Friday, August 13, 2004

Now That's Accountability!!

Supposedly, this is the message that the Pacific Palisades High School (California) staff voted unanimously to record on their school telephone answering machine. This came about because they implemented a policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children's absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children's failing grades changed to passing grades though those children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes.

Apparently, this is the actual answering machine message for the school:

"Hello! You have reached the automatic answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting the right staff person, please listen to all your options before making a selection.

To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1

To make excuses for why your child did not do his work - Press 2

To complain about what we do - Press 3

To swear at staff members - Press 4

To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5

If you want us to raise your child - Press 6

If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone - Press 7

To request another teacher for the third time this year - Press 8

To complain about bus transportation - Press 9

To complain about school lunches - Press 0

If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework, and that it's not the teacher's fault for your child's lack of effort ... hang up and have a nice day!"


I feel like I'm a moderately intelligent guy. A little research usually clears things up a little and I'm able to come to pretty decent conclusions in most cases. But when I started searching for answers to some simple questions today, I really ended up with more questions than answers. Allow me to explain.

Let me start by referring to an AJC article that describes a request to save money by increasing science class sizes from 28 to 30 was approved by the GA Board Of Ed just yesterday. Supposedly, this saves our county alone $4 million, but I'd like to see figures on that one. First, they change the science standards and focus on a more hands-on approach, which I am in favor of. Then, a move that seems to hinder more than help teachers create more hands-on experiences is made. I guess that they heard the old saying and decided to 'want' and 'shit' in the SAME hand.

Apparently, the measure passed with a 7-6 vote. So, naturally, I wanted to know which district reps voted each way. This is where I got uber-confused. Upon further inspection, and I'm no trained professional on the subject of drawing district lines, but I think it fairly obvious that there may be just a wee bit of gerrymandering going on here. I mean, look at Districts 8, 11, 13, 12 and 1. They're the most obvious and account for almost half of the districts. Hell, our county is represented by at least three board members, and in no seemingly logical manner.

If my interpretation is correct, I think my rep voted against, but I can't really tell. I can't tell if I'm in District 11 or not and he's the only one in the area that voted 'yes.'

I thought it was hard to find enough room for 28 kids in here, but now I have to find room for 2 more in one class. Keep in mind that I've got mostly 11th graders and that they tend to be pretty big people by that age. And I just can't wait to do a lab with fire!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Back 2 Skool

Super, after Teacher Meeting Week (aka pre-planning), we finally started school again yesterday. Or as I tell everyone else, I have to go back to my "real job." My fun job was working for Sweetwater Brewing Company this summer. Unfortunately, Sweetwater Brewing Company doesn't pay enough to cover bills and student loans.

There is one thing to be said for being a moderately intelligent person. You can become a specialist in certain subjects, such as AP Chemistry and the robotics course that you developed so that you avoid getting stuck with what I like to call the sweathog classes. You know, the classes where they put kids who either are too stupid to really want to go to school or whose parents can't accept the fact that their kid really will not be successful in a real post-secondary environment. I say "real" because there are probably quite a few Devry schools UGA where they wouldn't have too much trouble.

Typically, by now I'd already have a lot of funny stories to tell about some moron kid in my class. The problem is, this time I only have honors and AP classes. I guess being a boring blogger is highly preferable to spending my time trying to keep 28 kids under control so I can teach the 3-4 that actually give a shit.

So, to make it a little less boring, a past anecdote.

On the first day of my first teaching gig, upon telling the students that it was my first job, I get this one.

Student: "So here at [School X], teachers don't really assign homework all that often."

Me: walk to the board...saying "Repeat after me..." all the while writing "Crack is Wack" on the board

Monday, August 09, 2004

Guilt-free after all these years!

Maybe you had to have grown up in Georgia to appreciate this gem, but maybe not.

Gracious thanks to you, Walter Williams. Many gracious thanks.

Which British Band Are You?

Which British Band Are You?

I'm such a sucker for "personality" quizzes!