Archive for January 2010

Teachers Getting Paid To Do Nothing. Welcome To The "Must Place" Club.

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A source from White Middle School, in Carson, writes to us about a problem. Like many schools in LAUSD the staff has been forced to take in a "must place" teacher. What's a "must place"?
It's sorta like -- remember when you were in fifth grade and the teacher divided everyone into partners for a science project, and someone always got stuck with the boy who ate paste and couldn't even tie his shoes yet, so you just knew you'd have to do ALL the work but he'd still get credit for nothing? That was your "must place" lab partner. Now imagine that kid grew up and became a really bad teacher. Read the email....

31

01 2010

Berkeley High: Academic Success Versus Racial Equity Is A False Dichotomy

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About eight years ago when I was still teaching at relatively high achieving Palisades Charter High School, I was invited to a well funded program at UCLA, where we were asked, "What can we do in high school to improve the achievement of Black and Latino students, so that they might have greater success in post secondary education." The answer I gave at that time is still as political incorrect as it was then, because most politicians and educators refuse to accept the fact that the failure to assure appropriate physical and mental stimulation to the developing brains of Black and Latino children at the appropriate time in their development does immutable damage that cannot be subsequently rectified.

MAIL from PALI Charter: Building A "Pool To Nowhere", Nepotism, Waste

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A few people in the know at PALI Charter dropped us a note a little while ago... something about a "swimming pool to nowhere", piss-poor spending choices and a well-connected daughter-in-law that somehow became CEO of the whole thing.

30

01 2010

The Definitive Guide To Everything Perdaily: Including How To Use This Site (And Remain Anonymous).

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Recently we've gotten a ton of email from readers (which is good), but a fair amount of the questions revolve around "Can I remain anonymous?" and "How can I remain anonymous?" or "What is safe to submit?". Earlier we urged those in the education field to come forward, and while we told you why, we didn't do a good job of explaining how. Consider this the long overdue FAQ/tutorial for the site.

We've Been Busy + LAUSD Says We Hurt Their Feelings (Update Soon)

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We've been very busy with LAUSD nonsense in the last week....they're apparently angry because we won't stop picking on them (we have no idea what they mean) -- but don't worry -- we'll have more stories for you guys in the upcoming days.... KEEP THE TIPS UP! We aren't going ANYWHERE. tips@perdaily.com
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When Disciplining Students Is NOT Allowed

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It's like Deja Vu when I read the description of the intolerable situation our reader is being subjected to on a daily basis. I harken back to my own experience 4 years ago at Mark Twain Middle School, where Principal Lessie Caballero refused to discipline clearly disruptive and abusive students who were tacitly allowed to stop education from taking place. Down to the state "red team" audit, which found no discipline plan in place, our situations are exactly the same. And sadly, Principal Caballero -- in recognition of her excellent work -- has been promoted...away from students and teachers. Read the email...

26

01 2010

An Open Letter To Raymond Johnson (Chief Inspector, LAUSD Office Of The Inspector General)

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The only passage from this letter you need to read:
"When I referred to what I have been put through as a kafkaesque reality, as an intelligent graduate of Dorsey High School, you did not understand the reference to the writer Franz Kafka. Alas, this deficit in your education is precisely what must be eliminated in the future of inner city public education, if we expect to maintain this country as an educated and viable democracy."
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18

01 2010

"I Don't Get No Respect" -- Rodney Dangerfield, UTLA

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I once asked Day Higuchi what was done with all the things that were discussed and voted on by the UTLA House of Representatives. He said, "They go into a big book that we keep -- pause -- we really should do something with that book."
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15

01 2010

Classified Employee Tells Us: We Have It Rough Too

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By now most of you know about the email we got out to about 20,000 LAUSD employees. Well maybe it sounded a little too pro-teacher. There are tons of pitiful teachers out there. And the Union... let's not even go down that road (yet). But in the cosmic tug-o-war  between LAUSD and the Union, there's a whole constituency that goes ignored, everyone who isn't a teacher or administrator. What did I learn? The people at UTLA can be so petty.

14

01 2010

Beaudry Building: Worst. Security. Ever.

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When my good friend Lenny sent me a write up of his recent experience at the Beaudry building downtown to post I thought, "Meh. That's okay." Then a reader sent me an eerily similar story of security incompetence. Now it's a post.

Oh The Irony. Teachers Forced To Take Boring, Useless Classes Too.

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When your in a credentialing program called "Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment", at some point you might expect, well, teacher support and assessment. This isn't the case, says reader Anonymous Valley East (A.V.E.). The sessions -- besides being redundant -- taught A.V.E. how to "...keep my head low... and blend in with the culture around me."

Maybe LAUSD Has Money To Burn? Did You Ever Consider That?

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We asked teachers to send us examples of what agitates them about LAUSD. My inbox exploded violently minutes later. It seems that with proposed layoffs, furlough days and cuts cuts cuts, what you guys hate seeing most is -- drum roll please --  money being wasted. So the real question is: Does LAUSD waste money or are teachers just cheap? Kidding. Read the emails.
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13

01 2010

A Primer For Teacher Whistleblowers

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As teachers are laid off, medical benefits diminished, and salaries unilaterally cut, do you still think that saying nothing about the fraud you see perpetrated by the LAUSD administration means you'll be left alone? Imagine what Superintendent Ray Cortines thought when he looked out of his window and saw only 300 of the 33,000 members of UTLA demonstrating. The only power you have to stop the further dismemberment of public education in LAUSD is to use what you know...
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LAUSD Safety Engineer Writes Us: Teachers Harassed For Reporting Rodents... Schools In "Depressingly Poor Physical State"

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When a Safety Engineer says LAUSD is good at running "one two or ten schools out of 900", there might be a problem. Free-range rats? Millions of dollars wasted on inefficient and "rag tag" renovations? Count the times "management" and "mismanagement" appear in this letter and then ask yourself, what does a Safety Engineer really know anyway? Read the email.

Going Off The Deep End: PALI Pool Part 2 (With Response)

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Remember when we got that tip about the somewhat murky goings-on at Pali Charter? Well someone named "Amy" responded. Hmm, for starters, "Amy's" comment was so robotic, so LAUSDesque, so non-sequitur and completely void of any substantive information that we almost have to entertain the idea that it really was none other than Amy Held, Executive Director of Pali Charter. And if it wasn't her? Let's just pretend anyway....

8

01 2010

MAIL: Principal Knows Best

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A faculty member (from an unnamed school) writes in with this account of a principal who felt a pricey reading coach was needed for the upcoming school year. Just about the entire staff showed up to oppose the budget, as they felt literacy coaches hadn't worked in the past, and they simply didn't have the money to waste...

7

01 2010

We're Working Over Here

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Just because you don't see anything new right now doesn't mean we aren't trying. Quite the opposite. We're actually working on something gigantic. So gigantic, in fact, that we'll probably get in some sort of trouble (to be determined at a later date). In the meantime we'll distract you  with this list of stories the LA Times won't cover -- no matter how many times we ask.

"We Want You! (Again)" --- tips@perdaily.com

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Help us get the ball rolling. This site can't work without you, and we're not just saying that. Still not convinced? Then look at it this way, sites like consumerist.com get results because no large company  -- or in this case school district --  can afford bad publicity for very long, and that's where we come in. So tell us what you've got, and spread the word to every teacher you know. LAUSD ain't gonna to police itself. You can remain anonymous of course.
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6

01 2010

The Case For Industrial Arts In LAUSD Is Stronger Than Ever

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In the United States, the total capacity of all colleges and universities is only 40% of high school graduates. A relatively successful high school in LAUSD like Palisades Charter has only 30% of its graduates finishing a four-year college degree. It goes without saying that this rate is significantly lower in the vast majority of other LAUSD high schools. So why has LAUSD continued to tout going to college as the sole measure of success in high school?