Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mr. Silva-Brown’s Report Card, Part One: “Ratings Game”, 2014 edition

I present to you, part one of a four part series that looks at the "graded" Mr. Silva-Brown. At the end of each year I give out a report card with questions about my performance during the year.

The questions are:

-One a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent), rate Mr. Silva-Brown's teaching this semester.

-Was I well organized?

-Did you understand what was going on?

-Do you think I have improved since September?

-Did you feel safe?

-Were students treated equally with respect?

-Describe your overall experience in the class

-What did I do well?

-What recommendations can you give Mr. Silva-Brown?

-Give one piece of advice for next years students.

Today, I'll give you the numbers rating. The rating is first, followed by how many students rated me at that level.  .

Here are the results:

Ten- 48 

Nine- 33

Eight- 28

Seven- 7

Five- 1

No Rating Given- 4   

My average is an 9.0, an A-. This is the highest grade I have ever received.  Here are the contrasts from past years.

2005-06: 8.3

2006-07: 8.9

2007-08: 8.3

2008-09: 8.7

2009-10: 8.2

2010-2011: 8.5

2011-2012: 8.5

2012-2013: 8.8

Out of the four evaluations that had no number rating, three were positive and one was negative.  They were not calculated into the above formula.  The one negative gave many of the standard complaints that a student makes when they miss a lot of class, and then added in that I discriminated against women because I enforced the dress code.  Six of the seven “7” ratings came from one class (AP U.S. History).  It was probably well deserved, as I will discuss in posts later this week.         

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Not something you see every day

It’s not often that you see a teacher’s union president throw the membership of a high school campus under the bus….

….then back the bus up to run over the wounded educators….

….then dump the bus septic tank on the mangled remains….

….then light the corpses on fire….

….then Riverdance on the ashes of teachers that were supposed to be represented. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

AP World History graders fall into trap of making unfunny shirt.

Advanced Placement graders get a little weird.  They are often cliquish and cult-like in their devotion to the subject, sometimes to the point of…….DUN..DUN..DUN…..making a t-shirt.

While hanging around in Kansas City you will see ridiculous t-shirts representing Statistics, Calculus, and Biology.  They are attempts at bringing forth a sense of AP Reader unity while at the same time showing that the serious subject matter can be made into something light and humorous.  It’s creepy.  You never see AP Comparative Government t-shirts.  Ever.  In the last four years someone always brings it up and the vets give them a look and a nice “we aren’t one of THEM” with a nod towards the grading sections of other subject areas.  T-shirts are weird, expensive, and they end up gobbling up money that could otherwise go toward drinking in the evenings. 

“At the 2014 grading of AP World History exams in Salt Lake City, conducted by high school and college educators specializing in topics related to world history, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and College Board leadership engaged in culturally insensitive and racist behavior toward Asians, particularly Chinese people.”

This is immediately amusing because AP Readers are quite the progressive lot, a least in the realm of Comp Gov.  They are high school teachers and college professors that often rank somewhere quite to the left of standard American political philosophy.  But, racism is racism.  So what’s the deal.

“The images above are from the front and back of a t-shirt designed for readers by the leaders of the AP World History exam grading.”

And the images?

THAT’S SO…….already done.

I’m fairly sure plenty of teachers have this t-shirt.  I know I do.  You know, the COMMUNIST PARTY.  And the German caricature….*shakes head*  

Look, another t-shirt that lots of teachers already have.  With wicked caricatures too!  Remember when Risk was awesome?

It’s obvious that the AP Test Readers tried to get creative with unoriginal ideas and came up with an unfunny t-shirt.  I mean come on, that group is OBVIOUSLY the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Readers left that whole part out.  And the Maoist propaganda attempt?  Look, I actually have an assignment where kids make Maoist style propaganda in order to recruit for AP Comparative Government for the next year.  “Culturally Insensitive” it is not, and just because someone doesn’t like it doesn’t automatically mean the Al Sharpton ambulance pulls up to take you away to therapy.

The racist image on the front of the shirt, combined with the “comical” and stereotypically “Asian” font on the back of the shirt, implies that the World History community believes it is acceptable to mock Asian people and cultures for laughs. Certainly the t-shirt and events at the reading are violations of ETS work policies regarding harassment. They created a hostile work environment by singling out and mocking a single racial group.”

Guess what; it is acceptable to mock every culture and every “people” for laughs.  And the Readers where hardly mocking Chinese culture (notice that the blog Hyphen lazily calls it “Asian”) and clearly trying to make a casual joke about a government that doesn’t allow its people to make t-shirts poking fun at the CCP.  Hyphen, in an attempt to get someone to notice their existence, went after hard working teachers and professors while trying to score website hits and garner advertising.  And I had to watch Trevor Packer (College Board Pres of AP) throw his AP Readers under the bus on Twitter by basically saying that the t-shirt was equal to workplace harassment.  

The t-shirt was stupid.  The ETS rep in Salt Lake City was correct in not diving into the hype.  Hyphon needs to stop attacking teachers and professors to try and raise their Klout scores, and Mr. Packer needed to support his Readers instead of diving head first into the morass of “cultural insensitivity”. 

Or just stop allowing t-shirts. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

California consent law drives media nuts because they are stupid

“You're in the heat of the moment, rounding third, but then you must stop and ask, Can I have your verbal or written consent to have sex with you?”

That’s the first sentence from the L.A. Weekly.

“A bill making its way through the California Assembly is attempting to address the problem of rape on college campuses by mandating “affirmative consent”—a verbal or written yes—before engaging in sexual activity.”

That’s the first sentence from the Daily Beast.

What’s funny about both those quotes is how wrong, wrong, wrong the analysis of the bill actually is.  Oh yeah, here’s the bill.  Ladies and gentlemen, California Senate Bill 967:

(1) An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.  Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

Don’t know about you but I don’t see anything written or verbal within the text of the legislation.  I see “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement”, which I would interpret as two people enjoying the moment with each other.  But maybe you’re a law snob.  Maybe your so freaked out about the law that you need to get into the nuts and bolts of what the law is about.  Ok, this might sum it up:

(A) The complainant was asleep or unconscious.

(B) The complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity.

(C) The complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

So what the law really is about is people taking advantage of people in a sexual situation, particularly in college.  It’s fairly clear that those people that are complaining about it didn’t actually read the law, they read the title of someone else’s analysis and then panicked. 

For me it is clear; this law is in response to some serious issues that college campuses are having with rape.  We, as a society, have totally decided to ignore the issue, the consequences of which are becoming more and more prevalent and disturbing.  There is more to this “rape culture” that needs to be addressed.  The hyper-sexualization of women, the plethora of drunken binges, and the necessity for constant attention all contribute to this outrageous social problem.  But this law is pretty much a no-brainer.

And if you are still confused about the sexiness of consent, I’ll let Laci Green take over.   A note; I don’t agree with some of Ms. Green’s ideology on new wave feminism.  But when it comes to sexual awareness and health, there might not be anyone better. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Back in KC again

Hey look, I'm back in Kansas City again!

You know what that means. I'm officially done with the school portion of my year and I have taken the quest to the Midwest to grade AP Comparative Government exams, which I can't talk about at all because it's bad.

Seriously, it's worse this year. There was an entire spiel about social media and not posting testing stuff on social media, including blogs. I don't think that I'm giving anything away by saying that I'm actually here but you never know with the College Board. Too many mentions on Twitter and a sand worm might come through the floor and swallow me whole. It could happen.

And this is the last year in Kansas City. That means that BBQ is on the menu and I'll probably experience my last Midwestern thunderstorm. Next year, Salt Lake City. They are bringing AP Comparative Government to the same building as AP U.S. Government so all the political science nerds can talk about how they would better rule the world.

I might read again. Might. One thing I look forward to at the AP Reading is the social lounge, where people consume food and drink while watching sporting events and sharing ideas. Teachers will often take this time to share ideas about how to enhance their classes. Now the social lounge doesn't really exist. The College Board decided not to fund the social lounge for AP Comparative Government, although apparently AP Statistics and AP Calucus have fully functional lounges. Interesting. Basically the College Board has shit on the Comparative Readers because we don't have the numbers. Fine. But they will lose readers. And they were short readers this year. So I'm probably done with my AP Comparative Reader affair.