Friday, November 14, 2008

Love In a Time of Educational Cholera

It's been a week since the last posting here. A blogging vacation, at least for me, comes without warning and without all that messy planning and vacation daydreaming. I just woke up with an election hangover, putzed around the mental house for a day or so, and decided to crawl back under the prosaic covers.

It also didn't help that I felt like I was getting a cold for a day or so back there, my morning time has been taken up biking into work and a bunch of other banal yadda-yadda that would constitute Too Much Information in a lousy journal, much less your #1 blogging source for incredibly important information about your world and possible other worlds.

But I'm tanned, rested and ready now. It also helps that I got a nasty flat going down the Boulevard of broken glass that is the Isleta Blvd. bike lane yesterday, and have to drive to work today.

Meanwhile, you might be saying "who cares?", and perhaps you're following that bored question up with "meanwhile, how is the world of K-12 public education going?"

And my response to the latter question's hard to tell.

I could go into a thousand different directions of murky light here.

I could write a little something about the Educational Assistant sick-out yesterday (RR), but, to tell the truth, I don't know much about that situation other than these people are paid at a level of pathetic usually reserved for people bussing tables at restaurants. I will also say that I have a great deal of respect for the folks who decide to stick with being an Educational Assistant, but wouldn't do that job in a million, billion, planets light years away, lifetimes. Pay is one of the reasons, but I also don't care for the way many Educational Assistants are treated by the teaching staff at many schools. It's complicated, but there is a definite professional class system in place. Educational Assistants are victims of that class system. I'll just leave at it.

I could also go into a long harangue about public school teacher licensure, and how No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has endangered my ability to teach this little film class I have. Problem is, relating the story would be both incredibly boring and would take 5,000,000 words to properly explain. Let me put it into a short series of simple math equations and leave it be:

"Regular Education" teacher + Gifted Endorsement = Eligible Gifted Teacher
"Special Education" teacher + Gifted Endorsement = Eligible Gifted Teacher
"Special Education" teacher + Gifted Endorsement Not Equal Eligible "Regular Education" Teacher
Radio/TV/Film Minor in College Not Equal Anything Useful in K-12 Public Education Whatsoever

Lastly, I could go on and on and on about what has really taken up quite a bit of time the last week or so, the impending switch to a "block schedule" at my school. Again, I realize the term "block schedule" equates to "narcolepsy" for many fine readers out there, but I feel the need to mention that my school is roiling (in part because I just like the word "roiling") at the prospect of schedule changes made necessary by being in NCLB "corrective action" Hell. There have been two basic responses to these impending changes:

  1. A large group of smarter teachers has determined that forestalling a move to block schedules for as long as professional possible is the way to go, hoping that the ever-fickle District and other political entities will move on to something other shiny object of educational reform before we have to do anything.
  2. A much smaller group (pretty much limited to your humble blogger) wants to use this as an opportunity to create a schedule that works for our unique (and yeah, I hate that word too) school before the District and other political entities dictate a cookie-cutter block schedule that ruins what's makes my school "unique" in the first place.
I know, I know...not only am I tilting at windmills in full Don Quixote regalia, but being naive to the point of incredulity. Truth is, your cynical, sarcastic, negative humble blogger is at heart a naive idealist who stupidly refuses to knuckle under to a bureaucratic culture.

Stupid naive, cynical, romantic, sarcastic blogger person.

Not to mention the fact that windmill tilting is a time-consuming activity, what with all the trips to the store to buy new lances, as they constantly get snapped off by the bureaucratic windmills. Sometimes one wonders if the Dulcinea of Education (whatever that is) is really worth it.

Frankly, Cervantes or Gabriel Garcia Marquez would be much better at telling any of the stories above. Not that I need to tell you that.

Have a good weekend everybody. I'm going to Knight Errant Castle Depot for another set of lances.


tree street said...

Okay, another good report, sir Lance a lot.

Other mid schools in APS are dealing with this issue. The collective knowledge would be huge amongst the elective teachers. Sounds like group 1's move as well as group 2's efforts (which I applaud) are both workable.

Good luck in having a new plan ready, but in the meantime, stall!

Joseph Lopez said...

"Truth is, your cynical, sarcastic, negative humble blogger is at heart a naive idealist who stupidly refuses to knuckle under to a bureaucratic culture"

Quixotic one, thou art worthy! Tilt away!