I was recently asked about the ongoing battle between LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s bid to take over the LAUSD and the ensuing battle. My friend and career teacher Peter J. Ford III, who presently teaches in Inglewood, California, penned his analysis.
From the eyes of a classroom teacher, I view Mayor Villaraigosa’s (Mayor ‘V’) current setback of LAUSD control as little more than an extra element of entertainment to this humorous, yet insidious sideshow. When finally resolved, union bosses and politicians will win big but, as always, the children will be last in line – if they arrive at all.
This saga is only the latest chapter in the book of “use education as a stepping stone for your ambitions.” As a teacher, I’ve seen substitutes who were aspiring actors, choosing to teach while “in between jobs.” I’ve had colleagues who were simply waiting to get accepted into law or medical school and, after 2-3 years, were gone. I’ve had others who openly say (at least they were honest) they wanted to teach for 2-5 years then “go into policy.”
Assembly Bill (AB) 1381 is a façade that makes its writers and supporters feel good about themselves. Their self-congratulatory, “See, look what I did!” does nothing to help children. AB 1381 gives the mayor no authority to encourage and grow the pool of quality mathematics and science teachers LAUSD desperately needs in all schools, not just the urban ones.
The next time any politician demands “resources in the classroom,” ask him or her to quantify their statement; does it mean giving each teacher a full-time aide who actually teaches and maybe a $2000/year stipend to buy anything their classroom needs? Does it mean paying teachers for all