Saturday, December 15, 2007

President David Sanchez and Dean Vogel are trying to hide the truth about CTA and our failing schools

The California Teachers Association is hurting our students, teachers and schools. Its failed one-size-fits-all approach to education ignores the huge differences between teachers. Parents and teachers know all teachers do not learn in the same way or at the same pace. Some of them are far, far behind in intelligence, education, and understanding of how kids learn. They should not have full responsibility for any classroom. Pay the good teachers double or triple what they're getting now, and put them in charge of several classrooms. Each master teacher should be deeply involved in several classrooms, guiding several beginning or slow-to-learn teachers.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz representing MiraCosta; Randall Winet representing Victoria Richart

See recent updates.

It's all one big happy family of lawyers in the lawsuit against Victoria Richart regarding the way in which her $1.6 million settlement with MiraCosta College was reached.

San Diego County Offic of Education-Joint Powers Authority lawyers are coming out the woodwork. They're everywhere.

How exactly does SDCOE choose its lawyers? Does Diane Crosier simply tell school districts that they can choose any lawyer they want, as long as they are friends of the SDCOE-JPA director and Keenan and Associates insurance brokers?

After reading headlines, Pamela Smith, Bertha Lopez and Cheryl Cox to fight gender discrimination?

What do Chula Vista Elementary School District board members have in common with a religious Canadian man who demanded modesty from his daughter?

Gender discrimination.

Both stories were in the news today. The odd thing here is that the abuse in Canada was committed by a man and his son who are now charged with crimes, while the wrongdoing in California was ordered by a group that consisted mostly of women.

The school board members who voted to discriminate against Danielle Coziahr were three women and two men. Last Friday, a San Diego jury ordered the school district to pay Coziahr $1 million. But the perpetrators will not be charged with wrongdoing. They are above the law.

Here's what I'm guessing:

Pamela Smith, Bertha Lopez and Cheryl Cox aren't completely corrupted by their positions, and have actually had a change of heart regarding their firing of Danielle Cozaihr for having a young child while working at a school where probationary teachers were not allowed to have young children. The principal, Alex Cortes, had been picked by administrators Tom Cruz and Lowell Billings to put an end to the collegial spirit at Silverwing Elementary School. During the trial, the superintendent testified that the first-year principal had his "marching orders."

Here is the Reuters report about the Canadian tragedy:

Dad Allegedly Kills Girl Over Head Scarf
By Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO - A Canadian teenager who was said to have clashed with her father about whether she should wear a traditional Muslim head scarf died of injuries late on Monday, and her father told police he had killed her.

A memorial for Aqsa Parvez is set up at her high school near Toronto. Some of her classmates were quoted as saying she wore traditional Muslim dress when leaving her house in the morning, but would change into other clothes in school washrooms.

Aqsa Parvez, 16, was found without a pulse in her home in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga earlier on Monday. She was resuscitated by paramedics, treated at two hospitals, and later succumbed to her injuries, police said on Tuesday.

Her father, 57-year-old Muhammad Parvez, has been charged with murder and was remanded back into custody after his first court appearance early on Tuesday.

"There was a 911 call placed by a man who indicated that he had just killed his daughter," Jodi Dawson, a constable with Peel Regional Police, told Reuters. "Everything else is evidentiary in nature and the investigation is in its preliminary stages at this point."

The victim's brother, Waqas Parvez, 26, was arrested and charged with obstructing police.

The story was on the front pages of Canadian newspapers on Tuesday. The newspapers quoted friends and schoolmates of the victim as saying she argued with her father over wearing a hijab, the traditional head scarf worn by Muslim females.

Photos of the teen retrieved from a social networking Web site show her in Western dress with her long dark hair loose.

"She was always scared of her dad, she was always scared of her brother," the Toronto Star quoted a classmate as saying.

Others were quoted as saying the girl wore traditional Muslim dress when leaving the house in the morning, but would change into other clothes in school washrooms.

Dawson said investigators will likely speak to the victim's schoolmates. The father will return for a bail hearing on Wednesday.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The whole point of the big payoff was to keep Victoria Richart mum, right?

Decision delayed on questioning of Richart

December 7, 2007
A judge delayed until Jan. 21 a decision on whether former MiraCosta College President Victoria Muñoz Richart must submit to questioning in a lawsuit over the $1.6 million settlement she received to leave the Oceanside community college campus.
Vista Superior Court Judge Thomas Nugent set the new date yesterday.
Carlsbad attorney Leon James Page has sued the college board of trustees and Richart, contending the settlement was an improper gift of public funds. Richart stepped down June 30.
Page's lawyer, Ron Cozad, is asking to question Richart under oath with a court reporter recording the proceedings. Richart's lawyer, Randy Winet, has objected.
Nugent also delayed until next week a hearing on a second issue in the case. Page contends the trustees acted illegally in holding an all-night closed session before announcing a unanimous vote in favor of the settlement.
Attorneys for the college have asked that the case be dismissed.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

How much have taxpayers paid so far for the Richart/Shinoff palm tree investigation?

Updates may be found HERE.

One of the big ironies of the MiraCosta palm tree scandal in Oceanside, California is that the palm trees were a gift to the college. Still, the college managed to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to investigate the theft of $305 during the sale of some of the palm trees.

This investigation was reprehensible. It was not intended to help the public in any way, only to benefit individuals and their lawyers in their battles for personal power and their quest for financial gain at the expense of taxpayers.

Here are the public expense estimates in chronological order:

May 2007

Victoria Munoz Richart
Former president of MiraCosta College
May 2007--Between $120,000 and $1 million

May 16, 2007
San Diego Union Tribune
by Lola Sherman

"MiraCosta College has been charged almost $200,000 by the investigator hired to probe the campus palm-tree scandal that began in February 2006...Last week, the former head of the Horticulture Department, Allene Texeira, pleaded guilty to a single grand-theft count.She admitted paying a former boyfriend, Jack Wackerman, $305 more than the college received in the sale of 30 to 40 palm trees. She paid back the money, plus a $2,500 fine, according to Richart's report...But trustee Gloria Carranza said the accounting presented by Richart doesn't answer her questions. Carranza said she wants to know all of the legal costs, which she previously had estimated at close to $1 million, including staff time and resources. Richart told Carranza yesterday that she will get those figures. But she said invoices from the college's lawyers include legal matters that have nothing to do with the Horticulture Department. The college has paid ESI $119,080 thus far, according to the company. And it notes that as much as $110,000 could be reimbursed by the college's insurance carriers. Jonathan Cole, president of the Academic Senate, told trustees that by his accounting, the college has spent $322,000 in total legal expenditures in the current fiscal year, five times the amount spent in 2003-04 before the palms investigation..."

June 2007

I found the following report dated June 2007 on the website of Bob Dutton, California State Senator:

"I have to tell you when it comes to law and order issues I am a strong believer it’s important to punish criminals for the crimes they commit.

"But sometimes even I believe agencies can get outrageous in their investigation of a crime, especially when it costs $200,000 to find out who stole a $300 tree. This, in my opinion is yet another example of wasteful spending and why I will never raise taxes.

"Recently MiraCosta College started a palm tree “probe”, which has cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’m convinced the money spent on this debacle could have been better used to provide more students a college education.

"According to the North County Times, “ MiraCosta College has spent nearly $200,000 investigating an on-campus palm tree growing operation during the last 15 months. That amount does not include a sharp increase in legal fees paid by the college during the investigation, and it excludes money the college might have to pay several employees allegedly involved in the scheme who have filed law suits against MiraCosta.”

This incident occurred after “ a private investigator was hired in by the college and its law firm… to investigate allegations by a whistleblower that employees had been growing and selling palm trees on campus for personal profit over an eight-year period.”

“Since then , [the investigator] has spent 1 ,289 hours interviewing witnesses , reviewing employee e-mails and other documents and briefing county prosecutors about his findings. [The investigator] was paid $151 per hour.”

“Despite [the investigator’s] apparently thorough investigation , county prosecutors announced last week that there was only enough evidence to charge one employee , and that she would only be charged with stealing $305.”

“The president’s decision to treat this affair as a significant criminal operation , and the board’s concurrence with that decision , has turned what was merely a problem into a full-blown crisis….It has resulted in multiple lawsuits against the college , hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses and total expense that may exceed $1 million.”

"It is mind boggling to think that MiraCosta College would spend $151 an hour and waste more than 1 ,000 hours to uncover a $305 theft (not to mention the lawyers’ fees and settlements with employees that are yet to come). It must be nice to have access to limitless resources with no accountability for how those resources are used. If private businesses behaved in this manner , they would go bankrupt in short order. There is no excuse for this reckless spending of precious taxpayer resources."

June 20, 2007
MiraCosta trustees agree to part ways with president
By: North County Times

OCEANSIDE ---- The seven-member MiraCosta College board of directors agreed early Wednesday morning after an all-night closed meeting to end the employment of embattled Mira Costa College President Victoria Munoz Richart effective June 30.

July 2007

Gloria Carranza,
MiraCosta College Trustee

Gloria was right!
July 23, 2007 Over $1.2 million

North County Times
July 23, 2007 11:56 PM PDT

"OCEANSIDE -- A few months ago, when MiraCosta College Trustee Gloria Carranza predicted that the palm tree imbroglio could cost $1 million or more, the four-member majority scoffed at the figure and berated her for speculating.

Now, with the release in the last two weeks of a pair of documents that put the personnel, investigative and legal costs at more than $1.2 million as of May 30, Carranza's claim has been vindicated.

July 31, 2007 Over $1.2 million plus $1.5 million = Over $2.7 million

July 31, 2007
North County Times
MiraCosta adjusts estimate of Richart buyout to $1.5 million

OCEANSIDE -- Former MiraCosta College President Victoria Munoz Richart will get roughly $1.5 million in salary, benefits and unspecified damages under a controversial buyout reached with trustees last month, according to updated numbers released by the college Tuesday...The deal with Richart has been challenged by Oceanside resident and attorney Leon Page, who says it must be set aside because, he alleges, the closed session violated the Ralph M. Brown Act -- legislation that defines how public agencies must conduct public business.

Page alleges that the college erred in announcing the closed session meeting and that the participation of a retired judge as mediator was improper.

In rejecting Page's claim, college attorney Jack Sleeth said the meeting did not violate the Brown Act.

Sleeth said retired Superior Court Judge David Moon was not in the closed session, but instead waited outside so that lawyers and trustees could shuttle in and out to him "to discuss the claims, demands and negotiations."

Because Moon was not physically in the room, no violation occurred, Sleeth said. However, he added, no legal opinion exists regarding the presence of a mediator in a closed session.

Sleeth said mediators must be a part of closed board meetings to help minimize chances of the issue going to court, which would escalate the cost to the taxpayer.

Page brushed aside the argument that Moon was outside the meeting, saying his location was irrelevant.

"The notion that Moon was not in the room -- I'm not sure that matters," Page said. "The fundamental problem is that at that moment in time, Judge Moon was speaking to board members and enjoying the opportunity to speak when no other member of the public was (allowed the same opportunity)."

If Moon was considered "a member of the public" -- and Page said he believes a judge would agree -- then at the moment he spoke with board members, the meeting should have become a public forum open to all.

If the closed meeting continued -- as it did on June 19 -- any decision made after that moment was illegal and must be set aside, Page said.

Diane Crosier, former associate of Daniel Shinoff and current director of SDCOE-JPA

North County Times
November 1, 2007
by Philip K. Ireland

"The visiting team from the regional Accreditation Commission called upon the parties at issue at MiraCosta College to cooperate mutually, for the good of the college, in finding a resolution to the rift opened by the precipitous and unwise actions of the Board Majority," the news release states..."




November 20, 2007
MCC paid $46K to provide documents in county probe

By: PHILIP K. IRELAND - Staff Writer
DA's office investigating buyout deal with former president
OCEANSIDE -- MiraCosta College has paid about $46,000 so far to a law firm with expertise in defending companies against allegations of white-collar crime.

The firm, McKenna, Long & Aldridge, was hired in August to review and select documents requested by San Diego District Attorney's office, said Jim Austin, the college's assistant superintendent of business services.
County investigators are probing the circumstances surrounding former President Victoria Munoz Richart's $1.5 million buyout deal with trustees, inked in a controversial all-night board meeting on June 20.

In July, trustees refused a request by deputy district attorney Mike Still to provide closed session details and documents about the Richart settlement. However, the board instructed college administrators to cooperate with investigation. The decision was made in closed session.

"We feel strongly that our board has done nothing wrong," Austin said.

[Blogger's note: Well, then, why didn't you just turn over documents, instead of keeping them secret, and paying a lawyer to look for reasons not to turn them over?]

In discussions among trustees Tuesday regarding the McKenna contract, trustee Simon said she wanted to know why the board had not been notified sooner about the contract and the spending.

Carranza questioned why the college should pay attorneys $380 an hour to $500 per hour to review documents. She also wanted assurances that the contract would be available to the public.

Austin said all contracts are public documents.

In the end, all but one trustee voted to ratify the contract, with Strattan opposed, saying the fees were exorbitant. The college has already spent more than half of the allotted $75,000, she noted, adding that had the board agreed to give county investigators the documents in July, the college would not have incurred the costs in the first place.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stuntz, Alterano, Schadenfreude & Hoax, APC

Mobilehoma School District has hired the law firm of Stuntz, Alterano, Schadenfreude & Hoax, APC to help get rid of troublemaker teachers. The district has had problems with teachers demanding that government funds be spent for the purposes intended. Even worse, some teachers have allowed parents to meet in their classrooms to discuss their children's education. In addition, some teachers have caused disturbances by reporting bullying by other teachers. One teacher caused turmoil by reporting to administrators that another teacher had caused a student to take a substance that caused kidney failure. All the teachers guilty of these actions have been placed on leave while the law firm prepares charges against the teachers.

The union representing some of the teachers in the district (and collecting money from all the teachers in the district) has stepped forward to support the efforts of the school district. Union leaders are demanding that teachers be allowed to bully students and other teachers and even administrators when necessary to maintain their authority.

"It's the only way to teach respect," said teacher leaders Terry Myers and Jim O'Neill.

School board members Alex "Ted" Carberry, Bertha Smith, Diane James and Pamela Carter agreed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Equal amounts for teacher pay in all schools

Clarity Freedman of Mil Calaveras School District last night made an impassioned plea for reform, asking the board to spend an equal amount of money for classroom teacher salaries for all schools in the district.

Currently, she claimed, the "easy" schools in the rolling hills on the edge of town have a majority of senior teachers collecting large salaries, while the city center schools have newly-credentialed or uncredentialed teachers. "The senior teachers should be working at the more challenging schools. The new teachers need some experience before they're ready to handle the problems of inner-city kids."

The two moderates on the board immediately agreed with Ms. Freedman, and motioned that a change in policy be prepared for the next board meeting. Angus Rimrod and Pamela Rector voted against considering any change in any policy. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Mr. Rimrod. Ms. Rector smiled sweetly, tilting her blond head fetchingly.

"It is broke," said Mr. Jonathan Kozol during public comments. "That's why you send your kids to a private religious school, the same one attended by the kids of the school's lawyer."

The school's lawyer said he would prepare a legal opinion stating that any change opposed by Mr. Rimrod and Ms. Rector would probably be illegal, since he runs a conservative law firm, and the Joint Powers Authority insurance broker doesn't want him to do anything that would reduce school problems, and thus the need for legal liability insurance.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Those pesky school districts! Once again they are trying to get child molesters out of the classroom.

But California Teachers Association, true to form, has stepped in to protect overly-friendly teachers. In the Albert G. Truitt, Jr. case, the California Teachers Association proved once again that its executive director Carolyn Doggett, its chief counsel Beverly Tucker, and their stable of lawyers have deep-seated feelings of outrage for any violation of human rights--other than children's rights, that is.

Usually, teachers cannot be dismissed or have their credentials taken away for any act occurring more than 4 years before charges are brought against them. But for CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, exceptions have been made to this 4-year statute of limitations in every venue in California EXCEPT WHEN A DISTRICT TRIES TO DISMISS A TEACHER.

Atwater School District wanted to dismiss Mr. Truitt in 2002 for molestations that occurred from 1992 to 1998.

CTA said no way!


Why do Beverly Tucker and Carolyn Doggett want to keep the following anomaly in California law?

"A teacher could be prosecuted criminally, the CTC could institute credential revocation proceedings, and a school district could be sued for negligent hiring, retention, and supervision all based on the same set of facts that exist here. Yet, the Court of Appeal’s literal interpretation of section 44944(a) would deprive a school district of the ability to dismiss an employee on the same set of facts."


Beverly Tucker and Carolyn Doggett care about political power and loyalty to friends who commit crimes more than they care about the abuse of children.

Sadly, our friends at CTA lost the Albert Truitt case. In June 2007, the California Supreme Court ruled that equity requires that school districts get the same extension on the statute of limitations that the Teacher Credentialling Commission gets.

CTA must have thought it had a good chance to win, since in 1993 it apparently was able to kill a California bill that would have specifically extended the child sexual abuse statute of limitations for school districts. Can you believe that legislators would fail to vote for a bill that would get child molesters out of classrooms? This goes to show the enormous power that CTA has in California. No Democrat can get elected without CTA's support. CTA holds the purse strings to a huge amount of campaign funds, and every local affiliate in California is rigidly controlled by Beverly Tucker and Carolyn Doggett.

Isn't it sad to see Beverly Tucker and her pal Michael Hersh lose a case? Let's hope they don't get depressed. They would be so much more successful if they didn't defend criminals. I for one am crossing my fingers and hoping that in the next case they fight, Bev and Mike won't be using teacher union dues to protect criminals. Maybe they got over confident when they got my case thrown out of court. They succeeded in protecting union leaders who had started with
misdemeanors,but went on to commit felonies to cover up their misdemeanors.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Today's corruption quiz

"His apparent lack of guilt about his actions speaks, I think, to his extraordinary capacity for self-delusion."

Who is being discussed in the above statement?
(Statement was made by SETH HETTENA, July 16, 2007 in Voice of San Diego)

A. Donald Rumsfeld
B. Richard Cheney
C. Randall Cunningham
D. George Bush
E. Jim Groth

Answer: Hettena wrote a book about Randy "Duke" Cunningham, but he wanted readers to understand how the Cunningham case was a result of politics today, where defense contractors and others can buy access to, and a large amount of control over, those who make decisions about America's defense capabilities and way of life. How did these "deciders" gain power? By constantly repeating a set of messages about "values" and "terror," without ever bothering to pay attention to more immediate dangers to our country.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why do the brawny bullly the brainy?

"As long as there have been smart people, there have been bullies who prey on them," reports a schoolgirl on the TV cartoon show "The Simpsons."

"Is it jealousy?" she asks. "No! It's airborne pheromones!"

According to the cartoon, smart people produce a chemical that drives bullies wild.

Maybe we could test the skin of students, teachers and administrators, and give the smart ones an antidote for their pheromones, and thus put an end to bullying by adults and kids in our schools!

Or maybe the situation is more complicated than "The Simpsons" makes it out to be. Oh, well. It was a nice thought.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Was Lowell Billings Quoted Correctly?

Superintendent Lowell Billings of Chula Vista Elementary School District in San Diego County seems to think that there is a basic conflict between being a union leader and raising the bar of teaching performance.

It is true, of course, that unions work to protect incompetent teachers.

But so do administrators.

I'm afraid that MOST of the adults in schools care more about how they are perceived than how they actually perform.

But that's true in most professions, isn't it? Isn't it also true in most professions that currying favor with the powerful will get you farther than striving for excellence? Look who we have for president of our country. This is not a man who strives. He's not really concerned about learning as much as he can, or asking how he could do better. And his recent pardon of Scooter Libby proves beyond a doubt that loyalty matters more to him than honesty and obedience to the law. Yet he has risen as high as a human being can rise.

Can we expect more from our teachers than we expect from our president?

Here's the quote from the recent CVESD board meeting minutes:
Dr. Billings bid farewell to outgoing CVE Vice President Robyn Higginson. He mentioned that she is a formidable advocate for all teachers and strong union leader, yet someone who raised the bar with our articulation/collaboration curriculum and instruction.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Judge says it's okay for students to wear Tigger socks

Teachers at Napa Valley's Redwood Middle School will have to get a life now. They can no longer suspend students for wearing Winnie the Pooh-themed socks to school, according to a ruling on July 2, 2007 by Judge Raymond Guadagni of Napa County Superior Court.

When Tigger socks are outlawed, only outlaws will wear cheerful Disney branded cloth on their feet

Last year Toni Kay Scott, a student at Napa Valley’s Redwood Middle School, was sent to an in-school suspension program (with the wonderfully Orwellian-name of Students With Attitude Problems). Her crime? Violating a dress code by wearing socks with Tigger on them, along with a denim skirt and a brown shirt with a pink border.

Said code requires clothes with solid colors in blue, white, green, yellow, khaki, gray, brown and black. Permitted fabrics are cotton twill, corduroy and chino, but not denim.

The post above appeared March 21st, 2007 on

Monday, June 18, 2007

Patrick Judd gets it right

Pat Judd, superintendent of Mountain Empire School District, has made it clear that hazing of students will not be tolerated. On October 30, 2006, twenty freshman football players were led into a locker room, and had their heads dunked into a toilet while it was flushing.

Eight perpetrators were suspended for three days, and placed on social probation for 30 days. This cost the school some athletic trophies and concession income from football games.

Judd was right. Schools do NOT have to win trophies, but they DO have to teach respect for other human beings. And they DO have to keep students safe.

So why does Judd cover up hazing of teachers by teachers? This type of abuse does tremendous harm to the education system. Abusive teachers rule the roost, and excellent teachers are forced out of schools. Kids see it, and learn from it. Judd was a leader in the cover-up of Castle Park Elementary School criminal hazing in 2001. He used hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to hire lawyers to cover up wrongdoing.

What's the difference between the two cases? Judd couldn't cover up the toilet dunking. He thought he could cover up the teacher hazing.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I am so embarrassed on behalf of the ACLU; They elected Beverly Tucker, CTA Head Counsel, to their board

I figured that California Teachers Association and its head counsel Beverly Tucker were just a run-of-the-mill union and run-of-the-mill lawyer: dishonest and abusive to members for two simple reasons: (1) it was in their personal interest; and (2) they knew they could get away with it.

Today I noticed something interesting on the Internet. Beverly Tucker was chosen multiple times to sit on the Board of Directors of the Northern California ACLU.

After some digging, I found that this is the same Beverly Tucker who refused to defend a teacher who was dismissed for filing grievances and a lawsuit!

I am in shock. Was it all an act, Beverly, pretending to be interested in constitutional rights? Was the ACLU a stepping stone for you? Was it all a publicity stunt for CTA?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

“Castle Park Five” teacher Robin Donlan needs our help again!

The following appeared today on the "CVESD Report" Blog:

Robin Donlan has needed our help many times before:

1. Chula Vista Educators President Gina Boyd was a true friend to Robin Donlan, committing perjury and destroying documents to cover up misdemeanors Donlan committed in 2000 and 2001. Current CVE President Jim Groth helped out with a terrific grievance hoax.

2. Yet again, Gina and Jim proved to be reliable in 2004 when Chula Vista Elementary School District Superintendent Lowell Billings tried to return Castle Park Elementary to normal functioning after the crime wave initiated by Robin. Gina and Jim got the transfer ruled illegal! What a way to help children!

3. Now Robin needs help with a little securities fraud. It seems her husband transferred 700,000 shares of fraudulent stock options to her. Then Robin and Vence Donlan bought the stock and resold it at $7.7 million profit. She’s being investigated by the FBI, SEC, IRS and the Department of Justice. Who will pay Robin’s attorney bills now that her assets are frozen?

4. Cheryl Cox, Pamela Smith, Patrick Judd, Bertha Lopez and Larry Cunningham spent several $100,000’s of the public’s money to defend Robin Donlan regarding crimes she committed at CVESD. They are our best hope to save Robin from the claws of justice once again.

5. Also, we hope that Chula Vista Educators will step into the lurch as they have so often before. Monica Sorenson, Joyce Abrams and all the rest of the board of directors have always gone along with instructions from CTA attorney Michael Hersh—and they keep quiet about it, too. There shouldn’t be any problem at all!

6. The Castle Park Family is planning a big rally to raise money for Robin. We hope Bob Filner and Jill Galvez will be there, just like they were for Robin’s 2004 rally.

7. I’m sure former Castle Park PTA presidents Felicia Starr and Kim Simmons won’t miss it. They have nothing to fear now that Bonnie Dumanis has declined to press charges regarding the 2004-2005 embezzlement of $20,000 from the PTA.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Irony is not dead!

Someone named Connie M. Meskimen wrote the following letter to the Arkansas Gazette:

Monday April 16, 2007

You may have noticed that March of this year was particularly hot. As a matter of fact, I understand that it was the hottest March since the beginning of the last century. All of the trees were fully leafed out and legions of bugs and snakes were crawling around during a time in Arkansas when, on a normal year, we might see a snowflake or two.

This should come as no surprise to any reasonable person. As you know, Daylight Saving Time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate. Or did they?

Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat. Perhaps next time there should be serious studies performed before Congress passes laws with such far-reaching effects.

Connie M. Meskimen
Hot Springs

Some people think Meskimen is a comic genius, others think Meskimen is a right-wing dullard.

When I looked closely at Meskimen's writing style, I decided that this writer was too good to have intended the letter to be taken seriously. The letter seems to me to be a very clever joke.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CTA loses a favorite son on the Mountain Empire School Board

It's a sad thing when teachers go to the polls and elect one of their own as a school board member, but the parents of the district just won't have it. The CTA local in Mountain Empire School District east of San Diego is mourning the loss of its favorite son, Fred Kamper. He has resigned from the school board because he didn't want to face parents angered by several incidents of inappropriate behavior by Kamper with female students.

CTA can't understand why these parents take things like this so seriously. Neither can Patrick Judd, the superintendent who authorized tax money to be paid to defend Fred Kamper in a lawsuit regarding child-abuse allegations. After all, what's a little child abuse in the grand scheme of school politics? When the accused is a popular teachers union president, you can't really expect the teachers union to turn against one of its own, can you? Let's try to focus on what's important in education.

Lawyer Daniel Shinoff, who represented Fred Kamper and Patrick Judd in the recent lawsuit, would be a lot poorer if he weren't paid public money to attack child abuse victims. Don't worry, Dan. Your client might not get to serve on the school board, but there will be plenty of abused children for you to demean in the future. What was that you said about the special education student who was sexually assaulted in Sweetwater School District? That she wanted it? Nice work, Mr. Shinoff. Thanks, Superintendent Randy Ward of San Diego County Office of Education JPA (SDCOE-JPA) for maintaining your secret "gentlemen's agreement" with Mr. Shinoff to represent local school districts in lawsuits.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bruce Harter and Richard Werlin part ways

We are sad to report that Bruce Harter and Richard Werlin have parted. Richard Werlin was supposed to silence teachers, not get them national attention. When he had second-grade teacher Jenny Mo arrested, he brought unwanted attention to the very issue he was supposed to cover up: bullying by kids in WCCCUSD. He also brought attention to bullying by adults--himself in particular.

California Teachers Association is in mourning. Richard Werlin got along well with United Teachers of Richmond president Gail Mendes, just as he got along well with former CVE president Gina Boyd. (He was happy to abuse the teachers they wanted him to abuse.) We can't help noticing that Gail Mendes looks like she was separated at birth from Chula Vista Educators former president Gina Boyd. They could be twins. Perhaps Werlin has a thing for slim, short-haired blondes? More likely, he has a gift for cultivating union presidents.

Perhaps CTA could give Werlin a job, since he seems to be having employment problems.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Will Stealth Candidate Destroy California Teachers Association?

The duties of the top officers of California Teachers Association are basically ceremonial, like those of the Queen of England, except that CTA officers attend carefully-scripted educational meetings instead of carefully-scripted hospital openings. Until now, CTA presidents have been chosen for their ability to follow orders and stick to the script.

But that may change.

There is a new stealth candidate for CTA secretary-treasurer. If she wins this position, our candidate will, according to CTA custom, rise automatically to vice-president in four years, and then to president four years after that. (The thinking seems to be that eight years is needed to learn the script and prove loyalty to Carolyn Doggett and Beverly Tucker.)

I can't tell who the stealth candidate is, or her rise to power would be immediately ended by Caro and Bev. She is planning to follow the script until she becomes president, then strike out on her own. Will this be a good thing for education in California? Not immediately, because this woman's goal is to destroy CTA from within, like George W. Bush's appointees to heath and welfare commissions. There will be a period of disruption in which teachers may start to think for themselves, and break out of their current cliques in order to focus on students. But in the end, human nature will prevail, and teachers will settle back into a new power structure. The truth is, humans don't like too much freedom, because it gives them too much responsibility. They have no one to think for them, no one to hide their mistakes from the press and from law enforcement. It's a scary world when a teacher has no one but her students to focus on.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Bruce Harter and Richard Werlin find a happy home

After traveling back and forth across the country, from Florida to Texas and back to Florida again, from southern California to Seattle, Richard Werlin survived lawsuits, employment interviews, and rejections, to finally discover a resting place. His journey was harsh, because nobody seemed to like him, no matter how many wonderful things he wrote on his resume.

But Werlin's journey had at last come to an end, it seemed. The good people of Richmond, California took him into their hearts, and put him in charge of West Contra Costa County School District's human resources department.

Werlin has found people he can work with in the police department of his new home. Our schools are safe again for people who want to get rid of their fellow employees. But Werlin is not getting the public recognition he deserves.

After struggling for so long with the Downer 10, teachers at Downer school who wrote a letter demanding professionalism, WCCCUSD has finally found a teacher it can handle. She is 57-year-old teacher Jennie Mo, who was taken into custody at her elementary school when police stormed the school during library time. She was handcuffed in front of her second-graders and jailed on 18 felony counts of holding second-graders hostage. It seems that at 10:00 a.m., the police would arrest any student who skipped Ms. Mo's class, but at 11:00 a.m., the situation turned around completely, when Mo was placed on administrative leave for demanding that something be done about school bullies. She was told to go home, and she didn't.

The school claims that there is no problem with bullies. Parents think otherwise. And parents now think that not only children, but at least one teacher is being bullied.

How much is the bail for a woman who never hurt anybody, or wanted to? $900,000!

Way to go, Harter! The ACLU thought they weren't going to get to see you anymore, but this just might bring about a happy reunion. When do bible classes start in Richmond?

Nice work, Werlin. The folks in Chula Vista Elementary School District (San Diego County) knew you could do it.

By the way, Rick, don't let people like Gayle McLaughlin bother you and Mark Miller. What do they know? Always talking about transparency, honesty, legality. Secrecy has always been your strong suit, hasn't it? The no-paper-trail, intimidate-and-deceive policy has worked well in the past, and earned you the loyal support of California Teacher Association's Pixie Hayward-Schnickele and Barbara Kerr. When you've got these players on your side, why worry about students and parents?

Our dear Pixie behaves reprehensibly, but we still love her

I can't argue with Susan Ohanian regarding Richmond Schools: "Of course the behavior of the school personnel is reprehensible.

"But the union's refusal to respond to the attack on teacher professionalism is also reprehensible.

"When teachers are punished for standing up for pedagogy, their punishment should not be treated as a technicality. Teachers who remain silent in the face of pedagogical assault lose their professionalism."

But that doesn't mean I'll betray my old friend, Pixie Hayward-Schnickele. All I've got to say, Pixie, is that you may be reprehensible and unprofessional, but what do they expect you to do? Turn against your old friend Richard Werlin, the new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources? Perish the thought. You two go way back. You authorized payment of CTA teacher dues to CTA lawyers to help Werlin get away with crimes against teachers, and and obstruction of justice!

And don't worry. I'll bet your hanging your fellow teachers out to dry at West Contra Costa County School District won't keep you from rising in CTA! I agree with California Teachers Association--I can't stand those loudmouth teachers who try to change things. The status quo in education is good enough for Pixie, so it's good enough for me. What's wrong with being a coward and a kiss-up? Don't rock the boat. Go, Pixie! No, that doesn't make sense. Stay behind, Pixie! No, that doesn't sound good, either. Oh, you know what I mean. Hooray, status quo!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pixie v. Arnold

CTA Director Pixie Hayward-Schickele once said, "When I became a teacher, I didn't realize I would have a big target on me, but that's how I feel now with this governor..." *

For some years now, we have noticed that bull's eyes have been turning up of the backs of teachers across the country. It turns out that the practice began long before Arnold began attacking teacher unions.

In fact, after interviewing some teachers with the bull's eyes pinned to their backs, we discovered that Pixie herself had attached several of the distinctive yellow targets to several teachers.

"That was different," Pixie explains. "Those were teachers who had gone off-message. Sometimes good teachers get in the way of CTA, and we must protect the group. The many are more important than the few. If you don't believe me, just ask Beverly Tucker and Carolyn Doggett."

This is the Pixie we love. Don't ever talk like a victim again, Pixie! Arnold is a fly-by-night politicitian. Ignore him. CTA kicks butt all over California. CTA rules! Own it!

* Reported by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, by Lindsey Gill, November 3, 2005