Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Keep on Turtle Learning
I'm trying to motivate myself to keep up this blog. At the moment I'm consumed by the fires in our area -- too close to home for health sake, but not in danger of losing our home. My secondary concern is the state of the Library Aides in Los Angeles Unified School District. I am working with a group of them -- there are about 500, and 180 have had their hours cut in half and lost their benefits. My job was also cut, along with five of my coworkers, in this first round of cuts at lausd. About 2000 teachers also were cut, but they managed to save all but about 330 of them. Meanwhile, our superintendent and board have sold our schools to the highest bidder (they want the Race to the Top money) and are telling us on their KLCS TV broadcasts that we shouldn't worry about job cuts, some other employee will step in and do the job!!
I worked at the lowest pay level in 1979 when we were all suddenly cut due to Prop. 13. Our bosses were not cut, and my immediate Director was redecorating his office. When I told the Board this, one of them told me I was a liar. This was pre-television days and tact played no part.
Once again, LAUSD is picking on the lowest paid workers. Actually, this has been true throughout its sorry history. My mother, who never went to college, was able to ascend to a top secretarial position, only to be demoted the following year. Money had to be saved, so the Board targets classified employees. Actually, this year was the first time in my memory that large groups of certificated were also targeted. Fortunately they have stronger unions. Classified have been divided into several units, and therefore conquered. Some of their unions are really "associations" and not unions at all. They know they are in danger of losing so many members, but they don't know how to fight back.
The Library Aides are an intelligent and caring group of people who earn some of the lowest pay in the district. They keep their jobs because they love them. Medical benefits made the job possible for many with families. Sadly, we are not the only district who has cut library personnel, both classified and certificated. My fellow blogger, Jane the librarian, now has a TL in the Classroom blog because she was cut.
I am appalled at a society, state, and government that do not value libraries. Particularly when our economy is in deep, deep recession, we need our libraries to provide people with resources they won't otherwise be able to obtain. I am equally appalled at a society that will allow the richest to stay rich at the expense of the poor. This is happening in our District, and it is happening with the health care debate. Every other advanced capitalist country has paid health care. How is it that we succeeded in brainwashing our citizens into thinking they don't deserve health care??? Actually, polls show that 70% of us favor a single-payer, Medicare type system. I hope for once the majority will prevail.
And I hope that the lausd Board and Superintendent will come to their senses. Our students DO NOT GO TO ANY OTHER LIBRARY except their school library. They need these and their Library Aides to instill early a love of reading. Working in the 21st century demands a literate public. Why are we failing our students???