Monday, April 28, 2014

The Maiming of a Teacher's Career in Queens

This is from the files of you can't make this sh** up.

The following anectodals are from a middle school  in Queens. The principal is from the Leadership Academy.

The Crack Team received these anectodals this afternoon and immediately were repulsed at what this teacher has endured over the years. The lack of support and day in and day out harassment is more than anyone can endure.

We decided to only change the names of both students and staff but decided not to redact any of the foul language used. We here at SBSB felt that if we redacted the language the impact would lessen. We want our readers to be as shocked an appalled as we are.

October 30, 2013 - Mary Tyler Moore had been taunting and mocking me since the beginning of the period. She was upset and informing me that I was “on her last nerve” because I had changed her seat upon her return from an in-house suspension.  She refused to take her new seat.  I decided to continue teaching and call her mom later in the day.  She taunted me constantly with threats like, “I’m gonna kick your white ass”, and “Damn racist teacher startin’ shit”. She got up and went to the front of the room and ranted, “School can’t do nothin”. I can do whatever I want to this damn bitch and school can’t do SHIT!  I’ma KID and I’m goin’ to another school so I am DONE with this bitch and her white ass!” This diatribe lasted for about three minutes.  Upon finishing, Mary Tyler Moore pushed her body between me and the table in front of me, a space of about 12”.  She then intentionally used her elbow, torso, and shoulder to shove me out of the way, causing me to fall on my R hip. My neck and lower back also hurt from the impact.  One student left to get an adult, who called the nurse. EMS was called shortly after.

I was taken to Franklin General Hospital and was given muscle relaxants and pain killers. An MRI a few weeks later showed a 4th herniated disc in my lower back, the first three having been the result of the incident on May 1, 2012.
September 26, 2013, period 7 – Morey Amsterdam enters class and screams, “Ok, Bitch, I got no weapon today, so we can GET IT ON!! He later climbed on the table, got on all fours, and pretended to hump his backpack.  Later, he began banging a beat, encouraged the rest of the class to join in (many did), and made up an obscene rap about me with lyrics like, “You know you want it so drop your pants”, and “I’m gonna give it to you hard!”
October 1, 2013 – Dick Van Dyke pointed to me and said to Carl Reiner, “This is your Momma! She pee like this!” as he pretended to pee standing up at a table. Also said, “I’m gonna fuck up your class because I hate you, Bitch!” Screamed at me, “You can do whatever the fuck you want and nobody can do nothin’! I gots an IEP!” Also said, “Can’t take no fuckin’ shit from this bitch!” He went to my desk and took the pictures of my three children and said he would “fuck up her ugly little n****** with the glasses because his Momma want to be a bitch! She got three fuckin’ ugly ass n******, fuckin’ kill those n******! She wearin’ that little dress so she can get some dick! You a cockroach, Bitch! A FUCKING WHITE COCKROACH!!”

We here at SBSB are shocked that these CHILDREN are middle school students. My son is in middle school and want even use the F bomb in my presence, though when we check his text messages he is quite free with that word. 

Say what you will, but this kind of behavior only happens if the school administration allows it to happen. Principal Cineus knows about it and only she can put a stop to it. God forbid if some of the truly violent threats were carried out against this teacher. She could have been raped and/or killed. Then at what point would Principal Cineus' burying her head in the sand make her culpable? 
Herniated discs do not just go away. This can and will be a lifetime of pain for this teacher. Even with surgery, she will never be the same. And why? Because there is zero support for teachers.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Most Repugnant Story of Teacher Abuse and Termination

What I am about to share here I suggest that you read on an empty stomach. It is one of the most  revolting, repugnant, teacher abuse stories I have heard of in the 5 1/2 years I have been blogging. This story comes to SBSB courtesy of Francesco Portelos' new website; Don't Tread on Educators.

So many of us believed with the fall of the Bloomberg Empire that a new day had dawned within the confines of the NYCDOE. That the lawyers would be properly neutered so they would not reproduce, that out of control principals will finally be held accountable, that "GOTCHA!" will cease, that administrators will have their positions due to merit and not who they know. We looked towards Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina to lead us into a new day where children actually were the priority and where leaders will actually lead.

I still want to believe, I still want to hope that there is good coming to all who are involved in educating the children of New York City. But the more I see what is about to be posted and the more I hear from elsewhere I can't keep from thinking of the The Who's 1971 song, "Won't Get Fooled Again;"
"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"
This is a letter from a discontinued guidance counselor to the superintendent of District 19, Joyce Stallings-Harte in Brooklyn. The school is Van Siclen Community Middle School, and the principal is Adonna McFarland of the Leadership Academy (DUH! What a shock!).

Carmen’s DOE Takes Another Young Career

March 28, 2014

New York City Department of Education
Superintendent Joyce Stallings-Harte
557 Pennsylvania Avenue – Room 201
Brooklyn, NY 11207

Superintendent Stallings-Harte,

I would like to take this opportunity to address the 2013-2014 year end rating I received on Monday, March 24th, 2014.

I can still recall my uncontainable excitement after I accepted the offer to serve as school counselor with Van Siclen Community Middle School in July 2013. It had been a position I had pursued for over three years. During school year 2012-2013 I actually secured a school counselor position with another new school scheduled to transition into the George Gershwin campus under the federal turn-around program. Those plans failed due to a lawsuit by the UFT against the NYC Department of Education. The schools chosen to open under this mandate never did. Although incredibly disappointed by the turn of events I remained resilient and continued on with my search. One full school year later I would be working in the same building under different leadership.
So carrying this excitement I entered this school year with incredible enthusiasm, brimming with creative ideas, and enormous passion for all the possibilities this school year held. I was confident that although I had no previous experience as a school counselor, that my experiences as a classroom teacher, coupled with my extensive work in child welfare would undoubtedly be instrumental to the work I would do this year. I recognized, as did Principal Adonna McFarland, that there would be a learning curve, as I had no previous experience outside of my practicum experience. However, I was committed to learning all I could and demonstrated my commitment to the VSC community by volunteering to be a member of the School Leadership Team and helping to facilitate various after school programming for our students.

Days before the start of the school year, August 30th, 2013, I spoke with Principal McFarland in her office. During this meeting I was supplied with a schedule that indicated that I would be effectively teaching entire classes of students anywhere from 2-3 times a day. In addition she stated, “I did not hire you to service mandated students, I hired you to service the at risk students.” Ms. McFarland continued to explain that in her experience service providers typically recommended services to students, that she believed, the students didn’t necessarily need in order for the service providers to secure their positions in their respective schools. Ms. McFarland also explained that when I went into these classrooms on a daily basis she would consider this as “services rendered” and that I should only follow the IEP mandates if I believed the students needed it.

A few weeks later, on September 30th, 2013, I spoke with Ms. McFarland again in her office. Mrs. Keisha Kemp, UFT Chapter Chair and Special Education coordinator, was also in attendance. Ms. McFarland once again explained that she did not hire me to service mandated students and intended on considering services rendered when I went into classrooms. Mrs. Kemp quickly interjected explaining that this could not happen as the IEP stipulates length of time, group size, and location in which the service should be rendered. Principal McFarland immediately begun to scream angrily stating, “Keisha, don’t tell me sh*t about compliance early in the morning! Everything in this place is out of f*cking compliance.” Ms. McFarland then asked me to leave. After a few minutes she invited me back into the office and reiterated her previous sentiments.

Frankly, I was flabbergasted by Ms. McFarland’s directive. In both my graduate level training and internship experience I had never witnessed such blatant disregard of students IEP mandates. In my experience a school counselors primary role is to provide counseling services to mandated students as per their IEP mandates. To not do so is in direct violation of US Federal Law (IDEA). I wanted so much to interject and share what I knew to be correct. However, I instinctively knew that if I did so I would instantly be under attack and subsequently punished by Ms. McFarland.

On September 18, 2013, I attempted to share my perspective with Ms. McFarland regarding one of our special education students CB after she had expressed frustration about his behaviors shortly after he transferred to our school. Ms. McFarland immediately attacked me, shouting at me in her office, stating, “I’ve been around for 20 plus years. When I tell you something don’t ever question me. You need to be careful what you say to me.” She also went on to state, “It concerns me that I hired a counselor who doesn’t see things the way I see things.” She immediately, the following day, requested that I begin to submit weekly counseling activities to her via e-mail. The following week at the Lindenwood Diner, during a staff get-to-together, she openly stated, “I was so pissed with you”. When I expressed confusion Ms. McFarland explained that she became angry when I offered an alternate point of view regarding student CB., and his needs. She went on to explain, “That is why I made you submit your weekly counseling activities. You made me so angry!” Once again this was deeply disturbing.

I had observed Principal McFarland threaten to give former teacher Ms. J. Antonucci a 30-day discontinuance before the school year even begun. Ms. Antonucci subsequently resigned. I observed Ms. McFarland belittle our former community associate Ms. C. Walker on a daily basis. She subsequently resigned. Ms. McFarland then shifted her focus to our former math teacher Ms. J. Taylor. Ms. Taylor also subsequently resigned. Unfortunately I was made aware of this information, as Ms. McFarland would often, involve me in the abovementioned events by discussing her negative feelings, about the staff members, with me on a daily basis. Ms. McFarland would even call and text message me after school hours to disparage them. I was deeply disturbed by her actions. I was forced to wonder, who would be next? And how might she treat me if I ever became the object of her disdain? Our school had quickly become a place stained and mired with intimidation and fear.

Eventually the inevitable happened; Ms. McFarland shifted the focus to me. I was now the enemy and the subject of her attacks. Principal McFarland’s leadership approach has been incredibly alienating and has communicated intimidation at every turn. She has communicated very clear messages, both verbally and nonverbally, to me that unless I allow her to control my every thought and unless I am in complete agreement with her, on every issue, I will be punished.
  • How could I ever feel safe in this environment?
  • How could I effectively learn and develop as a new school counselor?
  • How could I not be fearful of retaliation?

As a probationer I recognized the vulnerable position I was in and knew I had to go along with Ms. McFarland’s plan regardless of how erroneous it was.

Our students have essentially gone numerous months, well over two thirds, of this school year without having received their federally mandated services. Here are four student examples of more than fifteen students who have not received their mandated services:

  • RD., age X, emotionally disturbed, has never received mandated counseling services as per Ms. McFarland’s directive. On February 24th, 2014 Mrs. Kemp, special education coordinator, requested that I complete RD.’s IEP immediately as his annual review was due in a few days. She asked, “You don’t see him, do you?”  I reminded her of the directive Principal McFarland gave during the first weeks of school. She nodded and asked if I could see him that day at some point. I explained that I could not as I would be in classes all afternoon. She stated she would confer with Ms. McFarland. It should be noted that Mrs. Kemp is in line to become Assistant Principal at Van Siclen Community Middle beginning school year 2014-2015. A few minutes later while performing breakfast duties Principal McFarland approached me to ask if I believed RD. was in need of counseling services. I explained that I do not determine whether a child receives counseling services but that the students’ IEP dictates whether he/she should receive counseling. While I continued to explain the counseling mandates to Ms. McFarland she walked away abruptly. Once upstairs Ms. McFarland informed me that I should begin to provide mandated counseling services to RD. beginning March 3rd, 2014.

  • QW., age X, learning disabled, has never received mandated counseling services as per Ms. McFarland’s directive.
  • JH., age X, emotionally disturbed, has never received mandated counseling services as per Ms. McFarland’s directive.
  • MS., age X, other health impairment, has never received mandated counseling services as per Ms. McFarland’s directive.

Throughout the course of this school year Ms. McFarland has repeatedly misused and abused my role as a new school counselor. I have been directed to perform duties outside of my license area, duties that have undermined my role as a school counselor. They are as follows:

  • absence coverages
  • breakfast duty
  • lunch duty
  • yard duty
  • hall monitor
  • dean (performing punitive measures i.e., calling homes, facilitating detention, covering the SAVE room)
  • submitting grades for the fall 2013 report card cycle
  • attendance officer (conducted home visits at the request of the Principal)

Additionally, I teach 2-3 periods per day, every week, as part of the permanent schedule I received from Ms. McFarland on August 30th, 2014. I teach the self contained, 12:1:1 class, 5 times per week. This translates to over three hours of lost instructional time, on a weekly basis, as I am not a teacher and therefore I am not equipped to provide instruction to special education students. Our special education teacher, Ms. ___, is never present when I am teaching class 601. I have also been forced to facilitate extended learning periods, on a weekly basis, since the beginning of this school year. This also translates to 90 minutes of valuable time in which I should have been allowed to provide counseling services to mandated students. This abuse ended abruptly on March 25th, 2014. It is important to note that I was notified of my potential discontinuance on March 24th, 2014.

As a school counselor it is imperative that I am given the latitude to remain flexible so that I can be responsive to student needs. Being provided a schedule in which I am constrained within classrooms multiple times a day interferes with my ability to respond to student/parent needs should they arise at any given point during the school day.

On Thursday, January 30th, 2014, Assistant Principal Campbell informed me, that I would no longer be working out of the counseling office. I was not supplied with a reason. I wondered how I would complete my duties? How would I store confidential records? How would I ensure confidentiality during counseling sessions and meetings with parents and/or service providers? I was instructed by Principal McFarland to utilize Room 210 and Room 205 beginning February 3rd, 2014. I was also instructed to utilize the computer in the main office. It should be noted that three other professionals share the sole computer in the main office. They are: Parent Coordinator Lee, Community Associate Perez and Attendance Officer Kierstedt on any given day. It has been extraordinarily difficult to negotiate the use of the computer with several other professionals who all have arduous tasks to complete. As a result my ability to complete tasks has been severely compromised. Confidentiality has also been severely compromised. The constant influx of students, parents, and staff members moving in and out of the office space has made it impossible to have any confidential conversation.

Most recently, I received an e-mail from Principal McFarland, on March 21st, 2014, informing me that effective March 24th, 2014, I would be relocated to the staff conference room/kitchen to work with students. Room 221 is located at the far end of the second floor apart from all classrooms and students. It contains a refrigerator, microwave, water cooler and refills, food products etc.… Teachers and staff are constantly moving in and out of the room as well. For the first time this school year Principal McFarland instructed me to service mandated students in this room. It should be noted that I also received notice of my potential discontinuance on March 24th, 2014. These kinds of changes are clearly devised to undermine my efforts at being successful in my role as school counselor. Removing, from me, the tools required to successfully complete my professional responsibilities and then subsequently penalizing me when I am unable to complete said responsibilities is unfathomable. It is unjust. It is clearly sabotage. Ms. McFarland has essentially manufactured my failure.

Principal McFarland on numerous occasions, beginning on November 4th, 2014, during a meeting, expressed her dissatisfaction with my performance stating, “I regret hiring a new counselor. I should have hired someone with more experience.”  Ms. McFarland has included five disciplinary letters as evidence of my incompetence as a school counselor. I have reviewed each letter several times and remain bewildered by each one. From encouraging a student to discuss a grievance regarding Assistant Principal Campbell with her parent/guardian to making an error, as all human beings do, from time to time, the administrators at VSC have sought to take a punitive approach against me on issues that clearly could have been addressed with a clear conversation. Why choose to go on the attack, and punish without cause, when I have demonstrated total compliance and extreme responsiveness throughout my tenure at Van Siclen Community Middle School?

As the instructional leader of Van Siclen Community Middle School I have depended upon Ms. McFarland to guide me professionally and to provide me with immediate feedback concerning my performance as a school counselor. She is charged with the responsibility, both professional and ethical, of providing those under her charge with the resources to improve their professional practice when it requires improvement so that growth and development are evident. How can Ms. McFarland recommend that I be discontinued when I have not been:

  • supplied with a written professional improvement plan detailing areas of concern, suggestions for improvement and a realistic plan of action to address these concerns.
  • given an opportunity to attend professional development in and/or out of the school building regarding these areas of concern.
  • given a mentor/coach that worked with me directly to address specific concerns detailed in the professional improvement plan.
  • given the opportunity to work on the areas of concern with a coach/mentor.
This has been extraordinarily painful, as I know with certainty, that under the right leadership my potential as a school counselor is limitless. Principal McFarland’s incessant misuse and abuse of my role undoubtedly points to a severe lapse in professional judgment and should illuminate her inherent inability to develop new talent and to ultimately lead. What will happen to the students of Van Siclen Community Middle School if she is allowed to continue to circumvent the structures put in place to
ensure that students have access to the education and services guaranteed to them under New York State and Federal Law?

Superintendent Stallings-Harte, as the leader charged with protecting the educational rights of our most vulnerable students, I ask that you keenly consider my circumstance with discernment, care and balance. Ms. McFarland has worked diligently to erode my ability to do this work. In the past weeks she has forcibly discontinued both my girls and bereavement groups under the guise that she would be rescheduling the time the groups are to be held. It has been well over a month and the groups have not been rescheduled. The students inquire about when the groups will resume on a daily basis. I have been unable to supply them with an adequate response. Most recently Ms. McFarland has begun to interrogate our students after I speak with them asking, “What did she say to you?”  And frequently penalizes students when they attempt to speak with me, yelling, “What are you doing over there” and “Go where you are supposed to be!” Despite Principal McFarland’s consistent attacks I have remained focused on our students. This past Monday morning one of our students, a 12-year old girl, voluntarily came to speak with me about her weekend. The student explained that she recently discovered who her birth father is and traveled to the Bronx, with her mother and siblings, to meet with her paternal grandmother and extended family members for the first time. She was clearly overwhelmed by the experience and expressed feelings of fear and anxiety. I was able to really work with this student on the issues involved, explore the root of her fear and help her get a firm handle on what she can expect to feel emotionally in the coming weeks and months as she explores these new relationships with the paternal side of her family. This is the work I am passionate about and the work I know our students yearn for.

The role of a school counselor is a significant one, one that I have not been allowed to carry out as detailed in this letter. It has always been crystal clear, to the entire school community, that I’ve had the best of intentions for our students. I have consistently met them with affirmative energy, warmth, and encouragement. Ms. McFarland has also recognized this as fact on multiple occasions. Despite the arduous circumstances I continue to work with our students to the best of my ability.

Approving Principal McFarland’s recommendation to discontinue my employment with the Department of Education will essentially empower her perverse actions, enable her to continue forward with harming the students of VSC, and communicate a dangerous message to the school community that maligning professionals in an effort to mask malfeasance is acceptable. It is not. I remain hopeful that you will, see clearly, all the issues I have outlined and make the appropriate decision that will allow me to continue onward with the career I have worked so hard for. I want to be a school counselor. I am passionate about this work, this community, and our children.

Realizing the limitations of the written page, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person in order to address any of your questions and/or concerns. Thank you for your time and consideration.

With Warm Regards,

School Counselor

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Education Police State Comes to Rye NY

Rye, NY. A leafy city of about 15,000 hard by the Long Island Sound. The home of Playland, BJ Surhoff, and Wellington Mara. A city in which education is taken seriously by the community. Who would have thought that the police state of education would find it's way into Rye?

In May of 2013, 4 teachers were accused of "improper coaching" during state exams that April to a small group of students according to the Rye Patch. These four teachers then were removed from the classrooms and put on the Rye version of the Rubber Room.

Since then, the Westchester County District Attorney has investigated and found insufficient evidence to proceed.  One teacher, Shannon Gold a 4th grade teacher at Milton Elementary has resigned with neither party admitting wrongdoing. One teacher, Gail Topol, returned to school under what some are claiming preferential treatment, and two others, Dana Coppola and Carin Mehler are still reassigned not doing what they love and are trained to do.

The worst part is that Carin Mehler's daughter is a student at the Osborn Elementary School. The same one in which her mom, Carin, is a teacher.

Not only is this an awkward situation for the little girl, but worse, Carin Mehler is not even allowed to enter the school as a parent. The Rye City School District has told Carin that she cannot act as a parent and in the best interests of her child on school property. The Crack Team finds this most outrageous. Even Francesco Portelos is allowed to attend community functions at the school in which he was cast out of (He lives in the community).

But one thing bothers The Crack Team. Where was the Rye Teachers Association at the beginning of this? What did they have to say? RTA President Jamie Zung had this to say at the latest Rye City School District board meeting;
“For almost a year, I have resisted requests from the RTA to make a public statement. For almost a year, I have allowed the RTA to appear apathetic and weak in the public eye. For almost a year, I have maintained hope that the process would work. But after a year, you have failed to settle this case so I, and we, are here tonight.”
Yes, we here at SBSB do not know the inner workings the politics of the RTA, but it looks to us as a bit too little, a bit too late. This "strategy" appears to be taken from the UFT playbook, the chapter entitled, "We Don't Want Them to Get Mad at Us, Besides You Are Still Getting Paid So Shut Up and Stop Kvetching About Your Plight."

So what is a teacher with an exemplary record like Carin Mehler forced to do? Lawsuit.

Carin filed a federal complaint against the Rye City School Board, it's superintendent and her principal. When a school district becomes a police state what is one to do?

From reading the complaint, one wonders if the students in question had testing with modifications and that perhaps the students misinterpreted any involvement as "coaching." It is also reasonable to assume that the students misinterpreted or mixed up the practice tests in which the students were allowed to talk and to ask questions. One can also reasonably wonder that during administration of the test that the students were told preceding the exam to check all their work if that command was not somehow misconstrued.

Why when the Westchester County DA's office has found no abnormalities is this case still being pursued? What has the New York State Education Department's investigation uncovered? Why hasn't the NYSED or the Rye City School District been available for questions from the media?

How many hundreds of thousands of dollars will be wasted on the lawyers and possible settlements that the Rye City School District has and might in the future spend? Are such monies better off being spent on instruction and on the students?

Where is the true outrage from the parents of Rye? The Rye community is being played for suckers by administrators and board members more interested in covering their butts right now than doing the right and honorable thing.

One more thing. Were the parents of the children interviewed notified before hand and/or was permission given and parents present during the interviews?

And please do not forget to be at the board meeting tomorrow night at the Rye Middle School at 8 PM EDT

The federal complaint;

Friday, April 18, 2014

Is a Chimp Smarter Than Campbell Brown?

She's baaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!

The Bayou Schicksa otherwise known as Campbell Brown is back sharing what little grasp she has on reality with those she believes she lords over from her gilded perch.

Campbell, who converted to Judaism for her husband, Iraq War provocateur and mass murderer, Dan Senor, has now come out with a website known as Common Sense Contract hoping that she, and she alone, will be the voice of reason that all those negotiating will set eyes upon her words and say to themselves, "Hey, The Bayou Schicksa has some very good points." Sadly, but of course not surprisingly, only the New York Post feels that way.

What is it that drives Campbell to inject herself into the education debate? Is it that she has nothing to do at home all day whilst the children are out and about with their individual nanny's? There are so many self-righteous do good education deformers out there that her voice easily gets lost in the noise and if she did not have the name she has would never be given a second glance.

Perhaps Campbell can take time from her busy schedule of shopping to look into Iraq War war crimes and the lies that led to our involvement for over ten years in the quagmire of Iraq. I suggest that she disguise the bawdy talk that Dan Senor enjoys so much and ask him hard questions as to his involvement of the thousands that died for no reason.

But since she probably shan't let's go over her op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Post.

Due to the ease of just discrediting everything she spewed forth, we enlisted the services of Zippy the Brain Damaged Wonder Chimp to assist.

The Bayou Schicksa says; Teachers can be absent for up to 20 days without giving any notice or any reason and still face no penalty whatsoever. Teachers can’t be absent without notice unless there is an emergency. If they don’t show up without a reason for three straight days, they can be put on unpaid leave and reinstated only if they prove an emergency kept them from alerting the school.

Hmmmm. What does the contract say? 
  Teachers who are absent for 20 consecutive school days without notice shall be deemed to have resigned unless they have reasonable cause for failure to notify. The issue of the reasonableness of the cause and the penalty, if any, shall be subject to the grievance procedure, including binding arbitration, set forth in Article Twenty-Two
Seems reasonable. What happens if you are kidnapped, in an accident, lost, whatever. NO where does it say without a penalty. You need a pretty gosh darn good reason. But again, since there is that pesky thing known as due process, which even Zippy the Brain Damaged Chimp understands better than Campbell, well tough you know what.

Seriously, how often does this happen? Twenty days without notice, even three? And what is the emergency? Teachers, even teachers that are out legitimately for over three days call in and must have some time of proof, whether medical, psychological, or even for jury duty. Zippy wants to know why Campbell feels we must be treated as children. 

The typical parent-teacher conference often lasts two or three minutes.

It does? Says who? On the elementary level parent conferences are 10-15 minutes and there are two sessions, and evening and an afternoon.

Teachers aren’t required to talk with, e-mail or respond to parents outside the narrow hours of the school day.

No, neither are we required to make home visits. But teachers do, and I can speak as a parent, make time to respond to emails, make phone calls when needed and return phone calls as well. Yes, it can be difficult at times to get a response from a teacher, but unlike the Bayou Schicksa, teachers have families and lives to lead. 

Parents should be allowed to reach out to teachers by e-mail or phone and expect a timely response, and they should be promised at least 15 minutes per child in their teacher-parent conferences.

See above. But Zippy just brought up a very good point (This is why we pay him so well). Why is the onus on the teachers? What about those parents that never show for parent conferences, never return calls, never pick up the report cards, never inquire as to their child's education? What about those parents? Where is Campbell leading the way to encourage these parents to be involved?

And where was the Bayou Schicksa for the last 12 years as Bloomberg and pals systematically cut the parents voices out of their children's education? Zippy says she was nowhere. 

Taxpayers spend a staggering $144 million a year on teachers who no longer have jobs but draw their full salary anyway. Teachers who lose their jobs may no longer stay on paid leave for the rest of their careers at taxpayer expense. Instead, they get one year to find a new position or move to unpaid leave until they do.

They did not lose their jobs, they lose their positions through no fault of their own. Why would a principal hire a 20 year veteran teacher making $90k or thereabouts instead of an untenured, 24 year year old making about $46k?

Case in point. As mentioned on these pages my school, PS 154 went without a physical education teacher from October through February. I know personally of several ATR's with phys ed licenses. None of them were brought in, none of them were interviewed, none of them were considered. WHo got the job? A 24 year old rookie teacher. 

Teachers who sexually harass children can stay in the classroom if an unelected arbitrator sees no reason they should be fired.

So if it is an elected arbitrator it is OK? Remember Campbell, it takes 2 parties to sign a contract. But, if they return to the classroom does that not mean that the arbitrator found the charges lacking? 

But maybe Campbell has a point. Such cases, if misdemeanors, should be heard in NYC Criminal Court in which the judges are; 
appointed by the Mayor of New York City to a 10-year term.
Ooops! Well maybe all sex cases can be heard in New York State Supreme Court in which...
...According to statute, however, candidates for the supreme court (the major trial court) are chosen through a party convention system, in which primary voters elect convention delegates who choose candidates for the judgeships.
 NO! Wait!! Federal court. No. Those judges are appointed for life. Dang Campbell, what to do? Zippy says he has an idea. Why not appoint Campbell judge, prosecutor, and jury and she can decide. 

Zippy also suggests that since Campbell is such a protector of children that she can look into who is responsible for all the dead and maimed children in Iraq and bring her husband to trial for war crimes.

Tenured teachers facing substantiated charges of sexual misconduct should be suspended without pay. 

They're are. Two months without pay if there is probable cause. It is in the contract Campbell.

And the chancellor should have final say on firing the teacher after a hearing — not a local arbitrator who is not accountable to parents, voters or the mayor.

So, even though a teachers is found not to have committed what they are accused of doing they can still lose their job, their livelihood, at the whim of the chancellor? Does that not violate the 14th Amendment which your die in the wool Republican husband so feverishly believes?

But I see Campbell's point. Her husband Dan Senor is responsible, directly and indirectly, for thousands of deaths and atrocities in Iraq. One person, George W. felt that Dan was above it all.

The Bayou Schicksa has too much time on her hands. She is bogarting her way into this deform debate to keep herself relevant. Perhaps it is time she returns to CNN and do what she does best. Report of kitten fashion shows.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another NYCDOE Educator Arrested for Speaking Up!

I should write this post as if it were a Twilight Zone episode.
Imagine if you will a young, attractive, white female, first year teacher who unravels a string of corruption at her school and is sent without warning or knowing why to the Rubber Room. Soon she is terminated whilst the principal that she exposed for financial improprieties and other not nice stuff is removed from her school and promoted. Meanwhile this young lady enters the Kafkaesque world of the NYCDOE in which up is down, good is bad, and insane is sane.

Not knowing why she has been fired she hires hot shot attorney and commences a letter writing campaign only asking to explain to her why she has been terminated. Soon this campaign reaches the desk of Det. Barney Fife of the 84th precinct in Brooklyn. She is arrested and soon enters the Twilight Zone.

Again, this post comes to you from the files of the "You Can't Make This Shit Up," department.

I am talking of course that yet another educator was arrested and booked for daring to speak their mind as the New York Post reported this past Sunday.

Yes, add Lydia Howrilka to the list of teachers arrested by the 84th Precinct to the list, albeit small and exclusive thus far, of educators arrested for just speaking up.

What innocuous act did Lydia perform that got her locked up for over 14 hours and send to Central Booking in Brooklyn on March 4, 2014? She just sent an email asking for clarification as to why she was discontinued and asking if the issues can be resolved by getting together and talking like adults.

The Crack Team has obtained a copy of the dastardly email that Lydia sent and this is the first time anywhere that it will be published. We here at SBSB suggest that women hold onto your significant others and be sure to not let children read the email.

Had enough? Yes, it is quite horrific. When read at first several members of The Crack Team wretched all over the SBSB newsroom floor and crawled into fetal positions due to the horror that they read.

But seriously, a harmless young lady sends a harmless email to her former principal Arisleyda Urena and she spends 14 hours in police custody? Doesn't the NYPD have better things to do and more importantly, why aren't the detectives that arrested Lydia, as well as Francesco Portelos checking with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office first?

Will the arrest and subsequent declining to prosecute curtail these arrests or is this just the tip of the iceberg and we can expect more arrests of whistle blowers and those that speak out? Would Francesco and Lydia have been arrested by any other detective and/or precinct or is this the act of some rouge detectives with some close relationship with the NYCDOE?

This needs to be looked into post haste. The Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD must be notified as well as the Civilian Complaint Review Board and of course our pals at SCI.

I believe, and I hope I am right, that these arrests were authorized by the lawyers without the knowledge of either Farina or de Blasio. I think the lawyers know that there days of running roughshod and trampling the rights of teachers are coming to an end and they are now just shooting wildly as they know they will soon be not as relevant as they used to be.

The numb nut lawyers by having Francesco and Lydia arrested did the opposite of what they had intended.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Bear with me here as I put into context the audacity, the hubris, the obfuscation I witnessed today of hacks representing Students First.

As many of you know, I am incarcerated at 4360 Broadway which happens to be PS 48 in Manhattan. Coming in this morning there were a phalanx of talking head media congregated outside the school yard at 8 AM this morning. Curious as to what was happening, I asked a camera man from Time Warner Cable News (The new name for NY1) to fill me in. He told me that the the two trailers for Kindergarten students were full of mold and the parents of the community had had enough.

Parents and community members were being interviewed through the morning by all the big stations of NYC. There even were a smattering of print journalists. Some of the trucks and reporters stayed throughout the morning to go live on their respective noon broadcasts. But it didn't end there.

I guess when news hits like this the cockroaches come out of the woodwork and feel that this is an opportunity not to miss an opportunity to take advantage of those that are day in and day out being taken advantage of by the DOE. An opportunity to put themselves front and center and wrap themselves up in the guise of altruism when all they think about is how can they get over and further their cause.

As I was leaving today and walking south on Broadway past the school yard I saw several women outside the gate with clipboards and having parents sign a piece of paper. At first I thought that this was a drive to register voters (Which I see quite often in the neighborhood) or having parents signing petitions to rid the school of trailers. I was wrong.

As I walked by I looked down on the clipboard and saw in bold capital letters, "STUDENTS FIRSTNY." I did a double take. What a coincidence that Students First will descend upon a school on the very same day it makes news. And who comes with Students First to rouse the parents, the contract mercenaries of the "grassroots" group, Families For Excellent Schools. In fact one woman, I could have sworn I had seen here on the FES page before, but I just could not prove it. But when I asked if they were with FES, all I heard is, "What is Families for Excellent Schools?"

What were they having the parents sign? It seems these four women were telling the parents that SFNY wished to start an after school program for the students at PS 48 and if they can sign and provide contact information. Those that are interested will be asked to attend a meeting of at a location and time to be known later and all paperwork as to this supposed "after school program" will be shared at that time.

Excuse me, but this seems as this is the way cults recruit their prey. Like the Moonies. Ooops! Sorry Michelle, politically incorrect pun intended.

I engaged in conversation with one of the ladies to whom I shall refer to as Laverne. I asked Laverne how one can determine a good teacher. Laverne was quite forthcoming with me.

"A good teacher is someone that knows when a student is struggling in class and will give that extra help to her. A good teacher is someone that will call home when it is necessary."

Quite informative Laverne!

I shared with Laverne and her friend the history of Students First and where and from whom finances Students First. They were shocked. I also asked them what would they think of Michelle Rhee if they heard that she has physically abused children in the past. For two ladies that had no idea what FES is they sure knew who Michelle is. But I digress. Laverne's friend said that it is impossible that Michelle would abuse children. I said, wrong, that it happened, that Rhee duct taped 1st graders mouths and made them bleed. I even showed her my blog post of 4 years ago. The friend still said it can't be true. I said yes it can and it is and Rhee so much as admitted it (Which should be here but it looks as if the Washington Post deleted it) but I found it here.

But her friend at least seemed open minded. Laverne still was buying the company line.

Laverne shared with me that unions protect teachers that sexually abuse students. I asked Laverne to give me an example. She told of Bronx Aerospace High School on Gun Hill Rd in the Bronx. She told me of a teacher at Bronx Aerospace that sexually abused a student, was found guilty of a felony in criminal court and was allowed back to teach in that school. When I asked her the name of the teacher she had no idea and suggested that I look on Inside Schools to find out.

Of course, it never happened. I gave Laverne another chance to name another incident. She couldn't. Just as she couldn't respond when gushing how Common Core™© is important to get children college and career ready she was unable to explain why a 8 year old must be college and career ready.

But this is how MichelleRheeFirst operates. Obfuscation and subterfuge. Even had a prominent parent of the school bought into the ruse and was directing other parents to sign the paperwork for the after school program. When it was explained to this parent what was really happening she felt horrible. I can't blame her. This is what Students First does. It preys on those not fully informed.

But why was Students First so easy to mobilize? Where was the UFT? Yeah, this was breaking news, but isn't there a rapid response information squad that can quickly come to schools such as PS 48 when they are in the news and show support for the community. Wouldn't this at the very least pull back a layer of distrust that communities have for teachers unions? Wouldn't making an appearance, passing out flyers, etc... show the UFT in solidarity with the community. Without a UFT presence today there was a vacuum that was all too easily filled by interlopers.

But the lack of a UFT presence is nothing compared to the abhorrent, callous, opportunistic, parasitic leaching onto the parents of Students First. At a time when the parents needed support to rid the school of 20 year old trailers Students First could have came and advocated for and with the parents on what was important to them today. The removal of the trailers. Instead,  Students First decided to take advantage of parents, to scare parents, to lie, to deceive, and to act like a pal. Students First is nobody's pal. Their only pals are the monied interests of Wall St and Washington DC.

There must be a way to ensure that this will not happen again.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Factoid World of Michael Goodwin of the New York Post

I buy two newspapers on Sunday. The Daily News, I read in the car while my son is in Sunday School and The Times to read throughout the day. The Post, except for Phil Mushnick is a waste of my time.

But this past Sunday I was able to read a free copy of the Post. I forgot where I was but I came across Michael Goodwin's column with a big headline proclaiming, "The False and Ridiculous Claims Against Charter Schools." OK, I have time to waste and in need of a good giggle, so I said to myself, "Why not?" and read.

I have to admit, Goodwin piqued my interest quite a bit as a good writer must. I started to read with bated breath and found the first three paragraphs or so fascinating;
Say anything nice about charter schools, and you are sure to get letters full of rage, false charges and praise for unions. The attacks, often from teachers, follow a format that appears to be scripted by labor bosses and echo the class-warfare bile of Mayor de Blasio.

To wit, charters succeed because they weed out problem students, they discriminate against those with disabilities, and their operators, especially Eva Moskowitz, got special favors from the previous mayor.

Ergo, everything charters achieve is suspect and their methods won’t work on a broad scale.
WHOA! Some awesome writing there! His writing puts me to shame. But the way he grabbed me and brought me in was surely the work of someone bordering on the level of genius, if not a super genius. What was I to read next?

Surely, he would refute the statements and facts that people throw out there against charters. I said to myself, "Self, be prepared to be blown away by Michael Goodwin. Being a newspaper columinst  he must have a multitude of folders, paperwork, and Power Point presentations to completely refute and p3wn the anti-charter folks."

I was prepared to join the Dark Side. I was ready to know that all that I have known is no more and to know what I did not know and see that new knowledge as fact.

Goodwin shared part of a letter he received from a "misguided fourth grade teacher;"

“Charter schools claim to educate students with disabilities but those disabilities are mild, while the public schools are serving ­every child.”

OK, a little bit off topic. No refutation  as of yet, but perhaps Goodwin is teasing the reader to the big build up I said to myself.

Goodwin goes on...The claim is false and the comparisons to traditional schools wildly misleading, but the repetition of similar charges in letter after letter is revealing.

Yeah, go for it Goodwin, let it all out. Share with us the facts you have at hand!!! SAY AMEN BROTHER!!!!

He starts to let it out; As I’ve argued, unions and so-called progressive politicians see successful charters as an existential threat, and so they must be stopped, facts and ­innocent children be damned.

The threat is to union jobs, but more broadly, to the equality ideology that animates the left wing of the Democratic Party. That ideology is a form of creepy collectivism that favors mediocrity for all over excellence for some.

OK, more opinion than fact but he must be going somewhere, no? 

Here, Goodwin chooses the old stand by, the ad hominen attack; “Do you know what else charter school children and parents have, motivation, otherwise they wouldn’t be there, they would not have undergone the process to get in,” writes the grammatically challenged educator. “Public schools serve every child, even those whose parents sadly don’t even care enough to bathe or feed them.”

I'm not going to share the rest of the teacher's letter to Goodwin. Goodwin never shared any specifics of this teacher. With the journalistic track record of the Post and News Corp. how can one be sure of anything?

But one thing is certain, Goodwin does back up with facts the title of his column. Nowhere in no way does he show any statistics refuting any single solitary claim that he says the anti-charter movement makes.

This was a golden opportunity for Goodwin to at the very least plant a seed of doubt into reader's minds. Instead what he has done is show just how low he and the New York Post will sink in doing everything possible to defile and debase De Blasio and to show that the Post is nothing more than a sock puppet for Eva Moskowitz, Governor Andy, and the entire deform movement.

Yes, we know that a newspaper columnist shares his opinion. But by looking at his headline and the first three paragraphs one assumes that there must be some facts that Goodwin will share. Instead he mocks someone using a strawman argument. This column is pure bait and switch and an ode to the deformers of New York City.

Will what Goodwin wrote past muster with the editor/faculty adviser of an elementary newspaper?

This is what has happened to journalism in this country. A few media companies own almost all the outlets of dissemination and are easily bought off to keep their licenses and their access.

Goodwin is pathetic.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Teachers Cleared of Heroin in Fallsburg NY

Last month we reported here on SBSB how 6 teachers and an aide in Fallsburg NY were accused of being heroin users while on school time.

On two separate occasions heroin was found in the teachers rest room at the Benjamin Cosor Elementary School. The teachers and aide were accused because the video surveillance equipment set up after the first discovery of the heroin revealed these 7 using using the rest room at the approximate time when it was speculated the heroin was being used in the bathroom.

These teachers and the aide were vilified across the nation in some of the most wing nut, bat s*** crazy places one can imagine. Worse, they were convicted, locked up, and the key thrown away in the very community they serve so honorably.

The police chief of Fallsburg NY, Simmie Williams proclaimed;
"If you got nothing to hide, give me some urine,"
Of course Chief Williams duty to uphold the laws and the Constitution of the United States means diddly as long as he can get pissed on.

Parents of the school and school district while rightly concerned, wanted to be judge, jury and prosecutor and deemed that the teachers were hiding behind the union and should either be fired or suspended without pay. But two interesting things happened along the way, only one of which was reported somewhat en masse and another not so en masse.

As reported here in February, a school contracted employee, an occupational therapist, was also amongst the accused. He submitted to a urine test and it came back negative. Even though we reported on these pages that a urine test for heroin can only come back positive within 2 days after suspected usage.

But last week, according to the Times Herald Record of March 27, the school resource officer, Martin Gonzalez of the Fallsburg PD was quietly removed from the school due to a lack of trust among the staff at the school.

Now, one must ask themselves, how did it come to be that Officer Gonzalez found the heroin both times? What are the chances of this happening? Did he suggest the video surveillance and if so did he obtain a warrant for the video surveillance?

But the investigation is getting higgedly piggedly. The Times Herald Record reported today that all the teachers have been tested, not by giving Chief Williams some pee-pee, but by giving them a piece of their hair. And.....? All tests came back negative.

But what about the occupational therapist? Has he given a sample of his hair? If he hasn't why not? Is he a friend of Officer Martinez? Does he have friends in the Sullivan County District Attorney's Office? Who is he? What is his name? Why so fast to accuse the teachers but not this occupational therapist?

But it seems the teachers have been exonerated and no one, not the Fallsburg Police Department, the District Attorney's office, nor the Fallsburg Central School District is reaching out to the teachers and apologizing. What gives?

These staff members are marked. As Peter Duncan the school aide said before yesterday's school board meeting;
"I'm the one who was told on social media that I deserve a bullet in my head; I'm the one who was told that I needed to be hung and beaten; I'm the one who was told I should lose my job. The district has not done their part to clear our names."
Well, when is the school board coming up with a mea culpa? 

This is not about advocating or condoning drug use or hiding behind the cloak of union protection, but rather about due process that was not afforded these staff members. This is why unions are needed more and more in education. This is why due process is so important to teachers. This country has become so shrill and alarmist to any perceived misdeed by teachers the last ten years that people have more empathy for a serial killer and demand that the killer gets due process but want teachers tried and convicted before any facts are in or before any prosecution even starts.

We here at SBSB demand that a special prosecutor be named to look into what happened at the Benjamin Cosor Elementary School immediately and for the occupational therapist to be named and his hair samples be given just as fast.

We are all innocent till proven guilty, but it seems that this does not mean that teachers are anymore.

Something stinks in Fallsburg really bad.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Arrest Report for Francesco Portelos

I just thought of the irony of this post. Today is April Fool's Day and the arrest of Francesco Portelos along with the reading of the complaint and arrest report should be a joke. In a way it is, but not really.

Both the NYPD and the NYCDOE should stop sniffing their own farts and stop thinking they live in some gilded tower in which they believe they hold sway above humanity.

Be warned. While reading the complaint and arrest report try to not have any liquids in your mouth. You will laugh so hard you are bound to spray all over your computer and/or device screen.

Mr White of the DOE, and no this is not a pseudonym, felt in fear for his safety.  Perhaps Francesco was to unleash dozens of cute kittens upon the IT department of the DOE? What, Francesco was threatening him with Orzo? Notice the Greek reference? This is because the arresting officer, Barney Fife, er I meant, Detective Warren was under the impression that Francesco was Hispanic.

We do find out that Francesco has an MO (Modus Operandi). He asks question and send emails. EEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!! OOOOOOH, scary stuff.

Remember, the giveaway that Francesco's post was satirical was that the password to the payroll portal is; "KittensRCute."

Anyway, why spoil the reading? Go ahead, sit back and relax and read.