Saturday, October 16, 2010

"School documentary (Superman) merits a failing grade"

From the PG:


Questioner said...

The Marva Collins/ Westside Preparatory school sounds wonderful- what parent would not want their child at a public school like that? Whatever became of the school? It seems like a good model for U Prep/ Milliones.

Anonymous said...

U-Prep? It would take a great leader and sorry, PELA is not about building great leaders. To even be in the program, you had to be a washout in the classroom. Then, all you need to learn is how to target teachers. It would take more than that to run such a school and PELA just isn't interested.

Anonymous said...

Tony Norman is swimming against the tide of anti-teacher sentiment these days. Good for him and thanks to him for standing up as a public figure to speak out against the corporate love affair that American society has when it comes to public education. If this documentary ends up being nominated for an Oscar -- which it likely will -- I just hope that more people speak pit against it.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Mr. Norman!

Anonymous said...

Despite Image, Union Leader Backs School ChangeSaturday, October 16, 2010By TRIP GABRIEL, The New York Times In "Waiting for Superman," the new education documentary, the union leader Randi Weingarten is portrayed, in the words of Variety, as "a foaming satanic beast."


Read more:

Anonymous said...

Beware of “false idols” such as “Superman”, Roosevelt, Gates, Broad, Zuckerman, Corporate entities, etc. They cheapen the core message of this film that abides in the words, energy, experience, insight, intelligence, and BELIEFS of Goeffrey Canada a TRUE EDUCATOR with vision and commitment.

Canada’s message can be realized with true educators everywhere who are able to “seize the day” with courage, collaboration and commitment. “Good teachers (educators) are a national treasure” _____without PELA or RISE______they CAN and DO meet the challenges for Francisco, Bianca, Anthony, Daisy and their peers.

True educators can remedy “the academic sink holes” and ALL schools can become a KIPP, SEED, Summit, or Harlem Success Academy.

“People (educators) are doing it every day.” CARPE DIEM

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...@ October 17, 2010 1:18 PM

BRAVO-excellent dissertation of the present reform movement stated in appropriate blooming terms.

You gave a garden variety of all the key weeds that stunt growth factors.

Both you and Tony Norman-see and understand the reality of what is-is.

Can we write, suggest or call Tony Norman to write an investigate report of PPS?

On the other hand, will Norman have trouble because PPS HR Jody Spolar’s husband works in POST GAZETTE HR?

Anonymous said...


Roosevelt is gone.

He is crossing his t's and dotting his i's on his new contract with a fresh papermate pen.

Antioch College Names Mark Roosevelt Its New President Antioch College

YELLOW SPRINGS Ohio – October 17 2010 – Mark Roosevelt superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools system is the new president of Antioch College ...


Maybe another blog entry . . .

Anonymous said...


Is he a dedicated leader?

Or he can make up the days for the his pocket economics -- EQUALS $450A DAY if he takes a day off?

Is he trying to show his job worth or as in politics the old addage a lameduck positon.

Read more:
While the board was voting in western Ohio, Mr. Roosevelt was in Western Pennsylvania working in the superintendent's office he has occupied for 5 1/2 years. He said he will be on the job through Dec. 31, finishing up work here and helping the Pittsburgh school board with the transition to a new superintendent

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that he works every Sunday and has been doing that since he came to Pittsburgh.

parent/one said...

MR has returned my emails on saturday and sunday mornings several times. I am a parent, that is all. On at least one occaision I got an answer before I even had a chance to logoff.

Anonymous said...

Dear parent,

So what?

Questioner said...

Maybe parent was just saying that it was normal for MR to work on Saturday and Sunday- either to make up missed days or to do extra work (who knows?). But it would seem best to put the MR chapter behind us now and look ahead.

Anonymous said...

My son ( 3rd grade) emailed MR and never got a response.

You win?

Anonymous said...

Do you have any idea how many central office administrators work 70-90 hours per week? They don't get time back or make up time, neither do teachers. Salaried employees don't get do overs or overtime.

The environment is full court press 24/7. Get it done. No excuses. I know employees that have received phone calls on weekends and late evenings from board members.

Questioner said...

There just doesn't seem to be that much to show for all this extra effort.

Anonymous said...

Same response.

Nothing gets done. It is all about meeting about the next meeting. The goals and objectives change too often. They are dictated by whatever foundation is funding whatever department.

Common sense and individual thinking is frowned upon. Scary thing is I think that relates to the teachers and students too.

Anonymous said...

If Roosevelt works on weekends at the Board-great for him.

If all Central Office go in on Weekends- what is showing for this 24/7 workload?

Ladies and Gentlemen Roosevelt can be anywhere to answer his email-email is accessible ANYWHERE at anytime.

He does not have to be at the Board.

Anonymous said...

This famed computer work as Mr. Brentley elaborates at Board Meetings is the whys those consultants are paid for work at their homes or on another job.

Example Dr Bevan from her location answering emails and phone calls-cost the Board etc. change- Go back to the taped meetings for the past year and he argues this question.

That is the reason I investigated-Dr Bevan and her talent for a quarte of a million salary.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for continually raising up Dr.Bevan and her $250K salary as some type of model of achievement. I am sure the good doctor is a wonderful woman, but again, she is not dealing with kids on a day to day basis and is instead concocting ways to monitor teacher effectiveness via the RISE program.
Please get off of it already. This is taxpayer money we are talking about and sorry, putting on professional development sessions which discuss the operations of teachers simply doesn't warrant that type of cost. It's like saying that the kids benefit as a third party somehow. Jeez, the blather is sickening.

Meanwhile, anon at 11:27 makes it appear that we have some sort of Orwellian force at work, one that stifles independent thought in favor of loyalty. Jeez, it almost sounds like a fascist movement.

Anonymous said...

Let's just think about 7:33's "right on" comment (at least it mentions the kids):

"It's like saying that the kids benefit as a third party somehow."

What evidence do we have that any of the millions, (yes, millions) spent on exorbitant consultant fees have produced more results with students?

The available evidence indicates the district is continuing to deteriorate.

The students are the only ones held accountable for anything____if they determine their own fate then we don't need consultants____ or maybe even teachers?

Should all of the money be given to students to seek their education_____since we seem to be wasting the money on adult agendas that have no effect on student results?

Anonymous said...

" Meanwhile, anon at 11:27 makes it appear that we have some sort of Orwellian force at work, one that stifles independent thought in favor of loyalty. Jeez, it almost sounds like a fascist movement."

Glad you caught on.

Anonymous said...

It's likely that I caught on long before the average teacher, who failed to read the biographies of the last three candidates for superintendent five plus years ago. At that time, I remember saying loudly to anyone who would listen that I knew whom I would not want as a leader.
Sure enough, that's who we got. We had a school board and union that was downright giddy about bringing someone with a recognizable name here, even though his resume was far inferior to the two true educators that were bypassed.
What followed over five years has been completely within Roosevelt's history. It's been no surprise.

Additionally, I am aware of Paula Bevan and I think she is a pleasant individual, but I am at a loss to understand how her name turns up within the school documentary thread. She is one of the lead proponents of the RISE program that will rate teacher effectiveness and would likely be called a disciple of national efforts that are holding the feet of teachers to the fire while telling them what wonderful people they are.
It's occurred to me recently that many teachers like myself missed the boat. Most of us love kids and have committed our lives to advancing them to higher achievement and yet, there is a cottage industry that is aligned to the education field but does not entail the same commitment. It's more about making a great deal of money.

Research. Consultancy. Test writing.

There's money to be made in education, and the ones making it don't even deal with the kids.

Questioner said...

Oliver HS is mentioned in the documentary, as noted by this PG article:

In the article a teacher is quoted as saying:

"We know that wherever you set the bar is what the kids will give you."

- A nice sentiment but is it true?

Anonymous said...

Regarding expectations:

It's true for low expectations, at least, in that children will almost always slightly underperform the expected. So, if you keep lowering the bar, they'll almost always keep coming in just under it.

However, on the upside, it's clearly not true for increasingly high standards after a certain point. I can have the expectation that my child will [insert dramatic achievement here -- play in the NFL or NBA, win a Nobel, be olympic caliber in a sport, be a nationally renowned musician or performer] and do everything to help with that...and it is still extremely likely to happen!

Anonymous said...

...and it is still extremely likely to happen!

should be:
...and it is still extremely UNlikely to happen!

Questioner said...

Excellence for all goals might have been dramatic. But what if the bar is a minimum of AYP "adequacy"? With that bar, is that what the kids will give you?