Archive for February 2011

Waiting for Oscar by David Lyell (Esperando por Oscar por David Lyell)

David Lyell.jpg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) As we approach Oscar weekend, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Academy. Thank you, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences voters, for recognizing that the movie "Waiting For Superman" had about as close a connection to reality as Bill Gates does to the struggles of working class families. Thanks to the monstrous marketing effort to reach Academy voters, and the kindness of a cruel friend, I recently suffered through this fluff piece, for free. My conclusion: I want my two hours back.

The Truth About Teachers

Teacher vs. CEO.jpg


02 2011

Duffy's Long Term Capitulation to LAUSD (A largo plazo capitulación de Duffy a LAUSD)

THE NON-IDENTICAL TWINS? (Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Duffy, Over the last 6 years, it has been hard to distinguish any difference between what you and Julie Washington do. Now, if you have your way, I will not have to. If Julie Washington gets in to continue your disastrous regime's approach to dealing with LAUSD, in another 3 years there likely will not be a UTLA to stand up for our rights. It takes a great deal of chutzpah to accuse others of "lying by omission," when that is what your regime has done for two terms and a total of 6 years. As I have mentioned several times on this site, I was a teacher for 23 years with excellent Stulls and not a mark against me, until I reported the fraudulent graduation of 79 students from my school with valid diplomas, even though they had low elementary school reading abilities on the STAR Reading Assessment with some as low as 2nd grade. You also know that teachers are giving assessments that they have the answers to, even though they are not supposed to grade them. But, with bogus value added assessment with a 45% margin of error, these teachers are not supposed to "help their students do well," when they know their very jobs may hang in the balance?


02 2011

Michelle Rhee, Human Beings, and Teachers

Michelle Rhee.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Dear Michelle, In response to your video, I always become suspicious when somebody says, "Research shows" and then doesn't cite the research that supports firing more senior teachers in favor of new teachers- especially, since the academics I talk to like Professors Lois Weiner, Diane Ravitch, and others completely disagree with you and they are willing to cite data. Also, using a pejorative word like "antiquated" to describe "last hired, first fired," simplistically ignores at least the arguable logic that those who have done it longer tend to do it better. Would you like a first year resident operating on you or a 20 year veteran that has done the procedure hundreds of times. Implicit in your comments are the false belief that good and seasoned teachers are not professionals and can be replaced by novices whose idealism is equal to years of experience.


02 2011


(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Contrary to what seems to be the present belief, education is not a dispensable luxury, it is an absolute necessity for all people, if they hope to live in anything other than chaos. Schools are the one place where we all come together as a people to acquire the indispensable tools we will need along with knowledge of heritage that define us, so that we can live in peace as a productive people furthering the work of civilization started by our ancestors. Education is supposed to be that civilizing agent for which there really is no replacement. Without education, people have no stake in society or the law that are supposed to structure it. There are not enough police or soldiers in the world to maintain law and order, if the majority of people have not been educated into feeling that they are part of "we the people," from which police and other governmental authorities derive their delegated power. Without education, we wind up living in an ever more polarized and alienated society, where police and not teacher are charged after the fact with the impossible job of maintaining the law in predominantly minority underprivileged communities that have been purposefully uneducated. It is only logical that there is no support for law in these communities and that police snap under the stress of trying to maintain order where the majority of the people in poor inner city communities have not been given the basic elements of education necessary to give them a stake in the society and laws that the police are charged with enforcing. What is fostered by this ignorance are stereotypes held by both the ignorant - not stupid - minority communities about the police and of the police about these communities of color that put both of them constantly at odds. It is worth noting that in lieu of an intelligent teacher, we interpose a not as well educated police officer, who is allowed to have the lowest score on the civil service examination in trying to cope with the complex problems of broken families and failed education that they had no hand in making.

OPINION: Value-added assessments: has the data been cooked? by David Lyell (OPINIÓN: las evaluaciones de valor agregado: los datos ha sido cocinado? por Lyell David)

David Lyell.jpg
By David Lyell (left), LAUSD teacher (Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) A report published this month by UC Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein raises serious ethical questions about the objectivity of an analysis of "value-added" models by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In his report, "Review of Learning About Teaching," Rothstein concludes that The Gates Foundation's "Measures of Effective Teaching" (MET) Project contains, "troubling indications that the Project's conclusions were predetermined." Rothstein asserts that "the Gates Foundation has widely circulated a stand-alone policy brief (with the same title as the research report) that omits the full analysis, so even careful readers will be unaware of the weak evidentiary basis for its conclusions."


(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The first round of the UTLA Election have now been tallied with 6186 union member voting out of an approximate 45,000 members for a dismal 13.75% turnout. While UTLA can continue to call itself a union for a little while, until LAUSD finishes dismantling it with the help of UTLA leadership, a real union has the ability to get rank and file into the street to shut down LAUSD, before LAUSD succeeds in shutting down teaching as a fairly compensated profession in Los Angeles. This is a big part of the neo-liberal agenda for the privatization of public education and the dumbing down of curriculum and is going on all over this country. UTLA can only succeed by doing something more than just reacting to the latest outrage proposed by LAUSD. It requires UTLA leadership to actively organize rank and file under a clearly stated and specific alternative plan for real public education reform that concentrates on reforming LAUSD and not teacher, which UTLA leadership presently stands by and allows to be harassed, dismissed, and scapegoated for the crimes of this district that A.J.Duffy and his cronies have allowed to continue while taking no action.


02 2011


Rodney Dangerfield No Respect.jpeg
FINALLY A TEACHER HAS THE GUTS TO TELL THE TRUTH AND THE MASS MEDIA FINALLY REPORTS IT (Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) It is regrettable that Honors English teacher Natalie Munroe had to trash her students in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for anybody to take notice of the plight of teachers across this country. What is even more regrettable is that most of what she said is true and has been true for years - although blacked out in the mainstream media - but administrators and parents prefer to attack teachers rather than deal with the underlying problem. After all, purposefully failed public education has been going on for so many years that the parents and administrators themselves are a product of a system where they were never required to learn manners, so they never taught them to their own children.


(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Blind adherence to stated school course objectives irrespective of the student's actual academic level will not provide students with effective instruction in content areas, because it presupposes an adequate reading ability, which is not always the case. Rather, what I suggest is a technique that is used effectively with mentally ill people - you allow them to regress to a level at which they can function comfortably and then start to bring them forward. The sooner this is done, the greater the likelihood that you can turn around the student, however, if students are allowed to get to the secondary level without addressing their deficits, it becomes more and more difficult - if not impossible - to turn around the damage caused by neglecting to timely educate a student. What we see a great deal of at LAUSD is permissive retardation by failure to teach appropriate academic and social skills in a timely manner. The Lau decision said that it was unconstitutional, not to mention irrational, to try and teach 1800 Chinese speaking students complex mathematics in English, when they could not understand the language. Why is it any less illegal to try and teach 11th grade history to my 2th grade reading level students? The text level is just as foreign to them as English texts in complex mathematics are to Chinese students. If anything, the culpability is greater because the Chinese students inability to learn is not due to the continued misfeasance of an educational system over a 12 year period, but rather due to the fact that they immigrated to a foreign country.


02 2011


Emerald City.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog postIn my never ending) quest to make teaching better, let me end this post with one suggestion that could make things a whole lot better and really wouldn't cost very much. Every year teachers retire and take with them into oblivion all the lesson plans that they have used over their careers. While ever lesson plan we have done is not great, all of us have certain lesson that we have given that are truly excellent. What would it take to build a database of these lessons broken down by grade level and subject matter with all the other collateral material that we might have spent a great deal of time putting together. Wouldn't this be a great gift for a new teacher to give them a good point of departure in the daunting process of starting to teach?T Imagine being able to look a five or six lessons with a myriad of approaches and levels on any chapter in any subject. One of my mother-in-law's favorite expression is, "You can't straighten dogs legs." Does this apply to school districts as well?


02 2011

LAUSD IS RIGHT, I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A "TROUBLEMAKER" AKA EDUCATOR (LAUSD tiene razón, yo siempre he sido un "alborotador" AKA EDUCADOR)

(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) In looking for a post for today, I started to browse through some of my old files and came across an assignment I did in 1997 when I was getting my teaching credential at California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA). As I read through it, I couldn't help but noticing that the same form over content, we're gonna do it the same way, even if it doesn't work, anti-intellectual attitude was as alive and present back then as it is today with no sign of abating. But since the majority of affluent people are out of this purposefully failed system and don't have the intelligence of seeing how it is going to impact their lives and the lives of their children, I guess we will all have to wait until the LAUSD and the Educrats bring this society down around all of our ears. EDSE 423 Leonard Isenberg Professor Osborn Learning Log #7 March 1, 1997 Taking this program seriously is making my life more and more complicated. Rather than float from class to class in mindless performance of the varied tasks that I am supposed to unquestioningly accomplish, I am cursed with what Guilford so aptly describes a divergent thinking mentality that "produces multiple responses or solutions" that are drawn from synthesizing that which all my professors are putting out there. In so doing, I am confronted with an irrational approach to education that can only advise me to shut up and do as I am told. I keep telling myself that I must look at the bright side- as I approach 50 and am in the midst of dealing with my mid-life crisis, I can still regain my youth by the déjà vu experience being forced back into looking at reality the way I did when I was in junior high school. And if I question the irrationality around me, I get chastized like I used to when I was 14 by people who still think that because is an answer instead of a conjunction.


02 2011

NYC Public School Chancellor Joel Klein Doing His Imitation of LAUSD's Superintendent Ramon Cortines by Polo Colon

Polo Colon.jpg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Dear LA Friends and Colleagues, A few short years ago, you all avoided going through a calamity that was about to befall you that would have had huge ramifications for all education systems throughout the United States and the rest of the world. But thank God, you were able to at least temporarily avert the travesty at that time by your staunch and steadfast resistance. At that point, you became heroes of education, but maybe didn't realize it. Our Mayor Bloomberg tried to export to you, via your sycophantic Mayor Villaraigosa, the establishment of mayoral control of your public schools. The Supreme Court twice upheld your right to be free from such tyranny, but it was not without your courageous fight against mayoral control that the court took note as well as action. The decision was conclusive and decisive in your favor. It put a halt to Mayor Bloomberg's attempt to storm the country with his privatization of public education and plans to get his for-profit institutions on the fast track to domination. Again, kudos and thanks for making sure that it did not happen. Here, in New York, chaos now reigns supreme as this megalomaniacal master of mediocrity, misinformation and manipulation, the "education mayor" has been nothing short of disastrous in his administration and has unleashed his AGWs (administrators-gone-wild) to perpetrate ever-renewed waves of administrative terrorism to subvert the concept of public education, remove the control almost entirely from the people and liquidate whatever vestiges of union strength had been left from his constant barrage of demolition. And now he's promoting his efforts to end seniority rights and tenure in a national movement to vilify teachers for wanting any sort of job protection from unscrupulous demagogues like himself and his incompetent chancellors. Here, you must resist again, for it is surely going to revisit your area, with the possibility that Arne Duncan and Obama and/or Bill Gates, George Soros or the likes of Michelle Rhee joining in the frontal assault. Best wishes for your and our unity to defeat the neo-lberals agenda for the end of teaching as a profession and the privatization of public education..

UTLA Election Fraud?- You Can't Have A Corrupt LAUSD Without A Little Help From UTLA(No se puede tener un LAUSD corruptos, sin un poco de ayuda de UTLA)

Election Fraud.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) As of this writing, I have received no ballot and was wondering how many of you are in the same situation, which seems designed to maintain the same cabal of Duffyesque control at UTLA in the person of Julie Washington et al, who Duffy has taken every opportunity to push to the rank and file, while denying other candidates and slates equal access. Today at perdaily, we received allegations that there was "beginning to emerge election mail tampering, possible fraud with packets of opposition candidate flyers, supposedly mailed out, by firm hired by UTLA." In addition, we receive other claims that "many dues payers received packets of candidate flyers only AFTER they voted!" What further added to what is more and more seeming like a concerted effort to thwart Opposition candidates and an honest election is that the, "Flyers were also either double stuffed or sent on duplicate packets so even more dues payers got NO flyers of some opposition candidates at all with their packets."


02 2011

So You Thought This Nonsense Only Went On at LAUSD or NYC Public Schools?(Así que tú que pensabas que este disparate sólo pasaba en las Escuelas Públicas del LAUSD o Nueva York?)

Lorna Stremcha.jpg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) While the rational mind tells you that the harassment, intimidation, and bullying you see at LAUSD are not just happening to you and 200 teachers deposited in rubber rooms around the District, there is something very empowering about realizing that there is nothing personal about these despicable acts that are practiced around this country to silence the majority of excellent teachers who dare to stand up for what they know to be right. It is rather sad that our unions seem equally tainted by the same corruption that exists in these purposefully failed school districts, where money and power have long ago supplanted the desire to give all students the public education they are entitled to. What follows is Lorna Stremcha's story in her own words. See how much of her Montana reality is exactly the same as what you or one of your colleagues has experience in Los Angeles Unified, NYC Public Schools, or the vast majority of purposefully corrupted school districts in between that continue to maintain power at any cost by savaging teachers and ignoring the needs of students.

In Order to Form a More Perfect Public Education- 6 Articles by Anthony Cody (Para formar una más perfecta de Educación Pública- 6 artículos de Anthony Cody)

Anthony Cody.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The danger with writing a site like perdaily five days a week is that you spend far too much time confronting the dark corrupt world of public education as seen through the unimaginative eyes of those running it. To counter this occupational hazard, I had the pleasure today talking with Anthony Cody, an educator from Oakland California. Rather than spend our time talking about what is wrong in public education, which we all know so well that it is creating an attitude of futility and apathy among us that is the antithesis of why good teachers got into teaching in the first place. While neither one of us wants to ignore what is wrong, we both thought that a better way of addressing it might be to posit what teachers would do to reform public education, if we were given the support to implement our clear vision inspired by years of experience as professional teachers. In furtherance of our conversation, Anthony sent me the following 6 links to articles that he has written and projects he has been involved in that specifically address problems we are all facing.

NYC Public Schools- Parents and Students Protest New Chancellor Cathie Black - Let Them Eat Cake(Las Escuelas Públicas de Nueva York-Los padres y estudiantes protestan Nueva Canciler Cathie Black - Let Them Eat Cake)

Cathie Black.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) There is no distance between the issues of LAUSD teachers, parents, and students and those of NYC Public Schools. If you agree, go to and register to create a national forum where we can finally be heard. When you introduce presently isolated people in NYC fighting for better public education or when you meet somebody in L.A. who shares your goals and concerns by the connect you have made at than you will know that you have taken the first definitive step to ending corruption and premeditated incompetence in public education. What do you have to lose except your present apathy, which is no condition for a teacher to suffer from, unless you want to infect your students with it.

Teachers: You Will Never Change LAUSD Until You Change UTLA - Voter Guide

Warren Fletcher.jpeg
(For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The following candidates are not together on a slate, but represent the best voices in UTLA to bring much needed change to our union. Only 20% of all members vote. So even if you do not vote for any of these candidates, please vote! Part of the reason we get kicked around so much by the school district is because we are not actively involved, and we do not make our voices heard in elections. Officers: President: Warren Fletcher NEA Vice President: M.J. Roberts AFT Vice President: John Cromshow Elementary Vice President Juan Ramirez Secondary Vice President: Frances M. Copeland Treasurer: Scott Johnson Secretary: David Lyell Board of Directors: NEA Central Area: Catherine R. Proctor NEA Valley East Area: Erika Jones AFT Valley East Area: Lisa Karahalios NEA Valley West: Colleen Schwab NEA Harbor Area: Haidee Fierrro, Elgin Scott, Aaron Bruhnke, Candidate for Special Education: Tim Delia Candidate for Substitutes: Dave Peters If you do not receive a ballot in the next few days, please call and/or email Tara Thomas at UTLA to request a ballot. You can reach Tara at: 213.637.5165


02 2011

The National Association to Prevent Teacher Abuse (NAPTA) by Karen Horwitz (La Asociación Nacional para la Prevención del Abuso de Maestros (NAPTA) por Karen Horwitz)

White Chalk Crime.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) As we have said many times over during the last year on this site, the unquestioned fallacy that remains the exclusive mantra of mainstream media is that the longstanding failure of public education is the responsibility of teachers, when nothing could be further from the truth. In the following comment, meant to address this purposeful distortion of who is really responsible for failed public education, Karen Horwitz, the founder of NAPTA, talks about who should really be held responsible for the ongoing and premeditated failure of public education in this country. My voice, the voice of Karen Horwitz, and those of the silenced majority - which is never given space in mainstream media - is really the dominant narrative that must be heard, if we ever expect to reconstitute an uncorrupted public education system as the sine qua non of this country's continuation as a philosophically and economically vital democracy, where the interest of the majority take precedence over those who continue to pervert the system for their own self-interest:


02 2011

Public School Reform: A Crusade against Evil? by Rene Diedrich (Escuelas Públicas de la Reforma: Una cruzada contra el mal? por Rene Diedrich)

In Unity Is Strength.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) "We all know that the destructive individuals of the world have a way of finding each other, organizing, and building a forceful assembly that at times has had the power to destroy us all." Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, Psy.D According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, Evil is the antithesis of good--especially what linguist Noam Chomsky declares is the Greater Good. Evil behavior "deprives innocent people of their humanity, from small scale assaults on a person's dignity to out-right murder." Evil is arguably inherent with the efforts being made to assure failurein public education, by districts like LAUSD, whose notoriously adversarial relationship with teachers denotes the downfall of quality in our community's schools, most of them serving students who are among the working poor majority or already deeply entrenched in the city of lost angels' skid row poverty as it stretches from blocks into miles of dissident souls betrayed by the American Dream. The wanton attack on educators and certain schools, along with the escalation of "business" paradigms counterintuitive to the mission of public education are alarming trends, as teachers passionately note here on and in pro-pedagogy blogs across the nation as well as in Great Britain, Canada and Australia.


02 2011

Kelley Williams-Bolar "Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me." (Matthew 25:40) (Kelly Williams-Bolar "Cualquier cosa que hagas al más pequeño de mi pueblo, que lo haga a mí." (Mateo 25:40))

(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Kelley Williams-Bolar was recently charged and convicted of a felony for using the address of her father, instead of her own, to allow her children to go to a better school than the one they would have had to go to near the projects in Akron, Ohio where she and the children had the misfortune of living. Richard Pryor once said, "In America, all Black people want is justice...and when you go to court, that's all you see, just us," which brings up the question of whether a White person would ever have been charged with such a "crime" or would ever have been faced with the dilemma that Ms. Williams-Bolar faced, where her only culpable act was in trying to be a good mother with no option under law that allowed her to do this.


02 2011

No Accountablity for LAUSD Or Denver Public Schools When L.A. Times Carries On It's Long History of Union Bashing (No Accountablity de Escuelas Públicas de Denver O LAUSD Cuando Los Angeles Times continúa Es larga historia de la Unión Bashing)

Under Construction.jpeg
(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Let me take this opportunity to welcome Nicholas Riccardi to the L.A. Times Staff. His article in Saturday, January 29th's Los Angeles Times entitled A school's triumphant rise continues that most hallowed of Los Angeles Times traditions of irrationally attacking labor - in this instance teachers - while giving LAUSD and Denver public school administrators a pass for corrupt and failed public education systems that they are the architects of. If administrators of Denver's Bruce Randolph School are the admitted architects of failed public education as Superintendent Ray Cortines and his predecessors are the architects of failed LAUSD schools, then why would destroying a unionized professional teachers corp in any way address the structural failures in design that teachers had no say in implementing in the first place? Ironically, the only teachers it will get rid of are those who refuse to complement the emperor on his new clothes.


02 2011