Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Why the dues increase on UTLA teachers is a bad idea?

For over seven years, opposed to other unionized teachers in the US, UTLA teachers did not receive a salary increase. This phenomenon was attributed in part to the state and federal economic crisis that hit schools and universities in the last several years. LAUSD particularly cut a lot of its teaching force and support personnel claiming that its budget was severely affected by the state cuts and the economic decline that impacted the whole nation. In addition, LAUSD implemented a series of furlough days that came to represent a pay cut of about 8% which was publicly admitted by Alex Caputo-Pearl on the 2014-2015 Calendar Memo Booklet. At the same time, teachers experienced a significant increase in class size due to the fact that many fellow teachers were RIFted or dismissed due to the continued LAUSD board of education's approval of more charter schools with little or no opposition coming from UTLA. Between 2010 and 2014, UTLA lost
approximately 13000 teachers. The union response to these actions is that all those teachers were dismissed by LAUSD and not UTLA. However, the former and the present UTLA leaders fail to admit that UTLA did not organize serious jobs actions to stop the continued attacks against teachers. Instead these leaders have been attending conference after conference spending dues money that could have been used to defend our teachers. In any case, during the last Leadership Conference organized at La Quinta, UTLA leaders promoted an unpopular dues increase claiming that UTLA was running in the red. UTLA President spent most of his speech time attempting to convince UTLA Chapter Chairs and others why a dues increase was necessary. However, Mr. Alex Caputto-Pearl failed to address the real reasons why UTLA is facing "serious economic problems" and deflected all the blame on LAUSD. On his speech, Alex ran around the bushes trying to put all the
blame on the former LAUSD Superintendent, John Deasy, for our union problems. Actually, he tried to make John Deasy's resignation something like a personal achievement. However, he has avoided repeated requests from members who are demanding an explanation of how our dues Dollars are being spent by our union. One of the most important issues that has come to light lately, has been the possible misuse of money by UTLA leaders. According to a document circulated at an area meeting, there is plenty of information indicating that a large portion of $3 million Dollars approved for strike preparation may be missing, unaccounted for or simply used on unapproved business by our union leaders. As a result, the Department of Labor, Office Of the Inspector General (DOL-OIG), office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigation unit may have already opened and investigation on this matter. In that case ,if an investigation is already under way, it
is important that UTLA members be well informed of where this investigation is going, and do not rush to approve any dues increase until this investigation has produced results and those responsible for any illegal activity be prosecuted or indicted for their crimes. $3 Million Dollars is way too much money to be ignored by our members in a time of crisis.

Why would the implementation of “dual Membership” be a bad idea?

As we already explained why a dues increase may not be a good thing to implement due to irregularities related to the misuse of members dues money by UTLA leaders, a dual membership may be just as bad. In the recent weeks, UTLA leaders have been promoting agressively a dual membership for UTLA members. According to them, the process of merging into one single membership for all union members is inevitable or so they claim. However, our members fail to recognize that implementing a dual membership, even when dues are not increased on any of us, may not represent what many of our members want. First, let’s look at the following information: UTLA is affiliated to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA). The American Federation of Teachers(AFT) only represents roughly 30% of our members. By making every member dual members of UTLA, our so called “leaders” would guarantee that AFT would receive
the same amount of dues money that the NEA receives even though the AFT membership is considerably less. Also, in latest years, the AFT has been on the forefront movement to privatize education. By the way, AFT President Randi Weingarten received over a million of Dollars from the Gates Foundation for its Innovation Fund, which was founded in 2009. The Innovation Fund isn’t the only AFT initiative funded by the Gates Foundation. Since 2010, the AFT has received more than $10 million on several other projects. The NEA on the other hand, have bought into the corporate reform "experiment" by attempting to pull its members into the direction of corporate reform. No issue illustrates this better than the diehard allegiance of both AFT and NEA to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) sponsored and financed by billionaire Bill Gates. As a matter of facts, The Broad Foundation Mission Statement states that one of its goals is the
transformation of labor relations. In that case, one can argue that the The Broad Foundation is not "anti-union". Rather, it seeks to transform unions into a form of company union. A company union is a union located within and run by a company or a national government, and the union bureaucracy is incorporated into the company’s management. So, the implementation of dual membership for UTLA members guarantees that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Association of Educators split our money equally so that the scam of feeding the national political machine continues to favor equally the upper structure of these two wrongly labeled labor institutions. Ask yourself this questions: What are the national unions doing for us? Taking the corporate reform money and carrying out the privatization bidding? The actions of both national union presidents read more like privatizing reformer actions than union president actions. Making us
members of both AFT/NEA only turn us into accomplices of what these unions do in our name. Instead, we should be proponents of reducing our contributions to both the AFT and the NEA rather than freely giving them our dues money so they can build equal political leverage at the state and federal level.

Why implement a dues increase when members have not received a salary increase this year and the years before?

In 2010, teachers took a 10% pay cut through the LAUSD implementation of furlough days. This pay cut was in addition to teachers not receiving a salary increase, not even a Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA), for over 7 years. If we look at how much money we lost during the seven years of not receiving a pay raise and the 10% pay cut in 2010, then we are talking about a 24% pay cut in total. In any case, as our members got this latest "pay increment" the union automatically got a dues increase as the so called pay increase came through. Now, our UTLA leaders are fast moving trying hard to implement an additional dues increase of about $19.00 a month. If approved, it will represent an additional 30% dues increase on our members. So, why should we pay more dues when we have not received a true salary increase this year? This dues increase only contributes to an already deteriorated economic situation of our teachers.

Why increasing dues may violate the right of members to hear those opposing this dues increase?

During the latest Area Meetings, several members asked if the dues increase had to be presented to members with pros and cons on the next issue of the United Teachers of LA newspapers. The answer from our so called "leaders" was no. According to them, they do not have to adhere to a democratic process to promote a dues increase. So far, no motion to increase dues has been introduced to the membership to allow statement in favor or against this proposal. However, our UTLA leaders have already been wasting precious resources by visiting schools supposedly "to get your input on our Strategic Plan to Build the Future and Fund the Fight". Well, not too fast on this!!! In reality, these visits respond to the UTLA efforts to convince members that a dues increase is necessary. However, this dues increase motion has not even been brought to the House Of Representatives for discussion or debate and it has not been presented officially with pros and cons to the
general membership. In that case, going around visiting schools to promote this dues increase is a blatant misuse of UTLA resources at a time when our union is facing a deep economic crisis.

UTLA shall give first priority to membership action and services at the local level.

As you may not know, UTLA is supposed to adhere to the general provisions stated on the original merger agreement which gives clear emphasis to our union responsibility to defend our members at the local level. There is no reason why UTLA should be giving over 30% of our dues contributions to the affiliates when our own members are in need of representation. Our constitution says: "UTLA shall give first priority to membership action and services at the local level". Our constitution does not say that we must adhere to the mandates of the NEA or the AFT every time they need more money. However, this provision has been neglected or just ignored by our leaders again and again when they have failed repeatedly to defend those members unfairly accused of crimes and who are now seating in teacher's jail on phony charges. As a matter of facts, a motion was introduced by a UTLA member to create a special fund to provide legal defense of teachers in
teacher's jail. However, the current leadership headed by Alex Caputo-Pearl and the so called "Union Power Caucus" all voted against it. In simple words, we are not obligated to continue sending a large portion of our dues Dollars to the national affiliates as the leaders have always made us to believe. Instead, we can use part of that money to defend our own teachers from false accusations. In my humble opinion, a dues increase is absolutely unnecessary. Stop the waste and defend our members!!! Please vote down this dues increase!!!




With ubiquituous Smartphone technology now giving us access to more information than we have ever had access to before, one might reasonably expect that this should have already led to an explosion of what student know in our society. However, what has actually taken place as any teacher can tell you who has to deal with this plague of cellphones in the classroom is that the access to greater knowledge has actually caused a steep decline in what students know and their ability to think and learn in a manner that builds and develops brain power through a process of sequential thinking. Clearly, cellphones are sabotaging normal human development in profound ways that those in power seem unwilling to take notice of and address.

Up until this generation a student's ability to deal with more and more complex bodies of information as they progressed through school was the measure of their being considered educated. Now this fundamental educational process has been completely undermined by smartphones that are rapidly making us ignorant in the midst of what should be a feast of knowledge that could be used to address human betterment, but conspicuously is not.

The first victim of the cellphone has been the attention span. It is not uncommon to walk into a classroom and see at least half the students with earbuds connected to their phones, so that the teacher has been effectively tuned out. Or even if the student is marginally listening, they are also texting or playing a video game at the same time, which logically precludes the focused concentration necessary to learn. As a result of students relying on computers to do the thinking, they are able to completely avoid the normal and moderate discomfort necessary to stimulate their own brain's development. This manifests itself in what has become an unnecessarily painful process where students write as little as possible in the most basic of terms without developing any ideas with the in depth analysis it demands. Even when the student or their phones identify the issues, they are unable to coherently link these ideas or conclusions together in any meaningful way from the given facts. This seems counterintuitive given the access their Smartphones have literally put at their fingertips.

My criticism should not be construed as a condemnation of computer technology, but rather as a condemnation of how it has been trivialized in a dangerous manner designed to create compliant sheep, instead of the free thinking, engaged, and knowledgeable citizenry able to keep their government and the plutocracy that now runs it in check. Just one example of a better use for this technology might be in the developing a 21st century leading edge teaching model where students are able to collaborate online on any given assignment and where the insights and mistakes made by any members of the group could redound to the benefit of any of the other groups members who looked at the work of the others in their class. All the different approaches, insights, and teacher corrected mistakes put online would allow any student to have access to a far greater body of knowledge and approaches than any one student could ever come up with on their own.

Science has already employed this approach in targeting what have been up until now an approach for dealing with solution resistance diseases like cancer and diabetes. These thorny problems are now farmed out around the world to scientific working groups that contemporaneously address various aspects of these difficult problems, while coordinating their work in real time. The result is that the solution to effectively treating once hard to cure diseases or other solution-resistant human problems has now put their solution in sight.

As a child of the 1960s, I must confess that I believe our failure to use computer technology to develop independent capablity is not an accident, since allowing "We the people" to develop individual power would in the aggregate change the self-serving agenda of the corporate oligarchies that have only tightened their control on this country's thought and institutions. Anonymous texting is no substitution for the true freedom of association of people and ideas that is so necessary in a true democracy to question authority in any meaningful way.

Leonard Isenberg search "Leonard Isenberg"
home 323.938.1258
cell 323.383.7805
Skype: LennyIsenberg
NSA is watching

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
--Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Let's drown the White house and let Obama know that WE know what he just did!

John King is a shill and a fool…shame on Obama. Put this on YOUR site, too. and in case you want more info on , this critter…  go here and read a few posts and comments.. all the facts you need in one place!

If you value PUBLIC EDUCATION whether or not you live in NY, let the PRESIDENT KNOW HOW YOU FEEL about choosing a charlatan a shill for selling  the war on teachers ignored to end PUBLIC EDUCATION by removing the VOICE of the real professionals from the conversation about  what it takes for young, human minds to actually learn. ENOUGH  of this subversion of the national conversation

We do not need another endless narrative about evaluation and false standards, and teaching, when the conversation needs to be about LEARNING.! We need authentic  VOICES of educators who GRASP WHAT LEARNING LOOKS LIKE, and what must be in place for kids to meet genuine LEARNING  objectives.

NYSUT Urges Teachers to Let White House Know What They Think about John King

by dianeravitch

The New York State United Teachers, which represents all public school teachers in New York, clashed repeatedly with John King when he was state commissioner. So did parents. So did superintendents. He was one of the most divisive state superintendents in the state's history.

NYSUT urges its members to let the White House know what they think of the President's selection of John King as Interim Acting Secretary of Education.
"New York State United Teachers is disappointed in John King's appointment as acting U.S. Secretary of Education. NYSUT has always considered John King an ideologue with whom we disagreed sharply on many issues during his tenure as the state's Education Department commissioner. Just last year, our members delivered a vote of no confidence against him and called for his resignation. NYSUT urges its members to call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 — as well as a special White House telephone line dedicated to public comments at 202-456-1111 — to express their displeasure in John King's appointment."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fwd: Google Alert - LAUSD

As-it-happens update October 4, 2015
LAUSD schools eligible to opt out of BIC
About 40 Los Angeles Unified schools have less than 20 percent free and reduced lunch participation, and may be able to opt out of Breakfast in the ...
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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fwd: [New post] Re-Claiming a Moral Profession in Unethical Times

Begin forwarded message:

From: "pgcps mess -  Reform Sasscer without delay." <>
Date: October 4, 2015 at 12:09:24 AM PDT
Subject: [New post] Re-Claiming a Moral Profession in Unethical Times
Reply-To: "pgcps mess -  Reform Sasscer without delay." <>
pgcpsmess posted: " A bitter irony unfolded in New York's budget process this year as Governor Cuomo, in his allegiance to hedge fund campaign contributors, managed to push through ethics reforms alongside an education reform package that stands as the most unethical"

Saturday, October 3, 2015

"THEY' are going to come after me for saying this

The comment that I am copying below, will  piss off, Diane, but she is, at least, at the point where she posted this, and gave me a chance to actually address the issue of 'Randi the betrayer!'

Unions Get Pushback to Endorsement of Hillary

by dianeravitch

The Los Angeles Times reports that some teachers are unhappy with their unions' early endorsement of Hillary. 

She supports unions. But where does she stand on charters? 90% of charters are nonunion. You can't be pro-union and pro-charter. 

Is she close to Eli Broad? For many teachers, that is the kiss of death. 

Will she follow the Bush-Obama line? 

She has to make clear where she stands.


  1. Your comment is awaiting moderation. 

    YES, DIANE… we the teachers know what Hillary is all about, which is why Bernie Sanders needs to offer us a policy that shows HE KNOWS what's up…. that there is a CONSPIRACY TO END PUBLIC SCHOOLS, and that it is based on removing by a LAWLESS civil-rights abuse, compounded by the deliberate inaction to defend its members, by unions across the nation. Have been saying that here from the first day I posted here, , and to you and all the educators that I knew, for at least a decade.

    Sure Randi supports Hillary… but then, few teachers out there, have had the experience that WE NYC teachers have had with the UFT when she was president — and the principals could do anything short of murder to harass us out.

    She was there when Ivan Tiger was the Manhattan Bureau Rep, at that moment, that meeting, when he refused to represent me as the district superintendent conjured up a 'guilty' letter, with no hearing, no witnesses, no charges and with the FACT ONTHE TABLE that I had no idea of any allegations — until that meeting where the letter was read. All he did, as I sat there listening to them trounce my civil rights, was tell me to BE QUIET, AND TO SIT DOWN.

    THIS, my dear, is how it worked in NYC and remember… I WAS FAMOUS AND WELL KNOWN. Dan Rather looked me in the eye, knowing my success with kids, and said when I told him, "Unbelievable."

    Exactly. Who would believe it.

    Randi came to my rescue, alright –> she rescued me right into retirement– bUT only after my HUSBAND accidentally got through to her on the phone, and told her about the latest assault, the allegation that I had threatened to kill the principal… invented totally by this lethal liar herself. 

    Even as I had been robbed of everything, all my materials, my books, my research (left behind in my classroom when I was spirited away forever) even as I had lost my reputation and my career, these UNACCOUNTABLE FAILED HUMAN BEINGS came after me, BECAUSE they had no fear that the union would UPHOLD THE CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS!

    My husband made it clear how ill I was, so Randi got me a medical leave…. and a date for 'arbitration' — where all the 'documentation' and lies about me would be made to go away …if I retired…. on the measly pension and social security. I was about to get longevity pay , and go from 58k to 70k. I ran for my life!

    Yes, I have Randi to thank for finally extricating me from the swamp that the UFT allowed to exist, fiefdoms where principals lorded it over helpless servants, too poor to sue, and to weak to fight back!

    I went to hearings and saw the NYS union lawyers incompetence and complicity, and I know how hundreds of wonderful teachers in NYC were swept away by the lawlessness during her tenure… so please… if she likes Hillary, then I want BERNIE! (even more since I know that he is the real, brilliant, hard -working, honest, person of integrity and real character that he has been since we were in high school.)

    and Diane, I know how you feel about unions… and I agree… without them we are fodder.

    I want to see all teachers fight for strong UNIONS, with NEW BOLD LEADERS, who ensure the CONSTITUTIONAL rights of anyone in the education workplace !

    But the old guard HAS TO GO, and the very hidden nature of their failure and complicity is at the ROOT of the civil rights abuse. If you knew Randi like I know the political creature who is Randi… then you might grasp why she is in Hillary's corner!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015


Begin forwarded message:

From: Leonard Isenberg <>
Date: September 27, 2015 at 11:55:12 AM PDT
To: Zeltzer Steve <>, Schwartz Susan Lee <>, Betsy Combier <>, Francesco Portelos <>, Janis Lukstein <>, LA Subs <>, lausd teachers <>,, laeducators <>, dorinda moreno <>, Francisco Martinez <>, Rene Diedrich <>, Mark Hemphill <>, Jonathan Pelto <>, Judy Bin-Nun <>, Joseph Maizlish <>


Malcom X.jpg

There is an exquisitely sick irony to the fact that segregated and purposefully maintained inferior inner city public education could not be maintained at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and elsewhere in this country without the administrative participation of the same minorities it keeps in their unachieving places. Unless minority administrators were willing to turn momma's picture to the wall and follow orders- for a six-figure salary and a place at the privatization feast at public expense- real positive change in public education could rather easily be achieved at far less expense and in a relatively short period of time.

I say ironically because the willingness of minority leadership to sell out the inherent intelligence of Black and Latino children to assure that they never reach their potential is both deplorable and at the same time a negation of racism. Why? Because irrespective of race what all human beings have shown themselves regrettably capable of is a willingness to do pretty much anything for a large enough pile of bucks and benefits.

The minority administrator's rationale goes something like this: Better I initial play along with what I know to be a racist system of public education to get into a position of power. Then, once I have the power, I will be able to effetuate real change. But as these minority administrators continue moving up and compromising their core values, they never seem to get to a place where they can effectuate meaningful change without jeopardizing their of careers- and that is not something that most human beings are willing to do as they continue to abdicate any individual moral imparative to change this racist system. By cloaking themselves in being a part of some collective LAUSD leadership identity- sound famaliar for all you history buffs- where no individual is ever held responsible for their individual acts as long as they continue to blindly support The District, no matter what it does, this dysfunctional system has now gone on for generations destroying the lives of inherently clever young people, who are never given the opportunity to reach their potential.

While there are people of integrity that cannot be bought, LAUSD has a system of choosing prospective administrators that filters out any "trouble makers" long before they get an administrative position, no matter what their objective qualifications might be. And for the few honest administrators that slip through this selection process, they learn to keep their mouths shut, while reciting the vacuous slogans of, "No child left behind" and "Every child is a life-long learner," that could easily be contradicted and seen for the nonsense they are, if one bothered to actually walk into a classroom and see the chaos that continues to be allowed.

Many of the administrators of LAUSD that wind up being chosen to address the problems of this generationally failed system are themselves a product of this same failed education system and as such have neither have the will nor education necessary to effectuate the necessary and long overdue changes. Simply stated, they are chosen through a process of affirmative action by people whose sole criterium is that they do not threaten the existing dysfunctional LAUSD order. This creates leadership that is actually hostile to poor minority children being taught the educational fundamentals they so desperately need to be successful students.

The hostility these administrators evince toward the notion of actually educating students of color is rooted in the reality that many of these administrators themselves did not do well in school. So, when some teachers have the temerity to try educating all students to grade level standards, they are told, "This is a Black school" or "You are not being culturally sensitive," as if the very notion of minority excellence and achievement was a fantasy to be avoided at all costs. This leads to students being socially promoted without the necessary foundational skills, e.g. reading comprehension and fundamental math, to almost assured academic and subsequent career failure. Of course, this will most likely make these once inherently clever young people a lifetime unnecessary and easily avoidable expensive burden on our society.

Most people positing reform in public education have never actually been in a de facto segregated inner city public or charter school and seen the abysmal academic level and chaos caused by students that are profoundly behind grade level. While these students deficits could be addressed, this hard work is scrupulously avoided in favor of empty rhetoric of putting students in uniforms or naming a school College Ready or Lifeline Charter, while doing absolutely nothing to make successful college completion even a remote possibility.

In Dale Russakoff's latest book entitled "The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools," she lays out the failed efforts of New Jersey politicians Cory Booker, Chris Christi, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg- complete with his $100 million donation to turn around Newark Pubic Schools. One of the factors she cites as responsible for their plan's failure was its imposition of reform on this poor minority community without including the community's input in the plan.

Sounds good, if one wants to be politically correct and project onto a poor uneducated minority community that has had failing public schools for generations a skill set that doesn't exist. That which is necessary to meaningfully address the problems in their public schools never seems to be part of the equation in disingenuous public education reform, where the sole goal is financial corporate profit not academic success. What proves this is that no attempt is ever made to reach the minority folks in the community or elsewhere that would have been an asset to reforming Newark's schools. Instead, only those politically connected and willing to rubber stamp anything they're told to, irrespective of merit or relation to the Newark's actual low-function reality, is given voice.

If minority children were finally given the excellent public education they are entitled to, the simplistic agenda of successful politicians like Congresswoman Karen Bass and Attorney General Kamala Harris might finally be meaningfully questioned. Rather than having a community forum like Bass recently had on reintegrating Black and Latino inmates back into the community, she might have such a forum- the causes of their initial incarceration as a function of not having received a meaningful education. Clearly, the most important reason for those in power maintaining failed public education is to stop our citizenry from having the skills necessary to keep them in check as was anticipated by our Founding Fathers.

Leonard Isenberg search "Leonard Isenberg"
home 323.938.1258
cell 323.383.7805
Skype: LennyIsenberg
NSA is watching

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
--Thomas Jefferson



Are you an injured teacher? CALL (818) 981-9960

Are you an injured teacher?  CALL (818) 981-9960