Friday, December 21, 2007

7 things about Me because its all about ME!!!

I have been tagged by 17 really 15 years because you truly don't know enough about me and need to know 7 more things, which is a okay because I love to talk about me. So much so that my husband bought me a shirt that states "Its all about me" The funny thing is and you will see in the 7 things all about me, that it is not all about me after all, Maybe its just in my head.

The rules are as follows:Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.- Tag 7 random (or not) people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I am not going to tag anyone because I think I was the last one to be tagged boo hoo always the last. Wow even before coffee the sarcasm is glowing.

Ready, I know you are

1. I was taught in a supply closet back in the 70's at P.S. 13 in Elmhurst. I was more interested at looking at the books on the shelf then actually paying attention to the lesson. It was a pull out for reading, I needed math. I was in the class for some time before I complained to my mother who had me taken out of it. Oooh I was an activist back then too.

2. I am an artist, or at least I like to think so. I have my own art in frames and used to have an online catalog.

3. I am a big vegetable eater and like 17 more years mostly organic. Organic milk, eggs etc are a staple in my house.

4. I lived in Philadelphia for a while, my oldest son was born down the block from Independence Hall, the weekend of the 200th Anniversary of the signing of Constitution.

5. I am an early riser. I love to get up early listen to the bird chirps and not hear anything else but the birds.

6. I love the feel of your feet in the sand, and if I could live on the beach it would be Fire Island.

7. I home schooled my youngest child and taught him how to read before he entered kindergarten. All because he is a December baby and I wanted him to have a leg up.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My 7 year old the comedian

Today was wee ones First Reconciliation. His first crack at confession. At seven he truly has not committed any sins that I am aware of tee hee. We are sitting in church him all in his dress clothes, and me. The other sons had to work and so did the husband because I am stoopid as I pronounced it to them and mixed up the dates. I thought it was Sunday and made them all take off tomorrow, and if it wasn't for the fact that I was speaking to another parent yesterday I would have went at one o'clock tomorrow and would have been all alone.
So we are sitting in the pew and my son is playing with his tie, he tied it up in one big knot to which I laughed because he was proud of himself and me I thought it was the funniest thing I saw.
Then he is doing his prayers but he is all over the pew. He is newly 7 just a few weeks into it so he still can not sit still.
Now it is time to confess all your transgressions and the ushers are calling up a few children at a time. My son (unlike me because I would never say anything) is saying wow so and so is taking so long that is because he is so bad. I told him listen buddy you are far from an angel so just wait your turn. Then he said did you see how fast he was? That is because he is just so good.
Then he is getting impatient and saying hey when is it going to be my turn. I told him to be quiet and wait he had his whole life to confess to sins. So now he is truly impatient and says to me, I swear he did. Pull my finger. I said shhh be quiet. He said come on pull my finger. I said would you behave already. He said louder now come on pull my finger you know you want to. So to quiet him down I pulled his finger where he let out the loudest play fart that the people in front of me turned around looked at us and started laughing. To which I apologized and said what he has a 2o year old brother. At that point the usher ran up to us and said his name and asked him if he would like to confess to Monsignor. To which I said oohhh you're in trouble you have the big cheese. To which the people in front of me turned around again and looked at me but with the face geez do you need to encourage him. I said for goodness sakes lighten up he is 7 not a big sinner......yet.

No Power to the People and the Press

My mother always said about me is I let things linger in my head and then I attack. I was called Pit Bull by a good friend for how I can hold on to something and not let go. It can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing depending on if you are with me or against me.
I was also told I march to my own drummer and ironically so was my youngest son by his teacher this year. I rather march to my own drum than be a sheep baaaaaaaaaa. Which brings me to the whole point of this post.
Jim Liebman said at the District 26 CDEC meeting that the DOE does not control the press, they wish they did but alas they don't.
So if the DOE does not control the press, how come there are always a spin on the true stories of what is happening in the educational system in New York City?
Advocates have called for small class size, with backup of studies that it works. My son was a study he had the chance of a small class size for one year when it was proven that his first grade class of 36 were at a disadvantage and by the end of the year 1/3 of the class could not read. It had nothing to do with the teacher. It had everything to do with the class size. Which the DOE always touts wouldn't you rather have a qualified teacher than a small class size. Well........... we DID have a qualified teacher. In fact when my younger guy was in the first grade I so much wanted her to be his teacher only because I respect her and know what a fantastic educator she is. Not to say that the teacher he has was not in the same league because she is, she just has a different approach.
So everytime there is a discussion on smaller class size that has to be outlined by the administration but has yet to be done. Something about not enough significant data (liar liar pants on fire), there is an article in a newspaper about how small class size does not work.
You know I would like to see what would happen if that $30,000 a year you pay to send your child to Horace Mann would play if the class size was 36.
The DOE constantly does whatever the hell they want and they don't do it legally. Well in their heads it is legal but there is a protocol to follow and they don't follow it. Why well lets see. They took the power away from the Districts. They gave us back the districts but our Superintendent's are not in the districts where they belong. They are in other districts overseeing what is going on there. Huh? What the hell is that all about. Oh I know it takes the power away from us and gives it to the Mayor, and the Chancellor. Policies are put through without any input from CDEC's. They just push through the Policy and if a CDEC asks questions the answers are well that is just the way it is. And then another Press Spin is given. I guess to shut up the powerless parents. Now the SLT's have been the new target. Each and every time it is questioned and an article is written in a newspaper the very next day there is another article from a friend of the Mayor or a flunky at the DOE stating that is not true and we are doing blank and blank and blank and it is working with some overpriced PowerPoint Presentation to hammer in the facts. A DOE fact is not an actual fact it is a DOE fact. Confused good because that is the point.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Jim Liebman runs for his life

Jim Liebman ran from a group of parents who wanted to speak with him. He must have had a good reason for running. Probably scared he would learn something. His only job is to spin his web of deceit in behalf of the DOE, not to listen to the concerns of parents. It is not like we know what we are talking about anyway after all we are not educators. Oh wait either is he. To run away from parents who only wanted to hand him signatures from a petition (from Time out From Testing no less) on the further testing of our children is reprehensible. To blame it on a colleague that you thought who would be taking the signatures for you is cowardly. They were signatures not a subpoena. Running away from parents who sat for hours and listened to you speak is a disgrace. A few weeks ago I heard you say that you do listen to parents concerns. Is that while you are running away?
Parents are being ignored by this administration and yesterday's demonstration by Liebman just proves it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A new reason for cell phones for our children

AT& T has announced today that they will be getting out of the payphone business. The announced that they will be phasing out payphones by the end of next year.

The reason is that more and more people whether rich or poor have access to cell phones and the pay phone business is no longer lucrative.

So now our children really will have no way to contact us without the use of a cellphone. Not that it matters to Bloomberg and Klein.

By the way Joel can you put your blackberry down for a moment and read this.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Liebman spreads the joy

Last night was District 26's turn to get the Power Point Presentation of the explanation of the School Grade from Joe Liebman and staff. I must say that the Power Point Presentation was a bunch of crap. It was another attempt to show us the powerless parents just how well the DOE is facing accountability in schools without taking into effect how a school is run. The more they talked the more I sat there knowing that they had absolutely no clue on what it takes to be an educator, a Principal or a student. Nothing not one word was said on how a school could improve but said that the data shows that there is a need for improvement. They did not say they would give a school money to improve, decrease class size to improve but they did say you would get credit for taking in children that need improvement. ie: special ed. student, ELL Students etc. So lets get this right. The only way we can improve is if we take in students that are low in proficiency and then improve them and then our scores can go up. But with that won't come money for giving them the services they need.
Every time a question was asked Liebman or one of his staff would run to the lap top to show us a graph or a chart on how improvement has been shown. You know we did not want to see an presentation we wanted answers that were not given.
The point was mentioned that during Quality Reviews Principals hand pick who is on the panel and that a true voice of the schools are not represented and Liebman said that was not true that Quality Reviewers asked other parents questions whether it be on the subway ride over or in the halls. Oh sure I believe that. Remind me the next time there is a Quality Review at my school that I hold a sign on the subway and ask are you coming to do a Quality Review at my school please ask me a question.
At one point when Santi as he wanted to be called presented his part of the presentation he said something about the fact that if there are 20 children in your class. Now let me see 20 children in your class. Is he speaking about a Public School? I mean a Public School in New York city or does he believe that in District 26 we are damn elite that we only have 20 children per class. Last I checked there were 30 in my sons class and the high school well lets not go there.
Lastly I want to give a big hand to the two Principals who were in attendance last night. Bravo ladies you did a wonderful job explaining to the Liebman staff just how out of the loop they are.

Almost forgot the NAEP scores were brought up also and shown to be stagnant and of course Liebman said that was not true and that we can't believe everything we read in the press since they don't control what the press says. Liebman gave the ole party line on how well African-American and Hispanic Students fared. I guess they don't read the same stats that we do.

disclaimer: I have not double checked the spelling or grammatical errors and I am still in shock over the non answers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bloomberg and cell phones

The one and only reason that Mike Bloomberg and Joel Klein are against cell phones in schools is because Joel can not keep his damn hands and eyes off of his Blackberry at every single moment of the day. I guess they figure if Joel is so damn addicted to his, children would be too.

Small Class size in the news again

Last night NY1 did a story about class-size reduction, ironically right after Joel Klein spewed his take on how everything is working just fine and dandy.
Now I don't want to say that the plan to reduce class size is not valid, because I have been a cheerleader for this proposal about the same time the CFE lawsuit began. What I want to say is being in this "game" for years and having been through the large classes with my children, all I hear is the same rhetoric and nothing being done about it.
Robert Jackson said "lets tell the mother with a child sitting in a class size off 33 she has to wait 4 more years for reduced class size", well Mr. Jackson I was told the same thing over 10 years ago. Hmm wonder if they meant dog years. I was told the plan would come into full effect in 4 years and that money would be funneled down from Albany to make the plan come into fruition. It did in a kind a sorta of way, the plan is that K would have a class size no larger than 20 but we all know that there are kindergarten classes much larger than that..
I want to know when we are going to stop hearing 4 more years and start seeing results. Real results not team teaching, a para in the room but a true ratio of 1-20. Our children don't have 4 more years to wait.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What I am grateful for this Thanksgiving

I am thankful that the Mayor took over the school system and made Joel Klein chancellor. Without them we would not have the smallest class size in the nation. Our children would not have scored the highest in the nation on the NAEP. Our valuable senior teachers would not have the fantastic support they have been receiving and being there they are doing a wonderful job mentoring our new teachers. The ones that would have run to the hills a long time ago without the guiding hand of the senior teachers.
I am grateful that the Mayor has decided that Parents do understand the undertaking of how a school building has run by being on CEC's, and SLT's and that they have been listening to our concerns, without having to bribe our children to attain the impossible. I am grateful for all the new schools campuses that have been built and not on toxic sites since they have decided that it is just not worth the risk to our children.
I am so ever grateful that the Mayor overturned the cellphone ban knowing how important it is for parents to be able to contact their children after school. Last and not least I am grateful that the Mayor found out that teaching to the test does not work.

Friday, November 16, 2007

All Lies

It is amazing (not really though) how the DOE can spin crappy national scores on the NAEP's into a great thing. I was going to comment on the scores yesterday but I was waiting on the DOE spin misters to get to their spin before I did comment.
The tests show that there has been no significant change in NYC since 2002 (ironically before Bloomberg took control) , none but according to the DOE spin we did much better according to the DOE site and the press release we made impressive gains. Impressive to whom?
Not to me, but then I learned how to read between the DOE spin lines years ago.

“These national test results confirm that our reforms have helped raise performance to an historically high level,” Chancellor Klein said

Don't pat yourself to hard on the back now Joel. I am sure your so called reforms will be changed again tomorrow when someone whispers in your ear that achievement is really at an all low and you can no longer lie about the results.

By the way Joel the deadline for giving the class size data has passed on November 15th. Supposedly you say that you don't have accurate detailed information and cannot verify the information from the schools.
What are you waiting for and why is it the DOE can get away with holding that information at the expense of our children.

Would that be because you don't want the State to know that with all your talk about reducing class size is another big lie.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quote of the Day

“More money and smaller class sizes alone aren't the answer to improving schools, Chris Cerf, New York City Department of Education deputy chancellor, told Delaware educators, policy makers and business leaders Friday. Rather, bold reforms that challenge the current education system are required to make the kind of drastic improvements needed, he said. "We're trapped in a comfortable cycle of incrementalism," Cerf said, later issuing the challenge, "Think about the possibility of change. Be courageous. ... Be willing to take the heat. You have to be unapologetic."

Chris can you please tell me when those bold reforms are going to take place. In the 6 years the Mayor has been in charge all I have seen are plans made and then changed and then made and then minds changed again. There has not been one bold reform and no one but the teachers have been courageous, okay the students too. You should be apologetic to all those who had faith in your Edison Schools we all remember how well that went.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Dynamic Duo Strike again

In the attempt of trying to understand "Why our children isn't learning", the Dynamic Duo have decided that the only way to engage students is to dangle a fat carrot. or cell phone and some money at them. A cell phone that they can't bring to school but I am sure in their minds it makes perfect sense.
They say that our children are not engaged and had a "focus" (or unfocused group as I call them),to find out just how we can engage our students. Make them more test worthy maybe. How much money did that cost? Maybe if the Dynamic Duo would listen to us in the trenches they would already know how to engage our students. But then after all, what do we know, we are not businessmen we do not know what it is like in the "real" world. So I have some advice (yes once again) for Kleinberg, stop spending money on focus groups, run by millionaires that have no clue what a Public Education is about, on school report cards, what a total waste of money that turned out to be. Not one parent I spoke to are giving any credence to the grades. Stop giving our children more high stake tests and telling them pass them or else you won't get your big fat pay check, and stop wasting money on tracking our students cough $80 million ARIS cough.
Start spending money on small class size, building more schools, hiring more teachers and retaining the ones that we already have, Because any idiot can do that but YOU.

Yoohoo Its me

Okay so wee one is back at school and middle one got a pass on the one Ivy League school. But yahoo the Marines want him. He is going to pass on that offer too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

An Update

My wee one is sick, he has a virus on top of another ailment so it has been pretty hairy around here.
My middle one because of his size is being recruited for some heavy duty colleges for football scholarships. He can attend the big Ivy Leagues if they give him a full ride.
Meanwhile I am still trying to process how my elementary school with standardized test grades of 100% above grade level garnered a B rating. Not that I am to concerned because it is all Bullshit anyway just a way for the Dynamic Duo to show they care. They care all right, only about themselves.
We gave your school a B so they can improve. Improve on what? If we children are getting high 4's what do you want from us to garner the all elusive A. If this is not an attempt to get us to teach to the test I don't know what is.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Police State

When did it become acceptable to treat our students like prisoners. When they walk through a school police walk the halls with them? When an announcement is made during the day that for now on they will subject to search and may be scanned and all "non essential" paraphernalia will be confiscated. Non essential meaning cell phones, I-Pods, electronics.
One day I would like someone to walk up the the Dynamic Duo point to them and say hey I think you are carrying a cell phone, a blackberry, and a half a brain, slam them into a wall, make them do the stance and pat them down. Take away their dignity for a day, and a day, and another day.
It is a place for education not intimidation. But then again intimidation is what these two chuckle heads do best. To our teachers (ATR, crappy raise, merit pay), to our students (police in the schools, toxic schools, high stake tests) to our Parents (sit down an shut up).
By the way Principals do you know you have the right to tell the police to get the hell out of your school, well you do, why don't you start exercising it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Staph infections and the schools

Last night I had a conversation with my middle guy about his schools bathrooms. He has always complained that at bigovercrowdedhighschool that his bathrooms were gross. That everyone knew that it was better to just hold it in, or feign sickness to get in the nurses bathroom. His words not mine. He knows I have an aversion to public toilets since a few bad incidents, and he told me that the schools bathrooms are even worse then what I have told him I have seen in a public facility.
So now there is a staph infection running rampant from state to state and so far we are only hearing about them in schools. Why?
I know why, schools are not being cleaned in the manner that they were once before.
Children are told to wash their hands but with imanginary soap, no soap but plenty of high stake testing.
Last year custodians were cut in schools, it seems Alavarez and Marshal said they were to costly to keep and who cares if the schools and the bathrooms are clean. Children and teachers don't need to use the facilities how can there be any teaching for the test happen if everyone took a potty break.
Do I have to now by antiseptic cleaners and soap for the school my child attends? I am already providing them with paper towels and other non essential teaching tools.Our system is sooooooooooooo screwed up but unfortunately the Mayor and his minion or is it the Chancellor and his minion are unaware.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Testing Forum

Last night District 26's CEC held a forum about Testing in NYC Schools. It was heavily attended by teachers. I just wish more parents were able to come but as I found out from speaking to some parents there seemed to be other school functions that were also taking place at the same time.
I have been looking forward to this forum since I am anti high stake tests. They really dumb down the curriculum. I mean come on the only reason Science is now being taught around the city is so children can pass the science test at the end of the year. The curriculum that was purchased, books are by the very same company that writes the test. Can you say cha ching?
I just want to touch on the fact of Randi Weingarten's part of the forum. She did not talk about any negative parts of testing, in fact she did not speak about testing at all. She did say she was against merit pay and would never allow it.
Ummm Randi merit pay, performance based pay what the hell is the difference.
I don't think that Randi did not have one important thing to contribute. But what the hell that is just my opinion, oh wait no it is not and now I know what a lot of people like Norm Scott, and NYEducator et al have been screaming about. Higher aspirations I can see it in her eyes

Jane Hirschmann is my new hero, my role model so to speak on a list of many. I would love to see a District by District join her group Time out From Testing and ban together and boycott all these high stake testing. To say no to all the emphasis that has been placed on our schools, our children, or teachers. To get back to the basis of education. A real education not a teach to the test.

And not to dismiss Bob Tobias he also gave a meaningful dialogue but I must put this in print.
Frank Padavan has vowed he will look into the possibility of limiting the high stakes testing by imposing limits on state funds to NYC. I say we hound him and write him and ask him not make is a possibility but a reality. Testing has got to go.

Teachers and Parents alike last night spoke how much testing has taken away from education. We know it, to bad the Dynamic Duo keep ignoring us.
But then again money talks........

Saturday, October 20, 2007

RAh! Rah! Merit Pay!

After dissent for years over Merit pay Randi finally caved and allowed the Mayor to institute merit pay. Wahoo merit pay, I can see all the teachers clamouring to go to the worst schools for an extra 3 grand. There is a stampede right now down at Bigovercrowdedsmashthemin HighSchool. I thought we did not teach to the test., but what if not is this new merit pay scheme saying?
All I can think is this: the Mayor is not trying to help the system but playing a very elaborate game of three card monty. Move experienced teacher from a school that is already getting high scores, lure a carrot (or merit pay) in front of the nose of said teacher and then experienced teacher moves to low performing school. Hire a new teacher with no skills but them in high performing school and let them just wing it. With no mentors because Principals have no money in the budget to keep experienced teachers.
Why is Randi in collusion with Kleinberg?
For 10 long years, all I have heard (that is after two schools sued for smaller class size) is that the Union is Pro Small Class Size. I believe that the UNION MEMBERS are pro small class size but Randi with higher aspirations could give a rats ass. Excuse the poor grammer, and the insult to the rat.
I have said it again and again, and I don't need to see study results because my children were the guinea pigs for small class size, IT WORKS!!!
Kleinberg knows it works since their lovely children are much better than NYC Public School children and were afforded that luxury.
Lets get to Merit Pay for Students. Isn't that the same scheme?
I watched the news the night it was announced with my College Junior, he loved the interview with the student who said " I love the idea since I come from a low-income family". He shook his head and said who the hell fed him that line.
So guess what Mayor Bloomberg, we just don't buy your crap.
What is going to happen when you leave office, and your "friends" decide they don't want to finance your schemes anymore?
When Joel is out of a job, when Mayoral controls is abolished, when our experienced teachers retire?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Parent Leaders

Tonight is a reception for Parent Leaders at Gracie Mansion. Apparently I am a Parent Leader in good standing since I garnered an invitation. I guess the Mayor does not read this blog. I am not attending, I was going to attend and I did RSVP, idle curiosity had me intrigued. I was wondering who these so called Parent Leaders were. I heard some "real" Parent Leaders were not invited, they rightfully speak out against the Department of Education and have been trying to institute change, but they supposedly are not Parent Leaders in the Mayor's eyes. There should be a boycott of the event, but only a few won't show and the Mayor really won't care because he truly won't know why we are not showing. The only way it would work if not one Parent shows up and the Mayor is standing there all alone with his hat in his hand that would make him notice, but it won't happen because the Mayor knows that Parents are not organized and that in itself is the downfall of the Parents voice.
So what exactly is a Parent Leader? I know I am not one. I could have been one but I decided when I got pregnant with wee one that I was going to raise him, and I was disillusioned with fighting the Board of Education. That was what is was called then, before the change to the Department of Education to make us forget that the Board of Education sucked, oh wait so does the Department of Education. So since I have decided not to attend the little soiree at Gracie Mansion (being born across the street from it, I am still on the outside looking in) I have decided that I will attend wee one's PTA meeting where my voice is heard.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Its that time again

Time when the letters come home from the high school teachers telling you your child is in danger of failing on the upcoming report card. I guess so as to not shock you when you do see that report card. That is if your child shows you one. Believe me my child shows me his.
Anyway at the beginning the year when you purchase your gym uniform my sons school did not have his size. Remember he is 6'6" tall and wide, he wears a 2X.
Now if I could get him a uniform in say Modell's and just purchase a logo that says BigAssedOverCrowdedHighSchool I would, but noooooooooo that is not allowed.
So I asked him when it comes time for report cards am I going to be told that you were unprepared? He said no, the teacher knows I can't get a uniform. I said okay then, just reinforce that because the teacher is not going to remember.
At the beginning of the week I get a letter telling me that my child has been unprepared for gym 6 times, (two gyms classes). I ask my son, hey what the hell, what did I tell you? She said he did reinforce it. I highly doubt he did. I know my son, he is big but he is quiet. He most likely stood against the wall and did not say peep.
So I fired off a nice letter stating all the facts and I hope that we can come to some type of agreement, maybe like him going over to Pissed Off Teachers trailer and fix her thermostat, he is gifted that way.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The more you become involved

the more you get pissed off. I was at a dinner during the week with educators and parents. I said I would not become involved in a higher level again but well my inner voice was screaming to come out. So back to the topic I was at this dinner and I was listening to questions from parents and most of them had to do with this underlining theme. I can't get my Principal to give me an answer. We ask them questions but they just tell us that is the way it is, and no answer comes. So Klein decided that is would be all dandy to give Principals all the power, but he forgot one important thing. Principals are not the only people in the building. Principals do not teach the class, teachers do. Teachers know what is happening in the classrooms, Parents know what is specifically happening with their child. You just can not leave the two out of the equation with what is occurring with our children.
So the majority of Principals are now dictating policy and changing the dynamics of a classroom without really knowing what has been happening in the classroom.
During the dinner as I sat across from two teachers I asked them a few questions. I asked them how they felt about the new testing regiments? If they felt that they were being graded unfairly if the student does not show any marked improvement, and if I child in the class was already scoring a 4 how much more do they think that that said child could improve?
They said that yes, they did feel that it was unfair for the teacher to be graded, that their curriculum has not changed, but that the if the class is larger it is difficult to help the child that is falling behind to get their individual attention.
Wow back to that large class size.
It was mentioned that their is teaching to the test, and everyone shook their head yes, teachers and parents.
In five years time after this little experiment fails, I wonder what the new position in education will be?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

DOE has a new lice policy

The DOE has issued a new head lice policy. If your child has nits they are still allowed in school. So when a whole class is scratching their heads in unison does the teacher know it is because of a louse epidemic or are they wondering if the children are perplexed by the lesson.
What a lousy (no pun intended, okay yes it was) plan, but then again the DOE is all about lousy plans arent' they?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My niece

My 13 year old niece was assaulted at her Catholic School on Friday.
At recess, 2 girls threw her to the ground and kicked her in her stomach until other children pulled the girls off of her. There was a teacher on duty but apparrently she did not see anything. My niece did not report it because she was afraid, the girls told her that if she told anyone they would finish the job.
My niece went home and told her mother ( my sister in law) what happened.
My niece said she felt fine. Unfortunately my niece was not fine, as the night progressed she was in more and more pain. They brought her to the doctor.
She has 25 internal bruises, and is lucky that her spleen and liver were not damaged. The doctor's report states that my niece was assaulted.
My niece has been teased horribly since she has been in this school, it is her third year. My brother in law is Muslim.
My niece is terrified to go back to school. She already has had problems concentrating this year because of the harassment. She emailed the teacher and asked if the teacher can protect her because she is afraid. The teacher said she would talk to the girls. I think it is to late to just talk to the girls but that must just be the mother in me.

All Power to the Principals?

From the Queens Tribune

To The Editor:
As you are aware if you’ve been following the goings on at the Department of Education, there has recently been yet another reorganization. Remember when we were reorganized into Region 3? Now the regions are gone. Remember when we had a fully functioning District 26? That’s practically gone, replaced by a skeleton of its former self, with virtually no authority.
The new mantra is: All Power to the Principals! Yes, principals have been given unprecedented authority and are freed from the oversight and mentoring that used to be performed so ably by District 26 personnel. Later that oversight function was performed by Region 3. In return for this increased independence, if their school performs badly principals may be replaced, and if their school performs very badly the school can be closed. Do you think any District 26 principal will be fired for this reason? Do you think any District 26 school will be closed for this reason? I don’t think so. Moreover any such evaluation will take place only after three years. That’s half a child’s attendance years at an elementary school and all the years in a middle school.
Is this a good policy or a bad policy? Well, that may very well depend on your local principal. Let me describe one situation where it’s not working very well.
We like to think of all of our District 26 schools as great schools, but some have consistently performed at the highest possible level over a period of years. One such school has been called, “one of the best regarded schools in the city” by an independent school evaluation agency. It was for many years led by a principal who knew how to promote excellence and would settle for nothing less than top performance. The school consistently led the district and city in student performance and was even known to be a boon to its local real estate market as parents actively sought to purchase a house in its zone. It has the advantage of housing one of the district’s magnet/gifted programs and so should have been and was a top performer. The magnet kids seemed to inspire the school generally.
Soon after the first reorganization into regions, and fearsome of the changes about to be imposed, many local school administrators and principals chose to retire. Among them was the principal who had brought this school to the very top. Because of all the retirements experienced principals were in short supply and the replacement principal for his high profile school had relatively little experience in teaching, no experience in District 26, and no experience as a principal. She came to the school about two and a half years ago. I will describe only one thing she did that has left many parents wondering what is being done to their children.
Two years ago, before the new principal could have affect, the school’s fourth graders led the district and the city in their performance on the State math exam. In fact, they scored higher in average score than all but two schools in the entire state. The school was, as usual, at the top of its game. Common sense might have dictated that the new principal would have gone to her faculty and told them simply to continue their excellent work. But it was not to be.
Motivated, she said, by looking at some data showing a problem with the best students, the principal decided to change the math curriculum radically. There were two things wrong with this picture.
First, the principal is admittedly not well versed in data analysis. According to one of the school’s parents who is a well-published expert in data analysis, the principal got it wrong. There was no problem. There was only outstanding performance.
Second, the solution she imposed upon the school has turned out to be a disaster. The school, as a top performer, was exempt from the curriculum choices imposed upon most of the city schools, and the former principal continued with a traditional math text that had worked so well for the children. Entirely on her own, and with no notice even to the School Leadership Team, the new principal changed to the math curriculum specifically chosen for the benefit of the poorest performing schools in the city. It is a so-called “fuzzy” math curriculum that parents find foreign to their understanding of math. It compromises their ability to help their own children. It is a topsy-turvy world where the curriculum brought to the system for the benefit of the poorest performers has here been imposed on the highest achievers.
Well, the 2007 math test results are now out, the first since the curriculum was changed, and the results tell the sorry tale. The numbers are down dramatically. This school was outscored by six District 26 schools all of which continue to use traditional math books, and none of which has a magnet/gifted program. From scoring at the top of city schools, its average was outpaced by dozens of schools in the city and too many schools in the state to count. Moreover, although the principal said her concern was for the best students, it is they who have taken the biggest hit. The percentage of students achieving the highest level, four, was the lowest of all the years reported by the State Department of Education.
All power to the principals? Sure it’s a good thing? Did anyone ask the parents?
Melvyn Meer, Parent, Community Board 11,Community Board 11 Education Committee

Friday, September 28, 2007

School Leadership Teams

The Chancellor has revised the A655 regulations for School Leadership Teams. Why even bother having School Leadership Teams in a school?, lets just abolish them. Since that is what the new regulations mean.
The new regulations will make the S.L.T's another voiceless entity in our schools. Members (teachers and parents) will be able to speak about decision making policies, BUT Principals will now have the power to ignore what the other members have to say and do what they want as they see fit, no matter what the consequences may be.
The new regulations were supposed to be shared with Community Education Councils, but low and behold they were not.
The new regulations were posted during the summer when most people, parents and teachers alike, (hey maybe even the Dynamic Duo, Batman and Robin ummm I mean the Mayor and Chancellor).
CDEC's, President Councils, SLT's, PTA's, do not meet during the summer. It is a wonderful way to get a resolution passed "in the dark of the night."

Monday, September 24, 2007


At the beginning of the school year when my son showed me his new program, I asked him but hulk man why two gyms and no lunch? Go get lunch. He said Pissed Off Woman if I do that then my schedule will be screwed and I will get new teachers and I like my teachers. So I said okay hulk let it be, it is your last year anyway. He was also hoping that for once he would not be affected by equalization, but being that he is in a New York City high school, oh I am so tempted to write it the name that is, but to protect his privacy I won't. So last week he came home and told me I got equalized, I don't have to be at school until second period now. Even though he had to leave the house at 6:20 before he did every morning dutifully, which for him was a herculean task.
Well I was just reading Pissed Off (teacher) and turned to my husband and read this to him from her blog Abominations. As usual he shook his head, but my son piped up and said Pissed Off do know want to know why I was equalized? I said you know I do. He said he had 49 children in his math class, 49 sheesh. He said that his teacher has to take attendance off of two sheets. He loved his math teacher and now he has a different math teacher in a class of he is not sure because apparently some children are not aware they have been equalized and have not shown up yet.
I just want to ask this question of the Kleinberg administration, do you know how screwed up our schools are? Do you? When are you going to stop screwing around and start doing the right thing. Give our ATR teachers positions in a CLASSROOM already. Build new schools and not more multi-family dwellings.
If you build a multi-family dwelling and no school it compounds overcrowding in our schools. It is a no brainer even the non lawyer in me can figure that out.
The only thing you are doing is making our students abhor our schools making them turn off, not tune in. So know hulk man gets an extra hour of sleep in the morning but he is not crazy about it he rather leave the house an hour earlier to have the teachers he had at the beginning of the school year. Nice way to "engage the students". To bad you can't throw money at him, it might make it bearable.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Toxic Schools & Overcrowded Classes..oh my

Wow, so class size is down only 4,300 classes are overcrowded, hey lets celebrate. I bet the Mayor and the Chancellor congratulated each other with some champagne and cigars. Saying look at those suckers they will believe any web we spin and then hand us the Broad Prize. Aren't we just the greatest?

An overcrowded classroom is an overcrowded class room whether or not the numbers are down to4,300 hundred class rooms that number mean that there are still 4,300 classes packed to the rafters. Really what does that matter to Kleinberg? Not really since they truly don't understand the concept of small class size unless it is for one of their relatives. A person that does not send a child through the Public Education system does not understand what a Public Education consists of except that it is sucking up to much of the budget's monies.

Toxic Schools.

I have discussed this scenario before and knew then how well the toxins would be blown back into the school, and as long as this toxic loophole exists more schools will be built on toxic sites with no independent contractor testing the level of toxins in the building. Wouldn't be prudent now would it. To have someone actually enter the building with the premise of appeasing parent's concerns that the findings of the Information Technology High School (fitting name huh?) in Long Island City is safe for the population. We can't spend any extra money to do a test to make sure a building is not hazaradous to the people inside it. If I was a parent my child would be in a new school come tomorrow. Probably in that big overcrowded high school that could not fit just one more child in it. Oh wait yes it could we don't care about no stinkin' overcrowded classrooms.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Klein on Colbert

I watched Chancellor Klein on the Colbert report, the day after it aired and after it was all said and done, I just sat there and knew when Klein finished speaking that I was right all along. Things are never going to change. Why? Well because they just don't get it. Klein and Bloomberg just don't understand what it is to be a student, a teacher, a parent in the NYC Educational System. I always knew it but this just for me put the nail in the coffin. To see him say the words "engage the students" we must find a way to engage the students, and throwing money at them is the only way we can see doing it.
I guess that is how you and the Mayor might have made your children earn grades, but it not the way to engage the students.
I know how to do it. Lets put the children in trailers, trailers with no air conditioning in the warm months, and not heat in the cold months. Lets not let them have working toilets either while we are at it.
Lets pack them into classes of 60, since being stuck in classes of 36 is not working effectively.
Lets make sure our senior teachers are thrown out of the system all together, we need young teachers, unseasoned teachers, how about we just let the students teacher each other.
Lets make sure the schools are falling apart, and the paint is peeling off the walls.
Lets give our Principals ultimate control, let them make ALL the decisions, they don't need to listen to the staff, what do they know anyway?
Lets hire a Parent and call her the"Chief Mom", that will look like we care about parents and students.
Lets give them back districts but take the Superintendent's out of the district, and make sure that the staff is low so no one can answer the phones when those pesky parents have a question, and while we are at it lets also take secretary's out of the schools too. We can pay the students to answer the phones on their way to the bathroom. That is if they can find a working toilet, one with toilet paper and soap.
Lets also make the Union have a President that does not back up the teachers that they are supposed to protect. Let us fire all the ATR teachers, stop teachers from having a say on the SLT's, lets stick them all in a rubber room without any due process if they even dare to question any of our motives.
That is what you should do Joel and remember you have Mike Bloomberg on your side, boy are you lucky.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My middle guy

When you see this child, this hunking bulk of a child your first impression would be boy is he large. At the age of 16 (for a few more weeks) he is 6'6" and just as wide. You would also not know that underneath all of that hair and the bulk is a heart of gold. He was always large, he came out of me at 24 inches.
Wednesday after school he and his friends went to make a movie. They have been doing this for sometime now, and have put the movies on the Internet. I would share links but then you would see him and I don't want that.
After being out for a few hours, middle one called to say that they were in a park and their was a disoriented baby squirrel wandering around the the park, that his nose was all bloody and that he wanted my husband to come to the park and pick up the squirrel and take him to the vet. My husband tried to explain to my son that he needed to find a wildlife vet. But my middle one was adamant that the squirrel needed to be rescued. So off went my husband with an old fish tank, and some hay, and an old shoe box from wee one's sneakers, and went and picked up the squirrel. He put him in our garage with a light, some food and I swear if he had the time he would have sewn the baby squirrel a bed. On Thursday morning as I was leaving my house to go to work, in the garage was my middle guy looking in on the squirrel like a concerned daddy squirrel making sure that the squirrel was fine. He was talking to him as the squirrel was looking up at him. It warmed my heart. It made me see my little boy, the one as we were walking around the neighborhood would get upset if he saw a dead animal. He would stop and say a prayer. I used to tell my very Italian mother in law, and my grandmother that he was destined to be a Priest.
I forgot all about that part of my son until this squirrel incident.

I have a neighbor that rescues wildlife, so my husband asked her if she had the name of a vet that would take the squirrel, and of course she did. My husband left a message for her but also found that a local vet here also takes in wildlife, and off he went with the squirrel. Today my husband saw my neighbor and she said that yesterday she found a baby bird that fell out of its nest and she brought the baby bird to the vet that was nearby and when she got there, the baby squirrel was on the shoulder of the receptionist, and was doing well, but the vet said that the baby squirrel a girl, is having a hard time eating so he was going to bring her home and nurse her. I told my middle one and he is upset because he wanted to keep the squirrel as a pet and we told him no way, no how.
So this child who has been giving me a hard time choosing colleges, kept telling me he wanted to be an actor or a choreographer, yes that's right my children have my sarcastic, wry sense of humor, told me today that now he remembers that since he was little he wanted to be a vet, and this squirrel event made him remember. I am sure he will change his mind again.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Overriding the Cell Phone Ban

The City Council unanimously voted to override the Mayor and the Chancellor's ban on cell phones. It is about time. The ban on cell phones in this day in age is ridiculous at best. The Mayor says only parents want the children to have a cell phone in school. You know what Mayor Mike I wish for once you would think why we want our children to have cell phones with them.
How about you get off your high horse, or out of your limo and decide for a week to live like the little people. The voters.
Go try to make a phone call on a pay phone that is if you can find one. I am sure in Manhattan you can find a pay phone in the subway. Oh no you can't.
Go walk down any street in the outer borough's and try to find a pay phone in an emergency no less.
How about this scenario, nearby my sons high school there is a high level sexual predator. Why he gets to live so close to a school complex beats the hell out of me. But think about this, he sees some poor girl and he has his target on her, she now has to go run to try to find a pay phone and call someone to help her. I hope this situation never happens but it can.

Want another scenario?
Okay then here we go:
A year before September 11th, there was a fire in my children's middle school. The children evacuated and were assembled behind the school, it was around 10 in the morning. The children were told to just sit out there for the rest of the day until dismissal time, at that time not many children had cell phones but the ones that had a cell phone called their parents and the chain started and we went to pick up our children. The school did not notify us but our children did.

Cell phones are an important tool for communication between parents and their children period. Their should be absolutely NO DISCUSSION about this Mayor Mike.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Survey Results

Millions of dollars were spent on the survey to ask Teachers, Parents, and Students what they think of their school. Great theory in the mind, but as we all predicted the people who actually answered the surveys were low. Only 17% of parents on the High School level bothered to answer their survey. I wonder if like me they decided that the questions were to broad, or that Kleinberg were just doing this to say hey we care and lets us show you how, answer these questions and we help you, not answer these questions but we as parents, educators and students knew it was we will spin it in our favor and make it look like you love what we are doing.
Parents overwhelmingly say that class size is big issue in their minds, that they want lower class size. But once again Kleinberg do not understand this concept.
Once again they take aim and say that it is just the Union and a small group of parent's that want small class size. Sure, that is it only a small group of parents.
I am not sure about them, but maybe because it has been a issue near and dear to my heart for over 10 years, and I speak to parents, teachers and students, Joel do you know that group the students? They always say small classes would be wonderful, educational really.
But then our Chancellor rather fire seasoned teachers, all of them, instead of implement them into a classroom setting. The bottom line does not work here Mayor Mike. You can't nickel and dime and education.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The more things change.......the more they stay the same

The Mayor and the Chancellor of the largest school system in the nation want you to believe that all the changes they are making in our school system are doing wonders. That the new Children First, Fair Funding, hold harmless monies, new LSO's, PSO's, Empowerment schools,are all for the greater good. What the greater good is no one knows. Why? Well two days before school is to open, the rules are still changing. The bureaucracy has been made bigger, and if you thing that people were confused before well you have not seen anything yet folks. I thought that the whole thing about Mayoral control was to cut through the bureaucracy. Was it not? That the people who no one knew what they were doing over in Brooklyn would end.
To me it does not seem that way. New names were given to people in new positions that I believe were meant to make parents think that the DOE cares about you and your child. Accountability Office, Parent Engagement Office etc.
How about this new title Blow Smoke up Parent's butts?
New Superintendents are now going to be spending time overlooking 20 schools not in their own district. Why? To give pointers on how to succeed.
Why in the hell do they need to do that? Would the superintendent of that said district not know how to do that. Is that not why they were hired in the first place?

I say we start to lobby to end Mayoral control, because in my opinion the only thing that has happened since Mayoral control has taken effect is create a bigger mess and a weaker school system. But then again I guess that was the point after all. How else can we have more charters.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Problem with Charters

Charter Schools take up room in existing NYC schools. NYC schools are already overcrowded adding more students to it just does not do the trick, no matter what you think cough Joel cough Mayor Mike.
Take the case of yesterday's school that made the attention of the media because it was booted out of the school they overtook in a coup. What not a coup? To me when a school comes into another school uninvited because our leaders say that the way it is, it is a coup.
Now lets read between the lines from yesterday's Daily News article entitled,
Our School full, booted Brooklyn Charter told
lets start shall we?
"All though it was promised a school for 2 years, Although it was promised a home at Public School 158 in East New York, Brooklyn, for two years, the East New York Prep charter school was forced out over the summer and must move temporarily to PS 323 in Brownsville"

okay so it was promised a school, how about some raw space Joel
not a school already being used by students? So now you are going to inconvenience another school and make parent's scramble for alternative ways to get to yet another school. Anyway hear the small voice in their heads school bus scandal?

There are tensions between parents.
I can understand this. How would you like it if you child was in a school receiving an eduction and then all of a sudden you are told that 200 additional children would be brought into your school, but it would not be your school but a Charter, and with that your children could not use certain rooms because they are for the charter.
Its a classic example of dividing the classes so to speak.

My favorite part of the article is this:"While the charter's parents point out that PS 158 has been nearly 300 students below capacity for several years, the Education Department said the school saw an "unanticipated spike" of 60 students in its enrollment."

Now remember I used to be a PTA President, a former SLT member and I remember vividly when the BOE, before Klein, came into our school
to see if our elementary school was under capcity. They were looking to see where children can be sent since Queens needs more seats.
Our school was also found to be under capacity. Why? Well there was a bathroom or two and an attic space that was not being utilized as classroom and it was found that we too could add 300 more students.
We already were full, we had Pre-K in the building and Reading was taught in the auditorium but there was a closet somewhere we could teach a class or two.

So the under capacity theme has to be taken with a grain of salt. 60 more children can break your school if you don't have a place to put them. Oh I forget class size of 40 is acceptable.
If P.S 158 was not over capacity then why was the speech teacher, teaching in the bathroom? Because the principal was trying to boot out the Charter? I don't think so.

The DOE is playing a shell game with our children's future. While they want more Charters there is no room at the inn for them. Oops wrong story.
Joel and Mike please stop sacrificing the education of children and start to realize that ALL of our children matter.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It is not cheating when it is the DOE

There was a poll up at NY1 asking New Yorker's to rate Klein's performance as chancellor. I voted, did you? If you are a regular reader of this blog I am sure you know how I voted.
There are now allegations that the DOE has tried to rig the poll to get Klein's numbers up. Isn't that called Cheating? What example are you portraying to our children. It is all right to cheat when our bosses head is on the line. The man who is running your education system into the ground. The man who really only cares about privatizing the system. The man who says small class size does not matter for you, but only for the privileged few?
If this was a "real" job with "real" punishment there would be call for a reprimand, but since it is the DOE the only people here to be punished are the students and the teachers.

Link to the Article below:

Did The DOE Try To Rig A Poll For Klein?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Five years of Klein

Joel Klein marks his Fifth year as Chancellor of the largest school system in the country. Five years and what has changed? Nothing really.
We had district offices, then we had regions, now we are back to districts.
Parents and teachers are still calling for smaller class size. We can't have smaller class size because as Joel says, anyone can lower class size but we really need quality teachers.
Have we attracted those quality teachers yet Joel? We seem to attract fellows, but after a year they run away scared.
Now he thinks he has come up with a better solution 3 R's for 3, 4 and 5 year olds. Let me think about this. We can not attract quality teachers for our older children, but we will be able to teach the younger set to read, do math, and right, oops not correct it is write. Silly me.
Come on now Joel you truly seem to miss the point time and time again.
You constantly say that this has to be done in the high poverty areas, where private schools are not always the answer. Another point missed.
Or is it. Are you trying to make us read between the lines, are you saying the Public Schools can't work, because they are not Private Schools?, or are you trying to say Public Schools don't work, because they are not Charter Schools. Wait I know, I do, I do.
another one of your quotes might explain it
You can't make significant change . . . without there being a certain amount of resistance and pushback," he said. "There are lots of people who are not resistant [to change], but I simply didn't communicate effectively about what [the change] was. They didn't fully understand. They felt things were moving" and they weren't part of it.

Now I know things were moving and maybe I was not an immediate part of what you were trying to change, but my children are, and with them I in theory are part of that change.
You do talk the talk, but unfortunately your children are not the one's that walk to the walk. My oldest child now a Senior in High School. Is still crammed in a school with over 4,500 students.
All summer long, when I went to pick up wee one from camp, I heard stories about the middle school and how the Principal has run the school into the ground, and quality teachers have hemorrhaged out of the school in June. Now this concerns me greatly as the middle school years are the toughest. If teachers with seniority left, who is left to mentor the new ones.
Also this school has always had a problem attracting quality Math teachers. So I do not see a positive change here.
So as Joel and the media spin his fantastic 5 years as Chancellor, I say boo, because the people who know the true story, the teachers, the students and the parents are silenced and made to not able to report their disdain for the so called fantastic changes that are occuring. Joel give me a call when you can properly (without lies) outline the positive effects that you have occured since you have become in control of the system.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Daddy

Today marks the three year anniversary of my father's passing, he would have been 66 in 2 days.
I was his only daughter.

He had a lot of pet names for me.
He called me Pocahontas when I was in elementary school, because my hair was down to my waist and very unruly it had to be put back, he would brush my hair, put them in two braids and tell me to move along Pocahontas, and reminded me to keep my hair in those braids or I would be crying later from the knots. I was an ultimate tom boy and the hair would be down in a matter of hours.

When I was junior high age he called me his little CAP (catholic American princess), he said I knew what I wanted and I made sure I got it.

In high school he called me take me, bring me, buy me. I think you can figure that one out.

Funniest thing that happened: My father drove my brother home from work at the factory late at night. He pulled his van up to the house and right in front were two teenagers in a car kissing. My father said to my brother lets have fun with your sister and kept putting his brights on and off, until my brother who was hysterical, told him ummm dad that is not her.

I miss my 5:30am phone calls to him in his factory, when I knew he would be there all alone and I could tell him all about his grandchildren.
Tell him an off-color joke, and give him advice when warranted.

When his oldest Aunt, my grandmother's sister needed to be placed in a nursing home, he asked me to call my cousin Jerry and tell him what to do, because as he said I knew the system.

My father liked how I fought for my children, how I would not let the BOE walk all over them, he liked how I stood my ground and he always gave me moral support.
One day I was interviewed for a story on the news and he called me after it aired and said, hey pissed off, did you forget to comb your hair this morning. I was distracted by what you were saying by that nest on your head. I told him that maybe he needed to come over and brush it. He laughed at that.

So Dad, I am your daughter, I am just like you, loud, boisterous, and takes no prisoners. I know you are watching.

Friday, August 3, 2007

School Closures May Open Way For New Charters

The New York Sun has reported something that we have all been grumbling about for some time. The BOE ( I am no longer calling them the DOE, they are the BOE because it is politics as usual) has a plan to start closing schools and reopening them as charters. Is there anyone out there that did not know this was the plan? So they finally admitted it they are going to Privatize Education. I feel for our children that don't meet the mold of a Charter School, because if you believe for one New York minute that there is not a mold then you probably have your head in the sand. I can see it now, 5000 parents applying for 30 seats, the media at the event with the cameras showing anxious parents waiting to see if there child is awarded the prized spot and then the parents deflated. Oh what am I going to do now? It was my only chance.
Hey wake up your only chance is to get out there and ask why your school is not held up to higher standards. Why your child is receiving a substandard education. Why it is allowed in this day and age. Speak up people, drink another cup of coffee and wake up. The wave of the future are Charter Schools where teachers are asked to work extra hours with no extra pay. Where their rights are taken away, with no union protection. If the staff rotates on a regular basis then your child's education will suffer too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Summer

A few things I love about summer, not having to wake the children to get them off to school, no screaming about getting homework, and assignments done, and being out of the house on a continual basis.
A few weeks ago I went shopping to get my middle one off for his annual Florida trip with my sister in law. Everyone should have a sister in law that takes one of sometimes two of your children off to Florida for two weeks.
I am in line to pay for my purchases for middle one and the bill came out to an astronomical number (you purchase clothes for a boy who is 6'5" tall and the same around and see how much it costs) and 32 cents. So I hand the boy, (I call him a boy because he was the most 20), the money and he inputs the amount in the cash register while I was looking for the 32 cents, I hand it to him and he says to late. I said excuse me?, he says, to late I already entered the amount. I said okay, that is nice but look at the receipt I am giving you the 32 cents and you hand me back an additional dollar He said no it is to late, and I say apparently so.

Friday, July 20, 2007

You can put lipstick on the pig but after all.....

it is still just a pig.
A few days ago I read Norm's report of the PEP meeting which I wanted to attend but being that I am a working woman, umm a working mom, wait still does not sound good, okay I have a job, in Queens getting to the meeting on time was not happening for me.
I read it then looked at the video of Joel playing with his blackberry, way to pay attention Joel.
But when Joel told Norm that he just does not get it, I wish I was there. Maybe I don't get it, being educated in the Public System I might be a wee daft. Just kidding I am not daft, a little nutty maybe but not daft.
But this is what I want to say. The Board of Education was changed to the Department of Education, they got rid of 110 Livingston Street and moved to Tweed Courthouse (enough said a place known for corruption), is still the same bloated bureaucracy.
They got rid of School Boards, and started CEC's, the got rid of the districts made regions, went back to districts.
They decided to give the Principals autonomy of their schools and created a new plan called Children First, then there is the Contract for Excellence and the budget and the Held Harmless monies. For goodness sakes that is a lot of bull to remember. A way to confuse maybe, so maybe I don't get it, because there is a lot of bureaucracy to get through.
Then there is the new small class size initiative the one where the state mandated that has to be implemented in 5 years. It is never going to happen, Kleinberg does not want it. If they did want it they would start working on it.
Not some half baked plan that they have come up with, Norm has outlined the plan here.
If anyone does not get it, it is Kleinberg, the non educators, the people who had children in fancy private schools. Stop telling us the people who are in the system that we don't get it and ask us how we think it should be changed, maybe you will learn something.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The DOE Announces new Small Class Size!!

Yes, we can finally get excited, the DOE has announced that they will reduce class size!. I have only been waiting since my 16 year old was in the second grade to for this to finally come to fruition. Then I woke up from my dream state, and found out that yes indeed, Mrs. Pissed Off, the DOE has once again blown smoke up my ample arse. By now I am sure you all know the facts that the Class Size will be reduced by 1/3 of a child.
Which I guess is good for me, because I have 3 children and well 1/3 of my children will get a small class. What, I am wrong, not savy with the math, it is not if you have 3 children, oh I see, it is if we slice the children. No not that either, well then.............
Read here to see what Leonie Haimson has reported and don't forget to check to see when the Town Hall in your borough occurs so you can boo down this proposal. You can boo it down, but it is not like the DOE will listen. You know what they will listen too? Do you, do you? No, well I will tell you. A BIG GIGANTIC RALLY. That is right folks a rally, I have been calling for one since the aborted May 9th Rally. The one that was cancelled because we supposedly got what we wanted. I am not sure I know what it was that we got, but we got it. Oh I know what we got, a swift kick in the head.
The DOE constantly kicks us, puts teachers in the rubber room without being charged, now they have our High School students in a Prison with guards. No not a Prison, but with Police Officers that will arrest them for farting.
The play with the numbers to make sure things look favorable for them. Like did you know, were you aware, because I am now that the ratio from teacher to child in the High Schools are 25:1. Wow isn't that great, the ratio has been reduced. Maybe Pissed Off (teacher) or NYC Educator can tell me how happy they are to find out that they will have 25 students per class. Oh wait it is another smoke and mirror by the DOE. They averaged how many students are in the school and how many teachers are in the facility and came up with that outstanding number, so NY State schools pale in comparison. L O S E R S.
So I say, no I chant. Rally, Rally, Rally, protest outside the Town Hall meetings with big signs before the Chancellor and his minions arrive, have your talking points ready, and hopefully you can get your point across in a millisecond.
I am planning on a tag team of questions with myself and my hubby, and maybe my incoming Senior to his High School. Who by the way abhors his high school, something about it being overcrowded and it is hard to walk down the halls, his friends echo the same sentiment.
Which a quick observation, last year I ran into a girl that middle one went to elementary school with. I asked her what high school she attended and she told me that it was the same one middle one attended. I said have you ever seen middle one? She replied, if we are not in the same classes we never see each other the halls are to crowded. Wow but the ratio is 25:1.

Also make sure you read Norm at EdNotes, he also has an interesting take on this, and he also believes we need a rally.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Once again BloomKlein show they just don't get it

Why is it that a Jolanta Rohloff still be allowed to apply to be a Principal in any school in NYC after a track record of not allowing students to have text books (they might lose them). Is allowed to verbally harass special ed students until they cry. Yes that must have made her feel like a very big woman. Played favorites with staff, and brought a school to being closed. Is it because she is part of your elite Leadership Academy? Can you just chalk her up to a big mistake on your part and just blacklist her.
If it can be done to teachers who are stuck in the rubber room with out due cause, why is a leader allowed to just be moved into another school WITHOUT letting those in C-30 committee be given any background on said person?
Why was Ms. Rohloff given a performance bonus of $15,000 after closing a school?
The C-30 Committee of the East Harlem's Manhattan Center for Science and Math found out about Ms. Rohloff's background they were besides themselves. They said they felt hoodwinked by the DOE. That they were not given any background on the candidates. The story hit the newspapers, but so did other stories about Ms. Rohloff. To which two of the candidates where taken off the ballot, one found another job and another one did not pass the reference check.
So Miss Rohloff is no longer interested in the position. I wonder why? Would it be because the parents and the teachers and the students do not want someone who is unstable running the education system of their school? I know I would not want her in charge of any school I send my child to.
So what do the Powers behind our schools do? They give Ms. Rohloff her very own school at a salary of $130,000 a year.

In her new $130,000 a year job, Rohloff will be developing a new high school that she will run when it opens in 2008 a job specially created for her, said schools spokeswoman Melody Meyer. (these words were taken out of the Daily News article dated 6-4-2007).

It will open in 2008 because they are hoping that everyone forgets who Ms. Rohloff is and maybe some staff will go there, no wait they are waiting for teachers who are from another country who do not know our education system to apply yeah that's it.

As I am typing this I told my husband what I am writing about and he just shook his head. Shook his head that Ms. Rohloff is still allowed to be in charge of a building. Remember we have been around the block once or twice.

Makes me just want to abandon the Public Education system before it is to late for another one of my children.

I said makes me want to not that I am going to. I still have a big mouth and I know how to use it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Coming Soon to a school near you....

with a full big thumbs up from the union Green Dot, a charter school that has met nothing but criticism from Los Angeles where they have originated from.
Why would the Union be in favor of a charter school coming in and take up space in an already established over crowded school? I thought the union was pro teacher. How can that be if they would allow teachers to have to take on an extra burden of teaching in a large class. Especially in a High School. NYC Educator and Norm at EdNotes have been blogging about this issue for some time now and it does not seem favorable for our students to be placed in a Green Dot school. BUT our Mayor does not seem to care what happens to teachers, time and time again he proves that he just does not have a firm grasp on the realities of Charter Schools and that they really do not bode well for our students.
An ever increasingly large overturn of staff, who are not valued at the schools, but why should they it is just a business after all.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

NYC After School Blues

Hey Mayor Mike, I have a proposal for you. How about you ask your friends to help out after school programs that are being cut, instead of giving money for high test scores, give money for after school programs. It is a no-brainer really.
140,000 New York City kids enrolled in publicly funded after-school programs will be left with nowhere to go once the final bell rings this year, thanks to funding cuts from the federal government and poor timing by the State Education Department. (information from the Queens Tribune)
There are many benefits for after school programs that help children through mentoring, enrichment, and mainly keep them off the streets.
My children attended a school with a TASC program and loved it, they wanted to attend every day. It is a shame that we need to pay for test incentives, but the programs that will help them score high on the tests are being eliminated.
Now I know you have nothing to do with the federal government cutting the funds, but you do have an opportunity to help the children to keep programs that they enjoy. Think about it.

Toxic School Loophole

I just don't get how our elected officials think it is safe to build a school or lease space on a toxic site. The Queens Tribune is reporting that their is a loophole that can be amended to stop leasing buildings on toxic sites. That would be great now would it not? It seems though if we are to lease space it does not fall under the same guide lines as building a school. Which means that who cares if the children and the staff are in a toxic site, it really has nothing to do with learning now does it? We only care about scores on high stake tests, and don't tell me it does not matter because know we are going to pay for students to score well.
So it seemed that this little loophole was going to be closed forever but it is being stalled in Albany by Senator Frank Padavan (my senator, who is going to be getting a nice phone call and letter from me). He reneged on his prior commitment to the bill. Why Frank, why? Would you want your daughter to teach in a school on a toxic site? I know I would not want my children attending school on such a site. But how are we to know, will that information be disclosed. What is it going to take? High cancer rates in that facility?
Here is Frank Padavan's information
email him, call him, write him, fax him just do something
Frank Padavan
Albany Office Room 416, State Capitol Albany, NY 12247Phone: (518) 455-3381Fax: (518) 455-2008
District Office89-39 Gettysburg Street Bellerose, NY, NY 11426Phone: (718) 343-0255Fax: (718) 343-0354
District Office150-26 14th Avenue Whitestone, NY, NY 11357Phone: (718) 746-2550Fax: (718) 746-2171

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Money for school children........

The more I read the conditions of this plan, the more irate I get.
The Mayor misses the point of education entirely. It is what you can get out of your education that matters, not the MONEY you can get out of education that matters. This plan is a insult. The words constantly bandied around is for the poorest families. The quote I have heard from a Principal is my children need incentives. Isn't a good grade in itself an incentive?
Their families can't afford good things. What do you think is a good thing? A plasma television? How about we fix the schools? How about we give them an exemplar education without financial incentives. How about we teach them fine literature, in a small class size.
How about we give them small class size, and keep your cockamamie money for grades payola scam out of the schools and fix them, and build them, give us more seats in the capital plan. Not on a toxic waste site either.
Lets your friends dig deep into their pockets and give money to the schools directly, I understand that their are some trailers in need of repair and air conditioning, and working toilets.
How about your friends help us to make NYC schools what they were the best in the country, the schools that attracted the best teachers who clamoured to teach. Principals who fought to teach in a school, not a system that when a Principal leaves and only 4 apply for the job.
Oh that is right Mayor Mike I am asking for it to be the way it used to be.
So go slam me now. I am not going to sit down and shut up. Not until you open up your eyes and see that you are misguided, and since you won't see it, then you are going to have to contend with me and the other parents who know you just are missing the point.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bus Scandal horror

Last week a fourth grader was hit by a commuter bus while crossing the street to catch his city bus. Not his school bus that he was thrown off of courtesy of Alarez & Marsal but a full fledged city bus. He is doing better today, and does not remember the accident.
Who did not know that this was coming? Come on raise your hands. Bueller, Buller? Okay no one, I thought so.
You know it is against the law for a parent to leave a 4th grader alone at home while you go out, but it is all right for them to ride the city bus alone. I don't think so.


The Mayor has decided that financial incentives are needed for our children to perform well in school. Money talks, or so the saying goes.
It will be a pilot program, paid for by private funds. Oh goodie so the money does not come out of the budget.
Also mentioned in the news was a nice little story about the Uniondale School district and someone altering test scores, we see how this is going to go, don't we?
What I find appalling about this whole situation is not only does the Mayor think children need a financial subsidy to perform well, but so do parents.
Money to attend a Parent Teacher conference. As it is now I am given 3 minutes to speak to the teacher during the conferences what will happen if all the parents decided to show for how much time will I get 30 seconds?
Money to get my child a library card. He has a library card because he loves to read, not because I gave him money to go get one. That misses the point entirely.
Money if your child graduates high school, the talking head said, that parents need to know how important it is to graduate high school. You think? (shaking head)
I have two older children that I never bribed to get good grades. Call me a cheapskate, stick and stones. I believe that good grades should be earned, and that you should work to get them for you, not by what money you can get out of it.
Once again this administration is way off the point on education but why am I not surprised.

Friday, June 15, 2007

NYS Regent Exams are they a valid barometer

I was thinking what was the validity of the NYS Regents Exams. I remember taking them and stressing that I needed to pass so I can pass the course. It was pumped into our head all year. Now pay attention Miss waiting to be pissed off, this will be on the regent exam. Cue in the scary movie music.
Middle One is in the midst of the English Regent, day two. He He day two sounds like some cheesy movie. Now I remember when I was in High School I stressed that their might be some Shakespeare questions on the regent and that I never did read Shakespeare in any of my classes that right before the test I read a lot of crib notes on Shakespeare, while I boned up on Authors etc.
I asked Middle One how he felt about the English exam when he got home yesterday. His answer "It was just another test", I said " Well, what is tomorrow's part? He said, "essays, There are more essays"
So it made me wonder, are the Regents exam an exit test?
Will the scores be waved in our face as a look the Regent Exam scores are up?What a wonderful job Joel is doing, Mayor Mike is the best more Mayoral control. ( ewww gonna hurl my coffee)
Anyway right before I wrote this I read this at Pissed Off (teacher) seems we must be sisters after all, we are starting to think alike

Thursday, June 14, 2007


At our last PTA meeting our Principal asked the PTA for some money to fund a program. This has always been the way in our school and I know in other schools in the "Elite" District it has been the same way. We are fortunate that we have a large PTA coffer. As I have been thinking about it, I wonder about other schools that are not as fortunate and are going to need things also.
Our PTA has funded new text books, an essential is a text book for the curriculum. Kind of how the new Science Curriculum is not really a curriculum but a set of text books. Supplies for teachers (another essential), and an art & music program. The arts are very important in a child's creativity.
With the new budget I see how much (not a lot really) money our school is getting and what already needs to be cut from our daily operations in the building, and I wonder if we are going to do without how are other schools going to fair in the same situation.
Once I gave up my voice saying that I fought and nothing was changed and here we are all these years later , I have another child on his way up in this system, I have decided that it can't be a losing battle that their has to be some hope in this system and by golly I am going to try to find it.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Money for good test scores

Wow would that be called a bribe.
I bribed my child for diner to his favorite restaurant if he would just clean his sty umm I mean bedroom, I am still waiting.
Oops I digress, must be that ADD, so it seems Mayor Mike would like to pay children that achieve high test scores on the assessments $ 25-40 if you are in an Empowerment School. Is that the meaning of empowerment?
If "These assessments are solely tools for teaching and learning. There are no stakes attached to the results for schools, principals, teachers or students. " then would paying the student to achieve a high score not be a HIGH STAKE!
Now this administration wants assessments given up to 5 times a year.
I remember taking ONE "citywide" test a year, oops forgive me two
one for English and one for Math. With those two tests that were given the teacher knew what I needed that was called being a teacher.
I also remember being so afraid of not passing the test and being left back.
So now we are to have them 5 times a year. Does that mean that each time the child takes the test they are to be handed money. Is that like
Pavlov dogs, ooh here is some money kid take the test and go buy yourself something nice. Ruff ruff, ummm I mean, mom can we go to Toys R Us. Mayor Mike gave me 50 bucks to go buy a new video game.

By the way Mayor Mike way to go putting more moolah into CTB-McGraw Hills pocket at the expense of our children.

How you too can achieve small class size

If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you know how important small class size is to me. My quest started way back when middle son was stuck in a class of 36 in kindergarten.
As I have said before that parent's need to be the advocate for their children and that the power lies within you. A group of parents on a mission is a dangerous thing in this education game.
My wee one's elementary school has historically had a class size issue.
There is always an issue said the Principal and I agree.
This year we were told that the current 4th grade class of 40 (2) classes of 20 now, were going to be combined into one class next year of 34 since some children were moving. To us the parents this is not acceptable.
I don't care where the school is is is unacceptable anywhere period
We were told that is just the way it was going to be.
Well to bad, we just did not lie down.
We as a parent body banded together ( as we did in the past)
we phoned each other, we petitioned each other and we came up with a plan. It was a simple plan we attended a PTA meeting and voiced our disdain. We did not hear what we wanted to here so............................
we called our local politicians. We told them what was happening.
That we were going to have an empty class room ( the space for the small class),and we wanted the class room utilized as a room with a teacher and a student. We played the game the way a politician would play the game, we used the words high stake testing.
Our next PTA meeting is Monday and we were to have the politicians aides attend the meeting, but low and behold today at the SLT meeting it was announced that we would have two fifth grade classes next year.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The real answer.......please

I am sure the Principal did not mean to intentionally mislead parents when she told them that their was no other place that they can turn to with their complaints in the school but him/her. That they had the only power in the particular school. I am sure they did not mean to tell us that there was no superintendent that they have to report to, and we could turn to. To bad the Principal was called on her omission.
This new budget is turning into a big problem in my school. We are losing teachers,(due to retirement, and not getting new ones) our numbers are down, and our class size is going to increase because of it. As a parent, and the others that I have spoke with are very concerned about our children and the future of our school. All we want is answers, real answers not the George Bush going around the question until the answer is not answered, answer.
It has become very frustrating and the anger has come past the boiling point.
I feel for the Principal trying to figure out the budget with trying to keep the integrity of the school and its scores, and we are not asking for miracles all we want is the truth. Something we have not been given.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Small class size prevails again

The reading and math scores are in. Scores fell but only because we let those pesky ELL students screw it all up. Sheesh Joel can you find blame with everyone else but yourself and YOUR policies.
All except this magnificent school Grand Concourse Academy Charter School, where the whole, that's right folks the whole 4th grade passed the exam. 93.1% scored a 3 and 6.9% scored a 4. While those numbers are impressive, lets get to the heart of this story. The student teacher ratio is 14:1. That is a great student to teacher ratio. You see Joel, Mike are you listening? If the rest of our students had the same student to teacher ratio, all of our children would be scoring a 3 or a 4. But that can only happen in a charter school, correct?
Since the teacher (Jabari Sims) who was highlighted in the Daily News article is quoted as saying

Only 10% of the current fourth-graders were at grade level upon enrolling in school when it opened three years ago at E. 169th St.
"We received students who were poorly educated elsewhere," said Principal Ira Victor, who grew up around the corner from the Bronx school. "They came in barely knowing their letters."
The part about 10% reading upon grade level I do find believable. Could have been the over sized classroom they were in prior, and the limited amount of resources they were able to receive in their former schools.
I am still against Charter's as they take away from existing schools.
What I am not against is the small class size ideology. That is always the prevelent issue in all of the charter success stories.
Jane and John in the new charter school _______________ are doing so well in the class of 14. It is always some ridiculously small number, unlike the rest of the children that ARE LEFT BEHIND.
No child left behind my eye.