Thursday, July 22, 2021

The UFT Enables DOE to Screw Members Yet Again

 Remember how Navin Johnson was so excited that the new phone books had arrived? I (and many others) wanted to have that same feeling when I awoke this morning. Today, after waiting since October would have had the remaining 50 percent of my retro. This is money owed us not just from October, but from

But alas, when you are really counting on something, something gets mucked up. And as usual the UFT is getting blamed. That could be debated. Hear me out. 

I do put the blame on the UFT for accepting the crappy 100 year schedule for our retro. I do put the blame on the UFT for not sharing with membership ahead of time that our October payment was to be delayed (They knew it several weeks ahead of time there would be an issue). I put the blame on not having the retro squarely on the DOE and the City for not making every single member whole today. 

I put the blame on the UFT for not only believing the bullshit reason why the checks didn't go in, but then  sharing the bullshit the DOE was spewing amongst membership.

The reason we were given was that the retro check was a "supplemental" check and not a payroll check. That this is why it would take banks longer for our direct deposit would be in our accounts. 

Which doesn't make sense.

How does a bank differentiate between a supplemental check and a regular payroll check? Money is money. If I went to the bank to deposit money into my son's account, would the bank know the difference if it was money owed for money for his birthday? Or spending money at college? Of course not. 

And if this DOE bullshit were true, why hasn't anyone seen their checks in the payroll portal? Do the banks have some magical ability to control the DOE's payroll portal? Doubtful. 

And we should trust the UFT when it comes to the upcoming change to Joe Namath's Medicare Advantage (Read more about this on Norm's blog and James Eterno's blog)? 

What would happen if a teacher who has yet to receive their retro today dies tonight? Would the teacher's family still be entitled to the retro check that should arrive tomorrow? Would the monies have to be returned? 

I appreciate that there were UFT higher ups that were proactive today on social media. In the past, it would not have happened. But Mulgrew should have been at the forefront of of speaking out. Imagine if this were the PBA. Pat Lynch would be having a conniption fit. 

But as usual, the UFT is the schlemiel (For those that are not up on their Yiddish, schlimazel is the person that spills the soup, a schlemeil is the putz the soup is spilled on.) of NYC labor unions. The City knows that it can't get over on the other unions. They know when they need to defecate on a union, on a union's membership they can turn to the us. The City know that its bullshit will be accepted. They City knows the leadership will rollover. That when the UFT screams, "Never again!" is just an empty threat and will be coming back with its tail between member's legs. 

I hope by the time I awake tomorrow morning member's will be made whole. I'm not betting on it. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Riding Into the Sunset Of the 2020-2021 School Year

 0.0 days left. It's done. It's over. Finis. Shabbat Shalom. Peace out! I'm outta here! Yippee Kai Yay! Whoo-Ooh!

The school year is over, it is done, it is what it is. Nothing to be se here. Nothing to do. Time to ride out of town. Like Shane and the Man With No Name, my job is done. Time to move on.

Auf Wiedersehen 

Au revoir


Do widzenia 


And happy trails to the 2020-21 school year as I ride off into the sunset...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Looks Like ATRs to Remain in DOE Purgatory (ONE DAY REMAINING!!)

 One day to go!

Oh, the death of the ATR pool was greatly exaggerated. That according to the Post and everyone's favorite bastion of education reporting, Chalkbeat

The plan was originally if you were placed in a school the entire year and and received either an effective or highly effect MOTP you were to be automatically placed in said school. And something about not facing discipline.

But think about it. With all the craziness of this year, with not enough teachers at the beginning of the year, or through the year, an ATR was a godsend to the principals. They needed bodies.And ATRs provided the bodies. ATRs were seen basically as useful idiots. 

But now with the supposed grand reopening of school in September the ATRs are not needed. In particular, ATRs who have been naughty and don't make wads of cash. Oh, and those ATRs with institutional knowledge. 

Why would a principal want an ATR like that in their building? We gave up our seniority transfer in 2005 because principals want control. Sometime in the last ten years, I forget, ATRs were going to be forced place and the principals and their union were up in arms. Why should things be any different this time? 

And of course nothing changes with the Post and Chalkbeat bashing ATRs. 

From the Post...

And now teachers assigned to this pool, including some who really shouldn’t be teaching at all, will be given positions back in front of classrooms.

And from Chalkbeat (Christina Vega) using six year old data...

About one in five scored one of the bottom three rankings, according to data from the 2015-16 school year, the most recent the education department has shared publicly.  

But let's give her credit where credit is due. She did get one thing correct...

Teachers in the pool also tend to be more senior, and therefore earn higher salaries, creating a disincentive for principals to hire them. 

It would have been swell if Ms Vega bothered to spend some time speaking to ATRs. But I would guess that would be to difficult. 

Fixing the ATR problem is easy. Read it right here. It can be fixed. 

Being an ATR is like being in purgatory, actually Jewish purgatory. We are not wicked. Nor or we righteous. We are good people as well as teachers who have made mistakes. And learned from mistakes. 

...whose virtues and sins counterbalance one another shall go down to Gehenna and float up and down until they rise purified; for of them it is said: 'I will bring the third part into the fire and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried'


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The DOE Screws Teachers Yet Again and Mulgrew Is Silent (TWO MORE DAYS!!!!!!)

 Two days left! 

This blog post was to be about how it is still up in the air whether or not we are getting end of the year ratings. Before press time The Crack Team received the following in an email from an SBSB groupie. 

 The DOE has decided to issue final teacher ratings for this school year. In mid-June, the state Legislature approved a waiver for school districts regarding the Annual Performance Review for the 2020-21 school year, but it recently amended the legislation to give individual school districts the choice whether to rate teachers. The DOE decided to proceed with teacher evaluations because most of the principals had already completed their work. All observations should have been completed by June 11.

We here at SBSB are confused. We could have sworn Mulgrew implied he would fight like hell if we were to get rated. At June 14 exec board meeting Mulgrew sayeth...

Working on DOE APPR. Called City Hall. We have a pretty good agreement, but this can't just sit. On the table with DOE and need them to decide which way to go. Most principals have submitted evaluations already. Assuming since work is done, they want to move forward. We are in pretty good shape with no one being harmed.
And a week before at the June 7 exec board meeting Mulgrew regaled with...

We are expecting teacher evaluation to be waived again. Not passed yet. Thanks to everyone for staying on top of issues. 

But it's over. Even though the bill Governor Cuomo did not give districts a choice!!!!!

But not to worry folks! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. At the June 21 exec board meeting Mulgrew rolled up his sleeves and shared with the world...

DOE decided to do APPR. Above 95% HE or E before MOSL even kicks in. We will go after anyone who doesn't do this correctly. 

Them's fighting words! We know now that Mulgrew has our backs. Again. 

Just wondering why the Oneonta School District isn't giving end of year ratings. Nor is North Rockland. Or Mount Vernon. Horseheads isn't.  

But we as UFT members shouldn't be upset or disappointed Remember. We have a seat at the table. That is what matters. Our seat is at the kiddie table. Where the only attention we get is from the old auntie with the Bozo eyebrows and the Double H bosom who has a cigarette dangling from her mouth. She just stops by to squeeze our cheeks. 

That's how the DOE sees the UFT and the rank and file.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

What's the Plan for September? (3 Days Remaining!! Whoo-hoo!)

 Three days left!! Whoopee! On Friday, I am going back to the videos. But rest assured two great songs by two great all time bands (Not Rush!) for the last day of school.

On to bigger and better things. 

We're not at herd immunity in neither New York State nor New York City. September is right around the corner. De Blasio has sworn that there will be in person schooling only. 

Still, what if?

What if there is a good percentage of the parents that still refuse to send their children to buildings? Approximately 750k students have been remote this year. If only half of those students return (350k) that is still a sizable number of students not in buildings. Do you force these parents to send their children to school? Will the UFT back up these parents?

Hey, I understand the fear parents would have. But there are no answers to ,"What if?" for these parents now. Heck, my son wanted to take me to the Nets game Saturday night and I was having some qualms about being in an arena of 20k people. 

What happens if there is a spike come October? What is the plan then? Just remember on 9/11 how fast parents came to schools to take their children out. What does the DOE plan to do?

And with the lack of a plan what is the plan if there ever is a big remote cohort to teach the students? I know Mulgrew mentioned wanting some type of agreement with the DOE regarding remote teaching. This remains to be seen. 

Are schools still going to have the three foot rule? Must students be vaccinated to come to school? What about parents? To enter school must they be vaccinated as well? I know at my son's college and all SUNY campuses students must be vaccinated.

What about in school testing? Will that still be done?

It's time the UFT in conjunction with the DOE share worst case scenario, or rather, any and all plans for the safe return to school buildings come September 2021.

Monday, June 21, 2021

EXCLUSIVE! UFT Members to be Made Whole For Spring Break (And....4 Days Left!!!)

 Four more days left.

But, I digress 

The Crack Team has been on top of the whereabouts of monies owed teachers due to spring break 2020 being ripped away from us. However, The Crack Team are very impatient group and they decided not to wait till July 1 but rather they took matters into their own hands. They traveled 6 weeks ahead in time Yes, you read that right. Using a proprietary time travel method that was create in SBSB labs, The Crack Team has returned with the MOA. Exclusive to this blog only, it will be known what our union agreed to. 

1. Full restitution will be made to each and every UFT member. 

2. Full restoration will be made only to  UFT members who have been in service since January 1, 2010.

3. Full restitution will be made in 10 payments stretching over 14 years. Each payment will also have a deduction of 10% to allay the costs incurred by the DOE and the City.

4. An across the board $20 payment will be immediately paid to each and every eligible teacher. Then full payments in 2024, 2027, 2029, 2031-2036. 

5. To make up those who quit, were terminated or died and lost out on their retro checks such members will enjoy full restitution this time. It is only if you retire you won't be made whole.

6. Each teacher will receive two coupons, each $15 percent off, for Denny's.

Now, in the report from The Crack Team states that the city originally just offered the coupons for Denny's. Mulgrew was thisclose to agreeing, but he had to be talked out of it. However, when everything else was agreed upon, he still held out for the Denny's coupons. For those of you who are fans of Denny's remember this; Mulgrew had your back. 

The Crack Team found that those who retire not being eligible for restitution was just a judgement call.   However, off the record, The Crack Team was told by someone deep inside the UFT for retirees to just fake their own deaths and they will still collect. 

The Crack Team though did overhear the UFT discussing this deal and overheard...

"We made a great deal. It could have been worse. At least we had a seat at the table."

Maybe Spock is wrong? Can the space- time continuum can be changed?

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Next for the ATRs?...Oh, 5 DAYS LEFT!!!

Five days left! We are in the home stretch. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Praise be. 

So ATRs are going to be teachers again. That's nice. But there are some issues. 

As for me I have been an ATR since December 2015. That 6 1/2 years. What training have I had on the latest reading, writing, and math curricula? It's more or less been some perfunctory gesture of administration, mostly on Monday afternoons. The big training, being sent somewhere on PD days or huddling with someone from Teacher's College, well never happened for me. And I am sure there are other ATRs in the same boat. 

Even if we have had sufficient training, when have we had the time to utilize such training? We aren't in a position long enough nor even a school long enough. We are not up on the latest year to year. We aren't even in the same school year to year. 

I used to pay for my son every winter for catching lessons. It helped because he was able to utilize what he was taught. But if he played right field would those catching lessons help him? Or if he played right field and had to catch a game, would he not be rusty or not acclimated to what he had been taught? 

It's the old, use it or lose it approach. 

But we will hear, "You have the same rights as every teacher in the school for PD." I have in the past asked to be included in specific PD's.  However, I was told, "We can only afford X amount of teachers to attend the PD," or something to that effect. And, if we cause a ruckus about not being able to participate then we get targeted. ATRs do there job and they do it they best that they can under really complex conditions. But, ATRs want to stay below the radar. It's a fact. 

Now, about this "forced placement." I understand, it's in the contract, the DOE can do it. But just because something can be happen, doesn't mean it should be happen. 

It's funny, since when does the DOE believe in the sanctity of the contract? Time after time the DOE picks and chooses what it will and will not honor in the contract, so why can't the UFT use this to ATRs advantage?

This announcement a few weeks ago didn't happen in a vacuum. And it didn't happen without the UFT knowing about it beforehand. Can't  the DOE in conjunction with the UFT work with each teacher (Say those who have been ATRs for five plus years) and together to find a good fit for the school and the ATR. It would be a win win situation. Everyone is happy, every gets something. 

Instead, ATRs are thrown blindly back into society without any say or possibly eroded skills. This is like after doing 45 years in prison. You leave with a suit and $25 and told, "Good luck, you're own your own, deal with it." ATRs don't even get to fill out a preference sheet! We can have a life long first grade teacher thrown into teaching 6th grade math. Does that make sense?

Oh let's not forget the old, "Well, you are a common branch teacher. You have a license which means you can teach 6th grade math even though you have taught 1st grade for 20 years." Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, that's true. But when I decided to have my shoulder replaced, I went to a shoulder specialist, not a proctologist. Yes, both are licensed medical doctors under the State of New York, but only one has the experience and ability to replace my shoulder. Same with attorneys. 

And how will principals feel upon being forced an ATR they had no say about invading their building? Particularly mature teachers with many years in the system making a lot of money with institutional knowledge? How fast will ATRs be written up for failing to put the toilet seat down in the co-ed staff restroom?

What is the mechanism that will prevent undue harassment upon ATRs in schools they are not wanted? One, of course, is taking advantage of what the open market offers, but we know how well open market works (Sarcasm).

It sure would be swell if the UFT can have some type of meeting for ATRs before this big change takes place. There are many, many questions to be answered.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Fun With Danielson Observation. (And a Blog Post Without a Video or Lyrics or Forced Metaphors and There are 6 Days Remaining)

 OK, I heard it and I will stop. No more videos. No more lyrics. No more forced allegories. But the days will still be counted down! 

The Crack Team heard you and I apologize. We hear at SBSB wish to thank those that filled took the time to share what they thought of the blogging the last few weeks. 

So today's topic? The continuing fallacy of Danielson. We were told this is good. That administration will be more accountable. But, and this is why Danielson is so easy to get around for certain administrators. People do and will lie. Pathologically. 

My lesson, which the top teacher in the school assisted me with, was reading Spoon by Amy Krause Rosenthal. Better, it was direct from Into Reading right smack off the DOE's website. The objective was...

Demonstrate understanding of key ideas and details in a text by asking and answering questions. 

So far, so good. 

I got ineffective for strand 3c for, ready for this? That after asking a question and getting my responses in return I would model and show in the text how one found the answer.

It was noted...

"For example, when the students struggled to provide an answer, the teacher encouraged them to go back and lift the text."

I give up. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Is this not what I stated in the lesson plan. Is this not what I have heard for years about drilling the students to go back in the text to help them? /facepalm

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Seven Days Remaining For ATRs...No More Looking Back

 Even though The Kinks are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I have always thought they have never truly gotten their due. If you think about it it The Kinks were at the forefront of Heavy Metal and if you look at their early seventies stuff one might even say the preceded Bowie with all that glam and glitter. 

One of my favorite albums of theirs is "Schoolboys in Disgrace." And one song from that album has some lyrics that really hit home for me, that I feel about this school year and moving forward is "No More Looking Back." 

No more looking back, No more living in the past, Yesterday's gone and that's a fact, Now there's no more looking back. Got to be hard, Yeah, look straight ahead. That s the only way it's going to be

Next year is a new chapter, a new beginning, now more than ever. Just from a personal standpoint that I was not happy with certain things this year at my school. There is now nothing I can do about it. I realize that and I accept it. There are also many positive things about the school I was at this year but sometimes it just best to ride off into the sunset. 

It's also the end of ATRs as we know it. It's going to be a brave new world out there for us. There is a lot of anxiety out there for us. We don't know where we are going or what we will be doing. It would sure be swell if the UFT would have some type of virtual meeting with us. But I understand, after listening to Mike Mulgrew at the DA today, that there are lots of other stuff going on. I know they don't have all the answers now, but sometimes just touching base show caring and acknowledging our feelings. 

But we as ATRs must look ahead and not to the past. We need to go forward. It's just easier to go forward than just spinning our wheels or looking backwards. 

In a perfect world the UFT, the ATRs, and the DOE should have worked together to find everyone a good fit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Eight Days Remaining...Working Them Angels

 Keith Olberman once commented the first time he was fired by ESPN...

"Happiness is seeing Bristol in your review mirror...."

For me, on June 25th I will feel like Keith but only using the words of ("Workin' Them Angels," Rush, 2007 "Snakes and Arrows" CD)...

Driving away to the east, and into the past/History recedes in my rear-view mirror

What a trippy year. Observation wise that is. 

I'm with three teachers, three different classes, and two grades. All were remote. When do I get observed? May 10. A informal observation. My first day with that class was May 4. So of course my informal is first thing in the morning of my fifth day with the class. 

Oh, let's not forget it was the first time I was ever observed using Danielson.

Fast forward to last Monday, June 7. I was told what I would be teaching. Something I hadn't taught in over 20 years. But my co-teacher is one of the best teachers in the school and got a lot of assistance for which I shall be eternally grateful. It was a darn good lesson. How'd I do? How is a 45 minute window supposed to rate me for the entire year? How is a 15 minute window with students I barely know a microcosm for the entire year? 

I know one teacher that started of in person, was switched around a few times, then went remote and switched around a few times more. How can this teacher be rated?

How can Danielson be used this school year? Oh yeah, observers can only rate on what they see, not what they see. Guess what? People lie. People lie big. It happens. It's systemic. 

Let's see if we are getting end of year ratings. 




Monday, June 14, 2021

Nine Days Remaining...Revolution 9

Nine days remaining. Nine days remaining. Nine days remaining. Nine days remaining. 

Get, it? A little play on Revolution 9. Haha. 

I was 16 when Jon Lennon was assassinated.  I, like many others, were told of this by Howard Cosell. I was watching the Patriots-Dolphins game that Monday night when Cosell had to seek attention and be the one to share it. 

There are many cool things about the school I am at. Please remember, I have nothing against the school. It's just believe that it is not the right fit for me. But one cool thing is they have had the "John Lennon Education Bus" visit in the past. I would love to be there if it ever returns but that doesn't seem like it would happen. 

Wouldn't it be great if we can instead of turning all our students into test taking drones look towards John Lennon and teach them how to think independently? To shower them with art and music? Let them explore more of the world than what they know? 

In my 25 years of teaching I have seen so many creative students. Whether it comes from art, music, words, or speech. How can these students break free when we stop teaching in January to prepare them for some inane test, which the last two years have shown to be irrelevant? 

How can teachers get the best out of every students with the sword of Danielson a millimeter from their throat? All we hear is differentiate, blah, blah, blah, but there is no differentiating. Our students are force fed curriculum that doesn't jibe to their current life or knowledge. We don't give the students to learn and grasp the world their way. We all just shuffle them through the same path of standardized testing just so some yutz at Tweed can feel good about themselves. 

Let's give them the John Lennon treatment. Let them be different. Think different. 

As for Revolution 9. I still don't get it, but it is different. And that's cool.  

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Three Questions for the UFT

My dad always said, "You can always ask, the worse answer you'll get is no." He was very wise. So I'm going to ask.

Having said that, I have three questions for the UFT. I am not going to editorialize or add extraneous information to the questions. I do not know if others are thinking the same as me, all I know is I am only speaking for myself. 

Question #1 (Multi-part): Now that ATRs will be placed does this mean that principals have no say? If so, is there not a chance that principals will be quick to drum up accusations, charges, false stories on ATRs? Is there any mechanism to prevent this? 

Question #2: There has yet to be an official announcement from the UFT regarding Governor Cuomo's signing a bill stating that there will be no ratings this year. Other unions in the rest of the state of notified their membership as well as a release by NYSUT. Are there any updates? 

Question #3: Are there any updates to share on being made whole financially for giving up our spring break in April 2020?

Thank you for your time.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Ten Days Remaining...Say Goodbye to Hollywood

 In the September of 1981 Billy Joel released a live album of his more obscure songs, "Songs in the Attic." The release also coincided with the beginning of my senior year. That June in yearbooks across the country, and at least in Westchester County (including my HS girlfriend)chose the following quote from "Say Goodby to Hollywood..."

So many faces in and out of my life/ Some will last /Some will just be now and then/ Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes/ I'm afraid it's time for goodbye again

Its time for goodbye again to yet another school. And there have been so many teachers faces in the last 5 1/2 years I have been an ATR. 

But more importantly, there have been so many students faces. And this year that's all we saw, their faces. 

I know this remote teaching was put together at the last minute. But I have seen and heard a lot of great things. I think there are plenty of students who for the first time got to be heard in a class. There weren't the behavior problems that we have become so accustomed to. Students who have had a hard time in the past staying focused and staying still in an overcrowded classroom were finally able to have the tranquility they have so desperately wanted so they can learn. 

This year I had been with three different classes and worked with fantastic students. I enjoyed so much working with these students in small groups all day which we would never be able to do if we were in person. 

I worked with a few decent teachers and one great teacher, This great teacher worked with miracles with her students. Her students were not only sharp as whip but tech savvy as well. By the way, we are going to have a generation of really tech savvy kids. Starting with next year's third graders. 

But the students of this class responded to their teacher. They did their assignments. There were enthusiastic to learn. They grew! Emotionally and academically. This is something AARP and Danielson can't show. 

But alas, like Shane left little Joey alone I must to ride off into the sunset. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Eleven Days Left...Solsbury Hill

 Eleven days left. This hasn't been a bad school year, just really different. And strange. But let's not get into the negative. These blog posts counting down the days are about feeling good, about being happy, and about moving on. 

Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel was his goodbye to Genesis. In fact, The Crack Team researched the song more and for those who didn't know the hill is in Batheaston in Somerset, England. One day when I get to the UK I will visit this hill and feel the freedom that Peter Gabriel sung about.

Peter Gabriel said about the song...

"It's about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go."

And not letting go in a bad way in my opinion. It's just time to move on. And it is time to move on to my next school. Someone said I hated it there. Nope. Just not a good fit. It's like the difference between buying a suit at Barney's as opposed to Sears. 

Their are parts of the song the so resonate with me, what I am feeling now.  

Eagle flew out of the night /He was something to observe/ Came in close, I heard a voice /Standing stretching every nerve/ Had to listen had no choice I did not believe the information/ (I) just had to trust imagination /My heart going boom boom boom /"Son," he said "Grab your things, I've come to take you home.

I am ready for the trip, I am ready for to be taken by the eagle to guide me but also let me know that change is not only good but everything will be alright. That'll I'll be safe. 

And that is what we all want. To feel safe. It is a big thing for me. Just because I don't feel safe with a person or a place does not mean that I don't like that person or place, but it's just how I feel. Simple. 

For all my bluster on these pages the last 13 years I'm an introvert at heart.Yeah, I know it does not seem that way, but I am. But sometimes moving on from a school is a good thing. 

"Hey" I said "You can keep my things, they've come to take me home." 


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Twelve Days Left

Ah, today's school day is over. At lunch the perfect song came to me for today. Xanadu by Rush (Yeah, I know, but it's not going to be all Rush videos for the next two weeks).

Xanadu as on 1977's album A Farewell to Kings (By the way, Primus will be on tour starting in August playing AFTK in it's entirety). It was also on 1981's live album Exit...Stage Left. I like the song better live than the studio version. When I saw Rush in 2004 at Radio City Alex Lifeson pulled out his double neck and it was just awesome. They only play half the song in this 2004 version.

So why did I pick Xanadu? As many Rush fans know Neil Peart did not like touring. This was a long tour and the official DVD was shot in Frankfurt, Germany. Neil wanted the tour to end. That's why at 1:14 into the video you see Alex and Neil eyeball each other and both hold up two fingers. Two days to go on the tour. Or two more shows? I forget. 

Yes, I know 12 days left not 2, but I feel how Neil felt 17 years ago. 

But I went over the lyrics and some words struck me about the upcoming end of the school year. 

To break my fast on honey dew
And drink the milk of Paradise..."

...time has passed me by
Stars stopped in the sky
Frozen in an everlasting view

Weary of the night
Praying for the light

Enjoy the video.... 

And for those who wish to see entire song, this is from 2015 r40 tour 




Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Thirteen Days Left

 I am in a darn good mood today. I just found officially that there will be no ratings for this year! Have a look here. And, best of all. There are 13 days left for me in at my school. 

So I am going to switch gears. No more snarky sarcastic posts. I am going to have some fun. How so? Music! Actually music videos that for me represent the last 13 days of this wacky, different, never before seen 2020-2021 school year. 

Of course we need an intro and ho better than Gob Bluth to start us off. 

The Final Countdown

Thank you Gob for the introduction. 

Next up Prime Mover by Rush. 

I love this verse with a passion. We leave our school every June only to come back in September. But we don't return. We are continuing our journey.

From the point of entry /Until the candle is burned/The point of departure/Is not to return/Anything can happen 


Friday, April 23, 2021

The UFT Syncs Up With The Godfather Movie

 For the last month or so Showtime has been showing Godfather Parts I and II as well as the reformatted version of Godfather III. Coppola moved some scenes around and added some scenes to Three which made the story easier to follow. However, I still cringe every time Sofia Coppola is on screen.

But I love the opening scene of The Godfather. The scene is so well written and performed it got me to thinking. What if Bonasera was not an undertaker? What if Bonasera's daughter were to be a teacher? What if it weren't 1945 but rather, 2021? What happens when you mix chocolate and peanut butter? What happens when you mix the UFT and the Godfather? You get a sync of some sorts. 

I can't believe I have to put the following disclaimer, but I know if I don't there will be a few that do not understand parody and satire. So here goes:

In no way, shape, or form are myself nor The Crack Team denigrating Italian-Americans. The Crack Team and myself are also not advocating any violence whatsoever. In the same vein if we here at SBSB did a mash up of the UFT and the Wrath of Khan it would not be as if we advocating space travel, the stealing of the Genesis device, hijacking a Federation ship, or leaving UFT officers marooned on Ceti Alpha 5.

Thank you for your understanding. Have a good giggle.

Bonasera: I believe in teaching and teacher unions. Teaching and teacher unions have given me a comfortable lifestyle. And I raised my daughter to be a proud teacher and a proud UFT member. I gave her freedom but I taught her never to dishonor the profession or the UFT. She found a "principal," not an educator, but TFA at a good elementary school. She worked hard for him and the students. She came early and stayed late. I didn't protest. Two months ago it started, the observations, the letters to file, with with the help of another administrator. They gave her U ratings and lied in their evaluations of her. Lied in the discipline letters. She fought back. She kept her honor. So they denied her tenure. Like an animal. When I went to the her apartment her soul was broken. Her eyes were filled with tears.. She couldn't even eat because of  how sad she was. But I wept. Why did I weep? She was the light of my life. A great teacher. Now she will never be able to teach again. 

I went to the UFT, like a good teacher. These two administrators were reported by my daughter. The UFT did nothing! Gave her bad advice. Nothing! I stood at 52 Broadway like a fool, and those two bastards, continued harassing other teachers. Then I said to my wife, "For justice, we must go to the  Don Corleone UFT Caucus." 

Don Corleone UFT Caucus: Why did you go to the UFT? Why didn't you come to us first? 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Stephanie Edmonds and I Find Some Common Ground


I have a history on these pages of disrupting (pardon the pun) of Class Disruption's and openschools advocate Stephanie Edmonds.

Last night I was warmly welcomed by Stephanie on her video podcast I guess to clear the air, find common ground if possible, and any disagreements at least remain civil.

I started the podcast by apologizing to her for a post I wrote in January of basically accusing her of being a raging anti-Semite. Stephanie graciously accepted and I deleted the post. However,I shared with her that I think it was not right to compare students staying home from school to the Holocaust.

So anyway, I am linking to the video below (for some reason the embedding code is not working properly). I enjoyed myself and look forward to doing this again . 

Just to give viewers a heads up. There were some technical glitches last night. Be patient. 


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Upper West Side Mommies Sue to Reopen Schools

Those "open the schools" folks are starting to bore me. 

According to today's New York Post, three Upper West Side mommies (Allison Weinger, Natalya Murakhver, and Stephanie Kokinos ) put word through Go Fund me to raise $20k for a
lawyer to take the DOE to court to force schools to go 100% in person. As of yesterday, April 9, the mommies have raised the money and hired a lawyer. They go to court on Monday, April 12. 

Sadly, these mommies haven't a clue. 

It seems they have become frustrated at the fact that they have become frustrated "after striking out with rallies and other measures to return kids to school full time."

That is simple. Because no one cares what they think. They think there is some kind of movement out there to reopen schools. Yes, it would be great for schools to reopen, but many don't trust the NYC DOE and many parents are still fearful of a complete return to in person learning. They've been led astray by a small, but vocal cabal on social media that believes it has the wind at its back. Let's not forget that these mommies truly do not represent the majority of the demographic of the NYC DOE's population. 

“What’s been horrifying to me is to realize that this city is not putting its children first,” Murakhver said. “The union is the only one at the table with the mayor. The mayor almost seeks approval from the union to make any changes.”

The city has never ever put the children first. This is a surprise? And yes, the mayor must get an agreement from the UFT. It's called collective bargaining. But the UFT did agree to the new rules. The UFT didn't want any more teacher deaths. Is that OK?

Murakhver said teachers — who were eligible for vaccines earlier than most — should be fully vaccinated by now and belonged back in classrooms.

They should? Yeah, they should, but Ms Murakhver how do you know for sure? Is it possible that there are teachers that are afraid? Is it possible that some teachers won't receive the vaccination based on religious grounds? Maybe some who have not yet been able to make an appointment? And remember, it is not just teachers. There are plenty of other non pedagogues in a school as well.   

About 70 percent of New York City’s public school kids had been enrolled in remote instruction and, those in blended learning may only go in a few days a week.

Here's the thing. Seventy percent is almost three quarters of the students are remote. That means three quarters of families have decided that they want remote learning for their children. This is known as a super-duper majority. This past week families had until April 7 to opt back in. The deadline was extended to April 9. What does that tell you? From what I have heard only 40,000 students are coming back. That comes to 5.33%. Again, what is it these mommies do not understand? There is no groundswell. There is no hankering.

Now, as far in person/hybrid. Some schools are 5 days a week. Some aren't. A lot of it is based on how much space there is. Some classrooms are really teeny tiny.

 “It’s alienating and depressing,” Murakhver said. “Our kids are suffering.”

She said her two kids clamor to be back full time in their Upper West Side elementary school rather than the typical two days a week they go in now under the blended learning model.

Yeah, it sucks. But I know of students first hand that are THRIVING in remote learning. An SBSB groupie who is a remote teacher has told me of a student from a fractured background that has had trouble in school in the past is her star pupil this year. But blame the NYC DOE and not the UFT nor the teachers. It was the DOE that failed to plan. It was the mayor that failed to plan. 

Want to reopen 100% this year, right now? Do you realize the logistics of that? What a bigger mess it will cause? This isn't Bronxville with 800 students. This is New York City with over 1 million students. Think about it. 

Mom Stephanie Kokinos said, “It’s just impossible to make their little minds focus on something from a screen,” she said. “They just cannot learn efficiently through that route.” 

So work with your children. Be a parent! Sacrifice. Do you have any idea how some of our parents and/or grandparents sacrificed and what they gave up during WW II? 

But while we are on the subject of how their little minds can't focus Ms Kokinos, why not think of the children who at the age of 8 are in the role of parent to their younger siblings and have to still learn? Or the child who witnessed mommy getting beaten by her latest boyfriend? Or the apartment with only one light? Or the overcrowded apartment? These are what A LOT of the students have to deal with every day at home and have in person learning. Or the student that is bullied in school is now remote and doesn't have to worry about bullying. 

Gosh darn it! Think of others before you spew off ignorantly. 

Allison Weinger chortled in, “the kids are doing great at keeping masks on. Teachers are now vaccinated,” 

Read above.  

Does the world exist elsewhere for these mommies except in their own zip codes? Why are they so focused on themselves and not the parents of the South Bronx? East Harlem? Washington Heights? What do the MAJORITY of the parents wish for? I can guess, and it is nothing the mommies of the Upper West Side wish for. They are saying that their way is not only the right way, but the only way.

These mommies are saying, "what happens to our kids is only what matters. Damn all other opinions or viewpoints. That only they and they alone, take their children's education seriously. Well, it's time to they get out of the Upper West Side world and look around and meet reality. 

One more thing. I was told this by the SBSB consigliare. This virus is now going after the young ones. Why? Because all the old folk and the medically weak have been vaccinated. What left? The young ones. This is why I have been pushing my 19 year old son to get vaccinated. 

Want to be taken seriously. Get people of color on board and to be the voice. Not hard to find in New York City.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Crack Team at SBSB Solves the Teacher Evaluation Problem

Yay! There was a delegate assembly yesterday. I was smart. I didn't try to ask any questions. But the pattern persists. Most, if not all, of those asking the questions tend to be chapter leaders.

But during Mulgrew's opening remarks he briefly touched on the state of the evaluation negotiations. Same as last month and nothing new.

"We have to have an evaluation system done by this month, but we are getting nowhere with the DOE. People with the DOE we are negotiating with are in la-la land. We need a scientifically tested system to work with. DOE asking for ridiculous things. Our committee has met. There has to be a MOSL. We have to figure that out."

The Crack Team has gone ahead and figured out a way to solve this problem. If the UFT decides to use what is known as The Crack Team Official Evaluation and Pro-Am© Teacher Evaluation Method. We here at SBSB ask for a small honorarium and the promise, to sponsor a golf outing this coming on a Monday in August at Winged Foot. 

Yes, we understand that in complicated times that deciding on an evaluation that must include MOSL can be complicated. So many factors are factored in.

Should teachers of remote learning be evaluated the same as in person teachers and vice versa? 

Is there an impact on students in schools that are closed, then opened, then closed, then opened, then closed? Does this not inhibit student learning?

What of remote students? Would a remote teacher get extra points for students having to learn on this piece of shit iPad minis vs students that have a laptop or a desktop? Does this not inhibit student learning?

Whilst on the subject of remote teachers, what of students with crappy internet connections? Does this not inhibit student learning?

For in person teachers, the lack of any real human contact and students sitting at their desks all gosh darn long day, how does that affect student learning?

What about fear? The fear that a loved one or themselves can come down with COVID does this not inhibit student learning?

I mean I can go on and on but I shan't. There are just too many ways that student learning is inhibited this school year.

And how once a system is in place would admins that are supposed to evaluate us be trained and properly competent to evaluate us? 

And since this evaluation system be in place by the end of January, observations will not start until March at the earliest. Is that fair?

Here is The Crack Team's plan. Simple and very inexpensive.

If on the day the administrator comes to observe, if every student in class, be it in person or remote, has a heartbeat, the teacher gets an S and a happy face sticker. This is the fairest method. 

Just an analogy, a poor one. Can Trevor Bauer be properly judged and warrant a $36 million a year contract off of his 2020 season of 11 starts? No. 

The Crack Team and myself will be awaiting word from the UFT.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Stephanie Edmonds of Bronx Law High School Agrees With Tweet Slamming Remote Teachers

About this remote teacher vs in person teacher thing happening, we need to be careful. Being home teaching is not all that it is cracked up to be. 

There are other people home, there are babies, there are other children, and pets that need attending. You don't get a real connection with your students. You really can't work one on one. I can go on. But remember this. There wouldn't be remote teachers if there weren't
remote students. Parents have made the choice that they don't feel the schools are safe for their students. That is their right. And it is our right as teachers that are susceptible to COVID to take the DOE up on its offer to teach from home. Heck, there might be even less remote teachers if the DOE had a real plan back in September. 

We don't need the New York Post to fan the flames. We don't need the ignorant politicians and neo-liberals to create shit storms. Worse, we don't need one of our own to knife teachers in the back.

 We don't need a 4th year non tenured teacher with a fake Bronx accent throwing teachers under the bus.

The Crack Team found this tweet by Stephanie Edmonds (@classdisrupti0n) of Bronx Law High School at the Theodore Roosevelt Campus in the Bronx. Let's have a look see.I believe this tweet was on or around December 12.

Wow! So Stephanie agrees that we, I would assume the rank and file of the UFT, are privileged? Privileged how Stephanie? Privileged like having everything handed to us? Privileged having grown up in one of the toniest areas of Fairfield County? Privileged to go to an exclusive boarding school for high school? Please, explain. We don't understand. Most of us were only born with a plastic spork in our mouths. We don't have yachts on Long Island Sound.

As for as I know, I, and every single remote teacher is doing their ACTUAL job. You're doing your ACTUAL job too. You are remote. Are you better than us? Know more than us? We're in the same boat. But I am sure you're still looking down your nose at "the remote teachers." 

Denial? Excuses? What am I in denial of? What are other remote teachers in denial of? I'm not denying that this situation is rough for all involved. That it would have been better to have had a plan had its genesis back in March. I, nor my union brothers and sisters, are unable to control the incompetency of Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carranza.

Are we (and again to be sure we are talking about remote teachers) making excuses for remote teaching? Stephanie, answer this question. I spoke to a colleague over the weekend I had taught with back in 2003. Our children used to play together. She is remote. Why? Her daughter, the same age as my son, has cancer. When one has cancer the immune system tends to get messed up. My friend sought, and received, an accommodation (thanks to UFT Solidarity and Bryan Glass) so she would not have to worry about being in a school or the Bronx. Avoiding a situation in which she could catch COVID and, God forbid, infect her daughter. 

Speaking for myself, I am type 2 diabetic. My BMI is where it should be as is my A1C. But I am 56, and for some weird reason don't wish to die due to COVID. Maybe if I was 30 years old I might think differently. But I am not.

Deflection and blame? Again Stephanie, (check your scorecard, we are still talking about remote teachers) what is it we are deflecting? Explain yourself. Who are we blaming? I've been with the DOE 25 years. There is incompetency all around. I'll blame De Blasio and Carranza. Try your know it all energy on these two dunces.

Yeah, the UFT has been wishy washy and inconsistent, but the mayor and the chancellor are the ultimate fartheads. 

You know Stephanie, when I started teaching I was told to keep my mouth shut and my ears open. Sadly, it's been the opposite for you. Perhaps you should concentrate on teaching instead of what you think is a quasi-media empire on You Tube.

Want to curse the union all you want? Go right ahead I'll be there supporting you. But attacking teachers, your union brothers and sisters, your colleagues, on social media that's just wrong. Do it privately. 

But what's most disturbing is this attitude you have of knowing it all. You know jack. You are in a situation you never were in before. You think you are "down" with your students? Think about what they are saying about you in Spanish. 

Don't think you have cred because you believe you teach in the South Bronx and are the reincarnation of Mr Kotter. You're not. Remember this from September...?

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!

You're on Fordham Rd. That is not the Boogie Down Bronx. 

Lastly, Stephanie, get rid of the phony Bronx accent. You're from the country club set of Connecticut, you should sound like William Buckley

Would love to hear from remote teachers in the comments section. Please keep it unprofane and professional.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

It's Remote Teacher Vs In Person Teacher Thanks to the New York Post

In this corner we have remote teachers. In the other corner we have in person teachers. And in the center of the ring we have the New York Post stirring the shit pot and and pitting teachers against one another

This story, which myself and The Crack team believe was planted by the DOE starts off, not with a teacher kvetching, but rather a DOE official. Chances are it's some ass kissing,
narcissistic,  incompetent (And if male has some serious physical Freudian shortcomings) administrator with serious people issues.

 Article starts off....

“Teachers who work in-person are all raging right now,” one DOE official said. 

“They’re all pissed because they feel they’re getting the short end of the stick in here everyday getting exposed while people are sitting home in their jammies,” the staffer seethed. 

“I just feel they should be forced to come back [after getting the vaccine]. Right now there’s many people before them that are in direct exposure that should’ve been entitled to receive the vaccine first.”

Who says they are raging? Where is this DOE official getting this from?  If this source is an administrator, are they quoting some pimply face, runny nose newbie teacher whining that they can't boogie down in Manhattan anymore? 

But to say we are all in our jammies? How gauche! In fact, how unoriginal. Claim we're all in our underwear. At least lie that way. But seriously folks. We get up, we get dressed. We eat breakfast. We go to work. My dad worked from home from the time I was in 3rd grade. Not once did was he at his desk or on his phone in his jammies. 

How do you know that there aren't remote teachers that want to come back to work? Duh. But it won't happen as fast as some would like. From what I have read (And I could be wrong) it could be 3-4 weeks before before one is at full immunity. And that's after the second shot! Lest we forget 4 weeks go by between shots. That goes for everyone. 

One Brooklyn teacher said the request to “wait for further guidance” hasn’t stopped remote workers from signing up for the booster. 

“Remote people are already scheduling their appointments, they had the luxury of being home and were able to refresh [the page] and find appointments today,” 

Yeah, it hasn't stopped remote teachers, and it shouldn't have stopped unnamed Brooklyn teacher. As I stated on Sunday a SBSB groupie shared a link with me Saturday night around 9:30. Unnamed Brooklyn teacher had the same opportunity. Unnamed Brooklyn teacher had all day Sunday to sign up. Did unnamed Brooklyn teacher sign up? Nope. 

You want something bad enough you do it. In 2007 my then 6 year old son wanted a Wii for Christmas. I got up at 4 AM and got to Target by 4:45. I wanted to get it bad enough for him. See how it's done? 

The same unnamed Brooklyn teacher continued to whine... “Remote people are already scheduling their appointments, they had the luxury of being home and were able to refresh [the page] and find appointments today,” the teacher, who works in-person, griped to The Post. 

Again, where were you on Saturday night and ALL DAY SUNDAY? There is no one you could have entrusted to sign up for you? This couldn't be done on your lunch? Prep? Whilst on the commode? Excuses and whining is all this unnamed Brooklyn teacher can do.

And lastly, an administrator came up with the whine of the day:

“Wish I could give my spot to my mom who’s [in her 70s],” the administrator said, calling the vaccination system “not organized.”

My 79 year old step mother signed up Sunday and received shot on Monday morning. Enough said. 

The DOE said “employees working remotely have been directed to wait for further guidance.”

We're not waiting for further guidance. Why? We suffer from heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, etc... If we don't have suffer from these, then a loved one we live with suffers from these ailments. We are not doing anything wrong, illegal, or unethical. We are following CDC guidelines which the UFT and the DOE agree upon. For those whining about teachers teaching remotely, do you really think it is that easy? Walk a mile in our shoes before you complain. Oh, and I don't wear my jammies but I usually walk around in socks. Last week I stepped in a big wet hairball deposited by Sparkles.  

And let me add. Any teacher who that is in a building and does have one of the CDC comorbidities, you have the right to go ahead of any able bodied teacher as well.

But in retrospect I think it was the DOE all along that wants the teachers in buildings to get vaccine and the UFT went along with it. Sound familiar? Why spend time and medicine on the sick? Just separate the teachers as we get off the 4 train. Those that can work go to the right, those that can't go to the ovens. 

I have no intention of becoming a statistic. Nor should anyone become a statistic. Whether able bodied or with a susceptibility. I don't want to wind up on this list nor do I want to see any teachers on it as well. I know people on this list. My dear friend Chaz is on this list, and I miss him terribly. 

If you are a remote teacher, or a teacher in a school that is vulnerable, you have every right to get a shot NOW. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones. You are no good to them dead. I was raised to believe that we help our most needy and most vulnerable ahead of ourselves. Doesn't the time call for this? 

This Post article was clearly planted by the DOE to sow division amongst teachers and to discourage remote teachers to get vaccinated soon. Perhaps the DOE is wished us to die off? 

There is enough crap on Twitter and social media, by NYC teachers with fake Bronx accents stabbing remote teachers in the back with wacky theories and what not. 

Oh, it'll help if the UFT gets involved in this. Maybe at tomorrow's DA?

Monday, January 11, 2021

Control Your Destiny, Schedule the Vaccination Yourself

I am appreciative of the UFT, NYSUT, and whatever other groups expedited teachers and educators into group 1B so we can get vaccinated. 

What I am not crazy about are the strings attached and what it appears to be that the only way
we can get vaccinated is through the DOE and/or the UFT. Why? Basically to control who gets it. 

Mulgrew and Chancellor Carranza said the same things differently. 

Mulgrew wrote...        

UFT members working in the schools right now will receive priority in our matching process, but we plan to move quickly to match all UFT members who wish to receive the vaccine with a provider.

Carranza wrote...

If you are working remotely right now, please wait for further guidance on when to schedule your vaccination. This will help to ensure that New Yorkers on the front line serving fellow New Yorkers in person in our school buildings will better be able to access the vaccine. 

Though I am not enthralled but what Mulgrew wrote, Carranza is coming across like he hopes plenty of teachers die before the vaccine gets around. 

The UFT is acting as an authorized re-seller of vaccine slots for the city and the DOE. In essence, the UFT is a ticket scalper, or in this instance, a vaccine slot scalper. This is not what the UFT should be doing. 

For shits and giggles I filled out the UFT survey last night. Even though I have a slot. But we don't have to go through the UFT at all. We can do this ourselves. Remember, always be proactive 

Here are some quality websites that can be accessed on your own without going through and/or relying on the UFT.

I think this is for the entire state of New York:

For NYC: This one came from another fan of SBSB

and let's not forget from yesterday's blog post care of a SBSB groupie


And here is article from Journal News in which huge hub will be used at the Westchester County Center for vaccinations. 

Take care of you and your family and loved ones. Do this yourself. It'll get done quicker. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Vaccinations are Here! What to Know

 Sometime last night during my binge watching of Family Guy I got a text from one of the many SBSB groupies. It was shared with me that sign up is available for those who qualifyunder group 1B for the COVID vaccination (I'll post the link at the end of this post).

Finally! This vaccination process, at least in NY State is taking too long. Cuomo has to control it. Why not use all 62 NYS county health departments. Less control for Cuomo one would hazard to guess. Heck, in 1947 NYC vaccinated about 6 million people for smallpox in about a month. Why can't this be done again? 

So for the last week or so we here at SBSB have been hearing rumors that teachers have been moved into 1B and that vaccinations are imminent. Thanks to DeBlaso for finally showing some balls to Cuomo that day has come starting tomorrow. But the rollout has not been exactly smooth. 

This morning on 880 WCBS I heard the tail end of an interview with Mulgrew in which I heard...

"Teachers who are in the classroom will be given priority"

That was a "whatcha talking about Willis" moment for me. It was time to roll up the sleeves. 

I reached out to the SBSB groupie as well as someone in the UFT. I got some decent clarification from the UFT.

If you signed up on the link provided last night with NYCHHC you are still good to go. You don't have to wait for the UFT to do it for you.

You do not need to be a NYC resident to use the NYCHHC link. I am getting my shot at 3rd Ave and 174th St. 

I'm also hearing that each individual must schedule the second shot themselves, but that just doesn't make sense. But waiting to hear confirmation. More likely at wherever you get your shot they will schedule for you.

The UFT has scheduled a paid release time for the vaccination. 

And finally, and this is what is bothersome: That according to Mulgrew's email today members working in school will get priority. But according to what I was told "if you are 1B you won't be turned away." Just those in buildings will kind of have a head start. 

I really must take umbrage. I mean the infection rate nearing 10 percent. With the buildings still open the DOE, and seemingly, the UFT has no issue with such a high rate of infection. Originally the threshold for shutting down the buildings was to be 3 percent. All of the sudden someone gives a shit about the teachers in the building ? Mind you, I am not besmirching these teachers. They are doing a fantastic job under the circumstances and we should support them. But they're mostly healthy. Chances are they do not have a morbidity.

The priority should be those with a morbidity. Whether it is a member or a member's loved one that they live with. These people are the most vulnerable and susceptible to dying.

Right now the way the UFT and DOE are prioritizing the healthy sounds a wee bit like Eugenics with a smile. "Let's take care of the healthy first. As for the weak and the sickly? If we get to them, we'll get to them." Maybe I am being hyperbolic but come on. Talk about wanting to thin the herd, the teachers on accommodation are the most vulnerable.

One more thing. People are getting their underwear into too much of a bunch over the video of the UFT nurse getting vaccinated. Big fucking deal. She's got more guts than Trump. Look at it this way, she's demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the vaccination. Too many anti-vaxxers out there. Let her set an example. Get your undies out of shape for the priority list and other real shit.

Now for the Health and Hospitals link. CLICK HERE  If you see nothing keep coming back. It's like you are getting tickets for opening day on Tivk. If you don't live in NYC check with your doctor, your provider, your local department of health. Be aggressive and be proactive. Most of all be safe and stay healthy.