Monday, March 09, 2009

In Which APS Has An "In Service" In One Hand and A Day Off In the Other

Considering it's a little after 6 a.m. on the day after DST starts (so it's really only a little after 5 a.m.), and a Monday morning to boot, one really can't be held responsible for things like syntax, grammar, spelling or making a bit of sense right now.

Which gets me to the dawdling District and it's "evolving" plan as to what to do with the "Snow Day" make up, currently scheduled for the day after Memorial Day (May 26th).

This District's "planning" in this regard is very funny for several unintentional reasons, including the simple fact it wouldn't have to decide anything if it would stop canceling school on days where the snow melts off the roads by 9:30 in the morning. But that's slush under the salted bridge, so let's move on to another unintentionally funny aspect here, the idea of using our last "In Service Day", April 24th, to replace the snow day, instead of having students show up for a final half-day following a three-day Memorial Weekend.

To snip the Journal story....
District officials are considering the April 24 teacher in-service day as a possible makeup day for classes.

Albuquerque Teachers Federation president Ellen Bernstein said she has asked the union representatives to survey employees about the proposal to use the in-service day. "I think it's going to have a varied reaction," Bernstein said. "I think some of those people I represent are going to be thinking that's a good idea, and some of the people are going to say 'We planned our professional development.' "
Let's define the two groups identified in the "varied reaction" Ms. Bernstein quote above. The "good idea" people above can be defined as roughly every teacher in APS who has had nothing to do with desperately trying to fill up the April 24th "In Service" with educational mumbo-jumbo crap. This would account for approximately 99.3% of all APS teachers, ancillary staff, nurses, etc.

The "we planned our professional development" above constitute the .7% of poor, sweet bastards who actually have to find some educational mumbo-jumbo crap to fill up the April 24th "In Service".

Deciding between educational mumbo-jumbo is always difficult, but when you're called upon to provide "professional development" for surly, burnt-out April 24th of a long, long school year teachers who at this point would boo Santa Claus, heckle that guy who safely landed the plane in the Hudson River, and violently throw printed out PowerPoint presentations on "Alternative Assessments" back at even the nicest presenter, you've got a tough job. I'm sure hundreds of hours have been spent around the District by Principals, Instructional Coaches and other non-teachers planning for April 24th in meetings often started with the question: "What can we present that won't lead to our immediate lynching?"

So, in a way, I feel for that dumb, sweet bastard .7% crowd. Yes, teachers are always a tough crowd, and by Day 160 of a 180 Day school year we're worse than a super-drunk crowd of Philadelphia football fans when down 38-7 in the fourth quarter. But what makes matters worse is the apparent technical impossibility that these "In Service" days EVER be about something worth talking about. Right about now, for example, would be a great time to discuss the changes required by NCLB "Corrective Action". But will that be the subject of the April 24th "In Service"? Hell no.

It will be about "Differentiating Across the Writing Spectrum" or "Vertical Planning for Power Standards" or some such meaningless mumbo-jumbo that only serves to provide some bureaucrat in some remote APS Twin Tower office with data to throw into their dissertation, written so they can finally escape the APS Twin Towers and get a real job with a functional educational entity that isn't wracked with in-decision to the point where it is publicly wringing its hands trying to decide whether to use a day of Spring Break to make up for it's hastily called "Snow Day" when Spring Break is only two weeks away and everybody has already planned their week-long plus vacations for that week.

Hmmm...I seem to be waking up now. Thinking about the pitiful foibles of APS will do that I guess. That and a gallon of coffee pong. Let's be succinct in our final analysis here:

"In Services" are almost always stupid. Scheduling an In Service for Day 160 or so of a school year is beyond stupid. Any decision regarding "Snow Day 2008-2009" other than simply replacing the April 24th In Service with a school day would be stupid to the power of infinity.

I know, I know. If any organization can be stupid to the power of infinity, it's...well, let's just see what happens. I'm sure the District will decide quickly. At least eight hours before the day it decides to replace "Snow Day 2008-2009". At least.


Anonymous said...

Teachers, of course, would still have to come the day after Memorial Day. This would become the in-service. That will be a great use of time...

ched macquigg said...

Avoid at all costs, any plan that is intrinsically sensible.

Anonymous said...

GREAT post! A+!