Even in H.G. Wells classic science fiction story The Time Machine, the passive Eloi ultimately get the guts to fight back from being bred as the food supply for their more assertive underground dwelling Morlock masters. While LAUSD hasn't started eating teachers yet, I don't put anything past LAUSD's carnivorous leadership that like the Morlock will do anything to survive in a Los Angeles that is more devastated year after year by LAUSD continuing and unchecked malfeasance. But let's face it folks, the less than intellectual wizards that continue to run the District and public education into the ground in Los Angeles and elsewhere couldn't do so if they were not kept in power and supported by the puppet masters in Sacramento and Washington who take their marching orders from corporate interests that President-elect Karen Lewis of the Chicago Teachers' Union sees only concerned with the potential $380 billion privatization of public education.
Just take a look at the recent case of Reed vs. California which recently came down from the California Supreme Court and hopefully you will realize just how coordinated the attack is against professional teachers and the hard earned salaries and benefits that most of us are entitled to for doing one of the most important -- yet least valued jobs -- in our society.
What is scary about this case is that it purports to champion the rights of poor inner city students who have had a disproportionate number of their teachers fired because of the reduction in forces ("RIF") that came down unequally against them.
What it doesn't address is the reason why this happened. "The three middle schools at issue were struggling before the RIFs, as shown by the fact that all three were ranked in the bottom 10% of California schools in academic performance." The case exclusively focuses on the effect of this failure at the schools, but never asks what were the causes:
1. The schools in question find it impossible to attract experienced teachers with tenure and reasonable seniority, because any teacher who has been in these schools or the scores of other schools like them knows for a fact that LAUSD administration will give you no support for maintaining enough discipline to even have a chance to teach and not do daycare.
2. Middle and high school teachers are single-subject area teachers. The vast majority of students in these schools are without the foundational skills necessary to learn the more advanced subjects that are taught in middle and high school, so why would a teacher with a choice put themselves in a no-win situation where they don't have the skills necessary to teach these students.
3. In fairness to the administrators that have no tenure in their positions, they are just following LAUSD marching orders that we have said on this blog many times requires them maintaining attendance at any cost to keep the money coming in from the state.
4. Seasoned and highly seniority teachers chose not to teach at these schools, not because they are elitist and crypto-racist as was implicit in the lawsuit, but rather because the objective reality is that nobody can teach students without foundational prerequisite skills in a system that prefers to dump these students into the next grade year after year without ever trying to engage them where they are at with adequate resources that include teachers qualified to give them the remediation they need.
5. Maintaining the fantasy that these are real middle and high schools flies in the faces of all data on the majority of these students who are still functioning on an elementary school level while at the same time never having bought into the discipline that must exist if education is to take place at any grade level. In fact, although these middle and high schools function at a weak elementary school level, when you factor in behavior, you wind up with ignorance and misbehavior that make education or remediation objectively impossible.
So why is this case going on? Clearly for any teacher who is willing to take their head out of the sand and look at this case in conjunction with everything else that is coming down the pike at us, it is about destroying a professional well compensation teacher corp in favor of one that would not have the job security or strength to question the privatization of American public education for corporate profit.
Reed vs. California is just the latest attack on hard earned union rights like seniority, where the truth about the case as mentioned before is that it has less to do with seniority than it does with a failed school where those in LAUSD who made it fail and with the power to change the culture of the school to something that would be more attractive to experienced teachers refuse to do so. Even administrators don't want to be in these schools for anything more than the 2 or 3 years necessary to flesh out their resumes in their attempt to get a big job at the LAUSD Beaudry headquarters, where they can assure that the policies that keep these schools failing year after year will never change in a manner that might threaten their privileges.
Add the attack on seniority presented in Reed to the attacks on tenure, discipline, pay and benefits, and class size and you can see the Walmart approach to public education that will only be happy when they can figure out how to lessen costs in order to get as much money as they can from the state without having to deal with the problems that teachers, students, and education give them. The ceaseless assault on teachers that continues to cut funds and overfill classrooms while not addressing either the students or teachers needs will not stop unless educators, students and parents show a willingness to actively confront the corruption and incompetence.