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Smarmie Doofus

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 12,250

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Barbara Bush, Rye's most famous native, might have the best insight into Rye's seeming apathy.

In other words, they, the citizenry, don't want to spoil their "beautiful minds" thinking about such unpleasantness.

That may hold true for now... but if/when they have to pay-up big settlements out of their school tax because of admin malfeasance... the dynamic may quickly change.

Rye is not the Bronx.... where there is basically NO accountability of provider ( DOE) to consumer.

The bigger issue here, though... and the problem fundamental to this current epidemic of lawlessness and malicious prosecutions of teachers and whistleblowers around the country but especially in NYS... is the limited immunity ( unreasonably and illogically) conferred on school admins for repeated reckless and vindictive actions. SUPPOSEDLY performed in their official capacity.

Laws have to be changed to make them pay out of pocket when they are acting in the way they are acting in Rye. And elsewhere.

Certainly the Portelos and Howrilka's cases in NYC. The prosecution of these two cases in particular are suggestive of criminal activity ... including possible conspiracy... on the part of the NYC DOE. At the very least, civil malicious prosecution; in which case I want the perpetrators of the the malicious prosecution to PAY for it; not the NYC taxpayer. (That's me, BTW.)

Good overview of the Rye case here:


South Bronx School does his customarily thorough job in tracking down the details. The link above will help some folks to follow along.

What a great OP. K and R
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Tue Apr 22, 2014, 09:42 AM (0 replies)

Not many people go into teaching to make "the big bucks."

If they do... they're stupid and probably become administrators within the first 5 years. ( It occurs to them: "Like, uhh, this is HARD.")

Most teachers like kids, like the relative autonomy that teachers ( used to) have, the chance to develop intellectual interests that would be denied them in a typical corporate office and ... at least in a lot of cases .... like the fact that their work schedule follows the school calendar.

So... you're right, the idiotic merit pay schemes floated by these corporate "reform" geniuses ( who are completely convinced that everybody n the world thinks EXACTLY the way THEY do) are dead in the water; completely lost on teachers.

I think you have teachers clamoring for better schools for kids because that IS in their own material self interest as well. It sounds self serving because it IS self serving. But in fact, the interests of both consumer and provider tend to be aligned on many issues in education ( not by any means ALL) and pretty much ALL of the biggies: safe schools, good funding, classrooms and curricula that *work*, limited bureaucracy, and administrators who understand teaching and learning. These things help EVERYONE.

We haven't had a raise in NYC since.... I think.... 2009, and are not going to get one soon. But that's far from what teachers here are worried about these days. They're worried about being fired over nonsense, having no real union, and being worked to exhaustion ( i.e. burnout) by "reform"-generated paperwork and statistic-gathering.

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Sat Aug 17, 2013, 05:47 PM (0 replies)

It's true. The politicians... and the people who OWN them... have to get over the idea that they....

... have any useful role to play in how schools are designed and run.

The truth is they understand *nothing*.

Teachers go into teaching and not investment banking because they care about kids. Investment bankers and politicians go into investment banking and politics because they care about INVESTMENT BANKING AND POLITICS.

It's a titanically bad idea to turn education policy over to people so inclined. Schools need to be places where teachers can teach and not obsess about not meeting political benchmarks and aligning the instruction with politically-inspired "standards". And they need to be run by principals who know how to teach and can develop that ability in others.

That ain't happening anymore.

I wonder why.

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Thu May 23, 2013, 09:42 PM (1 replies)

Rec. 1. Greenwald's article is scathingly brilliant. Read it and re-read it.

2. This Lisa Williams person is beyond belief. Who is she and where did they find her? SHE's the "President of the Bd."? She sounds..... ummmmm.... let's just say "ill-equipped."

3. This issue is interesting and important on so many levels. Some of us date back to the days when the "parades" were actually political *marches* designed to challenge universally-imposed invisibilty and generalized ( I mean in the sense of "permeating every facet of life") heterosexism.

They've gradually become less political, less edgy, more commercial and frankly... to me anyway... less purposeful and less interesting. They've become essentially corporate exercises and , now --- the dim-witted ramblings of Ms. Williams have alerted us to this fact --- politically conservative.

There are reasons for this evolution; some of them are positive. Increasing acceptance of non-standard expressions of sexuality and gender. ( More sexuality than gender, but still, we've made a lot of social progress.)

The lgbt movement has to figure out where it's going next. With marriage equality now pretty much a matter of just waiting for the rest of the dominos to fall, and legal obstacles to military service also on the way out, we have to identify a rationale to continue as a movement.

Should we just assimilate completely... and have a once -a-year celebration of ... well... not much of anything ? Sort of like St. Patrick's Day for lgbts?

Or does being lgbt mean more than just showing up as another essentially meaningless sliver on the American demographic pie chart?

The Manning issue is kind of a crossroads here. I myself don't know the answer. But it will be interesting, and probably instructive, to see how this plays out.

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Mon Apr 29, 2013, 09:43 AM (0 replies)

The old GOP was WAY to the left of where the RW of the DEM party is now.

Can you imagine Obama saying something like ( or even *quoting* ) what Eisenhower said in 1960 re. the "military-industrial-congressional ( "congressional" was in the original text; he should have left it in, obviously) complex"?

It's inconceivable. The reality is, he'd be describing himself.

As a party we DEMs still claim to champion labor. But where did that 1 billion dollars come from that just paid for the president's campaign ? It didn't come primarily from working people, I can assure you. And since it mostly came from corporate interests it's less "contribution" than "investment".

Money expects, and *gets* a return on its investments. That's how it got to be "money".

re. History: the under 50s think of "impeachment" as a circus having something to do w. a semen stained dress. Need I say more? It's a different mentality altogether.
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Sun Dec 2, 2012, 06:30 PM (1 replies)

At some point in time, the Nixon wing of the GOP was absorbed by the....

.... RW of our party and the attitude toward Manning among these neo-Dems is kind of a case in point.

There's also a generation-gap type thingie going on. People in their forties and younger missed VN-Watergate, etc etc etc and were brainwashed by the post VN revisionism with which the general public was swamped via gov't and ma$$ media in the 80's.

That revisionism is now their perception. ( I'm speaking in GENERAL terms. Not everyone under 50 was successfully brainwashed. But AS A GENERATION their brains are spic and span.)
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Sat Dec 1, 2012, 08:30 AM (1 replies)

I dislike all three terminologies.

Esp. 'queer' and 'faggot'. Word meanings *evolve*. They bring along some element of their earlier meaning as they do so.

Yet, the evidence suggests that , in real life, there is nothing "queer" ( weird, strange, unusual) about my sexuality. Nor am I in any sense like a "bundle" of kindling wood. Though a few ---- I hope *only* a few --- would doubtless like to put me to the torch.... as they did in the 'not so good' old days. Most of the remainder would be happy to see me merely socially marginalized, one suspects. I can live w. that; quite literally. ('Course it would be better if I didn't HAVE to).

I was around when "gay" was more-or-less adopted by the nascent lgbt movement; our predecessors as you put it. (No Ts or Bs in the early days. Not may Ls for that matter. At least not many that preferred to identify as such.) I never liked the presumption that the word implies that I have to 'feel" a particular way, or BE in particular mood. ( Yes, I understand it has a long and complex etymological pedigree that I have not completely accounted for here. But the presumption of mood and/or feeling is basic to the word. )

Fuck it. I wanna have the same emotional latitude that the society affords everyone else. "Gay" or not.

Plus which... I'm not so big on "reclaiming" things. Esp. nasty terminologies so that we.... the targets of their original coinage... can "own" it or "take the sting out of it."

That never really works. Hence the socio-cultural chaos attendant to the reclaiming by some African Americans of the "n word", and all of its myriad pronunciations and spellings. And if reclaiming "gay" was a successful move , why --- forty+ years later --- does it alone ( as in 'so gay') rival "faggot" as the epithet of choice among the , ummmm.... "non-gay".

It doesn't seem to me that we've won the war over that word. Social opprobrium has merely evolved to attach itself to "our" terminology. ( Sort of like a antibiotic-resistant bacteria.) Point: there's a lot more wrong here than we can fix by simply experimenting w. language.

But if I have to vote, "gay" is preferable to the other two. That's what we USE and , bottom line, it's about communication. "Homo", with its detached, objective neutral yet descriptive qualities is preferable to all three. Now THERE'S something to reclaim.

But I'm not holding my breath.
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Thu Nov 22, 2012, 08:43 AM (0 replies)

If ya got good admins... turnover is bad.

If they're corrupt ( or just clunkers) we want 'em turned over. Sooner the better.

I can see your point though. I'm from SpEd background, exclusively. Our parents don't fuss about a B+ or worry about getting into Harvard. Basically, they want to see their kids as independent as possible before they... i.e. the parent... dies.

We occasionally get an intractably hostile parent but it's usually because their circumstance... including the dysfunctional system set up to "help" them... has made them crazy.

Most of the SPED parents though, want what we want: they want the school to teach their kids what they need to know to survive in the world. They want that. We ( the teachers) want that. It's the admins that get in the way: they want to introduce "reform" dogma into an area to which it is ENTIRELY irrelevant. They want to teach kids algebra even if the kids can't count money or tell time because the common core curriculum says that's what ALL kids should be doing at age 15.

And the admins *evaluate* the teachers on the basis of how well they do THAT , i.e. teach common core and related school "reform" corporate orthodoxies that are totally out of place here. ( They're out of place *everywhere*, but they are mind-bogglingly out of place here.)

I realize the issues are not precisely the same in gen ed as far as teacher evals go. Also , it's been a real long time since I've had a supervisor who could knew how to "motivate and balance people's needs." Early on.... yes. But not in a long time. Now they're just soulless bureaucrats.

Also, i didn't mean to imply that ONE parent should have any kind of veto-power type influence.... even in gen ed. I'm just saying that the dynamic is such that ... correct me if I'm wrong.... in GENERAL terms, parents in gen ed will recognize and wish to see retained effective teachers. No?

Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Mon Sep 17, 2012, 06:29 AM (1 replies)

Teachers: Why are you so pissed?

Here's why I am.

My reply to a poster in a "group" ( only the initiated see group postings; I want EVERYONE to see mine.)

Poster had asked why parents were unsympathetic to teachers. I said mine weren't and.........

Truth be told: they're not *enough* on our case. I'm in special ed so the dynamic may be different here than with most educators.

But I wish they'd insist on being MORE involved.

They want their kid to make progress and *I* want their kid to make progress. That's a powerful confluence of interests. We are... or should be.... natural allies.

What's the problem then?

The problem is as follows:

Mandates, rubrics, alternate assessment bureaucracy, redundant assessments of all varieties, crazy-ass mandated online curricula, crazy-ass scripted curricula, money paid under the table to ensure adoption of the foregoing, district administrators, school-based administrators, corporate $$$chool "reform", professional memo-writers, principals who fail to see that required services are delivered to handicapped students, contracts with elevator repair corporations who never quite manage to fix the elevator so that they keep getting called back to the tune of "mucho dinero", anti-unionism, half-baked teacher evaluation $cheme$, Arne Duncan, the idiotic insistence on micromanaging every aspect of classroom instruction ( including where one stands and where and when one moves) Bill Gates and predatory philanthropy, administrators who come to school late every day and leave early, economically comfy DEM politicians who enable all of the above but who can afford to send their kids to private schools where *none* of the foregoing goes on.

I could continue. You get the picture I hope. Boy.... that felt good.

Add to Journal Self-delete Edit

I do believe I'll add it to my journal. " 'Why'... I said to myself.... not' ". ( 10 point bonus for ID-ing that quote!)
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Mon Feb 20, 2012, 01:40 PM (16 replies)

Teachers /Parents/ Citizens: Link to online petition re. replacing Arne Duncan.

Let's keep this kicked for a while.... yes?

Seems as though "teachers are revolting." Well, I could have told you that. But so are parents, non-parents and everyone who cares about education. ( Shhheeeeezzz: even *school administrators*. Holy jumpin' catfish!)

'Bout time, sez I. *Past* time, really. Let's keep this kicked.


Teachers Demand Arne Duncanís Removal
January 29, 2012 By Mark Naison 8 Comments

Barack Obama, Arne Duncan
Educators Letter to President Obama Now Online and Ready For Signatures
Here is the link to the Educators Letter to President Obama that asks him to withdraw his support of policies which mandate high stakes testing, to include teachers and parents in all educational policy discussions in his administration and replace Sec of Ed Arne Duncan with an educator who has the confidence of the nationís teachers. Please sign and circulate widely!http://dumpduncan.org/

Dear President Obama,
We, the undersigned, a cross section of the nationís teachers and their supporters, wish to express our extreme displeasure with the policies implemented during your administration by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Although many of us campaigned enthusiastically for you in 2008, it is unlikely that you will receive continued support unless the following three dimensions of your administrationís education initiatives are changed:

The exclusion of teachers from policy discussions in the US Department of Education and from Education Summits called under your leadership.
The use of rhetoric which blames failing schools on ďbad teachersĒ rather than poverty and neighborhood distress.
The use of federal funds to compel states and municipalities to use student test scores in the evaluation of teachers and as the basis for closing low performing schools. (more at link)
Posted by Smarmie Doofus | Mon Jan 30, 2012, 01:49 AM (21 replies)
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