Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Ten

1.What do I tell confused parents when an F in the
grade book magically becomes a nothing of
 its own volition? Sorry sir, guess we don't give
that grade any longer, not until the end of the 
year anyway, when it is too late to do anything about it?

2. I’ve had to meet with my child’s counselor twice
 this year to fix an erroneous grade and a 
mis-calculation of his GPA." Parent Question
of Junior at TCW: Is the above question on errors
 in Academic Access being looked into? We've
noted similar problems. GPA errors in light of 
college applications are inexcusable.

3.What is your strategy for motivating and
 retaining talented, experienced, good teachers 
who are genuinely dedicated to the profession
 and the children? Because what I've seen and 
read about what has been done in ACPS in the
 last couple of years are demoralizing and enough
 cause to drive good teachers with brains and
talent and creativity to RUN out of ACPS! Is it your
 master plan to acquire and retain only yes men
 and zombie drones responding only to your 
commands, Sherman?

4.What meetings are so important that requires
 teachers and principals to be out of school 
so frequently? How is a school supposed to function
 with a third of its team and leadership 
missing? If the teachers already hired aren't
good enough to teach (one conclusion people can 
draw from all the required training), how are
subs supposed to pull it off?
By Anonymous on Dr. Sherman...Coming to the Underground on 3/23/11

5.Who was responsible for not scheduling Hammond 
students until after the school year 
started and did that person lose their job?
By Anonymous on Dr. Sherman...Coming to the Underground on 3/23/11

6.In her excellent book (often touted by Dr. Sherman), 
The Death and Life of the Great American
 School System, Diane Ravitch writes at length about 
the pitfalls of breaking larger campuses into
 smaller "learning communities". (It sounds good, doesn't it?) All of the dismal problems 
documented in her book mirror the disasters we are currently observing in our middle schools. 
Why do we perpetuate the myth that 5 schools (with 10 administrators) are better than 
2 schools, and why are we repeating the costly mistakes of those school systems who have 
already tried this costly, failing, strategy?
By Anonymous on Dr. Sherman...Coming to the Underground on 3/23/11

7.How do you know whether consultants engaged to deliver professional development to 
ACPS teachers know more about how to teach ACPS students than ACPS teachers do?
By Anonymous on Dr. Sherman...Coming to the Underground on 3/23/11

8.My question deals with IB, specifically MYP. I have worked in a MYP school and our
 instructional collaboration was done via teams, meaning the traditional MS teams. 
Our teams were disbanded when the 2 schools became 5; realistically how can we 
effectively plan (create collaborative lessons) without those teams?
By Anonymous on Dr. Sherman...Coming to the Underground on 3/23/11

9.Dear Sup. Morton Sherman, can you please explain to me, the parent of an ACPS student, 
how my child is benefiting from his teacher being away from the classroom almost 30% of the 
teaching time, since the beginning of this school year, for mandatory meetings, trainings and 
other ‘development’ activities? How is my child benefiting from being ‘taught’ by a substitute 
most of that time, and if he’s lucky, the substitute speaks English? hires were mandated to attend training/orientation without compensation, 
employees are required to tutor and attend meetings for free, your consultants don't work 
for free, why should I?
By Anonymous on Dr. Sherman...Coming to the Underground on 3/23/11

And the big bonus!!

1) If we have a surplus here in Alexandria then why do teachers overwhelmingly have to pay 
their own way for courses for their own recertification? When I started teaching here ACPS 
paid half and my department paid the other half. Now we get next to nothing. Unlike 
administrators the vast majority of us are not rich, nor do we see the rationale behind 
paying to keep our jobs. What we paid Skillful Teacher could have paid for college courses
 for dozens of teachers. Now I understand you could get college credit for ST but you had 
to pony up 200 bucks of your own money for credits that will never transfer from a university
 I would be ashamed to attend (one step above "go to college in your pajamas!"). 
2) Why is it that kids can walk right off a school bus and onto king street in the morning 
and nobody stops them? Seriously, nobody even tries. It's almost as if we tacitly encourage 
truancy. 3) Why are the hall monitors allowed to do absolutely nothing? Why do numerous
 (talkingdozens) of complaints not result in any discipline? Why are hall monitors taking kids 
out of my class to talk about sports? Why are they allowed to openly abandon their posts? 
Why are they allowed to be surly and unprofessional? In short: why are hall monitors not 
fired for things teachers would be? 3) Mort said proudly that no teacher took a pay cut 
because of the recession (during which we apparently collected a surplus). Every CTE 
teacher got 10 days cut from their work calendar. They said it was because of the 
recession when I asked. That's a pay cut for about 5-10% of the staff. How does that 
not count? We ever getting those days back or is central office hoping we'll shut up and 
take it? Until then I would appreciate if the superintendent did not say anything about 
people not taking a pay cut due to the recession. 4) Why is the superintendent not willing 
to pay staff for the extra time at the same rate they get paid every other hour of the day? 
It's like we have to work one half hour a day at a huge discount. I respectfully ask that we 
stop treating the education business as a charity and start treating it as a job. In short we 
have a proposed 2-3% pay increase for a proposed 6-7% work increase. Makes no sense 
unless you think we aren't worth the money. Maybe we should get on a bus to Fairfax? 
5) It was said before but I reiterate: How did the focus vis a vis extra time go from student 
time to extra time for staff development? Remember this email TC staff? "The state has 
strongly recommended, as part of our PLA designation, to increase annual instructional 
time by 300 hours. My proposals bring us very close to that goal." - Morton Sherman Says
 "student instruction" pretty clearly. Now we're told it will be PLP time (utter waste of time, 
I swear ACPS LOVES bureaucracy). What changed Mort? The plan is clearly different now 
than it was initially and no reason was given. In fact, I believe this issue has not been 
addressed at all. I'm hoping Mort comes clean and does not make this into a BS case about 
semantics (see, that I meant by student instruction was...). I charge Mort with moving the 
By Anonymous on Dr. Sherman...Coming to the Underground at 3:13 PM

Thank you, Dr. Sherman, we await your responses.


  1. There is nothing on Sherman's blog...he's blocked his site from accepting comments!

  2. I contacted the Superintendent's office and was told that the following individual can steer you to the right site. I've copied her information for everyone below:

    Contact Information
    Kelly L. Alexander
    Director, Community/School Partnerships and Communications
    Alexandria City Public Schools
    2000 North Beauregard Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22311
    Tel: 703-824-6635
    Fax: 703-824-6741


  3. I'm sure it takes some time to answer all of patient.

  4. The superintendent's blog is at:

    The comment guidelines are at:

    They only allow comments on current articles and I've been told they generally close comments after two weeks.

  5. The superintendent won't answer our questions because he can't--not honestly. To do so, would be, effectively, to write his resignation letter, for the answers to any and all of these questions most certainly do NOT come out in his favor. Truly though, we did ask some compelling questions, which I would love to see published in the local media...who knows, maybe then Mort would deign to acknowledge us.

  6. He won't answer these questions or any questions put to him because he can't go off script. As to his honesty, I think the discovery bridge survey results tells us all about his ability to deal with truth. There were no results published for the last question on the survey which had to do with him and his performance. Man up Mort let all see how you are really viewed by your employees and parents.

  7. What convictions? Lining his and his friends pockets while running ACPS into the ground and destroying property values? Super!

  8. Tuesday, no response.

    Let me get this straight, responding to these questions was his idea?