Ramon Cortines4.jpg
(Mensaje se repite en Español)

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

In the law there is the notion of respondeat superior, which basically holds the employer responsible for the acts of their employee performed during the course of performing their duties as an employee. Since LAUSD has reasonably already attempted to stop sexual harassment to the best of its ability by already mandating sexual harassment training for all its employees, it would seem that it has not only fulfilled its duty as employer, but also shifted the duty not to sexually harass to ex-Superintendent Ramon Cortines. What more could LAUSD have been reasonably required to do to avoid legal liability and shift it to Cortines who was not only charged with enforcing District sexual harassment policy and training, but one must also reasonably assume took the training himself and then subsequent allegedly ignored it by sexually harassing Mr. Graham. Under these circumstances, it would seem that LAUSD would be well within its rights to strip Mr. Cortines of his employee benefits for gross dereliction of duty, while he was superintendent of LAUSD. After all, isn't that what they are doing to teachers with no evidence at all of malfeasance?

Under these uncontroverted facts, one must wonder why the LAUSD Board was in such a hurry to pay off Mr. Scott Graham's alleged sexual harassment claim, although it supposedly had taken place outside of work at Cortines' ranch. What is even more baffling is the fact that ex-Superintedent Cortines, Mr. Graham, and his partner subsequently had dinner together and went clubbing in West Hollywood after the alleged sexual harassment took place.

Do you know of any person who would go to dinner and clubbing with somebody who they alleged sexually harassed them and bring their partner along to boot?

The video above lays out my analysis of this case and what should be done about it. It is followed below by another concerned citizen's apt comments. If you have your own comments or experiences of LAUSD corruption, please feel free to contact me either anonymously or openly, so that the folks who think themselves to be above the law might finally be dissuaded of this notion. Until that takes place bad people like Mr. Cortines will continue to act with impunity and have the gall to attempt to excuse their behavior in an excuse written under cover of LAUSD letterhead. Say what? 

Rather than just continue to paint more details of this depressing state of affairs at LAUSD and UTLA, you might justifiably ask: What's your solution? It's not to get rid of Cortines, Board Member Monica Garcia, or present Superintendent John Deasy, since under the existing dysfunctional structuring of LAUSD, you will only get another incarnation of the same dysfunction. Rather, like any other business, either public or private, that doesn't work, some form of receivership, monitor, oversight, needs to be legally put in place, while a local school based system of public education is put in place with watchdog oversight from a much diminished LAUSD, Country Board of Education, State Board of Education, and federal Department of Education, since only a system of immediate accountability established with many layers of checks and balances over power has any chance of finally giving us the excellent public education system we are entitled to and which is a sine qua non for this country continuing as anything that even remotely resembles a democracy.

Double standards in the LAUSD

Re "LAUSD to pay claimant $200K" (May 23):

What former Superintendent Ramon Cortines did, and Los Angeles Unified School District's response to the situation, represents hypocrisy and political double standards at their worst. How can LAUSD's board reconcile its action with so many teachers summarily dismissed on the basis of unproven accusations? Where is the fairness when the leader commits sexual harassment against one of his staff members and the district is under a strict, zero-tolerance policy against teachers engaging in any inappropriate conduct with students? It saddens the public to read about the raft of allegations against teachers. Now the recently retired superintendent turns out to be someone with low moral convictions. The school board pays off the accuser with tax dollars while pink-slipping employees and slashing student programs. They must be dreaming if they think that voters will approve the tax hike initiative for school funding. I will not. Most people I know will not either.

-- Henry Tse, Rosemead

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


LA Progressive

Dick Price and Sharon Kyle
Dick and Sharon
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
Excellent Video Interview about Professor Coe

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 and on Twitter @joscottcoe.

Betsy Combier New York, New York
Betsy Combier's blog
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
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

Stuart Goldurs Los Angeles, Califonia
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

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:

LAUSD has selected a new Superintendent of Schools

Karen Horwitz Chicago, Illinois

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:  or 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.
                                                                                                                        800-769-4171                                                             (domestic)
                                                                                                                        516-621-2195                                                             (international)

Susan Ohanian Charlotte, Vermont
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.

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:

Joel Shatzky: Brooklyn, New York
Professor of English Emeritus--SUNY, College at Cortland (1968-2005)
Adjunct instructor-Kingsborough CC (CUNY) 2006--   )
Regular contributor to the Huffington Post:
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":
"Numbers Lie":
"The Charter Starters":<>

Here's Joel's latest post about the low percentage of "college ready" high school graduates.

Lorna Stremcha Havre, Montana

"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."

Lois Weiner Jersey City, New Jersey
Professor, Elementary and Secondary Education
New Jersey City University
2039 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, New Jersey 07305
Democracy Now
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.


06 2012


When you, Mr. Isenberg, identified "racketeering" as how LAUSD does business, I felt someone finally has said what I've been thinking for years. The district DOES operate like the mob.

The public is being ripped off. Directing public funds to themselves and their family members, finding cushy positions where they can dominate others, making sweetheart deals with their cronies, arranging personal kickbacks from suppliers, and then eliminating dissent through blackballing or crushing legal opposition via a set of full time lawyers - the district appears very much like a racketeering venture.

When I pointed out full-blown, in-your-face nepotism at a select elementary school (5 teachers were hired with relatives either at the school or in local administrative positions within a 2 year period), I was told by a director of schools in that local district, "Nepotism is not against the law." Well if it isn't, it should be. Certainly it is against our collective morality. I had to drop a lawsuit against LAUSD because the cost of suing was greater than the amount I would potentially be awarded. I never had my day in court. I hope you fare better.

What is really scary is just how stupid the folks at LAUSD must be to allow ex-Superintendent Ramon Cortines to write his excuse on LAUSD letterhead, which sucks them right back into liability for actions that were clearly outside the scope of Cortines' job and which, as you point out, they were probably clear of because of sexual harassment training that they had already implemented.

That tax hasn't got a prayer, but it didn't have one before Cortines' latest scandal emerged. We just don't have the money as taxpayers and most of us disklike Deasy's tactics which are not unlike extortion. One way we can point out that there is a ruthless attack on teachers is by looking at what's going on with other employees within the district. Administatrative jobs are open across the board. It is mind boggling that LAUSD can justify a new crop of crony EduCrats with thousands of teachers being cut along side virtually every program that serves the needs of this community.
The so called school police, which has become more like adminstrative gestapo between handcuffing innocent teachers and students along with intimidating parents with threats of deportation and worse. These officers are earning what a young teacher does and apparently enjoy a lot more job seciurity. The huge force has not suffered lay offs to my knowledge. In fact they just now realized they'd be kind of beside the point if we paid them for furlough days to police an empty campus. School officials and the media ointed ot that they were so gracious to accept the pay cuts ...
In the meantime hundreds of custodians, plumbers, and other non classified school sute employees are facing more than furlogh days as they are being cut right and left.
I suppose teachers will have to unclog toliets and wax the floors soon. They already clean up the school and will now be written up when floors don't sparkle and desks are broken. Face it.

It is alllllll our fault. Even Cortines. We dove him to it. Teachers are to blame for everything, so let's just suck it up and accept that so we can move because I am sick and tired of playong this losing game.

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