The day the education died for me

I always wanted to teach forever. (I still do as a volunteer only.)

Then, LAUSD implemented Open Court in elementary schools, forced the teachers to follow terrible pacing plans, selected textbooks with horrible explanations and limited practice exercises, and the tests became the dark cloud over each school, each classroom, and the entire district.

Open Court was the worst piece of crap this elementary teacher ever saw. Scripted, and among it many flaws, it covered adjectives and adverbs on the same page. There were a million other flaws with Open Court.

The pacing plans for elementary classes were designed by non classroom people who knew nothing. So now each grade in every school does the same skill at the same time and the students must all learn at the same speed, in the same learning modality, like a pair of one size fits all socks trying to fit every foot at the same time.

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Diverting Attention

During the primary campaign, Ref Rodriguez’s supporters accused UTLA of “using ‘racial undertones’” because they used the candidate’s given name, Refugio, in a mailer. Fast forward five months and the new Board member himself referred to his full name several times in his swearing in ceremony on Tuesday. Nevermind what was said or done during the campaign, Rodriguez wants you to pay attention to the present and ignore the contradictions.

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What happens when there are no veteran teachers left in LAUSD schools?

The senior teachers are being driven out, put into teachers’ jails, retiring early or changing careers because of their dissatisfaction with what public education has become; pretty soon there will only be new, inexperienced (perhaps TFA) teachers on many school sites.

Teachers will tell you that veteran teachers helped them in their early years of teaching and that they in turn helped others along the way.

As an inexperienced teacher you went to the veterans and asked:

“What do I do in this situation?”

“Did this ever happen to you?”

“A parent is……”

“One of the students is….”

And they always knew what to do!

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Engaging Parents

You should not speak to any child, especially students not your own.”

-Derek Horowitz, LAUSD Principal


Now that Tamar Galatzan is a former member of the LAUSD School Board, there is not one Board Member who has children enrolled in the district. Granted, this change is only symbolic as Galatzan had a reputation for ignoring the concerns of other parents (there is a reason that three parents ran against her in the March primary) and focusing on the needs of the charter school advocates who financed her campaigns.  However, symbols are important and the new Board needs to take steps to show that it takes its goals of “parent and community engagement” seriously.

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Teachers Jails — No Veteran Teachers Left Behind (A Poem)

Teacher jails, teacher jails,
The process moves like snails.
 
Deasy and Cortines popularized the incarceration,
They almost franchised it across the nation.
 
If you are a senior teacher at the top of payroll list,
Downtown will tell your principal that they insist.
 
Find a reason to put you away,
Into a rubber room you will stay.
 
The sitting will be like hell for you,
And they won’t tell the accusations too.
 
The incarceration can drag on for years,
The sitting will bring depression and tears.
 
The police will clear you but the district will not,
And your name becomes mud and you feel like snot.
 
You can be a world renown or just a regular educator,
Your union won’t get you an attorney or negotiator.
 
The people who run this inquisition really belong in jail,
With a life full of storms, sentences, and hail.

 

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While they are smearing Rafe Esquith, remember that LAUSD teachers are the best

I have taught at a have nothing school, at a have some school, and at a have everything school, all in LAUSD!

The one great common factor at all three schools is the quality and dedication of the teachers. I believe that there are teachers like this throughout the world:

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Cortines is leaving--A caring Superintendent should...

Superintendent Cortines has announced that he will leave his position in six months. When it was convenient for him, he would remind people that he had been a teacher. Years ago when he was also the Superintendent, he made a robo call to teachers and retired teachers when the district altered the health benefits and wrote the changes in a manner that confused everyone. His recorded call conveyed nastiness and a disdain for the teachers.

The new Superintendent of LAUSD should:

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Election season is over—LAUSD board members can return to doing what they want to

The LAUSD Board of Education and the Superintendent (whoever he is) have always been the center of the attention in the district—it should be the schools, the students, and the educators.

When notable teachers like Rafe Esquith and Iris Stevenson receive international and national acclaim, it goes against the grain of downtown where the spotlight is supposed to be directed on those at Beaudry. So they attempt to shine a negative flame upon those teachers.

Now that the elections are over:

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The Watchdog of LAUSD

For over seven years I wrote more than 650 articles for Examiner.com, an online site that is owned by a conservative who supports all that I oppose. For years I’ve wanted to find a non ad driven site to share my writing. Friday, they sent me a kiss off Email ending in “best wishes”. So here I am.

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Building A Room With My Dad

Becca and JessieThrough my childhood, my Dad and I were not particularly close. In a lot of ways the experience of his childhood haunted him and he did everything possible to make sure that mine would be different. In doing so, he left his own minefields for me to negotiate.

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