Leaving Finland

Lake Jyvasjarvi I have never lived anywhere for 5 months other than Jyvaskyla, Finland. As my Fulbright journey concludes, there is so much to still digest. It will take months, if not years, to truly assimilate all the learning. Before I left Southern California, I wrote about the what I would miss the most from home and what I  looked forward to experiencing in Finland. It is safe to say I met my goals. Top 7 Goals 1. Discussing Education Helsinki Workshop Through professional development programs, Fulbright Finland connected teachers with scholars and researchers, for the purpose of putting inquisitive minds together. The Making Democracies Resilient to Modern Threats seminar provided participants with fascinating research and presentations. 2. Nordic Model Bus station in Espoo What does an efficient and earnest country look like?  It looks like Finland. Yes, people pay higher taxes, but get so much in return. I for one appreciated the well-maintained ro

UTLA House of Representatives Votes AGAINST Tentative Agreement

Report from LA Academy's Union Representatives:

Mr. Kelley, Mr. D'Lugo and I joined Mr. Mata at the UTLA House of Representatives meeting last night (4-1-09), and I have to tell you, we were all surprised by what we saw. And what, you ask, was that?

UTLA Representatives and Chapter Chairs ready to fight for our jobs!

When discussing the current tentative agreement between UTLA and LAUSD, multiple people stood up and stated things like:

"As long as one teacher is in danger of losing his/her job, we cannot vote to approve this agreement!"

"We will not vote yes on this contract while 4,000 of our brothers and sisters are in danger of losing their jobs!"

"If we vote for this contract, not only will we be making it easier to lay off 4,000 mostly new teachers, but the next time, they'll be coming for the veteran teachers."

These comments literally caused the room to ERUPT in applause. I am not exaggerating.

What does this mean for us Rifters (and supporters)?

It means we have many, many union brothers and sisters prepared to fight (and yes, strike) for us to keep our jobs. The UTLA House of Representatives voted AGAINST the new tentative agreement, in large part because of the pending layoffs. But the only way we can win this fight is if we join in it. We cannot wait for the union to do it for us. We are the union. We must be active participants in our own rescue.

How can we do this?

We can make sure we get out in numbers to leaflet every Friday morning and Wednesday afternoon to make our parents and community aware of what's happening. We can talk to our colleagues about joining us. And finally, we can make sure everyone votes YES to authorize the one-day protest strike in May.

This is not going to be an easy fight, but it was truly inspiring to see how many people are on our side. If we mobilize and get out there, we can make something happen.

Remember, the only power we have is together! So, let's join together, flex our collective muscle, and overturn these layoffs!

(on behalf of the Rifters)


  1. Thank you for creating this Blog! This is great. I also read your letter and was very inspired. Over at Santee Ed. Complex we held a one hour strike on March 27th. Even though it was not an official UTLA wide action, we felt it important to take action anyways. We got great press coverage. Please click on the link below for a You Tube video and Pictures.




    Let's continue to fight this struggle together. Our Children's future is at stake!

  2. You must see this link!!! It is a UCLA study that proves you are right. Cuts hurt inner city schools the hardest.



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