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Showing posts from November, 2010

A Tale of Two Back to School Nights

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Excitement and enthusiasm were in the air as teachers in my new high school in a middle class neighborhood prepared their classrooms by decorating their bulletin boards, displaying student work, and straightening desks. Welcome messages abounded, Remind.com messages were sent, and we opened our doors to meet the parents.
I have done these events for 24 years, four times a year at my former school in South Central L.A. But this year’s Back to School Night left me reflecting, and perhaps shedding a tear.
First, my new parents were fantastic. They were friendly, enthusiastic, and supportive of the new ideas I bring to the school. I knew in them I would have allies to incorporate my findings from my Fulbright exchange in Finland earlier this year. Parent after parent nodded their heads and strongly affirmed that break time was important to students, teachers, and workers in general. They were excited to hear about the summer travel programs I had prepared.
As I looked at their warm and s…

Union's Response to Latest Round of School Giveaways

UTLA's response to Public School Choice process, Round 3, from utla.net:
November 3, 2010

PSC Round 3 – Is this really reform?

Late in the day on November 2 (election day!), LAUSD released the list of focus schools for Round 3 of the Public School Choice (PSC) process. PSC Round 3 is an escalation of LAUSD’s irresponsible school giveaway. UTLA contends that the LAUSD school board is abdicating responsibility for L.A. schools by giving them away instead of providing resources and addressing schools’ challenges.
Public School Choice unnecessarily politicizes school reform

The Public School Choice process promotes top‐down decision making from the Superintendent and LAUSD school board rather than bottom‐up reform. School board members should be held accountable for micromanaging what should be bottom‐up reform.


LAUSD has not taken action against many charter schools with similar API scores to those of the targeted focus schools.  Student learning should not be made to suffer as a res…

The maestro is missed

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A vigil was held tonight, in front of the L.A. Times building, to remember the life and work of Rigoberto Ruelas, a dedicated teacher in the South Central community.  The students' signs say it all:

R-responsible
U-united with the communtiy
E-expert
L-free
A-friendly
S-social

Yet newspapers that serve corporate interests deemed this esteemed man ineffective.

I say, L.A. Times, your reporting is what's ineffective.



Set Up for Failure

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When our school lost 23 teachers in the 2009 Reduction in Force, we lost some very accomplished individuals who had chosen to work at our previously hard to staff school, and were making progress with our students in South Central Los Angeles.

When $17,000,000,000 in budget cuts occurred over the last 2 years, we pulled ourselves together and made do with less counselors, less supplies, less professional development, less, support staff, and less summer and Saturday school opportunities for students.

When our school got hit with layoffs again this year, we gritted our teeth, knowing that the positions would not be filled in a timely manner because when all is said and done, the sad truth is that South Central has a bad reputation, some of it well-deserved, for being a scary place to work. We still have not staffed unfilled positions from 2009.

So it was no surprise to anyone on the campus when we received the news that we did not achieve our test growth target according to the Cali…