Tag Archives: teachers

Why Are Teachers In New Hampshire Immune From Random Drug Testing?

by Anura Guruge


Click to access original.


Well, to be fair, it is NOT just New Hampshire. Most tests do NOT permit drug testing of teachers.

That is crazy.

Teachers (and administrators) are human and have their foibles — and I talk as one whose adoptive mother as well as two aunties were teachers.

There are times, especially of late, when I can ONLY reconcile what I see and hear about teachers in New Hampshire by thinking that they must be doing drugs!

Be honest. Has that thought ever crossed YOUR mind.

Do you honestly think that ALL of our teachers and administrators are saints?

Why the double-standards?

We go after kids, QUITE RIGHTLY, for drugs. Why don’t we set an example by also checking the teachers and administrators?

I HOPE I am wrong. But, my druthers is that random drug testing of teachers, in New Hampshire, could tell us much.


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by Anura Guruge

Why I Despair So About The Schools Around Here.

by Anura Guruge


This was an actual sheet from Grade 5 ‘Science’ that
Teischan (10) brought home from Alton Central School (ACS),
Alton, New Hampshire this week.

I normally don’t say anything about ‘slip-ups’ other than maybe draw
Teischan’s attention to it … and say “this is not exactly right”.

But, this was BEYOND the pale.


teischanlbs10232016

Click to ENLARGE and hopefully stare at in HORROR.


There are so many things wrong with this at SO many levels.

First and foremost, EVERY SINGLE answer written down by my Teischan is wrong!

Yes, every SINGLE answer is WRONG.

And she gets a “SMILEY” face?

I wanted to cry.

No comments? No corrections?

That is what got my goat. EVERY SINGLE answer is wrong!


No it is NOT her multiplication.

She only got ONE of those wrong and it is so blatant that a semi-proficient 4th grader would see it.

So now we have ALL the ANSWERS are wrong PLUS one multiplication is wrong.


There is an asterisk (*) next to ‘Pluto‘. Can you see that?

What does that asterisk (*) pertain to?

The title says “What is your weight on each planet?

Well, ‘Pluto’ is NOT a planet though ACS has historically had issues coming to terms with that. See this … IF you are interest. But, I am willing to concede that that is probably what the asterisk (*) was meant to be.

But the second line says “Outer Space”. “Outer Space” is NOT a planet! There is NO asterisk (*) against it.


Yes, one of my many faults is that I am a terrible pedant. I put a lot of stock in accuracy.

I am sure that I have read that you should never give kids printed statements that are factually incorrect …

But that is minor in the scheme of this.

Yes, this upset me.

Yes, of course, I am fully aware that to err is human and erring is something that I do daily. But, I expect a little diligence from my teachers.

NO, I rarely criticize teachers. This is probably the first time in 5 years! Yes, I cut school administrators no slack, BUT I try not to criticize teachers.

But, this incident aggrieves me on another front. This science teacher is one of a triumvirate that unilaterally decided that ACS Grade 5 should not have ANY math or science homework. Just 4 days ago, I told them, to their face, that MAYBE they decided on that because that meant less things for them to MARK.

Well, I guess ‘MARKING’ is not their strong suit. I guess I should just SMILE. Draw a BIG SMILEY face.

And for the record. I teach. I have taught. My mother was a teacher. My father was a teacher. Two of my aunties were teachers. Our name, ‘Guruge’, literally means: ‘from the house of the teacher’. So I kind of know a little about this and definitely have skin in the game.


Let me again STRESS.

I would NOT have said ANYTHING about this sheet if there were ONLY three or four things wrong on it.

But when there are fourteen (14) mistakes on it I feel the need to vent.

P.S., Teischan has NO IDEA what ‘lb’ stands for!


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by Anura Guruge

NH Law, HB 507, ‘Teacher Privacy’ — Unintended Consequences Of “Class Recording” Clause.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


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Click here to access the entire HB 507 Bill — from the State.

Click images to ENLARGE and read here.

hb507I
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I can appreciate the INTENT of the ‘IVNo school shall record in any way a school classroom for any purpose without school board approval … clause — the last clause of this Bill.

It is to prevent school ADMINISTRATIONS from conducting SURVEILLANCE on teachers. I can appreciate why teachers would object to that. But we will get to that later.

I am no lawyer BUT as I read this it states, very clearly, “NO SCHOOL …“.

It doesn’t mention individual students. Yes, there is the ‘blanket’ secret, non-consensual (tape) recording law. But, that does not apply if a student requests verbal permission and does the recording in full view.

Schools are interpreting HB 507, that came into effect this school year (i.e., 2015 – 2016), as meaning that kids, with a teacher’s approval, can’t use their ubiquitous phones to record what is being said in class.

Well here is the WRINKLE in that. Students with disabilities — the so called ‘Section 504‘ kids. They are protected by a whole different (federal) set of laws. IF the 504 states that the student needs to be able to record, audio or even video, all that transpires in a classroom the school and teachers have to acquiesce!

We know. We have a 504 child. And she wanted to record some of her classes so that she could re-run them, over and over again. The ‘school’ agreed. Then they came across HB 507. THEN they said, BUT if we put it in her 504 she will be all set.

This is STUPID.

Yes, we all understand that teachers do not want to be SPIED upon. Yes, I have taught.

But just last week we all saw that incident with the school girl getting FLIPPED off her chair and flung across the floor.

schoolgirlchairforced

Click for ‘Boston Globe’ original IF you haven’t seen this before.

Aren’t WE all glad that 3 kids managed to capture this, on video, on their phones? Yes, I know that at least one kid is going to get charged for illegal recording. I saw her and her mother on CNN. They have NO regrets. They did the right thing.

We have cameras on school buses.

I think they have cameras on corridors [– but I could be wrong on that].

Don’t we ALL know, viscerally, that we will, as with the school buses, END UP having permanent, full-time cameras in all classrooms?

So this law has to be rethought.

You can clearly see that Clause IV was snuck in, most likely at the last minute, without too much thought OR consultation. Did they for a second think about the Section 504 override. I doubt IF there is a class in NH which does not have at least one Section 504 kid.

So, this is a Heads Up. No consequence to us. Our daughter, as of next week, when Deanna updates and signs the 504, will be able to record. 


Alton Central STILL Looking For Parents To Coach ‘Destination Imagination’!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

I already said my piece about this two weeks ago.

We are now going into the 2nd week of November. Soon it will be Thanksgiving.

It is TOO LATE to realistically start a DI team. It is not fair on the kids!

DI is a lot of work. Hours expended matters and counts.

When you go to the first regional meet it is NOT FAIR on the kids if they are competing against kids who have had a month or more of lead time.

I watch the kids’ eyes as they look at their peers from other schools competing. You can read their emotions. When they see performances vastly superior to their own, PARTLY because they spent much, much, much more time, you can see the awe and disappointment in their eyes. They would have liked to have done something like that too — but they never had the time.

That is why I am OPPOSED to having teams that start late. DI is for the kids. Don’t burden them with disadvantages even before they start.

Then there is my other pet peeve. Why can’t this principal order some of her teachers to be the DI coaches? I am a great believer that each DI team should be coached by a school teacher assisted by a parent.

Why Is Alton Central School (ACS) Doing A Pre-School Screening For 3 to 4 Year Olds NOW … 2013 – 2014 School Year Already Started.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related recent posts:
>> Common Core Vote … — Sep. 16, 2013.
>> How come no ACS teachers attended
>> … — Aug. 10, 2013.

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September 19, 2013 Laconia Daily Sun, bottom of page 15. Can't give you link to the paper itself because the Sun's IT folks must have been trained by the ACS IT staff!

September 19, 2013 Laconia Daily Sun, bottom of page 15. Can’t give you link to the paper itself because the Sun’s IT folks must have been trained by the ACS IT staff!


I just happened to see this.

Confused the heck out of me.

Yes, I e-mailed the Superintendent, William (Bill) Lander, immediately. I have not heard back.

Actually my second e-mail to him in less than 24 hours and my 3rd this week — though I do honestly try not to bother him too much.

Yes, I was at all the ACS School Board meetings when pre-school enrollment, the ballot, the model students etc. were discussed, BUT I didn’t pay much attention. I have a habit, per my ‘my brain is my best friend’ regime, of tuning out stuff that I don’t need. Just reduces the clutter and frees up cycles to work on stuff that I have to do. Yes, I write paragraphs for my books at meetings.

Seems very strange. School year has already started. On Monday they even gave us an enrollment number.

I have to assume all the pre-school teachers and aids have been hired and are already on the books. So why now?

P.S., I am a HUGE supporter of the ACS Pre-School program run by the beyond exceptional, absolutely AMAZING, Saintly Mrs. Joan Rees, 2010’s Pre-School Educator of the Year for the State. Teischan was accepted into ACS when she was 4 as a special needs. Mrs. Rees and Mrs. Dorr worked miracles on her. I think Mrs. Rees is the cat’s whiskers. Mrs. Dorr is very special too.

So don’t get me wrong. I am not against the ACS pre-school program. I am ever grateful for what it did for Teischan. I would not deprive that for anybody. All kids deserve that break.

My only concern is the timing.

Alton Central School (ACS) Board’s Confused & Confusing Vote Against ‘Common Core’ Makes The Headlines.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Common Core Vote … — Sep. 16, 2013.
>> How come no ACS teachers attended
>> … — Aug. 10, 2013.

>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop …
>>Aug. 9, 2013.

>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious
>>July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

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Click to access September 17, 2013 'Laconia Daily Sun'.

Click to access September 17, 2013 ‘Laconia Daily Sun’.


Michael Kitch, a very savvy, seasoned and astute reporter got it right on two counts: this was nothing MORE than a thumbing of noses and one whose impact is obscure to say the least.

This vote will have repercussions, good or bad.

Alton Central School (ACS) Board Votes 3 – 2 AGAINST ‘Common Core’ — Whatever The Vote Was Supposed To Mean!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> How come no ACS teachers attended … — Aug. 10, 2013.
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

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housedividedACS


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The ACS School Board vote at the September 16, 2013, meeting, however pathetic it might have been, duly confirmed my contention following the June Board Meeting that the ACS Administration and staff did NOT have the Board backing when it comes to Common Core.

This is why I have agitated, as the minutes from the Board meeting clearly show, to get a straight up-down vote from the Board on this.

It happened and it came out as I had expected — with the Board showing its contempt for ‘CC’.

I knew how Steve Miller was going to vote. He had already stated his support for CC for the record.

I was glad and impressed that Sandy Wyatt voted for CC. It is now official: Deanna and I think she is GOOD, VERY GOOD.

I had planned to get up at the first public input session and ask the Principal why teachers from ACS had not attended the Board meetings to present their side of the story.

Though I did bring it up, I did not have to. There were about 7 or 8 (maybe more) ACS teachers present, led by 6th grade teacher Mr. Richard Kirby, who I think represents the ACS teachers in some capacity. He stood up and spoke maybe four times. He did a good job of refuting the crazy claims about CC and also clearly stating the case of the teachers as to why they are in favor of CC. Thank you Mr. Kirby. Mr. Kirby, however, is not a lawyer nor a politician and as such was not as forceful as he should have been with the rebuttals. I see that a lot with teachers. They kind of get out of practice arguing with adults.

I was delighted to see Carol Locke, the Principal of Gilmanton School, at the meeting to defend and promote CC and also to unequivocally refute some crazy statements related to teachers resigning from Gilmanton because of CC that had been made at the August Workshop. That is the first time I had seen her, let alone met her. When she got up and stated her address (which she didn’t have to do) I realized that we were neighbors and that I even walk past her house on occasion. In addition to speaking as the Principal she also spoke as an Alton resident and grandparent. She has my thanks. She was impressive.

Mr. William Lander, the Superintendent, made a VERY GOOD forceful statement on behalf of the administration and staff as to their belief and commitment in CC.

But that was all in vain.

Politics prevailed. They were not voting on CC. They were voting on ideological political beliefs and their profound fear of anything that is other than their cherished ‘local control’.

But, here is the irony and I knew that this would be the case ever since I asked for the vote.

The vote meant nothing.

It changed nothing, it changes nothing!

Yes, to be fair some of the members did point this out before the vote — viz. that they were not sure what they were voting for or against.

But, they voted against their support of ‘CC’.

However, ACS is already committed and on track with a CC-based curriculum, books and testing for the 2013 – 2014 school year. That die is cast. Rotate has been reached and exceeded.

To change course they will have to take some other votes.

Mrs. Locke (first) and I (second) BOTH stood up in the second public input and asked for clarification as to what the voted meant, its ramification.

Mr. Lander, to his credit again, pointed out that the vote didn’t change anything. He was on the ball today. I was impressed.

I chased after Mr. Kirby, who left (no doubt in disgust) after the vote and asked him if he understood what the vote meant. He didn’t.

What a Board.

Of, there was healthy applause from the public gallery, but not the teachers, when the vote failed. Sad.

But, I want to applaud and thank four individuals that truly impressed me today:
Richard Kirby, Carol Locke, Sandy Wyatt & William Lander.

Alton Central School (ACS) ‘Back To School Night’ On August 26: I Was Pretty Impressed. Some Dedicated Staff.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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This along with both verbal and written offers saying that he will happily work with kids needing additional help on Saturday or Sunday mornings is pretty impressive. Pretty amazing. Kudos.

This along with both verbal and written offers saying that he will happily work with kids needing additional help on Saturday or Sunday mornings is pretty impressive. Pretty amazing. Kudos.


With possibly one small exception, and ‘small‘ here is THE keyword, I really haven’t had any issues with the teaching staff at Alton Central. In general I find them to be a great bunch and we have been lucky to have had some very exceptional teachers for both Devanee and Teischan.

Yesterday’s ‘Back to School Night’ just confirmed my long held (since 2007 when Devanee started attending ACS) beliefs that we have some wonderful teachers at ACS. I feel bad about the ‘politics’, much of it having to do with The Board, that must drive them to distraction. Yes, it would be nice if they had a better, newer school BUT I was kind of surprised to see how well the Middle School was equipped and how BIG Teischan’s 2nd Grade classroom was. I went to school in a 3rd world, dirt poor country. There were 60 kids per class and our classrooms were 1/4 of the size of Teischan’s room for 19 or 20 kids. We managed and I did get one heck of an education!

Teischan has a teacher that was Devanee’s teacher 6 years ago. So we know her, we like her and she knows us. So that was good. We are happy.

Devanee is back at ACS after a 18 month hiatus after we took her out in February 2012 because of bullying. I am still not 100% happy that she is back at ACS. I worry. But trying to homeschool her was very stressful for Deanna though Devanee did do quite well with homeschooling.

All of the Middle School and the teachers there were new to me. I really had had no exposure to them. We spoke to 4 of them and I was very favorably impressed and grateful. Some very committed, dedicated and talented folks here. That is good. I heard Mr. LaFreniere tell another parent, while we were in line, that he would come in on a Saturday morning if a kid needed additional help. My ears pricked up. That is dedication beyond the call of duty. Then this morning Deanna woke me up, just after a 8 (and as such 20 – 30 minutes ahead of my normal wakey-wakey time) saying ‘Have you seen this … Mr. LaFreniere has given out his cell phone number?’. Neat. This is all good. I am glad. Mr. Brown the Social Studies teacher actually knew some place names from Sri Lanka. I was delighted. [Not many folks in NH know where Sri Lanka is, let alone know of any place names.] This is all good.

Deanna and I, individually and together, spoke with Mikel LaChapell, the Assistant Principal. This is the first time I have really had a chat with him. We had a good discussion about bullying and school safety. he now knows where we are coming from. If Devanee experiences any bullying this time around we will not pussyfoot around. I think everybody kind of knows that. 

So, that is where we are at. We were impressed. We were happy. Lets hope we can have an uneventful year at school — though I already know, because of a phone call we got from a prominent Alton businessman this morning, that the fireworks at the Board Meeting will continue. What fun. But, thankfully, none of the issues should impinge on the teachers — other than the ‘Common Core’ tussle, but the school is at ‘Rotate’ for the 2013-2014 school year. So that cannot be changed. [‘Rotate’ is the aeronautical term used by pilots during takeoff. At ‘rotate’ you are committed to the takeoff. You can’t change your mind. You have to get the wheels off the ground even if you are going to be crashing!]

How Come NOT A Single Teacher From Alton Central School (ACS) Or Prospect Attended School Board ‘Common Core’ Workshop?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ACS Board Aug. 8 Workshop … — Aug. 9, 2013.
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Common Core’ or ‘Alton Central’ from
Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


CCheadlinesWS


CCfoundation


So how come not a SINGLE TEACHER from Alton Central School (ACS) or Alton’s Prospect Mountain High School attended the much vaunted School Board workshop to discuss Common Core?

It is not like teachers don’t attend School Board meetings. They were there in droves earlier in the year when the $18M Bond was being discussed — all seated regimentally together. They attend when awards are being given out.

But, come this crucial, ‘KEY TO THE KIDS’ meeting on Common Core they are conspicuous by their absence.

It could not have been a coincidence or accident.

They were either telling us something or had been told by the Administration to stay away.

Their absence can be interpreted in multiple ways.

As I already said I was disappointed and amazed that the Administration did NOT stand up and defend their decision to pursue Common Core — at least in 2013 – 2014.

We had ancient folks from out-of-town standing up and talking about their teaching experiences from the 1970s — as if that had any bearing on CC.

There were all these non-educators that stood up and claimed that various teachers and unions were against CC.

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have some of OUR teachers there to give us THEIR impressions.

Because in the end, it is what they think that really matters?

I could be wrong but I have a sneaking feeling that the Administration told them to stay clear to avoid any flack!

That the Administration, to their dismay or otherwise, knows that they do not have a majority support by the Board is probably influencing their decisions.

Don’t we have an anointed, much-hailed ‘Champion of the Children’? How come he wasn’t there? Whether you support CC or not, somebody OTHER THAN the estimable School Board member, Steve Miller, the GUARDING of Alton’s school kids, needs to be there to represent the kids.

The Administration clearly demonstrated that they are not going to stand up.

I am doing my part. Don’t forget that it was I that got the ball rolling on CC — since I knew that we had an issue even more divisive than the $18M Bond. So I am doing my part — though I really am not passionate one way or another about CC. I am a great believer that you can take a child to a playground but you can’t get her to go on the monkey-bars.

New Hampshire’s Free, Pretty Amazing, Online, Virtual Charter School: VLACS.

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Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> Removing Our 5th Grader From ACS and Homeschooling Her!
>>Feb. 23, 2012.


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Deanna found out about this amazing resource through her extensive homeschooling network. It is pretty impressive. It uses the virtual ‘BlackBoard’ technology called ‘WhizIQ‘– the same technology used by most of the U.S. Universities and College for their distant learning or hybrid courses. I actually used it, 11 years ago when I taught grad and post-grad courses at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

Devanee has been using it, quite successfully and productively, since about October of last year. VLAC actually has assigned teachers that monitor her progress and actually call her up on the phone and talk to her! That is awesome. The Web-based technology is good and they even have a Help Desk for technical problems. Suffice to say parents can check on progress and grades online. And all of this is FREE. Kudos to all concerned.

There is a lot of material and it is good. Actually top notch. It is also not restricted to homeschoolers. Other kids could use it as an adjunct.

I hope that there funding is secure and if anything Concord makes sure that they can thrive. This is a great thing for New Hampshire. We should be very proud and support it.

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