Saturday, January 30, 2016

Perdido St. School Blog Signs Off -- Wonder Why?

Thanks for Keeping Us Informed RBE. You Are Already Missed

When I read the other day that RBE at PerdidoStSchoolblog is shutting it down my initial reaction was not  one of shock as much as empathy and understanding. It's not exactly a state secret this blog has been gathering moss since before Christmas break. The inscrutable and insidious forces of corporate ed reform continue to score rape after rape after rape against unions, teachers, parents and public education at large. Since I started this adventure a few summers ago I can't say there's been any period as dark and discouraging as what we've witnessed this past year here in B-Lo and statewide as well. We'll get to the nationwide horrors in a minute. To steal from T.S. Eliot's Prufrock  it's "as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen" or as if we've been to the oncologist's and he's shown us the depressing imaging of a complete and devastating metastasis, as if the cancer has simply overwhelmed and engulfed every last major organ and there only remains some perfunctorily empty talk of keeping the patient as pain free and comfortable as possible for what remains of his solitary, poor, nasty brutish and short existence.

Not only are our state and national union leadership working their own agenda in their classic top down paternalistic "Randi Knows Best" paradigm but beyond them the Supreme Court is entertaining a case that will likely render the sum of their shadowy, self serving machinations a moot point. Some of you may have heard about a Friedrichs Decision that will strip unions of their power to collect agency fees, enabling freeloaders to collect any and all union negotiated perks without contributing one dime towards the effort of negotiating them. And with rank and file disgust at a fever pitch as it is these days you can well imagine how many of your colleagues are going to opt out of paying dues to be fed Nae Nae videos and VOTE COPE shakedowns in place of unionism. 

So it sucks that NEA and AFT unilaterally endorsed Hillary Clinton with virtually no support from rank and file and it further blows that closer to home NYSUT's brightest idea appears to be that we all need to donate our wages to VOTE COPE so NYSUT's political operatives can make all of our political decisions for us whether we like or agree with them or not. And as if their feckless "leadership" weren't obnoxious and feeble enough even it will soon be decimated by the Supreme Court who thinks corporations should be allowed to make unlimited donations to political campaigns.  So the shitty unreliable 1986 Yugo GV we've been stalling out in at redlights and parking on hills for the clutch pop start maneuver is about to get its engine blown by the SCOTUS. 

Bus fare anyone? 

Closer to home we here in B-Lo have been offered a contract that features left hooks and bushels of apples as incentives combined with givebacks on health care, extended school days and school years and a pay cut for a crown jewel. The Admins have signed themselves up to get $12K bonuses if their schools' test scores improve. Yes folks, after 12 years of nothing you can all smile and take a paycut while Larry Quinn hires his campaign manager as Counsel for another $160,000 in Thursday night poker money and some admin walks away with his inground pool deposit on the back of your test scores. Jabba the Commissioner in Albany has recently overweighed in with a helpful offer to stressed out kids in high stakes testing torture chambers. They are now free to spend their entire day sweating, vomiting, convulsing and failing their tests -- tests created above far grade level to show how fucking stupid they really are. To recap Elia's big hearted offer, the kids now can take extra time to fail tests we know have been intentionally created to be too difficult for them. This brainstem storm borrows from the logic pool used by the ones who insist teachers are doing a terrible job and causing all of our kids to fail and be stupid ergo we must extend the school day to give these people another two hours to make the kids even stupider. When it isn't working double the dose right? I think I heard that at an NA meeting 35 years ago. 

You will be paid less to do more. The Superintendent has the Commissioner's blessing to ignore any parts of your contract he doesn't like. The high stakes test and punish regimen will continue and the results, contrary to the bald faced bullshit being fed to you by union "leadership" will be used against you in your evaluation. Nothing has changed folks, nothing. Except your kids can puke and tremble for extra time if they are unfortunate enough to take the test. Kriner Cash is free to call faculty meetings in the middle of the night and bring in  well paid"experts" to in service you on what a shitty job you do every day. 

Is it any wonder a guy who's spent the last ten years chronicling the decline of public education has decided he's had enough?  

Have you had enough? 


  1. I have had enough. I am laboring under a CAP (Corrective Action Plan) due to my pacing and higher order questioning weaknesses. Is there any research basis for these frameworks utilized to permanently derail my caeer? I am reading Teach Like a Champion in place of Scripture. My esteemed State District Superintendent has been placed under a temporary restraining order by a Superior Court judge for attempting to unilaterally switch the prescription benefit provider to a company connected somehow to a South Jersey Democratic boss. I am three quarters of the way down the road to being brought before an arbitrator on tenure charges. It is traditional on Yom Kippur for Jews to ask God's forgiveness for sins committed knowingly and unknowingly. I have a fair shot at Divine forgiveness, but those who are to determine my fate may be less charitable. I got an unsolicited love note from one of my kids this week that almost makes all the political jive worthwhile.

    Abigail Shure

  2. Whoever wrote this post today hit a home run. NYSUT's brilliant idea to keep as many members as possible is to have Labor Relations Specialists ( who are rightly terrified that they will be out on the streets unemployed soon) get local presidents to rate those members most likely to bail after Fredricks and have one-on-one "discussions" with them to find out how they feel about their union and what needs to happen to get them more engaged. It is a sad state of affairs that it took Freidricks to get these "leaders" to finally do something that might actually appear as member mobilization. This sudden desperate way too late action just exposes what many of us have known for years (something that was exacerbated once these crazy duplicitous REVIVE people grabbed power) ....and that is that a large majority of NYSUT members (UFT AND UUP too) have been disengaged and disenchanted for years and the leadership has been perfectly happy ignoring that reality. In fact, one gets the feeling that these short sighted leaders wish those who challenge their leadership would become less engaged themselves. And as a few brilliant folks have posted recently, once it gets out (as it will) that millions of dollars of VOTE/COPE money is being spent without any oversight completely controlled by Mulgrew via Palotta, this will be further cause for folks to not only vow to never give a dime again but to make up for all the stolen VOTE/COPE contributions so far by not paying dues anymore either. Come on. Those useless and pro-Cuomo television ads that cost over 2 million dollarsn are an absolute insult to every dues paying member of NYSUT. The days of insult are over .... now those insulted may have recourse. History may show that folks like Mulgrew, Weingarten, Pallotta, Magee, Messner, Fortino, and Pecarole were personally responsible for the downfall of what once was a great teachers union. How sad.

  3. To paraphrase Orwell, writing exorcises demons, and there are many demons swirling around public education today. RBE will be back.

  4. My problem to borrow a term from John Milton is in trying to sort out the pandemonium we've been overrun with in the past few months. It's been such a torrent of disgusting developments I struggle trying to pick a single one I can comment on.