SABOTAGE!!!! November 19th, 2010

As I warned might happen in the previous post, the rug is now pulled out from under us. We sat in the principal’s office on Thursday and received “clarification” from Ms. Lagrossa, District 6 Superintendent, by way of telephone, that the district wanted to see a plan for ONE Huntington Park High School and that a proposal for semi-autonomous academies under an umbrella governance structure was appropriate. We also thought we were able to create a freshman house through some manipulation of the rules. We took a deep breath, a sigh of relief, for a day or so and then word came of the sabotage in the middle of the day on the 19th. My cell phone buzzed continually as the word spread like a tsunami.

Our principal received a directive from District Six to secure substitute coverage for several coordinators to come together at D6 headquarters in order to write proposals to divide the campus into pilot schools. This was to be done on the same day, the 29th, as the rest of us were scheduled to come to UTLA Headquarters to write what we thought was our ONE school proposal of semi-autonomous academies under an umbrella structure.

Betrayed and undercut once again, dozens of us fumed and debated whether this course of divisive action was entirely the result of edicts from a particular board member or whether some of these previously out-of-class coordinators were responsible for District Six’s directives. It is a fact that many of these coordinators were special favorites of the previous principal and were promised administrative jobs in their own pilot schools if they supported the former principal in his moves to materialize the desires of a particular board member. Several of these coordinators have been out of the classroom for years. As it frequently happens, these out of classroom people are out of touch and have often been the first to express the common themes of blame-the-teacher propaganda.

Quick action was required, and we took it. Our UTLA Steering committee conducted a straw poll at the close of the school day. We tallied the results of a ballot distributed in the office as teachers checked out. The ballots included the name and employee number of the voting teacher (so there could be no accusation of fraud) who would then check a circle to be counted as either preferring the pilot governance model or the model of one comprehensive high school with semi-autonomous academies. One comprehensive high school was the overwhelming choice of the faculty.

Eighty-six faculty members from A and B tracks were polled at the close of the day. Fourteen of these faculty members did not write their names or employee numbers, while 72 did do this. Out of the 72 ballots with names and employee numbers, 66 of them favored the comprehensive high school. Six of them favored the separate pilots. The ones without names still favored the comprehensive high school but those 14 were divided with 8 in favor of one school and 6 favoring pilots. One ballot expressed a desire for a hybrid model. Six clerical employees also chose to submit straw poll ballots. These employees unanimously favored the comprehensive high school.

This poll flies in the face of any wannabe administrator trying to claim that UTLA was disenfranchising its faculty by presenting the arrangement that was worked out in the principal’s office on Thursday. It strongly implies a conspiracy to thwart the wishes of the faculty. I also believe that the surrounding community does not want to see the high school turned into a hodgepodge of pilots with duplicated expensive administrators and clerical services. The saga continues…….

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6 Responses to SABOTAGE!!!! November 19th, 2010

  1. fieldworker says:

    We keep trusting them over and over. When will we learn? I’ve said all along to either boycott the writing completely or write only for “our plan” opposed to “their plan” and let the best plan win. Garner and community, parent, and student support for “our plan.” This should have been the plan from day one, but I believe that we have been way too cooperative from the beginning.

  2. fieldworker says:

    We cannot appeal to the better natures of our enemies. They have no better natures. Our representatives have time and again been led down a primrose path of so- called “cooperation” only to have their asses kicked over a cliff and the end of the path. Anyone remember the test score fiasco? Anyone read Howard Zinn or Catch-22? Come on people, WAKE UP!

  3. fieldworker says:

    corrections: “Garner community, parent, and student support…”
    “…only to have our asses kicked over a cliff at the end of the path.”

  4. Rebecca Ortiz says:

    I request that you find a way to notify Track C teachers of these meetings. Many of us are avaiable to participate in this process and we want to be involved.

  5. savehphs says:

    Well, we were writing for OUR plan. That’s the whole point. We got the okay from Rowena by phone to do that. We assumed this was THE ONE plan for the school, but now we found out that Ms. Lagrossa wants to set up a pilot plan too. She may be under pressure from above to do this.

    Hey, Rebecca, I’ve done pretty much all I can do. I sent out an email blast to notify people of this web site. I cannot speak too directly in an email blast with LAUSD emails attached to it.

  6. Ok you guys, here’s the deal. You need to fight. And you won’t have the union’s help. You will need to pony up some cash and visit a lawyer- someone who knows the education code and is willing to fight. There are many legal arguments to be made about what is being done, chiefly that all of this violates the rights of low income minority students to an equal education. You need to file and emergency injunction and you need to do it now. It will cost about 10,000 dollars. It’s worth it if it works. The union won’t help you and both the union and the district are lying to you. If you want to fight, then write back. There is a 50 page legal brief on the web written by an LA -based lawyer who used to be a teacher- they are all the rationales to fight restructurings like these. Go for it- I wish we had at Fremont. Now there are 40 subs and a bunch of TFA’ers on campus. It’s a disaster.

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