Today is the first day of the ELA Regents exam.
I have two classes of juniors taking the Regents today and tomorrow.
I have spent the majority of the semester making sure they are prepared to write the four required essays and complete the 26 required multiple choice questions from all four sections of the two day test.
As anyone who has ever taught a Regents class knows, it can be a nerve-wracking experience, more so now that they close you within a year or two of your scores dropping.
I teach at a large high school in Manhattan. The DOE has been fixing our building lately, putting in new elevators, fixing the exterior, fixing the heating system. Other parts of the building still need to be fixed. I have a hole in my ceiling the size of Barack Obama's ego and the entire 9th and 10th floors leaks like crazy. But they've done more work on the building in the past two years than they have in the last 20.
We think the DOE has eyes on our building. It's 10 floors, right in Manhattan and would be a great place to put two, three or perhaps four charter schools.
Just a short cab ride up from Wall Street for the hedge fund managers and Wall Street robber barons who would sit on the boards.
Art deco building with a huge auditorium, great to hold assemblies in.
I guess they can just paint over the murals of labor leaders that line the walls of the auditorium when they close my school, fire all the unionized teachers and rehire 50% of us back as non-union employees.
Now we have gotten A's on our report cards and Well Developed on our quality reviews and our test scores and graduation rates have been good, but you know that's never enough anymore.
When the DOE has eyes on your building or wants your school closed, they set you up to fail.
Look at what happened to Dewey High School in Brooklyn. Two years ago on the top 500 schools in the nation list in US News, this year on the restructure and/or closure list issued by the NYSED.
None of these closures slated to be discussed at today's PEP board meeting is actually about improving the level of education children receive.
If they cared about that, they'd lower class sizes, update the technology and fix the buildings so they weren't environmental disasters.
This is simply about politics - breaking the union, rewarding Wall Street cronies, privatizing education and opening up all that taxpayer money to the for-profit sector.
That's true of Bloomberg's policies and it is true of Obama's policies.
And for me, it all comes down to today and tomorrow.
How my students do on the ELA Regents today and tomorrow dictate whether my school is slated for closure at some future PEP board meeting and I'm sent out to the ATR pool because I make too much money and no school will want to pay for my salary out of their budget.
High stakes indeed.