Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Buffalo Schools Call for Restraining Order Against Nosy Plutocrat

Forgive me friends but I just came across something the other day that should've cleared my consciousness by now but hasn't. Ergo, we're all stuck with it now. It has been reported that none other than Robert Fucking M&T Fucking Bank CE Fucking O Wilmers his own self was involved in a conference call with WNY's very own sellout and political cheap trick Kathy Hochul encouraging Mayoral Control of Buffalo Public Schools. There are so many wrongs in what I just wrote I am not even sure where to start trying to sort them out.

For openers, let me remind everyone the role this bluenose banking senile played in bringing Buffalo Public Schools the absolute worst Superintendent in post modern history. It happened that the Board at the time had enough members dozing at the wheel -- probably in a carb induced coma after one of  the pre-Board meeting feeding frenzies they used to engage in -- that Old Man Wilmers was allowed to fund the search for a new Superintendent. He offered and the dopes sitting around the table thought it was something for nothing so they went along with him on it. It didn't take long before Bordeaux Bob was wheeling and dealing using a company called Heidrick and Struggles to do the search. A search committee comprised of 4 Board members and 3 M&T appointees was created. Wilmers bought himself 3 votes simply by offering $100K towards the search. Since then I have been told by a trusted source that Ralph Hernandez a board member at the time told some constituents in confidence that Wilmers never even paid up the $100K. That would make complete sense to me. 

The process gets weirder and weirder. Artvoice offered this: 

That committee hired an executive search company, creating a second, and worse, problem. Heidrick & Struggles, one of the top executive search firms in the country, immediately began operating in secrecy, and by extension so did the seven-member search committee. Heidrick & Struggles, a firm with clients like corporate giants Disney, Nike, Chrysler, and Coca Cola, showed little regard for the school board or the Buffalo public. At-large board member Catherine Collins complained that they weren’t getting much for the $100,000 being paid: “We’re basically only having conference calls with them.” Face-to-face meetings with the search committee totaled exactly two—and one of those was spent with Heidrick & Struggles representative Nathaniel Sutton trying to convince the board to take more money from Wilmers and the business community to supplement the new superintendent’s salary.

Right from the start this process was off the rails and continued off them until the very end. 

Committee members blew off complaints by the rest of the board and the public about the lack of information. Finally, the full board revolted and overruled the search committee, demanding that a representative of Heidrick & Struggles come to Buffalo and attend a public meeting to give some transparency to the search for a new superintendent. Florence Johnson and search committee head Denise Hanlon argued hard against this, with Johnson insisting it implied a lack of trust in the search committee.

The board won out and a public forum was scheduled for January 24 at Bennett High School. Heidrick & Struggles didn’t bother to show. Two empty chairs represented the company.

The company Wilmers was allegedly paying to find a Superintendent couldn't be bothered with a backwater like Buffalo or anything as paltry as schools Chief. They were used to dealing with Nike, Coca Cola, Chrysler, etc. They seemed to think finding a Superintendent of Buffalo Schools was something of a shit job they couldn't get out of. 
In every other city searching for a school superintendent—Memphis, for example—a list of finalists is published, discussed, and examined. Not in Buffalo.

At the end, according board member Ralph Hernandez, “We saw two candidates, and we saw them for 10 minutes each.” Then on Thursday, April 7, 2005, after a closed-door meeting, Florence Johnson unexpectedly announced James A. Williams was the likely choice, telling the Buffalo News she had decided to scrap the school board’s traditional policy of not making any announcement until after references were checked and the choice was final.

Board President Flo Jo Johnson threw caution to the winds along with common sense and sound hiring practices and announced James Williams as the new Super before checking his references. She mentioned that he'd worked in Dayton Ohio for a bit but, ummm, errrr, well, she really didn't have much more than that. The Buffalo News covered for Johnson claiming Williams had been let go as the result of some financial restructuring. The fact that Williams, among other highlights had necessitated financial adjustments by hiding a $23 million hole he'd dug didn't make the Buffalo News story.

He (Williams) was fired for misleading the Dayton school board and hiding $23 million in overspending, something Hernandez discovered via a simple Google search, which caused him to be the lone vote against hiring Williams. One non-school board search committee member recently told us that in retrospect the committee had not done enough research on Williams and accepted too much information at face value without challenging anything. 

If Hernandez was able to learn this much with a simple Google search, what prevented the other members and Wilmers his own self from doing the barest of checks on Williams' character, the destruction he caused in Dayton and all the rest of what eventually came out about his crooked, race baiting, corrupt old ass? 

It's a stretch to say Wilmers is wholly responsible for bringing in the worst of the worst in Buffalo Schools Superintendents. Fact is though, this entire Rube Goldberg cartoon of a search was set in motion when Wilmers involved himself and waved his checkbook as a means of gaining entry to manipulating public policy. Just because you're a rich guy in a small town like B-Lo doesn't mean you can buy who and what you want when it comes to public education. We saw this same principle in effect a while back when Robert Gioia and his fellow Brahmin cleaned the cigar change out of their golfbags and offered half a million dollars to Pamela Brown PhD Harvard in exchange for her leaving town. These guys can buy Nardin a new gym or add some acoustical panels to the auditorium at Nichols if they're feeling philanthropic. But they really need to keep their big fat egos and their big fat checkbooks the fuck out of public education. 

Robert Wilmers is worshipped in banking circles. He's won awards for the wine produced in his Bordeaux vineyards. But when it comes to public education he just plain sucks. Stick to grapes and sub prime mortgages Bob. Leave this one to the peasants. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Opt Out Numbers Are Devastating for the High Stakes Test Pimps. What Will They Do Now?

Looks like the opt out numbers are far greater than anyone on this end of the argument could even dare to imagine. I read about a district downstate with 83% opting out. West Seneca and Lakeshore were only a few points below that and Iroquois Middle clocked in around 65%.

And isn't it funny to watch the other half scrambling to pull their pants up. Old Bob Bennett has been trotted out again blubbering and grumbling and harrumphing that it's against the law to opt out. Little Jason from Buffalo DeformEd was on WBEN radio yesterday doing his part to hold up the shaky argument for those on the wrong side of history. Buffalo's own interim in brief Donald Ogilve has offered his own version of Don Knott's Mr. Limpet character shaking his head in sadness that kids are missing out on this chance of a lifetime and repeating all the lies his pals in NYSED like to trot out about seeing how we're doing and measuring growth etc. 

The Buffalo News has grown so desperate they even turned racebait Rod Watson loose on the topic. Rod tried to be snarky and cute and made some really dumb statements about testing and Common Core that revealed he's done zero to educate himself on the issues aside from memorizing the talking points memo his corporate masters posted on the door to the editorial bunker. Meryl Tisch is running in circles with her ass on fire trying to intimidate cajole and bluster to any and everyone who will still listen. With little luck I might add. The News refused to post numbers and percentages in today's article, instead using deliberately vague language to obfuscate the ass whooping their pro test policy is taking in the court of  Mom and Dad. 

And in the end parents have simply called the bluff of Tisch and Bennett and Cuomo and everyone else. Parents have defied anyone who's tried to insinuate that refusing to subject your kid to an untested, unproven game of corporate guinea piggery will cost your school money, your kid's teachers their jobs and the school a chance to measure its growth. 

We've seen so much bullying, so much bullshit and so much non representative government from supposedly elected politicians that it's all boiled over and parents are sticking up a big fat middle finger and saying this is what we think of your budget, you teacher evaluation schemes, your shitty non prescriptive, non diagnostic high stakes tests and YOU!

They really haven't listened up til now. Curious to see how they weave all of their teacher evaluations out of code #999's.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nepotism: The New Transparency in Buffalo Schools

Say No 

Well that didn't take long. 

About 3 hours after I posted the piece discussing the Board Majority's decided lack of interest in community input and the heavy rumor mongering that predicts their plan to appoint James Weimer as Deputy Superintendent, I got about 3 messages explaining that Weimer's wife was a long time employee of Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development Co.

 It's funny how this stuff just takes off on its own. My primary focus was the way the Wealthy White Men's Advocacy Group was seeking to keep anyone else from interfering with their end run to appoint a Super who will follow directions and stick to the script they give him. From what Carl has admitted in the article that served as a prequel to his "50 Shades of Tan" piece, he and Lars and Gateway Jim Sampson thought they had their boy, their official rubber stamp when they drafted Donald Ogilve and pressed him into service without as much as an introduction to The Sisterhood as Carl calls the Board Minority members. The girls were heated and understandably suspicious of what they were going to get out of this heretofore retired unknown white dude who'd spent a career among the suburban BOCES milieu.  If I were a minority member believe me I would not be expecting a whole hell of a lot from the guy either, especially the way he was installed with the majority votes and an invitation to STFU and deal with it from the fearless capitalist Majority who love a good power move more than they love their mothers. 

But as Carl has lamented, Ogie reneged. He refused to comply with their Valentine's Day Massacre and toss Bennett, MLK et al into the waiting bank vaults of the charterizers. Instead he ended up keeping any of them from being privatized and earning the respect of the women of the Board who very likely had no good opinion of him previously. The Old Boys Valentine's Day Massacre got flipped on them and ended up their Friday the 13th. For that they blamed Ogilve. 

 But to Carl and Co. this was Ogie's death knell and the search was on for a new stooge who'd shut up and do their bidding without any of this integrity and honor crap. What's best for the kids comes somewhere down the line with this crew if you look at the values they've embraced for their entire careers. I recently found an old sports post on WBEN grumbling about Quinn's obfuscation on the sale of the Sabres. The google tease reads "Larry Quinn flat out denied to reporters today that any sale of the Sabres is complete or pending...Larry Quinn is a well documented liar." Not my words but I'll gladly reprint them. 

In the eyes of the Majority members, the fact that Ogilve appeared to actually give a rat's ass about the kids and their education consigned him to the sucker's heap with all the rest of the losers who'd waste their lives earning $50K trying to teach someone's stupid kid about Grant's Tomb. 

These guys showed up late in their game, in the twilight of their careers. Before education was revealed as the next big cash cow for rich guys to cash in on by Bloomberg, Murdoch and the rest, none of us had ever seen hide nor hair of them dabbling in edumofocation. 

Sampson was a prison warden in Wisco. Quinn was flummoxing around in NYC trying to develop. Carl was collecting rent and being Carl. And none, not a goddamned single one of them, had a minute to waste on something as financially unrewarding or lacking in prestige as public education. But now here they all are and we're supposed to think their motives are all about the betterment of children and mankind on the whole? We are also supposed to believe that they know better than people who began education careers in their early 20's and are still here in their 50's, 60's and 70's? Ninja please ... 

But now that education has been declared the next Sutter's Mill, suddenly, here they all are!  -- Just caring and caring and caring till they just can't care any goddamned more. Even though they admit to ignoring public speakers at Board Meetings and giving no fucks about teachers losing jobs to accomodate their privatization plans we are supposed to believe that:

  •  Quinn (with how many mill from his Sabres deals) and 
  • Paladino (with how many mill from all of his state leases and charter leases?) and 
  • Sampson (with how many mill he ganked from Gateway?) 
are suddenly losing sleep because poor black kids and poor brown kids and poor white and yellow kids aren't scoring 4's on their NY State Assessments? Someone needs to give us all a break. Talk about straining credulity...

So I guess all that's left is to ask Mr. Weimer if he is their guy how he wants to be remembered? What is to be his legacy as an administrator in Buffalo Public Schools? As it stands I already said I've heard little said against him and Emerson is so successful there is talk and maybe plans already of expanding it with another site. 

Do you want to be remembered as the man who steered Emerson into a new building and built with slow and steady progress a thriving gem in which the whole city can find a little pride? Seems you've earned that.

Or at this point is all of that worth trashing for the sake of being another Carl Paladino stooge who did as he was ordered and faciliated the widescale firesale a handful of rich old white guys thought was their birthright because they are old and rich and white and this is Buffalo? And dammit that's the way she goes?

Your Call, Mr. Weimer.  Buffalo is waiting to see what you're going to do. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Attention B-Lo Community: Wealthy White Men Do Not Want to Hear From You

It appears our Caucasian Caucus of the B-Lo Board of Ed is trying to prevent the community from having any say on who the next Superintendent should be. Buzz from the City Hall elevators says the Wealthy White Men's Advocacy Group seeks to slide Mr. Weimer the Principal of Emerson into the Deputy Superintendent's chair and from there they plan to give him the badge. I don't know much about the guy and can't say I have heard anyone denounce him as control freak or philanderer -- the two most deadly species of administrator. One person I know who's worked with him laughed and said Weimer? He hasn't left his office in how many years?

No Women and No Dark People for Starters

Again, I am working with limited input and I realize perception is reality especially in a popularity contest like the one we're headed into now. There may be someone else they have their eye on and Weimer is just a red herring. Either way, the plan appears to be another of these power moves that people like Lars Quinn, Carl the Churl and Gateway Jim Sampson live for. They have their guy, just as they thought they had Ogie way back when. They are going to glue their guy to the chair, place the rubber stamp in his hand and let slip the dogs of ed reform. Anyone who doesn't like it is invited straight to hell. 

Obviously the Board Minority isn't digging this plan one bit. And why should they? The minority members have scheduled open community meetings at several schools to ask the public for input on what kind of Superintendent we need this time. As expected the Wealthy White Men's Advocacy Group is looking to derail these colloquies. Seems Carl and Co. are insisting that the minority members should not be allowed to use public school buildings to hold meetings for the community. I believe they are claiming that the buildings need to be rented and insured for any events the board minority members hold in them. 


If you ask the question what's best for the school system, the kids, parents, teachers and staff?  the simple answer is open up the search to include as many interested parties as possible. If the question is how to do we get the guy we want as fast as possible? the answer is limit the input and exclude as many interested parties as possible because we really don't want to hear it. 

(Forgive me for using the male pronoun exclusively here my sensitive friends but I'll be 6 ft 8" with a deep tan the day this bunch elects a woman unless it's a mousey little drink fetcher and rubber stamp vote like their current Board Fraulein who keeps the olives fresh in Lar's martinis)

Is there maybe a larger concern that we look for someone else, maybe some local rockstar from the suburbs? Last we heard of Paul Casseri he was being hounded by sociopath hustler James Williams through the corridors of City Hall.  Paul was in the process of turning South Park around with an energized faculty and staff when Williams and Co. slashed his resources to pennies and said Good Luck. So when he handed in his papers to move on Williams was there to run his fat flapping mouth calling Casseri a quitter and a few other things that didn't speak to his intelligence or legitimacy. I just read they made the guy Superintendent of Lewiston. Not bad for a quitter huh? Another gem pissed away in  a City Hall C-Lo game. You think he'd come back? 

There's a guy named Dr. Crawford who's name gets tossed around quite a bit. There are Supers downstate who have been standing up against high stakes testing and Common Core. You can't tell me there isn't someone out there who could bring some new life and hope to this sinking ship of foolery we've had here for how many years now? 

If you look at the track record of Carl and Larry and Gateway Jim they have been ineffective as hell in pushing their agenda. And it seems we can't go a week without Carl stepping on another land mine or shoving someone else into one. The "50 Shades of Tan" letter detailing the end of his relationship with a Buffalo News education reporter is just the latest in a string of Paladino-OMFGisms. 

Gateway Jim is going to be talking to the feds from what I hear who appear to be much more interested in his pimp life at Gateway than his friendly Democratic Party pals in New York were. And Lars, God Lars isn't exactly looking like the millions he stashed when the Sabres traded hands. Last board meeting he looked like he'd been sleeping in the backseat of his Beemer up til the meeting started. These are not credible education people. They lack insight and compassion. 

A friend and BTF activist relayed a conversation with one of these three where he told her "You know we don't listen to anything you say when you get up and speak at board meetings right?" Another convo with a board member and a BTF officer included the BTF guy asking the board member what about the hundreds of teachers who'd lose their jobs if you succeeded in closing the schools? To which our elected representative replied " I don't give a fuck."

Are these the guys who deserve a fast track to pick the next Buffalo Schools Superintendent? 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Unbiased Buffalo News Reporter Begs Charter School Landlord to Forgive Her

"You Are So Shallow"

We had a bit of a dust up here in B-Lo Ed-land recently when a professor from Buffalo State College released the results of a study she conducted with a grad student empirically stating a suspicion many of us have shared over the years, namely, that the Buffalo News education reporting contains a palpable bias in favor of charter schools and the entire corporate ed reform manifesto. If social media is worth anything it's a great staging ground for public tantrums and meltdowns one would ordinarily not get to see elsewhere.  Aaron Lowinger of DailyPublic.com published on his Facebook wall a short tease of his colleague Shane Meyers' article on the findings of Professor Nikischer's research which was due to be published the following day. Who of all people but Buffalo News education reporter Tiffany Lankes dropped a comment wondering what The News' reaction might be to this piece. Well things were strained from the get go and they didn't get any friendlier as the thread spun its way down the page with Shane chiming in and Aaron doing the same. They respectfully challenged Ms. Lankes to be real and be at least a little bit honest about the way her employer frames education coverage and the way the News editorial policy tends to regularly leak into the so called "news" stories. Long story short, Miss Tiffany ended her participation in something of a rant accusing DailyPublic of bias too then. If the internets had a door she would have slammed it. Now if that was the public face of the News reaction to being chided for their pro corporate ed reform journalizing I can only imagine what else they had to say and what private responses and reactions we didn't get to witnesss. Were voodoo dolls fashioned? Dart boards festooned with likenesses of DailyPublic guys and the Prof? Did anyone get a sheet pizza delivered to their door in the dead of night?  Or a flaming paper bag on their front porch? We can only imagine. 

What we don't have to imagine is the way a Buffalo News  education reporter and alleged professional journalist named Sandra Tan tried to charm Carl Paladino into resuming their relationship by way of admitting not taking her calls makes her "feel bad." She also apologizes to him several times and all but begs him to take her back. Professionally of course but the missive does have an overtly personal tone that blurs the lines to borrow a phrase from Robin Thicke by way of Marvin Gaye. Enjoy Sandra's lament to her Angry Developer and you tell me if this is someone who needs to be getting up on her soapbox to swear she has no bias. 

On March 31, 2015, at 5:20 pm, Sandra Tan, (School Zone, Buffalo News) wrote : 

I understand from your secretary that you aren’t taking my calls. If you’re trying to make me feel bad, you win. I do feel bad.

I can only assume, since you haven’t actually spoken to me about this, that you’re angry about the reaction story I wrote about your resolution to fire Ogilvie. The main purpose of that story was to gather reaction from other board and community members to your proposal, which I wrote about extensively that previous Sunday. When we spoke last on the following Monday, I had canvassed other board members regarding whether they intended to support your motion. I then shared with you that you didn’t appear to have board support.

I recall you telling me then that you didn’t care what anybody else thought and that you were your own man and wouldn’t be bullied. I also recall you were traveling and preparing to step on a plane or something. So when I later got the email from Rev. Kinzer Pointer, on behalf of the clergy coalition, I naturally followed up with him and included his comments in the story. Had I known you would have actually cared about his opinion enough to want to rebut his comments, I would have obviously made an effort to reach you after I spoke with him late Monday afternoon. As it was, I didn’t realize his opinion mattered to you at all.

Based on your reaction, I see in hindsight that this was a misjudgment on my part. However, nothing I wrote was part of an intentional effort to rob you of your point of view. Moreover, I’m very disappointed that if you had any issue with anything I’ve written that you wouldn’t pick up the phone and call me directly to complain. That’s unlike you. I would have apologized and explained all this to you then. Given how long you have been dealing with me – years – I would have expected you to contact me directly.

When taking the sum of what I have written about you over time, I believe I have represented your positions accurately and fairly. If you don’t think so, fine. Call and let me know. Feel free to yell. I can take it. I can even apologize nicely. If you’re angry at me about more than the above, get it off your chest so I can understand your position better. But this cold-shoulder treatment is beneath you.

I called you today to get your reaction to the school receivership model that’s being adopted by the State Legislature. I’m working on a story for tomorrow. I’ve called several board members and gotten feedback from them, but I think your feedback is important too. I suppose if you never speak to me again, I’ll never be able to include your opinions in any future story I write. That would be a shame, wouldn’t it? So please forgive me and call me back. I’m at 849-4419.



And if you think that's all there is to this comedy you haven't laughed until you read how Carl Paladino slams the Buffalo News editorial writers and tells "Sandy" to stop reading their nonsense and check herself essentially calling her out to be a better person.  I am hard pressed to believe that Carl reads the News editorials since they march in lockstep with every one of his corporate ed reform policies. He may bear such a residual grudge against them from his campaign for Governor that he simply assumes they are his enemy. In a similar vein he and his nemesis Andrew Cuomo have nearly identical anti public education goals but Carl doesn't seem to realize this either. At least he's never let on that he does. Here is Carl being Carl and telling his woman scorned with a nod to Humphrey Bogart they never had Paris in the first place and they probably never will. Enjoy:

From: Carl Paladino
Date: April 4, 2015 at 2:00:31 PM EDT
To: Sandra Tan
Cc: Dawn Bracely, Rod Watson, John Neville Warren Colville

Subject: Re: I'm not sure what we're fighting about, but you win

It's simple Sandy. I made the motion to terminate Olgilvie to make a point that betrayal and treachery constitute unacceptable bad behavior, and with no consequences will send the wrong message to him and to others.

I knew that the politically correct liberals on the Board knew that what I was doing was correct, but couldn't buy into such a disciplinary stance because they are such forgiving souls, tomorrow is just another day and it's better to use the "time proven" exercise of restorative justice that has worked so well at Bennett and Riverside High Schools.

Good leadership demands that you lead from the front and if you are committed to the effort to really win, you make the hard calls and obliterate anything that stands in your way.

You knew that I was making a point. Nevertheless, despite my having done the same thing many times last year, you were so anxious to point out that I was lame because I did not have apparent support. You are so shallow.

Where was Reverend Pointer and his crowd for the last 20 years as another generation of minority kids circled the drain?

We know where the African American leadership has been. They have been building a power structure more interested in conspiring and covering up the disappearance of $500 million of Joint School Construction money, controlling a $965 million budget and providing jobs for illiterate and incompetent friends and family, than actually providing an opportunity for education for the children held captive in the cycle of poverty.

If their focus was really about the kids, they would be demanding vouchers, tax credits, charter schools, neighborhood schools and SEED schools or other vehicles that would give real choice and alternatives creating competition -which in turn has proven to improve education.

Instead, our 4 minority women have conspired with union leaders to maintain the status quo and avoid the provision of standards for teachers and principals to prevent the tossing of the growing bad element of incompetent educators that is the heart and soul of the dysfunction.

By giving Pointer print to only say that I'm a racist ass, without offering up any better solution, you add to the racist banter, enhancing polarization and acrimony.

How about becoming part of the solution instead? You know that by simply picking your topic you in fact editorialize. Get off the merry go round, stop reading the insane News editorials and recognize that it has been on the watch of the 4 African American women on the Board, most of the exempt administrators of the District, 3 incompetent Superintendents, (all from someplace else), Dawn Bracely and Rod Watson that our schools have spiraled into the abyss. Do you think it's time for a makeover--time to replace self- serving ignorance with enlightenment and people committed to educate the kids? Do you really want to continue being part of the problem?

It's time for you to take a break and figure out who you are and how you will set yourself apart from disrespected mainstream journalism.

We are not on the same page and it is unlikely we ever will be.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why BTF Doesn't Need a New Contract Before High Noon and Other Drama

Does This Sound Like a Guy Who Wants to Help You Get a Fair Contract? 

As our BTF elections draw nearer I am hearing a slightly off pitch squeal from certain factions regarding the imperative of an imminent contract agreement. I have heard this same tone before most notably on a particluarly specious Facebook group whose administrators operate in total secrecy and without any accountability for the remarks they fling around. 

The group is called Buffalo Teachers for Change. They use an apple with a big rotten spot as an avatar. Classy touch, that. Over the past few years this group has continued a steady drumbeat for a new contract. It has also engaged in a steady flow of harsh criticism against Phil Rumore some of which I don't entirely disagree with. The main shortcoming -- and there are many-- of this group though, is their cowardly refusal to step forward and say: My name is Jose' Schmose' I am an ESL teacher at Harvey Emerson School. I want Phil Rumore to get me a new contract then get the hell out of the way and let someone else have a shot at running BTF. 

Ahh but therein lies the rub. There is no shortage of bitching and whining and moaning to be found posted on this thing. But try to get a name of anyone involved and you'll get what I got : banned from commenting. What's even more low brow and chickenshit is that they responded to something I said about their refusal to be known then blocked me so I couldn't respond to it. I was accused of making an "unhinged and impudent attack" by asking them to reveal their identities. Impudent? That's such a dorky pretentious word I am honored it's the best they could come up with for me. I say there sir, where goest thou with such intemperate impudence? Christ on a bike. 

With only so many factions maneuvering around this BTF election I guess I don't have to wonder too hard who may be connected to this page. Since the same "I am an irate dues paying union member demanding a contract now" meme is playing again I think I am pretty sure I can figure out the source. 

Truthfully though I am less concerned with any one person or two or three people insisting that the first thing we need is a new contract than I am with the possibility that this mentality could take hold and gain momentum. 

The reason union haters, especially Teacher's Union Haters HATE the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law is because it prevents employers from reaching into an expired contract they have shown no interest in negotiating and saying "Oh we'll just take this, this and this, times are tough, money is tight and you get summers off -- deal with it bitches." This tells me there must be something good about Triborough that is protecting me from people like Larry Quinn and Gateway Jim Sampson stripping me of benefits and pay. It's safe to say, especially if you take even a cursory glance at what happened in NYC's latest contract -- and if you aren't reading Arthur Goldstein's blog NYC Educator you should be -- you will understand that the NYC contract is a canary in the gold mine for what we can expect. 

Buffalo teachers are currently cursed with a reformy board majority of non educators who chafe to run public education into the ground like a business. If you haven't read their hallucination or vision or whatever they call it, you will get a very clear notion of what lies ahead in trying to negotiate a fair and beneficial contract with them. They are concerned with health care concessions, expanded charters, longer school days and to be truthful they all think we are saps and suckers for going into education and they have no plan to pay us any more than they would their pool cleaners or horse groomers. 

So for now it makes sense that we get the right people elected to run BTF and start working on getting some simpatico board members elected. We can't do any worse than trying to strike a deal with this crew and we aren't going to get checks for $10 or $20K that will hit the bank in time to get us out of summer school teaching, house painting or landscaping from July til September. Come May we might be able to shift this Board of Ed enough with a few key moves that a contract negotiation could actually do us some good. But for now, trying to squeeze a drop of blood from these rocks is just not something any of us should see as a fruitful enterprise. 

If you remember the movie "Colors" with Sean Penn as the crazed rookie cop and Robert Duval as his cagey wizened partner, Duvall tells a story about a young bull telling the old bull, "Hey look at all those cows down there, we should run down there and ---- one of em."  The old bull grunts and shakes himself and says "Boy, let's just walk down there and ---- ALL of em."

What's your rush, guys? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

With Sincerest Apologies to The Beastie Boys and a Sincere Up Yours to the Heastie Boys

Does the SAFE ACT Apply to Teachers, Gubner? 

You gotta vote the budget but you don't wanna go
Told your friends and donors you were gonna vote No!
You took a lotta cash and kissed some nasty butt
Made a shitload a promises to NYSUT.

You gotta fight for the rights of your party!

The Gov says you're wack but he digs your rhymes
(That bitch failed his bar exam four damn times.)
Man being Andy's boy is such a drag
Better do what he says cause now you're his prag.

Don't step out the capitol if that's how you're gonna vote
Get booted from the party there's no tax break on your boat.
Kathy Hochul busted in and said what's that noise? 
Aww Kathy you're just jealous it's the Heastie Boys!

You gotta fight for the rights of your party!