Sunday, February 07, 2016

Good grief, Campbell Brown!



4LAKids: Sunday 7•Feb•2016 Super Bowl•101SlowJam
In This Issue:
 •  WHO'S REALLY BEHIND CAMPBELL BROWN'S SNEAKY EDUCATION OUTFIT?
 •  20th STREET ELEMENTARY PARENTS GATHER 'PARENT TRIGGER' SIGNATURES A SECOND TIME AFTER LAUSD DOESN’T MAKE CHANGES
 •  THE BIG (D)EASY: A GOOD REASON TO NOT GO TO NEW ORLEANS JUST IN TIME FOR MARDI GRAS!
 •  SUPER QUIZ A BATTLE ROYAL: Academic decathlon Super Quiz is a sport unto itself — with the fans to prove it
 •  HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  What can YOU do?


Featured Links:
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 •  4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
 •  4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
The big LAUSD news this week is about a blog. Not this one. It’s about LA School Report.

LASR founder Jamie Alter Lynton claims LASR is NOT a blog, it’s an online news site. (4LAKids in not a blog either – it’s The New York Times. Only it’s just online. And it’s about public education in general and LAUSD in particular.) JAL also claims that LASR is nonpartisan and independent.

• First: Anything that advertises itself as non-partisan is in all probability: Partisan.
• Second: A “partisan” is a member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation by some kind of insurgent activity. Therefore+consequently a “non-partisan” is: A foreign power or an army of occupation.
• And Third: LASR is dependent on Jamie Lynton writing the checks to the reporters and whatnot – much like the LA Times is dependent on various foundations funded by the Broad Foundation to fund their Education Matters Initiative. Or whoever’s initiative Education Matters is.

This week, Campbell Brown and her non-partisan+independent news site (The 76 Million) took over writing the checks at LASR. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself; let’s go back to the beginning!


JAMIE ALTER LYNTON
was (the past tense is from her LASR bio | http://bit.ly/1KxifXT) a journalist and television news producer and executive for 15 years in her early career, working at CNN, CBS and CNBC. She served as a VP and LA Bureau Chief of Court TV, and managed its educational division.

Her mother was the first woman elected official in Chicago history. Her brother Jonathan Alter is a cable news pundit/charter school proponent and was a featured talking head/public education disdainer in “Waiting for Superman.” Her husband Michael Lynton, former chairman of Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group, is the CEO of Sony Pictures. Other relatives are ambassadors and political appointees as becomes well-connected alumni of All the Right (private) Schools.

Lynton started+bankrolled LA School Report in 2012 to “help inform the public about the inner-workings of the Los Angeles Unified school district” as “a news site whose first goal would be to demystify the inner workings of public education”.

There were ethical missteps. Lynton supposedly came to the fray to expose school board campaign spending and abuses – and then contributed substantial campaign donations to the Community Coalition – the political action committee which supported pro-®eform agenda candidates. She hired a decidedly partisan editor, Alexander Russo …but then parted with him over internal (Lynton v. Russo) politics.

Lynton brought Michael Janofsky, a veteran of the New York Times, onboard at LASR as executive editor – and the bias+partisanship eased …though it never went away.

Lynton was close to then Superintendent Deasy – she served on the LA Fund Deasy’s “Robin Hood” fundraising board; LASR supported Deasy’s initiatives and tenure - and LASR benefited from insider information and access.

(Ironically, the North Korean hack of the Sony e-mails produced intriguing evidence of Lynton and LASR’s connections to Deasy+Co and $chool ®eform Inc.: Venture capitalist and Alliance Charter Schools board co-chair Antony Ressler, on the District 1 LAUSD School Board Election: “10000 votes for School board race... Crazy that we have a publicly elected school board... This is NOT what democracy is supposed to be. No one in LA cares TR” - e-mail to Jamie Alter Lynton on Jun 5, 2014, at 10:04 PM | WikiLeaks Sony Hack #126221 | http://bit.ly/1L6lxMM)

LA School Report capitalized on Lynton’s Court TV experience and covered the Vergara Trial wall-to-wall with decidedly pro-plaintiff/pro-Deasy reporting.

LASR often crossed the line into good and even excellent reporting; 4LAKids has often re-blogged LASR stories when they got it right, wrong …or occasionally preposterous. When the iPad and MiSiS crises unraveled and Deasy’s doomed superintendency inevitably imploded LASR was in there digging for the story – sometimes breaking news ahead of The Times and KPCC. By the time of the Jefferson High School/Cruz v. CA Fiasco (and the junket to Korea) LASR was asking for Deasy’s head.

Once Deasy was gone Jamie Lynton’s interest in LAUSD waned. The Hollywood Reporter reported last February that “Sony CEO Michael Lynton, 55, has decided to move to New York and expects to do so shortly. That's motivated partly by wife Jamie's desire to live there…” http://bit.ly/1Jny1m8.

InsidePhilantropy.com reports that “Michael Lynton and his wife Jamie move their philanthropy through the Lynton Foundation. The Lynton Foundation has primarily focused on New York City outfits recently. This is especially noteworthy, given Jamie's interest in LAUSD...” http://bit.ly/1Peeo0R


THEN, LATE LAST SUNDAY EVENING AT 11:01 PM THE FOLLOWING EMAIL CAME FROM LA SCHOOL REPORT EXECUTIVE EDITOR MICHAEL JANOFSKY:


Subject: A change at LA School Report

I apologize for the mass email, but it's the best way to inform all of you a bit of news.

After 2 1/2 years as managing editor, I am no longer working for LA School Report. Its founder has merged it with reform-minded Campbell Brown's The 74, a change that was related to me only a few days ago. As part of the new arrangement, I learned I was removed as editor, with LA School Report and The 74 installing a replacement.

In my time as editor, I've worked closely with many of you, and I want to say how much I've appreciated your professionalism, your collegiality and your willingness to help us understand contentious, controversial and complicated issues affecting LA Unified. As an editor and occasional writer who has worked only for news organizations that favor neither one side of an issue or the other, I always tried my best to steer LA School Report down the middle, keeping it as fair and neutral as possible. I know some of you might disagree, but I am proud of the work we did.

I'm especially indebted to those who were always eager to respond to our questions in a timely manner and to help us understand the issues more deeply. Thank you.

I've learned a great deal from all of you, and I thank you for that, as well.

I wish all of you the best.

Michael Janofsky



BY 9AM MONDAY MORNING FEB 1st THE LA SCHOOL REPORT GUSHED WITH THE BREATHTAKING NEWS:

LA SCHOOL REPORT ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH ED NEWS SITE, THE 74

Posted on February 1, 2016 8:57 am by LA School Report

The 74 and LA School Report – two rapidly growing education news sites – will partner to expand coverage of education in Los Angeles and America’s second-largest school district, the founders of the sites announced today….

::

LA SCHOOL REPORT WELCOMES NEW EXECUTIVE EDITOR LAURA GREANIAS

Posted on February 1, 2016 8:58 am by Laura Greanias

LA School Report didn’t exist when I was an editor at the Los Angeles Times, but I wish it had…..

::

BIG NEWS: FROM LA SCHOOL REPORT FOUNDER JAMIE ALTER LYNTON

Posted on February 1, 2016 9:00 am by Jamie Alter Lynton

Dear Readers:

I am thrilled to announce today a partnership between LA School Report and the online education news site The 74…

::

Almost immediately the LAUSD media universe+blogosphere was overwhelmed with the news – and email boxes and text message folders overflowed with the effluvia of The End of (a small corner of) The World As We Know It.


But wait, you ask, who is THE 74 – when it’s at home…?

ANNOUNCING THE 74 BY CAMPBELL BROWN


June 23, 2015 :: I am excited to announce the launch of a project I’ve been working on for some time now. As profiled in The Wall Street Journal today (Campbell Brown to Launch Non-Profit Education News Site That Won’t Shy From Advocacy - http://on.wsj.com/1Rfzbni0), The Seventy Four, a non-profit, non-partisan news site about education, is now a reality.

There are 74 million children under the age of 18 in the United States. And the unfortunate reality is that for many of these children, the public education system is broken.

Our mission at The Seventy Four is to lead an honest, fact-based conversation about how to give America’s 74 million children the education they deserve.


●●smf: Note the celebrity Cult-of-Personality first person singular pronoun “I”, gone plural/royal: “Our mission…”


…Wait: didn’t Campbell Brown used to be a CNN anchorperson?


Alma Dale Campbell Brown (born June 14, 1968) is an American television news reporter and anchorwoman. She served as co-anchor of the NBC news program Weekend Today from 2003 to 2007, then hosted the series Campbell Brown on CNN from 2008 to 2010. Brown won an Emmy Award as part of the NBC team reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Since 2013 she has served as an education reform and school choice activist. Wikipedia http://bit.ly/1Q2uXjX

Campbell Brown, like Jamie Lynton, went to The Right Schools. She was expelled from the Madeira School, a private, non-denominational college-preparatory boarding school for girls located in McLean, Virginia, for sneaking off campus to go to a party. Her tenure at NBC and CNN was not without controversy; she left under a cloud.

Brown has become an outspoken advocate for school choice and education reform. In June 2013, Brown founded the Parents Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog group on behalf of parents seeking information and accountability from the teachers’ unions and New York Department of Education on actions impacting children in school. Brown has also focused on reforming teacher tenure policies through the judicial system. She wrote a number of op-eds voicing her support for the successful Vergara v. California case in 2014, which overturned California’s teacher tenure, dismissal, and seniority policies. She celebrated Vergara as “A historic victory for America’s kids” and previewed the national ramifications of the ruling, saying, “It would be no surprise to see parents in New York and elsewhere take the cue of the Vergara plaintiffs and take matters into their own hands.”

Brown also serves on the board of Success Academy Charter Schools, a New York City charter school network – enmeshed in its own flavor of Charter-Schools-forcing-out-Special-Education-Students controversy. http://nyti.ms/20gVPw4 | Source: Wikipedia /The74million.org/CampbellBrown.com

MOTHER JONES WROTE: “Before Brown left CNN three years ago, her evening news show carried a memorable tagline: ‘No bias. No bull.’ She can't say the same for her foray into the education wars.” | http://bit.ly/1T5Hcwq


DIANE RAVITCH wrote in her blog: “The LA School Report has long been a partisan supporter of charters, Deasy, Broad, and all other parts of the privatization agenda. Under a new editor, the LA School Report became a neutral source. Now that editor has announced he is leaving because the LA School Report has merged with Campbell Brown’s “The 74.” http://bit.ly/1PHpEo1 And elsewhere: “If people like Campbell Brown really cared about poor kids, they would fight for small class sizes, arts teachers, school nurses, libraries, and improved conditions for teaching and learning. They don’t.” | http://bit.ly/1K5xI1o


LAUSD SCHOOLBOARD PRESIDENT STEVE ZIMMER WROTE, in a self-admittedly inflammatory response to Michael Janofsky’s email:
“It is no accident that Campbell Brown is coming to join Eli Broad in the effort to dismantle LAUSD and eviscerate democratically elected school boards and public sector unions across the nation. Now that the Los Angeles Times education coverage is funded by Broad, Wasserman, and Baxter and that the School Report will now be controlled by Brown and her funders, truth itself as it relates to public education in Los Angeles will be filtered through an orthodox reform lens at every turn. After the Times editorial leadership essentially told me that agenda was as important as accuracy in their coverage of the Board and of the district, I knew we were in a different place. Tonight, I understand that even more.”

In case you missed it, Zimmer wrote: “…the Times editorial leadership essentially told me that (®eform) agenda was as important as accuracy in their coverage of the Board and of the district".

[Zimmer’s email is available+recommended in its entirety here: http://bit.ly/1PHpEo1 ]


The vaunted business-model applied to public-education paradigm has reached a new phase. First there were mom+pop/parent+educator charter school entrepreneurial start-ups. Then there was the franchising and growth-model mass marketing driven by venture capital – leading to corporate model charter management organizations as the MBAdults and hedge funders and KIPP and Green Dot and the Alliance contested market share+return-on-investment. The war for hearts+minds is not being won in the ballot box, let’s head for the courts while we subvert+compromise+buy+pay-for the independent media; whatever that was. The next step is Mergers+Acquisitions and Leveraged Buy Outs, packaging+bundling the privatized +deregulated assets as investment securities. Credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, anyone? Rupert Murdoch says that public education is a $50 billion a year money-making-opportunity.

LA School Report slipping deeper into the quicksand of $chool ®eform Inc. is really not earth shaking; though 4LAKids must note that one of the first stories in the New+Improved LASR was an interview with (former) Mayor Tony. And seeing that Mayor Tony is on my mind, his attraction to television news personalities and the carnal temptation of Ms. Lynton and Ms. Brown cannot go unremarked upon.

Almost immediately after the merger+acquisition of LA School Report by The 74, the new+improved LASR and the LA Times got into a Twitter fight over which one broke the Parent-Trigger-at-20th-Street-Elementary-School story first …because who broke the charter school-news story first IS apparently truly earth shaking in the nonpartisan+independent education media.

The 74 million US schoolchildren, the 9 million California school age kids and the 643,493 LAUSD students are who really matter.

“And if people like Campbell Brown really cared about poor kids, they would fight for small class sizes, arts teachers, school nurses, libraries, and improved conditions for teaching and learning.”

That’s what matters.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf



WHO'S REALLY BEHIND CAMPBELL BROWN'S SNEAKY EDUCATION OUTFIT?
THE FORMER CNN ANCHOR SAYS HER NONPROFIT SEEKS TO PROTECT KIDS FROM PREDATORS IN THE CLASSROOM. ITS REAL AGENDA MAY BE UNION-BUSTING.

By Andy Kroll, Mother Jones | http://bit.ly/1T5Hcwq

Tue Oct. 29, 2013 5:00 AM EDT :: Early one morning in July, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe, pen in hand, notes fanned out in front of her. Viewers might have mistaken her as a fill-in host, but Brown had swung by 30 Rock in her new role as a self-styled education reformer, a crusader against sexual deviants in New York City public schools and the backward unions and bureaucrats getting in the way of firing them. "In many cases, we have teachers who were found guilty of inappropriate touching, sexual banter with kids, who weren't fired from their jobs, who were given very light sentences and sent back to the classroom," Brown, the mother of two young sons, explained.

Brown was there to plug her new venture, the Parents' Transparency Project, a nonprofit "watchdog group" that "favors no party, candidate, or incumbent." Though its larger aim is to "bring transparency" to how contracts are negotiated with teachers' unions, PTP's most prominent campaign is to fix how New York City handles cases of sexual misconduct involving teachers and school employees—namely by giving the city's schools chancellor, a political appointee, ultimate authority in the process.

Shortly after it was launched in June, PTP trained its sights on the New York mayoral race, asking the candidates to pledge to change the firing process for school employees accused of sexual misconduct. When several Democratic candidates declined, perhaps fearing they'd upset organized labor, PTP spent $100,000 on a television attack ad questioning whether six candidates, including Republican Joe Lhota and Democrats Bill de Blasio and Anthony Weiner, had "the guts to stand up to the teachers' unions." The spot stated that there had been 128 cases of sexual misconduct by school employees in the past five years, suggesting that nothing had been done in response. "It's a scandal," the ad's narrator intoned. "And the candidates are silent."

Before founding PTP, Brown raised this issue in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in July 2012. But what she failed to disclose was that her husband, Dan Senor, sits on the board of the New York affiliate of StudentsFirst, an education lobbying group founded by Michelle Rhee, the controversial former Washington, DC, chancellor. Rhee made a name for herself as public enemy No. 1 of the teachers' unions and has become the torchbearer of the charter school movement. In 2012, her "bipartisan grassroots organization" backed 105 candidates in state races, 88 percent of them Republicans. (Senor was also the spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority following the invasion of Iraq and served as a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012.)

Writing in Slate, Brown, a veteran journalist, confessed to being naive about the standards for revealing a potential conflict of interest: "If you live in the overlapping world of politics and media, as I am learning, anything less than full transparency can potentially do you in." She still managed to get in a few digs at the unions. "I failed to disclose," she wrote, "because I stupidly did not connect the teachers' unions' opposition to charter schools to their support for a system that protects teachers who engage in sexual misconduct."

But there is much more about PTP that is less than transparent, including its sources of funding and its overall agenda. As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, PTP may keep its donors' identities secret and spend money in electoral campaigns, so long as political activity doesn't consume the majority of its time and money.

Despite its nonpartisan billing, Brown's nonprofit used Revolution Agency, a Republican consulting firm, to produce the mayoral attack ad. Its partners include Mike Murphy, a well-known pundit and former Romney strategist; Mark Dion, former chief of staff to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.); and Evan Kozlow, former deputy director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. The domain name for PTP's website was registered by two Revolution employees: Jeff Bechdel, Mitt Romney's former Florida spokesman, and Matt Leonardo, who describes himself as "happily in self-imposed exile from advising Republican candidates."

Brown failed to disclose that her husband sits on the board of the New York affiliate of Michelle Rhee's education lobbying group.

Another consulting firm working with Brown's group is Tusk Strategies, which helped launch Rhee's StudentsFirst. Advertising disclosure forms filed by PTP list Tusk's phone number, and a copy of PTP's sexual-misconduct pledge—since scrubbed from its website—identified its author as a Tusk employee. (Tusk and Revolution declined to comment. Brown referred all questions to her PR firm—the same one used by StudentsFirst.)

What about Brown's allegation that the New York schools did nothing about 128 cases of sexual misconduct? It turns out that in 33 of those cases, the employee in question had been fired, the New York Times reported. Many of the others were disciplined.

Brown's group paints the unions as the main obstacles to a crackdown on predators. Yet Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, says that the union's New York City chapter already has a zero-tolerance policy in its contract, and that AFT only protects its members against "false allegations." New York state law also mandates that any teacher convicted of a sex crime be automatically fired. It is the law, not union contracts, that requires that an independent arbitrator hear and mete out punishment in cases of sexual misconduct that fall outside criminal law. The quickest route to changing that policy may be lobbying lawmakers in Albany, not hammering teachers and their unions.

Before Brown left CNN three years ago, her evening news show carried a memorable tagline: "No bias. No bull." She can't say the same for her foray into the education wars.


The Seventy Four, founded by controversial advocate, takes over LA School Report - LA Times



20th STREET ELEMENTARY PARENTS GATHER 'PARENT TRIGGER' SIGNATURES A SECOND TIME AFTER LAUSD DOESN’T MAKE CHANGES
By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | KPCC 89.3 | http://bit.ly/20CrVYJ

February 3, 2016 :: Saying they're fed up by the slow pace of change, parents at a southeast Los Angeles elementary school have gathered signatures for "parent trigger" petitions for the second time to force the Los Angeles Unified School District to turn the campus over to a charter school operator.

It's the first time that California's parent trigger law has been used as a tool to force change twice at the same school. The law, which was passed in 2010, compels school districts to carry out a major overhaul of a campus – including turning over to an outside operator – if a majority of parents seek the change.

Parents at 20th St. Elementary School first organized in 2014, but decided not to formally submit their petition when LAUSD administrators proposed an improvement plan that included promises to improve the administration of the school, provide teachers with professional development, and use data to measure teaching and learning.

“They said, ‘don’t turn them in; let’s drop the plan. Let’s see how we can all work together and make changes,'” said Lupe Aragon, whose daughter attends fourth grade at 20th St. Elementary.

During the last round of state testing*, just 19 percent of the school's students met standards in English and 20 percent met standards in math. Aragon said she and other parents had been frustrated by the school's continued low-performance and lack of rigor displayed in her daughter's and other student's course work.

“She was taking home math problems that were basically for first and second graders, additions that were only one digit,” Aragon said.

Now, 20th St. Elementary parents – along with the activist group that helped craft the law and has worked to organize parents at schools around the state – argue that the district has failed to fulfill any of the improvement plan's commitments.

“Parents basically felt like once they took the pressure off the system that the petitions represented, the system went right back to ignoring them,” said Seth Litt, executive director of the activist group, Parent Revolution.

In particular, the parents submitting the petition allege that LAUSD has failed to appoint a new principal with a strong track record on school improvement and to provide the training to school staff that it had promised.

LAUSD officials would not comment on the petition other than to say school district administrators are reviewing the documents.

The petition, which was submitted to LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King earlier this week, contains signatures from families of 58 percent of the students in the school.

Now it’s up to L.A. Unified to verify the signatures. Once that’s done it’ll be up to the board to approve a charter school operator.

Since the parent trigger law went into effect in 2010, Parent Revolution says that petitions have been submitted to force change in schools in six California schools, including three in Los Angeles. Threat of parent trigger petitions have also been used as a bargaining tool to promote changes in an additional five schools, including the first attempt at 20th St. Elementary.


* smf: There has been no state testing with scores that count for over two years; the Parent Trigger Law requires timely state testing to identify candidate schools.


THE BIG (D)EASY: A GOOD REASON TO NOT GO TO NEW ORLEANS JUST IN TIME FOR MARDI GRAS!
The 2016 NCCEP (National Council for Community and Education Partnerships)/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop (CBW) took place January 31-February 3, 2016 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The CBW is a distinctly different learning opportunity from the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference. The CBW is where grantees roll up their sleeves and have extended conversations with experts in the field and their peers about how to advance the cause of college access and success.

From the CBW program:

▲EXCEL Workshop E5: PRINCIPALS OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Gain the Knowledge and Skills to Guide Effective Change Management Strategies That Will Improve Outcomes for Your Organization
• Speakers: John Deasy, Superintendent-in-Residence, The Broad Academy
• Christina Heitz, Managing Director, The Broad Academy
Overview: Managing change is one of the most complex tasks of a leader. GEAR UP practitioners who seek to drive improvements in their programs often face resistance to change. This resistance is an entirely normal reaction. People value their current reality and the habits that reinforce it for many good reasons. Because change implies loss, discomfort, and distress,

GEAR UP practitioners must effectively manage others’ desire to hold on to the familiar and to be exempt from change. In this interactive skills session, participants will explore means of establishing credibility as a change leader, investing others in the purpose of a change, and building a clear vision of the unfamiliar destination that we are leading others towards.

Objectives: In this workshop you will:
• Gain an understanding of the success factors of change management.
• Learn how to make a persuasive case for change and engage key stakeholders.
• Engage in best practices in leading change.

●● A 4LAKids correspondent emailed these two cents worth from the conference:
Fri, Feb 5, 2016 2:48 pm :: REPORT FROM THE US DOE GEAR UP CONFERENCE FOR SUPERINTENDENTS IN NEW ORLEANS THIS WEEK:

College Board, Obama, branding social justice with Common Core, testing, etc. …and Deasy was the leader and the "expert". Broad people introducing Deasy to Supes.

• All of the "great American schools" are charter
• LAUSD is the leader in social justice
• Yesterday Deasy led supes in professional development on the nine steps of educational reform
• data data data Deasy was analyzing poetry by numbers.


SUPER QUIZ A BATTLE ROYAL: Academic decathlon Super Quiz is a sport unto itself — with the fans to prove it
by Sonali Kohli | LA Times |http://lat.ms/1K6AUdp

Feb 7, 2016 :: The fans from Van Nuys High School craned their necks, team members' names scrawled across their faces, looking for their fellow students.

As the team started filing in, the two rows of students in the bleachers waved signs and chanted the coach's name: "Abreu! Abreu! Abreu!"

They were cheering for their school's academic decathlon team.

Los Angeles Unified School District schools completed the annual decathlon Saturday with the game show-style Super Quiz event at the Roybal Learning Center downtown. It's the only event that allowed an audience. And they came out in full force, with hundreds of parents, students and school officials filling the gymnasium's bleachers.

Angel Abreu, a Van Nuys High history teacher and the school's decathlon coach since 1989, offered his students extra credit to attend the competition's grand finale, the Super Quiz. They were surrounded by teachers, principals and teachers from 58 participating schools.

The Super Quiz consists of three rounds of 12 questions — during each round, three students from each team sat huddled in folding chairs on the gym floor, knees touching, Scantron test forms balanced on their laps. The students had 10 seconds after the announcer read a question to talk to one other and mark an answer. Up to two right answers could be counted for each team.

As announcer and former KTLA news anchor Emmett Miller read the answers after each question, the proctors sitting with each team raised signs to show how many of the students had correct answers, and the crowd erupted in cheers and whoops.

"May I beseech you, please, to keep your voices down," Miller said at one point.

Sometimes it was so loud even during the questions that students from Cleveland Charter High School used sign language to tell each other which answer letter to choose, team captain Mariana Castellanos said.

A number of competitors were also athletes, but some students and parents said Saturday's crowd outdid the fans at their games.

"It was very exciting, yeah, it's kind of like a sport," said Melania Gomez, whose son Jorge competed for Bell High School.

Granada Hills Charter High School, the defending national decathlon champions, unofficially won the L.A. Unified Super Quiz with a perfect score of 72. Some say Saturday's quiz is a good indication of who will place in the overall competition, even though it's a relatively small portion of the entire score.

The winners of the competition will be announced officially Friday, and teams with the highest overall scores will advance to the statewide competition.

The decathlon consists of seven multiple-choice tests plus three "subjective" tests — a speech, interview and essay — and finally the Super Quiz.

Every year the decathlon has a theme running through the subjects — art, economics, literature, math, music, science and social science. Super Quiz asks questions in all those areas except math.

Last year's theme was energy; this year's is India.

Joshua Silva and Jordan Silva (no relation), both seniors at West Adams Preparatory High School, said they didn't know much about India before they started studying over the summer. Joshua knows the colonial history of the country, but became more familiar with spicy foods at the decathlon lunch practices, which happened often, he said.

Students at other schools said they learned the music — not just the Bollywood songs known to some Americans, but classical music whose patterns they had to learn for the tests.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
JAN. 2015 REVENUES: INCOME TAXES MODESTLY UNDER PROJECTIONS http://lao.ca.gov/LAOEconTax/Article/Detail/168

SCHOOL BUDGET HEADS UP! LAO: California revenue dips, possible sign of ‘revenue deterioration’ to come http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article58276623.html

AT LONG LAST, PUBLIC EDUCATION ENTERS THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES! - TED CRUZ: "When Heidi's first lady, the French fries are coming back to the cafeteria!" http://bzfd.it/1Prq55I .

Subject: A CHANGE AT LA SCHOOL REPORT http://bit.ly/2038lza


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Tuesday morning, February 9, 2016 - 10:00 a.m. - REGULAR BOARD MEETING - INCLUDING CLOSED SESSION Items

Tuesday morning, February 9, 2016 - 1:00 p.m. - REGULAR BOARD MEETING

*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
• SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:
http://www.laschools.org/bond/
Phone: 213-241-5183
____________________________________________________
• LAUSD FACILITIES COMMUNITY OUTREACH CALENDAR:
http://www.laschools.org/happenings/
Phone: 213-241.8700


• LAUSD BOARD OF EDUCATION & COMMITTEES MEETING CALENDAR



What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member:
Scott.Schmerelson@lausd.net • 213-241-8333
Monica.Garcia@lausd.net • 213-241-6180
Ref.Rodriguez@lausd.net • 213-241-5555
George.McKenna@lausd.net • 213-241-6382
Monica.Ratliff@lausd.net • 213-241-6388
Richard.Vladovic@lausd.net • 213-241-6385
Steve.Zimmer@lausd.net • 213-241-6387
...or the Superintendent:
superintendent@lausd.net • 213-241-7000
...or your city councilperson, mayor, county supervisor, state legislator, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: http://bit.ly/dqFdq2 • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at mayor@lacity.org • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail: http://www.govmail.ca.gov/
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.
• Speak with your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Stay on top of education issues. Don't take my word for it!
• Get involved at your neighborhood school. Volunteer in the classroom. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child - and ultimately: For all children.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE at http://registertovote.ca.gov/
• If you are registered, VOTE LIKE THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT. THEY DO!


Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?




Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and was Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and has represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for over 13 years. He currently serves as Vice President for Health, is a Legislation Action Committee member and a member of the Board of Directors of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT "WHO" Gold Award and the ACSA Regional Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award - honors he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
• FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 4LAKids makes such material available in an effort to advance understanding of education issues vital to parents, teachers, students and community members in a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gauchos; My favorite Girl Scout cookies



4LAKids: Sunday 31•Jan•2016
In This Issue:
 •  MAGNET SCHOOLS: No longer famous, but still intact
 •  FROM L.A. UNIFIED TEACHER TO SUPERINTENDENT: Who is the real Michelle King?
 •  CALIFORNIA LAWSUIT APPEAL PURSUES CLAIM OF INADEQUATE EDUCATION FUNDING
 •  LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT GETS PERFECT SCORE ON AP CALCULUS EXAM -- 1 OF 12 IN THE WORLD TO DO SO
 •  HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  What can YOU do?


Featured Links:
 •  ► Friends4smf :: The GoFundMe campaign
 •  Follow 4 LAKids on Twitter - or get instant updates via text message by texting
 •  4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
 •  4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
When some loud braggart tries to put me down
And says his school is great
I tell him right away
"Now what's the matter buddy
Ain't you heard of my school?
…It's number one in the state!"


Congratulations to the student-athletes of Narbonne High School football team for winning the 2015 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division 1-A State Football Championship.

Narbonne High Wins Historic CIF State Football Title | http://bit.ly/1m21RDd

This is the first time that a school from LAUSD has won the state title in the 99-year history of the CIF. Congratulations also go to head coach Manuel Douglas , his coaching staff, principal Gerald Kobata, and the outstanding seniors on the team who are – every-last-one-of-‘em – going on to community colleges or universities, many on full scholarships. Congratulations also to all the students and faculty and Narbonne alumni. You are champions all – and Gauchos forever!


And introducing a new subject without changing it: It is Girl Scout Cookie Season!

I was at the School Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, minding everybody else’s business, when the Narbonne football team was honored for their state championship and student athleticism.

There was a presentation on the Governor’s Proposed Budget+Legislative Agenda - http://bit.ly/1PZIEtZ - …and the usual Oliver Twistian “Please, sir, can LAUSD have some more?” commentary. LAUSD’s own Washington DC lobbyist gave a presentation on Federal Legislation+Budget - http://bit.ly/1Qy82JW - and here an interesting development developed.

It seems that the feds have allocated a sizeable ($80 million) budget increase to Charter Schools… and a not-so-sizeable one ($5 million) to Magnet Schools.

Why, pray tell, School Boardmember Schmerelson asked, did charters get a bunch and magnets only get a little?

Well, Joel Packer (the LAUSD lobbyist), said, The National Charter School Association has more and more-effective lobbyists in Washington than the Magnet School Association.

Here I looked up from answering emails and shopping for slippers at Zappos: A D.C. lobbyist was arguing that some D.C. lobbyists are more successful/better funded/better connected than others? The playing field in the lobbies of Congress and corridors of power is not level?

I Was Shocked! – believing as I do that democracy+fair play are as universally clung to as expense account lunches, Georgetown cocktail parties, tasseled loafers and Air Force One cufflinks among the K Street crowd.

But to my surprise, the astonishment among the board of education was not that charter school association lobbyists were more successful than magnet association lobbyists – their surprise was that there is a magnet school association – and that they and/or LAUSD is not represented on-or-by it.

“We love our magnet schools!” It was argued by the board and by Superintendent Michelle King that LAUSD Magnet schools/centers outperform their host counterparts, other LAUSD schools and charter schools.

• In the most recent English-Language Arts (ELA) Smarter Balance Assessment, 65 percent of Magnets scored higher than the state average.
• On the Math assessment, 56 percent of Magnets scored higher than the state average.
• Currently, over 67,000 students attend one of LAUSD’s 198 Magnet programs.
• If LAUSD’s Magnet program were its own district, it would rank as the 54th largest school district in the nation and 5th largest in the state …larger than the Detroit or Boston or San Francisco School Districts.

Gentle reader, the above data+results prove LAUSD’s Magnet Program’s popular acceptance+success …and we are data-driven+outcome-oriented, right?

Except all those data and results and facts and outcomes are meaningless against the claims trump(eted) by Charters. (And like The Donald, charter schools dominate the conversation even when they are not in the room!) They frame the discussion; they must be better! They have the brand: They are Charter Schools. To return to the musical wisdom of Brian Wilson and Mike Love: “Rah rah rah rah sis boom bah!” They have more+better+better-paid lobbyists. They are louder. Their volume knob goes to eleven.
When I'm drivin' in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He's tellin' me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination…

When I'm watchin' my T.V.
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke
The same cigarettes as me


LIBRARY AMNESTY: From February 1 – 14, 2016, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) will welcome back its overdue books and the people who love them. During these two weeks only, you can return overdue materials to any of the 73 libraries and LAPL will forgive your past and present fines. Your record will be cleared and you can use your library card again. LAPL Misses You - FAQ | Los Angeles Public Library http://bit.ly/20zMGR9


The L.A. Times, in its newest profile of new superintendent Michelle King, (From L.A. Unified teacher to superintendent: Who is the real Michelle King? - follows) seems to imply in the lead paragraphs that King’s elevation is a victory for Beaudry insiders and District staff.

In other words: The Bureaucrats Won …and of course, bureaucrats in the Times and Eli Broad’s thinking, are champions of the status quo and enemies of disruptive ®eform.

I don’t agree – though I can understand how insiders and outsiders alike might see it that way. I certainly understand the bureaucrats feel relief that John Deasy – an attack dog who didn’t believe anything worth replicating happened before his arrival on the scene – and Ray Cortines, who in his first two iterations at LAUSD was occupied with budget-cutting and rightsizing – are behind us.

(Ray v.3.0 was about damage control; he excelled at that!)

Bureaucrats are essential in an organization – a bureaucracy – as large as LAUSD; they are both the glue and lubrication that keep the moving parts functioning together. The collective noun, or Term of Venery (think a Pride of Lions or a Murder of Crows) applicable here is a Necessity of Bureaucrats.

Michelle King has been a kindergartener and an elementary, middle and high schooler in the District. She was a cheerleader. She has been a teacher’s aide and a teacher and an administrator and a principal. She has been a bureaucrat and a functionary, a cog in the machine – and a thread in the tapestry. She has been an LAUSD parent.

It is too early to know for sure but the hope is that We All Won. She is one of us – We the District – and we have high expectations of her.

To which I add the advice to her and all of us that goes without saying but must be said: “Don’t screw up!”


¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


MAGNET SCHOOLS: No longer famous, but still intact
By CHRISTINE H. ROSSELL - from Education Next | Spring 2005 / Vol. 5, No. 2| http://bit.ly/23z24zT
●●smf: Sometimes the news isn't necessarily new ...this from ten years ago

The year was 1968. Martin Luther King had been assassinated, and American cities were erupting in flames because of King’s violent death and the decades-long smoldering resentments from racism. In a small city far away from the churning ghettos of Detroit and D.C., a small public school was about to enter the racial hubbub and become part of education history.

That fall, McCarver Elementary in Tacoma, Washington, hung out its shingle inviting students from anywhere in the city to enroll, breaking the link between school assignments and residential location and becoming the nation’s first “magnet” school. Thus began a nationwide experiment to integrate public schools using market-like incentives instead of court orders. (See sidebar, “In the Beginning.” http://bit.ly/23z24zT)

The following year, 1969, the country’s second magnet school opened–this one, more appropriately, in Boston, soon to be an epicenter of the race-based school wars. But, like its West Coast counterpart, the William Monroe Trotter School, in Beantown’s poor Roxbury section, was built as “a showcase for new methods of teaching”–enough of a showcase, it was hoped, to attract white children to a black neighborhood for their schooling. It was an odd idea, but one whose time seemed to have come. Within a decade there would be hundreds of such magnet schools all over the country.

The idea was simple enough: draw white students to predominantly black schools by offering a special education with a focus on a particular aspect of the curriculum, such as performing arts, or Montessori, or advanced math, science, and technology. Federal and state agencies, anxious to avoid the growing messiness of coercive integration measures like forced busing, directed new resources toward these magnets, encouraging their pioneering academic programs and giving grants for new facilities. Glossy brochures were mailed to parents and press releases to local media. The hope was that these well-funded, themed schools would ignite a passion for learning as well as spark a movement to voluntarily integrate schools.

The names alone give a sense of the new schools’ range and optimism–the Thomas Pullham Creative and Performing Arts magnet (in Prince George’s County, Maryland), the Copley Square International High magnet (in Boston), the School 59 Science magnet (also called the “Zoo School,” in Buffalo), the Greenfield Montessori magnet school (in Milwaukee), the Central High School Classical Greek/Computers Unlimited magnet high school (in Kansas City). Even older and well-established “examination schools,” such as Boston Latin and City Honors (in Buffalo), would soon claim magnet status to avail themselves of new students and additional funds.

AN EARLY EXPERIMENT IN “CHOICE”

The first magnets appeared as the school desegregation battles were heating up. In 1969, the year William Monroe Trotter opened in Boston, a federal court ordered the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district in North Carolina to use busing to desegregate its schools. The use of crosstown busing to accomplish desegregation was unprecedented–and the case went right to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the highly controversial forced integration program in 1971. A federal district court in Boston, paying insufficient attention to the ideals of the Trotter school, introduced a forced busing program in 1974 that set off demonstrations and riots. The court order also prompted the city’s educators to include magnets in their formal, citywide forced busing plan the following year. Thus was born the first “forced busing plan with magnet options.”

Coming as they did, in the midst of several different national desegregation crises, early magnet schools offered a relatively uncontroversial–and peaceful–means of integrating schools. And the magnet movement got an early boost from two federal district court decisions in 1976, in the aftermath of the discord in Charlotte and Boston. In approving magnet-driven, voluntary desegregation programs in Buffalo and Milwaukee, the courts seemed more than willing to accept reasonable alternatives to the forced dissolution of geography-based school assignments.

Though it was another decade before the first southern school district (in Savannah) was allowed to desegregate its school system with a voluntary magnet-school plan, the new schools were soon opening almost everywhere–or, at least, everywhere that public school systems needed to stem the white-flight resegregation that was overtaking many urban school districts, mostly in the North. By 1981, there were some 1,000 such magnet schools in the United States; by 1991, there were over 2,400. (See Figure 1/ http://bit.ly/23z24zT)

These new schools proved to be a remarkably robust and popular trend in school choice. In a study I undertook in 1989, I found that 12 percent of the elementary and middle school magnet programs in my sample specialized in basic skills and/or individualized teaching; 11 percent offered foreign language immersion; 11 percent were science-, math-, or computer-oriented; 10 percent catered to the gifted and talented and 10 percent to the creative and performing arts; 8 percent were traditional, back-to-basics programs (demanding, for instance, dress codes and contracts with parents for supervision of homework); 7 percent were college preparatory; 7 percent were early childhood and Montessori. (The remaining preferences, each under 7 percent, included multicultural/international, life skills/ careers, and ecology/environment.) At the high school level, the programs tended to be either career-oriented (medical careers, law and criminal justice, communications and mass media, hotel and restaurant) or schools with some sort of entrance criteria. The Magnet Schools Association of America, based in Washington, D.C., reports a similar distribution of program themes in today’s magnet schools.

My analyses of the success of these magnets in actually attracting whites indicate that school structure and racial composition was important. Predictably, the most popular magnet school structure was a dedicated magnet, where everyone in the school had chosen it and all were in the magnet program. These “perfect” magnets, however, were the least common, because creating them requires that an entire school be emptied out and children assigned elsewhere or a new school be built. The next most popular magnet structure, and the most common today, is a program-within-a-school. Only students who chose the magnet program are in it, but there is also a neighborhood population assigned to the school that is not in the magnet program. The racial composition of the magnet program is different from the school that houses it and is usually around 50 percent white.

The least-popular magnet structure in black neighborhoods is a “whole-school-attendance-zone” magnet: everyone in the school is in the program, but the school has a neighborhood population assigned to it. That these schools and their magnet programs tend to have a racial composition closer to that of the neighborhood–majority minority–only reduces their attractiveness to whites. However, according to most surveys, although whites prefer majority white schools, a sizable, albeit smaller, number will choose schools where whites make up somewhat less than half of the student body.

STAYING POWER AND AN EVOLVING MISSION

Even as courts across the country began releasing school districts such as Kansas City, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Savannah, Buffalo, and Boston from long-running desegregation orders during the 1990s, magnet schools continued to thrive. My 1991 randomized national sample of 600 school districts indicated that the 2,400 magnet schools in the United States were operating in 229 different school districts.

And it would appear that their ranks continue to swell despite the declining number of districts operating under court-ordered desegregation plans. The directory published by the Magnet Schools Association of America lists more than 3,000 magnet or theme-based schools as members.
With desegregation waning as a public goal, however, magnet schools have maintained support by attaching themselves to the school-choice movement. For instance, the Magnet Schools of America web site now makes a classic choice-based argument on behalf of magnet schools–that being allowed to choose a school will result in improved satisfaction that translates into better achievement. Thus, although proponents of magnet schools have not disavowed the desegregation goal that is the program’s roots, they currently place almost equal emphasis on magnets as instruments of school choice.

One of the reasons for the sustained growth of magnet schools is the federal government’s steady financial support for the idea. Magnet schools were originally funded as tools of desegregation under the Emergency School Assistance Act from 1972 to 1981. In 1981 they were folded into the Chapter 2 block-grant program, but explicit federal support for magnet schools as desegregation tools resumed in 1985 with the authorization of the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP), included in the Education for Economic Security Act. Under the new program, however, magnet schools not only had to aid desegregation, but also had to focus on improving the quality of education in order to qualify for funds. The Magnet Schools Assistance Program still exists, now run by the Office of Innovation and Improvement in the Department of Education, and with the same twin goals of fostering integration and choice.

Funding for magnet schools is also part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, housed in the portion of the law bannered “Promoting Informed Parental Choice and Innovative Programs.” Funding has not kept pace with either inflation or the growth in magnet schools, but neither has it withered away. (See Figure 2/ http://bit.ly/23z24zT) The MSAP appropriation was $75 million in 1984, rose to $108 million in 1994, and remained at $108 million in 2004. Though the program falls under the law’s choice provisions, the federal government still considers magnets an important aspect of desegregation policy, defining a magnet school as one that “offers a special curriculum capable of attracting substantial numbers of students of different racial backgrounds.

THE MONEY BITE

Perhaps the greatest challenge to magnet schools now comes from fiscal constraints at the state level. Where desegregation has become a secondary goal, resource-rich magnet schools are often a target for cuts when money is tight. States such as Missouri, Ohio, and Michigan have challenged court-ordered desegregation plans in order to reduce their financial and legal liability. But even states such as Massachusetts, Maryland, and California that were never parties to a desegregation lawsuit have been cutting funds for magnet schools. The Prince George’s County, Maryland, school district, for example, eliminated magnet programs at 33 schools in the fall of 2004 because of state funding cutbacks. (smf notes: This was before Deasy’s tenure at Prince George’s County schools.) The only theme programs that will be kept are the Montessori, French immersion, and creative and performing arts, and they will no longer be called magnets.

Indeed, there is probably no school district with an extensive system of magnet programs that has not closed at least one or two magnets because of a budget crunch. In fact, many magnets are the victims of their own success: by the 1990s most neighborhood schools had the science labs and computer technology that had once made magnets unique. Even McCarver in Tacoma removed “magnet” from its name in 1998 and, as a result of No Child Left Behind, became a School in Need of Improvement.

Connecticut is an important exception to this trend, but that is because since 1996, the entire state has been under a state supreme court order to desegregate. Using a complicated formula approved by the court, the state funds magnet schools that accept students from several different districts (at a minimum there must be two) at a per-pupil rate that increases as the number of districts sending students increases–an attempt to bring central-city minority students and white suburban students together in the same school. Thus the scheme eschews outright racial quotas, but achieves some of the diversity that quotas would create.

CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE

Though finances will always be a magnet school’s primary concern, the greatest threat to the magnet system going forward is the same as that which gave magnets their early jump-start: the courts. Even the No Child Left Behind Act’s requirement that school districts adopt a voluntary desegregation plan, for instance, may conflict with legal precedents set in most federal appeals courts. In 2001 only the federal appeals court covering the states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont had upheld the use of race in student assignment or magnet school admissions in school districts not already under court order; it did so on the grounds that the state had a compelling interest in racial diversity. But even in that circuit, several school districts and one state (Connecticut) have continued to avoid the use of racial quotas in magnet admissions because they believe using them invites a legal challenge.

The 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing the use of racial quotas at the University of Michigan–but approving the use of race as one of many factors in admissions decisions–has had little impact on magnet schools, mainly because most had already abandoned the use of quotas. And most school districts now recognize that using explicit racial quotas in magnet admissions when desegregation orders have been lifted is risky. When the court-ordered desegregation plan in Prince George’s County was ended in 2002, the superintendent formed a panel of experts on magnet schools that was thought to be politically and ideologically diverse. Our task was to figure out what to do about magnet school admissions criteria.

All of us were in agreement that race could no longer be used in magnet admissions. We devised a plan in which the district was divided into three subdistricts of roughly similar racial and socioeconomic balance. Students, regardless of their race, could choose any magnet school in their subdistrict. We hoped that racially diverse student bodies would result from the individual choices of students, but there was no way to guarantee it. Since then, as noted above, state funding cuts have prompted the district’s administration to dramatically reduce the number of magnet schools, keeping only the most popular. Similar choices are being made in other districts, where some magnets survive while others are being closed.

Districts throughout the country are responding in one of two ways: either adopting a race-blind system of admissions, thus converting the magnet to a themed school of choice; or constructing a system whereby race is only one of several factors considered in admission. The former is more likely to happen in school districts that have very few whites left and in districts that have had strong appeals court opinions rejecting the use of race altogether. The latter is more likely to occur in school districts such as Fort Wayne, Indiana, that have enough whites left to actually integrate a number of magnet schools and where there has been no strong circuit court decision rejecting the use of race.

It is remarkable, perhaps, that despite the reduction in state funding and the elimination of explicit racial quotas, the total number of magnet schools has not declined. I would suggest three reasons for their resilience. First, the great triumph of the civil-rights movement was its success in getting whites to support the principle of racial diversity in the schools. In districts that still have enough whites to make integration feasible, magnet schools are viewed as an effective way to achieve that diversity, even in districts where court orders have been lifted or never existed. Second, magnet schools have been incorporated into the school choice movement as a means of improving achievement and into No Child Left Behind as a way of increasing the opportunities available to children in low-performing schools. Third, parents like school choice. Although undoubtedly there are some who enroll their children in a theme-based school in order to enable them to pursue a passion, most parents are probably interested in theme-based education as a means of igniting a passion. Magnets have thus developed strong constituencies locally and nationally and, for the foreseeable future, remain an important, if less often noticed, feature of the American education landscape.

• Christine Rossell is a professor of political science at Boston University.


●●smf’s 2¢: The LAUSD Magnet program is the legacy of Theodore T. "Ted" Alexander, Jr., for whom the Alexander Science and Math Magnet School in Exposition Park is named. Alexander was responsible for district integration after a 1977 court order required Los Angeles schools to desegregate, a ruling that prompted a citywide fight over mandatory busing.

To help defuse community opposition to busing, Alexander supervised the establishment of magnet schools. The magnet campuses achieved integration by attracting students of all races from across the city with specialized classes that included science, journalism and curricula for the academically gifted.
- from Alexander's LA Times obituary http://lat.ms/20yEXCR


FROM L.A. UNIFIED TEACHER TO SUPERINTENDENT: Who is the real Michelle King?
by Howard Blume | L.A. Times | http://lat.ms/1nUgPwB

Jan 28, 2016 :: At the announcement that Michelle King had been promoted from deputy superintendent to the top leadership position at the huge and troubled Los Angeles Unified School District, the small throng gathered at district headquarters rose to its feet in applause.

The ovation was a "Survivor"-like salute to a member of the tribe. Here was someone who had navigated a high-stakes, politically treacherous enterprise in which, this year alone, 60,000 employees will spend more than $7 billion in taxpayer-supplied money to give 650,000 students a better chance at succeeding in life.

This very district, after all, had educated King since kindergarten. It provided her first job, as a teacher's aide, while she was still at Palisades High School. And for almost 30 years it has provided her livelihood.

Applause, however, doesn't necessarily mean she's the best person for the job.
If there's not much recent public evidence by which to evaluate King's suitability for one of the most important positions in education, it's because 10 years ago the district swallowed King into the upper reaches of its labyrinthine bureaucracy.

In a home movie of her life, that would be the point at which we switch from vibrant color into grainy black and white.

"It is hard to tell who's the real Michelle because she is always so dutiful to her bosses," said one source who requested anonymity. "I can't remember a time when she said: 'This is what I think.' It was always the party line."

King's earlier career provides some insight.

Take, for example, another show of support that came in 2002, when King walked into her first faculty meeting after being promoted from vice principal to principal at Hamilton High in Los Angeles' Palms neighborhood.

"The entire faculty burst into a standing ovation," says retired teacher Shelley Rose. "I've never seen it before or since."

Hamilton, it seems, had been tearing itself apart. The district had set up two magnet schools on the home campus as part of a strategy to lure back white students who had fled public schools. Some staff complained that the combined campus favored the wealthier, whiter magnets.

The staff already had confidence in King. As an assistant principal, she had "bridged all of the factions," says Merle Price, a former deputy superintendent.

As principal, she reassured the magnets that they could remain independent, while also addressing grievances from the neighborhood school, Price says.


She also began to even out class sizes, so that the magnets no longer had far fewer students.

"Michelle united the faculty, boosted morale, and righted the ship almost immediately," says Barry Smolin, an English teacher. "A lot of it had to do with her calm demeanor, her willingness to hear all sides of an issue and make informed decisions based on sometimes conflicting perspectives — and her genuine concern for students and teachers."

One way she showed that concern, former colleagues say, was by letting teachers with nonconformist styles do things their way — an approach that has been notoriously foreign to some administrators.
English teacher Dan Victor, now retired, remembers telling King that a schoolwide assembly she'd called conflicted with his plan to prepare students for an Advanced Placement test the next day.

"Why don't you do what you think is best," she said.

He kept his students in class.

At least by some important measures her approach worked.

In each of the three years before King became principal, Hamilton's test scores had fallen short of the state's target for how much the school was supposed to improve.

After she took charge, the scores surged well past these annual goals.

Hamilton High performed better under Michelle King

She didn't solve all of Hamilton's problems, though.

The home school continued to perform below the state average and a large divide remained between the higher scores of whites and more prosperous students and those of low-income blacks and Latinos.

That "achievement gap" remains one of the most significant challenges in the district she now runs.

::

In thinking of the forces that shaped her, King recalls the riots of 1992 when, as a young teacher, she stood in her hillside home in South Los Angeles' largely African American, largely upscale View Park neighborhood, watching large swaths of Los Angeles burn.

Her father had become a lawyer while she was still a child. Her mother worked for the county. Together they provided their daughter with a sheltered life.

"It was assumed and expected you would go to college," King says. "My father looked at my report cards. We were taught to respect our teachers and that we would get good grades."

She attended L.A. Unified schools, including Palisades High, where she was a top student and a cheerleader and one of the few blacks at a school whose student body was mainly wealthy and white.
After attending UCLA, her first teaching assignment was in the San Fernando Valley, a world apart from the worst poverty of the L.A. basin.

King was not oblivious to social ills, but her understanding deepened, she said, as she watched the video of police officers beating Rodney King, followed by the trial that acquitted them.

The community rage that followed made an impression, firing up a long-standing instinct to help foundering students push ahead.

In high school she'd become a student aide because she liked helping students who were struggling. She also tutored at UCLA.

Later, she moved through teaching jobs at Porter Junior High and Wright Middle School while shepherding her own three daughters through school.

Sometimes that meant making choices. The first time King was offered the principal's job at Hamilton she turned it down. Her marriage by then was in trouble, and, even after the divorce, King was determined not to miss back-to-school nights or lose the family's tradition of long Sunday dinners, at which the girls could talk out the issues of their lives, she says.

When one of her daughters wanted to attend a girls school, King enrolled her in the private Archer School in Brentwood.

King says that watching how the all-girl school empowered her daughter made her believe in the value of single-gender schools — an option she has said she wants to expand in L.A. Unified.

Beyond that, King hasn't detailed specific new initiatives she'll suggest for the district, nor has the school board articulated how it plans to measure her success.

In recent years, success has meant remaining in the background and carrying out orders.

"Michelle never really had a chance or opportunity to stand out or share her thoughts," says longtime PTA leader Scott Folsom. "She is always quiet in meetings. I have never heard her disagree with or question the company line."

King acknowledges this trait.

"I've always followed the direction of my superintendent," she says. "I might not agree with him, but ultimately I'm a soldier and it's their ship. It's their vision and I'm going to follow it."

And, she says, she's learned from each superintendent she's served.

As Supt. Ramon C. Cortines' chief of staff, and later as chief deputy superintendent, she learned to "communicate and communicate and overly communicate, particularly with the Board of Education."
As head of operations for Supt. John Deasy, who replaced Cortines, and then was replaced by him after resigning under pressure in October 2014, King learned from "his unrelenting focus on youth and poverty," she says.

King also cites two readings that have influenced her approach to management.

The first befits a former science teacher: "Turning Research Into Results" by Richard Edward Clark and Fred Estes.

"I believe you gather data before you strike out," King says.

The other is "Leadership from the Middle: A System Strategy" by Michael Fullan.

Even now that she's at the top, being in the middle is where she seems most comfortable.

Those who know her best describe a regular-gal charm, a "margarita buddy" who got visibly embarrassed at the raunchier parts of the Spike Lee-produced movie "The Best Man," a person who likes to bowl and is pretty good at it.

Colleagues say she's easy to be with, a team player.

King says her devotion to collaboration was instilled early, as a new UCLA graduate in an intern program that shoved an unproven teacher in front of a room of seventh-graders ready to test her.
That trial by fire seared something into her mind. If her colleagues hadn't rallied to support her, she could have failed, King says. It taught her that educators need to rely on each other.

She wants to apply that same lesson to a fractured school system with a team that now includes parents and district critics. That, she says, is why the board hired her.

"They have charged me with bringing the district together," she said.

- Times staff writers Zahira Torres and Sonali Kohli contributed to this report


CALIFORNIA LAWSUIT APPEAL PURSUES CLAIM OF INADEQUATE EDUCATION FUNDING
By Michael Collier | EdSource Today | http://bit.ly/1KhRGWF

January 27, 2016 | As they presented oral arguments before an appellate court Wednesday, attorneys in a high-profile lawsuit hoped that justices will allow them to go to trial to prove that by inadequately funding public schools the state is violating California students’ constitutional right to a quality education.

The three justices on the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco must rule within the next 90 days on whether to overturn a ruling by an Alameda County Superior Court judge who dismissed the case, Robles-Wong v. California, on grounds that there’s no constitutional right to an adequately funded education. In that ruling, Judge Steven Brick said the Legislature has the right to set funding levels as it chooses.

The case consolidates two lawsuits filed in 2010 — Campaign for Quality Education v. California and the Robles-Wong case.

In a session lasting more than an hour, justices on the court focused on the issue in the lawsuits’ core claim, that insufficient funding levels are denying children their constitutional right to an education that prepares them to participate fully in economic and civil life.

The justices focused on the key idea of the concept of quality, while the attorney for the state, Joshua Sondheimer, said the state does not oversee quality.

Steven Mayer, an attorney for the plaintiffs in Robles-Wong, told the justices that the state Supreme Court has held that education is a constitutional right in the state, “and a violation of that right has occurred.”

The Legislature defines quality education in establishing high academic standards but it hasn’t provided enough funding so that all students can meet those standards, Mayer said.

While a ruling by the three justices won’t be issued for several weeks, it could be groundbreaking if the justices decide that a quality education is constitutionally guaranteed.

Justice Peter Siggins acknowledged that under the state’s current system there is “a disparity of opportunity” for students.

Mayer said that a minimal level of state funding, which Proposition 98 guarantees, doesn’t ensure quality education.

“We can’t have a system where half the students are not proficient,” Mayer argued, and pointed out that California students consistently rank near the bottom of the nation in academic performance. Furthermore, more funding, not simply redistributing funding, is needed, he added.

Sondheimer argued that there is “no qualitative level for education in the state Constitution.”

That prompted Justice Martin Jenkins to assert that “there must be a qualitative element in every classroom.”

Plaintiffs in the Robles case are the California School Boards Association, the California State PTA, the association of California School Administrators, the California Teachers Association, the Youth & Education Law Project at Stanford Law School and 60 individuals, including the lead plaintiff, Maya Robles-Wong, who was a junior at Alameda High School when the suits were filed. The Campaign for Quality Education suit was filed by Public Advocates Inc., which represented five nonprofits serving low-income, minority families.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Brick dismissed both lawsuits in December 2011. In his rulings, Brick acknowledged students’ fundamental right to an education, but he said the state Constitution does not require the Legislature to fund public education at a specific level. The plaintiffs appealed the decision to the state appeals court in San Francisco, and the court combined the two lawsuits into one.

Last week, the California School Boards Association released a report on public school spending levels: California’s Challenge: Adequately Funding Education in the 21st Century | bit.ly/1KNFyrl

The new figures updated the ones based on decade-old published studies, which the association submitted as evidence in the Robles case.

The new report asserts that the $64 billion that Gov. Jerry Brown proposes to spend on K-12 schools in the 2016-2017 school year to implement the Common Core, other state standards and to fulfill the eight priorities of the Local Control Funding Formula, would fall tens of billions of dollars short of what is needed for the state to ensure that every child has access to quality learning.

John Fensterwald contributed to this report.


LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT GETS PERFECT SCORE ON AP CALCULUS EXAM -- 1 OF 12 IN THE WORLD TO DO SO
By Hailey Branson-Potts – L.A. Times | http://lat.ms/1NHRzOU

Jan 28, 2016 :: The call from Lincoln High School’s principal’s office came unexpectedly, as they often do.

Cedrick Argueta’s friends joked that he might be in trouble. Cedrick didn’t think so.

He was right.

It turned out that Cedrick, the son of a Salvadoran maintenance worker and a Filipina nurse, had scored perfectly on his Advanced Placement Calculus exam. Of the 302,531 students to take the notoriously mind-crushing test, he was one of only 12 to earn every single point.

“It’s crazy,” Cedrick said. “Twelve people in the whole world to do this and I was one of them? It’s amazing.”

Since word of his feat has spread, the lanky 17-year-old senior – who described himself as a quiet, humble guy – has become something of a celebrity at Lincoln High, a school of about 1,200 students in the heavily Latino Lincoln Heights neighborhood.

At a school assembly, students shouted, “Ced-rick! Ced-rick!” when Principal Jose Torres announced his score. Friends started calling him “One of Twelve.”

And Torres said this week that he might as well become the teen’s booking agent, laughing as he held up a typed schedule of Cedrick’s media interviews.

“It’s mind-blowing,” said Torres, who has worked within LAUSD for 31 years. “It’s the first time I’ve had something of this magnitude. A lot of kids expected him to be the one.”

VIDEO: Meet The Kid Who Got A Perfect Score On The AP Calculus Exam http://lat.ms/1nuQGUy

Cedrick and his classmates took the AP Calculus AB exam, a 3-hour and 15-minute test administered by the nonprofit College Board for possible college credit, in May.

Cedrick learned over the summer that he had scored a 5 – the top score – on the exam but had no idea he’d gotten every single question right until last week.

In a letter to Torres last week, the College Board called it a “remarkable achievement.”

As far as math whizzes go, Cedrick is unassuming. He likes to play basketball with his buddies, and his favorite reading of late was the Harry Potter series. Knowing he was going to do television interviews this week, he donned a blue LHS hoodie and sneakers.

Math has always just made sense to him, he said. He appreciates the creativity of it, the different methods you can take to solve a problem.

“There’s also some beauty in it being absolute,” Cedrick said. “There’s always a right answer.”

When asked about his perfect exam score, Cedrick just thanked everybody else in his life.

“It just sort of blew up,” he said. “It feels kind of good to be in the spotlight for a little bit, but I want to give credit to everybody else that helped me along the way.”
The Times' new initiative to inform parents, educators and students across California >>

Cedrick is the son of Lilian and Marcos Argueta, both of whom came to the United States as young adults – she from the Philippines, he from El Salvador. Lilian, a licensed vocational nurse, works two jobs at nursing homes. Marcos is a maintenance worker at one of those nursing homes. He never went to high school.

Lilian Argueta, pausing during one of her shifts this week, said her son’s accomplishment is still sinking in. He texted her when he found out, and she told him it was great but, she said, she didn’t understand the magnitude until reporters started calling.

Argueta said that she always told Cedrick and his younger sister to finish their homework and to “read, read, read,” but that they knew she’d be proud of them whether or not they got straight A’s.

“I’m just thankful,” she said. “God gave me two perfect kids.”

To celebrate, the Arguetas took Cedrick to Roy’s, his favorite restaurant in Pasadena, where he ordered a big pork shank. He was still excited about the free souffle the waiters brought him after learning his score.

On Wednesday, Cedrick hung out in the classroom of his calculus teacher, Anthony Yom, which is decked out with signs that say “Mathlife” and a picture of Homer Simpson.

All 21 of Yom’s AP Calculus students who took the exam last year passed; 17 got the highest score of 5. It was the third year in a row that all of Yom’s kids passed the test.

Yom, 35, said he treats his students like a sports team. They’d stay after school, practicing problem solving for three or four extra hours, and they’d come on weekends. On test day, they wore matching blue T-shirts sporting their names, “like they’re wearing jerseys to the game,” Yom said.

“I think they don’t want to disappoint each other,” Yom said. “Talent can only take you so far. These kids put in so many hours.”

Yom said he knew most of his kids would score 5s, but even he was blown away by Cedrick’s perfect exam. The odds of such a thing, he said, are like winning the lottery.

As if that weren’t enough, Cedrick also earned perfect scores on the science and math sections of the ACT exam last year, he said. This year, he’s taking four more AP exams, including the Calculus BC segment. Friends are pushing him for a repeat perfect performance.

“There’s a lot of pressure,” he said, laughing.

Cedrick graduates in June and hopes to attend Caltech and become an engineer. For his family, a scholarship would be a godsend.

Cedrick’s got big plans. He wants to maybe “design something really cool.” He wants to have his name on something that’s known around the world.

But this summer, he just wants to hang out with his friends.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
PARENTS GETTING ONBOARD WITH IMMUNIZATION MANDATE :: SI&A Cabinet Report
http://bit.ly/1SiYTZw

LAUSD BOARD TOLD CHARTERS ATTRACTING MORE FEDERAL DOLLARS THAN MAGNETS
http://bit.ly/1OXMyWv

OBAMA OUTLINES $4 BILLION ‘COMPUTER SCIENCE FOR ALL’ EDUCATION PLAN http://wapo.st/1m4bdOK

CSBA Report: CALIFORNIA'S CHALLENGE: Adequately Funding Education in the 21st Century
http://bit.ly/1KNFyrl

CALIFORNIA LAWSUIT APPEAL PURSUES CLAIM OF INADEQUATE EDUCATION FUNDING
http://bit.ly/1PM2Llf

OLD NEWS IN A NEW BLOG: Former Houghton Mifflin Exec Reveals How Pearson Unfairly Won the LAUSD iPad Deal
http://bit.ly/1P3UjIe

??? Rumor Seeking Confirmation/Denial: Paul Pastorek - in charge of Education Initiatives at the Broad Foundation - is outta there.


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Tues. February 2, 2016 - 10:00 a.m.- CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION AND EDUCATIONAL EQUITY COMMITTEE

Tues. February 2, 2016 - 2:00 p.m. - EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND PARENT ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE

*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
• SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:
http://www.laschools.org/bond/
Phone: 213-241-5183
____________________________________________________
• LAUSD FACILITIES COMMUNITY OUTREACH CALENDAR:
http://www.laschools.org/happenings/
Phone: 213-241.8700


• LAUSD BOARD OF EDUCATION & COMMITTEES MEETING CALENDAR



What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member:
Scott.Schmerelson@lausd.net • 213-241-8333
Monica.Garcia@lausd.net • 213-241-6180
Ref.Rodriguez@lausd.net • 213-241-5555
George.McKenna@lausd.net • 213-241-6382
Monica.Ratliff@lausd.net • 213-241-6388
Richard.Vladovic@lausd.net • 213-241-6385
Steve.Zimmer@lausd.net • 213-241-6387
...or the Superintendent:
superintendent@lausd.net • 213-241-7000
...or your city councilperson, mayor, county supervisor, state legislator, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: http://bit.ly/dqFdq2 • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at mayor@lacity.org • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail: http://www.govmail.ca.gov/
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.


Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?




Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and was Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and has represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for over 13 years. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT "WHO" Gold Award and the ACSA Regional Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award - honors he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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