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Mend the Gap--Between Rich & Poor in School Achievement

The more rigid and authoritarian the school program is, the greater is the achievement gap between rich and poor. The more trusting and empowering it is, the smaller is the gap.

Parenting with a clown mask goes wrong to nobody's surprise

The Great Clown Panic of 2016 has receded, but aftershocks still occur from time to time. For example, this Ohio story of parental creativity gone coulrophobically wrong: An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her...

Reformy Chalkbeat Peddles the Moskowitz Book

A few years ago, I used to write for Chalkbeat, nee Gotham Schools. I wrote a review of Diane Ravitch's book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, which I loved. There was a very lively comment section, and for reasons not shared with me, Chalkbeat deleted it. Show More Summary

Open Up Another Can of Teachers

Chaz has a great piece pointing out the hypocrisy of the NY Post editorial board, which cries bloody murder when teacher certification requirements are reduced, but also supports charter schools who basically want to hire just about anybody. Show More Summary

Privacy and Security Exercise

Do this exercise with your phone, tablet, and/or any computer you use regularly. Imagine that someone has accessed your device and can log in and access all information on the device. If they were a thief, what information could they...Show More Summary

A Study in Stupid

There's an NPR piece about how Spanish speakers take longer to learn English than their Chinese counterparts. It's one of the stupidest things I've ever read. I've been working as a New York City teacher for over thirty years, and I've...Show More Summary

Death and the fake texts

A Washington Post account of a recent crime story concludes with a chillingly Gothic scene. The events took place in Maryland, where police allege a man murdered his girlfriend, buried her body, then faked texts from her phone to cover...

Executive Board Takeaway, September 11, 2017

As you can see from my headline, I was very happy we were able to agree on supporting DACA. As an ESL teacher, I'm highly prejudiced in favor of newcomers. As an American, I'm well aware that our country is mostly made of newcomers, and that diversity is a huge part of what's good about us. Show More Summary

ESL Teachers--An Endangered Species

When the geniuses in Albany put their heads together they can really come up with some inventive notions. Of course one of my faves is the new form of Part 154. This one suggests that newcomers can learn English simply by sitting in a subject class taught by anyone who's taken the magical 12 ESL credits. Show More Summary

UFT Executive Board September 11, 2017--UFT Defends DACA and Dreamers

Howard Schoor welcomes us—6 PM— Speakers Roberta Pikse—Adult Ed.—In June dismissed with no reason after 16 years. Never got U rating before. Got 2 U observations last year. Year end U rating. Dismissed via email. Teaching adults very different. Show More Summary

Haunted arcade game Polybius: the documentary

2 weeks agoEducation / Learning : Infocult

Classic arcade game urban legend Polybius now has a documentary. There are many nice details here, including etymological explorations, fonts, fan art and mockups. There's some ARG-level investigation, too, with deep dives into Usenet,.exe files in hex editors, interviews...

Actually, There IS Free Lunch

That's true for NYC's schoolchildren. No more getting free lunch forms and letting all your friends know your home income is below poverty level. No more paying half price and letting them know you're close to it.This poses a problem for my school, and I presume, a whole lot of others. Show More Summary

Protecting Ourselves From the Equifax Data Breach, and Data Brokers in General

On September 7, news broke that Equifax's security failed and that 143 million people had their data accessed in a breach. While the breach was discovered in July, people affected by the breach were not notified until September. TheShow More Summary

When creepy dolls meet creepy creatures

2 weeks agoEducation / Learning : Infocult

Sometimes Gothic elements intersect. Say, for example, the creepiness of dolls with the unsettling abilities of scuttling creatures. A crab believed to be found in the Pacific's Pitcairn Islands was recently spotted with a rather unusual shell: a baby doll's...

I'm off today...

...but you can read a piece I wrote about the ATR over at Diane Ravitch's Blog.

Haunted spaces of modern Japanese ruins

2 weeks agoEducation / Learning : Infocult

A new book captures images of haunted Japanese spaces. Specifically, these are glimpses of modern ruins, now-derelict spaces that once housed modern life: apartments, mines and, of course, hotels and leisure facilities. This includes not just the once-splendorous Royal Hotel,...

Albany Doubles Down on Stupid

Today I taught an advanced ESL class for the first time in a few years. Because words liked "advanced" are too easily understood, the outstanding thinkers in Albany now call them "transitioning." Naturally, I'm quite impressed. I had the students write a diagnostic essay. Show More Summary

My New Pass

Yesterday, I received this handsome purple pass in my mailbox. It was handy, because I walked into a department meeting quite late. When called on it, I said, "But I have a pass." It wasn't the best excuse, but actually I was comingShow More Summary

Time for the zombie dogs

2 weeks agoEducation / Learning : Infocult

Chicago is apparently threatened by an outbreak of zombie dogs. “Infected animals will often appear ‘mangy’ -- which looks just like it sounds. They suffer hair loss and develop secondary infections, eventually looking like some sort of ‘zombie’ dog,” the...

Co-Teaching and its Discontents

Here's a piece on how to make co-teaching work. It has some great suggestions, and offers multiple models on how co-teaching can work. It also stresses that co-teachers are equals in the classroom. That's an important point, but there are others.Full disclosure--I co-taught last year and it was a great experience. Show More Summary

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