Sunday, September 15, 2013

SM@TCF: Los Angeles parent-activist sounds off on CCSS

First published on LA Schools Matter on September 14, 2013

"We had 23 different language groups at my son's school. How can one common core be relevant to all of these very different people?" — Teresa Sitz, LAUSD Parent-Activist

I founded Communities & Families Resisting Proposition 39 Charter Colocations along with several families fighting against the privatization project's latest ploy, the colocation. While the group was pretty 90026 specific (we have two colocations in our community), it grew quickly throughout Los Angeles.

Common Core State Standards CCSS represent the corporate sector's latest attempts to privatize education and cash in on harmful standardized testingAs the group grew, its focus broadened to cover all school privatization and the neoliberal corporate reform project in general. Over the weekend one parent asked about Corporate/Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Paraphrasing, she said she understood the whole opposition based on the profit motive behind CCSS, but asked why national standards were bad in general. There were a lot of excellent responses, but one of the most interesting came from a prominent Silver Lake parent-activist named Teresa Sitz. It was so cogent, I felt it needed a larger audience than that of a facebook message board. Here it is in its entirety.

From what I understand, and I haven't looked at this deeply, school districts have to buy (rent) the common core at an exorbitant price that drains funds from the everyday running of schools. The money - billions - goes to for-profit corporations who have lobbied heavily to implement what for them is a cash cow. In essence it's a transfer of wealth (tax payer dollars) from the poor to the rich. ALEC is a principle lobbyist. This is no small thing.

I don't know that you can tease out possible benefits from the corporate interests, but here are another couple of things to consider. I believe this locks down curriculum, so a teacher teaching inner city students, who in their class might be behind in reading, couldn't add the book ALWAYS RUNNING, for instance, to their class. Teachers have to stick to corporate/state approved curriculum even if it has no relevance to the students and the students do not engage. The teacher's hands are tied.

This won't be implemented in private schools - it's only for public schools - a grand experiment on the poor. Our corporate and state leaders are not famed for their promotion of critical thinking. In addition, would we need real teachers to teach the core? If you just follow a standard dictated day by day, couldn't any Teach for America employee with 5 weeks of training step in and act as the teachista? Doesn't it take someone with a background in critical thinking, with a background in education, highly qualified, to teach critical thinking?

What about schools with highly successful programs like MAS (Mexican American Studies). Sorry. Success doesn't matter. Keeping the steady stream of money flowing to the corporations to fund a state sponsored curriculum that may be entirely irrelevant to students and families is a type of violence. Students and families want to see their own lives reflected in their studies instead of having their cultures ignored and whitewashed.

We had 23 different language groups at my son's school. How can one common core be relevant to all of these very different people? You need fully qualified and supported teachers to reach all of these students. Education in our very diverse culture cannot be one-size-fits-all.

Common standards have been tried in the past and failed. I believe the common core might be tied to federal funds so the poorest school districts would be blackmailed into funding it just as they are with No Child Left Behind and other unfortunate reforms. Not exactly consensus or adoption - more like another state-sponsored corporate giveaway.

solidaridad: Developmentally Inappropriate Common Core Standards

Dr. Megan Koschnick discusses the inappropriateness of the Common Core Standards for K-3 at the Common Core Conference held at Notre Dame on September 9, 2013. H/T @slekar

Trinational Coalition's statement of support for teachers in Mexico

Trinational Coalition to Defend Public EducationLETTERS TO THE GOVERNMENT CAN BE SENT TO:
Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos

Secretario de Estado

Secretaria de Educación Pública

Maestra Graciela Rangel de Michoacán sección XVIII:
Prof. Eligio Hernández de Oaxaca XXII:

We stand in solidarity with the teachers of CNTE in Mexico who are calling upon the government for a genuine dialogue, that their demands be acknowledged and that violent repression not be used against the nationwide movement in defense of public education as it was today in Mexico City. The rights to assemble and express legitimate concerns are rights that are inalienable rights that are part of the civil and democratic freedoms for which humanity has fought and died for during the last two centuries.

WHEREVER POSSIBLE, ORGANIZE DEMONSTRATIONS IN FRONT OF MEXICAN CONSULATES AND TAKE PHOTOS TO BE SENT TO THE SAME ADDRESSES AS THE COPIES OF PROTEST LETTERS. Even a photo of 5 people in front of a consulate is a tremendous morale booster for our brothers and sisters fighting against the destruction of teacher unions & public education!

Hi all,

Here is a copy of the letter that the US section of the Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education to Defend Public Education send to the protesting teachers in Mexico. Use it as a template and send copies to:
Maestra Graciela Rangel de Michoacán sección XVIII:
Prof. Eligio Hernández de Oaxaca XXII:

September 13, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education-USA extends our support for your valiant and militant struggle to defend not just your rights as teachers and trade unionists, but the Mexican people's right to a public education that is guaranteed in your federal constitution. We applaud your courageous resistance against implementation of the present changes in the constitution which would use standardized tests for teachers to be hired and to keep their jobs, standardized tests for students that will limit their future opportunities in life as well as reducing federal funding to state and local schools. These changes will have the worst impact on the poorest states and communities, especially those whose population mainly speak languages other than Spanish.

We face similar attacks in the United States of America under the guise of “reform”. Your struggle for educational and union justice is an inspiration to us about how teachers and communities can unite to defend public education. You have clarified for the world that the forces behind these so-called reforms are powerful corporate interest that intend to privatize public education.

In solidarity,
Rosemary Lee,


Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education-section USA

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Joining Forces for Education's statement on using Broad's Jaime Aquino's resignation to push for authentic reforms

"Once Broad alumni are working inside the education system, they naturally favor hiring other Broadies, which ups the leverage…" — Sharon Higgins

Plutocrat Eli BroadWhile Los Angeles' corporate media bemoans scoundrel Jaime Aquino's resignation, replete with descriptions of tears from fellow Broadyte John Deasy, there are other voices that see the fall of one of Eli Broad's key chess pieces as an opportunity to demand genuine community input into the hiring of high level administrators running 333 S. Beaudry Avenue (aka Broad's Eastern Palace). Joining Forces for Education, an organization formed in response to Ben Austin and Parent Revolution's vicious attack on the former Weigand principal, issued a powerful statement and call to action today in response to Aquino's resignation.

I'm including the unedited letter from Joining Forces for Education in its entirety here. This needs to be disseminated far and wide. Their call not only for community participation, but for an end to Deasy's abject reign dovetails neatly with the LAUSDHope Campaign to remove Deasy and give the public authentic input into his successor.

Time is of the Essence to raise public voices in the choice of new senior LAUSD administrators.

With the resignation on Friday, Sept. 13.  of Asst. Supt of LAUSD, Jaime Aquino, we, the public, have an opportunity to influence the hiring of new administrators. 

Since Supt. Deasy will be evaluated by the Board at their next meeting, and his contract is in real jeopardy due to the iPad fiasco for which we California taxpayers will be on the hook for decades, possibly a search will be made for both a Supt, and an Asst. Supt.  There will be a closed meeting this Tuesday of the LAUSD School Board, at 200 S. Beaudry Street location.  Some people have asked me to announce that a community group is forming and will be on the sidewalk with signs and handouts.  Any readers here who are with media, please note this, and readers feel free to send this entire email to others.

1.  FACTS....

When Supt. Deasy was hired, we know there was no search and no competition. Eli Broad mandated to the Board that they hire Deasy, and they did and Aquino was their choice for second in command.  Now we have a new composition on the Board who could be better overseers of public schools and taxpayer money in the future.

With all the Deasy messes at LAUSD,

....and his questionable PhD credentials, and his work for the privatizers like Broad whose Academy trained and graduated him, and Gates who hired him for a short time....

....and his generous fee paid to his academic mentor (who awarded him the questionable doctorate in a few months and with only 9 units) by hiring him as a consultant, raising the issue of quid pro quo at a cost of taxpayer funds of approximately $375,000 (with this mentor now in prison for defrauding millions from the U. of Louisville),

....and for a plethora of poorly conceived decisions like 'teacher jail'  and his hidden actions with Miramonte School,

....and the arbitrary firings. 

For these, and those many things that have been done so 'rapidly' like the shutting down of successful bottom-up programs at Crenshaw HS (where, last week he fired all the teachers who complained including math teacher of 20 years Alex Caputo-Pearl who is/was running for President of UTLA), Verdugo HS, Hamilton HS, and others, where he derided programs designed from bottom-up with teacher/community success, and shut them down in favor of his own administrators and even embedded some charters. 

For all this, perhaps the LAUSD School Board will decide he is a detriment to LA's schools, students, and taxpayers, and will fire him in their next evaluation this month.  Also, since the preponderance of teachers voted 'no confidence' in him, the Board will do a fair and proper search for the two top positions in LAUSD. 


Let's all join together NOW and make our voices heard by demanding of the Board that they stop being ruled by Eli Broad and his profiteer ilk, and that they institute a new regime of fairness by having a committee comprised of local citizens, local educators, local parents all involved in the wide search for a new Asst Supt, and may be for a Supt...but these all vetted carefully by real people in conjunction with the Board.  We should not have input from politicians and privatizers, but only from sincere supporters of public schools. No Blue Ribbon Committee needed or wanted...none of those who impede a fair selection such as charter promoters Melendez, Sullivan, Riordan, Mrs. Eric Garcetti, Eli Broad, Villaraigosa, Nunez and his boss, Rhee.  Just we plain folks who know the issues and we who pay for all this.

3.  SPEAK OUT NOW by...

writing/calling the LA Times and the LA Weekly, the State Supt. of Education, the Governor, the LA Board of Supervisors, the LA City Council,

contacting other media sources and all the teachers' unions,

and contacting each LAUSD School Board member.

Urge them all to do the right thing for public education and never again be duped and ruled by Broad and his other free market investor-minded cohorts such as Gates, Bloomberg, Murdoch, and the Waltons.  Students and education cannot be successful if run on a profit making business model, and students are not widgets that can all fit into the same sort of testing mode as Common Core which Deasy pushes. 

4. Conclusions...

Billionaire investors who see public education as a great profit opportunity should not be influencing public school board elections such as our recent two, and others nationwide, with huge donations to candidates who are willing to sell themselves for profit. We beat them  this year at this intrusive undemocratic venture by electing teachers Steve Zimmer and Monica Ratliff, who both campaigned on a pittance in comparison with their billionaire financed opponents.

They showed us that change can happen.

Even Governor Jerry Brown, with vast public and teacher pressure, has done an about face on the Obama/Duncan Common Core edicts, and Brown seems to agree with slowing down the process of CC testing. This past weekend was monumental with two of our legislators writing and carrying a bill to NOT test California students on Common Core in 2014 as mandated, but to wait until the students at least study this curriculum before testing.  Brown will probably sign this immediately.   The LA Times and other news sources had reported this testing would be done in January, 2014, and only grades 3 - 8 plus 11 would be electronically tested...but the big caveat was that NO ONE would see the results, not parents, nor teachers, nor the public. This certainly would have been to protect the CC 'pushers' from the scathing results that NYC recently proffered whereby around 90% of students were labeled as failures. It is all online for you to research.  Of course, it would also have meant that 8 year olds would take the test with no keypads, and no ability to even use a keypad, this due to the failure of Deasy and Aquino whose outrageously expensive iPad decisions were so ill-conceived.  This test is mandated for English Language Learners, and also Special Education and Learning Disabled students...and it is time-specific.  Visualize all this...and ask yourself how the outcomes of this testing could ever be accurate.

5. DO IT NOW...

Please get involved Right Now...and join in on this and educate and encourage your own constituencies to immediately write/call all suggested contacts and insist on this public, not political, committee to vet all candidates.   If the Board agrees right now, we can tap volunteers for the committee make up.  This can all be done rapidly online with the active participation of all of us.

Joining Forces for Education

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Group to protest Deasy's corporate reform regime

An anonymous group has announced a protest and press conference at LAUSD Headquarters on September 11, 2013. The rally is planned for Noon and the press conference is slated for 5:00 PM.

Among their list of complaints is the iPad boondoggle and the singular focus on standardized tests.

Los Angeles Unified School District
333 S. Beaudry Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Friday, August 23, 2013

We support public education because it is a pillar of our democratic society

"We support public education because it is a pillar of our democratic society. We support schools that offer a full and rich curriculum for all children, including the arts, physical education, history, civics, foreign languages, literature, mathematics, and the sciences."—Professor Diane Ravitch

Sunday, July 28, 2013

School choice, it's the new apartheid. Proposition 39 illustrated!

First published on tumblr on July 28, 2013

From the Communities & Families Resisting Proposition 39 Charter Colocations group on Facebook. The photograph is from a LAUSD public school with a Proposition 39 charter colocation on its campus. The privately managed charter corporation, with its extra funds donated by right-wing plutocrats, has resources to provide arts and other activities for students that public school students are denied. Here a performance at the charter school in which the children listen to a song about loving everyone—while the public school children look on through a chain link fence.

School choice, it's the new apartheid. Proposition 39 is the tacit reinstitution of Plessy v. Ferguson. Join the struggle to end the lucrative charter industry and return education to the realm of public commons governed by the public.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Contractor using charter school construction as a tax shelter for condos and commercial space?

"Jose Huizar is a land use attorney. He was just named the head or chair of the city's land Use Committee. Monica Garcia represents the area where the new proposed charter will be." — Dr. John Fernandez

It's no secret that some of the primary sources of income generated by the lucrative charter school sector are construction and real estate. Los Angeles Unified School District's District 2 has been a windfall for land transactions and real estate swindles both under Board Member José Huizar (whose Chief of Staff was Mónica García), and his successor, the incumbent Mónica García. The latest shady deal in District 2? Read the following reprint of a facebook post from folks living in the targeted area.

Did you know that a developer has purchased 3 vacant lots on Lombardy/Eastern and has submitted a variance to change to zoning from residential to commercial and to change the height limitations and to construct a 500+ student charter school, a 20 unit apartments building or 20 condos, and a 2000+ square foot cafe.

Some neighbors on Kimball have impressively compiled the attached information, organized, and obtained signatures from residents/homeowners from over 130 of the 156 homes within 500 feet of the project, opposing the project as written.

You may want to look at these items on the attachment:
Mitigated Negative Declaration pg 11
Traffic Study p 33

A group of neighbors is going to make public comments on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. The Friday hearing is the most important day, as the zoning administrator will make a recommendation on whether to approve of the variance requests.

Maybe you can come by.

Wednesday, July 10
LA32 Neighborhood Council General Board Meeting
6:00p.m.- 9:00p.m.
El Sereno Senior Center.
4818 Klamath Pl.

Thursday, July 11
Land Use and Development Committee Meeting
6:00PM – 7:00PM
4927 Huntington Drive North,
3rd Floor Conference Room

Friday, July 12th
Department of City Planning - Public Hearing
LA City Hall
200 N. Spring St.
10th Floor, Room 1010
Hearing Officer: Lynda Smith 213-978-1196;

LArepresents: Emperor has no clothes? iPad giveaway to cost LAUSD $1Billion

'By the time we know whether the brave new technology helps, the computer industry will be much wealthier and the schools much poorer. And if it doesn't help, teachers will be blamed and the "reformers"  will call for more technology.' — Professor Stephen Krashen

LArepresents is an activist group that has created a whole series of videos in defense of public education. One of their latest videos and corresponding caption is causing quite a still in LAUSD.

Emperor has no clothes? iPad giveaway to cost LAUSD $1Billion


  1. The cost is estimated to be $1 Billion in first 4 years alone (ipads, infrastructure, etc.)
  2. LAUSD only has $7 Billion in bonds left, but needs many times that for facility improvements. How has the iPad giveaway become such a top priority?
  3. iPads are obsolete after 3 years, but bond money has to be repaid for 25-30years, what a poor use of so much bond money!
  4. Apple will only replace up to 5% of broken, lost, stolen iPads, with 3 year warranty. But at a pilot program in the UK, breakage rate was 50% in just 1st year! Learn more here:
  5. So is this just a ploy for superintendent John Deasy to get on the cover the nation's newspapers, at the expense of taxpayers and our children?
  6. Kids can get beaten up on the way to school for having just $5-10. How can we endanger kids by requiring them to take home a $678 device?
  7. Isn't LAUSD liable for any bullying or other inappropriate usage of the device?
  8. What happens after the 3 year warranty when iPads are no longer replaced? For example in a classroom with only 20 iPads for 30 kids...who gets to take one home, and who doesn't?
  9. Phase 1 (47 schools) which was approved in June 2013 is supposed to be a "Pilot Program". Students get iPads when school starts (August 13). But how can a Pilot Program last only 1 month before LAUSD Board votes on Phase 2 in September, which if approved iPads will be given to half of all LAUSD schools? What is this a joke? You can't possibly get any meaningful data/analysis to make such a huge decision in such a short turnaround. The Pilot Program, or Phase 1, should last at least 1 full school year.
  10. Remember LAUSD's last colossal IT failure? It was the BTS payroll scandal. Read more:

LAUSD Board Members, voters are watching you! Phase 1 was approved without dissent. Phase 2 (approximately half LAUSD schools) is coming up this Fall 2013. Phase 3 (remaining schools) in early 2014.

1st public speaker: 1:09
2nd public speaker: 4:27
Mr. Vladovic: 8:05
Mr. Zimmer: 17:20
Ms. Lamotte: 29:31
Mr. Zimmer: 32:44
Ms. Galatzan: 35:24
Ms. Garcia: 40:04
Ms. Lamotte: 42:45
Ms. Garcia: 44:24
Michelle King, Deputy Sup't: 45:07
Mr. Vladovic: 46:19
Board Votes: 47:35

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Parent exposes Citizens of the World Charter Corporation's misdeeds part 1

'"We have no say in what sort of fences they raise between us and them. I don't think it's right that charter students will eat a catered organic lunch, while our students receive reheated foods wrapped in plastic. What signs they place on the walls, what field trips they go on, that will be different than our kids' field trips. There is no standard, no explanation. It's chaotic because nobody really devised a plan. It's just a sign of the gradual advance of corporate America into our public schools," states parent Jordan Crane.' — Lulu Wilson

Parent exposes Citizens of the World Charter CorporationCitizens of the World Charter Corporation (CWC) was founded by a number of school privatization veterans with an existing track record of scandals and malfeasance. From J. Kristean Dragon's "double-dealing" at her Wonder of Reading project, to segregation scoundrel Eric Grannis, to I tell racist jokes to my employees Mark Gordon, CWC's board members and executives are a microcosm of how the charter school industry attracts all sorts of duplicitous types. A local parent who has been intimately involved with CWC has released a mother load of emails and documents to LA Schools Matter that they said the corporate media wouldn't write about. We will be releasing this information as time permits in hopes that criminal investigations will be lodged and these unscrupulous individuals find long vacations as guests of the California Department of Corrections.

email regarding CWC's Free and Reduced Lunch Eligible student scam

California Education Law says charter schools have to admit everyone who wants in, and use a lottery if there's more interest than space available. California Education Law does not say that filling quotas for Free and Reduced Lunch Eligible students (FRL) is more important than admitting all students who want in.

Citizens of the World Charter Corporation (CWC) had a charter approved over a year ago to open a school in Mar Vista. They already have a $575,000 Public Charter Schools Grant Program ( PCSGP) grant in place. They already applied for a $300,000 California Revolving Fund loan and got it, they already have an open $150,000 line of credit to cover disbursement delays, and they already have $450,000 start up loan available from their "national" entity. Money is not a problem.

CWC applied for Prop 39 space from both Braddock Elementary School, and Stoner Elementary School (a 100% FRL school). They got approved to occupy both spaces for 2013-2014, fulfilling their needs to open according to their enrollment mission/vision as a full K-3. (Described in their charter).

CWC went in front of the School Board April 19, 2013 and was granted a lottery preference for FRL students, to "fulfill their socio-economic diversity goals, in accordance with their charter." They got the preference by only one vote, Zimmer, who waited til the end to cast his vote, if I remember correctly. Galatzan chastised CWC, saying that quotas are wrong and that she suspected they were using FRL's to strategize for funding. You can see this in the video.

It was widely known that CWC had failed to do adequate outreach at the low income housing centers around the two co-locating sites. They were very worried that they did not have sufficient applications for full enrollment as it was envisioned in their charter, nor did they have adequate numbers of FRL applicants.

CWC held its lottery for Mar Vista after the April 19, 2013 Board meeting, weighing FRL's 4:1. But because they had done such an awful job of outreach to FRLs, and couldn't get enough interest in the school, they declined the Prop 39 offer on May 1, 2013, deciding that they would not open the site at Braddock, even though they had all the elements in place to do it. They had everything they needed but denied Mar Vista hopefuls the chance for a spot at CWC.

  1. They had the funding, plenty of it
  2. They had key staff already in place
  3. They had Prop 39 classrooms they needed to open at both sites as a full k-3
  4. They had more than 500 applicants wanting to attend
  5. They chose to deny entry to students who wanted in just to serve CWC's own interests
  6. They declined the 5 classrooms confirmed at Braddock to "open smaller" and get a higher number of FRL students
  7. They should have let everyone in who wanted in, even if it meant having more Kindergarten and 1st grade classes
  8. This same scenario happened last year at Silverlake, and they had to open with 5 Kindergarten classes

Instead, CWC broke the law. They opened smaller to ensure the FRL quota, instead of following California laws.

A Braddock Elementary School PTA member has documentation and witness sources from the housing projects in the area. CWC failed in their outreach efforts to this community and used the LAUSD lottery preferences to get themselves the quotas they were looking for to qualify for Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars. If they had actually let in all the Kindergarteners who wanted spots, they would be much farther from the FRL quota and its bonus money.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

¡Venceremos! Join the community search for a new LAUSD superintendent!

An open letter and call to action to our LAUSD community and national education experts like Professor Ravitch regarding the urgent search for a new LAUSD Superintendent

UPDATE August 2014

If the union is sound and the teachers voted of their own free will, then the relationship between the school superintendent and the teachers is not simply bad, but dysfunctional of historic proportions. — Professor Bill Tierney

¡Venceremos! Join the community search for a new LAUSD superintendent!When John Deasy was proffered by Eli Broad and Mayor Villaraigosa as the sole candidate to replace the retiring Ramon C. Cortines, there was no attempt to consider the appropriate superintendent for the community. Even the typically equivocating Los Angeles School District (LAUSD) Board Member Steve Zimmer voiced serious concerns:

"We didn't have a process — internal or external — for the most important job in public education in the United States right now," he tells the Weekly. "It has nothing to do with John Deasy. I'm a big fan. ... But I can't be sure that I got the best person for the job if I didn't get to even talk to anybody else."

Democracies depend on processes. There was no process with Deasy. No vetting. No considering the pro and cons of multiple candidates. The only words that could begin to describe his installment are coronation and ordination.

Far more corporate executive than educator, Deasy's reign as LAUSD Superintendent been an abject exercise in neoliberalism. Marked first by a rash of school closures, reconstitutions, and new school giveaways to private institutions, Deasy made it clear to Los Angeles that he would indeed put his ideology derived from his stints at at the Broad Superintendents Academy and the Gates Foundation before the needs of students and community. There's a litany of complaints against Deasy, most of which are related to callous cuts to vital programs, wasteful and inappropriate spending priorities, adoption of discredited and unproven policies, defiance towards our publicly elected schoolboard, and open hostility towards the very educators tasked with teaching our community's children.

However, this isn't the space to discuss Deasy's glaring shortcomings and myriad failures as superintendent. Given that his only supporters are billionaires, nonprofits that are funded by those selfsame billionaires, and the disgraced former Mayor, there is no longer any reason for this individual to continue his neoliberal project of dismantling our public commons. Instead we are commencing the search for a new superintendent now so that we don't end up in the same situation as we did when Deasy was crowned.

To that end, we are soliciting a list of viable superintendent candidates we feel will best serve the students of Los Angeles. We are also soliciting a list of attributes the community wants our next superintendent to have. Some starter items are here, but it's important that this is a community project, so we want people to submit their suggestions here. Both of these lists will be continually updated. Join us. We can identify the next superintendent candidates who will serve our community. ¡Venceremos!

Candidates for LAUSD Superintendent

Responses to the campaign have been both encouraging and overwhelming. Over the weekend dozens of candidate names have been submitted, and we haven't even reached out to local grassroots groups for their suggestions. There is now a easy to fill out form at the bottom of this post.

Qualities we want in our next superintendent

Either enter qualities wanted in the comments below or email suggestions. If necessary, we'll create another form, but will continually update this list as needed.

  • Believes in educating the whole child
  • Believes in educating the children of every community.
  • Determined to listen to the community
  • A professional educator who has had at least some classroom teaching experience
  • Understands the relation between poverty and test scores, and advocate to ameliorate the devastating effects of poverty outside as well as inside schools
  • Bilingual or multilingual a big plus, but openness to openness to learning the languages of the community

Social media campaign

We intend to launch a social media campaign in support of this historic community project to find the right superintendent for our community. Stay tuned for details.

Candidate Suggestions

Thursday, July 11, 2013

AALA and UTLA Presidents write LAUSD Board Members with serious concerns over Superintendent's irresponsible comments and behavior

Deasy stayed at the Gates Foundation only a year and a half, practicing that "responsible philanthropy," which amounts to handing out money with one hand while throwing a bomb with the other. Many speculate that the Gates job was just a holding pattern for the Los Angeles appointment, which will give him the opportunity to turn LA in to the Gates model district. — Susan Ohanian

It's about time that someone demanded the Superintendent follow the directives of the elected representatives of the people of Los Angeles rather than those of the small minded tyrant named Eli calling the shots from 10900 Wilshire Boulevard. Let's applaud both Dr. Perez and Mr. Fletcher for this wonderfully worded letter demanding a modicum accountability from Mr. Deasy.

Dear Board Members:

We are writing on behalf of the members of our two organizations: United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents the 36,000 classroom teachers and health and human services professionals of LAUSD, and Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, exclusive representative for over 2,300 certificated and classified administrators within the District.

We wish to raise a concern about recent statements by Superintendent John Deasy, related to his obligation to abide by the policy positions and directives of the Board of Education.

On June 20, the "LA School Report," published a story entitled, "Defiant Deasy Says He'll Push Targeted Spending Plan Anyway." In that article Mr. Deasy clearly indicates that it is his intention to circumvent the Board vote on use of new state LCFF monies. Specifically, Mr. Deasy is quoted as stating that, "The Board voted down the directive. . . ," referring to Ms. Galatzan's recent local spending resolution, "[But] they can't stop me from doing it; we're doing it anyway." To date, we have not been able to locate any report that Mr. Deasy has disavowed these public statements, nor has he indicated that he was misquoted.

The Superintendent is an employee of the District, and is legally required to operate "under the control of the Board." The California courts have recognized that a Superintendent does not "exercise independent powers" (Main vs. Claremont, Unified School District, 161 CalApp 2d189, 204).

As the presidents of two organizations charged with representing and bargaining for a large proportion of District employees, we do not expect that Mr. Deasy's statements and policy positions will always align with those of our respective organizations. However, as both District employees and as taxpayers, we do expect that the Superintendent will, at all times, discharge his duties in a manner that is consistent with his role as the District's chief executive officer. Statements and conduct to the contrary can only erode public confidence in the Board and the District. California law clearly places both the power and the responsibility for ultimate leadership of the District in the hands of its elected governing board. Regardless of Mr. Deasy's motives or intentions, no district, and no community, is served when this democratic authority is undermined.

Please contact either of us if you have any questions. We are thankful for your time and attention to this matter.


Warren Fletcher Judith Perez
President, President,
United Teachers Los Angeles Associated Administrators of Los Angeles

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Farewell to Mayor Villaraigosa: Pragmatist or Lacky of the Rich?

Farewell to Mayor Villaraigosa: Pragmatist or Lacky of the Rich? via Diane Ravitch's blog.

As Antonio Villaraigosa exits the mayoralty of Los Angeles, there will be both tributes and brickbats.

Among other things, he will be remembered for his failed attempt to take control of the public schools and for his hostility to teachers, to their union, and to public education. On his watch, there was “an explosion” in the number of privately managed charter schools, a high priority for the billionaires.

He did get control of a small number of schools, raised millions of dollars to turn them into “incubators of reform,” but demonstrated that his schools performed on state tests no differently from regular public schools. Mayoral control has no magic elixir.

He fought hard to tie teachers’ evaluations to test scores, despite the absence of any evidence for doing so. He controlled the school board through his surrogates, but recently lost control when two of the candidates he supported were defeated despite the millions raised by the mayor.

This turn of events is especially surprising in light of Villaraigosa’s early career in the labor movement. His conversion is a tribute to the power of money in American politics.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaking at a school privatization event hosted by ALEC, Parent Revolution, and The Heartland Institute. Photo by Robert D. Skeels
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa speaking at a school privatization event. Photo by Robert D. Skeels

Monday, July 8, 2013

Daily News' Rick Orlov discusses Monica Ratliff's LAUSD vote

District 6 LAUSD Board Member Mónica RatliffDaily News' Rick Orlov discusses Monica Ratliff's LAUSD vote near the end of his Rick Orlov's Tipoff: Mayor Eric Garcetti creating coalition of proven staffers piece.

Monica Ratliff, the newest member of the LAUSD board, found herself right in the middle of the battle for board president last week. She was able to break with the board's tradition of launching into an automatic vote by getting the two candidates, Tamar Galatzan and Richard Vladovic, to explain what they would do as board president. "I was interested in what they had to say and to know who their choice for vice president would be and why," she said later. "I want to make sure that everything is transparent." Ratliff ended up voting for Vladovic, saying she was persuaded by his speech to promise more academic support for students and a better working relationship on the board.