I attended the David Pakter 3020a "hearing" today but there was no hearing (search this blog for background if you don't know about this case as I'm too lazy to get the links). Or at least while I was there. I left at 2 when they broke for lunch. David will update us soon.
We had quite a cast of characters. The wonderful hearing officer, Douglas Bantle - who is such a decent guy the DOE is getting rid of him. The NYSUT lawyer, Chris Calegy, who whenever I see him in action is impressive. Betsy Combier, who is always there for people and her sidekick Polo Colon. I alerted Gotham's Anna Philips about the hearing and unfortunately she showed up and wasted 3 hours waiting for a hearing that never took place. I owe her lunch - or at least an ice cream. But I did give her an earful for classifying New Action as an opposition caucus instead of bottom-feeding weasels. (See my recent post: UFT election figures for New Action Over the Years)
Ken Hirsch tagged along with Anna. Ken is the most likable ed deformer, some kind of hedge fund guy who helps fund scuzzy charter schools like HSA and Girls Prep and who knows what else. He also helps fund Gotham, which is a good thing, despite the fact some people feel they tilt (I am not yet convinced of that.)
I always have very deep discussions with Ken. He is a guy who while may not be convinceable about the errors of ed deform, is always willing to engage and listen - which with me around is just about all you can do. So we had a brief discussion on a number of issues and touched on the seniority issue. I pointed out how the longevity of teachers in one school creates a certain level of stability and teachers make strong connections to families over time. I'm talking about the elementary school level. Of course, with charter schools parachuting kids and teachers in from all over the place and the destruction of the neighborhood school concept by the deformers, this concept become irrelevant.
I get home and low and behold find that Diana Senechal wrote a great piece at Gotham on this very issue. Accountable Talk linked and wrote his own piece.
The Other Argument for Seniority
There's a nice piece in the Community section at Gotham Schools that lays out the case for seniority, especially in light of possible upcoming layoffs. I won't repeat any of the author's arguments here; you can read them for yourself and decide if they are compelling. I think they are. I'd like to address an argument for seniority that I rarely hear, but it warrants discussion. I believe that ignoring seniority as it exists now would ruin education in the future, and here's why.
Head over and read both pieces and all the comments.
After Ken left, who should show up but blogger South Bronx School, one of my faves – he goes even lower than I do. He's not happy that Gotham doesn't link to him and told Anna so. She defended herself. This was better than the hearing that wasn't taking place. I love SBS but I can understand them not linking. He was promising Anna not to be so raunchy while I begged him to keep it up. What would Whitney Tilson and Thomas Carroll do if he toned it down?
If you dig beneath the crust of SBS, you find the instincts of a teacher who gets it and gives a crap. I'd rather have the fun crusty stuff than see links on Gotham, which often links to Ed Notes. What am I doing wrong?
Since I posted the above a few minutes ago, I have been in touch with 2 former students who friended me - my 4th grade class in the early 80's and -listen to this - the son of a former student from 1976. His mom brought him to my house when he was one month old and we put him on a blanket on the floor and my cat came over and was bigger than him. Look at him now. His mom was one of my favorite kids of all time and we stayed in touch.
In the small world department, his dad's (his parents never were together) sister was the mom of a couple of kids I had and she was a parent who I always like a lot and I got to know a lot about the family. One day I was at the UFT and I see someone familiar and she said, "Mr. Scott." It was her daughter who I had in my computer classes. She has been working at the UFT - now in the tech department (think those Apple IIe's got her ready for the job market?) - for many years and we run into each other every so often and she fills me in. She has kids herself and her mom is doing fine.
Jeez. The more I am hooking up on facebook, the more the memories come flooding back. One of the students is a NYC teacher and we are getting together soon - the first time I will see him in over 25 years and next week I am meeting a student from the late 70's for lunch - I haven't seen her since she was in high school.
Sorry, but this is my "data."
Some former 4th graders had an elementary school reunion in Feb. I can recognize 4.