Monday, December 26, 2016

What is an ATR?

"What is an ATR (Absent Teacher Reserve)?" I get that a lot. Mainly from from newbie teachers. Sad that they don't know but can you blame them?

I try to explain it to them. One analogy that I wanted to try is we are like Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider or like his character the "Man With No Name" from his Spaghetti Westerns. You know going from town to town or school to school to clean up the mess and then leaves. But in this day and age sure enough someone would misinterpret this analogy as being a gunslinger and then automatically think I am advocating violence so it is better to not share that analogy.

But this is what I think being an ATR is akin to. Richard Kimble (played by David Janssen), from the TV series The Fugitive. Think about it.

As Richard Kimble went from town to town on the run so do we go from school to school more or less on the run. On the run from our past, from the school that had forsaken us.

As Richard Kimble arrives in a new town, he like us as we arrive in a new school, do not know anyone. We both have to adjust to the new surroundings. We both try to keep our pasts quiet.

As times goes on in our new school, we as Richard Kimble had, start feeling more comfortable and seek out and become friendly with a teacher or two. Usually a school outlier.

Richard Kimble, since he was a doctor, had to use his medical knowledge to help someone. We as ATR's use our knowledge of years as educators to help students.

Richard Kimble is an innocent man. He was falsely accused of a crime committed by someone else, the One Armed Man and searching for him to prove his innocence. We as ATR's feel we have been given the shaft by many a proverbial One Armed Man. We are hunting for someone to see past our salary, our past, and the years we have in so we can stop being on the run.

And just as Richard Kimble must leave when things are feeling good, when he is making progress because Lt. Gerard is now on his trail, so do we have to leave our schools when we make an attachment be it with a student, a community, or a school when the ATR Assignment people email us and tell us it is time to move on.

And like Richard Kimble we move on and start the whole thing over again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016



Oh oh. As usual the devil is in the details and the devil ain't looking too good at first glance.

We all got the email from Mike Mulgrew espousing the latest ($5 bet we are going through this again in 2 years) evaluation system. As usual it seems that Mike pulled a George Steinbrenner. He was negotiating against himself.

The Crack Team and I went over Mulgrew's email with a fine tooth comb, but several things raised (and upon further reading I am sure more will) our eyebrows here at SBSB and our raised eyebrows raised our BS perception.

The new system, when fully implemented, will include more authentic student learning measures — from essays and projects to demonstrations of proficiency in physical education and the arts — that genuinely demonstrate what we do as teachers and what our students are learning.

When I was reading this email at lunch today I just happened to be sitting with the gym and music teachers at my school. Fate.

Anyway, proficiency is defined as;
1. the state of being proficient; skill; expertness:
So students must become experts in a sport or physical skill? How do we in the schools, many of whom are athletically spastic decide what is or isn't? How do we decide what is proficient when it comes to the arts? 

I can't sing a note. I can't play an instrument. There is no amount of instruction that will get me to be able to be proficient in either. Now, I do enjoy listening to music. For those that have read my blog you know how much of a Rush fan I am. But does that make me proficient in the arts? Will appreciating a painting make me proficient? 

Same with sports and I will use my son as an example. Since he has been 6 he has been in baseball training. He has been lucky enough to play travel and school baseball. He's a good catcher but he has some things to work on. He has a bit of a long swing that we've been trying to correct for years and he likes to pull the ball. With all the training he's been through, and could it be the instructors fault, should he not be able to overcome those hitches in his swing? Or does he have a mental thing going? Baseball is 90% mental, no? 

But again, to put the onus on the impossible is just wrong. Yes, anyone can throw a baseball or play the riff from "Smoke on the Water," (I can!) but not everyone can pitch like Koufax or sing like Freddie Mercury.

We went into those negotiations saying that any agreement must reduce the impact of standardized test scores

Reduce the impact? I'm so confused here so I checked out ICEUFT Blog for further clarification...
As for the rest of the agreement, it looks (like) test scores will count for half of teacher ratings instead of the current 40%.

I'd like to know more about what James meant, but here is the thing. Aren't we, and I mean we by teachers, parents, educators, grown-ups, etc... holding all the cards here? The opt-out movement is still gaining steam. The public sees through the charade now. Why are we folding when everyone at the table just has a pair and we have a flush?

Under the new system, there will still be four observation options, but we’ve expanded the choices for teachers rated Effective or Highly Effective in the prior year.  Starting in the 2017–18 school year, teachers rated Effective — in addition to those rated Highly Effective — may choose Observation Options 3, which includes a minimum of four informal, unannounced observations plus teachers agree to open their classrooms to colleagues for at least two non-evaluative classroom visits. Highly Effective teachers may also now choose Observation Option 4, which includes a minimum of three informal, unannounced observations plus three times when teachers open their classrooms for a visiting colleague to observe and learn from their teaching.

Isn't the deal of negotiating is to reduce onerous crap that the rank and file doesn't want not to increase it? Here is an example. I own a restaurant in the Bronx. The law requires one (or it can be two) health inspections a year. Now do I as a Bronx restaurant owner go to the city and ask for more inspections a year? NO! But in UFT world more 9pardon the pun) is good and less is very, very bad.

By the way, I am leading the charge to change the law regarding car inspections in New York State. I can't live with myself knowing that my car is inspected only once a year. I insist that my car is inspected bi-monthly.

Seriously, who thinks up this shit that more observations is a good thing and a win?

What is most disturbing is this. The timing of the announcement. Two days before Christmas break, two days right after an executive board meeting in which the high school seats are controlled by MORE. Something stinks and it ain't coming from New Jersey.

Right before vacation so there is no real time for teachers to get together in their schools to discuss what they really think about the new evaluation system and to learn more and to contact the UFT to share what they think. Remember, UFT offices are conveniently closed next week.

This news could have also been shared at exec board meeting this pat Monday but wasn't Heck, at the very least it could have been shared at the very least that an agreement was near and give all members parameters of the agreement. I guarantee you this...

If MORE was not in control of the high school seats this would news would have been out on Monday.

But now comes the hard part for the UFT. Let this process be open and fair! Let there be true debate and feedback in the chapters. Let the DA be a source for free and fair debate. Share all information with all members of each and every executive board. And one more thing.

After a sufficient amount of time (one month?) with the rank and file having access to all sides of the debate allow us, the teachers, the ones closest to the action to vote up or down on this evaluation system. We know what is best for us not 52 Broadway.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

BREAKING!!! Possible New ATR Agreement and News You Should Know!

Let's get something out of the way. Your CAR is safe. The number of sick/personal days is safe. They are not being traded in for FLMA. There is no need to worry. 

Someone, David Irons, the author of the "Vote No on the UFT Contract" Facebook page  has started this rumor which Chaz was quickly able to disembowel.

Why would David start such a rumor? Perhaps someone within the DOE shared this with him? Maybe he was on the bowl in the UFT executive washroom and heard this? Who knows? What David fails to realize is it takes two to tango, and this could have  very well been an opening salvo from the DOE which the UFT promptly shut down. Yes, the UFT (if this offer was made) can be more transparent. This lack of transparency unfortunately allows the likes of David Irons to operate unfettered.

One must consider the source as well. David operates his Facebook page anonymously with zero accountability. We call on David to share post haste with all his readers who he is, what he stands for, and more importantly, who he stands with. 

What David doesn't share readily is that he suckles at the teat of the UFT Solidarity trough. Through UFT Solidarity David has learned the art fear and misrepresentation. David also has major issues (Seriously, MAJOR ISSUES!) with the UFT and needs to psychologically project (Oooh, who do we know that is that way??) with others.

But The Crack Team is surprised that David has only scrapped the very tip of what the UFT is currently negotiating currently. As we know the UFT is in negotiations with the NYCDOE concerning evaluations and ATR's. We here at SBSB wish to share with David Irons what The Crack Team has been able to learn from multiple sources as to the future of the ATR pool.

Starting in September 2017 each ATR...

Required to download an app onto their smart phone to be tracked.

Required to sign a agreement that they are worthless and weak.

Sign a waiver releasing the DOE from assigning bathroom keys. 

Must wear an obedience device like Captain Kirk (going shirtless is optional for male ATR's) did in "The Gamesters of Triskelion" .

Can not park their cars within one quarter mile of any NYCDOE school in which they're assigned.

Must eat lunch no later than 10:35 AM and must only eat food served in the cafeteria.

On days that school is not in session must show up and wait outside until given permission to leave.

Must leave home no later than 5 AM if the ATR takes public transportation.

Will not be required to sign in at the school safety desk. This will be replaced with a retina scan.

Must address all teachers with less than three years experience as either sir or ma'am.

When addressing all teachers with less than three years experience eye contact is forbidden. 

Must walk at least three paces behind any teacher with less than three years experience. 

Must give up their seat in any and all places where teachers congregate to teachers with less than three years experience. 

Must appear for mandatory interviews in which the ATR will be notified 15 minutes beforehand to attend.

And last but not least, must sign away their soul to the new NYCDOE ATR ombudsman which upon death will prevent the NYCDOE from a fulfilling afterlife but rather be rotated between Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven (There is one upside to this. Jews do not have concept of Hell or Purgatory so get ready for an influx of ATR's converting to Judaism).

Surprised David Irons has not found out about this possible ATR news. Surely, he would have reported this as he did his news about the CAR.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NYC TEACHER ADVISORY: Have No Dealings With Former OSI Investigator Iuliana Celik

Think about this. You need a criminal defense attorney. The best ones out there seem to be those that previously had worked in a district attorney's office. You have a tax problem you find someone who worked at the IRS. Need a security consultant you go with an ex-cop. Makes sense, huh?

So if you're investigated by OSI wouldn't it be best to have someone who was a former OSI investigator who can help you with the ins and outs of dealing with OSI?

It might be a dream too good to be true.

The other day a comment was left on this blog post directing readers to the Facebook page (I deleted the link. You will see why in just a bit) of former OSI investigator Iuliana Celik.

Celik left this on

I am a former OSI Investigator and Supervisor, former
Hearing representative and former law enforcement investigator with over
10 years of investigative experience.
I provide consulting services to teachers, guidance counseled, principals
and other NYC school staff who are or believe they are being investigated
by OSI. I bring a wealth of inside expertise and techniques that can help
you successfully navigate your case with OSI.
Do not hesitate to contact me should you need my services and check out
my page for more useful information!

WOW! I thought to myself. This must be really great. Finally, teachers can get int of the brains of OSI.

I immediately called Chaz the Blogger to share this with him and see what he thought.

He was quite skeptical. Chaz thought that even with all that knowledge to share how do you get around the fact that if you are on principal's good side the investigation goes nowhere and you aren't you are screwed. I tried bringing up the fact that according to Celik's OSI Consultation Facebook page she can be an expert witness in your 3020-a hearings and help your defense as well.

I kinda had blinders on but Chaz was making sense. I guess a little voice in my head was saying the same thing since even before I had called Chaz I was planning on calling Celik to find out more before I would post about her service.

I told Chaz I was going to give her a call and Chaz said one important thing. He told me to ask her how to get around that principal thing. If she had plausible  answer to that he would be more receptive to finding out more.

I called Celik. She answered the phone. I said, "Hi I am Peter Zucker. The reason I am calling is that you left a link in the comments section of a post on my blog, South Bronx School."

She replied, "Yes."

I told her that I wanted to find out more about the services she was offering so that when I share her info on these pages so my writing can be better informed.

Her response, and are you ready for this???

"I only speak to paid clients."

Say what? You are starting a brand new consultative business and you want to be silent? You don't want to get the word out?  She can't be shy. Heck, she has photos of herself all over her Facebook page. I decided to try a different tact.

I told her that I was planning to write about her services and this would be a great way to get clients. I told her teachers should be knocking down her door.

At this point she told me she no long wishes to discuss this and at this point hung up.

Something smells rotten.

After consultation with The Crack Team we here at SBSB are suggesting to all teachers and educators within the NYCDOE to NOT HAVE ANY DEALINGS AT ALL WITH FORMER OSI INVESTIGATOR IULIANA CELIK UNTIL SHE IS WILLING TO BE MORE FORTHCOMING!

Think about this. How can someone, someone that is just starting a business not want to get word out to the very constituency it wants to cultivate? This is why I am writing this post, not because I am feel I was slighted but rather at the strangeness and evasiveness of Celik's responses which totally go against the grain.

But upon further investigation by The Crack Team there were other red flags found. Like here, where Celik is advertising to be a dog walker and this misleading line...

I am an animal lover who has left a high paying law career to start a dog walking and pet sitting business in Westchester.

We here at SBSB did not know that being an OSI investigator was such a high paying career and by "law career" it might make one seem that Celik was an attorney. The Crack Team just to be sure searched and found nothing.

I want to believe that Celik's venture is a noble one. I want to believe that Celik saw the light and having knowledge of the damage that OSI has done had decided to use her powers for good and not evil.

On these pages I have touted the fine legal work of Bryan Glass. There have been readers that have reached out to him. Heck, Portelos has done the same regarding Bryan on his many forums and many readers have reached out to Bryan as well. If there is someone out there who is on the side of teachers positive word of mouth spreads fast. Using Bryan Glass as an example, look at him. He is like Ringo in A Hard Day's Night. Being chased everywhere for his services.

Iuliana, or is it Julie, if you want to do this than you need to be more forthcoming, more transparent. Too many teachers have been burned by too many promising the moon.

If teacher's are going to spend money on the services of Ms Cerlik than teachers have a right to know more. Simple as that.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Open Blog Post for SiriusXM's Michelangelo Signorile

It used to be that on my way home I would turn on WFAN and listen to the bloviating of His
Popeness, Mike Francesa. Hasn't been that way for a few months now.

I have found a new voice to listen to, that of Michelangelo Signorile on SiriusXM Progressive Channel 127. I have to tell you, I am hooked. Heck, I don't even listen to Sternthology in the afternoon.

Michelangelo has had me mesmerized with his take on the entire 2016 election and it's aftermath. The way he has deconstructed Trump's petty excuse of living has me on the edge of my seat as I drive up the Major Deegan in the afternoon. His progressive agenda, his realistic look at the world has let know that I, and others who feel the same, or not alone in the screwed up, messed up, crazy country we live in nowadays.

Michelangelo is a true defender of those who need defending. Whether they be of the LGBTQ community, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-Americans, Jews, women, or just anyone in need, and anyone being shat upon by those with the privilege to be in power. Death

Listening to him mock Steve Bannon, the Alt-Right, Trump, Christie, Palin, Guiliani, and all the other Trump hangers on and sycophants have left me in stitches so often I have almost driven off the Sprain!

But, and I say this with a heavy heart, Michelangelo has disappointed me in one regard. His silence and lack of understanding on Herr Trump's stance on education.

Right after the election I got a phone call from a friend of The Crack Team who happened to be in a panic. She was convinced that Reichsführer Trump will annihilate education in this country, sending billions of dollars away from public education and in the process putting the final nail in the coffin of teachers unions and urban education.

I did my best to reassure her that it won't happen, that Trump is all talk and he will never shut down the Department of Education and besides she, as well as myself, have just over 4 years till retirement and hopefully we'll be out before the proverbial doody hits the proverbial fan.

So back on November 10 I decided to call into Michelangelo's show and share with him what teachers are thinking and how horrible a Trump presidency will be to education in this country. I felt the need to do this due to the fact that of all the things that Trump is for not once had I heard Michelangelo bring up Trump's threat to education.

So Mike, I hope you are reading this. You took my call during the 5 o'clock hour. I told you I was Pete from White Plains and that I am a NYC teacher. I told you about Trump's plan and how teachers are scared. I told you how he will be wanting to take monies away from public education and put those monies into charter schools and vouchers for parochial and private schools as well as into homeschooling. Oh, and I shared how with being able to fill Scalia's seat teachers run the risk of Friedrich's being reheard and losing our right to organize. I will give you credit. You heard me. But you did not listen.

All I got from you Mike was, and I am paraphrasing, "Don't worry, your unions are too strong to allow this to happen." Say what? I tried to get in a word but you just kept talking over me.

Guess what? Our unions are not strong enough to fight back. Have you seen what has happened alone in New York State with education? With the testing, the BS evaluations, junk science, etc...? Who do we have to thank for this? The United Federation of Teachers. OUR UNION!!! That of course acts this way due to the directing of the AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS!!!

Have you noticed a trend across the country? In Wisconsin, North Carolina, California? Where have you been?

Where were you when Eva Moskowitz's name was being floated as Education Secretary? Do you know about Eva? Just in case you don't, check this out! Were you appalled that Princess Trump visited her Success Academy 1 School to tout her as an innovative educator  whilst ignoring the GREAT WORK of the teachers in the same building who teach our most needy students?

Where were you when Michelle Rhee was floated as Education Secretary? Yeah, that Michelle Rhee who I wrote about on the Huff Post in 2010, you know, about duct taping her student's mouths shut.

And guess who enabled the Moskowitz's, the Rhees, and the countless education deformers of the world? The DEMOCRATS! Yeah, without the Democrats, we never get NCLB and Race to the Top. If Democrats can't stop Republicans, or at the very least roll over for the Republicans, how can Trump be stopped?

How can Trump and the Republican controlled Congress be stopped when our unions have been rolling over, throwing teachers under the bus for 15 years?

Hey Mike, how about putting up that same fight for our children, the communities, our unions, and teachers that you put up for everyone else?

I know you can, and I know you are a good person that can make a change.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

BREAKING NEWS!! I Settled My Lawsuit vs. NYCDOE (One Down One to Go)

It's over. My long national nightmare has come to an end.

I have settled the part of my lawsuit with just the the DOE and any and all of it's employees. It has been a long, long, journey to get to this point. I didn't get everything I wanted but I am happy.

This lawsuit was filed back in August of 2014 and for all intents and purposes had it's origins in September of 2012. It's been over four years of a struggle as well as an education into the machinations of the DOE and the world of law.

Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself and many, many people who have supported me through all this.

Other than my wife the most important person in all of this has been my lawyer Bryan Glass. Bryan is an amazing lawyer. His base of knowledge when it comes to employment law, especially, when it comes to dealing with the NYCDOE is unmatched. Bryan has been there thought thick and thin, through my worst days and through my best days. Bryan is a lawyer that stands by his clients. Just look at his track record. My life is fuller having had Bryan Glass come into it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Exclusive, Michael Moore Exposed!!!! Why He Will Never Lift a Finger for the State of Education in the U.S.!

As many of you know, or might know, I am a major fan of Rush bordering on the cusp of fanboi status. I've
seen the band about 20 times in my life. My journey has included seeing the band during their Exit Stage Left tour at the Meadowlands in December 1981 through to their R40 tour last year at the Prudential Center.

So why am I sharing this?

For the last week or so, every time I log onto Facebook I am inundated with some ad for Michael Moore. What does Michael Moore have to do with Rush? Read on. Bear with me. Your jaw will drop when I get to the end!

So when I went to see Rush last year, my friend and I got to our seats about 30 minutes before the show. By the way, the seats were great! I had managed to finagle (Our original seats were in the 300 section of The Rock. I have my methods and they always work!) ourselves right next to the stage on Alex Lifeson's side. Check it out:
So we are talking with the people around us and who do I see being escorted on the floor by Rush's longtime manager Ray Daniels but none other than Michael Moore.

WOW! I thought to myself. How many teachers have been hoping, praying, willing to give up a child so that Michael Moore, the bane of the 1% and all that is bullshit, would take on our cause? Heck, back in 2010 after discussing this hope with an SBSB groupie I reached out by phone to one of Mike's producers, Rod Birleson, asking him, nay, imploring him, to let Mike know that all the stakeholders of education in the United States need Mike's involvement. Desperately.

So I decided not to pass up an opportunity.

I raced down, went up to Michael Moore and shared with him that I am a NYC teacher and that we in NYC, New York State, and across the country are hurting, that our students are hurting, and that our communities are hurting. Basically I was Princess Leia telling Obi-Wan that he was our only hope.

Mike listened and told me to get in contact with him. When I asked him how he told me through his agency, CAA. I thought fine, I can be tenacious at times. What harm can it do? But I was walking on air. I got to meet Michael Moore and it seemed that I had planted a seed in his head. He even agreed to a selfie with me (Shitty photo of me).

I said thank you and watched Mike go to his front row, or was it second row, seat. I went back to my seat and enjoyed 3 hours of Rush, perhaps seeing them for the last time ever (At the end of the tour Neil Peart more or less said he is retired from touring).

So later that week I decided to call CAA. It took me a few run arounds to find out who exactly represents Mike so I can leave a message with the right person (like a secretary). But eventually I found out who is agent is and when I did I knew I was lied to and I lost all respect for Michael Moore.

Michael Moore's agent is none other than Ari Emanuel. Yep, that Ari Emanuel, the brother of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. I knew then that Michael Moore doing anything for education is this country was never, ever, going to happen.

He is a man that has taken on General Motors, the NRA, health care, 9/11 and the Iraq war, the defense industry, and capitalism. He is, or appears to be, a man that has no fear at exposing those that are corrupt and in power. Heck, he is even taking on Donald Trump and don't be surprised if he comes out with a documentary about the 2016 elections.

But he will never take on nor expose how the powerful and Wall Street have corrupted education. Why? Because in this country the story how Wall Street and the politicians have screwed education starts at, and must include, Chicago and there is no way in hell that Michael Moore with do anything to make Ari's brother look like an incompetent putz.

This is the same reason why Michael Moore will not even touch Black Lives Matter, the use of force by police, or inner cities. Any reporting, any documentary must include the incompetence of Rahm Emanuel.

Michael Moore is nothing but a two bit, self serving con artist. Whatever is good for Michael Moore, to put him in the best light and to protect his friends his the direction Michael Moore follows.

In my heart of hearts I believe that Michael Moore has no core belief system and does come from the same mold has people like Donald Trump.

We as educators and community members need to stop hoping that Michael Moore gives a rat's ass. he does not and will not. Ever.

Michael Moore a man of the people? I laugh. If he were a man of the people he would have bought his seats  for Rush off of Stub Hub or bought seats in the 300 section and did what I had done.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

BREAKING ATR NEWS!!! Beware of Being Manipulated by Sinister Forces!

Fear is a mighty strong emotion. We all have some fears. Some are rational and some are not. But these are OUR own fears. We have ownership over our fears and only can either decide to cave to our fears or fight back against the fears that inhabit our souls. But there is something, or rather, someone worse than our fears.

Who could it be you ask?

These types decide to manipulate and feel the need to pour gasoline on our fears for their own self-aggrandizement. Such types can be labeled sociopathic, psychotic, narcissistic, manipulative, or if a male, in possession of a Freudian physical shortcoming, in which they feel is grossly inadequate and to make up for the lack of size and find the only way to "feel big" is to make others feel small.

One can even say that this type of person is so overcome with their own fears, that their fears  control them, that the only way to make themselves feel a modicum of being fearless is to project their fears onto others, to make themselves feel powerful and important. They feel it is better to bring others down to their level of living in the gutter, rather than trying to move out and letting the sunlight expose them for what they really are.

As ATR's we are constantly living with our antennae in a constant state of alert. We go around wondering if this is the day they are going to get us. Is this the right school I am in? Will the principal or field supervisor judge me objectively? Will I have a bathroom key? Am I still a good teacher? Am I still an adequate human being?

Are the DOE and the UFT in cahoots against me and my fellow ATR's?

Yes, we need reassurance while needing the ability to be in control of our destinies. It is a powerful balancing act. How do we toe the line between the two? How do we "play the game," while at the same time keep the dignity we so deserve along with the ability to stand up for ourselves?

I know of one thing that does not accomplish either goal. Fear mongering.

Sadly in our ATR world there are, or is it "is," an entity so bereft of any empathetic values, so attuned into itself that the only way It feels it can succeed is by scaring the shit out of others and look down at the carnage It has created with a smile.

This disturbing email addressed to ATR's came across the desk of The Crack Team recently.

From: It <>
Date: Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 2:12 PM
Subject: IMPORTANT- 1 minute ATR Survey

Good afternoon,

     Whether you are now still an ATR, provisionally placed or just hired permanently this year, please take a quick moment to fill out this important ATR Survey. There is chatter that the DOE is releasing the names of all ATRs to a hedge fund backed parent group looking to attack ATRs in the press. They have already started last year in an effort to paint ATRs as sub par educators. We to counter their attacks and false claims with the truth.

Click here and take the survey by Friday please. The data we collect will mean less if only a few us contribute. Your names and email addresses will not be shared out. Results are listed at the bottom of the survey page.


Let's make one thing clear. This chatter, this thing that hedge funds are seeking out the names of ATR's is clear bullshit. Actually, this movement is being led by Students FirstNY and you can read the FOIL request here.  Even if the hedge funds are seeking out the names the DOE will not provide them voluntarily. This information comes to The Crack Team from very high up. Do not worry. Do not let the darkness of It control your emotions.

It had lofty goals, lofty plans, and worse, lofty promises. What has It had to show for all It has claimed? A .000 batting average. Nothing. Zero. Bupkus.

As Kirk said to Khan...
"but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target! 

 What ATR's are getting in this email is a falsehood sent by a false self-anointed deity and just a desperate method to sign up others to It's flailing failure of a movement.

ATR's will not be played for fools or marks, and certainly won't be the targets of grifters or scheisters.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

BREAKING NEWS!! ATR Found Inefficient and Corrected Immediately!!!!!

The following comes to you from the files of, "This Shit Can't Be Made Up!"

A disturbing story came across the news desk of The Crack Team recently. It is so disturbing, so vile, so inane, we didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, or to spew chunks.

An ATR shared with us about their school which is being run by, as we were told, "nitpicking micro-managers (Administrators) who are up your ass everyday and in your room 2-3 times looking for something to provide 'actionable feedback."

Eventually one of these micro-managers found something so abhorrent, so revolting what this ATR had been doing it necessitated a quick "strategy conference."

The AP informed the ATR that handouts were being passed out the wrong way!


Wrong way? Does this mean with the wrong hand? I'm left-handed living in a right-handed world. When I pass out handouts (rexos) I hold the papers in my right hand and use my left hand to pass them out. Surely, this is a disciplinary offense?

Could it be the ATR did not flick the wrist properly? Or maybe did not center the handout correctly on the desk? Dear Lord, maybe a morning of PD on Election Day can rectify this problem.

So what really was the issue?

The ATR was chastised because it had taken 75 seconds to pass out the handouts. One minute and 15 seconds.

The AP shared with the ATR that these 75 seconds resulted in a lost of "quality learning" time that which over a year can result in the loss of several periods of learning.

The ATR was corrected. Kinda like in the manner in which The Shining when the Jack Nicholson was told to correct his wife.

The ATR was told to have handouts in piles per table groups and have the table captains walk up to pick them out and then hand them out at their tables. 

So here's the deal. How do we shave off the time and help this ATR pass out the handout in a quicker, more efficient manner that not only makes sense but is much more efficient?

This does not seem very efficient. What will that save, 3.75 seconds (Don't laugh. The Crack Team has tested out this scenario at The Crack Team's Educational Research Labs in Yonkers)?

The ATR can get one of those cannon things that shoot T-shirts at sporting events. Nah, can only do one at a time and will waste time loading it.

The ATR can stand in the middle of the class, or rather at this school the "Learning Environment," and throw the handouts up in the air and hope the all float to each student. Nah.

The Crack Team invested many hours on this one and came up with a solution. It is so simple and so plausible.

We have instructed the ATR to go to the science lab during the next thunderstorm and stand by many different chemicals. To ensure a lightning strike on the aforementioned chemicals the ATR, along with help from the school's science teacher, will build a lightning rod from the chemicals, out the window, and up to the roof of the school. During the storm lightning will hit the rod, come down through it to the chemicals which then will spill all over the ATR. At this moment the ATR will soon be blessed with speed as fast as light. Either that or wind up in 1955.

Or the ATR can go back in time to before Krypton exploded, knock out Jor-El and Lora and throw Kal-El out of the ship and blast off towards earth and have the true effects of the yellow Sun. Yeah, I know. This idea is kind of silly and unrealistic. The first idea is better.

Let's see the UFT come up with this kind of out of the box thinking.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

God Damn PTSD

So I spent the beginning of a school year in a school (except for the 2 hours back in 2013 until I was served papers) for the first time since 2013. Did my best to lay low, stayed quiet, helped out. Asked if I can go to lunch, stayed late on Tuesday, asked if I could have coffee when breakfast was served yesterday. Did what I had to do. Until this afternoon.

"Mr Zucker, please report to the main office. Mr Zucker, please report to the main office."

Oh, oh I thought. Did I do something?

As I was heading down to the office I racked my brain on what I possibly could have done.

Had I left early for lunch today? Just before I got outside I looked at my watch and it said 11:29:35 AM. Maybe I should have waited another 15 seconds.

I had clocked in a few minutes early and still had time to run across the street and pick up my pre-ordered breakfast. I was back in the cafeteria by 8 AM.

Maybe I just didn't  sign the acknowledgement that I had gotten the chancellor's regulations in yet even though we were told that we had until Friday.

Maybe I had left the toilet seat up?

Whatever it was it had to be bad.

I got to the office and the new AP was there. I asked her what I did. She said with a smile, "Nothing, just go in (principal's office) and we'll talk." OK, I thought.

So I walked in and the principal was standing at her door. I again asked if I had done anything and she said, with a smile, "Of course not," and in I walked.

However, the other AP was sitting at the conference table. Hmmm, what is going on I thought to myself. Something must.

I scoured the conference table for anything with my name on it. Looking for an A-420 form. An anecdotal. Something. In my mind I am thisclose to asking if I need the CL here with me. My heart is racing. I am conjuring all these scenarios in my mind. What is making this worse is they are taking THEIR TIME TO TELL ME WHY I WAS THERE!!!

Finally (WHEW!), the new AP sits down as well as the principal and they tell me what they needed me for.

The new 7th grade ELA teacher is having license issues and will be unable to start tomorrow. Until he gets things rectified I will cover his schedule.

That's it? Guess what I unclenched when I was told?

I am cool with that. The new AP took some time and shared with me what to do for the first two days and when I told her that I want to reach out to her again tomorrow for more assistance she was quite welcoming and nice about it.

Having never taught 7th grade ELA in the past I took time this evening to watch Dead Poet's Society which was coincidentally on tonight for some inspiration. Perhaps I will fair better than Mr Keating.

I know I was being irrational even at the time I was being irrational I rationalized that I was being irrational. But this is how it is for me now and will be for...I have no idea.

This is a classic case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And I consider this mild. I know of a very dear teacher friend of mine that vomits and can't get out of bed. But we all deal with PTSD in our own ways.

I hate this feeling. I hate when someone, or rather and administrator, just wants to say hi to me, all my bodily functions feel as if they will go awry. Gratefully, I have yet to lose control of said functions.

I am sure there are many more NYC teachers other than myself and my friend who have been through the ringer in the same situation and just as many who have PTSD worse much much worse.

What makes all those NYC teachers who are suffering with PTSD dven a sadder story is that for most, the actions, or inactions, of the NYCDOE are the cause of their suffering. But as usual, there is no accountability.

This is unacceptable. Teachers should not have to go through their careers with the burden of PTSD. Don't teachers have to deal with enough?

But people on high look down at those with PTSD. It can't be seen, it can't be touched. So you mustn't then have it. That is unless you are a veteran or a cop or a first responder.

But if you're a teacher there are no resources offered to you and you are told you need to get over it and put on that brave face at 8:15 AM every day.

Yeah, it is tough. But NYC teachers are tough. We can and will survive this.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The UFT and NYSUT Must Seek Justice for Teachers

I've been thinking.

So many lawsuits by teacher, so many lawyers hired by teachers, so little changing. Why is that?

With all the lawsuits, all the settlements, the court rulings, the discussions amongst the attorneys one would figure that a needle will move in favor of teachers, no?

While it is well and good that teachers that have been wronged continue to pursue outside legal action, individually we can't move the needle. To move the needle we must fight as a collective.

Just an aside but relevant, there was an interesting article in the Washington Post this week how former and current minor league baseball players are bringing a class action suit against MLB to raise their pay. Did you know that most minor leaguers make about $1k a month? I don't know how I feel about that. I would give my left arm to play pro ball. But hold that thought for a moment. Because this will be relevant.

What do we as teachers do and/or need?

First, as every class action lawsuit has there must be a lead plaintiff. But the lead plaintiff must not be someone who is narcissistic, selfish, or has put themselves in a spot where that person his continuously defecated on by life. No, that person must be above reproach. Must be a pillar in the their community, both at home and in their school, and with an unblemished personal file. This person will be our Rosa Parks.

Think about it. Rosa Parks just didn't fall into being the face of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She was chosen by the local NAACP because she was married, employed, and a pillar of her community. As teachers there must be someone to be our Rosa Parks. Our face. But what should be the cause of action?

There are so many. ATR's. Not how we are treated, but rather there should be a case for age discrimination (which I am sure somewhere in the bowels in the Tweed basement are files among files of thisThe NYCDOE version of the Pentagon Papers which I have written about in the past).

There is also the whack a mole evaluation system or many other wrongs committed. One that gets me is under new 3020-a guidelines the teacher must prove themselves innocent instead of being proven guilty. This in my opinion should be the test case. There is case law about the presumption of innocence.

But how can a low paid teacher afford such high priced attorneys that would be needed for such a case?

This is where our union, the United Federation of Teachers as well as NYSUT come in. It is time for both organizations to show some guts and to grab the bull by the proverbial testes and go out and find that teacher who can be a lead plaintiff, a face against all the crap we have taken for the last 10-15 years. Only the UFT and NYSUT have the financial wherewithal and resources to undertake such an endeavor.

Unions have done such actions all the time. They have gone to the courts for what they can't get in collective bargaining. Look at the story about the minor league baseball players? Who comes to mind? Curt Flood, Andy Messersmith, and Dave McNally. All three battled to eliminate the reserve clause. Curt Flood's case went all the way to the Supreme Court. But all three had the union behind them.

As much as I love baseball, teachers are damn more important than baseball players ever will be. Don't we deserve to be treated just as good as they are?

Friday, August 26, 2016

That Crappy, Crappy Feeling

I remember one point, and this was back in November 2014 a few weeks before my 3020-a hearing had started, that I was obsessing, in a complete swirl about what would happen if I lost my job and had no income, no nothing. My family would be left high and dry.

A friend had told me that I could get a disability retirement at 1/3 of my pay. I thought about it. Since I was on Zerega Ave and the Bronx UFT was a block away I walked over there to meet with the pension guy (I forget his name).

He told me what my pension would be. It wasn't much but it was something. I then asked him about the death benefit. He told me that if anything were to happen to me my family would get $300k. I thought about it for what seemed like a minute or so but actually was a brief second. $300k guaranteed to my family if something happened to me seemed good considering that I and my family would be left for nothing. In fact I shared this with the pension guy. I forgot what he said, but he got me back to reality.

There was another time, I think it was after my hearing started, my wife and I got in an argument, or something happened. It was early in the evening and I drove to my favorite pizzeria in White Plains. I was eating my slice in the car and called a very good friend of mine and I asked him point blank, "If anything ever happened to me I want you to promise that you would take watch out for my wife and son." He really was taken aback. Again, the lapse into this ideation was brief and coming from emotion and not rational. It passed.

So did another time. I forget if it was before or during the hearings but I was walking back to the Rubber Room it was a gray dull day and I just thought to myself if I can just end this my wife and son get $300k. Again, fleeting, it soon too passed.

Why am I sharing this? I don't know. To get this off my chest. To show that all of us in a bad predicament with the DOE can go through something like what I went through.

That is what I had thought before I put fingers to keyboard. I wanted those who put me through this to know what kind of an effect they can have on someone's psyche when they decide to play God and attempt to separate one from one's direct deposit.

But as I wrote I discovered another reason.

I know there are many others in or who were in my shoes. Many are hurting mentally and emotionally right now or have. I want to let you all know that you can battle back from this morass of fecal matter brought on by the DOE. That you can't give up the fight. That you if you come to a wall in your battle know that there are other ways around that wall.

I am so concerned, so caring about others who are going through 3020-a and other crap that what is most important is your mental health, your spiritual health, your family's health. Yeah, sometimes coming off as the loudest, nastiest, loudmouth on the playground is a good way to battle back, but there is no there there with that kind of mentality.

You need to know nuance. You need to know when and where to do what you need to do. But most important of all is your mental and physical health and your loved ones. Don't let anyone fool you into doing otherwise. Don't let anyone fool you into false promises.

If you are in the situation I or hundreds of others have been or currently in it is OK, it is natural, to have the same feelings that I wrote about. I had a great support system and that is one thing you need.

Do not go through this alone!!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fixing the Blog and Teaching Summer School

For those that hadn't noticed, nor cared, the blog had been down for a while. On July 31 I logged on and got nothing. I had forgotten to pony up the $10 that was due the day before for a unique domain name and couldn't figure how to pay up.

Then a few days later my wife fell on the stairs, landed face first and not only broker her nose but dislocated her hip. She has been having equilibrium issues for some time and this was the worst outcome of those. She spent almost two weeks in the hospital being probed and tested for the cause of these episodes but she finally came home this past Tuesday, the day I fixed the blog.

So on to other matters.

I had a great summer. I taught summer school, phys. ed. in fact at a District 75 school in Manhattan and I must say it was one of the greatest experiences I ever had as a teacher.

The school was small and made up of autistic students and standardized students. It was kind of like a summer day camp I worked at in the mid-90's up in Dobbs Ferry. In fact, I was the sports director at that camp.

First, and this needs to be on the record. Not only were the teachers at the school some of the friendliest colleagues I have ever encountered, but the level of dedication from the entire staff, from teachers to paras to administration is amazing (mind you this is not taking away from any others teachers in the city). How dare anyone on the outside ever again knock teachers when I saw amazing work, dedication, and love day in and day out. This is what teachers and education is and should be about. Not being judged by some set of made up algorithm.

The students were phenomenal. Yeah, there were some moments. But they were minor and and handled easily.

I was able to be myself for the first time in years and the students saw that. I literally couldn't wait to arrive in the morning and was saddened when the last day came. The students grew on me. They really did.

There was one 3 year old pre-K student who would never take his nap (my coverage for his class always coincided with the teacher's lunch so I was there for nap time) and was wound up as heck and wouldn't sit down. But he pronounced Zucker as "Shujker" and would just say, "Hi Shujker!" when he saw me.

Other students just called me "coach," and that was fine as well. I got a lot of "Are we having you today?" and when I said no, I got a look of disappointment.

I'm going to take the good feelings I got this summer and what I learned about myself and do my darnedest to incorporate it in whatever I do this school year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jennifer Rogers Former PS 29 Principal in Queens Fails Yet Again to Ruin a Teachers Life!!!

Today is an anniversary. Two years ago I shared that Jennifer Rogers, former principal of PS 29 in College Point had high tailed it out of New York after being removed as principal and had set up her own faux education consulting business. We have an update. Not on Jennifer, but on one of the teachers whose live she had attempted to ruin.

According the the EdLawsFaq Blog, a termination of a probationary teacher who had been a target of Rogers had her termination overturned. Über education lawyer Bryan Glass is the teachers attorney.

You can read the judges decision here, or if you wish, here are some of the highlights of the decision. 

At the meeting, petitioner opposed the position taken by the school’s special education coordinator and sided with the student’s mother, who had asked that her son be removed from the “Alternate Assessment” program favored by Principal Jennifer Jones ­Rogers .

Now why would a principal go pressure a parent such as Rogers had?  

The very next day, November 21, 2012, the principal conducted the first formal observation of petitioner for the 2012­-2013 school year. On November 26, 2012, after a post-­observation conference, the principal issued an observation report that found petitioner’s math lesson unsatisfactory because...

The next day she decides to target the teacher?  Rogers doesn't even of the brains to leave herself sme plausible deniability.

Petitioner submitted a written rebuttal in which she stated that she had conducted the lesson in the exact manner that the principal had outlined in their pre-­observation conference and that the post-­observation conference focused more on the principal’s dissatisfaction with the position petitioner had taken...

Again, Rogers using pure emotion, not logic, and too dumb to cover her tracks. 

So what does Rogers do? She sends in her lackey, AP Scott Wolfson, who is now principal of PS 314 in District 12 to hammer her.

On February 21, 2013, Assistant Principal (AP) Scott Wolfson conducted a formal observation of another of petitioner’s math lessons . The post­-observation conference was not held until April 16, 2013, at which time petitioner was given an observation report that rated the lesson unsatisfactory because: (1) “[w]hile the children within your group were able to solve the problems that [she] presented to them, it was evident that their solutions indicated algorithmic solution strategies rather than a deeper conceptual understanding of the problems”

Dang Scott these students are special ed!!!!!!!!! That the teacher was able to bring them to this level should speak wonders!!!!!!

“Mr. Wolfson wanted to concentrate on the fact [that] the students struggled with conceptualizing their understanding of mathematics , which was not the goal for my lesson plan for that day.” Petitioner added that “Mr. Wolfson and I also planned my lesson together two days before and [he] never mentioned that he wanted to observe how the students conceptualize math.”

 Oops, Scotty. You pulled a boner here. 

There's more, but the best part is the judge wrote in the decision;

“Two months before her resignation, parents, teachers, students and a state senator had held a rally to protest Principal Jones-Rogers’ policies, which allegedly included retaliating against teachers who disagreed with her and cramming students into special education classes without parental consent”

And this is the Jennifer Rogers who wants to help the parents of Georgia?????  

Listen up parents of Georgia, have nothing whatsoever to do with Jennifer Rogers and her Parent Education and Advocacy Empowerment Project.That's if it's still around.

Jennifer Rogers aka Jennifer Jones has left a trail of trying to ruin the lives of educators across the City of New York. Disagree with Jennifer Rogers and one should high tail it away from her.

What is worse, and I feel so dirty knowing this is that Jennifer Rogers grew up in the same small town as I did. Thankfully, the town has survived her.

And thankfully this teacher in this decision has survived the wrath of Jennifer Rogers.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

UFT Solidarity Must Cut Bait With Hateful and Intolerant Joe Concannon

Oh Joe Concannon, your true colors just keep showing.

Friday's post, "Why Does UFT Solidarity Work With Anti-Black Lives, Pro-Trump, Tea Bagger and Pro Rudy Joe Concannon?" still leaves open the question as to why any "caucus" such as UFT Solidarity claims it is, or in fact any teacher, would associate with Joe. What The Crack Team has learned in the last 48 hours brings up more questions and more reasons why UFT Solidarity should do the honorable thing and disassociate itself from such a person like Joe Concannnon and why teachers all over NYC should have nothing to do with him.  Just read the comments written by some of Joe's sycophants.

In this video here with super right winger Steve Malzberg on super right wing Newsmax TV Concannon whines that shootings of black are up in Chicago, Baltimore, and New York. While wrong and not acceptable Concannon does not understand the difference is that those being shot in those cities are not being shot because they are black.

How about this Joe, how do you explain a cop putting a choke hold on Eric Garner for selling loosies? There were not better ways to handle this? As an NYPD inspector shared with me once on what makes a good cop, he told me, "A good cop is someone who walks into a bad situation and calms the matter down." Did we see this in the Eric Garner video?

What is also distressing about Joe is the people he associates with. As mentioned on Friday, Joe comes across as a supporter of police and when he was running for city council had several rallies in Queens and Brooklyn. Guess who liked that idea?

Everyone's favorite meshuga New Yorker (No silly, it's not Governor Andy)

Yeah, Uncle Carl Paladino. Carl has said lot's of crazy things. One of his craziest is...
"The Tea-Party backed candidate reportedly sent an e-mail depicting a horse having sex with a woman and another that included a pornographic video and the headline "Miss France 2008 F[***]ing." He also reportedly sent out an e-mail depicting President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as a pimp and prostitute and one showing an airplane landing near black men with the caption "Holy Sh*t. run ni**ers, run!"

Way to go Carl! And kudos to Joe Concannon for being his pal.

Yes Pal. You see, Joe Concannon is 1st Vice-President of the Queens Village Republican Club. Now knowing this, would it not be safe to assume that Joe has some say in whom the QVRC invites to break bread with? Let's have a looksee.

 Guess who?????? He kinda looks like Gomez Addams without the mustache. But Gomez was wayyyyy cooler. And crazy in a cool way.

So with all this information today and on Friday one must ask themselves, why does UFT Solidarity, a "caucus" that purports to fight for teachers so we can better able to educate those who are being most damaged by the education deform movement, those children who are a vast majority immigrants, of color, support someone who believes in and associates with all what we as teachers are fighting for?

We here are calling on UFT Solidarity to cut it's ties with Joe Concannon and repudiate his message of hate and intolerance. It is time to step up to the plate.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why Does UFT Solidarity Work With Anti-Black Lives, Pro-Trump, Tea Bagger and Pro Rudy Joe Concannon?

Black lives matter!

For those who like to claim that BLM is racist, or not caring of other lives, that's bullshit. If we say, "Save the Whales," does this mean that all other sea creatures do not matter? Does promoting breast cancer awareness mean that other cancer do not matter? Of courts not!

Better, where and how does wanting to save black lives, lives that are disproportionately being  snuffed out, be anti-cop? When too many black citizens are being shot and killed for driving while black, for walking while black, or just being black, what should a people do?

I am not anti-cop, anti-law enforcement, etc... There are just some f***** things happening of late. Can one be pro- cop and pro-black. It's simple.

But I won't paint all cops with one broad brush. As teachers we must not. We hate it when we are painted with that broad brush and to do so to any other profession is just morally wrong. The vast, vast majority of cops are good, are hard working, and are there to serve honorably. They don't deserve to be lumped in with the shoot first mentality of those cops that are besmirching the profession.

Say what you will about MORE, but you can know without any shadow of a doubt that MORE is aware that it not only serves it's members but the communities in which we teach in. Both go hand in hand. I differ on some of the tactics, some of the time spent on some of the social issue causes but at not time would I ever doubt anybody at MORE in what they feel in their heart about doing the right thing.

On the other hand we are still stuck with UFT Solidarity "caucus" and it's tone deafness to reality. You see, UFT Solidarity has a new patrón, NYC Council failedf candidate from Queens for the 23rd district, Joe Concannon.

From: Bozo T Clown
Date: July 12, 2016 at 9:12:14 AM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: [DTOE] Send school corruption issues to Joe Concannon
Joe Concannon, who is running for City Council in Queens, is collecting school corruption stories. You will remain anonymous and he will take the info to try and remedy from the political angle. See message below.

Just who, or what, is Joe Concannon?  Let's find out

Joe Concannon, a failed Republican State Senate candidate and current president of the Tea Party-aligned Queens Village Republican Club, is the main organizer of the burgeoning anti-de Blasio protest effort. The retired NYPD captain and former Giuliani advisor is a close ally of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch. Lynch generated national headlines — and cheers from rank and file cops — when he claimed that de Blasio “has blood on [his] hands” just hours after Ismaaiyl Brinsley murdered Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

Joe is a Tea Bagger? While the murders of Ramos and Liu were horrific and reprehensible, let's be clear, Concannon is blowing the dog whistle. 

Ah, another dog whistle from Joe....

Wow Joe, you take hte word of Jeanine Piro, former Westchester County District Attorney that covered up a homicide because here kid was at a party (Full disclosure. I am childhood friends with the aunt of the boy that was killed)?

By the way, Joe is a retired NYPD captain, and who was the Deputy Director for Public Safety under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. One can be certain that not only must Joe agree with Rudy on issues but that one must suck up to Rudy to have such a position ***Cough*** Bernie Kerik ***Cough***.

What does Rudy think of black lives? Joe is this cool with you?

And who else does Joe have a man crush on?

Way to go Joe!

So why then would a "caucus" that supposedly wants to represent a union that has scores and scores of immigrants and people of color get in bed with someone that purportedly sees #blacklivesmatter as racist and divisive? Why would a "caucus" that supposedly wants to change the lives of students of color with make up the vast majority of NYC public school students be in bed with such a person as Joe Concannon? Why would a caucus that was an afterthought shoot itself in the foot time after time with insensitivity to others?

Joe, let's let you in on a little secret....


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

We Have Whitney Tilson (And His Ilk) to Thank for Donald Trump


Wait, I will make the case.

I have been thinking about this for awhile. I guess I am finally sharing what is on my mind for a few reasons. One, the blog post by Norm Scott about Neo-liberalism, the anti-Semetism of Donald Trump, and Whitney's whining of Trump.

 "I understand you fighting to maintain the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, but are you seriously still supporting Trump – even after what he’s said in the past two weeks?"

 "Trump was deeply associated with, “Cambridge Who’s Who, a vanity publisher promising ‘branding services’…” This led me to take a stab at compiling a list of all of Trump’s failed/scummy/predatory businesses and business practices."

Shall we show look at the failed/scummy/predatory practices of Whitney? But I am digressing.

What has happened since the Ed Deformers had come out of the woodwork in the last 15 years or so is that experience and knowledge mean squat bupkus anymore. Don't we see that from Trump? No experience and certainly no knowledge.

We have seen how Whitney and his ilk support the greatest lack of experience and knowledge with Teach for America. Sure, anyone can teach if they take a course for 5 weeks for a total of 50 hours.

Don't we hear this from the Trump cabal. "He has no experience in politics, it's a good thing!"

That remind me. I had this conversation with Dmitri Melhorn a few years ago in which we were talking about need for experience

I actually like Dmitri. At least he is not a giant p**** like Whitney.

I remember once asking Dmitri since I coached Little League successfully should I then be qualified to coach. Dmitri was like, "Why not?"

Look at what has become of principals and assistant principals. Where once these were leaders of schools with a wealth of background in education those positions have been dumbed down as well. Just cut a check to Touro or somewhere else and PRESTO! You are an administrator. Why have any knowledge in the field you have chosen. Whitney and his ilk believes ANYONE can do it.

Accountability for those in charge? Nope. It's the peons fault. Do we see Donald ever taking responsibility? Who does he blame? The Mexicans, the Muslims, the Jews, the foreigners are the new targets such as the teachers to hide how f***** up those that want to be in control are. Every hear Whitney and his ilk blame a non-teacher?

Want to scam those with promises of grandeur, get smart quick, graduate quick. We see it in Donald with all his scams, etc... as Whitney mentioned above. Whitney and his ilk wrote the playbook for what we are seeing now with Donald.

Whitney Tilson and his ilk have begat us Donald Trump. Whitney and his ilk have begat us ignorance, fraud, scapegoating, and scams.

Donald Trump one way or the other is going to wind up benefiting himself big time. Who has benefited the most from the Ed Deformity of the last 15 years? Whitney Tilson and his ilk.

Whitney Tilson and his ilk believe that they has the "GREAT WHITE PROTECTOR" see themselves as the knowledge of what those of color need to do even though before the Deform movement they did jack for them and will never allow them in the front door.

Donald Trump has never before lifted a finger for those who are supporting him and never would allow himself to be seen with them before and certainly won't ask them over to Mar-A-Largo to shoot the shit. See any difference?

Whitney Tilson and his ilk and Donald Trump believe that complex problems can be solved with simple answers. One in the same.

For both Whitney and his ilk and Donald Trump, knowldge is not power. In fact, it is quite a dangerous thing to possess.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

S is for Surviving The Year

The point of the journey is not to arrive--Peart, Neil 1987

I'm still on, and might be for the rest of my career, on the strange journey as an ATR. This was not only the weirdest school year I had experienced, but thanks to my suspension, the shortest.

But I now can take a deep breath of relief and know that I got through this year. I received an S for the year. It did not come easy. I had to learn to roll with the punches and adapt. Adapt to new schools, new students, new administrators, new districts, new everything. I had some rocky points here and there and it would have been easy to revert, but I persevered.

But there will be no complacency from me. I know starting in September the previous year's slate is wiped clean and I have to do it all over again.

The worse part, and my wife believes this is a double penalty, is that my summer pay has been affected. This I knew was coming and at least the DOE was kind enough to spread my pay evenly through the summer checks.

But I started Summer School on Friday and the loss of the summer pay will be negated by the pay I get for the summer.

What got me through this year was a wonderful support system led by my wife. She will always tell me that God will put you in the right place and see what is right. Those words helped this part time agnostic.

Other people that I believe I owe a multitude of thanks of just being an ear and voice I can go to or to talk me off the precipice are (in no particular order), Norm Scott, Mindy Rosier, Peter Lamphere, Jonathan Halabi, Jia Lee, The MORE Caucus, Chaz, my DL, Amy Arundell, Betsy Combier, Jay the ATR I met at my first assignment, a lot of good teachers I met at the various schools, James Eterno, Mike Schirtzer, Sparkles, Kathy Perez, Laurie Luft, the real ATR Support Group on Facebook, and I am sure there are countless others.

One more thing. There are still too many ATR's who are going through hell. Not only do we as teachers need to support them, but the union does as well. Thankfully, there seems to be some good news on the horizon for everyone.

The point of departure, is not to return--Peart, Neil 1987

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Enabling That Allows Orlando and Hate Must End!

Wow, I have been silent of late, no? I need to get back in gear. Fortunately, spring baseball season is now over and never again does my son play for three teams in the spring again.

A lot has been on my mind of late concerning Trump and his pro-fascisim idiocy. There is a correlation between Trump running for president and the deform movement we have seen in education over the last 10-15 years. But that is a blog post for another time.

What has been bugging me more since Sunday is the massacre that occurred in Orlando. I am sickened by it and sickened at how some of our "so called" leaders in this country have enabled and greased the skids for it to happen. In fact I am sick and tired of all this hatred in this country towards groups that just want to be treated fairly, as humans, and as Americans.

I am proud to be part of MORE and even though I disagree at times with MORE on the extent of involvement in social justice at times as well as how the message is delivered, I know that I share 99% of the sentiments.

Even if you don't agree with MORE at all about the social justice side, think about it. MORE will never ever be the type of caucus that associates itself with a racist former police captain that believes blacks lives mean diddly squat and associates with deranged mentally ill politicians. 

But I have digressed.

So a friend of mine of over 30 years posted something on Facebook tonight written by Elle Barts and a great meme that you see in the upper right hand corner of this blog post. It really touched me and I wanted to share it.

You say, "How could this tragedy happen?" It happened because Omar Mateen's hate was born and bred in America, not overseas. Just 2 weeks ago you were calling the trans community child predators. 1 year ago you were saying that our marriages shouldn't be recognized. 6 years ago you were saying that gay men and women couldn't die for their country. 10 years ago you told us we didn't deserve job protections. 13 years ago it took Lawrence v. Texas to decriminalize our sex lives. 18 years ago you took Matthew Shepard. 23 years ago you took Brandon Teena. 36 years ago the American Government sat silently for 5 years as 10,000 gay men were massacred by the AIDS virus. 43 years ago we were still considered mentally ill. And 47 years ago the riots of Stonewall began. For centuries this country has bred homophobia into our history, into our schools, and into the very fabric of society. Omar Mateen was the product of American hate. America taught him this, and even sold him the gun to do it.

Hate sucks. People who enable hate suck too. People who associate with hate suck as well. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

What's Next for MORE/New Action?

So the elections are over. MORE/New Action scored a victory by winning the high school seats and Mulgrew and and Unity used their machine and our money to once again monopolize their power. Now what?

Some takeaways:

MORE/New Action has shown what can happen when there is cooperation between two caucuses.

Now that MORE/New Action will be there twice a month for exec board meetings no longer will things be done in secret and Unity now must explain, justify, and go on the record for it's actions.

With over 10k people voting for MORE/New Action there can now be true open executive board meetings twice a month. (Much more food will need to be ordered!)

MORE/New Action has laid a great foundation for the 2018 chapter elections as well as the 2019 UFT elections.

MORE/New Action can now show it is a force to be reckoned with.

The members of the high school exec board are above reproach and will work in an ethical and moral manner.

But as always there is work to be done.

During April vacation I handed out MORE/New Action fliers at two 6-8 Math scoring sites. I stood outside during their lunch and was able to engage the members. This beats just stuffing fliers in mailboxes. The personal touch is always the best.

There is still too much ignorance an apathy out there, particularly with the younger, fresher members. One member told me she voted, but when I asked for whom she said, "Oh, I checked Unity." Why I asked. "Because we just got the raise." Yeah, so did I, $89 a check.

Or you get "I like my CL," or "I don't want to get involved." Stuff like that. That is what we are fighting against.

Or here was one of my favorites from last week. A teacher told me she voted for Unity and when I explained the what Unity hasn't done she told me, "Yeah you are right, but sometimes you get to go with whom you know." Geez!

Worse, who, unless you have been active, knows Unity or MORE/New Action? There should be, not just ads in NY Teacher, but with the ballots should come a page explaining who is who.

This is not a time to relax for MORE/New Action. It is a time to continue to persevere and to build the brand. We have the foot in the door and a stool at the bar. MORE/New Action has a lot to be proud of and let's bask in it but know we have a lot of work ahead. It can be done.

My two cents. MORE/New Action should keep a "shadow union" and be there ready to answer back and to fight back when it disagrees with the path of the UFT.

Oh. One more thing. No more voting from retirees!!!

One suggestion for the future exec board meetings.. Would it be too much to ask for a omelette station as well as a carving station?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The UFT Needs to Speak Against the Termination of All Paid Fire Fighters in Port Chester NY (READ WHY!)

There is a great disturbance in the public service employees force. And it's emanating from Port Chester NY.

Earlier this month in the next town over from me, Port Chester NY, the village board  wishing to reduce an $800k budget gap laid off the 8 professional fire fighters that service the village and left the protection of the village to about 300 less trained volunteers. Mayor Dennis Pilla is a voting member of the board as well as the catalyst in this thuggery. This also negated the agreement the village had with neighboring Rye Brook in which Port Chester supplied one paid overnight fire fighter (Rye Brook has had it's issues with firefighters in the past. In the 90's they privatized and went with a publicly traded company for fire protection, Rural-Metro. It was a disaster).

There is talk that the village board did this because the paid fire fighters filed a labor complaint claiming the volunteers mishandled a house fire in March.

Port Chester can afford these fire fighters. The village population is almost 30k, but is almost 60% Hispanic. The Justice Department had to get involved several years ago because no Hispanics were being elected nor nominated to run for the village board.

Twenty years ago, heck even 15 years ago the only reason to go to Port Chester was if you were drinking in Connecticut in which closing time for bars was 2 AM and you wanted to continue drinking until 4 AM. Today, restaurants dot Main St left and right, the resurgent Capitol Theater is becoming a stop for the likes of Jackson Brown and Ringo Starr and there has been much waterfront development along the Byram River. 

A dad of a son my son has played baseball with just retired from the Port Chester Fire Department. He is lucky. He has a pension. For now.

The professional fire fighters of Port Chester are in same boat us teachers public service employees being blamed for the incompetence of politicians. Ironically, Rye Brook is where the Westchester Hilton is in which the UFT holds all it's "retreats." Wouldn't Mulgrew not want to worry about fire protection? In fact the closest house to the Hilton is in Port Chester, not Rye Brook (The Rye Brook fire house is near Westchester County Airport).

And guess what the Journal News reported today? Three Democrat board members who were elected in March have been removed because they;
 "failed to sign legal paperwork following this year's election wins."
This is another attack on public service employees. Port Chester is yet another municipality that can't keep it's finances in order and decides that the scapegoats must be it's public service employees and the the public it's victims.

Each and every time I get into a conversation with a sanitation worker, a parks workers, a cop, a fire fighter, etc... and share that I am a teacher and what is happening to us I tell them that they are next. Well guess what? The professional fire fighters of Port Chester have been the next ones nailed.

Our union, it's leaders, the caucus that runs the UFT has been silent. It has paid thousands to the Westchester Hilton for years to have it's retreats as well has paying hotel tax to the Village of Rye Brook (Rye Brook and Port Chester are both in the Town of Rye...not to be confused with the City of Rye)

We here at SBSB are calling for the UFT to immediately cease doing any business with the Westchester Hilton and any other businesses within the Town of Rye and the villages of Rye Brook and Port Chester until the eight professional fire fighters have their jobs restored as well as the appropriate back pay.

I have run into some really good people at the UFT in the last several months. This does not negate me from my support of MORE/New Action. But sometimes a word of support can go a long way.

God forbid if someone were to die due to inadequate fire protection.