A sign indicated that balloon height specified the grade level of jobs available and balloon color, the subject area.
I had crossed my first threshold into the bureaucracy of the New York City Department of Education. High-performing schools took one look at my résumé and wished me well.
After all the stories were told, we would be able to focus on the much-needed literacy instruction. There was only one guidance counselor in the building, and I continued listening.
On some days I would sit for an hour at the end of the school day, staring at the wall and trying to make sense of what had happened that day.
In 1990, I started kindergarten at PS 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the borough's best elementary school, because my family lied.
My parents told the school that I lived in a family friend's house within the zone that guaranteed enrollment in this school.I wanted to see it work in a full-on high-poverty Brooklyn school, too.We've had tremendous success in our three years as a school: Test scores are improving, and our students are getting better and better at reading.Stories of resegregation in America's public schools are popping up everywhere, from Missouri to Alabama to New York City.Nationally, racial segregation in schools has returned to levels not seen since 1968. Among the city's 1.1 million public school students — the largest school system in the nation — children of color have an 80 percent chance of attending a school where the student body consists of fewer than 10 percent white children.The racial demographics of the 85 students arriving: 74 percent African American, 15 percent Hispanic, 9 percent Asian, and one white student.At the beginning of sixth grade these students, on average, read at a second-grade reading level.I began six weeks of training with the New York City Teaching Fellows that promised to prepare me to teach "at risk" students middle school English.As I began, a warning from my undergraduate mentor replayed ominously in my head: "The New York City Teaching Fellows Program is like putting a resident in for complex brain surgery." Though admitted to the Teaching Fellows, I still needed to apply to get hired to work at a particular school, so I attended a hiring fair As I entered the ballroom, I saw a maze of tables in a sea of balloons.The school did not have the budget for these basic necessities.To make up for these deficits, I wrote grants through Donors Choose, a nonprofit that allows teachers to try to fix problems themselves.