Monday, November 29, 2010

Steiner Waves With One Finger To The People Of New York

A sad day today as New York State education commissioner David Steiner failed to show any backbone, any guts, any chutzpah and granted the waiver to be chancellor to The Talking Cathy Doll, Cathie Black.

The crack team at SBSB has read the report from David Steiner elaborating on his position of why he is granting the waiver to The Talking Cathie Doll, and we have taken umbrage, and quite some concern at some of what Steiner has written.

On page 7 of his report, Steiner cites, "Ms. Black does not possess a master's or higher degree."

This is bothersome. The Talking Cathy Doll graduated from college some 40 odd years ago and never once too the time to better herself, or even had the intellectual curiosity to pursue a master's?

But let's look at what Commisioner Steiner saw as The Talking Cathy Doll's qualifications.

On page 9 Steiner blabbered, "Throughout her extraordinarily successful career in publishing, Ms Black has demonstrated superb management and leadership skill."

How? Why no mention of specific things she had done? USA Today? This paper is basically given away free. It is McPaper. It is written for those who are ADHD. Cosmo? Thanks to this magazine millions of teenage girls feel they are not good enough. Anyway I can think of plenty of entrepreneurs who have been just as, if not more successful than The Talking Cathy Doll. How about Stan Lee of Marvel comics? He has been with Marvel for over fifty years. He created practically the whole stable of Marvel super heroes. He wrote, edited, did everything. He also started the movie production end of Marvel. Stan Lee is a true visionary.

Continuing on page 9, at Hearst "she led a team that produced titles in over 100 countries, launched a number of publications."

So did Stan Lee. Go to the most remote corner of thew world. Do they know Spiderman or whatever bubble head that was on the cover of Cosmo?

More of page 9, "She was at the forefront of advancing and implementing including the expansion of online and mobile advances."

Wow. Impressive. Nothing that a complete dork who lives in his parents basement and has a Barberella poster on his wall couldn't have thought up. But then again without The Talking Cathy Doll, we would not have the Cosmo sex tip of the day.

Still blabbering away on page 9, her "ability to lead a large multi-faceted organization confronting enormous challenges and complexities."

She published magazines. Why not Hugh Heffner, Larry Flynt, or Stan Lee. Heck what about Bud Selig? His vision of the Internet brought untold revenue streams to Major League Baseball.

Onto page 10, "She is an effective communicator diverse stakeholders implementation of her vision."

Stakeholders? Or do you mean shareholders? Please, if you mean stakeholders as in the children and families of New York the only experience she has had is knowing that Mexicans work on her yard and to be sure to allow the African-American servants in through the backdoor.

"She also has substantial experience in dealing with limited resources and making difficult financial decisions."

So does Minnesota Twins general manager Bill Smith. This is a team that has half the resources of the Yankees and is always in the thick of the pennant race. Why not Bill Smith as chancellor?

But Steiner does take a swipe at her claiming her lack of knowing anything about human diversity, and how her service at Notre Dame is as empty has a suit at Syms still on the rack. And that her role at Harlem Village Academy is nothing more as some taking up space adviser.

Yes, The Talking Cathy Doll,has sat on boards, has appeared to taken an interest in some form of education but there are two reasons for this. $$$ and appearances. She is not there. She is a phony, and a shill. Someone Herr Bloomberg can control.

Sadly we must make with what has been served us. The Talking Cathy Doll is empty, both in mind, ideas, and spirit. I predict a major fail by June.

Something Odd About Shael And Cathie

Separated at birth?

Lumpy Rutherford's father Fred, and former Alan Brady producer, Mel Cooley

And new NYC DOE Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky

And actor David Spade

And new NYC DOE chancellor Cathie Black

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Who Is In Charge?

In 1980, Ronald Reagan to allay fears that he was not ready for the presidency came thisclose to tapping former president Gerald Ford as his vice-president. Ford, as part of his pre-condition to accept the nomination wanted a "co-presidency" and control of all executive appointments. Reagan than nominated George H.W. Bush as his VP. The lesson, you need someone in charge.

From 1961 to 1962 the Chicago Cubs did not have a manager. What they had was known as the "College of Coaches." These coaches rotated as managers of the team at one time or another during the season and invariably there was no discerning pattern, philosophy of the team. The Cubs record in these two years was 123-193. No one was in charge.

In the Brady Bunch, Greg and Marcia had convinced mom and dad to allow them to babysit the rest of the kids whilst Mike and Carol went out on the town and Alice was out with Sam ostensibly to help him with a meat problem. Needless to say, mayhem soon took over the Brady household. Greg insisted he was in charge, Marcia insisted it was her.

In 2010, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner decided that no one would be in charge. He gave an out to Herr Mayor, His Holiness, and Mystic Ruler, Michael "Zod" Bloomberg. His out? Put an education person as second in command, a co-chancellor if you will, in the form of Shael Suransky.

I just don't see how this can work out. Truly, who is the subordinate? Yes, I know, both Cathie Black and Shael are ultimately subordinate to Bloomy, but they are human. Both have ambitions, both want to be heard, both will have factions. Both want to be heard and have their point come across. Who will the drones at Tweed suck up to?

The New York Times listed the responsibilities of Shael, but it seems this is what a chancellor should do. What exactly are the Talking Cathie Doll's duties?

No one can win this. There can only be losers. And the worst part is the ultimately, yet sadly the children of New York and their families will pay the ultimate price. Why? Because of the adults. Bloomberg, because he is impervious to hearing what the people want, The Talking Cathie Doll, because she is so self absorbed and can't see the forest through the trees at how she is already disdained, and Suransky for he has no qualities, that he allows himself to be led around by a leash. All three of these so called adults lack any humility.

But lest we forget David Steiner. He and only he could have put a stop to this. He didn't. He failed the students and the families of New York City. Four, count them, four members of his panels recommended that The Talking Cathie Doll not be granted the waiver. I would hazard to guess that these four were not the ones with ties to Bloomberg, but miracles do happen and I could be wrong. But Steiner has dropped the ball. What recourse does anyone have with Steiner? None, sadly.

It seems I have left out our governor elect Andrew Cuomo. Andy put it so eloquently when he said, "Mayoral control means that the mayor can pick anyone he wants to." Yes, that is true. But would you say the same thing if Bloomberg had chosen Super Dave Osborne? The president gets to choose who he wants for cabinet positions and the Supreme Court. But there is this thing called senate confirmation. Check and balances. Something we lack here in the City of New York.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On Tuesday, November 30 9 PM "The Mind of a Bronx Teacher" welcomes Julie Cavanaugh from GEM, Grassroots Education Movement; GEM focuses on stopping the drive to privatize, real reformers campaign. Julie is a special ed teacher in Red Hook Brooklyn. Her school faced a co-location from a charter that prompted them to form a school-community based advocacy group, CAPE(concerned advocates for public education), that is a model for parent-teacher collaboration.

Call in # is

(917) 932-8721

Friday, November 26, 2010

How To Beat Unity And The UFT

This past March we had UFT elections. Somehow, someway, Unity received 91% of the vote. How could that have been with over two thousand ATR's, almost a thousand Rubber Room inmates, conditions worse than they ever were, and a leadership that seems dumb, deaf and blind to the rank and file?

This past Tuesday night I interviewed Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union on my radio show. Karen and her group CORE managed to beat the entrenched leadership of the CTU. Unfortunately, I was not able to specifically get into how CORE won, but one point Karen made was that change starts at the bottom, at the school level. I agree with her, and that is what needs to be done. But, we can affect the change at the top which will trickled down to the school level and I have given this a lot of thought over some months on how it can be done.

1. ICE/TJC needs to select a candidate for president now.

Why should we wait until late 2012 or early 2013? We need to choose the best candidate for the job now. This person needs to be a shadow to Mulgrew. Whenever Mulgrew makes a proclamation, our candidate come out with a retort. Get the name and face out there, and NOW!

2. Once a candidate is chosen, start the fund raising immediately.

Bake sales, car washes, happy hour mixers, whatever it takes raise the money. It can be done, but that is why we need to start this several years ahead of time.

3. Direct mail

Yes, the old Karl Rove ploy. But it works. Radio ads are nice, so is free publicity. But teachers as a whole are lazy, especially the younger ones. At the very least we can get the mailing least of the UFT paper. Once we have all the names, addresses, etc... direct mail can be targeted to young teachers, minorities, teachers nearing retirement, teachers that are reassigned, etc.... Put Unity on the defensive.

4. Newbie teachers

This is a difficult group. The younglings of today have not been brought up in a world in which there have not been strong unions. We need to explain how even if at this point in their careers they feel they are fine with things, that one day they can become a target and will want that union there for them.

5. District leaders

Identify one person in each district that can organize other teachers. These "district leaders" can then get one person in each school in the district to get information out to the teachers in each school. Meet once a month to discuss what is and isn't working. Constantly adapt to what to what needs to be done.

6. Florida

We need someone down there to speak to the retired chapter frequently, to explain our positions, to listen to their concerns.

7. See #5

If this is done early enough each school organizer can be a de facto candidate for chapter leader in 2012. If we start early each "school leader" can shadow the CL, can be a person the staff comes to as well. Start showing that they can get things done as well.

8. Reach out to other unions in the City.

The TWU seems pretty radical. Might they be of assistance? It doesn't hurt to try. The other municipal unions need to realize that once the City is done with us, they will go after the other unions.

I know this might simplistic, or easier said than done. But I truly believe that Unity is ripe to be plucked. The pushback needs to start now, and not just in a small way. We need to announce our presence with authority.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On the next Mind of a Bronx Teacher Internet radio show the scheduled guest is Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis. This Tuesday night, November 23 @ 9 PM EST

And as always the call in # is (917) 932-8721

Whitney Tilson Stereotypes Jews

I obliterated my junior year in high school in 1981. My parents instead of sending me to the regular local summer school instead sent me to a tutoring, education based camp in Maine. It was awesome. Instruction in the morning, afternoon free, study hall at night, what more could a 17 year old ask for.

We were basically on our own. Little two bed cabins were our quarters. I had a bunkmate named Gustavo from Columbia. I'll never forget the day he found out I was Jewish. I guess I was something of an aberration to him since there are not many Jews in Columbia. Anyway, he asked me point blank if I was Jewish. When I answered in the affirmative he replied, "Are you a good businessman?" I laughed. It was just another Jewish stereotype. He didn't know better.

The reason I am bringing this up is that Whitney Tilson in his ADHD written email today informed the known universe that he had just gotten back from Israel (God I wish I had known, I would have called Shin-Bet) and commented on the Israeli educational system. But what disturbs me is comment Whitney made about the system. Whitney blabbered, "was a shock to me because if there’s one thing that’s defined Jews for 4,000+ years, it’s an overwhelming focus on education." You are not Gustavo, you are not 17 years old, we are not in Maine, and you should know better.

To borrow a line from fellow blogger NYC Educator, really? Is this what you think Jews are only about? I guess I am guilty of stereotyping too. Think of how I stereotype you? The photo at right with you in front of the phallic shaped object whilst in Israel makes one wonder.

But enough about you and your rest room proclivities. Let's first explain to you about education in Israel, and why I think the college graduation rate is low.

The Israeli education system is broken up into several parts. There are; state (Mamlachti), state-religious (Mamlachti dati), Independent (Haredi) schools (Chinuch Atzmai) and Arab. Now yes, the majority of the population attends the state schools. But unlike here in America in which the government gives zero dollars to private and religious schools, the other non-state schools do get some funding by the government but are free to hire their own teachers.

The Haredi schools offer intensive Jewish studies programs and emphasize tradition and observance. Obviously, this is for the more Orthodox and hard core Zionists. The Chinuch Atzmai schools the emphasis is almost entirely on Torah study and offer very little in terms of secular subjects. So like my great grandfather that never worked but just read the Talmud, these two systems seem to focus more on the religious, non-secular education.

Did you know that Israel is not a homogeneous country? Like the United States, the population comes from many different countries and cultures.

What I think also might hinder the graduation rate is that Israeli males are required to emlist in the IDF at the age of 18 and are committed for three years. Israeli women are committed for two years. But then again even when they are out there is that pesky reserve system of the IDF which one must serve in until the age of forty five for up to one month a year, or for any national crisis. I am sure this skews one's college experience a bit.

What also skews one's college experience is the bombings, the rockets, the walking through every day life with wondering if you will be attacked for no reason other than being a Jew.

Now do I know this as fact? No. But I am capable, unlike you, to speak of the Jewish experience.

Now to your stereotypical remark. First off we, and I mean the Jews, have been here a lot longer than 4,000 years. This is 5771. Do the math. However, I doubt that the Jews were getting formal schooling that long ago.

I think where you get this absurd notion that Jews are all about education is that the Jews who came through Ellis Island were mostly from Eastern Europe. They knew that education was the way to go. But remember, your alma matter Harvard, really wanted nothing to do with Jews until about 50-60 years ago. Whitney, Jews weren't even allowed surnames until early in the 19th century.

What you said not only perpetuates this myth, this stereotype, but to claim that this is the only thing that Jews are known for is their educational prowess just smacks of ignorance. Aren't we known for losing 6 million? Aren't we known for our fine cuisine? Aren't we known for our keeping of traditions that are almost 6,000 years old? Aren't we know from bouncing back from adversity whenever shits like you open your mouths?

Whitney, your email, this blog post is being forwarded to the Anti-Defamation League. A person in your position, of your imagined stature should not be making comments such as this.

What you said makes one think about how you not only feel about Jews, but what you truly think of the boys and girls of color you so profess to care about.

Oh, and here is a video you might enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Parts Are All Interchangeable

One is the same as the other is the same to the other to the others.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

Tomorrow night's show, November 16 @ 9 PM our guest will be the esteemed, the irreverent, the opinionated, the frank, and the honest Arthur Goldstein. Arthur is UFT chapter leader and ESL teacher at Francis Lewis High School in Queens. Arthur write for Gotham Schools, Huffington Post and the Indypendent. Tonight we will discuss the Mayor 4 Life Bloomberg's decision to hire Hearst Corporation president Cathie Black has the new chancellor. This is sure to be riveting radio. As always, the call in # is (917) 932-8721

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cathie Black's Qualifications

So the crack team here at SBSB search long and hard over the last 48 hours to find some clue as to what qualifies Cathie Black to run the schools here in New York City. It was quite an exhaustive search. Many Diet Cokes were downed along with many deliveries from Domino's. Sadly we could not find anything that qualifies Cathie. However, we did come to one conclusion. Using a old Greek mathematical formula initiated by Pythagoras, the team was able to come to the conclusion that Cathie Black will be nothing but a sock puppet.

But, we were not done. The team stayed up another 24 hours and brainstormed others more qualified than Cathie Black to lead the schools. It is a quite impressive list and if Mayor Bloomberg had actually taken the time to have a national search, he would have found several viable candidates from the our list.


My 9 year old son

His best friend Greg

His friend Eli who always walks around with his fly open

Mr Ed

Mr Sulu

Neil Peart

Hugh Heffner

Deanna Troi

Mr Worf

Michael Scott

Dwight Schrute

Geddy Lee

Yoko Ono

The crew at White Castle on Southern Blvd

Ba Ba Booey

High Pitched Eric

The Big Show

Charles Baron

Charles McCord

Harry Harrison

Carol Miller

Gabe Kaplan

Howard Hesseman

Arnold Horshack

Mrs Crabtree

Ben Stein

Chevy Chase

Larry Mondello's mother

John Ratzenberger


Gene Simmons

Ron Jeremy

Judd Hirsch

Tony Danza

Vince McMahon

John Cena

George "The Animal" Steele

Sarah Silverman

Bill, the single cell Amoeba

My cat

My grandmother who has been dead for 23 years


William Shatner

Yogi Berra

Yogi Bear

Jethro Boudine

And there are just so many more. Bloomy, please how can we have the "Children First" line when clearly you are putting cronies first?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Teachers Are Not Ewoks And We Do Not Live On Coruscant

I was pulling into the parking lot at the White Castle on 149th St and Southern Blvd when I heard the news briefly over the radio. Some dude named Klein resigned a job to become Rupert Murdoch's best buddy and Mayor Bloomberg hired a black woman.

I immediately called the crack team at the SBSB cave. I relayed the information I had heard on the radio. Instantly, they fed said information into the technologically advanced SBSB computer looking for the answer to what I had just heard. After five minutes, the answer came through on the radio loud and clear. Besides, the SBSB computer spat out a card with a bunch of holes on it that no one was able to decipher. But not from the computer. Joel Klein resigned as chancellor of the NYC schools, he accepted a job as executive VP in charge of Chancellors Who Have Been Unceremoniously Asked For Their Resignations Immediately And That Have Their Best Buddies Find A Nothing Job For Them at News Corp., and some magazine chick by the name of Cathie Black of Hearst Magazines, and formerly of USA Today has become the new anointed one. Great someone who gave us the McPaper is now going to give us the McSchool

The only thing I am not surprised about is the Uncle Joel went to work for Rupert Murdoch. I was mocked by thousands last month for a post I had written concerning Ruppie and Uncle Joel. But the photo turned out to be pretty prophetic, eh?

So what to make of this? Before we start dancing around like the Ewoks, and the population on Coruscant had after Vader was killed and the Death Star exploded, know this. Mayor Palpatine is still amongst us. The Sith Lord always has an apprentice. We are not at Episode VI yet. No, we are halfway through Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. Count Dooku is gone, now Vader has taken its place. The fight must not end.

El presidente de UFT, Michale Mulgrew released this statement; “I look forward to working with Ms. Black. As a teacher, I will help in any way I can to help the children of New York.” Lame. Wrong answer. Again I turned to the Crack Team here at SBSB for them to formulate a better response than Mulgrew gave. After many hours, and several deliveries from Domino's later there was nothing. I then turned to be nine year old son, catching him during a commercial break of iCarly. In five seconds he came up with what Mulgrew should have said; "After eight years of a non educator running and ruining our schools in which there has been no positive affects on students learning, inflated graduation rates, the scapegoating of teachers, closing of schools, and several convoluted reorganizations, we call upon SED chief David Steiner to deny a waiver for Cathie Black, a woman who has had no experience whatsoever in education, to be chancellor of the NYC schools." Wow, imagine that from a nine year old.

This is not the time for us to roll out the welcome mat and bring cookies and milk. This is the time to start taking the offensive. I believe the deform movement is on the ropes. They have overreached and now the public is staring to see what they truly are. Klein was sacrificed. Mayor Mike has seen the albatross that Klein has become. How else can he be the Jewish Ross Perot in 2012 with Klein around his neck? The only thing that should be on the neck is the UFT's foot on the DOE's neck and we don't let up until we get back the right for students to be properly educated in this city and the respect each and every parent, as well as teachers deserve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

tonight show we are welcoming back Mona Davids. We will discuss, among other topics, Mona's attempt to allow charter school meetings to be videotaped. Also, Eva Moskowirtz's special relationship with Joel Klein. Sure to be riveting radio!

Show time is 9 PM EST.

Call in #: 917-932-8721