Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Police State

When did it become acceptable to treat our students like prisoners. When they walk through a school police walk the halls with them? When an announcement is made during the day that for now on they will subject to search and may be scanned and all "non essential" paraphernalia will be confiscated. Non essential meaning cell phones, I-Pods, electronics.
One day I would like someone to walk up the the Dynamic Duo point to them and say hey I think you are carrying a cell phone, a blackberry, and a half a brain, slam them into a wall, make them do the stance and pat them down. Take away their dignity for a day, and a day, and another day.
It is a place for education not intimidation. But then again intimidation is what these two chuckle heads do best. To our teachers (ATR, crappy raise, merit pay), to our students (police in the schools, toxic schools, high stake tests) to our Parents (sit down an shut up).
By the way Principals do you know you have the right to tell the police to get the hell out of your school, well you do, why don't you start exercising it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Staph infections and the schools

Last night I had a conversation with my middle guy about his schools bathrooms. He has always complained that at bigovercrowdedhighschool that his bathrooms were gross. That everyone knew that it was better to just hold it in, or feign sickness to get in the nurses bathroom. His words not mine. He knows I have an aversion to public toilets since a few bad incidents, and he told me that the schools bathrooms are even worse then what I have told him I have seen in a public facility.
So now there is a staph infection running rampant from state to state and so far we are only hearing about them in schools. Why?
I know why, schools are not being cleaned in the manner that they were once before.
Children are told to wash their hands but with imanginary soap, no soap but plenty of high stake testing.
Last year custodians were cut in schools, it seems Alavarez and Marshal said they were to costly to keep and who cares if the schools and the bathrooms are clean. Children and teachers don't need to use the facilities how can there be any teaching for the test happen if everyone took a potty break.
Do I have to now by antiseptic cleaners and soap for the school my child attends? I am already providing them with paper towels and other non essential teaching tools.Our system is sooooooooooooo screwed up but unfortunately the Mayor and his minion or is it the Chancellor and his minion are unaware.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Testing Forum

Last night District 26's CEC held a forum about Testing in NYC Schools. It was heavily attended by teachers. I just wish more parents were able to come but as I found out from speaking to some parents there seemed to be other school functions that were also taking place at the same time.
I have been looking forward to this forum since I am anti high stake tests. They really dumb down the curriculum. I mean come on the only reason Science is now being taught around the city is so children can pass the science test at the end of the year. The curriculum that was purchased, books are by the very same company that writes the test. Can you say cha ching?
I just want to touch on the fact of Randi Weingarten's part of the forum. She did not talk about any negative parts of testing, in fact she did not speak about testing at all. She did say she was against merit pay and would never allow it.
Ummm Randi merit pay, performance based pay what the hell is the difference.
I don't think that Randi did not have one important thing to contribute. But what the hell that is just my opinion, oh wait no it is not and now I know what a lot of people like Norm Scott, and NYEducator et al have been screaming about. Higher aspirations I can see it in her eyes

Jane Hirschmann is my new hero, my role model so to speak on a list of many. I would love to see a District by District join her group Time out From Testing and ban together and boycott all these high stake testing. To say no to all the emphasis that has been placed on our schools, our children, or teachers. To get back to the basis of education. A real education not a teach to the test.

And not to dismiss Bob Tobias he also gave a meaningful dialogue but I must put this in print.
Frank Padavan has vowed he will look into the possibility of limiting the high stakes testing by imposing limits on state funds to NYC. I say we hound him and write him and ask him not make is a possibility but a reality. Testing has got to go.

Teachers and Parents alike last night spoke how much testing has taken away from education. We know it, to bad the Dynamic Duo keep ignoring us.
But then again money talks........

Saturday, October 20, 2007

RAh! Rah! Merit Pay!

After dissent for years over Merit pay Randi finally caved and allowed the Mayor to institute merit pay. Wahoo merit pay, I can see all the teachers clamouring to go to the worst schools for an extra 3 grand. There is a stampede right now down at Bigovercrowdedsmashthemin HighSchool. I thought we did not teach to the test., but what if not is this new merit pay scheme saying?
All I can think is this: the Mayor is not trying to help the system but playing a very elaborate game of three card monty. Move experienced teacher from a school that is already getting high scores, lure a carrot (or merit pay) in front of the nose of said teacher and then experienced teacher moves to low performing school. Hire a new teacher with no skills but them in high performing school and let them just wing it. With no mentors because Principals have no money in the budget to keep experienced teachers.
Why is Randi in collusion with Kleinberg?
For 10 long years, all I have heard (that is after two schools sued for smaller class size) is that the Union is Pro Small Class Size. I believe that the UNION MEMBERS are pro small class size but Randi with higher aspirations could give a rats ass. Excuse the poor grammer, and the insult to the rat.
I have said it again and again, and I don't need to see study results because my children were the guinea pigs for small class size, IT WORKS!!!
Kleinberg knows it works since their lovely children are much better than NYC Public School children and were afforded that luxury.
Lets get to Merit Pay for Students. Isn't that the same scheme?
I watched the news the night it was announced with my College Junior, he loved the interview with the student who said " I love the idea since I come from a low-income family". He shook his head and said who the hell fed him that line.
So guess what Mayor Bloomberg, we just don't buy your crap.
What is going to happen when you leave office, and your "friends" decide they don't want to finance your schemes anymore?
When Joel is out of a job, when Mayoral controls is abolished, when our experienced teachers retire?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Parent Leaders

Tonight is a reception for Parent Leaders at Gracie Mansion. Apparently I am a Parent Leader in good standing since I garnered an invitation. I guess the Mayor does not read this blog. I am not attending, I was going to attend and I did RSVP, idle curiosity had me intrigued. I was wondering who these so called Parent Leaders were. I heard some "real" Parent Leaders were not invited, they rightfully speak out against the Department of Education and have been trying to institute change, but they supposedly are not Parent Leaders in the Mayor's eyes. There should be a boycott of the event, but only a few won't show and the Mayor really won't care because he truly won't know why we are not showing. The only way it would work if not one Parent shows up and the Mayor is standing there all alone with his hat in his hand that would make him notice, but it won't happen because the Mayor knows that Parents are not organized and that in itself is the downfall of the Parents voice.
So what exactly is a Parent Leader? I know I am not one. I could have been one but I decided when I got pregnant with wee one that I was going to raise him, and I was disillusioned with fighting the Board of Education. That was what is was called then, before the change to the Department of Education to make us forget that the Board of Education sucked, oh wait so does the Department of Education. So since I have decided not to attend the little soiree at Gracie Mansion (being born across the street from it, I am still on the outside looking in) I have decided that I will attend wee one's PTA meeting where my voice is heard.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Its that time again

Time when the letters come home from the high school teachers telling you your child is in danger of failing on the upcoming report card. I guess so as to not shock you when you do see that report card. That is if your child shows you one. Believe me my child shows me his.
Anyway at the beginning the year when you purchase your gym uniform my sons school did not have his size. Remember he is 6'6" tall and wide, he wears a 2X.
Now if I could get him a uniform in say Modell's and just purchase a logo that says BigAssedOverCrowdedHighSchool I would, but noooooooooo that is not allowed.
So I asked him when it comes time for report cards am I going to be told that you were unprepared? He said no, the teacher knows I can't get a uniform. I said okay then, just reinforce that because the teacher is not going to remember.
At the beginning of the week I get a letter telling me that my child has been unprepared for gym 6 times, (two gyms classes). I ask my son, hey what the hell, what did I tell you? She said he did reinforce it. I highly doubt he did. I know my son, he is big but he is quiet. He most likely stood against the wall and did not say peep.
So I fired off a nice letter stating all the facts and I hope that we can come to some type of agreement, maybe like him going over to Pissed Off Teachers trailer and fix her thermostat, he is gifted that way.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The more you become involved

the more you get pissed off. I was at a dinner during the week with educators and parents. I said I would not become involved in a higher level again but well my inner voice was screaming to come out. So back to the topic I was at this dinner and I was listening to questions from parents and most of them had to do with this underlining theme. I can't get my Principal to give me an answer. We ask them questions but they just tell us that is the way it is, and no answer comes. So Klein decided that is would be all dandy to give Principals all the power, but he forgot one important thing. Principals are not the only people in the building. Principals do not teach the class, teachers do. Teachers know what is happening in the classrooms, Parents know what is specifically happening with their child. You just can not leave the two out of the equation with what is occurring with our children.
So the majority of Principals are now dictating policy and changing the dynamics of a classroom without really knowing what has been happening in the classroom.
During the dinner as I sat across from two teachers I asked them a few questions. I asked them how they felt about the new testing regiments? If they felt that they were being graded unfairly if the student does not show any marked improvement, and if I child in the class was already scoring a 4 how much more do they think that that said child could improve?
They said that yes, they did feel that it was unfair for the teacher to be graded, that their curriculum has not changed, but that the if the class is larger it is difficult to help the child that is falling behind to get their individual attention.
Wow back to that large class size.
It was mentioned that their is teaching to the test, and everyone shook their head yes, teachers and parents.
In five years time after this little experiment fails, I wonder what the new position in education will be?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

DOE has a new lice policy

The DOE has issued a new head lice policy. If your child has nits they are still allowed in school. So when a whole class is scratching their heads in unison does the teacher know it is because of a louse epidemic or are they wondering if the children are perplexed by the lesson.
What a lousy (no pun intended, okay yes it was) plan, but then again the DOE is all about lousy plans arent' they?