SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Samantha Sherwood Of Mott Hall V Opens Her Mouth

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Samantha Sherwood Of Mott Hall V Opens Her Mouth

What a way to come home. I click on one of the email accounts that has been set up to receive the latest Educators4Excellence weekly propaganda reports and something catches my eye. It seems that yet another, under 30, privileged class, Teach For America whiner is yet again kvetching how their lives are about to be ruined because they are at risk for being laid off.

It would be nice, at least once, to have one of these whiners be over 40, have children, had to actually work to earn their lot in life, and not have a trust fund to fall back on. Yes, E4E's Jane Viau is over 40, way over 40, but she is wealthy from being a Wall St lackey, so she doesn't count.

Today's latest whiner was featured in the New York Times in an article written by Fernanda Santos. I thought the Times was getting cool, starting to peel back Uncle Mike's lies, starting to see things for what they are. I think I was mistaken, though Michael Winerip seems to be a mensch and refuses to drink the Kool-Aid.

So this, Samantha Sherwood, 25 years old, and a science teacher, oops, the science chairperson at Mott Hall V in the Bronx, this child of privilege somehow got Fernanda to write a puffy piece on her plight.

Fernanda writes; Samantha Sherwood, a graduate of UConn, had lofty aspirations when she settled on a family-studies major at the University of Connecticut, like redrawing welfare rules or weaving together a sturdier safety net for people in need.

Aw, shucks. That is just so gosh darn sweet. Yes, Samantha, that white liberal guilt of yours. I know, from your gilded perch you look down and look at yourself as the savior to the boys and girls of color. That you need to justify your family's wealth and that the only people of color you came in contact with was the local gardner or housekeeper.

Samantha blabbered; “to be there, where the rubber meets the road.”

Wow, did you learn that cliche at UConn?

Santos tries to build tears in her readers; Now in her third year of teaching, earning about $45,000, Ms. Sherwood has come face to face with another place where rubber and road meet: she is most likely among the 4,100 New York City teachers scheduled to be laid off...

Hey, sorry. That's life. But why don't I have sympathy for Samantha and her ilk? Because at 25, with no mortgage, no children, no spouse, no responsibilities other than to herself, Samantha will bounce back. Samantha still can count on the largesse of mummsy and daddy. Samantha, if needed can always return to the bucolic family home whilst mummsy and daddy await her next culture to lord over.

Maybe Samantha should grow a set like a friend of mine has. He too is in the cross hairs of the layoffs. He, unlike Samantha, has three children, a loving and attentive wife, car payments, house payments, coaches baseball, is a true adult with adult responsibilities. We don;t see him whining and complaining the New York Times. We don't see him joining a faux grassroots movement such as E4E. Why is that? Because my friend is not a child of privilege, because he has not gone through life perched upon the gilded hill with a silver spoon shoved in his mouth.

Samantha, in her most trained voice blurts; “My own kind of ideology, my own commitment to have an impact in the world in some capacity, makes me more inclined to work hard to see my kids do well,”

Oh, you are just so special. You are the only one, the one who feels like that? Guess what Sweetheart? I know many, many teachers who feel that way. But for some reason don't feel the need to brag about it or wear it on their sleeves. But, you can respond to this blog posting by sharing with the readers how it feels to perceive oneself as special.

Whilst inserting foot into mouth Samantha claims, “there are people out there who just got settled in and aren’t doing their jobs.”

Says who? Your duce, Little Evan Stone? Give hard cold evidence. Were you coached before this interview? Did mummsy and daddy send you to UConn so you can lose all independent thought? Did you ever see the Music Man? Little Evan is no better than Professor Harold Hill.

On the first day of school each fall, Ms. Sherwood makes a pledge to her students: “I guarantee that if you let me guide you and if you work hard, you’ll leave this class knowing more about science than you did when you arrived.”

Oh oh. Nausea coming on strong. Be right back. Whew! A mess was averted. Thankfully there was some Canada Dry ginger ale in the fridge.

Samantha sayeth; “Their peers in the public schools in Chappaqua are getting all of those opportunities, and there’s no reason my kids in the Bronx shouldn’t.”

Hmm. Chappaqua vs. Bronx. I wonder what the average class size is in Chappaqua? I wonder if at any students at Richard E Bell Middle School in Chappaqua are wearing colors, live in poverty, watch mom whore herself out for crack, come from fractured homes, eat Doritos and grape soda for dinner. Don't think for a minute Samantha that not one teacher wants the same opportunity for their students in the South Bronx as the teachers in Chappaqua. Chappaqua isn't stupid enough to use Everday Mathematics, or the Writing Workshop. How ignorant, how repulsive, how condescending can you be?

Our last quote from Samantha; “We have to let children explore the beauty of what they’re learning,” she said, “not spoon-feed knowledge they’re supposed to memorize.”

The crack team here at SBSB took this statement and fed it to our special computer. The computer was in agreement with what which we already know, and teachers, except you and all your buddies at E4E, know. As long as there is this emphasis on testing, as long as teachers, including yourself, are judged by standardized tests, students will be going the memorization route. Children are not exploring, can't explore, can't be kids because of YOU. YOU Samantha are the problem.

I am tired of picking up a newspaper, turning on a radio and hearing about this turd blossoms from E4E whining about what will happen to them. They are children. They have zero responsibility. They have plenty of options left to take advantage of. Every single E4E turd blossom that appears went to an elite college, and elite prep school, an elite upbringing, and has not lived life. I dare E4E to give me someone who grew up working class, that graduated from Mercy College, that doesn't have a trust fund. And stop with the talking points already.

The day of comeuppance for E4E is quickly approaching. The smug look on Little Evan Stone's face will soon be gone and be explained away as a bad dream.


Anonymous said...

Samantha, in her most trained voice blurts; “My own kind of ideology, my own commitment to have an impact in the world in some capacity, makes me more inclined to work hard to see my kids do well,”

This makes me want to gag.

Anonymous said...

It also bothered me that she became science chairperson in 2009, which would make that her first school year as a teacher. How can a first year teacher be a chairperson WITHOUT ANY EXPERIENCE?

B said...

WAIT a minute! $45,000, third year teacher?!?! If I'm not mistaken, Mott Hall V is also a public school.

If that's so, the NY Times got it wrong. I'm a second year teacher and I'm making just above $48K without a Masters. You can't even earn less than $45,530.

I see two things here, both not good:

1) Samantha was dishonest with the Times about her money earned to illicit more of an emotional response.

2) The NY Times didn't fact-check.

As a Fellow who is younger than her, I can't believe how much E4E both exploits young teachers like this and turn them out to be what they are now: lackeys to the Mayor, the ed "deformer" movement, and the

I had lofty goals too, Samantha: to do what is best for my students and educate them wholly. Your organization is actively preventing that from occurring. Sit down and learn before you spew that nonsense.

Chalk Duster said...

"Most of all, she wants to be judged on performance, [standardized test performance---really?] not time on the job."


WOW. That one takes the cake. Is she on crack?

Anonymous said...

You know, I went to a better school than Samantha, have just as good connections as her (Check her LinkedIN page), and, if I didn't think, would be in E4E just like her.

But I'm not.

Some of us entered this profession not for missionary zeal, but to teach what we love. I have a ball in my job. So do my students.

No pissant E4E, TFA rich kid can tell me otherwise.

Pete Zucker said...

if I didn't think, would be in E4E just like her.

Awesome line........!

Anonymous said...

You make a lot of very personal attacks on this girl based on your generalizations and assumptions. How do you know she came from a privileged household, for one? Or how do you know her personal and financial responsibilities? It's one thing if you want to disagree with getting rid of LIFO. You are completely entitled to that opinion. However, you expend so much energy on attacking this individual, who, if you read the article objectively, is not advocating getting rid of people simply because they are old, but instead keep teachers who are demonstrating their effectiveness in the classrooms. If you want to debate the issues that is fine. But if you want to demonstrate ignorance and immaturity and make baseless attacks on hard-working individuals then in the end, your argument is empty and meaningless.

B said...

Anonymous (10:04 pm), "demonstrating their effectiveness"? Her organization advocates for teachers to be evaluated off of a singular flawed, narrowed, and, in some people's opinion, biased measure as well as a ridiculously flawed measurement in the teacher data reports (31 to 65% margin of error). How does any of that "measure teacher effectiveness"?

Also, I'm curious, she says she has demonstrated she's "effective" in the classroom. How do you measure her 'effectiveness'? If she feels she should be measured by the same standards as what her organization states, she should put up her scores and her TDR scores to prove it, despite its obvious flaws.

Pete Zucker said...

Dear Anonymous 10:04 PM.....

You know Ruben, you are pathetic. Don't you know that I have a tracker embedded and know your IP, as do several other bloggers.

You are such a douchebag, such a lowlife. Ruben, know by now I don;t publish anything unless I have it as a fact.

Anonymous said...

The image at the beginning of your article reminds us "To think before you say something stupid." Generally, something stupid is defined as that which is baseless or misinformed, so either you appreciate irony or prefer not to follow your own advice. This post is filled with personal attacks that are both baseless and misinformed. You know little to nothing about Samantha's personal or financial background yet base the majority of your criticism upon it. She may have tremendous college loans or be financially responsible for family members struggling to support themselves. Does that make her commitment to her students more or less legitimate? Or maybe she does have a tremendous trust fund? So instead should she be using that to perpetuate wealth inequality instead of trying to close a gap? The NYTimes articles raises important issues about how to fairly and accurately evaluate students and teachers and how in turn this should affect hiring and firing policies. So why don't you actually provide some suggestions about how to do that instead of baseless attacks on an individual teacher? Improving education is about building coalitions among people who care about empowering youth. Samantha clearly does. And if you do too, consider replacing your slander with solutions.

Pete Zucker said...

#1. Don't you know from sarcasm?

#2. You whine about me making unsubstantiated claims, yet Samantha offers no proof or real examples to this comment, '“there are people out there who just got settled in and aren’t doing their jobs.”'

#3 If you read this blog, listened to my radio show, you will know solutions have been offered.

#4. Unlike Little Evan Stone or Princes Sydney Morris I do not parrot the Uncle Mike's party line, nor I am his sock puppet.

#5. Have you noticed that I have not deleted, or moderated one comment directed at me, nor will I, as E4E does on its FB page, or how the savant Brosbe does?

Anonymous said...

Wow Samantha is so unreasonable! She thinks teachers should have to teach things!? To children!? In the Bronx!? How can anyone without car payments or a mortgage possibly think that children in the Bronx deserve a high quality education from competent teachers!

You may not agree with E4E, or teacher data reports. I certainly think they are a flawed way of evaluating the work we do as teachers. But that is not what this article is about. It is about a good teacher, and if and when she is laid off her students will be hurt. Yes, if laid off, there is no doubt that Samantha has the skills and worth to "bounce back" but do her students? Being unemployable elsewhere is not a great justification for keeping your job.

I challenge you to find a single parent who would say, "I do not want my child in Ms. Sherwood's class because although she is a dedicated, hard-working teacher who has earned, through merit, a leadership position at her school, she does not have a mortgage or children to support. Therefore, she is unfit to educate my child." Parents, students, and (most) teachers want the same thing: high quality teachers educating our students. How do we make that happen? Certainly not by writing nasty, ignorant blog posts about a teacher who has done nothing but try to fix a broken system. She isn't attacking the UFT, she isn't attacking veteran teachers, she is simply asking that we do not needlessly deny our children of high quality instruction.

B said...

Anon (12:23): “there are people out there who just got settled in and aren’t doing their jobs.” "My own kind of ideology, my own commitment to have an impact in the world in some capacity, makes me more inclined to work hard to see my kids do well."

When you make statements like those two, one without any evidence (not doing their jobs) and one that attempts to say that you're "more inclined" to work harder than others, it's both unfounded and a bit arrogant (especially the second statement).

I have no right judging whether I am "more inclined" to work harder than others. I don't go around thumbing my nose or talking to other teachers and saying "I'm more inclined than you to work harder because I believe that children are our future." As a young teacher who rely and learn from my senior teachers, Samantha's mindset is a bit disturbing.

Also, honestly, who is to say that a hired ATR with more experience wouldn't do as good of a job as you may think Samantha is doing or better? I don't need the consistent and substantial evidence about the benefits of experience are in the classroom; I see it where I teach and in the teachers who I seek advice and consul from.

David Greene said...

Where is the history? I was quite angered at this story. The reporter doesn't go into the background of the issue. It is a soft, puff piece, designed to make us feel for new teachers.

I feel for them. I was one a few decades ago who was laid off, as were thousands, after 5 years of teaching during a worse financial crunch mid 1970's. Remember the NY Daily News headline? "FORD TO NY- DROP DEAD" Ford had "declared flatly...that he would veto any bill calling for a 'federal bail-out of New York city."

I know what it is like to lose my job while those I knew weren't nearly as good as me kept theirs.

By five years in I had taught several social studies classes and taught and created new ones. I had coached football. I was the senior class advisor who had run graduations, proms, trips, and more. All of this was in a comprehensive high school of almost 4000, not 400. Today I would be considered an old pro at 25, but back then I was still just a youngster.

Today I feel for those TFA's I mentor through Fordham University's GSE program who are dedicated and idealistic as I was when I started. I don't care where they came from. I judge them by the core of their character. I will not prejudge. I will evaluate them based on what I see in my role as mentor, and now adjunct professor at Fordham.
I did not like being judged by my elders then who thought of newbies like me as young upstarts threatening their positions, so I won't do it now.

Last hired, first fired sucked then, as it does now. But here's the thing. Ok, a few things.

First, if today's newbies are as dedicated as I was, they'll come back when the money returns, as I did.
As soon I found out I could be rehired by NYC, I did everything I could to come back to the school I loved and worked in- Adlai Stevenson High School, in the Bronx. (Now closed by order of da mayor and da college drop out---Bill gates) I hope this young lady does.

Second, if she does return to her school, I hope she isn't met by new colleagues excessed from other schools who resent her return. I know how that feels.

Third, as I said in my interview with you, the issue isn't as simple as "da mayor" and his media tag team make it out to be. Due process is the important phrase left out of this equation.

This is their thinking. Wouldn't it be great if we could put the most expensive folks out to pasture and keep saving money by hiring newbies at less than half the cost, and if they give us trouble, we can fire them too.

Back to history. Who remembers what it was like before the UFT was formed in NYC? Good teachers, regardless of age, were fired because of cost or worse, they didn't agree with how their principal did things.

Once again, let's look at the history. For decades the then BOE, now DOE. hired new people like me to fill full time regular positions but we were officially PER- DIEM SUBS. Yes,like Mrs. Shabberclonz, who filled in for absent teachers and got the lowest pay rate AND NO BENEFITS! It took a few years and, as I recall, a court case to fix that.

So as we look at the history we find that in the despicable attempts (now, before the union, and in the 1970's) to save money and keep control in their hands NYC D(B)OE will do lots of things rarely reported on fairly.

One is this attempt to get rid of DUE process (Tenure) by making LHFF the rallying cry. That is the problem with this article. It does what most of the articles written about education do. They divert the public from the complexities involved.

So, back to little Miss Sunshine. Should she be a chairperson ? NO. Should she teach if she is dedicated, idealistic, and GOOD! Yes. Should the way the DOE under Uncle Mike change the way they think about education in NYC? Does a bear shit in the woods?

Le Chele said...

I came across that article a few days ago and share your frustration and cynicism with the young, idealistic 'magic' teachers. I am currently a teacher's assistant so possess much of the same hopeful optimism teacher's like Sherwood have and somewhat agree with one of her points.

It is possible that younger teachers have a tendency to be more creative than more seasoned teachers. This may be because younger teachers are still establishing themselves while trying to find out what works and what does not. More experienced teachers are likely to already have a set routine with methods they have perfected over time. This is why I believe it is healthy to have a nurturing environment for all teachers where there can be a free flowing exchange of ideas.

Old Experienced Creative Teacher said...

Experienced teacher (and a SENIOR teacher to boot) to "Le Chele": Shut the Fuck Up. What do you mean, "It is possible that younger teachers have a tendency to be more creative then more seasoned teachers." You are so not a teacher, are you, know it all? Is that why I shared my teacher made materials with the formerly-arrogant-now-aware-of-reality "younger" teachers? Get your head out of your ageist ass now before you suffocate!! I hope you suffer the way older teachers are now, retiring because things are just too uncomfortable for them due to mean spirited admin and clueless idiots like you. Your comment was extremely uninformed and offensive.

Anonymous said...

My comment that I left in regards to the article.

I am actually rather annoyed by this article. It is basically portraying that older and more experienced teachers do not work as hard as "young and idealistic teachers". This is a complete myth and a slap in the face to experienced teachers all over the United States who work extremely hard and are excellent at what they do.I know absolutely wonderful teachers who have been teaching for over 20 years (as a teacher who has colleagues and as a student who had fantastic experienced teachers). This is only a political maneuver in which the city feels will be saving money for the city government. By doing so, the City of New York wanted (and most likely still wants) to repeal the LIFO bill and lay off 'senior teachers'. However what people do not realize is that there are many vindictive principals in the NYC school system who go after teachers because their salaries are too high. This is all it is, but no one will actually say those 2 words which is all about "age discrimination." The system is extremely 'arbitrary, capricious and subjective' and by repealing the LIFO bill will continue and only make the situation worse, not better for experienced and new educators. Lastly, one of the reasons why 'the not so great teachers" are still in the system are because of the administrators who choose to do nothing about the situation. This has nothing to do with unions protecting 'the not-so great teachers' but with administrators who refuse or choose not to take action.

To make a generalized statement that 'all teachers in NYC" is an inaccurate fallacy and implies it is the entire city school system when it is clearly not the case. Yes, there are probably a few teachers who do need to be removed (as any employee in any profession) however this article is completely biased against experienced and older teachers. In fact, I know 2 teachers over the age of 65 who are still teaching and are fantastic at what they do, teach young chidren.