Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Dirty Little Secret: NYC DOE Reopening is a Pipedream

NYC school buildings will not be opening in September. We will be doing remote learning.

There I said it. I don't have any current knowledge nor any clairvoyance. But think about it, it is not happening.

One reason is that I do not trust the DOE to do the right thing. And even if they tried to do the right thing as far as opening the buildings it will be a failure of epic proportions. And, as of now, I am giving the UFT and Mulgrew the benefit of the doubt that they will not agree to any reopening unless ever t is crossed and i is dotted.

Plus, where are the hundreds, if not thousands, of extra teachers going to come from if each school is split into cohorts?

We have massive outbreaks in states down south. Will these manifestations of COVID slowly creep up here?

Will too many teachers suddenly take up smoking and receive an accommodation to teach remotely?

Each point I made is valid, but it doesn't tell the entire reason why there will not be a reopening come September. There is one cohort (pardon the pun) that no one is thinking of which will decide the fate of a reopening.

The parents. I'll tell you why.

When 9/11 happened I was at a school in the Bronx a few blocks from Yankee Stadium. Around 10 AM or so parents started lining up to take their kids home. Originally I assumed that the Stadium and the Bronx Court House which was nearby as well were likely targets and the parents shared that thought. But I soon learned after the attacks in speaking to other teachers, that all schools were emptied out by parents that day. The school I was at was was a ghost town by 11:30 AM.

Now fast forward to 2020. 9/11 was a less direct threat to the well being of the system's students. COVID is much more existential threat to the health and safety of students.

COVID, or CoronaVirus, can be anywhere, unseen, at anytime. One place not cleaned right, not scrubbed, or sanitized can wreak havoc. Are they going to screen for temperatures for those entering schools? How then do you keep those who are asymptomatic out?

Look what happened in Chappaqua this past weekend. There is now a cluster of 19 people infected because one putz went down to Florida and brought it back with him.

Where are results we can see? That the parents can see? Will one be able go to DOE website and find out the cleanliness and safety of their school?

In fact, where is the transparency of the "walkthroughs" that have been ongoing for the last several weeks? Why can't we see them? Are there results?

We're going have a plan in two weeks? That's too fucking funny. Should've had 10 plans in place by the end of May.

The parents and the communities control if the buildings open. The parents and the communities don't want dead children. The school buildings are not opening in September.

Thursday, June 25, 2020


Some years ago, well actually in 2005 whilst doing family research, I asked my dad if his
dad ever voted. Being that my grandfather was a precinct captain in the Bronx for Tammany Hall and my dad regaled with how my grandfather manipulated voting, I was curious.

My dad's answer wasn't yes or no, but rather; "Do you mean how many times did he vote on Election Day?"

Turns out my dear old grandpa voted early and quite often on Election Day. He used different names, different birthdays. All for the guys at Tammany.

So how does this matter to you, the DOE employee? The "Return to Buildings Survey" is out!!!!!!!! (click to enlarge)

So as you read this you think, why is this blogger so excited? The Crack Team's computer guy, Zippy the Brain Damage Chimp found a flaw.

Just like my grandpa, you can fill it out early and often on the survey. Here's the link

Take the survey as many times as you wish. In fact, send the survey to grandma, grandpa, you family all over the world. Does your pet have opposable thumbs? Let Fido or Fluffy take the survey!!

Just remember, fill it out early and often. If doing survey on phone, look for arrow in lower right corner. If on desktop, click next.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Teachers, Smoke if You Got 'Em!

About a month or so ago I wrote a blog post wondering if teachers lives matter in reopening the schools. It seems that we are moving closer to seeing that teachers loves do in fact matter.

At today's delegate assembly, these words were actually spoken by Mulgrew...
Medical accommodations--We're advocating with DOE and CSA--We need to know approved medical conditions for accommodation. If anyone needs to do this they will ask for accommodation due to condition, so as to work from home. These people will do remote instruction. Hope to have it by end of month to send out to all.
Good. It's a start.  Or it could be an end. But in my opinion it is headed in the right direction.

We saw something like this last week in an email from Mulgrew...
The DOE has committed to offering accommodations to staff members with high-risk medical conditions in accordance with CDC guidelines.
So what are those medical conditions that are in accordance with CDC guidelines?Who might be eligible to teach from home next year?

Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease
Most are specific. The immune compromised category seems rather broad, and for a good reason. But it is good that the DOE will not come up with their own, make believe, guidelines and follow the actual guidelines of the CDC. But what is one to do if one still does not feel safe about entering a building next school year and you don't fall into any category.

Simple. Smoking (see above). If you have quit, start smoking again. If you are trying to quit, throw away the Chantix, the patches the gum or whatever you're using. And if you are still smoking, smoke more. But remember, get a doctor's note.

Yeah, cigarettes are too expensive. But smokes go for $8 in Pennsylvania or buy a cheap off brand. Or go the loosey route. As an ex smoker I will share with those that ask where to get loosies on the Bronx.

Go out, get a pack, or a carton, of Newports, get a doctor's note, and teach from home in September.

Friday, June 12, 2020

BREAKING NEWS!! ATRs Do Not Get Pass On Evaluations

Just a few days ago on these pages, June 9, we here at SBSB asked the question, "But what about the ATRs?"  This was in reference to that Governor Andrew decreed that teachers that fall under APPR will not be evaluated for the 2019-20 school year. Oh joy. There was dancing in the streets. Celebrations enveloped Coruscant.

I was skeptical. ATRs do not fall under APPR. And neither do others who work in the schools and offices of the DOE. What about these people? At press time on Tuesday, there had yet to be any clarification.

The Crack Team got the clarification.

As of now, ATRs, guidance counselors, school social workers, deans, etc... any one that does not fall under APPR will still be given a year end evaluation.

Of course.

The UFT is awaiting word from the lawyers whether Governor Andrew's gracious offer is extended to The Others. The UFT should be getting an answer soon. This is the best information that The Crack Team got and will pass along more when it is known.

You know what? This is a swift kick to the crotch of ATR and all that do not fall under APPR. None of us were properly observed this year. None of us were properly supervised during the last three months. How can this be?

If the UFT doesn't fix this it yet again amplifies how uneven the playing surface is for ATRs. Yes, The Others are just as affected as well but having an evaluation. But The Others are not on the precipice of losing their careers every year for farting in a non DOE manner, or getting written up for leaving a toilet seat up.

The school year ends on June 26. Two weeks from today. We need an answer. Soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

...But What About the ATRs?

The heavens opened up yesterday and Governor Andy proclaimed, or signed something,
that teachers and principals will have their evaluations waived for this school year. Oh, and teachers will still be able to be tenured if everything is copacetic.

According to Chalkbeat....
State law mandates school and district leaders assess teachers and principals using the so-called Annual Professional Performance Reviews, or APPR. The evaluations, which include classroom observations and student performance data, can influence tenure decisions and trigger firings.
OK. Good. This year has been unlike others. 

So no evaluations is a good thing? Yes. But...

State according to state law evaluations are based on APPR which includes MOTP and MOSL. ATRs are still evaluated under Teaching in the 21st Century using the old S/U system. If we go strictly by the law, it is possible that ATRs are not included in in Governor Andy's proclamation.

Yes, I know, I am overthinking this. But, ATRs are still the overlooked step-children of the DOE. We are the crazy uncle that you keep in the attic when company arrives. There should be some clarification and certainty.

There has been too many stories of ATRs getting ONE letter to file and are given a U rating for the year. Too many ATRs have had the rug pulled out from under them in JUNE with unfavorable observations that lead to a U rating for the year.

I have reached out and have either not gotten an answer or the answer was not clear and concise. I know the UFT can and will come through with further clarification. The DOE is not to be trusted. Just look how they have twisted and turned taking away seven vacation days from us and told us to take it or leave it four additional days added to our CAR. Bupkus. Big whoop.

Remember the Sunday morning TV show on Channel 5, Wonderama? Bob McAllister sang "Kids Are People Too"at the end of every show? ATRs are teachers too, and we're people. We fall through the cracks at time. Forgotten about. Looking at the inside from the outside. Feel like we're shunned. Sometimes it is real, sometimes it's our perception. But perception is reality. We just want communication. And clarity.

Monday, June 1, 2020

$949,181 Is Paid to Five People in Carranza's Office!

So the Richard Carranza is claiming there isn't any more fat to trim from the budget.
Meanwhile, schools might have to go without art, music, supplies, and teachers.

But let's just look at the Office of the Chancellor. Carranza has a chief of staff, assistant chief of staff, two special assistants, and an executive assistant.

Carranza has we know pulls in the big bucks at $352,763. Think he can take a $150k pay cut? Yeah, probably won't cause much of a dent in the budget but at least it'll look good.

Carranza's chief of staff, Edie Sharp has a sweet gig. According to SeethroughNY she brings in $187,028. Edie has zero background in education.

Next up is Mary Wall. She is deputy chief of staff. According to SeethroughNY she brings in $166,156. Read about Mary here.

So now that we are done with the worthy chiefs of staff let's move on. Next up are the "special assistants." Ooh, sounds important.

Chantell Griffith is special assistant #1. He brings home $118,345. What does a #1 special assistant actually do? Seems that Chantell came over from the city's Department of Records and Information Services (She's number 66 under that named department.) What that has to do with education The Crack Team is trying to figure out.

Special assistant #2 is Juan Rosales, who according to SeethroughNY lists him as an  Administrative Educational Analysis and $125,017. But elsewhere he is listed as special assistant. Let's learn more about Juan here, and we can see he is, but of course, a lawyer, or at least graduated from law school.

I'm leaving off two names who I believe are secretaries, therefore union workers, work for a living and besides, they're innocents.

So the five names mentioned here make a combined $949,181. That's five people. 1-2-3-4-5.Five is half of 10, one third of 15. How many books can $949,181 buy? Pencils? Real PD? Why aren't any of the above mentioned offering to take a pay cut?

Why isn't the UFT listing all non-union personal's titles and pay?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Mike Mulgrew, Please Follow the Example of Ron Swoboda

This blog post is dedicated to my friend, James Eterno. James is a great guy and true blue
Mets fan.

In my blog post of May 20, I kind of lamented how the town hall question and answer period has become somewhat predictable. There about 14,000 callers and probably a few thousand people waiting in the que with questions. Maybe, just maybe, questions should be emailed ahead of time. Perhaps questions can be selected to answer by Mike Mulgrew or he can pick the questions randomly out of a drum.

I know what you are saying, "But wouldn't Mulgrew just pick the softball questions?" That is a possibility, unless he follows what Ron Swoboda did in 1975.

I was 11 years old in 1975. I was on Tracey's Shoe Shoppe in the Ardsley Little League. Our annual father-son dinner was being held at the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle and Ron Swoboda was to be our guest speaker.

This was the first time that I was to seat alone with the team. I talked my dad in sitting at my brothers table. My reasoning was that it was my brother's first year in little league (He was 8) and that my dad was co-manager. I would not have to worry about my dad all night.

The dinners always had a question and answer period of the player (Unfortunately, it was always a Met as the guest. I had to sit through Ray Sadecki, Jim McAndrew, and Bob Apodaca to this point). It was always mayhem hundreds of boys raising their hands at once. Except 1975 was the year of the new Q&A format. We would now write our questions on a piece of paper which would then be collected and given to the guest.

Now mind you, at this time in my life I only knew of Ron Swoboda of having played for the Yankees, having come over in a trade during the 1971 season for Ron Woods. And frankly, in the 2 1/2 seasons Swoboda played for the Yankees he kind of sucked. The Braves even cut him during spring training in 1974. Again, I did not know of his 1969 World Series heroics. I am sure some of the more mature readers he do.

I decided on a question. Of course me being me I wrote: "Were you a scrub?"  The boys, and even the fathers, at my table said there is no way that Swoboda would read the question.

Guess what? He did!

Swoboda is up at the dais and going through the questions and just blurts out, "Were you a scrub?" He pauses, and decides to give a life lesson. He tells us how the 25th man on the team is just as important as the 1st man on the team and yada, yada, yada. Looking back on that answer it makes sense. Hey, he got to play Major League baseball and be a hero in a World Series.

About 10-12 years ago he was at a card show at the Westchester County Center. I took my son with me and he got an autograph. I also took the time to apologize to Ron Swoboda and, he graciously accepted (He had ZERO memory of that night).

But you know, looking back I was impressed that he didn't take a softball question. He faced that obnoxious question by an ADHD 11 year old and he met it head on. Sometimes answering the hard questions, the questions that people might not like the answer for is the way to win converts and have people come to your side.

Next UFT Town Hall Q&A let's keep on wishing for less ""What gave you the idea for Flat Stanley?" questions and more questions, to use a baseball parlance, that are knuckleballs.

We are in this together. UFT should always be aware that actions are better than just words.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Are We Getting Reality or Perception From the UFT?

"There is no such thing as reality. There is only perception." - said by so many

Since all this Corona Virus hazerai has gone down since March I have noticed that the UFT has been (at the very least) in a more proactive manner, as well as being a bit more forceful.

Speaking for myself I hope the town halls are permanent and once we are off restriction will becomes more of a traveling town hall with smaller audiences but more frequently across the boroughs, or once a month in each borough. But there is still work to do.

It was pleasing to read about Mulgrew in the Post last month ripping the bloated bureaucracy at Tweed as has been reported on these pages.

It was also not unpleasant to read how and hear from Mulgrew how pissed he was about spring break being cancelled.

And though the UFT was fashionably late to the party, it was at the forefront of the pressure on the DOE to close the school buildings and pivot to remote learning even though some fruity little caucus thinks they were the influencers.

Right now, I am giving the benefit of the doubt that the UFT will continue being proactive. We have been down this road before. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame of me. Once bitten, twice, shy. The devil is in the details. You catch my drift, no?

Maybe, just maybe, Mike Mulgrew is having a Pat Lynch moment(s), but without being the asshole that Pat Lynch is.

There is still more the UFT can do. Not only grab the DOE by the proverbial testes but give a good tight squeeze whilst twisting.

How about this? Leak the names of all CSA and non-UFT useless wastes of space in Tweed with their salaries and perks. That's a good start.

And go after the lawyers. How many lawyers are there working for the DOE are there to make teachers jobs and lives miserable? I think Solidarity came up with 300. Say these 300 lawyers average a salary of $85k. Getting rid of them all can save $25.5 million.

What's sad is this going after the lawyer thing could've and should've been done years ago when teachers were being sent to the Rubber Rooms for carrying a Coca-Cola.

Mike Mulgrew said at either a town hall or a DA recently (I conflate the two sometimes) that we won the teacher war. Well, to the victors go the spoils and the writing of history. Let's do it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Will Flat Stanley Be at Tomorrow's UFT Town Hall?

Sometime in the late 90's I had been teaching third grade. The author of "Flat Stanley", Jeff Brown, came by the school and the third grade came to meet him in the library. He gave the story of how he created Flat Stanley and about writing and reading and all that important stuff. The kids really enjoyed it.

Then came the Q&A part. We practiced with the students on what questions to ask Mr Brown. If memory serves, they had a list of questions to choose from. The kids raised their hands, and Mr Brown picked a student. I remember the question vividly.
"What gave you the idea for Flat Stanley?"
Mr Brown shared Flat Stanley's genesis, and the kids were really into it. He asked who else had a question. The hands shot up. He picked another student with a question.
"What gave you the idea for Flat Stanley?"
This went on for the rest of the time with Mr Brown. Every kid asked the same question while Mr Brown's teeth were grinding---politely. 

There is a reason I bring this up. A method to my madness.

I do appreciate the town halls. I do appreciate Mike Mulgrew standing up and putting the effort to at very least show that he is attentive to the needs and concerns of the rank and file. This can be a very good start.

One thing irks myself and The Crack Team.

I feel like I'm back in that library in 1998 and Mulgrew is Jeff Brown and the teachers asking the questions are the students asking the same questions abut Flat Stanley.

I am not blaming the teachers. They, we, all have pertinent questions that need be answered. I get it.

The screeners did better training. Too often, the same question is asked. Now I can be wrong, but it seems that way. I don't know if this is done by design or just a repeat of the Flat Stanley Debacle of 1998.

So for tomorrow's town hall, please, let's mix it up a bit. If Mulgrew mentions something in his opening remarks, questions pertaining to what he said could be put off. Or if a question is asked having already asked, we skip over that question to something that is completely different.

I am hearing rumors that the questions and questioners are not pre-screened. We are giving the benefit of the doubt. A wide variety of everything is best for all involved.

Let's head down this positive path together. Variety is the spice of life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Teachers Lives Matter

With no plan, nor even a speculation of a plan, in sight, no one knows what to expect come
September. But one thing has been on my mind for some time now which was alluded to in yesterday's exec board meeting.

As per Arthur Goldstein's blog and last nights minutes...
Q:Members with pre-existing contditions--can they work remotely? 
A: On the table.
Yeah, what about it? What if schools reopen, or even partially reopen? What safety measures will be taken?

I have Type 2 Diabetes. My A1c is quite low (can be lower), my blood pressure is normal, my weight is good. Cholesterol, kidneys, everything is good. Knock on wood. But I am still diabetic and that is on the list of people who are susceptible to Covid-19.So what is a diabetic teacher to do?

In 1997 I had really bad strep throat. Had 104 degree fever. Was on anti-biotics. Knocked out my immune system. After I got better from the strep, I developed Shingles.

Should teachers walk into the belly of death?

How about teachers with lung problems to begin with? A little over 30 years ago my dad had pleurisy. It made him much more susceptible to pneumonia.

So should teachers with lung issues risk their lives? 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease. So is Lupus. What about any auto-immune disease? What then?

A teacher getting chemotherapy is sometimes well enough to work between sessions. What then?

A simple cold can whack someone's immune system.

Asthma? Being on certain medications? Anyone with a chronic illness?

A dead teacher is not a good thing.

I believe I can say that not one teacher is willing to die for Chancellor Carranza. One too many already have.

The city and the DOE are dicking around. But the devil is in the details.

This is time for the UFT to shine.

To truly protect its members.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo is Still a D**k

You can't change the spots on a jaguar. A scorpion is always going to sting. You can't
change the stripes on a tiger. You can't make shit from shinola. You can't make chicken salad from chicken shit.

And you can't keep Andrew Cuomo from being a dick.

He just can't help himself. Must be in his DNA. He didn't get it from his father. Maybe he is adopted or was dropped on his head as a boy.

Compared to the 5 year old, we have as a president I was giving kudos to Cuomo in the job he was doing the last 6-7 weeks. Yes, he was slow in coming around. He fucked up with the nursing homes, but he came across knowledgeable and compassionate.

He was earning rock star status. I know many people who were like, "Ohhhh, he's so kewl. He's the best." I did everything I could to throw cold water and saying that yes, I will give him credit for doing something undickish, let's go over what he has done in the past in which he was a dick, especially to teachers. He basically wanted to destroy our profession and destroy education in New York State.

But maybe, just maybe, he would rest on his laurels of the last 6-7 weeks. Maybe he would say to himself, "Self, I have rock star status, I don't need to be a dick." No he couldn't help himself. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a dog that can't be taught new tricks.
"I want to work with Bill Gates to re-imagine education in New York State."
Dear God, he said that. Why? After all we been through, why? And why now?

Oh yeah, remote learning so he says has changed how we should see learning. Where's the facepalm emoji on this blogger thing? (Read Arthur for a more detailed and mature take on Cuomo's dickiness.)

I agree with what Mulgrew said at the most recent UFT town hall that this remote stuff is here to stay. It is. But how is it going to stay?

If it is replacement. Bad. If it supports and supplements learning, then no problem. But Cuomo can't do that especially when he's reenlisting his partner in crime, Bill Gates.

Why Gates? Please, hasn't that ship sailed? Look at Cuomo's task force for the Corona Virus task force....
  • Linda Lacewell, Department of Financial Services, Superintendent
  • Dr. Howard Zucker, Department of Health, Commissioner
  • Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor
  • Beth Garvey, Special Counsel
  • Gareth Rhodes, Department of Financial Services, Deputy Superintendent
  • Simonida Subotic, Deputy Secretary for Economic Development
  • Kelly Cummings, Director of State Operations and Infrastructure
  • Michael Kopy, Director of Emergency Management
  • Patrick Murphy, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Commissioner
  • RoAnn Destito, Office of General Services, Commissioner
  • Pat Foye, MTA, Chairman & CEO
  • Rick Cotton, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Executive Director
  • Dan Fuller, Deputy Secretary for Education
  • Sandra Beattie, Division of Budget, Deputy Director
I'm not going to get into the competency of any of the above mentioned people, but looking at their job descriptions one can adequately surmise that each brings knowledge of their area of expertise to the larger undertaking of this virus. That's what is needed.

If I am going to get advice on how to run a bakery I am not going to ask a gardener.

So why is Cuomo going back to what has failed in the past, what we are seeing now was never needed and a complete waste of money?

Want to re-imagine education in New York State, Andy? Go to the stakeholders. The teachers of New York State. Not the E4E types, not the charter school type, the real teachers. The teachers that work for a living. Heck even retirees. And NO EVA MOSKOWITZ!!!!!

What about parents? Why can't they help out Cuomo? How about high school and college students. Maybe a gardener or two?

It really doesn't take that much to re-imagine education. It's quite simple. Use the words I said to my son when I dropped him off at college, "Don't be stupid." That simple.

 This is all about money, power, and Cuomo being a dick because he is not happy with his dick. Just leave well enough alone Chris' brother.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

RIP and Thank You Chaz the Blogger

Earlier today I found out my fellow blogger and friend Eric Chasinoff passed away at the age
of 69 due to COVID. Today is a sad day not only for myself, but fellow bloggers and the scores of teachers over the years that Chaz selflessly helped, supported, and sometimes (when needed) just lent an ear.

For me Chaz was always the go to guy for almost any questions I had concerning my rights as a teacher. And when someone reached out to me, when I was stumped I sent them to Chaz. In fact for years, I wouldn't give Chaz's number without checking with him first, but eventually I asked Chaz if I could give his number without asking. He didn't blink an eye and said yes.

I would say it was around 2008 when I became of Chaz and his blog. That's about the time I started mine and I enjoyed Eric's straight to the point style of writing. Chaz didn't suffer fools gladly and was always quick to call bullshit.

It was also during this time that Chaz had been exiled to the Rubber Room for a quite innocuous comment he made to a student. His high school lost a great Earth Science teacher (Read more here), the kids and the community suffered, all for something that should've been just a letter to the file.

But I am sad not just for losing a friend, but for someone who kept me from losing my mind.

Chaz (And this is not taking away from others who were there for me), kept me sane when I was in the Rubber Room for two years and going through my 3020a. I can't count the number of times I would call Chaz in a panic and he would explain things to me and calm me down. Even though he wouldn't sugar coat anything, he know how to deal with me. For three years Chaz stuck by me, didn't give up on me, and kept me focused.

I met Chaz once or twice. The first time was at a diner in Queens right off the Clearview. I bought my accordion style folder with me for my 3020a and he looked over the papers. Better yet, he go my mind away from everything, and we enjoyed a good breakfast.

My heart goes out to his family. Thank you for sharing him with all the teachers of the NYCDOE that needed Chaz. Thank you for sharing him with me. My thoughts are with the Chasinoff family tonight.

I am grateful Chaz had played a part in my life.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The New York Times Goes Full Snark On Teachers

Last week I stopped at Stew Leonard's in Yonkers to pick up a few things for dinner. There
was about a 30-45 minute line to get in. A few minutes after I got on the line Stew Leonard's employee shouted, "All essential workers (first responders, health care workers, etc..) can go enter." I turned and asked, "What about teachers?" She said to go on ahead.

But thanks to the this New York Times article from April 21, some might be thinking we are no appreciative of what we have, think we are complaining too much, or both.

Off course the Times has to begin the article with snark.

According to the Times, teachers... work under meticulously negotiated contracts that detail their work hours and break times, and the rules for how they engage with administrators — contracts that now seem all but irrelevant with students and teachers confined to their homes.

Uh, yeah. We do. There is a reason we do. Just like First Responders do, just like MTA workers do, just most healthcare workers do (At least in New York City owned hospitals), even nurses in private hospitals. Sanitation workers are unionized, highway workers as well. But of course the Times must make it out to seem that only the teachers are hiding behind a collectively bargained contract. 

Irrelevant? So the contract goes out the window because we are working from home? We are therefore not entitled to a 50 minute lunch? A six hour and fifty minute day? A prep? Sick days? 

Administrators must not follow rules? Mustn't supervisors in NYPD follow rules? FDNY? Any other essential workers that work under a CBA (For those that aren't aware the C in CBA stands for COLLECTIVE which is an adjective meaning "done by people acting as a group.") The UFT collectively enters into a contract with another party, the City of New York."

 But some of these teachers are working longer hours without being compensated. According to the Times...Unions in some of America’s largest school districts have called for restrictions on the number of hours and days that teachers would be required to work from home during the pandemic.

That's because some of these teachers, many in fact, are working longer hours. All the time from home while juggling taking care of their own children.

Maybe they just want to be compensated for their extra time, or what is known as OVERTIME. NYPD cops are still afforded OVERTIME, In fact the plan is if 5k cops call in sick NYPD will go to 12 hour shifts which will include OVERTIME. Does the Times have issues with other public service employees taking advantage of the fruits of OVERTIME?

Is it possible that teachers, due to our CBA also wish for relief from supervisors that break the agreed CBA, go against agreements negotiated by the UFT and the chancellor?

From yesterday's UFT Delegate Assembly (courtesy of Arthur Goldstein) during the Q&A...
Q.How much work can principals mandate, now being told to record voice over PowerPoint. Pushing us to be onscreen as much as possible. In Kindergarten.
A--If they're mandating you be live, go to operational complaint form. Chancellor not requiring it. Why are they changing things all of a sudden? Perhaps being directed. I will check what's going on in your district. If this goes to my consultation with chancellor, will be inconvenient for AP
That's just an example.

Of course the Times has this; New York City has seen perhaps the most drastic display of unions pushing back against the new expectations placed on teachers.

Yeah, because we have been shat upon for too long and we don't trust those making decisions even though the teachers of NYC put together remote learning for 1.1 million students in 3 days.  

Think it's easy for us? How does one think it is for an average 7 year old? How does one think it is for any child old whose only escape from their home is that time spent in school? How does one think it is for four school aged children under one roof with only one laptop or just an iPad or iPhone? We know. We feel it. 

We push back because we are not generally supervised by competency or even have a background in education. I'll guarantee that any cop is supervised by someone who has been a cop and has more than 3 years of service. I will also say the same that one can't become a health care professional with only 50 hours of training. And I know if I walk into McDonald's tomorrow morning that the manager has experience working for McDonald's.

But the Times went full snark with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that spring break, scheduled to begin in early April, would be canceled for schools across the state. (Many other places did the opposite, keeping or even extending their breaks.)

New York City’s teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers, held out hope that educators could still take off for Passover and Good Friday — and was furious when Mayor Bill de Blasio kept them on the job for those religious holidays.

Why did Cuomo do what he did? Because we are babysitters. What did DeBlasio? Because him and Cuomo are battling to see who has a bigger schlong. But I think the bigger reason is this: Both were afraid of too many teenagers of color with nothing to do and out on the streets. Their donor class and Wall St whispered in their ears and asked told them to do something. 

I want to be compensated. Cops are keeping their vacations. Firefighters. Transit workers. Sanitation. School Safety. School custodial workers. Why not us?

I get it. We, as well as other professions mentioned here, are lucky we are still getting paid. I am grateful. Yes, I know people who aren't. I know people who are struggling. I wish for a speedy recovery and that the grownups will take charge soon. But it is time to stop making teachers scapegoats and having this illusion that we have it damn good.

And I know that the cops, firefighters, EMS, grocery workers, health care workers are busting their asses, and risking their lives every day. They're all doing great jobs. In fact there is so much good going around. But it just seems that it is always open season on teachers.

And even though we have a no layoff clause in our contract I fear that many teachers will be discontinued this year under false pretenses just to save money. 

Oh, one more thing. Let's get past this thing, "Oh, teachers work only 180 days and get paid in the summer for doing nothing." That's a misnomer. Our September-December pay has money pulled back for our July check and January-June for August. OK? 

And, Cuomo is still a dick. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

The UFT Must Grab the DOE by the Proverbial Balls (Edited on 4/20/20 and reposted due to accidental deletion on 4/20/20)

 Update #2 4/20/20 I accidentally deleted this post and now re-posting and re-posting original comments but those comments will be listed as today. 

Update#1 4/20/20 The Crack Team erroneously believed Mulgrew never commented on the budget cuts but found he had last week in the Post.

So cuts to the DOE's budget are on it's way. James Eterno went right to the horses mouth here. Meanwhile, what do we get from 52 Broadway? Thus far? Crickets chirping. Yes, Mulgrew did comment, but we here at SBSB believe it was the wrong forum to comment.

We also got a nice video giving us a pat on the back as well as health care workers. Nice.

But what of the silence lack of sharing with the rank and file emanating from 52 Broadway on budget cuts. Some of them, to be truthful, who cares. But there are several places within the DOE that can be cut and should be cut. Tweed, 65 Court St, Zerega Ave, Fordham Plaza, and whatever other borough support places there are.

How much redundancy are there at these places? How much dead wood? How many unqualified people are there?

For instance, likes take a gander at former chief of staff for Deputy Chancellor Cheryl Watson Harris, Sean Corlett.

I had the unfortunate experience of teaching with Sean for two years. Sean could not control a classroom. Sean could barely teach. Sean came to the DOE through Teach for America. Sean showed how much he cared for the students of the Bronx by doing his minimum two years and then somehow got a gig at Tweed back in 2013.

Sean did excel at two things, though. Kissing ass and throwing other teachers in his grade under the bus. In retrospect, one can say he is eminently qualified to work at Tweed.

Check out Sean's LinkedIn page. In 2013 he started his rise at Tweed as...
and listed the cuts
 Education Officer - Career Development, Teacher Recruitment and Quality
Whatever that is?

But Sean made great money. According to SeethroughNY Sean made some good scratch the last two years.

Not bad? Ass kissing and being a rat will take you far.

But Sean is a symptom of the monies being spend by the DOE. But yet Tweed and Court St will remain bloated as cut are made to the school and what we hear from 52 Broadway will just be feigned shock.

Instead of showing good time happy commercials, there should be commercials explaining to the stakeholders of the DOE how much will be cut from their children's education and how the DOE is bloated up top. Seize the initiative. This is the time to do it. As people are losing their jobs and the have no idea what the future holds, now is the time to show how the upper echelon of the DOE is spending THEIR money. Get out ahead of the story UFT and be proactive!! Ask yourself WWPLD (What Would Pat Lynch Do) if the NYPD faced these cuts?

We know that the cuts that DeBlasio came out with can and will change. But wouldn't it be nice that our union shows us, the stakeholders, that they are on top of things?

Praise be to God Sean Corlett is no longer with the DOE having left in February for NYU. Godspeed to those who work with him.

I Apologize For Saying UFT Was Silent on Budget Cuts, But Stand By Premise of Grabbing DOE By the Balls

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'll criticize the UFT when I must and praise it when I should. I will support the always support the union, and I will support the UFT against any outside agitators any time, any where.

Having said that, I will also admit when I unfairly criticize the UFT as I did yesterday (Updated today with correction). Mulgrew spoke with the Post rightly upset and indigent about the proposed cuts. We here at SBSB did not do our due diligence and several members of The Crack Team have been summarily disciplined.

But I still stand by what I said in how I believe the union should react to the budget cuts. That I will not waiver on. It is time the UFT takes off the kid gloves. Stop with the crap line, "Well, at least we have a seat at the table." Yeah right, I had a seat at the table, the kids table until I turned 13 at Passover. That's the table we--as a union--have sat ourselves at time and time again.

Mulgrew says that the DOE..."according to its own filing with the state, the New York City school system spends more than $6 billion every year on central administration...To the extent that DOE cuts become necessary, that’s the first place the city should be looking,”

Show us, Mike. Without naming names (for now) show every position with every salary and how every redundant job there is. Go a step further, break down every position to whether or not a union or non-union position. Which positions are at will? Which positions do those serve at the pleasure of the mayor and/or the chancellor? Which positions, in the opinion of a blue ribbon panel put together by the UFT, are filled by completely unqualified suck ups?

Once as something like mentioned above is complete, take the information and with membership, the city council, and the DOE and then be gone of the dead wood. If that doesn't work, then name names to rank and file, the press and the stakeholders.

You know what else Mulgrew can do? Demand that the chancellor, all the deputy chancellors, first deputy super duper secret supervisory executive grand poobah chancellors, all the superintendents, all the deputy superintendents take across the board temporary pay cuts post haste! And lest we forget, all the other at will hangers on at Tweed like the useless chiefs of staff.

After that is done go over each and every contract with each and every vendor with the DOE with a fine tooth comb. Time to prune that gravy train. Again, look for the redundancies. Look for the questionable contracts that someone somewhere is getting a kickback. Renegotiate all contracts with all vendors. Get a better price.

These are just some ideas that we have been kicking around here at SBSB. There are plenty more and The Crack Team is hard at work, staying up late and will share ideas as they come out. 

Lastly, the UFT needs to come out ahead of the curve. Be proactive 24/7. Show Mulgrew with the stakeholders. Make commercials with Mulgrew telling the communities that it is the UFT and not the DOE that cares most about the students. That the UFT is dead set against any draconian cuts and that first and foremost the DOE must shed dead wood. Mulgrew must now seize the opportunity to go into communities and meet with families and listen to them. Show people how much the UFT truly cares (There are so many fine decent people I know personally at the UFT that I believe will be on board in each community to facilitate this).

Hold pressers in front of Tweed with parents and students by Mulgrew's side lambasting the waste coming out of Tweed. Take the show to 65 Court St and do the same. And then to each and every borough support center or whatever it is called nowadays.

Grab the DOE by it's balls and don't let go. It'll be hard work but it will pay off on the long run. An opportunity like this might never come again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Je T'accuse, Professeur!!

Damn, I forgot I have a blog. Been awhile, and so much to write about.

Tonight I am going for something a little generic, off topic if you will. Yes, there is plenty to write about, but I dare to me different. Think of it as a non-sequitur cutaway from Family Guy.

So as I have spent most of this week binge watching "Community" on Netflix a thought came through my head. Well, to tell you the truth, the thought popped in my head today. And yeah it is relevant to teachers. I'm a teacher, so I always think of teachers.

We get accused for a lot of shit we don't do. That's kind of a bug up my ass. Somebody, will come up to you and say, "YADA YADA YADA you did this!!!!!!" Instead of asking you if such and such happened and giving you a chance to explain yourself and actually spending the time to listen you you. To hear you out before creating a verdict in their mind. It would be nice that teachers are afforded the right be heard before someone gets their just desserts.

You know what else happens to teachers? A lot of what we say is taken out of context. We might say something, something completely innocent and someone will come up to you and say, "YADA YADA YADA you said this!!!!!!" Yeah, those words were used, but there were other things around and after those words that were used and not being quoted by who is sitting in the high exalted judges chair.

Or some of those who sit upon us in judgement can be a bit like "what is good for the goose is not good for the gander." Like if you do something, but some person comes to you and says,  "YADA YADA YADA you can't do this!!!!!!" But they do it to. That's not kosher. It's Treif!

Really, what's best is a two way street. Streets should not be one way. But sadly we as teachers are never listened to nor afforded the benefit of doubt. Teachers, a lot, know how Dreyfuss felt.

But that is what is on my mind today. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be more relevant.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The MORE Caucus Sickout to Force Schools to Close

MORE is at it again. Having become irrelevant and nonsensical and desperate for attention, the crew at MORE has now come up with a method in which it believes that will, make it seem relevant. In a Freudian way they think they are showing what they believe is a phallus, but in reality, is nothing more than a wilted dried up raisin.

I should've paid more attention when it was passed along to The Crack Team some sort of petition. The "brain"trust at MORE is calling for a sickout. Even made the Post.

Here's the deal. You have maybe 13 hard core members of MORE, Peter Lamphere, Dermott Myrie, Kevin Prosen, Aixa Rodriguez (She's an opportunist anyway.), etc. And about 13 followers. So 26 blind leading the blind while the blind follow in ignorant bliss.

Never mind that a sickout is a violation of the Taylor Law. Never mind that teachers who take this job action will be penalized 2 for 1. And never mind that the support we have now as a union will be hurt.

Worse, you think the MORE upper echelon will be there to pick up the pieces for the teachers who participate? No, not at all. They will be somewhere, anywhere, but not where they should be. They'll be off getting a big star for their Super Sectarian Socialist sticker book from what's left of the "let's burn down the house" dudes at the International Socialist Organization.

Just remember how many times the four (as well as others) aforementioned MORE people have continuously snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. As Captain Kirk said to Khan in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"...
"Still, "old friend!" You've managed to kill everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!"
Seriously, this is a crowd that you want to be around? A crowd that does not support teachers and has no problem calling in sick, not for some noble reason, but to make themselves seem important, and leaving children on their own?

And please do not call me a union shill. There is plenty I disagree with the Union about. I will call them out when I must and defend them when I see that they need defending. But one thing I will not waiver on is defending teachers. And this whatever MORE thinks of this sick out, it will be damaging for not only the teachers, but the students and communities as well.

The schools should be closed. Yes, I understand the difficult logistics. Yes, I understand that NYC is not equipped nor ever had the foresight for every school and every student to have access to online learning. But the schools must be closed. Call for a 10 school day moratorium on classes and then see what happens. My son's college has extended spring break through next week, and distance learning starting March 23 and it will be reassessed April 3. De Blasio can very easily do that. Now, not some time soon.

MORE is dangerous and irrelevant. They know it. Everyone needs to know it. Otherwise following them is like jumping off a cliff. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

DOE Sexual Harassment

Not only was yesterday Valentine's Day, but it was the last day to take the DOE's mandated sexual harassment online course. Thanks to a SBSB groupie, I was reminded that yesterday was the deadline and spent 45 minutes in hell learning what I learned last year during 2019's mandated sexual harassment online course.

Myself and The Crack Team have crunched the numbers and figured out that the 45 minutes could be done in five seconds with three words: "Don't be stupid."

Now please don't get the idea that I am making light of those that have been sexually harassed or sexual harassment in general. Before my son, who is a freshman, left for college I had "the talk" with him. Told him no means no, even if you are in your underwear and the young lady changes her mind, it is over. Kaput.

What I find inane is the redundancy of the training. It was done. Nothing changed. Also, the time wasted. This can be done as a PD on a Monday. Never mind the horrible technical glitches that happened last year and this year.

But The Crack Team has decided to add a few addendum lessons for our readers to see if anything was learned.

In this scene, Elaine Benes was out on a date with Phil Tutola. What did Phil do wrong?

In this scene, George Constanza is fired for an office indiscretion. Why was George wrong?

How did Patty harass Navin Johnson?

And to promise someone a job in return for sexual fulfillment is wrong as well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Stupid Incompetency ATRs Must Deal With

Every morning as an ATR is an adventure. You walk in expecting the unexpected and sadly incompetent stupidity.

Last Tuesday, I became the gym teacher. I was handed the schedule when I waked into the office. Not bad, I thought to myself. I like covering Gym. It keeps me active.

Now the gym in the school I am currently assigned to is a classroom. That is why when the weather is decent the current Gym teacher brings the students out to the yard. The little ones you can get away with a classroom, but the big kids...not so much.

Being the principal and the competent AP were not in the building that day I went to the incompetent, out of touch, useless other AP to confirm that I can take the classes outside to the yard (I had previously covered gym and have done it).

Our conversation went like this:

AP: Mr Zucker, you are a substitute.

Me: No, I am an ATR.

AP: But I'm not sure of the safety of the students. 

Me: I have been teaching for nearly 25 years. 

AP: But this is Gym, you might....

Me: I have taught Gym in the past, once for almost an entire school year. I also was athletics director at a summer camp, taught Gym in D 75 for summer school, and coached my son's Little League team for 4 years.

AP: Well...let's see how today goes in the classroom and if it goes well, maybe next time.

Me: But there is no equipment in the classroom, at least the older kids can bring their basketballs with them.

AP: You can take some equipment from over there (points to the recess equipment closet).

Almost everything in the recess closet was projectile based and/or hard. I took four cones with me.

In the classroom all I had access to were about a half dozen hoola hoops and two foam balls.

I improvised during the day.

Playing steal the bacon with 4th graders was fun. The 5th graders were too big, and I saw what a safety issue I was put in the middle of.

The little ones it was fine. We did relay races, stretching, and some laps around the room.

But why is being outside cause the AP to me concerned for the safety of the students, when there is plenty of room to run free and to spread out. But being in a small enclosed space all is peaches and cream?

This idiocy just can't be made up.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

DOE Deputy Chief of Staff David Hay Does Something Greasy

David Arnold Hay
I'm back. Oh, and Happy New Year. I've been on the disabled list for about a month and returning Monday.

So what's been happening?

It seems that those in charge at Tweed have yet another perv on their hands. Back in 2009 on this blog is was reported how former Network Leader and in charge of something at Tweed DR Mychael Willon had been arrested of lewd and lascivious behavior and sexual assault in a Wichita KS, adult book store. Both charges are misdemeanors and Willon pled No Contest. Yes, he never should have been hired by the DOE but he was basically caught rubbing one out where he shouldn't have.

More appalling is the latest news that David Arnold Hay, Deputy Chief of Staff for Ass Kissery to Chancellor Carranza was arrested this past weekend in Wisconsin for Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime. Hay was feeling a bit horny one night and instead of having the common decency like DR Mychael Willon to politely rub one out decided instead to cruise for underage boys online. Using a computer in the way the Hay had is a Class C felony in Wisconsin and carries a penalty of a fine up to $100k or up to 40 years in prison or both. Let's hope that Hay spends a full forty years in prison and is passed around frequently for a pack of Newports. Schmuck. Has a $169k a year job and blows it for being horny.

The Neenah WI police arrested Hay, and his arrest is part of a continuing investigation looking for online pervs.

According to the New York Times, Hay, who was previously a principal in two Wisconsin High Schools...
...took a leave of absence from his job as a high school principal in the Kettle Moraine School District in suburban Milwaukee in late 2010, and left that job in early 2011, citing differences with the district’s superintendent, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
Like DR Mychael Willon, Hay has bounced around several school districts himself

Why did he leave these schools? Think about this. Hay is arrested over the weekend cruising for teen boys online. In Wisconsin. His home state. Where he feels comfortable. Do not think for one minute this happened in a vacuum. You can be rest assured that not only has Hay had proclivities for teen boys for some time but it would surprise no one that he has acted out on such desires.

The DOE needs to go back with a fine tooth comb and see when and where Hay was, whom he was with, and which age groups he consorted with the most. If he had any contacts with teen boys, that group should checked into pronto.

David Hay's mistake his that he wasn't a DOE principal. That way he would not have been fired and would have been promoted to some cushy gig in Tweed.