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.