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Old Save Fremont Posts from the Defunct Site

So I managed to save some old posts from the old Save Fremont site. I won’t put them in chronological order but in order of relevancy to what happened at Fremont and to our various situations today. Looking back at my posts, besides my open letter to the rogue principal at Fremont, I think the most meaningful is the cataloging of the students speaking against reconstitution at the April 13, 2010 school board meeting, principally senior Patricia Gonzales who stated in an achingly eloquent speech, “I wish my education can be taken more seriously.” Nothing has stuck with me quite so much as that, except maybe seeing super substitute teacher Dennis Kilbane crying in the hallway on one of those last days because he realized what this was doing to the staff and students of Fremont.

“I Wish That My Education Can Be Taken More Seriously” Patricia Gonzales
Posted by____ at 20:46 | Thursday, April 22. 2010 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0) | Edit entry
Of all the words spent on discussing and debating reconstitution and the betrayal of Fremont and its students, this one sentence spoken by student body President Patricia Gonzales at the April 13th school board meeting captures perfectly the ego-driven, reckless immorality of reconstitution:

I WISH THAT MY EDUCATION CAN BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY.

I dare any administrator or D7 personnel to look into Patricia Gonzales’ eyes and tell her that reconstitution is the best solution for the students of Fremont – tell her what a benefit that the loss of the top English teachers at Fremont will be for the student body of Fremont

I WISH THAT MY EDUCATION COULD BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY

Tell her that uniforms will improve academics and that increasing the number of students per counselor will improve the quality of education at Fremont

I WISH THAT MY EDUCATION CAN BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY

Tell her that losing a new generation of excellent special education teachers is no problem.

I WISH THAT MY EDUCATION CAN BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY

Tell her that all the time and effort by students and teachers building and maintaining Small Learning Communities doesn’t matter because we can just destroy them and build new ones.

I WISH THAT MY EDUCATION CAN BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY

Yes, Patricia, I wish it could be taken more seriously. I wish the community and our union had enough respect for you and teachers to rise up like they did in Florida and the Capistrano Unified District here in California. I wish you could have the same personalized education I and my brother and sister received. I wish you and other students weren’t pawns in a political game that disregards your individual needs as students and just treats you all like some interchangeable parts instead of the unique, beautiful human beings that you are.

I WISH THAT MY EDUCATION CAN BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY

 

___________________________________________________________

WHAT IS EDUCATION? BY HT NIEBERGALL (math teacher at Fremont High since 1966)

To: The Universe (B of E’s, supers, secretaries, all concerned or not)
Re: What is Education?
From: H T Niebergall
Teacher Fremont High School
(SLC P 3)
Looking at the on line New Fremont slide show, the proposed block schedule will make it more difficult than it is now, with our busted up 3 track schedule, to prepare AP Calculus students to pass the national exam.
The outlined plan will emphasize math and English. If we are committed to a useful educated citizenry as founder Thomas Jefferson was, then we need to vastly improve government and history education, not their isolated facts and dates, but their theory and practice, and how they relate to the reality of today.
The outline says everyone is locked into the same “pacing plan” aligned to the “standards”. Who decides what a standard is? Here is an example of what D7 Super had us spend 30 minutes a day on about 12 years ago ( the purpose being to dramatically raise test scores).
1. What was our first president George Washington’s birth year?
A. 1923 B. 1832 C. 1732 D. 1632
“Teachers” were directed to have students eliminate two “obviously wrong” choices then guess from what remained.
What facts does one really need to know? When the bank made a error in my account interest one summer, the experienced loan officer correcting the error involving a 30 and 31 day month, in 365 day year, after many complex calculations she put her calculator down, added by hand and said the bank owed me $117.43. I said I calculated $116.43. She said “Isn’t 8 and 8, 17!? So I lost a dollar.
When an interviewer was surprised when Albert Einstein did not remember a certain physical constant, he replied, “Why should I need to remember what I can look in books!” (Have you, my readers of these comments, learned the net skills necessary to find what Thomas Jefferson said about the purpose of education, or were only tested on remembering what number he was, and can you then also find Washington’s birth year? I always remember it because it is the 3 place decimal approximation to the square root of 3)
Right now, today, can you calculate the slope of a line from its equation or its graph? That question is on exams from the CAHSEE thru AP Calculus. Many of my former students have become teachers and administrators for LAUSD. 30 years ago they could answer the slope question. But like the bank officer most would make a small error in calculating it today. And none of them had to pass an exit exam or worry about AYP. If they had good grades, they received “free money” to go to college and they graduated to pursue a variety of professions, yet our school then as now ranked low in the state in graduation rate and students going on to higher education. And what they had then and we still have now is a cadre of inspiring teachers, one is now a well known feminist lawyer, and many moved on to be top LAUSD officials.
When I started teaching, an LAUSD math teacher had written a text book (Mathematics A Human Endeavor) followed by a series of books that were used widely through out the district. They contained “Inspiring Math” lessons, many of which I modified and still use. But our new outline has us teaching “Accelerated Math”, which will re-run slope of line until the student will remember it long enough to raise state test scores and that skill then will soon be forgotten, all this at the expense of necessary and useful education (ref. Thomas Jefferson).
Our country does not support education as it did for the 40 years after WW II.
The false Texas “Miracle in Education” along with the text book and test makers corporations helped propel the election of a president that gave us NCLB. Now with “Race To The Top”, we are leaving many behind.
What is more important, the dates of the French Revolution, or the causes, results, and how they relate to events in today’s world? Are we helping our students learn how to find and use information that will stop the “disaster course” the world now finds its self on? If the Secretary Of Education wants to help us, he will advise the “Commander In Chief” to move all our “troops” involved in destructive actions to Haiti, and clear to the rubble in 6 months (not 3 years as now projected) and help rebuild hospitals, schools, and homes in 3 years or less. Hey now, wouldn’t that have the whole world saying WOW!!, look what the old US of A is doing for humanity. Only when other countries stop seeing us as “Economic Terrorists” of the world, will we stop being attacked by the recipients of those actions.
Nazi Germany had a great and successful nation wide educational plan that suited its goals (see attachment). The world sat back and saw fields of youth in lock step calisthenics and passing all their exams for “The Father Land”. A system of education that developed a generation of rule followers that were given and learned all the “right answers”, and obeyed directions without critical analysis as to where they were being lead.

In Summary:
I teach inspiring math, not accelerated math.
As the Teamsters changed from mules to trucks, corporations must re-tool from our present “War Machine” economy to a “Building and Recycle Machine” economy for all. We must “ educate”, not“ train”, our children so they know how to understand and use information to develop solutions to the “greed and injustice mentality” of today that if not stopped is capable of destroying “Space Ship Earth” (ref: Buckminster Fuller)
And finally redo the New Fremont outline to emphasize a broad “relevant” educational foundation that has a world view, an outline that will allow our teachers the freedom to implement their vision of a better world, allow constructive criticism and revision of the plan, and changed procedures to rid the profession of the less than proficient persons.

Myself personally, I am not going to teach students to “stand in line”, memorize answers and follow directions without questioning the reasons why.
I would like to stay at Fremont.
I would like the many excellent teachers now applying to transfer to stay at Fremont.
I would like the People making the changes to use their Power in a Passionate way for the benefit of all involved. ( our P 3 philosophy is forever)
Thank You For Your Consideration,
Sincerely,
H T Niebergall

__________________________________________________________

The True, Generous Face of Fremont: We Are Seeing It In Each Other
Posted by  at 19:49 | Wednesday, June 23. 2010 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0) | Edit entry

One thing many of us have discovered through this dehumanizing experience whether we are teachers, security or other staff: We have risen above the senseless actions of the administration and district to reach out to each other and help each other. That’s the real Fremont.

Our bonds of loyalty and togetherness transcend our racial, age and cultural differences. This became clear when racial politics was attempted on a few teachers and it was rebuffed. People feel each other’s pain as human beings and as education professionals who have a bond with this community and have shared so many experiences. Whether we are security, teachers, counselors or school psychologists I have seen the best of Fremont emerge in how people have supported each other with unselfish words and deeds.

I have seen students comfort teachers, I have seen teachers tell each other about job openings, even if they themselves are applying for that job. I have seen teachers give the security advice after many of them have been treated horrendously. I have had my fellow teachers come up and spontaneously hug me. I have done the same to other teachers. We have shown through our actions that in our own pain, we will not stop caring for each other, even after we leave Fremont. I saw a long term substitute teacher crying in the hallway today because it just hit him how this was hurting the staff and he had to express that and it just came out. I realized then how special our Fremont relationships really are.

I’ve noticed an ever so subtle shifting of the power balance away from the very nervous men in suits downstairs who now have to run this school with well over 100 new teachers- after spurning those who really care- over trivial matters.

There is a generosity of spirit that has emerged to counter the evil and degradation we have been subjected to, shifting the power to us, the Fremont rank and file. We could have turned on each other but we rose to the occasion.

That’s Fremont. That’s the real Fremont they will never be able to paint, mop, scrub or “not select” away. What a privilege it has been to work with all of you.

One Comment leave one →
  1. HpHs Spartan permalink
    August 26, 2011 7:54 am

    Today is my last day subbing at Huntington Park High School. At one point I was a teacher who came in to work and enjoyed the time spent in the classroom. I was at Hphs for approximately one week (subbing) and in that time I have witnessed the disaster that the “reconstruction” has created in the school. For starters, students do not have permanent teachers (they were “promised” permanent teachers), there are NO consequences for student’s actions, NO tardy policy. I have had students walk in to class 15 minutes before the period ends and I have to allow them to enter class, according to some teachers and staff members the principal has treated them disrespectfully, and on and on. To a certain degree I am glad I had the opportunity to see for myself what HPHS has become. When I was laid off, I was extremely sad; I had been at hp for 12 years, but now after seeing what “they” (D6): have turned it into I feel a bit better; I now can accept that my beloved Huntington Park HIgh is not what it used to be. My heart goes out to ALL the teachers who are in a similar situation or that will soon experience what many of us have experienced.

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