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Saturday, January 31, 2015

LAUSD SEX ABUSE SCANDAL LEADS TO 7 Full Time Investigators, With 150 cases , 32 CTC Reviews

In the aftermath of the Miramonte Elementary sex abuse scandal, which has so far cost LA Unified roughly $170 million in settlements, was the creation of a special unit to handle all future sexual abuse allegations.

The Student Safety Investigative Team passed its one-year anniversary of active investigations on Jan. 7, and to date has investigated over 150 cases that have resulted in 32 district employees put under formal disciplinary review.

The team, made up of seven full-time investigators, a supervising investigator and two forensic specialists, is headed by Jose Cantu, a district veteran of 31 years, 14 of them as a principal.

“I’m the one that brings the school and district experience to the team so the team can undertand the rules and policies that the teachers are breaking when we are investigating,” he said.

Cantu’s team does not determine possible discipline or dismissal of employees but passes its reports on to the administration, which then decides the final outcome.

Of the investigators, four are former LAPD detectives, and one is a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigator. Cantu said he believes the unit is unique for a major school district. Other large districts, like New York, he said, have hired outside contractors for similar work, but all the members of his team are full-time LAUSD employees.



Friday, January 30, 2015

The Argument for Making Ramon Cortines THE LA Schools Superintendent Scott Folsom

LA SCHOOLS … AND OTHER MUSINGS-When I read the paper, I do not immediately turn to the sports page. 

I like sports, but I'm not obsessed like I am about public education policy. Sports writing generally offers the best storytelling in the daily media. Sports is a (and the) metaphor for everything else and good sportswriting turns the dataset of the box score into elegiac prose and the mundane into matters of life+death; good v. evil.

"Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army football team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds yesterday afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the green plain below.

"A cyclone can't be snared. It may be surrounded, but somewhere it breaks through to keep on going. When the cyclone starts from South Bend, where the candle lights still gleam through the Indiana sycamores, those in the way must take to storm cellars at top speed.

Anyone Else Feeling This Way?


Morna McDermott
Morna McDermott posted this message on Basecamp.




Anyone Else Feeling This Way?

Why Is this So Hard?

The push to reject standardized high stakes testing and all facets of corporate reform is on the rise. Let me begin with that hopeful note. The movement is growing and the scales are tipping!

10 Quotes From a Sioux Indian Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society | Spirit Science and Metaphysics



Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles EastmanBlack Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of life of the Indigenous people of the Great Plains before, and during, the arrival and subsequent spread of the European pioneers. Raised in the traditions of his people until the age of eleven, he was then educated at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned the english language and way of life. (Though a National Historical Landmark, Carlisle remains a place of controversy in Native circles.)Originally seen on Wisdom Pills|
Like his above mentioned contemporaries, however, his native roots were deep, leaving him in the unique position of being a conduit between cultures. Though his movement through the white man's world was not without "success" — he had numerous movie roles in Hollywood — his enduring legacy was the protection of the way of life of his people.

Last chance to submit your comments on ESEA/ AFT PLAYS BOTH SIDES



Hi,
 
I wanted to make sure you saw this very important email from AFT President Randi Weingarten, below. The deadline to submit comments to the Senate HELP Committee is Monday. If you have not already signed the petition or submitted your comments, please take a moment to do so before the deadline.
 
Thanks,
Tor Cowan
AFT Legislative Director


Rene,

We know that our students, educators and schools are suffering from the corrosive influence of the obsession with high-stakes testing.

So, we're calling on Congress to reduce the consequences of this testing in our schools. Join us!

All signs point to Congress reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The last major overhaul, known as the No Child Left Behind Act, got many things wrong.

Testing should never be at the center of education policy, but it has a role to play. That's why—together with the Center for American Progress—we're calling on Congress to make the following changes to reduce the use of high-stakes testing:

  • End the use of annual tests for high-stakes consequences. Let's instead use annual assessments to give parents and teachers the information they need to help students grow.
  • Use the data we collect to provide the federal government with information to direct resources to the schools and districts that need extra support.
  • Ensure a robust accountability system that judges schools looking at multiple measures—including allowing real evidence of student learning.
  • And finally, the federal government should not be the human resources department for local schools, and should not be in the business of regulating teacher evaluation from Washington D.C. Teacher evaluation is the district's job.

Let's make sure Congress gets the reauthorization of ESEA right: Sign our petition.

When President Johnson, a former Texas schoolteacher, signed the ESEA in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty, the law was designed to ensure that every school got the resources to teach students, particularly in neighborhoods or districts that were not wealthy. But, over the last 13 years, the core principles of equity and opportunity have been overshadowed by a devastating obsession with high-stakes testing and the ever more corrosive effects of test-based "accountability." Now, along with parents, educators and legislators, we are standing up to ask for change.

Will you stand with us and sign this petition?

Every education group is taking it seriously, and position statements are flying around Washington D.C. We've done the same. And, on Wednesday, we released a statement of joint principles with the Center for American Progress on what we believe is needed when Congress takes on this task.

All students deserve a high-quality public education, and teachers need the resources and support that will allow them to teach. Especially now when more than half of public school students live in poverty, we must ensure that the ESEA stays true to its root focus on equity and civil rights; dials back the destructive impact of high-stakes testing; and sets forth big, bold ideas that will help all kids succeed.

Help us by signing this petition.

In unity,

Randi Weingarten

AFT President


Click here to unsubscribe from the AFT e-Activist network

Is Being a Writer a Job or a Calling? - NYTimes.com


SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW


Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Benjamin Moser and Dana Stevens discuss whether being a writer is just a job or a loftier ambition.
By Benjamin Moser
Even the best writing won't have the immediate, measurable impact of a doctor's work, or a plumber's.

Photo
Benjamin Moser Credit Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson

When, in adolescent secrecy, I began making my way from reading to writing, the writers who attracted me, the writers I wanted to be, were those who conceived of the writer as a member of a priestly caste, those whose view of literature as a means of understanding the self and the world offered a noble possibility for my life. Those writers who touched me were those who had 

EdLawFaqs | Education Law in NYC-Observations Not Legal Advice

https://edlawfaqs.wordpress.com/page/3/ED NOTES; ALL STATES HAVE DIFFERENT ED CODES . HOWEVER, THEY TEND TO BE IN THE SAME BALL PARK . NYC HAS A MUCH MORE EXPLICIT POLICY AND PROTOCOL  THIS IS A GOOD BLOG TO GET AN IDEA OF  WHAT THESE CODES MEAN. WHILE NYC JUDGES ARE CORRUPT , IT SEEMS LIKE TGESE ARBITRATORS HAVE MORE AWARENESS OF HOW TO OPERATE WITHOUT OING TO FAR. THE NYC DOE VIOLATES THE CBA & LAWS BY HABING THEIR WAY WITH THESE RULINGS. FIR EXAMPLE, PORTELOS WAS UNJUSTLY FINED AFTER REPORTING CORRUPT PRINCIPAL ABUSING FUNDS. HE SAY IN TEACHER FOR TWO YEARS OR SO, FINALLY HAD A HEARING AND IT WAS DECIDED A FINE ( HE WAS HOUSED, SUSPENDED, SMEARED IN THE HUFF POST & NY POST,MSOENT A WEEKEND IN JAIL ON BOGIS CHARGES, FINED AND HARASSED)
$ 10k . When he left the court,Portelos assumed he was going to be returned to his school Instead he was stuck in the ATR (SUB POOL) . Portelos was harassed on the first assignment and every one after that. I believe he has now been places in a permanent position , which is kind of a miracle . Notably, it has cut into his blogger time and this could be why he is back @ school. Apparently he had one of the best attorneys available at the UFT arbitration hell.
Of course , the man is energetic and driven,so he is proactive . Already he has become a kind of hero among his beleaguered peers and a beacon of hope to LA teachers who are paying attention.  His solidarity caucus is coming together And it may go national very soon.
Hemlock hopes to provide a page like this to GUIDE TEACHERS in CALIFORNIA ( SINCE  we hear from RIVERSIDE, BASSET, SAN DIEGO, DEL MAR, SALINAS, MONTEREY, OAKLAND, SAN FRANCISCO, SACRAMENTO, SAN BERDOO, HAWTHORN, LONG BEACH, TORRANCE, CVUHSD, OC, IE, AS WELL AS TEACHERS FROM FLORIDA, CHICAGO, OREGON, WA, DC, MONTANA, COLORADO , ARIZONA, CT, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, FRANCE, MEXICO, SPAIN, AND UK. WE HOPE THEY FOLLOW PORTELOS LEAD TOO) .
We have an attorney who knows the laws well and has suffered greatly in the OAH . HE IS BURIED BUT I AM GOING TO DI MY BEST TO WRITE THESE THESE UP . I NEED YOUR HELP. PLEASE SEND YOUR QUESTIONS OR POST THEM IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW.
WE ARE ALSO INVOLVED IN CACTIONS AGAINST LAUSD & UTLA, A MASSIVE EEOC COMPLAINT , AND HOPES FOR A JUST OUTCOME WITH FBI INVESTIGATION WHICH SHOULD BE EXPANDED TO INDICT LAUSD CRIMINALS FOR CRIMES AGAINST TEACHERS,  TAX PAYERS AND STUDENTS .
Can a teacher in the Leadership Academy who has a disabled child in the NYC Public School system maintain an ADA claim when she alleges she was terminated from her position due to her advocacy for her child?Posted on 1Yes. Mandy Ehrlich, a New York City public school teacher since 1996 was accepted into the aspiring principals program of the New York City Leadership Academy in 2011. The Leadership Academy trains teachers to become administrators through a year long program in which they receive administrator pay, attend a summer program, and are "shadow-trained" by experienced administrators for 10 months. These mentor principals rate the aspiring teacher on a Leadership Academy matrix as pass or fail.
Ms. Ehrlich has a daughter who, due to her physical disabilities, received special education services. During the time that Ehrlich was attending the Leadership Academy two therapists, assigned to her daughter, were replaced. Ehrlich was not satisfied with the services her daughter was receiving and began to make inquiry about how to obtain a Related Service Arrangement (R.S.A.) which would allow for services to be paid by the DOE for outside, usually private, service providers.
A colleague from Ehrlich's Leadership Academy class was assigned to her daughter's school and after consulting with the school's principal was directed to discuss the matter with her Leadership Academy colleague. After being referred to the district administrator for special education services the RSA was denied and Ehrlich was dismissed from her position at the Leadership Academy after an investigation revealed that her advocacy for her child had "crossed a line between the professional and personal."
Ehrlich commenced an action in the Federal Court, Southern District of New York, claiming she was denied her position at the Leadership Academy in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for her actions as an advocate for her child. The DOE moves to dismiss the matter and Judge Alvin Hellerstein denied the application who found that a reasonable jury could find a violation of the ADA.
Ehrlich v New York City Leadership Academy


Where the homeless are | Edwize

Where the homeless are

Teachers know the number of homeless students in New York City is on the rise – they see it in their classrooms.

And now the data confirm it.

A new atlas of homelessness uses City Council and school district maps to show where more than 100,000 homeless children and the resources available to them are located. The Bronx had 27,298 homeless students in the 2012-13 school year — the highest number in the city, the report shows. Within the Bronx, District 10 — which includes Riverdale, Bedford, Fordham and Belmont — had the most homeless students, 7,583, a 73 percent increase from the 2007-08 school year.

In Brooklyn, the most dramatic increase has been in school District 20 (Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Borough Park), which had 2,315 homeless students in 2012-13, up 183 percent since 2007-08.

The report, "On the Map: The Atlas of Family Homelessness in New York City," was produced by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness. It is a treasure trove of statistics, as it overlays the maps on homelessness with information about poverty rates, rent burdens, and unemployment and education levels.

"The presentation of these factors is meant to help the user draw connections between what the data show and their own experiences within their community, thereby providing a richer understanding of the issue and prompting thought about what effective responses might include," the user's guide to the atlas states.

Have you noticed an increase of homelessness among students in your school? What changes, if any, have you or your school needed to make in response?

 

  
Print


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TUITION FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE- TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? - Perdaily.com

Former Sallie Mae CEO at Center of Federal Corruption Probe | EdCentral

Former Sallie Mae CEO at Center of Federal Corruption Probe

Susan Biddle /The Washington Post/Getty

For years, Sallie Mae was known on Capitol Hill as a financial heavyweight willing to throw thousands of dollars at legislators in order to protect its lucrative subsidies. Five years after the end of Sallie's lender gravy train, we're being reminded again of just how unseemly the financial relationships encouraged by the old bank-based loan system were.

It has been reported that Albert Lord, the former chief executive officer of the student loan giant Sallie Mae, is at the center of a federal corruption probe against Chaka Fattah, a longtime Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania.

At issue is an illegal $1 million loan that Lord allegedly made to help Fattah's failed 2007 bid to become the mayor of Philadelphia. The loan came at a time when Sallie Mae was scrambling to win over Democratic lawmakers to oppose efforts to cut or eliminate government subsidies to student loan providers before Congress successfully ended the bank-based program in 2010.

Since August, two political consultants (see here and here) who worked on Fattah's mayoral campaign have pled guilty to charges that they participated in a $1 million campaign laundering scheme on behalf of the Congressman.

According to documents that the U.S. Department of Justice filed in November in the federal district court in Eastern Pennsylvania, Fattah approached Lord (identified in the documents as Person D) in April 2007, at a time when his campaign was struggling financially. The lawmaker had unsuccessfully challenged Philadelphia's campaign contribution limits in the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Lord, who had already contributed $100,000 to an "exploratory committee" Fattah had set up in advance of his mayoral bid, agreed to make a $1 million personal loan to help the campaign, the court documents state. But because of the city's contribution limits, Lord could not write out the check directly to the campaign. So instead, he made the loan to a consulting firm that was working with Fattah.

Thomas Lindenfeld, the political consultant in charge of the firm, then steered the money to the campaign – using $600,000 of it to buy media ads and to provide "walking around money" to local party officials who were helping bring people to the polls. The rest of the money was returned to Lord.

Fattah never disclosed the contribution in his campaign finance filings.

By late 2007, Sallie Mae was struggling. An extremely lucrative buy-out deal that the company had reached with an investor group earlier in the year had gone up in smoke. The company's private student loan portfolio was rapidly deteriorating, particularly due to high-risk loans it had made to sub-prime borrowers at some of the largest chains of for-profit colleges in the country. And as a result of a disastrous call with investors, in which Lord lost his cool and swore, the company's market value plummeted by $3 billion in just one day.

"Experienc(ing) acute financial difficulty," Lord demanded that the loan be repaid. According to the court filings, Fattah devised an elaborate scheme to "disguise the movement of the money" back to Lord.

Not only was this whole practice shady, but the funds that were used to repay the debt came from charitable contributions and federal grants that had been made to a foundation Fattah had founded to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged students. Ironically, $500,000 came from a grant that the Sallie Mae Fund had made to Fattah's foundation to support an annual conference the Congressman holds on higher education opportunity.

The remaining $100,000 came from a grant that NASA had provided the foundation to support a "Math, Science & Technology Enrichment Program" for "members of underrepresented groups" in Philadelphia.

So far, Lord has not been charged with committing any crime, and it is unclear whether or not he will be. Lord has repeatedly refused to comment on the matter.

Regardless, the incident shows the extent to which Sallie Mae officials were willing to go to use the fortune they amassed from making federally backed student loans to win friends in Congress. How much of this influence peddling is still going on, in the company's efforts to protect its federal servicing and collection contracts as well as its private student loan business, is worthy of further investigation.



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Cartoon: Useful tips from Joni Ernst

Cartoon: Useful tips from Joni Ernst

Freshman Senator Joni Ernst's rebuttal to Obama's State of the Union address provided me with some much-needed comic relief after the turbulent news of the past few weeks. Of course, it's only funny until she starts doing the things she talked about.

While Googling images of a Hardee's biscuit line, I realized that the restaurant chain has trademarked the phrase "made from scratch" with regard to said biscuits. They are Made from Scratch™. Now, I'm sure they are fine biscuits, but generally speaking, most things made from scratch don't involve a federally-registered trademark saying so.

Hope you enjoyed the Hand-Drawn™ cartoon.

Follow Jen on Twitter at @JenSorensen



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Today, I Become a Teacher


Today, I Become a Teacher

Every lawyer dreams of becoming a history teacher. OK, not EVERY lawyer, but many of the ones I know. I've been practicing law for ten years. Add in my 3 years of law school and 3 years as a paralegal, and I've been in the legal profession for nearly half my life. Except for a few moments of human satisfaction (helping a veteran keep her home, fighting the big banks on behalf of a young family, getting a 8-figure verdict for a family scammed out of their life savings by a real estate swindler), I never enjoyed the practice of law. Truth be told, most of the time I was on the side of the big banks. It drains your soul.
Like so many lawyers, I found myself trapped in my own profession. While our skills translate to other fields, most employers see a law degree as a burden. Being pigeon-holed, we call it. Also, student loans, mortgage, cars, and expenses that befit the lifestyle of a moderate income attorney are too much of a burden to bear on a teacher's salary. Then something magical happened. Follow me below the orange spaghetti..
For years I had been applying to local colleges for teaching jobs in law and history. I have a BA in history and most of an MA. I had enough credits to qualify as an "instructor" in history at these colleges. But I never got so much as an interview. I could not teach high school because I didn't have any training or certification. "So go back to school and get training!" you say? Not so simple. School costs money. I was already $140,000 in debt from law school (plus my wife's school loans, she has a PhD). Then maintaining the mortgage payment, etc., while not working was just impossible.

Then, through an almost Divine series of events, things changed. My wife was offered a fellowship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do cutting edge research with the world's top scientists in the most exciting city on Earth. "Heck, yes!" I said. So last June we picked up the family and moved to Jerusalem.
Inevitably, the hardest part for me would be finding work. My Hebrew is very weak. Even after 5 months of intense training ("ulpan") I could still only manage basic grocery store conversations. Being a lawyer here was pretty much out of the question. Social media is a wonderful tool for networking and finding jobs. An ad crossed my Facebook feed for an American high school just outside the city looking for social studies teachers (and other subjects). With no training or certification (or classroom experience) I thought I had no shot. But it was late at night and I had nothing to do, so I sent over my resume with a cover letter expressing my deep desire to teach. And the inevitable "nothing" came back.
How shocked was I, when 2 days later I received a call from the vice principal inviting me for coffee to talk about the job. I met with him and another administrator. They told me all about the school, the classes, and their philosophy. It's a study abroad program for high school students within their religious denomination. They spend half the day studying religion, history, and the Land of Israel, and the other half taking, essentially, the classes they would've taken at home. So the school needs teachers for the general studies portion of the day. Since I had enough masters credits in history, and has SOME experience teaching (tutoring college kids, teaching professional seminars), I was qualified.
They invited me to teach US History, Global History, and AP US Government!
Today is my first day as a teacher. For weeks I've been pouring over the textbooks and syllabi of more experienced teachers. I have a couple of lessons mapped out, but I'm still pretty lost. I'm a history buff and a political wonk. I enjoy teaching. As I said when I was practicing law, I prefer to impart knowledge rather than wield it as a weapon. Now's my chance.
I feel like I have a grave responsibility, far more important than the multi-million dollar cases and deals I handled in the past. These parents trust me with their children to teach them information, instill a love of learning, and prepare them for college. As a parent myself, I know this is no small thing.
All my years of reading and discussing history and government (some of it on this very website) are about to come to fruition. Today's high school kids will be voters in 2016. I hope to help create a generation of kids that think about the world around them, and won't be sucked in by "bumper sticker politics" or turned off altogether. Frankly, I'm not sure how to do this. But if you don't try, you can't succeed.
So in 4 hours I'll stand in front of a classroom for the first time, and begin a review of the industrial revolution on a global scale. A couple of hours later I'll review the President's State of the Union speech and discuss the branches of government. Then I'll go on a journey through America after the Civil War, and discuss the successes and failures of reconstruction.
I know there are some excellent teachers here, and I'd love to hear your advice.
Today, I am a teacher.
11:52 AM PT: Awww, Community Spotlight on my first diary?! I'm so honored.
I just came home from teaching my 6 classes. Wow, what a range of experiences. Some of the classes sat like logs while others were lively and exciting.
I'm taking my experience to redouble my effort tonight to make sure the lessons tomorrow are tight and ready to go.
Thank you all for the great advice!


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Myth Busting Scott Walker's "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" Got Fired Story

Myth Busting Scott Walker's "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" Got Fired Story

This past weekend in Iowa, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker rolled out one his favorite talking points:  The story of how Wisconsin's 2010 "outstanding teacher of the year" winner Megan Sampson got laid off days after receiving the award and how his "reforms" prevent that from ever happening again.

This would be a compelling true if it were true, but it's mostly fiction.

Yes, Sampson did get an award in 2010, but it wasn't for "outstanding teacher of the year" as Walker claims.  Sampson was awarded something called the Nancy Hoefs Memorial Award, which is given by a small group called the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English (WCTE) for "an outstanding first-year teacher of the English language arts." In order to be considered for the award, a first year English teacher must apply for it by writing a cover letter and including two letters of recommendation.

In other words, of the approximately 60,000 teachers in Wisconsin, when it comes to those who may qualify for the award, we're talking only about English teachers, who also happen to be a member of this group, who also are a first year teacher, and who also self-nominated themselves to receive the award.  According to the WCTE's David Roloff, who is in charge of this award, each year only about two to ten people across the entire state actually apply for the award.

Most importantly, Walker's central premise with this story is that because of the big, bad seniority layoff system, a "teacher of the year" was tossed out in favor of a teacher who may have more seniority, but was clearly inferior-- after all, those more senior teachers didn't win the teacher of the year, did they?  However, because this award only goes to first year English teachers, those teachers with more seniority would necessarily have never been considered for this obscure award in the first place!

Plus, as others have reported, while Sampson was indeed given a layoff notice during the summer when school wasn't in session, she was also notified a few weeks later that she had been removed from layoff status.  In other words, Megan Sampson never lost a day of work from being laid off and therefore was never really laid off.  

Yeah, yeah, yeah-- but isn't Walker's larger point that the bad old days of "last in, first out" layoff policies are dead and gone because of his reforms?   No.  Before Act 10, nothing required school districts to put "last in, first out" in their contracts with unions, and now, after Act 10, there is still nothing that prohibits school districts from adopting "last in, first out" policies --in fact, many still do have that policy in place.

It's also not as if teachers are hired or laid off at random, anyway. School administrators have always had 100% of the power to hire whomever they please. Layoffs are somewhat rare and usually come as a result of either a school's poor planning or sudden, unforeseen budget cuts.  In the case of 2010, many schools did have to lay off some teachers, but it was because of sudden budget cuts caused by The Great Recession, which was created by Scott Walker's idol, President George W. Bush.

Speaking of Dubya, remember how he was the going to be the first "CEO President," because we need to run government like a business?  Well, many businesses (union and non-union) have policies of last in, first out.  Why? Because it is an inherently fair policy and better for company morale. Plus, there is argument to be made that a 22 year old is much more likely to find another job right away, compared to his or her 52 year old counterpart and it is better for the overall economy to offer older workers more job protection, in exchange for their loyalty.

The bottom line is that Walker's solution (union-busting) was always a solution search of a problem that never existed. Although Walker would have you believe that the Wisconsin teacher unions were forcing schools to stockpile bad teachers, survey after survey has repeatedly belied this assertion and clearly demonstrated that the vast majority of Wisconsin parents are happy with their local public school teachers.  

I have to say, though, the irony of Walker telling a mostly fictional story about a teacher who teaches about writing fiction is pretty delicious.  



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Arne and Barack Target Schools of Education | Alan Singer


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/arne-and-barack-target-sc_b_6558268.html


Congress is Republican. ISIS is on the march. Common Core and high-stakes testing are under attack. The Affordable Health Care Act may be torpedoed by the Supreme Court. Arne Duncan and Barack Obama evidently need a softer opponent to pad their legacy. The hapless Knicks were probably not available for a pick-up basketball game. It looks like their choice of easy targets are American Schools of Education, evidently the "real" cause of poor student test scores, lousy teacher performance, economic stagnation, racism, poverty, police violence, environmental degradation, and everything else that may be wrong with American society.

Did UTLA deliberately fail to notify members...and WTF is UP with $ 3million strike fund?




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Bill Smith
Bill Smith11:30am Dec 30
Did UTLA deliberately fail to notify members about its November House Meeting?

In November 2014 UTLA had a House of Representatives meeting. Only UTLA didn't notify members that a meeting was going to take place -- as has been practice for YEARS. So there was no quorum. UTLA then strangely said to the few people who showed up that they needed to raid the strike fund of $3 million. But the House couldn't vote because there was no quorum - thanks to UTLA. So did they want the House to approve this at its next meeting in January? They didn't say.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

In Case You Missed THIS: UTLA changes tactics, urges board to 'evaluate' Deasy* NOT FIRE HIM

Teachers union changes tactics, urges board to 'evaluate' Deasy*

UTLA wants to fire deasy

Superintendent John Deasy

*Correction
In an earlier version of this post we mistakenly reported that UTLA is "urging the school board to fire" superintendent John Deasy. This is incorrect. We try our hardest to write with accuracy, but on this one, we missed the mark – and we regret the error. What follows is UTLA's letter to us (in part) and our corrected post:


 

Our September 15th news release does not state that UTLA is urging the school board to fire John Deasy. …You may speculate on what you think the statement means, but to report that as fact coming from UTLA is simply wrong. … We also did not state we want the school board to downgrade Deasy's performance to "unsatisfactory." We stated that the board has the opportunity to evaluate Deasy " to determine if his work is satisfactory." As a long-time journalist I believe you realize that both the headline and the story posted by LA School Report on September 16th are misleading.
UTLA requests an immediate retraction so that your readers and the LAUSD school community will be informed of UTLA's actual position on this issue.
Sincerely ,
Suzanne Spurgeon,  Director of Communications, UTLA


 

The Los Angeles teachers union has given up one of its oldest and loudest refrains, calling on LA Unified chief John Deasy to resign. Instead, UTLA appears to be changing tactics; it is urging the school board to 'evaluate' the superintendent.

In a press statement, UTLA says it wants the board "to evaluate the Superintendent to determine if his work is 'satisfactory'… and hold Deasy accountable" at his annual review to take place behind closed doors on October 21. A less than satisfactory review would effectively spell the end to the superintendent's contract which – at his own insistence – stipulates he meet performance targets set by the board.

"Deasy must be held accountable for the iPad fiasco and MiSiS crisis……[he] holds teachers accountable for their classroom programs, yet he cries foul when serious questions are raised by his supervisors," UTLA said in a statement yesterday.

But amidst a fast-moving saga that features a fractured seven-member school board and a superintendent increasingly under fire, the landscape without Deasy may not be a silver bullet for the union.

Not only could firing the superintendent become a campaign issue for the four school board members up for election next March, but it could have an impact on negotiations between the union and the district, currently at the bargaining table over a contract on behalf of 31,000 employees.

"It's likely to have a disruptive effect on the negotiations," cautions Chris Tilly, Director of UCLA's Institute for Research and Labor Employment.

While it is possible that a new superintendent who is more amenable to the union's demands could be a catalyst to move the stalled negotiations forward, Tilly argues getting a new superintendent could take a long time. "And whenever you're negotiating, you need to maintain continuity," Tilly said.

The district has offered a 6.5 percent raise over three years, with a one-time, 2 percent lump sum payment, in line with other union contracts awarded this year. The union has asked for a 17.6 percent bump over two years.

Whoever follows Deasy will have the same budgetary constraints and the same equalizing requirements under the "me too" clauses included in other unions' contracts with the district, which means an increase for UTLA would mean an increase for all.

Further, replacing Deasy does not eliminate many of the fundamental issues between education reformers and the union.

The most recent formal search for a LAUSD superintendent was in 2006 when David Brewer, a retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy, was recruited to lead the district. Before hiring him, the board formed a citizens commission to help inform the criteria; the district contracted a search firm to cull applicants nationwide, and then a second committee was brought together to help review the applicants.

"The last time we conducted a real search for a superintendent, it was a long and hard process," a district staffer told LA School Report.

And that was at a time when the school board was in more agreement, albeit, a lot less friendly to the teachers union.

Previous Posts: Deasy on his critics: Constant attacks are 'politically motivated'; Teachers union ups pressure on Deasy over technology, contract; UTLA holds morning rally to insist Deasy be thrown into 'jail'; UTLA skewers Deasy: '10 reasons to Vote NO'



RISE

HOW Union Power Slate Became the Tacitly Endorsed Cheaters of the 2014 UTLA City Wide Elections


 A little while ago, a secret meeting was held at Drago, one of the Los Angeles area's most upscale restaurants.  In attendance were, Jose Lara, Ingrid Villeda, Coleen Schwab, Cecily Myart Cruz,Daniel Barnhart, Alex Caputo-Pearl and none other than district Superintendent, John Deasy.  You may recognize that these attendees compose some of the lead officer candidates for the Union Power Slate and their most ardent supporters.  So what were they doing by having a non union authorized meeting with the superintendent? 


To inquire of them will only produce evasive rationalizations.  But might this have something to do with the upcoming elections and the fact that Warren Fletcher's favorable relationship with Deasy seems to have diminished considerably?  Could this be a Deasy negotiated changing of the guard by a superintendent so devious that he's able to control the union elections as easily as he controls the school board?  Let's just see.
After several delays over candidate applications the campaign season was off and running. The Power Slate was just that, a full blown slate, regardless of whatever supposed power it wielded.  You can see it for yourself at the Union Power Home, www.unionpower2014.org.   The Power Slate claims to be the new leadership and commenced its campaign with attacks on Warren Fletcher and distancing itself from Greg Solkovitz and David Lyell in particular.  The slate couldn't really attack the rest of the old guard since it consists of leftovers from the old guard.  You see, its candidates never had a negative thing to say about Warren Fletcher up until now and they supported AJ Duffy before him.  But that all changed overnight.  The Power Slate is very apparently now determined to vanquish any of the remaining old guard not sharing their slate. When David Lyell discovered that Power Slate Leader, Treasuer Arlene Inouye, was using one of the rooms at UTLA headquarters to rally support for the Power Slate, he confronted her.  He was told to leave the premises or be escorted out by security.  Lyell and Fletcher also wound up surrendering their union credit cards because it was determined they were using them to cover their traveling expenses.  However, Inouye continues to plug her hybrid car in at union headquarters and charges it up for the day at dues payers expenses in defiance of the same restrictions imposed on Fletcher and Lyell.  So it became obvious that the Power Slate was playing hardball and not intending to be the loyal opposition. 
Not too soon after this, Caputo-Pearl involved the Power Slate in another controversy.  He had begun using unpaid days to visit school sites and campaign thus exercising an unfair advantage over other candidates. David Garcia among others approached the elections committee on this issue and the elections committee declined to address the it citing the UTLA-LAUSD contract in Article XII - Leaves and Absences, 17.0 Personal Leave (Unpaid) - page 121.  The committee further claimed that it wasn't under their authority but fell to the UTLA Manager who supervises professional staff.  This seemed rather strange given that the matter involved campaign activity and this took place within the conduct of an election.  However, the district saw it differently and ordered Caputo-Pearl to cease and desist which would suggest that LAUSD definitely saw it as a violation of the contract if nothing else.   This must have come as an enormous disappointment to Power Slate supporters who had rushed immediately to blogging in support of Caputo-Pearl's campaign and contract violations. But that's not all.  David Garcia had also attempted to visit several school sites given he had days in which he wasn't called to sub as result of the Reduction In Force.  When he did, unlike Caputo-Pearl, he was barred by the chapter chairs who claimed he needed clearance whereas Caputo-Pearl was allowed to campaign freely.
None of this stopped Caputo-Pearl from finding other unconventional ways to campaign under the wire.  At his former school site, Crenshaw High School, a veteran and award winning  choir director , Iris Stevenson, was removed from the classroom and housed for controversy over having taken students on tour with the apparent blessings of Barrack Obama.  Low and behold, Caputo-Pearl became her self appointed champion.  Wherever there was rally in her name or a camera present, you could also find Caputo-Pearl's generous face crowding the lense or choking the microphone as he proclaimed himself the spokesman for unfairly removed and housed teachers.  This was quite a revelation given that Caputo-Pearl has been a union officer ever since the rapid rise in the housing of accused teachers and only now, during the elections, has he chosen to speak out and only for the most notable among housed teachers while never having mentioned the hundreds of less recognized housed teacher who have gone before Stevenson in the past.

Contemporaneously, Arlene Inouye involved the Power Slate in yet another campaign controversy.  Her most vehement opposition for reelection as treasurer is Matthew Ross.  Along with being a veteran teacher, Ross is also an experienced certified public accountant and a member of the financial industry.  Inouye carries no such similar qualifications.  Ross has made it clear that if elected, he intends to do his own scrutinous forensic accounting of treasurer's books for any misuse of funds.   Furthermore, in accordance with remaining a qualified candidate for office, Ross has to be paid up on his required campaign expenses  such as union prepared and circulated materials and  any union dues which may be deemed as in arrears.  Throughout the early part of February, Ross has contacted several union officials including Warren Fletcher, Mike Dreebin, Martha Bayer, Gloria Simosky,Denise Rockwell-Woods and Treasurer, Arlene Inouye herself in person to attempt to pay his back dues.  His check has been refused each time with the last time being February 4th in person.  However, his check to cover all other campaign expenses such as the printing and circulation of flyers was accepted and immediately cashed even though he was informed afterward that he was to be disqualified from candidacy for unpaid dues.   Perhaps it should also be noted that when another union official observed Ross's prepared materials at union headquarters and questioned why they were there and not being moved along, that official was to told to cease her inquiry and not to start any rumors over the matter.  Ross continues to seek to pay his back dues which were due by 5:00pm February 4th and vows to continue to campaign even if disqualified while taking legal action against the election committee and several other union officials. In comparison, Dave Peters, the often chair of the Subtitute Teacher Committee who was fired by the district over three years ago has been allowed to pay due and serve in union offices. Now fired is fired and thus disqualifies him from membership in the union and holding any offices.  But then Peters has always been a loyal supporter of the union hierarchy on his website, LASUBS and even when that resulted in several thousands subs losing their positions within the district.

While Inouye has certainly been busy trying to keep this apparent misuse of her office off the radar, Caputo-Pearl has been equally busy trying to redact other features of his past performance. During the 2011 elections, he was very critical of substitute teachers portraying them as less than worthy.  Since then, he's paid a visit to the Substitute Teacher Committee doing his best reconstruct himself as supportive of subs.  To make matters worse, he's also found himself to be in an awkward position in regard to replacing the board of education seat left vacant with the loss of Marguerite LaMotte. It seems that Caputo-Pearl had supported her opponent during the last board election and was afterwars reviled by her.  So it would seem that Caputo-Pearl has found his hands rather full as a result of his past performance.
If by now you're asking yourself what can you do as an individual to stop this rotation of union careerist grifters, the answer is your vote.  Obviously anyone member of the Power Slate doesn't deserve the time of day much less your vote.  Furthermore, all the hacks like Warren Fletcher, Greg Solkovitz and David Lyell aren't worth your time either. They've all had their turns for years and done nothing with it except enhance their incomes.  This includes the lesser hacks too.  All of these union towel boys and girls offer various versions of how they would improve union performance.  But only David Garcia and Matthew Ross speak of cleaning it up, putting and end to the old gaurd and the practice of using it as pathway out of the classroom to easy money.   I'm sure there are others of worth among the long list of candidates for the many offices up for election.  You can see a PDF of that for yourself at 
http://www.utla.net/system/files/List_of_Candidates_January23_ballot_order_012314.pdf.  If you need more help, keep reading Hemlock on the Rocks or contact David Garcia or Matthew Ross yourself.  They're available too.  And then, I might just add what you read here.


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