Sunday, February 22, 2015

LAUSD- THE BUCK STOPS WHERE? AND WHEN?



LAUSD- THE BUCK STOPS WHERE? AND WHEN?

Ramon Cortines4.jpg
It has been a little over 5 years since I wrote a blog about how then Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Ramon Cortines was going to get rid of "weak teachers," which he and his subsequent replacement- and now predecessor- John Deasy have had more than enough time to accomplish. And yet, even though the ranks of these "expensive" and supposedly "weak teachers" have been decimated by approximately 14,000 teachers, things are no better at LAUSD- in fact they continue to get worse.
Might it just be that the problem never was the teachers, but rather an entrenched and incestuous bureaucracy, where questioning clearly failed policy continues to be something that can get you fired as an administrator. In other words, do what you are told, no matter how stupid you think it is.
There is no better case in point than Cortines himself, the supposed indespensible grand old man of public education reform, who after 50 years of service can point to no prior school district where he has ever worked that is any better off today than it was when he started.
And yet somehow 82 year old Cortines, who left LAUSD under a cloud because of sexual harassment and conflict of interest allegations was the only "qualified" person that LAUSD could find to replace his equally ethically challenged predecessor John Deasy.


But as the years go by and LAUSD continues to fail, we are supposed to believe that the teacher-subordinates are exclusively responsible for LAUSD's continued failure and not those administrators who are actually calling the shots.
Fiascos like the recent iPad, MiSiS, and construction scandals, where teachers had no part in the decision making process, are allowed to go by the wayside with no consequences for those who made and continue to make these ill-advised administrative decisions.
And when, for example, an LAUSD board member like Tamar Galatzan was questioned as to how this could happen on her watch with Galatzan's proactive support for Deasy's clearly failed policies, Ms. Galatzan had the nerve to claim ignorance, when it came to the financial ramifications of the recent iPad scandal. So if the LAUSD Board doesn't know anything, who does?
And yet teachers who are working under the most impossible conditions where they have gotten no support from administration find themselves blamed and targeted for removal, if they dare to voice an objection or can be replaced by a cheaper novice teacher.
Teachers and their union United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) are now told that there is no money to come up with a reasonable pay raise for them, after they have gone ages without even a cost of living increase- let alone a real raise.
Superintendent Cortines now pleads poverty and a $160 million deficit. Could at least part of that deficit be due to a Miramonte settlement that cost the District a combined $169 million to pay people off and assure that the predictably failed administrative policies that allowed this to happen never see the light of day?
While there is no excuse for this level of administrative incompetence at LAUSD, probably the best explanation as to why it continues is the premeditated failure of both the mainstream and public media reporters to expose it for fear of losing their own jobs- but that's another story.

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Leonard Isenberg
Lenny@perdaily.com
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"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

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