Monday, December 20, 2010

Free Speech--After Government Approval

Just like your meat needs the USDA stamp of approval, so, it would appear does your information. The New York Times and the rest of the American news media should have a similar stamp from the Department of Information.  What?  There is no Department of Information?  How can that be?

For example this Wikileaks guy, Julian Assange.  Of course he should be thrown in jail for publishing those facts.  Some facts can dangerous.  They might get in your brain and actually make you think that the US is not fighting for Truth, Justice, and the American Way--which is just wrong, because, well, who invented Superman, anyway?  Americans, that's who!!!!!  So there.

Here's an interview with that guy Assange who actually thinks that journalists should have the right to publish facts that might make Americans question how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being waged, and even worse, whether we should be there at all. 

I think there should be a law against asking questions.  Who knows what unsavory answers you might get. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How Bloomberg's New York City is like a Psychopath: Work in Progress

New York City, Inc.
Michael Bloomberg, CEO

  1. Callous unconcern  for the feelings of others.


  1. Incapacity  to maintain  enduring relationships.


  1. Reckless disregard for the safety of others.

"A plan by the New York Fire Department to allay severe budget cuts by charging motorists up to $490 to respond to accidents and car fires has touched off blistering criticism and calls for the City Councilto outlaw the policy.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, nevertheless, is embracing the new fee proposal, which City Hall officials said would begin on July 1 and raise about $1.5 million annually."  New York Times

  1. Deceitfulness:  repeated lying and conning others for profit.
According to an extensive review of the mayor’s financial records by The Observer, even as Mr. Bloomberg was trying to counter the loss of taxes and other income from the richest New Yorkers, the foundation he controls was in the process of shuttling hundreds of millions of dollars out of the city and into controversial offshore tax havens that would produce nothing at all for the city in terms of tax revenue.
By the end of 2008, the Bloomberg Family Foundation had transferred almost $300 million into various offshore destinations—some of them notorious tax-dodge hideouts. The Caymans and Cyprus. Bermuda and Brazil. Even Mauritius, a speck of an island in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Madagascar. Other investments were spread around disparate locations, from Japan to Luxembourg to Romania.


  1. Incapacity  to experience  guilt.

   "  I think if you look at people, whether in business or government, who haven't had any moral compass, who've just changed to say whatever they thought the popular thing was, in the end they're losers."  Michael Bloomberg

  1. Failure to conform to Social norms.



How Is A Corporation Like a Psychopath?

Is this what Bloomberg means when he says that schools should be run according to the "Business Model"?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are Charter Schools Healthy For Our Children?

The film "The Corporation" compares the profile of the contemporary profitable business corporation to that of a clinically-diagnosed psychopath.

1.  Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
2.  Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.
3.  Reckless disregard for the safety of others.
4.  Deceitfulness:  repeated lying and conning others for profit.
5.  Incapacity to experience guilt.
6.  Failure to conform to Social norms.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why Fight To Keep Public Schools Open?

It's not just about teachers' jobs--although that is important.  It's about keeping public schools from becoming public entities or corporations.  Why would that be so bad?  This is why.

"Privatization does not mean that you take a public institution and give it to some nice person.  It means that you take a public institution and give it to an unaccountable tyranny.  Public institutions have many side benefits.  For example, they may purposely run a loss.  They are not out for profit.  They may purposely run at a loss because of the side benefits.  For example if a public steel industry runs at a loss it is selling cheap steel to other industries, and that’s a good thing.  Public institutions can have a counter cyclic property.  That means that they can maintain employment in periods of recession, which increases demand, which helps us get out of recession.  A private company can’t do that.  In a recession, they throw out the work force.  That’s the way you make money.”  Noam Chomsky

Friday, December 3, 2010

Where Have All The Journalists Gone?

We bloggers have lamented the absence of any challenge to Cathie Black's appointment by the mainstream media.  On the contary, they have rushed to her rescue.

At two journalists discuss, among other things,  WikiLeaks and its creator Julian Assange.  I think the conversation shines some light on why the journalists of our major newspapers are such wimps and why we need alternative news sources.

An Advertisement for Openness

 If the links don't work, here is the link to the beginning of the conversation:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bloomberg's Abuse is Killing Teachers

I just watched this documentary on Netflix.  If you haven't seen it already, find it and watch it.  I now realize why I feel so much better physically and mentally than I did two weeks ago.

Abusive administrators are literally destroying our minds and bodies.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chapter 4 of Jude's Story: FOUNDATIONS

Continued from Chapter 3:  THREATS AND COVERUP

I'll give you a quick review of Jude's Story which I started back in October.  Jude reported to her principal that some of the questions on her students' 4th grade math test might have been incorrectly graded.  The Principal asked the Assistant Principal to carry out an investigation, and it was found that all of the 4th grade math tests had been graded incorrectly and that many students had received lower grades than they should have.  Not only that, but the sixth grade math tests had the same problem.  In retaliation, one of the other 4th grade teachers threatened to turn the parents against Jude.  Jude went to her UFT rep, who refused to help her.

As I mentioned in Chapter 1 ,  Jude had achieved the American Dream in spite of being raised in the projects of the South Bronx.

Graduated from Bronx High School of Science
Bachelors degree from Hunter College
Masters degree from Lehman College
Highly Respected Teacher in the New York City Board of Eduction--tenured, vested
Homeowner on Long Island
Married with three children
Active and respected in her church and community

If you start to describe your own life, you will soon find that you are really describing the groups to which you belong.  The structure of your life rests on the foundations that are your groups.
"Oh no it doesn't," you might say.  "It rests on my strengths, my abilities, and my hard work."

I agree.  But the choices you made on how to apply your strengths, abilities, and hard work gave you admission to certain groups.  Those groups support your lifestyle.

You had no choice on the family group you were born into.  For the first eighteen years or so of your life your parents determined your sibling group, your extended family group, your neighborhood group, your peer group, your school group, your social class group, your religious group, etc.

Parents have a lot of power in our lives.  They are the original foundations.

But then you came of age, moved out, and started to build your own lifestyle.  Your choices, your foundations:   To graduate from high school or not.  To get married or not.  To  go to college or not.  To get this degree or that degree.  To join this club or that club.  To live here or live there.  To buy or to rent.  To save or to spend.  To have one child, many children, or none. 

These are the foundations that you establish.

Depending on the number of foundations you have, and the quality of those foundations, you can survive many serious assaults by nature or by man.  It's very, very hard to survive bad times on your own.  If you find yourself dependent on the charity of strangers, you  have seen the pillars of your life crumple around you.

"Isn't this Jude's Story?"  You might ask.  "Why are you talking about me"?  Instead of rambling on about 'you this you that', talk about her."

If you belong to one of Jude's groups.  I'm talking about you when I talk about her.  It's a cautionary tale.  But unlike most cautionary tales, it's not about an individual that messed up.  It's about groups that failed under pressure.

So, I'm talking about you if:

You're black.
You're a woman.
You're a wife.
You're a mother.
You're a religious person.
You're a teacher.
You're a homeowner.

I have already warned you that this story is about a woman who has been assaulted over and over.  As I tell her story, I will remind you again and again that she could be you and you could be her.  


Thursday, November 25, 2010

And The Earth Just Keeps Turning

No matter what we do, or what is done to us, Earth just keeps turning.

Check out the time lapse of star trails I found through  PetaPixel.

Earth Science teachers, this may be useful for teaching Earth Motions if you can somehow squeeze it into the workshop model.  Not something I have to worry about anymore.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Killer Coke, Cathie Black, and NYC Kids

 I hate to admit it, but I hadn't heard about the campaign to boycott Coca-Cola because of the company "allegedly turning a blind eye as eight employees of Coke bottlers in Colombia were killed and scores more were threatened or jailed on trumped-up terrorism charges over the past decade".  By the way, that quote was taken from a January, 2006 article published in Bloomberg Businessweek called "Killer Coke" or Innocent Abroad?  

I purposely quoted the Bloomberg article and not other sources, so that no one can say he knew nothing of Cathie Black's link to the "Killer Coke" controversy.

However there are other sources that are extremely interesting and informative.

Read about Cathie Black and the rest of the members of the Board of Directors.

Read details about Coke's alleged crimes in Colombia other countries.

In case you decide to boycott Coke yourself, read about its other products (you won't boycott Coke by drinking Sprite).

Are you feeling sorry for Cathie Black?  After all, you might say, an allegation isn't a guilty verdict, is it?

Isn't it?

If you're a Rubber Room detainee, it is.

Only a Handful

"There are 80,000 plus teachers and only a handful of us get brought up on 3020-a charges."

I have heard this argument several times when I ask why Unity allowed the Rubber Rooms to happen in the first place.  I read it most recently in one of the comments on Chaz's blog.

I object not only to the statement itself, but to all of its hidden implications.

"You're only a handful, so you must be guilty of something.  You're only a handful so there are more important places to concentrate our resources.  You're only a handful so you're just not that important to the rest of us."

Ok.  Let's look at what you mean by handful.  I have been given the ratio of 800 bad teachers to 80,000 good teachers.  Now, granted there may have been only 800 if you look at a frozen instant in time, but the Rubber Room was a revolving door.  As soon as one teacher left, two replaced him.  During the Rubber Room heyday there were thousands of teachers who passed through the Rubber Room.  There were thousands of others who retired rather than be sent there.

But just for fun.  Let's take a snapshot view (Bloomburgers love to take snapshot views, don't they?)  At any one moment there were about 800 Reassigned Teachers as opposed to 80,000 Regularly Assigned Teachers.

Let's see:  That's a ratio of  800 to 80,000 or only 1 to 100. One Rubber Room Teacher for every one hundred Regular Teachers.  Only a handful.

Now let's put that handful in perspective.

How many people were killed in the attacks on the Twin Towers?  2,606 to be exact.  That's a lot of people.  We're building a big memorial in New York City to honor them.  But what is that number compared to the 8,000,000 people who live in the five boroughs? 

Let's see:  That's a ratio of 2,606 to 8,000,000 or  One to Three Thousand.  Approximately one Twin Towers victim for every 3,000 New Yorkers.  Would we call that only a handful?  I don't think so.

Do you resent the comparison?  After all, I'm not dead.  I'm alive and well, and sipping my morning coffee as I write my blog.  And what was that you said?  I'm not innocent like they were?  They were just doing their jobs when wham!!!!!! their building got hit by an airplane, while  I, a bad, incompetent, abusive, insubordinate, blah, blah, blah teacher was taken out of the classroom and paid for sitting in a chair doing nothing for one year, nine months and two weeks?

So it's not about ratios, is it?  It's the subtext hidden behind the statement:  "It's only a handful".

Do we accept the handful?  Is one of them also one of us?  Or are they beyond the pale, marked as "other", isolated, blamed, demonized?

Ratios don't matter.  Group identify does.

The Bloomburger Bullies came from outside the group and established themselves as the ones who had the right to decide who belonged in the Good Teacher Group and who didn't.  Most of them had less education and less experience than the teachers they marked as "Bad".

Those of us who were sorted out into the Rubber Rooms were not killed, but our lives will never be the same, because the experience changes you forever.
I can't be made whole (a legal term meaning the compensation of a party for a loss sustained).  You can't take back the years of mobbing, bullying, professional and personal assassination, defamation, and degradation.  You can't undo the shaming and the shunning. You might as well try to bring back the Twin Tower dead as to try to bring back the teacher I was before Bloomburger Perry walked into my, yes MY school and into MY neighborhood.

I'm not ashamed, and I'm not afraid.  I like it out here beyond the pale.  I'm free.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Profiling Psycho Principal

In my last post I published a letter from Principal Perry.

However, as a trained Perry profiler, I am going to include in red letters what she left lurking between the lines.

Here's the profiled version of her letter.

Dear Ms. Untamed (You bitch),

I have been advised that you are retiring, (you sent me an email on November 15, but I didn't acknowledge it then, and I'm hoping you didn't keep a copy so that I can accuse you of retiring without proper notification) but we do not have the necessary paperwork (do you really expect me to tell you what the necessary paperwork is?).  Therefore, (so you actually thought you could get away from me without charges, did you?  Yeh, yeh, yehhhh)   I have scheduled an appointment for you to meet with me in my office on November 19, 2010 at 3 p.m. (Hopefully the Rubber Room has made you brain dead enough so that you'll actually show up).  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the report of the Special Commissioner of Investigation (Yes, the report that took one year, nine months and 14 days to fabricate) which concludes that you made inappropriate statements to a student (Inappropriate?  That's all that idiot Hayden Sands could come up with?  I told him to get the kids to say you ABUSED them.  Can't those stupid, @#X^%$#&^%*&^^ get anything right?) and you did attempt (I love putting "did" in front of verbs.  It's sounds so biblical) to tamper with both a verbal abuse and corporal punishment investigation.  (It's all your fault the parents came in wanting to know why I had forced their children to write false statements about you and then told them not to talk about it with anyone--especially not their parents.  They never would have found out about it if you hadn't done home visits to those kids who threatened to frame you for child abuse if you told their parents about their misbehavior.) 

Because this conference may lead to disciplinary action, you may bring a union representative.  (Yes, I know.  As a retiree you don't have a union representative anymore, and I have no right to call you in, but, dammit, you're not going to get off so easy after all the work it took to frame you.)

Sincerely, (I'll get you, you bitch)

Principal  (That's right, Leadership Academy Principal, never taught in a classroom, so what? If Bloomy doesn't care, why should you?) Perry

Friday, November 19, 2010

Retirement Good Wishes From Principal P.

As you all know, I was instructed by the UFT to contact my payroll secretary for all aspects of my timekeeping including the filing of my final entitlement form.  At first, the payroll secretary and the principal said that they were not responsible.  But it appears that they are.  

So then, I put in my retirement papers on November 15 at  9:00 AM with a final retirement date of November 17.  On November 15  I also notified Principal P. and the Director of Human Resources at my job site that I was retiring as of November 17.  "As of November 17" means that at 12:01 AM on November 17, 2010, I would no longer be working for  Bloomberg's Department of Education--I asked about that. Technically I could have retired as of November 16, but I wanted to make sure that I was giving more than the minimum notice (one business day).

Today I checked my doe email, which is, surprisingly, still functioning.  My payroll secretary had called asking for proof of my retirement.  I found this love note from Principal P., who I think deserves to be baptized with a new name (my invention).  Principal P. will now be known as Principal Perry until I choose to give her correct name.

November 17, 2010,  7:04 PM

Hello Ms. Untamed,

I do understand that you are trying to retire but since we are not in receipt of the proper paperwork, please find attached  a summons to disciplinary meeting. The meeting is scheduled for  Friday, November 19, 2010 at 3 p.m.

Thank  you

Principal Perry
IS 666
My Neighborhood, Queens NY


Moriah Untamed
IS 666
File # 123456

Dear Ms. Untamed,

I have been advised that you are retiring but we do not have the necessary paperwork. Therefore, I have scheduled an appointment for you to meet with me in my office on November 19, 2010 at 3 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the report of the Special Commissioner of Investigation which concludes that you made inappropriate statements to a student and you did attempt to tamper with both a verbal abuse and corporal punishment investigation.

Because this conference may lead to disciplinary action, you may bring a union representative.


Principal Perry

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Teacher Writer

I have retired from sitting in the Rubber Room doing nothing.  However, I am still a teacher.  You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the teaching out of the teacher.  Yesterday was my first day as a full-time writer who tells the individual stories of teachers who have been persecuted under Bloomberg's Teacher Witch Hunt.

I am particularly interested in stories involving a child who has been encouraged by administrators and/or investigators to give false testimony against a teacher. 

As a teacher, I know that the story is a powerful format.  People remember facts from stories better than they would if the facts had been presented in essay or journalistic form. 

As a writer, I am a novice, but I'm not asking to be paid while I learn like some people I won't mention.  The stories that I will be writing will be offered under Creative Commons.  That means that you can use them, and even retell them in your own words, as long as you acknowledge their source. 

I want these stories told over and over again.  I want books written, plays produced, movies made for many years to come. 

If you want me to help tell your story, you can contact me by leaving a comment on this blog marked "Please do not publish".  Comments don't appear automatically after you write them.  I read them first to filter the spam.  You can also send an e-mail to  You do not have to be a teacher to contact me. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Retired Without Charges

As the clock strikes 8:00 AM

I sit at my home computer
From Rubber Room II.
I have better things to do.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sign the Petition against hiring a Substandard Chancellor

Signing a waiver means that we don't get a Chancellor who is up to the standards that the state has already decided should be met by a Chancellor.   That was already done for Klein and where did that get us?

I got the info from  Accountable Talk who got it from  NYC Public SchoolParents.  The goal is 1000 signatures.  Let's make it 100,000.

"Please sign the NYC Kids PAC petition, to urge the Commissioner to deny her a waiver. As soon as you sign it, the petition automatically sends an email in your name to the Commissioner Steiner, to the Board of Regents, and your state legislators,. Even if you have signed other petitions, please sign this one now, since it has an immediate impact."

Petitions by|Start a Petition »

Sunday, November 7, 2010

For the Sake of the Children: Let's Clearly Identify the Bad Guys.

Copied and Pasted from Counterpunch:

When Corporations are the Government


It was Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist, James Carville, who in 1992 created the election slogan: “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” For the 2010 Congressional campaigns, the slogan should have been: “It’s Corporate Crime and Control, Stupid.”

But notwithstanding the latest corporate crime wave, the devastating fallout on workers, investors and taxpayers from the greed and corruption of Wall Street, and the abandonment of American workers by U.S. corporations in favor of repressive regimes abroad, the Democrats have failed to focus voter anger on the corporate supremacists. 

The giant corporate control of our country is so vast that people who call themselves anything politically—liberal, conservative, progressive, libertarian, independents or anarchist—should be banding together against the reckless Big Business steamroller.

Conservatives need to remember the sharply critical cautions against misbehaving or over-reaching businesses and commercialism by Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek and other famous conservative intellectuals. All knew that the commercial instinct and drive know few boundaries to the relentless stomping or destruction of the basic civic values for any civilized society.

When eighty percent of the Americans polled believe ‘America is in decline,’ they are reflecting in part the decline of real household income and the shattered bargaining power of American workers up against global companies.

The U.S. won World War II. Germany lost and was devastated. Yet note this remarkable headline in the October 27th Washington Post: “A Bargain for BMW means jobs for 1,000 in S. Carolina: Workers line up for $15 an hour—half of what German counterparts make.”

The German plant is backed by South Carolina taxpayer subsidies and is not unionized. Newly hired workers at General Motors and Chrysler, recently bailed out by taxpayers, are paid $14 an hour before deductions. The auto companies used to be in the upper tier of high paying manufacturing jobs. Now the U.S. is a low-wage country compared to some countries in Western Europe and the trend here is continuing downward.

Workers in their fifties at the BMW plant, subsidizing their lower wages with their tax dollars, aren’t openly complaining, according to the Post. Not surprising, since the alternative in a falling economy is unemployment or a fast food job at $8 per hour.

It is not as if we weren’t forewarned by our illustrious political forebears Fasten your seat belts; here are some examples:

Thomas Jefferson—“I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Abraham Lincoln in 1864—“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. …corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” (1864)

Theodore Roosevelt—“The citizens of the United States must control the mighty commercial forces which they themselves call into being.”

Woodrow Wilson—“Big business is not dangerous because it is big, but because its bigness is an unwholesome inflation created by privileges and exemptions which it ought not to enjoy.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt—“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

Dwight Eisenhower, farewell address—“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

And, lastly, a literary insight:

Theodore Dreiser—“The government has ceased to function, the corporations are the government.”

Are you, dear reader, the same now as you were when you began reading this column?

Ralph Nader is the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who Is The Timekeeper?

Today I made the attempt, as the Union suggested, to find out if I had a Payroll Secretary, or Timekeeper as I found they are now called. First I asked The Deputy Director of Human Resources where I work and he told me in no uncertain terms that they do not handle my payroll at all.  They were told that it was my school payroll secretary.

I then called Human Resources at the DOE.  They confirmed that the Payroll Secretary of the school where I last worked as a teacher was definitely the person who was keeping my time sheets and who would eventually file Form OP44 so that I can get paid for the days that I have in C.A. R. (the left over sick days ).

So then I made the attempt to call the Payroll Secretary from my old school armed with what I had been told by the DOE Human Resources people.  She acknowledged that she had received a timesheet from Cybershift and she had put it in my file.  I asked her for a copy of my timesheets for this school year and for the exact number of days I have in C.A.R.  I don't think she has any information on me after the day I left the school--April 6, 2009.  She promised to get back to me.

I also made the attempt to access my DOE e-mail account.  It had been shut down by parties unknown.  Not only that, but someone actually deleted the email from Cypershift that contained my timesheet form September.  It took me all morning to open the account again.

If you ask me what my job is now, I'd have to say I spend all my time dealing with the crap that the DOE is throwing at me--dodging what I can, and cleaning up when I can't duck fast enough.

I will continue to make the attempt to find out how many days I have in C.A.R. and then I can figure out when I can retire--with the help of my payroll secretary.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Attention Re-Reassigned Teachers: Call Your Payroll Secretary !

 I did just that when I was told that there was no record of me having punched in or out during all of September.

The Payroll Secretary told me that she was no longer handling my payroll.  I then called the Union Representative for Reassigned Teachers, and asked him who was handling my payroll.  He hasn't gotten back to me on that.

In September, I took two sick days and wanted to turn in proof that I had consulted a doctor (had really been sick).  I tried to give it to the Payroll People at my new work site, but not only did they say that they did NOT handle my payroll, I would later find out that they were at that time planning to put in scanners to prevent  Reassigned Teachers (aka Terrorist Teachers)  from smuggling weapons into the building.

In October I took another sick day, this time self treated.  That means that I didn't go to a doctor, but just stayed home until I felt well enough to return to work.  When I had a Payroll Secretary, I signed for these illnesses, but now there was no one to see, no where to sign.

As long as I was at the Linden Street Reassignment Center in Queens i.e. Rubber Room, I had a Payroll Secretary who received my doctors' notes and who kept track of my attendance records. 

Then I found out through word of mouth about how badly Reassigned Teachers were being treated by DOE attorneys, Arbitrators, and even their own NYSET (union paid) attorneys.  Teachers weren't being allowed to even consider having their cases heard at a 3020a hearing.  They were being forced to take settlements they didn't want/and or didn't understand.  Those that insisted on having their hearing were forced to represent themselves or hire a very expensive private attorney.   Even those with private attorneys were not faring well before the Arbitrators.  The emphasis seemed to be on pushing as many cases through in as short a time as possible and making sure that all the teachers were in the end declared guilty of something in order to justify everything that had been done to them.

Since most teachers just wanted to go back to the classroom and get on with their lives they acquiesced and admitted some degree of guilt whether they were guilty or not. 

Salem was in full swing.  3020a hearings had officially (in my opinion) turned into witch trials.

I have considered retiring ever since Principal P., a Business Model Bloomburger, came into my life, but I have held on.  I always thought that there was some way to fight her and win within the system.  At one time I thought the 3020a hearing was my one chance to present my case to an unbiased observer--so I have held on, even though the harassment has affected me physically, psychologically, and spiritually.  But now I have lost all hope of being treated fairly in the Bloomberg Department of Education.

So, I decided that I should definitely look into retiring some time this year.  On Thursday I went for a Final Pension Consultation and got all the forms I needed in order to retire, except one:  The OP44.  Do you know what that is?  That's the form asking to be paid for the days you have in your Sick Day Bank--otherwise known as the CAR.  But guess what?  I can't file that form myself.  The only person who can file that form is the PAYROLL SECRETARY that I don't have.

The Union is taking no responsibility for this aspect of my retirement.  This is a Department of Education problem, not theirs.  The nice lady that did my final pension consultation didn't even tell me about the OP44 Form until I asked.  She then told me to go to the Queens UFT and talk to a Payroll rep.  So yesterday I went after work to try to see a Payroll Representative.  I was told that the Union has nothing to do with this matter and to go back to the building where I have been assigned and ask them to take care of it.

"But they won't even take my doctor's notes.  They say they can't even access my time sheets."

"You still have to make the attempt," was the reply.

Ok.  But this time, I think I'll call an attorney to do the attempting for me.

No More Teacher Terrorists

Good news.  Teachers in our building no longer have to be scanned for weapons twice a day.  Why the change of tune?

It could have been intervention from the Union.  I did write a letter to the Queens UFT Representative.  The Reassigned Teachers Representative did visit the building.

It could have been the fact that two of us insisted on signing in and receiving a visitor's pass every time we had to walk through the weapons scanner and then called an attorney, and asked what we could do about our situation and the reply was that we could file an injunction against further weapons scanning.

Or the administrators of our building might have decided that it wasn't fair to force some workers to be scanned for weapons and allow other workers to walk on through.

Whatever the reason, I now show my drivers license and bypass the scanner.  Hopefully that will continue indefinitely.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teacher Terrorists Dress For Success

The advantage here is that EVERYTHING sets off the metal detector, and none of it is really a weapon--unless you take off one of the gloves and throw it.  There's also the added advantage that if someone else in the building goes postal, you have some added protection.

Could that be what all this metal detecting is all about?  Does Bloomy have something planned for us that gives him reason to expect one or more of us to go postal???    Hmmmm.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sorting Out the Bloomberg Way

A scene like this flashed through my mind as I was being sorted out by security guards last Thursday.

"Teachers who have been charged with something by a Bloomberg principal go to the right to be checked for weapons.  Regular workers go to the left and bypass the scanner."

"Teachers who have been charged with something by a Bloomberg principal, we suspect you might go berserk and kill us one day.  Regular DOE workers we don't suspect you of being violent."

"Teachers under 3020a charges.  You're assumed guilty because you've been charged by a Bloomberg principal.  You might be dangerous.  DOE workers you haven't been charged yet.  Better hope you never are."

"Blue Badgers we know you're clean.  Red Badgers we know you're dirty."

Blue Badgers should know that there is something wrong with Red Badgers.  What better way to prove it to them than to force Red Badgers to be searched for weapons at least twice a day:  once in the morning and once at lunch.  Suspicion is good enough.  No need for proof.

We know how it all ended for most of the people in the photo.  This was the last sorting many would endure.  But how did it begin?  How did these normal people who probably never committed a crime in their lives end up being put to death?  How did the world go so crazy?

Never Again?  Ha. Ha. Ha.

How exactly do you intend to stop it from happening?  Building memorials to the Holocaust?

You've got law abiding teachers who have never gotten so much as a ticket for a moving violation being searched for weapons twice daily as if they were terrorists.  And most of them are taking it in stride.

"No big deal.  They're treating me like a terrorist.  No big deal."

Our Union is "working on it".  Now we don't have to sign in and wear a visitor's sticker on our clothes to identify us as Red Badgers. But we still have to be scanned twice daily.  I personally still sign in and demand a visitor's badge, although I don't display it on my clothes.  I want written proof that the DOE has treated me like a terrorist and put my health at risk.

To date I have been searched for weapons SEVEN TIMES IN THREE WORK DAYS.  I have seven visitor's stickers--one for each time I was scanned.

If you think I'm going to let this rest.  Think again.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dangers of Weapons Detectors on Human Teachers

According to the National Institute of Justice Law Enforcement and Corrections Standards Testing Program for Hand-Held and Walk-Through Metal Detectors:

2.2.1 Safety Specifications and Requirements Electrical

Physical contact to voltages exceeding a particular value can be dangerous. HH and WT units should not expose the user or public to high-voltage electrical signals or power. If high voltages do exist within or on these devices, then these devices must be enclosed so as to prevent user access to the high voltages. Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) provides a standard for exposure to voltages that is referenced in the NIJ standard. Mechanical

Another safety concern is more mechanical or physical in nature. The operator or another person coming into contact with the HH or WT unit should not be exposed to needless risk of injury. The HH and WT unit should not contain sharp edges, loose covers/cowlings, hanging wires, protruding surfaces, etc. To address this concern, the detector is required to have rounded corners, no external wires or cables to trip over, and no loose parts. Violations of these safety requirements would be obvious, but unless stated explicitly, manufacturer compliance cannot be assumed. Exposure

Magnetic fields are used by HH and WT units to sense the presence of metal objects. Scientific studies have raised the concern that exposure to magnetic fields may cause biological changes in living cells. The effect of exposure of biological tissue and systems (human bodies) to magnetic fields has been addressed by several standards-setting organizations, and these standards are used in the revised NIJ standard to limit human exposure to magnetic fields generated by HH and WT units.
In addition, certain types of personal medical electronic devices may be affected by these magnetic fields. However, the effect of magnetic fields on personal electronic medical devices has not been studied extensively. These devices may be implanted under the skin or attached to the surface of the skin and include cardiac defibrillators, pacemakers, infusion pumps, spinal cord stimulators, ventilators, etc. At the time of this writing, only a few manufacturers of HH and WT units have had the effect of their detectors on personal medical electronic devices tested; and this was only for cardiac pacemakers. The Center for Device and Radiation Health (CDRH) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the Federal organization responsible for determining safety of exposure to various types of radiation. The CDRH has defined exposure limits for laser sources, cabinet x-ray machines, microwave ovens, etc. At the time of this writing, however, the CDRH has not declared any formal opinions regarding the exposure of the various personal medical electronic devices to the magnetic fields generated by hand-held and walk-through metal detectors. Warning Labels

A warning label is required on HH and WT units until the FDA or a similar agency has determined that exposure to the magnetic fields generated by HH and WT units is not unsafe.

Checking Teachers for Weapons

PMD2 metal detector 
This is the metal detector that reassigned teachers and only reassigned teachers are forced to walk through at least twice daily--once in the morning and once when returning from lunch.  Regular workers are allowed to bypass the scanner.

What is the scanner for?  I think the company's website is very clear on that.  Teachers are checked twice daily for weapons.  Metal detector is a euphemism.  This is a weapons detector.

  • Uniform Detection Field
  • Very High Discrimination
  • Highly Visible Double Display provides Single or Multiple Location of Weapons in Transit
  • Fast Programming through an Exclusive Chip Card System
  • High Immunity to External Interferences
  • Local or Remote Programming with Networking Capabilities

Chip card system: automatic calibration of security standards
PMD2, acronym for Programmable Metal Detector, is the most advanced CEIA application with an international patent of its own. It generates an electromagnetic scanning field for the detection of metallic weapons inside a monitored passage. Thanks to this technology, the PMD2 Metal Detector allows weapons to be accurately located on people in transit, considerably speeding up search operations.

A “height on person“ display actually indicates, by means of illuminated LED’s, the position of the weapon on the person. The location zones are not fixed, as in the case of Metal Detectors with multiple receiver-transmitter coils, but are variable and continuous so as to achieve optimum resolution.

Use of the PMD2 ensures an extremely high level of discrimination of metal personal effects.

PMD2 can be supplied, on request, with two emergency batteries that automatically come into operation in the event of a power failure.

PMD2 is available in panel (PMD2/PTZ) or column (PMD2/ENZ) version. Also an outdoor column version, PMD2/EWZ, is offered with an IP65 degree of protection.

A photocell transit counter is available as an option. This will allow for statistical data to be accumulated on the persons passing through the detector. The detector’s control unit is incorporated into the structure. Access to programming is protected both by a mechanical lock and by two alphanumeric passwords. The PMD2 is manufactured using the most advanced electronics technology, conforming to ISO 9001 Quality Control Standard procedures.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Water Fountains

It was a very hot day in Montgomery, Alabama.  I was five years old, and I knew how to read and name and some words if they weren't really big.  My momma and I were out shopping for school clothes.  I was going to real school in September just like the big kids, and I was going to have a brand new dress to wear on the first day.

Momma was taking a long, long, long time to pick out the dress, and I was getting tired and thirsty too.  Then I saw a drinking fountain.  No, two drinking fountains.  They had words on the top.  I could have asked Momma what they meant, but I was too big for that anymore--I could read them myself.   One said wa....haa... tttt.  I couldn't read that one.  The other word was even longer, but the beginning looked like a word I already knew.  Cool.  Cool...rrrr...ddd.   COOLRD.  That fountain water was coolered--that must mean it had cooler water than the other one did.   I had figured it out all by myself!  Momma was really busy looking at how the seams were made and if the plaids were matched up, so I just decided to go over there by myself, and get a drink of the special, cooler water.

The fountain was a little too high, but I didn't want Momma to help.  I could do it all by myself.  I tippitoed up,  turned the water on, and stretched my head out from my neck as far as it would go toward the water stream.   Suddenly, one of the sales ladies came up from behind.  "Oh, no, darlin', you don't drink out of that fountain.  You drink out of the other one.  Here, do you want me to lift you up?"  But it wasn't the words I remember as much as the look on her face.  I had somehow broken a rule, done something wrong.  I shook my head, and ran back to Momma.   One good thing about women's dress styles in the fifties is that a small child could hide herself in the voluminous skirts until she all but disappeared.  From my hiding place I could hear the lady explaining to Momma what had happened and my Momma apologizing.  Apologizing for what I had done.

After we left the store,without buying the dress, and had walked a safe distance away, I asked Momma, "Why couldn't I drink the cooler water?"

"You mean colored water?"

"No, Momma, that water didn't have any colors.  That water was cooler--the sign said so."

"No dear, the signs said WHITE and COLORED.  White people are supposed to drink out of the one marked WHITE and colored people are supposed to drink out of the one marked COLORED.  That's the way they do things down here.  I'm not saying it's right, but we need to follow their rules or we make people upset--like the lady in there."

"So which water is cooler?" I wanted to know.

"They're both the same; they come from the same place, sweetheart."

 "But why...?

She took me for ice cream, an unusual treat, probably trying to make up in some way for the loss of innocence that had happened to me that day, or perhaps simply to distract me from asking any more questions that she couldn't answer.

But I still think about it; not constantly, of course, just when I come up against a rule that doesn't make sense and gives me the same feeling that I had that day.  That's when I see the water fountain signs in my mind.

On Thursday we were divided into two groups:  Not white and colored this time, but blue and red.  Regular workers at our site have I.D. cards with a blue stripe.  Reassigned workers have I.D. cards with a red stripe.  Blues got to go in  without walking through a metal detector.  Reds and visitors had to line up to be scanned.

I had already exchanged words with Mr. Freedman, the Head of Security two hours earlier when I had been forced to show my drivers license, print my name, write my address (yeah, right) put a visitor's sticker on my clothes, and walk thorugh a scanner.

"I would like to request a copy of every sign-in sheet with my signature."  I said, with no attempt to conceal my outrage.

"You can't have a copy of the sign-in sheets," he said.  "They're confidential."

"I have a RIGHT to a copy of anything I SIGN," I countered.  "It's the LAW."

"Then you can go through the courts,"  He replied.

"Don't worry,  I will!"  I promised.

I went upstairs, seething, and wrote this letter to my United Federation of Teachers District Representative.

Then the fire alarm rang, and we had to go outside for a fire drill.  When we returned,  as I mentioned, we Red Badgers had to be scanned AGAIN.  Many were wearing their little VISITOR stickers from the morning, but they still had to submit to being carded and scanned for weapons a second time.  I didn't waste my time standing on line.  I waited until most of the Red Badgers had been reprocessed and then stood at the very back. 

"This is outrageous,"  I said to the security guards--almost all of whom were black.  This is like segregation in the South.  Front of the bus, back of the bus.  Different DRINKING FOUNTAINS." 

One security guard came up to me and said, "Do you have a problem,  Ma'am?" 

"Problem?  Of course not.  Why should I have a problem with SEGREGATION?"  I replied acidly.  He turned and walked away.

After I had signed in again, received a second visitor's sticker, and walked through the scanner, I turned and said to Freedman, the Head of Security.

"Have you ever fought for Civil Rights?  Do you know about the Civil Right Movement in this country?  I don't THINK so.  If you had, you would know what all this means!" 

Are you beginning to feel sorry for the poor security guards who were just doing their jobs?  Good.  Then feel free to feel sorry for the poor policemen in the south who enforced segregation.  Feel free to feel sorry for the poor german soldiers who made sure that the Jews got on the right trains.  Feel free to feel sorry for all the little people caught up in helping to perpetrate injustice so that they and their families can continue to sit in the front of the bus and drink out of the fountains marked WHITE.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Forced Visitor

This morning I faxed the following letter to Rona Freiser, UFT Queensborough Representative

Dear Rona,

I have been a teacher for 28 years and am currently reassigned to the Department of Education building on (address omitted).  I am not doing education related work as was specified in the agreement Mike Mulgrew signed with Klein.  Instead, I am doing the work of a file clerk. Although the type of work I am doing violates the agreement, I have not filed a formal grievance until now.

I would like to file a grievance at this time.

The reason I have decided to file a grievance is that today I was forced to sign in as a visitor in the building where I have been assigned as a regular worker.  I was forced to put my belongings through a scanner.  I was forced to walk through a scanner.  Every other reassigned teacvher has been forced to walk through a scanner.

None of the regular workers are forced to do this.  They show their building I.D. cards and walk in without signing in or walking through a scanner.  Several of the reassigned teachers haved asked for building I.D. cards, but have been told that reassigned tachers will not be given building I.D. cards.  Without a building I.D. card, we will be forced to allow ourselves to be scanned twice daily.

This disparate treatment is directed at Reassigned Teaches and only Reassigned Teachers in order to intimidate and denigrate teachers who have no history of violent behavior whatsoever.

I am also concerned about the health effects of being forced to walk through a scanner twice daily, and will be doing research on the matter.

I respectfully request that you contact the appropriate DOE officials in order to eliminate this latest indignity.

Fraternally yours,

Moriah Untamed

I faxed this letter to Rona at 10:40 AM.  At 11:00 AM there was a fire drill.  When the fire drill was finished all personnel had to go back in through the same door.  Those with building I.D's were directed to the left.  Those without building I.D.'s were directed to the right and forced to go through the scanner for the second time after presenting whatever I.D. they had.  The line to the right was much slower, so all the reassigned teachers were segregated and put on display for a prolonged period of time.  The only reason that I did not include the address of the building and the name of the director is because anyone can come into the lobby of that building and easily identify the reassigned teachers as the ones being scanned.  But the director deserves to see his name on this blog, and will some day.

In answering an annonymous comment on my last post, I reminded everyone that contacting PERB would definitely result in retaliation.

You know what?  I DON'T CARE.  I don't carry a knife or gun.  I carry pen and paper--and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  If this isn't resolved, PERB isn't the only place I'll go to file a complaint. 

Mayor Bloomberg.  Are trying to kill us?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hal Lanse

I found this story on Betsy Combier's Blog, NYC Rubber Room Reporter.

Hal Lanse would like us to email Mike Mulgrew because he has been suspended without pay or health benefits.  According to law, teachers cannot be suspended without pay until they have a hearing in which  the Department of Education must prove that there is just cause to terminate the teacher.  Until the hearing takes place, and a judgement is given, the DOE must pay the teacher.  If the DOE is allowed to get away with suspending teachers without pay, a dangerous precedent might be established and other teachers might be summarily suspended as well.

Ok.  That is very well and good.  I believe we should act in solidarity.  However, if you read Mr. Lanse's account in his own words, you will find some details that might bother you as much as they  did me (or not).

"I was given no work for two weeks until I fell asleep on a couch."

"I refused to sit in the corner as ordered. My lawyer says this is corporal punishment." 

"I refused, however, when the DOE stooped to ordering me to put paper clips on stacks of papers."

"Last week, my supervisor yelled at me ....I filed a complaint. The DOE refused to log-in the complaint, so I followed the UFT's advice and called the police. "

Hal, we're not in the Rubber Room anymore.  You have just given us an example of the kinds of behavior that people got away with in the Rubber Room and nothing ever happened to them.  People would fall asleep in their chairs.  Nobody cared.  People would get in screaming fights with each other,   They'd get written up,  and absolutely nothing would happen.  People called 911 and filed police reports on other teachers, on security guards, on administrators for the most minor, stupid reasons.    People came to work looking like the homeless, dressed in dirty, worn out old clothes.  Some people smelled.  Others took to smearing the toilet walls with their own feces.  No matter what people did, they were not suspended without pay.

We don't have that kind of protection anymore.  We are in a work environment.  No, we don't have anything to do.  What a terrible waste.  I have a Masters  Degree plus 60 credits in the sciences, but I am doing the work of a file clerk.  Boo Hoo.  I am a 100,000 dollar a year file clerk. Boo Hoo.

That doesn't stop me from trying to look and behave like a professional.  No matter how badly the DOE slavebrains behave, it's no excuse for us to lower our own professional standards.  We need to be better than they are, and we need to organize as a group. 

Now that you are suspended without pay, Hal, you call for an organized action.  You had good reason to do so when your charges were dropped, but you were not placed in a school.  Put out the call:  All "TRC personnel who should be placed in a school, but who are doing nonteaching jobs meet at Joe's Diner on the corner of blank and blank streets."  Meet.  Strategize.  Call for actions that cannot be used to terminate you or suspend you, for now. 

Instead you protested alone, and now you're suspended alone.  And you've opened up a possible precedent for others to be suspended.

Is the Union right?   No.  Is the DOE right?  No. If you want to do something about it, don't fall asleep on a couch.

Oh, yeah.  Mike Mulgrew-- The agreement that you signed with Klein has been violated on so many levels, that it has become totally irrelevant.  If you don't grieve the violations, you are complicit.  Telling us to file grievances when many of us are whistle blowers who are here precisely because we filed grievances just shows what a hypocrite you are.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Letter to Oprah I Wish I Had Written

Note: This letter was written by Britton Gildersleeve of Oklahoma State University. I published it a few hours ago and it has already received quite a few comments--which makes me wish even more that I had written it. I have tried to give you a link to the article, but in the short time since I copied and pasted it into my blog, all the links have been blocked. I will give you a link to Ms. Gildersleeve's website that should work.  Moriah Untamed

Dear Oprah,

I teach. Given, I teach at university level, but I’ve been teaching for several years — about 20, to be exact. And I’ve seen the changes that No Child Left Behind — and your beloved testing — have made in my students. None of the changes are good: students want to be spoon-fed (they are in testing environments); students want to do only what will get them high grades. The list is long and sad.

I also direct a non-profit federally funded professional development grant for teachers, pre-k to university, the Oklahoma State University Writing Project. It’s the local site of the National Writing Project, an amazing partnership among research universities, classroom teachers, and schools. Not to mention the inclusion of parents and students. All of these voices are absent in the current national conversation.

Oprah, let me tell you about Oklahoma teachers and their classrooms. Many of my friends and colleagues at the high school level have more than 170-200 students in their classrooms. Do you think a student is worth 10 minutes a week from his/ her teacher? Outside of the classroom? Do you think a “good” teacher should spend that much time on weekly grading — 10 minutes a student? Please do the math: that would mean another 83+ hours weekly, Oprah — outside of classroom. IF each student receives 10 minutes of attention on his or her work outside the classroom.

“Don’t they have plan periods?” I hear people ask. No, many don’t. “Plan periods” went the way of smaller classrooms — there are too many school duties: hall monitors, cafeteria duty, mandated professional development that has nothing to do with the school’s demographics. And even if they did, that’s less than five hours weekly…

And yes, good teachers work a lot of outside hours. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma (where our average teacher salary ranks 47th in the country), many teachers need to take part-time jobs. Does this impact their teaching? Certainly. It also impacts the ability for a single mother of two or three children to put food on the table and pay the rent. Do you want teachers to spend more time on students? Lower classroom size — hire more teachers. And pay them competitive salaries — competitive with other career paths requiring a minimum of a bachelor?s degree. Even nurses (another under-rated career) make more than teachers do.

You don’t want teachers to have tenure? Then figure out a way that a principal in a small town (like, say, Skiatook, Okla.) will be unable to fire teachers s/he doesn’t like. Not because the teacher is ‘bad,’ but because the teacher attends the wrong church. Or maybe doesn’t attend church at all. Small towns — and big ones, as well — have politics, Oprah. And surprise: they affect every decision in a school, even to the detriment of teachers.

Tenure doesn’t keep bad teachers in the system — there are ways, as others have noted, to fire teachers. Your guest, Michele Rhee, notes that she fired hundreds. Many had tenure. And many probably weren’t bad teachers, unfortunately. Ms. Rhee, who once thought it was okay to tape students’ mouths shut?? She’s now in charge of evaluating schools? Let me tell you, Oprah, I teach pre-service teachers, in addition to my job directing a NWP site. Not ONE of my students would think that’s okay.

You can’t fire a doctor without just cause, Oprah — there’s a system. Is that ‘tenure’? Or trying to be sure that in this ostensible democracy, we have the right to confront our ‘accuser,’ and hear what is being said about us. Each year in Tulsa, Okla., new teachers don’t make the grade. Even in the third year of teaching, we let teachers who don’t work out go. Unfortunately, we lose an enormous number of teachers — good ones — who can’t deal with the incredibly complicated paperwork, the overtime demands, the lack of time to do what they went to school for: teach.

I wish someone who knew even a little bit about real classrooms, the heart-breaking challenges teachers face daily (teachers spend an average of $400 annually, out of their own meager salaries, to equip their rooms), had a national forum. I wish one of your guests was a real teacher. John Legend? Really? Come on, Oprah, I don’t try to tell John Legend how to make music; he’s going to tell me about teaching? Or perhaps you’re stereotyping? Instead of John Legend, why don’t you have Pedro Noguera, who wrote a stunning book discussing the problems black males face in the system (The Trouble with Black Boys)? Or Mike Rose, who’s worked for decades with working class, side-lined students and schools of America? Or Diane Ravitch, who recanted her support of NCLB because it not only doesn’t work, it harms students?? And Race to the Top is simply an Obama-ised NCLB, I’m sorry to say.

Why don’t you, with your great forum for change, invite real classroom teachers to talk about what it’s like to teach homeless students with no resources (students or teachers)? Why don’t you ask my son, who recently graduated with a Master’s of Arts in teaching, what it’s like to teach students living in foster homes for drug abuse, rape — both victims and perpetrators — violence, assault? Why don’t you ask him how he struggles to be a “good” teacher? And wonders — daily — what that even means in the context where he finds himself?

If you want to change education, Oprah, don’t make the mistake everyone else has. Ask teachers. Would you have a conversation about the national state of medicine and health care without asking for the input of doctors, nurses and patients? And yet we have left parents, teachers and students completely out of this critical talk.

If you want real change, invite real teachers to your show, Oprah. The irony is that the conversation seems to valourise teachers, saying that “good” teachers can change things for kids. So can smaller classrooms, food, adequate resources, the freedom to teach according to a child’s needs. But then, that’s not what the “experts” are saying, is it? Unfortunately, the “experts” have no real experience with students. Or teaching. Or classrooms. They only know how to tell the teachers in the trenches what to do?

Wondering how in the world education came to this pass,

Britton Gildersleeve

Monday, October 11, 2010

Professor Longhair - Cry to Me

Thanks to an Anonymous tip I discovered another version of Cry To Me. Rest In Peace Solomon Burke.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke: When You Feel Like Crying

Solomon Burke's music has given me a lot of comfort since I discovered it through the movie "Dirty Dancing."

When I feel like crying I sing along with this song instead.  You never really die, if you make people sing instead of cry.  RIP

When your baby leaves you all alone
And nobody calls you on the phone
Ah, don't you feel like crying?
Don't you feel like crying?
Well here I am my honey
Oh, come on you cry to me.

When you're all alone in your lonely room
And there's nothing but the smell of her perfume
Ah don't you feel like crying
Don't you feel like crying?
Ah don't you feel like crying?
Come on, come on cry to me.

Well nothing could be sadder
Than a glass of wine, all alone
Loneliness, loneliness, it's such a waste of time
Oh-oh yeah

You don't ever have to walk alone, oh you see
Oh come on, take my hand and baby won't you walk with me?
Oh ya

When you're waiting for a voice to come
In the night and there is no one
Ah don't you feel like crying? (cry to me)
Don't you feel like crying? (cry to me)
Ah don't you feel like a-ca-ca-cra-co-cra-co-cra-cra, (cry to me)
Cra-co-cra-co-cra-cra crying? (cry to me)
Ah don't you feel like a-cra-co-cra-co-cra-cra,
Cra-co-cra-co-cra-cra crying?...

Jude's Story: Threats and Cover-up

In order to tell you about the cover-up and threats made against Jude, I am going to go back to the first moment that Jude realized that something was wrong with the tests.

Each teacher got a list of the children in their class, and the score of each child.  The first anomaly that leapt off the page was the “2” (below average) next to Little Johnny’s name.  Jude was sure that he had gotten a perfect score, which would have given him a “4”. During the test, she had walked around the classroom and had noticed how well he had been doing.

The next thing she did was to go talk to one of the other teachers who had scored the 4th grade test with her.

How did the other teacher respond?  Did he say something like:  “You’re sure he was doing that well, and he only got a “2”?  Well, you’re his teacher, and you would know.  I can understand your concern.  Let’s go ask for his test and check it together.”

Uh. No.  This is what the teacher really said.

 “Little Johnny?   A “4” ?  Don’t be silly. He and his family are white trash.  How would he ever get a “4”?  And he turned his back and walked away.

Jude then went to talk to the Reading Specialist.

Without any sign of surprise, the Reading Specialist replied, “Oh, you figured it out!  It SHOULD bother you that they lowered your kids test scores.”

Kids.  Scores. Plural.

Jude went back and  looked at the scores again.  So many “1’s” and “2’s”.  Surely Little Sally and Little Brady had done better than that.  How many other children had been given grades lower than they deserved?  These grades would help determine the fifth grade class placement of each child.  Children could be held back because of these scores.

Finally, Jude decided to tell the principal.   It was Jane Brush’s first year as a principal.  A former gym teacher, she had just graduated from the Leadership Academy.  It was up to her to take the next step in what could be a serious case of test tampering.  True to her training, she delegated, or passed the hot potato, to her Assistant Principal, Page Letterman.  A.P. Letterman sat in the principal's office and carefully checked the tests from Jude’s class.  Then she asked for all the 4th grade tests.

While this process was going on, one of the 4th grade teachers, Doreen Grady, knocked on Jude’s classroom door while class was in progress.  When Jude opened the door, Doreen hissed, “We’re going to get you, Jude.  We’re going to get the parents after you.” As soon as she was free, Jude went to the classroom of her UFT Union Representative,  Katy McMillan, and told her what Doreen had said.  Katy simply replied, “Teachers don’t stick together.”  Then she locked the door and slammed it in Jude’s face.

After carefully reviewing all the tests, Assistant Principal Letterman called all the fourth grade teachers down to the principal’s office. “What’s going on?”  she asked.  I’ve reviewed all the tests.  Numbers 2 and 4 which were graded by Jude are all done according to the rubric.  The rest of you have given much lower grades than you should have.”  When she didn’t get a satisfactory answer from them, she asked Jude to leave, and kept the others in the office.

Now we can stop right here, and try to give the other teachers the benefit of the doubt.  It was a new rubric.  They weren’t used to grading tests that way.  They possibly misinterpreted the rubric...  Perhaps they were simply careless.  Remember they had made fun of Jude for being so slow and meticulous.  There was an easy way to find out if the teachers had lowered the scores accidentally or maliciously.  Each teacher had corrected the same questions.  Let’s say Doreen Grady, the teacher who threatened Jude, had been assigned problems 5 and 6.  If she had made the same mistakes on 5& 6 for all the tests, then she had simply misinterpreted the scoring guide.  If she had not been consistent, and had graded her students and those of friends with a different criteria than she had used on Jude’s class, then she had maliciously tampered with the test.

The next day Leadership Academy Principal Brush called all the 4th grade teachers into her office.  She looked at Jude and told her to apologize to the other 4th grade teachers.

“For what?” gasped Jude.

The principal repeated the order.  Apologize to the other teachers for suggesting that they had graded the tests incorrectly.  Jude replied that she had nothing to apologize for, and that they were the ones who should be apologizing because THEY HAD graded the tests incorrectly—Page Letterman had said so. Apologize?  They could “Kiss My Fat Ass”!!!!!

Leadership Academy Principal Brush then told her that the matter had been resolved and then ordered her not to discuss it with anyone.  Jude was told to leave the office, but  the other 4th grade teachers were asked to remain.

The “matter” was never resolved, because it was covered up.   The cover-up allowed the other 4th grade teachers to carry out Doreen’s threat, and to begin a three-year course of harassment aided and abetted by Leadership Academy Principal Brush.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scan Scam Update

I called my UFT representative yesterday.  I emphasized that if the DOE thought I had been absent all year without notifying them, then they could terminate me.  He told me he would look into it and called me back soon thereafter.  He said that the matter was resolved.  However, I still can't get my attendance data from Cybershift.  None of the people at my site can either.  The regular workers can get into Cybershift but we can't.  Teachers at other sites can get into Cybershift, but we can't.  Unless I'm mistaken we have the contractual right to view our records whenever we want.  Well, I want to view and get a copy of my attendance records,  but they are Lost In DOE Cyberspace.

My advice to other reassigned teachers is to maintain your own copies of your attendance records and do not rely on your site supervisor or the DOE to do so for you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jude's Story: Crime #1

It was the 2001-2002 academic year and the New York State Math Test had just been administered.  In schools all over the city,  teachers for each grade sat around a table correcting the tests.  Rather than marking the tests of their own students, Jude and the other 4th grade teachers in her school split the work by assigning each teacher to grade the same two or three questions on every 4th grader's test.

There was a very detailed scoring guide for each answer, and Jude carefully read it before marking each student's test.  The other teachers criticized her for being too slow, but she told them that she wanted to be meticulous so that she could be sure that she was giving each student the mark he or she deserved.

After the tests were all graded, the principal published the scores of all the students together with the average for each teacher.  Jude was surprised to find that her students had scored lowest of all the other fourth grade classes.  The highest scoring class was that of the senior teacher on the grade--the one with the most seniority.  She took a closer look, and noticed that the second most senior teacher had the second highest scores, and so on down the list until she reached her name, with the lowest scoring class and the least seniority.  Not only that, but she had walked around the classroom and glanced at students' tests while she was proctoring.  She had been happy to notice that some students were doing very well.   Now she saw that these same children had received very low scores considering what she had observed during the test.

The tests were about to be sent out of the school building to the district office.  Once they were gone, there would be no chance of hiding what might be a very embarrassing case of test tampering.  She decided to tell her principal who delegated the investigation to her assistant principal.  Sure enough, the A.P. found that a large number of tests had been graded incorrectly.  After the tests were regraded Jude's class was first or second of all the fourth grade classes--she can't remember which, because that's not what she cared about.  She cared that her students had not received the grades they deserved.

It turned out that the same thing had happened on the sixth grade.  The class averages had been tied to seniority--most senior teacher, highest scores.  After the regrading, the least senior teacher had the highest scores.

You might be saying--This isn't a crime.  It certainly can't be compared to the Rape of Gertrude Perkins.

No.  This isn't THE CRIME.  It's just the beginning.  A little step out of bounds.  It was all resolved in-house.  No one got sent to the Rubber Room.  But Jude's life would never be the same.