Archive for October 2010

LAUSD- Educating Sheep (LAUSD-Educar a las ovejas)

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Given my imminent dismissal as a teacher from LAUSD by a rubber stamp of the Board in the not to distant future, I have started to scramble to try and compensate for my soon to be significantly diminished income. In this process, I have started to fix up my house and guesthouse with an eye toward renting, so that LAUSD will not be able to starve me out as they have with many of my less fortunate teacher colleagues who wound up settling or resigning, not because they had done anything wrong, but rather because they couldn't afford to fight for a public education that is truly accountable and equitable for all- students and teachers. After close to 25 years in my home, it needed some minor TLC, so I went off to Home Depot. I feel luck that I am a product of an LAUSD of a different era, when shop classes gave me the skills in automotive, carpentry, electric, metal, and plumbing to pay for my post secondary education and to presently be able fix pretty much anything that goes wrong with my house or cars. Alas, the same cannot be said of a significant number of Home Depot's younger employees, who come out of LAUSD nowadays with little knowledge of what Home Depot sells or how to use it. This is further exacerbated by the fact that their English language and math skills are so abysmally low that they are also incapable of reading and doing even basic calculations involving any of the construction departments at Home Depot. Simple calculations of area and volume necessary for determining how much to buy? Forget it.

29

10 2010

LAUSD Edspeak Translation

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Since the beginning of this academic year, we have been translating our posts at perdaily into Spanish, because we think it is appropriate to do so in a school district like LAUSD where 73% of the students are hispano hablante (Spanish speakers) to one degree or another. It is our belief that comprehension in either English or Spanish - and preferably both in the not too distant future - should be the goal of a California culture with a majority Latin American population - It will not hurt any of us. However, the thought also occurred to me that there is another language that people outside of LAUSD don't understand and that is Edspeak, the platitude filled and politically correct language that is spoken by all those who run LAUSD or are subjected to it. Before getting into an actual translation, which we recently did at perdaily when we went through LAUSD's Latest Strategic Roadmap one should be aware of a core principle of Edspeak that has been developed over generations to communicate superficially with people who themselves are a products of LAUSD: Good Edspeak must be wholly devoid of Cognitive Academic English Proficiency principles or any higher intellectual function as described by Blooms Taxonomy, while also being able to communicate with people having limited mastery of English or any other language - no, I am not just referring to students and parents with limited education, but also many administrators and teachers who still don't know how to tie their linguistic shoe laces.
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28

10 2010

The Argument For Being An LAUSD Whistleblower (El argumento por ser una de Denuncias del LAUSD)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) Did you ever wonder why LAUSD teachers are so terrified to talk about the corruption and malfeasance they see on a daily basis caused by the actions of some of their administrators? Well maybe 2009 California Government Code - Section 821.6, Liability Of Public Employees and other LAUSD administrator protective provisions of California law might explain teachers' more than justifiable fear: "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."
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27

10 2010

Comprehensive Teacher Induction Study Reveals No Impact on Teacher Retention, Mixed Findings on Student Achievement

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) At the beginning of the Vietnam War Era I was going to school at UCLA where I had a professor named H. Arthur Steiner. He pointed out one day that although the United States had the greatest authorities on Southeast Asia, they were completely ignored in this country's formulation of policy and ultimately war in Southeast Asia. Because he had been a major in the Marine Corp with extensive experience in Asia, those in Washington thought he would tell them what they wanted to hear about the war they were getting into in Vietnam. When he explained that the Domino Theory as espoused by then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and others was completely false, because it did not take into consideration the historic animosity between the Chinese and the Vietnamese, he was never called again. The same form of intransigent militant ignorance is true with those who have power in public education reform in the United States. At perdaily, we have often quoted Diane Ravitch, Charles Kerschner, Lois Weiner, and others who have a clear understanding and historical perspective as to what it would take to truly turn around public education, but those in control of policy continue to ignore their rational approach to fixing our public education system with the same militant ignorance of those in power during the Vietnam Era.

The Cozy Relationship of UTLA and LAUSD (La íntima relación de UTLA y el LAUSD) by John Adams

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) In his disability retirement and final escape from LAUSD and UTLA's ability to retaliate against him, recently retired teacher John Adams has finally shared one of his experiences dealing with the Duplicitous Duo. For those of you who either don't think you can wait to retire to speak out or think that if you wait that long there will not be a teaching profession to retire from, I strongly suggest that you get an anonymous gmail or AOL account and share your outrage with Perdaily. It is the best weapon you have to avoid the further dismantling of public education. Four million teachers, their families, and supporters in this country know a better alternative and just need to express it. Or you could continue to let the minority blame you for their incompetence. The Perdaily articles dealing with teacher retaliation, and UTLA aquiescence of such retaliation are District-wide. Any campus where there are incompetent administrators who feel beholden to LAUSD for a job and salary they would not be able to find elsewhere given their own mediocre education. My experiences of LAUSD Administrative retaliation, and UTLA support of LAUSD retaliation, mirror those posted and commented about on Perdaily.
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25

10 2010

LAUSD Teachers Cannot Stand Up Without A Strong And Independent UTLA - Part 2 (Los maestros del LAUSD no pueden hacer frente sin una UTLA fuerte e independiente)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) The engine driving LAUSD administrative harassment of teachers is the fact that administrators up until now have faced no consequences for harassing teachers to the point of their actions qualifying as a criminal conspiracy that not only fabricates testimony, but also offers witnesses incentives if they are willing to perjure themselves in LAUSD's mindless campaign to get rid of any teacher willing to stand up for the educational values that could truly reform public education at LAUSD. These administrators continue to go into retirement with no personal responsibility for their illegal actions in violation of teachers civil rights and at worst leave a financially strapped LAUSD holding the bag for any future liability in the unlikely event that the harassed teacher's rights should ultimately be vindicated in the judicial system.

22

10 2010

LAUSD Teachers Cannot Stand Up Without A Strong And Independent UTLA - Part 1 (Los maestros del LAUSD no pueden hacer frente sin una UTLA fuerte e independiente)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) In writing this blog over the last year, the reality I have had the hardest time accepting is the silence of teachers in the face of conscious and premeditated malfeasance and outright criminality within LAUSD leadership. Today I would like to explain why teachers who surely know what I do about endemic corruption at LAUSD steadfastly refuse to stand up against this corruption. In order to do this I would like to describe what happens to any teacher who dares to question the ill-conceived policies of LAUSD that objectively have no chance of improving public education in Los Angeles. In so doing, I will use my own case and those of many of the several hundred teachers who had the temerity to take exception to LAUSD's failed and self-serving policies and are presently suffering the consequences and have had the guts to talk openly with me about their regrettable situation.

21

10 2010

UTLA Acquired Independence Deficiency Contracted From LAUSD ( UTLA Deficiencia Adquirida Independencia contratados de LAUSD)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) UTLA is designed to fail, because it sees itself as subservient or at the very least deferential to LAUSD. If you know that LAUSD is a failed culture, any organization like UTLA which only reacts and never posits its own definition of what professional teachers should stand for is doom to failure along with LAUSD, because it has no specific program around which it can organize its rank and file. Is there any wonder that most teachers are profoundly apathetic or depressed? Without a proactive approach, Superintendent Cortines or his successors will never respect UTLA President A.J. Duffy (nor were his predecessors John Perez or Day Higuchi respected). They have all had the same motto, "Let's see what the District says." Do any of you think Julie Washington is going to be any different if she is elected to replace Duffy? Don't get me wrong, I don't blame any of them. It's just impossible for this union to reach its potential as a good advocate for the teachers in this passive position. :It takes $57 a month from us to talk in the same generalized platitude we are all too familiar with from staff development, which also never gets implemented.

20

10 2010

Palisades Charter Hyph School- A Microcosm of LAUSD's Master Plan (Part 2) - La Escuela De Palisades Charter "Hype" El Microcosmos del Plan Maestro de LAUSD (Part 2)

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(en español después) Charters don't result in better conditions for students. Class size rose when PCHS became a charter, and crowded conditions are detrimental for everyone. But the math said more students = more money so the board brought on the crowds. At first LAUSD had a hand in some of the increase in student numbers, but not anymore. Students who did well on CST's managed the larger class sizes, but students who needed extra help and attention slipped even more. This didn't worry the Pali Family because "THOSE KIDS" were counseled to leave - not better conditions at all if you're a student who needs the alleged superior environment offered by a charter, rather than one who would have done well anyway. Last year's API scores tell this story very well. Charters don't result in better conditions for teachers. Refer to competition destroying collaboration at Pali below. That was bad enough, but there has been higher teacher turnover at Pali since independent status than ever before. Teachers have bigger classes, and ROP teachers carry seven classes without extra pay. Teachers are routinely hassled if they're not in cahoots with the board, and committees that were supposed to empower teachers have been relegated to toothless advisory groups whose recommendations are routinely ignored. The board still does exactly as it pleases.

19

10 2010

Palisades Charter Hyph School- A Microcosm of LAUSD's Master Plan (Part 1) - La Escuela de Palisades Charter Hyph un microcosmos del Plan Maestro del LAUSD (Parte 1)

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(en español después) Charters don't serve students from all populations, or academic and socioeconomic levels. Best practices meant, and I often heard pro-charter employees say, "If THOSE KIDS can't hack it they can leave." "THOSE KIDS can go back to their home school." Excuse me? Those kids are the reason charters were invented. Those kids with less money, darker skin, fewer advantages, more behavior issues and problems, and yes, lower CST scores. Pali historically had wealthier white students until busing added less advantaged students to the mix. Pacific Palisades has wanted its "neighborhood school" back ever since. In 2003 Pali was slightly more than 30% White, slightly less than 30% each Black and Hispanic, with the remaining 10% comprised of Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander. Accusations of racism and elitism forced the school to write this racial balance into its first charter petition, promising that demographics would reflect LAUSD's community at large. Now demographics are 47% white, 18% black, 24% Hispanic and the rest Asian/Native American/Pacific Islander. 21% are economically disadvantaged. Not a reflection of LAUSD's demographics. Not even close. The original demand for equity has been abandoned.

18

10 2010

LAUSD's Strategic Roadmap Development On A Collision Course With Reality (Mapa de desarrollo estratégico del LAUSD en curso de colisión con la realidad)

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(en español después) Is there anybody else out there that realizes there has never been any substance to anything LAUSD proposes as public education reform? When you finish what amounts to the halftime pep talk from Head Coach Ramon Cortines, you as teachers and classified staff, administrators, and students and parents have to get back in the arena and get your brains beat out by the reality that LAUSD leadership and their masters in Sacracmento and Washington steadfastly refuse to specifically address in anything but edspeak platitudes that don't give you a clue as to how to finally turn things around, before the decay of American society becomes as irreversible as the equally ignored phenomenon of global warming.

15

10 2010

LAUSD: Toxic Waste (Desechos tóxicos)

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(en español después) Recently retired teacher Mark Hemphill writes in to share with us what happened to his colleagues. Now that Mr. Hemphill is no longer subject to LAUSD intimidation, we can look forward to his sharing other stories about the dark side of the farce that as he points out in this post is rather toxic to ourselves and our colleagues. If you don't think you can make it to retirement before you succumb, you might consider following Mr. Hemphill by anonymously sending me a post. It has magnificent and immediate salutary effects on the human mind and body. It's my as yet unsubstantiated opinion that LAUSD is responsible for more than just a few early departures from mortality either directly or indirectly under the most damning circumstances. As an example, shortly before the passing of Patrick Hubbel, another colleague at LD 8 met his fate. John Wunderlich had been detained at the local district for about a year as last December approached. He was a history teacher at Gardena High School. Unlike most, he welcomed the detention as a relief from the abuses faced in the classroom which went unmitigated by administrators. John was meticulous about punctuality. He watched the clock continuously to arrive on time and leave on time. He followed protocol explicitly.
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14

10 2010

LAUSD: How The Minority Continues To Control The Majority? (LAUSD: Cómo La minoría sigue controlando la mayoría?)

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(en español después) The simple answer to this question is that no LAUSD administrator has ever been held personally liability for their egregious actions no matter how malicious they are as long as they are protecting the status quo at LAUSD. The basis of LAUSD's strength requires no intelligence, but rather is in its willingness to brutally stiffle any opposition to the self-serving business as usually policy of the District administration that has gone on now for generations, while continuing to decimate mostly minority youth.

13

10 2010

My End At LAUSD: Now On To A Neutral Forum (Mi Terminar en el LAUSD: Ahora en un foro neutral)

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(en español después) On Friday, October 8, 2010 LAUSD Chief Academic Officer Judy Elliott sent me a letter saying that she was going to submit my name to the LAUSD Board for dismissal as a teacher. In retrospect and in culmination of more then a year long campaign of harassment against me, the following facts are surprisingly undisputed: - My fate was sealed with LAUSD from the moment I stood up against endemic LAUSD fraud. - Nobody in LAUSD administration has ever read my responses to the completely fabricated charges against me or ever reviewed any of the rather conclusive evidence I have submitted on various occasions that none of the charges against me ever took place. LAUSD administrators have even admitted they have never read or done any independent investigation at meetings with myself and UTLA representatives.

12

10 2010

LAUSD Snooker OR Sustainable Public Education (LAUSD Snooker O Educación Pública Sostenible)

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(en español después) If you have ever watched a professional billiards or pool tournament, you come to a realization about those who are best at the game; they know how to play shape. While they are capable of making the impressive difficult shot, they only do so when a prior miscalculation has left them in a difficult position. No great pool player would ever put themselves in a position where they had to make a difficult shot every time. They play shape, so that they can make it look relatively easy as they run the table against their opponent. In public education our formidable opponent is ignorance and it behooves us to also play shape, so that we can best use our limited resources in a manner that gets the best return on our investment. Sadly, what we have done is set up a system of public education that makes it even more difficult, if not impossible, for educators to achieve success. The hostile school work environment and apathy that infects all levels of public school functioning plays all of us that are involved against each other.
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11

10 2010

Why The ACLU Lawsuit (And Proposed Settlement) Misses The Mark (¿Por qué la demanda de la ACLU - y del Acuerdo Propuesto - pierde la marca)

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When we published our critique of the ACLU lawsuit back on March 2nd of this year that was supposedly against the disproportionate loss of teachers at some low performing schools because of their lack of seniority, there were some things that made no sense and which were conspicuously ignored by the lawsuit and response to it that we pointed out at that time. Seven months later we can see that the real target of the ACLU lawsuit was not the disproportionate loss of teachers but rather a not so subtle attack on teacher seniority throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District and elsewhere as part of the agenda to privatize public education while eliminating its most expensive component experienced professional teachers.

The LAUSD Borg: Where There's Smoke There's A Liar

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(en español después) There's a great collateral benefit for the LAUSD Borg (Star Trek reference to humanoid interconnected collective the decisions of which are made by a hive mind mentality) that has run LAUSD's purposefully failed public education system generation after generation. The LAUSD Borg thinks that Angelenos no longer have the ability to defend ourselves intellectually. While it is true that the majority of teachers seem to have accepted the LAUSD Borg juggernaut against which "resistance is futile," some Neo-like educators have shown a surprising resistance to the mind-numbing drone of the LAUSD Borg that has subjected them to years of meaningless faculty meetings and staff developments that never seem to go anywhere except further and further into uncharted space in a carefully designed process that either induces early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or qualifies you to move higher up in the LAUSD Borg administration.

7

10 2010

LAUSD: The Banality of Evil (LAUSD: La Banalidad de Mal)

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(en español después) When Adoph Eichmann, one of the main architects of the "final solution," was being tried in Israel for his crimes, Hanna Arendt said that one had the rational expectation of seeing a Count Dracula or some other image of quintessential evil, but what one saw at the trial was an old man who looked like an accountant. Thus she coined the phrase, "The Banality of Evil." On Monday, October 4th I was given one hour to make my case before LAUSD Chief Academic Officer Judy Elliott as to why she should not have Ira Berman of LAUSD Staff Relations take my name to the next LAUSD Board meeting for my immediate suspension without pay and subsequent dismissal from employment as a teacher for LAUSD. This pro forma "Skelly meeting," which would allow LAUSD to leapfrog over the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining required next step which would have given me access to neutral arbitration of the 4 Notices of Unsatisfactory Acts and 4 pending Suspensions totaling 49 days, gave me 1 hour to defend myself against an unceasing 2 year campaign of harassment by Principal Janet with the aid of LAUSD administrators all the way up the food chain at LAUSD to the superintendent's office where it got tacit approval.
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6

10 2010

Teacher Rene Diedrich Adds Her Voice To Mine. Will You? (Maestro René Diedrich añade su voz a la mía. ¿Lo harás?)

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(en español después) The following is an email I received from Rene Diedrich begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, a fellow teacher under attack for exhibiting the uncompromising values of what should be rewarded as a good teacher. It is my belief that LAUSD administration seeks to marginalize teachers like us and the somewhere between 80 and 200 teacher who share our fate, because LAUSD is incapable of reforming its clearly failed practices and, therefore, must kill the messenger. It is my belief that even if a fraction of teachers had the motivation to speak about what they are subjected to on a daily basis, LAUSD would come crumbling down, since there is nothing but fear holding it up. You are the majority who can turn things around if you finally speak out either in your own name or anonymously. If not, don't blame anybody else when your union disappears and you no longer have a job as a profession and fairly compensated teacher doing one of the hardest jobs that this country has to offer. I'm waiting on you.

5

10 2010

Hispano Hablante Children Need Education Not Accommodation (Los niños hispano hablante ¿Necesitas alojamiento Educación No)

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(en español después) I have a great deal of trouble with the argument that we should soften English language instruction by teaching in Spanish for non-native speakers of English, because someone feels that there is a necessity to accommodate to hispano hablante children when complete literacy in more than one language is as easy as two, if we haven't gotten so used to lowering the bar and our expectations for children whose ancestors built a civilization that lasted far longer than the Roman Empire.

4

10 2010

In Memoriam: Rigoberto Ruelas

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(en español después) What Rigoberto Ruelas and the members of his community didn't seem to and still don't understand is that even doing the best you could possibly do in their non-supportive LAUSD reality that is their given, the majority of them could never achieve to a level that would make them competitive with the world outside, because LAUSD has never really established an environment or believed that Latinos functioning equal to or better than the dominant culture has never been the goal. With 73% of LAUSD Latino and the State of California soon to follow, when do Latinos become the dominant culture?

1

10 2010