Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Accountability FAIL on Groundhog's Day in B-Lo

Let’s just say some teacher got the hare brained notion to take a class of kids outside in a foot of snow when the temperature was in the low teens and the wind was gusting  to 20 mph or so.  Imagine if this teacher really had a plan but for whatever reason ended up leaving the kids outside in the snow for say an hour or so, maybe less, maybe more until the kids realized this was a snipe hunt and went back inside to get warm. How would the district, the school administrators, the Board of Ed respond to punish a teacher for such irresponsibility, negligence and stupidity?  I imagine there would be swift and severe consequences especially in the Global Salem Village of the 21st Century where teachers seem to be the favorite chewtoy of politicians, media whores and dozens of billionaire funded groups designed to attack unions in the name of “doing it for the children.”
Yet when Donald Ogilvie decides to damn the torpedoes and send Buffalo students full speed ahead into a snowbank  as he did yesterday where is the consequence for his mindless behavior? Oh there’s plenty of outrage all right. You can find stories on all the local channels websites and 2 stories on DailyPublic.com.  Outrage aside though, why does the Superintendent of  the largest school district in WNY get a free pass when he commits the rookiest of all mistakes in not closing the schools with a foot of late falling snow?  Crowley, you’re saying, what exactly would you like to happen to him? Should he be docked a day’s pay or sent to sensitivity training or what exactly is it you think should be meted out here?  My point is performance. In a nutshell the guy failed to perform. He engaged in some low performing behavior in a way that wrought chaos, confusion and discomfort down on those 34,000 souls Carl Paladino alludes to with great regularity. He did the same to their parents when it appeared the kids riding buses weren’t getting picked up.
 If you read his explanation of the gaffe you’ll see Ogie has been to the rodeo a few times. Nowhere does he step up and say O.K. this one’s mine, I blew it. Far from it. Instead he wonders aloud why there was no policy in place in previous administrations. Lest we remind him his predecessor Pamela Brown PhD Harvard never really even got her Michael  Cors luggage unpacked and James Williams before her was too busy running up Chris Jacob’s tab at the Chop House to be caught up in such trifling affairs as school closing policies. Furthermore Ogilvie bemoans the poor timing of Public Works Commissioner Stepniak’s 5:45 phonecall  advising Ogie to shut it down.  He called too late says the bearded one, we have our buses on the road at 5:30. Ninja, please. What effing bus is on the road at that hour and why has this never in the nearly 3 decades I’ve been with B-lo happened before? Oh we’ve had blown calls when schools weren’t closed when they should have been and a few times when the media hype brought closures that might have been avoided. Never have I heard a Superintendent claim that a 5:45 a.m. call was too late. Probably because it’s bullshit if you want my real opinion. Better yet friends, what Superintendent in a city like Buffalo with its quirky miasma of one ways and traffic circles (no hate to you West Side, but come on….) needs a  5:00 a.m. phonecall from the streets guy to figure out with a foot of late falling powder, temps in the low teens and wind gusts that will help you hit the high notes that it’s time to shut stuff down?  
Again, if any teacher nodded off at the switch like this on a much smaller scale the sharks would be circling. We’d hear from the DPCC  and Larry Quinn, who I think are planning to consolidate, from the Buffalo News and the Reform Ed crowd, from Sampson and Carl. Oh yes, there’d be mayhem and outrage, calls for heads to roll and teeth to gnash.
 While I’m on the subject, take a look at the Daily Public piece about the MLK kids being sent outside by a fire drill. You will peruse a litany of teacher attacks in the comments section as well as some ghettofabulous “bitch” calling all centered around someone’s assertion that an adult wearing a jacket in one of the pics amounts to teachers only caring for themselves while allowing students to freeze. I’ll leave the rest for your enjoyment but that’s where people’s heads are these days.
There is no accountability for a retiree acting Superintendent, o.k. There just isn’t.  But if you look at the Governor’s new plan there’s about 50 ways to fire your teachers.  What’s good for the goose is not so much for the gander these days, especially if said gander happens to be on the NYSED side of the ed reform argument.  I long for a world where guys like Ogie step up and take responsibility for not having the sense and the stones to look out the damned window and say  “O.k.  we gotta close the schools.” Maybe in that same world we’d see M&T oligarch Robert Wilmers say “Damn, I blew it bringing in James Williams…” while Mr. Sampson might offer  “ Things got crazy at Gateway, I let the power go to my head and I abused the trust of the taxpayers.” While Larry Quinn could step up and say “ Folks, I don’t know where to start, seems I’ve spent a lot my adult life being an entitled, arrogant ass…”  That’s not the world we know but it would be interesting to see everyone at the so called table eating as big a slab of accountability pie as teachers are expected to digest.  It might even be fair.

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