A New Year: End o’ Six, sans merit

“Stay with the beat and move your feet,  And do it ’til you feel the heat. . .”

-Wild Thing

One of my favorite recent old films is Something Wild. Like Desperately Seeking Susan it starts off at one place and kind of drops you off at another. I liked the end of the later with the real Susan and her boyfriend watching a movie in the theater that Aidan Quinn character works.  The former ends above with Sister Carol, and the rolling credits. Six weeks later seems to end a little like that.

I begin to find a rhythm to work with this year. It is a cumbersome one, but it seems to work with the kids. The board is more useful, although I developed a funky ppt on shape/form, which I am not quite sure about, and keep going back and revising. I only think I will be able to use it with fifth. The first class watched it and were polite, but silent, except for one student who was amazed, or something. The other class watched less, but clapped to the sound cues, although they are of something else.

I don’t want it to be all reading, but I want to stay away from narration. Too much reading, so I have gone back and edited it, also had set in a review before we started. I used Open Office Draw, Frames, Camstudio (from a bit filmed from Google, not present here), Illustrator, Photoshop, and special effects from Powerpoint itself. An exercise in techniques. It is part of an entire board presentation, so I can pick and choose with classes other than fifth grade. Since fifth is on its own schedule, I was still working with line, on the first (6 to 7 weeks).

Untitled 6 revsed 3rd 10-10

Monday I see the second week of the second cycle of fifth; the first week of of the second cycle Kindergarten and third; and the last week of the first cycle for second and fourth. Now this is going to be very interesting with everything. Music has been forced to teach two classes at once, but they are on separate schedules, so Dave never sees the same two classes at once, I think. That is because Media could not handle two classes in the library at once, with kids also coming in to check out books! She had a para, once upon a time, but that went out the window last year. This is what happens when you let politicians handle funding.

Principals only get so much money, and they have to make due. This is called on-site management, a little ditty introduced during the late Bush I/Clinton phase. Should the state not like something, the county is doing, they can fine them. The principal, who is the one who gets holding the bag, must turn around and “pay” the fine. Two years ago, our principal did away with substitute teachers for almost the entire year. We split classes up when a teacher was out, rather than pay for a substitute. Our principal had been caught holding the bag, and her fine was roughly $40,000. This would have meant firing a teacher. So she did not say anything, but stopped almost completely hiring subs. When one of the Special area teachers made a doctor’s appointment (doctors rarely see patients after four, and never on Saturday), they divided her class of 20+ among three of us. That day I had for one class 10 extra students! Six were from the Special area teacher, and four from one or two other classroom teachers on that grade level!

During the Obama phase, we have the “merit” phase, and you should talk to your local teacher on this one. Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we tried it out on the President, his cabinet and Congress, first. We would give them a base salary of $39,300 and their “merit” would be tied to, say, the national debt. As they lowered the debt, they could get more merit money.  As we checked over a five year period, we might apply the model to education. Say, I think, wouldn’t it be great if teachers could vote themselves a raise like Congress does. Especially, the Republican one, about 7 years ago, who voted themselves one at 1 am?

The Wire took a good hard look at education several years ago. Anyone ever teaching in a Title I school can understand and relate to the non-exaggeration. One might consider speaking to teachers who have taught under the failing school takeovers under No Child Left Behind. Merit pay will supposedly apply a “scientific” model to unstructuring failure. Probably one that will be as thin as air on policy, but thick as thieves on punitive measures. I hope the people who devise this policy, try it out first on unstructuring failure of politicians to control Federal debt!

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