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Showing posts from 2009

The Sum Total Of Each Man's Giving Determines The Standard Of Man's Civilization.

Awhile back, I was asked about the best way to improve the current state of the Department of Education.The answer, dear readers, is simple and direct: Dismantle the Department of Education and completely privatize it.Far be it for me to say that all government institutions are vast, labyrinthine, bureaucratic morasses of lies, corruption and inefficiency, but, well, they are.I don’t want to get too heavily into the politics of it all, (saving that for a later date), suffice it to say that whatever the government touches, swiftly and painfully crumbles.And it’s the taxpayers who ultimately suffer.That’s right, not the “children” – the hard-working, middle class taxpayers.Why?Because their tax dollars are being used to fund a miserable failure of an educational system.If New Yorkers really knew what their taxes were paying for, there would be rioting in the streets.Sound harsh?Too bad.The graduation rate for NYC students has hovered around 50% for the past decade or so, and it isn’t ge…

Department of Ed Fail Of The Week

After an “observation” last week by AP Hellhound, she decided that her usual negative write-up wasn’t a sufficient medium in which to display her displeasure with my teaching methodology, and as such, scheduled a meeting with me to discuss the shortcomings of the lesson.In addition to the usual cavalcade of stupidity, she had this to say to me:Hellhound:I was very confused as to what exactly you were doing with the students.Me: You were confused?It was a Writer’s Workshop – the students had written an essay, and I was speaking to them individually in conference.You watched me for over 30 minutes, and even presumably read some of the students’ work over my shoulder.What, exactly, were you confused about?Hellhound:Because I don’t know why you chose to do it.Me:Two reasons: One, because they had just completed a first draft of the essay, and needed guidance on how to proceed, and two, because you told me specifically that I should incorporate Writer’s Workshop into the lessons.Hellhound:…

Your Tax Money At Work, Part I

I was sent to a workshop today, which essentially means I sat in a room for five hours and listened to an overpaid Literacy consultant make a mockery of the educational system. How overpaid? How about $1200. You read that right - the facilitator of today's workshop makes $1200 a day, which pro-rates down to approximately $100 for every ludicrous thing she said. How much of a mockery?Without getting too much into detail, (I've been told I tend to be too verbose in my postings), keep this in mind while reading the exchange we had below.

1) The Facilitator of the workshop has never taught one day in a New York City public school.
2) The Facilitator of the workshop does not possess a New York State teaching certificate.
3) The Facilitator of the workshop is not even from the United States.
4) The Facilitator of the workshop spent five hours telling veteran, NYC schoolteachers that everything they do in the classroom is wrong.

Let me set the scene for you: Twelve English teache…

Diogenes struck the father when the son swore.

Picture this – you’re at work, minding your own business, when a co-worker / customer / clerk / other alliterative individual comes up to you out of the blue and says, “Hey, you know what I’d like to do?Punch you really hard in the stomach.”Then this person winds up and does exactly that.Twice.The person then attempts to run away, but you grab their bag in an attempt to hold them for the authorities whom a witness to the assault has just called.The assailant then says to you, “Your life is over – I’m going to kill you.” A security guard arrives and takes the perpetrator away.You fill out sheaves of paperwork, including an injury report and a sworn statement and present them to your supervisor, who turns around and tells you that the person who assaulted you is going to press charges alleging that you grabbed them.You protest loudly - to the supervisor, to your union representative, to the police that you were the one who is the victim, that you were injured, that you have ten separate…

Hey, At Least I Wasn't Told To Burn In Hell...

This is the text of an email I had to send today.I wish this was merely a joke, but sadly, it's all true.The notes in italics do not appear in the original email:Dear Chancellor Klein,Upon arriving at work this morning, I was notified by a colleague that she was asked to give up her classroom and move to another classroom at the opposite end of the hallway.She agreed, moved a few of her things, and began teaching in the new room.Unfortunately, this classroom was already occupied by another teacher who, because of the change, was told that he no longer had a classroom in which to teach and instead had to rearrange his entire schedule. When I inquired as to why she was asked to leave, she replied that it was so the administration could turn her classroom into a “literacy center.”I asked her, “What is a literacy center?”She responded that not only did she not know, but the administrator who initiated this wasn’t entirely sure either. I then asked her why she agreed to move without fu…

The Most Beautiful Fraud In The World

I’ve come to talk to you tonight not about politics, or the Department of Ed, or any of the other topics usually covered here on this site – no, tonight, you and I are going to lament the passing of a dear friend, one who has shared in our collective consciousness for over a century, and has brought joy, laughter and inspiration to innumerable individuals.I’m referring, of course, to the death of the American movie theatre experience.It had been on life support for half a decade or so, languishing and sputtering away, and after last night, I think it’s time to close its eyes forever.Let me begin by saying that I have always been, and always will be a fan of movies. Notice I didn’t say “of the cinema,” because that’s just a pretentious way of saying, “I like films that no one actually understands, but I am too fearful of being mocked by other pretentious assholes to say that I didn’t actually understand them either, so instead I’ll call them art.”David Lynch has forged an entire career…

A Field Guide to NYC Teachers

I think I have established the fact that the Administration of my school and I do not get along.And there are plenty of reasons for that, which, at one point or another, will come out on this site.But I don’t want anyone to think I’m merely a disgruntled teacher grinding an ax in the specific direction of the administration – oh, no, that’s not the case in the slightest.The administration is but one component of the Tetragrammaton of Idiocy which drives the NYC Public School System, albeit a very forceful and inept one. Today we’re going to explore the next weakest link in the chain: the teachers. There are four types of people who decide to become teachers, types which I will enumerate below in order from the most innocuous and good-intentioned to the downright reprehensible.Keep in mind, that if you are a parent of a child in the NYC Public School System, your child has at least one of these types of teachers at any given time.Type Number One:People who become teachers because they …

Keep the change, please

So I got a Facebook message at 5 in the morning from my friend in Norway who wanted to be the first to tell me that The Anointed One, Barack Hussein Obama, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. My first thought, much like every other intelligent person around the globe was, "Why?" I mean, I'm pretty familiar with Mr. Obama - skinny dude, uses the word "change" a lot - I just didn't know that he had accomplished anything in the "world peace" department. Not as much as, say Al Gore or Jimmy Carter or Yasser Arafat. So I did a little research and was shocked to discover that all it takes to win a Nobel Prize is to have a "vision!" Imagine that! I mean, that's precisely the reason why Mr. Obama was awarded the Prize - for having a "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons." Amazing. The press release didn't list any actual "work" that he did, other than a speech given in Prague a couple of mont…

A Confederacy of Dunces

People who aren’t teachers always say the same three things to me: “Wow, you’re lucky, you get the summers off,” and, “You must love kids,” and, “Wow, I could never do that job!” What people don’t seem to realize is that teachers need their summers off for their own psychological health, teaching more than three years will drastically change your perception of children, (and most of the rest of the human race as well) and yes, not only could you not do this job, you wouldn’t want to do this job. I’ve been teaching in the NYC public school system for close to nine years, and I wouldn’t wish my job on my worst enemy. Which, ironically, is the NYC public school system.

Why? Because the entire New York City Department of Education is a perfect example of an entropic system – in fact, it was designed to fail. Don’t believe me? Since 2002, the NYC Schools have been under the direct control of Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a man who has demonstrated time and again that he knows absolutely nothi…