2(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) When I first started teaching back in the late 1980s, somebody told me that principals were Gods and I was foolish enough to believe that they did not mean this literally. Today I spent another day in the surrealistic world of the Office of Administrative Hearings at 320 W. 4th St. in Downtown Los Angeles in "courtroom" number 9 on the 6th floor, where I got another object lesson in just how unquestioningly LAUSD administration will support its principals no matter what they do. What I saw again was an expensive process where LAUSD Attorney Mampre R. Pomakian, Staff Relations or Human Resources Ira Berman (he can't seem to make up his mind) and an expensive cast of judge, commissioners, court reporter, paralegal, and a stellar supporting cast spent their time trying to prove that when it comes to teachers: IF IT DOESN'T FIT, YOU MUST CONVICT(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) From the first day of this farce, the judge and two retired teacher were given LAUSD's book of "evidence" against Ms. Jackson, even before the judge decided as to whether it was admissible or not. Even after the judge had ruled that some document could not come in or other documents of questionable origin could, there was no attempt made to limit what access these two retired teachers would have to "the evidence" presented by LAUSD. While a professional judge might be able to limit his ultimate deliberation to admissible evidence, one could not reasonable expect two retired teachers to not be impermissible swayed. However, even with LAUSD's failure to comply with discovery of documents requested by Dr. Michael Wells, who was helping Ms. Jackson in her defense, based on a claim of sovereign immunity, the rank incompetence of LAUSD shown through. One witness who had written Ms. Jackson up for alleged improper behavior admitted that he had never observed her firsthand and had only written her up "as a favor" to somebody else at LAUSD who asked him to do so and yet this proceeding was allowed to go on.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) How You Can Expect to be Treated by the National Education Association (when you need them most) by Daniel Geery Following negotiations of our Master Agreement, in 1989, the Shelley School District hired a new superintendent, Val Edrington, well-known for his militaristic approach to things. Edrington was not pleased with my active role in the IEA and NEA. Shortly after his arrival that I was placed on probation, based on a long list of nonsensical allegations, such as "dominating grade level meetings," being absent when I was present, getting "blacktop smudges on PE balls," having inadequate lesson plans (though for seven years the previous administration commended my teaching and lesson plans), and for the content of a letter that was never published, wherein I questioned the superintendent's questionable history and activities in our district. Specifically, I had composed a draft of a letter about the shenanigans of the superintendent, took it to a local paper to see what one of the reporter's thought might need to be changed for it to be published. He kept a copy and took it to the school district's lawyer. To my surprise and horror, a termination hearing was scheduled in May, 1991. I asked the Idaho Education Association and its Executive Director to send a lawyer to assist me. "We can't," they claimed--such an action, they said, would be "too costly." A kangaroo court proceeding ensued. No record was made that was suitable for review, I was fired, with no income and no recourse.It is difficult to convey in words how demoralizing and depressing this situation was. In this small community, social support evaporated. The mere firing of an educator meant to many that I must have done something horribly wrong to be terminated from a tenured teaching position (several of my peers, aware of what was going on, were deeply concerned, but at a loss as to what to do).(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Before the hearing began, Judge Nafarrette said, "I haven't even reviewed the file," which Administrative Law Judge Scarlett had only given him at 8:40am that same morning. But as I listened to the testimony, I realized this was only the last step of a seamless system of endemic incompetence that started with the unwarranted harassment and removal from teaching of Ms. Jackson by novice Principal Kendra Wallace of Daniel Webster Middle School with the blind support of LAUSD administration that not only offered no critical analysis of the completely false charges brought against Ms. Jackson, but actually helped in the fabrication of evidence against her.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Bullying/abuse in the workplace and educational/academia setting deprives families and society of security; financial stability, emotional balance and can result in debilitating health for the victim/target and or their family members. Those that abuse/bully others in the workplace, in the schools, in the boardrooms are destroying intelligent and talented people from living productive and quality lives. Workplace and educational/academia bullies/ abusers are obliterating lives. THERE IS NO INTERVENTION IN 85% OF THE CASES Workplace abuse/bullying is two to three times more prevalent than illegal discrimination. In most cases, it is sub-lethal and non-physical. According a Zogby Poll approximately one in six workers have directly experienced workplace abuse.THE NON-IDENTICAL TWINS? (Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Duffy, Over the last 6 years, it has been hard to distinguish any difference between what you and Julie Washington do. Now, if you have your way, I will not have to. If Julie Washington gets in to continue your disastrous regime's approach to dealing with LAUSD, in another 3 years there likely will not be a UTLA to stand up for our rights. It takes a great deal of chutzpah to accuse others of "lying by omission," when that is what your regime has done for two terms and a total of 6 years. As I have mentioned several times on this site, I was a teacher for 23 years with excellent Stulls and not a mark against me, until I reported the fraudulent graduation of 79 students from my school with valid diplomas, even though they had low elementary school reading abilities on the STAR Reading Assessment with some as low as 2nd grade. You also know that teachers are giving assessments that they have the answers to, even though they are not supposed to grade them. But, with bogus value added assessment with a 45% margin of error, these teachers are not supposed to "help their students do well," when they know their very jobs may hang in the balance?(For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) The following candidates are not together on a slate, but represent the best voices in UTLA to bring much needed change to our union. Only 20% of all members vote. So even if you do not vote for any of these candidates, please vote! Part of the reason we get kicked around so much by the school district is because we are not actively involved, and we do not make our voices heard in elections. Officers: President: Warren Fletcher NEA Vice President: M.J. Roberts AFT Vice President: John Cromshow Elementary Vice President Juan Ramirez Secondary Vice President: Frances M. Copeland Treasurer: Scott Johnson Secretary: David Lyell Board of Directors: NEA Central Area: Catherine R. Proctor NEA Valley East Area: Erika Jones AFT Valley East Area: Lisa Karahalios NEA Valley West: Colleen Schwab NEA Harbor Area: Haidee Fierrro, Elgin Scott, Aaron Bruhnke, Candidate for Special Education: Tim Delia Candidate for Substitutes: Dave Peters If you do not receive a ballot in the next few days, please call and/or email Tara Thomas at UTLA to request a ballot. You can reach Tara at: 213.637.5165(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Let me take this opportunity to welcome Nicholas Riccardi to the L.A. Times Staff. His article in Saturday, January 29th's Los Angeles Times entitled A school's triumphant rise continues that most hallowed of Los Angeles Times traditions of irrationally attacking labor - in this instance teachers - while giving LAUSD and Denver public school administrators a pass for corrupt and failed public education systems that they are the architects of. If administrators of Denver's Bruce Randolph School are the admitted architects of failed public education as Superintendent Ray Cortines and his predecessors are the architects of failed LAUSD schools, then why would destroying a unionized professional teachers corp in any way address the structural failures in design that teachers had no say in implementing in the first place? Ironically, the only teachers it will get rid of are those who refuse to complement the emperor on his new clothes.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) I was a teacher for LAUSD for 32 years with good evaluations until I and 2 other colleagues (P.E. Teachers) reported a female Asst. Principal entered the boys' locker room when the football team was changing for a game. As "mandatory reporters, we reported the incident and the administration as a whole started various kinds of harassment and retaliation as a result of that reporting. It got to the point where it became unbearable to continue working for LAUSD, which forced me to retire 2.5 years earlier that I had intended. I filed a lawsuit against the LAUSD and the individuals involved and am currently in the Appeals process. During the trial 5 employees and administrators perjured themselves while giving false testimony even thought there was direct evidence from the LAUSD itself that there were boys dressing in the locker room when the AP went into it. The LAUSD has used every trick in the book to try to get this case dismissed and was unable to do so. We are moving forward with the hope that a positive result for us in this case may open up Pandora's box against the LAUSD and many more teachers may come forward with similar lawsuits. Call me, if you like. I am in Rio de Janeiro 1.954.671.0279(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) In Jason Felch and Jason Song's latest piece of yellow journalism for the L.A. Times entitled "Teachers no longer safe in seniority," one cannot help being astounded at the ability of these two journalistic aparatchiks to say so much while consciously leaving out critical information that might allow their readers to come up with exactly the opposite conclusion The Two Jasons want them to. What makes this all the more reprehensible is that anybody with the access to LAUSD of The Two Jasons and their other job threatened colleagues at the Times undoubtedly know that what they "report" are scripted talking points of a neo-liberal agenda to destroy the remnants of real public education and the knowledge and empowerment our Founding Fathers counted on public education for to give the citizens of this country as the repository of power under the constitution- no education, no democracy.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) I'm disappointed by the appointment of John Deasy as the superintendent to the LAUSD School Board. The school board didn't even bother to consider any other candidates, which is very strange. The public needs to remember that the mayor, who celebrated this appointment, after recently attacking UTLA, was also handed a vote of "no confidence" by teachers at eight of the 10 schools he takes credit for operating. The reality is that the teachers at those school sites operate those schools. The mayor, who rarely shows up, only operates them on paper, and dismally at that. We need to remember that this is the same mayor who, in 2009, spent 15 times as much as his nearest opponent on his campaign, then refused to debate him.(Mensaje se repite en Español) (For a national view of public education reform see the end of this blog post) Ordinary people who believe in the law of the land are incredulous and say, "How can our public school systems across the country be so corrupt? SIMPLE -with the help of the media and the complicity of the union. You see, while the media focuses and points the finger at those "bad teachers," at the 'dead-wood" the union mishandles tens of thousands of cases. THE WAY IT WORKS: • The crucial point where the contract would prevent charges based on abusive, false allegations from being IS AT THE SITE! • But, the union's rep on-site is a teacher who depends on the principal for everything: the student load, the duties, the materials, the program. Collusion with administration has become epidemic here and grievance procedures are abandoned or subverted. IT IS SO SIMPLE! To bypass the grievance procedure MANDATED in a contract, the principal tells a parent to complain directly to the CHANCELLOR or superintendent, with one of several SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS which mean the teacher can be REMOVED immediately. • CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IS A FAVORITE , and teacher comments can be interpreted as threatening, and used to charge a teacher with corporal punishment. (Education law is clear that THIS is illegal.) • Sexual abuse " there has been a three -fold increase in these allegations interpreted from the ASSOCIATED PRESS release to mean that thirty percent of our teachers are abusive to students, when in truth, this charge is just a ploy to remove a teacher, in most of the cases. • Theft or misuse of funds: which is ironic, since it is administration that that often robs the school blind. • Drug Abuse: any allegation can doom a teacher.(Mensaje se repite en Español) After 184 posts on this site made every school day for the last year, I think I have public education reality out there for anybody who would like to look through this site for the rampant corruption and what I have suggested could be done about it. In the future, I will keep this site up and monitor those who contact and want to post, but I will now only post on an occasional basis as I need the tremendous amount of time it takes to write 5 posts a week to defend myself and others through expensive and time consuming legal process. Clearly, teachers are the key to bringing down corrupt LAUSD and it is for this reason that LAUSD administrators brutally attack anyone who dares challenge their militantly ignorant policies that continue to destroy student and teachers lives. In talking with some of the 80 - 200 teachers who share my fate of either being on paid or unpaid administrative leave, there are clear similarities in the abusive tactics that LAUSD has employed against all of us in complete and utter disregard for truth and due process of law.(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.(Mensaje se repite en Español) On November 5th last week, I received the following terse email from David Rapkin of Progressive Educators For Action (PEAC), the self-proclaimed progressive activist arm of UTLA: "At a certain point, people and groups need to disagree forthrightly on principle and part ways clearly. It is the decision of the PEAC leadership that your posts are no longer welcome nor permitted on the list." David Two days later after sending the following incendiary comment to David: Enjoy the cool aid (reference to Jim Jones, Guiana, and the cult-like adherence to doctrine to the point of adamantly refusing to hear or deal with anything outside accepted dogma, i.e. fanatic.(Mensaje se repite en Español) On Sunday, November 7th Mitchell Landsberg of the Los Angeles Times wrote an article entitled "Teachers unions clout in question," which is a completely and utter distortion of everything that he knows from having daily and intimate access to the highest echelons of LAUSD, which he once described to me as resembling a "MASH triage unit in Superintendent Ramon Cortines's offfice," where they are running from brush fire to brush fire without a clue as how to deal with any of the issues they face in a logical and definitive manner. Mitchell Landsberg, Jason Song, Howard Blume, and other journalists that limit themselves to publishing what Diane Ravitch ironically calls "the dominant narrative" party line that is parroted all the way down the line from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who all know the reality of public education's programmed failure that has gone on for generations, but choose for what must be their own career security to write articles that incessantly mention dominant narrative talking points without the slightest critical analysis which should be the hallmark of real journalism.(Mensaje se repite en Español) Did you ever wonder why LAUSD teachers are so terrified to talk about the corruption and malfeasance they see on a daily basis caused by the actions of some of their administrators? Well maybe 2009 California Government Code - Section 821.6, Liability Of Public Employees and other LAUSD administrator protective provisions of California law might explain teachers' more than justifiable fear: "A public employee is not liable for injury caused by his instituting or prosecuting any judicial or administrative proceeding within the scope of his employment, even if he acts maliciously and without probable cause."(Mensaje se repite en Español) In his disability retirement and final escape from LAUSD and UTLA's ability to retaliate against him, recently retired teacher John Adams has finally shared one of his experiences dealing with the Duplicitous Duo. For those of you who either don't think you can wait to retire to speak out or think that if you wait that long there will not be a teaching profession to retire from, I strongly suggest that you get an anonymous gmail or AOL account and share your outrage with Perdaily. It is the best weapon you have to avoid the further dismantling of public education. Four million teachers, their families, and supporters in this country know a better alternative and just need to express it. Or you could continue to let the minority blame you for their incompetence. The Perdaily articles dealing with teacher retaliation, and UTLA aquiescence of such retaliation are District-wide. Any campus where there are incompetent administrators who feel beholden to LAUSD for a job and salary they would not be able to find elsewhere given their own mediocre education. My experiences of LAUSD Administrative retaliation, and UTLA support of LAUSD retaliation, mirror those posted and commented about on Perdaily.(Mensaje se repite en Español) The engine driving LAUSD administrative harassment of teachers is the fact that administrators up until now have faced no consequences for harassing teachers to the point of their actions qualifying as a criminal conspiracy that not only fabricates testimony, but also offers witnesses incentives if they are willing to perjure themselves in LAUSD's mindless campaign to get rid of any teacher willing to stand up for the educational values that could truly reform public education at LAUSD. These administrators continue to go into retirement with no personal responsibility for their illegal actions in violation of teachers civil rights and at worst leave a financially strapped LAUSD holding the bag for any future liability in the unlikely event that the harassed teacher's rights should ultimately be vindicated in the judicial system.(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.