Thursday, December 09, 2010

Let's See How We've Gotten Better

Then:  I first started at Packemin HS, everyone was on the same schedule.  The teachers got to talk to each other, compare notes and lessons and in turn were able to better help their students.

Now:  We are on 5 different bell schedules and weeks go by without seeing various members of the department.  There are no more conversations and the kids are suffering.

Then:  With only one schedule, we were able to run homework helper sessions and the kids were able to get real help when they needed it.  The budget had money in it to provide this extra help.

Now:  Not only is there no time for homework helpers, there is no money to pay for it.

Then:  Kids who couldn't read were taught to read.  Kids who couldn't do basic arithmetic were taught arithmetic.  There was career guidance and training.

Now:  Everyone reads Shakespeare (or at least watches the movie) and takes algebra and beyond.  Ready or not everyone goes to college.

Then:  Passing a regents meant the material was mastered.  A 65 meant you knew 65% of the material.  Teachers felt pride when looking at statistics and at their students mastery of the subject.

Now:  Passing a regents might mean you know about 30% of the material or you might know even less.  Passing is easy if you know how to guess correctly.  The only thing that matters with statistics is that we are not at the bottom of the department.

Then:  The schools had real honor classes and Advanced Placement classes.  In the late 80's and early 90's Packemin HS had many AP calculus classes than they have now and they were all double period classes so the kids got plenty of prep time.

Now:  Kids are put wherever there is a spot.  The AP class has been reduced to a single period.

Then:  There were kids that did not want to learn and did what they could to keep others from learning.  If the child misbehaved, it was the child who was called to task.

Now:  There are kids that do not want to learn and do what they can to keep others from learning.  If the children misbehave, the teacher is doing something wrong.

Then:  There were good teachers and there were bad teachers. Administrators, who knew how to teach, knew what made a good teacher  and did their jobs correctly got rid of the bad ones.

Now:  There are good teachers and there are bad teachers.  Administrators who know next to nothing about teaching, who have little to no knowledge of curriculum and would not recognize a good lesson or a good teacher if they saw one have the power to go on witch hunts and destroy the careers of good teachers.

Cathie Black--go on praising your predecessor.  You can see the bang up job of improving schools he's done.  Keep doing the same thing.  You'll complete your mission of creating a society of people only fit to clean your toilets.


Anonymous said...

Doubt she even realizes what she saying, "schools are improving and Joel Klein did a great job."
The last few NYT and Daily News articles have been reporting 'every little' comment.
I am not even sure if Black knows that she is saying things that are 'out of touch' with education."

2 of her interesting comments: (Cited with article and date)

Crouching down and talking about the children’s story, Ms. Black wondered if the students had ever had a “pet day” at school, when they could presumably bring in their dogs, their iguanas, their rabbits. The principal’s face momentarily froze before she suggested, gently, a “stuffed animal day.”(NYT Dec 7, 2010)

“We are all human beings,” she said. “It is about people. They can be little people as young students, or teachers or principals, or all of the other organizations.” (NYT -Edcuation-US- Dec 7, 2010)

Anonymous said...

Those 2 comments were from the same article.
There is more of these fun comments.

She did say, however, that the city did not have "the option of having 15 or 16 kids in most classes. ... What I have heard over and over from the people I've encountered so far is that the most important thing is a really good teacher." (Dec 8, 2010, Daily News) (My commentary, What exactly are the qualities of a a 'good teacher'? I hope you do not say test scores, because its more than tests, Ms. Black).

"I would release it," she said of the effectiveness ratings, "because I think it's going to be an evaluation tool and if we want the most effective teachers in front of our children, this is another ... way of saying, these teachers are not the best that they can be." (Dec 8. 2010, Daily News) (My commentary, How is releasing teacher report cards going to help ensure that our NYC teachers are the most effective? Its already been noted that the test scores are flawed and invalid, due to the inflated grades.)

It's clear Black is learning about city geography as well as city schools. She mistakenly said she'd visited a school in Bayside, Queens, with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. She was in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Markowitz's office confirmed. (My Commentary: Bayside Queens and Bayridge, Brooklyn are no where near each other. I could understand the slip up, Bayside and Bayridge close enough. However, she was with the Brooklyn Borough President. Also, know the location on the school you are visiting. The 2 places are really far from each other.) (Daily News, Dec 8, 2010)