About Me

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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

One Way to Protest the Tebow Ad

One modest proposal for a response to the Tebow advocacy ad during the Super Bowl. As a way of registering opposition, use the ad time as a bathroom break. City waterworks often report a drop of water pressure during such break times (like at the beginning of half-time).

If many of us who wish to protect reproductive rights would do this together and a similar drop in pressure took place, it could be interpreted as a registration of disapproval and protest.
Anti-Abortion Tebow Ad Has Progressives Fried Up

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tough Day Today

The first day back after the ice storm was pretty rugged. One of the teachers in my teaching team was absent, so we had to cover his classes, first by dividing up his students and taking them to our classrooms while we were teaching, and then by actually covering his classes in his classroom.

It is not easy when someone is absent. I had to be out of the building for my mother-in-law's death and memorial. I very much appreciate those who covered for me.

Educational quality is always degraded during these times. When I had some of the other teacher's students in my class, my classroom management problems greatly increased. I had to admonish my "visitors" to be quiet and try to get my students to avoid the distraction of seeing their friends without much to do. I did my best, but I felt as though I was basically just getting through the day.

That's not a good feeling for a teacher to have.

Back to School Today

The ice has melted finally. The streets are better. So off to school we go!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Should OKC get the REDS out?

Monday night, the Oklahoma City school board had its regular meeting and, in addition to the problem of weather related school closings, discussed how to meet a $4 million budget shortfall caused by reduced state funding. Various items were discussed including the sale of some closed school properties, such as old John Marshall High School, and "realigning the support and certified staff in the central office."

One area of administrative expense needs to be addressed by the district: the six Regional Educational Directors, or REDS as they are often termed. These are six "super-principals" who oversee schools in six different regions of the school district. These are administors who administrate other administrators. They do not have direct contact with students in the classroom.

Frankly, most of the rank and file certified and support staff cannot fathom what these people do other than create another layer of meddlesome bureaucracy as well as administrative expense. If the district wants to make cuts in personnel, many teachers point to these offices as a way for the district to save a considerable amount of money, perhaps as much as as a half-million dollars or more.

Personally, I do not know if this is a wise move, but it is something constantly discussed among teachers whenever the subject of staff reductions comes up.

If the district chooses to hold on to these positions, it should explain to teachers and staff faced with the possibility of reductions why these positions are retained while those who have more direct contact with students face reductions.

OKC School Board Talks About Money Saving Options