Category Archives: The Wonderful World of Thinking

Critical Thinking and Educational Issues

Arne Duncan Secretary of Corporate Education

ball-swimming-pool-6302531Even though I do not get paid during my two months off from work I am still enjoying my summer vacation.    And if you are a parent who has a teenager – with their hormonal mood changes and lack of problem solving skills – you can understand that teaching over a 180 teenagers Monday through Friday just might kill you.

The most challenging part of teaching is preparing kids for tests.  You know how important standardized tests are right?  They’re not.  How often to you go to parties and start talking about your SAT scores?  And if you are a grown up and still tout your SAT score you need an intervention to help you become a more interesting person. Tests only test a narrow window of critical thinking skills and ultimately undermines the importance of educating our children something unfortunately our Secretary of Education Arne Duncan does not understand.

And don’t get me started on Race to the Top or Common Core Tests. Keep in mind those who have access to technology and the internet will be more successful.  That’s right, once again, these new fangled tests will reward those who have access and penalize those who come from impoverished communities…go figure.

Secretary of Corporate Education clarifying how much teaching experience he has.
Secretary of Corporate Education clarifying how much teaching experience he has.

Why Obama selected this windbag is beyond me.  Arne Duncan has no teaching experience if he does they keep it secret.  In 1992, childhood friend and investment banker John W. Rogers, Jr., appointed Duncan director of the Ariel Education Initiative, a program mentoring children at one of the city’s worst-performing elementary schools. And guess what happened next.

After the school closed in 1996, Duncan and Rogers were instrumental in re-opening it as a charter school, Ariel Community Academy.[3] In 1999, Duncan was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for former Chicago Public Schools I guess because he was so successful in Chicago  and now he’s our countries Secretary of EDUCATION because he has absolutely no experience.

Question?

If Arne Duncan has no real practical pedagogical experience why would he be tapped to be the Secretary of Education? A.  Cuz he’s a corporatist tool, B. He can undermine the countries confidence in public education and vilify the unions so he can do what he does best in education to close more schools and privatize privatize privatize, C. all of the above.

facebook_imageAfter everything has been said and “tested” I give Secretary of Corporate Education a Big Fucking F.

Shirley Temple vs Miley Cyrus

Poor “Hannah Montana” has lost her mind and turned into a rebellious young adult superstar that can afford all the bad press she wants.   (Oh to afford bad press even if it mocks fun of my wagging tongue.)  I get that everyone was outraged about “Hannah Montanas” twerking escapade onstage during a music awards extravaganza.  It is pretty incredible what people find outrageous in 2013.  I grew up on Madonna who pranced around in pointy bras to make a point about…pointy bras?

Miley Cyrus comes from show folk and like many show folk there are no rules or boundaries and thats what makes them superstars.  They’re not like mere mortals.  They bare all to the world and we either sing their praises or tweet their foibles.

Isn’t the real problem Miley is no longer a young perky cute girl that appears to be innocent.  Now Miley pretty much puts it all out there for us to see and that bothers a lot of people.  It doesn’t bother me.

I am relieved that when I was becoming a woman all of my most embarrassing moments were not caught on national television.  I’m thankful that my “slutty” ways were not photographed and all over the internet (or do I regret it since I still do not enjoy the life of a overnight celebrity b/c I uploaded a naughty video. Maybe I can look through my families old VHS tapes and see what I can come up with.)

I happened to come across a photograph collection of Miley’s slow demise to skinny wacky chick onstage with odd expressions and of course they are not the most flattering photos but who cares?
So many grown ups have so much to say about this young woman but they’re super cool with everything else going on in our country like um say torture, tapping our phones, government shut down!  I wish everyone who had a problem with Miley actually took a moment to evaluate real life issues that have real life consequences.  Twerking is not at the top of my list.
Look at me I’m twerking!

Isn’t the real problem with a twerking Miley Cyrus is she is no longer the sweet girl we like to think her as.  She is our modern day Shirley Temple all grown up  and embraces her sexuality.  Imagine Shirley Temple taking “selfies” and “twerking”.

Size is Just an Excuse!

Today during our faculty meeting while an assistant principal shared “Testing Data” a colleague of mine raised her hand and asked the administrator, “how are we suppose to earn the same testing results that we have enjoyed in years past when our class sizes are over 36 students each class period?”

There are about six students in this photo and that is 30 less than I have per class period.

Sounds like a pretty logical question since we all teach five classes filled with students of varying abilities and there doesn’t seem to be any solution in sight to reduce class size.  We are at maximum capacity and they are still transferring students into our classes.  So when my friend asked a logical question about reducing the number of students in our classes the wise old administrator said, “class size is an excuse”.  And that was that.

In short, we were told to stop our complaining about class size because no one cares to discuss the matter nor will they entertain the idea of large class sizes impacting classroom instruction. What a ridiculous idea.  So if you are a teacher please be reminded: Work harder and stop asking questions.   Just teach your kids to sit down and listen passively to the instruction and everyone will be happy Critical Thinkers.

http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Investing_in_Our_Future_Report1.pdf

Teenagers Say the Darndest Things!

I have already completed the first three weeks of school.  I’m exhausted most of the time but  I feel like things are pretty under control with the exception of a few “incidences”.  You know what I mean:teenagers behaving like teenagers.  (Unpredictable, self-centered, endearing, funny, high maintenance, supportive, caring, rascally, obtuse, boisterous, thoughtful, hardworking, intelligent, and frequently crazy.)  Perhaps hormones and their brains not being fully developed may be a contributing factor to their behavior.

I have one kid “Lexi” who never speaks.  I marked her absent the first day until a sweet student came up to me and said, “Lexi is present but she never speaks”.  What?  A kid in an English class never speaks.  I have never heard of such a thing.  “Lexi” has no special educational needs noted in her personal file and no parent or guardian has contacted me.  “Lexi” seems perfectly normal with the exception she won’t speak…or will she?  “Lexi” has attended my English class for three weeks not uttering a word unless urged and then maybe a grunt or nodding of the her head but beyond that one would swear this kid is never going to speak.

Turns out “Lexi” speaks.  It is a miracle.  If she doesn’t want to do something “Lexi” actually finds the words to speak.

Wow.  Imagine sitting in a classroom day after day pretending that you do not have the ability to speak and every one in your life gives you a pass to never speak.  It is genius.  “Lexi” is a genius.

Get Over It?

Last week I began my adventure with a bunch of ninth and tenth grade students.  And when I say “bunch” I mean one hundred and eighty teenagers.  Of course I do not teach them all at once that would be ridiculous.   So as a favor to teachers we only instruct approximately 36 teenagers in 55 minute class intervals five class periods a day.  This oughta be a snap right?

I began sharing a book with my students entitled The Hunger Games and how I loved Katniss Everdean the female protagonist.   Just when I was about to share more about this novel this freshmen kid says, “Get over it.”

“Huh?  What did you say?”  (I really didn’t think a student the first week of school would be so bold.)

“Get over it,” muttered a not so confident freshmen girl.

“Oh, you did say, ‘Get over it’.  Well you have me confused with another person because in this room we are going to work on being a supportive community.”

And then I turned to the class and said, “If she has the courage to be rude to me imagine how she will treat you.  The class was silent.   A brave freshmen attempted to be rude and It became clear immediately I had bionic hearing and I wasn’t going to let “snarky” energy seep into the chemistry of our class community.   I’m not sure why that student chose to be rude and there is a good chance she doesn’t know why she was rude either but her error in judgement helped this class get to know my expectations of how this classroom community can thrive academically.

Only 175 school days to go.

 

 

Back to School Blues

I remember when Back to School happened in September, you know right after Labor Day.  See it worked out perfectly.  We began the school year right after Labor Day celebrations which clearly indicated summer was over.  Bummer.  But now the people in charge have decided that the school year needs to begin earlier.  How much earlier you ask?  Well I began the new school year yesterday.  EGADS!
That’s right I began August 12th, 2013.  Can you believe that?  Why not suck all the fun out of summer.  I think it is a conspiracy to destroy childhood memories and replace it with a feeling of despair and angst which is a perfect way to begin a school year.
You know the real reason why we are beginning the school year so much earlier?  The bottom line is: TESTING.  That’s right this all has to do with TESTING (cuz we know how important test taking is in the real world).  So if students attend school two or three weeks sooner they will have more time in the classroom prior to taking the state standardized exams.  Unfortunately the state of California’s test scores have dropped.  How can that be when instruction has begun so much earlier?  I have a theory.  As I review my class rosters it is painfully apparent that I am expected to instruct my students in a meaningful and purposeful manner aligning my instruction to the Core Standards but there is one glitch: class size.
I have over 175 students enrolled in my English classes and that is on average about 37 teenagers every hour.  How can I realistically instruct in a meaningful manner as well as provide rigor to prepare them for higher thinking?  How will I get to know them by name?  Listen I have taught for over 20 years and I just don’t think my brain can handle 180 more names.  I’m at my “name limit”!

Huma Abedin is Hilarious!

Who is Huma Abedin?  Some might say she’s a saint.  Others might whisper she should kick her hubby, Anthony Weiner, to the curb after the recent revelations that even after leaving Congress Mr. Weiner could not stop himself from sexting.  If you haven’t caught her public statement click and view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWI_0Iqe-Lk

I don’t know how it happened but I came into possession of Huma Abedin’s first draft prior to going public regarding her husband’s sexting shenanigans.

Draft #1:  Hi, good evening um.  As many of you…who have um followed this campaign, uh I’ve spent a good deal out on the campaign trail.  Um churches, and street fairs, parades…um but this is the first time I’ve spoken at a press conference and you’ll have to bear with me cuz I’m very nervous…And I wrote down what I wanted to say. (Clear throat)

My husband is a dick weed asshole fuck.  Vote for him for Mayor of New York.

Xoxo, Mrs. Danger

Draft #2:  Hi, good evening um.  As many of you…who have um followed this campaign, uh I’ve spent a good deal out on the campaign trail.  Um blah, blah, blah, you’ll have to bear with me cuz I’m very nervous…And I wrote down what I wanted to say.  (Clear throat)

My husband is a dick weed asshole fuck. This schmuck is my husband.  Yes I married him.  And Yes it took a lot of work and a shit load of therapy to get to a place where I can forgive him.  Anthony aka “Carlos Danger” has made some horrible mistakes beginning with the name “Carlos Danger” and ending with his proclivity to take photos of his pecker.

Anthony Weiner is a great man.  And I am standing by his side cuz I am damaged and seek positions of power.  Why else would I accept his dick weed asshole fuck’s behavior?  Anthony Weiner will make a fabulous Mayor of New York!  And I’ll be a fabulous Mrs. Mayor of New York and then maybe the White House!

Come on America its not like he had sex with other women…seriously.  I’m totally cool with this and you should be too.  I mean if I can get over it while living in my 3.3 million dollar Manhattan apartment then America you can get over it too.  Vote for Anthony Weiner for Mayor.

Xoxo,  Mrs. Dick Weed Asshole Fuck

 

 

Wow One Hundred Dollars!

Guess what I just received in the mail?  A big whopping one hundred dollar check from J. P. Morgan Chase Manhattan settlement.  I don’t really know why I got a one hundred dollar check but they must of been up to no good to give me one hundred dollars.  Did you know J.P. Morgan Chase Manhattan made $5.3 billion from July to September and the number of employees fell about 1 percent compared to the previous quarter.  According to the Huffington Post, “The bank shed about 3,300 jobs to 259,550.  But the good news is, “The company’s doing quite well, and we want to pay our people fairly and properly was we always have,” Jamie Dimon shared.  Oh and in the meantime Jamie Dimon’s salary is reported to be $23 million last year, mostly in stock awards.

Michele Rhee: The “Ali G” of Education

“Who is Michele Rhee?” Some might say, “Michele Rhee is a self -promoting opportunist who claims not to like publicity -even though she appears on the cover of Time Magazine- and hit all the talk shows these past two weeks to promote her new book about her vision for improving our educational system, and it all centers around putting students first, not adults. That means you can go suck it teacher unions.”

While some other people might describe Michele Rhee as, “…a really nice warm hearted individual who is doing all of this out of the goodness of her heart.  Michele Rhee just loves kids. She’s cuckoo for kids and tickled by testing scores!”   

So why does Rupert Murdoch (super cool dude), the Walton Family (super cool family) of Walmart fame and a bunch of hedge fund investors seem so keen to help propel Rhee towards a lucrative lobbying future?  Hm.  There must be a lot of money in privatizing schools and standardized testing.

Some of her critics claim, “Michele Rhee is a fraud and has limited experience in the classroom.  She has taught over 60 students in her entire teaching career as a Teach for America quasi-teacher.  And can everyone please stop giving Michele Rhee any credibility.”

My husband thinks everyone defers to Michele Rhee cuz she’s Asian.  Think about it.  Could there be any truth to that America? Just so we’re clear: Michele Rhee is nothing more than a corporate tool masquerading as a public-sector advocate.  And she has the test scores to prove it.  She’s an unqualified poser who pretends to be an educational expert.

“I can’t wait to privatize playgrounds!”

 

What people don’t understand is this woman is a hack.  We need to stop pretending she knows anything about education when she’s not even qualified to be more than a playground supervisor, BUT a really good one.  I think she’s even thinking about privatizing playgrounds.