Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Owen Update

Hi, I'm Owen. I looked up my transcript online and I already know my score for the trigonometry regent. I got a 98. I tried to contact school today. But no one answered

Do you know when the counselor will be available or should I wait until the first day of class to see Guardian Angel?

How can anyone not love a kid like this? Not only did he study on his own, he followed through by contacting the school early enough to make sure he is programmed correctly. And, when he couldn't get through to the school, he contacted me!

We both had no luck finding Guardian Angel's contact information but I did have another person for him to contact. I sent him the information and I know Owen will be well cared for. The original plan was for Owen to be in the AB class, but seeing the 98 he got on his own, I am hoping they will find a spot for him in BC.

Possible Income

I got the following in an e-mail. I don't know anything about this guy or his company, but I don't mind sharing his link because it might help out others. Look, if you want, but keep in mind, this is not a recommendation.

Hello “Pissed of Teacher”,

I was wondering if you could forward an opportunity to your fellow teachers on my behalf. SIS International Research is currently conducting a survey geared towards elementary and middle school teachers and their use of technology. If the teacher passes the prequalification survey: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e305zlesgdbprs4w/start they are eligible to participate in our paid interview, which pays $125 per interview. If you could please call or email us, it would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
Andrew Foley

SIS International Research
11 East 22nd Street -Floor 2
New York, NY 10010
Phone: +1 (212) 505-6805
White papers: www.marketintelligences.com
Website: www.sismarketresearch.com
Celebrating 25 Years of Maximizing Client Value


We have been getting phone calls from a company claiming to be Brooklyn Union. They want to come in an give us a free evaluation of our chimney. The evaluation is free because of our age. This didn't sit right with me for three reasons.
1. We have Con Edison Gas, not Brooklyn Union.
2. The caller used the name my phone number is listed under, not the name my Con Ed bill comes from.
3. Con Edison does not know our ages.
4. When I called the number on the caller ID, I got a random answering service, a service that answers for many companies, not just Brooklyn Union and the area code was 631.

Beware: Ignore calls from Brooklyn Union and be wary of the number (631) 940-8501

Monday, August 30, 2010


I'll take this Rotweiller over a chihuahua any day of the week. This dog is smart and sweet.

Surprise, Surprise

Last year I found out what I was teaching by checking ARIS. Up until today, only last year's classes came up. Today I am getting nothing. Could this mean a program will actually be set up before we go back? Will we have access to it? I guess I will have to wait for the big day to find out.

The State Of Education

I can think of lots of guys to put on the top.

Thanks to my husband for sharing this.

My Pics

My photos must be better than I think. Quite a few of the bridesmaids and the bride have changed their facebook pics to one I took at the wedding. It feels good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Please Support Him

A teacher is leaving teaching to try his hand at music. he took his home made CD's to Nashville, and made the right connections.
He was a fantastic teacher and the kids will miss him.
Read his story here, at and check out his CD, pictured above.

Home Again

We just got home from Baltimore and although I am tired, the draw of the computer is stronger than the draw to my bed where my husband and cat are peacefully snoring away. (We were originally coming back tomorrow but the thought of Sunday traffic scared us into leaving early.)

Surprisingly, I took very few pictures. We really didn't do much that was picture worthy. The trip was great nevertheless. We got to spend lots of time with both kids and their very special friends. I put the few pics I took on here. My son and his girl friend are posted below. (None this time of daughter.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Happiness is being in Baltimore with my two children and their respective boy/girl friends. It is good to see them both with great people.

Change For The Sake Of Change

I just made my dad buy some new underwear. His old stuff was yellowed and had holes in it. In spite of his protests, there was a good reason to force him to make the change. Now, there will be no embarrassment at doctor appointments.

The DOE must have a plan to reform failing schools. The two plans being considered right now are called Turnaround Schools and Transitional Schools. Both plans call for the replacement of at least half the staff and the principal. My dad threw away only the underwear that was unusable. He didn't use a 50% rule. His rule made sense. He replaced what didn't work with something that did. Arbitrarily deciding to change staff the way the federal government is telling schools to makes no sense.

Trying to fix schools is a good thing but this random method of changing staff is not.

(Queens Tribune 8/ 19/2010)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nothing To Plan For

Not saying I want to do any school work, but it would be nice to know what I was teaching so I could if I wanted to. We all know that the what we were told in June has little or no resemblance to what will be in September.

The sad thing is the problem is not unique to NYC. My friend Ricochet, in a state far away, went through the same thing.


Tenisha scared the crap out of me when I first actually noticed her in my remedial math class last term. She was taking the first exam and had written 8 + 7 = 12 and she seemed clueless when I told her to check for an arithmetic mistake in the problem she was doing. I was quite surprised when I marked the exam and saw she did not do as bad as I expected from our initial encounter.

As the term wore on, I made it a point to get to know Tenisha better and I discovered that she was a real math phobic. Her home works and her class works were impeccable but somehow, she while passing all her exams, she did not do very well on them.

In order to pass and move on, students need a 75 average in the class, a minimum grade of 55 on a uniform final and a passing score on a computer generated exit exam. Midyear I felt she was not ready. I was afraid another failing grade would be a major set back for her but I did not feel that way when the term ended. (She got an 87 on the final.) I was surprised when I got an e-mail from her last week telling me she had failed the exit exam but was going to retake it after attending the mandatory week long workshop. I immediately made arrangements to meet her the day before the exam so I could answer any of her questions and boost her ego.

Well, I just got an e-mail from Tenisha. SHE PASSED! It just so happens I am teaching the course she needs this semesters. I already gave her an over tally sheet and am looking forward to having her as a student this term.

Students like Tenisha keep me going.

(Picture is the road leading down the crater on the way to Eilat. This was a beautiful but scary trip.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Multi Tasking

Listening to South Bronx broadcast and having the need to do more than one thing at a time, I put some Israel pics on facebook.

Free Stuff

I love getting stuff for free, even if it means I have to lay out the money. Sometimes that is even better because in a few weeks I get a check in the mail and that feels like found money.
Pictured above is this week's Rite Aid loot. You never know when you will have a pain somewhere.

Gay Protest Signs

Thanks to Curmudgeon for posting this. I hope he doesn't mind my sharing it.

Confucious Says...

When the Great Way prevailed, the world community was equally shared by all. The worthy and able were chosen as office-holders. Mutual confidence was fostered and good neighborliness cultivated. Therefore people did not regard as parents only their own parents, nor did they treat children only their own children. Provision was made for the aged till their death, the adult were given employment, and the young enabled to grow up. Old widows and widowers, the orphaned, the old and childless, as well as the sick and the disabled were all well taken care of. Men had their proper roles and women their homes. While they hated to see wealth lying about on the ground, they did not necessarily keep it for their own use. While they hated not to exert their effort, they did not necessarily devote it to their own ends. Thus evil schemings were repressed, and robbers, thieves and other lawless elements failed to arise, so that outer doors did not have to be shut. This was called the age of Great Harmony (Ta Tung)

While in Chinatown last week, I stumbled across this statue of Confucius. Being alone gave me the time to read and reread his words until they were engraved in my mind.

The words highlighted above stood out in my mind. Provisions are made to care for the old, the sick, the disabled and the orphaned. Jobs are provided for all. Wealth was used for the good of all.

The DOE scorns the old. Too many years in the system, especially with an unscrupulous principal can mean verbal abuse, a "U" rating or even an all expense paid trip to the rubber room (or whatever they decide to use to replace that hell hole) Extra money now is used to fund those elite charter schools run by big business and the cronies of Bloomberg and Klein.

I don't know much about what Confucius stood for, or how right or wrong many of his philosophies were, but I liked what I read here and I wish there was a way to get others to accept and practice it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

South Bronx Teacher

Tomorrow night South Bronx Teacher is having an extra special show.

AJ Duffy, president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles will be joining him as they discuss last week's hit piece in the LA Times.

Feel free to call in.

Showtime is August 26 at 10 PM.


Call in # is (917) 932-8721

Andy Warhol Attempt

Sleep is not my friend so I played with some photos I took in LA. Not my best, they were taken through the Dollar Store window and I had trouble getting rid of the glare.

Guess you can call it my Andy Warhol attempt. Anyway, I put them on facebook.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Waste

So we got Race to The Top Money, big deal. Will the money be used to lower class size? Will the money be used to provide individual instruction? Will the money be used so children will not sit in substandard trailers, bathrooms, hallways, NO!!!!!!!

From Gotham Schools: New York City expects to see between $250 and $300 million of the total. City officials are just beginning to plan exactly how they will allocate those funds within the state’s overall plan, Chancellor Joel Klein said today. While some districts will have to spend heavily to catch up with New York City, city officials suggested that they would pour the new funds into new initiatives, especially developing the assessments that will soon count for 20 percent of teachers’ evaluations.

For example, the state has proposed using $60 million of the Race to the Top funds on building a new statewide database system modeled on the city’s ARIS system. But the city has already spent more than $80 million on ARIS.

It doesn't matter that the money came too late to save teaching positions, provide new programs or give summer instruction. Teacher evaluations and data analysis are all that matters. And Obama is saying teachers are important. He might also try to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge.


Should Catholics also be accused of being terrorists because of this priest? While we are at it, should we also blame the police and the British government because they were behind the cover up?

Like A Chicken Without A Head

So Arne Duncan wants to reform schools but he's running around like a chicken without a head trying to do it. He has no clue as to what schools need. His answers are close them down, open charters and fire teachers, reopen them as charter schools. Finally, just a few short weeks before New York schools reopen and several weeks after many other states have opened schools, money has been awarded to states to give the schools the makeover they need, money that was given too late to make a difference

Wiki answers says that a decapitated chicken may continue to run and flap its wings for some time, although it has no purpose. People who respond inefficiently or seem disconnected are referred to as a headless chicken. For more on the fiasco, known as education today, go see

In other education news, Newsday has an article about the Obama administration reaching out to teachers. He claims teachers "are the single most important ingredient in the education system" but he talks from two sides of his mouth and no matter what Weingarten (AFT) or Van Roekel (NEA) say, he is still sending out the wrong messages.

Cheap Newsday does not allow non subscibers access to their paper , so the article is copied below:

Obama reaches out to teachers
Originally published: August 23, 2010 9:22 PM
By KENDRA MARR. Politico.com

In the past few weeks, President Barack Obama delivered two major speeches touting education reforms. He invited teachers to the Rose Garden and pushed the House to pass an emergency spending bill saving thousands of school jobs. This week, his education chief is traveling on a cross-country bus tour to highlight school success stories.

"Teachers," Obama said in Ohio last Wednesday, "are the single most important ingredient in the education system."

The White House says it's a back-to-school message that fits squarely into the president's plan for economic recovery, stressing the role of educators in shaping a competitive American workforce.

But all this apple polishing hasn't gone unnoticed by teachers' unions, which have had a rocky relationship with the White House over Obama's unflinching support for reforms that unions view as an affront.

After 18 months of frosty relations that at times bordered on outright hostility, it seems Obama has called a truce - one that several education experts said comes just in time for the midterm elections, when teachers' unions can be a powerful Democratic ally.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan disputed that there's any political motivation. "This is part of that continued outreach," he told Politico.

Yet, as Obama's outreach has continued, tensions have simmered down.

"In the last month, there's been a shift in tone," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Obama's recent speeches, she said, have "made it clear that his strategies were not about firing teachers."

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, whose group's recent convention included several speakers calling for Duncan to resign, downplays the notion of a major mood swing, but said Obama's recent pro-teacher language has been appreciated.

"He's recognizing that the very thing he cares most deeply about can't happen without the involvement and collaboration of those people who are teaching," Van Roekel said. "I like the message he's sending."

Obama and Duncan have presided over historic increases in school financing and hastened changes, such as new teacher evaluation systems in states and school districts, often with the cooperation of local unions.

At the same time, this Democratic president has aggressively confronted teachers' unions with a spate of reforms out of a Republican playbook: more charter schools, merit pay for teachers and firing educators in failing schools.


Would have loved to post this here, but the characters might be recognizable so I put it here instead. Apologies to those without access.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Overcoming Fear

I am so afraid of getting sea sick that I avoided my friend's boat for years. What a big mistake. Yesterday, armed with a Dramamine, I braved the bay from West Islip to Fire Island. It was fantastic.

Pictures here, on facebook. Above picture taken from the top of the lighthouse.

Political Statement

The Nazis came to power on propaganda, lies and exaggerations. They blamed all the problems in the world on the Jews and people joined the attempt to annihilate an entire race.

They say learning history prevents it from happening again yet the same thing is happening today. The difference is Muslims are replacing Jews as the focus of our anger and hatred. This week, I got an e-mail with pictures of Muslims, in the thousands, blocking traffic while praying in midtown Manhattan. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would have known the picture was Photo Shopped, but that did not stop its circulation. Now, more and more people are insisting Obama is a Muslim, while in fact, he is a Christian and truthfully, why does his religion even come into the picture. Teh job he is doing as president, whether you like it or not is nto relgion based. Our Israeli tour guide kept saying that if you tell a lie often enough people start believing it. He said Israel's biggest problem right now are the lies that are being told about its right to exist. The lies and rumors being perpetuated about Muslims are a great problem here.

The World Trade Center and the other terrorist activities were conducted by people, sick evil people who happen to be Muslims. Let's not forget that these extremist represent a very small part of the people who practice this religion. Let's stop looking at all Muslims as if they have bombs under their clothing. Let's stop before people start calling for their internment. Let's not have a repeat of what happened to our Japanese citizens during World War II. Let's remember that they are people like you and me, parents who are here to provide a good life for themselves and their children. They are productive members of society, no different than any in the throngs of those evil protests. It is time to stop behaving like Nazis and start behaving like the Americans we are.

The Summer School Story

Summer school, no matter how you look at it, is a waste. It is impossible to learn and retain anything in such a short period of time. I know. When I was in college, and sick of going to school, I decided to do summer school. I thought it would be a good way to get a bunch of credits out of the way fast. I did just that. Unfortunately, the credits I got out of the way were for courses I needed to learn and learn well. Calculus 3 was one of them, philosophy another. I got the credits alright and I even got A's but I retained nothing I learned. It was only when I retook the courses years later that I gained an understanding of what I had taken then.

I bitched a few weeks ago about a summer school program that ran only three weeks. I have since learned more about the program and, in the interest of fairness, I feel I must present both sides.

The three week summer program was not being run as a typical summer program where kids did little or nothing, got a grade, and then earned two credits which makes up the entire year. In the past everyone could go to summer school, whether they did some work over the year and learned something or did no work and learned nothing. This three week program was run as a credit recovery program, still sucky except it was only open to kids who got 50's or 55's, kids who almost passed during the year. And, instead of two credits and a grade, the kids got 1 credit and no grade, a slight improvement. After the three weeks were up, everyone had a week off and then many of the students were invited back for regents prep in small groups. The philosophy behind this was simple. First, this was the way summer school was being done in those small schools everyone seems to love and in order to keep up and stop the government from coming in and taking over, this school had to run things the same way. Second, all kids, not only the rich are entitled to individual help and this was a good way to give it to them. Of course, kids still got away with doing little or nothing. Kids who were absent too much the first three weeks got called in and were allowed to make up those days, still giving them the ability to gain credits on their own terms.

And now, my opinion: Credit for nothing is not a good thing, no matter what it is called. Yet, looking at the reasoning behind this program, I understand it. What really sucks is the push to get everyone through, no matter how little they know. What sucks is the fear of failure everyone is under and this fear that pushes schools to do things that are not educationally sound. What sucks is having a whole bunch of people who know nothing about education calling the shots. Under this theory, big business should be calling the plays for the NY Yankees.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strange Sex

Too much free time has me watching some strange stuff. I've spent hours watching the food channel although I hate to cook and am not much of an eater. I love Say Yes To The Dress although no one I know is getting married soon. I'm addicted to What Not To Wear, although I will never give up my sweats. I can't get enough of the HGTV's home improvement shows although I have no intention of doing anything with my house but Saturday night's show takes the cake. Being bored and not into any of this stuff, I started watching TLC's Strange Sex. The fetishes and problems people have don't bother me but it amazes me how they can go on television and be so open about some of these things. One guy got off on balloons and was proud of showing this on television. I wonder how this would go down with a future employer. Another guy actually was talking about cougar sex and allowed his young children to be part of the show

Maybe I am just getting old but some things you just don't discuss on television. And, why am I admitting I watched this stuff?

Chihuahua In Charge

The little chihuahua was feeling mighty important because the warden decided to put him in charge of his section of the pound. He walked around with his head in the air, squeaking orders at everyone around. He strutted around with his head and tail held high and had not a care in the world as the warden was always around to pick up the doo doo dogs tend to leave behind. One day the warden was called away and chihuahua was left all alone in the pound. The doo doo began to pile up and he had no idea what to do. All the little poo bags were way up high, the ladder was hidden and the warden could not be reached to help. The other dogs barked loudly. They did not like living in a room full of feces. They surrounded chihuahua and demanded answers. Chihuahua was scared. He put his head and tail down and whimpered away. He found a small corner where he remained until the warden arrived the following day.

To Be An Authentic Leader....

"To be an authentic leader requires you to be genuine and to have a passion for your purpose; you must practice your values, lead with your heart, develop connected relationships, and have the self-discipline to get results."

I got this off of a friend's facebook page. I don't know where she quoted this from, but I loved it and wanted to share it here. I hope she doesn't mind. I don't think she will.

(Not being able to sleep is a bitch! I can't believe I am doing this at 3:40 in the morning.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Life is too short to not spend time with those we love. Pictured above, from left to right is the boy friend's great aunt, the boy friend, my daughter and my dad (her grandpa.) We all had a great visit and a nice lunch today.
(Full pictures on my real facebook page.)

If You Snooze You Lose

Don't blink or you will miss too many years. It seems like only yesterday the bride and my daughter were playing together.
Best wishes to the happy couple for a long, wonderful life together.

Teacher Appreciation Day At Staples

I just went to Staples to pick up my free teacher appreciation loot. The stuff this year wasn't as good as last year's booty but free is free and I am not an ingrate.

While there I saw a demonstration of crayons Crayola just put out for dry erase boards. They were great. They have no smell, and no caps and cannot dry up when they are needed the most so there is no need to worry when the Principal or AP decides to drop in for an unexpected observation. The price was great too, $3.99 for a package of 8 plus an eraser.

My problem--I have no idea as to what room I will be in next term, whether I will have a chalk board or a white board or a smart board or any board so I put the purchase on hold. (No programs yet either. I was given one set of classes, and promised another but until I see anything in writing I am doing no prep work.)

BTW--my daughter showed up this weekend with a math nerd clock similar to the one Math Teacher Mambo just purchased. Since I don't have a classroom, I'll put it up at home. My girl really knows how to make me happy.

The Question I Cannot Ask


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Gap

Klein is still bragging about closing the racial gap in education. He should walk into any community college in New York City, look at the demographics in remedial math and English classes then make the same statement. I don't understand why the reporters who listen to him don't do this as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life Is Too Short To Stay Home Or To Work

Walking under the Manhattan Bridge today, camera in hand as usual, this young guy asked me to take his picture and put it in the paper. I promised to put it here, the next best thing I could do and gave him the address so he could find it. Hope he looks.

I thought about asking to proctor regents and mark exams as I have been spending so much money this summer and could use the extra cash but the thought quickly slipped my mind when I realized how few days were left for me to roam the city I love. There are still so many places I have to hit and being away so much really cut into my city time.

Today's adventure started in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Last summer I walked the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge so this year I was determined to walk the last remaining one from the borough I know little about. (Still on the agenda is walking the 59th St Bridge.) Getting there was easy, the F train to Delancy and then my choice of trains to the Marcy St station. I explored the neighborhood a little before I hit the bridge. From there, I wandered down to the lower East Side and found a fantastic hole in the wall Chinese place (Prosperity Dumpling located at 46 Eldridge St) for lunch. I had a sesame pancake with vegetables, only $1.25 which was one of the best things I ever ate. I walked under the Manhattan Bridge and checked out the fruit and vegetable vendors, wandered a bit more, headed up to Canal Street for watch batteries and then continued on through Little Italy, SOHO, the Village and finally wore out at 14th and 6th where I caught the subway home. I just finished editing my pictures and posted them on facebook. I do it for me because I am sure everyone is sick of looking at my pictures.

We Are All Workers

From a billboard on Houston St.

Not How But Why

Last October a geometry class was formed for all the kids who were either in over sized geometry classes, in the wrong math class, or in no math class at all.

Owen was one of those kids who had no geometry class. He entered the class even later than the other kids. I worried about how he was ever going to catch up as we just finished the logic unit when he arrived. My worry was unwarranted. He took the book, studied on his own and aced the test, as he aced every test after that one and the regents. I tried to get him into an honor class but thanks to our illustrious education mayor and his tightwad budget, this was impossible.

In June I suggested Owen double up in math, and take pre-calculus along with trigonometry in the coming term. He was game but was told the pre-calc classes were filled so he was out of luck. I went to the "guardian angel " of students ,who upon hearing all I had to say, suggested Owen study on his own, take the regents in the summer and then come back and take AP calculus. At first he was nervous, but then agreed to give it a try. I got him some books and told him to e-mail me any questions. I even promised to meet him if he needed any extra help.

Well, busy summer and all made me forget Owen until I got this e-mail last week:

Hi, I am Owen, I almost done studying for the trigonometry regent. There is one thing I don't understand which is the ''Bernoulli experiment or binomial probability''
For example, in the trigonometry regent of June 2010,
(http://nysedregents.org/a2trig/20100615exam.pdf ) question 36 , it uses the binomial probability formula to solve it. However, I want to know the reason why it involves ''combination'' -Thank you. .

I saw, from this letter, how right I was about this boy. How many kids want to not only know how, but why? I know he will ace the test. I am sure we will have to call on the "guardian angel" again to get him placed in the proper class. There is a certain devil that might try to keep him out of it. I forgot to mention that Owen is a recent immigrant from Argentina. He is living with an aunt in NYC

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tiberias Pictures

Just started putting some pictures from Israel in an album go bored and decided I'd rather share on facebook. You can see them here.

Something I Hate

Losing body parts.

(Picture from Karmiel, Israel from the sculpture Holocaust to Redemption)

Apologies For The Deleted Comment

I want to apologize to the anonymous commenter whose second comment I accidentally deleted. The first comment was deliberately deleted due to its nasty nature. Often, while commenting and writing on blogs, we hit the publish button too fast, before proofing what has been written. So commenter, please keep correcting but do it in a nicer way if you want to see your words published. This is my blog and I would rather see poor English than obnoxious words.

Too Cute

I went to wake my husband and found Larry snoozing under the covers with him. The air conditioner was going full force so the poor little guy must have been cold. It was just too cute not to take a picture of. Both of them held the position while I got the camera.

How To Spend A Summer Vacation

Poked, prodded, inspected, scanned, x-rayed and even cut.

This is what happens to teachers every summer as they go to all different sorts of doctors to get checked out while they have time.

Not a fun way to spend the summer. At least I managed to squeeze some fun things in too.

(Picture is my husband lying on the water proof bed on the patio outside our room in Eilat.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rest Of My Photos

Put up the rest of the photos--the trip to Saranac, White Face Mountain and High Falls Gorge.

If anyone is interested, you can see them here on facebook.

The Gap Is As Wide As Ever

If Klein and Bloomberg really looked at schools they would see the racial gap is as big, possibly bigger than it has ever been. They would not have had to rely on meaningless statistics. To say the gap is narrowing, they would need to look further than their meaningless statistics and look at advanced placement and honor classes. Those classrooms are still lacking students of color. Look at the students participating in Intel and other research competitions, point out the diversity and I will eat these words.

The headline and the article, Triumph Fades on Racial Gap in City Schools, is right on the money.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lake Placid

We took a cruise on Lake Placid and got to see the homes of the rich, real rich. Some of these homes are only used 4 days a year. Some only have access by boat. Here are a few of my favorite pictures, posted of course, on facebook.

We Are Graduating Illiterates

Finally, what I and thousands of others have been saying for years. Anyone who doubts the validity of this should just pay a visit to any community college math class. And, it does not have to be a remedial one, although I will begin this post with a few thoughts on some of these.

Last semester I taught a second term remedial class at the college. We began with close to 30 students. From the 30, I managed to hold on to about 20 (and this took great effort). Out of the 20, approximately 8 got through and this was better than average. Many of the students had no idea as to what was expected. They were used to make up exams, extra credit, calculators and being allowed to be out as much as they wanted. They were used to not doing homework. In other words, they got used to being passed for doing nothing and they expected this to continue.

Now, the first real class for credit, the one that comes right after the remedial course, the course taken if the student scored at least a 75 on the algebra regents. Those students coming from the remedial class usually do okay in this class, not great but they manage to get through. Those coming from high school are usually not so fortunate. More often than not, this class is taken at least twice, sometimes more. The students cannot factor, or graph. They cannot even handle signed numbers, yet the high schools have determined they are competent enough to graduate. Even the pre-calculus course that comes next finds these students struggling. The foundation they needed in high school and earlier was never built. Like the buildings built on swamps, these students are tumbling down.

The high schools had to do this. If not, they would have had lower graduation rates and the city would have shut them down. Luckily, the colleges still have standards.

So now more money is being spent to generate reports showing what every high school and every college teacher has known for years. What a joke! What a travesty! What a waste! There will still be no real plan in place to help. Yes, there will be a change in curriculum and there will be something else to hold teachers accountable for but there will be nothing else. Nothing changes but the name of the game.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bills, Bills, Bills

Home from vacation and only one bill waiting to be paid. True, we were only gone 3 days (and mail only came twice) but it was still a nice change from the usual. No Visa or Master Card bills yet, those I am afraid of. I can't believe how much money I go through every summer. I should think about getting a part time job until school starts. (Notice the word should not would.) Maybe I should just take in laundry. Once work begins, the spending will subside. Just three more short weeks to help the economy.

(Pictures from my Saranac walk in the woods Day 1 posted here, on facebook.

Red Meat

A friend recently was telling me about his vacation, his love of red meat and how much of it he got to eat on his trip. His story reminded me of a very "red" moment of mine.

When my son was small, he was happiest when I took him, not to a toy store or an amusement park, but to a supermarket, and in particular, Waldbaum's. (Don't ask me why, the child was and still is a little strange.) Anyway, on one particular day, he got a bug up his rear and, in the middle of the store, began to chant "RED MEAT, I WANT RED MEAT". Nothing I said stopped him. I didn't (and still don't) buy red meat often (I prefer not eating it and my daughter would not eat it) and the little that I did buy came from the Kosher butcher, not the supermarket. People stared. I felt like a was going to be charged with child abuse.

He didn't get his red meat that day or any day soon after. The day was long ago,and I thought forgotten until I heard the words "red meat" again. I guess this is something I will never get over. He never got over his love of red meat either but since he is now an adult, living on his own, he can get all the red meat he wants.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Having It All

I thought I would have it all if only there was an outlet on the porch to plug in my computer.

My husband noticed the outlet and brought me the chord.

I do have it all, at least for the moment.

(Pictured above is the woodpecker I saw on this morning's walk. He had it all too.)

I'm Never Satisfied

I am sitting on the porch of our beautiful cabin gazing at the mountains and a magnificent marsh while I download pictures and blog. I just took the most amazing shower. The stall would easily hold three people (if I was into that), there is a seat, four powerful jets on the wall and a humongous shower head. Yesterday I used the jacuzzi tub (which only holds two). Unfortunately, I flooded the bedroom while filling it, but that is another story. We've taken a cruise on Lake Placid, eaten well and climbed White Face Mountain.

All this and I am not satisfied. This is my last planned vacation of the summer and I want more. I always want more. My poor husband is worn out. He's looking forward to my return to work so he can rest. Still, there are a few weeks left. There has got to be more.

(Pictures from yesterday posted here on facebook. Picture--One of the camps on Lake Placid

With Money Comes Strings

When you take money from someone, that someone has a hold on you. They get to tell you what you can or can't do, what you can or can't eat and even when you can or can't go to the bathroom. I know I am exaggerating but fact is fact. My friend's parents used to support her, even though she was an adult and the restrictions they put on her were unbelievable. They had no idea as to the life a young adult woman led.

The Feds are becoming like my friend's parents. They are giving money to some failing schools to keep them afloat but the money is not coming without the strings. And, like my friend's parents, the Feds have no idea as to what the schools need. These government officials are making policies that have little or nothing to do with education. I was told by someone in the know that "they are making this stuff up as they go along."

Staff and administrators are being let go indiscriminately. We all have to worry. No one is safe. The "A" school of today might end up being the "D" school of tomorrow. Our only hope is to keep ahead of the times. We have to make sure we are self supporting to make sure we keep self governing.
(Picture--Saranac at 6:30 AM)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Saranac Lake

I can't believe I actually won this trip. We are in Ampersand Bay, in Saranac Lake. The resort is spectacular. Pictures posted here on facebook.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hell's Kitchen

I thought I was familiar with the this area, I am in it often enough but I was wrong. I haven't walked west of 9th Ave in a very long time.

Last night, while waiting to see Love, Loss and What I Wore (fantastic--five women on stage telling a story--recommended for women only) we wandered over to 10th Ave and walked a few blocks up and around. Great looking restaurants with outdoor seating areas, tree lined streets, new and quaint old construction. I'm only sorry I only had my little Olympus camera.

I put the pictures on Facebook.

And Money Is Tight?

This story, from today's NY Post needs no commentary. It speaks for itself.

Grade-A dunces dumping desks

Posted: 3:34 AM, August 12, 2010

Here's one way to flunk economics.

Officials at a downtown public school wastefully threw out hoards of pricey desks, chairs, cabinets and other classroom furniture yesterday despite steep budget cuts to city schools.

Residents who live near the Greenwich Village Middle School on Hudson Street said they watched in horror as sanitation workers crushed more than 50 pieces of perfectly good furniture -- and perhaps twice that -- in the back of a garbage truck.

"It was perfectly good stuff. It should be used and not thrown away," fumed local business owner Richard Butensky. "There were a lot of desks -- at least 50 -- and those were all destroyed."

The damage would have been worse if Robert Nassau -- whose wife runs a new private school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, called the Greene Hill School -- hadn't rescued dozens of items lined up on the block ready to be pulverized.

He quickly hired and filled a truck full of the salvaged furniture -- at a cost of more than $600 -- after getting the OK from the sanitation guys.

"I just wanted to save the stuff from the trash. I saved half of what was there, maybe less," said Nassau, 38, who snagged about 100 desk chairs, standup cabinets, filing cabinets and bookshelves.

"It was either going to go to a private school or to a landfill," he added. "This will serve hundreds of parents and teachers and children -- it will make [them] very happy."

Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said the Greenwich Village Middle School already took most of its furniture out of the building for its new site at 26 Broadway -- a move sparked by the need for more space.

She said PS 3, which shares the Hudson Street building with the middle school, also salvaged some of the furniture.

"Other pieces that were left were not usable," she wrote in an e-mail. "All the pieces that were not usable were removed from the school today."

After being told that much of the furniture had been salvaged and that The Post had photos showing it to be in great condition, Feinberg responded, "Many pieces were either not usable either because they were in poor condition or inappropriate for elementary-school students."

The move that some witnesses referred to as "boneheaded" comes just one week after DOE bureaucrats tossed thousands of books out of a shuttered Manhattan Catholic school being used to house a public school in the fall.

It also comes after the city took drastic steps to plug a $500 million schools budget gap -- including cutting individual school budgets by an average of 4 percent and booting 5,000 kids off yellow-bus service.

Last year, school budgets were slashed by nearly 5 percent.

The funding situation was also so dire at the state level that officials eliminated the annual fifth- and eighth-grade social-studies tests to save a meager $800,000.

"What are they doing throwing all this perfectly good furniture away with the economy the way it is?" said Irene Papoutsis, 30, who took video footage of yesterday's trashing because she was so upset about it.

She questioned why the city wasn't at a minimum seeking to recycle the furniture rather than shipping its remnants to a landfill -- but said it was in such good quality that it never should have been tossed in the first place.

"It was definitely usable. The stuff was in great condition," said Papoutsis, who recently worked in a Bronx private school. "These desks were better than what they're using there."

Her video footage shows stacks of chairs and school desks and other metal and wooden classroom furniture lined up along Hudson Street as far as the camera can see.

It shows sanitation workers tossing student desks one after the other and then a 4-by-6-foot wooden table -- with no visible damage -- into the garbage-truck compressor.

"People are mad," Papoutsis said in narration to her spontaneous film footage.

An e-mail to Greenwich Village Middle School principal Kelly McGuire -- which with the move is being renamed the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School -- was met with an automatic "out of office" reply.


Best Public Restroom

Real post coming soon, but for now I have to share pictures from the Muse Hotel bathroom on 46th St between 6th and 7th Ave. Each booth (except for one) has its own sink and each has its own unique design. There is also a common sink. Even the door handles are unique. I read about this bathroom when I went to vote for the one in Bryant Park -- best public rest room so I had to go see it. This one beats that one by miles, although it is not nearly as public.
More picture here but they don't do the place justice. Go visit yourself if you are in the area.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Mayor Moneybags Became the Education Mayor


Too Tired To Think

Up at 3:00 AM putting Eilat pictures on facebook.
(Above picture was taken outside my hotel room. I liked it so much I am using the entire thing on my real facebook page.

Page A Day Calendar Quote

"Life was meant to be lived and curiosity must be kept alive."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Insomnia Sucks

It's is 3 AM. I can't stand not being able to sleep.

(Picture--Eilat at night)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Success Story

Heat and lack of cooking interest brought us to our favorite pizza place for dinner tonight--Gaby's, where I not only had the best pizza around, I met, Tendy, a former student. Tendy is not just any former student, Tendy was in the class that drove me to my sabbatical.

Tendy's class was ninth and tenth grades who were grouped together for math and science (and most of their other classes as well) because they were very far below grade level. Needless to say, the class was difficult to handle. Usually the teachers that taught this particular group volunteered to teach them. I was not a volunteer. I spent hours calling parents, even calling from the class while the kids were present. I even had Suit (he was the AP at the time and the program was his brain child) come speak to them. They were worse for him than they were for me.

Back to Tendy. She was standing at the counter and recognized me immediately. She was wearing scrubs and looked quite grown up. She told me she worked in a cardiologist's office, making appointments and writing prescriptions. She also told me she had an Associates Degree from a local junior college and planned on continuing in a four year college in January. She told me she came a long way from the pesky child she was in high school and then told me how I always got her in trouble. I reminded her that she got herself in trouble and she laughed.

Tendy is now 22 years old. The little pain in the ass child who could barely pass anything has made it. She is not the only one from that class that came out fine either. I met one working in triage in St. Francis Heart Hospital, and another working in American Girl on Fifth Ave. It feels good to see them now. I love it when they greet the teacher who made their lives miserable with smiles and hugs. I love it when they tell me how happy their moms will be that they ran into me.

I have never written a child off because of what they did or did not do in high school. None of us ever should.

Trying To Make Sense Out Of It

Today, instead of harassing my son on facebook, I decided to look at the AP planning reports sent by College Board to see how my kids did in relation to others who took the exam. Yes, I know, I am giving too much credit to statistics but curiosity gets the better of me all the time. Unlike the Obama administration, I don't believe the scores have all that much to do with what I do or don't do and I don't believe my analysis of them will do anything to improve the scores in the future, I wanted to look.

In the overall score distribution, my students did better than those who took the exam in every quartile but the fourth. We did the same in the free response category. Many of my kids are new in the country and English is a problem--could be there problem on free response questions. For those not statistically inclined, we had fewer ones and twos and more threes and fours, but we fell short in the upper quartile. My kids kicked ass in the multiple choice category, beating the global percentages in the entire upper half.

Enough boring stuff. I just posted a bunch of pictures I took from the air while flying from Eilat to Tel Aviv on facebook . The picture above was taken in the Golan Heights. The Israeli's are not removing the mine fields as they do not need the land and having them is place is good for defense.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Successful Day

I know most teachers want nothing to do with school over the summer but, anyone who knows me knows that I don't do what most people do.

Today, I did the unthinkable and paid Packemin a visit to get some Smart Board tutoring from an expert colleague. I am not the only insane one. This friend stayed with me after putting in a full day of summer school work. Well, the day was a huge success. Not only did I learn quite a bit, but my uncontrollable urges to push buttons helped her learn things about the Smart Board she did not know before.

After our grueling workout, we adjourned to my house to drink margaritas and look at Israel pictures. The day was a successful learning day and a vacation day, all in one.
There is a bunch of pictures she saw and a few she didn't here on facebook. I just got the camel pics from a trip buddy. I'm the one riding with the camera in my face. My husband kept yelling at me to hold on, but you can see I did not listen.

Pissing Him Off

My son had the absolute worst facebook picture you could imagine. It made him look like a smokin' gangster without an ounce of intelligence in that little head of his. Last night I was bored and wrote a message on his page telling him to change it. One of his smart friends jumped on board and agreed with me. His best friend "Precious" jumped in and defended him.

Well, the comments are up to 75 and they keep coming. I know he is getting pissed.

I finally found a reason to like facebook.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Not Bad

Too many vacations with too much food has my waist line expanding and has me eating non fat yogurt. I never imagined this would happen to me. Surprisingly, it tasted good.

From My Perverted Friend

I can always count on her to send me something sick that will make me laugh.

The Project of the Day at the
’Home for the Aged’ was

“Try to create something from memory”.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Cheap Date

I'm a cheap date, TDF tickets to see South Pacific ($37 each) and dinner at Big Nick's.

It looks like a hole in the wall, small, crowded and not much of a bathroom but, the food is great and the beer is ice cold. They have a 16 page menu with an index on the back to help you find what you want easily if you prefer not reading the entire thing.

Check out the Big Nick pictures and some other pictures from Lincoln Center on facebook.

Time Warner Sucks

I've been on hold with them over an hour.

I have been paying my bill by x-press pay for years. A few months ago we had some fraudulent activity on our account so we changed our credit card number. I immediately changed my card number with them. But, did they change it, NO!!!!!!!

For the past three months, I have been on the phone with them more hours than I have been on this computer (slight exaggeration) trying to straighten things out. Every month I am promised it will be taken care of. Last week we got an e-mail telling us we were up to date. Today I got a letter threaten to disconnect.

I HATE THEM!!!!!!!

I know Verizon is just as bad. My neighbor waited over a week for them to show up and fix her phones. FIOS is not available in my area.

Finally got an answer. A promise that things are taken care of and I can call back on Wednesday to check. It is a good thing technology does not allow me to reach through the phone and hurt someone because if it did, I would be writing this from a prison cell now, provided they had wireless.

"U" Principal

The principal knows he is in charge of a "C" school and there is little he can do to improve it.
He has some rough kids in the school, kids he inherited when all the nearby schools were closed. He knows he should retire. He is more than old enough and has the years. His problem is that he has no life outside of the school.

The principal is worried. He has to make it look like he is doing something to improve the school. The principal decides the best way to do this is to start "U" rating teachers. He starts with the ones who won't kiss his bottom and jump when he says jump. He continues on to the ones who balked when he asked them to sign a possibly incriminating piece of paper. He then starts lying and exaggerating what he has seen. He writes "U" observations on lessons he has no clue about. He "U" rates teachers based on these observations although the AP in charge of the department finds no fault with the teacher. He forces the AP who does not want to "U" rate a satisfactory teacher to leave.

The school will still be a "C" school, if it is lucky. It might even be a "D" one now that many of the good teachers and admins have been forced out. But, the principal will look good. He did Bloomberg and Klein's bidding. He gave out the "U's".

Friday, August 06, 2010


A and B decide to have lunch together and to invite C and D to join them.

C answers the phone immediately and responds in the affirmative.

D does not answer and messages are left on both home and cell phones asking D to return the call. D does not respond so e-mails are sent. Still, no response from D.

A knows D often forgets to call so A calls D one more time and this time D answers. D says lunch would be wonderful but wonders why B did not call. "Is it possible that B doesn't really want me to come? I don't want to show up where I am not wanted." A assures D that D is wanted and and wanted especially by B. After some persuasion, D agrees to go.

I know how D feels. If I am not 100% sure I am wanted, I tend to not show up either. What is with us? Why do we all lack the confidence we need to move ahead?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Obama Aims To Energize Unions Before Midterm Elections

Funny, he applauds the firing of all the teachers in Rhode Island, he promotes non unionized charter schools and blames the teachers' union for many of the problems that ail education today and now he wants our support? The teachers union doesn't count, I guess.

(Newsday only gives article access to subscribers so I will post the entire article here.)

Obama aims to energize unions before midterm elections
August 4, 2010 by BEN FELLER. The Associated Press /

WASHINGTON - Rallying a pivotal part of his base, President Barack Obama pleaded with labor leaders yesterday to energize their members about the upcoming election, depicting a choice between those who fight for the middle class and those who are "not lifting a finger to help."

Obama's political speech to the AFL-CIO's governing executive council underscored the stakes of the November midterm elections, in which his Democratic Party is trying to hang onto its majorities in the House and Senate. Democratic loss of control in either chamber, or even a major erosion of seats, could deeply hamper Obama's agenda.

The president tailored his message to the interests of the union leaders, citing such priorities as fair pay, enforcement of trade laws, tax breaks for the middle class and safe working environments.

And he took a shot at the two-term Republican administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush, saying that for eight years the government held "a profound animosity towards the notion of unions."

Speaking of Republicans and repeating the White House's key talking point of the campaign, Obama said: "They want to go backwards; we want to move America forward. And that's what the choice is going to be in this upcoming election. And all your members need to understand it."

Obama also described the plight of the unemployed in personal, labor-friendly terms.

"That pain goes beyond just the financial pain. It goes to who they are as a person," Obama said. "It hits them in their gut. Having a conversation with your spouse and saying, you know, 'maybe we can't afford this house anymore, maybe we're going to have to give up on being able to save for our kid's college education.' That goes directly to people's identities, to their cores."

Millions of people remain out of work in a deep, enduring recession. The toll has soured the nation's mood and Obama's public approval along with it.

Republicans, out of power in the legislative and executive branches, are eager to seize on the same voter sentiment for change that helped propel Obama to office.

The president, however, is casting the prospect of Republican leadership as a return to failure. And he is devoting larger chunks of his time to do so.

Wednesday he reprised his tale of Republicans who drove the economy into a ditch and warned them that voters won't allow them to do it again.

As for his own efforts on the economy, Obama said: "I'm here to tell you, we are not giving up, and we are not giving in."