May 8, 2009

Comment(s) of the Week, Ventilation Edition

I can't decide between these two -- the first from Wise Educator and the second from Sara (not me!) -- on working at a school without air conditioning.

... How about teaching in a major US city, a first world country, where you can't drink the water, often have no heat, and often no air conditioning. Mold is everwhere. Rodents and roaches not uncommon, roofs leak, patched floor tiles rarely match, on and on! Somehow we think "our most precious resources" should live in this environment all day every day. This is their childhood!

Posted by: wise educator | May 6, 2009 6:45 PM

In response to another commenter who said a little sweat never hurt anyone: 

Absolutely Jen. A little sweat is unlikely to hurt anyone permanently. But is that really the point?

All of my college educated friends have jobs where they have air conditioning and the opportunity to leave the room to pee whenever the mood hits them. They also generally have offices (or cubicles at least) that are cleaned regularly by someone else, furnished by their company not their own pocketbook, and sometimes even a nice selection of hot beverages or a cafeteria that caters to adults. They also do not share their workspace with 20-30 hot, sweaty, grumpy people and their BO.

I know it would be expensive to air condition schools adequately, but having taught in both schools with and without air, it's a no brainer to know that hot, tired kids don't learn. Nor do hot, uncomfortable teachers effectively teach.

When I transferred from a older BCPSS school to a newer building, wonder of wonders, I stopped getting sick so much, I haven't had a single child have an asthma attack in my classroom, and I was able to stop screaming my lesson over the three box fans that I had running the entire month of June.

Don't get me started on the bugs.

Posted by: sara | May 7, 2009 6:42 AM

Posted by Sara Neufeld at 12:33 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Comment of the Week

May 1, 2009

Comment of the Week

Several MATHS students posted good comments this week about why a report's conclusion that charter school students in Baltimore have more advantages does not ring true for them. I'm awarding Comment of the Week to MATHS student Jabril Morris for this poignant submission: 

I don't think that the opening statement of this article is accurate because I don't come from a prviledged home because my mother is out of work and on unemployment and we are struggling to keep the lights on in the house. I transferred from a zone school when I was in the 8th grade. All I had to do was to come to maths for an interview and take a placement test. By next school year I was in MATHS. Even though I go to a charter school I still have problems at home, sometimes my mother doesn't have enough money to pay the BGE bill so our lights would be cut off.

Posted by Sara Neufeld at 10:02 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Baltimore City, Charter Schools, Comment of the Week

April 24, 2009

Comment awards, inaugural edition

Picking a Comment of the Week was harder than I thought! I spent much of the morning pouring over more than 140 comments from the past seven days, most of them very thoughtful. I had so much trouble deciding on one that I sought outside counsel from my boyfriend. Here are the results of the deliberation:

The Most Creative Award goes to Corey for his hilarious haikus. He also gets the Team Spirit Award for actually trying to win Comment of the Week and for persevering in submitting the comment several times after getting an error message that he'd been blocked from our site.

But since the point of the contest is to foster dialogue, I have to give the overall Comment of the Week to Just an Observation for this provocative comment, which inspired Bill (to whom I award Most Prolific Commenter) to ask him/her for an in-person meeting:

Once a supporter of AAA, I now believe many of us have been naïve to much about maneuvers within our school system. We have provided fertile ground for putting into practice a hodgepodge of think-tank theories, ideas plucked from dissertations, pandering to “some" parents, vocal dissenters, selected community groups and politicians, placing non-renewed, poor performing, district to district, ill prepared ambitious and arrogant individuals with limited instructional experience or leadership potential in key positions. And, let’s not forget the young white intelligentsia who easily quote an array of theorists, historical figures and politicians ready to tell us poor city folk what we don’t know, how this regime is the only hope to provide our children a brilliant future and how absolutely terrific that some of us actually take part in the process. Likely these condescending folks served our children for as little time as possible in a classroom unable to provide authentic instruction or classroom management. They will move on readily dropping names and opening conversations with, “when I was _____”.

Closing problematic schools is too easy a solution; send all these folks in to “stay” as teachers, support personnel and again to serve as principal until they can get it right. My children and my
neighbor’s children attend neighborhood, city-wide and charter schools, we attend meetings, speak out and engage in meaningful discourse. We want quality education provided in every school where it stands, closing, relocating, renaming is a sham. Shame on us for allowing it to happen.

Posted by: just_an_observation | April 21, 2009 9:30 AM

Posted by Sara Neufeld at 4:33 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Comment of the Week
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