Monday, April 30, 2007

Come one, come all

There will be a Press Conference on May 9th at 5PM on the steps of City Hall to protest the reforms that the Mayor and the Chancellor have proposed for our children. Since parent's have been left out of the equation here is your opportunity to let them know that we represent the unheard voices of our children. Who better to represent them but us.
Be there, I am going to be there the one with the Pissed Off look on her face.

I am so disappointed but the press conference has been called off.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Politic's as usual

Political games are being played with our children.
Let us just look at the Children First Reforms. Bush visiting a Charter School to say how great his NCLB reforms are working.
Why did Bush not go to one of the worst schools in our city and go sit in a trailer that leaks when it rains or watch the children being taught in the broom closet. By the way I was a student that was taught in a janitors closet way back in the days when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.
I have been reading all the comments that people who have been involved with education issues when Mrs Pissed Offs daddy still braided her hair in pigtails, and they all say the same thing. That the new reforms should be put on hold.
One thing I find interesting is that they say that this new reform is designed to make the middle class flee from the system in droves.
I will say this, in my middle class neighborhood it has been well known that you send your child to the elementary school, the middle school if your child makes SP or magnet and start saving your money for Private High School. I find this sad, parent's would be apt to trust the DOE if they were honest with the public.
About the Class Size Issue, this is what got me involved with education issues. Class size is enormous and with two children that were in large classrooms I know how hard it is on a teacher to give individual attention to a large class, especially a class that needs to be put in order for behaviour. Mr. Pissed Off figured out that if a class size was 36 a teacher would have 6 1/2 minutes to spend with your child alone. This is in a elementary school setting.
I remember at one time that small class size funds were to be given down from Albany specifically for small class size. It was a victory and it was done for a few years until then Governor Pataki decided to give block grants instead. Well we all know what happened to small class size it was all but forgotten.
Now the DOE is saying that they will come up with a plan to implement small class size in the next five years, and proponents are saying it can not happen and lets not rush into it. Lets not rush into it how about we just forget it all together, how about we just close down the schools, children just do not need to be educated why bother. There is more than enough room in the jails for them.
So when is that revolution???

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Principals to be given power to boot PTA's

If this is not another attempt to silence parents I just can't figure out what else it could be. Today's New York Post has penned an article saying that the DOE "are mulling over a policy plan to allow Principals to ban PTA's for patterns of negative behavior". They still have yet to constitute what "negative behavior" is.
I as a parent find this to be very disturbing. It is another way to bully parents to keep us quiet. To make us not complain, to make us go with the status quo, to worry about what will happen to us if we do complain about the ills of the system. This is not a good thing at all.
Why bother to have a PTA at all? PTA's were put in place to be the voice of the parents and if the parents have a problem who else can we turn to, but the PTA.
They represent us directly. They have the same stake in the school that we do.
I really don't understand what Klein and Bloomberg are thinking, or if they are at all. I say we revolt. That's right a revolution against the boneheaded policies that the DOE are coming up with the make us all be like mimes.

Friday, April 20, 2007


The DOE has made some concessions with the UFT & (Parent Groups) on some of the provisions in the Children First reforms.

The first that was a major sticking point for parents and educators alike were teacher's salaries, especially teachers with seniority.I see it as a great thing that teachers with experience will be protected, what I do not like is the back door provision that when the teacher retires or leaves that said money can be spent on a a teacher with a lessor salary and the remainder of the monies can be spent as the principal sees fit. Now I know the Principal should be able to choose the best person for the job, I don't argue that point, but.....if a school is strapped for cash what will the Principal ultimately choose?

The Rally for May 9th has been cancelled. Well I say that we should still hold this rally. To show that we still disagree with the reforms, hey can we can agree or disagree right Randi? I say we DISAGREE!!!!

I am happy the UFT spoke up for the teachers and the Mayor has conceded on salaries, but at what sacrifice to the child?

I am still wondering what parents were available on the meetings, it was not CPAC or CEC you know the parents who disagree with the funding, the parents who have been drawing up resolutions AGAINST the funding. The ones who oppose what Kleinberg are trying to do.

I have no faith in the DOE and any new reforms they are trying to pass, I remember them all. It is just business as usual

suggested reading


NYC Educator

NYC Public School Parents

and the New York Times article

I am sure there are more and I would love to see the links

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We the Students

I loved this story in USA Today about the second grade teacher Diane Schmiesing teaching her children how to write a Constitution for their classroom. I also noticed she had 19 students (ooh a small class they do exist), what a great way to teach younger children about how laws work.

Student Loan Scandal

I do have a child in college as you know. I was happy to see that Andrew Cuomo took on the student loan companies. I hate to tell you what my child is paying in interest for his loan. The probe has pushed Congress to action and all I can say is it is about damn time. Here is the link to the USA today story

Toxic Schools

I just finished reading this at the NYC Public School Parent's blog about the clean up plans for schools built on Toxic sites. Read the complete article here
Love this rationale
Instead, complex engineering systems will be required to continuously vent toxic fumes out of contaminated soils and away from children and teachers.
Wow that is fantastic, lets not contaminate the school, lets contaminate the neighborhood instead. Boneheads.
You know what the real argument is, How about we don't build on a toxic waste site. We are to trust the city government with removing hazardous waste
on a school site, where children and educators are to be housed. When they can not even be trusted to come up with a plan on how to educate our children or reduce class size.
I commend the city by adding new buildings to the school system and providing more space for New York City students, but it is the height of hypocrisy to suggest that building a school on a toxic waste sight is somehow acceptable. How many of our city officials will be willing to let their children be exposed to "acceptable" levels of known carcinogens in the air and on the surfaces that they touch for up to 4 years. No matter how much dirt they dig out and what slab of concrete barrier they build on top of the waste. Is this New York City's method of disposing of toxic waste sites, hiding them under a school building?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today's education Quote

"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't."

Anatole France

Specifics on Restructing ala Klein

So finally Klein and Bloomberg have announced some more details of the specifics of the Support Organizations Principals are to choose.
Once again I believe this late in the game that the plan should be abolished or at least implemented at a later date. I vote for abolished.
Principals have yet to find out what their allotment is, but they do know how much of that egg they have to spend. I still don't understand how that is to work.
The money that is to be spent depends on the size of your school. So if you are a small school you will pay less. What is the criteria for a smaller school? How many students are in a small school 500? I know that the Guidance Counselor at middle one's school said to me in a conversation how am I to know if I have your child this is a large school.
I have read a few of the mission statements from some of the new Support Organizations and as they are good on paper what does it really mean?
I will take this example from my region the description is an
Integrated Curriculum and Instruction” group, which promises to help schools develop a multidisciplinary “thinking curriculum,” at a cost of $47,500 per school.
What??? A thinking curriculum I would hope that the curriculum will have children thinking, hello isn't that the point of going to school to think?
So now this gets me to my next point.
Since we don't really know how much our Principals are to get what role is the PTA going to play in this. Are the PTA's going to have major fundraising drives to fund the programs that the Principal is no longer able to provide. I mean the PTA in schools now provide textbooks, art, music, supplies, grants to teachers to purchase classroom supplies etc.
If a well performing school now has to cut a few things to make ends meet (you know like most New Yorkers) what will be cut. All those extra programs that the children need to help expand their minds like Music and Art. Will PTA's now have to be grant writers also?
I wish the higher ups (the ones who keep telling us to shut up) would listen and realize that they are not going to make our school systems better they are going to make them far worse.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mayor Mike and his supporters

Another round of Mayor Mike takes on the UFT.
Our Mayor had another PR event where he produces a group of supporters behind him saying the new reforms are the greatest thing since sliced bread.
He sites his detractors as the special interests that are trying to block his reforms.
The only special interest I have is my child getting an education. Not a teach to the test education either.
Now lets speak about special interests.
Alvarez and Marsal, what is there special interest and history. I know it is dismantling a school district and bankrupting them, and starting Charter Schools.
He also cites the newspapers. Are you kidding me Mayor Mike? The newspapers? Are they only your friend when they are agreeing with you?
Lets get to your supporters the people that stood behind you.'
Why were they people who currently have contracts with the DOE or donated money to support your work.
Mayor Mike I will support you too, when you realize that the changes that have been proposed are not going to work and in 2 years from now we will be going through another round of reorganization.


The DOE is beginning to take bids for the pilot program to store cell phones in lockers outside of schools.
These are the words of the DOE
The devices are to be used to store electronic equipment not allowed in schools. We are looking for a vendor or vendors willing to take responsibility for cost, design, construction, maintenance, and repair of such lockers. Said vendor(s) would also be responsible for any liability related to the operation and care of the cell phone lockers.

I do not see how this is going to work. How are the lockers going to be protected? Is there going to be a guard protecting them. I hate to be a pain in the rear (no I don't ) but I would make my child flout the rules.
First off the children don't have lockers inside the school something about there being to many children. How are we going to have enough of those little lockers outside the school? Every time the DOE comes up with one of there hair brained schemes I just shake my head and think there they go again trying to divert my attention.
I have heard the stories how the children play with the cell phones during the day. I agree it is wrong but you must have rules and apply them. Take it away period. My child knows that his cell phone belongs in his bag shut off and if I need to contact him I will call the school, he has called me from school from the nurses office on the school phone when needed. Why? Because he knows that if the cell phone is taken away he will have to pay the consequences with me. Believe me that is not pretty.

The vendor will be responsible for the liability related to the cell phone lockers.
Does that mean when cell phones or I-Pods or whatever the students are hauling will be monetarily reimbursed? Just wondering. I am sure it won't. Probably a sign will be placed, we will not be responsible for items left in lockers.
Oh boy I can see the problems start before this pilot program is started.
By the way they are going to be outside, outside????????
Will they also be protected from the elements. We all know how well water and electronics work. Still shaking my head.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Mayor Mike on Charter Schools

I am all for Charter Schools yes siree, I changed my mind. I think every school should be a charter school. Mayor Mike told me so many times that Charter schools are what the parents want. I am a parent so therefore I want a Charter School. I have been brainwashed, I am no longer Pissed Off since Mayor Mike told me that Charter Schools will cure all the ills that the DOE and our children face, I believe it to be true. I heard it so many times I am starting to believe the hype. NOT.
I am getting sick of Mayor Mike and his bullying ways. How dare he say he is going to single out elected officials who he sees as obstacles to Charter Education. I applaud them and I stand behind them. He defends him remarks by saying they don't stand behind the parents. But, but, but, Mayor Mike they ARE standing behind the parents. The Parents that want the DOE fixed. Not fixed with your half baked reforms. The Parents that want all of our children to receive the education that they deserve not a chosen few. It is a real shame that this Mayor just can not see it.
NOW this is where I get redundant (Mr. Pissed Off said I need to because the Mayor is) The Mayor and his friends were fortunate to give their children a Private Education. The reason for this is because they saw the system as flawed. Instead of trying to fix the system and umm put their money where their mouth is, the chose to give their children an education that the rest of us just can't.
Oh wait I did it to but only because I had no choice. But Mrs. Pissed Off isn't that what Charter School's are all about, people that have no choice? In theory yes. But should it be the last resort option? No, and it would not have to be an option if the Mayor and his friends can just open there eyes and see what our children truly need. They need what their children had.
Yes I know there is no room to do it in existing schools but like I said before (oops there is that redundancy) stop letting developers build with big tax breaks. Start making them pay to build schools. Oh, then the developers won't build. This is NYC, people want to live here and the more that come the more children they have, the children need to be educated and the schools need to be built, and not on Toxic Dump sites either. Mayor Mike, would you send your child to a school built on a Toxic Dump site? No, I didn't think so.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Quote of the Day

Education is the foundation of civil liberty.
James Madison

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Mayor hears the Parents

Mr. Bloomberg hears the Parents. He hears that the Parents want Charter Schools. He was lobbying hard for Charter Schools saying that is what the Parents want.
I being a Parent will tell you what I want, and some other parents that I have conversations with. While we are at it lets throw in a teacher or two.
1) We would like to see smaller class size. With an experienced or inexperienced teacher . The only way to become experienced is to teach, and to teach in a class of 16 instead of a class of 36 will help you to become experienced.
2) We would like you to hear all of us. You know the real parents. Not just the parents that nod their heads and say you go for it Mayor Mike you da man.
3) We want NEW SCHOOLS. Lets start with New High Schools since High Schools are the most overcrowded.
4)We want you to stop experimenting with our children. They are not lab rats they are human beings who deserve to be educated to help run our society in the coming years. There really are not enough service jobs for all of the students, some of them do need to be able to run the City when you are no longer Mayor.
And lastly
Stop speaking for me, telling me that I am not a real parent. What defines a real parent anyway Mayor Mike I truly would like to know your definition of it.
I like every other New Yorker pay my taxes (and plenty of them) with the paying of my taxes I get to have a voice. The only problem is how to get you to hear it.