Thursday, June 23, 2016

Last Day of School: The Old and The New

Happy last day of school my fellow pedagogues. Note that your last day is a full day with students. Why do I bring this up? Because I am a shiftless corner cutter and a slacker who'd rather be shopping on my iphone than interacting with someone else's icky spawn. I think that's how we were portrayed in the Ed Reform box office floater Won't Back Down.  O.k. I do remember once upon a time in the pre-James Williams era when teachers were valued at least on an even par with used car salesmen and meth dealers, the last day was a non attendance day for kids and teachers used the morning to wrap up paperwork and edit the graduation list if someone hadn't turned in their grades on time (Fred Sales Award at SPHS). It was strangely enough a busy morning because you only had the morning to get everything wrapped up. 

Once the place was declared ready for shut down someone would get on the P.A. and direct us to whatever local eatery we'd agreed on for lunch. About the time coffee and pie were coming around -- or more pitchers of draft depending on whose table you were at -- El Jefe would thank us all for a great year even if it wasn't and with a wink and a nod we'd be told to adjourn to work on September's lesson plans. And that was it. End of the year, adios, don't forget your sunscreen and if you're teaching summer school I'll see you on the 5th. 

Honestly, it was a good feeling. Even working with Principals you didn't really love, there was still some strange sense of thanks and respect at the end of it all. So she didn't suspend Darren Beasley for pissing in your waste basket and maybe you got some snarky comment stuck on a post it across your lesson plan book that you handed in 3 weeks late. By the last day it was all good and summer was spread out before us like a deep blue pond on a hot sweaty afternoon. You felt pretty damned good and you were surrounded by people who felt the same way. 

But somewhere in the ed reform plague of the past dozen years or so it all went away. There would be no kidless last day of school. Kids would be expected to attend as far into the calendar as possible. And even though exams were done and corrected and everyone knew it, you'd be expected to put on some kind of magic show or entertainment for the anti climactic week where nothing counted for a grade and if I'm not getting a grade why should I do it? There would be no such luncheon near school and there would certainly not be any wink and a nod to an early quit for the profession that's become the go to chew toy and whipping boy of every sniveling politician and corporate union busting scum under the sun. No, you teachers are staying in the mine and shoveling coal until that whistle blows because we all know you barely do any work anyway. That's the mindset we currently operate under and if you doubt it you can check the minutes of last night's board meeting where Sir Lars of Quinnhamshire tried desperately to tie teacher health care costs to the general demise of American Civilization as a whole. Honestly I can't be bothered to go source his gibberish but rest assured he'd like us all to have a box of band aids, a roll of white tape and a quarter to call 911 for our health care plan. Cosmetic riders are for folk like Larry and his schooner friends not for lowly school teachers don't you know? 

And when you talk to teachers it's funny how few of them really grumble about this de-evolution of our final day. One of my colleagues came and asked me if I'd like to go in on pizza and wings for the kids who show tomorrow. I see people handing out silly coloring sheets, showing movies, doing puzzles, painting little wooden fish for the big blue wall in the lobby. There is really no bitching and the atmosphere is light. Maybe too many of us don't remember how last days used to be. I do though and the old way was a world better. When I was a union laborer in Denver Local 720 we'd have topping off parties when a particular phase of the job was completed. Nobody felt guilty knocking off early and having a few with some pizza for a job well done. It's kind of a shame guys pouring concrete can still enjoy a little feel good time for their hard work but those of us entrusted with the young minds of American youth somehow know better than to think we deserve any such breather.

For better or worse this is where we once were and where we are now. It's been a great year and a pleasure working with you. See you July 5th. Peace

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Some People Are Simply Too Stupid to Be Teachers

Local media outlets were abuzz the other day with sizzling reports of a Buffalo teacher sending a full frontal selfie to a BPS high school student. WIVB seemed to have the most details on the story including the one that said no charges had been filed to date so they weren't going to give out the name of the teacher. According to the story the pic in question showed a nude male in a reclining position. His face and genitals were both visible. Take a deep breath friends cause this one gets pretty ugly real fast. 

According to the stories floating around local outlets the pic was sent to a student at another Buffalo high school not the one where the teacher in question is employed. The recipient it seems was only too happy to show it around and before long Channel 4 was getting calls from parents telling them that a teacher had sent a nude selfie to a student. As I jumped around the various local news outlets I couldn't help try to imagine what must be going through this dude's head about now. Or better yet, what was going through it when he hit send?

I don't want to be the I told you so guy but I did say a few posts ago that this time of year is when some weird, unfiltered shit always seems to come flying out of people who, by the very nature of their profession are expected to have their filters and self restraint set to "HIGH" at all times. I am trying to imagine the context such a text could have occurred in:

As I said I can't even imagine.

As I usually do I took a scroll through the comments of the local teacher haters who chimed in with much relish (Happy Bloomsday ye gobshites) on such a juicy topic as a sexually inappropriate teacher promoting himself in his birthday suit to minors. Someone wanted to know if Phil Rumore was going to let this guy tutor his grandkids over the Summer. Another blithely pointed out how Phil will go to the wall to protect the guy. Ad nauseam. You've likely read the comments you know what's in there. 

I did stumble across one wag whose logic I found hard to argue with. Some people he said are simply too stupid to be allowed to work as teachers. And in this electronic crumb trail of an age we inhabit I had to tip my hat to him. Never mind the immorality and the turpitude of an adult charged with teaching kids their lessons and modeling right from wrong in human interactions who does this. That argument will always come first of course but there is also the stupidity angle we need to consider. How fucking dumb do you have to be to send a pic of yourself unclothed to a high school kid? And how self deluded must you be to think for even a nano second that whatever level of cool you think you're banking on is going to transcend the kid's urge to say Awwwww shit, yall lookeee here what I got! Yes it's beyond deplorable on the decency scale and the morality meter and by any measure of basic acceptable human conduct the act is wholly unacceptable. It's also as dumb as a box of frozen dog turds.

I honestly hope my union doesn't go to the wall for this one. This is not a person I think I want to call a team mate, a colleague or a fellow teacher. This is someone who I believe has some major psychological if not spiritual demons that need to be addressed with nothing less than an inpatient scenario. For real. And if we are all about the rigor and the grit and the Common Core high standards that are constantly being crammed down our throats -- we know these things are bullshit friends but play along -- then how do we countenance standing tall for someone this lacking in basic common sense? 

I won't. I was stuck working alongside a kiddie fiddler way back when but none of us were onto him until it was too late. He came to our school under a cloud of suspicion and allegation but he was just smarmy enough of a psychopath to play the victim card and we sadly fell for it. Poor guy had all those girls making up stuff about him...Then he tried to put the moves on a troubled girl he'd been grooming in his classroom and the shit hit the fan. Not this time. I am willing to see what the investigation brings but so far I can't see how any of this gets any better.

It's not like this profession needs any enemies these days. We have all we can handle between the POTUS and the Governor throwing bricks at us every chance they get. We have a Commissioner who plays favorites with charters and tries to bully Opt Out parents. No, friends we don't need anyone twisted enough and/or moronic enough to be texting students his package in the second week of June. I simply can't foresee any scenario where I text a student. Of course my program is heavily regulated by HIPPA regulations and NY State OMH but I don't need them to tell me I shouldn't be texting my students. I somehow kind of knew that intuitively. I ask you if you are in the habit of texting your students for any reason to seriously reconsider the practice. It doesn't take much these days. And if you don't believe me about the public reception to the idea of teachers texting kids go have a look at the comments for yourself. It might be a Brave New World out there but you can go down swinging with a single hit of the send button. Be smart fellow pedagogues. Don't text and teach. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Last Desperate Stab at Relevance from the So-Called Reform Majority

The three rich white guys and their 2 hapless handmaidens are looking to make one final stab at relevance for their "Reform Vision Board Majority" before history's mouldering dumpster claims their failed and floundering legacy as its own. Ironic too that one guy who was able to throw away ten million dollars of his pocket change on a farcical run for Governor teamed up with another guy who blew through $64K of taxpayer funds on social club memberships for his CEO self and a third guy who walked away with millions and millions after destroying the Buffalo Sabres franchise should take such a personal burn to the idea of anyone as low heeled as school teachers enjoying the perks of a cosmetic surgery rider in their labor contract. Don't the small people realize that only the ruling class deserve perks like this? None of them ever said it openly but you can only imagine their chatter as McCarthy poured drinks and Pierce ran tappas to their table. 

Fact is a lot of teachers I know would rather have better dental and/or optical than a damned cosmetic rider in the first place. We'd just as soon be shut of the thing for a lot of reasons. For one it would be one less chestnut the teacher hater class can roll out every time they run out of things to squawk about. The Buffalo News would probably have to lay off an editorial writer if we ever unloaded the damned thing. (Can't help but compare them to the poor stoners in Washington and Colorado who suddenly found themselves slackjawed with nothing to say after weed was finally legalized...) The reality that the rider was put into our contract for the best of reasons but when it was supposed to be removed by the board it wasn't never seems to make it past the copy editors at The News. Few people even bothered taking advantage of the thing until James Williams created such an unbearable level of toxicity in the Buffalo Schools that teachers seemed to say, screw it, I know I am not getting a new contract and the control board will never let us have a raise and I am so sick of hating my job and my employer. I am going to find some way to cheer myself up. And from what I hear a new rack, a tucked in front porch and some hair on your head seem to work  miracles towards cheering up teachers at the end of their professional rope. It's human nature to find a way to dull the pain.  And as we discussed last post, teachers in spite of what "The News" will tell you are guilty of being human on a regular basis. Besides all that I've always said -- and I still do -- that I know more teachers who've lost time from work as a result of student assaults than teachers with newly implanted DD's and surgically installed washboard abs.

The Privatization Majority whiffed on all of their attempts to slam dunk a Superintendent. Their $350.00 an hr NYC lawyer who was going to breeze into backwater B-Lo and dazzle the rubes with his lawyerly legerdemain was an overpriced bust. He didn't undo the Triborough Amendment, he didn't force teachers into longer days and longer school years for less pay and he didn't 86 the cosmetic rider. He was however able to bill the city for time spent in the air to and from this charming little hick town though. In the end I think the real point of Terry O'Neil was his ability to wrack up those billable hours. His tenure as labor lawyer is something of a mirror image of the Privatization Majority who sought him out and brought him in some like some kind of high powered Columbian hit man. He was a lot of talk and a lot of bluster that went nowhere, accomplished nothing and cost a lot. 

The cosmetic rider has been something we've been willing to part with pretty much since it started making news during the Williams regime. But the idea that teachers somehow should be treated like sappy do-good know nothings who allow pieces of our contract to be surgically excised by the likes of Paladino, Sampson and Quinn is an idea the Gang of Three need to get out of their heads. Nobody allows items to be yanked from their contract unilaterally without compensation. It simply isn't done. Not by the Ironworkers or the UAW or even the come to do good and stay to do better members of the BTF. Sorry guys, as Phil Rumore has already pointed out, your lawyer should have told you this wasn't going to fly and if he didn't you might want to replace him with a lawyer who knows the law. Surely Larry Quinn has another lawyer friend who's up on this stuff? 

The Reform Board Majority so called is croaking out its death rattle. As we've seen with past doomed majorities they will always perpetrate some symbolic last stand. Whether it's extending the contract of a toxic Superintendent or trying to pick the pockets of a legally binding labor contract, there's always a final desperate attempt to spray paint their names under the bridge and claim some kind of relevance. I think Dr. Nevergold who's had to sit on the Board with this crew for years has summarized the situation with a keen eye and razor wit. And it's only fitting she have the last word: 

“This is grandstanding, as far as I’m concerned, because this group wants to go out as the majority that has made some difference,” she added. “They came in with a vision statement where they were going to make all of these reforms, and essentially they didn’t do any of it. This is, ‘Look what we did so you can’t see what we didn’t do.’ ”  

Amen to that, Sister. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What Is It About the End of the School Year?

This is a dangerous time of year for people who've been teaching kids since September or in some cases August. Dangerous how? you may ask -- how is June 1st any more dangerous than say October 22nd or April 11th? 

Fair question. And as I live by analogies let my share with you how my father used to pull over in Erie PA and take himself a little break every time we returned from an Easter trip to Disney World. All we wanted to do by then was get home for whatever scraps of the vacation remained, to get the hell out of the car, to see if anything happened in the neighborhood while we were away. It was almost as if Dad knew it drove us all around the bend and he got a twisted thrill out of doing it. He'd hit the turn signal and find a place for a cup of coffee and a bathroom break an hour and a half from home. We were so infuriated none of us would even accept his offer of a drink or a hamburger or a chance to stretch. We'd sit in the car and stew just to spite him. A lot of accidents happen in the final hours of a long trip he'd say matter of factly. Later in life I heard roughly the same principle explained as a cautionary tale when I dabbled in bicycle racing. We were warned by the coaches and trainers to be extra vigilant in the waning moments of any race because fatigue would cloud your judgment and swamp your reflex time. A lot of bad accidents happen near the finish line we were told. And they did. 

O.k. Mr. Crowley, thanks for those riveting scenes from your misspent youth but where does all of this tie in as far as your standard army issue union classroom grunt is concerned? Glad you asked. A couple years ago some people were planning one of those "appreciation days" for some co-workers. A sign up sheet was set out on a clipboard with the usual requests for donated items. Donuts, quiche, cold cuts, juice and fruit salad. Ad nauseam ad infinitum. One of the honorees leans somewhere to the right of Generalissimo Francisco Franco's wingtips and is a frequent flier on the pro gun argument circle. As an ill advised joke on his friend the rightie gun lover, a left leaning colleague signed up to bring a gun and a box of bullets for said rightie. As you may have guessed it raised an eyebrow or two and I admit I shook my head in disbelief but it seemed as though erasing the dopey remark was going to be sufficient to make it go away. So someone did and we thought the case was closed. But we all know better don't we? 

Another so called colleague copied it and sent it to her supervisor's supervisor claiming it caused extreme anxiety and upset and that she'd probably contracted stage 4 liver cancer and diabetes as well from all of the stress of reading this horrific threat to the children and adults of our humble workplace. Yeah. So the guy who made the dumb joke was placed on administrative leave, abandoned with extreme cowardice by his union and "laid off" at the end of June. They claimed it was just your run of the mill reduction in staff but the others in the same staff reduction position were all rehired by late August and later on someone else was hired in his department with less seniority. 

I have to believe nobody would make such an obvious gaffe earlier in the year. There is something about the end of a school year that loosens our frayed nerves and lowers the inhibitions we've been counting on all year to keep us safe from the HR office. And just as the teacher in question suffered something of a lapse in judgment so did the accuser who went above and beyond the chain of command to make sure this guy (father of two young kids no less) was firmly screwed to the wall. If one lacked judgment the other suffered an abysmal failure of basic human compassion by calling outside of the building we work in where administration had already taken care of it and spoken to the party in question about "making better choices" as we say. This is a dangerous time for us all because it might very well be a "colleague" --so called-- who buries you way before you've run afoul of any administrators. 

The same dynamics played out elsewhere in a case where a teacher vented to "friends" on social media about her students who'd lost their minds one fine day in early June swearing, hitting and spitting on each other. The teacher in this case resorted to some dark humor that all of her friends knew was just going for an over the top laugh while blowing off some steam after one of those days where you question yourself for ever wanting to be a teacher. In similar fashion, one of the "friends" who read the remarks turned out to be anything but. This "friend" in fact was in some hot water over a few professional lapses and brought the screen shots to administration the next day in the hope of cooling his own hot waters. Long story short the social media post led to essentially being terminated and reinstated eventually but not before any number of financial hardships, professional embarrassments and the full court press of shaming that only social media can bring on anyone who turns up acting human on any given day in early June. Oh and again in this case the teacher in question was encouraged by NYSUT legal help to resign and go away in the hope of finding another job somewhere else. Seeing a pattern here friends? 

So if you say or do something you're going to regret, my message is you stand a fair to excellent chance of having a fellow teacher try to bury you for it. And when you're standing there in Darren Brown's office (or is it the other guy now?) flanked by your union people, you better pray you get someone better than these two had. There was not going to be any going to the mattresses in either of these cases but more of a rolling over and putting the old paws in the air for whatever mercy the district might feel compelled to dole out. Pretty dark shit if you ask me. For the record I will say the one time I needed union help from BTF and NYSUT I was very well represented and extremely gratified with the way my situation was handled. But don't press your luck. 

Between now and the last day let me urge all of my friends and colleagues to count to ten, bite your lip, breathe deep, take a walk and get the hell off that computer/tablet/iphone before you say or do the thing you can't return from without union representation. If you call yourself a colleague, a co-teacher, a team mate or a friend and one of your people puts their foot in their mouth or presses their finger prematurely to the send button, don't go for the jugular. Don't be the avenging angel of the copy machine. Take a breath, take a walk, bite your lip and get the hell off your laptop/tablet/iphone and try to imagine a time where you were the one with egg streaming down both cheeks. We're all human. Especially between Memorial Day and Fourth of July. Can we do this together? 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Arbitrary and Capricious. Say It With Me Kids.

See: Capricious

Last week I was emailed that my APPR testing would be done this week -- cue descending 3 note flourish. I thought about it, shrugged, laughed and returned to deleting the hundreds of items backing up in my email box. After mulling over the notion that this test would be representative of my pedagogical chops for the year I could only hearken back to the words of New York State Supreme Court Judge McDonough who aptly dubbed the APPR mess "Arbitrary and Capricious." 

Of the kids being counted in my 9th grade class (remember I only have 6 kids at a time due to the nature of my workplace) one kid suffers from severe depression and social anxiety and is working through the usual raft of issues any 16 year old transgender kid faces on a daily basis. His attendance is sub 50%. Another of my freshmen is prone to fits of moodiness, is prone to using his size to bully adults and often sleeps for an entire double class period. Yet he is also stunningly intelligent. His family  inexplicably took him on a vacation to the islands for 10 days at the end of April when class was in session. My third ninth grader currently is in foster care and has been for a few years but is working out the anxieties of being reunited with her birth mother who still retains legal guardianship yet hasn't seen her in God knows how long. School work is somewhere on a back burner between moving back with Mom, working out the trauma that led to her foster care and boy bands on YouTube. In short, these kids are attending school in a psychiatric facility for very real reasons. The one size fits all mentality of Common Core, NYSED and APPR is an insult to their situation. To say the notion that a post test of any kind determining their abilities or mine is presumptuous would be an understatement of West Belfast proportions. 

Suffice it to say my tenth graders aren't in much better shape. They are great kids and they try hard but the deck stacking and one size fits alling of the current scheme almost guarantees failure on some level. I have always observed that kids with basic needs being un-met are very unlikely to excel in any kind of higher order tasks. Likewise the old adage that parent's night answers a lot of questions is doubly true in  a place that holds twice monthly family meetings. When the kid sitting between her birth mother and Grandma in the family meeting is the most mature member of the family it's hard to feel like education has scored any victories when she tanks on her post test the day after Mom's bf du jour gets dragged out of the house by BPD at 2:30 am. The idea that these kids get the same one size fits all treatment as kids from stable affluent 2 parent homes with smart zip codes and champion field hockey squads is simply bizarre. It's actually bullshit. No, better yet, it's arbitrary and capricious. 

If and when the scores come dribbling back I can handle it. I have a union and some court rulings as precedents if I really need them. I can be put on the bad teacher remediation program, a credit recovery system for grown ups as it were. But what do these kids have? Some more failing grades? the disapproval of New York State? The chance to do all that shit all over again in the hope that next time it will somehow come out differently? Why would it?  And when you're 16 or 17 and somehow your life just hasn't stabilized  for long enough that you can get your act together and roll up a few credits what looks more doable: toughing it out and grinding til you're 21 to collect what you need for that diploma or simply saying Fuck it. I'm out? 

We've known for a long time now that one size never fits all on anything. Why are the people running public education still trying to convince us that it does? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Board of Ed Election Chips Continue to Fall

The sore losering continues.

Today I read Lars Quinn whining that his fellow poor little rich friend Carl Paladino is being bullied. Quinn uses the appellation "Open season on Carl Paladino" with something of a dramatic flourish.  Hilariously "Lawrence Quinn" as he glossed himself        (anyone else surprised he didn't toss in the middle initial too while he was at it?)  waxes philosophical about human nature and the way people kick you when you lose. Umm, Lar? Carl didn't lose, he won. Oh... well then, never mind... Naturally our man Lars manages to gurgle a few lines from the Broad Foundation script, at one point implying BTF endorsed candidates lack the courage to make "real changes." I think I'll ask Hutch Tech Senior Austin Harig if I want to hear about courage, not the guy whose career payday came from dismantling the Buffalo Sabres. Or the guy who leaked a teen agers discipline information to the media then claimed he "heard it on the streets." Really, Carl? Which streets did you hear it on? Gotta love the "heard it on the streets" phrasing. Imagine some wise guys in a smokey back room playing poker, talking about "the vig," "the ponies," "broads and gats" and oh yeah, "Hey, Knuckles, Lefty, did yous hear Austin Harig got hisself suspended from The Tech?" 

Mmmmmm, not working for me. 

Elsewhere there's a letter to the editorial outhouse from some local charter schools network shill accusing BTF of being "afraid of Steve Perry." I am not sure why he thinks any of us fear this guy as much as we question who paid for his speech and expenses and who is going to give the counter point to what we all know will be an anti-teacher, anti-union gasfest straight outta the privatization 101 field guide. In case anyone needs about a dozen reasons right off the top to not fear this carpetbagging non teacher with all the answers Dr. Mercedes Schneider lists a bunch of them here. Oh and her PhD is legit, unlike the CNN celebucator Perry who's never been a teacher. Yeah, never taught for a day but he knows what you're doing wrong. And do we really wonder how Donald Trump got on the ticket? 

Yesterday some heretofore unheard of troll comes wading into a Facebook page peopled almost exclusively with B-Lo teachers whining that her kid in a charter school can't get free access to the Boys and Girls Club from SayYes! like all those kids in failing Buffalo Schools. And when someone responds to her nonsense she tags two of her girlfriends to join the fight about the way we've seen kids do at Riverside or South Park when they think they need to bring in some outside backup for a beef. Fortunately the page is still armed with an eject button and it was rather comical to see the strutting and fretting upon the stage that was then heard no more -- forgive the second MacBeth reference in one week. (Here's to you Mr. Jags) 

I can't help think of Steven King's 10-22-63 when Jake Epping goes through the rabbit hole in time to take out Lee Harvey Oswald and prevent the assassination of JKF. Any time he is faced with a "must do" situation Jake experiences what he calls "the past pushing back" because it has a will of its own and is fiercely resistant to anyone's attempts to change it. The car stalls, some bystander gets in his way, it starts to rain, a nosy cop shows up... It never ends. And it's maddening to the reader as well as to Jake -- I could also say the viewer if you watched the adaptation of HULU --mostly because he feels he is trying to right a wrong and prevent a grievous event from transpiring. You want to say stop pushing back dammit, this is right, it's going to be good for everyone! This past few days has left me with a similar sensation of experiencing the pushback by collection of the sore losers who saw their privatization majority piledriven in the Board of Education election. Surely none of us thought these moneyed interests were simply going to go seek honest employment in the gaming or toxic waste disposal industries. We knew they would attempt to regroup, reload and misfire again. I guess I am a little surprised by the pettiness and puerility of their initial salvos. Amused too don't get me wrong. 

And in yet another shining moment of classic Buffalo News school of butthurt editorialism I can't figure out for the life of me where they buried the article about Long Neck NY teacher  Sheri Lederman's case being decided in her favor and against the bogus VAM measures our hilarious clown friends in the privatization movement have inflicted on teachers. New York Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough called VAM "arbitrary and capricious." It's a handy choice of phrase too as it accurately describe John King the former NYSED dope in charge when it was all imposed. Sitting NYSED dope Mary Ellen Elia has herself admitted publicly that the entire process is random at best. Now that New York Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough has set a precedent in this ruling it's time to roll back the rest of the arbitrary and capricious bullshit rolled out by the privatization movement in their well funded and endless attempts to steal public schools from the public. 

The fact that King has risen like a circling floater to the top of the Department of Ed toilet makes this even more satisfying. So good to see him in a high profile position being spanked for his past transgressions and having this stinker hung around his neck not for just the Empire State but the entire country to witness. Did he think he could just walk away and not answer for his nonsense? Beware the Karma fairy, Johnny, she will always find you. Arbitrary and Capricious all right. Get used to hearing that one. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Post Post Mortem. Or Maybe Just Gloating...

Maybe I'm beating a dead horse here, friends. But then again maybe I missed a spot. B-Lo's historic pile driving of the so called Reform Agenda has truly reminded me of what a posse of half assed, shit talking do nothings this crew really was. Starting with the the night of the May 6, 2014 election when Tiffy Lankes in the Bflo Nooze breathlessly described Larry Quinn shoveling prawns down his gullet at Bacchus wine bar with fellow charter school opportunist Frank McGuire as Lars dialed up Run DPCC frontman Sam Radford to assure him that the fix was in and all of Buffalo would be smelling their farts from now on.

A new majority metastasized in May of 2014 when the pre-existing condition of Carl, McCarthy and Sampson added the insufferable Lars Quinn -- who late in life realized destroying the Sabres and living out the rest of his days on the millions he reaped doing so wasn't quite as fulfilling as he'd anticipated it would be-- and the seeming non entity of Patti Pierce -- in a non speaking role while enjoying her own generous police union pension yet agreeing with the boys on every charge that BTF and the teachers needed to be brought to heel. So there we had it: Lars a millionaire, Carl a millionaire, Sampson, a wired wealthy old white man and retired prison warden arse deep in the charter industry. While the 3 Privateers served as the cerebral cortex of the corporate privatization lobby -- henceforth we'll just dispense with that "ed reform" bullshit and call them what they are -- McCarthy and Pierce comprised the reptilian brain stem that could always be counted on to vote as instructed with no backtalk or "funny ideas" a la Ogilve. I admit we were afraid. I lost count of the messages I read from angst engulfed pedagogues ending in "we're fucked."

Ahh but maybe some of us were guilty of believing the privatizer's own hype. Did we forget that Quinn's Sabres resume included fumbling away Coach of the Year Ted Nolan, Rockstar GM Johnny Mucks, Chris Drury, Danny Brierre, Stu Barnes and Pat LaFontaine? It would be like Bill Polian losing Kelly, Thurman, Bruce, Andre, Talley and Marv then running for the school board hoping we'd all forgot about it. This guy is awful. Quinn's most notable accomplishments as a Board Member to date included being photographed screwing around on his phone in the middle of a student speaker's rant  at a board meeting against board members ignoring speakers and playing with their phones. Plus there's the time Lars had Kevin Gibson BTF Secretary expelled from a meeting as Gibson was at the podium preparing to address the board. Oh and he made some ignorant remarks during a visit to Lafayette High calling teachers clowns and idiots and whining that he only came as a favor to Carl. It was so painful Carl Paladino was clearly embarrassed. He tried to laugh it off explaining that Lars was "having a bad hair day." So Quinn sucks as badly as a board member as he did at mismanaging a hockey team.  Notice he's had very little to say in the post smackdown of his crumbled majority. He face savingly reminded erbuddy that work remains to be done then echoed Carl the Soon to Be Absent in assuring us he has no plans to run again. No Lar, we didn't think for one minute that you ever dreamed of running again.

For all of his vitriol and venom Carl Paladino's concern for the children has apparently reached it limits. He's in such a rush to get back out on the campaign fail for Governor again that he's going to have to cut his losses with this school board crap and get re-invested in the business of re-promoting Carl. The fact that New York City still remembers him from his last run pandering to Hacidic Jews, denigrating the Gay Pride Parade and glossing him on the Post cover as "Crazy Carl" means nothing to him. It must drive Carl crazy to see a hardcover version of himself headed for the GOP nomination in the form of  pal Donald Drumpf. The old adage about comedy is that it's all about timing. And if comedians have shown us anything in the last 15 years it's that there's a laser fine line between American politics and the Ars Comedia. Call me optimistic but  I see the Drumpf phenomenon erupting in a ball of self immolation sometime between now and election day in November. The guy simply can't help himself in many of the same ways our own paperback Trump here in Buffalo can't help himself. Remember where you heard it but between now and November there are simply way too many opportunities spreading themselves before Trump to do or say the one thing from which there can be no retreat. It's what he does.

By that time Dumbericans will finally have figured it out  -- between episodes of Ice Road Truckers, River Monsters and On Golden Blonde XIV-- that Donald Trump is wholly unsuited to run a country. Voters will be so sick of his taunts, his dog whistle comments, his name calling and shit talking that anyone walking in his shadow or aping his antics will suffer the same fate Carl's board majority mates met in last week's election. It will be quick, decisive and humiliating. And when backwater B-Lo's paperback Trump shows up thinking to cash in on the Trump Playbook for Gubner using the same tired schtick he'll be just like the kid in my study hall at Burgard 2 years late sporting a Flava Flav clock around his neck. As I recall the room shattering comment was "Hey Cuz I don't mean to be the fly in your shit but that clock thing's kinda played out, y'know?" Cue gales of derisive laughter. Timing. It's all going to be about timing. And by the time our guy has his all Beemer gassed up and all of the Harley colored posters ready to go nobody's going to want to hear it. He may as well go out and get himself a big assed clock to wear around his neck on the campaign trail.

McCarthy's legacy if you can call it that was to whine to the Buffalo News. I'm not sure if he ever heard Dick Nixon tell the press that they wouldn't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more but he sure as hell sounded tricky dickish when he sniveled "I guess the citizens of Buffalo don't want change. They want the status quo." Kind of ironic coming from the guy whose team mates were supposed to be the change until they settled into their own status quo. Sniping, name calling, making demands and stamping their feet every time things didn't go their way. Au contraire Jason McCarthy, the citizens of Buffalo do want change and they voted to dump you and your status quo. For a while they had a lot of sound and no shortage of fury but in the end it was a tale told by some idiots signifying nothing.