Oh happy days are here again! There is some justice in the world! The narcissistic and completely corrupt governor of New York State is out, as of midnight! I am thrilled and hope this indicates a change in our collective fortunes, in that things may start to get better for all of us. I’m on my way across the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Mario, I respected you, but your son went about changing that bridge’s name illegally - and that was the least of his crimes.)
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
It certainly seems as if our old friend Andrew Cuomo will be getting another pass for his numerous misdeeds. How is this possible? He is directly responsible for 15,000 deaths. Worse than that, for our Cancel Culture Republic, he has been publicly revealed as a serial sexual harasser by the very women who have worked for him, with him or around him. Teachers and union members have long been the foil of his smarmy assaults on our income and careers. He has no moral compass or static belief system. Marijuana was once a gateway drug, but now should be legalized because it will gain him popularity. Partial birth abortion, a heinous procedure, is something to be protected, for the women he claims he cares and respects so deeply. Perhaps, he’s hoping that one day one of his conquered lust interests may use it, instead of his potential child support. Well, you get my point. This is a guy who is despicable in every aspect of his life, personality and political career. This is a guy who hates teachers. This is a guy who wants to replace public schools with charter schools. This is a guy who has set up his own investigatory procedure, which will drag out indefinitely and which will assuredly be dismissed, without an impeachment. Has Andrew Cuomo sold his soul to the devil? Perhaps. And perhaps the devil is keeping his bargain. Will Andrew Cuomo be President of the United States one day? I sure hope not.
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
It seems as if the UFT and some teachers have forgotten what Cuomo is. Here’s a reminder.
Monday, July 9, 2018
Andy is Looking for Your Vote
As you probably know Cynthia Nixon will be running against Andy Cuomo this November. It seems that many, many teachers have forgotten his atrocious attacks on public schools and public school teachers. (This forgetfulness is known as the halo effect. It's occurs when more recent behavior counteracts repeated long term behavior - our students intuitively use this against us about a month before report card grades are imputed.) Let's review them. Cuomo stated in his 2015 inaugural address that the key to education reform was teacher evaluation. He said they were flawed because so many students were failing and so many teachers were rated effective. In other words, a scapegoat was needed and public school teachers were going to be it. Cuomo has not been a friend to public schools, teachers or students. His current promises should not be given any credence, especially if the UFT endorses him. He will turn on us quicker than a rattlesnake. I will, of course, be voting for Cynthia Nixon.
Here are some more reminders of Andy attacks from the NYSUT https://www.nysut.org/news/nysut-united/issues/2015/february-2015/nysut-blisters-cuomos-draconian-anti-teacher-agenda referencing Cuomo's agenda :
- Dramatically increasing the state's role in teacher evaluations and stripping away local control. The weight of state tests would increase from 20 percent to 50 percent. And, in a stunning lack of trust for all district professionals, the governor would mandate that the other half be at least two observations, with one conducted by a so-called "independent observer" - a principal or administrator from outside or within the district, a SUNY/CUNY professor or a "trained independent evaluator" from a State Education Department list.
- Gutting teacher tenure. Cuomo wants teachers to remain on probationary status until they receive five consecutive "effective" ratings on their teacher evaluation. A single "developing" rating could derail a teacher's professional path. In reality, it would negate tenure and keep re-setting the clock.
- Raising the cap on charter schools by 100 (to 560) and ending regional caps to make the number a statewide tally. New York City has 24 charter slots remaining under the existing system. Cuomo would also increase per-pupil funding for charters by $75.
- Giving SED the power to put failing schools or even districts into receivership, with broad powers, further eroding local control. Cuomo called for appointing nonprofit groups, school-turnaround experts, or other school districts to oversee schools that have fallen on the state's lowest performing list for three years. The law would give "receivers" the authority of local superintendents, allowing them to restructure schools, overhaul curricula and offer salary incentives. It would undercut collective bargaining agreements and contracts.
- Renewing mayoral control of New York City schools. He encouraged other cities to apply for mayoral control as well.
- Amending the 3020-a hearing process for "poor performance," creating a presumption in favor of administrators; teachers would have to prove their evaluation score was fraudulent.
- Offering $20,000 merit pay to teachers who are "legitimately rated highly effective.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
If you’re like me you have probably been tested multiple times for COVID-19. Each time it came back negative, until the last time - I’m still waiting. It’s now over two weeks and I was just told it was lost. I most definitely had (or perhaps still have) the virus. All during that time I felt I was hit by a truck, couldn’t smell or taste anything and was having trouble breathing. I kept telling myself I was OK because I didn’t get back a positive test result. It wasn’t until I was eating sliced watermelon from a container that I admitted it. My daughter was screaming at me that the watermelon stunk to high heavens and to stop eating it. Thankfully, for the past two days, I’ve been great. I’ve been reading the papers and blogs, and trying to do some Christmas shopping on line.
My daughter is an especially difficult person to shop for - last year I bought her an expensive ancestry DNA kit that’s still sitting in her room - she refused to take it. Why? Well, she carefully read the fine print and informed me that this company would end up controlling her DNA. It could sell her unique information to third parties, that could then sell it and the information it contains to potential employers, insurance companies or even pharmaceutical companies. Also, law enforcement can use it to track down unknown criminals via who you may be related to. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolemartin1/2018/12/05/how-dna-companies-like-ancestry-and-23andme-are-using-your-genetic-data/?sh=69f3583d6189 So what? Well as healthcare cost continue to rise, your employers may become privy to information you may not even be aware of yourself. You may have a predisposition to Alzheimer’s, alcoholism or Parkinson’s. You may become unemployable and if you are working become targeted for dismissal. Also the security, or lack thereof, may allow your information to be stolen and potentially be used against you. https://blog.malwarebytes.com/101/2018/11/dna-testing-kit-companies-really-data/
I didn’t think about any of this and COVID-19 testing until I came across this article https://nypost.com/2020/12/14/nyc-teachers-and-parents-sue-to-stop-covid-testing-over-dna-fears/?utm_campaign=iphone_nyp&utm_source=mail_app . The teachers involved are concerned about their mandatory DNA collection samples taken for COVID-19 testing. These teachers and students have not been afforded the fine print in any kind of document which could alleviate their worries. The DOE is basically asking these teachers, students and their families to trust them. Has there ever been a time where private information hasn’t been safe guarded by the DOE? I remember a publicized instance of student files thrown out with students names, addresses and personal information, in view for all. Does anyone think that was a one time occasion? Most tests taken at hospitals and urgent cares are under the umbrella of medical privacy laws. As a DOE contracted company is being used, these teachers may have no such rights to privacy and security. That’s a huge problem. I believe their concerns are valid. That’s not to say that I believe mandatory testing should not be done, but every precaution must be made to ensure that this testing isn’t used as a weapon against the people it’s meant to protect.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Well, Thanksgiving is almost here. One of my friends had a type of half humorous pool as to when the schools would close down – most had a guessed around Halloween and the day after election day. My own guess has been the Friday before Thanksgiving. That’s when the weather starts to take a turn and teachers nerves are frayed and kids even need a break. Thanksgiving week should always have been taken off. For many it always has been. In my long running jaunt as an ATR, it was one of the worst weeks to work. In many of the schools I was in, 50% of the staff had taken off. Those hires from the Bloomberg days had to fly back to Oshkosh and Boise to see their families. Subs and ATR‘s were left trying to control their classes. I still remember those days vividly, I often felt like a lion tamer without a whip or a tranquilizer (for me or the students). The Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving was like reaching the finish line of a grueling marathon, in what was in actuality a three day week. But enough of that, DeBlasio finally did the right thing while working on an assembly line of a year that has left him looking like a lobotomized Lucy trying to keep up.
This year has been rough for all of us and it’s not over yet. I’ve been working since September and it’s not easy on anyone. The school here does everything correctly. Zooming and teaching physical classes simultaneously with another teacher can be grueling in a new way. It’s all the little things that can make you feel like Bruce Campbell being attacked by tiny evil miniatures of himself. Zooming, ahem... Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Then there’s the mask. The F**king mask. The first week wearing it all day was pure torture. The chafing on the ears and face! Worse than that, many a masked pedagog, including me, realized we couldn’t stand our own breath and dentists starting seeing flocks of new patients in the quest to solve many a student’s insultingly true perennial complaint. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking - stay home, but it’s a thousand times better than tip-toeing around the house while my family are all working and attending classes on Zoom. I like getting dressed and leaving, and I love teaching and/or helping students. For the millions of newly homebound, sweatpants and tee shirts are the 2020 uniform of choice. Many have seemed to embrace this new life of isolation and I’m starting to wonder if anything will be the same. If I’m honest to you and myself, I’d say no. Why go anywhere if you can do it from the comfort of your home? It’s easy to start thinking that way, but it’s a dangerous and false paradigm shift in thinking. Will we all become a type of soap opera, novella loving junkie living our lives once, twice or exponentially removed from living in the physical world? A technological life trade that seems free and easy, but in actuality is extremely expensive and will continue to be so.
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Remember life and don’t get too comfortable.
Monday, October 19, 2020
“We are living in dangerously weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they’re dazed and confused. The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb. It’s the beginning of the end of our world as we knew it. Doom is the operative ethic.” Hunter S. Thompson
Some folks have been asking me to post about our current state of affairs. Where do I begin? Mulgrew and DeBlasio screwed us again. We get half our money this month and half in July. This is money that was owed to us interest free from a decade ago. Very soon those two less than quarter wits will be going to the rank and file looking for another loan, screaming that layoffs are coming. Layoffs for the bright and shiny new clones they just hired with our money. And don’t forget all those lovely dues that made up for the 7% that opted out. (Wait until next June, Mulgrew, it will hit 30%) The layoffs will come anyway, but your money may save DeBlasio and Carrananza’s crew from getting laid off. You know - the three tiers of Bureaucrats, that no one has any idea about. Remember how the DOE treated us and that they had the unmitigated gall to renege on an owed debt. Vote accordingly. I don’t believe NYC can survive another year with DeBlasio in office. If Mulgrew had any sense he’d make an ugly public fight on everything with him and try to regain some trust and respect from the rank and file.
Mulgrew is a walking, talking joke of a Union president. No one believes anything out of his mouth. Everything he accuses Trump of he is guilty of himself. If someone, anyone would challenge him, he/she would get incredible traction. You listening Lydia? Press him, hard. Go on YouTube and blast him for his betrayals, stupidity and cowardice. You will succeed. Even retirees are cursing him - especially those who were ATRs, owed money or were forced to leave because the filthy warehouses, called schools, were opened for free babysitting services, while every other large cities’ school systems remained closed.
Oh yeah, and those schools aren’t managed even marginally correctly in terms of virus control. There is no mandatory testing for anyone and if many are asymptotic, the ‘middle age spread’ will have a new deadly meaning with the onset of cold weather. Some are saying we are in for a very cold winter. I’ve never seen so many fat squirrels with bushy tails. They have never dug up my plants and flowers, but this fall they have destroyed everything while hiding their acorns. (I know life is rough for me.) I also ran into a scientist who told me the sun spots have him concerned. They can cut the warmth from the sun by 1/3 or more. Hopefully the squirrels and scientists are wrong. But, if they are right and we have a bad winter, the virus could get very bad again.
That leads me to the presidential election. Could Trump be any more boorish? That debate was a disgrace, how about some civility? Biden would have put his foot in his mouth if given half a chance. I don’t hate Trump. (I love the fact that he’s anti-abortion. It is the single greatest evil in this country. Read up on it objectively.) I don’t hate Biden. I think I once helped him find his way out of the restroom of Peter Luger’s. I’m joking, of course, but you get my point. He has some issues, but they are more or less equalized by Trump’s. At least he finally admitted he’s Irish Catholic. (I’m tired of self hating Irish Americans claiming or acquiescing to be Wasps (Pence), Italians (half of LI and Queens) or Mexicans (Beto).) Why isn’t the Roman Catholic Church excommunicating Biden, Cuomo and the rest of the gang that are stomping for abortion? The RC Church is a lot like the UFT. They have incredible unused power in an extremely undemocratic setting. No offense intended and I left both.
Let’s get back to the title. We are on a precipice. We can lose everything that most of us have spent our whole lives working for. You can sit back and allow it or you can vote, speak up and fight. Remember there is no shame in being afraid - it allows you to be careful while you fight. Never allow fear to freeze you up, allow it to spur you to great things. Our best days are not over unless we allow them to be. Stand up, refuse, revolt and fight for what you believe in. That time has come. Stay strong and think for yourself.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
I got home last night after a restful hiatus in the bucolic Hudson, NY. There was a large protest on Sunday in the local park against police brutality. It was peaceful and well represented by all groups, young and old, Black and White, and rich and poor. There was also a police presence there and in front of Hudson Correctional. I got up this morning and my Bronx/Yonkers neighborhood looked like it was invaded by human locusts, which indeed it was. Stores were looted and trash cans burned. These locusts weren’t protestors. They are using Mr. Floyd’s death and the protestors for their own thievery and violence. It’s disgusting and it seems that the mayor and governor don’t truly understand the difference between the looters and the protestors. If they did none of this would have happened. Their fawning accommodations to liberalism for political gain has allowed countless people to get hurt and businesses looted. I would remind them that NYC is one of the most segregated cities in the country.
Segregation condones and manifests the foul intangibility of stereotypes into profound evil. How long before roving packs or individuals take out their fear and anger on those of the offending race? How long before store owners start shooting into the marauding crowds of teens, like the ones we have all babysat for those fake grades and diplomas? I’ve heard many times today that if the schools were open this wouldn’t have happened. I’ve also heard many times today that if the country was open and people were working this wouldn’t have happened.. There may be some truth to that. (You can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be back in the classroom ASAP, virus or no virus.) But, there’s also the truth that systemic racism is alive and well in this country and our history of slavery, on which this country was built, has not been adequately resolved. Until it is, and dealt with openly, there will always be another Eric Gardner, another jail built, more drug addiction, more welfare, more homelessness and those, let’s not forget those, worthless high school diplomas. The UFT speaks out to honor Mr. Floyd, while staying silent on educational fraud and behavioral negligence. We should all be marching about that.
This is my last post. I want to thank all my readers over the years. Always fight the good fight.