Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education by Robert D. Skeels

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education


"I am an enthusiastic supporter of Ms. Ortega not only for her deep understand and support of bilingual education but also for her ability to see the big picture, to consider what is right for all students. In Gandhi's terms, Ms. Ortega one of the "perfect resisters" we need to win the battle of right versus wrong." — Professor Stephen Krashen

"Cheryl fights, heart and soul, for Bilingual Education and has a sense of justice that UTLA needs." — Lisa Karahalios Board of Directors Valley East,  Milliken Middle School

"I wholeheartedly endorse Cheryl. Her dedication and tenacity are a great service to our teachers and students. She was there at the beginning of LAUSD's implementation of bilingual education. No one has the same experience or institutional memory that she has." — Marina Salas, Chair UTLA Bilingual Ed Cmte, Hoover St. ES

"We need to keep our most experienced, dedicated individual at the helm of UTLA Bilingual Education." — Robert D. Skeels


Matthew Kogan, Jeff Pott & Anne Zerrien-Lee: The best team to serve you as UTLA North Area Chair and Directors!

Matthew Kogan, Jeff Pott & Anne Zerrien-Lee The best team to serve you as UTLA North Area Chair and Directo... by Robert D. Skeels

We are three independent voices for constructive change who share a common vision of inclusiveness and union solidarity. We are not beholden to any faction; we know that the only way to make our union strong is to respect our diverse membership and work together with everyone for the common good.

We ask to serve you because we want to work to strengthen our union’s collective ability to champion members’ rights and stand up for public education. It’s time to turn away from destructive internal factionalism and focus on what really matters. We can’t do this alone. We need your help. If you entrust us with your vote, we pledge to work with all of our union brothers and sisters to:

  • Build union solidarity and recruit chapter chairs for all North Area schools.
  • Defend and empower all members and all schools, raise pay and boost morale.
  • Protect your contract rights and benefits from all threats.
  • Fully staff schools, reduce class size and secure full funding for Arts, Health and Human Services, Libraries, Adult Education, SRLDP, Bilingual Education, Field Trips, and more.
  • Make sure teachers get the subs they request, and subs get called when requested.
  • Eliminate excessive high-stakes standardized testing and test prep.
  • Return Breakfast to cafeterias and halt the theft of instructional time.
  • Make schools safer and healthier for us and for students.
  • Hold elected officials accountable for votes that harm our members.
  • Strengthen organizing ties with families, school communities, and other unions.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Charlatan Steve Perry exposed for the world to see!

Ebony Murphy-Root's courageous exposure of one of the most pernicious corporate neoliberal education reformers is a must read: 'Did You Grow Up Around Black People?' My year working for "America's Most Trusted Educator"

The comments under this reprint of the piece are worth visiting as well: A powerful and haunting report from a former Capital Prep teacher


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thank you for Klansplaining me Brian!

My response to a bigot on The Daily Bruin

Protofacism in the U.S. Thank you for Klansplaining me Brian!

Your fact-free diatribes about documents, citizens, governments, and such almost made me forget the long history of genocide, trail of tears, stolen lands, and broken treaties (Guadalupe Hidalgo for one) that comprise the so-called nation of laws you mention. "Free to return to their native land"? I know you probably didn't learn this in your white supremacist studies classes, but the indigenous peoples of this continent ARE ALREADY on their native land. The depraved depths of racism and ahistoricism one must plumb to insinuate that "we [sic] are being colonized" is breathtaking. Save that Klanspeak for your next JBS meeting, this isn't the forum for your brand of bigotry and hate speech.


Monday, November 25, 2013

What's left for me to do at UCLA?

It's been a long road for this 48 year old undergraduate. My last complete year of high school was the tenth grade. I passed the GED test while stationed at Pearl Harbor in the Navy. I started at Glendale Community College in 1988 and transfered to UCLA in Spring 1991. I was forced to drop out of UCLA by my capricious employer at the end of the Winter 1995 term before I was able to graduate. Recently, after finishing second in the 2013 LAUSD School Board elections, my wife strongly encouraged me to return to UCLA. Readmission to the UC was painless, and under the new requirements I only had 12 units left to graduate.

I'm currently finishing this, which was the only required class...

and then all that's left is...

I had classes with Professor Morris when I was last at UCLA some nineteen years ago. She's one of the smartest people I've ever known, and it will be nice to study under her again.

I'll be walking in June of 2014—the first time graduating from anything ever for me. Then hard choices. UCLA GSE&IS? Peoples College of Law? A MSW program somewhere? The first two choices are pretty attractive given my social connections and the people who would recommend me. However, I'm not sure at this point. First things first.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Getting some Twitter love from LA's BEST

LA's Best helps public schools. While they're unable to offset the hundreds of millions the privately managed charter industry gets from right wing billionaires like Reed Hastings, David Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Eli Broad, it still helps.

I'm a million times more comfortable getting favorited by LA's BEST, than that #ff I got the other day from you-know-who. At the end of the day, they're still both Nonprofit Industrial Complex #NPICs. We need an entirely new model that is a) resistant to control by plutocrats and their foundations; b) responsive to the community instead of a corporate 501C3 structure. Heck, we just need a new socioeconomic system... period.

Robert D. Skeels,
Your Tweet got favorited!
 Robert D. Skeels
Robert D. Skeels
Recolonizing Our Classrooms: The Race and Class Hypocrisy of Corporate Education Reform #CCSS #edreform…
11:37 AM - 19 Nov 13
Favorited by

LA's BEST is an after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children in L.A. #LAsBEST

Robert D. Skeels,
Your Tweet got favorited!
Robert D. Skeels
Robert D. Skeels
.@ProfessorJVH hits another one out of the park: "Reframing the Refrain: Choice as a Civil Rights Issue" #LAUSD
08:32 AM - 21 Nov 13
Favorited by

LA's BEST is an after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children in L.A. #LAsBEST


A friendly note on organizing and UTLA

A friendly note on organizing and UTLA

I keep hearing a lot of UTLA people complaining that they can't organize because of leadership. I sure want to know how those people explain how amazing UTLA activists like Anne Zerrien-Lee, Ingrid Villeda, Cheryl Ortega, Kelly Flores, Sean Abajian, José Lara, Mike Gonzales, Matthew Kogan, and others who organize successful actions and campaigns on a constant basis.

Maybe because instead of saying that they "can't organize because of leadership," or the just as cynical "organize in spite of leadership," they do it because they are the leadership. When our left political theory becomes nothing more than mere talk shop, I applaud those that put social justice into praxis. Like the trite expression goes: "be the change you are looking for."

first published here


Re-elect Tom Torlakson: a teacher working for schools and kids


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Official Petition to Remove Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education


Parents and educators protest Deasy's $1-billion iPad corporate handout plan


Recolonizing Our Classrooms: The Race and Class Hypocrisy of Corporate Education Reform

Unequal by Design: Schooling the Poor and Students of Color 
in Today's Public Schools and Universities

November 20, 2013

3 – 5pm: Faculty & Grad Student Panel
Academic Senate Chambers

Panel of Faculty, Students, and Activists Speak on
"The Privatization of Public Higher Education"

6pm - 8pm: Campus–Wide Forum & Keynote
Titan Student Union

Student Performances

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Wayne Au, Assistant Professor at 
University of Washington, Bothell 

"Recolonizing Our Classrooms: 
The Race and Class Hypocrisy of Corporate Education Reform"

Wayne Au is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Bothell and an editor for the social justice education magazine, Rethinking Schools. A former public high school history and language arts teacher, Au's work focuses broadly on teaching for social justice, multicultural education, and critical education theory. Most recently his work has focused on the race and class implications of high-stakes testing and other aspects of corporate education reform.

Co-Organized by: Researchers and Critical Educators (RACE) and the Los Angeles Regional Network (LA-RN) 
of the California Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (CA-NAME)

Sponsoring Organizations: 
Chicana & Chicano Resource Center (CRC), College of Education (COE), Reading Department, Department of Secondary Education, Department of Special Education, Elementary & Bilingual Education Department, Educational Leadership Department

More information:


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Crunch time going into UCLA Week 8 of F13


Rally at Galatzan Event Against LAUSD iPad Giveaway

Like Marie Antoinette, LAUSD's Tamar Galatzan is ignoring community needs with her flippant suggestion: the district should spend school bond money for thousands of iPads for every student and teacher. To the parents who want: Smaller Class Sizes, Arts Education, Physical Education, Early Education, Adult Education, Nurses, and Librarians Board Member Galatzan says Let Them Eat iPad!


Friday, November 15, 2013

TN Student Speaks Out About Common Core, Teacher Evaluations, and Educational Data


If you suspect that CCSS perpetuates what bell hooks terms 'white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,' you're right!


Wasn't it Marshall Tuck, Ryan Smith, and Antonio Villaraigosa who callously shuttered Chicano Studies at Santee HS?


This is kinda weird, I don't even know how to respond to it


Thursday, November 14, 2013

So no excuses charters basically tell youth of color acting like white ppl is the only way to be successful


Marshall Tuck: despised by community, but always welcome at the Chamber of Commerce

Show right-wing business-banker Marshall Tuck and his billionaire backers that Californians want a professional educator, not a venture capitalist, as our State Superintendent of Instruction — support Tom Torlakson!

Together, we've done a lot for our schools and our kids over the past three years.
Thanks to your support, we've stopped the harmful cuts to our schools. We've focused on higher standards and 21st century skills. We are returning music, drama, art, civics, and STEM to our classrooms. We're restoring preschool and quality early learning programs. We are working to give all students access to technology and a taste of the working world before they graduate.
As a teacher, I am proud of what we have accomplished together for California’s students:

  • Graduation rates at an all-time high
  • Statewide test scores near their peak
  • New, higher standards in place to keep students engaged and in school today -- and prepared to start a career and college tomorrow.
Of course, there’s much more to do. But our hard work for children is paying off with better school accountability and fewer dropouts.
As optimistic as I am about the future, I also need to share with you some news about a challenge to my re-election effort. Strange as it may seem, a well-funded former Wall Street banker is running against me.
My opponent will spend millions of dollars trying to defeat me -- money they know I cannot match as a career educator. I have always relied on the power of people at election time. And in California, we have proven again and again that real people beat big money. Can you donate $19 or more today to help?
There is a new spirit of hope and optimism at California’s schools, but the threat I’m facing is real. Without your help now, all that we’ve worked so hard to achieve could fall by the wayside.
While the election is months away, your early support is critical. Can I count on you to donate $19 or more today to show my opponent -- and his wealthy backers -- that California's schools are not for sale?.
We've accomplished much together. But there's more work to do, which is why I need you to act now.
Thank you for your consideration, and for you dedication to the students of California.

Tom Torlakson


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gates' VAM/AGT killed at Microsoft, but LAUSD students and educators still victimized by 'value added' phrenology


President Obama ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Common Core’s nonsensical, corporate questions confuse even Shinonome Nano!


Friday, November 01, 2013

Our oppressors use the racist phrase "achievement gap" to distract us from their abject "humanity gap."


Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: They're packing 50 students into L.A. high school classes

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: They're packing 50 students into L.A. high school ...: Arne Duncan green-lighted it. Remember? "Class size has been a sacred cow and I think we need to take it on," Duncan told his...