SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: September 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School, PART TROIS

The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School is a happy place, an innovative place, a place in which the students themselves suffer no consequences and all is joyful.

Students, usually the same ones every single day, who don't wish to go to class are coddled and given walks around the school all day long in which to contemplate how to keep from going to class the next day.

So what if the wandering student doesn't learn, or even comes from a dysfunctional home. What matters is that the student feels safe and responsive at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School and knows that all he or she needs to do to avoid sitting in the classroom is to throw a tantrum, whine, or act out in order to wander the halls, escorted, day after day after day.

The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School opens its arms to all. A big demented symbolic smile is etched across the school as it opens its symbolic arms to the community. It's a The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School that loves all and wants to be loved in returned.

Conformity is the norm. All must be the same, all must not be different. Not only for the students, but those that are involved in the students education.

Group thought reigns. Whether it be the smiles that must be plastered on the faces, or the "gee whilickers, every morning is just fucking great" attitude all must be possessed or the wrath will be turned upon those that don't.

Those who are involved in the education of students are expected to walk the same amount of goose steps to and fro throughout the The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School. No deviation is allowed from the burning bush. All is known, all is correct, and those that speak up, will soon be put down.

Worse for those that educate at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School is those that wish to shine on their own. Those that are creative, those that think outside of the box, are soon hammered down like a nail. A nail that can't be acknowledged.

All this is just an ersatz education. Smoke and mirrors. There is not there there, no substance at The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School. How can it be when the curriculum is just the pigeon poop of education? Gee, the scores are low, the students aren't able to read, so let's double down on the same old crap that is being pushed on the students like a dealer selling more and more smack to a junkie?

Wait a waste, what a scam, what a con being done to the children and families of NYC.

This might seem off topic, but it just came to my mind.

Would any of the bullshit that is perpetrated day in and day out in the NYC DOE be tolerated for more than a minute in the suburbs?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How The NYC DOE and The NFL Are The Same, and Yet Different

Wow, what a week. We here at SBSB wish to welcome yet another guest blogger and honorary member of The Crack Team to these pages. This guest has guest blogged in the past, here and here.

I must say this guest blogger is very insightful and intelligent. Qualities in which the DOE sorely lacks.

Anyway, sit back and enjoy the wise words of tonight's guest blogger.

I think there is much to be learned from the NFL Referee fiasco, and that it is quite comparable to the situation in our schools.

In the NFL we had one of the largest businesses in our country trying to minimize costs by refusing to recognize the importance of referees. Nobody who has bought an NFL game ticket recently faults the league for trying to save on costs. We fault the league for failing to recognize or understand the special skill set of their employees. The arrogant CEO, who cut his teeth in offices and not on the football field or sidelines, completely failed to recognize the special skills of his employees. He thought they could be replaced with a group of clones. It was only when his job and the future of his organization was on the line that Roger Goodell decided to admit that he had made a mistake and vastly undervalued the skills of those employees.

That situation is very much like the situation in New York City Schools. We had a CEO take over in 2002. He was so certain that he understood everything about teaching and education that he didn't even hire an educator to be his COO. He hired a lawyer. For a decade now we have endured management that neither understands nor values the work and the special skill set of teachers. Unfortunately, unlike the NFL when this mismanagement threatened the organization, two factors kicked in. Mayor Bloomberg used his media connections to deceive the people about the state of schools, and he spent $100 million to get reelected. Even outspending his opponent at a ratio of 12:1 barely won this CEO reelection. Unfortunately he learned nothing from all that. He continues his war on schools with increasing class sizes (every year since 2008), political attacks on teachers and the teachers' union, budget cuts and top down one way management reminiscent of the Pentagon in the 1960s. (He doesn't use body counts, he uses test scores and as the coverup of recent cheating scandals proves he doesn't care how he gets them.)

I find two truths in all this:

Roger Goodell, with all his faults, would be a better CEO than Michael Bloomberg for our schools

Mayor Bloomberg is the Agent Orange of our city schools, and it will take decades to clean up the mess he is perpetuating in our schools to this day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Call For Lucy Calkins to be Arrested, Prosecuted, Convicted and Sentenced

We here in the past month or so we have taken, and deservedly so, Lucy Calkins to task for her systematic compliance in ruining the lives of NYC's students.

Tonight we welcome a special correspondent attached to The Crack Team with a post on how Lucy Calkins and her cult of failure have ruined not only this guest blogger's students, but the reading process as well.

Administrators advocating for Teachers College Reading and Writing are either completely clueless and lacking common sense or are simply corrupt administrators just playing the game.

Students who have been completely immersed in TC, are having great difficulty in upper grades in reading comprehension and fluency largely due to the fact that they were deprived of phonics instruction in the earlier grades.

My first graders are not  permitted to copy anything from a chart or board. They are not permitted to get formal instruction in Phonics or Grammar. They are not permitted to read from any anthologies. They are not permitted to have skills practice books of any kind. They are not permitted to have "Spelling" words or tests.

What are they permitted to do??

They are permitted to read on their own or with their equally clueless reading partner so that they learn to read "naturally". They are permitted to sit on a filthy carpet most of the day and take notes in their Reading and Writing notebooks. They are permitted to get a short list of "Word Work" words every week that are completely unchallenging. They are permitted to "turn and talk" to the person next to them on what they're thinking during the minilesson. They are permitted to make sure they memorize their reading and writing goals in case the principal comes in to ask them. They are permitted to spend 4 to 5 weeks on a "unit of study" that consists of the most worthless mini-lessons imaginable. They are permitted to have an endless supply of post-its so that they "jot down their thinking
." They are permitted to publish a piece of writing completely loaded with spelling and grammatical errors and have a "celebration" to showcase this to administrators and parents.

Get the picture?

Monday, September 17, 2012

What's This Lying Around Shit?????

In the fall of 1962 Faber College senior and pre-med student Eric "Otter"Stratton received a phone call to from Babs Jansen that Mandy Peperidge wished to meet him at the Rainbow Hotel late in the afternoon. Sadly, Doug Niedermyer, Greg Marmalard, and the rest of Omega House were waiting for him and subsequently beat him, and the dozen roses, to a pulp.

Meanwhile across town in Dean Wormer's office, Flounder, Bluto, D-Day, Hoover, and Larry were being told that they, and all of Delta House, were being expelled and were to leave Faber on Monday morning. Exacerbating their woes they were informed that their local draft boards were to be notified that they were now all eligible for military service. Flounder then vomited on Dean Wormer.

Back at Delta House as Flounder was being comforted that he threw up on Dean Wormer, not in front of him by Boon, Otter walked in bruised and beaten with D-Day helping him to the couch. Upon sitting down Otter when asked who did that number to his face said,
"It was Greggie and Douggie... and some of the other Hitler youth."
And he then found out they were all kicked out of school. 

Get the analogy? Yes, teachers, we are Delta House. Dean Wormer is Mayor Bloomberg. Marmalard is Little Evan (Is it supposed to be this soft?) Stone, and Niedermyer is Whitney Tilson. Oh, and I am Bluto with the 0.0 GPA and 7 years of college down the drain. But I have digressed. Shall we continue? Oh, I wrote something like this a while back if I recall. Back to the meanderings of my mind.

At this point Bluto gets up and screams,
Hey, what's this lying around shit?!?!?!
To which he was told that the war is over and Wormer dropped the big one. He went on a lovely soliloquy asking was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor and that it is not over now. He asked,
"Who's with me?"
And ran out the door excited only to come back and ask what happened to the Delta House he had known.
"We're too afraid Bluto, we might get in trouble."
It was Otter who stood up and supported Bluto. Otter told everyone it would take many lives, many years, but that only a real stupid act by Delta House would win the war. At this point Bluto exclaimed some choice words for Wormer, Marmalard, and Niedermyer. D-Day and Boon said they were in, and Bluto encouraged the charge to arms.

Now, I am not advocating any stupid acts as were done in Animal House, but looking at Chicago we need to get our act together, stop being reactive and being proactive.

Yes, it is nice to start a group, give itself an acronym name and meet, but there is so much more to do.

For quite a while I have been advocating the informational picketing of Whitney Tilson 5th Avenue mansion and/or office and the E4E offices. But do not leave the picketing to their homes or offices, but wherever that might appear. Yes, I keep hearing from well meaning people who I have the utmost of respect for that these two (among many others) are just the symptoms. Yes, they are the symptoms, but so were Marmalard and Niedermyer and they were targeted, along with Dean Wormer.

If one has a cold, does one not treat the symptoms? I had root canal several weeks ago. The pain I experienced before and after the procedure were symptoms, yet they were not ignored. They were treated appropriately with pain pills. That's what must be done with both E4E and Whitney. Take care of the symptoms. When these two symptoms are done with moved on to other symptoms.

Yet, for some reason we allow these two to continue to do what they do. Is it possible that if we shine the light on these two symptoms that like roaches when the lights come on they will scurry away and never come out again? I don't know, but it is worth a try.

What is another lesson advocacy groups can learn from Animal House?

Delta House took their act on the road. They went to check get dates at Emily Dickinson College, they went to a supermarket, they included dorks like Flounder in their fraternity, Flounder's girlfriend Cissy drove up from Lancaster to visit him, and they even had a fun filled toga party. They were a diverse and well traveled fraternity

The acronyms see lower Manhattan as a base for some reason. Lower Manhattan is nice if you live down there, or Brooklyn, or don't have a car. Has anyone tried to drive downtown on a weekday at 4 PM, or having to head back to Jersey, Westchester, or LI at 6 or 7 PM.

There is a life beyond the LES and Brooklyn. The Bronx is up, the Bronx, Queens, and Westchester, anywhere above 125th St is ripe for picking, yet gets ignored constantly. This is where people live. This is where people have their families, children, etc... Sometimes we are too busy in our lives after school. There is such a thing known as weekends.

Meetings don't need to be seemingly so convert or seem like a late 50's Beatnik poetry reading while everyone is sweating their balls off.

It is time to truly reach out beyond the "base of operations" and be more inclusive. This means recruiting more from elementary schools and the outer boroughs and suburbs.

This is no way an indictment against those that are spearheading the acronym advocacy groups. I know these people are well meaning, have our best interests at heart, and work their butts off. But, it is time to hear others out.

It's nice to picket with Con Ed, but Con Ed is not putting food on my table or putting my son through college or baseball training.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Call For Principals And Administrators That Advocate Balanced Literacy To Be Terminated Immediately

We here at SBSB bashed Lucy Calkins and her cult of Teacher's College Reader's and Writer's Workshop on these pages and rightfully so. However, in going through our writings we have discovered we have left one demographic out of our cross hairs. The principals of the schools that enable, or rather disable, the student's of their schools chances to ever read.

We here at SBSB call for charges, removal, and eventual termination of any principal that chooses the TC method of Balanced Literacy as their curriculum in their schools. With the Common Core standards facing us down as educators, why would any principal in their right mind choose TC?

In the New York Times of March 11, 2012, it was reported that;
Children in New York City who learned to read using an experimental curriculum that emphasized nonfiction texts outperformed those at other schools that used methods that have been encouraged since the Bloomberg administration’s early days, according to a new study to be released Monday.
Again, another black eye for Lucy Calkins, TC, Balanced Literacy, and her adherents.

According to studies done by The Crack Team here at SBSB, Balanced Literacy is fine if the students come into school with the skills to read already. If not, these students because of Lucy Calkins are plain shit out of luck. If this is not corporal punishment what is? Therefore we here at SBSB advocate that all principals pushing TC should be brought up on corporal punishment charges post haste!

Remember, this is a system put into place by Joel Klein and Uncle Mike Bloomberg ostensibly to throw teachers under the bus. With the Workshop Model of "NOT" teaching students literacy, it has become very easy to write teachers up for any little nuance away from using the tenets of TC along with the subsequent and predictable drop in test scores that are foreseeable. It becomes easy for these teachers to be easily removed and brought up on incompetency charges. Lucy Calkins and her "program" were USED for how lacking it is. A great scripted program to use to target teachers. This all is a recipe, all unreasonable and designed, to help administrators target teachers.

As one SBSB groupie shared with The Crack Team;
"I could not believe how low the reading levels of my students are this year compared to 10 years ago. TC is an instrument to be used to destroy kids. TC  is used to crapify schools!"
We need to face cold hard facts as educators. LUCY CALKINS IS A SCHEISTER, A GONOFF, A FRAUD!

Schools are diverting money from where it is needed to pour thousands of dollars into the pocket of Lucy Calkins and Teacher's College, rather than spending the money on where it is needed most such as textbooks and skills books. THIS IS HURTING THE CHILDREN OF NYC!

More curious to us here at SBSB is why the NYC DOE on its website contradicts and does not even mention the "greatness" of Balanced Literacy.

Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension are stressed. These are not stressed through Balanced Literacy.

 Even more perplexing is this;
All schools in the NYC Reading First initiative use an Anthology Collection developed by the Harcourt School Publishers. These materials offer explicit, systematic instruction in the essential elements of reading.
Oh, oh Lucy! Seems as if people are paying attention to the crook behind the curtain.

Lucy Calkins and her cult at Teacher's College and in the NYC DOE are damaging the students of NYC in a reprehensible and damaging manner. Because of these people, we are losing an entire generation of kids who will not be able to read properly, let alone write a sentence. It is time that these people be stopped within the confines of the law and legal system without a minute to waste.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School, Redux

What you are about to read is true. The only thing added is the special kind of snarkiness and sarcasm that is so inherent to this blog. But file this under, "you won't believe the shit that I have seen." How ironic that I recycled the name of a previous blog post, yet added "Redux," Like Apocalypse Now, Redux. How very appropriate.

A Disclaimer...

Oh, one more thing. At no time, or in no way, is this an indictment against any teacher. Past, present, or future.

Back on July 15, I wrote about the Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School. Today, we go one step further and explore how this will look in practice, and idiocy.

In the Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School a student that throws chairs and puts other students in danger will be subject to a first Responder. Yes, that R should be capitalized, for these Responders will be a regular person, a regular Joe or Josephine that will be ensconced within the school culture, only known amongst and to themselves.

Each Responder will be on duty, not doing their job, but waiting, waiting for the call to go out. A red square, a red siren, the Bat Signal will beckon them that there is a job to do, a child who is having bad emotional response. When the call comes, they will scurry with all their might, their last breath to the scene of the student throwing a chair, throwing pencils, throwing a tantrum, or punching a teacher and will be soothed, and restrained and sent to that most wonderful place on earth, Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place.

Once there, the student will be plied with happy talk and possibly milk and cookies. Maybe a blankey, or a binky, and a woobie. But don't think for a moment that there won't be consequences to the adverse and negative behavior.

There will be an art center where the student will be able to finger paint his or her feelings away. A big comfy pillow chair will probably not be out of the question to soothe those feelings of destruction as the child in the class that was hit with the chair  and is bleeding profusely from the head. In fact, the hell with the bleeding kid, the kid who threw the chair is the one who must be comforted.

But a look down the road at The Crack Team's prognostications reveal that soon this Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place will be bursting at the seems due to the fact that by the end of October, students will get the fact that bad behavior not only reaps rewards, but reaps not having to be in class. That will be the genius in it, the its ultimate failing.

Screw Lee Canter, screw what he knows, what he has taught. There is always a liberal  someone who thinks they know better, that it falls upon that person to reinvent the wheel.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Teachers Need To Look At Jim Bouton As A Role Model

Jim Bouton pitched for the Yankees, Seattle Pilots, and the Houston Astros from 1962-1970 and a brief comeback briefly with the Atlanta Braves in 1978. His two best seasons were 1962 and 1963, but after that arm troubles did him in and he was never the same. He was known for his wicked fastball and his hat flying off his head as he pitched. He was apply nicknamed "The Bulldog."

But his two claims to fame came from off the field. He was the inventor of the bubble gum product Big League Chew and he was a ground breaking author. Care to guess why? The SBSB tasked one of our groupies to come up with not only who Jim Bouton is, but to figure out why Jim Bouton should be looked to as a role model for teachers.

In 1970, Jim Bouton published "Ball Four." This book, which I read in high school over 30 years ago, chronicled the 1969 season he spent with the Seattle Pilots (currently the Milwaukee Brewers) and Houston Astros.  Though Bouton's book wasn't the first of it's kind (in 1960 pitcher Jim Brosnan wrote "The Long Season" based on his 1959 year with the Cardinals and Reds and was "G-rated"), but was the first to show the salacious underbelly of Major League Baseball, explore the early drug problems, and while Bouton loved Mickey Mantle, didn't pull back when it came to writing about Mantle (click to enlarge);
Or greenies (click to enlarge);
Jim Bouton was persona non grata for years in MLB and Yankees Stadium. Former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force Bouton to sign an affidavit that the book was false. Bouton refused to sign.

What we need in education, and yes, I know there have been other "tell all" books from educators in the past, but what we need is a Jim Bouton. Write a diary of the school year. Lay nothing to waste. Every single bit of idiotic stupidity laid in our laps by incompetent higher up should be exposed with the names of these incompetents there for all to see.

Yes, it is done here on the blogs, but wouldn't it be great for a published book, and true tell all book of how the system here in NYC is stacked against the families, students, and true educators? How Uncle Mike has decimated the schools in what will be 12 years of a failed mayoralty?

A book like "Ball Four" needs to be written. I just feel there is someone out there ready to write such a book and not a moment too soon.