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.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Children First... the first slash

What do you do, when your Principal informs you that teachers in your school are retiring but you will be using that money elsewhere since we are strapped for cash? You don't want to sacrifice the arts now, do you?
It is okay if we have a class of 40 because they are older children and they will be just fine. Hey I broke my finger the other day and I don't need to go to the doctor for an x-ray because it will heel and it will be just fine.
I truly don't believe (okay I do but I am playing devil's advocate) that BloomKlein or (as I am going to steal the phrase) Tweedledee and Tweedledum. knew what was going to come down the pike when Principals chose this we need the money alternative.
I believe they chose this route so they can come up with another convoluted plan that will SUCK!!! Then they will blame it on KPMG, or Alvarez and Marsal, or the Principal or the parents but they will never blame themselves.
I have already heard the rumblings that are going to occur and why not at a better time than May and June when the parents can get all worked up and then be left holding their collected breaths over the summer hoping that somehow it will work out and 30 children will mysteriously move into your neighborhood over the summer and more money will appear.
It is time for the parents of ALL schools to get together and hold a rally, or a press conference or whatever just to let the politicians know what we know, no matter how many times you spray deodorizer on the garbage, it is still garbage.

Oh and those of you that say this is not my problem wake up and smell the coffee, because what happens in my school today happens in yours tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What is the role of a PTA in a school?

The PTA is supposed to be a liaison between the parents and the staff of a school.
If the parents are upset about an executive decision that was made at your school in regards to class size being large and you as the PTA President have been asked to bring it as a new Agenda item at the next meeting is it to be ignored, as not a role of the PTA?
If you find out there might be a good chance that a class might have up to 40 students next year would that not be a PTA issue, or are we supposed to just ignore the fact because the Principal says there is nothing you can do about it, this is just the was it is going to be? Are we not supposed to question what is happening in our school, where are children are supposed to be educated, are we supposed to be quiet and just be steamrolled.
When the new Children's First intuitive was brought forth and we knew that this would be a disaster in the making, taking seasoned teachers out of our school was that not important?
This has been on ongoing situation in this school, it has happened before and it will happen again, the only difference is the parents in this school are vocal despite what we are told, and if we are to lay down and just take it next year all the classes will be 40 and then you can take your cushy top ten standardized math and reading scores and wave them goodbye.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

First Grade Takes a Test

I just finished reading a book with my First Grader for his required 10 minutes of reading a night.
I picked this book up for him on our last library visit, titled First Grade Takes a Test by Miriam Cohen. I picked it up because he stresses so much about tests he always tells me when their is an E-Class and comments on them. This was a great book showing how different children come up with different answers to questions when they know what the correct answer is.
I thought the best part of the book was when the author showed a part of the test
with a picture of Tom and Sally sharing a bologna sandwich but the question was who was taller Tom or Sally. Jim wanted to know what being taller had to do with a bologna sandwich. My son just wanted to know if that was the correct spelling for bologna.
After the test was complete one child was taken out of the class and placed in a "Special Class" and all the remaining children had doubts about themselves whereas the teacher explained to them that a test does not teach them about themselves and that a test is not all important. Something I always tell him.
The only unbelievable part of the book was the first grade class of 9 but I guess it must have been a private school

Monday, May 21, 2007

Small School

If a school historically has a low enrollment rate, what is the role of a Principal to try increase enrollment so class size does not become large? Should they ask the District Superintendent to allow the neighboring overcrowded school to re-route some of their children to your school? Should you hold open houses to encourage increased enrollment, or should you appeal to the Chancellor to allow your school to be a model for a small class size initiative that he says can not occur in the current climate. If this is a small school with a small enrollment why not take the chance? Can this be done in a New York City School, with an enrollment of 34 children in a grade, or should you just have the one class with 34, if the cap is 32. Is it acceptable to have a teacher and a para professional in an upper grade class (in an elementary school) with today's high stake testing requirements? What happens when your school starts to slip behind in the standardized testing, what is the ultimate price to the student, or are students not even in the equation anymore? Is it just data in an $80 million computer that matters.
On the other hand what is the role of the parents on this issue? They are the ones who paid money to move to the neighborhood to let their children go to the excellent school.
The parents need to fight for the right for their children to receive a decent education in NYC. What is the middle ground? I know work together for the greater good.
You can not ask schools to continue to succeed if you are going to increase class size and take teachers out of the classroom. It just does not add up.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


My wee one told me he wants to be home schooled.We discussed why he wants homeschooling and he said he was be picked on by a child in his class. I told him what to do and we got past it. He was also absent last week due to a horrible allergy attack. You have just got to love spring.

People do me a favor and write a Will because when you don't your family is left behind for years trying to straighten things out. Thanks Dad.
Yeah Yeah I know he did not think he would pass away at the age of 63, but whateva.

I got the bill for middle ones Senior Pictures the cheapest package is $84.95 the most expensive is $399.95. Not that I don't love him but sheesh that is a lot of moolah. Oldest guy in the private high school Senior pics cost me $40 for a full package, and the pictures were very nice.

The school year is almost over. I wonder what secret deals are going to be made over the summer concerning the new provisions and what is going to come forth in September concerning classes size.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What would you do?

In the category WTF? Teachers at a school in Tennessee decided to see what the reactions of sixth graders would be if a masked gunman threatened them.
The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes, the Assistant Principal was also on this trip.
Poor judgement is being cited and disciplinary action is still being considered.
Story here

Update: The teachers and administration have been suspended.

Mommy Brag (pt2)

My oldest son has been elected to office. I don't get to call him Mr. President yet, just Senator. Of course you know I was doing that a good deal of the time last night. Oh excuse me Mr. Senator, can I get you something Mr. Senator. When he left to go home I said I hope you don't forget the little people Mr. Senator.
This all came about because he is in a College that took away a class for his major. (radio, for Communications). The reasoning is they teach it at the Long Island Campus. He stated his case to the President of the school and got the class back, and an internship at a news station starting his Junior Year. He is young and an idealist he says he can change things. I hope he does not become to disillusioned.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday my oldest son and I went to a Mets game, we are rabid fans. Lets say if you sit next to us if you don't want to hear booing and screaming, I suggest that you move. This was his Mother's Day gift to me. He purchased field level seats for us right off of first base. He would have got them off of third but he did not want to be embarrassed any further by the things that might have come out of my mouth regarding David Wright and Jose Reyes. Yeah, Yeah I know I am old enough to be their mommas but please they are a gift.
So we have great seats and I am pumped because I might catch a foul ball (hey I was with a championship softball league, back when the game was invented).
So the reason for this post is this:
The people behind us were annoying. Not annoying because they were loud fans but annoying because they were not watching the game. The wives knew jack about the game and were on their cells the whole time., talking to their children, their girl friends, the soccer coach, and their rabbis. At one point one of the woman screamed ohhh its Israel. The husbands were talking work, I might hire 10 more workers, wow you are doing that good. Hey who are you going to vote for in the Presidential elections. Every single time there was a play they wanted to know hey what happened. I wanted to turn around and scream for god sakes people you are at the damn game shut up and watch it already. As my son and I had to lean over the rail and practically sit in the people in front of us laps, the morons behind us continued to ponder if they should have beer or water, and miss every single play, the husband surmised what might have just happened and then had to explain to the wives how the game is played.
Granted the game blew but they made it worse.

Friday, May 11, 2007

H.S. Survey

finally recieved the High School Survey.
My son did not get his, but I understand they will start going out on Monday.

Overheard outside a school

so if I give the school great marks on the survey does it mean we get more money?

Update on the Charter School

The Principal of The International Leadership Charter School resigned yesterday after students and parents protested outside the school and walking out, after the Principal made working conditions intolerable for the teaching staff.
She did a fabulous job in just one short year (never made it to the end)
I just have so much faith in the charter school system. Where do I sign up?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Cell Phone Ban Upheld

The lawsuit against the DOE against the cell phone ban was lost yesterday. It seems parents do not need to communicate with their children coming or going to school. I disagree. Payphones are not widely available as they were before. I already instructed my son to make sure before he enters the school that his cellphone is off. I DO need to communicate with my child coming home from school, especially when he leaves the school at a late hour and needs a ride.
I would like this judge to go a week without a cellphone or access to a phone coming and going from work and tell me if the children need a cell phone.

Mayor Mike and his report card

wow he gave himself an A. What a crock of _____.
I asked my boss if I could give myself an evaluation on my job and that he not change a thing about it and that I will write out my next paycheck next week with my new raise. He looked at me as if I was taking a very powerful hallucinogen and went about his business as I was not there.

Got my survery today

for the elementary school but not for the High School. Are my priorities different for each school? Yes and no there are different aspects of each school I would love to see be changed. This survey is still bogus. I wonder is this survey going to be looked at individually or are they going to put them into a machine?
This survey reminds me very strongly (he he using the words from the survey) of the standardized tests I received in school, make sure you fill in the marks with black pen or pencil like this or your answers will not be counted. Oh the stress it put on poor little not pissed off yet. I was sweet, oh yes I was, I know you are all finding this so hard to believe, but once I was a sweet, shy child. I don't like that their is no place to put comments or that they ask for any type of comment, just to answer the questions like a robot. Silly me they don't care what we really think, just like they don't really care if our children are stuck in an overcrowded class, in an understaffed school, built on a toxic waste site,with a underpaid teacher with meager resources trying to achieve the goal of surpassing the current 50% graduation rate that we so much enjoy.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Charter school teachers resign

The New York Post is reporting that the remaining teachers of a Bronx Charter School have walked out of the school. They tendered their resignations at the International Leadership Charter School and so have 4 others during the year.
They cite that the Principal as abusive and a tormentor. So now this school has a staff of zero to teach the children. The teachers wanted to stay until the end of the year but they were escorted off the property. That sounds good to me teachers speak out, get removed and the school still stays open. Does anyone else see a problem here?
Our Mayor would like to see more charter schools. This is a big problem since teachers at these schools have no union to protect them. No one to go to file a grievence if they are being treated unfairly. So the teachers are harassed and the students ultimately end up paying the price. While the parents are clamouring to help their children and are applying in droves for what they think is a better solution of their children, it is not. Not when a Principal can get away with harassing teachers knowing they have no place to turn. It makes it a hostile working enviroment and who ends up paying in the end? The same that always end up paying the children.

as of yesterday :
still no survery in the mail for the high school

Friday, May 4, 2007

still no

that is correct survey.
It is okay I am sure I will receive it the day before the deadline.
Do us all a favor and don't have a big press conference telling us what you are doing when you are full of hot air.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hey, Mike and Joel

where in the hell is my survey???
You launched a big press conference to tell the city that you are issuing one. A lot has been said about parental influence and all I got today was a stinking postcard to tell me to be on the lookout for one starting April 30th. Well here we are May 3rd and no survey in my child's backpack.
No automated call from the overcrowded high school, nothing, zip, zilch, nada you get the point.
By the way love your slogan When one parent speaks schools listen, when one million parents speak schools change.
What a bunch of bull. We have been speaking but you never listen.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Name Calling

Why when the Mayor faces opposition he has to revert to name calling?
Funny that he uses name calling like a elementary school child to parents who are trying to call attention to the fact that he is a major bonehead. Oops would that be name calling, silly me.
So when a group of parents asked for us to ask for real parent input on the new surveys sent to parents his only response was that they are trying to
“subvert the system and sit around and complain and not make it any better.”
Now these parents that signed the letter do not just sit around and complain and not make it any better.
They are parent leaders, people who have gone out and tried to make it better, but our Mayor thinks that he is much smarter than parents who children are being educated in the public system. Who would know better the private school parent (Mayor Mike and Joel Klein) or the actual parent who has a child being screwed by the system. Now I know I am saying that the system is broken and that the Mayor wants to fix it, but his fix is not a real fix. It is set up for failure. I have cited why many times before. Just wait until September and our I told you so's become fact.
Then Mayor Mike is going to have to truly listen to the parents when they realize that once again their child is being screwed by the system.

Survey Says....

The DOE is starting a new campaign to ask parents & students what they think is wrong or right with their schools. Like we need a survey, what is this Family Feud?
The initiative is called Learning Environment Surveys. This is a gigantic waste of money. Parents have already been screaming about what is wrong with the system but as usual it is ignored. I believe the main reason for this initiative is so the Mayor and the Chancellor can say we asked the parents and they said we are doing a wonderful job. You know they are going to ignore all the negative comments since that has been what they have been doing all along.
They will come up with the everything is rosy approach just like the great graduation rates and the test scores improving.
The New York Times are reporting that a group of 8 parents are urging parents to cross out the questions and send back the message real parental input. Let's make that 9 parents, and I am sure that their is a long line of parents right behind me.