Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, It's A Wrap

UPDATED: Monday, 10 AM, reposted

Every week I promise myself I would do a wrap-up so I can review where I was the last week so it doesn't all slip away and point to upcoming events the following week. Every week that project slips away. Here is an attempt. Wait--- what was I going to do again?

But first, here are links to the Ed Notes posts from the past week. Note this June 1 report on Anna Phillips' going away party:
--Michael Winerip is leaving the Times. Or was pushed. Another blow and sign of their downfall. Many people have been predicting that given the quality of his writing on the side of real reform. How tempted am I to cancel my sub? --- Ed Notes, June 1.
Did I break that story, given that people seem surprised at Winerip's final ed column in the Times today slamming the Florida/Jeb Bush testing regime?

Monday, Monday, June 4.  Hmmmm. Nothing in my calendar from last week.A visit to my dad's apartment to clean it out -- followed by a coughing fit and what seems like swollen glands.

Lunch with former student who tells me she is 47. The last time I saw her she was 16 and in high school. She looks the same. I don't. Quite a 2 hour conversation about the past. Maybe this is part of the face of accountability – meeting a former student from your 6th grade class and having her tell you she saw her first play because you took the class and she has been a theater goer ever since, making sure her own kids get to share that experience. And my principal used to tell me I took too many trips and the scores would suffer.
      Then it was off to visit a former colleague, an 82 year old who fell in her apartment, broke her hip and lay there for 5 days before being found. She looked so good, but she always looked 20 years younger. I remember someone had found out how long she was teaching and all the young guys gathered around in wonder at her age. Hot, hot, hot, and still hot at 82 with a broken hip.
     And finally the FAIRTEST event which I wrote about here where I posted videos (and revealed that I gave Weingarten a hug-- I am a serial hugger.) What I didn't reveal was the nice comments from Diane Ravitch about the movie and her thanking me for my role in that.
   After the event I went out with Fred Smith who has done such great work with Change the Stakes and Rosalie Friend and another local SOS activist along with an SOS visitor from Denver named Kemble Stokes who took a batch of copies back with her. (I got a great email from her tonight.)

Did I miss the Venus transit of the sun? I'll catch it next time in 2117. I also missed the shuttle being towed practically past my house last week. I'll catch that next time too.

Wednesday June 6 - D-Day - the invasion of Norman 41 years ago. The day belonged to my wife. And what a day. We both got haircuts in prep for the big wedding today, followed by a visit to a car dealer getting ready to buy my new Honda CRV, then off to the bank to take care of dad business, followed by a trek to clean up his apartment which is so full of dust mites we can only stand it for an hour at most. Finally back home to rest before heading out to a great dinner in the meat packing district, followed by a short stroll on the high line.

Thursday: The big Pearson rally, followed by hanging out in Central Park with some of the parents and their kids, followed by a great MORE education discussion on accountability and focused on chapters 8 and 9 of the Ravitch book, followed by my handing out a leaflet in front of CUNY at the E4E meeting with State Ed Comm John King. That was so much fun I have to write about it separately.

Friday:  Bikram hot yoga in AM (wipeout), smoking a stogie, followed by a meeting with a newbie to the ed wars now working for a non-profit who was sent by her director to get the historical background and guide to every single activist group in NYC. After 2 hours she was worn out. And so was I -- but we shared a great chocolate chip cookie to recover. And she was delightful to chat with --- intelligent, engaged and ready to roll. Welcome to the ed wars.

Saturday -- went to a wake for the mom of an activist teacher/blogger who I don't know well but have enormous respect for and was moved by the story of his mom.
Followed by the movie Hunger Games (which we loved -- and maybe our future). I have the 3 books waiting to be read -- if I ever get over my new obsession with Jo Nesbo deep dark Norwegian novels starring Harry Hole.

Sunday -- all day getting ready for the gala wedding of the daughter of our great friends. What a great wedding due to the incredible couple and their clear joy and love for each other which so infected everyone.

Best to Robyn and David.
I have a great pic of dad and bride walking down the aisle. If dad reads this, let me know if OK to add it here.

Home at 1AM -- oy! I had to drive someone to the airport at 6AM. Got up at 5AM. Monday will be a couch potato day.

Afterburns -- some collected items that won't get into separate posts:

Reality Based Educator's comments about KIPP founder Dave Levin's work week and the mantra at KIPP inspired the above response.

I used to work in a KIPP school. None of the teachers had kids and there was a 50% turnover rate every year for staff. You simply can not have a life when you work in a KIPP school. The funny thing is that they brag about how you can't have a life other than the KIPP life. Their entire mantra is "Work Hard, be Nice". I actually felt like I was in a cult when I worked there.


Hi Norm,

I just found out about your blog although I have had a copy of your group's doc since last year. Our group in W. Marin County, California just successfully defeated a charter proposal that would have turned my daughter's Waldorf Inspired program into a corporate charter. I have been blogging about it and am writing a guide for fighting charter schools. I decided to write one since I found nothing when I first started to study how to fight charters in March and didn't find any. Do you know of any other guides? Can you help me get in touch with other parents and teachers and communities that have and are fighting charter schools around the country?

My blog is at

Keep up the great fight!

In solidarity,


A question came in on Harlem Village Charter School after an NBC puff piece on founder Deborah Kenney. I wrote about it but best to read Leonie's response:

We have written about this school many times on the parent blog:

NYC Public School Parents: More blatant charter school propaganda -

NYC Public School Parents: The Blind Side -

NYC Public School Parents: Is Harlem Village Academy Really the Model for Urban Public School Reform? -

A charter school with extraordinarily high teacher and student attrition rates and one of the best PR operations around.

Leonie Haimson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are one busy beaver. Thank you for all you do to uncover the truth.

Schoolgal :)