Sunday, May 01, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
I highly recommend all NYC residents get a city ID and head over to the Bronx Zoo to pick up Wildlife membership. This gives entrance to Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Flushing Zoo, Prospect Zoo and the Aquarium.
I only had a half hour today but I got to visit the penguins, my favorites in the Central Park Zoo. These two little guys were busy flirting with all their visitors.
Of course there are tons of other benefits to be had with this ID. I had to buy a new case just to keep all my membership cards together.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Friday, April 15, 2016
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Saturday, April 09, 2016
Monday, April 04, 2016
Friday, April 01, 2016
Today's Daily News had an article where Chancellor Farina is bragging about the decline in suspensions in NYC schools.
I wish the newspapers would really care about what is going on in the schools and go to the people that know, the teachers, students and deans. They should stop relying on these statistics that hide half or more than half of what actually happens. School administrators are more interested in keeping their A ratings and making sure they are attracting the most students than they are in being truthful. When I taught I saw way too much being unreported.
When people ask me about my former school, I hesitate, not wanting to tell all that I really know because it is better than most schools around. Still, it is not nearly as good as it is portrayed and while it is pretty safe, no one will ever hear of incidents swept under the carpet that keep the safety rating so high.
Friday, March 25, 2016
It has come to my attention that some of you have been doing the most unthinkable, educationally sound practice ever. You have been praising your students and congratulating them on getting good grades. This practice has got to stop immediately. Your compliments will only make those who did not do well feel bad and that is not something we want. While praise is important it must come from their peers, not from you. Students congratulating other students will encourage everyone to do better.
Remember, it is not your job to say nice things to any of your students. If you do, I will put a letter in your file and you will be rated ineffective at the end of the year.
Administrator at Large
PS: As you know I do not have any real teaching experience and no education courses under my belt but I read about this on a blog on the Internet, written by a shoe salesman in India so it must be correct.
Sunday, March 20, 2016
I have been covering college classes for years, mostly for full time professors, those with PhDs. Some leave detailed lessons, others just pages in a book. Some just leave exams. They all have one thing in common. They are extremely grateful for what I have done, thank me and request I cover again whenever they need coverage.
Mr. J is a fairly new adjunct. I was asked to cover his class when he had to attend a meeting. Mr. J sent me the chapter sections he wanted me to teach which was more than adequate. I started the class the same way I start every class, asking the students if they had an questions on previous work. Unlike other classes, these students told me they had no idea what was going on. The teacher had covered the beginning half of chapter two and the beginning half of chapter 3. He expected me to finish the second chapter which could not be done unless the students knew the first half. I did some review and got through about half of what he wanted. As I always do, I sent an e-mail explaining what I had covered.
Instead of the usual appreciation I got a sharp reprimand and a demand to finish what I was told to finish whenever I covered again. While I don't know for sure, I am betting he needed me to teach material he did not understand himself.
This is the difference between someone who can teach and someone who pretends to know how to teach. I hope his students fill out their teacher evaluation forms professionally to let the college know this guy is masquerading as a teacher. They deserve better.
Friday, March 18, 2016
One of the benefits of retirement is the ability to take advantage of all the city has to offer and this week I did just that at the Lincoln Center Library for Performing Arts.
Wednesday afternoons, three wonderful opera singers perform in front of an audience and art song master Paul Sperry in the program Joy In Singing. The audience is not only treated to a fantastic afternoon of music but have first hand experience watching a coach bring out the best of voices that are already outstanding.
I am not an opera fan and wasn't even sure I would enjoy this performance but in my quest to experience it all, I gave it a shot and was not disappointed. I loved the music but I also loved watching the teacher at work. He did, what all great teachers do. He praised all the performers, emphasizing their strengths. And, when he found areas that needed correction, he explained what he wanted without putting down what they had done and demonstrated exactly what he wanted. He never lost patience with one singer who didn't understand his corrections and worked with her until she got it.
As I watched the evaluation process I thought about teacher evaluations done by assistant principals and principals today. Mr. Sperry is a master of his craft. Those evaluating teachers are not masters and many can barely teach, having failed licensing exams and only being in the classroom a very short time. Mr. Sperry knew what he wanted and knew how to demonstrate this. He was able to bring out the best. Today's administrators only offer criticism, never ways to correct. He knew how to do all this without shame and humiliation and every performer who left the stage left feeling good about themselves. I don't think most teachers would say this after a post evaluation conference.
Every young performer at Joy in Singing learned something and will be better because of this experience. This is what school administrators have to be able to do for teachers if they truly want the best for their students.
(Picture is sunset in Austin, Texas)
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
This is a comment on Teacher Shortage post. Sad treatment of teachers which trickles down to our students is happening everywhere.
Great post. It is pathetic to watch a middle school AP with 5 years of phys ed teaching experience rip apart a 15+ year veteran math teacher who is an amazing teacher. The reason the AP rips her apart? Because he can!! Power hungry trolls most of them are. Teach for 3-5 years, get your admin degree from Touro "University" and presto!!! You are an instant expert administrator. Pathetic.
(Picture from Subway Art Tour-Walkaboutnewyork.com. Tour is run by Phil Desiere one of the most amazing tour guides I have ever met. He is informative and entertaining and his tours are not bank breakers. Anyone who wants to learn about the city and likes to walk should consider one of his tours.)
Monday, March 14, 2016
Friday, March 11, 2016
No wonder NYS has a shortage of teachers. It is no wonder teachers, good experienced teachers are getting out as soon as they can, fleeing from even the best schools in the city.
I have not only heard the stories, but have witnessed personally ineffective, know nothing administrators ripping apart good,experienced, caring teachers because they have minds that work and refuse to cow tow to administrators who know less than the students they are in charge of.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Faculty at University of Texas have been warned to drop controversial and sensitive topics from curriculum, limit student access and only meet students in controlled environments after the school as the law now allows students over 21, with licenses to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Even the military does not allow weapons in barracks and classrooms.
Imagine a crazed student with a gun and a failed exam or an F paper!
Thursday, February 18, 2016
We sat and chatted for about an hour. It was great seeing her and hearing about how great she is doing. The words that rang out for me was when she told me she learned to love math in my class and how she had no idea how she even ended up in an advanced placement math class as her math grades leading up to the class were not very good. I didn't want to tell her that I would bet being the same race as the assistant principal might have had something to do with her being in the class as other students, possibly more qualified were not allowed in, but that is another post, ones addressed on this blog many times. Anyway, all ended good for this young woman. She got a 3 on AP exam, enough to get college credit and never having to take math again.
I worked for an AP who, day after day, tried to make me feel like I was the world's worst teacher.In fact, years after I left, he still spent many department meetings talking about what an awful teacher I was. I'm glad I never bought into his nonsense and left before he had any real power to destroy my career but I know he is doing the same to teachers still in the school and good, caring teachers are leaving in droves before they are actually ready to go.
The real evaluation of what I do and did as a teacher comes from the students who sat in my class daily. A young woman who graduated in 2010 still remembers how she felt and learned in my class lets me know I really did make a difference. The students are the ones who know.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
As a math teacher I strongly take the opposite side. I have seen students come back from missing only one day and are lost. They cannot do the new work because doing it depends upon what they learned the previous day. After a week of vacation it is almost impossible to get back on track.
Family vacations are great but they have a time and a place. If parents cannot take off when school is not in session parents must find other ways to bond with their children. There are always weekends and evening. Even before all the testing, the stakes were just too high and no one will convince me that vacations should take place on school days.
Friday, February 12, 2016
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Why bother with two semesters if the grades from the first one are being delayed? Will failing kids who pass or passing kids who fail now have classes changed? Probably not. In the infinite wisdom of the powers who make these decisions everyone moves ahead. The school has to keep its A rating.
I wonder why this school is even bothering to giveexams?
Monday, January 25, 2016
No matter what the mayor said, it just was not a good idea for some people to go to school today but I do understand keeping them open.
I propose the following procedure for these bad weather days when schools are open
1. No absences will be held against students. No tests will be given and no new, crucial material will be taught.
2. Teachers who deem it unsafe to get to work should be allowed, without any penalty to either use a sick day or a day without pay. No letters to file or notes on cards to indicate the teacher did not make it in. No special rewards for those who do show up.
Safety is a priority. In all my complaints about Principals, I never worked for one that did more than make nasty comments when we did not show up on snow days. I was lucky. I know not everyone is.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Saturday, January 23, 2016
The bus driver dropped this guy 3.5 miles from his stop after he asked to be told when the bus reached his stop. I hope he made it to his destination okay. Maybe some kind person picked him up.
Some of the drivers are filled with venom while others can't do enough to help. Too bad this guy had the former one.
Monday, January 18, 2016
An inquiry was done to determine why there were no African American students in the advanced placement math classes and why there were next to none in the honor and more advanced math classes. The inquiry also looked into the large number of these students in the lowest level classes.
Seniors of all races in all classes were studied. The person doing the study found that many African American students came to the school with high marks and standardized scores yet none of them advanced very far in the school. Caucasian and Asian students, sometimes with lower scores moved up.
Many years have passed since the inquiry was done. Nothing has changed. The people in charge should be ashamed of themselves. In fact, I hope they see themselves in this post. And, the teachers in the school should be ashamed because they have done nothing to change the situation.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Today I got this e-mail from a discontinued teacher who asked me to post here.
Disclaimer: At the time of this communication to Aimee Horowitz, there were essentially two things that I knew. 1) Myself and my fellow teacher were intentionally and deliberately set up. Ratings for the state and local measurements came in towards the end of the summer (after the discontinuance) and they were both effective. 2 I didn’t think for one second that Ms. Horowitz would entertain my request to meet with her. I wanted this story to get the publicity that it deserves. Aimee has demonstrated through her actions and inactions that she cares nothing about her teachers and certainly not the students that she represents. All she seems to be concerned about are the numbers for the schools that she oversees.
Dear Ms. Horowitz,
Hello Ms. Horowitz I am making one final request that you would kindly find some time in your schedule either this month or next where we would have the opportunity to briefly meet in your Staten Island office and discuss my situation. If you are unwilling to meet with me, or if I don’t hear back from you, then I’m not going to pursue this matter. I am in the process of moving on with my life, and my career. If you choose to ignore or discard this letter and pretend that I don’t even exist, then that is your prerogative but be advised that I intend to make this letter public because I think that people need to be aware of the abuses that are taking place in our schools by administration and it’s directly affecting people like me as well as our students. I am making this request to hopefully meet because I am in a somewhat depressed state as I look back at the four years that I’ve been teaching in the DOE at Richmond Hill, and all the experiences that I’ve had. I had initially planned on spending the rest of my teaching career in the city schools, and it’s very hard for me to accept the fact that’s it’s ended on a note like this after only four years of service. I just got married so it’s also been a disruption to the life of my spouse as well. In addition to discontinuing me from probationary service, you had originally wanted to recommend termination of my city license. For what reason I have absolutely no idea as there absolutely nothing in my personal file that was even remotely negative other than the four observational reports from January to June of this past year. You then reconsidered and decided just to pursue the discontinuance. I’m happy that you decided against the termination part, but unfortunately that does almost nothing for me. As outraged as I am and as egregious as your decision was, the one thing that I cannot say is that I was surprised. I spent the last couple of months documenting conversations, saving emails, and keeping records (including the 31 single spaced journal of all transactions between December and May that I set you back in June.)
Ms. Horowitz as I mentioned to you in the last email, I understand that you are/were in the unfortunate position where you felt that you had to discontinue a certain number of teachers. I do not believe that the high volume of candidates up for tenure and the number of discontinuances that you had to grant and/or look over in a relatively short time allowed you to spend adequate time evaluating each person’s portfolio and statistics in their entirety. I’m inclined to believe that that may not ben important to you anyway.. Ms. Horowitz I always look for the best in people, and I hope to believe that somewhere within you there is a decent human being that will what’s fair and proper. This is why I believe that a visitation is so essential. Even if you are unwilling to reverse your decision on my behalf…at least you will have all the facts.
With this letter I have attached a letter of recommendation that Mr. Neil Ganesh wrote for me last year highly commending me for the quality of my lessons as well as for my service and commitment to Richmond Hill and my community. I have also attached my satisfactory observation reports from 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 under the old “S’ and “U” rating system. I have attached my observational ratings under the Danielson system from last year 2013-2014. My overall score last year under this new system was a “77” I was “effective” in all three categories of local and state measurement. I had wanted to achieve tenure very badly and (although most of us were granted extensions at the end of last year) I was willing to work all the more harder this year. In addition to my ratings there’s other information you may not have known about me and if so then you certainly should have. I was never the subject of any investigation or inquiry. For the last three and a half years my file was completely clean. In my portfolio and in my personnel file there were over 24 letters of recognition commending me for my various services to the school. Last year I was rated “highly effective” under the domain of contributions to my school wide community, as well as growing and developing professionally. My attendance and punctuality were immaculate. (In the last four years I was only late once.)
Ms. Horowitz, the final piece of documentation that I have attached is my initial rating from this year where I scored a “2” out of “60” points. Ms. Horowitz with all due respect you must have questioned the gross gross inconsistency and believability of this score when evaluating my performance this year as compared to the last three years as something would appear seriously wrong. The last three years aside, that score all by itself should be enough to raise eyebrows as
Ms. Horowitz at this point in time I have nothing to gain or lose by being truthful about my situation, and I am not going to misrepresent the facts or tell somebody simply what they want to hear. It is my very strong opinion and the opinion of others as well that this year Mr. Ganesh felt that he needed to give a certain number of teachers poor ratings in order to artificially manipulate the school’s statistics favorable to him..as well as for the protection of his own job security due the political circumstances surrounding Richmond Hill. Whatever the case may be, my colleague and I were chosen as teachers to be targeted with poor ratings consequently leading up to both of our discontinuances. This was not an accident or a coincidental. It was very apparent that this was planned ahead of time and done very deliberately. Mr. Ganesh made that very obvious to us and others through his actions and through conversations that were had. (Just like me, my colleague was also an effective teacher with a previously unblemished pedagogical record prior to the arrival of Ms. Christine Peterson.) On numerous occasions Mr. Ganesh and Ms. Peterson were dishonest in their accounts of what took place in my classroom during the observations. (I can very easily substantiate this claim by offering numerous sources of evidence.) Between my colleague and I we both hold several graduate degrees and have been teaching for over a combined decade. In the DOE alone between the two of us there were over five years of solid effective teaching experience without any adverse ratings.
*I also want to make the point that I am not seeking to vilify or chastise people solely for the sake of doing so. Nor am I somebody that is oppositional to negative feedback. Perhaps one of my greatest strengths that I have always valued is being able to grow and self-evaluate based on collaboration and support from staff and supervisors. Unfortunately it was extremely obvious to me and everybody else who was aware of my situation that neither Mr. Ganesh nor Ms. Peterson had any intention of offering that support since their agenda seemed to be focused in precisely doing the opposite as they were very fixated and intent on getting rid of us.
My next point goes to the heart of my initial argument. *Even if Mr. Ganesh were to see my situation differently which I’m sure would be his first line of defense, then may I offer that there was absolutely no support whatsoever that was initiated by Ganesh and offered to my colleague and I this year.
If Mr. Ganesh truly was of the opinion and had a good faith basis to believe that under very peculiar and mysterious circumstances, two of his former teachers in a high need area with several years of very effective teaching practices/observations went 180 degrees from being these “dedicated, outstanding and fabulous teachers” in which he wrote a glorifying letter of recommendation for..to suddenly mysteriously turning into these incompetent ineffective teachers….than what measure of support has he offered? The answer is none.
*At no point this year was I ever questioned or conferenced in a meeting initiated by Mr. Ganesh regarding “his” perception of the drastic turn that the quality of my lessons were allegedly taking. *There was never any discussion had between myself and Mr. Ganesh over the possibility of a discontinuance. There was never any improvement plan that was implemented or even talked about. *Every email I sent him addressing my concerns pertaining to my observations was completely ignored by him. *When I complained about the lack of support that I was receiving, and the way that I was being treated by Ms. Peterson, Mr. Ganesh did absolutely nothing nor even acknowledged that he got my complaint. *Other than observations, there was never any classroom visitations conducted by Mr. Ganesh or Ms. Peterson for the purpose of improving instruction. *There was never any modeling or demonstrations done by either of them despite the fact that I asked for this many times throughout the year. *Mr. Ganesh was hardly in my classroom this year. He spent a total of approximately 35 minutes in my classroom this entire year for two observations (one formal and one informal.) *For the formal observation he spent a total of 15 minutes out of the 47 minutes of the period that he was in my classroom. Yet he spent the entire 47-65 minute period in the classroom for other teachers when their formals were conducted. When he was in my room he was very disengaged in the lesson and what was going on in the classroom and instead was busy on his blackberry.
*Most incomprehensible of all was that in the middle of January (three months before my discontinuance.) which was right around the time that all of this was going on, he agreed to write me a second letter of recommendation for the purpose of switching doctoral programs reaffirming my outstandingness and his own personal philosophy that he is always eager to support those seeking to strive in their mission for success. I soon realized that he had no intention of keeping his word as I was one of the people being targeted.
*None of the conversations or questions that should have been had or asked were. Every single action and inaction that we’ve all witnessed of Mr. Ganesh and his AP this past year would be a direct contradiction to their contention that we suddenly became ineffective ineffective teachers.
Most importantly, the timing of the observations and lack of feedback in a timely manner was a serious issue this year. When you started reviewing our portfolios towards the end of April there were only two observations that were conducted at that time for most people. For me and just about everybody else in my department, the observations themselves only started being conducted in the second half of the school year beginning in the late part of December and concluding by mid- May. The first observation was written up as entirely “ineffective” but then feedback was given one month later. The second observation which was the formal was conducted at the very end of March and the feedback was again given to me about a month later. The patterns of allowing so much time to elapse absent teacher support in which Ms. Peterson and Mr. Ganesh chose to conduct these observations were in my view extremely unprofessional and non- conducive to any form of growth. *This of course assuming that their opinion about the quality of my lessons is correct.
The last and final point that I wish to make is the working relationship that the ISS department had with Ms. Peterson this past year. I do not wish to sound slanderous or make any personal attacks, but Ms. Peterson’s attitude towards her staff, lack of knowledge, and unprofessionalism revealed to us all somebody who was highly unqualified to serve in her respective position as AP of ISS. Ms. Peterson has left a lasting impression on her department as well as the school in the very short time that she has been the head of ISS at Richmond Hill. Her substantial lack of knowledge of special education, vindictive nature, and her lack of empathy and abrasiveness towards her staff became the subject of great discussion amongst many staff members as well as students. Richmond Hill has its’ share of problems and the department was/is in need proper and professional leadership to ensure that we “as one” progress in a forward direction. (Not regress.) I say that because you might as well know that half the department is leaving specifically because of her. And the ISS department was a rather large one with close to 20 people. It was of very poor discretion of Mr. Ganesh to appoint her as AP when she had no immediate experience as AP of ISS prior to her appointment which was quite evident to us all in seeing how the department was being so severely mismanaged.
What really hurts the most about this whole experience is the length that both supervisors were willing to stoop down to when creating this false case against my colleague and me. Never was there any single moment in time this year when either Mr. Ganesh or Ms. Peterson offered any sort of support or guidance. As responsible and dedicated teachers we were the ones who attempted to go to them for support and it absolutely sickens me that our efforts were used against us by them.
Both Ms. Peterson and Mr. Ganesh were well aware of the consistent initiatives that my colleague and I often took when seeking to get support, and right after my first “ineffective” observation that was conducted in December, I became extremely concerned over the arbitrariness and dis-alignment to Danielson that the initial observation contained. Nevertheless I “initiated” weekly support meetings with Ms. Peterson for two purposes. Number 1: to cover my basis, and number 2: to improve instruction. Ms. Peterson ignored my request for several weeks and then finally one month later up until the end of the school year we met for a total of 9 times. I became concerned because despite the arranged visitations there was no feedback of substance being given, and the “ineffectives” just continued coming. I find it unlikely that the support sessions would have even been offered to us if we had not requested them in the first place considering how late in the year and sporadic the observations were when they were given. Perhaps if we hadn’t made this request, then the discontinuance would have been harder to grant.
It was absolutely disgusting to me beyond believe when I saw attached with the discontinuance letter Ms. Peterson’s log sheet detailing “her” version of what took place at the meetings which was riddled with inaccuracies and misleading claims (which can easily be substantiated by me) used as evidence against me by her and Mr. Ganesh making it appear as though they offered support but we were just so horrible that their effort was in vein. *My colleague and I both had several years of nothing but positive records and observational reports. We suddenly and unexpectedly started receiving nothing but ineffective ratings. As far as I know my colleague and I were the only two teachers in the entire ISS department who made arrangements to get weekly support. Despite our weekly visitations we were continuously and consistently rated “ineffective” and subsequently were the only two teachers in the department to be discontinued.
What are the chances of that happening?
I’m sure Ms. Horowitz that you can appreciate our perception in that there was clearly an ulterior motive had here, and that we see something seriously wrong with what took place this year. I personally am having a tremendously (tremendous is a gross understatement) hard time believing that the actions of Mr. Ganesh and Ms. Peterson were undertaken in good faith.
I’ll even entertain the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Even if there was no wrong doing here, perhaps our scenarios are a testament to and speak volumes about the levels of incompetence displayed and inability in the proper coaching and mentorship of those in need exhibited by Mr. Ganesh and Ms. Peterson this entire year that just passed.
The way that my colleague and I were treated by Ganesh and Peterson this year (as well as many other teachers and students in the building) was absolutely disgusting. Because of his inactions and wrong actions Mr. Ganesh lost all respect this year not only from my colleague and I, but also from many of his other staff members as well as his students, the parents of his students, and members of the community. His approval ratings amongst his staff is significantly lower that the citywide average. Mr. Ganesh has not earned the respect amongst his staff and community that he serves. The following websites videos would certainly indicate that that sentiment is shared by many:
You know what’s really sad and ironic about this whole experience superintendent Horowitz? Aside from our own personal tragedies, the most unfortunate thing about this whole experience is that my colleague and were only trying to help and do what’s best for our students. We were both dedicated teachers in the extreme and have been extremely active in effectively fulfilling our respective roles at Richmond Hill. Your discontinuing of us is not helping the school in the least, in fact I see it as being entirely counter-productive as we are likely to be replaced by somebody far less experienced or perhaps even less altruistic. My colleague and I hold more than one graduate degree and have been teaching for a combined decade. We’ve taught for a combined total of eight years in the DOE. Five of those eight years were completely effective. We were both highly effective in domains dealing with service to the school and taking on the responsibility of assuming leadership roles.
Ms. Horowitz, in conclusion I just want to mention that despite this very bad year, my experiences in my school have been positive for the vast majority of the time in the last four years that I’ve been there. I have had the pleasure of working with very good people. I have a tremendous respect for the majority of those in my line of work who are genuinely interested in changing the lives and minds of young people. Although my experience this year was not good, I am absolutely convinced that I consistently acted and displayed a level of professionalism, dedication, willingness to learn and grow, and deep commitment to my students and staff of whom I work with. Unfortunately this was not reciprocated. I have absolutely nothing to apologize about as I have done nothing that I am ashamed of or embarrassed about. Of course I feel that my rating this year should be erased from my record (I am presently fighting to have that happen) and I should be re-appointed with tenure. Assuming that’s not going to me case, I would like to at least be granted another year of probation. This will make the process of leaving Richmond Hill and securing a position elsewhere exponentially easier. I also think that there should be at minimum an inquiry directed at Mr. Ganesh for his role and compliance in this situation. When examining all of the evidence we all just can’t help but believe that Mr. Ganesh knowingly and deliberately violated his position of power by intentionally misusing the Danielson framework to achieve personal gain. Ms. Peterson was complicit in his act. What has me deeply concerned, is that if he was willing and able to do this to us, then I see no reason why they’re not willing to do it to other teachers in the future. Both individuals in my estimation are completely unworthy of their respective positions, and should be removed promptly as they are only dragging Richmond Hill deeper into the muck that it now finds itself.
If none of the above happen, than I may as well mention that my conscience is absolutely clear in knowing that I was discontinued due to circumstances beyond my immediate control and that I did absolutely everything that I possibility could to protect myself in such unfortunate times. I am happy to report that I have the love and support of those who knew of my situation, and unfortunately I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ms. Horowtiz, I sincerely hope that you are able to say the same.
Thank you for your time in reading my letter,
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
She works in a school with a lot of problems and is relieved to get out early and de-stress.
1:15 her phone beeps and she reads the message:
Five fights and a nine-inch knife.
She reads me the message and sighs. The school gets more and more dangerous every day.
2:15 it beeps again:
Another two fights. The Principal is considering rapid dismissal.
So, what does rapid dismissal do? It sends the fights from the school to the street. The troubled students go into nearby stores and wreak havoc on the employees and the patrons. If the students they were fighting with are in the store, they continue fights there. The principal doesn't care. He has solved his problem and he has gotten through another day without incidents to report to the police. His school will retain its high ratings and he will go the the community talking about how he maintains such a successful school.
The school aide who received the texts knows otherwise. While on hall duty she smells the pot, witnesses the crap games and turns her eyes away from the groping going on. She is not equipped to stop it and knows the administration would do nothing to back her up. She is counting the days until retirement.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Today's Daily News praises the city's 70% Graduation rate. What a joke. It is a mystery to me and every other teacher why none of the so called reporters never bother to investigate why this graduation rate keeps going up. And, since they never report the truth behind these rates I will do so here.
Increased graduation rates work on the see saw principle, one side goes up while the other goes down. Put a heavy weight on the down side to keep the other rates up. Heavy cheating raises rates. Education in NYC high schools is becoming non existent. When a special education student with a kindergarten reading and math levels suddenly scores 80's on regents exams something is very wrong. A look into any community college will see too many classrooms filled with remedial students.
Cheating is rampant, not only in special education, but everywhere. Credit recover programs, boot camps and other nonsense programs raise percentages but do nothing for education. It is time for newspapers to look at why graduation rates are going up instead of praising meaningless numbers.
Thursday, January 07, 2016
As I read this Dilbert cartoon this morning, I thought of school grades. When too many students were failing regents, raw passing scores were lowered. When kids failed classes, they were able to make them up by doing online assignments (or usually by having others do the assignments for them) or by showing up for two weeks at some Mickey Mouse class. I even heard of an AP who let kids sign in for a gym class and then go to a room to have a teacher do the online assignment
The school is highly rated because it keeps graduation rates high. It doesn't matter that kids are graduating knowing nothing and prepared for nothing and expect the world to keep operating in the same manner.