Monday, October 05, 2009

UPDATED...NM Education Cuts Protest: Should We Play or Should We Go?

Updated 10/9/09, 9:47 a.m.: Hmmm...nice weather this morning. Another possible excuse to not attend...gone. Also, for those of you driving, and, like me, dreading the whole parking in SF thing: What if we park at the 599 Rail Runner stop and ride bikes up to the clustershindig? Physical exercise AND political exercise/exorcise...

Tsk, tsk....not much of an "Update" really. Oh well, on to the previously published drivel....

Taking the idea of a "break" to its shortest meaning possible, public schools (at least in ABQ) have a "Fall Break" this upcoming Friday. It's an interesting choice of days, as the "Break" is not the Federal holiday next Monday ("Columbus Day"), and occurs during Balloon Fiesta, but not on the first weekend of the Fiesta.

Who the Hell cares, one might ask, a "Break" is a "Break" even if it's only an extra day. This is especially true as the rate of student absences skyrockets toward the peak of flu season, when it's only early October. The swirl of viruses combined with state budget shortfalls, wildly fluctuating published graduation rates and the inanity of "short-cycle assessments" has everyone crying out for a three-day weekend. Logic or federal calendar synchronicity be damned.

And while many families will use the extra day to attend the Fiesta, or frantically leave town to avoid it, public school teachers themselves have the opportunity to travel to Santa Fe Friday to attend a Noon - 4 p.m. march/rally/protest/gathering/bitchfest/media event on the subject of State Government budget cuts to K-12 education.

Right now I think I speak for about 93% of all APS teachers when I say "frankly, right this second, I would rather have a hole drilled into my head in slow-motion with a really jagged, unsharpened drill bit than waste my day off attending this march/rally, etc."

Maybe closer to 99%.

At the same time, this is like when the "Animal House" is on trial before the frat board, and Otter is about to make that "Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America" speech, and Delta House President Hoover says: "Don't screw around, they're serious this time!

Well, they're serious this time.

And yes that is true even if the current real situation truthfully has absolutely zero to do with "Animal House". Although, truthfully...everything has something to do with "Animal House" and vice-versa. If you ask me.

And speaking of asking me, perhaps you, dear reader, are inquiring, either silently or out loud..."Well, Scot, you going on Friday?"

And my answer is: Don't screw around, they're serious this time!

Yeah...I'm going. I could be all post-modern and say I'm really going for the good times of seeing pissed off teachers saying incredibly silly things, or the chance to "cynically blog about it", but really I'm planning on going like any other schmuck teacher who wants to change things for the better, stop a horrible action before it's enacted, yadda------yadda------yadda.

I could say I feel like Rick in "Casablanca", all squishy idealist inside rough, smoking exterior, but I don't smoke and I never had Ingrid Bergman back in Paris.

I'm just a ordinary teacher who's going to this shindig on Friday, and if you go cool, and if you're a teacher who already had vacation plans, or just wants to sleep in Friday and wash away the bad memories of "short cycle assessments", etc., that's cool, too.

Although it would be nice if you were up in Santa Fe, to help me laugh at the incredibly silly things teachers are saying (while secretly agreeing with the silly things).

C'mon, we could all hold hands and signs, while reliving marches way back when, before all the marchers spent the whole march not holding hands and not chanting "What do we want, (insert thing we want)! When do we want it, now!", instead choosing to talk on their cell phones the whole frickin' time ("oooh, honey, we're in front of the Roundhouse now...yes, I will get bread and a gallon of milk before I come you want 2% or 1% milk, hey I'm marching with Marcie, do you want to say 'hi' to Marcie?").

Forget I mentioned the cell phone thing. Sales is just not my field (massive understatement there).

Teachers, just come to the shindig on Friday. Or don't. No big deal either way. Just remember your non-attendance the next time you watch "Animal House", and see/hear Otter make that "Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America" speech.

Hope that's a real enjoyable experience for you, non-attendees.

Everyone else, see you on Friday.


Anonymous said...

Sorry- not going to SF.

I do have a question.I have the DBA test scores. What do they mean? Are the only options beginning steps, nearing proficient, and proficient?

If there an advance category and i just don't have any students that made that grade?

My PDP is due tomorrow. I haven't even started, because I am all hung up on the meaning (or not) of these scores.

jscotkey said...


I believe you're referring to the SBA (standards-based assessment) scores that finally hit the AIMS system a few days ago. Actually there is an "Advanced" category. Sorry.

As for the PDP meeting, perhaps reading some of my former drivel on the subject will alleviate your concerns...

No need to worry. I have heard stories of Principals treating the PDP more vigorously than that portrays in the link above, but if you can pick a decent standard/benchmark/strand/whatever and write a decent paragraph on how that ties in to whatever the heck you want to do this year, you should be alright.

Be advised I'm lousy at advice, and have been known to be wrong so often I can't count that high.

Anonymous said...

I'll be there too Scott, although, having been to so many of these things over the last 43 years, I've gotten very cynical. My take is that unless you hit them in the pocketbook, nothing ever changes much. How can we hit business in the wallet? Well, all teachers can attend a ralley held on 10/12, 10/13, 10/14 and so on. Business might take notice if their employee's don't show up for work because the teachers are marching instead of babysitting the children of their employyees!

Anonymous said...

it begs the question, "who" is serious this time? We can list the usual suspects (in no particular order): the union, the legislature, the Gov, the teachers, or the democracy-loving, engaged citizenry.

the legislature--the printed rationale of deep financial hole and need to include deep financial recipient has some validity. However, their incompetence as artform leaves the suspense intact.

the union--how does one spell anachronistic dinosaur, oh, wait, that would be redundant, spelled, u-n-i-o-n. we have our own bitchfest 1st Tuesday of every month. This suspect is seriously ineffective.

the Gov.--doing all he can to be perceived as interested as he concocts way to skidaddle the state. Is he serious about anything?

the democracy-loving, engaged citizenry--theys got plans to seriously attend the Fiesta and salute the flag festooned balloons. That's their deliberative demonstration of choice and they've already shown how it's done with Obama and TEA rallies.

What's left, oh, yeah, the teachers.

The hardest working suspect and undeniably serious about their job when not attending bitchfest at our dear unionhouse. Wouldn't I like to say we are serious? Yeah, I would, but so often we come off as that group of remediated (with glorious Ramped up Navigation) math students who have not been supported over the years to the point of saying, "what's the point?" Scot, I hope this crew is serious this time or understanding what is serious could become seriously too late.

esteemed pedagogue said...

I'll be there. Creating political interest is what teachers do best.