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What The Heck Is In The Contract?
2023-02-02 16:33
It's hard to say. You may see one thing, as I did in 2018, and it may turn out to be another. Or leadership could say it's one thing, as they did in 2018, and it could be something altogethe… Read More
The UFT Contract Teach-In
2023-01-25 20:15
There's a good idea here somewhere. Involving members is a key element of effective union. It's the kind of thing I would push for. It's the kind of thing I'd unsuccessfully lobbied my Unity… Read More
Piloting The DOE Attendance Program
2023-01-12 12:56
It's a great idea to take attendance online. And the DOE's attendance program is much better than their grading program. It does what it's supposed to do, at least most of the time. Sure, yo… Read More
2022-12-27 15:00
My story in Gotham Gazette was number 8 in their top 20 most-read op-eds. I'm very happy to know that people are keyed in to our struggle to protect health care for UFT members and othe… Read More
Shirking--Our National Pastime
2022-12-22 14:06
This is America from top down.  We see it every day. The buck doesn't stop here anymore. It rarely stops anywhere. From Donald Trump saying, "I don't take responsibility at all," to the… Read More
Who Spreads Misinformation To UFT?
2022-12-17 15:14
UFT's Unity Caucus says dissidents are spreading misinformation. I guess I'm a dissident, now that I've decided retiree benefits should not be cut. Leadership's decision encourage cuts by pi… Read More
A Letter From The Deputy Chancellor
2022-12-13 22:33
Dear Colleagues:Aside from withholding as much money as we possibly can from funding schools, the safety of our students and staff is our absolute top priority. As such, we are advising… Read More
How Far We Haven't Come
2022-12-09 12:30
The tech is different, but not much else has changed since Up the Down Staircase. It was a series of absurd situations, with one pronounced tragedy. There was a teacher who lacked the sensit… Read More
The Morning Class
2022-12-01 20:49
I had a morning class earlier this year. There were 8 students in it. I really liked teaching it. However, the school killed it and redistributed the kids in other classes. I'm happy to tell… Read More
MLC Takes Us For Carnival Rubes
2022-11-21 13:20
After looking at the proposal that we pay $191 to keep Medicare and our version of Medigap (a program to cover the 20% of medical expenses that Medicare does not), I thought Medigap programs… Read More
I Meet With UFT To Discuss Healthcare
2022-11-18 22:06
Yesterday I was called into a Microsoft Teams meeting with at least five people who work for UFT. We were only disconnected once, so for my money, MS Teams is improving. I got a little… Read More
Why Fall Sports Are The Best
2022-11-08 15:32
I don't like to brag, but I have a sports star in my class. Sure, I don't see him all that often, but his name is on my ledger and he does stop by once or twice a week. He sometimes, on… Read More
Beware The Zero-Sum Game
2022-11-04 12:40
When Michael Mulgrew writes to say we have to make retirees pay more, or in-service members will pay more, he's engaging in a zero-sum game. Make no mistake--this is a desperate move. H… Read More
UFT Leadership's Contract Plan
2022-11-01 15:12
The odd message we got from the UFT President the other day has me thinking about contract negotiations. After urging the membership to cave in the face of a threat by the mayor, to throw th… Read More
2022-10-30 12:49
I was pretty shocked to get an email from Michael Mulgrew suggesting I needed to tweet out support for the City Council to change the law. The law in question says the city can't charge… Read More
The No-Consequence Life
2022-10-24 14:10
You'll have to click on the screenshot to see this. Look under the black box below, third from top, to see the charming comment a student left on my Google Classroom.I sent the screenshot to… Read More
2022-10-24 13:57
....but you can read my new column in NY Daily News.  MLC and UFT are moving backward by weakening Medicare for retirees. That will only happen if they and Adams change a law. If they d… Read More
The MLC Medicare Advantage Plan
2022-10-12 17:22
Bear with me for a few paragraphs, please. The other day I got a bill from Quest Diagnostics for $151.00. Evidently, it was a 20 dollar co-pay for one test, originally over 200, but after GH… Read More
They're Killing My Class
2022-09-29 12:02
It's been an interesting year for me, so far. There's a lot of contrast between my first period class and the others. First period, I have six students, four or five of whom show up on any g… Read More
2022-09-22 13:08
The NYC class size reductions can't come soon enough for me, and almost certainly won't. Right now I'm finding it particularly egregious that English Language Learners are dumped into the de… Read More
Teacher Teams And Me
2022-09-20 14:09
When teacher teams were introduced into our school, it was via an SBO. We rearranged the day to accommodate one a week during the C6 period. (We also negotiated more prep time.) I was placed… Read More
The Perfect Plan
2022-09-19 04:00
I'm now teaching in a brand new building, with brand new desks that kind of cluster together. I really like that arrangement, and I was quite excited about using it. I like to teach in a way… Read More
Chancellor's Welcome Back Letter
2022-09-14 12:06
Dear Colleagues: I am so grateful for everything you did to make the first few days of this school year such a success! As I heard from many of you, or maybe it was my subordinates as I… Read More
Pleasantville Lives (in My School)
2022-09-13 13:45
I teach beginning ESL, usually. That means all the students who've just arrived end up in my classes. It's a challenging job in that I do not, in fact, speak all languages. I have to find wa… Read More
Unedited First Draft Of Chancellor's Letter
2022-09-11 01:44
Dear Colleagues:Good morning and welcome to the new school year! I hope everyone had a great summer. I spent it in my luxurious office, making calls to Very Important People. None of them we… Read More
2022-08-28 02:31
Just when you think things can't get any worse, Chancellor Banks, perhaps suffering from geranium in cranium syndrome, finds one of the very worst principals in NYC (that's saying something)… Read More
Medicare Mess Multiplies
2022-08-17 14:02
I've been observing the bungled NYC Medicare deal for months now, and I'm no happier about it now than I was when I first heard about it. There was a plan, to be administered by Emblem Healt… Read More
Beware Of Swagger Bearing Gifts
2022-08-04 17:27
It's clear to me that Mayor Eric Adams doesn't give a golly gosh darn about public schools. The Mayor is all about being photographed in the right places, tweeting about how wonderful he is… Read More
Let's Stop Trashing ATRs
2022-08-01 17:02
Given Mayor Swagger's unwillingness to pony up and, you know, pay for education, schools are facing tough choices. Hundreds of teachers have been dumped into the ATR pool as a result. W… Read More
Time For UFT To Dump Walgreen's
2022-07-22 13:35
It's convenient to go to a local pharmacy and get a 90-day prescription. For UFT members, if you have a Walgreen's near you, you can do that. You could also get a 30-day prescription somewhe… Read More
2022-07-07 22:52
We're all the same, you know. Remember, when your favorite MAGA commentator is trashing whatever it is we're all supposed to hate this week, that we're likely as not on next week's menu.&nbs&hell…Read More
Jumaane Williams For Governor
2022-06-23 13:38
I'd been prepared to vote for Kathy Hochul in the primary right up until she failed to sign the class size bill that passed both the Assembly and the Senate. I was going to overlook the fact… Read More
Exams And Me (and You)
2022-06-22 12:13
Yesterday I read the oral part for the Spanish LOTE exam. (I'm not the best in Spanish, but I'm certified to teach it, and that's good enough for NY State.) This was not a difficult task for… Read More
Chancellor On Class Size
2022-06-05 00:28
Dear UFT members: It's me again, your old pal, Chancellor David C. Banks (although I much prefer to be called MISTER Chancellor David C. Banks). My job is very important, and that's why… Read More
A Memorial Day Wish
2022-05-30 22:05
I'm thinking of my dad today. He passed a few years back, but he was a veteran. He was in the Battle of the Bulge. Unlike many others, he did come back. He lived into his nineties. Toward th… Read More
Chancellor On School Time
2022-05-15 17:50
Dear UFT members:As you know, I appreciate teachers quite a bit. After all, I not only said so, but also made a video about it. How many of your students have bothered to do that? Nope, only… Read More
2022-05-10 12:50
NYSESLAT is the test the state uses to test the level of English Language Learners.In case you're wondering why you didn't see Exec. Board minutes here yesterday, you now know why. On Saturd… Read More
The Chancellor Appreciates You
2022-05-03 21:00
Dear Teachers,Every day I am inspired by the dedication and innovation you bring to your work. As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, please don’t harp on the fact that we are curr… Read More
Children First
2022-04-14 19:41
There are few things that get my dander up more than that expression. For one thing, people who use it are invariably getting up on their high horses and flouting their self-awarded moral au… Read More
Putting The Genie Back In The Bottle
2022-04-07 15:11
Teaching is a difficult balance on the best of days. Of course, not every day is the best of days, and on those days balance is even a tougher grab. Take, for example, my writing class. It e… Read More
Vote For Unity Caucus Next Week
2022-04-04 16:16
That's my friend Alexandra on the left. I met her a few years back. Alas, she's not the subject of this post, but it's about time someone credited her for her work. Six years ago, I ran for… Read More
2022-03-22 23:05
 ...but watch Francis Lewis HS Chapter Leader Samia Wattoo and me talking COVID-related teacher burnout on Channel 5 News Read More
Don't Forget To Vote For Unity
2022-03-21 11:48
I'm running for reelection to the, HS Executive Board. I'm running with and supporting the Unity Caucus. Every significant accomplishment I've been able to achieve for my colleagues at Franc… Read More
2022-03-19 15:55
..but you can hear me on this podcast talking about our upcoming contract. My segment begins about about 23:10 on the audio Read More
Touchy Subjects
2022-03-09 17:53
I have a couple in my class, or at least that's how it appeared to me. I was alerted to this when I saw a boy put his arms around a girl about a month ago. I was not particularly happy… Read More
Medicare And Unintended Consequences
2022-03-06 18:17
What this country really needs is Medicare for All. Given the state of our government and country, I don't see that on the immediate horizon. Meanwhile, we city workers have our own issues… Read More
All Americans Should Have Jobs Like Ours
2022-03-01 22:03
First, I want to apologize for not running the Executive Board minutes last night. Our gas burner dropped dead on Sunday, and I spent yesterday scrambling for someone to fix it. It was compl… Read More
Don't Unmask Just Yet
2022-02-22 21:54
If we've learned anything about COVID at all, it's that we cannot predict what it will do next. That's why the mask mandate in places other than schools has come, gone, and come again. We're… Read More
Racism--American As Apple Pie
2022-02-21 14:50
It's Black History Month, and even the talking heads on Fox are quoting MLK, albeit in a very limited fashion. Were he not assassinated (while standing up for organized labor), were he aroun… Read More
Why I'm NOT Voting For UFC
2022-02-14 19:59
I was pretty stoked about being in opposition for a pretty long time. A few things turned me around. The big one was when MORE, with which I was affiliated, and to which I'd contributed, sta… Read More
Bean Salad
2022-02-04 22:41
That's what Mayor Adams was serving today at Francis Lewis High School. I took a peek at it. It was iceberg lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and beans. It came with French dressing, which I recall… Read More
Having A Voice
2022-02-03 18:11
Teaching beginners English is really frustrating sometimes. Most of my colleagues don't want to do it. I'm generally assigned to teach them because no one else even asks for that level. It h… Read More
The Principal
2022-01-31 19:54
This is a short story, actually a very short story. Let me know what you think.The lockers were beautiful. They were brand new. Every one of them shined. It took him years of careful negotia… Read More
Another Message From The Chancellor
2022-01-19 15:48
Dear Colleagues,I am excited to announce additional members of the DOE senior leadership team who will advance the critical work of educating and supporting our students. Please join me in w… Read More
A Snow Day Letter From The Chancellor
2022-01-08 09:48
Dear Colleagues,I can’t tell you how proud and grateful I am for your extraordinary efforts to successfully reopen our schools after winter break! The primary reason I can’t tell… Read More
2022-01-05 17:59
It's 6:35 AM as I begin this. I'm in a department office by myself, having written lesson plans, made copies, checked whether or not my room was freezing, and one of my colleagues just arriv… Read More
A Letter From The Chancellor
2022-01-04 05:00
Dear Colleagues,I hope you enjoyed a restful and safe winter break with your loved ones. As we enter this new year, I am honored and thrilled to be working alongside you as your next Chancel… Read More
Interview From Newsy This AM
2021-12-31 21:26
 I speak to the abysmal state of COVID testing in city schools and what needs to be done to improve it. They couldn't seem to coordinate my mouth and words, so I think they used stock f… Read More

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