Friday, December 26, 2008

Accomplishing my goals

I was up at 5 am on Christmas morning. I don't celebrate Christmas, so it wasn't because I was excited for the holiday; I just couldn't sleep any longer. So I figured, as long as I was up, that I would get to work on those dratted goals. (I would like anyone who says that teachers are whiners who get so much vacation to keep this in mind: At 5 am on Christmas morning, I was working on school.)

...and it wasn't so bad. My first class had taken me two hours, and I ended up with wildly disparate goals for all my students and began to freak out. I figured that at that rate, it would take me ten hours to do all my classes and I would end up with 150 goals, and that was just for the month of January. But once I got rolling, it took about three and a half hours to do all my classes (plus that first class, which I re-did), and although there are a lot of different goals, at least some of them do overlap.

Some of the commenters on my last post had advised me to give all of my students the same goal. This is impossible, as administration had specifically told us not to do this. But there is overlap among my students -- those who don't speak English, for instance, have the similar goals of learning English vocabulary. I even went out on a limb for a few of my troublesome friends and gave them the goal of "voluntarily reading just-right books" -- if a kid sits with his hands over his ears every time you try to get him to read, shouldn't voluntarily reading be priority #1? In that sense I think this new "goals" push will be a good thing; it's almost like it's giving me permission to work with my students on what they actually need, not what the second grade standards checklist says they should need.

One commenter suggested that I align next month's goals with what I'm teaching for the month. Ahhh, this is a problem I didn't even mention last time. See, these standards that we're working with to set our goals -- they're first-grade standards. We're teaching second grade material in our mini lessons, and then using our strategy lessons to catch our students up on first grade standards. So what we teach in our mini lessons doesn't align with the goals we're setting for our students, which is a whole other sticking point on this new "goals" issue. We're basically saying to our kids in the mini lesson, "We're teaching you this, now go off and practice, but by the way you've got these three goals to work on that have nothing to do with what you just taught, and we'll probably never meet to review what we just taught anyway." So we're all wondering why our unit checklists don't align with the new standards, but rather with the Teachers College units of study.

And the other issue is that I've been saying for months that the TC units don't align with the lower-level books my students are reading -- you can't really practice "noticing when your characters go on an internal journey" when you're reading D or E or F books and there's one character who's obviously not going on any kind of journey -- and I'm always shot down with, "We're not going to dumb anything down for our kids." In my mind, it's not "dumbing down," it's simply making sure that the strategies and skills I'm teaching them are things they can use at their own level. When I taught them skills for tackling tricky words, that helped them. When I taught them how to retell stories using sequence words, that helped them. When I taught them how to infer by paying attention to the characters' actions and decisions? That did not so much help them. Not because I don't think they're capable of practicing that skill, but because it doesn't apply to the books that they're reading. So I finally got permission to use the first grade checklist with my ELLs, but only with my ELLs, which didn't make that much sense to me because I have some ELL students who are higher level readers than some of my non-ELL students; to me the major issue is with the level of their books, not with their ELL status. But "We're not dumbing anything down for general ed kids!"

Except that meanwhile, our entire revamping of the literacy block is based off the first grade standards. New York City public school teachers, am I right that you cannot make this stuff up?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Right now my only goal is remaining sane


It's the last day of school before winter vacation, and I don't even know how to begin to describe the utter madness that went down at school today.

We just found out that, starting the second week we return from vacation, we are going to need to keep track of individual "goals" for each student in every subject. Initially, because I can be a reasonable person, I thought this sounded like a good idea. I mean, I think it's good for my students to have goals. I think it's good for my students to know what those goals are. I think it's good to attempt to plan strategy lessons that address those goals. I even think it's good to keep track of those goals on paper so that students know what they're working toward. Goals + instruction = progress, so what's not to like?

But, like everything else in my freaking school, the goal project is going to be monstrous. First we need to choose one long-term goal for each student ("By June, Amy will move from level C to level I in reading"). Then, for each month, we need to choose three specific goals, based on this list of standards we were given. From now on, instead of pulling our strategy groups together based on our checklist of Teachers College teaching points from the month, we'll be doing strategy lessons from this set of goals.

Here are the problems with this.

* As we draw up our goals, we're going to be asked for proof in the data we've already collected that this student is lacking in a certain area. But for the first four months of the year, we weren't working on meeting those standards, we were working on meeting entirely different standards. So there isn't necessarily something in my notes that says that a student was deficient in a certain standard because I wasn't trying to get them to meet that standard, I was trying to get them to meet a different standard!

* I have 50 students. I need to write three goals for each of them. That's 150 goals, just for the month of January. There is absolutely no conceivable way I can address each of those goals in January; even if we weren't doing running records and the TC assessment and the ELA exam, there wouldn't be enough time. So those goals will probably get pushed over to February, which just means a lot of extra paperwork writing the same thing over and over again.

* Each student is supposed to have three goals in every subject and be able to articulate those goals. That's five major subjects (reading, writing, math, science and social studies), which is fifteen goals for each student. To me, that sounds like a lot of goals. I mean, hello, I have students who don't even know their own last name, let alone the goal they're working towards in reading. I don't understand why we have to start with three goals. Can't we pilot it with one and see how it goes?

* We also need to come up with a way to assess each goal at the end of each month. Most of our goals can be assessed most easily using running records and our TC assessments, so does that mean we need to do that for every student every month? How on earth are we going to have enough time to (1) meet with our students one-on-one to address their goals and (2) assess three goals per student per month?

Why are we doing all this? Not because we think it will benefit our students, but because the Quality Review says so. Seriously, my principal never once told us that she thought this would be a good idea -- it was all, "This is what the Quality Review wants, we need to make sure we have this in place for Quality Review." It's like the system-wide equivalent of teaching to the test -- like we're seriously going to drill our students on remembering their goals so they can articulate them if a Quality Reviewer happens to interrogate them.

I have such mixed feelings about this because I really do think that it can be a good idea, but I resent the way it was presented to us and the way we're putting it in place. First of all, I now have to spend my winter break writing 150 goals for my students. Today it took me two hours to finish one class. And I was surprised, and worried, to discover that there really isn't much overlap among the goals. My students really do need to work on different things. And I have always tried to give them that message, informally, when I meet with them in conferences: "What you really need to work on is being able to tell me what happened in your story, in order," I might say. But what we're expected to do now is take that goal and (1) write it in kid-friendly language so our students have a written record of what they should be working on, (2) phrase it in terms of our standards on that student's individual goal sheet, (3) plan individual conferences to address each student's specific goals and (4) assess each student's specific goals -- and all of this happens every month!

Just to put the paperwork in perspective: I already have a checklist that goes with my mini lesson, so that every day when I teach the mini lesson I check off whether or not the student mastered the teaching point. Then I meet with a group for guided reading, during which I fill out another guided reading checklist and also take notes on what I observe. Then I meet with another group for a strategy lesson based on a previous month's checklist, during which I fill out a label for each student writing what I observe and whether or not they mastered the teaching point, after which I go back to the checklist for that month and check off whether they've mastered the teaching point since the first time I taught it. And then, every two months or so, I do a running record on every student, plus write a label to go along with the running record, in addition to the TC assessment, plus a written label to go along with that.

Oh my Lord, I think I might be breaking out in hives. There was definitely a little bit of pandemonium in the air at school -- we all asked a million questions of our administrators, and they had no answers for us other than, "That's a good question, write that down." The thing is, we're putting this in place for Quality Review next year, so what is the rush to get it all started the second week after winter break? They didn't give us any uniform system or concrete answers on how to go about doing this (which, by the way, is totally and completely different from the system we've been using up until now), and yet they're expecting to see us doing this the week after we get back. At which point I guarantee you that we'll be told that we're all doing it wrong and changes need to be made, because the administration in my school would rather jump blindfolded into the deep end rather than dip their toes in the shallow end of the pool first. It's really too bad that our principal sucks, our UFT rep really sucks and our literacy coach really, really sucks.

I was so overwhelmed I didn't even walk out of school excited about winter break; I walked out freaking out about everything I have to do over vacation that will probably need to be totally revamped once we get back.

Other highlights from the last day of school before winter break:

* I sneakily conducted a battery of running records in order to push some of my students to the next level before the vacation in the hopes that when they come back in January, they'll be ready to move up again!

* Santa Claus came to visit my students and gave them candy canes. Then we all had to pose for a picture in which we said, "Merry Christmas!" No one mentioned the fact that actually, it was Hanukkah.

* Administration conducted surprise observations. For full periods. On the last day of school before vacation. That settles it: They are officially evil.

* In the middle of a running record, another student came up to me and announced that his reading partner had written him a post-it. He presented the offending post-it; there was a picture of a tiny box below the words, "This is the siz [size] of your d--k" (except as you can imagine, on the actual post-it that last word was spelled out). The accused student insisted that his accuser was the culprit. Then the accuser's story changed and all of a sudden the post-it had mysteriously been found in the center of the desk and nobody knew who had written it. So while Santa Claus was handing out candy canes, I sidled up to the classroom teacher and hissed, "Would you recognize handwriting?" So we pulled out their writing folders and rifled through them, literally saying things like, "Look at that K! The Ks match!"

* Someone in my office requested a whole bunch of copies of reading texts for her next unit. She got her copy folder back with a note posted on it that informed her that teachers would need to supply their own paper. Jigga-whaaaat?! I guess this shouldn't be surprising, as there isn't enough money in the budget for chart paper, either.

You know, I thought I could squeeze one more year out of this teaching career, but now? I'm not so sure.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Meet Miss Brave's students

I think that last year, when I was still young and idealistic (ha!) I wrote more about my students than I do this year, when I mostly complain about my draconian administration. I was so tickled yesterday to share the good news about Azul that I thought I would take the opportunity to introduce two of my students who really keep me up at night -- I could use some good advice on how to deal with them!

Neel has been in my school since pre-kindergarten. Last year was his second year in first grade, and he left it reading at a level B despite being held over and receiving Academic Intervention Services last year. It's taken this long to get Neel evaluated for special services, which he desperately needs because, hello, he should be in third grade and he doesn't even have a complete grasp of one-to-one correspondence yet. Finally everything went through and Neel was recommended for special ed placement, but the only one that's been available so far was rejected by Neel's parents. Meanwhile, Neel sees kids who have been in the country literally only a few months flying past him in reading skills.

Every time I meet with Neel, I get more and more worried about his lack of progress -- Neel is actually going backwards. He is obviously lost in mini lessons and even in small groups, so the only way to work with him is one-on-one, which is so difficult because of the time crunch -- I'm constantly getting pulled out of his class and asked to cover for other teachers. In the meantime, Neel retains nothing -- like, if we read a word together and then sound it out five times and put our fingers on it and say it and chant it and repeat it and get our mouths ready for the sounds and then I distract him for a split second and ask him to re-read the first word...he can't do it. He has literally almost no sight word vocabulary (maybe ten words?) whatsoever. I'm not even entirely sure he has a firm grasp on letter-sound correspondence! So clearly that's what Neel needs to work on, but the thing is, Neel worked on that in kindergarten and he worked on it in first grade and he worked on it when he repeated first grade. What Neel really needs is a small, intensive setting...something I can't give him.

William was in second grade last year, and he thought everything was a big, hilarious joke. Needless to say, now that William is in second grade again this year, things aren't nearly so funny. William is reading at a level G (sample level G text: "One day Flora went to the zoo. She looked at the giraffe and the giraffe looked back. She looked at the panther with its coat of silky black"), and all this year he's struggled with motivation. But just recently after guided reading, I was able to move the other G reader to level H (whereas I don't think William is quite ready yet), and he's completely shut down; he even refuses to come to the meeting area for the mini lesson. I tried a sticker chart; that worked for about a week. But William is so immature that it's like a complete battle even to get him to have a productive conversation with me -- he won't look me in the eye, he's breaking pens while I try to reason with him, etc. Most of the time I want to wring his neck, because his attitude is the major issue that's holding him back and preventing me from meeting with my other students, but I also understand where William is coming from -- if I had been left back, and I was a struggling reader, I wouldn't like to read very much either.

Lately William has taken to this attitude that he "knows all this stuff already" and that I have nothing to teach him. I got so fed up with this that I gave him an M level chapter book and asked him to read a little so we could talk about it. (Ironically, I realized later, it was about a student who had been left back. But William didn't notice this.) I ended up just feeling bad about it because it wasn't my intention to shove in his face a reminder of exactly how far behind he is, but I don't think William even realized that he really couldn't understand the book. His attitude is that he's always the victim, nothing is his fault, etc. Case in point: Today he finally came to the mini lesson about three-quarters of the way through it, did not sit in the spot where he belonged, and was obviously fooling around out of my eyesight because two other students were laughing at his antics. Then after the mini lesson, he gave me the same line about how he knows everything already. So I asked him to tell me what I had been teaching in the mini lesson, and he said, "I couldn't understand it because Edgar and Ariel were laughing at me!"

It's like William wants to be a better reader, but he's not willing or not able to put in the actual word or concentration to do it; he thinks it'll just happen like magic, overnight. He also hates to read his "just right books," because I'm sure he realizes that they're "babyish" compared to the books he should be reading. So today I tried a new tack: I gave him five minutes at the start of independent reading to choose any book he wanted from the library to read. When his five minutes were up, he had to read from his book baggie. It seemed to work...for now. We'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Music to my ears

Remember Azul, my Arabic B reader who was desperate to move up to level C? Azul was 100% convinced that he was ready. So I sat him down to do a running record. I think we were both feeling the same way: excited, but nervous! (Azul: "I so scared! I really want be C!")

Well, Azul didn't move to C.

He moved to D.

D!!!!! I have students who have been at my school for three years and haven't moved to D. Needless to say, Azul was pleased. OK, scratch that -- Azul was thrilled. He pumped his fists. He clapped his hands. He did a little happy dance all the way over to the D book bin.

Later on, I saw Azul in the hallway. "Thank you for D!" he called out to me.

I stopped. I turned to look at his beaming face. I pointed at him. "You should be thanking yourself," I said, "for working hard."

Azul nodded solemnly. Then he drew a letter E in the air with his finger. "Next we go to E!" he chirped.

I was thinking about giving my students pencils or trinkets as gifts this holiday season. But what I really wish I could give them is motivation like Azul's.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Parents are the first teachers

In all the excitement over our neverending assessments, I realized I never wrote about parent-teacher conferences back in November. Out of my 50 students, I saw 32 (sets of) parents (plus additional guardians, siblings and translators). I think I saw the most parents out of all our AIS providers, and I was pretty pleased with the turnout. My fiance had encouraged me to make up some kind of handout to give them, so I quickly put together some tips on "How to Help Your Child Succeed in Reading" -- read with them at home, ask them questions about what they're reading, etc.

A few things really stood out while I was talking with parents. First of all, even though I am constantly stressed out by my administration, by my students' agonizing lack of progress in reading, and by the little day-to-day behavior issues that can make Readers' Workshop a frustrating experience (i.e., when I'm working with a small group of readers and from the corner of my eye can tell that no one else in my group is actually reading independently as they are supposed to be doing), for the most part I have really great kids. For the vast majority of parents with whom I spoke, I was able to say things like, "He is a pleasure to have in my reading group, she always takes the strategies I teach and tries to apply them, sometimes he has a little trouble focusing but I can tell that he really cares about his progress," etc. Just recently I was discussing with one of my colleagues the enormous difference between last year's second graders and this year's; sure, this year's has their moments where they're immature and disruptive, but I will take immature and disruptive any day over defiant and disruptive, which is what I dealt with last year.

The second thing was how much these parents really want their children to succeed, but don't have the tools to help them do so. Sure, I do have a few parents who have the attitude that their child's education is entirely in my hands and it's not their problem (probably these are the parents who didn't bother coming to see me in the first place). But most of the parents seemed genuinely concerned about their children...but at the same time they were at a loss about what to do. First of all, a lot of the parents who came to see me didn't speak English all that well, and although they listened and asked questions, I got the sense that they didn't entirely understand. With some of my kids who are really far below grade level, I was trying gently to infuse a sense of urgency into our conference -- I showed the parents a Junie B. Jones chapter book and said, "This is an M book, where we would like your child to be reading at the end of second grade," and compared it with, say, Harry Goes to Day Camp, which is a level F. (And level F is pretty good for my readers -- I would say the majority of my students are in the F/G/H range, but I do have some students stuck at C and D who have been there for ages that I am very concerned about.) And one of the mothers nodded at me and said, in broken English, "Okay, teacher. We do what you say."

It was a little heartbreaking, because I know she wants her son to do well, but it's obvious that she can't help him with his homework or read with him in English. Which is why (tangent alert!) I was so ticked off to read an obnoxious letter in Time magazine today that said the only reason teachers are against merit pay is that they are "painfully aware of their collective ineptitude." Just for kicks, let's compare a student at my school (we'll call him Student A) with a student at a middle- or upper-class school (we'll call him Student B). When Student A goes home, his parents can't help him with his homework, because they don't read English. They don't have the money to get him a tutor. They don't have a lot of books in their home, other than the ones that Student A brings home from school. And they both work, so they don't sit around quizzing him about what he's reading. Now, when Student B goes home, his parents are around to make sure that he's doing his homework. Maybe if he falls behind, they get him a tutor. And they speak to him in the language that educators use, so that he's used to hearing all these comprehension questions.

I don't want to get caught up in a trap that says my students can't succeed because of their backgrounds. But I do believe that they are already at a disadvantage -- not because they have "bad" parents, but because there is a cultural gap between their backgrounds and the backgrounds of those of us who are in positions of power in the educational system. And I do believe that it's deep-seated and informs so much of how we measure our students' success and knowledge. For example, just recently I was reading a D level book with my students that was taking place around the house -- a garage, a garden, etc. I had to spend a long time just talking with them about what a garden is and what a garage is because none of our students live in actual houses and none of them has a garage or a garden. Yet it would be so easy on a comprehension test to ask a question like, "Which of the following belongs in a garage?" and score them wrong if they didn't choose the car. And that's why merit pay for teachers makes me a little suspicious -- not because I don't want to work hard to improve my students' scores, but because there's only so much I can do before I send them home and whoops! -- nobody at home can get on top of them and make sure they're doing what they're supposed to. I spoke with one father of a girl whose major problem is comprehension -- she'll read a story and then sort of invent her own retelling of it. I suggested that they ask her questions at home to monitor her comprehension. He told me that the problem with this is that he works at night, so he isn't at home, and his wife does not speak English, so if she asks her questions, "whatever Noelle says is right!" So many of my kids already speak better English than their parents do, and it was their siblings who did the translating. I think the parents have a sense of this and it translates into some kind of a power difference between us. I definitely met parents who were a little embarrassed that they didn't speak English that well, and therefore they didn't advocate for their students the way a native English speaker would. And the kids know it, too -- my obnoxious second graders from last year would use that when I told them I would have to send a note home or call home: "No one at home speaks English," they would say tauntingly.

So, even though I meant this to be a post about parent-teacher conferences, it ended up being a post about the broader problems with our educational system, of which there are many, and which I am sorry to say cannot be fixed by offering me more money to educate my students. I mean, let's say I worked in the financial sector and I could earn more money by staying really late at the office to work long hours. Would I put in the extra time? Sure. But I can (and do) spend long hours working before and after school, only the kids aren't there. Does that benefit them? That's why I'm coming around to the concept of longer school days and/or year-round schooling. I don't know if I would want to be the teacher who works over the summer, but there is no doubt that my students' reading levels dropped dramatically over the summer and it took months just to get them back to where they were in May. I just read Malcolm Gladwell's new book, The Outliers, and after I finished I buried my head miserably in my hands and moaned, "He's right, they need to be in school more." They need tobe in school because they aren't getting it at home, and no amount of merit pay can make up the difference.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The saga continues!

I wish I were talking about some great movie sequel, but I am referring, of course, to our assessments. As you know, loyal readers, I spent the majority of November working like a dog to administer and grade these assessments, despite the fact that we had neither entered nor analyzed nor utilized the data from the last round of assessments. And, against all odds, I prevailed!

Or, so I thought. This morning we had a meeting at which we were told we would have to re-enter each student's individual results onto a class summary sheet. Had we, in fact, already done this? Yes! But when we asked what happened to the last summary sheet, we were dismissed with a curt, "I don't know."

Um. So okay, let's review. As part of my job, I did the following:

1. Administered the assessment to each individual student.
2. Graded the assessment of each individual student.
3. Entered the assessment of each individual student onto a class composite summary sheet.
4. Handed off the data to people who are supposed to be in charge of entering it into the computer.

And those people, as part of their jobs, did the following:

1. Lost my data.

Now, I would say that I learned An Important Lesson from this, the lesson being Always Make a Copy of Important Things Before You Hand Them In, but my school has an even more important lesson for me, this lesson being The Copy Machine Is Always Broken.

Immediately after this meeting, as if the universe knew I was already having such a fabulous day, the wheel fell off my easel. Now, you may remember that I already experienced this problem earlier in the year, and you are right -- but that was a different easel. At this point, all the easels are broken. They are lined up in the hallway, all sad and crooked and tipped to one side. I do not know what I am going to do without my easel. I don't even want to turn to for a new one, because the truth is that I hate that stupid easel. It just barely fits through doorways, so when it goes awry, as it frequently does, I usually end up smashing my hand against the doorway. Today, when the wheel fell off, the whole easel tipped to the side and came down on my foot. Did it hurt? Yes. Did I manage to keep from exclaiming an unsavory word in front of my students? Yes! Thank goodness for small victories.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Seven random facts

I'm pretty sure I've been tagged to do this already, but that was last year, and so here I go again.

1. My favorite flowers are hydrangeas. My father recently pointed out that in It's a Wonderful Life, which is one of my favorite movies, Mary hides in the hydrangea bushes when her robe accidentally slips off.

2. The very first time I met my future husband, we went running together (outside, in January). My friends thought this was an exceedingly strange first date. To which I now say: Ha ha!

3. I prefer reading non-fiction to fiction. I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's new book, The Outliers, and now I'm reading One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding.

4. I am a member of New York Road Runners, which pre-assigns runners to "start corrals" in races based on their previous best running time. I'm really proud of myself because I just ran a 4-mile race in 33 minutes flat (8:15 per mile), thereby moving up my corral! Now I know how my students feel when they change reading levels.

5. I dislike both white chocolate and dark chocolate. Only milk chocolate will do!

6. I dream about school with alarming frequency.

7. I am an only child, and so is my future husband. Our poor children won't have any aunts or uncles or cousins :(

Thursday, December 4, 2008

C is not for cookie

Yesterday my AP came to see me. I was wary, because I thought she was coming to switch around my reading groups, but it wasn't that. Instead, it was worse: She came to ask me why some of my kids' reading levels didn't go up.

She was especially interested in my students who are still reading at level B, who are primarily non-English speakers. She kept asking if I was sure they weren't ready for C, as if I wasn't keeping track of their abilities and they had magically developed a robust sight word vocabulary and decoding skills overnight. She also made it seem like since they do have one-to-one correspondence, they should be ready for C books. But in my opinion, the leap from B to C requires the biggest jump in reading ability. At level B, all they have to be able to do is match the number of words. For example, if the book reads, "We play music," and the child says, "I love reading," the child is correct! Simply because they know that there are three distinct words on the page. (Believe it or not, this is a huge and difficult skill for kids to master.) But in order to read level C books independently, we expect them to read the words accurately. My English language learners have one-to-one correspondence and they can even memorize the patterns in their books, but they still cannot decode, they don't possess any sight word vocabulary, and they can't answer comprehension questions because they don't understand English.

Then she started in on my students who have been stuck at the same reading level since last year. Before I tell you what she said, let me first make it clear that this has been a crusade of mine since our last round of running records. I made a list of all of my students whose levels didn't change and I posted it up next to my desk. I went through each individual running record, took notes on the exact skills that seem to be holding them back from reaching the next level, and started doing strategy lessons based on those skills. At the time it seemed really daring -- checklists be damned!

So then yesterday my AP was like, "I think you need to look into what's holding them back from reaching the next level. You might need to teach them explicitly those skills. Maybe look at their running records and plan some strategy lessons."

I don't know if I should have been...but I felt a little insulted. First of all, I have yet to be observed this year by my AP, and it's not like we have regular meetings where we plan and discuss these things. So to have her tell me I should be doing something that in actuality I have been working my butt off on, which she would know if we communicated more, was disheartening. In addition to the fact that I felt a little like I was being interrogated in the first place as to why my kids aren't moving up in a way that made it seem like I didn't know them and their abilities well enough to be able to explain myself. As if I would sit there and say, "Hey, what the heck! Sure, let's bump her to C!"

Meanwhile, my colleagues tell me that Teachers College is adamantly against rushing kids through the reading levels, but that my administration has been doing this kind of "Why aren't your kids moving?" interrogation for years.