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Eva flames out on teacher quality

Eva Moskowitz held her last education committee hearing yesterday. She leaves the Council January 1. Probably by coincidence, the hearing was on teacher quality. She asked witnesses to discuss what distinguishes excellent teachers from their peers and how to measure teacher quality using indicators such as where the teacher went to college, their undergraduate GPA, or their number of absences. Oh, please.

The director of UFT Teacher Centers, Aminda Gentile, testified, “These questions have nothing to do with creating a highly qualified teacher workforce. A system that builds and supports its teacher workforce creates good teachers and good teaching.” Aminda suggested that teacher quality was a matter of how the system develops its teachers, not how it picks them. “Let me rephrase your question,” she told Eva. “It’s not how do we identify good teachers but how do we grow good teachers.” Touche!

The DOE sent Human Resources head Betsy Arons, who, as the Staten Island Advance reported, talked about the Department’s plans to launch a new high-tech system to track student test scores next year, one that will “make it easier for administrators to monitor student achievement and evaluate teacher performance.” Eva lauded this development as a way to get “more accountability in the school system, especially in the areas of teacher performance and quality.” Pfef!

This tracking system, sometimes called “value-added assessment,” or “value-added modeling,” is cutting-edge, in that it tracks student performance over time and links that back to the value that a teacher adds to the child’s established cognitive growth curve. It’s interesting, all right but as a big RAND study concluded two years ago, it’s just not ready for prime time. Too many statistical kinks.

That conclusion seems to have filtered down to a lot of school systems and governors who have played with the idea of paying teachers based on student performance and other quality measures but then put the plan on hold. A new Issue Paper by the Education Commission of the States and Teaching Commission just came out. It is carefully neutral on merit pay and performance pay, but when you get to the appendices you see that in every state that has tried to change the teacher compensation system or bring in performance pay, the effort has either stalled in the Legislature or it’s been referred back to a task force (i.e., it was DOA when it got to the Legislature.)

Maybe Eva and other proponents would say the teachers’ unions blocked these bills. But in fact the only place that is trying performance pay on any scale at all is Denver, Colorado, and there it was the teachers union that wrote and championed the measure, taking a full five years to pilot and develop it. Performance pay may be a good idea in the abstract but in the implementation it’s a real bear. Klein thinks announcing things makes them so, but he’s mistaken.



  • 1 NYC Educator
    · Dec 8, 2005 at 7:34 pm

    It’s not precisely announcing things that makes them so. It’s instituting things like “lead teacher” with nothing but plans to expand it in the next contract.

    It’s really sad that the UFT, which has the audacity to claim the sixth class is not a sixth class, and the monumental lack of foresight to not know what that portends for the next contract, has also failed to grasp the implications of having agreed to this.

    Klein knows exactly where he’s headed.

  • 2 Schoolgal
    · Dec 8, 2005 at 7:52 pm

    What distinguishes excellent teachers? It’s asking the teachers what they need in terms of staff development and meet those needs instead of having admins assign topics that do nothing to advance our methods of teaching or help our student succeed.
    For me, the last 6 Professional Development Mondays was nothing but detention.

    Didn’t Carmen Farina want every school to have a Professional Development Committee?
    My school had one in name only. Now with 3 more sessions left, prehaps Randi can do something to make sure that teachers’ needs are met.

  • 3 no_slappz
    · Dec 8, 2005 at 10:10 pm

    Once again, the testimony of Amanda Gentile and the Issue Paper by the Education Commission of the States clearly demonstrates the failure of the monopolistic state-run public-school system to meet the needs of the teachers and the students.

    When will union members grasp the fact that tuition vouchers would end the problems recounted on this website every day?

    Bureaucratic monopolies are not responsive to the recipients of their services and they are not responsive to the needs of their employees. These problems are a result of monopoly power and cannot be cured by wrestling with the monopoly leadership.

    The only path to change is the path that involves leaving the monopoly behind, and forcing it into a competitive environment. If teachers had alternative teaching opportunities outside the public-school venue, salaries would rise. If schools were able to offer higher pay to math and science teachers the shortage would vanish.

    It’s all about understanding how and why competition works. It’s not about a formula for determining “teacher quality.”

  • 4 jesse
    · Dec 9, 2005 at 1:16 am

    Slapz – sell crazy somewhere else. We ain’t buying it here.

  • 5 paulrubin
    · Dec 9, 2005 at 9:39 am

    The assumption behind every game being proposed with salaries is that capitalism doesn’t apply and that capitalism completely applies. The problem with attracting good teachers is simply that we expect people with 2-3 degrees to work in squalor, treat them like little kids, teach using techniques inapproriate to their students, and to do so for still 10-30% less than the surrounding people doing the same thing in a comparative country club atmosphere. And make no mistake, even the suburban teachers are disgusted with their salaries considering their years of training and the level of expectations. We want our kids to get first class educations on the cheap and that doesn’t work. Capitalism applies directly here. The best, brightest and most creative are rarely attracted to teaching because of salaries and working conditions and even less so to NYC. Until you get 20 or 30 applicants for each teaching position, you’re not doing a good enough job attracting them and that means money, money, and money.

    On the other end of the spectrum, schools are not factories where harder work necessarily produces more widgets. Often, pushing harder produces nothing but burnt out teachers and ruined kids because you didn’t properly target the work on an individual level. The things that would really help students in need are way smaller class sizes, better trained teachers, more involved parents, better use of technology, sometimes team teaching, and so on. All very expensive. But this IS what works. Tweaking the curriculum doesn’t. The curriculum is always undergoing changes. NYC has probably been through 7 or 8 different math curriculums since I’m alive. So what. Extending the school day to tutor kids isn’t a bad idea. But doing it across the board even in schools where the number of kids involved is minimal? Bad idea. Waste of money.

    And finally, enough with the test scores already. We’re ruining a generation of kids preparing them to take standardized tests so the politicians can show phony 5% increases that will probably come and go over a 5 years span of time. We’re now teaching to the test which does nothing but improve test scores. It doesn’t prepare kids for anything. Sure if we could get everyone to do 30% better on tests that would be a good thing but it’s not going to happen just by teaching to the test. We have to remember 50% of our kids are going to be below average. And nothing we do can ever change that. If everyone does twice as nicely on tests, 50% of the kids will still be below average. And none of it encourages creativity, art, music, physical education. We’re ignoring science, social studies and foreign language. We’re messing with stuff on a huge scale simply to say we changed things. Bah humbug.

  • 6 overview
    · Dec 9, 2005 at 2:03 pm

    The issues of teacher qualifications, and teacher competencies are important ones for us to consider. But we have to ask ourselves what qualities and experience lead to good teaching? Is it the education of the educator? Is it the socio-economic background of the teacher? Is it the healthy family dnyamics in the teacher’s personal history? Perhaps it has to do the with the humanistic orientation of the teacher, and some of their deeply held, and private beliefs about human life and its purpose? How are we to measure these factors? How are we to know the impact of the teacher’s personal experiences and background on their professional performance? Can we measure these? Can we analyze them in a laboratory?

  • 7 NYC Educator
    · Dec 9, 2005 at 2:46 pm

    If Klein gave a damn about teacher quality he’d institute a selective nterview system and require demo lessons as schools in Nassau do, rather than checking for sub-minimum credentials and hiring anyone who comes down the pike.

    Everyone knows what good schools do, and what makes good schools. Good teachers are essential, and small classes are what comes next. With the largest class sizes in the state, and the very lowest standard for hiring teachers, it’s preposterous that anyone gives credence to Klein’s rants about improving the school system.

  • 8 Chaz
    · Dec 9, 2005 at 6:28 pm

    Only in the NYC teaching profession is the law of supply and demand ignored.
    The reason the overall teaching quality is not better has much to do with :

    1. Dysfunctional students

    2. High class sizes

    3. Disrespect of teachers by Tweed

    4. Mindless professional development

    5. Non-competitive pay and working

    6. Innovative teaching has been replaced by the “one size fits all” approach.

    To blame public school teachers for the urban problems they must deal with day in an day out is not only wrongheaded but smacks of ignorance of what really happens in an urban school setting.

    The Tweed motto:

    “No good deed goes unpunished”

  • 9 paulrubin
    · Dec 9, 2005 at 11:45 pm

    Here’s the problem. All of us almost instinctively know who the best classroom teachers are in our schools. We probably also have some idea who the hardest working teachers are in our schools. We know who the most popular teachers are. And the least popular. We know which ones are tough graders and which ones just want to minimize conflict with parents by giving high grades. We know it takes a more specialized skill set to teach some subjects. We know which teachers make the school administration happy and which ones bust their chops. And to be honest we probably can all answer those questions about our supervisors as well. There’s no secret to these things but there’s also no easy way to quantify them. A teacher can be well qualified, work hard and still with the wrong mix of kids, accomplish less some years than others. That’s the nature of what we do. Sometimes the best of intentions goes awry and sometimes we just luck out. Some of us are more empathetic. Some of us more intolerant. But with some kids you never know which will work better til it’s too late. Some of us have experience to fall back on. Some of us received better training as a college student. Some of us bring more work home with us. Some of us design our teaching so that more gets accomplished in the classroom. Some of us make superior use of technology. Some of us don’t know technology from pornography.

    And so we have a system in place that pays teachers based on years of service and formal training which are at least tangible things that can be measured and verified. I’d be fascinated to see how NYC’s one size fits all mentality can figure out how to pay one hardworking art teacher more than one hard working 2nd grade teacher. When this can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction I’m all ears. Til then, we need to concentrate on the obvious:

    -raising teacher pay so more people enter the field
    -lowering class size especially for at risk students
    -increasing parental involvement
    -increasing the use of technology
    -targeted meaningful professional development
    -a system that better targets dyfunctional students
    -a system that better targets our gifted students
    -a more cooperative atmospher between upper management, middle management and teachers
    -more support for innovative creative techniques
    -more flexibility for schools to do their own thing

  • 10 R. Skibins
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 2:52 am

    Chaz hit the nail on the head. I must add that it is easy for a principal to manipulate teacher quality by manipulating the classroom situation. For example, in my school a decade ago, the principal at that time most certainly played favotites. One young lady was the darling of the administators. Her class was devoid of behavior problems while the rest of the grade had to bear the burden. That whiney little a**-kisser constantly received praise as a great teacher, while the rest of us were treated like dirt. A group of about five teachers looked upon the principal as some kind of god. They always were given the best and the brightest kids, the ones who run on auto-pilot.

    My point is that a principal can manipulate the classroom environment in a way that affects teacher quality and student performance.

  • 11 NYC Educator
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 8:43 am

    And let’s not forget this time-honored tradition–How many supervisors teach the honor classes requiring the very least supervision, while assigning the new teachers with no experience whatsoever to those with the most difficult students?

  • 12 no_slappz
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 9:44 am

    Every comment on this message board overflows with the complaints that spring from the core of working for a state-run monopoly. The sooner teachers realize that a free-market educational system operating more like the public/private university systems we have in every state, the sooner they will reach their personal and professional goals.

    The wish list of changes needed to transform the public-school system into the organization teachers yearn for will never come about as long as a single bureaucracy holds all the cards.

    What will happen is what has been happening — delays, unmet goals, disappointments, corruption (financial, professional, personal) and endless studies and the endless convening of committees tackling the wrong topics.

    Notice there’s few complaints from the parents of private school students about the quality of the education their kids receive.

  • 13 Chaz
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 1:22 pm


    you are a real piece of work!

    Why would parents complain when their children have class sizes that are in the teens, peers who are competitive for grades (no child whose parents are paying $20,000+ is coming home with D’s & F’s), and private schools who believe in grade inflation by giving students not tests but alternative assessment assignments. God forbid, that the school academic record could suffer if their students would be subject to the same testing requirements as public schools?

    Finally, you inadvertantly hit the problem on the head….parent involvement….Public schools must take everybody!!! Private schools can pick and choose!

    Enough of your nonsense!!

  • 14 Schoolgal
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 1:32 pm

    And every student who is a discipline problem in the private schools somehow wind up in the public school.

    The parents that work hard to pay for private school tuition expect high standards not only from the school, but from their own students. They take a vested interest from the time they are born–reading to them, having conversations with them, taking them to museums or other excursions.

    Many children in my school have never seen a zoo unless we take them. They are left in the care of an elderly grandparent or baby sitter until their parents come home late at night. These parents love their children, but the economy demands that they put in long hours to pay for rent and food. We try hard to give a “private school” atmoshpere with the help of the Parent Association Officers. My school has won many wonderful awards and our students have met some big name movers and shakers. Yet, we still have problems. The fund raisers aren’t bringing in the “bucks” they used to support many wonderful activities as well as stock our supply closet, and not many parents can afford to volunteer for many school activities. We have tried Storytelling Night, Science Night, as well as other topics. The only big turn out we get is for the annual Halloween Party Night and that you have to pay for.

    Private school parents not only pay tuition, but many are required to volunteer a certain amount of time to school activities. My niece volunteers for lunch duty once a week. My friend helped out the school librarian. They also help with homework, prepare for tests and, during the summer vacation, they make sure their children read and do review work.

    Private school parents also hire tutors and do everything in their power to guarantee great test scores. Some have even gone so far to get a 508 in time for the SAT.

  • 15 jd2718
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 2:19 pm


    I’d like to talk to teachers here, agree, disagree, discuss. But if there are anti-labor, anti-public education posts, they, and the necessary responses, dominate the board. It becomes an uncomfortable place for a regular teacher.

    In fact, one non-teacher, representing views not very far from the NY Post, is essentially dominating the board. I appealed once to him: he has other venues more appropriate, and teachers need a place. But there’s a selfishness associated with those points of view, and of course he is still here.

    I don’t see this being a place for regular teachers until this is controlled.


  • 16 institutional memory
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 3:43 pm


    Society Pages Klein’s new “high-tech tracking system” will be the most teacher-unfriendly development of his regrettable reign.

    Invalid data will be used to make incorrect judgments to a degree that will boggle the mind. Scapegoats, please line up to the left.

    During the misguided Bloomberg-Klein era, New York will have emerged as America’s most NCLB-compliant state. What an embarrassment. Lame Duck Pataki, we done ya’ proud!

    Next up: Intelligent design!

  • 17 Kombiz
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 3:57 pm


    I agree and I was hoping to catch the comment earlier. The discussion he/she started is completely off topic and they are hoping to troll the discussion into whatever topic he/she wishes to talk about as he/she has in a series of other comment threads. I can’t send his comments into moderation without sending a lot of other people’s comments there too (technical issue), but I’m going to be a bit more dillegent.

  • 18 Chaz
    · Dec 10, 2005 at 7:27 pm

    Kombiz, Jonathan;

    Obviously, I disagree with that commenter and yes, he/she was somewhat off topic. However, this is supposed to be open to all people who comment on education and just because he/she rants about vouchers and private school does not make that person unwelcome. In fact, his/her long rambling thread just demonstrates that the commenter has a problem getting to the point and does not have a good grasp of the issues.

    Finally, in my opinion this commenter has at least concentrated on the schools, not Durfur, Wal-Mart, and other issues not related to education.

  • 19 jd2718
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 8:57 am


    the site’s own description says:

    “EdWize is sponsored by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) as a place where members, public education advocates and others can express opinions in an effort to establish an agora of informed commentary on public education and labor issues.”

    To come here to oppose unions and oppose public education is to violate the spirit of the site. Those messages, and the inevitable responses that follow, set a tone for the site that makes it less likely that more teachers will come here to take part in discussions.

    At the least, those messages are disrespectful of the site’s mission. More likely, they are a conscious attempt to prevent serious discussions among teachers from taking place.

    If you personally want to debate with those sorts of people, you can find them easily and do that on your own. If you need a public venue, try the NY Post letters column, or call in to 770.

    But this place should be for UFTers and public education advocates.


  • 20 curious2
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 2:44 pm

    I am interested in getting statistics on the number of teachers in the past few years that have been terminated due to performance reasons (and not just sent to another job within the system). Do you know how I can get something on this?

  • 21 mc
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 3:49 pm

    I would like to know, now that the new contract has been ratified, and the tier one baby boomers are about to stampede out with their fat new retirement increases while we on tier 3 are left holding the bag with more hours of work, more micromanagement, what happened to the union’s promise of 25/55 for tier 3 if the contract got ratified? Now all I see in the UFT paper and on the blogs on this website is oh everything is just peachy, let’s now go save the world, help those in the third world, in other unions, Katrina victims etc. but no mention of what is going to happen or any intention of doing anything for us on tier 3. To all those save the earth hypocritical baby boomers who were safely ensconsed on teir 1 when they ate their young on teir 3 in 75, and now they just ate us again while they are going to retire in June, thanks alot for screwing us with the help of Randi. By the way if my comment isn’t relevant to this chat GOOD, because this union is not relevant to those of us who are still left teaching.

  • 22 no_slappz
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 5:08 pm


    I am a teacher in the NYC public school system. Doesn’t that qualify me to post my thoughts here?

  • 23 no_slappz
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 5:12 pm


    Because you have repeatedly removed my posts — posts relevant to the topics under discussion — it is clear you do not support the ideal of a place where individuals “can express opinions in an effort to establish an agora of informed commentary on public education and labor issues.”

    By repeatedly removing my posts, you demonstrate that hypocrisy is your guiding principle. Your efforts to seize complete control of this public space shows you possess a totalitarian and dictatorial mindset, one that cannot tolerate the expression of opposing ideas. That need to block out and eliminate discussion of opposing views, especially a rational and proven opposing view, shows you know the ideas you support are weak and your only power is to prevent other ideas from taking root.

    Why the fear of a few contrary ideas? Is it fear that some readers/teachers might agree? That’s the only explanation that works.

    You shouldn’t worry so much. If no one agrees with me, I will be ignored or countered with better arguments.

    You, however, seem fearful, worried that someone might conclude the public education system in NY will simply NEVER meet the needs of way too many students.

  • 24 no_slappz
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 5:37 pm

    In one of my posts removed by kombiz I suggested a small project for Chaz:

    Design a high school that would charge tuition of $9,000 per student.

    How many students would this school enroll?

    How much would teachers earn?

    How many teachers would it hire?

    How many students would each class have?

    How many administrators would be on the payroll?

    What classes would it offer?

    I’m curious to know what you think can be accomplished with $9,000 per student. I believe that per-capita amount is enough to accomplish the basic goals of mainstream primary and secondary school education.

  • 25 Chaz
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 6:20 pm


    The project doesn’t interest me. What does is that parental involvement is the key for student success. The public schools have many children who have no parent involvement. Something you fail to understand.

  • 26 Kombiz
    · Dec 11, 2005 at 10:13 pm


    Let’s be clear here, the previous comments that were sent to the moderation cue from you were articles that were copyright protected and pasted into full into the comment section. That’s illegal and has nothing to do with your underlying point of view. Because they were pasted word for word into half a dozen comment threads it’s also called spamming. Your previous comment had nothing to do with this thread as usual and I’d actually allowed you to have that argument with some people on this board on a previous thread. You made the decision to populate this thread with completely off topic comments.

    Jonathan has a keen eye for what’s going on here.

  • 27 no_slappz
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 7:07 am


    You removed several of my posts in addition to the Milton Friedman commentary on school vouchers. The other comments of mine that you removed were authored entirely by me.

    Meanwhile, it takes a lot more than posting the same commentary a handful of times to meet the definition of “spamming”.

    As far as posting Milton Friedman’s comments on school vouchers goes, I think his words are some of the most relevant words ever written on this topic and absolutely appropriate to this forum. There’s no problem with the issue of reproducing them here. And even if there were a problem, it would be my problem, not the problem of Edwize, as the courts have already determined. That legal issue is settled.

  • 28 no_slappz
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 10:30 am

    Maisie wrote:

    “She (Moskowitz) asked witnesses to discuss what distinguishes excellent teachers from their peers and how to measure teacher quality using indicators such as where the teacher went to college, their undergraduate GPA, or their number of absences. Oh, please.”

    This pertinent question was followed by this testimony:

    “The director of UFT Teacher Centers, Aminda Gentile, testified, “These questions have nothing to do with creating a highly qualified teacher workforce. A system that builds and supports its teacher workforce creates good teachers and good teaching.””

    Of course, in true bureaucratic and dissembling fashion, Moskowitz’ question remained unanswered. Meanwhile, the following statement suggests UFT director Gentile has an answer to Moskowitz’ question but won’t reveal it.

    Aminda Gentile says:

    “Aminda suggested that teacher quality was a matter of how the system develops its teachers, not how it picks them. “Let me rephrase your question,” she told Eva. “It’s not how do we identify good teachers but how do we grow good teachers.” Touche!”

    “Touche”? Hardly. Merely an evasion.

    Let’s rephrase the question. Since the UFT director believes good teachers are made, not born, there must be a formative process to produce themn and examples of the output of that growth process.

    What are the methods by which the UFT turns this human clay into “good teachers?”

  • 29 institutional memory
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 5:34 pm


    In the latest bizarre twist to NY’s charter school saga, Eva Moskowitz’s new job (she’s term-limited out of the City Council) is running a charter school.

    Now, she’ll find out how the battlefield looks from the ground, rather than as an observer.

    Good luck, Madame Director!


  • 30 redhog
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 7:40 pm

    Perhaps Eva could be a Professional Instructional Site Supervisor, or at least a Site Honorary Instructional Teacher. (And let sleeping acronyms lie)

  • 31 NYC Educator
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 7:44 pm

    I haven’t much liked anything about publicity-seeking, teacher-vilifying, one-sided, don’t sway me with the facts Eva, but I gotta admit I think it’s admirable she’s actually willing to put her money where her mouth is.

    You don’t see many politicians do that nowadays. You don’t see warmongers Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, or mouthpieces Will or Limbaugh actually fighting with anything but their considerably large mouths.

  • 32 redhog
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    O.K.I concede that at her most heroic and indefatigable, Eva still is loathsome as outer space is vast.

  • 33 Schoolgal
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 9:26 pm

    I glad to see the Fish is back with his great sense of humor.

    Eva Moskowitz was once a champion of the teacher until she realized it wasn’t getting the press she so desired. For many years now she has done nothing more than look at the negatives.

    Now she is using a charter school financed by big business as an entry to becoming the next mayor. Should children be used as stepping stones to further someone’s political aspirations?

    I would have more respect for her if she reentered the teaching field in a NYC public school and discovered for herself just what makes a teacher excelllent.

  • 34 NYC Educator
    · Dec 12, 2005 at 9:54 pm

    At least she uses the same name on a regular basis.

    Love that scatological humor. So clever.

  • 35 redhog
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 7:06 am

    Thanks, Schoolgal and NYC Educator. I think we blog regulars ought to get together at some respectable dive; we’d find we are of one blood, albeit different types.

  • 36 art-teacher
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 2:40 pm

    So when is Eva taking applications for her new Charter School….I want it…SO I CAN UNIONIZE IT…..

  • 37 NYC Educator
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 3:02 pm

    “I would have more respect for her if she reentered the teaching field in a NYC public school and discovered for herself just what makes a teacher excelllent.”

    Me too, now that you mention it. I stand corrected.

  • 38 no_slappz
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    With the exception of a few comments, all statements made by posters are ad hominem attacks on Moskowitz.

    All she did was ask a pertinent question. No answers were forthcoming.

    However, readers were informed that the UFT takes a pile of human clay and molds it into great teachers.

    Yet there’s not one statement describing the process by which such teachers are made.

    How does the UFT build a better teacher? Does anyone know?

    And what are the attributes of that teacher?

  • 39 Schoolgal
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 7:21 pm

    You say you are a teacher…you should know the answer.

    As for going out for drinks:

    Yes to the Fish, No to the Hog. And NYC has to come too! Of course the Fish is buying!!!!!!!!!

  • 40 redhog
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 7:54 pm

    Aw c’mon, let Redhog come! He’ll pay out of his heart’s expense account. And naturally his debating foils are welcome. He couldn’t abide a party in which his they were not in the majority. Let’s laugh together. This is not the time to slit the throats of oppressors and watch their scarlet blood ooze down the boulevards and complement the fresh-fallen snow. Bottoms up!

  • 41 no_slappz
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 8:35 pm

    Schoolgal, your response shows you have no knowledge of how to mold a great teacher.

    Also, every teacher I know thinks a quarter to a third of all teachers in the system are incompetent. What’s your estimate?

  • 42 jd2718
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 10:26 pm

    What drinks?

  • 43 Schoolgal
    · Dec 13, 2005 at 11:47 pm


    You must be king of the mighty “turn-offs”. “Blood ooze”

    After reading that, I needed a drink.

    Let’s just agree to be blogpals for now.

  • 44 redhog
    · Dec 14, 2005 at 6:13 am

    No-slappz is a virulent anti-unionist who should be neither humored nor dignified by an invitation to our round table of ideas. Let’s not waste our craft and passions on pleading for truth’s acceptance from individuals of intractible animus and blockheadedness. Demogogues get lost!

  • 45 no_slappz
    · Dec 14, 2005 at 8:30 am

    redhog, consider me what you will, but my desire is to improve the educational outcomes for students everywhere but New York City especially.

    That aside, as those who want to redirect arguments away from the real issues always do, you engaged in an ad hominem attack.

    Moreover, you clearly have no interest in a “roundtable of ideas”. Your table is not round, it is imaginary — it has only one side: yours.

  • 46 redhog
    · Dec 14, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    “The devil can quote scripture” and you can trot out every cliche about caring about kids, professionalism, the “free market” et al, but your agenda is feral and fetid and workers should shout you down because you are a brazen example of extremism.

  • 47 CityTeacher
    · Dec 15, 2005 at 6:08 pm

    Can I get an Amen!

  • 48 no_slappz
    · Dec 19, 2005 at 4:36 pm


    You wrote:

    “…you can trot out every cliche about caring about kids, professionalism, the “free market” et al…”

    What cliches did I trot out?

    And as for comment about “extremism”, well, you’re the guy who’s operating on the fringe.

  • 49 firebrand
    · Dec 20, 2005 at 9:16 am

    Schoolgal– I can tell you what a good teacher looks like….You see them beating a path to the door in droves every year around June…never to return…be they retirees or on occasion new teachers who know that they deserve better.

    I for one am returning to law school as of August.

  • 50 no_slappz
    · Dec 22, 2005 at 6:54 am

    Because Firebrand doesn’t have many options or alternatives with respect to a career as an educator, he is taking a path that says much about the failings of public education.

    He’s leaving it altogether. Career alternatives exist for him.

  • 51 firebrand
    · Dec 24, 2005 at 7:17 am

    1. Firebrand is a woman.
    2. Firebrand has fifteen years teaching experience and a guidence license that she chooses not to use.
    3. Firebrand left law school one year away from graduating…after teaching the entire time she was in law school, to devote her life to teaching because she loved teaching and only liked the law.

    I think it’s you who has no other options. I was in the top of my class the entire time I was in law school and expect to be there again. I don’t stay in situations in which I am disrespected.

    WORKING in public education failed me …not being a student in public education. I was a student in public education when students…and not dollars or power…or prestige or whatever it is this regime is driven by was paramount.

  • 52 no_slappz
    · Dec 26, 2005 at 5:36 pm

    Firebrand, you wrote:

    “I can tell you what a good teacher looks like….You see them beating a path to the door in droves every year around June…never to return…be they retirees or on occasion new teachers who know that they deserve better.”

    This comment reflects your view on the entire public education system as it is in New York. And as you added,

    “WORKING in public education failed me …not being a student in public education. I was a student in public education when students…and not dollars or power…or prestige or whatever it is this regime is driven by was paramount.”

    Your words simply support my point: the system is a bureaucracy so large that it is beyond the management skills of anyone.

    And bigness in bureaucracies always leads to serious shortcomings for many who are enmeshed in it, whether as employees or as the recipients of its services.

  • 53 firebrand
    · Dec 28, 2005 at 1:56 pm

    No Slapz you can take my words however you wish to twist them. I do deserve better than the way I have been treated. The public school system has morphed into something where children come last and teachers come second to last. It’s become a buisiness. One that does not pay me what I am worth. I’ve stayed this long for the children. I am leaving because of the adults.

    Rumor has it you’re not even a teacher. I am a teacher and a good one. I’ve been a good one for fifteen years.