Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Teachers Need to Be More Paranoid

While one is never lacking for material to lampoon the Buffalo Public Schools "leadership" its Board and some of the zany antics of the DPCC -- give us your coaching jobs, we live in the neighborhood and one of us played football in community college -- still ranks as one of my all time faves, I think it's important that this blog serves as a vehicle to connect some of the dots many of our colleagues don't seem to notice or for whatever reason don't make it their business to know about.  Crowley, you speak of dots and colleagues and what all, get to the point man.

OK while this is also a nice way of mentioning the shout out I got on Norm Scott's blog in response to an email I sent him the other day I believe Brother Scott  has been sounding the alarm for many yet we still have many who simply don't hear it. What alarm you ask ? Well how about we start with our own dear Democrats at home in NY.  It's clear that our governor is a charter school advocate as is his NYSED Commissioner John King and the nebulously titled Assistant Secretary of Education, Katie Campos. King's "teaching experience" was all in charter schools, all 3 years of it. Campos has NO teaching experience. NONE. True to the "reformer's" mantra she has zero training in education, no education course work no student teaching, NOTHING.  She has NEVER taught for 5 minutes, ANYWHERE. But ironically she DOES have a Bachelor's in Political Science. And ahhh but she did manage to befriend an important Democrat ally and fellow charter school shill in Democrat State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt. So we are faced with a State Education Department that has ZERO interest in public education. Their dream is to privatize and corporatize education for a profit. Does that make anyone a little uncomfortable ? Do you find it odd too that Ms. Campos fresh from her CEO's gig at BuffaloReformED a bald faced charter advocacy group in spite of what they will try to tell you, was put to work writing up teacher evaluations for NY State  public school teachers? And does it surprise you that these evaluations will only be used against public school educators NOT charter school teachers?  Hmmm, wonder why ? Must be the charters are all ready doing such a bang up job they just don't need all the scrutiny and "accountability" those sluggards in the public schools require. While checking in on the Governor's Teacher Evaluation Tracker site the other day to see who has and who still hasn't submitted their eval plans to Albany, by the way a whopping total of 6 districts of the 29 in Erie County have submitted their plans and none are approved to date, I came across something I found more than a little disgusting and possibly even smacking loudly of a conflict of interest.

Michelle Rhee and former NBA star Ex Husband KJ who had a little trouble hugging naked teenage girls

Click the little tab that says NYStudentsFirst and follow the flashing comments below until you find the ones from Hannya Boulous and Sam Radford. Seriously ? The local charter school advocacy CEO and her co-opted parent leader both get a free quote on a state funded website paid for by my taxes? And as long as these two are getting some ink here why don't we ask what StudentsFirst is while we are at it. Well well well, it's nothing but another charter schools pimp group founded by none other than Michelle Rhee the disgraced former chancellor of D.C. schools whose legacy there has been Jo Paterno-ized in light of a huge cheating scandal that explained all of her gains in standardized testing. Isn't it odd that these people who are so enamored of standardized testing can't even figure out a way to prepare kids for it without cheating? Ahh but the test scores aren't really to gauge learning anyway, they are primarily a tool to be used in negatively evaluating teachers who can then be fired since their scores weren't good enough. I know this is only an opening salvo but THIS teacher friends is WHY you care or SHOULD care if you dont' all ready. There are forces at work who want you to lose your job so they can make money off of your job without putting in a tenth of the creativity, heart and soul you dedicate to teaching. A cheater who was married to a sexual predator is welcomed on the NYSED website and in their money grubbing hearts as well. Oh well at least we didn't mention her funny story about taping her student's mouths shut to keep them from embarrassing her in front of visiting brass and when they pulled the tape off it ripped the skin around their lips. Oh Shelly, you ARE a card... Stay tuned pedagogues as we will look into the national failure of the Democratic party to support public education and its unthinkable sell out to the billionaires and hedge funders of the unlikely named Democrats for Ed Reform. The news is Democrats assume they will get our vote, they take us and all of labor for granted while preparing us to be outsourced so their billionaire pals can make even more billions off of really shitty education.

P.S. here's a little cautionary tale from Diane Ravitch's blog that tells of a NY City teacher fired in a "Turnaround" school. The idea Bloomberg and Dunkin Arne have is that bad schools are full of bad teachers who are making them bad. Remember the "reformers" don't admit that shitty parenting and stinking poverty have any effect on a kid's ability to learn even though one study shows the effects of childhood poverty closely resemble those of a major stroke in an adult.

...I work in one of those 24 turnaround schools in NYC and was appalled at the hiring process. The majority of the teachers who were NOT hired back were indeed effective and amazing teachers. They were “culled” from the herd because they were senior teachers and made too much money. Among the teachers who were not hired back were the bilingual science teacher whose Regents passing rate was the highest of all the science teachers. She is amazing, but her sin was being in the system too long. Honestly, teachers were stunned when they were not hired back.Ironically, some of the teachers who were hired back were among the weakest on our staff. Nobody really understood the hiring process or how these decisions were made. Yes, we knew there was a rubric and yes, the UFT sat on these committees, but let’s be honest–none of this addresses the real issues in many of these students’ lives. They are sent to the high school with deficient skills and other social problems.And “Harold,”,none of this, please be clear, was about helping kids. It was about hiring the least expensive workers. Kids be damned. Morale at my school was so low to begin with. Nobody even knows if they are back or not, nobody knows if the old principal is in or not and nobody even knows what the school’s name is.This is chaos. This is destruction. This is immoral. This is DANGEROUS!

If this sounds like the kind of reform you are looking for in education just sit by and do nothing and before long we'll be writing our own first hand shock and awe stories to people like Diane. 


  1. Pineapple PrincessJuly 13, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Now I am completely crazy because those local charter aholes have scheduled a meeting for tomorrow at 10 AM to discuss the conversion of East and Waterfront into charters. 24 hours notice? I know it is summer and there has been very little notice but there must be a mechanism to alert teachers and try to get as many sane public school educators out to that meeting. What a slick move by the Chameleons of the Chameleon Community Schools Project. They need a buy in from the parents at the two proposed conversion schools. YOU KNOW that Sam Radford and Hanny Boulos have been busy spending the DFER bucks to communicate and indoctrinate the parents at those two schools. We can talk till we're blue in the face about what is happening on the national level but right now, it is happening here in OUR city, to OUR schools and to OURr families and children. Noise should be made. This should not go down without an argument, at the very least.

  2. Where is the meeting going to take place ?

  3. Pineapple PrincessJuly 13, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    The hearing will be held at the Sherman L. Walker Community Center, 608 William St. Parking is available in back of the building. For more information, visit

    Peg, the above is from today's paper. If you look in the education section. So sketchy.

  4. Pineapple PrincessJuly 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    I just cut and pasted the above info from the Bflo News and realize they referred to this as a "hearing" not a "meeting"! Maybe that is because Polowitz is a lawyer and Amy Friedman's husband is a lawyer or MAYBE it is somehow part of the "process" for a charter conversion? We need to have some representatives there. I am sure that if any of us reading this blog attend, we will know each other by the scowls on our faces. This is so arrogant and know also that all of the local money and power players are involved. Mr. Crowley, we need a list of the cast of characters and organizations who are involved in the local charter atrocities.

  5. Pineapple PrincessJuly 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Sorry to be such an ass about this meeting tomorrow, but, you said to be more paranoid and no one is more paranoid than me. Here are the regs from NY Board of Regents. There DOES have to be a public hearing and I think tomorrow is it.:

    At each significant stage of the chartering process, the charter entity and
    the board of regents shall provide appropriate notification to the school district in which the
    charter school is located and to public and nonpublic schools in the same geographic area as the
    proposed charter school. Such notification shall be provided by each charter entity within thirty
    days of its receipt of an application for formation of a new charter school or for renewal of an
    existing charter school, and at least forty-five days prior to initial approval of the charter
    application by the charter entity. Prior to the issuance, revision, or renewal of a charter, the
    school district in which the charter school is located shall hold a public hearing to solicit
    comments from the community in connection with the foregoing. Such hearing shall be held
    within the community potentially impacted by the proposed charter school.

    Now, the charter school folks have to note the comments from the public. I say we go and make some comments.

  6. I want SOMEONE or SOME BODIES from BTF to attend!!! Is anyone from Porter Ave. going? I would go if I were in town--and then we could all go out for a few bottles of wine. This is despicable. First is East and Waterfront and if they topple, then it will be so easy for the rest of the schools to topple as well. There are a lot of powerful parents with kids in Buffalo schools who would love to see their child's school go charter. Much easier to take over and call the shots...