Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The First Taste is Always Free

In the last post we teased a new package for teachers to buy a Nate Silver to look at their data and prove they are an awesome teacher.  For $250, if we can't find a single shred of data anywhere in your history that proves you to be modestly competent, we will provide some sure fire assessments.  Here is your first taste. 
It's a Long Way To The Top

Step 1.  Take any assessment that is multiple choice
Step 2.  Give a pre-unit assessment
Step 3.  During the unit of instruction, play AC/DC.  Especially “It's a Long Way To The Top,” which is featured in the kid friendly movie School of Rock
Step 4.  Everyday during the unit, when your students ask “what is that?” Just tell them the name of the band.
Step 5.  Post assessment.  Rearrange the answer choices to be A.C.D.C. repeated. 
Step 6.  Watch those scores rise.  You are an awesome teacher.  (btw if this doesn't work, go teach PE)
Step 7.  Want more awesome advice like this.  Get in touch with us about how you can send us $250 from your paycheck just once so you can keep a few more of those sweet sweet pay stubbies from the quarter billion dollar LAUSD payroll system.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yes on the UTLA/LAUSD appendage

---jump right to the bottom for how notyet LAUSD is going to make millions off this new contract---

Teachers suck.  Okay, not all teachers.  Not even most.  Maybe a few teachers suck.  Somewhere in some part of this world a teacher sucks at their profession.

VAM sucks.  CST sucks.  All standardized tests suck.  Data analysis of tests suck.  There is no value in tests.  Okay maybe a smidge of value.  Some where there is one piece of data that possesses the slightest hint of value.

With that profound insight, may I give my ringing endorsement for the recent appendage to the UTLA/LAUSD contract. 
1.     It doesn’t matter how you vote.  UTLA and LAUSD agreed to this, and should UTLA members vote “no,” the judge will probably revert to this plan.
2.     The wording of the contract allows a teacher to bring their own data to the table.  You have to be a sucky teacher to not find a single piece of data to show some sort of growth.  The terminology is so broad; it would take a special teacher not to find a piece of data to explain doing a good job on something at some point in time.
The caveat
1.     The school administrator can use just about any data they want to as well.
2.     There is no change to they way conflicts are resolved, so the problems with arbitrating (if it ever happens) with the existing contract will add a new dimension of complexity.

The money grab
No one has the time to do data analysis at a school site.  Thanks to notyet LAUSD’s partnership with our sponsors they will do all the data analysis for us.  Sponsors get to pick the data they care about and then notyet LAUSD, as the administrative branch, gets to tell our administrators down at the school site to use the data we tell them to. 

We charge teachers $250 to look at their data and find something useful.  notyet LAUSD will go through your data and find something that makes you look competent. If we can’t find data, we’ll show you how to create a few foolproof tests and administration techniques to ensure your students scores grow.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The 3rd or 4th rule of ®eform

It goes without saying that the first rule of ®eform is “Don’t talk about poverty.” 
The second rule of ®eform is “Don’t talk about poverty”.  Either number 3 or 4 is “Don’t talk about population changes.”   I don’t mean the fact that students change from year to year.  I mean changes in who is tested because of s district level policy change, same kids, same teachers, new policy.

I could be referring to LAUSD’s increased use of the CMA for students with special needs instead of the actual CST, and how this policy change is accounting for a good chunk of LAUSD’s “growth” over the past few years.  But I’m not, because LAUSD doesn’t talk about changing the population that takes the CST.

I am talking about a recent set of post from LAUSD’s  LA School Report that actually talks about LAUSD changing who is getting tested and its negative impact on percentages, not the benefit of the policy to students.  The first post Why HS Math Scores Are Low(er),” gave 3 generic reasons for a perceived drop in HS Algebra scores.  The second post must have been a rookie mistake for Hillel Aaron.  The second post “More on Math Scores makes the case that LAUSD has been doing a good job placing students into the correct math class so there are fewer competent students repeating a class. 

If you’re confused at this point, I’m not criticizing LAUSD for putting students in the correct class. 

LAUSD is openly talking about the role of a specific policy change that is affecting percentages used for evaluation.  Algebra passing rates are on of the percentages used when LAUSD labels a school “failing” and bullies it with PSC.  Policies about who takes what class have very real consequences on the statistics LAUSD is measuring itself on.  District policy that changes who takes what test affect percentages. 

LAUSD and ®eformers do not like to talk about year over year changes in what type of students are taking a test.  For market based solutions to work, you need to compare apples to apples.  Even value added measurements can only tolerate a finite amount of change in the year over year testing samples before the results become meaningless.  LAUSD routinely makes large scale changes to how it tests, yet remains oblivious to the affect on evaluation of schools.  There is a good reason rule 3 or 4 from the ed-®eform playbook is “Don’t talk about population changes,” even moderate population changes undermine “market place solutions.”

Bonus Point 1:  What does changing the population mean in the current climate.
As LAUSD moves toward the idea of small learning communities and “Expanded School Based Management” you might think that the school’s results are all its own.  You might think student outcomes are tightly aligned to just the teacher or school.  Most ®eforms require you to focus on just the teacher or just the school leader.  When LAUSD is making policies that will change who is assessed, how does the district and school claim credit/ blame for the outcomes of the school. 

Bonus Point 2: LA School Report is LAUSD's propaganda blog – they really did just run a “get to know you” piece for a someone aligned to Deasy who might be running for a Board seat but hasn’t yet declared.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.

 Check out this story on  Teaching ate me alive.   This is what teaching in LAUSD looks like.  Want to talk about success in education, talk to those teachers who've figured out how to stay in the profession.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Straight to the Guilt: Specialized Medicine Learning Complex at Miramonte Elemententary School

If you have video, please enjoy the three minutes and fifty-five seconds below.  (Semi-suitable for work)

If you don’t have video, stop reading and go somewhere you can watch the video.
 You saw that?

Your welcome.

 In light of this article in the Long Beach Press “Plan to split Carson High into 3 schools riles parents, teachers,  I was drawn to the following quote.

"Better to go through high school with a free education and know if that's what you want to do in college or not, than to wait for college to find out," said Rosie Martinez, the instructional director for LAUSD's Intensive Support and Innovation Center.

Pause.  Take a moment and see if you know where notyetLAUSD is going to go with this.  (hint: “Straight to the Guilt” + “Opportunity to explore a career prior to college”)

NotyetLAUSD is pleased to announce the Specialized Medicine Learning Complex at Miramonte Elementary School.  notyetLAUSD will split Miramonte Elementary into four smaller schools, each with a specialization in a different type of medicine.

1.     Clinical neurophysiology “NP” Learning Center 
2.     Otorhinolaryngology “Oto” Learning Center
3.     Vascular Surgery Learning “VSL” Center
4.     Oro-Maxillo-Facial Surgery “Oro” Learning Center

We are giddy at the prospect of unilaterally changing the composition of Miramonte…again.  This time we will give our youth the chance to experience a career for free, before they go to college.  We believe that when parents look back on these changes they will see that notyetLAUSD continues to be at the forefront of innovation.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Drones to the Rescue

 notyetLAUSD is pleased to announce our new partnership with Los Angeles based military avionics firms to bring drone planes to solve the reading gap faced by many of Los Angeles' neediest children.  Based upon a military drone seen below, the guns and missiles have been swapped out for loud speakers. 

Successful tests have already been run with “The Little Engine That Could” and “The Butter Battle Book.”

These drones avoid the costs associated with staffing preschool.  Instead trained pilots in an undisclosed bunker in Nevada will take their skills spent flying missions over Afghanistan

and will instead be flying over LA’s poorest neighborhoods, depicted in BIG RED circles.

"When I heard 'a war budget leaves every child behind,' I thought 'that doens't have to be'.  Every child has a right to hear at least one book before they go to bed, it raises student effectiveness” – said ®eform PhD. Thanks to this program we can expect every child in LAUSD to hear at least one book per night and we hope to increase capacity to two books per night.  Besides installing the loud speakers, $2 billions of dollars were spent on special modifications to reduce the engine noise 5db.  Sweet dreams Los Angeles.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Entering the Lotto Business

With the downturn in the economy so is income from the state lottery.  notyetLAUSD will be starting a new lottery ticket SCHOOL2JAIL.  The entry level prizes are $1, $2, $5, $10, $6,200 (or what the district spends on each student).  The grand prize is $35,000 plus health benefits (or what the State spends on each inmate).

-apologies if the math isn't right 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Taking a break from trying to cast a bold vision for LAUSD, we need to address another part of the LAUSD equation, UTLA.  UTLA has turned over a new leaf,  UTLA will now bend over and do whatever LAUSD says, maybe UTLA will now do what notyetLAUSD says.

On July 5th all UTLA teachers will find their paychecks 20% smaller. Why are teacher paychecks 20% smaller?

LAUSD took advantage of a loophole in the UTLA contract passed last spring 2011 in a 3 day rushed vote by outgoing UTLA president A.J. Duffy.  UTLA rank and file never got a pro/con sheet for the contract, a first for anyone working here.  At this point it should not be a surprise that LAUSD would have a back door to more furlough days.

In January of 2012 LAUSD declares its intent to take more furlough days in this school year even though this years budget income exceeded the magic trigger number when furloughs would have kicked in.  Basically UTLA agreed to furlough days if the district received less than $4,500 from the state, the district in fact received $4,700.  At this point LAUSD proposed taking out one furlough day a month to soften the blow on teachers.

 UTLA decided to go to arbitration to fight LAUSD on the furloughs and perform an act of "fighting for teacher pay".  I'm not sure what takes three months?  The 3 months delay caused by arbitration means that all furlough days fall on one check.  The lack of communication from UTLA to suggest that arbitration might fall in LAUSD's favor screws over every teacher who now has a 20% cut in their July pay check.   The lack of communication from UTLA to suggest that arbitration might fall in LAUSD's favor is a sign the UTLA members will not want to participate in the union.  Why did UTLA think arbitration would start ruling in their favor?

At what point does an LAUSD teacher find Beaudry to have their back before their union?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sexual reassignment to solve graduation crisis

If you haven't heard, we need 100% college or career ready.  We know that on average a high school degree is worth $1.2 million over a lifetime while a bachelor's degree is worth $2.1 million (according to these people). That is roughly $0.57 on the dollar that the high school grad makes on the bachelor's degree's dollar.

Depending on what facts you believe, women make $0.77 on the dollar of men.

One solution that notyetAUSD school board should study is the effect of reassigning our female population to male.  This will not fix the gap our students currently face completely, but it might very well be the most cost-effective solution.  Based on a single Google search the cost of a reassignment can run around $50,000 or about 10 years of education.  As wise stewards of tax payer resources and our scale as the second largest school district there is enough reason to think we could get a group discount on reassignment.  Our Board needs to pass a resolution and tie up our district staff with countless hours of research into effects of reassigning our females to male.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Same meeting, Same topic, two Different headlines

LAUSD considers lowering the bar for graduation

LAUSD plan calls for raising graduation standards

We will reach 100% graduation in LAUSD, no matter how low we have to tunnel.  We will slap the finest labels on our curriculum.

PS. Harvard's graduation rate is 98%.  Most elite private colleges average a 90% graduation rate.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Student Performance Incentive Program

Carrot-Stick1notyetLAUSD is pleased to announce a new incentive program to get students to take ownership and improve their CST scores.  notyetLAUSD is modeling this new program based on LAUSD’s current system to promote excellence among its teaching and administrative staff.  LAUSD has seen a steady growth in student test scores as a whole for several years.  Steady growth year over year is not easily achieved and if district policies for increasing test score achievement are good enough for the teachers and administrators, lets apply the same zero-tolerance/market driven policies to students to accelerate their test score achievement. 

Better than an oak tree, here is an example of how this will work.

Imagine you are a student in classroom where you see a kid cheat on a test.  Your teacher has shown that when one kid cheats, the whole class will get an ‘F,’ what would you do? 

And by the way at this school a single test counts for 75-88% the whole class’s eligibility to stay in the school, if the whole class fails this single test your whole class is kicked out of school and have to find a new school.

Through a combination of zero-tolerance policies and market competition we have created a perfect environment for students to achieve high scores on the CST.  We can ensure test scores soar by applying and relieving pressure on key parts of the market. 

1.    We can further accelerate this growth by publicly releasing the student growth scores that LAUSD currently calculates on every student to make the teacher VAM scores.  Consider students public employees consuming vital public money to build their capacity, why shouldn't we know their scores?
2.    We can keep low achieving students from reentering the district by ensuring that investigations of cheating are processed over the summer when the student will be least likely to find another school within notyetLAUSD.
3.    We will write glowing letters to students who exceed the upper ranges of growth on their tests.  In VAM terms where the scale is from 0 to 5, we celebrate those that score 6 and 7 for great learning.
4.    We will never initiate investigations of cheating on our own unless we want that particular student out because they consume too many resources.  Overall schools will be encouraged not to investigate cheating because losing a class of students looks bad for the whole school and results in a loss of funding.  When national news reports come outfinding evidence of cheating we will pose for another installation to the museum of deafening silence.

for more see notyetLAUSD's Acceptable Cheating Policy

Monday, March 26, 2012

LAUSD gets a Social Media Director

Here at notyetLAUSD we've been doing our own social media longer than the actual LAUSD, the difference is that LAUSD's social media is good.  That's right LAUSD is doing something better than notyetLAUSD.  I'm waiving the white flag and since I can't beat you, maybe you'll adopt me and spread the good word through the social webs on my behalf.

For those of you outraged over the $7,000 taxpayer bill for this position, get over it. The $86K in grant money would never go to a classroom teacher and does not need to be wasted on another iPad cart.

Read the LAUSD facebook page
  • Positive stories about events in the district
  • There are stories about LAUSD students and their schools, its great to spark confidence and desire in both students and teachers to see what their respective peers are doing
  • I ignore the posts on Monica Garcia and the LA Times, you can do that on facebook
On the other hand the UTLA homepage had no direct link to the email they sent out today complaining about an out of classroom position for Social Media director being announced the same week as the sent out 11,000 RIF notices.  Yes the timing sucks, but John Deasy is a master Donkey Puncher he's never had good timing.  Maybe the social media director could do a better job with the announcements.

If UTLA's staff of 4 people in their communications division have no bigger issue than a $7,000 gambit on promoting its district and the timing, there is a $700 million surplus at LAUSD that could use some fresh eyes.  Also UTLA you forgot to note that LAUSD Facebook page has only 872 likes and hasn't updated their time line to even include when it was founded, you get what you pay for.

I agree with Magnet Angel that college interns and staff at Beuadry should be doing this already, but college interns are flakey and Beaudry staff are there because they didn't want to be in a school.  Give Stephanie Abrams a chance. 2 weeks in and I'm enjoying a bit of sunshine.

Now go like LAUSD's $93,000 facebook page, I bet you will find at least one story a week you'll want to share with your students.

for comparison here is the UTLA facebook page

I would tell you to go to the LAUSD homepage for the facebook, twitter, and YouTube links, but they are not there.

Don’t Shoot: It’s Geraldo in a hoodie

If you read this and were wondering what Geraldo would look like in a hoodie, here you go.

via: Geraldo Rivera: Trayvon Martin Would Be Alive but for His Hoodie

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sh!t I Find In My Classroom (II)

Titled Moldy Tile On Keyboard.  Enjoy your rainy day SoCal.  There will be more where this came from on Monday.
Keep the submissions coming.
Send subject: SIFIMC to

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

notyetLAUSD budget realities

LAUSD has taken the lead on addressing budget realities.  Where as the PEAC wing of UTLA, AALA, and UTLA each see a different budget reality than LAUSD Beaudry, LAUSD Beaudry sees budget realities.  If I were cynical I would talk about how LAUSD needs to change their domain to, but they already did. I WIN!

From the LAUSD Budget Realities website:

“This website was created to give employees, students, parents and education partners an accurate presentation of LAUSD budget realities. Please review the pages on this website to learn how we are focusing our efforts on instruction, reducing our spending, and working with our bargaining units to find shared solutions and agreements on furlough days and other cost-saving measures.” 

I call this explanation and the site Fair and Balanced®

But what about other Budget Realities not represented in LAUSD’s realities.

PEAC These are increases from 2010-11 to 2011-12 (same time as enrollment is declining) from

·      4.2% increase in Superintendent office salaries

·      97% increase in instructional materials up to $81.6 million

·      59% increase in general supplies

·      $12.3 million increase in library supplies (library services were but 71%)

·      315% increase in travel and conferences to $24.9 million

·      Added new administrative positions to pilot a new evaluation system

UTLA 16 Budget changes to make now

1.  Open the books in public now.  The budget approval process last June was criminal.  Board Members got the proposed budget only a week in advance.  Forget about the public.  Even the City and County have processes that demand weeks and months of advance conversation.  The District doesn't.  Open the books in public now.

2.  Cut salaries in the Supe's office.  It was estimated to stay the same in 2011-12 amidst massive cuts in all other salaries.

3.  Cut DIBBLES and other assessments.

4.  Cut the early start calendar.  That would save money this academic year.

5.  End the two major consulting contracts the District has around VAM/AGT and teacher evaluation.

6.  Sell Beaudry or rent it out.  Have District staff work from school sites threatened with Prop 39 co-location.  

7.  Cut instructional materials (how many corporate contractors?).  It was estimated to increase in 2011-12.

8.  Cut general supplies (how many corporate contractors?).  It was estimated to increase in 2011-12.

9.  Cut travel and conferences.  It was estimated to increase in 2011-12.

10.  Cut insurance costs. It was estimated to increase in 2011-12.

11.  Cut rentals, leases, and repairs. It was estimated to increase in 2011-12.

12.  Cut buildings and improvements. It was estimated to increase in 2011-12. 

13.  Cut other services and operating expenses. It was estimated to increase in 2011-12.

14.  Cut interfund transfers. It was estimated to increase in 2011-12.

15.  Cut sub-agreements for services. It has ballooned, even as of the December interim report on the LAUSD budget.

16.  Go into the LAUSD reserve.

AALA open letter

Available here:
(read the whole thing)

All realities are valid.  What assumptions you take with you and how you reason to accept one reality over another…

Monday, March 12, 2012


All credit goes to Angry Teacher on the Mic.  Shamelessly rebroadcast on notyetLAUSD.

Stop the Rifsanity at Beaudry Tuesday March 13 and maybe help save adult ed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sh!t I find in my classroom

I realize this could become its own blog, but I'm adding the SIFIMC label to anything you send me.


Send  subject: SIFIMC to

Compare and Contrast

Tamar Galatzan: LAUSD parents can't afford budget denial


PEAC: Education for the 99%  from UTLA has this PDF'd PPT (yeah they need help with communication)

2 views not just on budget but if its worth fighting for our children.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Distressing news about suspensions/expulsion of Black/Latinos.

Personal anecdote: I teach at a school that is 65% Latino 34% Black and 1% other. Last year was the first year we increased our suspension rate in three years. Last year we had our single largest jump in API score. Last year we recommended more students to outside services to help with the underlying cause of their behavior. Last year more parents than ever elected to send their kids to Charter schools because the Charter schools had zero tolerance for bad students.

Large scale: The number of expulsions and suspensions is a by-product, it is good to record, it should inform how we shape policy. The number is not the end. Wonks generally look at numbers as ends and not byproducts, which is great if you're in the cynicism business, but not very good if you are a wonk.

 Public officials will ask "what is wrong with LAUSD?"  LAUSD will harass deans and administrators to reduce suspensions for minority students.  Deans and administrators will create new labels for suspensions, students will be sick more or just plain absent and the number will go down.  A negligible few will actually try and attack the problem at its roots.

I apologize for the melancholy.  I'm still too sad to make a racially insensitive joke that won't be made by LAUSD's response.

For more on how vital it is America talks about injustice, watch Bryan Stevenson's TED talk.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

LAUSD to start a for-profit college

I've been trying to be a good Post-Post-Reformer, but this stuff just writes itself.

Where as:
  1. LAUSD has a budget crisis for Adult Ed funding.
  2. LAUSD needs to up its graduation percentage.
  3. Federal Government says all students are to be college or career ready upon graduation.
  4. LAUSD has a lot more reported cases of misplaced semen on the parts of its staff.
  5. LAUSD administrators are overburdened to investigate and document claims of child abuse by teachers.

May it be resolved:
LAUSD establish LAUSD College, a for-profit college specializing in forensics and legal assistants. Instead of losing money on Adult ed, LAUSD starts making money. All students can now graduate from LAUSD schools prepared to go directly to LAUSD College. All students will meet the federal goal of college readiness. Since LAUSD does not want to work with CPS, local law enforcement, or the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing when dealing with faculty member's misplaced semen, LAUSD College forensic students can start the investigation just like on CSI. LAUSD College legal aid students can take over the documentation and filing process that administrators don't have time to do. Remember the Chinese character for "crisis" is the same one for "opportunity".

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“Reformers” or “Post-Reformers” or “Post-Post-Reformers”?

Reformers® love their label but people with other views seem to need some help with labels

I propose Post-Reformer® to umbrella all views…and even include Reformers.

Reformers are a group of people seeking a package of changes to how we do education in this country.  They are capable of only working in dichotomies and can’t accept multiple solutions, hence the need for an umbrella term for everyone else.  Reformers are stuck in a turn of the (20th) century industrial era style logic loop. Reformers insist there is a single package of free-market solutions to "fixing" education.  Reformers want to extend the industrial trappings of public education; top-down management, efficiency benchmarks, and refining work to the tiniest task possible.  You can literally hear the banging of the standardized steel plate being fastened to a kid's head by teachers who are being checked by a foreman.  The only "advancement" a Reformer has accepted is including technology to improve management and the development of benchmarks.  The name “Reformer” wreaks of a Mad Men slogan for selling rehashed and stale product.  The name Reformer, implies new and bold. This is why it is a genius label for selling old, tired and failed.

Post-Reformers believe problems can have multiple antecedents and multiple solutions.  Post reformers place a primacy on collaboration towards a goal utilizing (not just respecting) everyone’s backgrounds and talents. Because Post-Reformers are broad (no pun intended) coalitions, they will contradict each other at times. To the Post-Reformer contradictions are relished.

A large part of the disconnect Post-Reformers experience when first meeting a Reformer is that each is  operating in a different era and think with different philosophies.  Reformers lust for technocratic bell curves and value added models remind me of phrenology and eugenics from the 1900s.  There often is value in a passion for data, legalese, working-papers, and astoturfing. The challenge for the Post-Reformer is to dig deeply for these nuggets of value. 

Here are a few ways the Post-Reformer can bring a Reformer on board.  A Post-Reformer should never reject a Reformer, they to belong under the umbrella and should always be respected.  Ask a Reformer to bring their legalese to help you draft Board Resolutions or their astroturfing skills to engage parents.  Reformers need to feel ‘new’ and current while staying in the comforts of their old philosophy, often using email.  Despite the Reformer’s  need to feel new facebook and blogs are not yet for Reformers. Reformers need rules and a clear vision of a miniature utopia that they hope will scale to the whole world, focusing on making the miniature world is another great place to engage Reformers. 

The real challenge is when the Reformer meets the Post-Reformer.  Because Reformers spend so much time building walls to define themselves, Post-Reformers should be patient as they explore these new ways of dealing with people.  Post-Reformers have different views and do not speak a single set of ideas. For Reformers to accept Post-Reformers, they need to accept that conflicting ideas can still make sense and are worth listening too, or at least don't dismiss Post-Reformers for having conflicting ideas.  Reformers will need to accept that not everything is a dichotomy nor is every disagreement worth a "for us or against us" mentality   Reformers will need to accept that people can and will work toward a common goal and that laws and contracts are not a means to making people do things. 

Post-Post-Reformers educate children regardless of policy and don't care about wonk ideas.  A good pseudonym for the Post-Post-Reformer is “Teacher.”