I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

08 October 2010

Deep Thoughts: I Don't Really Have Them.

  1. Does it bother anyone else that the "All these lower-income children many of them of color don't all need to go to college!" brigade is led by the racists who brought us the poorly-researched, worse-cited and intentionally misleading The Bell Curve?
  2. It is better to pay the taxes one owes than to donate cash to schools.  Goldman Sachs et. al merrily dodge their way through the more esoteric portions of our tax code and starve the public sector - yet receive accolades when they toss a couple million at a charter endeavor.
  3. None of these "best and brightest" currently telling me how to do my job have any evidence that they are, in fact, terribly bright.
  4. Related: Three years in the classroom and conflicting reports (from one's own mouth, no less) of one's success there does not an expert make, MICHELLE RHEE.
  5. Every so often in teaching, one has a student who is just on your wavelength.  It's neat and it doesn't happen every year, which is why yesterday I hosted the latest meeting of the Ladies Who Love Clothes (More Than You) in my classroom.
  6. One week until the first field trip.
  7. Having a Teacher Resident is so great that I am preemptively getting worried about possibly not having one next year.  Our school community is under increasing stress - the economy is bad everywhere and worse for people who were already low-income.  The stress manifests itself in underslept, underfed and underhoused five year olds and a prevalent air of tension.  We need two adults because our kids need reliable, known and loving faces who are not themselves drowning in a sea of needs.
  8. If this budget is the best the state Congress can come up with, they really should've just not bothered.


Anonymous said...

Please let the cafeteria know that you're going on your field trip! They really need 2 weeks' notice, but any is better than none. They can (and need to) provide your qualified students (plus anyone else who wants to buy one) with bag lunches, and can then cut back on their meals ordered to reflect the fact that your class will be gone.

Meals wasted because a class was on a field trip cause Student Nutrition to lose money, and guess where that money eventually comes from? YOUR CLASSROOM!

This area in an ongoing lapse in SFUSD that costs a huge amount of money, for no reason except that no one can get it together to fix it.

E. Rat said...

Actually, we won't be missing lunch.

I can come up with lots of reasons why SNS has budgeting issues (including this one: why is it, given the new online and centralized system, that SNS does not centrally send letters when lunch accounts are heavily in the red?). I don't think assuming classroom teachers don't know how the lunch program works or how to get field trip lunches is very productive.

Caroline said...

One reason I assume that classroom teachers don't know about field trip lunches is that it's so very common for schools to take large-scale field trips without informing the caf or ordering field trip lunches for the students (including those whose families may not be able to easily provide a portable lunch).

All SFUSD 6th-graders were invited on a subsidized field trip on Oct. 1 to a special Hardly Strictly Bluegrass performance, and hundreds went. Almost no (possibly no) schools informed the cafeterias, and many hundreds of lunches had to be thrown away. I had that in mind when I made the suggestion to you.

By some views, it's in a gray area whether it's SNS that should be attempting to apply pressure to parents to pay, vs. site administration's doing it. The view within SNS is that it's the site administration's job. One rationale for that (unofficially, I think, but I think you'd agree with it) is that the site admins have a sense of what families might be in dire poverty and/or crisis and could use some discretion as to applying pressure to pay up -- while SNS would have no way of having any idea whatsoever.

It IS officially defined as the site admins' job to collect the meal applications from families, and at least some of the "charged" lunches (unpaid-for) are due to families who haven't submitted meal applications. So you get the picture.

I'd be interested in your take on what the solutions would be.

E. Rat said...

If SNS thinks teachers don't know about lunch ordering policy, it is probably time to stop falling back on "It is the site administrator's job to make sure that the site is in compliance" and start calling schools, getting themselves on a business staff meeting agenda, and going over the policy.

I'm serious. Everything I know about lunch regs (two milks, no touch, etc.) I know because I learned it in another district.

I like the idea of schools being able to decide who maybe should not get a pay-up letter, but schools are also being told that they need to make sure the money comes in. Besides, schools have all kinds of other responsibilities. I think SNS needs to take this one on centrally. (Not to mention, families who don't trust the school system are unlikely to fill anyone in on changing circumstances.)

Instead I feel that there is a pass-the-buck mentality. This is a district thing, or maybe just a people thing writ large in a big district, but I think one of the reasons things rarely go smoothly in SFUSD is that no one is ever willing to say "Yes, that didn't work out the way we planned. We made a mistake. We apologize." Instead, there's a lot of blame someone else or demands that we all look toward the future, because reconciliation is an excuse not to change for the better. Ultimately that leads to more stewing and less change.

Caroline said...

Sorry to sound snotty in my original post, BTW. I had just learned about the humongous number of wasted lunches due to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass field trip and piped up without really thinking about it. It would be interesting to talk about this. I think the problem would be solved if notifying the caf and ordering lunches was part of the field trip authorization process, like on the same form. Teacher friends tell me that's what happens in other districts.

E. Rat said...

No worries. It's not that I don't disagree wasted food is a big problem - it is. But I don't think there is much guidance on lunch room policies and how SNS makes/loses money, so it's hard for individual teachers to see how their decisions impact school lunch funding. The more you know and all that.

Caroline said...

Communications are not the strong point in SFUSD, at least sometimes. Making the lunch piece part of the field trip approval process would seem like it would solve that problem completely, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad there are people like you two working on these issues. Seriously.