February 19th, 2010

Ctrl+Alt+Del - Scott & Ted

Going away presents; personality changes

I may have the concept of "Going Away Present" backward. As I understand it I'm supposed to be getting gifts. Instead, without really thinking about it, I'm getting other people gifts instead. Perhaps it's just as well, since I'll be getting rid of most of my stuff over the next month or so.

I had lunch with my lunch group at my last work place today, probably for the last time. We went to Brio in Town Square and the food was excellent. I didn't tell anyone that was my intention, but I paid for everyone as a 'going away' gift. It was then that I was reminded that that isn't normally the tradition, but I don't care.

I was listening to myself talk during lunch and I had the sudden realization that I've started changing suddenly, by a lot. The way I talked, the way I formulated thoughts, the energy I put into it; they were all ... different. More vibrant, more fluid. It's definitely one of those rare but quick and sudden changes I'm often remarking about about my personality.

  • Current Music
Snapdragon Teeth

News: Central Falls Rhode Island Fires Every High School Teacher

Central Falls Rhode Island Fires Every High School Teacher

Central Falls is one of the poorest towns in the state. It looks like the pictures everyone's seen of Detroit or Flint. There are lots of boarded up windows, abandoned buildings, decrepit factories with broken windows, etc. It's an absolutely depressed community. According to Wikipedia, the median income in the town is $22k.

Teacher salaries at the high school average $72-78k. Apparently 50% of the students at the school are failing all of their classes, and the graduation rate is also under 50%. In an effort to turn the school around, the superintendent requested some changes be made whereby the school day would be slightly extended, teachers would perform some extra tutoring, etc.

The union balked and refused the terms, so now she is firing the entire teaching staff of the high school and replacing them. This is yet another example of unions digging their own graves by refusing to negotiate or accept reasonable terms. Sentiment is on the side of the superintendent, at least among the folks I have discussed the issue with.

And what exactly were the changes expected?

The conditions are adding 25 minutes to the school day, providing [one hour of] tutoring on a rotating schedule before and after school, eating lunch with students once a week, submitting to more rigorous evaluations, attending weekly after-school planning sessions with other teachers and participating in two weeks of training in the summer.

It seems extremely messed up that the teachers, or at least their 'union', are balking at these suggestions. The superintendant even tried to compromise with the union by offering extra money for some of the changes, including an extra 30$ an hour for the two additional weeks of training in the summer and the 90 minutes a week of after-school planning time.

The union is holding out for 90$ an hour.
  • Current Music
    "Life In Technicolor II" by "Coldplay" on "Prospekt's March" (Pandora)