1(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) If you are a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) you have no civil rights and no union rights. LAUSD may target you for removal, because you either refuse to go along with the longstanding and highly profitable financial scam they have been running for generations now called public education, aka minority daycare. It is being played against predominantly students of color in a school district that Whites abandon long ago (only 6% left in LAUSD), making it more segregated that it was prior to Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. Or if you are just "guilty" of having a great deal of seniority, which puts you high on the salary scale, you can be removed from teaching with no collective bargaining rights and especially no arbitration as guaranteed by the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is now systematically ignored, even if UTLA voted for it. By merely adding a gratuitous morals charge under California Education Code 44939.odt, a teacher can even be stripped of their Collective Bargaining rights to grievance and arbitration. This war against teachers started in 2006 when present chief LAUSD attorney David Holmquist was director of the LAUSD Office of Risk Management and Insurance Services. With 2006 Retiree Health Actuarial info.pdf, it became open season on older high-seniority and better paid teachers who either suffer from good teaching or honesty in the face of endemic LAUSD/UTLA corruption.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) As somebody who went to law school and taught constitutional law at both the secondary and university levels, I had always operated under the delusion that one was innocent until proven guilty by a preponderance of the evidence in a civil case and beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case. In the corrupt world created by the Los Angeles Unifed School District (LAUSD) and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), nothing could be further from the truth. From the moment you are targeted for removal from teaching for what quickly becomes a never ending sequence of fabricated charges based on reasons mentioned in Part 1 of this article, you are presumed guilty by virtually everybody you deal with. And even those few people who see clearly that you are being railroaded by LAUSD and UTLA do nothing to intervene on your behalf, because they are terrified of losing their own jobs...or privileges While there are some pretty awful teachers within LAUSD, ironically, they will be the last to be harassed, attacked, and removed, because they play ball with corrupt LAUSD or UTLA administrations. None of this could take place if UTLA did its job and the law firm of Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad didn't help in facilitating your removal from teaching by LAUSD. Here is the way it is done:(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The hardest thing to understand for LAUSD teachers targeted for dismissal is that there doesn't have to be any rational justification why their principal is moving to get rid of them. During the last couple of weeks my phone has been ringing off the hook with teachers telling me the most surrealistic tales of how they have been accused of the most outlandish administratively fabricated actions against them that are being used to build a case for their dismissal.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Next, you will have a meeting with your principal. They will have formal written charges and you will sign that you received the document (your signature does not mean you agree to the contents--this should be printed under your signature). There is nothing you can say that will help the situation. They have their mind made up. You didn't know it, but your outspoken behavior or desire to improve things put a huge target on your back. In the economic downsizing, principals get target practice. They find a way to formally remove you from the classroom and if they can, charge you with immoral conduct to skip over your collective bargaining rights to grievance and arbitration.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) It is much easier to point a finger at the latest incarnation of LAUSD institutional failure, Superintendent John Deasy, then to finally realize that the problem isn't Deasy per se, but the way LAUSD is set up to fail. Once we understand this we can take the time and effort necessary to reconfigure LAUSD into a viable form that finally allows this critically necessary institution of public education to get it right. What hangs in the balance is whether or not we will remain a nation that honestly aspires to being "One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice [and education] for all."(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Deasy's self-serving main purpose is rather to frame the discussion of these regrettable and avoidable events in a manner in which LAUSD has no responsibility. Ironically, it is precisely this district penchant for never taking responsibility that has in fact created the fertile ground for a "culture of silence" he mistakenly ascribes only to teachers, who in reality are too terrorized by LAUSD administration to speak up, when clearly the price of so doing is to be targeted for losing your job.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The actual task of fixing public education would be rather straight forward - if honestly addressed. There are several factors that continue to purposefully confound the process by substituting platitudes for any in depth and pragmatic program that would define itself by the student and their families actual existence and needs. Initially. we would have to pragmatically address the engrained subjective needs and deficits of those already in the system to whatever extent still possible, with the clear knowledge that the longer they have been in the present system, the more immutable the damage.Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) When is a union not a union? Affected schools under the stabilization and empowerment initiative will be automatically waived from the district policy of giving priority placement to recently laid off teachers in newly vacant positions. District officials claim that this will ensure the placement of teachers who are the most "proper fit." In practice, however, districts and schools will have a free hand to replace experienced veterans with their younger and lower paid counterparts, if the positions are filled at all.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) One year ago Diane Ravitch spoke at Immanuel Presbyterian Church across from the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) headquarters. Her analysis of how the corporate agenda was proceeding unimpeded for privatizing public education and in the process getting rid of a professional teacher corp was impeccable. Again yesterday she made another insightful speech on the abysmal state of American public education, which she offered without honorarium in solidarity with teachers and in recognition of the fact that there is no rational basis for anything that the educational establishment and their political and corporate supporters continue to do in complete derogation of the public education reality Ravitch knows so well. That being said, I must say that her presentation only succeeded in depressing me even more than I already was about the prognosis for public education, because it offered no suggestion of "direct action" to impede the charter school privatization juggernaut. Lined up on one side in the approximately 30 minute presentation she made was the obscene amounts of money from folks like the Gates, Walton, and Broad Foundations, the print and electronic media parroting privatization party line, and the governors of many states, along with other local, state, and federal politicians eager to feed at the $370 billion a year ed biz trough.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Probably the great malaise that continues to infect all those involved with public education is a sense of apathy and hopelessness. Whether explicitly expressed by those who have given up and are just hanging on until retirement or implicitly stated by those who continue to mouth platitudes on public education success in the face of their own continuing failure, there is not only no belief in or implementation of a plan for fixing public education, but conveniently no belief that it can actually be accomplished. In reality, nothing is further from the truth nor more indicative of the fact that racism is still very much alive and well in America for those of all ethnicities that continue to profit from the status quo.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) It was 19th century British historian Lord Acton who said, "All power tends to corrupt, absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." You'd think by the 21st century we might have learned this lesson, but the purposefully failed Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), which absolutely refuses to share power with any of its shareholders- teachers, parent, or students- has continued to exemplify this quote and there doesn't seem to be any governmental entity willing to bring it to any end, even though so doing is the clear prerequisite of finally having a well run and pragmatic public school system capable of dealing with the problems LAUSD continues to cause and is clearly incapable of addressing.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Probably the greatest irony of purposefully failed public education at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) - with the active longstanding complicity of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) leadership - is the complete lack of imagination exhibited by these two entities in carrying on self-serving business as usual to the ongoing determent of predominantly Latino and Black students who have been and continue to be sold short on the public education that is their right. A testament to just how long this pernicious system has been in place is that most educators - whatever their ethnicity - have no real expectation that minority children can learn. In an old television police show, the intro would always say, "The names have been changed to protect the innocent." At LAUSD, the names of their latest "education reform" scam are always changed from Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now (LEARN) to Charter to Small Learning Community to ESBMM and now to Local Initial School (LIS), but if you review previous incarnations of supposed education reform, that is all that has changed and the innocent students and teachers are never protected . The present Memorandum of Understanding that LAUSD and UTLA leaderships are trying to rush through as an early Christmas present for themselves is exactly like earlier reforms that never pragmatically address the dismal reality of LAUSD schools with anything other than edspeak rhetoric, instead of a specific plan that lays out what you do with students who have been socially promoted from grade to grade without having fulfilled grade level standards until they quit, disrupt the class because they are no longer capable of being engaged, or "graduate" with a diploma that isn't worth the paper it is written on.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Last night I attended a United Teachers Los Angeles House of Representatives meeting at the UTLA headquarters. For those of you with better things to do with your life, I will give a less in depth analysis of why this tentative agreement is a disaster for teachers - and by logical extension - students, parents, or anybody else that actually wants real public education reform. Simply stated: It's business as usual On tomorrow's post I will go into a more details analysis - if you are still not convinced - of the specific terms of the proposed contract that are problematic to say the least.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) LAUSD and UTLA have announced that they have reached a tentative agreement UTLA President Warren Fletcher is either suffering from early onset Alzheimer's or he has totally capitulated to LAUSD leadership either out of being in over his head as UTLA president, stupidity, or concern about maintaining his recent personal good fortune of having his annual salary and benefits phenomenally augmented over his measly teachers salary and a manner not too dissimilar to LAUSD administration that also have forgotten that they started their careers in education as teachers and then got as far away from the purposefully cultivated insanity of the average LAUSD classroom.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) If you have been targeted for dismissal as a teacher by LAUSD, there is one way that you might be able to defend yourself, which United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and their attorneys at Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad seem to avoid at all costs. California Education Code Section 44944 requires: (a) (1) In a dismissal or suspension proceeding initiated pursuant to Section 44934, if a hearing is requested by the employee,the hearing shall be commenced within 60 days from the date of the employee's demand for a hearing. This provision is presently ignored by LAUSD, UTLA, and Trystad, Schwab & Trygstad to the detriment of the teacher being brought up on charges and facing dismissal.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) As perdaily approaches its two year anniversary this November of writing about all the news that's fit to print about the inept Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), that somehow never seems to see the light of day with the Los Angeles Times or any other mainstream media outlet - or Broad and Gates Foundation financially dependent National Public Radio outlets for that matter. In moments of self-doubt, one wonders whether we are making a difference? With the excellent self-critical educational skills that I developed as a student from an LAUSD of a different era during the 1950s and 1960s, I reflected as we post our 300th blog post as to whether what I am reporting makes any difference in the unceasing and purposeful decline of public education at LAUSD and the rest of predominantly minority filled public school districts throughout this country. After all, it's hard to stay a racist without LAUSD and its compadres throughout this country continuing to cultivate stereotypes of Black and Latino stupidity from the naive optimism of Black and Latino children and their parents who continue to pursue the American dream, when they should know better by now.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) When I read Mr. Isenberg's blog about the rubber rooms, I thought the District's process was, at worst, simply stupid. This morning, I had an opportunity to visit one of these teachers at his temporary assignment. Teachers call these temporary assignments "rubber rooms", apparently due to the similarity to holding facilities at mental hospitals that have walls made of rubber to prevent patient self-injury. What I observed was appalling - and what I heard was even worse. Teachers are required to sit in separated cubicles that are more reminiscent of jail visiting facilities than of a school site. I also confirmed that the District has given them absolutely nothing to do - not even "busy work". Having been required to work at an empty desk during my own whistleblowing experience, I know that being required to do nothing while being watched constantly is an extremely stressful and totally punitive procedure.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) When we think of those who collaborated with Nationalsozialismus or Nazism and the Third Reich during World War II, we usually have quite appropriate visions of Vichy France. But early on, the Nazis had sympathizers in many other countries organizations including in America and some moved on to becoming allies and collaborators. It may be surprising to realize but some of these were even Jews themselves who went so far as to help in the selection of other Jews who would go to the camps. Most noteworthy and vile among the many features of Nazism was racism, assassination and genocide. But the Nazis also opposed liberalism, democracy, capitalism, industrialization and, of greatest interest to us, trade unionism. The most powerful unit within Nazi corps was the Schutzstaffel or the SS which faithfully enforced the policies listed above. They did the dirty work. So the issue to be addressed here is the similar nature of certain organizations and their working committees who are taking over the field of education within our own Los Angeles community. For any of you who have done any time with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) the comparisons to Nazi Germany are more than apparent. The totalitarianism and suppression of freedom of expression are commonplace and daily ordeals. Teacher intimidation and roundups grow in frequency. The loses of protections under tenure, permanency, and seniority are recent. The end of careers or the threat of it is a constant presence. And what makes these conditions so much worse is the ever reliable collaborative relationship the district holds with its partner, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA).(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) It is a difficult thing to say - and it would seem from what I read - a difficult thing to comprehend, but there is very little that can be done within the existing power structure at both the state and federal level. Having said this, you must understand that I am not "so negative," as I have been labeled, but rather a realist who would like to act in a way that is likely to REQUIRE a response from the corrupt power structure that presently ignores us at no cost to themselves. You can file an action with Public Employees Review Board and the likely result with be that you will lose...two years from now in an action decided by the same type of political appointees that are as much in the pocket of LAUSD as is the California Teacher Credentialing, where 43% of the employees are afraid for their jobs if they report the nepotism and corruption that is rampant in these and other state and federal agencies. You can demand that LAUSD, UTLA, and other corrupt entities treat you in a manner the complies with law and your rights to equal protect and due process, b(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The lost city of Petra in modern day Jordan, which was popularized in Spielberg-Lucas classic film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was inhabited from 7000 B.C., before fading into oblivion. The vibrant society of Easter Island, off the coast of South America, also built a flourishing civilization made famous by massive stone faces that remain to this day starring out to sea long after this civilization responsible for them disappeared. The Mayan culture of Southern Mexico and Central America also thrived from 2000 B.C. until 900 A.D. and then, like its predecessors went into decline and irrelevance. In all these civilizations, what brought them down was a failure to adapt and a total disregard for the exigencies demanded by their changing environment. With a public education system at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) that harkens back to the failed pseudo-science of Social Darwinism from which it defined itself and the subjective needs of those in power to justify their own fragile power in defiance of necessary adaptation, we have arrived at the same tipping point for our civilization, where we will have to decide in the next few years whether we want to join the people of Petra, Easter Island, and Mayan civilizations as another also ran. Is the immutable nature of civilization such that no civilization can endure and reinvent itself with an amalgamation of the ideas it was founded on and those adaptations that will allow it to continue.