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Monday, January 7, 2019

UTLA goes to court in response to a third desperate legal threat by LAUSD | UTLA #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

UTLA goes to court in response to a third desperate legal threat by LAUSD | UTLA

UTLA goes to court in response to a third desperate legal threat by LAUSD 

LOS ANGELES —  UTLA is going to court this week to respond to yet another threat of desperate legal action by LAUSD. Depending on the outcome, and if no agreement is reached, the Jan. 10 strike date could be moved a few days later. On Friday, the federal court threw out Beutner’s attempt at an offensive special education injunction to stop a strike, and we expect PERB to dismiss his request for another injunction based on unsubstantiated bad faith bargaining claims in the next few days.
UTLA goes to court proactively this week to scuttle his third attempt at an injunction, based on a disingenuous claim that UTLA did not give sufficient notice of our intent to strike.
“He is desperate to contain our collective power and the only way he knows how to do it is through costly legal maneuvers,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “We are going to court to proactively fight against it and to defend our right to advocate for students and strike if necessary.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, UTLA will be meeting with LAUSD in the hopes that the district will finally have a meaningful proposal to settle the contract. We are going into bargaining with an open mind, but the onus is on Beutner to give us something different instead of more of the same unacceptable proposals. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl will also be a part of this meeting.
“UTLA will engage in whatever talks are possible to avoid a strike, but the district must be willing to spend a substantial portion of its record-breaking $1.9 billion reserve to serve our students and must engage our full package of proposals rather than dismiss them,” Caputo-Pearl said.
If Beutner succeeds with his latest legal maneuver, it will be a fleeting victory because it will only delay UTLA’s right to strike by a few days.
“Beutner is pursuing a flurry of desperate lawsuits because that’s who he has on his side: expensive anti-union lawyers,” Caputo-Pearl said. “Beutner is running scared from the movement we have built for public education—the movement that led to a decisive 98% strike vote, the movement that put more than 50,000-plus parents, teachers, community members, and students in the streets on December 15, and the movement that will carry us to victory for our schools.”UTLA goes to court in response to a third desperate legal threat by LAUSD | UTLA

LOIS WEINER: Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters

Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters
This week's Los Angeles teachers strike starkly poses the question: will the public or privatizers control public education?

The January 10 strike date announced by the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) has heightened tensions in an already contentious dispute with Los Angeles Superintendent Austin Beutner, who represents the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in negotiations. However, far more is at stake in Los Angeles and for the rest of us than a traditional contract struggle.
Given how many students LAUSD educates, the possibility of a strike by its union is huge news. LAUSD has 694,000 in its schools. The entire state of Oklahoma educates about that same number of students in its public schools.
The reforms LAUSD has demanded in Los Angeles schools are based on the bipartisan project to convert public education into a lucrative market for wealthy investors. Merrill-Lynch heralded this change in a 1999 report for prospective investors: “A new mindset is necessary, one that views families as customers, schools as ‘retail outlets’ where educational services are received, and the school board as a customer service department that hears and addresses parental concerns.”
Networks of wealthy billionaires and the foundations they create have advocated and imposed reforms nationally, even globally, we see today in LA schools: using standardized tests to control what and how children learn; creating charter schools to weaken neighborhood schools and undermine parent loyalty to public education; creating new revenue sources for corporations to profit from education; and weakening teachers unions. The “portfolio model” LAUSD has announced it will adopt fragments the school system into networks operated by private charter management organizations.
The explicit rationale for the portfolio model is enhancing “choice,” providing more and better educational options for low-income children of color. But research by scholars who work independent of think-tank funding documents that privatization has increased school segregation and racial disparities CONTINUE READING: Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters

Once Again With Feeling: Is LAUSD _Really_ Going Bust? – redqueeninla #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Once Again With Feeling: Is LAUSD _Really_ Going Bust? – redqueeninla

Once Again With Feeling: Is LAUSD _Really_ Going Bust?

This essay was first published April 3, 2017. It concerns persistent LAUSD budgeting chicanery, and the narrative extended to surround it.
Nothing has changed; not the past numbers or their variance from future projections, not the unfolding reality which reveals how conservative planning shortchanges immediate needs. Suffused with fear and doubt, stakeholders are distracted from the means to realize the democratic entitlement of a truly public education. It is the responsibility of educators and their managers, to spend funds designed to educate children on educating children:
¿¿Is LAUSD REALLY Going Bust??
Not at the moment. Have a look at this table:

All of the recent years for which final (“actual”) budget data are published show every single annual budget has finished in the black. This graph tracks the inflow of revenues (sum of dark and light grey bars), which have outpaced the outflow of expenditures (blue bar) in the LAUSD General Fund (GF) over the last eight years. While the entirety of the LAUSD budget includes various capital and internal funds, for the purposes of tracking the actual operating budget, these GF revenues and expenditures are of most importance. The amount unspent every year is represented by the green bar, and labeled in green. “▲” green figures indicate that the net (what’s left after expenditures come out of revenues) is ‘positive’; the GF was operating without a loss. Both “restricted” (e.g., Federal Title 1 (low income) funds) and “unrestricted” (e.g., discretionary funds available to address school-site-specific priorities) funds are included here. Prior to 2007 CONTINUE READING: Once Again With Feeling: Is LAUSD _Really_ Going Bust? – redqueeninla

Alex Caputo-Pearl: Why LA Teachers May Be Forced to Strike | Diane Ravitch's blog #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Alex Caputo-Pearl: Why LA Teachers May Be Forced to Strike | Diane Ravitch's blog

Alex Caputo-Pearl: Why LA Teachers May Be Forced to Strike

Alex Caputo-Pearl is president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles. He explains why teachers may strike.
He writes:
Teachers in Los Angeles may be forced to strike on Jan. 10.
The Los Angeles Unified School District has a record-breaking reserve of nearly $2 billion that should be spent on its resource-starved students. Yet Supt. Austin Beutner, a multimillionaire with experience in corporate downsizing but none in education, argues that the reserve is already accounted for in future spending, and that cuts should be made. He simultaneously refuses to talk about charter school regulations, calling the issue a “shiny ball” that distracts from the real issues.
District officials have cast the impasse as a funding problem. But at its heart, the standoff between L.A. Unified and United Teachers Los Angeles is a struggle over the future of public education.
Consider the conditions within the district. Class sizes often exceed 45 students in secondary schools; 35 students in upper elementary grades; and 25 students in lower elementary grades.
The district does not have nearly enough counselors, psychologists or librarians to give students the support they need, and 80% of schools CONTINUE READING: Alex Caputo-Pearl: Why LA Teachers May Be Forced to Strike | Diane Ravitch's blog

CURMUDGUCATION: Why You Can't Fire Your Way To Excellence

CURMUDGUCATION: Why You Can't Fire Your Way To Excellence

Why You Can't Fire Your Way To Excellence

For some reformsters and accountability hawks, the dream remains the same-- find those Bad Teachers, fire them, and replace them with Awesome Teachers. Crack the accountability whip and fire our way to excellence.

We have discussed some of the obvious flaws with this approach. How do you even define a Bad Teacher, and is it a permanent condition or a day-to-day variable? How do you find your Bad Teachers if you are using a crappy invalid system like test-based VAMification? And where is your magical tree that is so ripe with a limitless supply of Awesome Teachers?

There's another reason that this approach won't work. We can start to see it if we ask the question, "Why is the Bad Teacher bad?" But so far that has led to more criticism of teacher preparation programs.

So let me trot out, again, my favorite W. Edwards Deming observation. It's not a quote exactly, because he made the point several ways without ever reducing it to a handy aphorism. But here's the basic idea:

So you're firing the deadwood in your organization. Was it dead when you hired it? Or did you hire a live tree and then kill it?

Was that teacher bad from Day One? Well, then-- who hired her? Who looked at her credentials and leafed through her records and recommendations and interviewed her face to face and maybe even watched her teach a sample lesson and through all that, never once saw the signs that she was a less-than-stellar prospect? And why is that-- do you not know what question to ask CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: Why You Can't Fire Your Way To Excellence

Vaping in the Classroom | deutsch29

Vaping in the Classroom | deutsch29

Vaping in the Classroom

One of the challenges of being a public high school teacher is developing a constant awareness of what is transpiring in my classroom. Even when I conference individually with my student, my eyes and ears are open in a hyper-observant manner that I have cultivated over decades.
Of course, times change, and over those decades, what I’ve needed to pay attention to has evolved– including smoking, it seems.
Now, there’s vaping.
I saw a commercial for vaping in which the advertiser stated that vaping is meant to help smokers who are trying to quit.
Nice try.
As that advertiser was speaking, I was hearing my own high-school-classroom, overlay script:
Vaping makes it easier for teenagers to access nicotine without being detected. Why, they can even vape during class, in the classroom, and many teachers would not even realize it because it would not occur to them to even consider that it could happen. Oh, yes, and that means we will make a load of money off of teens even as we promote the idea that Smoking Is Bad for Your Health.
Vaping in class– during class! I learned that this was possible only months ago. And part of the problem for many school districts is that they may not have CONTINUE READING: Vaping in the Classroom | deutsch29

Can the LAUSD Ensure Student Safety During a Strike? #REDFORED #UTLAStrong #StrikeReady #March4Ed #WeAreLA

Can the LAUSD Ensure Student Safety During a Strike?

Can the LAUSD Ensure Student Safety During a Strike?

– Exhibit A in LAUSD Court Filing
For over 25 years the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has been unable to satisfy the terms of a Consent Decree meant to ensure that students with special education needs receive the education that they are entitled to by law. Yet when faced with a strike by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the District has suddenly shown a concern “that students with disabilities not be deprived of legally-mandated services.” Therefore, lawyers for the District asked the court to enjoin “UTLA, its officers, and representatives from causing, encouraging, condoning, or participating in any strike, slowdown, or other work stoppage by any UTLA bargaining unit member who provides educational services to LAUSD special education students.
Included in the motion filed by the LAUSD is a statement that “students with serious disabilities will be placed in extreme danger of injury due to lack of trained personnel or supervision.” According to the District, these students “could get hurt, hurt themselves, or hurt others” if teachers, counselors, school psychologists, and therapists are allowed to participate in the strike. In summary, a strike would threaten “the health and safety of students” and “affected special education students will be irreparably harmed”.
Without commenting on LAUSD’s claims about the danger faced by CONTINUE READING: Can the LAUSD Ensure Student Safety During a Strike?