Friday, January 30, 2015

Don't Be a Mr. Bungle

A video we all can live by as educators. We should all be Phil.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Reaming of Francis Blake of PS 157 District 7

Here it is in all its glory. The decision against Francis Blake by the arbitrator Alan Berg. DR Mychael Willon is mentioned as is Donald Conyers as two upstanding human beings. The last two pages include the reversal of Francis' penalty to a five thousand dollar fine and two months suspension. FYI, Francis is appealing the decision.

Oh one more thing. I redacted Francis' file number and SS #. However, other sentences in the first few pages will look redacted but they are not. I used too dark a highlighter on my copy and it came out too dark. My apologies.


Sunday, January 25, 2015


In 1976 the band Rush came out with the album "2112." The title track, "2112" was a 21 minute song about a time in the future in which these priests ruled the world from their so called "Temples of Syrinx."

The priests control everything, the books that are read, art, music, everything. This boy goes into a cave and finds a guitar. He starts to strum it and notices the beautiful music it plays. In his excitement he brings it to the priests who know of this "ancient device," and tell the boy to leave them alone and to forget about this device.

The boy depressed falls asleep and an oracle comes to him and shows him the future of gifted hands playing the guitar. He awakens and depressed realizing it was just all a dream and sacrifices himself realizing that these priests are still in control.

2112 is in 7 parts, Overture, Temples of Syrinx, Discovery, Presentation, Oracle: The Dream, Soliloquy, and Grand Finale.

I have been wanting to share this song for a long time with everyone and how I believe it is a comment on what is happening today in education.

The videos are in 3 parts and are from Rush's 1996 Test For Echo tour which was the last time 2112 was played in its entirety. This particular show is was bootlegged o the opening night of that tour (Which I was in attendance) in Albany on October 19, 1996. I have added the lyrics and the story that precedes the lyrics for each part as it appeared originally in the 1976 album.

 Parts I and II

'I lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon. City and sky become one, merging
into a single plane, a vast sea of unbroken grey. The Twin Moons, just two pale orbs as
they trace their way across the steely sky. I used to think I had a pretty good life here,
just plugging into my machine for the day, then watching Templevision or reading a Temple
Paper in the evening.

'My friend Jon always said it was nicer here than under the atmospheric domes of the Outer
Planets. We have had peace since 2062, when the surviving planets were banded together under
the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The less fortunate gave us a few new moons.
I believed what I was told. I thought it was a good life, I thought I was happy. Then I found
something that changed it all...'

[I. Overture]

And the meek shall inherit the earth...

[II. Temples of Syrinx]

...'The massive grey walls of the Temples rise from the heart of every Federation city. I
have always been awed by them, to think that every single facet of every life is regulated
and directed from within! Our books, our music, our work and play are all looked after by
the benevolent wisdom of the priests...'

We've taken care of everything
The words you read, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
It's one for all and all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why

We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within our walls

Look around at this world we've made
Equality our stock in trade
Come and join the Brotherhood of Man
Oh, what a nice, contented world
Let the banners be unfurled
Hold the Red Star proudly high in hand

We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx
All the gifts of life are held within our walls

Parts III and IV

[III. Discovery]

'...Behind my beloved waterfall, in the little room that was hidden beneath the cave, I
found it. I brushed away the dust of the years, and picked it up, holding it reverently in
my hands. I had no idea what it might be, but it was beautiful...'

'...I learned to lay my fingers across the wires, and to turn the keys to make them sound
differently. As I struck the wires with my other hand, I produced my first harmonious sounds
and soon my own music! How different it could be from the music of the Temples! I can't wait
to tell the priests about it!...'

What can this strange device be?
When I touch it, it gives forth a sound
It's got wires that vibrate and give music
What can this thing be that I found?

See how it sings like a sad heart
And joyously screams out its pain
Sounds that build high like a mountain
Or notes that fall gently like rain

I can't wait to share this new wonder
The people will all see its light
Let them all make their own music
The Priests praise my name on this night

[IV. Presentation]

'...In the sudden silence as I finished playing, I looked up to a circle of grim,
expressionless faces. Father Brown rose to his feet, and his somnolent voice echoed
throughout the silent Temple Hall...'

'...Instead of the grateful joy that I expected, they were words of quiet rejection!
Instead of praise, sullen dismissal. I watched in shock and horror as Father Brown ground
my precious instrument to splinters beneath his feet...'

I know it's most unusual
To come before you so
But I've found an ancient miracle
I thought that you should know
Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There's something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

Yes, we know, it's nothing new
It's just a waste of time
We have no need for ancient ways
The world is doing fine
Another toy that helped destroy
The elder race of man
Forget about your silly whim
It doesn't fit the plan

I can't believe you're saying
These things just can't be true
Our world could use this beauty
Just think what we might do
Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There's something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

Don't annoy us further!
We have our work to do
Just think about the average
What use have they for you?
Another toy that helped destroy
The elder race of man
Forget about your silly whim
It doesn't fit the Plan!

Parts V, VI, and VII

[V. Oracle: The Dream]

'...I guess it was a dream, but even now it all seems so vivid to me. Clearly yet I see
the beckoning hand of the oracle as he stood at the summit of the staircase...'

'...I see still the incredible beauty of the sculptured cities and the pure spirit of man
revealed in the lives and works of this world. I was overwhelmed by both wonder and
understanding as I saw a completely different way to life, a way that had been crushed
by the Federation long ago. I saw now how meaningless life had become with the loss of
all these things...'

I wandered home through the silent streets
And fell into a fitful sleep
Escape to realms beyond the night
Dream can't you show me the light?

I stand atop a spiral stair
An oracle confronts me there
He leads me on light years away
Through astral nights, galactic days
I see the works of gifted hands
That grace this strange and wondrous land
I see the hand of man arise
With hungry mind and open eyes

They left the planet long ago
The elder race still learn and grow
Their power grows with purpose strong
To claim the home where they belong
Home to tear the Temples down...
Home to change!

[VI. Soliloquy]

'...I have not left this cave for days now, it has become my last refuge in my total
despair. I have only the music of the waterfall to comfort me now. I can no longer live
under the control of the Federation, but there is no other place to go. My last hope is
that with my death I may pass into the world of my dream, and know peace at last.'

The sleep is still in my eyes
The dream is still in my head
I heave a sigh and sadly smile
And lie a while in bed
I wish that it might come to pass
Not fade like all my dreams...

Just think of what my life might be
In a world like I have seen!
I don't think I can carry on
Carry on this cold and empty life

My spirits are low in the depths of despair
My lifeblood...
...Spills over...

[VII. The Grand Finale]

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation
We have assumed control
We have assumed control
We have assumed control

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Your Guide To Fun With Google Mail

Francesco Portelos has been MIA since December 23 and I figured I might pick up the slack (Yes, it is unsolicited, but what the heck?) of a little primer of my own (Not taking anything away from DTOE's own resource's page) which I hope can be added over there. And when Francesco is found he can add anything to this if he so wishes.

The NYCDOE uses Outlook for all it's email purposes. However, all Outlook email is subject to FOIL and any and all discovery requests in a court of law. The NYCDOE is a public entity and all those working for the NYCDOE are in the realm of public employees.

Even if the emails are deleted they are stored indefinitely in servers at, I believe, MetroTech.

But some people, and not just at the NYCDOE, have figured out a way around using "official" email. As someone in government said to me, "Here is my personal email. Use this to communicate with me it is not FOILable."

But back to the NYCDOE. Yes, some schools have set up email domains and accounts through third parties. GoDaddy, Yahoo, Hotmail, and yes, even Google Mail or as we call it, Gmail with their own domains.

But let's focus on Google mail.

Through Google mail one can have their on domain (instead of one can have something like, which might make one think they are impervious to any FOIL requests or discovery requests.

This is false.

Once a private email provider (In this case Gmail) is used to discuss business, especially one like a government agency that email account is than considered to be a government account subject to all laws of FOIL and discovery.

But Kevin Smith of Fort Lee NJ asks a question;
"What if the emails in question have been deleted by the account? Then what?"
Good question Kevin!

The Crack Team checked with several people in the industry and with people at Google. The answers we got back were pretty much the same;
"With over a million servers world wide the deleted emails remain on the Google servers forever"
See, problem solved Kevin. We guess Kevin won't be deleting any emails anytime soon, right Kev?

But how does one get those emails? This was the question put forth to us by Kevin Jones of Fort Lee NJ.

Thank you Kevin, The Crack Team has researched your questions and please click here and for those who can't wait some of the highlights are below.

We here at SBSB hope that this post and the information below can and will be helpful.

What kinds of data do you disclose for different products?

To answer that, let's look at four services from which government agencies in the U.S. commonly request information: Gmail, YouTube, Google Voice and Blogger. Here are examples of the types of data we may be compelled to disclose, depending on the ECPA legal process, the scope of the request, and what is requested and available. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.
  • Subscriber registration information (e.g., name, account creation information, associated email addresses, phone number)
  • Sign-in IP addresses and associated time stamps
Court Order:
  • Non-content information (such as non-content email header information)
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena

What's the difference between a subpoena, a search warrant and a court order under ECPA? And what information can a government agency get from Google with each?

It's complex, but here's a summary of the different forms of legal process covered by ECPA:
Of the three types of ECPA legal process for stored information, the subpoena has the lowest threshold for a government agency to obtain. In many jurisdictions, including the federal system, there is no requirement that a judge or magistrate review a subpoena before the government can issue it. A government agency can use a subpoena to compel Google to disclose only specific types of information listed in the statute. For example, a valid subpoena for your Gmail address could compel us to disclose the name that you listed when creating the account, and the IP addresses from which you created the account and signed in and signed out (with dates and times). Subpoenas can be used by the government in both criminal and civil cases.
On its face, ECPA seems to allow a government agency to compel a communications provider to disclose the content of certain types of emails and other content with a subpoena or an ECPA court order (described below). But Google requires an ECPA search warrant for contents of Gmail and other services based on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.
ECPA Court Order
Unlike an ECPA subpoena, obtaining an ECPA court order requires judicial review. To receive an ECPA court order, a government agency must present specific facts to a judge or magistrate demonstrating that the requested information is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.
With such a court order, a government agency can obtain the same information as a subpoena, plus more detailed information about the use of the account. This could include the IP address associated with a particular email sent from that account or used to change the account password (with dates and times), and the non-content portion of email headers such as the "from," "to" and "date" fields. An ECPA court order is available only for criminal investigations.

Does a law enforcement agency in the U.S. have to use legal process to compel Google to provide user data or will a phone call be enough?

The government needs legal process—such as a subpoena, court order or search warrant—to force Google to disclose user information. Exceptions can be made in certain emergency cases, though even then the government can't force Google to disclose.