SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Teacher Puts His Faith in Betsy Combier

This is a true, sad, and disturbing story.

Whilst I was in the Rubber Room during the 2014-2015 school year there were three "inmates" in there facing 3020-a charges. I recommended Bryan Glass and Jordan Harlow to all three of them. I gave all three Bryan and Jordan's contact info and and two called.

The two that called had Jordan represent them in their hearings. Neither went to trial. Both settled their cases and both kept their jobs. Both went into the ATR pool, with one retiring about 10 months later.

The one who did not contact Jordan or Bryan decided to use a NYSUT attorney at first. He was offered a deal of a $6500 fine and becoming an ATR. He turned it down and the day before his hearing was to start fired the NYSUT attorney and took out a pension loan and hired a private attorney for $12k. After the first day of the hearing he was unhappy with the private attorney and subsequently fired him.

He decided to go pro se. And who was with him, assisting him the entire time at his hearing? Betsy Combier.

What was the outcome of this case? He was fined $7500 and became an ATR. That was in addition to the $12k he was out for retaining the private attorney.

Now, the entire time, from when he first met with his NYSUT attorney to when he went pro se he was in contact with Betsy. When I would talk to him about his NYSUT attorney he seemed to be parroting what Betsy has said to be concerning NYSUT attorneys "NYSUT attorneys are no good," "they are in bed with the DOE," and stuff like that. This seems to contradict a commenter in my post previous post who said (concerning Betsy);
...She seems to believe that NYSUT lawyers are best over private lawyers due the fact that NYSUT lawyers "know" all the players involved in 3020a hearings.
The Crack Team is plotzing over this contradiction.

But there is one more curious thing here.

When I asked my friend why he had not hired, or at least looked into Jordan, he responded with statements that seemed quite familiar...
"I heard that Bryan and Jordan are in bed with the DOE."
When I asked him where is his proof or who shared this with him there was no answer. He had never met with either Bryan or Jordan nor do I believe had contact with anyone, other than the other two Rubber Room "inmates" that hired Jordan, concerning Bryan and Jordan. I know for a fact that the other two once their cases were resolved and before they were released spoke glowingly of Jordan and both said it was "best money" they had ever spent.

For anyone to ever insinuate that Bryan Glass or Jordan Harlow are in bed with the NYCDOE goes beyond common decency. To make a comment like that without an iota of evidence is just plain wrong and irresponsible and downright unethical.

Oh, by the way, my friend also hired Betsy for his Article 75. Let's see how that goes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Teachers are ****** to Have Betsy Combier

I was in Epcot this past Friday, enjoying lunch in France with my family when lo and behold I heard a voice. This voice told me that I at one time was a fool. That I was conned. That I didn't see what I should've seen.

I edited this blog post from a post I had written back on May 16, 2016. Draw your own conclusions.


I first met Betsy Combier almost 10 years ago during my time in the RR during the time of Numb Nuts. I remember her showing up every now and then, placing her stuff down on a desk, sitting down, and watching a line form to see her as if people were lining up to get Mickey Mantle's autograph.

Betsy at the time was working for the UFT. She was the liaison, or something like that, for the people of the Rubber Room to the outside world. She was the friendly face, or more importantly, she was the only face that seemed to care.

With the changing of the guard at the UFT, soon Betsy was not employed by them. She was now a free agent. In my opinion this was a blessing for Betsy and the teachers she sought to help. Betsy was now a free agent. There was no stopping her now.

Betsy along with her blogs, NYC Rubber Room Reporter, and Parent Advocates, has been att the forefront of removing the sheath back over the mess that the NYCDOE has created over the years. Betsy has been, and still is, the leader in assuring those damaged by the NYCDOE that they will be heard and that their rights will not be trampled on.

I recall back in the summer of 2013 when I and several teachers in my school had our careers trampled on. I contacted Betsy to meet with us and without hesitation she did. We met at a diner on 2nd Ave and spent a couple of hours not only soaking in her knowledge of what we can do, but more importantly, having that sympathetic ear that we were missing for so long. This is what Betsy is about.

Betsy is about someone who will be with you and advocate for you from the very beginning to the very end. Betsy is about once her work is done with you will be a friend for life. Someone that you can call day or night when you have that feeling of helplessness and need someone that you can be assured will be there for you.

Betsy fights for you. She fights for us. Betsy is persistent, never gives up. When her path forward in fighting for a teacher is blocked that does not stop her at all. She dusts herself off, rolls her he sleeves and finds a new path to go down. Ceaselessly fighting and advocating until she gets the results that she wants, or better, demands.

I consider Betsy a true friend, a trusted friend. I'm not the only one that does. There are many she as helped. Many she has rescued from the abyss.

Betsy is a lifeline. When you are sinking, when you feel desperate, when you feel alone in your fight there is no one better than Betsy to have on your side.

Betsy has been there for many teachers and I hope she will continue to be there for us for many years to come. You can't go wrong with Betsy.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Portelos Back in Fantasy World

Oh Portelos is at it again, giving false hope from a false prophet clown.

On November 29, 2016 Portelos shared this post on memyselfandI,com giving the illusion that the arcane method of bulletin boards was about to be resolved. You know the rubrics, nice little motes on post-its, all that kind of fun stuff.

Sadly, and I can't blame teachers, especially those who do not know the truth about Portelos, that this is a light that is at the end of the tunnel. There is no resolution as of yet to this asinine bulletin board system.

Sadly, there are those that take the word of a scheister. Those that are desperate to feed into one's ego of self-aggrandizement. The truth is out there, and a modicum of truth does not even begin with Portelos.

The Crack Team came across this from several UFT members deep within 52 Broadway. There is no resolution on the bulletin boards. The UFT is confident that there shall be, but in the meantime we have to deal with the crappy system. For now.

Yes, the current evaluation system makes no mention of bulletin boards as something to be evaluated and/or observed. And yes, principals are sticking with this until otherwise noted make teachers city wide pull out their hair like Larry.

So when a teacher who in a state of distress and finds such an irresponsible, lack of substance blog post, of course they will lock on to it without knowing full well about the source of such a post.

As of today, April 5, 2017, nothing has changed. The UFT I have been assured is working on this bulletin board matter as we speak.

No yes, if a teacher does not do the bulletin board the suggested way and gets written up for it, that teacher can and should file a grievance post haste. But the problem, at least as we see it here at SBSB is that until a ruling comes down in favor of the UFT the problem is there is no iron clad agreement/precedence which in the opinion of The Crack Team will only harm the teacher more.

This is why I am going to lay my cards on the table and ask around about Portelos, ask about what Portelos has actually accomplished and like you would for a doctor who tells you need a procedure, get a 2nd and 3rd opinion, preferably from a grown up.

Sometimes adults can infuse help and reality. Remember, consider your sources.

If I am wrong with anything, or missed something, I will correct post-haste.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

UFT Breaks 45 Year Gentleman's Agreement Concerning NYSUT

For those who might have read my recent posts concerning the upcoming NYSUT elections and have interpreted my writings as an endorsement of Unity and not Stronger Together, well you are wrong.

Though I and The Crack Team disagree with ST's tactics, we here at SBSB hope that ST comes out victorious at the RA at the posh and quite expensive New York Hilton April 7-8.

But something reaks within the upcoming NYSUT election and the smell is permeating from Unity. Read on. Be patient.

Several sources reached out to The Crack Team and suggested that we read pages 67-8, and 114 from "Teachers United: The Rise of New York State United Teachers." We did.


Though we didn't read it all, we did read the pages that were suggested. We read how in 1972 Long Island assemblyman Charles Jerebek was attacking our profession. How the UFT, while quite powerful in NYC, was weak within the confines of Albany.

There was a lot of bad blood amongst the teachers unions of New York State. The UFT was aligned with the AFT, upstate with the NEA. Albert Shanker knew that to have clout in Albany the disparate parties must join together.

Shanker reached out to then Yonkers Federation of Teachers president Walter Tice. Shanker shared with Tice how the Albnay politicians played one group off of another. In unity (pardon the pun) there was strength. Not only will this reconciliation help NYC and upstate teachers unions, but help the thousands of fence sitters organize as well.

But, and this is what brings us to 2017, there was something more. Something that was never memorialized, something that was never put in writing, but initiated by Shanker.

There is (or maybe now WAS) a gentleman's agreement that a UFT member will never, ever run nor be president of NYSUT (Again, this is from several well qualified inner sanctum sources). Today in 2017, with the nomination of Andy Pallotta, that agreement as the same worth as a $3 bill.

Look back to the forming of NYSUT. There has never been someone from the UFT as president. Why is this year different? Why now?


Chances are, the way the election and it's process is stacked, the UFT/Unity backed candidate will win. Yes, Karen Magee was the pre-ordained UFT/Unity candidate but she showed to much independent thought (especially when it came to testing) that she was "promoted" and asked to go away. And besides, Karen was not a UFT member.

Could the UFT/Unity machine had selected someone other than a UFT member to run as president of NYSUT? Surely yes, but that would run the risk again of someone exhibiting independent thought. So what to do?

Violate the gentleman's agreement that Shanker made and insert someone you can control. Someone who will tow the party line. Someone who will ask permission first then speak.

Shanker must be rolling over in his grave right now.

With the shitstorm on the education horizon. what with HB-610, a rehearing of Friedrich's, Betsy DeVos, Trump, Cuomo, why the hell is UFT/Unity so tone deaf?? If they are so desperate to keep power isn't the easiest method to that end to work for the betterment of it's members instead of power grab after power grab? Aren't we a better union and able to serve our core constituents (our students) more appropriately when there are more voices and more ideas and coming together in a natural, organic method?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

When it is Time to Move On

Everything is over. Done. Kaput. Finis.

The lawsuits are done. We settled both suits (I believe last time I discussed this, one suit had been settled). A tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I can't say enough about my wife who unconditionally stood by my side through all this craziness the last, almost, 5 years and showed me such strength when I was at my lowest. She turned out, as I would tell her, to be my Yoko Ono.

Enough also can't be said for my brilliant lawyer Bryan Glass as well as his partner Jordan Harlow. Both Bryan and Jordan are beyond honorable men and lawyers and both complement each other in very unique ways. If you are in trouble with the DOE and need a lawyer you can not go wrong at all with either. Just don't bring up the Red Sox with Jordan. He for some reason thinks they are going to win the World Series this year.

Anyway, it is time for me to move on. 

I'm thinking this today for some things I have read about this week.

One, is the articles in the Post earlier this week (I refuse to even link to them) about the Renewal Schools. Someone, I shan't say who, tried to rope me into commenting for the articles. I didn't want to. That chapter in my life is over. It is time to move on. I don't need the attention. I don't need to be the center of the teacher universe.

Another article is from one minor NYC newspaper about a teacher suing the DOE.

I wish this teacher the best. But sometimes, and I learned this, there is a time to say enough is enough. As a lawyer who is a close personal friend of mine once shared with me, "Our system is not about justice, it is about how money I can get for you." And, "You never know what a jury will do."

There are two kinds of justice. First is Revenge, and if this is your aim, your soul and katra will wither and die. Then, there is True Justice, in which a wrong is righted, but it must be for the correct reasons.

Let God or whatever deity or spiritual power you believe in, take care of the "Revenge" (I don't even like using that word).

I didn't want my lawsuit to consume me nor define me. Yes, there were times that I wanted blood (figuratively). There were also times through this lawsuit,  that I got very down, that I said "FUCK IT!", and just wanted to quit.

But I could let it define me, or give up. There are much more important things in my life. One, is my peace of mind, my mental state. The others are right here in my house. My wife and my son.

My marriage was at times strained due to the lawsuit. But my wife was very involved in my case. Coming to court. Reassuring me. Strengthening my resolve.

My son needed me too. In fact, I needed him more. He will be 16 this June and entering college in two years. I can't, could not, and would not, neglect my role as his father for this lawsuit. He needs a father full time. If anything good came out of this I believe he has a better understanding of how to stand up for himself, and for those who need help the most.

I see how some have become so consumed with their own lawsuits. One person I know, and I won't share his name, has continuously taken bad advice from the wrong person (time
after time) and has practically lost his mind wallowing and chasing every windmill both real and imagined.

Nor do I have any inclination that my lawsuit was going to deliver teachers to the promised land of freedom. I'm not that full of myself. I am happy with who I am.

Not every teacher can fight back like I, or others have. That is something that some just can't wrap their brains around. All I can do, and I have reached out and been reached out to, is give any teacher in distress what their options are, everything and anything they can do, and let them make the choice that is best for them. And at that point, support them unconditionally, in anyway that is required.

And another thing I have realized. For all the crap I have been through, there have been teachers that are much worse off than I can even fathom. I know I might have my moments, but there but for the grace of God go I. How can I truly grow and move on as a person and a teacher if I think I had it bad ,when so many of my brethren are hurting and in deep, deep pain?

I am not giving up the struggle for our schools, our communities, and our educators. But the wise thing  to know is when to use the chisel instead of a hammer and to remember the difference.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The NYCDOE Sues a Teacher and the Post Loves It!

Here we go again with the NYCDOE and attempting to separate teachers from their direct deposits.

Chaz touched on this Thursday in his blog. Math teacher Alan Herz of Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Queens was brought up on 3020-a charges. According to the New York Post in 2014 Mr Herz allegedly made a sexist remark as well as an anti-Semitic remark to students; 
 “Oh yeah you don’t get it because you’re a female” and another, “I know how you Jewish people are, and it’s okay because I am Jewish, I know how Jewish people run business”
Now. Let's think for minute. First one needs the context in which the remarks were made, (and that is if they were made). And secondly, why is the DOE spending all these thousands of dollars on going after Mr Herz whilst a simple letter to the file will suffice?

But the Post must throw even more inane and mundane crud at Mr Herz.

According to the cherry picking of the  Post, Mr Herz's
...students and their parents gave him a middling three out of five stars on the website Rate My Teachers.
“The worst teacher my daughter ever had,” said one reviewer in October.
“Not clear and boring,” said another in 2007.
All the while ignoring;
Me.Herz is the kind of teacher who teaches the lesson and gets his point across. Not only, does he teach you the cirriculum; but he gives you life lesssons on the side. His teaching methods were full proof and worked. He would always have a demonstration model for us or an analogy which helped the kids understand.  

Great teacher, helped me sooo much to get accustomed to common core math, has creative ways of teaching
But my favorite part of the Post's story is that (Hold on to your seats!) the NYCDOE is suing both Mr Herz and his arbitrator of his 3020-a, Philip Maier.

Why the arbitrator? Apparently it appears that Mr Maier follows the law.
(Meier) never even heard the merits of the case because he determined that education officials blew a 90-day deadline to issue written findings following an investigation.  
So the DOE screws up and sues the arbitrator and Mr Herz?

We here at SBSB are praying, hoping beyond hope that this case is seen through. Think about it. The DOE in its chutzpah and stupidity is doing everything it can to set a precedent for each and every arbitrator to be sued by whichever side does not like an arbitrator's decision. I even mentioned to Über lawyer Bryan Glass if we could have sued the arbitrator in my case. Bryan, and rightly so at the time, demurred and did not think anything can happen. Maybe now, any teacher that does not like an arbitrator's decision will be able to sue.

Yes, this also means that the DOE will be able to sue, but think if this. Would anyone want to be an arbitrator for 3020-a's if they risked themselves to civil litigation? This just might blow up the entire system.

As for suing Mr Herz, what is the DOE going to get from him? Blood? Again, Mr Herz is sitting in the catbird seat. Where is the standing the DOE has to go after Mr Herz for his comments? Mr Herz is not responsible for the arbitrator doing his job as well as the DOE not doing theirs. We here at SBSB look forward to both defendants having fun with the discovery that they will receive from the DOE. Mr Herz's case is in state court and this leaves one to wonder if he can seek court costs.

As for the Post feeling the need to use Rate My Teachers and the be all and end all of the type of teacher Mr Herz is, remember this. The ratings are subjective!!! In my house none of us cared for my son's baseball travel team coach last year. He knew his baseball, but he did not click with my son. Other parents liked him. Other parents were in the middle. Doesn't make him a horrible coach or that he doesn't know baseball. It was all subjective.

The DOE again is pissing away monies that are better spent on the learning process and the New York Post is once again the New York Post.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Without Jia Lee Stronger Together is Weaker Apart (UPDATED 2/22/17)

UPDATED 2/22/17: The views expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone. At no time did anyone from MORE or any other union member ask me nor attempt to coerce me into writing this blog post. 

One more thing. The kitten on the left represents ALL teacher union members across New York State.


The beginning of this month we shared on these pages that NYSUT VP Andy Palotta will be running for NYSUT president as the Unity candidate against  Michael Lillis, presidential candidate for the Stronger Together caucus.

Recently, both Arthur Goldstein on his NYC Educator Blog and James Eterno on ICEUFT Blog have both queried why ST does not have any UFT members on their slate.

Arthur writes;
"When I realized that Stronger Together was running four people against five, I saw an instant solution to my problem, which is that they have no UFT representation whatsoever. They could run Jia Lee, who bravely faced an uphill battle against Michael Mulgrew last year. They could run James Eterno, who got the majority of high school votes for High School Vice President, but who isn't VP because UFT Unity rigged elections....
And James;
"I'm not happy that ST didn't agree to support any of us UFT dissidents for NYSUT office, particularly since some of us joined ST when it formed back in 2014. Arthur Goldstein (Chapter Leader Francis Lewis High School in Queens) ran for Executive VP back then against Pallotta."
Now while I have the utmost of respect for both Arthur and James I have to agree with Arthur and truly believe that MORE UFT presidential candidate Jia Lee should have been on the slate for ST. Mind you that the ST slate only has four candidates whilst normally there are five.

Why is Jia not on the slate? 

Jia not only has a great reputation throughout NYC, but across the state and nationwide. Jia has testified before the United States Senate, has close ties with the anti-establishment locals, close relationships with New York State legislators, Badass Teachers, and just as importantly, received 20% of the vote in the 2016 UFT elections. No small feat when going against the entrenched machine of Unity. And let's not forget what Jia has brought to not only the Opt-Out Movement in NYC, but just about everywhere.

Yes, unseating and winning the NYSUT elections is a tall order for anyone not backed by Unity. The 2017 RA is on Unity's home turf at the Hilton in Manhattan and we all know how anyone associated with Unity will vote. But why not give those who are against Unity an outside chance?

There are some indisputable facts in the upcoming election that we must heed. NYC, Yonkers, Albany and Rochester will vote Unity. That's a given. On the other hand Buffalo, Long Island, and the North Country will and should be behind ST and even more so if Jia were a part of the slate. The Southern Tier will probably be split between Unity and ST, as well as the Hudson Valley. With Jia ST will without a doubt give Unity a run for it's money. Without Jia it'll be another Unity triumph for sure.

But let's say that ST does pull it off. Then what? Without NYC representation the doors will be slammed shut in Albany and Washington DC. There will be no clout. Nada. Bupkus.

MORE in the previous election lifted ST. Where is the reciprocity from ST? Arthur however brings up an interesting question in his blog post which bears a ponder;
"Could their (ST) negative relationship with a single MORE member have led them to stereotype us?" (Hmmmm, could this be someone who does not play and work well with others?)
Whatever the reason ST did not choose a UFT member, let alone Jia, not only it is ST's loss but more importantly, and much, much worse, but a major setback for the teachers and students of New York State.

 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bible Study and Mocking Students at Success Academy 1 in Harlem

Updated February 11, 2017 10:45 AM EST:
We mistakenly left the name out of SA 1 Principal Danique Loving as one of the three yenta teachers. What is updated is in red.

Earlier this afternoon The Crack Team got some compelling news from an impeccable, above reproach source concerning, how shall we say, irregularities about Success Academy that left The Crack Team just aghast and sickened.

As many of us already know, Success Academies decided yesterday that Eva's ego comes first and that their students were forced to attend school braving blizzard conditions during the children's commute to school. What better way to open a few seats and to ensure that those who do not meet Eva's demonic standards don't return. At Success, if a few struggling students get killed or maimed being in a blizzard the attitude must be "so be it." Talk about Creaming.

So back to the compelling news that came to The Crack Team. The source informed The Crack Team that at Harlem's Success Academy 1 yesterday, some students were involved in what can be called "Bible study."

The source shared that three SA teachers staff members including SA 1 principal Danique Loving  were yapping it up early this morning at about 7:15 AM, sharing what they had done yesterday when one of the teachers shared, whilst smiling and almost bragging, that some students were sitting through the readings of Bible verses during the snowy school day.

Now ordinarily we here at SBSB have no problem how one wants to conduct their religious beliefs as long as said beliefs don't infringe on anyone else's belief or non-beliefs of religion and/or deities. However, children, especially those at the near underworld fortress like Success Academy, are a captive audience and have no recourse other than to be force fed religious beliefs of someone else. Moreover, Success Academy is funded with public monies paid by John and Jane Q. Public and is therefore a public school, though a public school that limits access to the public, and falls under the US Constitution's Establishment Clause. But this is Eva. Rules and laws are meant for someone else. Never her.

But this violation, though egregious, pales in comparison to the what else the three SA yenta's were cackling about.

Apparently these three just principal Danique Loving, while the other two listened and laughed, all African-American, decided that their time at 7:15 AM was better spent mocking and deriding a young boys first name. A young boy who is a native of Africa.

How dare these "teachers" principal Danique Loving mock anyone's name! How dare these "educators" think that they are so above it all that the only way they can make themselves feel bigger and more important is to mock a defenseless child! How dare these "people" for one minute think that they are educators!

Can you imagine the shit storm that would incur if this happened at a REAL NYC public school and Eva found out about this? Oy Gevalt!

We here at SBSB immediately call for a proper investigation into these dreadful and unprofessional allegations by an independent investigator post haste. No stone should be unturned into the lack of professionalism by these three SA teachers and whomever decided to turn a snowy NYC day into Bible study.

We here at SBSB also call for the removal of SA 1 principal Danique Loving for turning a blind eye to what has transpired for mocking a students heritage and ethnic background!

The behavior at Success Academy 1 is appalling and must not be tolerated. Looking the other way is akin to accepting such behavior.
Danique Loving
Danique Loving

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

We Have Whitney Tilson to Thank for Betsy DeVos

So it is official. Betsy DeVos is the new Secretary of Education. God help us all.

I'm not shocked. Out with Duncan/King in with DeVos. It's all the same. Except the crazy God stuff that DeVos bring as well as her hatred of the LGBTQ community.

There are so many people to blame. Public education and the teaching profession have been under attack for 15 years now. Too many ignorant rich people and politicians have been doing everything they can to delegitimize us. Tell a lie enough it becomes truth.

One person I am going to put this is on is our old friend Whitney Tilson. Why Whitney? Simple, Whitney is whining about DeVos' nomination as well as Trump (YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW!)

Yeah, I know, I know. There are so many others to toss the blame at for DeVos, but Whitney just gets under everyone's skin.

Whitney was born with a silver spoon stuck up his ass and it will continue to be there for the rest of his life.

Whitney like DeVos has never attended a public school. Whitney like DeVos never sent his children to public school. Whitney like DeVos donates money to do what he can to destroy public education.

How dare Whitney complain about DeVos. Read this post from April 2010, (Of all the blog posts I've written about Whitney this stands out the most to me) almost seven years ago, in which I wrote about how Whitney completely disparaged a public school which is co-located with a charter. Whitney without any context, without any other information decided to see what he wanted to see. And lie about it as well. Kind of like our current president.

Whitney has spent years delegitimizing teachers. teachers unions, public schools, and worse, the families and communities of the NYC public schools.


Whitney can just delegitimize without offering any real solutions or worse, getting his hands actually dirty and seeing what is really happening.

Whitney just believes that everyone can just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live in the kind of fantasy life he is safely ensconced in.

But when Whitney is whining and kvetching has he ever experienced what children and families of the South Bronx, in particular District 7, go through daily?

Whitney is Trump. Whitney is DeVos.

Whitney has no right to complain about either.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

BREAKING NEWS!! Another Challenger for NYSUT President

Last week Arthur Goldstein shared on his blog how the Stronger Together caucus Michael Lillis to run for NYSUT president whilst at the same time trying to make a deal with Unity.
nominated

Arthur is not please with ST because ST is not only keeping the UFT out but, refusing to include MORE. Arthur writes;
"My best guess right now is that Stronger Together doesn't wish to be mixed up with weirdos like us in MORE, because we are pretty much one of the last bastions of vibrant resistance to top-down unionism. Being mixed up with us would hurt ST's chances of a deal with Mulgrew, who didn't send us Christmas cards this year."
But there are more (no pun intended) machinations happening within NYSUT this year.

The Crack Team has learned from an extremely reliable source NYSUT that Andy Palotta, NYSUT's executive vice-president will be throwing his hat in to be the next NYSUT president.

Now you may ask, what about Karen Magee? The Crack Team's source shared that Unity has never been happy with Karen because she has not been "the puppet" they had wanted.

At press time we here at SBSB do not know if Karen is running for president. Some have said she is, while some sources have shared with The Crack Team she is not.

If she is not running, it is entirely plausible that she is being forced out, told not to run by Unity. Unity holds the cards.

Our source also shared with The Crack Team that along with Unity, the Yonkers Federation of Teachers will vote en masse for Palotta but the key to stop this so-called coronation is votes from Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse. This can be difficult.

The NYSUT RA this year is being held in Manhattan. Whom does this favor? The UFT and Yonkers. Not too far to travel for either delegation. And basically free. No reason to shell out big bucks for travel and Manhattan hotels.

We here at SBSB are sure this is going to get much more interesting.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Progressive SiriusXM Radio Host Michelangelo Signorile Just Is Too Ignorant About Education

So yesterday the "Bear Whisperer" Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos had her hearing share
her "credentials" on why she should be Secretary of Education. Naturally, there would be a lot of talk radio talk (On both the left and right) concerning this scary, scary woman.

On my way home I turned on SiriusXM channel 127 to listen to Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile on Twitter) . The timing could not have been better. He was talking about the DeVos nomination as well and that Randi Weingarten was to call in about 4:30. The moment was perfect for me to call in.

So about 4:15 PM I called and I got the screener. I told him that as a teacher in NYC I (And I am sure quite a few others!) feel that DeVos is going to be just a continuation of the eight dreadful years of Obama-Duncan-King and that this war on education had been aided, abetted, and enabled by the famed troika we have had to deal with all these many years. Screener said good points and told me to hold on.

At about 4:20 Signorile took my call and I basically said what I told the screener, but I added;
"Obama and Duncan have done much damage to education in this country."
At this point Signorile yelled;
"YOU'RE A FAKE CALLER!"
And he hung up on me. I listened to the rest of his tirade on the radio has he shouted;
"Obama and Duncan have done more for LGBQT students and opening access for all students in the country than any other have."
This is where his ignorance slip is showing.

By the way, I have always voted Democrat. Except in 2012 and 2014. Just couldn't bring myself to vote for Obama or Cuomo. My whole family, immediate and extended, are Democrats. My grandfather was part of the Tweed machine. So there!

Yes, DeVos is an abomination that will make life miserable for both LGBQT students and teachers, and even parents.  Yes, Obama has been wonderful for the LGBQT community. But that is not the point I was making and if any other teacher had called in I don't think that would be the point they would be making either.

Now one thing gets me wondering, Signorile's quote about opening access for all students. Because that sounds like code for "school choice." Which just happens to be something that Herr Trump and DeVos seem to want. And guess who else wanted it Michelangelo? Yeah, Arne and Barack did too!

Signorile needs to understand that thanks to Obama/Duncan that we are inundated with charter schools supported by the 1% so that the 1% can get their tax write-offs and photo ops or that are a cash cow for them and their buddies.

We have testing, testing, that has betrayed families and children across the country of being properly educated.

We have cuts in financial aid to school districts nation wide thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have over crowded classrooms thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have sham graduation rates thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have the Common Core thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have states being held hostage to federal monies and forced to implement inane, obtuse curricula thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have a teacher shortage in New York State thanks to Obama/Duncan.

SUNY schools are experiencing a enrollment drop in education programs of up to 40% the last five years because of Obama/Duncan.

Teachers unions across the country are under attack thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Teachers are under attack across the country thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Parents are fighting back finally thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Corporations have profited quite handsomely on the backs of children thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Dang, I can go on and on and on and on. I know I am leaving a lot of things out. But suffice it to say, Obama/Duncan have destroyed public education in this country and they were enabled by DEMOCRATS. Yeah, starting with Ted Kennedy and chumming up to George W. back in 2001.

So maybe it is time that Mr Signorile speak and listen to teachers and find out what is really going on. Go and fight DeVos Mike but 95% of the policies that she will be advocating are basically just regurgitated from Obama/Duncan.

I guess I need to go back to listening to Francessa on the way home. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Brooklyn HS Football Coach Can't Use Potty Words

I am sure we all have read in the New York Post how Progress HS for Professional Careers AP Diana Rendon walked into the locker room of Grand Street Campus' football team back on October 20 whilst some of the team was in the state of semi-dressed (The Crack Team has been given a video of the purported incident. However we cannot confirm the veracity of provenance of said video).

My friend Chaz the Blogger brought up some good points on his blog about this incident  yesterday. Yet again the double standard does exist. Even when an administrator is shone is a bad light in the media two weeks in a row.

But good enough was unable to be left alone.

The Grand Street Campus football team was in the news due to allegations that coach Bruce Eugene had an ineligible player on the team. Coach Eugene was fired as coach even though Grand Street won the city football title in 2015. But just before the game on October 20, Eugene won a court order that lifted the suspension and this is where I am going to focus.

He was set up. All about petty BS.

According to the New York Post Coach Eugene was terminated from his coaching position for...
“allegedly heard making inappropriate comments and using profanities”
Come again?

Coach Eugene is quoted in the Post as having said to the team in a pre-game speech...

 “F–k what I’m going through, f–k what’s going on. Let’s focus on Lincoln,”
How shocking! A football coach cursing?

The Crack Team checked with my 15 year old son and asked him if any of his coaches during the time he has played ball have dropped the F and/or S bombs. Now mind you my son's primary sport is baseball. Yes it is a different game.The emotional level is not as high as it is in football. But nevertheless, The Crack Team wanted to be sure.

My son shared with The Crack Team that while neither his middle school or freshman baseball coaches used filthy language the coaches he has had for his travel team have used the F bomb on more than one occasion.

Examples are...
"Get on the f**king line," "cut the sh*t," "What the f**k are you doing?"
Another coach uses the S word as a noun, verb, and adjective quite a bit! Dang, even his Babe Ruth coach is prone foul language. So was his wrestling coach in middle school. In fact, one of my son's friends shared with The Crack Team that the JV football coach has a potty mouth as well!

And guess what? I, and the other parents, don't care. These are boys. Teenage boys. This past summer his Babe Ruth coach needed someone to be in the dugout and keep the book during a game. I turned red listening to what the boys (including my son) were talking about!

Can't the NYCDOE look past a few potty words and see what Coach Eugene has accomplished and allow him his day in court?

Coach Eugene was keeping these boys of the streets. Instilling purpose and discipline in them that will serve the boys for years upon years to come. In a city where quality high school athletics are lacking why must the fix be always to terminate or severely discipline the person? What is so bad about talking?

Coach Eugene was lauded by the community of Grand Street Campus. In the October 5 edition of the Post it was reported that Coach Eugene...

he still has support among parents who lauded his ability to instill confidence in at-risk kids.

Isn't this what we all want? Why not fix the issue instead of blowing it up? 



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Latest New Evaluation Riddle

So Chapter Leaders and I guess administrators are being trained on the new evaluation system.
Everything being crammed into a short time frame. I guess sooner or later teachers will be trained  as well.

But I've been thinking lately.

Think about this. Say you are a teacher and up until now, January 11, 2017 you have had say 2 observations in which were complete disasters. You have to ineffectives and on your way to end of year rating hell. And let's just say for arugments sake that the new evaluation system kicks in on February 1.

Do you get a mulligan? A do over? Like in Galaxy Quest when you get to use the Omega 13 and rearrange matter and get to go back in time redeem a mistake?  Or do the ineffectives get combined with the new method?

One should be able to get a do over. It is only fair. But we have yet to hear from anyone with knowledge to share this with us.

In fact, what about the four observations? Are the observation pro-rated to two observations are will the four observations be jammed into the last few months of the school year?

And one more thing.

Keeping the beginning date of the new evaluation system as February 1in place shouldn't all teachers observations/evaluations be then based on the old S/U system? Think about it for a moment.

Back in November when I was at the Bronx UFT ATR meeting it was shared with us that if we got a permanent position at that time we will be under the auspices of the, at the time, current APPR system. However, if we got a permanent position in the second semester will fall under the S/U nothing to do with Danielson system. Heck, this is even true for new hires if they started that late in the year that they would be under S/U as well.

Will new teachers that are hired in March or later be part of the newest evaluation system or will they fall under the older old version of evaluations/observations the S/U?

Inquiring minds want to know. Inquiring minds want to hear from someone, anyone.



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ATR Time Travel

Since being an ATR I have been trying to put my best face on and do what I have to do with a smile. I go into every school and every day wanting to do the very best that I can. But at times it can be difficult.

At times it seems like I am living in some type of time warp. That feeling was prevalent when I returned last December from my suspension realizing that I had been out of the classroom, and a school, for 2 1/2 years. It was like I was returning from the dead or had been in some type of extended cryogenic stasis.

Things were so new. I been besides the fact that the teachers I have been seeing were suddenly a lot younger. Or maybe I had just gotten older. But there were more Smart Boards, more tablets, that transparency thingy that shows stuff on the Smart Board. It was whole new world.

Gratefully, I have, or it is starting to look like I had?, (OK, I am going to get grief for the question mark and the comma. I am sorry!) a background in educational technology so I was able to pick up on the technological aspect rather quickly. But one bugs me.

It's the lack of availability of relevant professional development.

Yeah, Mondays are nice. But most of the PD's I have been blessed with being in attendance don't, in my opinion, lead to practices of best teaching. Mostly these PD's deal with data, motivational readings, etc.. I, and I am sure many ATR's, want something we can really sink our teeth into.

Why can't ATR's when we are assigned to a school get time with all the consultants that come in to do training with the staff? Why can't ATR's be made aware of the latest methods, insights into reading, writing, math?

There are schools that I have been at that have had a week of Teachers College consultants come in to spend an inordinate amount of time with staff. Are ATR's invited? I haven't been.

Where are the workshops for Go Math that would help me familiarize myself with this curriculum?

Wouldn't having more knowledge of the latest curriculum of the moment better serve ATR's to assist us in getting permanent positions?

What about being sent off-site to PD? It's a no go.

Yes, I understand that there implementation difficulties involved, but.

Why then can't the the DOE make available off-site to ATR's by borough after school, on Monday's (Hey we are stating late anyway)? Yeah, they might have to pay training rate or per session, but hell, back when I was a staff developer we had this! We had after school staff development in which teachers showed and were interested in learning something new.

At the very least, our union, our UFT, the people we fork over $100 a month to should make the PD the teachers in the schools are having, what the teachers in our districts are learning available to all ATR's. Or does this count, because there ain't much there. Same lack of quality here.

ATr's can't and shouldn't be treated as an afterthought when it comes to best practices of teaching. We are invited to the dinner, but we don't get the entire meal. Just a taste.