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April Fools Day - April 1 April Fools Day – April 1


April Fools Day is celebrated on April 1 of each year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April Fools Day is not a national holiday.  April Fools Day is widely recognized and celebrated by many as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.

Here is a little April Fools History:

There are different theories as to the beginning of April Fools Day.

“The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392).  In the 1392 writings by Chaucer,Canterbury Tales, the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set March thirty days and two.  Modern scholars believe that there was a copying error in the manuscripts and that Chaucer actually meant 32 days after April, i.e. May…

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Who Will be NYSED’s “Outside Evaluators”?


I nominate The Koch Brothers, The Walton Family and Chairman of the Board Bill Gates with assistance from Melinda Gates

Originally posted on Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

As more details emerge from the budget agreement hammered out between Assembly and Senate leadership and Governor Andrew Cuomo, more questions seem to need urgent answers.  The Governor got many of the education items that he wanted, especially regarding tenure and teacher evaluations.  His original proposal called for 50% of teacher evaluations to come from standardized testing, 35% from an “outside evaluator,” and only 15% from school principals.  All three of these elements are in the budget framework and potentially the budget bills being debated as the deadline looms, but the final weight of the different items will depend upon work done by the New York State Education Department between now and June 30th.  Regardless of the final weight given to these items, no teacher in the state will be found to be more than “developing” if the test score component is “ineffective,” and all teachers will be evaluated with…

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Strange New Math: Less Student Effort Equals Much More Teacher Work

Every day that I go to school I learn something new. The latest lesson is very difficult to swallow. With the increasing level of apathy in our students, it creates more work for teachers.

If a student chooses not to attend class and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why that student did not pass.

If a student sleeps through class and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why that student didn’t pass.

If a student refuses to copy the work from the board and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why that student didn’t pass.

If a student chooses to listen to their headphones instead of paying attention to the lesson and fails, then the teacher must “JUSTIFY” why that student didn’t pass.

To “JUSTIFY” failing a student I first must describe the interventions that I have attempted to ensure the student’s success and their level of effectiveness.

The following interventions available to all students:

1.    Late work accepted entire six weeks.

2.    Individual/Small/Large group tutoring.

3.    Before school tutoring 4 days a week.

4.    After-school tutoring.

5.    I am required to tolerate uncooperative behavior daily.

6.    No homework is assigned.

7.    All daily assignments are done in class as small group/large group.

8.    Review of specific test objectives prior to the test.

9.    Anchor charts/diagrams displayed during testing.

10. Students are not removed from class for rude and disrespectful behavior.

11. Poor attendance is tolerated without any consequences.

Additional Procedures I have not implemented but have considered:

1.    Give credit to students that do not complete any work.

2.    Curve all tests so that all students pass.

3.    If a student is absent then their grade for all missed work will automatically be a 100.

4.    Award more bonus points for inattentiveness, sleeping, listening to headphones, being disrespectful, being out of dress code and ignoring all instruction.

While my “additional procedures” may seem a little ridiculous, they are not far from the reality in most schools. The teachers are being held accountable for everything while the students and administration deflect all responsibility. The administrators favorite response is “did you call the parent?” Typically the response is no because there are too many to calls because it is a school-wide culture problem and not an individual student problem.

David R. Taylor

27 Year Teacher, Coach, and Principal

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Choosing Reform-Minded Urban Superintendents

Originally posted on Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

If I had to choose an urban superintendent between Michelle Rhee in Washington,D.C.(2007-2010) and  John Deasy in Los Angeles Unfied School District (2011-2014), I would choose Christopher Steinhauser, Long Beach (CA) superintendent since 2002. Why? Because Rhee and Deasy were sprinters in a job that requires marathoners like Steinhauser. Both Rhee and Deasy knew that teachers were the linchpin to achieve any degree of success and both ended up alienating the very people they depended upon. Steinhauser and his predecessor, Carl Cohn, who had served a decade earlier built close ties with their teachers over two decades.

Why are there so few long distance runners among urban superintendents? Answer: Sprinters want 180 degree change fast; in doing so, they rarely gain respect and confidence of teachers; marathoners work with teachers steadily from day 1 of their tenure.

Boston’s former superintendent Thomas W. Payzant, Carl Cohn of the Long…

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When “Evaluation” Means “Ruin Teaching”

Originally posted on Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

Observers of the budget negotiation process in Albany, N.Y. had some reasons to be hopeful over the past week.  Various reports indicated that the new Assembly Speaker, Assemblyman Carl Heastie of the Bronx, was holding firm against various education proposals from Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Backed by polling showing the public in New York dead set against the Governor’s proposals by wide margins, it looked like much of the education agenda laid out in the January budget address was at risk.  And early reports from Sunday suggested that the Assembly representatives secured significant increases in education aid and managed to trim a number of the worst proposals from the budget framework.  An aid increase between $1.4-$1.6 billion dollars is in the agreement, and Governor Cuomo’s plans to lift the charter school cap and provide a new tax credit for donations to private schools are both absent from the framework.

Teacher evaluations…

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Joanne Yatvin: What Is a Good School?

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Joanne Yatvin has been a teacher, a principal, and a superintendent. She wrote these reflections on what constitutes a good school.

A few weeks ago, a New Hampshire teacher, Shawna Coppola, shared her ideas about what makes a good school, in contrast to the schools that are celebrated because of high student test scores. Although I agree with much that Shawna says, I want to take the challenge she voices at the end of her piece to describe my own view of what a good school is.

I first put my own definition and description of a good school into words a long time ago when I was asked to write a review of a book about a disintegrating school that was rescued by a new principal. I repeat it below with only a few word changes to reflect contemporary terminology and my own growth.

In my view a good…

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Peter Greene Explains Why Public Money Does Not Belong to the Student

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

One of the mantras of school choice advocates is that “the money”–whether federal, state, or local–“should follow the child.” It should be stuffed in a backpack that he or she can spend wherever they choose. The claim is made both for charters and vouchers, and behind it is the assertion that the money somehow belongs to the child, not the community that paid taxes.

Peter Greene here shows what a fallacious claim that is.

He writes:

“I’ve resisted this notion for a long time. The money, I liked to say, belongs to the taxpayers, who have used it to create a school system that serves the entire community by filling that community with well-educated adults who make better employees, customers, voters, neighbors, parents, and citizens. But hey– maybe I’ve been wrong. Maybe that money, once collected really does belong to the student. In which case, let’s really do this….


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