Friday, March 13, 2009

Cliff Notes on the 10th Board Meeting: We Will Have a Pop Quiz on This Material

I attended the board meeting on the 10th. Public TV cut out my part in citizens' forum at this meeting as it had done the previous meeting, At both I protested the unfairness of the Steve Kemp case. The board and administration don't want the public to know how they mistreat teachers. But public TV should not let ROSSAC malfeasants talk it into such maneuvers. It has public funds that I can ask to be cut for First Amendment violations to citizens' rights. I have been known to take such measures.

You say I am paranoid? If you are paranoid, keep the attitude is my advice. It keeps the skunks from sneaking up on you.

While Ms. Elia took extreme measures to rehabilitate Ms. Smith in the Alafai fracas in which the parents refused to keep her as principal any longer, she framed teacher Steve Kemp for a manufactured case of child abuse.

Ms. Elia hired a tutor for $340 a day to guide Ms. Smith in learning to treat other people as human beings. Isn't that a required job skill coming into a principal job? La Elia also lined up $4500 seminars at Eckerd for La Smith and her vice principal for personality makeovers. When it comes to administrators, the administration goes all out to retain them no matter the cost to tax payers and even if they are as incompetent as Ms. Smith. Hurrah for the parents who held their ground on getting rid of her. Ms. Elia had to bend to the parents and replace Ms. Smith with another principal at Alafai. I love those obdurate parents. We need a stadium full of them. Now Ms. Elia has according to rumor ensconced Ms. Smith somewhere in ROSSAC while she finds a better-paying job for her or creates one as she did for Dr. Hamilton. This confirms teachers' maxim that at ROSSAC if youj mess up, you move up.

Steve, meanwhile, continues on suspension. His suspension duty is making calls to parents whose children are truants. He has been doing this chore for the seven months of his suspension. The sheriff's office threw out the trumped-up charges of child abuse, but Steve's suspension continues as a board-administration warning to teachers and as a ploy to force him to shut down his blog. Mr. Valdez, in answer to Ms. Griffin's question of how long these cases took, said "as long as a year."

Steve's real crime is that blog. It is a harmless blog that is sometimes mildly critical of the school system. But any criticism at all is verboten for teachers, the First Amendment bedamned. The board and administration can't stand it when blogs give another view than the sanitized one that they send through the Public Affairs Laundromat. They do not want the public to know what really goes on in the school administration and have no compunction about framing teachers with outright lies and keeping them in suspension purgatory for as long as it takes for the blogger to shut down his or her blog in abject capitulation to a cooked-up case. The last I heard, Steve was still blogging, and he is still on suspension.

I protested the situation at the 10th board meeting and at the one a month before--the appearances that the public TV apparently edited out. The board and administration do not want the public to know about this despicable treatment of teachers--an invidious comparison to how it babies erring administrators.

The 10th board meeting was budget-review summit that played to a packed house. Ms. Elia was in high-throated mode for her budget explanations, citing as one of her prescient moves the piling on of an extra class for teachers two years ago but not lowering her $300,000 salary nor giving up the $37,000 "bonus" that she gets from teachers' work. This obscene perquisite began in Earl the Pearl Lennard's incumbancy and was his idea and continues under La Elia's reign as if it were a practice of such venerability that no one should question it. Dr. Lennard, you will recall if you have reviewed the Erwin court papers, was the principal torturer who tried to kick out a man from the school system with no pension because he had discovered the nest of crime going on in ROSSAC and insisted on making it public.

One comes away from reading those boxes of Erwin documents with the conviction that protection of crime going on then in which bid-rigging, theft of school property, slipshod building's getting top dollar, and just plain stealing of money was ongoing and protected by the administration and board. One must infer further that the recipients of the under-the-table payoffs were high-level administrators who tried to make Mr. Erwin himself think he was crazy and make others think he was crazy as well. This was preparatory to Erwin's filing a case against the board for violation of the Whistleblowers' act when two years of begging the administration to act failed and when he saw the administrative thugs were trying to destroy him.

Tom Gonzalez, one of the usual suspects, and his firm defended the board and lost the case, thank God. Mr. Erwin got $165,000 settlement and refused to submit to any more torture by retiring. He now lives in Georgia. I got a short letter from Mrs. Erwin the other day. I am from Georgia. I feel great to have a man of Mr. Erwin's courage retired to my home state. Mr. Weisner, another teacher who had won his case against the board for torture before Mr. Erwin won his case, had resumed his job after the case closed. Dr. Lennard and his thugs promptly resumed the torture. Weisner's health finally gave way, and he left the Gulag ROSSAC Archipelago. That was the goal of the ROSSAC thugs. So they won. The victims and taxpayers lost.

Crime still unfolds daily in the ROSSAC environs. The lessons of the Erwin case made the ROSSAC thugs pull back on outright theft or blatent graft but convinced them that they could with impunity get away with such things as targeting teachers who protest wrongdoing at the top for retaliation under the aegis of false charges. Lying the administration and board are both experts at. We see this once again in the Steve Kemp case. So determined are the malefactors to hang on to the power of ROSSAC and the money involved that they don't want a whisper of criticism against them.

Mr. Valdez, who sits next-to-last on the right of the dais, slumped in his chair until he was half under the dais and gave me the fish-eye over the edge when I presented my protest of the ROSSAC crooks' torture of Steve Kemp. I read both palms and body language. I bet my best pair of Manhola Blanicks that he is the Lucco Brazzi chair of the shadow torture committee that takes over once the Professional Standards gauntlet tars a teacher with a false charge.

The discussion of the budget triggered board members to showcase their pre-campaign tryouts. Jennifer Falliero launched into a bizarre General Patton tirade about her "they-are-not-going-to-get-us" philosophy. She never identified the "they"; apparently it was the American taxpayers without jobs who have shrunk the budget nationally and statewide.

Ms. Falliero, you will remember was the board member who wanted the board to get yet another raise that exceeded that of beginning teachers' pay even more than the roughly $10,000 that the board sloths presently exceed beginning teachers' salaries.

La Falliero wailed that she was suffering in the present economic downturn. She claimed she couldn't afford health insurance for her two daughters.

I suggest the woman get a part-time job to pay the premiums. She should also stop all those pricey hair-coloring adventures she undertakes to dye her hair yet another improbable shade of blond. A woman who sits on the county School Board, who is the mother of two pubescent daughters, and who grows increasingly long in the tooth as we speak should abandon Motel 8 mops of yellow hair. It's unseemly.

Dr. Lamb was as incoherent as usual. He garbles his words and chews off the ends of sentences so that you can't understand what he attempts to say. The only time he is fluent is when there is an opportunity to travel back down memory lane to his years in the school system. He has memorized every ritual of the schools, card-indexed the lot in his memory banks, and rolls out the recital when any comment trips his memory to the good old days of the school system.

Ms. Edgecombe's customary chirping chatter held a seed of interesting data. If I rescued the data from the chirping, she and Mr. Valdez had taught together when she was a single mother. That is the Mr. Valdez who plays Lucco Brazzi presently in the Professional Standards Torture Shadow Committee.

Susan Valdes has mastered every cliche attached to education and especially teachers. She rolls these out in long, sentimental outpourings without end or mercy on the listeners. She did on the evening in question.

Ms. Griffin was sick and apologized for her curtailed remarks. I say thank God. Ms. Griffin lacks the gift of coherence in speech andlogic when she pipes up. I seldom can tell what project she is supporting or why.

The thing that annoyed me about these rhetorical flourishes on the podium was the ubiquitous praise of teachers in the most florid terms of hypocrisy. When I got to the podium to speak, don't think I didn't point out the hypocrisy of the board's not ceding to the sainted teachers they just employed as props for their maudlin podium rhetoric a place on the board agenda. Somebody told me that Candy Olson said the teachers had a place on the agenda already after I left the podioum. I didn't hear her and don't believe her. I have written Ms. Olson for that information.

And if teachers have a special place on the agenda, why did the little arts guy wearing a splotchy apron speak before me in the citizen's forum instead of the special teachers' forum that Ms. Olson claims exists?

The budget cuts will reduce the arts periods to 30 minutes. You can't even get the clay on the tables during that time. About a dozen arts teachers showed up and cheered the little-guy arts performance. And Candy Olson deplored the cut to 30 minutes. My buddy Bart sees her often at the city's arts center for the opera and classical music offerings. I can't imagine any of the other board members care about the arts. They are more likely to relish tractor pulls.

Board members do care, however, about the frequent luncheons they attend under their ceremonial personae of board members. One or two of these luncheons got mentioned on the podium during one of the entres nous chats the board members are wont to indulge in to the injury of good manners. My mother would say they were raised in a barn.

We know the board members are eating extra victuals somewhere and in generous quantities because the only person on the podium who does not need to sign up for Weight Watchers is Delta Dawn Falliero. Mr. Valdez may be in normal weight range as well, but I can't tell unless he comes out from under the podium so that I can see him. The reason the board does not sponsor weight-control training in the schools is that its members would have to stop chowing down at the many culinary orgies on their board dance card. What do you bet they have two desserts? I saw Ms. Kurdell have two at a state conference that I was obliged to attend when my husband was mayor. She haunted the dessert table.

My old Beach Park community's school Section 2 board member, Candy Olson, surprised by delivering a crisp list of Ms. Elia's omissions in obedience to the board. La Olson ticked them off with icy precision. One I particularly agreed with was Olson's complaint that Ms. Elia had paid no attention to Olson's request that teachers other than high-school level should appear on certain committees. Ms. Elia ignored the request. I agree that middle-school and grammar-school teachers should get proportional representation. My six grammar-school teachers had more impact on my psyche than all the other teachers I have had put together. I suspect there is academic snobbery unfolding in middle- and grammar-school teachers absence from the committees. Ms. Elia's own academic record is too shoddy to warrant such shopworn prejudice against the children's grammar-school and middle-school teachers. The only person in ROSSAC who had a decent academic background from a good school was Marc Hart, head of Public Affairs until Mr. Valdez fired him. Hart graduated cum laude from Loyola but got kicked out for Falliero of the yellow hair's hanging out in his office and hitting on him until he succumbed, poor dope.

Ms. Kurdell is opposed to the First Amendment; and to me that is a fatal flaw in a person who swore to support the Constitution the bazillion times of swearing-in ceremonies she has participated in when she has re-occupied her office. But Ms. Kurdell reigns probably best chair the board has. She has control of the agenda and is adroit in rearranging it if necessary. That is a skill that escapes the other board members whom I have observed in the chair's position. Ms. Kurdell also is courteous to the community people who speak at the end of the agenda in citizens' comment. Dr. Lamb and Jennifer Falliero should model themselves after Ms. Kurdell in this area. Ms.Falliero kicked me out of the board room during her raucous chair tenure; Dr. Hamilton tried to vault the desk to get at me when I told him his using board stationery and clerical help to write to Mayor Iorio to give his condo a break on the water bill was unprofessional. Ms. Falliero goes Benito-Mussolini berserk as chair, drunk with power, graveling here, there, and everywhere. Dr. Lamb's demeanor is one constant sneer as chair. He doesn't know Roberts Rules from a hole in the ground. I once heard him say that teachers' applauding their colleagues violated Roberts Rules when teachers attended en masse to protest Ms. Elia's downloading an extra class on them without consultation or warning. I want to read La Lamb's soi-disant self-produced thesis. I suspect we have in Dr. Lamb's another Dr. Hamilton Ph.D. document: bought and paid for.


I append Thomas's last comment to this blog. I want the two administrators' names who were overheard in a conversation about firing Thomas. That junior administrators think they have a right to fire teachers because of personal pique says something about the administration's attitude toward teachers.

I will make sure that I mention thugettes' names at the next board meeting in protesting their conduct. There is something about having one's self identified in such compromising situations that makes such outback dictatorettes grow up and shut up. lee

9:07 PM
Thomas Vaughan said...

Tuesday I was called into the Principal's office at the request of a newly minted AP because she had some "issues" to discuss with me.

Well, the "issue" this AP had with me was the "inappropriate" comment I made after she repeatedly threatened teachers with being "written up" if they made errors while administering the FCAT. One of the things we were told to do was "make" students pay attention to the morning show as it was going broadcast important information to students regarding the FCAT.

I took issue with the constant threats of disciplinary action and the requirement we "make" students pay attention. I asked her how we could possibly MAKE kids pay attention. I could tell this upset her as she responded condescendingly, insisting that we in fact COULD maker kids pay attention.

Anyone who teaches middle school can tell you that there is no way to make kids do anything they don't really want to do!When I told her that I felt her threats of disciplinary action were unprofessional she denied having even made the threats. In other words she lied. I later found out that the so called "issues" were a ruse. There was a much broader agenda in play. The CTA building rep pointed out that she had heard the same threats when the AP conducted a similar meeting for 8th grade teachers.

The AP fell silent and proceeded to bring up other totally unrelated issues she had with me, silly things that even the principal knew were not worth mentioning.

Then the bombshell.My building rep pointed out the this AP had a clear bias against me and that she had received several reports that she and another AP at my school had been overheard talking about her desire to "get rid" of me and how the CTA made it harder to do this.

I write this to remind everyone that the culture of threats and intimidation is deeply ingrained and real. I have retained a lawyer and am considering having him notify Professional Standards and the Florida Dept of Education. The threats are a clear violation of the ethics law.

I notified my principal as well as the AP in question that she is to have no further contact with me.Once a supervisor has made public statements about getting rid of a tenured teacher with 16 years of experience and exemplary evaluations, it is obvious that some people have been given supervisory positions they have no business holding.

Yes, I am angry that some rookie AP who failed at teaching could think she had the right to treat me in such a shabby fashion. I will not put up with it.
8:08 PM

Monday, March 09, 2009

Missing in Action but Still Alive

My computer-engineering grandson was in Taos skiing with his five siblings and father when my computer's hard drive went caput. So I have been out of action. The rascal told me he would fix it when he got home. He didn't. I am cutting him out of my will.

I have been reading paleontology about the Neanderthals instead of spending time on the computer. The palentology community tried to disown the Neaderthals as precedent to us; it was nothing but discrimination because they were ugly. I went running to my husband time after time to say, "Look at how these jerks are treating the poor Neanderthals!" After I finished one book, he took it up. Now both of us are lamenting the discrimination against the Neanderthals. We begin every sentence to each other with, "My God. Listen to this."

I am going to the meeting tomorrow to complain about the Professional Affairs office's use as a retaliation machine with Elia's sending in teachers' names to call on the carpet and try to fire. I am going to bring up Steve Kemp's case of "child abuse" again. I hope to be able to save his job by constantly nagging the thugs who are holding him on suspension on a cooked-up case of child abust that the sheriff threw out.

Never underestimate the effectiveness of being a pain in the ass. You don't have to be rational. You just have to be unrelenting. It doesn't matter if you don't make sense. Just keep talking.

I was proud of Thomas for standing down that administrator who wants to "get rid" of him. That the administrators as a group think they have the right and the power to get rid of teachers for personal snits tells how indecent the ethics are of the school board and administration.

I have a new printer and computer but the computer will be tied up with the Geek Squad at Best Buy for a couple of days for data transfer. I am not dead, although many's the thug in ROSSAC's bunker who wishes I were. So when I get my computer back, I will be back writing comment again.

homas, you did great in fighting your fight against that pompous administrator, but you should have given that administrator's name. We want to out them by name for trying to intimidate teachers. I named all three administrators involved in Steve Kemp's torture. Now everybody knows them for ratfinks. We can have have an administrator RATFINK list and send it around. ldd