Charter group expanding mission to include support for LAUSD schools

Anita Landecker

Anita Landecker

In what would appear to be a strategic shift, the organization leading an effort to open more charter schools in LA Unified now intends to expand its mission to support traditional public schools that serve low-income children.

The organization, incorporated as Great Public Schools Now, is an outgrowth of a plan by the Broad and other foundations to create enough new charter schools to serve half of the district student population within eight years.

The foundations’ initial plan, articulated through a draft proposal over the summer, did not include consideration of investment in traditional district schools. But the plan now under development has been widened to include a goal of investing in pilot, magnet and other   high-performing district schools that have large numbers of children receiving free and reduced-price lunch.

“In one of the early meetings, the idea was raised, and people said, ‘Definitely, let’s do it’ “ said Anita Landecker, the interim executive director of Great Public Schools Now. “I don’t know how yet; it hasn’t been worked out, but there is an interest in helping high-quality schools that serve low-income kids.”

The willingness of the group to invest in district schools comes in some measure as a response to widespread criticism of the original Broad plan. Opponents, including members of the district school board and the LA teachers union, UTLA, have attacked the proposal as dangers for public education that would cost the district programs and jobs and leave half the student population with inferior assets.

Board President Steve Zimmer, perhaps the most critical of the seven board members, dismissed it as a “some kids, not all kids” plan that he would fiercely oppose.

Landecker described the new approach as an effort that would blunt some of the criticism even as the major thrust of the effort remains adding charter schools to satisfy the growing public demand for them and reducing the long lists of students on waiting lists to get in.

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LAUSD unions silent over financial report predicting trouble ahead


UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl

Spending cuts. Layoffs. Early retirement packages. Reductions in benefits.

These needs, which were among recommendations made by LA Unified’s independent Financial Review Panel on Tuesday, are the kind that would make any union leader lose sleep. But three full days since the doom and gloom report was presented at the LA Unified school board meeting, with recommendations that would hit the district’s employees hard, the unions have had little if anything to say about it — even after several board members described the need for an all-hands-on-deck collaboration to forestall financial instability.

Messages seeking comment from three of the district’s largest unions —  those representing the teachers, administrators and staff workers — produced only a response from SEIU Local 99, a statement that does not suggest it agrees or disagrees with the financial panel’s conclusions.

The union leaders had an early opportunity to respond. After the presentation, board President Steve Zimmer invited the district’s labor leaders to make any comments. Only Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the teachers union, UTLA, accepted the offer, but he used the opportunity to attack the Broad Foundation‘s proposed charter school expansion plan due to the big impact it would have on district enrollment.

Declining enrollment is one of the reasons the panel foresees a loss of revenue in the coming years, and while the Broad plan would hit the district’s enrollment in an enormous way, the panel’s report does not take it into consideration. Even if the Broad plan were cancelled tomorrow, the panel’s dire financial predictions remain.

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Lesbian teacher suing LAUSD for $12 million over discrimination

judgeA former LA Unified teacher is suing the district for $12 million, claiming it failed to protect her from abuse, harassment and discrimination because she is a lesbian.

Cathy Figel taught physical education at Marina del Rey Middle School for 13 years and claims to have endured anti-gay language, anti-gay graffiti scrawled in her work area; exclusion from some school activities, vandalism to her car and physical abuse by a student.

Though the lawsuit was filed in September of 2014, Figel has been seeking publicity recently, issuing a press release about her case through her law firm and also granting an interview to KCAL.

“To be exposed to anti-gay language is a challenge because, as a lesbian, when I first hear it, you know, emotionally I am angry,” Figel told KCAL. “I was supervising the locker room, and it was something to the effect of, you know, gotta watch that lesbian is looking at us.”

Figel claims the district and the LA Unified school board did not respond to her complaints and that she was encouraged not to openly identify as a lesbian. She also claims she was transferred to another school, which she views as a retaliatory action, and she eventually retired.

In statement to LA School Report, a district spokesperson said, “The District is committed to ensuring a hostile-free work environment for all employees. The District does not agree with the allegations or characterization of its actions, and is therefore vigorously defending this lawsuit.”

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Panel conveys dire warning, LAUSD board seems to get message


The front row are members of the Independent Financial Review Panel

An independent Financial Review Panel yesterday detailed drastic measures that LA Unified must take to remain afloat in what school board President Steve Zimmer calls a “perfect storm” of financial trouble for the district.

“There’s a fiscal cliff that is immediate if different decisions are not made,” warned Bill Lockyer, the former California attorney general and state treasurer and one of the all-volunteer panel that made the group’s presentation to a full house in the school board meeting on Tuesday.

“You will be out of $600 million by 2019,” said another member of the panel, Darline Robles, the former superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education. “You will have to rein in certain expenditures.”

And Maria Anguiano, the vice chancellor for Business & Finance at University of California, Riverside, said the loss of 100,000 students over the past two years in the district means that the LAUSD staff should not be growing like it has, and that “10,000 lay-offs would be about level for the 100,000 loss of students.”

But the drama of the exchange was not so much the bad news the panel members were delivering, including strong recommendations to make across-the-board spending cuts — the board members were well aware it was coming. Rather, it was the board’s apparent sense of urgency to deal with it and the district’s labor partners utter silence when offered the opportunity to comment.

“Sacrifice will be much more important here than strategy,” said board vice president George McKenna. “What are we going to give up for the children?”

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JUST IN: Judge issues restraining order against Alliance in union battle

Alex Caputo-Pearl at a news conference

Alex Caputo-Pearl, President of UTLAUPDATE


A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order against Alliance College-Ready Public Schools late yesterday, ordering its administration to cease stifling a unionization effort.

The LA teachers union, UTLA, is currently attempting to unionize the teachers at the charter school organization, which is LA Unified’s largest with 27 schools and around 700 teachers who are currently not represented by any union. Alliance has attempted to discourage the effort in ways that both UTLA and the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) claimed were illegal.

“It’s very rare for the courts to find it necessary to issue a TRO to protect teachers from abusive behavior by charter school managers,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in a statement. “Alliance employs hard-working, dedicated educators who only want to improve their schools and advocate for their students. Instead of respecting their rights and treating them as professionals and valued employees, they’ve faced an onslaught of unfair and illegal actions. This behavior would be wrong in any workplace but is totally unacceptable in a publicly funded school setting.”

The temporary restraining order request to the court came last week from PERB, which had ruled in favor of UTLA’s complaints and filed a formal complaint in state court in August. A hearing had been set for Nov. 2 before an administrative law judge regarding the complaint. PERB’s arguments for a TRO and injunctive relief were outlined in a letter to a lawyer representing UTLA.

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Labor board seeking injunction over Alliance anti-union efforts


UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl

The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will be seeking an injunction in Los Angeles County Superior Court to stop what it says is illegal interference by officials at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools against a unionization effort by some of its teachers.

The LA teachers union, UTLA, is currently attempting to unionize the teachers at the charter school organization, which has 27 schools in the Los Angeles area and employs around 700 teachers who are currently not represented by any union.

Alliance leaders have been vigorously fighting the unionization efforts, and UTLA claimed those attempts went too far and violated state laws. PERB agreed, and in August filed a formal complaint in state court.

“It’s been pretty shocking what is happening at the Alliance schools,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in a statement. “Alliance has played hardball and used illegal tactics inappropriate for any workplace and totally unacceptable in publicly funded charter schools. We are pleased the labor board acted swiftly and decisively. It was the right thing to do.”

A hearing has been set for Nov. 2 before an administrative law judge regarding the complaint. PERB’s intent to file an injunction was outlined in a letter to a lawyer representing UTLA.

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UTLA, parents angry over class sizes at LAUSD school in Palms

The LA teachers union, UTLA, organized a press conference at at Hamilton High School in Palms yesterday to draw attention to what it says is overcrowding in classrooms at the school.

The press conference featured parents, teachers and students.

“If we don’t get the quality education that we need to succeed, then we are being set up to fail,” said Karen Calderon, a Hamilton High student, according to NBC Los Angeles.

A new contract that UTLA signed with the district in the spring included some agreements on improving class size, but they were modest.  UTLA said in a press release that class sizes “have improved.” but are “still too high.”

“We commend LAUSD officials for working with us in contract talks and endorsing the importance of lower class size for our students, but now it’s time to put weight behind their words,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in a statement. “Across LAUSD, thousands of students with high class sizes are faced with less-than-optimal learning conditions, and the District should take meaningful action now to do better for our kids.”

Click here or on the video link above to see the NBC report.

Union leaders, former LAUSD board president attack Broad charter plan

LaborLeadersWhile teachers protested a proposed charter expansion plan outside the LA Unified school board meeting yesterday, union leaders involved with the district and a former board president, spoke out against it inside.

On the street, about 100 teachers rallied against the effort by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation that would more than double the number of charter school students in LA Unified over the next eight years. Some protestors wore masks of Broad, former superintendent John Deasy and members of the Walton family (of Walmart), who are also involved in the expansion effort. Some of the teachers sang to “I Will Survive” and chanted “Billionaires can’t teach our kids!”

Meanwhile, at the board meeting inside, a coalition of union leaders stood behind Max Arias, executive director of Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union, as he stood with Juan Flecha of the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), representing principals, Alex Caputo-Pearl of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA); and other labor leaders. Arias gave an impassioned speech against Broad’s “secret charter plan to take public out of public schools.”

Referring to difficulties parents had in Philadelphia when the charter schools took over traditional schools, he said, “Students will have to leave and go far away to go to school, and there will be a loss of arts and music education, a loss of skilled cafeteria workers and fewer adults at every campus.”

With a capacity crowd of more than 150 in the meeting room, Arias challenged the Broad Foundation to change direction. He read the foundation’s education mission statement to help all children and said, “We invite Eli Broad to become part of the solution and join the district and build on the success of the district. Not politicize and privatize it.”

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Multiple rallies gather early for LAUSD school board meeting

GreenDotProtestors and supporters of a variety of causes started gathering at 8 a.m. today for the 1 p.m. LA Unified school board meeting, facing intense heat outside and an overcrowded meeting room inside.

Among the earliest to appear were 50 people with green shirts and buttons showed up for the Green Dot Public Schools, which will have four charter schools before the board for five-year contract renewals.

“We have another bus load of people coming, we have about 75 parents, teachers and administrators coming, and we know we have to get here early because the board room is small,” said Larry Fondation, director of community engagement for Green Dot. Capacity at the LA Board meeting room is 155.

Some came prepared with folding chairs, umbrellas and laptops, but by 11 a.m. it was sweltering outside. When doors opened to the blaring sun, a few people came inside for the air conditioning, but school police wouldn’t let them sit there once the board members disappeared into closed session.

Jefferson Crain, executive officer of the board, came out to look at the long line early in the day and told the police, “Make sure they stay out of the heat.”

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Teachers planning to protest charter plan as LAUSD board convenes

UTLA Colleen SchwabAs the LA Unified board is holding its monthly meeting tomorrow, the teachers union, UTLA, is planning a sidewalk protest against the Broad Foundation’s plan to expand the number of charter schools in the district.

The demonstration follows the release today of a Broad-commissioned poll, showing that a large majority of city residents want more choices — charters — for their children’s education. The plan calls for 260 new charters within eight years to serve as many as half the children attending LA Unified schools.

“Broad is working with the Waltons of Walmart and other billionaires to destroy LAUSD,” UTLA says on its website. “We are demanding that the School Board join us in rejecting Broad’s parasitic plan. Losing 50% of LAUSD enrollment would trigger a severe loss in funding for crucial resources and programs for our students, cost tens of thousands of LAUSD jobs, and create a race to the bottom that will hurt all schools and all students.”

The foundation denies any destructive intent.

“Los Angeles families have made it clear that they want high-quality public school options, and we want to support them in their efforts to access educational opportunity,” Swati Pandey, the foundation’s communications manager, said in a statement. “Our only interest is in supporting the growth of high-quality public schools.”

The board is scheduled to consider approvals and five-year renewals of 15 charter schools and the creation of two magnet schools.

The two new gifted magnet centers are scheduled to open in 2016 at Kennedy High School and Taft High School. Kennedy, located in Granada Hills is a Gifted, Highly Gifted, High Ability Medical Magnet for grades 9 through 12. Taft, located in Woodland Hills, is a Gifted, Highly Gifted, High Ability Science, Technology, English, Arts and Math Magnet Center for grades 9 through 12.

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Do LA charter schools really screen out special education students?

Special ed

LAUSD’s Lowman Special Education Center

Accusations that charter schools screen out special education students or discourage them from enrolling have returned with a controversial plan by the Broad Foundation to expand charter enrollment at LA Unified.

After the president of the LA teachers union, Alex Caputo-Pearl of UTLA, raised the issue a year ago, telling the Los Angeles Times a year ago that “a lot of charters don’t allow special-education or English-language learners,” it resurfaced at a recent UTLA-sponsored rally outside the grand opening the Broad Museum.

But is the accusation true?

Legally, charter schools are not allowed to discourage enrollment from special education students or English learners.

While it may be true that LA Unified’s independent charters have smaller percentages of special education students overall and fewer have students with moderate to severe disabilities, the reasons for any disparity are complex, said Sharyn Howell executive director of the Division of Special Education at LA Unified, who oversees special education services for all district schools and most of its independent charters.

But the discrepancies are not due to screening, she said. And while she may have heard the accusation in the past, Howell said it has become a non-issue.

“Probably in the last two or three years I have not had a parent call me and say a charter school, I wanted to go there, and they discouraged me from coming. I used to get a lot of calls and emails like that, but I’m not getting them anymore,” she told LA School Report.

Because charter schools tend to be smaller and newer than district schools, they may not have had certain types of special education students before, which would tend to discourage more students with the same issues from enrolling, Howell said. But if any such students were to enroll, charters are required by law to provide them appropriate services. Continue reading

The ‘reanimation’ of John Deasy, will the next superintendent be a native?

school report buzzUTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl released a 12-minute video on YouTube today in which he asks members to vote for a dues increase.

According to Caputo-Pearl, the union has not updated its dues structure since its inception 45 years ago, which now “literally threatens the future of UTLA.”

In the video, Caputo-Pearl points out that UTLA’s monthly fees are lower than other large teacher unions in the country and lower than most other teacher unions in the state.

The video also includes a humorous reference to former LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy, who resigned a year ago. Deasy and Caputo-Pearl locked horns frequently, but now Deasy is working at the Broad Center, and its affiliated Broad Foundation is currently developing a plan to expand charter schools in the district to include half of all students.

reanimator_1024x1024Caputo-Pearl claims in the video that UTLA has confirmed that Deasy is, in fact, the architect of the plan, which was outlined in a 48-page draft report. Caputo-Pearl calls this the “reanimation” of Deasy. Reanimation? Is that a reference to the 80s cult classic film, “Re-Animator“?

The film is about a doctor who discovers how to bring corpses back from the dead. Using the film as a metaphor, it certainly shows the ironic position Caputo-Pearl finds himself in. He helped chase Deasy out of the district, which he hailed as a “victory” for UTLA. But now Deasy is arguably in a much more powerful position as he allegedly orchestrates a plan that would wipe out half of the jobs of UTLA members.

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Broad’s support of Clinton raising concerns within teacher unions

Hillary Clinton, Eli Broad

Hillary Clinton and Eli Broad on Jan. 20, 2009 at the inauguration ball of President Barack Obama.

With his massive plan to enroll half of all LA Unified’s students into charter schools, billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad is threatening major disruptions at LA Unified, cementing his role as Public Enemy No. 1 to many district and local union leaders.

But Broad’s enduring support for public charter schools now appears to be contributing to problems for an old friend, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whom he has long supported financially.

Clinton appears poised to receive the endorsement of the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association (NEA), this weekend, but the potential endorsement is causing controversy among many rank-and-file members. Similar outrage emerged when Clinton received the endorsement of the second-largest national teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), in July.

The NEA’s rank-and-file outrage is dominating many national headlines, just as the AFT outrage did, stealing the focus from what should be a public relations victory for Clinton.

Part of the concern is due to her past support of charter schools and connections to Broad, as well as her connections to Bill Gates and the Walton family, who are also major financial backers of charter schools that directly threaten union teacher jobs. An alternate candidate in the field, Sen. Bernie Sanders, a declared socialist with a track record of full-throated support of unions, makes a better candidate, according to some NEA and AFT members.

“[Clinton’s] labor credentials are significantly worse than her main challenger in the Democratic primary, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders,” wrote Huffington Post blogger and former NEA member Ben Spielberg, who also pointed out that Clinton once served on the board of directors of Wal-Mart.

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UTLA says it’s facing ‘unprecedented web of attacks’ on all sides


UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl

Just months having securing a new three-year contract that included a hefty raise for its members, all is not well at the the Los Angeles teachers union, UTLA.

The latest issue of its monthly newsletter is no easy, breezy read, and it suggests that the months and years ahead may be as tumultuous as the recent past.

UTLA views itself as being attacked on all sides — in the courts, in the voting both, in its pocketbook and from the offices of the powerful Broad Foundation. From UTLA’s view, these are apocalyptic-sized threats, and UTLA’s leaders see themselves no longer in a fight just for benefits, or salary, or class size: It is a fight for survival.

“Our union is facing an unprecedented web of attacks that threaten the survival of public education and the educator union movement,” the paper’s lead story story says.

To fuel the fight, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl is asking its members to vote for a dues increase, which he describes in the paper as “one of the most important votes since the founding of the union 45 years ago.”

He also wrote, “Now is the time to squarely deal with whether our organization is going to continue to exist.” Continue reading

Zimmer accuses Broad charter plan of strategy to ‘bring down’ LAUSD


Eli Broad

Steve Zimmer, president of the LA Unified school board, said today that plans by Eli Broad and other philanthropists to expand the number of charter schools in the district represents “a strategy to bring down LAUSD that leaves 250,000 kids vulnerable to damage.”

A draft report of the plan appears show how the organizations involved would be creating the equivalent of a parallel school district, one with a defined goal of serving half the number of students attending LA Unified schools within eight years.

The “Great Public Schools Now Initiative” says the expansion would cost nearly half a billion dollars by 2023, through 260 new charter schools to serve an additional 130,000 students “most in need — low-income students of color.” Currently, about 151,000 students now attend charters in LA Unified, which has more charter schools, 264, than any school district in the country.

The 54-page report, dated “June 2015,” omits the names of authors or sponsoring organizations. But Eli Broad’s name appears at the end of a cover letter accompanying the report that makes a case for charter schools as “the greatest hope for students in L.A.” And alluding to the number of students on waiting lists to get into existing charters, now about 42,000, the need for more charters, he says, is urgent.

“We are committed to closing the waitlist and ensuring that every family in L.A. has access to a high-quality public school,” Broad writes. “Such dramatic charter school growth would address the needs of families who have been underserved by public schools for years, if not generations.”

He also argues that, “The stakes are extraordinarily high. In all our years working to improve public schools, we have never been so optimistic about a strategy that we believe has the potential to dramatically change not only the lives of thousands of students but also the paradigm of public education in this country.”

But Zimmer characterized the plan as a destructive one that would ignore the needs of thousands of other children “living in isolation, segregation and extreme poverty.”

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UTLA plans protest against Broad at his new downtown museum


UTLA’s call for protest at Broad Museum

A few days after the posh parties with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Orlando Bloom, Ed Ruscha and Frank Gehry to celebrate the opening of the new Broad Museum, the LA Unified teachers union, UTLA, is planning a protest at the museum on Sunday, aimed at its namesake: Eli Broad, one of LA’s leading philanthropists.

More specifically, the union is demonstrating against a plan by several foundations, including his, to create more charter schools in Los Angeles.

“We are protesting Broad’s plan to pull half the students out of public LAUSD schools and put them in unregulated schools that are not accountable to the public,” UTLA said in a press release. “The students left behind would suffer greatly. There simply would not be enough funding to go around.”

Broad has become a major target of teacher unions for his efforts nationwide to reform public schools through charters and an academy that trains executives to run them. The former LA Unified superintendent, John Deasy, was a Broad trainee.

The union also contends that Broad of “secretly funded groups” that tried to defeat Proposition 30, a state tax initiative that has generated millions of new tax dollars for California public schools.

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JUST IN: Feds consider complaint over UTLA handling of strike fund

UTLAA federal agency is looking into a complaint that United Teachers of Los Angeles misused money from the union’s $3 million strike fund.

An Aug. 12  letter from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General said the complaint and supporting documents went to the Racketeering and Fraud Investigations for review. An official from the department confirmed to LA School Report that department is investigating accusations from Neil Chertcoff, a retired LAUSD teacher who still attends the union meetings.

The labor department said once the review was completed it would determine “the most appropriate course of action.”

“A lot of teachers would like to know what is happening with their dues money, and we have been asking about this for a long time,” said Chertcoff, who is involved with about a dozen teachers calling themselves the “UTLA Accountability Working Group.” “The money that was taken out of the strike fund should be returned to its proper place, or at least be accounted for properly. We have been frustrated, so we are going to the district attorney, Department of Labor, attorney general and wherever else we can go to finally get answers.”

The complaint arose out of a decision last year by the union’s board of directors to move money into a strike fund. At the time, the teachers were seeking a new labor contract with LA Unified and were preparing for the possibility of a strike.

The motion read: “We move that up to $3 million be moved from the Strike Fund to the General Operating Budget for specific organizing activities to build strike readiness. It is estimated to cost over $3 million dollars for a strike preparation that includes rebuilding our data systems, rallies, special meetings, printing, attorney fees, town hall meetings, robo-calls and phone banking, strike training and release time.”

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UTLA discusses new issues of unjustly housed teachers

UTLAChildrenWhen the union representing LA Unified teachers meets tomorrow afternoon to discuss “unjustly housed teachers,” one of the potential discussion issues is whether UTLA could get involved in the class action suit against LAUSD arising out of dispute involving Ralf Esquith.

Lawyers representing have asked the union to join the class action but is still awaiting a response.

“We would love to have the union be involved in our efforts because I’m sure they could provide more cases of the egregious use of the teacher jail,” said Esquith’s attorney Ben Meiselas at Geragos’s lawfirm. “We have already collected hundreds of stories.”

UTLA began holding meetings about the teacher jails soon after former Superintendent John Deasy ramped up the practice of pulling unwanted teachers out of classroom under the guise of protecting students. UTLA is developing strategy to determine how to handle the situation.

Two “jailed” teachers who stated their cases to the school board at the last meeting said they haven’t received much help from the union. Teacher Jay L. Stern said he is fighting his dismissal next month after spending months in what the district calls the “housed teachers” situation.

“The union hasn’t been able to help stop this witch hunt,” Stern said.

In another teacher jail case, Blake Clement said, “I have been getting more help from other teachers in my situation who have told me where to check on my status and giving me tips about what to do. The teacher’s advocate at UTLA isn’t there anymore.”

The Unjustly Housed Teacher Committee meeting is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at UTLA headquarters. It is only opened to LAUSD teachers.

With White House listening, LAUSD students share concerns, ideas


Matt Gonzales and Adrianna McMullen on panel

A group of LA Unified students joined local and national educators last week to describe academic challenges they face and to suggest ideas for what could help them.

The four-hour discussion last Thursday evening kicked off a weekend of activities sponsored by UTLA in conjunction with the “White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.”

David Johns, the executive director of the initiative, participated in the discussion with the students and in two other events, at Palisades Charter High School and the Grammy Museum, where the theme was social justice.

Also speaking Thursday was Congresswoman Judy Chu, a Democrat from Monterey Park and the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress. She discussed her concerns that schools in predominantly poor and ethnic neighborhoods have less-experienced teachers than those in more affluent and predominantly-white schools in the same district.

“Kids are coming to our schools hungry, stressed and unprepared,” Chu said. “We need to strengthen teacher preparation and give the teachers resources.” Referring to the federal “No Child Left Behind” program now under review by Congress, she said, “We all know it’s a failure that needs to be fixed.”

“The bottom line,” she said, “is the voices of minority students need to be heard.”

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UTLA making clear to LAUSD board what it wants in next superintendent

UTLAAn open and transparent search, background as an educator and under no circumstances someone from the Broad Academy. Those are the three major criteria that UTLA wants in the next LAUSD school superintendent.

Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president of the United Teachers Los Angeles union, told the LA School Report that he has made it known to the school board the kind of superintendent teachers want in a successor to Ramon Cortines.

“So far we have been advocating these three issues,” he said. “We want the process to be transparent and open and understandable. It can’t be a move from the corner office to the front office like John Deasy was last time around and without a process. That didn’t work out well.”

The search process is now underway, with the board set to pick an executive search firm on Sunday. There’s a deadline to the extent that Cortines says he want to step down by December. At the outside, the board wants a successor in place before the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

Once the finalists are chosen, Caputo-Pearl is advocating public meetings where educators, parents and the community can ask the candidates questions and voice concerns. “We need to see how they get to engage with folks,” he said.

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