Monday, May 31, 2010

Til 2012 Do Us Part

Imagine walking down the aisle on your wedding day. You're gloriously happy, basking in the glow of the vows you are exchanging with your soul mate. Until, that is, the clergyman asks your betrothed whether he or she will take you "Til death do you part". At that point, your beloved returns not with the anticipated "I do" but rather "I'll hang around until 2012 but after that I'm most likely hightailing it out of here."

Would you go through with it? And if you did, would you consider it a good marriage if your spouse actually did leave after two years? Would you consider it a successful venture as long as he or she was a pretty good partner for those two years?

I imagine not, because whatever other sterling qualities your short-lived help-meet might possess, commitment is not one of them. There's a lot to be said for dedication to a cause. That's why the traditional anniversary gift for the second year of marriage is cotton and the 25th silver.

That's also why programs like TFA are always failures. A two year commitment isn't a commitment at all. It's a jaunt, an experience, or perhaps a resume filler, but the TFAer can never be a real success as long as his or her career has a built in escape hatch.

My purpose today isn't to bash TFA (if you want that, do a search of this blog and you'll find plenty). Rather, I'd like to answer those people who wonder why a 22 year veteran teacher should make so much more than a rookie. Think of it like that marriage. No spouse is perfect, but you want someone who is dedicated--not one who plans to run off before the ink dries on the marriage certificate. A great spouse is one who sticks it out, learns from mistakes, and plans to be there through thick and thin. A great spouse is dedicated to making things work, not just in year 1 but in year 41 as well, knowing that in the long haul dedication and commitment will pay off. The irony is that dedicating your life to someone means you have to work harder each and every day to make it work--a lot harder sometimes than the person who feels free to leave the marriage whenever they want.

Dedication is also a key factor in teacher quality. A teacher who is willing to dedicate his or her life to teaching is always, in the long run, a better teacher than the fly-by-night TFA type. When teaching is in your blood, when it is part of your identity, when it is how you plan to spend the majority of your adult life, then you are willing to do the work, make the mistakes, and reap the rewards that are due you. You will work longer, harder, and better than the person who sees teaching as a pit stop on the way to their 'true' career.

Even the most dedicated spouse needs incentives to keep going. Children, financial stability, and long term life plans are frequent motivators. For teachers, financial rewards, along with security and respect, were long time motivators. Now that job security has been eroded by our own union, and the respect that once belonged to teachers has been bought and spit on by billionaires like Bloomberg, Murdoch, Gates and Broad, financial rewards are the only ones left in tact.

The deform billionaires are going after that last remaining incentive. They want all the benefits of dedicated teachers without actually having to pay for them. They'd like to offer us all beginning wages and have us fight for whatever merit pay scraps they throw our way.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my child taught by someone with just two years worth of dedication. I want teachers who see the profession as a calling and as a privilege, and who want to hone their craft over time so that they can reap all the benefits that teaching has traditionally conferred on those willing to stick it out.

Mayor Bloomberg would like the right to give all of us a quickie divorce. Let's not give him that chance.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Drop That Chalk and Come Out With Your Feet Up!

There's a good post over at NYCEducator's blog by North Brooklyn about how everyone thinks teachers suck, and it got me to thinking (always a dangerous endeavor). My first thought was that if everyone thinks teachers sit on our behinds all day with our feet up on the desk, maybe we should do just that and see what happens. Then I thought about new teacher evaluation deal, and I knew I was on to something.

You see, the city and state have been gaming the ELA and math tests for years. The tests have gotten easier each year, to the point where my schnauzer scored a middle 2 on last year's exams (that dumb dog never could tell the difference between ironies and litotes). Anyway, the problem is that when your feet are held to the fire for student performance under the new teacher evaluation system, you'll have to improve on whatever wildly inflated grades your students achieve next year. I don't know about you, but I don't think I can wring even one more correct answer out of my schnauzer, let alone my students.

But there is good news: You have a free pass! We all do! The new evaluation system won't kick in until the school year after next (2011-2012). So here's what we should do. Let's all really put our feet up for the next year and teach nothing! And I mean nothing--especially no test prep. That way, NYC scores will plummet and we can all look forward to the 2011 school year, when we can go back to teaching and show the kind of phony improvement in scores that can usually only be accomplished by rich mayors.

Some of you may be asking what will happen if your supervisor U rates you next year for clipping your toenails in class while you're supposed to be teaching. No sweat. The following year your scores will skyrocket and you'll be subject to the new evaluation system anyway.

Of course, there is always the real danger that the state will find a new way to make the tests even easier. I know it's hard to believe that it could happen, but why else would they change testing companies? It would be a disaster if we taught nothing all year and the scores went up, but that could happen, especially since the tests don't measure any type of specific knowledge whatsoever.

In that scenario, the only winner would be my schnauzer. I promised him a box of Snausages if he gets a 3 on next year's test.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mr. Talk Predicts: No Layoffs

I'm putting on my fortune teller hat again, temporarily putting the propeller beanie to the side. And my prediction for the current fiscal year is: There will be no layoffs of teachers in NYC.

If you've been around the block a few times as I have, you know that the city predicts teacher layoffs just about every time a new teacher contract rolls around (odd coincidence, that). Yet the last time any actual teachers were laid off was in the 1970s. I'm not saying that there are no real economic difficulties; clearly there are. But I don't think anyone will lose their jobs over them, and here's why.

First, I think the threat is largely another implementation of the Shock Doctrine by Mayor4Life Bloomberg. He uses it all the time (see here and here). If you're unfamiliar, the Shock Doctrine is when politicians uses crises to help them implement unpopular policies. GW Bush pushed through an entire bogus war using 9/11 for political cover, and then set about eviscerating many of our cherished civil liberties (such as not getting waterboarded because you look Middle Eastern). Our mayor, however, has added a new twist to the doctrine. He's using it not to get layoffs, but to get what are, to him, the right layoffs. His goal is to twist the arm of the union and state by threatening layoffs in order to be able to fire senior teachers. Mayor4Life doesn't like senior teachers because we make those incredibly high salaries that cost almost as much as his weekend jaunts to Bermuda. Now that it's apparent that even Michael Mulgrew isn't going to give in on "last in first out", the mayor has no reason to push for layoffs. They would just make him look like the crummy mayor he is, like the NAEP scores do.

Second, the state always shortchanges the city in their preliminary budget proposals, and they always restore at least some of the cuts before the budget is final.

Third, President Obama doesn't want to look like any more of an idiot on education than he already does. Think of it--he's dangling 4 billion dollars in front of states in the form of Race to the Top funds that can't even be used to avert layoffs. How's it going to look when he gives 700 million to New York and then says we can't use it to save teachers--but we can buy a lot of new shiny data systems with it? At this moment, there is a bill in the senate to spend 23 billion nationwide to avert teacher layoffs, with 400 million going to NY. Obama would have to be a fool not to sign it after bailing out banks, oil companies, and every other rich institution he could think of. Not only that, massive teacher layoffs would cause the unemployment numbers to spike--the very last thing Obama wants.

Finally, and perhaps the weakest link in the chain, is the UFT itself. Mulgrew has already floated a retirement incentive proposal that would accomplish what the mayor wants (to get rid of senior teachers) and what the union wants (to maintain the same level of dues). It seems like a perfect match. And from a logical standpoint, the city pretty much has to go along at this point, because a lot of teachers who probably would have retired in June without the incentive will now wait until an incentive gets done. My only hesitation about this one is that Mulgrew has shown no ability to get anything done unless it hurts the membership. It remains to be seen if he can do anything to help.

So there you have it. No layoffs. Of course, none of this will get done before pink slips go out, because by law they have to go out shortly. Still, I predict we'll soon see Klein, Mayor4Life, and Mulgrew standing on the steps of city hall, hands raised in solidarity and triumph, announcing how they worked together to save NY schools and the world. We can only hope they don't kiss.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A New Accountabilty System

I've worked out a new accountability system that I think will be fairer than the one Michael Mulgrew rubber stamped this past week. In that system, teachers will be rated highly effective, effective, developing, and ineffective. If you are rated ineffective for two years, you can be fired within 60 days. It all seems a little unfair to me, considering test scores are such a major part of it. Still, that seems to be the wave of the future, so I propose a system in which test scores DO count. It will have the following features:
  • Teachers will have eight years instead of two to show improvement

  • Test scores needn't go up; flatlining for those eight years will be considered "effective".

  • You will not have to narrow the achievement gap between white and minority students at all in that time.

  • Less than 30% of your students need to be proficient readers to pass.

  • If you fail to meet these benchmarks, you will be given another four years to meet them. And maybe another four after that.
I know these standards may seem low to some. But this is exactly how NYC students performed on the NAEP test over the last eight years under "Accountability Mayor" Bloomberg. He claims to be doing a wonderful job as the education mayor with those lousy numbers. I'm sure he would agree that teachers should be held to the same high standards to which he holds himself . Wouldn't he?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stupidity as a Strategy

If you recall the Iran-Contra affair, President Reagan was involved in the sale of arms to Iran, which was under embargo. It grew into a huge scandal, with Oliver North taking the brunt of the blame. When the Reagan was asked by the Tower Commission whether he had approved the sale, he at first admitted it, and then later said he couldn't remember having done so. If Bill Clinton had ever said that he "forgot" selling arms to our enemies, the entire country would have called bullshit on him. But with Reagan, you kind of felt that he was a kindly old gentleman, but didn't quite have it all upstairs. I could not only see him forgetting whether he sold arms to enemies, I could see him forgetting to put on his pants before a press conference.

Some of you may still recall the brilliant sketch in which Phil Hartman portrayed Ronald Reagan as a bumbling fool when the cameras were on but a sharp incisive leader when no one was around. If you're interested, here it is. Definitely worth a look, especially with Dana Carvey as Jimmy Stewart at the end.

I was reminded of this sketch after reading a comment by Norm on my post about why the UFT is "suddenly" playing dead. He said, "The UFT people are not in over their head. They know exactly what they are doing....They are colluding and collaborating...They are Vichy." At first I thought the comment a little over the top, and then I thought of this sketch about Reagan.

My point is that a lot of times during his presidency, Reagan was excusing for his bumbling mistakes because of his age. George Bush II likewise got away with murder because most people thought he was an affable idiot. Sure, he brought our country to war using trumped up intelligence, but that was the kind of foible you expected from the less-than-brilliant Bush. I can't even tell you how many times during the Reagan and Bush years I found myself saying "How can anyone so stupid be the President?" But after a while you learn to accept them and hope that you'll get something better down the road.

Now we come the the UFT and Norm's comment. How many times have you said to yourself "How can Randi Weingarten be so stupid as to agree to that?" I won't detail all of Randi's idiotic agreements as they have all been documented here and elsewhere many times. But now it's time to examine Mulgrew. How often have you asked yourself how Mulgrew could be so stupid? I'll list some of my least favorites:

How could Mulgrew have been so stupid as to:

  • Fail to endorse Thompson for mayor when the UFT's nod might have changed the outcome of the election?
  • Come to a rubber room agreement, outside of contract negotiations, that let the mayor off the hook for the situation he himself created?
  • Agree to a teacher evaluation scheme that ties test scores to teacher ratings?
  • Do all of the above without even getting the measly 4% pattern that the other unions have already gotten?
Can Mulgrew and Randi really be this stupid and gone as far as they have? I think it's a fair question. When Mulgrew got 91% of the vote in the recent election, did he view that as a mandate to take on the mayor, as he should have, or did he just realize that 91% of the union membership are just sheep who will keep putting him into office no matter what stupid thing he does next?

I think the Unity bigs and Bloomberg have the same goal: to stay in power. The mayor did that by buying a third term, and Mulgrew did it by giving the appearance of toughness. In the end, it doesn't matter to the UFT whether they get their $1000 a year from a senior teacher or a rookie. In many ways, the rookie is preferable; they are less likely to file those pesky grievances that cause work for the district reps and they are far less likely to question what the union does.

So you make the call. Reagan, Bush, and Mulgrew: Incompetent, stupid, or sheer geniuses in idiot's clothing?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stupid UFT Tricks

I received an interesting question via email yesterday, and I thought I'd throw it out there for any or all of you to take a crack at. The question is:

I'm just curious about what you think: why is the UFT playing dead all of a sudden? Why is the union allowing us to be bashed into the ground by all kinds of ads all over the place, proclaiming "Stop the Teacher's Union!" The teachers at my school are completely mystified by the silence.

I'll have to start answering your question with another question. What do you mean "all of a sudden"? The UFT has been playing dead for as long as I can remember. If you've been around long enough, you can remember when starving artists made more than teachers. While that has improved somewhat, we have given up all our rights in exchange. The 2005 contract is a prime example of the UFT rolling over for the city. I won't recall all the horrors of that document, but judging by the way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if five years from now teachers think of the 2005 contract as the "good old days" of teacher unionism.

Also, the UFT is an old dog and it's hard to teach them new tricks. In fact, they've been in power so long that a more accurate metaphor is that they are an old, fat, lazy dog. They are more than willing to wallow on their backs and get their stomachs rubbed by the press, but just try asking them to get up and fetch you something useful, like a raise or a guarantee that you won't be laid off after 25 years of service. That dog won't hunt.

Money has added to the fat lazy dog syndrome. The UFT has just about zero incentive to stick up for their members these days. They get their $1000 a year from each of us no matter what. They want hard working teachers who get rated 'ineffective' because they teach low performing kids to get the boot. Maybe things would be different if the UFT had the same system. If the union bosses got booted after two years of being rated 'ineffective' by the members maybe they'd have to actually do something for a change.

As to their silence in the face of all the negative ads, the answer is simple. Those ads are funded by hedge fund folks who view public education as their own personal playground. For the UFT to fight them, they'd have to spend money on their own ads and PR people, and that costs money that needs to go to pay for the second pensions of union honchos and all those nice conferences they get to attend instead of actually teaching.

The UFT may be comprised of a lot of fat lazy dogs, but they're not stupid fat lazy dogs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mulrgew Reaches Landmark Agreement with State

The Central Falls, Rhode Island school that fired all their teachers because the students were not passing their tests rehired all their staff today. President Obama, who hailed the mass firings as an example of accountability, also hailed the rehirings, saying "First we fired 'em, then we rehired 'em. That represents change. Real change we can believe in." Then he jetted off in AirForce 1 to visit his children at their exclusive private school.

Michael Mulgrew, making note of Obama's praise for Rhode Island, immediately sat down with David Steiner, NYS Education Commissioner, and worked out the details of an amendment to the agreement tying teacher evaluations to test scores.

"Using the Central Falls school as a model, we have added some teeth to the recent agreement with the state," said Mulgrew. He immediately sought to calm the fears of union members by saying, "This agreement will bring accountability to the schools, of course, but it will have no negative impact on our members, unless you happen to be a teacher." The 91% of UFT members who voted for Mulgrew simultaneously let loose a sigh of relief.

"First of all," continued Mulgrew, "those of you rated 'highly effective' will feel no impact at all. That will amount to about 10% of teachers, so we have effectively placed a cap on the number of teachers who can be harassed. Yesterday, there was no cap!"

Other details of the agreement were divulged as well. Teachers rated merely 'effective' would be forced to wear a sign around their necks saying "I'm NOT highly effective." Those receiving a 'developing' rating would follow the Central Falls model; they would be fired and then rehired again as soon as their homes went into foreclosure. "A hungry teacher is an effective teacher," said Mulgrew.

The major sticking point in the agreement was how to deal with teachers rated 'ineffective'. Chancellor Klein suggested that they be slammed in an iron coffin with spikes on the inside, but Mulgrew, taking a hardline union stance, refused to acquiecse. Instead, 'ineffective' teachers will be stapled to their own bulletin boards using industrial stapling guns. Mulgrew hailed this as a major victory for the union. "We've made sure that not one teacher will end up in an iron coffin. Of course, they couldn't do that to you before, either, but now we have it in writing, which is a win for the union!"

Upon hearing of the new agreement, Randi Weingarten climaxed several times, once so powerfully it actually unclenched her face for a few moments. President Obama also weighed in, saying "This is accountability we can believe in. And change. And hope for accountability for a change."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Want Out

There's an interesting idea bouncing around at Ed Notes about opting out of COPE because of the latest UFT betrayal in tying test scores to teacher evaluations. I agree with that sentiment, but in fact, it doesn't feel like enough. I remember the moment that I read in the Times how teachers could be fired in 60 days after being rated "ineffective" for two years using bogus test scores. The first thing I said to myself was, "What the hell am I paying union dues for?"

It's not the first time I have asked myself that question. I can not remember the last time the UFT did anything for me, and yet I pay them over $1000 a year in dues no matter how much they screw me.

I've written about this before (sans identifying details), but I almost lost my job because of the UFT. I supported the union in my school, and was subsequently targeted by a vindictive principal who U rated me and tried to get me to the rubber room. (Note to the idiots at E4E: This had nothing to do with job performance). I would have willingly left that school but the 2005 contract eliminated seniority transfers so I was stuck. The District Rep, despite a vow to protect everyone who stood up, did nothing. A number of teachers I knew lost their jobs because they could not transfer and were purged from the system. They lost everything they had worked for over the course of 15-25 years in some cases. I got lucky because I was friends with someone who had influence and helped me get one of those "Open Market" positions that you simply can not get unless you are a newbie or you know someone who can help you.

So my question is, why am I paying the UFT to protect my rights when they are the ones who have all but given them away? The UFT rakes in over 120 million a year I believe, and I can't name you a single teacher who thinks his or her job is safe. I only know a few teachers who are even willing to take a stand anymore, because they know the union won't support them. Now, the union has inflicted a mortal wound to tenure and seniority with the lastest evaluation agreement. They have also effectively put an end to future pensions, as it seems unlikely that any teacher will be able to get through the minimum 27 years needed to collect.

I WANT OUT. I am tired of paying Mulgrew and his Unity puppets over $1000 dollars a year to sell me out. Paying dues to the UFT is like having to pay your own hit man. I don't know the law or rules on unions, but isn't there some way we can secede from the UFT and form a new union? I'd pay far more than a grand to a real union that actually protected my rights.

People have long said that Unity Must Go, but maybe the chant should be We Must Go. If anyone has an idea how we can do that, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Test Scores are the New Rubber Room

When news first got out about the new teacher evaluation method, I was, frankly, appalled. In most ways, I still am. But when I went to tell a senior colleague about the agreement and lamented how admins could now load you up with the worst classes in order to screw up your test scores, she looked at me and deadpanned, "So what? They've always been able to get rid of teachers if they really wanted to."

And you know what? She's right.

That's not to say that I like this agreement. I don't--not one little bit. I'll get to that in a minute. But first let me say that something needed to be done. As my colleague said, they've always been able to get rid of you. If your principal didn't like how you said hello in the mornings, or hated the color scheme of your bulletin boards, they could U rate you and send you to the rubber room. I've seen it happen, as I am sure many of you have.

In fact, two teachers in my school at this moment are under the gun from two different APs. Ironically, both had outstanding scores on their Teacher Data Reports. They must be singing hallelujah at this agreement.

So, in a way, if your admins wanted to get you before, they only had to game the observation system. Now, they'll have to be more creative and game your students' test scores, as well. Certainly they can do that, but it adds an additional hurdle.

This system might be a better deal for some teachers, if not for two huge problems.

First, the tests themselves are essentially invalid. Even the state ed people have admitted as much. Add to that the fact that "value-added" is education gobbledygook--it is virtually impossible to measure where students should be based upon some statistical model. Yet testing will account for 40% of your rating.

Worse still, according to the Times, teachers rated ineffective for two consecutive years can be fired within 60 days. What happened to our protections under state education law? Is Mulgrew giving those away, too? If you look at the UFT web site explaining the agreement, they don't even mention the fact that you can be fired without due process under this plan.

No wonder the city agreed to do away with rubber rooms--they don't need them anymore. Test scores are the new rubber room.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Murder on the Reform Express

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you may recall that I recently compared the way a teacher at my school was being hounded to The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie. I mention it because today's fiasco, brokered by Michael Mulgrew, that will effectively end tenure, seniority, and due process, reminded me of another Agatha Christie tome, called Murder on the Orient Express.

In that story, a man is murdered on a train called the Orient Express. There are 12 suspects who could have done it. The twist of the book is that all of the passengers are guilty. Each took a turn stabbing the victim, resulting in the twelve stab wounds that took the murdered man's life.

The irony is that the passengers all took a turn stabbing the victim so that none of the individuals could be completely guilty--yet of course they are all equally guilty of murder. And that's what reminds me so much of the current situation in which Michael Mulgrew effectively sold us out and gave away what little shreds of protection we had left. Initially, I was mad as hell at him for this, and I still am. He is not, however, the only guilty party. There are plenty of culprits to go around, and all of them are equally guilty.

Bloomberg and Klein were never our allies and strove from day one to sound the death knell for public education. They were, however, far from the only guilty parties. The charter school people have stuck the knife in as well, hoping to privatize a public system so they could pilfer their share of the education pie. Obama, who was supposed to be a friend of education, has tried to shank us with the Race to the Top funds that rip a page from the Republican playbook. Rookie teachers like those cretins involved with E4E slashed us and got praise from the chancellor in return. Randi Weingarten, Richard Ianuzzi, and David Steiner ran us through as well.

The reason today's betrayal hurts so bad is that it seemed to some--even me at times, that Michael Mulgrew was different--that despite being Randi's handpicked successor, he just might have some backbone and stand alone as the person who would stay his hand. And then he plunged the knife in and twisted.

Public education is now effectively dead, and just about everyone has blood on his hands.

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Imperfect Three

I am off grading the ELA test for the next three days I am sure glad I came because I have the opportunity to grade the mechanics portion of the test I have learned something new I was told that a paper can still receive a 3 out of 3 points for mechanics as long as there are just a few minor errors another amazing thing I learned is that if a student makes an error over and over again it counts as only one error so say a student makes an unimaginably long run on sentence like this one it should be graded a 3 as long as there are few other errors and the paper is "readable" it's funny because I was always taught that some errors interfere with readability it seems to me that an interminiable sentence really messes up the meaning of an essay but if you use big words like "interminable" or "unimaginably" you still get a 3 because how can a child be expected to get the mechanics right when they are studying big vocabulary words anyway we should consider student ELA essays as if they were first drafts because after all they are first drafts and we shouldn't expect them to be perfect

I, for one, am glad that the state and city have decided to tighten up their standards this year and make the test more difficult of course if you give writing like this the highest score it doesn't really matter what a student writes anyway e e cummings would have loved the NYS ELA exam. Period.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oh What a Giveaway!

If you got Joel Klein's totally gratuitous email thanking teachers today, you may have noticed something. While I, personally, was not thanked, and I bet you weren't either, someone was. Here is the relevant quote from the email:

Teachers at a school in the Bronx organized a trip to the Grand Canyon for students, many of whom had never before left New York State. With these educators, the 11 and 12 year-olds discovered new heights to which they could push themselves.

Forget Klein's twisted English in discussing how students could push themselves to new heights in the Grand Canyon. Let's focus instead on who was thanked here.

Why, it was our old pal from E4E, Evan Stone, who is pictured at the Grand Canyon with these very same kids. If you have forgotten Mr. Stone, it was he and Sydney Morris who started an organization to stick a knife in the back of the union by calling for senior teachers to be laid off so they could keep their own jobs, all the while implying that they are wonderful educators while senior teachers stink on ice.

Of course, it is surely a coincidence that Mr. Stone started a website promoting the laying off of senior teachers and ended up getting thanked by the chancellor for being a wonderful teacher. And he got a trip to the Grand Canyon as well! What are the odds?

I'm sure you are a hard working teacher, as well. Don't think Klein has forgotten you. If you have put in your years in this system, Mr. Klein would like to thank you too! He's working hard to bring send you on a trip to a pool with other teachers, or maybe a special room. There's even a line he'd like you to stand on where you can collect checks from the government every two weeks!

Just make sure if you ever find yourself standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon with Evan Stone or Joel Klein that you don't let them stand behind you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Rambings

I'm far too lazy to write my usual long post, so here are some things that have been on my mind.

There's a great article by Arthur Goldstein in the Community Section of GothamSchools discussing the Gates Foundation's efforts to reform teacher evaluation, all with the full blessing of the UFT. I was asked to volunteer by my CL but refused to have anything to do with Gates after his small school fiasco.

I'll be exiled the week after next to grade the ELA exam. Fortunately, it will only be for three days. Last year, I met a bunch of people who had been sentenced to grade for more than a month. It tells you how much they value you when your school ships your off for a tenth of the school year.

I wonder how much it costs to grade these stupid exams? From what I saw, the ELA tests in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades were about the same level of difficulty as last year, which is to say a mollusk could pass them.

Thanks to NYC Educator for pointing out Primadonna's blog called Queens Teacher. I've noticed her teriffic comments on other blogs for a while but didn't realize she had her own.

Thanks to Norm for mentioning a number of us and our efforts to weed out the truth about that website that shall not be named because it is run by a couple of newbie backstabbers and union busters. I wonder when some reputable news outlet will look into their funding. GothamSchools, are you listening?

The effort to shoehorn special ed kids back into the mainstream classroom is an education nightmare waiting to happen. And it's all about cutting services to needy kids to save money. Everything about education these days is about the money.

Enjoy the weekend! Let's go Mets!

Transportation Nightmare

There is an article in CityLimits detailing the disaster that will ensue should funding for MetroCards for students be cut. Many bloggers have been talking ab0ut this for a while but it's nice to see the issue getting attention in more traditional media.