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A state judge Wednesday ordered the California Department of Education to intervene at a South Los Angeles high school where some students have spent eight weeks in classes during which they received no instruction.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge George Hernandez Jr. chastised the Los Angeles Unified School District for being unable or unwilling to solve a chaotic scheduling situation at Thomas Jefferson High School. He criticized the state for disclaiming its constitutional responsibility to ensure that students in California receive an education.

“Put bluntly,” Hernandez wrote, “the harms already suffered are severe and pervasive; there is no evidence of an imminent solution; Defendants disclaim their constitutional responsibilities; and the harm to students (who are among the State’s most challenged) is compounding daily.”

Some students at Jefferson High School were assigned to “home,” “service” or “library” classes that amounted to going home, sitting in the auditorium, roaming around campus or occasionally being given menial administrative tasks. Some students had as many as four non-classes a day. Students were also put in classes they had taken before.

Hernandez gave the state until Nov. 3 to ensure there are adequate teachers, desks, classrooms and books to provide substantive courses that students need to fulfill graduation and college entrance requirements. Hernandez acknowledged that problems with the district’s new scheduling software contributed to widespread scheduling failures.

The state argued that it is the responsibility of Los Angeles Unified to remedy the scheduling problems at Jefferson and framed the issue as one of local control.

“Scheduling of classes is a local matter that belongs with local school officials,” said Richard Zeiger, chief deputy superintendent of the state Department of Education, in a statement Wednesday. “In this particular case, the judge has ruled that LAUSD did not meet that responsibility.” He added that the state will immediately begin to work with Los Angeles Unified officials to figure out how to solve the problem.

“Put bluntly, the harms already suffered are severe and pervasive; there is no evidence of an imminent solution; Defendants disclaim their constitutional responsibilities; and the harm to students (who are among the State’s most challenged) is compounding daily,” said Judge George Hernandez Jr.

It took two months for Ludin Lopez, 17, a senior at Jefferson, to get a class schedule, he said in an interview. Against his wishes, he continues to be enrolled in a “home” class, which means he is sent home at 1 p.m. daily. He was admitted two weeks late to an Advanced Placement literature class that has 50 students and not enough chairs, he said. He was admitted eight weeks late to a graphic arts class he needs to graduate. Also, after eight weeks he was assigned to a new trigonometry teacher when the class was split. The school offers no tutoring help, he said.

“It feels scary because I’m applying for college and don’t know if I’m going to stand out,” he said.

Hernandez issued his ruling as part of Cruz v. California, a class-action lawsuit challenging California’s failure to provide meaningful learning time to students. Public Counsel and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California filed the lawsuit in May with pro bono support from the law firms Carlton Fields Jorden Burt and Arnold & Porter LLP.

The lawsuit pits the state’s obligation to see that every child gets an equal opportunity for an education against the Legislature’s power to shift authority over education from the state to local districts through the new funding and accountability system, the Local Control Funding Formula. The lawyers for the students argued – and the judge agreed – that children would suffer “serious and irreparable harm” if the state doesn’t act immediately, and that children’s constitutional rights take precedence and “can trump” the Legislature’s ability to delegate responsibilities to local districts.

Lawyers for the state argued that the new funding system, in which districts write Local Control and Accountability Plans that set academic priorities and address student needs, is only in its first year and should be given time to work. But the judge said that ordering the state to intervene doesn’t violate the separation of powers and wouldn’t affect the new funding system.

Lawyers also warned that  any intrusion by the judge in the district’s running of the school would be unprecedented and exceed any authority granted under the previous court decisions on education. But Hernandez indicated his ruling was consistent with a 1992 state Supreme Court decision that established students’ right to an adequate amount of learning time. In Butt v. State of California, the court declared that the Richmond Unified School District had violated students’ constitutional rights by closing six weeks early because of budget shortfalls.

Hernandez ordered the state to ensure that each Jefferson student currently assigned to two or more periods per day of Home, Service, College, Library or Adult, or one or more courses that the student has already passed, has the option to enroll in a substantive course.

Jefferson High, which has an enrollment of about 1,600 students, held its first day of classes on Aug. 12. Hernandez said the scheduling issues at Jefferson had been widely publicized and communicated to the Los Angeles School Board and to Superintendent John Deasy by early September, but Deasy failed to act. He noted, “While Dr. Deasy expresses appropriate outrage regarding the assignment of empty, contentless ‘courses’ to students, particularly those who are not on track to graduate or meet college eligibility requirements, he does not admit to knowing about Jefferson’s scheduling problems approximately one month ago or describe any actual or anticipated efforts by LAUSD to remedy them.”

The judge ordered representatives of the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education to meet with Deasy no later than Oct. 13 to create a plan to enroll students in the classes they need and provide academic support to help students catch up.

In his ruling, the judge quoted Jeannie Oakes, an educational expert cited by plaintiffs, who said, “In more than 30 years of work in this field, I have encountered nothing that compares with the deprivations of educational opportunity being visited upon these students.”

“The situation at Jefferson is extreme, but it’s also typical of students at schools that have been ignored by the state for too long,” said David Sapp, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “Students in meaningless make-work service periods and home periods lose days and weeks of their education.”

Staff writer Susan Frey contributed to this report.


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  1. Hannah MacLaren 2 years ago2 years ago

    It's been several years since I worked closely with the small learning communities at Jefferson HS, and since then there has been major changes in the administration and faculty. But to clarify how the 8 periods worked and the schedule the teachers had developed: Jefferson's schedule was for 8 periods, but each day had just 4 periods: extended 90 minutes each. The schedule was a two week rotation: the first week had periods 1-4 … Read More

    It’s been several years since I worked closely with the small learning communities at Jefferson HS, and since then there has been major changes in the administration and faculty. But to clarify how the 8 periods worked and the schedule the teachers had developed: Jefferson’s schedule was for 8 periods, but each day had just 4 periods: extended 90 minutes each. The schedule was a two week rotation: the first week had periods 1-4 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, periods 5-8 on Tuesday and Thursday; for the second week: periods 1-4 on Tuesday and Thursday, 5-8 on M, W, F. Teachers had one prep period each day (2 per 8 periods).

    This provided students with flexible scheduling options: students who needed significant supports in maths or English could be ‘double blocked’, so they would have two math periods, say 1 and 5 and so on. Students who needed support for their homework could be assigned to an enrichment ‘study hall’ period. It enabled interesting electives for those who did not need such support, geography, for instance. It also enabled teachers to create or define a ‘non-traditional’ class they were interested in teaching. We worked to define such classes within the A-G parameters. The results of the various interventions undertaken lead to a significant increase in first year students passing their classes, and passing the CASHEE exam on their first attempt. The teachers, for the most part, were dedicated, committed, and willing to entertain the variety of suggestions proffered.

    Each SLC was assigned an assistant principal who worked with the lead teacher (nominal head of the SLC).

    All I can say is that 4 years ago Jefferson was an exciting and developing school, well on track to fulfilling all the dreams of its faculty and students. Tragic, so tragic, at what’s happened there now.

    Replies

    • el 2 years ago2 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to explain this. What an interesting experiment. I would love to hear more about this.

      • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

        I agree. Thank you!

  2. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    So LAUSD officials want to peg the union with culpability for management screw-ups? That is shocking. The union/teachers would have nothing to do with staffing or developing the schedule, though both issue would have to be brought to the table for approval as a "working conditions" issue. But it is management's job to "do it." Contrary to what has been asserted teachers at the secondary level are compensated precisely based on the number of periods they … Read More

    So LAUSD officials want to peg the union with culpability for management screw-ups? That is shocking. The union/teachers would have nothing to do with staffing or developing the schedule, though both issue would have to be brought to the table for approval as a “working conditions” issue. But it is management’s job to “do it.”

    Contrary to what has been asserted teachers at the secondary level are compensated precisely based on the number of periods they work. A teacher who works one period would be a 20% employee up to a five period teacher who would be a 100% employee and anything in between. To divvy up the work day would have to have required the union to agree to some other kind of calculation.

    I am not familiar at the granular level of what was agreed to at this high school. In general qualifying for QEIA grants would have required the initiative of the LEA to make a proposal and then the agreement of the teachers/union to whatever the proposal described. As mentioned the details of the proposal would likely have been a collaboration between management, teachers, and the community. No one held a gun to management’s head.

    This is a typical situation where management negotiates something and then screams–OMG–the contract is so restrictive!

    QEIA typically required some reduction in class size as well as other enhancements to program (aka., reform). Those often included, in the most successful models, more collaboration time for teachers and adding instructional support staff. So when the LAUSD suggests problems could have been resolved just by asking teachers to give up a preparation period it is an over-simplification–likely a grotesque oversimplification. What the district was proposing, from what I can ascertain, is taking a class load over over 200 students and totally bailing out on a reform plan that would have been carefully developed and in place for some years.

    The teachers and union would have made agreements and collaborated all along. And now that the district has totally dropped the ball it is the teachers and their union who are to be scapegoated. Then we have the state who gave schools funding more aligned with the national average under QEIA if they agreed to changes. Now the state has pulled that funding and it is the teachers and their union who are to be scapegoated. Right.

    The benefits of the changes were to accrue to the students. The benefits have all been pulled out from under the students by LAUSD and the state. The teachers seem to have drawn a line in the sand and said: “You asked us to make changes to our program and working conditions that would work better for students with the resources to do it. We did it. Now you have pulled the resources and are asking is to dismantle our program because of your mismanagement and chronic inability to fund our programs. And we, the teachers and our union, are asked to accept responsibility for all of your screw-ups. You have got to be kidding!”

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      From NEA website: Teachers Lead the Way To Better Schools In Los Angeles School board picks faculty plans for dozens of schools By Alain Jehlen "... the Los Angeles school board gave teachers a vote of confidence, adopting their plans for running dozens of schools. The LA board had put dozens of schools up for bid last summer, some already in the system and some brand new buildings. The board invited proposals for who should run these schools and how. … Read More

      From NEA website:

      Teachers Lead the Way To Better Schools In Los Angeles
      School board picks faculty plans for dozens of schools

      By Alain Jehlen

      “… the Los Angeles school board gave teachers a vote of confidence, adopting their plans for running dozens of schools.

      The LA board had put dozens of schools up for bid last summer, some already in the system and some brand new buildings. The board invited proposals for who should run these schools and how. The smart money was on charter operators to walk away with the lion’s share. But the board awarded 29 schools to groups of LA teachers, parents, and administrators, who crafted their plans with help from United Teachers Los Angeles, a joint affiliate of NEA and the American Federation of Teachers. The remaining seven schools were split between charter operators and a non-profit group associated with LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

      UTLA President A. J. Duffy was disappointed to lose any schools, but he said the decision to turn over direction of so many schools to staff-community partnerships is an important opportunity. “Teachers have been blamed for everything that’s wrong in public education,” he said. “And yet we have never had the ability to partner with parents and administrators, without bureaucrats on our backs, and actually craft the education program to drive a world class education.”

      And when UTLA offered assistance to Jefferson teachers if they wanted to write their own proposal for the school, Fefferman grabbed it. “We knew we’d have to scrape together the time and scramble to teach and still have our families. We’d have to move, move, move and come up with something good, good, good!”

      Roughly 25 people-about 15 teachers plus administrators and parents-put together the plan. Jefferson is already divided into five small learning communities, and the proposal was to make them even more autonomous while still sharing one building. The new small schools would make their own decisions about school culture, how to spend their money, and many other areas. The staff will be able to respond flexibly and quickly to the needs of their particular students.

      Don – Now the teachers want to blame LAUSD? What for – giving them the authority to run the school independent of the district? Oh well, maybe next time the district will think twice.

      • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

        Don: this item you dredged from the NEA is stale and no longer applies. Conditions have changed since 2007. For starters, the school is no longer run under that agreement since Jefferson HS was "reconstituted" not long ago (2012?) by Deasy. Still, since the school was included in the Reed lawsuit, LAUSD had to agree to provide it with more resources, hence the second auxiliary (aka prep period). Else LAUSD would not have gotten the SIG … Read More

        Don: this item you dredged from the NEA is stale and no longer applies.

        Conditions have changed since 2007. For starters, the school is no longer run under that agreement since Jefferson HS was “reconstituted” not long ago (2012?) by Deasy.

        Still, since the school was included in the Reed lawsuit, LAUSD had to agree to provide it with more resources, hence the second auxiliary (aka prep period). Else LAUSD would not have gotten the SIG funding ($5,499,080 were earmarked for Jefferson; who knows how much actually got there).

        Gary: the extra funding was not coming from SB 1133 funds (aka QEIA). Those ran out more than a year ago (if one can believe the budgets that LAUSD publishes). What they were apparently using to pay for the auxiliaries were the carryovers from the SIG grant LAUSD got for 2010-13. The school carried $649,736 from that period into 2013-14 and only $12,374 into 2014-15. Surely, these were the funds used to pay for the second auxiliary in 2013-14.

        Because the school is in the Reed settlement, it was given $281,436 for 2014-15, probably not enough to cover the second auxiliary. Given LAUSD’s ball-park cost for a full time teacher (around $100k, including all benefits, taxes, pension, etc.), this money covers three more teachers. Yet, the amount allocated for all regular salaries (the General School Fund Program) was reduced by $82,725 from 2013-14 to 2014-15. So they lost one faculty position from the 41.5 FTEs they had in 2013-14 (3 of these are SpEd, 3 are ROC and 1.5 are ROTC; again, if one can believe the published budgets). Worse, the overall budget lost $940,620 from last year to this one. In particular, the Special Ed line items were reduced by $141,090, despite the enrollment of Special Ed kids remaining constant.

        Add these budget reductions to the removal of the principal before he could put together the master program (because he had not “achieved” the goals mandated by the C.O.R.E. Waiver, BTW) and you have a perfect storm.

        And this has got to be the fault of all those greedy teachers, right?

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          Manuel: the item I dredged from the NEA that you said is stale and no longer applies came from a link in the article that YOU posted at 2;00pm from LAschoolreport. I find it interesting that after the unfortunate comments I made the other day and for which I expressed my regrets, that you would start out with insults , especially one as ridiculous as this is. After some minor research I cannot say … Read More

          Manuel: the item I dredged from the NEA that you said is stale and no longer applies came from a link in the article that YOU posted at 2;00pm from LAschoolreport. I find it interesting that after the unfortunate comments I made the other day and for which I expressed my regrets, that you would start out with insults , especially one as ridiculous as this is.

          After some minor research I cannot say I was able to ascertain exactly what is the management model for Jerfferson HS, since LAUSD in their strategic plan refers to I believe it is 5 difference types. Unfortunately, the PSC page has no updated info on Jefferson since PSC 1.0. in 2010. As I understand it and correct me if I’m wrong, Jefferson is still operating under a semi-independent governance structure which much the site management in relative control as it is not a traditional LAUSD-managed school.

          Not to belabor the point – there are fours issues, the scheduling software meltdown which is the district domain, the loss of grant monies which is primarily the school’s domain in planning accordingly for the changes (at least in part), the hasty change in site administrators which is the district’s domain and, lastly, the students who have lost instructional time as a result of the first three. That fourth is what brought these issues to the fore.

          As to the fourth, IF teachers were still part of the school government and planning process, they must bear some responsibility for failing to address this problem after it happened, even if they were unable to prevent it due to external factors. My sole contention is that teacher could have exercised an option to take on additional work to prevent harm and then tried to strike a deal later. Their action was akin to clocking out of the hospital while patients were dying on the table. Instead it turned into a squabble over union requirements for pay and what not. These teachers had the benefit of extra conferences due to the grant money (I know all about these perks that were given away during SIG years and the sheer waste of federal dollars here in SF), for 3-4 years.) It may not be to regulation, but couldn’t these teachers just have bucked up and added 8% more instructional time until a larger solution was crafted? They weren’t counting beans when they got extra time during the windfall gold rush SIG years. But as soon as it stopped they’re back to demanding not t a minute’s more work with compensation – just as when you give children too many things they get spoiled.

          This is why people are disgusted – not just with the federal waste of SIG which was hailed as a great success but actually accomplished very little in many recipient schools, but because teachers are displaying an unwillingness to help out during the interim to solve the problem. Unions create roadblocks to progress. If a teacher has said – look I’ll do an hour extra instruction during the school day but I won’t correct homework to compensate, the union would say no.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            So here you have a school beset by an emergency that affects a modest portion of the school population and the clear means by which the in-house employees can stem the bleeding, but what do they choose to do? Rather than offer up a goodwill temporary solution, thy let the patient bleed ou t- all for the principle of a union contract - a day's work, a day's pay. This is why there so much … Read More

            So here you have a school beset by an emergency that affects a modest portion of the school population and the clear means by which the in-house employees can stem the bleeding, but what do they choose to do? Rather than offer up a goodwill temporary solution, thy let the patient bleed ou t- all for the principle of a union contract – a day’s work, a day’s pay. This is why there so much increasing disrespect for teachers. The rest of the private sector has to make due with the demands of the job or the job goes away.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Well there’s one thing you’re right about: that there is absolutely no ‘goodwill’ driving actions in the private sector. Yet because you claim there is none among teachers (something you are wrong about) you would blow up their profession before you’d do anything else to improve the state of public education.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            No, 'people' are disgusted because when they have no idea what's going on they make up stories patterned after their own preconceptions and are unable to distinguish those from reality, in spite of evidence to the contrary and the normally tempering act of reason in knowing when to say 'I don't know'. Read More

            No, ‘people’ are disgusted because when they have no idea what’s going on they make up stories patterned after their own preconceptions and are unable to distinguish those from reality, in spite of evidence to the contrary and the normally tempering act of reason in knowing when to say ‘I don’t know’.

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, if you don't have the common sense to determine when something you read is irrelevant, that's on you. Also, I am not here to provide you with all the information you want. That's what The Google was created for. You contentions about what teachers should do is just that, your contention. It has no weight at all since your opinion is trumped by a contract agreed to by LAUSD and UTLA back in 2007-08. No … Read More

            Don, if you don’t have the common sense to determine when something you read is irrelevant, that’s on you.

            Also, I am not here to provide you with all the information you want. That’s what The Google was created for.

            You contentions about what teachers should do is just that, your contention. It has no weight at all since your opinion is trumped by a contract agreed to by LAUSD and UTLA back in 2007-08. No individual school faculty is going to agree to different working conditions because that’s not how this work. If you believe that’s not the way the world should work, again, that’s on you.

            As for insults, I believe everything I wrote in the post I am following is factually correct and I offer no opinion. Perhaps you are sore for the other post. If so, then deal with it there (no, I have not looked at it yet).

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Navigio, Based upon what Howard Blume reported alone, it is clear to me that the teachers failed their students when they chose to keep their conferences. That is an opinion and it is not malformed based upon some misunderstanding of the facts. You come to another conclusion. Are we going to waste time on a philosophical debate over epistemology and the nature of opinion and knowledge? What really gets your goat and causes you … Read More

            Navigio,

            Based upon what Howard Blume reported alone, it is clear to me that the teachers failed their students when they chose to keep their conferences. That is an opinion and it is not malformed based upon some misunderstanding of the facts. You come to another conclusion. Are we going to waste time on a philosophical debate over epistemology and the nature of opinion and knowledge? What really gets your goat and causes you to act this way is the fact the union side is losing the public opinion war. And one reason it is losing is because instances like this spotlight teachers more in the mold of the International Brotherhood of Plumbers and Pipefitters than a professional organization of teachers. Doctors without borders wouldn’t have left their patients to rot even if the management was to blame. If you maintain that it is OK for teachers to refuse to amend their contract to help out in the crisis so be it. But I would venture to say that teachers don’t do their cause much good by appearing so inflexible.

            I would hope that LAUSD would learn a lesson; if you want to create an autonomous innovative school, don’t parcel out the ownership of management – particularly to UTLA directly or indirectly. Place it squarely in the hands of whomever will take responsibility. By doing so the Board pitted the interests of union members and their working conditions against the urgent needs of students. We know who lost that battle.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            I'll also add as an observer of the Federal School Improvement Grant program at nine San Francisco schools, you don't need to have a college education to know that when the money runs out teachers aren't going to be able to keep their extra conference period unless another way is found to pay for it. Give people a benefit and they won't want to give it up. I regretted to see the students do … Read More

            I’ll also add as an observer of the Federal School Improvement Grant program at nine San Francisco schools,
            you don’t need to have a college education to know that when the money runs out teachers aren’t going to be able to keep their extra conference period unless another way is found to pay for it. Give people a benefit and they won’t want to give it up.

            I regretted to see the students do a walk out rather than a sit-in soas to demonstrate exactly where is was they should have been.

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            "...you don’t need to have a college education to know that when the money runs out teachers aren’t going to be able to keep their extra conference period unless another way is found to pay for it. " You are absolutely right. I would add that you don't need to have a college education to know that when the money runs out teachers aren't going to want to teach two extra periods unless another is found … Read More

            “…you don’t need to have a college education to know that when the money runs out teachers aren’t going to be able to keep their extra conference period unless another way is found to pay for it. ”

            You are absolutely right. I would add that you don’t need to have a college education to know that when the money runs out teachers aren’t going to want to teach two extra periods unless another is found to pay for it.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Manuel: You do have a knowledge of events in LAUSD that is at the "granular" level and I will bow to that superior insight. Let us deal with one issue first: what is going in at the school in question and what the teachers are willing to do to help resolve the students' problems: From the LA Times-- "Jefferson's faculty met on Thursday and came up with a list of remedies, including a longer school day, more … Read More

          Manuel:

          You do have a knowledge of events in LAUSD that is at the “granular” level and I will bow to that superior insight.

          Let us deal with one issue first: what is going in at the school in question and what the teachers are willing to do to help resolve the students’ problems: From the LA Times–

          “Jefferson’s faculty met on Thursday and came up with a list of remedies, including a longer school day, more teachers and a new slate of college-prep classes. We don’t know what district officials are proposing because the boss is gone.”

          This was written a few days ago while the Superintendent was still off jaunting in Korea and before he returned to “resign.”

          Let’s deal with another issue too, and that is the one about students having “work experience” or “in-house work experience.”

          It is not at all uncommon for students to get some credit for work experience, community service, or completing tasks around the school, commonly known as being a Teaching Assistant (TA). This would fall under the category of an “elective.” Students who are on track for graduation can elect to take one of these options. What is unusual is for a student to get more than one period and/or to be assigned such an option involuntarily.

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            It is just serendipity. I've been looking at their budgets for a while and this provided the perfect opportunity to dive into possible reasons. The rest of the information accumulated is ancillary because it explains the budgetary process. The fact that it can be found without having a mole is a wonderful consequence of the Internet. As for the number of "home" or "work experience" periods that showed up in Jefferson's failed master program, my guess … Read More

            It is just serendipity. I’ve been looking at their budgets for a while and this provided the perfect opportunity to dive into possible reasons. The rest of the information accumulated is ancillary because it explains the budgetary process. The fact that it can be found without having a mole is a wonderful consequence of the Internet.

            As for the number of “home” or “work experience” periods that showed up in Jefferson’s failed master program, my guess is that this doesn’t happen in all schools, but only on those who get into trouble for similar reasons: lack of personnel who can put together a master program and lack of money to have enough teachers to teach the needed and desired classes. It’s all a matter of resources, really.

            FWIW, the ACLU and Public Counsel are right in bringing up this lawsuit because districts do not pay much attention to complaints unless they are contained in court papers. Sad, but true.

  3. Don 2 years ago2 years ago

    Other sources? It’s in a linked LASchoolReport article from a comment by Manuel and as well as a previous article by the same, several other local reports on the subject over the last several days and in an LA Times article on the 12th by Howard Blume, who is no friend of Deasy, charters, etc. and is a strong union supporter. That is excerpted here: “Officials reiterated their claim that teachers were partly to blame for … Read More

    Other sources? It’s in a linked LASchoolReport article from a comment by Manuel and as well as a previous article by the same, several other local reports on the subject over the last several days and in an LA Times article on the 12th by Howard Blume, who is no friend of Deasy, charters, etc. and is a strong union supporter. That is excerpted here:

    “Officials reiterated their claim that teachers were partly to blame for the problems.

    Teachers, they said, could have agreed, as a faculty, to a schedule that would have allowed for more needed courses at no additional cost to the school.”

    .Are you denying that there are 2 conference periods?

    Most teachers don’t get paid for the number of classes they teach. If they did they should have received less pay for the 2 conference periods relative to almost all other LAUSD teachers. They should do what’s right for the students at the school and if they are willing to pick up the slack for the failures at Jefferson maybe they should think twice before they decide as a group to sign a contract with the district to take over the school. As usual, yours is the the union perspective – teacher pay before student interests.

    Bloggers, be aware of those who will construe valid teacher criticism as bashing. Bashing exists, but I contend that some of the criticisms of teacher bashing are deliberate attempts to stifle valid criticism of unions. Beware the purveyors of such anti-intellectual polemic!

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      Correction; if they are NOT willing to pick up the slack;

    • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

      The teachers currently teach 6 periods at Jefferson. They currently have 2 preps. It is an 8 period day (not a 6 period day that most high schools have). In most high schools across California, teachers teach 5 periods and have 1 prep. If a teacher wants to teach an extra period, they are compensated for it. These points are the same for most charters and private schools as well in CA and … Read More

      The teachers currently teach 6 periods at Jefferson. They currently have 2 preps. It is an 8 period day (not a 6 period day that most high schools have).

      In most high schools across California, teachers teach 5 periods and have 1 prep. If a teacher wants to teach an extra period, they are compensated for it. These points are the same for most charters and private schools as well in CA and across this nation.

      Pay is associated with instruction time/with the instructional day as I stated in the post below, not with the number of periods as you claimed I said. Stay focused and please read carefully, Don.

      A school can have 8 periods, but the instruction time/student load should be the same. For instance, a 180 student 6 period day would be the same as a 180 student 8 period day. It would also mean that two preps for teachers are approximately equal to 1 prep on a 6 period day. Schools usually decide to go this way to make smaller class sizes and to increase movement in the master schedule.

      If they teach a 7th period, then that is an excessive hardship/solution on the teachers. Is that your solution–to expect the teachers to do just do more within the same time? While the teachers could certainly agree to increase their instructional load and time, they would not get compensated for this change. It would mean that they have a heavier teaching load (# of students) and a longer instructional time than most other high school teachers in CA.

      Do the math, Don. The school start time stays the same. The school end time stays the same. Teachers at Jefferson would be teaching longer than their peers at other high schools.

      And you blame the teachers for not wanting to go this way?

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        Back of envelope calculations indicate that 2 preps in an 8 period day equals more time than one prep in a 6 period day. Since the teachers have been receiving more prep time than is standard in LAUSD and therefore doing a little less instruction, it isn't unwarranted under the circumstances that they do a little extra this year.Yes, I expect them to do more just like everyone in private industry has to do more … Read More

        Back of envelope calculations indicate that 2 preps in an 8 period day equals more time than one prep in a 6 period day. Since the teachers have been receiving more prep time than is standard in LAUSD and therefore doing a little less instruction, it isn’t unwarranted under the circumstances that they do a little extra this year.Yes, I expect them to do more just like everyone in private industry has to do more sometimes to make the deadlines.

        All you clock watchers and hole punchers are what’s wrong with the institution of public education. Get off your butts,help the kids in need and stop making excuses. After all, this is a school in the Choice School Program that the community group of teachers, parents and administrators signed onto. But when push comes to shove the union contract clearly supersedes the interests of the students suffering under the teacher demand for remain with 2 conferences.

        I’d fire anyone who wouldn’t pull together to take up the slack. It isn’t as if you’re asking them to stay late to work.

        The difference between the status quo and reform is the difference between people who will go out of their way to make things work for students and those who won’t do one iota more than is written in their contract.

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          I think you just expertly just proved my point, Don. Thanks.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Your welcome.

            I understand “the math”. Awash in federal and state grants the school was comfortable in doling extra conference time above and beyond district norms.But now that the money is gone to pay for it, teachers don’t want to give up their comfortable schedules. Got it.

            Good god, we can’t get Vergara in place fast enough.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Teachers have all summer off, 2 weeks for winter, 1 for Spring, Columbus Day, work 185 days vs. 250 for most people. Plus most miss 11 of those days for specious or unexplained reasons not related necessarily to health, as has been proven. So you have to work a few extra hours to help the kids and meet a deadline, think of all the days off most of us don't get. I … Read More

            Teachers have all summer off, 2 weeks for winter, 1 for Spring, Columbus Day, work 185 days vs. 250 for most people. Plus most miss 11 of those days for specious or unexplained reasons not related necessarily to health, as has been proven. So you have to work a few extra hours to help the kids and meet a deadline, think of all the days off most of us don’t get. I agree, the day Vergara is upheld or, barring that, a Proposition on this matter is passed, will be a great day for children. Unions should understand, when you make a big fight over being asked to do a minor thing, when you defend a Berndt or a bad teacher, such as the high school teacher the union defended who was sent down to my kids’ middle school to show hundreds of kids pornographic pictures on Instagram, or the teacher that came in 50 days and the union got reinstated this year, you lose hearts and minds. Choose your battles carefully. Most parents have no sympathy for nitpicky complaints like this designed to reduce the workload. Put kids first, not technicalities.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            So you keep using this less time argument to claim that teachers don’t work enough. But you also use the same numbers to justify their relatively lower pay. So which is it? Do you want them to work more for the same money? Or do want them to work the same and cut their pay?

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            If Don and Floyd got "the math" right and because instructional time must be maintained (last time I checked Jefferson's minutes were good), then Don and Floyd fully understand that Jefferson teachers already work longer with that extra period than most of all the other high school teachers in CA, right (6 instead of 5)? My guess is that they were kinda compensated for this with the grant money and the extra prep period. They … Read More

            If Don and Floyd got “the math” right and because instructional time must be maintained (last time I checked Jefferson’s minutes were good), then Don and Floyd fully understand that Jefferson teachers already work longer with that extra period than most of all the other high school teachers in CA, right (6 instead of 5)? My guess is that they were kinda compensated for this with the grant money and the extra prep period. They also had to extend the school day to make this work with 8 periods. This means that these teachers already have a longer school day than most other CA teachers have. Don and Floyd got that, too, right?

            Just make ’em work harder is the solution because so many other teachers out there get a parasitical suck off the educational teat, right Floyd?

            According to Don and Floyd, we should just expect these teachers to strap in and step up, do a little more work because they are there anyway; they should take on an extra-extra period and not be compensated for it because the money has run out and they had it too easy for so long with those extra conference periods. How dare those Jefferson teachers not want to do this!

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            The public decides how much to pay and pay, in the real world, goes significantly down in return for LIFO job guarantees and seniority/tenure. You can pretend it doesn't, but many vote against increases and don't support strikes due to the bad press and personal bad experiences which are a result of only a small percentage of teachers, though I do think more than a small percentage miss days sometimes they could have not … Read More

            The public decides how much to pay and pay, in the real world, goes significantly down in return for LIFO job guarantees and seniority/tenure. You can pretend it doesn’t, but many vote against increases and don’t support strikes due to the bad press and personal bad experiences which are a result of only a small percentage of teachers, though I do think more than a small percentage miss days sometimes they could have not missed with a reasonable effort. Pay is decided by negotiations and government. In San Francisco, we are likely to have a strike soon. Teachers haven’t had a pay increase at all in 7 years, so I am arguing with many that they should have a good increase, but many parents have argued with me saying that due to the LIFO and the appeal of Vergara, they won’t support the strike. Many parents who were forced into long drives across town blame the union for the lottery in which their kids didn’t get into a school close to home, so that’s another factor. I see a valid argument for a raise, but I feel when a bad teacher is maintained and my kid suffers, a cost must be paid for that incredible level of job certainty.

            In any job, a professional should do their best. If you call in sick when you aren’t or complain about prep period details, or don’t make yourself available to parents, are you doing your best? When I recently went to Lowell’s Back To School Night, the Union was in front asking parents to go to the web site and sign a pledge to support the strike. 4 of my kids’ 14 teachers didn’t show up, and at Lowell High School, they only have one such night a year even though kids switch teachers each semester, so if you have two kids there, you can’t go to both. They basically bend over backwards to make it a minimal burden for teachers. One teacher missed 3 years in a row, and 4 of 14 didn’t show up, and it turned out all 4 had been there that day. Outside of one, I heard several parents looking at the flyer passed out by the union and two were saying, I’m not going to sign this if teachers can’t be bothered to show up to Back To School Night once a year. I felt it was upsetting to have 4 of 14 teachers not show up, it’s a real let down. If you don’t come to such an event, you can hardly say you did your best.

            When voters read stories like this, they don’t support higher pay. This is the real world. I think the majority of good teachers do give up a significant amount of pay by supporting the few who would be fired under a fair post – Vergara system. If they win the appeal, they will all lose probably 10% of income over time.

            Personally, I’d be much more supportive of higher pay if I knew there was a consequence for a teacher not showing up to a Back To School Night and that great younger teachers could out-eran underperforming older teachers by giving a great effort. I went into the event planning to sign due to the 7 years, but changed my mind due to the 4 of 14 flaking. But that’s just me.

          • el 2 years ago2 years ago

            Prep time isn't some crazy luxury that involves sitting around eating bon bons. And prep time for a high school teacher isn't so much about the minutes of instruction as it is about the number of students overseen and the number of different classes taught (IE, teaching 6 periods of Algebra 1 to similar level students is a very different prep task than teaching Pre-algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra II, Algebra III, and Calculus). It's … Read More

            Prep time isn’t some crazy luxury that involves sitting around eating bon bons. And prep time for a high school teacher isn’t so much about the minutes of instruction as it is about the number of students overseen and the number of different classes taught (IE, teaching 6 periods of Algebra 1 to similar level students is a very different prep task than teaching Pre-algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra II, Algebra III, and Calculus).

            It’s used not only to prepare for the next day’s lessons, but also to grade papers from previous days. If you assign a 5 page paper to 150 students that’s 750 pages to read and carefully edit/correct in a very short timeframe. There are physical limits to what a person can do, and overloading teachers ends up causing those assignments to be 1 page papers instead, or the papers aren’t returned in a timely fashion to fully benefit the kids.

            Maybe Floyd doesn’t mind if his kids’ English papers aren’t graded until summer break, but I don’t find that so functional, myself.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            I agree prep time is needed. I just think there is a payment for LIFO most teachers don't notice. The militant defense of LIFO turns a lot of voters against voting for higher pay. When you support your weakest, the average loses. Why? Productivity goes down. If bad teachers were fired and all teachers felt a bit guilty or nervous to call in sick unless they really were, and … Read More

            I agree prep time is needed. I just think there is a payment for LIFO most teachers don’t notice. The militant defense of LIFO turns a lot of voters against voting for higher pay. When you support your weakest, the average loses. Why? Productivity goes down. If bad teachers were fired and all teachers felt a bit guilty or nervous to call in sick unless they really were, and principals could ask teachers to work harder and observe their teaching, guess what? Productivity would go up. No one learns anything when teachers miss days. Subs are usually just holding down the fort. 11 days out of 180 is ridiculous. Not coming to back to school night is ridiculous. When teachers don’t show up for that, those parents then vote. They vote for more police and prison spending while crime is down over 60^ from a time when we had fewer jail spaces and police. They vote for lower taxes. If all the headlines were about closing the achievement gap and teachers willing to go the extra mile, they’d vote for higher teacher pay.

            The obsession with minimizing work time has an economic cost to the teachers. I do think working over 8 hours is fair when you have Summer off. I also think 185/185 isn’t too much to ask most years. I think if a teacher takes a day off just to have fun, and another teacher doesn’t that should determine lay offs, not # of years on the job.

  4. Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

    When this was first reported by LA news outlet, the focus was more on the fact that classes at Jefferson High School did not seem to be available for the students or were in slots that were useless. For instance, it was reported that all AP classes were offered simultaneously. Now that the issue has been pushed onto the court by including Jefferson HS in the lawsuit (it wasn't originally), the focus is on the … Read More

    When this was first reported by LA news outlet, the focus was more on the fact that classes at Jefferson High School did not seem to be available for the students or were in slots that were useless. For instance, it was reported that all AP classes were offered simultaneously.

    Now that the issue has been pushed onto the court by including Jefferson HS in the lawsuit (it wasn’t originally), the focus is on the database debacle. This database is not just to “program” students. It is a centralized system that contains all the records of all the students. Thus, there are no local copies of any comprehensive records since LAUSD has been going paper-less for years now. The new system, MiSiS, is simply not working reliably in any way, shape or form, according to numerous sources.

    Still, the students could be programmed by hand, right? No, because (1) if there is no record of the student’s prior work, how can they be assigned to the correct class in whatever sequence they are following? and (2) in order to program a student, there has to be a master program to schedule into and there was no master program.

    Anyone who has ever dealt with a high school knows that if there is no master program, you might as well not bother showing up because no one at the school knows what is going on.

    At LAUSD, a master program is put together by the principal and the assistant principal for secondary counseling services (APSCS). It is their job to look at the enrollment and figure out where to put students in next year classes and then match the teachers with the classes needed to optimally run the school. There will be some negotiation as to which teacher will teach what, but by and large every high school at LAUSD does a reasonable job and the vast majority of students have a program by the first day of classes. Except for Jefferson this year.

    As the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles reports, “as of June 30, 2014, the school loses both its principal and APSCS.” The replacement principal has no experience creating master programs and the APSCS does not walk into campus until July 28. However, the APSCS is replaced on August 14. A new principal is assigned on August 19. School started on August 12 and students stage the reported protest on August 25. Do you think that whatever master program was created in those two weeks is going to be good, specially since MiSiS is dead on the water?

    Whose fault is it? IMO, the entire chain of command supervising this school deserves all of the blame, including the Superintendent. Why? Because Jefferson HS is under the aegis of LAUSD’s overlay “Superintendent’s Intensive Support & Innovation Service Center,” whose leader reports directly to, you guessed it, the Superintendent.

    But that’s not all: the school should have been receiving extra help, funds and supervision all along because it is covered by the Reed settlement.

    Why was Jefferson allowed to fail so spectacularly and break a legal agreement with the ACLU?

    Replies

    • el 2 years ago2 years ago

      The art and problem solving that goes into making a quality master schedule for a high school is a sorely underappreciated skill.

  5. Verle English 2 years ago2 years ago

    I go into LAUSD schools almost weekly as an education consultant. I am very concerned. I am presently an Education Consultant for Social Workers. We are being told that they do not have money for an aide in a Special Ed Classroom We are being told to go ahead and file on them for being out of compliance. This is not goo! The district just changed to a new data system for enrollment and scheduling and it is a … Read More

    I go into LAUSD schools almost weekly as an education consultant.
    I am very concerned.

    I am presently an Education Consultant for Social Workers.
    We are being told that they do not have money for an aide in a Special Ed Classroom
    We are being told to go ahead and file on them for being out of compliance.

    This is not goo! The district just changed to a new data system for enrollment and scheduling and it is a disaster.
    Many of our foster youth were not enrolled into classes until the 3rd or 4th week of school even though they tried to enroll the first day.

    The school district just hired over 45 new counselors specifically to hep foster youth. Each counselor is to have over 100 youth to monitor when there are over 5,000 foster youth in LAUSD.

    It is a mess.

  6. navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

    The incompetence and negligence exists not necessarily in the failure to 'fix' something (until one truly understands the nature of the problem), but in the failure to dedicate the time and money to the development of this tool according to the timeline laid out by the courts in the first place. The district admitted ahead of time that the tool was not ready and even tried to push it back a year but eventually acquiesced … Read More

    The incompetence and negligence exists not necessarily in the failure to ‘fix’ something (until one truly understands the nature of the problem), but in the failure to dedicate the time and money to the development of this tool according to the timeline laid out by the courts in the first place. The district admitted ahead of time that the tool was not ready and even tried to push it back a year but eventually acquiesced to public and legal pressure to roll it out anyway. That was their second mistake. It seemed obvious to me at that point that something like this was a given.
    And depending on the nature of the problems, a ‘manual’ fix may not even be possible.

  7. Nick Laskowski 2 years ago2 years ago

    I feel like I am missing something here…what does this have to do with LCAP and LCFF? It seems like simple mismanagement. Is the connection real?

  8. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    It seems management at LAUSD is about to create a whole new definition for “grossly ineffective.” I wonder if dismissal will be the recommendation for all those in the chain of command?

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      That’s right, Gary. We need to dismiss all ineffective personnel in our public schools. The only problem with Vergara is that it did not focus on ALL the certificated education professional who serve our children, including administrators. Unfortunately and correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the five statutes do not apply to managerial staff.

      In the meantime, here’s what one teacher in LA has to say about tenure:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tntp/a-teachers-view-on-tenure_b_5946220.html

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      Of course not. It makes no sense to punish people for things outside of their control.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        I sense more than a little irony in your comment.

    • Carl Cohn 2 years ago2 years ago

      There's absolutely nothing new about computer-driven student information systems failing to work properly. What is new is a school district's inability to fix the problem. As recently as a year ago last August, San Diego's new Pearson system failed to work leaving all high school students unscheduled. The admin and counseling staffs staffs at each high school came in and scheduled the students by hand on the Labor Day weekend, so that the schools could … Read More

      There’s absolutely nothing new about computer-driven student information systems failing to work properly. What is new is a school district’s inability to fix the problem. As recently as a year ago last August, San Diego’s new Pearson system failed to work leaving all high school students unscheduled. The admin and counseling staffs staffs at each high school came in and scheduled the students by hand on the Labor Day weekend, so that the schools could open as scheduled on the Tuesday after Labor Day.

      LAUSD’s inability to fix this problem for 1600 students at Jefferson is a stunning and unprecedented display of incompetence.

      • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

        What has changed is the move away from dedicated, district-internal human resources with the expertise to implement these things themselves. This has been driven by a steady move toward private consultants in the name of 'efficiency' (ie privatization) and is done often via relationships between those consultants and either district staff or more commonly, school boards. As the environment becomes more technologically complex, it may be possible to justify some of this, but in general … Read More

        What has changed is the move away from dedicated, district-internal human resources with the expertise to implement these things themselves. This has been driven by a steady move toward private consultants in the name of ‘efficiency’ (ie privatization) and is done often via relationships between those consultants and either district staff or more commonly, school boards. As the environment becomes more technologically complex, it may be possible to justify some of this, but in general the priority really is more to move the flow of money outside of districts. That has real consequences.

        Dovetailing into that is the proliferation of ‘free’ and/or open-source tools. The trade offs that exist there are HUGE but saving money is more important.

        Caveat ’emptor’!

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          Navigio, the whole world is moved towards a specialization model as a result of the complexity of modern technology. The education establishment cannot be the sole provider of services anymore. It is already hopelessly far behind on that score. Pawning this problem off as soulless privatization gone a muck fails to confront the fact that institutional dependence on technology has to be managed properly. That's why if Deasy wants to just blame … Read More

          Navigio, the whole world is moved towards a specialization model as a result of the complexity of modern technology. The education establishment cannot be the sole provider of services anymore. It is already hopelessly far behind on that score. Pawning this problem off as soulless privatization gone a muck fails to confront the fact that institutional dependence on technology has to be managed properly. That’s why if Deasy wants to just blame a computer program he fails to understand the fundamental nature of the way in which his job has evolved, And that from the man who brought LAUSD the Ipad!

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Reread my comment. I said some of it was justified, not that the education establishment needs to be the soul, um sole provider. But that doesn’t change what drives it.

            Anyway, schools are not being funded to an extent that would allow them adjust themselves in a way that would be appropriate.

            That that is intentional was exactly my point.

        • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

          Apparently the private contractor was unable to complete its 4 year task even within 11 years. Normally one might want to ask how that’s possible.

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Have no fear, in the case of significant disruption to an LEAs operations the buck always stops at the desk of the local superintendent. Whoops! I just clicked on the link provided in today's EdSource update and find that LAUSD's superintendent in in transit to Korea. Perhaps the Koreans have the answers to developing a working high school master schedule? Who'd have guessed? Yet again, a judge seems to want to prove how little the judiciary knows … Read More

            Have no fear, in the case of significant disruption to an LEAs operations the buck always stops at the desk of the local superintendent.

            Whoops! I just clicked on the link provided in today’s EdSource update and find that LAUSD’s superintendent in in transit to Korea. Perhaps the Koreans have the answers to developing a working high school master schedule? Who’d have guessed?

            Yet again, a judge seems to want to prove how little the judiciary knows about actual school operations. How the CA CDE could reach down from Sacramento to get a handle on how many teachers, and sections, how many and of what type of classes the staff is credentialed to teach, what the individual scheduling needs of thousands of students might be, number of classrooms, etc., and so on is beyond me. You could redeploy staff, typically “deans” and counselors, to develop a master schedule–apparently in spite of the available computer support programs–but does the state have that authority? And what do the schools you’ve pulled the personnel from to create the master schedule at the affected high school do while their consolers and deans are gone?

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            Gary, I regret to inform you (and John) that Jefferson High School does not have thousands of students. LAUSD reports the enrollment to be 929 students plus 102 in "Special Day Class Enrollment" (all this can be found in the School Budget Summary generated on 9/30/2014 for the school). Yet, I suspect that this is not the real problem. The real problem is that whoever puts together the master program has to know what the actual … Read More

            Gary, I regret to inform you (and John) that Jefferson High School does not have thousands of students. LAUSD reports the enrollment to be 929 students plus 102 in “Special Day Class Enrollment” (all this can be found in the School Budget Summary generated on 9/30/2014 for the school).

            Yet, I suspect that this is not the real problem.

            The real problem is that whoever puts together the master program has to know what the actual academic status of the students is and that is impossible because there are no accessible records on which to define that status. LAUSD’s administrators created a perfect storm for Jefferson by removing the principal and APSCS before the end of the year and shoving MiSiS into the pipeline.

            And, yes, I agree that the judge does not know how the chorizo is made. All he cares is that it be delivered, preferably with huevos revueltos, to the students because we are talking about justice, not the law. 😉

            But, hey, Superintendent Deasy has it all under control because he supports the lawsuit! And he expects more money from the state to hire more people because, hey, it is a civil right issue!

            Sheesh…

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            Wow. That is a small high school. Still, I’ve had experience with master schedule development for a school just slightly larger, and it is a highly complex task. The lack of information on students would make it a highly impossible task.

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            Indeed, Gary, it is a complex task. But it is a task that requires leadership, collaboration, and cooperation. BTW, LAUSD is spinning the message: Jefferson’s daily schedule is almost unique among LA Unified high schools. It includes two teacher conferences a day rather than the more typical one. When Jefferson teachers were given an opportunity earlier this year to vote to change to a more traditional daily schedule, which district officials said would have alleviated … Read More

            Indeed, Gary, it is a complex task.

            But it is a task that requires leadership, collaboration, and cooperation.

            BTW, LAUSD is spinning the message:

            Jefferson’s daily schedule is almost unique among LA Unified high schools. It includes two teacher conferences a day rather than the more typical one. When Jefferson teachers were given an opportunity earlier this year to vote to change to a more traditional daily schedule, which district officials said would have alleviated many of the problems that have left students with empty class time, they refused.”

            Or so says laschoolreport.com. They go on to say:

            “[The extra conference period] usually requires extra funding to support,” Ramos said. “And when they lost their funding, that became a challenge for them because there wasn’t the money to pay for the auxiliary periods.”

            With Jefferson’s current schedule, students have about 8 percent less class time than peers in other high schools, Ramos said.

            “Because they don’t have the money now, they are not offering enough classes for the kids because they are holding tight to their conference periods, and they voted on that,” said Michelle Windmueller, a lead instructional director in the district’s Intensive Support and Innovation Center who was assigned to Jefferson over the summer. “This is a UTLA issue. It’s part of the collective bargaining agreement that they get to vote on their calendar, and you have to stay with it unless they vote on it again, and this staff is not willing to vote on this again and change mid-year. They are sticking to it.”

            This is contradictory because if there is no funding, then the auxiliary periods won’t get paid and teachers have to teach a regular class. How could teachers keep demanding this? Even if it were in the contract, if there is no funding then such demand goes out the window because it no longer applies.

            Interestingly, this extra period has not been a problem in the years that it has been implemented. Why is it a problem now?

            The bottom line is that the personnel who could have put together the master program “from memory” was no longer on site plus there was no chance to consult with the teachers as they had already left for the summer. (But why should they come back and work for free? Just to save the administrators from themselves?) And even if qualified personnel had been brought on time, they would not have been able to do much since the student records and associated statistics were not available due to the MiSiS implosion.

            We have not heard the last of this, I am sure.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            This is what happens when you let UTLA drive school plans rather than function in its primary purpose - to represent its members. Why in the world is the union allowed to do school planning? Conflict of interest. Indeed, Manuel, how could the teachers keep demanding this ( 2 conference periods)? Because, first and foremost, the union would not yield on less than 2 teacher conferences even if it contributed greatly to the scheduling problems at … Read More

            This is what happens when you let UTLA drive school plans rather than function in its primary purpose – to represent its members. Why in the world is the union allowed to do school planning? Conflict of interest.

            Indeed, Manuel, how could the teachers keep demanding this ( 2 conference periods)?

            Because, first and foremost, the union would not yield on less than 2 teacher conferences even if it contributed greatly to the scheduling problems at Jefferson.

            One of the purposes of the Public School Choice Program was to create a more flexible school plan that could address the needs of students without going through mountains of bureaucracy (from link in article).

            Instead we have union intransigence putting teacher interests before student interests.

            Regarding your point – “Interestingly, this extra period has not been a problem in the years that it has been implemented. Why is it a problem now?”

            -Because of the loss of the SIG and QEIA money that funded the extra conference as well as additional teachers who were gone this year. Where previously there was money to provide 8 classes a day, now kids are sent home or do service with no teacher available to instruct for more than 6 or 7.

            Sad and ironic footnote… one of the principle teachers involved in crafting the school choice plan for Jefferson may be on the chopping block. Why? Four letter acronym – LIFO.

          • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

            Saying it’s an UTLA issue because teachers get to vote on it is like saying its a district issue cause they pay teachers. The reality is the school was improperly staffed. And it sounds like administration probably also missed some deadlines and/or planned badly.
            The fact that non-school year staff time has also been cut is a funding issue.
            Although I don’t doubt misis contributed somewhat to it, that’s a failure all unto itself.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Akin to this vote, teachers also deprive kids of their educational opportunity when they strike. Is that necessarily like saying it's the district's fault that teachers are underpaid, as you alluded to? When I first heard of this story my reaction was that the buck stops with the Superintendent. I still believe that. But because of the multi-faceted nature of the meltdown, that alone would not appropriately assign culpability where it is due. If this happened … Read More

            Akin to this vote, teachers also deprive kids of their educational opportunity when they strike. Is that necessarily like saying it’s the district’s fault that teachers are underpaid, as you alluded to?

            When I first heard of this story my reaction was that the buck stops with the Superintendent. I still believe that. But because of the multi-faceted nature of the meltdown, that alone would not appropriately assign culpability where it is due.

            If this happened at a charter the anti-charter folks would be rightfully looking towards who to hold responsible for the deprivation caused to students. In this case those that contributed to the problem include UTLA. It pretty simple. Teachers did not want to give up the extra conference period and no doubt UTLA was instrumental in their vote against doing so.

            No doubt some of those large CTA contributions to LA school races were instrumental in getting the choice program with UTLA as a partner in managing the school plan. Whose dumb idea was that?

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            It is not a UTLA issue. There is nothing in the current contract (or a MOU) that says Jefferson teachers will teach 6 periods and have 2 preps. It is really not even a teacher issue. It is a site issue. And this is why in the judge's ruling it doesn't address that particular issue at all. The closest it gets is when it describes staff issuing "home" or "work-experience" classes as a way to … Read More

            It is not a UTLA issue. There is nothing in the current contract (or a MOU) that says Jefferson teachers will teach 6 periods and have 2 preps. It is really not even a teacher issue. It is a site issue. And this is why in the judge’s ruling it doesn’t address that particular issue at all. The closest it gets is when it describes staff issuing “home” or “work-experience” classes as a way to stop the problem (what Deasy agrees with) or when “staff” told kids to go to adult school to get credit for certain classes that the adult school didn’t have (both of these read like administrators and counselors, though, because teachers do NOT assign classes to students). Additionally, many teachers at Jefferson were witnesses for the plaintiffs.

            One could argue that the whole 8 -period day/2 prep period issue was a site-based decision that the past administrators and the teachers AGREED TO that proved thorny under the current software and changing administration crises, but it was not the cause nor is it mentioned at all in the judge’s ruling as a possible cause or even something that affects why they have what they have. If it truly were a problem, the district could easily just remedy it because there is supposedly no money to pay for it any more and it has absolutely nothing to do with UTLA contract issues. But they didn’t because the problem stems from them.

            What it does show is this: It grossly deflects blame away from Deasy, district administrators, site administrators, and the board for obvious mismanagement of this whole situation. And as evident here, it clearly feeds into the anti-teacher haters out there.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            The district official said: "When Jefferson teachers were given an opportunity earlier this year to vote to change to a more traditional daily schedule, which district officials said would have alleviated many of the problems that have left students with empty class time, they refused.” Is that incorrect? Did they vote to keep the 2 conferences or not? The Morrigan, you say it is not a UTLA issue? UTLA partnered with the community group that was awarded … Read More

            The district official said:

            “When Jefferson teachers were given an opportunity earlier this year to vote to change to a more traditional daily schedule, which district officials said would have alleviated many of the problems that have left students with empty class time, they refused.”

            Is that incorrect? Did they vote to keep the 2 conferences or not?

            The Morrigan, you say it is not a UTLA issue?

            UTLA partnered with the community group that was awarded the contract to create the school plan. Once the grant money ran out the plan needed to be amended especially as concerns the conferences. Only eight percent of classes were not available. Had the school moved to change to one conference period the school would have been on tract to instruct each student, once the more problematic scheduling problem was resolved. But teachers refused to vote otherwise. So how does UTLA get absolved of its responsibility?

            This highlights what is wrong with the union. The overall picture at Jefferson is more complicated with the software problems and staff changes, but the indisputable fact that the union refused to step up and change teacher conference speaks to their priorities. If people think that these teachers care more about their students than their schedules all they have to do is look at their voting record.

            TheMorrigan, you’re engaging in histrionics when you refer to my comment as anti-teacher hate. As a teacher by trade I’m under no obligation to hold a position for teachers and unions when I think their actions are an embarrassment to the profession. To the contrary.

            I’m accustomed to the thuggish mentality of those who insist that any teacher criticism is teacher bashing. In fact, much of this so-called teacher bashing is legitimate criticism that the left repackages as hate for political consumption. Your accusation is a good example of this tactic in practice – slipped through at the end of your comment to sum up what you are really trying to convey. Don is a teacher basher/hater. Don’t listen to him.

            .

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          Histrionics? You are a funny one, Don.

          Notice that only one district official states this claim with absolutely no source or backup. It doesn’t come from all officials at the district. Deasy doesn’t even say it. It doesn’t come from the judge who looked at this carefully–it is NOWHERE in his ruling at all.

          Come back when you have at least a modicum of support for this spin.

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            "Only eight percent of classes were not available. Had the school moved to change to one conference period the school would have been on tract to instruct each student, once the more problematic scheduling problem was resolved. But teachers refused to vote otherwise. So how does UTLA get absolved of its responsibility?" It is obviously not as easy as that, Don. And it is also highlights your ignorance with master schedules. Removing the prep does not … Read More

            “Only eight percent of classes were not available. Had the school moved to change to one conference period the school would have been on tract to instruct each student, once the more problematic scheduling problem was resolved. But teachers refused to vote otherwise. So how does UTLA get absolved of its responsibility?”

            It is obviously not as easy as that, Don. And it is also highlights your ignorance with master schedules.

            Removing the prep does not solve or address the issue. Here’s why:

            If the prep was removed and you had teachers teach 7 periods, it might help address that 8%, but then that would be an excessive hardship on the teachers, wouldn’t it? This means that you are increasing teacher instruction time and teachers would need to be compensated for that. Is that what you meant? Is it even feasible to expect teachers to teach 7 periods and get paid the same as another teacher in the same district who has less instruction time?

            Or

            Removing the prep and having teachers continue to teach 6 periods limits the choices the students will now have because master schedules are all about increasing opportunities and choices and not limiting them. Removing the prep removes movement in the master schedule. This is why high school have 0 and 7 periods throughout the day. Going this way will also not generate positive movement here either; it further exacerbates it.

            So what exactly do you mean, Don? What is it you want the UTLA and teachers to do here?

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Other sources? It's in a linked LASchoolReport.com from a comment by Manuel and as well as a previous article by the same, several other local reports on the subject over the last several days and in an LA Times article on the 12th by Howard Blume, who is no friend of Deasy, charters, etc. and is a strong union supporter. That is excerpted here: "Officials reiterated their claim that teachers … Read More

            Other sources? It’s in a linked LASchoolReport.com from a comment by Manuel and as well as a previous article by the same, several other local reports on the subject over the last several days and in an LA Times article on the 12th by Howard Blume, who is no friend of Deasy, charters, etc. and is a strong union supporter. That is excerpted here:

            “Officials reiterated their claim that teachers were partly to blame for the problems.

            Teachers, they said, could have agreed, as a faculty, to a schedule that would have allowed for more needed courses at no additional cost to the school.”

            howard.blume@latimes.com

            .Are you denying that there are 2 conference periods? Give it up.

            Bloggers, be aware of those who will construe valid teacher criticism as bashing. Bashing exists, but I contend that some of the criticisms of teacher bashing are deliberate attempts to stifle valid criticism of unions. Beware the purveyors of such anti-intellectual polemic!

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, I very explicitly said that LAUSD was spinning it. It is obvious that your comprehension was limited by your bias. For example, where is your evidence that Blume is a strong union supporter? Have you spoken to him and confirmed that? Or is this derived from, oh, I don't know, a statistical analysis of all articles with his byline? I don't know which way Blume goes, but I can assert that his writings are carefully … Read More

            Don, I very explicitly said that LAUSD was spinning it. It is obvious that your comprehension was limited by your bias.

            For example, where is your evidence that Blume is a strong union supporter? Have you spoken to him and confirmed that? Or is this derived from, oh, I don’t know, a statistical analysis of all articles with his byline? I don’t know which way Blume goes, but I can assert that his writings are carefully edited to appear not to be supportive of the union.

            The excerpt you quote is standard for Blume. He is quoting unnamed LAUSD officials as blaming teachers for insisting on having two conference periods. He has to have it to appear “fair and balanced” and let LAUSD officials keep on digging themselves into a hole.

            But coulld this insistence have sabotaged the master program? From what has been reported, it is clear that it did not. In fact, now that I think about this, this “if they only had not voted for two prep periods” is a smokescreen because the load for any high school teacher at LAUSD, per the 2008 contract, is six hours of instructional time plus one hour for a preparation period. Thus, the second prep period was an “auxiliary” and paid for by those now gone grants (were teachers told the grants were not there anymore? Does it matter?). Teachers can vote to have an extra auxiliary period but if there are no funds to pay for it, then they don’t get it. Similarly, administrators cannot force teachers to be on site providing instruction more than six hours a day. That’s six “traditional” periods or three block periods. And, FWIW, the two-prep period deal has been in place for years and never caused any problems.

            Given this, to continue to state that teachers could have elected to work an extra period for no pay to save the management from its own ineptitude is just ludicrous. Contract or no contract, I do not know anyone who would accept extra unpaid work load. Especially when management is intransigent.

            One more thing: the proverbial you-know-what hit the fan while teachers were off campus. Can they reasonably be expected to be keeping an eye out on the incompetence of management that created a master program that, for example, put all AP courses in the same time slot?

            TheMorrigan explained some of this to you but you keep insisting it is a UTLA issue, and, reading the contract, it is clearly not (yes, Don, the contract is available at UTLA’s web site). We are left with you continuing to blame teachers even though the evidence, which you clearly did not bother to follow up, demonstrates teachers are collateral damage. And that makes you a teacher basher, in my opinion, even though you were a teacher long ago.

            (If you bother to read the UTLA contract, you’ll also notice that it specifically states that the principal is in charge of the schedule, not the teachers. Who woulda thunk, eh?)

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        After I read the article my first thought was - well, why don't they do it by hand? Then it occurred to me that this being such an obvious answer, there had to be some other explanation for why a manual solution couldn't fix the problem. It never occurred to me that such a deep level of not just incompetence but disregard for the affected students is even possible in a school district. … Read More

        After I read the article my first thought was – well, why don’t they do it by hand? Then it occurred to me that this being such an obvious answer, there had to be some other explanation for why a manual solution couldn’t fix the problem. It never occurred to me that such a deep level of not just incompetence but disregard for the affected students is even possible in a school district. Naive? I guess so.

        At the same time, I don’t know how the internals of administration work in LAUSD and it is a very big district. So Deasy certainly is ultimately responsible, but I’d want to know more about how that chain of command worked before I would say he should be fired, even though I’m inclined to believe his failure to intervene with a fix is just an astounding incidence of what appears to be wanton ineptitude.

  9. Krono 2 years ago2 years ago

    There’s something like seven schools/districts named in Cruz v California, as I recall. Is the court preparing similar action for the other schools/districts, or is it focusing fairly exclusively on Jefferson HS?

    Replies

    • Jane Meredith Adams 2 years ago2 years ago

      Hi Krono.
      The lawyers for the students asked for a restraining order only for Jefferson High, saying the problems there were extreme and ongoing.

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