Friday, January 29, 2010
Thomas W Carroll, the titular head of Albany school reform and his ilk are the type that wish to judge teachers by students test scores. But what if we are to judge Thomas W Carroll? How about in how he satisfies the women in his life? Would it mean that he is a poor lover? Let's examine this hypothetically.
With Mrs Carroll, Tommy is very attentive. However, Mrs Carroll sometimes needs a little help. Now this is no knock against Tommy. It's just the way Mrs Carroll is. She has been to medical doctors, took a three hour course with Dr Ruth, in fact both of them even bought some Nina Hartley how to videos.
But to feel fully satisfied sometimes Mrs Carroll needs to use a Silver Bullet, or even the "ears" of a rabbit. Maybe an adult video with midgets. Now mind you this is no reflection on Tommy. Or just sometime Mrs Carroll will close her eyes, wait for it to be over and finish it herself later. It is just that Mrs Carroll needs certain stimuli to be satisfied during the act of love. It is no reflection on Tommy's physical attributes nor his abilities. It's just the way it is.
No let's pretend Tommy has a kept woman. A concubine if you will. This woman does not need any of the outside stimuli that Mrs Carroll does. Tommy does the same thing, has the same physical attributes, but she is satisfied ever so easy, and ever so quickly. Tommy hasn't done anything differently.
Now we don't know either the concubine's nor Mrs Carroll's attitudes for the act of love. Nothing is correct or incorrect. But their two different people with two different backgrounds, but with the same man. But should Tommy be penalized for that he is unable to satisfy Mrs Carroll? Of course not.
And this goes for children and standardized testing. We don't know what goes on, or went on with a student once they leave the building. We can't be at their homes every single day making sure they are not being abused, eating right, doing homework, enriching their vocabulary, etc... We can help them in the classroom, do whatever we can to improve them, but we can't judge students, and teachers by some silly test.
If we start judging teachers by how the results of their students tests, then shouldn't Tommy be judged on how he satisfies Mrs Carroll?
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
First on behalf of teachers city wide I would like to thank Pablo Guzman and WCBS News for the time he took to look into the truth behind the Rubber Rooms, and to present the teachers in a favorable light while at the same time making Tweed and administrators take responsibility for their actions. Oh dang, what the f**k did I just say? Let's try again.
First on behalf of teachers city wide I would like to flip the proverbial bird at Pablo Guzman and WCBS News for the lack of time he took to look into the truth behind the Rubber Rooms, and to present the teachers in a the normal, media biased negative light while at the same time making Tweed and administrators look angelic and almost God like. OK, that's better.
I knew something was amiss when Chris Wragge during the 5 PM news read off the teleprompter, and I am paraphrasing here, "Would you believe that there are teachers that are paid all day to do nothing?" He then told everyone to tune in at 11 so we can find out how taxpayers are being screwed. His bubble headed co-anchor Kristine Johnson looked appalled or was it dimwitted to know that such a thing could be happening. But just like the Frizzies, I thought it might be a tease to have people tune in.
How wrong can one be. Pablo Guzman, the intrepid reporter is a liar and a not very nice person. He used David Pakter. Used and abused him. David took him into his home, broke bread with him, and befriended him and just got shunted aside by Pablo.
I'm not going to go through the whole story, just what stood out to me.
But while they wait they do nothing at all. And they're still paid -- with your tax dollars.
Oh, scary words. I expected Count Floyd to say, "paid--with your tax dollars" as he moved back and forth from the camera. Oooh, scary words. But an excellent way to stir up the audience, to bring anger to the masses. Kudos to you CBS!!!
CBS 2 HD's hidden cameras recently got a rare look inside the rooms, which are located in every borough of New York City.
Word is Pablo was hot, hot, hot for a teacher to do this. This should have been the first warning sign that the story would go astray from the teachers point of view. Nothing, nada, bupkus good would have come out of this. However, they did miss filming the January Rubber Room circle jerk championships. That would have been must see TV.
"The saddest thing is that there are some people doing nothing. Not even that," teacher Leevert Holmes said.....When asked if taxpayers are paying for this Holmes said yes, even though people are being paid to literally do nothing, adding it costs the public, "millions."
Nice. Way to rope in Mr Holmes to admit to what you wanted to hear. You conned him. Look in his face as he answered the last question. He knew he had been had. I'll give Mr Holmes credit. At least he was honest.
Some teachers have been paid to do nothing for as long as seven years.
Yeah, there are. There are some who just get to comfortable, too safe, too afraid. They stop being pro-active. They stop advocating for themselves. Instead of painting with a broad brush Pablo, find out why. Each person is an individual with a different story.
CBS 2 HD and the Department of Education exchanged several emails, but the Department did not want to put anyone on camera. Instead, they released the following statement:....."This is not an ideal system but, given the realities of the cumbersome state laws and union contract, we're in a position where we need to balance our obligation to safeguard children with our legal obligation for fairness to teachers," said NYC Department of Education spokeswoman Ann Forte.
Yes, the safety of students should be paramount. But how is insubordination dangerous to children? How is having a coffee cup in one's hand dangerous to children? How is having more than ten absences dangerous to children? How is raising one's voice dangerous to children?
Why not look into how the system is skewed that a principal can just make allegations, or accept allegations against a teacher and that teacher be sent of to the RR? It is all too easy. Of the 530 teachers in the rubber rooms many will get fired.
No many will not get fired. Many will be offered a settlement, fined and sign away any rights to pursue future legal action against the DOE. If these teachers are so dangerous or incompetent, why does the DOE offer settlements?
and others will just get frustrated and quit.
That is what they want. Especially if you are over forty make a certain amount of money, and ask why? instead of how high?
Still, that's $53 million of your money that could be put to better use.
There you go again with the pandering to the lowest common dork out there watching TV.
Thanks Pablo. Next time use some lube.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Oh Ramona, you are a sly one. How can you feel good about yourself after an attempted suicide attempt by a child in your school? Something that was so preventable.
You know what I am talking about. This kid is a runner. In fact Ramona he has run out of the school on several occasions. Seems that somewhere one would get the notion that some intervention is called for.
I know what you are saying. “It’s not my fault, it was my Interim Acting Assistant Principal Heredia’s fault." Good, perfect. Always put the blame on the underling.
Seems IAAP Heredia was too darn busy to take care of a child in crisis. She was just in a common prep with the 1st grade. The Words Their Way video took precedence over a kid that was in crisis. But why is an IAAP doing this? Could it be maybe, just maybe that Ms Heredia is just doing this to complete her AP coursework? Five minutes of her time could have sufficed to help this child.
So what happens instead? The child is found taking his shirt and twisting it around his neck in an apparent suicide attempt. Nice. At least someone had the mental fortitude to call EMS! I am sure the boy’s family thanks you and your staff very much.
Oh, how are you responsible Ramona? You are the principal, the captain of the ship so to speak. Everything flows from you and back to you.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Major Breaking Education News
History will be made by CBS Channel 2 Television News
When: Monday 11 PM
Where: Channel 2, CBS, NYC
Who: Legendary News Reporter
Attorney Dr. Joy Hochstadt, Esq.
Representing and with:
See FIRST PERSON INTERVIEW : THE FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON
What: Lead Plaintiffs in major Federal Class Action Lawsuit
seeking to permanently close
New York City's infamous
Why: Because the Public has the right to know that such abominations
should NOT exist
in a Free Democratic Society
This Monday 11 PM CBS Special News Report
will be followed by a full extended News Special
that will be posted on the CBS News Website on the Internet at the end of the week.
The so-called NYC Dept of Education "Rubber Rooms"
are places spread around New York City
where NYC Teachers are "disappeared",
sometimes for years, on trumped up charges.
While a small number of these Teachers should be removed,
Most teachers in the "Rubber Rooms" ended up there
Because the NYC Dept of Education decided they were allegedly "too old",
Or were earning "too high" salaries,
Or because they were Whistle-blowers who reported,
Widespread corruption and waste of Tax Payer money,
As well as the breaking of Federal Civil Rights Laws.
Watch the Monday night CBS Special News Report at 11 PM
Watch the Extended Pablo Guzman Interviews on
CBS News Internet Website later in week.
WCBS-TV News in New York City deserves much credit
for being the first TV News Program in America
To expose the Truth about New York's "Rubber Rooms"
This is Education News History
No one can afford to miss this News Special Report
Please post, circulate and tell your friends.
The January 10, 2010 edition of the Albany Times-Union did some digging and found that Walton Family Foundation, the heirs of WalMart, is the largest contributor to Brighter Choice Foundation. The foundations has doled out $15 million for charter school construction alone in Albany and more than $1 million a year for several years for operations of the growing Brighter Choice charter schools.
The Times-Union also reports that, money flowing into the region from various billionaires is underwriting a fledgling and publicly-financed charter school cluster in Albany that is among the most promising in the industry. It is also troubling teachers union officials who wonder why the right is sponsoring schools in urban Albany.
But why is the Right so interested in Albany. Surely they can't be lobbying or making campaign contributions. Surely Governor Paterson believes in his own heart of hearts in charter schools. Or not?
According to the Times-Union, the only Walton money coming into New York political campaigns is from Christy R. Walton and it's been going to Paterson. She has given only to the governor's election campaign -- not when he was a senator or lieutenant governor candidate. Walton has made three contributions totaling $55,900 to the governor's election effort, according to most recent state disclosures.
So confused I am. I could swear that Tommy whined about the UFT lobbying efforts and money it throws around Albany. But who else does Thomas J Carroll whore himself out to?
Seems that Tommy and his Education Reform and Accountability think tank are whores to the Gilder Foundation, which has given Brighter Choice millions of dollars over the years. Have you no shame Tommy?
No, Tommy hasn't any shame/ To do business with WalMart a company that refuses to let its employees unionize, a company that makes its workers pay 35% to health care costs, a company that refuses to pay overtimes, a company known to lock its employees in a store. This is the type of company that Thomas W Carroll does business with? For shame.
Now check this out. In the Times Union story, Assemblyman John McEneny, D-Albany, who is wary of charter schools, said he thinks the Brighter Choice curriculum mirrors the profit-motive culture of the Wall Street backers and Wal-Mart. As an example, he said children earn payments toward field trips for their achievements. Others are left home during the class trips if they haven't earned the payments.
Leaving kids home from a field trip that is supposed to be educational because they don't have enough "charter bucks?" That is not right. It is just plain wrong. The only reason a student is kept not from going on a field trip is if there is a safety concern. Tommy, I am so upset!!
Interrupting the lovefest...
Teaching is no longer respected because that's what teachers have done to their profession. No differential pay, no merit pay, lifetime tenure, fight evaluation at every turn, be the leading lobbyists in the state to assure that all decisions in education are based on the interests of the vast majority of mediocre teachers, or worse, the interests of the union itself.
Teachers, via their unions, have absolutely insisted that they be treated like interchangeable parts in some 19th century assembly line of education.
Congrats, you're getting exactly the amount of respect as you deserve and have worked so hard for.
God this is so easy to just pick apart.
Interrupting the lovefest...
No lovefest there. Just a small mutual admiration society that you are not a part of. I am sure if we were giving Tommy accolades, Tommy would have been preening with it tucked under like that guy did in Silence of the Lambs.
No differential pay
Do you mean that there should be no differential pay, or that teachers do not have differential pay? I am somewhat confused.
no merit pay
This I know what you mean. How do we properly judge who gets merit pay or who doesn't? Test scores? What happens if one teacher has a class in which a child who witnessed her mommy being beaten the night before an exam? Or another child that watched mommy turn tricks to score some crack or heroin? Or a little girl's favorite uncle decided to defile her? Or just that no one was home and the kid was hanging out at Pathmark on 204th St all night panhandling? I mean I could go on and on about the infinite scenarios that could affect a child's score on a test.
But what of the gym teacher? Art teacher? Music teacher? Other school based pedagogues that are not directly involved in a students score on a exam? How do we give these teachers merit pay?
Does this mean a dentist in Scarsdale is better than a dentist in the South Bronx because the Scarsdale dentist's patients are able to afford better dental care than the patients in the South Bronx?
Yep we have lifetime tenure. Good thing we do. Know how many teachers would be terminated for having a Coke in their hand? Watch WCBS News at 11 PM Monday night, you'll see what I am talking about.
fight evaluation at every turn
We do? Not that I know of. What kind of evaluation should there be. Your answer must not include these two words. Test and scores.
be the leading lobbyists in the state
Tommy, you were part of Change-NY. You sued SUNY-Albany because you did not agree with NYPIRG. You were an aide to one of the biggest crooks ever in Albany, Joe Bruno. You were an aide to Governor Pataki as well who was in bed with SEIU. Pot meet kettle.
interests of the vast majority of mediocre teachers
Define mediocre teacher? A boring teacher? It is already been established in case law that being boring is not incompetence.
Congrats, you're getting exactly the amount of respect as you deserve and have worked so hard for.
No Tommy we are not getting respect because of people like you who think they know better than people like us. You people and your shrillness and refusal to delve into the real reasons of what matters to a child's education and instead just look for people to blame, that is why teachers are losing respect.
Oh and one more thing. Did you like the Van Halen video? I like that song. But I am more of a Van Hagar fan myself.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Coolest thing ever happened this evening. I got tweeted by New York Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability Oberstgruppenführer Thomas W. Carroll. Boys and girls I will let you in on a little secret. Tommy is a big shot. Well, in his own mind.
Tommy had his panties in a bunch because I tweeted to one of his Stoßtruppen that he is demented in regards to an article he wrote about New York's failure to properly apply to RtTT funds. Read the article. See how out of touch he is.
But you ask, Tommy must be an extraordinary educator to posit such a stance. We here at SBSB did some digging and found Tommy's qualifications to comment on education.
Thomas W. Carroll is president of the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability and chairman of the Brighter Choice Foundation in Albany, New York.Impressive. Very much. Unfortunately, we here at SBSB were unable to locate any teaching experience in his wonderful CV. But not to worry. We are still looking.
Through the Brighter Choice Foundation, Mr. Carroll has created a network of high-performing public charter schools in New York’s state capital, primarily serving economically disadvantaged African American and Latino students. Schools backed by Brighter Choice were ranked #1 of all public schools in Albany in math in every grade and #1 in English language arts in the highest elementary- and middle-school grades. In fall 2009, charter schools in Albany enrolled more than 25 percent of all public school students in Albany.
Mr. Carroll previously held research, fiscal, and administrative positions in New York with the Governor’s office, the State Legislature, and the State Division of the Budget.
Mr. Carroll earned a B.A. from the University at Albany, State University of New York and an M.A. from Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy.
But, we here archived his tweets and for the first time in recorded history share them here.
Look at the rantings of Tommy. First thing he says, "I FOUNDED 11 PUBLIC SCHOOLS!" Hey impressive. I coached two teams to consecutive championships in my local Little League. So I can take over for Jerry Manuel and manage the Mets now? I mean the Mets, nor Jerry Manuel have not won any championships, so obviously I am more qualified. Oh, a side note. I do hate the Mets with a passion. I am an avid Yankees fan.
So I asked him what his qualifications are, "have you ever been in a classroom as a teacher?" A simple question that demands a simple answer. Either yes or no. He dodged, dived, ducked, and dodged that question.
So he asks again what views I disagreed with, and not knowing me very well asked me not to be bashful. I told him and asked again, "have you ever been in a classroom as a teacher?" Again the same obfuscation.
Lastly he asks about my last blog posting in which I questioned the constitutionality of RtTT, NCLB, and federal involvement in local education matters by retorting that I should, "turn the money down." As if I made that decision. Even if I could, I would not prostitute myself to do so.
But what amazes me is that Tommy was too afraid to answer my question and might never now. For some inexplicable reason he unfollowed me on Twitter. I am hurt. I shall sob myself to sleep. But seriously Tommy, what are you afraid of? Being exposed for the EDiot you are?
Come back Tommy, I hardly knew thee.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I go back and forth about this healthcare thing going on. I am for it, against it, for it, against it. Yes, I flip flop. I think the system is broken and it needs to be fixed. On the other hand, I got mine and I don't want anyone messing with my health insurance. But I tend to lean towards that this is a states rights issue, and government involved in healthcare could only screw it up more. I mean this is what we hear from Limabuagh, Hannity, Beck, Levin, FOX, and the Tea Baggers.
But where are these states rights, limited government, constructionist, government stay the hell out of my life types with the federal government dictating how STATES should educate its children? By this I mean NCLB, or Race To Kiss Up To Arne Duncan, or better know as Race To The Top.
We here at SBSB went over the United States Constitution with a fine tooth comb. We analyzed it extensively and found no mention that the federal government should be involved in local education.
In fact one might argue that the Commerce Clause, "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes," comes close, but education is not commerce.
What about the Proper and Necessary clause? "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof," Nope, don't see it there. That only pertains to what the powers of Congress are, and regulating education is not one of them.
But what has been ignored in all this is the tenth amendment to the Constitution, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
NCLB, RTtT is unconstitutional. Any involvement by the federal government is unconstitutional. What do we do? Simple, each and every educator, parent, person with a brain should become a Tea Bagger. Tea Baggers for Education!!!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
“Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.”
— Elliott Eisner
Over the past decade No Child Left Behind has changed the way children are forced to learn and teachers are forced to teach. Now the LEARN Act and Race to the Top threaten to do even more harm. Not only do these new initiatives legislate what should be taught, but precisely how it should be taught. Moreover they continue to give a false impression of what authentic learning looks like.
Daniel Pink, in his book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” cites research showing that when we focus on short-term goals, long-term interests get crowded out and, in his words, “nasty things can happen.” For example, by focusing only on short-term goals, dieters employ dangerous crash diets, athletes take steroids, Wall Street engages in sketchy practices. In each case the short-term objective is reached at the expense and ultimate well-being of the individual or the economy.
Let's apply that same principle to schools. Today, teachers are implored to focus on test prep activities at the expense of real teaching and learning. They teach what gets tested, that narrow set of skills that can be assessed by filling in a bubble.
Yet, according to Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus at University of Southern California, there is no evidence to support this skills-based approach in teaching literacy. None. Through his review of research, Krashen found that nothing works better than real reading and real writing. Imagine that. Kids learn by doing. And doing it a lot.
Pink also states that as human beings, we find many creative and conceptual tasks enjoyable. We adults enjoy reading, doing crossword puzzles, gardening or practicing the piano. We are motivated simply by the doing. Likewise, children are wired for learning and discovery. They enjoy it. It motivates them. Nonetheless, by pushing more and more pencil and paper activities onto younger and younger children, we destroy that natural love of learning.
What we expected of first-graders 20 years ago is being required of kindergartners today. Reading. Sight vocabulary. Spelling. Writing. Yes, many 5-year-olds can learn those things, but many can't pass the stress test. They react with belly-aches, misbehavior and hating school.
That, my friends, is the unintended consequence of No Child Left Behind and any other legislation that rewards performance on multiple choice tests over authentic learning. Kids burn out. Kids drop out.
So before we all jump on the bandwagon for the next round of school reform initiatives, let's keep in mind that our ultimate goal is not a test score. Our goal is literate adults who can separate fact from opinion. Adults who can write coherently. Adults who continue to learn and grow because they simply love learning. That's the real test.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I picture the conversation like this. Right after Bloomberg and Klein first made love to each other, discussing how they want to run the NYC schools. Both were gazing into one another's eyes, each sweating from rough and hard man love (not that there is anything wrong with that). Cuddled up together, ignoring the leaf blower with the blown engine, the empty bottle of WD-40 and all the gerbils scurrying about, Bloomberg sayeth onto Klein, "Joel what about that Chicago school system, what do you think about then there?" Klein, removing a gerbil looked haltinlgy into Bloomberg's eyes, "I think it is the best. And not just because I had a threesome with Mayor Daly and schools chief ARNOLD Duncan, but because they changed everything." "You are so right," replied Bloomberg as the donkey brayed loudly, "Joel I want you to model our school system after Chicago. It is the best in the world!"
With that sentence Joel Klein went on to transform the NYC schools after Chicago's. But just over this past weekend horrible, horrible news came to Klein. Chicago's "reformation" was all smoke and mirrors.
Yep, smoke and mirrors. Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune ran a scathing article on how Chicago's "Renaissance 2010" is, for lack of a better phrase, crap. How can this be? Well first we should thank that Chicago Tribune for not being in Mayor Daly's back pocket. Hear that NY Times, Daily News, NY Post?? But it be, and it was, and it has hurt whom? Yes, the students. Who did it benefit? Consultants, Daly, ARNOLD Duncan.
But of course lovers Bloomberg and Klein will claim that of course it did not work in Chicago. Chicago is the SECOND CITY. Everything works in NYC.
Here is the article from yesterday's Chicago Tribune. See if you can find any similarities.
Six years after Mayor Richard Daley launched a bold initiative to close down and remake failing schools, Renaissance 2010 has done little to improve the educational performance of the city's school system, according to a Tribune analysis of 2009 state test data.
Scores from the elementary schools created under Renaissance 2010 are nearly identical to the city average, and scores at the remade high schools are below the already abysmal city average, the analysis found.
The moribund test scores follow other less than enthusiastic findings about Renaissance 2010 -- that displaced students ended up mostly in other low-performing schools and that mass closings led to youth violence as rival gang members ended up in the same classrooms. Together, they suggest the initiative hasn't lived up to its promise by this, its target year.
"There has been some good and some bad in Renaissance 2010, but overall it wasn't the game changer that people thought it would be," said Barbara Radner, who heads the Center for Urban Education at DePaul University. "In some ways it has been more harmful than good because all the attention, all the funding, all the hope was directed at Ren10 to the detriment of other effective strategies CPS was developing."
Turning around public schools is the core of Daley's efforts to keep the city vibrant. But the outcome of his ambitious education experiment is as important to the nation as it is to Chicago. The architect of Renaissance 2010, former schools CEO Arne Duncan, is now the U.S. Secretary of Education -- and he's taking the Daley-Duncan model national as part of his Race to the Top reform plan.
Duncan is using an unprecedented $4.35 billion pot of money to lure states into building education systems that replicate key Ren10 strategies. The grant money will go to states that allow charter schools to flourish and to those that experiment with turning around failing schools -- all part of the Chicago reform.
Illinois education officials hope to get a piece of the pie and are preparing an application for Tuesday's deadline.
Renaissance 2010 was launched in 2004 after decades of school reforms failed to fix chronically underperforming schools. City leaders promised to close the worst schools and open 100 innovative ones that would rely heavily on the private sector for ideas, funding and management. Central to the plan was an increase in charter schools, which receive tax dollars but are run by private groups free from many bureaucratic constraints.
Daley and Duncan credit the program with injecting competition and invigorating a stagnant system and say it has laid a foundation the district can build on.
"We haven't looked at all the data, but our belief is that Renaissance 2010 dramatically improved the educational options in communities across Chicago," said Peter Cunningham, Duncan's spokesman, who followed him from Chicago to Washington. "We believe that it is contributing to Chicago's overall success. Renaissance 2010 and Race to the Top both reflect a willingness to be bold, hold yourself to higher standards and push for dramatic change, not incremental change."
Cunningham and other supporters argue that many new schools, mainly in low-income and high-crime neighborhoods, are outperforming nearby traditional schools. They say attendance rates, parent satisfaction and student engagement are higher. And they point out that expecting significant gains from startup schools is unrealistic.
On Saturday, Daley said the program will yield measurable results, but that it will take time.
"I'll accept any criticism, and any adjustment of it, we'll look at it," Daley said.
There have been some bright spots.
Most of the elementary schools overhauled by the Academy for Urban School Leadership, which changes the school staff but leaves the students in place, are outperforming their previous selves. The Noble Street charter schools, which operate in some of the toughest neighborhoods, have college-going rates that even suburban schools would envy. And innovation has flourished, as the city's first all-boys public high school, Urban Prep, opened in Englewood, and the Chicago Virtual Charter School went online.
The business community embraced the reform agenda and has ponied up $50 million to the Renaissance Schools Fund, a nonprofit created by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. The group has awarded about $30 million to 63 new schools.
Currently, 92 Renaissance 2010 schools enroll 34,000 children -- about 8 percent of the district total. Seven new schools will open in the fall, and the city plans to announce new school closings within the next few weeks.
The new schools mirror the district demographically, except they enroll fewer special education students and those who speak English as a second language.
Chicago school officials don't publicly track the performance of the Renaissance 2010 schools. But Ron Huberman, who took the helm of the city schools when Duncan left, said he has crunched the numbers and about one-third of the new schools are outperforming their neighborhood counterparts; one-third are identical in performance; the rest do worse.
A Tribune analysis shows that in Renaissance 2010 elementary schools, an average of 66.7 percent of students passed the 2009 Illinois Standards Achievement Test, identical to the district rate. The Ren10 high school passing rate was slightly lower on state tests than the district as a whole -- 20.5 percent compared with 22.8 percent. But it's identical at 17.6 percent when selective enrollment schools, where students test to get in, are removed from the equation.
Only a quarter of Renaissance 2010 schools had test scores high enough to meet the federal goals set by No Child Left Behind, the signature education policy of the George W. Bush administration. Chicago students as a whole still post some of the lowest test scores on national math and reading exams.
A series of studies released last year paints an unimpressive picture of Renaissance 2010.
One report, commissioned by the Renaissance Schools Fund, found that children in the fund-supported schools had low academic performance and posted test score gains identical to students in the nearby neighborhood schools.
"The Renaissance Schools Fund-supported schools will need to rapidly accelerate the academic performance of their students if they are to realize their own expectations," researchers wrote.
Phyllis Lockett, president of the fund, said their most recent analysis was more encouraging. Using test data not yet publicly available, the study found that pass rates in their schools are now 4 percentage points higher than those in comparable neighborhood schools.
"It's not like we are ready to cheer and scream success," Lockett said. "Our schools are doing very well but we've got to raise the bar. It's not good enough to 'just be better than the neighborhood schools.' But with the complexity of opening a new school, that's a good early goal."
Opening new innovative schools was only half of the Renaissance 2010 strategy. Closing the lowest performers was the other component -- and nothing created more disruption to the city's educational landscape.
Even in schools with single-digit pass rates, violence-filled hallways and embarrassing absentee patterns, parents picketed the streets and filled the school board chambers, begging that their schools be left alone.
But Duncan stood his ground and closed schools. The migration of teenagers across racial, cultural and gang boundaries burdened a high school system already struggling to educate students. Violence escalated.
Some point to the 2005 closing of Carver High School as the flash point for the September death of Derrion Albert, the 16-year-old Fenger High School student who was beaten, kicked and smashed with large planks of wood about a half-mile from school. District officials converted Carver into a military academy, sending teenagers to other schools, including Fenger. The two groups never got along and tempers flared inside and outside the school, culminating with the beating caught on videotape.
The academic outcomes of the displaced students wasn't any better. A report, issued in October by the Chicago Consortium on School Research at the University of Chicago, found that students from closed schools landed, for the most part, at campuses that were just as bad and then progressed at the same predictably low levels.
One positive outcome: students who ended up in higher-performing schools made more academic progress.
Duncan, pained by the increased violence, embraced a new strategy in 2006. Known as the "turnaround," it replaces the school principal and teachers with more effective educators, but leaves the children in place.
The Academy for Urban School Leadership has transformed eight schools under this model. Three of the four elementary schools that have at least two years of test scores have seen an uptick in results.
At Harvard School for Excellence in Englewood, for example, pass rates increased from 32 percent to 56 percent since the private, nonprofit group took over two years ago. Principal Andre Cowling, a former Army captain who served in the first Gulf War, attributes the progress to a razor-sharp focus on data, parent outreach, teacher training and a culture of safety and learning.
"Before they took over it was like World War III inside the school, fights everywhere," said Wanda Wilburn, who has three children at Harvard. "But they came in and stretched their hands out to us. Our kids are learning now."
Despite the program's mixed reviews, Daley promised this month to push forward and expand Renaissance 2010.
Huberman cautions against tossing out the entire strategy, a reflex typical in education reform. Instead, he plans to promote the components that work and get rid of the ones that don't -- even if that means closing down underperforming Renaissance 2010 charter schools, he said.
Huberman has promised that students displaced by school closings will be guaranteed spots in higher performing schools and will be assigned staff members to help them adjust to their new schools. He told the Tribune on Friday that he also will set aside coveted spots in magnet schools to accommodate them. Huberman also promised to devise safe passage plans to make sure children can get to their new schools safely.
"The first phase of Renaissance 2010 was the organic part of a brand-new reform," he said. "In the second phase, we need to put our energy behind the proven factors that work and drive them hard. If we had not gone through stage one -- as painful as it might have been -- we could not get to stage two."
I came across this interesting blog posting through Twitter. The person who wrote it, @msprincipal62, is a principal somewhere in these vast United States of America. From what I have been able to ascertain thus far is that he is a mature principal, that believes that teachers should teach, and principals should principal. He appears to be a veteran educator who rose to his position by becoming an expert educator, and not on a lark. No five years in education, writing a check to Touro College, or even going to the Leadership Academy. I doubt very much he will write a teacher up for having a Coke in their hand.
This blog posting by @msprincipal62 is in regards to the travesty of the NCLB. For him to have his own blog shows that he is secure in herself and his profession and does not have some Freudian axe to grind against teachers.
So without further adieu, I present, @msprincipal62. Please give a big round of applause.
Time for No Child Left Behind to Be Left Behind But I’m Afraid of What They Might Come Up with Instead
When I started teaching about twenty years ago, a veteran teacher once told me when I elatedly said that I was glad our state government was changing some education regulation, “Be careful what you wish for. What they often come up with is often worse than what we have.” Twenty years later, that veteran teacher’s fear is alive and well inside my head as discussions heat up about the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind. I have long suspected that the original motivations behind the No Child Left Behind legislation was to set public schools up so that they automatically fail. Why else would you set up the totally ridiculous and impossible standard of having all students proficient by 2014. It does not take someone with the intelligence of a rocket scientist to see that having ALL students proficient by that deadline is not going to happen, ever. In fact, you could set that standard deadline for 2050 and it will never happen. I realize to some idealists that statement sounds pessimistic coming from a school administrator who should have high expectations for all students, but as the discussion about NCLB re-authorization heats up, I honestly think this country is in desperate need of a reality check.
Let’s face it, education is an extremely messy process. Contrary to what all the politicians behind NCLB or its re-authorization think or believe, education is not a business. Education is not a factory. NCLB has a basic assumption that education can be a business or a factory. The discussions about the re-authorization of the legislation and this “Race-to-the-Top” rhetoric still have the same basic assumptions at their core. For example, the discussion of national standards and national tests to measure those standards is only extension of the same factory-model view of learning. The difference now is that states like Tennessee and Texas are going to directly tie teacher performance to test score performance. That should be a frightening prospect to all educators. Not because we do not want to take responsibility for our students’ learning, but because there are so many environmental factors about learning that we do not control. For example, we do not even control our own budgets which means we ultimately do not control the resource stream into our classrooms and schools. Yet, there are those who tie student performance on tests to teacher performance. That is clearly a sign of the delusional factory-model thinking of our political establishment.
I do think we must take responsibility for our students’ learning, and I am not just making excuses by pulling the environment card. But, instead of tumbling headlong into the next standards and accountability fad, we must also back up and critically look at the entire accountability and standards movement and what is has done to education as a whole, and to our teachers and students specifically. No matter what anyone says, we have an educational system that “teaches to the test.” Some might argue that this is not a problem, but anyone who has actually worked with these high-stakes tests know their many limitations. In a sense, we are basing a child’s entire future and a teacher’s on a test. That is frightening!
Where then is this current standards and accountability push taking us? Will we have national standards and a national test that determines the fate of both students and teachers in this country? Perhaps instead of “racing to the top” we need to walk for a bit to assess our ideas. If we do not do that, I am afraid what that veteran teacher told me long ago is true. “Be careful what you wish for. What our government and educational establishment develops to replace what we have is often worse than what we had before.”
Sunday, January 17, 2010
So Mulgrew and his cohorts tell teachers sent to the Rubber Room that they should be happy for they are still getting a paycheck. But Mulgrew and his predecessor Sell-Out Randi Weingarten don't really give a rat's a** about what the teachers psyche. Teachers go through the five stages of grief, just like anyone else that has suffered a loss.
Today we examine these five stages and how they effect teachers.
1. Denial This is all a big mistake. I have been teaching for twenty years and until the 26 year old new principal arrived I have enjoyed accolades. I have years of thank you cards from parents and students. Former students from years ago stop by my school to thank me for making them what they are. This is wrong, this is a mistake. I won't let my family or friends know.
2. Anger If I ever see that principal or Klein I will stick out my tongue at them and flip them the bird. They don't know who they are messing with. I'll show them. I hate everyone in the Rubber Room. No one better sit in my chair. The principal is incompetent.
3. Bargaining Please, UFT district rep, this is all a big mistake. I know if I speak to someone myself this can all be sorted out quickly. Just find out why I am here. Mike Mulgrew cares about me. I pay dues every month so I can call the UFT HQ and this can be straightened out.
4. Depression I can't get out of bed in the morning. They all hate me in the RR. My union doesn't care. I don't know how much longer I can cope with being couped up in a windowless room.
5. Acceptance Hey I am where I am. The Rubber Room is my friend. No hassles here. Not going to fight it anymore. Monday's are Star Trek round table discussions. Tuesdays and Thursdays are circle jerk day (ladies invited). Tuesdays are for distance, Thursdays for accuracy. I can't count one anyone. Only myself. Not my union. Not my so-called friends at my school.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Just be happy you are getting paid. That is the UFT's mantra as to being in the Rubber Room. Yeah, it is a good thing. NYPD can be suspended for up to thirty days without pay, but brought back on modified assignment without guns and badge. But they aren't holed up in some room having conversations about you was a better captain, Kirk or Picard. They are assigned true clerical, and other duties, so they keep a modicum of self-esteem.
But teachers, screw their self-esteem. Who cares if you feel shames, no self-worth, no self-esteem. Just like the hookers at Hunts Point. Hookers get paid for their services. I doubt any of them feel good about themselves. Right Mulgrew? So what if a hooker, or a teacher in the RR hates their situation. It is all about getting paid.
The emotional abuse, and the physical abuse a hooker and a RR teacher takes is OK as long as both get paid. But we seem to care more as a society about how to get hookers off the streets and for them to straighten out their lives than we do about doing the right thing for teachers in the Rubber Room.
No donating to Haiti from this end. No way, no how. Will not do it through the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. In fact, no one should. And it is not because I do not trust the UFT to get the funds to the proper people. It's because once again the UFT has its priorities skewed.
The other day I received, as I am sure others did a mass email from Obergruppenführer Mike Mulgrew about how we can as a union do our bit for Haiti. Send check or money order to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund or chapter leaders will be collecting donations and bringing it all to the next delegate assembly. No way.
Obergruppenführer Mulgrew should send out mass emails about the deplorable conditions of the rubber rooms. Solicit help for the teachers who are thrown in there an not only feel abandoned by their union, but from colleagues as well. Hey Mike, why not ask for volunteers to reach out to these teachers to see how their doing? Maybe just a phone call or two during the week to check in could go along way to make someone feel better. It can be a UFT version of Big Brother/Big Sister. Think how this will bring all teachers together as one in camaraderie and empathy!
How about setting up some support groups for the teachers? Yeah, it was talked about but never implemented. Don't have the money? Well perhaps it is time to move out of 52 Broadway.
But what about teachers who are not in the RR and having a tough time of it? Remember that hatchet job Stephen Brill wrote? How he skewered the teacher that suffered from alcoholism? I think it is time for the UFT, as the NYPD has, a system in which teachers who have a dependency issue are able to seek help without fear of retribution. Even teachers that are suffering from depression need someplace to go for help without the fear of having the sword of Damocles hanging over their head.
Mike, teachers are inherently good people and altruistic. We will take care of Haiti on our own. But the UFT needs to look inward and fix our own foundation first.
Friday, January 15, 2010
How the NYC Dept of Education Insults New York City Teachers
- Has anyone ever noticed how often certain terms are used by NYC DOE flunkys, sycophants,clueless stooge "administrators" and other assorted Joel Klein lackeys.
There is no other profession on Earth where the terms "discipline" and "appropriate" and/or "appropriate behavior" are used ad nausea. And not used, as one might expect, with reference to school children, so much as in reference to those people who teach the children in our Public Schools in New York City.
Read any so-called "Observation Report" created to help build a case for rating a Teacher, "Unsatisfactory" for the year, and you will see what I mean.
Or how about those endless, self repeating diatribes penned by some pathetic DOE lackey to bring a Teacher up on "Official" charges known as a Teacher's "SPECIFICATIONS" prepared for the Teacher's NY State 3020-a Teacher Hearings/Trial.
Almost as if sprinkling salt over a Jumbo movie theatre sized order of buttered Pop Corn, the words "appropriate" and "discipline" and other such related terms, intended to criticize, demean, denigrate and otherwise "tear down" a teacher, are employed in gloriously ample profusion.
Imagine stating in the performance review of a New York City Fireman:
"Your grimacing as you struggled to keep the 85 pound heavy duty fire hose directed at the main source of the fire was inappropriate- especially when considering that there were children in close proximity who might be puzzled and/or even frightened by your inappropriate behavior".
Or how about an observation report drafted by a Police Precinct Commander that ended with the comments: "Your inappropriate reaction when your immediate "supervisor" ordered you to accept a third year of night shift duty, 12 AM to 8 AM, was inappropriate and may lead to further discipline with the possibility of an "Unsatisfactory" Rating for the year and permanent Termination.
Only Teachers are forced to put up with the indignities, childishly worded letters of criticism from burnt out and often sadistic "supervisors" and other such "slings and arrows" that arise in a system that follows the top-down model.
A system in which advancement is directly dependant and predicated on becoming a "Yes" man, a toady, a subservient lackey, a person who will not hesitate to fabricate, lie and encourage false "witness testimony" to destroy the career of whomsoever the system orders one to destroy.
But what is truly "inappropriate" is for people to "buy" Elections, and then appoint as a school's Chief an entirely incompetent "Legend in his own Mind", Educationally uncredentialed, and Ethically challenged, former Federal Prosecutor as schools Chancellor so that he could wreck the lives of more than one million inner city, at risk children and visit Hell and Havoc on the lives of one hundred thousand men and women who had dedicated their entire lives to teaching New York City's children in over-crowded and under funded classrooms.
Joel Klein Esq. will eventually be relegated and consigned to the scrap heap of history as MUST be the Fate of all incompetent fools and charlatans who step into places and situations where they so clearly do not belong.
Sooner or later ordinary people finally wake up, come to their senses and understand and recognize when the "Emperor has no clothes".
But how much damage, how much harm must be visited on the lives of innocent children and their teachers before the great awakening arrives and the citizens exclaim:
"Was blind- But now I see".
- David Pakter
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Found a very interesting link last night. I googled some key words and came across something in Lexis-Nexis. The NYS bible for teacher discipline, "Disciplining Tenured Teachers and Administrators."
The crack team team here at SBSB was able to finagle a copy of this book without spending the $60 a mere mortal would have spent. After running the book through the lab, calling in experts from around the country, one very, tiny, interesting morsel of information arose.
In the opening FAQ this is posited:
1:5.Who may file 3020-a charges?
Any individual may file disciplinary charges against a tenured teacher or administrator.
Yes, there you have it. Right there in plain old English. ANY INDIVIDUAL MAY FILE DISCIPLINARY CHARGES.
What does this mean? It can mean open season on any evil, incompetent, nasty, spiteful administrator that one deems fit to have charges filed against. You reading this Mulgrew? Just do like they do. Treat the charges like spaghetti. If it sticks, it sticks. So be it.
Come on Mulgrew, show some balls. Put this in the UFT paper. What's that you say? Bloomberg and Klein might get mad. They are already mad. They already hate us.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Whitney is now in the corner rubbing one out by comparing the book, Outliers, with a child's education. Basically the theory in a nuthsell is if you do something for 10,000 you become great. I guess that theory holds up. I am sure Whitney by now is great at his own auto-eroticism. But again, I have digressed. I haven't read the book, and don't think I can comment fairly (see Whitney, I won't speak of what I don't know). But I will comment on a discussion I had with someone in regards to the book.
My cousin, who I think is infinitely smarter, and more knowledgeable than Whitney read The Outliers and explained to be the part in the book about The Beatles. What made The Beatles so great? Hamburg, Germany. They played and played and played in Hamburg. Several shows a night, seven nights a week for two years. Did they log 10,000 hours in Hamburg? Probably not. But along with their gigs in The Cavern Club in Liverpool, I guess the got close, or exceeded it.
But how much of luck played into it? They were big in England in 1962. That's when they got their first recording contract. But what would have happened in Brian Epstein never owned a record store? Or if Epstein never walked into The Cavern Club? Or If Epstein didn't have all these contacts in the recording industry? Same could be said about JFK. If he wasn't assassinated, would we have had the "British Invasion?" Who knows?
So Whitney in his blog had this to say about the Outliers, 10,000 hours, and Education; “This is exactly what KIPP and other high-performing schools do.” They do? The crack team here at SBSB did some rudimentary math and came to the conclusion that for a child to do 10,000 hours in I guess one of Whitney's KIPP schools that child will need to be in school for 14.88 years. Now this is assuming that child will be in school eight hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. But we know a school year can;t be like that.
But Whitney, just as you have probably spent 10,000 hours becoming an expert at pleasuring yourself, or spent that amount of time cruising rest stop restrooms, think. Ten thousand hours? If we use The Beatles and Hamburg theory, The Beatles did one thing, and did it great. The Beatles were also using every drug known to man in Hamburg just to stay lucid all that time. But how many people turned out great without that 10,000 hours. Surely you haven't.
Whitney, stop letting the little head do the thinking for the big head.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
In 1984, Canadian power trio Rush released Grace Under Pressure. On tis album was a song, Red Sector A. Many thought that it was about the Holocaust, the camps in particular, though neither singer extraordinaire Geddy Lee nor drummer and lyricist Neil Peart claimed it so.
Geddy Lee's (real name Gary Weinrib) parents were both in the camps and met in a relocation center. According to an interview in 2004 in jweekly.com, Geddy told his mother's story to Neil Peart. "Neil took that sentiment and wrote [the lyrics to] 'Red Sector A," said Geddy. In fact according to Geddy, the album Grace Under Pressure, "is about being on the brink and having the courage and strength to survive." See the tie in to the teachers in the Rubber Rooms?
Now in now why can we ever compare teachers in the Rubber Room to the brutality of the Holocaust. But the same mindset is apparent in the leaders of the Third Reich and the Bloomberg administration. Let's take a look at the lyrics to Red Sector A.
All that we can do is just survive All that we can do to help ourselves is stay alive
Exactly what teachers in the RR are going through. Just survive. Not stay alive psychologically for another day.
Ragged lines of ragged grey Skeletons, they shuffle away Shouting guards and smoking guns Will cut down the unlucky ones
Teachers have just become some line of non-entities while awaiting some unknown reason or fate for being where they are. Guards at every RR monitor and report back to superiors regarding the teachers. They won't be cut down with guns, but cut down with reprimands, psychological guns.
I clutch the wire fence until my fingers bleed A wound that will not heal A heart that cannot feel Hoping that the horror will recede Hoping that tomorrow we'll all be freed
Some RR's have that proverbial wire fence, some like the one at Geirge Washington High School have a real wire fence. Teachers psyches are wounded, perhaps permanently, they turn feral, and unfeeling. They hope, pray and dream of tomorrow will be better, that this hell on earth will cease.
Sickness to insanity Prayer to profanity Days and weeks and months go by Don't feel the hunger Too weak to cry
Does this really need to be expanded on? Self explanatory.
I hear the sound of gunfire at the prison gate Are the liberators here? Do I hope or do I fear?
The gunfire is OSI, and SCI investigators coming to talk teachers. Intimidating teachers into talking without union representation. If they do, they might go free. If they don't they could stay. Forever.
For my father and my brother, it's too late But I must help my mother stand up straight
Teachers see their fellow teachers one day, and the next day, poof! They're gone. Where did they go? Were the cleared, were they terminated? Last year a teacher in the Manhattan/Bronx RR died. Not in the RR, but at home. He was diabetic. Want to bet the stress didn't help him? At the Bronx RR a teacher had a stroke. Stress again.
Are we the last ones left alive? Are we the only human beings to survive?
Are they? What is going on outside in the real world. A world with no windows, or in a basement, or cut off from their colleagues?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
So a sex scandal was announced today. But to the disappointment of Joel Klein it was not a teacher, but a principal, Quintin Cedeno of the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture in Queens. A principal that had been in the system all of eight years. Or maybe less. But just hold on, we'll get back to this in a bit because this is just almost as unsettling as what he has been accused of.
According to the Daily News, Cedeno has been accused of asking a 15 year old boy for oral sex, and had the temerity of reminding the boy that he bought him a T-Mobile side kick. But, David Pakter is brought up on misconduct for buying watches for students doing well. Perhaps if the DOE were even handed in who it chooses to screw with, this 15 year old boy never would have been propositioned. Cedeno also sent 100 text messages intimidating the young man. Again, if the wheels of justice were equal, this could have been avoided. Now this poor 15 year old boy has to have a memory of a fat fuck wanting to be blown.
Cedeno has also been accused of touching other students privates and in one instance told a student that he was "only joking." Yeah, sure. He also claimed that any references he made to genitals were done "in jest." Schmuck. Perhaps he used this classic genitalia joke as a proper segueway; My genitals are so mammoth in size, that if inches were words, my member could fill every page of one of Ayn Rand's epic Objectivist tomes!
But what is disturbing is how fast he seemed to go up the DOE ladder. Mr Cedeno is only 33 years old. According to insideschools.org, Mr Cedeno taught at the LaSalle Academy, a selective Roman Catholic school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, as well as East New York Transit Tech, a vocational program in Brooklyn. He was assistant principal of Automotive High School in Brooklyn. The Daily News also had him at one time teaching math in 2003. I am assuming it was at Transit Tech. So at the very most he has in the DOE is eight years. So how, why, did he move up the ladder so quickly? Is he a product of the Leadership Academy? Did he have genital show and tell with Joel Klein?
But what is disturbing is something the SBSB team found on ratemyteachers.com. A student gave an opinion of Quintin Cedeno while still at Transit Tech on January 9, 2004; "he gets a little to close to the little ones :-0" And the DOE, OSI, SCI, KLEIN never picked up on this?
So Klein and Bloomy like to paint with a broad brush all teachers are perverts, or most are, that are in the Rubber Rooms. So does the media. So why not start using that same brush now on principals, and assistant principals? Tweed still has Mychael Willon on its payroll. Why?
Klein, your slip is starting to show.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Where do these administrators go? I know Klein has given principals the right to hire their own AP's. Again, what happens to an administrator that has been excessed? How long do they stay on payroll?
Where is the outrage coming from Klein?
the new CREDO study re NYC charters is interesting. Half the charters get better math scores, but only 29% get better reading scores.
Check out here what Norm Scott at ednotesonline has to say about this CREDO thing. Unfortunately some now in the media are taking it as gospel. I have not kept too up on it and do not think it is right to comment on something when I do not have all the factual information available to me. But, just want to know this. How much higher are the better math scores, and 29% better in reading, especially when you have smaller class sizes and better resoruces ain't something to write home about.
What the study does not note is that NYC charters get more funding because of hedge fund managers than regular public schools
Of course. I don't trust these hedge fund managers. They are shaky human beings to begin with, and IMHO putting the money into charters to satisfy their white liberal guilt for they think they know more then people of color. Anyway, where do these people send there kids to school? Not to the charters.
And they have smaller proportions of special education and limited English speaking students than regular public schools.
What is the percentage? Many people don't know that special ed. students take the same state tests that general ed. students do. Yes, they get more time, etc... but I just never understood how if they are considered behind, why they take the tests at their chronological grade. Curious.
In NYC, charters have many advantages over regular public schools; why are so many of them so poor performing?
Good question. Whitney Tilson care to answer?
If only half the NYC charters produce math gains, and only 29% produce reading gains, why haven't any of them been shuttered?
Good question. Whitney Tilson care to answer?
Why does NYC public school leadership boast about the gains in the schools they DON"T control?
Because they want to destroy the system. Plain and simple as that.