Monday, March 30, 2015

New Action, The Washington Generals of the UFT

For those watching us get screwed yet again in Albany and having Mulgrew crow that it is a victory for teachers, don't wave your angry fist at Unity for they are not alone in the enabling of mayors, governors, principals and testing corporations.

Don't forget the puppet opposition, the hand maidens, the Washington Generals of education labor unions, the New Action Caucus.

But first some background.

Many years ago there was real opposition to Unity (If I am incorrect about anything please let me know). There was [Teachers for a} Just Contract Caucus - tjc and New Action. Mark Schulman of New Action was a VP on the executive board. New Action was picking up steam [ losing steam -- that's why they did it] when Randi Weingarten made a deal with Schulman [in 2003 for the 2004 election]. She had told him that if New Action did not run anyone in opposition to Randi then New Action would be guaranteed the 6 high school seats  on the executive board. Unity didn't run for those seats --
this spurred people to form ICE - including defectors from new action like James Eterno. ICE and TJC combined to win all 6 seats, leaving New Action off the board for first time in a decade. In the next UFT election - 2007 -- Unity put 7 NA people on the Unity line so they could win.
in 2010 and 13 NA got 10 seats on the Unity line Yeah, they were bought off.

The heretic actions of New Action caused a rift and out of the rubble came ICE. New Action became nothing other than a "co-op" opposition to Unity, appearing to be another voice, yet voting and agreeing with Unity in lock step, just as the Washington Generals have been treated by the Harlem Globetrotters all these years.

But the difference between the Washington Generals and New Action is we all know the Generals are there to lose. New Action acts like it is the loyal opposition but in reality is nothing but a bunch of sock puppets.

I have had my disagreements with MORE in the past, but I will give MORE this. That when approached by New Action to work together MORE more or less told NA to take a hike and to come back when their symbiosis with Unity is renounced.

Hey, just look at the New Action blog. See any similarities in their stand and Unity's?

I can not in good conscience support any collaboration with New Action nor should anyone. If you are having a difficult time deciding, take a look at our work conditions, the contract we were subjected to, the state of education. We also have New Action to thank for this.

But you don't have to take just my word. Read Ednotes. Check out NYCEducator, here, here, and here. And Peridio Street School.

New Action is Unity. New Action is not to be trusted.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Eva Moskowitz Admits to Exclusivity

Wow, Eva Moskowitz made news today. In a short article by Aaron Short of Success Academy's official newspaper the New York Post, it's being reported that  Eva having said in an interview on WYNC that she does not;
"...accept midyear transfers from regular middle and high schools because their students don’t keep up with their charter counterparts."
This statement has left The Crack Team in a state of confusion, mass hysteria, and a general sense of malaise.

For years, we (The general public) have heard that charter schools are just like public schools---even though we all know that charters are really private schools. In traditional public schools if a student and their family has to change schools, or a student is not doing well and needs a change of scenery, he or she is can enroll in a school no matter what their abilities are. That's just the way it is and should be.

Yes, it is difficult no matter how strong or weak the student is to acclimate themselves to the new neighborhood, class, school, routines, etc... but they are welcomed. By law we have no choice.

But why does Eva get a choice, especially after the sweetheart deal her "special friend" Governor Andy gave her last year?

Eva shared these words of wisdom as well;
“Until the district schools are able to do a better job, it’s not really fair for a seventh-grader or high-school students to have to be educated with a child who is reading at a second- or third-grade level,”
So Eva is assuming that the student that enters a Success Academy mid-year is so far behind that it will be a disservice to the other students to have that struggling student amongst them? Would it not be beneficial for students that are so far behind Eva's wunderkind, no that's not the word. Hmm, her 21th-century genetically engineered children designed to create perfect students? No, that is not what we are looking for. Her T-1000's? Her scholars?

Anyway, it would be beneficial for these students to work with students that are ahead of them. Students when challenged academically will most of the time be able to bring themselves up academically as well.

But what this really seems like is pre-creaming and proving more to the point that Eva is only interested in Eva and only wants the best of the best to advance her cause and herself. Kind of like charter school eugenics.

This really doesn't come as a shock considering the shenanigans that  Eva has pulled in the past when it comes to who can stay and who can leave at Success.

Of course Eva does have an altruistic side to her as she shared with WNYC when she said that Success has an;
“...obligation to our parents in middle and high school.”
Isn't there an obligation to the students? Haven't we've been hearing from you for years that the students come first? Haven't we heard for years that you and Success can educate any student, any tine, any where? Eva claims that Success is a public school yet her words and actions speak as Success is a closed off exclusive private school. So why then are public monies going to Eva and Success?

Let's come back in 10 years, maybe less, and see where all the great "scholars" of Eva are at that point. Let's see how they do in college once they are on their own and not having every decision made for them and not forced to conform anymore. Let's see how Eva's students do in the outside world where they will have to make decisions on their own without getting rewarded.

Eva's smoke and mirrors are slipping out.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sam Pirozzolo, The Clown Prince of The Deformers

It has been some time since we have skewed the clown prince of the education deform movement, Sam Pirozzolo. But twice within the last week we, all New Yorkers, have had to read his inane and meandering thoughts in the Daily News and the Post.

In today's Daily News Clown Prince Sam writes in an email to the News that he was; struck by the words of Benjamin Agyard, a Bronx student interviewed in a story that revealed city schools with the most poorly qualified teachers are concentrated in needy neighborhoods. Clown Prince Sam laments that Benjamin recognizes that the system does not care about his future and claims that Benjamin's story is not an isolated incident.

But Clown Prince Sam lacks the cognitive ability to discern nuance. Or even logic. If Sam would remove is cognitive dissonance hat for just a moment he can read why there are schools suffering from too many newbie teachers.

Or could it be the plethora of TFA's hired by the most needy schools? Rotating through new teachers every two years without these same teachers sticking around long enough to be able to mentor someone, or worse, there is no one there to mentor them? 

Or could it be that Benjamin is a student at Banana Kelly High School which appears to be a complete mess, not because of the teachers but rather because of administrative issues.

But Clown Prince Sam is a simpleton with only simplistic answers that he gets from his Moaning boss.

In last week's Post Sam blabbers; Our inspiration is the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation. Sixty years later, New York City schools are blighted by a different kind of segregation — not so much racial, as economic.

Guess what Sam? Brown v BOE didn't magically open the doors. I remember as a kid (In the mid 70's) watching riots in Boston as the schools were being desegregated. But Sam just contradicted his belief system or rather, the belief system that Mona Davids trained him to have. 

The problem is economics. Poverty. Class. Family. So much more than going to court to battle in a lawsuit and claiming victory that a judge didn't dismiss your case. 

Just out of curiosity, has the Clown Prince attempted to help integrate his Staten Island community? Where was the Clown Prince when problems surfaced at  IS 49 in District 31, the district that the Clown Prince was CEC president.

Sam does his best clowning in continuing an old urban legend; Albert Shanker, the founder of the UFT, is famous for saying, “When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.” His heirs today, like UFT boss Michael Mulgrew, operate on the same principle. With an attitude like this, and the millions of dollars that the unions can use for political contributions, is it any wonder why parents have no choice but to look to the courts for relief?

Shanker never said that. It's a wives tale going back over 30 years which a lawyer, none other than former Chancellor Joel Klein continued to perpetuate. Should not Clown Prince Sam write a retraction and/or apology?

Look Sam, you are shall we say it...bright. You follow yet do not lead. You are told when to speak, jump and fetch. Yes, you do those activities well but there is more to life than being follower.

Yes, have your little victory. Yes, it is nice that your case did not get thrown out. But what you fail to mention is that it is being appealed and not having a case dismissed is really no big deal.

It's time to be a man and think for yourself.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This Tuesday on 1230 WFAS-AM

Tomorrow is March 17, St Patrick's Day. Who cares?

Anyway tomorrow is Tuesday so that must mean that it is time for my weekly slot on 1230 WFAS-AM with Bob Marrone.

We are going to continue to touch on Cuomo's insanity, Common Core, and how the UFT and NYSUT are both culpable for Cuomo's power trip.

Oh, and how we here at SBSB are attempting to raise $4.8 million for Cuomo!

To remind everyone, there are several ways you can listen. On your radio at 1230 AM, but the range is about a 20 mile circle of White Plains.

Also, WFAS streams live, or go to the WFAS website, on iHeart Radio, or download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store. I know some who downloaded the app and were able to listen while driving in from very far away.

For the social media aficionados, check out WFAS on Facebook, Twitter, and Bob Marrone is on Twitter as well.

And don't forget, the call in # is 914-693-5700. Don't be shy! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Revisiting The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School

A palace coup has taken place at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School.

Yes, without a union leader The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School has been rudderless, devoid of anyone to take charge and there to represent the constituency which is now in need of someone has strong as the previous union leader. Who can it be? Who will it be? Who wants that position?

Naturally it fell on the two who have been wishing to bogart that union leadership position for years. The Lady Macbeth's, the Selma and Patty, the Lucy and Ethel of The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School.

As of press time The Crack Team has learned that Ethel, with the help of Lucy, is now the new union leader at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School. A coup? Peaceful transition of power? Maybe. Or Maybe not. From what our sources have shared with The Crack Team. Lucy and Ethel didn't even wait for rigor mortis to set in before she schemed with Lucy to take over.

What can one at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School expect from Ethel as a union leader?

One can expect that you won't have someone on your side. One can expect to have someone who will acquiesce.  One can expect to have someone that will not fight for the rights and dignity of the people at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School.

Think about it. Who does Ethel most want to be liked by? Who does Ethel most seek approval from? Who will Ethel roll over on her back for in a minute and let her belly be rubbed?

People of The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School should be very wary when the elections come in May. Truly think about this. Will Ethel fight the good fight?

There are many other qualified independent thinkers that ooze honor and integrity (Well actually, one left, no, make that two) at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School.

Think about it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Millions for Governor Cuomo!!!

What a whirlwind couple of days it has been!

Tonight, I had the pleasure to listen to Diane Ravitch speak at my alma mater Purchase College and yesterday I got to read this written by Juan Gonzalez and see how Governor Andy really operates.

Really, is anyone surprised?

This man has accepted, taken, pocketed, call it what you wish, $4.8 million from hedge fund managers as they lobby Governor Andy to see it there way and raise the cap on charter schools in New York State.

Remember last year when Cuomo threw DeBlasio under the bus in regards to limiting Success Academy's co-locations? It just so happens that a pal of Eva's,  the Chairman of the Board of Success Academy, Daniel Loeb, has "given $62,000 to Cuomo." ***COUGH COUGH*** Something smells fishy here. ***COUGH COUGH***

Would it not behoove our better judgement to believe that the same hedge fund managers that Juan Gonzalez mentioned in in column have also deeply--as well as softly--whispered in Governor Andy's ear to change tenure to five years, base 50% of evals on tests, incorporate the stupid 35% eval on an outside entity, and all the other craziness Governor Andy has proposed?

How can we as teachers compete against Governor Andy and $4.8 million?

That's what we thought at an emergency meeting of The Crack Team which was convened last night at the Candlelight Inn in the Edgemont section of Greenburgh. 

We put our heads together. We had to come up with a way to grab Governor Andy's attention and be assured he gives us what we want in the same method the hedgies have co-opted him. But, and we all agreed, $4.8 million is somewhat out of the reach of ordinary teachers.

So we had to improvise, adapt, and overcome.

We came up with some great ideas. For instance a great idea was sending a Hickory Farms gift basket to the Executive Mansion. Or perhaps a Vermont Teddy Bear, or a dozen red roses (We nixed that, we thought he might get the wrong idea), some Omaha Steaks, or some nice jewelry from Kay.

But when it came down to following through we just couldn't Yes, Govcrnor Andy would be appreciative of such gifts, but they are just gifts. As we collectively rubbed our chins we had to think what is it that would get all the teachers of New York State into his office.

We figured it out. Cold. Hard. Cash. In small bills equaling $4.8 million.

Yes, that is what it will take, we believe, for Governor Andy to leave the Dark Side and do what the teachers and families of New York State want.

So The Crack Team has set up a Go FundMe page and between today and March 30 we hope to raise $4.8 million for Governor Andy's PACs. If we do not raise the money it will be returned or if the giver wishes, donated to charity.

Donations are to be only $1. We want to ensure all New Yorkers to contribute.

Let's do this for Andy. He needs us more than ever. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ATR Hell

I'm surprised I don't push for more of these ATR horror stories.

This come from an ATR within the 5 boroughs. This ATR shared what you are about to read with others though social media. I asked for and received permission to share this and appreciate and thank the ATR.

This truly does come from the files of "You Can't Make This Shit Up!"

In the ATR's own words;

I was covering a math class and the teacher had the equation S=ph+2b on the board. I erased it and put some other math work up. The next day she telephoned me in the classroom and asked to speak to me. I said sure and went down to her room . She wanted to know if I erased the equation from the board I said yes and she said "I'll put in on paper and I want you to write it on the chalkboard."  My response was are you kidding me???

And there is more!

Yesterday I was teaching 7th grade math asked 1 student who was misbehaving to stay. He then put his foot in the door and pushed me now I have a 48 hour notice because he turned it around and said I pushed him! He has an IEPs-- I was never told! I covered my ass by requesting that the 2 students who fabricated a story about me not be present in the class I teach today. They did remove the whole class so the little darlings would not feel like they were being singled out.

This is how the ATR's are treated. Thanks to our contract, the New York Pravda...oops, I meant Post, the parents believe what they read and it trickles down to the students.

The worse part is that our colleagues, our co-workers believe what they are reading and don't mind dumping on ATR's.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

This Tuesday on WFAS-AM

The last several appearances I have had on 1230 WFAS-AM have had me moving away discussing my personal issues with the NYCDOE and moving into the realm of each New Yorker's personal issues with the mishagus emanating from Albany and in particular from the brain and the mouth of from Governor Andy.

But there can't be the mishagus without the enablers. And just who are the enablers? NYSUT and the UFT. As I was sharing with world famous mom blogger Christine Zirklebach today, Andy's demented ideas are dead in the water if the unions have not been in bed with the deform movement here in New York State from day 1.

So these are the two topics that I am going to hit on, along with how parents can opt their children out of the upcoming draconian tests next month when I am live with probably one of the best morning men on AM radio, Bob Marrone, this Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 6:35 AM on 1230 WFAS-AM.

Again, there are several ways you can listen. On your radio at 1230 AM, but the range is about a 20 mile circle of White Plains.

Also, WFAS streams live, or go to the WFAS website, on iHeart Radio, or download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store. I know some who downloaded the app and were able to listen while driving in from very far away.

For the social media aficionados, check out WFAS on Facebook, Twitter, and Bob Marrone is on Twitter as well.

And don't forget, the call in # is 914-693-5700. Don't be shy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Back to the Future With Governor Cuomo

The Crack Team after all these years has finally mastered the Flux Capacitor and inserted it into a
1977 VW Beetle. We had decided to travel to the future to see what would happen if Governor Andy got his way with the draconian measures (5 years for tenure, 50% of evaluation tied to state exams, 35% tied to independent evaluator, 15% evaluated by principal, giving great teachers up to $20k, and more charters) he has proposed.

Even though we needed a carburetor in the Beetle we took it out on the Sprain Parkway at 1AM to be sure we had a enough room to get it up to 88 MPH. It took a few miles to do it but we did! We hit a few time periods over the ensuing ten years to see what will become of education in the formerly great State of New York.


Having forsaken a run for president the previous year, Governor Andy readies himself for a third term run the following year and a possible presidential run in 2020. The New York Post has just reported that under Governor Andy's new evaluation system, 95% of teachers are rated effective or higher in New York City and statewide the total is 97%. One hundred thousand teachers across the state were considered excellent and each were awarded $20k, however not one teacher accepted the cash incentive, or those that did, donated it to their school districts to make up for the millions of dollars that Governor Andy has withheld.

The independent evaluators that Governor Andy touted so turned out to be college students found through CraigsList and were making $12/hr. When the New York Time reports this, Governor Andy misinterprets the fallout and decides that in the future that unpaid college interns will be the new independent evaluators saving districts across the state millions of dollars.

Eva Moskowitz opened her first Success Academy in tony Bronxville tweeting that rich, spoiled, white kids need saving #dontstealivyleaguepossible.

Early 2018

Getting ready to run for a third term as Governor Andy is yet again disappointed with his new state of the art education reformed he had announced the previous year. He decries that now 97% of NYC teachers and 98% of teachers statewide are rated effective or highly effective. Having substituted the $20k teaching bonus with $5 gift cards to Arby's for teachers of excellence he soon realizes it is all for naught. Teachers do not like Arby's. Also Governor Andy has decided that 80% of a teachers evaluation is to be based on state exams (Ten percent both for the outside evaluator and principal) and that there will be a new level of effective teacher. It will be known as "Really super duper effective."

However, a month after this is passed in the legislature a scandal erupts. Apparently, Educators4Excellence has morphed into a religious cult and it seems all the unpaid college interns are E4E members and worship Little Evan Stone. Little Evan soon skips the country with the interns in tow and they all arrive in Jonestown, Guyana where no one ever heard from them again.

Faced with no outside evaluators Governor Andy decides that evaluators can be found huddled together outside of all Home Depot's and Lowe's and only need to be paid a day rate of $10 plus transportation and a slice and a Coke.

Eva Moskowitz has now opened up another Success Academy in Scarsdale calling the schools there failing because 5 students were not accepted at an Ivy and must settle for SUNY instead.

When asked about all these changes, UFT President Mike Mulgrew says, "Well it could have been worse. Thank God we have a seat at the table."

January 2019

Governor Andy ran for a third term in November 2018. In race against Republican candidate Senator Dean Skelos Governor Andy received 40% of the vote versus Skelos' 25% and write in candidate "Inanimate Object" received 34%. Sadly, Governor Andy mistakenly believes he has a mandate.

In his state of the state speech Governor Andy says enough is enough with the state of education in New York State. He threatens the assembly to pass his comprehensive education plan or they will face loss of bathroom privileges in the capitol building and will instead have to find a restaurant on Pearl St to relieve themselves.

He is upset because all teachers in New York State have been deemed Really Super Duper Effective. Henceforth he declared all evaluations will be based on 99.99% of state exams. Teachers will not get paid unless they can prove to an independent evaluator paid for by the state and hired though Pearson (Which has incidentally donated millions of dollars to Governor Andy in 2018) that they can answer every question correctly on a newly proposed yearly teaching licensing exam. If one question is wrong on the test the teacher will be immediately fired and his or her name and photo sent to the New York Post.

Teachers who miss two questions will be summarily interred along with their families to re-education camps sponsored by News Corp where they will learn to see Governor Andy as a deity.

Tenure has now been extended to 25 years of being Really Super Duper Effective.

Students will be tested (through a new $7 billion testing contract to Pearson) 2 times a week--Mondays and Fridays-- so progress can be checked weekly.

Teachers are quitting in droves. By June of 2019 all but one teacher in the Alfred-Almond School District has resigned or retired. Governor Andy will announce in July of 2019 that he plans to clone himself so that he and he alone, will teach all subjects in all schools across the state.

He soon dumps Sandra Lee and brings in Eva Moskowitz and his new consort until he finds out that she is just a heartless and soulless artificial life form.

He calls in the state police to arrest each and every member of the legislature. He declares martial law across the state and arrests all members every school district statewide.

Soon, alone and friendless, sitting in his den in Mount Kisco friendless he soon hears a knock at the door. It is the spirit of Mario. Mario does what he should have done years earlier.

They call for a taxi which takes them down 684 to White Plains. They head east on I-287 and get off at exit 8 and come to New York Hospital. Mario's spirit helps check Governor Andy in...for a very, very long stay.

Soon education is saved. Teachers return from exile. The sun rises again. The birds sing and most importantly, our children are back to learning.

Meanwhile at 52 Broadway, Mike Mulgrew when asked by reporters about Governor Andy's convalescing says, "I like him, at least we had a seat at the table."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

An Audience With His Holiness Mike Mulgrew

I had a brush with greatness last Wednesday, February 25.

I was in the same room with His Holiness, Michael Mulgrew. The goosebumps are still with me.

He blessed the teachers of the Bronx with an audience at the Bronx UFT that day.

According to the flyer you see under His Holiness, light refreshments were to be had.

So that is why I must have believed that this was going to be a somewhat informal event, like a kaffeeklatsch or tea time with His Holiness.

Now full disclosure first, I had to run home get son and take him to baseball workouts at the local high school so I arrived about 4:40 PM. I was just in the nick of time for His Holiness was just wrapping up his monologue.

I had never seen the banquet room at the Bronx UFT before but in sharing this with The Crack Team we all are in agreement that that room can be used for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

There must have been about 300 people in that room, maybe a little less, to hear pontifications from His Holiness.

The light refreshments turned out to be the typical steam table type of food. Some pasta, some potatoes, some chicken. It was nice to see my union dues going to feed the masses. Coffee and cake, or just a bunch of pizzas would have sufficed. But why spend as little money as possible when no one accounts for the spending.

So due to the "light refreshments" notice I was under the assumption that the conversation with His Holiness was to be somewhat informal. Oh no, it was not.

When you have 300 people, 300 people want to ask questions and 300 people want to be heard. As soon has His Holiness opened the room to questions hands shot up.

There were two little dweebs with cordless microphones running around picking people to ask a question to His Holiness and to await to be blessed and receive an answer. Even people that did not have their hands up were being picked. How could this be?

I had my hand up. Constantly. I had something to say. Oh, but wait, my questions would have been contradictory to the script that His Holiness was following.

Those that were blessed to address His Holiness with a question seemed to fit a pattern. All the questions were about Common Core, testing, that crazy person in Albany, APPR, stuff that was big picture and of course nothing that was going to go against His Holiness or the believe in how great he believes he is.

When reporting this to The Crack Team we all came to one conclusion. The questions and questioners were pre-screened (As if one were at a E4E rally), or worse, the questioners were plants.

I was especially concerned when I approached one of His Holiness's minions holding the mike, Roberto Hernandez, and shared with him that I have a thoughtful question and it seems that others are getting picked without raising their hands. Well, that was a mistake. He got extremely angry and ornery became quite rude with me.

This meeting was not bringing the union to the people it was about letting the people come to the union and bask in it's overrated glory.

This union and it's leadership is all smoke and mirrors. Everything is about keeping up appearances. Yeah, we are getting emails from His Holiness on how to shame Governor Andy through hashtags. But we all know that is for show. Same as it is with those UFT commercials.

All that matters is that those at 52 Broadway continue to live large and us dues paying members keep losing our pensions.