Monday, September 30, 2013

Government Shut Down


My beautiful and brilliant daughter is a federal employee.  While I won't mention what she does here, I will say she performs a job that helps insure the safety and well being of this country.  My brilliant and beautiful daughter is earning about a third of what she would if she took her education and expertise to private industry.

My beautiful and brilliant daughter loves her job.  She was always willing to sacrifice  money to do what she loves.  She valued her benefits and her security.

My beautiful and brilliant daughter has not gotten a raise for 4 years although she has gotten the best reviews in the history of her department.  And now my beautiful and brilliant daughter had been furloughed.  So much for job security.

Public employees work at jobs serving the citizens of this nation.  Whether on the federal, state or local level, they deserve our respect and thanks.  Telling them not to come to work, involving them in a stupid feud is not the way.  Congress needs to pass the budget.  This country needs health care for all.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


The chihuahau never nurtured her little pups.  She was happy to see them bottle fed so she didn't have to have them hanging on her all the time.  She never played with them or taught them how to act around humans.  They grew up to be nasty little dogs, just like their mom.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

When Administration Punishes The Teacher

Teacher and Principal argue.

Principal punishes Teacher by giving him a late session program consisting of most difficult kids in the building and puts the class in the trailer, where there is no security.  (500+ students and their teachers .don't warrant the same security as the rest of the school )

Teacher sees a Boy with his head down, wearing a hoodie and ear buds.  He tells Boy to wake up, remove hoodie and music and see him after class.  Boy, who after 3 years has no credits, punches teacher in face and then steps on his throat.  Other students run to building for security.  Teacher is doing better, but could not speak for several days and has yet to return to school.

Teacher will probably press charges and sue the school.  The school has been told for years about problems outside and the school has done nothing about it.  The school has kept its A rating.  Incidents have been kept quiet.  Many years ago a young man who was assaulted did not pursue as they were illegals and the school told them they would get in trouble if they followed through with a complaint.  It is a shame Teacher got hurt, but hopefully, his pain won't be for nothing.  Hopefully his pain will make others safe.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Inside Credit Recovery Story

The city graduation rates has gone up because of credit recovery.  I know the real scoop. The story was told to me by a teacher I met at a UFT retirement class.  Here is her story.

Before I retired, I was in charge of the global portion of a program like this.  Morally, it bothered me but I knew if I didn't do it, someone else would.  And, my only responsibility was to assign questions and to check which kids did them.
 I tried to introduce accountability.  Originally, kids were supposed to come in and take a test when the questions were done.  When the administrators saw the huge number of students involved, this was given up on.  Originally, the kids were supposed to complete two sets of questions, 150 in each set.  I spent hours picking out a variety of questions that varied in degrees of difficulty and tested all the concepts of the course.  When the assignment was due, only a handful of kids completed the assignment.  It was then cut down to 75 questions and only one set had to be completed. The program was a joke.   I saw kids who could barely complete daily homework assigned credit recovery questions in 3 subjects.  I saw an AP doing credit recovery questions on a smart board with all the students in the class giving answers and one young man entering them in.  I heard about the AP who paid teachers per session money to complete assignments with some students. I asked a boy who I knew was not a particularly good student how he finished his assignment so quickly and so well.  He smiled and I then asked who did it for him.  He told me he paid an honor student to complete work.  When administration realized the deadline was approaching and there were still too many assignments incomplete, they opened a computer room after school where the kids could get help while completing the assignment.  There were afternoons no one showed up.  One afternoon, a teacher who was already teaching late afternoon classes to kids who had completed few credits toward graduation brought her entire class to the computer room to work on this assignment.  The kids were earning double credits for no work and no education.  Needless to say, very little got done that day either.
This school, along with others have kept their graduation rates up and kept their A ratings.  The hoax is on the children and parents in New York.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stupid Facebook Post and the Stupid AP Who Liked It


The experienced, knowledgeable teacher retired.  For over 30 years she taught, inspired and helped new teachers and administrators.  She was an asset to the school, someone who had done more for the school than all the newbies put together.

One newbie posted about how happy she was to see this experienced teacher go.  She didn't like being criticized by an "old lady."  She even wrote goodbye and good riddance for all to read.  The worst part of it is the AP "liked" her post.  (This AP has since decided liking it was not a good idea and got rid of the like.)  This AP learned the ropes from this "old lady" as she had no background in the area when she took the job and still knows very litle about what she does.

Oh, the young and stupid.  You would think a teacher would know better than to post crap like this and you would definitely hope an AP would set a better example.  But, this is what happens when the stupid are put in charge.  The kids they are in charge of  have a higher intellect.

There is a new Principal in the building.  I wonder how he feels about the stupidity of the teacher and the idiocy of the AP in charge of the department.

Actual facebook post here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Moral Question

Would you do things that were immoral and just plain wrong to make sure your job would be here tomorrow?  Would you get others to do these things to help you move ahead?  I know I couldn't.  I couldn't live with myself if I did what others are doing.  How can they look in the mirror and not feel a sense of revulsion?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Special Educators With Self Serving Interests


As I waited to start my class, I saw Bill approach his teacher with a question about what she had put on the board.  It was a remedial class, the topic was dividing decimals and the question was 4/.08.

Bill was concerned.  He repeatedly told his teacher he had never seen an example like that, a big number being divided into a small one.  He said he was never taught that and did not even think it was possible.  He was obviously concerned about learning and upset about this question.  The teacher did not have time to discuss it at the moment and told him they would get back to it next class.

I had a sick reaction to the whole thing.  Bill is severely learning disabled.  He does not belong in an academic environment.  His speech, his handwriting and his mannerisms give him away.  Some high school special education guidance counselor, or special education supervisor must have thought college was a good idea for him.  Having him enrolled in college makes them and their statistics look good.  A frustrated young man is not their problem.  The blows to his self esteem will not hurt them.  The money his parents spend is not hurting their wallets.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of students currently in special education classes that can go on to an academic college and have wonderful careers, but many cannot.  No college can help a student with an IQ of 70.  The adults in charge of special educating these students should be ashamed of themselves.  They care nothing for the students entrusted to them.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Villian In The School

I can't do more than spread the story, but that I will do.  This can happen to anyone.

DR Alison Coviello; PhD and Principal of PS 154 Channels Super Villain Bane

Unsung Hometown Heroes

Most teacher heroes are unsung and their good deeds get no mention in the newspaper nor do they win awards and get accolades from anyone but their students.

Mary is a special education teacher in a local high school.  She has a masters and almost 20 years experience.  She knows regulations inside and out and absolutely loves her students and her job.  Mary rarely takes a lunch period or a prep period for herself.  She knows her students need extra help and she makes herself available for them all day.   She is especially busy because her supervisor has dumped placed students with major learning problems in main stream classes and she does not like seeing these kids fail.  Mary not only works selflessly with students, she works with other teachers as well, sharing materials and mentoring newbies.  She works with administration to create the best possible conditions for learning environments. 

Mary knows her students and their parents appreciate her hard work and all she does for them.  She has heard this time and time again and seen it in the work they produce.  Perhaps the administration knows this too, but, if they do, they don't share this with her.  Her supervisor likes making her miserable, probably in hope of getting her to leave.

There are hundreds of teachers like Mary who never make it to the media as a hometown hero, but these are the ones who make our schools successful.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Those Who Give Us A Bad Name


Jeannie stopped me after class and asked if I would mind clarifying a few things we had gone over in class.  We spent about 10 minutes working and then walked out together.  On the way out, she told me about her science teacher.  I won't mention which science as what I am about to write is very negative.

Jeannie told me this science teacher told the class not to ask questions after class as he would not answer them.  He told them his office hours were to discuss career choices and not to offer any additional help.  Jeannie told me she might have to drop this class.  She is already a college grad, just back to take a few courses so she can enter a Physician Assistant program.  She knows she needs a good grade to make it and doesn't see this as a possibility with this professor.

Teachers like this one give the profession a bad name. Luckily teachers like this are few and far between.   Overall, the school is filled with a supportive, helpful staff and bright students who have the desire and motivation to succeed do. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Miss My Dad


My dad is still alive, but he is not the dad I have known.  His health is failing.  He is always tired and sleeps more than he is awake.  And, when he is awake, he is confused about night and day.  He talks about things that make no sense to anyone but him.  He can't read his own mail or pay his bills.  Everything stresses him out.

My dad was strong.  He worked two jobs so my mom could stay home and take care of my sister and me.  Anything we wanted, he managed to get, whether it was hula hoops, text books or cabbage patch dolls. When my mom got sick, he cared for her both physically and emotionally.  She lived a comfortable, happy life because of him.

My dad deteriorates a little more every day.  I don't know what to do.  He has wonderful caregivers 24 hours a day as I believe he needs to be in his own home.  I speak to him two or three times a day and see him several times a week.

He's here and I love him and cherish every minute with him, but I miss the man he was.  I know he misses the man he was too.

Sunday, September 15, 2013



Two parents were discussing which high school should be chosen for an average, nice student, a quiet young man. They discussed programs like Math and Science Institutes, Law Institutes, Schools for Teaching, programs for the gifted and talented, Pre-Med and Farming.  I wanted to jump in and tell them what I knew about one one the schools they were discussing, but decided to keep my mouth shut and just write what I wanted to say here.

I wanted to tell them these programs are a farce.  They are gimmicks to attract the best and brightest, but that is all they are.  In practice, they offer nothing more than regular classes and there is nothing more.  I wanted to tell them that one of the schools they were discussing was the wrong demographic for the boy and that he would feel like a fish out of water in that environment.  I wanted to tell them how administrators were given their jobs, about how ill qualified some were and how these incompetent supervisors surrounded themselves with incompetent staff.  I wanted to tell the story of a guidance counselor who programmed a Chinese girl from Brooklyn into a class for Spanish speaking natives and saw no problem.   I didn't tell them about the AP who supposedly has her teachers supply answers to regents while the exam is going on and the kids graduate prepared for nothing  .But I said nothing, not out of loyalty to the school they were discussing, but out of a feeling of not wanting to get involved. All the schools are the same.  NCLB, Race To The Top and all the other "innovative" programs of the past have made them this way.

Hopefully,this young man will be fine, where ever he goes to school.  He has a strong parental support system and that helps. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I Forgot Over The Summer

Photo shop began today. It is amazing how much a person can forget over the summer, even a person who practiced and used what was learned. 

We have homework this time.   We have to make an advertisement using at least two pictures and text.  I remembered how to move photos, and how to re size them, but my first attempt was not very good.  Oh well, at least I'm not being graded on this and my teacher isn't being graded either.  I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Text Books


In approximately 8 years I have seen 3 editions of the same text book.  The page numbers change and maybe a few questions are different, but for the most part, the text is unchanged from edition to edition. 

The book companies do this to make money.  New editions make old books obsolete and kids can't sell the books they own.  Everyone is forced to buy new ones.  But, not my students  I assign work by sections and encourage them to buy older, cheaper editions which are just as good.  I wish someone had told me this when I went to college. I'm thrilled when one of my students tells me she got a book for $17.  So many never buy the books because of the price.  And now, at least for some of my students, that is not a problem.

(picture from Grounds for Sculpture--Princeton, NJ--a great place to visit.)

Monday, September 09, 2013

The First Day


Everyone hurried through the halls, finding familiar classrooms or looking for new ones.  Old friends hugged and caught up on all that had happened since they last saw each other.  Others, introduced themselves and gave directions to the bathroom, coffee machine and offices.  Teachers and students alike were full of smiles and happy to be back.  The program administrator walked into each and every classroom, welcoming and checking for problems.  All were happy to see ehr.

In case you are wondering,it was the first day of Si Beagle retirement classes, one of the happiest places on earth. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

So What If I Can't Chew Gum and Walk at the Same Time-My Degree Is In Education

PhD's in education. policy makers who know nothing about teaching--one of the problems with schools today

Friday, September 06, 2013

Hey, My Degree Didn't Prepare Me For This Job

Saw this cartoon and thought about all the administrators who want teachers to come up with solutions to problems they can't solve.  The teacher must find a way to get 100% passing, to get 100% attendance and  to have a 100% discipline free class  I can't even count high enough to know the number of faculty conferences I sat  at and had to come up with solutions to all that ails education.

And then of course there are APs who have no real background in math or anything else for that matter. One I know even failed her original license exam and is now supervising a subject she knows nothing about.  When teachers come to her with problems, she glares and says nothing or growls until they leave.  A degree from "Masters for Sale" doesn't prepare you for anything except becoming a supervisor in today's DOE.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Toilet Seat Job also known as Being an AP

It must be hard to watch individuals that are younger and not as experienced than you moving ahead while you are stuck in the job considered the toilet seat of  the building  It must hurt to have them tell you what to do, to hear them yell at you when you do stupid things (things we all know you aren't smart enough to know are stupid.)  And it must keep you up at night knowing a person you once mentored can now "U" rte you.

You are stuck on this middle rung of the ladder.  You can't go up, but if you are not careful, you will hit the ground.  Many will be happy to see this happen.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Bronx Zoo

Pay what you want day at the Bronx Zoo (Wednesdays).  Great time until it rained. 

More photos here, on Facebook.

To Hell With Students

Judy was a really good teacher when it came to middle level and lower level classes, but her skills weren't so great when it came to teaching the top.  She knew it and her AP knew it.  So it came as a shock when she got a program with an Advanced Placement class.  Judy had filed (and won) a grievance because her program reflected nothing she asked for and only had bottom classes.  Her AP decided to punish her by giving her a balanced program including the class he knew she would not be able to do a very good job of teaching.  He was more than willing to sacrifice the students to make her suffer.  Luckily for these kids, he was convinced not to do this before the change took place.

Michael has a proven track record when it comes to teaching reading to special education students.  He loves what he does with them and they, in turn love him and succeed in his class.  Michael does not like to teach math.  Michael's AP wants Michael out and since he is good, the only way this can happen is if Michael voluntarily leaves.  And, this can only happen by making Michael as miserable as possible.  The AP does not care about the kids being hurt along the way.  The AP hired a couple of recent grads to teach reading.  She figures these kids aren't much of anything and she can always get someone to help them on their standardized tests so they will pass and still make her look good.  She knows Michael will do a good job teaching the subject he hates because Michael cares about kids.

Ah, the wave of the future.  Make the teachers you can't U -rate miserable so they will leave on their own.  Screw the kids.  Cheating gets them through regardless of what they have been taught.