Monday, January 31, 2011

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On the next show a true blue union leader is the guest.
On February 1, we are welcoming Christal Watts, teacher and union president from Vallejo, CA.

Christal has taught for 8 years in an urban school and has been president in my local, the Vallejo Education Association for the past 1-1/2 years. Christal went back to school with the intent of getting a law degree. When she saw the time & commitment (AND the money) involved, decided that perhaps that wasn't the wisest of choice for a now mother of three. Christal earned a BA in Government at CSU-Sacramento and worked for our former state superintendent of public instruction for three years (he was then a state senator).

She has always considered herself to be an advocate and always wanted a way to give back to my community. She became active in her union in her second year as a teacher prior to earning permanent status (California does not have tenure although people erroneously believe that we do).

Over the years, the activity increased with some years being more active than others. She was asked to run as President and won in a contested race that was very heated. Her term ends in May and yes, she’ll run and hopefully be able to continue to serve her hard-working, under appreciated and always inspiring colleagues for another two years.

You can find Christal on Twitter @christal_watts, on the Huff Post; andas always the call in # is 917 932 8721

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Whitney Tilson Opened His Big Fat Mouth Again

I wish to clarify something. In November I had written a post in which I exposed Whitney Tilson making an insensitive remark about Jews. I held back and didn't want to use the broad brush of calling him an anti-Semite. However, something came to light today and I must now say, that in my opinion, Whitney Tilson is anti-Semitic. I suggest that any Jews doing business with him cease immediately.

Why now do I bring this up? In today's convoluted, contradictory, mass email to his followers Whitney decided to whine and blame unions of the way the Parent Trigger at the McKinley Avenue Elementary in Compton, California was handled. Naturally there are many allegations and the California Attorney General's office is looking into the matter.

The Compton school district has asked parents to come to the school with ID to verify their signature on the petitions. As Whitney blabbered;
"Though there is no provision for this in the legislation, the Compton Unified School District sent a letter to all parents requiring them to come to the school – giving them only two windows on a single day – to “verify your signature on the Petition” and, worse yet, the letter says (in bold, underlined letters): “Please make sure to bring official photo identification (such as a California driver’s license”, as you will be asked to show identification before being provided a signature verification form.” The district is doing this to try to disenfranchise the mostly poor, Latino parents, many of which it knows work long hours and might not be able to take the time off, or might not have “official photo identification”, or might feel intimidated about showing up."
OK. Fine with me. He is entitled to his opinion. Even though he is wrong 99.99% of the time. But Whitney couldn't stop there. He had to show how smart he thinks he is, and how much he thinks he is there for boys and girls of color. Whitney blabbered on;
"This reminds me of the racist literacy tests that were used in the Deep South to prevent blacks from voting Here’s a “joke” I heard long ago about it: A black man courageously shows up to vote. The racist white poll monitor asks, “What’s the capital of North Dakota?” The man answers, “Bismark.” “What’s pi?” Answer: “3.14159265.” Finally, the poll monitor pulls out a copy of the History of the Peloponnesian War, written in the original ancient Greek, points to a sentence, and asks the man if he can read it. “Sure,” he replies. Amazed, the poll monitor asks what it says. Answer: “This is one black man who isn’t going to vote today.”
Nice. Very nice. So you choose to analogize what is happening in Compton with a crude, racist joke? Let's explain what this is not right, and why this is dangerous.

First of all Whitney, you could have just said this reminds you have literacy tests that were given in the South. We didn't need you to show how smart you think you are by not only sharing this joke with us, but you didn't need to add a link to Wikipedia explaining what literacy tests were. We get it. Beleive it or not there are a lot of people out there as smart, if not smarter than you.

But what you truly have done is show what you are made of. That you feel that you are better than people of color and that you need to be patronizing and condescending. The fact that you still remember this joke, as you said from a long time ago, shows the crack team here at SBSB that chances are you still tell it and laugh heartily when you tell it and your 5th Ave cocktail parties. As mentioned before about Cathie Black's slip of the lip, jokes like these have an amount of truth. Remember, this is what Mr Spock said.

As much as you think you are helping, or whatever it is you are doing, you still put yourself on a higher plain than people of color, and Jews as well. You have no true life need for such people. People of color are only props for you to make yourself look good, to give you some validation that you are so desperately lacking.

You Whitney Tilson, in my honest, humble opinion are a racist. One does not need to be an "Archie Bunker" to be bigoted, to be a racist, to stereotype. But you are a bigot, you are a racist, and you are an anti-Semite.

I look forward to the day Whitney when you are finally nailed for some financial misdeeds and spend your time in gen pop being traded about for a pack of Newports.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bigotry And Anti-Semitism At The NYC DOE

Something has been weighing on my mind since November. I don't know what to do, or what advice to give. But what I am about to share, it is 100% accurate. The dialogue I am presenting is verbatim. The source is above reproach. But what it does is show the true nature of the type of higher ups we are getting in the NYC DOE.

One reason I am sharing it is because of all this talk with ending seniority, or last in, first out.

An unidentified non higher up: My grandfather lived in Harlem when he first came to this country in 1920.

Higher up: Did he own the building?

An unidentified non higher up: He came right off the boat, of course he didn't own the building.

Higher up: Oh, did he own his apartment?

An unidentified non higher up: This was 1920, there was no such things as co-ops back then.

Higher up: You mean he wasn't rich?

An unidentified non higher up: Nope.

Higher up: Really? I thought all Jews was rich.

Now I don't know if this can be considered anti-Semitic, but at the very least it is bigoted. No one else was around to witness the conversation, so it is a he said, she said thing. But I do not doubt for one second that this conversation did not take place.

E4E, stop and think and be careful what you wish for. It just might come true.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Little Evan And Princess Sydney Are Not John And Yoko

Are Little Evan Stone and Princess Sydney Morris the 2011 version of John and Yoko? I don't think so. While John and Yoko both fought for causes they believed in, they were used by powerful billionaires, and dubious foundations. Also, I think John, though never formally educated, was a heck of a lot smarter and had more values, than Little Evan Stone of Yale will ever be. But I digress. John and Yoko fought for real causes, and not only walked the walk, but talked the talk. Little Evan and Princess Sydney are nothing like them.

So it comes as no surprise that the official paper of the NYC DOE, The New York Post, and it's official reporter, Yoav Gonen wrote a one sided, boot licking, sycophantic love story in today's paper. entitled; "Maverick Teachers' Group Bucking UFT."

Gonen went for the untruths right from the start.

A powerful group of teachers more concerned with kids' futures than with the fine print of their labor contract is making leaders of their union very nervous.

Powerful? How is it powerful? I know in September Little Evan claimed that there were over 700 members of Educators4Excellence. Reporting from yesterday's Hitlerjugend rally with Mulgrew, NY1 reported and the Post claimed that E4E has 1,300 members. Now, have NY1 and the Post used the amount of friends on E4E Facebook's page? Or was this cold, hard facts given to Lindsey Christ and Yoav Gonen by E4E?

But if using E4E's Facebook page, and even Evan's own words, let's come to a number in between. Surely we know that many have joined the Facebook page to gawk, voyeur, etc.. Same as their website. I in fact have signed up for E4E twice, and look forward to the emails. We know many others have, and many others have surely used fake names. But the crack team here at SBSB have whittled it down and come up with a true figure of approximately 950 adherents. This mean that .011875 percent of teachers in NYC (assuming there are 80,000) are followers of Little Evan and Princess Sydney. Hardly a powerful movement.

Can we use web traffic to determine powerfulness? According to, E4E has a worldwide ranking of #6,364,544 of websites. has a worldwide ranking of # 1,291,922, is # 1,254,566, ednotesonline is, 961,642, and this blog the ranking is #1,465,212. Shouldn't it behoove someone that the blogs mentioned are more powerful thatn E4E? But again we don't have access to $160,000 other people's money.

Gonen goes on to parrot all that E4E is about. Merit pay, end of LIFO, and toughening requirements for tenure. Which, a little bird has told that crack team, or the crack team read it somewhere, that Little Evan Stone was denied.

But to get into all this marlarkey of what E4E is against or for or whatever will just be repeating what is already known.

What is also known is how coincidentally E4E's mantra is so tightly attached to the same mantra by, Uncle Mike, Uncle Joel, and whatever Cathie Black is told to say.

But we here at SBSB to find it funny when he reported that E4E started over a "kitchen table" as the Post reported. I can just imagine Princess Sydney and Little Evan as the table along with the little bell to ring for the servant as they started, on their own volition, this "grass roots" "children first" first organization.

Two quotes we found interesting. One, Michael Loeb, 25, a TFA member from George Washington University and currently a teacher at Urban Institute of Mathematics in Throgs Neck, claimed; "like a cog in the machine" with the current system.A cog? Michael, this is your third year teaching. You are done after this year. You, as well as others know, that this teaching gig you have is just a way to better your resume for law school. The crack team will be surprised and shocked to actually see you teaching next year.

Mulgrew did say something interesting. Mike claimed that, "Klein told me before he left, 'I'm going to pit new teachers against older teachers and I'm going to do it by trying to make it look like we're doing layoffs,"

Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Klein feels this, thinks this, and wants this. What is truly questionable is why Mulgrew has waited until this moment in time to share this. Is it true? Who knows? But the timing of the statement couldn't have been worse. I watched the video Mike, you didn't come off too well.

As far Little Evan and Princess Sydney, well speaking of John and Yoko, remember this. It is all karma baby, it is all karma.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On January 25, 2011 at 9 PM EST Charles Stern is a former Mount Vernon School Board member who is now an "outspoken warrior" for public education reform. He and his wife, Debra, are founding a public charter school in Mount Vernon, NY. The Amani Public Charter School was recently authorized by the New York State Ed Department, and is slated to open in September. You can follow Charles on Twitter @nyschooltalk

As always the call in # IS 917 932 8721

Dateline NBC, To Catch A Teacher

We here at SBSB have come across a transcript of a new Dateline NBC series, "To Catch a Teacher." He now is the secret transcript we received. Quite disturbing.

Chris Hansen (voiceover): We here at Dateline NBC, along with Teach For America, are on a quest to keep teachers over away from students. We have set up cameras in a classroom to catch these older teachers who apply for teaching jobs online. But there are no teaching jobs. It is all a ruse. With the help of Teach For America operatives and Dateline NBC, teachers thinking they have gotten a position with the NYC DOE are exposed for what they truly are. Teachers. Teachers that feel that being over forty years of age qualifies them to teach students.

When these teachers show up for a "job" little do they know that School Safety officers are outside ready to take them down. Today, we are at a school in the Belmont section of the Bronx. A teacher, who on his application went by the email address arrives. Teach4ever is really Joe Smith, 45 years old, married 12 years with two children, a boy 9, and a daughter 7. He lives a suburban life in Dobbs Ferry, NY. In his application, teach4ever said that he likes to "work on critical thinking skills" with students, that he hopes to "forge good relationships," and most disturbingly claimed he "doesn't care about the money, that students are most important to him." Our decoy principal, Wendy Kopp made to look like a principal invites him into the classroom early in the morning.

Wendy Kopp:
Oh, you are the new teacher, come one in. I am early today. I have to do some work in my office, but make yourself comfortable. I'll be back later.

(Joe Smith makes himself comfortable. He hangs up his jacket and puts his backpack up on his desk. He sits down in the chair. Suddenly, Chris Hansen walks in from the hallway.)

Chris Hansen: Hello.

Joe Smith: Hello. How are you? Are you the principal?

Chris Hansen: That doesn't matter. Let me ask, what are you doing here?

Joe Smith: Today is my first day teaching here. I am quite excited.

Chris Hansen: Do you usually get excited when you teach?

Joe Smith: Yes. I love teaching. I love seeing the look on student's faces when the learn something new.

Chris Hansen: I bet you do.

Joe Smith: Look, if you are not an administrator, I would really like to get set up for the students.

Chris Hansen: What was your plan here today? I am reading your application. It says that you have two masters degrees, that you have outstanding recommendations. That you were named teacher of the year in your former school district. Just what do you mean by that?

Joe Smith: To introduce myself to the students, get the lay of the land. Hopefully some guided reading, read a story. yeah, I said that all.

Chris Hansen: You are demented. What's in the bag? May I see?

Joe Smith: Sure, go ahead.

Chris Hansen: Let's see (opening the bag), you have chalk, lined paper, construction paper, Harry Potter, lanyard. What do you think you will do with lanyard?

Joe Smith: I was hoping to do some art projects later. Lanyard is great for doing a math lesson.

Chris Hansen: I bet. It seems that by what you have in your bag you intend to teach students.

Joe Smith: Hey, what the heck is going on here? Who are you?

Chris Hansen: I'm Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC and we are doing a story about teachers over 40 who try to teach children.

Joe Smith: Never heard of you, you know what. I am leaving.

Chris Hansen: You're free to leave whenever you want. You can leave right now.

Joe Smith:
Yeah? Right now? I can walk out that door? This is a messed up school.

Chris Hansen: You can leave whenever you want to. I am not stopping you (cameras close in).

Chris Hansen (voiceover):
As Joe Smith left the classroom he was confronted by 10 School Safety officers. He was put in a choke hold and tased repeatedly. Joe Smith got the message. Teachers over 40 will be dealt with promptly and accordingly.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Attention Ruben Brosbe!

My wife is beginning to think I am more into Ruben Brosbe instead of her. The problem is, how did she find out?

I think Ruben is loving the attention he has been getting the past week. In fact basking in it. I don't think he has gotten this much attention since his senior year in high school when the freshman gave him wedgies, and like George McFly, they taped a big "kick me" sign taped to his back.

Yes, I am guilty of giving him the attention he so desperately craves, but why not out him? He backs it just so gosh darn easy.

Yesterday, in his blog he lamented about "What If I Get It Wrong?" Yeah, what if?

Ruben blabbered; My students were taking their midline math assessments when I noticed that The Scowler, a struggling special needs student of mine, had answers remarkably similar to his neighbor.

Special needs? In what way? Does the Scowler have an IEP? If not, then why are you calling him "special needs?" This seems rather condescending and insulting to the young man. In fact I wish I had a dime for every time I have read about the deformers calling out teachers for how we talk about children. What would your buddies at E4E and say about this?

Now if the Scowler does have an IEP, why is he in your class during an exam and not getting testing accommodations? Shouldn't you be on top of that?

I've been known to lose my temper over copying,

Lose your temper? How so. Do describe. Yelling? Screaming? Perhaps Ruben, you should familiarize yourself with Chancellor's Regulation A-421, verbal abuse. This can be quite serious and the crack team here at SBSB neither condones nor encourages verbal abuse of students. You might just be in need of some type of anger management program.

I knelt down, and in a whisper I asked, "Are those your answers, or are those your neighbor's?" "Oh!" He looked surprised. In his disarmingly sweet way, he replied, "Their his." "Well, I need to see your answers, so I know what you need help with."

So the Scowler has cheated. Nowhere has the crack team read that the NYC DOE
Discipline Code was enacted. It seems the Scowler violated,
A20 Engaging in scholastic dishonesty whichincludes but is not limited to:
a. Cheating (e.g., copying from another’s test paper; using material during a test which is not authorized by the person giving the test; collaborating with another student during the test without authorization; knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, transporting, or soliciting, in whole or part, the contents of an unadministered test; substituting for another student or permitting another student to substitute for one’s self to take a test; bribing another person to obtain a test that is to be administered; or securing copies of the test or answers to the test in advance of the test)
Was the assistant principal notified? Was an incident report filed? Was there any followup? You, Ruben are responsible for the security of the tests whilst in your room. You have an ethical, moral, and professional duty to report this. As far as the crack team has ascertained you have yet to. You now are just as culpable as the Scowler.

But Ruben with what yo have written next, in some Freudian way, you are seeing the wrongs perpetuated on the students by your little friends at E4E and the big shots in the deform movement.

"But, what if I get it wrong?"

It was one of those so simple it's heartbreaking type questions that come so naturally to nine-year-olds. His voice was overwhelming with self-doubt and anxiety. But while my first impulse was sadness, I also admired The Scowler's straightforwardness.

Yes, Ruben. You are getting it. Yet you are afraid to grasp it, afraid to believe it, but you get it. This kid is being tested to death. He is representative of what all children at the age of 9 are being forced to do. This is a 9 year old boy!!! Look at the pressures being exerted on this this boy, this child. And who is doing it? The people you admire. The people you look up to. The people that for some reason you want to emulate. Is this the social justice you are seeking in what is being done to this boy and all children?

Later, I looked over his midline. Half the answers were blank, and my first reaction was utter frustration. But, I reminded myself, this was a true representation of what he understood. It wasn't pretty, but it was honest, and that was encouraging.

See what I wrote above. But I can get cynical as well. Can it just be that you are just not an effective teacher? If he doesn't understand what is on the test then by your rational, your theories, you are ineffective. Is that fair to you. No it is not. You don't know what goes through a child's mind when it comes to these high stakes tests and you have no idea how they will react to testing. It might be different one day from the other. There is nothing, nada you can do about it.

Come on leave the dark side. Come to the side of goodness and niceness. We are a heck of a lot more fun and throw better parties than E4E can ever.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eating A Ruben

I am starting to really enjoy reading about Ruben Brosbe. He is giving this blog, and others as well, a rich and deep source of material. For that we here at SBSB tip our proverbial hat to him.

Yesterday, and today on Ruben's blog and over at Gotham Schools, Ruben finally admitted to being a card carrying member of Educators4Excellence. But he has not gone far enough. He has yet to explain his role with Ruben you have been offered a platform to explain yourself on The Mind of a Bronx Teacher. You are also most welcomed to leave comments here on SBSB. You will notice that on this blog there is no such thing as moderating comments, or if you choose you can, unlike your blog, post anonymously. You can be assured of 100% civility if you appear. But let's decipher your recent blogging shall we?

Until recently, I didn't know anything about E4E. I had read GothamSchools' profile in April, joined their Facebook group, and that was the extent of my "membership".

OK, will give you the benefit of the doubt on this one. Like driving by the scene of a car accident. You don't want to look, but you feel you need to. However, the crack team takes this argument by you a bit with a grain of salt. There is no listing of you as a member of the E4E Facebook page.

Right after my column on teacher data reports appeared in The New York Post, several commenters mentioned E4E, assuming I had some deeper affiliation.

Yeah, sure. Explain how you got the Post gig.

A week or so later, I attended an education policy panel featuring Diane Ravitch, Shael Polakow-Suransky and... Educator 4 Excellence's co-founder Evan Stone.

And.....and.....and....? Was it love at first sight when you saw Little Evan? Did you sneak glances at one another during the debate? In fact, weren't you concerned that the DOE did not allow that debate to be videotaped? Oh, by the way. Did you notice that Shael looks like embittered Alan Brady produce Mel Cooley?

When the panel was over, I introduced myself to Evan and E4E's Outreach Coordinator, Ryan Black. Soon after I sat down with Ryan, Evan and E4E's other co-founder, Sydney Morris, to talk about how I could be a part of E4E.

And? What was said? Do share.

The truth is since I started teaching, I have looked for ways to connect with other teachers who were not only passionate about our work as educators, but viewed it as part of a broader fight for social justice.

This is the only way you felt you can connect with other teachers? If you read the UFT paper you will notice many trips to shopping outlets, casinos, sporting events, and the such. Perhaps you can check out Rory Dolan's on McLean Ave in Yonkers on a Friday afternoon? There are plenty of ways to meet teachers other than joining a subversive organization. This reminds me of when George joined the Communist party to meet women. Is this what you are ultimately seeking? If it is, I know of several women who are single. However, this women are in their 40's. Can you say, "Goo-goo-ga-joob, Mrs Robinson?" But as far this finding passionate teachers, you mean teachers who wear their passion on their sleeve? If they don't, they then are not passionate? And this fighting for social justice thingy. You mean like a crime fighter? Have you ever been in Appalachia? The Southern Tier of New York? Don't these people have a right for you to fight for them?

My closest peers in teaching were those who shared my passion for education, and my belief that our work was inextricable from the larger conversation developing on education reform.

But you said you were looking for other like minded people. It seems that you already had them. Did they join E4E as well? If not, why?

We constantly shared challenges in our classrooms and our school, and we often discussed how that work was affected by local and federal policies.

And sharing about challenges in your classrooms and school, and discussing local and federal policies makes you think you are special because??? This I have heard discussed every single day for 15 years.

We also talked about how we might do things differently,

See directly above. You see, this is what is bugging me. You do what every teacher I have seen do, and for some reason you think this makes you special, above it all.

or what we might say if we ever had the chance to talk to Chancellor Klein or Mayor Bloomberg.

Wow! Impressive. Again, every single teacher I know, or at least in the blogosphere as thought these same thoughts. You are no different. You are not special.

At it's core, this is what E4E represents. It is a group of teachers who believe in the importance of their work, who believe that education can and must be better, and believe that they have an important voice to lend to the discussion of how to make this change occur.

How do a bunch of third year teachers have any idea what is best? What is acceptable? What should be done? Just the E4E crowd thinks their work is important? This is why you and your type are constantly mocked.

What change are you talking about? The only change is I see is you and yours wishing to save your butts.

E4E is not meant to represent all teachers, but, the principles are generally intended to invite as broad a spectrum of educators as possible.

What broad spectrum? Little Evan was on Fox is September claiming a membership of 700. That is .0008 percent of all NYC teachers. That is not a movement at all. There would be no E4E if it was not getting outside money.

Over the past month a half that the team has worked on developing a system there has been plenty of disagreement.

What team? Who is on the team? Are there any teachers on this team with over 15 years of experience? Want to change the system, change it from within, don't go outside the system. I and others have fought and are fighting from within the system.

However within this group of 16 diverse educators, there's a unity of opinion that the current system is inadequate, and a better one must be created.

Yeah, the system sucks, but it is not because of the teachers. Look at the crappy curriculum's we are given, the working conditions, the paperwork, the crap. Oh let's not forget the persecution. I put my career on the line for the right reason. Can you say you have? Did you listen to the radio show with Chaz? Did you hear what this guy has gone through?

This is what I think Ruben. You are a fourth year teacher. You have already been bumped once. I have a feeling you were denied tenure last year, that you had your probation extended, are scared and think if you turn to E4E you can be saved. You are barking up the wrong tree. But if you turned to a veteran teacher, then you stand a better chance.

If you believe that Last In, First Out is the best policy for teachers and students,

You come up with a fairer way. Unfortunately, there is not. Do you truly believe that the system E4E is proposing won't be strife with politicization? Let's make believe you turn out to stay in the system. When you have your twenty years in, and there is no Last In, First Out, do you truly believe that you will be spared being laid off if there are budget cuts?

that three years of service is a reasonable amount of time to earn tenure,

How long should it be for tenure? If I am right, you didn't even earn it after three years.

or that the current pay structure is fair, you'll disagree with E4E's platform. Cops get paid for seniority. So do firefighters, park employees, sanitation workers, correction officers, city employees, UPS drivers, nurses, the crew of the USS Enterprise, the roadies of Rush, traind conductors, etc.....

But to discount E4E's members as puppets, or to base arguments on vitriol instead of facts, does a disservice to our profession.

You and E4E are a disservice to the profession. You are allowing yourselves to be used, and YOU and yours are dividing the profession in a time in which we must stand united.

Puppets? You really think Michelle Rhee cares about you?

As for the vitriol, where is it? Where are the lack of facts?

Ruben, you truly need to open your eyes. You truly need to get a grip. You are so naive, you don't realize how used you are. Take a listen to all 21 minutes of 2112. Maybe then you will understand it all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

The guest for January 18, 2011 will be the president of the Christina(DE)school board,John M. Young. John writes a groundbreaking and informative blog, He also can be found on Twitter @ED_in_DE John was only one of two board members to vote against acceptance of the tentacles of RtTT. The Christina school district is Delaware's largest school district and encompasses most of Wilmington and its suburbs. The superintendent of Christina is former District 16, Brooklyn Superintendent Dr. Marcia V. Lyles. Lyles is a graduate of the Bloom/Klein method of education deform. As always, the call in # is 917 932 8721

And for some more interesting blog talk radio, listen to me take on Larry Sand:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mishegas Mind Of Ruben Brosbe Of PS 310 Bronx

I must admit that I not only anticipate the rambling writing of Ruben Brosbe at Gotham Schools, but with each new article he writes I need to pull back the sleeve on my arm and see the goosebumps standing at attention.

In Ruben's latest on Gotham, "The Snaux Day," yes, I don't get it either, Ruben shares with us his fascination with snow, idiocy, and as usual by Ruben, a complete contradiction in his thinking and lack of any core values.

But first to the idiocy.

Ruben shared with all of us while we were teetering on the edge of our seats in anticipatory waiting of his magic prose, I got to school in record time, and walked up to my building about 40 minutes earlier than usual. I would have a little time to breathe and settle in for once before picking up the kids, I thought. But inside, it was all hands on deck!

Of course you got to school in record time. It was snowing and that means less people are traveling to work. The buses probably make less stops, the buses spend less time picking up and discharging passengers. It is amazing that you, an Ivy League graduate are able to pick up on what my son, a fourth grader so readily understands. And I commend you for that "all hands on deck" quote. Like Jean-Luc Picard, PS 310 is just waiting for your and your inspired self to be ready.

It’s hard to say with all the absences and chaos that must’ve taken place across the city whether school should have been canceled or not.

Hmmm, it's hard to say? You sir live in the City. You do not have to worry about driving in these conditions. Nor, do you have to make arrangements for a child (hopefully there will never be a day in which you procreate) whose superintendent cares about the safety of the children and the staff in their school districts. But again Ruben you show just how clueless you are when earlier you wrote, "Most of the teachers in my school commute from New Jersey, Long Island, or Westchester County, so we had 36 teachers absent. I wasn’t surprised, but at the same time the number was mind-boggling." Figure it out, take a stand for once. Get off that fence.

And now for something completely different, Ruben's usual contradiction.

My class had 14 of 28 students in attendance, but this was one of the highest in the school. Most of the grades were grouped in one classroom...Meanwhile in the classroom, the kids were ecstatic to have so much extra breathing room and attention. I used the opportunity to focus on some fundamentals that needed review. We practiced summarizing non-fiction texts, writing a paragraph with a topic sentence and supporting details, and using arrays (made of Skittles as a little reward for making it to school) to model division.

Isn't it nice to have just 14 students as compared to 28? Notice a difference? Yes, you sure did. I recall many years ago in similar conditions having only 12 students compared to the usual 26. WOW! It was a difference. Students were able to work much more independently due to the lack of distractions, I was better able to focus on students and their needs, there in general was much less mishegas.

But while you cheer this reduced class size on, and rightfully so, why then are you Michelle Rhee's little slut? Yes, we all know that you appeared in the propaganda video for Students First. We know that you are a card carrying member of Educators4Excellence. Wait, what does Michelle Rhee and E4E have in common? Are not both surely funded, at least in part, by Bill Gates? Has not Bill Gates come out and claimed that class size is irrelevant? And surely Bill Gates is not the only one who has made such a claim. Uncle Mike believes it, Joel Klein believes it, and as far as Cathie Black, she believes it because she is told to believe it. So ipso facto you must believe it as well. Or do you? Or you just can't make up your mind, or you just are clueless.

So Ruben since you had your revelation, I put it to you that it is time for you to repudiate the doctrine that you have been brain washed with, start thinking for yourself, and leave the Dark Side and come join the doers of good and niceness. Because if you don't you will consistently make stupid statements like....

In any case spending a day teaching a group of students who really want to be there is about as good as it gets.

Think. You sure those kids really wanted to be there, or is it just that the parents could not find anyone to take care of them? You know this for sure? No, you do not.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cathie Black's Choice Of Birth Control

I am a prophet. A soothsayer. A fortune teller. I am Oz. On December 4, 2010 it was predicted in regards to The Talking Cathie Doll,
"You have no perspective, you have no clue. You will fail. You will have a complete fail by the summer of 2011. How is this known? Your mouth. You just can't keep stupid things coming out of the hole under your nose."
It all came true on January 13, 2011.

Now I have predicted a major fail by the summer. I still stick to that, However, fellow blogger, Accountable Talk is predicting a major fail of The Talking Cathy Doll by April 1. I suggest we start some kind of pool to see when the fail comes. Mr Talk, let's go mano a mano in our predictions for the fail that is to come.

What gibberish spewed out of The Talking Cathie Doll's mouth? According to today's Daily News, two dumb comments. First, in a discussion with parents about overcrowding The Talking Cathie Doll sayeth;
"Could we just have some birth control for a while?" "It would really help us."
Gee, why stop at at birth control? What happens if there is a family opposed to birth control? Why not suggest that all male children of parents at PS 234 drown their sons in the Hudson River? Or better, why not have all parents, other than the ones at PS 234, post spring lamb's blood on their doors as the spirit of Mayor Bloomberg passes over. This will certainly relieve the overcrowding situation at PS 234, and what a perfect way to discuss her next stupid comment.

In the same meeting The Talking Cathie Doll claimed that weighing the needs of different schools reflected a "Sophie's Choice." Let me see if I understand this. The Talking Cathie Doll is comparing situations at different schools and how decisions are made to each school to a story about a mother who during WW II had to decide which daughter of hers to allow the Nazis to kill. This would make a very interesting venn diagram to use in a classroom, or perhaps on a state ELA exam. See? The Talking Cathie Doll is already contributing to education. And to believe there were people out there who said that she would bring nothing to the education table.

But to give The Talking Cathie Doll a break, she said she was only "joking." Yes, I believe she was joking. It was an insensitive comment, and showed a lack of empathy to the parents. But, as Mr Spock once said, "One usually makes jokes about one's anxieties and insecurities." This was said in an outtake of "Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home," in which Captain Kirk ran into Shecky Greene and needed to learn about 20th Century humor. One can wonder what The Talking Cathie Doll really says at those Upper East Side cocktail parties once she has a few 7&7's inside of her.

But there is something even more disturbing. The fact that she compared the atrocities of the Nazis and the pain of a mother must make under unspeakable conditions. Yes, "Sophie's Choice" is fiction, but it is metaphorical of what Jews had to live through and face every single day of WW II. With a workforce that I still think, if not is predominantly Jewish, but still a goodly amount, with strong roots in the Jewish community, this was a not just a poor choice of words, but a horrifying choice of words as well. Yeah, her boss is Jewish. But, Bloomberg is a self loathing Jew who still feels that he is needs the acceptance of the well heeled, upper class gentile types.

For a person who lost a family member in the Holocaust, one of the greatest Polish-Jewish artists of his time, Maurycy Trębacz, who died a horrible death in the Łódź Ghetto in 1941 I truly am offended and quite concerned that the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education would make such a remark. If The Talking Cathie Doll is able to denigrate Jews and the memories of the Holocaust, what other ethnic groups does she make sly, snarky comments about at those exclusive cocktail parties? Think about it. Think about it all.

But not to fret, today, Tweed's Minister of Propaganda, Natalie Ravitz, put out a release that said in regards to the birth control joke by The Talking Cathie Doll,
"...regrets if she left a different impression by making and off-handed joke in the course of that conversation."
Unfortunately, not a mention was made of her "Sophie's Choice" comment.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Confucious Thinks Whitney Tilson Is Always Wrong

Rodney Dangerfield had his wife, I have Whitney Tilson. I owe this "man" such a debt of gratitude. He provides me, and others, with endless streams of free material. For this I say to Whitney, thank you.

Yesterday afternoon while sitting in the car, waiting for my family, on our weekly trip to Target for groceries (I highly encourage anyone to do their grocery shopping at Target, the prices and deals are out of this world!) I checked my email. Lo and behold there was one of Whitney's Adderall induced emails. I couldn't help but laugh. In fact I was laughing so hard, I actually inhaled a Doritio. But soon I stopped laughing and noticed a contradiction. Yes, Whitney contradicts himself ll the time, but this one was special. I started to think that Whitney has zero core beliefs except when it comes to money.

Whitney was touting an article written by Amy Chua, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." Amy has also written a book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." Both the article and the book explain why the Chinese method of raising kids and the emphasis on their education is far superior than American ways.

An excerpt from Amy's book goes;
For example, if a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes home with a B on the test, some Western parents will still praise the child.
And from the WSJ article;
Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do: • attend a sleepover• have a playdate• be in a school play• complain about not being in a school play• watch TV or play computer games• choose their own extracurricular activities• get any grade less than an A• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama • play any instrument other than the piano or violin • not play the piano or violin.
Whitney is beside himself. Whitney writes; I find what Chua describes (no sleepovers, playdates, or ability to make any decisions at all) to be extreme, but if one were to put parental expectations of/pressure on/control of kids on a 0-10 scale, with 10 being what Chua describes, I think the ideal is much closer to 10 than 0 – maybe an 8.

I agree with Whitney. Oh no, I must dip my fingers in acid. But seriously, he does have a point. But right away we can see him talking out the side of his mouth. He is admitting that parental expectations play a role in a child's development in school. He at one time said the single most important person in a child's education is the teacher. But right here he has agreed that it is the parent. Yes, it begins in the home, as well as the community, but the home is where the values, the mores, are introduced.

But there is even more blabbering by Whitney.

In a world filled with endless, cheap, mind-rotting entertainment via hundreds of TV channels (heavily weighted toward 24/7 sports, cartoons and other junk), the internet, video games, music and movies, I’m firmly convinced that nearly all children will spend every waking hour messing around with these activities and wasting their lives, unless their parents AND schools (but the former much more importantly) keep a very close eye on them, tightly restrict what they can do, and make them to do many things they don’t want to do...

I didn't paste the entire paragraph he wrote. I am saving that for a surprise. But Whitney is right. There is a lot of crap on TV. There are many shows I will not let my son watch, and we do restrict his watching TV. But to whine about sports? C'mon Whitney. Sports are good for kids. I know you never played team sports (Polo does not count, though I am sure you tried out for the wrestling team. Wink, wink.). My son watches SportsCenter every morning. But Whitney, here is the problem. When children are having children, the parents lack parenting skills. They lack the wherewithal to be a parent to that child and too often are that child's friend. And this is not just in poverty stricken urban areas. This happens, is prevalent, and ignored by people like you in Appalachia (which can be explored in another posting.). I know of 1st graders who consistently go to R rated movies, of 2nd graders staying up late watching TV, of the TV being the babysitter, of students watching Bret Michaels on TV.

And what I have been saving......

such as study hard, read books, have a reasonable diet, go to bed on time, dress decently, etc.

Yes, Whitney!!! Study hard and read books!!! You hit the nail on the head. As teachers we are forbidden by law to enter a private residence and demand that both studying and reading go on everyday. But it is up to the PARENTS for a child to do these things. Not the teacher. The teacher can cajole, facilitate, encourage, but what happens behinds ones closed doors we have no control. I wish we did, but we don't. I make my son, do his assigned reading every night. We all eat dinner together. He has Cheerios for breakfast, not grape soda and Cheetos.

I would argue that this has been true forever, but it’s especially important for parents and schools to have very firm oversight today given the decline of social values/norms and the exponential increase in the availability of mindless entertainment.

The schools Whitney do have a grasp on it. More than you will ever care to truly know. But again, we can't control what happens outside the school. I am not saying this as an excuse or a cop out, but an explanation. Gee Whitney, you are parroting everything teachers have been saying. Yet, because you say it and agree with it, it is gospel.

Very firm oversight combined with high expectations and a no-excuses attitude is sorely lacking in the United States, both among parents and schools (with many wonderful exceptions of course; among schools, for example, the no-excuses charter schools like KIPP (I’m on the board of KIPP NY) are successful in part because they do that same things that Chinese mothers do).

Want all the schools to be like KIPP? Tell the lawyers at Tweed to let the teachers teach the same way as they do at KIPP. But allowing for critical thinking and higher order thinking skills. KIPP students and parents sign contracts and can be removed from KIPP. Can, does this happen in a traditional public school? No. If a student does not maintain his or her grades and test scores what happens at KIPP? Yeah, they say bye-bye to KIPP. Does this happen in a traditional public school? Oh one more thing, and this is why I think you are about yourself and have zero core values. WE GET IT ALREADY! YOU ARE A KIPP BOARD MEMBER! Everyone who gets your emails knows that, why do you find the need to flaunt it and remind what we already know?

Whitney, it is time to stop wetting your finger and sticking it in the wind. You are all over the place, no convictions, no values, no true beliefs. You are always and forever about one person. Yourself.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

This Tuesday night, January 11 will be groundbreaking!!! A one time event!

We will be joined by Chaz, from Chaz's School Daze Blog. Chaz has been in the Rubber Room for 4 1/2 years. On this show, Chaz will reveal for the first time anywhere, live, why he has been in the Rubber Room for such a long time.

It is sure to be shocking and revealing!!! As always the call in # is 917 932 8721

Friday, January 7, 2011


We here at SBSB pride ourselves on being at the forefront of breaking news. We go where no other blog dares to tread. We look into every nook and cranny there is to get to the meat of a story. We are also fortunate to to have in our employ a crack team of investigators have no problem getting their hands dirty.

So what have we uncovered about Mayor Bloomberg? Recall if you will, his supposed absence from the scene of last week's blizzard. He was unaccounted for and refused in a press conference to reveal where he was. Well, search no more. The crack team has uncovered photographic proof of where he spent his time for those unaccounted 36 hours. He was as everyone suspected hitting the beach in his beloved Bermuda. The crack team uncovered a photo of him cavorting on the beach with several young, buxom young ladies. We here at SBSB applaud Mayor Bloomberg for such virility for a man in his late 60's, yet are saddened by his failure to prioritize what is important.

Here now is the exclusive photo of Mayor Bloomberg in Bermuda.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blake Unger Dvorchik Data Expert

I would first and foremost like to apologize to those who listened to the radio program last night and were anticipating Blake Unger Dvorchik. Unfortunately, Blake got scared and ran away. The Education 4 Excellence member in my opinion, just couldn't take the heat. I was looking forward to it being that Blake was to be the first E4E jugend to appear. But late Monday evening, just a little over twenty four hours before showtime I received this email from Blake.
From Blake Unger Dvorchik to South Bronx School date Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 8:34 PM subject Re: Data Specialists mailed-by signed-by Dear BT, I apologize but I have decided to cancel our interview. Sincerely, Blake Unger Dvorchik
OK, so I responded back inquiring as to why is was canceling and received this response.
from Blake Unger Dvorchik
to So BronxSchool
date Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 9:23 PM
subject Re: Data Specialists
While I agree with a number of your points of view I find your personal attacks on people whom I respect offensive. It's completely legitimate to disagree with with their intent, but not to libel them in public.
I wish you the best of luck in pursuing areas where the interests of teachers and students meet.

Unfortunately, I feel that I need to also inform you that attempts to reach people in my private life, obtain private information about me, or post disparaging information about me will be viewed as harassment and libel, and dealt with accordingly.

Blake Unger Dvorchik
Firstly, Blake does not know the definition of libel. Blake, and others like him are, as defined by the 1964 Supreme Court decision in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan,
"a limited purpose public figure, meaning those who have "thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved."
So Blake, by publishing your writings, in fact on a government website, not only are you acting as an agent of the United States government, but you have become a public figure open to disparagement. Sorry dude.

So onto why I am writing this today, and why I wanted Blake to appear on my radio program.

Two weeks ago Blake wrote this on, a United States government website. Blake was so proud of how he was able to use the math standards and reward and track the students progress over time.

As we complete each test, students record their mastery of each standard on the tracker. The data is displayed in a student-friendly manner: students scoring under 80% get a blue star for the performance indicator, students scoring 80%-89% get a silver star, and students scoring 90%+ get a gold star. The color coding is based on the idea of “blue ribbon, silver medal, gold medal.”

That's super. But where are the tests? What is on the tests? Are are the tests devised? How are the tests graded? Are these tests differentiated? Are the students all at the same level? You mention that you are a CTT teacher for 8th grade. What is the ratio of general ed. students to special ed. students in your class? It is supposed to be 60-40, but we know the DOE has a hard time following education law.

At the beginning of last year, I found that my students had no knowledge of the curriculum, possessed little understanding of how they learned, had no way to monitor their own progress or assess their own proficiency, and were generally disengaged in their own learning. This strategy helped them make significant strides in all of those areas.

Again, how did they assess their proficiency? In which way were they disengaged? Did this help them learn, or are they becoming rote learners? Did this help them in the standardized tests? You show zero evidence and empty anecdotes. The proof is in the pudding? Where then is the pudding?

The tracking system helps students because, once they are aware of their learning deficits, they can self-remediate at a station that I set up using targeted resources linked to each of the standards.

What kind of station? A carving station, an omelet station? What resources? Again, this is empty and bereft of any clear cut evidence. As far as I am concerned it is all gibberish.

Last year their progress was amazing, with student mastery going up an average of 6.8% from their original tests to their cumulative tests after remediation.

It went up 6.8% from what? Why do you consistently fail to show any evidence? One thing I have a concern with Blake is that you are the one not only giving the tests, but rating them as well to show data that the students are improving. I am not saying they are not, but how can we be sure that you are doing it in a clear, concise, objective manner. Again, this not only benefits the students, but you as well.

One problem I have with this is that the students data, an individual students data is there for the entire class to see. How does this make the lowest performer feel? Can this damage that students psyche? Do other students make fun of this student, tease this student? Does not the lowest, and in fact all the students, have a right to privacy. Have the parents of the students agreed to this?

This seems to be in violation of Chancellor's Regulation, A-820, Confidentiality and Release of Student Records; Records Retention. I suggest as one UFT colleague to another that you familiarize yourself with this regulation post haste. I think Blake that while you are on the website you also take time to read FERPA. Perhaps it might do you some good. You wouldn't want to get in dutch with Arne.

You know Blake, there is no need to disparage you at all. You are doing a wonderful job doing it to yourself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Is The Messiah Coming?

The Chabad Lubavitch group is a Hasidim sect. They have headquarters in Crown Heights. They and most other Hasidim are awaiting the messiah. At one time, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, claimed to be the messiah. Or was it his followers. I don't know.

But what if one of these followers is a wolf in sheep's clothing? Someone who thinks he is the messiah? One who is not a true Lubavitcher, but one who is possibly one by reason of convenience?

Perhaps a person lied about his Intelligence? Or embellished tales of this Intelligence?

Perhaps a person who exaggerated their role in fixing Sheol, in fact ruled over Sheol for several years. Perhaps this person is truly Baal Davar.

Are the employees of this person forced to speak in tongues against their will? Have these employees been forced to be in unsafe situations?

Time will tell if this is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

The guest for Tuesday night, January 4, 2011 will be Blake Unger Dvorchik.

Blake teaches at Bronx Mathematics Preparatory School. Blake is a 3rd year teacher in the south-east Bronx, and the Data Specialist for our school. Blake is one of the members of the VIVA project and recently went to Washington to present our recommendations to Secretary Duncan ( ).

He is also part of the NYC based group Educators for Excellence where they're working on recommendations for teacher evaluation.

Blake also wrote this memorable blog post, for the US Department of Education

As always, the call in # 917 932 8721