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C'est la Z

Category: misc

Israel, Palestine, and antisemitism

I was born and bred in NYC. Went to public school and worked mostly in the public sector. I've lived my life among one of the most diverse populations in the world. As a Jew, I've also only lived in a communities pn which Jews, though a minority, are accepted and frequently assimilated. Throughout my life I've rarely faced antisemitism personally and feel that even in the greater USA, public occurrences of antisemitism have been relatively infrequent.
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~~Lost in the~~ Locked out of Amazon

A friend of mine reached out the other day, it turns out a friend of theirs was all of a sudden locked out of Amazon. Couldn't view videos, couldn't purchase, as far as I could tell and couldn't get to their paid for content. Amazon said that the user violated their terms of service but didn't specify how or when and after a couple of back and forths they declared the case closed.
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Cleaning out the office

This morning, Devorah, Batya, and I drove up to Hunter to start to clean out my office - the next step in officially becoming retired. I wasn't really looking forward to it. When I moved from Stuy to Hunter it was something of a rush so I basically boxed everything up that I thought I wanted to keep and moved it to the new digs. So, three decades worth of accumulated crap to deal with.
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Thoughts on Affirmative Action

Today our Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to eliminate racial considerations in admissions decisions or affirmative action. This will be celebrated by some and reviled by others even though it probably won't make a huge difference in terms of class makeup at most "elite" institutions. Given my leanings and who I follow, you can probably guess which views I'm seeing more of. The cases that have generally been brought against institutions implementing affirmative action usually amount to "I was more qualified than the affirmative action candidate you took" with public cries of "you're lowering standards.
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Last Class

So, this morning I taught my last two classes as a full time teacher. I still have grading for a few weeks and then some other things to wrap up my programs and, due to my contract and how terminal leave works I won't officially be retired for a few more months but today was kind of my last day of actual work, work. Some approximate stats: Taught approximately 290 specific course sections (probably a little more) Taught somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 different students Created more than 12 courses from whole cloth to go with new version of a dozen or so more Started three major programs from scratch (StuyCS, Hunter honors CS, Hunter CS Teacher Education) along with a non-profit and it's programs (CSTUY), Google CAPE, and aided in the design of others.
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I'm a fan of teachers but not of teacher appreciation week

It's once again teacher appreciation week. That's a week late in the semester ostensibly celebrating our teachers. Over the years there have been a few highlight moments for me during these teacher appreciation weeks but overall, I can't say I've been a fan of the "event." Why not? Because it's usually made up, superficial, and frequently patronizing. Some stores offer discounts. Staples and Office Depot offering essentially discounts on supplies for the classroom that teachers shouldn't have to purchase in the first place.
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The College Board wasn't cowardly

As I'm sure you're aware, recently, in his latest racist, fascist proclamation, Ron DeSantis threatened to stop offering AP African American Studies (APAAS) in Florida because, well, we can't actually teach our children anything resembling our actual rather checkered history. I'm sure you're also aware that the College Board just announced changes to APAAS which basically removed everything DeSantis found objectionable. I've been seeing articles, blog posts, Tweets and more all calling the College Boards act a cowardly one.
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Tech Layoffs and Workers Rights

Lots of layoffs in big tech recently. Overall lousy but I am encouraged by the number of people trying to organize the local community to be supportive in helping those affected. Clearly this "correction" can turn current employees worlds upside down and place individuals and families in precarious financial situations but the effects also affect the incoming workforce. In addition to layoffs, internships and offers have been canceled left and right.
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Things they remember that we forgot

Some time ago I wrote about some of the things our students remember (link - sorry for the bad formatting). Lessons, concepts, stories, or even small jokes I remember telling but had no idea that they left a lasting impression on any students. Fast forward to yesterday. I spent some time yesterday at a friend, a former student's company for their holiday get together. My friend was telling a story about how I helped get him started - I won't get into details but while I do remember the overall impression of including and encouraging him, I don't remember the detailed specifics.
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Retiring part 3 - What's Next

Links to the three posts in this series: If you're seeing this before the previous two posts, I'd encourage you to read post 1 and 2 first. Post 1: Why I'm retiring Post 2: What was accomplished at Hunter Post 3: This post As I said at the start of these three posts, I do want to stay in the game. Maybe take a break and definately slow down but I still think I've got something to contribute.
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