Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Belmont: The Black Hole of School Construction #444-445

Los Angeles, CA. The Full Disclosure Network™ presents a three (3) minute video preview of a two-part series entitled, "Belmont: The Black Hole of School Construction."

This preview of a special series exposes the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) Belmont Learning Center fiasco with exclusive video footage of all the major players involved in the planning, development, financing and investigations of the most notorious school construction project in the United States, they are:

  • Steve Cooley , L.A. County District Attorney
  • Jim McConnell, LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive
  • Anthony Patchett, Belmont Prosecutor, Special Assistant. D.A. (ret)
  • Don Mullinax, Inspector General L.A. Unified School District
  • Roger Carrick. Special Legal Counsel to Inspector General
  • Scott Wildman. Chair. CA Legislative Audit Committee
  • Dominic Shambra, Director of Planning & Development LAUSD
  • David Cartwright, Sr. Partner O'Melveny & Myers
  • Dr. Kaye Kilburn, USC Keck School of Medicine, Edgington Chair

The still incomplete public school is now estimated to have cost almost a half a billion dollars after seven years of investigations, lawsuits and controversy. When the Los Angeles news media ceased covering the Belmont Learning Center debacle the Full Disclosure Network™ (FDN) jumped at the opportunity to cover the story, on videotape, as a PUBLIC SERVICE. Belmont was only 60% complete and had an estimated cost of $175 million to $228 million. Most public officials and the news media had pronounced the project a "dead issue". That could not have been farther from the truth.
Following the LAUSD Board vote to complete the Belmot project costs continue to escalate. Demolition of the new and never occupied buildings located on an earthquake fault and costly re-reconstruction began in December of 2004. A one hundred-thirty-two million dollar million remediation for the methane and hydrogen sulfide gases has been planned but as of December 2005, not yet approved by the State of California.
Just fifteen days after the 2005 Full Disclosure Network™ series entitled"Belmont: The Black Hole of School Construction" was first shown on Southern California Cable channels, Jim Mc Connell announced his intention to leave the LAUSD. As Chief Executive of the Facilities Division Mc Connell was featured in the FDN series saying, "the days of Belmont are over". However, mistaken he was, as the days of Belmont are far from finished.
Here are a few of the revelations in Belmont: The Black Hole of school construction:

  • What lawsuit blocked BB Bond funds from being used to build Belmont?
  • Why was the site (an old oil field) purchased "as is"?
  • How did LAUSD Raise the first $92 million to pay for Belmont?
  • Why was construction on Belmont stopped when only 60% complete?
  • Who stopped the construction?
  • LAUSD had to change State laws to win approval for Belmont, why?


How to Destroy Education While Making a Trillion Dollars | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

How to Destroy Education While Making a Trillion Dollars

Published on


Common Dreams

The Vietnam War produced more than its share of iconic idiocies. Perhaps the most revelatory was the psychotic assertion of an army major explaining the U.S. bombing of the provincial hamlet of Ben Tre: "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." If only such self-extinguishing claims for intelligence were confined to military war.

The U.S is ratcheting up a societal-level war on public education. At issue is whether we are going to make it better — build it into something estimable, a social asset that undergirds a noble and prosperous society — or whether we're going to tear it down so that private investors can get their hands on the almost $1 trillion we spend on it every year. The tear-it-down option is the civilian equivalent of Ben Tre, but on a vastly larger scale and with incomparably greater stakes: we must destroy public education in order to save it. It's still early in the game, but right now the momentum is with the wreckers because that's where the money is. Whether they succeed or not will be up to you.

Here's a three-step recipe for how to destroy education. It maps perfectly to how to make a prodigious profit by privatizing it. It is the essential game plan of the big money boys.

First, lower the costs so you can jack up the profits. Since the overwhelming cost in education is the salaries of the teachers, this means firing the experienced teachers, for they are the most expensive. Replace them with "teachers" who are young, inexperienced, and inexpensive. Better yet, waive requirements that they have to have any training, that is to say, that they be credentialed. That way, you can get the absolute cheapest workers available. Roll them over frequently so they don't develop any expectation that they'll ever make a career out of it.

Second, make the curriculum as narrow, rote, and regimented as you can. This makes it possible for low-skilled "teachers" to "teach." All they need do is maintain order while drilling students in mindless memorization and robotic repetition. By all means avoid messy things like context, nuance, values, complexity, reflection, depth, ambiguity—all the things that actually make for true intelligence. It's too hard to teach those things and, besides, you need intelligent, experienced people to be able to do it. Stick with the model: Profitable equals simplistic and formulaic. Go with it.

Finally, rinse and repeat five thousand times. Proliferate franchised, chartered McSchools with each classroom in each McSchool teaching the same thing on the same day in exactly the same way. So, for the math lesson on the formula of a line, you only need develop it once. But you download it in Power Point on the assigned day so the room monitors, i.e., the "teachers," know what bullets to read. Now repeat this for every lesson in every course in every school, every day. In biology, chemistry, geometry, history, English, Spanish, indeed, all of a K-12 curriculum. Develop the lesson literally once, but distribute and reuse it thousands of times with low-cost proctors doing the supervision. The cost is infinitesimal making the profit potential astronomical.

This is the essential charter school model and the money is all the rationale its promoters need. Think about it. There's a trillion dollars a year spent on public education in the U.S. and enterprising investors want to get their meat hooks on it. Where else in the world can you find a $1 trillion opportunity that is essentially untouched? Not in automobiles. Not in health care. Not in weapons, computers, banking, telecommunications, agriculture, entertainment, retail, manufacturing, housing. Nowhere.

Oh, to be sure, you have to soften up the public with a decades-long PR campaign bashing teachers, vilifying their unions, trashing schools, and condemning public education in general, all the while promising the sun, moon, and stars for privatization, which is the ultimate charter goal. Voila! You've got your chance.

But to really make a killing, you need not just revenues, but profits. That's why the low cost delivery and "build it once but resell it millions of times" model is so key. It was that very model that made Bill Gates the richest man in the world. It is what earned Microsoft 13 TIMES the rate of profit of the average Fortune 500 company in the 1990s and persuaded the Justice Department to declare it a "felony monopolist". Gates recognizes the model very well, which is why his foundation is pouring tens of millions of dollars into charters. And you thought it was his altruism.

Of course, anybody who actually knows education, indeed, anybody who is simply intelligent, knows that intelligence does not come from rote repetition or parroting Power Point slides at the regimented direction of a room monitor, no matter how perky or well intended. It comes from an agonizingly complex, intricate, sustained set of challenges to the mind that are exquisitely choreographed over the better part of two decades, all intimately tailored to the specific needs of an individual, inquisitive, aspiring student.

That is what real teachers do. And it is precisely what a cookie-cutter, low-content, low-cost, high-turnover, high-profit money mill cannot do. Because it's not intended to do that. It's intended to produce profits. Real education, real intelligence, real character are agonizingly slow, dazzlingly complex, maddeningly difficult things to create. You can't make a profit off of it, unless you destroy it in the process. That is why not one of the nations of the world that surpass the U.S. in education performance operate charter-based or privatized educational systems.

If America wants better education, it needs to fix the greatest force undermining education, which is poverty. The single most powerful predictor of student performance is the average income of the zip code in which they live. But one out of four American students now live in poverty, and the numbers are growing. One out of two will live in poverty sometime during their lives. Forty-seven million Americans are on food stamps. Is it any wonder American school performance is faltering?

But poverty is a hard and expensive problem to fix. We prefer easy, painless fixes, or even better, vapid clichés about the "magic of the market" and such. Why, look what we got from the deregulation of the banking system: the greatest economic collapse of the last 80 years and the greatest plunder of the public treasury in the history of the world.

This is the essential neo-liberal agenda which Obama enthusiastically supports: privatize and deregulate everything, especially public services, so that the money spent on them can be transferred to private hands. This is how Arne Duncan, Obama's Secretary of Education, earned his bureaucratic bonafides: he converted more than 100 of Chicago's public schools to charters while the city's school superintendent. It's unbelievable how credulous we are but obviously, propaganda works. That's why the likes of the Gates Foundation keep pouring money into the cause.

The problem with charter schools is that they simply don't work, at least not for delivering high quality education. Of course, given their formula, how could they? The most thorough research on charter schools, by Stanford University, shows that while charters do better than public schools in 17% of cases, they actually do worse in 37%, a more than 2-to-1 bad-to-good ratio!

If your doctor injured two patients for every one he cured, would you go to him? If your mechanic wrecked two cars for every one he fixed, would you go to him? Yet that is literally the proposition that charter school operators are peddling. And that 2-to-1 failure rate is after charters have skimmed off the better students and run what can only be called ethnically cleansed schools, counseling out poor performers, special needs cases, and "undesirable" minorities, leaving them for the public schools to deal with. For the data show they do that as well.

The irony of all this, indeed, the hypocrisy, is that America is at least nominally a capitalist county. You would think it would be ok to be honest about your intentions to make money by pillaging children's futures while looting the public purse. God knows the weapons makers, the banks, the oil companies, the pharmaceutical companies, agribusiness and others aren't bashful about it. But that doesn't seem to be true here, in education.

Here, it's all about "the children," about "streamlining" education, boosting scores, uplifting minorities, making America competitive, and just about every other infantile fairy tale they can invoke to convince the country to hand over the loot. For that's what it's really about. The trillion dollars a year to be made by turning "the children" into intellectually impotent dullards but profit producing zombies? Well, that's just a lavishly fortunate coincidence. Right?

Remember, you can't save something by destroying it. Which isn't to say that swashbuckling entrepreneurs aren't willing to try. All they need is the liberating impetus of that essential American ethic: "I'm getting mine, screw you." But the cost of this plunder will be incalculable, for it will ripple through the economy for decades. And the damage will be irreversible for, while public education is the most powerful democratizing institution in the world, it only works when the schools work. When they cease to work, it's over.

So watch out. A destroyed educational system, a desiccated economy, and a debauched democracy are coming soon to a school district near you.

Robert Freeman writes about economics and education. He is the author of The Best One-Hour History series which includes World War I, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, and other titles.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fwd: Resources for prospective teaching students

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My Advice to those of you who hear the call...
Don't become a teacher. Ignore that siren's song. That is unless you're some rich kid who can bail with loan forgiveness in as little as two years. Teaching is not going to be a profession much longer. Indeed, it has struggled all along to maintain respect, but teaching is not a stable or lucrative profession ; because it is connected to the call like EMT, Pilot and  nursing, teaching is the kind of job where the teacher (nurse, pilot, EMT) is typically disposable, exploited and ultimately denied the security, financial rewards and respect it deserves. These professions were once a middle class procession, an opportunity for individuals to become upwardly mobile. Now the most noble professions are an almost certain disaster waiting to suck your life up and spit you out into a dizzy downward spiral of unemployment, depression and poverty. 
Frustrating, thankless, exhausting, hazardous, stressful, underpaid, degrading, depressing, harassed, scapegoated, misunderstood, miserable, and exploitative are some of the ways teachers may described their experiences in post modern public schools under the pernicious influence of education reform, which is all about profits, privatization and petulant plutocrats oppressing the rest of us with their tenuous test stats, technology grifts and propaganda that tends to condemn teachers for the system's failures. 
 Don't buy into the BS about unions either. Teachers' unions are embracing TURN, an organization that seems devoted to deprofessioaling the profession while acquiring charter school members and raking in dues which are casually squandered on politics in an unlawful and harmful manner. The unions should be embracing Sanders and asserting its power to support the candidate who suppoets it and the members. Instead it is pushing Clinton down our throat so that Randi Weingardten gets the secretary of education nod from her fellow neoliberal traitor Hillary.
 It troubles me that so many teachers lack the independent spirit and intelligence it takes to accept that their unions are part of the problem. Indeed their union leaders are usually hand picked by the enemy. Weingartens blatant collusion with Stein, Gates, Broad, Gates and TFA is galling yet some teachers blindly follow her as if reminding loyal to this disloyal careerist will imbue her to serve them. It won't. It never will . Randi W  is an entitled and ambitious creature who has no respect for teachers or the public. She love to rub elbows with elites like Broad, Ravitch, and Gates while offering teachers insults, ambiguity and outright lies to manage her lemming league of losers. 
If you hear the call, chances are , you'll answer it. In doing so keep in mind that you are going to war. Your battling ignorance and poverty, of course. But the true foe is the rich bastards who perpetuate and profit from these things. They have the advantage. In the art of war one must remember to make the disadvantage work to their advantage . Ruminate upon this. 

What is the teachers disadvantage? Please list some in the comments to generat discussion. Thanks 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


It's been awhile since I posted anything I have written about LAUSD here on Hemlock. The battle against the district is a very exhausting, frustrating and dangerous process. It costs people their homes, their marriages, their careers, their well being, their health and their lives. While I have been blindsided by one outrageous affront after another, I have not lost hope that LAUSD, UTLA and the well heeled criminals who facilitate these crimes against teachers will one day answer for what they've done to Los Angeles, which  has seen children and teachers destroyed, parents thwarted and taxpayers fleeced for decades. The Belmont fiasco, the iPad scams, special education and ESL students subjected to substandard instruction and segregated, children abused while their abusers skate without charges and innocent teachers are ruined by malicious lies. Greed and corruption have conspired against public education and it's snowballing into something quite insidious and evil. 
The LAUSD overpayment farce has turned teachers into debtors and threatens to ruin their credit for money they do not owe. Most were likely not overpaid at all. It's hard to tell because LAUSD arrogantly refuses to provide any type of evidence to support these assertions. What's more trucking is the fact that LAUSD refuses to abide the settlement it made with the payroll vendor, which covered any losses the district sustained because the payroll system was flawed. It's rather telling that LAUSD is permitted to seek these damages in light of all this, but more than anything the statute of limitations has already made these matters moot. How deeply involved are the courts, the DA and attorneys handling these cases when something as rudimentary as the statute of limitations is ignored to pursue unfounded financial damages against individuals who had no idea they were being overpaid and were not to blame for the mix up. Let's remember that many teachers went unpaid for months, and they incurred damages of their own as a result. They couldn't make their nut, used credit cards to do so and LAUSD did not pay interest nor did it fix the ruined credit of teachers who fell behind. In a one of the nightmarish elements of this mess, teachers had to borrow money from the district because they did not get paid. This required massive amounts of time and patience. I have no doubt that LAUSD has had trouble balancing it's complex books with all the lawyers and educRATS it's carrying, but people from the payroll offuce have spoken out about the dubious ethics and wanton thievery they've seen take place at the offices.

LAUSD has been escalating in its efforts to embody what is essentially a criminal enterprise. I hesitate to call it organized crime, but only because the word organized implies they are adept and efficient. The district is anything but. With its enormous budget, excessive access and unchecked status, LAUSD has been permitted to ruin and rob teachers, conceal abuse and liberate abusers from consequences and to bleed this city dry while marginalizing and exploiting the poor to further its agenda.
When I hear from teachers and parents who read Hemlock, they're usually looking for confirmation that what is happening to them is wrong. They tell me unfathomable tales of being mobbed, set up, stalked, smeared and driven damned near crazy. I know what they're talking about because I have been there and those who've covered that same territory usually reach out to me and Lenny who both came into this ordeal when things were beginning to heat up with teacher jail. We have seen it all, but I am still stunned by the district's impunity.
I read the LA Times story about Rafe  Esquith and the unseemly emails he shared with students.
I had hoped those emails were not genuine evidence an this document alludes to that possibility, though it lacks the clarity it needs to confirm what LAUSD is notoriously famous for: creating false evidence to justify its ongoing harassment and professional/legal actions against innocent employees. I suspect there is a problem with what Esquith was doing if these quotes from messages between the teacher and his students are real.   I have read enough to tell you he should be fired if they  are not taken out context. And this is a real bummer for innocent teachers like me to confront because here Esquith has a formidable and well respected attorney ready to go up to bat for him thus for us, and it turns out he's a Perv. 
I hope this is not the case. However, if it is the case, what do we make if LAUSD hacking into email accounts of its employees? Some folks may say it's a necessary evil that needs to be employed to protect our children. If the NSA is sparing us from the horrors if terrorism, we owe it to children to protect them from predators. Guilty or not, Rafe Esquith used an AOL account not the district's, which we all know is  policed by administrators who want to find dirt on teachers. This is fair enough, but hacking into the accounts as they have is another issue.
Rafe Esquith was caused a stir because he was teaching Huck Finn to 5th graders and discussed  section of the novel bout a pair of comical swindlers who happen to end up naked. 
Naked is a condition we all know well. In and of itself it is no big deal. In the novel the thieves nudity is symbolic of the transparent motives they show to Huck and Jim on the rafting trip that is supposed to represent the heroes' journey into the unknown. Not many books have been as controversial as Huck Finn, which is constantly being banned by school boards and knee jerk liberal morons who miss the point. You'd think they never read any word but the n-word, which does pop up more often in the book than a Quentin Tarantino film. 
The word is used ironically in the novel and for all the scrutiny and half witted criticism it has endured since political correctness came to make things even more muddy, no one that I know of saw any reason to worry about some naked grifters. If anything, their role in the plot confirms that Jim is the only noble character of the bunch. 
I'd rather discuss the banning of Huck Finn than the bizarre antics of the second largest school stem in the nation because I have plenty of textual evidence I can back that up with. Do I have evidence that LAUSD is guilty of a inventory of RICO felonies, code violations and defecating all over the Brown act? Of course, I do. I have so much evidence it's compelling enough to write a book, which I have enough to dirt on the district to do, but at what cost?
Will a publisher ever consider such a paranoid memoir? Should we assume that the books by Ravitch, Schnider, Cody and others support a narrative about the experiences of one teacher jail rabble rouser trend activist/advocate who's pretty well ruined as an educator and still licking her wounds a human being? 
Let's say this mess with Esquith can make or break us. I appreciate that Garegos has the tenacity to hit LAUSD where they live with charges of hacking to get dirt on the district's most famous teacher. He knows there is something amiss even if his client is guilty of bad judgement in the very least. Even if he hasn't written those salacious missives, one wonders if he can transcend these accusations after the Times presented such a story which had Esquith agreeing he dud indeed correspond with students in this manner. If you knew what lengths the Times will go to in order to protect the district while villifying its teacher there'd  be reasonable doubt enough to retry many teachers fired and imprisoned for misconduct. I realize many of the accused belong behind bars by the way. I was railroaded after I reported a notoriously abusive and prejudiced teacher. 
No students were willing to lie about me and only a couple other teachers agreed to lie about me. When they did, they stepped all over each other's fibs and it's was so obvious it's hard to fathom how things went the way they did unless you understand that the teachers' union is betraying its members and my rep, the highest paid disbarred lawyer in LA, Carl Joseph threw me and hundreds of other teachers under the bus.
However, the real surprise is how few of our colleagues were and are willing to take a stand in our behalf. They are the real reason the profession will become a low paid internship and schools will soon become test factories.
They watched their friends and co workers become casualties and retreated to their classrooms, unwilling to speak up or take a stand. Little do they know that they've sealed their own fates. Things are never going back to the way they were . When I say this, I am not just talking about LAUSD. 
This kind of assault has been taking place in Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, Oakland, New Orleans, San Diego, and other cities and towns across the world. Mexican teachers burned test scores a few years ago. Some of them were shot down and made examples of. You don't realize how many teachers across the the US have been murdered by the school administrators and BOEs that allowed such unchecked bullies to mob and abuse teachers. I do. I have lost no small amount of colleagues and fellow inmates to stress related deaths and suicide directly related to their mistreatment by their coworkers. Students are not immune from these machinations as we watch them fall prey to each other, bullies, bad teachers, pedophiles, policy, and pernicious incompetence that will see 60 students in one classroom to punish an outspoken teacher because to the suits, children are merely pawns. 
To me, the children were my first concern and they will always be, but what can I do for them when we look towards an outstanding colleague for inspiration and learn he's indulging in exploitative antics with kids who 11 or 12 years old. Not that he has. He just hasn't held a press conference yet to explain what is going on. 

If Esquith is going to continue with the law suit, he needs to consider explaining what exactly went on. I admire the way he's put the district on blast for hacking his private email account, but I have to wonder if this isn't confirming his unfortunate missteps as an educator. 
Many moms and dads will say the ends justify the means if we are sparing our children from sexual abuse. I am not sure how far they're willing to take this, but when the school district operates in a lawless manner, it is not a very positive sign. 
Be that as it may, teachers who have done things like this who plan to defy the district legally must be wary for the suits and Holmquist's costly henchmen are acting with impunity which means they will hack your account, interview students going back ten years and intimidate your colleagues if they try to defend you. 
Taking words out of context, hiding any exculpatory evidence, creating evidence, manufacturing testimony and dragging out hearings to assure memories are faded, witnesses have moved away and tht you are starved out are just a few of their tactics.
Teachers tell me they are being stalked, sued, blackballed, harassed, railroaded, mobbed, robbed, and driven to madness. Some have become homeless. Other are unemployable. Many are disabled. A few have spent years of their lives being battered and defamed. It's not easy. It's not heroic. It's not hopeful. It's no wonder so many are willing to turn their backs on the innocent casualties. But that doesn't excuse them. If half or even 1/4 of teachers were willing to tell the truth about what goes on in our schools, they'd. become that change they aiways wanted to be. Instead they behave like entitled unionized sheep or fearful creatures of comfort who or sake their calling and it's lofty ideas to be sure they pay mortgages on their underwater homes in hoods the district helped them buy. I believe candor is needed, so if Esquith is guilty of flirting with a precocious girl from ciass, he needs to give up some details, like was it a one time thing? How often did this go one and what else was said abd when? 
I get that he is an educator with the highest kind of success possible. I read his book Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire. It's perhaps one of the most useful texts an earnest educator in the hood can read. 
I have no doubt he's used the challenges in his classroom to his advantage and reaches his students, maybe feeling more like one of them than an adult. Many good teachers do that.  As a result they often bend the rules. I certainly did so, though I was never charged with any real violations of the codes or our contract, which administrators and Reps repeatedly ignored. Had they actually charged me with something I had done, I would have resigned without a fuss to spare myself a lot of humiliation and to avoid draining taxpayers' and the school district of their funds. Mostly I would be considering the damage I would have done to all these innocent teachers and the profession which is being crucified by using a few egregious examples to justify the demise of far too many dedicated professionals.
According to students and parents, Rafe and I are exceptional teachers.  I'm sure he heard this from many of his administrators because I did and I am not famous. 
Fame is what gave Esquith the power to do what thousands of us couldn't: Hire a competent and dedicated lawyer whose practice is so formidable he will not demur to the bullies at large. 
I have waited for Garregos to bail on this case, but he has the tenacity of a terrier and seems to be committed to Rafe Esquith if not our cause. At this point, Garregos would be best served by a class action that involves many teachers without the question marks about what they did or did not do. 
They are not hard to find. Paulette Jackson, for example, was fired without due process for being one minute late to class. She had to go to the restroom and there was a long line. She never got the benefit of teacher jail or a union rep to stand by her side, but to this day she fights this injustice. Not easy when you're a mother of a special needs son without a full time job. 
Consider the case of a PSW who intervened for students during crisis like that teacher suicide that followed the disclosure of test scores and delegated ratings to teachers based on their students performance. She was present for this and said something that Ray Cortines was offended because it exposed a lie he told. She had not meant to do this. It was an innocent remark. After that day she found herself under fire. The district threatened to put a lien on her house. Notably, anyone can put a lien on anyone's house, but she was too frazzled and intimidated to stay and fight. 
The wrath of Ray Cortines is notorious as early teacher jail birds heard him bark at the wardens at what was once called LD8: " Get something on these teachers!" 
Hearsay, I know but consistent with the reprisals the little fop is notorious for. One art teacher wrote a letter to the editor and it was printed. The morning after it was published, the art teacher was forced out of her classroom and replaced by a sub. She was told to travel and told to teach courses she had no credential for. Her life was made a living hell when the principle of the school told gang bangers the woman was a racist. She was terror filled and fled. I saw many teachers leave in tears . Others were forced out or paid to leave. 
Cortines wasn't just about removing teachers. His case of sexual harassment was depicted as an effort to extort money out of a lonely old man. The far more viable story is told by his victim in such graphic detail it's difficult to dismiss it. Cortines lured the younger man to his ranch. Though he had rejected the older man's advances in the recent past, the victim said he didn't dare refuse this invitation which became an ordeal as Cortines allegedly imposed himself on the man by arriving naked in his room and pulling one off in the bed beside him. Cortines referred to the incident as adult consensual sex. The man felt he had been raped. The lawyers deemed it sexual harassment and the problem was paid off in what this report claims was $350, 000 of the district's budget. Small potatoes beside the payroll fiasco, the Belmont fiasco, the Sex Abuse Scandal, the iPad farce and an assortment of scandals that include Bill Gates flawed attendance software and Person's common core program for district devices that taxpayers purchased before the product was ready for use. 
So much money has been spent on protecting the district's secrets, one wonders what it will take for the public to finally shut the beast down.   
I don't see fallen teachers as the catalyst for local education reform to become truly addressed. When children are raped by teachers and no one informs them until a year later when police make an arrest, there is a problem because what if that child has contracted an STD or needs mental health intervention? How many children might have been spared if LAUSD had abided its duty and removed the likes of Mark Berndt, Paul Chapel, George Hernandez, Steve Rooney and Marlo Duffy . Here is a list of the teachers the  DA has prosecuted in recent years:

Here is the well written indictment of LAUSD's case against Rafe Esquith which will not be published by the LAT or any other major paper because the media is controlled by the people who own LAUSD. What? You thought it was a public school system? Think again.


Rafe Esquith’s Lawyer Responds to Release of Emails by LAUSD | Diane Ravitch's blog

Rafe Esquith's Lawyer Responds to Release of Emails by LAUSD | Diane Ravitch's blog

Rafe Esquith's Lawyer Responds to Release of Emails by LAUSD

Earlier I posted an article in the Los Angeles Times that included quotes said to be from emails written by Rafe Esquith.

In response, Rafe Esquith's law firm has released a statement blasting the LAUSD for conducting a "witch hunt."

Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas, attorneys for internationally renowned teacher Rafe Esquith, have issued the following response:

LAUSD, which is run by Superintendent Ramon Cortines who (1) used $350,000.00 in tax payer money to settle his own crotch-grabbing lawsuit, and (2) who defends a policy in California Courts that the age of consent for his students with teachers is 14 years old, has hit a new low by its own exceedingly low and perhaps non-existent standards.

The release of discredited and baseless allegations with no validation in law or any court, and the piecemeal out-of-context release of an email from a graduate from years ago, reflects the depths of retaliation and retribution from LAUSD on its last throes of existence due to the class action brought against it by thousands of teachers who have been victims to LAUSD teacher witch-hunts. As an initial matter, Mr. Esquith has never used an LAUSD email account. This means that LAUSD would have had to hack into Mr. Esquith's personal AOL Account, without a warrant or notice, and harvested thousands of emails for over a decade since the account was set up. LAUSD illegally accessed attorney-client documents and marital documents, and crafted an illegal and criminal strategy to smear Mr. Esquith by purporting to selectively quote an email from a graduate from years ago from the hundreds of thousands of emails that would have been processed. No student, or parent to this day has ever made any allegation against Mr. Esquith. In fact, LAUSD's hit squad invaded the homes and colleges of these students demanding that they say something negative about Mr. Esquith and threatening to return if they did not. The students had nothing negative to say. Several former students have hired attorneys and will be bringing lawsuits against LAUSD for the harassment and abuse inflicted on them by LAUSD investigators at the direction of Superintendent Cortines. Additionally, LAUSD is a mandatory reporter under the California Penal Code, Government Code, and Education Code, to report misconduct to the California Teacher Credentialing Commission which conducts investigations into teacher misconduct.

There is more. I invite you to read it and reach your own judgment.

"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."


It is interesting to note that Rafe Esquith's documents have been made available to the general public exclusively by LA School Report.  After much research, it is quite apparent that LA School Report serves as the educational reform propaganda mouthpiece for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Money for charters but nothing for public schools? It’s time for a recall in Washington State


It's amazing how some of our legislators can get real creative with funding charter schools but not so much with public schools.

Ten Washington State Legislative Democrats voted to keep charter schools on life support by having these financial enterprises funded with state lottery money. According to Bill 6194 charter schools, do NOT have to comply with district and state policies and law in any areas except that they are to be overseen by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education. Instead charter schools are granted "flexibility" to "innovate." Local school district boards  will not have authority over charter schools.

For a related article, see Emails reveal OSPI in contempt of Supreme Court ruling on charter schools in Washington State.

Part of the Washington State Democrat's platform is the quote "We oppose charter schools".  This plank in the platform was hard fought throughout the state as one district after another passed resolutions clearly stating that charter schools are unconstitutional and undemocratic.

And yet, Frank Chopp allowed the faulty bill to make it to the floor for a vote where it narrowly passed, with the help of ten Democrats.

Those Democrats are:

  1. Judy Clibborn-D, 41st-Mercer Island (where they will never see a charter school)

  2. Christopher Hurst-D, 31st-Enumclaw-

  3. Ruth Kagi-D, 32nd-Seattle/Shoreline-

  4. Kristine Lytton-D, 40th-Anacortes-

  5. Jeff Morris-D, 40th-San Juan Islands-

  6. Eric Pettigrew-D, 37th-Seattle-

  7. David Sawyer-D, 29th-Lakewood-

  8. Tana Senn-D, 41st-Mercer Island-

  9. Larry Springer-D, 45th-Redmond-

  10. Pat Sullivan-D, 47th-Kent, Covington, Auburn-

Now the bill is headed to Governor Inslee's desk for signing.

There are three actions to take.

First, contact Governor Inslee and demand that he not sign the bill.

His phone number is 360-920-4011.

To follow is a letter Seattle School Board Director Sue Peters wrote to Governor Inslee:

Dear Governor Inslee,

I urge you to veto ESSSB 6194 for the reasons I outlined below to our state legislators.

This is no way for our state legislators to govern.

It is a last-minute, non-transparent, recklessly unconstitutional attempt to manipulate funding to benefit a few students (less than 1,000) while ignoring their paramount duty to fully fund all 1 million of our state's K-12 public students.

These legislators are not only in contempt of the Supreme Court, they are violating the Constitution in terms of both McCleary and charter schools.

You should not be a party to such irresponsible and political maneuvers, and instead demand that our legislators act responsibly and deliver a budget that includes good faith efforts to fulfill the mandates of McCleary and our state Constitution.

Thank you for your consideration and service.


Sue Peters

Seattle Public Schools parent

Public education advocate

Founding Member of Parents Across America

Vice President, Seattle School Board

And the letter to the State Legislators from School Board Director Sue Peters:

Subject: VOTE NO on 6194 and other charter "fixes" — Support our 1 million students and the Constitution

Dear Legislators,

I ask that you not approve the last-minute version of bill 6194 (or any of the other charter school "fixes" that have been introduced this session such as SB 6163, HB 2347) for the following reasons:

  • All of the charter-focused bills put forth in the current session remain unconstitutional and represent an effort to focus on a few (less than 1000 students) rather than the needs of the many (1 million public education students statewide). I ask that you remain focused on all of our students and fund all of our schools.
  • These bills would amount to a further violation of the state constitution from a state governing body that is already in contempt of court, and would incite a further legal challenge.
  • None of these bills or variations thereof provide for actual and constitutionally required local, elected oversight of charter schools.
  • Instead, by stipulating that charter schools are "governed by a charter school board,"these bills interpose a governing body that is not accountable to voters and families.
  • Even if school district boards become charter school authorizers, they inherit all the administrative responsibilities associated with charter schools, but little to no governing authority in terms of implementing policy, curriculum, operations, etc.
  • Instead, these bills primarily mandate extra bureaucracy for already overextended school districts.
  • Furthermore, by granting charter schools the privileged and unique right to be exempt from district and state policy and law, these bills effectively negate the oversight of the local district school board: "charter schools are not subject to and are exempt from, all other state statutes and rules applicable to school districts and school district boards of directors"
  • These bills also maintain an added layer of bureaucracy in the form of a charter school board ("the charter school board maintains oversight authority over the charter school.")
  • These bills also establish special treatment for charter schools, setting the stage for two castes of schools – charter schools with "flexibility," and all other schools.  "For the purpose of allowing flexibility to innovate in areas such as scheduling, personnel, funding, and educational programs to improve student outcomes and academic achievement, charter schools are not subject to, and are exempt from, all other state statutes and rules applicable to school districts and school district boards of directors…" 

Please also note, there is no evidence that charter schools in Washington are faring better than existing public schools. All "data" that has been produced so far is self-reported, unverified, and premature (many have only been open for a few months, and the very first one, First Place, was mired in financial and management problems and closed as a charter).

Specifically, a recent press release from the Washington Charter Commission that claimed "Washington's Public Charter Schools on Path to Successful First Year Despite Threat of Closure Following State Supreme Court Ruling"  contains "data" that the Charter Commission admits is unverified, therefore it should be treated with the attendant skepticism. These claims are self-reported by the schools, with no evidence provided. This lack of transparency or public accountability only underscores the problematic nature of charter schools and the critical need for true public oversight of all schools that receive public funding. (

In contrast, there is evidence that charter schools negatively impacted existing public schools by drawing away students and funds from existing schools. At least 60 students left Seattle Public Schools for charters this past fall, which contributed to an enrollment deficit that resulted in detrimental cutbacks to schools after the year had begun. As a result, classes lost teachers, children were negatively impacted.

Above all, if you support "flexibility" for "innovation" that is touted by charter school proponents and afforded to charter schools by bills such as these, I ask that you permit such flexibility for all of our students in all of our schools. Many of the mandates that shackle our school districts come from you, the state legislature: Excessive and experimental assessments and standardization, like the Common Core State Standards and the time-consuming, unproven and discriminatory Smarter Balanced Assessments, unfunded but costly mandates like onerous graduation requirements, even the 24 credit and 1080 hour mandates from the state will be burdens that our state's underfunded school districts will be challenged to meet. The state law underpays school board directors (who have earned the same $50 per diem since 1987), and burdens school districts further by failing to fully fund our schools,  therefore causing difficult choices to be made.

Approval of these bills would be reckless and would incite further legal challenges – at a time when the state legislature is already in contempt of court. It would be grossly irresponsible to engage in further invalid actions.

I urge you to vote No on these bills.

Thank you.


Sue Peters

Parent, public education advocate, Founding Member of Parents Across America, Vice President, Seattle School Board

p.s. Please note the charter school resolution passed by the Seattle School Board last week:

Two, start a recall petition for the Democrats who voted for the charter school bill.

With that charter school vote, our elected representatives defied their constituents and the Party Platform.

Three, contact WEA, LWV and others about taking this bill, if it becomes law, back to the State Supreme Court.

It's time for our legislators to know we are serious about adequately funding PUBLIC education, not private and/or corporate owned charter schools.

Dora Taylor

Related post:

Does the Education Platform of the Washington State Democrats Mean Anything to Our Legislators?