A Jumbled Mess


I have quite a few educational thoughts buzzing in my brain of late. I’m trying to determine the most tactful, least injurious ways to tackle some of the latest hotbutton issues: 

  • Charter Schools – I’m currently reading Whatever it Takes by Paul Tough and will follow it with The Death and Life of  the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch. I’m becoming particularly interested in the charter debate as my friends go to work in them and with my discovery of the shiny new Charter Bug blog. I have very strong opinions on the matter, but I’ve been asked to educate myself further before I so resolutely define myself as either a supporter or detractor. Plus, if these places are the wave of the future (for better and worse), I better be versed in them. (Side note: after devouring the Eva Moskowitz/Harlem Success article in New York Magazine, I fought with every fiber of my being to resist firing off a scathing rebuke of the tactics and ideologies employed there, knowing that it’d be inappropriate to do so without knowing more. My compromise was to introduce you, my readers, to the article, hoping you’d find it as intriguing as I did, and knowing full well I might someday return to it).

    Which way should I go first?

  • Fairness in Schools – I’d like to consider administrations’ motivations for certain things, be they having us submit superfluous amounts of paperwork, requesting observations, etc. Also, I’ve had reason to think about administration-teacher interactions on the whole, not through anything personal, but through the experiences of colleagues. Perhaps it’s the end of year frustrations that are making me think of these things, and maybe it’s best that I bite my fingers for a bit on them.
  • Climate of NYC Schools – With the city having just decided on a budget (without the state having done so), schools, and all city agencies, are in a major state of flux. This opens up the Pandora’s Box of tenure, seniority, merit pay, and accountability debates. The Chancellor recently wrote that all hires made after the fall of 2007 could be in jeopardy of losing their jobs for next year. This would put me and a great deal of my friends and colleagues at risk. It’s a major issue that warrants exploration and discussion. Currently, it is the singlemost pressing issue of my career, and it has the potential to set me on a path I never anticipated at this stage – which could mean something good or something bad.

So, I shall return. Know that my absence from my readers has been on my mind, and I have a lot I want to say. I’m just trying to figure out how to approach things. I want to make sure I know what I’m talking about before I ask you to devote any time to reading my thoughts. I’ll be back, and I hope to see you then.

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2 responses to “A Jumbled Mess

  1. I am very glad to hear that you’ve chosen to do some more research on the charter front! I tremendously applaud your balance of literature, by exploring “Whatever It Takes,” the story of Harlem Children’s Zone, as well as Diane Ravitch’s critical look at the charters, as an ex-charter advocate. Looking forward to reading your reactions as you continue!

    PS- Best of luck with your employment in the coming year. I truly believe that it’s the teachers such as yourself that are the glimmer of hope that NYC needs in order to help it’s students most!

  2. This does not sound like a jumbled mess. It sounds like a mind at serious work on a lot of key issues, and I, for one, can’t wait to hear more about what you’re thinking. Although, I must say, I’m shocked and offended you didn’t suggest we do a mini book club with your book list there 🙂

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