Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Free" Market, Costly Price: Saga, Part 5

New York Shifts Strategy on Mentoring New Teachers Education Week, from an article in edweek: A New York City mentoring program once hailed as possibly the largest overhaul of teacher induction in the country has been dismantled amid district officials' push to give schools more say over their own affairs. In place of the 3-year-old venture to support beginning teachers in the classroom, New York's schools will individually shape help for new teachers, using a combination of dedicated and general resources.

In my opinion, as a result of this, principals don't necessarily chose what is best for their kids, but best for them politically so as to survive in the new world order. I believe there is relevance to this as part of the "two bagger saga" of my last few postings. This can mean help with testing gimmicks and strategies or hiring those who have political connections, i.e connections to those with the power to close a school or keep it open. Sadly, as my "saga" infers, it appears that UFT officials might even be in cahoots with this. Despite the promise to rely on data, the data is open to question and there have been inconsistencies in where and when it is used. I also believe there is also some political agenda at work in using the reading/writing workshop approach, which to me is an obvious failure in most schools. When such Professional Development is used there are also ancillary ill effects. Teachers attend them, either in house or off site, and kids are left in the hands of armies of inexperienced substitute teachers or left to watch movies or tossed into the gym or playground for mass coverages.
Was the regular teacher of this class out sick or at a "workshop"
Friday, October 12th 2007,
A harmless classroom game spun out of control and left a Staten Island eighth-grader severely injured and his classmate under arrest, police said Thursday.
When the "Quiet Game" was played in a math class at Intermediate School 49 on Oct. 3, students were told they would be punished if they made a noise.
Chaz Carvalho, 13, lost. He sighed and said, "Okay" - and was promptly hit in the side by a 400-page, hardcover math textbook allegedly thrown across the room by a student.
Chaz crumpled to the ground and writhed in agony, but the substitute teacher forbade any classmates from helping him, he said.
"I dropped to the floor, and it really did hurt," Chaz said yesterday, displaying the long scar on his stomach from the surgery to remove his spleen, which was ruptured by the book.
"The teacher told everybody to, 'Sit back down, he's fine,'" Chaz said. "I said, 'I'm in pain.'"
Chaz said substitute teacher Kuang Wei Li - a 26-year-old instructor who had never worked for the city - allowed the kids to play a game for the last 15 minutes of the 80-minute class.
Several students requested that they be permitted to play an extreme version of the game, in which students who make a noise are not just expelled from the game but become targets of books thrown from all directions.
"I went along with it but it wasn't my idea," said Chaz, who acknowledges making obscene noises before saying "okay."
Chaz - who stands 4-feet-11 and weighs just 69 pounds - ducked under the first book thrown by a 14-year-old girl. But the next two connected, hitting him in the back and side, he said.
"They decided to make it extreme, [and] I think it's wack," said Chaz's mother, Deborah. "They had to have been wailing [the books] at him."
Chaz went to the school nurse, saying he had a stomachache. When the pain did not subside for days, he told his mom what happened and was taken to the hospital, where his spleen was removed.
Doctors closed the surgical wound with 29 staples. He will not be able to return to school until the end of the month.
Deborah Carvalho reported the incident to the police on Wednesday, and the 14-year-old girl who allegedly threw the first book was arrested, cops said.
The girl - whose name is being withheld by the Daily News because she was charged as a minor - also was suspended from school.
Chaz said he doesn't blame his classmate. His mom blamed Li, saying she lost control of the class at IS 49, which was added to the state's list of "persistently dangerous" schools in August.
"The teacher should be held responsible. She should be suspended until this blows over," Carvalho said. "Obviously, she can't handle teaching."
Li, who could not be reached for comment, will not be given any further assignments unless she is cleared of wrongdoing, said Education Department spokeswoman Dina Paul Parks.

No comments: