Wednesday, January 05, 2022


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 arrived. She said, "I just got emails from ten more of my students who tested positive. They said, Miss, take care of yourself. If you can, stay home. Meanwhile, the mayor and chancellor are saying school is the safest place to be. They can both go to hell."

I certainly understand how she feels. Mayor Eric Adams parades around damning Bill de Blasio with passive-aggressive barbs, suggeting things are different because he has "swagger." When I hit Google with that word, the first definition I see is "walk or behave in a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive way." That jibes with what I thought it was. Now I don't know about you, but I don't trust people who act like that. 

Of course, I didn't trust ex-Republican Eric Adams from the moment I learned he took suitcases of cash from Eva Moskowitz's BFFs. I have no expectation he will support us or our students. This was reinforced by his abject failure to establish and enforce a vibrant testing program, and I go into chapter and verse on that right here. He's up there with his swagger, saying we are absolutely going to keep the schools open. I have news for Eric Adams. Bill de Blasio had that very same swagger, saying that very same thing, right up to the point he no longer could. 

And if you think that swagger statement means Eric Adams has some sort of common touch or something, you have another thing coming:

I'm not sure just how out of touch a mayor has to be to disrespect working people like that, but that's who our mayor is today. I guess my students working at Dunkin Donuts aren't qualified to sit in a corner office. I guess I'm not either. I've been a teacher for 37 years, and I've never had an office I didn't share with others.

In my school, yesterday, the magic number was 300. (Today it was 450 and counting, as of early this AM.) There were 300 staff and students we knew of who carried the virus. There were 300 who actually bothered to get tested and were recorded as having the virus. If there are ten more in my colleague's class, and that is average, there are 2400 more today in my building. But Eric Adams says schools are the safest place to be, so there you are.

The new chancellor, David "Soaring High" Banks, introduced himself with a turgid, stilted, cloying and manifestly insincere letter that drove me back to parodying it. (I haven't written chancellor parodies since Carranza.The last chancellor, Meisha Porter, while I didn't agree with her all the time, was fairly direct and to the point, IMHO.) Banks clearly has not a clue nor a care what is actually going on. He briefly acknowledges the crisis, but says nothing about addressing it in any adequate fashion. 

In fact, I don't advocate for school closure. I advocate for sufficient testing to keep everyone safe. While NYC has made self-testing more available, and while it no longer makes you do a frigging boogaloo through the Situation Room to be considered positive, it still doesn't test everyone, and it still makes people opt in rather that out of testing. That, in fact, is beyond swagger. That's an act of self-serving fraud, and both Adams and Banks are complicit.

I want to see my students every day. I want to come in and do my job. I cannot stand remote instruction. I honestly wish Adams would do all in his power to preclude it. This notwithstanding, I'm sick to death of the New York Post and various and sundry demagogues publicly suggesting than those of us concerned for our safety and that of our students must hate kids. That's ridiculous.

The kids are the very best thing about this job, and those of us who choose to stay with them face to face, as opposed to, say, David Banks, know that firsthand. It's gratifying that the kids are the ones concerned with my colleague's safety. It's criminal that Banks, despite his purple prose, and Adams, despite his "swagger," clearly could not care less.

In fact Adams, boasting of swagger while belittling working people and supporting outlandishly ineffective programs, reminds me of no one more than Donald Trump. We could do a whole lot better than that in New York City.

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