Sunday, May 31, 2009

Taking Back Our Schools - Potluck/Rally - Monday, June 1, 2009 @ 6:00pm

Taking Back Our Schools - Potluck/Rally - Monday, June 1, 2009 @ 6:00pm


Hungry For A Better Education
Monday, June 1, 2009 from 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Leichty Middle School
650 S. Union, Los Angeles, CA 90017 Map:

Family Dinner - Join us for a potluck-style dinner in front of Leichty Middle School. Some hunger strikers will be breaking their fasts while others will begin theirs. Sign up to bring a dish by contacting Julie Van Winkle

There will be spoken word poetry (we're expecting Mark Gonzales!), a kids' craft table, traditional dances by the Danzantes, and a food drive - bring non-perishable food to donate to the local food bank!

We are not ready to have our students placed in ridiculously large classes and see teachers who have worked so hard be laid off or sent to other schools. To sympolize our refusal to abandon our schools, we will be camping out in front of the school after the event ends. Tents, toilet facilities and security will be provided. Please consider signing up for the community camp-out.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

An article honestly assessing Green Dot on the LA Times?

Support Parents and UTLA against LAUSD and Green Dot's corporate charter cash cowsLooks like Broad's and Gates' millions combined with Barr's idiotic idea to apply failed "free market principles" to pedagogy have so far resulted in an epic fail! This is perhaps the first honest article the Los Angeles Times has ever done on the neoliberal Green Dot organization. It could have to do with writer, close friend of Ben Austin, and Green Dot cheerleader, Howard Blume being on vacation. Regardless, all their lies are meeting the exposure of reality. Remember, this is the model Arne Duncan, the frighteningly unqualified Secretary of Education will try to force upon all of us.

So far, not a single student at Locke 1 has tested as proficient on the school's benchmark exams in algebra. Locke 2 is in similar straits. Students disappeared during the school year; new students with their own difficulties signed up. These are the same intractable problems Locke suffered from as an L.A. Unified school.

The other thing is the article spells out, in no uncertain terms, what we have described as "cherry picking." While reactionary Steve Barr has denied his neoliberal charters skim the cream of the crop, in practice, this is exactly what they do.

Previous Green Dot charters, opened as alternatives to failing public schools, attracted motivated families that came from far-flung communities to place their children on waiting lists. As a result, enrollment was predictable and stable.

Another thing is Steve Barr, Marco Petruzzi, and Ben Austin were saying before the take over of Locke, that they would turn the school around in a matter of months. While the unqualified barons of private education make their six digit salaries, lets see how their prognostications have turned out:

Plastered on the pale-blue portables in a corner of the Locke campus are cheery motivational signs bearing the number 652. "Operation Proficient: 652," one reads. "652. We are on our way," another cheers. The number is the Academic Performance Index score -- the state's key accountability measure -- that the school hopes to reach. It's a long way from the 800 that represents a successful school, but it's an almost unimaginable leap from Locke's pre-charter score of 515, which placed it at rock bottom.

Regardless of what happens in the future, the Locke experience demonstratively proves UTLA's point. Smaller class sizes, parent involvement, and more money spent per class room changes everything. While neoliberal Green Dot is able to tap the vast fortunes of predatory monopoly capitalists like William Gates, and neoliberal billionaires like Eli Broad for now, what will happen after privatization of all our schools? Doubtful that the Wall-Mart model of education would attract any more right wing donations after that.

We need to fight to keep the public in public schools. We need to fight these massively funded, racist, right wing institutions that would ossify the segregation of our schools. We need to organize our communities and support UTLA against the onslaught of those that would turn the honorable profession of teaching into a minimum wage job. La lucha Sigue!

Where change begins at L.A.'s Locke High School


Thursday, May 28, 2009

L.A. Teachers on Hunger Strike - KTLA


Big March on Feinstein's Office, June 3, 2009


Press release from the Hunger Strike and Teach-In for the Kids of LAUSD: Hungry for a Better Education


Media Contacts:

Fast Participant (Español) – Jose Lara
(714) 864-0543

Fast Participant – Sean Leys
(323) 490-2412

Teacher Organizer – Kelly Flores
(323) 286-5244

Teachers, Parents, and Community Members Announce Hunger Strike and Teach-In for the Kids of LAUSD: Hungry for a Better Education

Los Angeles, California – Nearly a dozen individuals, including LAUSD teachers, concerned community, and a single father will undergo a full-fledged, water-only fast beginning the evening of Wednesday, May 27th, 2009.

The objective of these actions is to call attention to School Board Members Garcia, Flores, and Vladovic’s plan to put nearly a half billion dollars of federal stimulus money into a savings account while raising class sizes and laying off some of the district’s best, most exciting, vibrant new teachers. Our demand is for a new LAUSD budget that defends students’ classrooms.

LAUSD has received nearly a billion dollars in federal stimulus money. President Obama has repeatedly announced that the purpose and top priority for this money should be to keep jobs and to inject the money as quickly as possible into the economy; however, Board Members Garcia, Flores, and Vladovic have voted to approve a budget that does just the opposite. Their budget calls for saving half of the money and laying off 2,500 desperately needed teachers, the future of the profession. Worse still, their plan calls for raising class size – the single biggest factor in determining students’ success.

Hunger strikers are willing to continue the fast until all demands are met. Such drastic cuts call for drastic actions.


1) Protect out students’ education by NOT increasing class size
2) Protect the future of education in LAUSD by NOT laying off our new teachers

Fasters’ Itinerary

Wednesday-Friday: Following the press conference, fasters will be working in their communities building support. Teachers will be at their schools teaching. They may be contacted individually.
Saturday: Hungry for Education Teach-in and Speak Out. Fasters will be available at this event.
Sunday and afterwards: Fasters will begin an encampment and be available for interviews. 5:00pm, Location TBA.

Press Conference
May 27th, 2009 at 4:30 PM
Gratts Elementary School
309 Lucas Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Hungry for Education Teach-in
May 30st, 2009 at 11:00 AM
Centro Cultural Francisco Villa
2100 Maple Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

Fasters (Partial list):

Sean Leys
Teacher at Lincoln High School, fast organizer, English only
(323) 490-2412

Jose Lara
Single father of child at First Street Elementary School, teacher at Santee High School, fast organizer, English and Español
(714) 864-0543

Brenda Barragan
Pink Slipped Teacher at Santee High School, English and Español
(323) 533-8976

Elizabeth Juarez
Third grade teacher at Hooper Avenue Elementary, English and Español
(818) 239-9395

Alexia Lewis
Substitute teacher at Lincoln High School, artist, civil rights activist, English only
(323) 369-5109

Gladys Mazariego-Hamdi
Math and special education teacher at West Adams Preparatory High School, English and Español
(818) 568-8004

Martin Terrones
Filmmaker, community activist, founder / executive director of Chicano/Latino Artists for Social Equality (CLASE), English and Español
(310) 591-7560


CCCOP's latest on LAPD's murder of Susie Pena

The latest from the community watch group:

The Coalition for Community Control Over the Police will picket outside the LAPD awards ceremony 10:30am Thursday, May 28 at the Kodak Theater, where the LAPD’s highest honor will be given to 10 of the SWAT stormtroopers who killed 18 month old baby Susie Pena in Watts in 2005.  The Medal of Valor, approved by Mayor Villaraigosa’s appointed Police Commission, is "awarded to officers who distinguish themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond..."
Chief Bratton has orchestrated the rewards for killing baby Susie in line with his official denial that his death squad killed her.  He recently postponed Lorena Lopez’ (Susie’s mother) lawsuit while he shops for a new coroner to re-write the autopsy, to exonerate his force from the infant’s death, and remove himself from liability as he seeks a third term.
The Coalition for Community Control Over the Police calls on Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama’s Justice Department to fully enforce the federal Consent Decree, to follow through on its lawsuit against the LAPD for refusing to break its “pattern and practice” of civil rights violations, and for the implementation of an all-elected, all-civilian police control board with full authority over the department.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is the on-air-bully projecting?

"Rush Limbaugh's race to the bottom" in Salon. There's a rumor he was telling the truth regarding his OxyContin fueled trip to the Dominican Republic. The story goes: the boxes of Viagra weren't for him, they were for friends he planned to meet, only the vial of amyl nitrate was Mr. Limbaugh's.


Friday, May 15, 2009

My wife and I are outraged by the LAUSD RIF

Ms. Garcia:

My wife and I live in District 2. We are appalled that Mr. Cortines and the LAUSD board are cutting some 5,500 teachers, when funds have been made available to retain those jobs. Before going to work today, we marched alongside the parents, students, and teachers from Miguel Contreras Learning Complex this morning against the disgusting injunction Mr. Cortines obtained to support his vicious cuts.

We are further outraged by Mr. Cortines collaborative efforts with union busting charter schools and other privatization methods. Given the Superintendent's quarter million dollar a year salary, it is no surprise that he would spearhead an effort to vilify hard working teachers making a fraction of what he makes. While he enjoys lunches with Steve Barr, Eli Broad, and other enemies of public education, those of us that work for a living and pay taxes are standing by our sisters and brothers in UTLA. We don't want class size increases! We don't want teachers being laid off! We are tired of the wealthy getting a free lunch on our backs!

Ms. Garcia, I have voted for you several times in the past. However, I can guarantee you will not get my vote in the future if you don't take a stand on this. Furthermore, I will use all my resources and wherewithal as a community organizer to spread the word that you are against our students, parents, and teachers. LAUSD should have been standing alongside UTLA protesting the Governor's budget cuts and demanding more resources for our schools. Instead LAUSD has engaged in the most despicable union busting, and has supported the most reactionary elements in our city -- including the big money interests that would privatize our schools. Budget crisis? Tax the rich!


RD Skeels and YJ Lee
Barrio Echo Parque residents for 14 years


Thursday, May 14, 2009

A parent revolution?

L.A. Parents Union, effectively an astroturf front group for Green Dot, is funded for the most part by Eli Broad and William Gates. Hardly advocates of progressive education or social equality. What the 'Parent Revolution' (have to love the extreme right wing's appropriation of terms once reserved for the social justice struggle) does do is it dupes parents into supporting 'non-profit' organizations like Green Dot which pays massive six digit salaries to Steve Barr, Marco Petruzzi, and Ben Austin. These same fat cats drone on about how UTLA rank and file are overpaid.

An end goal to their union busting efforts, will be to apply 'free market principles' like competition between their privatized schools. That's right, the same thinking that brought us the disaster and the housing bubble fiasco. How apropos, considering Steve Barr's Silicon Valley roots, and connections to super-rich venture capitalists. While he's not lounging around his opulent Silver Lake home insinuating UTLA bureaucrats have carnal relations with sus domestica, he is working with some of the most reactionary elements in Los Angeles to destroy the last vestiges of public eduction.

Private institutions, answerable to no one, will replace schools as we know them. Once they have displaced public schools, the impetus to improve education will give way to their true motive. Like all efforts to maximize profits (yes Green Dot is a non-profit, but read the rules governing non-profits, especially those for salaries), through downward pressure on spending per student and teacher salaries in order to increase Mr. Barr's and his cronies' incomes substantially.

Far from the 'revolutionary instigators' right wing libertarian admirers call them, Mr. Barr and his highly paid wrecking crew will join the pantheon of profiteering crooks like the Waltons, Gates, and Madoffs.