Sunday, September 25, 2005

Cheat Sheet to get past voice mail to speak to a PERSON!

RE:
Customer Service Heaven - An occasional series ferreting out hard-to-find phone numbers. By Timothy Noah

If you have ever tried in vain to get past endless voice mail to speak to a PERSON to resolve customer service issues you are in my boat! This web site is an answer to our prayers:
Find A Human

Amen!

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/25/2005 05:32:00 PM  
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BBC NEWS | Technology | Kids to teach elderly net skills

An article in the BBC News discusses how BT is making children "Internet Rangers" whose mission is to teach technology to the senior set. This makes great sense to me since I got involved with technology with the help and guidance of my youngest son.

In a relaxed home setting, without the pressure to perform, children and adults can learn much from each other. What a great idea for a school computer night- invite grandparents to get on the computer with their grandchildren! Of course, there are the old fogies like me who could teach them a thing or two... :)

Read on:

BBC NEWS | Technology | Kids to teach elderly net skills

"Kids to teach elderly net skills
Young people are being encouraged to take on the role of internet trainer to help their grandparents get online.

Telco giant BT is marking Grandparents Day on 24 September by asking children to become "internet rangers".

The company believes that young people are in the best position to prevent their grandparents from becoming digitally excluded.

By 2025, 23 million adults could be missing out on what the internet has to offer, according to BT.

A special website has been launched with tools, advice and activities to assist children to help their grandparents to get the most from the internet.

"With the internet becoming the communication tool of choice for fundamental services like medical information and education, the digitally excluded will be significantly disadvantaged when trying to access services and information," said BT head of digital inclusion, Mike Hughes.

The company is working alongside government and other commercial partners to reach out to people who currently have no internet access.

BT says it identified children - particularly young teenagers - as being the most effective advocates to encourage reluctant grandparents to go online.

New skills

Its research shows that nearly a third of parents and grandparents had been encouraged to surf the net by a child aged between 13 and 16.

But even younger children are apparently playing a role in educating their seniors: BT says nearly 20% had learnt a new skill following help from a five to eight-year-old.

"It's wonderful to see the generations united through technology," said Mr Hughes.

"It's a real morale boost for young people as they assume the role of teacher and mentor, and to the older generation the internet can open up a whole new world where hobbies and interests can be explored."

"They can keep in touch with friends and family and, of course, prove that it's never too late to learn a new skill."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/4276068.stm

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/25/2005 05:26:00 PM  
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Teacher's Ears! - There's 'Sis' and 'Bah,' but 'Boom' Is a Menace - NY Times

RE:
There's 'Sis' and 'Bah,' but 'Boom' Is a Menace - New York Times


Yep! Music Teachers do suffer gross hearing loss. My husband was a Band Director for over 34 years, and his hearing is definitely a problem. Bear in mind, that he wore ear plugs, which hopefully helped a bit. The job is a very demanding one- both in effort and physical toll. Throw in the fact that it is probably the first subject to be excessed, last to be funded, and one of the most abused, and you have a recipe for a different career choice for newbies...
should word get out...
Hello???



posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/25/2005 05:24:00 PM  
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Saturday, September 24, 2005

UFT - Record number of certified teachers quitting

UFT - Record number of certified teachers quitting :

"Randi Weingarten

“Unless the city improves teacher salaries and working conditions, it's only going to get worse.”
— UFT President Randi Weingarten

Like a ship with a gash in its hull, the Department of Education lost 3,386 certified teachers who decided to quit over the summer.

At that rate, UFT officials warned, the school system is on track to exceed the record-setting 3,500 teacher resignations of the previous school year.

Those departures, they noted, do not include the more than 1,000 teachers who were terminated for failing to meet licensing requirements or the 2,144 teachers who retired during the summer.

“The Department of Education refuses to recognize that our city school system is facing a retention crisis,” said UFT President Randi Weingarten. “Unless the city improves teacher salaries and working conditions, it’s only going to get worse.”

Despite the summer exodus, more than 2,000 teachers spent a frustrating first day still waiting for a classroom assignment, union officials said.

Of those in a holding pattern, 726 were teachers who had been excessed from the position they held in June, many as a result of the Department of Education’s phase-out of large, struggling high schools and a restructuring of the alternative high school division.

More than 1,000 of the Department of Education’s 6,400 new recruits were also stuck without classroom assignments as of Sept. 6, according to the union.

School officials voiced confidence that they would eventually find spots for everyone. But Weingarten said that much of the turmoil and uncertainty could have been avoided with proper planning.

“The school system should be able to do school openings in their sleep,” she said.

The UFT urged school officials in a meeting in June to work out assignments for the hundreds of teachers being displaced by the closure or phase-out of several big Bronx high schools.

“They were in denial,” Weingarten said. “They told us that they had a handle on it and we shouldn’t worry.”

As of Sept. 6, approximately 100 Bronx high school teachers were still without permanent positions.

On the bright side, the Department of Education was much more efficient at putting new teachers promptly on payroll this year. All but 132 of the new hires received their first paycheck on Sept. 15 — a significant improvement over recent years.

Among the 6,400 new recruits are 2,200 teachers in alternative-certification programs, including 1,670 in the city’s Teaching Fellows program, 490 in Teach for America, 50 in the Teacher Opportunity Corps Program and 20 in the Peace Corps.

As of Sept. 1, 3,500 of the first-year teachers had been assigned mentors, school officials reported."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Are Bloomberg and Klein reading this? If they are reading this, do they have a plan to motivate teachers to stay on?


posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/24/2005 11:59:00 AM  
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Friday, September 23, 2005

Math Scores Statewide Show Gains in 4th Grade - New York Times

Math Scores Statewide Show Gains in 4th Grade - New York Times

We all know the savvy can manipulate and spin statistics. That is a lesson taught in Statistics 101. It is an election year, and I want to be sure that these test taking students are genuinely representative of the previous year student demographics upon which the results are compared.

To that end:

Is there anyone reading this that can answer a few questions for me?

1. Were all the students who failed last year required to take these tests, or were they excluded?
2. Were all special education students required to take these tests, or were they excluded?
3. Were all ESL students required to take these tests, or were they excluded?
4. Were the tests really on par, in difficulty, with the past few years?

Teachers who administered them would know.

If any one has answers to the above questions regarding the reading scores, please respond also!

Thanks in advance!

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/23/2005 06:23:00 PM  
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Tenure, Turnover and the Quality of Teaching - New York Times

Tenure, Turnover and the Quality of Teaching - New York Times

This is a very interesting article. It covers a broad area, however it glaringly avoids the critical issue of the wide spread policy (especially against the UFT in New York City) of NOT TREATING TEACHERS AS PROFESSIONALS!

In previous blogs I have discussed the be-littling of teachers by administrators. Supervisors snap in condescending tones to teachers in front of students and parents, walk around like fluffed peacocks, with little substance to support the posture, threatening constant harassment, (I'll be watching you every minute!) etc.

So I ask, "Who in their right mind wants to stay in a job where they are underpaid, over worked, and constantly demoralized?"
Answer: A person with a psychological need to be emotionally punished. Now that is a teacher I don't want infront of my child...


Stop the endless, relentless micro-management, give teachers an honest salary, and demand that the Administrators get their acts straightened out.

Then, one can begin to talk about teacher retention!

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/23/2005 05:52:00 PM  
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Protest Over Metal Detectors Gains Legs as Students Walk Out - New York Times

RE:
Protest Over Metal Detectors Gains Legs as Students Walk Out - New York Times

Question:
If teaching in NYC is such a wonderful job, that teachers should be honored to work for any pittance the city throws at them, then why are there items like this in the New Tork Yimes?

Answers?

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/21/2005 08:35:00 PM  
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Schools Chief Urges Teacher Pay Changes - New York Times

RE:
Schools Chief Urges Teacher Pay Changes - New York Times



I can almost see the strings of Puppet Master Bloomberg. Klein seems to have so little backbone that it is amazing that he can stand up on his own.

1 Too bad we didn't get a chancellor who was able to think for himself.
2. Too bad we didn't get a mayor who understood education.
3. Too bad we have such an impotent union leadership.

The reign of terror against UFT NYC teachers goes all the way to the top.

Lose. Lose. Lose.
Sad.

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/21/2005 08:23:00 PM  
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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Big Blue Back to School: Generous or Down-Sizing Smoke Screen??

Big Blue Back to School
Article: Big Blue Back to School : "On a completely related note, IBM announced a "Transition to Teaching" initiative today to help transform IBMers into U.S. schoolteachers in an effort to stave off teacher attrition and boost interest and aptitude in math and science among American students. The Cliff Notes version: IBMers would be given financial assistance in the form of tuition reimbursement and stipends while they take a leave of absence from the company to seek teaching credentials and begin student-teaching, before ultimately becoming full-time teachers and leaving IBM's employ. Datamation blogs it here and hints we could quickly be moving to the top of our class."
Article: Big Blue Back to School

My Opinion?

This will be nice for those close to retirement or dissatisfied with corporate life. However, I think in the long run, IBM is planning to terminate a nice number of employees and thinks it has figured out a way to not announce a need to down-size, (ie. overseas outsourcing) while being helpful to employees whose heads are on the chopping block by providing new career training. No red and white in Old Blue...
Oh, the miracles of modern "spin!"

This is a really lucky project for "soon be let go" IBM employees. However, they probably land better paying, moe respected jobs anyway- after all they landed jobs with Big Blue to start with, right?

A word to the wise IBMers heading for the Big Apple: Sometimes the devil you know is better than the NYC devil you don't know. Switchers beware.

Hey, IBM, can you send us a quality Chancellor?


posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/17/2005 12:48:00 AM  
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Monday, September 12, 2005

Teachers: The First Days of School

As teachers face the first full week of school, I wish them a smooth time of it. Switched Educational Assistants, switched rooms, excessing, new staff, new "memos" to follow, mis-communications, and the task of getting your students acclimated to your style, takes patience and the wisdom of Solomon. Bear in mind, that your students will thrive and grow through the year thanks to all the hard work they do now.






posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/12/2005 05:31:00 AM  
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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Katrina and And All That Jazz...

In silence...



If it is determined that the area is safe to rebuild, it is IMHO that the residents of the hurricane areas should have a voice, and all that jazz...

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/10/2005 07:20:00 PM  
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Thursday, September 08, 2005

NYC School Chancellor: Reality Check- When does the idiocy end?

Sir, it is time for a real hard reality check for you and your administrators.

Please show NYC UFT teachers a floor plan of an honestly functional "typical size" NYC classroom that has:

  • 30-35 desks and chairs - arranged in cooperative groups (remember- larger children have larger furniture)
  • A teacher's desk and chair
  • A work space for an Educational Assistant. All adults deserve a chair. You have a chair, don't you?
  • The Famous Rocking Chair
  • A Classroom Library with a little space to browse.
  • Usable Reading, Math, Writing, and Science "Centers" that are not so crammed together that only one child at a time can fit at them.
  • A Word Wall
  • A Bulletin Board wall
  • A Chalk Board Wall
  • A Wall with Windows and
  • A Computer area

that allows a logical traffic flow that teachers and children can move around in comfortably. NYC school buildings were just not built for the class sizes we have today. 15-18 child classes are few nd far between. Ah, yes, and what about the classroom with double exposure- 2 walls of windows? That's a whole other problem. It's time for a reality check!

Now, what is all this nonsense that NO store bought decorations allowed in the classroom? Since when are all teachers expected to be graphic designers with professional layout experience. I hope your office has no professionally created artwork or posters. If NYC teachers are expected to waste time doing this, then it follows that you are capable of making all of your own decorations, etc.
It's time for a reality check!

Next, how do you "honestly" expect a "GOOD" teacher to always be on the exact item in a plan book as it is scheduled. Whatever happened to the teachable moment? What happens when there is an unexpected disruption? Unlike your fantasy land, real children have bathroom accidents, vomit, and act out sometimes. Administrators are not able to acknowlegde the variables that go into running an real classroom. Why? It is because of petty, ill conceived memos ordering them to enforce such foolishness.
It's time for a reality check!

If you ask teachers to anonymously say whether crime in the schools have gone down, they'll say loud and clear- "No!" The only thing that has gone down is reporting lesser infractions than felonies ;) If principals report it, they are harassed. After all, if this was a good principal, there would never be any incidents to report. So the principal must be bad. Everyone is so afraid to speak openly and honestly, that it is simply the only smart career move to stay mute. It is really sad what a reign of terror can do.
Who benefits from the silence? Well, the perpetrators and politicians at election time do, not the general school population. It's time for a reality check!

Why do you feel that NYC children are unable to psychologically handle contrasting colors? One could assume that you would never use a colored pencil or pen to make corrections for your assistants to note errors or omissions in your documents.
If you use a color other than black or blue, you will ruin the self esteem of your subordinates. Right? Did you have some horrible flashback of seeing an A+ written in RED on a paper of yours in elementary school that put you over the edge? Can teachers use GREEN or PURPLE, or gasp- Orange? I wonder what horrific effect those colors will have on NYC's young minds. How pitifully fragle do you think NYC children are that your supervisors make such mandates as to NEVER use red. Perhaps we should order all textbooks to come only in gray-scale, so bright colors don't scare NYC students. Then on the other hand, did red grade markings keep you from becoming a succesful man? No, it did not. You survived the horror of the RED COMMENT and you are just fine. It's time for a reality check!

Do you leave a simple short clear correction note, for your assistants regarding errors or omissions in your documents? Or do you give a long narrative for each error or omission. Are children unable to comprehend short, concise comments? Teachers are now told to NEVER write on top of a paper- Big Improvement, or Great Work, etc. Children won't know what it means? Does this mean kindergarten, first and second graders will be short changed in their educational experience because, after noting a dozen corrections in proofreading/marking, a short encouraging summary comment was written on the top of the page? Will a cute little sticker saying "Great Work" in a colorful picture (remember rebus?) stunt a child's educational development? Motivation to collect as many stickers with top comments is a bad thing? This micro-management is outrageous. It's time for a reality check!

After all of the above, prep periods and late days are tied up with useless "staff development" meetings, rather than providing time for teachers to implement these very time consuming petty policies. So instead, teachers go home with 3-4 hours of work every night. They are not paid for this extra time and have not had a contract for over 2 years! Do you honestly want to attract the brightest and the best teachers to work here? What ever happend to those imported teachers from Europe that were pranced on the TV a few years ago? Back in Europe. We all know why. Time for a reality check!

It is outrageous to claim that every child has individualized instruction. How many hours do you have in your day? Do you think teachers have more hours in their day than you do? This is just simple mathematics. You have DRASTICALLY cut Educational Assistant positions! Class size is as high as ever. How much individual help do you honestly believe a single teacher with 30-35 students in their class can give?
Let's not forget the classes like physical education, music and art where there are upwards of 50 students in a class with one teacher. The self discipline, creativity and self empowerment gained in these classes is indespensible. No child left behind? Time for a reality check!

If you really want to make improvements, monitor the regional beurocrats that micro-manage Teaching Professionals to justify their own positions. Hire genuine caring Education Supervisors who truely support the spirit of quality education. Supervisors run around buildings with tomes of check-off sheets for each teacher, to make sure that every classroom has every possible little item in a prominently visible location, so that just in case someone important comes around, they will be covered, and can prove that they did look in each and every room, and that at the time they were there, everything was in it's proper place. Micro-management to the Nth degree! Sad. How dare supervisors treat teachers as if they were little children that have to have a stern mommy on top of their every move to make sure they put their toys away and don't break the furniture! Wake up sir, your teaching staff is about as demoralized as they can get. This is not a good thing.
It's time for a reality check!

You are losing teachers at record quitting and retirement rates, new and experienced teachers alike, because the job of teaching in the New York City School System is not the kind of job they can see themselves commit to for the long term. It is just too stressful and stress kills. If you want to turn off people from teaching in NYC keep it up. No one is foolish enough to think this is a good career move. You will be able to pay lower salaries and save on pension benefits, but you will lose what you have had up to the past few years. Loyal, dedicated, seasoned teachers. It's time for a reality check!

Finally, stop trying to portray a Madison Avenue marketing firm fantasy land smokescreen and demonstrate that you have the ability to deal with classroom reality in an intelligent way. You are not a licensed teacher, but considering your big title, you should still be expected to think like one. After all you are the one everyone is supposed to look up to for genuine leadership.

All New York City Department of Education Teachers are New York State Licensed professionals. It is time to start treating them like the professionsls they are.

That said, isn't enough enough?

Enough is enough!

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/08/2005 08:01:00 PM  
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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Patronage : Observations

Has it occurred to any one how serious an issue patronage is?

Observation:
ALL NYC Teachers MUST be licensed, have degrees in education.
NYC has a "Chancellor" who is NOT and Educator, and has NO degree in education.

Question:
Why?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Observation:
Attorneys must have degrees in Law.
The Chief Supreme Court Justice does not need to be a Doctor of Juris Prudence, yet has to interpret the law of the land.

Question:
Why?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Observation:
It is illegal for a person to practice medicine without a license, yet HMO's have non-doctors approve and deny procedures.

Question:
Why?




posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/06/2005 12:55:00 AM  
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Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Blood Donor: Gift of Life

He gave today.
He always gives whenever needed.
A true hero!

It's free to do.
It's priceless to those who receive.

Do it!
www.GiveLife.org
1-800-GIVELIFE
1-800-448-3543

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/03/2005 04:14:00 PM  
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Partisan Shmartisan

Reflections on Katerina:

Point and blame.
A sad shame.

You use your silken tongues to get your faces on the boob tube.
A thin veil to margin votes to elect YOU!

Shame, shame on you all!

Come on fellow Americans.
Be the solution, not a hurricaine to add to the misery.

Volunteer, donate, and beware the politic side steps.

We all have hearts as big and bright as Texas. Let's rock!

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/03/2005 12:34:00 AM  
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Thursday, September 01, 2005

But by the grace of ...

Reflections on Katerina:

Them...
Wet.
Dehydrated.
Lost and dazed.
Mourning.
Anger and panic.
Despair.

Me?
Cool and dry.

Quenched and fed.
Cozy bed and soft pillow.
Rested and comfortable.
Safe and relaxed.

But by the grace of ...

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 9/01/2005 11:20:00 PM  
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