Friday, January 23, 2015

Charter School Parent Destroys Co-Location Scheme

If know my work at all you're clear that I like to do a lot of the talking. Every once in a while though even I stumble across something that leaves me speechless. And if you know me a little you'll also vouch that there is very little I can't turn into some damned kind of speech. (I was going to blow off that whole kissing the Blarney Stone thing when I saw how many steps you had to walk up and how you have to practically hang upside down but  like Bill Belichick I'll do anything to get an edge) But when I read this letter to the Reformy Buffalo Board of Education posted on the Facebook I had to read it twice before it could sink in. In this strange new word we inhabit --where a Democrat in the Governor's office just declared war on teachers then proceeded to smirk while the Democrat Speaker of the State Assembly was cuffed and stuffed like a shoplifter-- it makes a kind of kafkaesque sense that the parent of a charter school student has laid out a far more articulate case against charter school hijinks and skullduggery than any of our teacher union brass who currently appear able to sit up and take nourishment. 

Look at the statements about keeping Bennett kids on their side of the barrier and far from Tapestry charter School's doorway then close your eyes and ask yourself if a phrase like "Separate but Equal" seems germane to the current situation -- especially since about 1954 when it was deemed that separate is a far cry from equal.  I give you Tapestry Charter School parent Andrea B. Nikischer, Ph.D.  :

Dear Board Members-

I am parent at Tapestry Charter School and I am very concerned about the ill-conceived plan for Tapestry to take over part of Bennett High School. First, Tapestry administrators lied to parents on December 15, 2014 and stated that they would not be applying for space at Bennett. They have not sought and do not have parental support for such a move. Second, the Tapestry high school principal told me last week in no uncertain terms that if Tapestry does get space at Bennett, the school will not accept any current Bennett students for any reason. That's right- not one Bennett student will be allowed to attend Tapestry High School. Third, Tapestry K-8 test scores and Business First ranking has plummeted since the previous expansion at Tapestry, with only 12% of 4th grade students proficient in math. An additional expansion is likely to have a further negative impact on K-8 outcomes, putting the sustainability of Tapestry in jeopardy. Fourth, Tapestry only had 166 student attendance days in 2013-2014, which is 14 days LESS than BPS. The Charter School Institute issued a remedial order to Tapestry, as they failed to meet the minimum hours of instruction required by law. Tapestry is not providing more school, but rather significantly less. They are currently five days under the requirements for 2014-2015 year and it is likely another formal complaint will be filed regarding an instructional time violation. Fifth, world renowned civil rights expert and scholar Gary Orfield has asked the district to wait for his report on desegregating BPS. The district has been sued for civil rights violations and ignoring the recommendations of a world-leading scholar will not bode well for the district, or most importantly, its students.

Turning Bennett over to charter schools will not help the Bennett students and ignoring Orfield's recommendations will not help any underserved student in the district. Please wait for Orfield's recommendations and please do what is best for the Bennett students- accept the Bennett turn-around plan.

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes-
Andrea B. Nikischer, Ph.D.

Get all that?  In another rare gesture I was able to crank out a three lettered comment under this note as it appeared on FB. I wrote WOW.  Since I am not a paid in-service hack I'll eschew their favorite pedagogical maneuver of giving you a handout then reading through it line by line to make sure you aren't texting, sudokuing or daydreaming. Rather, I will seize on Dr. Nikischer's opening point, namely that the powers that be at Tapestry, like so many of our amusing friends from the Ed Reform class figured lying to parents would be their best opening move. And again I ask, if charters are as chockfull of excellence, grit and rigor as we are always told, why the hell do the people running them tell so damned many lies? Ironic too that these places of gritty and rigorous excellence are being spanked for slacking by their own regulatory commission. They can't even teach as many days of the school calendar as those "failing schools" we keep hearing  decried in Buffalo? They have already been censured once at Tapestry for not going hard enough in the paint and they are on pace to be outrigored, outgritted and outexcellenced by that "failing School district in Buffalo" that our quintuple bypass bar exam Governor likes to bray about. I'll say it again. WOW. 

What Say You Accountability Jim Sampson, Leisure Class Larry and Carl the Churl Paladino?

What say you?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Robert Wilmers Resurfaces Clueless and Unapologetic as Ever

 "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life," Thoreau said. 

Well don't look now friends but our old friend Bordeaux Bob Wilmers the M&T zillionaire is looking to help out the Buffalo Schools again. Again? you ask. When did the old bluenose ever help us out in the first place? To which I respond: think fired attendance teachers, think record low morale among teachers, think lowering the graduation rate  --which should all bring back a traumatic image similar to the one seen here: 

James Williams - Worst Super in B-lo Schools History

Yes friends in case it slipped your mind Robert Wilmers, CEO of M&T Bank stepped up and hired the search firm that brought us the Human Ebola Virus in a suit -- none other than  one James Williams. And if you don't recall exactly how that all came about, the board at the time was busy with shopping trips and out of town restauranteering so when Wilmers offered so magnanimously to pay for the "search" they shifted from one ham to another, looked up from their travel brochures and said Thanks.

Never mind the destruction Williams rained down on Dayton Ohio where he provoked a strike, opened and closed more charters than Paladino did Rite Aides, copped himself a no show gig on the staff at Wayne State and left the district with an $18 million deficit that he was able to keep on the DL until he was long gone and there was nothing they could do to him. It goes without saying that Williams was on a mission to break the teacher's union in Dayton. While he failed in breaking the union he managed to drag morale down to his level. Williams' departure from Dayton was akin to the celebration seen when Dorothy's house landed on the wicked witch. Somehow Wilmers looked at the chaos and mayhem Williams inflicted on Dayton and fell in love -- in a patrician aristocratic detached way of course, but just the same. It was love. 

The same board members who were preoccupied bilking the taxpayers for pre-board meeting buffets, trips to warm sunny places for conferences that took a back seat to shopping and feedbagging, were only too happy to rubber stamp Wilmer's selection and the rest, as we say, is history.

Do you ever wonder why Robert Wilmers has never stepped to a podium anywhere, yachting cap in hand and apologized to the students of Buffalo Public Schools, their parents, teachers, administrators, assistant, custodians and bus drivers for the wrecking ball that was James Williams? He never has that I know of and the teacher hating, charter loving Buffalo News has never held his Weejuns to the flames and demanded an accounting of the worst hiring the Buffalo Schools have ever endured. You know why Wilmers has never once said he was sorry?

Because he's not sorry. 

Wilmers might be sorry the way wife beating, crack smoking celebrities are sorry -- sorry they got caught. In Bordeaux Bob's case it's more of a matter of being sorry that Williams was unable to shatter BTF, shutter schools by the dozens and bulldoze the landscape for a New Orleans-like all charter zone. It doesn't seem to have registered with 1% Wilmers that his interference in matters he is grossly unfit to interfere in caused a lot of pain and hardship for a lot of people. (Ask fellow blogger Maria Rosa about her attendance job) Wilmers just doesn't seem to grasp that a toxic storm like the one his appointee James Williams inflicted on Buffalo for 6 years can ruin a person's life or destroy a kid's chance at an education. Those of us who held the horses for Williams reign of terror know otherwise. And rather than beg forgiveness of the people whose quality of life he destroyed for the better part of 6 years Wilmers simply faded into the background for a bit. 

Now we hear he is planning an invite only Charterpalooza at Canisius, a private college -- how appropos. We can all be sure the event will be little more than a snowglobe of like minded Venture Philanthropists echo chambering each other's nonsense and patting themselves on the back for the civic mindedness of their profiteering. Be assured "Accountabilty Jim" Sampson will be there, fresh from shutting down any discussion of his shameless theft of tax dollars when he was CEO-ing at Gateway. Accountability as we all know is only for the little people right Jim?  Likewise, Larry Leisure Class Quinn will represent. He's the classy board of ed member who described Lafayette teachers as "clowns he didn't want to meet with anyway." And of course, in an ironic twist that would have Du Maupassant spinning like a lathe in his grave, Carl Paladino will likewise be seated at ringside. Ironic, because Paladino's open hostility to James Williams and his endless crusade to run Williams out of town will all be forgotten by Wilmers. The greater good, you see, and the flakes of gold dust twirling through the air in the 1%ers snowglobe of privilege and prosperity will wash away any old grudges and hard feelings. There is just too much money to be made here for these two AARP tortoises to get into a shell cracking contest with each other. 

Robert Wilmers doesn't know squat about education. The best thing he could do for the Buffalo Public Schools would be to focus on his chateau and his vineyards in the Bordeaux region.  We already have a bumper crop of arrogant, elderly bastards who think their checkbooks give them authority to run any damned thing they please, including the schools. Let's not forget Mr. Gioia and his fellow Brahmin who emptied out their golfbags and came up with a half million dollar bribe to get rid of Pamela Brown. 

Wilmers and his army of flunkies like to throw the phrase "Promise" around a lot. There's a Promise school and a Promise neighborhood. I think they even promised something to Bennett too then reneged when the Promise Principal they imported turned out to be a sociopath who had no idea how to run a school. For my dollars, the only Promise we need from guys like Robert Wilmers is his Promise to go away, buy another yacht or vineyard leave education to the professionals. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Your APPR is Screwed and the Charter Cap is Lifting but You Can Ask Martin Messner How to Save on Car Insurance

Is there Any Relief From the Disaster that is NYSUT?

Over Christmas break some local teacher activist types realized Governor Cuomo was coming here to Buffalo to have himself sworn in for the second time in one day. As teachers we have come to understand Governor Cuomo is not our friend. Some of us who are slightly sensitive to the way we are treated  by people like Governor Cuomo have divined that Governor Cuomo seems to hate our guts.  He has declared war on teachers with his inane APPR aspirations looking to make almost half of our review based on test scores from tests that have been determined to be invalid and unreliable. Governor Cuomo wants to fast track the firing of teachers by tying these test scores into their performance review in a way that a teacher will automatically be terminated after two years worth of unsatisfactory test scores. Friends, we have never had a worse enemy in a more powerful position than we have now in Governor Cuomo.

So it makes sense that these local activist teacher types would organize a rally against the Governor when he came here to repeat his bogus claims of sexual predators teaching in classrooms all over the state and the state assembly working harder on teacher pensions than they do for students. And so they did. You can see the pictures all over Facebook and in the What's missing though from those pics is anything depicting the presence of the largest teacher's union in this area, the one I pay my dues to, the Buffalo Teacher's Federation. Seems the biggest show in town should have been all over this event, no? Governor Cuomo was in fact invading our turf as they say. Beyond that he was talking shit on our turf about us as we all knew he would. I looked in the email account I use for BTF messages. Nothing. The last BTF email I received was dated Dec.23.  

Last week some of the same local teacher activists pulled off another protest against the powers that are determined to rip this profession of ours from the public sphere and hand it over to friends who can run it privately and for a profit regardless of the product they produce. So local teacher activists gathered outside Waterfront School and made some noise against the new majority of Buffalo's Board of Education who seek to handover Buffalo schools to profiteers and privatizers. Inside the meeting they continued to upset the reform apple cart with a litany of speakers who hammered them and their phony parent front group DPCC. From what I have read and seen it was a great night for people opposed to Governor Cuomo's and the new Board's privatization and teacher firing agenda.  Again I looked in my BTF email for details of the up and coming protests. Nothing there. No official involvement or participation from the largest teacher union in WNY for the second major protest  in two weeks. 

I did however stumble across this high priority communique from my union President, Phil Rumore:

Dear NYSUT Members:

All NYSUT members will be receiving their new membership cards this month as part of a special mailing that will include information pertaining to the core benefits that NYSUT provides to its membership. This mailing will also include a letter from Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer of NYSUT and Chairperson of the NYSUT Member Benefits Trust. I encourage you to take the time to read Martin’s letter and learn how you could potentially save significant money by participating in NYSUT Member Benefits-endorsed programs & services. Find out how much Martin saved when he called to inquire about a number of services, including auto & homeowners insurance, life insurance, home heating oil, vacation plans, movie tickets, and much more.

Nothing about fighting Cuomo on APPR or lifting the charter cap or school funds never mind the local lunacy with charter groups circling us like sharks surrounding a leaky raft. Instead we are directed to Find out how much Martin Messner saved on his car insurance. Seems on his $200K plus NYSUT salary Martin might just be doing something for the rest of us instead of trying to get a better deductible on his PT Cruiser. 

In similar fiddling while Albany burns fashion  news out of New York City's UFT conclave is less than Churchillian. We will fight them with the hashtag on and the twitter. We will fight them on the Facebook and we will join the Facebook groups. We will fight the easy battles in the hills of the Adirondacks and on the swells of Lake Erie. We will huff and puff at the rallies and hand Randi the megaphone. We have already surrendered, errr I mean we will never surrender.

At the most critical juncture of our profession's history, and I hate to use phrases like that especially when they are true, it's nothing less than bizarre and nothing more than outrageous that our top union people have seemingly shit their pants and are standing flatfooted waiting for the axe to fall on us of course not them. When we need a speech like Bluto gave his frat brothers in Animal House we get hashtags and Facebook groups. When we need a Big Bill Haywood  and a thundering call to arms we get a GEICO lizard proffering 15% off on our car insurance. It's enough that the other side has billionaires and governors in their corner  all of whom would love to see our unions destroyed and our jobs paid out to TFA's and worse but should we have to fight  15 rounds amongst ourselves before we even get to the front lines to confront our enemies? 

Friday, January 16, 2015

The $64,000 Question. Why Does Board President James Sampson Not Crave Accountability for Himself Too?

Wednesday's Board of Education meeting was something of a coming out party if you will for one of Western New York's heretofore closeted corporate welfare queens, Buffalo Board of Education President James Sampson. The Buffalo News printed an article Tuesday that revealed a state audit had discovered some irregularities ,if you will, in the use of public funds by Mr. Sampson while he was CEO at Gateway Longview, a service provider to Buffalo Schools.  Here is some of what Mr. Sampson tracked into Buffalo's carpets on his Gateway shoes:

Expenses included food, flowers, cellphones and a $600-a-month car allowance for former Chief Executive Officer James Sampson, who is now president of the Buffalo Board of Education. Sampson also received other perks, including memberships at local social clubs... Auditors also found $378,946 in other questionable expenses, including food, flowers and personal expenses for staff. Of that amount, $39,138 was for Sampson’s car and cellphone allowances while he was CEO, expenses which the audit says were “inappropriate.” Other Gateway officials received perks totalling $24,972.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli offered Sampson and his fellow CWQ's a hearty tongue lashing in a separate statement : “Special-education providers play a crucial role in our education system, but some unscrupulous contractors have taken advantage of lax oversight to game the system, rip off children and taxpayers, and line their own pockets,” he said.

Unscrupulous contractors gaming the system, ripping off children and taxpayers, lining their own pockets.  Owch. Say it aint so Jim.

Enquiring minds want to know and one Mr. Michael Ziolkowski, a Buffalo resident speaking during the public comment segment of the board meeting asked Sampson pointedly to explain himself.         " Sixty Four thousand for a social club?" Ziolkowski can be heard asking Sampson  incredulously in the ever terrible audio from the meeting. Rather than answer Ziolkowski's inquiry Sampson cuts him off abruptly saying repeatedly "you're done." Audience members can be heard howling their objections of "let him talk!" Sampson lamely adds, "You're not talking about board business, you're done."

Come with me if you will to a kinder gentler time before "Jim's"unwilling exposure as yet another rich guy gripping the public teat to keep himself in exclusive club memberships, a sweet ride and lots of Feng Shui-rrific fresh cut flowers. Really? Third poorest city in the Milky Way and James Sampson is bathing in tiger lilies?  Shortly after he was elected to the Board, Sampson sat down in an Elmwood Village coffee shop (where else?) with charter school cheerleader and semi retired Buffalo News hack Donn Esmonde for yet another hagiography of a wildly wealthy 60 something white ed reformer. His profile in courage of Steve Polowitz of Chameleons Inc. blew up in his face when it was revealed that Steve and Donn own an income property together in Florida but Donny neglected to disclose that item as he painted his heroic mural of Polowitz the poor little lawyer taking on BTF and its glue horsed front office. In the latest Profile in Charter Courage Donn actually told us "Sampson aches to inject accountability into a broken bureaucracy." He aches all right. 

Esmonde further adds of Sampson "He aims to crack the district’s petrified, closed-door, anti-democratic culture...demanding the district treat kids and parents like house guests instead of gate-crashers." Sampson for his part explains the maladies of his predecessors on the Board:

 “They’re hostile to the people they are accountable to. A culture of complacency developed over time.”

So "Accountability Jim" is here to tell us about the foibles of previous board members as Donn canonizes,  fawns and polishes his Florsheims. When Ziolkowski hit him with the $64,000 Question Sampson slammed that petrified, closed-door, anti-democratic door hard in his face. If shutting a guy down because his question shines the light on your shady and "inappropriate" use of public funds in a previous incarnation isn't "hostile to the people you are accountable to" I invite Accountability Jim to step the fuck up and explain just exactly what it is. I was curious about Sampson's ad hoc explanation for having Michael Ziolkowski bum rushed by district security officers. He claimed the guy wasn't talking about board business and that is grounds for the heave ho. Odd. The policy outlined on Buffalo Schools website mentions nothing about speakers adhering to any script. Here is what it does say: 

The Board welcomes speakers to sign up to speak at all board meetings. Please be reminded that all speakers’ remarks must be limited to three minutes or less. We ask that speakers be mindful that this is a business meeting, open to the public and televised locally. Attendees and viewers include persons from throughout Western New York, including children. 

This Board asks that speakers conduct themselves professionally and that their comments remain civil and courteous, bearing in mind that they will be heard by people of all ages. This is an opportunity for Buffalo’s residents to address the BBOE about issues that serve the public interest and District mission, and the Board asks that speakers demonstrate appropriate decorum.

See anything in there about not asking the Corporate Welfare Queen Board President to explain why he gamed the Buffalo Schools for all that cash? Yeah, me either. If James Sampson thinks he's going to "run it like a business" with him as the CEO I have some advice for him. Fasten your non-subsidized seatbelt Jimbo cause you're in for a bumpy ride. Remember what you told Ziolkowski about being done too. Stranger things have happened in this school system brother. And when you get your turn at being hauled away by security don't sweat it.  We'll gladly pony up for your going away bouquet. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Reformy, Pale Brahmin State of Public Education in B-Lo

In this morning's snow and go traffic I tuned into our local NPR affiliate just in time to hear the plug for the Walton's K-12 initiative that promises quality school choices for all. Well if not all then some anyway. And if not some then at least the kids miseducated in the charters they sponsor can come to work at one of the Walton Family plantations and be eligible for medicaid and food stamps.

Next I am treated to an interview with  WNY and NRA darling Kathy Hochul our new Lieutenant Governor who's going to be interviewed about education. As a special bonus, a "stakeholder in the Buffalo education scene" is also promised. Short story shorter: Hochul refuses to offer any details on how Governor Cuomo plans to address education. He has made it a priority she says, we all heard him. He is going to work very hard, she drones. It becomes clear very quickly that her micromanaging sociopath of a boss has her muzzled on the topic -- if not all topics. She says nothing and even admits she had no details to share. Our Buffalo ed scene stakeholder? None other than pasta trust funder Robert Gioia who manages the funds of the O'Shei Foundation. This confers on him the title "education stakeholder."

Last time we heard from this "stakeholder" he and a handful of local Brahmin pals were rounding up a slush fund to throw at Pamela Brown PhD Harvard in the hopes that she would accept the bribe and resign as Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools. In spite of the shoddy procedure they followed, the Board of Education, an elected body, hired Dr. Brown through a search and a majority vote. Guys like Robert Gioia -- who hosted John McCain and Mitt Romney fundraisers at his house -- think it's good policy for rich guys who didn't attend public schools or send their kids to public schools to pass the equestrian boot around their poker table and fill it with cash for the black lady in the hope that she'll stuff it down her bra and get out of town by sunup. Crass, yes, but what's more crass than a posse of rich white guys feeling sheepish that their city's public schools are struggling and thinking if they bribe the Superintendent she will leave so they can install another old white guy.

It gets worse. Gioia, who apparently has a very high opinion of himself, says haltingly that he's going to try to be nice but in effect the members of the Buffalo School Board had better check their egos at the door and work together as a cooperative body of nine. He also reassures his wealthy white senior citizen friends that he has the utmost respect for what they are trying to do because somehow he knows their motives and they are pure as lake effect snow. I am fairly certain the dreaded "It's all about the kids" epigram was floated. Without Gioia naming names we know he was tipping the sailing cap to Quinn, Paladino and Sampson as well as their stable hands McCarthy and Pierce. That is her name isn't it? She is a study in negative space. Mention is made of Dowager Empress Tisch's lust to fire not only teachers but now Board members as well and Patriarchal Bob seems to like the sound of it. He issues something of a wagging finger at the Board as if he and Tisch will be watching. Because he's suddenly an irreplaceable cog in the finely dysfunctional Casio watch that is Buffalo Public Schools.

We need another wealthy old white dilettante as much as we need another standardized test, another 20% of teacher evaluations based on unreliable, invalid standardized tests and another billionaire's wife with a plaque from her friend at Teacher's College telling us how it's going to be. If this isn't the year to get up off your ass and make some noise to save your profession, your livelihood and your dignity then I don't believe there will ever be such a year. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Another Teacher's Union Gets an F in Social Justice

In the current issue of The Provocator,  the Buffalo Teacher Federation's newsletter as it were, we see what appears to be an unobtrusive note of thanks to BTF for donating the sum of $400.00 to a local church or more specifically to the Pastor who appears to have forwarded the entire donation to one specific member of his flock. Not much to see here on the surface but when did we ever settle for the surface, friends, when there's serious muck to be raked? 

The name Carol Horne rang an odd bell in my head but I admit I was unable to place her without a few googles. But here's a thumbnail sketch of how her name came to be in the paper : 

Justice is as justice does; and - in this case - justice didn't happen. In 2006, Carol Horne (pic below by Buffalo Bullet), was a 19 year veteran of the Buffalo, New York Police Department, who stood tall against a fellow officer (Gregory Kwiatkowski) brutality of choking a handcuffed black man (Neal Mack). Instead of being commended for doing the right thing -  Carol Horne was fired and denied her pension.    
excerpt from  DemocraticUnderground

I am trusting you see the attempted social justice gesture here. The intentions are good. But... But as I stated previously teacher's unions and social justice don't always gel exactly right. What begins as an attempt to make points with the community ends up pissing off people on the sidelines who want to know why your union is playing favorites ad picking winners and losers. As in the case of AFT President Weingarten's sloppy wet kiss for Al Sharpton and his march against the NYPD (call it what you want but that's what it ended up looking like)  this cash gift to a terminated black female cop is a potential shit stirrer with the rest of force who may have their own opinions about Officer Horne, Officer Kwiatkowski and a teacher's union who hands her hundreds of dollars around Christmas time. The gesture could easily be interpreted as a repudiation of their police force and its ability to terminate the right person given the dynamics of what transpired between Kwiatkowski and Horne in a driveway as he struggled with a man he was arresting. He claims she jumped on his back and grabbed at him and she says he was choking the cuffed guy out and she wanted to assist. She was punched in the mouth in the struggle causing damage to her dental work. Not being a cop I am going to leave it at that. 

So Carol Horne's name drops into place and I begin to wonder about this Bishop Badger whose name has a similar ring to it but I suspect in this case I know why. Sure enough Badger and another prominent Black Pastor by the name of William Gillison were two of the most vocal critics of the gay marriage movement in New York before it was voted into law. Speaking to some media types Reverend Badger rationalized his lack of empathy with the gay community thusly: 

taken from a local blog a few years back...

Bishop Michael A. Badger, pastor of Bethesda World Harvest International Church on Main Street, said that he doesn’t doubt there is discrimination against gay people but that it is hardly on the order of what African-Americans have encountered and still face.

“As an African-American, I don’t have a choice in the color of my skin. I have a choice in whether I’m abstinent or not,” Badger said. “I don’t think you can compare the two.”

So the right Reverend in his biblically inspired logic has it that black people can't control the color of their skin but gay people can sure as shit control their urges towards intimacy with other gay people and therefore he has nothing for them. Of the two he's the diplomat. Gillison is even more medieval. As a teacher I have many gay friends who are also teachers. Simple fact. Am I to simply blow them off and disregard their interests and human rights so that my union can hand cash to a minister who tells anyone listening that gay people are not his problem and their problems are not as bad as his problems and if they would just refrain from intimate contact with their loved ones they wouldn't have any problems? Is this clown someone we need to be in bed with even as a middle man whose role is to hand off money to someone else I know very little about? See why this is the mess it is when it's handled half assedly? Oh but we're not even there yet friends. Here's the real Weingarten/Gates/Klein/Bloomie bag over the head kick in the crotch. Have a look at this snippet from the Buffalo News and see if you can guess who's applying to grab up East High School and turn it into a charter in the 2016-2017 school year: 

 While he's writing us thank you notes for hooking up one of his faithful on one set of stationery, he's using his legal pads to get his hooks into East and privatize it. Remember how pissed off we all were and so were the faculty, parents and alumni of East last time this happened? Remember Prof Joe Gardella from UB who runs the STEM program shook his head and explained how none of the charter group even asked what was going on in the school or what projects they were running. It was outrageous and ridiculous and we all said so. 

I guess I have to ask what changed between the time lawyer Steve Polowitz and lawyers wife Amy Friedman and that idiot yelling about teachers getting a haircut and losing all their benefits were chased away from East and now? How did we get to be such buds with the anti gay, pro charter Reverend Bishop Senior Pastor Badger and why are we, as a union playing nice with some privatizer who'd put 50 of us on the street without batting an eye? I know you're supposed to keep your friends close but your enemies closer. My question for BTF is do they even know who the hell their friends and enemies are?  This entire stupid tangled mess has the stink of that losing "we need to have a seat at the table" strategy our so called leaders have hidden behind while negotiating half a turd sandwich and telling us the good news is we won't have to eat a whole one. The other day I had a younger teacher ask me if there's any way she can quit paying her union dues. Is anyone out there wondering why she asked?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tisch and NYSED Announce New State Ed Commissioner - More Rigor, More Grit, More Punishment

In tapping Miss Agatha Trunchbull as the new Commissioner of New York State Education Department, Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch proclaims NYSED to be back on track adding "God help anyone standing in the way." With the departure of John King who'd been seen as something of a twit, a whiner and a one time pet lamb who'd quickly turned to stinky mutton in the Governor and Empress Tisch's hands, the decision was made to go in another direction. King was sent to Washington D.C. in a deal that also included a dozen gently used Palm Pilots, several hundred dry erase erasers and an undisclosed cash sum. In return New York State is shut of John King. Addition by Subtraction some in the Governor's office have called it. It's a new day in New York State Education says the NYSED website where this candid shot of the new Commish interacting with children is also posted. "We need to get back to basics and start running education like a business for a profit." says Trunchabull. "If you're having fun you are not learning."

"If you are having fun you are not learning."

From the get go King's dearth of credentials was a sticking point with knowitall teachers, special interest parents and pain in the ass "qualified candidates" who thought they deserved an interview at the top edu-gig in the Empire State. King taught in a charter school for weeks if not months and brewed outgoing Commissioner Steiner some mean pots of Joe in between backscratches, runs to the deli and being told, "King, Goddammit get the hell out of my sight, get some take out food and sit in a room alone with your data before I throw you out a window." Thus, the ex Comm's penchant for solo lunches over spreadsheets in a dusty broom closet. The guy had the people skills of a wet turnip, one staffer murmured safely out of earshot. King's arrogant demeanor and his outrageous lack of empathy for anyone quickly surfaced when he was sent out on a townhall tour to explain the NYSED way. He ended up infuriating Gubner Andy and causing Dowager Empress Tisch to seek medical treatment for the vapors after an especially grueling throw down with special interest parents in Poughkeepsie. Regentus Emeritus Robert Bennett was seized with a case of clinical flatulence and had to be airlifted to a nearby medical center for fibre therapy as well. 

With King a thrashing goateed specter in the rearview mirror of NYSED, Dragon Empress Tisch boldly seeks to unleash NYSED Common Core Commissioner 2.0 Agatha Trunchabull on complaining, do little teachers. Fresh from her long term assignment at Crunchum/Perry Charter Academy, Miss Trunchabull looks forward, she says, to getting down to business. And when she says she means business it means showing up in teacher's classes and letting them know who's boss. "I think enough time has been wasted on tip toeing around these ninnies," Trunchabull opines, "the time for respect and professionalism and all of that other bollocks is up. Over. Done. I do not like teachers or these snot nosed brats who can't pass their exams and I am going to attack them and make them sorry they ever decided to stroll into a classroom with their little leather folios." Cuomo, Tish and the editorial board of the Buffalo News are calling Trunchabull " a breath of fresh air.

"Sometimes you need to swing the little bastards around by the hair to get the test results you need."

Trunchable Medaled in Shot, Discus and Javelin for Belarus in '72 What Did King Ever Do? 
Governor Cuomo has expressed his borderline orgasmic delight with the new appointment and has tweeted his assurance to all New Yorkers that those sex offending teachers in every other classroom from Port Washington to Lackawanna are going to be in jail where they belong. And with Miss Trunchable on the job they'll wish they were in jail quipped the Governor. Asked if Trunchable is what he was looking for in a State Ed Commissioner Cuomo responded  "I can't wait to see what she does to their pensions..."