Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mayor Bloomberg Lays Out Plan to Eliminate Sex Creeps

Mike Bloomberg here. I just want to say how pleased I am that the Supreme Court has finally repealed the Defense of Marriage Act. Our LGBT brothers and sisters should certainly be able to marry and live as they wish. Except for teachers.

UFT teachers, as you know if you've been reading the Daily News, tend to be pervs and sickos and sex creeps. After careful consideration, Chancellor Walcott and I have decided that we don't want sex creeps doing anything unconventional, and we've determined we need the right to fire any teachers doing anything we decide to be out of the norm.

This is because our students simply cannot handle role models that vary from those in 1950s TV shows. Clearly in those times, there were no LGBT models on TV, and everyone was white. We think white people have had it all too tough recently, and as you know they are randomly stopped and frisked more far too often.

That's why, for teachers only, we're going to demand they be straight and white, or at least convincingly pretend to be straight and white. If they can't manage this little request, it's going to be necessary for Chancellor Walcott to be able to fire them. As Ruben Diaz and legal expert Campbell Brown have pointed out, we need the right to fire sicko sex creeps whether or not they've been found guilty. Since we assume all teachers to be sicko sex creeps, we won't be firing them for being LGBT or non-white, but for being sex creeps.

And sure, a lot of you will be saying, "Mike, you're discriminating here." I understand that, and that's why we will make sure to also fire white straight teachers too. Since all teachers are sex creeps because we say so, this will make teachers think twice before they criticize the way we place Children First, Always.

The best way to put Children First, Always is by closing their neighborhood schools, turning them over to Eva Moskowitz, firing unionized teachers based on junk science, and replacing them with at-will employees in charter schools who will never, ever earn a pension. This way, teachers of the Children we place First, Always won't have time to develop into the sex creeps all current teachers are.

So basically, we need the right to immediately fire sex creep teachers who are not straight and white. We also need the right to immediately fire sex creep teachers who are straight and white. Anyone not fitting into those categories will not be affected by this bold but necessary new policy.

However, since all teachers in these categories have been demonstrated by the crack reporters at the Daily News to be sex creeps, we desperately need the right to fire them right away without all that contractual red tape. We can't go through all the rigamarole of negotiating new contracts, because that will cost money we don't have. Once we fire all the sex creeps, the costs of negotiating new contracts will decrease dramatically.

So please, New York, remember that mayoral control means I do what I want, when I want, and how I want. Support me, Senator Diaz, and legal expert Campbell Brown in our efforts to fire sex creep teachers immediately. It's the only way we can protect our children from these dangerous predators.

We are also very disappointed that no other publications have been running the story about sex creep teachers. In our next step to place Children First, Always, we will look into whether or not it's in the interests of these children to allow these publications to continue doing business in my city.

Friday, June 28, 2013

State Senator Ruben Diaz Makes His Ignorance and Bigotry a Priority for All

State Senator Ruben Diaz believes you should be very careful before assigning guilt when he's involved. Yet it's different for teachers, who are all guilty no matter what.

In fact, because he reads all the crap in the Daily News and believes it, or at least thinks impressionable voters do, he's introducing legislature to "ban sex creeps from school property--not just the classroom." Those are the thoughtful words of some ace reporter from the Daily News who clearly does not wish to prejudice readers in any way.

One wonders what line a reporter has to cross to be guilty of libel, and which junior high school student they've enlisted to aid in the composition of their always-evolving epithets. However, I suppose names like "pervy," "sicko," and "sex creep" do not cross that line. The News gives itself credit for this genius Senator's move, saying it came in the wake of their series of stories, which are indeed a repeat of a series it ran last year or so.

A quote from the Senator, who does not appear to be much of a critical reader:

“I remain disgusted by the Daily News report that cited how city education officials tried to fire 128 school employees since 2007 for sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships with students — but only 33 were actually axed.”

I suppose the Senator is also disgusted when people are arrested but not convicted and thinks that anyone who the police bring in ought to be convicted without a trial. Because that's what he's saying about teachers, and that's a direct result of the joint efforts of the Daily News and legal expert Campbell Brown.

But that's not all the Daily News has for us today. Did you know that, since being charged is now the same thing as being guilty, that  we are now not only "sex creeps" but also "rapists?"

Brian Kearins, a music teacher at Herbert H. Lehman High School in the Bronx, was busted Wednesday on charges including rape, a criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child.

The 33-year-old married father of two, including a newborn, had sex with a 15-year-old student from this past October to April, according to the criminal complaint filed in Bronx Criminal Court.

I have to wonder whether or not such charges place people in jail in the Bronx. Apparently, they don't, thus the need for the law. The UFT had a pretty good answer for the fanatical anti-teacher crowd, though it's clearly escaped the attention of not only the Senator, the Daily News, but also legal expert Campbell Brown:

A spokesman for United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the Education Department already has the power to reassign employees accused of misconduct.

“If Sen. Diaz feels that the Department of Education has failed to enforce this provision, he should take the matter up with the department or Mayor Bloomberg,” the spokesman said.

In any case, since they found one teacher accused of statutory rape, not only is he guilty without a trial, but we all are.  This is emphasized by the Senator, and the intrepid reporter saw fit to share his words with us:

“The teachers union should be supporting this bill, because pedophiles give a bad name to good teachers,” he said.

How many garden variety racists say things like, "The bad ones spoil it for the good ones." I heard my friend's father, in retrospect a pretty narrow-minded bigot, say such things quite frequently.

I fail to see the difference between that bigot and Diaz, simply because Diaz focuses his ignorance against teachers. What if we were to say all white, black, green people should be convicted without a trial, because the bad ones gave the good ones a bad name? Would we be bigots? Would we be discriminating against a group?

You bet we would. You bet Ruben Diaz is too. And you bet the Daily News is enabling him and others, stirring up the ashes of hatred against us for the apparently unforgivable offense of educating children.

I certainly hope they are proud of themselves for this campaign.

Related: Perdido Street School on Ruben Diaz

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why the War on Teachers This Week?

Aside from my typical disgust when we are targeted for the egregious offense of dedicating our lives to guiding children, I know there must be a particular reason the Daily News and legal expert Campbell Brown targeted us this week.

There are big issues with this story. The primary issue is the teachers they discuss have not been found guilty of anything. The person who determines guilt, or lack thereof, is the arbitrator. So the Daily News, abetted by legal expert Campbell Brown, cries, "WHY WEREN'T THEY FIRED?" or some such inflammatory nonsense. However, they fail to provide the answer, which is quite simple. "BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T GUILTY!"

That gets left out of the mix, of course, because it tends to detract from the story. "TEACHERS NOT GUILTY DON'T GET FIRED!" won't get you as many readers.

What is it that they want? Ostensibly, what they want is for Chancellor Dennis Walcott to determine ultimate guilt or innocence. That is, instead of the independent arbitrators selected jointly by UFT and DOE mandated by the Contract, Walcott's agency would investigate, and Walcott would decide whether or not his agency did a good job. The fact that Walcott rejects 100% of U-rating appeals has not made it into any of the articles. One could say that is because legal expert Campbell Brown, who just happens to be married to some Students First person (Michelle Rhee's group) does not know about this. Or maybe she chooses not to know about it.

It's tough to say. But last year they made a big deal of it, and they appear to wish to do the same this year. And the message the public gets is that teachers are a bunch of perverts, sickos, weirdos, or whatever invective they've selected this week.

Make no mistake--the message is total nonsense.

But Students First people, like the one legal expert Campbell Brown is married to, tend not to like unions. And the charter movement is very much about avoiding unions. I meet a lot of student teachers, and not one I've met wanted to work for a charter. But in a tough market, a job's a job.  So let me assure real parents out there that public schools get first pick of available teachers, and Eva Moskowitz, despite her glitzy ads, gets whoever is left. That's just one reason I send my kid to a public school.

The bottom line is the people the DN and legal expert Campbell Brown are raving about are not threats to children, as far as I know. For one thing, if they were, and Walcott couldn't make a case against them, that speaks more to his ineptitude than anything else. For another, if they were actually criminals, like my daughter's former principal appears to be, there would be real stories enumerating real charges, rather than nebulous crap about only being able to fire 30 of 100, or whatever it is.

So let's be clear--this ridiculous vague attack against a large group is NOT about keeping our children safe. It's about attacking the working conditions of unionized teachers. It's about depriving us of voice.

Because there's one thing I know as sure as I live and breathe--there are people who love kids, who support them, who want them to be happy and successful. The Daily News and legal expert Campbell Brown, and the Students First demagogues are not those people.

We are those people. We stand up for what's right for kids. And we will continue to do so no matter how many times they slime us, no matter how many nonsensical stories they put forth, no matter how much filthy corporate cash they toss around, and no matter how many tinhorn politicians, at any level, they buy.

We love the kids. And we will expose those who attack us for what they are.

Day by day.

Lie by lie.

We tell the truth. We show kids how to find the truth.

Because that's what we do. That's why we're here. And it's also most certainly why we're under attack.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Day, Another Trashing of Teachers

The Daily News, no longer content to have its editorial section lecture us on the perfidy of teachers, has now taken to the pages of its "reporting" to do so. In fact, to save time, they appear to be simply writing the same story every day. Teachers are a bunch of perverts, legal expert Campbell Brown says they are right, and that's pretty much it.

And, of course, paragon of fairness Dennis Walcott says anyone charged with sexual misconduct ought to be terminated. If the puppet of the city's richest man says you're guilty, that ought to be good enough for anyone. Right, Daily News?

To bolster their case, they gave one example of a teacher they say attended some NAMBLA meetings. Momentarily disregarding whether that's any truer than the rest of the unsubstantiated nonsense they offer, did this guy actually do anything? There are laws about having sex with children, and it's my belief that people found guilty of such things go to prison. In fact, it's my belief they belong there. Of course, I'm not a legal expert like Campbell Brown, so it's hard to say.

And I'm sorry, but there is still a presumption of innocence in this country, and it still applies to all Americans, even school teachers.

It's reprehensible that the Daily News is so appallingly ignorant of our legal system that it would vilify people for asking their guilt be proven before they face conviction and termination.

Probably the Daily News is also unaware that Chancellor Walcott, whose judgment they dare not question, upholds almost 100% of U-ratings for teachers, whether justified or not. Is it because they didn't do their homework? Or is it because, in their zeal to stereotype working teachers with unsubstantiated nonsense, they just don't give a damn?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

City Teachers--Guilty Until Proven Innocent

That's what legal expert Campbell Brown says about city teachers. She's still running around spouting preposterous stereotypical nonsense, with the absolute cooperation of the NY Daily News. Witness this chilling statistic:

Data obtained by Brown and the Daily News show that officials tried to fire 128 school staffers for sexual misconduct or inappropriate relationships with students since 2007 — but only 33 educators were actually fired.

What's missing here? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say evidence. I'm not a legal expert like Campbell Brown, of course.  But while I don't like to brag, I am a high school graduate, and I learned in civics class that here in the United States, we presume people innocent until proven guilty. The DN doesn't do that for teachers, though, as in the very next paragraph they happily characterize the accused:

Many of the school workers busted for creepy classroom behavior have been able to hang onto their jobs for years because of a cumbersome disciplinary process, charges Brown’s statewide group, the Parents Transparency Project.

That's certainly one conclusion. Another would be there was, in fact, an inadequate case against these teachers. Brown is still tossing around the stories of 16 teachers who were not convicted. I know one of these teachers personally and happen to know this teacher did nothing to warrant disciplinary action besides a warning, and that this teacher in no way did anything sexual or creepy.

But let's really look at what they want---last I heard it was to fire people without due process. This has little or nothing to do with predatory teachers.

In fact, the notion of firing predatory teachers is secondary. If teachers engage in sexual or predatory behavior toward children, they belong in prison, period. There is no excuse. For legal expert Brown to attack the tenure system about this is ridiculous. Unless, of course, her agenda is to weaken due process, like Gates, Broad and the Walmarts.

And frankly, Walmart jobs, the wet dream of the reformy, are not remotely in the best interests of our children.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wolfson's Miraculous Feat

It's kind of hard to believe the level of nonsense that passes as information these days. Despite Mike Bloomberg's education programs having improved, conservatively, nothing, his paid propagandist Howard Wolfson has a piece in the Daily News insisting that Thompson can't be mayor, as he'd be a tool of the union. That's even more absurd than the union endorsement of Thompson.

For one thing, Thompson supports Mayor Bloomberg's unilateral decision to give virtually all city employees but teachers a raise. That alone gives me pause. You'd think that a Bloomberg employee would give the guy a little credit for trying to screw teachers, one of Mayor Mike's key priorities this endless decade. But no.

Now it's certainly noteworthy, as Wolfson points out, that more kids graduate nowadays. After all, when you close schools that don't post high graduation rates, you tend to motivate principals to post them by any means necessary. You can pressure teachers to pass kids who don't merit it, or even promote ridiculous credit recovery schemes. Of course, when college readiness rates linger around 25%, you have to wonder precisely how effective Mayor Bloomberg's magic has been. He did, of course, amazingly raise the city test scores, before we found out that the tests had actually been dumbed-down. Wolfson surely must have forgotten how much loyalty Bloomberg money had mustered, or how New Yorkers felt about that third term he bought.

I love that Wolfson brings up his mom, working somewhere in the South Bronx, then pushes charters. One wonders whether his mom would've managed a career in a charter. Teacher turnover tends to be pretty high, even higher than that of public schools. I suppose it's fine to subject kids to underqualified teachers who are just passing through. But that kind of negates the story about his hard-working mom. Would Wolfson want his mom to work with no job protection, to be subject to arbitrary and capricious dismissal, and to go five years without a raise? It would seem so.

Of course Wolfson mentions the raise in salaries, conveniently omitting the compromises and givebacks that entailed, and the fact that virtually all other city employees got an 8% bump between 2008-2010. He probably also forgot that no city employee is working under a current contract. I guess the notion of leaving things better for those who follow you is not important enough for Mayor Mike to worry about. 

Another great point he brings up is that of mayoral control. Wolfson loves the fact that the mayor has 8 of 13 votes in our fake school board, the PEP, and can fire whomever he wishes, whenever he likes, for any or no reason. After all, democracy is a messy thing, and giving a billionaire unlimited power to do whatever the hell he feels like to public schoolchildren certainly simplifies things.  And it's certainly indisputable that no one ever ran the Regents exams quite like Mike Bloomberg.

I suppose if you get paid to write propaganda, you can really only give one side, no matter how far you must stretch to do it. But why is Wolfson trashing Thompson, Meryl Tisch's BFF, simply because the UFT endorses him? After all, the UFT also endorsed mayoral control, twice, and the King Reformy John's junk science evaluation system, the Emperor's pride and joy?

Reality-based educator has an interesting theory, right here. Could he be tearing down Thompson so as to make it appear he isn't just another Bloomberg-endorsed hack? It makes as much sense as anything else I've heard.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ms. Tisch and the Brilliant Innovation

Thank goodness we have Meryl Tisch making policy for us. In the old days, we would have students taking Regents exams, and kids would give the exams to their teachers. Then, the teachers would grade them. This was a terrible system. First of all, no technology was involved. Secondly, no corporations made money from this. And worst of all, every single teacher in the world is a lying, worthless, conniving. self-serving fraud who cares about nothing but appearance.

Because of this, we now have a far better system. First of all, we've paid McGraw-Hill 9.6 million bucks to scan all the tests. That's a huge improvement. Not only have we given a corporation millions of dollars, but we've also managed to add the element of scanning thousands and thousands of papers. This, clearly, is highly effective, and that's what matters in King Reformy John's feifdom.

Unfortunately, the parents, students and teachers are failing to get on board with this, simply because it's taking an inordinate amount of time for them to get their grades. When are they gonna sit down and figure this isn't about their selfish needs, but about business? We're finally able to take the money we used to fritter away on teacher salaries and classroom supplies and invest it in America's lifeblood--corporations.

The only real drawbacks are that the scanning is taking a long, long time, that teachers are sitting in front of blank computer screens for hours on end, and that the actual grading is simply not getting done. But again, McGraw-Hill has almost ten million bucks, and that's a win for Mayor Bloomberg. Sure it would have been better to give all the cash to Eva Moskowitz, but that may not have looked right.

So now hundreds of teachers will be earning 42 bucks an hour this weekend to stare at computer screens, and possibly grade exams. You never know whether or not there actually will be exams, as boxes of them seem to have gone missing, but everyone knows it's the thought that counts.

Thank goodness Meryl Tisch brought us this great innovation, and thank goodness Mayor Bloomberg took it to new heights. After all, his financial genius was precisely why we needed to scrap a law twice affirmed by voters so he could but that third term. And I don't see anything inappropriate about her being involved in Bill Thompson's mayoral campaign. After all, with Thompson standing firm for no raises for teachers, there will be plenty more cash to pay the likes of McGraw-Hill.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thompson Says No Raises for Teachers, to Near-Universal Acclaim of UFT Delegate Assembly

What happens when you publicly announce teachers don't deserve the raise all other city employees got between 2008-2010? Well, you get the UFT endorsement, of course. Now it's a little more complicated than that, of course. During the last mayoral run, it appeared that Thompson and the UFT were BFFs. In fact, sometimes I heard Thompson say things that could just as well have come out of the mouth of any UFT official.

But then, of course, came the moment the UFT declined to endorse him. This upset me, and I remember telling a UFT rep about it at my first chapter leader training. The rep confided to me that this was a practical decision, and that the UFT could only sway the public by 5%. All the polls said Thompson was way behind, so that did make some degree of sense.

At a later CL training, after Thompson had lost by precisely 5%, a more senior UFT official announced that we could only move the election by 3%, and that had Hitler been running we may have taken a principled stand. I was kind of surprised we would need Hitler before we asserted principle, but I'm just a lowly teacher, so what the hell do I know?

In between these trainings, Thompson, having been more or less stabbed in the back by UFT, said we couldn't afford to give teachers the raises everyone else had merited. This suggested to me a lack of conviction and character. When we like you, you love us. When circumstances change, you tell us to go screw ourselves. This is not precisely the sort of friend I want to have. While I disagree with my friends, we work things out and move ahead.

I've enthusiastically helped UFT when they supported straightforward pro-teacher candidates like Tony Avella and Grace Meng, and I'll continue to do so. But I question any candidate who thinks we don't need to make a living, and I also question any candidates who's BFFs with reformy Meryl Tisch.

UFT made a big show of releasing photos of discarded signs naming other candidates. But it's fairly obvious that when UFT leadership gets up and says we endorse candidate A, every Unity chapter leader who wants that free trip to genuflect to Bill Gates is going to vote for whomever. Perhaps we are to think it a coincidence that Thompson just happened to be in the building at that moment, or we're supposed to believe that all the other candidates were waiting there too.

Perhaps we're even supposed to believe there was substantive debate at the DA last night. But there was not. I don't know whether John Liu could win the nomination, but I know he's our friend, and I expect he'll remain our friend even after this decision. I'd be proud to devote my time toward helping him. Bill Thompson, not so much.

But who asked me? And who asked you? And who genuinely surveyed the vast majority of members, those who had not signed a loyalty oath compelling them to do whatever the hell UFT leadership saw fit?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

King Reformy John Makes Yet Another Brilliant Discovery

I've got a little better handle on why King Reformy John decreed that city teachers need to hit 15 of 20 to be effective, while the state says it's only 9. A more informed UFT source tells me it has to do with conversion charts. While this sounds kind of nuts, it has to do with hitting a target. For example, if you hit your target, 60%, in King's Park or Gainesville NY, you get 3 points.

However, if you hit your target, again 60%, in NYC,  you get 13 points. Hitting these targets gets you out of ineffective and up to developing. As for what you have to get 60% of, I have no idea. As for how you get that 60%, I also have no idea.

King John, being the brilliant thinker he is, has determined there's no need to test the system that doesn't exist and which absolutely no one understands. So we, the teachers of New York City, are taking a long walk into a blind turn, with no idea where it leads.

I've heard teachers criticized for not having an aim on the board. I've heard teachers criticized for meandering and not staying on topic. And of course, I've heard teachers criticized for having no apparent lesson plan. It appears to me that King Reformy John, despite his impressive one year of public school teaching experience, has failed to plan. Now I suppose I might wander out on some December morn in a bathing suit and hope for warm weather, but that would likely be detrimental to my health.

But King John is utterly unconcerned. After all, it isn't him traipsing out half-naked into a blizzard. It's tens of thousands of working unionized teachers, and honestly, who cares about them? The more of them freeze to death, the fewer pensions the public will have to pay. Thus, there will be more money so that Andy Cuomo can give principled tax breaks to billionaires.

And despite all this great news, I still fail to see how King John's decree does not violate state statute.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

UFT on Evaluation System

On Sunday I posted about the new evaluation system, and about how effective ratings started at 9 according to NYS statute, but started at 15 in Reformy John's decree.

Today I spoke to a UFT source, who told be this was not accurate, because we start with 13. When I asked what that meant, he said if we reached the target, which was 60%, we would get the 13 points. My source was not able to answer my question---60% of what? My source was also unaware whether this 13-point head start applied to state, local or both junk science measures.

However, my source stated that Syracuse only received 3% to start on whatever it was they did there. 

My source promised to have a better-informed source get back to me. I will share whatever I hear with you, faithful readers.

If you aren't busy tonight, come see me, Diane Ravitch, Leonie Haimson, Carol Burris, Patrick Sullivan, and a whole bunch of cool people you really ought to meet at the 5th annual Skinny Awards. Proceeds go to Class Size Matters, which has been scientifically established as The Best Cause There Is. 

No Excuses

Naturally, I was shocked and stunned to discover the high school graduation rate had fallen under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. After all, we are the reformiest place on earth, and UFT teachers now have a new evaluation system despite not having had a raise in almost five years or a contract in almost four. Mayor Bloomberg boasted about having the toughest evaluation system, bar none, and not having had to give a goshdarn penny to acquire it.

It's a given that anyone would admire a man that reformy. And yet, the reformier things get, the better they are. Why, then, would the grad rates go down? Well of course we can blame the individual teachers, and we can certainly expect them to whine about learning disabilities, poverty, kids not knowing English, and other such trivial nonsense.

But Michael Bloomberg is Perfect In Every Way. In fact, we had to change a law twice affirmed by voters to make sure he could but that indispensable third term. Therefore I do not expect this from him. Certainly he is not adding value here, and thus, I'd have to rate him ineffective. Now I'm not some wacky extremist, so I'm not waving my arms and screaming he ought to commit ritual suicide with a Samurai sword. Yet still, you'd think a man who raves about putting people's feet to the fire would, at the very least, hold himself up to his own standards.

I'm a reasonable guy. All I ask is that Mayor Bloomberg submit his resignation. I'd like it in the cardboard box in my trailer by 9 AM Monday morning, June 24th. I have great confidence that anyone who believes in value-added will hold himself to the standard he holds for everyone else. This is particularly true since he has all that money and therefore is demanding.

When Mike Bloomberg resigns, I certainly hope he'll recommend someone who can do a better job than he did. Of course, if that person wishes to consider things like poverty and learning disabilities, I can live with that. I'm the sort of person who can accept standards for education even if they are not insane.

So, for Mayor of New York, I nominate Manhattan PEP rep. Patrick Sullivan, who has repeatedly demonstrated his lack of insanity by voting against Mayor Bloomberg's rubber stamp panel. I'm certain the Mayor will appreciate my input as I have so generously not required ritual suicide for this hideous public shaming.  I certainly hope Mayor Bloomberg will redeem himself by campaigning for Patrick.

And frankly, I believe 1.1 million public schoolchildren will benefit substantially from policies that are not insane.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reformy John Doesn't Need Any Stinking Laws--NYC Teacher Ratings Violate Statute

One of the great selling points of the education law that mandated junk science, for the UFT, was that we would get to negotiate precisely how the junk science would be used to fire us. So they wouldn't just be firing us, we'd be firing ourselves. This is what comes of having that much-coveted "seat at the table."

Unfortunately, Mayor Mike was not happy with what his Tweedies negotiated, and therefore it was left to Reformy John King to decree what city teachers would have to do in order to be fired. Unfortunately, Reformy John is not remotely objective, despite his much-ballyhooed single year of teaching public school.

That's why, if you look at page 77 of Reformy John's Manifesto, you will note that a city teacher needs 15 of 20 to be regarded as "effective" in both local and state junk science measures. In fact, you need 13 of 20 to be regarded as even "developing." 12 and under is "ineffective," and kindly go screw yourself, thank you very much. This suggests many questions.

For example, is it true, as Gary Rubinstein suggests, that you must score only 2 out of each 20 to be rated "ineffective" overall? Well, if you did score that low, you would be certainly without recourse. But if, as the law says, scoring ineffective in the "objective' section, which they generously label the junk science part, you could score 12 on each part and still face Reformy John's wrath. It's a question of interpretation.

And yet, if you actually look at the statute, on page 47 it states 9-17 is effective. In fact, Reformy John's Manifesto is in direct violation of NY State Statute.

So, here is my question. Where oh where is the UFT leadership on this? Are we going to allow working teachers to be rated "ineffective," and face dismissal charges, likely as not with the burden of proof on the teacher, in abject violation of New York State Law? I keep reading about how fair this plan is, and while I've never found it remotely so, it's time for our leadership to stand up and say the law applies to all of us.

Even the lofty Reformy John King, who wisely sends his kids to a Montessori School where none of this nonsense applies.

Thanks to Carol Burris. Read her right here.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Financial Genius Mike Bloomberg Grades the English Regents Exam

In the old days, English and ESL teachers used to grade the English Regents exam. There would be days set aside for grading, and the teachers would sit and grade. This, however, was a terrible system, because all teachers are assumed to be dishonest, and are also assumed to pass all their own students for no reason whatsoever.

In January, a new system was begun. English teachers traveled to grading centers throughout the city, and graded tests of kids that didn't go to their schools. This was an improvement, because it was terrible that teachers who'd spent the entire year with kids, who knew the kids, who read their writing each and every day, were set to evaluate their writing. Better they be assessed by total strangers, decreed Reformy John King, and so it was. Unless, of course, the kids went to Montessori schools, like Reformy John's kids.

This month, a new and improved system was rolled out. Rather than have English teachers grade tests during school time, Mayor Bloomberg's brilliant DOE determined it would be better to pay them to do it after school. After all, Mayor Mike had saved billions by denying teachers the raise all other city employees got between 2008-2010, so why not spread a little of it around? And why not pay someone to scan every single exam so they could be viewed on computer screens?

But that wasn't the only innovation Mayor Mike decided upon. Clearly, some teachers would opt not to do extra work, even for money, as they had families, other jobs, other obligations, or whatever. For example, in my department, I sat with six other teachers, and only one of us had taken the job of marking the Regents exam evenings (and it wasn't me). How, then, would Mayor Mike get enough teachers to do this?

The answer, of course, was simple. When you lower your standards, you can always find enough people. Mayor Mike decided that the tests didn't have to be graded by high school English teachers. In fact, they didn't have to be graded by high school teachers, or English teachers. That increased the pool of available candidates.

Thus, my colleague was surprised when, on two occasions, the trainer asked "Who has never graded the English Regents exam?" and half of the people in the room raised their hands. In fact, the trainer was not a high school English person either, and stated, "We can all agree the theme of this piece is aging." In fact, a subject alone is not acceptable as a theme for the English Regents. A theme must actually state something about the subject, i.e., "Aging is difficult," or "Aging is better than the alternative." I haven't read the test, so I have no idea what the theme is. But the facilitator did not understand the task, and that's outrageous.

This is a typical reformy "improvement." It doesn't make anything better, it has no validity whatsoever, but we must do it, and we must do it now, because our children's future is at stake. That's why we need to have a junior high school math teacher grade the English Regents exam.

If the grades are too high, or too low, or utterly inaccurate in whatever way, it's an improvement, because it's more reformy than it used to be. That's the only thing that matters.

Keep it going, New York!

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Secret Identity

A lot of people ask me, "Hey, NYC Educator, who the hell do you think you are?" That's an interesting question. But it doesn't matter a whole lot who the hell I think I am. It matters more who the hell I am, I suppose. Whether or not I think I am that person is one of those things I'm too tired to contemplate right now.

So here's the thing. If you actually want to know who the hell I am, or you'd like to meet me, or Patrick Sullivan, or Leonie Haimson, or Diane Ravitch, you can come to the Skinny Awards next Tuesday night, have a great meal, and support the best cause there is. Actually, I'd also like to meet Patrick Sullivan, Leonie Haimson, and Diane Ravitch. That's why I've specifically canceled my rumba lesson in order to make it.

Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying, "But NYC Educator, Tuesday night is when the "Wheatgrass Roots" episode of Chopped is on the Food Channel. I can't miss that. How will I find out what you can cook with rutabaga, Froot Loops, stuffed green olives, and Chef Boy-Ar-Dee's Meat sauce?" Now that's a great question. I'm gonna suggest if you actually go to a real restaurant and eat real food, you may no longer have the compulsion to watch hapless chefs cook things you wouldn't eat on a bet.

In any case, this is where it's all happening. It's now, it's wow, and there you have it. I'll see you there! Bring your friends, your family, your neighbors, and meet a whole lot of people who aren't insane, all in one room.

What more could you ask?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Incredible Disappearing UFT Rep

In a pivotal career move, a UFT Rep reread Catch 22, and decided his favorite character was Major Major. He immediately determined to emulate him in every way possible. From that moment, the only time he saw members in his office was when he wasn't there. It was much more efficient and convenient. When he was there, and people came, they had all sorts of complaints. Principals were crazy, working conditions were awful, they hadn't had a raise in five years, blah, blah, blah.

On they would go, and they invariably reached a crescendo with, "What the hell is the union going to do to help me?" And no matter what he told them or who he promised to call, they weren't satisfied. The ungrateful bastards.

But ever since he started seeing people only when he wasn't there, things had improved. The office staff was always pleasant. Everyone said hi, how are you, good morning, nice to see you, and no one pressured him to do anything whatsoever. There was coffee, a water cooler, and happy people everywhere. But still, even though he'd stopped seeing people when he was there, that damn phone kept ringing.

Lately he'd made another discovery that further improved his lifestyle. You could place people on hold, and if you did it long enough, they'd hang up. And if they didn't, you could hang up yourself. One teacher learned this harsh lesson when she happened to call when he was there. She heard his voice in the background barking "Who is it?" She was placed on hold, listened to some radio music, and he picked up the phone, breathed, and hung up. She had broken the new rule of only calling when he wasn't there. Damn teachers. Can't they learn the rules? He hustled out of the office before she could call back.

But there were other issues, and nag, nag, nag, everyone wanted to ask him about them. In fact, they wanted him to travel to their schools and explain stuff. This was highly inconvenient. Why couldn't they pick up a newspaper or something? Didn't the union send them one for free? In any case, if he wasn't seeing people in his office except when he wasn't there, why would he travel to other places to see the same people he wanted to avoid? There would have to be another new rule.

On the other hand, this new grading thing was a golden opportunity. Teachers were going to other buildings and wouldn't be able to talk to him. If he planned strategically, he could visit schools on days when there were few, or hopefully no teachers at all. Fewer teachers meant fewer questions. If he could arrange these meetings as late as possible, there would be little or no notice of his arrival. Optimally, no teachers at all would be there. Few people knew as well as he what an incredible pain in the neck teachers could be.

In fact, if the teachers who were not in attendance had questions for him, they could call him in the office. He'd be happy to meet or speak with them just as soon as he wasn't there.

Life was potentially good, mostly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bill Gates Colonel Sanders Makes Nice to Teachers Chickens

Colonel Harlan Sanders came back from the dead this morning to announce a major change in policy. Apparently, for some time, his chickens had been unhappy about their living conditions, and he felt that this was having a negative effect on the quality of the image of his brand.

"When you buy Kentucky Fried Chicken, you need to know it's a quality product," said the Colonel, after having inspected one of his packing facilities. "It's important we reach out to everyone  and get their view."

We attempted to get the viewpoint of said chickens. A spokesperson for the American Federation of Chickens stated, "It's always important to have a seat at the table, particularly when it's you who's going to end up on the table. We will negotiate for a solutions-based agreement with the Colonel, who will be keynote at our AFC convention. As stakeholders, we are always open to reasonable negotiations that benefit our members."

The Colonel was delighted to speak at the convention. "As everyone knows, this is a partnership. I'm a little confused by the AFC's remark about steak-holders, though. As everyone knows, we don't even sell steak at Kentucky Fried chicken, and in any case, you don't need a holder. The very best way to eat our chicken is by hand. In fact, our freshly-pressure-cooked chicken legs are practically made to fit in your hands."

"The important thing here is that we have a good working relationship with our chickens. They are a very important component of our business, and we certainly couldn't do business at all without them. And honestly, what do we need to extend to make them happy? Frankly, it's chicken feed."

Colonel Sanders took a group of chicken leaders to a gala weekend at a Marriott Conference Center. After what appeared to be a series of tough negotiations, the Colonel faced the press, who asked for comments.

"They were simply delicious," admitted the Colonel. "Our entire staff was delighted with the results, and we plan to make these negotiations a regular part of our business model. "

HT-Test Troublemakers

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rhee: Unionized Teachers Cause Poverty

Michelle Rhee today explained why she and her reformy buds were so reluctant to address the poverty issue. "We really didn't want to say this, because we're very sensitive about hurting the feelings of teachers. We have deep respect for teachers, which is why we want to fire so many of them and make the rest work in non-union charters, where they can either grow quickly or lose their jobs."

"Anyway, like everyone, we've been troubled by the fact that all the failing schools contained high percentages of students in poverty. This correlation has been used by our enemies, like Diane Ravitch, to conclude that poverty causes poor test scores. Bill Gates has repeatedly stated that he can't cure poverty, and everyone knows that anything Bill Gates cannot do simply cannot be done. After all, he has all that money, and he knows absolutely all there is to know about mosquitoes and toilets."

"In any case, despite his reluctance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has done a new study, and this study has found a 100% correlation with high-poverty schools and the presence of unionized teachers. Sadly, there is no other conclusion but that unionized teachers cause poverty. That's why Students First is now beginning a campaign to remove unionized teachers from our schools, and thus cure poverty.

"It's become crystal-clear that only hedge-fund magnates, rich folks like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walmart family care about poor children. In fact, the Walmart family consistently offers them opportunities to make over ten bucks an hour when they get out of schools. Education advocates like Newt Gingrich are trying to tear down barriers that keep them from earning money before they're 16. After all, couldn't we save precious tax dollars if we had our children cleaning floors and removing asbestos, rather than paying expensive unionized custodians?"

"We're making great progress. Michigan, traditionally a bastion for unions, is now a right-to-work state. And in New York, Reformy John King has finally given us the opportunity to fire most of those poverty-causing NYC teachers. Once we get rid of them, we can devote our time to getting our students into 200-hour a week charter schools, where kids can learn valuable skills that will help them when they get 200-hour a week jobs in Taco Bell or Walmart.

"We did not really want to make this connection public, but now that we have, we're certain you'll be reading more about it on tabloid editorial pages. We certainly hope this provokes the necessary outrage it takes for America to trust the education of its children to demagogues like me, because I assure you, I place your children first. They will be the first to get jobs at Walmart, the first to collect food stamps, the first to get fired at will, and the first to work the longest hours ever for the shortest wage we can muster."

HT to Michael Fiorillo

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mayor Mike Says, "Children First, Always," Unless They Come From Queens

There's a federal program called Title 1 that's supposed to give support to kids who need it. Specifically, this is governed by how many kids in a given school are entitled to free lunch due to family income. I don't recall exactly how much it is, but last time I looked it was around 20K for a family of four.

But reformy Mike Bloomberg doesn't need no stinking rules, so he changes 'em. After all, if he didn't know everything about everything, why would he have all that money? So a few years back, Mayor Mike decreed that every school in the city needed to prove it had 60% of students eligible for free lunch in order to qualify for Title 1 funds. That's a big deal because another way Mayor Mike put Children First, Always is by relentlessly slashing their budgets.

However, in Staten Island, only 40% of students need to be eligible for a school to receive funds. Why? Who knows? Could it be because the PEP rep from Staten Island is the only one who tends to vote with Bloomberg's 8 rubber stamps when school-closing season comes around? Has the mayor got a girlfriend on the other side of the Verazzano who cares about public school kids? Who knows why Staten Island kids are needier than those in the rest of the city, and who dares question the mysterious and omniscient Bloomberg?

My Queens school qualified for Title 1 this year. While I won't celebrate that so many of our kids qualify for free lunch, I think it's great they will get extra help and tutoring. I think they should get more than that, but something, in my opinion, is better than nothing. But an administrator told me that funds were significantly lower than the last time we qualified.

I did a Google search, and found this. According to this DOE document, per-student funds are distributed thusly:

Manhattan:    981.05
Bronx:           1231.20
Brooklyn       1135.52
Queens:          856.57
Staten Island: 907.76

The average, according to the great minds at Tweed, is $1,068.31

So here's the question--why on earth are kids in one zip code any needier or deserving than those in another? Why is a kid from the Bronx more important than a kid in my class? Is that blatant, outrageous, and random discrimination?

I'm amazed that Mayor Bloomberg gets away with such nonsense. I would love him to come to our school and explain to our students why they are less valuable than kids in other boroughs, and why Staten Island deserves a lower threshold than the other boroughs.

But I will sit while I wait for Mayor Bloomberg to address us. No one knows better than I that being reformy means never having to say you're sorry.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sawin' on the Strings

If this doesn't bring you a smile this Sunday, nothing will. Alison Krauss sings like an angel, and she's not half bad on that violin either.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Principal Sappenbottom Runs a PD Session

 by Curious Teacher

Today was the last professional development day of the year. The teachers were promised that from 8-8:30 "breakfast would be served." Some teachers were naive enough to think that this actually meant coffee, bagels, donuts, maybe some juice. It had been that way in most every other school. So teachers strolled into school today and found that to Principal Sappenbottom, "breakfast" meant  few boxes of bagels which were gone within 5 minutes. Forget the coffee, plates, napkins, or anything else that might be construed as coming along with "breakfast."

Usually in the June PD day the principal of the school has a morning meeting with the entire staff. Principal Sappenbottom is Not That Kind of Principal though! Instead all teachers were told to report to their departments for department meetings.

From 8-2:30 teachers sat in the same rooms with their Assistant Principals going over the two big buzzwords: Common Core Learning Standards and the New Evaluation System. The teachers got rather contentious about the New Evaluation System, except for one snot-nosed teacher who said, "I don't believe I'll be targeted by this evaluation system and everyone who is targeted probably deserves it anyway." This led to some more commotion, which the AP tried to squelch. If this were a classroom one could say the class was out of control, with teachers shouting at each other, shouting at the AP, the AP trying to explain everything using a powerpoint he admitted he just got from the DOE that very morning, and the "excessive use of electronic devices." Teachers were on their computers, on their phones, iPads, some were doodling or playing games, others were just texting. One was writing a poem. The AP gave a dirty look to the teachers on their phones but totally ignored the teachers who were having a shouting match in the corner of the room.

In the middle of all this we noticed Principal Sappenbottom was at the back of the classroom. "Just wanted to see how everyone was doing," she said blandly. No one bothered to ask Principal Sappenbottom about the New Evaluation System since everyone knows she is just Not That Kind of Principal who answers questions. But to be on the safe side Principal Sappenbottom slipped out after about five minutes. "I have to run!" she said before anyone could get started with her. I saw my AP visibly grimace.

At the end of the day teachers walked out and saw Principal Sappenbottom resting peacefully and chatting with her secretaries. She looked content. It was another day in which she did absolutely nothing.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

June 2015

After two years of John King's brilliant new evaluation plan, every single teacher in NY has been fired, except for E4E members, who have now all moved into administration. With hundreds of new administrators having been hired, it proved very easy to do the observations required under King's decree.

Mayor Christine Quinn commented, "This has been a tough transition. It's disappointing to discover that every single working teacher was ineffective, but it's important we put Students First, Always, and to that end, we are turning all the schools over to Eva Moskowitz, who has done a sterling job."

"Of course, students will have to audition to get into Moskowitz academies, and those with special needs, or those who don't speak English, will be joining all of our ex-teachers. We're so grateful that Walmart, after opening superstores in all five boroughs, will be inviting all the ex-teachers to be associates. Furthermore, they will accept those students who are not a good fit for the Moskowitz academies."

"Walmart will have the ex-teachers train the students to fold towels, assemble furniture, assign low-low prices, and will grant diplomas based on how well they feel students would fare as Walmart associates if they were hiring. The thought is that the very best students will stay to continue to train incoming students, and as incoming students progress, the older students and ex-teachers will be fired."

"Eventually, with this model, few or no people would actually be paid to work and profits could be maximized. This will make for a better Walmart, particularly since Moskowitz schools will be offering Walmart management courses in lieu of English and mathematics. After all, it was English and mathematics that caused our schools to fail in such large numbers, and we simply can't have that happening in Moskowitz academies."

"Now last year was tough, as half of working teachers did not come back in September, and given that all teachers were rated ineffective, we simply could not hire new ones. And thanks to Commissioner John King for resisting the teacher union's efforts to replace them. After all, if the system chose so poorly in the past, how could we trust it to do any better? And we were finally able to achieve Mayor Bloomberg's vision of 70 kids in a class. It's kind of sad we will have to fire all the teachers who helped us out last year, but we simply cannot subject our students to failed teachers."

"Finally, I have had the city council overturn the term limits law and cancel all upcoming elections. Now that we've finally reached Mayor Bloomberg's ultimate educational vision, there is really no need to teach anyone, and it's simply unacceptable to have an uneducated populous selecting a government. That is a very serious responsibility, and I will not toy with it."

"As for the press, please make like a tree and go screw yourselves." At this point Mayor Quinn made a rather disrespectful gesture and left the stage.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Dealing with King Reformy John's Folly

It's not the best year to be a chapter leader. Among your other responsibilities, you must now negotiate a way to conduct the 20% local junk science to supplement the 20% state junk science. You do get to do this with a joint committee of UFT and admin, but if your recommendation is not to the principal's taste, it gets taken out with the trash.

"Talent coaches" who know only what DOE tells them are making good money, money that could've gone to a raise for teachers, to come to schools and instruct administration on what they believe Reformy John's 241-page manifesto to mean.

One very interesting proposal from the DOE geniuses is that of rating lesson plans independently of lessons. So, for example, if you happen to give the most stunning lesson of the century, if your plan doesn't pass muster, you still suck. Or if you fall asleep as the army of observers take copious notes on the frequency of your snoring, you may get some points for the excellent structure inherent in your plan.

This is a violation of UFT contract, not that the geniuses at DOE can be bothered to read such things. It's enough work already to not read that thing Reformy John supposedly wrote, which he probably didn't, and just as likely hasn't even read. When you become King, you have people to do those things.

The lesson plan is under the purview of the individual teacher, as per contract. If you can give a great lesson with a plan written on a bubble gum wrapper, more power to you. Now I don't suppose a whole lot of people do that, but anyone who'd take exception to the person who did is an idiot. More importantly, they're in blatant violation of contract.

That's just one little wrinkle in this convoluted mess. You can be sure there will be more. If you have one, please leave it in the comments, which are now officially open.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Young Teacher and the Chapter Leader

by Curious Teacher

Young Teacher knocked on Chapter Leader's door. "Can I speak to you for a minute?"

"Sure," said Chapter Leader. She was a kindly looking old lady. "What's going on?"

Young Teacher explained her tale of woe. It was the old story: administration was harassing her when they had never bothered her before, she felt enormous pressure to resign, they didn't want to give her tenure, etc. Her AP had brought her up on charges of "professional misconduct" and was putting letters in her file every day when in her previous years she'd never even had a counseling memo. Tears ensued.

Chapter Leader assured Young Teacher she'd talk to administration.

A few weeks later Young Teacher returned. Things had gotten even worse. Young Teacher was being barraged with a paper trail of negativity. She had taken her case to the UFT's central offices and was fighting hard for her job.

"Could you do me a favor?" Young Teacher asked.

"Anything for you, baby doll," replied Chapter Leader.

"Could you speak to the principal and my AP and …"

At this the Chapter Leader started furiously shaking her head. "I can't do that," she said. "My job as chapter leader is to remain neutral. I can't make it seem like I have any power in this school."

Young Teacher was stunned by two things. One, that someone was calling her "baby doll." Two, the idea that a Chapter Leader had to remain "neutral." Wasn't the job of the Chapter Leader to represent the teachers?

Young Teacher asked around about Chapter Leader and her predilection towards neutrality. "Why did you tell Chapter Leader ANYTHING???" thundered one of her friends. "She's going to go to Principal Sappenbottom and sell you out!!! Everyone knows that!!!"

The next time Young Teacher ran into Chapter Leader in the hall, things had gotten even worse. In fact, it was as bad as it could get.

"How are you, baby doll?" asked Chapter Leader.

"Fine," said Young Teacher, in a very neutral tone.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Contract Update--King Reformy John Will Impose a UFT Contract Next Saturday at 4 PM

After almost five years, the UFT and DOE have decided they cannot come to an agreement on a contract. Governor Andrew Cuomo has grown tired of this impasse, and has decided that if this is not resolved, he will need to cut $250 million from the budget of NYC schools.

StudentsFirstNY stated, "This is a disgrace. How can those greasy teachers hurt our children like that? They should simply take the mayor's reasonable offer that they pay for their health insurance and take a 15% pay cut."

Evan Stone of Educators4Excellence said, "I'm not a teacher but I play one on TV."

In an unprecedented move, Governor Cuomo has announced that if the UFT and DOE do not agree on a contract this week, he will place the matter in the hands of NY State Education Commissioner Reformy John King. As you know, King recently imposed an evaluation system on NYC teachers. It was the first time in UFT history that a contract was renegotiated without a single teacher voting.

"I'm a student lobbyist," said Governor Cuomo. "Really, it's amazing we could pass this nonsensical system without even giving teachers a raise. Why can't we just do entire contracts like this? That way, I could save money and continue my principled stand against taxing millionaires."

UFT leadership promised to send a strongly worded letter to Governor Cuomo, and threatened to follow it with a fax, but would not comment on whether or not they supported this move.

Norm Scott commented, "This is outrageous. They are Vichy."

Reformy John King also decreed that, since he now holds unprecedented total power over time, space and the UFT  contract, he was hereby changing his name from Reformy John King to King Reformy John. King Reformy John expects a new multi-year UFT contract by 4 PM next Saturday. By doing away with pay raises, and unilaterally altering working conditions, King Reformy John expects to save Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg quite a bit of coin.

King Reformy John also confided that he was sincere when he said we would not fire our way to quality schools. Since he was now King and his word could not be questioned, he simply conceded reformy stuff never works anywhere, that firing was an end in itself, and that last week's evaluation system was so complicated and unworkable that quality wasn't even an issue. Quality is found in schools that don't patronize such convoluted nonsense, like the Montessori school where King Reformy John sends his own kids.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Highlights of Reformy John's New Decree

For third grade and above, 5% of your rating will come from students. Surveys will be piloted next year and will count the following year. While observations and whatever will count as 60% this year, they will be reduced to 55% the following year. So think twice before confiscating that cell phone, contacting parents, or demanding that homework assignment. A majority of the 55 or 60% must be based on observations from administrators.

20% to be determined at school level. Committee of 4 UFT and 4 admin will make recommendations and principal will get final say. However, Reformy John reserves the right to reject anything that does not suit his fancy.

NY State says principals' union agreed, though UFT did not, on a plan over last few days.

Teachers can choose observation make-up of either 1 formal + 3 informal (1 unannounced) or 6 informal (1 unannounced). These are minimums.

On Danielson--"22 components must be observed annually via observations and teacher artifacts" This enables a gotcha list for creative administrators looking to see 22 things in 15 minutes.--Update--A UFT source tells me this will be an ongoing thing, and that there will be no 22-item checklists.

Teachers may authorize observations via video, will be worth 60% of grade.

"Teachers rated ineffective on student performance based on objective assessments must be rated ineffective overall." This means, in fact, that the 40% based on junk science is effectively 100% of your score. This was refuted by UFT reps, but appears now to be absolutely true.

As previously agreed, 87% of poorly-rated teachers will appeal to the kangaroo court of Dennis Walcott, but will get only four hours to vainly fight for their careers. 13% will be selected by UFT to get a fair hearing. This is based on previous administrations which actually ruled in favor of 10 or 15% of U-rated teachers. However, if the arbitrators are jointly selected by UFT and DOE, split decisions are likely, resulting in only perhaps half of those lucky 13 winning appeals.

I have yet to see whether or not the reformy wet dream of 15-minute observations has been achieved. Perhaps we'll find out later tonight. Update--there is no time requirement for observations.

Partially gathered from tweets of Yoav Gonen, Lisa Fleisher, Lindsey Christ 

View entire fiasco at Gotham Schools.

Principal Sappenbottom and Priorities

 by Curious Teacher

It's June. There are graduating seniors who won't graduate, there are Regents exams, makeup labs, and the usual end-of-year chaos. During this time the Principal should be busy, busy, busy doing Very Important Work. But Principal Sappenbottom is Not That Kind of Principal who worries about those things. Students have no idea who she is, and that's the way she likes it, thank you very much.

One day Principal Sappenbottom decided to get up out of her air conditioned office and walk around the school. There had been numerous complaints that air conditioners were broken around the school. She wandered into a teacher's lounge where the AC was, indeed, broken. She looked around. "It's messy, it has to be cleaned up and re-arranged, or I'll take this work area away," she said and stomped back to her office.

Of course some teachers were terrified. Principal Sappenbottom was mad! So instead of prepping, or tutoring, or grading, or doing any of the usual stuff teachers do in their free periods, these teachers threw out a file cabinet, several shelves of books, and started furiously drawing up floor plans of a rearranged room. Nothing! Else! Mattered! They had to show a floor plan to Principal Sappenbottom ASAP.

One veteran teacher thought this was all nonsense. He was very busy conducting a lab practical and he had other worries. He politely told these teachers that maybe all this could wait until, say, the end of the year, and he didn't have time to look at 5 different floor plans and move his stuff immediately to fit the configurations of these floor plans.

No! Ms. Floor Plan shrieked. This has to be done immediately! Principal Sappenbottom doesn't like this room!

Veteran Teacher had had it. He exploded. "I don't care what Principal Sappenbottom wants," he snapped. "I have other things to worry about. SHE has other things to worry about, why is she bothering us with this nonsense?"

Words were exchanged. Feelings were hurt. And of course, Ms. Floor Plan immediately ran to Principal Sappenbottom's office. The next period Veteran Teacher got a phone call. Principal Sappenbottom wanted to see him in her office immediately.

"We think it's better that you move your stuff to (another work area)," Principal Sappenbottom said.

Veteran Teacher was like "Next year?"

"No. Immediately."


"Well, lots of reasons." Principal Sappenbottom smiled.

Veteran Teacher came in the following Monday to see that indeed, Ms. Floor Plan had already moved all his stuff to the other room. One problem though … in the other room, the teachers said "There's no desk for you."  So now Veteran Teacher has no place to go during his free periods.

"I think they want me to retire," he sighed.

He's probably right.