Archive for March 2015


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) KIPP Comienza and New City Charter are two notable exceptions to the premeditate failure of the vast majority of charter schools that have LAUSD as their LEA oversight, while being further compromised by being in LAUSD's SELPA. In 2013 KIPP Comienza had the unheard of 978 API scores with a close to 100% Latino population- a result unequal anywhere in Los Angeles or elsewhere by a public school with the same poor and minority population. However, their excellence has created a problem: When these highly educated students leave this elementary school oasis of best practices, they are faced with not being able to find a middle school or subsequent high school with a student population as rigorously prepared as they are. What they come up against is a failed middle and high school environment with only the slogans and without the substance of excellence that had allowed these students to reach their potential in the first place. While New City Charter Middle School hasn't been as successful results with their API scores in 2013: Whites 885, Blacks 772, and Latinos 725, what makes this school stand out as a beacon of hope in an otherwise dismal Los Angeles public school environment is their commitment to high achieving education for all of their purposefully integrated student population. But most importantly, New City is also seriously examining what factors have stopped them up until now from achieving this goal.


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) Given the revelations of Edward Snowden and others as to the ever increasing government onslaught on privacy and other civil rights that the government justifies by questionable and clearly overreaching notions of national security, one would think that it might finally dawn on people that the government might not always have their best interests at heart. Rather, government might exclusively be motivated by its own narrow self-interest, which is to stay in power at any cost, while serving the very specific and narrow corporate profit interests of the uber-rich. The latest assault on privacy now comes from Sweden in the form of a computer chip that is injected under the skin of the user with their unique identity, password, and other sensitive information imbedded in it to give all sorts of access- everything from buildings to bank accounts- to the person so chipped. This new technology joins the already prolific and potentially intrusive tracking and storing of individuals' data from cellphones and other tracking devices that contine to amass untold amounts of personal data on virtually every person who uses a computer or any other form of electronic device such as a cellphone. The unquestioned allowing of these massive individual data gathering practices falsely presupposes that those in control of government might not ever have a more nefarious agenda. Even if one assumes for argument sake that the present government has its citizens best interest at heart, there is no consideration given to the potential for some less democratic future government using this technology to subvert privacy and other civil rights in the not too distant future, if we continue to allow such technology to be put in place without any serious examination of its potentially more sinister applications.


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Health Benefits.jpg (Mensaje se repite en Español) After costly iPad, MiSiS, and now the latest healthcare scandals, one might reasonable ask, "Are those running LAUSD really trying to push the district into bankruptcy in the not too distant future? And if you did ask this question, regrettably the answer would have to be yes. In 1992 during salary and benefits negotiations with UTLA on behalf of teachers, LAUSD signed a contract with UTLA to maintain teachers lifetime health benefits in lieu of a pay raise. And then for the next 23 years LAUSD did absolutely nothing to fund these healthcare benefits in a timely manner. Instead of setting aside a reasonable sum every year to fund this obligation, which would have been very doable, LAUSD is now faced with well over $10 billion in unfunded heathcare obligations it cannot possibly pay.


(Mensaje se repite en Español) As the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) blindly continues its clearly failed policy of social promotion that continues to move students into higher and higher grades without the indispensible mastery of prior grade level standards necessary to succeed in those grades, literally nothing is being done to address these students deficits in a timely manner that can clearly be documented by obscene dropout rates well over 50% through K-12 and a 75% level of the entering junior college population taking remedial courses that they should have been given while still at the K-12 level. It is an absolute rule in a student's education that the longer we wait to address their deficits, the less likely we are to ever turn things around. While pointing this out is clearly provable by the statistic of unnecessary failure, the reality of pointing this out and not drinking the LAUSD kool aid will more than likely get you labeled a racist. So although most teachers and administrators are clearly aware of this, they value their careers and prefer to compliment the latest LAUSD emperor's new clothes. Given this reality of teacher and administrator coercion by political correct newspeak, it is not surprising that the vast majority of these purposefully socially promoted students ultimately wind up dropping out of K-12 or junior college, if they make it that far.


2006 Retiree Health Actuarial info.pdf
LAUSD logo.jpg (Mensaje se repite en Español) When it comes to the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) failure to adequately fund lifetime health benefits, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Although it seems clear from today's article in the Los Angeles Times that LAUSD leadership is going to try and have teachers carry the financial weight on this failure to adequately fund these benefits in a timely mannner. The fact that LAUSD has a lifetime healthcare obligation deficit to its retired employees of over "$11 billion in future costs" is not something that just happened yesterday, so why does it only wind up on the front page of The Los Angeles Times on March 8, 2015?"


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(Mensaje se repite en Español) Below are several rules that equally apply to good poker playing and good United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union teacher representation and negotiations with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) administration. Breaking these rules in either poker or the present union negotiations and the results could be disasterous. 1. Never sit down at a poker game that's too rich for your blood. 2. Don't telegraph to the opposition what cards you are holding. 3. Don't bluff the opposition in either poker or negotiations, unless you are willing to follow through with what you have threatened with a reasonable likelihood of succeeding. And in the present salary negotiations between UTLA and LAUSD there is something far greater at stake than whether or not teachers get paid more after years of no salary or cost of living increase. What is also at stake- and yet remains unacknowledged- is the likelihood that if UTLA calls a strike that it will not be able to sustain or enforce it. This could very well destroy what remains of an already demoralized union and rank and file- and with it the very existence of UTLA that has stood by for years while LAUSD has put the prerequisites for this final solution in place.