Sunday, June 17, 2012

My humble thoughts on UTLA's vote on the Tentative Agreement

Reprinted from

Public Education and Social Justice AdvocacyI want to thank United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) for being the only thing standing between our communities and Eli Broad's malevolent designs. For better or worse, UTLA members agreed once more to take a drastic pay cut so that they could save the jobs of many of their colleagues, who, in turn, serve our community. Educators have made these amazing personal sacrifices year after year, while simultaneously being vilified as greedy and self serving by the corporate press, unprincipled politicians, and the avaricious opportunists in the so-called non-profit sector. Notice too that none of the no-excuses reformers ever make sacrifices of any kind on behalf of our communities. The only "shared sacrifices" I've seen are by working people, and more to the point, predominantly by librarians, counselors, teachers and other educators.

On the other hand, I want to express my deep sorrow for all the schools being closed, programs being shuttered, educators who are still losing their jobs, and people being robbed of the educational opportunities. Opportunities they would have had if the district actually prioritized education over squandering money on discredited vanity projects and giveaways to wealthy charter operators and their venture capitalist backers. While the agreement saves a portion of critical programs like Adult Education and Early Education, it also abandons many. For example, the Mary Lind Foundation, a place I do much volunteer work at, is losing their computer and GED programs due to these cuts. As always, the most vulnerable in our district are denied.

I rather appreciate Mr. Fletcher's statements about the agreement. His message that "LAUSD has shown its willingness to be cavalier about the needs of schools and students" needs to be promulgated far and wide. Moreover, such messages have to be followed up by tangible actions. The community desperately needs partnership with UTLA.

I know many UTLA members who support the community, because I constantly work with them on various projects and activism. I don't worry about them, since I know that they are principled and see a bigger picture. I hope that both the contentiousness and closeness of the UTLA vote will be seen as a call to action by the rest of the union that they need to unite with the community to fight these neoliberal policies that are both destroying UTLA and threatening to eliminate public education altogether. So in a spirit of unity, I hope to see many more of you working to build a social justice union that is deeply rooted in your school sites and the communities where those schools reside. I don't feel it is hyperbole to say our fates are inextricably tied together.

Advocating public education and social justice

Robert D. Skeels


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Important Recall Mónica García Updates

Recall Mónica García Dowtown Signature Drive
Join us this Saturday
June 16, 2012 at 9:30AM
Abram Friedman Occupational Center (AFOC)
1646 South Olive Street Los Angeles, CA 90015

Recall Mónica García
Students, Parents, and Community Activists to provide an update on the recall campaign and other activities to save LAUSD SRLDP, Early Education Centers, Adult Education, and to prevent further privatization, reconstitution, and closures of our local neigboorhood schools.
Monday at 12:30
June 18, 2012
LAUSD Headquarters (Boardroom Side)
333 S. Beaudry Ave. , Los Angeles, 90017

Destitución de Mónica García
Los estudiantes, padres y activistas de la comunidad proporcionaran información actualizada sobre la campaña de destitución y otras actividades para salvar el LAUSD SRLDP, Centros de Educación Temprana, Educación de Adultos, y para evitar una mayor privatización, la reconstitución y el cierre de nuestras escuelas.
Lunes a las 12:30
18 de junio 2012
LAUSD Headquarters (Boardroom Side)
333 S. Beaudry Ave. , Los Angeles, 90017

Support The Recall for Mónica García Committee FPPC ID: 1347024
(213) 344-5764


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Schools Matter: Evaluate This! Shows the way forward for authentic education reform

"I am heading for a four-year college. The classes that most helped me prepare for this were NOT test prep classes. They were the ones where I got to explore stuff and do projects." — Tiffany Tuggle (CEJ Member and Senior at UCLA Community School)

Esperanza Elementary School first grade garden project at Evaluate This!I finally got around to my write up on an important PEAC/CEJ/UTLA's event in a Schools Matter piece entitled: Evaluate This! Shows the way forward for authentic education reform

Evaluate This!, was an education fair showcasing projects at various schools sites throughout LAUSD. With an emphasis on project based learning, the fair featured some absolutely amazing forms of pedagogy. Even though I arrived to catch the very end of the event, it exceeded expectations in every possible way. Even the virulently anti-public education Los Angeles Times ran a blog piece on it.

Published 2012-06-11 on Schools Matter, please read it there and share widely.