Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Can we collaborate? Pleeeeeeeeze

I've been calling the UFT collaborators for years.

Now they are actually using that word in their commercials.

They say the umpteenth reorganization by BloomKlein that gives power to the principals (all too many of whom are either power hungry, ego-driven, and manipulative or incompetent or just plain nuts) is an opportunity for teachers to collaborate. See, all you have to do is just ask. And spend probably a million bucks to do it.

Pleeeeeeeeeze! Will you let us collaborate?

You see, things like holding a rally and using political muscle to demand there be penalties when teachers are denied the right to sign off on basic decisions go too far.

ICE's James Eterno, chapter leader of Jamaica HS, has posted a good piece on the ICE blog about how BloomKlein are trying to give principals total control over the Leadership teams.

James faults the UFT for not waging a stronger fight:

"We should be mobilizing to bombard the DOE with emails to A655comments@schools.nyc.gov opposing any change to A655 that would weaken shared decision making. Wasn't the revitalization of the School Leadership Teams, not their weakening, one of the gains we supposedly made in negotiations to "postpone" the big rally last spring with the teachers, parents and students? It looks like the UFT is waging an extremely low key opposition to yet another attack on us."

My guess is that Tweed is just formalizing a fait accompli.

Even when I was chapter leader in the mid-90's my principal, when told at a district principals' meeting she had to had a Leadership Team with me on it, got up and practically screamed, "But I have the chapter leader from hell!"

She recovered quickly by using the parents on the team to get the AP appointed as head of the LT. (Some of my teacher colleagues did not exactly distinguish themselves either as it took them about 10 seconds to cave when I tried to stop it.)

That's why all these years I have felt that something much stronger was needed to give teachers a role in basic school level decision making.

Like running commercials that say, "Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!"

So I would say to James that bombarding the DOE with emails is not the way to go.

Just say —


The Tweedies removed the principal a few days before the start of the school. There's a smart move. Declare Jamaica an impact school - DANGER! DANGER! - wait all summer and get rid of the guy at the worst time possible. How would you like to be his successor?

Yesterday I got a call from CNN looking for James' contact info. James said a lot of press was looking for him. Apparently the ban on 911 calls has hit home when the family of the girl who had a stroke is suing. Read the Daily News article here.

"Former Jamaica Principal Jay Dickler could not be reached. He was removed from the school this summer because crime there was too high, Klein said. "I met with him on numerous occasions about safety at the school, and that's why he was removed," Klein said."

Let's see now. Think that very threat has anything to do with the ban on 911 calls?

"This happened because statistics are more important than anyone's life," the girl's lawyer said. Randi Weingarten made a similar allegation. "This is a tragic result of what happens when everything comes down to data," she said. "If there's only a hammer when people report crime, then people are going to continue to hide their incidents."

I agree with Randi. I'm getting nervous.

You can bet that someone connected with the school will take a hit while BloomKlein walk away clean.

A few years ago I facetiously wrote that one day Klein would be taken out of Tweed with his coat over his head. If we had a fair system of justice, we would be closer to that day.


  1. Nobody would mistake Jay Dickler for a decent manager.

  2. Norm-

    Randi did an excellent job on the Jamaica High School incident. Give credit where it is due. We can't always be about criticizing UFT leadership. She called me twice yesterday and was very supportive both on the phone and with the statements she made to the media.

    The words she said to the press and the statement the UFT put out that Randi read to me before it was released were right on target.

    Jeff Kaufman of course was also a big help with advice but I guess we take his help for granted.

    I'm hopeful that the UFT leaders will see the enthusiasm for real union activity at Jamaica and build on it.

    James Eterno

  3. "Randi did an excellent job on the Jamaica High School incident.

    "She called me twice yesterday and was very supportive both on the phone and with the statements she made to the media."

    Is this how you define "excellent job"? 2 phone calls to you and a statement? Show me a union leader who couldn't manage that much.

    Jamaica is a school on the hit list to be closed.

    Are local politicians contacted by the UFT? Are they going to try to organize alumni? Any rallies planned? Any real resistance from a giveback, collaborative leadership?

    Or will she make the same statement she made at Lafayette -- that it should be closed. Maybe Unity can get a cut in the action for PD in the new schools.

    Praise Randi if she does something that will save the school. You yourself often say "It's not what is said but what is done." What will be the ultimate result? Don't hold your breath.

    Are you in your situation because the UFT enabled BloomKlein?

    "I'm hopeful that the UFT leaders will see the enthusiasm for real union activity at Jamaica and build on it."

    Are you really and truly HOPEFUL the leadership of the UFT - which with your experience you know would be very happy to see you disappear as a chapter leader - do I have to remind you of their actions at Forest Hills in the recent elections? - will see the enthusiasm? And build on it?

    Excuse me a minute, I'll be back when I stop shaking with laughter.

  4. Want to hear some Randi quotes?

    JUNE 20th! (when I asked her about all the excessing, and people not getting interviews):
    "We are pursuing it." [Did I miss something this summer? Where? When? How?]

    JULY 7th (when I wrote that putting senior teachers into Job Fairs is outrageous and I wanted the union to be more aggressive, her non-apologetic and non-empathetic knee-jerk reaction):
    "It used to be this way all the time except that when music teachers used to be excessed they were laid off."

    JULY 19th (when I wrote her about that condescending and contemptible 22-page book the DOE sent us on how to apply for a job and asked why she is tolerating this):
    "We put out the know your rights - that is our version...."
    (and proving not only how the DOE circumvented the union with this document, but also how disinterested she really was in the process of what was happening to us):
    "I have not seen this"

    There is more to say on this, of course, but in the proper setting.

  5. Norm, I've got to agree with you. I'm willing to give it to Randi for going down there and making a nice safe, not really all that condemning speech (You can read it on the ICE blog) about that ridiculous 911 memo, but at the same time what if anything is the union doing to help Jamaica HS? What is the union doing to help any of the targeted schools? The answer, about the same as they are doing for ATR's, not much. If one were a cynical person they might see her visit to Jamaica HS as nice little political publicity romp, similar to when a politician shows up to help dig when a child falls down a well. Really you couldn't ask for a better win win for her. Good press. Now it's time to see what happens as the 911 story fades. Anyone want to place any bets? I'm willing to give 50-1 on her actually doing anything truly supportive. 2-1 on more hyperbole. And 1-10 on not much of anything else. If you don't get the last bit of odds, I'll spell it out "I don't think she'll do anything else."


  6. Why are you deleting comments from detractors????????

  7. Are you kidding? I get my best material from Unity slugs. Detract all you want and I'll even repost it. I only delete repeat posts and sex ads (which I save in a separate place.)

  8. Hey can I get a link to that special place!


  9. imagine working for someone you have to address as "Mr. Dickler" with a straight face!
    Jamaica HS is facing the same fate as Columbus HS in the Bronx did a few years ago. Impact status, campus model, blah blah blah...Columbus was "saved" in that it still exists, while on it's campus the small schools created by the former principal of Columbus cream the student population and hand-pick suck-up administrators and non-senior teachers who won't make waves.
    and that's the name of THAT tune!

  10. Jay Dickler should NEVER have been a Principal to begin with. He literally hid in his office and was afraid of SSA's, parents, students, UFT members, African-Americans, etc. He is/was a spineless bastard who finally got what he so richly deserved. No wonder his dentist son changed his last name and doesn't bother with dear old Dad.

    Bob Hess
    Flushing HS

  11. Bob Hess has some nerve making up stories against Mr. Dickler since he was the only principal to give him a job and didn't have him arrested when he put graffiti on the wall of his own office. If only the female teachers of Hess' dept. had the guts to file a complaint against him for sexual harrassment. Shame on you Bob Hess.

    1. Who ever you are you have no idea what your talking about. No female in my department was EVER sexually harrassed. I said hello one day to a short fat dumpy social studies teacher (who finally had attention from someone) and she accused me of hitting on her. Stevie Wonder wouldn't hit on this pig. She is now on her way out of teaching after many years of unsatisfactory ratings. Anything ever said about Jay Dickler is common knowledge throughout the building. There is NO need to fabricate anything!

      Bob Hess


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