Stunned and speechless….

….and what if a teacher gets exactly what she wants?

I have an opportunity to go to a little private school, where the students run to class and don’t ever want to leave. A true passionate calling, because it’s more of a community than a school. And I would dedicate myself to this new school, forever turning my back of public education?

But somehow, there’s a big hole inside me…..the hole that was filled with anger and a constant yearning for social justice, for people to step up and do the right thing.

And now, if I take this other job, I’d be in a peaceful enclave, just influencing the lives of fewer, but more dedicated students—-away from the front lines?

Would I be able to turn off the noise from the education battles being waged around me? And just be happy in my own little DMZ?

It’s just what I’ve always wanted….to be able to teach and expend all my energies on being better and better as an educator—-but I’ve had my defenses up so long—-I don’t even know how to proceed if I take this job.

Would I have to tune out all my teacher friends and tell them I could no longer listen to their complaints? Would I move on to other friends?

This could be a life changer. But I still don’t know what to do….just call me “stunned and speechless”….for once.

Depressed and reconsidering…

First of all, my partner in life, threw out my weird apple “experiment”, bags of apple slices that refused to turn brown no matter how long I kept them. I was hoping they would rival Twinkies, although they tasted so bad from the beginning—-I truly don’t know how anyone could stand to eat them.

Second of all, it’s test season. As I stand in testing rooms and stare at the window, I wish I could run away. And I’ll never get the top students, I’ll always have the challenging ones and that could end my job here at any time, if the Standardized Test gods don’t smile on me.

And the dreariness of it all. Kids with infected piercings on their faces. Boys with their pants on the ground with their boy parts all hanging out. Kids texting all during class. Girls making out with each other to a hallway audience (think “Girls Gone Wild” the live version). And in those movies with the turnaround teacher who energizes the poor kids, there’s never any “scratch and sniff” since some of these kids are homeless. They can’t help it that they smell bad, but they do. And the kids that reek of pot, not only is it hopeless to teach them, but I don’t like that smell much either.

As I stare out the window in the ongoing soul-deadening testing rooms, I long for a nice clean work place, with people who discuss interesting things (not Tyler Perry’s latest movie) and no one has pus oozing out of their face.

I’m just depressed….and it makes me want to run away.

Shotgun wedding

Through all the discussion of gay marriage and marriage equality….the idea that love rules keeps popping up.

But according to Stephanie Coontz, that’s not the way it always was. More about property and power v. actual love.

And that’s how I think we’re going to look back at this crazy time in American education, as a shotgun wedding. You know, the kind where the bride is pregnant and the father takes a weapon to intimidate the groom into marriage? The kind of marriage that made up fodder for Henny Youngman and a ton of Borscht Belt comics (“Take my wife….please!”)

And the wives wound up with names like “Ball and Chain” as if marriage were a prison sentence and other nasty epithets.

That’s probably how our unwilling students feel. Instead of a volatile, unhappy marriage (with dishes flying through the air) we know have that same domestic violence in our classrooms with kids not wanting to be at school except to socialize. And the teachers get their backs pushed up against the wall, because they can see their expensive 4 year college degree being demolished by these kids (while the teachers still owe thousands of dollars in student debt.)

Rick Santorum played right into this (but without the cleverness of Henny Youngman or Rodney Dangerfield) when he called college graduates “snobs” (with the attendant laughter of his audience). As President (shuddering a the thought) he would probably enable the students to do anything they liked in their classes—-after all the teachers preparing them for a better life would be “snobs” and would get what is coming to them.

But then again, without birth or gun control, the shotgun wedding might just make a come-back too.

Custody fight

Feelin’ that students and teachers these days are in the midst of one of the biggest custody fights ever.

And no one seems to notice, because it all gets slathered over with aphorisms that have probably been manufactured by some marketing firm catering to the Billionaire Boys Club.

Here in HISD, they tout “parent involvement”, but that really means parents that agree with them. Especially since they can brand schools “exemplary” or “unacceptable” and have parents panic and stampede from one school to another. After all, it’s far too complicated to figure out why this is a crazy concept, so they have the advantage on busy, stressed out working parents.

Otherwise, HISD doesn’t want to listen. Especially as HISD parentswho figure out that the HISD leadership is full of crap jet out the door for alternatives to public school.

While worshipping NCLB and all the weird permutations of teacher eval, HISD super, Dr. G., would prefer to bulldoze all parents who get in his way. In fact, they would rather just be the only say-so in the students’ lives, regardless of their ethnic background, religious beliefs or even basic family logistics (everyone in the family depends on that student to work and help out).

Seems that if NCLB were to be completely successful, they would round up all children, place them in some kind of compound, feed them only “healthy” foods and have them recite NCLB goals endlessly until they completed their trajectory into a white collar cubicle.

There doesn’t seem to be any room for individual journeys, the quirkiness of life, the impossiblity of predicting the future—-all for some kind of uniformity based on some Bill Gates and others who all want us to lead a “productive, healthy life”. According to them.

So, we have a custody fight on our hands. Let’s call it what it really is.

So, in small group today,


a kid wiped his nose on his sleeve. There was a booger. We both made eye contact with that booger, and we made eye contact with each other. Rather than jump up to wipe it off, the kid looked at me, put his mouth around the booger and ate it.

I almost puked.

EDIT: The child is almost 13.

And that NEVER gets mentioned. I have kids with face piercings that look infected and red and puffy. I can’t make eye contact with them sometimes. I know if I sent them to the nurse they would go off on how I’m “criticising” them. And why, oh, why do teacher have to keep looking at boy’s underwear? It’s sickening and it makes for a horrible work place. I keep wondering if teachers could actually sue for improving their work place by not having to look at boy’s bottoms. Overall, teaching takes a STRONG stomach.


Until we provide equal educational resources to students and teachers, we can’t say how well or poorly they’re performing.

YESS Preach, Mr. Johnson. I feel this way all the time.

Finally, the payoff for all this NCLB crap….everything that was previously being swept under the rug is now in the New York TImes! Go get ‘em Mr. Johnson!

Charter schools…top ten reasons

…………and our HISD school board doesn’t know how irrelevant they are…..

soon to be replaced by military…I mean *charter* schools as they have everything going for them…found this and it rings true…


1. Urban charter schools require minimal public investment in physical plants, library programs, the arts, science labs, athletics, personnel, and transportation infrastructure.

2. Urban charter schools are cheaper because they depend upon an endless stream of young beginning teachers with few benefits, no retirement payouts, and no collective bargaining.

3. Urban charter schools make it easy to segregate based on race, economics, gender, and disability.

4. Urban charter schools allow for the exclusion or dumping of problem students whose abilities, behaviors, or test performance that could damage to the charter brand.

5. Urban charter schools make it easier to hide the problems of the poor by pointing to testing success by those who survive the charter gauntlet.

6. Urban charter schools allow for the imposition of cultural and psychological control techniques in urban areas that are not subject to public scrutiny.

7. Urban charter schools put decision-making and control into the hands of unelected executives with no oversight beyond hand-picked board members.

8. Urban charter schools (not for profit CMOs) allow corporations and wealthy donors to reap huge tax benefits for their generosity to corporate charter schools.

9. Urban charter schools (for profit EMOs) expand business opportunities for the education industry & testing-industrial complex.

10. Urban charter schools make it possible to take the state tax dollars saved from the forced choice of urban charters and use that money to enrich suburban public schools without raising taxes.

Posted by Jim Horn at 9:36 AM 0 comments

Get a life, Davis Guggenheim!

Re: Daisy, in “Waiting for Superman”

Yes, let’s use a cute, wide-eyed Latina girl. A cute, compliant Latina girl who has 2 parents at home.

Let’s not show rough Latino boys with tats, because it would make Guggenheim’s audience want to triple lock their doors at night. Everyday teachers have seen the very students swept away by the gangster culture that is Hot, Thrilling and Welcoming—-much better than school.

We have kids who tattoo their faces and do piercings all over their bodies to the point that someone adult needs to step in and say “STOP, you are NOT getting a white collar job with tats all over your face.” In which case, the kid will probably say “Fuck you” and get up and leave class to go be with his “homies”. And the teacher gets screwed because that kids test scores will suck and there goes her career.

With all the student debt these days, Mr. Guggenheim, you’re advocating that recent grads go out and throw themselves on these societal grenades? And you’re not even offering sainthood? It’s not your problem, you get to go on working, while these people camp out with the Occupy Movement because they’re unemployed.

And when the gangsters take the college-educated kids down with them, who was smarter? Obviously, the gangsters as they still have a job in the ever-losing War on Drugs here in the US. Then again, you aren’t gearing your movie at telling them to “better society” because none of the gangster types have enough attention span to sit through your sucky little movie. And most of them have been kicked out of charter schools. Get a life, Davis Guggenheim.

How do you like them Apples?   Part 2
  (4 months old)

-Yes, they have been refrigerated
-Have never had apples stay this color even if dipped in lemon juice
-Maybe the Healthy Food movement wants to give our kids radioactive foods and turn them into Superheroes???

How do you like them Apples? Part 2
(4 months old)

-Yes, they have been refrigerated
-Have never had apples stay this color even if dipped in lemon juice
-Maybe the Healthy Food movement wants to give our kids radioactive foods and turn them into Superheroes???

Mike Lunceford, our Mitt!

With our Houston ISD school board, the Gang that Couldn’t Think Straight, they got into a tiff over who should be the Board President.

We had a bored housewise version of Sarah Palin, Anna Eastman, v. a philanderer thinner version of Newt Gingrich, Greg Myers.

Of course, they went with the Mitt Romney-esque, Mike Lunceford.

It’s the battle of the White People. Battling over a school district that is increasing Latino. Kind of like the U.S. right now.

The problem is, being on the school board is like having an expensive hobby. You can only afford to do that if you have a rich husband (Eastman) or can score side deals with local businesses (Myers). Or if you’re just an established rich guy like Lunceford.

The Latinos are still up and coming, so it’s much harder for them to have an expensive hobby like being on a school board. But when they come to power, the White People will probably wish that they had been nicer to them. Or at least, that they spoke Spanish. Es muy importante para hablar espanol en Texas! True that.