Kick 'Em While They're Down
Starting at dinner time on Friday the 12th, the texts and phone calls started coming in. "I'm fired," "guess I'll be looking for a new job" or "I get it, LAUSD, you don't want me." Apprehensive teachers had made their way home to find their pink slips waiting for them.
Unlike last year, the teachers were realistic about their chances of getting another one this year. Nothing can really prepare you for getting the letter that tells you you have less than four months left of being a teacher and working with your students. LAAMS lost 23 teachers last year, and with that fact in mind, and no clear UTLA plan of action, our new crop of RIF'ed teachers are grim about their future, and the future of our school community.
At least 10 new RIF's have been confirmed, but LAUSD saw it fit to send duplicate RIF's to last year's laid-off teachers who are currently working as substitutes. In a time of contract negotiations between the district and the union, we are told to have faith in the budget numbers LAUSD is sharing with the union. Yet LAUSD is RIF'ing nilly-willy, with no seemingly logical reason to double-RIF substitute teachers! We are supposed to trust their accounting?
As of today, L.A. Academy Middle School has lost 33 teaching positions in 9 months. This is 30% of our staff.
How do you watch your school being dismantled step by step, day by day by cuts, layoffs, transfers, media attacks and even a blatant lack of support by the President himself? How do you compartmentalize this huge attack on your school (intentional or unintentional, no matter) and go in the classroom and smile at the children, reassuring them that its going to be okay? CST testing begins this week, for C track students. Yeah, the state exam by which our school will be labeled a "success" or a "failure". None of this will affect test scores, I'm sure, right?
How do you look at your new teachers and support them as they see their dreams of being educators dying in slow motion?
Please, someone give me an answer because we don't have it here, and this school community is desperate for one.