Robert D. Skeels is a social justice writer, public education advocate, and immigrant rights activist. He lives, works, writes, and organizes in Los Angeles with his wife. Robert is a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a proud member of Veterans for Peace. He attended Glendale Community College and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), majoring in Classical Civilization. Robert is a committed member of Coalition for Educational Justice, Public Education & Social Justice Advocacy, The Southern California Immigration Coalition, and the Trinational Coalition To Defend Public Education. In addition to advancing working class struggles, Robert is an adherent of Liberation Theology. He devotes much time towards volunteer work for 12 step, church, and homeless advocacy. Robert’s articles and essays have appeared in publications including Schools Matter, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Daily Censored, Echo Park Patch, and The Los Angeles Daily News.
Statement of Principles
I stand for:
I vehemently oppose
- Fully funded public schools with elected school boards
- Small class sizes
- Dual language immersion
- Free voluntary reading and ample access to libraries
- Project based learning and respect for vocational education
- Culturally relevant curriculum, ethic studies, and liberation pedagogy
- Arts, music, and literature
- Schools encouraging community and parental collaboration
- Professional, experienced educators with the right to collective bargaining
- Privatization via charters and vouchers
- Standardized tests being used for high stakes decisions
- A singular focus on testing leading to a narrowing of curricula and elimination of electives
- Segregation by race, class, and ethnicity
- Discrimination against students with special needs or disabilities
- Alternate teaching certifications that lead to inexperienced and unqualified instructors
- Unproven methodologies and programs being imposed on districts
- No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core State Standards
- Profiteering in the name of "helping kids"
I taught Catechism (CCD) for roughly 14 years. Two years as an assistant at Holy Family in Glendale, and twelve years at St. Teresa of Avila in Echo Parque. While teaching CCD hardly compares to actual teaching, it required lesson planning, classroom management, correcting assignments, etc. The experience gave me an incredibly deep respect for schoolteachers. After all, I was teaching just an hour and a half once a week, while they were doing it all day, every day. I struggled with class sizes of more than 12. I know LAUSD teachers with classes of 30 plus students.
When the corporate reformers mock and degrade teachers, it's because they've never had to teach.
For the past fifteen years I've put in an average of 10-12 hours a week volunteering at a recovery center for inner city men. Part of that volunteer work includes teaching literacy and other skills.
When time permits.