LIFE’S SUPPOSED TO BE EASY PEASY, BUT IT ISN’T

You suffered through 5 hours of labor without any medication. 10 fingers and 10 toes, and no discernible problems. Home safe as Dad might say.

But then as your child develops some learning disabilities become apparent. Your child is lucky and has a stable environment. Two loving educated parents and enough family enough family income so you can deal with most of the problems that arise.

You take your 5 year old to enroll in a public school kindergarten, expecting that he/she will be evaluated and an IEP (individual education plan) will be

NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott with Special Ed Students in Queens

formulated, and, as the IEP indicates his needs, he will be assigned to a class with one teacher, one aide and 11 other students.

Here come the “But it isn’t.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in another attempt to leave a legacy as an “Education Mayor,” the first to have control of the New York City schools, has reorganized the school system again.

A New York City Special Ed Classroom

So, in an attempt to improve the “score” of the city’s educational environment, each child must now be placed the “least restrictive” environment – read, put in a general education class, perhaps with an additional teacher. When I supervised such a class, the 2 teachers were not given a common preparation period. They prepped each other rather than consulting each other – read, who cares about the kids, and we just saved 20 coverages per week.

Not totally isolating special education students in an important goal. I don’t believe in tracking (assigning classes according to ability) the general population either. That works well with sufficient resources and much planning by creative, knowledgeable educators from the aide to the chancellor level. But it doesn’t happen.

This is the greatest city in the world. It should have the greatest public education system in the world. Are you listening, Mr. Bloomberg.

Please click on Edu Doodle at our website (www.doodlenoodlestuff.com) for a list of Department of Education regulations and guidelines for New York City students and other resources. If you are not a resident of New York City, I suggest you go to your local Board of Education website for that information.

Thanks to Jaye Bea Smalley, Co-Chair of the Citywide Council on Special Education for her articulate and knowledgeable presentation last night at a meeting of The Community Free Democrats on New York’s Upper West Side.

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SEX, LIES AND CHILDREN

We knew about free love in the ‘60s, but we never heard about sexual abuse of children. I’m sure it was there, in fact, if I had not been a quick thinking young girl,  I might have been a victim myself.

When I was 12, I was tall and developed, and I could have passed for 16. I lived in a small town in the Catskills. One day, when I was
taking a 2 mile walk to the next town on a road with few houses and no sidewalks, a car stopped and the man driving asked if I wanted a lift. I recognized the guy as a mechanic in the garage in my town. My father was very friendly with the owner, Mr. Lungen.  Although I was not friendly with his children, I knew them, and they knew me. It was a very small town.

I got in the car, and, after taking off, he suggested that we go for a ride down another road. I told him I knew who he was, which is why I got in the car, and, if he didn’t stop immediately and let me out, my father would call Mr. Lungen and have him fired. “Let Me Out!” I think he was surprised at my composure and the determination with which I spoke. He stopped. I got out.

I had a lot of common sense as a kid and was mature for my age, but lots of kids would not talk up like I did, especially to a teacher, a coach or someone they knew better.

Children who are abused are not at fault. Parents have to be held accountable, however, for not educating their children in what to do when someone is
acting inappropriately. They have to create a sense of security and support so that their children will be willing to talk to them openly. I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want the guy to lose his job, but I knew that I could tell my parents anything.

Every home, every religious institution, every social organization and every educational center has to address this problem. And, maybe, the press in their reports needs to address kids and guide them on how to handle such situations.

A little play acting could earn them an Emmy or two.

BULLYING 101

The bus bullies who abused Karen Klein, the 68 year old bus matron need to be held accountable. So do their parents. So do we all.

As a retired assistant principal, who worked in the South Bronx in three different schools that included 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, I know something about the unstable combination of hormones, psyche and bewilderment that influence tween/teen behavior. My husband says I could just give them my “A.P. look,” and it would be all over. So here’s the prescription of this “don’t even think about it” mama. They abused the privilege of riding the school bus. They endangered Karen who could have had a heart attack or a stroke, and possibly other students, if there was a resulting accident. So, these kids don’t get to ride on the school bus again – not for sports, concerts. Nothing!

They are so a part our You Tube world of posting every egocentric, insignificant, detail of our lives, that one actually videoed their monstrous behavior and then posted it. No cell phones, no computers unless it’s for school work.

As these kids don’t understand the cause and consequences of their actions, they must enroll in “Bullying 101” – part reality therapy, research, reading, writing and discussions.

Parents of these bullies must attend “Teen Parenting 2012” to learn which of their practices allowed their children to behave so outrageously, and what strategies they will take to drastically modify their children’s behavior.

Community service, yes! After school activities, no! As they didn’t have any respect for a senior citizen, I recommend that their service be at a senior citizen center or a nursing home.

We as a society have to start taking a strong stand against the abuse of anyone!

If you don’t think images of Congressman Joe Wilson ® of South Carolina calling the President of the United States a liar during a televised address to both houses of Congress or of an internet reporter interrupting the President during a news brief influence children’s behavior, THINK AGAIN.

I don’t care what religion, what race or what political party you belong to.

Enough Is Enough!

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CHANCELLOR WALCOTT, THE TIGERS ARE ROARING!

Watching the news reports about the Jerry Sandusky trial has made me nauseous. It has created a new definition for the term, “Tiger Mom.” Abuse our children, and we will be fierce. So, I can understand how New York City Schools’ Chancellor Dennis Walcott is so angry over allegations that United Federation of Teachers employees have been sexually abusing children. What I can’t understand is how such an intelligent man can ignore the rule of law (Walcott took over the District Superintendency of NYC School District 5 in Harlem when I was teaching there.) Chancellor Walcott has been at war with the UFT since assuming his position. Walcott is seeking new ways to fire teachers and administrators by denying them due process and even overriding the decisions of arbitrators.

Certainly, I am not in favor of having teachers who were found guilty of these horrendous acts remain in the classroom. In his quest to become the Sheriff or Department of Education, Walcott seems to be playing fast and loose with the rules which govern our country. Chancellor Walcott appears to believe that if a teacher, administrator or teacher’s aide is acquitted by a jury of his or her peers or not indicted by a grand jury, the Department of Education still has the right to bring that person before an arbitrator

Remember, Chancellor Walcott, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” That means that once a person has been found innocent of a criminal act, they cannot be retried for the same crime, as is done sometimes over and over in some countries until the desired verdict is achieved. Walcott, however, wants to take this position one step further. In his world, he believes that if the arbitrator has ruled in favor of the teacher, and the Chancellor disagrees with the ruling, he can override the arbitrator and fire the teacher.

Apparently, Mr. Walcott believes that it is perfectly acceptable to try teachers twice for the same crime and then do what he wants if he disagrees with the findings in the second case. You would think that the leader of one of the largest educations systems in the country would not have missed reading an important part of the Bill of Rights. Then again, city residents know that his boss, Mayor Bloomberg, is well known for creating Interpretations of the law that should never pass the muster of the court system.

In a time when there seems to be a daily report of perverse sexual activities by teachers in the media, and when Jerry Sandusky’s face is ever present on TV, I can understand the public’s desire to see sexual predators locked up, and the key thrown away. I wish that the law allowed for that, and it does when there is a trial and conviction. But when that does not happen, it is an
abuse of our legal system to seek the additional remedies the Chancellor wants. It goes against everything for which this country stands. Winston Churchill was right when he said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Perhaps another quote from Churchill, “Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry,” should be brought to their attention before they try to continue their efforts to destroy the teachers’ union. I hear the tigers roaring.

 

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DOODLEY NOODLEY YOURS,

 

GAIL

 

INFORMATION ON GETTING YOUR KIDS READY FOR CAMP


Go to the KIDS AND MOMS tab at my website (www.doodlenoodlestuff.com) for information on getting your child ready for camp in 2012. Not sending a kid to camp? Read it anyway because it will help turn you into either an SOM – Super Organized Mom or an SOP – Super Organized Person.

Then, move on to THE ORGANIZED DOODLE for tips on backpack management. Ah, yes, THE DOODLE METHOD OF ORGANIZATION works for handbags as well.

It also worked very well for the cabinet portion of my antique wash stand which was DOODLEIZED by my husband (I’m still recovering from the accident, so, I can direct but not do.) last night. It’s empty now and will hold one bag for things to donate, things to go to the car and shopping bags that have to be emptied. Voila! – Neat Foyer.

Drawers are next

SOCCER MOM/SEX MADAM

Why would a man, an accident lawyer, think it a waste of time and resources to pursue the soccer/sex mom’s list of well connected Johns, but not think it the same waste of time to pursue Anna Gristina, the mom, personally? I think both are a waste of time and money.

But I am very interested in the psyche of a single 46 year old intelligent, articulate, man who has this reaction. I supported Cyrus Vance, Jr. when he was running for Manhattan District Attorney. I cannot support his political witch hunt, emphasis on “political.” What is similar in the psyches of these two men that makes it OK to punish this entrepreneurial woman?

According to Ms Gristina, she had an idea after watching the MILLION DOLLAR MATCH MAKER program on TV, a reality show. Her idea was also based on Match.com, which has been successful for many years. I met my own second husband on an online service. “Normal” everyday people use such services for various reasons – lack of time, shyness, caution.

But she wasn’t going to be successful starting another on line service. No match for “Match.” She needed a “hook.” Hers – married men. Anyone who reads or hears the news can name at least a dozen powerful married men who have had liaisons. There are many more that haven’t been exposed.

Anna thought of a way to discretely supply a service which, which, when not discrete, hurts wives, children and the public. I bet that she was partly motivated by the fact that she had to put four children through college, most likely to make up for having her saving/investments wiped out by the economic crisis, and having to provide for her retirement.

This mother is being held in Riker’s Island Prison. Why? As a Liberal Arts major who started working in The Urban Teachers’ Corps (similar to Teach For America), I was taken on a visit to Riker’s for a little culture shock, a shock that curled my very straight hair. Haven’t been back since, but I don’t suppose it’s much better. Want another shock, we spend $16,170 to educated a child in New York public schools and $21,900 to keep an individual at Riker’s for a year. You can do the math yourself.

Did this woman hurt anyone? With four children, one of whom has a heart murmur, is she a flight risk?

What is it in the male psyche that thinks it is OK to punish children – hers, and those of others being denied education money?

I don’t get it! Whether you do or not, I’d like to hear your comments.

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LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING

Look left when you cross the street, even if you have the light, traffic is one way and is stopped for the light to the right of you and you have stepped into a clearly marked cross walk. That is what I was doing and didn’t look left, even though, a minivan was parked there

I stepped into the street, but the driver of the parked minivan backed up to pull out and knocked me down. It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, but I was hit by a vehicle on Thursday evening around 6 PM. . I always taught my children to look both ways before crossing the street, even when the light was green for them, and, yet, I forgot to follow my own advice when I really needed it.

The young guy driving the minivan was primarily concerned that I not call the police. He was driving a company vehicle and didn’t even offer to call 911. I did. He called the office to say would be late to the next appointment.

It was only a contusion and a bruised knee and ribs. I was released from the emergency room around 10 PM. I am home now with headaches, a stiff neck and shoulders and a swollen knee, a sore elbow arm and finger. The doctors say you feel worse over the next few days, and then it gets better. It’s hard to think with this headache, and I’m trying to move too much. So, I won’t be posting, tweeting or Facebooking (Is that a word?) for a while.

Enjoy a safe summer.