In the last decade, we have emerged from the Education Stone Age. No longer must we rely on primitive tools like teachers and principals to assess children’s academic progress. Thanks to the best education minds in Washington, Albany and Lower Manhattan, we now have finely calibrated state tests aligned with the highest academic standards. What follows is a look back at New York’s long march to a new age of accountability.
Useful annotated timeline of the decline of schooling in New York.
And I love the last line:
Among the reasons cited is New York’s long tradition of creating tests that have little to do with reality.
The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians
Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the band
Of cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blaze
At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames
On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes—
The witness in a building across the street
Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step
Up to the windowsill, then held her out
Away from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another. As if he were helping them up
To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.
A third before he dropped her put her arms
Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held
Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at once
He stepped up to the sill himself, his jacket flared
And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down,
Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers—
Like Hart Crane’s Bedlamite, “shrill shirt ballooning.”
Wonderful how the patern matches perfectly
Across the placket and over the twin bar-tacked
Corners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme
Or a major chord. Prints, plaids, checks,
Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras. The clan tartans
Invented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian,
To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed
By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor,
Bailey, MacMartin. The kilt, devised for workers
to wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners. The loader,
The docker, the navvy. The planter, the picker, the sorter
Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton
As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields:
George Herbert, your descendant is a Black
Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma
And she inspected my shirt. Its color and fit
And feel and its clean smell have satisfied
both her and me. We have culled its cost and quality
Down to the buttons of simulated bone,
The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters
Printed in black on neckband and tail. The shape,
The label, the labor, the color, the shade. The shirt.
On March 25, 1911, fire swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City, killing 146 employees, most of them women.
For years, New York parents have been applying to preschools even before their youngsters are born. That’s not new, but the approach one prestigious pre-school on the Upper West Side is.
At the Porsafillo Preschool Academy, all applicants must now submit a DNA analysis of their children.
The preschool is housed in a modern glass and steel building designed by IM Pei. It’s situated in a leafy corner of the Upper West Side. On a recent afternoon, Headmaster Rebecca Unsinn showed off “Porsafillo Pre,” as it’s called.
“Over here, we have computer labs, C++ learning, which of course, as I’m sure you know, is a language of computers,” she says. Wait, computer language? These preschoolers are learning C++?
“Oh, absolutely they are,” Unsinn says. “And they’re very good at it.”
That’s not the only language they’re learning; all the children are also enrolled in a Mandarin Chinese immersion program.
The trouble with this April Fool story is that it way too close to the bone. Maybe that’s what makes for a good April Fool’s Joke - could almost be for real but: Fooled You!
Fun to write though. We should all try it.
An early morning visit to the kindergarten on Friday was a chance for a guided tour of the farm. It’s a magnificent project now complete - a capstone to a year of exploration, research, discovery and creation. And the children are proud to show their work and point out their individual contributions. And a grand farm it is too with barns and sheds, plenty of animals, and a house with garden and a greenhouse.And of course - since this is Sprout Creek Farm - it has a river flowing through the pastures. This farm was built with effort, perseverance and attention Look at the details of the fences and roofs. Admire the abundance of animals in the fields, the glass on the greenhouse, the accuracy of the layout the imaginative use of materials. It began with aerial photos of the farm from Google Earth. The children translated them into plans and outlines for the buildings and drawings of what each child chose to re-create with the materials at hand. Blocks of course, plenty of blocks but also all the wealth of construction material available in a well stocked kindergarten. And the miracle is - the complete farm was built by individual working as a part of the group. There’s pride in the personal contribution but also in the whole spread. And think of the problem solving and negotiation that had to occur for this to evolve from concept to creation. But what am I thinking? It didn’t begin with Google Earth. It began with a visit from the farmers in September and monthly farm visits by the children who experienced first hand how life and work at the farm change through the seasons. My virtual farm visit was a great way to start the day. Thank you Robbie and all the children in the kindergarten. I know you all enjoyed building the farm and all your visits to the see the farmers and the animals. And I so enjoyed your stories and the model farm you made.