Archive for September 2010

The Professional Wrestling of LAUSD and UTLA (La Lucha Libre Profesional del LAUSD y UTLA )

There is a false dichotomy in seeing UTLA and LAUSD as two separate entities. Whether it is UTLA past presidents Day Higuchi, John Perez, or now A.J. Duffy, UTLA has never promulgated an independent position on matters of education that "professionals" would have done long ago. Rather, UTLA always reacts to LAUSD dysfunctional behavior while stifling any rank and file input that might truly posit a more viable and professional system of public education in opposition.
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09 2010

Rigoberto Ruelas: Ya Basta!

Rigoberto Ruelas.jpeg
Why is it that we only take notice of a gross injustice after it has taken place? I guess because it is much easier to glorify somebody in death while never really addressing the things that killed him and continue to threaten his colleagues and students. The tentative suicide of 39-year-old 5th grade Miramonte Elementary School teacher Rigoberto Ruelas should more truthfully be attributed to something more than the simplistic and convenient answer of just the poor performance ratings that this dedicated teacher received and which were callously published in the Los Angeles Times with the false implication that this exceptional man who himself beat the odds in what continues to be the LAUSD stacked deck against Latino education in this city.
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09 2010

Advice to LAUSD Rubber Room Teachers and Others (Asesoramiento a los maestros del LAUSD Sala de caucho y otros)

Teacher Jail.jpeg
As I prepare for my pro forma meeting with LAUSD Chief Academic Officer Judy Elliott with the awareness the decision as to recommending my dismissal from LAUSD employment as a teacher has probably long since been made, I share with you my response to the following email I received this morning from another one of the many teachers - estimates are between 80 and 200 teachers - under paid administrative leave at LAUSD Local District offices or their homes (aka rubber room/teacher jails).
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09 2010

Diane Ravitch: "The Dominant Narrative" (La Narrativa Dominante)

Diane Ravitch.jpeg
What I found myself wishing while she talked was that she and many of her colleagues who share unique knowledge and beliefs about what real public education reform should look like (Charles Kerchner, Lois Weiner, Pablo Noguera, Jonathan Kozol, and others) would escape the ivory tower long enough to use their combined and fleeting celebrity to help organize a national public education reform movement. Such a movement, driven by data and the real life daily experience of "4 million classroom teachers supported by their families" would no longer be a topic or constituency that the presently hijacked media in this country could continue to ignore.


09 2010

Waiting for Superman: "Mild-Mannered" LAUSD Superintendent Cortines Has Never Aspired To Be Superman ("Afable" Cortines Superintendent LAUSD Nunca ha aspirado a ser Superman)

(en español después) On Monday night I went to the premiere of Waiting for Superman at Paramount Studios. Afterward I briefly talked with both Harlem Children's Zone Geoffrey Canada and the film's makers Davis Guggenheim and Lesley Chilcott at the reception following the screening. Apropos of being aware of my own lack of knowledge about public education reform on the macro American and multinational level, I keep coming back to the naive black and white polemics that seem to dominate the discussion of public education reform here in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Having been in the motion picture industry for many years prior to getting into education, I am well aware of how creativity can distort and manipulate emotions to justify something that in reality is quite different and maybe even reprehensible. I guess this is why I prefer the color gray which attempts to take the valid points from black and white positions to formulate a better and more comprehensive solution for what is wrong with public education. Of course, this tends to put me in the middle of a battlefield where I take fire from both sides, but that's maybe why I'm a teacher and maybe also a reason for teacher tenure as a necessary shield against the reprisals for telling the truth that I am presently being subjected to by LAUSD.


09 2010

Grandfather of Waiting for Superman - The Prequel - "Just the facts"

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(en español después) Davis Guggenheim and Lesley Chilcott's Waiting for Superman opens on Friday and perdaily will devote our post to reviewing it tomorrow. To bring the vast minions of perdaily readership up to speed on the film and the furor it is creating with my colleagues in education, I would like to give you a sneak preview today of some of the facts the film presents and/or spins as the case may be. As one of my childhood heros LAPD Sgt. Joe Friday as portrayed in the television series Dragnet used to say, "I am interested in the facts, just the facts:":

Dealing With The Global Assault On Public Education And Teaching While At The Same Time Dealing With The Same Dysfunction In LAUSD

Teaching and Learning in a Global Community.jpeg
(en español después) There is a certain irony to the fact that the same technology that is presently threatening continued human existence on the earth is also something that might offer us the best weapon in combating the tyranny of its more destructive tendencies as expounded by corporations running out of control. If we are able to evolve our natural inclination to live and perceive locally into a global perspective, then corporate power, which presently reigns supreme, will finally be held accountable by a world community that is finally empowered by the knowledge, power, and accountability that the Internet has the potential to offer..


09 2010

"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"(Es un cuento contado por un idiota, lleno de ruido y furia, significando nada)

(en español después) In reading through Steve Lopez's article in the Sunday, September 19, 2010 Los Angeles Times entitled Sitting down with A.J. Duffy, I couldn't help but think that Mr. Lopez and his colleagues at the L. A. Times should take the advice offered to Duffy to "join the discussion" on improving public education in L. A. instead of engaging in sanitized discussions that conspicuously leave out vast amounts of relevant information crucial to finally giving all students the public education they are entitled to and which is an essential prerequisite for any putative democracy.


09 2010

A National Perspective On Corporate Plans To End Public Education ( Una perspectiva nacional sobre Planes Corporativos Para Fin de Educación Pública)

Weiner and Lewis.jpeg
(en español después) The immediacy created by the personal attack that many LAUSD teachers are being subjected to has caused main of us to lose sight of the concerted and coordinated national attack on public education that many predominantly minority filled school districts are being subjected to. Karen Lewis, the newly elected head of the Chicago Teachers' Union along with Professor Los Weiner lay out how this is playing out in the United States and how it has already played out in countries like Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

What Americans Think About Public Education and Why (¿Qué piensan los estadounidenses sobre la educación pública y por qué)

Between August 17-19 Time Magazine conducted a telephone poll across the United States do see what Americans over the age of 18 thought about public education. One distinction that was not made with the audience that responded to this poll was whether or not they were in public or private or urban or suburban schools, which I suspect would have strongly impacted the answers to virtually every question asked starting with the first as to whether public schools are in crisis.


09 2010

LAUSD's Ramon Cortines: The Chauncey Gardner of Public Education Reform (LAUSD Ramón Cortines: El Chauncey Gardner de Reforma de la Educación Pública)

Being There.jpeg
(en español después) When I was still in the film business and pitching projects, I was always told that a good pitch came down to being able to express the main idea of the film you were trying to sell in one sentence. In the film Being There with the late Peter Sellers that one sentence might have come down to: Moron Chance the gardener is revered and becomes a media-made guru solely because of his proximity to his late and fabulously wealth employer. It occurs to me that the same sentence could be used to describe LAUSD's Superintendent Ramon Cortines and the ersatz public education reform he continues to echo from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Like Chance the gardener the patently offensive and implausible drivel that Cortines continues to spout are a series of platitudes without substance that seeks to blame teachers for what Cortines his administration and predecessors are clearly responsible for.


09 2010

UTLA: Where's the union I pay $60 a month for? Donde esta el sindicato que yo pago $60 cada mese?)

UTLA Save our teachers.JPG
(en español después) As long as the queue at UTLA to succeed Duffy resembles the queue at LAUSD to follow Cortines, nothing will change- especially when Duffy thinks there is nothing wrong about getting into the queue at LAUSD after he terms out next year.


09 2010

KPFK Local Station Board Elections and LAUSD KPFK Elecciones Locales Estación Junta y el LAUSD

KPFK Logo.jpeg
(en español después) KPFK represents the only voice I know of in the greater Los Angeles area with the most powerful transmitter west of the Rockies that is not afraid of speaking truth to power without the corporate agenda that seems bent on the privatization of public education for profit while silencing dissent by dumbing down the literacy necessary to meaningfully exercise the control of power envisioned by our constitution in a manner anticipated by George Orwell's 1984 prescient view of the future we now seem to be living.
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09 2010

LAUSD: We're Back (Estamos de vuelta)

Boquete Panama.jpeg
(en español después) If you make teachers' jobs dependent on how well students do in their classes (irrespective of the fact that huge numbers of LAUSD students are far below below basic) and yet continue to socially promotion them into higher and higher grades without the skills necessary to do the work, then you create the temptation to cook the results of the assessments as has been recently discovered in New York City and Atlanta where the much touted improvement on assessments of traditional low achieving Black and Latino students was found to have never taken place. As if tampering with the assessments was not bad enough news, it turns out that NYC minority students are doing actually worse than their terrible showing 7 years ago.
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09 2010