It is promising to see that Writers and Books is committing its resources to a discussion of our region's most pressing problem. Following the announcement of "education historian" Ravitch as the first speaker (hardly one to shy away from often conflicting statements about "what is good or bad"), I am especially curious to hear who the other presenters will be reflecting "both sides of the issue." More importantly, our community has a history of struggling with the transition from discussion to action when it comes to improving our abysmal city school system.
The headline on this article is, in my view, a misreading of what the educational experts said. It says "many teachers are not up to par." What I heard is that in every school they studied there were two or three teachers who had students who were engaged while the other teachers had students who were not engaged. Teachers are isolated in their individual classrooms. Their suggestion was to take a long term view of teachers sharing and learning from each other. They criticized the way schools work not the quality of the teachers. Professional development programs and activities in the past are not very useful. Schools need to give time for teachers to work with and learn from each other. This will not change things overnight, but blaming teachers and closing schools based on test scores is counterproductive. Our schools will get better slowly as school administrators, teachers, parents, and students work together.
It would behoove our police to remember that when they serve, they serve the people. All of us. Not the ones who hop-to the second they bark orders or snark at us (I'm looking at you, officer who couldn't have been much older than drinking age). Wishful thinking, this civility thing?
People caring about "law and order" more than their rights. America has already gone down the tubes.
People loot, shoot, and riot in Ferguson, and the people who try to restore law and order are criticized. America is going down the tubes
How much did they pay for this $@?!. This article was about as sparse as Christmas in 1933. Where was the data? What are the names of the schools that were visited? How did they collect the data? What day is it? How many fingers do I have up? Really City? I don't want to come down on you but what the heck is going on? Your other articles or there lack of, is prominate. Like that '80's Wendy's commercial " where's the beef?"
As someone who works with students, I can't imagine any reason why I would why I would ever carry a gun in their presence. It can only lead to trouble. I guess were fortunate that this is the only trouble there was.
Could the lack of engagement be credited to the common core curriculum that is much too difficult for many of the students who are lacking the background knowledge and foundational skills necessary for successful learning of the material? Especially for math!? This is compounded by the fact that RTI within most City schools, especially those in most need, is poorly managed and rarely carried out at all.
As long as handgun owners must register them with the state, why not have a lesser penalty for gun owners who inadvertently violate a local gun ordinance? If Diane Watkins has registered her handgun with NY State in Monroe County and carries it to New York City, why is she treated as if she has if she has no registration at all (a felony)? Many states recognize other state's gun registration. Why can't legally registered gun owners get some consideration within NY state?
Actually, New York has only 5.1 gun deaths per 100,000 residents, the second lowest in the nation, according to the statistical map I just saw (link below). Many states still do not require background checks or do not prohibit sales to people with violent crime histories. Louisiana: 19.2 deaths per 100k; Alabama: 16.2; Mississippi: 16.1; Wyoming: 15.6; Montana: 15.1. Check it out here:
I suggest that *City* do intensive interviews with ten city teachers - give them anonymity so they can speak freely - about how they think city schools could be improved.
I bet you'd get more solid, realistic assessments from those who are doing the impossible job of engaging and educating children who don't show up for class or do schoolwork, who don't have parents who take care of their basic needs, and who worship a media culture that scorns education as "acting white."
How many years of school did you go to in order to be able to write this article? I think we need to send you back. There should be a law stating that all forms of press related news reporting has to be backed by research based studies. It should be illegal to lie to the public about the very people who made it possible for you to do your job!!!
If a definition of insanity is repeating the same ineffective behavior and expecting a different outcome then we have truly reached crazy time. It is time for radical change, no more tinkering around the edges.. By all the measurements we have,; teacher and administrator morale, student and parent engagement, test scores, and community patience and involvement , we are sinking fast. A perfect storm is upon us. It is time for NYSED, the Mayor, or an independent management organization to step in and take charge. The current Superintendent and School Board just cannot do it despite all their best efforts. Dissolve the District, if possible, and spread the pain and problems. These are radical actions I realize. Politically unpopular yes. Time has run out. Today's test scores only add more bad news on top of everything else. Let's stop demonizing the teachers and make a real change. It will take courage on the part of the politicians. Anything less is just more window dressing and the windows are all broken!
Here we go again... "Students were not engaged." That concerns me also as a teacher, though... Teachers are not miracle workers! We can only wear so many hats at a time: teacher, counselors, behavior interventionists, peer mediators, secretaries, statisticians, data analysts, social workers, nurses, cheerleaders, custodial workers (yes, all of us clean) thats on top of: creating meaningful differentiated & culturally relevant lessons/activities daily, that take hours to plan...
If a student was not engaged did these people ask the students, "why?"
Maybe they did not sleep at home the night before or do not have a "home". Maybe they were up late watching their babies or siblings b/c their parent was at work. Or maybe they were up late playing video games bc that's what teenagers do w/o parental involvement. Maybe they have not been encouraged to go to school for days or weeks, so they feel lost and just shut down. Did they eat breakfast, did they have to wait for the bus in the freezing cold or are they drenched with sweat from the walk to school on a 90* day? Do these students fully understand English? I could go on & on...
These observers can judge us & "think" they know the answers but the problem (student engagement) lies deeper than what most teachers have to offer. City school teachers do not have a level playing field compared to other districts. 99% of the teachers I know work extremely hard at educating their students and preparing them for the "real world". They go above and beyond to motivate, encourage and support students with all of their needs (not just learning). I don't have the answer to this problem discussed in the article though I'm absolutely positive that I do not agree with it.
What the heck is going on here? Felony charges, media frenzy, and not allowed to be working with students? Why? Look, people are creatures of habit. Nobody's been hurt in any way whatsoever. I'm definitely against gun proliferation, but this overreaction is absurd!
I don't care what's written on the permit. Getting caught up in complicated rules that vary from one county to the next is harassment. Until legal changes bring statewide agreement and simplification for legal gun owners, we'll be less safe and more meddled with.
When are we going to make students responsible for their learning. When are we going to make parents responsible for their kids actions. Yes, there are a couple rotten apples in teaching but most of us do kill ourselves to teach and make sure our students learn what they need to. We can do all we can but until students take responsibility and the patents make their kids responsible foot school work, nothing will change. I'm offended when people assume we are doing nothing. In still waiting to see these call studies include my classroom. In a very passionate teacher that works very hard to deliver a lessons that makes sense and that include a connection to real life applications to have a student tell me that since he does not need the class to graduate,he's doing nothing, or have to wait for students to put their sell phones away because we are not allowed to take them from them. Lately when I try communicating with patents they get mad because we are calling them to talk about their kids behavior.
Again, until patents, teachers, administration and the community work together to address these issues nothing will change. We are in this together and teachers alone are NOT the only issue here.
I have long admired Ira Srole’s work. We used one of his photographs in the cover art of my recent book, Kodak Elegy: A Cold War Childhood (Syracuse University Press, 2012). I much enjoyed talking with him when I called to ask permission. He’s a very nice person and a major contributor to the photo-documentation of Rochester. Thanks for this profile. -- W.M. Decker
Someone with authority needs to look into the wasteful spending by Vargas and the School Board on their consultant studies that either come up with the wrong conclusions (like this one) or come to conclusions that the teaching staff was already telling you about (but chose to ignore it and hire a consultant). Meanwhile the students of this district suffer as you fumble for answers.
The best advice is to stay out of New York City (for a lot of reasons).
New York State has passed a myriad of restrictive gun laws in order to discourage gun ownership. If enough laws are passed sooner or later a law-abiding gun owner will make an honest mistake, at which time the State will pounce on you. So the citizen who wishes to exercise their 2nd amendment right may think twice about risking a felony offence. NY gun laws haven’t made us safer and have not taken guns out of the hands of criminals or gang members. These people don’t obey any laws so they won’t register their guns. Citizens who make the effort to follow the ever-tightening gun restrictions are setting themselves up for extra scrutiny by the State. Even registering your firearm with the State puts you at risk to have them confiscated if the State ever makes owning a gun illegal. (The criminals will still have theirs). In 2013 the New York Journal News published the names and addresses of legal gun owners in Westchester. It would have been much more useful if they would have published the names of illegal gun owners, wouldn’t it? They are the ones we have to worry about. But law-abiding gun owners dutifully provided all of the information required by the State, only to have it released to the press. Supposedly this information is protected now, but only if you ‘opted out’ when you register your gun. The State still collects it and retains it for any future use. Anyway, we all know how safe our personal information is kept these days.
Dear City Newspaper, You have let me down. I have always valued your approach, your honest reporting, your integrity to tell the truth. The headline alone reads like most main-streamed media reporting on education. This like so many articles on education, implies that once again teachers are to blame, because of course we have to blame someone. I expect this kid of reporting from some publications, but not you.
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