Greg Schiller Reinstated

At 3:30pm this afternoon we were informed that Greg Schiller was reinstated to his position at Ramon C. Cortines High School.

I spoke to Greg directly and he should be back in the school tomorrow.

I will post an update sometime this weekend but as of now, the planned walkout on Monday, April 28th, is cancelled.

Thank you everyone who supported Greg and the efforts to get him reinstated!

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Daryl Narimatsu of LA Unified School District for the win

Did Daryl Narimatsu flip me off?

I need everyone’s help. There is a short survey at the end of this blog post.

I was being a little bit campy at today’s Rally for Greg Schiller at Ramon C. Cortines School of the Visual and Performing Arts (Grand Arts / VAPA). I was certainly being polite and said hi to Assistant Principal, Bill Webb and Dean of Students, Mr. Reyes. Mr. Reyes and I spoke about the value of the students exercising their right to protest… it is a good lesson.

I also got a photo with Rosie Martinez, Instructional Director for LAUSD and one with her and Bill Webb. She was unenthusiastic but Bill was cool….

Rosie Martinez and Bill Webbs join me in supporting Greg Schiller Me & Rosie Martinez from LAUSD

Okay.. truth.. I was selfie photo-bombing them.. well.. actually sort of helping them photo-bomb my selfies I suppose.

But here is where it gets curious. I saw another gentleman there. He had that sophisticated, humorless, LAUSD look. The sort of look that seems to say, “I know how to say nothing in a lot of words.” (I’m being snippy again.. but see below and you may understand why)

I introduced myself to him and he told me his name was Daryl Narimatsu, Administrator of Operations for ISIC.(LAUSD) As he was writing his name on some paper – apparently he had no cards – I snapped two selfies with him in the picture. I posted them online and someone pointed out that I’d been PHOTO-BOMBED! Or Finger-bombed.

I decided to zoom in on the potentially offending digit.. and darn if it don’t seem to be so.

Congratulations Daryl Narimatsu, you have pulled the ultimate coup. Well-played… well-played…
(survey question below picture)
Did Daryl Narimatsu flip me off?

Is Daryl as good as he seems? Did he finger-photo-bomb me? Was it intentional?
(yes or no in the comments)

Rally Today at Ramon C. Cortines

Today at 7AM, students, parents, and others will gather for a Rally to raise awareness about the wrongful and ridiculous “rehousing” of Greg Schiller at LAUSD’s teacher jail.

reinstateschiller

Remember, Principal Bruno has more power than she is admitting in all of this. She can admit that her assistant principal, Ken Martinez – the one who interrogated Grand Arts students without notifying their parents – made a HUGE error in judgement. She can admit that she was swayed by her staff and wants to make it right.

Principal Kim Bruno can publicly advocate for Greg Schiller’s reinstatement. The only question is whether she will do so.

TV Interviews – let’s ramp this up

Yesterday, Channel 2/9 news interviewed Greg Schiller about his wrongful “incarceration” at “teacher jail”. Okay, we realize it isn’t “jail” in the literal sense. And we know that Mr. Schiller can’t really be in a jail because in order to be in jail, he would have due process. Maybe John Deasy and LAUSD find due process to be bothersome!

I suppose saying Greg Schiller is in jail is similar to saying Principal Bruno is being honest about whether she could help bring Greg Schiller back. Schiller is NOT in jail and Ms. Bruno is not… well.. you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures. Some students were interviewed as well. Pictures below:

20140409_153314  20140409_153352  20140409_153255 20140409_154001

Watch the Interview from KCAL 9:
http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=10038063

In Teacher Jail – by Esther and Gerald Schiller

IN TEACHER JAIL

BY GERALD AND ESTHER SCHILLER

Our son is in jail.

But there are no bars or armed guards, or wardens.

And he does go home to his wife each afternoon.

Our son is in “teacher jail.”

For those who may be unaware of this bizarre institution, “teacher jail”   is the name applied (with no affection) to what the Los Angeles Unified School District calls teacher “housing.” And this euphemism refers to the act of removing teachers from their classrooms, if there are accusations against them, and placing them in large rooms where they, basically, sit for days, or weeks, or months, or even years. It may come as a surprise to many people but there are currently several hundred Los Angeles School District employees in this situation.

These “housed” men and women remain there, are allowed no contact with their schools or colleagues, and continue to collect their salaries, while substitute teachers (each hired at several hundred dollars per day) cover their classrooms.

The rationale for this “housing” is that these teachers pose a risk to the safety and well being of the students and staff of their schools.

Our son, however, is not a thief, a rapist, a pornographer, or a child molester.

On the contrary, he is an exemplary instructor who has distinguished himself for almost twenty years with nary a blemish on his record. He teaches Advanced Placement (college credit) classes in biology and psychology. He supervises numerous school clubs. He coaches fencing.

And he works assiduously on many school committees.

He has been praised by his students and their parents, given high marks by his colleagues, and spends long hours at the school where he works.

What then was the heinous offense that caused his placement in “teacher jail?”

Two students in one of his classes created projects for a science fair.

Each of these projects had the word “gun” in its title though neither resembled a gun in any form. But an administrator saw the projects when they were brought to the cafeteria for display and confiscated them, calling them “dangerous.” Our son, who had not yet seen the completed exhibits,was called into the principal’s office, and then, rather than being chastised and told never to repeat such an offense again, was told to report to “teacher jail.”

And there he sits. Now for more than a month.

There is both irony and tragedy in what has occurred.

Irony in that one of the confiscated projects—according to several parents— was similar to a science fair exhibit that won national awards and was included on the Los Angeles School District’s own website as an example of an outstanding student science achievement.

There is irony that the administrator who confiscated the projects and called them dangerous, has a background in teaching English, not science.

And it is highly ironic that our son was actively involved with the committee that chose the current principal—a principal who now seems eager to see him removed from the school.

But among the tragic aspects of this situation is that our son’s Advanced Placement students, now deprived of a qualified “AP” teacher may not be adequately prepared for their national examination, just weeks away.

It is also tragic that the students who submitted the projects are now extremely upset and feel guilty that they were responsible for their teacher’s removal.

Most tragically, however, is the fact that a caring, dedicated, and beloved teacher may be driven from a job he not only cares deeply about, but is also masterful at.

It seems that in the bizarre and arcane complexities of the Los Angeles Unified School District, because of its fear of public criticism and its terror at media finger-pointing, competent teachers like our son are too often pulled from their classrooms.

And there they sit.

In teacher jail.


Gerald and Esther Schiller are retired teachers. Both worked for many years with the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Their son is on the faculty of Ramon C. Cortines High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, the arts school formerly known as Central High School #9.

VAPA administration moves to block former students and parents

File this under weird.. or frightened… or same old same old. It is always interesting how people and organizations reveal what their about.

Lack of Transparency is the Policy du Jour

Friday a former student stood in front of VAPA with a sign asking for Schiller’s return and handing out tape with mustaches on it.

Today, the same former student and another former student showed up to hand out small pamphlets letting students and others know about a rally on Thursday, the #reinstateschiller hashtag for social media, and this website.

Assistant Principal Bill Webb informed them they could not pass this information out. They stopped.

Shutting parents out of the parent’s center

Also, on Friday,  parents were told they could not be in the parent’s center unless the parent center representative/liaison was there. This is a departure from how the parent’s center has been used since it opened. In fact, the parent center was open for parents when there was no parent liaison working at the school. Better parental involvement and the parent center specifically was a critical factor in their WASC accreditation.

Yesterday, a former student who was meeting with me to get an update on what I knew about Schiller’s case, and a current parent were told they had to leave the parent’s center. I was outside taking a call and my laptop was locked in the room.

I went to the office and asked them to get Mr. Reyes, Dean of Students, to open the room so I could get my laptop. When he came up, he was accompanied by Rosie Martinez from the district. She asked me several questions about what I did in the parent’s center.

It was very big brother-ish. Later Mr. Reyes admitted to me that the interaction seemed, “awkward.”

I thanked Mr. Reyes and told him that should anyone from administration wish to reach out to me, they have my number.

The Bigger Concern

The change in policy for the parent’s center only serves one purpose.. to make it more challenging for parent’s to be involved and get information. This seems to be, unfortunately, the modus operandi of the administration.

If you read about the district guidelines for parental involvement and the parent center specifically, VAPA administration seems intent on running directly counter to the expressed attitude of welcome parental participation.

District Page on Parental Involvement/Parent Bill of Rights

The District Parent Center Page

I welcome a written response from VAPA Administration on how their new policy best helps parents stay involved with their child’s education. I will publish their response here, unedited, in it’s entirety.

Updates for the morning of 4-8-2014

I’ll write more later. There have been some interesting developments in the campaign to Reinstate Greg Schiller.

I’ve updated several pages on this site. Several groups supporting Mr. Schiller are now communicating together to coordinate efforts. It should be understood, I am NOT leading these groups – simply hoping to coordinate social media outreach and attention.

UPDATES

There is a formal “Reinstate Schiller” page that links to resources and who to contact. The calendar should be updated soon.

There were some who approached me suggesting that I or my student might be subject to retaliation because I am leading these groups. I hope that is not the case as I’ve made it clear that if the school administration or LAUSD wishes to voice their position officially, I will publish it unedited on this site.

Fairness and transparency is a critical aspect to what I hope to do.

I am, somewhat concerned, that my student may be singled out by less than honorable parties but my student feels that doing the right thing is more important than doing nothing. My student is a straight-A, highly driven, well-liked by teachers – student. My student is non-confrontational and simply wants to excel at school, perform, and get to one of several colleges they have already identified.

That’s it for now. Watch for updates.

Can we all just communicate

I’m concerned about doing this. There are people who are upset. Emotions are running pretty high and clarity and communications seem less that forthcoming.

I used the title above because it is naive to believe we can all get along. Personalities, goals, and how to achieve can differ from person to person.

So I ask that we communicate.. what someone believes about you, I, or the next person is less important than whether they are unified in a stronger experience for all students and transparency in their goals and plans. Everyone has an agenda.. that’s cool. Hidden agendas that exclude and foster nepotism or outright mistreatment are, to reasonable people, bad things.

I’ll advocate for my student – but NOT at the expensive of fairness to other students.