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 …

Displaced Teachers Rehired...Bye Bye LAAMS

This week we lost two of our teachers new to LAAMS who were rehired at their former schools or picked up a position in another capacity. Combined with the lateness with which many current positions were filled this school year (some 6 weeks into the school year), we have had/will have several classes taught by long-term subs at LAAMS this year. This is not good.

So let's get this straight: LAUSD fires thousands of teachers, South Central is hit disproportionately with 40% of these, LAUSD sends us permanent teachers in an untimely manner, then takes them back without regard to the children in the classrooms? Truly, if South Central isn't bearing the brunt of these cuts, who is? How many more new staff will be pulled back to their former positions, causing disruption to all involved?

You cannot replicate the quality of the instruction of a permanent teacher even with the most capable substitute. The students know they are not permanent, and they subconsciously don't give it their all, because why should they? The sub is not going to be around long enough for parent conferences, or to impose consequences.

We have noticed an increase in discipline problems perhaps due to the large number of new faces on campus. I suppose the kids go through a hazing process with new staff, and we have seen troubling trends emerging from more crew activity, graffiti, and downright defiance. It is disheartening to see regression when the last 5 years have been nothing but forward movement.

Our B track RIF'ed teachers have decided to take a couple of weeks off before they return to work on the 24th of this month. Subs will teach those positions for at least two weeks, and then C Track RIF'ed teachers will take over those spots. However we do not know what impact this week's UTLA decision will have on whether we can select our own Rifters for these spots or whether we will have to work from some list. It is probably nothing to worry about, because in spite of job shortages, people still don't want to come down to South Central.

It is difficult to maintain positive growth on the API in any given year. These unfilled positions don't bode well for this year's academic performance. Yet if we do not meet our target, we will be branded a failing school, and none of the real reasons for this will be presented. I hope this blog will be testimony to the unjust policies we have had to endure in order to keep serving the students in our community.

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