Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Don't Say Gay" Bill Back In Tennessee - Only Worse Than Last Time


State Sen. Stacey Campfield has filed a bill that would discourage talking about homosexuality in schools, reigniting one of the Tennessee Capitol's most heated debates of recent years.

Campfield, R-Knoxville, has introduced a measure that would prohibit elementary and middle school teachers from bringing up homosexuality, and it would require guidance counselors to report to parents some conversations about their child's sexuality.

The bill, which Campfield has titled the "Classroom Protection Act," builds on the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill that failed in the state legislature last spring. Opponents already are gearing up for another fight over the measure.

"It's kind of like 'Don't Say Gay' on steroids," said Chris Sanders, chairman and president of the Tennessee Equality Project. "He's listened to the objections and ended up making it worse."

Senate Bill 234 would once again bar educators from leading discussions about homosexuality before high school, though it would let teachers answer questions from students in the classroom and it would let school counselors talk about the subject with students one-on-one.

The new bill also adds a requirement that counselors inform the parents or guardians of the student if they determine that issues related to the child's sexuality "present immediate and urgent safety issues." The bill does not define what those issues are, but Campfield said almost any sexual act would qualify.

"Being gay is not a dangerous activity," he said. "The act of homosexuality is very dangerous to someone's health and safety."

Campfield has also introduced a bill to tie a family's welfare payments to their children's performance in schools.

You have to wonder just what damage was done to Stacey Campfield when he was a child that he's such a noxious person as an adult.

Bloomberg: How Dare You Hold Me Accountable For Sexist Language!

From the Daily News:

Mayor Bloomberg on Thursday angrily denied a published report that quoted him checking out a woman’s backside.

"I never said it, and I don't know where it came from,” Hizzoner snarled after a reporter asked him about the comments attributed to him in a New York magazine article.

A reporter for the magazine claimed this week in a profile about City Council Speaker Christine Quinn that he was at a swank upper East Side holiday party where he heard the mayor make an inappropriate comment about a woman.

Scribe Jonathan Van Meter said he was standing by as a friend tried to thank the mayor for his work on gun control when Hizzoner became distracted by the woman.
“Bloomberg gestured toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown standing nearby and said, ‘Look at the ass on her,’” Van Meter wrote.

In the same story, Quinn admitted that of her political ally that “he’s got a potty mouth.”

Asked Thursday whether the comments were part of a pattern of sexist remarks, Bloomberg took offense to the question.

“That's an outrage for you to say,” he said.

No, it's not an outrage for a reporter to ask a question about a pattern in your behavior.

As noted here, you have had several sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits launched aginst you.

You settled those out of court and got non-disclosure agreements to make sure the alleged victims never talked to the press.

Your company was sued by the EEOC for discrimination against women as well.  
It's true, the EEOC did not win the lawsuit, but it's not as if there hasn't been a little smoke around the harassment and discrimination issue for you.

And now comes the New York Magazine article, which sounds believable considering other women in the past have said that you said similar things to them when you were running Bloomberg LP.

There is nothing outrageous for a reporter to ask you about this.

In fact, it would be outrageous for reporters to not ask you about it.

And what is outrageous is your faux outrage over the question.

What comes to mind in your reaction is this: "Thou doth protest too much."

As usual, accountability is for the little people, not the great Mike Bloomberg.

Mulgrew Surrenders Collective Bargaining Rights To The State

This More Caucus statement on Mulgrew's surrender of the UFT's collective bargaining rights to the state over the evaluation system says almost everything that needs to be said on the subject:

In a recent email to chapter leaders, Michael Mulgrew stated that he welcomes Governor Cuomo’s involvement in forcing an evaluation system on NYC teachers. At a time when teachers are under attack from many quarters, it seems inconceivable that the UFT leadership would cede its bargaining power to the State Education Department. Mulgrew expressed his relief that should talks once again stall, the governor and the SED, “people who actually understand education”, will be involved. Our teachers, the ones who really understand education, will be left out of the decision making process.

We should remember that it was Mulgrew’s willingness to sign on to the state’s Race to the Top application that got us here in the first place. The UFT agreed to allow teachers to be evaluated by student test data in exchange for a promise of $700 million which has yet to reach city classrooms.

We at MORE categorically oppose any evaluation system that includes flawed student test data as a component. We also reject the virtual elimination of tenure that would result from the proposed evaluation system, in which teachers would be presumed incompetent based on that faulty data.
Mulgrew also states in his letter that we need this agreement so that we will not “risk further loss of state money.”  In truth, the state is under no obligation to withhold any funds and is only doing so to force an agreement. Worse still, the state has threatened to take Title I funds from our neediest students in the absence of a deal, showing their contempt for students as well as teachers. Rather than submit to such blatant blackmail, the UFT should be rallying against attempts to rob our poorest children for the sake of pleasing education reformers.

Furthermore, the UFT has sent out District Representatives  to schools claiming that not enough teachers are found unsatisfactory and “that has to change.”  If the purpose of the new evaluation deal is to help teachers improve and “help teachers help students”, as Mulgrew claims in his letter, it should be focused on giving support to teachers, not on getting them terminated.  It is MORE’s position that it is the union’s obligation to protect its members. We should not collaborate with the city in its attempts to fire teachers at will, nor cede our power to the state. Any data driven evaluation system coupled with a weakening of tenure will surely lead to more firings.

It should also be remembered that any new evaluation agreement was supposed to be coupled with a new contract. Not only have teachers been without a contract or a raise since 2009, but this latest capitulation by the UFT basically gives away our strongest bargaining chip in our ongoing contract negotiations.

If there is to be a new evaluation system, it must be fair and ensure the rights of teachers. It should be collectively bargained and subject to the vote of the full membership as dictated by the law. We, the teachers of the UFT, are the ones who “really understand education” so we must be fully engaged in any process that will impact our practice and our profession.

We should not submit to blackmail or an assault on our collective bargaining rights.

It is quite simple - since Michael Mulgrew "welcomes" the state coming in and taking away our collective bargaining rights and imposing its own evaluation system upon us in violation of the law (or worse, devising a law just for NYC that gives the state the power to do this), we need to "welcome" new leadership into the UFT that understands the function of a union and the importance of collective bargaining rights.

It is clear that Michael Mulgrew cannot and will not protect the interests or rights of his members or do his duties as the leader of the United Federation of teachers.

It is past time that the UFT rank and file get some leadership that can and will protect the interests and rights of teachers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mulgrew: I'm Fine With Cuomo Imposing An Evaluation System

Governor Cuomo said he will propose a law that allows the Regents and the NYSED to develop and impose a teacher evaluation system for NYC if the UFT and Mayor Bloomberg cannot come to an agreement over such a system by September 1.

Since Shelly Silver was sitting next to Cuomo when he said this, we must presume such a law would pass the Assembly (the Senate is a done deal already with Republicans in charge) and wind up on Cuomo's desk.

How did UFT President Michael Mulgrew respond to this news?

Like this:

Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that he “would prefer a negotiated settlement,” but supported state intervention if talks fail again.

For Mulgrew it's a win/win if the state imposes an evaluation system.

This way, he never has to agree to anything and can always say to members, "Hey, I didn't sign onto this system - the state forced it down on our throats."

Yet he still gets an evaluation system that he claims is going to be the bestest thing in education since the chalk board - with growth models based upon tests and student folders and all kinds of other "accountability measures."

And as Accountable Talk noted a few weeks back, the UFTsters are dying to get a few more teachers fired every year because, as one of the UFT leadership geniuses told AT, 

we have to agree to this evaluation system because no other organization he can think of has just 1% of its members rated unsatisfactory, and that has to change.

That's right UFT members - your union leadership doesn't think enough of you are being "u-rated" and fired and they want to fix that in this new evaluation system.

Given that the new evaluation system VAM is going to have a margin of error bigger than Bloomberg's mouth and given that anybody can be "u-rated" using the 57 page Danielson rubric, including Danielson herself, the UFT leadership ought to get their wishes.

Now if I was the union head, I would say publicly how we would challenge any system that is imposed by the state that forces teacher evaluations based upon junk science like VAM.

I would also say publicly how the system has been set up to "get" teachers by putting in place an observation rubric that is too complex and convoluted for anybody to ever be rated "effective" with it.
I would also note how the other states that have pursued this kind of evaluation system - Florida and Tennessee - have made a mess of things and how these systems are being challenged in the courts.

Finally, I would note that if the governor decides to impose such a flawed evaluation system here, I would have no choice but to challenge such a system in court and I would ask the public, do they want their kids' teachers to be evaluated using a system that is error-riddled and will mean Endless Testing all the year through in every subject in every grade, K-12, just so that teachers can be "evaluated" with junk science?

That's what I would do.

Mulgrew, on the other hand, essentially shrugged and said, "Sure, do whatever the hell you want."

Don't we want MORE out of our union leadership than this?

Another Tutoring Company Found To Have Bilked DOE Out Of Millions

Bloomberg claims he will have to cut 2,500 teacher jobs over the next two years as a result of losing the 4% increase in state aid that was contingent upon a new teacher evaluation agreement.

Of course the majority of the cuts will come from schools rather than the central Tweed budget.

And even as Bloomberg is claiming he has to cut these teaching jobs in order to keep the city budget in the black, we get word of another consultant company bilking the DOE out of millions:

A substitute teacher was busted yesterday for an alleged long-running tutoring scam that overbilled the Department of Education for hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds.

Michael Logan, 48, of White Plains, allegedly recruited former students to help in his scheme, hiring them as “aides” for after-school tutoring in The Bronx at the Monroe and Columbus high schools, which racked up $2.3 million in bills between 2005 and 2012.

But instead of helping disadvantaged students boost their grades, Logan had them round up signatures from kids at sports practice to falsify attendance sheets for the now-defunct TestQuest tutoring company, court papers say.

And if they couldn’t find enough students to fill out the forms, Logan — a TestQuest manager — allegedly told the aides “to sign the sheets themselves.”

“I already got paid, this is how you get paid,” he said, according to a Manhattan federal-court complaint.

Logan has been barred from teaching pending the outcome of his charges.

Meanwhile, the feds yesterday joined a whistle-blower suit against TestQuest, claiming its management “knew about, deliberately ignored or recklessly disregarded the fraud.”

TestQuest founder and CEO Tiffany Hott didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The TestQuest bilking is not an isolated incident. 

Comptroller John Liu found another tutoring company - a company the DOE just gave another multi-million dollar contract to - has bilked the DOE out of millions over the past few years and is under federal investigation:

The largest provider of after-school tutoring services for city public schools pupils, Champion Learning Center LLC, has been under investigation since last summer by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, the Daily News has learned.

The federal probe came to light this week after City Controller John Liu refused to approve a new $4.5 million contract the Department of Education awarded the company in November.

“There is sufficient reason to believe that the proposed contractor is involved in corrupt activity,” Liu said in a Jan. 11 letter to the Department of Education, a copy of which The News obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

The firm, Liu noted in his letter, has twice been found to be improperly billing the city for its services — once by the department itself and once by Liu’s auditors. As a result, Champion has been forced to repay more than $6 million since 2009.

In addition, Liu said, the firm revealed in an Oct. 9 update to the city’s VENDEX system that it is the target of an ongoing federal civil probe.
Now neither of these instances of overbilling or fraud involving Champion Learning Center or TestQuest add up to $250 million.
But these are the instances of fraud and overbilling that have been caught.
I could add the Willard Lanham fraud of the DOE for $1.4 million and the Judith Hederman fraud of the DOE for $43 million to the Champion and TestQuest fraud and we're starting to get into some real money here.
Not to mention the CityTime fraud ($600 million stolen) and the 911 system that is now $1 billion overbudget and years overdo.

I bet if an outside auditor looked at the other DOE and city contracts with outside companies, they'd find many other instances of fraud and overbilling too.

So Bloomberg can play prudent fiscal genius with his last budget all he wants - the truth is, this $250 million in lost aid is nothing compared to the money Bloomberg has allowed the outside consultants to steal during his tenure as Incompetent-In-Chief.

Our Next Mayor

Supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis announced he is running for mayor yesterday:

John A. Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, stood on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday and announced that he would seek the Republican nomination for mayor of New York City. 

Then he started talking about his suit. 

“I think my wife paid $100 for this jacket,” Mr. Catsimatidis, who bills himself a “common billionaire,” said as he gripped the lapel of a plus-size Jos. A. Bank blazer. “I’m not wearing a $5,000 suit.” He warned his daughter, standing nearby, that he would not be buying her an $80 million apartment. Later, he added, “I feel the people’s pain.” 

“There were times in the ’80s,” Mr. Catsimatidis, a 64-year-old Upper East Sider, said, “when I was afraid to walk from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue.” 

It was an unconventional announcement from an unconventional candidate, a corporate dealmaker with no political experience, no natural constituency and little support among the city’s chattering class. 

But Mr. Catsimatidis, who appeared to be enjoying himself immensely during Tuesday’s event, does have an estimated $3 billion fortune — more than enough to mount a formidable advertising operation and, at the very least, be a thorn in the side of a crowded Republican field of candidates who are little known to the public. 

I for one am excited that Mr. Catsimatidis is running for mayor because I love his supermarkets.

Who doesn't love going to Gristedes and paying $3.79 a pound for bruised tomatoes, buying food that's been frozen/defrosted/frozen/defrosted and frozen again or counting the rodent droppings on the floor near the deli counter?

Hell, overpaying for rotten produce because the owner of the business knows your stuck in Manhattan and the Food Emporium is even worse is as New York as you can get.

Now I know the "chattering classes" and the power elites aren't looking to support Mr. Catsimatidis because they think he's a bit of a goofball.

But that's a shame, because Mr. Catsimatidis has all the right qualifications to be mayor.

First of all, this guy knows customer service - just take a look at some of the Yelp reviews from customers:

This place has always been terrible...rotting produce, exorbitant prices, selling things that are long past their expiration date, etc. But now I can say from first hand experience that this place is truly the worst. I got severe food poisoning from some ice cream sandwiches I purchased there. Clearly they are selling food that has melted and refroze. When a store is dirty and expensive, that's one thing, but when you cannot trust their food, which is liable to make you deathly ill, that's another. Stay away from this place, or at least stay away from the perishables! Patronize at your own peril.


 Once considered a high-priced, upscale chain, Gristede's has been in a steady decline since it was purchased by Sloan's. This particular location boasts dirty floors, dusty shelves, a peculiar odor - possibly from the rotting produce - and a not surprisingly indifferent staff, given they're working under the supervision of a manager who fails to grasp the concept of customer service. In an area bereft of decent supermarkets, it's difficult to avoid, but be sure to check expiration dates, because merchandise seems to sit here indefinitely. (When I made the aforementioned manager aware that milk was three days past its prime, he saw no reason to remove it from the display case, but offered to refund my money if I discovered it had soured!)


 The gristedes near me (96th and Broadway) is so bad that my girlfriend and I refer to it as "the methadone clinic."  That is what the people there remind me of.  It is far from clean looking (although I'm sure its basically hygenic), the produce is a joke, and the entrance is down a ramp on a dark sidestreet with no other businesses notorious for garbage, rats, and stuff I don't even want to know about.  I have heard multiple cashiers cursing customers and management out loud as they bagged groceries.  The clientele ranges from nervous looking local professional types to the criminally insane and unwashed.  They are also terminally understaffed for good measure so the lines are long.  Good times all around, at least it's generally cheaper than gourmet garage.


Ew. Indeed a depressing place. Not fresh, not cheap, not clean.


 Soo dirty (and not in a good way). The only things I've ever bought here are packaged goods. And yet, there always seems to be a line, no matter how empty and desolate the store may be. If it's possible, the place is made all the more depressing by the lighting, with its old sanitarium style flair. Last time I was there, a washed up actor was talking loudly about her upcoming projects, and that desperation, I think, captures the place exactly.

Can't you see a guy who runs grocery stores like that running the Department of Education?  

I know I can.

The second reason why I am supporting John Catsimatidis for mayor is because he and his family just look like winners and I really think they'll reflect well on New Yorkers as a whole.

Here, for example, is the Christmas card the family sent out in 2012 to friends and family:

We've had 12 years of that frump, Mayor Bloomberg, and his lady friend, Diana Taylor. 

Don't we need some celebrity glamor in City Hall and Gracie Mansion?

I think we do, and let's face it, doesn't that Catsimatidis family Christmas card just ooze glamor and celebrity.

I think it does.

Hell, I'm finally getting excited about the 2013 mayoral campaign now that we have a real formidable candidate in the race.

I was worried we were going to get stuck with Bloomberg Jr., er, Christine Quinn or worse, Giuliani budget director/MTA chief Joe Lhota.

But now I think we just might get the next Fiorello La Guardia in the form of John Catsimatidis.

Wasn't La Guardia noted for owning filthy, rodent-infested grocery stores that sold post-expiration date food too?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bloomberg's Budget

As expected, Bloomberg is taking out all $250 million of lost state aid on schools in his latest (and hopefully last) budget:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the last city budget of his administration Tuesday and says it was hit hard by the recent failed agreement on a teacher evaluation system.

While he says it will be balanced, Bloomberg adds the city is set to lose millions more in state funding over the next couple of years because of the fallout.

Bloomberg says that lack of funding means the city will lose about 1,800 teachers through attrition over the next two years, and will have to cut after school programs and money for school supplies.

Notice what's not mentioned?

How Tweed will have to hire fewer outside consultants.

How there won't be money for Acuity tests.

How we will have to roll back Common Core implementation because the budget cuts will mean fewer resources for teachers and students.

How a few central Tweedies might have to go work at Bloomberg's philanthropy wing a little earlier rather than stay on the city payroll doing whatever the hell it is they do.

Nope - didn't hear any of that from the mayor.

Instead we heard how there will be fewer resources for schools, larger class sizes for kids and fewer teachers through attrition.

And given that Bloomberg's motto for the system is "Bloomberg and Walcott First...Always," I think it makes sense that Bloomberg has decided to take the budget cuts out on students, teachers and schools.

That it was Bloomberg who blew up the evaluation deal (a fact all but acknowledged not only by the heads of the principals' union and teachers' union but also by NYSED Commissioer King and Governor Cuomo) never enters into his budget thought process.

How Damaging Will Common Core Be To Young Children?

I posted earlier about the NY Post article that describes how the Common Core curriculum is being used on four and five years olds in NYC public schools.

The Common Core requires "high standards" even in kindergarten, replaces fictional stories with non-fiction, adds high stakes tests, and is causing much stress, anxiety and fear in the children.

This section of the Post article best sums up Common Core for four and five year olds:

“For the most part, it’s way over their heads,” a Brooklyn teacher said. “It’s too much for them. They’re babies!”

In a kindergarten class in Red Hook, Brooklyn, three children broke down and sobbed on separate days last week, another teacher told The Post.

When one girl cried, “I can’t do it,” classmates rubbed her back, telling her, “That’s OK.”

“This is causing a lot of anxiety,” the teacher said. “Kindergarten should be happy and playful. It should be art and dancing and singing and learning how to take turns. Instead, it’s frustrating and disheartening.”

Teachers really do know what's best for their students, but the education reformers who developed the Common Core Federal Standards (and make no mistake, they are federal standards) and the politicians who put them into place don't particularly respect what educators have to say or think about anything important.

According to Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige (published in Valerie Strauss's blog in the Washington Post), the people who developed the Common Core and put them into place didn't include teachers in any of their discussions about how these standards would affect students nor did they base the new standards for K-3 on any research.

They write:

Recent critiques of the Common Core Standards by Marion Brady and John T. Spencer have noted that the process for creating the new K-12 standards involved too little research, public dialogue, or input from educators.

Nowhere was this more startlingly true than in the case of the early childhood standards—those imposed on kindergarten through grade 3. We reviewed the makeup of the committees that wrote and reviewed the Common Core Standards. In all, there were 135 people on those panels. Not a single one of them was a K-3 classroom teacher or early childhood professional.

It appears that early childhood teachers and child development experts were excluded from the K-3 standards-writing process.

When the standards were first revealed in March 2010, many early childhood educators and researchers were shocked. “The people who wrote these standards do not appear to have any background in child development or early childhood education,” wrote Stephanie Feeney of the University of Hawaii, chair of the Advocacy Committee of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.

The promoters of the standards claim they are based in research. They are not. There is no convincing research, for example, showing that certain skills or bits of knowledge (such as counting to 100 or being able to read a certain number of words) if mastered in kindergarten will lead to later success in school. Two recent studies show that direct instruction can actually limit young children’s learning. At best, the standards reflect guesswork, not cognitive or developmental science.

Moreover, the Common Core Standards do not provide for ongoing research or review of the outcomes of their adoption—a bedrock principle of any truly research-based endeavor.

How ironic that the education reformers who claim high school students must be able to write argumentative essays with a convincing thesis that is backed up with facts and data did not seem to do their research or homework on child development for K-3 nor did they seek out the opinions or thoughts of the child development professionals who might have helped guide them in a different direction for the standards.

Had the Common Core developers sought out the opinions and thoughts of those professionals, they would have learned the following:

The Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals on the Common Core Standards Initiative was signed by educators, pediatricians, developmental psychologists, and researchers, including many of the most prominent members of those fields.
Their statement reads in part:

 We have grave concerns about the core standards for young children…. The proposed standards conflict with compelling new research in cognitive science, neuroscience, child development, and early childhood education about how young children learn, what they need to learn, and how best to teach them in kindergarten and the early grades….

The statement’s four main arguments, below, are grounded in what we know about child development—facts that all education policymakers need to be aware of:

1.  The K-3 standards will lead to long hours of direct instruction in literacy and math. This kind of “drill and grill” teaching has already pushed active, play-based learning out of many kindergartens.

2. The standards will intensify the push for more standardized testing, which is highly unreliable for children under age eight.

3. Didactic instruction and testing will crowd out other crucial areas of young children’s learning: active, hands-on exploration, and developing social, emotional, problem-solving, and self-regulation skills—all of which are difficult to standardize or measure but are the essential building blocks for academic and social accomplishment and responsible citizenship.

4. There is little evidence that standards for young children lead to later success. The research is inconclusive; many countries with top-performing high-school students provide rich play-based, nonacademic experiences—not standardized instruction—until age six or seven.

Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige write that the Common Core developers were aware of the Joint Statement well before they published a summary of feedback they claimed they received from the public about the new standards.  That summary ignored the Joint Statement critique and instead published only glowing reviews of the new standards.

That's ironic, too, considering Common Core is very big on students being able to acknowledge conflicting viewpoints in their argumentative essays and push back against them with research, facts and data.

In the case of the Common Core developers, they simply ignored the critiques and made believe that the acclaim for the new K-3 standards was universal.

Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige ask the following:

Why were early childhood professionals excluded from the Common Core Standards project? Why were the grave doubts of our most knowledgeable education and health experts missing from the official record of this undertaking? Would including them have forced the people driving this juggernaut to face serious criticism and questions about the legitimacy of the entire project?

The education reform movement in general likes to exclude criticism and varying opinions from its view.  Charter schools are always more successful than public schools, even though the research shows that most are about the same as public schools and many perform far worse.  Merit pay always works to improve student achievement even though research shows that is not the case and even Bloomberg's Great Merit Pay Experiment in NYC failed to show the results the education reformers claim merit pay will bring.

There are many other examples of the education reform movement simply promoting their own agenda, regardless of facts, data, research, community views or reality - and that is certainly what happened here with the K-3 standards.

Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige say we must do this:

The Common Core Standards are now the law in 46 states. But it’s not too late to unearth the facts about how and why they were created, and to raise an alarm about the threat they represent.

The stakes are enormous. Dr. Carla Horwitz of the Yale Child Study Center notes that many of our most experienced and gifted teachers of young children are giving up in despair. “They are leaving the profession,” says Horwitz, “because they can no longer do what they know will ensure learning and growth in the broadest, deepest way. The Core Standards will cause suffering, not learning, for many, many young children.”

Our first task as a society is to protect our children. The imposition of these standards endangers them. To learn more about how early childhood educators are working to defend young children, see Defending the Early Years.

When even the education reform-friendly NY Post publishes articles showing the damage that Common Core is causing to children in K-3, you know that a groundswell against Common Core can build when people, particularly parents, see what Common Core is going to do to their children.

Common Core proponents can ignore the critiques, as they did with the Joint Statement, or they can go on the attack against them, as they sometimes do, but because these standards are so damaging to children, are completely bereft of any research support, and defy common sense for how we should treat and educate young children, they are going to increasingly find themselves on the spot trying to defend their new standards.

They did all their work in secret and thus were able to ram these standards through with little opposition.

But the opposition to these damaging standards will mount as people see just what they are and what they are doing to children.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bloomberg Show His True Colors Once Again

New York Magazine publishes a revelation about Michael Bloomberg today:

Mayor Bloomberg was focused on bums rather than guns at a recent Christmas party, where he ignored a compliment about his work on gun control to admire the “ass” of a female guest.

In a New York Magazine profile about Christine Quinn, the City Council Speaker and candidate for mayor, the author recalled being introduced to Bloomberg at what he described as “a Christmas party for the rich” on the Upper East Side.

“My friend and I followed the host over, shook Bloomberg’s hand, and my friend thanked him for his position on gun control,” the author writes. “Without even acknowledging the comment, Bloomberg gestured toward a woman in a very tight floor-length gown standing nearby and said, ‘Look at the ass on her.’”

This is not the first time Bloomberg has been accused of harassment.

In fact, he has a rich history of both harassment and discrimination claims made against both him individually and his company, Bloomberg LP.
Bloomberg has settled these sexual harassment and discrimination suits in the past and gotten non-disclosure agreements from the alleged victims, so we don't know many of the details of the claims made against him.

But we do know that three women brought suit against Bloomberg for creating "a hostile environment of persistent sexual harassment and the general degradation of women" at Bloomberg LP.

In one case, Bloomberg is alleged to have twice suggested to a pregnant employee that she "kill it" (her baby) if she wanted to remain with the company.

In another case, Bloomberg was alleged to have protected a senior male Bloomberg LP employee who was accused of raping a female employee of the company, going so far as to say that the female employee was simply trying to extort money from the male Bloomberg LP manager and having other Bloomberg LP employees try and dig up dirt on the female employee in order to discredit her.

The depositions in those cases described the atmosphere and environment Bloomberg created at his company:

The Olszewski and Garrison cases combine to depict a sales floor where, as two men who formerly worked there, Jim Feingold and Rowland Hunt, put it in court documents, women "wore very short skirts, racy, unbusinesslike." Sexual comments and body-shot drinking games at company parties were reportedly commonplace, as were incidents like the office display of a brochure for sex toys, a female blow-up sex doll, and rubber breasts that squirted liquid from the nipples.

The Olszewski and Garrison cases are old news and Bloomberg long ago put those behind him with settlements and non-disclosure agreements.

But I revisit these cases because they give you a glimpse into the pathology and misogyny of Michael Bloomberg.

This is a man who does not respect women, seems to have a need to sexually objectify them publicly like the frat boy he once was (I will leave where that need comes from to the Freudian analysts among you), and seems to have a need to publicly humiliate women.

The New York Magazine article goes on to describe how Bloomberg treats Christine Quinn with thinly veiled disdain and misogyny:

According to the article, Bloomberg also has strong opinions about Quinn’s appearance – turning up his nose when she wears flats or waits too long before coloring her hair.

“The mayor has no use for flat shoes,” Quinn told the reporter.

“I was at a parade with him once and he said, ‘What are those?’ and I said, ‘They’re comfortable,’ and he said, ‘I never want to hear those words out of your mouth again,’” she recalled. “He likes me in high heels.”

“Another big thing with the mayor, when I am rooting … like, the couple of days a week before I need to get my hair colored, he’ll say, ‘Do you pay a lot to make your hair be two colors? Because now it’s three with the gray,’” Quinn continued. “And I’m like, ‘Did you wake up being this big of an a--hole? Or did it take, like, all day to ramp up to it to be able to insult me like that?’”

Is it any wonder that the kind of man who set up the frat boy atmosphere of Bloomberg LP, publicly ogles women at UES parties, and tells a political colleague she needs to always wear high heels has such disdain for teachers?

While there are more men working these days as teachers, teaching is still seen as "women's work" and there are still many more women working as teachers in NYC than there are men.

While some of the hostility and vindictiveness Bloomberg exhibits toward teachers is class-based - he despises working people, he despises union members, he despises government employees -  much of it comes from the misogyny, anger and fear he has for women.

This is a man with a documented track record of harassment, discriminatory practices and boorish behavior.

Today at school we were forced to sit through a one hour discrimination workshop from the DOE.

While there's nothing wrong with informing employees of their rights and their responsibilities when it comes to harassment and discrimination, it seems that the Big Boss Man of the City of New York and Bloomberg LP is the guy most in need of this workshop and the lessons contained therein.

He won't get that, of course - rich, arrogant, misogynistic elites like himself rarely get held accountable for their behavior.

But the New York Magazine article today reminds me again of two things:

1) Bloomberg's an ass

2) The hostility and tyranny that Bloomberg shows toward teachers is much more deeply rooted in misogyny than education policy

DOE Sets Destructive Sights On Newtown, Flushing High Schools

There is less than one year left in Emperor Bloomberg's illegal third term, but that doesn't mean he isn't trying to cause as much chaos and destruction in the school system as he can before he goes out.

The Daily News reports that two Queens schools that have made the "failing" list put out by the state in the past will be the sites of three new school co-locations despite the improvements these schools have made on their school report cards:

The city has proposed opening one new school in the Newtown High School building, in Elmhurst, and two new schools at the Flushing High School campus.

The Department of Education is also looking to cut enrollment at the large high schools, which could affect the amount of funding each institution receives.

The city attempted to close both of the schools last year, but was blocked by a court order.

“These are two overcrowded schools that have just turned the corner in starting to make progress,” said James Vasquez, the Queens High School rep for the United Federation of Teachers. “This does nothing to help these school communities.”

Indeed, these co-locations are meant to be a knife into both Newtown and Flushing, not help either of those school communities to continue to "improve" on their school report cards.
The DOE wants these schools to fail:

Last year, the state identified Flushing and Newtown High Schools as two of the worst-performing schools in New York.

The city plans to reduce enrollment at Newtown by about 300 to 350 students and open a new international school in the same building. The new school will focus on foreign-born students who may not speak English well.
But Newtown is improving. It went from a “C” to a “B” on its last city report card. Newtown PTA President Debora Martinez said “if they bring another [school], that’s going to affect us.”
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) called the co-location “insane.”

“This is a school that has been struggling to improve and [has] done the job,” he said. “It seems as if the [city] wants to make sure that Newtown fails.”

 And how will the co-locations affect Flushing High School?

The city also plans to reduce Flushing’s enrollment by about 850 to 900 students and install two new schools on the campus. One will offer Chinese bilingual programs. Flushing got a “D” on its last city report card.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said the proposal was destructive. “Enrollment will decrease, funding will go down,” she said. “The school will have fewer resources and it will be even more difficult for [it] to succeed.”

When asked why the DOE would want to co-locate schools in Newtown and Flushing, taking away much needed space and resources in a move that is sure to undercut the schools and set them up for failure, the DOE spokesperson offered the usual jive:

Education Department spokesman Devon Puglia said decreasing the schools’ student bodies will help them improve while the new schools serve the area’s immigrant populations.
“Our goal is to create a system of great schools that prepare all students for college,” he said.

That's not true - their goal has been to undercut and set up as many large schools for failure as possible.

Their goal has been to close as many schools as possible once the failure set-up has been in place foe a few years.

Their goal has been to blow up as much of the old school system as possible so that it cannot be re-constituted in any way after Emperor Bloomberg flies off to Bermuda full-time.

Newtown and Flushing are two of the few larger schools left and now they've got their sights set on them.

It is possible that these two schools will survive because Bloomberg will be gone by the time the schools reap the consequences of the destructive actions the DOE schoolbusters are taking this year.

But don't bet on it.

The one thing you rarely see in corporate media accounts of school closures and school "failure" is how Bloomberg and his DOE minions have deliberately set up the large schools for failure in a systematic way.

They've closed the "bad schools," taken the kids from those school and dumped them into neighboring "good schools" and made those into "bad schools" within a few years.

Murry Bergtraum, just a few short blocks from Tweed Courthouse, is the perfect example of that.

When Bloomberg came into office, that was one of the "good schools."

Then, as the DOE closed many larger schools around Manhattan, they used that school as a dumping ground.

Now Murry Bergtraum is a mess.

That's been the pattern of "reform" Bloomberg and Klein followed from the beginning, but you never see that in the suck-up stories in The Atlantic Monthly or The New Yorker about the wonders of Joel Klein or the miracle that is the Bloomberg Education Reform Movement.

Now Flushing and Newtown are next on the list unless somebody stops them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How Is Common Core For Kindergartners Not Child Abuse?

The NY Post has a horrifying article about the new Common Core expectations for four and five year olds in NYC schools.

Here's a taste:

Kindergarten has come a long way, baby — too far, some say.

Way beyond the ABCs, crayons and building blocks, the city Department of Education now wants 4- and 5-year-olds to write “informative/explanatory reports” and demonstrate “algebraic thinking.”
Children who barely know how to write the alphabet or add 2 and 2 are expected to write topic sentences and use diagrams to illustrate math equations.


The city has adopted national standards called the Common Core, which dramatically raise the bar on what kids in grades K through 12 should know.

The jargon is new, too. Teachers rate each student’s performance as “novice,” “apprentice,” “practitioner” or “expert.”

Kindergartners are introduced to “informational texts” read aloud, such as “Garden Helpers,” a National Geographic tale about useful pests.

After three weeks, kids have to “write a book about what they’ve learned,” with a drawing and sentences explaining the topic.

In math, kids tackle concepts like “tally chart,” “combination,” and “commutative property,” DOE records show.

The big test: “Miguel has two shelves. Miguel has six books . . . How many different ways can Miguel put books on the two shelves? Show and tell how you know.”

An “expert” would draw a diagram with a key, show all five combinations, write number sentences for each equation, and explain his or her conclusions using math terms, the DOE says. 

The consequences of these so-called "higher standards" on the four and five years blessed to have come of school age during the Great Common Core Movement is predictable - they're stressed, full of anxiety and scared:
“For the most part, it’s way over their heads,” a Brooklyn teacher said. “It’s too much for them. They’re babies!”

In a kindergarten class in Red Hook, Brooklyn, three children broke down and sobbed on separate days last week, another teacher told The Post.

When one girl cried, “I can’t do it,” classmates rubbed her back, telling her, “That’s OK.”

“This is causing a lot of anxiety,” the teacher said. “Kindergarten should be happy and playful. It should be art and dancing and singing and learning how to take turns. Instead, it’s frustrating and disheartening.”

The DOE spokesperson was less than empathetic about the horrific consequences of the new Common Core on kindergartners:

DOE spokeswoman Erin Hughes said, “These are the types of activities and exercises that students need to work on to acquire the skills they need to be ready for middle school, high school, college and careers.” 

Wow - this Erin Hughes person seems to have grown up under some similar kind of education system where getting along with others and learning the wonders of life were shelved in her kindergarten and replaced with physics and genome explorations.

Remember the Robert Fulghum book from years ago called "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten?

In that book, Fulghum wrote that every lesson that you really need from life is taught to you when you're in kindergarten:

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
That's what used to be taught in kindergarten.

Now under the Gates/Broad/Murdoch/Obama/Bloomberg/Cuomo/Klein/Rhee/Duncan/Bush education reform movement, they don't teach any of those things anymore.

Instead they teach how to get an eating disorder or a drug habit or an alcohol problem or workaholism or a shopping compulsion or OCD or a sex addiction or neurosis or any number of other issues because your kindergarten years have had all the joy and fun taken out of them and have been replaced with high stakes testing, higher order math and language lessons, and cutthroat competition with your peers.

It's not a mistake that the same oligarchs who have brought this insane Common Core to fruition do not send their kids to schools that use Common Core.

They send them to Waldorf schools.

Or Quaker schools.

Or Montessiori schools.

Or the Lab School.

You know, the kinds of schools that aren't run like army drill camps, where the teachers aren't graded using test scores, where the kids don't take high stakes standardized tests all throughout the year, where students get to explore meaningful subjects and lessons rather than endless test prep and drills.

The Common Core Federal Standards are tantamount to child abuse and we need to take the people promoting these things to court and charge them with crimes against humanity.


It's not a mistake either that the people who promote this abusive and authoritarian education system are the kind of people who would fail a standardized test based upon Robert Fulghum's book.

They never learned how to get along with others.

They never learned how to share.

They always need to win.

They always need things their way.

They like to hurt people (or fire them publicly on TV.)

And they never clean up their own messes.

Fred Rogers is dead but I really wish he were around today so that he could take the lead in exposing these Common Core Federal Standards for the garbage they are.

And I believe he would do just that.

Let's channel Fred Rogers and Robert Fulghum and John Dewey and Charles Dickens and Howard Zinn and George Carlin and all the other people who taught us that education is about more than testing and drilling, who taught us that education does not come out of a book but comes out of real world experiences with other people and other beings.

The Common Core as carried out by the NYCDOE is an abomination because we have a vindictive petty tyrant in charge of the city who wants to enforce compliance and obedience from the masses and thinks this kind of education system is the best way to do just that, but please know that the rest of the country is going to get similar treatment as these standards get implemented.

These standards are not meant to get kids up to speed with what they should really know.

These standards are meant to scare kids, parents, teachers and principals that what they're doing isn't good enough, that they need to work longer, harder and faster because omigod the Russians are beating us, er, I mean the Japanese are beating us, what I mean is, the Koreans are beating us, or the Chinese are...ah, screw it, SOMEBODY is beating us and we MUST take action to be Number 1 again!

The reality is, the only people who are beating us are the oligarchs and members of the 1% who have stolen most of the wealth in this country and now want the rest of it.

These wealthy, greedy oligarchs are using this education reform movement to educate the next generation of kids to expect to have to work longer and harder for less, to never get vacations or time off, to lead lives that are about drudgery and nothing else.

Most of all, these wealthy, greedy oligarchs want children to grow up rife with fear and anxiety, the earlier the better, so that they will grow into obedient and compliant adults, good workers who do what the bosses say and good consumers who buy what the advertisers tell them to buy.

As a side note, when you infuse a generation of children with the kind of fear and anxiety that the education reformers are infusing this current generation with, you are going to get a whole bunch of people with a lot of emotional issues that corporations can make a lot of money from - and I'm sure Big Pharma, the casino industry, the alcohol industry, the fast food industry, etc. are licking their corporate logos at that thought.

That's intentional on the part of the education reform oligarchs too - don't think they haven't thought that stuff through.

The only thing they like better than obedient workers is compliant consumers.

And so, I will say again, we not only need to kill the Common Core Federal Standards deader than a minimum wage hike in Mississippi, we need to take the people who promoted this crap - from the education think tankers who developed it and sold it to the politicians who put it into place to the education system functionaries who are carrying it out - and make sure they never get any power over anybody or anything ever again.

Because anybody who thinks four and five years need to learn permutations over sharing, test prep over play, and fear over wonder shouldn't be in charge of anybody or anything.

How Would Michael Bloomberg Evaluate HIS High School Teachers?

Amid today's aggrandizing articles in all the papers about Michael Bloomberg donating over $1.1 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, is the news that Bloomberg was a rather unmotivated C student in high school. 

He belonged to the math club, but otherwise was uninvolved in his school's clubs and activities and was overall an unmotivated and rather average student.

Given Bloomberg's obsession with evaluating teachers based upon test scores and given his administration's insistence that if a student fails to improve academically in school, it is ALWAYS the fault of the teacher, I wonder what Bloomberg would say about his own teachers.

Was Bloomberg's C average and lack of motivation in school his responsibility or were his teachers at fault?

If the Bloomberg administration and the Bloomberg NYCDOE had held power over Michael Bloomberg's high school teachers when Bloomberg himself was getting C's in high school, Bloomberg's teachers would have been rated "ineffective" for not motivating Bloomberg to be a better student and for not "adding value" to Bloomberg's test scores and grade average.

This is an interesting, because Bloomberg has been pretty upfront about his lack of motivation for school when he was a kid and has said in the past that it wasn't until he got into Johns Hopkins that he began to flourish as a student.

Bloomberg never became an A+ student, but he did improve enough to get some A's and also become involved in social clubs, activities and his fraternity.

How is it the fault of Bloomberg's high school teachers that Bloomberg didn't become engaged by school until he got to college?

To be frank, it's not - this was Bloomberg's academic trajectory, to basically just get through school and not really hit his stride until college. 

In fact, Bloomberg may have become such an overachiever later on in life because he was so unmotivated earlier on and the memories of those times perhaps spurred him to become a self made billionaire who puts his name on everything he owns.

In any case, what we do know is that it was not the fault of Bloomberg's teachers that he was an unmotivated C student in high school any more than it is the fault of NYC teachers that some students do not achieve the kinds of test scores and grades that Bloomberg and his Tweedies think they should.

We need look no further than Bloomberg's own academic transcript to see the proof for this.

I bet Bloomberg wouldn't admit to this, but if his education reforms had been in place during his own high school career, his teachers would have been held accountable for what was essentially Michael Bloomberg's own fault.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Maybe They Can Change The Name Of The University To Michaels Bloomberg?

The NY Times publishes a p.r. piece for Bloomberg that reveals Mayor Mikey has "donated" over $1.1 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins, in the last forty years.

As such, Johns Hopkins has become an offshoot of Bloomberg LP/NYC - just another Bloomberg fiefdom where he gets to do what he wants when he wants because he's writing the biggest checks.

The article is such a suck-up piece that I have to think the rumors that Mayor Mikey is looking to buy the Times must be true.

Struggling financially, the Times has been canning lots of staff lately - including senior editors.

But if Mayor Mikey buys the paper, they too can enjoy the kind of largesse that Johns Hopkins enjoys - unlimited cash so long as they promote a Bloombergian agenda.

As New York Magazine put it,  Bloomberg will become "a long-fabled white knight for beleaguered Times staffers."

The Times sucks already - it consistently promotes a corporatist, neo-liberal, imperialist agenda in both the news coverage and the abysmal op-ed pages.

But just wait until Mayor Mikey gets his hands on the NY Times and turns it into the Bloomberg Times - that agenda will be even worse.

Bloomberg Trying To Get Back On Quinn Bandwagon

Story after story has emerged that Michael Bloomberg has reached out to all kinds of prominent people to see if they are willing to run for mayor this year and succeed him - from Hillary Clinton to Mort Zuckerman to Henry Kissinger to Richard Nixon's ghost.

Okay, I made those last two up, but the others I didn't.

You see, Bloomberg is worried that his "legacy" will be destroyed by whomever succeeds him at City Hall, so he's hoping to get some right wing, police state-happy, business-friendly, union-busting, ed deform corporatist to run.

(For those of you who think Hillary doesn't fit that description, let me remind you of Waco, NAFTA, her stint on the Walmart board, and her support of the ed deform movement as Exhibit A; Exhibit B is how the hell did the Clintons, who didn't have a house to live in or a pot to piss in during the 90's, get to be multimillionaires anyway?)

Bloomberg has been rumored to have been supporting City Council speaker Christine Quinn behind the scenes as payback for her manipulating term limits so that he could run for a third term, but his public support of her has been lukewarm at best.

How else do you describe a guy who allegedly is supporting Quinn but keeps looking for someone else to run for him?

But after the Daily News mayoral debate on Thursday, Bloomberg seems to be trying to get back on the Quinn bandwagon:

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg singled out City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Friday as the only "rational" Democratic candidate to succeed him — because she's the only one who refuses to criticize his policies, he claimed.

“I will say, you know, the one aspirant that we know of on the Democratic side that really hasn’t engaged in any of this — most of this foolishness — is Quinn," said Bloomberg, speaking during his weekly radio show with WOR's John Gambling.

"She’s much more rational and understands there’s no simple solution to complex problems,” Bloomberg said.

Apparently Bloomberg's fe fe's were hurt by all the criticism he received over his piss poor Hurricane Sandy response, so he decided to lash out on his Friday radio program:

Bloomberg dismissed that criticism and slammed the other expected candidates, which include Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, his 2009 challenger Bill Thompson and City Comptroller John Liu.

“Number one they have no idea what they’re talking about. Number two, they have no suggestions on what to do. And number three, they just sound ridiculous," he said.

“And what’s more, if you criticize all the people that are doing things, why would anyone want to come and take those jobs again?" he asked.

It seems in Mayor Bloomberg's world, any criticism of his performance as mayor means the critic doesn't know what he's talking about and criticism of him must not be made because this will keep good and qualified candidates from wanting to become mayor.

It's so interesting that Bloomberg, who is absolutely savage in his criticism when he talks about teachers, can't seem to stomach any criticism sent his way.

And so the dutiful Christine Quinn, who refused to criticize Bloomberg's ed deform polices, who refused to call for a moratorium on school closings as the other candidates have, who has said that the city could have done a better job of helping people post-Sandy but never named names on whose to blame for that, is receiving some Bloomberg "love" once again.

Make no mistake, though, Bloomberg doesn't actually like Quinn or respect her.  
She isn't a self-made billionaire the way he is and she's a suck-up to boot, which Bloomberg likes in a toady but not in a potential successor.  
He'll back her for now but he's still looking for somebody else to marry in the election.
I think Bloomberg will back Quinn in the Democratic primary but look to back the Republican in the general election if that person is more to his liking.

That might be the best of both worlds for him - a Democratic candidate AND a Republican candidate both beholden to him and his money as the election approaches.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Anger At The UFT Leadership Is Building In The Rank And File

The UFT leadership are a smug bunch.

They've been in power for a long time and the swagger they exhibit whenever they deign to come and talk to the rank and file makes me think that they think they're going to be in power for a lot longer.

Now I wouldn't bet against the Unity caucus staying in power in perpetuity or at least until the neo-liberals complete their privatization job on the NYC public school system, but I got an eye-opening look into something this week that I haven't seen much of in my 12 years as a UFT member - genuine outrage, anger and frustration aimed at the UFT leadership.

I graded Regents exams this week with teachers from a dozen different schools around Manhattan.

Many of them expressed outrage over the DOE, anger at Bloomberg and Walcott, and frustration over the latest ed deforms that are wreaking havoc across the system.

But there was also a lot of fire and brimstone aimed at Mulgrew and the UFT leadership for their collaboration with the deform movement and the DOE.

One teacher said, as we were talking about all the ways the UFT has caved to Bloomberg and the DOE since the infamous 2005 contract, "I can't think of one thing that they've really said no too that ended up really being no."

And it's true - they say there's too much emphasis on high stakes testing, but then they help develop the APPR system; they give the okay on the Teacher Data Reports with the assurance that the numbers will never see the light of day in public and when the DOE decides to publish them in the media, they half-heartedly fight that with ineffective lawsuits and the TDR's end up in the papers with names attached.

One teacher, now working in high school but then working in a middle school said "I can't tell you how angry that made me, when they published the Teacher Data Reports - angry at Bloomberg for doing it and angry at the union for not stopping him from doing it."

Someone else told a story about working in one of the SIG schools and how unhelpful and indeed toxic the union people were, almost as unhelpful and toxic as the DOE and network people were during the turnaround battles.

"All they wanted to do was sell us on the Danielson rubric and tell us how great it was.  But we were telling them that the administration was using it as a weapon against us and they didn't want to hear it.  They only wanted to hear how great the Danielson rubric was."

Someone else concurred.  "Yeah, the union people never really want to hear from you.  They want you to listen to them, not the other way around.  And that makes me really, really angry.  Why am I paying union dues?  What am I getting out of this?"

Someone said "Dental insurance?"

And everybody laughed. "Yeah - and shitty dental insurance at that!"

Someone else complained about all the perks the core UFT people get and wanted to know why they were getting those when so many rank and file members are fighting for their jobs.

Now I hear this kind of anger, outrage and frustration toward the union leadership in the blogosphere all the time and I express this kind of anger, outrage and frustration myself toward the union leadership on this blog all the time.

But to hear this same anger, outrage and frustration toward the union leadership in person from a whole swath of people from a dozen different schools was very informative for me.

It means that the swaggering bullies in the UFT leadership had better watch out.

There is a huge amount of anger, outrage and frustration out there already and we haven't even gotten the APPR system yet with the official use of the 57 page Danielson rubric which you had better do well on or you're "I-Rated," and the Student Learning Objectives that require 170 folders with a dozen pieces of Common Core work graded per semester which you also had better do well on or you're "I-Rated," and the value added measurements based upon test scores which you had better show growth on or you're "I-Rated," and the additional meetings and paperwork that are going to come as a result of the APPR system.

Just wait until that stuff comes to fruition.

My sense is that Mulgrew and his Unity hacks think they can bullshit their way through the APPR fallout just the way they have bullshitted their way through the odious '05 contract and the '07 extension to that, just the way they bullshitted their way through all the closings and the turnarounds, the TDR reports and the naming of names in the papers, and now the evaluation negotiations.

Experience says the UFT leadership are correct - they will be able to bullshit their way through APPR no matter how bad it is and maintain their power and privileges and double pensions.

But the anger, outrage and frustration I saw at the grading sessions this week leads me to believe that the UFT leadership will have a harder time bullshitting their way through the APPR fallout than they have over the other stuff in the past.

First, because all this stuff has built up - the odious '05 contract, the TDR's, the school closures, the co-location fights, the increase in "U-Ratings," the SIG mess, the Leadership Academy principals and the horror that is the ATR pool.  There is a lot in the pit already and when the APPR fallout hits, the pit is going to be close to overflowing.

And second, because we are now seeing anger, outrage and frustration aimed at the UFT leadership from teachers who used to be pretty apolitical folk but have found themselves politicized by the crimes perpetrated on them by the Tweedies that the UFT either ignored or couldn't do anything about.

Somebody mentioned MORE today during this discussion (not me, btw) and everybody at the table said they would be open to hearing from someone new, someone who would be willing to stand up for teachers rather than sell them out, somebody who would be more interested in political issues that mean something to teachers rather than just public relations opportunities to aggrandize themselves and further their own careers.

I'm not naive enough to think the Unity people won't win this coming election - Mulgrew will probably win another overwhelming "victory" that will put a smirk on his face and the double "g's" in his swagger.

But the same person who mentioned MORE at the grading session mentioned how Julie Cavanagh is an appealing leader who really could give Mulgrew a run for his money in the future.

I think that is right with one qualification - the future is farther off than this next UFT election.

We haven't hit bottom yet in the NYC system. 

There is more horror to come, as Bloomberg attempts to go out causing as much chaos and destruction as he can.

And the state has some horrors up its sleeve too with APPR and the VAM.

I think after a year or two of that kind of devastation, the anger, outrage and frustration at the smug, swaggering Unity guys is going to be at a fever pitch and that will give some new blood - hopefully MORE - a real opening to do to Unity what CORE did to the entrenched CTU leadership.

If that happens, I will remember what I heard today from those teachers from a dozen different schools as they told their Tweed horror stories.

The Ed Deform Movement Post-Bloomberg

The Post sends out the alarm:

Three mayoral wannabes are now openly promising to perpetuate failure in the schools. That’s right: Ex-Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and current Comptroller John Liu are vowing, if elected, not to shut failing schools.

They’re also pledging to make it harder for good schools — i.e., charters — to open.

No joke: Shutting schools is “an admission of failure,” Thompson says, vowing to ban the practice. Better, we guess, for folks to just hide their eyes, admit nothing and keep depriving kids of a decent education.

Love the straw man arguments they use.

Closing "failing schools" is always a good thing.

Nothing about how the city failed to support those schools or used them as dumping grounds when other schools were closed or systematically set the schools up for failure so that Eva Moskowitz or some other charter entrepreneur could have the space.

There's never any nuance in the Post or News editorials - it's always, shut the schools, stick charters in them, fire the unionized teachers and hire non-unionized ones.

That most of the "mayoral wannabe's" seem to be stepping back from those policies seems to scare the ed deformers.

Now I am under no illusions that whoever replaces Bloomberg won't be bought off by the hedge fundies and begin to pursue ed deform-friendly policies.

But you can see how scared the ed deformers are, because even if they are able to buy off whoever replaces Bloomberg, he/she won't be the true believer of the "Shut Schools/Fire Teachers" philosophy of education that Bloomberg is.

The ed deform movement has been very spoiled here in Bloomberg's NYC, and suddenly they're realizing that some of the gravy is going to come off their gravy train.

You can bet the propagandists at the News and Post (and Times too, for that matter) will work extra hard to sell their straw man arguments for ed deform policies.

The shrillness has already started - look no further than the b.s. in this Post editorial.