Discover more from Time Not Teaching
We want more, check our scores
No contract, just us being awesome
When you do something so well it makes the paper, that seems good. And lo and behold, the Boston Globe had a piece about how many schools haven’t recovered from the pandemic, with universally lower standardized test scores. But the next day, a front page feature on how my district has bounced back better than most. The article is just about MCAS, but it’s notable that nearly every Mass town and city has struggled to do as well as pre-quarantine, and Cambridge has blazed ahead like it never happened. Personally, I had 2% more kids pass the test in 2023 as 2019, so I held serve along with my district.
MCAS scores are whatever, I used to view them as a referendum on the job I did, now I see them as another hoop to jump through. But the district thinks they matter enough to want to include them in evaluations in our next contract. If that’s true, shouldn’t we get some credit for this bounce-back? The article was the talk of Friday, but so was the whole-school union action before school. School drop-off was a sea of red T-shirts, chanting, and “Fight the Power” on the stereo that wasn’t even cued up by me!
Many noted the incongruity of succeeding famously with standardized test, but facing just as hard a line across the negotiating table. Those scores don’t earn us some trust, some indication that maybe we know what we’re doing? So many administrators have never worked directly with kids in classrooms, and that continues to boggle my mind. But it should be all the more reason to listen to your educators who are on the front lines. That Globe article is exhibit A in our chanting that we deserve more. Plenty labor unions do, and I’m proud to be part of the wave. Settle all of our contracts!
The Urban Blah
Back in 2009-11 I collaborated with the brilliant Vee to make a webcomic that failed to become syndicated across the globe. I am pro-recycling.
That’s right, I went from idolizing John Lennon in high school to getting laughs off him in 2009. The choice of possessions is very of that moment, especially the BlackBerry and a Guitar Hero controller. Lovisa and I use to chat about the game, and she even sent me a video of her nailing a complicated song. South Park pretty much killed Guitar Hero for me, but I did recently enjoy dominating on “Sabotage” at my niece’s birthday outing to Dave & Buster’s.
Also, Vee has a substack, you should subscribe!
Jam of the Week
That BlackBerry movie was pretty good, but what I’ve mostly been viewing is the recent glut of fantastic animation. Like: Disenchantment (a happy ending, B-), Futurama (it’s not the perfection of seasons 2-5, but I liked this edition, A-), Solar Opposites (love the new voice, equivalent to past seasons, C+), and Fiona & Cake (took a bit to settle in, but a lovely Adventure Time coda, A). And I’m counting the days till the new Rick and Morty because I love cartoons! Well, certain cartoons; my streaming platforms sure recommends a lot I don’t love. I love certain cartoons!
As for music, Colleen Green has only catchy rock songs, and they’re all great. Her latest album is great, her self-titled EP is great, her Christmas album is great. I celebrate her entire catalog.
And another thing
We’ve had our house nearly ten years, so it was a surprise to discover that our tree has a disapproving face on it. Hiding in plan sight.
My Back Pages
From a random quiz I offered on my blog Surgical Strikes: “Qrsday Quiz,” from June 8, 2006:
1. According to Eric B., in order to get paid in full, a def beat requires:a. def rhymes b. dope ryhmes c. mad rhymes d. pasta fagiole
Since we’re talking over this def beat right here that I put together, I want to hear some of those def rhymes, you know what I’m saying? Jam of the century.
3. Which of the following baseball players does not inspire Meaghan and I to pronounce their last name like Cornholio?a. Jorge Julio b. Tony Graffanino c. Mo Vaughan
The key to a successful marriage is to keep each other laughing. Baseball is so long and boring that it lends itself to good material, and the Awesome Wife and I have our banter down pat.
5. When my ex-roommate overheard Melanie Griffith on set say “Those [BEEP]s cut my closeup,” what was Antonio Banderas’s response?a. “But why? You are so beautiful.” b. “Probably didn’t want to break the lens. OH!” c. “I will kill them with my bare hands.” d. “You gonna finish that sandwich or what?”
But why, you are so beautiful? has been long part of our household argot, said in our best Antonio Banderas voice.
6. I have never actually played music as part of a “band” called:a. Phat & Awphul b. Calderone c. Nasty Dan & Big Scary Ali d. Sons of Cookie Monster e. Sour Grapes f. The Jim Bickford Hometime Country Band g. Sticky Keith h. Morgueage i. Forward Hair j. Inky Cloak k. dLt? l. Virtual Reyality m. The Attack Pack n. Room 237 o. The Walpole High School Jazz Ensemble
I put “band” in quotes because many were jam sessions we elevated to calling ourselves a band, many more were one-off performances. Morgueage and Room 237 were for Halloween parties (and featured the guy who wrote The Lego Batman Movie). Forward Hair was created during 23-hour quiet hours for what I dubbed the Loud Hour Concert Series. The band I was not in was D, but it took me a minute because Bubba Ray Gracie and I have been threatening to start The Sons of Cookie Monster since the ’90s. My greatest band that never was.
7. So you like this game, huh?a. Oh yes, Ren. b. Yah, it’s really fun. c. It’s our favorite game in the whole yorld.
If you have not seen the cousin Sven episode of Ren and Stimpy recently, you really should find 15 minutes to treat yo’self. Absurdist and deeply formative. Also gross (NSFLife).
9. I have not physically touched which dead celebrity?a. Michael Kennedy b. Buddy Hackett c. the founder of Herbalife d. Liberace
Shook A’s hand volunteering for Ted Kenndey’s ’94 Senate campaign against some rando named Mitt Romney. Forced B to shake my hand when he was a guest star on Just Shoot Me because he was my favorite in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Shook C’s hand working sound at his Fourth of July party in Malibu. Never met Liberace, I guess I thought he made a good punch-line? Very MAD Magazine of me.
Answers tomorrow, or later this afternoon, or possibly never.
Turns out the answer was never!
This arrives on Tuesday because we got Monday off for Yom Kippur, and this newsletter comes out when I start the week. Good yontiff!