Sunday, October 31, 2010

Natlie Ravitz Needs To Walk In Other's Shoes

Oh Missy Natalie Ravitz is at it again. Tweed's Minister of Propaganda wrote something in the Huffington Post this past Wednesday which the ideas, words, and thoughts are attributed to her.

Yest again, Missy Natalie is taking on Diane Ravitz, who wrote an op-ed piece in the Daily News last Monday.The last time she did, the crack team here at SBSB deciphered her meandering blabbering easier than touching one's finger to their nose. So with equal ease tonight we yet again expose that Missy Natalie is not only way off base in her writings, but show how embarrassingly simple her thought process, or the thought process of the actual writer is.

Diane Ravitch has concluded that schools hardly matter when it comes to academic success; it's really about how much money a kid's parents make. ;

No Missy. Gee, didn't we go over this last time about your inaccuracies in quoting Diane Ravitch, as well as your seeming ability to take things out of context. Let's look at the entire context of what Diane wrote.

Certainly teachers are very important - the most important cause of student success within the school. But scholars agree that factors outside the school are even more important than the teacher, especially family income.

Yes, teachers are important, but "within the school." What Diane actually did here was quote scholars. Scholars, though unnamed, not only have more of an understanding of education than you do, but Diane Ravitch has enough street cred in my book to not have to be named.

You then blabber; Ms. Ravitch argues that factors "outside the school are even more important than the teacher, especially family income," because rich kids' parents "take them to the library and museums... give them good medical care and nutrition... travel and... endow them with a large vocabulary before the first day of school."

Yeah income is very important. But have you ever been in a classroom? Have you ever actually taught? Natalie, how do you think you got into UMich and London School of Economics? You think if mummsy and dada had you sit in front of the TV watching He Man and the Masters of the Universe all day, and Tom and Jerry all night you would have succeeded? If your nannies and hand maidens didn't speak to you in many different words and got your critical thinking skills working would you have succeeded? Maybe Yes, maybe no, but your vocabulary was never lacking.

I, and others see it every single day. The lack of vocabulary. Now, one might quibble over whether or not it has anything to do with the income level of the parents. I tend to also include class and parents education level. But to look down the end of your nose and say that vocabulary has nothing to do with a students success in school and standardized tests is just not only ignorance but clearly a lack of critical thinking skills on your part.

She claims that after a "close reading," the methodology of value-added data is not to be trusted

Please share with all of us the algorithmic equation used. One of our spies at Tweed came up with this.

Actually, we do, which Ms. Ravitch would know if she'd taken even a passing glance at our value-added model.

Again, where it be? And one more thing. You, and your cronies at Tweed would understand what it is like to be a teacher if you ever just took a passing glance at what we do.

Indeed, perhaps the most crucial fact about value-added data is that it accounts for the background of students in a given teacher's classroom -- factors such as poverty level, English language proficiency, ethnicity, gender, disability status, absenteeism, the number of suspensions, and class size, just to name a few.

I for one am a tad confused. You take all this stuff into factoring a student's VAA, but why then can't Diane Ravitch factor in what she says is most important to whether or not a student succeeds? I smell a contradiction.

The last thing we want is for teachers to be judged based on factors outside their control. The value-added model ensures that this does not happen.

OMG!!!! I laughed so hard that a Reese's Peanut Butter cup blew out my nose and onto the computer screen.

Value-added data is not the full measure of a teacher.

Yeah, sure. Tell that to Rigoberto Ruelas

You know Missy Natalie. You know what you are? You are just a hack. An overpaid, under qualified hack. You have no, none, zero, ability to think for yourself. You only do the bidding of your masters. You are a minion. You are a nothing. You need to get out of those $300 shoes, go to Pay Less and see how the other half lives. Once you live your gilded life, once you replace the silver spoon with a plastic one than you can share what you claim are your opinions.

Live life in someone else's shoes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pedro Santana Slithers Into East Ramapo

Back on June 27, 2010 we here at SBSB reported on the greatest principal in the world, Pedro Santana being featured in the New York Times. The Times, and Pedro Santana led the reader to believe what a dedicated, child first, back to his roots principal Pedro Santana truly think he is. Mr Santana was such a hit with his male students that several sixth grade boys were quoted as saying, "they talk about 'guy things,'as one of them put it, 'like wrestling.'" Kind of interesting and troubling sat the same time.

But a funny thing has happened to Pedro Santana on his way back to reconnecting with his roots. He left his roots. Pedro Santana is now, sit down and have a stiff drink, Assistant Superintedent for Secondary Education/Respond to Intervention/RTI for the East Ramapo (Rockland County NY) school distirct. A CREATED position at $145K a year. This when East Ramapo had to lay off teachers. Don't believe it? Let's have a looksee.

Pedro Santana lasted all of four years where is roots are. Letitia Laberee, 54, the school’s coordinator for English as a second language was so close to being right. “I thought, he’s just another one. Three years, he’s gone.”

But what happened at 391? And what does East Ramapo know, or does not know?

Do they know......

Last year, 59 percent of its seventh graders passed the state math test — below the 81 percent who passed citywide, but enough of an improvement to help the school earn an A on its report card." Of course this is without the adjusting of the grades, so it is probably worse than the 50 percent.

"Ninety-five of the school’s 253 eighth graders did not graduate this month (summer school may save many)."

Pedro Santana has three open investigations against him. According to the Times, "In April 2009, he was removed from the school for several weeks, after allegations that he had failed to properly report an off-campus sexual assault involving two students. The investigation remains open, the most serious of three pending complaints against him."

"she said she saw the mother abusing her child and reported it to the authorities. Mr. Santana, citing other witnesses’ accounts and the counselor’s own comments, later called the child welfare agency to say the counselor’s report had been false."

At PS/MS 279 he went behind the principal's back, a principal that was a mentor, a mother to him, and conspired with parents in a letter writing campaign to remove her around 2002.

Yet, when this year's test scores came out the eight graders who were seventh graders last year, only 16.6% of the students passed. This means that Pedro Santana is sending 80.4 % of eighth graders unprepared for high school math!

Sixth graders this past school year, only 19.7% of students passed and 25.9% of seventh graders passed. Why then is Pedro Santana held in such high esteem?

Where oh where is the scrutiny from the East Ramapo school district? What truly happened in NYC Pedro Santana? Did you leave on your own volition, or was it suggested that you just slither away akin to the snake that you are? Is Dr. Ira E. Oustatcher aware of your past idiosyncrasies?

Parents, the community, and The Journal News should be asking these questions.

A Very Special Internet Radiocast

This coming Tuesday night, November 2 will be a heartfelt, emotional Internet radiocast. My guest will be Fidgety Teach. Fidgety Teach has been in reassignment hell for three years because of the vindictiveness, the evilness of social misfit principal Kristine Mustillio of PS 97, District 21 in Brooklyn. I am reprinting the blog post of March 18, 2010 for those who are not familiar which FT's situation.

Remember, November 2, 2010, 9PM

Call in # is (917) 932-8721

Read on:

A pre-k teacher is in the Rubber Room for two years. Her crime? Her class of 18 pre-Kindergarteners at PS 97, District 21 is in a trailer. She complains to the new Leadership Academy principal, Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo that there is a moldy floor with holes. Seems reasonable. A teacher is thinking of the Children First doctrine created by Joel Klein and so indoctrinated into Leadership Academy drones, yet not adhered to. The class is moved inside the building and set up to resume at two lunch tables in an open area.

Not even a classroom, an area. Where can the children display their work? How safe is it? Are exits secured? Are center areas, which are so important to the pre-K experience, in the “area”? Are bathroom facilities readily available? Does this area have a lot of foot traffic by others?

Just a week later her para is out sick. The new principal, Kristine Mustillo never calls a sub, even though by NYS Education law a para must be in there. The teacher isn’t even informed that the para is out and calls the office.

If you don’t see the making of a set-up you must be blind. Or a principal. Or Joel Klein. Or Whitney Tilson. Or a fucktwit.

The teacher requests a sub several times and is told that the secretary didn’t call a sub because she was “following the direction of the prior principal who had just retired”. The principal insists, “Well I am the principal now and I believe that every Pre K should have a para” As a result, no para was called.

So Kristine Mustillio believes a para must be called, but since she is so incompetent, or desperate to set up the teacher she willfully breaks state education law. The class no better how you slice it is out of compliance with state education law. This is the principal’s responsibility.

The teacher is alone at dismissal. The kids and parents who are mostly Chinese and don’t speak fluent English are still getting used to the new routine. As are the children and we know how difficult change of routine can be on children at that age. That is except Krisitine Mustillo who has never been in education before. A boy in her class follows another boy out the door. The other boy’s mother picks up the boy three days a week and is on the blue emergency card as well. The child naturally gravitates toward this mother who is a family friend. The teacher does not realize the boy is gone until five minutes later when the other boys mother brings him to the office saying that she brought the boy around the building to look for his grandmother. She realized that it was daylight savings time and the grandmother probably wasn’t aware of the change in time.

The principal calls OSI immediately. WTF?? This could not have been handled in house? At worst a counseling memo. Why the need to cal OSI? I know. Mustillo is incompetent and she needs to show she is important. But I think there is more to it than meets the eye. Read on.

In the course of the investigation the parent's of the boy who, for lack of a better word, wandered, insist they are not upset, they love the teacher, and take full responsibility for not having been there for dismissal.

I am a tad confused here. If the parents are not upset, and insist they love the teacher can’t Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo see this or does she have a bigger agenda?

The teacher files a grievance.

Oh no!!

At the hearing the principal admits that she was out of compliance. She says, "I'm new, I didn't know what the rules are."

Ignorance is no excuse. You know Kristine Mustillo a lot of the rules are just plain common sense.

It took two years from the hearing date for the teacher to be denied the grievance.

Denied by the incomparable, and always integrity filled Pedro Crespo.

The teacher, who turns 46 this year has been a teacher for almost 20 and has an impeccable record. Her class had been taken over by a 22 year old first year teacher.

There you have it. There is your answer. A teacher 44 years old making around $85K, and only a mind of her own, but has more knowledge in one eyelash than Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo who has in her own anorexic body.

Why Kristine Mustillo do you feel threatened? Why Kristine “Olive Oyl” Mustillo could you not just let this go with a verbal or written admonishment? Please Kristine Mustillo share your qualifications to be principal. Yes, opposing viewpoints are always welcomed here.

Even more curious is what happened to Kristine Mustillo at her previous school? Seems that she came into a perfectly fine school, as an interim principal because the current principal is on leave. After one month Kristine Mustillo singlehandley ruins the school, and turns all the teachers against her. When the principal returns Kristine Mustillo is promptly shown the door.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

On the next "Mind of the Bronx Teacher," leading advocate, the fascinating, Leonie Haimson of Leonie also has a blog,

Show time is Tuesday night, October 26 at 9 PM (EDT). Call in # is

(917) 932-8721

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ruben Brosbe Shortcomings Are A Shock To Him

There are many Rubens I like and enjoy. I enjoy a hearty Rueben Sandwich sans Russian Dressing. I remember when my father introduced me tho this treat back in 1976 in Philadelphia. The best Rueben I ever had was an open one at the old Marty's Mug and Munch in Ardsley. I always enjoyed the erstwhile Rueben Kincaid, manager of the Partridge Family, and flunky in all of Danny's get rich schemes. And of course the singer/actor Ruben Blades. If you have never seen him on "Disorganized Crime" do so now.

A Ruben I have no use for is New York Post guest columnist, and Gotham Schools contributor (dear God, why?), and blogger Ruben Brosbe. Ruben is one of those nebbishy, I am smarter than thou, Ivy eggheads that thinks he is smarter than everyone else, has an extremely narrow minded view of the world, and just lacks plain common sense. As my grandpa once said, "The smartest people turn out to be the stupidest."

I mean just look at Ruben's Linkedin page. What is his job title? "Dedicated Teacher." Yes, as if he is the only one, and just so above the fray. We are all very impressed with your Ivy resume and Ivy clubs. You are so very special Ruben. I bet John Bender thinks your mommy and daddy are so proud.

So what is it about Ruben? Ruben is up there in the world of Matt Polazzo, Princess Sydney Morris, and Little Evan Stone. Ruben decided that his blog and position with Gotham Schools, which incidentally is nothing more than the clueless rantings of a botard, has given him privilege, and decided to yap for the Post.

So what is it that Ruben has written that got the crack team's knickers all bent out of shape?

Throughout my first year, there was nobody more aware of my shortcomings than I was.

No, more, much more were aware of your shortcomings as well. But welcome to reality. We all have shortcomings. I for one can't hit the curve. My cat chases her tail. Deal with it. We all have it. Stop thinking you are special.

I was. Still, it was difficult to see that first data report with its embarrassing and pejorative label: "below average."

To quote Mr Bill, "OH NO!!!" That must really suck for any Ivy Leaguer to be below average. I would rather have my child be taught by any graduate of SUNY than someone from Penn. Ruben, you just see what you want to see. The mirror always lies.

I knew that my data report would serve as motivation to do better. I would work until I was at the top of "my class."

Wow, but in your blog and other writings, you just don't seem to get it. You just don't get it What it is ... well, you're not really sure. You move like you're walking on thin ice. Talking like you're still insecure

I scored in the 41st and 38th percentile for reading and math, respectively.This time, I was "average," as compared to peers who had taught similar student populations for the same length of time.

Boo-hoo. Gosh, don't you know the tests are all a sham? They are a gimmick. Two entities benefit from tests and none of them are teachers or students. The testing companies, and the administrators to puff out their chests or two lay blame at others for their failings. In fact you wrote in your blog on August 16, 2010;
What do these scores tell me? First I will say that these scores are a much more accurate indication of my students' performance levels than any scores I have seen before. While they are definitely lower than "expected," those expectations were based on previous models of scoring, which as we now all know were deeply flawed.
It was improvement, at least, but I didn't choose to teach in The Bronx in order to be average.

Firstly, on behalf of the Bronx, we thank you for coming and gracing us with your wonderfulness. But, you came to teach in the Bronx because you believed that only a white graduate of Penn would know what is best for the little boys and girls of color.

It's a terrifying prospect, knowing that parents will have the opportunity to see my name and my disappointing data report.

The more I read, the more I see it is all about you. Y-O-U. But again you contradict yourself in your blog post of March 5, 2009;

That said, the whole thing has to be taken with a grain of salt. As much as my job has been overwhelmed by testing, I refuse to judge my performance on test scores alone. However, I will argue that those scores need to be published alongside a thoughtful and careful explanation of their meaning, and that is my reason for preemptively releasing my own data.
You are a teacher and a gentleman. Falling on your sword like that has the entire crack team here reaching for the Kleenex. In fact, wait, just hold on. I feel a tear welling up in my eye. Oh, never mind.

However, I will argue that those scores need to be published alongside a thoughtful and careful explanation of their meaning, and that is my reason for preemptively releasing my own data.

Again, you contradict yourself on September 29, 2009;
about how one major issue with standardized tests is not the tests themselves, but people scoring them without accountability, consistency or any real interest in the outcome. If the scores are simply printed without a thorough and responsible analysis, that will do a disservice to the thousands of teachers who work tirelessly to help their students succeed
Excuse me? There is not thorough responsible analysis. The closest there is to that is some putz closing his eyes and throwing a dart.

While I know it's not easy, and the data is flawed, I have felt these report cards have been a worthwhile tool to judge my performance and push myself harder.

You are just one endless contradiction aren't you? You speak out of both sides of your mouth. You want to have your cake and eat it too. You want to be anything and everything. I just don't get you.

January 20, 2010 you blabbered;
I argued that for all its faults, the NCLB has had an overall positive impact on American education. and Chancellor Klein will pay attention for this part, because it's important. Now for the bad news. And I hope Pres. Obama, Sec. Duncan, Mayor BloombergNCLB hasn't fixed education.
And then nine days later you blibbered;
NCLB has made positive progress by bringing vital attention the ways in which education in this country has failed the most vulnerable children. By creating a policy that singles out English Language Learners, children with special needs and children in high-need communities, NCLB has brought these students out of the shadows, at least in terms of the national conversation.
Geez, make up your mind!!!

Anyway, you know what I see. I see a person, a boy, who for the first time is seeing what he truly is. Just another average schnook. You at one time were the golden boy of your high school, but at Penn you were with other golden boys, and girls and you were knocked down a few notches. Now in the real world you have seen how, and resent teacher's with degrees from CUNY are so much better and successful than you and you just can't handle it.

One more thing. In your Post exclusive one thing I have taken away. You are more worried about you, than you are your students, your school, and your colleagues. I did have a wonderful idea I would photoshop you but your first line gave me a great idea.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New York Post Lies For Joel Klein

It had to happen. Sooner or later the virus that inundated Los Angeles, outing teachers and their test scores was to happen here. And who led the charge? That bastion of journalistic integrity, The New York Post. Yeah, in today's Post, we were told the UFT is attempting to squash a FOIL request, same as was done in Los Angeles, by the post to publish the VAA scores of 6,000 teachers citywide in grades 4-8.

The irony is how cooperative the DOE is being in releasing the scores. Wasn't it just earlier this year that Klein put up a fight of his life to avoid having to share his emails with Evil Moskowitz? Or ask any teacher, or attorney using FOIl for themselves and how much of a fight is put up to cooperate with any FOIL request to the DOE. Funny, the post wants it, the DOE rolls over like a puppy wanting its belly rubbed.

Can it be, or am I just to skeptical to think Chancellor Klein calling up Rupert Murdoch and asking him for the Post to do such a thing? I mean we all know what a donor Murdoch and buddies with Klein. Oh and Wendy Murdoch as well. But guess what? It gets weirder.

The Post also published a secondary story today with the byline of Brian Rafferty, a CEC 24 member and also the executive editor of the Queens Tribune. In this article Rafferty says such things as, "Apparently, the United Federation of Teachers would rather keep us, and thousands of other parents, in the dark as we make this choice." Or, "if my daughter wants to go to one school, and we can tell that its science teachers are subpar, then we have the power to look elsewhere and think of a different location for her."

Fascinating stuff huh? I think so. Heavy, heavy stuff. I was outraged. I wanted to give Brian Rafferty an atomic wedgie! But I got something in my email. Something that was posted on the Post (pardon the pun) website and for some reason removed. It seems Brian Rafferty never wrote what was attributed to him, nor was anything he said in the article said by him.

Read on McDuff:

To The Editor

The characterization of my opinion regarding the UFT and teacher ratings is inaccurate piece of shoddy work by your newspaper. From the lead to the demand at the end that “this information needs to be out there,” the entire piece is flawed.

My wife and I are not looking for a new school for our daughter – she just started a new school this September, and we are very happy with that choice. The statement that “There can only be one reason why the UFT wants to keep these rating secret”… “they’re putting their members’ jobs ahead of children – like they always do,” is not a statement I would ever make not does it define my feelings on the UFT.

I think with that statement, it skews the piece to make it appear that my opinion is that UFT is an organization that does not value the education of our children. I explained to your reporter that my family background in education and my work with the schools, as a newspaper editor and as a member of the Community Education Council give me a fair and skeptical perspective of the UFT, but I would never so crassly define my opinion of the UFT as your newspaper has portrayed it.

Secondly, your reporter portrayed the crux of the story to focus on a decision to withhold the public release of teacher ratings – not a Freedom Of Information request filed by a newspaper. Had I known that this was regarding an apparent vendetta effort spearheaded by the New York Post, I would not have agreed to participate. This piece hurts my credibility now as much as it tarnishes your own.

As a professional journalist for the last 17 years, I am appalled at your newspaper’s decision to put words in somebody’s mouth, slap a byline on a piece and run it as gospel without first verifying the veracity of the statements.

This piece is harmful, inaccurate and used to further an agenda by your newspaper without your company’s portrayal of that agenda being made to me. I feel duped and used.
Shame on you.

Sincerely, Brian M. Rafferty

Executive Editor, Queens Tribune Newspapers
Member, Community Education Council District 24

The New York Post. Buy it. Use it for what it is best for. To line the bird cage.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

Tonight's show, Tuesday night, October 19, 2009, 9 PM EDT
Leading educator Amy Modesto of the Orange County (FL) Schools will be joining us as we discuss riveting and important trends in education. RTI, bi-lingual education, special education, children with special needs, and the education system in Florida. Amy Modesto has been teaching almost 25 years combined in both New York State and Florida. The call in # as always is (917) 932-8721

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thank You Peter Murphy

I really wish to thank Peter Murphy of the NYCSA for appearing last night. He was a good sport about it, and in my opinion did the beast he could probably knowing he was going into enemy territory. But one thing sticks out, the "pat" answer he kept giving.

Several callers called in sharing their unhappiness with the charter schools their children are or were enrolled in. There waas a mother with a special needs child that lost a year academically due to incompetence, a parent that called in complaining that there is no learning, that the school is filthy, a parent that called in to explain how the Ross Charter school is failing. But the answer Peter gave the callers was, "if you don't like the school, you have every right to move them out."

Hey, he is 100% correct. To a point. Yes, if you don't like the school, according to the market philosophy espoused by the charter advocates, you can up and leave. But this can be problematic.

If done in the middle of the year, of course you can enroll your child in the locally zoned school. But what if you don't wish to? I would assume that to enroll your child mid-year in a charter school can be difficult if not impossible.

Also, from the student's viewpoint, this can be a somewhat traumatic experience. Especially if the student has special needs. Change can be tough for kids. Tough when you are changing schools mid-stream.

But why should the parents change schools? Shouldn't the charter schools change to satisfy the parents? The parent, the student are the customers. They are always right.

Parents, even in traditional schools, forge bonds with the teachers, the parents, the students, the entire school community. To say, "just leave," is not what they should have heard, and not the answer.

A school is not a movie you don't like and you can walk out anytime. Being part of a school community is akin to a marriage. You wouldn't tell a husband or a wife they can just up and leave after six months of marriage just because the partner farts in their sleep.

Now, I will admit there is a certain amount if glee hearing these stories, hearing first hand how the shine is coming off the charter school apple. But, what I find so peculiar is the lack of accountability in general about charter schools. It is as if the schools and the people who run them feel they are above the law.


Parents at the HCZ School 2 have finally organized and have made it clear whom they see as at fault for the overrated, yet crappy school.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

A very special guest Tuesday night, October 12 at 9 PM EDT. Peter Murphy, Director of Policy and Communication for the New York Charter Schools Association has graciously accepted an invitation to appear. Mr. Murphy previously held positions in the Executive Chamber of the Administration of Governor George E. Pataki, where he helped develop the state's charter school law; the State Division of the Budget; and the State Senate Finance Committee. Mr. Murphy presently serves as a trustee on the boards of the Brighter Choice Charter Schools and the Henry Johnson Charter School in Albany. He previously served as president and vice-president at his local school district's board of education. Call in # is (917) 932-8721

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stuart Rhoden And Tupac

Stuart Rhoden, the all around, self professed smartest person in the USA has just declared that Tupac Shakur is one of the "greatest teachers of the 20th century. Click to enlarge.

Quite frankly, I am somewhat perplexed at Stuie's decision of anointing Tupac with this honor. Though I am wondering since there are some that question the validity of Mr Shakur's untimely demise, does this mean that Joel Klein will attempt to hire Mr Shakur? But seriously, why someone of Stuart's impeccable background and education feels this way leaves me saddened.

So back to Tupac. I am trying to ascertain why Tupac should be considered the greatest teacher of the 20th century.

Can we learn from him how to sexually assault women? That is a possibility. Wasn't he indicted for just such a charge in 1991? Now that I think of it, he would be hired in a nanosecond by the NYC DOE for an administrative position.

From the album "2Pacalypse Now", the song, "Young Black Male"

["Hard like an erection..."] Young black male! ["Hard like an erection..."] ["...ain't shit to fool with"] ["Hard like an erection..."] Young black male! ["Hard like an erection..."] ["...ain't shit to fool with"]

From the song "I Don't Give A F***";

"F*** you to the San Francisco Police department F*** you to the Marin County Sheriff department"

I can go on and on. Tupac is a gangsta. There are better role models out there.

Stuart Rhoden Has No Cred

I am at my son's baseball game and notice a thread over at Miseducation Nation about an article in today's Washington Post about why the best and the brightest aren't teachers. I will share my pinion about that in a bit, but wanted to touch on the brouhaha it set off, led by a gnome named Stuart Rhoden.

Stuie it seems has issues. He zeroed in on a quote made by the late Sandra Feldman made in 2003; "You have in the schools right now, among the teachers who are going to be retiring, very smart people," she said in an interview. "We're not getting in now the same kinds of people. It's disastrous. We've been saying for years now that we're attracting from the bottom third." What Stuie failed to do was include the first part of Feldman's quote, "You have in the schools right now, among the teachers who are going to be retiring, very smart people," in his comment on the thread. Why Stuie?

Sorry Stuie, I think you got caught up in your own grandeur of self. Yes, you are a big deal, what with getting your PhD in Urban Education, and your days as a quite successful (at least in your own mind) substitute teacher for six years in Chicago and Philadelphia. But I digress.

I don't think what Feldman was saying is that stupid people are going into education. There are two things I think she means. One, is that the old time teachers, the teachers who started in the late sixties and seventies are leaving the profession. They saw teaching as a calling, a way of life, a noble thing to do. What we are getting in the last ten years Stuie are gnomes from TFA whose only reason to teach is to pad that resume for three years so it will look good on a law school application.

Now, there is some point I believe to that colleges and their education methods classes which are lacking. But as I learned with with Lamaze, most of what you learn goes out the window when reality comes about.

I did have one or two methods professors that were just a total waste. But that is the same in any business or venture. That is life. I did not go to a top college. I went to a local state school. I had a B average. But don't ever call me not smart. Not capable.

My second year teaching we had a new teacher. She graduated from Harvard. Went to Harvard Law. After awhile she wasn't happy and decided to become a teacher. She graduated from one of the top education grad schools, Bank Street College in NYC. She didn't last through November. Oh yes she was book smart, but she was not street smart. She had zero classroom management. That is just not something they teach you at Harvard, or Temple, or University of Chicago.

So why aren't the "best and the brightest" drawn to be teachers? Because they are the best and the brightest. They are smart enough not to go into a career in which they will be overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. Oh, yeah, I forgot, You will go on about how we have all that time off. Think of it as convalescing.

One more thing I wish to bring up in your rantings today. This statement you made; "Please tell me other professions which have guarantees such as this complicated pay scale?" Really want to know how many professions are affected by a set pay scale?

Firefighters, cops, sanitation, government employees, UPS drivers, FedEx drivers, railroad workers, nurses, doctors, hospitality workers, bus drivers, candlestick makers, Indian chiefs, custodians, Popeye, migrant workers, airline pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, newspaper employees, Mr Spock, social workers, Ted Baxter.

So Stuie, want to join in on the fun? Have your facts straight from now on.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Joel Klein Writes A Manifesto For Our Time

So Joel Klein knows how to write. Or at the very least knows how to have someone ghost write for him. At least that what it appears in the article in the Washington Post which is due out this Sunday. In fact to help the readers read this mess we here at SBSB have supplied some background music to play whilst reading it. Click here.

Not to leave any credit behind, the article was "co-written" with Michelle Rhee, Ron Huberman, and a bunch of other hacks.

So, the crack team read and reread the Manifesto to come up with a response. The first problem the crack team has is using "manifesto" in the title. Though there is a chance that the Post was decided to give it the title it did. The crack team does have an issue with "manifesto." Conjures up crackpots who think 9/11 was an inside job, or Fasci di Combattimento. Something like that. So now down to the lowlights of the Manifesto.

Off to a brilliant, self centered, self absorbed, look at me start already.....

As educators, superintendents, chief executives and chancellors responsible for educating nearly 2 1/2 million students in America, we know that the task of reforming the country's public schools begins with us.

No, it does not begin with you. Sorry to say that. It begins with the families. The parents. The children. The community. The teachers. The people on the front lines. It is not all about you. Get over it.

But those reforms are still outpaced and outsized by the crisis in public education.

There is no crisis. You created the crisis (I urge all readers to read The Shock Doctrine). As with anything in life education is fluid. It ebbs and flows and changes naturally. What you are doing is unnatural and unethical.

The "Waiting for 'Superman' " documentary, the defeat of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to Newark's public schools, and a tidal wave of media attention have helped spark a national debate and presented us with an extraordinary opportunity.

Who except politicians, and the deformers, loves "Waiting for Superman?" The movie that is supposed to have been made for the people of the inner city, to show the plight of the people of the inner city, is not even playing in the inner city! It's not playing on 161st St in the Bronx. It is not playing at Baychester. It is not playing at Whitestone. Not playing in Harlem or Washington Heights. Why isn't it? Is this not the audience you want to reach?

Fenty was defeated because him and Rhee were seen as elitists. According to Michael Fauntroy, an associate professor of public policy at George Mason University in the New York Times Magazine on October 3 said, "the black, often struggling residents of Washington — the vast majority of parents in the public-school system — have a hair-trigger intolerance for anything that smacks of paternalism or disdain by policy makers, particularly when they appear to be telling people how to run their lives and, most potentially offensive of all, how to educate their children." What is it you are not getting?

As far as Zuckerberg. He is an opportunist. Why waste time with him?

21st-century global economy simply will not happen unless we first shed some of the entrenched practices that have held back our education system, practices that have long favored adults, not children.

You mean, "Children First?" Funny. Joel will you set the example by doing away with all the over paid consultants? What about all these network leaders, children first leaders, etc... that just take up space? Favored adults? Why then is the principal that is responsible for the death of Nicole Suriel still employed?

As President Obama has emphasized, the single most important factor determining whether students succeed in school is not the color of their skin or their ZIP code or even their parents' income -- it is the quality of their teacher.

Joel, boobala, just because Obama said it does not make it so. The single most important person in a child's education is the parent. In fact, superstar and world famous social worker Susanne Berman said so on my radio show. I posit it to think that Susanne knows more than you when it comes to the psychology of children.

Yet, for too long, we have let teacher hiring and retention be determined by archaic rules involving seniority and academic credentials. The widespread policy of "last in, first out" (the teacher with the least seniority is the first to go when cuts have to be made) makes it harder to hold on to new, enthusiastic educators and ignores the one thing that should matter most: performance.

So new, young teachers are enthusiastic? Performance? But it has shown that a teacher takes until about their fifth year to get their groove on. I would never, ever allow my child to have a new teacher. The rules are not archaic. They are there to protect indiscriminate retaliation which as you and your cronies have shown is quite prevalent in the NYC DOE. Does your pal Mike propose the same for cops, firefighters, sanitation workers, parks employees? What about corrections officers at Rikers? Your performance has been abhorrent yet you still have a job. Why is that? Want to do away with academic credentials for teachers? Sure, why not. Let's do the same for lawyers. How difficult can it be to bill $450/hr for a phone call?

There isn't a business in America that would survive if it couldn't make personnel decisions based on performance.

And there is not a business in America that would survive the way the NYC DOE treats its "customers." McDonald's treats its public better than the DOE treats its public.

The glacial process for removing an incompetent teacher....

This is due to due process. You are a lawyer, what is it you fail to comprehend about due process? Besides, define incompetence.

has left our school districts impotent.

Joel, and I might be wrong will will check with world famous social worker Susanne Berman on this, but you just might be projecting here. Yes, it happens. It is understandable. You are of course over 60 years of age. But you can do something. Perhaps join Bob Dole in a commercial?

District leaders also need the authority to use financial incentives to attract and retain the best teachers.

Financial incentives, merit pay has been shot down. Don't you read the papers? Or the internet?

Is it reasonable to expect a teacher to address all the needs of 25 or 30 students when some are reading on a fourth-grade level and others are ready for Tolstoy?

NO!!!! So why are you keeping class sizes so high? Why are you not using the funds given to reduce class size??

eliminate arcane rules such as "seat time," which requires a student to spend a specific amount of time in a classroom with a teacher rather than taking advantage of online lessons and other programs.

Yep. Another way to reduce the teachers. The unions. And the pay. Technology is great. I am all for it. But it is just another tool in the classroom. Akin to a book, or a piece of chalk.

That starts with having the courage to replace or substantially restructure persistently low-performing schools that continuously fail our students.

C'mon man. The grading system changes every single year. How can it have any credibility when it comes to closing schools?

Joel, you have done more to wreck education in NYC than anyone has in history. You are a rotten human being, and in a way I feel quite sorry for you. You have no shame, no compassion, and no remorse. Your policies are there to hurt people. I hope one day you can repent. Nixon did.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vic De Salvo Meets Randi Weingarten

Oh hi. I was just watching Brian Jones p3wn the panelists on NBC. I am now taking a break after beating my head silly against a concrete wall when ever Randi Weingarten opened her mouth. But during the time of of head thrusting into concrete I had an epiphany on what to do about Randi Weingarten and that open sore under her nose. And all it takes is the inspiration of Vic De Salvo

Remember Vic? Actually, Danny DeVito. In 1984, DeVito, starred and directed a cable movie, "The Ratings Game." He played a small time hood that wanted to get a pilot on a network. The network relented but put the pilot up against game 1 of the World Series. Vic, upon learning from girlfriend Rhea Perlman that all it took was about thirty families to skew the ratings. Vic sent these families away on a "cruise." Turned out since the pilot was a hit, Vic and his paisans, got commitments for more shows and the families were at sea for over a year.

So, here is the plan. Teachers from all over the United States chip in and buy a garbage scow or something. Paint up and beautify only one side. Put a few help wanted ads in Manilla for a crew, and then send Randi a letter telling her that she is a a grand prize winner and wins an all inclusive cruise around the world. For other passengers, homeless and the unemployed can be plucked off the street. They'll be happy to just get away.

In the year that she is gone, and out of range of any modern day communication devices, she will be unable to screw things up anymore.

Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast

Tuesday night, October 5, 2009 at 9 PM.

Scheduled: The Frustrated Teacher of The Frustrated Teacher blog, Discussed will be the propaganda spewed forth last week of NBC's Education Nation, and the rebuttal brilliantly and continually set forth by TFT's Facebook page, "Miseducation Nation"

Call in # is

(917) 932-8721

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Broad Brush Of Bill Grundfest

I would first and foremost like to thank Bill Grundfest for appearing on the radio show Wednesday night. Bill, it took chutzpah. I doff my teacher's hat to you.

I was thinking all day today on what I wanted to write concerning Wednesday night. What stood out to me. What did I walk away with. Solidaridad has an awesome critique of of the show (and I am adding it to my links). There are many things I can write about, but I keep coming back to how you paint with an extremely broad brush.

Bill, you kept calling the neighborhoods, and the students "rotten." First, these neighborhoods are not rotten. People live there, people work there, people grow up there. Yes, there are not a lot of good things in these neighborhoods, but there are a lot more of good things. Unfortunately, the negative always is the bigger attention grabber.

I have worked in the South Bronx my entire teaching career. I do not ever claim to have the answers for what is happening in the neighborhoods, but I do know that I am a guest, and that I need to keep my eyes and ears open. The student population of my school is almost entirely from the projects. In these projects live gang bangers, drug dealers, prostitutes, civil service workers, secretaries, soccer moms, soccer dads, blue collar workers, it runs the entire gamut. Which brings me to my second observation.

You keep bringing up the DATA. Yes, the data brought up of teacher effectiveness in the Los Angeles Times. By the way, here is how MR Richard Buddin crunched the numbers. I dare you to explain it to me.

Bill, you should know how easily data can be manipulated. Look at how the Bush Administration manipulated the data in the run up to the Iraq War. Heck, even Hitler manipulated data concerning Jews. Tasha Yar manipulated Data (sorry for the Star Trek connection. First person that explains it gets dinner!) Every politician manipulates data. Data is now, and has been manipulated by Mayor Bloomberg for years concerning NYC schools.

And my last point, which connects with your love affair with data. Just because Class A and Class B in the same school, in the same grade have different results, please stop claiming that all the kids are the same because they all come from the same demographics. Are all Jewish children from Scarsdale the same? Each child, whether they are upper class, middle class, working class, or live in poverty do have one thing in common. Each and everyone of their lives are different. Each has had different life experiences. Like no two snowflakes are alike, no two children are alike. Yes, even identical twins.

We never know what happens behind closed doors of someone's home. All we can assume, and should is that what is unique to that family is unique. Children are such subjective creatures, we can't toggle them into one way of thinking. One day is as different as the day before.

Bill, you are OK in my book. I hope I have made a friend, I hope if and when I am out in LA again we can go to a Dodgers game, and I hope you will be a guest on the show again.