Wednesday, June 19, 2013


This morning, at the total fiasco known as social studies Regents marking, a clever person set an over/under time of 11:30 a.m. for when the computer system would break down.  He reasoned that it was a little better Tuesday as compared to Monday so progress was being made and should continue.  Well, he was wrong.

The computers said there were no more papers left to be scored around 10:00 a.m.  A little later we were told to log off and log back on again because everything would be up and running.  We all did this and were able to grade two or three student questions and then once again the machine said that we were done and it would not let us see any more papers.  This went on all day.

Click on a question, grade one or two papers and then the computer would freeze the person out of marking that question. Go to other questions and the system was closed.

By the afternoon we were told to leave and try again on Thursday morning.  Teachers were also offered per session (teacher overtime) if we would stay after school on Thursday and Friday afternoon and evening and then return again all weekend to grade exams.  I understand how some people need the money and will work the overtime but it is ridiculous for the Department of Education to ask us to bail them out because they could not get this system running properly.

Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson's campaign head Merryl Tisch, who is also the Chancellor of the State Board of Regents, is responsible for the decision to take Regents grading out of the hands of the teachers in our home schools and compel the exams to be marked by teachers in other schools.  She and her friend Mayor Bloomberg are responsible for this complete debacle.

Are any of our intrepid reporters asking Mr. Thompson about Tisch's responsibility in this mess?  John Liu or Bill deBlasio should do press conferences outside these scoring centers with students whose graduation is being delayed because of computer malfunctions.

Many students, teachers, counselors and principals will be quite angry in a couple of days when students are told their graduation is being held up because they did not pass the Global History and/or US History Regents exam.  These kids should not have to suffer because Michael Bloomberg expects everything to be privatized.  McGraw-Hill is setting this electronic grading system up and obviously they are not up to the job.

What should be done as a remedy?  If this is not repaired by the end of the week, any student who achieved a passing grade in Grade 10 global history or grade 11 US history should automatically be given Regents credit.  Why should children suffer for the mistakes of adults? Let the teacher's judgement prevail.

Every year parent activist Leonie Haimson gives out her Skinny Awards (opposite of billionaire Eli Broad prizes) to people who fight for public education.  This year's winners are bloggers Gary Rubinstein and Arthur Goldstein.  

Normally the UFT has strong representation at the Skinny Awards but I was informed that they were not there last night.  Arthur is the UFT Chapter Leader from Francis Lewis High School, the largest high school in the borough and Gary is a UFT member from Stuyvesant High school.  Why was the UFT missing last night from the ceremony to honor two of their own?  Could it be because neither Gary or Arthur are members of the ruling Unity Caucus (Michael Mulgrew's party)?  I hope not.  I am confident that some had commitments but it would have been nice to see the UFT out to honor their people.

This ICEUFT blog salutes Gary RubInstein and Arthur Goldstein.  Congratulations guys! As a past Skinny winner myself, I can welcome you to this amazing education activist club.

Video is posted at Ed Notes.

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