Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

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As I wind up my 24th year of teaching in Los Angeles classrooms , I pause to think of my past lives in different schools and neighborhoods. While presenting to students in Finland I always included a slide of past eras of my life such as growing up in the Eastside, college and adulthood in the Westside, teaching on the Southside, and married life in the Valley. Apart from being a native Angeleno, significant years of my life have been spent living in many parts of town, and teaching in many communities. I love all of them.

Which is why I have no doubt in my mind that what students all over L.A. need more than anything is an ally on the school board. My South Central students need a warrior who recognizes that our teachers’ strike was more than just a salary dispute, but a movement to reclaim our rightful place as agents of change in the profession we love. One that will help us do our jobs serving students. My West Valley students need a fighter who will challenge our legislators to …

District Finances and Furlough Days

Teachers in many schools are willing to take furlough days to reduce the number of teacher layoffs. It is difficult to ask teachers to make this sacrifice when it is unclear how thorough the district has been in finding every last place to make cuts, before balancing the budgets on the backs of teachers. Placing trust in a system that can't even pay its employees correctly is against the better judgement of many (see my overpayment letter in sidebar.)

For those of you willing to sacrifice to save newer teachers, thank you. It will help save the jobs of teachers at L.A. Academy, such as Lamar Queen, the rapping math sensation. Right now, furloughs are one of the few solutions on the table. Very soon, it will also be necessary to finally address the issue of seniority, and/or how new teachers are assigned to schools. It is unconscionable that each time there are budget reductions, South Central gets hit the hardest.

Please continue calling and faxing the school board, or better yet, write a letter, telling them to use a greater portion of the stimulus money in 09-10 and to not balance the budget through layoffs.

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