It is now going on 5 months since I gave these various people and agencies notice of allegations of improper actions that I have seen throughout LAUSD in my 15 year tenure with the District. Jim Morris tells me that he cannot talk about this, because it is the subject of an ongoing investigation by LAUSD Office of Inspector General Investigation, an investigation that has never bothered to contact me with regard to the substance and evidence of my charges. George Bronson of WASC asked me to write a formal complaint, which I did almost 5 months ago and I have never heard from them either. Maria Kress of the LAUSD OIG's Office is the only person to contact with me regard to a separate whistle blower assertion on my part. She told me that the OIG had assigned my assertions regarding the Central High graduation to Janice Davis -- my principal's immediate superior -- for investigation. On October 13, 2009, after months since my initial complaint, Ms. Davis concluded without ever seeking my evidence that "some students might not perform as well as they should because the test holds no value for them" and that my allegations were "without merit."
You'll never guess what happened next. After 15 years as an LAUSD teacher with excellent job performance evaluations and no unsatisfactory acts in my file and additional work as UTLA Chapter Chair, member of governance council, author of WASC accreditation report and a proposed LAUSD absence policy, and author of several charter documents, I started to have administrators in my classroom on a regular basis, which culminated in several notices of unsatisfactory acts and several suspensions. I would like to talk about these here, but since they are the subject of a pending grievance, I cannot do so:
"Article V LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Agreement - Grievance Procedure
4.0 Confidentiality: In order to encourage a professional and
harmonious disposition of grievances, it is agreed that from the time a grievance
is filed until it is finally resolved, neither UTLA, the District nor the grievant shall
make public the grievance or evidence regarding the grievance. This prohibition
is not intended to restrict normal interviewing of witnesses and other necessary
preparation for hearing.
4.1 If the grievant or UTLA violates the above confidentiality
requirement, the grievance shall be dismissed with prejudice. If the District
violates the above confidentiality requirement, the grievance shall be deemed
sustained, subject to a hearing limited to the issue of appropriate remedy.
It is worth mentioning that up until June of 2009, the very act of discussing a pending grievance was grounds for dismissal from employment by LAUSD. In a grievance process that can drag on for years and ends in UTLA dropping it, such a procedure only seems to function in reality as an extra-legal gag order to hide continuing LAUSD harassment and malfeasance. While teachers might justifiably feel terrorized by this process, one should have some compassion for administrators that have no tenure and can immediately lose their higher paying positions and perks away from the chaos they escaped in LAUSD classrooms, if they dare do anything but follow orders... somehow I hear this last phrase being said with a German accent circa 1930s.
Am I the only teacher in LAUSD dealing with this nonsense? Administrative intimidation of teachers is alive and well in a school district that is more driven by Average Daily Attendance, social promotion, and grade inflation then it is by academic excellence.
I am a product of LAUSD education from an era about 50 years ago when Ramon Cortines was just getting started with his career. I have three college degrees and speak three foreign languages moderately well from a time when LAUSD education did not accommodate to anything but excellence. As teachers, we should be the most optimistic people in this society, instead of the most apathetic and cynical people who no longer believe in the idealism that got the vast majority of us into teaching in the first place. Would you like to reclaim your idealism and in the process rebuild a great American public education system?
While there is no question that some teachers and administrators should find something else to do with their lives, the vast majority of educators need to start talking about what they see and experience on a daily basis, before they are scapegoated for a failed public education system which they had no part in creating. The ball is in your court my fellow educators.
Do it anonymously: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write us: email@example.com