Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gotham Schools Is My Crappy Girlfriend

Almost everyone passes through a phase where they are attracted to someone who is no good for them. You know what I mean--that cute person who you'd love to get a date with, but when you do, the flaws begin to surface. You start to notice their whining voice. Their opinions, which once seemed charmingly fresh, now make you wince. After a while, everything they do starts to annoy you, to the point where you either must break up or make plans on how to dispose of the body.

That's how I feel about Gotham Schools. Once, I loved them. I could find all the news I wanted with a single click. And the interface??? A thing of beauty. So complete and organized! And then....a few flaws started coming out. Was it me, or were they covering charters a little too much? Did I detect a little anti-teacher bias? And what about moderating the comments--was GS starting to become a control freak? Finally, the last straw--Ruben Brosbe. That was when I knew: Gotham Schools had become my crappy girlfriend.

I wanted to know whether this was just a normal relationship phase, so I went to the Rise and Shine section this morning, and it confirmed my worst fears. The anti-teacher bias made me feel like I'd just caught GS in bed with Geoffrey Canada AND Bill Gates.

Here's some of their stories and how they could have been written if GS really, really cared about me, which obviously they DON'T. (Revised headline in italics):

The city could lose $44 million for needy schools if it can’t make a teacher eval deal.

The city is blackmailing teachers over the eval deal by claiming they'll lose money for schools they fully intend to close anyway.

The city has fined 10 teachers for inappropriate comments about gender and race.

The city has not had to fine 79,990 teachers who act appropriately all the time.

Two charter high schools run by New Visions are among those that might not open.

A few charter folks will be unhappy if the UFT manages to save schools slated for Bloomberg's guillotine.

Two months into his chancellorship, Dennis Walcott is keeping a blistering pace.

Two months into his chancellorship, Dennis Walcott has managed not to do a single thing differently than Cathie Black or Joel Klein.

Students who were shut out of city high schools at first found out last week where they’ll go.

Bloomberg fucked up high school admissions again.

Don't you see, Gotham? We've grown apart. No, no--it's too late to say you'll change, or that you're really not biased. I'm sure you'll meet some other teacher--one who's more in tune with the way you think. We'll both be happier.

Is that a knife???

Monday, May 30, 2011

Electing the Anti-Bloomberg

I've had my ear pretty close to the ground when it comes to contract negotiations. PERB should have finished their work long ago--why they haven't is a mystery. There have been all kinds of rumors, the latest of which is that if Mulgrew agrees to the Cuomo evaluation plan, there won't be any layoffs and we'll get a raise. I seriously doubt that one. In fact, I doubt we will see any kind of contract any time soon without giving up something we treasure, like seniority rights or tenure.

And I say the hell with that. No deal.

Mulgrew should draw a line in the sand right now, and tell the membership that we should be willing to wait for a new contract until we have a new mayor. No agreement on evaluations, no nothing.

The city budget for next year has a 1.25% raise for municipal employees built into it. Screw that. In order to get even that pittance, you can bet that Mayor4life will want to extract his pound of flesh. I don't want to give up even one more right, not one more clause in the current contract, to get that meager sum. I'd rather wait.

That doesn't mean we should do nothing. The UFT has sat idly by on the sidelines while Bloomberg has vilified us. We didn't endorse a candidate in the last election, fearing some kind of retribution from the Mayor King. How has that worked out for us?

What we need to do--right now--is find a candidate we can endorse in the next election. We need someone who will be willing to run on an anti-Bloomberg campaign--someone who will promise to save teachers, keep firehouses open, and tax the current mayor's rich pals to pay for it all. We need someone who will restore sanity to the way the city is run by vowing an end to no-bid contracts and money-sinks like CityTime. Someone who will stand up to the ed deform crowd and charter school hedge fund criminals and put life back in the public school system.

Who is that person? I can think of two possibilities. Bill De Blasio, the current public advocate, stands out. He is currently working to avert teacher layoffs, and his campaign to raise teacher status through video testimonials by parents is just the kind of thing we need. Another possibility is John Liu, the NYC Comptroller. He seems bound and determined to root out the corruption that Bloomberg's contracts have made a way of life in this city. He has also stood out as a supporter of unions.

Mulgrew should sit down with both of these men, and see who has the most to offer the teachers and citizens of this city. He needs to find out which one will work hardest to reverse the draconian policies of the current dictator/mayor. Mulgrew should then back that candidate to the hilt, starting immediately.

This candidate should be, and run as, the anti-Bloomberg, Support the schools. Bring back the middle class. Make the rich pay their share plus the share they've avoided in the 12 year reign of Bloomberg. Be fiscally responsible. Bring parents back into education discussion. Put the people first, before new stadiums, bike lanes, and anti-smoking regulations. Recognize that there are five boroughs--not just the Manhattan Bloomie loves.

The public mood is right for all of this to happen. Citizens are tired of plutocrats like mayor4life running their lives. The question is: Will the UFT be at the forefront of the next mayoral campaign, or will we sit back, hoping the political wind blows in our direction?

If we want the anti-Bloomberg, we need to act. No deal on a contract if any strings are attached. No cooperation on evaluations. Support a pro-teacher, pro-union candidate for mayor. It's within our grasp if we want it.

Your move, Mr. Mulgrew.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stop Layoffs by Stopping Fraud

You know that 300 million the mayor says he needs to prevent layoffs? One way he can get it is by actually paying attention to all those contractors he hires.

In yet another CityTime scandal, it was found that one contractor gave $450 million dollars out in kickbacks. That enough money to save every teacher's job and even give us a raise.

Remember, this is just one contractor. Imagine how many billions are being siphoned off by all of the countless contractors the mayor has hired.

If Mayor4Life had any decency, he'd resign now for his utter incompetence and pay the money back out of his own deep pockets.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Four Asshats of the Educational Apocalypse

Is the world ending today? I can't say for sure. So far, my world has not been invaded by the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who represent conquest, famine, war, and death. In the original biblical tale, the horsemen ride on white, black, red, and pale horses.

Assuming we survive until tomorrow, teachers still have another apocalyptic vision staring them in the face: the Four Asshats of the Educational Apocalypse. Here's how I see them:

On the red horse, representing war against the teachers union, ride Evan Stone and Sydney Morris. While they are, technically, two people, in my vision they are a two-headed hydra determined to peck away at teachers' rights while securing cushy jobs for themselves.

On the white horse, representing the famine of intelligence, experience, and educational know-how, rides Ruben Brosbe, spreading his dishwater wit and penchant for self-flagellation.

On the black horse, representing the death of the public school system, rides Mayor4Life Bloomberg. Unlike traditional representations of death who bring about a swift end with a scythe, the billionaire reaper prefers to squeeze his victims of resources and slowly bleed them dry.

The rider of pale horse represents conquest. Biblical scholars disagree as to whether this rider represents good or evil, and so we are forced to place Michael Mulgrew in the saddle of this one. He may stand up for us and protect the rights we've won over the past fifty years, or he may roll over, Weingarten-style, in a culminating act that seals our fate.

I'm pretty certain that the world will see another day. If not, I will be pissed, because I just spent the morning stocking up on toilet paper and cat food at Costco. I am less certain that New York Public Schools will survive the attempted apocalypse being fomented by the Four Asshats.

All I can say to them is, FU and the horses you rode in on.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Message for E4E "Likers"

If you're one of those new teachers who "liked" E4E on Facebook because you are dissatisfied with the status quo, or if you're one of the few who actually joined their ranks, I have something to share with you that might change your mind.

I'm not interested talking to Asshat scabs Evan and Sydney, or A4E blog monkey Ruben Brosbe. They are in this for all they can grab for themselves. I believe there are many E4E members who sincerely believe that as long as they work hard, they don't need union protections. And as hard as you work, you resent the possibility of being laid off. You probably believe that the union is working against you, and the DOE will watch your back as long as you do your job.

Did you see the article in the Daily News that detailed how the DOE is currently recruiting 500 Teaching Fellows and TFAers even as they threaten to lay you off? That's right--the DOE is looking to lay off more than 4000 new teachers, and then replace 500 of them with even newer teachers.

If you're a hard working E4E member, you have to ask yourself why the DOE is looking to replace you rather than retrain you to take one of those 500 jobs. The answer is pretty obvious, really. If you've got 2-4 years in the system, the DOE would rather dump you than tenure you.

Remember, these 500 replacements have zero teaching experience. So much for the idea that the DOE values all your hard work and wants to judge you on merit. If they cared about merit, they'd retrain you and keep you on.

The Asshats that run E4E would like you to believe that their billionaire sponsors are looking out for you. What they want is to create a temporary workforce, of which you will be a part. You will be replaced as soon as you start to make decent money or a younger teacher comes along.

If you're a 1st or 2nd year teacher who is about to lose his or her job to someone who has never been in the classroom, you should go right now and "unlike" E4E. They've lied to you about the DOE's desire to keep you on. They don't oppose layoffs; they just want to make sure that no one has a right to a job, no matter how long and hard they work.

Not much to "like" there.

Thanks to South Bronx School for coining the "blog monkey" title for Ruben.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Arthur vs. Asshats

On the same day Asshats Extraordinaire Evan Stone and Sydney Morris wrote an editorial lauding the use of standardized testing, a real teacher and experienced educator, Arthur Goldstein, made the case against high stakes testing. It should be required reading.

Faux teachers Evan and Sydney support testing because their billionaire supporters want them to. Neither has any meaningful classroom experience. Arthur, on the other hand, is a real teacher with real experience who tells it like it is.

When it's Arthur vs. the Asshats, Evan and Sydney don't stand a chance.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where Bad Teachers Come From

[STANDARD TEACHER CAVEAT UPCOMING] There are some bad teachers out there.

I don't know why teachers always have to issue that caveat, as if other professions don't have bad apples. Still, it's tradition, and far be it from me to break with tradition.

Today, I'd rather not look at the whether; I'd like to look at the why, and what we can do about it.

We tend to shy away from the question of where bad teachers come from like we shy away from telling children where babies come from. For the record, bad teachers are not dropped on schools by the stork. There are two main reasons why we have bad teachers in the system, and they are 1) demand has long outstripped supply, and 2) a lot of administrators aren't doing their jobs.

Before we examine those reasons, let's dispel the most common myth. Most teachers are highly competent. Teachers aren't fished out of the shallow end of the gene pool; most of us are quite well schooled in our subject areas and we know how to run a classroom. This is evident from the incredibly high number of teachers who have masters degrees, and the fact that about half of all teachers leave or are fired before they reach 5 years. Those who remain are highly educated and have managed to successfully navigate through five years of the DOE.

So where do the bad apples come from? Let's examine reason #1: demand has long outstripped supply. Many E4E people were learning to use crayons back when there was a severe teacher shortage in NYC. They used to advertise for teachers not only on buses and subways, but in foreign countries. Many teachers were brought in because they could be licensed to teach in shortage areas, despite the fact that they often spoke little English. (Disclaimer--many, but not all, of these folks went on to become fine educators) Other teachers who should have never been kept on were given tenure simply because they taught in a shortage area and could not be replaced because the city did not want to pay teachers enough to create a sizable pool of candidates. Long Island schools typically paid 40% more, so good, qualified teachers left the city in droves for much greener pastures (and 40% more is a lot of green). Today, supply outstrips demand, but that will change once the economy improves and teacher protections are savaged by Bloomberg and Cuomo. We will once again be recruiting teachers from Peru.

Reason #2 is that a lot of administrators simply don't do their jobs. Remember, principals have FOUR YEARS to decide whether someone is qualified to receive tenure; if they can't figure out who can do the job after four years, they are incompetent boobs. Furthermore, every school I have ever been to or heard talked about has a set of teachers who don't do the job because they are actually protected by the principal or an AP. I've written about some of these teachers before. First we have the divas, who don't teach much but they make the principal look good because they spend all their time on creating fancy bulletin boards rather than teaching. Then we have the ass-kissers, who are willing to play piano at concerts, organize testing for admins, cause dissension among the staff, and rat out fellow teachers--virtually anything but be in a classroom.

E4E would like to solve the problem of "bad" teachers by allowing administrators to choose whom they fire. To see how ridiculous this is, let's look at main groups of bad teachers again. Teachers in hard to staff license areas will get a pass no matter how bad they are because there simply aren't enough qualified candidates to take their place. The do-nothing divas and ass kissers won't get the boot either, because principals love them.

No, the only people who will be fired if E4E's plans come to fruition are the highest paid, hardest working teachers in easier-to-staff subject areas. English and SS studies teachers will be hard hit, no matter how good they are, because principals view us as expendable and replaceable.

All the E4E folks will lose their jobs in a few years as well, as soon as they start making a few bucks or they get a poor TDR score.

So, what's the solution? As I've always stated, teachers should be given major control over personnel decisions. No teacher wants to teach next to a lousy teacher, and no teacher would keep the non-teaching suck-ups on for very long. If teachers evaluated each other, everyone who did their job would stay, and those who gold bricked would go. The stork would be out of business.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Value Added Lie

Maybe some math teacher can help me here. I'm trying to understand the numbers behind the controversial Teacher Data Reports issued to NYC teachers. These TDRs rank English and Math teachers in the 4th through 8th grades by assigning a percentile based upon the alleged "value" the teacher added to his or her students scores. This number is increasingly important as Governor Cuomo pressures the UFT to accept these value-added scores as 40% of a teacher's evaluation.

Indefatigable blogger Reality-Based Educator often pegs the margin of error of these numbers at 12-35%, while the UFT "...claims the average margin of error is plus or minus 27 points, or a spread of 54 points". Even the sample TDR the DOE provides shows a MOE of +/- 25 points (although, in typical DOE doublespeak, the report calls it a "range" and not a margin of error).

Now, if any of these numbers is correct, or anywhere near correct, it's clear that these numbers are garbage. The sample DOE report shows a teacher with a 50 percentile rank, who may be as low as about 22% to as high as 72%.

I'm no statistician, but I am a baseball fan, so I can understand and explain why these numbers stink. A baseball team ranked at the 50 percentile would be perfectly average. But a team that won 22% of its games would be the worst team in major league history, while the team with a winning percentage of 72 would be the greatest team of all time. Baseball fans, who tend to eat up crazy stats, would spit on value-added because it doesn't mean anything.

I understand that the "margin of error" is meant to show the range into which a teacher may fall in a given year. But I would argue that that number is even more meaningless than it appears when we look at multiple years. I'll use myself as an example. Two years ago, my TDR placed me at the very bottom of the pile, with a single digit score. According to the report, the highest score I could have attained given the margin of error was a 33. Yet this year, I scored at the very top, and the lowest score I could have attained according to the report is an 83.

So, according to these reports, even given the margin of error, there was a 50 point difference between the best teacher I could have been one year, and the worst teacher I could have been the next year.

That is 50 points beyond the margin of error.

Some math maven will likely point out that this result is over two years, and the value-added score only measures one year, but I really don't see how that matters.

I am the same teacher, in the same school, teaching the same subject to the same grade, using the same curriculum and lessons, and my score changed almost 90 percentage points.

Perhaps my results are extreme, but they happened. I've spoken to many teachers who've had drops or spikes nearly as large. To me, that means that just about anyone can find himself in danger hitting the bottom and becoming a target of administrators.

If any math teachers care to explain where my analysis went wrong, I'd like to hear. Or perhaps I'm right, and the value-added numbers just don't add up to much.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Why A4E Should Support Seniority

If you think about it, no one outside of Bloomberg's circle or his media buddies thinks layoffs are a good idea. Governor Cuomo is against them. So is the city council, headed by Christine Quinn. So are the people of New York with some skin in the game; only 25% of adults with children in the public schools think Bloomberg is doing a good job.

Of course, the exception is Asshats4Education. Oh, sure, they say they are against layoffs, but in truth, they are only concerned about who gets laid off, and not how many. Privileged trust fund babies like Evan Stone and Sydney Morris, who don't even have full time jobs and never achieved tenure themselves, are carrying the mayor's water on this issue. Stooges like Ruben Brosbe and Michael Loeb are willing to do the dirty work of vilifying the union in the hopes that the billionaires will let them eat a few crumbs from their filthy lucre. These backstabbers are only too willing to grab their ankles for the mayor. Their motivation is obvious. But what about the rest of the the "members"?

I don't believe even for a minute that A4E has 1600 members. What they have is 1600 "likes" on their Facebook page. Given how much press they have gotten, it's actually kind of embarrassing for them to only have 1600 likes. I could create a page called "Naked New York Goat Wrestling" tomorrow and get that many likes.

Still, we can't ignore the fact that there are, perhaps, a few hundred teachers who really drink the Asshat Kool-Aid. It's easy to see why. They are afraid of losing their jobs, and A4E seems to be reaching out to them in a way that the UFT has not. Our union needs to point out to these people, and other newbies who may be feeling the same way, that keeping seniority is in their own interests as well. Here are some points they should make:
  • A change to the "LIFO" law will guarantee 6,000 lost positions and a commensurate increase in class sizes. The mayor's idea all along has been to gut seniority so that he can fire high priced veterans and eviscerate the pension system by making sure no one ever gets that many years in. If he gets his way, he will, without a doubt, carry out every single layoff he has promised--not only this year, but every year in which he can phony up a financial crisis (remember, we currently have a 3 billion dollar surplus). If seniority stays in place, the number of layoffs will decrease dramatically--perhaps to the vanishing point. The city council will restore most, if not all, of the funding to stave off the layoffs.
  • What the mayor wants is to change the layoff rules entirely. He wants the power not to just lay off senior teachers, but to fire them without due process. Once he gets that power, all bets are off. In contrast, if seniority rules are maintained, those laid off will be asked back according to seniority in the system. Will it suck to be unemployed for a time? Of course it will. But you will be hired back by a system that still has due process in place. Without that, you can rest assured that you will be fired at some date in the future. The mayor wants an at-will workforce. If you support the mayor, you may keep your job for a while, but you will lose it permanently as soon as you begin to make a decent living, piss off a principal, get a low TDR score, or your boss wants to give your job to his son-in-law.
  • The mayor doesn't want to lay anyone off. His education numbers are in the toilet, and his general poll numbers aren't far behind. If he lays teachers off, he will likely become one of the most hated mayors of all time, and he knows it.

The Asshats at A4E aren't doing anything noble. If they get their way, teaching will become a profession that no one will want to pursue. That's not going to benefit the children, but you can bet Evan and Sydney will profit.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Improve your TDR in Three Easy Steps!

I always try to learn something from even the most trying situations. For example, I recently had a root canal, which I generally find to be rather painful. So this time, as the dentist dug in elbow-deep, I tried a meditation technique. I stared intently at a crack in the ceiling while visualizing soothing waves washing over a serene white beach. It still hurt like a bitch, but at least now I know that meditation is of little value when a large man is shoving pointy metallic instruments into your gums. Next time, I bring whiskey.

Today, as I settled into day two of my five day sentence in ELA grading hell, I focused my mind on learning something from the experience. I don't often focus my mind without something breaking loose, and it did today. I discovered three sure fire ways to make sure your kids ace the exam and boost your TDR scores. Here they are:

1. Make sure your class is NOT graded on day one. Break into the scorer's room, if you have to. You see, all scorers are trained for hours, using model answers that no actual child would write. When the real exams come out, teachers scrutinize each answer with great care, picking everything apart with a critical eye. If the answer did NOT appear on one of the training examples, it gets down graded. By day two, scorers no longer care what the answers are. If they seem vaguely correct, they are awarded points. TRUE FACT: After telling us all day yesterday that a particular answer was unacceptable, the people running the show decided that the answer was acceptable after all. Of course, we could not go back and give credit to all the students who had given the answer yesterday, so only those tests scored today will get the benefit. So, after all your hard work preparing your students with the utmost care, you may end up jobless and homeless, subsisting on nothing but discarded pizza crusts, when your TDR plummets just because it was graded on day one. You've been warned.

2. Next year, make sure that your students know that spelling, grammar, and punctuation do not count on the reading exam--they only count on the writing exam. For example, if the question asks "How did Johnny feel when his sister dropped the anvil on his foot?", a response like "jonee feldded terrybull wen da Anville wuz droppted on hiz fout" gets full credit. This is not a joke.

3. Learn about noise. "Noise" is the new buzzword in ELA scoring. Simply put, it means that scorers should search for the right answer, and if it is anywhere in the response, that makes the entire answer correct, because all the rest is considered "noise". So, using our example of poor Johnny above, if the student answers "Johnny felt good wonderful spiritual proud brave silly selfish foolish ignorant bad", the answer would be correct because the student threw the word "bad" in there, which makes the entire answer correct. All the other choices were noise. What we now call "noise" is what we used to call "wrong". So make sure your students write as many words as possible, as one of them may turn out to be correct.

Imagine if they did this in math. If they asked "What is 2+2?" a student could answer " 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, tuna fish" and be correct because the answer contained a 4.

I hope this helps lessen your test taking anxiety. Next year, when you are teaching test prep and a child in your class stares at a crack in the ceiling, resist the temptation to clock said child across the cranium with a blunt object. Just relax, take a deep breath, and work on those three steps I've told you. Jabbing the child in the gums with something pointy is optional.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Scoring with Mature Ladies

If you want to score with mature ladies, follow these simple guidelines. Compliments can work wonders. Ask the lady how old she is; when she smilingly obliges, tell her that she looks pretty good for someone her age. No woman can resist such sweet talk. Then say something that makes her feel young, such as, "Hey, I bet you still have a few years to go until retirement!"

Wait. I'm sorry. I thought of the title of this blog post at 10AM and completely forgot what I wanted to write about. I must be getting old myself. What I meant to talk about was scoring the ELA test with mature ladies.

I'm on my annual five day stay in the purgatory of grading ELA exams. Two days this week and three next week. To alleviate some of the mind numbing boredom of training, I started surveying the room. There were a lot of ladies there. That, in and of itself, is unremarkable. Teaching, as a profession, has a high estrogen-to-testosterone level. What was remarkable was the age of the average person in the room.

Now, I confess I did not ask the ages of all the people there, as I wanted to make it home alive, so this is not a scientific study. Still, I would have to say that the age of the average teacher in the room was a bit over forty, and maybe quite a bit over. It wasn't just the women who'd been around the block a few times; I'd be willing to bet that there wasn't a man there who hadn't had a prostate exam in the last year. The only other place you'd ever have seen a group of teachers with that much "experience" was in the now defunct rubber rooms.

Today's teaching force is much younger, on average, than the people in that room. Given the huge turnover in NYC schools, some staffs look more like a sorority than a faculty. It couldn't be mere coincidence that my fellow scorers all had some snow on the roof. So what was the reason?

Could it be that the DOE wanted to have experienced teachers grade these tests? That when push came to shove, they knew that they could rely on senior teachers to get the job done with minimal training and maximum professionalism? I think so.

I hope no one took offense at my juvenile jabs at older folks. It was all in jest. And just for the record, I was not the guy at table nine in the blue shirt, so don't jab me with your knitting needles tomorrow. We have to get through this together.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Farewell to Asshats

Now that the mayor has shot his load, so to speak, and threatened to lay off 4,100 teachers for a total of 6,000 fewer positions, I think the UFT needs to act. Listen, I am the last person who would, under ordinary conditions, suggest that we negotiate with this slug of a mayor, but I fear the time has now arrived. We have no choice. We need to strike a deal that will protect both teachers and the strength of our union.

I hate to say this, but I think we must follow the model set forth for us by the negotiators at Asshats4Educators. (I know this is blasphemous. Forgive me.) Say what you will about A4E, they understand the negotiation process. They have doggedly insisted that layoffs are about teacher quality, and that we must get rid of sub-par teachers. Toward that end, they have offered the city what it wants: some easy targets to slate for elimination, such as rubber roomers, ATRs, or anyone rated U over the last 5 years. The UFT has, thus far, staunchly defended these groups, and rightly so. Teachers have routinely been brought up on false charges or had their schools closed through no fault of their own, so it makes sense to protect them. Yet we must give the city something--throw some red meat to the sharks, so to speak, so that the rest of us can escape, A4E style.

So, I'm offering a less than modest proposal: If the mayor insists on layoffs, let's not stand in the way. Let's offer them the Asshats.

That's right. There are 1600 Asshats infesting the city's schools, according to the Asshats themselves. If we offer them to the city along with the 2000 jobs lost through attrition, the total would be 3600--close enough to 600o to strike a deal.

Think about it. What would the city lose if we turned the Asshats into chum? Not much. The vast majority of Asshats are temporary employees who will flee the system as soon as the economy recovers or Bill Gates offers them a cushy job. Would the public schools be diminished if Evan Stone and Sydney Morris lost their jobs? They hardly work now!

Let's look at some of the other jewels in the Asshat crown. Ruben Brosbe, for example, stuttering mouthpiece for A4E, constantly celebrates his own incompetence in the NY Post and Gotham. His TDR scores were so dismal that he apparently fled to 3rd grade, where he would not receive a report.

If there's even one bad apple like Ruben in A4E, it's safe to assume that all Asshats should go, isn't it? I mean, they routinely assert that rubber roomers and ATRs should go because a few of them may be guilty. Why shouldn't that apply to Asshats, as well?

And it's not like there are just a few of them. Michael Loeb, for example, is another A4E stooge who seemingly can not write a coherent paragraph. Would the system miss him?

Of course, you could argue that by picking A4E for extermination, I am biased against newbies, but that is not so. Also sent packing would be senior Asshats like that boob who had her clock cleaned by Julie Cavanagh on NY1.

And as long as we're throwing people under the bus, I'd recommend firing anyone with a douchebag hipster beard.

So that's my proposal. What do you think?


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mr. Talk Predicts...


Yes, I'm sorry to say it, but after correctly predicting no layoffs for the last two years, I'm donning my swami hat once more to reverse course this year. I think Mayor4life will carry out his threat to lay off teachers this year--but not in the numbers you might think.

I'm guessing that the mayor will announce, in a tortured voice, that he did everything he could to save teachers' jobs, but he just couldn't pull it off given the fact that no one has enough money (unless you count Bloomberg himself, or the three billion dollar surplus).

I do, however, think the number will be smaller than the 4,600 Bloomberg originally announced. I can't say what the number is, but I'm betting it will be more or less equal to the number of some set or sets of teachers that Bloomberg would like to get rid of. It will look something like this:

Number of Layoffs = Number of ATRs + Total Rubber Roomers OR

Number of Layoffs = Number of teachers rated U in the last 3 years OR

Some other combination of teachers that Bloomberg wants to fire anyway.

You see, this was NEVER about money. The city has the money to avert layoffs right now. What the mayor wants is ability to fire whoever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants to. He has been stymied at every turn in his efforts to end seniority. This will be his final attempt to get his way.

What better way than to say, "We've done all we could to avert layoffs, but we couldn't. Now if the UFT would just let me fire the (insert favorite type of vilified teachers here), we could have a great teacher in every classroom!"

It's an underhanded ploy, of course, but that's exactly why I'm predicting the mayor will try it.