Office of the Inspector General
333 South Beaudry Avenue,
Los Angeles, California 90017
Dear Mr. Johnson,
In reviewing my notes and your statements from our meeting on January 11, 2010, I have a great deal of concern as to how the LAUSD OIG's is presently functioning with regard to my own complaint and, more generally, how it does not appear to me to have the independence with which to fulfill its mandate as an entity capable of addressing pervasive fraud and mismanagement within LAUSD. In fact, it is my belief that the OIG's, as presently constituted, can actually be used to further these improper behaviors on the part of present LAUSD administration that it is supposed to oversee:
1. My initial complaint regarding the graduation and awarding of valid high school diplomas to 79 students from Central High/Tri-C with mostly elementary reading levels -- some as low as 3rd grade according to the STAR Reading Examination -- was filed on 8/11/09 and yet you had no explanation as to why you only contacted me for the first time on 1/7/10, five months after my initial complaint. The best you could offer is that you had only been assigned the case around Christmas by your boss Miles Bookstein. In trying to reach Mr. Bookstein, I found no reference to him on the LAUSD Internet site.
2. When I asked you why Janice Davis, my principal Janet Seary's immediate superior, was given the allegedly fraudulent Central High/Tri-C graduation to investigate by the OIG, you said that this was standard LAUSD procedure. In my complaint to LAUSD's OIG, there is the appearance of something less than an independent investigation of the fact when those intimately involved with the case are tasked to investigate it. Janice Davis is not only allowed to do an investigation without contacting me, where she predictable finds "no merit" to my claims, but she is also party to my notices of unsatisfactory acts and my two suspensions. In addition, she will hear my appeal of these charges on 1/25/10, a rather strange notion of constitutional due process. According to the canon of legal ethics, judges are suppose to "avoid even the appearance of impropriety, something that doesn't seem to be of much concern at LAUSD."
3. Although I have been subjected to a constant campaign of harassment since I made my report to LAUSD Office of Inspector General, Superintendent Ramon Cortines and his Chief of Staff Jim Morris, WASC, and the Los Angeles Times, you told me that there was no provision in the LAUSD Whistleblower Policy to do anything other than remove the recent negative notices of unsatisfactory acts and 2 suspensions from my record. There was no provision for compensating me for the damage to my career as a teacher, even though I have had a prior career of 15 years with LAUSD with excellent evaluations and no negative marks against me. Suggesting as you did that my only remedy would be to bring a lawsuit against LAUSD for intentional harassment and deprivation of job opportunity, intentional infliction of emotion distress, and loss of increased salary should not be the only avenue open to me for redress of grievance... Especially with LAUSD in the financial mess that it presently faces with the promise of more job cuts in the not to distant future.
4. In the same meeting, I mentioned to you that I potentially had access to evidence that showed that school attendance results had been changed in a fraudulent manner that was subsequently used to defraud the State of California, which pays Average Daily Attendance money to LAUSD based on these records. You said that no immunity could be offered to anybody who was willing to share these records with your office. Not only would your office not offer use or transactional immunity for documentation of fraud, but you said that these documents could be used against the person or persons sharing them with you in a subsequent action by LAUSD to dismiss them or in other potential actions taken against them even if you found that these people like myself are true whistleblowers under the LAUSD Whistleblower Policy. This policy is clearly not conducive to stopping pervasive fraud and malfeasance in getting people to come forward with what they know. The impression that I was left with by our meeting is that there are a great many improper activities that your office could know more about, if it truly cared to uncover them. And although you said to me that you could not be fired by Superintendent Cortines or his Chief of Staff Morris, it seemed to me that the primary purpose of your office was to protect the status quo at LAUSD. Your willingness to go along with what you know is wrong is a cynical belief that must change in all LAUSD employees; employees who should no longer let themselves off the hook by saying, "It's not in my chain of command." We all know where "I was only following orders" leads.
P.S. 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.
Leonard Isenberg, teacher
flickr: Charline Tetiyevsky
flickr: Charline Tetiyevsky