Some call me "Flem"

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I'm a passionate, purpose-driven, public school teacher! Period! I hold both a Bachelors and Masters in Education and am a certified Elementary K-6 and English 7-12 teacher as well as a certified Reading Specialist! I love teaching! I love learning! I love what I do and will defend it at all costs!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why I don't believe the SRC, part 2

Recently, I blogged about why I don't believe the SRC in the case of resources making their way into classrooms as a result of them cancelling the contract between them and the PFT.

Well, I was wrong. Or was I? This past week money was forwarded to Philly schools to the tune of $15 million. They say it was from the savings to health care thanks to the teachers (or nah?).

Not one dime has been taken from us. Soooo, where did the money come from and so quickly?

I've tweeted the district and Dr. Hite a number of times. I'll resort to email when I get home from the barbershop!

Hmmm, something rotten on the state of Denmark!

I smell big money that stipulated that the union contract needed cancellation and teachers need to come out of pocket...again, for something!

WHEN we win in court, here's how I see it playing out:

1. Money taken back out of school budgets
2. Teachers and PAT overall will be blamed in commercials and commentaries
3. Fodder for reformy folks

But we CANNOT be deterred!! We already sacrifice.  We know it. Parents know it. The community knows it. Five and Dime, Target, Dollar Tree, they ALL know it! Even reformies know it, but don't want to tell the truth and the whole truth!

The courts need to rule in our favor, AGAIN!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

From hip hop to waltzing

Today I had my students clean out their desks. As thy cleaned, I played some Disney tunes among other types of music. As High School Musical 2's "Summertime" was playing, they were just a hip hopping, as only 3rd graders can do. I just sat and watched them enjoy a Friday afternoon after a week of hard work Mr. Flemming-style. After this I played, Aladdin's, "A Whole New World". From hip-hopping, it was intriguing to see the girls grabbing hands and attempt waltzing. They were moving and swinging and from where I sat, it looked OK to me!

THIS is why we need music in schools along with other expressive arts forms!! The arts make for quality learning and positive overall educational experiences!!! Music and art in schools everyday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As a classroom teacher, I do my level best to infuse these and other artistic forms into the reading, math, and content area teaching and learning experiences!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why I Don't Believe the SRC! Part 1

No doubt, I'll have more to say. But right now my kids are at lunch so I have but a quick sec!
They say that by canceling the contract between the School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers that more money and resources will go back to the kids, back into the classroom.

Here are just two quick reasons I don't trust them! One, when more than 30 schools closed and more than 5000 employees were laid off, we thought we'd be getting more resources poured back into our classrooms then! We haven't seen it!! Even worse, those charged with cleaning out closed buildings reported to some of their teacher-colleagues that tons of books, paper, supplies, etc were being tossed! They called teachers up. Teachers reportedly went up and through dumpsters to salvage what we could! So, no I don't trust them!

Here's another reason why I don't think we'll see the resources:
Uhh, this isn't what we *get* from them, that's for sure!!

Charter Schools: $766.7 million Debt Service: $280.4 million

Things may have changed since April. But certain you can understand my hesitation to believe them!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Check out one of my 3rd grader's book reviews. I gave him a book to read and wanted his opinion on it. He read it in a day. Gave him a little guidance on writing a review for me. This is what he did.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Army nephew surprised me at work, sort of...

So, my nephews decided to surprise "Unk" at work yesterday. The one on the far right? Just got back from Hawaii, served in the United States Army! The surprise was actually on them!! We had no school and I was out of town. Yet and still, this picture and their thinking about their old head uncle means a lot. Family means a lot!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

School Choice Week huh?

Many politicians and ed-reformy people chose to change the original vision of charter schools and made them market-type businesses competing for "seats" (Their words not mine. I don't like to think of feeling, breathing, intelligent children as seats, but humans. I digress).

With the establishment of these charters, strained budgets of school districts become "strain"ger now that these quasi-public schools need to be funded. Such moves have forced the layoffs of thousands of teaches and the closings of dozens of real public schools. This, in short, has widened the resource gap and has all but doomed the real public school to failure.

Despite these deliberate efforts, many parents chose to keep their children in the public schools that they themselves once attended and received a high quality educational experience. Truth be told, many of these same politicians, and other ed-reformy folks also attended one of the many thousands of public schools in the nation. There were no charters.

Apparently it's school choice week or whatever (lower case intentional). Code for: Go to the charters! In addition to the fact that many charter schools have a budget for advertising, another issue that I have is that there is no positive media support and air time for the public schools that have been the corner stones and academic foundations in our communities for many generations.

You say it's school choice week? Acknowledge the choice that many parents are making to keep their children in the public schools, they themselves attended!!!

Barbershop PhDs

Anyone who has ever frequented a barbershop knows that there are very interesting conversations that can be had there! Sports, religion, politics, women, the news, and myriad other topics! Guy code says, what is said in the barbershop, stays in the barbershop! (Or did I just make that up? lol)

Anyone who has ever frequented the shops knows also that EVERYTHING is a conspiracy!!

Many brothers are passionate about their beliefs, whether fact or conjecture! Sometimes the foolish thoughts and topics on which we opine are annoying and at other times, hilarious!

But barbershop conversations, debates, and arguments definitely have their place in the overall movement of black men into civic, family, academic, and other forms of constructive engagement! Since I'm black and I frequent black shops, I speak from that perspective! In the shops are voters and tax payers! In the shops are fathers and sons, mentors and mentees, youth sports coaches, teachers (YES SIR!!), Pastors, clerics, politicians, and very attentive young boys and teens who are listening!

While I jokingly attach PhD to barbershop to poke fun at some of our sermons that are based on unfounded facts and upon which some of us will swear, I don't mean to belittle the opinions of our barbershop comrades. (Although some of us do speak with such authority (feigned)---as if we, ourselves, advised the President and foreign leaders or conducted the scientific research that proves the government conspired)

When public schools in Philly are brought up, I ALWAYS insert myself into the conversation! Some are on my side, others are not! When we're on opposite sides of the aisle, it can be.....ahem.....interesting! I do not stand down! Because I teach in the same community where I get trimmed up for the weekend, I have a whole slew of students and parents who can vouch for this young, black, male teacher who speaks from the core of his soul!!

I may not be a true Barberhop PhD, but I'm a teacher! And doggone it, a good one!