Day 152  Saturday, January 30, 2010 “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” Today is Day 152 of my time remaining at FremontHigh School.


Friday, we had a productive, but depressing workshop: “How to Transfer,” hosted by Chris and Josh from UTLA. Productive because we had over seventy faculty and staff in attendance, so obviously there was interest rather than the shell-shocked apathy we were immersed in during December.  Productive because if we actually wanted to leave the Mont (calling it FHS has never really worked, like assigning a nickname that doesn’t fit and insisting upon using it) we could see how to.


Depressing in other ways. Depressing because the subject was about leaving. It’s funny how we talk about doing it, about strategies like not reapplying, of signing petitions or pledges not to do so, then the inevitable that comes with such gestures.


“I don’t want to leave.” Picture a whining voice in your ear. “I want to stay here…” Yeah, guess what? We all do (well, mostly). A number of us envisioned finishing out our careers here at the Mont, but Superintendent Cortines would have it otherwise in his grand publicity stunt. Yes, Dr. McKenna (III, in case you need to figure out which one) “encourages” us to all “reapply,” if you were at Tuesday’s meeting. Does it actually make sense to ask us all to reapply if having us all together is such a bad thing for Fremont? Oh, wait, I remember… “Just because it doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean it’s not logical.” Yes, Mr. Balderas also is asking us to reapply. Can you blame him? What might look like a dream-come-true for a principal—hand-picking your faculty—is really a nightmare, with a bunch of us with experience saying, “Okay, pick a school for me, since I suck so bad and have no idea what I’m doing.” My sister is an M.D. and she likens having the majority of experienced people leaving to staffing a hospital with interns and medical students; sometimes experience matters.


“I’m not worried. I’m so good I know they have to hire me back.  Only the bad teachers have to worry.” Assuming you are re-hired, under what working conditions will that be? Dr. McKenna says that it’s “a work in progress, subject to revision.” So you want to sign on, while the “contract/compact” is under revision? If so, can I get you to sign a blank check for me? Won’t you already be committed to working here and THEN you find out what the conditions are? What do plan to do then—leave? We need to know what the conditions are—and one of the conditions is that WE stay. (I think I’m channeling Lee Marvin in The Dirty Dozen—“This is one time we’re going all the way with the Army’s starting line-up?” “Even Maggot?”  “Even Maggot.”)


If we are all being encouraged—no, begged—to remain, then we cannot be the problem. But if we are not the problem, then why the wholesale forced exodus, why the Trail of Tears, why the Stalinesque deportation to an educational Siberian gulag? Dr. McKenna, you need to stick to one story. If we’re being removed from Fremont because we have created a “culture of failure,” then why are we being encouraged by you to reapply? Why has it become so important for us—teachers, counselors, clerical staff, food services, security, school police, custodial, and assistant principals—to reapply?

Day 152 “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” was previously reposted:

By Anthony Cody at


And Education Notes Online reposted Day 152:



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    Chuck Olynyk is a Social Studies teacher who saw the effects of reconstitution upon John C. Fremont High in Los Angeles. These are reposting of his original blogs from the Save Fremont website.


    August 2010



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