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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Infraction Transaction: City To Fine Students For Misbehaving

New York City - Facing a shortfall of almost half a billion dollars because his administration failed to reach an agreement with city teachers over an evaluation system, Mayor Bloomberg has decided to borrow an idea from charter schools to raise funds for education. He's allowing NYC schools to fine students for violations of Department of Education policies.

Under new DOE rules, schools will collect
fines from unruly students
"The idea of there being consequences for actions is not a new one," said hizzoner on Friday at a press conference announcing the new program entitled, "Infraction Transaction." "It's just that this time, the consequences will contain a financial pinch. Beginning next year, students will be fined if they break school rules. While the amounts will be minimal, anywhere from a quarter to $5.00 per infraction, we expect the results will be tremendous."

When asked if he was worried that some students and their families might not be able to afford the fines, the billionaire laughingly scoffed, "Don't do the crime if you ain't got a dime."

Several administrators from schools that utilized financial deterrents as part of a pilot program were on hand to answer questions. They touted the idea but not because it effectively improved student behavior. Instead administrators praised the program as a great way to increase revenue. Assistant Principal Beau Argent of Midwood High School in Brooklyn explained, "Last year we couldn't afford to buy paper. But this year because of all the money we collected, we were able to buy an entire year's worth of paper and two new copy machines."

A bit of research also revealed that individual teachers had successfully used financial penalty systems in their classrooms for years. Mr. Dan Ero, who teaches American History at Lehman High School in the Bronx, credits its stringent implementation with enabling him to retire early.

"I demand a quarter for each rule infraction," explained Ero as he pointed to a jar half-filled with quarters. "I expected to retire after the 2019-2020 school year but because of this jar, I will be able to retire at the end of this year. I just wish I had thought of it sooner."

With a promise of maintaining their anonymity, two students voiced their dissatisfaction with Mr. Ero's costly consequences. "It used to kind of make sense, like put a quarter in the jar when you cursed or when you were late to school. Then it got stricter," complained one student.

"Now you have to kick in when you're out sick, when you use a pen instead of a pencil or when he thinks you're not paying attention. Last week I got fined because my shoes were untied."  noted another pupil.

Parent advocate and founder of the NYC Public School Parent blog, Leonie Haimson was not pleased with the new program. "The mayor continues to demonstrate the sensitivity of a skunk in a perfume factory when it comes to the needs of working families."

It what the city claims is unrelated news, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced New York City public schools will implement a new stricter disciplinary code effective next year.

Reality Alert: 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Where Have All The Instructional Days Gone?

Albany - An examination of the New York State testing schedule for this school year holds a surprise. For the first time in the state's history, more days will be spent on testing and test preparation than on actual instruction.

In any given month, there are approximately
eight instructional days
New York State's Education Commissioner John King held a press conference to confirm this unusual occurrence. "We acknowledge that given the number of days for benchmark assessments, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, state tests, mid-terms, finals, exams for English Language Learners and those taking alternative assessments, unit tests, make-up days for those who were absent and given that teachers typically use the weeks before a high-stakes exam for test preparation, that for the first time in New York State history there are actually fewer instructional days than testing days."

Asked if he saw anything wrong with requiring more testing than teaching, Commissioner King responded, "I don't really give a crap. My children attend private school."

The president of New York State's largest teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew issued this statement, "In response to the shifting job responsibilities of our membership, we have changed our name to the United Federation of Test Administers. We want to reassure our membership that the UFTA will continue to work to protect their rights and to defend public education." When someone in the crowd snorted, Mulgrew had him forcibly removed.

Outside of PS 61 in Brooklyn, ten-year-old Aaron Bossier was asked how he felt about the new schedule. "I used to like school. We went on trips and did fun projects. Now it's all bundles and tests, bundles and tests.  Aren't we going to learn anything?"