Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bloomberg's Impeccable Logic

The New York Post gives Mayor4Life Bloomberg an A for his logic on teacher evaluations. You see, Mike is concerned that if teacher privacy is preserved to even a small extent, as in giving the information only to parents, that it will result in harm to teachers. “It would lead to just chaos — and it would be very bad for our teachers," said Bloomie, who is world-renowned for his deep concern for educators.

You see, he's afraid that by giving teacher evaluations to parents, the information might be collected on some rogue website put together by some vindictive parents. And if that happens, says Mike, "the information it presents would be unreliable — and possibly misleading."

Of course, one might argue that this is a reason for the parents not to get the data at all.

I see what's happened here. While I fully believe Mike when he shows his compassion for teachers, there may be something else at play here. You see, what Mayor4Life is truly afraid of is that parents might be trying to infringe on some of his territory.

If there is any harm to be done to teachers, Mike would like to do it himself. He practically has a patent on harming teachers. How dare rogue parents even think about taking some of that action? And when it comes to unreliable and misleading information, who does it better than Uncle Mike? He managed to pay millions for a TDR system that has an 87% margin of error. Who do parents think they are--potentially posting even more misleading data for free?

You can understand why Mike is steamed. He has worked damn hard to harm teachers, and he's not going to let parents take over his turf.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chaz Gets a Hearing in the Media

Long time blogger Chaz, who was tarred and feathered in the press as a 'pervy' teacher even after his case was resolved in his favor, finally gets a public hearing in a piece by Arthur Goldstein in the NY Times. 

Read it to understand how the DOE can take a single spurious allegation and ruin a teacher's life, not to mention spending what must be at least a half a million dollars to carry out its vendetta.

Frankly, I hope Chaz sues the DOE for sending news organizations letters that were unfounded and removed from his file, and the NY Daily News for printing this seemingly libelous material.

Kudos to Mr. Goldstein for this piece, and to Chaz himself for having the fortitude to endure the slings and arrows of the DOE and the media.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The New Holy Grail of Union Busters

Politicians, including so-called Democrats such as Cuomo and Obama, have held the coats of union-busting Republicans as they attempt to dismantle unionized labor in this country. There has been some backlash, such as the recall effort of Scott Walker in Wisconsin, but not nearly enough. Unions themselves are complicit--the UFT, for example, continues to grant concessions such as the Race to the Top evaluation fiasco, even as the city has denied us raises they granted to other unions and as they refuse to negotiate a new contract with us.

You might have thought the union-busters were done. They didn't get LIFO, but the new evaluation system make seniority moot in many cases. They didn't get tenure, but they managed to get the UFT to agree to shift the burden of proof in 3020 hearings--the city used to have to prove a teacher was incompetent, but now a teacher with two ineffective ratings will have to prove his or her competence, which is virtually impossible. So the union-busters have been winning hands down, but they aren't done. Their next target is the Triborough Amendment.

The Triborough Amendment is part of the Taylor Law, and you can read up on it here. But the basics of why union-busters want it abolished are simple: it guarantees that when a contract expires, the terms of any current union contract remain in effect until a new contract is signed. In return, unions are heavily punished if they strike. Republicans hate this law because even though an expired contract is essentially a wage freeze, other provisions of the contract, such as step and longevity increases, remain in effect. Republicans argue that this gives unions little reason to negotiate, as workers will continue to receive 'raises' even without a new contract.

That, of course, is nonsense. Bloomberg decided all on his own not to give teachers the same 4% + 4% two year contract that he offered other unions, and we continue without a contract to this day. We are approaching three years without a contract, despite trying to bring the city to the table with a PERB complaint (anyone know why THAT is stalled?). So we are, at least, down 8%, and by the time a new contract is signed, presumably with a new mayor, it is virtually certain that we will not see that money. Why should the city negotiate when they can save a fortune by stonewalling, and the unions are prohibited from striking by the same Taylor Law?

You might think that Cuomo, an alleged Democrat, would oppose any change to the Triborough Amendment, but you'd be wrong. According to the Times:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat who has taken on labor over several issues, has yet to express a position on the Triborough Amendment, but a top aide, Lawrence Schwartz, said last year that the administration would explore options, including proposing the suspension of the amendment.

When Cuomo starts exploring options, union workers need to hold on to their wallets. He's the one who pushed through the new evaluation system, put a wage freeze on state workers, and engineered a new pension tier that will punish future union workers.

If they can abolish Triborough, municipalities can force unions to agree to almost any concessions, as  contracts would become null and void when they expire.

Luckily, it seems that there will be no action on this for the current legislative year. Still, this looming attack makes it even more important that the UFT ends up backing a genuine union supporter in the next mayoral election, such as De Blasio or Liu, rather than some Bloomberg sock puppet like Christine Quinn who will basically give Mayor4Life the fourth term that even he doesn't have enough money to buy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why Chaz MUST be fired

I hate to do it, but I must disagree with my fellow bloggers and side with the Daily News in the case of Eric Chasanoff, AKA Chaz of Chaz's School Daze, and call for this unrepentant teacher's ouster. Despite the fact that he was cleared to return to the classroom after 4 1/2 years in the rubber room by an independent arbitrator, we simply can't take the chance that he will stop his outrageous behavior, which consists of telling a high school girl that he "could kiss her" for doing well on a test because he was proud of her. If we allow a poor choice of words to stop us from firing a teacher, what will be next?

Actually, I'll tell you what will be next. I know of an outrageous case going on right now. In a case of sexual deviancy that has gotten little attention so far, a sicko has been found to have entered a salacious relationship with a minor. It's hard to believe, but this individual has posted pictures of this girl on a public web site. The pictures include highly suggestive shots of this young lady posing in a bikini and bunny ears, just in time for Easter, I suppose. And there's more. This pervert has also apparently posted pics of this young victim in a Santa bikini and in a white dress reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe's iconic Seven Year Itch photo, with her skirt blown upwards and her underwear clearly visible. In one of the more disgusting photos, this underage girl is shown lying on the floor in shorts and a bra, the strap of which is pulled dangerously low on her bosom.

To make matters worse, this scoundrel has also posted some of this girl's suggestive tweets. For example, 'Come get down & dirty w/me while we floor flash together!' and 'OMG, I'm so ... wet."

So I think you see where I'm coming from. If we allow Chaz to get away with a poor word choice, it will embolden sickos like the one above, who will feel free to exploit even children in the most despicable manner without fear of punishment. We can never allow our children to be exploited in this manner, and I think any sane person would agree that a teacher who could post such explicit pictures and tweets as those above should be fired.

Of course, it wasn't actually a teacher who did such heinous things to a minor. It was the Daily News.

Yes, my friends, see for yourself, if you can stomach it. The Daily News, paragons of virtue that they are, went out of their way to post a slide show of 22 photos of Courtney Stodden, a 17 year old girl, including all the poses and tweets mentioned above. I found this because it was on linked on the FRONT PAGE of their website today, where thousands of other people will no doubt see it as well.

So, you see why Chaz has to be stopped, don't you? I call for his immediate firing--as soon as every single member of the NY Daily News who had anything to do with posting those pictures of a minor on their web site has been fired, as well.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Lesson in Irony

Recently, Mayor4Life Bloomberg insisted that Teacher Data Reports, which have a margin of error of 87%, be released and published in the papers because the public has a right to know. Never mind that such inaccurate data would publicly shame good teachers, or that slimy news outlets like the Post would choose to highlight and vilify individual teachers as being the worst in the city (unjustly, of course).

The public's right to know, however, apparently does not extend to the shenanigans of the mayor himself. Following the CityTime debacle which cost the city $700 million dollars more than projected for a system that still doesn't work the way it was supposed to, we now have the 911 scandal. If you're unaware of that one, the city contracted for a new 911 system at a cost of 1.3 billion dollars. The system has now cost 2 billion dollars, or 800 million more than projected. And a scathing preliminary report alleges that the city's response time has actually worsened since the system was implemented.

Bloomberg has refused to release that report, and you'll never guess why.

He claims it is inaccurate.

Here's what he said: “You can’t take a working paper where no one’s really checked the facts and just put it out,” the mayor contended on his WOR Radio show. “Because all of a sudden, everybody believes that’s the truth."

There are a lot of NYers who believe the TDRs are the truth, as well, but that didn't seem to bother the mayor. Putting data out there only seems to bother him when it's preliminary--not, as you would think, when it is totally inaccurate. Or maybe it bothers him because it shows that he is a crummy mayor. The CityTime and 911 scandals have cost the taxpayers of this city a total of 1.5 BILLION dollars in cost overruns. That's chump change to a man who has 20 billion socked away, but it's real money to the rest of us.

If that report, which the mayor may have to release on Monday when a judge will rule on it, shows that response times have actually slowed, it will mean that the entire two billion dollars spent on this system has been an utter waste. Added to CityTime, that would mean close to three billion dollars that this mayor has flushed down the toilet on these two projects alone. God only knows how much else he has squandered.

And let's not forget that this is the mayor who used his vast wealth to buy himself an illegal third term, despite the voters having twice opposed an end to term limits, allegedly because the city was in a financial mess and we needed his wise stewardship to keep our fiscal house in order.

The only consolation we may end up with is that this mayor may well be remembered as one of the worst in the city's history, despite his efforts to hide his incompetence.