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Showing posts from August, 2009

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 …
For those who believe the Yolie Flores Aguilar Resolution that turns over management of public schools to non-public entities is not about business interests who fiercely believe in a completely unregulated free market, read the blog entry below written by a proponent at the Cato@liberty blog.
By Andrew J. CoulsonLA School District Vote Shows Further Cracks in Education’s Berlin WallAmerica’s large urban school districts are often the lowest performing, least efficient, and most resistant to change. The poster children for this reality are perhaps Detroit and Washington, DC, but the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has long been in the running as well.Yesterday, there was a sign that LAUSD would like to get out of that race for the bottom: the district’s school board voted 6 to 1 in favor of a plan that would hand up to a third of its public schools over to private management. Ignoring for a moment the question of how well this policy will work, it is categorically, undenia…

Done Deal

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They say you should wait to write a response when you are frustrated or disappointed. This school community is outraged at the passage of the Flores-Aguilar privatization act. So after waiting two days, we will attempt to share how teachers in South Central are reacting to the news that schools such as ours, LA Academy, might be outsourced to a private organization.

1. School board decisions have a way of trickling down to us in a different incarnation. When the layoffs were announced in March, we knew that if our young staff was laid off, few veterans would want to take their place down here in South Central. We were right. We continue to have unfilled positions, some taught by the very same laid-off teachers who are working in their own classes at substitute pay sans benefits. This is free market theory at its clearest. We think its wrong. We are concerned that the policy passed yesterday will also be implemented in a convoluted way in South Centr…

Build a School, Close a Prison

Mark Twain knew 100 years ago what we fail to understand today. In 1900 he said,
Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It's like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won't fatten the dog.It is not a new fact that strongly investing is public schools helps eliminate the need for an increase in prisons. Educators stay abreast of important educational studies, and the Schools to Prison pipeline theory has only been one in a string of such studies that shows the strong ties between a solid education and a decrease in crime-filled futures. But just building new schools is not enough to eliminate the risks for disenfranchised youths and communities. It means also investing in your human capital, and valuing an educated populace that may one day grow up and think differently than you.

Much has been said about the LAUSD proposal to privatize new public schools by handing them over to charter organi…

On Townhall Meetings

Tonight was the fourth townhall meeting regarding the LAUSD New School Giveaway proposal, held at Hamilton HS on the Westside. We have to wonder if this is an exercise in futility as was the effort to retain the dozens of new teachers our school lost during the massive budget cuts that occurred at the end of the last school year.

At tonight's meeting, there were a scant 110 or so adults present. We would say 20% were parents, 50 % were teachers, 20% were charter school advocates, and 10% were District staff. The presentation revealed that aside from the 50 new schools that would be open to a new governance system, all PI 3+ would also be deemed "struggling" and subject to takeover by any of the following:

1. Charter school organizations
2. Pilot school programs
3. University affiliated programs (LMU Family of Schools, UCLA Community Schools)
4. Traditional schools

The LD3 Superintendent, Michelle King, said teachers would be welcome to submit proposals as well. …

Layoffs, Charters, and Giveaways

According to this report, the language in the LAUSD New School Giveaway proposal will open up the possibility of not only giving governance of new schools to the highest bidder best proposal, but will also put the 34 LAUSD high priority schools on the chopping block. LA Academy is one of them.

This blog has chronicled the pain and heartache of the budget cuts, the marginalization, and the massive teacher layoffs on the South Central community. In addition to these issues, we have had to deal with the skimming of the cream of the crop students by charters who have opened up shop in the neighborhood. While parent choice is important, it is also crucial for them to know what they are getting into. Do parents really know, or are they being blinded by propaganda? For sure, many parents have been let down by dysfunctional schools in the inner-city. But how much of that is the function of our society as a whole, which doesn't really seem to care what happens to black and brown …