Archive for April 2010

The Annotated Tourist's Glossary To Modern Edspeak

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With all the concern over the failure of public education, those of us within the Tower of Babel called public education forget that the orwellian language spoken here in our hollowed (sic) halls is not intelligible to those on the outside. LAUSD and other big city school districts have created a linguistic reality that is really most akin to the facades of a Hollywood back lot that gives the appearance of substance while being devoid of it, while allowing ease of dismantling for the next reform remake that will be constructed in its place. Districts like LAUSD have become more emboldened in their dysfunction, because they clearly know that nobody -- or mere minorities -- are left minding the store.
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Where Reform Should Start

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It can be rather tedious writing day after day about what oblivious LAUSD administration continues to do wrong in the face of incontrovertible evidence. Therefore, I would like to make one of what I hope will be many suggestions put forth in the next few months by perdaily and others who come to the site as to what might be better approaches to accountable public education reform that has a likely chance of succeeding because it is based on an approach that is specific enough and grounded in an historical context as to what needs to be in place in order for success.

29

04 2010

LAUSD Taskforce On Teacher Policy Reform

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On Tuesday, April 27, 2010, the report of a 50 person task force of "local teachers, administrators, parents, academics and union leaders" that was set up last year will submit its report to the LAUSD Board. So let's go through Reporter Connie Llanos' article from the Contra Cost Times -- she also writes for the Daily News -- and point out the glaring omissions that no one seems willing to address:

Education Is Not A Luxury

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War in the United States during WWII was waged by citizen soldiers that represented a cross-section of our citizens taken by the draft from all social classes. During the Vietnam War this changed and those who got drafted tended to come from the lower classes, so that Black and Latino soldiers represented twice the percentage of soldiers that they groups represented in the general population, while predominantly White students were able to avoid the draft by staying in school with a II-S student deferment. It is no accident that the Vietnam War came to an end shortly after the draft lottery was brought into existence to create more equity in the draft by finally subjecting all men 18 and over -- irrespective of school status -- to being drafted.
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27

04 2010

LAUSD'S Latest Pyrrhic Victory

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I thought by waiting over a week before addressing the furlough deal between LAUSD and UTLA that I might feel differently, but time -- when dealing with anything rotten -- has only made it stink more. I had a dream last night where Ramon Cortines had replaced Monty Hall as MC of the once popular Let's Make A Deal, with always stylish A.J. Duffy bringing that Jimmy Cagneyesque charm to assisting Ray the same way Vanna White brought it to make Monty shine. In my dream/nightmare, instead of having three doors to choose from, teachers had only two.

The Cost Of War VS. The Cost Of College

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Brave New Films
has just posted the following video on its Facebook page, which seeks to connect the obscene costs of waging two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the clearly avoidable consequence of having to cut public education budgets at all levels in California to the bone. There are several questions that educated citizens of a democracy must ask themselves in concluding whether the expenditures on war are regrettably justifiable given the reality that we faced after 9/11...

22

04 2010

Bowdon's Documentary "The Cartel": A Busman's Holiday For Teachers

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Any of you curious as to what a guy who writes at least 5 posts a week for www.perdaily.com does during his weekend? Saturday night, I went to the Laemmle Sunset 5 to see The Cartel, a film about the corruption of public education in New Jersey, a state that has the distinction of spending more money per pupil than any forty-seven other states in the union, while having little or nothing to show for it. There is a definite East coast flavor -- cue The Godfather theme music -- to this story of premeditated public education failure that the producer, writer, director Bob Bowdon masterfully brings to his telling of the pervasive and astronomically expensive corruption that hold public school children and their parents hostage, while ultimately releasing them into society as illiterate and unable to do simple math. Anyone familiar with LAUSD will recognize all the cast of platitude quoting educriminal characters who continue to run public education and the future of this country into the ground.

20

04 2010

THIS BATHROOM HANDRAIL COST LAUSD $2,785!!

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A tip we received from an LAUSD insider accompanied with project cost files once again demonstrates that these people should be prosecuted for the magnitude of their corruption... or incompetence. The source of our tip uses just two seemingly small projects -- shade canopies ($218,000) and bathroom handles ($2,785) -- to prove a point.

Thomas Jefferson VS Alexander Hamilton: The Battle For Sex Education

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"...In focusing on the specific issue of sex education in schools, one can see how an unrealistic inner-city curriculum is designed to avoid the subjective realities that exist in poor communities and holds little or no relevancy for communities that have none of the conditions in place that would make successful education possible..."

16

04 2010

Nobody Minding The Store At LAUSD

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I was initially heartened by the indictment of an LAUSD construction supervisor who was not only making over a quarter of a million dollars a year by working for the District, but was also making a similar amount through his privately owned company that he is alleged to have funnel business to by ensuring that LAUSD hired his company's employees as consultants. However, on looking into this matter more thoroughly, it became clear that this prosecution posed more questions than it sought to address...

Jaime Escalante, Non-Conformist And Craftsman

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Good teachers are one of a kind. Teachers like my old Government teacher Marvin Katz and English teacher Eugene Friedman from my days at Monroe High School. Good teachers who individually configured their own nuanced approach to teaching courses in a way that wasn't just going through the motions. What I have always found to be true is that students -- even the students that don't try -- definitely know the difference between a good teacher who is trying to inspire them and a teacher that is just phoning it in and watching the clock with them.

Democracy In American Public Education

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In the final analysis, the only advantage that democracy has over a much more efficient totalitarian system is the ability to teach its citizens to think out of the box by ensuring everyone has access to a great public education. The present glaring contradiction between attaining the pragmatism necessary for maintaining a viable democracy and our present education system is that it has not been able to fulfill the function of sufficiently educating the future citizens of this country for a long time. The only reason that it was able to get away with it for so long is that we only reached the physical boundaries of this incredibly rich country during the massive westward migration during and after WWII. Finally, waste of this country's most vital resource -- it's youth -- can no longer continue in what is becoming more and more a highly competitive world...

13

04 2010

PALI Charter Parent Writes Us...(Read The Letter)

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As a parent whose children went and go to Palisades Charter High School, I have been trying to understand what caused the turmoil that the school has been going through during the last several months. I have visited almost all the board meetings since the beginning of the school year. Even though I do not belong in the loud group of parents who attend board meetings to show how bad their manners are, I sometimes have to control myself in order not to shout out: why you all can't see what is happening right in front of you?!

12

04 2010

Financial Aid Rewards Those Who Do Everything Wrong (Sometimes)

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What has become painfully evident to my wife and I while assesing my son's financial aid package and comparing it to that of his similarly situated socio-economically friends -- who had also applied to the same schools -- is that there is actually a strong disincentive measured in how much financial aid schools are willing to offer to people who stubbornly clung to my family's passé values. Let's be very clear here, I'm not talking about financial aid to poor people or groups of people who have been systematically discriminated against in the past, but rather the solid and ever shrinking members of the middle class who don't live beyond their means.

Wikileaks Reminded Me That Most Teachers Are Cowards

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With the furlough days and more job insecurity, maybe the CIA should offer a summer special ops job training program for teachers, since it seems clear that the federal government would have a much better chance to keep the lid on nasty little scenes like the murder WikiLeaks reported, if teachers were in the chain of command.The CIA could rest assured that they would say 'nuthin' to nobody'. It has become clear to me over the last few years that almost without exception, organizational leadership reflects rank-and-file mentality and commitment.

7

04 2010

If Parents Were Required To Come To Class, Behavior Would Get Better

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So here's a little fix that not only costs little or nothing, but stands an excellent chance of bringing down many of the collateral costs to the State of California for the failure of LAUSD and other school districts throughout the state. Any inner city teacher or school administrator will tell you that it is difficult, if not impossible, to address the needs of an academically challenged student population if student discipline cannot be maintained. In difficult economic times, administrators marching orders from LAUSD are to maintain attendance at any cost, because funding for LAUSD is exclusively a function of in seat attendance or ADA. In perusing the California Education Code, one comes up with the following section...READ MORE

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04 2010