Progress or Ssergorp?

You know it's a slow-ass news day when I'm reading the editorials in the Times-Pic, but after yesterday's letter from Robert Watters, I wanted to see what the T-P editorial board had to say on Derrick Shepherd. Yesterday I was confused about Stacy Head's hissy fit and today's confusion is the editorial title "Untangling Shepherd's tale." Tale? Tail? Shepherd's tail? Ashford's tale? Or her tail? Or the tail of the alleged lap dancer Shepherd went to after this now-explained-as-dispute-over-trust with his might-still-be girlfriend? Or her tale about him throwing rocks and acting like a damn fool while under indictment? Or Shepherd's tale? I still haven't worked that one out....

The scary part is this:

Ms. Ashford recanted her story at the federal bond revocation hearing Tuesday. She now says that she and Sen. Shepherd are still in a relationship and that he was in her home at her invitation. Her door was already broken, she said, and she and the accused had traded cell phones so they could check out each others' calls.

She said they were arguing "over trust issues and agreed to exchange cell phones to demonstrate that neither was being unfaithful." So after all that about "trust" and "faithfulness," he went and got, or finished, his lap dance? To prove his faithfulness and how much she can trust him when he has her phone? Where was his phone? What about the $100? I'm totally not getting this.

And Cliff is right on not defending Shepherd just because he's A Black Man With A Job, people:

Brothers and sisters please stop calling the radio defending the brother for getting arrested. The woman didn't go to his house and pitch rocks at his house. He went to her house. All he had to do was get his double lap dance and go to sleep happy and content. I don't want to get myself in any trouble but I never had a lap dance and wanted to fight afterwards. Derrick did this one on his own.

Yeah. If this weren't south LA, he'd probably be looking at the tail end of his political career.

Oh and don't forget--he's corrupt and in the spotlight not because he's a black man or a black politician but because he is a flawed human being. A really flawed one.

Yesterday's T-P gave Paul Vallas an odd set of props for having more teachers than he knows what to do with, many of them bright young and not-so-young things from out of town, like the Minnesota couple and their 2 children, the former law enforcement officer and the Northwestern senior lured by an education listserve in the article lead. Ah, how sweet. Until you need a fucking job. Take the MN couple--he's got a middle school language arts job, she's till looking for an elementary special-ed position and it's the end of July. There's a surplus of special ed teachers?

After years of scrambling to find good teachers, many public schools in New Orleans have more aspiring teachers than they know what to do with as the new school year approaches.
And Vallas "hopes to hire more teachers from Teach For America" when he still "plans to find spots for all of the district's surplus teachers -- those who taught with the district last year and are at least on track toward full certification -- although he came short of guaranteeing every one a position." Why is Teach for America his priority when he has teachers here who've got a year under their belt, have some evaluations that can be used to measure their first year, and may be able to bring some stability to a school or the system?

I know there are lots of very smart, well-educated, devoted, energetic and nowhere-near-burned-out-yet folks in this pool of teachers from out of town, teachNOLA and Teach for America but there's a difference between a "good teacher" and an "aspiring teacher." They aren't the same. I know that these recruits coming in are mentored, given training, and turned on by the challenge and the kids in their charge but the whole idea of staffing with new-to-teaching folks here in the schools, especially the RSD, smacks of the old, dearly-held and strangely powerful myth, yes myth, that "all" the Orleans teachers were "bad" and "needed to go." There were good things happening in the schools, there were appalling things happening in the schools and there still are. Though experience isn't all there is to a teacher, it adds up to a hell of a lot and especially in a challenging environment.

But this fits a trend in urban education--using Teach for America and similar programs to fill teaching positions in deeply challenged schools and districts. Many of these teachers bring with them newer ideas on pedagogy, use of technology, learning differences and child psychology. But they also have less experience with an administration, or multiple layers of administration, and facing challenges, fair and unfair, from parents, limited resources, community members and NCLB.

And then there's Craig Laborde in the T-P article who thought after "a decade of that [law enforcement career] spent as a parole and probation officer for criminals convicted of violent and sex offenses" that most kids were "little thugs," like the middle-schoolers he saw at John Mac before his epiphany:

But when two of their young teachers arrived, the boys, visibly happy, waved at their teachers, walking over to hug them. "That was one of the first times since I put on a badge and a gun that I saw them as kids," Laborde said.

That night, Laborde found information about teachNOLA online and fired off an application. This week, he starts at Miller-McCoy Academy as a business teacher and football coach. ...

After years of "turning off emotions" as a cop, he says he can't wait to turn them back on when school starts next month.

Is it just me or did you also get a deathly chill?