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thought i was a donut, ya tried to glaze me

12.05.2008

The DOE is Shady It Needs To Be Taken Over

For my first four years I was nearly silent, crippled by an overwhelming shyness and fear. I talked to my family and my best friend, and to strangers only through my toys. It was mad weird, trust me. In Pre-K, I found my mouth, which came with a side of sass, and I never looked back.

As a punk-ass little kid, maybe P.S 225 wasn't the best choice of schools for me. Being one of the few white kids in a school with major discipline problems made me a star in my grade. I bounded into school with my pigtails and purple bubble coat and made friends with everyone, wishing I could wear my hair in flat twists, too. I stood up for the really bad kids when they got in trouble, certain they were just being misunderstood. I talked too much, even after I was told to stop, even after my seat was changed, and this usually resulted in mass punishments for my whole table (specifically, one Kindergarten Spanish class, where I pissed off everyone at the Red table because I made us get the fried plantains last). I chased boys into the bathroom just to fight them, to scream and point my finger in their face. I got sent to the hall once in 1st but refused to go; I dug my heels into the ground and my teacher had to physically push me out. I posed for photos like a B-girl, my head cocked to one side and my arms folded across my chest. Bottom line: Little Katie Honan was the Illest, the shit, the coolest white kid in school. And it may have been at my parent's realization of this that they decided to transfer me to St. Francis de Sales. I don't blame them for getting me out; a kid like me needed discipline, Sisters, a totalitarian rule dominated by intolerance and handwriting for hours on end. We traded curriculum, a solid education and Brooklyn-Queens Day for discipline, bullshit, and All Saints Day (props to the Immaculate Conception, too). I went from the coolest kid in the universe to some dope who lived "downtown", who came from a weird school, who found the uniform to be stifling. I ended up developing an emotional eating problem and a deep resentment for my religion, but hey, I survived.


And everywhere I went, deep down at the bottom of my ghetto, sassy heart, I always missed the Seaside School.


The city will be "closing" it for the 2nd time in 5 years. Why--the kids keep failing tests. The scores won't go up that high. It's out of control. It's making the city look bad. What they do is send in admins, these asshole suit types who couldn't hold their own in front of 1 kid, let alone a classroom full of them, to watch and observe. They make every teacher re-interview for their position, after taking their school hostage for half a year. Then, they fire half the teachers, supposedly sweeping out the bad ones, but really just getting rid of the most expensive, best trained ones.


It's a sad day when the greatest city in the world can't even get their schools in order. Too much pork at the top--the whole Department of Education needs to be restructured. If I could, I'd take a giant broom to 75 Court St. and just sweep out all the fucking bullshit and energy drainers that keep good teachers away and poor kids staying helpless. Out of sight, out of mind, and once again the Rockaways (or "Seaside" as it was referred to on NY1--who knew?) get shafted. The building isn't going anywhere, but still, it's been branded. From now on it's the school so bad they got taken over twice, so bad they need to sweep in and fire half of the teachers again. What does it do to the energy of a place to have administrators sit and watch your every move, clipboards in hand, making a note of everything you do. And what about the kids?

There was a treehouse in the Pre-K classroom that I remember well. You got to climb up and read books in it, and at 3 and 4, it seemed huge--a giant sort-of secret cave high above the rest of my class. I remember reading books up there, impressed with what I could make out, the words I could put together and remember in my brain. I wonder how many kids felt like I did up there, or if it's still even there. A treehouse in a classroom is an interesting thing, serving no purpose other than a place for kids to call their own. I'm sure it doesn't improve test scores. But still, it's one of those things I remember well, as the first place I learned to love learning and reading. What will happen to places like that once the city and state are through with it? What will the kids of the future remember best--tiny Scantron bubbles and a shadowy figure in the back of a classroom?

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I wonder if my writing has even improved?