Wednesday, March 22, 2017

If Trump is the Number 45, What is Mulgrew?

   I was astonished and struck by the surreal absurdity that 'our' UFT president, Michael Mulgrew, is using the number 45 to refer to Donald Trump. At first I thought it was a hidden joke thrown in by blogger and HS Executive Board member Arthur Goldstein on his recent blog . (45 is actually an auspicious number  )  It was not. It got me thinking about what it means to be a leader, what it says about our union and our country. This is the United States of America, not a dictatorship. We have a democracy in which Trump - love him, hate him or don't care - was elected president. Get over it, he's the president. (We have a voice and many ways to use it. Fixation on his legitimacy is ridiculous.) The same can be said about Mulgrew's election as UFT president. (We had to get over that as well.) A union exists for many subtle reasons, but its main focus should be on its members and elevating the profession. A leader needs those goals to direct his or her members, otherwise you just have a large group of unfocused people that can quickly become a mob - although I highly doubt it with our demoralized rank and file. A leader, especially under these circumstances, shouldn't be so afraid that he won't utter the name of the person who intends to end his members jobs and severely curtail the profession as a whole. It's not leadership. It's indicative of everything that's wrong with the UFT. Fear, apathy, and yet another embarrassing incident that is unintentionally humorous to the objective observer. If Trump is even aware of it, I'm sure he's laughing himself off his golden toilet seat - not quivering with fear.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

You could have had this feeling for four years!

    I don't know if it's the full moon, the agony of staff development or simply mass exhaustion, but it was like the whole school (kids and staff) hit the lottery today. I haven't seen this much hysteria since I was a teen and Led Zeppelin announced a concert date. (My old fart friends recently reacted similarly when Barbara Streisand announced a concert. They called me frantically, but I demurred at $600 a ticket.) DeBlasio got everyone's vote today, some were a little worried that Carmen might think tomorrow would be a beautiful day. No worries, Carmen- now it really is!
    Enjoy the snow!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Where are the Americans on the List for Global Teacher Prize?

   I recently wrote about the emphasis on testing and graduation rates that have resulted in micromanagement from administrators and misery from teachers. Those statistics are used to judge teachers, administrators, students and schools. Everyone's focus has been so compartmentalized that we seem to be missing the big picture - the well being of students and staff. That means having students graduate high school who can enter the workforce or are prepared to take college classes. That means having young adults enter society that know right from wrong and will have compassion for others. That means having a happy teaching staff that isn't fixated on their next observation, so maybe they can view their students as more than just another OSIS number.
  It would have been nice to see an American teacher on the list for Global Teacher prize. Unfortunately, we are too busy covering our collective butts, in a very anti-teacher society.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Brevity, the Soul of Wit? Or is it being Intentionally Oblique?

Several neurotic,  nervous ATRs I've come across have hijacked my ear to express their frustrations concerning their overall anxiety. I replied that we all feel this to some degree, but that we have no control over what may or may not be happening. Their legitimate complaint is that we aren't being informed and that rumors seem to be par for the course when it comes to ATR issues. We do have ATR liaisons. Here are some recent calls that have been relayed to me:

ATR#1: Is the ATR rotation still in effect?        
UFT: Most likely.

ATR#2: Are we still ATRs?
UFT: Yes

ATR#3: Will we be placed permanently?
UFT: Very doubtful.

ATR#4: Will things change this year?
UFT: Ask again later.

It dawned on me the UFT is using another high tech device for our benefit - the Magic 8 Ball.
Save yourself a call and pick one up at Toys R Us. Keep the receipt, you maybe able to use it for next years teachers' choice.