Archive for October 2014

SINGER CARLA MORRISON: A BORDER RUNS THROUGH HER

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) Tecate, Baja California born Mexican singer Carla Patricia Morrison Flores, better known professionally as Carla Morrison, proved this past Thursday when she performed at the Observatory in Santa Ana that when it comes to a person's creative identity two ethnicities are better than one. Although she sang songs mostly in Spanish that melded her unique Mexican-American family history into this music, she freely acknowledges in an accent free English that a great deal of her creativity has its roots in the music of Patsy Cline and Brits like Morrissey and Radiohead.

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10 2014

THE POLITICS OF PLATITUDES- WHERE CHANGE AND ACCOUNTABILITY ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) A friend of mine in Venice was asked to a meet and greet fundraiser this past Saturday for State Superintendent of Public Instructon Tom Torlakson. His opponent in this election is the corporate public school privatizer and Eli Broad supported charter advocate Marshall Tuck. I contacted Torlakson's people to find out if as a reporter for several blogs (perdaily.com, CityWatchLA, and The L.A. Progressive, as well as others that carry my work) I could attend the event? I heard nothing back. Given the clear pattern of what I have come to call the politics of platitudes, I was not surprised. Nonetheless,I will hold my nose and vote for Torlakson- a pretty lukewarm endorsement? As in many races, the voter now must content themselves with voting for what they might be deceiving themselves into believing is the lesser of two evils- both of whom run for the office in campaigns purposefully and completely without substantive programs or specific plans for implementation of anything.

TEXTBOOKS THAT ARE NEVER OBSOLETE- A SCARY THOUGHT FOR SCHOOL BOOK PUBLISHERS

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Here's a radical notion. What if a school districts like LAUSD owned all the copyrights of all the textbooks they used and had their teachers, who were so inclined, write chapters for these textbooks. The teachers would then share in a percentage of the copyright of the textbook or curricular materials they wrote to the extent that their work is a part of the total. It can be assumed that more than one teacher might like to supplement their income this way, so a degree of healthy competition might ensue that would only benefit the quality of the textbook ultimately produced and made resident on the school district's own computers as their property. There might also be a healthy national or international competition of potential teacher-writer contributors, which again would only redound to the improved quality of the textbooks produced. Even teachers working together to generate these materials would offer a more collaborative model that would have the added organization benefit of creating more cohesion in a teaching profession that has been under attack and divided for far too long now.

27

10 2014

WILL THE REAL PROFESSOR DIANE RAVITCH PLEASE STAND UP?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) Professor Diane Ravitch has become a G-d to her undiscerning and often cultish followers. What most of these people choose to see is her clearly unsurpassed knowledge of what is and has gone on in public education throughout the last 150 years. Without question she could be a revolutionary rallying point for countering the carefully planned and orchestrated program of public education privatization by charter schools run exclusively to increase the corporate bottom line and further dumb down the American public. However, the fact is that Ravitch has chosen to do nothing but talk and then only after the fact as can be seen in the recent Vergara case. This should have awakened her followers, but alas it hasn't.

21

10 2014

DEASY TO CORTINES...FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE FOR LAUSD?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) This week in the latest installment of what has become the long running Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) soap opera, we witnessed what can only be described as the surreal renaming of 82 year old retired LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines as interim LAUSD superintendent to replace Superintendent John Deasy. Deasy has resigned under an iPad-MiSiS cloud of suspicion that was continuing to develop into a storm. In fact, It might even occur to some of you that Deasy resigned now before more scandals regarding the fixing of student assessments, grades, graduations, the lack of delivery of instruction, and LAUSD finances came out, in hopes that this would stop any further investigations. Good luck on that one John.

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10 2014

LAUSD- IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEASY?

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We are at a crossroads at LAUSD and in public education around the country. Either there will be greater disclosure of LAUSD's longstanding incompetence and illegal activities with the requisite changes being implemented to stop them or it will be more of the same. The hardest thing to change is LAUSD's entrenched bureaucracy that has yet to be subjected to an independent audit of their policies and financial practices. This has continued because of political pressure from city, county, state, and federal government that has become more and more under corporate and foundation domination to privatize and monetize public education, which after all was John Deasy's Broad, Gates, and Walton inspired agenda.

16

10 2014

THE SHARING ECONOMY- CAN AIRBNB GIVE A LYFT UBER THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MIDDLE CLASS?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) As global capitalism continues to wring more and more profit out of the economy year after year, which after all is the raison d'etre of the corporate structure, a catastrophically impacted casualty of this using of more and more leading edge technology to make ever increasing profits has been the middle class. That is why it is all the more gratifying when that same technology can now be used to counter this unregulated corporate juggernaut, while helping the middle class to survive, if not flourish.

HAS FERGUSON SUGGESTED A GAME CHANGER WHEN IT COMES TO HOW AND WHAT WE GET FOR NEWS...AND PUBLIC EDUCATION?

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) We had only 18% voter turn out in the recent primary. And only 8% voted in the LAUSD election to fill the empty board seat of the late Marguerite La Motte. Now you can spin this as voter apathy, but I would rather spin it as voter intelligence- they know that neither candidate will bring about change as was seen in the LAUSD board election where both Alex Johnson and George McKenna were members in good standing of the good old boy network that has put LAUSD in the toilet now for generations. Although I gave them both the opportunity to specifically address the longstanding issues facing LAUSD, they declined.

8

10 2014

AN OPEN LETTER IN RESPONSE TO AFT PRESIDENT RANDI WEINGARTEN'S EMAIL TO ME

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) What follows is a little exchange I recently had with American Federation of Teachers President and lawyer Randi Weingarten. Take a moment and post your thoughts: Randi, I have spent a good portion of every week dealing with teachers who have been summarily removed from their teaching jobs without due process and without ANY intervention of either UTLA, AFT, or CTA.