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Showing posts from September, 2012

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 …

You Talkin' to Me?

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I knew a little girl once who came from poverty and that odds predicted little chance of her ever escaping it, much less becoming a professional, middle-class teacher that would lead professional organizations and travel the world representing her country in the field of education.

The odds were exactly 7%.

That is how many students, then and now, are able to graduate from high school in East L.A., make it to college, graduate from college, and get a professional job that might land them in the middle class.

The little girls from poverty was me.

“Poverty is not destiny!” keep shouting these education reformers, many who tend to come from predominantly affluent and Caucasian backgrounds from the likes of Teach for America. I look around and wonder, “Are they talking to me? Seriously?”

I don’t recall them being around while poverty was kicking my ass, growing up in a community lacking in resources, safety, and investments.  I don’t recall them shouting “stop!” when school bud…