Monday, February 29, 2016

Is NYC Corporation Counsel David Mou Serving in a Fiduciary Manner?

Driving a lot gives you time to think. Did a lot of driving over the weekend and as sometimes is the case began to think of my lawsuit.

We are coming up on 19 months since DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx was served with papers. Now yes, I do understand that a lawsuit is a long and arduous process and that things take time. I know for a fact that I have been quite well served by my lawyer, Bryan Glass, but that is what got me to thinking. Has the City of New York been well served by it's lawyer, David Mou? The Crack Team was surveyed and we think not. Jeez, if David Mou was billing by the hour it would be safe to say that David Mou is ripping the city off. How so? Let's examine things.

We do know how David Mou dragged his feet responding to the lawsuit back in 2014 when first presented with the case. But that is understandable. David Mou was hoping I would get terminated and the case would go away. It didn't. We even held out a rope to him while we filed a motion to default whilst he got his panties in a bunch. How does he repay our consideration? You can see it here (This is not David Mou, but an actor hired by The Crack Team).

But what is curious, and Zachary Carter should investigate, is why, when we made David Mou a very generous settlement offer did he not take it, nor at the very least bring it to his superiors?

When we had our first compliance meeting in July, an offer was made to David Mou that we would accept all negative ratings pulled from my file, that the suspension would be ended immediately, AND, that the city can keep the pay they had confiscated of mine from June.

Now that is a DEAL. Even Trump can't do deals like that.

Did David Mou take this offer to his superiors and  Zachary Carter (Technically David Mou's clients) as wont an attorney's fiduciary duty is to do? Doubtful. Should he have? Hey neither myself nor The Crack Team are lawyers but one thing we do know to do is to act ethically.

 But again, myself and The Crack Team are not lawyers.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

UFT Solidarity Confuses Reality

I'm really confused I don't know what to do.

I'm in a grumpy mood today. Vacation is over and I am hitting a new school tomorrow. I needed a pick me up, something to get me laughing.

I decided to head on over to the UFT Solidarity Facebook page for some humor and boy did I find it but it left me so confused.

UFT Solidarity was having a happy hour/recruitment drive for all it's followers and future devotees on February 12. But something strange occurred. Not many people showed up.

In fact by the looks of things Abe Vigoda and Bozo showed. Well, not really. There is a policy here not to show the faces of UFT members so we decided to redact those mugs with Mr Vigoda and Mr The Clown.

Notice anything strange? Other than Abe Vigoda's face and the fact that he can't possibly be in Brooklyn because he is dead?

Yeah, all of the pictured (See original) are UFT Solidarity members as well as the officers running and hoping (PRAYING?) to get on the ballot. As we can see with the looks on Abe Vigoda's face this was not a very happy hour.

We here at SBSB have heard that UFT Solidarity is growing exponentially through the roof that UFT members are clamoring across the city to get some of that UFT Solidarity action and mojo.

Could it be that we heard wrong? We are so confused. The number of parents opting out through UFT Solidarity are mind boggling!!!

Just a little over a week ago on the UFT Solidarity Facebook page this was posted;

Four hundred parents is quite a lot. But just three days later it was reported on the ICE blog by Francesco Portelos himself (In what many are calling a major meltdown) that 100 more (Pardon the pun!) parents have signed onto the UFT Solidarity Opt-Out Nebulizer special thingy thing (Click to enlarge).

WOW! A 25 percent increase in just 72 hours. Using that math as well as pattern, and I am no math major, in 9 days that would equate to over 200 more parents signing up on the Special Super Duper UFT Opt Out Thingy. Wouldn't it? Let's do the math. What are today's numbers? Should be over 700 hundred, no? Ringo, Drum roll please.......

Dang. Still 500 members. We will give Portelos some kudos to sticking to his new story, but demerits on the reality his story entails.

This is just par for the course with Portelos and UFT Solidarity ends. The creation of their own reality in which their truth differs what from is happening around them. Those affiliated with Portelos and UFT Solidarity, it is not too late to break free and open your eyes. Think it out. Where does truth and make believe become the same? We here at SBSB understand that you might be scared to leave seeing what Portelos has done to others who have dared to question him.

To those on the fence and thinking about following UFT Solidarity, be wary, keep your guard up. As you can see above not many people care, or in particular, know about UFT Solidarity. You need to not only do what is best for yourself but for that teacher coming in after you. UFT Solidarity is not the way.

It can't be the way when it relies on one person, one mind to lead it and to make decisions. It can't be the way when people are too frightened to speak up and it certainly can't be the way when their is misinformation and fuzzy math.

A UFT caucus should not be dependent on any one personality, it should be dependent on it's members, it's ideas, it's principles,  and it's humanity.

Sadly, UFT Solidarity comes up empty time and time again. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Jia Lee and The Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR's)

It's funny how the mind works. People hear or believe what they want to even when clear cut
empirical evidence tells us otherwise. Logic goes out the window.

For too long all we have been hearing during this UFT election season;

"Jia knows nothing about ATR's"

"Jia doesn't care about ATR's"

"Jia won't fight for ATR's"

Hogwash, hogwash, and triple hogwash.

They great unwashed masses of ignorance are enjoying pointing to this Facebook post by Jia a few weeks ago;
Jia came to the right place. As any qualified leader would do, she decided to seek out the people for information rather than telling those what they want to hear. Jia knows what is going on with ATR (LISTEN TO JIA HERE). But is it wrong with wanting to continually grow your knowledge of any subject. To hear different perspectives and idea? Of course not.

 But for those who are still having difficulty understanding Jia, here we go again.

Jia wanted to get thoughts on an ATR that had never met their field supervisor and had received an email. Being someone who does not fly off the handle Jia did as anyone would and do their due diligence, much as any qualified leader would. 

What are getting some others knickers all knotted up is this line from that FB post;

"Is this happening to anyone else" 

THIS means referring to said unfamiliar supervisor emailing and observing aforementioned teacher.

But those with just the linear ability of thought can't or just won't can't see it that way. Some are just so infatuated with their thought process they just need to find any thing, such as the tiniest little tree branch to save them from drowning in their own misthoughts. 

Jia knows damn well what is happening to the ATR's. She sees it and I agree with her why Mulgrew has allowed it (LISTEN TO JIA HERE). Our very own union wants to be rid of the ATR problem and the only way they feel they can do it and still smell like a rose is to force ATR's to quit or retire. 

But (LISTEN TO JIA HERE) as sh explains that there is just more (Pardon the pun!) than just stability for the teachers to be in a permanent position. She it's the nail on the head. It is more than just knowing where you are going to teach, more than being fairly observed. It's the sense of being part of something. The sense of being able to start something and seeing it through. A sense of belonging.

Why is so important to be in one school. Jia (LISTEN TO JIA HERE!) hits the nail on the head by comparing what is going on with ATR's and the "Lean Production Model," and/or Efficiency. This is what we need to here. Not someone who claims they can fix the problem without knowing the root of the problem. But rather someone who know the root of the problem, knows where it emanates from, someone who understands the thinking behind it and knows how to best attack it. That is leadership. That is non-linear thought. More importantly, that is the ability to learn, and put into practice, new information.

How can anyone say they promise to fix the ATR issue if they don't understand the antecedent reasons and illogic that has caused issue? Isn't that illogical? 

Too many believe that to fix the ATR problem one must be just reactive. But it can't work that way. Again, this is just linear thinking. To fix the ATR problem one must be proactive and reactive. To know when to use a hammer and when to use the chisel. Each are effective, but a true sign of leadership is to know when  and how to use these tools.

Jia has also taken slack of being a one issue, The Opt-Out movement, leader. This accusation was particularly vociferous when Jia was featured in the New York Post earlier this week. But LISTEN  TO JIA HERE and hear how she again understands what should be the ultimate genesis of the ATR problem.

Jia focuses on the testing because it is the;

"tool being used to perpetuate cultures of competition based on a metric that is completely flawed.."

"...we're using it on a bell curve that a bottom that you have to cut off... you can label those teacher and label those teachers and say that they are bad"

That bottom is the ATR's. I should not be considered, nor any other teacher be considered, as some random obfuscated number or statistic or some hacks bell curve.

The ATR issue cannot be solved without weeding out the bad ideas behind it as well as the bad people implementing it. And by bad people I do not mean those at the UFT or NYCDOE.

We are talking about those that have stolen our education system from our communities, our schools, our students, and ourselves. When we decide as educators and the rank and file that will be consistently fighting for our rights and taking our heads out of the sand and stand up for ourselves, then that will be the time the tide turns.

Empty promises and machismo is not the way to go about this. We need to be able to adapt. Able to change course at a moment's notice. We as ATR's and teachers need to not go with the flow, but be the flow.

This can never work with top down leadership. Only a leadership that is one of the cogs in the wheel.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Some Good Comes of Being an ATR

The night before I returned from my suspension I was having a major, well maybe not major, anxiety attack or just the typical Jewish neurosis about actually teaching a class. It had been nearly 3 years since I had stood in front of a classroom and taught. Longer than that if one counts teaching with any confidence.

The 2012-2013 school year had been hell for me. My former (THANK GOD!) principal, DR Alison Coviello had done everything she could to destroy my confidence and do what she could to make me feel like I a horrible, rotten, no good bucket of road apples. So of course there was trepidation returning to the classroom.

But I got my chops back and it was like riding a bike. I realized I can do it still.

I spent the next six weeks in District 10 and even though I had some anxiety filled moments, all was good. And I learned something so valuable, or maybe re-learned it, or just had it affirmed. You know what I mean.

Dang it is those kids that make this all worth while. And when you least expect it, and from the kids you least expect it from, you get those jaw dropping moments.

My next to last day at the school in District 10 I subbed or covered a 3rd grade class. I got to know the teacher pretty well when I was with another 3rd grade class for 2 weeks while their teacher was out on maternity.

I think it was after lunch. Yeah, it had to be after lunch, lunch is at 10:35 in that school so the entire day is after lunch I received a note from a student just out of the blue(Identifying details have been redacted) (CLICK TO ENLARGE).

I was floored. I had done nothing special, at least in my mind, to deserve this. I was really touched and still am. But there was more.

About 5 minutes later I got this (CLICK TO ENLARGE);
This was a good day. I don't know if it was as good as any day I had in 20 years of teaching, but it was the best day I had in 3 years!

So let's flash forward to last week. I left the friendly confines of District 10 and returned back to my old District 7 haunting grounds, in fact to a school I used to service when I was a staff developer.

I clustered and there was one 5th grade class that I had every day, a class with a most challenging student.

From day one, he tried to did everything he could to get noticed and to push my buttons.

Thursday as I was leaving the class, he handed me this (CLICK TO ENLARGE);
This note was completely unsolicited. At no time did I ask him to write it nor did his teacher. In fact I had not mentioned his behavior to anyone.

What I feel for the first time in a long time is the ability to be myself in a classroom. Yeah, I know, this can all change and I might have some horrible moments, but I can't think like that. If I do I can't be what I want to be as a ATR/Sub/Teacher.

It's hard being an ATR. It's tough walking into a class for the first time and the kids don't know you. It's hard as an ATR when you have to pick up a class in the morning when you will be with them all day. It's just plain hard. But it can be rewarding.

I am looking at it this way.

When I became a staff developer in 2000 someone asked me why would I want to be working out of the district office. I responded that by being in the DO I can work with and help more students than I could in a just being in one school. That's how I am looking at being an ATR.

I am going to keep these letters. I am going to use them for those days that don't go well or to remind myself that I came out the better person after 3 years.

It's nice to know that I made a bit of a difference for a brief time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Silence of Francesco Portelos and UFT Solidarity to Hurtful Speech Against Islam

I get home lat night from my 2nd job around 6 PM or so and see a notification that someone has posted on my Facebook page. It came from a Facebook "friend" "Raise Paras Pay," which surely can be one of Francesco Portelos' "independent" fronts.

All that was posted was one of Portelos' campaign flers that mainly accentuated himself amongst the other serfs of Solidarity. I thanked the person who had made the posting and of course was thankful that I was afforded a good laugh. I tagged Mindy Rosier and we both chuckled.

As I was examining this Facebook page, I came across a posting by "Raise Paras Pay" which was very, very disturbing. At worst it was pure unadulterated Islamaphobia and at best it was pure hate speech.

"When do we get the Catholic Holiday videos?"

Who exaclty wrote this, The Crack Team does not know. We do know that Portelos is friends with this person and surely has accepted support from this person. It again shows that those associated with Portelos have no compunction to take out their anger at religions other than those affiliated with the Christian faith.

Have we forgotten this? The post with the "dog whistle."

Here's what is bothersome to us here at SBSB. The above Facebook posting had been up for over a month now and Portelos, he who wishes to be a leader, had done nothing advocate it's removal nor even show his disdain in the comments section. Not until yesterday when I exposed the para did the shame fear of getting caught finally have the post removed.

Are we saying that Portelos directly condones such a insensitive comment as made by "Raise Paras Pay?" No. In our opinion Portelos is culpable by being silent. For not using his authority as a leader of UFT Solidarity (Remember, he is advocating higher pay for paras) for not speaking up or suggesting the post be removed immediately.

Weren't the citizens who lived near the camps just as culpable during the Holocaust while Jews were thrown into the ovens, the stench of rotting corpses, and the ashes of their bodies came down as if they were snow upon the villages that surrounded the camps? Their silence spoke volumes as well.

We here at SBSB are asking, nay, demanding that as someone that wants to lead teachers that Francesco Portelos repudiate the person who wrote this post as well as immediately disassociate himself from this Facebook "friend" post-haste.

This kind of speech should not be tolerated by anyone, at anytime. Especially from someone that claims to be a leader.

Monday, February 8, 2016

UFT Solidarity: Francesco Portelos Drops His Pants Being Wrong Yet Again

In the past I have started off a blog post using a quote from Rush, or made use of a Star Trek quote somewhere in a post. For those who still have one foot in living in their parents basement as do I, this is your lucky day. I am using quotes from both a Rush (War Paint from 1989's Presto CD) song and from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Please bear with me, the point will soon be evident. 

"All puffed up with vanity/We see hear what we want to see hear"

"....but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target"

Both lines fit Portelos better than his trousers do!

 As many know, Jia Lee, MORE/New Action candidate for UFT president appeared with me on my quite rudimentary Internet radio show this past Thursday. In the issue of being fair I extended an invitation to UFT Solidarity Leader Francesco Portelos to appear as well. His reaction is here;

First, thanks to Portelos for choosing me to help him pass the time on his drive to Albany. I usually choose music, or Howard Stern, but I am honored that he chose me. But to address his well thought out, lucid points.

One, can we stop living almost three years in the past? I was not close to MORE nor Jia at the time, and I don't know if Jia knew much about me. But who cares? Obviously Portelos. It's 2016 gosh darn it!

But then Portelos blabbers asking me how it felt when Jia said;
"...back when rubber rooms existed."
Yeah, Jia said that, and if you listen at about the 6:26 mark, I corrected her.

But unlike Portelos, I (And the vast, vast majority of grown ups), not only have the cognitive ability to know when people actually make a mistake as to misspeaking, but I (as well as the vast, vast majority of grown ups), before I post something on social media always seek to verify what I am about to post lest I get caught holding my you-know-what in my hands like Portelos has for the gazillionth time.

If Portelos only had A) a better sound system in his car, B) Was able to clearly hear Jia's voice past all the voices in his head telling him how great he believes he is, or C) Taken the Taconic to Albany instead of the Thruway (less road noise) he would have heard Jia correcting herself just (LISTEN HERE!!) before I did.

To Jia, please accept my apologies for not originally hearing what you had said. For this transgression, and the shame it has brought upon my family, I offer you a pair of Neil Peart autographed drumsticks in return. Use them in good health (its a Jewish thing. You get new underwear, that is what is said)!

But why you might ask, is this pertinent to you, John and Jane Q. Schoolteacher? Because Portelos is screaming for attention help. He wants to debate Jia. He his desperate.

But there are some many Portelos' comedic acts to share on these pages, we have to wait for another day to discuss the debate.

But one last thing.

Why hasn't Portelos sent the same request for a debate to Unity? Why just MORE? As it is written on the UFT Solidarity website, Unity is invited to debate as well. Yet strangely, no invitation to Unity has been forthcoming as of press time.

The Crack Team, along with our Crack Team Consigliere, Tom Hagen, discussed whether or not MORE should entertain such a request. One thing popped into everyone's minds.

Let's see Portelos and his minions get 900 REAL (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Clark Kent are not, nor have ever been, UFT members!) signatures on the petition first. Yes, a daunting task, but perhaps Portelos can get some signatures in exchange for some entertainment? What is it he does well??

Hmmm...dropping his pants, again and again, and again.

Monday, February 1, 2016

NYC Corporation Counsel Attorney David Mou

I got an email from Bryan Glass last week. David Mou, the attorney for the Corporation Counsel had sent over a box of documents we have been waiting for since the beginning of time. I was excited. Finally, I would have some answers, some documents to peruse through, to find answers to questions I have had since August of 2012.

It was not to be. David Mou pulled off the biggest con.

Remember the movie "The Sting?" At the very beginning Robert Redford and his buddy Luther did the whole switcheroo with the money. Redford basically gave that guy tissues? That's kind of what Mou did to us. The old switcheroo.

We got 2,135 of pure unadulterated, grade A, 100% nothing.

All we got is what I had already. My hearing transcripts. My hearing decision. My file. The evidence that the DOE attorney entered into evidence (Though we did ask for it). The evidence the DOE attorney never entered into evidence. Nearly all the papers were printed out (THEY'RE TIME STAMPED!!!!!!) in 2013 or 2014.

Here is Mou's answers to our interrogatory and discovery requests. See what I mean? All lawyer babble. All a bunch of nothing.

What sucks is that I put in hours upon hours answering the interrogatories and getting the discovery requested for I have learned through the greatness of Bryan Glass that a persons moral compass should be above reproach.

Answer after answer of "client-lawyer privilege," "work secrets," "too broad a request," "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Mou does a better "blah-blah" than Alex Lifeson.

But this is all par for the course with the NYC Corporation Counsel and Mou.

The emails between Coviello and AP's are privileged? Between Coviello and Yolanda Torres are privileged?

We should be privy to what went down at IS 162. Yolanda Torres has no problem ruining my career but does everything in her power to save the careers of administrators at IS 162, even when there was a death involved.

Where are the ethics of those who are sworn to uphold the high standards of the New York State Bar?

Is this oath not to be taken seriously?
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I  will support the constitution of the  United States, and the constitution of th e State of New York, and that I will  faithfully discharge the duties of the office of [attorney and counselor-at-law],  according to the best of my ability."

Sad. So very sad. 


It's back, the Internet radio show you all loved.

This Thursday night, February 4, 2016 at 9:30 PM I will be interviewing Jia Lee as she shares her vision for the UFT, teachers, and education.

Listen Here!!

The call in # is (646) 716-9956