1(Mensaje se repite en Español) In writing this blog over the last year, the reality I have had the hardest time accepting is the silence of teachers in the face of conscious and premeditated malfeasance and outright criminality within LAUSD leadership. Today I would like to explain why teachers who surely know what I do about endemic corruption at LAUSD steadfastly refuse to stand up against this corruption. In order to do this I would like to describe what happens to any teacher who dares to question the ill-conceived policies of LAUSD that objectively have no chance of improving public education in Los Angeles. In so doing, I will use my own case and those of many of the several hundred teachers who had the temerity to take exception to LAUSD's failed and self-serving policies and are presently suffering the consequences and have had the guts to talk openly with me about their regrettable situation.Reed vs. California is just the latest attack on hard earned union rights like seniority, where the truth about the case as mentioned before is that it has less to do with seniority than it does with a failed school where those in LAUSD who made it fail and with the power to change the culture of the school to something that would be more attractive to experienced teachers refuse to do so. Even administrators don't want to be in these schools for anything more than the 2 or 3 years necessary to flesh out their resumes in their attempt to get a big job at the LAUSD Beaudry headquarters where they can assure that the policies that keep these schools failing year after year will never change in a manner that might threaten their privilege.Someone once said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." That is true to the nth degree for teachers who have one of the most stressful jobs there is, but also must deal with a constant assault from LAUSD to try -- as I have said many times on this blog to scapegoat them -- for a system they have no control over. Well, while it is too early to tell, there might have been the first step toward turning this regrettable circumstances around in Chicago Public Schools, where its 30,000 teacher have just elected Karen Lewis to end the 40 year reign of business and politics as usual at their teachers' union.UTLA finally needs to have a discussion as to what is the mandate of the union. It is either an entity that spends its limited resources on playing a game defined by LAUSD in which it clearly cannot win or it needs to finally define and spend its limited resources toward expressing a clear platform with which they can galvanize support among its rank-and-file and the community -- it cannot do both. Not only does UTLA's present course change nothing, worse yet, it gives credibility to LAUSD's misguided and self-serving programs and policies that are antithetical to everything that must exist in order for excellent public education to exist in Los Angeles.
Good teachers are one of a kind. Teachers like my old Government teacher Marvin Katz and English teacher Eugene Friedman from my days at Monroe High School. Good teachers who individually configured their own nuanced approach to teaching courses in a way that wasn't just going through the motions. What I have always found to be true is that students -- even the students that don't try -- definitely know the difference between a good teacher who is trying to inspire them and a teacher that is just phoning it in and watching the clock with them.With the furlough days and more job insecurity, maybe the CIA should offer a summer special ops job training program for teachers, since it seems clear that the federal government would have a much better chance to keep the lid on nasty little scenes like the murder WikiLeaks reported, if teachers were in the chain of command.The CIA could rest assured that they would say 'nuthin' to nobody'. It has become clear to me over the last few years that almost without exception, organizational leadership reflects rank-and-file mentality and commitment.It is the simplistic thinking of poorly educated bureaucrats that seems incapable of the intellectual rigor necessary to analyze and propose a well thought out program that has even the remotest chance of being successful. Bill Maher, somebody who does not suffer from these infirmities of thought process, trained his wit on the absurdity of just one aspect of what these intellectually challenged education reform wannabes saw as the reason for failing public education and annihilated them. For him, the thought of laying all the responsibility at the foot of the teaching profession is a "comprehensive education solution from completely ignorant people."At perdaily, we had hoped to balance all the negativity out there with articles about the commitment and idealism that got us into teaching in the first place. While the last 60 stories we have put up on the site needed to get said and had an incredibly salutary effect on ourselves and hopefully our readers, we need to do something more than just respond the LAUSD dysfunction. Rather we need to posit our vision of who we are as educators and remember that most of us still love those moments when real learning takes place.
It's sorta like -- remember when you were in fifth grade and the teacher divided everyone into partners for a science project, and someone always got stuck with the boy who ate paste and couldn't even tie his shoes yet, so you just knew you'd have to do ALL the work but he'd still get credit for nothing? That was your "must place" lab partner. Now imagine that kid grew up and became a really bad teacher. Read the email....A source from White Middle School, in Carson, writes to us about a problem. Like many schools in LAUSD the staff has been forced to take in a "must place" teacher. What's a "must place"?It's like Deja Vu when I read the description of the intolerable situation our reader is being subjected to on a daily basis. I harken back to my own experience 4 years ago at Mark Twain Middle School, where Principal Lessie Caballero refused to discipline clearly disruptive and abusive students who were tacitly allowed to stop education from taking place. Down to the state "red team" audit, which found no discipline plan in place, our situations are exactly the same. And sadly, Principal Caballero -- in recognition of her excellent work -- has been promoted...away from students and teachers. Read the email...
Results tagged “teachers”
LAUSD Teachers Cannot Stand Up Without A Strong And Independent UTLA - Part 1 (Los maestros del LAUSD no pueden hacer frente sin una UTLA fuerte e independiente)
the furlough deal between LAUSD and UTLA that I might feel differently, but time -- when dealing with anything rotten -- has only made it stink more. I had a dream last night where Ramon Cortines had replaced Monty Hall as MC of the once popular Let's Make A Deal, with always stylish A.J. Duffy bringing that Jimmy Cagneyesque charm to assisting Ray the same way Vanna White brought it to make Monty shine. In my dream/nightmare, instead of having three doors to choose from, teachers had only two.I thought by waiting over a week before addressing
mass firing of teachers and administrators in Rhode Island and elsewhere as we would if we threw a virgin into a volcano. This type of post hoc fallacy thinking would rather create a causal relationship between teachers and student failure, then look at the immutable structure of all public education reform over the last 100 years that fails to address the underlying student problems and deficits that are brought to the system. In listening to President Obama's endorsing of Rhode Island's simplistic pogrom-like solution to solve its public education problem, he fails to take into account that the town of Central Falls, like many of our educational failing communities in Los Angeles, was "one of the poorest districts in Rhode Island" long before the teachers did their level best to try and fix it.We have about as much chance of fixing public education in this country with the
It's sorta like -- remember when you were in fifth grade and the teacher divided everyone into partners for a science project, and someone always got stuck with the boy who ate paste and couldn't even tie his shoes yet, so you just knew you'd have to do ALL the work but he'd still get credit for nothing? That was your "must place" lab partner. Now imagine that kid grew up and became a really bad teacher. Read the email....
consumerist.com get results because no large company -- or in this case school district -- can afford bad publicity for very long, and that's where we come in. So tell us what you've got, and spread the word to every teacher you know. LAUSD ain't gonna to police itself. You can remain anonymous of course.Help us get the ball rolling. This site can't work without you, and we're not just saying that. Still not convinced? Then look at it this way, sites like
woefully incompetent LAUSD administrative bureaucracy. Before I say told you so, let me elaborate on some of the highlights.Yesterday the LA Times ran a story about the LAUSD tenure-mill system. While it explains how an unqualified teacher can easily acquire tenure, what the article really demonstrates is the overall lack of oversight within the bloated and often
The starting premise of Superintendent Cortines is that LAUSD must "weed out ineffective new teachers before they become permanent." Keep in mind these 'weak' teachers are college graduates who have at least 4 years of college, supplemented by more than a year of credentialing programs that should have identified the supposed teaching deficits that they now suffer from. But as we all are aware by now, teachers are the real problem in education, not administrators. In fact, let's just fire all teachers and hire only administrators, since they're the only ones doing their jobs right. Whew. Problem solved.What makes a teacher weak?