Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Origins of Unlawful Teacher Discipline in the Berkeley (Cal) School District

We have a crisis of administrative attacks on teachers in Berkeley. Specifically our teachers are being falsely accused of unprofessional conduct and unsatisfactory performance based on false pretenses. In addition classified employees are being targeted with trumped up statements of charges of misconduct also leading to termination.

Regarding the certificated statutes of the ed code, we feel that a crime has been committed before the district implements ca ed code 44938 and 44939c to terminate our employment. (California ed code 44938 is derived from Ca ed Code 44660 performance evaluation. Ca Ed Code 44939c requires improper conduct with student or criminal act)

District law firms specifically Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud &Romo, compile the statement of charges with administration. These charges in turn are filled with false, misleading and or fraud filled statements and or charges. These charges in turn are the basis for the termination and disciplining of employees under false pretenses. Needless to say the district law firms in question appear to be conducting a racketeering scheme as the are making financial gain from the trumped up charges. This in turn drains the resources of the school district unnecessarily. There are currently no ed code protections in the BFT or BCCE contract that address this issue in codified fashion.

Quoting Penal Code 132:

132.  Every person who upon any trial, proceeding, inquiry, or
investigation whatever, authorized or permitted by law, offers in
evidence, as genuine or true, any book, paper, document, record, or
other instrument in writing, knowing the same to have been forged or
fraudulently altered or ante-dated, is guilty of felony.

Also quoting California Penal Code 134: "
134.  Every person guilty of preparing any false or ante-dated book,
paper, record, instrument in writing, or other matter or thing, with
intent to produce it, or allow it to be produced for any fraudulent
or deceitful purpose, as genuine or true, upon any trial, proceeding,
or inquiry whatever, authorized by law, is guilty of felony."

This is a serious problem that is not only an epidemic in Berkeley but teachers are complaining about this state wide. I have appellate court case law to confirm my assertions. Here is the following case: People vs Clark. [Crim. No. 30122. Court of Appeals of California, Second Appellate District, Division Two. July 28, 1977.]

There also appears to be a material breach of the ed code. The following section makes the relevant point: California Ed Code 44112 (1),(2). The relevant statute states the following:

 (1) The activity violates a state or federal law or regulation,
including, but not limited to, corruption, malfeasance, bribery,
theft of government property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion,
conversion, malicious prosecution, misuse of government property, or
willful omission to perform duty.
   (2) The activity is economically wasteful or involves gross
misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency.

In addition the Berkeley Unified School District is also violating California Ed Code 44113:

44113.  (a) An employee may not directly or indirectly use or
attempt to use the official authority or influence of the employee
for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding,
or attempting to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or command any person
for the purpose of interfering with the right of that person to
disclose to an official agent matters within the scope of this
   (b) For the purpose of subdivision (a), "use of official authority
or influence" includes promising to confer or conferring any
benefit; affecting or threatening to affect any reprisal; or taking,
directing others to take, recommending, processing, or approving any
personnel action, including, but not limited to appointment,
promotion, transfer, assignment, performance evaluation, suspension,
or other disciplinary action.
   (c) For the purpose of subdivision (a), "official agent" includes
a school administrator, member of the governing board of a school
district or county board of education, county superintendent of
schools, or the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
   (d) An employee who violates subdivision (a) may be liable in an
action for civil damages brought against the employee by the offended
   (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize an
individual to disclose information otherwise prohibited by or under law.

Dozens of Berkeley employees have asked me what can be done to remedy this situation. As I commingle the above referenced ed codes with the penal codes it does appear that employees should file complaints with the local police to preserve their rights and to protect against felonious assertions by district administrators and lawyers. I do believe that California Ed Codes 44110-44114 were implemented to protect employees from trumped up and false assertions
In sum, there is basically a racketeering scheme being carried out by law firms that represent school districts. The lawyers compile false charges. In turn the false charges are used to terrorize and terminate employees. The personnel actions are then rubber stamped by school boards who incorrectly assume the charges in fact are true and have merit. The cycle continues, as these same law firms acquire financial gain under false pretenses. To maintain the practice of law lawyers must maintain ethical standards. Here it is clear that these standards have been broken.

It is the ease at which teachers are placed on leave, charged and terminated that is at issue. If the NUC/NUP is not challenged and the author of the document not challenged the teachers are in effect accepting the allegations as true. The financial motive for lawyers and administrators to do the following dubious acts are clear. If we dont attack the lawyers in a penal way the crimes against public education will continue.

John Doe
Social Science Credential
Special Education Credential

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Changing the Conversation About Heroin Addiction

Changing the Conversation About Heroin Addiction: A Message From Mikela Ryan

Tonight at 9 PM EST a new documentary is airing on MTV - one that could change the conversation about heroin addiction and the epidemic that is killing our nation. It is called Prescription for Change: Ending America's Opioid Crisis. In this documentary rapper Macklemore, a recovering addict himself, travels to Washington, D.C. to speak with President Obama about the issue on a national level. He also travels out to Seattle, WA, one of the most afflicted cities in our nation, to meet with young, recovering addicts at their school. This is really the amazing part - these young people are attending a school in the Seattle Public School System just for them. It is called Interagency Recovery School and guess what....IT IS WORKING. Who would have thought...let's take a bunch of kids struggling with the same issues who can relate to one another and put them in a clean, supportive environment full of resources....sounds like a no brainer to me. Unfortunately, not much is known about this type school. Hopefully this documentary will change that and open everyone's eyes. This is an attainable, realistic goal. This can work all over the nation and we need to make it happen. We must end this epidemic and we can do that together.

On Standing Behing Women- What I Know and Mr Trump Never Learned

The huge blowback against Donald Trump's body language during the debate- particularly his propensity to stand behind Hillary Clinton when she was talking in a way that struck many women as intimidating- brings to mind something I experienced when I was younger which hints at the saliency of that issue
For those of you who haven't met me in person. I am a fairly large person -6'0' tall and over two hundred pounds. Before I was hobbled by multiple surgeries, I liked to walk extremely fast when I was in the street or on a subway platform,, passing most people as I whizzed by
However, I learned to slow myself down whenever I was walking a street which was dark or relatively sparsely populated because of the response of women when I passed them. Many were terrified. They heard the footsteps as I approached and thought the worst- that I was someone who was going to rob them or assault them This didn't happen just once. It happened many many times until I learned to slow down and simply accept that I couldn't walk fast without making women';s hearts race.
At the time, I attributed it to the muggings and robberies that were fairly prevalent in NYC from the late 60's through the mid 90's, but in retrospect, I think the fears might have also come from experiences with men that were much more private and personal
In any case, I learned something then that Mr Trump apparently doesn't know or doesn't care about- that when you are a large man, you don't hover over,,walk behind or stand close to women when you are angry or in a hurry because it triggers fears and traumas that come from a lifetime of negative experience.
It would be ironic, though in some way appropriate, if his failure to abide by that ends up being one of the nails in the coffin for his Presidential prospects.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Notorious Phd Debate Post Mortem: Hide Your Children-It's Going to be a Wild Ride

Donald Trump at his best in a public forum- which we saw last night- was not enough to turn the tide of the building momentum for Hillary Clinton.
First, his image as a bully was confirmed by his propensity to interrupt Hillary Clinton and the moderators, which he did over and over again. It was also symbolized by his propensity to get up and stand behind Hillary Clinton, almost as if he was trying to intimidate her. These gestures confirm the image he created from the Republican debates, from his persona at rallies, and from the Access Hollywood tapes.
Because of this, Mr Trump made NO HEADWAY in trying to win over college educated women skeptical of his candidacy, and young women voters.
Second, Mr Trump resorted to the demagogues path of hyperbole and insult over and over again, letting repetition substitute for analysis while Ms Clinton made substantive detailed presentations on policy. To wit:
Obamacare = Disaster
Inner Cities = Disaster
NAFTA = Greatest Disaster in American History
Hillary Clinton= She Lies

At times, as when claiming that murder rates rose the fastest in over forty years, his analysis was wildly inaccurate and will not stand up to fact checking
Third, he attacked Barack Obama ("we can't afford four more years of Obama) at a time when he is far more popular in polls than either he or Ms Clinton.
The result: Mr Trump made NO HEADWAY among the following groups of voters he needed to sway to have any chance of winning the election'
College Educated Suburban Women
African American Voters
Latino Voters
Young Voters.
He did assure that all attempts by Republic Leaders to force him to resign were nipped in the bud.
This election is going down to the wire. Hang on to your hats and hide your children
It's going to be a wild ride.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Gail DeBonis Richmond on Donald Trump and His Apologists

You know- I woke up upset about this again.
And the article from the Guardian I posted really summed up why I was so angry about this when I didn't even realize why myself.

It wasn't the words as much as watching what followed his remarks is what upset me. Hearing the vulgar words and the intent but then watching this woman, with no knowledge of  what Trump said, look confused when the men got off the bus. "Give Donald a hug". And you could tell she paused.  She was split second second guessing herself.  The result of  being put in a position of subjugation to male dominance. She was being judged for hugging. Or for not hugging. Being judged for laughing too much or not enough.

That's what clicked for me watching that video. All those years of anger at this kind of  male behavior sort of spilled over for me. So to read ignorant statements from women over the past 2 days has brought out this beast in me.

Hear me. I don't care what Bill Clinton did. He was disgusting, too, but there was no Facebook to vent on.
Hear me. Bill Clinton isn't running for office.

So I thank you, Mark Naison, for writing about your profound discomfort for this kind of behavior. My husband falls in the same category. My father fell in the same category. I have lots of friends who fall in this category. There are great men out there.

Not all men look at women this way (which is wholly different than thinking someone is beautiful).

I'm still very very angry ESPECIALLY at the women excusing his behavior. I deleted about 20 people last night.
Not for their political views. Because I no longer need to be a party to the reason America continues to raise these boys. Why America continues to have a rape and date rape mentality.
Mothers, as much as fathers have a lot to do with it I found out last night.

People putting partisanship over what's right makes me sick.

Women Are Not the Only Ones Offended by Donald Trump's Vulgar Behavior

As some apologists for Donald Trump have suggested, the type of language Mr Trump used in the "Access Hollywood" video just uncovered is hardly unique to him. Unfortunately, they are right about this. Not only did Bill Clinton use it through most of his political life-something I know from first hand testimony as well as rumor-it can be found in locker rooms and work places all over the country wherever men gather without women present, or in such numbers that women are too intimidated to protest. Many men still consider the use of such language a sacred right, which is why some country clubs still ban women from their bars at certain hours of the day.
However, this is something we as a society have been working very hard to overcome as women have moved into positions of influence in our economy and public life. From police stations and fire houses to television stations and the trading floor of investment banks, women have fought a lonely uphill battle to end the normalization of this demeaning intimidating language and the actions that follow it. I have story after story from former students who joined previously all male occupations about the struggle they waged for dignified treatment from men who thought talk about women's private parts or their own sexual exploits was an integral part of the culture of their workplace. The most horrifying stories came in the 70's and 80's and 90's when women first began to break into law enforcement and the financial sector. They have been significantly reduced in the last few years.
So the question I ask is- do we really want to elect a President who is an unapologetic representative of this culture and who has lived it for most of his adult life? I had hoped we were better than that. That we were moving away from the toxic male culture that so many women have had to fight at the workplace,and unfortunately in their personal lives
But this is not only an issue for women, there are men who find it objectionable as well.
I am one of those men. I spent much of my time in the 1970's playing sandlot football and schoolyard basketball in parks and schoolyards and gyms around the city. On some of the teams I played on, sexual banter and comments about women's anatomies were an integral part of the conversation, to the point where it became a form of bonding among men from different racial backgrounds. I still have vivid memories of Sunday morning football games where the main subject of conversation was who people f....d the night before. As someone who was dating and eventually married a feminist, and whose life was enriched by many strong women friends, I found this discourse offensive and deeply troubling. But I wanted so much to be part of this team that I never openly protested. My protest, pathetic as it might seem, was complete silence. I just went out on the field and hit people, devoutly hoping my teammates would JUST SHUT UP.
I am sure there were and still are many men like me who would feel liberated if this kind of talk were no longer welcome where powerful men gather.
I hope they join with me and women across the country in assuring that someone with Mr Trump's values and persona never becomes President.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How Special Ed Teachers Get Marginalized in ICT Classes.

This is my fourth year as a teacher. I have two degrees in education, five teachers licenses, a passion for my content, and I love teenagers. This is my first year teaching under my SPED license and last week when I walked in to target and saw that they were hiring I was really tempted to apply. 

ICT partnerships either work or they don't. It's an arranged marriage of sorts where the administration gets together and decides to pair teachers based on their strengths and weaknesses. This year, in a new school, I was paired with a content teacher to teach a prep class to students who have failed the regents. I've taught this kind of class to students who don't know a word of English, to students way below reading level, and general education students for 3 years. 

And now, at the beginning of my fourth year I am being treated like a secretary or at best an assistant. I get the lesson plans the night before, well after I've gone to sleep, and with little time to differentiate them. During my prep when I'm supposed to write IEPs or meet with parents or differentiate a lesson I'm handed work and asked to go make copies. I was asked by administration why I thought it was necessary to have a desk. You know, a place to store highlighters to show struggling readers how to annotate, or keep things for students with ADHD to fidget with to help concentrate, or a place for a well educated adult to do their paperwork and other administrative tasks...? The common planning time I have with my co teacher is right after lunch and oftentimes they decide to use the periods back to back to go run errands or go out to lunch. Which, I wouldn't have a problem with if I had any idea what I was supposed to do tomorrow. In meetings when I speak I'm asked who is my "lead teacher". As if I have no idea what I'm doing. I tried to fix a mistake in the online grade book and a window popped up saying I needed permission from the lead teacher to make changes. 

During lessons together the lead teacher takes the pen to the smart board around the room with them so I can't even write on the board without permission. When I try to address the class because I've seen the same misunderstanding happen with a few students, they speak over me as if what I am saying is not important. On Fridays I'm handed the entire file from the week and told to go home and grade while the teacher discusses all the fun things they're doing this weekend. Before and after school I clean the classroom because a clean and organized space is important for all students but especially for special education students. The other teacher sits there and won't even help when he's asked. 

I've tried having conversations with the co teacher, the administration, and other teachers I know about how to handle this situation and the general consensus is that this is just how it is. 

I hear target is hiring.