Wednesday, September 25, 2019

23 Skidoo

There was quite a push back on December 23rd. It was ultimately successful, and I'm very glad of it. People in my building were quite happy as well. In my old age, I've developed a particularly low tolerance for stupid. Let me define that term--stupid is thoughtless, pompous, pedantic, inconsiderate, and wholly unnecessary bad behavior from people who ought to know better.

Now anyone can make a bad decision. A real measure is whether or not that person determines to stick with it. When there's evidence to prove the person wrong, does he accept it? Or does he vehemently argue with it because it doesn't conform with his predetermined and utterly inflexible worldview? You never can tell.

I've got considerably more patience for teenagers. The thing is, they aren't necessarily supposed to know better. So when they make terrible decisions, you can try to show them better ways. Sometimes you succeed and they improve. You always hope so. You don't want them to grow up and be like people you see who are, you know, stupid.

I don't know who made this particular mistake. I don't know how the DOE calendar is negotiated. This notwithstanding, I offer congratulations to all parties who did this, and decided to not be stupid.  You know, if more people would just wake up in the morning, look themselves in the mirror and say, "Hey, today I'm gonna try to not do or be anything stupid," what a wonderful world this would be.

Yesterday Mike Schirtzer emailed me the revised DOE calendar. I checked with a UFT source to make sure it wasn't April Fool's in September, or some mass hallucination, but once I did I emailed our entire staff. I then walked from department office to department office like Santa Claus declaring, "No school December 23rd."

It's a day of hope. Who would have expected NYC DOE, the same department that turns us down at step two all the time regardless of what merit our complaints have, the same department that sustains the clown car called "legal," the one full of English-challenged lawyers who can't be bothered reading the contract, the department overflowing with Bloomberg leftovers who cry reverse discrimination when a Latino fires or transfers a few of their worthless asses--Who could imagine it would rise up and do something not stupid? That is undeniably a step in the right direction for the DOE, perhaps an example for all humankind to replicate.

Thanks to our UFT brothers and sisters for not giving up, and for taking a stand for common sense we ought to model for our children. Our school was a very happy place for a while there, and maybe we can stretch it out some. I was even able to tell one kid, "My union negotiated this so you wouldn't have to come in Monday of Christmas week." She was thrilled, and thanked us. On this day, though,  UFT members were all just as happy as that kid was.

Isn't that how our job should be? How do we create more days like this? How do we create a career of making one another happy and appreciative? And no, we don't have to halt work days completely to do that.
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