Saturday, December 13, 2008

What happens to the paper boy?

Season 5 of The Wire, this article and common sense suggest that the newspaper industry is in decline.  Whether or not something might pull up the industry's bootsraps or not, the days of early morning newspaper deliveries seem to be dying.  The internet probably started the trend, and blogging seems like its accelerating it.  At least you could say, as these graphs do, taken from here and here respecitvely, that the two 'industries' (blogging and newsapers) are trending in opposite directions.

The industry I'm currently concerned how this affects is paper delivery.  Now that no one wants a paper delivered to their doorstep in the morning, what can adolescents do to replace that economic opportunity?  What made newspapers a good product for daily delivery? It must be that they are a cheap, massively available and continuously expiring physical good.  Milk's been done before and it didn't last...But my senses tell me this has to be some kind of an opportunity. Ideally it would be for locally grown, organic produce, or some sort of renewable energy packet. Neither seems sufficient to offset the loss, at least not in the immediate future (especially given one doesn't even exist). I guess I'll have to keep pondering this one, and maybe make a lesson out of it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This article's worth reading...Ms. Rhee seems like a real bitch, and maybe exactly what an urban school district needs to get its act together, who knows.  The article's an obvious standards debate waiting to happen, but my favorite quote is:

Right now, schools assess teachers before they teach--filtering for candidates who are certified, who have a master's degree, who have other pieces of paper that do not predict good teaching. And we pay them the same regardless of their effectiveness.

By comparison, if we wanted to have truly great teachers in our schools, we would assess them after their second year of teaching, when we could identify very strong and very weak performers, according to years of research. 

The amount that's gained from teacher credential programs, measured against the prices paid for them (and there are more than just money), is scary.  I can read a Time Article, 4 blogs with lengthy commentary and draft, redraft, and learn to format a blog, but I can't bring myself to work on my credential program work because I know it will be a waste of my time.  Go figure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First Blog

The best thing I heard all day, and what may turn out to tear the final thread to unleash the "blogger" in me today came from Maggie -- "Mr. Snyder, you're like, here every day. You never miss class." 

It was what I've been waiting to hear. It's true, I haven't missed a single period this year.  But here's the problem: it's only November...we're just barely a third of the way through the year. And, save for the day I'm taking off Friday because it saved me over $100 on airfare to do so and the day before vacation has historically been about as productive as my friends Lynch and Boska were at their college job when the head custodian asked them to go clean the room with the Student Bar in it, I'm not saying they kids would start calling me Cal, but I'd be defying odds by making it cold through to Thanksgiving break.

I'm not bashing teacher's for missing days...This job is hella hard, and we're squeezed thinner than en empty tube of toothpaste, but that struck me as just one more reminder of how badly urban schools are failing; both students and employees. 
What to do about it, is, well, beyond my scope, but if I have any readers out there who'd like to discuss, or even just announce themselves, please, the 'mic' is yours.

 Oh, and on another note, the non-linear Mr. Snyder, the guy who is unpredictable and constantly changing was unveiled in today's lesson: