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May 17, 2015

Preschool, Adult Ed, Counselors: All the Pieces Matter

I was picketing because the board, in issuing those reduction in force notices (RIF), is cutting vital personnel, and program pieces who serve the neediest students in our district. Sharing the streets with me that day were preschool students and their parents, high school students, and continuing education adult students. Several of them spoke and their stories reminded me of why it was important that we save those 609 positions. Why all the pieces in LAUSD matter.

April 21, 2015

Funding to Create the Schools California Students Deserve

I am thankful to report that my district, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and my union, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) have come to a tentative contract agreement and the possibility of a strike is no longer looming on the horizon. Like most agreements, compromise was made on both sides of the bargaining table. I won't bore you with all the details but I do want to talk about one - college counselors.

March 31, 2015

Open Letter to UTLA President and LAUSD Superintendent

It's time to take advantage of a lapsed contract, a reorganization of district administration, and the mediation process to create something new in the Los Angeles Unified School District, hybrid positions. A hybrid position would be where administrators would support schools by spending part of every work day actually teaching and the other part of the day would be devoted to administrative tasks of supporting students and schools.

March 17, 2015

What Would You Choose: a School Nurse or a Copier?

I have sat in on school budget councils where we had to decide between funding a school nurse a few more days per week or purchasing a maintenance plan for our copy machines. This happens a lot, robbing Peter to pay Paul. The issue of essential school personnel is a huge roadblock in the heated negotiations between my union, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and LAUSD. What personnel are essential for schools and their students to thrive?

March 03, 2015

Vergara Part 3: Reimagining Tenure

In my 20-plus years of teaching one thing I have learned is teachers need the protection of tenure to effectively advocate for their students. I joined the most recent Educators 4 Excellence-Los Angeles (E4E-Los Angeles) policy team out of a strong desire to preserve tenure, along with collective bargaining rights and our unions. Here are some of the big takeaways of our recommendations for creating tenure for teachers in California.

March 02, 2015

Pennsylvania Governor Appoints New Head of Philly School Commission

The move comes nearly two weeks after the commission approved five of 39 applications for new charter schools. The governor wanted all the applications denied.

February 23, 2015

Vergara Part 2: Tenure Is a Misnomer

Permanent status, that's what I have earned as a second grade teacher in the state of California. I didn't even notice that my pay-stub had changed from the words "Probationary" to "Permanent." I didn't get a letter of congratulations from the superintendent, nor from my principal. It was just another ordinary day. The term tenure in California is used strictly with higher education faculty members.

February 19, 2015

Vergara Part 1: March 15, 2008

For me this lawsuit, Reed v. State of California, which was won but then turned-over on appeal, lingers large in the backdrop of Vergara; it's the white elephant in the room every time I talk about teacher evaluations or effective teachers.

January 26, 2015

Highly Effective Teachers Don't Exist in My Evaluation Process

I would like to discuss one issue with the ruling that I think we, as a nation, will start to discuss more and more and that is the rating of teachers as "Effective" or "Highly Effective."

January 22, 2015

Judge Rules Philadelphia Can't Cancel Teachers' Union Contract

The teachers' union sued the district after it abruptly canceled the collective bargaining agreement last October and mandated that union members pay toward their health care costs.

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