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LAUSD Principal’s PHD in “Sitting in the Rubber Room”??

The fancy new High School for the Visual and Performing Arts -  booted Suzanne Blake out as Principal. The High School is otherwise known as “Robo-High” (for it’s resemblance to a robot blasting the Taj Mahoney - AKA “The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels” with a ray gun). Blake has since been assigned to be the Principal at a new school that will be built near Stevenson Ranch. That school is not scheduled to open for 2 years. In the meantime she is being paid for sitting in the local district office (rubber room time). Making her Principal of a school that doesn’t exist yet - virtual principal?? - meant her pay would stay in $140,000 + range LAUSD pays principals...even ones for schools that haven’t been built. Not wanting to “waste” all of that high paid armchair time, she's getting a PHD from Cal State Northridge while being paid by LAUSD tax dollars. Completing the PHD will further up her pay. By coincidence, her father is Chancellor Emeritus at CSUN . He is said to be a friend of the increasingly unraveled LAUSD Superintendent Cortines. Wonder how teachers who are unemployed due to cuts feel about the “special treatment” Burke seems to be getting?

Streak On Ray Ray

At a recent LAUSD meeting Super Cortines told everyone-even if they didn’t want to know - that he was one of the streakers seen at a televised political event some 25 + years ago. Time to streak on out Ray - but this time we’ll gladly provide you with a towel.

LAUSD Principal’s PHD in “Sitting in the Rubber Room”??


The fancy new High School for the Visual and Performing Arts -  booted Suzanne Blake out as Principal. The High School is otherwise known as “Robo-High” (for it’s resemblance to a robot blasting the Taj Mahoney - AKA “The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels” with a ray gun). Blake has since been assigned to be the Principal at a new school that will be built near Stevenson Ranch. That school is not scheduled to open for 2 years. In the meantime she is being paid for sitting in the local district office (rubber room time). Making her Principal of a school that doesn’t exist yet - virtual principal?? - meant her pay would stay in $140,000 + range LAUSD pays principals...even ones for schools that haven’t been built. Not wanting to “waste” all of that high paid armchair time, she's getting a PHD from Cal State Northridge while being paid by LAUSD tax dollars. Completing the PHD will further up her pay. By coincidence, her father is Chancellor Emeritus at CSUN . He is said to be a friend of the increasingly unraveled LAUSD Superintendent Cortines. Wonder how teachers who are unemployed due to cuts feel about the “special treatment” Burke seems to be getting?


Streak On Ray Ray


At a recent LAUSD meeting Super Cortines told everyone-even if they didn’t want to know - that he was one of the streakers seen at a televised political event some 25 + years ago. Time to streak on out Ray - but this time we’ll gladly provide you with a towel. 

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Below: Does this look a robot with a ray gun or what?  We expect to see William Shatner rescuing the “Taj Mahoney” across the freeway where Robo -High is aiming his deadly ray gun... it’s L.A. after all.

Bye, Bye, Ray Ray??
LAUSD’s not so super Superintendent, Raymond Cortines, has sealed the deal with the unions and is leaving this year in December - or so our spies tell us. Can it be true? The old man of Baudry Hill will soon be drifting off into that big blue swimming pool of his with all that sweet stuff in it. Word is he has named a successor to fill out the last year of his contract. Now the question is, who will LAUSD find next to try to clean up the LAUSD mess. We would suggest former State Senator Richard Polanco - but we really like him. How about Conan the ex Governor? The job will take a lot of heavy lifting - a hard head wouldn’t hurt...and whose is harder?
Why did big Ray leave early? Read the older posts - below - leading up to his big goodbye -  and see what may have had something to do with it...
John Deasy, his hand picked successor is already getting comfy in Cortine’s old chair. Controversy  follows Deasy around like a bad smell and the LAUSD Board is ignoring the warning aroma - as usual . By the way, he likes his moniker pronounced “Daisy” like hazy, not “Deazy” - like sleazy - kind of says it all.”.http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/education/john-deasy-lausd/http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/education/blog/2008/10/prince_georges_says_goodbye_to.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1
Got $78.50? Got a high school degree or GED? Want a teaching credential? Have we got a deal for you.

 For only $78.50 the State of California will give you a teaching credential so you can teach children in a public school. (You were always legally able to teach in a private or charter school without a credential or a college degree.) Even better, the system will attach money to hiring you for schools that lower their standards. There may be a few other minor fees depending on your situation, but we are not talking big money here.

Why would the state do that? To help a pal of Arnold's get a teaching credential without going to college or meeting any other rigorous credentials requirement that has long been required to teach kids in public school. Seems a friend of the Gov's wanted to teach public school but didn't have the required qualifications. This ticked him off, since he didn't want to bother to go to all the trouble of taking those courses in how to teach kids. He convinced Arnold to pass legislation (Senate Bill SB 1104), with the cooperation of the roll over legislature and viola – instant credential.

This thing is called a “Designated Subjects Career Technical Education (CTE)Teaching Credential”. If you have 3 - 5 years of experience in a field within the time line required, fill out the forms, pay your $78.50 and collect your credential. There a few other requirements, but anyone with some hustle can put it together. Does anyone really check on this claim of “experience” - not that we can tell.  Here's the best part. If you get a school to hire you they can qualify for  special money through a stimulus program. There are a few drawbacks. You don't really qualify for pensions and the like, but that's just an advantage to the school, you are less costly. You aren't a union member either. The other interesting twist is that you don't really “count” at the school.

See, schools get a certain number of teachers based on the number of students. This special position doesn't count against that number. One of these special credentialed teachers could replace a “real” teacher, ( you know,  one with college degrees who has gone through the arduous process of being credentialed in the normal way – they are officially termed 'highly qualified' ). The CTE teacher is cheaper and brings money – well this could mean the firing of those highly qualified teachers and hiring of minimally qualified $78.50 a pop “teachers”. 

Sound good? Depends on who you are. Someone with $78.50 who can put the paperwork together – sounds great. Someone at a school who is just interested in their bottom line. A bargain. A kid who is getting a roll of the dice in the classroom – well maybe okay if they get lucky and that person happens to be pretty good - and some probably will be okay – but there's no guarantee – it's strictly luck. If you are a student or parent who would like to know the teacher has completed college and had instruction in teaching – met some basic standards – well, too bad.  Time to get a rabbit's foot and bury a saint in the yard – or is that to sell a house? We'll have to brush on our luck mojo.

Does this really sound like a formula for improving the quality of education in California public schools? 

One teacher, who has a PHD and multiple certifications said she can get one of these credentials as well – and it will actually allow her to teach more subjects than all her years of education and experience did. Does anyone else find this a little – well – slippery. The guy on my street who is running the weed dispensary figured he could go for business administration and green agricultural cultivation if the city closes him down, when I told him about it at the local java fountain. He just has to get his GED, which is not all that hard, he's been putting it off because he couldn't see how it would help business  - which has been, well, growing, so speak. See, it's already helping. 

I guess our Governor figures that if he and the legislators can rule the state with no requirements for a college degree – which he does not have – then it's good enough for those pesky school kids and their annoying parents. Of course we could say that the state of the state is no recommendation.

In the meantime we're making out our $78.50 checks and figuring out what to get credentials in – Political commentary? Muckraking? The art of public comment? Advanced wise cracking? The possibilities are endless. Tell your kids to look for us, we'll be there soon.

Got $78.50? Got a high school degree or GED? Want a teaching credential? Have we got a deal for you.


For only $78.50 the State of California will give you a teaching credential so you can teach children in a public school. (You were always legally able to teach in a private or charter school without a credential or a college degree.) Even better, the system will attach money to hiring you for schools that lower their standards. There may be a few other minor fees depending on your situation, but we are not talking big money here.

Why would the state do that? To help a pal of Arnold's get a teaching credential without going to college or meeting any other rigorous credentials requirement that has long been required to teach kids in public school. Seems a friend of the Gov's wanted to teach public school but didn't have the required qualifications. This ticked him off, since he didn't want to bother to go to all the trouble of taking those courses in how to teach kids. He convinced Arnold to pass legislation (Senate Bill SB 1104), with the cooperation of the roll over legislature and viola – instant credential.


This thing is called a “Designated Subjects Career Technical Education (CTE)Teaching Credential”. If you have 3 - 5 years of experience in a field within the time line required, fill out the forms, pay your $78.50 and collect your credential. There a few other requirements, but anyone with some hustle can put it together. Does anyone really check on this claim of “experience” - not that we can tell.  Here's the best part. If you get a school to hire you they can qualify for  special money through a stimulus program. There are a few drawbacks. You don't really qualify for pensions and the like, but that's just an advantage to the school, you are less costly. You aren't a union member either. The other interesting twist is that you don't really “count” at the school.


See, schools get a certain number of teachers based on the number of students. This special position doesn't count against that number. One of these special credentialed teachers could replace a “real” teacher, ( you know,  one with college degrees who has gone through the arduous process of being credentialed in the normal way – they are officially termed 'highly qualified' ). The CTE teacher is cheaper and brings money – well this could mean the firing of those highly qualified teachers and hiring of minimally qualified $78.50 a pop “teachers”.


Sound good? Depends on who you are. Someone with $78.50 who can put the paperwork together – sounds great. Someone at a school who is just interested in their bottom line. A bargain. A kid who is getting a roll of the dice in the classroom – well maybe okay if they get lucky and that person happens to be pretty good - and some probably will be okay – but there's no guarantee – it's strictly luck. If you are a student or parent who would like to know the teacher has completed college and had instruction in teaching – met some basic standards – well, too bad.  Time to get a rabbit's foot and bury a saint in the yard – or is that to sell a house? We'll have to brush on our luck mojo.


Does this really sound like a formula for improving the quality of education in California public schools?


One teacher, who has a PHD and multiple certifications said she can get one of these credentials as well – and it will actually allow her to teach more subjects than all her years of education and experience did. Does anyone else find this a little – well – slippery. The guy on my street who is running the weed dispensary figured he could go for business administration and green agricultural cultivation if the city closes him down, when I told him about it at the local java fountain. He just has to get his GED, which is not all that hard, he's been putting it off because he couldn't see how it would help business  - which has been, well, growing, so speak. See, it's already helping.


I guess our Governor figures that if he and the legislators can rule the state with no requirements for a college degree – which he does not have – then it's good enough for those pesky school kids and their annoying parents. Of course we could say that the state of the state is no recommendation.


In the meantime we're making out our $78.50 checks and figuring out what to get credentials in – Political commentary? Muckraking? The art of public comment? Advanced wise cracking? The possibilities are endless. Tell your kids to look for us, we'll be there soon.

Who was that friend of our Playboy Mayor, very connected to the Mayor’s pet charter schools, seen snooping around LAUSD’s plush “High School of the Arts” taking inventory of every bit of equipment and supplies there?  Why was he doing that? Charters are shopping for the best haul of tax payer purchased schools and equipment, that’s why. They are doing this all over LAUSD - shopping for rich pickings to take over. When will taxpayers get a clue that in all too many cases they are being robbed? Having their public owned schools and equipment taken by people they never voted for who, are barely accountable to anyone. It will not be pretty if the public ever figures out they have been sweet talked by charter operators and fleeced while they were falling in love with these “operators”. Smooth Operator - didn’t SADE warn us about that type in a song?.

Who was that friend of our Playboy Mayor, very connected to the Mayor’s pet charter schools, seen snooping around LAUSD’s plush “High School of the Arts” taking inventory of every bit of equipment and supplies there?  Why was he doing that? Charters are shopping for the best haul of tax payer purchased schools and equipment, that’s why. They are doing this all over LAUSD - shopping for rich pickings to take over. When will taxpayers get a clue that in all too many cases they are being robbed? Having their public owned schools and equipment taken by people they never voted for who, are barely accountable to anyone. It will not be pretty if the public ever figures out they have been sweet talked by charter operators and fleeced while they were falling in love with these “operators”. Smooth Operator - didn’t SADE warn us about that type in a song?.

Gunfight at the LAUSD Corral

Showdown between Mayor and LAUSD. Big A  just took a body blow from his formerly tame LAUSD School Board and his puppet Supervisor “Wrong Way Ray” Cortines. He put them in place to hand the public schools over to him through his "non profit " “Partnership For Los Angeles Schools" (profit can be a relative term ---political profit can be counted in coin other than dollars in the wallet - like influence in the hand) and hand picked charter schools. Judging that his power is ebbing fast and their true master,Eli  Broad is distancing himself from the Downtown Prince they defied Big A and only handed 3 schools off. Of the 30 schools turned over (whittled down from original 250), 22 were handed to LAUSD teacher’s groups with 4 going to charters and the remaining school to a combination charter/teacher management project.

A hopping mad Big A had loaded the buses up and shipped droves of primed and ready charter supporters off to yell at the Board and Cortines at the top of their lungs. All to no avail. Too bad Tony - they can smell your grip weakening. 
google.com
Three of his favorite charter pets, Green Dot Public Schools, Alliance for College Ready Public Schools and ICEF were entirely passed over. (Alliance is the controversial tenant at the embattled Van de Kamps Campus- where Big A plans to populate the rest of the community College bond finance buildings with his collection of unemployment projects...read more about it at Miki's Pointed View).

Talk about adding insult to injury, first the Supreme court tells you pack it in - you can't have the schools and all that lovely money in contracting and building to hand out to cronies to amass favors and power…now your own bought and paid for School Board and Superintendent has given you the bum's rush. Can you spell 
L-A-M-E  D-U-C-K. Time to limp off stage - and don't let the door hit hit you on the way out.

Gunfight at the LAUSD Corral


Showdown between Mayor and LAUSD. Big A  just took a body blow from his formerly tame LAUSD School Board and his puppet Supervisor “Wrong Way Ray” Cortines. He put them in place to hand the public schools over to him through his "non profit " “Partnership For Los Angeles Schools" (profit can be a relative term ---political profit can be counted in coin other than dollars in the wallet - like influence in the hand) and hand picked charter schools. Judging that his power is ebbing fast and their true master,Eli  Broad is distancing himself from the Downtown Prince they defied Big A and only handed 3 schools off. Of the 30 schools turned over (whittled down from original 250), 22 were handed to LAUSD teacher’s groups with 4 going to charters and the remaining school to a combination charter/teacher management project.


A hopping mad Big A had loaded the buses up and shipped droves of primed and ready charter supporters off to yell at the Board and Cortines at the top of their lungs. All to no avail. Too bad Tony - they can smell your grip weakening.

google.com

Three of his favorite charter pets, Green Dot Public Schools, Alliance for College Ready Public Schools and ICEF were entirely passed over. (Alliance is the controversial tenant at the embattled Van de Kamps Campus- where Big A plans to populate the rest of the community College bond finance buildings with his collection of unemployment projects...read more about it at Miki's Pointed View).


Talk about adding insult to injury, first the Supreme court tells you pack it in - you can't have the schools and all that lovely money in contracting and building to hand out to cronies to amass favors and power…now your own bought and paid for School Board and Superintendent has given you the bum's rush. Can you spell

L-A-M-E  D-U-C-K. Time to limp off stage - and don't let the door hit hit you on the way out.

2/12/10
Do you think the Times can get off their collective asses long enough to be a little embarrassed
at being scooped by a blog put together  by unpaid, out of shape, middle aged wonks who both have to work other jobs and do this in their spare time?
Could it be that the reason the amazing shrinking Times is in trouble isn’t just a bad economy and changing media - could it be because they won’t or can’t print any local news that’s worth a 
plugged nickel? Is that why a bunch of no budget loose screw bloggers and the LA Weekly with a fraction of their staff and budget are beating their ink stained Downtown  butts at actual local news reporting?
Demented minds want to know...
Never doubt the power of the blog. It took a while for the rest of the media to catch up (nothing new), but it has cost Cortines dearly $150,000 dearly loved $ a year to be exact.
The next question...when will he resign? Doesn’t he know this story was his exit cue? Since the Times functions as a house organ for the Mayor - they sat on this Scholastic story until it was time to send a message for the Mayor and cronies. Word is the “Old Man of Beaudry” has ignored the not so subtle signals and now he got this one backwards (normal for him) - he was supposed to retire to the oh so cushy arms of Scholastic and let Antonio’s puppet board, headed by puppet in chief Monica Garcia (who has gotten a little to chummy with rah rah Raymond and the Sweets in that little pool for Antonio’s liking), put in a new, more “with it” Superintendent puppet...now who might that be? Hmmm... you heard it here first - as usual. - 2.18.10


By Howard Blume, February 12, 2010



L.A. Unified schools' chief works for district supplier

Supt. Ramon C. Cortines sits on the board of Scholastic Inc., which supplies a district reading program. Officials say he is not involved in decisions pertaining to the publisher.

Los Angeles schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines earned more than $150,000

last year....read more

9/09


Is it true that LAUSD Super Ray Cortines plans to lay off 50% of the LAUSD elementary arts teachers next year and the other 50% the year after? That’s the word on the street.


Library assistants who have been laid off (riffed) are reported to contend that Cortines is proposing "book fairs" instead of their services. Book fairs are characterized as fairs held in schools where children can PURCHASE books. That does not sound like a very viable replacement for library services where books are free. It sounds like it might put a lot of school kids who aren’t so wealthy at an even bigger disadvantage.


In fact, the giant book publisher and retailer "Scholastic" that Cortines sits on the board of, lists "Book Fairs" as one of it's prime retail activities, right on their web site.


This blog asks, is it true Mr. Cortines, that you get $150,000.00 a year for sitting on the board of "Scholastic"? Please tell us that all the benefits your job at LAUSD, a big customer of Scholastic's  products, could possibly bring that company, is in no way any kind of conflict. Is it? How much is spent on Scholastic products at LAUSD Mr. Cortines? Inquiring minds want to know.


School Board member Monica Garcia and Super Cortines may have a little something “Sweet” in common. We’re just wondering, is it something in the water, swimming pool water that is?

  hhhhhhThe public school children of Los Angeles just took another one in the chops from the big guys. Will the Mayor and his bunch of school yard bullies, LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, trusty sidekick Yolie Flores Augilar along with Superintendent Ray Cortines ever stop picking on the little kids? Guess it’s just too easy and too profitable.


When the Mayor’s majority bought and paid for LAUSD Board voted to lease out those brand new schools to Antonio’s pet CHARTER Schools, they robbed our public school kids. A nod to  Board member Marguerite LaMotte for voting no on to Chef Antonio’s little Bond $ spiced stew.


How’s that, you may say. We love CHARTER schools and we can’t get enough of them. Love who you want, but voters voted those billions in bond dollars to take our kids out of over crowded and run down campuses, not to rent them out, no matter how much people may love CHARTER schools. I say fine, love CHARTER schools, send your kids to them, have wet dreams about them, just don’t kick our public school kids to the curb. Move the deserving public school kids and teachers to the new facilities and rent out the old ones to the CHARTERS. CHARTERS are always saying they can do a great job in almost any facility


When bonds are put on the ballot they have some very specific language in them, to say nothing of the promises made to get voters to vote for them. If these campuses are rented out without giving the public school kids first shot at them, LAUSD will be on shaky legal ground. Of course that’s a favorite place for Mayor Antonio and his cronies.


Why, we have to ask ourselves, would they want to rent these new schools out? Well it goes like this. LAUSD used to be very overcrowded with students, and new kids were pouring in every day. LAUSD began putting bonds on the ballot for the voters to approve so they could build more schools. As the District built and built they discovered they liked this building stuff. There seemed to be no end to the bond money voters would approve and there was no end to the contracts the LAUSD brass could pass out to their pals. Everyone seemed pretty happy.


Then some odd things happened. That flow of new students slowed down, then it began to go the other way and there were fewer and fewer students. There were not enough students to fill the new schools. Worse, the economy kept getting worse and there was less and less money to operate the schools.


Of course there were still hundreds of millions left in all those building bonds. Now, no self respecting bureaucrat or politico lets a taxpayer dollar that can be funneled to a crony go unspent, so the building just kept going. It’s illegal - and worse, easy to get caught - to spend building bond money on any operating expenses, yet that is just the money that LAUSD is starving for.


A brilliant (well it looks like that to the people who came up with it) - if questionably legal - strategy is hatched at the Mayor’s little chicken coop. They will build these schools and rent them out. They will use the income for all sorts of expenses the bond funds can’t be used for. Not only that, they can give their favorite tenants sweetheart rents and still have money to play with. It’s a form of political bureaucratic money laundering - a bad brew by any measure. Problem is, it may not be legal.


Now I leave it to all the lawyers and judges and wheeler dealers to sort this out, and believe me, there will be money made in that sorting machine. I just say, give the public school kids a fair shake, give them those new schools that were built for them. If they want bathrooms that work, let them attend the CHARTERS and eat some of that cake, you say. Well that would be okay, but a lot of CHARTERS pick and choose, they only take the kids that will make them look good and not be much trouble. If a kid doesn’t live up to expectations, in many cases, they’re not kept around to drag down test scores - they are sent back to our public schools.


Is this starting to sound like creating school ghettos? Kids who are not seen as a premium to CHARTERS kept in old run down schools? What great leadership on education from our EDUCATION MAYOR. The LA Times thinks so. They ran an editorial praising the Downtown Prince for finally stepping up and taking leadership in his job. Problem is, schools are not really his job. He mostly avoids doing his job in favor of photo ops - see the LA weekly story

“The All About Me Mayor”, but he can’t seem to stay out of those juicy school bond funds.


That takes us over to the very troubled L.A. Community College District. They are low on operating funds and rolling in building bond dough as well. Mayor Antonio is central to a brewing LACCD scandal over the Van de Kamps Northeast Campus.


Starting back in 1999 the historic bakery building was saved by a local group, the Coalition to Save Van de Kamps and then Senator Richard Polanco. Polanco went on to secure seed money to help buy the site for a Los Angeles City College Satellite Campus. Eight years, vicious internal politics and five presidents later LACC handed the campus and it’s close to completed buildings off to the Los Angeles Community College District, saying they did not have funds to open a satellite campus.


The exact machinations of the hand off, the conflicting reports on why and how it happened are swirling around a building scandal. The Community group is pressing forward, now called the Van de Kamps Coalition they are pushing a foot dragging LACCD on fulfilling a California Public Records Act to find out the particulars of the deal and protesting the hand off and now renting out of the facility, (Disclosure here, I am a very active part of that Coalition - wouldn’t you just know it).


The same legal questions arise about the use of bond money. Those bonds were passed for a Community College facility, the language is very specific. It doesn’t say they can be come a “tenant based facility” (LACCD’s own language) anywhere in them. In fact LACCD is actively submitting plans for changes to the buildings to suit tenants. Bond money for tenant’s requirements. That is getting pretty nervy. But I digress.


One guess as to who is central to all this renting out - yep - it’s our special guy - Mayor Antonio again. The tenants for the building are a collection of his pet projects. the first tenant to take occupancy in a dangerously unfinished site is ... an Antonio supported CHARTER school. LACCD has calculated the numbers and figures to take in $100,000. plus in rental profits. According to their own documents they plan to use this money for the District. Get that, not for students, but for the District, which is a purely administrative unit. Bond funds going for District expenses of any kind is expressly forbidden by the bond language.


So here we have it again, bureaucratic money laundering.  Bond funds build buildings for schools which, under questionable legal maneuvers, are turned into rentals which generate  income for operations, salaries and bureaucrats, all of which is forbidden by the bonds. The Downtown Prince rides high again., but for how long?




Better late than NEVER- we broke the story (see below LA Times excerpt) way back in Sept. 2009...of course the Times STILL hasn’t connected all the dots...and they’re still not talking about what’s so sweet in that in that swimming pool...