Thursday, April 23, 2020

The New York Times Goes Full Snark On Teachers

Last week I stopped at Stew Leonard's in Yonkers to pick up a few things for dinner. There
was about a 30-45 minute line to get in. A few minutes after I got on the line Stew Leonard's employee shouted, "All essential workers (first responders, health care workers, etc..) can go enter." I turned and asked, "What about teachers?" She said to go on ahead.

But thanks to the this New York Times article from April 21, some might be thinking we are no appreciative of what we have, think we are complaining too much, or both.

Off course the Times has to begin the article with snark.

According to the Times, teachers... work under meticulously negotiated contracts that detail their work hours and break times, and the rules for how they engage with administrators — contracts that now seem all but irrelevant with students and teachers confined to their homes.

Uh, yeah. We do. There is a reason we do. Just like First Responders do, just like MTA workers do, just most healthcare workers do (At least in New York City owned hospitals), even nurses in private hospitals. Sanitation workers are unionized, highway workers as well. But of course the Times must make it out to seem that only the teachers are hiding behind a collectively bargained contract. 

Irrelevant? So the contract goes out the window because we are working from home? We are therefore not entitled to a 50 minute lunch? A six hour and fifty minute day? A prep? Sick days? 

Administrators must not follow rules? Mustn't supervisors in NYPD follow rules? FDNY? Any other essential workers that work under a CBA (For those that aren't aware the C in CBA stands for COLLECTIVE which is an adjective meaning "done by people acting as a group.") The UFT collectively enters into a contract with another party, the City of New York."

 But some of these teachers are working longer hours without being compensated. According to the Times...Unions in some of America’s largest school districts have called for restrictions on the number of hours and days that teachers would be required to work from home during the pandemic.

That's because some of these teachers, many in fact, are working longer hours. All the time from home while juggling taking care of their own children.

Maybe they just want to be compensated for their extra time, or what is known as OVERTIME. NYPD cops are still afforded OVERTIME, In fact the plan is if 5k cops call in sick NYPD will go to 12 hour shifts which will include OVERTIME. Does the Times have issues with other public service employees taking advantage of the fruits of OVERTIME?

Is it possible that teachers, due to our CBA also wish for relief from supervisors that break the agreed CBA, go against agreements negotiated by the UFT and the chancellor?

From yesterday's UFT Delegate Assembly (courtesy of Arthur Goldstein) during the Q&A...
Q.How much work can principals mandate, now being told to record voice over PowerPoint. Pushing us to be onscreen as much as possible. In Kindergarten.
A--If they're mandating you be live, go to operational complaint form. Chancellor not requiring it. Why are they changing things all of a sudden? Perhaps being directed. I will check what's going on in your district. If this goes to my consultation with chancellor, will be inconvenient for AP
That's just an example.

Of course the Times has this; New York City has seen perhaps the most drastic display of unions pushing back against the new expectations placed on teachers.

Yeah, because we have been shat upon for too long and we don't trust those making decisions even though the teachers of NYC put together remote learning for 1.1 million students in 3 days.  

Think it's easy for us? How does one think it is for an average 7 year old? How does one think it is for any child old whose only escape from their home is that time spent in school? How does one think it is for four school aged children under one roof with only one laptop or just an iPad or iPhone? We know. We feel it. 

We push back because we are not generally supervised by competency or even have a background in education. I'll guarantee that any cop is supervised by someone who has been a cop and has more than 3 years of service. I will also say the same that one can't become a health care professional with only 50 hours of training. And I know if I walk into McDonald's tomorrow morning that the manager has experience working for McDonald's.

But the Times went full snark with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that spring break, scheduled to begin in early April, would be canceled for schools across the state. (Many other places did the opposite, keeping or even extending their breaks.)

New York City’s teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers, held out hope that educators could still take off for Passover and Good Friday — and was furious when Mayor Bill de Blasio kept them on the job for those religious holidays.

Why did Cuomo do what he did? Because we are babysitters. What did DeBlasio? Because him and Cuomo are battling to see who has a bigger schlong. But I think the bigger reason is this: Both were afraid of too many teenagers of color with nothing to do and out on the streets. Their donor class and Wall St whispered in their ears and asked told them to do something. 

I want to be compensated. Cops are keeping their vacations. Firefighters. Transit workers. Sanitation. School Safety. School custodial workers. Why not us?

I get it. We, as well as other professions mentioned here, are lucky we are still getting paid. I am grateful. Yes, I know people who aren't. I know people who are struggling. I wish for a speedy recovery and that the grownups will take charge soon. But it is time to stop making teachers scapegoats and having this illusion that we have it damn good.

And I know that the cops, firefighters, EMS, grocery workers, health care workers are busting their asses, and risking their lives every day. They're all doing great jobs. In fact there is so much good going around. But it just seems that it is always open season on teachers.

And even though we have a no layoff clause in our contract I fear that many teachers will be discontinued this year under false pretenses just to save money. 

Oh, one more thing. Let's get past this thing, "Oh, teachers work only 180 days and get paid in the summer for doing nothing." That's a misnomer. Our September-December pay has money pulled back for our July check and January-June for August. OK? 

And, Cuomo is still a dick. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

The UFT Must Grab the DOE by the Proverbial Balls (Edited on 4/20/20 and reposted due to accidental deletion on 4/20/20)

 Update #2 4/20/20 I accidentally deleted this post and now re-posting and re-posting original comments but those comments will be listed as today. 

Update#1 4/20/20 The Crack Team erroneously believed Mulgrew never commented on the budget cuts but found he had last week in the Post.

So cuts to the DOE's budget are on it's way. James Eterno went right to the horses mouth here. Meanwhile, what do we get from 52 Broadway? Thus far? Crickets chirping. Yes, Mulgrew did comment, but we here at SBSB believe it was the wrong forum to comment.

We also got a nice video giving us a pat on the back as well as health care workers. Nice.

But what of the silence lack of sharing with the rank and file emanating from 52 Broadway on budget cuts. Some of them, to be truthful, who cares. But there are several places within the DOE that can be cut and should be cut. Tweed, 65 Court St, Zerega Ave, Fordham Plaza, and whatever other borough support places there are.

How much redundancy are there at these places? How much dead wood? How many unqualified people are there?

For instance, likes take a gander at former chief of staff for Deputy Chancellor Cheryl Watson Harris, Sean Corlett.

I had the unfortunate experience of teaching with Sean for two years. Sean could not control a classroom. Sean could barely teach. Sean came to the DOE through Teach for America. Sean showed how much he cared for the students of the Bronx by doing his minimum two years and then somehow got a gig at Tweed back in 2013.

Sean did excel at two things, though. Kissing ass and throwing other teachers in his grade under the bus. In retrospect, one can say he is eminently qualified to work at Tweed.

Check out Sean's LinkedIn page. In 2013 he started his rise at Tweed as...
and listed the cuts
 Education Officer - Career Development, Teacher Recruitment and Quality
Whatever that is?

But Sean made great money. According to SeethroughNY Sean made some good scratch the last two years.

Not bad? Ass kissing and being a rat will take you far.

But Sean is a symptom of the monies being spend by the DOE. But yet Tweed and Court St will remain bloated as cut are made to the school and what we hear from 52 Broadway will just be feigned shock.

Instead of showing good time happy commercials, there should be commercials explaining to the stakeholders of the DOE how much will be cut from their children's education and how the DOE is bloated up top. Seize the initiative. This is the time to do it. As people are losing their jobs and the have no idea what the future holds, now is the time to show how the upper echelon of the DOE is spending THEIR money. Get out ahead of the story UFT and be proactive!! Ask yourself WWPLD (What Would Pat Lynch Do) if the NYPD faced these cuts?

We know that the cuts that DeBlasio came out with can and will change. But wouldn't it be nice that our union shows us, the stakeholders, that they are on top of things?

Praise be to God Sean Corlett is no longer with the DOE having left in February for NYU. Godspeed to those who work with him.

I Apologize For Saying UFT Was Silent on Budget Cuts, But Stand By Premise of Grabbing DOE By the Balls

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'll criticize the UFT when I must and praise it when I should. I will support the always support the union, and I will support the UFT against any outside agitators any time, any where.

Having said that, I will also admit when I unfairly criticize the UFT as I did yesterday (Updated today with correction). Mulgrew spoke with the Post rightly upset and indigent about the proposed cuts. We here at SBSB did not do our due diligence and several members of The Crack Team have been summarily disciplined.

But I still stand by what I said in how I believe the union should react to the budget cuts. That I will not waiver on. It is time the UFT takes off the kid gloves. Stop with the crap line, "Well, at least we have a seat at the table." Yeah right, I had a seat at the table, the kids table until I turned 13 at Passover. That's the table we--as a union--have sat ourselves at time and time again.

Mulgrew says that the DOE..."according to its own filing with the state, the New York City school system spends more than $6 billion every year on central administration...To the extent that DOE cuts become necessary, that’s the first place the city should be looking,”

Show us, Mike. Without naming names (for now) show every position with every salary and how every redundant job there is. Go a step further, break down every position to whether or not a union or non-union position. Which positions are at will? Which positions do those serve at the pleasure of the mayor and/or the chancellor? Which positions, in the opinion of a blue ribbon panel put together by the UFT, are filled by completely unqualified suck ups?

Once as something like mentioned above is complete, take the information and with membership, the city council, and the DOE and then be gone of the dead wood. If that doesn't work, then name names to rank and file, the press and the stakeholders.

You know what else Mulgrew can do? Demand that the chancellor, all the deputy chancellors, first deputy super duper secret supervisory executive grand poobah chancellors, all the superintendents, all the deputy superintendents take across the board temporary pay cuts post haste! And lest we forget, all the other at will hangers on at Tweed like the useless chiefs of staff.

After that is done go over each and every contract with each and every vendor with the DOE with a fine tooth comb. Time to prune that gravy train. Again, look for the redundancies. Look for the questionable contracts that someone somewhere is getting a kickback. Renegotiate all contracts with all vendors. Get a better price.

These are just some ideas that we have been kicking around here at SBSB. There are plenty more and The Crack Team is hard at work, staying up late and will share ideas as they come out. 

Lastly, the UFT needs to come out ahead of the curve. Be proactive 24/7. Show Mulgrew with the stakeholders. Make commercials with Mulgrew telling the communities that it is the UFT and not the DOE that cares most about the students. That the UFT is dead set against any draconian cuts and that first and foremost the DOE must shed dead wood. Mulgrew must now seize the opportunity to go into communities and meet with families and listen to them. Show people how much the UFT truly cares (There are so many fine decent people I know personally at the UFT that I believe will be on board in each community to facilitate this).

Hold pressers in front of Tweed with parents and students by Mulgrew's side lambasting the waste coming out of Tweed. Take the show to 65 Court St and do the same. And then to each and every borough support center or whatever it is called nowadays.

Grab the DOE by it's balls and don't let go. It'll be hard work but it will pay off on the long run. An opportunity like this might never come again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Je T'accuse, Professeur!!

Damn, I forgot I have a blog. Been awhile, and so much to write about.

Tonight I am going for something a little generic, off topic if you will. Yes, there is plenty to write about, but I dare to me different. Think of it as a non-sequitur cutaway from Family Guy.

So as I have spent most of this week binge watching "Community" on Netflix a thought came through my head. Well, to tell you the truth, the thought popped in my head today. And yeah it is relevant to teachers. I'm a teacher, so I always think of teachers.

We get accused for a lot of shit we don't do. That's kind of a bug up my ass. Somebody, will come up to you and say, "YADA YADA YADA you did this!!!!!!" Instead of asking you if such and such happened and giving you a chance to explain yourself and actually spending the time to listen you you. To hear you out before creating a verdict in their mind. It would be nice that teachers are afforded the right be heard before someone gets their just desserts.

You know what else happens to teachers? A lot of what we say is taken out of context. We might say something, something completely innocent and someone will come up to you and say, "YADA YADA YADA you said this!!!!!!" Yeah, those words were used, but there were other things around and after those words that were used and not being quoted by who is sitting in the high exalted judges chair.

Or some of those who sit upon us in judgement can be a bit like "what is good for the goose is not good for the gander." Like if you do something, but some person comes to you and says,  "YADA YADA YADA you can't do this!!!!!!" But they do it to. That's not kosher. It's Treif!

Really, what's best is a two way street. Streets should not be one way. But sadly we as teachers are never listened to nor afforded the benefit of doubt. Teachers, a lot, know how Dreyfuss felt.

But that is what is on my mind today. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be more relevant.