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Real Reason for Reconstitution and it’s Time to Start Talking “Lawsuit”

July 2, 2010

We have spent the last several months trying to make sense of this reconstitution. Teachers tend to be logical. We try to classify and analyze but it soon became apparent that nothing about this made any sense.

Fremont was improving among many measures except a couple of high stakes tests that are neither reliable nor valid given the grade level our students come in at and the student transiency rate in the community. So why create chaos in a school that is clearly improving. Why “not select” some of the best most stable teachers?

Money is one reason, but it can’t be the major reason. Six million dollars sounds like a lot but it honestly isn’t that much money for a three track, 5000 student school with a whole bunch of new teachers and guaranteed turnover. (About half of teachers leave the field within a few years) Plus there is the issue of violating low income minority students’ rights by denying them access to highly qualified teachers and replacing some with substitute teachers.

Lets look at Kansas City and Chicago for some guidance. Rather than examining the economic and social conditions facing these areas, these cities decided to close schools and simply transport poverty to the outlying suburbs, disrupting communities and displacing children from neighborhood schools, leaving these communities even more unstable than usual.

So my thesis, given that Fremont was improving and many excellent teachers were not selected, leaving the school in general with the most compliant teachers about 1/2 of whom don’t have strong ties to the community, is that the district is planning on closing Fremont in about three years. As one of the remaining teachers told me, “If they would have given me my walking papers, I wouldn’t have cared.”

Now many of these teachers were competent. But many “not selected” had a passion for teaching and the community. It will take at least four years for Fremont to stabilize and that’s if many new teachers don’t quit. Aha. But next year a new school opens, depopulating Fremont of teachers and students. This will be followed by another school opening that will cause Fremont to go traditional, with more students and teachers departing. So why create chaos now? Because the school will close anyway. So why not stick it to teachers they perceive to be “outspoken” or troublemakers and create chaos because it won’t matter. This type of instability three years in a row will be almost impossible for the school to recover from- but that’s the point. They don’t want it to recover. It would have been extremely difficult to close an improving school with SLC’s that had been around by 2012 for about 7 years.

It would be much easier to close a large school that appears to be “failing” since the community will have given up on it. Then students can be transferred out to small schools where loyalty will be harder to instill because it won’t be their neighborhood school. It could also be much harder to create large scale union support in a bunch of small schools that could be pilots, partnerships, charters or regular LAUSD schools.

This is why Mr. Balderas tried to proclaim the “end of an era.” Why would he use such sweeping, grandiose terminology to describe a school with as long of a history as Fremont? Because in three years, it won’t be here. That’s why.

Which is why we need to start planning a two -pronged lawsuit based on
1) Civil rights of students were violated when NCLB qualified competent teachers with positive stulls were replaced by either brand new teachers or subs using Mr. Balderas’ “confidential stuff.” With NCLB’s emphasis on “data” how in the world would that hold up in court? These reconstitutions often occur in low income communities of color without community input.

2) Teacher’s reputations were damaged due to being “not selected” even though our contract was with the district, no explanations were provided leaving us unable to explain or defend ourselves. It is obvious that many great teachers were not selected and that the selection process was based on retaliation and on who would stay quiet. In addition, there is evidence we were blocked from seeking employment for a number of months and no letters of recommendation were ever issued for us, which are often required to obtain another position in the district.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 7, 2010 8:06 pm

    This is a bit far fetched.

  2. July 9, 2010 9:05 pm

    Not far fetched at all. Kansas City is closing 50% of its urban schools. Chicago has closed many. NYC tried to close 19 and this was only blocked by a judge.

    The fewer neighborhood schools you have, the less community support you have for education and the easier it becomes for outside controlling interests such as billionaires and education companies to control our schools. It is completely logical.

    Thanks for the link to the coverage section on how poorly the Fremont reconstitution was covered.


  1. Responsible reporting? « Failing Schools
  2. “If they can tear down the hotel where Robert F. Kennedy was shot, they’ll tear down anything” « Fremont Watch

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