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New Teacher Project

Sue Cirillo was putting up decorations in her first-grade classroom the day before school started, preparing for her first day as a teacher. Unexpectedly, her principal came in and told her that there would be some changes. Her new students would now be first- and second-graders, and some would speak only a little English. Besides that, she would be teaching on a different track, meaning that her vacation time would be changed.
March 24, 2010 | By Timothy Daly and Arun Ramanathan
Over the last several weeks, in what has become a dismal rite of spring, nearly 30,000 teachers throughout California received layoff notices. Knowing how crucial teachers are to student success, you might wonder how schools make the difficult decision of which teachers to cut. After all, if layoffs are unavoidable, you would think that it would be in the interest of everyone to keep the best teachers and cut those who are least effective. Unfortunately, the only tool that California schools can use to make these decisions is a calendar.
October 14, 2003 | Erika Hayasaki, Times Staff Writer
Last November, Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer stood before reporters at John C. Fremont High School and enthusiastically called on professionals, including lawyers, bankers, engineers and accountants, to switch careers to teaching under the Los Angeles Teaching Fellows Program. Now, that teacher training program has been killed amid budget cuts and a surplus of better qualified teachers, some laid off from other districts around the state.
Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer says accountants, bankers, sales managers--heck, even journalists--can make good public school teachers with the proper training. And so, to ease its teacher shortage, the Los Angeles Unified School District is launching a campaign to attract professionals from such various fields.
June 15, 2009
They put it off. They debated it at length and watered it down. And in the end, the Los Angeles Unified school trustees barely passed a resolution asking the Legislature to make it a little easier to fire teachers accused of serious crimes. Mind you, not the ineffective teachers who sleep in the classroom, ignore the curriculum and pass their unprepared students to the next grade. Just the ones who stand accused of abusing or molesting students.
August 14, 2010 | By Jason Felch, Jason Song and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times
The fifth-graders at Broadous Elementary School come from the same world — the poorest corner of the San Fernando Valley, a Pacoima neighborhood framed by two freeways where some have lost friends to the stray bullets of rival gangs. Many are the sons and daughters of Latino immigrants who never finished high school, hard-working parents who keep a respectful distance and trust educators to do what's best. The students study the same lessons. They are often on the same chapter of the same book.
September 29, 2006 | Nancy Vogel, Times Staff Writer
In a rare defeat for teachers' unions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Thursday to make it easier for some principals to reject incompetent teachers. The new law won't make it easier to fire public school teachers -- something the governor sought and failed to win with an initiative last November -- but it eliminates one escape route for teachers facing bad reviews. SB 1655 by Sen.
June 14, 2009 | Jason Song and Jason Felch
After listening to the debate at last week's Los Angeles school board meeting, business leader Carol Schatz said she was appalled. She had attended to support a resolution to speed the firing of teachers accused of serious crimes. But even this proposal -- tiptoeing on the margins of improving teacher quality -- generated heated objections from the teachers union and its supporters. With some last-minute amendments and sniping among board members, the resolution passed by a single vote.
November 17, 2005 | Duke Helfand, Times Staff Writer
Teacher union contracts are thwarting efforts to improve schools in big cities by placing seniority rights and other teacher protections ahead of the needs of schools and students, said a report released Wednesday by a national research organization. The study of five large school systems nationwide, including the San Diego Unified School District, found that union staffing rules often allowed veteran teachers to transfer to new assignments without giving administrators a say in the matter.
June 6, 2010
'One size fits all' just won't work Re "No magic bullet," Editorial, May 30 I commend The Times for its intelligent and thoughtful editorial on education reform. As a teacher, I am disheartened by the continuing swings from one "one size fits all" approach to another. These programs — like No Child Left Behind, designed for political expediency and sound bites — never wholly work because all students learn differently. It's like asking your average construction worker to excavate an archaeological site; they'll get to the ruins, but at what damage to the buried treasures?
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