Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chap. 70: World War T: Part 1: The Menace

Chap. 70: World War T: Part 1: The Menace

Dateline: Sept. 2, 2013; Washington D.C.
Oval Office: President Obama is sitting at his desk when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is ushered into the room by his security detail.

Obama:       I'm sorry to interrupt your Labor Day festivities, General Duncan, but we have a pressing issue of vital national security on our hands.
Duncan:      I assumed as much, Mr. President.
Obama:      I regret to inform you, General, that the enemy is now in our midst.
Duncan:     You have confirmation of this, Mr. President?
Obama:      I just met with the director of Central Intelligence.  There can be no doubt.  In fact, the infiltration of this enemy is far more advanced that we thought.
Duncan:     Who is it, sir?  Communists?
Obama:      No.
Duncan:     Terrorists?
Obama:      No.
Duncan:     Drug lords?
Obama:     I'm afraid it's much worse, General.  It's our worst nightmare.  This insidious enemy has insinuated itself into the very fabric of our most cherished institution.
Duncan:     The family, sir?
Obama:      No.
Duncan:     The church?
Obama:      No.
Duncan:     Not, the Boy Scouts of America, Mr. President?  Surely not that!
Obama:     I'm afraid it's beyond your wildest imagination, General Duncan.  I'm talking about our public education system.
Duncan:     No!
Obama:      Yes, the enemy has struck at the heart and soul of our democracy.
Duncan:     You can't mean ....
Obama:      Yes, General.  I'm talking about teachers.
Duncan:      OMG!
Obama:     Under the guise of educating our youth, teachers have infiltrated our educational system from top to bottom.  They're in every school district, in every school, every classroom.
Duncan:    My God!  They're even in ....
Obama:     Yes, General, even in every study hall.
Duncan:     How did we let this happen, Mr. President?
Obama:     We were duped.  Very cleverly they spent years getting educations.  They spent tens of thousands of dollars on their own training.
Duncan:     An excellent diversionary tactic.
Obama:     Often they even went to graduate school and gained advanced degrees in education with the sole purpose of weaving themselves into the public education system.
Duncan:    The deviousness is almost beyond comprehension.
Obama:     Yes.  And then they went underground as novice teachers, working their way up through the system, devoting years to their strategic covers.
Duncan:     Moles.
Obama:      On an unprecedented scale.
Duncan:    I see the urgency of the situation, sir.  The new school year begins tomorrow.
Obama:     Quite right.  But step one of the counter-insurgency is already in place, General.
Duncan:    You mean the race to the top money, sir?
Obama:     No.
Duncan:     School closings?
Obama:      No.
Duncan:     Co-location?
Obama:      I'm talking about the new teacher evaluation system, General.  See this red telephone on my desk?
Duncan:    The Doomsday Phone, sir.
Obama:      Exactly.  I can pick up this phone and annihilate 98% of the earth.
Duncan:     A last resort, sir.
Obama:     I'm afraid that's what we've come to, General.  The situation is that desperate.
Duncan:    You can't mean ....
Obama:     That's exactly what I mean.  You've seen this other phone on my desk.
Duncan:    The chartreuse one.
Obama:     That's right.  You were here when I had it installed.
Duncan:    The No Child Left Behind phone.
Obama:     I can pick up this phone and get a direct line immediately to Bloomberg Radio.
Duncan:    Desperate measures, sir.
Obama:     Within minutes, Bloomberg will have put every superintendent, principal, assistant principal and payroll secretary on high alert.  They will be ready to spring into action on your orders, General Duncan.  You are the supreme commander of our armed educational forces.
Duncan:    I'm ready, sir.
Obama:     Armed with the new teacher evaluation system.
Duncan:    The one that is based 40% on student performance rather than on their own teaching.
Obama:     Exactly.
Duncan:    So that we can place teachers in classrooms full of overage, under-credited students who have no chance of passing their standardized tests.
Obama:     And if the teachers fail in that 40% of their evaluation ....
Duncan:    We can rate them 100% "ineffective."
Obama:     Exactly.
Duncan:    No matter how hard they try and how well they teach.
Obama:     Exactly.
Duncan:    And we can then get them out of the system within 2 years.
Obama:     During which time we can excess them into the netherlands of the ATR pool.
Duncan:    Never to be heard from again.
Obama:     Exactly.
Duncan:    We're armed and ready to fight, Mr. President.
Obama:     Good.  Now we move to step 2.  With the new teacher evaluation systems in place, it's time to mobilize the education forces, General.
Duncan:    You mean the Common Corps, Mr. President.
Obama:     Precisely.  We don't have a moment to lose.  Starting tomorrow, tens of thousands of teachers will once again be pursuing their subversive agendas.  Under the guise of educating our children, they will in reality be pursuing their own insidious goals.
Duncan:    You don't mean ....
Obama:     Yes, personal days.
Duncan:     It's even worse than you said, sir.
Obama:      And health care.  Central Intelligence has discreetly recorded them at some of their secret meetings.
Duncan:    I know.  I read about it in the Snowden leaks.
Obama:     They laugh at Obamacare, General.  They've got all the health care anyone could want.
Duncan:     They won't be paying any health care fines, sir.
Obama:      Imagine.  A generation of youth growing up believing that you should have personal days and health care and not be fined for not having a health plan.
Duncan:     It's un-American.
Obama:     They might even grow up thinking that the single payer plan is what we should have in this country.
Duncan:     You mean like the rest of the civilized world has.
Obama:     We have to act quickly, General.  Can you rally the forces?
Duncan:     Yes, sir.
Obama:     Good.  If we act now, we can defeat this menace before it gets to the point where it is in that Brad Pitt movie.
Duncan:     World War Z?
Obama:      Where the virus has spread throughout the world and infected every school child sitting in every classroom in every school.
Duncan:     And every study hall.
Obama:     If we act now, we can avert disaster.
Duncan:    World War Z?
Obama:     World War T.  It's up to you now, General Duncan.  The counter offensive begins immediately.  Your plane is ready.
Duncan:     Where am I off to, sir?
Obama:      Parma, Ohio.  That's where we take our stand.
Duncan:     Yes, sir.
Obama:      You'll be briefed further in flight.  Now get going, General.  But remember.  Do not underestimate the enemy.
Duncan:      Teachers, sir.
Obama:       Right.  They're a devious lot.  It will take every bit of ingenuity and strength we can muster to defeat them.  Our way of life depends on it, General.  We're depending on you.
Duncan:     I won't let you down, Mr. President.
Obama:      Good.  Now, on your way out tell my secretary to send in that pizza.  The game is about to start.
Duncan:     Yes, sir!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chap. 80: Excessed, Pt. 1: Frequently Asked Questions

Chap. 80: ATR, Pt. 1: Frequently Asked Questions

 As a member of the vast and growing ATR pool as of June 6, 2013, I thought I'd dream up some frequently asked questions as well as some less frequently given answers.  So here goes ....

FAQ:   What's the first thing I should do when I'm "excessed"?
A:        This one is easy.  Now that you're homeless, you need a theme song.  Here's mine:

FAQ:   What are the words to that song?
A:        Here they are:  Lyrics to Ramblin' Bill
FAQ:   Did you pick this song because it's about homelessness and that's how you feel as an ATR?
A:        Yup.
FAQ:   But aren't you going to change the words to suit the ATR situation?
A:        Good idea.  Some verses need no embellishment, like the first.  They describe the ATR life nicely.  Others just need tweaked here and there:

Sleep all day and I ramble all night
I love to go because I think that goin' is right.

Just old ramblin' Dave, just old ramblin' Dave.
Some day I may get appointed and I might settle down.
I ain't got no school.  I'm here all alone.
All the lesson plans I got, boys, I go them on.

I been all around from school to school.
Because the DOE is playin' me for a fool.

I'm just like a DOE consultant, carry nothin' but my hat.
I play principals where I find 'em and I leave them where I find them at.

Book bag is my pillow.  Subway keeps me warm.
Bronx sky's my blanket.  District 9 builds my home.

FAQ:   What exactly does "excessed" mean?
A:       "Excessed" isn't a word.
FAQ:    But the DOE uses it all the time.
A:         That's not a FAQ.
FAQ:    Sorry.  Doesn't the DOE use "excessed" all the time?
A:         They also call closing schools "reform".
FAQ:    Is "excessed" gibberish or gobbledygook?
A:        Gobbledygook.  The word doesn't exist except in the Urban DOE Dictionary where it means "exiled to educational purgatory".  So don't worry when your word processor refuses to recognize it.
FAQ:   What does a "letter of excess" look like?
A:        Like this:   Letter of Excess
FAQ:   Why does it say at the top that you were excessed from a "non-closing" school?  Weren't you excessed from a closing school?
A:        Maybe a school that is merely being "phased out" doesn't fall under the DOE definition of "closing."  Or maybe they can't be bothered to use an accurate form.
FAQ:    Can you sue to get your job back since your excess letter isn't accurate?
A:         I'll look into it.
FAQ:   Why were you excessed?
A:       You may be asking me to break some sacred Danielson rules about not drawing inferences and being completely objective and nonjudgmental.
FAQ:    Isn't it good to draw inferences?
A:        Of course.
FAQ:    So why were you excessed?
A:        As you can see from that letter, I was excessed from Jonathan Levin H.S. in the Taft Building.  Blame is usually placed on the budget but here's how it broke down last month at that school.  The principal kept the following numbers of teachers by department:
3  science
3  history
3  math
1  English
FAQ:     Are you an English teacher?
A:          Yup.
FAQ:     Why do you think he only kept 1 English teacher?
A:          All I know is that of the 3 English teachers there, one had less seniority than I had so to get rid of me, he had to get rid of 2 of us.
FAQ:     Why did the principal want to get rid of you?
A:         There you go asking me to draw conclusions again.
FAQ:     Well, why?
A:         I can only refer you to chapters 35, 36, 38, 42, 44, 53, 62 and others in this blog.
FAQ:    Is it true that they send ATRs to a different school each week?
A:        Is anything true in the NYC DOE?
FAQ:   Does ATR stand for "another teacher remanded"?
A:        Yup.
FAQ:    What should I do next?
A:        Repent and see if they'll let you out of educational purgatory.
FAQ:   You mean try to get a job?
A:         Oh, right.
FAQ:    Should I dig out my resume?
A:         Yup.
FAQ:    What should be in my resume?
A:         Poems, short stories - no novels - mug shot, blogs, favorite movie, snapshot of laundry room, taste in Italian food, Facebook status, reasons for wanting out of the DOE.  Here's mine:

David Haverstock
823 ---------
Cell: -----------
Home: -----------

Current Status::      Excessed / ATR
    “U” rated for the 2012-13 school year by Nasib Hoxha at the failed and closing Jonathan Levin High School  -  Under Appeal as of summer / fall 2013
                To view the daft documents used to describe my teaching as “unsatisfactory,” click here:
                Observing the Observer
                Observing the Observer 2

Creative Project:      Co-creator along with Zawadi Noel of the cartoon strip Therapy Dog Tails.

Creative Objective:    To bring amusement and understanding to the world (see website).

Teaching Objective:    To teach high school students in an environment that promotes freedom of expression and values joyful creativity as well as analytical ability.

Qualifications:    Experience in all levels of high school English Language Arts, 9th – 12th
    Four years of NYC Ramp Up teaching, 9th grade
    Ramp Up training, spring, summer 2004, Martin Luther King H.S.
    Five years of Regents Prep courses, 11th grade
    Familiarity with Danielson, Common Core Standards, ARIS, Easy Grade Pro, Sonar, iMovie, GarageBand, and MORE!
              For discussions of Danielson rubrics written by me, see:
             The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Husband
             The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Pick-Up Artist
Experience:      Sept. 2004 – June 2013:  Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications Taft Campus, 172nd St., Bronx), ELA, 9th – 12th
    Oct. 2001 – Aug. 2004: Theodore Roosevelt High School, Fordham Rd., Bronx, ELA, 9th – 10th
    Sept. 1982 – Aug. 1988:  Trevor Day School, E. 90th St., New York, ELA / Math, 6th – 8th
    Sept. 1981 – Aug. 1982:  American-Nicaraguan School, Managua, Nicaragua, ELA, 9th, 11th
    Jan. 1980 – June 1981: University of Akron, Akron, OH, ESL
    Sept. 1977 – Aug. 1979:  King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, EFL

Extra-Curricular:    2006 - 2012: Producer / Organizer of the Jonathan Levin Poetry CafĂ©, a school-wide song and poetry performance produced annually
    2002 – 2003 / 2008 – 2009: Participation in Lehman College Writing Initiative, Susannah Thompson, high school coordinator
    Sept. 2004 – June 2007: Coordinator Community Service Program, Jonathan Levin H.S., high school students mentoring elementary students at P.S. 64X, Bronx
    1987 - 1988: Founder/ coordinator school newspaper, Trevor Day School
    1977 – 1979: Founder / Player / Coach, King Faisal University Basketball team

Awards:    Teacher of the Year, 1987 – 1988, Trevor Day School, E. 90th St., New York

Non-Teaching Experience:          April 1990 – Oct. 2001: Owner / Partner in Zyloral Co., vitamin sales / holistic Health / nutrition / herbal supplements

Education:    Secondary Certification Program, University of Akron, 1980 – 1981
    M.A.  University of Illinois, Chicago, 1978
    B.A.    University of Illinois, Chicago, 1974

References available upon request (probably not from my last principal).

FAQ:      Shouldn't a resume look neater than that?
A:           DOE bureaucrats are used to shoddy, ungrammatical documents with numerous spelling and punctuation errors.  They run all their memos now through mis-spell check.  This is software developed by Joel Klein exclusively for the DOE to ensure plenty of typos, gaffes, malaprops and misstatements of fact.
FAQ:     What are you saying?
A:          Give them what they like - poorly formatted, inaccuracies, and so forth.  They respect that.
FAQ:     What's Ramp Up?
A:          A remedial reading program, now obsolete as common core soon will be.  A few years ago the DOE gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a bunch of Aussies for it.
FAQ:     What's an Aussie?
A:          Somebody who knows how to take the DOE for all it's worth.
FAQ:     Should you be revealing all that personal information in a blog?
A:          Not according to Edward Snowden.
FAQ:     So why are you doing it?
A:          Because I'm in educational purgatory.
FAQ:     Do you recommend that others follow your example?
A:         Are you crazy?