An Attorney's Observations of LAUSD's Rubber Rooms by Ron Lapekas, esq. (Observaciones de un abogado de habitaciones de goma LAUSD por Ron Lapekas, esq.)
Dick Price and Sharon Kyle
http://www.laprogressive.com/Dick and Sharon email@example.com
Dick and Sharon are a pair of citizen journalists and information activists who were fed up with mainstream media. Rather than just kvetch about the media, they decided to try to become the media. So, together they founded the LA Progressive. Dick is the editor and Sharon is the publisher and webmaster, handling all technical aspects of the site.
Jo Scott Coe Riverside, California
Excellent Video Interview about Professor Coehttp://vodpod.com/watch/4959969-jo-scott-coe-teacher-at-point-blank
Assistant Professor of English at Riverside Community College and former high school English teacher. She is the author of Teacher at Point Blank and has been a teacher of English and literature in California since 1991. Her writing on intersections of gender, violence, and education has appeared in the Los Angeles Times as well as literary venues including Hotel Amerika, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Ninth Letter, Memoir(and), Bitter Oleander, and Green Mountains Review. Her essay, "Recovering Teacher," won the NCTE 2009 Donald Murray Prize, and other selections of her work have received a Pushcart Special Mention as well as Notable listings in Best American Essays 2009 and 2010. As an independent researcher, Jo authored and published the most extensive study to-date of Adams v. LAUSD, a nearly 10-year legal case of student-on-teacher sexual harassment, in (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women's Experience (Cambridge Scholars Press). Jo values the aesthetic, political, and socially transformative powers of literary narrative--especially to dispel unhealthy silences and witness cultural blindspots. She works currently as an assistant professor of English at Riverside Community College in SoCal, and her book, Teacher at Point Blank (Aunt Lute 2010), has been selected as a Great Read for Fall 2010 by Ms. Magazine. Punk rock? Yes. Hockey games? Yes. Coffee? Always black. Find Jo on the web at joscottcoe.com and on Twitter @joscottcoe.
Betsy Combier New York, New York
Betsy Combier's blog http://www.parentadvocates.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=488is a jewel that chronicles the corruption in NYC's Dept of Educations (DOE) . She has accomplished a wonderful piece of journalism, and created one of the rare places where corrupt educational governance is chronicled and revealed
Professor Samuel Culbert Los Angeles, California
is a professor at the UCLA Andersen School of Business who also teaches in the Education Department's Principals' Leadership Institute. Check out the following 3 minutes on ABC News
Stuart Goldurs Los Angeles, Califonia
StuartComputers@gmail.comDon't send LAUSD Librarians to the Inquisition, send the downtown bureaucrats
Tests, What Are They Good For? Absolutely Nothing!
LAUSD students to attend school on contaminated land, again!Some schools teach only to the tests, so how are the students being prepared for the next grade and for life?
New LAUSD superintendent adds six-figure positions to management team
Has been a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 30 years. He is greatly aware of the district waste, large bureaucracy, and other major issues of the time. He started his blog with the sole purpose of informing the world about the truths of education in LAUSD. E-mail him at: StuartComputers@gmail.com.
Karen Horwitz Chicago, Illinois
Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO)
417 Roslyn Rd., Roslyn Hts., NY 11577
She is a longtime public school teacher who, after 20 years, became staff writer for a teacher magazine and then went freelance. I've maintained a website of activism for nearly 9 years--ever since the passage of NCLB. People can subscribe to the website and then they get updates about new content. I answer all the mail I get through the website and with the answer, people have my e-mail. I also try to stir things up on Twitter, though I find this medium frustrating. I have a Facebook page--just so people can find me. I don't initiate anything on it, The website keeps me busy.
Joel Shatzky: Brooklyn, New York
Professor of English Emeritus--SUNY, College at Cortland (1968-2005)
Adjunct instructor-Kingsborough CC (CUNY) 2006-- )
Regular contributor to the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/searchS/?q=Joel+Shatzky
Author of "The Thinking Crisis" with Ellen Hill (Authors Choice Press: New York, 2001)
Numerous articles on education in Jewish Currents.
Script-writer for three YouTube satires on educational "reform."
"The Lessons": www.youtube.com/watch?v=D712J1V2Jsg&feature=player_embedded
"Numbers Lie": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57BRNLviVTQ
"The Charter Starters": www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnrrw5CV3Gw
Lorna Stremcha Havre, Montana
"I know first hand the financial, personal, emotional and physical damage that can result when school administrators, the Montana Education Association and the National Education Association put their own interests above the students, teachers and the taxpayers of the State of Montana My files contain mountains of paperwork including depositions, declarations of truth, notarized documents and exhibits resulting from an arduous legal process that finally ended when the Havre (Montana) School District settled two lawsuits - a Federal suit and one filed in State District Court. These documents also include a letter from a union representative stating, " This is nothing more than a witch hunt." Yet the union continued to allow the school administration to harass, bully and bring harm to me.
These two lawsuits resulted from a single incident that, had it been handled differently and under the light of public scrutiny, would not have snowballed into awards of more than $200,000 worth of damages. Funds that eventually came from the taxpayers' pockets. Ironically, as a taxpayer in Hill County, my family and I are helping to pay for the damages awarded to me. This covered the attorneys' fees. The settlement did not include my attorney fees, however the district, insurance and taxpayers paid the defendants attorney bills, which exceeded mine. The settlement was made on March 2, 2006."http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Jim-Taylor/125893225652
Lois Weiner Jersey City, New Jersey
Professor, Elementary and Secondary Education
New Jersey City University
2039 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, New Jersey 07305
Impact of urban school characteristics on teachers' classroom practice
How race, class, and gender mediate academic achievement
Teachers' work and the school as a workplace. Effects of changes in global political economy on teaching, teachers, and schools.
FINALLY MAKING A STAND AGAINST LAUSD IN THE OAH LINK
For years the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has been running roughshod over teachers, who they have succeeded in removing from their livelihood as professional tenured teachers as if they had no rights under collective bargaining or to due process of law. With the Miramonte Child Abuse Scandal, matter have only gotten worst as the removal of teachers without honest cause has reached a dizzying pace. Today in Courtroom #9 at the Office of Administrative Hearings at 320 W. 6th Street in Downtown Los Angeles just maybe the first step was taken by Attorney Ronald Lapekas to finally hold LAUSD responsible to the rule of law - even for teachers.
Over the last few years as public education budgets have been drastically cut, those in power at LAUSD and their masters have targeted more and more innocent teachers for removal from their jobs based on false charges, which teachers have found difficult, if not impossible to fight once they have been put on unpaid administrative leave with no help forthcoming from their do-nothing union UTLA. What motivates the District are the huge deficits that they are trying to cut by getting rid of teachers at the top of the salary scale, are about to vest in lifetime health benefits, or those who question LAUSD's long-failed education policies that have shown no signs of success or changing.
In order to remove as many costly teachers as possible, LAUSD has developed a streamlined process for removing these teachers that has not followed the well established legal requirements for dismissing a teacher nor has it given them even basic due process of law in the removal process:
1. All tenured teachers that LAUSD seeks to remove are entitled to a Skelly hearing where the teacher had a legal right to know the charges, evidence, and witnesses against them. Although LAUSD has called what they do a Skelly hearing, none of the aforementioned rights have been afforded the teacher in this pro forma proceeding where the conclusion to recommend dismissal was a foregone conclusion before this meeting ever took place.
2. Once the "Skelly" has been given, the Education Code Section 44939 and 44944 require that either the teacher be dismissed on the basis of a "verified complaint" or by allowing the teacher to defend themselves before the LAUSD Board- neither takes place. The head of LAUSD Human Resources Vivian Ekchian signs a letter telling the teacher that they are dismissed, but in no way is this letter "verified," because Ms. Ekchian is not signing this letter under penalty of perjury, which is what a verified complaint is nor does she have any actual information or belief in the validity of the charges against the teacher she is signing the dismissal letter for. Furthermore, the LAUSD Board rubber stamps the dismissal without ever giving the teacher an opportunity to defend themselves. During last month's closed LAUSD Board session, when the Board got rid of 10 teachers in 39 minutes, it is worth noting that they also had a significant amount of other business that they handled in addition to rubber stamping / "robo" signing the 10 teacher dismissals. Is this due process of law?
3. And finally, in the illegally abridged process of removing 853 teachers from their jobs last year, LAUSD administrators had no problem removing any exculpatory evidence from the case they were fabricating against the teachers that would not just resign. One administrator actually made the comment that evidence that either supported the teacher or showed that they had done nothing wrong "was not admissible, since it did not support LAUSD's case for removing the teacher- talk about a kafkaesque reality.
Attorney Lapekas argued that what LAUSD by these egregious and purposeful failures systematically engaged in over time was not only a violation of teacher's right to procedural due process, but that they were also such a serious substantive violation of due process that the OAH should dismiss all charges against the teacher in this case with prejudice to stop LAUSD from merely refiling the charges.
Judge Erlinda Shrenger of the OAH took the case under advisement and stated that she will have a decision by this Friday, May 11th. As to whether the case will be allowed to continue or whether LAUSD will be ordered to drop all charges against the teacher is anyone's guess. Given that such a precedent would have a strong bearing on all similar cases against teachers, one can be sure that however Judge Shrenger decides either Attorney Lapekas or LAUSD's outside counsel Mr. Morris will appeal the decision by writ to a higher court.
Whatever happens, it is important that LAUSD is finally being confronted and not given unbridled discretion over the lives of hundreds of teachers. As teachers and others see that LAUSD can be held accountable, maybe some other munchkins will come out and talk about what they know.