Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bored With Education Candidates ...

Richard Cunningham ~ perpetual candidate

Joe Grinnan ~ incumbent

Emmy Thevanesan ~ Spencerport teacher, anti-common core = anti-teacher accountability

Greece residents are invited to meet the Board of Education candidates on Monday, April 27 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Room E46 on the third floor of Odyssey Academy, 750 Maiden Lane. Each candidate will provide biographical information and field questions posed by moderator Jody Siegle, Executive Director of the Monroe County School Boards Association. The candidates night, sponsored by the Greece PTA Council, will also be broadcast live on radio station Jazz 90.1.



Anonymous said...

Fascinating.. now that we have only 3 candidates for 3 positions (i.e. a meaningless vote), the old formalities of candidate's night and whatever are back in place!

SCATS said...

To 6:59PM ~~ Almost predictable, aren't they? ;) lol

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the unions will officially take over the board?

Anonymous said...

Agree 3 candidates for 3 roles is not what we really want. However I have to be honest that I was really concerned that we would not even have 3. Remember one can always write-in. That's how Oberg made it in last year.

Also on Common Core...why do I get the read, that other than the Teacher's Union dissent, the major driver is that Moms and Dads are not liking a test that little Ronny or Sally just don't score 90s or 100s on? Why aren't folks up in arms about SATs and ACTs as well...

Albert Ficus

SCATS said...

To 7:16AM ~~ With McCabe in charge, they already had! My God, the election of Bill Maloney should have been a huge wake-up call. It wasn't.

To Albert ~~ Those moms & dads are being courted by the teachers to "opt out"!! They are nothing but tools of the union.

I agree 100% about why not be upset about SAT's, ACTs, or even AP exams?? The College Board makes tons of $$$ off all of those tests and it's just fine by the teachers AND the parents who are paying some pretty hefty $$ to have their kids take them.

ANSWER: Because no one is TRYING to make teachers accountable with their results! It's really as simple as that!! Standardized tests have been used for decades!! Suddenly this one is "politicized" ... lmao!

Anonymous said...

GCSD has managed to reach the pathetic standards of Hilton where the Bored are set for life on the Board.

Look forward to more stupid kids.

Anonymous said...

These standardized tests are politicized because parents, teachers, and students get no information from them since Pearson prevents anyone from discussing or seeing the specific questions and results. There is no educational benefit to giving these tests.

You are right that standardized tests have been given for many years - to judge the person taking them. How you can assess a teacher based on these tests when the students taking them have no buy-in is a mystery.

Additionally, the ELA test in particular is horrible. Passages that are written 2-3 grade levels above the students taking them is educational abuse. They cannot succeed on the test because they cannot comprehend what they are reading.

Finally, parents and teachers know that these tests are being given to make public education look bad so Cuomo's Wall Street buddies can make their money off of Charter schools. You realize that the passing rate is decided AFTER the students take the test, right? Cuomo's minions decide what percentage of students will pass/fail to confirm their narrative of failing schools. Don't believe what they say.

It's a wonder three people are actually willing to walk into this mess created by our state government. Good luck to all of them!

Anonymous said...

Little chance of taxpayers getting representation.

SCATS said...

To 5:06PM ~~ You haven't bothered to tell us WHY you care about these tests. However, you sound like a teacher, because you are spewing the exact same crapple other teachers have been repeating to anyone with ears. So for one FINAL TIME, we are going to address the "complaints" you've spelled out. We will NOT engage in any debate about it. We will potentially post actual responses to the questions we ask, if the response sheds some new light onto the issue, instead of spewing more of the same.

Response to your 1st. paragraph: Do parents, teachers & students get any information other than a score from tests purchased through the College Board? Of course not! So then, they have no "educational benefit" that is any greater than the current Common Core tests, right?

Re: "How you can assess a teacher based on these tests when the students taking them have no buy-in is a mystery." ARE YOU KIDDING !? Many students reported to parents they are SCARED TO DEATH THEIR TEACHER WILL GET FIRED IF THEY "FAIL" the tests! WHERE do elementary school kids get these ideas from? FROM THEIR TEACHERS who inappropriately use their classrooms as a bully pulpit!!

Re: "Additionally, the ELA test in particular is horrible ... " This is nothing but YOUR opinion! Many students reported the tests weren't nearly as hard as they had feared! Of course, it's the school employees (i.e. teachers) who caused them to "fear" the tests anyway!

Your final paragraph is so laughable it's not worth a response! The TRUTH IS the teachers & their unions elected Mr. Cuomo. And now you want a puppet, not a legislator. TOO BAD!

When in the last 30 years have teachers supported any sort of evaluation related to their employment??

When has any teacher in Greece stood up for the students (and parents and taxpayers) by bringing forth concerns about the inept in their rank and file??

When will teachers STOP pretending they don't need to be evaluated while our public education system continues to produce poorer and poorer results??

SCATS said...

To 7:48PM ~~ There is NO chance at all with the current bobbleheads on the BOE ... not even with three new candidates!

It's been taken over by the union long ago. The results show it, too.

Anonymous said...

Thirty-plus years ago when I and my friends were taking AP tests, kids who were getting B's in the class got 5's on the AP test. The test was about one grade easier than the class.

Today, kids who are getting A's in the class are getting 3's on the AP test. The test is about two grades tougher than the class.

But the tests are normed over time. The tests haven't changed. School has. Much for the worse.

SCATS said...

To 8:58PM ~~ You are correct that school has changed, but it's not that the tests are tougher. Look at the published Honor Rolls. Since when do the masses make above average marks at the same time that we have failing schools? Since teachers started giving grades based upon what they did, instead of what they learned. So if Johhny shows up for class, pretends to be awake, raises his hand once in awhile, hands in homework ... he is very likely to get above average grades despite his failings associated with learning curriculum.

Anonymous said...


Could an effective write-in 'bullet vote' for Albert Ficus nudge out one of the three formal BOE candidates and put him on BOE?

SCATS said...

To 10:49AM ~~ Could? Yes. Likely? Not so sure. Time is running out & he has no name recognition. It would take hard work and probably some money for mailings, signs, etc.

Anonymous said...

If voted in, I would serve. But like SCATS said and I said before as well I don't intend on putting up signs, etc. Politics is not my calling. Service is. So if enough people want me to serve I will. Last election Oberg was in via a write-in. So it is possible but he did have name recognition. Albert

SCATS said...

To Albert ~~ How about a short bio & a pic, so we can post it on here & Facebook to get the word out? If you are interested, please email the info to


Anonymous said...

SCATS: "When will teachers STOP pretending they don't need to be evaluated while our public education system continues to produce poorer and poorer results??"

So you're saying that teachers are responsible for the poor results in our current education system. That is quite laughable! NOBODY would think that if you took all of teachers from Pittsford and placed them in the RCSD and took all of the RCSD teachers and placed them in Pittsford you'd see measurable differences in test results.

You and all of your cronies just use teachers as a convenient excuse to ignore the real socioeconomic issues at hand. All while hiding those issues or the discussion of those issues by deciding what gets posted and what doesn't. I'm sure you'll call this some union or teacher trash (which this post comes from neither) or maybe you won't even post this because you can't deal with the truth.

SCATS said...

To 4:48PM ~~ I also purport that RCSD teachers will not get nearly the same results in Pittsford that Pittsford teachers have gotten.

Why is it that ONLY TEACHERS believe they shouldn't be held accountable for the job they do?

It occurs to me that social workers and others must deal with many of the same types of folks that teachers deal with. Why aren't they failing at their jobs?? They have at least as bad (likely worse) socio-economics in their way. Are they failing to get help for the poor? Are the numbers getting food stamps crashing? Are fewer getting Medicaid, emergency cash benefits or even disability checks?? Hell no!

Woe is the poor, poor misunderstood teacher ... (cough).

Anonymous said...

SCATS - I will answer your questions. Whether or not you allow them to be seen is up to you.

Issue 1: You contest my claim that the 3-8 Common Core Pearson tests purchased with New York State tax dollars have no educational benefit and compare them to College Board exams (SAT, AP exams, etc). However students and parents do derive education benefit from College Board exams - they get admitted to colleges based on their scores and AP exams can give students college credit. Both results can provide financial benefit to the student and parent. Tests that only give parents and teachers of elementary and middle school students a 1, 2, 3, or 4 without ANY OTHER information do not provide a similar benefit.

Issue 2: Using tests that do not impact students to judge teachers and the idea of "scared to death" students. Obviously I can't speak to all settings. I've found the students at the school where I teach and the school my children attend to be fairly calm and laid back about the entire enterprise (both are elementary schools). Anecdotal reports from middle schools paint the picture of students who have figured out that the tests have no impact on them not taking the tests seriously at all. I may surprise you in that I agree that if a teacher has actually told their students that he/she may be fired because of their test results that is highly inappropriate and that teacher should at least be reprimanded (if it's a first offense). Gov. Cuomo today stated that the tests are meaningless to students, which reinforces my argument that using them to judge teachers is inappropriate.

Issue 3: My claim that the ELA test in particular was horrible. A study (of the 2013 and 2014 tests) confirm my "opinion" that the passages were written above the grade level of the students taking the test, which obviously makes it far less likely that they will comprehend it. This year's test was even more challenging in this regard. You can read the study at!report-why-ela-is-invalid-unreliable-/cx6r

Issue 4: Teachers and their unions elected Andrew Cuomo? Actually the state teacher's union, NYSUT, did not endorse Cuomo during his last campaign. This leads many to believe that he is exacting revenge on teachers for not supporting him with this new evaluation scheme.

Issue 5: Teachers supporting evaluation of themselves. I think you would find most teachers aren't opposed to having a test score as part of their evaluation. Most don't think 50% is a reasonable percentage though. New York has become an outlier in this regard as most states are backing away from using test scores to evaluate teachers since this has been shown to be an unreliable measure of teacher quality. You wouldn't hear this much of an outcry from teachers if these Pearson tests were just BETTER and if we could actually do item-analysis of the results to help students succeed where they fell down. We cannot do any of that with these current tests, so we oppose them. They. Are. Not. Useful. Give us tests we can use to help our students and we will cheer.

Why am I interested in all this? Yes, I am a teacher, but I am a parent first. My children are still in the early grades of elementary school. I've seen what is happening to the curriculum in Greece schools over the past few years. A narrowing of the curriculum - we hardly teach science or social studies anymore. If you make a test score the requirement for teachers to keep their jobs, then you will get teachers who focus only on preparing students for tests. I don't want to do that to my students and I don't want ANYBODY doing that to my children. All our kids deserve better.

I'll be impressed if you actually post this. I'm sure you'll disagree with most of it, but teachers aren't terrible, lazy people who don't want any accountability. We actually do care about our students and want the best education we can provide for them.

SCATS said...

To 9:27PM ~~ Such a long-winded post! After reading all of that, I hear Charlie Brown's teacher ... "Wah ... wah... wah."

Issue 1 - So you admit that HS doesn't count towards college admission?? Yeah, they get SAT/AP/ACT SCORES without EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT - they never learn what they did right, or wrong. Same as all other standardized exams.

Issue 2 - If we don't EVALUATE THE STUDENTS how can we ever evaluate WHAT THE TEACHER DOES?? We can't in any meaningful way!

Issue 3 - How funny that the "study" you mention gets PROFIT from their work! Just the same as those who prep the tests for Common Core!

Issue 4 - Poor, poor NY teachers ... :(

Issue 5 - "Most states"?? Where's the proof that over half "are backing away"??

Re: TEACHING TO THE TEST - it's a little late to worry about this in Greece! Truth be told, Greece teachers started teaching to the tests back in the mid-90's. Yours truly witnessed it first hand. If the test fits the curriculum, then teach away! The real problem is that Greece teachers can't show effectiveness even when they do teach to the test ;)


Anonymous said...

9;27 so you are concerned about the quality of the curriculum. Where has your union been speaking to this? We no longer teach our kids in Greece to write, any concern heard from your union? How about the foul language used in our schools, any concern showed by the union? You voice a concern about the costs of the tests. Would you like to share with us the cost to the district for people to do union business (release time)? Any educational benefit to those costs?

Anonymous said...

8:38 our union contract contains no right to alter the cirriculum. That is right of Administration. We did and still have a section which encouraged shared decision making in that area. But the district abandoned that when Walts came to town. We can complain about it , curriculum , to our building principal. In so doing, many of us found ourselves on improvement plans.
On foul language , of course we as individules are many times the targets of foul language in our class rooms. We are powerless to effectively deal with it other than to write referrals about individuals involved. This is a useless , futile attempt on our part as administrators do nothing to deal with our complaints. Besides, it's not up to union members to get involved in corrective measures. Here again, this is an administrative task in as much that they lack the commitment to enforce their own policies regarding student conduct.
Explaining the value of release time for designated leaders on costs and educational value, would be a waste of my time as you Obviuosly have no concept of Labor - Management issues.involved.

SCATS said...

To 1:45PM ~~ it's not up to union members to get involved in evaluating your effectiveness either!! That is PURELY administrative in nature!!

Anonymous said...

Is the 2015-16 Budget Book on line?


SCATS said...

To 4:35PM ~~ Not that we're aware. They've posted a 19 pg. propoganda piece though.$file/BOE%20Adoption%20Presentation%204-14-15%20RAC%20Update%204-13-15.pdf

Anonymous said...

It was a long response, wasn't it? I actually had to cut some out because the text box will only accept 4096 characters.

Issue 1: Where do you see the statement that HS doesn't count towards college admission? That's a very non sequitur response. High school results and regents exams are not the target of most teacher's complaints for the reason that the students' and teacher's goals are in concert in high school. Students need to pass regents exams to graduate, so evaluating teachers on their results makes more sense. The 3-8 exams have no such impact on students which is one of the reasons using them to evaluate teachers makes no sense.

Issue 2: Evaluate the students using meaningful measures that are appropriate for their grade level and you'll get no argument from me. The Pearson tests do not meet this standard.

Issue 3: This is America - most people do work for profit. The study is a fairly straightforward look at text complexity so reading an agenda into it is stretching.

Issue 4: Yes, poor teachers indeed! But teachers did not get Cuomo elected as you stated.

Issue 5: Here's an article from (Nate Silver's data driven news site) that discusses how New York's push to make standardized tests a greater proportion of a teacher's evaluation is moving against the majority of states.

Issue 6: 3 ways Greece teachers have shown they want to be accountable (why three ways by the way?) We have negotiated two different evaluation plans with Greece administration, which were approved by the New York Education Department. So there are two ways that we've shown we want to be held accountable for our results. We will be negotiating a third different evaluation system (in the past 5 years) moving forward.

I tried to keep it shorter this time.

Anonymous said...

SCATs I was addressing my comments to .8:38 in hopes of enlightening this person as to the rights and duties of administration vs labor.
Regarding teacher evaluations , there is a section in our contract entitled members rights and working conditions.
Since teacher evaluations fall into those categories, we have the right to engage the district on matters effecting application of those provisions consistant with the language in those sections of ourUNION CONTRACT
Be advised of the fact that we do not oppose teacher evaluation, which have always been on going, as long as they are fair and impartial and have a positive effect on the learning abilities of our students.

SCATS said...

To 10:14PM ~~ Again, I'm hearing Charlie Brown's teacher ... wah ... wah ... wah. I tuned out after the second paragraph, sorry.

To 9:32AM ~~ It occurs to me that if teachers spent as much time and energy trying to get Greece students to learn as you and 10:14PM & others do to see the internal politics and union business your way, things would likely be in better shape. It's an OPINION, but I'm pretty sure it's not mine alone.

When I see and hear teachers embrace teacher evaluations that include input from parents, students, testing and other logical sources of performance info, and that determine raises, career advances, etc. then we can talk. Until then, we know it's pretty much going to be more of the same ole, same ole with the usual mediocre to pathetic outcome.

SCATS said...

I see the BOE & DO have quietly cut the school year for students in K-8 once again!

Where is the OUTRAGE by teachers?

Don't students need this class time to be prepped for the next round of testing???

Come on teachers! Speak up "for the students!"

Anonymous said...

As a retired teacher I can not help but be stunned by the negative attacks on teachers as portrayed on this site.
All things considered, it's really too bad. However, Iam content in my retirement and secure with my wife's and my public employee pension paid for by you and others in full knowledge, that there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. wa, wa wa.

SCATS said...

To 10:07AM ~~ Perhaps you'd be much less stunned if you were to re-read aloud what YOU have written! SO TYPICAL ;)

Anonymous said...

To 10:07 - Thank you for your efforts while teaching! Enjoy your retirement - you deserve it!

Anonymous said...

So 10:07 clearly isn't very stunned; stunned people don't have that triumphant air of "I beat you and you can't fight back", which he clearly has.

Too many teachers in my experience have 10:07's goal in mind (and I have a few in close family). Make it to lavish retirement and count your money while laughing at the taxpayers who have to foot the bill. The naked, shameless "my union negotiated for it so it's mine" entitlement mentality is depressingly anti-social.

Anonymous said...

What does the UNION take these slack jawed crybaby pretend to be a teacher creatures off for in dues every year?

Anonymous said...

The way I read 10:07 He makes two indisputable points
Two obvious and factual situations.

SCATS said...

To 2:38PM ~~ Do you also read the part where he sticks out his tongue, wiggles his fingers by his ears and says"Nanner, nanner, nanner!" ??

And they blame the parents for the behavior of the students in the classroom. Great role models GTA makes ;)

Anonymous said...

SCATs given the increase of behavior problems in the class room,in your infinite wisdom who would you blame for this problem and why.please give us the answer and how you might fix it.

SCATS said...

To 3:56PM ~~ It is the parent's problem AND the school's problem ... and in the older students, it's an issue of lack of personal responsibility too.

When someone has these kids under their watch for 6+ hours/day like schools do, it makes NO sense to say it's all about the parents! What happened to the idea that it takes a whole village ... ? What happened to the idea that schools are for learning, not just curriculum, but respect, self-control, manners, patriotism, etc? Even daycares & babysitters end up meting out discipline/punishment/rewards to keep chaos from prevailing.

On the football team there is supposed to be more going on than the learning of the rules & strategy for winning, right? Isn't teamwork expected? Teachers are coaches, too, in a way. When we send 4-5 year olds off to school, they aren't little adults dressed in smaller clothing already molded to societal standards and ready for job interviews. They are KIDS and kids make mistakes, act on impulse, and need correction, discipline, role models and the sense that someone cares.

I'd like to see the teachers foster better relationships with the parents so they CAN work as a team. I know it won't happen in every case, but it would be an improvement over the "Us vs. them" mentality that exists now.

Anonymous said...

SCATs I'm creating a new position. Asst principle liaison for better teacher parent cooperation. If you apply, I will see that you get the job. BABS

Anonymous said...

After reading these comments it is obvious that the unions are getting a bad rap in one particular area called pension benefits. The state public employee pension system was established long before the unions existed by the State law makers. It was used as slush fund by the state to cover budget shortfalls and no interest loans to New York City when times were bad.It was of course taxpayer funded and grossly over funded as it remains so today.Energies in this area should be aimed at the office of Comptroller to stop this unfair tax burden on us taxpayers.

SCATS said...

To 2:08PM ~~ Promises, promises ...