Monday, January 21, 2013

Chapter 38: Naming Names

Chapter 38: How Public Are the Public Schools?

Teachers are civil servants.  We work for and are paid for by the public.  Ibid. administrators.  Since all children are required by law to attend school, society has an obligation to provide the schools and pay for them.  Much information, therefore, about teachers is available to the public.  I’ve used my real name in this blog, making it relatively easy for anyone with the desire to know to find out where I work, whom I work with, whom I work for and how much I make.  You can find out exactly how much teachers and administrators are earning, for example, at .  You can even discover how much overtime we’re making at this website.
When I started this blog in Nov. of 2011, my plan was to write about education in general and to expose how the good kids in the system are being neglected by a system geared entirely for failing students.  90% of the time, energy and money in the NYC public school system is wasted because it is being used for the political purpose of raising the graduation rate in order for politicans like Bloomberg and Duncan to be able to claim that they’ve had a positive impact on public education.  Every time you hear some politician pointing out that the graduation rate has gone up over the past decade, don't let them overlook the fact that the percentage of graduates who are functionally illiterate and unprepared for college, albeit with diploma in hand, has reached abysmal lows.
Even the big boss man in Washington, Arne Duncan, could come up with nothing more when pressed by Scott Simon on NPR late last year.  Simon, not satisfied with the sound bites Duncan was handing him, pressed on about what Duncan might want his legacy to show.  In the end all Duncan could say was that he hoped that during his tenure graduation rates had gone up.  There is nothing easier than increasing graduation rates.  Just water down the requirements.  That has everything to do with false and deceptive “data” and nothing to do with education.
Things changed for me in March 2012.  That’s when something so egregious happened in my school that it makes the mean-spirited heartlessness described at the beginning of chapter 36 seem like a petty crime.  I took it upon myself to see that justice was done in this case and that meant making certain demands of the administration.  Since this case is still pending, I cannot speak of it directly other than to say that my principal threatened to fire me at a meeting in his office with his A.P. as a witness on May 1, 2012.  The next day, May 2, he threatened to sue me for slander if I discussed this incident.
I have no interest in slandering or libeling anyone.  I do have an obligation to protect the students in my care from gross violations of their rights and other injustices whether perpetrated by other students or adults.  This is what I have been attempting to do since last March, 2012.
When I has handed a document filled with fantasies, gross inaccuracies, distortions and misrepresentations so outrageous that if they’re not outright lies, we need a new word in the language to describe them, I decided to start naming names - a few at least.  Since this document was used to evaluate my performance, I felt obligated to present this document to the public.  This I did in chapter 35.  For the first time I named the principal and the assistant principal in question.  I was careful to edit out the names of the “real” students, if indeed that observation document can be said to have anything at all to do with the class it purports to evaluate.  I edited out all names other than that of the principal and assistant principal who did the observation / evaluation.  I left in the names of fictional students whom I am supposed to have addressed during that class.  The name of my principal is easily discovered.  Since there are 3 assistant principals at the school, however, it may not have been clear which one I was talking about if I had not named her.  One would have to somehow make the illogical assumption that a former math teacher is supervising English teachers.
Did I go too far in naming names?  The 2 chapters of this blog in question (35 and 36) are the documents that I wrote specifically to be inserted into my official DOE file.  The assistant principal’s observation report of Dec. 7, 2012 – linked to chap. 35 – too, is officially in my DOE file.  All three documents are in my DOE file and therefore part of the public record.  At least, as far as I’m concerned, they are part of the public record.
I’m a teacher, not a lawyer.  I don’t know the legalities of making DOE files public.  I don’t know the legalities of using names of real people in a personal blog meant for nothing more than to generate discussion about education, which is what blogs are.  By putting the link to my blog in the documents that I submitted for my DOE file, I have inserted the entire blog into my file.  At least, that was my intention.  I don’t know what the lawyers and politicians might have to say about that.  It would depend on their agendas.
I have no doubt that the agenda of my administration is to award me a “U” rating at the end of the year.  It will have nothing at all to do with my teaching, everything to do with the act they committed last year and which they are still hoping to cover up.  In order to claim that I was “unsatisfactory” at the end of the year, they have to create a paper trail.  Unfortunately for them, the paper trail they’ve created is as flimsy and fabricated as a scuffed three-dollar bill printed on Kleenex.  The Dec. 7, 2012 observation report – see link in chap. 35 – that they are attempting to use as evidence that my teaching on Oct. 16, 2012 was “unsatisfactory” would be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high - my reputation and career as a teacher.
          My primary agenda is to expose some of the absurdities of the Bloomberg reform schools.  One of those is creating small schools with only 2 or 3 assistant principals so that math people are supervising subjects out of their expertise.  Another absurdity is the fact that many of these small schools have so little to offer the high-performing students that by senior year those kids have nothing to do.  About 2 weeks ago (Jan. 2013) a senior noticed that I was showing Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid” to a class.  She entered the room, sat down and watched.
“Nothing to do?” I asked.
“No,” she said.  “Why isn’t there a film class?”
“Good question,” I said.
In fact, there are no electives at all in my school.  Since 1 or 2 electives are required, however, the senior classes in government and economics are designated “elective” even though all seniors have to take them.  I suppose this enables the school to skirt with semantics some legal technicality.
As for naming names, maybe this has also become an "agenda" for me.  I suppose if a lawyer tells me to take the names out, I’ll have no choice.  I don’t want to jeopardize my larger goal of rectifying that gross injustice perpetuated during last school year (2011-12), the one mentioned in the 4th paragraph of this chapter above.  Perhaps I’ve said too much at this point although I think it is clear to those who did the dirty deed that that has been my purpose all along.
How public are the public schools?  How public should they be?


  1. Dear W.D,

    Just came across your hilarious "The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Husband" after I googled "Charlotte Danielson Teaching Experience." THANK YOU. Sadly, I came across this last posting from Jan 13...I sincerely hope the administrator induced witch hunt at your school has subsided....It would be a damn shame if your school/students lost an awesome teacher...STAY STRONG and like a previous blogger posted, STAY UNITED!

    1. Hey, thanks for the encouragement and your appreciation of that great Danielson farce - not my spoof, her ridiculous rubric. My war with my administration has intensified. I filed 3 grievances yesterday, as a matter of fact. The A.P. who has me talking to imaginary students is no longer allowed to take her computer into observations. I dared them to charge me with insubordination over that but they don't dare do it because that A.P.'s incompetence would be revealed to the DOE. So I was given a different, false charge of insubordination. The biggest battle is now on the horizon. I hope to be able to blog about that by summer.