Friday, February 22, 2013

slave math test

“What fresh new hell is this?” you’re probably wondering. Would you believe its a math homework assignment that was to be given out to kids in the fourth grade at NYC school P.S. 59? It would have been, if not for the conscientiousness of student  teacher Aziza Harding, who was told by the teacher in-charge of the class to hand out the assignment but couldn’t bring herself to do so. Ms.Harding reported the teacher’s assignment to one of her professors at NYU, where she’s a graduate student. He swiftly brought it to the attention of  the school’s principal who wrote back saying she was ‘appalled’ and after that things went really viral. The Department of Education released this statement,

“This is obviously unacceptable and we will take appropriate disciplinary action against these teachers. The Chancellor spoke to the principal, and she has already taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.”

And upon hearing the story on the news, State Senator Simcha Felder, who is the chairman of the New York City Education Sub-Committee, emailed this statement,

“While the city, state and unions are busy haggling over teacher evaluations, New York City’s students are being subjected to reprehensible and irresponsible educational materials. I am calling for the immediate removal of these two (?) teachers.” 

FYI: No word yet on the name of the teacher!  They probably have her in hiding for her own safety. ♦

Which leads to my next story…

teacher evaluationsNYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and  Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, failed to reach a deal on a new system for evaluating 75,000 public school teachers, putting the city in danger of losing out on $450 million in state and federal money along with raising the possibility of cuts to staff and programs. The mayor boo-hooed about how tragic this impass was for public school children  and Mulgrew is now mumbling under his breathe about a strike. WTF! The teachers’ union has been working without a contract since  just before Mr. Bloomberg hijacked…oh, excuse me, I meant was   reelected in 2009, a campaign in which the union declined to endorse a candidate (ie: not Bloomberg).  The UFT are hoping for a more friendly administration next year, and are being heavily courted by several Democratic candidates for mayor. A professor of political science at Hunter College, Kenneth S. Sherrill says this:

“The fact of the matter is that as long as a Democrat wins, the union is better off, and I think that holds for all public employees. There is a long tradition of this.”

An endorsement for a Democrat if I ever heard one. To be continued…♦ 

women talk_too_muchSo, some researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine think they’ve  come up with biological evidence supporting the idea that women talk more than men. The assertion is that the average woman speaks about 20,000 words a day, while the average man manages gets in about 7,000 words in between women flapping their gums.The new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience says that women have a higher level of  some protein in our brains called, get this — FOXP2, nicknamed the “language protein.”  Bunk all that I say! You wanna know the real reason why women talk almost 3x as much as men? Because the first two times we try to tell you something you’re not listening. See…, you guys aren’t even listening now! Thar’s one… ♦

sky VegetablesI love it when the ‘wave of the future’ comes splashing right up to my wiggling toes! Today it comes in the form of a company called SkyVegetables, headed by CEO Bob Fireman. Based on a simple concept utilizing otherwise wasted space on big rooftops to grow fresh vegtables, it can be utilized on supermarkets, schools, public housing, anywhere there’s a roof and a need for easy access to fresh, wholesome food. Rooftopm farms are self sustaining, complexes using solar energy, rainwater catchment, wind turbines and living-machine style aquaponics, all functioning 24/7, 365 days a year in all weather conditions. Affordable housing developer Les Bluestone has taken this concept one step further by incorporating affordable housing and sustainable living sky farms with the newly built Bronx, NYC residence called Arbor House. The nearly $38 million housing complex has 124 units of affordable housing and will feature a hydroponic rooftop farm for growing fresh vegetables. Fireman says,

 “Local, fresh, nutritious food is what the people of the cities need. And there is no reason why we can’t turn all of these rooftops into living farms.” 

No reason whatsoever…I can see it all now!… ♦

Later pilgrims…

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Amy Conton is a freelance writer and graphic designer living in New York, USA.

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