Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kleinberg's Camp Granada

Back in November 2003 an anonymous 5th-grade teacher took Allan Sherman's classic hit about a summer camp (hello Muddah, hello Faddah) and put it into words for the New York City classroom. This song was published in the New York Teacher paper. I believe it is a good time to recreate this classic.

Hello Bloomberg, hello Klein. All your teachers have lost their minds. Your new workshops aren't pretty, we would be so glad if you both left the city.

All our classes are overcrowded and all our textbooks have been shrouded.
Now we are teaching without foundation. What will happen to the future generation?

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us a favor and Mr. Klein you both should go away. Please leave us and just resign!

From a rocker we're all reading. But are our students all succeeding? Please explain how we can all fit a class of thirty-five on a small carpet?

Don't you think it would be wise to make each class a smaller size? Instead you both decided all our readings should be shared or should be guided.

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us a favor and Mr Klein you both should go away. Please, leave us and just resign.

Now, about working conditions. Parents should start writing the petition. And the children are all complaining. It's too hot and cramped, it is really much too draining.

The windows in the classroom only open six inches. And if we leave them open too long, the pigeons fly in and make the classroom their new home.

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us this favor and Mr. Klein. You both should go away. Please leave us and just resign.

All the teachers work day and night.Our mini-lessons must be just right.
The teaching point,on charts, no chalk. Wait a minute, we forgot to "turn and talk".

Now lets talk about the new rules.No more chalkboards to be in the schools. Children's seats should be in fours. We don't remember voting on these laws.

Please just go. Oh, Mr. Mayor please just go. Do us a favor and Mr. Klein. You both should go away. Please leave us and just resign.

To the teachers, you just say. Longer hours, for little pay. Our contract you won't honor. Especially, for our teachers, it is a dishonor.

A few last questions before we go. How were you taught years ago? You sat in rows, what a pity! Are you sure your smart enough to run a city?

Note: Some changes were made by me to account for the last four years. However, almost all of it is a recreation. Maybe the UFT should use this song as a rallying cry for teacher respect.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Does The Teacher Retention Satistics Show?

According to the union over 4,600 teachers resigned over the last year. This is double the resignations of the previous years. These resignations do not include retirements or firing's! Why are so many NYC teachers quitting the profession despite a 40% increase in teacher pay since 2002?

Could it be the overcrowded classrooms? How about the extra classroom duties like a sixth period? Or maybe it is the overall disrespect of teachers by the administration? Possibly the reluctance of teachers to discipline or interact with students for fear of being assigned to a "rubber room" (which went from 315 in March 2005 to 757 by June of 2007). while a biased and one-sided investigation is conducted on the poor teacher. In reality its a combination of all the factors cited above.

The doubling of teachers resigning and being assigned to the "rubber room" is no coincidence. The life of a New York City classroom teacher is becoming more and more dangerous and time-consuming. The New York City teacher does not command respect by the administration and a student's word is often believed over the teacher's. Is it any wonder why more and more teachers are resigning?

What can be done about this? Like I said previously. The union must start running ads showing how the Kleinberg administration is anti-teacher. Show how few teachers resign in the surrounding school districts and even fewer are reassigned, unless charged for a criminal activity.

It is obvious to me that the Kleinberg administration is anti-teacher (especially the older teacher) and the DOE motto should be that students lie....except about their teacher!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What is DOE's Idea Of A Good Teacher?

It is becoming very obvious that the DOE's idea of a good teacher has the following qualities.

1. Less than 5 years of experience (cheap).

2. Works on mindless test preparation.

3. Never questions a Principal's decision.

4. Do extra work without compensation.

5. Healthy and takes few days off.

6. Quits before the City pays a pension.

This is the main reason that the national test scores have remained stagnant the last five years.

However, there are other reasons for the stagnant teat schools. For example, the vast majority of the teachers reassigned to the "rubber room" are 45 or older. The very veteran teachers that can make a difference in the classroom. Instead, there are over 750 teachers currently reassigned and the numbers are increasing daily. As I have said previously, only 10% really belong there.

Further, many veteran teachers still in the classroom no longer challenge the students for fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior. Remember, the DOE philosophy is that students lie....except when it is about their teacher.

Finally, the quality of principals have deteriorated and many of them are vindictive and insecure. These principals want young, inexperienced teachers who when the principal says jump, they respond high high? While the experienced teacher would say why?

I see an acceleration of this process by the DOE with the end result of little or no academic progress, an increase in "rubber room" teachers, and a mass retirement in the next five years.

The DOE's idea of a good teacher? An inexperienced and cheap teacher who will leave the system before they are pension eligible. As for the rest of us. I guess it's time to count the days before retirement.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Any Questions On What The DOE has In Store For Teachers?

Despite an upcoming budget deficit that requires the DOE to reduce spending by 2.5% , the DOE has allocated one million dollars to hire a staff of lawyers and consultants to help principals terminated teachers for incompetence. I guess increasing the amount of the teachers in the rubber rooms by 233% is not enough for these non-educators. It is now quite obvious that the Bloomberg/Klein administration is anti-teacher. No matter how much Randi gives in they want more.

How do we put a stop to this witch hunt on teachers?

First, do not buy into the DOE policy to remove any teacher that they decide to, without a fair and unbiased investigation. Presently, that is not the case. The smallest item that OSI/SCI or the principal can substantiate results in the teacher's removal and a 3020a charge.

Second, do not hire any more arbitrators or NYSULT lawyers. If DOE wants to remove even more teachers, then stop helping them by buying into this perverted process. Further, the UFT must make sure that the arbitrators are handing out fair judgements.

Third, it is time that the UFT becomes pro-active in exposing the DOE's anti-teacher bias. Full page ads in the major newspapers and television showing how the DOE discriminates against tenured teachers.

Finally, 90% of the teachers in the rubber rooms should not be there and the DOE's perversion of the investigation process should be confronted by the UFT, not ignored.

To the UFT, talk is cheap, results are what is necessary.