By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
Zimmer set off controversy during the divisive board vote on Public School Choice, an idea to allow charter operators to take over long-failing schools controlled by LAUSD. Zimmer made a long speech about how troubled he was by the idea — then voted for it, enraging UTLA.
He has supported Deasy on a number of close votes but has made solid enemies in the reform camp. Recently, he put forward two proposals: one to reject a measurement called "Academic Growth Over Time," which is used to grade teachers by looking at a student's progress in test scores over multiple years; then he called for a temporary moratorium on new charter schools — but backed off after intense criticism.
Everyone from interest groups to fellow board members was wondering: Just what the hell was Zimmer doing?
On Monday Zimmer lost a motion, 4-2, to ask charter operators to voluntarily stop opening charters. (The charter association had responded with "parent alert" radio ads blasting Zimmer as anti-reform.)
"When he first introduced his resolution, he showed his true intention, which was to limit choices for parents," Jenkins says.
"My real goal is to be strategic and intentional about further charter growth, not necessarily to limit it," Zimmer insists.
There are more than 100,000 kids in charter schools here, and it's a poorly kept secret that scores of L.A. principals and neighborhoods want to shift to charters.
So Zimmer's moves were seen by some as a last-ditch attempt to get back into UTLA's good graces, which he vigorously denies.
"No political consultant would be happy with the way I've tried to address these issues at all," he says with a laugh.
But to union leaders like Fletcher, Zimmer is, at best, an unreliable wild card. Of course, once he hears from Anderson, who readily agrees she has "strong positions," Fletcher's decision could get easier.
"Having to run this race [means] having to take positions that may make some people angry," says Anderson. "I realize that this may be the last office I ever run for."
The school board lacks the structure to vote unanimously 99% of the time like the City Council. First we should not the the entire City Council is in criminal violation of Penal Code 86 and The Brown Act.
Key to the criminalization of the Council's voting is agreement that whatever one councilmember wants for his or her district will be supported by all other councilmembers. Key to this scheme is believe that if a councilmember does not support another councilmember, al the other councilmembers will oppose whatever the dissenting member may want for his/her District. When Englander was first on council and cast a lone dissenting vote, it was explained in public that it was OK because he owned a political favor to a significant campaign donor so he had to vote against everyone else. I guess the only exception to the general criminal violation of Penal Code 86 is when a particular person bought your vote before you were elected.
The school board cannot divvy up the construction contracts and loot the the city council can. The school board is too busy fighting over genuine educational policies to turn the LAUSD into solely a money making machine. The school board argues in public about matters of substance rather than make back room deals to fleece the tax payers of billions of dollars.
The sad part is that the LAUSD seems to be as incompetent and the city council is corrupt.
The school board is also corrupt with phony tony's pawns trying to give the district away to their friends who run charter schools. Our wonderful and corrupt mayor has fed millions into the campaigns of most of the school board. In the campaign where Mr. Kaiser barely won, many anti-union pro charter people gave money to his opponent. His opponent spent over 500,000 dollars to win a school board seat. Why? I didn't know the school board was such a big position. It is if you want to get rid of utla and farm out the best areas to charter schools. Look at who is running the district, Mr. Deasy, who is a friend of Mr. Bill, teachers are not important, Gates. Mr. Gates has put a lot of his money into pushing charter schools and in attacking teachers in movies like won't back down and waiting for superman. Both movies straight out lied about what we teachers do and have to go through.
She looks like a trannie, blue-shirt wearing version of Maggie Gyllenhaal from the movie, WON'T BACK DOWN (2012).
That is a moronic post and that movie is just as moronic since none of it ever happened. The movie also left out how parents at that school were lied to and tricked into signing the petition that the State of California shot down.
Since when has the L.A. Weekly become a union-busting paper? The obsession with student test scores as being a reliable measure for students is flawed. What this woman and others want is for organized teachers to become vulnerable, pandering servants to obnoxious parents in wealthy neighborhoods. If Little Billy doesn't like his teacher, then let the principal "evaluate" his teacher's test scores so that the educator can get canned. Also, Ms. Anderson probably doesn't give a crap about students in poor neighborhoods. Try raising test scores in a low-income, ESL classroom solely by putting future employment pressure upon teachers and you'll see that test score evaluation, value-added or otherwise, is ineffective. Does Ms. Anderson care about the devastating pay cuts to our school districts? Probably not. Teachers and students should not be facing furlough days, increased classroom sizes, teacher pay cuts, and job vulnerability from any false accusations by dissatisfied parents and students. Instead of addressing these and other critical issues, the author and Miss Anderson want to attack organized labor. What a sham.
good post Steve, You really called it right. I have worked at inner city schools my entire career of 17 years as a teacher and 8 more years in other positions. Blaming teachers for the effects of poverty and the lack of support, not money, at inner city schools is disgusting. Look at charter and privatized schools working with the same poverty stricken kids and you'll see public schools score about the same as these schools without unions or unionized teachers. The fallacy of the "bad" teacher is been made by people wanting a piece of the educational money pie. The vast majority of teachers in LAUSD are hard working people who love teaching these kids who suffer from so many problems caused by being poor.
@Steve I do not know if you're correct, but you raise questions which I think need answers. Decades ago I taught in many schools as a substitute and more recently I have had about decade teaching at the college level. I never found attacking teachers to be a wise educational approach.
Kate is intelligent, organized and passionate about the fact that the single biggest on campus factor in a child's success at school is....teacher quality.
The UTLA nonsense written below this comment is typical in that it seeks to protect horrible teachers with the same tired arguments, here they are so you can save yourself yourself the trouble of repeating them:
- Teaching is not measurable. How can we know a bad teacher when we see 'em? (Substitute "doctor", "policeman", "pilot" to see the absurdity of this argument)
- LAUSD is corrupt and wastes money (partly true) so why bother with improving teachers).
- Student testing is imperfect , so it cannot be used in any way to rate teachers (Also imperfect in our world are marriage, government, unemployment benefits, so they should all be gotten rid of right? )
- Teachers were once (50 years ago) oppressed by evil overly-powerful administrators (partly true) so therefore we cannot give anyone the authority to fire them.
FYI - OUT OF 45,000 LAUSD TEACHERS one, YES ONE, THAT IS.....ONE....has been fired for poor performance since 2008. Yes, ONE since 2008.
FYI - 68% of LAUSD teachers surveyed say they have one or more GROSSLY incompetent teachers in their school.
Funny how you mention that all us teachers say there is at least one grossly incompetent teachers out there. I teach, I have taught for a long time. I have even made these kinds of accertions in the past. However, I did them when I was young and arrogant. I learned from having to work with these grossly BAD teachers that they were not that bad and even good. This is what is the problem with your and my assertions, 99% of teachers never see what any other teacher does 99% of the time. This is a job where we usually only work inside our classes and in isolation. In the past few years an effort has been made to improve this. So we are seeing other teachers working and we are working together more to make collaborative lessons. Many of the teachers I previously thought were bad, were frankly based on my personal relationship with these teachers than on actual evidence. So, there is a problem with your statistics. They really don't work and explain nothing.
In addition, many "bad" teachers never get canned for being bad, they either quit because the stress and demand on us is just too high to fake it. Also, a good administrator doesn't try to fire a "bad" teacher, they force them out. To either transfer out or to quit by visiting daily and writing them up for numerous problems. It works. However, good administrators are hard to find because the district only likes yes men and women to work for them, so good administrators go elsewhere or never leave the classroom.
Good administrators are hard to find mainly because none of them want to blow the whistle on anybody and no outside presence will obviously be given access to prove whether the administrators or teachers are "good" or "bad". Essentially, it's "trust us and what we say". Nowadays, really trust the schools in any fashion.
Good administrator's are hard to find because the district wants nothing but yes people. Principals who are good principals usually don't want to leave the schools they work at and actually care about their students. I have yet to meet a principal who gave a damn about protecting a teacher who isn't up to par. Try reading the article below, it is an interesting explanation to why teachers are not fired right away.
@kabouaf "single biggest on campus factor in a child's success at school is....teacher quality" My experience tells me otherwise. The single biggest factor overall in a child's educational performance is None of The Above.
My experience going back 55 years is that a Stable Supply of Good Students is most likely to produce a quality education. Good students attract good teachers and good teachers attract better administrators and in turn these produce supportive parents. L.A. does not have a stable supply of good students.
What I see are some parents who are trying to create a school district where the good students are separated from the poor students. This approach will produce schools with very high achievement and schools of low achievement.
What is the goal of a school district? To provide the best education for the most children or to equalize educational outcomes?
."L.A. does not have a stable supply of good students."
Yes but exactly what is the main cause for that? Also, good students are MADE not born, and to create a really good student falls into the hands of parents, educators, and schools.
"What I see are some parents who are trying to create a school district where the good students are separated from the poor students. This approach will produce schools with very high achievement and schools of low achievement."
Not just the parents, but as someone whose worked inside different schools in LA county, I can tell you first hand it's not just the parents, but the schools are doing it too.
@simonsezdonothing@abramsrl@kabouaf The primary cause of a lack of supply of good students is the home, and the home is a reflection of the culture. For example, one study has shown that Black students who are highly motivated to learn do worse than Korean students. The study said that the difference was that the Black student came from a non-supportive cultures, whereas the Korean culture highly prized education.
However, people who look alike and sound alike can have polar opposite attitudes to education. Over four decades ago when I was living in the barrio, one home would send it students to college and the next send their kids to CYA. Some families in the barrio valued education, others were clueless about the role of education in an emerging information society.
Can schools make a difference? Yes, in fact I wrote an article in 1970 about different learning styles in different cultures. Later when I showed the LAUSD my data that it's DRP reading program correlated randomly with reading scores on the State tests, the district's response was to demand to know how I obtained the data as they would fire whoever gave me the raw data.
Prior to that I was with LA County Probation, and one of the first things I learned was LA was going to have gang problems for decdes to come because the school district was more segregated than Birmingham, AL and provided a much worse education.
Yes, schools can make a difference, except in LAUSD that difference has not always been beneficial.
@kabouaf I decided using test scores to judge teachers is idiotic a long time ago. But if we do that, we should also grade the parents because their as much if not more to blame.
Once again, you wouldn't know The Truth---about LAUSD and the corrupt, corporate forces trying to privatize it---if it went down on you.
Congratulations on your one-sided, lie-filled, union-bashing informercial for Ms. (or Mrs.) Anderson---the first of many I"m afraid.
Kate Anderson is a political operative, according to your article, with no experience in education. I have never seen her at the board of education on any issue including the one referenced by Zimmer, accountability for charter schools, the other day. Zimmer was correct in wanting to stop more charter schools until there is some accountability.
Obviously, Kate Anderson is either ignorant of or does not want to deal with the Sept. 2012 Federal Department of Education Office of Inspector General Report on the total lack of accountability on charter schools in Florida, Arizona and California with LAUSD being the only named school district in California. The audit number is ED-OIG/A02L0002. If she is such a concerned top level attorney why does she not know about this audit and properly respond? The reason is that she does not care and is a political operative with the so called "Reform Board" which is really the "Deform Board."
In 2002 LAUSD had 14,500 students or 2% not come to school everyday. In 2010-11 with 159,000 less students it became over 102,000 students or 15% for a lost revenue of over $1.15 billion dollars for that year alone. Under the so called "Reform Board" more than $5.6 billion has been lost in revenue to LAUSD due to the "Reform Board" not caring if students come to school or not. Also, If you look into the Superintendents Budget for 2010-11 and compare the ADA with the CDE ADA numbers they differ by over 72,000 students. How can that be. If you go into the 2012-13 Superintendents Budget and look at special education you will see that special education is 4.7% of the ADA of the district. The State of California says, in a recent presentation at the State Board of Education, that it is 10% and the Chanda Smith Moniter says it is 11.47%. How can it be three different numbers? The national average is 12-13% so I say the Chanda Smith Moniter is correct. The problem is that he is using the LAUSD data base. How can the district have 4.7% and the moniter 11.47% from the same data base?
This person, Kate Anderson, does not know her business. Mrs. Anderson, would you dare to be in a public setting with me concerning education in general and LAUSD specifically for the public to see if you are competent in education? I do not think you could really answer much correctly as you do not have the knowledge base. And considering how long it takes to have a real knowledge base there is no way you could ever get up to speed to respond to someone who has been there and done that.
I am the only person to ever have LAUSD audited by the California State Auditor in 1997, Oct. 1997, 96121. I am also the reason for Schiff-Bustamente. I supplied the L.A. Times with the information for the article called "In a Book Bind" which caused Schiff-Bustamente. For 10 years LAUSD budgeted and did not spend $250,000,000/year on textbooks and instructional materials and supplies for a grand total of $2.5 billion. I have massive fraud in the School Construction Bond funds. LAUSD spends 2-3 times what all else in L.A. County for school construction per square foot. When I produced my spreadsheet from their Strategic Execution Plan (SEP) in 2003 you have never seen another SEP with the numbers for: property acquisition, design, construction and other which is what it takes to finish a school.
If you who you say you are I challenge you to prove you are worthy of that seat. I am willing to bet that all you can do is spout platitudes. Why don't we see if you know your subject. If you are so good you should be able to blow me away. I already know you cannot, do you want to try? Do you know that Deasy has an illegitimate PHD? Just go to Google and enter John Deasy, University of Louisville. Not one board member even entered his name into Google I called all of them before they voted him in and as of that point they knew he was a phony. I might properly ask "Where have you been all these years if you are sooooooo concerned about the students."
Remember the fish rots from the head.
Once again the la weekly makes UTLA out as the bad guy. Why do we fight evalutations? We want the evaluations to be fair. We have absolutely no problem with a fair evaluation. Mr. Deasy doesn't agree and continues to give a spin to why we don't want to be evaluated by a test that is taken once a year and doesn't always reflect what the kid taking the test has really learned. In addition, most teachers in lausd are teachers of inner city kids. These kids come into our classes with problems galore. These problems keep our students from learning. Then there is the issue of who gets evaluated, kindergarten and 1st grader teachers are excempt from the test so are not being evaluated on the same data. Then there are teacher in middle school and high school who are would be evaluated using the CST even though their subject isn't covered that year on the test. Their evaluations will be using the test results from other teachers' test data. How is this fair?
As to this huge population of bad teachers we keep hearing about the media, politicians, and charter schools. Who decide which teacher is bad? How many have been determined as bad?
@sirvaldrin2002 Many years ago, I was involved with the LAUSD and my wife was a teacher. At that time, after the students took the state reading examination, many of the children were taken to a room in the basement where they were given their examinations and told to change certain answers.
After a few years, we compared the average test scores for the 6th graders with the average of the 9th graders, who were basically the same group of students as they moved from the elementary to high school as a group, and the 9th graders (maybe 10th grade), where we knew of no cheating. The high schoolers tested at reading comprehension level substantially lower than they had in 6th grade.
At that time, the school board was a launching pad for higher political office and there was rampant racism and anti-Mexican bigotry.
Some things have changed, but from the outside, I see many agendas fighting each other, but a quality education is seldom the most important goal of any group.
I agree with that many agendas are out there when we talk about lausd. However, charter schools are not the solutions. Charters schools are the vehicle for big business to get its hands on educational money. Look at the research, when charter schools work with low income kids like I do, they have NOT made any better progress.
Why? These schools usually have better students, their parents were willing to go to the effort of joining the charter while the lowest kids' parents usually make little effort. Yet we are seeing failure. Again why? Poverty is the issue, not teacher ability. Instead of dealing with the massive growth of poverty in our country, we have seen a blatant attack on teachers and our unions.
By using test scores only, teachers in public schools look like total failures. However, tests scores really are not as scientific as they seem. Taking the picture of a kid's education at one short period of time does not show teacher failure or success. The use of test scores to falsify the ability of teachers in public schools has been one of Mr. Bush's greatest victories. He has succeeded in making the case for public education to be ended and private companies to take over. Many of his friends also became much richer when their programs were mandated in lausd and other school districts across the country.
If you doubt what I'm telling you, read Diane Ravitch's book The Death and Life of the Great American School System. She is an educational historian and was a member of Bush's team that made No Child Left Behind happen. She later recanted and is fighting what she had a part in.
@sirvaldrin2002 I do not see any significant difference between our conclusions.
1) Attacking teachers is a guaranteed way to make schools worse;
2) Disruptive students and parents harm the schools. My wife had one mentally disturbed child whose mother would listen in the hallway for something she did not like inside the classroom and then burst into the classroom and holler at my wife. The LAUSD was very, very poor at responding to these unwarranted verbal attacks on my wife by a mentally deranged parent.
3) During a home visit in East LA, my wife was explaining to the parents their son's interest becoming an architect, when the father declared that he would put and end to that. His son was going to get a "good job driving a truck."
In the 1960's, I also spent considerable time working in the "Poverty Programs" from St. Louis to LA. Although they were originally oriented to open the opportunity structure to all, they degenerated into a political patronage system where Blacks and Mexicans were doled out goodies and all deficiencies were attributed to racism and the resulting poverty. When the focus is on "poverty," education ends up being irrelevant. That is one reason I still disagree when people blame poverty -- but I may be over reacting as this is no longer the 1960's.
The Impact of Poverty on Education, however, must never be ignored.
A) Food is essential and we should guarantee that all children are well fed at school. If it takes food morning, noon, and late afternoon, that is fine with me.
B) After school programs are vital as many parents are dual bread winners and there is no one home until 6 p.m. Teachers, however, cannot be expected to both teach and run the after school programs.
C) Schools should be primary health care centers.
We should also test, re-test, test again and then test the testing of the testing. The purpose of testing, however, should be solely to gather feed back to find out whether the students are learning. I fully support the W. Edward Deming approach (Out of Crisis) where gathering data is for the purpose of finding ways to make the system function better -- it is not to become a launching pad for attacks on people.
I recall when our research of the reading scores for 6th Graders in East LA showed that there was a random correlation between how well a student did on the District's DRP program and the State reading comprehension test, the District's sole response was demand to know who let us have the raw data so that they could fire them. [All the data was public but the District employees were too incompetent to know that.)
After 40+ years, I have become discouraged about the LAUSD ever improving. When I first was in LA, I worked for LA Probation for a while and back then the Probation department singled out the LAUSD as more segregated than Birmingham, Al and providing a substantially worst education. Probation predicted that unless the LAUSD improved, LA would develop very serious gang problems. Last time I looked, LAUSD was tied with Oakland as the worst in the State, and California was 47th or 48th in the nation which is last in the industrialized world.
You were involved in a movie trumps my 25 years of working with impoverish children. God, sorry I thought I had any proof in what I said. When did I say all kids who are poor can't succeed? I said many of the kids in poor areas succeed because of the problems happening around them. Yeah, you and I both can name special cases everywhere. But can Marva take all the kids and fix them? We public schools unlike charter schools and private schools have to take every single kid who walks through our gates. We have to jump through many hoops to get rid of a kid who is disrupting other students learning or is even a danger to others.
Is poverty the lone gunman? No, before NCLB, I had many kids who went through my class and onward to college. Poverty is one of the major problems, there are other problems too. None of them are the teachers themselves. Or at least not as a whole or even a significant part.
I like what you said about keeping a focus on education. All teachers want that. However, instead of teaching for the child, we are teaching to the test. We are made to by the administration and by all the calls for teacher accountability which are only based on one time test. We are also made to lower are standards to pass on kids or we get screwed with. The belief that us teachers are all safe and cozy is a myth.Last year, my partner and I, we share the same group of kids in middle school were called in explain why a third of our kids were failing our classes. The same kids in both our 4 classes. These kids did no work in class, at home, or when we tried to call them on it or their parents. Their parents would smile and say, "yeah, he/she doesn't do any thing I tell him or her. We were basically called to task, because we are not allowed to blame the kids for not doing anything. This is another of many reasons why public schools fail.
Let'scompare this to a private school I work at during thesummer. When a kid is not getting a C -, I have to get in touch with their parents. I am always told, no problem, he will work harder, thank you. This school is one of the best schools in LA.
@sirvaldrin2002 I was involved with the movie, The Marva Collins Story, about the woman who started her own private "charter" school in Chicago taking the same poor children that went to the Chicago public schools, and almost everyone of her children went to college. Thus, poverty is not the problem.
We can back to the turn of the century when the Jewish kids from New York "forced" the fancy smanchy colleges to impose a quota system limiting the number of Jews, "or else we'll have only Jews in our school." The poor Jews destroyed Harvard's "Gentleman's C."
Poverty is not the cause of poor educational achievement.
However, I strongly support feeding kids in school as well as making schools health centers and not just with a nurse visit but the primary medical care giver for preventive medicine and a center for a more extra curricular activities.
However, the focus has to stay on education -- all other American groups have gained an education as they fought their way out of poverty and current groups of students are able to do the same. As society, now, we have the wealth to support all students, but we are failing miserably as a society. Just look at the anti-intellectualism of Sen. Scott Brown's campaign in Mass agst Elizabeth Warren, making fun of her because she was a Harvard professor. We have a huge segment of society that is hostile to education and believes that the world is 6,000 years old. These KnowNothings are the ones who attack teachers and prevent us from setting an educational agenda for the 22 nd Century.