Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lead us not into temptation



4LAKids: Sunday 16•Nov•2014
In This Issue:
 •  LA UNIFIED ARGUED MIDDLE SCHOOLER CAN CONSENT TO SEX WITH TEACHER
 •  THIS WEEK IN MiSiS
 •  2 Stories: RATLIFF ASKING FOR REVIEW OF LITIGATION COSTS OVER LAST 5 YEARS
 •  From the wonderful folks who brought us the Common Core Technology Project and MiSiS: LAUSD POLICY BULLETIN NINE NINE NINE (POINT) NINE + smf's 2¢
 •  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?


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The young teacher, Gordon Sumner, did not last in teaching long. Fresh out of teacher’s college he taught for a couple of years at St. Paul's First School in Northumberland.

Young teachers and young girls need some careful watching, as he recounts in a song he wrote:
Young teacher the subject
Of school girl fantasy
She wants him so badly
Knows what she wants to be

Inside her there's longing
This girl's an open page
Book marking she's so close now
This girl is half his age

Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me
Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me

Her friends are so jealous
You know how bad girls get
Sometimes it's not so easy
To be the teacher's pet

Temptation, frustration
So bad it makes him cry
Wet bus stop, she's waiting
His car is warm and dry

Loose talk in the classroom
To hurt they try and try
Strong words in the staffroom
The accusations fly

It's no use he sees her
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in
That book by Nabokov

In that same period, Sumner, a part time musician, wore a yellow and black striped sweater to a gig and was forever after Sting.


WEDNESDAY EVENING a small party of us first heard the story that broke Thursday morning - about the middle schooler and her affair with her teacher.

LA UNIFIED ARGUED MIDDLE SCHOOLER CAN CONSENT TO SEX WITH TEACHER (follows)

All seemingly old water long under the bridge. The teacher was caught in 2010 and convicted in 2011, the girl and/or her parents tried to sue LAUSD a year ago – but the court found the District had acted appropriately as soon as it suspected what going on.

Whistle blown. Teacher removed, Charges filed. Conviction obtained.

The District actually won a civil lawsuit in a child abuse case.

The couple had carefully hid the affair from everyone the District’s attorney argued. They had lied to the girl’s parents and deceived the school. The District successfully argued that it didn’t know the abuse was going on, and when it found out….
Loose talk in the classroom
To hurt they try and try
…one of the girl’s friends told a teacher, who dropped a dime…
The District acted immediately – a perfectly good and legitimate defense.

Case closed; all by the book. Just like the mandatory Child Abuse Awareness Training says.

But the LAUSD attorney went on, bringing up the girl's past sexual history – and pretty much painted the fourteen year old (like in the song, twice the teacher’s age) not as the victim but as an offender.

She was, as the bad boys say: Asking for it.

The lawyer went as far to claim that under a couple of interpretations of California Law a 14-year-old middle school student was mature enough to consent to having sex with her 28-year-old teacher, and that she bore responsibility for what happened. .

It seems our attorney was mounting a two phase defense:
A.) The District wasn’t responsible because it was unaware and
B.) It was OK anyway, the girl was a tramp

(I remind you here that the teacher was already in prison for the offense.)

In a radio interview the LAUSD attorney went on to say: "Making a decision as to whether or not to cross the street when traffic is coming, that takes a level of maturity and that's a much more dangerous decision than to decide, 'Hey, I want to have sex with my teacher,'"

By the book. The one by Nabokov. Or maybe Kafka.

I’m sorry, gentle readers, I like that Police song. I love the book by Nabokov – it’s a passionate and almost libidinous love letter - not to little girls - but to-and-in the English language.

I confess that pubescent girls are attractive and can be seductive. But if you’re a teacher or a stepparent or a priest or an adult of any flavor - and a fourteen year old is asking for it - the answer is always “No!”

There is no moral or ethical or legal ambiguity.

And if there is ambiguity in California Law we need to change the law.

The story of course continues; they always do.

L.A. TIMES & LA OPINÓN ON LAUSD’s ‘BLAME THE VICTIM’ COURTROOM STRATEGY | http://bit.ly/1ucaBXr
L.A. UNIFIED ATTORNEY APOLOGIZES FOR SAYING IT'S MORE DANGEROUS TO CROSS STREET THAN HAVE SEX WITH A TEACHER | http://bit.ly/1ucaBXr

• The civil case is being appealed because the girl’s sexual history was inappropriately brought up in trial
• Other people are coming forward with other alleged instances of inappropriate and or questionable conduct by the teacher in question.
• The District initially stood behind, then criticized and finally fired the attorney (but not his law firm) – all within about 36 hours.


IN THE MIRAMONTE CASE the judge has ruled against the District’s motion for a gag order CITE

BOARDMEMBER RATLIFF, an attorney herself, has asked for an investigation going back five years on LAUSD’s action in civil cases. 2 Stories: RATLIFF ASKING FOR REVIEW OF LITIGATION COSTS OVER LAST 5 YEARS | http://bit.ly/1y4VH5O


I SUPPOSE THIS CAN BE ASCRIBED TO SOME DEASIAN EXCESS, an abundance of urgency or Win-at-All-Costs zeal. It would probably be a mistake to paint the girl in Mary Janes, bobby socks and a gingham dress; this was nor Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

But please – these are children – and some of them like some of us make huge mistakes.

Somebody should be always looking out for the kids.
Somebody should always be looking out for young teachers, the subjects of schoolgirl fantasies.
Somebody should look out for outside counsel.

Nabokov said of Freud: “I don't want an elderly gentleman from Vienna with an umbrella inflicting his dreams upon me.”

Vladimir Nabokov, the novelist - like all novelists - created+populated a unique world. In his, one John Ray, Jr, Ph.D., a prominent psychiatrist from Widworth, Massachusetts with a penchant for platitude and a taste for semicolons is asked to edit the first person testament of Humbert H. Humbert (not his real name Ray assures us) who has died in judicial custody, awaiting trial. After a page or two of New English moralizing Ray introduces us to the novel Lolita thus:

“As a case history, Lolita will become, no doubt, a classic in psychiatric circles. As a work of art, it transcends its expiatory aspects; and still more important to us than scientific significance and literary worth, is the ethical impact the book should have on the serious reader; for in this poignant personal study there lurks a general lesson; the wayward child, the egotistic mother, the panting maniac — these are not only vivid characters in a unique story: they warn us of dangerous trends; they point out potent evils. Lolita should make all of us — parents, social workers, educators — apply ourselves with still greater vigilance and vision to the task of bringing up a better generation in a safer world.”


¡Onward/Adelante! – smf


LA UNIFIED ARGUED MIDDLE SCHOOLER CAN CONSENT TO SEX WITH TEACHER

by Karen Foshay | KPCC 89.3 | http://bit.ly/1yCxsMo

13 Nov. 2014 | 5am [This story has been updated] :: Last November, Los Angeles Unified School District lawyers fighting a civil lawsuit argued in court that a 14-year-old middle school student was mature enough to consent to having sex with her 28-year-old teacher, and that she bore some responsibility for what happened. The district's attorneys also introduced the girl's sexual history into the trial as part of their defense strategy.

Two legal experts sharply criticized the school district for using those tactics. They also said the case highlights a little-known conflict in California law: while the age of consent is firmly set at 18 in criminal cases, at least two appellate court rulings have found that in civil cases, it is possible to argue that a minor can consent to sex with an adult.

Last November's case involved a math teacher at Thomas Edison Middle School in Southeast Los Angeles who in December 2010 began a six-month sexual relationship with a girl who went to the school. The teacher, Elkis Hermida, was convicted of lewd acts against a child and sentenced in July 2011 to three years in state prison.

The girl's family filed a civil lawsuit against L.A. Unified, claiming the district was negligent and the experience had emotionally damaged the girl, endangering any future romantic relationships she might have.

During the three week civil trial, district lawyers denied that L.A. Unified had any knowledge of the relationship, argued the girl knew what she was doing when she chose to have sex with Hermida and suggested the girl was to blame for her situation, not LAUSD.

"She lied to her mother so she could have sex with her teacher," said Keith Wyatt, L.A. Unified's trial attorney in the case, in an interview with KPCC. "She went to a motel in which she engaged in voluntary consensual sex with her teacher. Why shouldn't she be responsible for that?"

Wyatt cited a 2009 legal ruling by the US District Court for California's Central District that said in certain circumstances a minor can consent to sex. That ruling, in the case of Doe v. Starbucks, cited a 2001 decision by the California Supreme Court in a criminal case, People v. Tobias. In Tobias, the supreme court argued that when the state legislature added the crime of "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor" to the penal code in 1970, the lawmakers "implicitly acknowledged that, in some cases at least, a minor may be capable of giving legal consent to sexual relations."

In its Doe ruling, the District Court went on to cite another court decision as grounds for its conclusion that "the rule that 'a minor may be capable of giving legal consent to sexual relations' has been extended to non-criminal cases."

The Doe and Tobias decisions left California law "horribly flawed," said Jennifer Drobac, a law professor with Robert H. McKinley Law school at Indiana University who has studied consent laws nationwide, including the Doe v. Starbucks case.

California is one of several states where the criminal age of consent laws clash with the civil laws, according to Drobac, noting a minor can be a victim in a criminal case, but found at fault in a civil case related to the same crime.

"It doesn’t make sense," said Drobac. "The same parties, same behavior, same everything, consent is no defense in a criminal trial. But the same set of facts in a civil prosecution, consent is a complete defense. How is that possible? It's not logical."

Drobac called L.A. Unified's courtroom tactics in the civil lawsuit "shocking."

Another leading expert, law professor Marci Hamilton of the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School in New York, called the school district's approach in the civil trial "outrageous," and accused it of "engaging in scorched earth tactics."

Hamilton echoed Drobac's criticisms of the California court rulings on consent.

"If this is a correct interpretation of California law, California is in the dark ages and against the great weight of the social science on brain and emotional development," said Hamiliton, who added, "the legislature needs to take this up.

"This reasoning is incoherent, especially in the school context," she went on. "It would have the court focus on the child's consent without taking the authority and power of the adult into account...This reasoning takes a page out of the old 'consent' defenses for rape based on a woman's sexual history, which have been thoroughly discredited."

L.A. Unified lawyer Wyatt insisted that a 14-year-old can have the maturity to consent to sex.

"Making a decision as to whether or not to cross the street when traffic is coming, that takes a level of maturity and that's a much more dangerous decision than to decide, 'Hey, I want to have sex with my teacher,'" Wyatt told KPCC.

In his closing argument during the civil trial, Wyatt maintained that the girl was pursuing the case for purely financial reasons.

"She wants to be paid for doing something that she knew was wrong, that she acknowledged was wrong, that she knew was from the beginning," Wyatt argued, adding, "She doesn't want therapy, she wants money. That's what they are asking you for."
Minor's sexual history heard

During the trial, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Cho allowed L.A. Unified to introduce evidence of the girl's sexual history as part of its defense.

California's rape shield law prohibits evidence of a sexually abused victim's sexual history in criminal trials, but it is allowed in civil cases, according to Jeff Dion, Deputy Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Victims of Crime.

"I think it's unusual that we are seeing it being used against a child," said Dion.

Marci Hamilton went further, saying, "basically they are treating child victims worse than an adult victim of rape. It makes no sense."

L.A. Unified also persuaded Judge Cho to place the girl's name on the jury's verdict form, which provided an opportunity for jurors to find her comparatively negligent, or at fault.

Cho admitted his ruling was unusual, saying, "There is currently no published decision in California" allowing the consideration of a child victim's comparative negligence in a school sex abuse case.

The judge "went beyond the bounds of common sense," said Hamilton.

Cho's move surprised the girl's attorney, Frank Perez.

"I have never seen a verdict form where the child has been listed as partially responsible for his or her own molestation," said Perez.

In the end, the jury didn't fill out the verdict form. It ruled in favor of LAUSD, accepting the district's argument that it had no knowledge of the relationship and therefore was not at fault.

Perez said the case is being appealed, in part because the girl's name was on the verdict form.

UPDATED: November 13, 03:04 PM :: Following publication of this story, L.A. Unified issued a statement from Keith Wyatt Thursday.

"While we are sympathetic of the pain that this type of inappropriate relationship could cause this young woman and her family, the case focused on whether the school district could have done anything to prevent it," Wyatt said. L.A. Unified tried the case "in a respectful manner," he said, adding, "our argument shared in the disgust with this teacher’s actions, but it focused on the decisions of this teacher and young lady to hide their behavior from the school district."

Wyatt issued another statement from his law office on Thursday in which he apologized for his remarks:

“Upon reflection, I realize how insensitive the comments I made to KPCC were, and I am truly sorry to this young woman and her family. My statements were ill thought out and poorly articulated and by no means reflect the opinions of the school district or its leadership. It is regrettable that my remarks have taken away from the respectful manner in which this case was tried.”

L.A. Unified spokesman Sean Rossall* said the district is continuing its professional relationship with Wyatt’s firm, Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt. He said the firm has represented the district "for over 20 years," and is currently handling 18 lawsuits on behalf of LAUSD. Regarding the upcoming trial over the Miramonte sexual abuse civil suit, Rossall said the firm’s only involvement was "in a very limited capacity as legal counsel for one of the witnesses."

Seeking reactions from members of the L.A. Unified Board, KPCC reached board members Tamar Galatzan, Monica Ratliff, Steve Zimmer, Richard Vladovic, and Monica Garcia. None would comment. The district did not respond to a request for comment from Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

One former longtime school board and L.A. city council member, Rita Walters, did comment.

"I think that the attorney for the district went out of his way to blame it on the victim," she said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
________
* Rossall is a special crisis management consultant on LAUSD sex abuse litigation, not an LAUSD employee


THIS WEEK IN MiSiS

►MiSiS OVERSIGHT REPORT

From the AALA Weekly Update for the Week of November 17, 2014 | http://bit.ly/JidN0H

13 Nov. 2014 :: The report from the Viramontes Group, a consulting firm hired to provide oversight of the My Integrated Student Information System (MiSiS) implementation, was released to the public on November 6, although dated October 16, 2014. We have read through the report and note that it finds fault with many of the same issues that the AALA MiSiS Committee noted for the past two years. For example, it mentions multiple warnings that the system was not ready that were ignored by District staff prior to its implementation. What the report does not say, and apparently no one who was interviewed mentioned, is that for two years AALA’s committee delineated problem areas and noted the lack of functionality of the system, to no avail. The report states, “Project management mandates that the team be communicative, change control be aligned, deliverables modified and timelines changed when a business requirement is not meeting needed functionality.” It goes on to identify that no one was willing to make a “No-Go” decision despite resource deficiencies, late deliverables and lack of stakeholder involvement.

AALA has published myriad articles about MiSiS over the past two years. It is not our intent to rehash what has been said multiple times; nor is there any need to gloat. What we do find disconcerting, however, is that Viramontes, who was hired by former Superintendent Deasy and who has a contract with the District through February 2015, actually comes up with little new information and regurgitates much of what we have previously written, albeit using more organizational management semantics. For example, “The Help Desk had not been tiered to handle the call load or have the level of expertise needed.” Hmmm…we said that last spring. Also, “There appeared to be a significant lack of input from the community of personnel that would eventually use the applications.” Gee, didn’t we say that too? In fact, for AALA members and those on the MiSiS Committee, there is really little new information in the seven-page report. (To access the entire report, click here: Viramontes Report. | http://bit.ly/1xpKDC2)

The Viramontes Group’s analysis finds that the project cannot be completed with the current management structure and staffing models. It asserts that more developers, quality assurance personnel, subject matter experts and dedicated stakeholders are needed. Perhaps, in response to this, Superintendent Cortines requested assistance from Microsoft Corp., which sent sixteen staff members this week to work with the District team in resolving MiSiS problems. In addition, a District news release indicated that the company is exploring a long-term relationship with LAUSD in which Microsoft would potentially lead the MiSiS efforts. While we appreciate Mr. Cortines’ hands-on approach to resolving the issues with MiSiS and his weekly communication updates, we anticipate that complete functionality of the system will not happen in the near future and this school year will continue to be one of the most challenging ever.

_______________________

LAUSD’s MiSiS: 2,580 STUDENTS WITHOUT SCHEDULES, 1,136 STUDENTS HAVE NO ID NUMBER, 1,251 HAVE DUPLICATE NUMBERS …AND IT JUST GOES ON+ON+ON
By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1sV2awK

Posted: 11/15/14, 8:47 PM PST While progress has been made in some areas, at least 2,580 students still have no class schedules, according to a report released by a computer expert hired to oversee Los Angeles Unified’s plans to fix a disastrous new computer system, MiSiS.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines has said correcting the computer system is key, especially as the district begins a second semester and students will again need to be assigned class schedules. The program launched on the first day of school caused massive disruptions, as students were missing from the system and educators scrambled to create course schedules and class rosters by hand. Middle and high schools are being asked to put together their course offerings and master schedules for the second semester by Friday.

Aside from missing schedules, 1,136 students have no identification number listed, which ensures the correct student’s records have been called up, and 1,251 have duplicate numbers. Counselors have complained that they must search the records of all 650,000 students each time they need to pull one student’s records. Even when the searches pull up the correct student, listing the right name and identification number, the course schedules and other records provided can be for a different student with the same name.

The district’s technological staff, meanwhile, is working to solve 229 programming bugs, including 34 in enrollment, 34 in grades, 30 in scheduling and 22 in attendance, according to the report.

Cortines last week took a step toward speeding up the time frame to fix the system by persuading Microsoft’s top executives to dispatch 16 employees to help fix and develop the software. Microsoft was one of the contractors hired to help LAUSD develop MiSiS, but the district’s has not identified the specific role Microsoft played in building the system, despite repeated requests from this organization.

“Already, our IT team and Microsoft have worked with schools to resolve the majority of transcript issues,” Cortines wrote in an update for the school board on Friday.

Some 300 school employees, and retirees hired on a temporary basis, were sent to high school campuses earlier this month to find transcripts for college-bound students facing deadlines for early application and financial aid.

In a Nov. 7 letter requesting Microsoft’s help, Cortines wrote: “Microsoft’s assistance with the My Integrated Student Information System (‘MiSiS’) is critical, given the that the systems malfunctioning continues to negatively impact the entire Los Angeles Community.”
_______________________

► LAUSD REPORT SAYS NEARLY 5,000 STUDENTS STILL AFFECTED BY MiSiS ISSUES

by LA School Report | http://bit.ly/1sV5kAK

MiSiSPosted on November 14, 2014 5:45 pm :: The outside consultant hired by LA Unified to help fix the district’s new data tracking system is reporting that, through yesterday, nearly 5,000 students had been affected by flaws in the MiSiS computer system.

In a breakdown the district released today, the Viramontes Group found that 2,580 students were without schedules, 1,251 had duplicate IDs and another 1,136 were missing their district IDs — for a total of 4,967 students suffering issues linked to the system.

In addition, the report identified 229 “programming bugs” through Nov. 10, a list of problems affecting more than two dozen categories of data, such as attendance, grade books, state reporting and transcripts.

The seven page report also includes a section of “observations,” which lists problems found, steps taken to eliminate them and further work that needs to be done.

The report lists 30 issues to be dealt with, 29 of which require additional work.


THIS WEEK's LAUSD THIRD PARTY MiSiS STATUS REPORT



2 Stories: RATLIFF ASKING FOR REVIEW OF LITIGATION COSTS OVER LAST 5 YEARS

by Vanessa Romo, LA School Report | http://bit.ly/1xJFtRu

November 13, 2014 4:08 pm :: Building on her success investigating LA Unified’s controversial iPad program, Board Member Monica Ratliff is now asking for an overall examination into how the district allocates support for legal matters as a way to find added funding for improving school safety.

In two resolutions set to come before the board next Tuesday, Ratliff is calling for a report on litigation expenses, awards and settlements over the last five years arising out of child abuse accusations against district employees and in cases where criminal actions occur on school campuses.

LA Unified Board Member Monica Ratliff>>

The idea, according to Ratliff, is to redirect these funds toward boosting school police or other security measures and adding a second adult to all classrooms.

“Both resolutions call for analyses and plans to be done with all deliberate speed so that the Board and Superintendent can determine what, if any, logical and effective next steps in school security and safety need to be implemented as quickly as possible,” Ratliff said in a statement.

In recent years the district has paid out millions of dollars in child abuse or molestation settlements, some of which are still ongoing. The Miramonte Elementary School case in which a veteran teacher, Mark Berndt, was found guilty of lewd acts on 23 children, sending him to prison, is still in civil court, after $30 million in settlements for 65 victims. More plaintiffs are waiting their turn.

Although the district employs 41 attorneys in house, all of the Miramonte cases were outsourced to two high-level law firms, Andrade Gonzalez, LLP and Sedgwick LLP.

“Cases are outsourced when there is a capacity issue and/or specific legal expertise is required,” Chief General Counsel David Holmquist explained in an email to LA School Report.

“The vast majority of legal work is handled in-house, and the General Counsel’s office is continually increasing that amount. That said, outside counsel will always be needed,” he added.

If the resolutions are approved, Ratliff expects the reports to be completed by Jan. 16
________________

LAUSD BOARD MEMBER QUESTIONS DISTRICT LEGAL COSTS

AT ISSUE IS THE HIRING OF A LEGAL DEFENSE FIRM FOR MORE THAN TWICE THE HOURLY COST OF THE DISTRICT'S STANDING LAWYERS.
By John Cádiz Klemack, KNBC | http://bit.ly/1xJGhWy

Friday, Nov 14, 2014 • Updated at 8:14 PM PST :: On the eve of what could be the biggest child sexual abuse case against a school district in the country, a board member with the Los Angeles Unified School District is questioning how the district allocates its money for legal cases.

Board Member Monica Ratliff, an attorney, plans to request two resolutions at the Nov. 18 board meeting focusing on what she says will increase school safety. The resolutions, titled "Assessing Possibilities for Increased School Safety Resources" and "Increasing Safety and Educational Outcomes Through Augmented Classroom Staffing" could rely heavily on an internal investigation into recent litigation costs against the district.

Ratliff declined to be interviewed by NBC4 but submitted a statement, writing, “I appreciate the interest that my resolutions have generated regarding this important topic. I want to know that I have done everything possible to protect our children. I hope my colleagues on the board will join me and pass the resolutions.”

She goes on to say that both resolutions call for analyses and plans to happen quickly, "so that the board and superintendent can determine what, if any, logical and effective next steps in school security and safety need to be implemented as quickly as possible.”

In an online report from LASchoolReport.com, Ratliff says she wants to see if the district can "redirect certain funds toward boosting school police or other security measures and adding a second adult to all classrooms." Ratliff is asking for a report on all litigation expenses, awards and settlements over the last five years arising out of child abuse allegations against district employees and in cases where criminal actions occur on school grounds.

It comes more than nine months after NBC4 reported allegations against LAUSD's general counsel of cronyism and malpractice for the law firms chosen to handle the Miramonte Elementary School child sexual abuse case, set to go to trial Monday. In a complaint filed by the district's former risk manager, Gregg Breed, he claimed the district chose the law firms because of their ties to Assistant General Counsel Greg McNair.

When NBC4 asked McNair if he had previously worked for the Sedgwick Law Firm, which documents obtained by NBC4 show is charging the district upwards of $460 an hour to handle the Miramonte case, he admitted the connection, but denied it was the reason for hiring the firm.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with the district's lead attorney, General Counsel David Holmquist, he stood by the decision to hire the law firm. Holmquist called the $460 an hour price tag reasonable, and "a result of extensive negotiation."

"Mr. McNair made the recommendation to me but at the end of the day, it's my decision," he said in February. "I am very confident that we have chosen the right team, the right group of attorneys to be able to represent us and I would choose the same ones again, today."

But the cost to the District thus far, according to records obtained through California's Public Records Act, show the District's bill reaching $8 million just before the case is to begin with jury selection Nov. 17.

"Greg came to me and said, these are the firms that I want to assign this work to because they have the capacity and expertise that we need," Holmquist said of his conversation with McNair, "This is bigger and grander than our typical situation that we face so we need that level of expertise and I certainly agreed and it was absolutely the right decision."

LAUSD has a defense panel of attorneys that have successfully argued liability cases for the district in the past with a flat rate fee of $175 an hour. But Holmquist said the expertise and capacity for the amount of documents to be discussed and potential victims involved in the Miramonte case were far too much for the district's panel to handle.

The costs of the litigation in Miramonte and other cases over the last few years are what Ratliff wants to investigate. Ratliff similarly investigated the district's iPad program, which ultimately lead to the resignation of former Superintendent John Deasy.

Holmquist told NBC4 his choices in the Miramonte were well-documented by the school board.

"They were apprised of the process we intended to employ in the Miramonte case and we intended to act under their direction," he said.

At the time he said the district was dealing with 2,000 pieces of litigation, claiming to keep board members in-the-know on each case would be an unreasonable burden.

"That is my responsibility as the General Counsel of the school district," he said. "So I did tell them who was representing us but it's not a decision that they make, that's delegated to me. They could choose to do something if they wanted to but they've delegated that responsibility to me. If they're not happy with my decision, then they need to take that out on me."

When asked in February if Holmquist would be willing to allow for an investigation into the decisions made behind the Miramonte defense, he said he would, but commented, "There's no need for one and I don't want to have one going on while we're in trial. I don't think we need to do that at this point in time but I remain open and willing to have anybody look at our process after this is all concluded."

It could be an issue to spar over as Ratliff has requested the investigation be finalized by mid-January, which is only possible if the rest of the board approves her resolutions.


From the wonderful folks who brought us the Common Core Technology Project and MiSiS: LAUSD POLICY BULLETIN NINE NINE NINE (POINT) NINE + smf's 2¢

TITLE► RESPONSIBLE & ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY (RAUP) FOR DISTRICT COMPUTER AND NETWORK SYSTEMS

NUMBER► BUL - 999.9

ISSUER► Matt Hill, Chief Strategy Officer

DATE► November 3, 2014

ROUTING► Administrators, Instructional Technology, Applications Facilitators, Principals*, Teachers, Parent Community Representatives

POLICY► Teachers, administrators, and other school personnel should ensure District data systems are used in a responsible, efficient, ethical, and legal manner, and that such use be in support of the District’s business and education objectives.

MAJOR CHANGES► This revision replaces BUL-999.8 dated June 19, 2013, renaming the policy as the Responsible & Acceptable Use Policy and adding language on the District’s web content filtering system(s).

BACKGROUND► On January 8, 2002, the LAUSD Board of Education established Board Rule 1254 as the Acceptable Use Policy as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

All uses of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) computer and network systems by students, employees, contractors, and consultants are subject to the LAUSD’s Responsible & Acceptable Use Policy (RAUP). This bulletin will undergo periodic review to ensure it reflects current laws and regulations.*

PROCEDURES► Users of District computer systems, networks, or the Internet must adhere to the Responsible & Acceptable Use Policy
.
Students:
Site administrators must annually distribute, collect, and keep on file the completed
attached forms from students prior to authorizing access to the Internet or the District’s network:

ATTACHMENT A: RAUP information and sign-off form for Students and Parents
ATTACHMENT B: Employees will confirm their assent to the RAUP electronically when they activate their District account and/or change passwords.

ASSISTANCE: For further information, please contact the IT Helpdesk on the web
http://helpdesk.lausd.net or by telephone at (213) 241-5200.

●●smf’s 2¢: See the Attachments at the link below.

In the part of my early life before my misspent youth I lived in London, and the big hit TV show was a police procedural called “Dial 999”, that being the telephone number one dials in the U.K. in an emergency. It’s also an obscure rock song about unrequited love by The Loose Ends; I’ll spare you the lyrics.

A finer legal mind than mine will have to determine if the policy requiring “such use be in support of the District’s business and education objective” proscribes District technology from being used by staff to surf the internet, answer personal email, shop, play Solitaire/Candy Crush or Words with Friends on the public’s time from their desks, cubicles, offices …or from the horseshoe in the boardroom.

BULLETIN 999.9 ATTACHMENT A (THE PARENT AND STUDENT ATTACHMENT) requires parental signature and return; its legalistic boilerplate pretty much states that LAUSD isn’t responsible for anything much and that parents are responsible for everything else and [Direct Quote] “Students under the age of eighteen should only access LAUSDnet accounts outside of school if a parent or legal guardian supervises their usage at all times. The student’s parent or guardian is responsible for monitoring the minor’s use.”[End Quote]

“ONLY IF A PARENT OR GUARDIAN SUPERVISES THEIR USAGE AT ALL TIMES” – in what reality is this going to happen? Even June and Ward didn’t supervise Wally and the Beav’s homework at all times!

The Policy Bulletin requires that parents sign off on the policy annually – and that school offices keep the signed documents on file – and of course the legal CYA continues, with provisions to make sure that the signed agreements are binding even if they didn’t get last year’s form .

And my favorite: [Quote] “Even without signature, all users must follow this policy… [End Quote]

There is something in law called a Contract of Adhesion: a contract between two parties where the terms and conditions of the contract are set by one of the parties, and the other party has little or no ability to negotiate more favorable terms and is thus placed in a "take it or leave it" position. It’s like the bogus declaimers on the back of parking lot tickets or software agreements on the internet. Except that this is worse because “even without signature, all users must follow this policy.”

No provision is made in the policy for those who choose to not agree to it.

Though I suspect that carving it into the stone of an LAUSD Policy Bulletin doesn’t necessarily make it binding upon all humanity in perpetuity.

See: Sierra David Sterkin, Challenging Adhesion Contracts in California: A Consumer's Guide, 34 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. (2004). | http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/ggulrev/vol34/iss2/3


LAUSD POLICY BULLETIN 999.9 with Attachments A + B



HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources


THIS WEEK's LAUSD MiSiS STATUS REPORT | http://bit.ly/1ztFBDP

LAUSD REPORT SAYS NEARLY 5,000 STUDENTS STILL AFFECTED BY MiSiS ISSUES | http://bit.ly/1ztFBDP

LAUSD’s MiSiS: 2,580 students without schedules, 1,136 have no ID# 1,251 have duplicate #s & it just goes on+on+on | http://bit.ly/1xF0VpU

Associated Press: PARENTS LIE ON SURVEY TO IDENTIFY ENGLISH LEARNERS | http://bit.ly/1vfbTVd

REPORT DETAILS MISSTEPS BY MARLBOROUGH SCHOOL IN RESPONDING TO ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF students | http://lat.ms/1xuwkO5

MEMO TO LAUSD: A 14-YEAR-OLD CAN'T CONSENT TO SEX | http://lat.ms/1qMHO8h

DEASY’S DEFEAT: Superintendent is beaten by the 2-big-2-reform LAUSD + smf’s 2¢ http://bit.ly/1xERQ07

MIRAMONTE ABUSE TRIAL PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ABLE TO SPEAK TO MEDIA: Judge denies LAUSD's request for gag order | http://bit.ly/1uyWbBY

2 Stories: RATLIFF ASKING FOR REVIEW OF LITIGATION COSTS OVER LAST 5 YEARS | http://bit.ly/1y4VH5O

L.A. UNIFIED ATTORNEY APOLOGIZES FOR SAYING IT'S MORE DANGEROUS TO CROSS STREET THAN HAVE SEX WITH A TEACHER | http://bit.ly/1ucaBXr

L.A. TIMES & LA OPINÓN ON LAUSD’s ‘BLAME THE VICTIM’ COURTROOM STRATEGY | http://bit.ly/1ucaBXr

U*P*D*A*T*E*D :: LA UNIFIED ARGUED MIDDLE SCHOOLER CAN CONSENT TO SEX WITH TEACHER | http://bit.ly/14ih2Qq

2 STORIES ON CLASS SIZE REDUCTION IN LAUSD: http://tl.gd/n_1sie6ik

LA UNIFIED’S UNPAID RETAIL JOBS FOR HIGH SCHOOL CREDITS DRAW CRITICISM | http://bit.ly/1ugAMOi

LA UNIFIED ARGUED MIDDLE SCHOOLER CAN CONSENT TO SEX WITH TEACHER | http://bit.ly/14ih2Qq

"GROSSLY UNFAIR" Rep. George Miller of House Education & Workforce Committee responds to TIME's "Rotten Apples" cover http://bit.ly/1zl27Pf

“I have a BS in electrical engineering.Even I cannot explain the common-core math approach, nor get the answer correct.” http://bit.ly/1sF5eMs

MiSiS: SUPE’S WEEKLY UPDATE+BOARD INFORMATIVE ON MICROSOFT DEPLOYMENT OF ADDL RESOURCES + LETTER TO MICROSOFT CEO & BOARD| http://bit.ly/11j9kV8

JOIN THE FUN - Seeking PARENT Representative for LA Unified Environmental Comtee Read: http://tl.gd/n_1siddod

PARENT TRIGGER: LA Unified schools chief to restore parent power to overhaul failing schools + smf’s 2¢ legal opinion http://bit.ly/1qEdzQV

PARENTS (Still) FIND LA SCHOOLS MAGNET PROGRAM APPLICATION DAUNTING + smf’s 2¢ [The Deadline is Friday!] http://bit.ly/1v3KhlW

NY Times: STATES LISTEN AS PARENTS GIVE RAMPANT TESTING AN ‘F’ | http://bit.ly/1xE0laK

A TECHNOLOGICAL NIGHTMARE | La Opinión | http://bit.ly/1xDkygU

“THE TEACHER WARS”: EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN” | http://bit.ly/1GIa3z4

BIG YEAR FOR SCHOOL BONDS - Voters in 89 school districts & community colleges passed bonds worth $11.5 billion. | http://bit.ly/1GHWsb8

INSTEAD OF INTEREST TAKING ⅓ > ½ OF THE COST OF A BOND MEASURE, INTEREST FOR A TECH BOND WILL BE APPX 5% OF THE COST http://bit.ly/1GHWsb8

55%/Prop 39 compliant Ed-Tech Bonds: DISTRICTS FIND NEW WAY TO FUND TECHNOLOGY | http://bit.ly/1GHWsb8


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
The BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE meets at 10AM at Beaudry on Thursday Nov 20th in the Boardroom
*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:
Tamar.Galatzan@lausd.net • 213-241-6386
Monica.Garcia@lausd.net • 213-241-6180
Bennett.Kayser@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 your city councilperson, mayor, 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. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE.
• 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 is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for ten years. He is a Health Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers 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 2009 "WHO" Gold Award for his support of education and public schools - an honor 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 as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. 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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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Step away from the CriSiS



4LAKids: Sunday 9•Nov•2014    The Berlin Wall ...25 bricks on
In This Issue:
 •  REPORT SAYS MiSiS FLAWED FROM THE GET GO, ISSUES IGNORED BY TOP LAUSD BRASS
 •  RACES SHAPING UP FOR LAUSD SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS IN MARCH
 •  SAN FRANCISCO'S UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL COULD PROVE A MODEL FOR SOCAL CITIES
 •  GREAT TEACHERS TEACH STUDENTS, NOT SUBJECTS
 •  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!
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Every once in a while, though not often enough, we get out of LA and LAUSD and are exposed to the real world.

On Tuesday there was an election – and we were reminded that there is a whole other world out there.

Outside California there are Republicans.
Who knew?

I am of course being glib; we’ve had Republicans in California. Action Hero Republicans who became governor after staging their own election. Song-and-Dance-Man Republicans who became US Senators. Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian Republicans: birds so unlike the feather to become their own sub-species. Richard Nixon was a lot of things and California Republican was one of them. And the jurist who defines ‘Activist Judge’ in the conservative lexicon - Earl Warren - was Republican Governor of California before he led the Warren Court to the liberal Promised Land and/or tea party Wrack+Ruin. (I’m looking into it …but I’m told the Iranian Republican Guard has no connection to the California Republican Party.)

We had our election in California; the Westside L.A. Liberals picked their champion, no Republicans were elected to statewide office and the governor was reelected while ignoring his own reelection. Our most hotly contested race in CA was between two registered Democrats for the non-partisan and fairly powerless job of Superintendent of Public Instruction. I confess that had Marshall Tuck won I would have added “meaningless” to the “powerless” description ….but had the School Reform Billionaires and Teachers Unions Political Action Committee invested their millions in paying teachers or buying library books instead of ads+air-buys I’d feel warmer+fuzzier about the democratic process. That Tuck got 48% of the vote worries me …once again the Billionaire Boys Club almost got what they paid for!

• There are national elections every two years.
• Republicans and geezers tend to vote very two years,
• Democrats and youth, every four.
• In L.A. we have elections fairly continuously …more on that later.


I’ve said this before, but repetition is key in education. When Mayor Tony tried to take over LAUSD his opponents (me among them) had yellow t-shirts that said “Parents. Not Politics.” The other side had blue T shirts that said “Parent Power”. When two diametrically opposed positions claim to be for the same thing you need to put on your hip-waders and/or Ebola suits. Both sides are full of it, the effluvia is going to be noxious and the debate is going to be spun+framed by the PR firm of Balderdash, Twaddle, Claptrap and Malarkey.

Parents need to get involved in school politics as part of getting involved in their kid’s education. This is especially true in the brave new world of the Local Control Funding Formula – as decision-making allegedly is pushed down to the school level.

I bring this up now precisely because:
1. The ‘Local’ in Local control is still solidly ensconced s at 333 S. Beaudry, not at the school site, and
2. Yesterday was the deadline to file to run for school board. Just as your voicemail and snail mail boxes empty of robocalls and political fliers a majority of the board is up for election and the competition has been joined for the election in March. (see XXXX, following)

I have, in my life, worked as a consultant. Consultants are disinterested third parties hired to write a report on something; the words “disinterested” and “hired” being mutually exclusive.

Most consultants are technical writers, not creative writers. When a consultant is hired by someone to deliver a report on something and in their research and expert opinion finds that the party who hired them is incompetent and doing a really crummy job of doing their job, the consultant’s creative writing skills are sorely challenged.

Such is the case in the Oversight Report on the My Integrated Student Information System generated by Arnold Viramontes. (bit.ly/1xpKDC2 )

(A Parent leader– who clings to anonymity but wishes to be identified here as ‘Tall Dark and Handsome from San Diego' translates the MiSiS acronym as “The Student MiSinformation System.” That’s far kinder than describing the LAUSD Information Technology Team as “The Three Blind Mices” …though that under-enumerates the vision-challenged rodent infestation.)

Viramontes was hired by Superintendent Deasy to generate an independent third party report on MiSiS implementation and to report directly to him. Unless it was delivered very early in the AM by the time the report was delivered on October 16th Deasy was no longer superintendent – and it takes neither rocket science nor tealeaf reading nor the Alameda County Superior Court to determine that part of the reason Deasy was gone was The Office of Superintendent’s mishandling of MiSiS.

The Office of Superintendent being architecture and furniture – no actual humanity was involved. The Viramontes Report names no names and points no fingers – but it describes cluelessness, incompetence and rank misunderstanding on a grand scale – albeit between the lines. And despite all the previous “We got the program for free from Fresno” – and the “We own the code” – it spells it out quite clearly: “MiSiS application development involves a partnership between Microsoft and LAUSD.”

The report is a seven-page snapshot in twelve-point Arial of a deer frozen in the headlights. The report is dated Oct 16th – the day Deasy resigned …though the version released is dated Oct 22nd – which suggests this is a revised draft. LA School Report reports it didn’t go to the Board of Ed until Nov. 6th.

The report conclusion almost says “Don’t blame yourselves, you didn’t know what you were doing, you didn’t know what to expect and you didn’t understand what was expected of you …or why. And even when you knew what you were doing and the team down the hall knew what they were doing ….neither team knew what the other was doing.”

But that’s a report I’ve been writing and delivering every Sunday for ten years.

In my getting out of town and LAUSD last week I spent a few days with other California PTA leaders, Yes, we talked about LAUSD – how could we not? – but we also discussed the triumphs and travails of other school districts. The entire Sweetwater USD Bd of Ed has been indicted. (…one of them ran for reelection on the “I wasn’t as guilty as the rest of ‘em” platform). The voters passed and funded Universal Preschool in San Francisco for the next 24 years. Most school bonds and parcel taxes up-and-down the state passed – but some did not. The UC’s and CSU’s may raise tuition. Children succeeded. There is not enough Art and Music and PE and Health Ed and Civics – or nurses, counselors and mental health professionals in our schools today, And PTA and parent fundraising is paying for too much of it where it is.

There simply aren’t enough of those things – or dark chocolate – in our lives.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


REPORT SAYS MiSiS FLAWED FROM THE GET GO, ISSUES IGNORED BY TOP LAUSD BRASS

Report: LAUSD’S MISIS FLAWED FROM THE GET-GO, CALLED ‘NOT FEASIBLE’

By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1xzQini

11/06/14, 7:43 PM PST | A tech expert hired to evaluate Los Angeles Unified’s now notorious record-keeping system, MiSiS, issued a scathing report Thursday, faulting everything from the decision to model the system after one used by a far smaller school district to insufficient efforts to fix data problems that led to erroneous student records.

Arnold Viramontes, a former high-level tech expert for two school districts in Texas, said the problems that have plagued MiSiS from the get-go continue to pose issues. He was hired by LAUSD in September at a cost of up to $73,500.

“There are many reasons why the current project plan is not feasible unless it is modified to reflect the dynamics of the implementation,” his report states.

The system is still hampering educators, failing for a second time this week on Thursday. It was shut down for work from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. because educators were “unable to log in, take attendance, enter grades and perform other critical school functions,” according to an email the district sent to employees Thursday afternoon.

Thursday’s failure came on the heels of Tuesday’s meltdown, which forced LAUSD to push back elementary school report cards by one week to Nov. 14. The delay caused problems for parents and teachers who planned to have report cards in hand for conferences next week.

Former Superintendent John Deasy plowed ahead with launching the all-purpose record-keeping software at the start of the school year, ignoring the repeated warnings of teachers, principals and counselors who said it was not ready, as reported first by this news organization.

Board member Bennett Kayser warned Deasy in a July 21 letter that the system was causing numerous problems at Bell High School, which operates on a year-round schedule.

After reviewing Viramontes’ report, Kayser expressed outrage at Deasy’s disregard for problems the system was causing and repeated efforts to deceive the public and his elected bosses on the school board.

“From ignoring multiple warnings, including my own, to deceiving board members and the public with misinformation about the severity of the crisis, Deasy left us with a big, expensive mess to clean-up,” Kayser said in a written statement. “I am, along with the students, parents and district employees who have been adversely affected, furious.”

After repeated requests by this news organization about the scope of problems caused by MiSiS, LAUSD released an Aug. 15 statement claiming “less than 1 percent of students overall were affected” by system glitches. It remains unclear how such a claim could be made considering the system could not accurately track students. Deasy abruptly resigned last month under scrutiny for his handling of MiSiS and another tech fiasco involving efforts to put iPads in classrooms.

While Deasy made the final decision to launch MiSiS, Viramontes notes leadership of the project ignored “red” conditions in recommending to move forward.

The report notes that building such software from scratch requires coordination, but the decision to modify software used by a far smaller school district, Fresno Unified School District, added a “different layer of complexity.” According to the report, LAUSD is about 10 times larger than Fresno.

LAUSD spokeswoman Lydia Ramos stated Oct. 23 that using Fresno’s system provided two “key advantages” — the program can be modified because it’s owned by the district, and “it provides a solution that has already been deployed and used successfully in a large urban California school district.”

Educators who spoke on the condition of anonymity have said a key problem with MiSiS is that it searches across all of LAUSD’s 650,000 students each time a counselor tries to do something as simple as bring up a transcript. The previous system would confine searches to a single school. After a lengthy wait time, MiSiS manages to locate student records. But even if the name and identification number displayed are accurate, course schedules for a different student can appear.

The integrity of data and student records continues to pose a problem for the educators of LAUSD, but the report found “there was no evidence suggesting a detailed plan for data integrity.”

Other issues included a lack of clear management responsibility. As noted by an earlier report from a court-appointed monitor tasked with reporting on the district’s effort to build the system and fulfill a 1993 lawsuit that required it to identify and educate special education students, the project manager didn’t have control over important aspects of the project, including quality assurance to test the system and training to ensure educators could use it.

Ron Chandler abruptly resigned his post atop the district’s technology department last week because of the program’s problems. Also last week, MiSiS project manager Bria Jones had her contract terminated.

LAUDS’s efforts to help educators overwhelmed by the faulty system and returning students were also inadequate, according to the report, which notes more calls were “abandoned” by employees working a hotline than answered. Additionally, the help-desk employees never reported back to educators who needed assistance, according to the report.

The partnership with Microsoft that developed MiSiS — “mired with software bugs and missed functionality” — needs an “effective communications model.” According to the report, Microsoft used both “off shore” and on-site resources as a contractor working on the project.

LAUSD decided to hasten MiSiS’s deployment, which was originally set for 2015-16, leaving just one year to develop the software.

Out of a $29-million budget that was supposed to be spent over two years, only $10 million was used by the end of year one. Additionally a $1.5-million contingency fund sat untapped.

“There is little evidence that timelines and expectations were modified and communicated,” according to the report’s review of communication efforts between LAUSD and Microsoft.

In starting to clean up the mess, new Superintendent Ramon Cortines this week called on Microsoft’s top executives to send help. It is one of a number of measures Cortines has undertaken to fix the problem since stepping in to replace Deasy.

“I want you to know that we have already made some changes to address the issues in this first report by Arnold Viramontes, and will continue to work to resolve the problems until we have a fully functioning student information system to serve the students, parents and employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District,” Cortines stated.

___________________


Report: EARLY L.A. UNIFIED DATA SYSTEM ISSUES IGNORED BY TOP ADMINISTRATORS

By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | KPCC 89.3 | http://bit.ly/1GFVTyu

November 06 2014 :: Los Angeles Unified administrators, charged with ensuring a new district data system for 650,000 students worked as it should, ignored warnings that the system wasn’t ready to launch, an independent consultant group concluded in a report released Thursday.

The consultants also expressed doubts that the current district team working to fix the problems will be able to repair the troubled data system known as MiSiS.

A copy of the seven-page report was obtained by KPCC before a scheduled Thursday afternoon release.

Although several documents indicated early problems with the data system, the district's project team leadership gave the go-ahead for its launch nonetheless, the report prepared by The Viramontes Group Inc. said.

“There were not any indicators from project team signifying a 'No Go' decision," the report states.

The system's problems have led to a litany of issues, including problems with class scheduling and student attendance.

In the latest of the troubles, Superintendent Ramon Cortines told principals and teachers in a letter Wednesday that the district has delayed issuing elementary school report cards for a week, to Nov. 14. He attributed the problem to continuing challenges with MiSiS and an unexpected outage.

Cortines notified parents in a Wednesday letter. "I apologize for the delay of your student's grades right before parent-teacher conferences. Be assured that your teachers and principals are doing everything possible to meet student needs despite the technology challenges they have recently encountered."

The district said in a news release that the data system has required "fine-tuning, as with any new program." The "glitches have affected less than 1 percent of students overall," the district said.

Officials acknowledged continuing problems with scheduling and said the system has been "slower than expected." Because of continuing snags, teachers have been asked to take attendance offline for now.

The consultant group's report does not name the L.A. Unified officials who failed to heed the warnings of trouble with the new data system. But the top technology officer overseeing the project, Ron Chandler, resigned last week after four years with the district.

The same week, the district fired an outside consultant in charge of the project, Bria Jones, who was compensated at $135 an hour and was overpaid, according to the district's inspector general.

Both Chandler and Jones reported ultimately to former Superintendent John Deasy, who resigned in early October after mounting issues with the data system, known as MiSiS, a botched rollout of a program to place iPads in the hands of all L.A. Unified students, and strained relations with the school board that hired him.

School board member Tamar Galatzan said Deasy’s role in the green lighting of the flawed system should be laid out in a more thorough report from the district's inspector general due out later this month.

"The board and the superintendent want to hold people responsible who messed this up," Galatzan said. "But also, we have to understand that we’re in the middle of dealing with this crisis and we also need to move forward and focus attention on that."

Board member Monica Ratliff agreed that those responsible should be held to account, but she suggested the problem may run deeper.

"My takeaway from this report is that we need to change the culture around here so that when people realize that something is not working, they say something, really loud, and they make sure it doesn’t go forward," she said. "Because there’s absolutely no reason why this project should have gone forward in light of how many problems were apparent during its production."

In expressing skepticism that the district has the ability to fix MiSiS, the consultant group said: “The current project management structure and staffing models are not adequate for project completion.”

“There is lack of evidence that a data conversion and integrity plan exists,” according to the consultant group.

L.A. Unified has managed student data with multiple systems over the years. An inadequate transfer of student data from old computer systems to the new MiSiS system contributed to the issues that include students assigned to wrong classes and courses they had already taken.

The data system is also producing incorrect student transcripts, causing problems for 12th-graders who need accurate transcripts for college applications, many of them due at the end of November.

“The MiSiS implementation has several occurrences of duplicate students, missing students, scheduling inconsistencies, and coding irregularities,” the report said, and that “could be catastrophic to the future of a student in the form of scholarships, college entrance and grade progression.”

School personnel such as clerks and teachers who would ultimately be responsible for entering data and using the system weren’t consulted in its development, the report said.

“There appeared to be significant lack of input from the community of personnel that would eventually use the applications. Without dedicated stakeholder involvement, the requirements specifications lack clarity and specification for development.”

The report was discussed in a closed-door meeting Thursday between L.A. Unified’s board and Superintendent Cortines.

The cost of fixing the broken data system has been mounting.

Last month, L.A. Unified’s school board approved $3.6 million for the purchase of 3,340 computers to be sent to schools to use MiSiS. Old desktop computers would not run the data system.

At the same meeting, board members approved $1.1 million to fix scheduling problems caused by the data system at Jefferson High School after a judge said the issues there were particularly serious.

The board also approved spending $15,000 to $25,000 a day to hire retired educators who are checking student transcripts one by one for accuracy.

Schools began reporting problems with the data system in July, and the issues proved widespread. An independent study found that 80 percent of district campuses had problems with MiSiS properly tracking special education data.

The report praised the dedication and time spent by current employees to fix the data system’s problems.

“The status room has been turned into a situation/war room to reflect current schedules, issue resolution and system status. The Help Desk has been augmented with additional resources and tiered to handle traffic."

As of Thursday, the district's website listed over 200 "known issues" with the MiSiS system.


Albert Viramontes’ MiSiS Report: MY INTEGRATED STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM OVERSIGHT REPORT | Oct 16, 2014



RACES SHAPING UP FOR LAUSD SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS IN MARCH

FOUR L.A. SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS LIKELY TO FACE REELECTION CHALLENGES
By Howard Blume | LA Times | http://lat.ms/1udvBhH

Nov 9, 2014 :: A majority of the Los Angeles Board of Education is up for reelection this spring, and all four are likely to face challengers based on the election filing period that closed Saturday.

The four incumbents — Richard Vladovic, Tamar Galatzan, Bennett Kayser and George McKenna — are seeking to remain on the board that oversees the nation's second-largest school system.
Related story: Consultant's report details problems with LAUSD student record system
Related story: Consultant's report details problems with LAUSD student record system
Howard Blume

Aside from the familiar challenges, including budgets, union negotiations and student performance, the incoming board also is expected to choose a permanent successor to Supt. John Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October. Ramon Cortines returned from retirement to replace him, but at 82 is not expected to stay indefinitely.

A search process for the next superintendent could begin soon, with the final choice almost certain to fall to the board majority that prevails at the ballot box in either the March primary or the May general election.

The next board also will have to decide how to proceed with a troubled $1.3-billion effort to provide a computer to every student, teacher and campus administrator. The project began by distributing iPads at an initial set of schools last fall, but the iPad contract was recently suspended.

Candidates had until noon Saturday to declare their intent to run for a seat on the seven-member board. To get on the March ballot, they'll still have to collect signatures from at least 500 registered voters in their district by Dec. 3.

District 1 is represented by McKenna and stretches across south and southwest L.A. McKenna was elected in August to replace the late Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, but had to run again immediately. His potential challenger is Daymond R. Johnson, who heads the union for non-teaching employee at a group of local charter schools. McKenna's opponent in August chose not to run again.

District 3, represented by two-term incumbent Galatzan, is in the west San Fernando Valley. Six potential challengers signed up to face her: Elizabeth Badger Bartels, who describes herself as a children's advocate/businesswoman; Carl J. Peterson (businessman/activist parent), Filiberto Gonzalez (school parent/professor), Ankur Patel (teacher/scientist/entrepreneur), Scott Mark Schmerelson (administrator/retired teacher) and Mario Burrell (teacher).

In District 5, four challengers have signed up to run against one-term incumbent Kayser. They are Andrew Thomas, who describes himself as an educator/parent; Ref Rodriguez, the co-founder of the PUC charter school group; James C. O'Gabhann III (public school teacher), and Benjamin Luis Jimenez (city of L.A. senior storekeep).

District 5 cuts a tortuous path from northeast of downtown to the small cities of southeast L.A. County.

School board President Vladovic, the two-term incumbent, will be defending his seat in District 7, which stretches from South L.A. to San Pedro. His potential challengers are Euna Anderson (principal/adjunct professor) and Lydia A. Gutierrez, an elementary teacher who twice ran unsuccessfully for state superintendent of public instruction.

Candidates also filed for the L.A. Community College District board. Unlike the board of L.A. Unified, the college district seats are not assigned to specific geographic areas within the district.

For Seat 1, incumbent Mona Field could face Francesa Vega, Maria "Sokie" Quintero, Mervin Evans, Angra Hoffman and Mark Isler.

Signed up to run for the open Seat 3 are: Kevin M. Collins, Sydney Kamlager, Yolanda Toure, Glenn Bailey, Sam Kbushyan and Jozef "Joe" Thomas Essavi.

Those hoping to win Seat 5 are: incumbent and Board President Scott Svonkin, James "Jimmy" Johnston, Justin Kim, Sukhsimran "Sammy" Sandhu and Steve Schulte.

Seat 7 also is open. Those signed up are: John Jose Noyola, Rodney D. Robinson, Mike Fong, Akifa Khan, Joyce Burrell Garcia and John C. Burke.

___________________

SCHOOL BOARD RACES COMING INTO VIEW AS FILING DEADLINE APPROACHES

by Craig Clough | LA School Report | http://bit.ly/1ynTYsp

Posted on November 7, 2014 3:03 pm :: With tomorrow’s noon deadline approaching to file for next year’s LA Unified school board elections, the races are coming into view.

Seats in four of the board’s seven districts — 1, 3, 5 and 7 — are up for grabs, making the elections hugely influential on future district policies.

All four of the incumbents are running again and facing challengers, with the primary scheduled for March 3 and the general election on May 19. Here is a district-by-district breakdown of the school board races:

● DISTRICT 1

District 1 includes South Los Angeles, Palms and Baldwin Hills.

For the moment, this is the only race with a head-to-head contest. The incumbent, George McKenna, is the newest board member, having won a special election in August to fill the seat vacated by the death of Marguerite LaMotte last year.

McKenna’s victory was key in determining the current balance of power on the board, as his election shifted it to a 4-3 majority owing their seats, in large part, to financial support by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). McKenna ran against a reform-backed candidate, Alex Johnson, and his victory was the latest in a string of pro-union wins against pro-charter, reformists in LA Unified school board elections.

McKenna holds a doctorate of education degree from Xavier University. He is a former LAUSD teacher and principal at George Washington Preparatory High School, where the academic turnaround he oversaw at the school was the subject of a 1986 TV movie starring Denzel Washington.

McKenna’s challenger is Daymond R., Johnson, president of the Amino Classified Employees Association, which represents the employees at Green Dot Public Schools.

● DISTRICT 3

District 3 includes Studio City, Sherman Oaks and the most of the West San Fernando Valley.

The District 3 race is the most crowded, with five challengers to incumbent Tamar Galatzan, who first won her seat in 2007. She is also a prosecutor with the city of Los Angeles and is viewed as a reform-backed candidate.

Her challengers are: Elizabeth Badger Bartels, a children’s advocate and businesswoman; Filiberto Gonzalez, a school parent and professor; Ankur Patel, a teacher, scientist and entrepreneur; Scott Mark Schmerelson, an administrator and retired teacher; and Carl J. Peterson, a businessman and activist parent.

● DISTRICT 5

District 5 includes the Northeast neighborhoods of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Echo Park, Los Feliz and Atwater Village, as well as the cities of Bell and South Gate.

The incumbent Bennett Kayser will face at least two challengers. Kayser, a former teacher and community activist, was elected to the board in 2011 and is seen as one of the strongest pro-union members.

The challengers are Ref Rodriguez, a co-founder of PUC Schools, which operates a number of LA Unified charter schools; and Andrew Thomas, a professor of education at the online Walden University and operator of a research company that consults with school districts, including LA Unified.

● DISTRICT 7

District 7 includes the South Bay communities of San Pedro, Lomita and Carson.

The race here will feature at least two challengers to current board President Richard Vladovic, who was first elected to the board in 2007. Originally a reform-backed candidate, Vladovic is seen by many to have more to a more neutral position since last year.

Vladovic has one of the fullest education resumes on the board. With a doctorate in education from USC, he is a former teacher, principal and school administrator, as well as a former superintendent of the West Covina School District.

His challengers are Euna Anderson, principal of the Vine Early Education Center and the Alexandria Early Education Center; and Lydia A. Guitierrez, an educator and member of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.


SAN FRANCISCO'S UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL COULD PROVE A MODEL FOR SOCAL CITIES

by Deepa Fernandes | 89;3 KPCC | http://bit.ly/1uTMiB6

November 07 2014 :: When San Francisco voters overwhelmingly reauthorized the city's universal preschool program on Tuesday, ensuring an annual $27 million for the next 24 years, other California cities may well have sat up.

The Obama administration's call for universal preschool has cities nationwide thinking about how to implement such programs. New York's mayor swept in a pilot project this year that offers preschool to four-year-olds and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia wants to do the same.

But a model for funding and implementing a global program for preschool may be just up the I-5.

A group of community organizers in San Francisco began discussing the idea of a public fund dedicated to small children’s needs in 1987. It was the precursor to the city's passage of universal preschool and decades ahead of what today is a national movement.

The city has gone about its Preschool For All program quietly, largely overlooked in the national discussion about how cities are developing universal programs for early learners.

Over 10 years, San Francisco has funded preschool education for 25,000 children. It has implemented high quality standards in all preschool classrooms, and funds additional services like play therapists and teacher support services.

This year, 4,000 preschoolers across 150 school sites are beneficiaries. There are about 400 four-year-olds still on the city's waiting list.

Importantly, the children served have been from all socio-economic groups, according to Ingrid Mezquita, Preschool For All program director at First 5 San Francisco, the organization charged with administering the program.

“In the [higher] grades, we don’t segregate children by income. In preschool, we do,” Mezquita said. “In a universal system, that opens up all families to be under one roof.”

San Francisco's not a pure universal system. While the funding covers 100 percent of the tuition for low-income children, middle and upper-income families can receive up to 25 percent of their costs from the city’s general fund. They are able to apply to any of the city’s Preschool For All-approved preschools.

Mezquita says her office has plenty of anecdotal evidence that the program has stopped "family flight" — families with small children leaving the expensive Bay Area because they can’t afford childcare.

“San Francisco has the highest rents,” she said, forcing some families to choose between paying rent or sending their children to preschool. For some middle-income families, Mezquita said, they make too much for free preschool, but not enough to afford privates rates.

“San Francisco has been able to help a lot of moderate-income families not have to make that choice so [they] can stay in the city,” Mezquita said.

Jennifer Delos Reyes knows that dilemma well. Her husband grew up in San Francisco and they wanted to raise their young daughter there, too. Both have good jobs, she said, but with the high cost of San Francisco living, preschool seemed out of reach.

“One of the ways that we are able to afford to stay is though Preschool For All. We get 25 percent off at her school, and it really is a big break for us,” she said.

On average, private preschool costs about $1,350 per month in the city, according to First 5 San Francisco. The savings of up to 25 percent can help bring the cost down to under $1,000 per month. There are also half-day options open to all families, regardless of income, that are offered for free.

Delos Reyes runs programs for another San Francisco preschool, Holy Family Day Home. She said she sees closeup the benefits of having children of mixed incomes in the same classrooms. One example: children learn empathy through the school's monthly collective birthday celebrations. Instead of some children bringing in expensive cakes to celebrate, kids bake cupcakes at school once a month to celebrate all the birthdays for the month.

Holy Family has been providing childcare for 100 years. In the 10 years since the city’s universal preschool began, the school has increased slots for children by 50 percent and serves 154 kids. A majority of the children are low-income and fully subsidized, but the preschool ensures at least a quarter of all students are from higher-income homes.

“Just because a family of four is making $100,000 a year doesn’t mean they aren’t in need of assistance and don’t deserve a quality preschool program,” Delos Reyes said.

“If we didn’t have Preschool For All, we would be serving the very poor and the very rich,” she added. “PFA gives access to everyone.”

The Preschool For All program also funded Holy Family to hire a play-therapist to help children exhibiting behavioral issues, as well as a “therapeutic shadow teacher” who could be at the school 30 hours a week to help teachers in the classroom.

These extra services get to the heart of “quality” early education, said Carla Bryant, chief of early education for the San Francisco Unified School District.

“When Preschool For All started they were very clear that they were looking for very high quality preschools,” Bryant said. Even though the school district remains the largest provider of preschool in San Francisco, Bryant said Preschool for All helped lift quality in the district's classrooms.

“Preschool For All was able to look at some of the work that was being done nationally and borrow some of it, and actually move it quite quickly,” Bryant said. “So they absolutely set a bar and ensured that anyone who was PFA met that bar.”
A long struggle to get there

As other cities attempt to push through universal preschool, knowing the path that organizers took in San Francisco might prove useful, said Mezquita of First 5 San Francisco.

“It took a lot of training to get even people in the field to understand how outrageous it was that it wasn’t just automatic that our children had the best possible beginning in life,” said Margaret Brodkin, a community organizer and former head of the city Department of Children, Youth and Their Families.

“People are not used to thinking of it as a social justice issue and that’s what I think we’ve done so remarkably in San Francisco.”

She said it took years of grassroots organizing to convince people of the need to fund services and preschool for all children.

“It doesn’t come naturally to people who work in preschool who are gentle people to get involved in politics and learn to play political hardball,” Brodkin said. “But that is what you have to do if you want to have a universal preschool measure pass in your community.”

They didn’t start out demanding universal preschool. Instead the organizers took on smaller battles with targeted demands.

“We had baby brigades at City Hall year after year where hundreds and hundreds of kids from child care centers would invade City Hall and extract promises from elected officials,” she said.

“We were at every budget hearing, we had the parents of people in childcare centers send 10,000 postcards to the mayor when we needed to get salaries raised for childcare workers.”

From 1987 to 1991 children’s advocates, led by Brodkin, pushed for a “children’s budget.” That work culminated in the passage of a children’s fund in 1991 with a $6 million pot of money.

In 2004, San Francisco voters approved 10 years' of funding to start a universal preschool program, and in the recent election, voters approved the 24-year reauthorization.

That makes Brodkin smile. But she’s not pausing too long to enjoy the victory. She’s busy traveling up and down the state advising advocates in small cities on how to bring about similar preschool funding streams to their own towns.


GREAT TEACHERS TEACH STUDENTS, NOT SUBJECTS
THE BEST EDUCATORS I KNOW TEACH STUDENTS, NOT SUBJECTS, AND THEY ACTIVELY NURTURE LIFE-ENHANCING QUALITIES LIKE GRIT, TEAMWORK AND GENEROSITY

Letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal | http://on.wsj.com/1tmZ83h
.
Nov. 7, 2014 5:50 p.m. ET :: I’m a classroom teacher with two master’s degrees, and I’m working toward a doctorate. I appreciate Joel Klein ’s call for greater credentialing and certification in the profession (“A Lesson Plan for A+ Teachers,” http://on.wsj.com/1E8vvuU). But his proposal to remake American teachers in the mold of their Finnish counterparts overlooks the most essential goal of education: to produce better human beings.

The best educators I know teach students, not subjects, and they actively nurture life-enhancing qualities like grit, teamwork and generosity. These virtues and others like them comprise the “total education” of a child and should be prized by any teacher entering the field. They certainly won’t show up on one of Mr. Klein’s bar exams but are just as indicative of a teacher’s professional readiness as his or her mastery of material. Schools that are staffed by highly trained but morally ambivalent teachers will simply become grading factories, not goodness incubators. To be truly effective practitioners, teachers need standards that have soul.

Joe Hirsch
Dallas


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
Albert Viramontes’ MiSiS Report: MY INTEGRATED STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM OVERSIGHT REPORT | Oct 16, 2014 | http://bit.ly/1xpKDC2

Letters: Great Teachers Teach Students, Not Subjects http://on.wsj.com/1tmZ83h via @WSJ

MiSiS CRISIS: L.A. school district reports more problems with student records | http://fw.to/G3mTLhW

Enrollment Numbers Increase! | Baby rattlesnakes found at Van Nuys elementary school http://fw.to/GvyBXWi

The MiSiS REPORT: L.A. TIME'S HOWARD BLUME TWEETS IT ALL FOR YOU @howardblume: Excerpts of MISIS report: There i… http://twishort.com/jwOgc

*U*P*D*A*T*E*D* :: MiSiS SYSTEM GOES DOWN, DATA LOST - With additional info from Superintendent Cortines | http://bit.ly/1tBRBBb

'Remember, remember the the 5th of November!" HAPPY GUY FAWKES DAY

Rhee’s Husband Loses Power Grab in Sacramento, as Voters Say No http://wp.me/p2odLa-8Zn

MiSiS GOES DOWN, DATA LOST. Cortines apologizes + offers most important lesson-learned. “Back up and save your work!” http://bit.ly/1tBRBBb

TORLAKSON WINS CALIFORNIA SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION REELECTION Read: http://tl.gd/n_1seam7d

INNOVATIVE PROGRAM RETHINKS HIGH SCHOOL | http://bit.ly/1t9oqSv

CORTINES ON DEASY'S 2014-15 LAUSD BUDGET: "I think somebody drank the Kool-Aid and we didn’t look down the road...” http://bit.ly/1urEpT3

THE MiSiS CASH REGISTER IS STARTING TO PUT UP SOME NUMBERS | http://bit.ly/1urEpT3

COST OF FIXING LAUSD’s MiSiS LEADS TO HIRING FREEZE | http://bit.ly/1wv7MTt

BIG OUTSIDE MONEY IN SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS: Not just here, it's (Cue The Beatles) Here, There & Everywhere | http://bit.ly/1xYVpNx

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Emma Goldman
GO DO IT ANYWAY.

MiSiS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LA SCHOOL’S COMPUTER CRISIS | http://bit.ly/1AbFhxS

RIP (...but laugh on) #TomMagliozzi #EndAlz The rest of us need to get in our Dodge Darts + MGAs and GO VOTE!


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Budget, Facilities, and Audit Committee - November 13, 2014

Start: 11/13/2014 1:00 pm
*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:
Tamar.Galatzan@lausd.net • 213-241-6386
Monica.Garcia@lausd.net • 213-241-6180
Bennett.Kayser@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 your city councilperson, mayor, 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. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE.
• 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 is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for ten years. He is a Health Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers 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 2009 "WHO" Gold Award for his support of education and public schools - an honor 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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