Wednesday, April 6, 2016


It's been awhile since I posted anything I have written about LAUSD here on Hemlock. The battle against the district is a very exhausting, frustrating and dangerous process. It costs people their homes, their marriages, their careers, their well being, their health and their lives. While I have been blindsided by one outrageous affront after another, I have not lost hope that LAUSD, UTLA and the well heeled criminals who facilitate these crimes against teachers will one day answer for what they've done to Los Angeles, which  has seen children and teachers destroyed, parents thwarted and taxpayers fleeced for decades. The Belmont fiasco, the iPad scams, special education and ESL students subjected to substandard instruction and segregated, children abused while their abusers skate without charges and innocent teachers are ruined by malicious lies. Greed and corruption have conspired against public education and it's snowballing into something quite insidious and evil. 

The LAUSD overpayment farce has turned teachers into debtors and threatens to ruin their credit for money they do not owe. Most were likely not overpaid at all. It's hard to tell because LAUSD arrogantly refuses to provide any type of evidence to support these assertions. What's more trucking is the fact that LAUSD refuses to abide the settlement it made with the payroll vendor, which covered any losses the district sustained because the payroll system was flawed. It's rather telling that LAUSD is permitted to seek these damages in light of all this, but more than anything the statute of limitations has already made these matters moot. How deeply involved are the courts, the DA and attorneys handling these cases when something as rudimentary as the statute of limitations is ignored to pursue unfounded financial damages against individuals who had no idea they were being overpaid and were not to blame for the mix up. Let's remember that many teachers went unpaid for months, and they incurred damages of their own as a result. They couldn't make their nut, used credit cards to do so and LAUSD did not pay interest nor did it fix the ruined credit of teachers who fell behind. In a one of the nightmarish elements of this mess, teachers had to borrow money from the district because they did not get paid. This required massive amounts of time and patience. I have no doubt that LAUSD has had trouble balancing it's complex books with all the lawyers and educRATS it's carrying, but people from the payroll offuce have spoken out about the dubious ethics and wanton thievery they've seen take place at the offices.

LAUSD has been escalating in its efforts to embody what is essentially a criminal enterprise. I hesitate to call it organized crime, but only because the word organized implies they are adept and efficient. The district is anything but. With its enormous budget, excessive access and unchecked status, LAUSD has been permitted to ruin and rob teachers, conceal abuse and liberate abusers from consequences and to bleed this city dry while marginalizing and exploiting the poor to further its agenda.
When I hear from teachers and parents who read Hemlock, they're usually looking for confirmation that what is happening to them is wrong. They tell me unfathomable tales of being mobbed, set up, stalked, smeared and driven damned near crazy. I know what they're talking about because I have been there and those who've covered that same territory usually reach out to me and Lenny who both came into this ordeal when things were beginning to heat up with teacher jail. We have seen it all, but I am still stunned by the district's impunity.
I read the LA Times story about Rafe  Esquith and the unseemly emails he shared with students.

I had hoped those emails were not genuine evidence an this document alludes to that possibility, though it lacks the clarity it needs to confirm what LAUSD is notoriously famous for: creating false evidence to justify its ongoing harassment and professional/legal actions against innocent employees. I suspect there is a problem with what Esquith was doing if these quotes from messages between the teacher and his students are real.   I have read enough to tell you he should be fired if they  are not taken out context. And this is a real bummer for innocent teachers like me to confront because here Esquith has a formidable and well respected attorney ready to go up to bat for him thus for us, and it turns out he's a Perv. 
I hope this is not the case. However, if it is the case, what do we make if LAUSD hacking into email accounts of its employees? Some folks may say it's a necessary evil that needs to be employed to protect our children. If the NSA is sparing us from the horrors if terrorism, we owe it to children to protect them from predators. Guilty or not, Rafe Esquith used an AOL account not the district's, which we all know is  policed by administrators who want to find dirt on teachers. This is fair enough, but hacking into the accounts as they have is another issue.
Rafe Esquith was caused a stir because he was teaching Huck Finn to 5th graders and discussed  section of the novel bout a pair of comical swindlers who happen to end up naked. 

Naked is a condition we all know well. In and of itself it is no big deal. In the novel the thieves nudity is symbolic of the transparent motives they show to Huck and Jim on the rafting trip that is supposed to represent the heroes' journey into the unknown. Not many books have been as controversial as Huck Finn, which is constantly being banned by school boards and knee jerk liberal morons who miss the point. You'd think they never read any word but the n-word, which does pop up more often in the book than a Quentin Tarantino film. 
The word is used ironically in the novel and for all the scrutiny and half witted criticism it has endured since political correctness came to make things even more muddy, no one that I know of saw any reason to worry about some naked grifters. If anything, their role in the plot confirms that Jim is the only noble character of the bunch. 

I'd rather discuss the banning of Huck Finn than the bizarre antics of the second largest school stem in the nation because I have plenty of textual evidence I can back that up with. Do I have evidence that LAUSD is guilty of a inventory of RICO felonies, code violations and defecating all over the Brown act? Of course, I do. I have so much evidence it's compelling enough to write a book, which I have enough to dirt on the district to do, but at what cost?

Will a publisher ever consider such a paranoid memoir? Should we assume that the books by Ravitch, Schnider, Cody and others support a narrative about the experiences of one teacher jail rabble rouser trend activist/advocate who's pretty well ruined as an educator and still licking her wounds a human being? 
Let's say this mess with Esquith can make or break us. I appreciate that Garegos has the tenacity to hit LAUSD where they live with charges of hacking to get dirt on the district's most famous teacher. He knows there is something amiss even if his client is guilty of bad judgement in the very least. Even if he hasn't written those salacious missives, one wonders if he can transcend these accusations after the Times presented such a story which had Esquith agreeing he dud indeed correspond with students in this manner. If you knew what lengths the Times will go to in order to protect the district while villifying its teacher there'd  be reasonable doubt enough to retry many teachers fired and imprisoned for misconduct. I realize many of the accused belong behind bars by the way. I was railroaded after I reported a notoriously abusive and prejudiced teacher. 

No students were willing to lie about me and only a couple other teachers agreed to lie about me. When they did, they stepped all over each other's fibs and it's was so obvious it's hard to fathom how things went the way they did unless you understand that the teachers' union is betraying its members and my rep, the highest paid disbarred lawyer in LA, Carl Joseph threw me and hundreds of other teachers under the bus.
However, the real surprise is how few of our colleagues were and are willing to take a stand in our behalf. They are the real reason the profession will become a low paid internship and schools will soon become test factories.
They watched their friends and co workers become casualties and retreated to their classrooms, unwilling to speak up or take a stand. Little do they know that they've sealed their own fates. Things are never going back to the way they were . When I say this, I am not just talking about LAUSD. 
This kind of assault has been taking place in Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, Oakland, New Orleans, San Diego, and other cities and towns across the world. Mexican teachers burned test scores a few years ago. Some of them were shot down and made examples of. You don't realize how many teachers across the the US have been murdered by the school administrators and BOEs that allowed such unchecked bullies to mob and abuse teachers. I do. I have lost no small amount of colleagues and fellow inmates to stress related deaths and suicide directly related to their mistreatment by their coworkers. Students are not immune from these machinations as we watch them fall prey to each other, bullies, bad teachers, pedophiles, policy, and pernicious incompetence that will see 60 students in one classroom to punish an outspoken teacher because to the suits, children are merely pawns. 
To me, the children were my first concern and they will always be, but what can I do for them when we look towards an outstanding colleague for inspiration and learn he's indulging in exploitative antics with kids who 11 or 12 years old. Not that he has. He just hasn't held a press conference yet to explain what is going on. 

If Esquith is going to continue with the law suit, he needs to consider explaining what exactly went on. I admire the way he's put the district on blast for hacking his private email account, but I have to wonder if this isn't confirming his unfortunate missteps as an educator. 
Many moms and dads will say the ends justify the means if we are sparing our children from sexual abuse. I am not sure how far they're willing to take this, but when the school district operates in a lawless manner, it is not a very positive sign. 
Be that as it may, teachers who have done things like this who plan to defy the district legally must be wary for the suits and Holmquist's costly henchmen are acting with impunity which means they will hack your account, interview students going back ten years and intimidate your colleagues if they try to defend you. 
Taking words out of context, hiding any exculpatory evidence, creating evidence, manufacturing testimony and dragging out hearings to assure memories are faded, witnesses have moved away and tht you are starved out are just a few of their tactics.
Teachers tell me they are being stalked, sued, blackballed, harassed, railroaded, mobbed, robbed, and driven to madness. Some have become homeless. Other are unemployable. Many are disabled. A few have spent years of their lives being battered and defamed. It's not easy. It's not heroic. It's not hopeful. It's no wonder so many are willing to turn their backs on the innocent casualties. But that doesn't excuse them. If half or even 1/4 of teachers were willing to tell the truth about what goes on in our schools, they'd. become that change they aiways wanted to be. Instead they behave like entitled unionized sheep or fearful creatures of comfort who or sake their calling and it's lofty ideas to be sure they pay mortgages on their underwater homes in hoods the district helped them buy. I believe candor is needed, so if Esquith is guilty of flirting with a precocious girl from ciass, he needs to give up some details, like was it a one time thing? How often did this go one and what else was said abd when? 
I get that he is an educator with the highest kind of success possible. I read his book Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire. It's perhaps one of the most useful texts an earnest educator in the hood can read. 

I have no doubt he's used the challenges in his classroom to his advantage and reaches his students, maybe feeling more like one of them than an adult. Many good teachers do that.  As a result they often bend the rules. I certainly did so, though I was never charged with any real violations of the codes or our contract, which administrators and Reps repeatedly ignored. Had they actually charged me with something I had done, I would have resigned without a fuss to spare myself a lot of humiliation and to avoid draining taxpayers' and the school district of their funds. Mostly I would be considering the damage I would have done to all these innocent teachers and the profession which is being crucified by using a few egregious examples to justify the demise of far too many dedicated professionals.
According to students and parents, Rafe and I are exceptional teachers.  I'm sure he heard this from many of his administrators because I did and I am not famous. 
Fame is what gave Esquith the power to do what thousands of us couldn't: Hire a competent and dedicated lawyer whose practice is so formidable he will not demur to the bullies at large. 
I have waited for Garregos to bail on this case, but he has the tenacity of a terrier and seems to be committed to Rafe Esquith if not our cause. At this point, Garregos would be best served by a class action that involves many teachers without the question marks about what they did or did not do. 
They are not hard to find. Paulette Jackson, for example, was fired without due process for being one minute late to class. She had to go to the restroom and there was a long line. She never got the benefit of teacher jail or a union rep to stand by her side, but to this day she fights this injustice. Not easy when you're a mother of a special needs son without a full time job. 
Consider the case of a PSW who intervened for students during crisis like that teacher suicide that followed the disclosure of test scores and delegated ratings to teachers based on their students performance. She was present for this and said something that Ray Cortines was offended because it exposed a lie he told. She had not meant to do this. It was an innocent remark. After that day she found herself under fire. The district threatened to put a lien on her house. Notably, anyone can put a lien on anyone's house, but she was too frazzled and intimidated to stay and fight. 

The wrath of Ray Cortines is notorious as early teacher jail birds heard him bark at the wardens at what was once called LD8: " Get something on these teachers!" 
Hearsay, I know but consistent with the reprisals the little fop is notorious for. One art teacher wrote a letter to the editor and it was printed. The morning after it was published, the art teacher was forced out of her classroom and replaced by a sub. She was told to travel and told to teach courses she had no credential for. Her life was made a living hell when the principle of the school told gang bangers the woman was a racist. She was terror filled and fled. I saw many teachers leave in tears . Others were forced out or paid to leave. 
Cortines wasn't just about removing teachers. His case of sexual harassment was depicted as an effort to extort money out of a lonely old man. The far more viable story is told by his victim in such graphic detail it's difficult to dismiss it. Cortines lured the younger man to his ranch. Though he had rejected the older man's advances in the recent past, the victim said he didn't dare refuse this invitation which became an ordeal as Cortines allegedly imposed himself on the man by arriving naked in his room and pulling one off in the bed beside him. Cortines referred to the incident as adult consensual sex. The man felt he had been raped. The lawyers deemed it sexual harassment and the problem was paid off in what this report claims was $350, 000 of the district's budget. Small potatoes beside the payroll fiasco, the Belmont fiasco, the Sex Abuse Scandal, the iPad farce and an assortment of scandals that include Bill Gates flawed attendance software and Person's common core program for district devices that taxpayers purchased before the product was ready for use. 
So much money has been spent on protecting the district's secrets, one wonders what it will take for the public to finally shut the beast down.   

I don't see fallen teachers as the catalyst for local education reform to become truly addressed. When children are raped by teachers and no one informs them until a year later when police make an arrest, there is a problem because what if that child has contracted an STD or needs mental health intervention? How many children might have been spared if LAUSD had abided its duty and removed the likes of Mark Berndt, Paul Chapel, George Hernandez, Steve Rooney and Marlo Duffy . Here is a list of the teachers the  DA has prosecuted in recent years:

Here is the well written indictment of LAUSD's case against Rafe Esquith which will not be published by the LAT or any other major paper because the media is controlled by the people who own LAUSD. What? You thought it was a public school system? Think again.

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