Sunday, November 29, 2009

'Fess Up, Teachers!

I was going through my Sunday morning ritual of reading PostSecret. If you've never seen it, you should give it a look. It's a site where people confess their innermost secrets by sending them in on postcards with appropriate pictures and captions. This one caught my eye:

I must admit that this is not my postcard, as I don't teach elementary school and I hate Twilight. Personally, I would have watched Die Hard. But this postcard did get me thinking. We all have little teacher secrets we don't let on to everyone. I'll tell a few of mine.

Many years ago, I spilled a Coke on a set of unmarked tests. I was too embarrassed to admit what happened. The tests could never be marked or returned to parents, so I kind of put the students off until they forgot the test ever happened. It tooks months for them to stop asking.

I often read essays aloud in class when someone writes something great. I don't identify the writer unless they choose to be identified. Sometimes, I choose essays by shy kids, even if their papers are not the best ones. The students often look mortified, but I've had a few claim ownership of their papers, and I think it changed their lives in some way.

An mean spirited admin once came into my class and tried to tell one particular student what to do. I knew the kid, and I knew the admin was walking into a mine field, but I let it go. Sure enough, the student told the admin exactly where she could shove her walkie talkie, horizontally. I still laugh about it to this day.

So, those are a few of mine. If you'd like to share, please comment. I repectfully request that you don't post anything that could land you in the rubber room.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Good Old American Values

Crime doesn't pay, you say? An ex-UBS bank employee, one Bradley C. Birkenfeld, was convicted of helping rich tax evaders sock away millions of dollars that should have gone into tax coffers. He was sentenced to 40 months in jail. But here's the kicker. He became a whistle-blower and told the feds exactly how rich folks were hiding their massive wealth in offshore accounts. As a result, these rich folks have finally had to pay--no jail time, of course--just come forward and pay. Now Birkenfeld wants the government to award him several billion (yes, you read that right--billion) dollars as a reward for blowing that whistle. And he just may get it.

I understand the reason we reward whistle blowers, but where I come from, if you participate in the crime, you're a rat, not a whistle blower. You don't get rewarded; you get to sleep with the fishes.

Of course, if you blow the whistle on the DOE, you don't get money--you get sent to the rubber room like David Pakter, a former teacher of the year who was vulcanized for his troubles.

There's a lesson here somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is. All I know is a criminal may get very wealthy, and a bunch of already wealthy people will suffer no penalty for trying to cheat the government.

And teachers? We get skewered for wanting a 4% raise.

Something is wrong here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mulgrew--Think Big this Time

Mayor4Life (M4L) Bloomberg thinks big and long term. He was always several steps ahead of the late lamented Randi Weingarten, and remains about a furlong ahead of Mike Mulgrew and the U-Crew. That's why, when assessing the mayor's latest assault on teachers, you have to think long term like the mayor. He's a big picture guy. UFT leadership has a short term view--from election to election.

Why does the mayor want to tie teacher tenure to test scores? Two reasons immediately spring to mind. One, he wants to qualify for the Race to the Top funds (always follow the money). Second, he wants to claim that this will improve teacher quality. On thinking about both of these, however, I don't think either is Bloomberg's long term agenda.

Let's look at the idea that tying test scores to tenure will improve teacher quality. It has a visceral appeal that voters will like--Why should new teachers get protection unless they can prove their worth? Lots of people, including myself and Miss Eyre in this blog post today, think granting tenure should be a more rigorous process. But why test scores? Even though state law prohibits it, does anyone really think that principals don't look at that data already? Sure, they can't explicitly fire new teachers for low scores, but in reality, they can fire untenured teachers for any reason or no reason at all for a period of three years. So why the sudden need to change the law?

Now, let's look at the Race to the Top (RttT) funds. Sure, Bloomberg wants them, but remember that he is a big picture guy. A one time infusion of RttT fund would be welcome to Bloomy, but it isn't enough for a guy like M4L. At most, those funds would stave off some of the cuts he has already planned for the schools. So what does he really want?

I think if you put RttT and new teacher tenure together, you get the answer. Once M4L gets the state to OK tying test scores to tenure decisions, how long will it be before he demands that the legislature approve the use of test scores for all teachers? I'd bet my pension it would be on the table for the next contract, assuming we ever settle this one soon. If Bloomberg gets that concession, he'd have license to fire almost any teacher he wants by giving highly paid teachers the worst classes with the least support.

Imagine the mayor with the power to fire senior teachers based on bogus test scores! He could get rid of those pesky high salaries, and basically ensure that almost no one would ever get in the 27 years needed to retire. That would save the city and state billions of dollars annually. All this makes the RttT funds look like chump change.

In my view, M4L wants to parlay a seemingly small change in tenure for new teachers into an evisceration of tenure for all teachers as a means of dismantling both seniority pay and the retirement system as we know it. That's the kind of big thinking SOB the mayor is.

The question is, can Mulgrew and the U-Crew stand up to it? I don't have a lot of faith. They are not big thinkers. They are contract to contract thinkers who only care about whether they can claim victory and so get re-elected to their high paid, high powered, double pensioned positions. So they do think big--but only for themselves.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Surgeon's Knife

Looks like I'm going to lose my bet that the teachers' contract would be announced right before Thanksgiving. Unless you let me count Thanksgiving, 2o10.

Mayor4Life Bloomberg launched an attack on the UFT today, asking for the moon and trying to run an end-around through the state legislature. He wants to tie test scores to tenure, have the right to fire ATRs and in the event of layoffs, to get rid of teachers based on test scores rather than seniority. (All of you who believe that good teachers with high salaries won't get laid off, raise your hands.)

Luckily, Michael Mulgrew and the Unity Crew wisely decided to tacitly support mayoral control and sit on the sidelines during the mayoral election. If they hadn't, the mayor might be calling for more serious concessions, such as water-boarding teachers based on test scores.

I'm sure the ed blogosphere will be buzzing with analysis of this latest assault on teachers, so I won't go too deeply into it here. But I did find an analogy by Bloomberg rather telling:

"...Mr. Bloomberg said that banning the use of student achievement in tenure decisions is “like saying to hospitals, ‘You can evaluate heart surgeons on any criteria you want — just not patient survival rates!’ ”

Any doctor will tell you that some of the best heart surgeons around have some of the worst survival rates because they take on patients in the most desperate situations. What teacher will want to take on the most challenging students, knowing that by doing so, they are risking their careers? Bloomberg, who knows as much about education as my dog (sorry, Spot) obviously can't see that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

200 and Counting...

I had a few snarky, sarcastic things to say today, but I realized when I hit the "New Post" button that this is post #200. This blog is almost a year old, as well, so it's not too soon to start shopping for that perfect gift.

I honestly never thought I'd last this long as an ed blogger, and I sure didn't think I'd ever get to 200 posts. Thanks to all who have blog-rolled me, and everyone who has participated. While writing this blog has been enough to make my blood boil at times, it's been worth every minute.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bloomberg's New Math = Layoffs

Mayor4Life Bloomberg has changed an accounting procedure that makes it much more likely that municipal employees, including school employees, will be laid off. According to the New York Times, the change involves allowing city agencies to count health benefits and Social Security payments as part of an agency's budget, even though these costs are paid by the city and not the agency itself.

In other words, getting rid a teacher in the past would have saved only the teacher's salary. So if the teacher made 50K, the principal would save 50K. Now, the principal will save that 50K plus perhaps another 20K in benefits which the principal does not have to pay, bringing the total savings to 70K.

Now, if you're a principal and you're told you need to cut the budget by 70K, would you prefer to ax one teacher who costs you only 50K or find the full 70K in other reductions?

In other, but likely related, news, Michael Mulgrew visited a school and discussed the budget crisis facing the city and state. He said: “Tough decisions need to be made, but protecting our children and classrooms must be our first priority,” he said.

Funny, but I thought Mulgrew's first priority was to the teachers who actually pay both his salary and 120 million dollars in dues. Why doesn't he come right out and say that protecting school employees from layoffs should be our first priority? Or protecting our rights?

It's a scary time, because under Bloomberg's new math, getting rid of ATRs and teachers in rubber rooms would now save the DOE not only 200 million or so in salaries, but untold millions more in health benefits. And since those teachers are not Mulgrew's first priority, they'd better watch their backs.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Them's the Breaks

The other day, totally unbeknownst to me, I dropped my phone in the hallway of my school. A student stopped me and pointed out what happened. I thanked him and said, "I owe you one."

No problem, right? Well, not exactly. This student happens to be one of those kids who is always late, hanging out in the hallways and talking to girls. When there are no girls around, he just wanders until someone ushers him into class. Few teachers do that, because he's a big kid. It seems that the larger the student, the fewer teachers there are who want to move them along. It's never bothered me much.

Until now, of course. I owed him one. Today, he was cruising the hallways, late as usual, and I just nodded and watched him amble off to class. So I figure we are now even. Tomorrow, I'll go back to my usual self and yell at him to get a move on.

It got me thinking. As teachers, we often tend to give breaks to certain students. I know that I sometimes let missing homeworks slide for a day when my "good" kids forget, because, well, they're good kids and everyone is entitled to a mistake once in a while. Unless they are "bad" kids, in which case they get a letter home the very same day.

So, what's your deal? Who gets favored treatment from you? (Oh, come on--you know you do it. We all do.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Randi Reduhhhhx

In a stunning move that shows how much Michael Mulgrew learned from Randi Weingarten, the UFT delegate assembly today authorized the union to file for an impasse. That means, of course, that the union can send the matter to PERB to try to hammer out a settlement.

This is the same process by which, if you recall, we worked out the wonderful 2005 contract, where we gave away just about all our hard earned contractual rights in order to have a longer school day. It wasn't all a disaster, however. In exchange for 6% more time, we got a 6% raise. Yessir, those Unity types are really on the ball.

So, to sum up, in exchange for not endorsing Bill Thompson for mayor, who just might have won with our help, we are NOT going to get the 4% given to other unions without a long, protracted fight in which we will probably lose some of our few remaining rights, such as the right to have perforated toilet paper in the teachers' bathroom and the right not to be fired for being an ATR.

Way to go, Mulgrew. You're a chip off the old block.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Matter of Principals

A lot of talk has gone back and forth about how to improve teacher quality, empty the rubber rooms, and solve the ATR problem. Unfortunately, almost all of the solutions involve firing 'bad' teachers.

Of course, 'bad' is hard to define and harder to measure. To me, 90% of being a good teacher is the ability to maintain discipline. You can write, or buy, the best lesson plans in the world but if students are dancing the rhumba on their desks and launching paper projectiles at you, good plans won't help.

Once you get the discipline down (no small feat, believe me), then the next step to teacher greatness is delivering those lessons. A lot of teachers with good discipline stink on ice when it comes to content. I pulled my own daughter from public school because she was going to be saddled with a teacher who had no discipline problems but also had no desire to teach the curriculum. This teacher was a diva, as I discussed here---a principal's pet who could teach whatever nonsense she wanted as long as it was flashy and reflected well on the school in terms of elaborate plays and multi-dimensional bulletin boards.

The third, and IMO, least piece of the puzzle is being engaging. It's wonderful if your students like you, but in truth, your job is to teach, not to be liked. Generally, if you have good discipline and you teach good lessons, your students will like you and be interested in what you have to say.

It's insane to believe that individual teachers have control over all these things all by themselves. Discipline, for example, depends to a great extent on the school. Teach at Stuyvesant, like our friend Matt Polazzo, where the kids are top notch and motivated, and the discipline is so easy that you have time to call for the firing your fellow teachers who aren't as blessed as you. I'd like to drop Mr. Polazzo into a school like the one I used to teach in--a school consumed by poverty and where gangs owned the neighborhood--and see how good he really is.

What gets lost in these discussions is how much principals can affect teacher quality. If we want to make schools better, we have to hold principals accountable in a number of ways:

  • Discipline starts at the top. It's ridiculous to claim that a teacher is incompetent when the school is out of control.
  • Principals should stop allowing Divas to infect their schools. Make them teach like everyone else does.
  • Since principals can hire whoever they want, they should have their feet held to the fire when they grant tenure to someone who turns out to be a dud. Principals have three years to evaluate teachers before granting them tenure or firing them. Teachers can be fired for any reason in that time frame.
  • Penalties should be instituted for principals who grant tenure to teachers who later are brought up on incompetence charges. It is extremely rare for a good teacher to turn into a lousy one just because they were granted tenure. What really happens is that teachers with tenure begin making more money as they get their master's and climb the salary steps. They become more involved in union activities and become more vocal--not the puppets they were in their probationary years. Principals often file incompetence charges against teachers who make too much or talk too much to suit them.
  • Principals should be forced to tell the truth at 3020a hearings. As the law now stands, principals can flat out lie at a hearing and there is no penalty. What kind of fair hearing is it when one side can lie with impunity? Principals who lie at 3020 hearings should be charged with perjury and subject to civil penalties for slander.
  • When it's found that rubber room charges were unfounded, principals should be penalized. Read the story of Daniel Smith and you'll know what I'm talking about. If it turns out these are trumped up charges, the administrators involved should be fired and hit with massive civil penalties.
  • Principals should not be allowed to flaunt the contract by refusing to hire ATRs in their schools. There are many--mostly--high quality teachers in that pool, despite the outlandish claims of newbie teachers like Ariel Sacks. Yet principals refuse to hire them, preferring instead to skirt the rules and costing the city millions of dollars and priceless teaching talent.
I don't want to make more of this than what it is. Some principals are a part of the problem, as are some teachers, as is the mayor, the chancellor, and {{{gasp}}} some parents. Unfortunately, teachers, as the most visible face of education, are the sole scapegoats when things go wrong.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mr. Talk's Complaint

I hate condemning things I don't understand, although I have written a few posts about Sarah Palin. So when I blogged about Bronx teacher Greg Van Voorhis, who had his students read a story from Playboy and ended up in the rubber room for his trouble, I decided I had to read the story for myself. It's called Guts and was written by Chuck Palahniuk. You can read it for yourself here, although I'd advise against settling down with a snack before you read it.

The Post article mentioned that the story contained a bit about a boy masturbating with a carrot up his anus, and the good news is that the Post got something right for a change. The bad news is that the carrot is by no means the worst part. As the story unfolds, we meet another boy who was hospitalized for masturbating--he put a thin rod of wax in his urethra and it got sucked into his bladder. Finally, the narrator relates his own tale of auto-erotic doom. It seems he enjoyed sitting on the drain of his parents' pool while jerking off, and it sucked his guts out of his body. His decision on whether and how to extract himself is pretty graphic and nauseating.

If this all sounds pretty disturbing, it is. I read some of the comments by readers of the story on the author's blog, and they all seem to think this was an shining example of narrative description. I think they miss the point. In my view, the author meant this as a humorous piece in the tradition of Philip Roth in Portnoy's Complaint. If I'm right, then Chuck Palahniuk has a huge problem--namely, that Roth did it far better. Roth's hilarious description of Alexander Portnoy's masturbatory obsession is an example of literary greatness. Palahniuk just isn't as funny.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe Palahniuk meant for Guts to be what it appears to be on the surface--a gross, raw piece of shock lit. There's something to be said for that interpretation. After reading the story, I was immediately reminded of the movie The Aristocrats, in which a group of comedians try to top each other in telling the most rambling, foul, disgusting version of the same joke. If that was Palahniuk's intention, he succeeded, but it's hardly literature.

All of this begs the question of whether Van Voorhis should have read this story with his class. In the end, I'd have to say no. I'm a great fan of Philip Roth, but I'd never recommend teaching Portnoy to high school kids. And Palahniuk is more graphic without the literary power of Roth.

As to whether Mr. Van Voorhis should be fired, I'd again say no. In my opinion, he showed a lack of judgment, but in no way was the story pornographic (in the sense of appealing to prurient interest). I can understand how a teacher, enamored of an author, would want to share that interest, but this was just a little too much.

Ironically, Guts is basically a tale about that one thing everyone does that they end up regretting for the rest of their lives. We all have one, or two, or three. I have a feeling that sharing this story with his students may be something that Mr. Van Voorhis will end up regretting for a while. I hope the DOE doesn't disembowel him for it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Matt Polazzo Schooled by Veggie Tales!

If you needed any more proof that Matt Polazzo was wrong, wrong, wrong for calling for the confetti-ization of the UFT contract, it came in today's NY Post. If you recall, Mr. Polazzo was the teacher who called for principals to have the right to fire 'bad' teachers--essentially eliminating tenure protections.

Today's story is about one Greg Van Voorhis, who teaches 11th grade English at the Bronx School of Law and Finance. He gave his students a story to read from Playboy, which the Post says "discusses a teenage boy's use of a carrot in a sex act on himself and autoerotic asphyxiation." Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have not read the story, nor have I purchased any carrots lately. The point is that word of the story swept through the school, and now Mr. Van Voorhis has been removed from the classroom--he now sits in a rubber room, or 'teacher reassignment center' as the DOE like to call it, awaiting a verdict on his fate. Chances are he will languish there a long time.

I don't know whether the story was inappropriate or not. The point is that in Matt Polazzo's brave new UFT, Mr. Van Voorhis could have been fired on the spot--no questions asked. Polazzo said, "The contract must allow administrators to fire bad teachers, give them the power to hire any teacher they want..."

Thankfully, Mr. Van Voorhis will be allowed a fair hearing and due process under teacher tenure laws. These laws protect teachers like me who teach books that might be objectionable, such as one in which a boy incessantly uses the N-word; or in which the protagonist recalls a visit to a prostitute, later has sex, and is finally tortured; or another in which the main character commits an attempted rape and murder (Huck Finn, 1984, Of Mice and Men).

The dilemma for all of Polazzo's defenders is: whose side are you on here? Those of you who stuck up for Polazzo so vigorously, do you agree that Mr. Van Voorhis should be fired, or do you believe in due process and academic freedom? Before you answer, you may wish to know that Van Voorhis' students believe that he is an excellent teacher, too. They even have a Facebook page up defending him. Sound familiar, Team Polazzo?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Place Your Bets!

Many of us believe that a contract was in place before Randi Weingarten set out to prove the Peter Principle and became president of the AFT. The would help explain why the UFT sat out an election for mayor in which we had a real chance to effect change. Many union hacks have explained that it would be crazy to endorse Thompson during negotiations for fear we'd be retaliated against. Oddly, to me, that is the very reason we should have done everything we could have done to haul Bloomberg out of City Hall by the slack of his pants.

If the contract is a done deal, the only question is when it will be announced. My guess is that it will be on Veteran's Day. The UFT tends to do things when there is a day off ahead so teachers won't be in school to discuss it. It will also be more than a week after the election so they can avoid the appearance of a quid pro quo--at least in their own minds.

I'm thinking of starting a pool. What do you think? What's the magic date that the agreement will be announced?

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Tenure Thing

The press and BloomKlein, assuming that they are two different things, have managed to sell the public a bill of goods on tenure. The majority of citizens, including many of the more recent contributors to this blog, seem to actually believe that tenure is a guarantee of a job for life. I'm not an expert, but I know the basic facts, so let me set the record straight.

A recent poster said: " impression is that the tenure process is as follows. You teach for some number of years. You put together a few slightly more polished lessons that the principal will observe (that you know about ahead of time), and then unless the principal can find a specific reason not to give you tenure, he is all but required to do so."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Teachers are hired as probationary employees, and remain as such for at least three years before being granted or denied tenure (I know some principals have figured out how to stretch that to four years, but since I'm not sure how they do it, I'll skip over that). An administrator can observe a teacher as many times as he or she pleases without giving any warning. They can ask to see your lesson plans whenever they wish. And they can terminate your employment at any time and for any reason (or no reason at all) for that entire probationary period.

So, in other words, a principal has the opportunity to interview many candidates, but chooses one. He can then take three years to decide whether that teacher has what it takes. If the principal says no, that's that. But if the principal says yes, tenure is granted. At that point, it becomes more difficult to fire that teacher. Shouldn't it be? It's crazy to believe that teachers work hard for three years, fool the admins, and then put their feet up on their desks for the rest of their careers.

It can, and does, occasionally happen that a teacher burns out or is granted tenure by a nincompoop principal. In such cases, charges may be filed against the teacher. That's where tenure kicks in. Tenure doesn't guarantee that a teacher can't be fired at all; it guarantees that a teacher will be granted due process when charges are filed against him. It only makes sense that a teacher who has proven his or her worth for three (or thirty) years should be given an opportunity to put up a defense against charges.

Some ask why teachers need tenure when business people have no such protections. One reason is that if I'm an accountant, for example, and I get fired, I can apply for a job with the company's competitors or any other company that needs an accountant. In NYC, there are thousands of business that hire accountants. But there is only ONE public school system, and if you are fired from one school you are prevented from working in ANY of them. So you're not just out of a job, you're out of the profession entirely unless you choose to relocate to another city or state. Would good teachers want to work in a system where they could be fired at will and forced to uproot their entire families because of the whim of a principal? Another reason is nepotism. Without tenure and seniority, an admin could replace you with his nephew or because he likes pretty young grads more than gnarled veterans. Tenure protects whistle blowers and teachers who hold unpopular beliefs. Yes, it even protects teachers who write articles in the Daily News that may honk off an admin or two, or the teacher who rebuts that article on a Facebook page.

Yes, it can take a long time to resolve charges against teachers, but that is the fault of the system, and NOT the UFT contract. The Klein administration has filled the rubber rooms to the breaking point without hiring enough mediators to hear all the cases. I know of one guy who was (unjustly in my view) brought up on charges of incompetence and languished in the rubber room for two years. If he was lucky, he would get a day before the mediator once a month. As a result, his hearing dragged on and on for what seemed like forever. His real crime against the DOE is that he was a union rep who stood up for teachers. Even with tenure, he was eventually forced to resign or be fired.

I'm not an expert on 3020A hearings, but both Norm and Chaz have many informative posts about them. When you read them, you'll understand why tenure is needed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How NOT to Tear Up the Union Contract

I've gotten a lot of heat for criticizing Matt Polazzo, whose destructive piece in the Daily News advocates getting rid of the UFT contract and giving administrators total power. I've been accused of trying to protect bad teachers and of offering no solutions. I beg to differ.

It is Polazzo who offers no constructive solutions whatsoever. He also would never surrender his union membership and live up to his "ideals". Despite the attacks on me, I have actually offered solutions many times. See here and here. See in part below:

1. Reinforce the idea of tenure. Principals have three years in which to decide whether a teacher is acceptable. I could tell you in three days who belongs. If principals change their minds after three years, they better be damn well able to prove a teacher incompetent.

2. Create a meaningful curriculum with the input of teachers (this is done at my school, and you'd be amazed how much teachers want to do justice to the curriculum when they have a hand in creating it). If any teachers fail or refuse to teach the minimum skills agreed upon by their respective departments, they should be put on the hot seat. Divas would be no more--they would have to teach certain units at certain times just like everyone else.

3. We all know that a principal can get his or her admin buddies from other schools to do so-called "impartial" observations, which is nothing more than a way to bolster a case at a 3020 hearing. How about we create "observation teams" of highly qualified teachers to observe teachers outside their own schools instead of admins? These teachers, who truly have no stake in the outcome other than justice and the education of children, would be a better barometer of the truth than the principal calling his friends in to give U ratings to people being targeted

There are other ideas for reforming schools. Some of them have merit and some are awful. Mr. Polazzo's idea has no merit whatsoever. It is purely destructive of schools and the dedicated professionals who work in them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teacher Bashing--It's Not Just for Politicians Anymore!

If you want your 15 minutes of fame these days but you can't think of anything other than claiming one of your students has commandeered a hot air balloon and is somewhere over the Atlantic, I have good news for you. As a NYC teacher, all you have to do is be a traitorous rat and dump on your fellow teachers.

Ariel Sacks just recently did that, and she got considerable attention for it. I thought she was pretty bad, but she was nothing compared to fellow attention whore Matt Polazzo, who recently had an opinion piece published in the Daily News (which he refers to as the NY Daily Post on his Facebook page, which speaks to how accurate the guy is). You can read the article here, especially if you're a fan of illogical arguments and limited vocabularies.

To save time, Polazzo basically says that incompetent teachers, presumably those unlike him, should be fired immediately, while good teachers, presumably those like him, should stay. He never defines good or bad, but I bet he can tell the difference pronto.

I was tipped off to Polazzo's Facebook page by an alert reader, and it tells us a lot about the guy. Other than being unable to identify the newspaper he was published in, we receive many other insights into his mind. For example, the page is called "Team Polazzo" and has a nice picture of a pirate instead of his actual face. What's really unusual is how many teachers have commented on the article, including one who says that they should all wear tee shirts with the words "Team Polazzo" written on them. Personally, I think they could save a lot of time and money by just buying a bunch of "I'm with Stupid" tees.

So, why did Polazzo write a piece trashing his colleagues? One can only guess, but attention whore suggested itself to me immediately. Also, I'd bet his physique isn't quite what Survivor (or even Tool Academy) is looking for, and he most likely flunked the exam for Are Your Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, so he had to look for another avenue for self promotion.

To be honest, Polazzo doesn't bother me that much. The education world has always had bottom feeding ass kissers who look to further their careers by smooching the wrinkled buttocks of the Kleins of the world. What bothers me is that he has followers. In a similar vein, I can understand why the world has Charles Manson types, but I'll be damned if I can figure out why others want to be part of the family.

Since Polazzo wants to tear up the teacher's contract, I assume he has the courage of his convictions. When his supervisor writes him up one day, I assume he will immediately resign. Right, Mr. Polazzo? When that day comes, I bet he'll wish he'd pulled a balloon boy stunt instead. But with that much hot air, he'd probably leave the Earth's atmosphere. Not that I'd object.

UPDATE: To clarify, the FB page mentioned above is a team page, and not Mr. Polazzo's personal FB page. Sorry for any confusion.