Date: Oct 1, 2012 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: The Prime Directive
Lou Talman Posted: Oct 1, 2012 1:23 AM
>Now we find *him* suggesting that people have the
>government that they want, and that this is reflected...
Et tu, Lou? Did you not catch the part about,
> Do you have any idea how bizarre that is?
A state usually takes over a school district in its entirety, as happened in
- -Emery, CA
- -Oakland, CA
- -Roosevelt, NY
- -Philadelphia, PA
- -Bridgeport, CT
and of course the Big One, Detroit, MI, and in a few other places.
Historically, states have taken over districts usually for reasons of governance or fiduciary malfeasance. I.e., schools could academically abuse children all they like, but mis-spend the money, and watch out! Only recently, with NCLB and the advent of standardized testing, have schools been taken over for poor academic performance.
(There is also the peculiar case of federal courts taking over a school or a district, as happened in Kansas City, MO and Coney Island, Brooklyn. But these were mainly about racial composition and only tangentially about academic performance. The great era of school busing was also a case of federal courts getting involved in school affairs, but that had nothing to do governance, or money, or academics. That was racial politics, pure and simple, and there was no discussion whatsoever about affairs internal to the individual schools.)
At Stuyvesant and her sisters, there was no poor academic performance and nobody even accused the schools of mis-spending money. The only sin committed by these schools was elitism, and the penalty was going to be death by central bureaucracy.
The case of Stuyvesant High School is the exception that proves the rule. In 1970-71, the political stars aligned in a way we may never see again. If we had to do the same thing again, today, I seriously doubt we would succeed, and there are plenty of signs that the legal protection of Stuyvesant has been seriously, maybe mortally, undermined.
I believe that Rachel Kleinman and the NAACP are not just pissing into the legal wind. I think they understand which way the political winds are blowing, and they have chosen their timing judiciously: they are looking to repeat, with Stuyvesant, their success with Bronx Science. The defenses of the Bronx High School of Science were breached around 2000 AD, also at the retirement of an Old Guard principal, and the barbarians have been ransacking the place ever since, citation below. The explanation by the insufferable Valerie Reidy is just mind-blowing,
>As criticism of her methods has increased, Ms. Reidy has
>defended the need to bring change to Bronx Science so
>that students can pass the ever-higher bar of entry to
And she says this of BRONX SCIENCE! One of the most celebrated schools in the U.S., home to SEVEN Nobel prize winning physicists. The woman is shameless. I believe we will look back at the advent of Valerie Reidy with the same eyes as the final sack of Constantinople in 1453.
The retirement of Stanley Teitel, the long-time principal of Stuyvesant, gives Kleinman and the NAACP the opportunity they were looking for. In other words, Kleinman thinks they can win something, even if they do not win in court. Of course they would like to win in court, but they are also looking to put pressure on a very amenable Education Mafia, quite possibly with the hopes of placing one of their own in the principalship or otherwise influencing policy, at Stuyvesant, more to their liking. In other words, they are hoping to wreck the place in much the same way they have been wrecking Bronx Science.
Lou, if you have any conscience left, stop your delightful gad-fly antics, at least for a little while, and lend your voice, as an academic, to the defense of a great academic institution. Even you and Wayne, with so many other differences between you, can come together on this one.
No representation without taxation.
NB: This article offers only a glimmer of events at Bronx Science. If you are interested in the whole sorry affair, google "Valerie Reidy".
Rally Against Bronx Science Principal, This Time By Students and Alumni
Jan. 5, 2012, 6:54 p.m.
By Anna M. Phillips
?BS Deserves Better,? said a sign at a rally outside of the Bronx High School of Science, one of the city?s most storied high schools that has been at war with itself for years over the pedagogical policies of its principal, Valerie J. Reidy.
On Thursday, roughly two dozen current students and recent alumni gathered on the field across from the school?s entrance to protest the school?s high rate of teacher turnover and what they perceive as a marked shift in the quality of classroom instruction.
It was not the first time students took action against their school?s administration; in 2008 between 150 and 200 students staged a walkout demanding the principal?s firing.
Noah Morrison, a junior at Bronx Science, said he was frustrated with the ?standardization? of teaching at the school. Ms. Reidy has pushed her teachers to use the ?guided discovery? method, in which they lead students through a lesson rather than lecturing so that the students master the material on their own.
In practice, Mr. Morrison said this means almost every class is conducted the same way.
?It?s pretty much her big failed experiment,? he said. ?All of the teachers that have left because of the pressure to conform to that method. And they?re good teachers. These teachers are the ones that are some of the most effective ones, and they?re gone now.?
Jonathan Aris, a 2011 Bronx Science graduate, said he helped organize Thursday?s rally after reading media coverage of an exodus of social studies teachers last summer and an increase in the number of inexperienced teachers.
?I?m not saying an un-tenured teacher can?t do a great job, of course they can if they?re the right person, but we have wonderful teachers here and there?s no reason why there should be this much turnover,? Mr. Aris said.
As criticism of her methods has increased, Ms. Reidy has defended the need to bring change to Bronx Science so that students can pass the ever-higher bar of entry to top colleges. And she has discounted teachers and students? claims that the turnover is a sign of a greater problem.
?Turnover happens and our job is to make sure that when turnover happens, it?s a positive thing for students,? she said in September. ?So while there has been turnover, I feel very good about the people we?ve hired, and I?m confident in their abilities.?
An e-mail message was sent to Ms. Reidy asking for her response to Thursday?s protest. This post will be updated when it arrives.
What?s your take on the turnover at Bronx Science? Join the conversation here.
Message was edited by: Haim