Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Manufactured Outrage from The Buffalo News, Board of Ed and the Usual Suspects

It's comical to see how all the players in the little Buffalo Public Schools kabuki are waving their arms and stomping their feet in unison hoping to make Phil Rumore and the BTF blink. Fact is the district chose the 50% Stupid turnaround model which they claim was the only one available. Part of  this ingenious plan demands that 50% of a "failing school's" faculty must be transferred to another school. Ironically, but but not remotely surprising, is the reality admitted to by BPS Human Resources director Darren Brown that some teachers will actually be transferred from one "failing" school to another "failing" school.  Inherent of course in this sagacious schema is the notion that it's the teachers not the students or parents who are causing the school's "failure." The BTF told them before the ink was even dry that it wasn't going to happen, that it violated the contract.  Do you think after about 30 years or so when Phil Rumore warns the district that they are about to break the contract and end up in court that maybe, just maybe one of them might listen and say he's not bluffing, let's not do this? Yeah in a sane world you might hear someone observe that the union chief who takes contract violators to court rarely loses and there's got to be a better way to do this. But here in the City of Mo Confusions the Board of Education and its shiny new Superintendent knew this up front but went ahead and did it anyway. Doubtless they were counting on some public outcry from all of the imaginary parents they have in their corner. Well as usual that didn't happen either so now that they've been told by an arbitrator that their actions were illegal and told again by another judge that their actions were illegal and the decision was not going to be put aside, the Bright Lights of City Hall are enlisting their usual suspects to create the illusion of a rabid public uproar against the teachers. Yaaaaaaaaawwwn. They hold a public information meeting and invite Nathan Hare in traditional African attire to come and tell everyone that it's the teachers who are holding kids hostage by refusing to submit to an evaluation process that proposes to evaluate teachers on the grades of kids who don't come to school among other absurdities. So Nathan Hare announces that it's the teachers and their union who are the bad guys. Sam Radford whose western attire wasn't nearly as spiffy as Hare's was reduced to yelling "Amen" and throwing out random "Halleluiahs" and "That's rights" as Hare stole the majority of his thunder and had a way cooler looking get up.

Essentially they all gathered with the Chameleon Schools loving Common Council to accuse Buffalo Teachers, BTF and Phil Rumore of "punishing kids."  Really ? As usual the Buffalo News takes its ostrich stance on the other end of the mandate absolutely refusing to question the inexperienced and less than minimally qualified  Commissioner of NYSED John King, the person who is keeping money from kids to punish teachers. How is it they can't ever get to see the equation in its entirety? They get the part about the money not coming and they think they get the part about the teachers refusing to comply with stupidity and career suicide but somehow they always manage to forget who exactly is withholding the money from the kids while trying to sic the community on teachers. King could have kept the issues separate but in his petulant inexperience he has got it into his charter schooled head that he can pull a power play on Buffalo's teachers then blame them for its disastrously backfiring results. The attempt is again one of turning the community on the teachers but aside from the usual shills at The News, a handful of self interested gasbags like Hare and Radford and the News Editorial Board's advisors over at BuffaloPrivatizeEd, nobody is buying it. 

The money is not going to the kids, but then again when you talk to teachers in SIG schools it never goes to them anyway. It goes to coaches and committees and some other stupid expense or trainer but rarely to students. Why isn't the money going to schools? Because the guy who has power to distribute it is using his power to force teachers agree to an evaluation that will be unreliable, invalid and frankly, stupid. Teachers aren't agreeing to it. They see what's coming and what's coming is any teacher at any time can be picked off no matter how great of an instructor, nurturer, pedagogue, social worker, entertainer he or she is. They want to be able to fire anyone at any time and create an arbitrary system by which this can be accomplished. Evaluations based in large part on standardized tests some of which were of such horrific quality they had to be thrown out are not good evaluations, they will not be accurate. But then again that's what the state wants, they want inaccuracy because it gives them a lot of leverage and can cut a huge hole in the protections a union can offer its teachers.

DrPamelaCBrown, bless her heart, showed her complete lack of comprehension of the to-be transferred teacher's plight by trying to buy them off with a $2500 payment to shut up and go along with the district's illegal transfer maneuver. That she thinks it's a money thing is only half of the problem. It's not a money thing, it's about a lot more than money and I am fairly certain if it was $10,000.00 she'd have got the same response. And truth be told, she knew ahead of time nobody was going to fall for that but it served her purposes to throw out a little spiff she knew nobody would accept. Now as you'd guess she is sitting back saying I don't know what else to do I offered them money. Flo Jo is all in a tizzy talking about playing tiddlywinks and filing her own lawsuit.  Somebody please tell me she will serve as her own attorney too and my life will be complete. Maybe she oughtta wait til she goes on her next outta town conference for the tiddlywinks and in the meantime try getting to board meetings when they start not whenever she can drift in afterwards. The Buffalo News is on its hind legs braying as the collective jackass it continues to be, demanding the union make a counter offer to Brown's $2500 gambit. Well Newsies, guess what ? It's not an auction or a horse trade. There is no counter offer. There's a legally binding ruling from an arbitrator to rescind the illegal transfers. Period. So all the Board and The Superintendent have to do is abide the legal ruling they received and that will be a beginning. Or keep playing hardball with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of your ninth and see if the Buffalo News and Nathan Hare and poor old second tier Sam can fix the mess you've made by doing the wave with your 8 supporters in common council chambers. Yeah, doesn't sound like such a great option now does it ? 


  1. Well said yet again Sean! I hope that there are people out there who realize that this is about pandering to the public. If, we as teachers did this for the money, well there really wouldn't be any teachers. The long hours spent preparing for lessons that can't be taught because of dealing with students and their behaviors...the list goes on! AND something that everyone seems to forget is that we keep going in day after day to make a difference in the lives of these children because we want to. Don't seem to see how that makes the problems of these students our fault or why that makes us the bad guy. Teachers champion children!

  2. Agreed, Anon. Sean, you've summed it up perfectly. King dangles the SIG money trying to get BTF to jump and Cuomo is threatening to withhold state aid from districts across the state, so I guess Dr. PCB thought she'd give it a try also. The News editorial board just keeps insisting that we should all comply with whatever nonsense they ask of us FOR THE MONEY. Please tell me if this is the lesson we should be teaching our kids, "go along with what you know is wrong, in order to get money."

    Where are the leaders in education? Why aren't any local administrators crying foul? Do members of the Board have a clue about what is happening on their watch? They stay silent while Phil and the BTF are the only ones locally questioning the Commish and company and their stupid policies. The News and their sorry excuse for educational reporting ignore time and again the agenda and players behind these destructive policies. The public should be outraged that those in charge of public education are not defending it, but rather overseeing its destruction.

  3. As if to prove my point the news gasbag and racist in chief Rod Watsup weighed in today with the same load of b.s. about the teachers not caring and Phil is the anti christ and all these poor suffering parents being misled and robbed by the greedy tentacles of BTF ad nauseam. He even rolled out some stat about teachers being white and living outside of the city. But isn't that called diversity Rod? Same as the Sisters going after the charter school at their recertification about the number of unwhite teachers they don't have. Don't they ever get the idea that there must be something systemically wrong, something that's out of the hands of white teachers like me from places like Eden? No they don't want to hear that. They want to scowl and pout and grumble about white people and as Watson does this he is calling for a trigger law to be enacted that will strip these imaginary legions of energized and activist parents Rod sees in his hallucinations of any and all input to their kids' schools. Essentially he wants to see the middle class teachers get stiffed and have their schools privatized so that the wealthy privatizers can breeze in and impose martial law on poor minority kids and toss them at the first opportunity. The where does Rod think these kids will go? They will go to real prison since their charter schools having treated them like convicts will have prepared them for a life among the state institutions. Rod will feel better when billionaires are making a profit off these kids and they are being counseled out of their charter schools and told to get lost. As long as he can see teachers getting nailed, the racist in chief doesn't care what else happens and lacks the insight to realize he is calling for a move from the workable frying pan to the endgame of fire. The charterization of Buffalo Schools is not going to be good for poor minority kids, It will be ten times worse than anything people like watson perceive BPS to be now. But some people you just can't reach, they are dead set and they refuse to listen.