May 13, 2014


A Letter to New York City’s School Teachers


LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE    New York teachers should vote no on the proposed union contract — for love and for money.

cayoup / Flickr
Dear colleagues,
I know you’ve given the proposed UFT contract a lot of thought, and have heard a lot of talk about it among co-workers and with parents. I know there’s plenty of confusion, and little in the way of what seems to be objective information about a document that will shape your life at work for a very long time.
I would like to step back from the minuteness of this discussion for a moment, and discuss the nature of the work we do..The press likes to portray teaching as a job for the indolent — those languorous summer vacations, the short work day. These people are lying, and they know it.
Teaching is exhausting work, and it extends well beyond the time we spend in the workplace. Every teacher works a “second shift” without compensation at home. This is the time we spend grading papers, writing plans, and (increasingly over the last few years) completing tedious and purposeless paperwork to fulfill “accountability” mandates.
That “second shift” tells us a lot about the work we do — and how it is valued. Why, after all, do we consent to doing it? Because we might get a “drive-by” observation and be scored on a rubric the next day. But also, of course, because our children deserve it.
Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, when everybody points out that we do this unpaid work at home “for the love of it.” This love is supposed to be part of the compensation of doing our job. But people are less comfortable considering that love is not compensation; love is work.
I’m always amazed at how my colleagues labor for endless hours outside of their paid workday; at the money they pay out of pocket for school supplies. Hundreds of dollars of every teacher’s wage is put back into the system each year in these meagerly compensated expenses. Ask any teacher why, and they will tell you that they do it because they love “their” kids.
We do, of course, love our students. But we also can’t allow this to be used as blackmail for accepting less than our fair share.
Love for our profession and for other people’s children has its costs: in the attention we pay to our own children, in the toll it takes on our own mental health and well-being, in those out-of-pocket expenses. We shouldn’t deprecate the importance of having time for our own families, our personal health, our spiritual and mental well-being. We can’t be effective teachers if we are stressed, tired, and impatient.
For teachers, loving is part of our job, and we work and love very much. It’s exhausting, loving and working so much, for such little pay — which explains why over 32,000 mid-career teachers have left the system over the past eleven years. We can’t live on these wages, and we have only so much love, and time, to give.
It’s not only exhaustion, of course. We have been under a sustained attack for years, from the media, from self-styled “reformers,” from politicians in both parties. The threat of standardized tests and the disastrous consequences of poor student performance looms over us like a dark cloud. We’ve been slandered as greedy, lazy, incompetent, and overpaid, and we sometimes feel like we have very few friends.
We can only counter that isolation if we make it clear that the conditions of our labor are also the conditions under which our students learn.
Our union president wrote an editorial the other day talking about how under this contract, teachers will drive school reform. Out of a desire for “collaboration,” we will be doing the dirty work of our enemies — not necessarily our cozy new Chancellor or our liberal mayor, but the forces looming behind them: the financial and real estate interests, the venture-philanthropists, the charter school privatizers, the testing profiteers, and the Democratic Party hierarchy.
These forces have made considerable progress in dismantling the public system, and they have no intention of going backwards. We can’t collaborate with those who seek to destroy us. I want no responsibility for the kinds of reforms these people are selling: they are dangerous and will eradicate what remains of the democratic, humanistic tradition of public education.
We should know by now that these innovations are toxic — not only to us, but also to the students we serve. These kinds of education reforms have created a system in New York that is, as a recent study showed, the most segregated in the nation. Teacher morale is at an all-time low. Suicides among our students are at epidemic levels.
This contract codifies testing as a part of teacher evaluation at the same time that tens of thousands of parents across New York opted their children out of high-stakes testing. It proposes “innovation schools” with “thin” contracts, implying that our rights at work are somehow an impediment to good education. It makes it easier to fire teachers who lost their jobs as a result of budget cuts and school closures. It divides us with merit pay and undermines our integrity as a union. It does nothing to address our swollen class sizes or stanch the teacher exodus from the city.
What interest do we have in “driving” such reforms?
We also know that our union president has said “the cupboard was bare” — that retroactive pay is not a “God-given right,” and that we should be satisfied with this money being further delayed. If workers have not won the right to be paid for the labor they have already done, then the labor movement has fallen very far indeed.
This is money that we are owed, and that those of us who are those mid-career teachers that will have to leave the system in the next few years — who can’t continue working for these wages — will never see. The proposed pay increases fall below the rate of inflation, our rents continue to spiral upward, and every year the conditions of life for working New Yorkers gets worse.
We’ve been told by our union that if we vote this down we will go “to the back of the line” — that we could be waiting for years for a contract. We were told that if we could just wait out Bloomberg, we would be richly rewarded. Yet here we are, still waiting.
To say that there is no money in New York for teachers and city workers can only make sense in the cramped imagination of union officialdom. There is money for high stakes testing, there is money for consultants, for metal detectors and prisons, for Wall Street. There are limitless tax incentives for the luxury condos that are taking over our neighborhoods like a cancer. Billions of dollars circulate through our city every day.
When we say there should be money for us, we are saying that our city should value its schools and its workers as much as its financial institutions and real estate.
Talking about those larger issues means stepping outside the current narrow frame of debate and challenging the larger forces that set the limits for this discussion. It means acknowledging that there’s no fix for education that doesn’t also challenge the racism and inequality of our wider society. It requires courage and vision, both of which are in short supply among the powerful.
If we vote “no” on this proposed deal, we will, of course, be attacked in the press as greedy labor aristocrats. But this isn’t only about the UFT, and we can’t talk as though it is. We must challenge the idea that we are somehow not deserving of a professional wage. But we also need to point out that this deal will set the pattern for hundreds of thousands of other city workers.
Saying no to this deal is about drawing a line for the entire working class of New York City — about saying there is a limit to what we will suffer and how little we will accept. Many of our students’ parents are city workers: they drop their kids off before making their way to operate buses and subways, to pick up our trash, to direct our traffic and clean the offices of City Hall. This is not only about us, it’s about solidarity with the rest of working New York. It is about making our city a more humane place for the people who love it enough to keep it running. That is the language we need to speak in.
A contract is a negotiated settlement on the conditions of exploitation under which you will spend most of your waking life. Don’t accept arguments that this offer is “the best we can get” from anybody who won’t have to work under its terms. Not from liberal mayors, not from union leaders making generous salaries on your dues money, not from newspaper editors; it’s your life under discussion, not theirs.
I hope you will join me and the majority of teachers in my school in voting no on this contract. By all means, do it for the money. But also, do it for love.
In solidarity,
Kevin Prosen
Chapter leader, IS 230
Jackson Heights, Queens
Kevin Prosen is a chapter leader in the United Federation of Teachers and a member of the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators, the UFT's social justice caucus.

May 12, 2014

VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET-How To Cancel Your COPE Contributions From Your Paychecks.

 Did you read the ATR article in the NY Teacher this month?
           What a surprise!... neither did I.

Time and again, the UFT ignores, and fails to address the disturbing issues that ATRs are faced with every day.   I refuse to pay extra money (COPE) to a union who does not support the interests of those who need it most.  
This NY Times article is a prime example of how our union leader fails to acknowledge the ATRs and sell a contract that will destroy them with expedited 3020a hearings.
           WE need to spread the word that Mulgrew 's proposed CONTRACT IS A SHAM. 

The tentative agreement between the city and the United Federation of Teachers, of which I am president, is a good deal for the students, schools and communities we serve, in addition to the teachers themselves.
It gives educators more time for professional work, training and parent engagement; it will foster idea-sharing by allowing accomplished teachers to remain teaching while extending their reach to help others.
And a new program will give educators in collaborative school communities a greater voice in decision-making and give the school an opportunity to try ideas outside the confines of the contract and Department of Education regulations.
This agreement also addresses two critical priorities for our members: making the teacher evaluation system simpler and fairer and reducing unnecessary paperwork that takes us away from our students.
It also obligates the department to provide educators in core subjects with appropriate curriculum, something which we have long fought for. In terms of treating teachers as the professionals they are, it offers a fair set of wage increases over the life of the contract.
Our previous mayor tried to make it impossible for the next administration to give educators the raises they deserve. Mayor Bloomberg failed to set aside money in the budget to pay teachers the two 4 percent raises for 2009 and 2010 that other city workers received. He also purposely drained the city’s entire labor reserve fund. Over the five long years Bloomberg refused to negotiate, the cost of paying out those raises ballooned.
By agreeing to stretch out these retroactive payments and raises, we made our members whole and at the same time won significant raises in the contract’s later years.
After years of fighting off bad ideas from so-called “education reformers,” we have, in this contract, turned the tables by enabling teacher-led innovations in our schools.
Working in partnership with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina, we now have the opportunity to rebuild our city’s school system with educators – not bureaucrats or consultants – in the driver’s seat.
Our agreement is the product of a shared belief that it is our school communities that must be the agents of change.

How to cancel your COPE contributions from your paychecks:

Please send a fax requesting to cancel your COPE contribution. The information they need from you is displayed below.

They will send a cancellation card to your address on file along with a pre-paid return envelope so that you can fill out the card and send it back right away. As part of procedure, they must also receive the following fax from you:

RE: COPE Cancellation
TO: Danny Corum, COPE Coordinator

My name is ___________, File # _______________. I would like to cancel my COPE contribution as soon as possible.


Please do not forget to sign and print your name on the fax. The fax should be sent to (212)510-6435. Your contribution will be cancelled when they receive the fax and the cancellation card back from you. Please do not hesitate to contact them at (212)598-6826 or at should you have further questions.

Danny Corum
COPE Coordinator
United Federation of Teachers
Legislation & Political Action
52 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10004
phone: (212)598-6826
fax: (212)510-6435

Please share this with your colleagues and let the union know that we are not sheep!

October 22, 2012

"La Toilette"

"Accountable Talk Meets ATR"...Read about it here...

They say good things come in small packages. First day on weekly rotation and I've achieved the impossible...A KEY to the bathroom!...(and what a lovely bathroom it is). Could this be a sign of better things to come?

October 21, 2012

Out of the Frying Pan... Into the Fire

This blog began 6 years ago as a personal account of 3 long and painstaking years of incarceration in one of the NYCDOE's worst Rubber Rooms. This blog gave me a place to vent my frustration and retain my sanity. In return the support that I received from the EDU bloggers was priceless. I can safely say that one cannot imagine the emotional stress and everlasting damage that the DOE's reassignment process is capable of inflicting on a DOE employee and their family unless they have lived through it themselves. Three years after the DOE 'claimed' to have closed its Rubber Rooms, I and hundreds of union members are still suffering at the hands of the DOE and the Mayor's career ending and abusive policies. I say 'union members' because that's what we are. 

Subsequently, many of my fellow RR inmates paid fines to keep their jobs or were terminated as a result of unfair 3020A hearings. I say 'unfair' because without a 3 person panel as specified in the contract, there was only one arbitrator hearing and deciding the outcome of a case. First hand experience tells me that many of these arbitrators weren't very well versed in the field of "Education Law" which remains to be in a 'class by itself'.  Most teachers who survived the hearings managed to retain their jobs but were not returned to the traditional classroom setting that they once knew.  Instead, they were branded with a new scarlet letter known as ATR status(Absent Teacher Reserve). As the former Rubber Roomers joined the ranks of hundreds of excessed teachers from failed schools(schools that were set up to fail by the DOE),  the ATR pool quickly grew and now stands at roughly two thousand members. (The DOE / UFT will not reveal the actual numbers.)  Pick up the daily paper on any given day and you will read Bloomberg and a number of other politicians describe ATRs as 'no good', 'useless' and 'lazy' teachers who are not fit to be in the classroom. You will also notice the deafening silence and inaction of the UFT on behalf of the ATR. Hmmm. 2,000 plus tenured teachers/union members without actual classrooms and not a word from the UFT... while the  DOE disperses them throughout the schools within their districts to work as glorified subs. 

As an ATR, I feel compelled to resume my voice in the blogger community after struggling through a long and agonizing silence. 

December 10, 2010

TEACHER its' worst.

How to Mismanage a School System and Blame it on Others...

And now the comments...

80.FidgetyTeachNY December 8th, 201012:09pm It never ceases to amaze me how uninformed and naive the public is. They are still buying into the lie that it is the teacher's fault for having to sit and wait at the taxpayer's expense. This is just what the the Dept. of Ed. wants you to believe- when in reality it is the DOE and NYSED who are not paying the arbitrators to submit their findings and final judgements on the 3020a hearings.
It is not the choice of the reassigned teacher to sit and do nothing. It is the DOE's goal to get the teachers so bored and frustrated that they want to give up, admit guilt, settle or resign instead of waiting for a hearing. Those who sit it out and wait for their hearings will be most likely returned to their classrooms and found not guilty.
Recommended by 10 Readers
8.machvelianNew YorkDecember 8th, 201012:49 amI want the propaganda against teachers to end. What are the statistics of "guilty" verdicts against teachers accused of crimes...NYT had access to this information, yet chose not to publish it? From inside the system, I've been told most are falsely accused, yet this article spends most of the time profiling people in a display of typical lazy journalism (see the past 20 articles about Cathy Black).
Simply, I would like a true profile piece on this arbitration process and the results...enough of the tales told by a select few.
Recommended by 63 Readers

SARCASM...(BETTER THAN ANGER!)12.PeterQueensDecember 8th, 201012:49 amThis is what an underfunded education system looks like - inefficient. The alternative is allowing principals to fire teachers for basically no good reason, something in which I'm sure the incoming chancellor sees no problem.Oh, more cuts coming? Great.
Recommended by 17 Readers
SOMEONE WHO KNOWS...(COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF...)16.HIGHLIGHT (what's this?) middlesex nj New Brunswick, NjDecember 8th, 20107:56 amWhat's nauseating is people assuming that those accused of wrongdoing are guilty before being proven so. It is not the fault of the teachers that the process takes so long. It is not the fault of the teachers that no one can bother to find meaningful tasks for salaried professionals. If the teachers are eventually found guilty of wrong doing, then of course they should be let go. Until that happens, the trash talk is pointless right wing blathering and hatemongering.9(A LITTLE EXTREME...) If the administration still can't find meaningful work, the teachers should be suspended with pay put into escrow until the case is decided. (RIGHT TO THE POINT...)Meanwhile, how about trying to get rid of the incompetent administrators and politicians who can't fix or even put band-aids on a system that his been broken for ages.
Recommend Recommended by 55 Readers
67.FidgetyTeachNYDecember 8th, 201012:00 pmIn response to Juliet, Comment #17...Juliet states that, "Teachers who were placed in "Rubber Rooms" because of some kind of criminal behavior should not receive one penny from anyone.They abused their position and should be punished.People such as Ms. Combier who defend these criminals should not profit from this situation but should be reprimanded also!"

It is ignorant to assume that all teachers are 'guilty before proven innocent". The last time that I looked around we all lived under the constitution which entitles every US Citizen to a fair and timely trial where they are considered Innocent until Proven Guilty. I truly hope that you are never in a position where you are accused of an alledged crime and found guilty by a jury of peers such as yourself. Many of the teachers have been falsely accused of fabricated crimes and targeted by their principals because of their age, salary step or a simple disagreement with their administration. This is one way in which the newbie principal attempts to replace high paid tenured teachers with new inexperienced teachers that are paid one third of what an experienced teacher earns.(newbie principals following Chancellor's orders) Instead of being angry and ignorant, you might want to try becoming more informed about the process. It is easy to pass judgement with blind eyes. Betsy Combier has spent the last 7 years sitting in on 3020a hearings, visiting the Rubber Rooms and advocating for teachers who have been bullied by the DOE. I would respect your opinion if it were based on fact, however you haven't a clue as to what is really going on.
Recommend Recommended by 7 Readers

December 8, 2010

Nothing but the Truth

Applause to Sharon Otterman of the New York Times for writing a candid and unbiased, description of reality in the illusory World of the DOE and the Reassigned teachers. After the signing of the flimsy Rubber Room agreement between Mike Mulgrew and Mayor Bloomberg, the public has been mislead into believing that the Rubber Rooms have been closed and that all cases are being expedited as briskly as possible. The newspapers have done nothing but scapegoat and blame teachers for the DOE's failures. Ms. Otterman accurately quoted the telephone conversation that I had with her while travelling home from 65 Court Street in Brooklyn. Unlike the reporters that I've spoken to in the past, Ms. Otterman asked questions without trying to paint a negative picture of the Reassigned teachers. For now, Ms. Otterman has restored my faith in the press and receives a rare rubber stamp for reporting the truth. To be continued...

New York Teachers Still in Idle Limbo
Published: December 7, 2010

For her first assignment of the school year, Verona Gill, a $100,000-a-year special education teacher whom the city is trying to fire, sat around education offices in Lower Manhattan for two weeks, waiting to be told what to do.
For her second assignment, she was sent to a district office in the Bronx and told to hand out language exams to anyone who came to pick them up. Few did.
Now, Ms. Gill reports to a cubicle in Downtown Brooklyn with a broken computer and waits for it to be fixed. Periodically, her supervisor comes by to tell her she is still working on the problem. It has been this way since Oct. 8.
“I have no projects to do, so I sit there until 2:50 p.m. — that’s six hours and 50 minutes,” the official length of the teacher workday, she said. “And then I swipe out.”
When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg closed the notorious reassignment centers known as rubber rooms this year, he and the city’s teachers’ union announced triumphantly that one of the most obvious sources of waste in the school system — $30 million a year in salaries being paid to educators caught up in the glacial legal process required to fire them — was no more.
No longer would hundreds of teachers accused of wrongdoing or incompetence, like Ms. Gill, clock in and out of trailers or windowless rooms for years, doing nothing more than snoozing or reading newspapers, griping or teaching one another tai chi. Instead, their cases would be sped up, and in the meantime they would be put to work.
While hundreds of teachers have had their cases resolved, for many of those still waiting, the definition of “work” has turned out to be a loose one. Some are now doing basic tasks, like light filing, paper-clipping, tracking down student information on a computer or using 25-foot tape measures to determine the dimensions of entire school buildings. Others sit without work in unadorned cubicles or at out-of-the-way conference tables.
“They told me to sit in a little chair in a corner and never get up and walk around,” said Hal Lanse, a $100,000-a-year teacher from Queens who had been accused of sexual harassment. He was assigned to an administrative office on Fordham Road in the Bronx in September as part of a deal that led the city to drop the charges against him.
One day he plopped down on a couch in the hallway and began reading a novel, he said. Eventually, he dozed off. Then he was asked to “paper-clip some papers” and refused: he was charged with insubordination. He is now collecting his full salary at home in Queens, with plans to retire in January; the city is trying to fire him for insubordination before then, which would reduce his pension.
“There are indeed still rubber rooms,” he said. “They just don’t call them that.”
While the teachers are supposed to be given actual work, the Department of Education still considers them unsuitable for classrooms while their cases are pending. So it has assigned them to various offices, like those overseeing facilities and food, and the external affairs office at Tweed Courthouse, the department’s headquarters.
Barbara Morgan, a schools spokeswoman, said Friday that the teachers were being as productive as possible given the temporary nature of their administrative assignments. She provided a list of tasks that some were performing, which included processing invoices, arranging schedules, answering phones and scanning documents.
Deborah Byron, 45, was one of about 60 teachers told to report to the offices of the School Construction Authority in Long Island City, Queens. On their first day, they were told they would be responsible for “collecting data,” and someone began handing out folders with lists of school names and 25-foot retractable tape measures.
The teachers fanned out to different schools to measure every classroom, auditorium, athletic field and parking lot, for precisely the contractually mandated six hours and 50 minutes each school day. They frequently interrupted classes to do their work. Sometimes custodians said, “Hey, we already have this, let us print it out for you,” and offered blueprints, Ms. Byron said. In those cases, she would do spot checks.
While other reassigned teachers said they felt ostracized and uncomfortable among their peers, hearing whispers about their “rubber room status,” Ms. Byron said she tried to look as official as possible, never revealing that she had been reassigned and was facing suspension for insubordination, she said.
“I had strappy sandals on, and a clipboard and a pen, and an old Board of Education ID,” she said. “Some of the younger teachers were almost envious — they came up and said, how did you get this job? Because they were struggling with 20-something kids and I’m here walking around.”
In October, Ms. Byron was reassigned to a truancy center in a church basement in Far Rockaway, Queens. When the police brought in truants, she looked up their records on her personal laptop and tracked down their parents’ and school phone numbers. Then she tried to counsel the students. “I talk to them and ask them why they didn’t go to school,” she said at the time.
Reassigned teachers work at a dozen truancy offices around the city, but not all of them may be as effective. Ms. Byron said the other teacher she worked with did not bring her own computer and still could not access the system by mid-November. (Ms. Byron was recently sent home, her case concluding with an eight-month unpaid suspension.)
Despite the difficulties of finding the teachers actual work, cases are moving much faster than before the April agreement, when lawyers for both sides, arbitrators and defendants all played a role in dragging them out, sometimes for years. In mid-November, there were 236 teachers and administrators still in reassignment, down from 770 when the deal to close the rubber rooms was signed.
Ms. Morgan, the city spokeswoman, said the city was on track to close all the cases that had existed before April by the end of the year, except for those involving arrests or special investigation. The city did not provide information on how many teachers were fired, suspended or fined, and how many returned to teaching, saying that information would be available in January.
Last month, 16 accused teachers were supposed to return to the classroom when officials missed a new 60-day deadline to file formal charges against them. But some got their charges as soon as the following day, and most still have “rubber room duties” in schools, said Betsy Combier, a former union employee who now counsels reassigned teachers independently.
While several former rubber room teachers said they much preferred their new, comfortable assignments, describing luxuries like office-cleaning services and microwave ovens, others said they missed the camaraderie of the rubber room. All said they would rather be back teaching students.
“The people from my rubber room are all here,” said a preschool teacher who blogs under the pseudonym FidgetyTeach and has been assigned to administrative offices in Downtown Brooklyn, “and we are all very distressed.” She declined to be identified by name because her case was still before an arbitrator.
She was reassigned three years ago after she was accused of leaving a child unattended. She said that while the people in her new office were pleasant enough, she had had nothing to do since the first week.
“Some people are doing filing, but they are not even wanting to do it,” she said of her fellow reassigned teachers. “It’s menial work. Most people are not doing anything; they are just sitting there. This is punishment, whether the city wants to see it that way or not.”
Juliet Linderman contributed reporting.
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September 15, 2010

...If You Knew Betsy...

They say that there is an exception to every rule- and when it comes to the Useless UFT, that exception comes in the form of a beautiful, green eyed blonde, an unconventional, bright and passionate woman named Betsy Combier.

The first time that I met Ms.Combier was almost three years ago. She walked into our Rubber Room wearing an embroidered suede jacket and up to the knee high heeled boots. Unlike most of the women who work for the UFT, Betsy exuded a refreshing warmth and feminine quality. In a sweet and soft voice, Betsy introduced herself as someone who would be coming once a week to assist reassigned teachers with any problems or questions they may have. She greeted some of the teachers that she already knew and then proceeded to personally introduce herself to each and every new face. As she approached where I was sitting, one of the teachers quickly whispered,"Don't trust her." "Why?", I asked. That teacher put her head down as Ms. Combier greeted me. Although her warmth and openness was indeed refreshing, I cautiously welcomed her into my space. She handed me her card and told me to call her anytime I needed to talk. Soon after meeting her, I learned that Betsy had several blogs and was involved in advocating for the rights of students, parents and teachers. Having been a PTA president and raising four daughters in the Public school system, Betsy knew the system from many angles. She attended PEP meetings where she spoke out for the rights of the RR teachers, questioned the inflated power of the principals, the agenda, our Mayor and the unqualified Chancellor-without-a-contract.

The following week, Ms. Combier entered our RR wearing a flouncy skirt and carrying a fringed handbag. I could hear her in the hallway making small talk with the horrible Mr. Warden before entering the RR as scheduled. Two of the teachers immediately grabbed her ear, taking her to the private "staircase" in the hallway to talk.
Besides providing answers, listening to the teachers and following up on all inquiries, the difference between Betsy Combier and the rest of the UFT Reps was that Betsy came with no agenda. Having been hired only part time by Randi Weingarten to support the reassigned teachers in the RR, Betsy gave her support in the only way that she knew how...FULL time. Here is a woman who does not drive or ride the subway, but somehow managed to spend everyday, yes, EVERYDAY of the week visiting a different RR facility throughout the city or talking with distraught members of the TRCs. On a salary that barely covered her expenses, Ms. Combier never missed an opportunity to talk to, advise, assist and console hundreds of reassigned teachers over a seven year period. Unlike the other unapproachable, angry and aloof Useless UFT Reps (they know who they are) who shamelessly looked at their watches, worried about the running meter, came empty handed and stayed only long enough to say that they 'showed up', Betsy genuinely wanted to be there. Betsy sat amongst the teachers, never looking at the time, never making excuses. If for some unavoidable reason, she'd be late, Betsy would call one of us on our personal cell phones to let us know. If that wasn't enough, Reassigned teachers called Betsy early in the morning and all hours of the night when sleeping seemed like an impossible feat. Betsy knew the teachers. She knew their pain and hurt. She felt their frustration. She guided and empowered them to help themselves. Singlehandedly, Ms. Combier made up for the shortcomings and absence of all of the UFT reps that I have ever met. Those who allowed themselves to know her, loved her and still do. Those who doubted her sincerity were obviously afraid of her unconventional warmth and wisdom; do you blame them after the way they the UFT treats them?? However, those who didn't know her, missed out on her natural gift for being a true PEOPLE advocate and great friend.

One would think that by the way I have described Mrs. Combier, the UFT would recognize and value her for the rare GEM that she is.
Why then is Ms. Combier no longer employed by the UFT? Shockingly, the only thank you that Ms. Combier received for seven years of dedicated service to the UFT was a Pink slip on July 7, 2010. She was told by UFT Co-Staff Director Ellie Engler that the UFT no longer needed her service since the Rubber Rooms were to be closed. Ellie Engler is the very same person who did everything in her power to make Betsy's life at the UFT as difficult and uncomfortable as possible.

In 2009, Ms. Engler told Betsy to pack up her office at 52 Broadway because it was needed by the UFT for someone else. She promised to provide her with boxes and an alternative office location by the next day. At 6PM on the following day, there were still no boxes and nowhere to move them to. She was told to contact David Hickey, but received no response to her messages. After filling up several black trash bags with her papers and files, Betsy removed most of her things with the help of a teacher friend. After several months of working without an office, the Queens TRC liason asked Leroy Barr for an explanation. Several UFT members wanted to meet with Betsy, but without an office, this was impossible. After walking around the 16th floor, Mr. Barr located the telephone that had Betsy's number hooked up to a remote desk somewhere on the other side of the building. This, he told her, would be her new "office". Betsy's only request was that her files from her old office be safely moved to her new location. However, most of the files from her old office were never found.
The harassment continued after the Christmas break when Betsy returned to find that her cubicle had been moved by Ellie Engler and that her computer and telephone had disappeared. After scavenging for her things, Betsy's telephone was eventually found on the 11th floor.

After Betsy made several requests to Ms. Engler for her newly printed UFT business cards, Ms. Engler asked that Betsy take down the posts on her blog, NYC Rubber Room Reporter that contained Theresa Europe's name. (Theresa Europe is in charge of the DOE attorneys in The "Gotcha Squad") Betsy refused Ms. Engler's request and in turn, never received her cards. In addition, Adam Ross, the Attorney for Mike Mulgrew, told Betsy that she is to refrain from filing any FOIL (Freedom of Information requests) of anyone who is employed by the NYCDOE. Because Ms. Combier refused to heed these requests, she was fired. (Yet in her agreement it says she is hired to help any member in the TRC or elsewhere who needs help, and continue to write and advocate for people she assisted before she worked for the UFT) Ms. Combier may have been fired by the UFT, but she has not stopped working on behalf of the UFT's teachers who are still very much in need of her valuable knowledge and assistance.

Now, Betsy is pursuing her advocacy outside of the UFT from her office at home. Her email is I know she will be there for you, me, and anyone who needs help. Shame on the UFT for firing one of our most dedicated and productive representatives.
Are you reading this, Mr. Mulgrew, Ms. Engler and Mr. Hickey?

September 6, 2010

September 7, 2010- The Rubber Room Charade Continues...

It has been 71 days since the NYC Department of Education and the UFT Leader Mike Mulgrew proudly announced their shocking closed door agreement putting an end to the NYC Rubber Rooms. Just a day later, the Rubber Room Movie premiered, exposing the horrific denial of due process that accused teachers must endure when reassigned to the Guantanamo Bay of the DOE.
Having been there myself, I can say from experience that from the time that a teacher is sent to the reassignment center having been accused of some wrongdoing or having been targeted by a jealous or vindictive principal, they are caught in a web of uncertainty, fear and doubt. In many instances, teachers do not even have a clue as to why they were removed from their schools. Throughout the lengthy dehumanization process of spending time in the Rubber Room, they are further humiliated and abandoned by the very same Union that collects their dues and is supposed to protect them. As a result, the reassigned teacher slowly spirals downward into a whirlwind of answered questions, confusion, grief, depression, denial, shame, anger and doubt. Many retreat, repress or totally withdraw. Others attempt to take positive action or act out in a myriad of unhealthy ways. Overall the reassigned teacher quickly learns that the saying, "God helps those who help themselves", does not apply to the Rubber Rooms. Letters to the DOE go unanswered, complaints to the UFT fall on deaf ears, stress is high, teachers get sick, depressed and even suicidal. The only support or comfort that a reassigned teacher may receive might come from another 'reassignee' who knows very well what the teacher is experiencing.
As anyone who works for the DOE knows very well, their so called 'reorganizations' always leads to more disorganization.
So...Here it is, the night before the first day of the 2010 school year and I still haven't received any word as to where I am supposed to report tomorrow. Having spent two whole years in the Rubber Room and seventy days on summer vacation, the DOE still can't get their act together.

June 6, 2010

Newsweek Gets It Right- In Defense of Public School Teachers

In Defense of Teachers
What charter schools really tell us about education reform
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Are teachers really different in charter schools?

I think it’s fair to say that most people know we’re in the midst of an educational emergency. Just this week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told CNN, “There isn’t one urban school district in the country—Chicago, L.A., New York, D.C., Philly, Baltimore—there’s not one urban system yet where the dropout rate is low enough and the graduation rate is high enough.” And for those people who work in the school system, no issue has come to represent the struggle to save public education more than the fight over charter schools. For the sake of clarity, let me just note that a charter school is one which uses public funds to run a school that is managed privately, thus giving them the freedom to experiment as well as hire nonunion teachers. Charters such as the Harlem Children’s Zone HCZ in New York have longer school days (and a longer school year) with kids often required to come in Saturdays to work with tutors. The most successful charter schools (and they are not all the same in either quality or mission) have produced stunning results. At the Harlem Success Academy, 100 percent of third graders passed their state math exam and 95 percent passed the state English exam.

I am thrilled by these test results and I am very glad that the educational needs of poor urban students are finally being addressed in a serious way. But lately I’ve grown increasingly cynical about the assertions of charter-school advocates that the most pressing problem facing our public education system is the plethora of lazy, incompetent teachers who cannot be fired under any circumstances. As Steve Brill wrote for The New York Times Magazine last week: “Indeed, the core of the reformers’ argument, and the essence of the Obama approach to the Race to the Top, is that a slew of research over the last decade has discovered that what makes the most difference is the quality of the teachers and the principals who supervise them.” Maybe it’s because I was a teacher’s pet growing up, or because of my undying love for school supplies, but a lot of this sounds to me more like a full court press to break the admittedly powerful teachers’ unions than simply an effort to improve public schooling.

Full disclosure: my husband is a public-school teacher in a middle school in one of Brooklyn’s toughest neighborhoods. But we try not to discuss education reform for the sake of our marriage. Personally, I’m a little confused about the all-out push for charter schools by billionaires such as Bill Gates and Bruce Kovner. On the one hand, I support charters for their ability to prove there are solutions to some of the huge and seemingly intractable issues facing our country’s education system. I’m very grateful that schools like HCZ have proven that the achievement gap between urban students and their suburban counterparts can be closed. But I do not support using their existence to demonize teachers. For the vast majority of public-school teachers, so much of their job is out of their control that asking them to be held accountable for their students’ performance is tantamount to blaming car salesmen for Toyota’s accelerator problems. Poverty is still a huge barrier to learning, for instance. Just a quick look at some of the other differences between charters and their public-school brethren should be enough to prove that the path to an improved educational system is not all about firing teachers.

1. Charter schools, by their nature, have students whose parents are motivated and involved in their education. On the off chance that charter-school parents are not motivated to help their children succeed, they are often given support and help by the charter school itself. Indeed, New York Magazine revealed that parents of kids at the Harlem Success Academies “must sign the network’s ‘contract,’ a promise to get children to class on time and in blue-and-orange uniform, guarantee homework, and attend all family events.” The same cannot be said of public schools, which are required to take any child who resides in their district and do not have the resources or mandate to teach parents as well. But rather than push to raise the cap on charter schools, why not copy and fund some of their parental-support programs for existing public schools?

2. Charter schools often receive the same amount of public funding per student as public schools, and also benefit from their ability to raise and use charitable donations. Public schools receive their budgets from their local departments of education and have no ability to receive more. In fact, they’re prey to budget and service cuts and layoffs—New York City expects to lay off 4,400 public school teachers this year but no charters will be affected.

3. Charter schools have many more resources than the public schools they’re trying to replace. Surely, classroom teachers would have more opportunity to teach and teach well if they had enough books and study materials for all their kids. Donors Choose, a charitable organization where teachers submit proposals for funding by ordinary folks like you and me, estimates that the average public school teacher spends more than $500 of his or her own money on supplies for their students, or more than $1.3 billion dollars nationally. As Charles Best, founder of Donors Choose and a teaching veteran, told me, “We were all spending our own money on basic stuff—copy paper and pencils. We had a tough time innovating and none of our ideas would go past the planning stage. Now, at any one time, there are 15,000 to 30,000 live classroom requests on our site. This is a testament to the character and spirit of teachers.”

4. Charter schools are not required to accept special-needs children or children with learning disabilities. Diane Ravitch, author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “The students who are hardest to educate are left to regular public schools, which makes comparisons between the two sectors unfair. The higher graduation rate posted by charters often reflects the fact that they are able to “counsel out” the lowest performing students … This is not a model for public education, which must educate all children.”

5. When discussing charter schools, advocates often mention the difficulty in firing public-school teachers. In that same Times Magazine article, Brill notes that “Once they’ve been teaching for three years and judged satisfactory in a process that invariably judges all but a few of them satisfactory, they are ensured lifetime tenure.” But teachers are not judged by themselves, but by their principals and other administrative staff. So isn’t there a way for school systems to strengthen their professional development programs or put forth proposals for more effective teacher observation, mentoring systems or remedial teacher training, if necessary?

It is simply not true that teacher quality is the sole difference between charter schools and public ones. As I’ve written in the past about the Harlem Children’s Zone, but which also applies to many other charter schools, “what the HCZ does is first recognize that the amelioration of poverty does not begin and end with an excellent education, but also requires a full belly, parental education, safety, advocacy, and the expectation that every student will succeed.” So until charter-school advocates can show me how teachers and teachers alone can be held responsible for all the learning that charter schools provide, I just can’t believe that holding only teachers accountable—and not the school systems they work for—is the fair or even the best way to improve public education.

June 3, 2010

Principal Hanley Needs New Glasses...

Betsy Combier at NYC Rubber Room Reporter received an anonymous letter addressed to Joel Klein that sheds light on the shortsightedness of this new school 'leader'.
Apparently, Principal Sheila Hanley of the "New Visions" School in Brooklyn (IABS) has "impaired vision".

May 27, 2010

Goodnight, Chair

Every morning when Mr. Warden arrives, he goes to his locker and unpacks his 'office'. This is quite hysterical to watch because Mr.Warden really takes this job of his very seriously. First,he drags his desk away from the wall and unfolds his tablecloth which he drapes over the desk.(the one with the loud yellow and orange print) He carefully retrieves several knicknacks/statues from his locker and strategically places them, one by one, in the same position that they were in on the day before. After his pen holder, statues, notebooks and giant wall clock(which should be on the wall) are all placed on his desk, he places a giant wooden statue of a black panther showing its teeth on top of his locker. Intimidation tactic ?? Possibly. On the walls he's got a tacky black velvet painting and a pair of canvases with matching lilies. The final touch is the giant scroll of the 'Serenity Prayer' that he unrolls and hangs over the fire extinguisher. I thought that hanging things over the fire extinguisher is a fire and umm, religion in Public School??...That's two violations in one. Well, I'd overlook the Serenity Prayer if only he lived by it. Mr.Warden steps back to admire his 'handiwork'. How proud Mr. Warden is of his office in the hallway!
Last but not least, are the Office chairs. He keeps one chair on the right for his personal office 'meetings' with the School Custodian and two chairs on the left for ??? (Beats me). I think he uses these chairs to define his invisible office boundaries. No one is allowed to sit on these chairs without Mr. Warden's permission! Do not even try sitting on one to tie your shoe! These chairs have great meaning to Mr. Warden. Such great meaning in fact that when he leaves everyday he turns the chairs around to face the wall to insure that no one will sit on them in his absence. He believes that turning them to the wall will deter the teachers from sitting on them. These chairs are off limits! Mr. Warden does not want anyone sitting on his chairs, especially when he's not around! Don't even think of sitting there. If you dare to move them, Mr. Custodian will report you to the authorities!!

May 18, 2010

"Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be Teachers"

When I was in Public school, I was crazy about my teachers. Like most little girls, I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to draw like my Art Teacher and tell stories as vividly as Ms. Weisssman...I wanted to play piano like Mr. C and sing like the Assistant Principal. I loved the sustenance of my teachers. I even wondered what Mrs. Rosen did 'all night' in the empty classroom when we went home. As a child, being a teacher meant being the one to stand in front of the classroom, hold the chalk, mark the homework, and give out the gold stars✩. I couldn't wait to get my first blackboard- and when my little brother was no longer a willing student, I lined up my most attentive stuffed audience kept on teaching.
As a third grade student, I remember when my teacher asked us to make ✎signs and stand outside of our school- Something about the city's budget cuts. Through a child's eyes, it seemed to me that someone, somewhere, didn't want to support our schools in the capacity that would sustain them. I recall being told that the person or people responsible for these cuts hadn't even attended the Public School System themselves. I wondered why we were on the verge of losing our wonderful Gym teacher and our Afterschool Program. Sound confusing for a child? As an adult, I am still confused.
As a NYC teacher, I have some questions for the "Kleinberg" team...

When did TEACHERS drop so low on the food chain?

"When did the 'TEACHER' become the the least important component in the business of 'teaching?'

When did TEACHERS become the 'disposable' factor in a system that teaches?

When did TEACHERS become the scapegoats for everything that is wrong with our city's children?

When did terrorizing TEACHERS become an acceptable practice and why have the Kafka-esque Rubber-Rooms been allowed to thrive even ONE more day under the Kleinberg administration?

My mother always said, "Be a teacher. You'll have job security, a paid summer vacation, good health benefits, a pension and..... If you have children of your own, you will be home in time to cook dinner for them." I followed my mother's advice. At the time, it seemed like the perfect job for a woman who wanted to have the best of both worlds. I went to school and got my Bachelors Degree and then my Masters Degree in education. I spent 5 years in night school working toward earning 30 credits above my masters. I never doubted my direction for a minute.
On my first day of teaching, I knew that I had found my calling. I remember thinking, "Wow, we get paid all day to be with children, ignite their minds, enrich their lives, fill them with knowledge and then get to leave at 3:00! I couldn't wait to return the next day. Compared to my last 9:00 to 7:00 job, this was indeed heaven. I was fortunate to work in a wonderful district and have a principal who cared about his teachers. He was a mensch. His support kept me going at times when I felt like giving up. I returned home every night eager to plan and prepare for the next day. I remember the relentless drive that I had to make my students shine.

It is 22 years later and thanks to technology, my students are finding me on Facebook, wanting to reconnect, eager to share their accomplishments. I was recently invited to a Wedding, a Christening and a family gathering by my former students. Who really knows how much influence we've had on a child's life in the one or two years that we get to spend with them? As far as I can see, there is no end. How does one measure the impact of true teacher effectiveness? There is no measure.

I never imagined that I'd live to eat my words. In spite of the horrible, heartless and harassing administrators, the "Billionaire" mentality, ungrateful, indifferent parents, 'kids gone wild' and Charter School politics, I do feel that I have been able to make a difference. I know in my heart that I have touched lives, instilled good values and provided lifelong lessons.

Thanks to our "Education" Mayor, teaching is no longer a labor of love. According to the 'Kleinberg' regime, Teachers are robots, children are widgets and education is a business to be controlled by Hedge Fund Managers looking for a tax break. We are constantly 'cut down', restrained and intimidated by a system with a death wish.

I speak for myself and those among me who have been burned by a system that doesn't see any value in the very essence of education. There is no room for innovation or thinking outside of the box. Schools are being starved and creativity is completely stifled. The idea of job security is dangling by a thread. Benefits and Health Insurance are constantly under attack...TDA's...declining in value. Sabbaticals... unattainable...Tenure...also at risk. Will summers off soon be a thing of the past??

Most of us, having gone through the public school system ourselves, know that our children are being robbed of the education that we were given and that they deserve. The little girl in me cringes when I hear that my niece or my neighbor's daughter wants to go to college for Education. I have to restrain myself from bursting their illusory bubble. I gently suggest, "Why don't you study law, medicine, graphic design or perhaps, rocket science?"(Maybe growing up to be a 'cowboy' wouldn't be such a bad idea after all...)
I will say anything but, "It is not a good time to be a teacher", which truly breaks my heart most of all.

May 17, 2010

Why I Fired my DOE(oops!) NYSUT Lawyer

Why I fired my DOE (oops!) NYSUT Lawyer...

At our first meeting, I clearly requested an "Open and Public" hearing so that my lawyer could give notice to the arbitrator and DOE lawyer. I followed up on this request with an email asking for confirmation.
By our fourth meeting, I noted that my lawyer had still not solidified my request with the hearing officer and asked her why.
I said, "I sense that you don't want me to have and open and public hearing." "Well, she said, "You sensed right". She then proceeded to paint an ugly picture of an out of control hearing room filled with unruly reporters and friends of the Principal. "If you have an open hearing, the Principal can bring in anyone he wants to. Anyone. That may not be in your best interest. You never know who he might bring in". And, "Do you really want the press distorting your story the way they have done with other cases?"
Armed with the confidence that somehow, "The truth will set me free", I still insisted on an open and public hearing despite the obvious dismay of my lawyer.

I could only reach my NYSUT lawyer through the NYSUT office, that is... when it was open, which meant that I had to call when the office was open, even just to leave a message. The recording said that if you know the '3 digit code' of the person you are trying to reach, please enter it now. As a client, I asked my lawyer for her 3 digit code. Her response was, "Uh, what do you need it for? Has there been a gap in our communication?" "Yes,as a matter of fact. I called you five days ago and this is the first time you have returned my call." "Well...Is there a problem with that? I am very busy."(doesn't want to be bothered)"Yes, there are times when I would like to be able to leave you a message." Her response was, "I think that we've been emailing just fine, don't you?" "No". (Obviously I wouldn't be asking for your code if I was able to reach you, idiot).

After several months of sending emails with scant response from my lawyer,I was beginning to get nervous. When she called me on a Sunday night at 10pm on the last day of spring break, I asked her again for an alternative number. Again, she refused to give me one. Her excuse was that she'd had trouble in the past with clients(teachers) calling her at all hours of the night and had reservations about ever giving out her cell phone number to a teacher again...(I wondered if that reservation included calling her clients on a Sunday night at 10pm.)
When I asked what concerns she had, she responded that she'd rather not divulge that information, and... "Is this the reason you called me?- to pick a fight?"

My paranoid NYSUT lawyer wouldn't allow anyone to sit in on my meetings with her. I found it unusual that I couldn't be accompanied by someone, anyone of my own choosing. Her reason was that she had not established 'confidentiality' with that person. (They were my support system stupid, not yours.)
Before our third meeting, I asked my lawyer why she wouldn't allow me to bring someone in with me for support. Her response was that she didn't feel 'comfortable'. I said that, "It's not about 'you' feeling comfortable. I am the client. This is my case. I am choosing to bring this person in. I trust this person". As a client, I should be able to bring in anyone that I want. (Shouldn't I?) Her response was, "Well, what do you know about lawyers? How much experience have you had with lawyers anyway?"
Does this sound professional to you?

It started to become very clear to me that my DOE-(oops!)NYSUT lawyer was not working in my best interest when she divulged private information to my Chapter Leader without my permission. It seemed that she- my lawyer, needed assurance that the events I had described to her actually occurred the way that I described them. Who was breaching client-lawyer confidentiality now?

My NYSUT lawyer was completely overwhelmed with too many cases and it was adversely affecting the preparation of my hearing. As the amount of documents that I submitted to her grew, so did her disorganization. Each time that I met with her, it was like starting from square one. As we were going through the documents I had submitted to her at previous meetings, I came across one that didn't seem familiar. As I began to read it aloud, her response was, "Oh that's not yours", grabbing it out of my hand. "I was wondering where that document was! I don't know how that paper got in there". That document, that 'confidential document', was from another teacher's case that she was working on. I began to wonder how many of my documents had been mixed up or 'fallen' somewhere that they shouldn't be... And she was the one concerned about "confidentiality?".

It was obvious that my lawyer had her own set of rules which she felt didn't apply to her. I had no confidence that she was working for me and not the DOE or some other ultimate plan. Three weeks before my hearing, I fired my DOE-oops! 'NYSUT' lawyer and hired a private one. I believe that it was the best decision that I have ever made. There was no doubt that the new lawyer had the experience and knowledge that the NYSUT lawyer was clearly lacking. He was one step ahead of the DOE and UFT's tricks which I believe included assigning me a ridiculous and severely inept NYSUT lawyer.

May 10, 2010

Teacher Bashing

There is so much negative banter about teacher performance, teacher evaluation, grading the teachers, good teachers, bad teachers, firing teachers, teachers wasting taxpayers money, teachers in general, blah, blah, blah. Is there anyone who isn't teacher bashing these days? Suddenly, everyone who has an opinion and anyone who has money is an 'education expert'. (Thanks SBST!) Is there anyone in this teacher bashing bunch that has ever taught in a classroom?

Since most senior teachers of the pre'BloomKlein' era earned their education degrees the conventional, time honored way, one can safely believe that their credentials have been met, but is it safe to make the same assumptions of our new, overly empowered Principals?
How many of of our new Principals have earned their counterfeit credentials through the quick and condensed 'Evelyn Wood' Speedy Leadership Academy?' Do you think that they have spent at least 3-5 years in the classroom- excluding their own experience as a student in the NYC DOE? How many have shown an initiative to stand in front of a classroom and model a lesson in the caliber that they expect from their staff? Would it be unreasonable to ask that principals also be held responsible and accountable to the same professional standards as teachers?
("Pissed Off" has the right idea.)How about the teachers observing the Principals and Assistant Principals for a change? Why not rate the Principals on how well they can be in two places at once, juggle lunch duty or how well they can discipline one child while praising another all in one breath? We are not talking about balancing budgets here. We are talking about 8:00-3:00, don't be late, get your hands dirty, hold your bladder, full fledged teaching.

Take a look at the results of the biased 3020a hearings and you will find that in most hearings a Principal is unable to prove the incompetence, neglect or corporal punishment that they have charged a teacher with. The fact that so few teachers are actually fired as a result of the 3020a process is proof that most teachers have been reassigned on dubious or cooked up charges. There is no evidence that the 3020a process is a reliable method of ridding the system of 'bad' teachers. What is does prove however, is that most principals are good liars and poor judges of what a bad teacher looks like.
For every teacher sent to the RR, there is a principal who put them there. Perhaps these ignorant, unethical and self serving administrators should spend more time in the classroom and less time witch hunting. Once the 3020a hearing is complete and an arbitrator rules in the favor of the teacher, shouldn't a mandatory investigation of the Principal follow? How many times it is the Principal's ego, ignorance, lack of communication and paranoia that condemns an innocent teacher? Shouldn't it be the Principal who is held accountable for wasting the tax payer's money?
Instead, NYC DOE principals get a free ride on the tails of Bloom-Klein's "Some are more equal than others policy." 'It's Okay", they say to a principal's disregard for regulations. "It's okay", they say to the harassment of senior teachers. It's okay to rate teachers unfairly, just as long as the principal gets good grades on school surveys from the teachers and parents. "It's okay" to make a mistake, just as long as some unsuspecting senior teacher takes the blame.
Is this teacher abuse "okay" with the UFT? Sure it is. Just as long as the abused are paying their membership dues and remaining passively quiet. As long as the UFT stands idly by and accepts the "It's okay" policy for administrators, the corruption will continue...

Don't Miss David Pakter's Historic Hearing Today...

Dear Mr. Pakter,
Please know that we are all behind you. Knock em dead. The reassigned teachers here in Brooklyn are all praying for your exoneration based on the truth; the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You deserve it...
Sincerely, Fidgetyteach

I am proud to repost this important event info. from Ed Notes...
On Monday, May 10, at 10 AM --
For the first time in the history of NYC Dept of Education Teacher Trials, a State Hearing Officer has requested and will allow an accused NYC Teacher to play secret tapes in his possession to prove his innocence.

This is a ground breaking event and will prove beyond any doubt that former

'Teacher of the Year', David Pakter, was falsely accused of wrongdoing by the NYC DOE.

No member of the media, Legal community or anyone interested in Justice can afford to miss this unique, first ever milestone in the history of the long struggle by NYC Educators to receive fair treatment and "Due Process" at the hands of the 23 Billion Dollar New York City Dept of Education.

Where: 49 Chambers Street, Manhattan 6th Floor

When: 10 A.M.

Who: Hon. Douglas J. Bantle, Esq. - Presiding

Christopher M. Callagy, Esq. - for the Defense

Philip Oliveri, Esq. - Prosecuting for NYC

Note: New York City teachers have been removed from their classrooms and schools for decades based on the flimsiest hearsay, fabricated allegations and bogus charges. Often the teacher is totally innocent of the accusations but is at the mercy of a system that makes proving one's innocence difficult if not impossible.

The NYC Dept of Education will present Witnesses who despite being under Sworn Oath, will lie with impunity and not hesitate to commit the most outrageous acts of Perjury knowing that there is virtually no price to be paid if caught.

On Monday, May 10, at 10 A.M.
for the first time in history, a courageous and independent Hearing Officer, sitting in Judgement to decide a highly Decorated Educator's fate, will allow David Pakter to have a fair shot at Justice.

The Honorable Douglas J. Bantle, Esq. will permit the accused to let the entire public learn the Truth by playing a tape recording proving "who" said "what" and "where" and "when".

The Hearing Officer and the Attorneys will all hear what those who accused Mr. Pakter said - or did not say- from their own lips.

The great French writer,Victor Hugo, once said:

"There is no force on Earth so powerful as an Idea whose time has come."

That time is 10 A.M. on Monday, May 10

at 49 Chambers Street, 6th Floor, Manhattan.

Be a Witness to History.


Warning: the 6th Floor Receptionist has been known to falsely inform the Public there is NO Pakter Hearing scheduled.

Do Not Leave. Demand to speak to an Official. mily:Times New Roman;font-size:180%;" >"There is no force on Earth so powerful as an Idea whose time has come."

That time is 10 A.M. on Monday, May 10

at 49 Chambers Street, 6th Floor, Manhattan.

Be a Witness to History.


Warning: the 6th Floor Receptionist has been known to falsely inform the Public there is NO Pakter Hearing scheduled.

Do Not Leave. Demand to speak to an Official.


May 2, 2010

Shame on the DOE, the UFT and BloomKlein!

Shame on Mr.Mulgrew and the UFT for not Protecting this teacher...
Thank you Chaz for shedding light on the injustices that NYC teachers must endure under the BLOOMKLEIN administration.

April 15, 2010


..."It's a Free Ride when you've already paid..."
Just heard the news... and and this song is playing in my Alanis Morisette. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?
"City to Eliminate Rubber Rooms By Fall"
...Wow, they are going to close the rubber rooms?! The rooms that I have spent the last two years doing nothing in- for doing 'nothing wrong?' Lucky me. I am jumping for joy. NOT. I have paid royally in the Rubber Room for my Principal's error. I can never rewind the clock, never get those two years back, never erase the stigma of having done time in the Rubber Room. I(We) reassigned teachers have been used, disrespected and abused. Pawns between the DOE, the UFT and the war against tenure. All the news can talk about is the money that is being wasted. Lucky us. I will have to think about this and get back to you.

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn't it ironic... don't you think

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
"Well isn't this nice..."
And isn't it ironic... don't you think

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face

A traffic jam when you're already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It's meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn't it ironic...don't you think
A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think...

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out...
Education Notes Online: Watch for the Snarks and Boojums on Rubber Room Agreement">
Check out Ed Notes for more on this...
....To Be Continued Later.