Sunday, March 29, 2015

Department Conference

This reminded me of the department conferences I used to attend.

Nothing the AP said made sense.  He never lacked for words either.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


The grade fixing at John Dewey HS is not local to that school.  It is epidemic to all schools in the city.

Years ago, before I retired, I ran a credit recovery program.  I wanted standards and insisted on it.  I carefully chose 300 problems of varying difficulty and set up two online assignments.  After several weeks it became obvious that the students were not doing them.  Administration changed the two assignments adfsto one and then instead of 150 questions, only 75 were required.  Still, many kids did not do the assignments.    Those who did often had help.  Several students told me they paid others to do assignments for them.  I watched a teacher (an Assistant Principal) doing one of her student's assignments on a smart board with the entire class.  Other teachers set aside class time to let students work on these assignments instead of doing their own class work.  Students got credit for two classes in one.

John Dewey is under the microscope now but the inspection should extend throughout the city.  With the push to pass everyone, for schools to stay open and for Principals to get their big bonuses, cheating is epidemic.  It will continue until things change.  It is about time schools are getting caught.  Maybe now education will get back to the way it should be.

Monday, March 23, 2015

PS 1

PS 1-an old school now used as an art museum for some of the world's most experimental art. I like the art but love walking around this old, re-purposed school building.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Royal Commandment

The AP had a simple demand.  Everyone had to pass.  Even one failure meant the teacher was no good and not doing her job properly.  The teachers did the best they could to do his bidding.  They did not want to be subjected to his verbal abuse and they certainly did not want to risk their jobs.  In order to fulfill this commandment the teachers pretty much gave up teaching and focused on test prep.  They taught their students how to work backwards from multiple choice and to use guess and check instead of thinking through the problem.  This method worked rather well since it is possible to pass a regents by only getting some multiple choice questions correct.

The AP was happy with the group of teachers who followed his order.  He rewarded those teachers with praise and good programs.  He had parties for them.  Those teachers basked in his praise, never once realizing how much they were hurting the students they passed along.

Now those students are in college where they actually have to produce to pass.  They don't possess any basic algebraic skills, can't solve an equation or even add and multiply signed numbers.  They don't know how to study.  They want second, third, and fifth chances.  They are angry because getting by with no work is no longer an option.  They don't understand how life is so different now than it was when they were in high school.

The AP is not concerned with these students.  He did his job.  He got them out of his school and had great statistics too.  Their future was not his concern as he would not be judged by whatever happened to them next.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dilbert Does It Again

Ever wonder how some of those AP's become APs?  You know, the ones who never taught the subject they are put in charge of or the ones with 2 years experience, still wet behind the ears?
Well. leave it to Dilbert to explain how they got their jobs.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Tuesday three siblings and their spouses came together to bury their father.  It was a sad day but the siblings knew their father had led a long happy and healthy life and it was his time to go.  Tuesday evening sibling one did not feel so good and went to the emergency room.  He never made it home.  The doctors found a clot on one of his lungs and that was the end.

Today, two siblings and their spouses came together again to bury their brother.  Lots of other family and friends came from near and far to offer hugs and support and to say goodbye to a man who loved life and was loved by all.  The man was only 63 years young.

I'm still wiping tears but am also smiling as I remember the good times I had with this guy, the hours we spent hiding out on a back porch when the party we were attending was too loud.  I remember the hugs and the laughter we shared throughout the years, the happiness when he told of his upcoming wedding,  and the joy of celebrating his 60th birthday.

Eleven of us left the cemetery and went together to a nearby dinner for lunch.  We sat and ate and talked about all the years we all had together and how, while not related by blood, we were family.  One friend, one who usually eats only what is good for him had a huge piece of chocolate cake.  He was celebrating his life and the knowledge that we all will go one day, some sooner than later.

This man went far too soon.  But, he didn't know his days were numbered and he did not suffer any pain.  I am glad he knew how much we all loved and respected him in his life and did not wait until it was too late to show how much we cared.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Snow Closure

I looked out the window and realized it would be really hard to get to the college to cover the class I had promised to teach for a colleague today.  I called in and was told "be safe and don't worry."  told I would decide about my own class later on.

E-mails kept coming from my students asking about class tonight as may live far.  I looked out and saw no sign of the weather improving and decided to cancel.  Two and a half hours of math is not worth the risk of an accident.  I didn't expect the school to close and felt I should look out for myself and my students.   I called to let the school know and again  heard "be safe."

I checked e-mails after 2 o'clock and found this message:

Due to the severe weather, all regularly scheduled classes and activities that begin at 4:30PM or later are cancelled for today, March 5, 2015. Additionally,  Community College will close at 5PM. 

I'm glad the powers that be at the college made a safe decision.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Guidance Counselor

She became a counselor because she hated being in the classroom.  Her behavior management skills were lacking and she gradually started hating the kids.  Guidance was her way out.

Too bad she still hated the kids she was entrusted to help, the kids who were the neediest in the building.   The kids knew how she felt about them and so did their parents.  Many adults in the building knew too.

She will read this and know it is about her.  She will be angry.  She'd be a fool to say something.  No names are used and no school mentioned.  But she will probably complain anyway, outing herself to everyone, even the people in charge.