Archive for the ‘Ironic’Category

JIMMY STEWART REALLY SCREWED AMERICA...POLITICALLY

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(Mensaje se repite en Español) Over the last seven years as I have become more and more embroiled in conflict with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the reaction to my allegations of endemic corruption of this public education bureaucracy has consistently been met from my American friends and colleagues with the same response, "I can't believe." It usually stays this way until the non-believing teacher or somebody they know or love is themselves targeted for early expiration by the morally challenged people purposefully running public education into the ground for money and the further dumbing down of America- it's hard to rule, as opposed to govern when citizens actually have an education and know their rights and obligations under the constitution.

10

03 2014

Why The ACLU Lawsuit (And Proposed Settlement) Misses The Mark (¿Por qué la demanda de la ACLU - y del Acuerdo Propuesto - pierde la marca)

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When we published our critique of the ACLU lawsuit back on March 2nd of this year that was supposedly against the disproportionate loss of teachers at some low performing schools because of their lack of seniority, there were some things that made no sense and which were conspicuously ignored by the lawsuit and response to it that we pointed out at that time. Seven months later we can see that the real target of the ACLU lawsuit was not the disproportionate loss of teachers but rather a not so subtle attack on teacher seniority throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District and elsewhere as part of the agenda to privatize public education while eliminating its most expensive component experienced professional teachers.

LAUSD Still Wishing We Would Go Away...

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When I bumped into LAUSD Office of the Inspector General investigator John Metcalf, I was initially gratified when he told me that my harvesting of fellow employees email addresses and sending them a flyer about education reform and www.perdaily.com did not violate the District's Acceptable Use Policy. However, my joy was short lived because he cited the following Employee Code of Ethics policy that he was assured by LAUSD's attorneys I had violated..READ THE REST

Send LAUSD A Message By Voting NO On Measure E

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It is very difficult for us to recommend a NO vote on Measure E because we are aware of the teachers jobs and programs from the arts to maintaining librarians that hang in the balance. However, giving LAUSD more money under the circumstances smacks of extortion, while the well being of students and teachers are the human shield to try and make just one more withdrawal from the taxpayers by the money junkies at the District. If their was any credibility in LAUSD one might offer even a more expensive tax measure, but without the ability to first restructure LAUSD's corrupt and self-serving bureaucratic leadership, it is unacceptable to give them more money to waste without LAUSD first showing that they would do something different with it than they already have done. Does anybody give YOU more money for failure?

LAUSD Robots Only Follow Orders...

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Just when I thought it couldn't get more bizarre... I met with my Principal Janet Seary and Ignacio Garcia of LAUSD Staff Relations today, because it was Seary's intention to issue me another Notice of Unsatisfactory Acts and another 15-day Suspension for alleged acts on my parts that go back as much as 8 months to September 29, 2009. Surprise, this wasn't one Notice of Unsat and one 15-day Suspension, but rather two.

4

06 2010

Nothing Is Certain But Death And Taxes... And More Charges From LAUSD

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For those of you who have followed my odyssey over the last year, you probably thought that I could not receive anymore Notices of Unsatisfactory Acts or Suspensions from my Principal Janet Seary, because I have been under paid administrative leave at my house during the last 4 months and out of harm's way. Well, as I found out on last Thursday, May 27th you and I were wrong. To add to my previous two Notices of Unsatisfactory Acts and two prior pending Suspensions of 8 and 11 days respectively, I have been summoned to a meeting at LAUSD Staff Relations on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 1 pm where I am to be hit with another Notice of Unsatisfactory Acts and yet another 15 day Suspension.

1

06 2010

What Do LAUSD And Haiti Have In Common?

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Several days ago, I received an email from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) with their encouragement that I support LAUSD Measure E with a yes vote on the June 8th ballot. Like Haiti, everyone knows how the economic downturn has negatively impacted public education throughout the United States as sure as if public education had been hit by an earthquake, so why would I object to a measure in favor of supplementing public education funding for LAUSD?
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Jaywalking With LAUSD

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Did you ever have the experience of thinking you heard something before, but you just couldn't quite place where and when you heard it? That's the way I have been feeling about the nondescript orwellian edspeak that all of us in public education continue to be tormented with. And then, it finally occurred to me where the logic defying statements like "No Child Left Behind" and "all [illiterate] students are going to college" really come from. In 1979, Peter Sellars played an idiot savant -- emphasis on the idiot -- in the movie Being There. Chance the Gardner has people ascribe to him great insight, when the simpler and more reasonable interpretation is that Chance the Gardner is just a moron.

20

05 2010

Merit Pay Isn't The Answer

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In "Teachers, Performance Pay, and Accountability: What Education Should Learn from Other Sectors", researchers Scott J. Adams, John S. Heywood and Richard Rothstein examine the evidence that underlies these assumptions, concluding that the use of merit pay systems has negative consequences that often block the larger goal of improving the quality of services. Daniel Pink, author of the best selling book, "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us", has a great presentation discussing what motivates skilled labor people to do excellent work and surprisingly, it isn't money.

There's Gold In Them Charters!

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VIA Democracynow: "Wealthy investors and major banks have been making windfall profits by using a little-known federal tax break to finance new charter-school construction," Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez write in the New York Daily News. "The program, the New Markets Tax Credit, is so lucrative that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years."

11

05 2010

Can I Get A Witness???

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Today I had the long rescheduled appeal hearing on the two Notices of Unsatisfactory Acts and the two Suspensions of 8 and 11 days respectively. While I am not permitted to talk about the substance of the charges against me, which could have lead to my cause for firing if I had done so up until June of 2009, I am now at least permitted to mention the existence of the case without going into the details of the case, which now can be used by LAUSD to find against me, if it is not for the specific purpose of trying to get witnesses to help me defend myself. So let me start by saying that I am writing this post to see if there are any witnesses out there. It is my belief that some of my fellow teachers might be willing to come forward and share what they know, when they hear what I found out today at the appeal hearing of the charges against me.

LAUSD'S Latest Pyrrhic Victory

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I thought by waiting over a week before addressing 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.

The Cost Of War VS. The Cost Of College

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Brave New Films
has just posted the following video on its Facebook page, which seeks to connect the obscene costs of waging two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the clearly avoidable consequence of having to cut public education budgets at all levels in California to the bone. There are several questions that educated citizens of a democracy must ask themselves in concluding whether the expenditures on war are regrettably justifiable given the reality that we faced after 9/11...

22

04 2010

Financial Aid Rewards Those Who Do Everything Wrong (Sometimes)

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What has become painfully evident to my wife and I while assesing my son's financial aid package and comparing it to that of his similarly situated socio-economically friends -- who had also applied to the same schools -- is that there is actually a strong disincentive measured in how much financial aid schools are willing to offer to people who stubbornly clung to my family's passé values. Let's be very clear here, I'm not talking about financial aid to poor people or groups of people who have been systematically discriminated against in the past, but rather the solid and ever shrinking members of the middle class who don't live beyond their means.

Wikileaks Reminded Me That Most Teachers Are Cowards

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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.

7

04 2010

The Illusion Of A Teachers' Union

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Throughout my life I have always been a supporter of unions, although I have never been the member of a union that really looked out for its rank-and-file. As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, I was a member of the projectionists union, Local 150 of the IATSE, which had the distinction of turning down a cost of living increase. When I drove cab in New York, our union was headed by an electrician who had never driven a cab. And now as a teacher, I am a member of UTLA, which is headed by staff and administration that will never see the inside of a classroom again and whose president A.J. Duffy controls access to the UTLA newspaper, so that rank-and-file are unable to express their ideas.

24

03 2010

Prez Of Detroit Public Schools Can't Write A Coherent Sentence

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The president of the Detroit Public Schools (DPS), Otis Mathis, is condemned to "waging a legal battle to steer the academic future of 90,000 children, in the nation's lowest-achieving big city district," without himself having the basic English language skills that would make his job a whole lot easier. Mr.Mathis "acknowledges he has difficulty composing a coherent English sentence". Unlike many of his counterparts, Mathis never had the possibility to address his deficits in even a moderately rigorous educational environment. He got through college by simply waiting out the system until the graduation requirement for minimal English competence was dropped. The following is an example of one of his emails to colleagues...
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18

03 2010

The LA Compact Gives A 'Dollop' Of Hope

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If the Los Angeles Compact's public education reform proposals that Professor Charles Kerchner talks about in his 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.

17

03 2010

Revisionist History 101: Texas Edition

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The mistake that most intelligent people make is failing to factor into their logic the transitory nature of almost everything we encounter during our brief sojourn on the face of the earth. An Indian Rajah once asked his wise man for an answer to all the thorny problems that constantly plagued him, to which the wise man responded, "And this too will pass." This is not just true of our problems, but it is also true for the wealth of human knowledge that countless generations of homo sapiens have acquired since the dawn of their existence in Africa about 1 million years ago. Can someone tell that to the school board in Texas?

What Does Every Plan For Reforming Education Have In Common? Big Goals, No Specifics.

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One of the greatest hurdles to overcome in creating a vibrant education system out of LAUSD is the realization that the difficult work necessary to undo generations of poor public education can't take place until greater specificity is given to the catchy phrases that continue to be proposed as reform. Sadly, much of LAUSD administration is also the product of the same educational system that many years ago failed to give them the analytical skills necessary to sufficiently define and implement a reform model to address complex problems, many of which require something more than just money and "yes or no" answers.

Teacher: I've Been Waiting For Classroom Repairs... For FIVE Years

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How would you like to teach in a class with broken baseboards and ceiling tiles, graffiti and rats? Not only is the room dilapidated, but it's been burglarized one...two...three...FOUR times. Don't worry though, our teacher says repairmen have been to the class on a few occasions over the last half-decade -- they just aren't allowed to fix anything. Sorry, district rules! READ THE EMAIL...

15

02 2010

LAUSD Shaking Teacher Down For $500

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Teacher Nathan MacAinsh didn't notice anything different about his paycheck back in December, but according to a letter he recently received from LAUSD, a sick time error means he owes the district $521. He's now been given ten days to respond or they'll deduct the entire amount from his next paycheck -- adding further insult -- if he chooses to dispute the error it could will take months to resolve, and he'd still have to cough up the money in the meantime. So... LAUSD makes payroll mistake... LAUSD waits two months to admit payroll mistake... LAUSD blames you for their payroll mistake. READ THE EMAIL...

12

02 2010

My Last Lesson From The Rubber Room: Edspeak 101

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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.

LAUSD Says I Should Just Stay Home From Now On...

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Guess where my new office is? I'll give you a hint: it's quiet, centrally located, and only steps away from my kitchen, bedroom and living room. Job Requirements: Must be able to make two phone calls a day to my principal. Two! Job includes full salary and benefits. And this is supposed to be my punishment for starting a website?

The LAUSD Dinosaur: The Truth Behind The Economics Of Scale (And Waste)

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The only justification that I have ever heard for the continued existence of LAUSD is the economics of scale. You can see this principle in practice in a company like Costco or Home Depot, where these companies abilities to buy larger quantities gives them a significantly lower unit cost, which ultimately gives them a market advantage over smaller businesses whose unit costs are higher. Nothing could be further from the truth in LAUSD. READ THE REST...

Yesterday I Was Removed From Class In Handcuffs...

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Although I was removed from my classroom today -- after being put in handcuffs in front of my students -- I had an excellent day of teaching to go out on. Nobody has ever really tried to teach my students. Rather, they have been moved through grade after grade, where they have been allowed to copy out of books that they don't understand or spend hours doing graffiti to occupy themselves. So today, I decided to do LAUSD pedagogy and state standards for real. Class started with reading Richard Conan's The Most Dangerous Game, and ended with me almost being arrested.

A Day In My Life As A Teacher At Central High

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After yesterday's battle for the hearts and minds of America's youth at LAUSD, I shouldn't have been surprised when AP Rene Martinez came gliding through the door at 8:30 this morning to stull me. Even though I have always had excellent stulls or teaching evaluations in the past, when I saw AP Martinez, who has become a regular fixture around my class, since I reported the fraudulent graduation in June 2009, I already knew this wasn't going to be a friendly visit. The fact that I now had the audacity to publish part of an interview and reading test results for one of my ex-students made it only a matter of time before Principal Seary, AP Martinez, or AP Janine Antoine would show up to stull me again. I don't know, there is just something about being stulled that sounds obscene and the non-stop harassment that I continue to be subjected to only seems to support this meaning of the word. Frankly, I'm not really sure what it is supposed to mean.

Teachers Getting Paid To Do Nothing. Welcome To The "Must Place" Club.

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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 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....

31

01 2010

When Disciplining Students Is NOT Allowed

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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...

26

01 2010

"I Don't Get No Respect" -- Rodney Dangerfield, UTLA

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I once asked Day Higuchi what was done with all the things that were discussed and voted on by the UTLA House of Representatives. He said, "They go into a big book that we keep -- pause -- we really should do something with that book."
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15

01 2010

LAUSD Safety Engineer Writes Us: Teachers Harassed For Reporting Rodents... Schools In "Depressingly Poor Physical State"

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When a Safety Engineer says LAUSD is good at running "one two or ten schools out of 900", there might be a problem. Free-range rats? Millions of dollars wasted on inefficient and "rag tag" renovations? Count the times "management" and "mismanagement" appear in this letter and then ask yourself, what does a Safety Engineer really know anyway? Read the email.

12

01 2010

Why I'm not qualified to be a principal

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The first step to becoming an LAUSD principal is understanding how the administration works, or doesn't work. The administration is a closed bureaucracy that spares no expense in stifling reform it sees as threatening its privileged position. In order to accomplish this dubious end, school administrators establish many prerequisites of questionable significance in determining who will be allowed to join their ranks.
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8

12 2009

New Mexico doesn't know if students should learn about Mexico

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Arizona didn't want to learn about Mexican-American history. Florida doesn't need black history. And now New Mexico is considering saying thanks, but no thanks, to the Hispanic Education Act proposed by Gov. Bill Richardson. The New Mexico Sec. of Public Education Veronica Garcia says the law would aim at boosting the graduation rates of Hispanic students, which is currently at 56%.

7

12 2009