Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chameleons Attempt a Land Grab in BPS

So the Chameleon Group held their little meeting or hearing or whatever it is they'd like to pretend was an honest to goodness public information session with the community yesterday. And as might be expected it didn't go so well. Hmmm. Wonder why? I quoted former Super Amber Dixon's take that Buffalo Public Schools can't just sit by passively and allow two of our schools to be plucked by some self appointed education experts like this merry band of reptiles. Board of Education member Ralph Hernandez also pointed out that this Chameleon group has not sought any discussion with the Board of Ed or the Superintendent yet they showed up at this meeting and told the public they need help from both. You may not care for some of Ralph's quirks but in this case he is dead on the money. Is there a more manipulative and deceitful manner of trying to pressure someone than running to the media and pretending you've met resistance or implying that you have been blown off when in fact you never even had the stones or the decency to make an appropriate and adult attempt to speak with either the Board or the Superintendent? It's like something a little kid in brat camp would be deprogrammed from doing. You don't go running to the cameras and reporters and cry about needing help from someone you've never asked for help. You go to them first and if they tell you to sod off -- which in this case, after the b.s. these people have pulled, I fully hope they are told to do exactly that -- THEN  you cry to the media that you only care about the children.

Incidentally it has been reported that a Mr. Fuentes whom I have traded comments with in the Buffalo News several times was brought out and became emotional for all to witness while he essentially declared he doesn't care about teachers and vowed they'd better be ready to take a haircut on their wages and benefits. While I get that this group needs a Sam Radfordesque rabble rousing non White member to escape charges that they are another bunch of do good  upper middle class white people who are meddling in education for their own purposes, I think it's safe to assume Mr. Fuentes needs to remember he is asking educated professionals to come to work for his group. Telling them he doesn't care about them and threatening them with pay and benefit cuts  right out of the gate might be one of the most moronic recruiting tools I have ever heard. And as if that isn't enough he has the temerity to suggest that there are a lot of young kids coming out of college who are not savvy enough or ballsy enough to negotiate a fair contract for themselves and they will gladly come work for a fly by night charter and be assigned a teaching load that has nothing to do with their training. Sure, they'll do it for a while until they realize they are getting jerked around and the after school unpaid tutoring and etc. etc. sure sounded good until they tried to reconcile their car payment with the shitty pay they're getting.

And in case anyone is wondering where the Principals stand it was made clear that they have been in on this since day one. Why wouldn't they be? Have you ever seen what Geoffrey Canada takes home for running his little charter fiefdom downstate? The Principals would be free to negotiate a much better deal than they get from the taxpayers of Buffalo and the administrator's contract in place. The Principal of Waterfront, Mr. Hills, who seems to get a new school about every year, showed and tried to walk the line between pissing off his faculty whom he barely knows after one year and pissing off the folks who will pay him more to make a deal. And does anyone else see a huge conflict of interest here folks? The complicit Principal can engage in complicity to his own financial gain that may very well be at odds with the best interests of "the Children" Mr. Fuentes shed tears over and the rest of the deformers claim as their chief concern.

While I have read that the deformers at first tried to happy face their way though the meeting it didn't take long for the veneer to wear thin and their true colors to come to the forefront.

"...The look of surprise, then condescension, on the faces of the Chameleons during the question portion was worth more to me than the bag of chips I never got from you. At the end of the meeting, they were reduced to writing notes to each other while getting verbally lambasted and giving each other sniggering "inside jokes" looks. True colors came flying out. VERY middle-school behavior. They were SO sure that they had a like-minded group in the room with them. They all made their patronizing opening speeches as if they were speaking to a roomful of idiots. Slow, overly enunciated, false smiling, bland, chewable bits of  pro charter blather for the morons in attendance. Then, from the audience, focused, calm, intelligent, incisive, probing questions..."   
byline to PP, Head Researcher

 Curiously I have been met with Why don't you join us ?  as a response from two of their number on separate occasions  when I actually challenged their anti teacher anti union rhetoric. It must be one of their rebuttals they study in a notebook somewhere like telemarketers use when you tell them you are undergoing chemo and can't afford their water filters. Can't afford it ? Listen friend if you're on chemo you can't afford NOT to buy this filter!  where do we go from here? I don't know but I am sure next time this crew holds a meeting and they ask why don't I join them I plan to do exactly that even if I have to bring the kids the chinchilla and both lizards with me. 


  1. All that and a bag of chipsJuly 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    In Mr. Polowitz words, as he hand fed them to the Buffalo News this AM, "State officials want to hear more about a plan to turn two of Buffalo's under-achieving schools-East High and Waterfront-into charter schools". WELL!, of course they do! Conversion charters have met with much resistance in New York State as districts are reluctant to part with their buildings. Yes, I think I have that right. The District will not care about forking over students to virtual strangers (chameleons, no less!) with strong business savvy and no educational experience, but they get very queasy about turning over their real estate to them. If the Chameleon People succeed at this, Dr. John King, Charter Czar, will have accomplished a very important personal goal. He will be able to tout this sleazy success on his resume, get the bragging rights among other Commissioners of Ed, and maybe move his ass to DC since Arne and Obama will be waiting with open arms.

    Many of the players (you know who they are) in this local soap opera stand to make money, but more importantly to them, they stand to pad their resumes as insurance for a cushy future. But, of course, they are "doing it for the children". As soon as the other fine feathered administrators in Buffalo see how much money the Charter principals stand to make by kissing off their certified staffs and kissing some Chameleon butt, our District schools will be turning charter faster than a hungry chameleon's tongue can flick a fly off a fencepost.

  2. Fittingly the cockroach is a highly recommended food source for the chameleon. In particular the Madagascar hissing cockroach is a crowd favorite plus it cannot climb the glass walls of the tank to escape feeding time. Sometimes nature is just perfect.

  3. So now I think I'm starting to get it. Steve Polowitz and the Chameleon Charter Group put out a press release midday on Friday. The press release told about the meeting and also the important talking points of the Charter invasion solely from the point of view of the Chameleons. The release went to all local news orgs, including Buffalo Rising. Like the lousy local media outlets that they are, almost all of them simply regurgitated Polowitz Chameleon talking points, bought them wholesale, except for YNN. Some of the other TV stations sent random cameramen to get photos, then they ran with the Polowitz political talking points. Others sent cameramen to interview Polowitz himself so he could spew his talking points verbally. It must be nice to be a person with such influence in the community that you can snap your fingers on a Friday afternoon and make the local media spew your ideas all over the city of Buffalo by the next day, for free! I have learned so much today about the endless machinations of the local power players. Shame on the media for being so lazy, gutless, and careless.

  4. If the Principals think seriously of taking" them up on the invitation to "join us"...let them check the history of longevity at Global Concepts,for instance.If my memory is not too cloudy... The "founder" and first administrator lasted about two years before her "parent board" ditched her.
    Longevity is not characteristic of Charter School employees. No tenure, no union job, maybe?
    Just thinkin'...about the "haircuts".

  5. This just stinks of back room deals. Common for people that are the political elite of the time. With a governor and his cronies collecting millions in campaign donations and destroying teachers being the new sexy, where is NYSUT in all of this! My theory is that they don't care where they get their membership, and will
    Just start trolling around the new money making charters. Triborough changes and raises for our underpaid Politicians is on the docket after the elections, we will continue to take a 'hair cuts'.

  6. Peg and Pat B.- Very astute comments. Peg, It would be a great little research endeavor to find out about the longevity of Charter administrators and teachers. Very telling. And Pat B. , my theory is that things are happening so quickly at the Deform level (I include Cuomo in there) that it is hard to know what to react to first. I think all teachers should sharpening their information skills. Even reading one good blog and googling the names of people and organizations that you are not familiar with is a great start. Speaking of Cuomo, I read today that he NEVER uses email. Does not want a paper trail of anything at all. He uses Blackberry Pin to Pin and all of his close people have their own pins. Messages sent this way, when deleted are gone forever. That will be very helpful to him is he is ever subpoenaed. No email!
    As to NYSUT, I don't know. I'm kinda exhausted after reading the Buffalo News article about all of the job hopping that Pamela Brown has done. Whew. She must be tired.

  7. Looks like these two pregnant Charter school teachers in NYC (Bronx) just had to get a "haircut" for being pregnant! Here's what the Principal told one pregnant teacher before firing her:

    “The principal, Evelyn Hey, told me that she wanted a teacher who was going to be with the children for the entire year,” said Suero, age 24, who will give birth in February and promised to only take one month of maternity leave."

    The two teachers also had their lesson plans taken from them and were forced to write positive evaluations of the school before leaving. If you want to read their story, the link is:

  8. Pat B - herr4's some of what Norm Scott has to say about UFT and Slimegarten the sell out :

    I can't tell you how many conversations I've been having with people who are coming up with one idea after another on how to fight back against the ed deform agenda of closing schools, pushing charters, vilifying teachers, and so on: boycotts, petitions, protests, rallies, marches, conferences, political campaigns, etc.

    But I always point out one very important missing ingredient: there is not an organization in existence that is capable of coordinating these actions in a consistent way.

    Oh, wait! There is such an organization. It is called the UFT. Only one problem. The UFT leadership has no real interest in truly fighting ed deform other than as much of a holding action as they can get away with. The UFT/Unity leadership's prime directive is to hold onto power at any cost. I can't say this enough times.