Friday, August 21, 2015

At PS 154 in the Bronx 80% of Students in 3rd and 5th Grades Failed State ELA Exams!

Baseball is a great sport. Think about it. What other sport are you considered great if you fail 70% of the time?

The .300 batting average is what hitters wish to attain. Hit over .300 in a season you did well. Have a lifetime .300 batting average over a career you are considered one of the finest hitters of all time. Of the 18,274 (Including pitchers) players to play Major League Baseball since 1876 only 178 have a lifetime .300 average (Based on 1,000 games played). That is less than 1%!!!!!!!

From the highest, Ty Cobb with a lifetime average of .366 to a lowest .300 on the dot for 11 players, that .300 average is a mark of success.

Even the last player to he .400, Ted Williams in 1941 when he hit .406, failed to get a hit in 60% of his at bats (When I was a kid my dad always said Williams would have hit 800 if he didn't miss 5 years due to military service).

The great Mickey Mantle finished with a career .298 average. Mickey always lamented playing his last two seasons, 1967 and 1968 in which he hit .245 and .237 respectfully (He hit .300 or better 10 times in his career). Take away those two seasons, Mick winds up hitting over .300 lifetime.

The point?

Why is it acceptable for a NYC school to have 80% of it's 5th graders and over 80% of its 3rd graders unable to read or write and then go into middle school where they have no skills at all.

This school? PS 154 in the Bronx, led by that purveyor of all things Lucy Calkin, DR Alison Coviello, Principal and Ed.D, this is what is happening the students on East 135th St in the South Bronx.

These are the scores that came out last week. Of the 57 fifth graders tested at PS 154 31.6% scored a 1 and 54.4% scored a 2. That is over 80% This is acceptable? Yes, 14% scored a 3, but this comes out to only 7.98 students. EIGHT STUDENTS!!!!

In 3rd grade 58 students were tested Of these, 55.2% of the students recieved a 1 and 29.3% a 2. This totals 84% of students out of a class who apparently weren't taught well from K-2 and especially 3rd grade. Again, to be fair, 15.5% received a 3 in 3rd grade, only 8.99 students. NINE STUDENTS!!!


The students and the community of PS 154 are being short changed by a failed writing and reading curriculum brought into PS 154 by DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.d of PS 154 in the Bronx. Can/should DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.d of PS 154 in the Bronx be trusted to impart the right reading and writing program into PS 154 when she has close ties to Lucy Calkins and her failed methodology?

The community of PS 154 needs to know that they can do something. Demand to whomever will listen that an 80 percent failure rate is not acceptable and demand accountability. This is your community, your school, and your children.

Would these scores be acceptable in Scarsdale? HECK NO! How fast would the Scarsdale superintendent clean house? Think about it. So why is it acceptable in the South Bronx?

Because they believe they have a compliant population that will not contradict what they are told and how they are told to think. 

The parents, the community of PS 154, are the only ones capable of taking charge of your child's education. The parents and community are the best and only advocates. But to do this parents must always question what they are told and come up with their own answers.

It is up to the parents and the community to put and end to the NYCDOE allowing a 80% failure rate to be seen as a success. 

If Mickey Mantle had failed to get a hit 80% of the time he would have been a .200 hitter. He would not have lasted in the Majors for 18 years and would not be in the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UFT Solidarity Whiffs Bernie Sanders Kickoff Event

One thing we here at SBSB have taken pride in is our ability to spot the proverbial pungent odors that emanate from those purveyors of road apples. Never has that odor been as strong as what has been wafting from UFT Solidarity.

Again UFT Solidarity has put its proverbial foot in its proverbial mouth when due to some inane insecurity it decided to make itself look big when in essence it was just no more than paper tiger.

As many remember there was a big Bernie Sanders kickoff event across this fine country of ours several weeks ago. People gathered around TV sets, radios, computers to join in support of Bernie Sanders.

Like a peacock so desperate to show off what it has the so called "Social Media Committee" of UFT Solidarity shared this on Facebook;
While we praise UFT Solidarity for sticking its finger into the wind and having that kickoff event we must remind UFT Solidarity that it is incorrect in several ways.

1. That other "socialist" caucus did have Bernie Kickoff, and 2) It kicked ass! Let's take a look see.
There were 300 people at the event led by MORE steering committee member Mindy Rosier and emceed by WBAI personality Julianna Forlano. By herself. And for something she actually believes in.

Look at all the TV's. Look at all the happy faces. Look at the bar. Look at the person in the foreground with notes. This looks cool.

 Now let's have a look at the UFT Solidarity Bernie Kickoff )Full disclosure. Rush bassist, lead singer and other "socialist" caucus supporter Geddy Lee, has been kind enough to allow us here at SBSB to use his face to to hide the identities, of the few at the UFT Solidarity Kickoff.).

 See the difference?

But wait! What is a Bernie Kickoff without media coverage? Surely, the "Social Media Committee" of UFT Solidarity put out a press release and the New York media was knocking down the door.

Sadly, no. All they had was someone with a camera phone.

On the other hand, the other "socialist" caucus had this. 
"A few hundred people gathered at a downtown bar in New York City on 4th Avenue in what was hailed as one of the largest gatherings. Prior to Sanders' speech the crowd shouted out the reasons they were supporting Sanders, citing paid family leave, free college and overturning Citizens United."
Along with banner Mindy herself created; 

The Crack Team suggests that there be a shake up in the "Social Media Committee" of UFT Solidarity post haste. God forbid UFT Solidarity starts losing credibility.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Is UFT Solidarity Student Friendly?

Sometime ago, when talk of UFT Solidarity was in its infancy I had had a discussion on what it's
name should be, where to stand on the issues, and even what the logo should look like.

Yes, there was this air of militancy and looking out for teachers, but that side needed (In my opinion) to be offset with what would this new caucus do for the communities of NYC.

The name needed to be education friendly and not appear militant. Even the logo should be professionally done and include those that we serve every day as educators. Remember, though this upcoming UFT election is about us as educators in the long run what is most important is how this election and its results will effect the communities.

Teacher abuse, teachers as ATR's, teachers resigning, testing, APPR, teachers sent to the rubber room, Common Core©, etc... can all be---and should-- what we as teachers are fighting against. But, we can take every issue and easily make it how it affects the students of New York City.

But it was not to be. This is not how autocracy works.

But this is not how UFT Solidarity works.

It just seems about revenge, Revenge to right some perceived wrong on somebody's part. Yes, there are many a teacher who has blindly joined UFT Solidarity and listened to the words of Harold Hill. Why not? Not when you are told all these lofty promises that are to come. Not when you learn how to FOIL. But a question remains. What does UFT Solidarity promise our communities?

Looking at the UFT Solidarity Jedi Council and Committees page (Before the ubiquitous cries of trolling, hey it's like watching a train wreck, you don't want to look but feel you must)  one can see many a committee listed.

These include; Member Support, Integrity and Corruption, Outreach and Social Media, Union Democracy. One can surmise this is taken from E4E, but no, E4E only makes you sign a loyalty oath at an event, not online.

I am a great believer in what effects teachers does trickle down and effect the students. We can and should fight for our rights, but in the larger picture (Such as in an election) we need as teachers to articulate how our right, or our lack of rights, effects the students system wide.

We as educators are not in a vacuum. We are in this for our students and the communities we serve.

We can't be in this for ourselves only.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Domo Arigato, DR COVIELLO Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx [どうもありがとうミスターロボット]

One common takeaway from all the people who had attended my 3020-a hearing was how robotic, how unemotional, how two dimensional DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx came across.  Can DR Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx be the inspiration of Styx's 1983 song Mr Roboto?

Several sources deep within PS 154 in the Bronx shared with The Crack Team a email she had sent out to the sycophants and suck-ups thanking them for flowers she had been given at the end of the year. There is no emotion.

So The Crack Team was able to take the thank you email, put it through our Crack Computers and were unable to decode the email into what DR Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx was really thinking. We also decided to add the lyrics from the Styx song, "Mr Roboto," of the the album "Kilroy Was Here."

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto [どうもありがとうミスターロボット],
Mata au hi made [また会う日まで]

Dear Colleagues Those beneath me,

I write this email with much gratitude and a deep sense of appreciation.  I feel so lucky to be able to come to work every day with a group of unbelievably committed and hard working people. You all should feel lucky and kiss the ground I walk upon that I have yet to turn on you. You are fortunate to be breathing the same air as me.  

You're wondering who I am (secret secret I've got a secret)
Machine or mannequin (secret secret I've got a secret)
With parts made in Japan (secret secret I've got a secret)
Over the past three years, you have all pushed forward valiantly even when things were really difficult. Over the past three years you have all managed to keep your sanity and stay silent as I have thrown many of your colleagues under the bus, control every aspect of your life, and you have all remained loyal to me out of fear as you know of all the nasty things I have done to people.

I've got a secret I've been hiding under my skin
My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M.
 You have never given up on our collective agency and potential for huge impact. I like to throw big words in there so I can show off that I have a doctorate. 

I'm not a robot without emotions. I'm not what you see
 This year and last, we truly began to see some tangible results.  I am so proud to be a part of the work to make P.S. 154 great with you all! We haven't really. Test scores are not up. Our students, now in middle school, are barely literate.  I have no doubt that at the pace we have made progress over the past three years, we will be firmly counted among the best of the best in the not so distant future. Don't forget we are a renewal school and the charter is growing and growing. In 2018 we are done. Finis. Jump ship. Rats as usual first. 
I need control. 

Thank you for the absolutely beautiful plaque.  It is proudly displayed in my office.  When stressed, I look at it and remember just how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing professionals. When stressed I look at the plaque and realize what a bunch of sycophants I have working for me.  The letter, too, is proudly displayed and has the same effect on me. My family and I have enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous flowers for a week now and the words in your cards will forever be cherished. The flowers dies, they are in the garbage.

Machines to save our lives.
Machines dehumanize.
It is the team effort that truly makes us great. The team effort is nothing without me controlling all of you. Without phenomenal people working together towards an ultimate vision, our impact can only go so far. No one special. I care more about my control of all things first.  Together, we are unstoppable! We are only unstoppable because of me.  Please enjoy a wonderful, restful summer. You know once the school year starts I OWN YOU! In September, I look forward to coming back together in strength, as we always do, to move P.S. 154 to the next level of greatness! Greatness? With TC? HAHAHAHA!!!

 Domo arigato, DR. Coviello, domo...domo
Domo arigato, DR. Coviello, domo...domo

Monday, August 10, 2015

Come to MORE Summer Series This Thursday!


This Thursday, August 13......

The MORE Summer Series presents.......

What is the role of UFT Elections in Building a caucus?

What should a 2016 grassroots UFT election campaign look like ? Does MORE have the resources and activists to mount an effective campaign ? How can we use new tools and lessons learned to ensure that organizing for the election will build MORE? Come learn election nuts and bolts, brain storm creative election strategies…

All this to happen at.......

The Dark Horse, 17 Murray St. NYC  Near City Hall, Chambers St, WTC Close to the A,C, R, 1,2,3 trains. Discounted beverages available.

Tell MORE Frank Sinatra Jr sent you and get a drink on the house (I hope that someone gets this reference).

See you then!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

NYC Corp Counsel

There is so much I have been meaning to write about for the last month but just haven't had the

It seems the court case is finally getting into the swing of things. Bryan Glass and I were down in court with Assistant Corporation Counsel and Michael Agona's lawyer Richard F.X. Guay on July 15 to finally once and for all set timeline for depositions and discovery before Judge Mendez. Yeah, it took almost a year to get to this point.

So let's go back in time to August of last year when DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx was served with this;

Yes, that is the complaint that was served upon Coviello. Now, according to NYS law the defendant has 30 days to respond. Most of the time, and this is standard operating procedure, it is not met but as a courtesy the plaintiff's will grant an extension which if memory serves Bryan granted to David Mou until September 28 or so. On that date  another request for an extension to answer complaint for another month. Then in October we get this:

Now if you notice that extension for the answer comes very close to the beginning of my 3020-a hearing of December 2. Now hoping against hope I give Bryan the OK to try to settle. I give Bryan carte blanche. We soon get another stipulation or whatever.

Getting real close to December 2. Funny thing is when Bryan is trying to contact corp counsel, They don't call back. Bryan tries many a time and still nothing.

Through the December and January we here nothing. Finally Bryan and I decided to file a motion for default judgement.

Boy did that get attention. He called Bryan so fast, like a girl afraid her boyfriend was about to leave her. We will finally give us the answer we have been wanting and offer up DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx for depositions within 45 days and we agree wit drop some defendants.

Guess what? We were lied again. Forty-five days from February 9, 2015 would have been March 26, 2015. We are still awaiting to give DR Alison Coviello; Principal and Ed.D of PS 154 in the Bronx a chance at a 5th story on her relationship with Michael Agona.

So we finally get the answer on March 20, 2015.

In fact at about the same time we send  the list of interrogatories and request for discovery. We have yet to receive bupkus.

So there you have it. Typical NYC Corporation Counsel game of stall, stall some more, and just plain nasty stalling.

We even made him offer.

But we will wait and see if he meets the discovery date of September 12, 2015.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Can Jewish Educators Have Faith in UFT Solidarity?

In 2008, a month before my son was to start first grade, I brought him with me to the Westchester County Center where old time Yankee Ron Blomberg was doing a signing show. I told Ron that my son was also going to be starting Hebrew school in September and he looked directly in my son's eyes and said, "Always be a proud Jew."

I have always been a proud Jew, but never a blind Jew, especially when it comes to Israel.

There are lots of things that Israel has done over the years which have really pissed me off. The settlements, the wall, bulldozing houses, the Occupied Territories, the kowtowing to the  religious right, Netanyahu, the hysterical talk about Iran, and so much more.

But, I will say this point blank. There must be a solution soon and it is as much up to Israel as it is with the Palestinians to come to an agreement. The only solution is a two separate states with Israel continuing to be, and always will be, a Jewish state. Jews need and must always have a homeland, a place where they are the majority, a place where they can go if there is ever another Holocaust.

So what is one to think when the UFT Solidarity Facebook page shows up on my feed this comes along (Click to enlarge)?

 Click here to read the article. But before we get to the allegedly anti-Israel, anti-Zionist article, a few words about Randi and her trip.

The author, and by posting and sharing this, UFT Solidarity, seem to imply that not only did Randi and several other AFT upper echelon  travel to Israel on the AFT's dime, but Randi and the AFT are owned by Israel and J-Street.

But one of the free thinkers of UFT Solidarity left a comment;
I liked this page to support teachers even if their union doesn't support them.

If instead this page is to promote Islamic terrorists and lie about Israel, it behooves you to be honest and change the page name.

For the record, in Israel, government members are women, Arab, Druze.
Arabs and women vote.
Arabs and women in the army.

So, what apartheid, exactly?

The Crack Team will soon send her a gift basket from Hickory Farms, of course no pork products, to say thank you.

I have no proof, nor does anyone, that Randi went there on the AFT dime. Nor, do we have proof that Randi is a shill, owned, has her bread or Matzoh buttered, by Israel or J-Street.

Want to whine about J-Street? Better to deal with them than with AIPAC.

Watch the video. So Randi speaks in favor of a two state solution. So what if Randi talks about peace? HEre are some of her words at the conference that she attended.
“This is a difficult moment for those of us who believe in the ideal of Jews and Palestinians living side by side, in two states, with real rights, and with security,” Weingarten lamented.

She lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “last-ditch effort to retain power.” It was, she said, “both painful and pitiful – just days after thousands of us went to Selma to honor those brutally beaten fighting to exercise the right to vote – to watch Netanyahu renounce the two-state solution and demonize Israel’s Arab citizens for exercising their basic democratic rights.”

Weingarten fretted about a status quo that “threatens the future of the State of Israel.” She posited herself as a representative of the reasonable middle in a “vast chasm between those who believe: Israel, right or wrong, and never mind the occupation or democracy; and those who believe: Israel is evil and doesn’t have a right to exist, which then justifies BDS, or worse, violence or terrorism.”

This is a proud Jew speaking, not a a blind Jew. But Randi brings up a great point and the point the author takes umbrage with. The call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until as the author wants, to make the Israel withdraw from the West Bank and/or make one state is wrong, just plain wrong.

But yet no one wants to BDS Russia, China, (Look at Tibet), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Venezuela, or any other totalitarian country. Why? 

Let's not forget that in Israel, Muslims, Christians, and Druze can practice their religion. Serve in government, serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, leave free. What other Mid-East can say the same?

As I had written at beginning, and as Randi as agreed, Israel has a responsibility in this mess. But it takes two to tango. Even without the issue of the Occupied Territories, the right of return is a non-starter. If this happens Israel will not be a Jewish state in 50 years.

I have disagreed with Randi on many things. I have not been shy about it. However, if she does something I agree with I won't be shy about sharing that as well. And if it is something I agree with and she is being attacked I will defend her. And if any Jew anywhere or Israel is being attacked I will without a doubt have their backs in my own way.

People don't realize that in 1948 most if the Arabs and Palestinians fled not because of the Israeli (Yes, this happened) Army, but because the government of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan encouraged their people to leave telling  them they will soon be victorious and they will be able to come back.

 Israel would not be occupying the West Bank if Jordan never had entered the war. Remember this. Jordan from the time of the partition to 1967 allowed ZERO Jews and Israelis into the Holy Land. Since 1967 Israel has allowed full access into Jerusalem.

Between 1948 and 1967 Jordan had done nothing to promote or turn over the West Bank for Palestinians. In fact, what is now Jordan was part of the Province of Palestine during the Ottoman Empire. Why not pressure Jordan to turn over their land as well?

Israel days after the 1967 war offered all the land they took back under the condition of peace and recognition. They were turned down. Israel has shown what they will do when serious peace offerings are undertaken. See The Sinai.

Why should Israel withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank? Have we not seen what has become of Gaza?

Both sides must make efforts. Both sides must tone down the rhetoric. Both leaders must do what is best for their people not for their political lives.

It is amazing that whomever posted this on FB from UFT  Solidarity did not take the time to do research, or even read, the article or find out about the author, Ali Abunimah. Just look at the web address; . Abunimah is a virulent anti-Semite whilst living in the United States breathing the air of freedom he can't enjoy in the Middle East. His statements in the past have been repugnant and has compared Israel to Nazi Germany and has called for a third Intifada.

By sharing this on Facebook, UFT Solidarity either agrees with Ali Abunimah, did not properly vet the article, or there is no organizational controls at UFT Solidarity. We here at SBSB doubt that it is the latter for all decisions in our opinion are made in a vacuum and come down as decrees.

How can a Jewish educator in their right mind now support UFT Solidarity? In the opinion of The Crack Team a Jew should take a long, long look at what they are getting into. If you are a compliant, of course this is just opinion, quiet Jew, you might not worry about support. But what happens if you are not?

If UFT Solidarity wins, will a Jew have to be concerned with any future support of the anti-Israel/anti-Zionist lobby? Would we be seeing Ali Abunimah or his cohorts welcomed at 52 Broadway?

I have finally sat my son down to watch Schindler's List. We have been watching it in bits and pieces. This past Sunday we watched when the ghetto was liquidated. It was a movie, I've seen that scene before and it still disturbed and sickened me.

My great-great uncle, Maurycy Trebacz  was one of the most famed Jewish-Polish artists of his time. He and his family died in the Lødz ghetto in 1941 just because he was a Jew.

Ron Blomberg. He knows.