Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Music Non Stop: Nevermore, Limp Bizkit samples online

Title pretty much says it all. Some samples came out this week of 2 albums I am interested in hearing. First up Nevermore.

Sounds very promising. I am a huge fan of Nevermore. I really don't think they have one bad album in their entire discography. This Godless Endeavor was a great album, but I was worried about the loss of Steve Smyth on guitars, but this sets my mind at ease a lot. I would have to put The Obsidian Conspiracy at the top of my looking forward to albums.

Next up Limp Bizkit. I have talked about Limp Bizkit before so I won't rehash much of it. They are who they are. Their last album, The Unquestionable Truth part 1 was pretty good. Sure Fred tried to sound like Rage Against the Machine, but for me it worked. It was better than some of their other albums, I'm looking at you Results May Vary, and there wasn't much filler on it.

So this brings us to Gold Cobra. Fred decided to post 3 quick samples of some songs. It sounds very promising. Musically, it's Limp Bizkit. Lyrically...well that's where opinions come in. Either you like Fred Durst or you don't. Personally, these samples have me looking forward to this album too. Check them out.

Not bad...not bad at all. I just want some albums to come out that are going to make me stop listening to older albums. Something that "grabs" me.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thoughts Without Words: Cheating

I was reading over at Questions? today and saw something that caught my eye on cheating. Now, it was brought up because they use standards based grading and allow for re-testing. You can read more about that here.

Here is what David said about it;

If you use standards based grading, do you allow the student to take a re-assessment at a later date? Or better yet, If you use standards based grading, why would a kid cheat in the first place? Do re-assessments encourage poor study skills as kids know they have a safety net in the form of a "do over?"

We all know what a zero does to a final grade. And that grade never reflects what a student actually knows. Should the consequences of cheating show up in the final marks at all?

If you read my thoughts on standards based grading, I think that in itself creates poor study skills. Allowing a do over for cheating would kill whatever study skills the students have.

Am I alone in this thought process?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What can Brown do for you? Insubordination

Well everything is going pretty well on Pen 6. My employees are doing a great job of pulling missorts and going down on time. After a few months, I started to get upset that the number of missorts were starting to go up. I told Tom that he couldn't blame us for the belts turning off because we turned them off in emergency situations only.

Lou was on his way out. He was probably viewed as some sort of Pre-Load god since he took one of the worst buildings (except the carwash) and turned it into a pretty successful building. So there was some time from Lou's last day until our new building manager's first day. During that time, Tom was in charge of the building.

Now every Wednesday morning we had a pre-sort meeting. Usually it was about things coming up in the coming weeks. Or some information about volume. But since Lou left it turned into a bitch session. Load side complained about the sort going down late and missorts. The unload/sort team complained about the belts turning off and the number of packages sent back the return belts. It was some of my favorite memories.

This one week, Randy (Corona center's full time supervisor) was running the meeting. He started to talk about missorts and how to fix the problem. Now, Robert C. (my old unload partner) was out in Airport center working on Pen 7. So Randy was talking and Robert said that it was bull because the sort guys in the back didn't care about load side and left right away and never stayed to see the damage caused by missorts. This was true, I mean if anyone knew how the unload/sort was run it was me and Rob since we were both back there for an extended amount of time.

Randy tells us he doesn't want this to turn into a bitch session and if we wanted to leave we could. So Rob gets up and walks out. I wanted to leave too, but I decided to stick around. About 3-5 minutes later the crap started getting to high for me and I told them "I'm sorry I can't sit in hear and listen to this." So I get up and leave too. Maybe not the best course of action, but we were told we could leave.

So I head back to the Airport office and Rob is talking to Shon when I walk in. Shon looks up and gives this look like "oh sh!t". He tells us he is going to get in trouble for having his two supervisors walk out on the meeting. Rob and I tell him that Randy said we could leave if we wanted too. Shon said ok.

I head back to the main building to get my radio for the day. As I open the door, Tom steps out. He is blocking the door. He asks where I am going and I tell him. He says I can't get a radio today because I don't deserve one because of what I said about his supervisors in the morning meeting. I laugh a little and tell him that it was Rob that said it. He then asks for my id badge. Now this was a running gag at UPS. If someone asked for your badge, it meant they want to fire you and escort you out of the building. I told him I didn't have it on me, which I didn't it was in my briefcase in the Airport office. He told me that he was going to fire me and Rob for insubordination.

So all through the sort I am thinking I am going to be fired. If Lou was still around I probably would have been. Tom was fired up. He didn't like Rob at all, so if he could take down Rob I don't think he would care about taking me down too.

At break, Shon was talking to Tom and tried to get him to calm down. Shon later told us he couldn't do anything to talk him out of it. Rob and I were both mad because Tom wasn't even in the meeting, so how could he know anything. Shon told us to go talk to Randy.

So after the sort, we went and found Randy. Randy was like, "it wasn't a big deal. I told you guys to leave if you wanted to." He told us he was a little mad that we didn't stick around to hear what everyone had to say. He also threw in the fact that Tom couldn't do anything to us because he wasn't there.

So that was the end of it. Tom eventually forgot about it. And we went back to normal. That was the nice/bad thing about UPS...short term memory. We were always on survival mode, day to day was all that we cared about.

Next up, one more hilarious story about life without a building manager.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Venting the Anger: California's Taxes

So I was reading an article on the Sacramento Bee's website today about California's tax increases from last year. Turns out that nearly half of the Union (24 states) raised taxes last year. This in itself is counter-intuitive because in a recession people are trying to save money, not give more of it away to the states or federal governments.

The NCSL report, which may be purchased here, found that in the 24 states that did boost their taxes by more than 1 percent, the average was 3.7 percent of the previous year's tax collections. California's boost was more than 10 percent.

If you didn't catch that, CA took in 10% more taxes this year compared to last year and we still face a $20 billion deficit. How does that make sense? Where is this money going to? When our outgoing speaker gives raises to her staff, no one in the local media said a word. When our current speaker gave his staff raises, including a $65,000 raise to one staffer, no one said anything. Maybe it's because the local media spends a whole 22 seconds during a 30 minute broadcast talking about local government.

It's pathetic that no one calls these people out for what they are doing. How about the wasted money in death row? Richard Ramirez (the night stalker) was convicted in 1989 for 13 murders. He was sentenced to death. Why is it that his first appeal didn't reach the CA supreme court until 2002?

The rest of the prison system? Illegals? From the L.A. Times

In fiscal year 2009-10, California expects to spend about $834 million to incarcerate 19,000 illegal immigrants in the state's prisons. In Los Angeles County, illegal immigrants add between $370 million and $550 million annually to criminal justice costs, including prosecution, defense, probation and jails, according to Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

Almost a billion dollars for people that don't even belong here.

How much per prisoner do we spend? $47,000!!!!

I don't get it. How bad is our state? And why do these people keep getting re-elected?

Why am I so mad? I did my state taxes and saw a swing of $1500 this year. How does it swing that much in one year?

Tirades of Truth: The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Beginning

Ok, so let's take a look at the sequel to The Little Mermaid 2 (LM2), The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Beginning. Now you can read about the first horrible sequel HERE. I don't want to bring it up too often, but unfortunately I think I will have to.

This movie takes place before the first movie and tries to explain a few things about Atlantica and Ariel's early years. It's kind of funny that in all 3 movies Ariel looks the same.

So the movie starts off and Ariel looks to be around 4-5 years old and we see Ariel's mom for the first time. The mer-people hang out on the surface, which if you watched the first movie is forbidden. Well, it doesn't take long into the flashback to see why King Triton doesn't like humans and thinks the surface is dangerous. Ariel's mom is killed by pirates. This is when I knew I was in for a good movie. The fact that they were willing to just put it out there in the first 5 minutes...amazing.

Actually, I knew I was in for a better movie when I saw the animation. As we all know the LM2 animation was just pitiful. Right away you can see a difference. Let's take a look at an actual screen shot from the LM2.

That's the actual artwork...it just sucks. So here are some shots from Ariel's Beginning;
See a difference? I can. The animation in this movie is great for a non-theatrical release. The best movie I can compare it to is Tarzan. The way the computer generated backgrounds are used are identical in this release. Watch this clip from Tarzan, pay attention to the tree scenes and the fluid motion used.

Now watch this clip (around minute 7) for the swimming effect used with Ariel as she swims. It really is beautiful.

Some other things that I noticed was the songs were much better. The first song we hear is the villain's. Marina Del Ray performs a song worthy to match Ursula's Poor Unfortunate Souls. It's funny, catchy, and everything that LM2 couldn't do.

A little fun fact, when she is trying on the different outfits at the end of the song, one of the outfits is an early design for Ursula. Nice huh?

Ariel's main song can't compare with anything from the original, but it does hold it's own. I Remember is about her mom and Jodi Benson does an excellent job of creating a powerful song and beautiful atmosphere for the movie. The last few notes rank up there with Part of Your World.

Like Ariel, Sebastian gets a new song. Now it definitely doesn't come close to Kiss the Girl or Under the Sea, but like Marina Del Ray's it is catchy. And they do a wonderful job of "hamming" up Sebastian's personality within the song.

The other thing that I noticed right away and loved was the little tribute to the original movie. After Ariel saves Eric, she sings a little bit and the classic "rock scene" was born. Now in the sequel, Melody walks on the rock, but that was it for the tribute.

In this movie, they go for it all. After Sebastian is jailed (watch the movie it's worth it), Marina takes over his job. So she is singing around the ocean and where does she go? Except in this version, the water splashes down on her and a seagull (maybe Scuttle) comes near her and she yells at it. Any movie that throws that in is a winner.

Finally, Ariel's sisters get some air time. Now they were barely in the original, forgotten in the sequel, but are a pretty big part here. The writers did a nice job of giving each one their own little personalities and quirks. It must have been hard to balance 6 other mermaids, but the writers made it seem effortless.

Now it is not all roses. There are some things that bother me about this movie. Enough to ruin it? No, but they do stick out. Why does Flounder seem all tough in this movie, but by the time the original rolls around he is a "scared little guppy"? He does some things that are totally out of character for him, like the way he taunts the guard fish when he is being chased. No fear. Or in the end with the eels. No fear.

Marina Del Ray is a good character. She was a welcomed change of pace from Ursula and Morgana. No magic, just jealousy and greed. I would have liked it someway if the writers could have had her somehow be connected to Ursula. I mean in the original Ursula talks about her time in the palace. What happened? What did she do? If you are going to do a prequel, answer all the questions. You let us know why King Triton hates humans in the first 5 minutes, but you can't explain Ursula?

Finally, the guards. In the original and sequel, we had the mermen with helmets. In this one they are swordfish. Why? I know it's a little thing, but still was it necessary to make that switch? For me it opens another question, why did Triton dump the swordfish guards?

These are all minor complaints and pale in comparison to the movie as a whole. Superior artwork, kid friendly storyline, and catchy songs makes this movie a winner. In fact, I might go as far as to say to show this one first to your young child first. There isn't much in there to scare them and they will enjoy the bright colors and songs.

Now I just have to see Cinderella 3, which I have heard is the best dvd movie ever released.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thoughts Without Words: Encouraging Cheating

Darren has a nice little story about a principle who told a teacher that by having multiple forms of a test, he is encouraging cheating. This is what the principle said about the different forms;

“You are creating an expectation that students will cheat,” Martel recalls Cahall saying. “By creating that expectation, they will rise to your expectation.”

Wow! I guess there are a lot of us teachers out there encouraging cheating then. Here is the full article from the Washington Post.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tirades of Truth: The Little Mermaid 2 - Return to the Sea

I've said it before, when you have a little girl you tend to watch things you normally wouldn't. My wife and I actually saw The Little Mermaid together when it was re-released in 1997. It wasn't a bad film. I had never seen it before and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.

So when our little daughter wanted to watch a Disney movie, she was drawn to Ariel...better than Pocahontas. Now Disney has been known to "beat a dead horse" so to speak when it comes to making money. So I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone when they released The Little Mermaid 2.

I thought the opening shots were nice as they somewhat mirrored the original's opening. Then I saw it. The animation was horrible. Literally, within one minute I can't stop thinking of how bad the animation is. I mean it's no secret that the original Little Mermaid literally saved Disney's animation department. Not only that it ushered in a new era in Disney classics like Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and tons more. All of those can be traced back to the success of The Little Mermaid. So you would think that the sequel would have gotten better animation.

The next thing I picked up on right away was the voice actors. Prince Eric was no longer voiced by the same actor. If I can tell right away... not good. It's funny though because the original Price Eric was voiced by Christopher Barnes (Greg Brady in the Brady Bunch movies, voice of Spider Man the Animated Series) didn't do this sequel, but then did the 2 Cinderella dvd sequels as the Prince.

The songs were less than memorable too. The original had tons of classics; Part of Your World, Kiss the Girl, and Under the Sea. This one, nothing. The opening song is a sign of things to come. Ariel's singing voice is soo high now. By the way, my wife informed me that she is singing high to harmonize with Melody.

So that is already two strikes against the movie and I haven't gotten to the story. The plot is pretty much a re-hash of the original, with the roles reversed. Ariel's daughter, Melody, now wants to be apart of the sea. So she makes a deal with Morgana, Ursula's sister (how convenient) to become a mermaid in exchange for King Triton's trident. It's pretty predictable down to the ending.

The extra characters are a lot worse too. With the original you had some pretty memorable "side kicks" for Ariel. Now, you are treated to some very annoying side kicks. Tip and Dash are horrible and you find yourself actually rooting against them at times. And can they be anymore cliche? A fat slow gentle walrus and a wise cracking rude penguin? So original.

Melody is a brat as well. Yes, I understand that Ariel disobeyed her father in the original, but Melody is tons worse. In the final act, Ariel shows up to stop Melody from giving Morgana the trident. Melody is surprised her mom is a mermaid. So to get back at her she doesn't listen to Ariel and gives the trident to Morgana...just horrible.

Finally, as a self-proclaimed comic nerd, continuity is important to me. In the original movie Ariel had a grotto that held all of her "treasures" and King Triton destroys it. Yet, go back to the video For a Moment and at the 1:20 mark, there is Ariel back in the grotto. And to make it worse it looks like it did before Triton blew it up. Did they go back in and fix it?

There is another scene in the same video where Ariel goes back to the anchor that the shark gets caught in. Remember she had to swim through it to pull Flounder out, now (1:29 mark) it's only big enough for her to put her hand through it. Could it be a different anchor? Yes, but we all know it's not supposed to be.

One final note about the animation, just watch the end of that video again and look at Ariel's animation at the end of the song. Look at her neck!!! It looks longer than freakin' foot! I guess that one video sums up how bad this movie is.

I know this video isn't meant for adults, but we have to watch it too. Throw us something. This is a bad bad bad movie. Bad animation, bad characters, bad music.

So what about The Little Mermaid's third movie Ariel's Beginnings? I will get that one later.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thoughts Without Words: Cyberbullying

So I am sure we have heard about cyberbullying before. Of course there was the big case of a mom posing as a male teen who caused a teenage girl to kill herself. Other than that major case, it kind of goes unreported by major media.

I found out today that a teacher has some cyberbullying going on in his class. Seems that someone created a facebook page that is being racist and degrading towards a student. Plus there are photoshopped pictures of the teacher in unflattering positions and with sexual/racist remarks photoshopped on his white board.

Now, the teacher still hasn't heard of what punishment these students are going to receive, but I would suggest they are cyberbullying the teacher. Of course, we know how the courts have viewed this in recent months, freedom of speech.

How is this right? This is just another example of letting the inmates run the asylum. So if it is a student on student offense then it is cyberbullying. If it is student on teacher, then it is freedom of speech. Something doesn't sound right there.

By the way, to top it off. The student who was suspended for starting the facebook page about her principal is sueing her school for violating her free speech.

Who Decides: Into Eternity Albums

Into Eternity is one of my favorite bands. It's hard to say what genre they fall under though. They play a combination of death, thrash, power, and progressive metal. Yeah it's a lot, but they make it work. I heard of Into Eternity when they were on tour with Megadeth. Then I heard Splintered Visions on Century Media's Identity Vol. 8 sampler. The intro is pretty insane.

I know it's just playing the scales, but man it's still mind blowing.

Their earlier albums relied heavily on vocal harmonies. Using 3 vocalists each with his own unique style. They reached their peak on Buried in Oblivion. Everything clicked on this album. After which they found it too difficult to do the harmonies live so they went to one vocalist who could do all three styles. I am hoping for a new Into Eternity album this year, but I have heard nothing yet, so I doubt we will get one. So without anything else onto the list.

5. The Incurable Tragedy (2008) - this made my top 10 in 2008 and I said it was better than The Scattering of Ashes. Well, I was wrong. It isn't. That's not to say it's a bad album. It suffers from a few things. First, it is a short album clocking in at just under 39 minutes. It has 3 instrumentals. Finally, while the style is more similar to Buried in Oblivion the songs aren't as memorable. But saying you own a bad Into Eternity album is better than saying you own a good Lady Gaga album.

4. Into Eternity (1999) - this is their Kill Em All. You can hear of the great things to come. A few things to note. There are more clean vocals present on this album than others. In addition to the amount of clean vocals, they also use these sort of robotic vocals ala Cynic. It's not used on every song, so it doesn't seem overused. There are also more keyboards used here than on any other album. And the production is not that good. I know it was a debut, so you couldn't expect much. But if they would remaster this thing (which has been rumored for years now) it would easily be in the top 3. Under-rated classic.

3. Dead or Dreaming (2001) - if their debut was their Kill Em All, then this is their Ride the Lightning. The band incorporates a lot more death metal into their music and starts to fade out some of the power metal influences like the keyboards. They have a guest female vocalist on one track and it just adds to the overall sound of the album, not forced like some bands have done. The first 6 tracks on this album contain no filler. It's a pretty wild ride. The album does suffer a bit towards the second half, but finishes on a strong not with the title track and Identify.

2. The Scattering of Ashes (2006) - ok another Metallica reference...this isn't their Master of Puppets or And Justice for All, it is their Black Album. After their masterpiece, Buried into Oblivion, they decided to ditch some of the wild vocal harmonies and create an album that could easily be reproduced live. So out goes two vocalists and enter one Stu Block. Stu is amazing. His range is simply something to be heard. Listen to him on Timeless Winter.

He transitions from one style to another seemlessly. Is it any reason I picked his as one of my top 10 metal vocalists?

What bothered me at the time was that the songs were more straightforward. With their other albums, you didn't know what was going to happen, with The Scattering of Ashes you did. Now as time has passed, I realize it is a great album. When I talk about the first six tracks on Dead or Dreaming having no filler, this whole album is filler free. If you are looking for a starting point, this might be the best place to start. Heck, one more song from the album, Severe Emotional Distress.

This was the first song they released from the new album and it really put to rest any fears I had of the new vocalist. Great song.

1. Buried in Oblivion (2004) - no surprise here. I put in my top 5 metal "must own" albums. I can't add much to what I said there. Buried in Oblivion is a near perfect album. The harmonizing of vocalists, the guitar work, and tempo/time changes is amazing. You can't blame them for going for a more streamlined approach for their follow up. The album is chaotic and beautiful at the same time. After listening to this mad mix of metal for about 35 minutes, you are treated to two ballads in 3 songs. The album isn't too short, it isn't too long. It is in that rare range of perfect time.

Consider it a "cooling off" period after a long work out. Seriously, sounds like Peter Cetera. Here is their first official video for good measure.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Free Speech for the Dumb: Nancy Pelosi

So today it looks like health care reform will pass as it comes to a vote later today. To honor this historic event let's look at a quote from the Speaker herself, Nancy Pelosi from January of this year;

"We will go through the gate. If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole vault in. If that doesn't work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get health care reform passed."

I think that sums up the craziness of democrats. For one year all they needed was for everyone in their own party to vote for this thing and it would have passed, no matter what the republicans tried to do. Yet, one year later they are trying all of these different tactics to pass it. A normal person would probably think "if my own people don't want to vote for it, maybe we should start over." The dems...not so much.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Inside Four Walls: Catch - 22

So this last week I gave tests to my Geometry and Algebra 2 classes. Both classes did extremely well on the tests, with class averages into the high 70's and a ton of A's & B's in all of them as well. So what's the problem?

For state tests, calculators are not allowed. I have taken away their calculator in my Algebra 2 classes and have gotten some complaints about it, even though I keep the numbers relatively small. But in Geometry, if I take away their calculators then I am left with creating 30,60, 90 & 45,90 triangles...which narrows my figures down to equilateral triangles, squares, and hexagons. So I find myself allowing calculators for Geometry. So do I prepare them for the test or do I let them use it so I can broaden my questions?

In Geometry we tested on surface area and volume. For those that haven't taken Geometry in years there are about 2 formulas for each 3-d solid (prisms, cylinders, cones, pyramids, and spheres). That's ten formulas. I used to put them on the test because they were on the released questions for the CSTs. Last year, our students said they weren't. So I wasn't planning on giving the formulas to them, but I did.

The same goes for Algebra 2. We finished up series and sequences. There are about 6 formulas they need to know for the material. I put them on the board in random order, so they would have to know something about them. But it still made it easier for them.

So here's my catch-22. If I don't give them the formulas, then I am preparing them for the CSTs, but they will probably fail the test and might not pass the class (I struggle with things like this every chapter). But if I give them the formulas, then they won't memorize them and know them for the CSTs even though they pass the chapter test.

So the question comes down to what's more important the chapter tests/class or the CSTs?

Friday, March 19, 2010

What can Brown do for you? Pen 6 part 2

Here's part 1.

So you saw what I was going in for. I really didn't want to be there and kind of went through the motions for the first week. Our belt didn't turn around at all. I just wandered around feeling sorry for myself about getting kicked out of the sort aisle.

It wasn't until that first Friday that things changed. We had a bad day and went down bad. Lou was watching with his boss and Marie. And that's when it hit me. They wanted me to fail. So I called everyone around and gave a pretty good speech. I told them that no one believed in us and that we needed to show them how to run this belt.

So I devised a plan of attack over the weekend. I decided to do what my former full-time supervisor Shon used to say, take away their excuses. I knew why Pen 6 couldn't go down on time because they told us plenty of times it was the missorts. So if I could go down clean with the missorts, it would show that it is possible and that the sort aisle would need to just get better.
I put missort carts in between all the loaders and one in front of loader #2. I told him to take off all Corona center packages (Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, Norco) since there was never a lot of those to begin with. This put more pressure on loader #1, but his cars were more bulk stops anyway, so he didn't have a hard time loading. I put a cart in between loaders #3 & #5 and told them to take off any Foothill center packages (Rancho, Upland, Mt. Baldy, Alta Loma, Pomona, Montclair, Claremont). And I had a cart in between loaders #2 & #4 that pulled off any Pen 5 packages, which was mainly Ontario 91764. In theory, the missorts left over would be for Pen 7 and loaders #5 & #6 could just slide them on the rollers.

It was a thing of beauty. It was rough the first day because they complained about the extra work, but I assured them it would be better in the end. Before the second day was over it was clear this was working. We started to turn the ship around quickly. Now just like on Pen 9, I held the bulk until the end, but this time no one questioned it.

There was one time I yelled at Tom so bad because he delivered 7 carts of missorts from another belt after all but 3 of my loaders had left. I was fuming mad. I became proactive and sent loader #2 to search different places to find the carts and bring them to us.

The sort aisle noticed a decrease in the amount of returns coming back because we weren't sending as much back. In fact, every cart we built we would hand deliver it to the proper Pen.

In a matter of 2 weeks, Pen 6 went from being the laughing stock of the building to the best Pen in the building in terms of pieces per hour. Adrian came out after the sort and looked around and was very impressed and always asked "why couldn't the sup before you run it like this?" I really didn't know why. It wasn't the hardest fix I ever did.

Tom and Lou were both very complementary of the changes made to Pen 6 and congradulated me often. But the best was still to come, Shon my old full time sup from Pen 9 was back in the building as my new full time sup...again. Things were looking up. But we all know that didn't last long. Enter Chuck, Mike G., and a lot of empty promises.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What can Brown do for you?: Pen 6 part 1

So after burning some bridges with Lou and even getting on Tom's nerves enough I was sent off packing to Pen 6 when I got back from vacation. I will do a post on vacations at UPS, but pretty much every time I went on vacation, I was in a new area when I returned.

Now, before I get into my time at Pen 6 I need to talk about how bad the belt was when I got there. Pen 6 was horrible. Seriously horrible. Pathetic, ugly, you think of the worst word to describe something and you just described Pen 6. It was a supervisor's worst nightmare.

Pen 6 was a belt to car pen, unlike my time on Pen 9 which was a slide to car. With a slide to car, your employees don't need to be at work on time and if someone is sick you can stack the packages on the slide or grating. The only man you need on a slide to car is your pick off man. With a belt to car, if you are missing one person...screwed. The belt just keeps moving and if you miss your package it just builds up at the end of the belt. Loaders #1 & #2 were called splitters. There were the pick offs of a belt to car. They knew where every package went and would either push or pull a package to the correct side.
Here is my attempt at giving you a visual for Pen 6.
So you can see if loader #1 missed his package it would go down to #5 and build up back there causing him all sorts of problems. Plus that "slide to Pen 7" was a slide that came down from the sky and was actually eye level with loaders #5 & #6. By the way, loader #4 did have a longer car known as a Wally. It's the big van that had a handful of stops, usually at a mall. But instead of it being like one package it would be like 20 or more so he had to slide the packages in with rollers and go in load the Wally and get out to make sure he didn't miss any packages. He also had an air car to the right of the Wally sometimes. And that was all of the Next Day Air for our belt that left at 6:15 AM.

When I was in the sort aisle, Lou would always drag me out to look at Pen 6 and the missorts (packages that belong somewhere else, but end up on Pen 6). Most were for Pen 7, since they shared a belt in the sort aisle. If a sorter didn't push the package all the way over to the side of the belt it could fall over to Pen 6's side. I told Lou that loader #6 & #5 could just slide the packages over to Pen 7, there was a set of rollers there for this very purpose. He told me they shouldn't have to.

We also saw missorts for Pens 8 & 9 which were literally 20 yards away. So instead of carting them over to those belts. They carted the missorts to the return slide back to the sort aisle to be re-sorted. The belt travel time was about 7-10 minutes. Then the time to go from the sort aisle to the Pens varied from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. I told Lou that this was a waste of time. That it also caused major problems in the sort aisle.

The other big problem we had in the sort aisle was Pen 6 liked to turn off their belt. This caused problems in the sort aisle. Because if Pen 6 turned off their belt, then Pen 6 & Pen 7's belt stopped in the sort aisle causing back ups everywhere.

I also need to add that Pen 6 & Pen 7 were both Ontario belts (there was also Pen 5, but they weren't connected like 6 & 7). They had about 60 exception streets that sorters had to learn and memorize. Problem was that the on-road supervisors (in charge of the drivers) would change them without telling the pre-load sort (us).

I think it was my lack of compassion and understanding of load-sides problems that Lou sent me to the worst belt in the building. I dreaded it when I heard the news.

That's good for now. I will post part 2 which will explain what I did to change things around. And how Pen 6 should have been my stepping stone to better things (full-time), but for whatever reason it wasn't.

Thoughts Without Words: Teens & Self Esteem

Teacherblogger411 has a nice little post today about teens and their self-esteem and how out of control it has gotten. I can't say I disagree. I have only been teaching 7 years, but in those 7 years the students really expect things to be handed to them without any kind of effort. And when you decided to question them...watch out.

Here's some of his thoughts on it;
How about peer counselors? Now don't get me wrong. I don't want any kid to harm themselves or end up being emotionally scarred for life from their high school experience. But why do teenagers, these days, feel like their problems are SO important. Why can't they just "suck it up" when things get difficult like we had to when I was in school. Honestly, nobody really cared about the fact that we were struggling. It was supposed to be hard in school. In fact, we got picked-on a lot more than teenagers do where I teach. There was no such thing as sensitivity training or tolerance lessons. Yet, there is so much drama in today's classroom. Why are today's teenagers SO needy?

Ahh the days of "suck it up". Good times. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. And what have we created?

Perhaps this ... a study was conducted that looked at self-esteem levels from teens in the 70's and today. Obviously, the self-esteem now is higher, but the ironic thing is that it may now be more damaging then good. Read that HERE.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inside Four Walls: St. Patrick's Day (elementary edition)

So I don't have a funny St. Patrick's Day story, but my wife has one that definitely takes the cake.

Back when my wife first started teaching (1st grade) she worked in a less than desirable district and school. In fact, it wasn't out of character for her school to go into lock down once a week.

So it was the week of St. Patrick's Day and my wife always likes to portray the Leprechaun as a mischievous guy who hides things and messes up things trying to get his gold. So during the week, my wife always moves things around (like turning desks upside down) or will hide different items from the students. So when the kids come into the class they all get shocked and my wife blames the Leprechaun.

It just so happened the night before St. Patrick's Day, her school was broken into...including her room. So when she got at school her room was ransacked. The school wanted the teachers to get their rooms reorganized before the students showed up. She put the room back together and sprinkled some green clovers in the room and let the students in.

About an hour into the day, my wife needed to use her cd player. She was looking for it and couldn't find it. She asked her teacher next door if she had it. She kept looking for it and told the class that she couldn't find the cd player. Kids being kids they started telling her that the Leprechaun must have taken it. Of course, my wife knew it was stolen, but she couldn't say anything. The more serious she got about it being gone the more excited the students became over the fact that the Leprechaun had been to their room again.

That was almost 10 years ago and it is still my favorite story to hear my wife tell. And since it is St. Patrick's Day I will pass it onto you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What can Brown do for you?: Two way street

So back again for another UPS story. The last story really jogged the mind and made me remember a ton of stories. Remember I worked every weekday, minus 2 weeks vacation and Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. So that's a lot of adventures. I am hitting the big ones in order and will back fill later.

So we were coming off a tremendous peak season and moving into the beginning of the new year when things slow down a bit. Now, UPS has this program called GainShare. Basically, what happens is the buildings numbers are compared from year to year and any gains made results in a check to the supervisors. It was a nice program. I say nice because I heard that within a year or so after I left, they canceled it.

Since we kicked some serious butt in peak season, we were expecting a big check. Even the new sups who were hired during this time would get a check. So one day after work, Adrian, P.J. and myself are in the office doing time cards for our employees. As we are finishing in comes Ness and Mike. Now, a little bit more about Mike (since I already explained how inept Ness was). Mike was the type of guy that would throw his own mother under the bus to look good. He always said the right thing to make himself look good. He wouldn't agree with it, but he would say it. I am sure we all know the type I am talking about.

So they come in and start making smart ass comments about the gainshare check and how they helped get it. I kept quiet for a bit and then finally fired back. I basically said that Ness shouldn't get a check because he didn't do anything except cost us money. The jabbing went back and forth before I decided (with Adrian and P.J.) to leave. We walked out the door (the building was pretty much empty as the drivers had already left) and were about 15-20 yards away from the door when Mike and Ness stuck their heads out and started back in again. With stuff like "what Kevin? You can't take the fact that we know how to run an area better than you?" and typical stuff like that. Now, remember I was only 24/25 so I still had a really short temper...it's a pretty good excuse right?

I turned around and yelled at the top of my lungs for him to shut up. I kept walking at him and told him things like we are sick of you and Ness, you don't know what you are doing...etc. At this time I see Lou. I thought about stopping, but I figured hell I'm already busted...just keep going. And I did. I yelled some more and then Lou looked and me and Mike and yelled at us to his office...NOW!

So we go to his office where Mike is all calm and tells his story about how I was saying how Ness doesn't deserve his gainshare check because he doesn't work hard. And how I started yelling at him and Ness. Lou was listening and then looked at me. I said "look this is a two way street. I left the situation and he came after me to further instigate it." Lou stopped me there and said "I don't care how many streets there are. You are in the wrong for going off the handle like that." I interupted him and said "So when he came out the door to follow me...that's my fault?" Lou gave the classic "You are just a supervisor and if you keep acting like this you won't be for long, I don't care how good you think you are. Now get out."

That was it. I left Mike got nothing. It fueled my anger towards Mike for a long time. Mike just wanted to go full time and was going about it the right way...kissing ass. I couldn't do it, which is why I never made it full time there.

Next time I will talk about the second time I got kicked out... the opportunity to become a more well rounded supervisor by moving to Pen 6...the worst belt in the building.

Free Speech for the Dumb: Tom Hanks

Now I like Tom Hanks. I think he is a solid actor and I like most of his movies, but I wish actors would stay away from politics. From his Time interview talking about WWII;

“Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”

Dear Mr. Hanks,
Perhaps we wanted to 'annihilate' them because of Pearl Harbor or because they wanted to take over the pacific? Maybe?

Monday, March 15, 2010

What can Brown do for you?: Just a sort supervisor

Wow, it's been such a long time since I have written a story, I am starting to forget some of them. That's why I started do this, so I would never forget.

So we left off with Dave leaving and us getting a new building manager...again. This time it was Lou. He was an Human Resources guy and came in and actually watched us do our thing for awhile before he made any changes.

I can't remember much about Lou's first couple of days there or even months. I think it was because I was just doing my job in the sort aisle. I had to cover doors 1 - 20 and Adrian have the back 10. Yeah it didn't make much sense to either of us that I had to cover 3 return doors and a sunrise door that fed us nothing but Next Day Air. But whatever, Trevor covered door one by himself (something I never thought possible) and Joe covered the return slide at door 7 by himself. Other than that I was moving constantly talking to P.J. about moving people around.

During this peak season, P.J. had a great idea to "prep" the sort aisle with packages. Meaning we would unload a complete or 50% trailer to put packages in the sort aisle so the sorters would have work in front of them right away instead of waiting for about 15 minutes for it to get busy. Think about it, 15 minutes times 18 sorters? That's 270 minutes saved...almost 3 hours. Nice move on P.J.'s part. It became a daily routine even after peak. In fact, when we went to 40 doors P.J. would usually unload 2 full trailers before sorters showed up.

Now Tom had become a shield for me. I would bitch and moan and he would listen and take it in. I had seen the other side and had seen the lies. I tried to make things better on my side, but it didn't last long. I soon returned to my "us vs. them" mentality.

We also had some new supervisors in the building. One was Ness. Ness was brutal...horrible whatever you want to say that was Ness. He got beat up nightly by the bulk drivers, funny actually. He didn't know how to move people or anything. So I was paired up with Ness and we didn't get along at all. I was constantly moving people for him and doing his job.

So Lou would hit Adrian and me up on sorter testing. He wanted us to test 3 sorters a night and do an OJS (On the Job Supervision form) nightly as well. So one week Tom left for vacation and told me to run both sides, unload and sort. So I was making my moves when Ness and Mike were telling me, no. Mike is a whole other story, so let's just say we didn't get along either. I was moving my sorters to where I wanted unloaders to go. Mike called Lou over to me and tell me who was in charge. I told Lou that Tom had told me to run both sides. Lou looked at me and told me something I will never forget "You are just a sort supervisor. You don't need to care about them." So I didn't.

I'm not one to brag, but I was one of the best supervisors there and knew how to get my sorters to do their best. The week went by and I didn't make anymore calls. The following week Tom is back and Ness is by himself (Mike is back to his area). I move my sorters around open the doors and have doors 1-20 spotless an hour into the sort. The flow per hour was so low on the loadside that Tom & Lou came back to see what was going on. Lou and Tom stepped up into the aisle to see a totally spotless aisle. I was giving 2 sort tests and had given Adrian some sorters as well.

Tom and Lou both looked shocked. I had turned door one into a mini small sort with sorters opening up the forever bags (with NDA envelopes) and sorting them to the belts. The return doors were spotless as well. Tom asked "where is all the flow?" I said I don't know. He asked how many doors had I broken (emptied). I said again, I don't know, but I didn't 7 sort tests and 2 OJS's. Lou came up next to Tom and asked me what was going on with the unload. I looked him in the eye and said "I don't know, I'm just a sort supervisor." He looked pissed as did Tom.

Tom pulled me aside and pleaded with me. He said he didn't know what happened when he was gone, but to please fix it. I told him no, that Lou, Ness, and Mike made it clear I was not in charge of the unload. He told me he would get rid of Ness.

We went down late that day, but true to his word Ness was gone after that day. He went to small sort or somewhere. I ran the sort and unload through peak season. We hit unreal numbers that year. I can't take all the credit though. It was winter of 2001 and our total volume was down due to 9-11. We did smash Pieces Per Hour, which I still believe is because of P.J.'s idea to prep the sort aisle.

Next up...Mike and the two way street.

Inside Four Walls: Testing Season...has begun

The CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) starts tomorrow. It messes up our schedule for two days and at our school everyone passes (ELA 95-98% & math 98-99% [ that's me by the way]). Anyway the CAHSEE is a joke of a test. They have lowered the pass rate so that 8th graders could pass it. I have read/heard the passing score is somewhere in the 50's. That doesn't make sense to me. Same with the CSTs, the proficient rate is the low 60's. Really? so a D is proficient and an F allows you to graduate. Nice job of setting the bar high.

I'm not a big fan of Arne Ducan, but he was onto something when he said
"We have dummied-downed standards. It's our fault as adults. We've lowered the bar. We've had low expectations – not because it's the right thing educationally, not because it's the right thing for our economy. We did it because of political pressure."

I'm not ready for national standards, but any sane person will admit these tests are hardly testing anything.

After this comes the great CSTs...can't wait. My Geometry classes are so low compared to previous years and my Algebra 2, Algebra B aren't much better. I can see about 50% getting to proficient. There are some really smart kids and then there are those that are just sucking up oxygen.

We have late start days to discuss how the high score teachers did so well and one year a teacher was so honest when he said "I get rid of my low students before the test." We laughed, but he was right. He manages to piss off the students and parents so much they demand the school change their kid's class. I have no such luck. I have lost 3 Geometry students , 2 are guaranteed proficients or higher, but the 3rd is basic at best.

I will talk more about the CSTs as we get closer. They are always a fun topic.

I gotta do another UPS story soon too.

Music Non Stop: 2010 albums...Bullet For My Valentine

So still a slow year. I have been listening to more 2010 albums and still am not that impressed. I am looking for to As I Lay Dying's new one, The Powerless Rise. Hopefully, something will be released so we can get a sample of things to come.

Despite my knocking of Deadlock last week, I am still hopeful something will come out this year from these guys.

But this post is about Bullet For My Valentine. This is a band I didn't want to like, not unlike As I Lay Dying. The first song I heard was Tears Don't Fall. I passed it off as some metalcore emo song. I didn't pay too much attention to it. When they released Scream, Aim, Fire I thought it was a horrible title and didn't want to like it. But when it was all said and done, Scream, Aim, Fire made my top 10 (top 5 actually). Just to say who the others were All That Remains, Testament, Trivium, and Metallica. That's pretty good company.

So last year, I read an article saying they were going into more of a rock feel for this album, since the last one had more thrash elements to it. I was kind of disappointed, but whatever right? Well, they released their first single/video for their new album Fever, The Last Fight.

I'm not sure I hear too many rock influences, maybe it's the lack of screaming vocals? It sounds pretty good and now they are on my radar.

As I am typing this up, I am listening to a new band Amaranthe. They caught my eye because there was a band called Amaran that was great female fronted thrash (imagine Nevermore with a female singer, not operatic either). So anyway, this is some catchy metal...ironically kind of like Deadlock. I would say they have more power metal influence mixed in with death metal vocals. Deadlock is more melodic death metal with female vocals mixed in. I will definitely be looking for this album.

*UPDATE* ok, so I have listened to the EP (thank you Youtube). It's hard to nail down this band into one genre. As I said, there are melodic death metal influences, some power metal, and some good ole' thrash metal. The 3 vocalists brings back memories of old Into Eternity. I hear some nice vocal harmonies like Into Eternity. Very good. I would still compare them to Deadlock because a normal range female is rare in metal.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Music Non Stop: What The?!?!? moments

So as you can tell as a reader of this blog, I tend to listen to all different genres of metal. There are tons, but I will save that for later. Today I want to talk about those songs that made me say "What the..?!?!?" I listen to metal for a few things; fast drumming, heavy riffs, and of course those awesome mind-blowing guitar solos. But even now and then I am taken aback by some songs I hear from some metal bands.

I think the first "what the ?!?!?" moment came when I was listening to Anthrax. Now, Anthrax was one of the first bands I listened to when I got into metal. Plus they were part of the Big Four of thrash. So imagine my reaction when I heard Bring the Noise with Public Enemy.
Now I had heard Aerosmith and Run D.M.C. before, but this was different. This was a metal band covering a rap song. It was totally brand new for me. Add on the fact that Scott Ian raps in it...unbelievable.

A side note this song. This, in my opinion, is the birth of nu-metal. Bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, P.O.D., and a ton more probably wouldn't have existed without this song.

As shocking as that was, it was still a metal song. You can't deny that by listening to it. Fast forward to the mid 90's. Metal was all but dead thanks to grunge. Metallica toured for years on The Black Album, then took some much needed rest. So when they released Load, expectations were high. Say what you will about The Black Album, sell out, too formulated, whatever. At it's core it was metal, maybe not thrash, but metal. Songs like Enter Sandman, Of Wolf and Man, Through the Never, and more were all fist pumpers. Nothing Else Matters and The Unforgiven slowed it down a bit, but they didn't seem too out of place. So when Load came fans were pissed. Load (and Re-Load) were more hard rock albums than metal. They had some great riffs, but no thrash out moments. But if that wasn't a big enough shock there was this...

Mama Said. Metallica doing a country song. Yep it's true. It's not a bad song, but it's Metallica doing country (note the cowboy hat from James)! As time has gone by, the Loads have become classics to most fans. At the time, they were out of place. Now you can listen to them and be blown away by the layers in the music. The Outlaw Torn, Bleeding Me, Thorn Within, Fixxxer, Low Man's Lyric, and Where the Wild Things Are are all classic songs now.

But Metallica doesn't take the proverbial cake for this thread. That honor belongs to Deadlock. Deadlock is a vegan melodic death metal band, with a female lead singer. Yes all of that is true. So I guess it shouldn't surprise me when I hear a "what the ?!?!?" moment.

It began with their album Wolves. This is classic melodic death metal. When I put in on my top 10 of 2007, I said it was like At The Gates with Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) on vocals. Let me add there is a male vocalist too, but what makes Deadlock different is that the female doesn't do the operatic vocals. So I am listening to Wolves, really liking what I hear when I run into End Begins. Great song, sounds just as good as the others and then you get to the 2:30 mark

techno? with metal? I think the worst part for me was that I was actually a little disappointed the techno part was over. But the way it blended back into the melodic death metal and solo was amazing. When I play this song in class, it always gets a reaction.

Now the following year Deadlock released Manifesto. It was good, but it didn't grab me the way that Wolves did. I think it was the shock of a few of the songs on the album. It starts off with the techno track The Moribund Choir vs. The Trumpets of Armageddon.

The opening vocals on this song mirror word for word the first words sang on Wolves. Now this video plays the first few seconds of Martyr of Science. I did like how they sort of did the whole techno into metal thing again. What can I say, it works for me.

The first song that really hit me as a "What the ?!?!?" moment was Fire at Will. Now, I mentioned how I like those guitar solos, so imagine how I felt when I heard a saxophone solo. That's right a saxophone solo. I thought I was back in the 80's when that opening note hit my speakers. The thing that was really shocking was that it was played right after a killer guitar solo. It's about the 3:30 mark

You would think that would take home the prize. It doesn't. Deathrace does. Deathrace starts off like a classic death metal song...even down to the drum pattern. So there I am on my treadmill listening to this song for the first time and I get to the 4 minute mark and the song kind of skips. I'm thinking it didn't rip properly when I ripped the album, I wish...

a rap!!! nothing else just rap! Not like Anthrax and Public Enemy where it still had a metal foundation. This was just rap. I literally almost fell off my treadmill when I heard this. Now I give rap this, you can understand what they are saying right away, unlike metal. So if the rap isn't bad enough, they are rapping about animal rights!!! Once again, it shouldn't be that big of a surprise because they are a vegan melodic death metal band!
For your reading pleasure (cursing and all)

Animals can't speak but we can...

Look at the peak of evolution the food chain leader
Looking like the freight that he's chauffeuring to eat up
Ain't that some wack shit rolling to the shambles
Acting as a cab bitch slaying loads of animals
Imagine you all was cannibals and mankind the cattle dude
Locked up in a box small enough to get in rampage mood
I fucking disagree with the price and the fee
That these beings have got to pay so we can feast and fucking eat
I'm one with all fauna the animal persona
Raw and distinctive the beast master warned you all
Keep roughhousing and I will be the karma
For acting too supreme make me have to armour up
Testing chemicals and genocide to foreign species
Acts of our society so sick son believe me
We got to keep it real how the fuck would it feel
Locked all ya life behind rolling bars of steel

This is a story about this man in a slaughter house
Took me on tour and showed me all his whereabouts
And in my lurking doubts
He starts to light a cigarette and starts drinking on a genuisstot
You greenpeace fools we handle your food
And if you like fast food
Here's some examples for you
Livestock cows in dead, destroyed milk they use burger king meat
What they feed to the streets, no time to negotiate
Blood fills their death, when their alive when they breathe they lungs aspirate
You like veil, this will spoil your meal
The baby confined to no light and food and that's real
Respect to Islam for eating no swine
Here's some waist pits we use to feed them there time to time
He expressed no pain for four weeks pain a cut in the juggler-vain
Is something yo, I can't explain

By the way, despite what I said about Deadlock, I am really hoping they put an album this year. They do make some really great music and keep you on your toes while you listen.

So there you go. Some of my "what the ?!?!?" moments. I will probably have more as I listen to more music.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughts Without Words: KIPP schools

I was reading on Coach Brown's blog about the Newsweek article running this week(HERE); Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers.

One thing that jumped out at me during the article, which basically says teachers are to blame for all of the failures of education, was this little blurb

Generally operating outside of school bureaucracies as charter schools, programs like KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) have produced inner-city schools with high graduation rates (85 percent). KIPP schools don't cherry-pick—they take anyone who will sign a contract to play by the rules, which require some parental involvement. And they are not one-shot wonders. There are now 82 KIPP schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and, routinely, they far outperform the local public schools. KIPP schools are mercifully free of red tape and bureaucratic rules (their motto is "Work hard. Be nice," which about sums up the classroom requirements). KIPP schools require longer school days and a longer school year, but their greatest advantage is better teaching.

Now it sounds like these KIPP schools are where it is at. They mention the teacher's longer hours and how they outperform local public schools. But read closer and you see this line

KIPP schools don't cherry-pick—they take anyone who will sign a contract to play by the rules, which require some parental involvement.

It's a quick one sentence statement, but notice the "sign a contract"? So I researched to see what is in the contract" Here it is;


We fully commit to KIPP in the following ways:
  • We will arrive at KIPP every day by 7:25 A.M. (Mon. - Fri.)
  • We will remain at KIPP until 5:00 P.M. (Mon. - Thurs.)
  • We will come to KIPP on appropriate Saturdays at 9:00 A.M. and remain until 1:00 P.M.
  • We will teach KIPP during the summer (July 12 - August 30)
  • We will always teach in the best way we know how and we will do whatever it takes
  • for our students to learn.
  • We will always make ourselves available to students, parents, and any concerns they might have.
  • We will always protect the safety, interests, and rights of all individuals in the classroom.

Failure to adhere to these commitments can lead to our removal from KIPP.

Nothing too bad from a teacher's point of view. Yes, the "quit" time is new, although most teachers don't leave until 4 or later. Saturdays are new as well, plus the whole available 24/7. BTW, I know of at least one teacher that does this now.

Let's look at the parent's contract (I have bolded my favorite ones);


We fully commit to KIPP in the following ways:
  • We will make sure our child arrives at KIPP every day by 7:25 a.m. (Mon. - Fri.)
  • We will make arrangements so our child can remain at KIPP until 5:00 p.m. (Mon. - Thurs.)
  • We will make arrangements for our child to come to KIPP on appropriate Saturdays at 9:00 A.M. and remain until 1:00 P.M.
  • We will ensure that our child attends KIPP summer school (July 12 - August 30).
  • We will always help our child in the best way we know how and we will do whatever it takes for him/her to learn. This also means that we will check our child's homework every night, let him/her call the teacher if there is a problem with the homework, try to read with him/her every night, and limit the amount of television they watch.
  • We will always make ourselves available to our children, the school, and any concerns they might have.
  • This also means that if our child is going to miss school, we will notify the teacher as soon as possible and we will read carefully all the papers that the school sends home to us.
  • We will allow our child to go on KIPP field trips.
  • We will make sure our child follows the KIPP dress code.
  • We understand that our child must follow the KIPP rules so as to protect the safety, interests, and rights of all individuals in the classroom. We, not the school, are responsible for the behavior and actions of our child.

Failure to adhere to these commitments can cause my child to lose various KIPP privileges and can lead to my child's expulsion from KIPP.

A bit more strict. This is what is lacking in public education, parental responsibilities. I think if all parents were held to these levels you would see improvement.

Finally, the student's contract (bolded again);


I fully commit to KIPP in the following ways:
  • I will arrive at KIPP every day by 7:25 A.M. (Mon. - Fri.)
  • I will remain at KIPP until 5:00 P.M. (Mon. - Thurs.)
  • I will come to KIPP on appropriate Saturdays at 9:00 A.M. and remain until 1:00 P.M.
  • I will attend KIPP during summer school (July 12 - August 30).
  • I will always work, think, and behave in the best way I know how and I will do whatever it takes for me and my fellow students to learn. This also means that I will complete all my homework every night, I will call my teachers if I have a problem with the homework or a problem with coming to school, and I will raise my hand and ask questions in class if I do not understand something.
  • I will always make myself available to parents, teachers, and any concerns they might have.
  • I will always behave so as to protect the safety, interests, and rights of all individuals in the classroom.
  • This also means that I will always listen to all my KIPP teammates and give everyone my respect.
  • I will follow the KIPP dress code.
  • I am responsible for my own behavior.

Failure to adhere to these commitments can cause me to lose various KIPP privileges and can lead to my expulsion from KIPP.

Note that all of them have the threat of getting removed from KIPP?

Newsweek is a joke for comparing public schools to this. In fact, it strengthens teachers' arguments that parent involvement is vital to student success.