On Strike

The public supports us.

Being on strike makes me proud. To see and hear the support of the public every morning on the picket line, I am further convinced L.A. teachers made the right choice to leave the classroom. It is not an easy choice for many single income teachers, but it is one of the reasons we are striking. Teachers should not have to live paycheck to paycheck when educating society's children.

But our strike is about more than that, and it seems the public is aware of what we have been concerned about for years. In the middle of one morning's picket session I realized that the education reformers had been so very wrong in what they were telling us. The public knows and understands that we know what's best for children in schools. They place their precious children in our hands to educate, and want us to do our job unencumbered by district edicts and structures that get in the way.

The public supports us.

Being on strike is not what I thought it would be. It is be…


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. The main reason for this is lazy, unmotivated teachers who are protected by powerful, but unethical, teachers' unions who are just in it to save jobs and work as little as possible."

If you eliminate the unions, it will be as easy as pie to take over the buildings and the business, and begin making mass profits.

In the next few weeks, we at DFSC will put together some sources off of the internet to show how this is being done. We will begin with images.

Images are a powerful means to convey ideas, sentiments, and opinions. The Los Angeles Times has used images quite effectively to portray unionized public school teachers as the scourge of humanity. Notice the wording of their headlines:
  • Failure gets a pass,
  • Firing teachers can be a costly and torturous task,
  • Bar set low for a lifetime job in schools, and
  • Accused of sexual abuse, but back in the classroom.
Now look at the headlines they use for non-unionized charter schools and teachers:
  • Charter tackles middle school challenges with young faculties and a no-nonsense attitude.
  • L.A. charter schools flex their educational muscles
  • Charters generally perform better than traditional schools, not as well as magnets
  • Locke High School's progress
See these headlines for yourself here.

Clearly, the use of such words is a planned, strategic effort to portray one group or another in a certain light. It is easy to fall for such propaganda. But the headlines are nothing in comparison with the photographs they have used to depict the different faculties at each type of school. Here goes:






OPPRESSED (as in students are oppressed)




You would think, after reading these articles, that charter schools employ no unsavory employees, and are full of energetic, inspiring, creative teachers.

And you would think public schools are only full of lazy, incompetent teachers.

We will highlight public school employees that are doing an amazing job at teaching students IN SPITE of being abandoned and forsaken by our legislators, our local philanthropists, and even our own school board. Stay tuned.

All images from latimes.com

Update: 2/11/09 The LA Weekly has joined forces with the LA Times in their intensely negative portrayal of teachers. Read The Dance of the Lemons here. (By the way, didn't Jill Stewart already do this series at the now defunct New Times, almost 10 years ago? Why yes she did!) And the image to accompany this article?


Update 2/17/10

Listed below are headlines from publications throughout the United States, some whose claims have gone beyond beyond the realm of intellectual discourse and decency. Mistruths are stated as facts, then these mistruths get repeated as gospel. Some articles even attempt to portray teachers as sub-human. We will link to these publications to document the degeneration of this ed-debate into a quasi-fascist attack on teachers...on teachers, of all people!

L.A. Weekly LAUSD Dance of the Lemons 2/11/10 Writer: Beth Barrett
L.A. Weekly When Those Who Can't Do, Teach 2/18/10 Writer: Beth Barrett
Business Insider L.A. Superintendent Has Identified 1,000 Horrendous Teachers, But None Can Be Fired Thanks to the Union 2/17/10 Writer: Gus Lubin
Charter School Insights Blog What do 1,000 bad teachers have in common with mealy bugs, fleas, bed bugs, and skunk smell? 2/18/10 Writer: Doug Hering



  1. Well done! I hope people begin paying more attention to the nature of the news coverage you're examining here. The L.A. Times has decided what the narrative is that they wish to pursue, and it's all too rare that anything outside that narrative is seen on their pages or web site.

  2. Heather Wolpert-GawronFebruary 9, 2010 at 5:50 AM

    I am so grateful to David Cohen for turning me on to your blog. It's fresh and accurate and vital in education today. The LA Times may have decided the narrative, but you have provided the Literary Analyis of their Voice. Imagine the true power of education if all those spin-off programs and funding for answers was actually placed into the schools. Well done, well said. And images clearly speak strongly for civilians. We should be speaking in them too!


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