More LAUSD waste: Lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations—while air conditioners need service

Our tax dollars pay for lobbyists in the LAUSD Office of Government Relations with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento. 

While class sizes are way too high!

The district uses high priced outside law firms while the Office of the General Counsel has a Facilities Legal Services Team consisting of 41 lawyers.

While "LAUSD has 2,600 requests for air conditioning repairs."

LAUSD has a Communications and Media Relations department with eight staff members and that does not include clerical personnel. 

While schools are filthy!

 

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Battle Scarred Schools

WhiteboardThe function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

It had been years since my sister and I had been back to the neighborhood where we grew up, but last month we had the chance. In New York for a family reunion, we took an afternoon to roam Rockland County for a trip back in time. We already knew that our childhood home had been bulldozed long ago as had the Nanuet Mall where we had spent many weekends as teenagers, so these would be visits to addresses rather than childhood shrines. However, the schools we attended are still standing, so these held the possibility of giving us physical connections to our youth. As we pulled up to Elmwood Elementary School, eagerness quickly turned to shock. My sister turned to my mother and asked, “How could you have sent us to such a shithole?”

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Shortchanging Summer

LA Kids Deserve Summertime - Start School After Labor Day and Fix LAUSD Calendar Now"

-Change.org petition

Last week, students were stuck in classrooms as county health officials declared a heat alert in parts of the district, including the San Fernando Valley. The District used to be on what one teacher called the “Oh my God, it’s hot in L.A. in August” calendar and started school after Labor Day, but not anymore. In an effort led by failed Board Member Tamar Galatzan, the calender was changed several years ago “as a way for high school students to complete the first semester before winter break.” Board President Steve Zimmer agreed saying that “instruction is best aligned when [students] do not have...that extended gap during the first semester.” What the District never answered is why the students even have that extended gap.

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LAUSD: Can't they do anything right?

Recently, more than ever, the media is filled with headlines and stories about investigations into LAUSD food services and the F.B.I. investigating the iPad mess, and much, much more.

Don’t forget the tens of millions wasted on MiSIS; starting the school year during the intense heat of August without all classrooms having functioning air conditioning; and the secrecy behind the search for a new superintendent.

LAUSD just added $4.5 million to the previous settlement of $30 million for Miramonte, a situation the district could have prevented.

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$250,000 for LAUSD for a search firm. Why?

"School board President Steve Zimmer said the board needed to pick a search firm no later than Sept. 15 and preferably sooner. The board has set aside as much as $250,000 plus expenses for the contract."

Why? 

I can suggest a few people who are civic minded, knowledgeable, have no affiliation with the the district, and most importantly their sole concern is for the education of the students of LAUSD!

Why spend another quarter of a million dollars when the district has so many other needs?

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The LAUSD Superintendent Search Continues Behind Closed Doors

Staff proposes that the Board of Education authorize staff to negotiate and enter into a professional service agreement or agreements to provide executive search services...for a maximum amount of $250,000."

-LAUSD

When I ran for the LAUSD District 3 seat in this year’s elections, one of the planks in my platform was to make Board meetings more accessible to the stakeholders. Since holding some of them on weekends was one suggestion that I put forward, it was very exciting when the District announced early this month its plans to hold a rare weekend meeting. However, any thought that this was done for the convenience of the parents was soon put to rest as the location of the meeting was not even announced until just a couple of days ago. To alleviate any doubt, the agenda released by the district indicated that the Board would adjourn into a closed session right after hearing public comments.

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Life is Short. Investigate Wisely.

...investigations should be completed in a timely matter, nothing and I mean nothing, will stand in the way of making sure our students and school communities are safe."

-Ramon Cortines, LAUSD Superintendent

The fifth grade students of Hobart Elementary School have started the school year without award winning teacher Rafe Esquith in the classroom. They are also deprived of access to his nonprofit, the Hobart Shakespeareans, and its proven record of allowing students to “move on to attend outstanding colleges.” Instead, Esquith continues to be confined to teacher jail as the five month investigation against him drags on. What started with a complaint about a joke told in the classroom has somehow expanded into “a complex investigation that requires painstaking, time-consuming work.”

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LAUSD: you only need one test per year

A once a year test which takes no more than 2 hours on one day.

One hour to measure each students’ Language Art progress and one hour to measure each students’ Math progress.

That’s it—no quarterly tests, no fluency tests, no teaching to the test, no following the test calendar, and no evaluating teachers using test scores. 

Any professional educator, after a just a few weeks with his or her students can tell each students' strengths and weaknesses, needs and areas for growth. No paperwork--no testing.

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Outfoxed

We have to give strength and power back to the police. And you're always going to have mistakes made. And you're always going to have bad apples. But you can't let that stop the fact that police have to regain some control of this tremendous crime wave and killing wave that's happening in this country.

-Donald Trump

When I was born in 1967, there were 2,989.7 crimes committed, including 6.2 murders, for every 100,000 people in the United States. By time I graduated high school in 1985, in the middle of Reagan’s presidency, the crime rate had increased to 5,207.1, including 8.0 murders. As Obama took his second oath of office in 2013, the crime rate stood at 3,098.6 and the murder rate had fallen to 4.5. Nowhere has these crime reductions been more apparent than in New York City where the murder rate fell from 14.5 in 1990 to 3.3 in 2013. On a national scale, improvements in the violent crime rate continued into 2014.

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It’s a tragedy what’s happening to our profession—Goodbye veteran teachers

Veteran teachers are leaving the profession!

Veteran teachers like senior citizens should be revered for the knowledge, wisdom, and experience.

Each of us had an unofficial mentor when we first started teaching and again when we moved to a new school. 

Pretty soon there will be no teacher over 30 at any schools:

No one to ask advice about situations, students, parents, and administrators;

No one who remembers how it was before--when the teachers were loved and respected by everyone, and they were the ultimate authority on anything for their students; 

No one who remember the proper way to teach instead of solely teaching to the test;

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