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Friday, February 2, 2018

This may be unpopular but I call bull#@% on teacher of the year.

I have no reason not to believe Stephanie Bellino of Garden City is not a fine teacher. None whatsoever. The Times Union reports of amazing improvements at her school that the principal credits her with helping to achieve. I have no reason not to believe that she is nothing less than a credit to the profession. I also believe she is a prop in a game she probably doesn't even know is being played.

That is because I believe the fix is in. 

I talked to another teacher of the year finalist a few months back and they warned me that the fix was in. They told me they had no doubt the Teach for America finalist would win. This was last year when they spoke to me.

Is it a coincidence that DCPS is phasing out Teach for America, Trey Csar is a Teacher for America alumni and then a Teach for America teacher wins teacher of the year over teachers that have toiled for a lot longer and who are just as impressive? Maybe but I think not. Rather I think this is a self serving attempt to justify the program. A hail marry to resurrect the program just as more and more people are realizing it's not what we should be putting our limited resources into. 

Teach for America is an expensive program, that exacerbates teacher turnover, that we know gives our most neediest children the opposite of what the need, and despite all that it has been embraced by the city's elite and its shameful.

Look, I get it, this is probably going to be an unpopular stance. I just want to emphasize this is not a dig at Stephanie Bellimo, instead it's an indictment of a group of people who care more about protecting their turf rather than doing what is best for our children.


  1. No, you are not off-base in your opinion of how this year's TOY was selected. But then, it has been a long while, if ever, that the ultimate winner was selected based on excellence as a classroom teacher alone. Whether it is literacy, STEM, the arts, the school you work at, there is always some current educational flavor of the month the committee is focusing on. It's just that currently those reasons have more to do with politics than education.

  2. I have no doubt the winner is an excellent teacher and will represent the district well. As someone who was their school's TOY, however, I can attest to the feeling that it was all a farce and the powers that be at JPEF have a set idea on who they want to win. They only go out and observe the 15 semi-finalists, who are picked based off an application with several long-answer questions. This has nothing to do with teaching excellence in the actual classroom, rather it is based on who can "sell" themselves and further JPEF's political agenda.

  3. We have a young TFA admin at our school who doesn't know what he doesn't know. Very frustrating to have to argue with an idiot.

  4. Most of the TFA's at my school left for charter schools midway through the year.

    1. I presume you're happy about that??

    2. I thought they were good teachers who genuinely cared about their students. If they don't want to be there I have no problem with them leaving. But for those TFA teachers who act like martyrs doing a 2-year mission to assuage their white and/or class privilege (& then claim their sole reason for being at a Title I school is "the children") it's kind of hypocritical. Either leave early or leave at the end of the year. Don't leave in the middle of the school year. Again I understand everyone has different circumstances this is just my opinion.

  5. I can remember a novice teacher who became the TOY with less than a year of experience, and wouldn't you know it, she was not even certified! The principal bragged and boasted on her, and wouldn't you know it, 10 years later, she is not in the teaching field. Now I know of a TFA person who never showed a lesson plan, word wall, or any of the other unnecessary crap we had to plaster on the wall. She also never came to any of the PLC's and presented nothing that indicated that she was remotely interested in teaching. Not only did she leave the classroom filthy, but a few years later she became a boss in the district. To this day, she is not certified in anything, and if you check around I am pretty sure there is more like her that come from TFA. The rewards are definitely going to those you know how to BS their way up, and that is why teachers are taking their talents elsewhere. Besides we are under paid anyway! Duval teachers, stay woke because you haven't seen anything else. Work the contract!