Archive for February 2010

The Reason We Love Teaching

teacher.jpg
At perdaily, we had hoped to balance all the negativity out there with articles about the commitment and idealism that got us into teaching in the first place. While the last 60 stories we have put up on the site needed to get said and had an incredibly salutary effect on ourselves and hopefully our readers, we need to do something more than just respond the LAUSD dysfunction. Rather we need to posit our vision of who we are as educators and remember that most of us still love those moments when real learning takes place.

26

02 2010

ADA At Central High: By Any Means Necessary

cram.jpg
On February 12, 2010 at the Central High Beverly Classroom site a Latino student was dumped into this site without adequate screening. This Latino student subsequently stabbed and almost killed a Black student, because Principal Seary was in such a hurry to get her numbers up, adequate screening that considered things such as conflict in gang affiliation or propensity for violence was not sufficiently taken into consideration. While regular schools have metal detectors, Central High School/Tri-C -- which gets the most problematic students that have been thrown out those regular high schools with metal detectors and other forms of security -- has no daily process in place to protect either the teachers or students. What is more important to Principal Seary is what she said in a faculty meeting several years ago, "The students may come and go, this is about our jobs."

Let's Talk About Charter Schools And Race

chartersign.jpg
A major theme that we have tried to address in several of our posts is the idea that virtually all public education reform in the United States adapts to the continuing existence of urban predominantly minority filled school districts that have failed for generations. In California and elsewhere, states have taken over individual schools and sometimes entire school districts, but there appears to be an irrational taboo to not even consider dismantling/reconstituting these school districts. It is the very continued existence of these districts in their present form that requires public education reform in the first place. These districts as presently constituted will keep sabotaging any real educational reform that they see as threatening their present interests.

LAUSD: Fixing Public Education One Door At A Time

doorrepair.jpg
Frequent contributor Rez of Babble submits another tale of life in the top-down world of LAUSD, where no good act goes unpunished. It seems rather bizarre that not only is the intellectual competence of teachers likely to get an administrator(s) on your case, but highly competent craftspeople fear punishment, if they dare to do their work with the creativity and skill that years of experience has given them. This is why it took six crews, seven visits and almost two weeks to fix a door. Workers who wish to expedite the process without infuriating the District are known to whisper "We'll fix it, but you can't let anybody know that I did". One wonders how long it would have taken if the door did not belong to an administrator? READ THE EMAIL...

23

02 2010

A Parcel Tax Is The Best You Could Come Up With? Seriously?

cortinesfail.jpg
In a school district with a poverty rate of 80%, during a time of economic downturn, where 91% of the 30% Whites that remain within LAUSD's boundaries have chosen to go to private or parochial school, why would you think a two-thirds majority of taxpayers would support a $100 a year property tax for 4 years to sponsor a failed school system that many don't use and more wish they could escape from -- if they weren't so poor?

The Friday Mailbag

mailbox5.jpg
Sorry for the delay. Email time!

19

02 2010

What Does Every Plan For Reforming Education Have In Common? Big Goals, No Specifics.

buzzwords.jpg
One of the greatest hurdles to overcome in creating a vibrant education system out of LAUSD is the realization that the difficult work necessary to undo generations of poor public education can't take place until greater specificity is given to the catchy phrases that continue to be proposed as reform. Sadly, much of LAUSD administration is also the product of the same educational system that many years ago failed to give them the analytical skills necessary to sufficiently define and implement a reform model to address complex problems, many of which require something more than just money and "yes or no" answers.

5 Ways I Can Still Help LAUSD + Perdaily Mentioned In LA Weekly Blog

help2.jpg
While I am happy to be away from the toxic and administratively sanctioned unhealthy environment that physically and mentally continues to do damage to my fellow teachers, I'm saddened by not being allowed to work at my profession as an idealistic, honest, and motivated teacher. While a proper independent venue will ultimately decide the disputes I continue to have with LAUSD, there is no reason why I can't still be allowed to at least earn my salary and benefits, even if the District doesn't seem to care about my trivial pay in light of an over $640 million hole in it's budget. LA Weekly even mentions it HERE.

18

02 2010

You Should Help Us... Help You (Which Helps Us)

suggestionbox.jpg
Let me brag for a second... it was a little over three months ago that Lenny and I launched perdaily. Did I mention we have had no idea what we were doing? Fast-forward from December to now and it's incredible to think we started out with just three or four visitors -- mostly sympathetic family and friends -- and now we're averaging anywhere from 200-400 people a day. We could do even better though, we just need YOU to tell us how!

17

02 2010

Let Me Propose A Wager With Superintendent Ramon Cortines

wager3.jpg
Here's the deal: I bet Cortines my whole salary against his, approximately 3 to 1 odds -- since I am obviously the long shot here (without considering the $150,000 a year he gets from Scholastics) -- that I can balance LAUSD's budget without firing or laying off any employees necessary in the actually rather straight forward process of teaching students. In the group think world of public education where Superintendent Ramon Cortines has spent his 50 year career, he has become so accustomed to accommodating to this failed system that it is unrealistic to think that he could ever implement the difficult changes that must be put into place if we are to finally create a successful 21st century education model.

Teacher: I've Been Waiting For Classroom Repairs... For FIVE Years

hardhat.jpg
How would you like to teach in a class with broken baseboards and ceiling tiles, graffiti and rats? Not only is the room dilapidated, but it's been burglarized one...two...three...FOUR times. Don't worry though, our teacher says repairmen have been to the class on a few occasions over the last half-decade -- they just aren't allowed to fix anything. Sorry, district rules! READ THE EMAIL...

15

02 2010

What's In The Mailbag? Who Won Mail Of The Week?

mail3.jpg
It's Friday! Let's save the song and dance and get straight to the mail -- but wait -- this ever-evolving segment now includes a Mail Of The Week feature. Who snagged the first ever MOTWA?

12

02 2010

LAUSD Shaking Teacher Down For $500

moneyback.jpg
Teacher Nathan MacAinsh didn't notice anything different about his paycheck back in December, but according to a letter he recently received from LAUSD, a sick time error means he owes the district $521. He's now been given ten days to respond or they'll deduct the entire amount from his next paycheck -- adding further insult -- if he chooses to dispute the error it could will take months to resolve, and he'd still have to cough up the money in the meantime. So... LAUSD makes payroll mistake... LAUSD waits two months to admit payroll mistake... LAUSD blames you for their payroll mistake. READ THE EMAIL...

My Last Lesson From The Rubber Room: Edspeak 101

edspeak.jpg
As sort of a nostalgic bon voyage to the ethereal reality of the almost empty 2 floors of rented space that is Local District 6, I thought you might enjoy my translation of the Orwellian edspeak that was posted on the wall for the Leadership Labs that were taking place that day.

LAUSD Says I Should Just Stay Home From Now On...

homesweet.jpg
Guess where my new office is? I'll give you a hint: it's quiet, centrally located, and only steps away from my kitchen, bedroom and living room. Job Requirements: Must be able to make two phone calls a day to my principal. Two! Job includes full salary and benefits. And this is supposed to be my punishment for starting a website?

An International School In Los Angeles -- Why Not?

hotel.jpg
VIA Lenny: Several years ago, when LAUSD acquired and demolished the old Ambassador Hotel site in the Mid-Wilshire area, I proposed an international school like the one I had been involved with for 7 years, when I lived in France. Although my proposal was included in the environmental impact report, nobody ever contacted me about the proposal nor did I ever have the feeling that LAUSD was open to ideas on what to do with the site. I must emphasize that my proposal was not something that was untried, but rather a vibrant multilingual and multicultural system of education that has been up and running in France since shortly after the Second World War. I guess LAUSD had a better idea...

10

02 2010

Reporting Live From The 'Rubber Room'

rubberroom.jpg
In the spirit of the Academy Awards, I would like to thank my Principal Janet Seary, her boss Janice Davis, Superintendent Ramon Cortines and his chief of staff Jim Morris for becoming unofficial patrons of perdaily.com, and our campaign to propose and institute real change and consequences for all those that continue to undermine LAUSD for their own personal gain. Being able to sit for 6 ½ hours a day and write about what's wrong with LAUSD is, to quote Hamlet, "a consummation devoutly to be wish'd."

9

02 2010

The LAUSD Dinosaur: The Truth Behind The Economics Of Scale (And Waste)

dino.jpg
The only justification that I have ever heard for the continued existence of LAUSD is the economics of scale. You can see this principle in practice in a company like Costco or Home Depot, where these companies abilities to buy larger quantities gives them a significantly lower unit cost, which ultimately gives them a market advantage over smaller businesses whose unit costs are higher. Nothing could be further from the truth in LAUSD. READ THE REST...

Yesterday I Was Removed From Class In Handcuffs...

cuffs.jpg
Although I was removed from my classroom today -- after being put in handcuffs in front of my students -- I had an excellent day of teaching to go out on. Nobody has ever really tried to teach my students. Rather, they have been moved through grade after grade, where they have been allowed to copy out of books that they don't understand or spend hours doing graffiti to occupy themselves. So today, I decided to do LAUSD pedagogy and state standards for real. Class started with reading Richard Conan's The Most Dangerous Game, and ended with me almost being arrested.

The Friday Mailbag: A Sampling Of This Week's Email

mail2.jpg
Every Friday (starting now) I'll open the mailbag up and give readers the chance to have their thoughts, suggestions and/or well-written responses posted for all to debate. The emails we receive are posted almost word for word (minus most typos). Long story short, don't go blaming us if/when you angrily disagree. Read our mail...

5

02 2010

A Day In My Life As A Teacher At Central High

4122283900_3407e1acf3.jpg
After yesterday's battle for the hearts and minds of America's youth at LAUSD, I shouldn't have been surprised when AP Rene Martinez came gliding through the door at 8:30 this morning to stull me. Even though I have always had excellent stulls or teaching evaluations in the past, when I saw AP Martinez, who has become a regular fixture around my class, since I reported the fraudulent graduation in June 2009, I already knew this wasn't going to be a friendly visit. The fact that I now had the audacity to publish part of an interview and reading test results for one of my ex-students made it only a matter of time before Principal Seary, AP Martinez, or AP Janine Antoine would show up to stull me again. I don't know, there is just something about being stulled that sounds obscene and the non-stop harassment that I continue to be subjected to only seems to support this meaning of the word. Frankly, I'm not really sure what it is supposed to mean.

My Principal Janet Seary: "This Is War...I Like War" (Read Our Emails)

toysoldier.jpg
Via Lenny: About 2 years ago, I applied for an out-of-classroom position at Central High School, which required a cleared teaching credential and tenure with LAUSD. Nonetheless, my Principal Janet Seary gave this position to Nestor Albert Vargas, who at the time of his appointment had only an expired emergency credential, which only allowed him to work as a substitute. Because I didn't accept this unjust action in clear violation of the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Agreement and subsequently filed a PERB action against my principal and LAUSD for allowing it to take place, all hell broke loose.

3

02 2010

BREAKING: LAUSD Internal Memo 'Layoffs, Budget Cuts, Pay Reductions' For Classified Workers (View Memo)

TopSecretClassified.jpg
Is it possible for LAUSD to declare bankruptcy? It is hard to imagine that some Chapter 11 like reorganization of the District wouldn't be better than what presently exists and continues to cause loss to students, teachers, and now Central Office and Facilities staff who can expect a 20% personnel reduction and a 50% operational budget reduction. View the memos...