Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

Hockey Season Is Over — 5/6/07 May 6, 2007

The hockey season is over. I don’t have to turn on NBC or Versus for a long. long time.

It is with sadness that my Brendan Shanahan jersey, the one that had an undefeated record of 14-0 (including four playoff wins), is hanging in my closet after suffering its first defeat. It will have to wait until next season to join a rotation with my Jagr, Messier, Esposito and Leetch jerseys. My lucky Brendan Shanahan shirt, the black one celebrating his 600th goal early this season, also suffered its first defeat and is in the wash.

The playoff beard is already shaven off, and I won’t have to shave my head for the Stanley Cup Finals. Although my 8th Graders were thrilled at the prospect of me shaving my head, nothing good can come of a fat, old white man shaving his head … it is too ugly to put into words.



Devils Go Bye-Bye and the Rangers Need a Miracle May 5, 2007

I never much cared for Marty Brodeur of the Swamp Gerbils, even though he is one of the greatest goalies every to play in the NHL. I don’t like his smugness and I don’t like crybabies. To help end the Gerbil season, Marty made some really dumb comments about Ray Emery, the Ottawa goaltender. He then tried to spin it and back-peddle but, instead, wound up with filet of foot in his mouth and a 3-2 loss in Game 5 (Ottawa takes the series 4-1).

  I fear that the Debbies’ departure from the playoffs may be a bad omen for the New York Rangers. The possibility of a Rangers-Debbies series for the Eastern Conference championship (and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals) would have been incredibly awesome. It would have been a fabulous boost for the NHL and hockey. Instead, the specter of a Buffalo-Ottawa final means that hockey season will be over for me (and the NY Metro market), but I will get a huge refund from Madison Square Garden (maybe I can finally buy that fishing rowboat!). (more…)


What Goes Around Comes Around May 4, 2007

Another week in the books and there are paybacks galore combined with lots of other interesting news. So we take a moment to reflect and hand out the jeers and cheers where they are most deserved.

Bush, No Child Left Behind and Killing Education

George W. Bush visited a very effective charter school in the New York City neighborhood called Harlem last week. Georgie would like to have everyone believe that it was his NCLB legislation that magically transformed education in Harlem into a state-of-the-art model for educators everywhere.

Frankly, Mr. Bush, you are full of s**t.

First, the Harlem Village Academy Charter School should be very proud. The entire community has made a strong commitment to success through learning. From uniforms to well-organized classrooms to highly respectful students, the teachers and administration have made their impact. Using a longer day and assessment that drives the curriculum, they have raised student achievement through methods that all educators have been endorsing for years. Assessment that drives teaching is a far cry from the standardized testing mandated by NCLB (which is just a measure of test-taking, not learning or knowledge). (more…)


Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell April 29, 2007

The NHL lost a fan today at about 4:30 PM EDT. 

He was not an ordinary, everyday hockey fan. He was a long-time season ticket holder for the New York Rangers. He and his family not only attended games at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, but also traveled to other cities that had difficulties filling their arenas (whether it was due to the team’s fortunes or just a general disinterest in hockey).

Like many hockey fans, he became interested playing the game as a young boy until an injury prevented further play. He was also lucky enough to have a dad who had access to tickets at MSG, and he was a frequent spectator.

Like most Ranger fans, his life as a Ranger fan had nothing to do with winning and everything to do with tradition and loyalty. He had to wait 38 years of his life to finally see Mark Messier hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in hockey’s top-rated market. Following the joy of 1994, the ensuing twelve seasons were, at best, frustrating and included some of the greatest team failures in the Rangers’ long history.