Tuesday, May 05, 2020
The Passing Of Chaz 1951-2020 Age 69
I am the son of Chaz and like to inform you that he passed away this afternoon from the COVID virus. My father passed in peace beside his loved ones. We are hoping to have a memorial service for him once we are able to, but for now we are going to have a small private family funeral. Thank you all for reading his blog, following him all these years, and the support you gave him. Thank you.
I'd like to express my deepest sympathies to Eric's family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Eric and I go back many years. He was a longtime Earth Science Teacher at Jamaica High School. Not only was he a successful teacher, Eric was also a strong union activist. He stood up for what he believed in.
We served together for a number of years on Jamaica High School's School Leadership Team. Eric was a supporter of empowering the students and the parents. On the issue of school safety, he was able to help us establish school policies that ensured a safe building while still maintaining student rights. When it came to standing up for teachers, Eric was a staunch defender of the ability of the classroom teacher to have real autonomy in his/her classroom.
That robust defense of teachers sometimes put him in the crosshairs of the Principal who charged him unfairly. Eric was the first teacher to win a probable cause hearing. He defended himself and other falsely accused teachers brilliantly while waiting for his 3020-a hearing to take place. At that time, he became a Queens Liaison with the UFT. When his hearing came around, it was my pleasure to go and testify on his behalf. I was able to tell the arbitrator how after Eric was pulled from Jamaica, the Earth Science Regents scores plummeted drastically. Our friend Francine Kaalund also testified about Eric's abilities in the classroom. He moved on after he won his hearing but we stayed in touch right up through the first part of 2020.
I encouraged him with his blog and he kept pushing me to keep this one going. We would sometimes run ideas passed each other on the phone. One idea was to have a real meeting of Absent Teacher Reserves where we could listen and talk to each other as regular teachers. We wouldn't talk down to ATRs as the UFT is often accused of doing. Eric ran that forum in Manhattan; I mostly sat and watched. The workshop he led for ATR's was nothing like an official UFT ATR meeting. Eric ran it like a good Chapter Meeting. It was really interactive. He never once told an ATR that they were lucky to have a job.
Both the Jamaica High School family and the blogger community have suffered a big loss with Eric's passing. Rest in peace Eric.