Tuesday, March 3, 2015

OVERPAYMENT GRABS BY LAUSD VIA VALOR ( etc) ARE ILLEGAL,FOR SEVERAL REASONS;Here's 1:Judgment entered without notice? Vacate Default Judgment

Judgment entered without notice? Vacate Default Judgment

Vacate Default Judgment


Call 888-922-2367

Have a judgment against you but you were not given notice?

This may have been caused by a debt collector using the wrong address to give you notice, or lying to the Court about giving you notice.  When you did not respond to the lawsuit (because you did not really get notice), the court entered judgment against you.

You can do something about this.                        Questions? Ask Us

Our Vacate Default Judgment service can prove that the debt collector used the wrong address, or that you were not home to receive notice, or that the imaginary "roommate" they claim to have served at your home does not exist.

Vacating a judgment immediately takes power away from the debt collector. Reverse liens, wage garnishments, or bank levies, or fight notice of renewal of judgment.* Then you can settle or defend the lawsuit and perhaps pay nothing to the debt collector.

Two Service Levels To Choose From

(888) 922-2367

Vacating a judgment takes power away from the debt collector and gives it to you.

*If you have received a notice of renewal of judgment you have 30 days to file paperwork fighting the judgment renewal.  Successfully fighting notice of renewal of judgment will allow the judgment to expire and may essentially end the debt.  Fighting notice of renewal of judgment requires our motion to vacate judgment service.

Labor's Edge Blog : Housed Educators: Why is LAUSD Scapegoating Teachers?

Labor's Edge Blog : Housed Educators: Why is LAUSD Scapegoating Teachers?

Educators: Why is LAUSD Scapegoating Teachers?

by David Lyell, United Teachers Los Angeles

Let's say you've been teaching for years. You're well regarded among parents, students, teachers, and administrators. No one complains about you because you produce results— students consistently engaged and learning.

You've heard of rubber rooms, teacher jail, and housed teachers. You've seen YouTube videos where students openly talk about how easy it is to get a teacher fired. Students you respect have shared with you that they know there won't be any consequences for them if they make false allegations against a teacher.

One day you're informed that you are no longer to report to school. Why? You are told that you will later be provided the reason. But not right now. You've always been someone who follows the rules, and you know this mixup will be resolved in a few days. You report to an off-campus location, where other "housed" teachers are.

You learn about the three-step dismissal process. First you will have a Skelly hearing, a process where, by law, a supposedly neutral party informs you of the charges and makes a recommendation to the School Board. Yet you are told that these hearings are perfunctory—the Skelly officer is the exact opposite of neutral and with rare exception always recommends dismissal. After that, your case will be referred to the School Board. You won't even be afforded the mere courtesy of addressing the board, even for two minutes, despite your years of service to the District's students, and the Board will, with near certainty, vote to fire you.

At that point you will be placed on unpaid leave, and your case will be referred to the Commission on Professional Competence, where a supposedly neutral three-person panel will decide whether you should be reinstated. Even if the CPC votes to reinstate, LAUSD can appeal, and either way, at this point it is unlikely you will ever return to the classroom. If the CPC upholds the decision, your case will be referred to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which will move to revoke your credential.

Whenever UTLA raises concerns about housed teachers, individually or collectively, our arguments, no matter how sound, are often met with silence. As but one small example, we've told the District we need to be notified when a teacher is housed. The District's response is that the teacher may not want UTLA to be involved, and were District officials to provide notification, they would be violating the teacher's confidentiality. The District only recently provided a list of the number of housed teachers per area.

District leadership has staff who are paid for with private foundation grants. Most of the children of these foundation leaders attend the very best private schools, affording every possible opportunity money and privilege can buy: small class sizes; plenty of nurses, counselors, librarians, psychiatric social workers, pupil service and attendance counselors, and other health and human services professionals; strong early childhood, arts and adult education programs; healthy food; clean, safe, fully staffed campuses; and the fostering of an environment where discipline issues are addressed in a serious manner and where teachers are respected and celebrated.

Yet, oddly, the focus of these foundation leaders isn't on working to provide even a fraction of these same rich services to public school students. Their agenda instead is "teacher effectiveness," which is merely code for efforts to eliminate seniority and due process rights.

Propelled by this private foundation money, District leadership and several School Board members have lobbied state and national legislators to gut seniority laws and have been trying to overwhelm UTLA with cases to defend.

You finally find out the allegations against you—the charges are vague at best, and the criminal investigation never even got started because there wasn't even a hint of any substantiated evidence. Yet the District is refusing to allow you to return to the classroom.

You could sue for wrongful termination or age discrimination, but you know the District would drag the case on for years, and the legal costs alone would surely bankrupt you, never mind the effect a prolonged lawsuit would have on your health and that of your family.

You turn on the TV and see LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy state, "When an individual is accused of an egregious act like molesting a child or being arrested for prostitution, then they are housed while there's an investigation."

You protest aloud that when an individual is accused of an egregious act, that individual is not housed—that individual is arrested, jailed, charged, and criminally prosecuted. That's why we have a criminal justice system, to responsibly address how to respond to outrageous acts against humanity, which is as it should be. You resent being lumped into such a category, and in such an incredibly misleading manner.

AB 1530 (Padilla) was a bill introduced last year that sought to place the entire dismissal process in the hands of school boards. Even the L.A. Times—which usually doesn't agree with UTLA on anything—opposed it, writing that the bill "goes too far." (Padilla has now reintroduced the bill as SB 10.) Last November, after Assembly member Betsy Butler didn't support the bill, she was viciously attacked in election mailers and even attacked in a very unbalanced "report" on national TV by CNN's Anderson Cooper. In the March 6 school board election, Monica Garcia's own campaign (her actual campaign and not an independent expenditure) sent out a mailer with the headline, "Her opponents stand up for predators." Sadly, in both campaigns, the attacks worked: Betsy Butler was not reelected, and Garcia won reelection.

UTLA is fighting back on several fronts. We've set up a task force and are developing a toolkit so housed teachers will have a sense of what to do and what not to do when targeted by District leadership. We're developing our own ever-changing list of housed teachers, so we can better communicate with and advocate for their rights (that list has been compiled without the help of LAUSD leadership). We're also actively consulting with counsel to formulate a legal strategy to help stem the bloodletting of experienced, veteran, competent teachers who are, each and every day, continuing to have their livelihoods destroyed.

Are students well served when the witch hunt against teachers is perpetuated at the direct expense of real-life advocacy efforts to increase funding, lower class size, and provide even a tenth of a fraction of the same opportunities for public school students that the children of billionaires enjoy?

Teachers welcome responsibility, and that duty extends not just to teachers but to parents, students, and administrators as well. Why is it that what's good enough for the children of billionaires isn't good enough for all students?

The Biggest Public Ed Win of 2014: Teachers Stayed and Fought and Taught

The Biggest Public Ed Win of 2014: Teachers Stayed and Fought and Taught

LA'S SCHOOLS … AND OTHER MUSINGS-On Christmas Eve morning I awoke to find my car had a flat tire. Apparently when they sell skilled carpenters and home handypersons a box of nails they don't insist that every one of them be accounted for at the end of every day. Predictably one or two end up in the roadway and into the passenger side rear tire of my car.

I took the wounded tire to a tire shop and met the inevitable immigrant tire store manager - and once we got over the ignominy of carpenters not maintaining control of sharp fasteners, we progressed directly to the importance of public education in the realization of the American Dream.

It is the conventional wisdom in his native land – which, from his accent I surmise was in the former Soviet Union, – that with every new school built+opened society can close down a prison.

Victor Hugo supposedly said "He that opens a school door, closes a prison." – though no one can cite where he said it. The quote is also attributed to Mark Twain – always available to take the credit – though Twain liked to make stuff up and attribute it to Disraeli.

In 1885 Hugo's countryman Hippolyte Laroche said:

Qu'ils s'appliquent surtout à chasser l'ignorance,
Cette source du crime et de l'intolérance;
Qu'ils donnent à l'esprit un plus large horizon :
Où l'on ouvre une école , on ferme une prison !

…which Google+I translate as:

Those who intend to hunt ignorance,
That source of crime and intolerance;
They have a wider prospect in mind:
Where a school is opened, it closes a prison!

Sadly, my tire store manager observed, something has gone amiss with the conventional wisdom.


● Extra Credit: Editorial – Rethinking Replacing Men's Central Jail |

WITH THE PASSING OF THE OLD YEAR AND THE BIRTH OF THE NEW we channel our inner David Letterman and produce lists of the best and worst of things. Rather than generate my own I have read the others and have picked and chosen. I noticed a great tendency to celebrate the demise of ©orporate $chool ®eform with every critical report, study or setback. Yet with every charter school that closes five or six spring forth – like Mickey's brooms in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Human nature being human nature, the data-driven tend to shop-for the data that they can agree with.

ON THE NATIONAL SCENE, the demise of InBloom, the great proposed student data base/clearing house /information exchange to end all databases was the biggest news; somewhere Big Brother weeps at the lost opportunity. There were studies and white papers and charter schools and all the other flavors of ©$® were pilloried and lambasted and kept on coming. The Common Core State Standards were subjected to abuse from the Right and the Left and kept on coming. Arne Duncan kept on coming – causing one to wonder in what attic of the US Dept of Ed the ugly picture that-keeps getting uglier is hidden?

MORE LOCALLY the forces of ©$® bought themselves a court victory with some billionaire philanthropy in Vergara v. CA. ● Californians defeated Marshall Tuck and reelected Tom Torlakson. (Tuck immediately got a gig at the Alliance Charter Schools.) ● LAUSD District 1 voters defeated Alex Johnson and elected George McKenna. (Johnson immediately got a gig at the County Board of Ed) ● The LAUSD iPads/Apple/Pearson deal frayed and the MiSiS loose ends unwove and the Deasy regime unraveled as Doctor John submitted friend -of-the-court-testimony of his own failure-of-leadership, left Beaudry for Korea …and never returned. Maybe they traded him for Michelle Rhee? (…w also disappeared.) ● And the FBI came to call and hauled away boxes of Apple/Pearson files …apparently the federal grand jury needs something to read.

Priorities, as always, are the political bugaboo: From Today's LA Times listing of the challenges of 2105:

"'The governor can't keep singing the same song' about belt-tightening', said state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). Mitchell, who before being elected to the Legislature directed an organization that helped children and families. 'We've got to address the 2 million kids who live in poverty. If we don't, they won't get out.'

"Brown and the Legislature should devote more money to early childhood care and education for newborns to 5-year-olds, because "they don't get do-overs," she said.

"Democrats are also making plans to extend the temporary tax increase voters approved in 2012, when Brown told them it would help to avoid yet another round of cuts in education funding and other needs.

"The governor has put a spike though the idea of extending the taxes, which are slated to begin expiring in 2016, even though legislative analysts have noted the possibility of a downturn in coming years.

"'It will be tight,' Brown said."

IN OTHER WORDS: High Speed Rail trumps Early Childhood Healthcare+Ed. And Prop 30 and the Local Control Funding Formula were one-time-money applied to a one-time problem. When those levies+programs expire the playing field for poor students and English language learners and foster kids will be level – and all the cuts from the recession will be made up for. Problem solved; there will be no need for more education funding.

PETER GREENE, who blogs at wrote on Dec 31st that "The biggest win of 2014 was also the quietest one."

Let him tell you what it was, in case you missed it:

"In the midst of a staggering assault on public education, with their integrity, judgment, reputation, and ability under attack by everyone from corporate stooges to the US Secretary of Education, and, in many areas, with their job security under direct assault by people who don't know what the hell they're talking about, while powerful forces worked to dismantle the very institutions and ideals that they have devoted their lives to-- in the middle of all that, millions of teachers went to work and did their jobs.

"In environments ranging from openly hostile to merely unsupportive, teachers went into their classrooms and did their best to meet the needs of their students. Teachers helped millions of young human become smarter, wiser, more capable, more confident, and better educated. Millions of teachers went to school, met students where they were, and helped those students move forward, helped them grasp what it meant to be fully human, to be the most that they could be. Teachers helped millions of students learn to read and write and figure and draw and make music and play games and know history and understand science and a list of things so varied and rich that I have no room here for them all.

"When so many groups were slandering us and our own political leaders were giving us a giant middle finger, we squared our shoulders and said, "Well, dammit, I've got a job to do, and if even if I've got to go in there and do it with my bare hands in a hailstorm, I'm going to do it." And we did.

"Yes, some of us finally ran out of fight this year. There's no shame in that; despite what our detractors say, this is not a job that just anybody can do for a lifetime, particularly not under today's conditions. The people who had to leave the classroom are just our measure of how hard it is to stay these days.

"And yet, this year, millions of us stayed and fought and taught and did our best this year. While powerful forces lined up to make us fail, or at least make us look as if we were failing, we went into our classrooms armed with professional skills and knowledge and experience and judgment and hours of outside preparation and work, and we didn't fail. We stood up for our students, stood up for the education, their future, their value as human beings. We didn't fail.

"So, if you want the biggest public education win of 2014, there it is. Millions of teachers, caught in a storm not of their own making, under fire, under pressure, under the thumb of people with far more money and power still stood up and did their job. The powers that be tried to make us fail, and we got the job done anyway. Celebrate that."

(Scott Folsom is a parent and parent leader in LAUSD. He is the former President of Los Angeles 10th District PTSA and represents PTA as Vice-chair the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. Scott is a member of the California State PTA Board on Managers. He blogs at the excellent 4 LA Kids … where this perspective was originally posted.)




Vol 13 Issue 2

Pub: Jan 6, 2015 Teachers and students lose out with ACLU-LAUSD agreement Teachers and students lose out with ACLU-LAUSD agreement

Teachers and students lose out with ACLU-LAUSD agreement

On Oct.5, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Los Angeles Unified School District reached an agreement intended to limit layoffs that actually undermines teacher seniority rules—doing little to aid the inner-city children it professes to protect.

The ACLU had sued both California and the school district because massive education cuts and layoffs have denied inner-city students their right to a quality education, as enshrined in the state constitution. Unfortunately, the agreement between the ACLU and LAUSD—awaiting approval from a judge—does little to help  poor and working-class students. Instead, it attacks one of the fundamental  rights of teachers—protection from layoffs based on seniority.

It is true that the ongoing attacks on public education have had the most drastic effects on poor, working-class students—especially those who live in oppressed communities. Large cuts to education and teacher layoffs have left schools in poor and oppressed communities struggling to provide even the most basic education and resources.

However, hard-fought union contracts that protect teachers from layoffs based on seniority are not the problem. The agreement between ACLU and LAUSD completely sidesteps the teachers' union—a grievous attack on teachers' rights in the midst of a climate of attacks on public education.

The Los Angeles Times and other media have reported on layoffs decimating the faculty of many LAUSD schools, especially in the inner city where teacher turnover and absenteeism are highest. Teachers with the ability to find new jobs do so, forcing schools to hire the most inexperienced teachers who face difficult working conditions due to a lack of resources.

Undoing seniority rules and laying off veteran teachers will not solve the crisis in public education. In fact, it plays into the hands of those attacking public education and seeking to break the teachers' unions. LAUSD, the LA Times and other institutions of U.S. capitalist society are all complicit in the attacks.

For instance, LAUSD recently received over $1 billion from the federal government for the specific purpose of stopping all teacher layoffs. However, the district has chosen not to spend this money this school year, despite the fact that if it  were used for the purpose for which it was intended, there would be no reason to lay off a single teacher. Instead of using the funds to ensure stability and providing every student with a qualified teacher, the district is cynically using the budget crisis to weaken teacher protections that were won through years of struggle.

The ACLU's agreement was negotiated with LAUSD so that students in oppressed neighborhoods can keep their teachers—an honorable intention. But the reality is far from honorable. The agreement—undermining the power of the teachers' unions—has created an atmosphere in which all teachers are in danger. With experienced teachers now more easily removed from their positions, schools will increasingly be filled with inexperienced teachers. Less-experienced teachers are cheaper due to lower salary and benefit costs.

For the capitalist bosses, their cronies in government and the district bureaucracy, a revolving door of teachers who work for a few years and burn out is ideal. They do not care if the quality of education suffers, since most jobs being created these days require little education. As they gut resources for public education, they blame the crisis on teachers and other education workers—an utterly false proposition.

For the children served by public schools,  the undermining of teacher seniority could well  lower quality education. Research indicates that experienced teachers are generally more effective than novices.

Progressive people should strongly oppose the ongoing attacks against teachers' rights, including the recent deal that the Los Angeles Unified School District made with the ACLU to weaken teacher seniority. The Party for Socialism and Liberation calls for an end to all teacher layoffs and a reinstatement of teacher protections. We recognize the right of all students to quality and comprehensive public education delivered by education workers who are respected and provided decent working conditions.

The truth is that the recent actions undertaken by the district are not about improving education. They  are about weakening benefits and the unions that fight for them. Working-class people should not be fooled. The recent attacks on seniority are a part of a broader campaign against unions and public education. Teachers, parents and supporters must take to the streets and fight back.


David Holmquist.jpg

(Mensaje se repite en Español)

L.A. Subs website has several posts under the title: "Theory Why LAUSD Is Hiring." There is no theory as to why the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is hiring substitute teachers- it's a financially motivated reality. They are hiring lots of subs to take the place of top of the salary scale teachers like many of you that they got rid of, because it's much cheaper with subs than with veteran teachers at the top of the salary scale with full benefits- this is no theory. It is also much easier to monitor substitute teachers as they approach the 100 days necessary to get them medical benefits in any given year and cut them off, before they vest in this right, which will further limit LAUSD's financial red ink.

Remember 5 years ago, the discussion about how 50% of all teachers in the United States were retiring within the next 10 years? This was because of the imminent retirement of the baby boomers, a generation 4 times larger than any previous generation. So now, 5 years further on the predicted teacher shortage of 5 years ago has only gotten worse, exacerbated by the teacher witch hunt that continues to systematically target teachers at the top of the salary scale, about to vest in lifetime health benefits, or who just have the temerity to assert the excellent pedagogic methods that they have learned in their long and ill

One-Eyed Bob: Why Don’t Conservatives Like Public Schools?

One-Eyed Bob: Why Don't Conservatives Like Public Schools?

Don't Conservatives Like Public Schools?

I just read an article about Kansas.  Seems that the conservatives in charge there have reduced taxes.  Surprise, surprise the effect of tax reduction is state revenue reduction.  Now they seek a way to balance the budget, and you guessed it, they will do so by cutting funds for public education.  We hear no less from the new leadership in Texas where our Lt. Governor has vowed to lower taxes and then guess what, we will have to cut spending, and guess where we will cut?  The same place those same voices have been cutting over the past couple of legislative sessions:  public education.  Our Governor wants to increase the availability of full day Pre-Kindergarten, but offers no new funding to do so and includes additional accountability measures for 4 year olds.  What in the world is going on? Has public education somehow sinned and fallen short?  Have we offended the political right?  Are teachers and principals and superintendents employed by some demon enterprise that is soaking the life blood from America to the extent that we must increase accountability and cut funding?  I have been thinking about this a lot and listening to the rhetoric a lot and I have some theories about what is motivating what I see as a wholesale assault on public education.  My theory is based on some assumptions:


The education of all children in this state and in this nation is a classic liberal mission.  In the macro sense, anytime the government provides free services to all we are talking liberal solutions.  Public schools are to educate rich, poor, boys, girls, Blacks, whites, disabled, gifted, non-English speaking, etc.  We are to teach all and promote success for all.  What a grand mission!  But this is not a conservative mission.  It is not based on the market model, nor the competitive model, nor the model practiced widely internationally of sort and select where only a percentage of kids are allowed to get an education based on their performance, income, political connections or birth right.  No, this is a model to promote the success of all.  It is purely a notion born in a democracy where all humans are created equal.  I think that rankles the conservative mind-set.  Especially those on the far right, the ultra-conservatives, the wing-nuts.  In this piece when I say "conservatives" I mean ultra-conservatives and wing-nuts.


Worse, the effort to educate all children is not only very expensive, it is funded by tax dollars.  In Texas we use sales tax revenue at the state level and property tax revenue at the local level.  Other states include state income tax revenue which Texas does not have.  These revenues fund all state functions, and typically public education is at or very near the top of the most expensive state function.  Why is that?  Few operations are as labor intensive as public education.  Well over 70% of each school's budget is the salary of staff.  And, most of the staff are college educated, degreed, certified professionals who are not willing nor should they be to work for minimum wage.  Teachers and administrators merit a professional salary.  We could reduce the personnel costs by reducing the number of school employees.  We can make a few reductions, but unless we are willing to see a dramatic escalation in teacher/pupil ratios, reducing staff is not practical.  And unless we are willing to stop providing support services for kids reducing staff is not practical.  If we are to serve every single child, then we can do so better the closer we get to one professional per every single child.  Personnel reduction moves us in a direction contrary to our core mission.  Well, we could reduce teacher salaries.  But that makes no sense either.  We are facing a dramatic shortfall in the number of teachers, especially high school teachers, and recruitment will not improve with reduced incentives.  In short, conservatives really do not like the basic mission of public education and they resent paying for it via taxes.


So the conservative mission, as I see it, is to do several things:  Reduce taxes needed to support public education, diminish public support for public education, promote the market model and competitive characteristics in public education, increase the accountability of public education, and if we must collect taxes to support education let's find ways to shift as many of those tax dollars to the private sector as possible.  If that summarizes the conservative mission they are brilliant at the implementation.


Reducing taxes is fairly simple and ever popular.  To reduce taxes simply requires legislative action to do so, and a great argument against an incumbent legislator is that he or she either opposed reducing taxes or supported raising taxes.  That argument works so well we have devolved to legislatures hell-bent on reducing taxes.  Once governmental income is reduced, cutting public education is now a fairly safe governmental function to cut.  Why?  Public support of public education has been dramatically reduced.


Public support of public education has declined because the accountability movement complete with high-stakes standardized testing purports to show schools are failing, they must be fixed, and the solutions are to be found in the private sector.  Educational scholars like Bill Gates, the Koch brothers, Sandy Kress, Dan Patrick and Pearson have the solutions to fix public schools.  The solution is to spend less money, require more accountability, and simultaneously use the results of those efforts to rationalize shifting public tax money from public schools to the private sector in the form of charter schools and vouchers.  Therein is the rub.  Conservative mind set resents governmental services and supports promoting the private sector.  What could be a better strategy than to demean public schools with spurious data and then use the argument that public schools are failing to promote shifting tax dollars to the private sector?


The hard core bottom line is that the conservative mind set cannot include the notion of actually providing a governmental service that helps promote the success of all kids.  Do we really want all kids to be successful?  If so, there are clear strategies to help support that mission, and current conservatives do not support any of those strategies.  If not, then current conservative leadership is following a brilliant strategy of decreasing the likelihood of success, collecting crazy data to show that success is declining, and then shifting dollars from the public sector to the private sector.


What is so sad is that even conservatives seem to recognize, though they are not likely to publicly admit, that the government does a much better job in many settings than the private sector, especially when the effort is more moral than economic.  Should we have the private sector regulate meat production?  Nope, been there, done that.  Should we have the private sector provide law enforcement?  No, that is a frightful proposition.  Should we have the private sector manage our national parks?  Should we have the private sector charged with ensuring our water is safe?  Should we have the private sector tasked to provide our national defense?  Should the producers of products for infants be charged with monitoring the safety of those products?  On and on I could go.  The bottom line is if the motivation for performance is financial reward, then anything that increases profit is "good" and real ethics takes a back seat.  I think of organized crime operations as the classic unregulated free enterprise, private sector model.  There is a demand for drugs, prostitution, pornography, etc. and organized criminals provide those services and generate a lot of income.  They do so because making money is "good" even if it is not "right."


I find these efforts of the current leadership to be beyond sad.  I find these strategies to be unethical and self-serving.  If all kids are successful via public schools, if we in fact educate all kids, rich, poor, boys, girls, racially diverse kids, then there is no special place for the children of wealth to get a leg up.  I remember a wonderful principal who was assigned to a low performing elementary school, 98% Hispanic and 100% free and reduced lunch.  In two years the campus became high performing.  Parents of kids in the affluent elementary schools where no kid was on free or reduced lunch and the student population was all Anglo, stormed the Board.  They argued it was not fair if poor kids did better on the accountability measures than their kids.  They demanded the principal be fired.  Ever since I have known there is no real support for the education of all kids to the same level of success as rich kids.  At least, no real support in the conservative camp.


As conservatives seek to deregulate the private sector, decrease taxes for the wealthy, and shift public revenue from the support of public programs to the private sector those of us in public education, those of us who deeply believe in educating all kids and deeply believe that there is no greater American mission than this mission, continue to labor in an ever increasingly hostile environment. 


What is truly amazing, is that despite all the efforts to derail public education we are doing one hell of a job.  So much so that when we begin to demonstrate improvement in all the accountability measures new accountability measures are implemented to re-distribute the outcomes and create more failing schools.  And, the evidence continues to show that public schools are performing as well or better than charter schools. 


Yes, public education is expensive.  Yes, public education is a governmental program designed to serve all children.  Yes, it has been very successful. And yes, conservatives have a real hard time with all that.  So public school folks will continue to be slaves to a hostile master while we strive to uplift all kids.  Know that as we continue to show success in those efforts, the conservative agenda to demean those efforts will increase.


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act is up for reauthorization.  The current version is called, "No child left behind," and it is full of strategies to identify poor schools via testing and reduce the ability of schools to serve all kids.  A proposed new version entitled, The "The Student Success Act" is more of the same.  Neither piece of legislation is really devoted to the success of all kids, despite the positive, clever monikers of the bills.  The oxy morons are at work again.


Wouldn't it be nice to serve all kids in an environment where professionals diagnose and prescribe the strategies needed to promote each kid and had the resources to do so? 


I wouldn't know.

One day after teacher's on-campus suicide, students back in class - LA Times

Grief counselors were being sent to schools throughout an Orange County school district Tuesday, a day after a teacher apparently committed suicide in a classroom and her body was found by students and faculty.

On Tuesday, the district sent members of its crisis response team to El Dorado High School, where the body of photography teacher Jillian Jacobson, 31, was found hanging from the ceiling inside her classroom. The district also provided on its website a guide on how adults could speak with adolescents about death.

"Words could never express our true sorrow regarding this loss," Doug Domene, the Placentia-Yorba Linda schools superintendent, said in a statement.

"While we may never make sense of nor understand why this occurred, we do know that turning to each other during this time for support is essential," he said. "In addition, we have a responsibility to be vigilant during this time to reach out to those who are in need."

Officials said two students went to Jacobson's classroom Monday but found the door locked. The students asked another teacher to let them into the classroom, where they found Jacobson hanging. Together, the students and Jacobson's fellow teacher lowered her body to the floor, authorities said.

Frank Leon, a 16-year-old student at El Dorado, said he saw students lined up outside Jacobson's classroom as he headed to his own class.

Leon said his teacher left to unlock Jacobson's classroom and, while he was sitting in class, he could hear the screams that followed the opening of the door.

Leon said he could hear his teacher screaming, "Oh my God, oh my God!"

Paul Bonello, who arrived to pick up his daughter from school Monday, said the campus had had its share of sorrow in the last year. A 16-year-old junior was killed a year ago when he was hit by a vehicle while skateboarding.

"I know the school's going through a lot of sorrow and loss."

In memory of Jacobson, students and parents held a candlelight vigil outside the school Monday night. Dozens of candles and notes remained there at the start of school Tuesday.

According to the Cal State Fullerton website, Jacobson was also a teacher at the school's art summer camp for kids. She taught ceramics, and black-and-white and digital photography.

Jacobson's bio on the university website said her goal every summer was "to give campers an experience they will always remember, and to send them home with artwork they will be proud of for years to come."

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

LAUSD and UTLA are too big - LA Times

LAUSD and UTLA are too big - LA Times


To the editor: The United Teachers Los Angeles rally in downtown L.A.'s Grand Park crystallizes for this L.A. Unified School District teacher the idea that both the district and union are too big to serve the interests of students and their families, just as class sizes of 45 or more per teacher are too big. ("Teachers union rally in downtown L.A. draws thousands in call for contract demands," Feb. 26)

The super-sizing of our local education bureaucracies does serve the interests of district and union leadership in terms of power and pay. But this size also incites polarity, as the humongous scale of these entities magnifies conflict while overshadowing common interests and collaboration.

A potential solution involves students and their families organizing to advocate on behalf of legitimate expectations and rights as the customers of L.A. educators, with one possible objective being to reshape both union and district to less monolithic and more humane scales.

Mark Gozonsky, Los Angeles

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

EduStank: Epiphany!: What if There's a Market for Ed-Reform Resistance When it Comes to Recruiting Teachers?

EduStank: Epiphany!: What if There's a Market for Ed-Reform Resistance When it Comes to Recruiting Teachers?

My twitter feed is abuzz with education reform news. Most of those I follow are connected to teaching in some way, and twitter has become my go-to resource for news and advocacy regarding the latest exigencies in public K12 education.

Today, a couple of links lead to a story about a Seattle, WA, high school with a faculty which has elected not to administer the Common Core State Standards SBAC test to 11-graders.

According to the Seattle Education blog,  "the Nathan Hale High School Senate, which functions as the Building Leadership Team typically made up of teachers, parents, staff and students, voted nearly unanimously not to administer the SBAC tests to 11th graders this year."

See why *here*.

Nathan Hale HS joins fellow Seattle-area school Garfield High in having a faculty willing to take a strong stance against useless-if-not-detrimental standardized testing. Truth in American Education *reports* last year GHS refused to administer the MAP test. 

Upon reading the news, I thought, "If I'm a young teacher looking for strong leadership and progressive bravery, or if I'm an established teacher looking for a new gig, Nathan Hale High School just moved to the top of my list of places to which to send applications!" 

What if..............

What if I'm not alone in those thoughts? What if there is a tangible benefit, beyond all the obvious ones, to be reaped from taking a stand against bad reform measures and testing? I mean in terms of marketing? If school district higher-ups are serious about finding the best teachers for their kids and realize the best teachers probably have the best interests of students in mind, and that that means resisting the same sorts of things the faculty already knows to resist, why don't they market their campuses as places where young teachers can start out with a strong voice an widespread support resisting current-era reform efforts? Where teachers in other schools -- in other states, even -- which are buying in to over-testing and privatizing standards can move and feel great about what they're doing every day?

If more schools follow the leads of Hale and Garfield and the word gets out, will those schools see an increase in interest from potential employers? If so, and other administrators take note, could resisting education reform measures we know aren't worthy of our kids become a means for schools to recruit teachers?

Wouldn't that be something....?

PULLING THE PLUG ON LAUSD — MAY IT REST IN PEACE | Ron Kaye L.A. predicting THE DISTRICT's demise 7 years ago ... Is it time?

Well here it is 2015 and the charter schools are corrupt and every bit as destructive as the district, which has embraced them much to the detriment of to students , their teachers and the community . The very lawlessness commenters site is abundant on both sides of this coin, which is a very bad penny . Charters refuse to serve special needs children and LAUSD exploits them . Our city haves been plundered by operatives installed to sabotage schools so that privatizers and vulture philanthropy can pick the nines of public education. We will soon find ourselves at their mercy . I have a newsflash: they don't have any ( mercy that is, everything else they have a lot of ) . By handing over the public's assets ( which includes our children, who they call "assets" because each one men's $$$) we are surrendering Tia plutocracy that will see us all scraping by on low wages and unable to articulate our opinions or assert the rights we sacrificed when we handed off responsibility for our children's education to the most evil and greed members of  society . If you care , it's time to rise up and make a difference . If you don't , you will soon pay dearly for your complacency as the police state emerges and e fund ourselves in a futile system . Democracy cannot be taken for granted or it is lost to the oppressors.


Will no one shed a tear?
For 30 years, the nation's second largest school district with 700,000 ill-served students has suffered a fatal disease but somehow survived against all odds, against all the hopes and efforts of so many to put it out of its misery. Our misery really.

Will That Nutty School Board Ever Learn?

Will That Nutty School Board Ever Learn?

EDUCATION POLITICS-That nutty LA school board is at it again. 

Nearly five years ago, the school board passed a resolution saying local car washes should support any unionizing efforts by their employees. I opined back then that since the Los Angeles Unified School District had such a dismal record of running its own business (the graduation rate was then the second worst in the nation at 41 percent), the school board had absolutely no moral authority to instruct others how to run theirs. 

But hey, at least the car washes were local. The school board recently passed a similar resolution about a company in Fresno, more than 200 miles away. And a company the district apparently doesn't even have a contract with. 

Nonetheless, the school board took time to vote (it was 6-0 with one abstention) on a resolution that calls on the board to be updated on any labor practices by Gerawan Farming just in case it tries to sell any food to the district. Board member Steve Zimmer, who sponsored the resolution, reportedly said it was meant to convey that the board will "stand with the United Farm Workers in this contract fight." 

It's sad the school board got suckered in by the UFW's lobbying. Gerawan has a long and complex relationship with the UFW; there's a significant question whether the workers at Gerawan even want the union. A decertification election was held a couple of years ago, but the union has blocked the vote from being counted. 

For the LA school board to wag its finger in Gerawan's face is like Donald Sterling lecturing you about the importance of good race relations. 

And while the district, to its credit, has improved its graduation rate, it is still an operation so inept that it can't get iPads to its students without scandal. Oh, and remember that teacher who fed his semen to students? It turns out that the district had been alerted to his bizarre behavior for decades but apparently didn't take much action. Too busy looking for businesses to criticize, apparently.

(Charles Crumpley is the Editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal. This piece was posted earlier at




Vol 13 Issue 17

Pub: Feb 27, 2015

Four Reasons Young Americans Should Burn Their Student Loan Papers

Four Reasons Young Americans Should Burn Their Student Loan Papers

Fifty years ago students burned their draft cards to protest an immoral war against the people of Vietnam. Today it's a different kind of war, immoral in another way, waged against young Americans of approximately the same age, and threatening them in a manner that endangers not their lives but their livelihoods.

There are at least four good reasons why America's young adults— and their parents—should take up the fight against financial firms who are holding high-interest student loans that total more than the nation's credit card debt, and more than the total income of the poorer half of America.

1. The Protest Has Already Begun -Fifteen former students of for-profit Corinthian Colleges recently announced a debt strike against the company and its predatory loan practices. The 15 students, members of the Debt Collective initiative of debt abolisher Rolling Jubilee, have refused to repay their loans. Corinthian, which has been accused of false marketing, grade tampering, and recruitment improprieties, and which has 60 percent of its students default on loans, was sued in 2013 for employing a "predatory scheme" to recruit students.