Saturday, August 25, 2012

SayYes? Wants to Take a Field Trip But They Forgot the Permission Slips

Apparently the New Reformers in town have taken it upon themselves to co-opt opening day for teachers in Buffalo with some kind of Girls and Pearls party at the whatever the hell they are calling the arena now, oh yeah The FN Center. Teachers are being instructed once again to ignore a violation of their contract and be standing outside their buildings ready to board "cheese" busses to the fun filled event.  One small glitch here as usual is they didn't bother to confer with anyone who teaches in Buffalo they just went ahead and planned our morning for us thinking their ace in the hole would be the free boxed breakfast they got Wegman's to cough up. Can you imagine anyone doing this to anyone else in any other profession and expecting them to be grateful and thrilled for the opportunity to ride a school bus downtown where they can listen to their new Superintendent and chow down on a box of donated breakfast grub? Ah but there's that same mentality again, the one that rears its head when teachers say things like I don't want to coach intramurals after school for no pay or teach French to freshmen when I can't speak or read it. That same old gotcha voice : Oh you teachers, there you go again. I THOUGHT IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN? 

If I am going on a Field Trip anywhere I want to go here with these guys not to the FN Center for a Wegman's bagel with Pearly Brown

Well sorry friends and frauds but teaching like anything else that comes with a paycheck involves the employee and the employer agreeing to some basic expectations and displaying some form of familiarity with the concept of mutual respect. We operate under what is known as a contract here in the City of No Illusions and part of that says no school begins its day before 7:50am. The robocalls to teachers have been instructing them to be outside their buildings to board the cheese by 7:15.  Opening the school year and the tenure of a new Superintendent with a contract violation doesn't exactly set the table for a feast of great relations to come this year with SayYes? or Dr. Brown. I guess this alleged educational consultant group, like so many of the others running loose in the stratosphere aren't as familiar with teachers and the boots on the ground dynamics of school operation as they are with figuring their cut when all the papers are signed and it's time to split up the booty. In a normal world a group pretending to be immersed in the world of urban education or even rural education for that matter would understand the sanctity of the first day back. It's a time to regroup, set up classroom items, make copies, retrieve furniture that grew legs over the summer, meet new colleagues and in the case of my work site, review and update safety and mental health protocalls. And frankly I find it more than a little insulting that an out of town corporation who dredged up a Superintendent through a process many of us found highly questionable should think they could spring this last minute field trip with no permission slips from the people drafted to go on it. Phil Rumore advised teachers in an email that the thing was a fait accompli by the time any of them bothered to advise BTF of it and Dr. Brown claims it was all ready on track when she got here. It strikes me that this is an opportunity for her to step in and cancel or at very least postpone this nonsense but in one of her first public opportunities to demonstrate leadership and solidarity with her employees she is going to chicken out and bask in the fanfare rather than stand up as a leader and  explain the obvious to the idiotic. I know they are trying to prove that they are here for the children and that's admirable. They will have an entire school year and then some to prove this to anyone who thinks it's provable. The rest of us however would prefer to be left alone as we all have work to do. And riding a goddamned cheese downtown to meet someone we've all ready met on t.v. is time wasted that none of us will ever get back. Thanks for the kind thoughts and all but if you've been reading the paper and listening to the clarion call of the corporate profiteers who want to "reform" us, we all have work to do. So next time AskFirst! and just maybe some of us might SayYes!


  1. Possibly the BEST pic I have EVER googled up for a blog post EVER. Thanks Guys, you are kindred spirits of the first order and consumate professionals.

  2. What exactly were you googling to get that awesome photo?

  3. Do we know that Wegmans donated the breakfasts? I would think the district ponied up the cash money. I'd love to know how much altogether this fiasco is going to cost. And if Say Yes is paying, why not use the cash money to send kids on real field trips? Oh, right. There won't be time in the school day or year because of pre- and post- and all that jazz.

  4. Just to reitterate, this event may have been already on track in Say Yes's mind, or with the Board Members' approval, but district leadership was not consulted before Brown's arrival.

  5. Can we just Say No to Say Yes? Let Phil tell them to cease and desist with the "extreme robocalling". Like, just stop shut this whole debacle down NOW, before Mary Pasciak and the EdReformers turn it into just one more way that teachers are NOT doing it for the kids? They (Say Yes and Pam Brown) still have time to stop this and still save face.
    I think we (teachers) should just call/inform Phil that we don't want to waste our first day doing this.
    Also, if Say Yes has paid coordinators in each building that they are sponsoring this year, just let those coordinators earn their money by standing up on the first day, in the building that they are getting $$$ (big, I'm sure)to interfere at, and hand out some Bagels and Spiel, face to face in a smaller room with real, live teachers, and have the respect to give the teachers the opportunity to ask real live questions. Test those waters, so to speak. It will probably be easier though, for those coordinators, to wait until the kids arrive and then weasel about the building while the teachers are too busy to pay them much mind. They can then send their intell back to Say yes headquarters and no one in the building will know what hit them when Say Yes decides that Buffalo teachers are just a bunch of shitheads.
    In other words, skip the Pam Brown adulation piece of this (it's not warranted yet), save the fireworks and media storm for something that they've actually accomplished (nothing yet!) and leave the teachers to do the job that they want to do.
    God knows, teachers are pulled from their actual teaching jobs for data crapola/indoctrination/humiliation all the time. Obnoxiously, I might add.
    Maybe the media (are you reading, Mary P.?) could show how hard the public school teachers are working on the first day. Kinda like the ass kissing that the News did for the Charter School for Applied Technology.
    Bottom line:
    1. Say Yes, please leave us in peace in our own homes. You have no right to annoy the crap out of us.
    2. Dr. Pamela Brown, show some spine and shut this down. It's an idiotic idea.

  6. Slim I read that somewhere about Wegman's. It wouldn't surprise me as Wegman's is almost absurdly generous in my experience when solicited for school donations. As a yearbook coordinator I inquired about taking a full page ad and had a check from them for $150,00 in about two days. If a dope like me can find a soft touch you can only imagine how many of them these bright bulbs from SayYes? have all ready shaken down. Yeah the kids on field trips is a strange concept. We have the advantage of small groups and state vans plus other resources at my site but as far as I know the kids don't quite get all the travel perks that the Sorority Food and Travel club of the Board is enjoying again.

  7. Anon - I think I am going to take a few months off and email you the password. Seems you're on a roll !!!

  8. The two educators in the pic or are they reformers? No they seem to have a sense of humor and some wit so that rules out reformers were found by googling "worst field trip" under images. Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.

  9. You know what I find incredibly frustrating about this whole thing? Why haven't I been officially notified yet? Did the Board expect the robocall to reach all their teachers? Half the teachers in my building don't get robocalls, myself included. But we all damn well have an email address. How come I'm reading about this event with only one week of notice on blogs?

    Also, did Phil send emails to everyone? I just checked and I didn't get one of those either. BTF *does* have my personal email address b/c I found old BTF emails in the search.

    I wouldn't mind hearing from Say Yes or from Pam Brown on the first day (as long as she promises not to pull out a saxophone), I just don't want to do it at 7:15. I might show up at 8:50 (after I've walked my own children into their schools for the first day) if someone could get their act together and actually give me some freakin' details.

  10. Schoolteacher:
    1.The robocalls are utilizing the district's phonecalling system, but they are surely not FROM the district. I believe that the district has allowed Say Yes access to our home phone numbers for the robocalls. Be grateful that you are not getting them. They are intrusive and they demand an answer. I personally find it comforting that some teachers are accidentally being left out of this event. THAT situation alone should create some chaos on opening day! Sort of like: "Hey!, Why are all of you getting on cheese buses and I'm here dragging my potted plants in on a dolly? What the what?" Or, "Where is everybody? I got here at 7:50 and no one else showed up?"
    Cue the Twilight Zone music!

    2. Yes, we all do have district email, but maybe even the district feels a bit queasy about letting Say Yes start badgering us on email. Let's hope that Say Yes does not start emailing all us of! If the robocalls are indicative, Say Yes will keep mailing you until they get answer. They are worse than debt collectors. (Come on, you've all been there! :)) At least there are laws in NYS reulating Debt Collectors. Say Yes is NOT our employer! We all should attempt to remember that fact.

    3.If you are not getting Phil's emails, just call BTF.

    4. You say you don't mind this whole media circus, you just have a problem with the time of it. I am freaking out over the chutzpah of these people and do not want to have to waste time on my first and only "prep" day to be used as an audience filler for a PR advertisement for Say Yes. In fact, if you look at my past posts on this topic, I get madder every day about it.

    5. I wonder what other teachers are thinking. I am glad you took the time to post. I always wonder if I am waayyy out in left field on topics such as this. I hope other teachers will chime in on this topic this week.

  11. I guess I just interpreted the call differently from everyone else. I listened to the call, and at the end when I was asked to press 1 if I would attend or press 2 if I will not attend, I simply pressed 2 and hung up the phone. I figured if they were expecting me there they wouldn't have given me the option. I was "invited" to attend a kick-off ceremony. I chose 2, and will show up at my building to get to work at 8:00 (an hour early), as usual. I advised the teachers in my building to do the same. The buses are provided for those who don't want to park downtown at the arena. Whatever. Nice idea. Wrong timing. I won't be there. I'm sure I won't be missed.

    Good luck to all on a great school year!

    1. Will do the same. And will try to stop reading so much into this. You are the voice of reason. Thanks.

  12. That should read i advised my teachers to make their own choice but its not mandatory. Press 2 if you dont want to go. I didnt tell anyone not to go.

  13. party's been cancelled (August 28)