BURNING MOM REVOLUTION

Burning Moms in the news:

USA Today loves us (and mentions our California Children’s Rally from June 17, 2008):

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-11-03-mother-public-school_N.htm

LA Times columnist Steve Lopez’ take:

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/04/local/me-lopez4

Sandra Tsing Loh LA Times op ed, LAUSD needs pit bull PTA mom:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-loh16-2008dec16,0,2337531.story

Burning Moms Gala pick in LA Weekly:

www.laweekly.com/2008-12-11/la-vida/a-bunch-of-smart-funny-women-8212-and-taylor-negron

Here was Sandra’s invite on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTRz6KtDx-g

Essentially, we Burning Moms of Los Angeles feeled burned by burning too many pans of snickerdoodles for too many burny bake sales to raise money for the art, PE, music, and other programs we think our–and all–public school children should have as a matter of course.  We feel burned by the fact that California, the 8th largest global economy, is 48th out of 50 states in public school funding; meanwhile our LA Unified school district bureaucracy’s budgetary habits seem to involve lighting twenty, hundred and thousand dollar bills on fire and flinging them out of the windows of 333 S. Beaudry (or into the pockets of consultants) while for “enrichment” our children sing karoake in outdoor cement rings choked with weeds.

As our children seem to make up the one educational group which HAS no lobby, we threw the first ever California Children’s Rally on June 17, 2008 at the Sacramento Capitol and are throwing the second one April 7, 2009, same venue.  Join us. . .

www.californiachildrensrally.com

We also see evidence of Burning Momhood everywhere in the U.S.  Check out this bold open letter to Obama by Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer:

www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/11/10747_public_school_f.html

Or post your comments (rabble-rouse! inform us!) below. . .

21 Responses to BURNING MOM REVOLUTION

  1. sandratloh says:

    Dateline November, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Time for a CHANGE REVOLUTION

    *****LAUSD office “professionals” get rich while our children sell candy for pencils*****

    The Daily News published LAUSD salaries a couple of months ago
    (http://lang.dailynews.com/socal/lausdpayroll/). Upon careful examination of this data bank, we were able to deduce that for every two teachers and principals (over 48,000) employed in the LAUSD, there is one person employed in some sort of administrative position (over 28,000 employed in the central offices downtown and over 600 employed in district offices). Among these, we counted 1, 431 “Advisors,” 301 “Supervisors,” and 92 “Directors.” Most of them make well over $100,000. The Superintendent makes $300,000. Eight local district superintendents make between $156,000 – 171,000. The Chief Financial Officer makes $222,000, the Executive Officer of Board of Education $133,000, and the Controller $149,000.

    LAUSD tool sharpeners, truck driver “helpers” and photocopy technicians make more money than an elementary school teacher makes in their first year. An E-mail Administrator makes over three times as much.

    This coming year, in times of education funding crisis, the LAUSD has budgeted $78.8 million for CONSULTANTS (typical consultant job: being paid $35,000 last year to teach Admiral Brewer to use a computer).

    Rebecca Constantino of Access Books has been donating books to desperately needy LA public school libraries for 10 years. LAUSD Central Library Services says she should limit the number of books that are donated (to 300 per school), as “cataloguing” costs them $18 per book.

    The LAUSD is a top heavy institution that favors the few (downtown) over the many (teachers and children). As we have seen with the recent collapse of Wall Street, and the American people taking back the US government, this top heavy system is not impenetrable, even though it operates as if it is. The time is ripe for the many to take on the few.

  2. Angel says:

    During my son’s LAUSD tenure, several of his teachers became Open Court trainers or moved to Beaudry to work in a variety of divisions. Only one dad I know moved from downtown back to a classroom.

    All this time, enrollment is decreasing, and yet we have more and more “experts” to guide us.

    With the incredible looming budget cuts, I’m eager to see this turn into the tipping point for LAUSD.

  3. Sandra says:

    While the LAUSD Superintendent makes $300,000 a year, the Vice President of the United States makes $221,000. The Speaker of the House makes $217,000 and US house and senate members make $169,000 (local LAUSD superintendents make $156,000-171,000). The highest paid LAUSD administrators make more than the people who run the entire country. And for WHAT?

  4. sandratloh says:

    Burning Mom Spike Dolomite Ward is actually reading the 250 page long LAUSD school board guide, and apparently is sick to her stomach and wants to puke. Says Spike, “What a horrible, disgusting mess LAUSD is.”

    Here’s a little nugget she reports from page 90–her working title “Let’s go work for the LAUSD!”:

    “Whenever it is determined by the Elementary District Assistant Superintendent or
    Division Head that an employee’s average monthly mileage reimbursement over the
    period of a school year is likely to reach $70 or more, the Elementary District Assistant
    Superintendent or Division Head may recommend to the Superintendent of Schools that
    the Los Angeles Unified School District furnish a vehicle for the employee’s use while
    performing his or her assigned duties.”

  5. MizzB says:

    We have to take the system back! We can’t abandon it to the bureaucrats any longer. We just passed a bond for up to $7,000,000,000 which, according to the LA Weekly, will cost us about $14 billion (including interest) over the next 25 years. LAUSD’s contractors and bureaucrats are probably foaming at the mouth thinking of how to mismanage this money; it was their donations that funded it. The district spent about a million to promote the measure and contractors gave hundreds of thousands more. I’m trying to gather stories about what works and doesn’t work within LAUSD. Please post your edutales, both good and bad, to: http://www.tattleteaching.com/ or email them to mizzb@tattleteaching.com. Thanks!

  6. Angel says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but something struck me as odd tonight.

    I attended a LAUSD Construction Update meeting for a high school being built in my community. After three years or so of these meetings, I feel like I can run them myself.

    But tonight I had an epiphany. Seated among THREE parents were two translators, two community outreach employees, the poor designee from the construction company who was expected to update us, someone from higher up in the construction department and a local district employee. Couldn’t the five or so pictures that assured us there was construction behind that green-tarped cyclone fence–couldn’t those photos have been placed in a PowerPoint presentation or made part of a PDF file and just *emailed* to the parents who sign up for the list, or posted at public places like other local schools, libraries, and city buildings?

    The meeting tonight barely lasted half an hour. Why didn’t LAUSD, at the very least, combine the meeting with the meeting for the local elementary school being built not a few blocks away? All those staff hours: posting arrows literally on every tree to find the auditorium, schlepping equipment back and forth, the mailers to all community members, flyers walked to each house and stuck in fences–why do double duty?

    Certainly, in the beginning, there was a great exchange of information. There was the meeting to determine the need for the school, then suggested locations for the school, and environmental impact reports, and in one case, when a fault was found under one of the sites, the process started over.

    But with the impending budget cuts coming in the next year, in the information age no less, why are we having meetings like this? Does anyone even know http://www.laschools.org exists? I do, and I have to really fight to find things on it when parents ask me about the Granada Hospital high school project or the ones in my neighborhood.

    Is this the best use of school funds to provide community outreach?

  7. Sandra says:

    PS, folks, my new favorite tool! Find out what any LAUSD employee makes. . .

    http://lang.dailynews.com/socal/lausdpayroll/

  8. Keli Mc says:

    Is anyone else pissed off about the $700,000.00 just spent on a freaking LAUSD report card? http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-reportcard12-2009jan12,0,51792.story

    Once again, LAUSD wastes $700,000.00 on expensive consultants, all they had to do was ask parents about their schools grade….EPIC FAIL.

    They’re talking about laying off 2000 teachers at LAUSD, and Cortines approves of a $700,000.00 brochure. Why not just tell parents about the report card and let them download it from the internet…Oh, I know why they rather spend $700,000.00 to mail the brochure, it’s because the freaking link to the download the report cards from the .internet is broken-again. Where is Steve Lopez when you need him.
    Sorry, just had to vent…..
    Kelly Mc

  9. Jami Goldstene says:

    Parents on hunger strike in Florida over education cutbacks

    These Mom’s deserve our support.

    http://www.keyc.com/node/16062

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/breaking-news/story/850787.html

  10. Sharlene Liu says:

    That sounds like a great idea, to have legislation that forces school funds to be spent more wisely. 60% for school administration in LAUSD sounds awfully inefficient. I don’t know what it is in CUSD, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s inefficient as well. One of the problems, I’m finding, is that school districts aren’t held accountable for how they spend their money. For example, we spend $10K/year on ink cartridges in our little elementary school alone! Much of this money could probably be saved if we sent announcements out by email. Another neighboring school district spends $10K/year on color ink jet cartridges — but if they convert to B/W printing, that would save a lot of money. These are small examples from my neck of the woods, but it just goes to show that schools aren’t always keeping track of the budget like they should. They need to do that before asking the public for more money. We need some corporate management for schools.

  11. sandratloh says:

    Interesting Washington Post piece–

    Well-connected parents in DC use the Internet to improve their school district:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/29/AR2009012904176.html?sid=ST2009012904412&s_pos=

    If we linked many such parent movements in many such cities, we could pull public education into the 21st century (and in fact benefit ALL children). .

  12. Leslie says:

    This District needs to be broken up with the sledgehammer of outraged parents! It’s too big, too wasteful, too unaccountable. Please contribute not only your thoughts, but actionable ideas on how to start this movement!
    I know the idea has been under discussion for years, and maybe a mutiny was attempted…..with no success. Time for heavy-duty Googling and investigative reporting…

  13. Betsy Lawlor says:

    So — just who are The Burning Moms anyway? A bunch of us from the first rally, gathered together by Sandra, brainstormed the following “Burning Momifesto.”

    (1) Who are we?

    The Burning Moms are a grassroots revolution of parents empowering other parents (yes, including dads). An inclusive network of politically minded parents who care, we are tired of selling snickerdoodles and brownies to fund school programs. We welcome partnership with the PTA and other parents’ groups, but maintain our independent flavor.

    (2) What will we be rallying for? (Tuesday, June 23, 2009; http://www.californiachildrensrally.com)

    · Our kids

    o Providing a fun, celebratory, upbeat, kid-friendly rally

    o Organizing an educational field trip about California history and citizenship

    o Teaching our kids early that government is THEIRS, and they have a right to have their thoughts heard!

    · Our schools

    o Making school reform less scary

    o Working with teachers and principals for positive change

    o Starting in the classroom and including gardens and cafeterias

    · Our districts

    o Mobilizing more burning families to take to the streets

    o Helping cut through red tape

    o Educating each other about school choices and alternatives

    · Our state

    o Teaching families how to contact and talk to our legislators

    o Influencing the budget to reduce the impact of the current financial crisis on schools

    o Implementing legislation so that all public schools can be better funded on a long-term basis

  14. Angel says:

    Cool, you guys moved it. I got Jury Duty in April and I was getting a little peeved.

  15. Rachel Lederman says:

    So, do you want to try to make this really big and if so, what are we asking for? People will say, there’s no money.
    here’s one response — in addition to repealing or reforming Prop 13: reduce prison spending. Did you know that while public schools, higher education, and public health face the deepest cuts ever, CA prison spending – more than 10% of the state budget – has not been cut! In fact, the state is continuing with its plan for the biggest prison expansion in history to the tune of $12.4 billion for construction alone – even though the federal court has ruled that building more prisons will not be effective and has ordered the state to implement early release which would save hundreds of millions of dollars without compromising public safety??
    i got this information from Californians United for a Responsible Budget – curbprisonspending.org – there are several fact sheets on this web site.
    I think that reducing prison spending as well as reforming Prop 13 could be part of some broader demands about how California’s budget priorities could be turned to children’s needs and this might help bring more people and groups from all over the state to the rally. (i am in san francisco)

  16. Angel says:

    Sandra does it again!

    As the cover story in the San Fernando Sun, Sandra exposes the Burning Moms to the east side of the SFV. Article appears here: http://www.sanfernandosun.com/sanfernsun/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3395&Itemid=2

  17. Durbarribly says:

    Solid site: hope to definitely visit again…

  18. Lisa Greer-Blumberg says:

    Dear Magnet Yenta:

    First things first: A heartfelt and enthusiastic salute to all of the no-doubt tired, over-extended (and very funny) parents working behind the activities and activism reported here on this website.

    Do you envision a place within th Burning Mom tent for reform-minded
    IEP mavens whose children, as a result of their “special needs”, fall within the parameters of the federal and state special education laws? Has this been thought about at all?

    Respectfully,

    Lisa

  19. Angel says:

    Hi Lisa, and welcome!

    I’m also active over at GreatSchools Parent Community, and they have a very active LD community (that came over . When we do get a question outside of my area of expertise, I ask them for help. If you have expertise to offer on any posted questions, please feel free to respond to those asking. We can always use a few more experts!

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