Friday, July 31, 2015

UFT Solidarity Has Done Some Stuff

Who says one can not affect change?

After recieving over 100 comments on the post, "Is There Solidarity With God?" in which many a question was asked, "What has Solidarity actually accomplished?" with nary an answer,  UFT Solidarity has finally come out on its website with what it says it has done.

Now we here at SBSB wish to congratulate those at UFT Solidarity for finally sharing with the world what it believes it has done. But, there is one little meddlesome quirk we feel we here at SBSB need to address.

The title of the page is "UFT Solidarity Initiatives," but then claims these initiatives are actually accomplishments. That is all well and good but when The Crack Team looked the definition of initiative this is what we found;
1. an introductory act or step; leading action: to take the initiative in making friends. 2. readiness and ability in initiating action; enterprise: to lack initiative. 3. one's personal, responsible decision: to act on one's own initiative.

Now, initiative is not the same as actually seeing something through. It's like the President of the United States saying he is taking the initiative on Global Warming. The President can say he is taking the initiative on setting up a blue ribbon panel to study it, but what will actually be accomplished? 
The definition for accomplish is; 
verb (used with object)
1. to bring to its goal or conclusion; carry out; perform; finish: to accomplish one's mission. 2. to complete (a distance or period of time): to have accomplished the age of 70; We accomplished the journey in little more than an hour.
See the difference?  But that is all well and good, let's see what UFT Solidarity has actually done/initialized/accomplished.

We have created a support email list where members in need can email or call our number 646-XXXXXXX and get support and advice from one of our growing list of knowledgeable support members.

Who says these people are knowledgeable? What kind of advice is given? Support? Who is giving the advice? If legal advice is being given is the person an attorney? Is the number actually a call center in India? Has this growing list reached double digits yet? Is the person seeking help profited off of by being sent to When the person is told inevitably to FOIL, are they told how difficult it is to get anything other than factual emails and records, that emails and records that are in nature opinion, supposition, or anything like that are not FOILable? Is the person being told the amount of redaction that is possible?

We have held and organized rallies outside of schools and DOE headquarters to raise concerns about issues that concern our school communities.

WOW! Hey we here at SBSB are all for rallies and stuff, but it has to be done smartly and strategically and different enough to get attention. But what do we know here at SBSB. Let's examine it rally by rally. 

NYC Educator Groups Rally in Solidarity to Support Hundreds Unfairly Fired Teachers

Arthur Goldstein organized this rally? If not, I would suggest to Arthur that he call my brother in law, a famed trademark and patent attorney, post-haste. 

What has this rally accomplish? I mean 10 people, mostly retirees and a few scattered sycophants. 

We only counted about a dozen, if that, people at Monday's rally. But the fried chicken looked damn good. Was it KFC or Kennedy's? And as for the rally a few Saturday's ago, where were the 10,000 people that claimed to be showing up? But props will be given for the fact that this rally was not about UFT Solidarity, but it seemed the school community was involved as it should be. Though sources have told The Crack Team that UFT Solidarity bogarted its way in.

UFT Solidarity Plans for Another Rally – Richmond Hill High School June 3rd

OK, five people for this? Richmond Hill and the DOE must have made a BM they were so intimidated and put on notice.  

But then again, New Action is involved. Why is New Action involved? Really, think NA is going to give up what they got for UFT Solidarity? 

We created a Teacher Support App that is very useful and packed with tools. You can download it for Android here

Just for Android?? When most of the  the phones are iPhone why limit it to just Android? And this is helping all the teachers of NYC how? Latest records have shown that no more this app has only been downloaded between 10-50 times. But really anyone can create an app. I'm going to Harrison High School and get some 17 year old kid to creat a SBSB app. 

We created a Paperwork Reduction site where members can anonymously report paperwork violations for us to bring up to the district and central paperwork committee. 


Again, what has this accomplished? Where are the reams (Pardon the pun) of paperwork grievances as well as the wins filed by said grievances? 


We help manage a site called ANOI (Administrators in Need of Improvement) where we hold almost 100 principals and assistant principals accountable for their alleged harassment of our UFT members.


Actually not bad idea. UFT used to do this. But please tone down the hyperbole. UFT Solidarity ain't holding anybody to nothing. IT IS JUST A LIST. 


We send emails to administrators who bully our members and let them know that their victim is not alone. We have their back.


Ooooh, scary words. Really? UFT Solidarity has their backs, even if they don't ask for their backs to be had? Was the email written at the so-called behest of teachers to Principal Hernandez and the ATR teacher is this supporting the teacher? How about this email? The ATR teacher is currently unemployed. That is the way to have someone's back. How does UFT Solidarity look at its collective self in the mirror? Nice going. 


 One SBSB groupie who is high within Tweed shared with The Crack Team that these so called emails are seen as a circus act, along with walking around the halls at 65 Court St and 52 Broadway telling people that UFT Solidarity is watching.  


We set up a growing email list of retirees who are willing to support members in need at hearings and other matters.


How many retirees? Is the guy with the Captain Picard uniform amongst the retirees? I can think of only 5 right now. I guess that is good because previously there were 4. So the list is growing. 


We created a growing Chapter Leader Network email list for chapter leaders and delegates of the past and present can support each other and answer questions.


Again, how many chapter leaders and/or delegates?  At the last MORE training for chapter leaders there must have been about 90 people there. Let's say conservatively about 80 were CL's, that's 80 schools. Again conservatively let's estimate that each school has an average of 75 UFT members. That comes to about 6,000 members. That's 6,000 votes. Can UFT Solidarity say that it has that many? Can UFT Solidarity say they have a complete school such as PS 8 in District 10 in the Bronx


 So in ending, where is the substance? It's smoke and mirrors with people being mesmerized by what appears to be "high tech" presentations.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

James Eterno Cooks Up a Recipe

This past Sunday on the ICE Blog, James Eterno wrote a very well thought out and lucid piece on
what he sees for the UFT in 2016.

His crux for the piece, and as he says NYC Educator beat him to it, was how under the renewal schools teachers will be brought to the altar to be sacrificed. That the UFT is basically selling us out.

He talks of an alternate universe in which Mulgrew is ousted;
"...there is a real union leader as president, things would change in a hurry. Besides cleaning house by dismissing most of the loyalty oath signing Unity faithful and opening up union positions to senior, qualified people (like comp time) and having elections for the District Representatives, we would need to change the whole conversation around education as quickly as we can"
One can immediately notice that James did not prophesize that there is a grand mystical plan that he will be the next UFT president nor has he written as if he is entitles to that role. He sees the UFT as something larger than him that the word "I" need not be used.

James goes on to share what he has seen and what needs to be fixed throughout the system. Not once is he electioneering or tooting his own horn. He is laying out the facts as he sees them. Nothing more, nothing less. UFT Solidarity UFT Solidarity UFT Solidarity UFT Solidarity UFT Solidarity

In fact, I disagree with him with the so-called truth commission he advocates. Yeah, it would be nice for it to happen. In fact it should happen, but how to you compel people to come to testify? Will there be subpoena power? Will testimony be under oath? Will immunity be granted?

Truth should have been out by now. Three years ago on these pages I questioned where is the Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers of the education world?

But wait a minute. The Crack Team just reminded me of something. How can it be that James writes such a vision when he is nothing more than a chef in a restaurant and not a real star like the owner of said restaurant?

To catch those who don't understand what is being said,  XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX has claimed that James Eterno is nothing more than a chef, probably a failed chef at that when what we need as a union is one who manages a 5 star restaurant. XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX believes that only such a manager can right the sinking ship of the UFT. But questions persist. 

First, which guide is this so called 5 star restaurant based on? Mobil? Michelin? Zagat? Yelp? TripAdvisor? Inquiring minds want to know.

But who goes to a restaurant because of the manager. No one. We here at SBSB can't think of one reality show that espouses to find the best manager of a restaurant. All the restaurant based reality TV shows are all looking for the best chef. Wouldn't it be better to have a Master Chef instead of someone who isn't even able to be Master of their Domain? 

In fact, we have spoken with one of New York's leading chef's and he has shared his expertise. He told The Crack Team that for a 5 star restaurant, the chef is the most important person, not the manager. 

Anybody can manage a restaurant. Last week driving back and forth through Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York we came across many Arby's. I am sure that at each Arby's the managers were top notch. But no one even goes to Arby's because of who the manager is.

It is easy to manage a restaurant. You hire the people, you seat people, you pay people, but think about it, if your chef sucks ain't nobody coming back to your restaurant unless you have the seniors early bird special or you have the 2 for 1 coupon in the Entertainment book

Let's see what job is more difficult. The restaurant manager (Telling the waiter to push the malt wine) or the chef

The kitchen and the person who runs the kitchen are what makes a restaurant.  


From our NYC leading chef groupie: In fine dining, without a clear vision of the food, and someone to maintain quality and consistency, the reputation sours quickly.

Also food and labor costs are the highest in the business, and the chef is fiscally responsible for controlling them.

People also tend to forgive bad service before bad food  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Suicide is Painful

 All of us get lost in the darkness/Dreamers learn to steer by the stars/All of us do time in the gutter/Dreamers turn to look at the cars--Peart, Neil 1989

I have this habit of waking up at 5 AM and checking my phone for the latest emails and news. When I clicked on the NY Post app on my phone I saw and read a story about Jeanene Worrell-Breeden, the principal of the Teachers College Community School had killed herself back in April on the same day that someone at her school reported her she had cheated on the standardized tests.

The first thoughts on my mind, as well as condolences, go out to her family and friends. This was a needless, senseless death that never should have been. She is someone's wife, mother, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, friend, principal, teacher, etc... No one has won here except Governor Cuomo and Chancellor Fariña.

As I lay in bed thinking of this, my thoughts went back five years to a teacher in Los Angeles, Rigoberto Ruelas, a teacher that suddenly found himself ineffective due to a Los Angeles Times reporter, Jason Felch becoming the story and not reporting on the story. Rigoberto after he was outed by Felch, committed suicide.

I know there are some out there who no matter what would see this death as some type of vindication towards their goals but I do not. This death if nothing should bring all educators in New York City and New York State closer together and fight as one against the marauders of education in Albany and at Tweed. For whatever Ms Worrell-Breeden has been accused of doing it did not happen in a vacuum and was completely avoidable.

The pressure from Albany as well as from Tweed to more or less tie everyone's job, their pay, their  own self worth to whether or not that person can be the next coming of someone's fantasy teacher that only exists in the movies is an impossible ladder to climb for almost anyone. God only knows what was going through Ms Worrell-Breeden. Not only to allegedly cheat, but worse, once confronted with this information, to jump in front of an oncoming B train and kill herself.

This sick, unrealistic method, test, test, test, punish, punish, terminate, embarrass, ostracize, method of educating children and evaluating teachers must end and end soon or we will have many more Jeanene Worrell-Breeden's.

Last Sunday night we were in Corning NY and had dinner with another couple. The wife, who I won't mention, is very prominent in BATs and the AFT. Both her and her husband on two of the most real people I have ever met in my life. In the many topics of discussion that evening we touched on what teachers need and what can or should be done for them.

There are false prophets seeking false profits preying off the backs of teachers that are down to their last act of strength in fighting back against the same forces that Jeanene Worrell-Breeden was fighting.

What support are they given? "Oh here, this is how you file this." Or, "This is what you do when this happens to you." Maybe they get a, "You need to do this." But this is the simple advice.

Now mind you I am all for fighting back and blowing the whistle. But the trick that I learned so long ago is not everyone when they need to fight back can or wants to.

Sometimes the best thing one can do is just to be there. Someone to be there for that teacher to have a shoulder to cry on, someone for that teacher to vent to, someone for that teacher to divert their mind from their troubles. I doubt Jeanene Worrell-Breeden had someone like this. Or someone who could tell her she could have fought back. But the trick between being supportive and being one who can lead someone to fight is a fine line and one must have the EQ to know what is the difference and which one to use.

Teachers and principals are sick if this. Yeah, I said principals. How about this? Educators are sick of this pressure. If we, not them, but WE, do not start supporting one another the best way we can for each and every educator and stop from projecting our ways of settling old scores onto them we will be just as guilty to their emotional and physical demise as the powers that be in both Albany and Tweed.

False hope needs to end immediately to teachers walking the precipice. The testing pressure, the culture needs to end.

The whistleblower did the right thing. For some reason Ms Worrell-Breeden thought she was doing the right thing. But neither of them are to blame for her death. The people to blame are the ones hiding behind the dollars and the sense of self-importance and self-righteousness they have.

I do not want to hear of anymore educator suicides. Enough is enough.

It will and can get better.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Several days ago, in what then was a tongue in cheek blog post, we here at SBSB suggested that my cat Sparkles, run for UFT president.

Apparently when we were all asleep Sparkles manages to read that post and sat down with me to discuss the possibility. She has spent the last several days contemplating a run and today decided to sit down with members of The Crack Team to announce her decision and share her policy points.

Here now is the entire "presser" held by Sparkles, with myself offering the translation from cat talk to English, completely unedited.

Sparkles, you called us to your home today telling us you have a major announcement. What is it?

I have decided to throw my hat in the ring and run for president of the UFT

Which caucus nominated you? In fact which caucus are you with?

Careful there bub. I have yet to be nominated. I find it presumptuous to nominate oneself or even influence others to nominate me.

As for which caucus I am aligned with, that would be the MORE caucus. You can say I represent teachers that are cat owners. 

And just what is it you have done for teachers that own cats? 

I have started the UFT Kitty Alliance FB page (Well I didn't start that someone else did), Don't Tread on Teacher Kitty Owners, I have been there for teachers when they need to talk to someone about their kitty coughing up hair balls, I have begun many websites and list servs as well.

And have you engaged in any picketing in favor of teachers that own cats? 

No. Basically it is a waste of time picketing a school with only 8 people and one of those 8 are wearing a Captain Picard uniform. Picketing is all well and good but basically, without community support, or the "real" media involved, you basically look like a bunch of schmucks out there.

It's better to establish a presence within the school to hand out information extolling the caucus, i.e. when are meetings, people to contact, etc... Also to reach out personally to other groups in the community. Picketing, unless you truly narrowly target where you are picketing, such as an unexpected place, makes you look like a bunch of schmucks. 

Now mind you, there are cat owning teachers that have been discontinued, brought up on 3020-a charges, are being harassed, but empty gestures can only raise their level of expectations which in the end will disappoint them.

So all these social media pages have they affected any change within the DOE or the UFT?

You're joking, right?

Why do you expect to be nominated?

I don't. If I do, fine, if I don't fine. Democracy rules. I can honestly tell you there are people more worthy than myself to be UFT president. My owner has listed them here.

Speaking of which, I feel blogs have more (Pardon the pun) influence and more reach, at least the popular ones, such as Ednotes, Chaz, NYC Educator, SBSB, Raging Horse, ICE, DOENUTS, than picketing and all that stuff. The above blogs are what the people read!

Some say that James Eterno will be nominated. What would you do if he is? Will you put up a fight?

I will graciously step aside and support James. Remember, anyone can own a restaurant not everyone can be a 5 star chef and it is the chef that brings in the people to the restaurant.

And on that note James once made me a liver, chicken and cheese påté that was to die for!

If James is not nominated and you are, would you offer James the position of UFT Secretary?

I don't know if James would accept that job. I would like to have James be my closest advisor, much as Clark Clifford had been to many presidents. Anyway I am thinking of having my good friend, Bill the Cat be secretary.

Editors note: It was at this point that Sparkles got distracted by birds flying by the window and then she decided to clean herself. 

And if you are nominated, what can we expect?

You can expect to have someone there to work their butt off for every UFT member there is and I will put in place throughout the entire UFT only those that will put members first. I will not have an ego, I will allow anyone to come to me if they disagree with me and I will not be vindictive, I will not have a hissy fit, and I will be mature with those who are of independent thought.

Last question, what can the rank and file expect from a Sparkles presidency? 

It will be a union run buy the teachers, for the teachers. If I become president, God willing, I will stand before the rank and file a humbled kitty. That all egos will be checked at the door and that each member of the union is as important a cog in the wheel as me or anyone.

Thank you for allowing me this time. I now want to take a nap. Godspeed to all. 

And there you have it. Sparkles threw her hat in the nominating process.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Is There Solidarity with God?

Some news came into the SBSB newsroom that is so disturbing it made several members of The
Crack Team physically sick and they spent most of the day in the SBSB vomitorium.

We here at SBSB believe that any UFT member should reach out and do all they can to help other UFT members. But when a UFT member decides to play God, or some other deity, we shall take umbrage.

After the blog post of July 9, 2015, entitled, "Why I Can't Support UFT Solidarity" many emails came in to the SBSB newsroom in shock about one passage regarding the leader;
Good evening Principal Hernandez,
     I was reading the below article and couldn't help but wonder who the teacher you had concerns about was. Chancellor Fariña recommended you "observe them many, more times a day."
    I'm curious in not only their identity, but if they are probationary/non tenured or veteran? Even more important to me is what support have they been given in the last year, two years, three years etc.
     I will be making a Freedom of Information Law request today to obtain documentation on the support this teacher was given. Please expect communication from the Records Office soon.  I don't agree with the chancellor's "counseling" methods and intend to follow up on the number of observations this teacher has from now until the end of school in June.
 The emails all expressed indignation and outrage and many wondered how a boss (Yes, lower case b) could have been so irresponsible and think of only himself. Trust us, the above is nothing compared to what The Crack Team came across. Francesco Portelos Francesco Portelos Francesco Portelos

As we know under the new contract ATR's who fail to show for 2 interviews are will be treated as if they voluntarily resigned their employment. Francesco Portelos Francesco Portelos Francesco

The Crack Team, through several well placed and above reproach sources, has found out of one ATR who missed both interviews and was deemed having resigned. Francesco Portelos Francesco Portelos

That is sad. From what The Crack Team has found out since is that there was a legitimate mix up and miscommunication on the part of the ATR and the UFT was in the process of negotiating with the DOE to come to a favorable conclusion. The fact that the DOE was amenable to this says a lot about not only the UFT finally reaching out for a member, but for the DOE to compromise and show a human face. Things were going to be worked out and the ATR would have been back on payroll.

That is until there was unsolicited interference on behalf of the ATR. Francesco Portelos Francesco Portelos 

According to sources, someone playing God, decided to stick his nose in this issue and contacted the DOE. This "deity" tried to intimidate the DOE on behalf of this ATR, even though this ATR was never asked for the assistance of a "deity" nor did this ATR even know who the "deity" is.

This act by the "deity" so turned off, and this is according to several sources, the DOE, that the DOE (From what has been ascertained) decided to take away the offer made to the ATR and leave the ATR without a job. The "deity" was left with a job and with it's hands clean so to speak.

One must ask one this. Is this the kind of "deity" we need? What would a real Boss (Yes, upper case B) do, such as Bruce Springsteen or George Steinbrenner? How could someone purport to be such a leader and/or boss (Yes, lower case b) and do such a damaging act? Francesco Portelos

Surely, one should ask themselves who was this "deity"putting first? The "deity's"ego or the needs of the ATR. One should think about this question and refer to the two previous blog posts to help them come a rational conclusion.

And this "deity" needs to look in the mirror and think real hard about why the perception that is out there is there. And perhaps, just perhaps, think what would God do and what the "deity" must do now.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What is a Narcissist? An SBSB Primer

After the response from Sunday's post on how to spot a cult leader, there has been a lot of emails to the SBSB newsroom (As well as Norm Scott's groundbreaking analysis on Sociopaths), and some tweets as well, wondering when Dr Hans von Schlaggel  currently the director of the Institut für schweren psychiatrischen Erkrankungen, or in English, Institute of Severe Psychiatric Disorders, will be sharing is expertise about Narcissism.

The good news is that Dr von Schlaggel has emailed this latest blog post just now and we here at SBSB are going to share it with you.

For those who have not read the writings of Dr von Schlaggel check out his past contributions on SBSB about Malignant Personality Disorder and OCD/Control issues. We turn over these pages to Dr von Schlagge.

Danke Herr Bronx Teacher and danke to your readers.

Vat ist a narcissist. Since the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was, how you say? rewrote a few years ago der has been some changes on the diagnosis and traits aus Narcissism.

Vat is a narcissist? Let's see vat DSM-V says.
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:

A. Significant impairments in  personality functioning manifest by: 1. Impairments in  self functioning  (a or b): a. Identity : Excessive reference to others for self - definition  and self - esteem regulation; exaggerated self - appraisal  may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate  between extremes;  emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self - esteem. b. Self - direction : Goal - setting is based on gaining approval  from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in  order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a  sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.
2. Impairments in  interpersonal functioning (a or b): a. Empathy : Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the  feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to  reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self;  over - or underestimate of own effect on others. b. Intimacy : Relationships largely superficial and exist to  serve self - esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little  genuine interest in others‟ experiences and predominance  of a need for personal gain B. Pathological  personality traits in the following domain: 1. Antagonism , characterized by: a. Grandiosity : Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; 
Self - centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than otherscondescending toward others. b. Attention seeking : Excessive attempts to attract and be  the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking. C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s  personality trait expression are relatively  stable across time and  consistent across situations. D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s  personality trait expression are not better understood as normative  for the individual‟s developmental stage or socio - cultural  environment . E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s  personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct  physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse,  medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).

I also read paper by a collegue at der Institut für schweren psychiatrischen Erkrankungen who Hit Nagel auf den Kopf or as you say in der English "hit nail on head.",

The most telling thing that narcissists do is contradict themselves. They will do this virtually in the same sentence, without even stopping to take a breath. It can be trivial (e.g., about what they want for lunch) or it can be serious (e.g., about whether or not they love you). When you ask them which one they mean, they'll deny ever saying the first one, though it may literally have been only seconds since they said it -- really, how could you think they'd ever have said that? You need to have your head examined! They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself. If you disagree with them, they'll say you're lying, making stuff up, or are crazy. [At this point, if you're like me, you sort of panic and want to talk to anyone who will listen about what is going on: this is a healthy reaction; it's a reality check ("who's the crazy one here?"); that you're confused by the narcissist's contrariness, that you turn to another person to help you keep your bearings, that you know something is seriously wrong and worry that it might be you are all signs that you are not a narcissist]


Narcissists are totally and inflexibly authoritarian. In other words, they are suck-ups. They want to be authority figures and, short of that, they want to be associated with authority figures. In their hearts, they know they can't think well, have no judgment about what matters, are not connected with the world they inhabit, so they cling fanatically to the opinions of people they regard as authority figures -- such as their parents, teachers, doctors, ministers. Where relevant, this may include scientists or professors or artists, but narcissists stick to people they know personally, since they aren't engaged enough with the world to get their authoritative opinions from TV, movies, books or dead geniuses/saints/heroes. If they get in trouble over some or another opinion they've put forth, they'll blame the source -- "It was okay with Dr. Somebody," "My father taught me that," etc. If you're still thinking of the narcissist as odd-but-normal, this shirking of responsibility will seem dishonest and craven -- well, it is but it's really an admission of weakness: they really mean it: they said what they said because someone they admire or fear said it and they're trying to borrow that person's strength.

So der you have it. If you are ever in Vienna stop by der  Institut für schweren psychiatrischen Erkrankungen and if you mention Frank Sinatra Jr you will get a free diagnosis on der house by me.

Auf Wiedersehen!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I'm Live on the Total Tutor Show on July 15

Yes, the rumors are true!!

Neil Haley, host of BlogTalk Radio's The Total Tutor Show has been negotiating for sometime to get me to appear live on his Internet radio show.

Months of talks had commiserated between Neil and The Crack Team as we were waiting for our demands to be made. Finally, in fact just this morning, Neil finally caved to the demands of The Crack Team and I will be live, on air, talking with Neil and taking phone calls.

Nothing will be off topic. For those who remember my own Internet radio show, those who have heard me live on WFAS-AM, and for readers of this blog, there is nothing that I will not share my honest opinion of.

This all takes place tomorrow night, July 15 at 11 PM EDT. 

Click this link and listen from your device or computer and hear as I openly and honestly discuss my 3020-a hearing, the charges against me, my suspension, DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx, the death of education in New York State and nationwide, the AFT, the UFT, the upcoming 2016 UFT elections, MORE, how teachers can best help themselves against attacks, and whatever else Neil decides to throw at me.

You can call in to speak to Neil and myself at (805) 285-9736 and also follow me on Twitter in which I will be attempting to live tweet along with Neil on his Twitter feed and follow along at hashtag #educhat.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cult Leader Traits 101

For some reason or another I feel as if I have been transported back to Hebrew School. Back to when I was in 9th grade and in conformation class. I recall that I was part of a presentation to the younger students on cults.

My part of the presentation was what does a cult leader look like. My example at the time, and I did not know better, was that a cult leader looked like John Lennon. Golly, was I wrong.

We know now that a cult leader can look like or be anyone. He can be your next door neighbor, the manager at McDonald's or dressed in a well tailored suit and tie from Barney's.

So owe here decided to expand on the lesson given to little Jewish boys and girls back in 1978 and really delve into the traits of a cult leader. This list will come in handy in case you or a friend are might be being recruited or already under the auspices  of a cult leader and do not know it. Print this list out and put it in your wallet just in case.

1.He has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.

2.Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.

3.Demands blind unquestioned obedience.

4.Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.

5.Has a sense of entitlement - expecting to be treated special at all times.

6.Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.

7.Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.

8.Is hypersensitive to how he is seen or perceived by others.

9.Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.

10.Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.

11.Needs to be the center of attention and does things to distract others to insure that he or she is being noticed by arriving late, using exotic clothing, over dramatic speech, or by making theatrical entrances.

12.Doesn’t seem to listen well to needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates.

13.Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his personality.

14.Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.

15.When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.

16.Anyone who criticizes or questions him is called an “enemy.”

17.Refers to non-members or non-believers in him as “the enemy.”

18.Acts imperious at times, not wishing to know what others think or desire.

19.Believes himself to be omnipotent.

20.Has “magical” answers or solutions to problems.

21.Is superficially charming.

22.Habitually puts down others as inferior and only he is superior.

23.Has a certain coldness or aloofness about him that makes others worry about who this person really is and or whether they really know him.

24.Is deeply offended when there are perceived signs of boredom, being ignored or of being slighted.

25.Treats others with contempt and arrogance.

26.Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere him.

27.The word “I” dominates his conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself.

28.Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly - when he does he acts out with rage.

29.Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything he has done wrong nor does he apologize for his actions.

30.Believes he possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.

31.Believes himself to be a deity or a chosen representative of a deity.

32.Rigid, unbending, or insensitive describes how this person thinks.

33.Has stated that he is “destined for greatness” or that he will be “martyred.”

34.Seems to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.

35.Uses sycophants to insure compliance from members or believers.

36.Sees self as “unstoppable” perhaps has even said so.

37.Doesn’t think there is anything wrong with himself – in fact sees himself as perfection or “blessed.”

There you have it. If you know of anyone with these traits or are yourself following someone with these traits it is not to late to leave. You can do it.

Later this week: Dr Hans von Schlaggel from Vienna, the director of the Institut für schweren psychiatrischen Erkrankungen, or in English, Institute of Severe Psychiatric Disorders will be back to blog about Narcissism. What is it and how do we spot it?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why I Can't Support UFT Solidarity

I guess the first bad taste I got in my mouth was early this year at a DTOE meeting I had
attended in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx right over the Yonkers line. I had been at the time, on the DTOE steering committee and was truly gung-ho about the future of DTOE and what it could accomplish.

But something that night did not feel right and I don't mean the dude who came dressed as Jean-Luc Picard and smelled like a Klingon.

With what I saw it was more like a revival meeting and seemed to be centered around a "leader" and only that "leader's" agenda. Forgive me if I am wrong, but should not an agenda for such a meeting go through a steering committee? Is not the job of such a committee is to steer?

Too much of the agenda was how to be reactive to the crap we as teachers go through. How to FOIL, how to write a grievance, how to record a principal, stuff like that. There was nothing about how to be proactive. Nothing to do with how to get through being targeted emotionally.

Now mind you I am all for fighting the fight and holding feet to the fire but that is just me. I can't force my beliefs on someone else nor, and much more importantly, not everyone is like me. Not everyone else can or wants to fight back like me. Some just want someone to talk to. Some just want a shoulder to cry on. Some just want support.

Something clicked that night for me. It reminded me of the family that lived across the street from me when I was a kid. They seemed perfect from the outside--like from central casting for a 1950's family TV show--but they were truly dysfunctional. The screaming fights we heard from outside truly made sense when we all found out dad was a raging alcoholic. And things started to make sense that night in the Bronx.

Back in April, DTOE had decided to align itself with New Action in several protests across the city. I was bothered by that. Why, should DTOE be aligned with New Action when NA is not only sleeping with the enemy but making Unity's breakfast as well?

"Oh, it doesn't hurt to work with others. Besides, NA might leave it's alliance with Unity."
Yeah, right. And Donald Trump will become president.

I questioned this publicly in DTOE FB page and elsewhere. Not just the alignment but more important was the subjugation of democracy. The DTOE steering committee was not notified. One person made the decision.

I then inquired as to the by-laws of DTOE. I was told;
"We don't need by-laws."
Really? I was perplexed. What was to be done?

The same thing the leader of any country that is ruled despotically and for the purpose of enriching a leader when factions from it's puppet legislature or cabinet speak up. Call for new elections.

Yes, new elections for the DTOE steering committee were immediately called for without any input from the current steering committee or any by-laws. Care to guess who called for these elections?

I got the hint. But fittingly no one else ran so in a way I think I might be still be on the steering committee.

Remember this? The teacher Carmen Fariña harangued at PS 123 in Harlem during a visit? The "leader" sent this email to the Principal of this school (Just to allay any concerns this was publicly displayed in one of the "leaders" many Facebook pages");

Good evening Principal Hernandez,
     I was reading the below article and couldn't help but wonder who the teacher you had concerns about was. Chancellor Fariña recommended you "observe them many, more times a day."
    I'm curious in not only their identity, but if they are probationary/non tenured or veteran? Even more important to me is what support have they been given in the last year, two years, three years etc.
     I will be making a Freedom of Information Law request today to obtain documentation on the support this teacher was given. Please expect communication from the Records Office soon.  I don't agree with the chancellor's "counseling" methods and intend to follow up on the number of observations this teacher has from now until the end of school in June.

Women, children, and those with weak constitutions please avert your eyes for a second while some choice words are used to express opinion of this email.

WHAT THE F**K?????

What right does the leader have to do this. Yes, we know, you have the right to FOIL anyone, anytime, but do you have the moral and ethical right to file a FOIL request on a teacher who you do not even know, who did not ask you, who does not know you?

How do we know if this teacher is nontenured, on probation and because of this FOIL (Which was also CC'd to Farina and Aimee Horowitz) led to this teacher's discontinuance? Or if this teacher is tenured led to the teacher facing a 3020-a hearing? Or even more harassment?

What right does the "leader" have to play God? Or has the "leader" started thinking of itself as a deity? 

That was it for me. But there is more that one can question the judgement of the "leader."

Why is a clown, borderline disbarred (In my opinion and almost all of Earth's) attorney like Joy Hochstadt given a voice in DTOE? What is her role now with Solidarity?

Why when after all your love-ins with New Action did they repay the love when an UFT Executive Committee voted down the rights of ATR to have their own chapter with only one New Action member voting on the proposal (A retiree) with 2 abstentions and the rest voting no?

Why does the "leader" label himself as a "Union Boss" when the "leader" as yet to achieve such a lofty position? One also can ask where are the photos of the "leader" with the words so big saying, "UNION BOSS" imprinted prominently?

Why at the ICE meeting last week in which the "leader" asked for a joint slate was the "leader" either unable or unwilling to answer this simple question from myself?

"If there were to be a joint slate would you be willing to step down as nominee for UFT president and let a joint committee decide and will let where the chips fall where they may?"

The leader as been unable or unwilling to answer the question.

Why did the "leader" take credit for creating the Facebook group ATR Alliance and why did the "leader" turn a FB group originally used for support into a political tool of the "leader's"? What accomplishments as the ATR Alliance endeavored to?

What truly happened at the lunch meeting with Randi Weingarten? Has she asked the "leader" to form another caucus to split the anti-Mulgrew vote?

As UFT President one should wonder what the "leader" will do to those who dare to those that dare to question or contradict the "leader" president.

And lastly, one can reasonably ask, whether or not the "leader" is in this for the "leader" or for THE CAUSE as the "leader" likes to say. If this is for THE CAUSE than the "leader" should remove the rose colored glasses and look around and do what is right for THE CAUSE.

Why all of the sudden come to ICE for a joint slate? Because Solidarity does not have the numbers to run nor to sign the petitions is what The Crack Team as ascertained. 

 What is one to make of comments such as this from this James Eterno posting?
 "When I'm up at the podium one day, don't worry, no hard feelings, I'll still call on you at the DA"
"You will see me up at podium one day and despite the fact that you've discarded our work together, know that you had a part in that success, whether you like it or not. MORE running a separate campaign would be a extremely irresponsible."

"Because I'm going to be leading something called the "United" Federation of Teachers."

Humility goes a long way. Try it. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Who is Qualified to be UFT President?

Interesting read today on the ICE blog by James Eterno. James lays the case out very well and makes some very salient points. Most of the comments on the blog supported James as well as some who threw hissy fits.

But James got me thinking. Who else is there--other than any presently declared candidate(s)--that can do the job of UFT president, do it well, do it for the rank and file and not for glory, have the EQ for the job, and truly be able to influence and play nice with those in power?

Actually to tell you the truth I had been asked this last week by a wayward ATR who has been buying packets of Kool-Aid for when the Big Day comes. It was a pleasant enough conversation though the ATR was shocked that on July 1, 2015 (Nine months before the election) there were no other candidates.

So The Crack Team assembled and came up with a list of capable UFT members who can do the job of UFT President better than whom is in office or a candidate for office. Oh, and someone who is not afraid to walk into a school uninvited o stick up for a teacher.

It was a long and arduous 10 minutes for The Crack Team but they decided just in time to be able this afternoon's Judge Faith.

So in no particular order and not saying anyone is better than anyone else here is a list of possible.

Patrick Walsh  Calm and well spoken but won't be afraid to ride his bike up the steps of a school and stick up for a teacher. Besides, old school Irish. We know he will fight the good fight.

Chaz The Blogger Very, very knowledgeable  and knows a lot of people. Speaks to people at the UFT without having to intimidate them.

Norm Scott Uncle Normy. Need anymore be said?

Peter Lamphere NOW, this is someone I know will know will not be one iota hesitant to walk into a school. This is all you need to know about Peter. In my RR this year there was an extreme Right-Wing ideologue who told me that of all the people in the NYCDOE if he was ever in trouble again the one person he would want at his side would be Peter.

Mike Schirtzer Yeah, Mike. I have had differences of opinion but I see things differently. I was so so wrong. 

Julie Cavanagh If you don't know why it is sad.

Arthur Goldstein Very well know. Very well spoken. Many of a lot of respect for him. Has been on the big stage writing guest columns for the Daily News. He is out there. Leads a school of about 2000 teachers. Dislikes Ruben Brosbe.

James Eterno Has run before know how to go about it. Thinks the problems through. Is not rash in decisions.

Camille Eterno I want to apologize for sitting in front of your club sandwich at the diner. I just had a brain fart. But I think you would make a great UFT president.

Mindy Rosier I have never seen someone fight for so many at so many different places. How the heck does she do it? 

Carmine Ragguzi The retired phys ed. teacher from my school. We need a paisan as a union leader.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard No, not really him but the teacher at the last DTOE meeting I had attended that showed up dressed as Picard and had the odor of a Klingon. Hey, this guy can win if he keeps thinking he is Picard.

Fredo Corleone He's smart. He's not dumb like some people say. He just wants something for himself.

Sparkles My cat

My Rubber Room Anyone there would qualify. 

Bruce Springsteen Now there is a true boss. Even though I think he is overrated.

So what we got? 15 names or so? And let's not forget about 79,884 other UFT members out there.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The "Leader" and The Cowgirl

One thing a good leader should always do is not to assume. A good leader will know to ask questions before the leader makes assumptions. Only a "leader" will assume and we all know what happens when one assumes, no?

In yesterday's post we discussed how an unnamed "leader" not only decided to throw my 3020-a proceedings and decision in my face but the unnamed "leader" decided without having read the transcript nor having asked me any questions that the unnamed "leader" knew the entire background of my case.

Today is another lesson on why we ask questions, why we don't make unfounded conclusions, and why when one wants to act as a "leader" one does not do what the unnamed "leader did.

The Cowgirl was mentioned yesterday in how I was thrown under the bus. Yes, of course, this Cowgirl could not have done it without the enabling of DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx. But as we know no one makes anyone do anything they don't want to do. As the unnamed "leader" know, being a tattle tale on other teachers is gauche.

We here at SBSB wish to share with the unnamed "leader" what type of person The Cowgirl truly is. The Cowgirl created a issue in September 2012 with the then physical education teacher, Carmine Ragguzzi. Carmine was so hurt that he penned an email to DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx. Carmine has shared the email with The Crack Team which will be shared here on these pages and seen nationally for the first time ever. Names and class numbers have been changed.

The following accurately describes a situation that occurred between Class 222 (The Cowgirl) at the time of their scheduled Physical Education class on September 19, 2012:

Class 222 was scheduled to have Physical Education at 1:50 in the gymnasium. The door to the gym that class 222 usually enters was left open just prior to 1:50 in expectation of their arrival. After opening the door and while waiting for the class, I returned to my office to prepare and "catch up" on a few things.  At 2:05 another staff member telephoned me, and during our brief conversation, I mentioned that I had been waiting for my class to arrive.  After that call(15 Minutes having passed), the class still was not at the gym. Therefore, I started to put away the equipment that was to be used for this class, thinking there was some unknown reason for the class not to show. I then checked the hallway once more, still no class.  I then closed the gym door.  There was no courtesy call to explain the situation. At this point, I went to the library to check the school website.

For this teacher to tell the Principal that the class had been waiting at the gym door at 1:50 was a blatant lie and an attempt to discredit me with absolutely no regard for the picture this painted as far as me adhering to my responsibilities as a teacher.

In addition to the above, there have been numerous instances whereby students from class 222, because of unacceptable prior behavior in their Physical Education class, it was necessary to make use of the "Buddy System" and have them sent to another buddy teacher's classroom in place of their P.E. class.

The Cowgirl was advised of this prior to the P.E. class and sent the students to their P.E. class, ignoring my request.


Hmmm. One can see a pattern here with The Cowgirl. One can also see the blatant hypocrisy of The Cowgirl and the cahoots The Cowgirl engaged in with DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx.

Worse, it makes one wonder of the unnamed "leader" will engage in the type of behavior of The Cowgirl with members and teachers that dare to disappoint the leader. 

I can sleep at night and look in the mirror. I have never thrown something back in a teacher's face and if I have any questions I ask.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

3020-a Glass Houses

So what am I to do when someone, someone claims that he is the champion of teachers, the champion of teachers rights, the undisputed person of getting things done, the one who claims he will walk through a wall of fire, throws in my face-- whilst looking down their nose-- one of the charges against me in my 3020-a?

I was told by this person (Who shall remain nameless) the other day;
"Why didn't you tell me of all the charges you had against you?"
To wit I replied,;
"What do you mean?"
I believe this unnamed "leader" was implying that I was not being honest about the charges. Well I was. I said I had 19 and if one asked me, I would share each and every charge. Besides, this unnamed "leader" had been through the 3020-a ringer as well and was fully aware and should have been just as fully empathetic to just not my plight, but the plight of others in the same situation.

When I asked this unnamed "leader" what charge this unnamed "leader" was referring to there was no answer. I told this unnamed "leader" , "Hey you brought it up, I have nothing to hide and I will be truthful."

The reply, as follows;
"You told students that they can do whatever they want?"
Hmmm. Not only was that accusation out of context but this unnamed "leader" had no context either nor did this unnamed "leader" even have all the facts. This is the last time I share my 3020-a decision with someone. The worst part is that this unnamed "leader" used my plight as a sword against me.

Moses would never do something like this.

So here is the facts. Not as I see it, but what actually happened.

It was a Friday afternoon. A 3rd grade teacher, The Cowgirl, had her prep at 1:50 PM. Her class was a rough class for all the clusters in the school. Most didn't behave, most had to be sent to buddy classes for the first 15 minutes of cluster time just so us clusters could get the class settled down. This was true with the Phys Ed teacher, the librarian, and perhaps with the art teacher but she lived so far in the colon of admins she was Teflon. But I digress.

I had already sent her a note asking for about 5 students to be sent to buddy classes as per the guidelines set forth by DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx. The Cowgirl did not like that I was asking.

I had been teaching a class when at about 1:45 the class had lined up outside my classroom. Now this was strange for the class was not due for another 5 minutes and being that their classroom was only 25 feet from mine why would they need to be there so early?

Maybe if we look at The Cowgirl's direct testimony from my 3020-a;
 And in your statement, you mention
16 that you--the student came with that note at
17 approximately 1:30. What were you doing at that time
18 when the student brought the note?

19 A. Wrapping up the day, getting them
20 packed up, going over their homework.

Getting packed up at 1:30 twenty full minutes before the class was to arrive? Twenty full minutes without instruction? God, imagine if I had let a class go on for 20 minutes without instruction.

Homework should take no longer than 5 minutes and since this was June there were no coats, hats, and gloves to put on so how long can it take to get packed up? Most teachers give homework right after lunch. Or couldn't the homework be on the board and students copy it when they have completed their independent work. Or, why copy the homework when a weekly homework sheet is given out on Monday's?

On cross The Cowgirl was asked; 
Q. Okay. And so, is it fair to say that
10 you have responsibility for the class up until the
11 period that Mr. Zucker's class would have started?
12 A. 'Til 1:50

So if The Cowgirl claims the class is her responsibility why didn't The Cowgirl have the class waiting quietly and standing in line properly for me to, as they say at 154, "Welcome them into the learning environment?"

As soon as the class I had was dismissed and went out to the hallway, contrary to what The Cowgirl testified to, she split. No wonder. It was the end of the day, it was Friday, she needed her prep and I was but a lowly cluster teacher.

Now I was tasked with trying to get the class calm. I tried every trick in the book and nothing worked. Down the hall from me was BFF AP Jessica Cruz handing out cap and gowns to the 5th graders. I though, wrongly of course, that an AP would assist me with this class, and AP would have my back, and AP would settle this class down.

I was wrong.

She came spoke to the class briefly and left. Then it got worse. We were still in the hall when the behavior got worse. There was one female student who insisted that she could stand anywhere in line. I asked her several times to get back to her spot and the verbal abuse I had gotten from her was something I had never gotten from a student.

All this was happening within earshot and eyeshot of BFF AP Jessica Cruz. She did nothing. I asked her several time, by phone to come and assist me and she said she was too busy handing out the caps and gowns.

She finally came back down and instead of admonishing the students, I was admonished and humiliated in front of the students. It was at that point I knew I was being set up, Serpico style

She left me with zero credibility.

When I finally got the students in the class and sitting down the same girl was still out of control, doing whatever she wanted to do. She came up to me and asked me what we are going to do. I said, "It doesn't matter what we are going to do, you seem that you will do whatever it is you want."

At this point, she turns to the class and yells that Mr Zucker said we can do whatever we want.

Nothing was further from the truth.

Was I wrong? Yep. Was I sarcastic? Yep. Was I frustrated? Yep. Was I being set up? Yep. Again, was I wrong? Yep. If I was amongst the Chosen People of PS 154 would I have been written up? Nope!

Did the unnamed "leader" ever bother to ask me my side? If asked, I should not have answered, but I did. For this person knew damn well what it was like to have their words and actions twisted. I went through a school year of hell every single day. The unnamed "leader" only had a few months of hell at school.

I had taught for almost 20 years. Never ever did I have a problem with classroom management unto the 2012-13 school year. The students knew that year that they ran the building thank to the lack of management style of DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx.

How can someone who purports to be Moses and Jimmy Hoffa rolled into one be the first teacher to throw anything in my face whilst this unnamed "leader" know more than anything what it is like to have words and actions twisted and contorted.

Then, worse, has the audacity to call for me to post my decision online while we, the world, are waiting for this unnamed leader's decision? 

Glass houses.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sparkles for 2016 UFT President

Sadly, I have to disagree with NYC Educator naming his dog, Julio, to run for UFT president. Yes, Julio is neither a sociopath nor a megalomaniac but aren't those qualities we, the 80,000 members of the UFT, truly looking for in a UFT president?

For those looking for a self centered, self absorbed, sociopath, megalomaniac, "me first", candidate for UFT president I want, nay I must, nominate my cat Sparkles as not only the nominee for MORE, but the presumptive UFT president as well come July 1, 2016.

Sparkles only has two interests in this world. Eating and sleeping. Oh and being UFT president. To get anything she will manipulate anyone, anytime, and anyhow.

When she is hungry she will come up and rub her head in in your hand or against your face. Never mind that she does this while you are sleeping but what does she care. She knows that you will melt for at that moment you think that you are the most important person in her life and you have no problem waking up at 5 AM to pop open that can of Friskies for her.

But don't cross her. For if you do not wake up when she wants you too she will jump up on top of your dresser and start knocking things off until you do wake up and just to be sure you are walking to the kitchen to feed her will nip at your feet as you walk.

Sleeping? That's something you better not mess with her. You come home from a hard day's work or it's bedtime and you want to lie down in bed. You set up the pillows, the blanket, maybe a book you lay down and turn around to do something and you know what? When you turn around there she is lying in your spot--already curled up sleeping-- and your only choice is to move her. But what does she do? She saunters back and bogarts that spot again. Remember, it's all about her.

Sparkles also likes to suck you in by turning on her back and exposing her belly to you. She acts all cute and purrs inviting you to come and rub her belly. But noooooooo. What happens as soon as you give her that belly rub? You will grab your hand and start biting it as she kicks your hand with her back feet. She's so sneaky.

I think what we need as a UFT president is a cat that only has their own intentions at heart. Sparkles is just the cat to lead the UFT for years to come.

Remember, when you UFT ballot comes, vote Sparkles for UFT president. She will be running with the rest of the MORE slate.