The Weekly Sedition

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Thanks, APS, For These Results

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — weeklysedition @ 1:05 AM

Today as I was driving home from work, I was switching through the radio dial — 94 Rock was doing their daily Five O’Clock Fourplay with Nirvana songs in honor of Kurt Cobain’s birthday today. I decided to engage in a bit of masochism and tuned into the Jim Villanucci show on 770 KKOB-AM. One of the topics that Jim was covering was the response by Albuquerque Public Schools “students” to the decision by APS administrators to take options for elective classes from students who score poorly on state-mandated standardized tests. I thought it was a bit of a joke, considering the content of the letter that Villanucci was reading on the air.

When I got home, I read the editorial page of today’s Albuquerque Journal. To say that I blew up over this is an understatement — at one point, I advocated placing loops of det-cord around the necks of every APS English teacher and administrator, as these kids apparently met the system’s standards concerning language performance. But after a while, I calmed down a bit. Still . . .

What follows are the “letters” that these kids wrote to the Journal, unedited by either the Journal staff or myself —

First Letter — THE ARTICLE was called “All work, no play.” Are teacher read this article on Monday and I and other kids in are class wasn’t very happy about it. We heard that we had to pass the ABS in eEighth grade or that we had to get a extra class and they toke out are elective. I didn’t like that they toke out are elective because I heard that there was really good electives in High School. It would be different with out electives because some people go to school just for their electives and if they take that out there will be more drop outs then before. I think that you Shouldn’t take out are electives.

Second Letter —

your artical on “All Work, No Play” and i think that this is a good
thing too do for these children because if the children fail the S.B.A
test why would they get a elective when they dont deserve one! Getting
an edication is far more importent then playigng sports or cooking!

I also think it is a good idea that if the children fail they have to
take two corces of that class again so that they can learn it all over
again so when the next S.B.A test is taken they will be able to pass!

So yes i thingk this is a good idea for the school and the children!

Third Letter —

I DONT think you
should take our electives away because we should have fun during school
and having a elective is doing what the kid wants to do. You should
take the electives away from bad kids that just go to school to get in
trouble and dont care what they do.then you would take all of there fun
activitys away and flush them down the toulet. What if you were a
chalenged student and you got a 45 percent out of 100 percent on your
s.b.a. test.

Fourth Letter —
I THINK thats not
fair to the kids that are chalened in those euents because what if they
dont get a good score? What if you were that kid would you wont to have
your eletive tooken away. I know I wont wont my eletive tooken away.
wht about the sped kibs? Hae you thought about that!

Fifth Letter —

PLAY” artical was a pice of crap. What is your problem? As a high
school students we deserve to have your elictives we do not deserve to
have them taken away from us. I dissagree with your oppion. If students
dont have there electives we will have no reason to come to school. And
if kids start not coming to school it will be your fault.

Sixth Letter —

Work, No Play” article, I disagree with the run artical on how if the
students do poorly on the standard based test then they cant have an
elective. I feel bad that you feeled on the test.

Seventh Letter —

work, No play.” This idea of yours is not such a good plan. Its unfair
because schools can be very hard on us kids we need a class to be not
so hard on us. Classes are already hard enough as it is already I mean
espesialy the homework.

If we have to do even more we are in trouble and so will our grades.
Electives are a needed class in my opinion. Just imagin schools with no
electives kids will just go crazy. All of this will effect so much like
our families, grades, and well our lives. So im asking you please
please dont go with that plan it just isn’t a very good idea.

Just think if you were a kid again what would you want? Comeing from a
kid myself belive me this wont help us, if anything it will get us more
confused haveing to do like two math clases if we dont get such a good
grade on that part of the test.

So once again please consider not doing this because it is so not fair.

Eighth Letter —

you on behalf of the whole student body. We are appalled by the words
that were written in the article, “All Work, No Play” stating an act to
give us no hope or opportunity to look forward with school and make us
drop our electives.

I personally believe that those words were not only going to influence
our students to practically care less and might lead to more high
school drop outs.

Having this effect me in the up coming years will be awful. It not only
is going to be a bad use of money, but is not awarding the students who
performed at certain levels or above. See our electives depend on
filling up open positions. Without the students being placed in these
classes and only around 40 percent being allowed to have an elective
most electives will be dropped. This will lead to less electives and
truly be belittling the students who are at the appropriate levels.

I am not stating that something shouldn’t be done about the young
adults that are not at the required standard, but how can you and
anyone else think this will help the student body as a whole? I
disagree with what was written and I hope this is noted and respected.

Anyway, I’m still laughing at those attempts at writing by those students. I’m betting that each of them is rather proud of getting a letter printed in the paper — “Look, dey put mine in!” Anyone who’s the slightest bit literate would be ashamed of writing this sort of drivel.

Here’s a line from Ellen Bernstein, the head of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation —

“Education should
be about acquiring life skills that include problem-solving, teamwork,
creative thinking and developing an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Look at what a wonderful job that Albuquerque Public Schools have done in teaching kids these life skills. Every so often, APS gets audited by the state or federal agencies that provide piles and piles — dumptrucks full — of Federal Reserve Notes. And every time, APS comes up short where performance is concerned. Somehow, that doesn’t stop the state and federal agencies from sending those dumptrucks of FRNs, as APS receiving those piles of cash is supposed to be dependent on APS performing up to standards.

Remember that every time an APS bond issue comes to the ballot, APS asks for millions to construct new facilities, higher salaries for teachers, a huge increase for the Superintendent’s salary, more computers, and the list goes on, ad nauseum. Remember what kind of funding APS asks for when a candidate for the Legislature or Governor’s Mansion tells you that electing that particular critter to office will provide “more money for education.” What has the cash that you’ve already sent in via the PIT-1, 1040 and your property taxes gotten you?

MEANWHILE, the kids being homeschooled and going to private schools are far outstripping the kids in the public schools. The only chances in Hell for the disaster zone otherwise called APS to improve is if the school board sends the parents of kids in the system a bill for the FULL cost of that kid’s educational expenses for the year (an itemized bill would be nice) AND if APS ceases to tax people who don’t have any kids in their clutches. BUT that’s not likely to happen. Still, each and every one of the English teachers on the APS payroll needs to be given an immediate pink slip, as the kids who wrote those atrocious letters above were passed through the system uncorrected.

And WHY IN HELL should the APS Superintendent get the piles and piles of cash that they’ve been getting every year? When Peter Horoschak was the honcho, he got 90,000 FRN a year. Then the drunken and drug-addled Brad Allison took over, getting 130,000 FRN a year. When his contract was up, he demanded 150,000 FRN per year, when the School Board was only willing to part with 140K. Then Elizabeth Everitt took over, getting that 150K, and they’re talking about jacking up the Superintendent’s salary even more, so that APS can be “competitive” with other districts.

If you have your kids in the public schools, then you need to face the fact that you’ve been “tooken” for a ride.

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