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October 06, 2015

Mr. Broad, Charters Aren't the Only Answer for LAUSD

If I were Eli Broad, I would go into those schools and say to those teachers, "Let's work together to create a school that you would be proud to teach at and that students would love to attend."

September 21, 2015

Massive Charter School Expansion in Los Angeles

Right now UTLA has almost declared "war" on Eli Broad and I can't say that I blame them. Eli Broad and all the other philanthropists would do well to remember the origins of charter schools - to put teachers in charge of running schools.

June 29, 2015

Reason #3 Why CTA Needs to Reimagine Tenure NOW

Before I move on to reason number three for why the California's Teacher Association (CTA) needs to reimagine tenure now, let me recap reasons number one and two. Reason number one is to restore faith in our public school system. Reason number two is because we need to ensure that our most vulnerable students are with our best teachers. Reason number three: Teachers want it.

June 15, 2015

Reason #1 Why CTA Should Reimagine Permanent Status Now

As a union representative (I sit on UTLA's House of Representatives), it is clear to me that our teaches union must restore public faith in public education through advocacy of some common sense change such as reimaging permanent status as a tenure system for teachers similar to those in place for college professors.

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 23, 2015

Leveraging Teacher Evaluations in Los Angeles

The opportunity is there to negotiate for their priorities - smaller class-sizes, fully staffed schools, and a pay raise - if they are willing to accept three levels of performance in teacher evaluations. I think the three levels are worth it, if it means better conditions for teachers and students.

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.

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