Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not such a lame duck

NY Times video of Bush getting attacked by shoes here. Shows interesting footage of the perpetrator being "escorted" out of the room.

Here's the video with Bush's response. I gotta say - the man must still have great reflexes and reaction time to dodge both the shoes and the journalists' questions afterwards.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Going back to our racial sensitivity issue, something happened today that made me feel lucky we haven't had a fistfight already.

I noticed today that one student (a white student) had put up a sign at his workstation that said "I was abducted by aliens" and had a picture of someone being carried by people wearing sombreros. I mentioned it to another teacher who was going to ask him to take it down. Before the teacher got a chance, however, I came across another student (a Mexican-American student) who had taken down the sign, crossed out the word "aliens" and written "crackers." I took the sign away saying "neither this sign nor that word is appropriate at school."

Apparently later on in the meeting between the two students and our administrator, the white student made a convincing case that he really didn't understand what was so insensitive about the sign. The Mexican-American student said that at his old school he would have met the other kid after school and beat him up over something like that.

This is why we need some outside help - now. At least our administrators are on the same page (which is an improvement), but our students desperately need - and are asking for - education on how to live in a diverse society. I've given our school leaders many different names of people who specialize in coming into schools and teaching about diversity, but they have done nothing to move forward. What do I do now?

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Too tired to write a full post now, but I will say that I am gaining a new perspective since I've been elected a teacher representative on the board of our school. I always worked with charter school boards in my other jobs, but it's a different view from the other side of the table.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Competing values

Sometimes I get to see first hand how parents instill exactly the type of xenophobic "American" values in their children, the opposite of which we are trying to teach.

Basically, it's our competition for the kids' hearts and minds.

We are in the middle of college application season, and one college in particular calculates scholarships based on class rank. We do not usually calculate GPA or class rank, but we will do so if a student needs it. A student applying to this college had apparently been #2 as of the end of her junior year, but at the end of the first marking period this year, she dropped down to #3 - effectively disqualifying her from a large scholarship.

One of the students ahead of her is a foreign exchange student. I got a call this morning from the student's mother, very upset. She was ranting about how the exchange student shouldn't be included, my daughter has been worried and crying about this all night, and I'm sorry, but when I was in college there were all these foreigners that got a free ride, but I'm an American and I had to pay my whole way, and it's time for us Americans to get a break.

I calmly told her that I would have an administrator call her back. Glad I am not the bottom line on that one - what would I say?