Church and State?

Supposedly there is a separation between religious matters and governmental matters (i.e., church and state) in New York City. That is not always the case in the DOE. For example, students are allowed to leave school an hour early on Wednesdays for religious instruction (referred to as Wednesday Release Time.)

Favoring one religion over another is another thing altogether. That is why I was surprised that the new DOE chancellor has declared that certain months of the year are holier than others.

“As we come off the holy month of Ramadan, I am excited to celebrate the expansion of our program that certifies public school kitchens to serve halal meals,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “

Read more about the DOE’s “holy month of Ramadan” here.



Monitor Burial Ground

Whereas many explorers traveled over land and sea to find the fabled elephant burial ground, I just had to walk down Chester Street to find the computer monitor burial ground.

Passport to …

Here is a screen shot of a page from the NYCDOE Passport to Social Studies for Digital Learning social studies curriculum, for 1st grade.

I hadn’t realized that the NYCDOE unilaterally promoted the Palestinian Territories to a country called Palestine. Or perhaps anytime that Israel is mentioned by the DOE, equal time must be given to the Palestine?

Why do this? Why not write about bartering in literally any other part of the world?

Red, white, and red?

The New York State Education Department, and by extension, the New York City Department of Education, are trying to address seemingly intractable achievement gaps among students based on racial demographics. Their solution is to dismantle the existing “oppresive paradigms” that keep “marginalized others” down. The NYSED/DOE refer to this as “culturally responsive-sustaining education,” though detractors refer to it as divisive political indoctrination.

Here are quotes from the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework, as well as from Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto. See if you can tell which is which. Answers are below.


1) A complex system of biases and structural inequities is at play, deeply rooted in our country’s history, culture, and institutions.

2)The history of all past society has consisted in the development of … antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed different forms at different epochs.

3) The responsibility of education is not only to prevent the exclusion of historically silenced, erased, and disenfranchised groups, but also to assist in the promotion and perpetuation of cultures, languages and ways of knowing that have been devalued, suppressed, and imperiled by years of educational, social, political, economic neglect and other forms of oppression.

4) The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time the ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.

5) The exploitation of one part of society by the other…cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of … antagonisms.

6) This system of inequity — which routinely confers advantage and disadvantage based on linguistic background, gender, skin color, and other characteristics — must be clearly understood, directly challenged, and fundamentally transformed.

7) [We] do but seek … to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.


1) CRSE Framework

2) Communist Manifesto

3) CRSE Framework

4) Communist Manifesto

5) Communist Manifesto

6) CRSE Framework

7) Communist Manifesto

Ant Farm, Day 1

One Busy Ant is taking the lead in clearing out the tunnel. The other ants are chowing down on a piece of pear. And it was evening and it was morning, day 1.

Butterflies Then, Ants Now

We set up a new Ant Farm (which took about a month to receive). The ants were a little too live coming out of their testtube when I tried to spill them into the farm, so some of them had to be mashed inside… some survivors are missing body parts.

Implicit Bias Training Crash

The whole school – and possbly the whole DOE – was obligated to take an online course today. Naturally it crashed the website. Here are some different screen shots of error messages.

Butterfly Life Cycle

This was a fun, four-part activity. First the eggs on a leaf (stickers on foam leaf; then making a foam caterpillar of different colors; then twisting a pipe cleaner to make the pupa/cocoon and taping it to a foam twig; then using highlighters to color in in the butterfly. It took exactly 45 minutes, so yeah.

Baby Butterfly!

I bought painted lady caterpillars, to somehow incorporate them into the April=Animals curriculum. They came.

At first they were littles.

Then they ate

and ate

and got big

and bigger,

then cocooned.

I clipped the cocoons to the big mesh butterfly habitat.

Then we waited.

Sometime today, the first butterfly emerged. I feel like a proud papa!

Quick to Judge

I was looking for a science book and found this in the closet: The Elements by Ron Miller

Cover is pretty, right? However, the pages are mostly black and white. The few illustrations there were did intrigue me though:

Well, I am a toothpaste snob, and am currently using Marvis toothpaste. I have never heard of “fluoridine.” Google tells me it is a British brand.

OK. But what about “Black Cat Brand Salt?” I have never heard of it and neither has Google.

Same with the Black Cat baking soda:

and Bettcher’s Best Milk of Magnesia:

I feel like I have stumbled upon an alternate reality of countertop medications, like in any PK Dick novel.

A little research left me with the stunning conclusion: Ron MIller, the author of the textbook, created the illustrations himself, to use as examples for the chemical elements. Crazy, right? So I googled him.

Ron Miller is a superstar writer, illustrator, college professor, consultant, USPS postage stamp designer (!), comic book creator, and much, much more.

So there you have it.

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July 2021