Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Duplicity of the UFT Once Again Shows Its Face

 Why does Stew Leonard's have a higher regard for its customers than the UFT has for its rank and file? Why can McDonald's treat its customers better than the UFT does for its rank and file?

Back in the 90's I was in Orlando and booked a room at one of the Radisson's. The hotel was overbooked, and they sent me to another, yet swankier Radisson. My room and meals were comped. If it was an official
UFT hotel they would make me sleep in my car. However the management would claim they were attentive because the brought me a blanket, pillow, and a milk jug to piss in.

Members of the UFT should be thought of as customers. What does the sign say at each and every Stew Leonard's? 

"Rule 1: The customer is always right. Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, reread Rule 1."

It's pretty simple. The UFT has taken some steps, more like baby steps, in the last few years. But they still don't get it. They don't understand at the very least the perception and at the worst the reality of a union that does a little as it possibly can. Which will only fight back when confronted. For years, I have said if one seeks the help of the UFT without having knowledge and without standing firmly you are shit out of luck.

Yesterday, I got my first letter to file since 2013. All over the inane ambiguity over synchronous and asynchronous teaching that I shared last week. Oh joy. Thank you UFT  for really putting that true effort in.

But last this morning as I was making breakfast I had a revelation. I sent an email to my chapter chair on March 16 asking for clarification on synchronous and asynchronous.

I sent it due to the request of the CL for topics to bring up in the upcoming consultation meeting of March 19. 


I think clarification and discussion should be brought up with administration concerning asynchronous time. Some believe that we should be in front of our computers during this time without students just waiting for them to appear or with students whilst they do their work silently and we are doing nothing. XXXXXXX clarified it all. Asynchronous means we are available if needed. We are to be notified through text, email or dojo.  Thanks!

Even if the information is wrong or not exactly right, this was something that needed clarification!

In the chapter leader's email, we were asked to have our requests in by 1 PM, March 17. My email was sent at 8:44 PM. This was plenty of time to add it to the agenda. 

Guess what? It was not part of the agenda. 

Worse, I never heard back from the CL before the consultation with any questions, comments, concerns in regards to my email. And guess what else? I never heard back from the CL after the consultation meeting. Yet, before and after the request for clarification, the CL shared the party line with me several times. That asynchronous time means sitting live in front of the computer awaiting students who might or might now show up.

I got a letter in the file due to either incompetence or negligence. Since February I have been asking for clarification and no two responses are the same. How difficult is it to get clarification? 

But I am just a lowly ATR. An outsider, an interloper to the "family" which the CL explicitly claimed as well as implied in an ad hominem attack upon myself. All because I am running for chapter leader.

I am really bothered and hurt but not surprised. Why have expectations of the UFT when one can only be disappointed? But there is plenty more to this story that I am holding back on. 

For $120 a month we should get more than concierge service and unwieldy town halls in which only buddies and pals get chosen to speak. I asked for clarification during the last DA and Rashard didn't pick me. 

I pay my dues, I am a teacher. I am a teacher in my school. I am not some second class citizen. Nor is any ATR. No teacher, nor any UFT member should not be treated like this. And it wouldn't happen if upper echelon of the UFT took the rank and file more seriously.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Student's Speech Needs Ignored By Administration

 My balls are being busted by the scheduler because there was an ambiguity in the schedule. Instead of trying to work together to clear up the matter I was brought in with my chapter leader. But what to do with an administrator that fails to heed to the unambiguous need of a child when brought to that administrator's attention? A need that really hit home for me. 

From the age of about 4 1/2 to about 8 I was in private speech therapy. I was told that when I was about 2 3/4 I stopped speaking when my brother was born and didn't start up again until about 4 1/2. But I remember my mom driving me to the speech therapists office once a week from Flushing into Manhattan and then from Westchester into Manhattan. 

I had a whole bunch of issues. I recall that from 1st grade to 3rd grade I was always put in the lowest reading group at the beginning of the year. I would assume it would be because of my "marble mouth" and after a few weeks put in the top reading group. This even after the speech therapist told my mom I would not ever be a good reader. 

But I am fine now. Mostly. I have trouble with back to back words with similar sounds if I go to fast and I still have the lisp. It's much less noticeable now. What really decreased the lisp was more the braces than the speech therapy. But the lisp could be an advantage. In college I met this girl and she said, "Oh, you lisp, that's so cute!" 

And that is why I am empathetic to Joe Biden. Years ago I was told by a friend who was a speech therapist that she could tell I had speech therapy. I asked why and she said that she noticed that when I have trouble pronouncing a word I revert back to what I was taught as a child.

Enough about me. This student, (henceforth known as Boba Fett) who was new to me in February I noticed that Boba had an articulation issue. It was obvious. In my non-professional opinion it was something quite correctable as was my son's back when he was in 1st grade.  

Was it hindering Boba's learning? Boba is on grade level for reading. Could it in the future? You never know. Can being teased and ridiculed count as effecting learning? Can poor self esteem count as effecting learning? Yes, to all the questions. 

In my scheduling meeting with The Scheduler I brought this up. I saw The Scheduler write the information that was given and told me that this would be shared with the appropriate staff member and it'll be looked into. To the best of my knowledge, it hasn't. 

Boba Fett's language at home is Spanish. I do not know if an articulation issue in English transfers into another language and vice versa. 

But look at The Scheduler's priorities. I am shat upon for an unambiguous schedule why is concern about a child in which there is no ambiguity ignored by The Scheduler? Take responsibility. Be proactive. At the very least if Boba Fett did not meet the guidelines for in school speech therapy, one can be rather certain that Boba Fett's parents could have been referred to any number of well qualified outside agencies.

A manager at McDonald's is held to a higher standard than The Scheduler.

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? 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

UPDATE!! God's Favorite Teacher Has Me Exiled

 I should've put an update on my blog post of February 11 concerning the dressing down I received from God's Favorite Teacher as well as her mental meltdown on Google Meets. But, with the events of what has transpired the last several weeks and my introducing of The Scheduler in yesterday's post, I think the time is right for that update.

As I mentioned yesterday, I received an email the evening of February 21 from The Scheduler instructing me to cover a 4th teacher who was to be out for bereavement beginning Feb 22. The day we got back from Mid Winter Break.

My spidey sense tingled. I knew something was up. And I was proved correct at a Meets meeting with The Scheduler that morning of the Feb 22. I was told that once the teacher came back from bereavement I would stay with the class and give the teacher "support and to assist in test prep."

Back then I knew there weren't going to be any tests, or at least not testing as we know it. But support? The class I was transferred to has nine students! The class I was being forced out of has over twenty five! Who needed the support? The extra body? There are three teachers (then), and a one to one para. Two of us are general ed. and God's Favorite Teacher is special ed. and the para is there for language. We split the class in three. Easy peasy. That is until God's Favorite Teacher decided that she couldn't handle seven students. God's Favorite Teacher wanted me out. And she wanted the para.

So in the meeting I asked The Scheduler (Sounds like a villain from Batman. "Schedule me this Caped Crusader!) why I was being moved and she kept on returning to the party line that the class needed support. 

I tried a different approach. "But don't the students that I have been working with for several months and have established a good relationship with me deserve continuity?" The same party line was regurgitated. 

I tried yet another approach. "How is it beneficial for students to go from a small group to a much larger group?" Again, the party line.

I tried one more approach. "How does this benefit the student (with the para) being moved to a lesser ability group from the top level group?" Again, the party line.

What lesson do we learn from this? That when we hear "students first, always" and other inane crap like that it's bullshit. It means nothing. It's empty words. 

It also shows that the way to get ahead, the way to get what you want is to shove yourself as far as possible up the rectum of an administrator. Too many live there and die there. How do they look themselves in the mirror?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Wheels of the UFT Bus Go Thump Thump Thump

Boy, do I feel like a schmuck. I tried to thread a needle. It didn't work. The UFT, the union to whom I give $120 of my hard earned money to dropped the ball. And I am about to get screwed for it. 

Now to clear things up, this isn't a blog post against anyone at 52 Broadway or a chapter leader. Let's just say it has more of a local flavor. 

This synchronous vs asynchronous learning is awash in ambiguity. No one really knows it seems what the guidelines are or aren't. We should expect the administrators to be clueless but not the UFT.

Our story begins on February 22 right after this incident (And boy do I have something more to say!!). A teacher was to be out a week, and I was to cover her 4th grade class. OK, no problem. Up to that time I was teaching with two other teachers. We had 27 students or so and we split them up and we went straight from 8:50-Noon. The students had lunch, and we were asynchronous for the rest of the day. Work would be put up on Google Classroom, and we would be available through Dojo, text, email, GC, etc... In fact at a meeting, the principal had no problem with the schedule. 

So on the Feb 22 when my first day with this class I adhered what I knew. I did 179 minutes. I assumed the rest of my day was asynchronous. No, I was told. In the afternoon I was told that I must be sitting in front of the computer with Meets on and to wait for students to come by if they needed help. After 30 minutes of staring at my face and with my thumb up my ass, I decided to give up and plan for the next day.

NO! I was told, and I met with said person to hash out a schedule. I was told that my asynchronous time was to be concurrent whilst on screen whilst the students are doing their independent work on screen. Not only that, after teaching synchronously for 190 minutes that I must meet afterwards in small groups with students. But, I thought, there are only 9 students in the class. Isn't that already a small group?

At this point I decided to contact the local higher up the food chain UFT. I was told that yes, admins can make you do small groups during your asynchronous time. "Wait!" I said. I have already taught 190 minutes. For 4th grade in February it is recommended that synchronous time should be between 150-210 minutes. Aren't I already doing that I ask? No, I am told by the local higher up the food chain UFT. That is recommended only for students. But if it is only recommended for students would not a teachers screen time be equal to the same screen time as the students? Here is the document I get  referred to all the freaking time. Said document appears contradictory to what I was being told. 

While we are at it, I had been under the assumption that remote teachers can set their schedule in consultation with admins. I was told I was incorrect (Someone care to clarify?). But, about 15 minutes ago I came across this.

Working remotely necessitates using time differently from a traditional period by period school day. 

In consultation with school administration, school staff must use professional discretion to determine how to work remotely.

My scheduler foisted my schedule upon me. My schedule gave me periods. One, two, three, and so on. What gives?

So off I go to my local upper echelon UFT. Yes, I am told, asynchronous means working live with small groups. I go to my CL. Nothing against CL, but the CL was getting bad information.

I go way up the food chain. I'm told something completely different. In fact the opposite. That asynchronous means you don't have to be on screen that you just be available. Oh, and that the UFT has been successful in complaints regarding this. 

A light bulb moment!! I go back to the local upper echelon UFT. "Let's file an operational complaint!" I was told to go back to my CL. But the tone I got was less than enthusiastic. I put it off.

But in the meantime, the teacher I was covering came back. She had a routine and I guess a schedule and I followed her lead. She did the reading and the math and I covered the writing. But, we had different schedules. I assumed, because my scheduler never said the schedule was for the remainder of the year that the original was null and void. I must work with my co-teachers schedule.

It made sense. The scheduler had me working in small groups from Noon-1:30, however the students had lunch at Noon. That wouldn't work.

So back to the UFT.

I even went as far as having an exec board member ask Mulgrew to clarify synchronous and asynchronous at the March 22 exec board meeting. No dice. Got a twelve word answer.

Finally Saturday night I got the answer I was looking for. But it was too late. Had a meeting with the scheduler and my CL today (I will get into more details about this another time). If the UFT wish to be proactive this could have been taken care of in February or early March.

Or it could have been taken care of if I was one of the callers picked by Rashard during a DA or town hall. I don't have that kind of juice.

I always say I would rather have a dysfunctional union than no union, and I still stand by that. I still stand by paying dues. But the UFT is still acts in a reactive manor instead of grabbing the bull by the balls and not letting go. I am sure I am not the only teacher looking for clarification about synch and asynch. 

The  UFT works for the rank and file not the other way around. We are the customer. Treat as if we are important. It's amazingly simple.

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.