Sunday, September 14, 2014

Amplification of the Lamb effect with Spin Connection Resonance



4LAKids: Sunday 14•Sept•2014
In This Issue:
 •  STRAINED TIES CLOUD FUTURE OF DEASY, LAUSD: “Deasy …is questioning whether he should step down.”
 •  Deasy Plays Hardball…or Goes Fishing?: LAUSD SUPERINTENDENT’S REQUEST FOR BOARD MEMBERS' EMAILS OPENS A NEW FRONT IN BATTLE OVER IPAD PLAN + smf’s 2¢
 •  MiSiS: WHO WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE? + Norm Day Update + smf’s 2¢ (The question isn’t hypothetical, and the answer is Dr. Deasy)
 •  IT’S TIME TO DO ACCOUNTABILITY RIGHT – AND YES, WE KNOW HOW
 •  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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A 4LAKids reader emailed me last week, as the revelation that Superintendent Deasy had ‘lawyered up” and was calling for investigations of the Board of Ed’s emails with technology vendors broke. He suggested the line: “Let all the poison that lurks in the mud hatch out” from Robert Graves’ novel “I Claudius” be the title/theme of this week’s essay/rant/screed.

I took the suggestion to heart. Graves is a beacon; a WWI battlefield poet who survived the horror of English boarding schools and the trenches. Graves was a poet-wordsmith of the highest order who lived a very complicated life and wrote poetry+prose that blur the definitions of both – who wrote of the politics of the Roman Empire, the British Empire and the bedroom - and did so with equal measures of artfulness and wit and truth and ink.

(I attended a Youth Over Violence/STOP [Students Together Organizing Peace] ART show Saturday night [http://bit.ly/1nVFnPk] by Franklin High School Students where the written word was celebrated alongside the visual and performance art forms – my heart sings and dances and soars like an eagle – as did the student’s. Vote Here: http://bit.ly/povla2050 to encourage similar do-goodery!)

Graves wrote: “The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good.”

I did some superficial research on the context of the quote – in which Claudius explains his decision to name the catastrophic Nero as his successor: “I have been too good an emperor, too fair and too honest. I will give Rome Nero and when he is done with Rome, Rome will be done with emperors altogether. It will be bad, exceedingly bad…worse even than Caligula but they have to have the whole terrible truth about just how bad it can be before they come to their senses. Let all of the poisons that lurk in the mud, hatch out.”

How apropos as we deal the Crisis of the Moment: The continuing/continuous Crisis of Succession as Romer was followed by Brewer and the Party of ®eform inserted the eminently qualified+experienced and fatally flawed (by the economy, mayoral confidence and sex) Cortines …succeeded by the dubiously qualified Dr. Deasy (Ph.D. from University of Louisville, Broad Superintendents’ Academy, Class of ‘06).

Deasy looks good on paper, but the paper itself is suspect. What next as we contemplate Deasy’s end game, rife with conflict and threatened litigation, criminal and civil?

My search for the citation led me into a very vigorous and intellectually rife – and utterly fascinating - online debate by British theoretical physicists over Climate Change and ‘Who Writes History?’ and Poetry and Quantum Mechanics - quoting Feynman and Graves under the heading: “Amplification of the Lamb effect with Spin Connection Resonance.“ http://bit.ly/1s4FOIg I love that title, it takes the X meets Y Hollywood pitch trope and connects Hannibal Lecher to Karl Rove in my twisted thinking. Can Eli Broad’s Frankenstein monster be far behind? And titles, I learned long ago, like jokes and recipes, are not protected by copyright.


I CITED THE THREE STRIKES against Deasy a week or so back.
• The LAUSD/iPad/Pearson procurement– which appears not just to be a RFP that needs to be undone/redone …but an actual criminal act
• The MiSiS Crisis – an act of hubris right out of the LAUSD playbook. Think Belmont Learning Complex. Think Business Tools for Schools.
• The initial rejection of LAUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan by LACOE

That called third strike seems to have been successfully appealed to the first base umpire – though the decision may be temporary - but it has been followed by two more swings+misses:
• Deasy has lawyered up – acquiring personal counsel expert at defending charges of Contract Fixing.
• Deasy has challenged the Board of Ed itself – questioning their motives+actions in dealing with technology vendors.

It’s easy to find one-word definitions for this strategy. Grandstanding. Misdirection. Etc.

But the first to mind is: Insubordination.

The superintendent reports to the Board of Ed, not they to him. If he suspects them of wrongdoing his recourse is through the Office of the General Counsel. Or the Inspector General. Or law enforcement itself. Hiring his own attorney and going after them is insubordinate – and any number of thesaurus words: Mutinous, disobedient, rebellious, willfully defiant.

To go all pop-cultural, one does not “lawyer-up” and then sing “Take this Job and Shove It!”
Well that foreman he's a regular dog
The line boss he's a fool
Got a brand new flattop hair cut
Lord he thinks he's cool

One of these days I'm gonna blow my top
And that sucker he's gonna pay
Lord I can't wait to see their faces
When I get the nerve to say

Take this job and shove it
I ain't working here no more
My woman done left
And took all the reasons
I was working for.
– Music+Lyrics: David Allan Coe

In light of Deasy’s insubordination I don’t see any other way for the board to act but to ask for his resignation. They should do this quickly and they should do it unanimously.

I just hope when they figure out how much money they will need to pay him to go away that they
a) don’t agree to defend him in any criminal charges that may come down; to agree to such condones his actions as they presently understand them. And
b) that the severance package terminates if there is a criminal conviction or a plea bargain. And
c) that whatever contract settlement is reached is reached openly and publicly.


IT’S PREMATURE TO ASSIGN JOHN DEASY TO THE PAST TENSE, but the LA Times writes (following): “Supt. John Deasy ’… is questioning whether he should step down’.”

While Deasy implodes we can all see the end of this chapter of the nightmare. There may be a sigh of relief but we cannot gloat, we cannot celebrate. There isn’t time. There is and will much work to do.

This district will continue to suffer from lack of effective leadership until some can be found; both in the superintendent’s office and on the board itself.

The board will need to coalesce and reconcile. They will need to agree to:
1. An interim superintendent. Someone to hold down the fort.
2. A transition plan.
3. A national search for a permanent superintendent.


(“Permanent” is a misnomer: I sat down with Dr. Cortines (a superintendent six times over) at one point and it was he who drew the baseball manager analogy: On the day any superintendent is hired he or she must realize that the day will come when they will be fired.)

When Deasy departs there are some folks who will need to leave with him, hopefully they will know who they are. We don’t need a witch hunt or a whole lot of “you agreed with him, you gotta go”, any more than we need any “I was always secretly against everything he stood for.” Breakfast in the Classroom is a case in point – it’s a program that should survive (with improvements) A.D.

Earlier I said the board must reconcile among themselves. Reconciliation between teachers and administrators and staff and parents and students and, critically: Voters, taxpayers and the community will take time. Faith has been breached.

Reconciliation will not be negotiated or established by policy or resolutions; billboards and bus ads about a “Whole New LAUSD” won’t cut it. It must be earned.

Whatever happens from here on out needs to be transparent and open; ethical, moral and legal.

We expect and require no less.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


STRAINED TIES CLOUD FUTURE OF DEASY, LAUSD: “Deasy …is questioning whether he should step down.”

By Teresa Watanabe, Howard Blume | L.A. Times | http://lat.ms/YH5rrA

Sept 13, 2014 :: The controversy engulfing Los Angeles Unified's $1.3-billion technology project has inflamed long-held tensions between the Board of Education and Supt. John Deasy, who is questioning whether he should step down.

In an interview, Deasy acknowledged that the continuing focus on the project, which aimed to give every student, teacher and campus administrator an iPad, has hampered his effectiveness and eroded his support on the board.

"I have thought about whether I have the ability to do what I need to do effectively. I think about it all the time," Deasy said, adding that he no longer feels he and the board are "united on the same mission and in the same way to accomplish this mission as when we started."

The school board appears to be dysfunctional. There is too much petty politics. There is too much micromanagement. - George Kieffer, chairman, Civic Alliance

The superintendent exposed the strain this week when he demanded emails between the board and technology companies, including those involved in the iPad program. Deasy requested the records to ferret out any potential ties. The superintendent is under scrutiny for precisely such connections between himself and those firms.

A highly critical report from a school board member, released last month, found that the bidding process may have had the appearance of favoritism toward Apple, which supplied the iPads, and Pearson, which provided the instructional software. Soon after, district emails were released that showed Deasy and former Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino had begun discussing a possible contract with Apple and Pearson two years before the bidding for the project began.

Deasy suspended future purchases under the contract and relaunched the bidding.

The district's inspector general has begun a full investigation into the procurement process.

Deasy and Aquino have denied any impropriety.

But Deasy said in the interview this week that damage has been done.

"These topics have wounded my ability around aggressive leadership," he said.

School board President Richard Vladovic declined to speculate about whether Deasy's leadership had been compromised.

"Any distraction is a hindrance, but we're going to continue to move forward," Vladovic said.

Civic leaders and community groups that organized campaigns to press for Deasy's contract extension last year have not mounted any similar show of support. Leaders say they are still watching the situation.

Some have said they are cautious about launching a collective campaign to back Deasy until all questions are answered over the iPad deal. Some also said the issue has never sparked the passion of their members as much as, for example, equitable spending for needy children.

"In the 50 years I've lived in Los Angeles, there has never been a better, more effective superintendent of the LAUSD than John Deasy," philanthropist Eli Broad said in a statement. "I'm disappointed that John's detractors have seized upon this issue to further criticize his work and to attempt to derail the progress under his leadership. My support of John Deasy has never been stronger."

George Kieffer, chairman of the Civic Alliance — a network of leaders from major foundations and civic groups — said this week that the majority of members continue to support Deasy. He and leaders of such organizations as InnerCity Struggle and Community Coalition have credited Deasy with leading successful efforts to increase student attendance, graduation rates and completion of college preparatory courses, among other matters.

Kieffer said Deasy must take "ownership" of problems in the iPad rollout and resolve them.

But he and other allies also chided the school board for what they view as an excessive focus on the iPad project at the expense of issues directly tied to student learning.

"The school board appears to be dysfunctional," Kieffer said. "There is too much petty politics. There is too much micromanagement."

Elise Buik, who heads United Way of Greater Los Angeles, said the iPad issue "is being used as a platform to personally attack" Deasy and called on all sides to refocus on student learning.

School board member Steve Zimmer rejected that criticism. He said his responsibilities required him to make sure the district was getting the best technology deal possible for the millions of public tax dollars being spent.

The investigation underway, he said, was not aimed at Deasy but at the "integrity of the process."

Zimmer also took issue with the perception that the board was not focusing on educational issues.

In the last few days, he said, he and Deasy have discussed how to stabilize schools facing declining enrollments, invest in dual immersion language programs and keep struggling students engaged in school through athletic programs.

Still, it is clear that fallout over the iPad project has weakened Deasy's position with the school board after months of relative peace during which they were able to forge key agreements to increase spending for needy students, improve discipline policies and rein in campus police practices.

Deasy always has had frosty relations with board member Bennett Kayser, the closest ally of the teachers union. Kayser's office complained early that Deasy made no effort to forge a working relationship, and any rapport now seems long beyond repair.

The superintendent reached out to board member Monica Ratliff after she was elected last year. Ratliff, however, was the author of the report critical of the iPad project, and their relationship appears to have been harmed by her unrelenting focus on it.

The superintendent's political allies had unsuccessfully targeted four current members of the school board for defeat in recent elections — Zimmer, Kayser, Ratliff and McKenna.

It was probably only a matter of time before Deasy had to deal with the fallout, whether it was over iPads or something else.

Stalled contract talks with the teachers union have only exacerbated Deasy's problems.

Deasy said he doesn't believe the union is willing to reach a deal with him — a point on which some of his supporters and critics agree.

Union leader Alex Caputo-Pearl doesn't go that far. But he does suggest Deasy's leadership style is ill-matched to the job and that, on merit, Deasy could be replaced for his handling of the iPad contract and a new student information system, called MISIS, that has malfunctioned.

For Caputo-Pearl and board members, personal and policy issues have combined to make Deasy's future in the district less tenable.

Deasy said he is trying to concentrate on what needs to get done in schools.

"I work every day for the benefit of youth and their parents. I don't try to measure if I'm appreciated," he said.

"I do the work I think is right."


Deasy Plays Hardball…or Goes Fishing?: LAUSD SUPERINTENDENT’S REQUEST FOR BOARD MEMBERS' EMAILS OPENS A NEW FRONT IN BATTLE OVER IPAD PLAN + smf’s 2¢

By Howard Blume | LA Times | http://lat.ms/1tPJKCp

12 Sept 2014 :: LAUSD Supt. Deasy is requesting records of contacts between board members and tech firms

L.A. Unified leaders request for board members' emails opens a new front in battle over iPad plan

In a bold challenge to his bosses, L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy has filed a public records request seeking emails and other documents involving school board members and nearly two dozen companies including those at the center of the controversial iPad project.

The move opens a new front in the fallout over a contract between the L.A. Unified School District and Apple. Until now, the focus has been on communications that Deasy and his top deputy had with the computer giant, which supplied the iPads, and with Pearson, the curriculum company that provided the instructional software on the devices.

The contract was the major piece in a $1.3-billion effort to provide a computer to every student, teacher and campus administrator in the nation's second-largest school system. Deasy recently suspended future purchases under that contract. He has denied any improprieties in connection with it.

The district's inspector general has begun reviewing communications among the two companies, Deasy, and then-Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino, who left the district at the end of 2013. Aquino also has defended his actions.

Deasy, through his Century City lawyer, Harvey I. Saferstein, apparently is attempting to unearth any possible ties between board members and technology companies.

At one level, Deasy's focus on the Board of Education does not seem surprising, said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

"It's not as if they were going on long camping trips together before this happened," he said, referring to tensions between Deasy and some board members. "Deasy obviously feels he's been unfairly attacked for communications he believes are completely appropriate. This looks like his effort to find out if the pots are calling the kettle black."

The Deasy and Aquino emails contain detailed instructions about a possible contract between Pearson and L.A. Unified. Deasy has described it as a potential pilot program that never occurred. The exchanges discussed training 2,000 teachers who, in turn, would coach their colleagues across the sprawling school system. Other correspondence alluded to a possible partnership with Apple to provide devices. In one email, Aquino noted the need to ensure that Pearson is the low bidder.

Aquino has said he was merely reminding Pearson about the rules for winning contracts.

Deasy obviously feels he's been unfairly attacked.... This looks like his effort to find out if the pots are calling the kettle black. - Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC

The district eventually conducted a formal bidding process that resulted in the selection of the Apple/Pearson team. Deasy recused himself because he owned Apple stock. Aquino supervised the bidding, but said he did not intervene in evaluating the proposals.

Deasy has said that contacts with vendors are routine, even when they occur before the start of bidding. He also has said that the elected school board members meet with companies and accept campaign donations from them even though they later must vote on contracts involving those firms.

Deasy declined to comment about the records request. Saferstein could not be reached.

The Public Records Act request, dated Sept. 10, targets board members George McKenna, Monica Garcia, Tamar Galatzan, Steve Zimmer and Bennett Kayser. It seeks "all meeting notes and correspondence (including emails and letters)" from Jan. 1, 2012, through Sept. 1, 2014, involving board members and their staff in connection to a list of 18 technology companies and two individuals.

The companies include Lenovo, Microsoft, Apple, Toshiba, Dell, HP, Acer, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Amplify Education Inc. and News Corp.

All of these companies sell computers or materials, such as curriculum or software, to school districts.

The request also includes Meg Whitman, the HP chief executive who ran unsuccessfully for California governor, and Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City school system; he left that job to head Amplify, a subsidiary of News Corp.

An earlier request, on Aug. 28, from Saferstein sought the same records from board President Richard Vladovic and board member Monica Ratliff.

Ratliff headed a panel that examined the district's technology program. Last month, she released a critical report on those efforts. She faulted senior officials for creating the appearance of favored treatment for the winning vendors.

When asked about the records request, Vladovic responded: "It doesn't bother me. I'm very transparent."

Vladovic was reluctant to comment on whether Deasy's action indicated a deteriorating relationship with some members of the Board of Education, which supervises the superintendent.

"I don't believe so," Vladovic said. "I'm not going to speculate on that."

Zimmer said he had "no way of knowing what is motivating this request."

"It is certainly within his right if he feels he has to do this in the interest of full and fair public scrutiny," Zimmer said. "It doesn't feel good, but I understand."

He added: "I'm going to work with the superintendent as I did before."

The requested emails cover a period dating back more than two years. Under current district policy, many of those emails might have been automatically destroyed after one year. Emails haven't been routinely deleted because of technical and staff limitations.

Ratliff said earlier this week she would ask the board to change the policy to preserve documents for longer periods.

Board member Garcia, a Deasy ally, declined to comment about the records request. Ratliff, Galatzan and McKenna could not be reached Thursday.

Times staff writer Teresa Watanabe contributed to this story.


●●smf's 2¢: couriouser+couriouser:

• Thursday morning LAUSD hosted a special: CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT LAUSD ATTORNEY TRAINING at Beaudry, conducted by the law firm of Albright, Yee and Schmitt, LLP. The PowerPoint is here: http://bit.ly/1wl8gtp
• Doesn’t the superintendent report to the board of education? …not vice versa?
• Isn’t the Inspector General the investigative arm of the school district?

DEASY LAWYERS UP: From the bio page of Deasy’s lawyer, Harvey I. Saferstein | http://bit.ly/1tITRoL

MINTZ LEVIN
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC

Harvey Saferstein
Member

“Harvey has also represented persons and companies alleged to have been involved in criminal price fixing.”

….and under “Representative Matters”:

“Currently representing a company in a bid-rigging investigation in Los Angeles County”


MiSiS: WHO WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE? + Norm Day Update + smf’s 2¢ (The question isn’t hypothetical, and the answer is Dr. Deasy)
Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Update Week of September 15, 2014 |

“T’was the day before Norm Day - ” Thursday, Sept 11, 2014 :: While the billion-dollar iPad initiative has resulted in national negative media attention and critical questions about the procurement process which will be investigated by the Office of the Inspector General, it is the MiSiS crisis that has made us doubt the wisdom of LAUSD’s priorities and decision making. Recognizing that schools are complex, living entities that require immediate access to information to function smoothly, AALA supported the stated purpose of MiSiS - a reliable student information system that promised to do more than either the 1980s Student Information System (SIS) or the awkward combination of SIS and its failed replacement, the Integrated Student information System (ISIS). Administrators were looking forward to using a system that would facilitate their data management and enormous compliance constraints by aligning student and staff information across multiple platforms.

We knew that the software development project was enormously complex and ambitious because it necessitated tracking attendance, grades, discipline and other data for 650,000 students from 35-40,000 data entry/access points in classrooms and offices. We respect the hard work of the MiSiS Team and know that it must be frustrating to be responsible for implementing new software with absolutely no backup plan, at least a year before it was ready. Given another year to refine and perfect its functionality, MiSiS probably would have worked reasonably well in August 2015, but in 2014, it is negatively impacting the school year and has made life truly miserable for thousands of LAUSD counselors, clerical staff, coordinators and administrators.

At the August 26 Board Meeting, Chief Information Officer Ronald Chandler admitted that he recommended that the implementation of MiSiS go forward this year. At the same meeting, Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill also accepted responsibility for recommending to Superintendent Deasy that the project proceed. Obviously, these recommendations were premature, resulting in an untenable situation for school personnel. Meanwhile, Superintendent Deasy was quoted in L.A. School Report (8/21/14) saying that he now plans to hire an “independent liaison” to keep him informed about MiSiS. “This is not my area of expertise,” he said. We suggest that he should have considered this action prior to the 2013-14 school year.

Reports from the field are critical and demoralizing. These are just a few of the most recent complaints that AALA has received from its members and other school-site personnel:

• Teacher rosters of students who have submitted free/reduced lunch applications cannot be run. With the deadline for reporting this crucial count rapidly approaching, September 23, schools do not know which students/parents need to be contacted to turn in their applications. This could result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding.

• In a school last week, paramedics had to be called for two students and staff was unable to print their emergency information from MiSiS. They had to resort to SIS, which has not been updated since last spring, and which may have contained dated information (or none at all if the students were new to the school).

• Some students who were enrolled or who had information changed during the first week of school seemed to have random parents/guardians and telephone numbers assigned. They did not even recognize the people listed in their records.

• A student who was killed in a hit/run accident and marked withdrawn before school began, is still showing up on teacher attendance sheets. Fortunately, Connect-Ed calls have not been made to the student’s home.

• Transcripts printed from MiSiS are not accurate, containing incorrect CAHSEE and other test results. The graduation year field is blank for many students and data cannot be entered into it. Without reliable information, counselors cannot guide students along the path to graduation.

• As soon as students are withdrawn at one school, they are often automatically reenrolled. This means that they won’t show up in MiSiS at the school they actually attend.

• Elementary principals sent AALA these comments: No ELD Rosters to start the year; log-on time is too long; we input student information and then it disappears; have to enter and exit several screens before being able to find the information one needs; Help Desk is not always helpful and wait time has been as long as 3 hours; cannot do class rosters or print labels; problems already with the classification report; new teachers’ information still not captured by MiSiS.

We take no pleasure in saying, “I told you so,” but Messrs. Chandler and Hill were warned, repeatedly and in compelling detail, during a series of eight meetings, a total of 22 hours) between November 2012 and May 2014. AALA hosted these meetings, and both Matt Hill and Ron Chandler, along with other high-level ITD staff attended a majority of them; AALA and UTLA members with decades of experience using SIS and ISIS represented LAUSD’s schools. Summaries were published following each meeting. Now, in a move that is just a replication of what AALA initiated two years ago, Mr. Hill is establishing focus groups of principals and teachers to find out specific needs at the school site.

We would characterize this as a comedy of errors if basic school procedures were not so severely impaired; but five weeks into the school year, we have to wonder of what use MiSiS will be this year-and how even the most basic school functions will occur as the year progresses. While senior staff members are accepting responsibility and focusing on their new theme of precision and empathy, those in the field continue to suffer. This entire scenario is absurd and causing so much unnecessary stress and overwork for employees that it cannot be brushed aside with more politically correct justifications.

The Superintendent is charged by the Board of Education to hold teachers, administrators and other staff members accountable for their actions or omissions. How will those responsible for the MiSiS debacle be evaluated and held accountable?


●● NORM DAY UPDATE: This is a MiSiS status report just from one source at a comprehensive high school – (also cited above) - but shared after the above piece was written:

►THURSDAY SEPT 11: Things were needed to do Progress Reports this week.

Please pardon my growing bitterness.
• Secondary Schools Report Cards –
> Still doesn't work for the whole school without timing out.
> Magnets don't exist as far as report cards are concerned
• Missing Grades – Secondary Report – MUST HAVE ASAP! DOESN'T WORK
> Runs, but gives erroneous and totally incomplete data
• Teacher Verification of Marks-Secondary
> Still doesn't work for the whole school
• Instructions posted for Missing Grades – Secondary Report
> Still no instructions, but it's not like the report works
• Instructions posted for Teacher Verification of Marks-Secondary
> Still no instructions, but it's not like the report works
• Gradebook – teachers who used the MiSiS gradebook and submitted early submitted number grades which jam up the grades module. MiSiS sent out instructions YESTERDAY, but they just say how teachers should do it, not how to fix the errors caused by teachers who chose to use the flawed gradebook. (You go to grading scales, click save, then re-export. See, that wasn't hard)
• This is how you treat early adopters?

I am not looking forward to handing out progress reports. Our parents expect more from us. Even if report cards start to work, the data entered is very flawed. I hope you're putting extra people on the help lines and extra staffing at board member & district offices to deal with parent calls.

Again, pardon my growing bitterness.

These things were needed for accurate norm day enrollment

►FRIDAY AM: SEPT 12 [NORM DAY]: On Thursday, September 11, we demoted students from 11th to 10th grade based upon credits.

THESE STUDENTS DO NOT SHOW ON OUR CURRENT CLASSIFICATION REPORT!

Not as 11th graders, not as 10th graders. They are gone.

They didn't show Thursday afternoon.

They do not show Friday morning.

The students were demoted with the new "Grade Level Change" button found in enrollment history.

This is big. Even if this issue eventually resolves itself automatically, you will have incorrect data from many schools on their norm day classification reports if data is captured by the district before this is done for other locations.

►AN HOUR LATER: The other issue I'm noticing on our classification report is that on our Week 1, through Week 4 reports that were captured by the district, we don't show any students as Advance to Literacy. If I run the report for a given day, I show the 14 that we actually have. This error needs to be fixed prior to tonights norm day capture or schools will not get the positions they are entitled to.


IT’S TIME TO DO ACCOUNTABILITY RIGHT – AND YES, WE KNOW HOW

by Lee Funk | SI&A Cabinet Report :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet | http://bit.ly/1qNwZ93

September 10, 2014 :: Using standardized tests as the sole measure of educational performance is a bit like using a measuring tape to calculate weight. You’ll get a number, all right, but it will have limited meaning.

Yet that’s exactly what we have been doing throughout the country since the inception of No Child Left Behind. And nothing much has changed with the waivers granted by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wherein there is flexibility in setting measureable objectives but no provision for de-emphasizing statewide academic assessments.

Whole scale achievement testing provides information about scholastic attainment for the general population and, with data disaggregation, the same measurement for various sub-groups. It also gives a glimpse into general progress as far as subject matter competence is concerned.

Such scores are necessary and profoundly valuable. After all, universal academic proficiency is a primary task for our educational institutions.

But it is not their only purpose.

More than any other social institution in America (even more than churches where, like it or not, attendance has declined to less than 20 percent of the population) schools are expected to be the arbiter of morality, civic responsibility, and social consciousness. They are community hubs wherein at the more than 14,000 local education agencies nationwide priorities for our country’s future our determined every day.

Thomas Jefferson outlined this responsibility in a report for the University of Virginia, nearly 200 years ago, when he stated, “The objects of... primary education …[are]: To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; to enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts in writing; to improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; to understand his duties to his neighbors and country… to know his rights…and in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.”

An extremely broad charge that has been reinforced by the plethora of state and federal laws mandating that the schools address a host of societal concerns, not necessarily associated with academic prowess, including tobacco use, substance abuse, racial as well as gender equality, bullying, littering, vaccinations, parent engagement, child endangerment, patriotic obligations, and community safety, just to name a few.

On the surface it may seem like it would be impossible to hold educational institutions accountable for such a vast array of enterprises but in fact the voluminous research on quality indicators for schools, often referred to as determiners for “school effectiveness,” provides a very useable and applicable roadmap. In addition to gaging the skills acquired by the student body through school work, we could be determining if the schools themselves are working for the students. Rather than simply institutionalizing knowledge as a quantifiable product we should also be assessing the institution to see if it is productive.

The actual hallmarks of effective schools vary in the literature but there is a core group of five upon which most scholars and practitioners alike agree:

• Dynamic and responsive site level leadership
• Meaningful and active parent engagement
• A productive and positive school climate
• Student centered faculty culture
• High expectations for student performance.

With the exception of the last, none of these characteristics are measureable through mass standardized exams. But there are other instrumental indices available: graduation rates, staff development reports, surveys, student evaluations, etc. The notion that these qualifiers cannot be systematically quantified is a lazy argument. Social science researchers put numbers to abstract concepts like self-efficacy, vocational aptitude, intelligence, even motivation all the time. With operational definitions and ingenuity we could do the same for measuring school performance.

States do not have to wait for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to enact changes in their accountability systems. ESEA only designates minimal standards for measurement. There is nothing to prohibit the designation of additional benchmarks.

If the phrase frequently attributed to Peter Drucker, the nationally recognized expert in management practices, is correct and “what gets measured gets done,” and if we truly expect our school system to be a foundational component of our democracy then we need to broaden the scope for assessment. And after thirteen years of myopic testing we need to enact additional metrics now, before another wave of young people go through the grades as slaves to one narrow aspect of accountability.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
WHAT LAUSD IS DOING WITH ITS MILITARY-SURPLUS GRENADE LAUNCHERS AND ASSAULT RIFLES | http://bit.ly/1D6lHSH

EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED: "So Bill Gates Has This Idea for a History Class ..." | http://bit.ly/1ALQboP

Updated/2 stories: COUNTY APPROVES LA SCHOOL’S CONTROVERSIAL BUDGET + smf’s 2¢ | http://bit.ly/1y0DeeS

A: Because the only things that matter: are money + test scores :: TRUANCY COSTING CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS BILLIONS! | http://bit.ly/1tOSxAY

B: Because the only things that matter are money + test scores :: TRUANCY IS SAVING TAXPAYERS BILLIONS! | http://bit.ly/1tOSxAY

STRAINED TIES CLOUD FUTURE OF DEASY, LAUSD L.A. Times: "Deasy '...is questioning whether he should step down'.” | http://bit.ly/1s12Wap

THE LAST MINUTE IS EXACTLY THE RIGHT TIME: Today Sat Sept 13 9AM-1PM - THE MT. WASHINGTON SCHOOL PANCAKE BREAKFAST | http://bit.ly/1xYrsBF

LAUSD's email rule might not be intended to hide shenanigans, but it certainly could prove a useful tool for doing so.http://bit.ly/1utgvUR

L.A. UNIFIED SHOULD RESCIND PLAN TO DELETE YEAR-OLD EMAILS | http://bit.ly/1utgvUR

DEASY LAWYERS UP | http://bit.ly/YEcP7d

PLAYING HARDBALL?…OR GONE FISHING? Deasy's request for board member emails opens a new front in battle over iPad plan http://bit.ly/1ByyIT6

ALL THE SUPERINTENDENT’S MEN: MINUTES of the “TEACHERS FOR DEASY” COMMITTEE MEETING | http://bit.ly/auDNT3 pic.twitter.com/9C1p05Swa9

3 from LA School Report: UTLA/LAUSD CONTRACT; GARCETTI ENDORSES TORLAKSON, MiSiS + THE BRIEF RETURN OF MARTIN EDEN |http://bit.ly/1qmJ4Dh

Updated: LA SCHOOL BOARD TO RECONSIDER ITS EMAIL ARCHIVING POLICY | http://bit.ly/1rNiRcf

ANTI-UNION BIAS @ CRENSHAW: “The District contends that Deasy was not involved.” Where have we heard this before? | http://bit.ly/1xNOzPq

UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES HEARING OPENS ON CRENSHAW TEACHERS' CLAIMS OF ANTI-UNION BIAS: | Unified http://bit.ly/1xNOzPq

THE PATT MORRISON INTERVIEW WITH ALEX CAPUTO-PEARL:| http://bit.ly/1qmoq62

Should L.A. schools be run like businesses? Here's what the new UTLA chief says | http://bit.ly/1qmoq62

MiSiS a “severe crisis” &/or “a complete joke”, 40,000 students unaccounted-for but “we are continuing to improve.” http://bit.ly/1qITPyM

A(n in)complete joke on the day before ‘Norm Day’: THE MiSiS CRISIS CONTINUES AT LAUSD | 3 stories | http://bit.ly/1qITPyM

LA SCHOOL BOARD AGREES TO DESTROY INTERNAL EMAILS AFTER A YEAR | http://bit.ly/1pNIU1s

Before the RFP: LA SCHOOL’S EARLY TECHNOLOGY PLANS CALLED FOR TRAINING ON PEARSON SOFTWARE | http://bit.ly/1uk30qg

BOARD OF ED APPROVES PLAN TO ERASE LAUSD E-MAILS AFTER ONE YEAR: Does the name iPadgate ring a bell? | http://bit.ly/1uvmBDj

CORRECTION: "We vs. iPads" ...credit where credit’s due | http://bit.ly/1tsDSuW

LAUSD TEACHERS ARE PAID LESS THAN OTHERS IN CALIFORNIA: Compensation including benefits is 1.7% less than CA average http://bit.ly/1pLYafd


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
LAUSD BOARD OF ED:
Committee of the Whole – Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
Agenda: http://bit.ly/1pfS471

• 20 Years in the Struggle for Immigrant Rights: From Proposition 187
• Administrative Relief Now
• Unaccompanied Minors: Situation at the Border and in our Schools
• Miguel Contreras Foundation Programs
• Progress Towards The New School Report
• Progress Towards The New Arts Equity Index

And, Ahoy shipmates: Friday Sept 19 is International TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY! Argggh!

*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
Marguerite.LaMotte@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.
• To SUBSCRIBE e-mail: 4LAKids-subscribe@topica.email-publisher.com - or -TO ADD YOUR OR ANOTHER'S NAME TO THE 4LAKids SUBSCRIPTION LIST E-MAIL smfolsom@aol.com with "SUBSCRIBE" AS THE SUBJECT. Thank you.


Sunday, September 07, 2014



4LAKids: Sunday 7•Sept•2014
In This Issue:
 •  YES, LOS ANGELES, IT’S CORRUPTION
 •  THE TRIALS+TRIBULATIONS OF OPENING SCHOOL WITH MiSiS + DISPATCHES FROM THE MiSiS FRONT
 •  BROWN CHALLENGER TARGETS TIES TO TEACHERS’ UNION + 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?


Featured Links:
 •  Give the gift of a 4LAKids Subscription to a friend or colleague!
 •  Follow 4 LAKids on Twitter - or get instant updates via text message by texting "Follow 4LAKids" to 40404
 •  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.
In Washington DC there is much complaining about the vacuum of leadership.

The saber rattlers and send-in-the-troopers claim that the president is feckless and needs to grow a pair. Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran. Or have the Iranians bomb ISIS. Or ISIL. Or the Islamic State. Convert ‘em or kill ‘em. And let’s reheat some leftovers from the Cold War in Ukraine while we’re at it.

Of course when the Prez shows some feck on immigration policy he needs to be neutered and brought to heel. Speaker Boehner can’t control his Tea Party allies. Harry Reid has a whiny voice. And a senator from Texas who was born in Canada questions the Americanism of the president – who was born in Hawaii.

It is the Dyson DC65 Animal of leadership vacuums in DC. We hunger for the good old days when Cheney told W what to say and everybody followed.

No such thing here in LAUSD, everybody knows who runs the show. Who led us into the iPad debacle? Who led us into the MiSiS Crisis? Who engineered the Local Control Accountability Plan? Breakfast in the Classroom? The CORE Waiver?

But now The Leader is under attack and we must rally around. He is misunderstood, misquoted and misjudged. Gosh forbid …politics are in play!


Or maybe we have been misled.


Let me suspend the humor here lest anyone think I am trying to be funny. The General Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District is being accused of rigging a contract involving not billions but hundreds of millions of dollars. There are new emails that have surfaced that suggest that this might be true and the Inspector General has, or is about to, reopen an investigation into that contract. Grand juries may be summoned. Where is Mike Wallace of Sixty Minutes when we need him?

LAUSD policy requires that certificated employees (who have a credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing) accused of misconduct be removed and put on paid administrative leave and that they have no contact with colleagues, students or parents while they are being investgated. To be glib, this is called “teacher jail” or sometimes “Deasy jail” – and certainly there is some irony here – but the irony is not humorous. The policy is not intended to be humorous or ironic. It is meant to protect the District.

The recent suggestion from UTLA that this policy be implemented re: the allegation that the superintendent engineered the Apple/Pearson procurement was fraught with irony – and hint-hint/nudge-nudge/say-no-more! But I am being deadly serious here: The Board of Education should place the superintendent on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

I hear that school board members are not afraid of the superintendent – or that this crisis will work itself out in due course. That an exit strategy will present itself at the right time. Maybe in the in the magical time between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Board members: you should be afraid.

Damage has been done, is being done and continues to be done. Time is being lost. Staff morale is at an all time low – and students and parents witness this every day. The public trust is vanishing… vanished …gone. And board members: You are the public trustees! In Due Course and The Right Time never arrive at the door with a ring of the bell.

This is a crisis. You need to lead.


Public Education and public educators are driven by social justice; our schools are the battlefields in the fight for social justice, equity and civil rights.

John Deasy and all seven members of The Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles wrap yourselves in the banner of social justice, but justice is not being served in waiting for the perfect time.

When you assume the mantle of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Nelson Mandela or RFK or Cesar Chavez or Mahatma Gandhi remember this: These were not followers or waiters. These were leaders.

Someone needs to go into that meeting next Tuesday and say “We need to do something. And we need to do it now.”

Someone needs to lead.
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there "is" such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.


There was a headline in the LA Times last week that says it all: “L.A. Unified exemplifies the forces that stifle public school reform.” Not ‘Reform with a ®’ …but the constant evolutionary change that is the very nature of educating children. “But time makes you bolder / Even children get older / And I'm getting older too” change.

Saturday there was a public celebration of Dr. McKenna’s election to the Board of Education at the high school where he caught the public’s attention: Washington Prep. Saturday was also Dr. McKenna’s birthday. Present were a Who’s Who of the Los Angeles Black community – with the notable exceptions being notable. Present also were the three so called “progressive” school board members who supported McKenna’s election – who with McKenna now form a majority on the board.

Congressperson Maxine Waters argued that this moment demonstrates the victory of the Right Thing over Big Money …and also the triumph of the collective/united “We” over the politics of “I". And, in a ‘Maxine really didn’t say that, did she?’ moment: “The final triumph of We over iPads!”

She had them all stand and addressed new majority directly: “You will not always agree, you will not always vote as a bloc” – but she also laid out the public’s expectation and marching orders: “We are tired of a board that can’t get the job done.”

Sunday’s LA Times Op-Ed page’s headline “Yes, Virginia, it’s Corruption” speaks of other official misbehavior –but the letters section one column to the right (follows) lays out the public’s disgust with the public corruption in LAUSD

I spoke on Thursday separately to three different school superintendents from three distinct and different school districts in L.A. County - two retired and one still practicing the craft – about their impression of the fiduciary, legal, moral and ethical crises ongoing in LAUSD – and the three principal challenges of the moment.

• The matter of the iPads and the Apple/Pearson contract
• The MiSiS Crisis
• The non-approval of LAUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan by the L.A. County Office of Education.

All three advanced the word “ludicrous” into the conversation without being prompted within the first thirty seconds – and I assure you I never provoked anything in the way of word association or “What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say LAUSD?"

The words “laughingstock” and “tragedy” also occurred spontaneously. Just not as soon.

It was the first time two of us had ever spoken, one I had spoken to before. Our conversation was frank and on the record – though their names are not. The serving supe - from a district in the San Gabriel Valley - requires anonymity for obvious reasons – the other two work as active consultant-coaches to districts and school boards throughout the county.

All three are convinced that Deasy’s supertendency is flawed at best and questioned the propriety – and good sense and haste – of the iPad rollout as it was done …though all three spoke compellingly in favor of 1:1 computing and educational technology. When part of a comprehensive plan with funding and training and – lest I seem redundant – long term/in depth/visionary planning.

All three also questioned the haste with which the MiSiS System came on line. “Grossly mishandled” “Gross incompetence” “Grossly negligent”

All three had questions about the LAUSD LCAP.

All three challenged the alleged ‘transparency’ claimed by LAUSD’s leadership – with expressions like ‘fast-and-loose’ with the bond funds and the Local Control Funding Formula money being common in the conversations.

Mostly all three felt that LAUSD’s shenanigans were screwing it up for LAUSD’s students – who deserve better - and for other districts/superintendents/boards of education who might try to do something big or brave. “Deasy has ruined it for the rest of us.”

One singled out Deasy’s CORE Waiver as a particularly egregious affront. “He negotiated a waiver from NCLB for himself and a few friends …and left the rest of us in the lurch. It was Every Other District Left Behind!”

One superintendent described a 1:1 commuting roll-out he observed. ●First every teacher and administrator in the district received a tablet, leased with general fund dollars. ● Every educator got 80 hours of training on the device in the two weeks after school was out. ●Then they were left with the devices for a year to familiarize themselves with the devices and the software. Some started using them right away in their teaching, some developed apps, others surfed the web and wrote emails. ●It wasn’t until Year Two – when the student platforms started to be delivered (also leased with general fund dollars) - that there was any expectation that the devices would be used to take roll or make reports or be actively used in instruction. In that time many teachers had developed and shared curriculum.

There was vehement criticism of the developed-on-the-fly aspect of the Pearson Common Core content – a concept called “vaporware” in the software biz …but better called “dreamware” (as opposed to hardware and software) by one of the supes.

As the serving supe said; “It is Good Teaching that is a civil right …iPads are only a tool.”

Returning to our theme: Leadership and the lack thereof.

I think I can say and be in agreement with most (if not all) of my superintendents that the lasting damage being done in MiSiS – where the software/database product was rolled out long before it was ready – far exceeds that of the iPads and the misspending/mis-accounting of the LCFF in the LCAP for last year. While the first may have involved actual lawbreaking – and the second some very aggressive regulation bending – MiSiS demonstrates the very serious and continuing gross error driven by urgency that could’ve and should’ve been anticipated and ameliorated. Not by coders or IT folk or the Chief Information Officer – but by the superintendent himself. Dr Deasy’s quote that Student Information Data Management “...is not my area of expertise”[http://bit.ly/1zqMJiV] is not getting any respect. “I want a third party who is knowledgeable about changing student information systems, to give insight into are we making enough changes, are we making our changes correctly.” Really? Isn’t two weeks after the districtwide rollout a bit late?

My serving superintendent gave me a musical lyric to add to the 4LAKids playlist. The whole series of blunders reminds him of the little Texas Sidestep that Charles Durning as the well-meaning-but-thoroughly-bent governor sang+danced in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas:

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don't-
I've come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,
cut a little swathe and lead the people on.

Now my good friends, it behooves me to be solemn and declare,
I'm for goodness and for profit and for living clean and saying daily prayer.
And now, my good friends, you can sleep nights, I'll continue to stand tall.
You can trust me, for I promise, I shall keep a watchful eye upon ya'll...

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don't-
I've come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,
cut a little swathe and lead the people on.
- Words and music by Dolly Parton

¡Onward/Adelante! – smf


PS: last Sunday’s 4LAKids didn’t make it past the LAUSD email servers to a couple of thousand subscribers with lausd.net addresses. Maybe the servers were down, maybe the shields were up. There’s a lot going on.

Past issues are always available at http://4LAKids.blogspot.com


YES, LOS ANGELES, IT’S CORRUPTION
Letters to the Editor: LAUSD iPad fiasco a distraction from real issues | LA Times http://lat.ms/1ubUKJ0

Sunday, September 7, 2014

To the editor: It is astonishing that it has taken this long for the "fervor and fury" over the Los Angeles Unified School District's iPad debacle to emerge. ("Supt. Deasy's early and avid support of iPads under intense scrutiny," http://lat.ms/1lPo4E4 | Sept. 4)

The shiny devices started rolling into the district before our children and educators could brush themselves off from the devastating effects of the recession. At the time of their rollout, schools in even the wealthier neighborhoods of the district were not getting their most basic needs met: Janitorial services were intermittent at best, school nurses were scheduled once or twice a week, libraries were shut down and construction paper became a prized possession.

Oh, and let's not forget the minor issues of teacher layoffs and class sizes.

Let's ensure that our children and teachers have their basic needs met before the district goes on another shopping spree that wastes precious resources and hurts the very students it was supposed to help.

Rebecca Rubin, Sherman Oaks

..

To the editor: The furor over tablets in L.A. Unified has focused on the brand chosen. But the prior decision to divert major funding to computing was equally flawed — or more so.

First, classrooms urgently need upgrades. We will not prepare students for modern work by placing them at decaying desks and chairs in cheap, "temporary" bungalows. It is shameful (and a betrayal of voters' intent) that funds designated for construction were diverted to electronics.

More important, computer literacy cannot replace the need for literacy in the most basic sense. Computing is important. But reading must come first. It is and will remain the essential job skill.

Only when our students can read and write should we offer an apple to the teacher.

Richard and Carole Stein, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: After reading the front-page article, I was astonished to see the headline, "Deasy under union attack over iPads," in the LATEXTRA section.

Since when is it an "attack" to point out the gross inconsistencies between the way teachers and administrators are treated when accused of improprieties?

The Times itself points out that more than $1.3 billion is at stake here. Shouldn't The Times support a teacher's proposal to insist that those who may have wasted taxpayers' money step aside so an objective investigation can take place?

Dennis M. Clausen, Escondido

..

To the editor: Missing from the iPad debacle is actual usage in the classroom.

High school students are notorious for not bringing their textbooks to class. If half the class is without an iPad, what lesson do I teach?

Alternatively, perhaps teachers could store the iPads in the classroom. But if I do that, it will take up to 20 minutes of each 53-minute class to pass out and collect the iPads while checking serial numbers with student names.

These iPads remind me of Hula Hoops and the tinny-sounding transistor radios of the 1950s: They are a lot of fun to play with but have little real value.

Bob Munson, Newbury Park

..

To the editor: The estimated cost of the iPad program is about $1.3 billion. An experienced L.A. Unified teacher with a master's degree can expect to make about $60,000 a year. So, for the price of the iPad program, several thousand teachers could be hired.

Mark Stephen Mrotek, Carson


THE TRIALS+TRIBULATIONS OF OPENING SCHOOL WITH MiSiS + DISPATCHES FROM THE MiSiS FRONT
from the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update for the Week of 8 Sept 2014 | http://bit.ly/YihifD

AALA thanks a secondary administrator, who wishes to remain anonymous, for providing this article.

4 September, 2014 :: For years, we heard it was coming – an integrated student information system. And then, suddenly, almost without warning, we drop right into the middle of My Integrated Student Information System (MiSiS), a system still in development. If MiSiS is meant to be a test of our patience and perseverance as administrators, it rose to the occasion.

The MiSiS journey begins with a delay in the start date, difficulty accessing the log-in screen and limited user-access roles. To guide us, we receive a quick, three-hour training, some job aides which often lead us to screens still in production and a help desk with no access to MiSiS.

When questions arise, we place calls to the help desk. The help desk listens, empathizes and states that they will find an answer; the most received answer – “try” this or that, we are not sure if it will work. When no answer exists, personnel instruct us to send screen shots and to create tickets – tickets which return weeks later stating the issue is irresolvable or an enhancement for a later date. At times, we realize we figure out more than the help desk and we are all working in the dark.

Yet, we cannot be beat and we persevere because of the students. Counselors and administrators work tirelessly to enter student class requests while fighting the “loading” wheel. Requests entered, double-checked one-by-one, the master schedule ready for the scheduling engine. No reports exist to support the process. Endless explanations of the necessity of reports end in disappointment.

After months of trial and error and a scheduling engine that cannot support the creation of a master schedule, we revert to the “old-fashioned” way of paper and pencil. Out of desperation, as work usually completed in May extends to July, we commit to a master with a low percentage of students fully scheduled. Now, holes in schedules must be filled. Staff work non-stop during summer to complete schedules, hoping each day to avoid the spinning wheel of death.

New students begin to enroll. To transfer students to our school, we contact other schools and hope they have time to release the students. Stacks of new student enrollees’ paperwork mound desks. We spend one hour per student entering all the necessary data only to click save and to have all of the information erased. MiSiS says new enrollment procedures will be implemented.

In August, simplified enrollment procedures make their debut. Yet, error messages of missing parent information stop data from saving even though the parent information is visible on the screen. Back to

square one and daily calls of distress to MiSiS to support the enrollment of the growing number of new students. Lucky if we enter three to five students a day, even with six people working on data entry, we continue to persevere because of the students.

The system seems to work best at night. To prepare for opening day, taking paperwork home to complete enrollment or to enter student schedules becomes the norm. Working all hours, then coming to work to watch the wheel just spin and spin. Each day is a guessing game. Will you move past the log-in screen? Will you actually arrive at the scheduling screen? Once you are at the scheduling screen, can you change a schedule? Will the schedule you changed earlier stick or revert back to the original schedule? Will all of the students’ classes remain or will one, two or all six be missing?

Leading up to August 12, 2014, are endless months of frustration; frustration that often boils into anger or descends into tears. Some days, we can work only an hour a day. Everything must be documented by hand and rechecked. Work that used to take minutes now takes hours, even days. The students are in class but the problems continue. We create hand schedules for students not in MiSiS. Teachers turn rosters in daily to monitor enrollment numbers and class size. New issues stem from classes inadvertently missing from student schedules, from reports not accurately reflecting numbers, and from misinformation from MiSiS.

Top management says we will not remember the trials and tribulations of MiSiS in a year. Even though, we continue to persevere, the new silver streaks in my hair will remain an everlasting reminder of the MiSiS crisis.

________________________________________

DISPATCHES FROM THE MiSiS FRONT

4LAkids has obtained an e-mail report – an internal memo written by an expert in student information systems working at a schoolsite who is attempting to improve MiSiS so it becomes a better tool for students and teachers:

A couple of high priority items came to the front today.

Today we had two students for whom we needed to call the paramedics. In the past, as we had to today, we used SSIS to print a copy of ID01 or ID38 in order to give emergency information and parent contacts to the paramedics. We can't find any way to quickly do this in MiSiS. This is a big priority! It should print straight from a web page since speed is a premium. There must be a quick guide for this!

I was able to generate some Office Summons last night, but I had to wait until 10:00pm to get the report to run and complete.

The missing mark report doesn't work to show what grades haven't been turned in. This needs to be fixed in the next couple of days.

When I look at the grade page for my 7th period class, I have 9 students. When I run verification rosters, it only shows 1. This needs to be fixed in the next couple of days.

A student was killed in a hit and run several days prior to the start of school on August 12. We immediately withdrew him, but his name keeps appearing on teachers attendance lists. He's marked withdrawn, but he shows up on roll sheets. Name available upon request. At least because he is withdrawn, phone calls aren't going home to the family.

We have students who can't be enrolled because as soon as they are withdrawn at their current school they seem to be automatically re-enrolled. Clerks are on the phone with each other and they can't seem to make this work. Name available upon request.

Several students who were enrolled or who had information changed around the first week of school seem to have random parents/guardians and telephone numbers assigned. Kids don't recognize the people on their records. When we call or are called, they don't recognize kid. Name available upon request.

As was our practice with ISIS, we marked our JV Football team absent with reason of AT for their absences for away football games this season. However, we found we could not change any of those classes if an absence was marked in the future. AND we could not remove the pre-excused absence. We should be able to remove the absence! We should be able to change a class if there is a future absence marked and that pre-excused absence should move to the new class. As with many other things, this is creating more work for office staff.

When I printed a transcript for a xxx student, it featured:
A missing student name unless you chose "shrink to fit" when printing
An incorrect location code (for an academy we closed a couple of years ago that this student never was a member of)
A CEEB code of NA
A counselor who is not one of our counselors
No SSID# for a kid who went to our school last year
No zip code for the student address
When I printed a transcript for a xxx Magnet student, with all options available, it featured:
A blank location code
A CEEB# of NA
A CDS Code of 0
No principal
No counselor
A zip code for family
A SSID#
A fail on the CAHSEE ELA in 3/13 (student actually got a perfect score)
A fail on the CAHSEE Math in 3/13 (student actually got a perfect score)
A CAPA score on 3/13 (CAPA is taken by severely disabled special education students)
A CELDT score on 3/13 (test for EL students – student and parents are native English speakers)
A bunch of Migrant tests on 3/13 I don't understand but probably don't belong for this student
No GPA information although it was requested
These faults were also present on Aug 11 when the Transcripts were previously available.

The attendance listed for each kid in the grade window for teachers seems to be totally inaccurate. The one regularly attending student that showed A:14 I checked had that number of PERIOD ABSENCES IN ALL CLASSES COMBINED when I looked in attendance at a glance from the office manager role. Other teachers reported the A:14 number however.

When teachers look at their attendance screens, there are a number of boxes meant to indicate to the teacher whether the student is in Special Ed, has a 504, is an EL student, has a special health alert, etc. NONE of these indicators is working for any student.

When teachers go to print 5 column rosters, they are presented with every teacher at the school preselected. Teachers shouldn't be able to print rosters for classes other than their own, let alone have the other teachers already selected.

When teachers go to print verification rosters, they are presented with every teacher at the school preselected. Teachers shouldn't be able to print grades for classes other than their own, let alone have the other teachers already selected.

If you select a comment and then decide you don't want to give a comment, you can't remove the comment without canceling the entire page and the work you have already done. There should be a "blank" option to choose.

The comments, like many things in the MiSiS universe, are incorrectly sorted. Although the comments are numbered, a simple text sort was used, so the "2 - " comment came after 1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, & 19. However you resolve this, please do it in a way that teachers can still use the keyboard to quickly type in comments.


BROWN CHALLENGER TARGETS TIES TO TEACHERS’ UNION + smf’s 2¢
By Louis Freedberg | EdSource | http://bit.ly/1w4zya4

September 5, 2014 :: In the sharpest exchange of the first, and most likely, only debate between the two leading gubernatorial candidates, GOP challenger Neil Kashkari told Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday night that he “should be ashamed” of himself for “fighting for the union bosses” who have contributed to his campaigns rather than “fighting for the civil rights of poor kids.”

“That makes no sense at all,” Brown replied. “That is so false.”

“It’s absolutely true, governor,” Kashkari retorted – three times.

That prompted the moderator, KQED’s John Myers, to step in. “Gentlemen, gentlemen, I don’t think we are going to agree on this issue tonight,” he said. “Governor, we must move on.”

The immediate target of the exchange was Brown’s decision last week to appeal the Vergara v. California ruling that could upend key teacher employment laws, including those determining the length of tenure, and seniority laws that protect teachers from layoffs.

Kashkari, a former high-ranking U.S. Treasury official, is trying to make Brown’s ties to the California Teachers Association a major issue in the campaign. Kashkari is trailing Brown by 16 percentage points, according to the latest Field Poll.

Brown vehemently defended his decision to appeal the Vergara ruling issued by a judge in Los Angeles Superior Court, arguing that the state constitution requires the Court of Appeal to invalidate the laws of California.”

“As far as bad teachers, they have no place in the classroom,” he said. To that end, he said signed Assembly Bill 215, which will make it easier to dismiss teachers accused of egregious misconduct, and will streamline other suspension and dismissal procedures. But he pointedly pledged to do more on the issue if necessary. “If it is not enough, we will do further next time.”

He conceded that tenure laws may help protect a small number of teachers – the 1 to 3 percent of ineffective teachers described in the Vergara trial – but suggested that a far greater problem are other factors holding children back, including “the lack of language, lack of income, the disproportionate funding in the schools.”

“Those are major factors,” he said.

Brown said the policies he had promoted were addressing those issues: Passage of Prop. 30, the initiative approved by voters two years ago that is generating billions of dollars of extra tax revenues for schools, and the Local Control Funding Formula that is targeting billions of state education funds to low-income students and English learners. He described the funding formula as a “revolutionary education reform that puts more money into those classrooms where challenges are the toughest.”

Brown referred to his experience at the Oakland Military Institute, a charter school he founded in 2001 when he was mayor of the city. It serves mostly low-income students whom he said “come from homes where they speak no English, are from homes with single parents who have uncertain jobs,” and who face “gunfire on the streets.”

“Those kids were under stress,” he said. All these factors, he said, “obviously have some impact” on how students do in school.

The exchange came on the same day that Kashkari posted an eight-minute online video labeled a “mini-documentary” that in addition to criticizing Brown for his position on Vergara v. California, seemingly blames Brown for all the shortcomings of the state’s public schools, including the fact that it trails most other states in per capita income support.

In a preview of his remarks during the debate, Kashkari charged that Brown’s interests lie not with California, but with the “union bosses that have been funding his career for 40 years.”

The CTA has endorsed Brown for governor in all his campaigns for governor. In the video, Kashkari says, “in 2010 the CTA coordinated more than $7 million in campaign contributions for Jerry Brown.”

The “Follow the Money” website of the National Institute of Money in Politics shows that the CTA donated $62,900 directly to Brown between 2006 and 2010, out of just over $150 million it spent on all candidates between 2003 and 2012.

However, a report by California Common Sense shows that the CTA contributed over $6 million to independent expenditure committees that supported Brown. Those contributions, along with over $30 million of independent expenditures from other organizations, “partially offset the $144 million that Meg Whitman donated to her own campaign,” the report noted.

• John Fensterwald contributed to this report.

• Louis Freedberg covers education policy reform and is Executive Director of EdSource.



●● smf’s 2¢: I certainly don’t agree with Kashkari, but what was the purpose/value/justification/authority for the Vergara lawsuit in the first place – and the judge’s ruling – if, as Governor Brown says, “the state constitution requires the Court of Appeal to invalidate the laws of California”?

Was the whole Vergara lawsuit a “mulligan”? A try-out in New Haven? Or one of the Feb. 2nd's Bill Murray lived in “Groundhog Day?”


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
4LAKids' Sunday (not so) Funnies: http://pic.twitter.com/tszxr3Ivq9

AFTER RUNNER-UP FINISH FOR SPI GUTIERREZ TAKES ON VLADOVIC - then repudiates statements re: willingness to fire Deasy| http://bit.ly/ZdHyYx

THE TRIALS+TRIBULATIONS OF OPENING SCHOOL WITH MiSiS | http://bit.ly/1rQafHL

CALIF. TEACHERS’ UNION SETS SIGHTS ON CHARTERS | http://bit.ly/

WILL COMMON CORE DOUBLE THE HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT RATE? + smf’s 2¢ | http://bit.ly/1xlVvmx

TEACHERS UNION SUBMITS INITIAL CONTRACT DEMANDS TO LA UNIFIED + UTLA’S INITIAL BARGAINING PROPOSAL | http://bit.ly/1o6G0p1

CELERITY EXA CHARTER SCHOOL SURRENDERS ITS CHARTER AFTER BEING CLOSED BY PASADENA FIRE MARSHAL + smf’s 2¢ | http://bit.ly/WlAkjh

LUDICROUS³: The consensus of opinion of serving and retired LA County superintendents on John Deasy’s superintendency|http://bit.ly/1lF8L0h

STATE OF CALIFORNIA AWARDS COMMON CORE TEST CONTRACT | http://bit.ly/YhSmoo

LETTERS PRO+CON AS UTLA ASKS DEASY TO PUT HIMSELF IN “TEACHER JAIL” | http://bit.ly/ZaIr46

Must read: ALL THE SUPERINTENDENT’S MEN by Martin Eden | http://bit.ly/1lLP1sl

"I assumed that the agenda was lifting students out of poverty. The agenda appears to be lifting Deasy out of LAUSD.” http://bit.ly/1lCiCUy

Q: Would he relieve the Bd of Ed of firing him by stepping down? Deasy: “I’m not prepared to answer that question.” http://bit.ly/1lCiCUy

Deasy: “I serve at the pleasure of the board. If the board is not pleased, they can get rid of me at their pleasure.” http://bit.ly/1lCiCUy

Deasy on his critics: CONSTANT ATTACKS ARE ‘POLITICALLY MOTIVATED’ | http://bit.ly/1lCiCUy

“This is a civil rights issue. My goal is to provide youth in poverty with tools that heretofore only rich kids have had.” - Dr. Deasy

Kerchner: “Once you have played the civil rights card, which is sort of like playing the race card, it trumps whatever else is on the table.“

LA Times: the story retold — SUPT. DEASY’S EARLY AND AVID SUPPORT OF iPADS UNDER INTENSE SCRUTINY | http://bit.ly/1Aa6ziF

NEW ED ®EFORM GROUP DEBUTS: The revolving door revolves …and hits ex-Mayor Tony in the butt! | http://bit.ly/1oFSYcG

DEASY:“Dear LAUSD Family, I would like to speak to you personally...” but here are links to a memo sent yesterday | http://bit.ly/1rNrgTd

UTLA URGES “TEACHER JAIL’ FOR LAUSD CHIEF AMID iPAD, MiSiS PROBES | http://bit.ly/We1b12

Plunge in kindergartners' vaccination rate worries health officials LA Times September 2, 2014 8:50PM Californ… http://twishort.com/irsgc

Largest school district, highest litigation costs LA Daily News Guest commentary 09/02/14, 4:01 PM Los Angeles… http://twishort.com/Mqsgc

Debugging LAUSD's iPad deal LA Times Editorial-September 2, 2014 6:04PM There is no room for secrecy when it co… http://twishort.com/oqsgc

L.A. school board member Ratliff pushes for release of iPad report September 2, 2014 3:48PM Los Angeles school… http://twishort.com/lqsgc

L.A. SCHOOLS SUPT. DEASY DEFENDS HIS DEALINGS WITH APPLE, PEARSON http://bit.ly/1lI0Qj8

DEASYS NON MEA CULPA: “In view of the many false and misleading statements of fact that have been made public …” | http://bit.ly/1A66GM4

Pearson: INSIDE THE BELLY OF A VERY TROUBLED BEAST http://bit.ly/1r1MRkd

LAWMAKER CALLS FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO PROBE ‘SUSPICIOUS’ LAUSD iPAD ROLLOUT | http://bit.ly/1un4dwa

Teachers union to superintendent: “GO TO ‘TEACHER JAIL’” | http://bit.ly/1uAQdhG

Howard Blume @howardblume • Sep 2
The report, by L.A.Unified inspector general, has been treated as confidential. D.A. reviewed it & filed no charges.

Howard Blume @howardblume • Sep 2
Next week, L.A. school board member Ratliff will present resolution to release confidential probe of iPad-contract bidding process.

UTLA calls on Deasy to report to teacher jail--during iPad/MiSiS investigations. UTLA News conf: Wed.6:30a-at LAUSD http://utla.net/node/5084

The revolving door revolves: NEW ED ®EFORM GROUP DEBUTS | http://bit.ly/1uujJFC

A TOUGH TEST FOR NEW GED http://bit.ly/1pm0Wrk
L.A.outperforms national average in keeping low-income students in class: 8% of LA 4th graders miss 3 days/ 22% US | http://bit.ly/1q7mfCz

ANALYSIS FINDS CALIFORNIA STUDENTS ATTEND SCHOOL MORE THAN U.S. PEERS | http://bit.ly/1q7mfCz

Why not L.A.?: FREE FLU VACCINES FOR 60,000 OAKLAND KIDS | http://bit.ly/Z5K6rK

Free+Reduced School Meals: POPULAR CHILD-POVERTY MEASURE GETS ANOTHER LOOK | http://bit.ly/1lwpL8X

LEG. ANALYST’S OFFICE PROPOSES PARADIGM SHIFT IN MANAGING CA DEPT OF ED - beyond compliance to effective oversight | http://bit.ly/1ClkuWY

'Principally’: SINGLE WORD AT HEART OF LCFF/LCAP REGULATORY DEBATE | http://bit.ly/W5ciZK

“People talk about truancy & absences through the prism of lost funding to schools. The true impact is lost learning.” | http://bit.ly/1A18bvf

CA. ATTORNEY GENERAL'S PACKAGE OF TRUANCY LEGISLATION PASSES STATE LEGISLATURE + THE COSTS OF CHRONIC ABSENCES http://bit.ly/1A18bvf

DEADLINE L.A.: Howard Blume explains iPadGate/AppleGate/The iPad Kerfuffle …or whatever it is! | http://bit.ly/1nQRbBW

Chicago librarians don't want to see school libraries just become places where books are stored and meetings are held. | http://bit.ly/Y7iylF

When Chicago schools stopped funding specific positions & let principals+councils decide, librarians missed the cut.| http://bit.ly/Y7iylF

LIBRARIANS ARE A LUXURY CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS CAN’T AFFORD | http://bit.ly/Y7iylF

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE PASSES STIFFEST LAW IN NATION TO PROTECT K-12 STUDENTS ONLINE DATA | http://bit.ly/Z5f2sc

THE MESSIAH @ LAST:"My responsibility is 2 lift kids out of poverty," says Deasy. "They have the right 2 technology." http://bit.ly/auDNT3

Vergara: GOV. BROWN APPEALS RULING THAT STRUCK DOWN TEACHER JOB PROTECTIONS | http://bit.ly/1lv7Saz

Investor Update: APPLE INC. ON WATCH OVER LAUSD ISSUES | http://bit.ly/1ozbJyi

iFail: WHY JOHN DEASY’S RISKY iPAD GAMBIT CRASHED+BURNED AT LAUSD | http://bit.ly/1nppbp4


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
SEPT 9
a. Regular Board Meeting - September 9, 2014 - 10:00 a.m. - including Closed Session items
Start: 09/09/2014 10:00 am
b. Regular Board Meeting - September 9, 2014 - 1:00 p.m.
Start: 09/09/2014 1:00 pm


SEPT 11
Budget, Facilities, and Audit Committee - September 11, 2014
Start: 09/11/2014 11:00 am
[smf: the above start time is from the Bd of Ed website, my copy of the agenda says it starts at noon]

*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
Marguerite.LaMotte@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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