Education Reform

Ok. Who wants to be a teacher in the 21st century?

Having done my tour of duty in the 20th, I can emphatically say “not me!” I suspect that answer will become increasingly popular as the education reform model of “blame the teacher” game continues to be played.

Recently a large number of teachers were fired in D.C. and earlier this year in  Central Falls Rhode Island. Why? The students weren’t performing well.

Why is it that superintendents of failing school systems can’t share in the blame and be fired?

I personally, would love to see someone like Michelle Rhee tossed out on her ear for such demoralizing, dehumanizing, fascistic, and draconian tactics. In the face of such behavior who want to pursue a career in education, knowing that every time little Johnny flunks he or she could be fired? Does it matter than Johnny rarely comes to class , doesn’t do his homework, or can’t sit still to save his life? No. Administrators such as Ms. Rhee and Frances Gallo have decided that its the teachers’ fault and they should be dismissed.

Want to be interviewed for the position next after reading about how 241 of your fellow educators lives were just flushed down the toilet? No?

Educational leaders need to learn to bring out the very best in everyone on their team, from the most talented to the least, and stop throwing out needed resources in the mistaken believe that their easily replaceable.

I have yet to hear about how education reform efforts address student discipline. What about suspension and expulsion? If the child brings a weapon to school, physically or verbally attacks a teacher or another student – the child should be suspended. I once tried to send a student from my classroom down to the principal’s office and was told “we can’t hold children” by the secretary. On another occasion, I sent a disruptive student into another teacher’s classroom. The principal promptly sent this student right back into my room. How’s that for support?

Teachers who are given 3rd grade students incapable of doing 3rd grade work, and then told that they can not use 2nd or 1st grade materials of any kind with such students are being set up for failure. If there are 25 students in a classroom and  five of these can’t read – when and how is the busy classroom teacher supposed to bring these children up to par while teacher the 20 students who can perform? Is it really fair to hold the teacher accountable for the deficiencies he or she was handed via social promotion, poor parenting, or any of a host of other factors? How much can teachers be expected to fix what’s at home?

Where does accountability start? Where does it end?

Until we get serious about supporting teachers and addressing student disciplinary problems will you ever see true student improvement. I’ve vented on this topic previously –…and-discipline/, but it bears repeating since so few in power seem to be listening.

Realistic assessment of accountability -Melissa Kelly wrote a balanced review of factors other than teachers which strongly impact learning, without discounting teacher quality.

New Blood for True Blood?

I like this show, but I’d like it a whole lot more if a character that scared the crap out of all the vampires were introduced. I’m getting a little tired of seeing them at the top of the foodchain, cocks of the walk, so to speak. Time to take them down a few pegs.

I feel like Charlaine Harris loves vampires too much to bring another species into the story that could squash vampires like bugs; which is a big frustration for me watching the series. I know the books differ, but Alan Ball draws heavily upon them for the scripts.

This is what I posted on Ms. Harris’ Community Board under Sookie Stackhouse:

I just want to say that I’m glad that Ms. Harris created the Britlingens. I’m sick and tired of the vampires being at the top of the food chain, the cocks of the walk, and think they desperately need to be taken down a few pegs. If Ms. Harris wants to create a few pyrokinetic characters with a passionate dislike for vampires – I’m all for it.

Oh, and just because Sookie can’t have a child by a vampire- doesn’t mean she can’t have one by a male [being] nearly as or even more powerful-giving birth to a child with powers which threaten the vampires.

After watching six years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – why would I want to watch the show’s heroine cower in fear every time a hostile vampire or other beastie comes knocking?  It’s getting old. Anyone else feel me on this one?

The Good Wife-What should we expect season 2?

Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello has just reported on the casting of Michael Ealy as Derrick Bond, the third partner at The Good Wife’s fictional law firm Lockhart & Gardner, to replace Jonas Stern. Mr. Ealy is said to be on board for at least 10 episode which may mean that producers are testing audiences’ reactions to him, or that the Bond character doesn’t last as the third partner.

I’ve always supported the notion that Diane and Will would dangle the offer of  partnership in front of Alicia in exchange for various and sundry favors. This would further blur the lines between Alicia and Will in their already awkward personal/business relationship.

According to New York Magazine -Kalinda’s office rival and love interest will be Scott Porter played by Jason Street. It should be interesting to see how all the sexual tension and activity in the firm plays out as various co-workers learn about one another’s dalliances… Chris Sarandon will also make at least one guest appearance as a difficult judge. Kalinda’s portrayer, Archie Panjabi, confirmed that there will indeed be tensions in the office as the third partner comes aboard and Kalinda comes into professional conflict with Mr. Porter, while maintaining an outside romance.

The Emmy Award-nominated THE GOOD WIFE returns for its sophomore season on Tuesday, Sept. 28 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).

Ausiello Files 1

True Blood-A Bite Out of the Future

I’ve enjoyed this show since its inception, but as it moves into a third season and is reported to have been granted a fourth, I have to wonder about the viability of actors playing immortal characters as they begin to age publicly. A prime example might be Kristin Bauer Van Straten’s Pam. Her makeup artist  and wardrobe consultant should be fired. This is a naturally beautiful woman who doesn’t need to wear ten pounds of makeup in order to say hello. Some of the outfits are funny, but they’re starting to look a bit over-the-top after two seasons. Do we really need a lesbian version of Kim Cattrall’s Samantha Jones? I have nothing against the actress who plays her, and think she adds much needed color to the series, but Pam’s look screams “older woman trying too hard to look young”. Just for the record: Kristin turns 37 this year. Alexsander  Skarsgard turns 34, Stephen Moyer turns 41. Can these folks play youthful looking vampires for another five or six seasons? I’m not so sure. Botox and surgery will only take you so far…