Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's a Far Cry

This will be an interesting blog post, at least in my opinion, so please, be patient and read fully. At the end, you will have an "a-hah" moment.

Today is Geddy Lee's (of Rush) 59th birthday. I made a special morning of it. A cup of coffee, a cupcake with a candle (hoping this time Geddy would stop by) and popping in Rush's latest concert film, "Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland." When I got to the last song (before the encore), my mind started to wonder.

Far Cry is off 2007's Snakes and Arrows CD. It was the first single released, and even then when I first heard it, and subsequently live, that summer, I always felt the lyrics are a good allegory, metaphor for what is happening in education today.  Just like 2112 (which will be analyzed sometime soon) that I had thought of, as well as The Frustrated Teacher. 

So let's look at these lyrics. You'll see what I mean.

Pariah dogs and wandering madmen
Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues

In India, feral dogs are known as pariah dogs. The pack, all the deformers everywhere have that pack mentality, with a few, Rhee, Uncle Mike, the alpha males. These deformers are the wandering madman, like in the late 19th century going from town to town selling the magic elixirs, and ministers selling false religion.

They bark, the yell, at strangers, at teachers, at anyone to show that they think they are right. 

Electrical changes are charging up the young

The young are starting to fight back now against these "changes" in education. They are our most need allies. 

It's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit
It's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it

It is indeed a far cry from what we thought it would be when we became teachers. It is a far cry from what students and parents expected from education. 

One day I feel I'm on top of the world
And the next it's falling in on me
I can get back on
I can get back on

One day I feel I'm ahead of the wheel,
And the next it's rolling over me
I can get back on
I can get back on

We at one time felt as teachers we were on top of the world. At one time we had all these ideals which we too soon learn is not enough. We see as teachers how everything is collapsing in on us and know we can get back on the ball, back to where we need to be. But we got to get out in front of that wheel. We need to not be crushed by the uncaring, incompetent, ediots. We can get back on, but only if we all work together.

Whirlwind life of faith and betrayal

Everyone with a stake in education at one time had faith in the system. we have all been betrayed. 

Rise in anger, fall back, and repeat

We try to rise in anger, we keep on fighting. But we fall back for lack of support. From a union that sells us out, to teachers that are afraid, to the media who seeks to hurt us.

Slow degrees on the dark horizon

We see down the road, and it looks hopeless, it looks like things will get worse. 

Full moon rising lays silver at your feet

When we see that full moon it will guide us home, to the promised land of the days when the profession was respected and seen as noble.

We can get back on, only if we are in control. Only if we take ownership of our profession, only if we fight like there is no tomorrow.

For your viewing and listening pleasure...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Does Uncle Mike and the DOE Know How To Make Shinola From Shit?

Last week my wife and I went to register our son for his new middle school. He will be starting 6th grade, not only in a new school, but a new school district as well.

As we were waiting in the guidance office to meet with the guidance counselor, I picked up the school's 2012 yearbook and leafed through it. My eyes bugged out of their sockets like when Bugs Bunny fell for the female robot bunny that Elmer Fudd had created. Or was it Daffy Duck?

Aside from the color portraits of the students, who all seemed to be smiling, there was something more.

One of the first things that caught my eye was that this school was not just a place in which rote learning and adherence to some godforsaken testing curriculum was king, but a place in which wanted the students to grow as people. There also seemed to be a lot of fun going on in this school.

There were photos of teachers, administrators, students dressed up for pajama day, crazy hat day, Halloween, you name it it was there. There was a sense of a true community, not of learners (as so many contrived mission statements claim) that is missing in the schools in NYC.

I continued to leaf through and got towards the back. WOW! Again my eyes bugged. There is something called clubs! Yes after, and before, school clubs! How wonderful! Clubs such jazz band, drama club, the  Environmental Club, singing, service, Homework Club, there is a Young Republicans club, as well as a Communist club. But wait, there is more! There is something called the International club, and a literary club magazine club.

All these clubs! All these wonderful things to do. Why? Let's see the statement from the principal;
...we are dedicated to continuous improvement.  This includes not only a comprehensive academic program, but also a focus on the physical, emotional and social environment for students.  Attention is given to ensuring that students deepen their interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.   They are challenged to develop and refine these skills and their abilities so that they are ready for the challenges of high school and higher level education. 

Funny, where is that throwaway bullshit line, "community of learners?"

Why are these clubs important? Because it gives the student a sense of ownership in their school. It gives them a sense of why school is important other than just being some number to take a test so a principal looks good. But, more importantly, students learn by being in such clubs. Music is mathematical. So is art. In fact just as importantly, critical thinking skills are fostered through such clubs. This is what our student are missing and being deprived of day after dull day in the NYC DOE.

When I was in 5th grade I took Mr Fiore's rocketry class. We loved building the rockets, and blasting them off. Why can't this be done in NYC? The rockets can be built in class. A park can be used to launch the rockets. Science, math, social studies, ELA, all come together in one fun filled afternoon.

As I went through the yearbook, I saw that for 7th and 8th graders there were sports teams. Baseball, basketball, volleyball, track, etc... What better way to not only install discipline into the students, but character and a sense of pride? I saw this happen first hand when I was involved with our school's soccer team a few years back.

The clubs and the athletics and can all be done in place of the joke that is extended day. This can all be done cheaper than extended day. Extended day is a joke. Nothing gets done. It's babysitting. Nothing has, or ever has been, accomplished.

The bigger joke, the bigger waste of time is what passes for a schools system and education in NYC. It is a joke and a farce. There are no winners. The students, the parents, the communities, the teachers are all losing. The only ones wining are the friends and sycophants of Uncle Mike who are raking in the bucks and overseeing the destruction.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Navin Johnson Gets Excited About PS 154x Test Scores

Remember when Navin Johnson was so excited that the new phone books arrived? We here at SBSB are just as excited as he that the test scores have arrived.

Yes, with PS 154 sliding down its slippery slope, due to upper echelon (NOT AT ALL THE FAULT OF THE TEACHERS!!!!) incompetence, the test scores are out and like Navin Johnson PS 154 is going places. Down to be exact. (click below to enlarge)
If it wasn't for PS 154, there would be no need for summer school in District 7. But how did we get to this point, where are we going, and more importantly, how can we get out of this?

We got to this point because of the sheer neglect of former principal Marsha Elliott. As mentioned earlier only speculation has fueled the guessing as to why Marsha Elliott was replaced. However, it has come to the attention of The Crack Team here at SBSB that there were irregularities concerning school funds. The Crack Team has learned that in May of 2012 PS 154 had been running a deficit of $9K. Is this true, we don;t know, could it be criminal? Only Robert Johnson, Bronx District Attorney can answer. But this explains the lack of substitutes available to PS 154 the last 2 months of school.

It also explains why we had classes bursting at the seams, why there were no coverages for preps, why there was no writing program and/or curriculum in 2nd grade.

But with Marsha Elliott, what served her best was plausible delegation of responsibility. It is one thing to delegate, it is another to delegate and bury your head in the sand and ignore all going on about you. While Rome, er 154 was "burning," Marsha Elliott was busy praising God and praying he would make everything all right.

It was the same with the discipline. I mean, the lack of discipline. Students knew that they could get away with whatever they could and wanted to. Throw a chair? Have a piece of chocolate. Stab a kid with a pencil? You need a hug. Start a riot in the yard, your parents will never know.

And what to do about those kids in crisis, those that really needed intervention? Do what Oscar the Ostrich does when faced with stress. Find some dirt, bury the head, hope that the problem will go away. If that didn't work, you could just close your eyes really hard and wish the problem away.

I do not see things getting better and I am not the only one at 154 that feels this way. With more special ed. students now in general education, the new special ed. bowel movement that will be unleashed on the school, let alone the entire NYC DOE backfire like a '57 Chevy with a bad muffler.

Now students that would have been in a small class size structure will be exposed to classes of up to 30 kids, which will cause them not only to be over stimulated, but worse, get lost in the shuffle of the bigger class. Not only with these students not get the education they need, but will in all probability act out more, be disciplined more, and lose their knack for wanting to learn.

And what about the general ed. students? They will be hugged, cajoled, and not have any consequences in their behavior. If they get out of line, look for them to be sent to the overtaxed SBST. Sent, but not seen too. If memory serves, the SBST needs to first service the students it is assigned to, the students that have stack upon stacks of anecdotals and are in true crisis and need placement or evaluation, and then any other real crap that happens. Not this make believe liberal crap that will be thrust upon it.

But again, for all students, as long as there is no real curriculum, no true leadership, no true collaboration, and overcrowded classes there can be and won't be any learning at all in PS 154. `

How can we get those scores up and not be closed within 2 years? First, let's stop hiring first year, under 25, TFA teachers. The Open Market system is a great way to find good, veteran teachers. Use technology as it was intended, to increase students higher order thinking skills and to have students have the world virtually at their fingertips.

Have NYC DOE stop cutting the budget. It behooves logic that a school in crisis is having its budget cut year after year. But since this is a fact, get out there and get money! Solicit funds. Eva does it, why can't we? If a student is in educational crisis, deal with it immediately. Right then, right there. Discipline should be zero tolerance, not like in the charters, but the suburban schools. No putting students on computers for bad behavior, no more rewarding of students. Yes, I know, these students come from crisis, from fucked up homes, but these students need boundaries. They crave it. We need to give it to them. The liberal mindset must end.

I hope I am wrong. PS 154 is a great school, with great students, great families, and great teachers.

Monday, July 16, 2012

If Only Christine Rubino Were Either Michelle Rhee, Mychael Willon, Derrick Townsend, John Chase JR, or Jose Maldanado-Rivera

I feel sorry for Christine Rubino. Not only has she been suspended without pay for two years, financially hanging on by the thinnest of threads, but worse, if she had only been an administrator her mistake of posting a message out of frustration on Facebook concerning her students would have been at best ignored, at worst, a slap on the wrist.

If Christine was a hot shot former superintendent of Washington DC schools like Michelle Rhee, she would be able to get away with duct taping the mouths of 1st grade students then laughing about it years later. Sadly, Christine is just a darn damn fine teacher that truly made a mistake and feel remorse.

Perhaps if Christine was a former principal from Wichita KS, hmm, like Dr Mychael Willon and was caught in some lewd and lascivious act alone in a Wichita KS adult bookstore then went on to get a mail order PhD and eventually get hired by the DOE as a network leader and then promoted to a job within Tweed, Christine would not have to be selling her house to pay for the legal bills and to put food on the table for her children.

How about if Christine was an assistant principal at my school, PS 154 and Christine dragged students down the hall, dragged a student from the yard to inside the school, and dragged and bruised a 9 year old girl like Derrick Townsend did Christine would have no worries now. Like Derrick Townsend, Christine's only penalty would be a desk job in Committee for Special Education 2 in The Bronx. But, right now Christine needs to look to her parents, who are in their golden years, for support.

Maybe if Christine were the principal at Bronxdale High School and she could have bragged, like principal John Chase Jr had, her deviant sexual fantasies with inanimate objects. Of course Christine has no reason to do that, nor would she ever share such  things as the perverted principal had, but Christine would have gotten a slap on the wrist like John Chase Jr did. But sadly, Christine is looking at an uncertain future.

But most disturbing, most curious, is that the person who set this off, Principal Jose Maldanado-Rivera of the Columbia Secondary School, who through his negligence, through his in competence, through sheer stupidity, allowed Nicole Suriel age 12 to die. To die a horrible death, a preventable death, a hollow death. All because this man, Maldanado-Rivera just was too lazy and too stupid to make sure there were permission slips for the students and that all students were capable swimmers.

Christine Rubino never would have done something like putting a child in danger. Christine Rubino is not only too smart, but too caring, too loving, and too much of a human being to ever not be vigilant when it comes to a student's safety.

But, for one mistake, a mistake that Christine has shown true remorse, she not only was fired originally, but upon further review, suspended without pay for two years, but has lost or about to lose everything. This is not only unfair, but an indictment on how screwed up, how pathological the NYC DOE has become.Don't think any of these administrators have shown remorse. Only when caught have they.

It is time to hold the looking glass over administrators everywhere and finally put the onus on them for how dysfunctional education is now in NYC. It is time for administrators to stop being held to such a low standard and start being held accountable. This pogrom on teachers must end now.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School

I know of a school in NYC, can't say where, but the elementary school is going ultra liberal in its response to discipline issue that is ruining it. The school will be officially known as the Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School. What does this mean? The Crack Team here at SBSB was able to obtain a copy of the FAQ that put answered questions staff members might ask of the new system of discipline. This FAQ was sent out to staff members and we here at SBSB are more than happy to publish the FAQ.
A student in my class repeatedly disrupts the learning process. Should I call that student's parents?

NO! Under no circumstances is a teacher on their own ever to call a student's parents. Doing this might upset the child. We want our students to be able to reflect upon their own, come to their own conclusion on why disrupting the class might be disturbing to others.

A student just kicked me in my nuts. How should I respond?

First, please be professional and do not use the word nuts. Please use testicle(s). If this were to happen to a male teacher do not raise your voice or let the student know you are seeing stars and feeling pain. In a calm soothing voice look the student in the eye and say, "Ouch, my testicle(s) hurt(s). I know you did not mean to kick me there, but I understand that you are in crisis. I shall put a soothing balm and/or icepack on my testicle(s)."

A student just ran down the hall way punching and biting students. This student also tore down student's work from the bulletin boards, how should this student be disciplined?

This is very simple. Show that you really mean business by allowing the student to play games on the computer all day. This will also show that you are using the technology properly.

According the the NYC DOE Discipline Code there are many level 4 and 5 infractions. Surely, this must put the school in a positive light, what can be done to reduce such infractions?

Very simple. Stop reporting level 4 and 5 infractions. This is not a cover up. Just hiding one's head in the sand and hoping no one will notice.

A student has just thrown chair in the classroom endagering other students safety. What is the best way to deal with this?

Allow him to do an art project. Or better yet, get him a Bobo Doll. This child feels the need to express themselves and what better way to avoid a problem than to just add to the problem.

Where have these fascinating ideas been formulated?

At a teacher's college. 

How does one remove a disruptive student?

Only student's that are not disruptive to the pedagogues will be removed. Though, once removed, there will be no paper trail, no student removal forms filled out and no reporting. 

A student has thrown 3 major fits in the day thus far. Each fit has put students and staff in danger. What can be done?

Basically, nothing negative. But positive, we can give the child candy, let him have extra gym, or just let the student have the run of the school.

Why are we not to call parents? 

Phone calls might upset parents. Also, there needs to be control of teachers. 

Have any of these liberal discipline methods ever been effective?

No, but it is just theory. And since it is theory and someone thought of these liberal discipline methods, it must be right.

If these liberal discipline methods do not work, who is to blame?

The teachers of course. Not the ones who came up with these methods. Never, never, never.

How will we know if these methods are not working? Will there be some sort of sign, signal?

Simple. Once you lose control of your classroom and the school is out of control, both by October 16 at 1:45 PM, all hell has broken lose and you can kiss any semblance of learning good bye.

So there you have it. The FAQ from the new Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School. Critical Mass come February.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MS 331 Bronx Watch Out For Citizen Schools New Campus Leader Ruben Brosbe

Yesterday I wrote about Ruben Brosbe while lamenting the fact that I might be beating a dead horse and not really wishing to for Ruben is a waste of time. I spoke, or rather wrote, too soon. Please accept my apologies.

After putting the blog post to bed, I felt pretty darn good that yet again Ruben, and all his minions, were exposed. I popped open my 10th Diet Coke of the evening and toasted to the good fortune of of being on the good side of goodness. But at this point, and sorry for reusing a previous phrase, I felt a deep disturbance in the force.

I looked at Ruben's Twitter page and noticed something that was not there before. Yes, the self serving fact that he is/was a student at Harvard Graduate School of Education, but something more sinister;
Campus Director at MS331 in the Bronx,

CSschools? What can that be, and how in God's name did Ruben become some director? What are you talking about, Willis?

According to their website, @CSchools is Citizens Schools;
Citizen Schools partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country.
By drawing thousands more citizens into schools each year, we’re promoting student achievement, transforming schools, and re-imagining education in America.
Wow, so strangely self impressive for a bunch of (mostly) former TFA hacks to come into our schools with what they consider their knowledge to impart their values on our students.

And the new Citizen Schools campus leader at MS 331 in The Bronx is E4E Blog Monkey™ and Savant, Ruben Brosbe. Yes, that Ruben Brosbe. Ruben Brosbe formerly of PS 310 in District 10 in The Bronx that according to sources there shared with me how universally despised he was. The Ruben Brosbe of PS 310 in District 10 in The Bronx that was denied tenure, not once, but twice and either resigned or was terminated. The Ruben Brosbe of PS 310 in District 10 in The Bronx that ripped his fellow teachers apart in the New York Post? The Ruben Brosbe of PS 310 in District 10 in The Bronx that doesn't believe poverty affects a child's education? The Ruben Brosbe of PS 310 in District 10 in The Bronx that sticks his finger in the wind to see which way it is blowing?

So what is the failed teacher of 3rd grade students responsibilities as campus director for Citizen Schools at MS 331?
  • Be instructional leader, talent developer to 5-15 staff, 80-250 students
  • Partner with principal and staff to expand the learning day to improve student achievement
  • Cultivate relationships with community and families to deepen the impact of program on student achievement
  • Use data to make leadership decisions and leverage resources through successful human resource administration
Ruben doing this? Surely, Citizen Schools jests. 

How can a failed teacher such as Ruben Brosbe be an instructional leader? This is a man child that failed as a teacher, yet now he is a supervisor of not only adults, but of children as well? How soon will it be before some middle school student sees through Ruben's self aggrandizing bullshit?

I am reminded of a time 20 years ago when a friend and I went to IHOP for breakfast. He commented that IHOP must be scraping the bottom of the barrel for waitresses. Twenty years later, the IHOP effect is in full bloom with Citizen Schools. The bottom of the barrel has been scraped in hiring Ruben Brosbe. In fact I doubt highly that even IHOP would hire Ruben.

We here at SBSB contacted Citizen Schools NY chief of staff Alena Bloom and asked her to comment on why a failed teacher like Ruben would be put in such spot of responsibility and how does one justify putting the students needs first with Ruben as a supervisor. She refused to comment. A search of her education credentials turned up zilch, nada, bupkus. Same with Citizen Schools NY chief Nitzan Pelman. Just a lot of nothingness.

And that goes the same with Ruben Brosbe. A lot of nothingness there. A lot of no accomplishments there. We still wish to know how Ruben got into HGSE. Perhaps daddy paid off someone, or someone owed daddy a favor. But like most of the world's mysteries, we might never know. We do know that Ruben near education is a debacle awaiting whichever students are in his way.

As far as Citizen Schools, just another way for more rich, white, liberal do-gooders, who are former TFA hacks to make a buck on the back of students and at the expense of a good solid education.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Man Child World of Ruben Brosbe

No. Can't do it. Don't want to do it. Want to write about my son at baseball camp and how we should "judge" baseball instructors the same way they judge teachers. But, the force is to deep within me. The snarkiness, the sarcasm is oozing through my brain into my fingertips. My brain is telling me, "you know, admit it, you want to do this." I fight my brain. But the brain is just too controlling.

It's been 9 months since I have written about former, or current E4E Blog Monkey™ Ruben Brosbe. Yes, that ship sailed when the NYC DOE parted ways with him lat June and he somehow, someway, (perhaps he tithed his rabbi) got into the Harvard Graduate School of Education (It's one of the signs of the Apocalypse when HGSE sets the bar so, so, so low).

So with much trepidation and an eye on yet again debunking Ruben, I read his latest self serving blog post, "Asking Why Me?" 

It was too convoluted to get through without nausea induced attacks. I went back and forth, forth and back and decided that pointing out how child like Ruben's thinking is and yet again how self important Ruben is was not worth the trouble. That is until I read the comments section.

My pal, Rich, The Frustrated Teacher left a comment which I was surprised Ruben allowed to be posted. TFT wrote six simple words that so simply, yet so forcefully is the underlying issue with education. One that is lacking when we are compared to other countries;
Poverty is the problem. Not our schools.
Well said. Well thought out. But it is a fact. Sad, but a fact. Even after reading that comment I did not wish to write about Ruben. But he tasks me, he tasks me. I shall write about Ruben. I shall write about him around the schools of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I stop writing about him.

Ruben, in his response to Rich blabbered; On a related note, this poverty v. schools debate is so tired, and is practically a crutch.

So tired? How is it so tired? I have never once in my 17 years of teaching once heard a teacher say that their students can't learn because of poverty. NEVER! I have heard teachers say that poverty makes their job more difficult. But never once have I heard it used as an excuse or a crutch.

Ruben drones on; HOWEVER, are we really going to pretend that our schools are serving all students, especially our poorest students and students of color, to the level they deserve?

No one is pretending. No one is is disagreeing. Oh, one thing before I continue the rant. Ruben, what about those students who are not of color and living in Appalachia? Where is your concern with these students? What about students on the Reservations? Yeah, I know, not glamorous enough going there.

But we talk about the level they deserve? Then why is it when they deserve such a high level of education your favorite mayor, the mayor who has broken bread with your hero Little Evan Stone, Uncle Mike does he can to cut the budgets of schools, cut the experienced teachers out of the  loop, and thinks that is best practice to hire a 28 year old principal that has never been in education before? Where is your outrage in this Ruben? 

Ruben offers up a life lesson; A final point, what exactly are we talking about when we say that poverty is to blame?

How would Ruben know about poverty? Ruben is a rich, white Jewish, boy from Northern California that grew up in opulence. On a starting teacher's salary is was able to live in a doorman building on the Upper East Side. If Ruben truly wished to get down, to see what the real world is like he could have lived on Melrose Ave and 153rd St. He chose not to. Ruben has never known want in his life. 

Ruben tries to show how smart he thinks he is; Poverty being a general term can be used to describe (or disguise) many other factors. Unless we are explicit in what we mean by poverty - lack of access to quality healthcare? parent's educational attainment? lack of employment opportunities? - I worry we may be missing the point.

Yes, I worry that not are you missing the point, you will never get it. Yes Ruben it is all those things and more. How about children having children? Being underemployed? Having to work 2 jobs just to keep a family's head above water? Damn, it is so many things. Just because you can't see it or touch it does not mean it does not have an affect on lives. 

Ruben shows his ignorance; But I won't agree that "poverty" is equivalent to a cap on a child's potential or some sort of death sentence meted out at birth. 

Dolt. Ruben, who says it is a death sentence? Where? Whom? Show us who says this. No it is not a death sentence, but it is like Governor Christie racing 100 meters against Usain Bolt. But the only way to fix poverty is to fix society, to give people jobs, for the oligarchy that this country is becoming to spread the wealth, for others to help others. To invest in our neighborhoods. To invest in ball fields. To invest in health care, dental care. I can go on and on.

Yeah, I can go on and on. But Ruben, is a dolt. Ruben needs to learn how the world operates and for once think for himself. Ruben is pathetic, a follower, and man-child with the inability to think for himself.

How Ruben got into HGSE is beyond me. How Ruben came about unable to get tenure at PS 310 in the Bronx and according to multiple sources at 310 was universally despised is understandable. Ruben has a desperate need to please those in authority to him. Sad and pathetic.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Feel A Great Disturbance In The Force

I really hope I am not coming across as beating a dead horse. If I am, I apologize, but something is really bothering me.

Right now a friend of mine is sitting in the new fangled Rubber Room accused of corporal punishment. Just one allegation. A bullshit allegation. That is all I can share presently. As of now, I can't disclose any more details.

Now here is where it might seem as if I am beating the proverbial dead horse. As many readers of my blog know I started out writing this blog in August 2008 to keep a journal as to the goings on at my school, PS 154 in the Bronx. I wrote extensively about an assistant principal at the time that I named Numb Nuts. Several months ago I shared his name, Derrick Townsend on the blog, and the fact I went on FOX 5 to out him as a serial physical abuser of students. Back in April when Chaz was being lambasted in the Daily News, I compared the hypocrisy of the DOE vis a vis teachers and administrators. Here is right I had written;

What did Derrick Towsend do? Well we need to go back to January 2007 in which I notified by immediate superior at the time, principal Cynthia Ballard of Townsend's misdeeds. Read on;

On Monday, January 22nd, 2007 during the extended day program, I heard a commotion outside my office, Room 219, in the hallway. I stepped to the doorway of my office and saw that XXXXX was struggling with Mr Townsend. Mr Townsend appeared to be attempting to get XXXXX inside his office. Mr Townsend then took XXXXX’s right arm, and pulled it behind and up XXXXXX’s back as he was doing this; he slammed XXXXX into his closed office door with XXXXX’s face and chest bearing the brunt of the impact.

On Thursday, January 25, 2007 at approximately 12:20 PM the 3rd grade was in the auditorium to watch a movie before they ate lunch. XXXXXX had come down with his class, and was not cooperating. XXXXXX had decided to sit in the 2nd or 3rd row of the far right (if facing the stage) set of seats. I was standing at the back of the auditorium, and saw Mr Townsend approach XXXXXX. I do not know what was said at first, but Mr Townsend was soon getting very animated. Mr Townsend then grabbed XXXXXX by his upper left arm, and pulled him out of his seat violently. He dragged XXXXXX up the aisle to the last row of seats, and threw XXXXXX into the aisle seat.

   On Tuesday, January 30, 2007, at approximately 12:20 the 3rd grade was in the auditorium to watch a movie before they ate lunch. XXXXXXX was talking to XXXXXX in the last row
   Of seats on the right side of the auditorium. Mr Townsend asked XXXXXX several times come sit with his class. XXXXXX refused, and Mr Townsend walked up to the last row. Mr Townsend walked down the row, grabbed XXXXXX, by his upper arm, yanked him up, and dragged XXXXX into the aisle.
WOW! So did anything happen? Before you answer, think for a moment. What would have happened if pretend Townsend was a a teacher not an AP. Yep, you are right. This was reported to OSI. OSI kicked it back to the principal, the same principal that had just hired him one month earlier, to lead the investigation. The investigation was unfounded. Why? Because in Cynthia Ballard's reports to OSI she blamed the students. Described them as troublemakers and discredited them. There was no recourse.

Flash forward to February 13, 2009. Townsend in a fit of pique because a 3rd grade girl would not follow his directions after sharing with Townsend that she was touched inappropriately by a boy, yanks her out of her seat by the arm, drags her through the classroom, down the hall, all in front of 50 students and at least several adults and leaves bruises on her arm.
The funny thing is Townsend had about 6 open corporal punishment allegations against him that year (2008-2009). One for dragging a 3rd grade boy a good fifty yards from the playground into the school whilst tearing the boys shirt in the meantime, dragging a 1st grader down the hall, punishing another boy who misbehaved at lunch by having the boy clean the cafeteria.

Now, I might have been exaggerating about the six open corporal punishment allegations (which I reported all to OSI myself! Oh, and using my name!) against him, or it might have been six. I truly forget. I do remember that the day before I was sent to the Rubber Room for 7 weeks back in January of 2009 that Townsend brought professional misconduct charges against me for carrying a coffee cup, I looked at the principal while pointing to Townsend and tell her, "The coffee cup bothers you, but he drags children and has all these open allegations against him and you are fine with that?" But whatever the number of allegations against him were, nothing was done, not a finger lifted, nor an investigator sent, until he was cornered by FOX 5.

Again, a bit of a rerun here. He was sent to the Rubber Room in March 2009, stayed there until the Rubber Rooms were closed and without a hearing, he settled I believe, was sent back to work. Not in a school, but a nice cushy office position with CSE 2 on Tremont Ave in The Bronx.

So why is my friend languishing, while Townsend more or less got off with a hand slap? For all we know, he still has his administrative license. Even here, where one can look up salaries it is not definitive whether or not Townsend is getting paid on teacher's or admin line.

This is not fair. This is not right. This is not ethical. I am fed up to here, my hand is under my chin, of teachers being the brunt of the deform movement. Weed out the incompetent administrators, weed out the protection of administrators and watch things change.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

BREAKING E4E NEWS!!!! E4E Hires New Executive Director!

We here at SBSB wish to give a hardy and snarky welcome to new Educators4Excellence Executive Director Jonathan Schleifer. Yes, the news came to a shock to us here in the SBSB newsroom. Are Little Evan and Princess Sydney no longer with E4E? No. They are now concentrating on bringing their cult to other cities across this great nation of ours to bring the conversation of deform to those lackies and rubes which clamor for their leadership.

We applaud that Jonathan had taught (At CIS 303 in The Bronx), but saddened that  Jonathan is part of the TFA elitist mentality and hails from some of the elite universities of this country. Just once we here at SBSB would like to see a TFA member that had graduated from Mercy College or Monroe College. When that happens we will know that TFA is open to all.

We are also curious that at one time, from 2007 to 2008, Jonathan was senior policy adviser for former US Congressman, and amateur photographer, Anthony Weiner. Many questions can be asked of the time Jonathan spent with Weiner, and whether or not he knew of Weiner's proclivities. Was Weiner sharing his weiner then, and if so, did Jonathan know? But, that is not really important. Stat tuned.

Jonathan's last position was as chief policy officer with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Though at press time the Crack Team has yet to have any definitive information on Jonathan's exact role and the source of funding for IAVA, as well what IAVA stands for, we commend him for such a noble role in helping our veterans, some of whom truly need the advocacy of such a group. But, we have several questions of some issues that bother us.

In coming to an organization that is advocating changes to pay, advancement, work rules, pensions, etc... one might ask how this jibes not only with the veterans that Jonathan gave a voice to, but the those still in the military.

We know that E4E wishes to do away with the current pay structure of teachers that goes in step by step increments till you reach a maximum, but the military has a pay scale as well that somewhat looks like the DOE's. Did Jonathan have issues with this?

E4E'ers and Little Evan and Princess Sydney believe that one can become a teacher after only 50 hours of training. Surely, being TFA and now in the employ of E4E Jonathan must feel the same way. Did he share the same sort of attitudes as an advocate for veterans? Did he at any time share with them that that they can become a soldier, airman, sailor, or Marine with only 50 hours of training?

Does Jonathan believe that experience truly does not matter? That younger soldiers are better equipped, more energetic than veteran soldiers? Should special units such as Seal Team 6 have newbies on its squad?

I wonder if Jonathan believes in perhaps judging soldiers using some sort of convoluted VMA. How would he rate whether or not a soldier is qualified or not? What would he base it on?

Finally, now that he is the executive director of E4E will he show the same verve that he did in advocating for veteran's rights and transfer that skill and dedication into protecting teacher's rights? I am sure if you draw a string, their are many common denominators for both the rights of veteran's and the rights of teachers.

The devil is in the details. Will Jonathan be truly independent, or just Little Evan's puppet? The bet is on the latter. Doubt Jonathan will treat educators with the same respect he treated the vets.

School's Out For Summer. Let Kids Be Kids

So it's that time of year. School is out. The students have no more teachers, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks. Camps are open and welcoming campers all over the New York metropolitan area. Of course that doesn't include those students at KIPP and Success Academy, charter schools, or even kids forced into a DOE gulag to make up some flawed exam that are not allowed to have summer fun and are forced to endure summer hour after summer hour in a classroom looking out a window wondering why they can't be a child.

Why is that? What is it that KIPP and Success, and the other charters (and the DOE Summer Schools), think they will eek out of a student during the hot summer months? Isn't camp a learning experience? Isn't camp, especially sleep away camp, a place that is not only a great place to learn, but to have fun learning and to learn to have fun?

I remember being at day camp and sleep away camp and going to the nature hut and truly learning about science. The woods, the lake, and the sky were all a learning laboratory for us. What a wonderful way to learn about the life cycle of a lake, the living things in a lake, and the water. I remember going in the woods and seeing and learning about plants, insects, and animals that I had never seen before. Better than seeing was the touching. Holding a frog in my hand. Having a snake slip through my hands. Or who remembers this? Picking up a rock and looking underneath. Yuck.

Know what else is science/nature? Building a fire. I learned how to do that when I was 11 years old. Is that not science? It is certainly hands on learning. Would it not be a great lesson to explain to a kid why there is a blue flame when that marshmallow is ablaze? But sadly, it can't be taught from a classroom with no air conditioning when a TFA drone is blabbering on.

I can go on and on about how art and making macaroni art is is mathematics. But there are many things more important than being in a school during the hot summer months.

It is the experience of being on your own, the experience of doing something different that these kids are missing out on, certainly in going to sleep away camp. Yes, I know many of the students can't afford sleep away camp. And there are other reasons why they can't go. But wouldn't it be nice if all this money that was being pissed away by corporations and governments to fund tests, crappy curriculums, and  the pockets of relatives and cronies, be used to send inner city youth to such camps for at least a week would do so much to alleviate so much crap.

Friendships will be made. Friendships that can last a lifetime. More important, the self esteem, the independence that a camp, sleep away or day camp, that can stay with a kid will last a life time.

Kids should be out chasing butterflies, fireflies, their dreams and fantasies during the summer. Learning how to work together in color wars, capture the flag, or the performing arts are all parts of the building blocks of childhood that we learn from.

You keep a kid in to learn during the summer the moment will be fleeting. You let a kid be a kid and experience something new the moment will be forever.