LAUSD'S IMPERIAL NOTION OF LAW- WHOSE RIGHTS ARE THEY ANYWAY?

Divine right of kings.jpg
(Mensaje se repite en Español)

(For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post)


As I have tried to point out in recent perdaily posts, the major way in which the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has successfully gotten rid of thousand of teachers is by getting them to buy into allowing LAUSD to define what is going on and who has what rights. I call this framing the conversation, which as of this writing, LAUSD continues to do successfully in virtually all the cases it has brought against teachers. In order to hopefully turn this around in the future, let me go through just some of the false assumptions LAUSD administration gets teachers to buy into, which predictably continues to cause them to lose their jobs.

Under the both state and federal law, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a preponderance of the evidence in a civil cases and beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal cases. What LAUSD has succeeded in doing is to turn this around by getting teachers to defend themselves against fabricated charges as if THEY had the burden of proof, instead of the District. What this creates in teachers, who find themselves under siege from LAUSD in what has proved for most a vain attempt to protect themselves and their jobs, is a tacit acceptance of the idea that they have to defend themselves, instead of realizing that the burden is on the District.

Another misstatement of actual law that LAUSD gets most teachers to buy into regarding their defense has to do with legal standing. An example of this can be seen in some of the charges they bring against teachers, which alleged violation of a student's right to privacy. An example of this can be found in my own case, where I was alleged to have infringed on the privacy rights of my student and his parents in publishing his test scores and putting him in a video on this website. Although I had signed legal releases from both the parent and the student to do so, LAUSD claims that I violated this student's right to privacy by not getting the District's permission prior to putting the scores and video up on the site. They have no legal standing to make this argument, because the right and expectation of privacy is in the student and his parent and NOT in LAUSD. Because LAUSD usually prevails against teachers before they get into court, most teachers still buy LAUSD's false claim to standing when it comes to students, parents, other teachers, administrators, or anybody else who might tell the truth and testify that LAUSD administrators fabricate charges and lie on a daily basis.

Given the main LAUSD legal tactic of protracting the teacher removal process for years, most teachers never get into a neutral forum/court, where the fallacious legal arguments of LAUSD and their legal counsel can be exposed and stricken from the charges brought against the teacher they are trying to illegally remove. In theory, if the teacher can survive the onslaught of charges and being deprived of salary and benefits for years, a neutral court will ultimately throw out these charges and award damages to the teacher. However, there is a big if as to whether most teachers have the financial wherewithall to hang on long enough to ultimately win.

Privacy without having the standing to assert it is not only used by LAUSD, it is used by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) which keeps the hundreds of teachers in the various stages of the removal process separate from each other by asserting these teachers right to privacy, when other teachers try to get in touch with them to aggregate their claims and defenses in one unified lawsuit against LAUSD in a manner that might stop LAUSD from getting rid of them one by one. Again, UTLA, like LAUSD, doesn't have legal standing to assert the right to privacy of teachers being targeted, harassed, and removed from their jobs as teachers. At the very least, UTLA should contact these teachers and allow them to decide if they want to join in a unified lawsuit that joins their claims and defenses with other teachers that have similar claims against LAUSD
.
Privacy should not be about hiding the truth.

In looking at the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Agreement Article V, along with other sections, UTLA seems to have an affirmative duty to bring such a consolidated actions on behalf of all teachers who are presently being targeted by LAUSD for removal. UTLA's refusal to do this or anything else like it is key to the success of LAUSD being able to get rid of 853 teachers last year without a peep coming out of UTLA- shame on you! So why is it that these teachers paid all those dues to UTLA over the years?

The imperial culture of how LAUSD administration deals with people is not limited to teachers. They do the same when parents at schools want to contact other parents to compare and discuss false charges brought against their children, the lack of academic rigor or discipline in the schools their children attend, or how decisions at the school are made, which still remains under the absolute control of LAUSD and their principal to the exclusion of any other input by teachers, parents, students, or other interested parties that LAUSD is obligated to follow.

LAUSD from deans, vice principals, and principals, all the way up to the superintendent think they have the imperial power of a monarch and are a sovereign legal authority unto themselves. Recently, I got calls from many teachers who called to say that Superintendent Deasy was now going to have the power to summarily remove teachers from their jobs. They actual deferred to District authority enough to believe that LAUSD authority trumps their civil rights and right to due process of law under both state and federal law. 

The reason LAUSD has been so successful in getting teachers, students, parents, and other to defer to their self-proclaimed authority is that to challenge it takes the awareness, and most importantly, the money to go into court. Organization like the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) are too busy patting themselves on the back and having fundraising dinners to bring any legal actions to advocate for either student or teachers rights. The vast majority of teachers, parents, and students defer to LAUSD and never get into a neutral forum, such as a real state or federal court, where they stand a greater chance of getting objectivity, instead of the gospel according to LAUSD...and UTLA, which either knowingly or through stupidity, allows the rights of teachers and others to continue to be trampled upon.


If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch:

Lenny@perdaily.com


NATIONAL EDUCATION REFORMERS


LA Progressive

Dick Price and Sharon Kyle
http://www.laprogressive.com/
Dick and Sharon dick_and_sharon@yahoo.com
Dick and Sharon are a pair of citizen journalists and information activists who were fed up with mainstream media. Rather than just kvetch about the media, they decided to try to become the media. So, together they founded the LA Progressive. Dick is the editor and Sharon is the publisher and webmaster, handling all technical aspects of the site.

This site was launched in March 2008, with Dick and Sharon doing most of the writing. Today, a host of gifted writers contribute to the LA Progressive's daily offering which typically amounts to about 45 articles a week. Dick and Sharon continue to write for as well as edit and publish the LA Progressive and distribute its daily e-news each morning.

Jo Scott Coe Riverside, California
Jo.Scott-Coe@rcc.edu
www.joscottcoe.com
Excellent Video Interview about Professor Coe
http://vodpod.com/watch/4959969-jo-scott-coe-teacher-at-point-blank

Assistant Professor of English at Riverside Community College and former high school English teacher. She is the author of Teacher at Point Blank and has been a teacher of English and literature in California since 1991. Her writing on intersections of gender, violence, and education has appeared in the Los Angeles Times as well as literary venues including Hotel Amerika, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Ninth Letter, Memoir(and), Bitter Oleander, and Green Mountains Review. Her essay, "Recovering Teacher," won the NCTE 2009 Donald Murray Prize, and other selections of her work have received a Pushcart Special Mention as well as Notable listings in Best American Essays 2009 and 2010. As an independent researcher, Jo authored and published the most extensive study to-date of Adams v. LAUSD, a nearly 10-year legal case of student-on-teacher sexual harassment, in (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women's Experience (Cambridge Scholars Press). Jo values the aesthetic, political, and socially transformative powers of literary narrative--especially to dispel unhealthy silences and witness cultural blindspots. She works currently as an assistant professor of English at Riverside Community College in SoCal, and her book, Teacher at Point Blank (Aunt Lute 2010), has been selected as a Great Read for Fall 2010 by Ms. Magazine. Punk rock? Yes. Hockey games? Yes. Coffee? Always black. Find Jo on the web at joscottcoe.com and on Twitter @joscottcoe.

Betsy Combier New York, New York
betsy.combier@gmail.com
Betsy Combier's blog http://www.parentadvocates.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=488
is a jewel that chronicles the corruption in NYC's Dept of Educations (DOE)  . She has accomplished a wonderful piece of journalism, and created one of the rare places where corrupt educational governance is chronicled and revealed

Professor Samuel Culbert Los Angeles, California
<nobull2u@gmail.com>
is a professor at the UCLA Andersen School of Business who also teaches in the Education Department's Principals' Leadership Institute. Check out the following 3 minutes on ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/conversation-performance-review-11126992

Stuart Goldurs Los Angeles, Califonia
StuartComputers@gmail.com
Don't send LAUSD Librarians to the Inquisition, send the downtown bureaucrats
Tests, What Are They Good For? Absolutely Nothing!
LAUSD students to attend school on contaminated land, again!
Some schools teach only to the tests, so how are the students being prepared for the next grade and for life?
New LAUSD superintendent adds six-figure positions to management team

http://www.examiner.com/public-education-in-los-angeles/lausd-test-scores-up-to-failure-levels-what-are-the-students-learning

Has been a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 30 years. He is greatly aware of the district waste, large bureaucracy, and other major issues of the time. He started his blog with the sole purpose of informing the world about the truths of education in LAUSD. E-mail him at: StuartComputers@gmail.com.

LAUSD has selected a new Superintendent of Schools

Karen Horwitz Chicago, Illinois

wccbook@gmail.com

Former award winning teacher who co-founded NAPTA, National Association for the Prevention of Teacher Abuse, and wrote the book White Chalk Crime: The REAL Reason Schools Fail to expose how teacher harassment and terrorization maintains a system of deeply hidden corruption. Disposing of dedicated teachers forms the core of the White Chalk Criminal's agenda since dedication and white collar crime do not mix. Given that all agree that good teachers are essential to good teaching, a system that cannot tolerate good teachers is worthless. This is what we have in place. With Bernie Madoff-like leaders - he was as much about investing as our school leaders are about educating - anointed with unlimited power, including the ability to fill the airwaves with propaganda, education is no longer about education. It is about money and power for those who play a very corrupt game and with an agenda of privatizing schools so their power will increase. (Privatization may have merits. NAPTA does not take a position on that. But privatizing a system that is rotten to its core - where quality teaching cannot survive, where a cover up of pretense that they do not know this despite so many of us reporting these truths prevails - documents that those advocating privatization cannot be trusted! It shows they want our schools for their own interests, not the children, nor the community.)  NAPTA welcomes parents, teachers, students, citizens or anyone who understands that without a real system of education, we no longer have a democracy. Membership is free. Go to: EndTeacherAbuse.org  or WhiteChalkCrime.com. Become educated about what is going on.

Jerry Mintz Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO)
417 Roslyn Rd., Roslyn Hts., NY  11577

For those of you who cannot wait for corrupt public education to be turned around, AERO offers an excellent source to get connected with viable alternatives right now.

www.EducationRevolution.org
info@EducationRevolution.org
                                                                                                                        800-769-4171                                                             (domestic)
                                                                                                                        516-621-2195                                                             (international)

Susan Ohanian Charlotte, Vermont
susano@gmavt.net
http://www.susanohanian.org
She is a longtime public school teacher who, after 20 years, became staff writer for a teacher magazine and then went freelance. I've maintained a website of activism for nearly 9 years--ever since the passage of NCLB. People can subscribe to the website and then they get updates about new content. I answer all the mail I get through the website and with the answer, people have my e-mail.  I also try to stir things up on Twitter, though I find this medium frustrating. I have a Facebook page--just so people can find me. I don't initiate anything on it, The website keeps me busy.
http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=9593

Susan Lee Schwartz Suffern, New York

Susan studied literacy education, English literature, and fine arts and holds a BA ('63) and MS ('65) from Brooklyn College, and has the equivalent of two master's degrees, earned in graduate studies of literacy, arts and education. She taught literacy skills and art, for four decades in NYC in elementary and secondary school.  In 1998 she won the New York State English Council (NYSEC) Educator of Excellence Award  for her successful teacher practice, studied by Harvard  and the LRDC at the University of Pittsburgh for the New Standards research. At the end of her research, her unique curriculum was selected by the LRDC to be used in their national staff development seminars for school superintendents. She was among six teachers -- from among the thousands across the nation-- observed during the research project, and her teaching practice met all the  principles of learning. In the nineties, she rose to prominence in national educational circles, while teaching at a new magnet school, East Side Middle School. The reading scores of her seventh grade students were at the top of the city, and on the first ELA, which two thirds of city students failed, her former students (then in the eight grade) were TENTH IN THE STATE.

 She writes often about what she learned about the genuine standards for learning, in an attempt to begin a national conversation about the authentic standards, so that there can be genuine reform. Her experience that ended her fine career in the NYC Public Schools has led her to write about the process that removed the top educators, silencing the voices of the classroom practitioners who would not accept anti-learning policies. Her essay here on Perdaily,  is one that describes this process. Read more as she talks about education, literacy  and learning on her site, from the perspective of the experienced teacher-practitioner of pedagogy. She is the voice of dedicated and talented classroom teachers who know why the schools are failing.

Her website is:

http://www.speakingasateacher.com/Susan_Lee_Schwartz_(Steiner)_/index.html


Joel Shatzky: Brooklyn, New York
Joel.Shatzky@cortland.edu
Professor of English Emeritus--SUNY, College at Cortland (1968-2005)
Adjunct instructor-Kingsborough CC (CUNY) 2006--   )
Regular contributor to the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/searchS/?q=Joel+Shatzky
Author of "The Thinking Crisis" with Ellen Hill (Authors Choice Press: New York, 2001)
Numerous articles on education in Jewish Currents.
Script-writer for three YouTube satires on educational "reform."
 "The Lessons": www.youtube.com/watch?v=D712J1V2Jsg&feature=player_embedded
"Numbers Lie": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57BRNLviVTQ
"The Charter Starters": www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnrrw5CV3Gw<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnrrw5CV3Gw>

Here's Joel's latest post about the low percentage of "college ready" high school graduates. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-shatzky/educating-for-democracy-t_2_b_821410.html



Lorna Stremcha Havre, Montana
<lornastremcha@yahoo.com>
http://www.endteacherabuse.org/Stremcha.html
http://twitter.com/lornapstremcha

lornastremcha.com

callmescarlet.blogspot.com
facebook


HER STORY:
"I know first hand the financial, personal, emotional and physical damage that can result when school administrators, the Montana Education Association and the National Education Association put their own interests above the students, teachers and the taxpayers of the State of Montana My files contain mountains of paperwork including depositions, declarations of truth, notarized documents and exhibits resulting from an arduous legal process that finally ended when the Havre (Montana) School District settled two lawsuits - a Federal suit and one filed in State District Court. These documents also include a letter from a union representative stating, " This is nothing more than a witch hunt." Yet the union continued to allow the school administration to harass, bully and bring harm to me.
These two lawsuits resulted from a single incident that, had it been handled differently and under the light of public scrutiny, would not have snowballed into awards of more than $200,000 worth of damages. Funds that eventually came from the taxpayers' pockets. Ironically, as a taxpayer in Hill County, my family and I are helping to pay for the damages awarded to me. This covered the attorneys' fees. The settlement did not include my attorney fees, however the district, insurance and taxpayers paid the defendants attorney bills, which exceeded mine. The settlement was made on March 2, 2006."http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Jim-Taylor/125893225652
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Jim-Taylor/125893225652
http://twitter.com/search?q=DrJimTaylor

Lois Weiner Jersey City, New Jersey
Professor, Elementary and Secondary Education
New Jersey City University
2039 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, New Jersey 07305
drweinerlo@gmail.com
Blog
http://newpolitics.mayfirst.org/blog/5
Democracy Now
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/3/educators_push_back_against_obamas_business
RESEARCH INTERESTS
Impact of urban school characteristics on teachers' classroom practice
How race, class, and gender mediate academic achievement
Teachers' work and the school as a workplace. Effects of changes in global political economy on teaching, teachers, and schools
.

8

06 2012

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