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Showing posts from February, 2010

Leaving Finland

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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

A Student, An Earthquake, and Twitter

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AP Photo/Carlos Espinoza When talking with some retired teachers about how students have changed in the last ten years, we commented on how the internet has made communication as simple as the click of a button. People have access to information that you used to have to work hard to get, and it doesn't take long to get it either.  You type in a search term, and thousands of sources of information are at your disposal. This post isn't about the quality of internet resources, but of a realization that technology has exciting implications for students and teachers all over the world. On Saturday night, while tweeting with "tweeps" from all over the U.S.  I got a tweet from one of my students that read, "8.3 earthquake hits Chile!" This was at 11:10 pm.  Being from Los Angeles, I know the damage an 8.3 is capable of causing.  Immediately, I went to CNN, the LA Times, Yahoo News and found...nothing.  I turned on the TV and flipped to all

LAUSD School Board Gives Management of 36 Schools to Teacher Collaboratives, the Mayor, and Charters (But Did the Parents Win?)

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Photo by Andy Holzman, Daily News Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District School Board voted on which organization they would select to govern 36 new and "underperforming" schools. Charter schools had submitted several bids, all but one for new schools, but were only selected to govern four new schools. Coverage here from L.A. Times. But they wanted more schools. And they're mad. @parentrev (the Parent Revolution is a "parent activist" group with paid organizers on staff, closely affiliated with Green Dot charter schools) on twitter fumed, " LAUSD proved again today why parents can't count on politicians to bring change. Parents will use parent trigger & transform their schools." ************ Okay ********************** Not Okay

The Farce That Is the Public School Choice

This commentary was written by Sergio Flores in response to KPCC's article on the L.A. Teacher Rallies we wrote about in the previous post. His analysis is right on the mark, and highlights the parts of the process (if not the entire process itself) that defy logic and reason. Thank you, Sergio! Please email our blog so we can keep in touch with you at dontforgetsouthcentral@gmail.com. For public school educators in Los Angeles, and California in general, the bidding for public schools in LAUSD has brought tragedy, shame, and a powerful warning to all other districts in the state. In a political atmosphere saturated with misinformation and false premises and promises, public schools are offered as if they were cast-off commodities to the best bidder. After years of living in unfair scrutiny and infamy, thousands of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and communities go through an ignominious path which leads most of them towards an even more uncertain future. The

L.A. Teachers Rally For...Many Reasons

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Last week, hundreds of LAUSD teachers rallied in the rain to bring attention to numerous issues of concern: the defamation of the teaching profession the rise of the charter movement/privatization of public schools looming budget cuts, more teacher layoffs Some teachers are ambivalent about continuing to participate in UTLA rallies. RIF'ed teachers wonder whether anyone remembers that they have lost their jobs as permanent teachers and are working as long-term substitutes (if they're lucky.) When you put your heart and soul into your job, when your life centers around your persona as a teacher, you feel like your world is upside down in the wake of the loss of your job. But does anyone even remember that L.A. Academy Middle School lost 23 teaching positions 7 months ago? That South Central bore 40% of the layoffs due to its large number of new teachers? Joe Zeccola (pictured above), UTLA Co-Chair at LAAMS, explains why only throug

Propaganda

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propaganda : the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person -Merriam-Webster dictionary What is really going on with public education today? Are public schools really failing, or are they being portrayed as failures in order to set them up for corporate take-overs? The public has the right to know that they are being led down a road to the elimination of the middle class, in the corporate world's quest for massive profits via the privatization of the public sector. In other words, selling schools=more money for rich people. It is in someone's vested interest that our public schools fail. And it ain't the teachers and the students. Corporate charters are not in it to "save the children." They are in it to make money off of the children using propaganda and fake grassroots groups such as the Parent Revolution. The propaganda goes like this: "public schools are failing.