Archive for May 2010

Lydia Gutierrez For State Superintendent Of Public Instruction

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Last night I went to Green Dot Charter run Locke High School for a candidates' forum with some of the people running for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Of the 12 candidates for the office Larry Aceves, Karen Blake, Alexia L. Deligianni, Leonard James Martin, Faarax Dahir Sheikh-Noor, and front runner Tom Torlakson did not show up. This was understandable since there were less than 50 people in the audience after a strong email campaign by Parents' Revolution to get parents to show up. For those of us who have taught in inner city schools, we are used to poorly attended back-to-school nights and other school events, because parents have justifiably lost the belief that anybody in LAUSD or government and politics really cares about the terror that they and their children have to deal with on a daily basis.

Why It Doesn't Matter Who's Running Your Charter/Public School...

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In fixing public education in LAUSD and elsewhere I must confess that I am more concerned with what people actually do than who is doing it. In the first round of deciding who was going to get a chance to run certain failed LAUSD schools that were up for grabs there was a tremendous amount of media coverage about the battle between charter operators and groups headed by teachers and administrators, but little or no discussion of what they would actually do to accomplish this herculean task of trying to turn around long failed LAUSD schools.

Failing Schools Take The Show Online...

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This joint venture of City of Angels Continuation School, the LAUSD Office of Curriculum and Instruction, Beyond the Bell, and the Education Technology departments will join with Ms. Elliot as the latest unrealistic panacea for addressing longstanding abject failure of public education at LAUSD. It has LAUSD's surrealistic modus operandi all over it...

What Do LAUSD And Haiti Have In Common?

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Several days ago, I received an email from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) with their encouragement that I support LAUSD Measure E with a yes vote on the June 8th ballot. Like Haiti, everyone knows how the economic downturn has negatively impacted public education throughout the United States as sure as if public education had been hit by an earthquake, so why would I object to a measure in favor of supplementing public education funding for LAUSD?
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Waste A Lot, Always Want More...

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Tipster :"... i thought you should know about the waste. i'm sure you've heard about the cameraman who takes pictures for the LAUSD webpage and how the job pays over $100k. For years now, lurking in the local district offices theres an admin with the same pay range who is referred to as the "data guy" that position is being extended as a coordinator position on campuses. case in point: at garfield high school there is a data guy, at the top of the pay scale, who is the coordinator in charge of "data." whatever the qualifications are, i'm going to assume the individual should be skilled with math, statistics, and the Student Information System. the guy sits in his cave, with a B.A. in geology, and makes about 150k with all the overtime he is alloted..." READ THE REST
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24

05 2010

LAUSD's API Scores and Alzheimer's

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On Wednesday the California Department of Education released the 2009 Academic Performance Index (API) scores for schools in California. At LAUSD the news that 72% of its schools were in the lower half in terms of performance of all schools throughout the state didn't seem to bother LAUSD leadership very much. No matter how badly students perform on the API or other assessments, a successful career in LAUSD administration still means that you are incapable of seeing that anything is wrong.

Jaywalking With LAUSD

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Did you ever have the experience of thinking you heard something before, but you just couldn't quite place where and when you heard it? That's the way I have been feeling about the nondescript orwellian edspeak that all of us in public education continue to be tormented with. And then, it finally occurred to me where the logic defying statements like "No Child Left Behind" and "all [illiterate] students are going to college" really come from. In 1979, Peter Sellars played an idiot savant -- emphasis on the idiot -- in the movie Being There. Chance the Gardner has people ascribe to him great insight, when the simpler and more reasonable interpretation is that Chance the Gardner is just a moron.

20

05 2010

Merit Pay Isn't The Answer

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In "Teachers, Performance Pay, and Accountability: What Education Should Learn from Other Sectors", researchers Scott J. Adams, John S. Heywood and Richard Rothstein examine the evidence that underlies these assumptions, concluding that the use of merit pay systems has negative consequences that often block the larger goal of improving the quality of services. Daniel Pink, author of the best selling book, "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us", has a great presentation discussing what motivates skilled labor people to do excellent work and surprisingly, it isn't money.

40 Years Later, It's Time For Another Latino Walkout

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New Pew Hispanic Center Report released this week shows that Latinos once again are behind their white and black peers when it comes to educational certification after dropping out of high school. Dropping out of high school is horrible enough, but only one in ten Hispanic high school dropouts has obtained a GED. And unfortunately, the problem isn't just limited to immigrant Hispanics.

18

05 2010

The Business Of Education

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I rarely find myself in agreement with UTLA President A.J.Duffy and even when I do it is in spite of his usually flawed reasoning that I find much akin to that of LAUSD's leadership. Duffy along with several other commentators on education find it difficult to get their minds around the juxtapositioning of severe cuts to LAUSD's budgeting by its board in the form of 12 furlough days to address part of the looming $640 million LAUSD budget deficit, while contemporaneous passing authorization of "Certificates of Participation (COPS) to fund a variety of capital projects that should instead be funded through voter-approved bonds."

17

05 2010

Adams VS. LAUSD Revisited...

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We recently received a comment regarding an earlier post on perdaily and my own rather continuing tenuous situation at LAUSD:

"Gloria Allread's firm took a hit in the Adams vs. LAUSD case where it went to trial, the jury came back unanimously in her favor, they polled the jury on each count, they were unanimous in her favor, and then the judge did non obstante verdicto- he vacated the jury verdict which forced the case up on appeal. By that time Allread's firm was out of it and had out of pocket losses on the case of $70,000." READ THE RESPONSE...
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13

05 2010

The Same Old (Jason) Song: Maybe He Should READ The LAUSD Fine Print

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California Government Çode 821.6:

"A public employee is not liable for injury caused by his instituting or prosecuting any judicial or administrative proceeding within the scope of his employment, even if he acts maliciously and without probable cause."

There's Gold In Them Charters!

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VIA Democracynow: "Wealthy investors and major banks have been making windfall profits by using a little-known federal tax break to finance new charter-school construction," Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez write in the New York Daily News. "The program, the New Markets Tax Credit, is so lucrative that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years."

11

05 2010

The Hand And Glove Relationship Between LAUSD And UTLA

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No, the teachers' union and LAUSD have not decided to offer proctological exams at Beaudry or Berendo, but sometimes it just feels that way.

Teacher 'Coaches' Get Paid To Do Nails, Talk On Phone Or Just Disappear

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Does anyone have a good coaching story? Reader 'Resident of the Land of Babble' describes just how elusive -- and unnecessary -- coaches seem to be. As a matter of fact, the coaching program would be the first item they would scrap from the LAUSD budget, and it's hard to argue otherwise when most of the scenes our reader describes sound like an episode of The Office. Read the email and you'll easily understand why...

An Educated Proposal For Immigration

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The color that interests me most is gray. I do not see it anywhere in most of the discussions regarding education or other important issues that are profoundly effecting our society. Since Arizona passed its racial profiling predisposed law to address the presence of undocumented workers in this country, all I have heard is that it is racist -- which it most surely is. Whether a law is ill-conceived or not, I think one must also raise some of the following points if one ever hopes to find a fair solution to immigration that remains highly problematic.

10

05 2010

The 12 Education MYTHS

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Rather then design an academic program that specifically address the subjective needs of the student population, those in power propose ideas that are non sequiturs that have no chance of success, because those in power know that successful public education means their demise and an end to the obscene waste that public education continues to incur throughout this country with no significant positive results. Most programs and reforms today accommodate to failure rather than address it.

Are Textbook Publishers Too Big To Fail? I Think Not.

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If school districts published their own books with chapters written by those teachers who had the writing talent and desire for some extra money, the districts as owners of the copyright could print up as many copies of these books as they needed at a fraction of the present cost, while paying the teachers a continuing royalty for their work. School district generated textbooks would not only cover national issues, but would be more easily adaptable to local issues by having built in links to other data on the Internet that is far richer than any single textbook could ever hope to be.

UTLA = LAUSD Not So Lite

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UTLA gives credibility to LAUSD by making the advocacy process look real when in reality it isn't. When UTLA gets a complaint from a member and files a grievance, they treat it as if they have never had a complaint like this before. When in reality, they might have had or presently have the same kind of complaint against the same principal who is doing the same thing to another teacher - they just will not share that information with you.
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7

05 2010

You Can't Get There From Here...

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Back in the 1990s, "LEARN president Mike Roos described [LAUSD] as 'an internal culture of go along and get along. It absolutely swallows any effort at change...nothing permanent will happen till that culture is gone.'" So the obvious question is: If we knew this back then and even before, why are LAUSD and other big city predominantly minority filled school districts allowed to continue causing more damage to American society than Al Qaeda ever dreamed of?

6

05 2010

LAUSD: The Original LOST

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Given the surreal aspect of LAUSD reality that I was finally able to substantiate during my my trial yesterday on the 25th floor of edspeak central, I immediately thought of the 1967 popular British television series with Patrick McGoohan called The Prisoner, and with misguided egocentricity and a touch of feeling sorry for myself, I planned on making myself the hero of this bizarre daytime soap that teachers might crowd around to watch in the faculty lounge at nutrition or lunch. The folks at the studios in Hollywood always like to greenlight projects with a built in audience and what could have a higher TV quotient than the neverending story that is LAUSD -- the original Lost.

5

05 2010

Can I Get A Witness???

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Today I had the long rescheduled appeal hearing on the two Notices of Unsatisfactory Acts and the two Suspensions of 8 and 11 days respectively. While I am not permitted to talk about the substance of the charges against me, which could have lead to my cause for firing if I had done so up until June of 2009, I am now at least permitted to mention the existence of the case without going into the details of the case, which now can be used by LAUSD to find against me, if it is not for the specific purpose of trying to get witnesses to help me defend myself. So let me start by saying that I am writing this post to see if there are any witnesses out there. It is my belief that some of my fellow teachers might be willing to come forward and share what they know, when they hear what I found out today at the appeal hearing of the charges against me.

Long Standing LAUSD Reform Policy: And This Too Shall Pass

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Reforming public education at LAUSD or throughout the United States is really not that difficult. While there are heated arguments for and against charter schools, small learning communities, magnet schools, teacher competency, student deficits, and parent involvement, the clear answer without minimizing the difficulty of the task involved is that its not rocket science to give students an excellent public education. As Charles Kerchner points out in his book Learning From L.A. - Institutional Change in American Public Education, there was a clear path to academic excellence pointed out on many occasions during the long history of LAUSD that he discusses. So why didn't it work?
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3

05 2010