Friday, May 30, 2014


On March 15, 44 BC the Roman Senate, led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus
stabbed to death Julius Caesar. Caesar's dying words, according to William Shakespeare upon seeing that Brutus was amongst the conspirators was, "Et tu Brutue?"

During the Last Supper, which The Crack Team believes occurred on Passover in 33 AD, JC predicted that Brutus, would betray him.

On Friday, May 30, 2014, The Crack Team has found out through very reliable sources that the machinations behind getting Governor Andy the Working Families Party gubernotorial nomination have taken a bizarre turn.

As reported on these pages this past Wednesday, it seemed that Diane Ravitch was to be offered the nomination.

As of yesterday and into early today, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout was seemed to have the presumptive nomination.

But in the last hour or so The Crack Team has learned from several reliable sources that NYSUT and UFT Preisdenté Mile Mulgrew have pushed, twisted arms and have practically secured the WFP nomination for governor for Governor Andy.

Never mind that the entire Governor Andy agenda has been to bend over for the moneyed interests of the state. Never mind that upstate New York is still an economic wasteland. Never mind that the "Children's Lobbyist" cares only about 3% of the students of New York State and folded like a cheap Moe Ginsburg suit. Never mind that if the WFP does nominate Governor Andy they are contradicting all they believe in and will probably have to change their name.

Worse is the behind the scenes machination of Mulgrew, and at his behest and control NYSUT, and the manipulation and dirty dealing on behalf of Governor Andy!

Where is the consultation with the rank and file? Where is the transparency behind this decision to get Governor Andy the nomination? Where on the UFT website has this been shared?

We all know what Mulgrew's response will be.

"At least we will have a seat at the table."

Big whoop! A seat at the table mean nothing if every time one goes to sit down it is pulled out from under.

If this happens we as educators and New Yorkers must ensure that Governor Andy at the very least get less than 55% of the vote. We need to throw all our energy behind Howie Hawkins. But be careful not to throw your vote to Rob Astorino. It'll be more of the same.

If Zephyr Teachout does get the nomination I am inclined to vote for her. I think the WFP has more of a organization than the Green, from what I have read of her background I am quite impressed and besides, with a name like that you know she must be good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Will Governor Cuomo Come in and Save the UFT Contract?

So today is the day all the votes for the new contract must be in. The ballots have been checked, the envelopes licked and sealed, and the UFT telling us the sky will fall if we don't ratify this contract.

Yes, we'll have to get to the back of the line if we fail to ratify this contract. Well, if it means getting behind the NYPD's Sergeants Benevolent Association (Which is claiming the city has a $4.1 billion surplus!) then we here at SBSB are all for being at the end of the line. Seems the SBA has some guts.

But there is another reality that just might be plausible enough if the contract does not get ratified.

Is it possible that if the contract does not get ratified that Governor Andy swoops in and saves the day with the money to pay the retro immediately (or at least a big chunk of it) and to give us that 8% raise now instead of five years from now?

If you think about it this might not seem to far fetched.

Andy has aspirations on becoming president in 2016. For that too happen he needs two things (among many others but most importantly) to get the nomination. One, Hilary mustn't run, and secondly, he needs some sort of a mandate. Pundits have said if he gets 55% or less of the vote this year his dreams are done.

Western New York and Long Island are up in arms about what Andy has done for education and add
to that the economy of upstate and we can see Andy not doing well there. Astorino has been elected twice in Westchester County and that just might take the county off the chart for Andy. Andy will need Albany County and the Five Boroughs which have always gone Democrat, but Queens and Staten Island can be wild cards. Andy can't just win, he needs to win big.

Now we all can't vote for Rob Astorino  and hold our nose for he will be Andy lite. Expect the number of charters to get bigger in the state and for unions to be more under the gun. Plus, and as much as Astorino claims he his against Common Core and high stakes testing, I am sure that ALEC will be leading him around by the nose.

This is why Andy was involved in getting the TWU the sweetheart new contract. He needs those union votes. He needs their phone banks. He needs the goodwill.

And where is there a lot of good will to be had, or at least in Andy's mind? Teachers of NYC and the money we are owed. Now, I am not saying it will work, but Andy is low enough and self absorbed enough to do it, especially when he sees a threat to his coronation.

There are alternatives. Howie Hawkins is running as the Green Party candidate and he has named Brian Jones as his Lt Governor. But that just might not make Andy scared enough.

The Daily News is reporting that the Working Families Party has asked Diane Ravitch to be their nominee. Now this can make things quite interesting.

I believe that a Diane Ravitch candidacy is quite viable. She can win, but at the very least throw a monkey wrench into Andy's plans.  Imagine the major p3wnage Diane can inflict upon Andy in a debate. Think about it, can Diane have Andy move back, or at least introduce him to the politics of honor that his father embraced?

The vote is to be counted next Tuesday, June 3. Let's see what Andy does if the vote goes against the UFT.

Monday, May 26, 2014

UFT Rank and File Needs Gene Hackman

My son had a baseball tournament upstate this weekend and while enjoying the free pre-made, formerly frozen free breakfast at the Quality Inn of Fishkill yesterday morning I decided against Poughkeepsie Journal in favor of my Sunday true and tried Daily News.
reading the

After reading the sports section I turned to the op-ed page to read El Presidenté Mulgrew's fascinating story on how teacher's, but in his reality the UFT, are the real reformers. As I was reading, my wife said that she had never seen someone's jaw actually hit the table before.

I am not going to rehash or add my two cents. It's been done. Others have done it. I shan't. But just two thoughts.

One, we wouldn't be in this predicament if in 2002 we had some cojones and didn't cave into the pressure of mayoral control. Yes, the money seemed great at the time, but that was the beginning.

Secondly, the final nail was put in the coffin in 2005. So, please, spare us the "I found religion" spiel now. It is too late. WE, THE TEACHERS, THE RANK AND FILE, THE FRONT LINE, have been bullied, beaten, abused, and bruised up too long. So forgive us if we are not buying the hard sell. Forgive us if we say we heard this all before. It's too late. You can't be the tough guy on the playground now when the bully is nowhere to be found. The time to be the tough guy to fight for us and unions came and went. WHY SHOULD WE TRUST THE UFT?

We need Gene Hackman.

In the 1972 movie "The Poseidon Adventure," Gene Hackman played Rev. Frank Scott. When the ship capsized, Hackman, along with others were trapped in the ballroom. Hackman, with the help of Ernest Borgnine, rigged a Christmas tree too lead others the the galley which was now on the ceiling. Soon others followed. From atop Hackman implored others to follow them, that this was the only way to safety.

But it was not to be. A lackey, a sycophant, a yeoman of the ship told Hackman that he is in charge and the others will stay in the ballroom to await rescue. He ordered Hackman to come back, but Hackman knew better. He knew he had to go to the bow of the ship, where the steel is the thinnest, to be rescued.

The yeoman said no and that those with him shall remain. Hackman gave up trying and just as he walked away the sea burst into the ballroom. Suddenly hundreds of people were attempting to climb up the Christmas tree at once only for the tree to come crashing down under the weight of too many people. They all drowned.

Raise you hand if you get the point. OK.

You have a choice. Vote for and accept this contract and when the time comes for your raises, your retro, and if you become an ATR that Christmas tree won't be there to hold all your weight.

Or follow Gene Hackman and have your career back. Have a voice in the union back.

The yeoman is all the UFT lackeys on Twitter, Facebook, in your schools, and in emails attempting to frighten you, to not question the direction of the union, and wants all to be sheep.

Gene Hackman is a man looking out for others and not for him. Willing to listen to others. Willing to sacrifice himself.

Gene Hackman is what we deserve. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Sources in Tweed shared starling news today with The Crack Team about how the negotiations went
down in regards to the ATR's.

Chancellor Carmen Farina, who in the past caved to principal's demands in taking in ATR's and who at the press conference announcing the new contract said that ATR's can be removed from a school after a day for problematic behavior and "should find another profession," went into contract negotiations adamant to do away with all ATR's.

Mind you, this is not doing away with the ATR pool by simply placing teachers in schools, but rather the end of the road, the separation of a teacher from their checks, fini, good-bye and good riddance to teachers careers.

According to The Crack Team's sources, Chancellor Farina shared that only about, "400 ATR's can teach," and that the rest were useless.

Blindsided, UFT President Mile Mulgrew, went into panic mode and cut the best deal he can. The deal before us now in which ATR's can audition for 50 days before problematic behavior sets in and the REDUCED due process which ATR's will be subject to. And let's not forget the failing to show for an interview or a position in which the ATR will be summarily terminated.

Was this the best that Mulgrew can do? He was holding all the cards. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The contract negotiations should have ended post haste! The ATR system could have stayed the way it is and this contract would have been ratified. According to a SBSB groupie;
I hope I never see him face to face, I'll give him such a piece of my mind.  He had so much bargaining power and he blew it.
Yeah, he blew it and the ATR's and the rank and file as well.

This begs the question, what else did Mulgrew and his Unity negotiating team cave on as well? Can we be assured by Mulgrew that the money wasn't in the city's coffers for full retroactive or a full insertion of the 8% due us?

Better yet, is it right to question whether Mulgrew and his Unity negotiating team were looking out for the best interests of the city or the rank and file (Which includes the students and communities. What is good for the teachers is good for the students).

We here at SBSB call for a thorough opening of the books by the UFT and Unity to show the members the notes and other pertinent materials during the negotiating sessions. It is time for the UFT and Unity to have a truly transparent union and for it's members to be fully aware of all decisions and the process behind making those decisions. Where are the checks and balances?

We have a small group of people elected by a small group of people making decisions for many. many others and no one knows how are why the decisions are being made.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I did what I was supposed to do yesterday. I got home about 4:30 ignored my wife and son and went into the office to watch UFT & Friends on the computer.

I made sure that all three modes, Twitter, email, and the phone, were working so that I might share what was on my mind.

Yes, I truly thought of making some far out political statement, like "Give us a good contract or give us death," or something like that, but I thought the better. The ATR's needed what support and I anyone else can give and this was the time to ask hard questions.

Seriously though, I did think that for a moment my phone call and question will be piped in live like "Donahue" and I would be able to question President Mike directly. It was not to be.

I called in at 5:01 and asked a simple question (Though for some reason I had to give my school, district, and license area);
"If an ATR goes on an interview and is not offered the position will that count as a strike against them towards them leading to an expedited 3020-a?"
The person on the other end told me no it wasn't but we both agreed that there are many out there wondering and that it would be good to get the word out there (Though we here at SBSB seemed to have come up with a loophole).

To hedge my bets I emailed a question in;

Subject: ATR Interviews From: So BronxSchool  
 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=f46d041b9afc5e7b7e04f9c7112d  --f46d041b9afc5e7b7e04f9c7112d 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8 
 If an ATR is interviewed and does not receive the position, does this count towards one of the 50 day strikes against?   
Still wishing to hedge against the possible propaganda I then tweeted;

Nothing. But finally, Kevin from Fort Lee NJ (Click here to get the "joke) came up with a question about ATR's.

So nothing about ATR's and their REDUCED due process? Mulgrew claims the media and previous administration made ATR's out to be made people? Gosh! Throwing them under the bus as they are in this contract is not helping their public perception!!!

Then Mulgrew calls the ATR's great assets which I tweeted and still awaiting a reply;

Worse, he flippently suggests that, and I believe he is referring to ATR's, that "they should find another profession, and we'll help you," to which I responded;

So that was it for the ATR question. I waited and waited and waited for another question about the ATR's. Sadly, there were to be no more.

Of course there were 6 questions about pay, 3 about retirement, 4 about evaluations, 5 about educational issues, 4 about the workday, but not more than 1 about what I feel, and many, many others feel is the most important issue, the treatment of the ATR's!

As discussed here, Mulgrew is clearly avoiding any deep discussion and/or mention of the ATR's other than to gloss it over with, "Hey, they will now be working regardless of how much money they make."

And why should he? He had an "audience" of trained Unity shills. The webcast didn't even waste any one's time in even attempting to give the appearance of impartiality.  This was propaganda at its finest.

If on the off chance that an ATR does pass muster to fill a vacancy what is to stop a principal from getting rid of a veteran ATR when a new, or somewhat new teacher becomes available for that position? Would the principal need to show cause to show that ATR to the door? If so, we all know how creative principals can get when they want to be.

Even if Tweed will be paying that ATR's salary, why would a principal want, in their school, a veteran teacher that is capable of thinking for themselves and not want someone they can mold in their own graven image?

Mulgrew and Unity have not settled the ATR issue, in fact they have made it more complicated and worse off for those without a school.

Mulgrew had a golden opportunity yesterday to allay fears of the ATR's and to counter what the pundits and bloggers are saying. Instead he decided to kick the ball down the road, close his eyes and hope the problem goes away.

Mulgrew knows he made a bad deal for the ATR's and he's hoping that the ignorance of the rank and file will come save the day again for him.

I do not care how much money in raises and retro pay I am offered. I could not, can not, and will not under any circumstances vote for this contract until the ATR's have full due process rights and a fair procedure to be hired permanently into schools.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Is the DOE Stalling Complying With Discovery?

Discovery is;
A category of procedural devices employed by a party to a civil or criminal action, prior to trial, to require the adverse party to disclose information that is essential for the preparation of the requesting party's case and that the other party alone knows or possesses.

Exculpatory evidence
evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial that exonerates or tends to exonerate the defendant of guilt.
Again, simple.

 Back in January when I had the pre-hearing for my 3020-a we put in our discovery requests. Part of what was requested, and we feel the most important part is the request for emails, texts, letters, etc... pertaining to me from DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 and her BFF AP Jessica Cruz.

Here, have a look;

It's all very straight forward. Now you ask, what is the problem?

It's now almost June and we have yet to not only get a response from TPU and/or Naeemah Lamont, but not even what we requested in discovery. Thus far this is reminiscent of the stonewalling that both Betsy Combier and Francesco Portelos received with their similar FOIL requests.

Which begs a question.

Is DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D hiding something? Is BFF AP Jessica Cruz hiding something? Can they be hiding it from me in cahoots at someone else? Possible. Or even worse, are they keeping information away from others? Possible as well.

Are not DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D and BFF AP Jessica Cruz both public officials bound by the Freedom of Information Law? Certainly, they, or anyone else is not above the law. Isn't there a moral and ethical necessity to obey and follow through on a FOIL request that might have evidence that is exculpatory?

The rule of law is what bounds us as a society. None of us, not the president, not a senator, not a teacher, not any of our loved ones are above the law. Without the rule of law which so pervasive in our society and great country there will all will be living in an anarchist society. The law is what glues us together as a society.

Myself, and all those going through the 3020-a process (ATR's I am not forgetting you, but concentrating on one aspect for now), are all due our full due process rights as spelled out by the 14th Amendment to one of the greatest papers ever written, The United States Constitution. Do these words mean nothing?
nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
In New York State, the 3020-a hearings fall under the rules and auspices of New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules. Again, the rule of law is all pervasive. It must be the standard. It must be what we follow.

If we choose to ignore the rule of law we are not better as a society, as a people, or a person than the tyrants that rule Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China.

One can reasonably assume at the lack of cooperation that a cover up might be happening. That there must be a reason to hide what is in our requests. Would not a reasonable person believe such a thing?

Which makes one wonder. What is really in those emails, texts, letters, etc..? 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lawyer For Teachers; Bryan Glass Attorney-at-Law

I should be writing about the contract and upcoming vote, but everyone else is, I'm in a contrarian
mood, and I have something to share.

Back in December I raised $665, less the 10% fee, through GoFundMe so I can put down a deposit on hiring an outside attorney. That turned out not to be quite enough for the lawyer, and we had to save and scrimp a little more through April until I finally retained the him.

In the last 2 months or so I have consulted, retained, and conferred with my attorney Bryan Glass as we prepare to take the NYCDOE, and others to federal court. For those that donated and/or sent me emotional support I apologize in not being more forthcoming and sharing more information.

There were several reasons for this. I wanted to keep things pretty close to the vest until I retained Bryan, the case it turned out is quite sensitive in nature and I couldn't share too many facts, and at one time we thought we might settle and I did not want to throw a monkey wrench into that. But now the gloves are in the process of being removed.

On another note, words alone cannot describe Bryan Glass. There are not enough superlatives I can think of to say how smart, intuitive, and caring as he is.

If you are a teacher in trouble, about to be in trouble, being harassed, being belittled, or anything, you need to call or email Bryan ASAP.

Bryan truly believes in what he is doing. Bryan is not in this fight for himself, but for the teacher that has no other place to turn, for the teachers that is being bullied, for the teacher that cries herself to work everyday, for the teacher who needs their feelings validated, for the teacher that feels helpless.

Bryan espouses humility. Bryan is doing a mitzvah day in and day out for so many teachers.

I know personally of at least a half dozen teachers that have retained Bryan and are completely satisfied with him. There is a reason for this.

I look forward to Bryan's continued advocacy on my behalf and hopefully more of those that need his special, unique representation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mulgrew Confesses The Truth

Yes, we here at SBSB have not been to kind to UFT President Mike Mulgrew in the past. We don't
think it has ever been personal, just business. Yes, an argument can be made to tone down the snarkiness and sarcasm, but that is what makes this blog so neat.

But as was told an SBSB groupie yesterday, we will defend Mulgrew when he needs defending, as when "lawyer" Joy Hochstadt decided to rope in a naive teacher, Andrew Ostrowsky, and sued Mulgrew. We vehemently defended Mulgrew and exposed Hochstadt. The Crack Team is not aware of what became of the suit, but with Joy leading the legal team, one can only assume...

 So now is another time we here will defend Mulgrew for remarks he made at the UFT Delegate Assembly last week as reported with a great deal of hyperbole in this past Friday's New York Post, "A Union Boss Confesses."

Now, we here at SBSB while having no qualms with taking advantage of recording those affiliated with the Dark Side of the DOE, we do have qualms with whomever recorded the DA and passed it along to Chalkbeat from whence the Post got it's story. We at SBSB do not care for airing our skeletons and dirty laundry to outsiders and emphatically chastise those that do. Tape a DA fine, don't give it to the Post or Chalkbeat. There are plenty of NYC education blogs to share recordings with and that is where it should have stayed.

Mulgrew was quoted as saying in referring to the edict, or rather the sword of Governor Andy holding $290 million over the DOE's head to put in place a new evaluation system that he was going to;
 “gum up the works”
Well good for him! Our only complaint is that we wish he said this (Maybe not in those words) publicly to the rank and file and all of planet Earth last year!

And what happened? See for yourself;

I like Mona. I have met her and talked with her and find her passionate and smart. But this time I must disagree with her.

Mona seems to have a short memory and forgot how in 2011 Bloomberg proposed cutting $350 million from the DOE budget. Or how Bloomberg wished to cut monies for special ed students to attend private schools which are their right under federal law. Or how in September 2012 Bloomberg; 
....ordered the Education Department to cut 1.6% in the current year’s budget and 4% in the following year’s spending plan.
Where was Mona's outrage then? 

Mona shared that each school was out about $200k which could have gone to the arts, to music, to AIS. But those monies were gone already and we have too many principals ignoring student's IEP's and not giving the services that are mandated by federal law. Where's Mona's outrage?

Do we know if the $290 million that Governor Andy promised would have found its way into the classrooms or have gone to pay incompetent and corrupt vendor after vendor for curricula that is irreverent and impossible?

Mona needs to understand that Governor Andy has no true care for the students of NYC. He only cares for himself and his presidential aspirations. He wanted us to whore ourselves to him to make him look good, for him to be the savior of the boys and girls of color, so that he, and only he, can run in a few primaries and raise gobs of cash which he will wind up keeping. And chances are there is some too weird Oedipal thing happening with him as well.

Mona, The Crack Team has speculated, believes Coumo when he said he was the "children's lobbyist," but nothing could be further from the truth when he pulled out all the stops of a street walker and caved to Eva and her minions and signed a bill that will force the NYCDOE to pay for charter rent in outside buildings and not to charge rent inside DOE buildings.

The charters stand to get about $40 million a year from the DOE for rent payments. Is that not monies that can be spent on the arts, music, and AIS? Again, where is Mona's outrage? What about the other 97%???

Gideon Stein, Eva's little apologist, sycophant, and boy, put it best in a New York Times op-ed in March when he came up with a great idea on what to do with the rent monies paid by charters;
Rather than paying rent to the DOE’s general fund, payments should go to the school or schools with whom the public charter is co-located.
Great idea! Perhaps each school could have received $50k from a co-located charter school? I mean we're guessing here and of course it's safe to say the co-located charters would have been paying on a sliding scale, but that still would have been monies for school for music, art, and AIS. Right Mona? Again, where is the outrage?

Mike Mulgrew was right in what he said and how he said it, and proud that he did not run away from his comments and took ownership of them. We at SBSB wish for him to continue to make such comments but in public. Not only to the rank and file, but the press, the parents, the governor and all of mankind.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Problematic Problems Cause ATR's Many Problems

Lots been said about the plight of the ATR's in the contract agreement between the city and their pals at the UFT, well we mean Unity. We shared what we don't like here, here, and here, as well as the anxiety shared by the ATR's, on how the new and unimproved assignment and treatment of ATR's will put the careers of many, if not all, at peril.

As we have heard and read, and according to the UFT Memorandum of Agreement, an ATR can be removed from a school after 50 days for;
...problematic behavior, means behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations established for professionals working in school
Now just what is problematic behavior? It would help that there would be a list of a guide of such behaviors made public to help steer the ATR's away from engaging in such types of behavior that will get them terminated. It is safe to assume that, insubordination, sexual harassment of staff, verbal harassment of staff, corporal punishment, verbal abuse, improper touching, can and will be problematic and will sustain in being voted off the island.

We all know that a principal with an idea to get someone can be problematic and can and will lie and get others to lie for them.The Crack Team looked into this problematic issue of what else constitutes problematic behavior and contacted appropriate people within the DOE.

Sources shared with The Crack Team a memo, put together by the Labor Relations team at Tweed, which was blasted out through Outlook to all the principals entitled; "Problematic Behavior for Problematic ATR's and How To Get Rid of Said ATR's Unproblemmaticaly." The Crack Team was allowed to read the memo and take notes but were forbidden to make copies.

Problematic Behavior, according to Labor Relations consists of;


A Heartbeat

Showing up

Having a heartbeat

Walking in the front door

Being over the age of 40

Gray hair

Male pattern baldness

Reading Glasses


Being Menopausal  

Having Acid Reflux disease

Ability to identify Bob McAllister

Having independence of thought

Treating colleagues respectfully

Belief in a God other than the one the principal believes in

Not seeing the principal as a deity

Choosing Riker over Spock as the better first officer

Belief that Shemp was funnier than Curley

Belief that Joe Besser was funnier than Shemp

Belief that Andy Kaufman is still alive (Oh oh! I'm doomed)

Belief that Billy Preston was the "5th Beatle"

You prefer David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar

You prefer Wolfgang Van Halen over Michael Anthony

You believe that Elton John's best work has has come since 1982

Taking a sick day

Leaving work in an emergency because your child was in horrible accident 

Putting family first

Putting others first

Contributing to the well being of the community

Your smile

Your dentures

The way you walk

The way you talk

The color of your skin

Your sex

The principal did not get any the previous night

The principal wanted you and you didn't put out

You leave before 6 PM

You arrive later than 6 AM

You expect to be paid per session

You expect to be treated respectfully

You don't invite your principal to your kid's bar mitzvah

You get pregnant

Death in the family

You die and fail to come to work

Carrying a Coca-Cola

You get in a car accident the previous day and break every bone in your body and can't come in the next day

The way you look

Anything and everything about you. 

You refuse to live in the principal's colon

There is nothing you can't do to stop a person you has it in for you. If they want to nail you they can and they will. They need a witness? It is easy. There are enough lackies, sycophants, etc... in a school, a principal will find one.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hear The ATRS!!! They Have Real Concerns!

Ooh, The Crack Team has had quite a lot of fun the last few days deciphering the new contract and
how it affects ATR's. In fact it has been like shooting fish in a barrel it's been that easy.

But The Crack Team needs to rest up and we here at SBSB figure it's time to let those most affected by the wheels of the UFT Unity bus have their turn. In fact, they have had their turn, we are just reprinting what they said elsewhere © (Just can't say where.)

So for those followers, especially on the UFT Facebook page who think that this contract is just darn tootin' dandy.

Read the words of colleagues going through the anxiety and uncertainty of what will and can happen to them. It's called empathy, something many need to learn.

Any names, etc... have been altered to protect privacy.

On May 6, 2014 9:41 AM, "'Commander Sisko' via ATR Chapter Committee" wrote:
As one who frequents the open market webpage there's slim pickings.  At least for me so far.
And yes the principals hide their vacancies. As for the mandatory interviews, they are a sham I have gone to two where I spend hours preparing an integrated cross content  lesson, spruced up my resume, suited up demoed the lesson to hear not a word one way or the other  after I send my thank yous. Another email was an invitation to interview and they were so inconsiderate of my time and my obligations as an ATR to the school I was assigned to as they were using me frequently in the classroom.
As for what to expect from the DOE, the UFT?   We have to rely on each other and help one another!

-----Original Message-----
From: Janice Rand <>

Subject: Re: I am against this contract and this tweet is why
what's to guarantee that principals won't hide their openings and still 
hire newbies as they have done before?????

We need a precise definition of "misconduct" and what qualifies as 
"documented" proof? 

Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 11:52 AM Eastern Standard Time

Dear Mr. Mulgrew,

 It appears the due process rights of ATRs have been diminished by the language and stipulations in the proposed contract:      

1) The term "problematic behavior" can be more widely construed than the term "misconduct", which allows principals and the DOE latitude to go after ATRs. The definition given for "problematic " as "behavior that is inconsistent with the expectation established for professionals working in schools", is very vague. Why should ATRs be held to a different standard than other teachers?

2) The UFT has allowed the DOE to taint the professionalism of those in the ATR pool. Why is there a stipulation that those who go through the 3020a process can be prevented from going on interviews or placed in provisional positions? Does this apply to 3020 a hearings that took place in past years also? Often, teachers who went through the 3020a process were retaliated against by their principal. They should not be further penalized and stigmatized through this discrimination but allowed the opportunity to be back in the classroom.

3) The idea of having language in the contract that an ATR who misses two interviews or shows up to an assignment more than two days late is considered to have "voluntarily resigned", reflects the disdain that the DOE has for ATRs. The UFT should have objected to this unprofessional and biased language. which is offensive.

4) The expedited process for removing ATRs for "problematic behavior" is open to abuse by the DOE.

5) There is no remediation concerning the roving supervisors who violate the contract and rights of ATRs through their teaching observations in settings that are arbitrary and disconnected from our daily duties of covering classes. Will the roving supervisors continue to observe ATRs teaching students they have never met in arbitrary settings?

The UFT has benignly neglected the ATR pool. We have not been hired in permanent positions since 2011 because of salary issues, yet the UFT has allowed the myth to perpetuate that we are unwanted, poor teachers. In addition, to say that a high percentage of ATRs are in provisional positions is misleading because most will be sent back to the ATR pool by principals next month, who will then hire new teachers.

 I was supporting this new contract but after reading the fine print, I have reservations.

On 05/05/14, Colonel Hogan wrote:
Let's say that you are instructed by an AP to provide an alternate path for "earning" credits late in the year for those students who didn't think working throughout the year was important and your path proves too challenging for the student who wishes to do nothing and be rewarded for it. Can an AP claim you are insubordinate? Of course. And is that considered misconduct? Of course. Even if Farina and di Blasio have the best intentions and execute the terms of the contract fairly, remember this contract will be in effect for the next mayor and will be so until another is approved. If that mayor is Christine Quinn or Bill Gates or Campbell Brown or Lhota or Scott Brown, can they use the provisions to attack and decimate union membership? Of course. Don't talk just to ATR's; shout it from the rooftops that this deal is to be avoided. This contract is all givebacks for a mere pittance and there are still too many people in Tweed and the networks there to take advantage of the loopholes. Even if you trust who is in office now, would you sign that same contract with Bloomberg?

On May 5, 2014 9:11 PM, "Howard" wrote:
To Fonzie's point, the issues of defining precisely misconduct was something that Mulgrew dodged at the Exec Bd tonight.

There you have it. Real people, real ATR's, really concerned about there future. It sickens The Crack Team to read how others are voting for this contract because they only care about the money.

All ATR's demand our outright loyalty, our outright attention, and they have every expectation to know that the rank and file has their backs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hey ATR's! The New Contract is a Trap!

The Crack Team got a phone call from an intrepid Mainstream Media reporter today inquiring if we knew of any ATR's that would like to comment on the mass email El Presidenté Mike Mulgrew blasted out to them Monday evening. We told our intrepid reporter that we do not, yet shared with him that our curiosity is now piqued and if he can share more with us. Being a New York newspaper reporter he did not have all the facts and sent us on our own to learn more.

A siren call was soon sent throughout the land of the ATR's for this magic memo. The Crack Team must have it's hands upon it. We needed to decipher it, to decode it, to touch it.

The call was soon filled by one of our earliest groupies who was more than eager to pull uncover the encasement of the UFT contract as it pertains to ATR's. To unmask and deflower Mulgrew and his web of prevarication, or as Mulgrew calls it, "myths."

Let it be known that The Crack Team as thoroughly run this muckety muck through the SBSB computers and have actually formulated reality from the fantasy to be published forthwith.

When the previous administration let it be known that it intended to summarily fire all members in the Absent Teacher Reserve, we as a union made a commitment to stand by our members. We held true to that commitment throughout our negotiations, and the results are in this new contract.

You stood up to Bloomberg, yet folded like a cheap off the rack suit that had been marked down 5 times at Moe Ginsburg's with this administration. What gives? Yes, you stood up for the ATR's throughout the negotiations but you weren't there when it mattered most, at the end of the negotiations.

The contract preserves your rights and improves your chances of permanent placement. And, of course, you will participate in the contractual raises and working-condition changes that we won for all members. The press coverage, however, has included some myths about how ATRs are treated under the new contract and misconceptions abound. We want to be sure you have the facts and know your rights.

So the new ATR deal in the contract improves ATR chances like if they buy two raffle tickets instead of 1? Yes, of course they will participate in contractual raises, that is if they still are employed in a year, or not dead by 2020. 

But why complain about the press when the UFT could have headed the press off at the pass (I hate that cliché!) if Mike Mulgrew was forthright immediately, so please, blaming the press is quite specious.

Myth #1 (the biggest one!):
The city is going to fire the ATRs.
No UFT member, whether an ATR or otherwise, will ever be automatically fired. Any ATR may accept, at his or her sole discretion, a voluntary severance package based on years of service.

Actually The Crack Team has yet to hear that myth. Maybe Él Presidenté Mulgrew is projecting?

But that severance package seems neat! How much will each ATR receive? Will it be worth it for a teacher who is 3 years from retirement to take such a package?

Myth #2:
Schools still won't hire ATRs because they are too expensive.
Under the new contract, schools that select ATRs for permanent placement will not have that ATR's salary included in the school's average teacher salary calculation, which means that principals no longer have a reason to pass over more senior educators in favor of newer hires with lower salaries.

 Reality: Principals will not take a 20 year vet for the simple fact it is better to have a pliable ignorant 1st year teacher rather than a veteran, even if that veteran will accept zero salary.

Myth #3:
The contract includes a new way to get rid of ATRs.
Not true. ATRs actually get improved access to job placements. Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, 2014, the DOE must send ATRs on interviews for vacancies in their districts and boroughs, and ATRs must attend all of those interviews. After Oct. 15, ATRs are required to accept provisional assignments to schools with a vacancy in their license area within their district or borough. If there is no school with a vacancy in their district or borough, they will continue to be rotated within their district.

OK, the ATR goes on all interviews, then what? What if the ATR does not get a position, is that strike 1? What is to keep principals and administrators from conspiring to hire ATR's solely to set up ATR's up to fail to be rid of many of them or just one in particular? It's happened before, it'll happen again.

See the primer here on how not to get hired.

Myth #4:
ATRs are going to lose their due process rights.
No ATR can be disciplined or fired unless a hearing officer decides that is appropriate in a 3020-a hearing. An ATR who has been placed in a vacancy and is removed by two successive principals for documented misconduct — not pedagogy — may be subject to discipline. The DOE must prove the charge of misconduct through an expedited 3020-a process.

No, ATR's do not lose their due process rights, they just have less due process rights than others. Kind of like Animal Farm, some teachers are more equal than others. 

But again, what is misconduct? Is the definition the same as in hockey, or like when I was brought up on misconduct charges for carrying a cup of coffee in my hand? Anyway, this seems too open to interpretation and abuse.

The new contract agreement between the UFT and the DOE, which will go out for your ratification soon, is a strong contract for all our members, including all our ATRs.

Oh dear God, the entire Crack Team is on the floor laughing so hard they are wetting themselves, the Coca Cola they had been drinking is coming out through their nostrils and they are all choking on Doritos. 


Michael Mulgrew

This is a horrible, horrible deal for the ATR's. I, and many of the people I know, will not sit idly by and watch as these people are the sacrificial lambs led to slaughter by the UFT. We are only as strong as our weakest link and we must be there for them when they need support the most.

This contract must not ever be ratified.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hey Mulgrew! Where's The Beef For The ATR's?

I wish to thank UFT President Mike Mulgrew for graciously sending out not one, but two, emails
regarding the new contract. It was chock full of information that I, an informed UFT member, need and which will allow me to properly discuss when mocked by the chimps at the Bronx Zoo for being part of a union that can't do right by it's members.

As discussed on these pages this past Thursday, the throwing under the bus of the ATR's is a deal breaker for us here at SBSB and apparently all those with a modicum of independent thought. As we were reading our personal message from President Mulgrew we sucked in the details he wished to share with us. Unfortunately, President Mulgrew only wants us to know the news he wants us to know and not anything else. Which leaves it up to us, myself and The Crack Team, to share what wasn't shared.

President Mulgrew is super duper excited about how great the contract is. I have never read such a superbly excited letter addressed to me ever in my life. But one thing is bugging us here at SBSB. Something seems to be missing. Can you guess what it is?

Figure it out? Who needs more time? Of all the new and exciting thingys we now have in the contract, the pay raise and retro pay that will take almost a decade to receive, the new merit pay for teachers with levels that seems to be named after trim models for automobiles, to the new (I have goosebumps now as I am writing this!) lack of rules, contract, and chancellor's regs for 200 schools, there is nary a word from President Mulgrew about the plight of the ATR's. Why is that?

We here at SBSB feel it is safe to assume that President Mulgrew knows that he threw the ATR's out with the bath water. That he personally threw them under the proverbial bus and that he thinks we, the rank and file are so stupid, so greedy, so desperate for contract, that he hopes we think of the ATR's are non-people. Mulgrew is using the old, "Out of sight, out of mind," Jedi mind trick and praying that no one notices their not being mentioned.

But the deception gets better. On the official UFT propaganda blog, The People's Daily, oops, we meant, the DailyNK, oops, Edwize, again not a word about how the new contract affects the ATR's. Look, see for yourself (Shhhh, if we don't think about he ATR's it means they don't exist and we can do whatever we want).

 Where, oh where, can we find out information about the ATR's that does not come from here, or Accountable Talk, or Reality Based Educator, Chaz, or any other blog?

Simple, the UFT website. Click here, and find the button on the left hand side for ATR's. Click that link and you will read;
The union stood by its commitment to educators in the ATR pool. We prevented the DOE from summarily firing ATRs, and we also won a voluntary severance package for ATRs.

In a new two-year pilot, ATRs will improve access to professional and relevant job placements. Under the new contract, the DOE is obliged after Oct. 15 to send an ATR to any school in the district/borough with a vacancy in the teacher’s license area. The principal retains the discretion to keep the teacher or return him or her to the ATR pool.

A modified due-process procedure puts the burden on supervisors to provide specific written documentation in cases of discipline.
What is wrong with this picture?

The union did not stand by the ATR's. The DOE was never summarily terminating the ATR's. The UFT held the upper hand and folded like a cheap suit. So now instead of the threat of ATR's being summarily terminated there will just be a show trial in a modified, no, an abbreviated 3020a hearing and then be summarily terminated. Can anyone say, "Open to abuse?"

One last thing, "Pilot Program?" Nothing you give away ever comes back. Not the puppy, not the kitten, not money, and certainly not givebacks in a contract.

Vote no on this contract. I don't care if we were getting 25% raise, as long as our ATR brethren are being abused, lied to, and forgotten about, no amount of money will allow me to forget about them.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Contract! ATR's Thrown Under the Bus! VOTE NO!!!

I have always said that I will take respect and dignity over a big pay raise in our new contract. Today we found out we are getting neither.

I was with my wife in Valhalla, having just gotten in the car, when the contract announcement came over the radio. I delayed our trip home to tweet and text information that was coming from the Farina/Mulgrew love fest. One thing was on my mind the most. And it wasn't the raises, it wasn't the retro. It wasn't any of the givebacks or little deals made behind our backs. The most important thing to me was the status of the ATR's (Absent Teacher Reserves). To me and The Crack Team that was the deal breaker.

At another time we can delve into the raise, the added hours, the merit pay, etc... But for this evening, the topic of discussion are the ATR's.

The Crack Team and myself have spoken and with and read the blogs of several prominent bloggers. Chaz, Reality Based Educator, and Urban Ed. Now remember, not all the details have been released about the ATR's, but we have been able to get a pretty good general idea. But remember, this post is open to any revision coming down the pike.

It seems that if one is an ATR, you will not be forced into a school that you don't want to be in nor will a ATR be foisted upon a principal. It is has to be mutual.

The ATR will have to interview and if offered a job will have (according to Chaz) a 50 day try out (If the principal thinks you have cooties you are gone), though Farina said it can be as little as 1 day. After that 50th or 1 day, the ATR gets one more chance at remaining in a school. If you flunk out again, that's it, your career is over. There is an expedited hearing to be had within 1 month that is not to be more than 1 day. See how this can be abused?

What is to keep a principal from being in cahoots with a higher up to "get" a teacher that is in the ATR pool? That principal can be directed to take on that teacher and than let him or her go. Repeat it again and that teacher, their salary, their pension, and their health benefits are off the books. Bye, bye to that ATR and bring on the next victim.

Now as Chaz mentioned;
In fact, principals are not required to hire ATRs for their vacancies until October 15th, by then all vacancies are usually filled. 
So there again is the double edged sword that will keep ATR's out of schools. But then again this might be a good thing, no?

But what can an ATR do to keep from getting terminated? It is so simple.

Remember, there apparently is no penalty for the ATR if her or she goes on the interview and does not get a position. The Crack Team cracked the numbers and came up with a simple solution.

Blow the interview. If you are a male teacher, come dressed as Corporal Klinger. If you are a female teacher, come dressed as Bette Davis. Come to the interview and answer the questions wrong, don't bring a portfolio, act as dumb as possible.

Be rude, be crude, share with the principal the number of time you were taken aboard the mother ship and went to the home world. Don't shower, don't shave. Share with the principal that you believe Jim Morrison and Andy Kaufman are still alive and you have tea with them every Sunday afternoon at the Blue Bay Diner in Riverdale.  But remember, whatever you do, blow the interview.

And one more thing. VOTE NO ON THE NEW CONTRACT! Send a message. We need to look out for one another and we need to support the ATR's. They need it, the deserve it, and they have earned it.