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Extreme Bootcamp: Fremont Edition

January 27, 2011

Remember all the talk in years past about how unfortunate it  was that urban schools had become the training ground for brand new teachers who then left for schools in the Valley?   Much hand wringing went on about how to keep teachers at such schools, say like Fremont.

For a while the district devoted more resources to Fremont including having regular subs  full time for stability,  more money directly to SLC’s and intensive training in service learning.  More AP classes were added and the school culture improved. One year we had almost no teacher turnover at Fremont.  The attention paid off.  Students, teachers and some parents become invested in the SLC’s.   We had fewer fights,  the graduation rate increased- we started hearing the N word used less often in the hallways and the gangster look mostly went out of style.  Steady, yet dramatic improvement was taking place.

Then the economy tanked,  and even though the school was improving,  the Superintendent and Arne Duncan saw their opportunity to experiment in LAUSD to test the union’s assertiveness and UTLA failed the test.    Now because they never lifted a finger to fight for Fremont, Huntington Park High, Jordan, and Belmont the last front is this:

Comment on LA Times website about the seniority story:

I honestly don’t see this settlement holding up to court challenges.

The wild card is that UTLA, who represents the hard working, giving and selfless teachers of the LAUSD is underfunded and over-strecthced.

The teachers union is battling so many fronts now because the Third World-ization of the USA education system is well under way.

Americans want steroid athletes to make tens of millions of dollars a year, and the people who care for and educate their children to make about 25,000 a year with no benefits.

That about sums up what the mayor is after.  But since teachers won’t be around long enough, value added will fade  as a teacher-evaluation method, but its goal will have been accomplished to mark “bad teachers” (veterans)  and  drive them from the profession.

Meanwhile, Fremont limps along with teachers constantly quitting and one teacher who was stabbed with a needle by a student being mocked by the administration (“he probably didn’t even feel it”).  Since the teacher stabbed was from TFA, he essentially has no rights and no recourse.   And he was used as a joke by the administration. Is it no wonder no one wants to stay at Fremont?   Can you imagine how long those jokers would last in a middle class community?   And the student with the needle? He apparently received a slap on the wrist.  The new future of education: Extreme Boot Camp while the rich drill sergeants laugh it up! I remember a veteran teacher who claimed during reconstitution, “I’ll live to fight another day!” and who claims to be promoting PSC 2.0 as evidence of this fight. I would like to ask this teacher if this day is now here?  As you see your colleagues at now four schools being replaced by subs and TFA, is it time now?

The dystopian future is here with improving schools being “restructured”  instead of praised.   We are closer to Fahrenheit 451 than we think.  Canada, anyone? 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter D. Ford III permalink
    January 27, 2011 1:48 pm

    Your athlete analogy advocates school choice/charters/private schools: folks paying their own money for what they want.
    Of course these ‘jokers’ wouldn’t last long in a middle class community because the customers, parents and voting adults, wouldn’t stand for it. Can we say the same for the adults in the communities of these schools? That is an issue that teachers cannot solve directly, even though it impacts us greatly.
    As long as the taxpayers/voters of these communities send back to office the same tired, uninspiring, ineffective political leaders, this is the education with which they shall be stuck. When these parents have a choice, they do what most folks do: vote with their feet. Hard-working parents have neither the time nor energy to wait on ‘reform;’ they have one chance to educate their children, and will seek the best options they can find.
    Interesting that you don’t see many edu-bureaucrats, Unions included, working very hard to win the support of parents in urban schools. Maybe because for over 40+ years urban public schooling has been a disaster long before NCLB, RTTP, ‘privitization’ and ‘Third-worldization.’ In the face of competition you either produce a better product or go out of business. Traditional public schools and their supporters must produce a better product so as to gain the support of their customers, yet their 40 year track record of failure will not help them in this fight.

  2. January 27, 2011 2:09 pm

    No it was not meant as a pro-charter analogy. It was meant to show that when resources are provided and teachers, students and parents buy into reform, public schools improve. Schools are not a business. They should not be for profit and there should not be winners or losers- every kid should learn how to be a winner. The schools have not failed, rather they have lost the ability to locally control themselves. In addition, child poverty is at an all time high and this does affect student learning. Re read my post, you completely misunderstood it

  3. January 27, 2011 2:11 pm

    And the Extreme Boot camp analogy is meant to apply to the current Fremont administrators who are according to many teachers, treating Fremont as a bootcamp for teachers. It was only after we stopped doing this is about 2005 that Fremont began to dramatically improve. Now with the loss of many great teachers, it’s back to the bootcamp mentality; work in an inner city school to get some experience, then move on. Such a shame

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