Ten Years in a Bronx Public School

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Laurel Sturt talks about her life in a high-poverty elementary school in the Bronx.Davonte’s Inferno: Ten Years in the New York Public School Gulag is a study of the crisis confronting today's educators and an indictment of the system.


Laurel Sturt

Comments [15]

Chris Whitney from Riverdale, NY

I agree 100% with JANIESE. "The teachers that worked hard were able to engage the youth....the lazy teachers complained!!"

Ms. Sturt has never mentioned what fashion companies she worked for since she had a "lucrative" career in fashion. Common sense says her design job was going nowhere, she took the teaching job for benefits, security, set pay. These type of teachers always seem to be the laziest and unhappy.

Jan. 06 2014 01:24 AM
janetmayer from retiredEnglish teacher and writer

It was refreshing to hear about a teacher's experience in the Bronx and her very clear analysis of the problems incurred under Bloomberg's control. I taught for 51 years in NYC, thirty in the Bronx, and I can see a longer broader picture of what teaching was like before and after Bloomberg. Poverty was always present but there was a concerted effort by trained experienced educators and administrators to solve each child's problems. We were not always successful but today, when only test results count, we are never successful. Untrained teachers,like the teaching fellows and TFA's and untrained administrators following a business model have destroyed what ever success we had. Testing has not made any poor or weak student improve-i blame it on corporate takeover of education-by people who know not what they do!

Oct. 18 2013 01:49 PM

Janiese, I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your teacher. Most of us have been hurt by a coach, teacher, counselor or other authority figure. You , however, are letting that experience blind you to the source of our dysfunctional schools. Bloomberg, Murdoch, Klein and company have wiped out an entire generation of teachers who fought in the trenches against ignorance for years without support. Bloomberg empowered a bunch of sick little tyrants to stab them in the back. Those teachers' families are devastated. I KNOW. I WAS THERE TOO. I never complained.but I sure had a lot of students who did. Mostly when they were asked to behave and study. Maybe you should try teaching. You have it all figured out. I would love to see you WORK your MAGIC.

Oct. 16 2013 11:51 PM
JANIESE from Manhattan

Hey Josh -

There are too many bad & mediocre teachers working in the USA (I've experienced it first hand as a student). These teachers will never admit that they are incompetent & unmotivated to research & learn new techniques....they will always blame other people. Other countries have more rigorous standards and only the best can teach.

Please remember Bloomberg set-up this system for a reason (other cities have done the same). There were and continue to be issues with the way children are being taught in the classroom. Unions should work with the administration to improve the new policies instead of complaining. I never hear teachers or unions offer any recommendations.....they just complain.

Oct. 16 2013 11:24 PM

Finally, someone is allowed to touch on the witchhunt that has been conducted by Bloomberg and his vicious principals. I've taught in The Bronx for 20 years. My principal has destroyed my career with her insane slander. I am now in Siberia [a rubber room] due to her McCarthy like attacks on any teacher making an upper tier salary. Meanwhile, the media has colluded with our tyrant mayor in his purge of experienced teachers, I was never a believer in conspiracies but I am now [or maybe the media is lazy and stupid. Whoops! Speaking up brought Bloomberg's KGB to my door.] Investigate the principals and the assistant principals. They are OUT OF CONTROL! And to think I never dreamed of being a teacher. I thought I was helping my community. Silly me.

Oct. 16 2013 09:56 PM

Again, it is my experience that the loudest and quickest people to criticize what teachers do and/or don't do, are the ones who have no idea of what teachers are faced with each and every day. If parents (rich and poor) and non-teachers were forced to "try" the job for just 1 full day, we might have a different attitude and respect for educating children. After all, no matter what, they are the future...

Oct. 16 2013 03:48 PM
Josh from NYC

JANIESE- You should be ashamed of yourself for criticizing someone who gave up a lucrative job to teach in an inner city school.
For some reason, you assume she was a bad teacher, when she clearly describes the oppressive system that Bloomberg set up that destroyed any chance of a teacher being creative in their lessons.
Lennie- At least you finally had someone on the show that told the truth about Bloomberg's successful attempt to destroy the public school system, but why did you only give her fifteen minutes?
You should have her back on to tell in more depth about the 'Education Mayor's' concerted attempt to destroy public education in NYC.

Oct. 16 2013 01:25 PM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

I worked as a school aide at Prospect Height HS, Brooklyn in the '80s while attending college, but with some corporate experience under my belt. I was astounded by the way bureaucracy stifled teachers creativity. Teachers were viewed only as cogs in the machinary - there to execute the edicts of the Board of Education. Though they had a better understand of the dynamics of their classrooms, creative suggestions for improving kids educational experience, because its origination didn't come from above, often were suppressed and discouraged.

A lot of mental days off were being taken by teachers.

Oct. 16 2013 01:21 PM
josh from Devante's Inferno-NYC

Finally, someone who is telling the truth about the nightmare of 12 years of the dictator Michael Bloomberg running the schools.
As a teacher whose career was destroyed after 16 years of Satisfactory ratings by a Principal who didn't like me or my subject, music, thank you Laurel for having the courage to speak out on the teacher genocide that's been happening in Bloomberg's NYC.
WNYC has completely ignored this nightmare (probably because Bloomberg has used his money to buy their silence), when it's been happening for TWELVE YEARS in their backyard.

Oct. 16 2013 01:03 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I know someone who became a teacher through Teach for America & was told by her principal that he'd like to give her the highest rating at the end of her 1st year but was going to give her the 2nd highest--so she could get the highest rating the next year to show the required "improvement." Bureaucracies can be so ridiculous!

Oct. 16 2013 01:00 PM

Teachers are supposed to develop with creative and innovative ways to engage and teach children. That's what you are paid to do. You were paid to teach at-risk children and there are successful examples. Please stop complaining and focus your efforts on engaging these children. I went to inner-city schools and the teachers that worked hard were able to engage the youth....the lazy teachers complained!!

You are patronizing.....your personality might have been the problem.

Oct. 16 2013 12:57 PM

I have respect for anyone who - like myself - has actual experience with teaching in any school, urban to rural. Without acknowledging the devastating effects of poverty on learning (students) and teaching (teachers), the system will never impact the educational inequities that exist between high and low SES communities.

Oct. 16 2013 12:56 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

K-12 has to be REPURPOSED! The purpose of K-12 (besides warehousing kids so their parents can work or whatever), should be to produce workers NOT academics. Kids should be taught to DO not just read and write. K-12 should be vocational not academic.

Oct. 16 2013 12:55 PM
Katherine Boyd from Brooklyn, NY

Thank you for having Laura Sturt on your show! How exciting to hear a teacher who survived 10 years in the NY City school system--i.e., an insider. She confirms the truth of what Diane Ravitch has been preaching for years now about inner-city public education: What teachers are up against, teaching to the test, the special needs of poor children and those for whom English is not their first language. As you probably know, Ravitch vehemently opposes charter schools advocated by Michelle Rhee and embraced by Obama, Arne Duncan, and Bloomberg and funded by corporate heads who know nothing about education how to teach.

Oct. 16 2013 12:54 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Constructivism = Communism. Works only on paper. Just left-wing collectivist nonsense.

Oct. 16 2013 12:50 PM

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