One thing that is very telling is the absolute omission of ASA findings about VAM and the inadequacues of refering to tests that have compromised integrity because of widespread cheating that is documented in at least 36 states. It is funny how our local union in LA union leaders embraced a new evaluation system which bases 30% of the score on tests . Keep in mind that these tests impact teachers who are not teaching the subjects they cover , so an art teacher ( if any are left with all arts and music cut ) is somehow assessed for the scores and potentially labeled as ineffective . With one Stull that defines her as such , she need only get another poor evaluation to lose her job and probably her career.
On top of this , we know that administrators in LA were given a directive and incentives to find "bad" teachers and weed them out . In his addresses to administrators , Deasy asserts many strange things about teachers being burnt out in 5 years and of no use to him after this. He claims they are gaming the system by earning PhDs, as well as earning salary points for professional development they take on themselves and are, he makes it clear , that our complancy and incompetence are egregious. Nevermind that advanced degrees get a differential of only $600 a year. This sets in motion an effort to ambush senior staff in classroom observations that teachers all describe as surreal ordeals. Sometimes a walk through lasts less than two minutes and the negative remarks in the forms are completely untrue. One lady says an AP half her age slept through the lesson and gave her a horrible score that was completely unqualified by eveidence. Because of teacher jail , many were unaware that this lady and hundreds of others were brought in and given an option: either they waited for the inevitable second fail from the APs and were fired or they signed a contract agreeing to be demoted to sub . As a result they lost large chunks of income and became at will employees , but without a union to support them, most agree to this deal . As part of the deal they must attend this class to help them improve . It is very demoralizing and ultimately a ruse used to appease state codes that mandate an effort to help teachers improve before they are dismissed . Keeping them in the mix has its purpose too.
NCLB is not entirely a waste as it has strict guidelines designed to avert the very things we see unfolding . Schools must have a solid percentage of credentialed teachers to appease the laws.
Thus the the teachers who sub help balance the quota . However , soon after the norm day accounting, the subs are assigned to kill sites . They arrive for an assignment and when the day ends they are given an unsatisfactory service memo . Most are upset but do nothing about it because they assume it is like the memos in files they have as regular teachers . They are merely there to document some lapse or mistake . This is not the case . While padding files with memos is a tactic employed to leave a paper trail to justify the dismissal of some teachers , subs suddenly face some rule , which we never heard of but without a contract or policy to go by cannot discount , that makes a memo grounds for dismissal. Until I publicized this UTLA had not issued even a warning , but since that is limited to a page in the site , the sub has no clue and usually fails to respond in five days , then they are terminated When they ask for union assistance they are told too bad, so sad but you are SOL I hear the officers are especially unmoved by these teachers plights and leers from reps I have confirm the mendacity and mindset of these misleader
A WORD ABOUT SUBS
When I was lead teacher, I was worried about a errant lack of effort on some subs' parts. They were a group that had first dIBS on jobs because they were tight with the secretary . I encouraged teachers in my academy to write memos as teachers did then , to address the problem of ignored lesson plans , trashed classrooms , out of control classes and missing items . I believe teachers are obligated to fIND the right subs for their classes . I always had a few who I Could call at hOME and set up to cover for me .
But nothing came of the effort , and it was clear the school was not interested in even honoring our plans to use certain subs as they would send them to another ciass and install some deadbeat who wasted your kids day and put you behind .
This is sabotage but not the worst of it.
Recently Gov Brown , who is clearly caught UP IN an unfortunate mess as an education and labor advocate dealing with the Obama reform assaults upon both as well as the unions' failure to support them , discovered that Sup. John Deasy was labeling interns as credentialed teachers. He was furious and an odd public appeal was made for teachers with credentials after this school year started . They were eager to have military applicants and not long after the BOE made vague noises about new hires with credentials . However, there is a likelihood that they restored RiFs , most of them rookies and installed them in their former positions as subs , a practice we know is being employed anyway.
Gaming the stats and numbers is so common there is no way to be sure what the truth is . We can verify that more than 10,000 teachers are casualties from RiFs , displacement and teacher jail. That does not included the retired teachers, who are expected to become an enormous exodus of employees as baby boomers and because of the pressures at school , are increasingly going out early at a profound cost in benefits . So far so good for the district. In the last two years , many mid career teachers have decided to leave LAUSD and others have fled the profession .
I do not think Deasy had anticipated that , but with interns descending in masse on the offices to be processed , he has recruited thousands of eager replacements and even opened the first of three apartment complexes erected to house the eternal turn over . I am told these interns often are placed in counselor positions , PSW and special education classes they are not remotely qualified for . The special Ed codes are bypassed using qualified TA s , who usually assume responsibility for lower functioning children . However, there is no way to be sure they can provide the intervention that autism and other conditions requires . An example of the potential disaster may be that in some cases, if left unaddressed, a condition can have profound consequences. For example Aspergers can seem mild in a child , and was often not identified in the past . Youngsters , mainly males, who had quirks as kids become increasingly dysfunctional in adulthood. By their 30s, untreated Aspergers manifests itself in schizophrenic symptoms that many attribute to a lot of homeless people's inability to lead a regular life and develop healthy bonds .
Such long term burdens on individuals as well as society , are never considered by these reforners, betraying a fundemental indifference to the mission of educators who serve a greater good and are committed to progress not innovation or excellence . It is imperfect because we just don't know a lot of things, but we know a lot more than we used to .
While I am not surprised by the arrogance and stupid greed of reforners like Deasy and Duncan , both Broad bred parasites , I find it appalling that unions are letting this go on without a peep. Indeed they are enabling the destruction of our schools and our students' potential by allowing the rank and file to be purged as we have seen in LA. For all Deasy's dominance In a narrative that praises HIS impact on scores abd graduation stats, there is an ever increasing back drop of chaos and dysfunction that has special education and ESL students in crisis , as documented by the intervention of feds ,marine to buffer the calamity in broad terms that insinuate teachers are the problem even though they are mostly not qualified, not really teachers and installed by leaders.
Nothing is prevent said by the local Union or CTA, AFT or NEA, all of which many many teachers have reached out to .
Reporting SPED violations is a good way to find yourself charged with some misconduct or pink slipped . Where is our union ? Aiding and abetting the dustruct, of course.
What are our dues paying for ? UTLA neglected to purchase legal insurance for teachers , a basic concession to our agreement with it as members . Indeed , this is why we are mandated members and if we have religious reasons to be left out there is a mandate to buy coverage . When teachers began getting RIFed , displaced and jailed in mass , UTLA did not renew that policy which is purchased through CTA who verified the cancellation and said the reasons for it were economics . The problems teachers confronted were curiously ignored by the union and teachers consistently detail witch hunts, contractual breeches, bullying , harassment and far worse on campus . They all claim the union not only did not help them, it constantly lied about the CBA articies , state education codes and district policy . I myself witnessed an unnerving collaboration and comarderie between reps and suits handling cases . In many situations while advocate for colleagues , I saw reps throw the teacher to the wolves and deliberately facilitate fraud or sabotage rather than any kind of defense . In many instances teachers were told the union could not help them unless they agreed to resign . Because I armed myself with the codes and other rules, teachers began asking me to be their rep . None of the codes or policy made a difference in the end but it sure did send suits into a state of fear and loathing .
Nothing has improved. It has just descended in to deeper depths of deparvity as union officers are spending the budget on vacations , hefty bonuses , 5 star hotels in Palm Springs for a leadership conference few teachers can afford .
Now there is an urgent urge on UTLA's part to strike , even though little effort is established to hammer out an agreement with CORTINES , who the union has been much more critical of than Deasy. Despite his relatively short time in charge and some possibly positive proactive measures he has made , UTLa essential derailed efforts to save the remaining teachers up for dismissal . The negotiations were recently delayed because an officer was a last minute no show due to illness Why a conference call or other measures were not explored is unclear. What we do know is the union began thumping for a strike soon after this and unfairly attacked CORTINES in a rally despite his rather gracious offer to help the jailed teachers .
Don't mistake me for a fan of CORTINES who ushered in the propoganda that assailed us around 2009 . He has his fair share of blame in the nightmare and is culpable for some corruption . However, in the best interest of those teachers and fruitful collaboration, UTLA should have been respectful and gracious as he was . I have yet to see CORTINES respond with any of the malice or mendacity Deasy would have , but then he has had the union in his pocket for a while . As UTLa gears up for a strike, it is pushing members to approve $3 million+ ( one activists says 11 million but I have yet to verify his numbers) for the strike fund. Some members balk at this because they want that money to pay for the legal insurance most teachers have no idea is lapsed in fact, if purchased, the union would have far more than any union in the nation sets aside for these expenses. includung Chicago, who they are modeling the strike after , was not funded like this . I am not so sure that strike was a success guven hiw littlle improved, but it was a publicity boon for Karen Lewis and its a safe bet ALEX Caputo Pearl has political ambitions a strike could serve
Members reported to me yesterday that they felt the HOR and BOD votes on the initiative were being manipulated to limit any real discourses and they saw the vote will be rushed and bullied into happening. These urgent even wild cat strike plans have been in play since late 2013 but few teachers are enthusiatic . Without question, circumstances justify serious action, but with our jobs so precarious and the union lapse in defense it is an ill advised proposition. With so many senior staff MiA, and an estimated 30k teachers who worked for LAUSD before the purges, it is clear the demographic is uncertain . We cannot get them to comply with CPRA FOIA requests at the district or the union which claims it has no clue.who or how many teachers were severed . But it is a safe bet more than a third of them are subs, interns and temps . Most loyal unionists are gone but the remaining mid career teachers are in desperate financial states with no raise in 8 years, draconian furloughs and the mortgages LAUSD pushed upon us to take in as part of a program that urges teachers to live in the
communities they work in where gentrification was supposed to make these hoods diverse communities with positive members . The real estate collapse hit California, especially LA very hard . Now underwater, these people are probably disenchanted with their union and frightened of what the district will do if they dare to strike . You can bet TFA leaders will forbid the interns from taking part and while career subs are usually the most avid union supporters , they are now replaced with a bevy of young people , grad students, artists , etc who see the gig as no more than a good way to supplement their incomes . They will not walk with strikers and the ones who are no longer receiving calls are desperate enough to become scabs when LAUSD needs bodies to cover the classroom.
I don't know why UTLA is hell bent on a strike , nor do I believe teachers will vote to do so . But if they do, it is likely a trap that will have consequences that reach beyond the teachers it ensnares .
The MiSiS crisis has many seniors in a pickle as they may not graduate and the mess is long from sorted out for the schools that could not meet students needs because of the data disaster and lack of leadership . These concerns are widely publicized and largely responsible for Deasy's departure . For teachers to strike now, especially with new old leadership presenting an affable and efficient front , a strike will be career suicide. It will give the up slate an ample slush fund and usher in more dues paying interns who demand nothing from UTLA, which is recruiting charter school teachers and fraternizing with E4E ( which oversaw last year's dirty election) and Teach + which took an oath to swear off tenure,
The president, Alex Caputo Pearl is much like Deasy in his way with the media and his ties to Deasy apparently go back to aPrince George though I am unclear about what capacity this was in . As an intern in the very first TFA corp , ACP has close ties with Wendy KOPP Who recently celebrated the corps 20th year of service ; notably, Joel Stein ( the devil to NYC teachers), Deasy ( LA 's satanic reforner) , Randi Weingarten and presumably pioneering TFA alum ACP was in attendance . No wonder he has never confronted the issue of interns taking our jobs and recruited year round even when thousands of veterans were pink slipped and never reinstated as prop 3o mandates . CORTINES announced that the district was in financial dire straights yesterday; despite the state infusion of funds and a spending spree that includes contracts, luxury concessions to the district offices and the corpulent bloat that LA is notorious for , the pink slips are again on their way to teachers . With Deasy's carnage MISIS alone will cost at least $80 million to salvage ( the program is from Microsoft and there was no support from them , so why not file civil a case to seek damages as happened in payroll fiasco of 2006?) Siting declines in enrollment and shoddy attendance , CORTINES contends the cuts are coming . CORTINES is brutal about the budget , and without arts or music , one wonders what kids will lose next beside their teachers . Moreover, why isn't Desy being connected to this state of decline along with test obsessions that would make anyone play hooky? And here is another $64 abroad Prize Question: why the hell isn't Randi Weingarten speaking up about any of this as she should ?
I apologize for the length of this rant but I do feel better.
AFT's Randi on Reauthorization of NCLBRandi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, takes issue with Secretary Duncan in reauthorization of NCLB. Duncan said last week that annual testing was "a line in the sand," that is, non-negotiable. This, of course, ignores the views if educators and parents, who SES how the testing obsession has harmed teaching and learning and narrowed the curriculum.
Randi on Secretary Duncan's ESEA Reauthorization Remarks
WASHINGTON— Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's speech regarding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
"As I've said before, any law that doesn't address our biggest challenges—funding inequity, segregation, the effects of poverty—will fail to make the sweeping transformation our kids and our schools need. Today, it was promising to hear Secretary Duncan make a call for equity, stressing, as we did through the Equity and Excellence Commission, the importance of early childhood education and engaging curriculum. It was encouraging to hear him laud the hard work of educators, who have had to overcome polarization and deep cuts after a harsh recession. And it was heartening to hear him acknowledge the progress our schools have made. However, the robust progress we saw in the first 40 years after the passage of ESEA has slowed over the last 10 years.
"On testing, we are glad the secretary has acknowledged that 'there are too many tests that take up too much time' and that 'we need to take action to support a better balance.' However, current federal educational policy—No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and waivers—has enshrined a focus on testing, not learning, especially high-stakes testing and the consequences and sanctions that flow from it. That's wrong, and that's why there is a clarion call for change. The waiver strategy and Race to the Top exacerbated the test-fixation that was put in place with NCLB, allowing sanctions and consequences to eclipse all else. From his words today, it seems the secretary may want to justify and enshrine that status quo and that's worrisome.
"Yes, we need to get parents, educators and communities the information they need. And all of us must be accountable and responsible for helping all children succeed. That's why we have suggested some new interventions, like community schools and wraparound services; project-based learning; service internships; and individual plans for over-age students, under-credited students and those who are not reading at grade level by third grade.
"If one test per year can cause an entire school to be shuttered or all the teachers fired, something is wrong with the way that test is being used. Even in the District of Columbia, where the secretary spoke from today, the school district has pulled back from the consequential nature of these tests.
"At the end of the day, the most important part of the debate shouldn't happen in big speeches. It should happen in real conversations with parents, students and teachers, who are closest to the classroom. Communities understand the huge positive effect ESEA had for impoverished and at-risk communities 50 years ago. Those communities are saying loudly and clearly that they want more supports for students and schools, and data used to inform and improve, not sanction. It's my hope that, in the coming weeks, leaders in Congress and the administration will listen to these voices and shape a law that reflects the needs of all our kids."
Postscript: An advanced copy of Secretary Duncan's remarks today included a quote from Albert Shanker, former president of the AFT, on accountability. To this, Weingarten responded, "If the secretary wants to invoke Shanker on accountability, then invoke him on his proposals for grade-span over annual testing. Shanker once called for 'an immediate end to standardized tests as they are now,' instead favoring testing over five-year intervals."
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO