking for work.

If Martin Brodeur stopped only 14% of all shots, guess what? Yep, he would be an Islander.

If the subways ran only 14% on time, the people of NYC and media would be calling for Uncle Mike's head.

If only 14% of the city's streets were plowed after a major snowstorm, the people of NYC and media called for Uncle Mike's head.

If the city's crime rate rose by 14%, the people of NYC and media would be calling for Uncle Mike's head.

If during a summer, 14% of all swimmers drowned in city pools and beaches, the people of NYC and media would be calling for Uncle Mike's head.

If 14% of all pedestrians crossing Queens Blvd were ran over and killed, Uncle Mike would do something.

If 14% of all those who live on the Upper East Side could not get to the Hamptons Jitney on time, Uncle Mike would intercede.

If 14% of those that live in the Mitchel Houses have to live with rats, mold, and crime, well Uncle Mike thinks they are shit out of luck.

And we are all out of luck in the NYC DOE. The students, the families, the communities, and the teachers. Only Uncle Mike and his minions at the DOE can make failure look like success. But it is easy. No one, not the media, and worse, the communities of those most affected by his education decisions say anything. We have fourteen months left with this train wreck of a mayor and the path of destruction he has laid out through the education landscape. It will be at least a decade to undo the damage he has wrought.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More of The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School

I have written extensively about The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School several times. A place where reality stops, and fantasy rules. Sadly, it seems that reality is slowly creeping back in.

At The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School, where every student no matter their circumstances is special and knows that they will always get the upper hand over a teacher, mayhem and madness is the rule and not the exception.

Professionals at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School have shared with The Crack Team that despite all efforts to make every student a winner at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School, mayhem rules in a certain grade and the efforts to ensure that every student wins, every student is rewarded, and that every student is special as instead not empowered the students to be the best that they can be. Instead, the students know that they can manipulate their way into getting what they want, expect what they want immediately, and the bad behavior of years past have not, nor or likely to change.

These same professionals, according to The Crack Team, afraid to attempt any disciplinary routines upon these students for fear that they might be shat upon for not only not following proper The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School official disciplinary protocol, but fear being shat upon for upsetting the students sensitive natures that might momentarily impart a second or two of low self-esteem in such students.

And though this is The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School the same students, still roam the school each and every day without consequences. These students are having a happy good time.

But the teachers are not. It is not a The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School for a vast majority of teachers. When teachers at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School are visceral hobbled from doing their jobs, when they know that whatever happens is their fault, when they get no support at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School, they then are not happy, not having a good time, and their responses will be quite emotional.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Goodbye to PS 154 in The Bronx?

Wow, I have been gone for some time now.  According to SBSB records the last blog post was October 2. Unfortunately, I have been quite busy of late and have had a bad case of writer's block. But not to fear, as when the blog started back in 2008, I have recently been blessed with a whole slew of fresh material to blog about.  For those haters of the blog and for those that need their SBSB fix, I and the Crack Team are back.

So, what is new? My school, PS 154 in the Bronx has been slated for closure. Actually a decision has yet to be made, but rather the euphemism, "Early Engagement Process," is being used.

I'm not going to get into the details on the process of how the school will go about being saved or closed, you can read it on the handout we were given in our teacher's meeting after school last Monday, October 15 which you can see below. 


District 7 superintendent Yolanda Torres and network leader Debra Lamb met with the staff in the library last week. Amongst what we were told, besides the "this is a beginning, not an end," and "this is a great opportunity," is;

The DOE will look at the entirety of the school community. The decision will be "holistic," based on the feedback of the parents, the staff, and the education process.

PS 154 is in this predicament because of three years on a row of C, C, and last year, an F.

Our last quality review was in December 2009 in which we were proficient. So how did we get a C that year?

So what is it we were told is next?

Come November and December feedback and data will be collected. During the winter, a decision will be made in, I would presume, a Caesarean manner. Thumbs up or thumbs down. But wait, there will be one last hurdle. The phaseout, if there is one, will go before the Panel for Educational Policy and the jibe I got, and I am sure the parents got, was that the PEP is a bastion of independent neutrality and the decision will be made.

When the questions came to ask the superintendent, I of course brought to Yolanda Torres;
"our budget has been cut over a million dollars over the last 4 or so years. We have no math coach, no literacy coach, not AIS teachers, no full time SETSS teacher. We are being asked to be in a race that we are starting 100 yards behind the starting line. The decision to close the school or not is all based on which side of the bed Uncle Mike or Sock Puppet Walcott wake up on that morning. It's as if we are being set up to fail"
That statement was met with silence.

To the parents of 154, you are being conned. Ask yourself why is this being done? Because they can. They know by seeing 30 parents showing up for the parents meeting that they can get away with this. Think about this. Will this be done on the Upper East Side? Riverdale? Forest Hills? The south end of Staten Island? NEVER!!!

As parents you should be up in arms at the lack of any support. The shoving down our throats of a bogus curriculum from Tweed. Your children's education is at stake. Your community is at stake. Your children are nothing but one vast data collection to the corporatists and profiteers that have taken control of the NYC DOE. Be angry at the people making the decisions.The time to stand up is now, not tomorrow, not next year, but today!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Staten Island Teacher John Webster Fights For Himself

I am still trying to figure out if yesterday's article in the New York Post about phys ed teacher John Webster is supportive or derisive of him.

Just to catch you all up to speed, John Webster is a phys ed. teacher at PS 330 in Staten Island. John, who is 5'10" and 220 lbs, was attacked by a 50 pound (SBSB guidelines prohibit the naming of the student) student at his school.

According to the Post, John claims;
a pupil fractured his ankle, injured his knee and forced him to go to a shrink for stress
Yes, a 50 pound child can cause this. I know first hand.

In August of 2009, about 3 weeks before school started I had my right knee scoped. I had about an inch and a half of cartilage removed. I assumed that with some time between surgery and school I had plenty of time to rehab the knee and all will be well come September.

First day of school, in fact the first few days of school, all was well. Had a little aches and pains in the knee but it was progressing. Unfortunately, I was doing lunch duty as well.

I think it was the 2nd week of school and was outside with the 3rd grade. A fight broke out and a boy who I shall refer to as Schlomo got into a fight. In fact he initiated the fight and as the person he was attempting to fight fought back little Schlomo's infamous temper got the better of him.

As I was attempting to prevent another student from being seriously injured I was holding the other student back, keeping myself between him and little Schlomo. Schlomo kept on trying to get at the boy but I wouldn't let him. Then Schlomo picked his foot up and kicked me in the outer side of the surgically repaired right knee which was planted and bearing weight in the melee.

Ouch! Long story short, that kick set me back. On my next appointment to my doctor he told me that I had grade 1 ACL sprain. I was quite lucky. So lucky that I was then forced to wear a knee brace for about 2 1/2 months.

It could have been worse. In retrospect, I wish I had put in for a line of duty. I should have. But in my head I did not feel like dealing with all the crap the DOE would have given me being that I already had an "injured" knee.

But yes Virginia, a kid can "beat up" a teacher. I know of someone who last year was bitten by a student and the skin was broken. This kid because of an IEP suffered no consequences.

But there are students who without IEP's suffer zero consequences for hitting teachers, throwing chairs, books, and whatever they can get their hands on in fits of violent rages.

It is easy to blame the students and the families in which they come from for this. But I think the bigger culprits are the DOE and their joke of a discipline code, administrators that hide their heads in the sand for they don't want incidents "showing up", and the Pupil Personal Teams of the schools in NYC that are either over burdened, incompetent, or told to butt out.

We should celebrate John Webster today. We should want to shake his hand and buy him a drink. We need more John Webster's in the DOE. We need people like John that are not afraid to take a stand, to stick up for themselves. Then and only then will the walls of Uncle Mike's phallic fallacy come crashing down.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Guide For Principals To Screw Teachers

A very interesting item came across the SBSB news desk over the weekend. Apologies if this information we have is already known.

In 2010 NYC DOE very well paid consultant and retired principal,  Joseph Belesi presented some workshops on how principals can be rid of tenured teachers. Entitled, "Performance Management," Belesi and his cronies presented a treasure trove to principals. A step by step guide on how to get rid of "incompetent" teachers. The Crack Team is in possession of the 43 page handbook for the principals which will be presented not all at once, but rather in little bits and jabs over the next several weeks.

In today's story we will learn who is behind PIP+ and the document known as the "Principal's Guide To The New Supports Addressing Low Performing Tenured Pedagogues: The Teacher Performance Unit, The Labor Support Unit And The Peer Intervention Plus Program."

As Chaz the Blogger and Admiral Ackbar have warned on many occasion, PIP+ is a trap.

PIP+ is run by (guess what?), a corporation known as RMC Research Corporation. As it says on it's website, RMC;
is a national leader in program research and evaluation, professional development, consultation, and product development. From small studies to multi-year projects, we support national, state, and local clients who serve schools, families, and communities. RMC's six regional offices conduct national and regional work, with each office maintaining specialty areas of work. Through technology, our offices collaborate with each other and with partners across the country.

We are enthusiastic about the opportunities for educational innovation and reform afforded to states and districts by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). With many years of experience, staff from all of our offices look forward to providing information and resources and partnering with districts and states to advance best practices in teaching and learning.

RMC  is run by Everett W. Barnes Jr.who saw in 1991 that education was to turn into big business.

But wait, there is more weirdness. The project manager for, or at the time for PIP+, was Dr. Sandra Kase, currently the 2nd in command at the Bridgeport, CT schools. Turns out though that Dr Kase was employed by the NYC DOE apparently before she came to RMC Research. Hmm, what a coincidence.

What a tangled web.