Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Randomness

Summer's here, and in keeping with the general laziness of the 95 degree day, I decided I'd post some random thoughts rather than some long screed.

First off, I am going to miss the DOEnuts blog. Although it is continuing with a new blogger at the helm, I will sorely miss the wit and wisdom of the original.

NYC Educator wrote a piece I was thinking about the other day on not letting retirees vote. When I researched the idea, however, I discovered that the UFT actually still charges dues to retirees--albeit half the rate of teachers and based on their actual retirement allotment. While this amount is way less than most teachers pay (figure about 1200 a year to maybe 300), if retirees are paying in, they should have a voice. Contracts and UFT leadership are matters that do affect them. It's not the fault of retirees if only 17% of teachers can be bothered to vote. What if, on the last day of school, those who vote get their paychecks at noon, and the apathetic get theirs after the usually scheduled extended day? I bet we'd get a lot more votes then.

There's a lot of buzz about the Badass Teachers Association (BAT) on Facebook.  Their mission is: " engage in discourse that improves our profession." Really? Does the word "Badass" in the name really help us engage in discourse or improve our profession? It sounds more like we're looking to pick a bar fight. Picture the debate on MSNBC's Education Week: "Today, the president of Students First will debate one of the founders of the Badass Teachers Association". We lose before we start. Also, on an even more petty note, shouldn't the acronym for "Badass Teachers Association" be BTA, or if you count "ass" as a separate word, BATA? I guess those aren't as badass.

I've spent a LOT of hours this vacation playing the PS3 game The Last of Us, which is about a post-apocalyptic world overrun by infected humans (who are NOT zombies, although you wouldn't know by looking at them). This game is like a great movie, except you get to be in it. You play it mostly as Joel, whose teenage daughter was killed when the epidemic began and who is tasked, 20 years later, with escorting a 14 year old infected girl named Ellie across the country in the hopes of using her DNA to find a vaccine. It is easily the best game I have played in the last decade--maybe ever. It totally sucks you in by forcing you to make an increasingly troublesome set of moral decisions about survival as you try to protect Ellie and keep yourself alive. I mention it because in the post Common Core world, I'll probably never get to discuss this game with my students. But it had the exact kind of story they would care about. I would love to get the graphic novel versions of this tale and let them debate the moral decisions they would make.

Bill Thompson? Really? I mean, if you're losing by a fairly wide margin to a guy who sent pictures of his johnson to random women on Twitter, you're in trouble. Might be time for Thompson to break out the Viagra and cell phone cam to see what he can come up with. Christine Quinn is on her own.

George Zimmerman is going to walk. Or at worst, get hit with the lowest manslaughter charge Florida allows and be sentenced to time served. This is 'Murica.

I am shocked that more people are NOT shocked at being spied on by PRISM and President Obama.  But judging from my real life Facebook feed, there's no shortage of people willing to share their most intimate thoughts and deeds with the world at large. Maybe they're just happy that someone is reading their status updates at all.

Campbell Brown seems to think that an unproved allegation against a teacher should be grounds for dismissal. I have to wonder why she doesn't rant about Kevin Johnson, who paid a $230,000 settlement to a 16 year old girl who accused him of molesting her. It might be that he's married to ed reform rock star Michelle Rhee, while Campbell herself is married to another ed deformer, Dan Senor.

Since New Yorkers seem hell bent on punishing "perv" teachers but equally determined to elect perv politicians, I'm surprised that Kevin Johnson hasn't thrown his hat in the ring. He could give Weiner a run for his money, and if elected, he could make his wife chancellor. While the idea makes me shudder as a teacher, as a blogger the "Weiner vs. Johnson" puns would almost make it worth while.


Pete Zucker said...

Good point about BAT. But heart is in right place with them. What happened with NYC DOEnuts?

Mr. Talk said...

Unfortunately, he's packing it in.

I noticed that... said...

Your summer synopsis got to the core of many issues.

Enjoy your summer. Get plenty of rest because next school year will be the challenge of all challenges when the new teacher evaluation is implemented.

Ay Dios Mio!

Unitymustgo! said...

Disagree on the retiree vote. A retired anybody should not be voting for any contract that affects the working conditions of those who are not retired. The only possible exception would be if there are conditions in the contract that some how affect retirees, but quite frankly those issues should be separated out for a seperate vote.