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September 07, 2015

Ideas for Tackling the Teacher Shortage

A mid-western farmer's daughter raised me, and she had a proverb for everything. But my personal favorite, and one that she repeated to me time and time again when I became a teacher is, "You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar." In other words we all respond better to praise than we do criticism. I think the same thing can be said when looking at a looming teacher shortage.

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?

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