October 23, 2010

Building things in stone

It's not that I'm slacking off, but once again in this sinister, pro-business, aggressively anti-teacher and decidedly anti-arts climate, I find myself teaching out of license.

Two years ago, they gave me a band program, though I do not teach under a band license. That's because to everyone in the DoE music is music, whether it's orchestra, band, or chorus. Any musician knows how really different the singing thing is from the instrument thing — like about a lifetime to learn how to do either one.

This year they've gone further astray, cut music altogether in my school, and asked me to teach health. I guess they figured that since I've had children of my own, that I seem to be keeping myself well enough, and that I've personally experienced every stage of life but old age, I must know something about health and healthiness. But, that doesn't make it legal under state law.

Mind you, for people who like total immersion, it's not at all bad to teach a whole program like health out of license. Delving into how the body really works and a whole range of other physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, and environmental topics is all good stuff and worth spending many hours on. I'm not begrudging any of that, but it sure does cut into my political work.

Which means that if I come across something that needs to be circulated widely, I'm happy to do it.

A few days ago Betsy Combier (NYC Rubber Room Reporter) drew attention to an article posted last week by Howard Wexler called: New York Labor and Employment Law Report.

It's important to read all of it, but here's an excerpt:
"Earlier this year, Governor David Paterson signed into law Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010 which, among other things, drastically alters the way classroom teachers and building principals are evaluated and the procedures for disciplining tenured teachers. These changes will take effect over the course of the next several years. Many key provisions were effective on July 1, 2010. . . .

The most widely publicized aspect of the new legislation is Section 3012 c of the Education Law (“3012-c”), which contains the new comprehensive Annual Professional Performance Review (“APPR”) system for teachers and principals. For the 2011-2012 school year, the new APPR system applies only to evaluations of teachers in the common branch subjects or English Language Arts, and Math in grades four through eight, as well as building principals. The new APPR system will apply to all teachers and principals effective in the 2012-2013 school year. . . ."
This ed-deform movement is like building a bloody pyramid.

Stone by well-crafted stone, they put every piece of their agenda in place, not stopping for a moment to think of all the lives devastated in the making of such a gargantuan monument to self-aggrandizement, putrid values, and obscene wealth.


  1. OMG! I do not think I can take any more of these 'ed-deform' changes....

  2. UA,

    We need to step it up in the chapter leader meetings and at the DA. The chancellor and the Tweedies are bombarding us with so many violations of our rights that the union does not know what to fight first. Issues: ATR's, VAM, teacher evaluation, testing mania, no contract, TDRs, elimination of tenure and seniority rule, closing of schools, co-location of charter schools, the extremely faulty scores, progress reports, etc. How can we fight so many issues? Everytime the union turns off one fire, the DoE starts three other fires.

    Although we are not allowed to strike, we can ask the members NOT to do persession. I understand that persession helps members financially, but striking would devastate the members where persession stoppage is a strong message to Klein and the DoE.

    We need to take action!

  3. You're so right about stepping things up. Unfortunately, the Unity fiefdom is in control and will not step it up. Neither will NAC, because they're tied at the hip with Unity.

    The only people to step it up are independents and the oppositional groups (ICE, GEM, TJC). A lot of these guys are already working overtime in protests and to get info out there. On their own dime, I might add.

    Join them. Have your friends join them. Convert your whole school to join them. Gotta get the numbers up before you can ask the membership to do anything big like go off per session.

  4. It might work to go off per session, but that hurts your own pocket. I have suggested that we boycott the newspapers that want to publish the names of teachers and the scores of their students. Once you name the teacher, you also name the students to everyone in the school and probably many in the neighborhood. "oh, you're from Mr. Blank's loser class?" Ha Ha"

    Don't buy the New York Times, The Post, or any other newspaper that wants to pillory teachers and their students.

  5. This post was extremely eye-opening, and brought up some very hard-to-face but realistic points on today's school systems. Sometimes, in this day it is more about making adequate overall testing scores for the establishment in question and ensuring students can just cram test answers as opposed to ensuring quality in learning and pride in education. It is comforting to see that many are taking action, and are keen on preserving the standard of education for our uprising generation. Thank you.