Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Few Good Male Role Models Are Needed

I never have believed that there is a crisis in education. I mean, a crisis has been created, but that doesn't count. But this created crisis has kept us from discussing and solving the real crisis that is happening right under our noses. The crisis of the family unit, and in particular (nothing against women) the dearth of male role models in the inner cities in our students lives.

Having that dad at home, or even just full time in a child's life, particularly a boys life, has such a tremendous impact, does so much good, that it makes our jobs as educators easier.

But we as educators, unlike the Republicans, choose not to legislate morals or families. We can only do what we can in our little corner of the world, and we have more power than any political party or politician to ensure that our students, especially in elementary education, have that male role model as a teacher.

So what is being done about it? At this time during the summer months principals throughout the City of New York are looking to fill vacancies. Even the charter schools are. Vacancies with new teachers, new blood, fresh ideas. These teachers will be the face of education for their students this coming September.

Unfortunately, most of these teachers will be female (in elementary schools), and white. Oh, and young. Yes, the students of color will identify with the white teachers, increasingly TFA, and young. How could they not? Most of these fresh, white, and young, not to mention elitist young teachers do have something in common with the boys and girls of color in the inner city. Most of these fresh, white, and young, not to mention elitist young teachers have employed, or their parents have, a person of color as a housekeeper or landscaper. It is almost symbiotic.

Never mind that young James has never had a father figure in his life and his life can turn either way. What he needs to see is a successful young white person named Courtney from the Main Line by way of Villanova share with him that the best way to be successful is to have a rich daddy that instills liberal white guilt into her so that James can say, "Dang, White people are whom I should look up to."

Or Jasmine, whose dad only shows up when he wants to get it on with her mom and wishes upon all hope that there was a positive male in her life can't look up to Lance from Yale by way of Hotchkiss, by way of the Vineyard (summers only). Yes, Lance sets a great example of his dedication by looking forward to the time when his commitment to TFA is done in two years and he will be applying to business school. That is if he can get by the weekends doing Jell-O shots on the UES.

Yeah, there used to be a time when if you were male, and better yet a male of color, you can get a job in education at the snap of a finger practically. People, actually veteran educators saw that there was a need to lead and model for the students who through no fault of their own live in a matriarchy. These veteran educators did not give a shit about future salaries of teachers, their pension costs, their thought process. All that mattered was getting that male in that class. Getting these students to see that there was more than the streets they live on in this world. The male teachers of yesteryear were their paths to a unlimited world of possibilities.

Now all our students are stuck with is the politics and business of education which will just entrap them even more and continue them on a vicious cycle in the downward spiral of education brought on by today's so called educational leaders.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We Need To End This Liberal Enabling of Bad Behavior in Our Schools

My son turned 11 years old today. Time sure does fly. Part of me wishes that he would have stayed 5 years old forever, the other half of me can't wait to see what kind of man he grows up to be.

I remember when my wife was pregnant we were discussing how we would be as parents. Basically it came down to that our household will not be a democracy, but rather a benign authoritative junta. What we say goes. Wait, before you think I am a crazy person, hear me out. Firstly, we pick and choose our battles. Not everything has to have a fly swatter used. We have done everything we could to teach him to question, think, and have the right amount of skepticism. We both have no problem in him questioning and/or asking us for an explanation. If he wants to try to change our minds about something, well he better come up with a damn good argument. But, some things are non-negotiable.

He is a great kid. Polite, respectful of not only his peers, but of adults as well. If there is a problem at school it is nipped in the bud through punishment, restrictions, etc.. We always, always, tell him we love him, and never condemn HIM, rather the action. We also expect an effort in school as well as life. But the boundaries are there and only my wife and I decide when to move them out.

Why am I bringing this up? Because the lack of discipline in our schools is part of the problem of why education is slowly being sucked into some vortex in which all matter disappears.

We keep on getting these liberal, namsy pansy administrators, who instead of wishing to take a bullhorn and a baseball bat through the halls like Joe Clark, would rather coddle and enable our students for their behavior and the lack of discipline they get at home.

These administrator's come into our schools with some type of degree from exclusive education colleges and university's thinking that if "we just allow the students to express themselves, that it we just allow the student to have their safe emotional response, and give them hugs and kisses all will be good."


I have had on more than one occasion, in fact many in which 3rd graders, 4th graders, 5th graders, have rebelled at their (and this is in their own words) soft teachers and said to me that they respect me because I draw the line, I am straight up. with them, I have cred. These are kids not of the street, but rather street smarts. They know when the are being bullshitted and conned. You can't go up to a 4th grade boy and say, "Oh wow, that is a nice drawing, you must feel really great about yourself to make such a beautiful drawing." I have seen crap like this first hand and you can see the kids face telling that liberal to "fuck off."

I have seen first year teachers lose control of their class in September and never to regain it because they come in thinking we will all be friends and the class is one big New England Town Meeting in which everyone has a say and everyone shares and listens. Guess what? It ain't gonna, nor has it ever, worked.

We need to bring back true discipline in the schools. Student, as well as parents, need to be held accountable. There should be two chances for any violent or severely disruptive misbehavior. Whether it be in the classroom, the yard, or the cafeteria. The NYC DOE Discipline Code is a joke. It should be done away with. It is there to prevent the DOE from litigious parents and to only enable more bad behavior in the schools. And this liberal crud we get from some of these exclusive education colleges in which everything is just a theory, and never put into practice, must be done away with.

I feel so much for these kids and the homes and situations they come from. Yes, there are so many issues to reckon with. But the first and best way to show them our love, that we care, is to draw those boundaries and be consistent with those boundaries we set up.

Kids want discipline. Kids want rules, expectations. The Bleeding Hearts only set them up for a lifetime of failure.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When A Strange Principal Calls

I loved seeing Uncle Mike not getting his way last week when in a act of having some balls, the state legislature stood up to him and his quest to publicly shame teachers by publishing our evaluations, and made evaluations only to parents on a request to know basis in the principal's office with the Cone of Silence activated.

Of course Uncle Mike is throwing a tantrum, which Leonie Haimson had a good snark at, by insisting, nay commanding, that principals will harass and harangue parents with phone calls (at least a million calls) letting them know that they can come in to see their children's teacher's evaluations.

We at SBSB wondered what such a system proposed by Uncle Mike might look back. Sit back and rub your chin and wonder as the picture get all wavy.........

High school student Jill Johnson is has just arrived at the Mandrakis's house to babysit their two sons. Dr Mandrakis and his lovely wife, Mrs are going out to dinner. They give Jill the telephone number of the restaurant and tell her that they might be going to the movies. They leave and Jill sits down and begins her homework. Suddenly, the phone rings.

"Have you checked the children's teacher's evaluation?" says the creepy male voice on the other end. Jill immediately hangs up. She wonders who might be calling. Again, the phone rings, the same voice again asks her if she checked the children. For a minute she thinks it is Dr Mandrakis, but thinks differently and locks all the doors and closes all the windows.

"Have you checked the children's teacher's evaluation?" This is now the seventh time this caller has called and this time she decides to call the cops. She speaks with an officer Sacker. He tells her that since he hasn't made a threat, or has used rude language that there is nothing the police can do. She understands and hangs up.

This time the caller again calls and asks more forcefully, "Why haven't you checked the children's teacher's evaluation?" This time Jill calls back and gets hold of Sacker. Sacker suggests that they put a trace on the phone, but Jill has to stay on for a minute with this man.

The phone rings, Jill answers, the voice speaks, "It's me. Why haven't you checked the children's teacher's evaluation?

Jill tells the caller, "I know who you are, the Mandrakis's will be home soon." 

"I know," replies the caller, "I can also see you." 

Jill is terrified, she hangs up and turns off all the lights. The phone rings yet again!

"LEAVE ME ALONE!" Jill howls into the receiver.

"Jill, this is Sergeant Sacker! Listen to me! We've traced the call. It's coming from within the house. A squad car's on its way over there now... just get out of that house!"

Jill hangs up. She stands frozen in shock. Several seconds  go by. She doesn't move. She runs for the door. She opens it, and to her surprise and relief a detective that looks like Charles Durning is at the door.

The caller, a deranged principal had broken into the Mandrakis's house and under took Uncle Mike's directive literally to heart.

The scene upstairs in the children's bedrooms made the most seasoned and toughest cops spew chunks. But Mandrakis children had copious copies of their teacher's evaluations not only plastered all over the walls, but Principal Duncan saw to it that copies were taped and stapled to their jammies as well.

Ordinarily in a situation like this a principal like Duncan would wind up in a mental hospital and be terminated from his job. But not in today's DOE. Principal Duncan was given six months off with pay to relax on Block Island and when he returned he was promoted to a cushy inside Tweed desk job along with the subsequent 15% pay raise.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Educational Martyrdom

How long are we just going to be pacifist and not take ownership of ourselves as educators, professionals, parents, friends in the war being waged against education? Critical mass is right around the corner and when the implosion happens we need to be the ones that survive, not the deformers.

Rallies, blogs, Twitter, picketing, etc... are nice. It works. But a little too slow. 
A new radical approach to destroying the deform movement must be the next step. And just what is this step?

Simple, we need a Martyr. Only a Martyr will succeed at where the movements, the groups, the organizations are not succeeding, or barely making a dent.

Now mind you, I  do not mean there should be any violence or that no one sacrifice their lives in the fight to save education. But, symbolically, figuratively, a Martyr shall lead us, a Martyr will save education, a Martyr will lead us to the promised land.

Where is our Rosa Parks? A Rosa Parks of education who refuses to be sent to the Rubber Room for carrying a Coke. A Rosa Parks who refuses to administer yet another senseless, pointless exam on their students. A parent, a community that refuses to to what the educrats demand.

Gandhi went on a hunger strikes to get the British out of India. He also was an inspiration to Martin Luther King in his enacting of civil disobedience. Both these men stood up for what they believed. Both this men martyred themselves, before they were killed, to do what is right. Where are our Gandhi's or King's? Look at the movements of the 60's and see what they accomplished through civil disobedience.

Look at what Bobby Sands did to bring attention to the IRA. He and several others not only went on a hunger strike, but died for what they believed. A hunger strike can succeed in stopping Bloomberg, Christie, Duncan, Obama, et. al. Do you think for a minute these cowards would allow someone, especially if it were a parent, to die? No! It would all ruin them politically.

We can even go the last radical route of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Their bed-in of 1969 in which they were advocating peace brought out everyone to support them. They got their message out there!

I am sure many would be reading this and saying, "Hey, put your money where your mouth is," and they would be correct. I should put my money where my mouth is.

I'm getting there. I can't believe the bullshit I see and hear everyday. The idiocy that is the NYC DOE is like Bizaro Superman. The bullshit lies from those in power claiming "students first." Everything I see, we all see around us is a crock of shit.

But I have a bigger horse in the race. My son. I want him to have a real education, a real learning experience through school. I want him to learning, not because of some teacher worship bullshit thing, but because he wants to. I want him to be a better student than I ever was. I want him to be a free thinker that always questions and asks "why?" I don't want him to become some animatron learning by rote and just memorizing facts.

We, parents, teachers,students, communities need to retake ownership of education. Only we, only you, can keep them from ruining our children's education and lives.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Allegorical Deformers

Hey, do you ever think that John Candy and Steve Martin are allegorical to the deformers and the deform movement out there?

Let me be the first to explain.

Today as I was celebrating Father's Day with the traditional packing of ten years worth of stuff, my wife was saying something to me. What I still do not know, but in my ADD mind for what ever reason I conjured up the movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," in particular the scene in which John Candy is driving the car the wrong way down the Interstate with Steve Martin in the passenger seat. Get it? Deformers going the wrong way. We can say that John Candy represents Satan, er, I meant, Chris Christie, and Steve Martin represents GideonStein, or any two deformers that you wish.

You know if you think about it, Chris Christie is really nothing more than a shower ring salesman that dresses better than Dell Griffith.

In the car on the other side of interstate, heading in the same, albeit correct direction, are a couple (perhaps myself and TFT)warning our clueless duo that they, "are going the wrong way!" That if they don't change direction, "will kill someone!"

Of course Jon Candy believing he has done nothing amiss looks at the couple and not only questions their sanity and their sobriety, looks at Steve Martin and says, "how do they know which way we're going?" Well, if you take that allegorically, we as educators do know which way they are going and we do not like the direction and see that someone, or something is about to be killed.

TFT and myself, in fact all able minded educators know which way they are headed and the consequences that are looming. There is only one outcome for the deformers, the same that befitted John Candy and Steve Martin.

That the deformers will meet with the same fate. They will drive their misguided education car in between to tractor trailers whilst wetting themselves in the process. Chris Christie will be seen as Satan, and Gideon Stein as some scary looking skeleton.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Will Governor Andy Cuomo Show That He Has Balls On Evaluations?

What a horrible time to be Governor Andy. Here he is in the middle of a fight over releasing teachers evaluations. On one side he has teachers (not including the UFT because they already caved) and on the other side he has New York City super villain Uncle Mike and his henchman Sock Puppet Dennis Walcott wanting to shame and humiliate teachers in their ques to to diabolically take over the world of education. What is a governor to do?

There was a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of maturity from Governor Andy for a brief second in yesterday's Daily News. Governor Andy in his best transliteration of Mario said;
“To those people I say, really? Disclose all the evaluations for public employees?” added Cuomo. “Then how come you’re only singling out teachers? Where’s the policeman’s evaluation? Where’s the fireman’s evaluation? Where's the evaluation of the mayor’s staff, and the governor’s staff and the [Assembly] speaker’s staff?”
Yes, where, where, where????? Where are these evaluation of other public servants?

But as the hack Ken Lovett reported;
Fans of releasing the teacher evaluations publicly argue there is a difference between educators overseeing kids and other public workers.
And this ditty;
Cuomo agrees — but said he’s trying to come up with a plan that balances the teachers’ rights to privacy and parents’ right to know.
I like how Lovett refers to those that only wish to humiliate teachers as "fans," as if they are rooting for the Yankees or Mets, but I digress.
But what is Governor Andy to do? But more importantly, why is it that teachers must be shat upon time and time again? Why not cops?
Why not release NYPD police officers evaluations to the public? Isn't a citizen's right to know about the police officers arrest records, and patterns, important? What about any disciplinary records of these cops? What about complaints about cops? As a citizen living in a precinct would it not be beneficial to know which cops have made erroneous arrests, been disciplined, have had complaints made, or worse, have used their weapon once too often? Surely, a police officer using a gun the wrong way can end someone's life. I deem that worse than a student having that so called "bad teacher." 
While we are on the subject of cops, how about seeing the evaluations of the "house mouse?" Yes, that is the term given to that officer who sits around the precinct all day too chicken shit to go out on patrol.
Why can't we see the evaluations of firefighters? Would not one who is in a burning house wish to be rescued by someone not grossly overweight and who will be able to complete a rescue? 

What about doctors who are employed by the NYC Health and Hospitals? Should we not have an evaluation on how many patients have died when cared by these doctors? How many malpractice lawsuits have been filed? How many won? Lost? Settled?

Hey, while we are on a bender here, what about MTA bus drivers and motorman? We should all be able to see their safety records and evaluations. We entrust these people to get us to our destinations with safety. Why are we not able to see how they rate? Hell, let's throw in the captains of the Staten Island Ferry. Gosh darn it!

As far as politicians, they are evaluated by whether or not they get elected or re-elected, so why not throw open the books and let's look to see everyone of their donors and how it correlates to how they vote. That includes Governor Andy.

But it will never happen. Like the Jews in Nazi Germany were, teachers make great scapegoats to blame all of society's ills on. That, and the above mentioned professions are largely phallic based, and will be untouched by those making bad decisions who feel they have bad penises. Bashing teachers is just another misogynistic ploy by powerful men to keep women down.

The bullshit and hypocrisy that emanates from Gracie Mansion and Albany smells like New Jersey on a humid, hot summer day. The pollution needs to be cleaned up.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Whitney Tilson Makes a Fool Of Himself Yet Again

I'm late to the game and didn't catch all of what Alexander Russo wrote about Violet Nichols, but I sure read what Whitney Tilson had written in response. As usual Whitney, the Harvard grad has no idea how to write or think critically.

I feel like I am chasing a windmill every time I write about this asinine hedge fund manager that is Whitney. He is just so in love with his voice and his perturbed thoughts through his mangles thought process that I don;t know whether to laugh, cry or be angry. I know somewhere I read that DFER wished he could shut up for ten minutes.

Am I wrong for exposing Whitney's lack of higher order thinking skills and his inability to be empathetic to others? Or am I wrong to continually to go after him for it is so easy to show how warped and cursed his mind is. It's like me challenging a 2 year old to a 100 meter race. It's just not fair.

But anyway, all must be constant in the Universe and Whitney must yet be defiled and degraded again. Why? Because just like those nuts who must slow down every morning their is an accident on the Deegan, you just can't help it.

Whitney commenced his mental blabbering thusly; Ending LIFO is a critical first step to getting to what’s really necessary: that every principal has the full power to hire and fire every adult (not just teachers) in the school and he/she sees fit, just as managers in 99% of all businesses/organizations in America do (of course with protections for age, race, gender, etc. discrimination), including KIPP and most other successful schools I’ve seen.

Yeah. Every principal has the right to hire and fire whom they want. Sometimes its their best friend that can't manage a classroom. Sometimes it someone who has the correct, or rather, a more agreeable religion, skin color, sex, person who performs sex, kiss ass, etc... Get off your freaking high horse Whitney. A principal has the power. They just choose not to use it or use it properly. 

But education is not a business. Education is, well it is education. We're not selling widgets. I put this to Whitney Tilson, and I have asked this of your disciple Larry Sands countless times, do you support the end of LIFO for cops, firefighters, paramedics, sanitation workers, Post Office Employees, air traffic controllers? Oh the list can go on. But the reason there is LIFO is we take less pay for more job security.

Oh, and please do not bring KIPP up. The shit I heard and will expose in the coming weeks about the KIPP Academy in Concourse Village in The Bronx will not look good. 

Violet Nichols’ case highlights the Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter’s Tea party nature of the current system, in which all teachers (after 98% get tenure after 2-3 years) have a guaranteed job for life unless they convicted (not just indicted) for a major felony. In Nichols’s case, you seem to buy into the unwritten assumption that in order to let her go, there has to be an airtight, extremely well documented case against her – in other words, the burden of proof is on the principal/district to PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that she’s grossly incompetent.

So Violet Nichols never should have received tenure? Is this what Whitney is saying? Tenure is nothing but the right to due process. The above mentioned jobs have due process, they just don't call it tenure. I think Whitney might have some credibility if he walked up to a cop, or the next time his chauffeur got pulled over, and said to that cop, "LIFO for NYPD officers must end." Then, and only then will Whitney be allowed into the "Men With Testes Club."

Whitney, though a Harvard grad has yet to master the United States Constitution. THE GOVERNMENT, must prove its case against those charged. As American's we do not have to prove our innocence, the government must prove our guilt. Dang, I graduated from a SUNY school and know more than Harvard boy Whitney.

Ironic that Whitney is being investigated by the SEC and hopefully the US Attorney's office. One might wonder if Whitney is hiding behind a cadre of lawyers and those inconvenient rights that he deems not worthy of working class people like teachers.

This is ridiculous. It’s a privilege, not a right, to work in a school and teach children. If you want to guarantee mediocrity (or worse) across any organization, then set up a system in which everybody keeps their jobs, year in and year out, despite being mediocre (or worse). The key, of course, is to make sure that at the same time you give principals greater power to hire and fire, you also have to hold THEM accountable. I’m fully aware of how terrible some principals are and how some might abuse this new power, but it’s hard to see how a tyrannical principal who unfairly drives out great teachers, plays favorites, hires buddies and family members, etc. could ever have a successful school – so if you have a good system of accountability for the principals, then bad principals can be identified and removed, just like teachers.

It's a privilege?  What a condescending, patronizing, rich white boy, bullshitter turd blossom Whitney is. You sound worse than your BFF, or whatever weird pathological identifier you have for each other, Gideon Stein. Is it a privilege to have a 3rd grader throw a chair at your head? Is it a privilege to have a 14 year old threaten to shoot you after school? Or better yet, is it a privilege for others to entrust their life savings to Whitney and watch him piss it all away?

The problem is Principals, and those that are above them, do not get fired, they get promoted when they fuck up. Teachers are ostracized when we make a mistake. Dang, teachers are the waiters. The principals and administrators are the chefs who are putting the meal together. Whitney, when you truffles and caviar come out a tad askew do you blame the waiter or the chef?

You also seem to be buying into the unwritten assumption that schools exist primarily to create good middle-class jobs for adults when you write “No one wants to see middle-aged teachers moving in with their 20-something children, or going on welfare.” If your point is that we have to be cognizant that these issues are important from a public opinion and political standpoint, then I agree with you, but I’d hope we can agree that we should be hiring, evaluating, promoting, and, if necessary, firing teachers based on their performance, not how tough their life might be if they lose their job.

This will be a simple response. If you are going to fuck up someone's life you better do it for good reasons and not petty bullshit.  You better be damn right and have done everything in your power as a principal to have forestalled any termination. OK, 'nough said. 

The people who work for me understand that their continued employment depends on me being happy with them. If they fail to add value, have a bad attitude, aren’t team players, or just irritate me, then I can let them go AT ANY TIME AT MY DISCRETION. This may sound like a harsh system and I acknowledge that some employees are treated very poorly by tyrannical bosses, but that’s the way it is in the U.S. job market. If you are squeamish about it, consider the alternative: the sclerotic labor markets in Europe…

The people who work for you think you are a dick. OK? The Crack Team knows this. But it is your company, and more importantly, IT IS A BUSINESS!!! We are talking apples and oranges.  But T2 keeps on going down the toilet, when will Whitney do the honorable thing? As for the "sclerotic" labor market in Europe it is because of the Whitney's of the world have manipulated the financial markets. We have Whitney Tilson to thank.

I know Whitney is just a symptom of the deform pooh pooh heads. But I am done. There must be some kind of show to expose Whitney. There needs to be an organized march at his  5th Ave home to let his neighbors and everyone see what a truly mean, nasty, megalomaniac person Whitney is.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Look To Westchester County To Fight Pearson and the Deformers

For those who don't know who Janine Sopp is, run do not walk, and check out her blog Change The Stakes. Janine is a parent in Brooklyn, in fact she is not an educator,  as well as an artist and she is leading a movement to end testing as we know it. I have spoken and emailed with her a on several occasions and she is smart as a whip and really is quite knowledgeable.

I bring Janine up for several reasons tonight. The main reason being is that I read an interesting article in today's Journal News (Westchester County) about how scores of students in Westchester and Rockland counties refused to take the Pearson inspired field tests this week. In fact, the Tarrytown school district is sending a bill to Pearson for $20,000 for the time the students and teachers missed from class. Can anyone imagine Sock Puppet Dennis Walcott allowing this?

According to the Journal News, in Scarsdale;
“just over half (53 percent) of the eligible students were absent. Of those who took the test, about 16 percent did not respond to the questions or filled them in randomly,” said Vicki Presser, the district’s spokeswoman.
Can you imagine this kind of boycott in the NYC? Nope. Won't happen, can't happen.  How can this happen when at my school PS 154, a new principal is introduced and the superintendent and network leader appear at a special meeting to quell any parental concerns and only 10 parents, 5 of which were with the PA, show up? In fact, statisticians have estimated that there would have been 20 parents if food had been served.  If the same situation occurred in Bronxville or Ardsley, would only 10 parents have shown up? 

In my opinion, the fight is in the wrong place. To fight the deformers, to fight those shoving tests down our children's throats the fight, perhaps the "muscle" must come from the suburbs. The suburbs need to be ground zero for the fight. Of course, this is not saying that the parents of the inner city should not be involved or have a major voice in the fight, but the backlash needs to come from the suburbs.

Politicians care only about votes and money. Politicians don't give a rats ass about the underclass. Once the hoity toity parents realize that deform is coming to Scarsdale, Bronxville, Great Neck, Roslyn, Franklin Lakes, upper Saddle River, etc... then the proverbial poop will hit the fan. Once these parents realize that their children's education is being destroyed, they will fight like hell to end this destruction.

The reason why the deformers get away with what they do is silence and compliance of the parents of the inner city. They know that the parents, and in no way am I saying all of them, are wither too tired, too afraid, too apathetic, too unknowledgeable of their rights, to truly mount a fight. In the suburbs the communities are smaller and more close knit than they are in the city. Where else is it better to light the spark of the fight needed? Ardsley or Brooklyn? Ardsley has a population of about 4,500 and a school district size of about 800.

The politicians will care once Edgar J Puffenstuff who lives in a million dollar home in Irvington NY and donates regularly to his favorite political party sees how his children are nothing but test scores are affecting their lives. At that point the politicians will want to appease the Puffenstuff's of the state.

About 2 months or so ago, I received my free copy of "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman." Living in Mt Vernon NY, I had no inkling to show it here. It needed to be shown in neighboring Bronxville at the public library. I knew it wouldn't be received well in Mt Vernon. But those in Bronxville need to see the train wreck heading their way.

But circumstances prevented me from showing it in Bronxville. We are moving next month to Harrison NY. Home of the McMansions and estates in the Purchase section of Harrison to the rich and richer. This is where TITBWFS will be shown. This is where the shit will hit the fan come January. News 12 and the Journal News are out of the reach of Uncle Mike.

It is time to set up base camps in Nassau, Suffolk, Fairfield, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, and Bergen counties. From here, the fight can and will be won.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Be There or Be Square, June 10 @ 6 PM EDT

I am appearing on my pal's The Frustrated Teacher's internet radio show tomorrow night at 6 PM EDT.

I have been asked to be a guest and add clarity to my recent blog posts concerning the disgraced former principal of PS 154, The Bronx, Marsha Elliott.

Call in to speak with the host
(619) 996-1651

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Uncle Mike Bloomberg Condones Test Cheating

The Crack Team will like to welcome a guest blogger who has decided to share their opinion on the subject of testing, and the requisite cheating, and the future cheating shit storm (we ain't seen nothing yet!), associated with testing.

All I can tell you of this person is that I know this person is a person of integrity and extremely, extremely high up in the DOE.

I wish I could write as well and as lucid as today's guest blogger has. I agree with the points 100%. Keep on evaluating teachers on standardized tests, soon teachers will choose between not providing for their family or cheating. Cheating will win out every time. I am not condoning cheating, just stating a fact. But it will hurt the students in the long run. Yeah, more of that "student's first" crap.

Enjoy the read. I and the Crack Team did.

Last August an aide to Mayor Bloomberg called new efforts by New York State to improve security on standardized tests 'a knee-jerk reaction to cheating in other states'. I remember thinking that very strange. We are talking about something that appears to be a growing problem, especially as careers and bonus cash are on the line, and I still can't imagine why it would not deserve a strong effort. Are the schools in our city so different that it couldn't happen here?

As I read a little about cheating scandals of the last few years, I started to see something else in that official statement. I saw the kind of evidence gathered in other states in comprehensive investigations and I realize that we already had that kind of evidence of cheating in New York City. I started to think that the purpose of the statement might be to chill employees from reporting cheating. All employees, not just investigators, have an obligation to report cheating. I also considered that it might be an old Soviet style arrogant boast, our mayor is known for those, that there is no cheating in New York City schools.

Now I see more allegations of cheating, very much like those of prior years. As I look at all these allegations together, I see very low standards for investigation. When a teacher is accused of corporal punishment, even the verbal kind, the statements of just two or three students can result in disciplinary action or even dismissal. In the case of allegations of cheating, we can have statements from dozens of students that mean nothing. Apparently without physical evidence cheating educators get to walk. Cheat when your Principal tells you or implies that you should and you get a free pass. Tell a student that he was 'stupid' to throw a window pole out a fifth floor window and you will be disciplined or maybe fired.

When I read a story about this by Anna Phillips in the New York Times on May 23, I realized something that authorities should have realized years ago, or perhaps they did and buried the idea. You can't look at changes in scores from grade to grade within a school because that can be attributed to differential instruction. If any employees are cheating on their own, that data would be near impossible to detect without an extensive multi-year analysis. However, when you aggregate that data across schools if the cheating is an institutional practice encouraged by administrators that can be easily detected. All we need to do is look at how students fare the year after graduation. If there are dramatic drops that is a clear indication of cheating. This can be determined from data posted in ARIS. Given the Bloomberg administration decree on cheating, you know that it will never be done.

As I look at other states, I see that Georgia was very successful because the governor sent in a small army of investigators for months to get at the truth. That won't happen here. I believe that in Dallas it was the media and parents who forced the hand of government officials. Anna Phillips started this work with her article, but someone else needs to finish it. Any organization with the resources to get data through FOIL and analyze our student data could produce a 'cheating heat map', showing us almost every school in New York City where further examination of test scores and practices is merited.

I believe that cheating has become a poison in our schools. If teachers were encouraged to cheat in prior years, teachers today will have to cheat to keep their jobs as will teachers in the future. I think that exposing cheating in schools throughout the country will derail those who want to stake everything from tenure to salaries on standardized testing. We must do our part in New York City.

As we do consider this problem, we must be extremely sensitive to the plight of whistle blowers and those who have spoken honestly to investigators. Of course people who speak out first are threatened and scorned by those who defend the status quo, but even worse teachers who have been honest with investigators are now labeled as malcontents. I have a dream that one day those who tell the truth will be held in high esteem, but that will never happen in Mayor Bloomberg's Department of Education.

I have the impression that the only way that cheating will be outed in New York City is by the Texas model, where parents and the media took the lead. We can't count on The Daily News or The Post, and the person who had the story at The Times is gone, so I don't know how the job can be done.

I'm afraid that this hypocritical inequity, where testimony of dozens of students and teachers is discounted because the DOE is in denial on cheating, will continue plaguing our school communities and I don't know what to do about it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Marsha Elliott Forgets What Christianity Is All About

More to come as promised. Still on the subject of Marsha Elliott, my former principal at PS 154. Today we will learn just how low a principal will sink and lie to get their way.

As a dean and SAVE room coordinator at my school it is very hard work though there are some who think it is easy. Back in December of this school year we had a 4th grade student who was assigned to me for several days and basically a terror. She refused to stay in the room and was more apt to be wondering around the school than being where she should be.

So one day, Marsha Elliott decided that her mother was to accompany her to the SAVE room and stay there. Not for a few minutes, not for an hour, but for the whole day and this was without any input from me.

The mother was quite paranoid and in the past several years had accused teachers of plotting against her daughter, she believed that her daughter was a perfect child, caused no problems, etc... Even Marsha Elliott knew that this mother was full of shit, yet, she put the mother in the SAVE room alone, with me, and another student in there as well.

Well, it didn't take long for this mother to accuse me of conspiring against her daughter every time I said good morning to a teacher. Worse, she started yelling and physically threatened the 4th grade boy I had there as  well. Soon enough, the boy and the girl got into a fight and I needed to call the for Marsha Elliott.

Soon enough Elliott came with the sycophantic parent coordinator. Soon the mother accused me of calling the daughter crazy and that I said she needed medication. The mother named to wonderful teachers and the sycophantic parent coordinator as hearing me say that. Both wonderful teachers gave a statement saying nothing was said, the sycophantic parent coordinator claimed I said the girl was psychological.Now mind you, the mother at no time ever made a formal complaint, worse, well for me at least, she never gave a statement.

It was never said. The letter I received never had the date of the incident memorialized. We went to a Step II grievance and lost. Right now, we are in the process of hopefully taking it to arbitration. But there is one thing that bothers me in the letter. It was stated that I did not
"provide any reason why sycophantic parent coordinator would lie." 
But this, sadly in retrospect is how Marsha Elliott operates. This is a woman who said to me,
"I want you out of this school."
"You don't want to be in a classroom so there is no reason for you to be here."

After I bust my ass getting  Reso A funding and upon finding out that after a former principal accused me of having porn on a computer and being completely cleared by SCI, claimed not only that
"XXXXXXXXX said you can't be the computer coordinator" A blatant lie
But worse said,
"even though they didn't find anything and cleared you doesn't mean it never happened."

Now, if she said that, and of course she will deny this to her last breath, but I never play with my money, I always play with house money, and boy do I have an ace up my sleeve, she will create and fabricate any allegation she will or can get away with. But not this time. The proof I have would spin Judge Sirica in the grave. I have everything other than a 18 minute gap. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Hey, maybe if I took Jeebus as my lord and savior and didn't belong to a tribe that has been accused of killing the big guy I would be treated differently. But this is what Marsha Elliott is. The worse kind of believer. Just another lying piece of DOE garbage.

Religion, which should be her armor to protect her against what the world has to offer and to use it to protect those, instead has become her sharp and angry sword to swath those with her religious beliefs, sitting in what she believes is her gilded tower judging us all.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Marsha Elliott Brings God To The Bronx

"You have not answered his question. What does God need with a starship?" - Spock, Star Trek V The Final Frontier 

In the beginning, we were all fish. Okay? Swimming around in the water. And then one day a couple of fish had a retard baby, and the retard baby was different, so it got to live. So Retard Fish goes on to make more retard babies, and then one day, a retard baby fish crawled out of the ocean with its... -Mrs Garrison, 4th grade teacher South Park, CO explaining evolution to her students

"Tickle us, do we not laugh? Prick us, do we not bleed? Wrong us, shall we not revenge?" - General Chang, Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country

"Don't ever lie to me." -Anonymous 2400 BC

We as teachers should start thinking like General Chang. I do. I mean I will be a loyal friend, maybe too loyal, but once a line is crossed, that's it. Marsha Elliott, my former principal at PS 154X, it's time the truth came out.

I have no idea why she removed. Speculation does run rampant. The official reason, or rather the reason she gave, was that the test scores the last few years were declining and that she was up for tenure in May and wasn't going to receive it so the decision was moved to cut the cord. But it leaves one to wonder, if these reasons are true, why not just finish out the year and everyone be on with their lives?

No, it was something more diabolical than that. It had to have been something so yucky, so unprofessional, that the powers that be felt that a change needed to be made right then and there. Myself and the Crack Team here at SBSB applaud the powers that be.

We have several theories disseminate here at SBSB headquarters on the impetus of Marsha Elliott's removal. There is one theory that stands out, but first a little back story.

It seems that around 2007 or so, Marsha Elliott was removed by the DOE at her former school IS 158 in The Bronx for "encouraging" staff members at the school to visit her church. Visit? Like visiting to see art work, to see the architecture? Perhaps "visit" meant to come worship at her church. Perhaps "visit" meant that if you didn't want to get a U, you better let God see your ass "in the pews at my church." Were Jewish staff members invited? And if so, did Marsha Elliott hope that they would be "saved" from our heathen methods. Anyway, it was completely inappropriate. So inappropriate that the DOE fined her for the "recruiting," as a conflict of interest and soon was placed at PS 154. But, God was soon invited to 135th St and Alexander Ave., and someone sadly didn't learn a lesson.

This past March, or late February Marsha Elliott was recruiting teachers to come read the word of God wit her in our public school. She wanted to hold bible study once or twice a week and actively went around the school to asking teachers to join. Several of these so called "Bible Studies" were held off hours in the early morning before school started. We here at SBSB have no issues with religion, or God, just those who wear God on their sleeves and don't walk the walk. If a bunch of teachers got together on their own and perused the Bible, fine. But for a Principal to do it, for a Principal to recruit those that believe or do not believe is a conflict of interest or just plain wrong. What about the Jews? We never were offered a spot in the study! Does that mean we would be deemed not part of the "cool crowd" and might lose per session monies, positive evaluations, etc...? Or would teachers feel compelled and coerced to attend these meetings and face negative consequences if they don't? Yes, conflict of interest. Shame on you Marsha Elliott.

We here at SBS wish to reiterate we have no problems with those of faith, or with God, or Moses, or Mohammed, or Jesus. What we do have issues with those that hold the Bible in one hand, preach Jesus and God with their mouths, but with their free hand have no problem at backslapping you across your face and your career and tell us they are holy.

But the proselytizing of  religion and God have no place in school, particularity by administrators. This is no different that a female teacher being asked for sexual favors in return for positive outcomes for her career. Marsha Elliott crossed the line with this. Worse, she didn't learn from her first negative encounter. We wonder what God thinks.

But there is more to come on this subject.