Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Progressive SiriusXM Radio Host Michelangelo Signorile Just Is Too Ignorant About Education

So yesterday the "Bear Whisperer" Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos had her hearing share
her "credentials" on why she should be Secretary of Education. Naturally, there would be a lot of talk radio talk (On both the left and right) concerning this scary, scary woman.

On my way home I turned on SiriusXM channel 127 to listen to Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile on Twitter) . The timing could not have been better. He was talking about the DeVos nomination as well and that Randi Weingarten was to call in about 4:30. The moment was perfect for me to call in.

So about 4:15 PM I called and I got the screener. I told him that as a teacher in NYC I (And I am sure quite a few others!) feel that DeVos is going to be just a continuation of the eight dreadful years of Obama-Duncan-King and that this war on education had been aided, abetted, and enabled by the famed troika we have had to deal with all these many years. Screener said good points and told me to hold on.

At about 4:20 Signorile took my call and I basically said what I told the screener, but I added;
"Obama and Duncan have done much damage to education in this country."
At this point Signorile yelled;
And he hung up on me. I listened to the rest of his tirade on the radio has he shouted;
"Obama and Duncan have done more for LGBQT students and opening access for all students in the country than any other have."
This is where his ignorance slip is showing.

By the way, I have always voted Democrat. Except in 2012 and 2014. Just couldn't bring myself to vote for Obama or Cuomo. My whole family, immediate and extended, are Democrats. My grandfather was part of the Tweed machine. So there!

Yes, DeVos is an abomination that will make life miserable for both LGBQT students and teachers, and even parents.  Yes, Obama has been wonderful for the LGBQT community. But that is not the point I was making and if any other teacher had called in I don't think that would be the point they would be making either.

Now one thing gets me wondering, Signorile's quote about opening access for all students. Because that sounds like code for "school choice." Which just happens to be something that Herr Trump and DeVos seem to want. And guess who else wanted it Michelangelo? Yeah, Arne and Barack did too!

Signorile needs to understand that thanks to Obama/Duncan that we are inundated with charter schools supported by the 1% so that the 1% can get their tax write-offs and photo ops or that are a cash cow for them and their buddies.

We have testing, testing, that has betrayed families and children across the country of being properly educated.

We have cuts in financial aid to school districts nation wide thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have over crowded classrooms thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have sham graduation rates thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have the Common Core thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have states being held hostage to federal monies and forced to implement inane, obtuse curricula thanks to Obama/Duncan.

We have a teacher shortage in New York State thanks to Obama/Duncan.

SUNY schools are experiencing a enrollment drop in education programs of up to 40% the last five years because of Obama/Duncan.

Teachers unions across the country are under attack thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Teachers are under attack across the country thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Parents are fighting back finally thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Corporations have profited quite handsomely on the backs of children thanks to Obama/Duncan.

Dang, I can go on and on and on and on. I know I am leaving a lot of things out. But suffice it to say, Obama/Duncan have destroyed public education in this country and they were enabled by DEMOCRATS. Yeah, starting with Ted Kennedy and chumming up to George W. back in 2001.

So maybe it is time that Mr Signorile speak and listen to teachers and find out what is really going on. Go and fight DeVos Mike but 95% of the policies that she will be advocating are basically just regurgitated from Obama/Duncan.

I guess I need to go back to listening to Francessa on the way home. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Brooklyn HS Football Coach Can't Use Potty Words

I am sure we all have read in the New York Post how Progress HS for Professional Careers AP Diana Rendon walked into the locker room of Grand Street Campus' football team back on October 20 whilst some of the team was in the state of semi-dressed (The Crack Team has been given a video of the purported incident. However we cannot confirm the veracity of provenance of said video).

My friend Chaz the Blogger brought up some good points on his blog about this incident  yesterday. Yet again the double standard does exist. Even when an administrator is shone is a bad light in the media two weeks in a row.

But good enough was unable to be left alone.

The Grand Street Campus football team was in the news due to allegations that coach Bruce Eugene had an ineligible player on the team. Coach Eugene was fired as coach even though Grand Street won the city football title in 2015. But just before the game on October 20, Eugene won a court order that lifted the suspension and this is where I am going to focus.

He was set up. All about petty BS.

According to the New York Post Coach Eugene was terminated from his coaching position for...
“allegedly heard making inappropriate comments and using profanities”
Come again?

Coach Eugene is quoted in the Post as having said to the team in a pre-game speech...

 “F–k what I’m going through, f–k what’s going on. Let’s focus on Lincoln,”
How shocking! A football coach cursing?

The Crack Team checked with my 15 year old son and asked him if any of his coaches during the time he has played ball have dropped the F and/or S bombs. Now mind you my son's primary sport is baseball. Yes it is a different game.The emotional level is not as high as it is in football. But nevertheless, The Crack Team wanted to be sure.

My son shared with The Crack Team that while neither his middle school or freshman baseball coaches used filthy language the coaches he has had for his travel team have used the F bomb on more than one occasion.

Examples are...
"Get on the f**king line," "cut the sh*t," "What the f**k are you doing?"
Another coach uses the S word as a noun, verb, and adjective quite a bit! Dang, even his Babe Ruth coach is prone foul language. So was his wrestling coach in middle school. In fact, one of my son's friends shared with The Crack Team that the JV football coach has a potty mouth as well!

And guess what? I, and the other parents, don't care. These are boys. Teenage boys. This past summer his Babe Ruth coach needed someone to be in the dugout and keep the book during a game. I turned red listening to what the boys (including my son) were talking about!

Can't the NYCDOE look past a few potty words and see what Coach Eugene has accomplished and allow him his day in court?

Coach Eugene was keeping these boys of the streets. Instilling purpose and discipline in them that will serve the boys for years upon years to come. In a city where quality high school athletics are lacking why must the fix be always to terminate or severely discipline the person? What is so bad about talking?

Coach Eugene was lauded by the community of Grand Street Campus. In the October 5 edition of the Post it was reported that Coach Eugene...

he still has support among parents who lauded his ability to instill confidence in at-risk kids.

Isn't this what we all want? Why not fix the issue instead of blowing it up? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Latest New Evaluation Riddle

So Chapter Leaders and I guess administrators are being trained on the new evaluation system.
Everything being crammed into a short time frame. I guess sooner or later teachers will be trained  as well.

But I've been thinking lately.

Think about this. Say you are a teacher and up until now, January 11, 2017 you have had say 2 observations in which were complete disasters. You have to ineffectives and on your way to end of year rating hell. And let's just say for arugments sake that the new evaluation system kicks in on February 1.

Do you get a mulligan? A do over? Like in Galaxy Quest when you get to use the Omega 13 and rearrange matter and get to go back in time redeem a mistake?  Or do the ineffectives get combined with the new method?

One should be able to get a do over. It is only fair. But we have yet to hear from anyone with knowledge to share this with us.

In fact, what about the four observations? Are the observation pro-rated to two observations are will the four observations be jammed into the last few months of the school year?

And one more thing.

Keeping the beginning date of the new evaluation system as February 1in place shouldn't all teachers observations/evaluations be then based on the old S/U system? Think about it for a moment.

Back in November when I was at the Bronx UFT ATR meeting it was shared with us that if we got a permanent position at that time we will be under the auspices of the, at the time, current APPR system. However, if we got a permanent position in the second semester will fall under the S/U nothing to do with Danielson system. Heck, this is even true for new hires if they started that late in the year that they would be under S/U as well.

Will new teachers that are hired in March or later be part of the newest evaluation system or will they fall under the older old version of evaluations/observations the S/U?

Inquiring minds want to know. Inquiring minds want to hear from someone, anyone.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ATR Time Travel

Since being an ATR I have been trying to put my best face on and do what I have to do with a smile. I go into every school and every day wanting to do the very best that I can. But at times it can be difficult.

At times it seems like I am living in some type of time warp. That feeling was prevalent when I returned last December from my suspension realizing that I had been out of the classroom, and a school, for 2 1/2 years. It was like I was returning from the dead or had been in some type of extended cryogenic stasis.

Things were so new. I been besides the fact that the teachers I have been seeing were suddenly a lot younger. Or maybe I had just gotten older. But there were more Smart Boards, more tablets, that transparency thingy that shows stuff on the Smart Board. It was whole new world.

Gratefully, I have, or it is starting to look like I had?, (OK, I am going to get grief for the question mark and the comma. I am sorry!) a background in educational technology so I was able to pick up on the technological aspect rather quickly. But one bugs me.

It's the lack of availability of relevant professional development.

Yeah, Mondays are nice. But most of the PD's I have been blessed with being in attendance don't, in my opinion, lead to practices of best teaching. Mostly these PD's deal with data, motivational readings, etc.. I, and I am sure many ATR's, want something we can really sink our teeth into.

Why can't ATR's when we are assigned to a school get time with all the consultants that come in to do training with the staff? Why can't ATR's be made aware of the latest methods, insights into reading, writing, math?

There are schools that I have been at that have had a week of Teachers College consultants come in to spend an inordinate amount of time with staff. Are ATR's invited? I haven't been.

Where are the workshops for Go Math that would help me familiarize myself with this curriculum?

Wouldn't having more knowledge of the latest curriculum of the moment better serve ATR's to assist us in getting permanent positions?

What about being sent off-site to PD? It's a no go.

Yes, I understand that there implementation difficulties involved, but.

Why then can't the the DOE make available off-site to ATR's by borough after school, on Monday's (Hey we are stating late anyway)? Yeah, they might have to pay training rate or per session, but hell, back when I was a staff developer we had this! We had after school staff development in which teachers showed and were interested in learning something new.

At the very least, our union, our UFT, the people we fork over $100 a month to should make the PD the teachers in the schools are having, what the teachers in our districts are learning available to all ATR's. Or does this count, because there ain't much there. Same lack of quality here.

ATr's can't and shouldn't be treated as an afterthought when it comes to best practices of teaching. We are invited to the dinner, but we don't get the entire meal. Just a taste.