Monday, February 8, 2010

Harry Potter and the Robocall of Fury!

I've kind of been M.I.A. from this blog for a little while, but I couldn't let George Parker's Robodrama call tonight pass without giving it appropriate mockery. Did he not call anyone before sending that out? In case anyone is not aware, schools are closed tomorrow, a decision that was announced after initially declaring a two-hour delay. But this didn't stop Parker from sending out a robocall with belligerently inaccurate information. My personal favorite part was this little monument to run-on sentences:

"To all teachers who feel the mayor's decision not to close schools is ridiculous, I encourage you to put your safety first by staying home and calling in to your school to let them know you won't be in because you have the right to take leave and put your safety first."

Oh well. Can't be too pissed -- snow day!

UPDATE: Apparently we can be too pissed.

Somehow, commenters have interpreted my post as meaning that I don't think schools should be closed today. I do. It's too dangerous to get to school, and many teachers and students are still snowed in their homes. Schools should be closed. Schools are closed, so I'm not mad.

I wrote what I wrote because I thought the robocall from George Parker was ridiculous -- especially considering the fact that I received it more than an hour after I learned that schools were closed. I agree with his point -- schools should be (and are) closed today. But an angry call to action sounds silly once the other side has capitulated. If you'd like to be furious at Michelle Rhee for keeping schools open (which, incidentally, she didn't), then have at it. Personally, I'm going sledding.


goreplz said...

Amen! Finally they do something right. I wasn't going to trek through that crap to get to school anyway.

The Wash. Teacher said...

DC Schools initially announced a 2 hour delay. Schools were closed only after many parents complained to the mayor and TV news stations. Check this story out on news channel 4. Obviously students best interest and safety was not taken into consideration by this administration.

The Washington Teacher blog posts an entry from the mail, an online publication on this same subject.

Anonymous said...

Potter check out the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss Rhee,
"Fenty: Say it isn’t so about opening D.C. schools",
For once the Union is right.

Kings said...

So, Harry - you come alive to criticize the union's response to the Blizzard. You really are a true believer, aren't you?

Plus you caught the Union prez in a run-on sentence! Brilliant.

Rhee would put children's safety at risk, but she'd never use a run-on sentence.

Now - will you go into deep denial or will you acknowledge that you got this one wrong?

PhillipMarlowe said...

So, George Parker's remarks on snow bring out a comment from Potter?

You'd have thought George Parker said teachers were having sex with students.

Anonymous said...

GP, never one of my favorites, got it right this time. For whatever reason, Rhee was forced to bend.

Anonymous said...

Harry you're losing your mind.

Anonymous said...

This is what I wrote to Michelle Rhee last night:

Dear Ms. Rhee,

As a dedicated DCPS teacher, I would like to thank you for being determined enough in your beliefs to keep the public schools in DC open tomorrow, my only regret is that we will lose TWO precious hours of instruction. If we really want to improve our test scores, we can't afford to miss any MINUTE of test prepping. We owe it to the children of DC to compel them to do WHATEVER it takes to get to school to work on their scores and achieve their standards and perform their duties. We must teach them that there are No Excuses to use when it comes to Work, because it is of UPMOST importance for them to raise their scores and produce their achievement. If this means they have to walk miles to school in the snow because, as you and I both know, Metro has suspended all above ground service, then so be it. As teachers, we should have effectively instilled the belief that "hard work leads to success" (see: Teaching and Learning Framework/IMPACT), so if students don't come to school tomorrow, it is clearly because they have ineffective teachers. In fact, I am getting ready to call each and every one of my students on my own PERSONAL cell phone to insure they will be coming to school so that I can tell them what "Students Will Be Able To." To what? Well, raise test scores, of course.

Please don't listen to any lazy Union teachers who may also be currently emailing you to plead with you to close schools. It is obviously their fault that many of them live outside of the district and have to drive miles through treacherous snow and ice conditions to get to school. They know that if they want to teach in Michelle Rhee's school district, they need to Suck It Up and do Whatever It Takes to be Highly Effective and raise their IMPACT score. It is not our students’ problem if their teachers have to arrange child care for their children whose Maryland or Virginia school district has canceled school for TWO WHOLE DAYS!! Never mind that those school districts are consistently rated as some of the Top School Districts in the nation. We're gaining ground on them, and therefore if we want to come close to their scores this year, we really need to be in school achieving on the days they aren't. So, if teachers or principals complain that we have school tomorrow, they are only showing their unionized laziness and exposing their love of The Status Quo. In fact, you should instruct your principals to keep a list of all the teachers who don't come to school tomorrow, and then email it to the entire staff and post it on the walls of the school. This way, you will continue to make sure that teachers are working in an environment of fear that we both know facilitates high employee performance.

Lastly, you should definitely go on a lot of walk-throughs of schools tomorrow, because even if teachers do show up to school, they might not actually perform a standards-based lesson with measurable objectives. I have seen with my own eyes several teachers who didn't perform anything last Wednesday when DCPS was Open and On Time even though Montgomery County, PG County, and Fairfax County schools were all closed. Instead, they PLAYED GAMES with their students! Yes, I'm serious. Played. Games. And I actually heard genuine laughter and saw a lot of smiles from not just the teacher, but even the few students who came that day. It clearly appeared they liked what they were doing, and I MAY HAVE even detected some REAL LEARNING going on. I'm not going to say this teacher's name, because I don't want to get her in trouble, but I'm pretty sure she loves teaching and the kids love her. Clearly this means they are not achieving in her class, because she does not use Research Based Best Practices.

Once again, thank you. You are an inspiration to all of us who believe that Every Child can Achieve High Test Scores.


Sarah Otto
Anacostia High School

Kings said...

I'm pissed at you for focusing on Parker instead of Rhee's original extremely poor decision to leave the schools open. the fact that she eventually closed them doesn't just mean things worked out in the end - t also means she has horrendous management skills and you are so in the tank you don't notice. It's frightening - if only because there are others like you, who will defend her endlessly. that's just what a despot needs and she has it in you.

They can't be trusted said...

I don't trust Fenty or Rhee to make decisions that involve public welfare. I bet they're going to call us back tomorrow, when I can't even get out of my parking space, when I can't even walk on the sidewalk. What about little children? They need to close schools tomorrow too, as most school districts are doing, and Fenty was crazed enough to open DC govt today!! Sure, we're all a little stir crazy, but it's not safe to go back yet.

Kat said...

Why all the hatred from the commentariat??

Good to see you back, HP.

life gets better said...


I think people are pissed because Rhee was going to send small children, their parents and teachers into treacherous conditions. Today people were still digging out from Saturday's snow and forced to walk in the streets.

Just a reminder, the announcement on the DCPS website before the community outcry and subsequent reversal did not say they were going to wait to see if public transportation was running or if streets were plowed. It said there was going to be a two hour delay, period.

I think people were rightly outraged because we do not think that improving DC CAS scores are worth the risk of a child getting hit by a car.

The bottom line is that Rhee changed her mind because of the community outrage and for no other reason.

Her judgment once again has been shown to be extremely impaired. And worse, she can't admit she made a mistake.

Harry, I can't believe you are making excuses for Rhee on this one.

Kat said...

It was a rhetorical question.

Btw everyone, Rhee does not make the decision on whether schools close. In the past, it was Dan Tangherlini. Now, I believe it's Fenty who makes the call (unless he trusts Neil Albert to do it, but I doubt it).

Kings said...

The head of the schools makes the decision to close the schools. All former superintendents did and Rhee has taken full credit for keeping the schools open in the past when other jurisdictions closed them.

keeping the schools open was a stupid idea - Rhee's stupid idea. face it - Rhee did something stupid. Trying to rationalize and pass the blame onto someone else is stupid too and kind of scary.

Kat said...

Kings, I'm sorry, but you're talking out your ass on this one. (And usually a lot of other issues as well, but let's stick with this one for now.)

Anonymous said...

For your information Rhee and Fenty were involved in numerous conference calls about the situation, Rhee ultimately called it but whether or not off the official call line Fenty twisted her arm we'll never know. Rhee called it with input from Fenty and that's the bottom line. Like all other Superintendents in the area the Chancellor takes responsibility for closing/opening the schools. Kat were you privy to the calls? If so, you know better.

Snowed In said...

No, Rhee called it then changed her mind. On Monday, when she called for a 2 hour delay, she expected that to be the final word. Then the phone calls and emails started coming in from parents and staff not only to her, but to the Mayor's and councilmembers' offices. There was also the union threat to encourage teachers to call in if they couldn't make it to school safely. Rhee's hand was forced and she changed her mind. It was a ridiculous call at first, not well-thought out at all, to put it mildly.
Superintendents make the call to close schools with consultation from the mayor. I've been in the system for a while and we are often the only ones open, with PG and Montgomery closed. And I'm not defending Rhee. I communicated with her and let her know what I thought about the decision to open 2 hours early.
I assume we'll be closed for a while as it's an absolute blizzard. We can't even think about digging out yet.

Anonymous said...

I get you loud and clear Potter. Your minor mocking of GP was on key. GP and WTU needs to come to bat on the regular, not when the powers are twiddling their thumbs over a snow delay or closing.

Dude, Otto at Anacostia needs to come down to Earth. Her "lazy union teachers" shtick is old and got to go. This is a BLIZZARD. She shouldn't have to worry... why didn't deliver CAS prep packets to all her students or monitor their TV viewing while snowed in or deliver nutritious brain tingling meals while they miss her 90min of nirvana.... i hear ya honey but that a$$ kissin won't save you from a low IMpact score or RIF. Welcome to DC

Anonymous said...

You know, I fear for the children of DC when so many of the TEACHERS don't have the reading comprehension skills to see that Sarah Otto's letter is sarcastic. Jesus.

Me too said...

Gosh, I thought the same thing as what anon above posted. The letter from the teacher at Anacostia was saracastic and rather good and wove in all that stuff about IMPACT and test scores. But it was saracastic. And I would hope that it's very few of the readers of the letter who didn't get its subtle humor.

Anonymous said...

Ok ok sorry Otto. Totally missed the humor. Thought the laughter from games was a bit funny but..... well done.

Anonymous said...

I know the same thing happened on DC Teacher Chic's site, someone thought Otto was serious. I hope that's not her real name, Rhee will get you. Great writing Ms. Otto.

No PD For Us said...

Did any of you notice that on GP's latest robocall he no longer said on tomorrow? That is a non-standard form common to southerners that I didn't hear til I came to DCPS. But the union should have fought harder to cancel today's PD, like PG county did. We didn't even have it, as the coach called out. I got stuck trying to drive into the school parking lot, for nothing.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason why a few people missed the point of Otto's e-mail is that many of Rhee's cheerleaders actually talk like this.

They spout the same rhetoric but they are not joking. I am sometimes shocked at some of the comments that are spewed by Rhee, her crew and the cheerleaders.

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