Reporting Live From The 'Rubber Room'

Being the conscientious LAUSD employee that I have always been and will continue to be, I arrived at the LAUSD Local District 6 Office at Slauson and Eastern Ave. in the City of Commerce at about 7:30AM, even though I do not have to go into what some teachers call the "rubber room" until 8:00. Cordial Richard Tardaguila, LAUSD's Operations Coordinator was not in yet, so I sat in the lobby and started to write what I hoped will be the first of many posts that I will be able to finish before the day is over.

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, 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."

No longer am I sitting in an empty classroom at 8 in the morning at East Los Angeles Occupational Center or one of the 7 other sites I have been indiscriminately shuttled to over the last 3 years, while being paid to call truant and tardy students' parents on a daily basis to tell them what they already know: that their children are not in school. No longer am I being required to have pointless meetings with these parents or put their kids on contracts that are not respected. And no longer must I assign high school coursework to students who are at least 5 years behind grade level.

Mr. Tardaguila arrived at 8AM sharp. At 8:30AM he came out to the lobby, where I was sitting and gave me some paperwork for the sick day I took Friday the 5th and received possession of some bus tokens and another District computer that I also had in my possession. He told me that AP Martinez called on Thursday after I left because they allegedly wanted to come down for the disciplinary meeting that had been scheduled at 3PM, before Principal Seary decided to remove me from my site at ELAOC . Why would anybody want to have a meeting when the purported subject of the meeting -- my violation of a student's right to privacy -- had already been cited as partial justification for removing me from my class? Administrators are always in meetings of questionable value, so I suppose one more did not seem out of their regular superfluous routine; meanwhile teachers and classified staff actually have to work for their money and benefits.

Furthermore, given that these meetings allow me an advocate from my union, I assumed that it would not take place that day. By 2:30PM, I had already been working for 7 ½ hours without a sufficient break as the LAUSD/UTLA agreement calls for. Principal Seary had in the recent past already pulled this no break policy with me and several other teachers at ELAOC, which I grieved and received back pay for, the other teachers in typical fear mode declined to do anything. Actually, that is not completely true. One of the teachers is presently making $127,000 a year by teaching days for Central High and teaching ESL at night, so I assume she didn't want to rock the boat...I mean luxury liner.

Needless to say that my failure to wait for Principal Seary and AP Martinez should be the subject of future charges against me irrespective of any rationality, since there has been no rational justification to any of the other charges that have been brought against me up until this time.

The actual "rubber room" is not all it was cracked up to be.  It's actually kind of pleasant to sit in a mostly empty 5th floor office (the district rents several floors in the Bank of America building) and work without interruption on perdaily with the belief that LAUSD could someday become a leading edge model for 21st century public education. At the very least, I am being more productive than Principal Seary and her cabal have ever allowed any of us to be as educators.

I cannot help wondering about the cost of paying for this space that houses forty or so offices for staff and administrators on the 5th floor and God knows how many on the 3rd floor, which they also partially occupy. At most there are ten to fifteen people on the 5th floor and with all the empty space at Beaudry, I question why they don't close this place down and move everybody to Beaudry? It's this kind of thinking that got me into trouble in the first place.

With the draconian cuts that have already taken place and the proposed cuts that we have already reported on, one might ask why the undisclosed amount of dead administrative wood doesn't get cut, before the little people of LAUSD have their lives turned upside down. Alas! I am continuing to act as incorrigible as my students.

Help me make things right anonymously at:

Flickr:Gothick Matt  


02 2010


Many of us who have been with LAUSD for some time and seen what administrators do(and don't do) get very frustrated. They only seem to take any REAL action when something annoys them or when it will benefit them somehow. Here's a thought on how to save some money - when a teacher is off work,kids don't learn,when a painter is off grafitti gets worse,when a plumber is off toilets and drains back up,when an office clerk is off paperwork and files don't get done,when custodians are off who opens the school and all the other things they do that are taken for granted? You get the idea,right? when an administrator or supervisor takes off,what happens? THE MACHINE STILL RUNS! ACTUAL WORK STILL GETS DONE!You barely notice they are gone. WHY? Because WE do the work that makes LAUSD run,not them. Furluogh ALL adminisrators one week per month. Millions would be saved and work would still get done...... never happen, oh well,back to work.

Brad, Excellent suggestion. You might decide to make it in front of the LAUSD Board, when they offer 3 minutes of public comment at their meetings each month. If more of us continue to make intelligent and rational suggestions, they will not be able to continue ignoring the majority as the economy and society continue to melt down, while they have more meetings and go on retreats.

Lenny,I thought I would Email this to each board member and see if I got any response. I don't think that much rationality comes into play, seeing the way things have always been run.Besides the Mayor has his hand in this and that puts the balance of intelligence on the minus side.

LAUSD Board Members make about $45,000 a year for their "part-time" jobs. Having inherited the bureaucracy of their predecessors, they are captives of the bureaucracy- kind of like Obama without his Blackberry. Michelle Rhee, the Chancellor (Superintendent) of the D.C. school district, said she wouldn't have taken the job if it had a board of education set up. The problem is that nobody is accountable under this amorphous system that offers sanctuary to incompetents.

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