Thursday, January 31, 2008

For a while, we posted animal pictures of administrators. This one is Dr. Hamilton. We will miss his gaucheries now that he has finally retired. I know we're childish, but who wants to be mature all the time? I have a firm rule that if I can’t have some fun, I am not going to do it.

We had a great time searching the web for these gems. We exchanged images with great glee, saying, "Look at this one!" and "Here's a winner!" lee

It's instructive to see how Detroit deals with the adultery charges against a public official. The story continues in the Detroit papers. The euphemism of "romantic" text messages invites the question of how "romantic" is adultery?

The diction of newspapers is etiolated when it comes to sex because they are afraid of getting sued one infers. But at least the Detroit papers will write about illicit sex involving public officials. Elected officials could fornicate on Franklin Street, and the Times and Tribune would ignore it to write about a broken redlight on Nebraska.

What puzzles is what the tipping point is that catalyzes the newspapers. I suspect it must be the prudery level of the managing editor or the psychosexual history of the assignment guy. Or maybe the janitor has some issues with sexual improprieties.

  • Story Highlights
  • Detroit paper reports romantic text messages between mayor and staff member
  • Allegations of an affair arose during whistle-blower trial involving two officers
  • Kilpatrick and Beatty, former chief of staff, both denied a romantic relationship
  • Mayor's wife said she is hurt, angry, but she loves her husband________________________________

The letter to the board below comes from Bart Birdsall. Bart was my entrance into the pathology of the school board and administration. I had become friends with Bart when trying to help him get the board to acknowledge and do something about the bullying of gay children in the schools. The board and administration are reluctant to inflame and lose the bigot vote. The board, the administration, and the CTA union ill-treated Bart so that I had to reach out and help him if I could. He was badly outnumbered.

Bart had written some critical emails to Joe Stine, head of the county library and gay like Bart, for Stines's supporting Ronda Storm’s homophobic ejecting of gays from the county library.

We'll never know for sure, but here's what I infer happened behind the Wizard-of-Oz curtain of government.

Stines was not forthright or brave enough to write Bart back. Instead, I conclude, he went cry-babying about the emails to his boss, Pat Bean.

Bean is Elia's girlfriend. She allowed her to use her name as a reference for the superintendent job. I wrote Bean that her so doing was unprofessional. But she was too busy raising her salary and perquisites to pay any attention to me. I think she and Elia are in a Who-Can-Bloat-Her-Salary-the-Highest contest.

I infer Bean sent the emails to new superintendent Elia, just dying to flex her muscles in her new power slot and rev up her sadistic use of power. Sure, she told buddy Bean, she would be glad to punish the little worm of a school-media technician and scare the bejesus out of him by making him fear for his job. What's a buddy for if not to perform such acts of sadism for a girlfriend?

The emails came from Bart's home computer; so even the board attorney said that they were not basis for punishment of Bart for using the school email for personal issues. Even so, Elia sent the emails to the Professional Standards Abu Ghraib Cell Block and told Kipley to sic the computer people on Bart's computer records to strain out any gnat that would offer pretext for punishing him for something--anything.

The fishing expedition turned up nothing except Bart had posted a notice of the gay march against the shutting of gays out of the library on the media bulletin board, its purpose ostensibly.

Even without any pretext of a valid charge against Bart, however, Kipley called him into her office for her mind-games routine. I believe she takes great pride in these Goebbels interviews with trembling teachers.

CTA sent a representative with Bart, but that's about as helpful as sending an amoeba from one of the biology labs. The CTA is so far ensconced with the administration in betraying teachers who pay it $500 a year to undercut them that CTA minions all have bed sores.

After the mind-games session calculated to terrify Bart with vague allusions to non-existent wrongdoing, Kipley said she would send him a letter to summarize the situation. Bart told the union representative as they left that he was dissatisfied but wanted only a letter of apology. Bart wanted his dignity restored. The union guy told him just to be quiet and that everything would be fine.

I don't know how many of you read the NYT; but it had an article recently on how Giuliani terrorized people when he was mayor, causing long-term mental anguish for some. Bart's reaction was similar. He believed he had been a good and productive employee and thought this charge was misplaced and cruel. His state of mind was such that he had to go to a therapist.

Meanwhile, Kipley sent Bart a registered letter that did not summarize the real situation but which said, in effect, "Don't do any thing wrong again, or dire things will happen to you."

Candy Olson also saw Bart at the gym during this ordeal and screamed at him that he could lose his job. Candy’s always good for piling on. She allies herself with whoever she thinks is in power and then apes that person’s behavior.

The only thing Bart wanted was a letter of apology from Kipley for the mistaken charge. She didn't answer his requests for one. So I asked the board lawyer to get Kipley to send one. He met Bart for an interview at Eats, a restaurant near Bart's house, not extending to the matter the dignity of an office visit. He told Bart that he, Gonzalez, would have no problem getting the letter of apology from Kipley for Bart. Bart never got that letter although Bart prompted Gonzalez several times.

Gonzalez also did not construct the pamphlet telling teachers their rights when they went into Professional Standards gauntlet. He promised me to do that at least three times. Gonzalez lied. I doubt that he had any intention of keeping this promise to a member of the public who pays his salary. He has been in his no-bid job for fourteen years and has become synchronistic with his board and administration bosses in their contempt for public accountability.

Several teachers called Bart during and after his ordeal to tell him of their scarifying experience with Kipley in Professional Standards. One had to sort pencils endlessly while waiting for Kipley’s sadism to be sated and only then would Kipley decide to release the teacher from the punishment rituals that Kipley seems to relish so much. I believe she slavers over these duties. Kipley told another teacher that she couldn't tell a soul about what went on during her punishment in Professional Standards. Free speech is suspended in the Abu Ghraib cell block. Kipley denied another teacher the right to attend her students' graduation, which broke the teacher's heart. I believe this was the teacher whom the administration brought in on cooked-up charges about a field trip that didn't have all the t's crossed on the application. These referrals to Professional Standards seem always to concern tremendous trifles.

My inference from these data is that Kipley is a sadistic character, moved from principal of Hillsborough High to the Professional Standards job because, I heard, the teachers there and Kipley were at loggerheads and that some would not go into an interview with her without a tape recorder.

So instead of firing Kipley, the administration gave her the Professional-Standards job with a salary jump instead of firing her as would have been condign. This case confirms the adage that if you mess up, you move up in the schools' odd bases for promotion.

The administration did not advertise the job, of course. And Kipley didn't have a psychology or criminal-justice degree but a home-ec degree. Home ec! For the lord's sake, that's making béchamel sauce, not adjudging professional behavior of teachers.

A bizarre footnote to this tale is that Bart came to
Tiger Bay because he wanted to hear Elia speak. He joined so he could ask a question of the speaker. He sat with my husband and me. The CTA union collaborators trooped in with a large contingent of administrators and sat at their table, yukking it up and ignoring Bart. I noticed Connie Mileto, kindergarten teacher and Jim Hamilton protégé who zipped past other candidates to get the government-representative sinecure. This munchkin’s professional behavior was not up to the mark. It included jumping on her diminutive legs to lock her arms around the neck of some guy, squealing a greeting betimes. Very professional to be sure. That jumping-and-squealing routine must convey just the right degree of gravitas in the halls of the legislature. The munchkin also made various squawking noises during my question when I got up to address Ms. Elia during question time. Such is swell psychology in her job to bring around the other side to her point of view. One felt that a political science or psychology degree would have given the Munchkin a better background for the government-representative position than a kindergarten sheepskin.

When Ms. Elia descended the platform, Bart and I went up talk to her about his ordeal with Professional Standards. He asked her why she sent the emails from his home to Linda Kipley. She said that she was not very knowledgeable in technology and that she did not know that the "from" line at the top of an email identified from where it came.

Bingo. That's when I knew we dealt with a practiced and not very astute liar. I believe lying is reflexive in Ms. Elia. She lies when the truth would be more to her advantage.

After this interview, I began attending the board meetings, watched the proceedings from the back of the room, and formed a picture of the sorry situation that obtains in ROSSAC and among the board dais potted plants.

The board and administration form a team that exploits the tax base of the schools for their joint purpose of control of power and money. The students and teachers are the field hands who provide the basis for the state's giving money to the administration and board to run their empire. They want teachers and students to keep their distance and leave ROSSAC and the board to pursue their narcissistic agenda, bloating Elia's salary and assenting to all her demands--including loading an extra class on teachers to solve her budget problem and cramming a grade-inflation scheme down teachers' throats without the courtesy of consulting them or even acknowledging their existence on these or any issues. The potted-plant board, poseurs as benefactors of education, goes along with Elia's every whim, rubberstamping all she puts underneath their noses.

Bart's great interest besides Pilates and opera is nutrition. He has striven to nail down the fact that the school cafeteria food is lousy--both for nutrition and taste.

Candy once had the head of the food program to come and address the board on this issue after one of Bart’s food emails. The woman’s spiel was mere template piffle.

Below is Bart’s most recent email to the board on the subject. The people on the podium could use some valid nutrition information. Just about all of them are overweight. Swell role models for good nutrition they are for the students.


Dear Board Members:

I read with interest the article about the students' questions at your student session. Out of the mouths of babes.....

Vittorio Ottanelli questioned the cafeteria lunch quality. As you know I have been saying that the school lunches are terrible for a while. I pack my tofu and vegetables and rice everyday, because I can not eat the school lunches. Ottanelli may be referring to the taste. I believe the healthiness is the major problem

I hope some of you have gone to the schools and sat down with students and eaten these meals. It will give you a new perspective.

Look at what they choose also. Choose the same things and eat them and see if you gain weight or not. I bet you do.

I believe another problem is the snack lines or the "a la carte"

items that can be bought. These are chips and sweets and ice cream.

There must be a solution to this.

The private sector is not the answer either, b/c then McDonald's will be selling fries in the schools. I would rather eat a dead possum than eat a Big Mac.

At 40 and about to turn 41 I work daily on my weight. It only gets harder as you get older. It saddens me to see 12, 13, 14 year olds with big bellies. They will have an even tougher time losing weight as they get older. We owe it to them to make sure the cafeteria food improves not just taste-wise but health-wise too.

I am confused by the Times article that says Ottanelli's question was drowned out by applause from the supervisors and principals. Why would they start applauding before his question is answered? From the Times article it sounded like rudeness to this student. I hope you will make an effort to answer his question either publicly or to him personally.

It would be easy to find which school he attends and send him a private note.

I am glad that you take the time to listen to student questions once a year. Students are stake holders in their education, and Essrig did a good thing to start this. Why not hold a forum for teachers to come and ask questions also? I have been cc'ed to many emails to you from Lee asking for a time for teachers at each board meeting. I think it is a legitimate request. At the very least offer a once a year forum like you do for students. Teachers and other employees are stakeholders also. Many of us want the system to improve. Many ideas are better than 7, especially when the ideas or questions come from the trenches.

Also, I believe teachers should be on a Facilities committee so that teacher input goes into the building of new schools. Teachers know what problems arise when a bathroom is either too large or too small in a hallway or where teacher planning areas should be. This is another thing you could do to make sure architects hear another viewpoint about what is needed. Supervisors have been out of the classroom for a long time and have forgotten the little details or the problems that arise when some area of a building is built a certain way. They forget that nooks and crannies are places for students to hide and kiss each other, etc.


Bart Birdsall

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I doubt very much that Linda Kipley is capable of creating a bechamel sauce. She probably taught the students to deep fry and make taco bell style food and hamburgers. Despite her attempt to "dress up," you can see where she comes from.......she makes a lot of money now, but her style and manner betray that she was not always used to the type of money she now makes.