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  1. I expect to see the most vocal person on this forum in attendance.

    Ruben, take all that negative energy you direct toward this site & channel it in a more positive direction by attending the meeting.

  2. Dairz nuttin rong wit piblik edukayshun. Dey tawt me real good.

  3. I don’t think my idea of locking Squirts the Change bum in a cage with a sign that says “Do not feed the animal” will pass. It’s too risque .

  4. Virginia Joe is paying a visit, let’s ask him where his family lives and how there schools compare to ours

  5. Come to think of it, when are they going to let me out of my cage?
    Hate.

  6. How about cleaning up the homeless mans junk under the 40 street stop! It’s getting out of hand

  7. Cathy Nolan is a tool of the teachers’ union. She could not care less about education in NYC and neither could Virginia Joe Crowley. People should attend to boo them. I will bet Joe’s kids go to great schools in the town in VIRGINIA where they live (and so does he for that matater).

  8. @JuliaJ

    The main purpose of the public school system is to churn out the next generation of democrat voters. So in that sense, the politicians do care about it.

  9. You cannot send your child to a public school south of the Blvd., i.e. District 24, and expect a good education. It is unfortunate, but if being honest, is true.

    But, with a child’s education, there is (for some) an economic choice. You know that the schools are bad, so that means you will have to enroll in private ones in the city or move (some families hop over to the North side of the Blvd. simply because the district is better, not perfect, but better).

    It is math – where and how can you maximize what you have $$ in the best interest of your child’s education? Public schools in District 24 should be considered the last resort – not the first.

    Sunnyside, especially south of the Blvd. is cheap re: cost of living (compared to Wechester where property taxes alone in the great public school districts can run anywhere from 10K-20K a year). What you save on housing (700K home and an additional 20K a year in property taxes in Westchester), put towards private education in the city.

    Or move to the North side of the Blvd. (District 30).

    You should not expect any legislator to act in your child’s best interest insofar as establishing schools that rival those in the city. They will act for the “greater good” on numerous (sometime competing fronts) as constrained by the resources to do so. With tax revenue decreasing and other fiscal concerns at play, a person ought to truly consider where they live and the educational opportunities that district has for school-aged children.

    I love Sunnyside, but . . . as far as education goes in District 24, its lacking. And I don’t expect any governmental agency to “fix it” anytime soon. . .

  10. The question is “why are the schools ‘failing’”? I teach in a tough city just north of NYC, where I grew up. This school system was EXCELLENT when I was there (thru 1987), but has now fallen on hard times. Based on my 11 years in education, both in Middle School and now HS, here is why schools ‘fail’. My colleagues in NYC schools mention to me that they have it even worse than I do. Here is the TRUE story behind the #’s that the Emperor Bloomberg Administration likes to put out there. Again, if it is this bad outside NYC, it’s definitely worse IN NYC:

    -My AVERAGE student was absent 33 times last year. Good luck getting a student to pass a NYS mandated exam, like the Regents, when they are out over 1/6 of the time. That is a TREMENDOUS amount of work to miss.
    The teacher is to blame? Somehow, I still get 60% of my students to pass the exam. Had the rest even showed up more often, they’d @ least have a chance. Attendance cannot be used as an excuse for a child’s failure on these new state evaluations. That is absolutely absurd. Who is to blame? Parents/guardians/children.

    -The Avg student does about 33% of the HW and does not study for exams. They routinely stay up until midnight (plus)….first period begins @ 745am. I am an excellent motivator of students, making class very interesting and fun. My goal is to show them how something like the Neolithic Revolution is relevant to their daily lives. I take what matters most to them (music, movies, TV, tech, etc etc) and infuse it into each and every lesson. On ‘parent teacher’ nights parents of about 20 out of 150 kids show up. So, who is to blame here for the 40% that fail? Not me. Parents/guardians/students.

    -Children routinely come to school w/o a notebook, or anything to write with. Strangely enough they have their $300 phone, ipod with them and sneakers that cost more than a 3rd row Rolling Stones ticket Hmmm….priorities? Again, who is to blame here? I think you see a pattern.

    -Students get wasted before school even begins, in a variety of ways, what happens by the middle of the day? They are wiped out, exhausted and, you guessed it FAIL. My fault? I think not. The valuable lesson of doing drugs/drinking booze should be broached @ home first.

    -A child doesn’t show up for their state mandated exam, the family has recieved phone calls, emails, letters reminding them of the date and importance of the test, yet, many are still absent. Guess what? They count AGAINST the teacher/school’s stats. This is the fault of the teacher? No, of course not. But, according to NYS Bd of Ed it is….

    -Kids come to school w/o having eaten breakfast, then avoid the lunch (which is gross, if you could only see what gets passed off as ‘food’), so, their body starts to shut down and they nod off. That’s my fault? No, of course not. Poverty is a HUGE issue. Some of the same people that have helped to create this cycle of poverty with their gov’tal policies are the same clowns that are making our teacher evals.

    -Kid comes to school and has nothing else in mind but dropping out @ 17 on their own, or, being signed out by their parent @ 16. Thus, they do NOTHING each and every day, refusing to do any work, regardless of how creative we are in trying to encourage them to work. That’s the teachers fault? Um, no.

    -Child comes to your class from Yemen in April, or any number of other foreign countries where the educational system for the masses is a mess. What do you think is going to happen when they take their state exam? We are not miracle workers.

    -Many children are eligible for ‘special ed’ services, but the parent has to sign off on it first. Some do not because they see ‘special ed’ as being ‘mentaly challenged’. ‘My child is not spec ed!’ (I have heard this many times), it’s all about pride. So, you have kids that do not belong in a regular class acting out, disrupting the learning environment. Some kids are given meds to deal with their ADD, ADHD, yet refuse to take them, this causes many problems in the classroom. Add to this the lack of funding for Guidance Counselors (we have 2 for 1100 kids), social workers, truant officers, psych services, etc and you can see the mess that has been created. Yet, this is the teachers fault? Nope.

    -If a kid is absent 24 times or more they are not technically eligible for a credit for that class, YET they DO qualify against a teachers stats when they fail the Regents exam. Hypocrisy, you bet’cha!

    There are MANY more examples I can list….

    I have grown exhausted listening to the ‘blame the teacher’ game played by Emperor Bloomberg and King Cuomo. Neither has a clue as to what goes on in a school. Or, maybe they do, but fear blaming those that are really to blame: the parents/guardians and students themselves. The media has not helped the situation, only telling one side of the story. One absolute Ahole is the editor of the NY Daily News. The pieces he/she writes are simply anti-teacher, never telling the REAL story. What is the goal of this absurd new teacher evaluation? Is it REALLY to improve our kids scores? Of course not, the hidden agenda is to get rid of high priced, veteran teachers and hire *2* ‘wet behind the ears’ rookies in their place, then in 2 years replace them once again. Get more people out of the pension system. Kudos to NYC Teachers Union for not agreeing to the teacher evaluation. We are being held accountable for things that we have NO CONTROL of. We get them for 45min a day, and for extra help after school if they decide to show up. We can only do so much, but are the easiest target. I’d say 10-20% of teachers do not belong in the classroom, just like on most jobs, it’s not the apocalypse the media makes it out to be. This evaluation should have been targeted @ them, instead it is being used as a way to get rid of veteran teachers. What is to stop an administrator from ‘stacking the deck’ against a teacher by giving him the absolute worst groups of students? NYC Principals have their own budgets, they’d LOVE to dump ‘expensive’ teachers to free up dough. Also, take the HS science teacher @ Bronx HS of Science with their 100% Regents exam pass rate and toss them into the ‘worst’ school in the city….guess what happens…You guessed it, their #’s drop dramatically. There is definitely not a fair and equitable distribution of students. The #’s they preach about DO NOT tell the real story.

    Same goes for the lie behind the ‘success’ of Charter and Private Schools. They cherry pick their students, do not have the same populations of Special Ed and English Language Learners and can boot kids out for behavior issues, etc. Guess where they end up? You guessed it, the local Public School! Last, but most important, if their parents fought that hard to get them into a Charter School, or are paying for them to go to a Private School, they are ON THEM like white on rice, making sure they do what they are supposed to do, parental involvement equates to success in a child’s education. Simple as that.

    Enough blaming the teachers. Let’s start to look @ what is going on @ HOME that is preventing children from succeeding. We are not miracle workers.

    Rick

  11. I call that the ‘TEACHER EVAL MANIFESTO’.

    Rick

  12. Gotta agree with Rick, now if only we can figure out why Teachers need a whole SUMMER off?

    Year long instruction is the answer. to ALL your problems.

  13. So what does a parent who is involved do? I believe Rick’s statements. But what do you do???

    If I am going to end up paying private school tuition so that I don’t put my child in an environment like that [and I will not put my child in an environment like that] – then I don’t want to pay more in taxes to ‘support the schools.’ Yet, everyone wants to raise taxes “for the schools” and for what?? How is throwing money into the schools going to solve the fundamental/cultural/societal issues that Rick describes? Many of those problems run deeper than money and deeper than the “school” – it is the child’s home environment.

    And I AM supporting ‘the schools’ and society by placing my child in a private or charter school with peers that have an equal appreciation (at home and through the parents) for education. They become value-added members of society, at least the vast majority based on statistics of who continues through to selective high schools (and then onto college). At a minimum, I have given them the opportunity to reach their full potential – my responsibility as a parent.

    But if my taxes become too much (and at the same time I have to scrape by to pay 35K a year for first grade), NYC is not the place to live for the middle class. Its suburbs are not the place to live for the middle class.

    And sadly many Catholic schools are closing. They represented what seemed a semi-solution – reasonable tuition (5-10K a year) with a fairly solid education (depending on the school).

  14. heres an online tip rick – no one reads long posts. you look like you have a miserable meaningless life with nothing else to do… shorten it, couple quick points and be done. People will actually listen to what you say MORE if you write and speak less

  15. sorry for the typos. did it quick.

    RD

  16. Origami,

    Actually, my life is quite rich with friends, family, art, a career in the classroom/on the baseball field, SUDS, exploring the world, etc.
    What people who don’t know me think of me is irrelevant.

    I just needed to blow off some steam re: the absurd issues of ‘failing’ schools and teacher evals.

    Those who want the truth, from an educator, will read it. If it is too long for the rest of our A.D.D. nation, well, so be it.

    RD

  17. @123sunny
    A parent who is involved first teaches their kids proper manners. They make sure that their kids are ready for class everyday. Their homework is done and they come to class prepared to learn. Involved parents attend pta meetings and have an open method of contacting instructors if needed.
    Rick is right, the parents and students are the real problem enabled by the current administration.

  18. Yes there is something terribly wrong with the public school system. I attended one of the “worst” schools in NYC. I had some of the best math teachers in the world. My global studies teacher taught business, checkbook balancing, global markets and the Us stock market during lunch period. I learned how to grow crystals, use of viruses as transport mechanisms in diseases like cystic fibrosis from one teacher. Then there was the use of everyday life to calculate problems during physics. The english teacher always thought i could become a better writer.
    It is the students and parents. It is not the teachers.

  19. Rick you could have copied and pasted the declaratin of independance in the middle and no one would have known!
    just a tad long, but hey I guess youre passionate about it

  20. Dear 123Sunny:

    Please note that Rick said he works in a school in a city north of NYC (Yonkers?) so don’t assume that your zoned public school is not good – check it out! Call the school and set up a tour with the Parent Coordinator. Research the school stats on schools.nyc.org or insideschools.org (remember that there are duplicate school numbers in other boroughs, so have an idea of the school’s address).

    You can’t take advice from people who post here that certain schools or districts are “bad” and don’t say whether they know from first hand knowledge (e.g. had a kid in the school). Even then, in large schools, some kids/parents will have a bad experience and many will have a good experience.

    District 24 has a lot of good schools and programs, including several primary school Gifted&Talented programs (one that’s near to southern Sunnyside is at PS 153 – and busing would be provided if your child qualifies) and two middle school G&T programs. The seven traditional middle schools in the district all have Regents prep classes and allow advanced students to take one or two Regents (and IS 125 in Sunnyside offers FOUR Regents exams). I’m not sure this happens in any other district in the city.

    Although D24 has no primary charter schools, there are two middle school charters.

    I recommend that all parents who care about public schools read the following article:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/03/tales-out-of-school/306645/

    P.S. Joe Crowley is my Congressman and I have no problem with the fact that his wife and kids live in Virigina. Congress is in session many, many weeks of the year and young children should not be separated from a parent if at all possible.

  21. How did you miss my take on the Magna Carta in there? :)

  22. Dear Woodside mom – thanks. The G&T at 159 it is great (I know a few kids in the program and their parents speak highly of it), but unfortunately it is a 1-hour one-way bus ride from the Sunnyside pick-up, in the morning and in the afternoon, so two hours spent on a bus a day.

    The kids I know are older ages, putting a five year old (as they start G&T in kindergarten) on a one-way one-hour bus ride out to Maspeth seems a tough thing to do . . .

    I’m hoping the new school being built on 43rd incorporates a G&T program – the local leaders said it was entirely possible, but that the community needed to speak out and e-mail/call them (Nolan/Van Bramer) to let them know a local G&T is something the neighborhood wants.

    Unfortunately, given that in the most overcrowded district only about 30 parents showed up for the meeting last week . . . I am realizing more and more that I’m going to be shelling out 35K a year for a five year old to learn their ABCs.

    The local schools that you speak of have wonderful ELL (English Language Learner) programs – but that is not something my child needs. Thus, time spent on it for the majority of their classmates — would not benefit my child nor be appropriate for them. Even then, P.S. 199 only has a 65% rate for grading a 3 or 4 (proficient) level in English in the third grade. That basically means only a little over half of the kids are proficient in English in third grade at a third grader’s level.

    The school gets an “A” rating in progress reports – but progress reports are not the same as a ‘quality’ assessment reports – the school is making progress, but its qualitative numbers are still disheartening.

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