Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saving Jamaica High School, Part 2

UFT Chapter leader, James Eterno, speaks out at the PEP meeting of 4/14/08

Academic Apartheid At Jamaica High School

From the 4/14/08 PEP meeting at Frank Sinatra High School in Long Island City. A contingent of almost 100 came to protest plans to put a new charter school into Jamaica High School. A science teacher tells it like it is:

he Rubber Room From Radio Diaries: Part 2

Produced by Joe Richman, Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, and Samara Freemark at radiodiaries
part 2. I combined images with the audio. Broadcast 3/1/08 at this american life

The Rubber Room From Radio Diaries: Part 1

Produced by Joe Richman, Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, and Samara Freemark at radiodiaries
part 1. I combined images with the audio. Broadcast 3/1/08 at this american life

The Rubber Room

The trailer from this excellent upcoming movie
from the movie site

What happens when a teacher in New York City is accused of misconduct or incompetence in the classroom? They are sent to the "Rubber Room" while an investigation is launched. They spend months or even years there getting full pay and doing nothing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Just When I Thought That I Was Done They Pull Me Back In!

Take a look at Mike's fingers, they look like they're crossed.
From reality based educator

The bad part about all of this is that we're going to get a plethora of "Bloomberg for Governor" stories now that Spitzer seems mortally wounded after this scandal.While last week I didn't think there was much to those rumors, after today I can start to see a scenario where Mayor Moneybags becomes Governor Moneybags and brings his Children First education reforms statewide while rezoning most of the state for sports stadiums and luxury buildings.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

D'Amato Says I'm On Board For Governor Bloomy

from the nypost

March 8, 2008 -- ALBANY - Former US Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican who all but endorsed Democratic Gov. Spitzer in 2006, yesterday backed Mayor Bloomberg for the state's top job in 2010. D'Amato offered his strong endorsement of the mayor at a private Republican gathering honoring Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) at the Woodmere Country Club on Long Island where Bloomberg was present. "D'Amato said, 'This is the person who would put the interests of the people of New York first and that's what we need, instead of the same old tired politics, instead of people who promise change but engage in the same old partisanship,' " said a prominent Republican who attended the event. "D'Amato said flatly, 'Bloomberg should run for governor,' " the source continued. The suggestion was greeted by loud applause. Bloomberg recently contributed $500,000 to Senate Republicans. But the mayor, who last week ruled out a White House bid, insisted that he wasn't interest in running for governor. Such a race could pit the billionaire mayor against the multimillionaire Spitzer, who is expected to seek re-election. The mayor leave office on Dec. 31, 2009, because of term limits. "The mayor said something like, 'Read my lips. I'm not running for governor,' and everybody laughed," the source recalled. Stu Loeser, the mayor's spokesman, said Bloomberg attended to make a pitch for congestion pricing, which faces significant hurdles in Albany, especially among suburban legislators."We were up front what we wanted to talk about," Loeser said. Asked why the mayor's public scheduled made no mention of his appearance, he replied: "It was a closed event."
Before the Skelos meeting, Bloomberg ate breakfast at a diner with members of the Long Island Regional Planning Board.
thanks to nyceducator

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mike Discusses A Possible VP Pick With Obama

Mike was probably pushing a possible vp post when he met with Obama in December. All along he was probably hoping it would be Hillary vs Romney, a match where his so-called independent candidacy would have its best shot
an excerpt from nyc educator

Obama/Bloomberg? -- Not Likely
The NY Daily News reports today that Mayor Bloomberg and Barack Obama spoke together a day after the Little Mayor finally ended his ludicrous flirtation with an independent run for the White House.
Bloomberg and his paid minions have spent the last year or more trying to create a groundswell of support for Bloomberg's independent White House bid by flooding the airwaves and newspapers with stories about Bloomberg's wonderful post-partisan stewardship of New York City and how he's exactly what the country is looking for in these times of trouble. Bloomberg spent gobs of money to poll all 50 states to see if he had a realistic shot to win and had begun to develop a campaign apparatus even as he was flirtatiously denying he really wanted to run for president.
Oh, Little Mayor, you're so coy!
Unfortunately for the Little Mayor, he doesn't garner more than single digits in any state including New York no matter who the Democratic and Republican nominees are, and that includes the very polarizing figures of Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. So Bloomberg finally admitted this week that he's not going to run for president though he does believe what this country needs is a post-partisan figure like himself to solve the messes we're in.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Next Step: Vice President Mike?

Maybe when he looked at the "ARIS like" data he saw this
from quinnipiac

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has insisted he is not running for President, could not break out of single digits in three-way presidential matchups in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a February 14 Quinnipiac University poll found.

Because these three Swing States are pivotal in presidential elections, the independent Quinnipiac University poll has been conducting simultaneous surveys. February 14 results matching Mayor Bloomberg against New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Arizona Sen. John McCain, or against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. McCain, showed:

* Florida - Bloomberg at 7 percent to 40 percent for Clinton and 38 percent for McCain;

Bloomberg at 9 percent, with 37 percent for McCain and 35 percent for Obama.

* Ohio - 6 percent for Bloomberg, and Clinton and McCain tied at 40 percent each;

6 percent for Bloomberg, with 39 percent for McCain and 38 percent for Obama.

* Pennsylvania - Bloomberg at 7 percent to 42 percent for Clinton and 36 percent for McCain;

Bloomberg at 7 percent, with McCain and Obama tied at 38 percent each.

In each state, Bloomberg drew support away from McCain.

"Maybe Mayor Michael Bloomberg realizes that New York line, 'if you can make it there you can make it anywhere,' doesn't always work in politics," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In much of the rest of the country, Bloomberg wasn't that well known or well regarded. These polls of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania - in which he could not crack double digits - show just how large a challenge a Bloomberg presidential candidacy would have faced."

Poor ARIS, Joel Klein's (And Mike Bloomberg's) $80 Million White Elephant. Getting Trashed All Over The Place.

A hat tip to Norm Scott's great education and politics' blog ednotes for capturing the essence of this story. I sort of captured another essence of it from youtube (an elephantine data dump similar to aris')
Also Gary Babad has his usual brilliant a satire over at nycpublic schoolparents
from ednotes

(Many years ago I said that one day Joel Klein would be taken out of Tweed with his coat over his head – I half expected to see him among the Gambino Family crowd. Maybe he will be joined by Chief Accountability Officer Jim Liebman
I attended a press conference a few years ago when Klein announced how data would be accumulated for teachers to use. Based on my knowledge of the state of computer access in schools (which has suffered severe deterioration under BloomKlein) and the state of available time available during the school day for teachers to check such data (which has also suffered severe deterioration under BloomKlein) I raised this issue with Klein:
"The reality on the ground, is that teachers will not be able to access all this other than on their own time at home, and that is just not real." Klein just shucked the question off (I guess he figured threats to send teachers to the rubber room for not burning the midnight oil at home checking the ARIS data would suffice.)
Shame on the NYC press corps for ignoring this issue.
ARIS has also been taking hits from the pros. When the system was announced a year ago, the called it an $80 million super mugging.
Ah, the sweet smell of a swindle. Don't you just hate it when consulting companies cajole deals with hand-wringing about technology and, especially, preying on clients' lack of expertise?
Teachers are underpaid, hardly appreciated, and overworked. I can only wonder what the half-life is of a system that asks teachers to log on to get information delivered by the "chief accountability officer."

About a year ago I took a swipe at the “$80 million supercomputer to analyze NYC student achievement.” It smelled more like a super sales job than a super useful analytical tool.
At the time I had said:
Teachers are underpaid, hardly appreciated, and overworked. I can only wonder what the half-life is of a system that asks teachers to log on to get information delivered by the “chief accountability officer.”
Well, it appears that things haven’t gone that smoothly with the supercomputer. Today I received a link from Leonie Haimson, a NYC education advocate, to a story entitled SCHOOLS COMPUTER AN $80M ‘DISASTER’.
Not only has the supercomputer struggled to gain much traction with users (“The school system’s new $80 million computer super system to track student performance has been a super debacle, teachers and principals say.”), it has coincided with severe budget cuts.
We see these data warehousing problems all the time with our clients, and the NYC supercomputer displays all the hallmarks:
* Delivery delays: Nearly six months after the Department of Education unveiled the “first of its kind” data-management system, the city’s 80,000 teachers have yet to log on because of glitches and delays.
* Bad user experience: Many principals have complained that it runs slowly, lacks vital information, and is often too frustrating to use.
* Complicated training and set-up: School officials were hoping to have everyone hooked up and trained within months…delays in creating IDs and passwords for teachers
* Trying to do too much; delivering too little: The principal added that she preferred to get student information from a combination of old data systems “rather than wait for ARIS to churn and churn and churn and maybe give me half the report I need.”
* Massive cost: Complaints about the expensive system - on which nearly $35 million has been spent so far - have gotten louder since the city unceremoniously chopped $100 million from individual school budgets last month.
* And yet, few success anecdotes to justify the investment: ARIS had already enabled her data team to analyze the performance trends of the school’s many English-language learners.
It does offer one thing that I haven’t seen before: a Chief Accountability Officer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The More The Merrier

The announcement should come any day, especially with McCain tanking. Great acting job on attacking the Times, when he's probably so happy they did it. He's got to play to anti-Times' bias in the Republican hinterlands. Notice Mike has also got the requisite American flag pin on his lapel, maybe even two of them. What does he mean that in some states you need 70,000 signatures and you can't get one? Certainly somebody can be bought for a billion dollars.

Black History In New York City Schools

In Mayor Mike's NYC school system the concept of heritage and history get short shrift

Black History Month: UWS School Retains King's Message Despite Name Change
February 16, 2008
NY1 Education reporter Mike Meenan filed the following report on a high school on the Upper West Side that once beared name of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as the station's coverage of Black History month continues.
In 1975, a school opened in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- assassinated seven years earlier in 1968.
But in 2005, the Department of Education carved out six theme-based mini schools within the building. Despite the reorganization, students feel reminders, like the towering monument on Amsterdam Avenue, still make this King's school.
"It makes me feel good inside that I'm going to Martin Luther King," said one student.
The push to alter the school began in 2002, after a shooting left two students wounded and years of failure left too many kids without a diploma, an unfortunate fate for a school named after a civil rights leader.
One veteran teacher who has spent nearly his entire career at the school believes that it's the sports teams that embody the spirit of Dr. King.
"It is extremely sad that the legacy and honor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not kept alive with the school's name," said Athletic Director Martin Jacobson. "It is not so sad that many of the teams on the campus, we call ourselves Martin Luther King. So the unity still exists."
Academic achievement has increased on the campus since the reorganization, and teachers and students say that attracts a wider student body.
"We have six different schools, and we were trying to get the diversity," said teacher Byron Tummings. "And I think we have reached it. And it's working."
"They came because our higher academic levels," said student Charlie Watson. "Actually, that's a good thing that not only black people come here."
The captain of the school's soccer team says racial diversity's helped win ten of the past 12 city championships.
"The team, also, is different races, Africans, which is black, Hispanics, like South Americans and Central Americans, and you have Americans, like white peoples, and we all combine and win the championship together," said Biko Edwards, the team captain.
So despite being known as Martin Luther King High for only 30 years, students say this building where they go to school will be always be known as Dr. King's because of what they still learn here.
"What I'll tell my peers of what I've learned is to not to look at color or culture, just to be true to yourself and what you believe in," said student Tiffany Puente.

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