1When the Q&A period commenced, Lenny was the first to be called. He related the recent test fixing scandals in New York, D.C, and now Atlanta and asked Cortines to respond to similar allegations that Lenny reported to Cortines 2 years ago along with physical evidence that Lenny has about the same test fixing going on at LAUSD. Immediately, the smile departed from Cortines face and he became ostensibly defensive. But Lenny went on to relate his personal experience as a teacher long aware of these "fixing" issues - as most teachers are - and how he had been targeted and terminated for his refusal to stand by silently, but rather attempting to report it to the Los Angeles Times Reporter Mitchell Landsberg, who although reporting this scandal to Cortines, never wrote a word about it in the Times. As of this writing, the L.A. Times continues to blackout this topic and many others dealing with LAUSD corruption.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) One of the advantages of having a long and purposeful failed public education system, where abysmal English language skills are only matched by equally atrocious math skills is that the Los Angeles Times reporter Jason Song can write an article entitled, "L.A. schools chief cuts his own pay" and fewer people are left with enough critical thinking skills to question either the linguistic sophistry or fuzzy math that Song uses to arrive at his conclusion in complete derogation of what has actually taken place. The fable goes something like this: Gates Foundation's John Deasy is given the job of Superintendent of LAUSD to replace Ramon Cortines at $330,000 a year with no other candidates for the position. Ramon Cortines has been paid $250,000 a year, if you don't count his generous benefits package and the $150,000 a year he also made from Scholastics for 10 years in a clear conflict of interest that LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia told him not to worry about, even though LAUSD had $16 million a year in contracts with Scholastics. As we have seen elsewhere lately, it just seems like some people are above the law.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Something important took place today at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Students at the highly successful magnet school with excellent Humanities, Music, and Drama Magnets as well as 6 small learning communities who were threatened last week with the loss of 22 of their teachers decided to fight back. Using Facebook and other social media they organized thousands of their fellow students, parents, and supporters to stage a walkout from the school to say in the clearest of possible terms that they were not going to passively roll over and allow their educations and futures to be compromised by politically inspired manipulations throughout this state and country that were trying to impose draconian cuts to education that really had no rational justification. As one of the organizers of the event student Olivia Natt said in some of her remarks addressed to the whole student body, which had walked out of Hamilton High School in an orderly manner at 9:00am, "Children should not be used as leverage by politicians for their partisan political goals."(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Dear LA Friends and Colleagues, A few short years ago, you all avoided going through a calamity that was about to befall you that would have had huge ramifications for all education systems throughout the United States and the rest of the world. But thank God, you were able to at least temporarily avert the travesty at that time by your staunch and steadfast resistance. At that point, you became heroes of education, but maybe didn't realize it. Our Mayor Bloomberg tried to export to you, via your sycophantic Mayor Villaraigosa, the establishment of mayoral control of your public schools. The Supreme Court twice upheld your right to be free from such tyranny, but it was not without your courageous fight against mayoral control that the court took note as well as action. The decision was conclusive and decisive in your favor. It put a halt to Mayor Bloomberg's attempt to storm the country with his privatization of public education and plans to get his for-profit institutions on the fast track to domination. Again, kudos and thanks for making sure that it did not happen. Here, in New York, chaos now reigns supreme as this megalomaniacal master of mediocrity, misinformation and manipulation, the "education mayor" has been nothing short of disastrous in his administration and has unleashed his AGWs (administrators-gone-wild) to perpetrate ever-renewed waves of administrative terrorism to subvert the concept of public education, remove the control almost entirely from the people and liquidate whatever vestiges of union strength had been left from his constant barrage of demolition. And now he's promoting his efforts to end seniority rights and tenure in a national movement to vilify teachers for wanting any sort of job protection from unscrupulous demagogues like himself and his incompetent chancellors. Here, you must resist again, for it is surely going to revisit your area, with the possibility that Arne Duncan and Obama and/or Bill Gates, George Soros or the likes of Michelle Rhee joining in the frontal assault. Best wishes for your and our unity to defeat the neo-lberals agenda for the end of teaching as a profession and the privatization of public education..(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) What also struck me by sharp contrast right next to it was the face of presumptive LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, who was smiling in much the same manner as his predecessors Admiral Brewer and Ramon Cortines had while doing absolutely nothing during their tenures of office to change the long-failed culture of LAUSD. A culture where ignorance is still allowed to maintain racial fantasies that cause predominantly minority young people to pass through 13 years of education - if they don't drop out first - completely unscathed by the formation that would make them less susceptible to this useless waste of our nation's greatest asset. It also occurred to me that the images of Black and Latino incomprehensible grief has become so common place as an image in our society that people hardly pause in appreciating the catastrophic effect that such indifference to human grief has specifically on these communities, but also on all of us in this society. It is not just the Whites that have no expectation of Black and Latino youth living better, but it is also the Black and Latino communities themselves that have been forced to live in the L.A. version of Baghdad or Kabul for so long that they too have lost any hope for a better future.(Mensaje se repite en Español) On Tuesday, November 9th at 4:44pm I received a call on my cell phone from Janice Davis, Head of High School Programs for LAUSD. After 8 months of being confined to my home between the hours of 7:30am to 3pm, Monday-Friday, she was calling to tell me that the LAUSD Board had rubber stamped LAUSD Chief Academic Officer Dr. Judy Elliott's recommendation made on October 4th to have me put on unpaid status as a first step toward dismissing me from employment as a teacher from LAUSD. Now begins the real fight in venues, that at least in theory, are out of LAUSD's control and where I will have a right to judicially enforced discovery to request the non-existent documents that LAUSD has used as a basis to sustain false charges against me while refusing to authenticate anything in total violation of anything that even resemble due process. There is nobody at LAUSD who has a good faith belief that I am guilty of anything other than not going along with their fraud. Given that I know for certain that I have done nothing wrong, in all likelihood when compelled to produce documents to support their charges, they will refuse, drop the charges, and place me back in another school only to start the process of intimidation all over again with incessant assistant principal visits and writing me up on a new series of nonexistent charges until I do what the majority of teachers in my situation do which is to quit, retire, or if they are lucky get bought off upon the signing of a non-disclosure agreement with LAUSD that forbids them from discussing the terms of their settlement or anything else about the way they were treated.(en español después) On Monday night I went to the premiere of Waiting for Superman at Paramount Studios. Afterward I briefly talked with both Harlem Children's Zone Geoffrey Canada and the film's makers Davis Guggenheim and Lesley Chilcott at the reception following the screening. Apropos of being aware of my own lack of knowledge about public education reform on the macro American and multinational level, I keep coming back to the naive black and white polemics that seem to dominate the discussion of public education reform here in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Having been in the motion picture industry for many years prior to getting into education, I am well aware of how creativity can distort and manipulate emotions to justify something that in reality is quite different and maybe even reprehensible. I guess this is why I prefer the color gray which attempts to take the valid points from black and white positions to formulate a better and more comprehensive solution for what is wrong with public education. Of course, this tends to put me in the middle of a battlefield where I take fire from both sides, but that's maybe why I'm a teacher and maybe also a reason for teacher tenure as a necessary shield against the reprisals for telling the truth that I am presently being subjected to by LAUSD.(en español después) When I was still in the film business and pitching projects, I was always told that a good pitch came down to being able to express the main idea of the film you were trying to sell in one sentence. In the film Being There with the late Peter Sellers that one sentence might have come down to: Moron Chance the gardener is revered and becomes a media-made guru solely because of his proximity to his late and fabulously wealth employer. It occurs to me that the same sentence could be used to describe LAUSD's Superintendent Ramon Cortines and the ersatz public education reform he continues to echo from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Like Chance the gardener the patently offensive and implausible drivel that Cortines continues to spout are a series of platitudes without substance that seeks to blame teachers for what Cortines his administration and predecessors are clearly responsible for.Given the surreal aspect of LAUSD reality that I was finally able to substantiate during my my trial yesterday on the 25th floor of edspeak central, I immediately thought of the 1967 popular British television series with Patrick McGoohan called The Prisoner, and with misguided egocentricity and a touch of feeling sorry for myself, I planned on making myself the hero of this bizarre daytime soap that teachers might crowd around to watch in the faculty lounge at nutrition or lunch. The folks at the studios in Hollywood always like to greenlight projects with a built in audience and what could have a higher TV quotient than the neverending story that is LAUSD -- the original Lost.As sort of a nostalgic bon voyage to the ethereal reality of the almost empty 2 floors of rented space that is Local District 6, I thought you might enjoy my translation of the Orwellian edspeak that was posted on the wall for the Leadership Labs that were taking place that day.What do North Korea and LAUSD have in common? In North Korea, people live in a kingdom headed by Kim Jung Il and his entourage and have no contact with the outside world. All people know is what their illustrious leader incessantly tells them about the future communist paradise that is being created. But this paradise is contradicted everyday by their daily experience. In LAUSD, people also live in a kingdom headed at various times by a governor, a retired admiral, or a blind optimist named Ray Cortines, who tells his people about an educational paradise where they will all go to college, but alas, this fantasy too bears no relationship to the everyday reality that his vassals experience.
Results tagged “Ramon Cortines”
LAUSD'S Ex-Superintendent Deprived of Victory Lap by Perdaily's Lenny Isenberg by Mark Hemphill (LAUSD Ex-Superintendente Privados de Vuelta de la Victoria por Mark Hemphill)
LAUSD's John Deasy and the L.A. Times Jason Song Teach You How to Make More Money Less - New Math? (Deasy de LAUSD y Jason Song del LA Times te enseñan cómo hacer más dinero menos - Matemáticas nuevo?)
NYC Public School Chancellor Joel Klein Doing His Imitation of LAUSD's Superintendent Ramon Cortines by Polo Colon
Waiting for Superman: "Mild-Mannered" LAUSD Superintendent Cortines Has Never Aspired To Be Superman ("Afable" Cortines Superintendent LAUSD Nunca ha aspirado a ser Superman)
LAUSD's Ramon Cortines: The Chauncey Gardner of Public Education Reform (LAUSD Ramón Cortines: El Chauncey Gardner de Reforma de la Educación Pública)
2009 Academic Performance Index (API) scores for schools in California. At LAUSD the news that 72% of its schools were in the lower half in terms of performance of all schools throughout the state didn't seem to bother LAUSD leadership very much. No matter how badly students perform on the API or other assessments, a successful career in LAUSD administration still means that you are incapable of seeing that anything is wrong.On Wednesday the California Department of Education released the
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
Huffington Post article or any other proposed public education reform has any chance of bringing a "dollop of hope" to public education, it must concentrate on causal factors of present public education failure and not monitoring the effects one at a time after the fact when the horse is already out of the barn. The "parochialism and pettiness" will not be stopped unless the soil in which it has flourished for generations is treated to make it toxic for such counter productive behavior.If the Los Angeles Compact's public education reform proposals that Professor Charles Kerchner talks about in his
$150,000 a year he gets from Scholastics) -- that I can balance LAUSD's budget without firing or laying off any employees necessary in the actually rather straight forward process of teaching students. In the group think world of public education where Superintendent Ramon Cortines has spent his 50 year career, he has become so accustomed to accommodating to this failed system that it is unrealistic to think that he could ever implement the difficult changes that must be put into place if we are to finally create a successful 21st century education model.Here's the deal: I bet Cortines my whole salary against his, approximately 3 to 1 odds -- since I am obviously the long shot here (without considering the
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?