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Showing posts from 2010

Reason # 1147 To Enroll Your Kids In Private School

Here's a brief story I'd like to relate while it's still fresh in my mind; typically, my articles are 3-4 pages, and quite frankly, it's far too hot to create such a magnum opus tonight. So, I offer you an ultra-condensed version of a disturbing event which took place this past Friday.
Actually, to set the stage, we have to go back to the previous Friday, when the Superintendent of our District happened to be visiting our school. To explain why he was there, I'd have to go over the one-page cap I've set for myself for this article, so suffice it to say that he was trying to do in late May what he should have been doing all year long – namely, his job.
While he is visiting, a student decides it would be a real hoot to throw a glass bottle out of a third-floor classroom window. And since the universe is not without a sense of humor, the bottle travels along a trajectory which terminates at the windshield of a brand-new car parked on the street outside. A car t…

When In Doubt, Just Put Down “C”

Ah, it's that time of year again – warm breezes rich with the sweet scent of ripe blossoms, the flutter of feathered creatures taking wing into the sun-dappled twilight, and the gut-wrenching panic which storms into every elementary and middle school across the city of NY. I'm talking, of course, about State Testing time – that two-week period of the year in which administrators lock themselves in their offices, teachers race like frightened mice through the halls, and children from every borough vomit uncontrollably before trudging to school. For you see, the entire 180+ day school year is but a mere farce, a façade of "education", a mockery of enlightenment. The DOE does not care one iota about what takes place in the classrooms for 174 days; the real measure of a student's success, and by extension, the success of the school and the efficacy of the teachers is what transpires during six days in April and May. During that time, every single student enrolled…

I Think I Can Help You With The Budget Crisis, Governor Paterson

Earlier this week, I had the good fortune to attend a hearing for a colleague at the Department of Education's headquarters. She had allegedly been absent and late numerous times the previous year, and, consequently, was given an Unsatisfactory rating by the principal of the school. I can't (for legal reasons) divulge the intricacies of the hearing, but I can dispassionately detail for you my experiences.
Interesting Fact #1: The receptionist at the desk was mentally retarded. I don't mean that as a childish insult, I mean literally, she had an obvious mental deficiency. She spoke really, really loudly, but, simultaneously, really, really slowly, like a 78 record being played back at 33 and at full volume. Yes, a record. You know, the shiny vinyl discs that people used to use to play music? In any case, in addition to groaning everything she said, she also didn't bother to greet us or ask us our names or case number when we approached her desk. I had to ask if …

And In Other News: Water Is Wet

NYC School Chancellor Joel Klein released a statement yesterday in which he defended his pet project, the Charter Schools. In this statement, Klein asserted that:
"Despite the financial handicaps detailed in the IBO study, charter schools in New York City have been exceptionally effective. Charter school students outperform students in district schools by seven points in both reading and math, and, in one of two recent studies establishing the effectiveness of City charters, researchers found that the longer students remain in our charter schools, the higher their achievement is compared to similar students in district schools."
Seriously, Joel? Charter School students outperform the regular district students? Do you think that might have something to do with the fact that Charter Schools recruit and handpick their students based on NYS test scores? Or the fact that students who have failed the NYS Proficiency Tests are NOT ALLOWED to enroll in the 99 charter schools curre…

An Open Letter To Mayor Bloomberg

Dear Mike,
As of this writing, you've closed 97 schools, with 20 more slated for the chopping block by year's end. To defend such actions, you've blamed the low test scores, the teachers, Albany; let's face it: you've used up every possible excuse under the sun. We all know what you're doing, Mike – you want to close the NYC Public Schools in order to make way for your pet project, the Charter Schools. The informed citizens of NYC are well aware of this plan, as are they cognizant of how Charter Schools work – you handpick the administration of such schools, dump a bunch of money in their laps, and let them have the run of the joint and the pick of the litter when it comes to both staffing and enrollment. You hire wet-behind-the-ears teachers just out of college, or fresh off the bus from the Midwest, make them work until 6 PM everyday (sometimes including Saturday), deny them their rights and privileges by barring their entry into the United Federation of T…

Parental Fail of the Week

I had the good fortune today to speak to the mother of one of my all-time most useless students, an altogether pointless creature we'll call "E." "E" hasn't turned in any homework or assignments in over a year (he was a student of mine last year as well), wastes entire class periods writing a sentence on a piece of looseleaf, crumpling up said looseleaf, and then writing the same sentence over again, and concocting excuses as though he was paid to create them. The excuses for his lack of work range from "I didn't have a pencil," to, "I was sick for a week," to, "Everyone in my family was abducted by Somali pirates." Over the last year and a half he has failed every major subject for every marking period. In fact, he wasn't even supposed to be promoted to 8th grade, but, hey, holdover rates make Bloomberg look bad, and thus, was in fact pushed along. Every time someone says that "social promotion" in the N…