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Showing posts from September, 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 …

LAAMS Will Not Be Outsourced! This Year, At Least...

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After the revision of the revised criteria for which public LAUSD schools would be eligible to be outsourced to corporate management organizations, our school is pleased to learn that OUR SCHOOL WILL NOT BE ONE OF THEM!

We grimly noted that both Carver MS and Jefferson HS however, are on the dreaded takeover list. We hope their staff and faculty pull together to out forth a strong plan for the benefit of all of their students. We also wonder which organization will have what it takes to turn around troubled schools such as these, since Green Dot has yet to prove it can do so at Locke HS.

This week we were NOT surprised to learn that many classrooms across the district are overcrowded, some with no seats for the students. We knew this would happen (its chronicled in this very blog), but there is no joy in having been able to forecast this development. Students at this very moment are being robbed of individual attention in many non-Title 1, non-QEIA schools, and no student anywhere s…

LAUSD School Board Votes to Reduce Transparency

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From the Solidaridad blog by Robert D. Skeels. Click on link below.
Transparency has left the Beaudry Building!


from fotosearch.com

Criteria For Being Outsourced

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The Superintendent's "Public Choice" Timeline has been delayed by one week, and is now permanently tentative, according to the Friday email blast received by all employees and posted on the LAUSD website. Criteria for schools to be taken over by corporate management organizations, however, was posted. It includes:





Less than 21% proficiency in either Math or ELA noLess than a 10pt growth in API noProgram Improvement Status of 3+ yesGreater than 10% dropout rates does not apply

We meet only 1 of the criteria, PI 3+ status, so we should be exempt from takeover this year. However, as we understand it, the L.A. School Board called a meeting this past week to support SB51 which will require that 5% of all struggling schools be eligible for a takeover. While we may be out of the fire this year, it is no guarantee we will remain a public school in perpetuity.
Why is the School Board in such a rush to abdicate their authority?
Los Angeles voters are correct when they demand acco…

A.P.I Scores Reflect Progress at LAAMS

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Our students and staff were quite content to receive the news that our school met and exceeded the growth target assigned to us by the state of California. We were required to grow by 10 points and we grew by 17. Almost all our subgroups met their targets with the exception of EL's and Special Needs.
As teachers, without a doubt we believe that today's obsessive climate of testing students is not the solution to improving education. While there is a place for data, it is only a tool, and nothing else. Having said that, we are professionals, and administer all periodic assessments, common assessments, end of unit exams, pop quizzes, and the CST, as required by the CDE.
We anxiously waited for our scores and were gratified to see that our unique schedule that allows us to divide our school into 9 teams of students (teachers have common conference periods) and gives all students real elective classes, resulted in increased academic performance as measured by the API.
It would se…

To Write or Not to Write

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image from laamschampions.org

Teachers at this South Central Middle School are conflicted about writing a proposal to manage
our school. Thanks to NCLB, we are deemed to be a "struggling school", even though our test scores have gone up every single year in the last 5 years. Now, thanks to the Flores-Aguilar plan, our school is up on the auction block, for anyone to bid on.

Should we write a plan? Just who is we? The union? The teachers? The instructional leadership group? The arts department?

Teachers are educators, not business plan writers. Nor, do we want to be. We want to teach. We are in the midst of a new school year, are getting to know our students, and are excited about new projects and initiatives we are trying out this year. We start at 7:30 am and literally do not stop with all our teaching, team meetings, parent conferences, in-services, faculty meetings, department meetings, until 4:00 pm. Then, we try to have decent time with our families. We don'…

Holy Cow, The L.A. Times Sees the Light!

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Teachers in South Central choked on their coffee this morning while reading today's editorial in the L.A. Times. We are pleased that this important conveyor of information realizes that the elimination of unions, especially in professional fields such as teaching, is to the detriment of all Americans.

You cannot turn teachers into cheap labor. None of today's leaders (or editors at major newspapers) were educated by "dispensable commodities." Why should we condemn today's children to be educated by people who see teaching as a paycheck, on the road to bigger or better jobs? Will people with school aged children or grandchildren really feel comfort and security knowing their children are in good hands when the instructor is a 23 year old whose only knowledge of the teaching profession is a 40 hour boot camp that focuses on crunching the numbers of the periodic assessments? Or, on the first day of school, do they want to entrust the care of their precious child…