The Watchdog of LAUSD

By Stuart Goldurs

Writing about the LAUSD and my experience as a teacher.

LAUSD teachers: Are you there for the test scores or for the children?

The current generation of teachers is totally different from the generation that I trained and began with.

We were there for the students, not the test scores.

We had the freedom to plan our own lessons and to schedule them.

The lessons were designed to fit our personality and that of the class.  Lesson plans and pacing plans did not come from publishers, they came from teachers, experienced teachers who were there to prepare students for the next grade and for life, teachers who cared about educating the students and who were not forced to care only about test scores.

We had sufficient time to remediate. An early principal of mine used to say, “Bring the students up to grade level and introduce them to grade level skills.”

We had ample opportunities to challenge and to enrich the students.

We had time for teachable moments.

We had time for fun!

We were not forced to stay within the system. We went beyond to help the students.

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LAUSD whatever happened to textbooks with paper and pencil?

In LAUSD elementary classrooms they use workbooks, sheets from the publishers, and photocopies at a waste of millions while enriching the publishers. There is not enough practice on any skill for every student to attain mastery of that skill.

My students used five to six Math books with Math paper folded into 16 squares. The students got plenty of practice and practice equals mastery.

For Language Arts exercises, I used a textbook along with lined paper. I used lined paper for creative writing too. I supplemented the textbook with charts and transparencies and the students worked and there was sufficient practice for mastery.

Do they really learn how to punctuate quotations by putting in commas and quotation marks on a printed page?

My students wrote their own dialogue and put in the punctuation.

LAUSD: Your tax dollars at waste always!

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3R’s + T = LAUSD

When you were in school did you learn more than the 3R’s:  Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

Of course you did. If you think hard you can remember map making, singing and dancing, games, Social Studies, movies, slides or filmstrips, Science, public speaking and drama, Health, handwriting, and practical things like learning how to introduce two people, how to carry a chair, how to address an envelope, and so much more.

Don’t you want your children to have these experiences? How did we get to this place? How do we stop it?

We must retake our schools from the test and book publishers, the know it all celebrities (politicians and the extremely rich who never attended public school), the school board members who have no educational background, and the downtown administrators who are entrenched without the knowledge gained by current experiences at the schools.

Wherever thou goest in school today, the fun is gone, the tests are upon, and the students’ future is extremely drawn.

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How far will LAUSD parents go to find a better school for their children?

A parent who lives by Palms Middle School chose to send her child to Paul Revere Middle School about seven miles away. This is a heavy traffic drive and the street leading to Revere is a one lane road in each direction.

Why?  Because she wants the best education for her child.

Parents go so far as to use someone else’s address.  This is a common practice as parents in areas where their home school is not to their expectations find other ways to get their children into a preferred school.

Many years ago, a number of students attending an elementary school were found using the same residential address where none of them lived. People have turned the guardianship of their child over to a relative living in the residential area of a desired school.

There are also students using permits with transfer and taking extremely long school bus rides to attend better schools. There are also students who utilize public transportation to reach a school that their family prefers.

All schools are not created equal.

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Public K12 education has changed radically

It is all about testing. The test publishers are getting richer, while controlling the curriculum. They prepare the tests and the test preparation materials.

They decide what shall be taught, thus what shall be tested.

There is no time for mastery of the skills. There is no time for review of the skills. There is no time for remediation of the skills. A skill is taught for one to three days; there is one homework assignment and then they must move on following the pacing plan that follows the publisher’s textbook. There is insufficient practice in the textbooks, workbooks, and photocopied sheets provided by the publishers.

Is the goal of education today to improve test scores or to generate a dumbed down generation?

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Would you want to be Superintendent?

Miller, Cortines, Romer, Thompson, Brewer, Anton, and Handler.  Not a basketball team, but the names of the LAUSD Superintendents over the last 30 or so years.   

Why so many? They tried a former governor with limited educational knowledge. They tried an admiral with almost no educational knowledge and his buyout was expensive.

Is the District truly governable?  It is large and unruly stretching from Chatsworth to San Pedro, from East Los Angeles to Pacific Palisades. It takes in students from cities and county areas:  Gardena, San Fernando, Carson, West Hollywood, Marina del Rey and more. At some schools parents are involved and truly act as stakeholders, yet at other schools parents are just trying to survive in this world.

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LAUSD—Los Angeles Unusually ScrewedUp District is at it again

All the news about the district has been coming from the downtown Beaudry Headquarters.

Fighting off the Broad initiative to have half of the students in the district leave to attend charter schools.

One idea proposed downtown is to make the entire district a charter district.

The other major issue is the potential for financial doom in the immediate future.

Where has all the money gone?

Ask any teacher or employee at a school if they have ever had enough money or resources. Ask them if they or their students benefit from the money wasted at Beaudry, the programs rolled out (like the new Restorative Justice Program, MiSIS or iPads) which are rolled out half assed and end up costing millions more to correct.

News from a school district, especially a gigantic one like LAUSD, should be positive and should be solely about the schools and what is going on with the students.

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"L.A. school district headed for major funding shortfall, panel warns"—so what else is new?

The Los Angeles Times reported on November 4, 2015, that the LAUSD is headed for a major funding shortfall.

In my 35 years of teaching in Los Angeles, LAUSD always follows the same pattern:

First, the forecast of financial doom in the future.

Then, oh where can we cut, oh where can we cut?

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LAUSD: When did education become political? The Board of Education

The seven members of the school board are elected. Do they care about education or is it politics they care about? Are they educators, parents with school age children or are they aspiring politicians?

Warren Furutani and Jackie Goldberg, former school board members, got elected to serve in Sacramento. Rita Walters and Jose Huizar got elected to the City Council. Bobbie Fielder went to Congress.

It is name recognition. Once they are serving on the School Board, they find an elected seat that is to be vacated, they run, and since their name is known they win. Look at all the politicians who have switched between Sacramento and the Los Angeles City Council. They have become career politicians enjoying the perks, the attention, the limelight, and the fame. What else can they do?

When they see another elected office opening up do they remain on The Board of Education or are they bored of education?

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LAUSD teachers are you tired and want to rest in a rubber room?

Here are the proven ways to get sent to teacher jail:

1.Be at the top of the salary scale.

2.Be close to vesting in lifetime benefits.

3.Be an advocate for your students and their families.

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