Saturday, June 29, 2013

Loretta Prisco: A View from the First Row

  In a Data Driven System, Why Isn’t the DOE Looking at Their Own Data? Can’t See the Forest for the Trees!
The Mayor through his minions, Klein, Black (remember her?), and Walcott have done everything from reorganizing the system to reorganizing it yet again, from firing teachers to hiring newbies and excessing them, to training new principals without teaching experience and rating their schools “F”,  to closing schools and reopening new ones and closing them, to cooking the books in ways that might even top the skills of an Enron bookkeeper, and have still not be able to raise reading and math scores.  Yet the answer is waiting right under their noses.  Hey guys, you claim to be data driven, just look at the data – it sits there waiting for you! Why even a lowly teacher like me can see it!
1.    The schools that have the highest percentage of students in the free lunch program tend to have the students who also perform the lowest on standardized tests.  Don’t you see the connection here? Free lunch = low scores! Suggestion lifted straight from the data:  To improve reading and math achievement, just do away with the free lunch program. Voila!  Join the high scoring schools with fewer free lunch kids. And save the Feds all that money they spend on breakfast and lunch for a bunch of ungrateful kids who do nothing but whine about the food.
2.     Our kids go to school for 10 months, for 6 hours and 57 ½ minutes. Those who are have not done well on standardized tests aren’t promoted, are mandated to go to summer school for 15 days (and some will be absent for some of those days), 3 hours a day, be retested and most will have their scores go up and pass the grade.  So we take the most challenging students and do in 15 days what cannot be done in 10 months with double the daily time. See the connection here? 10 months = failure on tests.  15 days = success on tests.  Hey! Cancel 10 month school and mandate a 15 day school for all students.  Imagine what the most successful students will be capable of achieving in 15 days!  Kids whine about going to school anyway – ask them, they hate school.  We are not teaching art, music and offering gym anyway in year round school as schools are focused on test prep.  So what are they missing? Give the schools to charters, which is what the DOE really wants to do anyway.  And save all that money.
Take a sniff – the solutions are right under your noses!


  1. "The schools that have the highest percentage of students in the free lunch program tend to have the students who also perform the lowest on standardized tests."

    Hey! Watch out! If anybody else is reading this blog, you might be accused of (horrors!) making RACIST statements.

    But seriously. Do you actually think that people in the know, like active duty public school teachers, don't know how silly and stupid the NYCDE, and the NYSED, and the NYS Regents, and the brilliant theoreticians in the schools of Education are?

    Unfortunately, a few people reading each others witty postings on a few blogs is not going to penetrate the media wall of silence and the approved messages going out to the low information sheep out there. What you people have just not been able to figure out is how to get your message out.

    You are wasting your time.

    1. Sadly, I am compelled by weight of evidence (my own first hand observations and experiences) to agree with Anonymous's comment of earlier today. Throughout the U.S.A. , there is betrayal of public interest, w.r.t. education.

      Unfortunately, the media tows the line of those who claim that teaching must be disrupted, primarily because those that say so are the newly wealthy and influential. They say that teaching must be disrupted because of progress. We live in an era of technology. They deride existing pedagogy as archaic, resembling that which was used for the past 300 years. In fact, methods are probably similar to those used for the past 3000 years, and for good reason: Our brains haven't changed in the past 3000 years! Technology's great, but New Technocrats who want to replace teachers with robots and mobile phone apps (no exaggeration, read about it in the NY Times, Wired magazine, Wall Street Journal, elsewhere) are clueless. That isn't how THEY learned math, reading or anything else!

      So, just maybe, the status quo i.e. pedagogical methods taught and applied prior to 1985 (1990?), prior to pre-Common Core "reform" were exceptionally effective! And that the problem, now, is not teacher inadequacy, nor so-called union corruption (I don't believe teachers' union are corrupt; they are a popular scapegoat though). Instead, there are profound societal problems resulting from a decade or two of so-called Democrats, who are neither Democrat nor GOP, but something closer to Libertarian, yet lack the honesty to acknowledge such.

      Whenever I offer to help public school teacher advocacy groups, they rebuff me. I am a statistician, my mother and two aunts each had 20 - 30 years as public school teachers, and I have no hidden agenda, am merely an unemployed widow in Arizona. I loved going to school, public school, in the late 1970's and 1980's! I was well-prepared for Swarthmore College and later, Stanford University, as were my friends. We attended public schools in southern New Mexico, not an upper-income haven such as Atherton, CA or Scarsdale, NY or Bloomfield Hills, MI or the Seattle-area equivalent.

      Best of luck to you, EdNotes. Please keep fighting the good fight, else all will be lost.

      * P.S. I can help you with comment moderation from your cell phone if you wish, as I noticed that you had some difficulty with that. Or anything else with your very well-kept blog, though you seem to be doing an excellent job of it!


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).