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.