With the release of the NYC teacher ratings imminent, last week, I asked Randi Weingarten, the former head of the NY union (and now head of the national), to name a single teacher who she thought shouldn’t be in the job. The data was released over the hard-fought objections of the teacher’s union. (The Times had to sue to make the data public).
In today’s Times, Michael Winerip reports that passing the kindergarten high school English Regents exams these days, don’t have the prestige you figured. Apparently the only thing required for a passing grade is knowledge of the alphabet.
Here’s an example from the scoring guide for writing that should get a 1 (on a scale of 1-2).
These two Charater have very different mind Sets because they are creative in away that no one would imagen just put clay together and using leaves to create Art. (sic)
This one is supposed to get a 3 on a scale of 1–3.
Even though their is no physical conflict withen each other. Their are jealousy problems between each other that each one wish could have. (sic)
Here’s a sample from a future parolee leader of New York; cheer up, the kid passes, but they ony get a 1.
I had heard of course, of T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land, and knew the opening line — “April is the cruelest month”, but that was pretty much the sum of my knowledge of the subject.
I spent less time in school studying than I should have, and not enough time in school, generally. Though things have worked out, I regret not learning more when I didn’t have to worry about a mortgage, etc., but I try to make up for it. I knew the poem is considered “one of the most important, poems of the 20th century”, but that didn’t make me any more eager to read it.
It’s not easy reading. Like a Pynchon novel, the poem switches narrators, and timeframes without warning. Did Eliot intend it to be performed or only read? I don’t know. Shakespeare meant for his plays to be acted, not studied, and like Shakespeare’s work, when heard, the poem comes alive, even for an oaf like me.
I can’t say I understand all of it, or even many of the references, but I enjoy lisening to it, and have been reading about it.
If anyone has a question about it, send them to me, and what, you think I can answer them? I’m a drop-out, people! But my friend Megan has her her Masters from Oxford, her PhD from Yale, and spends her career studying and teaching it. I’ll pass the questions along. (And if she ignores us, you can listen to a discussion of the poem, here.)
Yes, this is what sliding into irrelevance looks like. Science magazine reports (incredibly),
Researchers found that only 28 percent of biology teachers consistently follow the recommendations of the National Research Council to describe straightforwardly the evidence for evolution and explain the ways in which it is a unifying theme in all of biology. At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.
This is a chart showing acceptance of evolution in Western countries. Well, we’re ahead of Turkey — though I’d love to see Alabama and Mississippi broken out separately.
OK, December wasn’t a banner month for New York City’s Ivy League institution. First, you had the political science professor having sex with his daughter, then the bust of a bunch of Columbia frat boys alleged to be small-time campus drug dealers.
A Columbia political science professor has been busted for incest. He’s accused of having a consensual relationship with his 22-year old daughter. It’s alleged that the relationship has been going on for several years.
The professor, David Epstein, has been placed on administrative leave. His wife, is also a poli-sci prof at Columbia, and has her office right across from his. Yikes.
Bwog reports that Epstein was teaching two classes this semester, “Scope and Methods,” and “Game Theory and Political Theory”. The blog also quotes a student of Epstein’s, saying that he is
“a very nice guy,” who had prominently displayed “pictures drawn by his children” in his office.
Yesterday, I wasn’t psyched to go to tutoring. I’d gone to sleep the night before with a sore throat, and feeling a little under the weather, but woke up feeling no worse, and a little better, so I went.
We were teaching “Interpreting Figurative Language”, and doing shared reading. When we got to the sentence, “Pa stood six foot seven and had a voice like a hurricane.” Jose looked up and said,
“That’s a great metaphor.”
I know I’ve said it before, but how can you beat that?
When I like a certain band or musician, I always try to learn who their influences were, and in turn, which artists influenced them. It helps me not only better understand their work, but has led me to great stuff I might not otherwise have heard.
The Rolling Stones and the Animals led me to Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Howlin’ Wolf; and via those guys, people like Son House and Robert Johnson. Big Star, because of Teenage Fanclub, and BMX Bandits because of TFC. The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield via groups like the Long Ryders and the Bangles — you get the idea.
I do the same with film-makers I like, in particular Woody Allen. I read Sentimental Education because he mentions it in Manhattan, and I saw Grand Illusion for the same reason. He certainly makes no secret about his influences; maybe because as an auto-didact, he feels the need to show off a bit to those people who, “teach a class at Columbia called ‘T.V., Media, and Culture”.
Like him, I’m a college drop-out, so I’m always working on that deficit of book-learning, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cribbed from him. I suppose it wouldn’t work for me if I didn’t like his taste, but mostly, I do (though not crazy about Mahler).
Just recently, I finally sawThe Sorrow And The Pity, a movie that Alvy and Annie go to see in Annie Hall at the beginning of their relationship, and in the penultimate scene, run into each other as Annie is taking her new boyfriend to see it at the old Thalia.
Another thing I share with him, is that at a party, I’d rather be in the bedroom, sitting on the coats, watching the Knicks, too. Needless to say though, he’s still funnier and better read than me, though. I had to look up Heinrich Böll, and can’t pull Marhsall McCluhan out from behind a sign.
Isaac: Where the hell does a little Radcliffe tootsie come off rating Scott Fitzgerald, Gustav Mahler and Heinrich Böll?
Stacy: Why are you getting so mad?
Isaac: Because I don't like that pseudo-intellectual garbage. “Van Goch!” Did you hear that? She said Van Goch. Like an Arab she spoke. One more remark about Bergman, and I'd have knocked her other contact lens out.
Tracy: Is she Yale’s mistress?
Isaac: That will never cease to mystify me. I mean, he’s got a wonderful wife, and he prefers to…to diddle this yo-yo.
But he was always a sucker for those kind of women. The kind that would involve him in discussions of existential reality. They probably sit on the floor with wine and cheese, and mispronounce “allegorical” and “didacticism”.
Joke's on us?This is 1st substantial immigration discussion(C-SPAN covers Hse Judiciary w/Stephen Colbert testimony)Do they take it serious?
Remember when Palin and her daughter Bristol traded eye-rolls, when they encountered Alaskan teacher, Kathleen Gustafson? What struck me about that, was how mother and daughter instantly looked at each other, the moment the word “teacher” was uttered. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Maybe the Alumni Association of North Idaho College wants to refudiate that “Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award” they gave her?