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A NYC Teacher Blogger Fell, 1 Year Ago Today

May 5, 2021 pm31 4:54 pm

Eric “Chaz” Chasanoff was one of the best-known New York City teacher bloggers. He was an exceptional advocate for teachers, and a opponent of arbitrary and unfair policies.

Eric wrote regularly for well over a decade. He started in 2006. And he didn’t stop, until COVID stopped him.

During the pandemic he was writing every two or three days. On April 26 he wrote about reducing administrative costs, and not school budgets. And then… Silence. On May 2 I wrote to him. He was already sick, and did not respond. I didn’t know. I wrote to other bloggers, to his UFT borough office. And then we learned.

Eric was a weatherman – on TV – before he was a teacher. He became an earth science teacher. Earth Science Eric. Read here as James Eterno, his UFT Chapter Leader at Jamaica HS, talks about Eric.

Eric wrote about teacher issues. He wrote about teacher financial issues – pension, TDA. He wrote about problem schools, and problem administrators. He wrote about good work the UFT did, and he wrote about serious problems with the UFT.

Eric was independent, and fiercely so. He belonged to no caucus. Every election he endorsed people from each caucus, including some from Unity. I am proud that each time I ran, he endorsed me.

Eric was not a leftist, as some critics of the UFT leadership are. His views tended to be a bit left of center, but they varied, issue to issue. In the last presidential election he lived through, he did not vote for Donald Trump or for Hillary Clinton. I believe, had he lived, he would not have voted in 2020 for Trump or for Biden.

Eric’s most consistent “politics” were those of fairness. He advocated for fair treatment, again and again, for teachers who the system abused. The system abused Eric, too. Read here as NYC Educator Arthur Goldstein stands up for Eric against twisted charges (this is from 2012).

After that, the NYCDoE put Eric, a highly qualified teacher, in excess. They made him what is often called an “ATR” -forcing him to wander from school to school. But for Eric, that gave him more experience to write about, and more people being victimized by bad administrators or by the system to support.

And that’s what he did. He taught. He advocated. He wrote. He wrote after he retired. And he wrote until one week before his death.

He was missed, immediately. Many bloggers wrote of his passing. I did. Twice. Eric’s memorial page on the “UFT Honors” site is full of tribute.

I will close this post with what I shared on that page:

Eric wrote on his blog Chaz’s School Daze almost two thousand times. Most of his readers, and he had many, did not know his name. He was not writing for recognition, or promotion. He wrote because he cared deeply. He cared about students and schools. He cared about teachers, especially about teachers. And most of all, Eric cared deeply about right and wrong.

I was trying to think of one example that really stood out. And I looked at Eric’s early writings, about politics and teaching and the value of experience – but the one that caught my eye – in his first month on-line – was about a girl’s basketball game. One team’s coach had run up the score badly on a weaker opponent, 137 – 24. Eric, who had coached, was horrified:

  • * Don’t run up the score on an inferior opponent.
  • * Keep your best players out once it is a blowout.
  • * Never embarrass another team.
  • * Show class and be a role model for your players.

It was that same sense of right and wrong that motivated his defense of teachers. And it is that sense of class, and that dedication to fairness that I will remember.

Rest in peace

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mike madden permalink
    May 7, 2021 am31 8:50 am 8:50 am

    Chaz created an amazing educational web site which still is the main hub for NYC teachers to explore and get information regarding our livelihoods and the city that is in charge of them

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