My Last Lesson From The Rubber Room: Edspeak 101

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. 

We all have fond memories of interminable faculty meeting that could have been handled by an email or costly staff developments that never seem to be implemented (the cost of which would have been better spent on hiring several new teachers to lessen class sizes). What follows are the working definitions and translations to my No Child Left Behind Lexicon of Superficial Education Terms: designed to say nothing you can be held to, while appearing profound.


The real meaning of this term is closer to that used to describe someone who works with the enemy, like in occupied France during WWII. Like those Quislings (Norway), the purpose of this kind of collaboration is not designed to create a two-way dialog and accountability, but rather to impress your administrator that you have the potential to be one of them, so that you can have upward social mobility that remains sorely lacking in the teaching profession.
Another form of perquisite for upwardly mobile teachers who can no longer take the daily assault from students who act out in class, because they have been socially promoted years beyond their ability to understand what you are talking about.


One of the places LAUSD's administration chooses to spend its allegedly dwindling assets in lieu of lessening class size and hiring teachers with the expertise to address students' subjective deficits before they become irreversible. This along with the District television station, Academic Decathlon, and administrative retreats offer good opportunities for administrative photo ops to put in the District's Newspaper, but do little to actually improve student achievement.

This is a word that describes a process of knowledge acquisition, where it seems to be the belief of LAUSD administration, should be successful if you just mention it in meetings enough times. The most tried and true administrative policy is teach reading by osmosis- kind of a cross-curricular Language Arts-Science approach, where the student is placed into a middle or high school class and the mere proximity of grade-level texts, an hour a week of one-on-one assistance, and conscientious teachers will miraculously cure years of reading deficits. A similar approach has been used with Algebra, where according to the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, the LAUSD Board decreed that all students must be put in Algebra, whether or not they have mastery of fundamental math skills. This seems to be working, since students have found that they can pass these classes, if they just don't pick on the teacher too much- that's administration's job.

Instructional Strategies

This is probably the most difficult part of these leadership labs, because it requires the development of an approach to teaching that ignores the subjective level of the students you are supposed to be teaching, because you don't want to take the political heat. Alchemy is a prerequisite for this course, but you can have this requirement waved if your fluency in Edspeak is advance enough: Do you always say things like, "Have a nice day," "It was so nice seeing you at the retreat," and "Wasn't Superintendent Cortines' weekly memo about the budget cuts and furloughs handled well." This should qualify you to take the new CSET Edspeak equivalency exam, which is now required for new administrators.
Leadership Influence
The speaker for this section of the Leadership Lab was supposed to be Jack Abramoff, who followed last year's stellar presentation by Bernie Madoff. They both seemed to be tied up with previous engagements this year, but word has it that retired admiral and ex-LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer might be free...or at least reasonable.

Brain work

An elusive process that has not been well understood by LAUSD administrators, who have found group think to be a viable alternative.

Having to do with the thoughts on education that come to you late at night.

Decentralized Structure
LAUSD's master plan for assuring the same level of functional incompetence at all Local Districts (See Pilot Schools).

The illusion of what must be created until administrators can retire with six figure salaries, benefits, and perks (Ramon Cortines, who has done this 7 times over his 50 year career, while collecting more pensions and benefits in the process). Way to go Ray!

Share your translations below...


02 2010

1 Comment

I was in teacher jail, sent back to same or worse situation, and yesterday was physically assaulted by the same students who sent me to teacher jail in the first place. I need advice on what to do next, feel like I have been hit by a truck again.

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