Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CTA Stopped Villaraigosa From Taking Over Los Angeles Schools (LAUSD)

On June 21, 2006, Mayor Villaraigosa gave up his effort to take over Los Angeles Unified School District.

It's probably for the best since California Teachers Association (CTA) wouldn't have allowed any real reform. This is how CTA described this development:

"Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, along with ...Lynne Faulks of the California Teachers Association (CTA), announced a historic agreement in principle for a comprehensive legislative package ushering in a new era of progressive reform in LA's schools."

They agreed that the Superintendent should have more power. If that would take politics out of the decision-making process, then I'm all for it. But let's hope politics doesn't enter into the decision of who will be superintendent.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Will CTA take over Los Angeles Unified School District?

Why did Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa endorse Kevin DeLeon, a CTA official, for the state assembly seat Villaraigosa used to hold?

Probably because DeLeon made a deal with him, agreeing to give up his opposition to Villaraigosa’s plan for a mayoral takeover of Los Angeles Unified School District.

DeLeon used to be unequivocally, emphatically opposed the mayor’s plan.

Something made him switch.

My guess is that Villaraigosa agreed to adhere to CTA’s terms in any takeover, and to support DeLeon in his assembly race. In return DeLeon announced he’d agree to a takeover plan that met his specifications.

I no longer believe that Villaraigosa wants to fix schools. I now agree with an engineer from Venice and his wife, whom I met in Washington D.C.. They said that the mayor’s plan was just a power grab, and that the best thing for schools is to decentralize control over them.

Research does indicate that schools controlled by a small community produce better-educated students.

If Villaraigosa is planning to give CTA control over LAUSD, his plan will NOT help students.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Advice for Steve Padilla, Mayor of Chula Vista

I had to laugh when Tanya Mannes reported that the Chula Vista city council was “criticized for voting as a bloc on issues that later became controversial.”

Voting as a bloc? On issues that later became controversial?

This sounds like a perfect description of Cheryl Cox and the Chula Vista
Elementary School Board.

In fact, the CVESD board engaged in, and covered up, a whole slough of illegal activities, including a handful of crimes. Secrecy is the lynchpin of CVESD’s governing style. And secrecy breeds illegality.

How did Cheryl Cox manage to get more votes than you on June 6, 2006? It’s clear that the Democrats can’t or won’t give you the support you need.

It’s time for you to stop being a lap dog for Democrats and unions. Take a page from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who realized during last year’s election that the Republicans couldn’t deliver results for him.

Expand your repertoire. Strike out on your own. Do the right thing. It’s supposed to be a non-partisan office.

I understand the feelings of physical danger which caused you to ask for a bodyguard. I can see that certain nasty characters could make you a target. It’s easy for others to criticize you, but I’ll bet some of your critics would be equally, if not more, paranoid in such a situation.

Now is the time for courage. Cheryl Cox takes orders from Patrick Judd, Pamela Smith and Larry Cunningham. You can easily do better than that, Steve.

Why not start now?

Yours truly,
Maura Larkins

We Must Proceed Without Bob Filner

Congratulations on your win, Mr. Filner. I supported Juan Vargas, but am not surprised that you won. You've done a lot of good things, and you have curried favor with the powerful. You will almost certainly win in November, too.

But you will not succeed in covering up the truth about your knowledge of criminal actions on the part of Chula Vista Educators, and your craven scurrying about to please them even after you obtained that knowledge.

I'd like to think that Miles Blake and Dan Litwin will give you the courage to stand up to the small minds that control CVESD (Chula Vista Elementary School District) and CTA (California Teachers Association), and demand that they be replaced by people who care about children more than personal power.

If not, we can fix education without you. We will proceed without your help, and we will overcome the obstacles you put in the way of education reform.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Did CTA Lawyer Beverly Tucker miscalculate?

The teachers of California deserve better legal representation than they are getting from the California Teachers Association. Teachers pay millions of dollars in dues, so CTA could afford top-notch lawyers. The problem is that the union is run by cronies, and perhaps the top crony is head legal counsel Beverly Tucker.

Cronyism has caused CTA lawyers to live in an isolated world into which reality is not allowed to intrude.

Even when these lawyers make serious miscalculations about what they can get away with, there aren't any leaders in CTA who can demand that the law be followed. The problem is that the lawyers have more power than the "leaders"! In a bizarre move, Beverly Tucker not long ago added the title of "Associate Executive Director" to her title of head legal counsel.

In my experience, nominal executive director Carolyn Doggett takes instruction from Beverly Tucker, not the other way around.

It appears that Beverly Tucker is the Dick Cheney of CTA, the real power behind the president, the real decision-maker. Unlike the President of the US, however, the president of CTA, Barbara Kerr, is not elected by the people she governs. She is chosen by a voice vote of the board of directors of CTA.

California Teachers deserve better representation.

Beverly Tucker and her cronies need to be thrown out, and be replaced by leaders who have respect for teachers and for the law.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

An Open Letter to CTA Lawyers Beverly Tucker and Michael Hersh

An Open Letter to CTA lawyers Beverly Tucker and Michael Hersh

In the wake of the recent problems at Castle Park Elementary School, many union leaders and their lawyers have reverted to
an us-versus-them thinking in which they see themselves as righteous victims and ignore or minimize the injustices they have done, and continue to do, to other people.

In fact, being transferred to another school is not the horrific fate that CTA and the “Castle Park Five” have insisted. However, both students and teachers have suffered great wrongs at the hands of the California Teachers Association. These students and teachers have legitimate grievances, legitimate fears, and legitimate distrust of CTA’s willingness to compromise for the sake of peace.

CTA has made no attempt to build trust. The only alternative to continued dysfunction at Castle Park Elementary is a comprehensive settlement based on simple principles:

--All teachers and students have equal rights to protection of the law; these benefits should not be limited to the leaders of CTA and their allies.

-- If CTA is unwilling or unable to negotiate a policy of respect for the law and the wellbeing of students and teachers, the community must take the lead in promoting one.

-- CTA bears a special responsibility for the current impasse,
by virtue of its massive effort to help union leaders and their allies escape responsibility for their violations of law.

by Maura Larkins