Thursday, January 17, 2019

Steven Van Zandt: Why I Joined the L.A. Teachers’ Strike – Rolling Stone #UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Steven Van Zandt: Why I Joined the L.A. Teachers’ Strike – Rolling Stone
Steven Van Zandt: Why I Joined the L.A. Teachers’ Strike
“Teachers are an underfunded and underappreciated part of our working class,” E Street Band guitarist says



Anyone scrutinizing photos of those picketing the current teachers’ strike in Los Angeles may have seen a familiar face (and clothed head) Wednesday: Steven Van Zandt. The strike, which involves 30,000 teachers and affects about 350,000 students, is centered around issues like charter schools (Los Angeles has 224, a huge number for a major city), class size and funding for more staff.
Van Zandt, who has just launched TeachRock, an education program that uses the history of rock as a way into American culture and history, shares his front-line memories to Rolling Stone.
I happened to be here; I was finishing a new record, and someone said, “By the way, people are striking here,” and I said, “I might as well join them. Get some action here.” This celebrity thing is really only good for a couple of things. You can get into a restaurant, and you can do something that’s actually usable.
It’s the unsexiest issue ever, but we’ve been engaged with teachers for a couple of years, trying to raise awareness. Teachers are an underfunded and underappreciated part of our working class. We just finished a tour [the Teacher Solidarity Tour, with free tickets for educators] and everywhere we went, there were teachers on strike — West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Oklahoma. Teachers are right there on the front line fighting against ignorance, and, boy, do we need that right now.
There was a lot of good energy out there. People were holding signs that said, “Beep if you support the teachers,” so it was one big beep-fest. I was on the picket line with a kid who spent last year on the floor in chemistry class. There weren’t enough desks in the room. Jesus Christ! Dozens of teachers told me they’re buying pencils and paper for their classes or starting GoFundMe campaigns for a class trip. These are things we took for granted growing up, but it’s not that way anymore. They CONTINUE READING: Steven Van Zandt: Why I Joined the L.A. Teachers’ Strike – Rolling Stone

Big Education Ape: Picketing with UTLA: A Great and Inspiring Morning | Diane Ravitch's blog #UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA - http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2019/01/picketing-with-utla-great-and-inspiring.html

L.A. teacher strike may be cutting edge of a revolution against what’s rotten in America | Will Bunch

L.A. teacher strike may be cutting edge of a revolution against what’s rotten in America | Will Bunch

L.A. teacher strike may be cutting edge of a revolution against what’s rotten in America


Joseph Zeccola, a part-time playwright and full-time educator whose passion in the classroom earned him Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year honors just last year, said he heard something recently from an out-of-state union activist that really stuck with him, that “the thing about teachers that makes us different is that we’re always adjusting to the status quo.”
Zeccola said he’s seen his fellow teachers — even himself — calmly accept that status quo over the last decade as tighter and tighter budgets started strangling classroom education in America’s second-largest city, even as the rest of L.A.'s vibrant economy was booming. That meant passive acceptance of skyrocketing class sizes that often jammed more than 40 kids into a room, or forcing schools to make painful spending decisions whether to make nurses, librarians, or mental health aides only part-time — or to ditch those vital services completely.
At the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies where Zeccola now teaches English and drama after working for years in economically distressed South Central L.A., the school found the cash to pay a librarian two days a week — two days more than many other nearby public schools.
“As an English teacher, there’s nothing more important for success in life than literacy,” he told me by phone Wednesday night, adding: “They also cut out the custodians. At my old school in South Central you could have eaten off the floors — now they mop it twice a month.”



When the calendar flipped over to 2019, Zeccola decided that enough was finally enough — and so did 33,000 other unionized school teachers in the City of Angels. Monday’s walk-out by the United Teachers Los Angeles — the city’s first teachers' strike in 30 years — is CONTINUE READING: L.A. teacher strike may be cutting edge of a revolution against what’s rotten in America | Will Bunch



The L.A. Teachers' Strike Highlights Growing Division On Who Decides: Parents or Government? #UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

The L.A. Teachers' Strike Highlights Growing Division On Who Decides: Parents or Government?

The L.A. Teachers' Strike Highlights Growing Division On Who Decides: Parents or Government?

TWEET THIS





Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaks during a teachers strike rally outside of John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Tens of thousands of teachers in Los Angeles walked off the job Monday after months of negotiations between their union and the second largest U.S. school district failed to resolve long-simmering disputes over pay raises, class sizes, inadequate support staffing and public funding for charter schools. Photographer: Scott Heins/Bloomberg© 2019 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP
The Los Angeles teachers’ strike is in its third day, with no end in sight and only about a quarter of the L.A. Unified School District’s 600,000 students attending classes, which are being taught by substitute teachers.
The strike by the 31,000 members of United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents not only teachers, but also nurses, counselors, and librarians, is ostensibly about higher pay and more benefits. That a teachers union, in California of all places, would need more pay and benefits is curious. After all, government unions—especially the teachers unions—enjoy enormous clout in California, from the governor’s office to the Democratic supermajority in the legislature down to local school districts.
But this strike really isn’t about just pay and benefits. It’s about charter schools—specifically, killing them . The real reason for the union’s concern was revealed when on the second day of the strike, the picketers mobbed the downtown L.A. headquarters of the California Charter Schools Association.
Charter schools in California are a form of public school, as they are elsewhere. They’re paid for by the same taxpayers who fund the traditional public school system, and generally, the same neighborhood families attend them. But charters have more flexible rules, less teacher union control, influence and representation. They allow for teacher merit pay, and, most importantly, management more in line with business practices than government bureaucracies. Another difference between charters and traditional schools is charters are schools of choice and cannot exist unless families CONTINUE READING: The L.A. Teachers' Strike Highlights Growing Division On Who Decides: Parents or Government?

Sweetwater Union – the Largest High School District in California – Is Under Attack by Charter School Proponents – Including the San Diego U-T and Voice of San Diego

Sweetwater Union – the Largest High School District in California – Is Under Attack by Charter School Proponents – Including the San Diego U-T and Voice of San Diego

Sweetwater Union – the Largest High School District in California – Is Under Attack by Charter School Proponents – Including the San Diego U-T and Voice of San Diego




Editordude: Here’s the latest post from Thomas Ultican about the latest shenanigans from local charter school supporters in their quest to undermine public education, how the students recruited from public schools into charter ones have drained public school districts’ funds, and how the Sweetwater Union High School District is under attack. In delving into the details, Ultican takes on the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Voice of San Diego for their unabashedly support for charter schools over public schools.
By Thomas Ultican / Tultican
The newly hired Chief Financial Officer of Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD), Jenny Salkeld, discovered a significant problem with the budget she inherited. She presented her findings to the Sweetwater leadership team in early September which forwarded her report onto the County Office of Education (COE). The SUHSD board also called in all bargaining units to suspend contract negotiations and inform them of the budgetary uncertainties. Sensationalism and subterfuge became the new reality in Chula Vista, California.
An October San Diego Union-Tribune article reported,
“On June 25, the school board approved a budget for this school year that assumed the district had spent $328 million in unrestricted funding last school year and had $17 million in reserves going into this school year. In September, Salkeld presented a report showing that the district actually had spent $20 million more than that and started this school year with a negative reserve balance of $4 million.
“On top of spending more than previously estimated, the district received $6 million less in one-time state funding than it had expected.”
After receiving Sweetwater’s alert about the accounting errors, the COE officially disapproved the 2018-19 budget the district had submitted. The reasons for disapproving the budget were the reasons Salkeld had reported.
Here are some other key points Ultican makes:
Apparently someone at the county leaked the budget information to the Voice of San Diego. The district which was in the process of understanding the extent of the problem did not have that opportunity. Instead they were faced with a withering public attack in both the CONTINUE READING: Sweetwater Union – the Largest High School District in California – Is Under Attack by Charter School Proponents – Including the San Diego U-T and Voice of San Diego



Betsy DeVos’ bet on boot camps

Betsy DeVos’ bet on boot camps

Betsy DeVos’ bet on boot camps
Why the Department of Education wants to get behind a popular—but unaccredited—new style of education.



As Americans look to build the skills they need for the fast-changing job market, a new type of education provider has swept onto the scene: the coding boot camp, an intensive, short-term training program for students trying to land high-tech jobs.

Although they still account for a tiny share of American higher education, they’re growing fast; last year the camps graduated 20,000 students, 20 percent up from the previous year. As more workers sign up, the camps are drawing attention from policymakers as an efficient, job-focused alternative to a costly and complicated higher-education system.

"These nontraditional technology education models are part of the solution to closing the skills gap,’’ Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said when he introduced legislation to promote coding camps for military veterans in 2017.

The appeal is easy to see: Instead of the big, expensive infrastructure of traditional higher ed, boot camps tend to be small, adaptable and infused with the kind of startup mentality that drives much of the high-tech job market. And graduates tend to see quick results: Many get jobs quickly with a salary boost that easily covers the average $12,000 tuition.

As boot camps proliferate, policymakers in Washington have been asking whether the federal government should get behind the idea—specifically, by opening up some of the $130 billion it doles out annually in student loan guarantees and Pell Grants for higher education. Currently, this aid can be used only for accredited schools, which means students can’t use federal grants or loans for coding camps, which are unaccredited and largely operate as for-profit businesses.

But the Trump administration, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, wants to expand alternatives to traditional higher education and loosen some federal restrictions to make it easier for accredited colleges and universities to partner with boot camp operators.

The Obama administration had already dipped a toe in that water, experimenting with allowing a small amount of federal aid to go to coding boot camps, among other types of nontraditional education providers. And Congress in 2017 added CONTINUE READING: Betsy DeVos’ bet on boot camps


Update: Day THREE Of The L.A. Teachers’ Strike | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... #UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Update: Day THREE Of The L.A. Teachers’ Strike | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

UPDATE: DAY THREE OF THE L.A. TEACHERS’ STRIKE










Diane Ravitch Speaks at the Los Angeles Teachers Strike - Network For Public Education #UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Diane Ravitch Speaks at the Los Angeles Teachers Strike - Network For Public Education

Diane Ravitch Speaks at the Los Angeles Teachers Strike








Diane Ravitch Speaks at the Los Angeles Teachers Strike - Network For Public Education

Education, Civil Rights, Civic and Child Advocacy Organizations Protest DeVos Action on School Discipline | janresseger

Education, Civil Rights, Civic and Child Advocacy Organizations Protest DeVos Action on School Discipline | janresseger

Education, Civil Rights, Civic and Child Advocacy Organizations Protest DeVos Action on School Discipline

Among the most important guarantees promised by public schools is the protection of children’s rights. Civil rights laws ban discrimination at school, and it is the established role of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to intervene when it can be shown that black and brown students or LGBTQ students or disabled students are being more severely punished and kicked out of school.  In late December, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker rolled back 2014, Obama era guidance (see here and here) that sought to eliminate very sizeable disparities in the number of out of school suspensions and expulsions by race, disability, and LGBTQ status.
Last week the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a powerful letter to DeVos and Whitaker, a letter endorsed by 75 national organizations and 45 state organizations protesting the scrubbing of these civil rights protections. The letter is signed by education organizations like the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and National Council of Teachers of English; civil rights groups including the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Indian Education Association, Human Rights Campaign, National Disability Rights Network, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center; a wide range of children’s and education advocacy groups including the Children’s Defense Fund, Democrats for Education Reform, National Black Child Development Institute, National Center for Learning Disabilities, Stand for Children, and the Education Trust; and civic organizations including the American Association of University Women, People for the American Way, National Urban League, PFLAG National, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Union for Reform Judaism.
It is worth reading the letter, which describes our society’s legal promise that schools will CONTINUE READING: Education, Civil Rights, Civic and Child Advocacy Organizations Protest DeVos Action on School Discipline | janresseger

Austin Beutner’s No Superintendent; He’s An Agent Of Austerity And Deception – redqueeninla #UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Austin Beutner’s No Superintendent; He’s An Agent Of Austerity And Deception – redqueeninla

Austin Beutner’s No Superintendent; He’s An Agent Of Austerity And Deception


For a financial whiz-kid, Austin Beutner seems strangely uncomprehending of numbers and inordinately fond of trumped-up figures.
Monday morning last he floated the patently absurd hypothesis that “…3,500 people were taking part in pickets at the schools”. Considering that UTLA is 34,000 strong (in LAUSD; that figure seems a little hard to pin down though so call it 32K +/- 2K), and 98% of the 81% voting members elected to strike, that  makes for approximately 25K (+/- 2K – see above) union members alone as a base for Monday’s strike, and that number’s only risen since then. Beyond that minimum is a small army of ancillary supporters– students, families, numerous allied local unions, even charter school union members. They’ve all been pounding the pavement in “support” of our teachers.  Which in itself is a bizarre concept considering there ought to be no antagonists at the table here.
So who’s this money maven helming LAUSD’s ship as it has careened toward calamitous closure?


He’s exactly the sort of guy feared when the term “Wall Street” is invoked.  An “econ” major from Dartmouth’s class of 1982, he’s one of those “Smartest Guys In The Room”, a financial “whiz-kid”, a “vulture capitalist” and venture philanthropist who essentially swings from one corporate liana to the next, leveraging buyouts into IPOs and sticking the rest of us with his hundred-million-dollar landings.
Beutner’s resume is not an educator’s, it’s a Wall Street Wolf’s. From Dartmouth CONTINUE READING: Austin Beutner’s No Superintendent; He’s An Agent Of Austerity And Deception – redqueeninla


John Engler Resigns as Michigan State Interim President, Says Sexual Abuse Victims “Enjoy Spotlight” | deutsch29

John Engler Resigns as Michigan State Interim President, Says Sexual Abuse Victims “Enjoy Spotlight” | deutsch29

John Engler Resigns as Michigan State Interim President, Says Sexual Abuse Victims “Enjoy Spotlight”



Former Michigan governor, John Engler, will resign effective January 23, 2019, from his position as Michigan State University (MSU) interim president following comments he made about victims of sexual predator and former USA gymnastics team doctor and MSU physician, Larry Nassar.
In discussing a fund to assist Nassar’s victims in a January 11, 2019, interview with Detroit News, Engler stated that some of Nassar’s victims are “enjoying the moment [in the] spotlight.” From Reuters via aol.com:
The university’s board had scheduled a meeting for Thursday [January 17, 2019] to discuss a “personnel action.” While it was not known what that action was to be, the meeting was to come on the heels of an interview with The Detroit News during which Engler said:
“You’ve got people, they are hanging on and this has been … there are a lot of people who are touched by this, survivors who haven’t been in the spotlight. In some ways they have been able to deal with this better than the ones who’ve been in the spotlight who are still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition. And it’s ending. It’s almost done.”
When he was Michigan’s governor, in 1993, Engler brought a 20-gauge, sawed-off shotgun into a meeting of Michigan legislators to sensationalize school choice as a way to save students from allegedly violent, traditional public schools. In CONTINUE READING: John Engler Resigns as Michigan State Interim President, Says Sexual Abuse Victims “Enjoy Spotlight” | deutsch29

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: The Unsurprising Teacher "Shortage"

CURMUDGUCATION: FL: The Unsurprising Teacher "Shortage"

FL: The Unsurprising Teacher "Shortage"


The Florida Department of Education has released a report on teacher shortages in the state, for the 2019-2019 school year, and the news is not great.

The news is not just that there's a shortage (that's old news), but that Florida deals with the shortages by filling classrooms with teachers uncertified for the subject. The news is also in where the shortages are being felt.

It's not unusual to see shortages in the special education area, and science also turns up on the list of shortages. But Florida's shortage areas include English, math, and reading, in addition to some science areas.


It is a puzzler, but let's drill down on some of the data, because the report has some really nice charts.

The report measures shortages with three different data points, then maths them together for an overall ranking, but the three categories are interesting. First, we consider the percentage of courses taught by people not appropriately certified. In that category, English ranks at the top, followed by reading, followed by Exceptional Student Education (that's pretty much every kind of special ed). ESOL (ESL) comes  in fourth, followed by general science and then math. The English is surprising-- since when have English and Reading been hard spots to fill.

If we look at projected openings (as reported by districts) a different pattern emerges. The top category for expected vacancies is elementary education. Elementary education comes in dead last CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: FL: The Unsurprising Teacher "Shortage"


Why the L.A. teachers strike is so uncomfortable for so many Democrats - The Washington Post #UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Why the L.A. teachers strike is so uncomfortable for so many Democrats - The Washington Post

Why the L.A. teachers strike is so uncomfortable for so many Democrats

Hey @arneduncan, why is it that when it came to guns in schools you were all for kids striking, but when their teachers want guidance counselors instead of arm[ed] guards, you blast them?
Randi Weingarten
That’s the text of a tweet that Randi Weingarten, the Democratic president of the American Federation of Teachers, directed at Arne Duncan, the Democratic former secretary of education, on the same day a massive teachers strike began in Los Angeles, which has the second-largest school system in the country.
Weingarten was referring to an op-ed that Duncan, who worked under President Barack Obama for seven years, wrote in the Hill. Duncan opposes the strike called by the 33,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles, saying it is students who will get hurt by the labor action.
Not surprisingly, Los Angeles teachers were furious, union President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in an interview Wednesday. “Our members were enraged to see Arne Duncan and [former Democratic Los Angeles Mayor] Antonio Villaraigosa shaking their finger at them telling them not to go on strike when you could count on your hands and toes how many days these guys have spent in a classroom with the conditions that our folks deal with,” he said.
t wasn’t the first time Democratic-led unions have clashed with Duncan and his school reform camp. In her one-sentence tweet Monday, Weingarten underscored the very real divisions among Democrats about public education today — how schools should operate and what kind of schools the public should pay for.
The strike in Los Angeles is about money: The teachers want more funding for pay raises and for schools strapped for resources. But there’s an underlying theme: Does a genuine public commitment exist to support traditional public school districts against privatization efforts? And it’s not just Republicans vs. Democrats. Democrats have been fighting one another over the future of public education for years.
The strike entered its third day Wednesday, with thousands of teachers and their supporters walking picket lines and marching. Caputo-Pearl said union protests were concentrated in six areas of Los Angeles, causing CONTINUE READING: Why the L.A. teachers strike is so uncomfortable for so many Democrats - The Washington Post