Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nice Drugs if you can get them

What type of drugs are the Editors of the New York Post taking and are they the legal kind? I ran across this today. I was frothing at the mouth.
The people I work with ran in all type of crazy directions away from me scared for there lives.
The Mayor has had control of the schools for FIVE years now. Five years to many if you ask me. Class size is still large, drop out rates have not lowered. The prized Leadership Academy have graduated a few looney Principals.
Then the hiring of Alaverz & Marshal. Hey I would love to have a job that paid me $600 an hour to not know what the hell I was talking about and then get a gigantic pat on the back. cough bus fiasco cough.

You know the reform I would like to see? It is the one where a teacher actually gets to teach. Where his or her voice is truly heard. When they ask a parent what is going on in there schools and they are actually heard.
Not a mayor that says hey suck it up and shut up.

We do want accountability and I hold the Mayor accountable. Mr. Mayor your fired.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tool for the PrinciPAL

The Principal in my wee one's elementary school was chosen over parent objection. The parents did not choose her, but their decision was overridden.
The reason she was not chosen was she did not have enough leadership experience .
What she does have is the ability to sell a snow cone to the devil.
I will call her Ms. Stuff Shirt. Ms. Stuff Shirt is a great reason for not giving more power to Principals because she has already snowed the parents into believing that she is the greatest thing since swiss cheese.
Miss Pissed Off smelled her bologna a mile away and when she was PTA President she made the Principals life a living hell by always questioning reasons for certain part of the curriculum. Like, why were the children not taught grammar? How come the children only played games in the Computer classroom. Why were you not communicating with your teachers. The most important question Miss Pissed Off asked was why do we still have this certain teacher who refuses to teach Math to the students.
Let me get to my point. The PTA is supposed to be there for the Parent's not the PrinciPAL.
Pissed Off why are you capitalizing PAL? Well Miss Stuff Shirt is only in it for the accolades and if merit pay were a factor oh boy I could just see those dollar signs cha ching. She sure knows how to a huh you when she is trying to get rid of you. I used to get a lot of a huh's. Now I get to see her back as she runs away from me.
As a good parent I try to attend PTA meetings to find out what is going on in the school. The very first meeting of the year the PTA President said that if we had any new business to be brought up we should call the PTA office and leave our query and then they would get the answer and bring it up as new business.
In other words if you have a question please let us know what it is before hand so we can come up with a plausible answer.
What the hell is this the federal government and I am talking to George Bush.
So if I have a question as to why there is scaffolding up around the school but no signs of physical work is going on I have to remember to call the school first and ask the question so I can get an answer.
Or if something is brought up at the meeting and I have a question I have to ask the question before the subject was brought up?
What I really want to know is what the hell is really going on in the school. I guess I will not really ever know because I understand that the Principal is looking for more DOE letters to send home to distract us.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

When all else fails give them a paper trail

This year I have been inundated with paper work that to me seems to be tyring to divert my attention on what is truly happening with our system.
At the beginning of the year my child brought home a residency questionnaire. The information was to be kept confidential and my child would not be discriminated against. They wanted to know if my child was homeless, and where exactly was I living. Now forgive me for my ignorance but I am not sure me filling out this form allows my child to have an exemplar education. I refused to fill it out. I signed it and sent it in blank. Hey, it said my child would not be discriminated against in bold letters. The next week I get another one with the words second request highlighted on the top. I see red. I send it in again blank.
As far as I am concerned if I don't feel like filling out the form, I don't have to. Last I checked we still have privacy laws.
I got another notice said third request. I sent back a letter saying I am not going to fill out the form stop sending it back to me. I got the response that it is vital that it is filled out ALL schools received them.
Ummm, HELLO, I have a child in another NYC Public School and did not get this notice from him. Granted there are 2 million children in his big high school. Okay so I exaggerate there are only a little more that 4,200.
Also from speaking to my friends the Middle School did not receive it either.

Next notice.
It is now required that Student Health Insurance Information be update annually.
I needed to let the school know if my child has health insurance.
So me, the big privacy is important advocate said, now why in the hell do they need to know if my child is insured? Oh I know they want to sell me insurance.
What is the kick back? So..................Pissed Off does not send it in.
Same scenario for a different form. Second request highlighted in yellow.
The Secretary must think I am daft. I did not sign it. You would think she would get the hint.
One day after school as I am picking up my wee one his teacher says umm Pissed Off can you please fill out the insurance form letter, Miss Secretary is going to blow up if you don't. Okay she did not say that but she did ask me nicely. I said, I am sorry Miss lovely first grade teacher but I have to write Miss Secretary and tell her that is not the DOE's business. That is unless they are planning on paying for my family's health insurance.
Well being that I am busy. You know with that pesky thing called work and the children and home life make me a little crazy at times. I forgot to write the letter. What to my wondering eyes do I get the next day in my little ones folder? A nice nasty letter from the Secretary telling me to fill out the form. It was addressed to me not to Mr. & Mrs. Pissed Off.
It said either fill out the form or simply leave it blank. I wanted to send it back shredded but filled out. Instead I sent it back blank not signed.

Next notice: my school wanted to know my intent of my where I was going to live next year. If I was moving. They needed to know right NOW, this particular moment. I am not moving I have lived here for 18 years. I wish I was moving but no I am not.

Now why do I rant about these particular letters. I shall tell you.
I want to know why a letter was not sent home informing me that the
Chancellor was going to be at our local district office to address the DOE's new changes. New changes, old changes, they are still the wrong changes. I found out about the meeting about a half hour before it was to begin.
That brings me to another point.
My middle guy gets automated phone calls from his school to let me know if he is absent. But I never get automated messages about meetings?
I did get one automated message for parent's of Juniors explaining about the SAT's, College Aid, how to apply for College's etc.Unfortunately the meeting was the day before we received the phone call. Typical of the DOE. Just like asking Parents to attend meetings at 11am at any particular location with giving you a day's notice. Like we can just take the morning off from work to voice our discourse with the system.

This also goes for the cell phone ban. Another tool to get the parent's worked up into a frenzy while they dismantle the system more,but that is another post for another time.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Why I am Pissed Off

I guess I should start this blog explaining what makes me angry.
It could take days, so the number one thing that pisses me off is this.
I love teachers, I am not a teacher by trade, as I do not go into a classroom or have to face the bullshit that many of our great teachers do.
By that I mean the administrators or the gigantic bureaucracy we call the Department of Education. So they changed the name wowie it is still the same cronyism and retarded policies that just don't work.
More testing, teach to test, make the children pass or else.
Empowerment schools, large classes in small schools, instead of small class size in schools. Close the school- reopen it the next year but we will make is small school in the large school (huh am I missing something). Back to small class size, which I personally know work. Ask my son. He was lucky enough to have one of those small classes for ONE year wow was he lucky.
So I rant and I am sure this makes sense to the angry like myself.
I am so sick of our Politicians giving lip service to the public school parents (and teachers) on how they want to fix the system.
They have no clear plan unless Alvarez and Marsal was the plan, or Chris Cerf. Privatize is the way to go. NOT.

I have been quiet for years and I read the news and hear the stories from other parents and I stew and I keep quiet. Then I stew some more and I keep quiet. But I have been in a pressure cooker and I am about to blow.

I once was told what do I have to complain about my children are in schools in the elite district. I don't understand what that means.
They still get the same crappy education as the rest of the New York City School children do, we just have more money to throw around for tutoring. I don't have that money to throw around I have three sons. One is in college need I say more.
And that is why ladies and gentlemen I am a pissed off parent