Monthly Archives: January 2013

Governor Cuomo Needs A Longer Day In School


Governor Cuomo has recently decided that our struggling students, the ones who hate school the most, need to have a longer school day. That, he believes, will improve their test scores.

How did he come up with this idea?  Research?  Naah.  There doesn’t seem to be any that supports his idea-du-jour.

Maybe – and I’m just guessing here – some of the potential donors to his 2016 Presidential campaign have put this silly idea in his head.  Evidently,  he’s already put an “exploratory” committee together for his run.  And, if you have been reading this blog, you already know that many new charter schools have been established to help under-served kids and, oh yeah, to launder money for hedge funds and some other corporate entities.

I imagine, and again – with no proof – that this 2016 Presidential run is on the top of Gov C’s “to do” list.  This, I surmise, is why he proclaims he wants to fight climate change (after Hurricaine Sandy) but refuses to come out against hydrofracking in NYS – a drilling practice that will surely release methane and other greenhouse gases.  That’s not as important as his main priority:  he needs money to run for President.  Big Money.  Big Oil.  Big Donors.  I may be making a Big Mistake here, but I can’t lose the idea that the “longer school day,” an idea pushed by charter school managers, comes from the same corporate cronies who can help fund Gov C in his drive to the White House.

Perhaps he needs to head back to school.  He needs to learn what works with kids.  Clue:  it ain’t longer school days.  He also needs to learn more about research.  It’s obvious that he hasn’t looked deeply into education or environmental studies.  On the plus side, he’s good at networking….but I doubt he’s seeking out educators or environmentalists to deepen his campaign fund.  I could be wrong, of course.  I’m willing to be wrong.  But I do think he needs some more school time.  He could go back to school and stay longer and longer.  He could see how that feels.  Maybe while he waits for that final bell to ring,  he’ll discover how to create sane education and environmental policies for New York that are actually based in experience and rigorous science.

But he’ll have to leave his ambition at the door if he hopes to learn anything.

For an excellent post about this, please see Arthur Goldstein’s NYC Educator blog.


Hey Teachers! It’s “Be Kind to Mayor Bloomberg Day…”



For today, why not take a break from bashing him?  Groove on his God-given goodness.  Feel his pain.

After all, he’s overemployed.  He excels at so many things, but can’t quite get a grasp of this education thang.  We’re teachers.  We want to help.  First, let’s assess the good stuff.

He’s great at raising money for our city.  He’s kept our infrastructure from deteriorating as it it did during the bad old 1970’s.

He’s gotten the noxious cigarette smoke out of our bars and restaurants.  As a working musician, I can tell you how much I appreciate that. 

He’s helped put healthier drinks in our schools’ vending machines.

Good stuff, right?

Also, it’s not healthy to hate him.  Holding on to a resentment, after all, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

You wouldn’t hate a student with a learning disability, right?  You’d use every tool you have to facilitate that student’s love of learning.

So it’s important, for at least today, to stop bashing the Mayor.  It’s not his fault that he hasn’t done so great with improving our schools.  He’s overemployed.

Education?  It’s not his field.



Diane Ravitch on Tavis Smiley

I’ve learned a great deal about the current state of American public education from Diane Ravitch’s blog. I just learned that she was on Tavis Smiley’s show back in April 2010. It’s an interesting interview and I wanted to share it with you:

With expertise, compassion and sanity, she keeps about 2 million readers posted 7 to 8 times a day on her blog:

Thank you, DR.


ERASURE-HEAD 101: A New Course for Principals & Teachers

Attention Principals and Teachers:

As your jobs are now dependent on your students’s test scores, we are offering a course designed to insure your success: Erasure-head 101.

Our guarantee: Your students’ test scores will suddenly increase at rates no one could possibly believe!!

Course content includes:

Eraser management
Cleaning up a bubble sheet with chemicals guaranteed to leave no trace of erasure marks (thanks to NCIS advisory panel)
Fingerprint removal
Changing student answers from “wrong” to “right” using an invisibility cloak from Harry Potter Ltd
Role playing: How to finesse an investigation

Plus as a bonus, a free screening of Eraserhead, a film loved by some, detested by more.

(Eraserhead is a 1977 surrealist body horror film written and directed by American filmmaker David Lynch.)


Check out “Meet Adelle Cothorne” by John Merrow, Frontline

Adelle C, a remarkable woman, an ex principal and now cup cake baker, is the first administrator to go public about her experiences during Michelle Rhee’s time as chancellor of Washington DC’s Public Schools.

John Merrow, Frontline correspondent, ran a story about Michelle Rhee 2 nights ago about her DC leadership. This story has provoked a great deal of interest and, from Merrow’s blog, it appears he wants to go deeper. It seems there has been a a botched investigation of a cheating scandal during her watch. Please check out today’s post:

The comments from educators are very interesting. It’s always nice to hear from actual educators when you’re making education policy…ya think?

And…the ONLY thing that counts to Ms Rhee et al, are test scores. Period. Exclamation point. There is absolutely no room for creativity and authentic assessment.

FYI, I left him this comment:
John, I hope these comments will inspire Frontline to continue to dig. I’d like to encourage you to follow the money. How much money has Students First been given from Rupert Murdock (rumors are up to $50M)? With Joel Klein, former chancellor of NYC DOE, chief exec of the education division of News Corps, can you make the connections? Doesn’t Pearson, the UK’s testing giant, have a $90M biz creating and implementing testing? With marital connections to the Tennessee and Sacremento school systems, perhaps Rhee’s SF is doling out resources. Is there a possible conflict of interest? If you check out Juan Gonzalez (Daily News/Democracy Now), ask him about the effects of The New Markets Act, signed at the end of Clinton’s admin. It gave substantial tax breaks to corporate entities (hedge funds, et al) to invest in underserved areas. Thus, these areas became a place to launder money. You can check out my blog, “Attention All Bankers” for this story if you like:

Thank you so much for your diligence. Please stay with this story and follow the money. Education: it’s the “New Gold Rush.”