Archive for March 2011

UTLA Makes Dysfunctional LAUSD Possible: A Landmark Year For Union Election Corruption by Mark Hemphill (UTLA hace disfuncional LAUSD posibles: un año clave para la Corrupción Electoral del Sindicado por Mark Hemphill)

(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) (As I get read to post this 3rd article in a series about corruption at UTLA by Mark Hemphill at perdaily, the UTLA election results are in and Warren Fletcher has been elected president with David Lyell as Secretary. While Fletcher was able to take the top spot at the union, he did not carry all of his slate. Given the low turn out in the run-off, allegations of gross irregularities, and general teacher apathy, Fletcher does not have much time to posit a clear and specific plan to rally support from rank and file, before UTLA is made irrelevant by the incessant outrageous actions by LAUSD that have gone unanswered by A.J. Duffy and the exiting cabal that have continued to run things at UTLA into the ground. Whatever you thoughts are at this time, the least effect thing that teachers and other LAUSD employees can do is to continue to fight among ourselves instead of coming together behind Warren to keep him focused on what needs to be done for us to become a force to be reckoned with as the silenced majority at LAUSD - majority needs to rule. Notice that the minority who continue to run things at LAUSD still face no consequences for their dishonesty. Any teacher can tell you what happens in a classroom when there are no consequences and clearly the same is true for LAUSD administration - care to give them consequences? Warren deserves at least a chance to see if he represents anything other than the same capitulation to LAUSD that has gone on for the last 4 administrations of UTLA. Clearly, whether you choose to accept it or not, Warren will either reestablish a fair balance of collective bargaining with LAUSD or he just might be the last president of this union)


03 2011

UTLA Makes Dysfunctional LAUSD Possible: A Landmark Year For Union Election Corruption by Mark Hemphill (UTLA hace disfuncional LAUSD posibles: un año clave para la Corrupción Electoral del Sindicado por Mark Hemphill)

(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Part 2: The Roles of Ambitious Bit Players If you had the patience to read through part 1 on this subject, you now have a good idea of just how rife with corruption the first round the UTLA election was. You also know the main offenders and how all attempts to hold them accountable have met with less than enthusiasm by the union or generally ignored. Nevertheless, the reader deserves to know the depth to which the corruption has reached. Chiefs are of little impact without braves to do their bidding. The same applies here. To compromise this election to the level reported, it took great cooperation from smaller players with origins where it would have never been expected. There isn't the time or the space to cover every one of them, but the following is a representative example.


03 2011

UTLA- A Landmark Year For Union Election Corruption by Mark Hemphill (UTLA-un año clave para la Corrupción Electoral del Sindicato por Mark Hemphill)

(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Part 1: Where It All Began Unless you're a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District teaching community, you probably didn't know that round one of the elections for offices within the United Teachers of Los Angeles union has come and gone and round two comes to a conclusion March 29 between the two surviving virtually indistinguishable runoff slates to decide the remaining offices. However, even if you're a member of the teaching community, you may not know of these events, given that estimates of the voter turnout ran as low as 15% and no higher than 17%. Pretty sorry for the second largest teacher's union in the country. At some school sites, teachers didn't even know there was an election, and if they did, they couldn't identify the candidates much less separate them by their positions on issues. But even if you're not a teacher, Keep this in mind. What happens here will dramatically effect all teachers, public education and you by transference. So read on if you want to know what's really going on.
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03 2011

LAUSD's John Deasy and the L.A. Times Jason Song Teach You How to Make More Money Less - New Math? (Deasy de LAUSD y Jason Song del LA Times te enseñan cómo hacer más dinero menos - Matemáticas nuevo?)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) One of the advantages of having a long and purposeful failed public education system, where abysmal English language skills are only matched by equally atrocious math skills is that the Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Song can write an article entitled, "L.A. schools chief cuts his own pay" and fewer people are left with enough critical thinking skills to question either the linguistic sophistry or fuzzy math that Song uses to arrive at his conclusion in complete derogation of what has actually taken place. The fable goes something like this: Gates Foundation's John Deasy is given the job of Superintendent of LAUSD to replace Ramon Cortines at $330,000 a year with no other candidates for the position. Ramon Cortines has been paid $250,000 a year, if you don't count his generous benefits package and the $150,000 a year he also made from Scholastics for 10 years in a clear conflict of interest that LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia told him not to worry about, even though LAUSD had $16 million a year in contracts with Scholastics. As we have seen elsewhere lately, it just seems like some people are above the law.


03 2011


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Did you ever wonder where kids learn about bullying in school? Try looking at the way in which teachers are treated by their principals with the blind support of LAUSD administration. Meanwhile, back at the Office of Administrative Hearings this last Monday March 21, 2011, an observer noted that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Attorney Mampre A. Pomakian kind of went ballistic before his closing arguments by attempting to attack my previous observations of his less then stellar performance at the hearing of harassed teacher Paulette Jackson that I posted earlier at Perdaily.


03 2011


(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) In the Warsaw Ghetto, a young zionist came back, after following the trains filled with Jews, to tell the Jewish leaders about Auschwitz and the extermination camps. The leaders, who had been supplying lists to the Nazis of the people in the ghetto to be "relocated" refused to believe what the young zionist was telling them about the "ultimate solution." They continued to fight among themselves, while offering their tacit support to the enemy, because that had allowed them to survive in the past. In the end, they were either killed in Auschwitz or in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. These folks didn't have a choice, teachers, students, and parents in LAUSD do.


03 2011


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) OUR WINNER EX-CIA AGENT FRANK SNEPP is who determines what gets on the air at KNBC is our choice for the Joseph Goebbels 2011 Media Manipulation Awards. Snepp worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1968 until 1976.He started as an intelligence analyst and then graduated to being a full-time interrogator on the Station's counterintelligence staff. Snepp always has has a knack of .digging out valuable information from doing his interrogations, whether it be in Vietnam or later as a reporter. It must have been very frustrating for him to know about the corruption I shared with him about LAUSD, but one thing Frank has never done is go against those in power, who he has always blindly equated with American values, no matter how far they have strayed from fundamental notions of constitutional democracy.


03 2011


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) It has not been an easy job to destroy an independent media in this country and along with it any vestige of freedom of the press as supposedly guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. I think it is only fair that in the spirit of American Idol we go through the top individual L.A. candidates, who have done the most to destroy a free press this year, and award our 1st Annual Joseph Goebbels Award, given in loving memory of Germany's Propaganda Minister, who came to power in 1933 and was able to eliminate the intellectual traditions of one of the most civilized countries in the world in record time - sound familiar? Prescient?


03 2011

LAUSD- Don't Mess With Teachers Video by Two Teachers and a Microphone Productions and Julia Sweeney "Sex Ed." Monologue

(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post)The problem with writing about the depressing corrupt reality of public education on a daily basis at the Los Angeles Unified School District and virtually every other purposefully constructed to fail inner city minority filled public school district throughout this country is that it is depressing as hell. Teachers, students, and parents that remain trapped in this system tend to naturally become apathetic as to the chances of ever turning things around based on their daily dose of a rote anti-intellectual approach to what could easily be changed into the joys and excitement of real education and the excitement of allowing their imaginations to run wild with all the possibilities as to what their lives could be. The message from those running this human hive is clear, don't think or question or the administrators will put a coat of school boy on your ass...and nobody wants that, do they?


03 2011

LAUSD- Egypt, Wisconsin, and Now The Walkout at Hamilton High School

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Something important took place today at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Students at the highly successful magnet school with excellent Humanities, Music, and Drama Magnets as well as 6 small learning communities who were threatened last week with the loss of 22 of their teachers decided to fight back. Using Facebook and other social media they organized thousands of their fellow students, parents, and supporters to stage a walkout from the school to say in the clearest of possible terms that they were not going to passively roll over and allow their educations and futures to be compromised by politically inspired manipulations throughout this state and country that were trying to impose draconian cuts to education that really had no rational justification. As one of the organizers of the event student Olivia Natt said in some of her remarks addressed to the whole student body, which had walked out of Hamilton High School in an orderly manner at 9:00am, "Children should not be used as leverage by politicians for their partisan political goals."


03 2011


(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) When I first started teaching back in the late 1980s, somebody told me that principals were Gods and I was foolish enough to believe that they did not mean this literally. Today I spent another day in the surrealistic world of the Office of Administrative Hearings at 320 W. 4th St. in Downtown Los Angeles in "courtroom" number 9 on the 6th floor, where I got another object lesson in just how unquestioningly LAUSD administration will support its principals no matter what they do. What I saw again was an expensive process where LAUSD Attorney Mampre R. Pomakian, Staff Relations or Human Resources Ira Berman (he can't seem to make up his mind) and an expensive cast of judge, commissioners, court reporter, paralegal, and a stellar supporting cast spent their time trying to prove that when it comes to teachers: IF IT DOESN'T FIT, YOU MUST CONVICT


03 2011

LAUSD and the Office of Administrative Hearings - Just Us Without Justice ( LAUSD y la Audiencia Administrativa - Sólo nosotros sin Justicia)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) From the first day of this farce, the judge and two retired teacher were given LAUSD's book of "evidence" against Ms. Jackson, even before the judge decided as to whether it was admissible or not. Even after the judge had ruled that some document could not come in or other documents of questionable origin could, there was no attempt made to limit what access these two retired teachers would have to "the evidence" presented by LAUSD. While a professional judge might be able to limit his ultimate deliberation to admissible evidence, one could not reasonable expect two retired teachers to not be impermissible swayed. However, even with LAUSD's failure to comply with discovery of documents requested by Dr. Michael Wells, who was helping Ms. Jackson in her defense, based on a claim of sovereign immunity, the rank incompetence of LAUSD shown through. One witness who had written Ms. Jackson up for alleged improper behavior admitted that he had never observed her firsthand and had only written her up "as a favor" to somebody else at LAUSD who asked him to do so and yet this proceeding was allowed to go on.


03 2011


(For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) (This post keeps getting more and more surreal as the day goes on in terms as to what LAUSD and UTLA can do without due process of law or maintaining even basic civil rights having to do with the property rights involved in employment. I just received the following email from Tara Thomas at UTLA) "Thank you, I received your email. You didn't receive a ballot this time around because the eligibility is based upon paying Union dues as of February 4th payroll. Our records indicate that you have not paid union dues since December 2010. You are on Inactive status at this time. In Unity, Tara R Thomas UTLA Business Office Phone 213-637-5165  fax 213-368-6231" So it seems that all LAUSD would have to do to eliminate UTLA as a union is to put us all on unpaid administrative leave in complete derogation of the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Agreement and applicable law, because by so doing, teachers - according to Tara Thomas of UTLA - would lose their right to vote at UTLA in any attempt to confront LAUSD corruption in the illegal dismissal of teachers or UTLA complicit in these illegal actions. So what happened to the legal presumption of being innocent until shown guilty by a preponderance of the evidence with the burden of so proving on the alleging party???

Understanding the National Context of LAUSD, UTLA, and NEA Corruption - To Understand, Read Idaho Teacher Daniel Geery's Post(Entender el contexto nacional del LAUSD, UTLA, y la corrupción NEA - Para Entender, Leer Post Geery Idaho Daniel Maestro)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) How You Can Expect to be Treated by the National Education Association (when you need them most) by Daniel Geery Following negotiations of our Master Agreement, in 1989, the Shelley School District hired a new superintendent, Val Edrington, well-known for his militaristic approach to things. Edrington was not pleased with my active role in the IEA and NEA. Shortly after his arrival that I was placed on probation, based on a long list of nonsensical allegations, such as "dominating grade level meetings," being absent when I was present, getting "blacktop smudges on PE balls," having inadequate lesson plans (though for seven years the previous administration commended my teaching and lesson plans), and for the content of a letter that was never published, wherein I questioned the superintendent's questionable history and activities in our district. Specifically, I had composed a draft of a letter about the shenanigans of the superintendent, took it to a local paper to see what one of the reporter's thought might need to be changed for it to be published. He kept a copy and took it to the school district's lawyer. To my surprise and horror, a termination hearing was scheduled in May, 1991. I asked the Idaho Education Association and its Executive Director to send a lawyer to assist me. "We can't," they claimed--such an action, they said, would be "too costly." A kangaroo court proceeding ensued. No record was made that was suitable for review, I was fired, with no income and no recourse.It is difficult to convey in words how demoralizing and depressing this situation was. In this small community, social support evaporated. The mere firing of an educator meant to many that I must have done something horribly wrong to be terminated from a tenured teaching position (several of my peers, aware of what was going on, were deeply concerned, but at a loss as to what to do).


03 2011

LAUSD- Where Public Education is conducted in a foreign language called English (LAUSD-En caso de Educación Pública se lleva a cabo en un idioma extranjero llamado Inglés)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) It is not racism to say that predominantly Black and Latino students cannot learn when every effort has been made to destroy their intelligence by not timely addressing their fundamental needs in education or by not doing adequate remediation at an early enough age to get them caught up to their peer group. The Music Man and other teacher movies are Hollywood. The hard reality is that once the neurobiology and sociology human development milestones are allowed to pass without even attempting to fulfill them, permanent damage is done in a more and more irreversible manner as a direct function of how long they are allowed to last, until it is no longer possible for the student to reach what would have been their potential, if they had been taught in an age-appropriate manner.


03 2011

NYC and LAUSD Public Schools- The Coast to Coast Homogeneity of Purposefully Failed Public Education by Susan Lee Schwartz

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) It is insane and it makes me want to cry for our country's future, because these 'kids' will not be kids for long. In no time they are uneducated adults, incapable of doing the real work, the critical analysis that is required in today's workplace. No one makes widgets in this country anymore, and those who cannot think or analyze, as Bob Herbert wrote this week, will be relegated to the lowest paying labor. Just as fanatics have hijacked a wonderful, peaceful religion, so have profiteers and the billionaires hijacked our public institutions, purchasing the support of the media to put out the destructive misinformation and outright lies that have brought public education to an end. Put your 'money' where your 'mouth' is, and report on the genuine research that expert academics have presented on evaluation.

Nobody Likes a Brainiac by Jo Scott Coe (Nadie Le Gusta un Brianiac de Jo Scott Coe)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Years ago I gave a guest presentation to a college public relations class about my experience as a volunteer writer and fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. When I finished, the professor had a comment: "You teach high school? What a waste." He meant it as a compliment, but I didn't take it as one. It betrayed an all-too-prevalent attitude. On the one hand, Americans say they value their teachers. A recent survey found that 62% of Americans consider teaching to be the profession that most benefits society, while only 22% named medicine. But, in fact, when people see articulate, poised and accomplished teachers in the classroom, they tend to wonder what's wrong with them that they're "only" teaching. With that kind of attitude so pervasive, it's no wonder that some of those attracted to teaching are less than competent. A Knight-Ridder report last summer found that California teachers are deplorably subpar in nearly two-thirds of the state's public classrooms -- meaning that they are teaching subjects in which they do not hold degrees or teaching credentials or display "expertise."


(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Before the hearing began, Judge Nafarrette said, "I haven't even reviewed the file," which Administrative Law Judge Scarlett had only given him at 8:40am that same morning. But as I listened to the testimony, I realized this was only the last step of a seamless system of endemic incompetence that started with the unwarranted harassment and removal from teaching of Ms. Jackson by novice Principal Kendra Wallace of Daniel Webster Middle School with the blind support of LAUSD administration that not only offered no critical analysis of the completely false charges brought against Ms. Jackson, but actually helped in the fabrication of evidence against her.


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Now, one can only be astounded by the blatant hypocrisy of LAUSD in going after Crescendo Charter Schools for some of the same practices that continue to take place on a regular basis in LAUSD schools, where teachers like myself are given answers to assessments that we are supposed to administer but not score. So why do we have the answers? Hmm... No one at LAUSD in administration or on the Board questions this or the results in their own schools, when students with low elementary levels in English, math, science, and social studies, somehow get passing grades on assessments that they objectively do not have the foundational skills to even understand, let alone do well on. In addition, clearly written on the proctor's copy of these assessments are statements that these assessments are going to be give again, so what the teachers not just at Crescendo, but throughout LAUSD are tacitly encourage to do is help their students cheat.. So why would honorable teachers do this? Could it have anything to do with the not so subtle threat that LAUSD administration holds over their heads with value added assessment (45% margin of error), negative teaching evaluations, and overt threats if these teachers don't knuckle under to the dishonesty that is promulgated by LAUSD administrators who are more concerned with creating the appearance of education then actually doing something that would accomplish it. Ask any teacher how their administrator would respond if they gave an "F" to a student who did no work, was habitually truant, and deserved it.

LAUSD: Understanding Workplace and Educational/Academic Bullying/Abuse by Lorna Stremcha © 2006 (LAUSD: Comprender el lugar de trabajo y de la Educación / Intimidación Academia / Abuso de Lorna Stremcha © 2006)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Bullying/abuse in the workplace and educational/academia setting deprives families and society of security; financial stability, emotional balance and can result in debilitating health for the victim/target and or their family members. Those that abuse/bully others in the workplace, in the schools, in the boardrooms are destroying intelligent and talented people from living productive and quality lives. Workplace and educational/academia bullies/ abusers are obliterating lives. THERE IS NO INTERVENTION IN 85% OF THE CASES Workplace abuse/bullying is two to three times more prevalent than illegal discrimination. In most cases, it is sub-lethal and non-physical. According a Zogby Poll approximately one in six workers have directly experienced workplace abuse.
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03 2011

LAUSD Is Deaf to Ravitch: 'A moment of national insanity' by Valerie Strauss (LAUSD es sorda a Ravitch: 'Un momento de locura nacional por Valerie Strauss)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) I thought the following article from the Washington Post was well worth your reading. Please share it with as many of your friends as possible. It is clear that we are the silenced majority, who are finally starting to connect on the Internet to overcome the longstanding blackout in the corporate controlled mainstream media. In a country where over 90% of Americans get their only information about what is going on from the local "news," we must take education to the Internet to escape the intellectual ghetto we presently find ourselves in and raise the awareness of this country as to what is really going in in public education and elsewhere, before the American version of Mubarak or Gaddafi winds up in power...if that hasn't already taken place.


03 2011


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) There is no way that public education throughout this country can be as bad and corrupt as it presently is without the willing collusion of teachers' unions like UTLA and those in Philadelphia, NYC, and elsewhere with their dysfunctional school districts. If you would like to try and turn it around, you must conquer your LAUSD/UTLA purposefully cultivated teacher apathy and vote for new leadership in the UTLA runoff elections. This is the first step to change and accountability for everyone at LAUSD and UTLA, along with the politicians who empower them and look the other way while they systematically dismantle meaningful public education in this country. Key to fulfilling the clear corporate agenda of ending democracy in this country is eliminating a publicly educated citizenry that is capable of understanding the ramifications of what is being done to them and their children in public schools that has made them incapable of having sufficient education to operate as a repository of power and oversight as anticipated by our Founding Fathers.


03 2011

Vote Yes On Proposition L Tuesday March 8- Save our libraries

(Mensaje se repite en Español) For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post In advancing the neo-liberal agenda of dumbing down America by privatizing schools, eliminating professional teachers, and lower academic achievement, defunding libraries is right up there. Fight apathy and Vote Yes on Measure L March 8