Saturday, November 02, 2013


Julie Tran writes in a comment to the Diane Ravitch Blog | “L.A. Teacher Asks: Will Deasy’s iPad Deal Bankrupt Los Angeles Schools?” |

October 31, 2013 at 9:45 am  ::  I have a better question regarding Steve Zimmer, who had the power to vote to fire the I-pad promoter Deasy two days ago, but chose not to.

I stayed up all night transcribing a transcript of Zimmer’s speech to UTLA members last August… an excerpt actually… that will blow you—or anyone else—away as you read it.

Here’s the question: “What The-Hell Has Happened to THIS Steve Zimmer?”

Here’s the You Tube video of the speech:


Here’s he exact minute where the following transcript excerpt starts: 07:35 – 18:40   But watch the whole thing to the end of the speech.

Witness the total contrast between what Steve Zimmer says here, and what he did with his vote to retain John Deasy, and in his most recent public comments to the local papers.

This speech is like Dr. Ravitch’s book summed up in 10 minutes or so. He attacks everything from Deasy, to Walmart (Deasy’s backer and helped organize Tuesday’s astroturf rally outside to the LAUSD Board), to Teach for America (Steve was TFA, by the way) to the true meaning of his election victory of corporate and privatization interests.

He also gives a historical context to the attack on teachers, linking it to the attack on the middle and working classes.

It’s simply staggering that the same guy who wrote and who spoke this in August, can do what he did just Tuesday, just two months later.


STEVE ZIMMER: (at the August 2013 UTLA Leadership Conference at some hotel near LAX airport):

“The budget crisis (of 2008 and on) was absolutely intentional. It was caused by corporate greed… corporate greed! It was caused by privatization, and it was caused by radical de-regulation of the housing market, of our economic system, and of our banking system. It was very clear. People got rich as our kids suffered. That’s what happened. It wasn’t an accident.

“It was intentional. It was purposeful.

“And the same folks, the same millionaires and billionaires, and privatizers who caused this economic crisis that our school communities suffered so much from…

“… are the very same people who are donating millions and millions of dollars to the privatization movement, to charter schools, to Teach for America, to everything that is intended to privatize and corporatize this last vestige of a public sector, of unions.

“They did NOT come after just ME in this last election. They came after ALL of us.

“Throughout the 1990’s… and my long-time friend and sister in the struggle, Cheryl Ortega is here today as well, and she’ll remember that when were out fighting against Proposition 187… we always use to say to our brother and sister teachers to motivate them, to get more involved:

” ‘That when they come after our kids, and when they come after our families, they come after US! They come after our profession! They come after public education!’

“And that’s what we said during the 1990’s, when the racists, and the xenophobes, and the Republicans were coming after immigrant children and their families. ‘When they come after our families and our kids, they come after US!’

“And now in 2013, we give the same speech in reverse, and that is that when the come after our teachers, they come after our children, and our families, and the whole thing has come full circle.

“So when we oppose Academic Growth Over Time, and Value-Added, we are not afraid of accountability, we are not afraid of responsibility. We just want a system of training and support. Let me say that again—training, support, and evaluation—that is based on improvement of instruction, and is based on real information about children and their academic growth. We did not come into teaching to check off boxes. We came into teaching because we believe in our kids and because we are about student growth and academic improvement….

“But student growth and student improvement can never be measured by a single standardized test score, and what we suffer from in this district is what I like to call a ‘data addiction.’ It’s what I like to call a ‘religious addiction’ to ‘the numbers,’ and to a ‘spread sheet,’ and to a ‘bottom line,’ and we’re taught that this is ‘objective,’ that this is ‘fact,’ and that everything else is ‘soft’… that we should go into ‘The Temple of Data’ and kneel down, and that we should bow down at an ‘Altar of Objectivity.’

“But we WON’T and we CAN’T because the gods that WE believe in teach us that EVERYTHING that is wondrous and beautiful about children cannot be measured by a standardized test score!

“We know!

“The beautiful names… and stories… of our kids—we never met a kid that was named ‘Proficient,’ and we CERTAINLY never met a kid that was named ‘Basic,’ and NEVER ‘Far Below Basic!’

“Our children have names, they have stories, and if we are to fight the battles against corporatization and privatization, we must be the warriors of re-humanization of public education that is about our children, their families, our communities, and their stories!

“And that starts with humane school communities!”

“We are not opposed to charter schools because we are opposed to choice for parents and families.

“Choice is a core value in public education, and we are creating more and more in-district programs (i.e. teacher-led schools, not private charters, Julie) for choice, and options that are built around instructional pipelines that we (unionized teachers) create with families and children.

“What we oppose… is radical de-regulation.

“What we oppose is the attack on the basic promise of public education, the basic contract of public education. That is we serve EVERY child who comes to our door—EVERY child who comes to the schoolhouse door.

“And if you don’t serve EVERY child—those who are the gifted to those who have the most special needs, and the entire spectrum in between.

“If you are not about EVERY child, then that is NOT public education, and we stand against it, and we stand against the corporatization and privatization that is embodied in the charter school takeover.

“The thing that I want to also impart to you is that this fight is a fight across our city, across our nation, and it is a pitched battle, and we need to stand in union solidarity.

“We need to stand with our brothers and sisters who are our hotel employees, and if we can give a hand to all the H.E.R.E. (hotel union) members that are here today hear serving us.


“We need to stand with carwash workers.

“We need to stand with our brothers and sisters from the UFCW who are at our supermarkets unpacking our groceries, and packing them up very day.

“We need to stand with the union families and the non-union families that are the parents of our children.

“We need to be out there, just like we were in the 1990’s, and in the many strikes—whether it was the UFCW, H.E.R.E., right here on this boulevard (Century Blvd., a strip near the airport where the high-end hotels are… Julie) , or the ‘Justice for Janitors’ strike right here in 1999.

“The Labor Movement needs to see that our teaching force is a force of social justice for ALL families in the city of Los Angeles.

“But let me say this… to my friends… and my brothers and sisters in the (L.A.) County Federation of Labor. If you ask, and if you expect us to stand against Walmart during the DAY, you had better stand with us as we fight Walmart’s effort to take over our schools by NIGHT.

“It is the SAME fight, and we need to hear our labor leadership across this city defend public education, as we defend the rights of workers and our parents and our brothers and sisters

Audience member: “FIRE DEASY!” (Oh the irony of that… Julie)

“The last thing I want to share with you is that we almost lost in this election the promise of public education.

“And in this room are teachers, families who slept on the floor of my campaign office, people who had the courage to go out and speak truth to power.

(Julie here… And what was the point of all that hard work and sacrifice to re-elect you, Steve, if you’re just going to cave to the very same privatizing, corporate forces that you are condemning in this speech, and thus, choose not do fire Deasy like you did on Tuesday? My children deserve better than that from you, Steve.)

“We didn’t change who we are, or who we were. We became more of who we were through this election cycle.

“The promise of public education is at great risk.

“But I need to tell you, and we need to be honest with ourselves, that the promise of public education has not been realized for all students, and we know this.

“It’s been realized for some, but not for all.

“… and until the promise of public education has been realized for ALL students, it’s a broken promise for EVERY student.

“It’s not going to change by corporate or private sector intervention.

“It’s not going to change by some performance metric come up by McKinsey Company, and produced by John Deasy.

“It’s not going to change by competition, but it is going to change by us working together.

“In a few days, we’re going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘The March on Washington’…. I feel like I can say this… ”


….and Steve continues on with quotes from M.L, King, Jr., The Prophet Isaah and the 40th Psalm.

1 comment:

jillyerds said...

I just wrote Steve asking these questions. I worked my backside off for him because I believed that he believed what he was saying. I feel utterly betrayed. Where has he gone? Where?