Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What the PS 154 Bronx Community Needs to Know About the Common Core, And Now!

The PS 154 community, the parents, and worse, the students are being bamboozled by a modern day snake oil saleswoman, the 2014 equivalent of the Music Man, DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx.

Where educators statewide, are decrying and fighting back against the Common Core, not only has DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal encouraged the full implementation of Common Core at PS 154 in the Bronx, but if the excuse that she is "only following orders" can be an excuse, she remains silent among thousands of New York State educators in its implementation.

We have seen a groundswell of support against the failed ideals of Commissioner John King and Governor Andy Cuomo from such a diverse group as a kindergarten teacher in Alfred, NY to the superintendent of schools in Harrison, NY, Louis N. Wool.

Where is DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal to lead against the unconstitutional takeover of education by the Federal government? Where is DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal to lead against the one size fits all curriculum of the Common Core? Where is DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal to rail against the corporatization of education in the United States of America? Where is DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal in the fight against the dumbing down of our students?

According to the Washington Post of Monday, January 27, 2014; 
 Over the weekend, the Board of Directors of the New York State United Teachers, a union with more than 600,000 members, passed a resolution  withdrawing support for the Common Core State Standards  “as implemented and interpreted” by the state Education Department and also declaring “no confidence” in the policies of State Education Commissioner John King. Why is support for the Core sinking rapidly?
DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal is nowhere to be found other than on the side of those that wish to destruct education.

DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal can and should look to Carol Burris as a shining example high up on the hill in the fight against the corporate takeover of education.

Who is Carol Burris one might ask?
Burris has written a series of posts about the many problems with test-driven reform in New York (here, and here and here and here and here, for example). She was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010,  tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is the co-author of the New York Principals letter of concern regarding the evaluation of teachers by student test scores. It has been signed by thousands of New York principals teachers, parents, professors, administrators and citizens. You can read the letter by clicking here.  (in which DR Alison Coviello's; Ed.D and Principal name is strangely missing)

By Carol Burris

“Hit the delay button.”  That was the message New York’s senators sent to state Education Commissioner John King during last week’s hearing.  Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan made it clear that if King did not act, senators on his panel would.  Senator Maziarz observed that the only Common Core supporters remaining are “yourself (King) and the members of the Board of Regents.”  To make his position crystal clear, Senator Latimer emphatically smacked the table while calling for a delay, likening the rollout of the Common Core to “steaming across the Atlantic” when there are icebergs in the water.

The defiant King refused to acknowledge the icebergs, and remained insistent on full steam ahead. He let the senators know “you’re not the boss of me” by asserting that standards are controlled by the State Education Department and the Regents, not by the legislature.

Following the meeting, King told reporters that there was no need for a delay because “we have strong support for the Common Core from all the education stakeholder groups in the state.” Less than two days later, the largest stakeholder group of all, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), not only withdrew its support of the implementation of the Common Core, it publicly called for the dismissal of the commissioner. Whoops.

Why is support for the Common Core in New York so quickly sinking into the deep? Some contend that it is because teachers do not have enough materials to teach the Common Core. They argue that if teachers had more preparation and resources, all would be fine.  I disagree. Support is disappearing, not because schools don’t have the Common Core curriculum, but because for the first time they do.  After last year’s testing debacle, teachers are frantically attempting to implement the standards using the modules provided by the state. Kids and parents are reeling from the effects of teaching the Common Core standards, at the fast pace needed to get through them in time for the tests.

Nowhere is this more evident than in mathematics. Bianca Tanis, a special education teacher, showed a group of Westchester parents and educators how elementary math topics were now pushed down a full grade level because of the Common Core.  After watching her presentation, I checked for myself.  I compared the 2005 New York State Mathematics Learning Standards K-5, with the Common Core.  Ms. Tanis is right. Not only are many topics now taught in a lower grade, what students are required to do to achieve the standard is far is more difficult as well.

For example, the 2005 New York State Learning Standards asked fourth-grade students:
to find the area of a rectangle by counting the number of squares needed to cover it (NYS Learning standard  4.G.4)
Here is the third grade Common Core standard for the same topic:
Use tiling to show in a concrete case that the area of a rectangle with whole number side lengths a and b+c is the sum of a*c and b*c. Use area models to represent the distributive property  in mathematical reasoning. (NYS Common Core 3 MD 7.C)
Recognize area as additive. Find areas of rectilinear figures by decomposing them into non-overlapping rectangles and adding the areas of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems. ((NYS  Common Core 3MD 7. D)
My assistant principal’s third-grade son cried when he tried to do his homework based on this Common Core standard MD7.D.  You can view the problem he was asked to solve here. Dad had to do it for him.  This eight year old had just learned how to find the area of a rectangle. When there are 180 module lessons for 180 school days, there is no time for the practice of less complicated examples.

Here is another example. Previously, third graders were asked to measure to the nearest standard unit using a ruler or yardstick. Now second graders must “measure the length of an object twice using length units of different lengths for the two measurements; describe how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen”.  You can see other examples, cut and pasted from the original documents here.

Aside from the question of whether or not the above reflects the appropriate leveling of topics and practice, consider the practical effects of pushing nearly all math topics down a grade level. For intermediate-grade students, it means that they will have “knowledge gaps.”  Those gaps will occur during the year that the former learning standards are replaced by the Common Core. For most students, that is occurring this year. The effects will be lasting. Any student who was forced to “jump into the deep end,” as described by Chancellor Merryl Tisch, will feel the effects of that gap throughout their remaining school years.

The fact that no one in the State Education Department either realized or cared about the effects of whole scale, K-8 implementation of the Common Core Mathematics curriculum demonstrates either a disregard for the sequential nature of mathematics instruction, or a callous disregard for the mathematical competence of an entire generation of New York State students.  It is no wonder that both the New York State Alliance for Public Education (NYSAPE) and now NYSUT are calling for John King to leave.

There will be time to analyze what went wrong, and many will share the responsibility for mistakes.  But now is the time for us to undo as much of the damage as we can. For the sake of our students, we must lower the lifeboats into the water.

New York senators are right. Hit “delay” on the Common Core and the misguided policies that go along with it.  Examine the reform policies one by one and when needed, have both the honesty and courage to then hit, “delete.”

Why the silence from DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx? The community of PS 154 should know where DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal where she stands.

Goo, goo, g'joob, DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal, the community of PS 154 in the Bronx turns its eyes towards you for leadership.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Unsafe Environment at PS 154 in the Bronx as Students Run Amok,Yet Again

From the files of the "You Can't Make This Shit Up Department," it just keeps getting nuttier and crazier at PS 154 in the Bronx. Is it possible that the wheels of the bus that DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D
and Principal controls are flying off?

After last night's blog post featuring how a student, The Flash, ran out of school property twice, once onto dangerous 135th St, several teachers contacted The Crack Team today on their day off and shared a horrifying story of incompetence, danger and ignorance that occurred yesterday, January 24, 2014.

Yesterday at PS 154 The Flash, along with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier bolted from their classroom. All three, about 8 years old, were wondering the halls for at least one hour. No one could catch them nor find them. Three boys, running unsupervised throughout the school. Not only were they not engaged in education, but their safety was at stake.

Was a ROD (Responder on Duty) called? Nope. Even though that is standard operating procedure and is clearly spelled out on the PS 154 Manifesto, oops, the handbook, no one was notified or responded.

Why and how did this happen? The three young men were in the classroom misbehaving when they were admonished for their behavior. I, last year, had these young men at one time or another (not together) and at no time did they bolt from my classroom. So strange it happens now.

How were these students finally dealt with when DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal caught them? DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal used her Child Whisperer technique, or as The Crack Team calls it, "The Coviello Whisperer."

What is the The Coviello Whisperer technique? It is a technique that is only unique to DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal and is impossible to learn by any mere mortal

DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal gets down on the floor with the kid (To show that she is cool and caring) and whispers ever so gently to the student that misbehaved. The students sensing softness and weakness laughs inside their head and doesn't respect such a phony admonishment.

How were these students disciplined? One student went off to spend time with the AP for the day and the other two went to spend time with professionals of the pupil personal team. Which leads to many a question.

Were these students given sufficient work to do? Were these students properly supervised? Were they put on the computers in the respective offices to play games? Were the three adults tasked with supervising them able to do their duties, their jobs? Were the three adults with the task of supervising these boys able to meet with students and able to have their conversations remain confidential? Were the parents/guardian notified? Not just for discipline reasons, but to let the parents/guardians know that the school allowed the students to be in an unsafe situation. Was an OORS report filed?

At what point does this end? At what point does the students safety become paramount over the pride of  DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal? The Responsive Classroom technique has been proven to be an abject failure. Is it not time to go back to the drawing board and either start from scratch or uses methods of discipline that actually have proven to work?

One simple solution to fix the discipline problem is to find male teachers. PS 154 in the Bronx has only one male teacher left, and even he does not interact with all the students, only a select few. All strong male teachers at PS 154 in the Bronx have been cast out like the Amish do to their own that show independence of thought.

When will this end at PS 154? When will the safety and well being of the students trump the pride and control of DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal.

Again, parents need to ask themselves, "Is my child safe at PS 154?" Think about it. What has been shared here just now will never happen in Harrison, or Scarsdale, or Roslyn, or Franklin Lakes. Why is it allowed to happen at PS 154 in the Bronx?      

Friday, January 24, 2014

DR Alison Coviello; EdD and Principal Misplaces The Flash at PS 154 in the Bronx

It's pretty embarrassing when you lose something isn't it?

Last week I was on the phone with long lost colleague when suddenly I had that sense of dread. I couldn't find my phone. I went into a panic and searched my coat pockets, my pants pockets, the floor, the couch, just about everywhere. I was just about ready to go outside and look when it dawned on me. I was on the phone. It was in my hand the whole time. "WHEW!" I said to myself, though in the back of my head I wondered if this was the seventh sign of impending doom.

We've all had those moments in the past. Looking for the car keys, looking for your glasses when they are actually on your head. I guess the older you get, the more forgetful you get.

I never lost my son. There were a few times when he was little where I just lost sight of him momentarily. It was the worst 3 seconds in the world. But I always knew where he was. I made darn sure that my eyes knew where he was at all times.

Too bad that can't be said about DR Alison Coviello; EdD and Principal at PS 154 in the Bronx.

The Crack Team has just learned from sources at PS 154 that twice during the season of autumn, a student, The Flash, who is about 8 years old, bolted from the school.

In the first instance The Flash took off while he and his grade were playing outside during lunch recess. Sources can't confirm but this is apparently the lunch period that DR Alison Coviello; EdD and Principal supervises. If this is not the period she supervises, the supervision in the yard consists of 20 something City Year folk who really aren't in a position to perform supervision of such a large scale. The Crack Team is looking into this and will soon file a white paper on the incident.

On another occasion, not too soon after the above aforementioned incident The Flash took off again. This time The Flash bolted from the auditorium and left the school building unsupervised. Now, for those who are not aware, PS 154 in the Bronx is on a busy East 135th Street. This street is notoriously busy because not only does it serve as a service road for about a mile alongside the Deegan, but cars are coming over the Willis Ave Bridge, or turning right from Willis Ave. Scarier still are the cars that try to enter the Deegan at high rates of speed and even some from the far right lane. Can you say, "Disaster waiting to happen?"

Not to make an excuse for The Flash's run from the auditorium, but who can blame him? Whenever the elements outside prevent the students from going out for recess, or there is a mass prep due to PD, or lack of coverage. Students are warehoused into the auditorium and read to. Much like Andy Kaufman reading the Great Gatsby.

The reasoning behind this is that the students should be engages in some type of learning rather than watching some Goosebumps movie for the gazillionth time. Hey, we here at SBSB are down with that. But can't the students be shown documentaries, movies that tie in with the curriculum, biographies, etc...?

So what is the little 8 year old Flash to do? Starts getting silly and gets ants in his pants. Soon he bolts.

But this all happens on the watch of DR Alison Coviello; EdD and Principal. In the same manner that Captain Picard is responsible for his ship, DR Alison Coviello; EdD and Principal is responsible for her school. And as we all know that if something went askew on the Enterprise, Captain Picard would notify Star Fleet. The Crack Team wonders if DR Alison Coviello; EdD and Principal filled out an OORS (Online Occurrence Reporting System) report. The Crack Team doubts it was reported. And if it the incidents were not reported then DR Alison Coviello; EdD and Principal failed to follow procedure and it can be safely assumed by John Q. Public that the books are being cooked in terms of reporting incidents.

Again, what would this be allowed to happen in Harrison NY? OF COURSE NOT! But it happens at PS 154 in the Bronx. But doesn't PS 154 in the Bronx have the all time perfect discipline system in place? We here at SBSB are massively confused.

Parent need to ask themselves, "Is my child safe at PS 154?" Well??

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Rubber Room Is Crazy, I Am Sane

Things are getting better in my captivity at 4360 Broadway, other wise known as the rubber room. It is now 89 days since I had been cast adrift from the wonderful world of PS 154 in the Bronx and the memories of that place are becoming more and more distant.

After a rough start to my captivity, (and here) I have become more accepting of my captors as they seem to have become more accepting of me. Yes, I did have some issues at first, but when one is forced into a captive role one reverts back to mankind's earliest stages when it is traditional to mark one's territory.

Anyway I now seem to have an understanding of their society and have come to accept their ways. Fortunately, have been invited from time to time to take part in their rituals and must say that I have enjoyed myself.

The leader of the captives rules by respect and benevolence. I have let down my guard and no longer expect the chair of punishment for my misdeeds. This ritual of respect and benevolence at first was foreign to me, but the leader seems to treat all the other natives under his rule in this manner and there is no less dedication to the task at hand amongst the natives.

Though some might say that I am suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, I am allowed to come and go as I please and have no problem staying with these people. In fact I feel more like an observer or a guest, like Jane Goodall. I live amongst these people at 4360 Broadway.

On the other hand there is another band of natives on the 4th floor, they call themselves District 79. They are quite territorial, controlling, and worst, malevolent in their dealings with outsiders.

Yesterday was just such an occasion.

The floor of my captivity was having many people and guests. The room where I have formed my base camp and marked my territory was being used, the room adjacent to it was being used, as well the big conference room. There was no place left for me to sit and put my stuff. I asked for permission to make contact with the District 79 natives and seek permission to set up camp for a brief while in their gilded break room where the vending machines are.

I decided to bring gifts of welcome to the District 79 band. I made first contact with their director of security, (For the purposes of this story a pseudonym will be used befitting what the director of security thinks of it's position) Tasha Yar. I explained the situation to Tasha that I had no place to sit and a place for my stuff and asked if I can just sit in the gilded break room for an hour or so.

She said no. She said I belong to the natives upstairs and they must watch me at all times. I asked if an exception can be made since their is no place to sit. Again she said no and that I need to be watched. I asked, "What am I, 12 years old?" At this point she suggested that I speak to the other Director of Security, Odo, who had shifted into some really odd shape.

Again I asked why can't I just sit in the gilded break room for an hour or so. Odo informed me that to keep a happy 4th floor I can't sit there and it is only to be used for lunch as there might be meetings happening throughout the day. I mentioned that there are very few meetings there to begin with and if there is a meeting today that I will clear out.

Odo again told me that I can't sit there and it is only to be used for lunch as there might be meetings happening throughout the day. I asked if there are any meeting there for today and Odo told me I can't sit there and it is only to be used for lunch as there might be meetings happening throughout the day.

I tried a different tactic. I explained to Odo that my captors have said it is OK for me to use the gilded break room. Odo replied that upstairs is for them and the 4th floor is for us and never the twain shall meet. I then said, "Isn't sharing caring?" That remark made Odo shift into many shapes, not all of them pleasant.

Sensing from Odo that there is a fear of me radicalizing and sharing truths with the 4th floor captives I inquired why am I feared. Odo responded that that I can't sit there and it is only to be used for lunch as there might be meetings happening throughout the day. I asked if I can sit near school safety, Odo responded that the agents are extremely busy (????) throughout the day and must concentrate on all aspects of their jobs.

I then inquired if I see one of the 4th floor captives in the hallway can I say, "Hi, how are you?" Odo refused to answer. I asked Odo again, no answer. I asked a third time, Odo said, "Yes you may say hello, but no conversation as it may be taking away from tasks that they perform for us."

Reminder, none of this is being made up. It is real!

Exasperated, I had to end this idiocy. This was turning into a Abbott and Costello routine and I wasn't the straight man, or was I?

I really don't understand why certain people feel the need to have to humiliate and demean people and colleagues. One day Tasha Yar or Odo might be in the same predicament as me and I can promise you they would want to be treated with respect.

But sometimes one is too involved in one's self importance to see the forest through the 4th floor of District 79.

Monday, January 20, 2014

John King of Comedy Befouls the Ideals of Martin Luther King

Today is Martin Luther King Day. I was only 4 years old when he was assassinated and have no memory of him at all. But I do know one thing. He was a transformative figure for this country.

King is in the same echelon as Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, FDR, Jefferson, Madison. He dared to think outside the box and took on the establishment and did what was right even though it was unpopular to those is power.

So how is MLK Day celebrated? By Commissioner of Education John King being as blatantly incorrect about King's legacy and what he would have wanted as the Tea Baggers are as blatantly incorrect about the Founding Fathers and Ronald Reagan.

John King of Comedy today shared with all in today's Daily News how a just found recording of MLK giving a speech to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address is tied into today's efforts to transform public schools. I truly do not see the connection.

His comedieness blabbers; true equality of opportunity remains elusive — in no small part because we as a country have not yet found a way to provide all of our children with an education that prepares them for success in college and careers.

Yet, we are reverting back to separate but equal forms of education in this country. Your boss, Governor Andy has cut education spending in the state, capped property taxes, yet charter schools are raking in millions upon millions from wealthy "do gooder" benefactors and flaunt their advantages in co-located schools. 

Schools are being closed left and right with no true formula to decided whether or not they are failing. Left to the whim of mayors and politicians, closing schools tears at the fabric of communities pitting neighbors against neighbors for the crumbs that are left over.

King of Comedy spews forth; As a teacher and principal, I was driven each day by the conviction that while we cannot ignore and indeed must address the challenges posed by economic hardship, inadequate access to healthcare, housing and the like, the single best tool we have to advance opportunity is education.

OK, King of Comedy taught for what, three years? Was a charter school principal/founder? So when and where did he not have to be concerned about having students who were not with him that were only in school because both they and their parents were enthusiastic about education? The deck was stacked. What percentage of ELL's and Special Ed. students did he have? Discipline problems? How many students was King of Comedy involved in counseling out? 

As for that education is the best opportunity for students to advance in this world, yeah that is a very good point. But it can't be done in a vacuum. Would it not be a bummer as a child if you lived in dilapidated housing, lacked preventative medical care, did not eat a proper diet, had diabetes, had asthma, lived in a home in which parents did not care for you? Remember, not making excuses here, but laying out facts. 

Inadequate health care, housing, economic hardships contribute to poor educational experiences. Just like a batter, who can't hit a ball unless his feet, legs, and hips go into the swing.

And the essence of education comes down to the interaction between teacher and student and the rigor and richness of the work in which they are engaged.

Essence? See, I can't take this seriously. Who is King of Comedy, General Ripper? Too weird. But the interaction between the teacher and the student is what makes education? In what way? Oh, the rigor and the richness. 

But what is rigor? Seems the only rigor the students are receiving in New York State is rigor mortis. Richness? You mean like a well rounded liberal arts college education? How is this possible when all that is concentrated on in school is the Math and ELA exams? What about the arts? What about social studies? Science? Health? Physical Education? Just having some gosh darn fun?

The efforts of the Board of Regents to implement new college- and career-ready standards

What is college ready and which colleges are we getting them ready for? Same with career ready? Explain, someone, anyone, what career ready means. At what ages is this decided?

to improve the training, evaluation and support of teachers and principals are about exactly that.

ROTAFLMAO!! Yeah, sure. 
 The new Common Core standards are different from past standards efforts because they were explicitly backwardassed-engineered 


They were developed by asking primary and secondary educators, higher education faculty and business leaders: What are the skills students must have to succeed in college and in the 21st century economy?

To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield from the movie, "Easy Money," where were the regular guy or gal teachers involved in this endeavor? Name the names and organizations involved and who had the most to benefit?

A skilled educator, for example, could build a fascinating lesson from the newly discovered audio recording of King’s speech. Why did he deviate from the written text in certain places? Why did he emphasize some words and phrases over others? How does this speech compare with his Letter from Birmingham Jail or his “I Have a Dream” speech?

To build a lesson on this we need Common Core, to waste all this money on Common Core? Wouldn't a few good PD sessions do the same? In fact at what age does King of Comedy anticipate such fascination?

At a recent community forum in Brooklyn on the Common Core, parents described to me their experiences graduating from high school thinking they were prepared, then arriving on a college campus only to be told that they had to take numerous remedial classes. With great urgency and conviction, each of these parents explained that they wanted something better for their child.

This has absolutely nothing to do whether or not Common Core is implemented. It has so much to do with the parents, the curriculum in the school, and being challenged.

One thing I have noticed throughout my years teaching, and especially since my son has been in school is that what is taught in NYC is fare behind here in the suburbs? My theory? It's not the teacher's faults. It's the ridiculous curriculum they are given. The city wishes to dumb down everything. 

The Common Core offers a path to the precise reading, writing and thinking skills that will help propel their children and children across the state to success.
Prove it! Bill Gates said this was an experiment and would have no idea if it works for ten years.

Yet some now want us to delay, or even abandon, our efforts to raise standards.

Give the people what they want. The parents of New York State and the local school districts know what is best for our children. Not the King of Comedy, not Washington DC, not Bill Gates, but the parents, educators, and communities know what is best. The people have been speaking and the King of Comedy is ignoring. 
Career and college ready is bogus. What kind of careers? I keep hearing that we have to keep up with China and India. That over 2 billion people! The vast majority of them make $5 a day, if that. They have no safety regulations, are not allowed to collectively bargain, their countries are run by oligarchs. Hey, wait, maybe that is the sum game of Common Core. To keep the vast majority ignorant and just barely out of reach of being successful so that they will toil for the elite of this country.

If it isn't then we are still being forced to be all the same. I graduated at 18. I had a great education in high school offered to me in high school, I just chose not to take advantage of it. I played musical colleges, WCC, Mercy, WCC, SUNY-Alfred, Corning Community College, and finally SUNY- Purchase. I was and still am smarter than the top tier of students in my high school. Being book smart and being able to write great does not make you smart. Some of the brightest people I know if dropped in the middle of the woods with nothing would be able to get out or start a fire. They would start crying in 45 minutes. Common Core can't teach that. 

As far as being career ready, again that needs explanation. In 1st grade I wanted to be an astronaut. My son in 1st grade wanted to sell ice cream. Now he wants to play Major League Baseball. He's a left-handed hitting catcher. Should he now forgo academics and just concentrate on baseball?

Hey, hey, hey ...
Give the people what they want

Sunday, January 19, 2014

NYCDOEnuts Is Back And Has Something to Say!

A special welcome and a special thank you for guest blogging, to one of The Crack Team's favorite bloggers, OLD NYCDOEnuts who was the originator of NYCDOEnuts blog. Kind of like the two Darrin Stevens. With OLD NYCDoenuts as Dick York.

The Crack Team is lying around the SBSB newsroom yesterday when an email from DOEnuts come in. DOEnuts had left witness protection, has something to say and needs a platform (He has reached out to other bloggers as well).

After checking to make sure their were no vulgarities in his message, nothing that might come across as offensive, assuring that any member of a family can read this without blushing, and getting a promise from NYCDOEnuts that he will take The Crack Team out for wings and beer, we are publishing his,- can we say manifesto? welcome back letter? essay? treatise?- here tonight.

Note: Bold, italics, and spelling corrections were added by The Crack Team

A friend at a party during the Bloomberg years:
Friend: “Hey Chuck, it’s nice to meet you”
Stranger: “Thanks. Sooooooo, you’re a teacher?”
Friend: “Yeah, man. It’s a great job. ‘Been at it for ten years now. What do you do?”
Stranger: “I’m a lawyer with DOE legal. I fire teachers for a living”
Friend: “Sh** man. That’s what you do for a living? How do you like it?”
Stranger: “Bonuses are good”

Some people don’t care about these exchanges. Others will pretend to care about them only when it serves their purpose.  As a teacher -one who has lived through the Bloomberg days and has been a direct victim of his attacks from his minions- I care about them. That’s why I’m proud to be able to say that I will be joining with Francesco Portelos’ Don’t Tread on Education effort. One of the things Francesco is seeking to do is to defend teachers who have been attacked by ruthless administrators by educating them about the tactics that are being used to destroy teachers’ careers. This is an altogether worthy endeavor and I look forward to putting my best effort into it.

It’s also a very noble effort! It is a very noble thing to devote large chunks of your personal life so that others may benefit. This is especially true if you’re like Francesco and have experienced the true attacks the department can launch on your livelihood. Answering those attacks in such a way that the next guy doesn’t have to experience them is probably the most high minded thing that a person can do and Francesco is a hero to me (and many of us)  for leading the way.

My own resume toward stopping the attacks on good teachers isn’t entirely empty. I have, in the past, written in defense of Francesco as well as another dear friend who’s life was turned upside down by the vicious attacks of Bloomberg’s employees. I have found proof that perhaps as many as 12,000 teachers have faced this process since just 2008 alone and I once spent months researching the use of state funds and uncovered as much as $37 million being spent just on the salaries of arbitrators who hear and decide the cases the DOE make as it asks to fire teachers. I’ve written and researched court cases, went and watched oral arguments and have pleaded with colleagues (some at MORE) to reassess their opinions of teachers who had been accused -all in the hopes of supporting teachers who were attacked. I don’t think I’ve done nearly enough toward this effort. Certainly not as much as true, dedicated heroes like Norm Scott, Betsy Combier (oh and here), James Eterno as well as heroes who blog under monikers like, NYCEducator Assailedteacher, Perdido Street School , AccountableTalk, Raginghorse, Chaz’ School Daze, SouthBronxSchool and Francesco Portelos’ have done. They’ve done more –and in a more thorough and thoughtful way- for a longer period time than an ant like me ever could. I’m a spec on the battlefield of defending teachers. But I’m an honest, forthright spec who knows he can no longer be sit back and watch a department try to fire teachers for things like:

·   Posting one thoughtless comment on Facebook after work (from a lady who is a wonderful teacher and whom I’m proud to call my friend today).
·   Bluffing: making students feel that their antics in the boys room was being filmed in an effort to get them to stop putting toilet paper in the bathroom
·   Allowing an angry parent to go home with a note written on a napkin
·   Farting in class
·   Calling himself an asshole in public
·   Making one comment to a female teacher (despite an immediate apology continued apologies since)
·   Telling a student he was so proud of her test score he could kiss her (in a public class, with clear intent of showing pride for the good work she had done).

These aren’t made up stories, folks! These are true stories from the Bloomberg years. Career teachers –beloved by the colleagues and their students- have faced firings for these precise actions. If there is a practice in the Department of Education that must end, the enfettered harassment of teachers by cold and callous lawyer-driven system is one of them and I am very blessed to have been asked to be a part of it.

My intent is to devote every non-working, non-parenting, waking hour to Francesco’s effort to educate teachers and help them defend themselves. I will be skipping my second Master’s Degree program for this effort (I can’t study for my 30 above and spend real efforts defending teachers and if I have to choose one I choose to help protect teachers), but I’m cool with it.

Just one thing: If I’m going to dedicate a large part of my adult life to this effort, I want to make sure that the teachers who I work to defend are really decent people and real teachers. We have a hard truth to face  before we get started and it’s one that I’ve never publicly faced before: There are bad teachers in this system. There are, sad to say, some teachers I won’t be able to bring myself to defend. I won’t, for instance, defend the teacher who snuck Heroin into a courthouse. I know he got his job back and I hope he does well in the classroom. But I’m old fashioned and I don’t think drug users who carry their drugs into public buildings, are good role models.  And then there is the obvious stuff like inappropriateness with staff or students, stealing, threatening or hurting anyone. I can’t defend that.  But there are also a few things I won’t stand to defend either. Therefore,  I would like to submit the following list of standards that teachers need to reach in order to earn my defense of them. I can -and will- work to defend you, as long as you don’t do any of the following things:

You can’t bash or disparage virtually all of the other teachers within your own building and make them all your enemy. It takes a special kind of contrarian to do this. Usually one who isn’t well.
Sorry, DOEnuts doesn’t go-to-bat for crazies.

You can’t bash students that you teach and claim that you ‘could give a sh__ less about them’ in the teachers’ lounge. Kids are the only reason I have a job, bub. I believe in them. You should too.

You can’t be “that guy” who has no relationship with teachers you’ve worked with for twenty years. I worked with this guy who comes from a different school and when ATRs from his old school come in a stay for a week, they ask us to help them avoid this guy like the plague. No lie! We’re stashing people in the back of classrooms and work romos because they’re totally freaked out by this guy.  That’s not a good sign. I hope “that guy” doesn’t get himself into any trouble, but lord knows I won’t stick up for him.

While I’m on the thought, you can’t earn the reputation of being a dangerous, deceitful, lying snake in the grass. This poor guy has been described -by his former colleagues- with words like “spiteful”, “petty” and “dangerous. DOENuts doesn’t have the time, nor near the inclination to help you out if you’re like that).

Avoid being an ingrate to friends who have helped you out (you know, man. If a friend helps you get a job at a school or something and, I’m just saying, the first thing you do is tell everyone that he is a “piece of sh__” and “didn’t invent the wheel” and is a terrible “excuse of a teacher”, then I can’t stand by you (hey, the last guy who stood by you got a knife in his back. What’d ya think I’m going to get?)

Repeatedly curse in the hallway in front of students (I have a thing about this. Please don’t do it).
Work hard to have other teachers do your work for you. I have a thing about this, too.  Please don’t do it. Other teachers aren’t there to do your work, are they? Are they getting part of your check for;

  • Writing lesson plans
  • Tallying report card grades
  • Taking daily attendance
  • Calling parents

Or any host of other things? I didn’t think so. Earn your check, man!

Finally, I can’t help you out if you’re a bully. I hate bullies. Hey man, everyone wants that special parking spot or that primo classroom. Bullying your way into getting it isn’t going to help me to help you. DOENuts doesn’t help bullies who have been bullied.

If you don’t do any of these things, then I can defend you.  Mind you, If you’ve done one or two of these things, then I will still be absolutely be happy to defend you! But if you look deep inside and honestly know that you have done more than three, or even more than four of these things, then you shouldn’t count on me. DOENuts defends the ones with good hearts and pure intentions. My sympathies lie with them and if you’re not one of us, well then, DOENuts could give a crap less about you.

So, in short, if you’re there for kids and there for your colleagues, and a half way OK human being, I will not rest until you have been defended by the new group I work for.

But if you are one of these people who could care less about anyone in the world but yourself;. if you use people. If you lie to people. And if you hurt the ones around you, I won’t stand by you. I may even put the blade in your chest myself.

I digress!! I have a message for the folks who wake up early every day, work hard on behalf of  students and have been marked for an Accuse and Remove by the department, It’s a message that speaks loud and clear and does not mince words: You are not alone! Francesco Portelos is one his way (and he’s got a blogger from the Apocalypse riding shotgun!)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Little Lies, Sweet Little Lies You Can't Disguise at PS 154 in the Bronx

This past Monday was the 11th day without violence at PS 154 in the Bronx. But the bigger day was Friday, the 10th. It marked 10 whole days at PS 154 without violence so sayeth DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx.
If I could turn the page
In time then I'd rearrange just a day or two
Notices went out, the doves were released, white smoke plumed from the chimney. The pixies sprang forth and proclaimed to the world that Monday, January 13, 2014 that all the serfs and citizenry of PS 154 were to wear their favorite T-shirts in celebration of such a grand accomplishment. The Peace Bus was bustling with activity!
But I couldn't find a way
So I'll settle for one day to believe in you
But can that be? Ten whole days without violence?  Guess it depends on who is keeping score and what one's definition of violence is.
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
(Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)
Oh, no, no you can't disguise
Apparently the definition of violence has be skewered at PS 154 by DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal.
Although I'm not making plans
I hope that you understand there's a reason why
The Crack Team has learned that as soon as the school year resumed after Christmas break that there were two major acts of violence. 
No more broken hearts
We're better off apart let's give it a try
Bibi Netanyahu squared off and tussled big time with Mahmoud Abbas and Jerry Lewis cold-cocked Dean Martin.

So how then can Friday January 10, 2014 been 10 days without violence? To The Crack Team this seems like "cooking the books." Is it violence if no one knows? Is it violence if school safety is not involved? If a ROD is not called? Who does this benefit? DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal? Were these instances of "violence" imparted into OORS? Is there a coverup?
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
(Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)
Oh, no, no you can't disguise
In other lying news, The Crack Team has come across another atrocity.
If I could turn the page
In time then I'd rearrange just a day or two
It is with regret, or is it irony, that when DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal is confronted with evidence that she has taken her tongue and told a lie she retorts in only one way.
But I couldn't find a way
So I'll settle for one day to believe in you
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies
DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal when caught in a lie, instead of being an adult and owning up to the lie, or even pulling a Ralph Kramden, has only one response.
Tell me lies
Tell me sweet little lies
(Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)
Oh, no, no you can't disguise
(You can't disguise, no you can't disguise)
All she can say is that she stands by her version, her perception, her reality of the truth. This coming from a woman who claims she never lies. Guess it isn't a lie if you believe it is the truth.

Perhaps DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal should the powerful advice of Dr. Sheldon Cooper; Ph.D when it comes to what happens when one lies.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

IS 162 Bronx AP Greg Papadopoulos, Look To PS 106's Marcella Sills About Absenteeism

Lots of news this week with that principal with the blue eye shadow out at PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Marcella Sills.

Yes, we can harp on the other stuff, but being the individuals that we are here at SBSB and not always wanting to go with the flow, The Crack Team was able to find a modicum of positivity in all the mess that was created at PS 106.

For all the misdeeds of Marcella Sills she shows up to work. Late yes, but she does show up.

Unlike Greg Papadopoulos, Assistant Principal at IS 162 in the Bronx. Greg never showed up for work, was given hours upon hours of comp time for unsupervised work from home, and was able to to build up miles on American Airlines, or whatever airlines of his choice, jet setting to Europe.

But let's jar those memories. From July 22, 2013; 

This happened over the course of several years in District 7 in the Bronx. The school is IS 162.
Yolanda Torres is the superintendent, the principal is Marilyn Manzolillo and the AP is Greg Papadopoulos.

But everything is true. Everything happened. Everything was covered up.

Greg Papadopoulos put in "long hours" at home doing the scheduling. I mean really really long hours.

There were no time cards to be punched nor signed.
Marilyn Manzolillo principal of IS 162 did not have enough money to pay per session so the pay was in comp time.

There was shit loads of comp time involved. Remember, all unverified. No time cards.

The assistant principal took vacations with this comp time. All during instructional time, for weeks at a time.

Countries and cities of Europe were visited all while the students of IS 162 were busy as
Papadopoulos was off gallivanting around.

Meanwhile the school is going into the crapper.

Somehow the Special Commissioner of Investigations office got wind of this. Praise be to God! We all know how SCI can be when going after those who misrepresent time taken off and defrauding the DOE claiming they worked while in reality they did not.

Just ask Matthew Kaye aka Matt Striker or Lynn Stewart's daughter. We know how seriously SCI takes this stuff.

This is where that
Yolanda Torres comes in.

SCI, the bastion of all keeping all that is correct in the NYC DOE drops the ball!!!!!!

There was proof up the ying yang!!

They kick it back to
Yolanda Torres for the discipline phase.

Marilyn Manzolillo is buds with the superintendent. She must be, why else would we not hear of this, but we heard of Liza Cruz Diaz at PS 31 in District 7. Ms Diaz stole money. Stealing time is the same as stealing money.

Papadopoulos gets just a letter in the file!

Imagine if a teacher had done this??? OH baby!

Of course
Papadopoulos could not have done this without being enabled by Manzolillo.

I might not be a lawyer, but dang, if this doesn't seem like fraud, larceny, conspiracy, and a few other felonies, then I mock my SUNY education.

Why hasn't Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson been notified of this?

But he is a dolt. How about US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara?

It has been said, and by very reliable sources, that 
Papadopoulos had much more than a professional relationship with Manzolillo. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Know what I mean? Know what I mean?

So this happens and teachers all across the city, and the country are getting crapped on.

Why? Where is the logic behind this.

It is not us running the schools. We just work there.

Maybe it is time to go after the schmucks in charge?  

These 3 crap all over Stu Schmelz, yet they continue to game the system.
Yeah, this shit can't be made up!!!

Where is the outrage? Where is the media? SCI has copies of his travelogues!!! 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Little Evan Stone and His Babe Princess Sydney Morris of E4E Are In It For Themselves

Not only is Little Evan Stone of Educators 4 Excellence gracing these pages now for the third time this month, but he is being joined by his babe, Princes Sydney Morris. Why is Little Evan so
newsworthy of late?

Forbes Magazine named Little Evan and Princess Sydney two the 2014 list of wonderful, thoughtful, fake, stupendous 30 people under 30 in Education or something like that. Rah-rah.

According to the Forbes writer, or the PR hack in the employ of E4E; In 2010, these two former NYC public school teachers and Teach for America alumni founded this teacher-centric voice for public and policy debates in education

The question has yet to be asked. And won't as long as a compliant press continues not doing its job with these two. 

Simple, was this organic or was it created by those with the money? Yes, we all know that official E4E canon claims that the group was birthed over a kitchen table and sprang forth from those meetings. But was the group put together by agents of Bill Gates, Carnegie Foundation, and DFER? Little Evan Stone is still silent on this,

 E4E encourages... debates in education, including teacher evaluations and the Common Core State Standards. 

Yes, debates only with those that agree with it and won't rock the boat. All signs of dissent are scrubbed or not allowed.

But worse, a 50's era loyalty oath is required to be signed just to go a meeting!! Where are the debates??

It now has 13,000 members nationally

Big deal.  Badass Teachers as over 36,000 members. Mark Naison created it on his own volition without any money or outside influences. We don't see him in Prevention Magazine 70 under 70 Educators. And, there is no loyalty oath, except a bizarre initiation ritual that left me puzzled.

Little Evan blabs; "The future of education is dependent on our ability to elevate the role of the teacher as a leader in our schools, districts, and policy making conversations."

So the top down method of education reform that is so prevalent and which E4E's benefactors are encouraging is supposed to give teachers a voice? APPR and Common  Core being crammed down our throats is giving teachers a voice? We do have voices. We have collective bargaining. We have 36k Badass Teachers. We have New York BATs.

The opposite has happened. Name one teacher, a real teacher not some Ivy League TFA hack who has only taught two years, that has been involved in the shaping of any of the education disasters of the last ten years. None. Actually, kind of proof for why we need real teachers making policy. 

The jig is up for E4E. I don't blame Little Evan and his babe Princess Sydney. Each day that the sun rises they are becoming even more and more irrelevant than they have ever been.

The tide is turning out there and Little Evan and Princess Sydney are deaf to what THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK STATE want! As long as they get what they want; fame, fortune, and Forbes, that is all that matters to them. These two are more shallow than the left field line in the old Polo Grounds. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Back on November 30, 2013 these pages informed the world that the students at PS 154 in the Bronx are being deprived of having a physical education program.

To remind all, the physical education teacher had retired and no foresight had been taken to find a qualified replacement. Sadly, the students of PS 154 were left with nothing.

It is well documented that the children of the inner city are more prone to obesity, asthma, and diabetes amongst other maladies. There are a lack of recreational diversions and the lack of healthy food establishments such as restaurants and supermarkets are quite lacking.

So too many of the students of the inner city those state mandated periods in the gym are not only the only true physical activity they that will participate in, but the time involved in physical education but help preclude and/or buttress the obesity, asthma and diabetes that pervades them so easily.

More than that it can help counter that lack of a healthy diet when that diet is filled with sugary drinks, salty foods, and fatty foods such as Cappicola, Soppressata, and Prosciutto. Even heavy rich cheeses such as Provolone, Ricotta, and Mozzarella di Bufala lead to and high cholesterol in students.

Therefore we here at SBSB are perplexed and discombobulated at what sources at PS 154 shared with The Crack Team.

In a school leadership team meeting this past Monday, the status, or the lack of status, of a physical eduction program worthy of the students of PS 154 was brought up. DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx, a woman who claims she never, ever lies (pinky swear to God) told the team;
State law does not allow a teacher with a Common Branch license to tech PE.

Say what? The Crack Team laughed. They laughed a good laugh and said;
"There goes DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal creating her own rules again."
We understand that when one rules with impunity, one tends to start believing that they can rule by fiat.

So as a public service to the SLT at PS 154 and for DR Alison Coviello, Ed.D and Principal, let's have a looksee at New York State Ed Law pertaining to physical education once more.

All students in K-12 must attend and participate in a physical education program.
All pupils in grades K-3 shall attend and participate in physical education on a daily basis.
All pupils in grades 4-6 shall attend and participate in physical education not less than three times per week. 
120 minutes per calendar week exclusive of any time that may be required for dressing and showering.  
Grades K-3 are required to have daily physical education for a minimum total of 120 minutes per week. Grades 4-6 are required to have physical education three days per week for a minimum total of 120 minutes per week. See Commissioner's Regulation 135

 Recess may not be used to meet the physical education days/time requirement 
Under Commissioner's Regulation Part 135.4(c)(4)(i), elementary classroom teachers may teach physical education under the direction and supervision of a certified physical educator.
Designing the elementary physical education curriculum should be a cooperative venture of the District Director of Physical Education, the elementary physical education teacher(s) and the elementary classroom teachers. This would ensure that the physical education curriculum covered in this fashion counts toward the day and time requirement, and will be documented in both the physical education teacher's lesson plans and elementary classroom teacher's lesson plans. See Commissioner's Regulation 135

Remember, under the direction and supervision of a certified physical educator does not mean one must be present at all times.

The Crack Team suggests that Lindsey Harr, Executive Director, Office of School Wellness Programs be contacted post haste for the benefit of the students of PS 154 and to clarify and answer any concerns.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Anti-Semitic Remarks at PS 154 in the Bronx and DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal Does Nothing

I have had only two instances, maybe 1 1/2 instances, of anti-Semitism in my life. One, a few years ago I was called a Kike for the first and only time in my life. Considering who was uttering it, I laughed it off, which made the putz even more upset.

The other instance, and I just think it was out of pure ignorance, was back in 1981 when I was 17. I had obliterated my junior year in high school and my parents sent me to Maine to a summer school/camp. My bunk mate was from Bogota, Columbia and upon finding out I was Jewish, he asked me if I am a good businessman. I then asked him if being Colombian meant he was a cocaine dealer. We then laughed.

I shared this with The Crack Team when we learned today, from several reliable sources at PS 154, of an 11 year old student at PS 154 in the Bronx made several anti-Semitic comments in class and has had a history of making such comments.

His comments did not consist of any gassing Jews, or burning Jews, or throwing Jews down the well. No, it was just ranting about the stereotypical Jew.

The young man exclaimed several time in class, "The Jews have all the money!" to a teacher. Now some might say that this is not anti-Semitic, but we here at SBSB beg to differ. This stereotype was perpetuated  by the Nazis and today by radical Muslims and Arabs. During the time of the Inquisition, Jews that did not convert and decided to leave Spain were accosted, and sliced down the middle by people looking for their hidden "Jew Gold." Jews have fought this stereotype for centuries.

But it will continue at PS 154 for DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal of PS 154 when confronted with news of this incident and the background of other incidents concerning this with and the young man did nothing. As usual.

This general lack of action does not surprise us here at SBSB especially in light of a previous insensitivity of Jewish sensibilities in the past. All the young man received was a talking to even though the NYC DOE discipline code gives more than one option;
A23 (Page 21)Using slurs based upon actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, national origin, citizenship/immigration status, weight, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability (for grades K-3, A-F; for grades 4-5, A-I)
Think about this. An 11 year old boy is not getting this idea of Jews on his own. He is getting it from somewhere, most probable the media or a family member. Admonishing him, reprimanding him, or a student-teacher conference is just not going to cut it. Either a parent conference or the losing of something significant at school is what is needed.

What is truly needed is something out side the box, like what Andy Griffith did when Opie killed that bird. But no, Responsive Classroom won't allow something like that. The young man won't have any joy.

What an opportunity to have the young man do some independent work researching some of the Holocaust. Or meeting with a Holocaust survivor. Reading The Diary of Anne Frank. Discussing why stereotypes are hurtful and wrong. Meeting with a rabbi and learning about Judaism. Heck, this can be a whole class lesson so the young man won't feel singled out.

But alas, none of this happened. One reason is that DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal truly does not want students to feel bad or feel anything about their actions. The other is the what can appear to some as insensitivity to Jews by DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal.  Sometimes lack of action or paying lip service to what should be actionable is very telling/

One wonders though, and it is fair enough to ask, if the student dropped the N-word would there have been a different outcome. We here at SBSB can't say for sure nor do we feel we have all the information to come to a conclusion. Only others, what they feel in their hearts, can come to such a conclusion.

DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal must realize that anti-Semitic remarks have no place in a school. For over 2,000 years Jews have had to put up with vile treatment. In our parents lifetimes over 6 million Jews were murdered. Israel looks at the threat of its destruction day in and day out. Yet at PS 154 not only is nothing done when an 11 year old boy makes anti-Semitic remarks, a teaching moment is not taken advantage of. This is lands at the feet and is the responsibility of DR Alison Coviello; Ed.D and Principal

Monday, January 6, 2014

Two Kids That Are So Much Smarter Than E4E's Little Evan Stone

I participated in the picketing of statewide news organizations today, showing my moxie along with
my educational brethren at News12 headquarters in Yonkers.

A goodly amount of educators, parents, and most importantly---children---were out in the near Arctic conditions letting those employed by News12 how we feel about the lack of media attention to the plight of nearly 20 million New Yorkers.

In the course of the picketing, I met a precocious set of siblings. I forget their names but the brother is 10 years old and his little sister is 7. After speaking with them for a bit I wanted to put forth to them a hypothesis queried on  these pages discussed yesterday. "Is Little Evan Stone of Educators 4 Excellence dumber than a middle school student?" or in this case, "Is a 10 year old boy and his 7 year old sister standing outside in near Arctic conditions smarter than a Yale educated, 30 year old elitist named Little Evan Stone?"

We began the experiment showing the brother and sister team the video in which Little Evan Stone blabbered these words:
"We've been talking a lot abut the common core standards and the new teacher evaluation system, which should be two of her (Farina) big priorities."
It is an understatement that brother and sister were aghast. The both questioned how a man, well he appears to be a man to them, who professes to put children first would want to be involved in something so damaging to children. It was at this point that the experiment went into its final stages. We needed proof that these two children were smarter than Little Evan Stone. Will our hypothesis pan out? Let's see.

There you have it, two more people are smarter than Little Evan Stone.

Wake up Little Evan, smell what the people of New York State demand. You're about to become even more irrelevant.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

His Perception of His Own Power Is Making E4E's Little Evan Stone More Dumber

I originally wanted to mock Thomas Friedman and his inane, flat column in today's Times in which he stated the obvious, but not enough, on education. Seems to us here at SBSB that Tom is flip
flopping and trying to ride the wave away from what he has been spewing the last few years.

But unlike Friedman, and I will give him points for running from what he has written in the past, is everybody's favorite elitist, Little Evan Stone of Educators 4 Excellence. 

Today, on E4E's Facebook page, Little Evan announced to the world two opportunities for Carmen Farina;


Yes, Little Evan Stone, who had taught for about 3 years, is about 30 years old, and has had everything handed to him his entire life, is telling Chancellor Farina who has been in education for over 40 years how to run the NYCDOE. That my friends is chutzpah.

Please take note that Little Evan appears at about 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the video. Eyewitness News education reporter somehow was able to track Evan down (Or was it the other way) and probably had to twist Little Evan's arm to get a statement of him. Little Evan thus blabbered threateningly to Chancellor Farina;
"We've been talking a lot abut the common core standards and the new teacher evaluation system, which should be two of her (Farina) big priorities."
Little Evan, isn't that boat sinking? Do you have any other ideas? Be they original or someone paying you to parrot their ideas?

Look around New York State. The tide is turning against the Common Core and soon will be against the APPR (evaluation system). Does not Carol Burris know more than you and your ilk when it comes to teacher evaluating?

But I don't blame you. You are the messenger in actuality. As long as you accept monies from Bill Gates you are nothing more than a dumb, mindless little boy that will do anything, say anything, or believe anything that Billy Boy wants. Of the two of you, he is the smart one (But that is like saying Moe is the smartest of the 3 Stooges). He is your boss.

Why would dumb down yourself for this man who has said in the past,"we won't know if Common Core will work for at least ten years"? Does it not bother you that our children, my child, my neighbor's children are being experimented on? How would you like it when Princess Sydney Morris pushes out a few of your reproductions and the boarding school they attend is experimenting on them? Would you like it? Probably.

There is a groundswell of outrage by the parents of New York State, and across the country, against the Common Core. Wake up. We don't want you or yours involved in our children's education anymore. We, the parents and the communities of this state and this great nation, wish to decide what is best for our children. And we have no place for a juvenile mouthpiece of Bill Gates telling us what is best.

The same with APPR. Why is something being foisted upon the teachers of NYC and New York State that has been an unmitigated disaster for Microsoft? Tell us all Little Evan, how is this benefiting our children?

But there is hope out there. Like the TV show that asked if you are smarter than a 5th grader in the same video as Little Evan, in fact just before he blabbered, there was a middle school student that showed she is much, much, much smarter than Dumb Little Evan Stone. We shan't give her name, but will share her quote. When asked by Art McFarland about her views of Carmen Farina and testing;
"She's trying to stop the tests because she doesn't think it's right."
When asked how she feels about testing, the little girl responds;
"I don't like it."
Sorry little girl, Little Evan Stone does not care about you. Little Evan Stone is all about himself, his babe Princess Sydney Morris, E4E, and most important, Bill Gates. The little boy and girls of NYCDOE mean jack to him.

Little Evan Stone just gets dumberized time after time.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Teaching to the Test Comes as a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing to PS 154 in the Bronx

On New Year's Day, 2014 the staff of PS 154 received its weekly commandments, er, proclamations, oops, announcements from DR Alison Coviello; PhD and Principal of PS 154 in the Bronx. Several staff members contacted The Crack Team with a directive from DR Alison Coviello; PhD and
Principal that raised some eyebrows;
 ....reading and math teachers in grades 3 – 5 identified students (making up 15% of the grade) who have the potential to achieve Levels 3 or 4 on the upcoming State assessments. Please keep these goals in mind and make plans to achieve them. You may have to think out of the box in terms of how you help particular students. For example, some teachers noted that particular students have the intellectual capability, but currently lack the stamina. We discussed working with these students on a weekly basis to take longer and longer practice assessments as a means to simply build their stamina. 

Other teachers talked about the necessity to meet with parents or for me to speak with parents so that students will attend before or after school clubs. I have done this with four parents thus far (as specifically requested by the teacher) and have been successful at getting 2 out of 4 of these students to attend the extra clubs. Speak to me if you’d like assistance with this.
The Crack Team went hard to work to analyze this and to create a proper response. Right off the bat we all agreed that the poor students of grades 3, 4, and 5 at PS 154 will not be getting a proper education but rather will be nothing more than test automatons and data points. The stench of teaching to the test permeated the air.

Luckily for us here at SBSB we have a new and first female member of The Crack Team, Gertie Dinowitz. Gertie sat down with us and we all ran the statement through the computers here at SBSB. The results don't lie. 

It seems that picking the kids with "potential" to reach a 3 or 4 is like trying to doctor the scores - at Gertie's school,they have been told in the past, to "focus" on only the "cusp" kids, and to forget about bringing a 1 to a 2 or a 3 to a 4, since there is no credit given for that. At her school a level 1 kid is a "lost cause" and to not "expend too much time on lost causes".

By the same token, don't worry about 3's becoming 4's because there's no added credit for that, but watch the "low 4's" because "points are lost if they slip to a high 3".  

Basically, the focus appears to be and spend your resources spent on the kids that have the potential to make the school's data LOOK BETTER rather than trying to help all the kids do their best. 

Calling test prep a "club" is classic "lipstick on a pig." A "club" is generally a group of students who share a common interest coming together to pursue that interest, and there seem to be a plethora of those at PS 154.

We doubt there is much "interest" in test prep, as in, "I really LOVE test prep! Let me join a club so I can hang out with other kids who LOVE test prep and TAKE MORE PRACTICE TESTS, either through actual test prep or using subterfuge such as having the students write about their experiences.  SO much more fun than a French club, drama club, or gardening club!"

We here at SBSB are concerned what is happening at PS 154 is that such targeting will disseminate even more, by looking at the kids who are "worth" more on the test. Like if the kid is an AA male, who gets free lunch and has an IEP, he is "worth" more than an AA girl who just gets free lunch, so spend more time on the boy. Or, if you have a student who is an ELL with an IEP, she is "worth" more than another who is "just" an ELL. And the kids who are NOT minority, who are native English speakers, without IEPs, who do not get free lunch are "worth" the least of all, or maybe the closest to "worthless." 

To say that the students of PS 154 are not getting an education and are nothing more than numbers is an understatement and abhorrent. Not only is this teaching to the test, but at the very best it is an attempt to game the numbers and at the worse it is akin to cheating.

Something like this would never, ever be allowed to happen in Harrison. But then again Harrison only hires leaders that are truly competent and are not worried about test numbers. 

We here at SBSB call on new chancellor Carmen Farina to empower a blue ribbon panel and investigate for irregularities post haste. The education of the students of PS 154 is at stake.