Monday, May 30, 2011

A South Bronx Attention Deficit Stream Of Consciousness

I did it. I don't know how. Hell, I am still trying to figure out why. But, I survived 31 days with my wife in Hong Kong. Hey, I have only one child, but still, I was basically a single parent for a month. Now mind you, in no way am I comparing myself to single parents. But, I feel that I have walked in their shoes, and my respect for these parents has only been strengthened.

Tuesdays and Thursdays were particularly nerve wracking. My son had baseball games both nights, every week at 6 PM. On Tuesdays he would be picked up at school by grandma and brought to religious school. I would pick him up there at 5 30 and take him to his game. The game was over by 8 and we would go home, make him dinner, make sure he started homework and reading and then do radio show at 9 PM. I would put him to bed at 10 PM. Thursdays were the same. Except a friend would pick him up at school and bring him to his house and then do baseball. Meanwhile, I would go to 37th St and pick up my wife's check, deposit it, and drive home to get to ball game. Both days I did not have a chance to chill until after 10 PM.

There was a Sunday in which we went with friend and his son to see the Bridgeport Bluefish play. We had to leave the game around 4 30 because I had so much to do. When we got home about an hour later I had ten minutes to myself. I then started dinner, got the laundry separated, finished dinner, threw the laundry in, and made sure my son was doing his weekend reading, yada, yada, yada. I was pooped.

I was lucky. I had a support system. I had grandma, I had friends, I had my sons afterschool program where he was able to do his homework. We have stability and expectations at home which have been preached and practiced from day one. There were times during those 31 days that I slacked, that I forgot, that I gave him a donut sandwich for breakfast. I felt overwhelmed at times, I wanted to do a primal scream, I wanted some me time. So it got me to wondering.

How many of the thousands of single parent families that we as teachers come into contact with every single day cope? Now, I am not putting all these families in the same category, but when we as teachers are to be judged by these test scores, these middling, unrealistic expectations at times when we are in situations, or cope with situations beyond our control, why is the onus on us?

Hey, I know what the detractors are saying. "Ah, you just don't care, you just want to get paid and leave at the end of the day." Bullocks.

Hey, you try it. I can''t imagine what it must be like to be a single parent with more than one child. I am sure the vast, vast majority of these parents care for their children. But it is so easy to take the easy route out. It is so easy to put off making sure your child has done their homework, that the child is properly fed, properly clothed, properly stimulated.

What must it be like to be a single parent and not have a support system, not have to worry from want? Not have to worry about your child being influenced by outside influences.

I want you all to understand that in no way am I making excuses nor blaming the parents. Quite the contrary. I am giving explanations. We have these students for 6 hours and 20 minutes. Unfortunately for most of them, they go home. We do not know what happens behind closed doors. Which reminds me.

Growing up, there was a family across the street from me that seemed like the American wet dream. Mom, dad, son and daughter. Dad worked with mom. Dad coached Little League. The son was my age. He seemed perfect. Was so nice and neat. Great athlete, prime and proper attitude. The daughter was a princess. All seemed so All-American. But, they moved away in 1977 and never saw them again. That is until...

Thirty years later, about 4 years ago, I ran into the daughter. The dad had been dead for about 6 years. She told me that dad was a major alcoholic. That they were terrified of their fathers and his bouts of rage when he was drunk. All of the sudden, the All-American family was not that anymore. Pieces of the puzzle were being put together in my mind as I looked back at those years. The family that was, was no longer. I didn't know, I never was cognizant of it, but how could I? No one could ever know what happens behind closed doors.

So I guess what I am attempting to say, in my own convoluted, ADD way, is that when we put these phony benchmarks, these phony algorithms up to measure student success, is that we have no idea what variables, what outside factors that we will never control, to judge not only students, but teachers as well.

Friday, May 27, 2011

How To Succeed In Teaching For The NYC DOE

Oh wow. I have had a rough week. But, during this week I did quite a bit of thinking. One thing I have thought about is giving up the fight. I really take it to heart, and to my gut when I see what is becoming of education. Every time I read something, or see something about how students are being used, how teachers are being mistreated just gets to me and actually gets me down. I want so out of working for the DOE at times I called a friend of mine that is opening a charter and told him if he can offer me what I am making now I am his.

I am also still shook up about my friend Stu Schmelz passing away. I am not, will not die for this job. I have a son, who will be 10 next month to be there for. Stu had so much more living to do, so much more life to enjoy and as far as I am concerned this job, this dysfunction that is the NYC DOE will not kill me, will not tear my family apart.

So I gave it a lot of thought. I looked inward. What can I, or anyone do to improve as a teacher? But, more importantly, how can I, or anyone improve my lot with the DOE? I even consulted with the crack team here at SBSB and we brainstormed over many a night this week. Since, the crack team and myself are in the elementary branch of education, we have come up with a primer on, "How to Succeed in Elementary Education in the NYC DOE."

Pucker Up

Yep, kiss ass. Kiss lots of it. Hitch your lips to an administrators of your choice buttocks and keep it there. This will entail going to Costco and buying a years supply of Chapstick, but what the hell. The money spent on the lip balm will surely soothe those pucked up lips. Do whatever demeaning task you are asked to do, allow your administrator to willfully ignore the contract. Become a drone. This will help lead to success.

Think Like A Chef

So much of what a chef does is not just making great food, but it is all about the presentation. Kids aren't learning? Hell, who cares? Have a beautiful bulletin board, have pretty and nice charts hanging from all over your room. Have a nice word wall, a carpet, a chair that says "Author's Chair." When those guests walk in from the network, all they will see is all this pageantry and say nice things about you. To hell if your kids are learning, everything looks nice.

Just an aside from the above. In my first school we had a teacher who could not teach. Her kids made no progress, she shouted and berated the students constantly, she grabbed and pulled. But guess what? Her bulletin board was exquisite. So exquisite her class was moved to the ground floor next to the office so the big shots would notice it first when they arrived.

Tuck It Under

Nothing says, "I want to succeed in elementary education" if you happen to be a male, like actually tucking it under. Yes, it might be uncomfortable at first, but I am sure one can get used to it. Once it is tucked under than that anti-male bias will subside and that male elementary teacher will be more accepted by the rest of the staff.


Become a card carrying member of the Liberal Party. Stop insisting that families and students have some form of personal responsibility. Blame the "ills of society," instead of the student for the thrice weekly tantrum and chair throwing.

Be An Ostrich

When you see a problem in your school, take your head and hide it. Don't let it become your problem, let it be someone else's problem. If you a student smearing his doody on the bathroom wall, ignore it and wish the problem, and the doody goes away. Don't intercede with any student confrontation. Don't help out a teacher in need with lessons, or classroom management. Do it alone. Hide from the issues. Always use these words; "It's not my problem."

Carry A Serrated Knife

This will help with the backstabbing. A serrated knife will leave more collateral damage to the victim's back.

The School Yenta

A teacher just got a U on an observation and you found out? Broadcast it through the school. Get your bell out and go up and down the halls during your prep and let everyone know. A teacher is being investigated for corporal punishment? Send out a newsletter. In fact, broadcast and share all your knowledge of each teacher's foibles in your school while forgetting your own.

While you are at it, don't forget to run to your favorite administrator and report any and all teachers are not following protocol, Chancellor's Regulations, or anything else that you can conjure up in  your head. In fact creativity is a must! Make something up if it is not there.

If these seven steps are followed you will find success and gratitude in the NYC DOE.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Facepalm Of Failure In The Bronx

I remember when my dad's first cousin died. This was way back in 1981 when I was 17. Other than my grandparents dying within 6 months of each other when I was 4, this was my first family death and funeral.

One thing that caught my eye during this time is when his wife and daughters were sitting Shiva. For those who aren't aware, Shiva is Hebrew for seven and that is the amount of days we Jews are supposed to mourn. People come over the house, food is served, according to how observant you certain customs are followed. But, there are a lot of friends and family around, not to mention copious amounts of food.

So here I am 17 years old and taking this all in for the first time. I forget which day of Shiva it was but I recall seeing my cousin, I guess my 2nd or 3rd cousin, whatever you wish to call it with a bunch of friends, laughing. I couldn't believe it. How could she laugh on such a solemn occasion? Her father just died and there she is laughing, smiling. How was this possible?

I got my answer a year later when my mother died. You want to laugh, you need to laugh. You need to be around family and friends and hear all these stories about the person you lost. You need to laugh and smile between the periods of crying and sadness. You want to feel  warmth when all there is around you is nothing but a chill.

I always thought Jews had it right as compared to wakes. In no way am I besmirching the Christian way of mourning. But, I have always had a tough time with with the somewhat more refrained wakes. Yes, I know, I am stereotyping. But I just don't like the open casket, the formality that I see, what with the chairs in rows, the family sitting down at one spot.

But we all have our differences, and these differences need to be celebrated and enjoyed.

But one difference I do not understand in light of my colleague Stu Schmelz's death. Why, when his family is at its lowest point are the teachers and staff of IS 162 being discouraged from on high to not attend his wake? What is there to gain from not having the people he works with not pay their respects to his grieving family?  Is there something that whomever issued this edict is afraid of getting out, some type of information that might not bode well for the person who commanded, or at least suggested, not to show up for his wake?

This was not a time for petty, personal business to come in to play. If the person who made this edict did have issues with Stu Schmelz then the best thing to do was for this person not to show up at the wake or the funeral. Send a condolence card. Send flowers. Make a donation. Have a tree in Israel donated in Stu's name. These might have been phony, empty gestures, but gestures nonetheless. It would at least have given solace to Stu's family in the time of the grief. But to at the least suggest to others not to attend his wake or funeral only exasperates their feelings of loss.

The person who did this must either an extremely guilty conscious, or just is a person so devoid of human emotion and empathy that it boggles the mind.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Evan Stone Is The New Moe Howard

If I said that Little Evan Stone is smart is that akin to me saying that Moe was the smartest of the 3 Stooges?

I am coming out and saying this, and I just don't care. Monday, I listed those responsible for the death of one of the greatest educators of our time. But after reading what I read in the Daily News today, the day my friend was buried, I am adding more people to that list. Little Evan Stone, and his partner, Princess Sydney Morris.

Why? Their involvement in this education deform movement. God, do these two ever miss a moment not to keep their big mouths shut? The more they talk, the more people see through their ruse. At what point are both of them going to release their TDR? At what point are both of these blowhards going to release whether or not they were tenured? At what point will they release all sources of monies that E4E has received? At what point will they release their salaries?

The dinguses blabbered in the Daily News today;

Educators, like all professionals, want to know their strengths and weaknesses and have opportunities to do a better job. But the current rating system is based on a single subjective observation by a principal - which, for obvious reasons, differs from one school to the next.

Yeah, I know my strengths and weaknesses. I better. I also know my strength and weaknesses as a father, a husband, a baseball coach, a blogger, a typist. This comes from self-reflection, from being able to have knowledge about ones self. But I digress, right little Evan?

And since when does a principal only come around once? Yes, formally, it is one time. But a principal, or an assistant principal can come around whenever they want. It is up to them to visit the class room, it is up to them not to play "gotcha!", it is up to the administrators to provide guidance and constructive criticism for all teachers to succeed.

You know, teachers, and I will say 99.5%, have pride in what they do. They work hard. They work their butts off. Want to really see a teacher go through a brick wall for an administrator. The answer is simple. A pat on the back will go a long way. A discussion, without putting a teacher on the defensive on how to improve will go a long way as well. But neither Little Evan nor Princess Sydney have the cognitive ability to see this nor think for themselves regarding this matter.

Up to 40% of teachers' ratings could be based on how much progress their students are making on state standardized tests.

Do these two have any idea how wrought with problems this will be? Do you actually think anyone would want to be a classroom teacher, let alone a teacher in a testing grade? I predict that there is going to be an overwhelming amount of people getting physical education licenses. If you are a teacher knowing that 40% of your evaluation will be tied to scores the cheating that will prevail will be astronomical. Will this benefit the students? With the tests now in May this also means that from September to May there will be teaching to the test, everything about the test. I see it first hand. Not just in my school, but my son as well. It is unconscionable that a 4th grader has to go through all this pressure to satisfy politicians who are making up for a major physical shortcoming. Oh, and Little Evan Stone as well.

While we understand concerns about the emphasis on test results, they are unwarranted.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh my God, do you two really believe this? Are is this what you are told to believe?

Of course, the Devil is in the details.

Yes, and the Devil comes from PS 86 by way of Yale and Tulane.

For example, the framework only requires "multiple" classroom observations - which could mean two per year or 10 per year. For the record, we favor five. We'd also like some of the observations to be unannounced, to ensure teachers get honest information on their everyday teaching.

They do come unannounced! Can you two promise there won't be any "gotchas!?"

Furthermore, a full 20% of the framework was left undefined by the regents.

Yes, 20% is undefined. I suggest that whichever teacher can personally ridicule Little Evan and Princess Sydney in five minutes will successfully receive that 20%.

Gov. Cuomo is offering $500 million in incentive grants to districts that can put a system in place by the start of the school year.

No different than Little Evan going down, or up, to Hunts Point late at night and waving a $5 bill. The only difference is that with Evan will at least receive a reach around.

It also provides little time for meaningful input from real classroom teachers, which is essential to this system's success.

You mean real classroom teachers, or "real" classroom teachers like you two and your stooge, E4E blog monkey Ruben Brosbe?

Too often, we're setting up teachers for failure by placing them in classrooms without the necessary support system to which to turn for help.

So the teachers will get supplies, a actual real curriculum, smaller classes, less paperwork, disruptive students permanently removed from not only the class but the school as well?

We know, and research shows, that teachers are the key to improving student outcomes.

No, the parents are. What research? Cite it!

God, you two keep sinking to a new low each and every time. You two are what is wrong with education. Stop being part of the problem, and be part of the solution. Go away, very far away.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Truth Is Out There

In the last two years I have been to too many funerals of friends and family. Enough is enough. I refuse to allow Stu Schmelz's death be in vain.

I can't get into the cause, the circumstances, or the details of this great man's untimely demise. But what I can share, what I will share, what I do know is who is responsible for his death. Names, I am sure, will be named. The onus of his death shall be on the people who are responsible. But right now the above triumvirate are the main enablers.

Uncle Mike is partly responsible. This little nebbish, dweeb, pathetic being has so perverted the educational process for his own self serving needs that if a grand jury were to hear what he has done, surely he would be indicted. He is a man that only cares about himself and his friends. He clearly showed this when he selected cocktail buddy Cathie Black to be the Chancellor. But worse, he has lied, has refused responsibility for the total destruction that has befallen the school system here in NYC. What is most sad is I believe now in my heart of hearts that this destruction of the NYC schools is deliberate.

Joel Klein is responsible. His tentacles are still sliming the world of education. Along with Uncle Mike, Uncle Joel planned for the destruction of the public schools. What's worse is his complete lack of morals in doing so. He decided that teachers were to be sent to the Rubber Room for farting in the incorrect NYC DOE manner. He closed school without trepidation, not to save the students, but rather to be rid of veteran, "overpaid" teachers. He allowed unqualified, incompetent administrators not only to stay in their jobs, but to flourish and grow within the safety of the DOE. A man like Stu Schmelz was too good, had too much integrity in one hair follicle than the ugly, bald man had in his entire body.

These two con artists are joined by Michelle Rhee and all the supposed "grass roots" education organizations that worship her as some type of deity. The mindless, spineless, and clueless follow her, without a breath of independent thought who pray daily at the promise of false hope and false truths that she propagates.

But, there are more, and the truth always has a way of showing itself.

I will miss not seeing my friend's name on my cell phone when he calls. Stu will never see his grand kids, never enjoy the fruits of a well deserved retirement, never see the Jets win a Super Bowl because of these three evil carbon life forms.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The World Is Now Lonelier Without Stuart Schmelz

I got very sad news earlier this evening. My friend, Stuart Schmelz, AP at IS 162 in the Bronx passed away Thursday.

I have known Stu for almost 16 years. I met him the very first day I started teaching. I took an instant liking to Stu. He told it like it was, and not only did he talk the talk, but more importantly he walked the walk.

Even then, way back in 1995 Stu knew how to fix the schools. Stu believed in personal responsibility. He was its strongest advocate. He would have made a great chancellor. Unfortunately, he never applied, nor did Uncle Mike know how to find and utilize talent when it was right under his nose.

He was a chapter chair for several years. I will never forget the fight he put up for a 1st year teacher who was bullied by the then nut job principal, Luisa Pinero-Fuentes. Luisa decided that she no longer cared for this teacher. The teacher probably didn't kiss her ass enough. Within the course of a month, starting the last week of April, Luisa decided to give the first year teacher all three of her observations. This teacher received a U each and every time. Stu fought like hell for this teacher. Eventually, the grievance went to a Step II and the teacher won. If it was not for Stu, if it was not for him fighting the fight, this teacher would have given up.

Stu and I worked together for three years. We parted ways for two, and then both wound up working together for another three. Sharing an office with him I found out so much more about Stu. Stu was a great family man. Stu was always there for his wife and daughter. I'll never forget when he came to work one day with his daughter's cell phone. I asked him what he was doing with it. He told me that she had gone over the minutes one too many times and until she pays for it the phone was now his. I learned so much from this man how to be a good father.

My son was born the last day of school in 2001. Stu and I were alone in the office when I got the phone call that my wife's water had broken. I hung up the phone and looked at Stu with a "now what" look on my face. In his always calm, always rational way he said, "I guess you better go now." I told him, "I can't. I just ordered breakfast." With that half smile, and devilish look in his eye he agreed with me. Thing is, anytime we talked after that, whenever the topic of my son came up Stu always mentioned that day, with a smile, with pride.

We parted company, yet always stayed in touch. Stu was a great believer that the way to fix the problems in the schools was not more testing, not more curriculum that does not work, but to fix the family. To fix the root of the problems. In no uncertain ways, what Stu was saying was it is poverty that needs to be taken care of, the helplessness people have that must be addressed. But Stu put up a good front. Saying those words would put a dent in the tough armor he wore. Underneath that armor was a man, a true man that cared about his family, his friends, his students.

As an assistant principal, one thing is sure. The title never went to his head. He might have belonged to CSA, but his heart, his soul was with the rank and file of the UFT. He was everyman, he was Sipowicz. Hell, he even dressed like Sipowicz.

As an AP he never looked to jam a teacher. He did not believe in "gotcha!" He too his title as AP seriously, he was there to work with a teacher, to guide a teacher, to be a leader. That was his belief system

My favorite story about Stu, and one that I will always remember and share one day with my son is about the New jersey Devils. Back in 2002 his wife was working for Volvo. At the time, Volvo was sponsorship deal with the Devils. That morning at work Stu informed me that he has $24K of Devils tickets laying on his kitchen table. His wife, somehow was in charge of distributing the tickets to deals, customers, etc... We looked at each other and wondered what we can do with $24K. He kidded that it wasn't worth his marriage. But we had a better idea.

The Devils were home that night against the Canadiens. He said, there are eight seats for the game that night, come on up to his house, pick as many as I want. I said sure. I called a few friends, drove up to his house, picked up the tickets, and presto! There I was with my friends seating second row at the blue line right next to Montreal's bench. And who do I see making his way to the other seats a few rows back midway through the first period? Stu, with his daughter and her friend.

What did Stu die of? I am not really sure. The story is still sketchy. But I do know that he was going through a lot of work related stress. In my mind, with what I see, Uncle Mike, Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, all the ediots and deformers somehow, someway have contributed to this undue stress. If there was a way to indict these people, I would be first on line to testify.

But what is worse, what really gets me, are the phony teachers out there now. These young turks who think nothing of it to think just about themselves, to have others plant ideas in their heads. These twentysomethings are about themselves. Marching in a rally that they don't believe in. Stu was not like that. He saw the big picture, he knew what needed to be done and he went against the grain. He was respected by teachers, students, parents, friends, all school staff, all the people of the school community. I only wish I could fill his shoes some how.

Stu liked to call himself a rabblerouser. He saw bullshit, but never stepped in it. But he did everything he could to rid the world of it.

I hope now that the Jets will win a Super Bowl. Just not in a year in which doing so will impede the Giants chances.

The DOE will be so much emptier now that Stu Schmelz is gone.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Samantha Sherwood Of Mott Hall V Opens Her Mouth

What a way to come home. I click on one of the email accounts that has been set up to receive the latest Educators4Excellence weekly propaganda reports and something catches my eye. It seems that yet another, under 30, privileged class, Teach For America whiner is yet again kvetching how their lives are about to be ruined because they are at risk for being laid off.

It would be nice, at least once, to have one of these whiners be over 40, have children, had to actually work to earn their lot in life, and not have a trust fund to fall back on. Yes, E4E's Jane Viau is over 40, way over 40, but she is wealthy from being a Wall St lackey, so she doesn't count.

Today's latest whiner was featured in the New York Times in an article written by Fernanda Santos. I thought the Times was getting cool, starting to peel back Uncle Mike's lies, starting to see things for what they are. I think I was mistaken, though Michael Winerip seems to be a mensch and refuses to drink the Kool-Aid.

So this, Samantha Sherwood, 25 years old, and a science teacher, oops, the science chairperson at Mott Hall V in the Bronx, this child of privilege somehow got Fernanda to write a puffy piece on her plight.

Fernanda writes; Samantha Sherwood, a graduate of UConn, had lofty aspirations when she settled on a family-studies major at the University of Connecticut, like redrawing welfare rules or weaving together a sturdier safety net for people in need.

Aw, shucks. That is just so gosh darn sweet. Yes, Samantha, that white liberal guilt of yours. I know, from your gilded perch you look down and look at yourself as the savior to the boys and girls of color. That you need to justify your family's wealth and that the only people of color you came in contact with was the local gardner or housekeeper.

Samantha blabbered; “to be there, where the rubber meets the road.”

Wow, did you learn that cliche at UConn?

Santos tries to build tears in her readers; Now in her third year of teaching, earning about $45,000, Ms. Sherwood has come face to face with another place where rubber and road meet: she is most likely among the 4,100 New York City teachers scheduled to be laid off...

Hey, sorry. That's life. But why don't I have sympathy for Samantha and her ilk? Because at 25, with no mortgage, no children, no spouse, no responsibilities other than to herself, Samantha will bounce back. Samantha still can count on the largesse of mummsy and daddy. Samantha, if needed can always return to the bucolic family home whilst mummsy and daddy await her next culture to lord over.

Maybe Samantha should grow a set like a friend of mine has. He too is in the cross hairs of the layoffs. He, unlike Samantha, has three children, a loving and attentive wife, car payments, house payments, coaches baseball, is a true adult with adult responsibilities. We don;t see him whining and complaining the New York Times. We don't see him joining a faux grassroots movement such as E4E. Why is that? Because my friend is not a child of privilege, because he has not gone through life perched upon the gilded hill with a silver spoon shoved in his mouth.

Samantha, in her most trained voice blurts; “My own kind of ideology, my own commitment to have an impact in the world in some capacity, makes me more inclined to work hard to see my kids do well,”

Oh, you are just so special. You are the only one, the one who feels like that? Guess what Sweetheart? I know many, many teachers who feel that way. But for some reason don't feel the need to brag about it or wear it on their sleeves. But, you can respond to this blog posting by sharing with the readers how it feels to perceive oneself as special.

Whilst inserting foot into mouth Samantha claims, “there are people out there who just got settled in and aren’t doing their jobs.”

Says who? Your duce, Little Evan Stone? Give hard cold evidence. Were you coached before this interview? Did mummsy and daddy send you to UConn so you can lose all independent thought? Did you ever see the Music Man? Little Evan is no better than Professor Harold Hill.

On the first day of school each fall, Ms. Sherwood makes a pledge to her students: “I guarantee that if you let me guide you and if you work hard, you’ll leave this class knowing more about science than you did when you arrived.”

Oh oh. Nausea coming on strong. Be right back. Whew! A mess was averted. Thankfully there was some Canada Dry ginger ale in the fridge.

Samantha sayeth; “Their peers in the public schools in Chappaqua are getting all of those opportunities, and there’s no reason my kids in the Bronx shouldn’t.”

Hmm. Chappaqua vs. Bronx. I wonder what the average class size is in Chappaqua? I wonder if at any students at Richard E Bell Middle School in Chappaqua are wearing colors, live in poverty, watch mom whore herself out for crack, come from fractured homes, eat Doritos and grape soda for dinner. Don't think for a minute Samantha that not one teacher wants the same opportunity for their students in the South Bronx as the teachers in Chappaqua. Chappaqua isn't stupid enough to use Everday Mathematics, or the Writing Workshop. How ignorant, how repulsive, how condescending can you be?

Our last quote from Samantha; “We have to let children explore the beauty of what they’re learning,” she said, “not spoon-feed knowledge they’re supposed to memorize.”

The crack team here at SBSB took this statement and fed it to our special computer. The computer was in agreement with what which we already know, and teachers, except you and all your buddies at E4E, know. As long as there is this emphasis on testing, as long as teachers, including yourself, are judged by standardized tests, students will be going the memorization route. Children are not exploring, can't explore, can't be kids because of YOU. YOU Samantha are the problem.

I am tired of picking up a newspaper, turning on a radio and hearing about this turd blossoms from E4E whining about what will happen to them. They are children. They have zero responsibility. They have plenty of options left to take advantage of. Every single E4E turd blossom that appears went to an elite college, and elite prep school, an elite upbringing, and has not lived life. I dare E4E to give me someone who grew up working class, that graduated from Mercy College, that doesn't have a trust fund. And stop with the talking points already.

The day of comeuppance for E4E is quickly approaching. The smug look on Little Evan Stone's face will soon be gone and be explained away as a bad dream.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Set Up At PS/MS 87 Queens

Hey, let's get rid of seniority rights. Let's leave teachers to the whims of their administrators.

"Oh, that will never happen," say the deformers, because we have a way to ensure genuine objectivity. I say bullocks.

The following is a letter sent to the Superintendent of District 24, Madeline Chan. The teacher that wrote this letter was employed at PS/MS 87 in Queens.It seems as if this teacher were sent into a set-up, a trap.

Read on:

Response to Termination Letter

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

This Tuesday night, May 10 at 9 PM a historic meeting of the minds. Returning is anti-union stalwart Larry Sand of the California Teacher Empowerment Network. Larry is a so called "ed reformer."

Also returning for a second gig is the intelligent, the witty, the unafraid, the great Julie Cavanagh. Julie is at the forefront of the fight vs the deformers. Julie's reputation goes without saying. The deformers are seriously afraid of debating her. Julie and her group, Grassroots Education Movement is a force to reckon with. Julie is also one of the forces behind the highly anticipated movie, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman. Julie is a rising star!

call in # 917 932 8721

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Attention Whoring With Ruben Brosbe

I am enraged. I have had it, and I am going to not censor myself in this blog post. I don't care if I offend anyone, I don't care if someone refuses to read my writings anymore, and I don't care. The matter is personal and I am mad as hell.

I have had it with that little shit from Educators4Excellence, Ruben Brosbe. Her is nothing but a self serving, mindless drone of a follower. We all knew a Ruben in high school. When we were seniors and we would give the incoming freshman the business, wedgies, pranks, etc... Well you know those freshman would say, "Just wait until we're seniors." Well, the opposite was true for Ruben. When Ruben finally became a senior, it was the freshman that gave him the business, wedgies, pranks. Ruben went through high school as George McFly.

But what is it that has this child of privilege, this child that mommy and daddy have assured lives in a doorman building in one of Manhattan's poshest neighborhoods has me all rankled up? Have my knickers in a tizzy?

It is of course his latest meandering, self serving, look at me I am desperate for attention ramblings on Gotham Schools. The little shit that Ruben is more concerned about himself, his needs during the exams than he is of his students. Ruben whines that the night before the first day of the ELA test he is unable to sleep. Of course he is. If Ruben, the idiot that he is, had kept to his normal sleep routine; photos of Uncle Mike, Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Evan Stone, a box of Kleenex, Astro-Glide, and a carrot he would not have had a problem sleeping that night.

But now Ruben, you have crossed the line. You and all your little shit friends at your Jugendbund der NSDAP organization. I, not you, not your idol, that other little shit, Little Evan Stone had to contend with a child, a boy, my SON, and his pre-test anxiety. A 4th grader should not have to worry about how he performs on some test just so you, Little Evan Stone, or some scumbag politician can make up for some Freudian physical shortcoming.

And guess what? I am not worried for one minute how my son will do on his ELA or Math exams. Last year he got (and I am not bragging here) a 3 on his ELA, and aced, yes every question correct, on his Math exam. He is capable.

But as I was putting him to bed Monday night, as we talked, the anxiety in his voice was palpable. He was concerned about the writing portion of the exam? Why? Because on his most recent report card, and we have noticed this as well, his teacher wrote that he does not include all the details in his writing. Yes, he does. Yes, we have worked on it with him. Yes, it is our, mine and my wife's responsibility to get him through this. But, he tends to rush his work, look for the easy way out, gets a bit too lazy. But, this is par for the course. He has is mind on other things a normal 9 year old would have his mind on. Like baseball, Derek Jeter, NBA playoffs, WWE, John Cena, etc... Not like you had at that age Ruben when you were playing with you dolls, playing house, and in all probability was still in Scooby Doo labeled Pull-Ups.

His anxiety also probably was exacerbated by my wife, his mother being 8,000 miles away on a business trip in China. See, Asshole Ruben? My wife being away and how he reacts to it is completely out of a teacher's control. Much like the lack of true parenting you received was out of your teacher's control. No, your parents didn't truly parent you. I am sure they gave you that brand new car when you turned 16, that they gave you that quarter of a million dollar bar mitzvah, they turned their noses at buying your Garanimals at Target and took you to Nordstrom's instead. They paid cash for your education at Penn. You grew up living within a gilded cage, seeing the world at the end of your nose, being fed with a diamond encrusted silver spoon. You grew up with a grand sense of entitlement, but a low sense of yourself.

So, did I give my son crackers? Did I have him practice yoga? Did I have him write who his favorite superhero was? No. Did I have him focus on me as you surely do have your students focus and make everything about you? No. What a truly wanted to do was suggest the Bartleby Project to him. But I would have incurred the wrath of the wife and his grandma.

I told him that as long as he puts in his best effort, takes his time, and re-reads he will be fine. I told him that he is very smart, did very good last year, and everything will work out just fine. No tricks, no muss, no mess. Simple as that. His did not become about me.

Many years ago when I was shopping for my first new car my cousin told me that car salesman are the lowest forms of life on earth. He never knew of you Ruben Brosbe. Ruben, you are the lowest life form on this planet. Yes, lower than you idol Little Evan Stone. Why? Because you are nothing but a fanbloi, nothing but a follower. At least your hero, Little Evan had an original idea. You, are nothing but a joiner, a follower, an attention whore looking for acceptance. Be it from a hero, a grown up, or pathetically, one of your third grade students.

I'm ashamed to be in the same profession as you, the same union, the same religion, the same planet. Your comeuppance will be so sweet.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Can You Fly, Bobby?

Last Saturday night was movie night at my house. My 9 year old son had three friends over and we decided, actually I decided, to watch Robocop. I believe the younger generation should be exposed to the classics.

For those that don't know the movie, the story takes place in 1998 (the movie was released in 1987) in Detroit. Crime is rampant, the police department is run by a private company, Omni Consumer Products (OCP) and it's second in command, Richard "Dick" Jones (ably played by Ronny Cox) is in cahoots with the leader of the largest criminal gang in Detroit. Sound familiar yet?

Hang on. It'll come to you. OK, yeah, I saw it to. The allegory between Robocop and the DOE. I shall explain. But actually really two instances in the movie really had me raise my eyebrow in a Mr Spock sort of manner.

Officer Alex Murphy is transferred to the worst precinct in Detroit. He has no idea why. But if you look back to he beginning of the movie, after Bob Morton gets approved to do build his Robocop, Morton, when asked how it will be built, says, "when we get some volunteers."

Volunteers? What did he mean by that? Only before when Murphy is used for target practice do we know. Morton admits to some colleagues that several officers have been strategically transferred to certain high crime precincts, presumably knowing that these officers will have a greater chance of being killed in action and thus becoming the brain, the human part of Robocop.

How does this relate to the DOE? Or what is happening in education? Simple. The corporatist mentality the is now pervasive to education is just about the same as what what on in Robocop?

The corporatist ideal of a teacher, a Roboteacher. A teacher that can be programmed, a teacher that can't and won't think independently, a teacher that will work ungodly hours, a teacher without family, a teacher that will not violate Directive #4!

How is this done? The same way Bob Morton planned. Sacrifice the veteran teachers. Put them in lose-lose situations. These teachers, the corporatists believe, are replaceable, interchangeable, are a threat to their corporate greed. Once they are gone, it's as if they never existed.

OCP, just like the DOE, and the corporatists care only about the bottom line. How to cut costs at the expense of the employees, and ultimately the citizens their employees serve.

But Murphy/Robocop had one redeeming value OCP couldn't control. He was still part human, and when push came to shove he sided with what is right. For himself, for his police brothers and sisters, and for the citizens of Detroit.

And this ultimately is what will save us, save the children, and save the profession. That we will push back, we will rise up against corporate thought and be Murphy, not a machine.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

The Mind of a Bronx teacher

On April 18, 2011 Leonie Haimson, President ofClass Size Matters (, and Parents Across America ( wrote a stunning and spot on treatise ( exposing the contradictory writings of Matthew Chingos on the subject of class size, entitled, "The False Promise Of Class Size Reduction.(" Mr Chingos is affiliated with Gates funded Center for American Progress (

On May 3 at 9 PM EDT Raegen Miller, associate director for education policy at the Center for American Progess joins us along with Leonie Haimson to discuss if class size does matter. Leonie has already debated Chingos on this matter on CNN(, and now it is round two.

The call in # is 917 932 8721