SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Matt Polazzo, Shame On You

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Matt Polazzo, Shame On You

We here at SBSB cam across Matt Polazzo's Friendster page. How shocking to find out that Matt that Matt is misogynistic and sees females as prostitutes. How so you ask? Matt, remember Halloween some years back, better yet, what is the quote? Hmmmm, let's see what it says.

Posted 05/05/2004 2:35 pm This man is the only teacher I've ever seen dress up as pimp on Halloween. I'd rave about what a great teacher he is, but I already did that on Gary He's website some years ago while I actually had him. Now all that matters is that he makes a bitchin' pimp.
Matt, Webster's defines a pimp as :

a man who solicits clients for a prostitute

Is that how you see yourself and/or other females? Shame on you Matt. Pimps are bad people.

But just as equally disturbing is:
Posted 03/18/2004 2:59 pm
Mr. Polazzo as i know him. XXXXXXXX and i used to
always wonder whether or not he smokes
pot... wed say no he seems to have it
together he cant be blazed.. but then certain stories he would tell us led us to believe otherwise...
What kind of stories are you sharing with the youth Matt?


RobertEC said...

Attacking Mr. Polazzo as a person does nothing to diminish the value of his arguments. See ad hominem fallacy:

Anonymous said...

I hope to god this is a prank post.

Unknown said...

Well this may just be me but I find it rather hilarious that SBSB is DESPERATE enough to make personal attacks in such a manner. First, dressing up on Halloween in no way reflects upon what any person is like. For example, our principal dressed up as a pirate last year for Halloween. Mediocre school of SBSB, Webster's defines a pirate as "a person who robs or commits illegal violence at sea or on the shores of the sea." Are you saying our principal too is a bad person? If so, let's put another person's costume on the spot. "Michelle [Obama] was dressed as a cute cheetah cat, and the President wore a crew neck sweater." If you're saying that a person should be defined by his/her Halloween costume, what are you implying about the President and his wife then? Shame on you SBSB. If you're going to make a claim, keep it consistent.

And if costumes don't manage to spread your point across, you now attack how Mr. Polazzo is able to grab a student's attention? There's no doubt that he is able to capture his students' attention, which is often hard to do in an elitist school filled with tired students who are by large focused on their futures and what colleges they are applying to.

Poor form SBSB. I'd expect a teacher to be more respectful to another teacher

Henry Lin said...

anon really said it all.

Unknown said...

All the other comments really covered all my points.
How dare you have the audacity to personally bash Matt Polazzo (the best teacher I've ever had)
I'd just like to reiterate that you are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

Arctic said...

It really makes me wonder if you have the time to go and thoroughly research his past like this

digging for some five year old stuff?


I hope you get over your obsession with Matt Polazzo soon, for everyone's sake.

Pete Zucker said...

Gee, taking things out of context? Ad hominem attacks my me? I have had to deal with so many directed towards me in the previous two posts. At no point was it ever said that Matt is a poor teacher. But it seems that it is OK for Matt to paint everyone in the rubber room with the same brush. It was OK for Matt not to do any research at all into teachers in the rubber room. Double standards suck and I am sure Matt would say so himself.

tnayem said...

I think it's very silly (and somewhat frightening) that Anonymous linked pictures of Mr. Polazzo's family. Also, his insults may have gone too far and been somewhat childish. But, that still doesn't stop you from being wrong. Also, do you realize you have 4 posts on farts? I find that humorous. This post on Mr. Polazzo, too, should be labeled under 'farts' because honestly I think it's shit. Good day.

Anonymous said...

Gee, taking things out of context? Ad hominem attacks my me? I have had to deal with so many directed towards me in the previous two posts. At no point was it ever said that Matt is a poor teacher. But it seems that it is OK for Matt to paint everyone in the rubber room with the same brush. It was OK for Matt not to do any research at all into teachers in the rubber room. Double standards suck and I am sure Matt would say so himself.

You might have not directly said Matt was a bad teacher, BUT DAMN, you know this and I know this, that by making this blog post, you imply so much.

This does not speak highly of you as a teacher. And you've been getting so much traffic and responses these past few days on your blog posts by students and educators alike.

And admit it: these posts have kept you entertained. You have gotten more traffic from these posts by us than you have gotten in past weeks. You know what that qualifies you as?

A troll. Does you internet/ meme-illiterate self know what a troll is defined as on the internet..?

Let me help you. Troll, One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue by the Urban Dictionary- because the Merriam-Webster dictionary is too professional and not pimp enough to have definitions for internet memes.

It describes you perfectly: troll. A starter of flame wars, especially one that I thought was dying.

Pete Zucker said...

Thank you for pointing out that link. The comment has been deleted. What ever beef I have with Matt and what he wrote should not involve and that is whether or not you agree and disagree.

As far as the posts about the farts. You need to look at the posts metaphorically. It is sarcasm, and anger at the previous administration in my school.

But back to this current post. It is up there for a reason. To show just how things can be taken out of context and how administrators unchecked can ruin a teacher's life. I have no problem removing this post under one condition, and for the claims made against me.

For those, and there are many, that say I do not care at all about the students read this blog from the beginning. Then make a judgement. Email the guy who writes ednotes online and he will tell you what transpired last year and how I risked my entire career for what is right.

tnayem said...

Well, it's not like your post is any better, seeing as how you link to his Friendster profile; especially knowing how most of the visitors to this post are his students. Actually, I'm kind of upset I got that post removed. It was interesting, if not legitimately valid. Also, I'm sorry for not being as eloquent as other Stuyvesant students. I'm afraid I lack the patience and grace of my fellow peers. But instead of bashing and mocking Mr. Polazzo and his warranted opinions, perhaps a more diplomatic (and mature) way to address the situation would be to express your own views in a reasonable way in a forum-like setting. Unless you think your arbitrary, all-views-but-mine-are-wrong way of handling it is working. Again, sorry for my impertinence. Cheers.

ed notes online said...

It's good to see things are getting more civil and I too apologize to Stuy students for appearing condescending. I've had contact over the years with Stuy students on the robotics teams and they have been wonderful. (and yes, I am a fossil.)

I will address some of the issues in a more coherent manner on my ed notes blog in a day or two, but briefly wanted the students to think about these points.

First, incompetent teachers are not protected by the UFT contract. That only gives them representation if they are charged with anything. Just like you are entitled to an attorney if charged with a crime. I think the students would also want some protection from capricious actions and possibly unfair treatment too. I was contacted by a student at Bronx High School of Science a few years ago over very unfair treatment by his principal and he had to bow down and take it and it was very frustrating to him. When he graduates he promises to tell his story and I will publish it. Students should have a union to protect them too.

Speaking of Bronx High, almost the entire math department has been wiped out by the administration, not due to poor teaching, but due to a political vendetta and 20 teachers filed a complaint. One of the best has been rated poorly and could be in danger of losing his job. If he was your teacher I bet you would be cheering the UFT contract for protecting him to whatever extent possible.

So the contract does offer some defense, albeit a very poor one in that they can't one day just say you're fired but have to prove something. Don't tell me you want to give up even minimal protections for teachers or your family members. The rubber rooms are filled with teachers removed, many unfairly, but that is a discussion for another time.

Second. It is your school administration that protects bad teachers. How many of these got U ratings? Did you know that 2 years of U ratings and they can be removed from your school even with the UFT contract?
Check into whether some of the teachers you complain about got U ratings. The union contract has nothing to do with that. A teacher the admins don't like personally is much more likely to get a U than an incompetent or lazy teacher. You should explore why. The Stuy admin is noted for certain levels of insensitivity and favoritism.

End part 1

ed notes online said...

Part 2:

Third. Your teacher in his piece placed the entire blame on the contract when he full well knows his bosses have some power but won't use it. The "how hard it is to get rid of a teacher" argument has even been disproved in your own school this year when someone was removed. One reason some of us teachers went overboard was a feeling your teacher was playing the easy card by attacking the union and letting the admins off the hook. Thus the charge he was sucking up. Or he is very short sighted. Believe it or not, it could happen to anyone.

Fourth. You as students could have your parents make a complaint about incompetent teachers. Believe me, that would have an impact. But there is possibly some fear in doing that. As to easy teachers that let you slide and give you easy recommendations, I bet you have to think twice about losing that gravy train. So you or your parents are not off the hook either when you try to blame only the contract.

Fifth. Many of us have fought the UFT over many issues for many years. Your teacher has come under criticism by some of the best teachers in the system (I am not including myself as I am retired) because of his playing the easy card by attacking the contract and leaving the real culprits - the school administrators - off the hook. Imagine the response if he had attacked the principal for not trying to get rid of that social studies teacher. I don't blame him. The admins will sooner come down on him for being critical than on lousy teachers. We've seen it happen too often, and thus, our rigorous defense of the few crummy protections we have.

Finally, I do know that South Bronx risked his career to help protect some students. I also would like you to read an account about one of my former 6th grade students who just got out of prison after 27 years (he went in at 21 and is now 48) at my blog on the post I put up Tuesday morning. It is called, "So, You Get a Phone Call."

You'll see that not all of us had the advantage of teaching kids like Stuy kids. Kids many of us taught didn't often end up asking for college recommendations. Too many of them were barely clinging to the ledge. That gives us a slightly different perspective of teaching than your teacher seems to have.

Have a good day and keep the rational dialogue going.




Where in its own way- it is doing the Lord's Work to Protect our Children

Read on to understand why.

Let me say first, Thank Heaven, we live in a nation where everyone gets to have his say, throw in his two cents, and make any and all comments they wish to make and that others can and are free to join in and agree or disagree as is their right to do.

For the record it must be acknowledged that this site can often stir the pot and get a lively debate going. I say- that is a good thing. It leads to even more Free Speech flowing which is the life blood of the Internet as well as our Democracy- or any Democracy for that matter.

For those who find they cannot take the heat- I have never seen a kitchen that lacked an entrance as well as an exit door.

Some may have issues with the style of how SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL DELIVERS its message.

Frankly- their style suits me just fine. During my highly decorated 37 year teaching career I never shied away from engaging in a bout of verbal "fisticuffs", now and then as long as it had to do with helping, nurturing, protecting and empowering my students, who invariably, were mostly Minority, from the inner City and in general- ipso fact "at risk"- Black and Latino children in particular.

The people at SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL are of the same persuasion.

Not the mealy-mouthed, empty and hypocritical use of the term and slogan, "Children First", via KLein-Talk, DOE Double Speak- but I mean here -the real deal.

It was specifically BECAUSE I DID put my children first, front and center and foremost that Joel Klein, Esq.'s lapdogs, lackeys, sycophants and stooges, leaped out from under their countless rocks and went after me like a bat out of Hell.

Oops- I actually believed for a whole eight seconds that Klein and his stooges actually cared about New York City's children.

But I quickly learned differently when I tried to practice what they, in all their tons of Public Relations releases, were preaching.

Mea Culpa- how could I, with all my decades of teaching experience, have been so quickly taken in by all the DOE Double-Speak and empty rhetoric emanating from the Tweed Courthouse, 24/7, as though there were no tomorrow.

And now as the NYC DOE goes after me for the third time (they failed to get me terminated on a phony Medical that may cost a few DOE stooge "doctors" their Medical License and they failed to get me terminated in a first NY State 3020 Hearing Process "show trial".

So now they have brought me up on even more ludicrous charges such a bringing two plants to school, showing part of a Robert Rodriguez film to a class, giving prizes to students who attained a 90 average and dare I even say it out loud or here on the Internet- I actually dared to give a wrist watch I had designed and Patented to a colleague friend of mine at the High School of Fashion Industries.

OMG-Oh My God! Whatever was I thinking. I must have been inhaling the fumes from all that ultra nutricious tasty food, wafting out of the students' cafeteria.

The NYC DOE and The Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the NYC School District sent an eight page Official Report to the personal attention of the so-called "Chancellor".

"Off with Pakter's head- he is clearly an Enemy of the State and/or at the very least "a threat to the Good Order and efficiency of the System".

But when I did my own research on the internet, no doubt all my enemies residing at 52 Chambers Street in Boss Tweed's former marbled digs- would claim Pakter was "Trolling"- guess what I found ?


David Pakter said...


David Pakter comment- Part two


Voila- According to an Official New York City Govt. Publication titled:

"ETHICS: A Plain Language Guide To Chapter 68, of New York City's Conflicts of Interest Law", I found the following quote:

"There is no gifts-related rule that prohibits you from giving a valuable gift to, or receiving a valuable gift from a colleague who is also a public servant...(provided)..neither person is in a position to affect the terms or conditions of employment of the other".

OK -I must admit I might/could have made a deal with the NYC DOE that I would retract all my proven Whistle-blower allegations against the DOE and the City- if they promised to make the person to whom I gave a watch, or maybe even my humble undeserving self- the next Chancellor.

Yes - that really might have worked. Just like pigs can fly.

But the point of all the above is that the good folks at SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL have attended my NY State Teacher Trial, have stood by me, tooth and nail, have supported my cause- have time and again put themselves at personal risk to defend innocent teachers who have been slandered, viciously attacked, illegally Railroaded, etc etc by the lapdogs of Joel Klein, Esq.- the faux Chancellor who is Hell bent on taking the entire NYC Schools system - Private - transforming it into a For Profit enterprise that would enrich the pockets of those will run the show at the despicable sacrifice of tens of thousands of dedicated teachers and a million public schools children.

In fact if the NYC DOE ever thought it were feasible and scientifically possible, they would not hesitate to take a Billion dollars of their almost 23 billion dollar annual budget, so much of which never reaches classrooms anyway, and search for a sink-hole or extinct volcanic gas vent in the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean into which they would feed every last UFT member on the planet- at least those UFT members who can still recall what the purpose and function of a union used to be.

And that is just about as low as the NYC DOE will sink to achieve its many "long term" agendas.

In short, in any discussion of that previously mentioned word- Ethics- the NYC DOE and its countless henchmen and confederates can claim to be just about as "ethical" in ALL their actions as a pebble on the bottom of the ocean can claim to be close to the craters of the Moon.

Thus- any person or website or group in New York City that has the fire in the belly and good old fashioned courage to stand up to those who are trying to hijack the Public Schools Systems of the United States of America- I say all Power to you- because you are doing God's work in protecting our precious young children.

Their worth is beyond Rubies and we will not and must not and cannot, afford to let them become "objects of profit" for the barbarians foaming at the mouth just outside America's school house gates.


Chaz said...

To team Polazzo:

If SBSB is correct and the quotes came from Mat Polazzo. You may find Mr. Polazzo under a SCI investigation for inappropriate sexual talk and removed from the classroom. Guess where he would end up? You got it. The rubber room making Mr. Polazzo a bad teacher. I hope SBSB is wrong for Mr. Polazzo's sake.

Another(Former)StuyStudent said...

Even SBSB does not imply that the quotes come from Mr. Polazzo himself. They are posted on his Friendster page by other people. I imagine the current system does not punish you for something other people say to you.

I find it completely absurd that I am even responding to this sort of ad hominem absurdity. Why not debate his arguments on their merits, instead of trying to tear down Mr. Polazzo's character (which I notice people are having a hard time doing, if they have to resort to attacking his Halloween costume...)

Pete Zucker said...

Matt was wrong, plain and simple as that to dress as a pimp for Halloween. Whomever compared dressing as a pimp to the principal dressing as a pirate is incorrect. Johnny Depp doesn't make movies about pimps. Pimps have never been romanticized. All it would take for Matt to have wound up in the rubber room for that was one parent to call OSI, or SCI, and complain vehemently.

As far as Matt's Friendster page, this line is still somewhat dubious: .....but then certain stories he would tell us led us to believe otherwise...

Another(Former)StuyStudent said...

I don't see how any of this has anything to do with the points that he makes.

Halloween costumes range from murderers to monsters to the devil. They aren't romanticized either. Generally speaking, when people dress up as an obviously contemptible figure it is a joke.

Two [somewhat paraphrased] cents from my roommate: "Irony is an essential part of the pimp costume. Without irony, it's just disturbing."

Note the joking, lighthearted, almost sarcastic tone of the post saying he "makes a bitchin' pimp".

It's a joke. It's a Halloween costume.

Also, just to make this perfectly clear, Polazzo has talked in his class many times about the horrors of prostitution, sex trafficking, and the like. It's an issue that comes up, especially in his Comparative Government class, when discussing major source countries of the sex trade. He knows the crimes against humanity that go on, and to imply that he condones them is just offensive. Does the fact that Jon Stewart makes jokes about waterboarding and the situation at Guantanamo mean that he condones torture?

I can't tell if you're trying to make the point that Mr. Polazzo is a despicable chauvanist who has no credibility (in which case you probably think the principal should have the right to fire him anyway, so you actually agree), or if you are saying this is the silly sort of thing that can get you put in a rubber room. If it's the former, then it is a completely irrelevant attack on his character. If it is the latter, then your attack on his character is actually undermining your argument.

Regardless, if you were willing to talk sanely about the points without resorting to the juvenile name-calling and other personal disparagement that you have, many of us Stuy students would be perfectly happy to have a reasoned debate. When Chaz posted a thoughtful rebuttal to the article, the reaction from Stuy students was overwhelmingly positive towards the tone of the debate. When another Stuyvesant teacher posted his point of view on the Team Polazzo facebook page, many of us were relieved to see a respectful, reasoned counter-argument to some of Mr. Polazzo's points. I understand there are points to be made from your point of view, and I don't necessarily agree with absolutely everything Mr. Polazzo says in the article.

However, when you start attacking him for his Halloween costume, and because some student implied on a Friendster page that *gasp* perhaps he may at some point in his life have smoked pot, or told some story about something that he did that made students think he was high at the time, (even you would likely admit that something as vague as that quote, without any specific accusation, would not cause the supposed evil empire to lock someone in a rubber room), the debate devolves into back-and-forth squabbles over who people are, rather than what is or isn't wrong with the system and what should or shouldn't be done.

Another(Former)StuyStudent said...

I imagine you will say again that you are only making ad hominem attacks because "it seems that it is OK for Matt to paint everyone in the rubber room with the same brush."

In the article, Mr. Polazzo spends very little time talking about the teachers in the rubber room. He says some of them are "accused of offenses" while others lost their jobs due to "incompetence or budget cuts." He does not paint them all with the same brush.

But the article isn't about the rubber rooms. It is about the many bad teachers that are still teaching in the schools. Yes, again, I will say that I am not saying that teachers in general are bad, but I am sure you will admit that plenty of them are, just as I will admit that plenty of them are hard-working, dedicated, and inspirational.

Regardless, even if he did imply all of the rubber room teachers were bad, how does it make it any more legitimate to make ad hominem attacks. An ad hominem attack is equally fallacious whether or not the person you are attacking is making them as well.

Anonymous said...

I fail to comprehend the relevance Matt Polazzo's costume preference and personal life have to his teaching, maybe because there is no connection. I suggest for you to discontinue blogging such defamatory posts, if you want to be taken seriously as both a teacher and a reformer and if you want to set a good example for your students.

Anonymous said...

Hey Junior, what not STFU and get all facts first then comment. There is a teacher in the rubber room and going through a 3020a hearing right now for buying potted plants for his school.

Read the entire blog, then comment OK?

AnotherFormerStuyStudent said...

Thank God there are people like you out there to speak for the rest of us. I went to Stuyvesant, and Matt Polazzo as well as Robert Sandler gain their popularity by being "hip" and filling the minds of the student body with liberal garbage. Go look it up on rate my teachers or ask any student of them who hasn't been brainwashed. This post will probably be attacked by the Polazzo fanboys and fangirls, but hey at least it's getting to them. My parents were NYC teachers and although Stuy teachers had problems with administrators, you really need to be a teacher outside of Stuyvesant to know what goes on. Try teaching at a school with unmotivated unintelligent "students" who fail because they'd rather do drugs and drink everyday. And who gets blamed? That's right, the teachers cause it couldn't possibly be the students fault for being lazy. Unfortunately we currently live in a country that punishes those who do the work.

Another(Former)StuyStudent said...

(Note the "()"s in my user name)

I will admit that Sandler is unabashedly liberal, and makes clear the perspective he is coming from at the beginning of the term.

Polazzo is less so--he leaves his true political beliefs shrouded in mystery, but my impression is that he isn't really your cookie-cutter liberal, and has a bit of a libertarian streak (and his article actually would probably support that idea, though I think that what he points out goes beyond politics (I personally am very liberal) and into the realm of common sense...).

Regardless of their personal political beliefs, both Sandler and Polazzo tend to take the role of the conservative in class discussions, because they are trying to play devil's advocate. Polazzo especially is always trying to find a thought-provoking counter-argument to whatever the last person said. I do not at all see how that constitutes "brainwashing".

The case could be made that Sandler emphasizes points in history that help support a liberal worldview--the textbook his class uses, "Out of Many", is unabashedly supportive of liberal causes (ironically including labor movements...). However, Sandler goes out of his way to point out the biases in the textbook, and even occasionally mock them. The textbook emphasized social history, and had close to zero military history (maybe two sentences in the whole book--one about Gettysburg and one about Patton), so he would supplement the textbook with additional lessons. (For instance, he had an optional extra-credit project on the novel "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara). He also would use a book of many primary documents.

It is true that I have not had an experience in your typical public high school. I do not blame the teachers for the students drug and alcohol issues. I do not believe anyone commenting here has.

I am trying to think about my worst teachers at Stuy, and I realize that none of them gave me bad grades. Most of them gave very few people bad grades. The teachers that I have found the worst are the ones that give no motivation to work--neither from inspiration nor consequences. I had some grudging respect for teachers that would get people to work hard by simply giving them bad grades otherwise. The worst teachers were the easiest ones. They did not want complaints, so they gave everyone good grades regardless of the amount of work put in, and barely taught anything. These are the kinds of teachers that should be fired.

Anonymous said...
Watch the clip from 4:55 - 5:34

While this may be the second to last day of school, this video displays the type of behavior that Mr. Polazzo allowed in his class that could end him up in the rubber room. I'm sure his perspective would change if he found himself in that situation. What Matt Polazzo proposes will punish teachers who allow any form of creativity or humor in their class.

Another(Former)StuyStudent said...

He laughed at, and even *gasp* clapped at a crude, short joke that was part of a group presentation.

OK, I get that your point is that there is nothing wrong with what he is doing, but he would be put in the rubber room anyway.

All of the teachers commenting here seem to be paranoid that the administrators are just out to get good teachers, and will do anything they can to fire experienced teachers, while all of the teachers just have the students best interests at heart. Are the administrators really these evil people who don't care about the kids? They conceivably used to be teachers too, does power corrupt that quickly? If we are working from the assumption that the administrators also have the kids interests at heart, they will use their good judgment to determine which teachers are good and which are bad, and thus giving them more latitude would benefit the teachers that allow creativity into the classroom. Figuring out who is a good teacher and who isn't is not *that* hard to do--much easier, for instance, than actually teaching well. I personally would not know at all what to do if I were put in front of thirty-four students with a piece of chalk and a chalkboard (actually, I'd probably just teach them induction--that's a concept that requires few prerequisites to understand, but is important in so so many mathematical situations... but that's besides the point), but I still can tell you after one short lesson by two different teachers which one is better--and if I see a big difference in the quality of teaching, there is a very good chance that most other people will agree with me.

Yes, there are incompetent administrators--I have seen my fair share of those. Contrary to what most of the people here think, Polazzo is not exactly on perfect terms with the Stuyvesant administration. But the idea that administrators will fire good teachers for trivial reasons just because they can is absurd. They are just as likely to have the kids' interests in mind as are teachers.

Anonymous said...

"But the idea that administrators will fire good teachers for trivial reasons just because they can is absurd. They are just as likely to have the kids' interests in mind as are teachers."

Then why are these administrators protecting the incompetent teachers?