What Were Once Lawsuits Are Now Habits

Proving once again there is no problem
70s rock music that can’t be solved
through the use of dry ice

As we go into Day Four of the new APS school year, the following is true:

  • We have a spiffy, state-of-the-nerd online stat database designed to help us track all the “accountability” (i.e. testing) scores for our students. But the student data isn’t loaded yet for this year, and the latest guesstimate I was given for doing so is September 20th.
  • So we teachers will get to access state-of-the-nerd information on your son or daughter for the first time roughly six weeks into Fall Semester. About 1/6th of the way into the school year.
  • Students all over the District are being deprived of electives due to poor performance, and instead are taking classes developed to utilize spiffy programs like “READ 180”. But the District isn’t getting “READ 180” because it’s too expensive (about $500 a head from what I hear) and it requires computers and stuff. So specially created classes exist to replace electives without the specially created curriculum for those classes.
  • All the electives at my school are packed to the point of overflowing because of the specially designed classes noted in bullet two above. All the students who don’t need the specially created curriculum are packed together in “electives” they often do not want. Part of the problem is that much of our staff is teaching the specially created classes with the specially created curriculum that we don’t have.
  • Meanwhile, the APS website still looks like….the APS website. This fact, alone, should be grounds for action against the District due to violations of the Geneva Conventions. I think the latest international agreements specifically call for an end to poorly designed javascript.
  • The APS line lunch for the first three days of school has been: Day One, Pizza; Day Two, Pizza; Day Three, Pizza. And not pizza from some place in Brooklyn, Queens or Corrales. Pizza that tastes exactly like those Chefboyardee (sic?) pizza-in-a-can pizzas we made in 1971. In fact, this APS pizza tastes like it was made in 1971.
  • One day the pizza was augmented with, and I’m not making this up, macaroni and cheese and a roll. Yes, for those playing at home, that’s a starch, a starch and a….starch. Oh, and two “cheeses” (quotation marks quite necessary). There were little clear plastic containers of iceberg lettuce chunks and a single cherry tomato on a counter, but, unsurprisingly, no students (or adults) took a container.

Now in the areas listed above I can report that APS employees are doing the best we can with what we have. I can also report that whenever somebody sues us our best very often gets just a little bit better.

Funny how that works out.


4 thoughts on “What Were Once Lawsuits Are Now Habits

  1. I've been waiting for a class action suit from the parents of special ed students who are taught at say 3rd grade level yet are tested at 8th grade level and are then stigmatized because their scores meant that their school didn't make AYP! Bring it on as Bush used to say!

  2. I LOVE your blog and your honesty but I was wondering if there is anything about APS that you do like? I'm grasping at straws myself (3 year old in special needs preschool, 5 year old in Kindergarten, both APS)My family has lived here 3 years and in that time I have heard nothing and I mean nothing good about APS…

  3. Haley:The honest truth is that there at least one million things I love about APS. Perhaps a small hyperbole, but the number of great things is much larger than you might think going into this thing. In fact, if one were to observe "the District" only at its teacher/student interface, the observer might not understand what all the negative press is about. There are great teachers at all levels (elementary/middle/high), fantastic innovative programs, well-funded classrooms with lots of amenities (my classroom would be an example), and hard-working folks in all aspects of the educational process.And then there's the not so great of all of the above. A parent and son/daughter need to realize that and work accordingly. Contacting trusted teachers and other school folks can pay big dividends there, as well as keeping communication up with parents who avoid blanket "APS sucks" statements and can focus on that teacher/student relationship.On top of that there's the experience beyond that teacher/student classroom situation. I can't speak to exactly why, but something just seems lost outside/beyond the classroom here. A disconnect of some sort exists.And the great thing is that there are plenty of teachers who ignore that disconnect, kids who ignore it as well and press on despite what folks may say about their schools, and supporting players (parents, etc.) who help make the individual educational experience for many APS students truly remarkable.My small piece of advice to you would be to focus on the individual classroom(s). Ignore the outside noise and if the teacher and classroom are good, the rest just doesn't matter. Not really. Regardless of how many times I complain about it here.At times of talking big, I catch myself saying to my classes "we offer private school service at public school prices". But the truth is I believe that. Really.

  4. Haley, as a long-time teacher in APS, I have to say that besides the kids, many of my fellow teachers are great. They care, first of all. They work hard, and long hours. They put up with a huge burden of bureaucratic paperwork. And they deal with principals who should never be supervisors. But we do need to stop this movement toward intrusion into what schools do by politicians who know very little about how children learn, and especially, by profit-making companies who have found a tap into the public funds (and influence the politicians on all levels.) We need the help of parents like you. I am so glad to hear from people like you who read such as Burque Babble, and have an interest in the school system. If you will keep learning about what is going on, listen to teachers, listen to all involved, and teachers and parents can dialogue, and you can help us return some reality to the situation. We need you caring parents!

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