Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chap. 62: An Immodest Proposal

Chapter Sixty-Two: An Immodest Proposal

Jonathan Levin High School Assistant Principal of Supervision, Erica Clarke, yesterday morning  gave the graduating class of 2013 a surprising piece of advice.  "Be yourself," she told them.  There was nothing unusal about that, of course.  It was when she told them to be themselves by getting plastic surgery to alter their appearances that the "be yourself" bromide took an odd turn.

The ceremony took place at the Lovinger Theater, Lehman College yesterday, June 25, 2013.  Ms. Clarke was not a scheduled speaker but was called into action when a local politician, the keynote speaker, failed to arrive.  It was then that the A.P. of Supervision doffed her cap and gown in order to exhibit what she called her "new body".

Note #1: One might consider what follows to be private information.  I would counter that it was Ms. Clarke herself who brought up the subject in front of a graduating class of seniors, faculty, administrators, stage managers and about 200 friends and family of the graduates.

Background: Ms. Clarke disappeared from the school from late January 2013 until March 10, 2011, a period of about 6 weeks.  Nothing was said officially about her whereabouts other than that she was undergoing a "medical procedure".  School officials were mute.  No collection was made as had always been the case in the past for members of the staff who were on medical leave.  There was no suggestion that anyone ought to make sympathy calls.

It was during this very time that the school was entering its death throes. There was a town hall meeting scheduled for Feb. 17, 2013.  This was to be one of those last ditch attempts by schools threatened with the axe to save themselves by garnering community support and displaying it in front of cold-hearted DOE officials like Marc Sternberg, the Deputy Chancellor in Charge of School Closings, the guy who had a happy hour when a court decision allowed the DOE to go ahead with their school closing reform.   Photos and video of this happy event can be seen at many sites including this one, chosen more or less randomly by googling "Marc Sternberg happy hour":  DOE celebrates school closings

Ms. Clarke was nowhere to be seen.  As teachers, students and even some administrators spent weeks preparing for this event, the A.P. of Supervision was nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps it was fitting that Ms. Clarke reappeared on March 10, 2013, appearing to have lost 50 - 75 pounds during her sabbatical - fitting, I say, not because of the new wardrobe she was at lengths to make sure got noticed but because it was the very next day, March 11, that the PEP voted to phase the school out.  Again Ms. Clarke was nowhere to be seen.  Given her self-centered and self-serving behavior at graduation yesterday, perhaps she was too busy standing in front of a mirror to pay attention to the closing of her own school.

So the nugget of wisdom offered to yesterday's graduating class by this "educator" was this: be yourself by surgically altering your appearance and don't be afraid to take time off from your job, even it a critical juncture, to do it.  Ms. Clarke admitted that she had had a procedure to lose weight but equated it with self-improvement.  You would have thought that she had spent those 6 weeks working out, dieting and otherwise showing some self-discipline rather than lying around "recuperating" while the rest of us were at work trying to save our school.

Neither was this supervisor of English able to perceive the irony of saying on the one hand, I'm 52 years old and have decided to let my gray hair go "natural" - after walking around for months in a jet black wig until someone must have pointed out how ridiculous she looked - and on the other hand recommending the most unnatural procedure of all - stomach stapling or whatever they call it.   The concept of self parody, of course eludes her entirely.

Note #2: This is the same A.P. Clarke who observed me teaching imaginary students, naming three of them, and then described my teaching in that class as "unsatisfactory".  See Chap. 35: Observing the Observer.   This is the same A.P. Clarke who took 2 guesses at the date of a meeting that I'm supposed to have had with her, was wrong both times, and then used that "meeting", whenever it was and with whomever was actually there, to rate me "U" again.  See Chap. 42: Observing the Observer 2.

For an "educator" to take center stage at a graduation ceremony, a public event meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the students, strip off her cap and gown and then gush about her surgically enhanced "52-year-old new body" is reprehensibe beyond description.  Her nauseating performance brought new meaning to the phrase "cringe worthy".

Note #3: Although Ms. Clarke is nominally "A.P. of Supervision," which allows her to supervise English and history teachers, she has no credential or background in these areas.  I'll point out, therefore, that the allusion in the title of this chapter is to Jonathan Swift and may have something to do with devouring Bronx youth.  (An "allusion", Ms. Clarke, is a reference to a well-known piece of literature.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chapter 61: How to Fail Students and Fire Teachers, 102

Chapter Sixty-one: How to Fail Students and Fire Teachers, 102

Update: June 25, 2013

I wrote in Chap. 60 about the DOE's campaign of using students and their test scores against teachers.  There is much more to be said about this.  It's the future.

Graduation at Jonathan Levin High School is now a thing of the past. Many June Regents results, however, are still things of the future. This morning we held our graduation ceremony at the Lovinger Theater at Lehman College without knowing for certain who exactly was graduating.

So far at least 3 students at this school failed the English Regents with a 61. As disclosed in chapter 60, those same raw numbers for any previous test would have passed them with 65-68. "Objective data" for the teachers who taught those Regents courses has been skewed downward. Students have been sacrificed in order to distort data prejudicially against teachers. The next time you hear a politician or DOE lackey or eduction pundit mouth the bromide, "It's all about the students," laugh an extra bitter tear into whatever you're drinking.

I might add this anecdote here as long as we're talking about manipulating data prejudicially against teachers. The new evaluation system calls for teachers to be fired or not according to that 40% of the plan that is student performance. It is now in the interest of the DOE to fail students, a catch-22 of epic proportions. The very system that is supposed to educate children benefits from failing to educate children.

You have to wonder, then, about a series of events that took place at Jonathan Levin H.S. in January of this year, 2013.  I make no judgements, draw no conclusions about these events.  If it sounds like an accusation, then maybe you're not following your Danielson rubrics carefully enough in observing this blog objectively and without making inferences.

I and one other teacher were teaching Regents ELA courses to regular ed. juniors during the fall 2012.  The expectation was that these 55 students would be taking the ELA Regents in January.  That is how things had been done here during the past 5 years when the school was receiving grades of "C", "B", and "A".  This was the description of the course as we undertook it in Sept.  Although we were told by our A.P. of supervision to use only Prentice Hall materials, we knew that we had to adapt Prentice Hall for Regents prep and that is what we did.  Both of us had taught Regents prep frequently in the past.

In early January 2013 a school aide appeared at the doors of our classes with individual Regents schedules for these students.  As they were passed around, we noticed that none of these students had been scheduled to take the English Regents.  No one in administration had said a word about this to either of us.  At no point during the semester had it been suggested that these were not Regents prep courses after all.  No rationale was given.  No explanation was given.  Nothing at all was said.

The only students scheduled to take the Jan. 2013 English Regents exam were ESL students who were mostly low level English language learners with little or no chance to pass an English test.  It is heart-breaking to see students who do not speak English sit for 3 hours or more for an exam in a language that they don't speak.  One student out of about 40 passed.

In Jan. 2013 Jonathan Levin H.S. was sitting on the edge of the DOE guillotine but its neck had not yet been inserted into the deadly machine.  The school had received a "D" after 2 "C" grades (after a "B" and an "A").  There was still a chance to avert the death sentence.  At this critical moment, students were programmed into Regents exams in such a way as to yield the worst possible results.

Shortly after the Jan. 2013 Regents, we were told that our neck had been thrust into the DOE guillotine and that the only chance we had for keeping our head would be to put on a big show at one of those great town hall meetings that have now become a tradition in the New York City public school system.  These are meetings organized by closing schools and attended by a DOE lackey, usually Marc Sternberg, who pretends to listen to the community while surfing the web on his mobile device.  The condemned school invites supporters in the community to express their displeasure at the closing.  Jonathan Levin put on a rousing exhibition on Feb. 17 that went on from 6 p.m. until after 11 p.m.  Hundreds of supporters came to protest the idea that closing schools is "reform".  The DOE "data" was presented with the interpretation that the school was failling.  Our "data" was presented that showed how the school had been sabotaged and gave the lie to the DOE interpration of the "objective data".

To no avail.  On March 11, 2013 another of those recently developed DOE public school traditions took place.  The Panel for Educational Policy (a group of mostly Bloomberg shills and lackeys) met at Brooklyn Tech H.S.,  and voted Jonathan Levin out of existence along with 22 other city schools.  An hour and a half of pleading by a parade of beautiful 6 and 8 and 10 and 12-year-old children failed to soften the hardened hearts of the PEP.  The chopping block felt nothing.

In the case of Jonathan Levin, by March 11, 2013 the DOE had more "objective data" to interpret.  They had a very poor pass rate on the January 2013 Regents to use to drop the guillotine blade.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chapter 53: The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Pick-Up Artist

Chapter Fifty-Three: The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Pick-Up Artist

Lest you read Chapter 31 and think that only one of the Charlotte Danielson rubrics is laughable ....

Chapter 31: The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective HUSBAND

... here's another of her "rubrics" for objectifying human interaction, this one as ludicrous and laughable as any other.  There are 22 of them so I'll be busy for a while but keep two things in mind always.  First, these "rubrics" are being used by bureaucrats to pretend that observing teachers in the classroom is "objective", "qualifiable" and can be transformed into "data".  Second, rumor has it that Charlotte Danielson herself is actually a puppet and that if you look closely at her videos, you can see the strings moving her arms and lips.  I don't know about you, but I swear I can see those strings - and every once in a while the tips of the puppet master's fingers at the top of the screen.

The Danielson "Framework for Teaching" contains 4 "domains":

     1:  Planning and Preparation
     2.  Classroom Environment
     3.  Instruction
     4.  Professional Responsibilities

Each of these domains contains a number of "components" for a total of 22 but see for yourself:

Danielson Puppet's "Framework for Teaching"

Note made on Jan. 13, 2015: When I wrote this chapter more than a year ago, this was a link to the  Danielson framework.  Now when you click on it you get the message:

404 - File or directory not found.

The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

But I'll leave it there so you can see for yourself.  Maybe they're on the run.  Now you can see the Danielson domains at Danielson Framework.

Chapter 31 of this memoir (see above) spoofed competency 2d: "Managing Student (Husband) Behavior".  Competency 3b, as you can see, is called "Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques".  Gone is Bloom's Taxonomy, a far more useful tool for the teacher.  Bloom was not a puppet, however, and so although his taxonomy is more useful, Bloom himself was far less useful to the current education reformers.   Legend has it that when they attached the strings to Bloom's arms and lips, he said things like, "The best laid schemes of mice and school reformers often go awry," and, "One monkey with one typewriter could teach better than all the school reformers put together."  Need I add that the reformers quickly cut the strings.

So here it is - Competency 3b - c. Danielson Rubric 2011 - adapted for New York State Levels of Performance.

See the 4 domains at Danielson Group

See the expanded versions used for professional development at Danielson Rubric Appendix

See a handout that I received at a professional development at Danielson rubric for Questioning and Discussion Techniques

Looking at the expanded version from the appendix, I'll point out first some of the unique and innovative dimensions of this new rubric under "elements of competency 3b" (page 31 of the Danielson Appendix)

     1.  "Questions of high quality cause students to think and reflect...."
     2.  "Effective teachers promote learning through discussion."
     3.  "Teacher uses a range of techniques to ensure that all students contribute ...."

Thankfully, in the future teachers will now attempt to get students to think.  I'm sure glad they thought of that.  Who would have thought!  Thankfully, too, teachers will finally be introduced to the concept of "discussion".  That will take care of a lot of dead time in the classroom, those lingering  minutes and hours of complete silence in the wake of a teacher comment.  And I'm so glad that teachers will now be versed in the idea of using a "range of techniques" for questioning and won't have to use those yellow, dog-eared flashcards they've been using year in and year out for every lesson in every unit.

Anyway, now that the teacher-student discussion can be objectively and qualitatively scrutinized, analyzed and evaluated, why stop there?  Questions and discussions are important in a wide range of human interaction, none less demanding and important than those difficult encounters that take place in dog parks, health spas and singles bars.  I mean, of course, the line of inqury utilized daily and nightly in picking up a date.  If we can pinpoint what makes a good teacher-student discussion, surely we can determine what makes a good pick-up artist - I mean, potential spouse.

Back in the Danielson laborotory, ....

[Legal disclaimer: Although all of the stories about schools in this book are true, the scene described here is another purely imaginative, i.e., fictional account. I’ve never met Charlotte Danielson and had never heard of her before she was foisted on us and became my de jure educational guru in September, 2011.]

SCENE: The Danielson Research Laboratory, i.e., her local singles bar
SUBJECT(S):  Charlotte, various bar patrons
AIM: Picking up a date
OBJECTIVE: One Nighter (as opposed to long-term relationship- see Domain -5f)
STANDARDS: CO 4.8: targeted prey's interest is aroused through clever Come-Ons
                          ET 1.2: targeted prey expreses amusement
                          PU 3.3: targeted prey is actually Picked Up
Do Now #1:  Dress for night on the town
Do Now #2:  Review addendum in Framework for Picking-Up: State Approved Come-Ons

       Charlotte is sitting in her home office.   Her 73-year-old pick-up date, "Gary", is snoring in the next room.  She is going over the low-inference, non-judgmental notes she made during the activity just consummated though it is difficult at times to decipher her own handwriting through the cocktail (and other) stains:

         1.  Fixes make-up in compact outside laboratory (bar) entrance  –  19:17:44
         2.  Enters laboratory (bar)  –  19:37:04
        3.  Sits at center of bar, orders Angry Fijian  – 19:40:23
        4.  "Wow!  That's strong!"  [crossed out – inferential]
        5.  Finishes drink, looks around, orders another Angry Fijian  -  19:44:31 - 19:45:12
        6.  Attempts initial state approved come-on: "Hey, I like your tie clip."  – 20:03:05
        7.  28-ish targeted prey gets up and moves to end of bar  -  20:03:09
        8.  Orders double Angry Fijian  -  20:03:10
        9.   Slithers up behind gentleman at end of bar with drink in hand  -  20:07:19
       10.  Presses chest against gentleman's shoulder  -   20:08:44
       11.  Evokes excited response, "Hey, lady, what are you doing?  –  20:08:55
       12.  State approved come-on #51 ("I was wondering what you're up to, big boy.") utilized  -  20:09:02
       13.  Initiates personal conversation about how gentleman's wife won't "give me any" - 20:13:57
       14.  Invites targeted prey back to "my place"  -  21:27:21
       15.  Waits as targeted prey throws up in street  -  21:38:54
       16.  Arrives at "my place" with targeted prey leaning on shoulder  -  21:44:18
       17.  Helps targeted prey to sofa where he promptly falls into a deep sleep  -  21:45: 22

“Hmm,” she thinks to herself, “a few of these terms are slightly judgmental.” NOTE TO SELF, she writes: change “gentleman” to “dude”; consider changing "slithers" to "creeps stealthily".
Since these notes are meant strictly as a tool for discussion and reflection rather than for evaluation and she is uncertain about the level of satisfaction she is feeling, Charlotte pulls out the actual rubric in order to determine if the objectives were accomplished and the standards met.

Competency 3b: "Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques"

Competency 3b

Pick-up artist’s pick-up lines are of low cognitive challenge, single correct responses, and recited in rapid succession.

Interaction between pick-up artist and targeted prey is predominantly recitation style, with pick-up artist begging for a “yes”. 

A few targeted prey dominate the response to the obvious and crude come-ons.

Pick-up artist’s pick-up lines lead prey through a single path of inquiry, with answers seemingly determined in advance. 

 Alternatively the pick-up artist attempts to frame some lines designed to promote targeted prey giving in quickly, but only a few targeted prey are involved.

Pick-up artist attempts to engage all targeted prey in discussion of reality t.v.  and to encourage them to respond to one another with possibilities of a threesome, with uneven results.

While the pick-up artist may use some low-level lines, he or she poses pick-up lines to targeted prey designed to veil targeted prey suspicion.

Pick-up artist creates a genuine belief in fake sincerity of pick-up line, providing adequate time for targeted prey to respond and stepping into the bathroom when appropriate.

Pick-up artist successfully engages most targeted prey in the fantasy, employing a range of strategies to ensure that most pick-up lines are considered in best light.
Highly Effective

Pick-up artist uses a variety or series of personal anecdotes and sob stories to challenge targeted prey’s susceptibility with high-level suggestions of possible gains and to promote suggestion of high level and immediate gratification.

Targeted prey formulate many responses to pick-up lines, suggest alternate sites and positions and make unsolicited advances.

Targeted prey themselves ensure that all vices are heard in discussion.

   Pick-up lines are rapid –fire, with single correct answer ("Hell no!" or "Beat it, loser!")

Pick-up lines do not invite targeted prey to fantasize in sufficient detail

All come-ons are between pick-up artist and single targeted prey; other prey are not invited to respond to pick-up lines as part of a multi-partner encounter

A few targeted prey dominate the come-on / response
   Pick-up artist frames some pick-up lines to prompt legions of  targeted prey to give it up but only  a few targeted prey respond

Pick-up artist invites targeted prey to respond directly to one another’s suggestions for multiple partner scenarios but only several engage

Pick-up artist calls on many targeted prey with a variety of physical attributes but only the least attractive respond
   The pick-up artist uses open ended strategies such as the suggestive wink or sly smirk inviting targeted prey back to the apartment; targeted prey respond with multiple suggestions

Pick-up artists makes effective us of wait time, giving targeted prey the illusion of choice and control

Pick-up artists recycles targeted prey’s words, making targeted prey believe that the pick-up artist was actually listening

Pick-up artist gives everyone at the bar the chance to respond, even those sobbing into lonely beer steins

Most patrons suggest various rendezvous sites
 In addition to the characteristics of “Effective”

Targeted prey hit on pick-up artist before pick-up artist delivers initial come-on

Targeted prey pretend that the pick-up artist is sincere by engaging in extended small talk

Targeted prey elicit new pick-up lines from the pick-up artist as well as more visually stimulating responses from other targeted prey at the end of the bar

Possible Examples
Accountable talk such as "Get Lost!" and "Loser" is heard upon pick-up artist's entrance and before the door has even closed.

Pick-up artist uses vulgar, off-the-cuff come-on such as, “Hey, baby those lips look just right for sucking,” instead of one of the state approved alliterative come-on lines tested in double blind studies such as, "Those lascivious lips look luscious."  Crude improvisation yields responses such as “Take off, squib!” or "Who let your sorry ass in the door?"

Pick-up artist spills drink on targeted prey, eliciting response, “You fucking moron!” and is thrown out of bar by short, wimpy bartender

Pick-up artist attempts same come-on with each targeted prey, “I got what you need,  honey,” eliciting a string of expletives from one end of the bar to the other

Pick-up artist hits on unwisely chosen targeted babe / dude clearly out of his / her league, whose boyfriend / girfriend  is in the bathroom, resulting in severe beating and 911 call for ambulance

Pick-up artist trips while dancing solo, falls into beer pong competition, and has hair washed in restroom toilet
Pick-up artist recites rapid-fire come-ons such as, “Wanna see my wheels? I got a great crib; My last girlfriend couldn’t get enough,” without waiting for response

Pick-up artist addresses entire bar, “Who here thinks they can handle me?” but only one douchebag / skank responds; pick-up artists notches “score” anyway and picks him/her up but “date” dissolves before taxi can be hailed

Pick-up artist manages to talk someone into a cab; targeted prey leaps out at first light when pick-up artist asks them to cover half the fare

 Pick-up artist urges bartender to lend support but even, “Hey, this guy is something,” from the bartender yields only apathetic yawns and disgusted guffaws along the bar

Pick-up artist refers to addendum of state approved come-ons, rehearses in front of restroom mirror, picks up no one but neither does anyone run out into the street
 Pick-up artist asks, “What might have happened if Studio 54 had not closed down?”  Open ended responses concerning bouncers, hookers, dealers and man on stilts ensue 

Pick-up artist uses the plural form in spewing come-ons into the room, such as, “Which of y’all wanna have a good time with this?” while grabbing crotch

Pick-up artist asks, “Michael, can you comment on Mary’s suggestion for a ménage a trois, deepening the analysis of  the discussion by suggesting ménage a quatre

The pick-up artist makes a come-on resulting in each targeted prey at the bar responding by physically mounting the bar to demonstrate favorite, unique position, but with attention directed more toward others in the room than towards the pick-up artist
Before pick-up artist can complete initial come-on, several of most attractive targeted prey slide up from behind, placing hands in strategically stimulating and intimate areas

Targeted prey line up at end of bar and begin removing clothing in hurried fashion in anticipation of come-on directed at them

Bartender pulls out numbered slips so that targeted prey can take a number and get in line

CNN crew shows up as result of quickly traveling word of mouth in time to film final 2 or 3 tabletop performances 

Pulitzer committee announces a new award named after pick-up artist with publication and analysis from well-known lotharios, seductresses, pimps, 'hos, and jet set trash worldwide

Objectively, Charlotte has to admit that she was ineffective according to standard CO 4.8 because Gary was too inebriated to fully appreciate the beauty and delicacy of the state approved come-ons utilized in the experiment and showed no objective signs of amusement.  She rates herself developing, nevertheless, in standard ET 1.2 because Gary smiled at the state approved come-on, "Can I bag your groceries, baby," though there were no groceries to be bagged or perhaps effective for arousing the response, "Hey lady, what are you doing?" in a relatively lively tone of voice considering the muddled state of the juiced targeted prey's senses.  But at least she was able to call herself highly effective according to PU 3.3 because Gary was actually picked up, though he fell asleep immediately upon arriving at the sofa.

"Now," Charlotte wonders, "what does "ineffective" plus "developing" plus "high effective" equal?"

She gets on the phone to the Danielson Group.  "Do we have those objective formulas ready yet for tabulating the results of all 22 components on a given observation of overall behavior?"

"They're still working on it, Charlotte.  Every time they insert the 13th variable and then apply the constants, the computer crashes.  But they're confident that they'll soon be able to deal with 15 of the variables as soon as they tweak a few of the constants."

"But we've got to have this thing up and running by September 1.  And it's got to look as though the formulas are 100% objective."

"Well, they tell me that they've almost got the objectivity constant calculated.  The objectivity constant.  Who could argue with that?'

Charlotte doesn't reply.

"When they get that figured out, it'll all fall into place.  They just have to figure out the square root of one more imaginary number."

"Keep me informed."

 Charlotte hangs up the phone, and decides in a very impersonal, objective manner that the "highly effective" rating outweighs the other two and gives herself an "effective" for this experiment.

"Its' a good thing," Charlotte thinks to herself, "that I'm not rating myself according to component 2d, managing behavior.  I'd certainly have to rate myself as ineffective since Gary probably isn't going to remember my name when he wakes up."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chapter 60: NYS English Regents Conversion Chart: Failing Students to Fire Teachers

Chapter Sixty: How to Fail Students and Fire Teachers, 101

Dateline: New York City Dept. of Ed.
June 21, 2013

As the Connecticutt McGraw Hill scammers, er, scanners take another coffee break in their quest to scan New York State Regents exams into computers for quicker, more "objective" grading, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pacing back and forth at Tweed.

Bloomberg:             (pacing)  What the hell is taking so long to scan those tests?
DOE Lackey #11:   I don't know, sir.  Pearson promised to have it ....
Bloomberg:             Get me Albany on the phone.
DOE Lackey #7:      Albany, sir?  Why Albany?
Bloomberg:              I want to talk to those Pearson people.
DOE Lackey #2:     They're in Connecticut, sir.
Bloomberg:             What?
DOE Lackey #12:    That's where they have their offices.
Bloomberg:             You mean they're scanning New York state tests in another state?
DOE Lackey #14:    Well, that's where they have their offices.
Bloomberg:              How much are we paying them?
DOE Lackey #33:    Almost ten million, sir.
Bloomberg:             Get me Connecticut on the phone!  Now!
DOE Lackey #24:    Put me through to the test scanning supervisor, please ....  What? ....  He's where ....  (holding hand over phone)  The supervisor is on break, sir.
Bloomberg:            What!
DOE Lackey #24:   Coffee break, sir.
Bloomberg:             (GRABBING PHONE FROM LACKEY'S HAND)  Now you listen to me!
DOE Lackey #24:   They hung up, sir.
Bloomberg:             (Screams into receiver.)  I want those tests scanned now!  Do you hear me!
DOE Lackey #45:   The check already cleared, sir.  (Slams phone down.)
Bloomberg:             What check?
DOE Lackey #45:    The check to Pearson for ten million.  They're not going to answer your call.

I'm just imagining what might be going on down at Tweed right now.  After more than a week, only 20% of the NYS U.S. History Regents exams have been marked because Pearson "underestimated" the time it would take to scan them into computers and the number of glitches that would arise, the frequency of the system crashing, the poor quality of the scans, etc.  But what does Pearson care if kids in New York can't graduate beause they don't have their test results?  They've got their money.

But maybe we don't want to see these tests anyway.  As an ELA teacher, I have a stake in the results of these tests - stake through the heart that is.  Since teachers are now going to be evaluated based on student performance on these tests, we can be fired as a result of these results.  For this reason, we English teachers here at Jonathan Levin H.S. in the Bronx just took a look at the scoring charts for the June 2013 English exam and the January 2013 exam.  What we found is interesting indeed.  Here they are.

June 2013 ELA Scoring Chart

January 2013 ELA Scoring Chart

In June 2013 if a student scored 16 on the multiple choice section and 7 on the writing sections, the student failed with a 61.  However if that same student had been lucky enough to take the test last January 2013, scoring 16 on the multiple choice and 7 on the writing would have yielded a passing score of 65.

DOE formula #1: Fewer students passing = more teachers fired.

Going back to Aug. 2012, June 2012 and Jan. 2012, we find the following:

                        Multiple Choice          Writing           Score
Aug. 2012:               16                          7                     65
June 2012                 16                          7                     65
Jan. 2012                  16                          7                     68

In other words, the June 2013 ELA Regents exam is set up to fail more students than in the past.  Coincidentally, New York State has just "adopted" - read: had shoved down our throats - a new evaluation system that the UFT, rather than condemning, seems to be endorsing.  See Chapter 52: Open Season on Teachers.  Under this system, the "value" of a teacher is tied directly to student performance.

DOE formula #2: more failing students =  more fired teachers.

Perhaps you've noticed that there is a move toward using data, in fact, claiming that all decisions are based on "objective data".  Forgetting that the real reason for this is simply that computers crunch numbers faster than long divison and so using computers gives all the paper pushers, bureaucrats, superintendents, pincipals, chancellors, et al., more time on the golf course, the pretense is put forward that data can be applied to anything and everything from selling tuna to outlawing soda  to evaluating human interaction.

Human interactions cannot be objectified and neither can a student's performance in any subject.  What can be objectified, however, is the manipulation of data.

Bloomberg returns from Tweed to City Hall to meet with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Bloomberg:        Keep on those Pearson people.  We need those results.
Lackey #62:       Yes, sir.
Dennis:               This is throwing a wrench into our plan to get rid of 5,000 teachers by September.
Bloomberg:        Tell me about it.  I don't have much time left.
Dennis:               Well, we've got till December.
Bloomberg:        But I want 20,000 of them out.  I'm the education reform mayor.  I want real reform.  That means firing teachers.
Dennis:               Well, we got the rubrics in place.  Have you seen them?  They're a work of genius.
Bloomberg:        They better be.  We paid that MIT egghead a lot of money to do them.
Dennis:               It's very subtle.  You can hardly tell the difference between these and the earlier ones.
Bloomberg:        Keep talking.
Dennis:               But they will mean another 5 or 600 kids failing each test.
Bloomberg:        Talk to me.
Dennis:               According to our formulas, we can fire one teacher for every 37.8293847675 students who fail a given Regents.
Bloomberg:        So that means ....
Dennis:               We're right on target for December although we may be held up in September a bit.
Bloomberg:        But wait.  More failing kids - won't that reduce the graduation rate?
Dennis:              Yes, but we've gone over that, Mike.  You've got to make some sacrifices if you want to get rid of teachers.  It's a trade off.  You know that.
Bloomberf:        I know.  I know.
Dennis:              Why don't you send someone up there to Connecticutt to light a fire under those people's asses.
Bloomberg:        Good idea, Dennis.  You over there!
Lackey #55:       (Looking up from iPad)  Yes, sir.
Bloomberg:         Get my helicopter ready.  I'm going to Connecticut.

DOE formula #3:  failing students + fired teachers = school reform

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chapter 52: Open Season on Teachers

Chapter Fifty-Two: UFT: Unopposed to Firing Teachers

I was looking forward to the latest edition of New York Teacher (June 13, 2013), the UFT rag sent by mail to teacher residences.  I was looking forward to the skewering of the state imposed "evaluation" system.  I looked from front page to back, however, and found only various articles starting with the one on page 3 headlined "Complex new system unveiled".  I think it's time to take my COPE money back.

The DOE spin in Maishe McAdoo's article starts fast - in the sub-heading: "Designed to support teachers ...."  In fact, of course, the old system was designed to support teachers.  Under the old system, supervisors worked with teachers to implement and analyze teaching strategies in the classroom.  Done well, there is no better way to support teachers.  Of course, many inept or corrupt administrators used the old system for other purposes at the urging of their 3-term mayor.

The new "evaluation" system is a three-dollar bill with Michael Mulgrew's face on it.  Hold it up to the light and Mulgrew's smirk metamorphoses into a snikering image of that other Michael - Bloomberg.  The only thing it's good for is rolling it up into a straw to drink out of your 32 ounce soda.  It's not only water resistant.  It's truth resistant.

"Commissioner John King's 241-page document transformed  the old Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory rating system, which gave teachers little guidance and principals almost sole discretion, into a multi-element review of their practice that can help them improve their teaching."  (paragraph 2)

You only have to read through this second paragraph to understand why Ms. McAdoo didn't attach an email to this article.  (Here is the article in its entirety: "Complex New System Unveiled")

There are plenty of lines to read between in a 241-page document. Fortunately Ms. McAdoo boils it all down to one word: "multi-element".  In other words, there is now a 2nd element in the teacher evaluation process beyond the observation of a qualified supervisor.  Now that's complexity!  Having spent 9 years at the closing Jonathan Levin H.S., I have no illusions about the intentions of administrators.  (See Chapter 35, Observing the Observer and Chapter 42, Observing the Observer 2, for example.)  However, the "multi" in "multi-element" is where the devil creeps in and you don't need to read between the lines in 241 pages to see that.  In fact, it's right there on the pie chart accompanying the article - the one showing that the "multi" in "multi-element" is now 40% of our evaluation - student performance.  This pie is certainly going to end up in teachers' faces.

Teachers will now be rated not on their own performance but on the performance of others.  I repeat.  Teachers will now be rated not on their own performance but on the performance of othrs.  I wonder how Ms. McAdoo would feel if I rated her article not on her own writing but on the work of whoever wrote Michael Mulgrew's press release on page 11.

The new "multi-element review" is a sham.  It takes the evaluation of teacher performance out of the hands of the experts and puts it 40% into the bloodless hands of the vampire addicted, the undead hands of the zombie addicted, the magical hands of the Potter addicted, the steely hands of the super hero addicted, the gossamer fingers of the fantasy addicted, the gossiping fingers of the Facebook addicted, the fidgety fingers of the video game addicted and, yes, even the nerdy hands of the textbook addicted.  In other words, students.  Add in the 5% from the student survey, and the "evaluation" of teacher perfromance is almost 50% in someone else's hands.

How does this support teachers?

"The commissioner did not adopt Mayor Bloomberg's vision of a system that gave the DOE unchecked powers and focused on getting rid of 'ineffecive' teachers."  (para. 10)

Yes, he did.  If a teacher is rated "ineffective" on that 40 - 45% of the evaluation that is out of his/her hands, the teacher will be rated ineffective no matter how highly effective the teacher is rated on the other part of the "multi-element review", the observationThe teacher's performance in the classroom will have nothing to do with his/her "evaluation".  Smirking, unscrupulous administrators will be saying, "It's out of our hands.  I have no choice.  The multi-element RUBRIC dictates that I rate you ineffective."  They'll be washing their hands faster than Lady Macbeth.

 If you want even more proof that Ms. McAdoo's spin on the "complex" new system is pure DOE spin, just read the rest of paragraph ten:

"Announcing his decision, King said, 'Let's be clear.  New York is not going to fire its way to academic success.'"

Yes, let's be clear.  If King calls is white, it's certainly black.  The clearer a politician claims to make something, the murkier it is. The more a politician says,"believe me," the less you believe.  In the case of polit-speak, it's not so much reading between the lines as turning the lines inside out.

"Part of the complexity of the new system stems form the variety of ways that student learning can be assessed."  (paragraph 14)

Yes, and 2 plus 2 plus 2 plus 2 plus 2 plus 2 is complex because there are 6 two's in there.  Nevertheless, it takes three-tenths of a second to see that it still adds up to twelve.

There is nothing complex about this new system.  Teachers will be evaluated on student performance on state tests and in school tests.  It doesn't take a rocket science to figure out the "complexity" of this simple system of gathering data to use against teachers.  Scenario #1:

Principal:   I know this is difficult to comprehend, but try to follow me.
Teacher:     Okay.
Principal:   I'm the principal. 
Teacher:    Right.
Principal:   You're the teacher.  Are you with me?
Teacher:     Yes.
Principal:   Your students took the Regents.  Follow me?
Teacher:     So far.
Principal:    Only 53% of your students passed the Regents.  Let me spell that out for you so that you understand - F-I-F-T-Y-T-H-R-E-E-P-E-R-C-E-N-T.  Still with me?
Teacher:      I think so.
Principal:    The rubric says that if your student pass rate is below 60%, you are 40% ineffective.
Teacher:      Mmm-hmm.
Principal:   The rubric further says that if you're ineffective in that 40%, you're 100% ineffective.
Teacher:     Wait ....
Principal:    Okay, let's try it again.  I'm the principal ....

What constitutes "ineffective" on student performance?  There is nothing in the article under discussion about this question.  This is where the complexity comes in, no doubt.  The convoluted formula for determining what consitutes ineffective student performance would probably make an MIT math professor scratch his head.  In fact, I wrote about this some time ago:

The Real Teacher Evaluation System

What constitutes "progress"?

"Twenty points [out of 100] are based on state measures of student learning grownth such as improvement on standardized test ...."  (para. 12)

Progress, of course, is a good thing.  The real question is: who defines progress?  Who's to say what constitutes progress for an individual?  Who's to say that progress for the zombie addicted is the same as progress for the vampire addicted?  As we all know, the conditions and circumstances under which standarized tests are taken never vary.  Scenario #2:

Principal:     Your student Bob only got 62 on the June Regents.
Teacher:      I know.
Principal:    He got 77 in January.
Teacher:      I know.
Principal:    What happened?
Teacher:      He only got 2 hours of sleep.
Principal:    And?
Teacher:      And he didn't get that much sleep.
Principal:    What are you saying?
Teacher:     You know, that he didn't get enough sleep.
Principal:    What does that mean?
Teacher:      Probably that he stayed up too late.
Principal:    You mean you let him stay up past curfew?
Teacher:      What?
Principal:    Didn't you read the fine print of the new evaluation system?
Teacher:     I thought I did.
Principal:    Well, I'm afraid that going from 77 to 62 does not constitute progress as defined by the state.
Teacher:      I see.
Principal:    According to the state rubric, I have no choice but to rate you ineffective.
Teacher:     But he got 77.  He only took it again because you programmed him to take it.
Principal:    It's out of my hands.

In the hands of the right people - or is it wrong people -  i.e., administrators, it might even be difficult to distinguish progress from regress.  Scenario #3:

Principal:     Your scholarship went from 58% pass rate to 63% pass rate on the Regents.
Teacher:      (smiling)  I know.
Principal:    (scowling)  That's an increase of 5%.
Teacher:      I know.
Principal:     Last time your scholarship went from 51% to 58%.
Teacher:      (smiling broadly)
Principal:    (scowling broadly)  That's an increase of 7%.
Teacher:      I know.
Principal:    That's a decrease of 2%.
Teacher:      What?
Principal:    Your rate of increase decreased.
Teacher:     Well, but ...
Principal:    I'm afraid that you're regressing and I have no choice but to rate you ineffective.
Teacher:     But you rated me highly effective in the classroom.
Principal:    That's only 60% of your evaluation.
Teacher:     So I'm 60% higly effective and 40% ineffective.
Principal:   Correct, which equals ineffective.
Teacher:     But ....
Principal:    It's out of my hands.

Washing your hands is good.  It keeps them clean.  It cleans the dirty work off them.

Teacher support comes in many different forms.  There's the ineffective for the Regents.  There's the ineffective for the decrease in your increase rate.  Then there's the ineffective for the Acuity.  Then there is the ineffective for the school-based tests.  Fortunately, coming soon (they say) will be another component of this complex yet supportive evaluation system: the ineffective for the PARCC quarterly exams.  There's the ineffective for any of the 22 Danielson rubrics  Then there is the ineffective for the student survey.  Isn't it great to get all of this support!

Finally there's the ridiculous Danielson rubrics.

"Principals or other administrators who conduct classroom observations must be trained to use all 22 components of Charlotte Danielson's well-regarded Framework for Teaching rubric."  (para. 18)

McAdoo goes on to say that it's a good thing that administratros will have all 22 options for ineffective ratings since they were threatening to hold it down to "a small fraction".  Thanks for that.  Now they've got 22 fake rubrics to use against us instead of 8 or 10 or 15.

Pretending that you can objectify human interactions is the biggest lie of all in this new, supportive evaluation system.  I made this point some time ago in Chapter 31:

The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Efective Husband

You cannot objectify human interaction and teaching is nothing if not human interaction.  But what's the sense in pretending that the 40% based on "data" is objective if you can't claim that the other 60% is also "objective".  So they've called the Danielson rubrics "low inference" and "nonjudgmental" as if calling stinkweed a rose makes it smell sweet.

There is no such thing as a low inference observation.  And, of course, inferences are essential to observations and evaluations.  Inferences are good.  Are you following me, Charlotte?  I know it's complicated but let me make it clear - inferences are good and essential.  They aren't objective and they can't be described as "data".  They're by definition anecdotal.  Anecdote is good when observed by an honest, competent observer.

Telling adminsitrators to observe a teacher's performance without making inferences is like telling students to read Of Mice and Men without making inferences.  That, of course, makes both George and Lennie cold blooded killers.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chapter 50: Teaching to the Evaluation

Chapter 50: The Menial Teacher

The new teacher evaluation system imposed on the state of New York by State Education Chancellor John King signals the end of teaching as a legitimate career.  Soon teaching will no longer be considered a profession.  It will be menial labor.

Scenario 1:   English classroom, ca., 2016.

Teacher:    How do you expect to get a good job if you don’t study?
Student:    (Sheepishly)  I don’t know.
Teacher:    You don’t want to end up flipping pages in books at $7.50 an hour at the local Leadership Academy High School, do you?
Student:    You mean, like you ....
Teacher:    Don’t make the same mistakes I made.  Get yourself college and career ready.  Then you won’t have to teach rote Pearson lessons for a living ....

The new teacher rating system stipulates that 60% of a teacher's value is determined by observation.  The other 40% is determined by the performance of the teacher's students.

If a teacher is rated "inefficient" on the student performance portion of the evaluation, the teacher will automatically be rated "inefficient" for the year.

Scenario 3

Principal:    Well, Mr. Jones, I've got good news and bad news.
Mr. Jones:   Okay.
Principal:    You are a highly effective teacher in the classroom.  Congratulations.
Mr. Jones:   Thank you.
Principal:    Unfortunately, your students didn't perform so well on their standarized tests.
Mr. Jones:   I see.
Principal:    It's not me, you understand.  My hands are tied.
Mr. Jones:  But I volunteered to teach the overaged, undercredited group at your suggestion.
Principal:   Exactly.  It was one of your preferences and you got it.
Mr. Jones:  But some of those students made great progress.
Principal:   Progress is a relative term, Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones:  And I put in all of those after school hours on my own time.
Principal:  Like I said, you are a highly effective teacher, Mr. Jones.  Unfortunately, the rubric dictates that I have to rate you "ineffective" for the year.  There's nothing I can do.

    NOTE: This blog contains an excerpt of the first draft of this book.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chapter 51: McTeacher

Chapter 51: McTeacher

June 2013
I was lucky enough to be a fly on the wall at Mayor Bloomberg's last meeting as the education mayor of New York City in late 2013.  Fortunately I had a recording device attached to one of my tiny wings.  This is what it picked up.  Present along with the Mayor were outgoing Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Bloomberg's P.R. adviser, his education aide and assorted lackeys.

Bloomberg:     (aside to Walcott) Glad you could make it, Dennis.  We've got important business to discuss today.
Chancellor:     Yes, you were a little secretive about it in your memo.
Bloomberg:     Sorry about that but I wanted everyone to hear at the same time.
Chancellor:      Okay.
Bloomberg:     (to entire assembly) So, this meeting is about what we're going to do with that $500 million race-to-the-top money we won for implenting the new FTT evaluation plan.
Lackey #5:      FTT?
Bloomberg:    Fire-the-Teachers plan.  Don't you read any of your emails!
P.F. Flack:        Ah, Mr. Mayor, it isn't wise ....
Bloomberg:    Not now, Bob.  I'm reprimanding this young woman for not reading her memos.
Lackey #5:     Sorry, sir.
B.oomberg:    Go get me some coffee.  (Lackey #5 leaves shamefully.)  Anyway, now that we've got our FTT system in place, we can start getting rid of real tachers and start hiring people we can use.  I want to make one more lasting imprint on the schools before I check out of here.
Lackey #3:      Like you did with Cathie?
Bloomberg:     (reddening): I'm talking about the race-to-the-top money.  That $500 million!
Lackey #1:      You're going to decrease class size!
Bloomberg:     No.
Lackey #2:      You're going to renovate some of those decripit old buildings!
Bloomberg:     Of course not.
Lackey #3:      You're going to use it to attract more highly qualified teachers!
Bloomberg:     Don't be ridiculous.  Didn't you read the memo on menial labor in the classroom?
Lackey #4:      You're going to upgrade technology ....
Bloomberg:     No, no, no!  Now listen.  What is the most successful educational institution in the country?
Lackey #7:      Harvard.
Bloomberg:     No.
Lackey #11:    Princeton.
Bloomberg:     (exasperated)  No!
Lackey #4:      Yale!
Bloomberg:     NO!  NO!  NO!  I'm talking about - what-cha-ma-call-it.  You know, B.C.  What's it called?  Burger College?
Lackey #17:    Boston .....
Bloomberg:    You know, Burger U.
Lackey #2:     Oh, you mean Hamburger University.
Bloomberg:    That's it.  Hamburg U.
Lackey #8:     You mean that school in Germany where the Beatles studied?
Bloomberg:    No.  I mean McDonald's training school where they churn out menial labor like so many Big Macs.  Did you ever hear of one of those stores closing?
Lackey #22:   Well, there was one ....
Bloomberg:    Of course not and you know why?  Because they control the education of their work force.  Control the mind and you control the body.
Lackey #19:   Isn't that what the public schools are already doing?
Bloomberg:    I'm not talking about kids.  I'm talking about adults.  Teachers.  McTeachers!
Lackey #7:     Are you going to serve fries with those McTeachers?
Bloomberg:    Hey, not bad.  Check into that.  Just make sure they're organic potatoes - and no soft drinks!  Now, here's the plan.  Entry level managers will be Regular Burgers.  Get it?  Regular Burgers.
Lackey #9:     Oh, you mean like the cheapest burger on the menu.
Bloomberg:    No!  I mean like the burger of a town.  You know, someone who lives there.
Lackey #8:     You mean burgher.
Bloomberg:    That's what I said.  Burger.
Lackey #8:     No, Mr. Mayor, burgher.
Bloomberg:    Is there an echo in here!  Anyway entry level will be RB - regular burger.  First promotion will be to  ....
Lackey #!5:   FF?
Bloomberg:   What?
Lackey #!5:   Filet of  Fish.
Bloomberg:    No!  CB - Cheese Burgerr.
Lackey #8:    You mean Cheese Burgher.
Bloomberg:   That's what I said.   Now that promotion will earn you 50 cents an hour more.
Lackey #12:   More than what?
Bloomberg:    Minimum wage, fool.  You're fired.  You've got ten minutes to clear your desk.  (Lackey #12 leaves dejectedly.)  Is there anyone else here who doesn't know the basics?
Lackeys all shake their heads.
Bloomberg:    Now where was I?
Lackey #13:   Minimum wage plus 50 cents.
Bloomberg:   Yeah, on second thought make that minimum wage plus 35 cents.  We don't want to make them greedy.  Next step up?
Lackey #15:   QPB?
Bloomberg:    Excellent.  See my secretary on the way out for your bonus.
Lackey #15:   What's that?
Bloomberg:    Bloomberg Radio lapel  pin.  The Quarter Pound Burger .....
Lackey #8:     You mean,  Quarter Pound Burgher.
Bloomberg:    Right.  This will be the store manager level.
Lackey #16:   I get it.  Then the Fish Burgher will be in charge of ....
Bloomberg:   What are you talking about?  Fish is a sandwich, not a burger.
Lackey #8:    But maybe a burgher.
Bloomberg:   What?
Lackey #8:    Well, a fish burgher isn't exactly a fish burger.
Bloomberg:   What's he talking about?  If I knew what he was talking about, I'd fire him but I don't know what he's talking about.
(Lackeys begin checking their mobile devices.)
Bloomberg:   Where was I?  Oh yeah.  The Cheese Burger is in charge of the grill.  The Regular Burger will be in charge of fries and shakes.
Lackey #14:   Wait.  How can the Regular Burgher be in charge of fries?  Wouldn't that be the Fry  Burgher?
Bloomberg:   Fry Burger?  What the hell is that?
Lackey #14:   It's like, you know, the mayor of french fries.
Bloomberg:    No, that will be the Regular Burger.
Lackey #8:    You mean Regular Burgher.
Bloomberg:   That's what I said.  Is that what I said?  That's what I said!  Next up will be, of course, the Big Mac.
Lackey #8:    You mean the Big Mac Burgher.
Bloomberg:   The Big Mac is a burger.
Lackey #8:    Right but not a burgher.
Bloomberg:   Of course it's a burger.  I just said it was a burger.  You don't have to call a Big Mac a burger.  It's already a burger.
Lackey #8:     But not a burgher.
Bloomberg:   (Perplexed)  Bic Mac Burger.  BMB.  I like that actually.
Lackey #8:     But aren't we talking about teachers, I mean, McTeachers in McSchool rooms?
Bloomberg:   Oh, right.  So the Regular Burger will be in charge of academic supervision.  The Cheese Burger will be in charge of Regular  Burgers.  The Quarter Pound Burger will be in charge of Cheese Burgers and the Bic Mac Burger will be in charge of all of them.
Lackey #17:   Oh, you mean like a principal.
Bloomberg:    No more principles in the new Fire-the-Teacher system.
Lackey #17:   But don't you have to have principals, I mean, Big Mac Burghers?
Bloomberg:    Big Mac Burgers, yes.  Principles, no.
Lackey #8:     But wait.  Doesn't the quarter pounder have more meat than the Big Mac?
Bloomberg:    What?
Lackey #11:   That's right.  The Big Mac is just a couple of little burgers.  The quarter pounder is a big, giant one.
Lackey #17:   But each of those little burgers is more than an eighth of a pound.
Lackey #6:     So what?  An eighth of a pound is a lot less than a quarter pounder.
Lackey #21:   But there's 2 of them.
Lackey #18:   Two times two is four.
Lackey #13:   Four times two is eight.
Lackey #27:   Who do we appreciate?
All Lackeys:   Bloomberg!  Bloomberg!  Bloomberg!
Bloomberg:    All right, all right - let's figure it out.  Do I have some volunteers?
(Lackeys look at each other.)
Bloomberg:    To go to McDonald's.
(Lackeys all raise their hands.)
Bloomberg:   Okay, you and you - go to McDonalds.  Bring back a Big Mac, a Quarter Pounder and a scale.
(Lackeys #7 and 14 run out.)
Bloomberg:  We'll decide once and for all who is top dog.
Lackey #24:  That's it!  Why not call the principal Top Dog - you know, like a big hot dog.
Lackey #4:    Yeah, a foot long hot dog.  He could be principal.
Bloomberg:  (scratching his chin)  Hmmmmm.
Lackey #6:   With ketchup or mustard?
Lackey #9:   Mustard obviously.
Lackey #12:  Why not put mustard on the first 6 inches and ketchup on the 2nd six inches?
Lackey #18:   What about the relsih?
Lackey #21:   You have to relish a foot long hot dog.
Lackey #8:     But which has more meat?  A foot long hot dog or a Big Mac?
Bloomberg:   Hmmmm, good question.
Lackey #8:    Why not send someone out for a hot dog?
Bloomberg:   Good idea.  Get going.
(Lackey #8 walks out.)
Bloomberg:   Now as for the co-location of the university ....
Lackey #14:   (eagerly) Which schools do you want to close!
Bloomberg:   Yes, I've been giving that some thought.  Obviously we can't put it in the Bronx and anyway we've already closed and opened so many schools up there that the natives are getting a little restless.
P.R. Lackey:  You mean the "constituents," don't you, Mr. Mayor.
Bloomberg:    Isn't that what I said?  Anyway the Bronx is out and Staten Island is too far away.
Lackey #!9:   What about Brooklyn?
Bloomberg:   What do those yuppies and hipsters know about burgers?
Lackey #25:   Well, there's Queens.
Bloomberg:    Where's that?
Lackey #25:    Out there on Long Island.  I think it's next to Providence.
Bloomberg:   Look, we all know that it has to be in Manhattan and it has to be down here near City Hall where future mayors can keep close tabs on what they're doing.
Lackey #22:   How about my alma mater?  Stuyvesant?
Bloomberg:   Where's that?
Lackey #22:   Right over there by the West Side Highway.
Bloomberg:    That sounds good ....
Lackey #22:   Of course, they've always got A's on their school report cards.
Bloomberg:    Well, then, let's get to work.  What's their ELL population?
Chancellor:     Zilch.
Bloomberg:    Well, let's get going.  Start dumping some immigrants in there.
Chancellor:    Well, Mike, they've got an entrance exam.  You can't get admitted without scoring well above city averages across the board.
Ed. aide:        It's one of the elite schools, Mr. Mayor.  It has a long, established tradition.
Bloomberg:    So did Taft, Columbus and Clinton.  So?  We can't run a school system on nostalgia.  We've got to run it on sound fast food franchise principles.  So let's get some immigrants in that place.  Obviously that entrance exam is flawed and biased.  Get the P.R. team on it.   (P.R. Flack makes a note.)  How many special ed. kids go there?
Ed. aide:        Virtually none.
Bloomberg:    Well, that's not right either.  What's the suspension rate?
Chancellor:    There's no behavior problems in that school.
Ed aide:         Wait a minute, Mr. Chancellor.  There was a Regents cheating scandal a couple of years ago.  Remember that?
Chancellor:    Vaguely.  Fill me in.
Ed aide:         A bunch of kids were using social media to pass around answers.
Bloomberg:   Can we hire some of those kids?
Chancellor:    They've moved on to mostly Ivy League colleges.
Bloomberg:    I see. (to P.R. Flack)  Keep track of those clever kids.  They might have come in handy when they caught Joel and me dumbing down the state tests a few years ago to make it look like the schools were actually being reformed.  (P.R. Flack makes a note.)
Chancellor:    Hold it, Mike, I think we've got something here.
Bloomberg:    Talk to me.
Chancellor:    Well, it would take a few years to flood Stuyvesant with overage, underachieving kids, give it a couple of "F" grades and then phase it out - you know, like we usually do to schools.  Maybe we can bypass all of that.
Bloomberg:   I like your thinking, Dennis.  Now I know why I chose you to replace Cathie.
Chancellor:   Why not prosecute them for educational malfeasance or something like that, reduce the size by about 25 or 30%, then take over that part of the building to co-locate the burger college.  Once we've got our foot in the door, it'll be a piece of cake to take over the rest of the building.
Bloomberg:    Possession is nine-tenths ....
Chancellor:    Exactly.
Bloomberg:   (to Ed. aide) Get the legal team on this.  I want Stuyvesant closed down by the end of the year.  Start pressing charges against that principal immeidately.
Ed aide:         The guy who was principal at that time already resigned, Mr. Mayor.
Bloomberg:   Well, he probably hand-picked his successor.  The legal people can dream up something.  They're getting paid a hell of a lot of money for that sort of thing.
(Lackeys #7 and 14 return with the goodies.)
Bloomberg:   Well, look who's finally back!  What'd you do?  Stop off for lunch somewhere?
Lackey #7:    Well, you know, sir, we were at McDonald's.
Bloomberg:   That's what I like - people who can take advantage of a situation for their own gain.  Let's see that.

Bloomberg pulls out the Big Mac, unwraps it and holds it at arm's length.

Bloomberg:    Okay, okay, that's about a quarter pound.  Let me have the other one.

Bloomberg does the same with the quarter pounder, holding out one in each hand.

Bloomberg:    Mmmm, they are pretty close.  I'd say that Big Mac is a bit heavier.
Lackey #14:   Here's the scale, sir.
(They place the sandwiches on the scale.  The Big Mac is slightly heavier.)
Bloomberg:   That does it.  We'll call the superintendents the Big Mac Burgers.
(Lackey #8 returns with a foot-long hot dog in a wrapper.)
Lackey #8:    You mean Big Mac Burgher.
Bloomberg:   That's what I said!  Let's see that hot dog.

Bloomberg holds the hot dog at arm's length.

Bloomberg:    It's not as heavy as either of them but it looks better.  I think we're going to reserve that title for you Dennis.  From now on you're going to be Hot Dog Walcott.
Lackey #8:     FLHD, you mean.
Bloomberg:   What?
Lackey #8:    Foot Long Hot Dog Walcott.
Bloomberg:   Right!
Lackey #2:     But how are we going to fund this once the fire-the-teacher - I mean, the FTT money runs out?
Bloomberg:    I'm glad you asked that question.  (calls to outer office)  Bill, come in here.
Bill:                (entering)  Yes, sir.
Bloomberg:    This is my personal accountant.  Bill, run the numbers by them, will you.
Bill:                Well, it'll work like this.  For each teacher the new FTT gets rid of, we'll save approximately $45,000  in salary alone.
Bloomberg:    (licking his chops)  See.  See.
Bill:                For every new teacher that gets hired in the new tier, the one with no health care or pension benefits .....
Bloomberg:    That's not quite true, Bill.  The benefits will be available.
Bill:                Yes, of course, sir, but the price will be so prohibitive that no one will "opt in".
Bloomberg:    Right.  We'll give them the "opt in" option to make it look like they have a choice.
Bill:                Of course.  For every new teacher hired we'll save an average of about $83,000 per year in loss of benefits in the long run.  That will be more than enough to fund the initial campus of the burger college and additional campuses and I was thinking about that as I listened from the other room, Mr. Mayor.  As long as your closing Stuyvesant, why not just close all of the elite high schools and turn them into burger colleges.  You can make Bronx Science the next new thing.
Bloomberg:    I like it; I like it.  Bronx Burger U.  It has a nice ring to it.
Lackey #8:     You mean, Bronx Burgher U., don't you, Mr. Mayor?
Bloomberg:    Is there an echo in here?