Thursday, February 28, 2019

Cheech and Chong Come to Forest Hills High School

Principal Ben Sherman, who joined Forest Hills in 2017, shrugs off the pot-puffing — saying “it’s going to be legal” anyway, teachers complain. So this says in the New York Post this past Sunday. 

Yet, Principal Sherman remains on the job.

Let's play make believe. Regular guy teacher at Forest Hills High Aaron Rabinowitz is quoted in the Post saying the same exact words with the same flippant attitude.

Yep, you are right. Aaron would be exiled to the Rubber Room posthaste, have 20 stipulations in his 3020-a and risk his 23 year career go down the drain.

Or let's pretend this didn't happen at Forest Hills High. Instead in our pretend, make believe world, this quote was uttered by the principal of Scarsdale High School to the Journal News. Anyone care to guess what would happen?

The parents would be up in arms. The school board would convene an emergency session. The auditorium at the HS during the emergency meeting would be packed with irate parents. Some will have large signs demanding the principal be removed and terminated while others would be hanging the principal in effigy.

So why is Ben Sherman still principal and the teacher and Scarsdale principal are screwed? Several reasons.

Remember, everything is always the teacher's fault. Even though we just serve the crap that is given to us by administration. But in the bigger deal is why a principal in NYC can get away with this and not in Scarsdale.

In NYC there are low expectations from on high all the way up to the chancellor. These are urban kids they say. Some will say (and mind you this is from admins through the schmucks at Tweed and Court St), "These kids are going nowhere," or "These are kids of color who cares if they are stone all day. At least they are calm."

I was amazed when my son was in 2nd grade and I saw the math work he was doing and the math work in my school. My son's work was challenging. Not so in the Bronx. Low expectations.

In Scarsdale there are parents that are involved, that knows their rights and knows how they can influence educational policy. Where have the parents of Forest Hills High been on this?

For the most part the parents in NYC are either afraid to speak out, don't know they can speak out, or intimidated into not speaking out. This is why all the ed deform and testing starts in urban schools and not the suburbs.

One more thing. The principal in Scarsdale would be fired. Ben Sherman is looking at a nice cushy desk job at Tweed.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

UPDATE!!! Lunch Teacher to be Exiled!!!

This update has just come into the SBSB newsroom courtesy of The Crack Team.

The Lunch Teacher is officially suspended with pay effective at the end of business February 25, 2019. All this for ensuring that one of her students eats a hot lunch as mandated by federal law.

Where will the Lunch Teacher wind up? Will she stay in the building, confined to a closet having nothing to do but to stare at the walls all day?

Will it be another school within the district in which the Lunch Teacher will maybe be allowed to see sunlight and human beings and do clerical work?

Or will it be the famed Rubber Room where she can join in the debate on which Star Trek series is the best? Or which Star Trek first officer is the worst? Personally, I choose Chakotay. He kind of sucked.

Yet, this is now February. March will be here in five days. These accusations go back to last April, almost a year. Why if these charges are so perilous was she, not REMOVED LAST APRIL? If she is considered a danger to students, here we go again, was she, not REMOVED LAST APRIL?

But let's not forget who is most damaged by this. Yep, the Lunch Teacher's students. They have a test, a big one, coming up in about six weeks. Who is going to pick up the slack? Just shove a random teacher in there? One that doesn't know the students or the routines? Maybe even one that doesn't know the curricula. But as usual with the DOE the students are ancillary victims in all of this. Where are the rights of the students?

The Lunch Teacher has already been disciplined for this. She received a letter to the file. Why must there be this vindictiveness?

This is why tenure is so important. Why tenure is more than due process. If not for tenure the student would not have been able to eat lunch. And if that was a non-tenured teacher denying a student the federally mandated lunch then that teacher would have been summarily terminated. Or if that non-tenured teacher took the student to lunch the teacher would face the same fate.

This is such a waste of taxpayer money and DOE resources. This shows again how blind those in charge are to what the true needs and wants of the community are.

Tell me this can't be settled in a ten minute meeting among all aggrieved parties.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Mike Mulgrew Show Us Some Love

As much I as I think that Pat Lynch, President of the NYPD's Police Benevolent Association, can be a dickhead at times there is something consistent about him. There perception, if not the reality, that he is in every cops corner is always there.

A cop is falsely accused of something? There is Lynch in front of cameras and microphones backing the cop quite vociferously.

Higher ups aren't following the contract? Again, Lynch is there.

Putting his money where one's mouth is? Talking the talk and walking the walk? There, as always, is Lynch's loud mouth.

Now let's compare to the UFT.

ATR being intimidated by students? Nary a word from Uncle Mike Mulgrew.

Teacher losing his job--due to some unwritten mystery regulation-- for playing 20 minutes of Fortnite? Crickets from 52 Broadway.

A teacher brought up on 3020-a charges for taking students to lunch? Probably the most frivolous charges I have seen since this, what do we see? Averting eyes.

Abusive principals? Corrupt principals? The phalanx of lawyers ensconced at 100 Gold St? Silence and more silence.

Yeah, I see a bit of a change emanating from 52 Broadway. Yes, there are new "safeguards" in the new contract. But the paper it is written on is cheap. The follow through, or should I say the consistent follow through, is priceless.

Why do teachers have to go through their careers wondering if Uncle Mike loves them? Just let us know you love us. Let us know you care. Let us know you have our backs. Give us some sugar.

Think of it this way. If Mulgrew gives is what we need think of all the money the welfare fund can save on doling out less and less psycho-pharmaceuticals to members.

Monday, February 18, 2019

BREAKING NEWS!! Teacher Facing Termination For Taking Student to Federally Mandated Lunch

If I was a NYC student, I could do without passes off for food in the cafeterias. However, I myself, have always had two favorite NYCDOE lunches. One, those fish cakes with the cheese under the breading (which I have not seen for a long time) and the pizza. But what do I know? I think the $1.40 pizza at 7-11 and the $1.25 at Kennedy Fried Chicken are good. Oh and I just remembered. Those onion rings are darn good.

I certainly would not like to be tested up the ying yang if I was a NYC student. With my attention span I couldn't deal with it.

But what is a teacher to do when testing comes into conflict with lunch?

The Crack Team has learned that a teacher (tenured with 20 years in the system) in the Bronx had to make a command decision and now she might pay for it with her job.

Yes, I know. You are shaking your had are facepalming right now. I agree. This shit can't be made up.

Before I go on, remember, all tests (ELA and Math) are untimed.

Day 1 of the test. The entire class except one student is finished as lunch time approaches. The students must be brought down to have their federally mandated lunch. Mind you; these are students that this might be their only meal of the day, at the very least their only hot meal of the day.

It is time to go to lunch. Sadly, one student is not finished. Worse, this student is probably feeling the pressure to cram as much as one could into very little time left to complete the exam. Chances are the student knows that there will be time after lunch to finish up. But in the mind of a student under this much pressure they are unable to think clearly.

The teacher tells the student it is time to go to the federally mandated lunch. The student does not stop nor is the test turned over to the teacher. The teacher then gently takes the test off the student's desk and secures the tests with the others.

To make a long story short the teacher is now facing three 3020-a charges. Conduct unbecoming, conduct prejudicial to the good order, and being unfit. Better yet, when we return on February 25 at the end of business the teacher will be suspended with pay. How will this effect the teacher's current students getting ready for the upcoming state exams? No one at the DOE truly gives a fuck.

The teacher already has a letter to the file for this. Got it last month. The OSI investigation began in April 2018 only to be concluded in January 2019.

Here is the damned if you do damned if you don't scenario: what if the teacher let the student finish and miss lunch? What do you think would have happened? Yeah, you are right.

What were the protocols for dealing with lunch during the test? What were the protocols for students that were not done before lunch? Were students that were not finished to have lunch alone, with other students that had not yet finished or did it matter that nothing would be done? Why at the very least could this not be dealt with a simple counseling memo. Shit, even the letter to the file would suffice which in turn could have saved taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

I really wish this story could be made up. It's not a dream. It's not a nightmare. It's real fucking life day in and day out at the NYCDOE.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Brooklyn PE Teacher Loses His Job Because of Fortnite

If only the gym teacher were a principal. If her was then he could be incompetent, a sexual harasser, insert his tallywhacker into copy machines, put relatives on payroll, steal, commit perjury, force people to attend their own church, recruit teachers for bible study in the library, and do whatever and not lose their jobs. Better, nine times out of ten they get removed to a cushy desk job at Tweed.

But gym teacher Brett Belsky played 20 minutes of Fortnite with two students and he lost his job. All Brett wanted to do was to make a personal connection with a couple of troubled students and give them an incentive to due better in gym. His heart was in the right place. There was nothing nefarious.

Now, is Fortnite social media? The Crack Team reach out to the only person who could answer this question, my 17 year old son. My son when asked if Fortnite is considered social media unequivocally exclaimed, "Fuck no!" He then went back to playing Madden online with his friend who is several miles away.

Facebook is social media. Twitter is. So is what's left of Myspace.

How is playing 20 minutes of Fortnite any different Belsky played catch with the students after school? Or if he saw the students in the corner bodega after school and bought each of them a Coke as reward or incentive to do better in school? Hell, we bribe kids every day with the promise of some prize or tchotchke every day. What Belsky did was no different.

But SCI got involved.They found cause the Belsky did not follow the DOE's own social media guidelines. But not only is there anything in the guidelines pertaining to online gaming, the guidelines only mention social media of which Fortnite is not!!

But for some reason the arbitrator decided that teacher with a spotless record for all of his eight years in the DOE must be terminated. That the way to deal with a mistake. Screw over someone's life.

Belsky did make a mistake. There was no malice and children weren't endangered. His heart and soul were in the right place. In a 3020-a hearing the arbitrator does and must look to see if the teacher's conduct can be changed and if there is remorse. I doubt very much that Belsky contradicted this.

To make matters worse, SCI has come out and...

suggested that the DOE clarify its employee “Social Media Guidelines” to make clear that teacher-student gaming is out of bounds.

So now the guidelines need clarifying? It goes to show that the guidelines were already vague when it comes to gaming. How can someone get fired if his investigators are already agreeing that the "rules" were not clear?

The arbitrator, in this case was arbitrary and capricious. Brett Belsky deserves a fair hearing and his job back.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Queens ATR Goes Though Hell For a Lie

Wonder why ATRs won't go that extra mile or try with all their heart to stay under the radar?

Read on.

An ATR in Queens, and is currently assigned to a middle school, that has had the proverbial DOE bus driven over her several times and suffers from PTSD was given the dreaded white envelope one day in January. It wasn't an envelope filled with fifty dollar bills but rather the "48 hour notice" meeting and to bring along a union rep.

For the next 48 hours, the ATR spent most of the day, both at home and in school, barfing her brains due to the effects of the PTSD and the 48 hours of not knowing what the hell was going on.

The ATR did have the presence of mind to bypass the school's chapter leader and turned instead to her district leader (we here at SBSB highly recommend this route for ATRs unless you have a real all-star as a chapter leader) to represent her in the meeting with the AP.

The day of the meeting came. This is what she was accused of...

Early in January a student meandered into her class along with the proverbial chip on her shoulder happened to be in a feisty mood that period. It so happens that this young lady was looking for an argument and who better to start it with than this ATR who was covering a class.

When the ATR refused to take the bait this student went to plan B. This student then called her a "racist bitch," "you're not my teacher," and the usual early teen anger that spews forth from an early teens mouth

Still, the ATR retained her poise and composure as if she had learned at the footsteps of Emily Post.

The student, ever so frustrated took her anger to the dean and claimed that the ATR purposely hit her in the face with a textbook. This is what precipitated the meeting with the ATR and her AP.

What the ATR did was place four textbooks at the middle of each table for the students to distribute to themselves. At no time were any textbooks or students in danger.

Of the 30 kids in the class, nine wrote statements and only two corroborated what the student claimed. The student and her best friend.

Praise be to some higher deity (be it God or Mulgrew) that this ATR didn't suck down a bottle of Xanax with a glass of vodka or that the students of her class had her back.

Were there any consequences befallen upon this student for taking her tongue and telling a lie? Of course not. Even if the AP or principal wished to there is nothing in the NYCDOE discipline code saying lying and being dishonest is wrong. And just as an aside, nowhere does it say that admins that lie are doing bad. Only teachers. Go figure.

What to do? The Crack Team suggests that this teacher and any and all teachers in the future that are falsely accused by a student is to take them to court. Hire Bryan Glass and sue the parents.Hell, represent yourself if you don't want to hire Bryan. Let the parents pay for their own lawyers or if they fail to show you get a summary judgement.

But thanks to the last 15 years of hatred of teachers in the media, of politicians, and nationwide, students have learned that teachers make inviting targets.

One more thing, OSI and the AP know before hand that the kid is full of shit, Yet they let it drag on. Name them in the lawsuit as well.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

MORE Caucus Leader Shows His True Colors on 34th St

This story might seem trite, but it is true, and worse, it shows the true colors of one of the de facto leaders of the MORE Caucus (no, it is not Myrie). Let's call this person Paul LaRue for arguments sake.

Last February we had a meeting, a changing of the guard if you will, of the incoming steering committee members (of which I was a member of) and the outgoing members as well as other MORE members to witness the last peaceful change of steering. The meeting was at the CUNY Graduate Center of 5th Ave, and it went pretty well. None of the incoming members were able to portend the coup that in my opinion Paul LaRue was plotting that day.

After the meeting had ended we decided to head across 34th St to were some socialist organization or some organization was holding a rally for the striking West Virginia teachers. We all decided to go. I was curious to see what this was all about and I wanted to show support for the teachers of West Virginia even though I could only stay a short time.

So there we are meandering west on 34th St, about 8-10 (maybe a few less) of us. Some walking alone, some walking with others and talking. But we were spread out and I was towards the back in engaged in conversation and Paul LaRue was up front walking solo. Paul LaRue was maybe about 5 feet ahead of me and the others I was commiserating with.

Suddenly, and without provocation, a homeless man jumped out in front of our little pedestrian caravan. Just as Paul LaRue got within earshot the homeless man asked for money. I don't recall if it was for spare change of a few dollars, but it was for some currency. However, I did hear the homeless man even though I was a few feet behind Paul LaRue. And, I wasn't the only one that heard the pleas emanating from this man who was down on his luck, someone else had.

What I saw next I must say I was aghast and sickened. Paul LaRue looked down and continued walking past this homeless man as if he were invisible, didn't exist, or worse, just some annoying noise of the city that one must ignore.

As for myself and the person I, was walking and talking with, we heard the man and acknowledged him as well. Not only did we spare him some money but gave him a couple of smokes as well. I don't know if this man was more grateful for the smokes or the money.

But the sight of Paul LaRue just completely ignoring this man was sad. This is a man who time after time espouses the socialism, which as I see it is to for sure help those who are most down on their luck, but instead acts as if he is Scrooge McDuck, the world's most capitalist duck.

I guess the homeless man couldn't help Paul LaRue advance in the ISO hierarchy or make Paul LaRue shine brighter at that very moment. Maybe if there were cameras and microphones Paul LaRue would have at least put a crowbar into his wallet and give the man a shiny new dime.

This just continues the two faceness, the hypocrisy of the MORE Caucus leadership, notably, when these sanctimonious actions emanate from the double headed ruling de facto junta of the MORE Caucus.

But on the other hand, should we be shocked at the actions of Paul LaRue? The homeless man was treated just as the rank and file are treated by the MORE Caucus. Nothing more than an annoying noise that can be ignored and at worst, tolerated. West Virginia teachers? Supporting that helps your ISO score. Helping the OT/PT/s yeah that help, but only when there's a self-serving opportunity.

Is it not time for the good people of the MORE Caucus to rise up and overthrow the de facto leadership of the MORE Caucus? Why not? Rules seem to have no place at the MORE Caucus and people can create rules as they go along, no? Perhaps when the MORE Caucus has much less votes than it did in 2016 will the masses have their eyes opened.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

What to do With More than Enough Opportunists?

One thing that scares me (among many things) about Donald Trump is is total blind support for Israel. I put him in the same boat as others of the Far Right sharing Trump's near sycophantic support for Israel. I take their support with a grain of salt and don't trust those on the right to do the right thing by Israel as well as Jews in the US and around the world.

Why? One reason is there true agenda. For many on the Far Right, in particular the far out crazy Evangelicals, their support of Israel is there for one reason. To eventually see the destruction of Israel and for the second coming of their Lord and savior Jeebus to come reign over the world again and send the heretics like the Jews to hell where they really believe we belong. They paint themselves as supporters of Israel and Jews but in reality they are not. Their support for Israel is purely about themselves and their agenda.

Then there are the crazy Right Wing politicians who are just too stupid to form any clear basis of an opinion of Israel and Jews but go along with what the crazy Evangelicals believe because they are just too sycophantic and dumb to form their own opinions.

Then there is Trump and is ilk. Again they go along with the Right Wing politicians (and a former HS social studies teacher of mine) and are seen among Jews but have been known from time to time to share their bigotry of Jews publicly. But they enjoy showing that they are attuned to Israel and the Jews.

Are these people anti-Semitic? Maybe. At best they're just using Israel and Jews for their own dirty work. But there is one thing that I do know.

All the above that I mentioned are no friends of Israel nor Jews. They think they are, but they are not. In fact if anything, these types are nothing but shameful opportunists who along with some token Jews by their side continuously bogart their way into matters they truly have no real altruistic concern over.

So enough of this. And now for something completely different. Or maybe not.

The MORE Caucus team photo has just come out.