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Showing posts from April, 2010

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 …

Video of Mr. Queen at the New York Stock Exchange

You can also click directly to the NYSE link here, for better video quality.

HE DID IT! Lamar Queen Wins Ring the Bell Contest!

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STUDENT MATH WHIZ AND TEACHER-RAPPER WIN OPPORTUNITY TO RING THE OPENING BELLSM at the NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE
“Ring the Bell” National Contest Winners Honored for Outstanding Achievements in Math
NEW YORK— A math teacher who engages his students through rapping his lessons and a young math scholar opened trading on the New York Stock exchange Wednesday as the grand prize winners of the nationwide “Ring the Bell” contest, recognizing excellence in math education. Reign Glover, a 10th grade student at Choctaw High School in Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Lamar Queen, an 8th grade Algebra teacher at Los Angeles Academy, a middle school in South Central, Los Angeles, were named as winners for their skill, dedication and innovation in math education.
Get Schooled, the national education initiative co-developed by Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the New York Stock Exchange co-sponsored the contest as part of Financial Literacy Week and in recognition of President Obama’s pled…

Lamar Queen, the Rapping Math Sensation Entered in Get Schooled Ring the Bell Contest

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When the Get Schooled foundation asked for nominations for outstanding math teachers in its Ring the Bell Contest, one name stood out among the other:  resident superstar teacher Lamar Queen!  Below is the essay that was submitted on his behalf:
In 2007 a new Algebra teacher arrived at our urban middle school in South Central Los Angeles. Lamar Queen was the kind of teacher that you know off-bat will have a bright future. His calm demeanor, impeccable dress, and rapport with students was instantaneous. We knew he would be destined for greatness.
Well, it didn't quite work out that way. His students got over his youth and looks and soon started complaining about class being boring. Mr. Queen was mortified. He became stressed.
He showed up at our school's New Teacher support meetings and admitted he couldn't sleep well at night trying to figure out a way to make class more engaging. And that's when the magic began.
Mr. Queen began writing his lessons in the form of math raps…

It IS That Bad

Hot for Teachers w/ Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green from Megan Fox
This week at LAAMS we found out our counseling staff will be reduced in half next year, with each counselor carrying an 850:1 load of students.  Our deans are being reduced from three to two, and our categorical program coordinators reduced from two to one.  We may also lose an Assistant Principal, in our school of 2,400 students in South Central Los Angeles.

And we thought we were having discipline problems this year?

My position as half time GATE coordinator that oversees 700 Gifted/Advanced Students will very possibly be eliminated.  How will these 700 students and their families be served during one conference period, in addition to the 150 other students I teach in the classroom?

If forward progress paused this year because of the layoffs, it will most certainly reverse direction with these "final blow" cuts to our school.  If it wasn't for our fiercely dedicated teachers, our school may have collap…

Cutting the School Year Short

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This week, members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles will vote to approve 12 furlough days in the next 15 months. These furloughs translate in to a 5% pay cut. Should teachers vote for this measure, as a way to preserve jobs? Yes.

It is completely understandable why many UTLA members may want to vote this measure down. It is unclear whether the LAUSD has cut enough from its own bureaucracy in order to justify a pay cut for teachers. Although many districts have their budgets posted online as a way of promoting transparency, getting accurate numbers from LAUSD is like pulling teeth. As teachers see it, vast mismanagement of funds, and poor management in general led to a surplus of workers in a district with declining enrollment. Now, to balance the budget, teachers are asked to sacrifice pay. This is not okay.

Other UTLA members believe in the "last hired, first fired" way of fairly dealing with layoffs. That might make sense except at schools like L.A. Academy a…