Archive for May 2012

IF UTLA PRESIDENT, WARREN FLETCHER, CAN'T GUARANTEE TRANSPARENCY, INTEGRITY AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITY, EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST A CIRCUS by John Dixon

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The UTLA constitution has no meaning unless the membership guarantees that the Constitution is upheld by all means by all of us. How many times has our Constitution been violated? In reality, one violation is more than enough to realize that there is a problem. It is not a matter of how many times ---it's actually a matter of whether our constitution can be violated or not. If we agree that the Constitution was put together to represent every member's interests equally, then there is not one reason to validate wrong doing, specially by those who hold high elected positions of power. In other words, if a violation of our constitution is tolerated, then it is clear that someone's rights is being violated. In that case, any violation -major or minor--represents the same level of damage of the union's integrity. Now, if the HOR, which is the body that represents every teacher of this Union, can not regulate what itself can do, how do we expect it to regulate what everyone else does? If this can not be achieved, then I can strongly argue that our House Of Representatives has become irrelevant.

31

05 2012

WILL UTLA EVER UNDERSTAND THAT LAUSD IGNORES THEM?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By this definition, the leadership of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) must be insane. Today UTLA staged yet another demonstration. This time in front of Manual Arts High School supposedly to express their objection to the planned reconstitution of the school by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in supposed derogation of an agreement they had with UTLA. Although these demonstrations, that resemble a football pep rally NEVER have any impact on decisions LAUSD has already decided to take, this never seems to stop President Warren Fletcher, Secretary David Lyell, and the other passive leadership of UTLA from staging yet another meaningless exercise in futility, which only seeks to further demoralize an already demoralized UTLA teacher rank-and-file for what amounts to nothing more than a photo-op for UTLA leadership. Worse yet, these actions serve to show LAUSD how inept UTLA is in failing to organize their rank-and-file so they might offer a credible threat of striking or other job actions, which are the ultimate litmus test of any organization that dares to call itself a union.

30

05 2012

WHY LAUSD REALLY FIRED PATRICIA MCALLISTER (VIDEO)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Probably one of the clearest examples of managing the news to discredit somebody was seen several months ago in the case of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) substitute teacher Patricia McAllister. While I found her message of how zionist Jews, who supposedly run the Federal Reserve, as being responsible for our present financial woes to be garden variety antisemitism, I was, nonetheless, fascinated by her other well documented message of how the LAUSD Board was in the pocket of big construction companies and charter developers who gave large sums of money to LAUSD Board members' re-election campaigns. This story definitely deserved being covered by the mainstream media, but instead was buried when Ms. McAllister's antisemitism was given precedence in the "news."

LAUSD: Rename the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts

Dear Friends of Perdaily, I just created a petition: LAUSD Board of Education: Rename the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, because I care deeply about this very important issue. I'm trying to collect 250 signatures, and I could really use your help. To read more about what I'm trying to do and to sign my petition, click here: http://www.change.org/petitions/lausd-board-of-education-rename-the-ramon-c-cortines-school-of-visual-and-performing-arts?share_id=PxXTSGmImKpe=pce It'll just take a minute! Once you're done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. It'll succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word! Glory

28

05 2012

LAUSD'S "RACE [LATINO & BLACK THAT IS] TO THE BOTTOM"

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Probably the greatest indication that we still live in a society where race remains the immutable primary determinant of how well a student does- instead of having become irrelevant- is that nobody wonders why perfectly normal Latino and Black students continue to do abysmally in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and elsewhere in the United States in similarly minority segregated school districts.

24

05 2012

WHY DIDN'T LAUSD'S EX-SUPERINTENDENT CORTINES SEXUALLY HARASS ME?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) As I patiently wait for my court date before the Office of Administrative Hearings that is presently set for September 10,2012, two years and 7 months after I was removed from my class on bogus charges, I lament the fact that ex-Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Ramon Cortnes didn't think I was cute enough to hit on me, the way he did on LAUSD Director of Leasing and Asset management Scott Graham. If he had, I don't think I would still be waiting for a settlement of LAUSD's bogus case against me and neither would hundreds of other teachers who have been put on protracted unpaid administrative leave in hopes that LAUSD will starve us into illness or resignation. According to and article in the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Graham filed his sexual harassment case against ex-Superintendent Ramon Cortines in March and the LAUSD Board voted him a $200,000 settlement this week- nice. And if that wasn't enough, they threw in lifetime health benefits, estimated to be worth another $250,000 - my sources say they're worth $300,000 which gets added to the present total of unfunded health benefits, that presently adds up to a total of $13 billion.

23

05 2012

LAUSD HAS BECOME TOO COMFORTABLE WITH BAD EDUCATION

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Human beings are creatures of habit and as such seem to become uncomfortable when you ask them to deviate in any way from what they are accustomed to, even if what they are accustomed to is clearly an inferior public education that leaves them with a level of achievement that will cause them frustration for the rest of their lives and is far below what they would be objectively capable of attaining under a more rigorous and nurturing system. The longer one waits to address these avoidable deficits the more engrained they become and the more likely it is that teachers will have less success in surmounting them. The older the student gets without timely age-sensitive educational fundamentals being put in place, the greater the resistance and likelihood that both the teacher and the student will fail.

22

05 2012

STATEWIDE STUDENT UNION STARTS AT SANTA MONICA COLLEGE

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Up until last Saturday apathy had been the greatest threat to being able to reform and hold accountable the highly coordinated attack on public education at all levels that is ceaselessly degrading the public education system. Last Saturday at Santa Monica College (SMC) we struck a blow for the good guys and gals where the first step to proactive engagement of all those wanting great public education took its first steps. Through the inspired effort of SMC students and others, students gathered at SMC for an all day conference whose goal is to build a statewide student union movement to confront the privatization juggernaut that has up until now had those fighting it relegated to just responding to the latest outrage that those in power could come up with.

LAUSD'S FINAL SOLUTION FOR EXPENSIVE HIGH SENIORITY TEACHERS

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The biggest problem with bringing about change in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is that most people of good will find it impossible to believe that people running a school district could actually be so malevolent. In what now amounts to the hundreds of calls I have received from teachers being targeted by LAUSD for dismissal from their jobs on completely fabricated charges is these teachers steadfast belief that there must be a misunderstanding and all they have to do is explain themselves to somebody higher up at LAUSD. If not vindicated by LAUSD, then at least those charged with defending them at their union United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) will have to intercede on their behalf. Of course this misunderstanding or the isolated improper behavior of their principal will ultimately be set right by those in power, who will reverse the actions taken to remove them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

17

05 2012

ETHNIC STUDIES INTEGRATES ALL AMERICANS

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The only way we will know that we have succeeded in creating in a public education system "with liberty and justice for all" is when we can see ourselves in the brown and black faces of those demanding a right to a quality education system that reflects their history in a manner that should make us aware that it is our history too. This is the essence of the never ending process of what it must mean in the best sense to become an American - to be more than what we initially brought to this country in search of a better life.

16

05 2012

Attacking Teacher Seniority in Court is Misguided Non-Solution (Video #9)

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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 was a press conference today in a courtyard at 1451 Wilshire Blvd. in front of an LAUSD "rubber room," where the people listed below either naively or maliciously attempted to make the litigation to eliminate teacher seniority the key issue for fixing everything wrong with LAUSD.

LAUSD'S STATIC MODEL OF PUBLIC EDUCATION FANS RACISM (VIDEO #8)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Public education is a critically essential function in any society. But in a heterogeneous American culture it is even more imperative that we use public education to create unity and strength from our diversity. Failure to do so is clearly creating the adversity we are now experiencing, because public education is no longer recognized by those in power as essential to our continued well being. When correctly implemented, public education in an American context not only gives our future citizens the intellectual tools and perspectives essential to be integrated into what must remain an ever evolving American society, it also incorporates the unique strengths and contributions of all our component cultures. G-d help us if the static definition of what will be valued in this country remains exclusively White Anglo-Saxon Protestant and male.

14

05 2012

LAUSD'S Illlusory New A-G Graduation Requirements (Video #7)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Several days ago the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board voted to lessen the number of units necessary to graduate from high school, while at the same time requiring all students at LAUSD to fulfill the A-G college preparatory requirements if they wanted to graduate. At the very least, this would seem kind of a mixed message, where on the one hand you are making it easier to graduate, while on the other, you are making it harder. A closer analysis of what is going on is even more alarming. Superintendent John Deasy had proposed that the present 230 unit requirement to graduate from LAUSD should be lowered to a mere 180 units. The Board refused to go along with this, so they compromised at 210 units. Why you would want to lessen units when you are supposedly trying to make education more rigorous is something that eludes me. But for those who actually do something more than just sit in the Beaudry headquaters building of LAUSD, it is clear that the real issue is not how many units a student takes, but the rigor of the courses offered and whether or not the students have the foundational skills necessary to do the work in any courses.

11

05 2012

FINALLY MAKING A STAND AGAINST LAUSD IN THE OAH

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) For years the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has been running roughshod over teachers, who they have succeeded in removing from their livelihood as professional tenured teachers as if they had no rights under collective bargaining or to due process of law. With the Miramonte Child Abuse Scandal, matter have only gotten worst as the removal of teachers without honest cause has reached a deasying pace. Today in Courtroom #9 at the Office of Administrative Hearings at 320 W. 6th Street in Downtown Los Angeles just maybe the first step was taken by Attorney Ronald Lapekas to finally hold LAUSD responsible to the rule of law - even for teachers.

9

05 2012

REJECTING THE COMMON CORE by Anthony Scott

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) On Perdaily, there have been many articles about the privatization of our educational system. As a teacher in California, I want to encourage you to reject our states adoption of the common core standards as another effort to privatize our education system. While our current system can be improved, this is not being addressed by common core. What is at issue is how the common core gives two companies an unregulated monopoly on our education. First, the common core standards were not created by an unbiased group of experienced and dedicated teachers. They were the invention of the Pearson Corporation, a massive publishing empire, and the Microsoft Corporation (under the auspices of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) with support from Eli Broad. They are designed to give these two corporations a monopoly on textbooks and on-line resources. Here's how using the common core math standards as an example.

LAUSD AND THE WHY OF PRIVATIZED PUBLIC EDUCATION (VIDEO #6)

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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 main functions of government has been to educate its population. With ever increasing corporate sovereignty that has gotten to the point where it challenges the supremacy of government, corporations are in an all out fight to privatize public education. The reasons are two-fold: 1. A revenue stream that is conservatively estimated at $370 billion a year lies in the balance for private interests that are finally able to supplant the tradition public function of educating our youth. It is estimated that a hedge fund could double its money in 7 years by running a publicly funded charter school, while taking advantage of generous federal and state tax benefits. Then, like with the credit default swaps and sub prime fiascoes, these charter operators could then dump these debt laden charter back on the state and taxpayers for them to clean up the mess. 2. In addition to a financial benefit, corporate privatization of public education means that public education could be dumbed down to the point where those coming out of high school would be at a 7th grade level at best. More importantly, the privatization of public education would assure that the future citizens of this country in whom our Founding Fathers vested the power to oversee and control government, would not have enough of an education to hold government or the corporations that now dominate it in check.

8

05 2012

LAUSD'S MIRAMONTE SCANDAL- HOW DOES IT HAPPEN? (VIDEO #5)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The Miramonte Child Abuse Scandal shows a disquieting picture of the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) top-down model of school administration, where the defensive mechanisms that should have been in place to protect students were sabotaged by a culture where nobody dares contradict the principal and where blind support of the principal sanitizes even the most reprehensible individuals. While the isolated behavior of a few teachers was allowed to go on by LAUSD administration for years in the Miramonte and other cases, the magnitude of harm done to a greater number of students, teachers, and others involved in LAUSD is far greater because of this culture where you move up by not questioning anything the principal does or doesn't do. What allowed the exploitation of students was a culture where the blind obedience to a principal in this top-down culture was able to insulate Mr. Mark Berndt and allow him to keep damaging the children in his charge. What is not reprehensible is that Superintendent John Deasy, instead of looking at the administrative culture that allow these awful acts to take place in the first place and continue for as long as they did, has decided to use this regrettable event to speed up his own witch hunt against teachers in his campaign for the privatization of LAUSD with charters- a prerequisite of which is getting rid of expensive top-of-the-salary scale professional teachers.

7

05 2012

MIRAMONTE TEACHERS SPEAK OUT AGAINST LAUSD TREATMENT- UTLA DOES NOTHING (VIDEO)

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SEE VIDEO OF THE EVENT (Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Yesterday at the new and as of yet unopened Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Augustus Hawkins High School on 60th Street, the teachers of Miramonte Elementary School, who have spent the last 3 months incarcerated there without even minimal due process of law, final spoke out against how they were being treated by LAUSD, which, in derogation of their civil rights, has presumed them guilty instead of innocence and has flagrantly trampled over their civil right. In the fear laden environment that permeated the well-orchestrated gathering, some of these teachers anonymously read eloquent statements about the unjust manner in which they have been treated, while clearly indicating the continuing damage that they have been allowed to sustain from LAUSD and their union United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), some of whose officers did not miss this photo opportunity to show physical solidarity with teachers, even though they have turned a blind eye to them over the last 3 months.

4

05 2012

LAUSD Teachers: the New Satanic Serial Child Molesters? by Michael Dunn

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Although initial written over a month ago, the following repost of this blog that appeared in the Modern School blog seems regrettably more apt than ever. Attacking teachers' unions, collective bargaining and due process rights, pensions, salaries and privacy has not ended the achievement gap nor mollified the critics of public education. Now the witch hunt for teachers is taking a new and twisted turn for the worse, thanks to several recent and coincidental abuse allegations against Los Angeles Unified School District employees and an orgy of hysterical media reports portraying the problem as rampant and due in part to the teachers union.

3

05 2012

UTLA's Failure and Why (Video #4)

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) While no union wants to go on strike, it must be the real threat of a strike that causes management- in this case LAUSD- to bargain in good faith. The fact that UTLA has never organized its rank and file and sees itself as an adjunct of LAUSD makes it a de facto non-union that adds insult to injury by collecting monthly dues for services as a union it never has fulfilled. With no positive adversarial relationship between LAUSD and UTLA, LAUSD has been and continues to savage teachers without an concern of consequences from demoralized teachers who have the misfortune of being "represented" by this non-union UTLA. Several years ago, then UTLA President A.J. Duffy placed empty chairs in front of LAUSD headquarters on Beaudry to illustrate how many jobs were in jeopardy. What he illustrated to then LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines was that he could not get his rank and file in the streets and out of the classroom. The last 5 presidents of UTLA saying, "Let's see what the District has to say," illustrates the subservient position UTLA has always taken in dealing with LAUSD. It is no wonder that the very future existence of UTLA as a union is now at stake.

1

05 2012