Monday, December 28, 2020

Transparency From UFT on Observations and Evaluations Negotiations Is a Must!

So we are almost at the end of the year and it is safe to say that no one has had an official observation or evaluation as of yet. Yes, administrators can pop in on teachers either virtually or in person any time they wish to. I welcome such informal "pop ins." This virtual teaching is new to all of us and I would welcome a second set of eyes and ears. This is what observations
should be about. Helping a teacher grow. 

But of course, using APPR in these times is like trying to fit a round peg into a too small square hole. There is no way to measure student progress. The Regents have been canceled and there is no way, no how that there will be standardized testing this year. So what to do?

Look to our union and its leadership for direction and for having our backs unconditionally. 

WTF did I just say? I think the cleaning solution emanating from the kitchen is affecting my brain. 

At the DA of December 16 Mike Mulgrew was asked what is going on with observations.

His response started off well...

There are no observations, and there is no APPR. State has said will be done through collective bargaining. DOE wants to use S and U system. 

OK, what is wrong with that? The state has shown wisdom and left it up to each district and it's bargaining partner to come to an agreement. That's how it should be. As for the S or U, yes it can be manipulated, but I'll accept it. 

Numbers tell us that's not great. When you use authentic student learning, not standardized testing, teachers are better off. 

Describe actual student learning instead of standardized testing. How then are we better off? What about the rest of the crap teachers who fall under APPR are subject to? That can be easily manipulated. And what numbers are we talking about? Specifics please. 

We get thousands of Us because people had fights with admin

Yeah, and thousands of ineffectives and  developings because people had fights with admins. Best way to end shitty observations and evaluations at the hands of admins? Start making them accountable for lying, cheating, and bullshitting on evaluations. 

We want to figure out a baseline of authentic learning, only for this year. Will only be used this year. None at this point.

So we are, or rather, the UFT along with the DOE will figure out what is authentic learning? Is there a baseline to figure out how to get a baseline of what authentic learning is? Is it not possible that authentic learning will look different in classes which are face to face than remote? Or even devices used in remote learning? For instance, I am sure the students at an elementary school in Riverdale have all the latest laptops with all the bells, whistles, and doo dads. The students in the South Bronx are stuck with shitty, shitty iPads. 

May finish by early January

A deal might be in place by the end of January? Will teachers be allowed to have any input? Will teachers be allowed to vote on such a deal? 

But say if there is a deal. With February coming next what with it being a short month and a vacation to boot, evaluations probably won't commence until March. Is that fair to the hard working teachers to have their careers and livelihoods judged for such a short amount of teaching? It'll be less than eighty instructional days to judge teachers on some makeshift, never before tried evaluation system. Geez, it might be longer than March for the first observations. Administrators will have to be trained, no? 

And what is the rush to have this by the end of January? The DOE wants it? FUCK THEM! How often do we want something and the DOE slow walks it, takes their sweet ass time? Let's turn the tables. Slow walk this. Wait until May to come to an agreement. 

We also need protocols, with people demanding things from online classrooms.

Good answer. We do need protocols. We need guardrails. What are they going to be?

We have silliness of demands they get access as a teacher into my classroom. What that tells me is admin is incompetent. If it's a school program, they have access and don't know how to run their own programs.

And these silly demands can creep into an evaluation agreement. This is what keeps teachers up at night. That incompetent admins that will put into practice a makeshift, never before tried evaluation system. Teachers really don't  trust the UFT not to cave to the DOE's whims. 

Let's do something different. Agree with the DOE and CSA that it is verkakte out there and try something new. No observations or evaluations. Let's think outside the box. Let's have true collaboration for the remainder of the year. Teachers and admins we can get together and sing Kumbaya and work together as a team to do what's right for the students and the communities of our schools. 

Know what the UFT can do? Be transparent. Why can't the UFT share with us along every step of the way the process of it's negotiations with the DOE? Why wait for a once a month meeting in which only by the grace of luck, someone asks Mulgrew a question about observations and evaluations?

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Hey UFT, Will We Ever Be Made Whole for Losing Spring Break?

Not wanting to sound like a broken record, I shall forego mentioning how I have been patiently waiting for several months as to whether or not a transcript exists of the October arbitration meeting/hearing concerning our retro.

Instead, I would like to openly ask the UFT as to the whereabouts of the monies we are owed for giving up our Spring break this past April. 

We, meaning the rank and file, receive zero voluntary updates from the UFT and the only time we get info is if some teacher is lucky enough to get past the guardrails during a town hall or a delegate assembly. 

So UFT, where is our spring break monies. It is now almost a year since we had the spring break rug pulled out from under us, show us the money.

At the very least, show us, the dues paying members, something concrete, like a paper trail, that we can see so that we know it is moving forward. 

Thanks to Arthur Goldstein and his blog NYCEducator, exec boards meetings, town halls, and DA's are now archived. The Crack Team found three instances of the S word mentioned.

There was the most recent DA of December 16, 2020...

"...City has given notice that tomorrow is an instructional day. Last year they forced us to report during spring break. We had a ruling that remote is instructional and when we're out of COVID our first act will be to seek compensation."

The town hall of October 15, 2020...

Q: What about medical accommodations after December 31st and any updates on Spring Break?  

M: When arbitration is back up, we will move forward on Spring Break. Medical accommodations are based on a medical condition. We would have to do another one in Jan. Same documentation and everything.

Town Hall of September 2, 2020...

"...Dealing with the craziness that included Spring break which still needs to be dealt with."

 So many questions. Let's start with the DA from December. The statement does going to arbitration to seek compensation pertain to NYC school not closing during a major snowstorm? Or is this being lumped in with our missing of spring break? Why when COVID is over will the UFT wait to seek compensation? Why not now? 3020-a hearings are going on. The DOE doesn't seem to want to wait until "COVID is over to ruin a teacher's life. Why must the DOE wait to go to arbitration? 

For the answer President Mulgrew gave at the town hall of October 15, again, it seems that arbitration is now back up. Where in the pipeline is our monies? How long does the process take? 

But just six weeks earlier we were told that the craziness of Spring break still needs to be dealt with. So where in the process of recovering our monies, were we on September 2? 

This is a trust issue. There are too many stories too often. Worse, there is no transparency. Why can't the rank and file be privy to the process? Why can't we verify the process is happening? For instance, yes, the transcript of the arbitration hearing about our retro. 

Two instances that show a disdain for reality have troubled me. One of the many reasons why teachers take the spoken word from the UFT with a grain of salt. One was an answer to a question Mulgrew gave back at the town hall in November. He was asked when is the DOE sending out emails that accommodations were good until the end of the school year. And before I go on, it was a good thing the UFT did in getting those accommodations extended without getting a second's doctor's note. I'll give credit where credit is due.

The teacher was rightly concerned. It was November 23, and she had yet to hear back. However, I did at the time of the town hall. Mulgrew replied that it takes time and that the DOE sends emails out in batches going in alphabetical order. Z is for Zucker. Z is the last letter in the alphabet. I go last. But I got my email. This is making an answer up as you go along. 

The same crap happened at this month's DA. Mulgrew was asked something about the vaccine and when and how teachers will receive it. He rambled on for a few minutes, seemingly making it up as he went along. 

 I mean come on! I was texting back and forth with a member of The Crack Team in both instances. We both couldn't believe our ears.

This then becomes a credibility problem. I would rather hear, "I don't have any fucking idea," or at the very least put someone else on to answer the question or say "I will find out."

Meanwhile, where is our Spring break monies? Give us a real update. I'm owed about $4,500 and would like to have it. We don't want days added to our CAR. We don't want comp time. We want cold hard cash. Preferably, through direct deposit.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hey UFT, Show the Rank and File the Retro Arbitration Transcript!

 I am so not into today's Delegate Assembly. I usually sign up right away, but I am getting bored with the
same old same old. Besides I am kind of fed up.

Back in October's town hall, I asked a fairly innocuous  question...

"Is there a transcript of the arbitration hearing concerning our retro check and if so, when will it be made available to rank and file."

I received an email back from "John." In the email he shared with me that he is  following up with those that were involved and will get back to me. The email was sent on October 20. Today is December 16. 

I again asked the question at last month's town hall. As of today I did not get an email back.

I get it. I am not going to get picked to ask a question in a town hall or a DA? I don't genuflect. I am not a member of Unity. I am not a chapter leader. But at least have the decency to not only email me back but to answer my question honestly. 

So I am typing this and listening to the DA at the same time. I pressed zero as soon as I answered the call for the DA and spoke to Michael who took my question and was going to relay it. I am waiting.

What is the UFT hiding? If there isn't a transcript, let me know. If there is a transcript why can't I or any other member of the rank and see it? Doesn't the UFT wish for transparency? Transparency would easily do away with any rumors, innuendoes, and accusations that are going around concerning the leadership of the UFT. 

I'll make it easy for the UFT. I'll agree to go to a private room at 52 Broadway with other Unity people. Let me read the transcript without taking notes. Heck, I'll leave my phone at the security desk in the lobby. Better,  I'll strip down to my rather fashionable boxer briefs to assure there is no monkey business. 

If there is a transcript, I'd rather deal with the UFT in knowing if there is one and actually being able to read it. I guess the other method would be filing a FOIL request with the city and asking for it that way. I'm sure I can find someone, somewhere, in a different caucus other than Unity to file the FOIL request.

What's bothering me, what got me going about seeing the transcript is something Mulgrew said at the October DA which raised my eyebrow...

...and then on October 2 I asked for confirmation they were processing payment. Asked again.

 He knew something was up on October 2. Twelve days before we were told we would not be getting our retro monies on  October 15. There is no reason we could not have gotten a heads up sooner. This is what makes members question the UFT. This is what makes the rank and file nuts. 

By the way, the question portion of the DA has ended. My questions wasn't chosen. What a shocker.

Let's try this again. Is there or isn't there a transcript of the arbitration concerning the retro monies? A simple yes or no will suffice.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Social Studies Teacher With Fake Bronx Accent Thinks She is Down With Her Students

About two weeks ago I, along with others, were involved in a Twitter kerfuffle with a Bronx Social Studies teacher. The topic at hand was how this teacher is appropriating the culture of her students of color. She has a Youtube channel in which she raps and talks in a phony Bronx accent. I felt that in addition into appropriating culture her actions were condescending and patronizing of her students and their living environment. This teacher, who has only been teaching 4 years took the time to insult ATRs, insinuate that chapter leaders are teachers that have outlived their usefulness, has zero empathy for teachers who sought accommodations, and is basically a know it all.

In light of yesterday's blog post a reader and former subject of a series of blog posts on these pages, the Lunch Teacher wanted to shine a light on reality. The Lunch Teacher first became aware of this teacher by reading the Twitter feed of two weeks ago and was not pleased. She asked if she could write a guest post and after consultation with The Crack Team we agreed. No money changed hands. The teacher in question was given a pseudonym, "The Hip Hop Lady Teacher." We will not publish her name or her social media at all. social media at all.

Here now, the words of the Lunch Teacher:

Hip Hop Lady Teacher, I hear you. I do. I even feel you. Wanting to do bad ass teaching and saving this racist world that your forefathers created. Coming to the Bronx like a “modern day” Christopher Columbus to realize that your students can help you share your visions of a new world. 

I hear you talking about “racism” and how kids from the Bronx can open up about it and rewrite their own history. Here’s a good idea. Teach racism and equity in your own neighborhoods (Sound Shore of Connecticut) so that they can. This will make the world a better place. Brown kids don’t need a lesson on racism and equity. Your neighborhood (Sound Shore of Connecticut) kids do. Plus, the fact that you are a Social Studies teacher trained in the United States coupled with a white world (Sound Shore of Connecticut) perspective adds to the “racism “ issue that you so long to ram down your Bronx students’ necks you exploit through solicited donations. The first donators should be the admins in your school. Putting your students on display as if they need a “fixin”.

You say you have found ways to enhance the New York State curriculum to make it culturally relevant. Care to share? Because another picture of a civil rights black face or a Hispanic entertainer isn’t going to do it. 
Did you know the most commonly use American history textbook in this country is something called the “Americans”.  It’s 1200 pages. In the 1200 pages there is one paragraph with a sub heading on discrimination in the north. Within that one paragraph there is one sentence on housing discrimination. If we don’t do a better job of teaching our young people true history they will be in as poor a position to remedy it. There’s a national myth that determines the policy alternatives that we were able to conceal under our constitutional system. If racial segregation happened by accident it can only be undone by accident but if racial segregation happened as a result of explicit public policy then explicit public policy can improve it. Not an act of tangibility. Understanding this history is a precondition of going forward.

A black or Hispanic cannot act too black or too Hispanic in a white neighborhood. Ask your Hispanic students how they feel speaking Spanish around you as their white teacher. (You’ll probably not get an honest answer) Can you imagine a black teacher in a white school acting like you? Because that’s what you are doing. It’s an act like putting on black face.

The lexicography of hip hop was not meant for all ears hence it even repels those who cannot interpret let alone translate its message because it can be foreign to outsiders. It is a social political movement meant to be taken seriously, respected and not fronted. Its pillars all have socioeconomic roots, every one of them. You would not be able to call any of your male students B-boy and not get a look of disrespect. And no, the B doesn’t stand for black or brown. Another tidbit, jump around, which is a copy of the Harlem Shuffle by Bob and Earl, the white national and Trump rally rap anthem is seen in the Boogie Down (South)Bronx as a generic copy, further shows how culturally inept you are.

Do you even know where the name Boogie and the meaning from which it derives or Hip Hop for that matter? If I could assume you don’t know (you should and am glad if you do) how much more do you assume of your students in the not Boogie Down Bronx? Let me give you a geography lesson. You do not teach in the Boggie Down Bronx unless you teach in the South Bronx. But Damn! There it goes again!! People coming in and changing things!

“Fixing” kids in the Bronx won’t wake them into accepting white privilege any more than accepting you as part of any solution but actually as part of the problem. Equity? Simple. What you are allowed to do in a school in the Bronx you would never be allowed to do in your neighborhood school (Sound Shore of Connecticut). I know, you came to win, let her begin, so jump out yo seat and jump around, jump jump jump! Keep it real Hip Hop Lady Teacher. You won’t get away with anything less in the Bronx especially in the Boggie Down (where you perhaps didn’t send your resume). Just assuming! Promise us one thing, if ever any of your evaluating officers seem to be violating students’ rights please keep us posted as to how you are transferring your “jump” energy to protect them, K?

social media at all.


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The MORE Caucus Tweets Itself in the Foot Yet Again (Will They Ever Learn?)

So through this summer and into September the MORE Caucus was advocating for either; a) 100% remote learning or b) a strike so there would be 100% remote learning or c) anything else as long as MORE was seen in a positive manner. None of what they overtly wished for came true. However, they did take credit for the version of remote learning we have now. But remember this for later in this post how they wanted the buildings closed.

This year has been toughest on the students of New York City. I can only speak from my perspective (I am co-teaching remotely in an elementary school). But I see the students in the students who do not have the proper devices, the students in shelters, the students with no structure nor support at home. It is tough and it sucks. 

I see it with my 19 year old son, coming home in March and having no structure and going to online class in his underwear. His grades were not great. There are also students who are thriving in this remote style learning. The boring and binding shackles of the school day are off and they can finally learn at their own pace. 

But what we can not do is to paint a picture with a broad brush. We do not know every story and we can't say because they are white, or they are of color, or because one is a member of this or that social class that X, Y, or Z will happen. 

That is unless we are talking about MORE and what it has become.

Nice. Aren't we trying to get above this MORE? Oh, please MORE, this is wrong and you know it. Want to say whiny little bitches, people that are out of touch, assholes, go right ahead. But this is not right.

We here at SBSB showed this tweet to one of The Crack Team's honorary members. This is what this member had to say; 

"MORE wants all remote which hurts black kids and parents who need work plus shelter kids. But since higher percentage of black parents keep kids home they play the race card that it’s the  white parent demands influencing de Blasio decisions which is partially true as they fear losing white parents" 

Several things pop into my head and the The Crack Team's response.  

MORE is and will always be opportunistic. It's like group narcissism over there. Whatever will benefit MORE in shining that positive blue light upon them that's what matters. They will say something on a Tuesday and contradict what they said the day before.

MORE also still is of the mind set that all people of color (Blacks and Hispanics) all have the same experiences, the same life stories, and the same wants and needs. Depending on your whether you are Puerto Rican or Domincan, African-American or Jamaican. (I can go on and on) Not every one of DOE's minority populations can be painted with the same brush. MORE, thinks they can do it. And their paint keeps missing the canvass. 

Why does MORE still proverbially continue to step in what the dog left behind? A couple of reasons. They are a top down, cult of personality organization. They have eradicated all democratic norms since the infamy of the Purge of 2018. And too many white, liberal, young teachers who teach at small, good schools. 

These younglings are mostly new and non tenured teachers that are in their 20's thinking they know what is best for boys and girls of color even though most of them have never socialized with people of color until they moved to Brooklyn on mommy and daddy's dime. They think they know the urban culture, they think they are down. They act all hip and down, but they're not. You can't be that way when you are shopping for artisanal mayonnaise. As one SBSB group put it, "Spend time in the BoogiedownBronx, and then you can talk!" 

With tweets like the one above how does MORE intend to sell itself as a viable alternative to a Unity run UFT? Yeah, it must be nice for the MORE upper echelon to feel like Jim Jones at a MORE meeting with the younglings sitting in awe. But that is not a way to build a caucus nor would it be a way to run a union. Do teachers that live in Staten Island wants to know or read such tweets? In Westchester? On Long Island? How is MORE showing any teacher it can lead and more importantly, make the right choices and decisions? 

MORE represents .005% of the rank and file with that tweet. They need to start worrying about the entire rank and file. But not to worry. It will never happen.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

What is UFT Hiding in Not Releasing Retro Aribitration Transcript?

Tomorrow is a UFT Town Hall. I think these town halls show the UFT is being proactive somewhat and somewhat transparent. But how much of it is substance and how much of it is for show? 

Something like this should have been done a long, long time ago in a reality that was too far away. Mulgrew or whomever was UFT president should have had these town hall face to face in each borough every month. The ATR meetings in November I have appreciated but instead of once a year should have been every month. 

Each town hall I have pressed zero to ask a question. I used to get Rasheed, lately it seems like some retiree. It used to be that someone from the upper echelon of the UFT emailed you back. But that is if you weren't amongst the chosen to formally ask Mulgrew a question. No longer, now you get some anonymous hack emailing you back a question. One thing did improve, we don't hear the same Flat Stanley question time after time in a town hall.

My gut tells me the teachers that get to ask question publicly and their questions are pre-screened. It just makes sense. The numbers I have heard on a town hall phone call are over 10k. How is it that of all these town halls, all the pissed off teachers, all the thousands of teachers there has not been one teacher to dare question Mulgrew's leadership? To scream? To rant? To curse? To mock? Statistically, this is impossible. How many callers would call Mike Francesa to mock him and/or rant in just a single hour?

So last month I came up with a good question. It was about the arbitration hearing with our retro pay. I asked this question due to Mulgrew sharing this at last month's town hall...

Many of you have written me about it. We always anticipate bad things. We plan for bad days as teachers. Didn't talk to city about it at all, and then on October 2 I asked for confirmation they were processing payment. Asked again. I then called, knowing members would check paychecks.

 October 2nd he had a hunch what was going on. He could've shared this with us. He didn't. But, I thought, the arbitration meeting, it must've been transcribed. I asked (click to enlarge)...

I asked if there is a transcript of the arbitration hearing and if so when can the rank and file expect to see such transcript. The email I received was dated October 20, 2020, and I followed up on November 18, 2020. As of today, November 22, 2020, I have heard hide nor hair from the UFT concerning my transcript request. If there is a transcript, the DOE and/or the city must have said transcript. Perhaps a FOIL request can be filed? 

Transparency. That's not very much to ask for. Let's see the transcript. Why is it taking so long to respond whether or not a transcript exists? Or even just an audio recording of the arbitration. There is enough skepticism about the process last month with our retro. Prove the skeptics wrong. Release the audio and/or transcript of the arbitration. 

A lot of us got really screwed with half a retro check this year. I think it is only fitting that we know the full truth on how we are out half our retro.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jethro's Plight

I got off the phone about 20 minutes ago with a teacher that has been in the Rubber Room 18 months and is still awaiting their hearing which has been pushed back several times and probably won't be heard until at least after March 2021. 

This teacher, for anonymity sake will henceforth be known as Jethro, is beside themself with fear and anxiety. Jethro's biggest fear is, "How will I be believed?"

I explained to Jethro that the job of your lawyer is to build up your credibility and reduce the credibility of the witnesses. Yeah, it is a fine line. But any competent lawyer should be able to do this. And I get it, this can cause anxiety and fear. 

If you go through this blog there are many instances of teachers being accused for something they didn't say, didn't do, or something they said or did and it was taken out of context. And for whatever reason their accuser, DOE legal decided to take these teachers words and/or deeds and use them as a sword against these teachers. A vicious bloody sword. 

Heck, I can empathize with Jethro. I know what it was and still is at times, to have my words and deeds taken out of context. Do have words I never said and deeds I hadn't be used against me. 

Jethro feels helpless what Jethro was accused of. What Jethro did was taken out of context. Jethro's words and deeds were contorted. Some people choose fight or flight. Sometimes it just freaking easier for flight. Sometimes it is just worth it. 

Even before you get to that point, there is the dreaded discipline meeting with the principal. There your words and deeds are taken out of context. You are accused of doing something or saying something you hadn't done. I am sure this is how Jethro felt at first. Maybe Jethro wasn't debased or humiliated by their principal in a meeting but many have. I recall a teacher in which he was mocked by their principal for 10 minutes in denying something they were accused of but didn't do. In fact this principal had to continue the mocking 30 minutes later in a email. Or maybe it was a text. 

People wonder why teachers are leaving in droves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New York Post Treats Remote Teachers Like Hunter Biden

 Oh, I wanted to share my experiences with remote learning, the lack of anyone at my school who is able to remotely (pardon the pun) coherently explain what to do with all this technology we have on our laps, or other issues the UFT is not being proactive about. But then the New York Post rears it's ugly head again and gosh, gee, once again it is time to defend teachers whose actions are taken out of context and maligned. 

Oh, Sue Edelman, I am sad. I thought you was cool. Or getting cool. Or at least
were in the process of leaving the Dark Side. 

On Sunday, November 7, 2020, the Post in an article penned by Edelman uncovered (as one can be certain by the same quality reporting chops and without reproach ethics that the Post has shown towards Hunter Biden) that (HEAVENS TO MURGATROYD!!!) two, yes TWO, teachers appeared to be teaching unconventionally. 

One teacher was caught on camera teaching from the back seat of a car. Or as Edelman "reported"...

“She was teaching class like she normally does, but she was in a car,” the student told The Post, asking to remain anonymous to avoid repercussions. “I was, like, ‘Hey, my teacher’s in a car.’”

But the student did not hear nor know of why the teacher was in the car. Interesting. And neither did Sue Edelman. 

Could it be that the teacher was out for lunch (Sue, is it OK for teachers eat lunch?) and her car broke down? And, being the dedicated teacher she is she went on her phone in an Uber? That certainly is plausible. Or there could be a myriad of other reasons, no? 

Another teacher, according to Sue's "reporting"...

an English teacher "conducted a lesson while reclining in a hammock in his backyard as his own kids played", the student said.

According to the student the teacher ...

"...was in a hammock interacting with his kids during the lesson,”

So the teacher is in a hammock. Prove he was. Interacting with his children? Ages of children? What is context of the interacting? Again Sue, what is the context? Was this teacher contacted? Was the previous teacher contacted? 

Gee Sue, my cat has a colon issue. If she splatters cat doody on the walls, should I just do nothing? I mean I do have a co-teacher. Or should a teacher not do anything if a loved one they live with suddenly starts dying? Or what to do about a crying baby? Or a fire?

Please Sue, don't compare the ethics of NYC teachers to the people at the Post who decide to take a washed up mayor's word on what is on a hard drive. There is a big difference. 

It must have been a slow news day to just out of the blue vilify to teachers for no reason at all. 

Sue, I am disappointed. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

When a UFT Victory is Not Really a Victory

 We are hearing the word "victory" bandied about quite a bit, in the last several days since Friday's arbitration hearing. The UFT is claiming victory for defending our earned retro pay that is owed us from 2009-2014. Yes, I am happy that we will be getting it. Though not quite as happy receiving two payments as opposed to one. This is a victory for the city and a loss for the UFT and the rank and file. De Blasio knew exactly what he was doing. 

It was no coincidence that DeB notified the city a week before our we would have received our retro. DeB and the city knew over the summer they were going to try to pull this off. But if they announced it in the summer there would have been talks first. Talks drag on. That would not have benefited the city. 

What to do? Take advantage of the clause in the MOA that anything concerning the retro would go straight to arbitration. Yes, the rank and file should be grateful that the UFT made the clause was part of the MOA. But guess what? That clause was taken advantage of by the city as well. In fact they were hoping for it to be invoked. They got their wish.

Why did the city wish to go to arbitration? Think of this old saying; "You never know how a jury will rule." In this case, an arbitrator. The city had nothing to lose, the UFT everything to lose. There's already a doo-doo storm (The Crack Team had informed me that in the last blog post there were too many naughty words) over the retro being split in two payments. Imagine what would happen if the arbitrator found for the city? 

pyrrhic the UFT was forced to negotiate from a defensive posture. It had no choice but, and for lack of a better word, to cave. James Eterno made a good point on his blog that the arbitrator did not decide this. But rather,  the case was settled between the parties. It was a consent degree. The city had Mulgrew by his proverbial goodies (Again, no naughty words). 

I do disagree slightly with James about that if we didn't get our entire payment in full we should have gone right to court. Again, using the old adage, there is no assurance how a judge would rule. But that's a chance we would have had to take. 

The city wanted something in return, and they got it. After my initial shock on hearing the news Thursday night I figured that out. But what did the city want? My guess was that we would have to furlough 5 days. I was wrong. But no one gets something for nothing. And it is always the UFT giving something for nothing. 

This stunt the city pulled never would have been attempted with the cops, the firefighters, sanitation workers, corrections officers, or any other city union. Again and again the teachers and the UFT are used to go #2 on (again, no naughty words). 

There are many teacher's that adjusted their TDA's and now are screwed. There are many teachers that were counting on this check to catch up on bills and now are screwed. But again, the perception is WE DON'T MATTER. 

This is nothing but a pyrrhic win by the UFT and they are backslapping themselves whilst sipping champagne. This was a gimme putt an inch from the hole.  

What should be done? Openness to begin with. Make public the transcript between the parties and the arbitrator. Put it up on the UFT website. We should demand it. Show us proof there was some negotiations. Show us proof what the UFT had to offer and/or say. Same with the city. These time demand clear candor on the part of the UFT. It is time. 

And the UFT must answer these questions post haste: 1)What is the status of the upcoming per session retro pay and, 2)what of those that are in my situation that will still be owed a payment in October 2021? 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Time For De Blasio to F**k the Cops Same Way He Does Teachers

I am really getting tired of this shit with the retro pay. How can such a simple thing

be so fucked up? 

I was suspended in 2015 when the first payment went out. Of course I found out that suspended meant technically "on leave" so I was to get nothing. In 2016 there was to be no retro pay for anyone, some type of religious and/or spiritual retro leap year. For 2017, I was all excited because I was told that since I did not get retro in 2015 my retro check would be doubled. This info coming from several within the UFT. Nope. I just got 12 1/2%. Same in 2018, but my check was short by $700 or so because the DOE claimed they overpaid me the previous year. I did a payroll grievance and never really saw definitive proof. This year, well, we know how we are getting fucked for 2020. And this is not supposed to be my last payment. I still have a payment next year.

My 2018 Per Session retro check never came. Why you ask? Because even though I got a per session retro check the previous year, when I called per session payroll they shared with me that I had not worked per session between 2009-2014. But, I implored the crazy person I was talking to, if this were true how then did I get per session last year? On the day of the grievance, they realized they were wrong (I really wish there were a faceplam emoji on this dang blogger).

But enough of me.

So now it has come to this. Something so simple to handle became a shitstorm. Every union in the city got a lump sum retro check except the UFT. Of course, that is how the universe is supposed to work. Other unions get over on the city we take it up the ass day after fucking day. 

But why do we have to give back in this time of need? What about the NYPD? 

Did you know that each and every non-disability retired member of the NYPD, and the FDNY receives a Christmas bonus of $12k? Why, you ask? 

Let's go to Staten Island Live and find out...

The payment emerged from an agreement made between union and city leaders in 1968 at a time when the city was trying to increase its investment return of pension funds by diversifying portfolios.

Wait, there is more. A report by the non-partisan Citizens Budget Commission says these so called bonuses weaken the pension plans of of all city employees. In fact CBC Vice President Maria Doulis says...

“Phasing out or eliminating the VSF should be part of the mayor and City Council’s agenda in Albany next year,”

Think how much money the city can save? Yet, the rank and file cop will never have his or her "perks" cut. Because God forbid someone says something or does something bad against the cops. Mind you, I am not denouncing police nor for defunding the police. I'm just pointing out unfairness/

But if a FDNY or NYPD member retires in their mid 40's they can be collection for over forty years. Can't the NYPD or FDNY share the pain? Of course not, their union presidents would go batshit crazy!!!!!!

NYPD officers also receive almost $1k a year, $980 in uniform allowance. For a few shirts and pants? And black Skechers? Every uniform cop? Or is this every cop, including detectives? What about a cop that is a house mouse? He or she is never getting the uniform dirty. Can't that be reduced during this time of need? Our Teacher's Choice money is always fucked with. Why not fuck with NYPD's uniform allowance? Aren't materials for our students just as important as nice looking uniforms for cops? Besides a lot of cops still live with their mommies so mom can clean and press the uniforms to keep it looking nice. Mommy can clean the donut stains.

NYPD officers also receive $2k in January and July for holiday pay. Why not not give it out this January and this past July? Can't the cops of New York City take one for the team? 

Cops are still getting their overtime? Heck, guess what? In a few short weeks NYPD will be on 12 hour shifts. Every day. Where is our overtime?

But as I was writing this just about 10 minutes ago at 6:01 PM EDT I found that the UFT and the city reached agreement. 50% in October, 50% in July, no layoffs, 3% raise in May.

 Back to our regularly scheduled program.

If De Blasio really wished to save money within the DOE? Stop with the waste. Stop with elementary schools with enrollment under 500 students have multiple AP's. Across the board 20% pay cuts for all non union sycophantic wastes of human life that work at Tweed. Two coaches or whatever they are called per school. There are too many schools that are top heavy with positions filled by those that suckle at the sphincter of the principal. Shit the school I am at has 2 principals, about 4 or 5 useless coaches as well as a useless UFT center person. Go figure.

Time for the De Blasio to grow a set of balls with the NYPD. Make cuts to their perks. Not permanent of course, but temporary. Teachers are just as important, but in a different way, than cops. At least we don't kill people of color. 

And while we are at it. Where the frig is my pay for giving up my spring vacation? I figure that is about $4500 I am missing out on. Yeah, I know. The cops gave up their days off and vacations in July when they went to 12 shifts, 7 days a week. But they were getting OVERTIME. It helps.

Lastly, my dad used to tell me that no one can take advantage of you unless you give them permission. Think about it. We and the UFT keep getting fucked. We give the UFT permission. The UFT gives De Blasio permission. Time we do the fucking.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Time for the UFT to Retain Lawyer Bryan Glass

Have you ever had the "what the fuck" moment with the UFT? Wait, dumb question. We all
Über Teacher Lawyer Bryan Glass
have. Again, what the fuck are they thinking or waiting for?

One would kind of assume that after last night's news dump that it will be OK for students to have asynchronous learning four days a week that a light bulb would have appeared over 52 Broadway. Not just a light bulb representing an idea but as a beacon for the students, the communities, and the teachers of New York City. Sadly it was not to be.

The city and the DOE keep on trying to create chicken salad out of chicken shit. They show time and time again that they have know idea what their doing. There is no plan. There is "let's see if this works," and cross their fingers it will. They do this not only due to their incompetency, but the enabling and silence coming from the UFT.

This afternoon as I was walking into Pet Smart, I get a news alert from LoHud. NYSUT, unhappy with looming budget cuts decided to sue the state. This was around 4 PM if memory serves. Not too long ago a New York State budget spokesman announced that the state will not withhold any money. The threat of a lawsuit apparently works. See?

Hint, hint UFT. Lawsuits work. Lawyers can do the job. Here's some free advice. 

Hire Bryan Glass. Not tomorrow, not next week when their is chaos, hire him now. Tonight. Right this very minute. This is a no-brainer. I can attest to Bryan's professionalism and resourcefulness. Hundreds of teachers within the DOE can do the same. This makes perfect sense. Who wouldn't want to hire Bryan?

Bryan has saved the careers of many a teacher and won many teachers a nice cash settlement. Bryan has also gone up against big odds and pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. 

Bryan's consultation fee is quite reasonable as is his retainer. His email address was posted on last night's post,or contact him through his website.

Bryan has an office in Lower Manhattan with could be an amiable meeting place or he can come to you. Or if you wish, Bryan can meet you at the Wegmans in Montvale.

Let Bryan take the city and DOE to court. He has a track record. He won a case on Monday. He can do this again. The schools shouldn't open. Bryan can make the UFT look good. 

The ball is in your court UFT. Pick up the phone and call Bryan Glass. It might be the best phone call the UFT has ever made.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The UFT Never Misses an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity

For those that have lived in a cave for the last 24 hours, Solidarity, led by Lydia Howrilka here) who did not have underlying medical conditions but lived in fear for those they lived one did. and represented in court by über teacher lawyer Bryan Glass won a Temporary Restraining Order for the five plaintiffs (Read decision

What happens next? The TRO only pertains to the five plaintiffs and expires on Monday, September 21. Plus, the Corporation Counsel according to a source is not appealing the TRO, and the judge in the case is welcoming affidavits for other teachers who feel that they are in the same situation as the original five plaintiffs. Email Bryan Glass for more information. Immediately. Affidavits must be in no later than 6 PM EDT Thursday, September 17.

No on to bigger and sadder things.

The UFT, the Unity part of the UFT, could have had this victory. I saw this decision coming and not just because Bryan Glass is the attorney. It made sense. Five teachers, all with loved ones with Centers for Disease Control underlying conditions. A mayor and a schools chancellor that day in and day out not only spew inane contradictory blabber out of their mouths but have time and time again shown that the only reason to re-open school building is that each need to know that all is OK in the phallus department for them.

What does the UFT do? Does it play offense? Not exactly. They were playing what Warner Wolf termed the Giants offense back in the late 70's. The UFT was playing a "prevent offense." The UFT just didn't want to punch the ball into the end zone. They could've. The had the resources to. They just didn't want to.

Yes, Mike Mulgrew for most of August was talking strike. "Wow," some people said, "Mulgrew is being proactive." But striking would not have been a good idea. I laid down why a strike would not have worked two weeks ago. But seeking injunctive relief in keeping schools closed would have been a winner.

One of the advantages in going to court, the city and the DOE would be have not only been forced to lay out their re-opening plans but would have been forced to defend contradictory, ever changing, and unsafe reopening. The city and the DOE would be defending the indefensible. The UFT, on the other hand would show that only the union had the safety and welfare of the students, the school communities, and yes, the teachers as a priority.

With winning in court and keeping the school from reopening the UFT is letting the judge make the decision. The UFT won't have the public perception of turning it's backs on our most vulnerable. The UFT could've had the city and DOE as the villains, as the ones that are usurping education and the re-opening.

The UFT could have had their own plan for 100% remote learning which as of this evening, 9:01 PM EDT on September 15, 2020, the DOE hasn't figured out.

But with a strike, there is always the threat of scabs. Not so with a court ruling. With a court ruling no risk of 2 for 1, or losing automatic checkoff. Teachers would still get paid. The UFT would have had hand. They could've negotiated from a position of strength. The clock is running out for the UFT to proudly take its gonads show them off to the rank and file.

In the mean time the latest I heard is 55 teachers testing positive for COVID. In several schools the teachers are refusing to enter the buildings, photos on Facebook and Twitter of mold in classrooms, schmutz on vents, windows that open have an inch, and too many schools with not enough PPE. Hey, how is that agreement going so far?

And lest we forget the numbers are going up for students who are doing full remote and the DOE is still 10k teachers short.

Time for 52 Broadway to bring in the big guns, and act in a big way.

Sunday, September 13, 2020


As we all know, UFT Solidarity led by Lydia Howrilka filed a complaint against the DOE two weeks ago and arguments were just heard this past Friday, September 11. The complaint names five people as plaintiffs and they are being represented by über teacher lawyer Bryan Glass

Originally, Bryan and Solidarity were going to seek injunctive relief for total remote learning. But Bryan, being the lawyer he is with amazing intuitive skills believed that it was a reach. Bryan narrowed the complaint down to seeking to broaden the scope of acceptable accommodations (for instance, those who don't meet any of the CDC guidelines) to those who live with a family member that does meet the CDC guidelines. Bryan felt that many districts in New Jersey are offering this type of accommodation and felt this was the surest way to success. Bryan is always many steps ahead.

The plaintiffs are four dedicated teachers, and one dedicated substitute teacher. The defendants are the NYC DOE and his majesty, Chancellor Carranza.

The Crack Team has been able to get a copy of the complaint filed by Bryan Glass and it is being presented publicly for the first time here on SBSB. A source has shared with The Crack Team that a decision is due this week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Why A Strike Could've Been Problematic

A strike would have been financially difficult for me as I am sure it would have been for many others. A strike shouldn't be called for all willy nilly like one caucus keeps on calling
for. People have financial obligations as well as familial obligations. The vast majority of us don't live in a fantasy bubble and/or have mommy and daddy to fall back on to maintain one's hipster Brooklyn lifestyle.

Having said that, I would have voted for a strike and supported a strike. I think the UFT was hasty in calling for a strike. In my opinion, they should have done like Solidarity and sought injunctive relief in the courts first. I don't see how they would have not prevailed in court and in all probability we would have gotten a much better deal.

But a strike would have been difficult for several reasons. And I am not talking about the loss of pay, the loss of dues check off, loss of tenure. Not to mention, possibly the two interpretations (UFT vs DOE) of a strike is allowed due to safety reasons.

How do we picket? Imagine we are on strike. We are on strike due to a concern of getting COVID-19. We don't want to be in crowded and unclean places with a lot of people. Right? Guess what? That's what basically a picket line is. Crowded. Some of the schools that will be picketed the areas are not healthy. How then can we justify picketing if we justify not being in the school buildings? Yes, I understand there is a difference. With picketing everyone will be socially distant, wearing masks, and be outside. But that's reality. People don't care about reality. They care only about perception. But if there is a way to picket remotely, I am all for that.

So say there is no picketing. At least with picketing you can keep tabs on who crosses the line and discourage those that are thinking of it. But picketing or no picketing, what's to keep a one from crossing the line remotely or even know if a someone is crossing the line remotely? The numbers crossing the line could be too great for those on strike to have any impact.

Lastly, and this is most important, the past knowledge of the labor movement in those, (I'm just choosing a random age) under 35 is not there the way it is for those my age and maybe ten to fifteen years younger.

My step mother was a teacher and an AP. All her friends were educators. I heard all the stories of 1968 and 1975. I heard all the time from one of her friends who told me, "You schmucks have given back everything we fought for!"  He was right. But I listened. I learned from her friends. Even as a kid we knew people who were in unions, who fought for their rights. Then, when I started teaching in 1995, there were plenty of teachers left from the sixties and seventies who imparted their experiences. Where are types those today?

But these young ones. These non-tenured fresh teachers, will they sacrifice? Even the teachers that are tenured but have less time in, will they? What about the ass kissers every building seems to have about a good half dozen of? Will they sacrifice?

I do believe those younglings from that other caucus will support a strike. I'll give credit them credit for that. But there will be many who cross ranks that are too new, too ignorant, too scared, and don't have mommy and daddy to fall back on. Plus, that Brooklyn lifestyle is tough to give up. The alternative is moving to Yonkers

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The UFT Let's Go of Balls Yet Again

Let me get this straight. Teachers are to report to their buildings on September 8. On September 16, teachers go home and all 1 million students start online. This of course and many other surprises were shared with us in a very personal email by UFT Presidenté Mike

Mulgrew. Blended learning starts September 21.

The teachers that report (And at press time neither Mulgrew nor the personal letter mentions if teachers with accommodations must report to buildings ) on September 8 which is 4 business, or school days away. Will all teachers go into the buildings already tested for COVID? Should they? Many colleges won't allow anyone in dorms before students are tested and the results come back.

Some schools have 300 staff members. Some have more, some have a lot less. Would any of the upper crust of the UFT go to a party with that many people? But yet it is safe for teachers and other staff? How do we know that? I'm sure that the DOE will have a report for each school, but how do we know it is honest and accurate? What this sounds like is that teachers once again with be the canaries in the cage and if a few die so be it and the DOE but save a few bucks.

What will be done for the 3 days of of total remote learning? How was 3 days selected? Is this an arbitrary number? Then to sow confusion even more, the "blended learning," will begin September 21. How? With whom?

Oh yeah, I have been hearing that the 6 days teachers are in the school buildings there will be intense PD on blended learning. I'm sure the DOE will go to the files of, "Making It Up as We Go Along." Where will such PD be done in a school building? Who can actually give the PD?

The UFT announcement said...

...The city has also agreed to a robust program of repeated random sampling and COVID-19 testing of adults and students present in schools. This new testing program is one of the major pieces that medical experts told us we needed. A blind representative sample, composed of 10% to 20% of all students and adults from every school, will be selected each month for COVID-19 testing.

OK, this is all well and shitty. But what about September 8. Nothing against my fellow teachers but how do we know there won't be any teachers who have COVID? Shouldn't all teachers be tested before they return on September 8? What about staff that is already in the buildings today? Have they been tested?If not, why haven't they?

There is plenty of time to get every single DOE employee tested in time for September 8. The UFT and DOE could've announced a joint plan to send staff for FREE to City MD or any hospital, etc... for testing and have the results back by Tuesday.

But only testing 10-20% of students and adults? Explain what this means? I am not a statistician, but how can there be accuracy of any infections, symptomatic or asymptomatic? Is the plan still for parents to take their children's temperature each and every morning? The same parents who send their kids to school with green snot running out of their noses? The same parents who send their kids to school with a 102 degree fever?

I know I've been saying that school would not open up on September 10. But this agreement is like putting lipstick on Bill De Blasio. It's still sucks. The UFT had the mayor and the DOE by the balls and they let go.

My son goes to Ithaca College, and I trusted their plan more than I did the DOE's. Classes were to begin online this week with students moving in over the course of September. Eventually, all students would be on campus by October 5 when in person, hybrid, and remote classes would begin. Students when the come to campus would be tested and isolated in their dorm room for 24 hours. If and when their roommate shows, the same for the roommate however they would be isolated in a hotel room for 24 hours. Dorms were to be restricted to only those that live in that dorm. It wasn't a perfect plan, but it had more thought put into it and I believe those who put it together were genuine. The mayor and DOE can't get their heads together to save their lives. And now it seems the UFT capitulated.

What should the UFT have agreed to?

A completely independent authority should have tested the buildings.

All data for each school, be it cleanliness, PPE stock, etc... should be posted daily on each schools DOE webpage.

Planning and PD for blended and/or remote learning should have begun in March, but at the very least the first two week of September.

All students and staff must be tested before their first day in a building.

Total remote learning beginning No later than September 28 and no earlier than September 21.

Starting October 5, bring students back in a scaffolded manner every two weeks. First grades Pre-3 to 1st, 2nd to 4th, 5th to 6th, 7th to 8th, and lastly all high school students. This would have been safe and with much, much less chaos. But I keep getting this feeling that DeB and Carranza are trying to placate the parents of the UWS and Brooklyn.

As for the UFT. Dang, you had them by the balls. You really did. The UFT should have gone to court first. I am not a lawyer, but I do not see how the DOE would have prevailed in court. A strike is messy. With a strike, especially now, it would be difficult to keep others united and from crossing the picket line. But that is a story for another blog post.

I don't know if Solidarity's cause of seeking injunctive relief is moot now. That's a question better left for super lawyer Bryan Glass. I'd like to see it go forward. However, it might create a shit storm. One can't hep but question the timing of the announcement today and the fact Solidarity filed today.

Word of advice to the UFT. Next time you have a mayor and/or the chancellor by the proverbial scrotal sac, don't let go. In fact, hold them and give a good squeeze every now and then to let those whose scrotum you're holding that you are still there and mean business.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

If One Child Dies of COVID-19 Blame DeBlasio and Carranza

I pray this doesn't happen. But it just might if Mayor Twiddle Dumb and Chancellor Twiddle Dumber don't get their heads out of each others asses. A child can die. Yes, teachers can die. But the NYCDOE doesn't care about teachers. The less of us the better for them. But a student dying? Due to the negligence of reopening schools? This will be a stain of blood on the hands of the mayor and the chancellor. I hope they are prepared for a news report like the


Mr and Mrs Schlomo Rabinowitz announce the passing of their son, 8 year old Throckmorton from COVID-19 this past Wednesday, November 18, 2020. 

Throckmorton was a 3rd grade student at PS 2112 in Queens. He loved school. He was so happy to return to school this past September 10 and was happy to being with his friends again. 

Throckmorton loved math and science and especially to write stories. He was a loving older brother to Harvey age 4 and Gertrude 4 months. He was a vivacious reader and loved to play baseball and watch Sponge Bob. He wanted to play for the New York Mets when he grew up and when Pete Alonso heard of his illness not only hit two home runs for him in a game, but visited him in the hospital. 

Throckmorton was part of routine testing for COVID-19 at PS 21

12 and on September 17, five days after his test, results came back positive. His parents were curious because both the chancellor and the mayor had assured the school community that everything was to be done to keep schools sanitized and for students to be socially distant. Other parents did not know of Throckmorton's positive test for 10 days. SCI is looking into this due to the fact their is a suspicion that the principal of his school as well as the district superintendent kept the test results secret. 

At first it seemed that Throckmorton was asymptomatic. But soon Throckmorton developed COVID-19 symptoms around October 1 and slipped into a coma from which he never awoke. 

Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Carranza have both spoken of their with memories of things their press people told them to say Throckmorton. Throckmorton's teacher is beside herself and has gone into hiding. She is standing by the family. 

This is, of course fiction. Please, I am not making light of this or anybody's challenge with theirs or a family member's battle with COVID-19, but this can happen with DeBlasio and Carranza in charge. Will these two be able to sleep at night? Sadly, yes. But this can happen. And it won't happen if two men put aside their pride. 

Nationwide about 406k children have contracted COVID-19. The death rate is .06%. That's 2,400 children dead. That's 2,400 too many. But go ahead and open the school Mayor DeBlasio, Chancellor Carranza. Let the blood be on your hands.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Governor Cuomo Is About to Throw DeBlasio and Carranza Under the Bus

 I still don't think the school buildings are opening September 10. Yes, the UFT threatened astrike and/or job action (sick out). I don't think it will get to that point either. But that is a story for another blog post. 

 But Twiddle Dumb and Twiddle Dumber are completely fucking this so called grand reopening up and  losing allies along the way. They have painted themselves into a corner and either too stupid, too incompetent, or just thick headed to see that the ship is sinking around them. That they can only save themselves. Or have someone save them.

That person, Twiddle Dumb and Twiddle Dumber believed was to swoop down from above and save their sorry asses is Governor Andy Cuomo. Governor Cuomo in their little minds was to be there Dark Knight and force the UFT to have teachers report. Guess what? It ain't going to happen. 

Today, on the Today Show, and according to the Post, Cuomo...

..said he had his “fingers crossed” that Big Apple schools are ready to open safely — but admitted he is not sure he’d send his own kids to one in the city.

“I would have a lot of questions,” Cuomo admitted on the “Today” show when asked if he would send his children to New York City public schools amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a risky proposition no matter how you do it, let’s be honest. We’ve seen schools open — we’ve seen colleges open — and get into trouble in one week. So there’s a lot of questions to answer,” he said.

Asked how confident he was that they were actually ready to reopen, he said, “Fingers crossed on all of this.”

Governor Cuomo knows it's over for Twiddle Dumb and Twiddle Dumber. He's prepping them. Or prepping us. But he's getting the bus ready. He's throwing both under. He won't have their incompetence sully his already sullied hands. 

The question is, does Cuomo do this bus throwing publicly, or in private? Let's hope and pray that it is a nice public throwing under the bus. I think this was his plan all along. 

Or, and I just thought of this. Will DeBlasio suck up enough to put the entire blame on Carranza and drive the bus? Either way, someone is going under that bus.