Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Have and Have Not

There's been a lot of talk out there about charter schools. Bloomberg is for them. Arne Duncan is for them. Barack Obama is for them. Even Randi Weingarten is for them, despite the fact that she's being paid big bucks to represent public schools.

And I have to admit, charters have a lot going for them. For example, they have:

  • The ability to 'cream' students, or choose the ones most likely too succeed.
  • No nasty union contract.
  • Freedom in hiring (and firing).
  • Flexible pay and the ability to reward teachers for merit.
  • More motivated parents (you have to sign kids up--that alone indicates more motivation).
  • Longer school days and longer school years.
  • Far fewer ESL students and special education students.
  • Lots of seats and good facilities, often taken directly from public school kids--sometimes in a manner reminiscent of a daylight smash and grab robbery.

In fact, charters seem to have all the things that politicians say we need in order to make our schools a success. Of course, there is one thing that public schools have that charters do not:

  • Success.

Yes, that's right. Despite all the so-called advantages mentioned above, public schools kicked charter school ass. We took their lunch money. On state exams, public school kids showed greater progress this year than charter school kids. Yes, the state exams that BloomKlein tout as the be-all-and-end-all of education.

Now, you know that Bloomberg and Klein love data. It wouldn't surprise me if they put little chunks of data in their boxer shorts before going to work every day. So this has to sting. Still, they are plowing forth regardless. As NYC Educator points out, far from admitting any error, BloomKlein appears to be doubling down on charter schools.

Nevertheless, it's time to rejoice, NYC teachers. We beat them at their own game. We did it despite them stacking the deck against us.

We rock.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Other Side of the ATR Coin

Our favorite Gotham Schools contributor, Arthur Goldstein, weighs in on the ATR situation. Unlike much of what we've been reading lately, Mr. Goldstein speaks from knowledge of the system and of the DOE. Give it a read.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Open Letter to Ariel Sacks

If you aren't following the Ariel Sacks saga, you should be. She is (to me) a newbie teacher who has seen fit to disrespect ATRs and veteran teachers alike by claiming how incompetent they are on Gotham Schools. Read it for yourself.

I was one of the first to comment on Ms. Sack's unfortunate post, and I blogged about it here as well. Then Gotham Schools blogged about me blogging about it. It has taken on Balloon Boy proportions in the local education blogosphere, as I pointed out in a comment to this post. Ms. Sacks herself responded, which was quite kind of her, so I thought the least I could do was write a personal response. So here it is:

Dear Ms. Sacks,

Thank you for taking the time to post on my humble blog. First, I'd like to correct a few aspersions you have cast on it. You called this blog a ..."safe space where you have a group that is on the same page about enough things that you don't have to explain yourselves to each other." In truth, I've posted on many blogs where I have meticulously explained my views. Blogs tend to be places where like minded people gather anyway. Far from your implication that I am somehow cowardly for posting here, I would remind you that I was one of the first to call you out on your post on Gotham Schools. Furthermore, I have posted at least ten times about the ATR situation--all of them long before your post to Gotham. Everyone has the opportunity to refute my views on this blog--including you. I don't delete opposing viewpoints.

Now, please allow me to address some other issues. In your comment, you tell me: "You're (sic) "scathing," or perhaps just rude, remarks make this into a personal not professional debate, which weaken your arguments." If that makes my arguments weak, yours must have positively atrophied by now. In your Gotham post, you call 37 ATRs unqualified to teach at your school (what your qualifications are that exceed theirs remains unclear). You smear these veteran teachers by presenting an ad hominem and a false choice argument in one (quite an accomplisment, BTW): "Are these teachers really the dregs of the profession? Or is it that they’ve become all too comfortable being ATRs with no teaching position and do not want to go back to the classroom?" Can you enlighten me, Ms. Sacks, on how calling veteran teachers the "dregs of the profession" elevates the level of discourse? You proceeded to say that ATRs are not welcome at your school, and that they "behave like incompetent substitutes". Would you not consider that scathing and rude? You say they are like "refugees" in the teachers' room. How should they feel, given your attitude towards them?

You wonder why you get negative reaction when, in addition to the above slurs, you appear complicit, or at least in total agreement, with the decisions of your administration to skirt the terms of the hiring freeze and education regulations. Your school passed on 37 candidates and numerous subs for a math class while "...we attempted to wait the hiring freeze out." (emphasis mine). How long did you plan to violate the terms of the hiring freeze? How long did you intend to allow a math class to be without a regular teacher because of your distaste for ATRs? You seem in full agreement of your principal's decision to pull a special ed teacher from a CTT class in order to avoid hiring a senior teacher. Do you really feel it was appropriate to deny mandated services to children with special needs because you prefer not to have any of the "refugees" mingling with you in the cafeteria? Shouldn't their education come first?

You seem to be resentful that teachers like me don't work as hard as teachers like you. In truth, I probably don't work as hard as someone like you. I don't need to. I know what I am doing. I've taught every grade numerous times and I know my subject area inside out. I have written plans for every type of class for every type of reading and writing assignment imaginable. I have a stockpile of tried and true lessons that I can adapt for any class and which I have refined over the course of several decades to be as effective as possible. Perhaps you work so hard because you lack the experience to draw upon when writing your own lessons. When I was as new as you, I had to work much harder, too. The difference is that I didn't resent senior teachers; I reached out to them to learn how to become the best teacher I could be.

You also seem resentful that veteran teachers make more money than you do. You specifically mention an out-of-license ATR who, while adapting to the class, irked you because " I feel like I’m training her, while she gets paid twice my salary." Perhaps you are unaware that teaching has never been a well paid profession, and it used to be much worse. I made about $18K in my first year--how about you? Do you resent the fact that I achieved my master's plus 30 (plus much more) and put in more than two decades of dedicated service?

I do have a question for you. As a young teacher, what gives you the right to judge all of your fellow teachers and paint them with such a broad brush? Did you sit in on the 37 interviews your principal conducted? Did you personally observe each one teaching? If so, what qualifies you to make an evaluation as to what you saw? What qualifies you to say that ATRs have an "apparent low ability to teach"?

I suppose we should give you a break. Being lead teacher and department chair are heady things, after all. Your principal must think a lot of you. I can only hope for your sake that this principal stays around forever, because with a change of administration in a few years you may find yourself working in a school where you are considered the pariah for being one of those over paid veterans who soak up too much of the school budget. Should that ever happen, you may just find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder on the interview line with your fellow ATRs, avoiding eye contact with all the newbie teachers who consider you one of the dregs of the teaching profession.

It shouldn't happen to anyone. Not even you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get Out the Barf Bag

The latest post in the community section of Gotham Schools is so alarmingly inaccurate and deceitful that it deserves special mention here. One Ms. Sacks writes about the ATRs in her school and proceeds not only to smear them, but virtually all veteran teachers in the process. She obviously has her head up her principal's ass, as she condones his attempts to thwart the hiring freeze and subvert the contract. Read the piece, and please comment. Let Ms. Sacks know what you think.

Here's my comment:

This article is a disgrace. We have here a teacher who obviously resents other teachers who make more than she does (one assumes she thinks she is worth more). She accepts the principal’s assertion that not ONE ATR was qualified to teach at her school as the gospel truth. She implies that she thinks these teachers are the “dregs” of the profession based upon…what? Hearsay? Obviously the author is in league with the principal–”WE’ tried to subvert the hiring freeze…”WE” found a way around it. As a teacher and a union member, do you really feel that you should be on your principal’s side as he violates the spirit and letter of the contract?

There is no such thing as a teacher who is licensed to teach all subjects in a middle school. Did anyone fact check this piece? In truth, that special ed teacher is teaching OUT OF LICENSE in violation of the teacher’s contract and Klein’s hiring freeze.

There is an assertion here that TFAs are “more committed and faster learners” than ATRs. That is nothing but a bald faced slur on a group of teachers who have put in more years than the author and all the TFAs in her school combined.

Finally, I don’t think it’s the twilight zone you’re in, although I have no doubt, Ms. Sacks, that your head has wandered to some nether region and has somehow made it up a passageway vertically.

Gotham Schools–you should be ashamed to print such nonsense. Ms. Sacks, I sure hope your principal promised you some plum job for writing it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pot...Kettle...Leo Casey

Leo Casey is all up in arms. He alleges on EdWize that Answers Vending, which contracts with Tweed, is guilty of wage theft from its employees. Casey is upset that this company will reap a 15-18% profit from the DOE while another company--with a union workforce--lost the contract.

While all this is bad, one wonders why Leo Casey, whose wages are paid with the hard earned dues of teachers, doesn't consider himself guilty of anything. We pay his wages, we pay for Edwize, and we pay for the nice pension he receives. Yet he's using our resources to fight for a union that isn't even his own.

I think it would be nice if he would fight for us sometime. Last I looked, there were still a lot of ATRs and rubber room dwellers, overcrowded classrooms, and unresolved grievances.

Fight for us, Leo. We pay your wages.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stumping for the Mayor4Life

Mayor4Life Bloomberg, apparently not content to outspend his Democratic opponent Bill Thompson by a 16 to 1 margin, has enlisted the help of Rudy Giuliani to help boost his cause. Giuliani immediately set about helping Bloomberg by implying that a Thompson administration would bring a return of violence and crime to NY. The Times reports that Rudy spoke to a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders:

“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” Mr. Giuliani told the group, in what many people in Mr. Thompson’s camp have interpreted as a reference to the days of unchecked violence during the 1991 riots in Crown Heights that started after an out-of-control car driven by a Brooklyn Hasid struck and killed a 7-year-old black child.

Apparently, Mayor4Life shrugged off the comments of his predecessor, which seems to me like tacit approval of possible race baiting by the last mayor who tried to extend term limits.

Giuliani, who is about as polarizing a politician as NYC has ever known, is apparently out to get the "I'm still afraid of Crown Heights and 9/11" vote. He has the added attraction of inspiring hobbyist transvestites to go to the polls.

In order to further support his flagging campaign, Bloomberg is enlisting the help of some other famous NYers:

Eliot Spitzer is drumming up the "Hooker and Johns" vote.

Anne Coulter is courting the "Horse faced pundits with huge Adam's apples" vote.

Bernie Madoff is stumping for the "Greedy Amoral Wall Street Banker" vote.

David Berkowitz is aiming for the "Psychopaths who Take Orders from Dogs" vote.

Mayor4Life is truly leaving no rock unturned, however slimy it may be underneath.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kristoff, Revisited.

I've written a number of posts on Nicholas Kristof's off the wall views on education. See here, here, and here, for example.

I thought I was going to have to do it again after reading Kristof's latest diatribe in today's Op-ed section of the Times, but Thoughts on Education Policy saved me the effort. Well worth a read.

Mike and Joel Plus Eight

In a recent poll, it appears that Mayor4Life Bloomberg is a mere 8 percentage points ahead of Bill Thompson. According to the Daily News, in a poll that identified Bloomberg as a Republican and Thompson as a Democrat (as they will appear on the ballot), only those 8 little points separate the two.

Camp Bloomie is also concerned because they believe there will be a huge turnout among those who hate him, and a much smaller showing among those who just kind of tolerate him.

I'd be a little worried if I were the Mayor King, as well. He's probably spent at least $80 million dollars so far, and he is losing steam fast. All his negative ads serve to give Thompson name recognition and plausibility as a candidate.

And although most of the dailies analyzed the mayoral debate as a draw, IMO it was a clear win for Thompson. Bloomie looked dull and defensive, while Thompson was sharp and nailed all his talking points--especially the one that may well dethrone the Mayor King--term limits.

Of course, the UFT is standing by, twiddling their thumbs. A full throated endorsement from our union might be enough to put Thompson over the top. Don't expect it any time soon.

UPDATE: Philip Nobile wrote an interesting post on this topic on EdNotes here. It appears the DA, to the surprise of no one, has decided to twiddle their thumbs a little longer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Common Misconceptions

A comment today by Gideon is so representative of the pro Fair Student Funding model that I thought it was worth commenting on separately here. Gideon comments:

You state "The opinion piece wrongly says that under the old system, richer school districts got more money. In truth, the money was for the salaries of more senior teachers who transferred into those schools." That's exactly the problem: more experienced teachers go to the least challenging schools with the least need; as a result the schools with the lowest poverty end up spending far more per student than the high poverty schools.

I don't know Gideon, but this sounds like the comment of an admin or someone who has only heard the mayor's spiel of FSF. I have worked in what Gideon would call a "challenging" school for most of my career. What made it challenging was a lack of discipline, violence, gangs, crime in the streets, and a huge turnover of the least senior people. That's right...least senior. I put in 20 years in that school, and I watched hundreds of new teachers come and go once they discovered how difficult it was to maintain discipline in such a tough neighborhood, and how dangerous it was to leave your car on the street, assuming you could find a spot within walking distance of the school. At any given time, at least half the staff had 3 years or less of experience. The problem here was not one of funding, but that conditions in the school made it hard for anyone to do a good job. It's ridiculous to think that teachers should spend their entire careers in buildings that are unsafe and where conditions make many classes unteachable. If the mayor and chancellor actually fixed the schools--made them places where people wanted to work, there would have been no need to dream up FSF as a fix.

And your argument about using Fair Student Funding to discriminate against senior teachers doesn't make sense. You yourself state that it takes 5 years to become a proficient teacher, but fail to note that most teachers don't improve significantly beyond 5 years.

Proficient isn't excellent. Many teachers become proficient in five years, but excellent takes a lifetime of experience. I don't know who dreamed up the myth that teachers don't improve after 5 years, but it's nonsense. I get a little better every year. I'm much better now that I've been teaching more than two decades than I was after my fifth year.

And let's take your argument to its logical conclusion. If teachers don't improve after 5 years, why not just sign teachers up for 5 year tours like the armed forces does? After that, you're out. Would that make the system better? Would you want your child educated by such a transient workforce?

Ignoring the ATR problem doesn't make it go away. It was caused directly by FSF, no matter what they mayor and the Daily News say. Principals have no incentive to hire senior teachers, and that is discrimination, pure and simple. Young teachers are more pliable and cheaper, but they certainly aren't better.

FSF is just a way to claim the schools are getting better without doing a damn thing. If BloomKlein ever get serious about fixing the schools, they will focus their energy on making every school a safe, pleasant place for teachers and students alike to be.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

You have to wonder how the Daily News can get it wrong just about every single time. Today's attack on teachers focused on Fair Student Funding, a bullshit idea that BloomKlein have fed to the press as a way of democratizing schools but is nothing more than a way for the DOE to skirt the UFT contract and try to fire or marginalize senior teachers.We blogged on this issue several months ago.

The opinion piece wrongly says that under the old system, richer school districts got more money. In truth, the money was for the salaries of more senior teachers who transferred into those schools. As far as I know, almost none of that money went to the kids, but to the teachers who worked in those schools.

This article says that under 'Fair' student funding, money is allocated based upon student needs, which again is false. Schools get a certain amount for each student, but they can spend the money as they wish, including on large catered affairs for the superintendents who visit or on extra copy machines or perhaps even betting on cockfights for all I know. The idea that the students get the money is absurd. What has happened in reality is that principals have denied high needs students something they desperately need in order to succeed--highly qualified teachers. If a principal can hire a newbie for 50K or an experienced veteran for 90K, whom will he hire? And there is LOTS of evidence to show that newbie teachers are not as effective as senior teachers--most research shows that it takes 5 years to become really proficient at teaching--but principals generally don't hire those teachers because they cost more.

The article says, "What's wrong with this? Nothing. The students in these schools are clearly in need. If they either can't entice senior teachers, or if they are happy with the junior teachers they have, why shouldn't they be allowed to use the money allocated for their particular students' needs for more books, supplies or additional staff?"

Actually, there's a great deal wrong if a school can not entice senior teachers. That usually means that the school is broken in some way. It's violent, it's abusive to teachers, or it has no intention of enticing them in the first place. Rather than take real action, such as actually fixing the schools no one wants to teach in, BloomKlein concocts a cockamamie funding scheme.

Let's use an example. Suppose a school has 100 teachers making an average of 80K. That would be 8 million in salary. Let's further suppose this school has 1500 students, which is about right for this many teachers. That's a student teacher ratio of 15:1. If fair student funding worked as advertised, a principal could hire 100 newbies at a cost of 5 million, leaving 3 million. With that 3 million, a principal could hire another 30 newbies, bringing the total staff to 130 and a student teacher ratio of 11.5 to 1. Can anyone show me a single example--just one--where this has happened? Where anything close to this has happened? So where does that extra 3 million go?

I'll tell you exactly what happens in real life. Principals look to cut senior teachers to save money, or they replace retirees with newbies. Then when the savings come in, Bloomberg institutes draconian cuts to school budgets and tells principals to just deal with them. So teaching staffs become less and less experienced, and needy kids don't get squat because Mayor4Life cuts the money from the budget anyway.

Finally, the author of the article, one Raymond Domanico, makes the patently absurd claim that, "...fair Student Funding plays no role in putting teachers into the reserve pool." Pardon me? When schools close or enrollment declines, excessed teachers are put in the ATR pool and principals do not hire them because they do not want to take on the salary of a senior teacher under fair student funding because doing so will cost them as much as 50K a year. As a result, we have a bloated ATR pool that has cost the city well over 200 million dollars so far.

Imagine how that much money could have helped needy kids.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Revenge of Jerry Lewis

I think about Jerry Lewis about once a year. It's around Labor Day, right before we have to return to work. That's when he holds his MD Telethon, which I used to hate because it reminded me of the end of summer. Then Randi gave away the Labor Day weekend, and Jerry and I were at peace once more. This year, however, we got the weekend back, so I blogged about how I might have to go back to hating Jerry.

That's how Jerry got his revenge. I used the picture you see above in that post, and now, every time I check the traffic to this site, I see that someone arrived at this blog because of the picture. If you type "Jerry Lewis" into Google and click on Images, you'll see that this picture is linked to this blog, probably forever. I don't know why. All I know is that every single day, perhaps for the rest of my life, I am doomed to think about Jerry Lewis.

I'll never blog alone.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Man in the Mirror

Who does Michael Mulgrew see when he looks in the mirror? Does he see the newly minted president of a once powerful labor organization, or does he see....Randi Weingarten?

The question isn't a frivolous one. Whenever anyone takes over the helm of a huge operation--from Barack Obama on down--they must ask themselves whether they intend to steer the ship in their own direction or passively allow it to float along the same course. In Mulgrew's case, doing the latter would place the UFT on the same metaphorical path as the Titanic. Because Randi stood on the bow and said, "Iceberg? What iceberg?", we need Mulgrew to say, "Let's right this ship."

In my view, Randi went off course when she decided that she could please everyone and be conciliatory. The press and politicians heaped praise on her and she ate it up, gobbling up as much power and influence as she could along the way. She always had her sights on bigger goals, such as the AFT presidency she now holds. She even came close to being a senator and the Ed Secretary, all because she saw compromise as the path to her own personal triumph.

To get back on course, Mulgrew must--starting with this contract--redefine the role of UFT president. He must realize and act upon the idea that he is working for teachers--not the city, and not the children of New York. His one and only resposibilty is to strengthen the union by making sure teachers have respect, decent pay, security, and a reasonable work environment. If we really want to benefit children, the best way to do so is to make sure that we have a dedicated pool of qualified teachers who are happy to come in and do their jobs each and every day.

Now is the time, Mr. Mulgrew. To wait is to go further off course and make the turn around much more difficult. Remember who you work for, Mr. Mulgrew, and remember who it is you want to see in the mirror every morning.

7 Questions from Philip Nobile

When I asked for questions to ask Michael Mulgrew, I received 7 questions from Philip Nobile, whose name I am using with his permission. He has an interesting story---one which is increasingly common in the current DOE. His tale was told in the New York Times, and it should act as a cautionary tale for us all. You can read all about it here and here.

I think Mulgrew owes him an answer to his questions. I repost them below.

1 Do you trust Klein's numbers on rising test scores and graduation rates?
2 Do you agree with Diane Ravitch that state tests are "exemplars of inflation"?
3 Does the UFT have an ethical obligation to speak out re Klein's dubious statistical claims? If so, what is stopping you?
4 Is it UFT strategy to keep silent on the DOE's incredible claims and instead take credit for the increases in order to enhance contract negotiations?
5 Twenty-four of 27 UFT chapter leaders told me last spring that test tampering occurred at their schools. There are current cheating scandals in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Do you think that tampering by administrators and teachers a significant problem in the city system and a key factor in rising scores and grad rates?
6 The Chicago Teachers Union cooperated on a cheating survey with the Chicago Sun-Times. Would you support a similar survey of New York City teachers to determine the scope of cheating and the incentives involved (e.g., pressure from principals, bonuses, job retention, etc.)?
7 Would you support some type of blind grading to eliminate cheating?

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Many Faces of the Mayor-for-Life

Maybe you've seen the ad. It's been plastered all over the airwaves. Bill Thompson is being portrayed as a hypocrite for a position he supposedly took opposing the millionaire's tax. The ad overlooks the fact that Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg also opposes it, and has raised the cost of living for middle class New Yorkers in many ways, including water rates that went up 12.9% in the middle of a recession and housing crisis. Of course, Bloomberg can afford to flush his toilets with Perrier for the next million years without feeling the pinch.

The larger question is, who is really the hypocrite here? Isn't Mayor4Ever the man who opposed Rudy Giuliani staying on for 3 extra months in the aftermath of 9/11, yet claimed that he had to give himself another four years so he could save us from the fiscal crisis? Hasn't he been the mayor been in charge during the entire span of the fiscal downturn? Nice job, Mr. Mayor.

Isn't this the mayor who banned cake sales in the schools while stuffing himself with unhealthy garbage?

Isn't this the mayor who once called any attempt to overturn term limits "disgusting"? I guess it didn't seem so disgusting last year when Mayor Eternal and his minions on the city council voted to give themselves a chance to run for a 3rd term.

Instead of voting to limit Bloomberg to two terms, we should have voted to limit him to one face.

But what would be the point? He'd have the law overturned anyway.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mulgrew Enters the Danger Zone

I just got word that Michael Mulgrew, our new and seemingly affable UFT prez, is coming to my school one day next week. He'll only be there for a short while, but as luck would have it, I will be off the period he'll be there. I should be able to get a word in edgewise.

So, I'm leaving it up to all of you. I should be able to get in one question to Mulgrew, so what should it be? Submit your questions, and I'll select the most interesting or obnoxious to ask. Fire away.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This Takes the Cake!

Literally. Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg has banned bake sales in public schools.

Determined to micromanage every aspect of children's lives, including what passes through their digestive systems, Hizzoner Eternal has made an exception for dark brownies and lemon bars, which may be sold once a month. Why? Because HE has spoken.

Mayor-for-Life claims that he's doing this for the health of children. This has not stopped His Mayoralty from jeopardizing his own health with a steady diet of salt and fat laden foods. That is different, of course. Bloomberg is a billionaire and gets what he wants. We common folk need to be led by the hand.

Getting a Fake TAN

It's sad, really. I often see newbie teachers doing things that suck away their time but have no educational benefit whatsoever. They do these things because they are told to by admins, who are told to tell them to by quality review or whatever other Powers That Be. Sadder still, the newbies often actually believe that these things have value because it is drilled into their heads. A case in point: the TAN.

It doesn't matter what you teach these days. Pretty much everyone is required to keep a Teacher Assessment Notebook on their students. The purpose, allegedly, is to keep data on students so that you may individualize instruction. The real purpose, of course, is to keep teachers so busy that we can't do things like relax or talk to our colleagues about how stupid TANs are.

In truth, TANs are useless. Any teacher worth her salt knows the strengths and weaknesses of her students within the first couple of weeks. Collecting data every time a student passes wind only serves to make your TAN larger, which may benefit you in terms of muscle tone and stronger bones from lugging the damn thing around, but has zero effect on your teaching. In fact, every minute you spend on your TAN has a negative effect on your teaching, because that's a minute you could have spent writing effective lesson plans or working directly with kids.

So, newbie teachers, I advise you to do what most savvy veteran teachers do: fake your TAN. The trick is to stuff your TAN with so much information that no admin in their right mind would want to look at it or question what you are doing. I learned this technique, oddly enough, from my accountant one year. I had a simple tax year, yet she produced about 40 pages of forms to submit to the IRS. When I asked her why, she simply stated, "Would any IRS agent in their right mind audit this?" She is a genius.

Following her model, here is how you can fake your TAN:
  1. Get a huge ass binder. I mean huge.
  2. Print out every single thing on ARIS for every single student. Print it on 3 hole punch paper and put in your TAN. This alone adds a pound to your data, and poundage counts.
  3. Whenever you talk to a student, even if it's about the need for a bathroom pass, announce in a loud, clear voice, "WE ARE CONFERENCING NOW". When admins ask your kids whether you conference with them, they'll know what to say.
  4. Keep a lot of rosters handy. Whenever you are about to teach anything, write it on a roster and check off most of the names to indicate which students need to learn this. Date it two days before you teach that lesson. Three hole punch it and put it in your TAN. If an admin asks how your data drives your instruction, show them the rosters. They will love you and offer to have your children.
  5. Labels are your friend. If you teach math, for example, print a page of labels that say "Understands multiplication of fractions" and a page that says "Does not understand multiplication of fractions." Affix a label to each student's page in your TAN. If you do this once every two weeks, you'll have 20 labels for each child by year's end. Your TAN will be shown to others as an example to be followed. Try not to snicker.
That's all the advice I have for now. If anyone knows any other neat TAN tricks, please post in the comments section. If we work together in the spirit of fake collaboration, we can accomplish almost anything.