UTLA's FUBAR L.A. Times Op Ed: Teacher Leaders Russom and Baranwal Call Simple Teacher Duties "Reforms." Scary Stuff

How embarrassing to read the op-ed on how great United Teachers Los Angeles is, in the LA Times today. Two teachers, UTLA union leaders, touted "reforms" that described routine duties expected of teachers for decades. How clueless. And revealing.

Kirti Baranwal and Gillian Russom say LAUSD teacher "reforms" include: teachers at one school who figured out how to assess student writing and set a goal for students to learn it by year's end. Jesus. Frightening. And Roosevelt High's reform: an exhibit night for students to present projects addressing real-world problems. Crikey. That's been a routine class activity for 50 years. Another "reform": Teachers arrange mock trials, speakers and field trips to promote student career paths.

It's just chilling that UTLA's teacher leaders call these simple basics "reform."

They wrote the op-ed intending to attack Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for finally telling the truth in public: that UTLA is among the serious knuckle-dragger teachers unions in the United States, fighting real reform tooth and nail.

Instead these two teachers ended up unwittingly attacking themselves. Here's one more progressive "reform" from the LA Times article today:

Baranwal and Russom claim UTLA has launched an effort "creating more stability at our hardest-to-staff schools."

That's so downright Orwellian it could take your breath away.

UTLA has fought hard to create the staffing impossibilities in Los Angeles's schools, by insisting that veteran teachers have a big voice in choosing which schools they teach in. Result: few veterans will teach at bad schools in bad areas. Duh.

It's purely a teacher-protection labor rule that screws black and Latino poor children.

That's why UTLA just lost a nationally significant lawsuit on the issue -- because the union has insisted for years on a last hired, first to be laid off teacher protection.

The American Civil Liberties Union and two law firms working pro bono won the lawsuit. Kicking and screaming, UTLA is now being forced to accept layoffs citywide.

Until now, just really poor performing schools on the Eastside and in South Central LA, were jammed with young teachers who have no seniority giving them the ability to choose a better school. Schools in South LA in particular got devastated by layoffs.

Some people call this anti-progressive rule the "last hired first fired" rule, but there are no actual "firings" allowed of UTLA teachers, as the Weekly reported here in our investigation, Dance of the Lemons, last year.

All 33,000 LAUSD teachers are model employees who should never ever be fired -- you didn't know that? That's also just so darn progressive.

Read the op-ed, Pipe Down, Mr. Mayor. A.J. Duffy, the die-hard UTLA chief who insisted on teacher protection over child learning at every step of the way, is leaving office.

The Duffy replacement, to be elected by teachers this year, will probably be a Duffy carbon copy, perhaps Baranwal or Russom or the like, who holds the view that basic, routine, long-performed teacher duties in America are, in the warped world of Los Angeles, "reform."

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