Friday, July 11, 2014

Fundraiser for Dr. George McKenna, come support the communty and teacher's choice for LAUSD

Dr. George McKenna Fundraiser by Robert D. Skeels


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

'Crenshaw' documents what education reform monsters like Deasy do to schools with black students

Crenshaw: a film by Lena Jackson

From Filmmaker Lena Jackson. Please forward widely:

Please join us for the first Los Angeles screening of Crenshaw at the Southern California Library this Thursday, July 10th at 6:30pm. The evening will include a screening of the 20-minute film, plus Q&A with Crenshaw students, teachers, and parents.

The Crenshaw district's own students, teachers, and parents detail the stark consequences of a school superintendent's quick-fix reforms of their public high school in South Los Angeles. This documentary takes the viewer deep inside the lives of those most affected by the callous "reconstitution." As teachers were kicked out, curriculum replaced, and class sizes swelled, community activists and students take to the streets and meeting halls to fight for a say in their school's future.

Southern California Library is located at: 6120 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90044.

Refreshments provided, please RSVP to Lena Jackson at crenshawfilm [at] gmail [dot] com


Monday, July 07, 2014

Recall Echo Parque gang injunction supporters saying it was unrelated to real estate prices?


Monday, June 30, 2014

This UCLA Alumni just stopped by Peoples College of Law for readings preparing for fall semester. Kinda sorry I asked.


Friday, June 27, 2014

There is an Ayn Rand dating site. And it's exactly like you imagined it'd be.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

So this 10th grade drop out who just graduated UCLA just got the news that they're a Peoples College of Law student!

PCL 2018 UCLA 2014

I'm excited beyond words. I got the call that I was accepted around 8:00PM. This time last year I had no degree, and was anxious about returning to UCLA to finish up what I had started eighteen years earlier. Turned out that I'm still on top of my game academically. Now with a UCLA B.A. in Classical Civilization in hand, I'm getting ready to start at the same law school that one of my closest mentors graduated from in 1974. Peoples College of Law is a very special place, and an integral part of my community. I'm ready for this next step that will allow me to apply both my Freireian praxis and my social justice principles on a whole new level.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SKrashen: Intensive Systematic Phonics, Tests of Reading Comprehension, and the Garan Effect

SKrashen: Intensive Systematic Phonics, Tests of Reading Com...: An article in the Guardian announced that a new study confirmed the positive effect of intensive ...


Monday, June 16, 2014

Three very special UCLA Professors I had the good fortune of studying under

Professor Robert Gurval of UCLA Department of Classics with 2014 Winter Quarter Graduate Robert D. Skeels

Spring of 1991 I was a 26 year old transfer student. My first class was Classics 41—Survey of Latin Literature in Translation—with Professor Robert Gurval who was in his first year at UCLA. Currently the Chair of the UCLA Department, Professor Gurval was gracious enough to provide me guidance and encouragement upon my return to the university. I’m forever indebted to him for both his scholarship and friendship.

Professor Sarah Morris of UCLA Department of Classics with 2014 Winter Quarter Graduate Robert D. Skeels

I had more courses with Professor Sarah Morris than any other professor during my academic career. Like Professor Gurval, she was one of my instructors during the early nineteen-nineties. The difference was that I also had one her courses (Classics 152A Ancient City: Greek World) in my final quarter of my return nineteen years later. Needing A letter grades in both of my last two classes to pull my GPA up, I averaged four hours a sleep a night that last quarter. The studying paid off, I got an A+ in her class and an A in Professor Mellor’s History of the Roman Empire course.

Professor Mario Telò of UCLA Department of Classics with 2014 Winter Quarter Graduate Robert D. Skeels

Both Professor Mario Telò and the quality of my fellow students in the Fall 2013 Classics 191 Capstone Seminar (Greek Novel) were absolutely amazing. It was my first course upon returning to the university after eighteen years, and it was very challenging. Talk about reigniting my passion for academia. Reading and discussing Longus, Heliodorus, and Achilles Tatius was something very special. As was having UCSB’s Professor Helen Morales as a guest facilitator for one of our sessions.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Schools Matter: We need to remember that the impediments to self-directed learning are by design

First published on Schools Matter on June 14, 2014

Alfie Kohn

"When teachers are told exactly what and how to teach, when they feel pressured to produce results, they in turn tend to pressure their students. That is exactly what another study found: teachers who felt controlled became more controlling, removing virtually any opportunities for students to direct their own learning." — Alfie Kohn

As always the wonderful Alfie Kohn is right on target. What's left out of his important analysis is that these conditions are exactly what our ruling class—namely, but not limited to the Gates, Broad, and Walton Family Foundations—wants. From their self-serving perspective, self-directed learning is for the scion of the 1%, not for us working class rabble. Completely control both educators and their pupils through fear (Vergara), and deployment the banking model of pedagogy (Common Core State Standards CCSS), and you control access to the one thing that could allow us to overthrow our oppressors.

Works Cited
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 2000. Print.
Kohn, Alfie. The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "tougher Standards". Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1999. Print.


Friday, June 13, 2014

SKrashen: Why test writing?

SKrashen: Why test writing?

A suggestion: Drop the composition section of the Comprehensive Assessment Program

Sent to the Taipei Times, June 12.

The composition section is the most contentious part of the
Comprehensive Examination ("Blame game won’t solve exam problem:
minister," June 13).

I have a suggestion: Drop the composition section entirely.

Testing students on writing proficiency makes no sense: Studies show
that our ability to write using the accepted conventions of writing,
including organization and mechanics, is largely the result of reading,
which is why reading and writing scores are always so highly correlated:
those who read a great deal do better on both reading and writing

Essays are also the hardest part of language exams to
grade, requiring consultation among graders and a great deal of tedious

Stephen Krashen

original article:


Thursday, June 12, 2014

So happy to have the endorsements of teachers and activists Dorsey HS Sherlett Hendy Newbill and Robert Skeels!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finally graduated UCLA after being denied a diploma by Quintero in 1995

Submitted to the The Glendale News-Press on June 10, 2014

This Saturday I will be among the UCLA class of 2014 participating in our departmental commencement ceremonies at Royce Hall. In 1995 I was a senior at UCLA, and serving my seventh year as the Glendale Chamber of Commerce's Art Director. A part time student my entire tenure at the Chamber, they had always been very supportive of their employee's pursuing their education. I had been Alpha Gamma Sigma at Glendale Community College with a perfect 4.0 GPA, transfered to UCLA as an Honors Student, and was recruited by the Golden Key National Honors Society. My academic career looked bright, and my goal was to become a professor.

In 1995 incoming Chamber President Frank Quintero presented me a choice to resign my position or stop attending school. With no other means of financial support, I was left with no alternative but to drop out. I thought it would be temporary, and I'd find a way to return soon. I was baffled by Quintero's ultimatum since at the time he ran a 501C3 for Veterans called Alliance for Education. I was a U.S. Navy Veteran.

Eighteen years later I found myself with both daytime availability and the financial wherewithal to return to UCLA. On March 21, 2014 I was awarded a B.A. in Classical Civilization at the age of forty eight. I'm sure the trajectory of my life would have been quite different had I not been denied that opportunity earlier, but ultimately I was able to go back and finish. I was just featured in the graduation edition of the Daily Bruin, and I am currently in enrollment process at Peoples College of Law.


RELEASE: 2013 LAUSD BOE Runner Up Robert D. Skeels Endorses Dr. George McKenna for the District 1 Special Election

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2014

Robert D. Skeels

RELEASE: 2013 LAUSD BOE Runner Up Robert D. Skeels Endorses Dr. George McKenna for the District 1 Special Election

Los Angeles, C.A. — Today, longtime social justice activist, and runner up in the 2013 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) District 2 election, Robert D. Skeels announced he is endorsing Dr. George McKenna for the August 12, 2014 runoff election.

“I'm supporting Dr. McKenna because all students in LAUSD need representation, not just the few attending the California Charter School Assocations' lucrative charter outlets,” said Skeels. “McKenna is an experienced, professional educator. What our board needs right now are representatives who understand all the nuances and complexities of our district and education policy.”

Skeels cites the support of key allies as a major reason for his public endorsement of, rather than just supporting, McKenna. "Good friends, including the Honorable Jackie Goldberg, and the distinguished Dr. Judy Perez have endorsed McKenna," said Skeels. However, it was the public endorsement of McKenna by third place finisher in the primary election, Sherlett Hendy Newbill, that spurred him on to an official endorsement. Skeels stated "Many of us worked very hard to get Sherlett elected. When I saw her endorse McKenna, I realized the importance of all of us that support public education standing behind the professional educator who was a trailblazer in the civil rights movement."

Skeels joins a long list of School Board Members, Elected Officials, Education Organizations and Leaders, Publications, Ecumenical Leaders, Community Organizations and Leaders who have endorsed Dr. George McKenna. McKenna received over over 44% of the votes in the June 3, 2014 primary election.


Robert D. Skeels is a social justice writer, public education advocate, and immigrant rights activist. He lives, works, writes, and organizes in Los Angeles with his wife and cats. Robert is a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a proud member of Veterans for Peace. He attended Glendale Community College and graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BA in Classical Civilization. Robert is a committed member of CEJ, PESJA, SCIC, and the Trinational Coalition To Defend Public Education. A student of Liberation Theology and Paulo Freire's work, he devotes much time towards volunteer work for 12 step, church, and homeless advocacy. Robert’s articles and essays have appeared in publications including Schools Matter, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Daily Censored, Echo Park Patch, K12NN, LA Progressive, and The Los Angeles Daily News. In 2013 Robert ran for the LAUSD School Board against a billionaire funded corporate reform candidate, finishing second in a field of five, with over 5,200 votes.