Saturday, January 15, 2022

Woolley Bully



Woolly bully
Woolly bully
Woolly bully
Woolly bully
Woolly bully
Watch it now, watch it, here he comes

You got it, you got it

~Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs

-------------------------------------------------

Principal Nicholas Woolley:

On Thursday, January 13, 2022 you/your school (St. Theresa's Catholic Secondary School) were contacted by ********* City School District on behalf of my daughter, ****** ****, for a copy of her school record.

Upon information and belief, you refused to comply with that request, claiming that she had no rights to the record.

On Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 12:06 pm I contacted you requesting that you provide ********** City School District with a copy of my daughter's (****** ****) school record.

You refused to comply with that request, and verbally stated that the grounds for your refusal was that I had no rights.

I asked at that time, before the termination of the call, that since ******* was over the age of 16 and had been emancipated under Canadian guidelines, she had the rights to her school records.

You stated that you would look into that question "when you had time" but made no effort to secure a phone number or email to respond to that request for information.

After the end of the phone call it took me all of two minutes to locate the MFIPPA (https://www.ipc.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/guide-to-privacy-access-in-ont-schools.pdf) which you should be fully acquainted with as a school administrator.

Under the provisions of the MFIPPA:
DO STUDENTS AND THEIR PARENTS HAVE A RIGHT TO ACCESS STUDENTS’ RECORDS? Yes. Students and their parents have a right to access the student’s personal information from their schools and school boards. This right is provided for in both MFIPPA and the Education Act. These two pieces of legislation operate independently, have different rights and responsibilities, and may also lead to different results.

HOW DOES A CHILD’S AGE AFFECT THE PARENT’S RIGHT OF ACCESS TO PERSONAL INFORMATION? Until a child turns 18, their parents or guardians have a right under the Education Act to examine the child’s OSR, without the child’s consent. Where a student of 16 or 17 has withdrawn from parental control, this right would likely not apply.

I once again called you on January 13, 2022 at 12:13 pm to refer you to the MFIPPA, and to remind you that under its provisions ****** was entitled to the records without consent of her parents.

You once again responded that you would "look into it", and made no effort to give a time frame or ask for return contact information.

As you had been informed that ****** was attempting to register for school in *********, **, United States, and would know from her school record that she was over the age of 16, the wishes of her father and stepmother (Kenneth A and Mary S Shaw) would no longer come into play.

As an educator myself, I find it reprehensible that you would knowingly and willfully interfere with any student's attempt to continue with their education, and question whether or not you truly belong in the educational field.

Yet your refusal to provide ****** and ********* City School District with her school record demonstrated just that negative attribute.

Your recalcitrance is not preventing her from attending school, it is merely preventing her from being appropriately enrolled in the courses which would result in the best educational outcome for ****** at the earliest possible time.

This is abhorrent behavior for any educator, especially one holding a position as an educational leader such as a building principal.

I am requesting that you immediately provide a copy of [my child's] student record to ********* City School District/********* High School so that she might be correctly enrolled in a course of study towards her diploma.

The contact information for Central Registration is: 
[Not relevant to the privacy of the post]

The contact information for ********* High School is:
[Not relevant to the privacy of the post]

Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

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Sunday, January 2, 2022

(7)30 Days on Congressional Wage

 In 2005, Morgan Spurlock produced an episode of his 30 Day Series titled "30 Days on Minimum Wage".

The premise was fairly simple - he and his girlfriend had to try to live for thirty days on minimum wage in a place that represented the "average" demographic for the United States. 

They were unable to resort to their bank accounts or credit cards for assistance and ended up in debt at the end of the thirty days.

Although this experiment was a failure in one respect (they were unable to eke out an existence without landing further in debt), it was a success in another respect (it proved that minimum wage was not subsistence level).

However, even more to the point, it provides an interesting basis for something that should be an essential part of reform in our country - our elected officials and their spending habits.

Did you realize that the yearly wage for most (not all) Congressmen and Senators is $174,000?

Not only that, they have approximately 72% of their health insurance paid for by the government, as well as a good portion of their retirement.

They live in a prosperity bubble that most of us only dream about, yet they somehow continue to milk the system for even more perks.

Many of the most prominent politicians come under scrutiny on a regular basis because they manage to increase their net worth while living a lifestyle comparable to celebrities.

Maybe it is time to rein in the riches and refocus our elected officials on the best interests of their constituents, not themselves.

Let's institute some simple rules for our elected officials:

1) You can maintain your current home in your district, but you must rely solely on your Congressional wage to make the payments/utilities for that residence, unless you have a spouse/partner who is allowed to contribute a percentage of those expenses not to exceed their percentage of total household income.

2) You must use your Congressional wage to purchase all groceries and entertainment expenses, both at home and in DC. (Again, a spouse/partner may contribute a percentage of those expenses not to exceed their percentage of total household income while at home, but none in DC. Your spouse/partner was not elected to the office.)

3) As it is necessary to travel to DC and stay there to perform your job, residences will be established with common dining areas, lounges, and exercise facilities - the rooms will be single occupancy with individual bathrooms. If you want anything beyond this, you must be able to afford it with your Congressional wage and no contribution from any outside source.

4) Your travel to and from DC by plane, as needed, will be reimbursed at the cost for economy travel with no "add ons" (upgraded seats, checked bags, exit rows, etc) on airlines that allow one free carry on bag. If you already have a frequent flier account prior to election that allows perks at no taxpayer expense, you may use that. If driving, you will be reimbursed at the standard mileage allowance posted by the IRS. You will not be provided a vehicle at taxpayer expense, and the costs of your personal vehicle and insurance are your responsibility. (The IRS allowance covers reasonable expenses related to personal vehicles.)

5) Your job is representing the American People and your personal constituents. This requires reading and studying all legislation which has been presented. This aspect can be done either at "home" or in DC, but does not include attending any events outside of Congress sponsored by any agency, individual, or corporation.

6) Your job does require attending all sessions of Congress, as well as all meetings of committees to which you have been appointed - this is what you are being paid for. Short of a family emergency or state of emergency in your district, you will not be absent from any of these.

7) You are not being paid to attend parties, galas, or any other functions. Should you choose to do so, you must pay all associated costs (tickets, food/drink, clothing, transportation, preparation) from your Congressional wage with no donations, gifts, or loans from any individual or group.

8) At any time any of your constituents can demand an accounting of all your Congressional expenses and verification of how those were paid, receipt of documentation to be completed within 10 business days.

9) All gifts received during your tenure as a Congressman need to be declared and surrendered to the U.S. GAO (Government Accounting Office) which will then sell or auction the gift and post the proceeds towards reducing the Federal deficit.

10) Your vacations will not be paid for by the taxpayers who elected you (travel expenses, accommodations, meals, entertainment, etc) and you are not to accept gifts of vacations or travel and accommodations from any other individual or group (see rule 9 above). Your vacations will only be taken during recess from Congressional sessions and not be considered an acceptable absence from attendance in Congress or your committee meetings (see rule 6 above). Financing must be done on your Congressional salary, with your spouse/partner able to contribute a percentage of the expenses not to exceed their percentage of household income.

These are all reasonable expectations for our elected officials, which might help start restoring the US Citizenry to faith in their elected officials.

If these rules seem "unfair" or "unreasonable", consider them from the perspective of any job held by a non-elected official who is considered "working class"(not the elites).

It is time to stop complaining about abuses by our elected "representatives" and to start holding them accountable.

These ten rules would be a good start.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Shattered Glass, Shattering Illusions

 

Just as you proceed with caution when you are cleaning up actual broken glass, so should you be when presented with a situation that has been lauded as "shattering glass".

Unfortunately, too many people have jumped on the bandwagon of (wrongfully) assuming that the results of this election heralded in a new era in what is possible for women to achieve.

As a parent of daughters, I realize that there have been two sets of standards in many realms of life for women, and it has been an uphill journey to gain ground and strive for equality.

But the 2020 election was NOT a new era for women in goals that can be achieved, but rather a cautionary tale which instead should be a "How Not To..." guide.

Those who are celebrating it as a victory for new heights to which women can aspire are either sadly mistaken, or they are deliberately deceiving themselves and others.

To truly break down barriers (whether they be based on gender, race, religion, or any one of a million characteristics by which we identify ourselves or differentiate from others) means that a role model should at least be above egregious misconduct.

Unfortunately, what we have in office now is not that type of individual, for several reasons.

First, we should not have someone who changes their identity like a pair of shoes - wearing whatever matches the occasion. 

Although originally billing herself as the child of an "Indian born mother" and a "Jamaican born father", this so-called exemplar has morphed herself into a Black woman in order to secure that minority vote. 

The Asian Pacific Island Coalition even ran a commercial shortly after the election claiming her as one of their own, which was apparently short-lived on the airwaves.

If you have ever spent time around Jamaicans, they describe themselves as from the Islands, not as African Americans, so her self-rebranding was disingenuous at best.

The second issue is her failure to practice justice when dealing with the law, an ominous foreshadowing of what could happen in the future.

One notable example is her 2010 position on truancy in California - she even found it laughable and joked publically about imprisoning parents who ran afoul of her policy.

As an educator of 31 years, there are many reasons why students become truant, and it occurs at a  disproportiantely high rate among those socio-economic groups who would most benefit from mercy instead of malicious prosecution.

Another significant case, highlighting her history as a prosecutor, is that of Jamal Trulove.

Rather than being the exception, the rule for her career in California appears to have been one of wrongful convictions and insistence on maintaining incarceration for exonerated individuals.

Her legal career has been characterized by her willful disregard for true justice when it interferes with advancing her political career, but it is somehow no different than changing her identity like a toxic chameleon.

As if these issues weren't enough, they are amplified by the moral turpitude exemplified by her affair with Willie Brown. 

It isn't the de jure adultery with a higher ranking politician, as that doesn't violate the "community standards" that have become commonplace (read complacent) in today's society (after all, he had allegedly been separated from his wife for at least a decade).

The dilemma is that this adultery was the basis for securing appointments to well-compensated political positions, and later used to leverage other political ambitions after the affair had ended.

So with regret, I cannot uphold this election as an example of shattering a glass ceiling any more than I would praise Jeffrey Dahmer as an innovative cook.

Moral bankruptcy is simply that, and not something to be praised or celebrated.

Instead, we should seek out and lift up those women, and all those individuals, who persist and persevere against all odds.

The true role models are the single parents who work full-time while pursuing an education; the immigrants who marshal all their resources to secure legal citizenship and provide a better future for themselves and their families; the everyday individuals who do not compromise their principles for fame and glory, but rather do what is right even when nobody is looking.

This is the parting glass that I lift up to you tonight!




Thursday, September 3, 2020

Biden's "Back Up" Plan /s

With the imminent passage of SB145, the Dem Presidential candidate is already planning out a new home-based business.

The provision allowing for an age difference exemption from the sexual offender registry in California should spark a demand for fake IDs.

"C'mon man! why wouldn't people want to be younger with these kind of benefits?" he was heard to say in response to the news. "Ten years? If I could have a fourteen year old girlfriend at twenty-four, I'd hit that!

NYS AG Tish James appeared to endorse the business plan, saying "If I could get away with being four years younger for decades, why wouldn't someone be able to pass for long enough to fool the police?"

It appears that other politicians were in line with the program, even going so far as to start prepping for photo shoots for their new ID.

"With a good wash and blow out, and the right neck scarf, I could shave half a century off
my age!" one of Biden's supporters was heard to say on a hot mike. "After all, the public doesn't even realize I had cosmetic work done while I was quarantined!"


We all know it is a good idea to have a backup plan, if something goes wrong. But this is truly genius!

Most of the fake ID businesses focus on making teens older to sidestep drinking laws. 

Biden's proposal turns the whole industry on it's head - making people seem credibly younger (also to avoid laws).

Although one of his primary funding sources has encountered "difficulties", he expects that other angel investors will quickly line up. Some well known individuals have already
expressed delight at the concept of this business.

"Why didn't they have this when I was in college?" one of them was heard to say. "I might never have married, and we all know how bad that choice was!"

Meanwhile, the marketing department has been making phone calls to Greece in order to get a commitment from their choice of celebrity spokesperson.

Should that individual fall through, they have a long A list of potential endorsements, and expect an announcement any day now.

Sen. Weiner was heard to say, "I approve of this business message!"

Sarchasm Alert: This "article" is meant as a parody of current events, and if you are under the impression that it is "fact", you are probably voting for any of the politicians mentioned above.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Chump Change - Working for an Essential Employer!

The alarm goes off, you go to work, often getting shortchanged on your breaks and mealtimes, then clock out at the end of your shift.

You head home to manage your own family and household, then get up the next day and do it all again.

Dolly Parton summed it up best in her anthem to the workforce, "9 to 5".

This year, the inconceivable happened to many hourly employees who worked for "essential businesses" - the job that was helping pay the bills became one that was also a potential health risk to themselves and their families.

 To add insult to injury, their friends and neighbors who worked for business that closed down not only got unemployment, they "earned" the equivalent of a $15/hour 40-hour work week "pay" on top of it.

But these dedicated individuals continued to work, often no longer being allowed overtime, and frequently being subjected to testing for COVID19. (For those of you who don't know, it is an invasive process up the nostril with pressure and friction applied.)

These non-salaried employees are paid AFTER they have put in the hours, and based on the actual time that they worked.

So can you even comprehend when payday rolls around, and you have less than half of what you are due in your check? Or when you check your bank account and there was no deposit?

Such was the situation this morning for the employees of a healthcare system.


This is a screenshot from a July 30, 2020 article about Samaritan Medical Center/Samaritan Health Systems located in Upstate NY.

Yet this morning's paychecks were anything but "normal", and these employees were unilaterally shortchanged.

Samaritan issued a letter to employees on Tuesday, August 4, explaining that they were going to make some adjustments to pay, with "new" employees having 25% of their check withheld for "taxes" and the remaining employees receiving a paycheck the same as their prior one.

Let's ignore the fact that 25% is an amount in excess of what is normally withheld on minimum/low pay employees for taxes, and arbitrary figure.

Those "pre-existing" employees were finally allocated overtime hours at the conclusion of their prior paycheck, and many of them took advantage of the situation after moths of reduced hours, and so were entitled to far more pay than the prior check would indicate. 

For many of these individuals, the amount they received was far less than 50% of the amount due them for hours they already worked.

These are frontline, essential employees in healthcare.

These are the men and women who have put their lives in harm's way on a daily, no wait, hourly , basis to help protect, care for, and heal our most vulnerable.

These are the people who worked at nursing home facilities in a state where the governor saw fit to deliberately send COVID19 individuals.

These are the individuals who did NOT receive a $600 a week bonus from the government to stay at home and do nothing.

These are the hardworking people who have NOT received any type of bonus or compensation from their employer.

And these are the people who just were given a virtual flipping the bird salute for their dedication by Samaritan Medical System.

Apparently, this same organization was able to pay $2 MILLION dollars ransom to malware perpetrators who hacked their system and held it for ransom, apparently claiming that the FBI directed them to do so.

This healthcare organization is beginning a systematic replacement of their computers, at a final cost in excess of $2 million.



And yet they can't provide their employees fair, timely, and equitable compensation for time and hours that were already worked.

Essential employees have been front and center throughout this entire crisis, often taking verbal abuse from others, as well as being underpaid, and now unpaid, for their dedication to their professions and employers.

Is it too much to expect an employer to do the right thing??

***************
Update:

Apparently this employer has been forcing employees to sign letters stating that they will accept the "adjusted" pay for as long as necessary.

Statements from the administration about how long it will take involve estimates of up to eight months.

How are they forcing the employees to sign?

They (through their representatives) are telling the employees that if they don't sign the letter, they will not receive their back pay!

So, how legal is it to refuse to pay employees for time worked?

This is beginning to sound a lot like harassment and extortion to me.

Class action lawsuit anyone?

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Can You Hear Me Now? I'm Claiming MY Time!

Hearing

It is an interesting word, hearing

Maybe a refresher on its two primary definitions is in order, not for you readers, but for those who supposedly are our elected representatives.

From Oxford English Dictionary, hearing is a noun and means:
1) The faculty of perceiving sounds; and
2) An opportunity to state one's case.

If you have spent any time reading my blog, you already know that I have the conviction that words matter, that the pen is mightier than the sword.

In light of two major "hearings" this past week, I felt the need to claim my time, and defend some of our basic principles which are falling by the wayside.

Both of the dictionary definitions of "hearing" were not only disregarded during the two Congressional Hearings that were held this week, they were completely negated.

Apparently many people wrongfully assumed that the second definition would be in play when the House of Representatives had people in the "hot seat".

After all, when you are being questioned, don't you have an intrinsic right to "state your case"?

Not in the eyes of the members of Congress on the Judiciary Committee, as it soon became apparent.

Although each of the interrogators was adamant about "claiming" and "reclaiming" their two minutes, none of the individuals called to testify was afforded even a minimum of wait time to process the question, much less to respond.

***************

For clarification, "wait time" is an integral part of the question/answer process.

After asking a question, both the questioner and the respondent should wait from 5 to 15 seconds in order for a full comprehension of the question and formulation of the response.
****************

Not only were the respondents involved in these "hearings" deprived of the time to even provide anything other than a "yes/no" response (despite many of the questions posed requiring far more or a different format), many of the interrogators were asking complex, multi-part questions, each piece meriting its own wait time.

And that is a good segue into the first definition of "hearing" - the faculty of perceiving sounds.

The definition of perceive inherently involves understanding and awareness, something that was clearly lacking in these Congressional Hearings.

Our elected representatives demonstrated that the only thing they understood and were aware of was continuing with their rehearsed speeches (couched as questions) and were intent on continuing forward with their personal agendas, rather than actually listening to anyone other than themself.

Considering that many members of the Judiciary Committee are attorneys, and allegedly experts in the law, they rendered the entire process into a burlesque show.

Had they been in a courtroom when any of these activities had occurred, they would have been demanding a mistrial.

Now that they are in a position to advance their own personal program, they no longer care about the niceties of appropriate behavior.

It is time for these public farces to end!

It is time for our elected representatives to stop acting like self-centered, squabbling adolescents!

It is time for our government to focus on solving our country's problems, not on political power wars!

It is time for our leaders to be held accountable for their decisions and actions!

It is time for our government and its officials to stop wasting taxpayer money and resources on their personal advancement!

It is time for true justice to return to our nation!

This is how I am claiming MY time!

How will you claim yours?

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Beyond the Edge of the Blackboard


Boundaries. It's all about setting boundaries.

Unless you are suddenly thrust into a novel situation where there are no rules, no precedents, just guidelines hurriedly put in place over a few hours, a day, a weekend.

And the struggle is real. 

Teachers used to be able to show up at the school door, enter their classroom, get a lunch break (30 min, which for a professional with a college degree is far below the industry standard), leave school at the end of the day, and put the classroom behind them until the next day of work.

Contrary to the belief of many elementary students (and middle school, and high school, and even parents), teachers don't climb into their closet at the end of the day and turn off like a robot only to reactivate the next morning.

But the transition to online education in the wake of school closings has been anything but smooth, for students AND for teachers.

What used to be the sporadic casual encounters between parents/students and teachers, in grocery stores and public places outside of school, has now morphed into something pervasive.

Most teachers are in the profession because they care about people and helping others learn. They arrive at school early and work late, they work on weekends and holidays, and forego their lunch breaks as needed. They go un/underpaid to coach sports and advise clubs and activities.

And that is their choice.

But now they are waking up and responding to texts and emails before or during their breakfast, long before the "start" of the school day. They are doing the same during lunch, and dinner, and instead of relaxing in the evening and watching their favorite movie or show.

This is who they are by nature.

But the emails and texts and phone calls continue long past the school day, and well into holidays and weekends.

These compassionate, selfless teachers who used to be able to manage their job as well as their own children (whose education they now need to supervise), pets, and household are suddenly on call 24/7.

Last time I checked, being "on call" only applied to doctors (who are paid considerably more than teachers).

Now there is a growing vocal minority screaming to "defund" the schools, because "if schools don't reopen, then teachers don't need to be paid".

Seriously? If they don't need to be paid, then stop calling and texting and emailing, and complaining if you don't get an immediate response.

Dust off your own skills and sit down at the kitchen table with your children and teach them yourself. 

Make sure you get copies of all the state tests that your children are expected to pass so that you can bring them up to standards as the teachers are expected to do (most states require that homeschooled children pass state tests).

Not interested? Well then stop the nonsense and realize that we are in unprecedented times.

Pretend that we are back in a time (less than a year ago) when teachers weren't available at your text and call (and email and ping on MS Meetings or Zoom).

Request an appointment within the "school day" or soon after to discuss your concerns.

But most of all, realize that reopening schools may be necessary so that our society doesn't bleed out teachers who are rapidly burning out.

All the student educational issues aside, there are serious mental/emotional health ramifications occurring for teachers that need to be addressed.

Help them set boundaries by setting them for yourself.

And when schools reopen, those teachers that don't feel comfortable returning to work can be reassigned to providing the online education for those students whose parents keep them on remote instruction.

If "it takes a village to raise a child", prove that we aren't living in a village of opportunistic, self-centered, ego-driven adults who will sacrifice others for their own benefit.

Give teachers the respect for their dedication that you are now realizing they deserve.