Saturday, May 14, 2011

The disgraceful interrogation of L.A. school librarians

From The Los Angeles Times, Friday, May 13, 2011. See,0,3002882.column
The disgraceful interrogation of L.A. school librarians

If state education cuts are drastic, the librarians' only chance of keeping a paycheck is to prove they're qualified to be switched to classroom teaching. So LAUSD attorneys grill them.
By Hector Tobar

In a basement downtown, the librarians are being interrogated.
On most days, they work in middle schools and high schools operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District, fielding student queries about American history and Greek mythology, and retrieving copies of vampire novels.

But this week, you'll find them in a makeshift LAUSD courtroom set up on the bare concrete floor of a building on East 9th Street. Several sit in plastic chairs, watching from an improvised gallery as their fellow librarians are questioned.

A court reporter takes down testimony. A judge grants or denies objections from attorneys. Armed police officers hover nearby. On the witness stand, one librarian at a time is summoned to explain why she - the vast majority are women - should be allowed to keep her job.

The librarians are guilty of nothing except earning salaries the district feels the need to cut. But as they're cross-examined by determined LAUSD attorneys, they're continually put on the defensive.

"When was the last time you taught a course for which your librarian credential was not required?" an LAUSD attorney asked Laura Graff, the librarian at Sun Valley High School, at a court session on Monday.

"I'm not sure what you're asking," Graff said. "I teach all subjects, all day. In the library."
"Do you take attendance?" t

For LAUSD officials, it's a means to an end: balancing the budget.
Some 85 credentialed teacher-librarians got layoff notices in March. If state education cuts end up being as bad as most think likely, their only chance to keep a paycheck is to prove that they're qualified to be transferred into classroom teaching jobs.

Since all middle and high school librarians are required to have a state teaching credential in addition to a librarian credential, this should be an easy task - except for a school district rule that makes such transfers contingent on having taught students within the last five years.

To get the librarians off the payroll, the district's attorneys need to prove to an administrative law judge that the librarians don't have that recent teaching experience. To try to prove that they do teach, the librarians, in turn, come to their hearings with copies of lesson plans they've prepared and reading groups they've organized.

Sandra Lagasse, for 20 years the librarian at White Middle School in Carson, arrived at the temporary courtroom Wednesday with copies of her lesson plans in Greek word origins and mythology.

On the witness stand, she described tutoring students in geometry and history, including subjects like the Hammurabi Code. Her multi-subject teaching credential was entered into evidence as "Exhibit 515."

Lagasse also described the "Reading Counts" program she runs in the library, in which every student in the school is assessed for reading skills.

"This is not a class, correct?" a school district attorney asked her during cross-examination.
PHOTO SIDEBAR:  Anabella Maldonaldon, 5, perched on the shoulders of her father, George, shouts during a protest in Los Angeles. Anabella's mother, Linda, was laid off from her teaching job at Hazeltine School in March.

Via Truthout: Actually, "the Rich" Don't "Create Jobs," We Do

Saturday 14 May 2011

Actually, "the Rich" Don't "Create Jobs," We Do
Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future: "You hear it again and again, variation after variation on a core message: if you tax rich people it kills jobs. You hear about 'job-killing tax hikes,' or that 'taxing the rich hurts jobs,' 'taxes kill jobs,' 'taxes take money out of the economy,' 'if you tax the rich they won't be able to provide jobs.' ... on and on it goes. So do we really depend on 'the rich' to 'create' jobs? Or do jobs get created when they fill a need?"

Read the Article

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

via facebook:

Via uma aluna do CEAD:

Certo dia, um homem caminhava por uma estrada deserta e começou a sentir fome. Não estava prevenido, pois não sabia que a distância que ia percorrer era longa. Começou a prestar atenção na vegetação ao longo do caminho, na tentativa de encontrar alguma coisa para acalmar o estômago. De repente notou que havia frutos maduros e suculentos em uma árvore. Aproximou-se mas logo desanimou, pois a árvore era muito alta e os frutos inacessíveis. Continuou andando e foi vencido pela fome e o cansaço. Sentou-se na beira do caminho e ficou ali lamentando a sorte. Não demorou muito e ele avistou outro viajante que vinha pelo mesmo caminho. Quando o viajante se aproximou, o homem notou que ele estava comendo os frutos saborosos que não pudera alcançar e lhe perguntou:
- Amigo, belo fruto você encontrou.

- É, respondeu o viajante. Eu o encontrei no caminho, a natureza é pródiga em frutos suculentos.

- Mas você tem a pele machucada, observou o homem.

- Ah, mas isso não é nada! São apenas alguns arranhões que ficaram pelo esforço que fiz ao subir na árvore para colher os frutos.

E o homem, agora com mais fome ainda, ficou sentado resmungando, de estômago vazio, enquanto o outro viajante seguiu em frente. Algumas vezes, fatos como esse também ocorrem conosco. Ficamos sentados lamentando o sofrimento mas não abrimos mão da acomodação para sair em busca da solução. Esquecemos que é preciso fazer esforços, lutar, persistir. É muito comum ouvir pessoas gritando por um "lugar ao sol", mas as que verdadeiramente querem um lugar ao sol, trazem algumas queimaduras, fruto da luta pelo ideal que almejam. Outras, mais acomodadas, dizem que Deus alimenta até mesmo os pássaros. Por que não haveria de providenciar o de que necessitam? Essas estão certas, em parte, pois se é verdade que Deus dá alimento aos pássaros, também é certo que Ele não o joga dentro do ninho. O trabalho de busca pelo alimento é por conta de cada pássaro, e muitas vezes isso não é fácil. Há situações em que eles se arriscam e até saem com alguns arranhões. Por essa razão, lembre-se sempre de que Deus a todos ampara, mas a caminhada, os passos, a busca, é por conta de cada um. Por vezes a escalada é árdua, exaustiva, solitária. Mas é preciso fazer esforços para alcançar o fruto desejado.

Lego-style apartment transforms into infinite spaces

Four from Truthout:

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Robert Reich | The Battle for the Soul of the GOP
Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "The real battle for the soul of the GOP started with Tuesday's speech on Wall Street by Speaker of the House John Boehner. Wall Street and big business fear Tea Partiers won't allow House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling without major spending cuts - and without tax increases on the wealthy. Wall Street and big business know this would be unacceptable to the White House and congressional Democrats."
Read the Article

Koch Brother Buys the Right to Interfere in Faculty Hiring at Florida State University
Kris Hundley, The St. Petersburg Times: "A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university. A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University's economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting 'political economy and free enterprise.'"
Read the Article

Billionaire Investor Found Guilty of Fraud and Conspiracy
Peter Lattman, The New York Times News Service: "Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire investor who once ran one of the world's largest hedge funds, was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy on Wednesday by a federal jury in Manhattan. He is the most prominent figure convicted in the government's crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street. Mr. Rajaratnam, who was convicted on all 14 counts, could face as much as 19 and a half years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, prosecutors said on Wednesday. He will be sentenced on July 29."
Read the Article

The Tenfold Path to Guts, Solidarity and the Defeat of the Corporate Elite
Bruce E. Levine, Truthout: "Many Americans know that the United States is not a democracy but a 'corporatocracy,' in which we are ruled by a partnership of giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite and corporate-collaborator government officials. However, the truth of such tyranny is not enough to set most of us free to take action. Too many of us have become pacified by corporatocracy-created institutions and culture."
Read the Article

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Via JMG: Baja Arizona

NPR reports on the secessionist movement to split Arizona into two states, with the relatively liberal bastion of Tuscon and its surrounding area to become Baja Arizona, the 51st state.
Baja Arizona supporters say there's a serious side to their quest to create a new state. They say Arizona is headed in the wrong direction — cutting education and health care funding and hurting the state's reputation and business climate with laws like SB 1070. And they say Republicans in the Legislature are punishing Pima County for its opposition. The Legislature tried to deny money to Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik because he doesn't support SB 1070. It passed a law trying to change the way Tucson holds city elections, and another bill dictating how the city can bid public works projects. Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh helped pass many of those laws. He says the Legislature is doing what it thinks is right. "We pass laws based upon what we believe the people of Arizona want," he says. Kavanagh says the effort to split the state is just Democratic sour grapes.
Like all secessionist movements, Baja Arizona doesn't have the remotest chance of becoming a reality. But it's interesting to see the good guys behind one of these campaigns. That's a switch.

reposted from Joe

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trip back to SMF - Eddies, Shasta, Springs, Robin and dandelions

Two from Truthout:

Monday 09 May 2011
William Rivers Pitt | Meanwhile, in America ...
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "It was a tremendous week in these United States. A segment of the population reveled in unabashed frenzy over the death of Bin Laden. A segment of the population celebrated in more restrained fashion. A segment of the population called into question the cold-blooded manner of the terrorist mastermind's dispatch, and, of course, a segment of the population simply refused to believe it had happened at all. Through it all, however, was a sense that the terrible drift we have been experiencing as a nation came to a sudden stop. Something had been done, and it felt like we were once again in control of events, instead of events being in control of us. The manner in which we arrived at the moment may have been unworthy, as some have suggested, but the facts of aftermath remain for all to see."
Read the Article

After Bin Laden Hit, US Aides Raise Dubious Hopes for Peace
Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service: "Barack Obama and top administration officials have taken advantage of the killing of Osama bin Laden to establish a new narrative suggesting the event will pave the way for negotiations with the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan. That good news message, reported by Washington Post senior editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran Tuesday, suggested that the administration would now be able to negotiate a deal that would make it possible for the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan."
Read the Article
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