We're Working Over Here

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.

1. If Students Fail the CAHSEE, How Do They Continue to Pass Algebra and English?

There is widespread inflation of grades in LAUSD by teachers who don't want to incur the wrath of their administrators, who aren't protected by tenure and must coerce the teachers under them to continue socially promoting grossly under prepared students. How can a student pass Algebra when he doesn't know times tables?

2. The Rise in Los Angeles Gangs and LAUSD Truancy

While the actual number is significantly higher, on any given school day LAUSD admits to 35,000 truants. And yet, LAUSD allocates about 3 RSP Administrators (Truant Officers) for every 100 schools in LAUSD to address this problem? Will more police address this problem? Can an administrator acknowledging this problem end their career at LAUSD? Given the ISIS system that is presently in place, what would it actually take to correlate enrollment with actual attendance.

3. How Can You Teach to Grade-Level Standards When Students Have Not Yet Mastered Previous Years Standards?

Take Lenny's example: 76% of his school's students read at a 4th grade level (or below), and still he is required to interrupt their class time to take them to a college fair?(!) It is LAUSD Board policy that all high school students must be enrolled in Algebra, even if they don't know their times tables or basic math.

4. Social Promotion- Why Does It Still Exist?

It is hard to fail in school without nonetheless being socially promoted year after year to the next grade. Why does teacher seniority mean that the newest teachers are given the most problematic students? Look at Venice High School, they hire a new rookie teacher every year to teach 5 traveling classes in English and Social Studies -- classes that nobody else wants to teach. Talk about a formula form burn out.  

5. Average Daily Attendance as the Sole Basis for Compensating Public Schools

Warm butts in a seat should not be the sole basis of determining state to school district compensation. All this formula has achieved is LAUSD administration adapting to poor academic achievement to keep the money -- and the jobs -- at any cost. Well it really isn't any cost, it's the very specific cost paid by predominantly minority children in not reaching their potential and being treated by education "professionals" as if they couldn't.

6. Research Shows No Correlation Between Administrative and Teach Credentialing and the Ability to Administer or Teach

A group of researchers, Thomas J. Kane, an economist at Harvard's school of education; Douglas Staiger, an economist at Dartmouth; and Robert Gordon, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, have investigated whether it helps to have a teacher who has earned a teaching certification or a master's degree. Both are expensive, time-consuming credentials that almost every district expects teachers to acquire; "neither makes a difference in the classroom.". However, credentialing programs do help fund the California college and university systems that offers them.  

7. 50% of LAUSD Teachers Quit Teaching Within 5 Years. Why?

Could it have something to do with intolerable student behavior? Or the classes of 40 students (or more) that the administration tolerates in the name of ADA at any cost? If teachers don't quit education outright, at the very least, they get out of the classroom. At present, it is becoming fashionable to scapegoat teachers for administrative policies that they are in no way responsible for. While there is no question that there are a significant number of teachers who are burn outs that need to find something else to do with their lives, the vast majority of this group did not start out this way, but rather shut down from the impossible reality that they are asked to face every day without administrative or parent support.  

8. Comparing American Public Education to its Counterparts in Europe, Asia, and Cuba

While the task of fixing American public education might seem daunting, it is actually rather straight forward. Step 1: Stop social promotion. If a student operates at a 3rd grade level, give them the most qualified teachers to teach them at that level, so that the present humiliation that occurs against students starting in middle school is avoided -- nobody likes to be asked to do what they are objectively incapable of. Step 2: Get rid of the constant regime of testing. Give one test at the beginning of the academic year and one at the end. If you don't pass, you don't move to the next grade. Step 3: Spend the vast majority of public school money on lessening teacher to student ratio, something that now is the first thing to be compromised, while all educational supplier of books, computers, buildings and everything else get their funding before this primarily important factor.  

9. The Effect of Failed LAUSD Public Education on the Los Angeles Business Community  

Just talk to Costco, Home Depot, and any other retailers, who find LAUSD graduates totally incapable of dealing with even the minimum requirements of employment with their companies. The business community in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the United States as offered many times to deaf ears at LAUSD to become an active part of public education with financial aid and business experience -- LAUSD always declines, unless they can twist the proposal toward maintaining their control.

Let us know what we missed and/or take a guess at what we're working on.



01 2010


My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog. He was once entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so here i am!.I am looking for ways to add things to my blog!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

You are free to use anything from perdaily. In addition, if you send me your contact information I will link you to others around the U.S. who are fighting the same battles. Our plan for the new year is to develop an alternative media campaign of overcome the mainstream media blackout of stories about what is really going on in public education. In addition, we are working on an alternative platform of real, specific, and accountable public education reform, which we hope will offer a viable alternative to vacuous edspeak platiftude of Cortines and Co. This same nonsense is going on all around the country, but without it being reported in the media, we the majority have had no way to make what we know and see on a daily basis in classroom part of the reform debate. In addition, we are using university academics to offer data and historical context for what we posit while outing public education present administration as corrupt and fraudulent. If you fear reprisals for what you are and will do, go to gmail and open an anonymous email and then contact us. I know we can turn this around if we conquer our own apathy. Best, Lenny@perdaily.com

I've worked for LAUSD for eleven years and when I first entered the district I was so excited to be an integral part of a team that would be educating tomorrow's leaders. Little did I know that this is so far from the truth. The only education that I see that is actually going on is in the predominately white neighborhoods. We in the inner city are just warehousing students for the money and even the attendance is manipulated for federal funds. I have spent many a sleepless night just wondering how this can go on year after year and no one cares or does anything about it. just the status quo year end and year out. The people working with the children have the least input of what's going on in their classrooms and the support staff are so disgusted with the favortism system of most administrators and teachers that they've just given up or just stay home. Those of us who care keep coming but are fed up with the district and the unions who only have their own monetary and positionary gains at heart. They care nothing about the chidren, the teachers, or the classified staff which I happen to be one of.. I use to have perfect attendance, and go above and beyond the call of duty when it came to my kids but what for? Just to be promoted over and cursed out by employees who are at work for everything else but the children. Year after year we are given the most medically fragile children to work with but the hours and the better routes go to employees with connections downtown or in house or to those who are known to have slept with the supervisor regardless of their work ethic or attendance. I'M JUST FED UP WITH THE MESS AT THE SCHOOLS. Each classroom is like working in a new city, there is no continuity of care, procedures, rules, promotion,or teaching. But there is a lot of sleeping, cursing, gambling, domino playing, parties for the employees, inappropriate conversations and people disappearing for hours at a time, and I could go on and on but what's the difference its just another day at a special ed center that I can't do anything about because I'm just a normal nobody who loves my job and the children and who also cries because it seems that no one cares but me...

Debbie, It is demoralizing to be powerless. This summer I would like to build a platform with specific planks to contend with the failed vision of public education that we both know so well. What we know can set us and our students free, if we conquer our cynicism and apathy by structuring an accountable public education system alternative. Once we write this, we can use it to organize our colleagues to finally confront the demoralizing daily reality that has remained LAUSD for far too long. I am in Boquete, Panama this summer in an intensive Spanish immersion program. In addition, I would like your help in constructing an alternative since it should be clear to all of us that LAUSD will never and can never address our ideas without undermining their own privileges under the present dysfunctional system. Write and tell me what you know and what you think works and I will put it together into a first draft platform of our rational vision of 21st century public education that functions for all: lenny@perdaily.com

How much lottery money has been received and where has it been used?

What administrative and other out-of-school positions were actually eliminated?

Most importantly, why won't the District open their line budget to the public?

An empowered politically aware majority of educators, parents, and students can hold LAUSD responsible. Help build a platform of specifics that reflect our views of how public education should function, instead of continuing to confront a totally corrupt LAUSD bureaucracy that has unequivocally shown it doesn't give a damn as to what you and I are saying and will continue to do everything in its power to thwart it. As the majority, we have to either accept our responsibility to posit an alternative and organize those like us who know better or shut up, since continuing to be the historians of failure only creates apathy, which is the fertile ground in which Cortines and Co. are allowed to flourish. Share your ideas for an accountable alternative that works and I'll put it together- September is our deadline. Just remember, if administrators don't show up, school still goes on. If teachers don't show up, school is over. Better to create the consciousness that will allow a successful strike of limited duration than to watch the continued destruction of public education in painful slow motion by a bunch of morons who are themselves undoubtedly the product of this long failed public school system.

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