It's another Sunday night. Soon to rest, for tomorrow morning it's back to a real classroom and real students, 18-year-old Black and Latino youth, living in the real world. Been doing pretty much the same thing for 27-years which is one of the many things that differentiate me from Cathy Black and Joel Klein before her as Michael Bloomberg's Valet of Public Schools.
In the real world where I and my flesh and blood students live things are crazy. The word always on the tip of my tongue is absurd. Seems like we're all caught in an Edward Albee play. It's theater of the absurd. How else to explain Cathy Black running the NYCPS?
The global economy's death is at the root of it all. Yeah, the global economy died in the fall of 2008. It was in all the papers. Close observers of the economy know that now the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, the governments United States, the European Union, Japan, the governments of the developing countries lead by China are now propping up the corpse by way of something they call "extend and pretend".
A good example of how this works came this week in the case of Ireland. For days the Irish government declared categorically that it needed no bailout. Right up to the moment they admitted an infusion of billions from the IMF and the EU was a matter of survival. Same thing happened to Greece. Soon Portugal, and Italy, and Spain will dance the same Kabuki dance. Eventually California will be dancing with the dead stars as reality washes up on the shores of the United States.
The overriding problem my students and I face is that we live in this corpse. We all do. Description of it is beyond me so I refer you to persons of greater literary skill. Check out the writing of Joe Bagaent http://www.joebageant.com/ and James Howard Kunstler http://www.kunstler.com/index.
We're extending and pretending to beat the band down here in Florida. We gave the Irish government a run for their money this week. The Florida Department of Education hauled out all the bells and whistles to announce a dramatic rise in the state's graduation rate. There was an orgy of bureaucratic back patting. If only we could actually live in their made up fantasy world. (New Yorkers can relate if they have any familiarity with the NYCPS' credit recovery program.)
About three years ago the Florida Legislature made the graduation rate a factor in a school's FCAT grade. It was then that real students began disappearing from my real classroom and the real Miami-Dade Public Schools. They were all at-risk students and they no longer existed for the purpose of calculating the high school graduation rate in Florida.
Tomorrow in my real classroom, my real students and I will spend another day wondering when our world and the pretend world will collide and what the explosion will mean for us.
Until the real sun comes up,
Paul A. Moore
When the BloomKlein grad rates are truly examined a load of disappeared kids will also be discovered.
How long before the US starts to look like Mexico? Can't you just see the day when Americans sneak across the border to try to get in to Mexico to get work?
Read Gary Shteyngart's "Super, Sad, True Love Story" for A vision of the not too distant future.
And every column Paul Krugman writes.
The educational assault in most cities is a symptom of the decline.
Read Perdido Street School where Reality Based Educator assaults Thomas Friedman's Sunday Times column: RBE Opens with:
BASH THE TEACHERS: Tom Friedman Edition
RBE is a NYC teacher - and how many great voices from the classroom have emerged- and I bet great teachers - the kind of teachers who could probably grab a share of those merit pay bonus baby money but have too much integrity - Let's just call them Real Reformers for now.
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