Friday, November 30, 2007

G&S Sports: From An Interview in 2002

video
For KV kids and adults the place to go for sporting goods was either Haber's or G&S Sports. Haber's had the added bonus of selling school stationery supplies. Haber's has been gone for a long time, but G & S is still going strong after 70 years. Now it specializes in boxing supplies sold mail order and also via the internet. Len Zerling, now in charge, also manages boxers. This is part of a longer interview done as a school research project in 2002.
Information from the G&S website
G & S Sporting Goods was established in 1937 by a former boxer, Izzy Zerling, and has continued to be operated by the same family. G & S specializes in boxing equipment but also carries a full line of sporting goods for baseball, basketball, football, soccer, sneakers and team uniforms.
Today, G & S still takes pride in our equipment and guarantees customer satisfaction. We use quality leathers, the best nylon stitching and rubber in making our boxing gear. We try to bring our customers the best in boxing equipment possible by investing in product quality and not in advertising or self-promotion.

Note: Haber's was almost bought by the Kuperstein conglomerate.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

LaGuardia: "I Can Run On a Laundry Ticket And Beat These Bums"

video
The audio is from a documentary narrated by Edward R. Murrow

Fiorello LaGuardia And the Essex Street Market

video
The market was a shopping destination for many in Knickerbocker Village
Essex Street Market began in 1940 as part an effort by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia to find a new place for street merchants to do business. At the time, pushcarts and vendors crowded the city streets, making it difficult for police and fire vehicles to easily pass. To ease congestion, Mayor LaGuardia created the Essex Street Market and several other indoor retail markets throughout the city.
In the early years, Essex Street Market’s identity was shaped by the Lower East Side’s Jewish and Italian immigrants, who served as both the merchants and the customers. Local residents got personalized service as they gathered to browse a diverse collection of goods and sundries including flowers, meats, clothing and fresh produce.
Beyond its intended function as a shopping destination, the Market also developed into a social environment where residents came to connect and share ideas.
The images on the slide show come from the Essex Street Market site. The information above as well. I added some ambient market sounds. The market after years of decline is making a bit of a comeback.

Fiorello LaGuardia And the Essex Street Market

video
The market was a shopping destination for many in Knickerbocker Village
Essex Street Market began in 1940 as part an effort by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia to find a new place for street merchants to do business. At the time, pushcarts and vendors crowded the city streets, making it difficult for police and fire vehicles to easily pass. To ease congestion, Mayor LaGuardia created the Essex Street Market and several other indoor retail markets throughout the city.
In the early years, Essex Street Market’s identity was shaped by the Lower East Side’s Jewish and Italian immigrants, who served as both the merchants and the customers. Local residents got personalized service as they gathered to browse a diverse collection of goods and sundries including flowers, meats, clothing and fresh produce.
Beyond its intended function as a shopping destination, the Market also developed into a social environment where residents came to connect and share ideas.
The images on the slide show come from the Essex Street Market site. The information above as well. I added some ambient market sounds. The market after years of decline is making a bit of a comeback.

Fiorello LaGuardia And Jack Kirby


Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg. He lived down on the LES. In fact he lived at 76 Suffolk Street, the same tenement that I lived in before my family moved to Knickerbocker Village. (For some reason Knickerbocker is mentioned on one of the Kirby sites but I can't find any direct connection between Jack and the projects). Jack is considered one of the all time greats of comic book artists. He's referred to as King Kirby. Here's the story of Fiorello and Jack from goodcomics
When Captain America #1 came out in 1941, America was not yet at war with Nazi Germany. The time period was an awkward one in American history, as there were many who felt that America should not get involved in the European conflict. But Captain America #1 certainly showed a different side, with the new hero, created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, punching out Hitler on the cover. The success of #1 was followed up with a similar anti-Hitler cover for #2… The book was a massive sales success, but it certainly rankled Nazi sympathizers, and resulted in the Captain America creative team getting into a bit of trouble. Captain America co-creator, Joe Simon, detailed a particularly rough period in his great memoir, The Comic Book Makers, which he wrote with his son, Jim Simon:
Hitler was a marvelous foil; a ranting maniac. It was difficult to place him in the standard story line of the cunning, reasoning villains who invariably outfoxed the heroes throughout the entire story before being ultimately defeated at the very end. No matter how hard we tried to make him a threatening force, Adolph invariably wound up as a buffoon - a clown. Evidently, this infuriated a lot of Nazi sympathizers.
There was a substantial population of anti-war activists in the country. “American Firsters” and other non-interventionist groups were well-organized. Then there was the German American Bund. They were all over the place, heavily financed and effective in spewing their propaganda of hate; a fifth column of Americans following the Third Reich party line. They organized pseudo-military training camps such as ‘Camp Siegried’ in Yaphank, Long Island and held huge rallies in such places as Madison Square Garden in New York. Our irreverent treatment of their Feuhrer infuriated them. We were inundated with a torrent of raging hate mail and vicious, obscene telephone calls. The theme was “death to the Jews.” At first we were inclined to laugh off their threats, but then, people in the office reported seeing menacing-looking groups of strange men in front of the building on Forty Second Street and some of the employees were fearful of leaving the office for lunch. Finally, we reported the threats to the police department. The result was a police guard on regular shifts patrolling the halls and office. No sooner than the men in blue arrived than the woman at the telephone switchboard signaled me excitedly. ‘There’s a man on the phone says he’s Mayor LaGuardia,’ she stammered, ‘He wants to speak to the editor of Captain America Comics.’ I was incredulous as I picked up the phone, but there was no mistaking the shrill voice. ‘You boys over there are doing a good job, ‘ the voice squeaked, ‘The City of New York will see that no harm will come to you.’I thanked him. Fiorello LaGuardia, ‘The Little Flower,’ was known as an avid reader of comics who dramatized the comic strips on radio during the newspaper strikes so that the kids could keep up-to-date on their favorite characters.

Fiorello LaGuardia And Knickerbocker Village: May 6, 1934


I knew if I looked hard enough I would find a connection. From a police memorial page
"Patrolman Rasmussen was shot and killed during a robbery in progress on Oliver Street. Two suspects had just robbed a market and were fleeing to their getaway car when the store owner threw a milk bottle through the window to draw attention. As Patrolman Rasmussen rounded the corner from Cherry Street he encountered one of the suspects. The suspect opened fire, striking Patrolman in the abdomen, chest and chin.
Although mortally wounded, Patrolman Rasmussen was able to return fire, but did not strike the suspect. The man fled in his getaway car but was apprehended a short time later. Patrolman Rasmussen was transported to Beekman Street Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. The suspect was convicted of his murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison, and is now deceased. Patrolman Rasmussen received a posthumous Honorable Mention from the Chief's Office. He had been with the agency for just over eight years and was survived by his wife and family."
The article (the pics displayed are only an edit) describes LaGuardia's reaction. He made the police chief return from a weekend trip to the Kentucky Derby to take charge of the investigation.

Fiorello LaGuardia

video
Once upon a time we had a real mayor of the people in New York. Talk about a lineage that KVer's would love, Fiorello's dad was Italian and his mom was Jewish.
from Wikipedia:
Fiorello Henry LaGuardia (born Fiorello Enrico LaGuardia; December 11, 1882 – September 20, 1947) (often spelled La Guardia [la 'gwardja]) was the Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945. He was popularly known as "the Little Flower," the translation of his Italian first name, Fiorello [fjo'rɛl:o], or perhaps a reference to his short stature. A Republican, he was a popular mayor and a strong supporter of the New Deal. LaGuardia led New York's recovery during the Great Depression and became a national figure, serving as President Roosevelt's director of civilian defense during the run-up to the United States joining the Second World War.

LaGuardia was born in the Bronx to an Italian lapsed-Catholic father, Achille La Guardia, from Cerignola, and an Italian mother of Jewish origin from Trieste, Irene Coen Luzzato; he was raised an Episcopalian. His middle name Enrico was changed to Henry (the English form of Enrico) when he was a child. He spent most of his childhood in Prescott, Arizona. The family moved to his mother's hometown after his father was discharged from his bandmaster position in the U.S. Army in 1898. LaGuardia served in U.S. consulates in Budapest, Trieste, and Fiume (1901–1906). Fiorello returned to the U.S. to continue his education at New York University. During this time, he worked for New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Children and as a translator for the U.S. Immigration Service at Ellis Island (1907–1910).

He became the Deputy Attorney General of New York in 1914. In 1916 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he developed a reputation as a fiery and devoted reformer. In Congress, LaGuardia represented then-Italian East Harlem and was a member of the House of Representatives almost continuously until 1933. According to his biographer-historian Howard Zinn, there were two brief interruptions, one to fly with U.S. forces in Italy during World War I, and the other to serve during 1920 and 1921 as president of the New York City Board of Alderman.[1]

Zinn wrote that LaGuardia represented "the conscience of the twenties":

As Democrats and Republicans cavorted like rehearsed wrestlers in the center of the political ring, LaGuardia stalked the front rows and bellowed for real action. While Ku Klux Klan membership reached the millions and Congress tried to legislate the nation toward racial 'purity,' LaGuardia demanded that immigration bars be let down to Italians, Jews, and others. When self-styled patriots sought to make the Caribbean an American lake, LaGuardia called to remove the marines from Nicaragua. Above the clatter of ticker-tape machines sounding their jubilant message, LaGuardia tried to tell the nation about striking miners in Pennsylvania.

Zinn continued (p. viii): "The progressives of the twenties and early thirties, however, did not merely complain; they offered remedies, again and again.... Most of the New Deal legislation was anticipated by LaGuardia... and others both before and after the 1929 crash, so that, when Franklin D. Roosevelt took his oath of office, a great deal of initial work had already been done."

LaGuardia briefly served in the armed forces (1917-1919), commanding a unit of the United States Army Air Service on the Italian/Austrian front in World War I, rising to the rank of major.

In 1921 his wife died of tuberculosis. LaGuardia, having nursed her through the 17-month ordeal, grew depressed, and turned to alcohol, spending most of the year following her death on an alcoholic binge. He recovered and became a teetotaler.

"Fio" LaGuardia (as his close family and friends called him) ran for, and won, a seat in Congress again in 1922 and served in House until March 3, 1933. Extending his record as a reformer, LaGuardia sponsored labor legislation and railed against immigration quotas. In 1929 he ran for mayor of New York, but was overwhelmingly defeated by the incumbent Jimmy Walker. In 1932, along with Sen. George Norris (R-NE), Rep. LaGuardia sponsored the pro-union Norris-LaGuardia Act. In 1932 he was defeated for re-election to the House by James J. Lanzetta, the Democratic candidate (the year 1932 was not a good one for people running on the Republican ticket, and additionally, the 20th Congressional district was shifting from a Jewish and Italian-American population to a Puerto Rican population).

Being of Italian descent and growing up in a time when crime and criminals were prevalent in the Bronx, LaGuardia loathed the gangsters who brought a negative stereotype and shame to the Italian community; the "Little Flower" had an even greater dislike for organized crime members. When he was elected to his first term in 1933, the first thing he did after being sworn in was to pick up the phone and order the chief of police to arrest mob boss Lucky Luciano on whatever charges could be laid upon him. LaGuardia then went after the gangsters with a vengeance, stating in a radio address to the people of New York in his high-pitched, squeaky voice, "Let's drive the bums out of town." In 1934, LaGuardia's next move was a search-and-destroy mission on mob boss Frank Costello's slot machines, which LaGuardia executed with a gusto, rounding up thousands of the "one armed bandits," swinging a sledgehammer and dumping them off a barge into the water for the newspapers and media. In 1936, LaGuardia had special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, a future Republican presidential candidate, single out Lucky Luciano for prosecution. Dewey managed to lead a successful investigation into Luciano's lucrative prostitution operation and indict him, eventually sending Luciano to jail on a 30-50 year sentence.

LaGuardia was hardly an orthodox Republican. He also ran as the nominee of the American Labor Party, a union-dominated anti-Tammany grouping that also ran FDR for President from 1936 onward. LaGuardia also supported Roosevelt, chairing the Independent Committee for Roosevelt and Wallace with Nebraska Senator George Norris during the 1940 presidential election.

LaGuardia was the city's first Italian-American mayor, but was not a typical Italian New Yorker. He was a Republican Episcopalian who had grown up in Arizona, and had an Istrian Jewish mother and a Roman Catholic-turned-atheist Italian father. He reportedly spoke seven languages, including Hebrew, Croatian, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Yiddish.

LaGuardia's fans credit him for, among other things, restoring the economic lifeblood of New York City during and after the Great Depression. His massive public works programs administered by his friend Parks Commissioner Robert Moses employed thousands of unemployed New Yorkers, and his constant lobbying for federal government funds allowed New York to develop its economic infrastructure. He was well known for reading the newspaper comics on WNYC radio during a 1945 newspaper strike, and pushing to have a commercial airport (Floyd Bennett Field, and later LaGuardia Airport) within city limits. Responding to popular disdain for the sometimes corrupt City Council, LaGuardia successfully proposed a reformed 1938 City Charter that created a powerful new New York City Board of Estimate, similar to a corporate board of directors.

He was an outspoken and early critic of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. In a public address as early as 1934, LaGuardia warned, "Part of Hitler’s program is the complete annihilation of the Jews in Germany." In 1937, speaking before the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress, LaGuardia called for the creation of a special pavilion at the upcoming New York World’s Fair "a chamber of horrors" for "that brown-shirted fanatic."

In 1940, included among the many interns to serve in the city government was David Rockefeller, who became his secretary for eighteen months in what is known as a "dollar a year" public service position. Although LaGuardia was took pains to point out to the press that Rockefeller was only one of 60 interns, Rockefeller's working space turned out to be the vacant office of the deputy mayor.

In 1941, during the run-up to American involvement in the Second World War, President Roosevelt appointed LaGuardia as the first director of the new Office of Civilian Defense (OCD). The OCD was responsible for preparing for the protection of the civilian population in case America was attacked. It was also responsible for programs to maintain public morale, promote volunteer service, and co-ordinate other federal departments to ensure they were serving the needs of a country in war. LaGuardia had remained Mayor of New York during this appointment, but after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 he was succeeded at the OCD by a full-time director, James M. Landis.

According to Try and Stop Me by Bennett Cerf, LaGuardia often officiated in municipal court. He handled routine misdemeanor cases, including, as Cerf wrote, a man who had stolen a loaf of bread for his starving family. LaGuardia still insisted on levying the fine of ten dollars. Then he said "I'm fining everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a man has to steal bread in order to eat!" He passed his hat and gave the fines to the defendant, who left the court with $47.50

LaGuardia was the director general for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in 1946.

LaGuardia loved music and conducting, and was famous for spontaneously conducting professional and student orchestras that he visited. He once said that the "most hopeful accomplishment" of his long administration as mayor was the creation of the High School of Music & Art in 1936, now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.[3] In addition to LaGuardia High School, a number of other institutions are also named for him, including LaGuardia Community College. He was the subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Fiorello!. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.

He died at his 5020 Goodridge Avenue home, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, of pancreatic cancer at the age of 64 and is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hard At Work Or Hardly Working?: NYCDOE


From New York Magazine

The agency responsible for figuring out where the city’s kids go is the School Construction Authority, a slow-moving outfit that relies on a murky stew of formulas that take into account capacity and enrollment projections. It’s becoming apparent that these models neither do the job nor allow for the huge demographic shift that’s going on. For starters, those enrollment projections, which the DoE compiles with the consultancy Grier Partnership, are extrapolated from birth rates and the number of kids who move from one grade to the next. Grier does not count housing starts in a meaningful way. Although the DoE maintains that it factors in new ys Sandra Levy, a member of the school’s Leadership Team. “And because we are a catchment, anyone [within the limits] can register and we have to find a place for them. It ends up very detrimental.” So in the case of P.S. 199, there are no plans to build or expand. According to the DoE, the school has space for 621 students, and it has 587 right now, so there’s no problem. And when parents reared up to ask Joel Klein about the issue at a recent community-education-council meeting, they say his answer was succinct: “Send your kids to private school.” (Klein’s office flatly denies the remark, calling it “completely inconsistent with his values and obvious commitment to public education.”)

So now what? Elsewhere in the country—in Florida and Georgia, for instance—developers have to pay impact fees when they build houses so new infrastructure can be created to serve the growing public. But no such policy exists here. School catchments could be redrawn to better distribute the population. But you know what would happen then: “If [owners] have property in a desirable catchment … they’d certainly fight it if they wouldn’t be able to go to that school,” says one parent. Can you imagine how they would squawk if, redirected to a less desirable school, their apartments suddenly lost that extra 10 percent of their worth?

Developers could be asked to add schools to their construction projects, but there’s been little movement in that direction. (Sheldon Solow recently agreed to add a school within his Con Edison project to take some pressure off P.S. 116, but its 650 seats will hardly accommodate all the new kids.) An annex has been built here and there—Tribeca’s P.S. 234 just opened one—but “what you see are stopgap measures in an attempt to deal with the building boom,” says Garodnick. “What we need is a long-term plan.”

For now, that plan is even more stopgap. At P.S. 199, only two rooms remain available for expansion: the music room and the remaining art studio. Most likely, they’re done for, since next year, the school will need two more classrooms for first and fourth grades. And the condos are still being built. “By the time these people move in,” says Mallin, “the school will not meet their expectations, simply because it’s overcrowded. At the rate it’s going, by 2009, there will be no classrooms left.”

E-mail: jhoanna.robledo@nymag.com.


Reader's responses:
This article succinctly states a pressing and current problem. I am a parent of a PS41 student (in Greenwich Village) and I am eyeing St. Vincents Hospital's new development plan nervously, specifically for this reason. The Rudin Family plans on adding between 400 and 500 new residential units on the very block that PS41 occupies, and when they are questioned at community meetings on the impact on the local schools, they effectively pass the buck to the City, and urge residents not to conflate the issues. OK, no surprise, the developers aren't looking out for local kids--that's not their job. But surely it is someone's job, and I'm not sanguine that that individual is currenly awake.
Report
By papabear on 11/26/2007 at 8:03am
*
It seems to me that ths is a City Planning issue, and that someone in the city is happy to see buildings go up to bring in revenues, but won't spend the moeny to provide services to those who live in them. I wonder whether we are also getting shortchanged on other services, and just don't notice. As far as schools go. My daughter does to one of the listed overcrowded schools and I constantly have a nagging feeling that she gets lost in the crowd. This is not the fault of the school or the teachers, but of someone up there who is requiring that teachers do more and more while having to manage 30 kids. How long would it take any of us managing 30 people to figure out which ones are doing well and which are just getting by?
Report
By BNYC on 11/26/2007 at 10:08am
*
I was at that meeting where Klein supposedly said "send your kid to private school" Even if he said it, it was not in reference to PS 199 in anyway. The reporter must be in error or be referring to another P.S.

I am a parent of a PS 199 kid and am sure that if the city, developers and school community leaders would get together, it would be a win-win-win for everyone. For the school (more room), for the city (end of a growing problem and retaining upper-middle class taxpayers), developers (nice tax break or more $$ opportunities to build higher to accomodate a school annex.)
Report
By ericmosk on 11/26/2007 at 4:41pm
*
I am a parent of a PS116 student. My daughter, who is in the Talented and Gifted program, had a wonderful first year with only 22 students in her class. Now, just one year later, there are 28 students in the kindergarten classes and only one Talented and Gifted Class. My 4 year old will be entering PS116 next fall and I am saddened that her experience will be so very different then my now 1st Grader. Overcrowding is a serious issue and no one seems to want to admit that it is even a problem. Getting rid of Science labs, art rooms, music rooms, gyms, etc. THAT IS A RIDICULOUS SOLUTION!!!!! We live in New York City because of the amazing exposure to Art, Music, Dance, Theater, Museums, etc. Why are these things disposable in the Public School system? I was at the Board of Education Meeting where they rolled out their Science Initiative. It seemed wonderful on paper that every school was going to get a Science Lab, etc. Now, not even one year later, schools that actually had Science rooms/labs are forced to get rid of them to make space for additional class rooms. Where are the priorities here? I agree that poorer performing schools need to be fixed, but that does not mean the city can turn a blind eye to the wonderful schools that are in serious danger of losing the things that make them wonderful schools. I hope Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloomberg open their eyes to this overcrowding issue.
Report
By shbrowne on 11/26/2007 at 8:06pm
*
When my eldest child now 14 attended 116 there was only 23 students in his class, now my youngest in Pre-K has 28 students in his class. Its really frustrating I cannot help my sons kindergarten teacher. Letters going home every week asking for donations so our kids can have an assistant in class is just so frustrating since financially I cannot assist. Great teachers, great neighborhood will eventually turn out to be a not so good school district. The city and its administration really dont care about the children, they are much more concerned with their pockets. Noting our system still needs much improvement, why mess up something good!
Report
By RESIDENT444 on 11/26/2007 at 9:15pm
*
I am a parent of 2 children at PS 116. I now have a kindergarten child in a class with 28 other kids and after visiting one afternoon it amazes me how the teacher does it. It is nearly impossible to keep track of students when some of them are still 4 years old. Ten years ago the city schools were not in demand and most people moved out of the city to the suburbs. Now these great schools are not only keeping people in the city, but the new buildings are attracting families back into the city with high rents and high mortgages because of these schools. It seems if we don't nurture these schools they will eventually end up back at the sub level they used to be and everyone loses. Something has to change NOW! I know in this city every change requires layers of approvals, but our children don't have that time to wait. Hopefully this article will be the first of many that will raise attention to this situation. The last thing we want are schools without science, art or music.
Report
By waterside on 11/26/2007 at 10:21pm
*
There is a disconnect between developers advertising the good public schools as a selling point, yet not being forced to improve infrastructure in their communities, ultimately detrimental to that real estate holding its value.

To keep perspective on the education, however, let's remember that the schools mentioned earned their reputations not by their "amenities" but by the quality of instruction. I don't believe these schools are at risk for losing their arts and science programs, they are at risk for losing the classroom space. Average science instruction in a dedicated science classroom is inferior to great science instruction in a regular classroom (or lunchroom).
Report
By cornell93 on 11/26/2007 at 10:25pm
*
How can we as concerned parents influence the city to do something to relieve the overcrowding? My son will (hopefully) start at PS 199 in a couple of years. Last week I was at a community meeting with the developers of a new highrise rental in the area. When asked if a school could be put in the building, which hasn't been started yet and is asking for a variance to include retail space, he responded "No, the plans have been ready for 18 months, you should have asked 18 months ago". How the plans could be set in stone when they've yet to get a variance for retail I don't know.

Does anyone know of groups that are trying to work with this city to see the error in their population growth projections and build more schools?

Sending your kids to private school isn't the answer. They aren't being built either and unlike public schools they stop taking kids when they reach capacity. More parents who would have opted for private schools will be forced to use the public ones.
Report
By ProudParent on 11/27/2007 at 10:40am
*
Absolutely illogical how we can plan for new bank branches, Starbucks, drugstores once a development goes up but not for school accommodating the inlfux of new families. Already the public schools are overcrowded and many at or over capacity - what does it take to get some growth in that sector? The chancellor should not wait until it is broken, at the expense opf many children, to address and fix this problem.
Report
By Gradmom on 11/27/2007 at 10:47am
*
Before the city grants permits for a new high-rise development, the impact of said development should be assessed by the appropriate city officials. Schools should be one of the top sectors studied in such an assessment. Obviously, they do not seem to be.

Regardless of whether new condos or co-ops are a contributing factor, schools in this city have been suffering from neglect for some time: over-crowding, extremely high student to teacher ratios, woeful under-funding, you name it. Fact is the city does not seem to make this a priority. I say, hold them accountable for fixing the school system, not the developers. If one of the side effects of this new focus on education means the city becomes more judicious in dolling out new building permits...so be it.
Report
By ormsbee on 11/27/2007 at 11:02am

*I am a mother of a first-grader at PS 116, a New York City resident for 17 years, and a taxpayer. I did not major in political science, nor did I get a masters in teaching. Is it not the responsibility of the city government and the Dept. of Education to provide our children with a good education? I do not want to spend my days petitioning and rallying the community to fight for more schools. Our elected officials simply need to walk along the avenues, go to drop-off and pick-up, and visit our schools while they are in session. Take a look...28 children is not an acceptable class size. I don't care if every child in the classroom is pulling straight A's. My daughter is bright; she's in a G&T class and has mastered quite a bit for her young age. Her teacher has yet to take the time to say "nice job" because she's too busy trying to make sure all of the students will be prepared for the tests they'll be taking in the next few years. If my daughter receives no recognition for her work or her contribution to the classroom or even some silly anecdote she may want to share with the teacher, who's to say she'll want to continue working hard. I don't know about anyone else reading this article, but from what I remember about being a first-grader, I felt pretty proud of myself when I received positive feedback from my teacher.

A popular quote comes to mind, "If you build it, they will come." Give us the schools and the space we deserve, and then watch the community grow. Don't overcrowd our neighborhoods and then step back to assess all the mistakes made along the way.
Report
By ps116mom on 11/27/2007 at 1:34pm
*
Last night, at the Panel for Educational Policy meeting, parents from PS 8 in Brooklyn Height complained that enrollment has tripled and their 2nd and 3rd grades now have class sizes of 30, with worse to come, because of the number of new buildings rising in their neighborhood.

Teachers at PS 373 in Staten Island, a school for autistic children, spoke about how the overcrowding at their school has become so bad that all the classrooms had been divided in half, and still, there was no space for a quiet room, essential for calming autistic children when they lose control. A parent from Queens spoke about how at one school, Kindergarten students have to be bussed to another district, and yet the school is officially rated as undercapacity.

The city has a new class size reduction proposal, mandated by the state, which calls for lowering average class size to no more than 20 in K-3 and no more than 23 in all other grades over the next five years.

But there is no room in our schools right now to accomplish these goals, and the current capital plan would need at least twice as many seats, about 120,000, to make this possible.

According to my calculations, this would cost less than 3% of last year's city surplus, and less than one seventh what the Mayor gave back in tax cuts last year.

I asked the Chancellor last night if he planned to expand the current capital plan to allow their state-mandated class size reduction plan to be enacted, or if his proposal was only a convenient fiction concocted to satisfy the state. Do you know what he said? He responded that he would love to have a better capital plan, but he had no control over the budget.

Well, I don't think this is good enough answer. It's his job, and that of the Mayor, to provide the space so that smaller classes can become a reality. Check out our NYC public school parent blog for more on this.
Report
By leoniehaimson on 11/27/2007 at 3:48pm
*
I can see the argument from two sides. I grew up in Upper Manhattan in the 1980's and it was a regular thing for me to have 35+ kids in a class up until I finished middle school. Even going to gifted and talented and magnet schools like Mott Hall and Booker T Washington didn't mean smaller class sizes. Because it was a poorer neighborhood, district 6, washington heights and harlem, I guess it went un-noticed and I would assume that the situation is about the same today. i don't remember parents crying foul because students weren't praised individually by teachers for good work or for the fact that we didn't have science labs and dedicated art rooms. I made due and to be honest, although it wasn't ideal, it wasn't horrible.
I'm sure in the case of schools being overcrowded because of new condos, the residents are more tuned into what they feel entitled to as tax payers and residents of the neighborhoods and will make their concerns known to politicians and the media.
overcrowding is a citywide problem that has been around for a while. I hope that changes are made but I also hope that all areas are helped.

Report

By samh on 11/27/2007 at 4:28pm
*
At our high school, Murry Bergtraum in Manhattan, the school capacity was increased on the books by 200. Yet there were no physical changes to the building. Over-crowding is an old issue for us, which started under Giuliani and has only gotten worse under Bloomberg. What also must to be considered are the acute academic and social needs of the students in the school; the more needy the population, the smaller the classes have to be.

There once was a time when I would have been proud to send my own children to Bergtraum. I can’t say that anymore and it’s primarily due to the over-crowding issue. They now attend school in the suburbs with average class sizes of 18.

I feel morally obligated to speak out on this issue on behalf of my students. This is a social justice issue and calls for the methods of resistance used in the civil rights struggle of the 50's and 60's. "Send your kids to private school"- INDEED!
Report
By jelfrank on 11/27/2007 at 4:31pm
*
As a parent of public school children I find we are battling too late with developers. Unfortunately by the time we know about the developments it is too late to brow beat them into providing needed funds and support. The city systems are not developed in a manner to accomodate discussion and negotiation in advance of permits. At the end of the day it is all about money. Developers want to build in the best school districts because they can sell their apartments for the most money. The city is counting the tax dollars before the buildings break ground. Perhaps we can strike like the writers~ we can set up picket lines outside the developers sales offices. We can warn potential buyers of the problems~ we can essentailly sabotage their "best laid plans." Maybe this would get some attention and further press. What we need is retirement communities around schools~ the kids could visit and perform shows for the adults and in return they could volunteer with the kids.

Report

By mss on 11/27/2007 at 5:15pm
*
As a parent with two children at PS 199, I couldn't agree more with the severity of this problem. Program options have become severly limited due to space, for example children watch a movie on rainy days at recess because there is no open space for them to play indoors. Even the school yard has become over-crowded and therefore potentially dangerous. This is an enormous problem that demands attention from the BOE immediately.

Report

By JPT on 11/27/2007 at 7:08pm
*
Class Size Matters? Could you please tell me how many school teachers belong to this "non-profit"; non-profit for whom? Taxpayers? I'd like to start a non-profit called "Workers Without Supervision"or "Hourly Employees Paid For Hours Of No Work." Give me a break!

Report

By bobaloo on 11/27/2007 at 10:01pm
*
Thank you Ms. Robledo for capturing the severity of the problem at PS 199 and other schools in New York. As a resident in my Upper West Side neighborhood for the last 28 years and mother of a 3 year who I hope will attend PS 199, I can attest to the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred. Aside from the more than 6,000 new units in the PS 199 catchment area since the 2000 census, the baby boom in existing buildings is enough to push PS 199 over its capacity limits. While anecdotal, our building for more than twenty years has never had more than 5 children at any given time. There are now 19 children, 14 of whom have been born since 2001. It is clear from the strollers on the sidewalks that our neighboring buildings have experienced similar demographic shifts. The Mayor must perform a demographic survey of the PS 199 catchment area to get an accurate accounting of these dramatic increases in school age and pre-school age children. He should also take a large portion of the City's financial surplus that was created as a result of all the new residential developments and put it towards a substantially larger school building campaign. I hope he reads your article and hears the parents.
Report
By worriedparent on 11/27/2007 at 11:02pm
*
Let's be candid here. The capital budget for schools is set by the mayor. We have money for new prisons, a crime lab, a new 911 call center, three subsidized stadiums but not enough schools? The State Assembly is exasperated with the mayor. Deputy Assembly Speaker Lafayette has reversed his position on mayoral control and now opposes it because the mayor refuses to address overcrowding despite state matching funds provided for schools construction. The chancellor and mayor need to stop shirking their responsibility and start being accountable.
Report
By PatrickJSullivan on 11/27/2007 at 11:04pm

I was at a meeting last night where the city's chief "accountability officer," James Liebman, argued that research revealed that above class sizes of 15 there is no difference in educational outcomes: all things being equal a class of 35 is as good as a class of 20. So they don't see any problem with stuffing more kids into our schools. I can't find a single scholar of education or academic article supporting this view. How about parents?
Report
By AnnKjellberg on 11/27/2007 at 11:23pm
*
Homeowners and residents of Oregon had to pass laws to LIMIT GROWTH.AND KEEP OUT DEVELOPERS,who would make millions off huge housing-and-mall,developments;we voters had to do this,our govt. is crooked.WE voters had to do this,gang up together,and refuse to pass bonds,bills,redevelopments,and "urban renewals."YOUR govt. will NOT do this for you. We passed "Prop. 49,"to greatly limit development in our state and region.Now,only a few houses can be built,at a time,not huge developments. If your city govt. is crooked,out of control,you either have to "rein it in,"together,legally,or you have to go to a community that has the will to do it. Often,local govts. are in league with developers,as they can make money with them,and off them;they'll ignore you residents.LIMIT your growth;do not take more kids in the schools,new ones,tell THEM they have to go to private schools,not the old students. Remember the city govt. is never going to be your ally;they are looking out for themselves,not you residents.--unless you have enough power to FORCE THEM to be responsible.

Report

By dorothyblueeyes on 11/27/2007 at 11:40pm
*
Schools will never be added into the equation of new buildings despite how many new residential buildings go up. Why? The administration does not care about our children, they care about skewing the numbers to make it look like they are doing a great job, but after all they feel that if we are not satisfied instead of complaining we should place our children into Private Education.
Report
By apparent on 11/28/2007 at 8:31am
*
We are having the same problems in Queens. Old victorian houses are torn down & replaced with six 3 family homes. Empty lots have multiple family dwellings built on them. Landlords who own private houses rent out rooms & there is nothing we can do about it. Our schools do not have yards for recess. They are filled with trailers being used as classrooms. High schools start as early as 7:30 AM & the last periods get out between 4:30 & 5 PM. How can you learn science & math with 30 kids in a class? BloomKlein couldn't care less about overcrowded classes, schools that need repair and/or upgrading. They don't care about building new schools. They have their heads in the sand when it comes to the education of NYC kids. Testing it the be all and end all.
Report
By karenk on 11/28/2007 at 9:44am

Broadway, Broadway

video
A view from all the way up in Westchester to the tip of Manhattan, from the late 1920's I would guess:
Totally non-related lyrics:
They say the neon lights are bright
On Broadway
They say there's always magic
In the air
But when you're walkin' down the street
And you ain't had enough to eat
The glitter rubs right off
And you're nowhere
They say the women treat you fine
On Broadway
But lookin' at them
Just gives me the blues
How ya gonna make some time
When all you got is one thin dime
And one thin dime won't even
Shine your shoes?
They say that I won't last too long
On Broadway
I'll catch a Greyhound bus for home
They all say
But they're dead wrong
I know they are
'Cause I can play this here guitar
I won't quit till I'm a star
On Broadway
On Broadway
On Broadway

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fiorello LaGuardia

video
Once upon a time we had a real mayor of the people in New York. Talk about a lineage that KVer's (Knickerbocker Villagers) would love, Fiorello's dad was Italian and his mom was Jewish.
from Wikipedia:
Fiorello Henry LaGuardia (born Fiorello Enrico LaGuardia; December 11, 1882 – September 20, 1947) (often spelled La Guardia [la 'gwardja]) was the Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945. He was popularly known as "the Little Flower," the translation of his Italian first name, Fiorello [fjo'rɛl:o], or perhaps a reference to his short stature. A Republican, he was a popular mayor and a strong supporter of the New Deal. LaGuardia led New York's recovery during the Great Depression and became a national figure, serving as President Roosevelt's director of civilian defense during the run-up to the United States joining the Second World War.

LaGuardia was born in the Bronx to an Italian lapsed-Catholic father, Achille La Guardia, from Cerignola, and an Italian mother of Jewish origin from Trieste, Irene Coen Luzzato; he was raised an Episcopalian. His middle name Enrico was changed to Henry (the English form of Enrico) when he was a child. He spent most of his childhood in Prescott, Arizona. The family moved to his mother's hometown after his father was discharged from his bandmaster position in the U.S. Army in 1898. LaGuardia served in U.S. consulates in Budapest, Trieste, and Fiume (1901–1906). Fiorello returned to the U.S. to continue his education at New York University. During this time, he worked for New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Children and as a translator for the U.S. Immigration Service at Ellis Island (1907–1910).

He became the Deputy Attorney General of New York in 1914. In 1916 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he developed a reputation as a fiery and devoted reformer. In Congress, LaGuardia represented then-Italian East Harlem and was a member of the House of Representatives almost continuously until 1933. According to his biographer-historian Howard Zinn, there were two brief interruptions, one to fly with U.S. forces in Italy during World War I, and the other to serve during 1920 and 1921 as president of the New York City Board of Alderman.[1]

Zinn wrote that LaGuardia represented "the conscience of the twenties":

As Democrats and Republicans cavorted like rehearsed wrestlers in the center of the political ring, LaGuardia stalked the front rows and bellowed for real action. While Ku Klux Klan membership reached the millions and Congress tried to legislate the nation toward racial 'purity,' LaGuardia demanded that immigration bars be let down to Italians, Jews, and others. When self-styled patriots sought to make the Caribbean an American lake, LaGuardia called to remove the marines from Nicaragua. Above the clatter of ticker-tape machines sounding their jubilant message, LaGuardia tried to tell the nation about striking miners in Pennsylvania.

Zinn continued (p. viii): "The progressives of the twenties and early thirties, however, did not merely complain; they offered remedies, again and again.... Most of the New Deal legislation was anticipated by LaGuardia... and others both before and after the 1929 crash, so that, when Franklin D. Roosevelt took his oath of office, a great deal of initial work had already been done."

LaGuardia briefly served in the armed forces (1917-1919), commanding a unit of the United States Army Air Service on the Italian/Austrian front in World War I, rising to the rank of major.

In 1921 his wife died of tuberculosis. LaGuardia, having nursed her through the 17-month ordeal, grew depressed, and turned to alcohol, spending most of the year following her death on an alcoholic binge. He recovered and became a teetotaler.

"Fio" LaGuardia (as his close family and friends called him) ran for, and won, a seat in Congress again in 1922 and served in House until March 3, 1933. Extending his record as a reformer, LaGuardia sponsored labor legislation and railed against immigration quotas. In 1929 he ran for mayor of New York, but was overwhelmingly defeated by the incumbent Jimmy Walker. In 1932, along with Sen. George Norris (R-NE), Rep. LaGuardia sponsored the pro-union Norris-LaGuardia Act. In 1932 he was defeated for re-election to the House by James J. Lanzetta, the Democratic candidate (the year 1932 was not a good one for people running on the Republican ticket, and additionally, the 20th Congressional district was shifting from a Jewish and Italian-American population to a Puerto Rican population).

Being of Italian descent and growing up in a time when crime and criminals were prevalent in the Bronx, LaGuardia loathed the gangsters who brought a negative stereotype and shame to the Italian community; the "Little Flower" had an even greater dislike for organized crime members. When he was elected to his first term in 1933, the first thing he did after being sworn in was to pick up the phone and order the chief of police to arrest mob boss Lucky Luciano on whatever charges could be laid upon him. LaGuardia then went after the gangsters with a vengeance, stating in a radio address to the people of New York in his high-pitched, squeaky voice, "Let's drive the bums out of town." In 1934, LaGuardia's next move was a search-and-destroy mission on mob boss Frank Costello's slot machines, which LaGuardia executed with a gusto, rounding up thousands of the "one armed bandits," swinging a sledgehammer and dumping them off a barge into the water for the newspapers and media. In 1936, LaGuardia had special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, a future Republican presidential candidate, single out Lucky Luciano for prosecution. Dewey managed to lead a successful investigation into Luciano's lucrative prostitution operation and indict him, eventually sending Luciano to jail on a 30-50 year sentence.

LaGuardia was hardly an orthodox Republican. He also ran as the nominee of the American Labor Party, a union-dominated anti-Tammany grouping that also ran FDR for President from 1936 onward. LaGuardia also supported Roosevelt, chairing the Independent Committee for Roosevelt and Wallace with Nebraska Senator George Norris during the 1940 presidential election.

LaGuardia was the city's first Italian-American mayor, but was not a typical Italian New Yorker. He was a Republican Episcopalian who had grown up in Arizona, and had an Istrian Jewish mother and a Roman Catholic-turned-atheist Italian father. He reportedly spoke seven languages, including Hebrew, Croatian, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Yiddish.

LaGuardia's fans credit him for, among other things, restoring the economic lifeblood of New York City during and after the Great Depression. His massive public works programs administered by his friend Parks Commissioner Robert Moses employed thousands of unemployed New Yorkers, and his constant lobbying for federal government funds allowed New York to develop its economic infrastructure. He was well known for reading the newspaper comics on WNYC radio during a 1945 newspaper strike, and pushing to have a commercial airport (Floyd Bennett Field, and later LaGuardia Airport) within city limits. Responding to popular disdain for the sometimes corrupt City Council, LaGuardia successfully proposed a reformed 1938 City Charter that created a powerful new New York City Board of Estimate, similar to a corporate board of directors.

He was an outspoken and early critic of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. In a public address as early as 1934, LaGuardia warned, "Part of Hitler’s program is the complete annihilation of the Jews in Germany." In 1937, speaking before the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress, LaGuardia called for the creation of a special pavilion at the upcoming New York World’s Fair "a chamber of horrors" for "that brown-shirted fanatic."

In 1940, included among the many interns to serve in the city government was David Rockefeller, who became his secretary for eighteen months in what is known as a "dollar a year" public service position. Although LaGuardia was took pains to point out to the press that Rockefeller was only one of 60 interns, Rockefeller's working space turned out to be the vacant office of the deputy mayor.

In 1941, during the run-up to American involvement in the Second World War, President Roosevelt appointed LaGuardia as the first director of the new Office of Civilian Defense (OCD). The OCD was responsible for preparing for the protection of the civilian population in case America was attacked. It was also responsible for programs to maintain public morale, promote volunteer service, and co-ordinate other federal departments to ensure they were serving the needs of a country in war. LaGuardia had remained Mayor of New York during this appointment, but after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 he was succeeded at the OCD by a full-time director, James M. Landis.

According to Try and Stop Me by Bennett Cerf, LaGuardia often officiated in municipal court. He handled routine misdemeanor cases, including, as Cerf wrote, a man who had stolen a loaf of bread for his starving family. LaGuardia still insisted on levying the fine of ten dollars. Then he said "I'm fining everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a man has to steal bread in order to eat!" He passed his hat and gave the fines to the defendant, who left the court with $47.50.[2]

LaGuardia was the director general for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in 1946.

LaGuardia loved music and conducting, and was famous for spontaneously conducting professional and student orchestras that he visited. He once said that the "most hopeful accomplishment" of his long administration as mayor was the creation of the High School of Music & Art in 1936, now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.[3] In addition to LaGuardia High School, a number of other institutions are also named for him, including LaGuardia Community College. He was the subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Fiorello!. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.

He died at his 5020 Goodridge Avenue home, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, of pancreatic cancer at the age of 64 and is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

Just About This Day In Knickerbocker Village History: 11/29/1965, What's Cooking At P.S. 177


from knickerbocker village
I found this in a search of the nytimes' archives. You know what's amazing about this? You would be hard pressed to see this wonderful kind of work done in today's nyc public schools. You would have be doing a unit on narrative account (writing and reading).
If you had the kids reading cookbooks, each book would have to be leveled and the knowledge they gained would have to be shared out with their partners before presented to the group. Then if you got that far you would have to have a "canned" publishing party. You'd have to be careful not to spend too much time on this because you would have to be on task for your next topic and make sure your bulletin boards are up to date. On second thought there wouldn't be a prayer. You'd be doing test prep all day and then examining the data.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Day Kennedy Was Shot


from Knickerbocker Village
Howie Silverstein checks in with a "beauty in there" memory piece

"44 years and 1 week since you broke your arm Marv reminded me that 5 days later Kennedy was shot.....I meant to bring this up a couple of days ago in advance of the 44th anniversary which occurred at the beginning of last year in KV.....we were taking a social studies test that fateful Friday, last period in Mr. Klein's class in 65 when someone came into the room with the news, I heard Mr.Klein say,"don't tell them now..they're taking a test..."...when we were given the news afterwards I remember being angered because Elinor Birnbaum thought it was funny....after school we hung out on Cherry (David, Paul, Mark Schumer) and debated whether it was disrespectful that the older guys..yeah you Allan, Bobby, Marty? were playing basketball at a time like this....funny how lines were drawn by grade and age.....later on in front of the courtyard still on Cherry, after a plane went by we speculated and argued for too long whether it was heading for D.C....so if someone asks,"Where were you when Kennedy was shot?..." it's all about the LES and hanging out on Cherry St.

Howie

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Things To Be Thankful For

video
The list includes my daughter's health and her resilience in surviving the turmoil that surrounds her, my wife (if she'll still have me), courageous people who risk their jobs blogging about the lunacy of public education in New York, friends' helping to try to save me from myself, the Fairway in Red Hook, my cousins and my Aunt Lilly and my recent discovery of the DVDs of one of my favorite shows, "Anything But Love"

An Abbott And Costello Thanksgiving

video
Part of a Thanksgiving themed show combined with Abbott and Costello images. Not their best material. One of the last images is that of Bud Abbott just before his death from cancer. He died broke, heavily in debt to the IRS. Lou died at just 51 of a heart attack. He had contracted rheumatic fever while touring non-stop to raise money for war bonds in the early 1940's. Lou also lost an infant son in a tragic drowning accident. I know someone pretty close to me who is unfortunately experiencing some tragic times. He's responsible for a lot of that tragedy, having done some very dumb things. Even a heavy dose of the best of Abbott and Costello is not working.
I also found this about the two. I guess the good life is not it's what it's cracked up to be:
"Perhaps no comedy duo was more popular, beloved or influential than Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. But the FBI saw the act as a threat and investigated them for hoarding pornography and befriending mobsters.
The pair was never charged with a crime, but the FBI maintained files on the two, just in case. Although the two files are small -- just 14 pages between them -- they are packed with scandalous, and dubious, allegations. The documents may say more about the various obsessions and paranoia of the FBI in the 1940s than they do about Abbott and Costello
In October 1944, in the days before every neighborhood had a video rental store with an adult section in the back room, the bureau investigated a "purported ring of obscene motion picture operators in Hollywood." In the course of this investigation they discovered that Costello and actors Red Skelton and George Raft were among the ring's regular customers. According to the file, "The informant remarked that Costello 'had it running out of his ears.'"
"'Large library of obscene films' -- now this one got me laughing," said Chris Costello, the comedian's youngest daughter. "We had one of the largest film collections known within the entertainment community."
But instead of pornography, she said, the library consisted of Abbott and Costello's Hollywood studio films and one of the largest collections of B movie westerns -- a passion of her father's.
"First of all, an Italian-Catholic -- hello? With family? Uh-uh," she said. "I would know if he was planting obscene films in [his library]. There is no way he would be allowing his children in there to rummage through, to select film, or this and that."
"I can tell you right now, when everything was removed from that house, there were no obscene films. I don't know where they got that, but that is bunk, bunk, bunk," she said.

No crime, but feds still suspicious

The FBI was reluctant to let go of the suspicion that at least one of the comedians was stockpiling stag films. In 1958, a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) informant passed on information that Abbott had been squirreling away skin flicks, 1,500 to be precise.

The bureau opened a new file under the suspicion that Abbott was involved in interstate transportation of obscene matter. They concluded that the alleged film collection was for private use but decided to keep the information around, anyway.

"Although ABBOTT is an alleged collector and there is not an allegation of interstate transportation of this matter, a case is being opened in this office as a control file to follow and report to the Bureau information coming to the attention of this office through police liaison with Ad Vice, LAPD," the report states.

Nothing in the report indicates that the porn case developed any further.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Carnival: Assorted Cartoons

video
some descriptions:
Beware the jive turkey this time of year! In this Thanksgiving cartoon, a rapping turkey reminds you to baste it and not waste it!
The Giblets perform a Thanksgiving parody of Queen's "We Will Rock You".
Watch as these gobble gobbles sing and dance around the fire. They'd better not get to close to that fire though!
A silly Thanksgiving song and dance! Are you ready for turkey in YOUR belly?
This is one turkey you might not want to eat this Thanksgiving!
A hilarious love song from a man to his turkey! In this parody of Exiles "I Wanna Kiss You All Over" this guys sings to his turkey about wanting to come home from work to stuff it over and over again!
Take it from a turkey -- You need to get stuffed! This parody of Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater" goes out to all those vegetarians out there who need to put on some weight!

Thanksgiving Carnival: Tom Turkey's Lesson On Cooking The Books


From today's New York Post. For the uninformed, the New Visions' Schools are the favorite of the current administration and their successes are often pointed to as proof of their initiatives. As has often been the case, a peek behind the curtains discloses some tricky math
REPORT RIPS SMALLER HIGH SCHOOLS' DIP-LOW-MAS
By YOAV GONEN
November 19, 2007 -- New, smaller high schools graduated 20 percent more students than the citywide average last year, but a report charges that a majority of the grads earned low-standard diplomas that are headed the way of the dinosaur.
A comparison found that 10 New Century High Schools, managed by the reform group New Visions for Public Schools, graduated 78.2 percent of their students in 2006 while 10 similar public high schools graduated 60.6 percent of theirs.
But the D.C.-based Policy Studies Associates' report notes that more than half of New Century's grads earned local diplomas, which require a score of 55, rather than 65, on five Regents exams - and which the state is scrapping starting next year. Only about 30 percent of the traditional-school grads earned local diplomas, the report says.
New Century supporters acknowledge the need to prepare more students to graduate with Regents diplomas, but they note that their schools are saving kids who would otherwise drop out.
Indeed, the report says 17 percent of the traditional schools' Class of 2006 left without graduating, compared to just 3 percent at New Century schools.
Eighty-three New Century High Schools have opened in the city since 2002, many of them on the campuses of large high schools dismantled after years of abysmal graduation rates.

Thanksgiving Carnival: A Visit To Plimoth Plantation

video
A video from a visitor to Plimoth Plantation who happens to be a descendant of Steven Hopkins. From the Plimoth Plantation Site (an excellent one) : About Plimoth Plantation:
Who We Are:
Plimoth Plantation is a not-for-profit museum supported by admissions, contributions, grants and generous volunteers.
What We Do:
Plimoth Plantation, a bicultural museum, offers powerful personal encounters with history built on thorough research about the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s. Our exhibits, programs, live interpreters, and historic settings encourage a new level of understanding about present-day issues affecting communities around the world.
What Matters:
The visitor experience is at the heart of our work. The setting, the staff and a compelling approach to history combine to provide a memorable visitor experience. We are successful when a satisfied visitor recommends us to family and friends.

Thanksgiving Carnival: History Channel's Desperate Crossing

video
"Every American knows the story of the Pilgrims, their courageous voyage on the Mayflower and the first Happy Thanksgiving. But the homogenized and sanitized history learned as children and revisited every Thanksgiving holiday bears faint resemblance to the actual people and dramatic events of that desperate time. This three-hour special uses dramatic re-enactments based on original source material to bring to life the true story of the Puritans' terrible plight."
This showed premiered last year and will be repeated over the next few days

Thanksgiving Carnival 1951: Young America Presents

video
"We've had a lot of expenses this year, we'll have a pie but there'll be no turkey."
Don't you see what Dick is trying to tell us, "We still have the freedoms that the Pilgrims have.?"
"The Johnsons didn't have any turkey that day but they toted up the blessings they had."
"I am thankful for a public library where I can get free books by Jack London and Richard Halliburton"
"Even Susan, who never thinks beyond her dolls......"
"As for mother, who is always working, cooking, mending clothes... she was thankful for washing machines and telephones"

Thanksgiving Carnival 1940

video
About this day of Thanksgiving (discovered on youtube)
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be the next-to-last Thursday of November rather than the last. With the country still in the midst of The Great Depression, Roosevelt thought this would give merchants a longer period to sell goods before Christmas. Increasing profits and spending during this period, Roosevelt hoped, would aid bringing the country out of the Depression. At the time, it was considered inappropriate to advertise goods for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. However, Roosevelt's declaration was not mandatory; twenty-three states went along with this recommendation, and 22 did not. Other states, like Texas, could not decide and took both weeks as government holidays. Roosevelt persisted in 1940 to celebrate his "Franksgiving," as it was termed. The U.S. Congress in 1941 split the difference and established that the Thanksgiving would occur annually on the fourth Thursday of November, which was sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes the next to last. On November 26 that year President Roosevelt signed this bill into U.S. law.

Since 1947, or possibly earlier, the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys. The live turkey is pardoned and lives out the rest of its days on a peaceful farm. While it is commonly held that this tradition began with Harry Truman in 1947, the Truman Library has been unable to find any evidence for this. Still others claim that that the tradition dates back to Abraham Lincoln pardoning his son's pet turkey. Both stories have been quoted in more recent presidential speeches.

In more recent years, two turkeys have been pardoned, in case the original turkey becomes unavailable for presidential pardoning. Since 2003 the public has been invited to vote for the two turkeys' names. In 2006, they were named Flyer and Fryer. In 2005, they were named Marshmallow and Yam (who went on to live at Disneyland); 2004's turkeys were named Biscuit and Gravy; in 2003, Stars and Stripes.

Since 1970, a group of Native Americans and others have held a controversial National Day of Mourning protest on Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Thanksgiving Carnival: Colonial Life

video
In the few days left before Thanksgiving I'll try to post some of my Thanksgiving resources. This comes from the 2004 PBS series. The site is still active and it has many good resources including panoramic movies

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Street Names: Street Life

video
This goes back to 2002 and it is a converted PowerPoint which struggles to be viewed here. I thought it was worth the effort and it's informative. I always get charged by the sound track:
I play the street life
Because there's no place I can go
Street life
It's the only life I know
Street life
And there's a thousand cards to play
Street life
Until you play your life away

You never people see
Just do you wanna be
And every night you shine
Just like a superstar
The type of life that's played
A temptin' masquerade
You dress you walk you talk
You're who you think you are

Street life
You can run away from time
Street life
For a nickel, for a dime
Street life
But you better not get old
Street life
Or you're gonna feel the cold

There's always love for sale
A grown up fairy tale
Prince charming always smiles
Behind a silver spoon
And if you keep it young
Your song is always sung
Your love will pay your way beneath the silver moon

Street life, street life, street life, oh street life
Hmm, Yeah, oh

I play the street life
Because there's no place I can go
Street life
It's the only life I know
Street life
There's a thousand cards to play
Street life
Until you play your life away
Oh !

Street life, street life, street life, oh street life...