Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Meet Victor Jordan of UFT Solidarity

With the UFT elections around the corner, we here at SBSB thought it would be a good idea to have post about candidates already in place and introduce them to our readers.

This idea came about in The Crack Team retreat of Sunday at Winged Foot (Can MORE have a retreat here in the spring?) in Westchester County. One of The Crack Team members brought up a good point from the last UFT Solidarity posting of October 10. Actually two good points from the post...
We here at SBSB wish to know how many of these non-UFT members are in decision making roles of UFT Solidarity and if any are, should they be making decisions that can affect membership?
 ...we learn that UFT Solidarity team is  "still coming together" even as it nominates those with curious resumes, advocating those who claim they are lawyers, and makes one question whether or not 20 years later, that a nominee of theirs is officially a UFT member.
Allow us to introduce the UFT Solidarity candidate for Treasurer, Victor Jordan.

Now as any good voter worth their weight, they want to know all they can about someone they just might consider voting for. Mr Jordan, as one who can tell by clicking on the above link, as quite an extensive and eclectic resume. But we just want to narrow it down to a few things that leave The Crack Team with questions.

In Mr Jordan's resume, it mentions that he was a graduate of Albany Law School, receiving his Juris Doctor in 1999. That same year, Mr Jordan passed the Bar exam in July. Now mind you, passing the Bar exam does not make you a lawyer. One must be admitted to the Bar. Mr Jordan had not been admitted in 1999. Why? According to Mr Jordan he....
"...was not available to submit his  application to the Bar because he had accepted a position as a Research Fellow at the  University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago."
That's swell. But really, all that work and you give up on getting admitted to the Bar? 

But even more curious, Mr Jordan then again passed the Bar exam this past February. Now, we here at SBSB do not know if there is a time limit on being admitted to the Bar once you pass the exam, but find it curious.

What we do find curious is that Mr Jordan, without being a member of the Bar has been (According to his resume) an adjunct professor of labor law at the Harry Van Arsdale School for Labor Studies at Empire State College during the 2014-2015 as well as teaching there as an adjunct professor of economics from 1985-1995.

We could be wrong, but would not one need to be a lawyer, admitted to the bar, having actually practiced law to teach labor law?

Also, would one not need to be a practicing attorney as well as actually represent clients in a 3020-a proceeding before one can place on one's resume that one has defended...
"...professionals licensed by the New York State Education Department"
What has Mr Jordan done to defend teachers?

But enough of that. What of Mr Jordan as a teacher?

According to his resume, Mr Jordan taught math at Erasmus Hall High School from 1985-1995. That's it. We do not know if Mr Jordan retired, resigned, or was terminated.

But more importantly, is Mr Jordan a dues paying member of the UFT? Because if he is not, according to the UFT Constitution, and we here at SBSB thank UFT Solidarity for posting it on it's website, that to be eligible (According to Article IV, Section 5)...
No member shall be eligible to hold office who has not been a member in good  standing for at least two (2) years immediately preceding the final date for nomination.
Very interesting indeed.

Even more troublesome is what connection does someone who has not taught, has not been in the NYCDOE for over 20 years have to the teacher of 2015 and beyond? Where is the connection? In fact, looking at Mr Jordan's resume and the many questions it raises how can one be assured that Mr Jordan will actually put the time and effort into his role and/or fully complete his time as Treasurer?

As for the decision of UFT Solidarity, why? Why not a current teacher, anyone else teaching right now is more qualified than Mr Jordan. Anyone teaching right now has more of a connection to the teachers of today and tomorrow than Mr Jordan.

This reeks of desperation by UFT Solidarity just trying to fill a position with anyone with a heartbeat. Again, this should call into question once again of the decision making at UFT Solidarity (Joy Hochstadt was seen as an invaluable member) and this should give pause to anyone thinking of voting for UFT Solidarity.

The UFT election is not time for one's revenge, placing bodies in position of power, and not the place to not vet someone's background and intentions.

The question raised here about Mr Jordan are valid and should be addressed post haste by UFT Solidarity and all UFT members.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mike Francesa Helps Out NYC Teacher From Queens

So here I am last Sunday sitting in a McDonald's parking lot in Little Neck, Queens eating my Egg
McMuffin, reading the Daily News and listening to Mike Francesa on WFAN while my son is down the road at Americana Manhasset at a car show.

Francesa on Sunday morning is mainly about the NFL but this Sunday he was all Mets. He took a call from Will in Queens, a die hard Mets fan. How was I able to tell he was a die hard Mets fan? He was crying. Yes, an adult Mets fan calling Francesa and crying that the Mets are only ties in the NLDS 1-1 and through his tears exclaimed, or was it threatened, that Matt Harvey better come through tomorrow (game 3).  That this is Harvey's "one chance," and exhorting Harvey to put the team on "your shoulders and then you got my faith back in you.”

I always knew that Mets fans were a squirrelly bunch and a little off (apologies to James Eterno) but this was too much. Crying? Intimidating the Dark Knight? Crying?

The Post picked up on the story and wasn't too kind to the Sports Pope Francesa. Francesa as we know likes to mock the Mets fans said;
“Will, you crying?” an incredulous Francesa, ever the charmer, offers. “Not really crying over this I hope, jeez. … That sounded scary. Will, come on. Calm down, it’s Sunday morning. He’ll be all right, jeez.”
So what happens? 

The next day, Monday, I'm listening to Francesa and he gets another call from Will in Queens. Will is a lot calmer this time, more level headed. Francesa is apologetic (Wish he talked to Mad Dog this nicely) and was talking up Will.

Turns out that Will lives for the Mets and does not have cable and is only able to enjoy his team through the stylings of Howie Rose on WOR 710. Will also lives alone. I know, a true Mets fan.

Francesa asks Will his age and Will tells him that he is 42 years old and has yet to attend a game at Citi Field. Yes, we know, a true Mets fan. Mike asks Will what he does for a living. Ready for this?

Will is a math teacher for the DOE at Russell Sage Junior High School in Forest Hills!

I spit my coffee out! But wait, it gets better.

Francesa asks Will if he is busy that evening and if he has the means to make it to Citi Field. Will doesn't know what is coming but I could tell already.

Francesa invited Will to the Mets NLDS game 3 at Citi Field as his personal guest. He told Will to wear his Matt Harvey jersey and his Mets hat and to meet him at the Gil Hodges gate at 8 PM.

Sure enough, Matt Harvey pitched OK and probably failed to heed Will's demands. But it was great to hear a positive thing happen to a NYC teacher, read positive media coverage about a teacher, and sadly the DOE is too dumb to pick this story up and run with it.

So many possible lessons could have come from this and we here at SBSB are sure that Will shared this 15 minutes with his students. I guess a city wide lesson could have been...hmmm, let's do this with an essential question,"What's the deal with Mets fans?"

Mets got a good team this year. I wish the Yanks could have been put together as they were. Enjoy the run.

If the Giants make the Super Bowl this year I am calling Francesa bawling my eyes out.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

McDonald's Managers Are More Accountable Than NYC DOE Superintendent Yolanda Torres

I can't believe I have yet to write about this or mention this on these pages.

About a two months ago Yolanda Torres was "moved up" and is no longer the superintendent for District 7 in the Bronx. No one on The Crack Team saw it coming. We are shocked and amazed and know that a black cloud has been lifted off the families and teachers of District 7.

According the press release from the DOE, Yolanda will know be the...
Executive Superintendent of the Division of Family and Community Engagement (FACE)
Yes, an old face to take over FACE. Yolanda is taking over for Jessie Mojica, who according to the Daily News will assume a managerial role in FACE.

I met Jessie make in 2009 when he was working as the education liason for the Bronx Borough president's office when we were having he troubles with Principal Linda Amil-Irizarry and AP Derrick Townsend. Jessie showed a real interest in what was happening at the school and truly cared about the communities in the Bronx that he was serving. When I heard that Jessie had gotten a job at Tweed a few years back I saw it as a win for the good guys.

I ran into Jessie a few time since. Once at a technology meeting for Bronx tech liaisons a few years ago and at Chambers St during my hearings. Jessie deserves better than this.

So back to Yolanda.

This chart shows the Peter Principle in action. How one actually does rise to the level of their incompetence (Click to enlarge).

How does someone has vastly incompetent as Yolanda Torres rise to the upper echelon of the NYCDOE? Let's look at some of Yolanda's record.

In May, the Daily News reported that District 7, Yolanda's district, is the worst in the city.

Yolanda is responsible for a vast conspiracy to separate me from my direct deposit forcing me to sue her and others in what might just cost NYC thousands of dollars. 

Horrible test scores year after year in District 7.

Yolanda covered up malfeasance at IS 162 in the Bronx. 

Allowed a school to go down the toilet

Covered up the ineptitude of pal, Linda Amil-Irizarry when Irizarry was principal at PS 154. Here, here, here, here, and here.

Allowed Greg Papadopoulos to get nothing but a slap on the hand for stealing time. 

My friend Stu Schmelz is dead and I know who is culpable in this. 

Yolanda has allowed a reign of terror brought upon PS 154 by her minion DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx. 

How long would Yolanda last if she were the superintendent of schools in Harrison, NY? About a week.

Sadly, a manger at McDonald's is more accountable than Yolanda Torres at whatever it is she does.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Inane Ineptitude of Rajendra Jimenez Jailall of Bronx Bridges High School (And formerly of PS 154x)

It's been over a week since we last laid our eyes and ears upon the inanity of Rajendra Jimenez Jailall, former AP at PS 154x and current AP at Bronx Bridges High School. But for those who are just arriving or have forgotten, let's have a little review.

We have learned that Rajendra Jimenez Jailall has the ability to make empty promises to me in that he promised me composition notebooks for the students and never followed through.

We have learned that Rajendra Jimenez Jailall promised me a demo lesson, on two separate occasions and never followed through and when asked about such a promise in my 3020-a hearing misremembered.

And we have learned how Rajendra Jimenez Jailall, in a horrible case of truthiness, told me that my informal observation of October 12, 2012 was based on Danielson, denied it in my hearing and shared that the informal would not count towards my end of the year rating.

So what are we to learn today? How Rajendra Jimenez Jailall come to the conclusion based on using a blindfold and a spinner to decided that I was to be given a U on the informal observation of October 12, 2012. But first, let's have a looksee at the observation!

As we can see that of 28 items to check off, I was only rated on 12 items and none based on instruction, only my classroom, oops, I meant in the parlance of PS 154 and DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154, my "learning environment."

Yes, I  know you are saying to yourself, what is the deal with the E? Well, E is for evolving, something that comes from Danielson, yet it was not supposed to be implemented during the 2012-13 school year. And yes, those numbers i parentheses? Danielson too. And to wonder why Rajendra Jimenez Jailall only misremembered this observation being based on Danielson.

But one thing was curious. Of the 12 items I was rated on, (1s, 3 u's, and 8e's) why was I given a U rating? Let's hear what Rajendra Jimenez Jailall had to say on November 12, 2012 as he first channeled Casey Stengel in doublespeak and then Ralph Kramden when he knows he screwed up. (LISTEN HERE).

Did you hear him say it was based on "all of the items that were not addressed"? So what he did not choose to rate me on I was rated U anyway? What the heck? How can I have an observation based on what he did not check off?

And, since when is a informal observation based only on the classroom environment? More importantly, how can class routines, high expectations, paired work, etc... be rated when all Rajendra Jimenez Jailall observed was not even being in 15 minutes in my room and we were all in the middle of the mini-lesson?

LISTEN TO  Rajendra Jimenez Jailal's reaction when I question him on Danielson. He has no idea what to say.

And LISTEN TO Rajendra Jimenez Jailal's reaction as I question him about there is nothing about the student's engagement in my class, that they are learning, that they enjoy coming to my class. He again has nothing to say. Just mumbled and gargled words.

It's obvious that DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx neutered Rajendra Jimenez Jailal soon before the school year had started and he was only "following orders," and "kissing ass." We have heard from several members of his former school, PS 28 in the Bronx and this seems to be Rajendra Jimenez Jailal's pattern.

The ironic part is that Rajendra Jimenez Jailal went through what I had gone through the following school year, 2013-14 school year. Karma is a bitch, eh Raj?

Teachers at Bronx Bridges, watch yourself around Rajendra Jimenez Jailal. Watch what you say and what you think. In my opinion he is not to be trusted and he has a long relationship with Nelsie Castillo.

As one former colleague of Rajendra Jimenez Jailal's at PS 28 wrote to me in an email;
"Only thing I can say is that he was a horrible teacher and colleague. Arrogant and condescending to both kids and teachers.  I was with him when he was a 4th grade teacher and he couldn't manage his class. And I was with him when he became literacy coach and couldn't handle that either.  He thought he was God's gift to education....he was an arrogant jerk and we pretty much let him know it back then."

What a pathetic little "man."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

UFT Solidarity Goes Blah, Blah, Blah

In case you missed it, The Chief, the civil service newspaper did a piece on the upcoming UFT elections entitled "Bid to Topple Mulgrew in Next UFT Election", written by Dan Rosenblum.

Dan focused on the two factions, or caucuses, that are attempting to unseat Unity; MORE/New Action and of course UFT Solidarity. For MORE/New Action Dan spoke with former UFT presidential candidate and MORE member James Eterno, currently an ATR social studies teacher, former chapter chair at Jamaica High School, elected to UFT exec board for ten years, and union delegate from Middle College High School (What a resume!), and the leader of UFT Solidarity. The priorities could not have been more striking and contradictory.

James takes a holistic approach to the travails that are facing teachers;
“Evaluations of Teachers based on student test scores has got to go,” Mr. Eterno said. “Not 20 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent or whatever percent; it should be zero percent.”
Bravo James. Think about it. James takes something, the evaluations, and knows that this beast needs to be toppled before everything else we want can to fall into place. Remove the onerous evaluation system and the vast majority of abuses against teachers will dissipate a great deal. This is thinking realistically, thinking of the greater good, and truly thinking like an adult.

Speaking of the back pay James goes on to say;
“Now the city has a $5.9- billion surplus; they certainly could have afforded to have given us the retro money from 2009 to ’11 now instead of making us wait,” he said. We’re optimistic that this is going to be an opposition slate that does better than we’ve seen in decades.”
Well thought out points. Not bad for someone who can't even be a chef in a 5 star restaurant.

On the other hand, we learn that UFT Solidarity team is  "still coming together" even as it nominates those with curious resumes, advocating those who claim they are lawyers, and makes one question whether or not 20 years later, that a nominee of theirs is officially a UFT member.

But again, UFT Solidarity shows it is a One Trick Pony in that it is seen as only an...
"...advocate for educators who feel they have been cast aside by the Department of Education, including those in the Absent Teacher Reserve and probationary Teachers who are dismissed by administrators before they are granted tenure."
Here is a observation. While we here at SBSB feel for the probationary teacher that has been unfairly terminated by the DOE, they sadly are not UFT members. We here at SBSB wish to know how many of these non-UFT members are in decision making roles of UFT Solidarity and if any are, should they be making decisions that can affect membership?

But the leader of UFT Solidarity shared a warning, formidable words for Mayor Bill de Blasio;
"Our thing is: go out there, speak to the Mayor, collaborate as much as possible, but if members’ rights are going to be attacked, if students are going to be neglected, then we’ll definitely increase the knob on activism,”
Well darn, that is the one of the few times we have heard of students coming from UFT Solidarity, but gosh darn, one can assume upon reading this that Mayor de Blasio crapped his pants from fear. 

The UFT Solidarity leader also pointed out that support comes from Facebook...
"comments that tell 'a different story' of a disconnect between the union’s leadership and its rank-and-file members."
Yes, but of course no disconnect comments between the the rank and file and UFT Solidarity are allowed. But again, we are talking about maybe between a dozen and two dozen that continually tithe UFT Solidarity with sycophancy.

The UFT Solidarity leader also said...

" was too early to quantify the slate’s support, but counted about 100 active members, a number that he said sounded low, but was high compared to other groups."
Just 100 active members? We stand corrected here at SBSB and wish to apologize for claiming that there were 66 active members of UFT Solidarity. With 100 members you know what this means? That there are 34 more to not show up at the mass rallies that UFT Solidarity sponsors, that UFT Solidarity has hit triple digits, and begs the question, how many of these 100 are current UFT members?

One interesting thing that was published in this article were some statistics. In 2010 Mulgrew received over 41,000 votes and in 2013 received nearly 36,000 votes. So it is save to assume that somewhere between 41k and 36k votes are needed.

Since the leader of UFT Solidarity has already proclaimed months ahead of time that UFT Solidarity will win the presidency of the union one would ask, where are these votes coming from?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fun With Truthiness With Bronx Bridges High School AP (Formerly of PS 154x) Rajendra Jimenez Jailall

Bear with me while I get to the punchline that is Rajendra Jimenez Jailall.

Regarding my informal observation by Mr J in October of 2012, The Bowtie under direct examination was asked; 
Was this observation based on the  Danielson Framework for Teaching?
To wit The Bowtie replied;
I don't know. I'm referring to the box that you asked about, not to my knowledge.
Really? Really, Raj? Is that the story you wish to stick with?

As we listen to this it appears that The Bowtie's memory is askew, he misremembered, has a bout of truthniness, or just out and out lied.

In fact he believed his truthiness he kept it going under cross;
Q. Do you recall telling Mr. Zucker  during that post observation conference that this observation report was based on Danielson? A. Pardon? Q. Do you recall during that post observation conference telling Mr. Zucker that this observation was based on Danielson? A. Not to my memory do I recollect saying  that it's based on Danielson. I don't remember that.
Don't remember, yet he remembers so much more. How is that possible?

But here is my favorite part when in the post observation meeting The Bowtie told me that this informal will not count towards by final rating. Have a listen. Heck, he liked it so much that this informal was not going to count towards end of the year rating he told the story again (LISTEN HERE!)!

Oh, and one more thing from this meeting. Listen here as I ask The Bowtie to stay after school with me one evening and just listen to how he tries to get out of it.

It is so sad that Raj could not be a man and own up to what he did. Funny how karma came the following year and he was a target of DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx. So much for kissing ass, huh Raj?

A couple of years ago I met some teachers from his old school, PS 28 in the Bronx. He was so incompetent as a classroom teacher and without any classroom management he was moved up to Staff Developer. At this point, I was told, everything just went to his head and his ego just took off.

Its really no surprise he is a product of Teachers College and the only reason he is at Bronx Bridges High School is he is friends with the principal, Nelsie Castillo. Think about it. Why does a school with an enrollment of 309 need two AP's?

Teachers of Bronx Bridges, do not trust this man.

and always they're amazed when I show them 'round my house to my bed
I had it made like a mountain range with a snow white pillow for my big fat head-
Gabriel, Peter 1986

Monday, October 5, 2015

Exposing Bronx Bridges AP (And former PS 154x AP) Rajendra Jimenez Jailall

As promised, there is more about the most inept AP ever, Rajendra Jimenez Jailall.

As has been previously reported on this pages, Mr J, or as he was affectionately known, Mr Bowtie, had promised me a demo lesson which never came to fruition. In his cross examination at my 3020-a hearing Mr J was asked;
"Do you recall if Mr. Zucker asked you during that post observation conference if you could provide him with a demo lesson?"

Mr J, being the man that he is replied;
"Not to my knowledge. Whether he asked for it, but we had Teacher's College working in the building and there was an opportunity for demonstration lessons to occur, but I don't remember that specifically."
Now mind you, the first time I asked for a demo lesson from Mr J was November 9, 2012. At this point I had zero staff development on the Cult of Lucy Calkins nor had a TC hack come to visit me. But I digress. The cross examination continued with him still being asked about me asking for a demo lesson.
Q.You don't remember him specifically asking you to provide him with a demo lesson? Mr J: Right.  Q. And what is a demo lesson to your understanding? Mr J:  That's when someone models a lesson about how to deliver a lesson.
That he doesn't recall, but he remembers the notebooks. Let's refresh his memory.

Listen here as Mr J promises me a demo lesson on November 9, 2012. 

But maybe we should give Mr J the benefit of the doubt, no? Perhaps he misremembered? What about when I asked him on January 31, 2013 for a demo lesson (Listen here) and his response to my request was;
"Absolutely, but before I do that DR Coviello will send you to a workshop with a TC representative , and we'll talk further on that. But if you want a demonstration lesson from me, fine, OK, (And here he tries to intimidate me in tough guy voice) but whatever I decide to demonstrate you will do it we'll talk about it."

I'm still waiting that demo lesson Raj! Where is it? Even the first week of March of 2013 when I asked DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx and she replied (listen here!).

I've always believed that I had never received those demo lessons because it went against the grand plan of the conspiracy that DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx had hatched against me. But then again Mr J, or Mr Bowtie never gave me those lesson plans because he was just to inept and incompetent to give me a demo lesson.

Listen here as Mr Bowtie attempts to explain how to integrate Character Education and The Cult of Lucy Calkins.

What a maroon. One would assume that Raj would have decided to be a man. How sad.

That's it for now, stay tuned for more fun with audio and the most inept AP ever, Rajendra Jimenez Jailall.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Former PS 154x Assistant Principal Rajendra Jimenez Jailall Makes Empty Promises and Blames Me

So how is that lawsuit going you might ask? Well, it is chugging along slowly.

I last mentioned the lawsuit that we filed against DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx, the DOE, and Yolanda Torres back in August.

Discovery was supposed to be in on September 11, 2015 and so far we have received squat.

Because I have an extremely ethical attorney in Bryan Glass he kept on top of me to get my tush in gear to finish those darn Interrogatories. It's been tough. What with the holidays and me looking for a job every day for several weeks I just could not do it. But I finally finished it.

One interrogatory that comes to mind is when I am asked who told me that I would be given notebooks to use for my Character Education Through Literacy (Always add the "Through Literacy" or DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx will plotz!) and when.

Simple. It was the most inept Assistant Principal ever, Rajendra Jimenez Jailall. He is not at 154 anymore, but currently the AP at Bronx Bridges High School (God he couldn't deal with 3rd graders how is he doing this?). DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx effectively neutered him his last year at 154 the 2013-2014 school year.

We even supported Mr J as we called him, or sometimes Mr Bowtie, when he was shat upon by DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx. But he was just too neutered to do anything and just tucked it under and slank away.

But Mr J and myself had a meeting on November 9, 2012 in which he promised to get me notebooks (Listen here).

No remember that I had this program thrust upon me in a conspiracy between DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx and BFF AP Jessica Cruz. I had taught Character Ed. before but I not integrating it with the cult of Lucy Calkins.

I never received the notebooks from Mr J. Instead all I received were about 300 pocket folders. But so much could have been taken care back in September if I just followed what BFF AP Jessica Cruz testified to in my 3020-a hearing.
So the procedure for getting supplies  for students at the beginning of the school year--and  this is a practice that, I mean, we all learn in  Teachers School. You write "Welcome letters" to your  parents introducing yourself and teachers ask for  supply lists. And so, students typically would come  with the supplies to school for students that can't  afford or don't bring all the supplies, then we can  make accommodations.
We learn this in teacher school? Did the dance teacher have to do this? The art teacher? I had been a cluster before and never was I asked to send a letter home for supplies. Only homeroom teachers had done that. But even if I was supposed to why did DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D. of PS 154 in the Bronx mention this to me or in any of the write ups I had in the beginning of that school year or what did not BFF AP Jessica Cruz inform me of this on our September 29 meeting?

But it gets better, BFF AP Jessica Cruz goes on;
So Mr. Zucker had asked Mr. J for folders
No I didn't. Listen again, it was offered to me.

But BFF AP Jessica Cruz is not done with me yet...

So as I mentioned, the schools are not in the policy or the habit of providing supplies for  all classroom teachers I was a cluster not a classroom teacher for the school year, which is the reason why teachers all write letters to parents welcoming them--introducing themselves and welcoming  their children to the classroom classroom teachers do, and they do it in June and not clusters, and also include a  list of supplies that you would need. In addition to  that, we do have a supply closet, and there are some  supplies in there. So if a student doesn't bring, or if a classroom happens to just have a group of students where most parents didn't supply the  materials then we would provide for that class. You  know, it would be for that specific--because that  class has a specific need. In addition to that,  teachers receive Teacher's Choice, and Teacher's Choice is monies that are given to teachers by the  Department of Education to provide--to buy supplies for students or for their classroom, and it would encompass anything from crayons and markers and paper  to even, like, an overhead projector. I spent over $100 of my money to get that classroom ready!So the  Teacher's Choice usually comes around December so how could I get notebooks for December?, and teachers have--it's either a direct deposit or an  actual check that's handed to teachers. The teachers  have to August--before the school year kicks off--  until March to use up the monies, and they just have  to provide receipts for what they've purchased. 

See, BFF AP Jessica Cruz had come to informally observe me on November 8, 2012. My meeting with Mr J, to discuss my informal observation of a month earlier was about to take place, the next day. At this point when BFF AP Jessica Cruz came into informally observed me my meeting with Mr J had yet tot take place so that I can learn from my previous observation!

And how did Mr J testify?
Q. Mr. Zucker asked you for student notebooks for his students? 
A. Yes, there was a request for notebooks.
WRONG RAJENDRA!! You offered the notebooks, twice (Listen to the second time in the same meeting)!

But who's fault is it that I never was told of sending a letter home, getting the notebooks, and getting folders instead... at the end of December? Of course, it was my fault.

Why was it my fault? I know dumb question.

If my name was Joe Smith I never go through this crap.

Next of me asking the most inept Assistant Principal ever, Rajendra Jimenez Jailall, for a demo lesson in November than January and he promising it and never following through. Oh, and let's not forget me asking the most inept Assistant Principal ever, Rajendra Jimenez Jailall, that I can stay late one day a week after school and if he can work with me on setting up my learning environment and hear how he blows me off. That and more next time!

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Last week an interesting blog post came across the news desk here at SBSB. The blog, NYCEYE, written by some unknown teacher, wrote a rather interesting, yet silently scathing post, concerning the continued "myopic vision" of UFT Solidarity.

We touched on that vision of UFT Solidarity back in July with this post. That for all it's bluster, all it's social networking, there is no there there, and UFT Solidarity sticks around the more one realizes it is not just the UFT's "Schlemiel Caucus" but seems like with every waking day it is turning into the UFT's "Potemkin Caucus" and nothing more than a One Trick Pony.

Just as a cat arches it's back, raises it's fur, and goes sideways to make it look bigger than it really is, UFT Solidarity does the same thing as well. It is all bluster, no substance and it is designed to suck in the most vulnerable UFT members with big promises, braggadocio, and using really "cool" technology.

Hey, it is super that UFT Solidarity "fights" for the teacher that has been excessesed, discontinued, ATR, shat upon, but what else is there to UFT Solidarity?

What else is there to UFT Solidarity other than to chastise Unity and contradict Mulgrew and pals day in and day out.

Now, don't get us wrong here at SBSB. Those are all noble things to fight for, but there is so much more.

How will UFT Solidarity be sure to protect our pensions? What can UFT Solidarity do to help all of us to become the best possible teachers we can be? How will UFT Solidarity grow our union into charter schools? What about the Teacher's Center's? How will UFT Solidarity work with membership that has psychological needs? Need to battle substance abuse? How will UFT Solidarity work with a mayor and/or governor that is not empathetic to our needs? How will UFT Solidarity engage the community? How will UFT Solidarity relate with the City Council? How will UFT Solidarity fight testing? Evaluations? What about the students living conditions? Poverty? Curriculum? Graduating rates?  God, the list can go on and on.

Just as important, how will UFT Solidarity deal with those that criticize it, not just from the media, government agencies, and the general public, but from the rank and file?

This ATR issue is nice. The ATR Alliance on Facebook or whatever it is called now, was not in any way a creation of UFT Solidarity. But there are only about 300 members, and not all are ATR's.

Is the ATR vote in the pocket of UFT Solidarity when there are almost 2,000 ATR's? I know of many ATR's that love being an ATR. Most of these of thisclose from retirement and happy not to deal with the day in and day out crap of being in a school.

Which brings us to this. How many of those likes on the UFT Solidarity Facebook page, or just UFT Solidarity's 75 or so members are actually UFT members? Many are discontinued, terminated, etc...

Anyway, enough of us. Please enjoy reading this blog post by NYCEYE (We took the pleasure of highlighting some of the highlights!).

Just one word first. Though we support social activism and respect our colleagues in MORE in their fight for social justice, we differ on when and how to accomplish this.

We here believe that our bed must be in order first, or at the very least start being made, and then we can concentrate on the social justice aspect of MORE. In no way to we degrade nor have any animosity towards those that feel differently. MORE is a true tent. 

A novice United Federation of Teachers (UFT) caucus, Solidarity, is making a premature run for the 2016 union election. Much attention has been given to related personal controversies. This article takes the opportunity to look at the caucus, its origins and its campaign program or platform.

The caucus had in its genesis an intense opposition to both the MORE Caucus and the Unity Caucus statements of empathy for Eric Garner, who was killed in a chokehold by New York Police Department officers. In the nearly one year since, deadly police brutality, particularly against people of color, has become the civil rights issue of the nation. People from across the political spectrum were shocked and quite disappointed when a grand jury issued no indictment against any of the officials involved in killing Garner. This is important to recall when considering the character and principles of the caucus.

In its founding it insisted on staying narrowly focusing on teacher issues and on eschewing any attention to any other concerns beyond teachers' issues. Yet, while it appropriates the images of Albert Shanker, Unity Caucus leader of the UFT, it ignores that more largely, the labor union movement has taken stances of solidarity with civil rights activists and anti-war activists. It ignores that in 1957 the American Federation of Teachers dismissed locals that refused to desegregate. It ignores that the United Auto Workers, the AFT and other unions marched in solidarity in the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington.  It ignores that strikes have had their greatest popularity when they had reached out to the community. Witness the work that the Lawrence 1912 Bread and Roses textile strikers did in reaching out to the community prior to their strike. Witness the parallel work that the Chicago Teachers Union has done when it took a year of community outreach in preparing for its 2012 strike. The CTU won widespread parent support after making sure to have a two-way dialog to understand the concerns of parents and students, instead of simply pursuing an employee-centered contract and strike campaign. Teacher-community partnership continues to this day in other examples such as St. Paul, Minnesota

Hypocritically, in the quest for allies for its caucus once it had an election in mind, it opportunistically parted from the caucus' founding principle to eschew larger issues of the community and solicited support from a community anti-high-stakes testing group, Change the Stakes.

Now, let us look at the Solidarity Caucus' platform and what is missing

While it gives attention to the special needs of Absent Teacher Reserve teachers (ATRs) where others are silent, this is almost where its issue attention ends. It does not look to the experiences of the regularly assigned teachers. One wonders if the authors even consulted regular classroom teachers. There is no specific discussion about the Danielson Framework, the New York State-dictated Measures of Student Learning (MOSLs) or other aspects of New York City's Advance teacher evaluation system. There is no attention to structural dynamics such as mayoral control, which determine the parameters of what the City Department of Education can do. There is no attention to the Common Core State Standards, which are alienating teachers from their profession and are alienating students from learning. There is no attention to the parent-student solidarity movement which is so essential for teachers who are suffering under the over-testing regimen, the opt-out movement. 

The caucus platform includes complaints about the use of tests in value-added metrics to evaluate teachers. However, the platform does not recognize how the testing emphasis is directly linked to other larger issues, some of which are issues that lead directly to the excessing of teachers into the ATR category: the DOE's testing focus narrows the latitude of what teachers can do in the classroom, the testing focus on core academic subjects crowds out attention to non-core subjects such as foreign language, the arts or physical education. Moreover, the platform studiously ignores larger social-economic-political realities. It ignores that there is a corporatist campaign by politicians in both major parties and an economic privatization campaign by privatizers that capitalize by the test-based stack ranking (rank ordering) of teachers and students and overall privatization of curricula, tests and schools.

Additionally, the caucus program's focus on the teacher involves an ignoring of the effect of the high-stakes tests on students themselves. It ignores the emotional stresses upon students and the attendant alienation from the schooling process in this overall climate of high-stakes testing and driving non-tested subjects out of the curriculum. Just as a decent doctor would care about a patient personally and their living and working conditions and how those impacted the person's health, one would hope that teachers would care about their student charges and the factors that impacted on their life. Just as one commenter on a blog in reaction to the formation of the caucus by saying that he cared about the living conditions of the students, I would echo those points. Teachers are choking under the attacks by corporatist politicians and by privatizatizers, and more rank and file teachers are recognizing this. Yet, Solidarity has made a big conceptual error to ignore this larger context in their program. In this sense, it is mirroring the conceptual errors that conventional, mainstream unions or caucuses, that Michael Mulgrew and the Unity Caucus makes.

Teachers ought to consider the larger social conditions impacting on students. As emphasized previously on this blog, income disparities are extreme in this nation and within the nation, income inequality is more extreme in New York city and state. (See this posting re inequality in the city; and regarding poverty impact on learning see introductory comments at this blog posting.) The stresses of race and class inequality impact on students' lives and negatively impact their educational performance. From issues of police mistreatment of youths of color to profound personal emotional stresses of poverty, these experiences inform the lived reality of the children that we teach in our classrooms. If we wish our students to have the best educational experience, we as teachers should not only attend to our own craft, our own performance, but we should also be concerned with recognizing the social inequality; we should work to change that inequality. This is why I am a social justice education unionist.

There are many aspects about the organizing tactics of the key personalities in the caucus that are at once deceptive and deeply disturbing.  Most recently, a social media page connected with the group has been created. A Solidarity page headline boasts an army of 10,000. It turns out that the organizers of the page snatched up 10,000 names and made them --unwittingly, mind you-- into "supporters." This is putschist organizing at its basest.

New exploitative techniques in political deception on Facebook:
Just when you thought it could not get worse. The leader of Solidarity has taken the names of a few dozen well-known opponents of Michael Mulgrew and posted their names in Facebook postings. The risk is that the uninitiated would think that these persons endorse the Solidarity cult.
Doublethink alert:
The Solidarity leader ignores that the New Action caucus supports Michael Mulgrew in every election in NAC's quid pro quo for executive board seats, and he cries foul when Mulgrew and Unity opponents challenge his desire to ally with NAC, questioning whether they are truly an opposition caucus. Yet, Solidarity claims to oppose Mulgrew and Unity. Thus, this is a classic example of doublethink: the ability to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time, especially used in political indoctrination. If you cannot be clear how Solidarity leaders think, can you be clear where their true convictions lie?