FROM Warren Fletcher
Bad Teachers, Minority Students and the Constitution It's now up to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu to decide a case brought by Students Matter , a group funded by Silicon Valley businessman David Welch. He hired two nationally known attorneys to represent nine mostly minority kids, claiming California's teacher protection laws give some students a better education than others. One witness was LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy, who compared a school in Encino to one in South Los Angeles by observing, "we have not struck down the wall of educational apartheid in this country."
L.A. Charter School Performance A new Stanford study says students who attend charter schools here in L.A. spend more time learning than their public school counterparts, especially Hispanic children. We talk to a co-author of the report, and we hear from the L.A. teachers union about the findings.
Will LAUSD Teachers Give the Superintendent a Passing Grade? Unionized teachers in LA Unified are voting on whether they have confidence in reform-minded Superintendent John Deasy. The question's been added to a referendum on more aggressive negotiations put on the ballot by a breakaway faction of 1100 union members. We talk with UTLA President Warren Fletcher and Howard Blum, education report for the Los Angeles Times .
Following the Money in the LA School Board Race New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to influence public education here in Los Angeles. He's donated a million dollars to the Coalition for School Reform , led by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, which is trying to maintain a reformist majority on the elected school board.
Another Battle over Student Tests to Evaluate Teachers The Los Angeles Unified School District would be eligible for $40 million in federal dollars if it could demonstrate that standardized student test scores were being used as one means of evaluating teacher performance. In addition, a local judge says that's required by state law. Superintendent John Deasy devised a voluntary performance review program, but Warren Fletcher, president of the United Teachers of LA, sent a robo-call to 38,000 members telling them not to participate. We speak with them both.
Less School for LAUSD; Student-based Teacher Evaluations The Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers' union, UTLA , have agreed to shorten the next school year by five days, for a total of 18 days in the past four years. Another three weeks could be lost if Governor Brown's tax package doesn't pass in November. Combined with larger classes, less counseling and cuts in campus management, nobody disagrees that students will suffer. So what has been gained? We hear from educators and attorneys. Education isn't the only thing that's suffering from state budget cuts. Parks are closing, layoffs and court closures are making justice less accessible, and support for the bullet train is on the decline. D.J. Waldie, who's retired as Deputy City Manager for the City of Lakewood, is a prolific writer and commentator about Los Angeles who blogs for KCET .
The Rationing of Public Education LA's elected school board passed a preliminary worst-case budget last night with just one dissenting vote. Although the cuts were not as severe as expected, the $6 billion plan would still eliminate thousands of jobs, close all the adult schools and cut some after-school programs as well as music and art at elementary schools. Some 11,700 pink slips have already been sent out. There are other options. Superintendent John Deasy wants concessions from labor unions he says could keep some programs open. Three initiatives on the November, 2012 ballot all could further impact public education. They are: Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs Tax to Fund Education, Preschools, and Child Care Tax to Benefit Public Schools, Social Services, Public Safety, and Road Maintenance
School Reform and LA Unified's Public School Choice Plan LA Unified has more charter schools than any other district in the US. That's because of the Public School Choice plan, created to improve schools through competition by allowing outside groups, as well as internal teams, to bid for control of new and under-performing schools. Now the rules have been changed by the elected School Board, to give priority to insiders, meaning the District's own administrators and teachers. As head of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, AJ Duffy was an outspoken opponent of charter schools. Now he's applying to become a charter school operator. He wants to hire teachers from the Crescendo charter schools, which were closed down when administrators ordered teachers to cheat on standardized tests. We speak with Duffy, educators and administrators.
The New President-Elect of United Teachers Los Angeles A.J. Duffy is termed out as President of the United Teachers of Los Angeles , and a new leader has been chosen in a run-off election. Warren Fletcher defeated Vice President Julie Washington by a vote of 4700 to 4200. The UTLA has some 45,000 members.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.