Monday, May 20, 2013

Tony Brandenburg: PUSD Gumbo

Ezra Seymour Gosney
The Sierra Madre Voting Quagmire 
Our vote was stolen by redistricting. I don’t believe that can be be denied. Our middle school was leveled before there was a plan to build a new one. Our kids, well someone else’s kids because mine aren’t there - were placed into tin cans - of which I am convinced are unsafe for kids’ health (and which is why my kids aren’t there). I have made no secret my belief in these assertions.

Someone has been skimming Measure TT money, and the PUSD attorneys are working really hard to make sure that Mary and I don’t get our hands on anything we request through PRAs to support or dispel the rumors. Some people have been put on notice with gag orders.

I also hoped that by stating that I was submitting an application for the school board vacancy that it would jolt more Sierra Madreans into action. Those other loudmouths on the Patch, or the Secret Society of the Earth Mamas of the Sierra Madre Elementary Elite. Alas, they didn’t come running forth.

 I guess that means that I have failed.

However, I am glad that three other members of the community have come forth. If we are to believe what the redistricting says, we probably have the wrong outer shell, however, to represent our local government. Because we are in Sierra Madre, however, we are disenfranchised enough to be considered unrepresented.

In any event, I promised to share my resume. You can find it (here) if you are so motivated to read it. In response to the poster a couple weeks back who questioned my knowledge and abilities in school policies and politics, go ahead and read (over here and over here) and let me know if I am in the ballpark. I won’t hesitate to tell you that Guillermo Arce stomps all over me in this regard. As far as I am concerned, both he and Ramon Miramontes would do Sierra Madre proud, but, Ramon did not submit his name.

A New Kind of Velveeta
Sometimes it’s the process, and not the product - that is the measure of success.

I have no false belief that this role is one for me to take on, but I am not a quitter, and will see this silly whim through to the end. I have no desire to ever run for public office, but the thought of falling into one by misadventure is one thing I can’t help but be intrigued by.

I am not embarrassed about the things I’ve said, nor by the things people have said about me. I won’t go through the hassle of cleaning the internet of my voice. That never sits well in a conformist culture like this one.

Ultimately, it’s more important to me to speak freely than it is to represent people who are apathetic to begin with.

 Kung Fool
A couple three weeks back there was a shindig at the PUSD Board of Education in which every blowhard east of Michillinda Avenue cracked wind for Ed Honowitz’s departure. That’s right. For a good 75 minutes you could hear every windbreaker in the place try to undo all of the gospel from Mount Grove Avenue and Lima Heights in a feeble attempt to clothe the Emperor.

After the deluge, your faithless compadre read in a roast of dear Honowince. It tanked. I took a verbal beating from a squeaky little UTP rodent and her pack of vermin, and then the strangest thing happened. I was kicked as I walked away from the podium.

Yes. Kicked.

In order to make me trip and fall is my guess. So. I went to file it with the police department later when I could positively identify the fellow. I sent a letter to the Board first, and after some researching, we figured out who it was.

Would you believe it was someone related to Honowitz?  Yeah, I was surprised too.

I was also surprised that tobacco companies thought smoking was OK for your health. Good thing Mad Magazine put me straight (click here).

Pardon This Interruption for a Public Comment
Like I may have shared, I made a public comment that resulted in my being yelled at, called crazy, and ultimately “accidentally” tripped by a member of the audience at a Board Meeting. I followed that incident up with a public comment made on May 14th, and which follows, about mental illness.

Please enjoy the intermission.

On April 23, 2013, as I spoke to the board, I was jeered, told I should be ashamed of myself, and told repeatedly to sit down. This came from Pasadena teachers, the same teachers we entrust our children to. One of the teachers made a gesture at me implying that I am mentally ill.

I take these implications very seriously when a staff member directs them at me, and when it is broadcast around the world via the internet. The stigma of mental illness is not one to malign, and it is unacceptable to belittle a parent, or community member, or to make  flippantly through gestures that promote the discrimination of the mentally ill, nor to use this discriminatory behavior to discredit community speakers during Public Comment.

On April 23, 2013, the following quote was made by a PUSD employee, who identified herself as a teacher at Webster School, and as a leader on the bargaining team for United Teachers of Pasadena.  

“Not all children with special needs are fit to be included in a general education classroom.”

Now, as far as I understand it, public education, and access to general education is designed for all children. When a group of children are excluded, for whatever reason, it runs contrary to Federal law.

It also opens the door for a wave of discriminatory practices, and reminds me of a piece of Pasadena’s very ugly history.

Gosney Hall at Polytechnic School in Pasadena was named after Ezra Seymour Gosney, an American philanthropist, eugenicist, and the founder of the Human Betterment Foundation of Pasadena. Human Betterment Foundation advocated compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill and the mentally retarded. One of the members of the society was Stanford psychologist Lewis Terman who is best known for creating the Stanford-Binet test of IQ.

Paul Popenoe, who would one day be the father of Marriage Counseling, a co-founder of Ladies Home Journal,  editor at the Pasadena Star News, and recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Science from Occidental College, was also a member of the Human Betterment Foundation.

In 1929, Gosney and Paul Popenoe co-authored Sterilization for Human Betterment: A Summary of Results of 6,000 Operations in California, 1909-1929.  California was a leader in this practice, and their book found an enthusiastic audience in 1934 among Nazi intellectuals.

Nazi intellectuals. Now there is oxymoron.

The Nazis would put these practices into effect, sterilizing 5,000 mentally ill and mentally retarded people a day. This was prior to the Nazi’s practice of euthanasia, or genocide, which coincidentally has the same root word as eugenics, that root word being gene.

According to Katherine Swift (click here), “Hitler’s national hygiene legislation, whose preliminary targets were also mental patients and the physically disabled, began ‘after careful study of the California experiment under Mr. Gosney and Dr. Popenoe’ ”

As the Nazis platform became increasingly removed from the California model,  “Eugenicists switched ideological emphasis from genetics to psychobiology, navigating out of the terrain of strict hereditarian ideology and into the terrain of sociobiology and behavioral biology.”

After his death in 1942, Gosney’s daughter liquidated the foundation and donated its remaining assets to Caltech, which in 1943 established a Gosney research fund for biological research.

People like Charles Goethe of Sacramento (click here), and Gosney of Pasadena will slowly, but steadily become footnotes in books on racism as the foundations, parks, and buildings that once boasted their names quietly remove them. Their legacy becoming one of shame.

When a society determines whether or not a person is mentally, or behaviorally fit to participate in our institutions, including our schools,  the outcome has typically been catastrophic.

More importantly, for the sake of this discussion, be wary of practices that place too much emphasis on whether or not a child is FIT for participation in a program. It is a slippery slope, and it generally results in a design that cannot be justified.

The Meaning of Grit
firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

94 comments:

  1. "Those OTHER loudmouths on the Patch..... etc." Oh that TB has a wicked funny sparkle in his eye.

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    1. That is no longer the situation at the Patch. It is lighter than air these days. Have you seen it lately?

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    2. Here on the Tattler, would we even know who PUSDDAD is?

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    3. Pasadena, the Eugenics capital of California. Why doesn't it surprise me?

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    4. Those loudmouths on the Patch are still shouting off into the unknown.

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    5. Pusddad is one of Honowitz's cronies, of which he has many. Take a pick.

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    6. Pusdad is a good example of the failure of eugenics.

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    7. It is rumored that one of Pusdad's forebears had hooves.

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    8. I think I enjoy reading the comments as much as the article. There's some real comedienes here.

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  2. Gosney Hall is a relic from another time. Back when the town was called Uberdena.

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    1. Moderator, do you know if that painting of Gosney is still up at Polytechnic?

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    2. Dunno. That picture is a gift from Google.

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    3. One of the trophies in the picture is from 2007.

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    4. THey probably don't even know at Polytechnic their illustrious history.

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    5. Why isn't this information widely know? This is absolutely astounding! And there's a tie in with the Nazis? Gosney's picture should be buried.

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    6. There was a wiki war about the gosney information. typically, there is a faction who state, "so what? That was then."

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    7. There are also revisionists who say the Holocaust didn't happen. Hiding history teaches nothing.

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  3. How are the UTP leaders allowed to discuss students in such a manner without being called on the carpet? Are they so well protected?

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    1. Look at LAUSD 7:04. They can do a lot more than say inappropriate things- and get away with it.

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  4. Great info Tony re Eugenics! Who would have known?

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    1. Thanks to Sandra Goodwick on that

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    2. Margaret Sanger was a big Eugeneics supporter, too.

      From Wikipedia:
      "Eugenics [edit]
      Sanger's 1920 book endorsed eugenics.As part of her efforts to promote birth control, Sanger found common cause with proponents of eugenics, believing that they both sought to "assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit."[84] Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing reproduction by those considered unfit. Sanger's eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods and full family planning autonomy for the able-minded, and compulsory segregation or sterilization for the profoundly retarded.[85][86] In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the "undeniably feeble-minded" from procreating.[87] Although Sanger supported negative eugenics, she asserted that eugenics alone was not sufficient, and that birth control was essential to achieve her goals.[88][89][90]"

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    3. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood?

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    4. One and the same.

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    5. the thing about eugenicists is that, believe it or not, they were considered socially progressive. they sprinkled their phiosophy with a bunch of brave new world stuff, with the goal being human perfection and a better society. a bunch of crap, really, but if you can follow my logic on this- the eugenicists branched into pschology and used measures of intelligence to justify the next, more subtle forms of racism/social darwinism/eugenics- later doing the same thing with intelligence that they tried to do with genetics.

      In todays form, it is now heavier on the behavioral "sciences"- and it's not all that unique- skinner tried to envision a world where evryone behaved a certain way (walden two/too) and while i certainly don't want to suggest that people who support applied behavior analysis are social darwinists, i will state that any time someone tries to use techniques to cleanse or purge a behavior they don't like without first engaging the other person in a meaningful dialogue where the other person is "buying in to the change", they are essentially devaluing the other person outright, and they will meet resistance.

      people with autism are intelligent indidviduals. they can be sensory overloaded, and socially awkward- or charged, depending on who you ask. when the language of pseudo-science and by that i mean the dsm- mandates what is acceptable vs. unacceptable, or anaylzes or tries to define what a behavioral/communicative function of an individual is or should be for the sake of categorizing- it is generally to help a person get treatment- something the individual may not even desire.

      at it's worst, as people try to isolate an autism gene, just as they try to locate a trisome in utero- the underlying philosophy is the same. it is to create what someone else considers a purer human life form. hence the underlying suggestion- discontinue the life. eugenics is alive and well in the 21st century, don't kid yourself. the only difference is that it is practiced in a more subtle form.

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  5. Measure A proves that Pasadena still plays genetic politics.

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    1. When you look at the political elite of Pasadena's ACT crowd, obviously eugenics was a failure. Thankfully so few of them bred.

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    2. I'd say that the teacher's union of Pasadena supports Eugenics. That type of talk about people being "fit" or not? Where should the "unfit" go?

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    3. Tony, I bet the teacher's union "loves" you. Have you gotten any hate mail yet?

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    4. i have no problem with the union, in fact, i think that there are probably some new utp leaders reading and studying what is going on so as to not make the mistakes this leadership is making.

      i also believe that there are smart ambitious leaders in waiting ready to join/ or already members of the CFT who would love to see the CTA out of this district.

      the UTP leadership should really consider whether fighting with and ridiculing the parents in the community is worth the outcome. they can ask any of the retired or transfered administrators if fighting with parents like us is productive.

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  6. TB, if a UTP member slandered you, and then Honowitz's family member assaulted you in public, what did PUSD do about this? Maybe one of their infamous "investigations"?

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    1. I hope you pressed charges. I don't care whether they liked what you had to say. The public, no matter who they're related to has no business attacking anyone during public comments.

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    2. If a person willfully incites things, they need to consider their part in the result.

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    3. Yes. Say the wrong thing at Public Comment and you'll be kicked for speaking hurtful words.

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    4. Wow, 8:29 - If someone cuts me off on the freeway while I'm on my way to work today, I am going to get them back by accelerating and ramming them with my car. They'll just have to consider their part in the result.

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    5. Willfully incites? So. the students at Kent State asked for it, right?

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    6. Thanks 829, your attitude makes me rethink being cool about it. maybe I should press charges and maybe I should call out a couple other lichens as well

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    7. Words that they care not to hear can unleash the inner beasts in the ACT faction. They're only one step from torches and pitchforks as it is.

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    8. Are you going to tell me that wearing provocative clothing doesn't incite?

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    9. Incite what?

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    10. How provocative? Like a teddy provocative?

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    11. TB, you should definitely file charges. You were assaulted. Trust me, if you had punched the guy out, he would have filed charges against you.

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    12. Not only was Tony attacked, Honowitz's brother in law attacked two of the women with him, physically and verbally.

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    13. Now that's a legacy for Honowitz to leave behind: bullying in the board room, family style.

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    14. While wearing a teddy.

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    15. Well then he was asking for it.

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    16. No kidding.

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    17. Yeah, no kidding. If he was going to wear a teddy, he should've shaved first. it's not the seventies, for crying out loud.

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    18. Two words. Man scaping.

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  7. I too am disappointed that more Sierra Madre citizens didn't apply to for the board seat. I can't be too upset though, as I didn't either. It takes a commitment that some can't make. And the pay stinks.

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  8. You are my hero, whether you and I know each other or not. I hope someday to meet you and shake your hand, and that of Mary B., too. Your's and Mary's courage puts you two in the Superhero category in my book. That you leaven your brand of civil disobedience with a humor I can relate to is even more of a plus. I can only hope that "Superchicken" does in fact pay regular visits to the PUSD BOE meetings in the near future, to to the Sierra Madre City Council meetings as well. A whole flock of "Superchickens"...

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    1. I second that! But civil disobedience has its pitfalls. Be careful stay within the law.

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    2. Speaking your mind at public meetings is not civil disobedience, it is a right and a duty.

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    3. But if it becomes slander, what do you expect?

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    4. Why then you burn the offender at the stake, of course!

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    5. Or they become Mayor.

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    6. thank you 7:53. Those are very nice things to say.

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  9. All you Nick Conway fans, clear your calendars! He's on the move...

    "Attorney for ex-COG chief Nick Conway files motion to have criminal charges dismissed

    Trial of former COG chief scheduled to begin May 30 in Los Angeles County Criminal Court"


    Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_23278531/attorney-ex-cog-chief-nick-conway-files-motion#ixzz2TqUZFxUO

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    1. Why not? Tricky Nicky has an expensive lawyer that we are paying for. I am sure they'll be trying every ruse in the shyster handbook.

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  10. Some learning styles are so different that it's true a child may not be able to learn, or may unintentionally prevent others from learning, in the usual classroom environment. Enter the hardest working teachers of all, the Special Education teachers.

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  11. Brown vs Board of Ed: Separate is not equal.
    ~Mary

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    1. There's a need for special ed.

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    2. Absolutely there's a need for special education. The issue is does it need to be in a special place?
      There are separate eating areas for special ed students at PUSD schools. They also sit in special areas for assemblies, often go on separate field trips. There are even separate wings in building for special ed students. There is no need to segregate anyone- except for criminals.

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    3. Not a need for segregation 10:22

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  12. Separate but not equal was based on race. When it comes to learning needs of unique children they deserve the best for their uniqueness. As a classroom teacher with 38 students in an averaged-sized class I was hard put to meet all the different learning types/styles/unique needs, etc., but I tried. Who on earth can say whether or not I succeeded?

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    1. I'm sorry, but there is no excuse imaginable for how this situation was handled at SME. None.

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    2. I don't think 10:26 is making an excuse. Just explaining the realities of educating more than one person at a time.

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    3. "Seperate educational facilities are inherently unequal".
      Of course, students with special learning needs need the appropriate supports and services, to succeed. But, the assumption should not be that special edication is a placement, rather than a program.
      Consider the impact if school districts have to increase the number of special classes to support the increasing number of autistic students (1:50)....
      I know some amazing gen Ed teachers who can work with students with disabilities better than a PHD level so called specialist. Don't sell youself short 10:38.
      ~Mary

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    4. 10:26 we all do what we can, and you are right, we may never know whether or not we succeeded. the thing is, if we keep separating based on whatever criteria in order to homogenized instruction and standardize learning, then we will never ever provide anything worthwhile. heck, if we standardize and homogenze enough, we can get machines to instruct.

      if the United States is a great experiment in democracy, doing what has historically been unheard of, the same could be said of public education. I wouldn't give up on either one of them, even with the knowledge that the verdict isn't in on either of them.

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    5. As a special ed teacher in a Pasadena high school, i can tell you that PUSD is toxic from the top down. The district provides no support. Admin allows the most inexcusable behaviors to happen on a daily basis. Kids qualify to bail them out of the gen ed classes they refuse to do well in. It's a golden parachute for many. A legit service for others. But the two are mingled, making the program ineffective for those who need the services the most. It's criminal, really. Shame on PUSD. No wonder the API scores are in the toilet.

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    6. 3:56, students don't self qualify because they refuse to do well. That's a pretty harsh assumption.

      What I've seen district wide are a significant number of General Ed teachers who violate IEPs and 504 accommodations. The Special Ed teachers are having to run between teaching their own classes and supporting the special Ed students attending GE classes- because general Ed teachers REFUSE to follow the law, and hide behind their contract. All the while, they're denying the students while at the same time dumping extra work on their colleagues.

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    7. I'm wondering 3:56 why students are qualifying to be bailed out of general ed classes? Why aren't they getting special ed services to help them stay in general ed? My thought is that some Special Ed teachers like having private classes so that no one checks up on them showing cartoons. And maybe that's part of the reason for the low API- besides the incompetent administration

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    8. I'm one of those demonic gen ed teachers you all are so quick to blame. There's a valid reason that some students don't belong in our classes- they interfere with the students who want to, and are capable of learning. You can all lay into me, but I'm saying what needs to be said. Sorry if you don't agree, we're in the trenches, not you.

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    9. i'm in the trenches, and i use my name.

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    10. 3:56 again. to 4:16, You're right. They don't qualify themselves. But to meet the criteria for services, there needs to be a significant gap between achievement and ability. Unfortunately, they do not take into account how that gap has come to be. For most SPED students, I call it "cumulative academic neglect." Through years of the student being a behavior issue, bad parents, difficult setting, (insert other here), they have fallen behind. Now it's labeled as a SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY, cause you can "find" that on almost any test, academic or the test the psychs do.

      Counterproductive classroom behaviors set in to mask their inabilities that they are now fully aware of. Thus, students you wouldn't wish upon any teacher. Profanity. Disrespect. Classroom sabotage. ZERO work. Truant. Tardy. You name it. It's a learned behavior. I'd love to show some ASSERTIVE DISCIPLINE screen shots here of some of the things that are actually going on in my classroom, but, hey, you'll just have to take my word for it.

      It's so simple to find a cause for their lack of production, it's almost criminal to the students who actually need these services.

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  13. Wonder if Sanger & Gosney were buds?

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  14. How dare you disrespect a 12 year member of the Board of Education. Ed Honowitz earned that recognition. What have you done to garner such honors?

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    1. Sorry, but I will disrespect any politician I choose to disrespect. It goes with being a taxpayer in a Democracy. But that said, that Ed served for 12 years is proof that the voters don't give a damn for Board of Education elections.

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    2. Ed Honowitz deserves some credit. His hard work turning the Pasadena Unified School District into a loosely aligned system of Charter Schools was second to none.

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    3. Is 1:13 being sarcastic?

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    4. Ed "bullied" a kid , his brother in law "attacked", what else is he going to be blamed for? The finding deficit?

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    5. I have no idea what a "finding deficit" is, but have you seen Sierra Madre's Middle School lately? Ventured into the Measure TT budgets and wondered where a lot of that money went? Contemplated the fact that Sierra Madre's right to vote in the last Board of Education was stolen? Considered that the "community schools" process was launched without telling Sierra Madre or Altadena about it? Even though the expenses come out of the pockets of the taxpayers of those two towns? Honowitz was a disaster for both the PUSD and the parents who send their children to those schools. Here hoping he never ever comes back.

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    6. I'll have what 1:37 is having.

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    7. I tried to correct finding deficit with funding.

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    8. Don't forget 1:37, Honowitz's side kick Selinske is still around. He remains on the facilities subcommittee.

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    9. The Facilities Subcommittee. Where Measure TT funds go into the witness protection program.

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    10. thank you 1:13, that made me crack up.

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  15. Veteran Art TeacherMay 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Amazing and shocking. I teach electives and special ed are mainstreamed in my classes and eat with everyone and are part of the school culture. They are very rarely part of any problems. The problems are the enabled spoiled children and parents who never show up.

    Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities-Voltaire.

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    1. @ Veteran Art Teacher- this may be true at your school, which is great. Still, I can tell you for a fact that it's not the case at every school in PUSD. There are segregated areas at many PUSD school sites. At one site, for example, the special ed classes are located in the basement. That's why segregated areas were indicated as an area needing remedy by the Special Ed Task force. A year later and this still needs to be addressed....

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  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. john, the killjoy. confounding the dipsh*ts, one delete at a time

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    2. Was this another teddy comment?

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    3. It was one of those damn third world spam ads. I get around 100 of them a day, and once in a while they sneak through.

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    4. Tomorrow is the PUSD Facilities subcommittee meeting with Selinske. Up for discussion will be the Measure TT Bond Audit. Wonder if their special attorney will be there to moderate the discussion?

      http://pasadenausd.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/917180/File/Board%20of%20Education/Board%20Subcommittees/Facilities%20and%20Capital%20Projects/Facilities%20%20AGENDA%2005212013.pdf?sessionid=07fa212d8a11fa3516f713a2fd58e726

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