Today is Saturday, June 26, 2010 and Day 1 P.F. (Post Fremont to be politically correct, but the PF can stand for something else—heh). It’s taken me a while to get to this. Yesterday, I think we all had enough to do, and today I feel like I’m recovering from an emotional hangover. I had people hug me that rarely spoke with me. Someone called me Chuck and I cannot ever recall them doing so before. The compassion I’ve seen pouring out on Facebook for each other tugged at heartstrings and yet made me swell with pride. We are the Mont.
I was trying to put an analogy up there against what I was seeing and feeling. Predictably, it would be something like “Star Trek: Deep Space 9” or “Babylon 5,” but this afternoon, the series finale of “M*A*S*H” showed up in my head: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.” The cease-fire has been announced July 27, 1953, the camp is in tatters, and everyone is trying to get out as quickly as they can. They didn’t want to leave each other, but their other lives were calling to them.
That was how I felt, loading the coffee-maker, then the laptop, watching the cleaning crew come in as the rooms were being purged of our taint. Some wanted to fire their parting shots, I’m sure. I watched Mr. Hernandez do so, told that teachers were making this “too political” because I didn’t reapply, that reapplication was “just a piece of paper,” then watched him dress down a colleague who is remaining, dress her down in front of me while I waited for him to sign something. To be told a number of times that I’d be trusted to teach his kids was not something that was going to bring me back. I told him that, after all that happened in the past six months, I would think I had not given the impression I was returning. That last-minute denigration of teachers and saying that at the end of the day, he leaves the problems here and goes home doesn’t do it for me. Most of us did not work 7:35-3:04. Most of us took the problems of this place home. That’s the difference between them and us. To quote Captain Mal from “Firefly,” “It ain’t a hand of cards. It’s called a life. I’ve got a better life than you.” (Blame my friend Kim Heinrichs for reminding me, in a way, that I hadn’t used quotes from “Firefly” yet).
I didn’t even have to hear the comments that Mr. Balderas made to know they were true. Based on what I’d seen come out of him for the past six months, including calling D7 or Beaudry whenever tagging occurred which mentioned Superintendent Cortines’ name, why should anyone expect anything different? What was the use of calling people from downtown to come watch someone clean the sidewalks? Were they there to hold someone’s hand? Why not just clean and move on? It is what we are expected to do—or were. To see Mr. Spielberg just sitting in his office, since was not allowed to handle the return of keys, as was his normal duty, was another sad scene. The New Fremont, it appears, will not be built on trust or faith or compassion.
It was a bug-out yesterday (Boy howdy, “M*A*S*H” has suddenly been on my mind a lot). The parking lot emptied a little more each time the gate was left open.
Some left their rooms in shambles. Some cleaned their rooms, wanting them to be spotless. Some left messages for the new occupants, messages in bottles, after a fashion (that was a piratical reference for Beth, Jackie, Sara, Samantha, Jennifer, brought to you by the Letter R). I actually cleaned out everything, cleared the boards, and left my quotes for last week, quotes about freedom, the government and some other bits of wisdom I’d gleaned along the way, including the Zen maxim, “Empty your cup,” and my traditional farewell at the end of each track, but which has more poignancy now: “No matter where you go, there you are.”
Yesterday the L.A. Times ran an article with the following title: “Villaraigosa backs charter school bids, rips Cortines.”
Mayor Villaraigosa has chosen his ground in the struggle to reform our schools. Siding publicly with local charter schools, he has become critical of Superintendent Ramon Cortines, his one-time ally. Gathering such groups around him as ICEF Public Schools, and offshoots of Green Dot Public Schools, which he feels did not get a fair shake during the bidding in February, which received only four of the schools.
But another round begins. A deadline looms and bidding will begin to take over nine new schools and eight low-performing ones. The mayor is unhappy with teacher groups, which were awarded some of the schools in February. Now comes the mud-slinging (more like chimpanzees flinging… something else). There’s plenty of bile to be flung at Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who has been accused of dismissing suggestions and having a different vision. He’s unhappy with LAUSD because teacher groups were awarded control of the campuses he tried to take over citing that groups from the low-performing campuses ought not to be competing for the schools in question, with the old song about the “track record” of an organization. It seems that he feels that any plan from such a group is “just a piece of paper."
Instead, Mayor Villaraigosa favors reconstitution, a word we are all too familiar with at the Mont. He seems to view this as “transformative.” Maybe he’ll also bring up a sense of urgency, too.
Superintendent Cortines, however, stated that reconstitution was a “last resort.” That certainly was not his tone on December 9th, when he stood before the faculty and staff of the Mont and sounded like a radio spot for selling cars: “Gardena, can you hear me? Lincoln, can you hear me? Huntington Park, can you hear me?” He also claimed that the example of what happened at the Mont caused other schools to reform on their own, to raise the bar.
But the threat of reconstitution and turnaround plans still looms, despite UTLA opposing reconstitution as unsupported by the data which supposedly drove the Mont into the ground. There’s supposed to be a media event on July 6th to mark the “victory” at the Mont. But there are still many questions: who will staff the Mont? How experienced are they? Why are so many of these new teachers appearing with credentials which are not registered with either the state or LAUSD?
Just so you know, we’re back. And we’re watching.
If you see any news stories or articles on reconstitution and educational reform, or know of schools undergoing this sad sham of a process, please let me know. Remembering Fremont is about getting the information out.
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on November 23, 2016 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
Today is Wednesday, November 23, 2016 and Day 323 of Year Seven. I’ve been on break, courtesy of LAUSD, to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. That means it should be about family. My kids are asking what I’ll be doing and I explained I wanted to do this solo, that I’d be cleaning at home, working on the workroom I call Resurrection Point (essentially my Batcave or Fortress of Solitude), to which one of my drill team angels replied, “That’ll be okay, M...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on November 21, 2016 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Today is Monday, November 21, 2016 and Day 321 of Year Seven. It is also my dad’s birthday. The soapbox is calling, and I feel the need to speak out on something relatively current and which might change how we teach. And when I am troubled, I usually talk to my dad. Think of it as a Benton Fraser thing (“Due South,” a series about a Mountie in Chicago, and Fraser often talks to his father).
Dad, it̵...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on November 20, 2016 at 11:45 AM||comments (0)|
Today is Saturday, November 19, 2016 and Day 319 of Year Seven, Day 2226 since I began writing originally about LAUSD’s reconstitution of Fremont High, back when reconstitution was shiny and new and Arne Duncan ruled as the Secretary of Education. It is also Day 2158 PF (Post-Fremont), when I and at least half of my former colleagues were dispersed into what became known as the Fremont Diaspora.
The original intent ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on June 29, 2016 at 2:15 AM||comments (0)|
Today is Tuesday, June 28, 2016 and Day 175 of Year Seven, Day 2082 since I began writing this blog which was originally about LAUSD;s Fremont High’s reconstitution, and Day 2014 PF or since I realized the issues were about my Post-Fremont time. The school year has been over for two weeks. I can look back at what I did and what I wasn’t able to do as public education continues to shift what is happening at Roosevelt High.
Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on June 28, 2016 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
Today is Saturday, June 25, 2016 and Day 172 of Year Seven, Day 2079 since I began writing this blog which was originally about LAUSD’s Fremont High’s reconstitution, and Day 2011 PF or since I realized the issues were about my Post-Fremont time. I hadn’t written anything since August 6th, as we were dealing with Roosevelt High, newly reassembled from the seven Small Schools, then splintered in four Career Pathways, all the while earning a 2-year probationary ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on August 17, 2015 at 8:40 AM||comments (1)|
Today is Sunday August 16, 2015, and Day 213 of Year Six. It’s Day 71 of vacation. That’s the last day. Colleagues have been sharing jokes about curling up on a couch with comfort food, crying into our beer.
They’re not that far from the truth.
Normally, I’d be writing something like this at the end of the school year, but last year was such ...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on August 6, 2015 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
Today is Thursday, August 06, 2015 and Day 203 of Year Six. I heard who the new principal of Roosevelt High will be. I had questions, was told about the process… and that still didn’t answer my questions. It finally got down to that word.
I don’t like that word. I guess that makes me incredibly naïve. A handshake works for me. Unfort...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on July 26, 2015 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Today is Thursday, July 23, 2015 and Day 189 of Year Six, Day 48 of vacation, Day 1741 since I began writing this blog, Day 1673 PF or Post-Fremont.
That phrase Post-Fremont ceased to have any meaning for the past year. So little meaning, that I stopped writing. The last time I wrote was November 22, 2014. It was about benchmark assessments our administrative team insisted on. It seemed like small potatoes, compared to what everyone else was writing...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on November 22, 2014 at 10:55 PM||comments (1)|
Today is Saturday, November 22, 2014 and Day 311 of Year Five, Day 1494 since I began writing about education, Day 1426 PF or Post-Fremont. It’s the 28th anniversary of my knighting in the Society For Creative Anachronism, where I swore an oath to defend those who cannot defend themselves, something I believe I’ve taken seriously outside what some would call a “dress-up game” or “cocktail costume party.” It is also the day after the hundredth...Read Full Post »
|Posted by Chuck Olynyk on September 1, 2014 at 8:00 PM||comments (0)|
Today is Sunday, August 31, 2014 and Day 228 of Year Five. The first three weeks of the school year have passed. In reality, it has only been thirteen days. “Thirteen. Bad luck.”—Paden (Kevin Kline), upon being reminded by Cobb (Brian Dennehy) of the favor of a loan, “Silverado”.
And it was only Day 12, on Wednesday, August 27, that we had what I like to call the Impressive Child-Beating Cer...Read Full Post »