Sunday, August 24, 2014

Buttered side down



4LAKids: Sunday 24•Aug•2014
In This Issue:
 •  Doing+undoing the ‘done deal’: NEWLY UNCOVERED EMAILS SHOW LAUSD, APPLE & PEARSON WERE IN CAHOOTS BEFORE THE iPAD CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED
 •  VOICES FROM THE FIELD: THE MiSiS CRISIS +smf’s 2¢
 •  Invisible dropouts: THOUSANDS OF CALIFORNIA KIDS DON’T GET PAST MIDDLE SCHOOL + smf’s 2¢
 •  TEACHING IS NOT A BUSINESS
 •  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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Blogger Susan Ohanian, in her opening shot at John Deasy’s LAUSD superintendency: “LA Schools Boss to be John Deasy, of Fake Degree and Gates (and Broad) Foundation Fame” | http://bit.ly/YOD5eP (Spoiler alert: Susan is not a fan!)

“John Deasy first appeared on my site in 2003, back in his Santa Monica days. When Deasy moved from Santa Monica to become schools chief in Prince George's County, Stanford University education professor (current president of the California State Board of Education) Michael Kirst remarked that he had a ‘zest for politics.’ The record shows that Deasy carefully notes which side of the bread is buttered. Follow the money.”

Ohanian concludes, after a litany of missteps, shady doings and butter-side-up lucky breaks – including Deasy’s relationship with his mentor and PhD advisor Robert Felner – who coincidentally defrauded the Feds and two universities in a research grant scam at two school districts where Deasy was superintendent:

“Conclusion: Filner’s in jail. Deasy continues to have his bread buttered side up.”

Felner got out of federal prison last May 12th. | http://bit.ly/1qBHmIZ

THIS WAS NOT A GOOD WEEK FOR DR. DEASY.

The MisiS CriSis festered into week two.

The Ratliff Committee Report on the iPads Deal leaked out, critical of the whole sordid affair. The AP’s national coverage says ‘the committee review stops short of accusing anyone of wrongdoing but offers a carefully worded rebuke of the districtwide iPad rollout. The report also found that past comments or associations with vendors, including by Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy, created an appearance of conflict even if no ethics rules were violated.’ http://bit.ly/1pUGgfc

The County Office of Ed sent back the LAUSD Local Control Accountability Plan – not questioning the advance planning for the next three years - but last year’s expenditure of $700 million in LCFF money - not spent on Special Needs students in Poverty, English Language Learners and Foster Children – but on Special Ed students. The Special Needs Kids are the subjects of the LCFF/LCAP state initiative, Governor Brown’s signature school funding reform. Special Ed is a federal program. (Deasy had problems with Special Ed funding in Santa Monica/Malibu when he was there – the City of Santa Monica withheld a subsidy they paid for Special Ed because of widespread parent complaints | http://bit.ly/1BPQTEX )

THEN, AT ABOUT 10:20 ON FRIDAY AM KPCC reporter Annie Gilbertson began reading some e-mails on the radio from folks at Pearson and LAUSD to each other – emails from a year before the iPads RFP was issued.

Reading emails on the radio. Who knew who entertaining that could be?

From Pearson CEO Dame Marjorie Scardino, DBE to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, PhD on May 22, 2012: “My mind was racing all weekend, and I was so impressed by your intelligent and committed and brave hold on the moving parts of the opportunity. I really can’t wait to work with you. I would love to think that we could together do this so well that in your Sunday visits to prisons you won’t see one person who has been educated in LAUSD; rather, you’ll be meeting them as teachers, as contractors, as bankers (well, maybe not bankers), as poets all round the city.”

The gush seems like pre-coital sexting. I didn’t know whether to turn up the radio or stay tuned for the bodice ripping and the “Ooh John…, Ooh Marjorie…” There must be special pages in the Kama Sutra for folks with honorifics after their names.

(The opening left for 4LAKids sarcasm re: those other six days a week for prison visits is best left unexplored.)

Howard Blume writes in the Times: “Less than two months later, on July 2, Deasy updates Scardino about his meeting with Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple:

“I wanted to let you know I have [sic] an excellent meeting with Tim at Apple last Friday. The meeting went very well and he was committed to being a partner. He said he and his team will take 5 days to present a price plan and scope of partnership. He was very excited about being a partner with Pearson. I think it would be good for you to loop back with him at this point. I will reach out to you again in a week.”

‘Tim’, He calls him ‘Tim’. A price plan and a scope of partnership? Damn the procurement protocol, full speed ahead!

In one communication, Pearson’s Judy Codding argued that competitive bidding through a “Request for Proposals” process was unnecessary….

RFP? We don’t have no RFP …we don’t need no stinking RFP!


Jaime Aquino – in his defense – cautions momentarily about going too fast and not observing the niceties of process …gets his chain jerked by Deasy …and gets with the program. He will be the first to pay, either being thrown – or voluntarily going – under the bus. He may have been lucky; that bus isn’t going to the destination on the sign.

There is, I am told, much more to come. More emails in hand. And all it has been kept from the Board of Ed, even in their closed sessions. And from the Oversight Committee. And the Ratliff Common Core Technology Ad Hoc Committee. And the LAUSD Inspector General ….and by extension the District Attorney and Attorney General.

Los Angeles is not big on grand juries. Maybe this is the time.

Stay tuned. All hell’s gonna break loose on Monday.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


Doing+undoing the ‘done deal’: NEWLY UNCOVERED EMAILS SHOW LAUSD, APPLE & PEARSON WERE IN CAHOOTS BEFORE THE iPAD CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED

Doing the ‘done deal’: INTERNAL EMAILS SHOW LA SCHOOL OFFICIALS STARTED iPAD TALKS WITH SOFTWARE SUPPLIER A YEAR BEFORE BIDS

Annie Gilbertson | 89.3 KPCC | http://bit.ly/1q6hJCx

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012.
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012. Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images

22 Aug 2014 :: Emails obtained by KPCC show Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy personally began meeting with Pearson and Apple to discuss the eventual purchase of their products starting nearly a year before the contract went out to public bid.

Detailed in dozens of emails, the early private talks included everything from prices - about $160 million over five years - to tech support.

"On behalf of those involved in Pearson Common Core System of Courses, I want you to know how much we are looking forward to our partnership with LAUSD," Pearson staffer Sherry King wrote the head of curriculum for L.A. Unified at the time, Jaime Aquino, in November 2012. "We have begun to work closely with your leadership to help make the transition to the common core smooth for everyone."

Emails show Deasy met with CEO of Pearson in May 2012 and later told her it led him to have "excited" conversations with his staff upon his return.

After that meeting, Deasy and other high ranking officials exchanged emails about using Pearson as part of its transition to the new Common Core learning standards.

Emails show Deasy also met with Apple officials, in July 2012.

"The meeting went very well," he wrote to a Pearson official. He said Apple "was fully committed to being a partner."

Told about the emails, L.A. Unified school board member Steve Zimmer said the emails raise the question of whether administrators “made a decision in search of a procurement, rather than the other way around.”

He vowed to look into it.

“We have to make sure this is completely ethical and above board,” he said.

Reached by phone Thursday evening, school district officials said they were unprepared to comment on the email discussions between L.A. Unified and Pearson. They continued to decline comment Friday morning.

Pearson and Apple officials could not be reached for comment Friday.

Michael Josephson, of the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles, said it’s possible Pearson was the best choice and school officials didn’t mean to play to favorites - but it doesn't look good.

“You absolutely don’t want a situation where contracts are being steered to favorites,” he said. “It invites kickbacks. It invites skimming. It invites bribery. That’s totally unacceptable.”

A school board committee is currently writing a report detailing its concerns with the iPad project.

A draft version obtained by KPCC Thursday shows members of the Common Core Technology Ad Hoc Committee raise questions about whether it was proper for administrators to use school construction bond funds to purchase curriculum software. When licenses expire and devices fall out of date, the report notes, the district may no longer be able to pull from bond funds.
“The Committee is not convinced that textbook funds are adequate to replenish devices, purchase any necessary software licenses and purchase any textbooks that may still be necessary,” the report reads.

The report also calls out district officials for changing product requirements in the middle of the bid selection process.
“It’s impossible to determine to what extent the field of proposers was limited as a result of minimum requirements,” the report reads. Changes made in the “11th hour,” it continues, opens the “door to the appearance of manipulation."

●Tweeted by Annie Gilbertson @AnnieGilbertson • 10:30am Friday
#lausd officials discussed iPad contracts before bids. Stay tuned for BIGGER story next week http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2014/08/22/17193/internal-emails-show-la-school-officials-started-i/ … via @kpcc

__________

Undoing the ‘done deal’: TOP L.A. UNIFIED OFFICIALS WORKED WITH APPLE/PEARSON BEFORE iPAD DEAL

L.A. schools Supt. Deasy was meeting with top execs from Apple – including CEO Tim Cook - and Pearson – including CEO Marjorie Scardino - before iPad deal

By Howard Blume | LA Times |LA Times http://lat.ms/1q6p4lx

22 Aug 2014 | 10:21pm :: Senior Los Angeles school district officials, including Supt. John Deasy, had a close working relationship with Apple and Pearson executives before these companies won the key contract for a $1-billion effort to provide computers to every student in the nation’s second-largest school system, records released by the L.A. school district show.

The first deal, approved in June 2013 by the Board of Education, was intended as the initial step in a speedy districtwide expansion. Under it, all students, teachers and principals were to receive iPads from Apple that would be loaded with curriculum developed by Pearson. A year later, after pressure from critics and problems with the roll out, the timetable for the project was extended; other curricula and other devices also are being tried out at schools.

Deasy recused himself from the initial bidding process because he owned Apple stock, but the records indicate that he and other district officials had developed ties with the potential to benefit the firms.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has reviewed a report by the district's inspector general and found that there was no criminal wrongdoing in the bidding process.

No evidence has emerged from the records that Deasy tried to steer the results once the process began. But in the period leading up to the bidding, the district and corporate executives collaborated closely.

According to the documents, Pearson appeared to be directly involved with Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino in developing L.A. Unified's five-year technology plan, which was approved by the Board of Education in May 2012.

A May 24 email from Pearson executive Judy Codding to Aquino and another senior official is titled: “Creating a plan that merges Jaime’s team’s work and the proposed plan that emerged from the 5/18/2012 meeting.”

The email tackles the subject of how to pay for an online curriculum, especially one provided by Pearson.

In it, Codding writes: “Jaime, I think everything you said makes sense to me. Yes everything would come out of the textbook fund. The price would be just as you and I discussed,” Codding wrote.

Elsewhere in the email chain, Aquino asks: “Will our board support this expenditure in midst of massive layoffs?”

Aquino also wrote: “I am not sure if legally we can enter into an agreement when we have not reviewed the final product for each grade and if the materials have not been approved by the state."

Further, he said: "I believe we have to make sure that your bid is the lowest one.”

Deasy was one of the last to participate in that email exchange and made his comments after Aquino's. He thanks Aquino for his contribution, adding: “Understand your points and we need to work together on this quickly. I want to not loose [sic] an amazing opportunity and fully recognize our current limits.”

It isn’t clear which of Aquino’s points the superintendent is supporting.

In another email on May 24, Aquino writes to Deasy: “My major concern is that there are a lot of unanswered questions particularly financial/political/infrastructure implications. Let’s see what we can get resolved in our call with Judy.” He was apparently referring to Judy Codding of Pearson.

Deasy responds: “I am in agreement. I will call shortly about my pending talks with Apple.”

In a May 22, 2012, email, then-Pearson Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino tells Deasy how much he impresses her.

“My mind was racing all weekend, and I was so impressed by your intelligent and committed and brave hold on the moving parts of the opportunity. I really can’t wait to work with you. I would love to think that we could together do this so well that in your Sunday visits to prisons you won’t see one person who has been educated in LAUSD; rather, you’ll be meeting them as teachers, as contractors, as bankers (well, maybe not bankers), as poets all round the city.”

Less than two months later, on July 2, Deasy updates Scardino about his meeting with Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple.

“I wanted to let you know I have [sic] an excellent meeting with Tim at Apple last Friday. The meeting went very well and he was committed to being a partner. He said he and his team will take 5 days to present a price plan and scope of partnership. He was very excited about being a partner with Pearson. I think it would be good for you to loop back with him at this point. I will reach out to you again in a week.”

In one communication, Pearson’s Codding argued that competitive bidding through a “Request for Proposals” process was unnecessary, but the school system decided otherwise.

The bidding period began in March 2013. Months later, three finalists emerged for the Board of Education to choose from. Each proposal included a device paired with an online curriculum. All three used Pearson for the curriculum. Two of the proposals were for iPads—one from Apple, one from a third-party vendor. On the recommendation of staff, the board approved the Apple/Pearson bid after a brief discussion.

The emails, documents and other records were released in response to requests under the California Public Records Act that The Times first made nearly a year ago. The district initially released some of these records only to KPCC-FM (89.3), which on Friday was the first to report on some of these disclosures. The district then released the documents to The Times.

On Thursday, The Times reported separately on the draft of a district committee report that found the bidding process to be flawed. The report concluded that district actions could have created the appearance that the process was unfair.

Deasy said Thursday that he could not comment on the report because he had not read it. He added that it had not been provided to him for review. He could not be reached Friday night for a response to the disclosed emails.

Aquino, who left the district at the end of last year, has declined requests for interviews.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment Friday. A Pearson spokesperson was unable to provide a response Friday night.


VOICES FROM THE FIELD: THE MiSiS CRISIS +smf’s 2¢
Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update | Week of August 25, 2014 | http://bit.ly/1ojn9Go

21 August 2014 :: On August 12, 2014, LAUSD opened the school year using a new student information system, MiSiS (My Integrated Student Information System). The result has been chaos at secondary schools, where administrators, counselors and clerks have become frustrated and exhausted by software that simply does not work.

A counselor assigns a period 3 class to a student missing one on the schedule prepared by MiSiS, but MiSiS does not retain it, no matter how many times it is input. Students new to the school, but not to LAUSD, are programmed by hand, but MiSiS does not retain their information. These flaws affect perhaps 25% of secondary students. LAUSD says that 99% of students are in class and learning, but MiSiS cannot tell how many students are in each class, whether they are on campus or, in an emergency, where students may be found.

To create basic reports, which were built into the old systems, users are told to export data to Excel and then perform a mail merge in Word. Yes, that’s crazy. The system performed so poorly that, on the third day of school, teachers were denied access to the system and told to take attendance on paper.

Functions that schools would normally be performing at this point, such as balancing class sizes or changing schedules of students who made the football team, are not being attempted. The fall master schedule and class rosters may be finalized weeks late, which will damage this semester’s teaching and learning. Was this the fault of Chief Information Officer Ron Chandler, who attempted to take the blame in an email sent to all employees on the Saturday before the school year began?

For the past eight years, LAUSD has run two systems simultaneously—the Student Information System (SIS), which dates from the 1980s, and the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS), which was partially implemented in 2006 as a replacement for SIS. LAUSD never fully implemented ISIS because it did not believe it would work. LAUSD did not want to repeat the unfortunate experience of Prince George’s County, Maryland, where the same software resulted in the kind of disastrous opening of school we’ve just witnessed in LAUSD.

In 2012, the decision was made to walk away from the investment in ISIS—more than $100 million— and create a new system based on software developed by Fresno Unified using Microsoft software tools. The decision may have been the right one, but LAUSD showed little interest in input from the administrators, teachers, counselors and clerks who would use the system—the people who know the nuts and bolts of how to operate schools.

From December 2012 through April 2014, AALA organized eight meetings, which included school-site administrators and experienced members of United Teachers Los Angeles—a total of 22 hours—to discuss the status of ISIS and development of MiSiS. In the latter meetings, LAUSD was represented by Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill and high-level staff from its Information Technology Division. Concerns about the system, training and implementation were discussed in detail, with summaries of each meeting published in AALA’s newsletter. LAUSD’s school-site administrators and teachers went on the record with specific, serious concerns. While many of the concerns were addressed, the MiSiS system continues to be plagued by serious problems. Among these problems was the decision to turn off the old systems, SIS and ISIS, prior to implementation of MiSiS. This meant that if Plan A didn’t work—and it hasn’t—there was no Plan B.

With all the discussion about accountability in education, who will be held to account, and with what consequences, for implementing a computer system at least three to six months before it was ready? The trainings conducted last spring were mostly inadequate because MiSiS was nowhere near ready. Besides, training doesn’t help if software doesn’t work.

Board Member Tamar Galatzan has called for an investigation of the failed implementation of MiSiS by LAUSD’s Inspector General, whose office has been decimated by budget cuts. We recommend an investigation by someone outside of LAUSD, such as Controller Ron Galperin. There must be consequences for whoever gave the green light to implement a system so critical to the operation of schools, with software that was clearly not ready for prime time.

MiSiS: VOICES FROM THE FIELD

AALA has received many emails and calls from secondary administrators concerned with the myriad MiSiS mishaps they experienced as they opened the school year. The MiSiS crisis has dramatically increased the workload of administrators who have spent many evenings and weekends trying to make the system work on behalf of students. Here are a few of their concerns.

“Hate it!!!” “Frustrating” “Overwhelming”

“200 students were not programmed. Teachers were unable to take attendance and unable to retrieve a Master Program via MiSiS.”

“Untold hours were spent inputting data, which were then lost. It’s hard to trust the system when it keeps breaking down. Experts all had different answers to the same problem.”

“We were unable to get an accurate enrollment count. The MiSiS program lacks consistency—shuts on and off. Worse yet, MiSiS doesn’t retain data from one day to the next. Students are not always programmed correctly. Staff time consumption for programming is beyond belief!

“Opening school went fairly smoothly, except that the effort expended was five times greater than prior years. MiSiS is very unreliable; we are unable to make program changes and unable to get an enrollment count. The system kicks in and out. When it goes out, you need to start all over.”

“Most all students were programmed, but many were not programmed to the correct classes. This issue raised considerable concern by both students and parents. Staff had to go “old school” (paper and pencil) to modify students’ programs. Teachers were unable to take roll due to the MiSiS system turning off and on without warning. Access is very slow.”

“This was one of the hardest school openings ever because of MiSiS!”

_________

●● smf’s 2¢: I learn new things every day. I knew that the $100 million ISIS System was abandoned without being fully implemented because it was feared it wasn’t robust enough – but it wasn’t until I read: “LAUSD did not want to repeat the unfortunate experience of Prince George’s County, Maryland, where the same software resulted in the kind of disastrous opening of school we’ve just witnessed in LAUSD” that I began to see the dots that wanted connecting.

“Self,” I said to myself, “Why is it that Prince Georges’ County, Maryland rings a bell?”

And the answer, gentle reader, is that John E. Deasy, Ph.D. was once Chief Executive Officer and Secretary/Treasurer of Prince Georges’ County Public Schools.

So I looked up the Prince Georges’ County Public Schools ISIS Plan 2006 online [ISIS REVISED TODAY: http://bit.ly/1ojocpM] to see what that was all about …and I found this:
  • At the request of the Chief Executive Officer, a revised reporting and accountability structure for schools identified for improvement has been designed to promote the implementation of school improvement initiatives and student achievement.
  • The Intensive Support and Intervention Schools (ISIS) initiative will identify pathways to high achievement by decentralizing resources to the Regional Offices in direct support of identified schools. The level of support will be individualized, structured and coordinated to provide a clear focus for schools. It will also include tight accountability measures.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls - Let me translate: ISIS was Deasy’s initiative - written in Deasyspeak boilerplate and its roll out in Prince Georges’ County was an unfortunate experience, a disaster.

And MiSiS? The same in L.A.

To repeat, because it is through repetition that we learn: The ISIS software in PGCPS resulted in the kind of disastrous opening of school we’ve just witnessed in LAUSD with MiSiS.

To quote Vin Scully: “Experience is the art of recognizing your mistakes when you make them again.”

…or as Britney Spears put it so wisely: “Oops …I did it again!”


Invisible dropouts: THOUSANDS OF CALIFORNIA KIDS DON’T GET PAST MIDDLE SCHOOL + smf’s 2¢

By Sarah Butrymowicz | Hechinger Report/Pass-Fail 89.3 KPCC | http://bit.ly/1pU6VIQ

August 20 2014 :: Devon Sanford dropped out of school the summer before ninth grade to take care of his sick mother, making him one of the thousands of California middle school dropouts who go largely unnoticed. Devon Sanford dropped out of school the summer before ninth grade to take care of his sick mother, making him one of the thousands of California middle school dropouts who go largely unnoticed. Sarah

Devon Sanford’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was in the eighth grade. After barely finishing at Henry Clay Middle School in South Los Angeles, he never enrolled in high school. He spent what should have been his freshman year caring for his mother and waiting for police to show up asking why he wasn’t in school.

No one ever came.

“That was the crazy part,” he said. “Nobody called or nothing.”

Thousands of students in California public schools never make it to the ninth grade. According to state officials, 7th and 8th grade dropouts added up to more than 6,400 in the 2012-13 school year – more than 1,000 in the Los Angeles Unified School District alone.

Like Sanford, many of them just disappeared after middle school and never signed up for high school.

But their numbers are so tiny in comparison to California’s more than 94,000 high school dropouts each year that few school districts are paying attention to middle school dropouts.

One sign of the inattention: a 2009 state law mandating California education officials calculate a middle school dropout rate has gone largely ignored, although districts do publicly report the raw numbers.

California requires students to attend school until they are 18, meaning these young dropouts and their parents are breaking the law and could be fined as a result. But schools often aren’t able to track them down, according to several educators in L.A. Unified.

“Do you devote resources to the kids who are here or not here? I know it sounds really cruel, but out of sight out of mind,” said Linda Guthrie, who teaches English at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Hollywood. “Schools don’t have the resources to go out and find those no shows.”

King, where nearly three-quarters of the students qualify for free- or reduced-priced lunch, had nine dropouts in 2012-13 school year. Like many schools, King relies on robo-calls to inform parents when kids miss school. It has one attendance clerk for 1,500 students, down from four seven years ago.

Recessionary budget cuts have also made it hard for staff to keep track of students at Thomas Edison Middle School, a predominately Hispanic and low-income school in South Los Angeles.

The school has a single full-time employee to crunch attendance numbers for 1,151 students - and call parents when kids don’t show up. The school shares one truancy officer with four other middle schools. In early December, he realized one child had missed three straight weeks of school.

In the 2011-12 school year, five seventh and eighth graders dropped out of Edison.

“I’m happy to say we only have five,” Lua Masumi, community school coordinator who helps set up academic, health and social services for students, said last winter. “But I’m sad we have five.”

Experts said the reasons kids drop out in 7th or 8th grade are similar to the reasons high schoolers give up. They range from problems at home or gang involvement to failing academics and losing interest in their classes. Often it’s a combination.

Melissa Wyatt, executive director of Foundation for Second Chances, a Los Angeles-based community organization that runs educational and mentoring programs for youth, said in some cases, like Sanford’s, parents pulled the children out of school to work or care for younger siblings or elderly relatives.
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“Kids are taking care of their grandparents and parents at a younger and younger age,” Wyatt said. She said it’s more prevalent in immigrant communities.

Experts said if one thing will help these kids stay in school, it’s personalized attention. But that doesn’t come cheap.

In 2010, L.A. Unified started the “diploma project” at Robert Peary Middle School in Gardena.

One full time staffer was assigned to monitor the grades, attendance and behavior of 70 students who were identified at risk for dropping out based on attendance rates and grades. It is a tiny portion of the school’s more than 1,800 students.

Beverly Evans meets with parents, teachers and the students themselves on a regular basis to find out what’s causing problems - or just to reiterate the importance of trying to succeed in school.

“Our title is graduation promotion counselor,” she said. “But I really call us mother, father, brother, sister.”

The program is funded by a five-year, $11.6 million grant from the Obama Administration’s High School Graduation Initiative and covers five other middle schools and six high schools. In 2013, only 2 percent of 8th graders in Diploma Project schools failed to sign up for 9th grade - compared with 11 percent in 2011. But those kids may not have all been dropouts - some of the kids may have had to repeat the 8th grade.

Some educators are adamant the high school dropout problem must be attacked in middle school.

“If you’re waiting until high school to do dropout prevention, you’re waiting way too long,” said Debra Duardo, executive director of the Los Angeles School District’s Office of Student Health and Human Services who oversees things like dropout prevention and mental health services district-wide.

Johns Hopkins researchers found students who drop out in high school showed warning signs as early as middle school. Those who did poorly in the 6th grade had a 10 to 20 percent chance of graduating high school.

Among the dropouts, some do make it back – eventually – driven mostly by few job prospects.

After a year off caring for his mother and reeling from her death from cancer, Sanford bounced around a few schools in L.A. Unified.

He eventually moved in with his father in San Bernardino and enrolled in YouthBuild, a charter school for former dropouts.

He graduated high school this summer, at age 19.

Cheryl Traylor, a counselor at YouthBuild, said Sanford is a rare success story for middle school dropouts. Those who have enrolled at her school have a harder time than high school dropouts, she said, because they are so far behind and have often been out of school for longer.

“They didn’t stay,” she said. “They struggled.”


●● smf’s 2¢: Until the requirements of the Ed Code – on Arts+Music Education, Phys Ed, Comprehensive Health Education, etc. – and things like Middle School Drop Out Reporting and tha School Safety and Health Plans are enforced rather than waived or ignored – children and programs will slip through the cracks, past the nonexistent safety nets and into oblivion. From the Department of Education to the Department of Corrections. The Standards and Curriculum and The Law are not items to be picked-and-chosen-from – not something to be got-around-to after we get the test scores up, the bad teachers got-rid-of and the iPads distributed.


John Hopkins Study: PUTTING MIDDLE GRADES STUDENTS ON THE GRADUATION PATH



TEACHING IS NOT A BUSINESS

Opinion by David L. Kirp | New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1m5Z4Tq

AUG. 17, 2014 :: TODAY’S education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. Some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology.

Neither strategy has lived up to its hype, and with good reason. It’s impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it in school. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students.

Marketplace mantras dominate policy discussions. High-stakes reading and math tests are treated as the single metric of success, the counterpart to the business bottom line. Teachers whose students do poorly on those tests get pink slips, while those whose students excel receive merit pay, much as businesses pay bonuses to their star performers and fire the laggards. Just as companies shut stores that aren’t meeting their sales quotas, opening new ones in more promising territory, failing schools are closed and so-called turnaround model schools, with new teachers and administrators, take their place.

This approach might sound plausible in a think tank, but in practice it has been a flop. Firing teachers, rather than giving them the coaching they need, undermines morale. In some cases it may well discourage undergraduates from pursuing careers in teaching, and with a looming teacher shortage as baby boomers retire, that’s a recipe for disaster. Merit pay invites rivalries among teachers, when what’s needed is collaboration. Closing schools treats everyone there as guilty of causing low test scores, ignoring the difficult lives of the children in these schools — “no excuses,” say the reformers, as if poverty were an excuse.

Charter schools have been promoted as improving education by creating competition. But charter students do about the same, over all, as their public school counterparts, and the worst charters, like the online K-12 schools that have proliferated in several states, don’t deserve to be called schools. Vouchers are also supposed to increase competition by giving parents direct say over the schools their children attend, but the students haven’t benefited. For the past generation, Milwaukee has run a voucher experiment, with much-debated outcomes that to me show no real academic improvement.

While these reformers talk a lot about markets and competition, the essence of a good education — bringing together talented teachers, engaged students and a challenging curriculum — goes undiscussed.

Business does have something to teach educators, but it’s neither the saving power of competition nor flashy ideas like disruptive innovation. Instead, what works are time-tested strategies.

“Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service”: That’s the gospel the management guru W. Edwards Deming preached for half a century. After World War II, Japanese firms embraced the “plan, do, check, act” approach, and many Fortune 500 companies profited from paying attention. Meanwhile, the Harvard Business School historian and Pulitzer Prize-winner Alfred D. Chandler Jr. demonstrated that firms prospered by developing “organizational capabilities,” putting effective systems in place and encouraging learning inside the organization. Building such a culture took time, Chandler emphasized, and could be derailed by executives seduced by faddishness.

Every successful educational initiative of which I’m aware aims at strengthening personal bonds by building strong systems of support in the schools. The best preschools create intimate worlds where students become explorers and attentive adults are close at hand.

In the Success for All model — a reading and math program that, for a quarter-century, has been used to good effect in 48 states and in some of the nation’s toughest schools — students learn from a team of teachers, bringing more adults into their lives. Diplomas Now love-bombs middle school students who are prime candidates for dropping out. They receive one-on-one mentoring, while those who have deeper problems are matched with professionals.

An extensive study of Chicago’s public schools, Organizing Schools for Improvement, identified 100 elementary schools that had substantially improved and 100 that had not. The presence or absence of social trust among students, teachers, parents and school leaders was a key explanation.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the nationwide mentoring organization, has had a substantial impact on millions of adolescents. The explanation isn’t what adolescents and their “big sibling” mentors do together, whether it’s mountaineering or museum-going. What counts, the research shows, is the forging of a relationship based on mutual respect and caring.

Over the past 25 years, YouthBuild has given solid work experience and classroom tutoring to hundreds of thousands of high school dropouts. Seventy-one percent of those youngsters, on whom the schools have given up, earn a G.E.D. — close to the national high school graduation rate. The YouthBuild students say they’re motivated to get an education because their teachers “have our backs.”

The same message — that the personal touch is crucial — comes from community college students who have participated in the City University of New York’s anti-dropout initiative, which has doubled graduation rates.

Even as these programs, and many others with a similar philosophy, have proven their worth, public schools have been spending billions of dollars on technology which they envision as the wave of the future. Despite the hyped claims, the results have been disappointing. “The data is pretty weak,” said Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an investor in educational technology companies. “When it comes to showing results, we better put up or shut up.”

While technology can be put to good use by talented teachers, they, and not the futurists, must take the lead. The process of teaching and learning is an intimate act that neither computers nor markets can hope to replicate. Small wonder, then, that the business model hasn’t worked in reforming the schools — there is simply no substitute for the personal element.
  • David L. Kirp is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools.”


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
Editorial: GOV. BROWN IS RIGHT TO OFFER LEGAL HELP TO IMMIGRANT MINORS - LA Times supports the effort to use state dollars to help immigrant children| http://bit.ly/1pVSbJG

Investment advice: 3 REASONS TO BE BULLISH ABOUT PEARSON PUBLISHING | http://bit.ly/1AJo2AA

POLL FINDS GROWING OPPOSITION TO OBAMA EDUCATION AGENDA, COMMON CORE http://bit.ly/1oiIb7S

Tweet: Deasy met with Apple execs – including CEO Tim Cook - & Pearson – including CEO Marjorie Scardino - before iPad deal http://bit.ly/YLKQlR

GEORGE McKENNA SWORN IN FOR L.A. SCHOOL BOARD SEAT AT CITY HALL http://bit.ly/1my9aNj

LAUSD REPORT FAULTS iPAD BIDDING, PLANNING & PROCUREMENT | http://bit.ly/1pR5ATb

COUNTY EDUCATION OFFICIALS QUESTION LA SCHOOLS’ FINANCIAL PLANS + smf’s 2¢ | http://bit.ly/1tsOivU

IF YOU GIVE A KID AN iPAD: ACLU is suing a school district in MA for letting only low-income kids take home devices |.http://bit.ly/1pi6EiT

7 STORIES: A bunch of other California Education News… http://bit.ly/1v1iJw4

GOV. BROWN SHOULD SPELL OUT HOW HE’D FUND SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: | http://bit.ly/1BG2hTZ

Tweet: "The kitty for school building+modernization is dry ...but this is the year for reelection, not school construction.” http://bit.ly/1BG2hTZ

LACOE QUESTIONS LAUSD SPENDING ON POOR CHILDREN: Alleged conflation of Special Ed w/Special Needs students in LCAP | http://bit.ly/1q2xxGu

MiSiS CriSiS: L.A. UNIFIED TEACHERS DECRY NEW $20 MILLION STUDENT TRACKING SYSTEM | http://bit.ly/1oULjNt

NORWALK/LA MIRADA TEACHER’S MESSAGE: “Good luck with that!! …but I don't think she was too terribly bad" |. http://bit.ly/1pTJJKp

NORWALK/LA MIRADA SUPE’S MESSAGE: “District is about to embark on an exciting year ...”…and I’m outta here! | http://bit.ly/1tkDtgo

NORWALK/LA MIRADA USD SUPERINTENDENT RUTH PEREZ NAMED LAUSD DEPUTY SUPE FOR INSTRUCTION | http://bit.ly/1tn9gfJ

LACOE questions LAUSD spending on low-income, ELL & foster students. Wasn't that the whole idea of the LCFF+LCAP? - http://bit.ly/1tpQkvY

COUNTY OFFICE OF ED WITHHOLDS APPROVAL OF LAUSD LCAP, Questions spending on low-income, English learner & foster kids http://bit.ly/1tpQkvY

Politco: PUBLIC SOURING ON COMMON CORE …at least as a brand | http://bit.ly/VDk8cV

A middle income family can expect to spend $245,340 on a child born in 2013. United States Department of Agriculture: http://1.usa.gov/1tgOtJK

2 stories: CALIFORNIA GOP LAWMAKERS PROPOSE LEGISLATION TO REMOVE LIMITS ON SCHOOL BUDGET RESERVES | http://bit.ly/1ByTKlC

Gloria Romero: "MY PARENT TRIGGER LAW" SHOT DOWN FOR MANY DISTRICTS + smf’s 2¢ http://bit.ly/1tlr6Pc

MiSiS CriSiS:LAUSD WORKS TO FIX NEW COMPUTER SYSTEM: PROBLEMS PERSIST + TRUSTEE CALLS FOR PROBE OF COMPUTER SYSTEM http://bit.ly/1uSMPlu

7 stories: THE “NEW” LAUSD STUDENT DISCIPLINE POLICY: District announces+spins ongoing policy changes | http://bit.ly/1kSd1ZY

The Red Queen on the MiSiS CriSiS: WHEN IS ACCOUNTABILITY GOOD FOR THE GANDER? | http://bit.ly/1uSd9vZ


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
AUG 26
REGULAR BOARD MEETING - August 26, 2014 - 1:00 p.m. - including Closed Session items
Administration of the oath of office to Dr. George McKenna III by Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.
Start: 08/26/2014 1:00 pm

REGULAR BOARD MEETING - August 26, 2014 - 4:00 p.m.
Start: 08/26/2014 1:00 pm

AUG 28
LAUSD POLICY ROUNDUP: Superintendent Deasy and the staff of the LAUSD kicks-off quarterly meetings on major initiatives taking place in LAUSD. RSVP HERE http://bit.ly/1ojRch5
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 10 a.m. - Noon
LAUSD Central Office: Board of Education Board Room

CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE - August 28, 2014 - 4:00 p.m.
Start: 08/28/2014 4:00 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.
• 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, August 17, 2014

The algebra of comedy



4LAKids: Sunday 17•Aug•2014
In This Issue:
 •  DEAR SCHOOLS, LET THE KIDS HAVE AUGUST. Starting school in August steals summer from kids. Do we not like them anymore?
 •  LAUSD SAYS IT'S NOT SUBJECT TO STATE'S 'PARENT TRIGGER' LAW THIS YEAR + someone else’s 2¢
 •  WHY LOS ANGELES SENDS FAILING STUDENTS ON TO THE NEXT GRADE
 •  LAUSD UNCOVERS CHILD ABUSE RECORDS …is “unshreds” a word?
 •  HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  What can YOU do?


Featured Links:
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 •  4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
 •  4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
What a week!

And what does any of it mean/forefend/whatever?

• School started in LAUSD on Tuesday; that is unquestioned. Or almost so. See Chris Erskine, following. (I note that one of the advertised reasons for the Early Start Calendar was to align LAUSD with the AP test schedule. While participation has improved …performance hasn’t!)
• The new Student Information Database rolled out and it was either Without-a-Hitch, glitchy …or an utter disaster. The rollout was either Completed as Planned, Modified, or Scrapped.
• The MiSiS Database is being heralded as 20-Years-in-the-Making and/or a last minute homegrown Hail Mary with inadequate prep+training.
• I am delighted I am not the LAUSD IT director (he has his challenges and knows what – and who – they are), but it is the new LAUSD Director of Communications that I’m really glad I’m not! [This is very selfish of me; I could do the job of Communications Director – I have the experience+skill set; the IT job is way outside my expertise!] The Communications Director’s challenge is that of a messenger who finds themselves asking the question: “What is the message?”
• There was the election on Tuesday in Board District One – 4LAKids makes no pretense at journalistic neutrality; we supported George McKenna with phone calls and editorials and blog posts and tweets and money. ¡Hooray McKenna! We won… as in: We also serve who drink the wine and eat the canapés.
• The election turnout, as predicted was abysmal – encouraging the LA Ethics Office to propose a raffle to encourage voter in future elections.

So: The Ethics Office is suggesting gambling to support voting – when only a decade back gamblers were suggesting voting to support gambling. Have we come full circle …or has the hand basket arrived at its ultimate destination?

And since the subject is ethics, however twisted: How ‘bout the Republican Governor of Texas being indicted for vetoing funding for the state’s ethics watchdog for drunk-driving-while-being-a-Democrat? Where have you gone Molly Ivens? The lone star state turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)

And there was Ferguson, Mo, where the local constabulary bulked up on surplus military hardware and attempted to live the myth of Delta Force doing battle with international terrorists masquerading as aggrieved citizenry. And were about as effective as a shoebox full of green plastic army men.

Ebola festers in Africa and takes the mind off the epidemic of Whooping Cough here in our bailiwick.

And there’s Iraq. And Syria. And Afghanistan. And Ukraine. And Iran. The crises collide, divide, metastasize and never end – morphing into episodic television. The Kurdish city if Erbil/Arbil/Irbil is reputedly the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the history of human civilization; its attackers allegedly practice genocide against an ancient religious sect almost that old. So much for history+civilization.

Hillary gives an interview. Barack has a photo op. Rand Paul plays the part of a responsible Republican.

Immigration and school funding and almost everything you can think of remains not just unresolved - but unaddressed.

Maybe the LAUSD Office of Communications doesn’t have that bad a challenge after all.

Maybe we just do what previous generations have always done and let the kids figure it out.

The Greatest Generation solved the Great Depression and World War II and left all the rest for the Baby Boomers to sort out. Look how well that worked out.

::
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
– from Dead Poet’s Society, spoken by Robin Williams, screenplay by Tom Schulman.

Godspeed Robin Williams: Your verse was exquisite. If Comedy = Tragedy + Time, you couldn’t and didn’t wait.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


DEAR SCHOOLS, LET THE KIDS HAVE AUGUST. Starting school in August steals summer from kids. Do we not like them anymore?
Dear schools:
      If you carve away at August, you carve away at childhood.
Sincerely,
Chris Erskine


By Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times | http://lat.ms/1v5BVWR

Aug 15, 2014 :: We test them almost to death, we make them play sports till their arms fall off and their knees implode. Now we're taking away our children's summers. Do we not like them anymore?

Mine went back to school Aug. 12, along with students in many other local schools, which are just now catching up with other parts of the country, where some classes started Aug. 1.

Which is just insane.

I'm not the only one who's angry over these stolen summers. For parents, August is the only idle month left. In June, there is summer school, or soccer clinics or basketball in gyms toasty enough to bake bread.

In July, children are booked up with summer camp, or Mandarin lessons or baseball and softball in far-off places.

All good. A busy kid is a happy kid. Keep 'em moving, I say. When both parents work, such schedules are a necessity. For us, a three-month summer break is a burden as much as a relief. The endless activities are how we cope.

But we all need August … sweet, idle August.

August is when we would pack up the family car and head off to lakes at their warmest, sweet corn at its sweetest, s'mores at their s'moriest.

With the world in neutral, we'd head to family reunions and anniversaries and Grandpa's 75th birthday bash.

If you carve away at August, you carve away at childhood. It's just one more way we're inadvertently undermining the needs of the American family.

As it is, kids aren't outside enough. They grow thicker around the middle, and their retinas fill with the flickering images of cellphones and computer screens.

In a world like that, what are your fond childhood reference points? The seven hours straight you once played "Call of Duty"?

If I had more hair, I'd pull more out.

Summer used to be a stage light, a calling, a beckoning. Even my older kids had more summer than this. They would emerge in the morning, stumble out into the driveway, scratch their noggins before squinting upward at the sky.

"What is this?" they asked. "Some sort of sun?"

The way we treat our children today, you'd think they were prize livestock.

Each year, the standardized testing gets worse and worse. It freaks out the teachers and parents; it freaks out the kids.

"My iPad crashed twice," one of my son's buddies told me when I asked how a practice test had gone.

Yeah, they don't fill in little circles with pencils anymore. Under a new system known as Common Core, much teaching and testing will be computer-based. So not only are we throwing new teaching methods upon teachers, we're expecting them to be IT experts as well.

When it comes to teaching methods, Common Core is a mess as well, a growing target for wing nuts and more sensible people from all sides.

"My kids used to love math," comedian Louis C.K. famously said, in a rant against Common Core. "Now it makes them cry!"

::

Know how much I care about standardized testing? Not at all. No, wait, even less than that. And why are schools starting so ridiculously early? In part, because of our worries over standardized tests, particularly the Advanced Placement tests taken in high school.

But I digress.

In the bathroom, the little guy is brushing his hair for the first day of sixth grade. He is brushing his teeth, one at a time — this side, then that side, till they're as white as piano keys.

"I combed my eyebrows," he announces.

Could a dad be more proud?

He returns home with a backpack so heavy I can barely lift it myself. I weighed it with one of those scales you use for airline luggage, and his backpack came in at almost 20 pounds — about a third of what he weighs. It would be like you or me lugging 60 pounds around work all day.

Today's children are beasts of burden, carrying all of our outsized worries and concerns on their backs.

Tell me, do we not like them anymore?

At the very least, give 'em a few weeks to dig for goonies in the dirt and stare at the way the sun glints off airplanes.

Give them these juicy, sweaty last weeks of August, when they get so stinky that you have to throw a little more detergent in the wash.

As a buddy likes to say, these are the same people who will one day pick our nursing homes.

And, yes, we still really like them.


LAUSD SAYS IT'S NOT SUBJECT TO STATE'S 'PARENT TRIGGER' LAW THIS YEAR + someone else’s 2¢
SUPT. JOHN DEASY SAYS FEDERAL WAIVER EXEMPTS IT FROM CALIFORNIA'S 'PARENT TRIGGER' LAW THIS YEAR
“ I am livid about this. I believe it violates the spirit and intent of parent empowerment.” - Former state Sen. Gloria Romero

By Teresa Watanabe | Los Angeles Times | http://lat.ms/VwD3GD

Aug 14, 2014 :: A controversial state law permitting parents to petition for sweeping changes in failing schools cannot be used this year in Los Angeles Unified, district officials decided.

In a letter from a district lawyer to former state Sen. Gloria Romero obtained by The Times on Thursday, officials said the school system is not subject to the "parent trigger" law because it obtained a waiver last year from federal educational requirements that are linked to it. Instead, L.A. Unified has joined with eight other California school districts to create their own changes and systems to monitor progress, the letter said.

Romero, who authored the 2010 law, said she was stunned by the district's position, which was laid out in a letter Wednesday from Kathleen Collins, L.A. Unified's chief administrative law and litigation counsel.

But Supt. John Deasy said the district still supports the law, and that low-performing schools would once more be subject to parent petitions for change at the end of the year. The federal waiver obtained, he said, simply restarted the two-year time period schools need to be academically substandard before they are eligible for a trigger overhaul.

"I wholeheartedly support the legislation and look forward to working again with eligible schools," Deasy said.

Collins wrote that the district "remains committed to addressing any issues and concerns from parents and community."

Under the trigger law, 50% of parents at a low-performing school can force changes in staff and curriculum, shut down the campus or convert to an independent charter enterprise, which is publicly financed and usually non-union.

Several other states have adopted similar laws. In California, parent groups at three schools have successfully used the trigger to overhaul their campuses, with mixed results. At one school in the high desert city of Adelanto, several teachers left after parents transformed the campus to a charter last year. But 91% of parents surveyed said the school was better after the change than before, said Gabe Rose of Parent Revolution, the Los Angeles nonprofit that lobbied for the law and has helped parents use it.

Rose added that parents at three additional schools won changes without using a petition campaign — most recently at West Athens Elementary. There, parents decided not to petition after Deasy agreed to invest an additional $300,000 in the school.

Rose said his group "flatly disagreed" that L.A. Unified was not subject to the parent trigger law this year. In a November letter, Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin told a district official that his group "will ultimately be forced to bring the issue to a judge" unless the decision is reversed.

"There's nothing LAUSD can do to unilaterally take away the rights of parents given to them by the state Legislature," Rose said.

Rose said the group is not currently working with any active parent petition campaigns.

In a letter last year, a U.S. Department of Education official told Deasy the federal waiver did not exempt L.A. Unified from identifying schools for improvement, corrective action or restructuring, and did not affect any related state laws.

The state is shifting to a new standardized testing system so districts could vary in how they are able to make those assessments this year.

A leading opponent of the law hailed the district's position. Ingrid Villeda of United Teachers Los Angeles, who has spearheaded opposition to Parent Revolution in South Los Angeles schools, said the petition campaign has done more harm than good, dividing communities and allowing just half the parents to decide the fate of an entire campus.

"The law is flawed," she said, adding that all school and community members should have a voice to "create change that is effective and long-lasting."

_______________________

●●Letters to the editor: LAUSD's OUTRAGEOUS 'PARENT TRIGGER' SUSPENSION

17 Aug 2014 | http://lat.ms/1p3qDSi

To the editor: It's outrageous that the Los Angeles Unified School District thinks it's above the "parent trigger" law by suspending it for the upcoming school year. ("LAUSD says it's not subject to state's 'parent trigger' law this year," Aug. 14)

In the letter to L.A. Unified granting a waiver from federal requirements, there was nothing that would condone or justify the circumvention of state law. Parent-trigger author Gloria Romero is rightfully livid, as this breach of public trust by district officials is in complete contradiction to the spirit of a law designed to give parents a voice.

Parents don't have the luxury of establishing a new timeline for assessing school performance; their children's learning needs are too important for that. Accountability and parental involvement are critical to a school's success, and it's a shame that the district feels compelled to undermine the positive relationship between parents and educators.

Kara Kerwin, Washington
The writer is president of the Center for Education Reform.

..

To the editor: As a teacher for 34 years, I saw the demise of public schools begin with the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. The decision-making started to be concentrated in Sacramento with politicians less familiar with education.

Parent-trigger laws, charter schools, teaching to the test and increased dropout rates and delinquency are the results of disempowering educators and giving politicians, lobbyists and corporations greater control over schools.

Give educators and school districts more control, allow the creative spirit back into the classroom, reinstate vocational, music, art and fitness classes, and engage parents in their children's education, and we might just become a higher-achieving country.

It does take a village to educate a child, and that village includes teachers, families and others. We must invest in our public schools.

Dee White, Capistrano Beach


WHY LOS ANGELES SENDS FAILING STUDENTS ON TO THE NEXT GRADE
Posted By Molly Callister to the Hechinger Report | http://bit.ly/VwHd1a

August 14, 2014 @ 6:00 am :: When Alberto Cortes was held back in fourth grade because of low math skills, he thought his world had come to an end.

“The first day of going back to fourth grade, I see all my friends with new teachers there in fifth grade,” Cortes said. “I started crying because I had to do fourth grade again and they got to go to middle school.”

At first the humiliation and embarrassment of retention motivated Cortes to try hard in his classes. But by seventh grade, he was smoking and doing graffiti to impress kids and shed his reputation as the “dumb” older kid.

When he was kicked out of his middle school, in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles, Cortes saw a chance to solve the problem. At the new school to which he was assigned, he asked to jump ahead a year, to eighth grade, so he could join the other kids his age. Because of his age, school administrators agreed. But by the time he got to high school — after only a couple months in eighth grade — Cortes was still behind academically.

After a few months, he dropped out.

Cortes’s experience — being retained because of his grades and later promoted despite them — is indicative of the confusion in districts across the country about how best to deal with struggling students. Research shows that often retention can have negative effects on students. Nevertheless, a growing chorus of critics over the past two decades, including President Obama, have urged schools to end “social promotion,” the practice of passing failing students onto the next grade.

“This notion that we should just graduate kids because they’ve reached a certain age and we don’t want to embarrass them, despite the fact that they may not be able to read, that is a disservice to students,” Obama said in 2010.

“People are kind of reluctant to hold a kid back.” Arzie Galvez, LAUSD administrator.

This logic has led 15 states and the District of Columbia to adopt policies requiring third-grade reading proficiency before a student can be promoted. Large urban districts, like New York City and Chicago, have also experimented with ending social promotion.

But despite promises and new policies meant to hold more students back until they’ve mastered grade-level material, a University of Minnesota study currently under peer review found that student retention is actually on the decline. Retention rates are not tracked annually on a national level and most data that exists is collected through surveys , so the researchers used grade level enrollment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate that retention rates hovered around 2.7 percent from 1995 to 2005. After that, the number of students held back actually began to decline, hitting 1.5 percent in 2009.

John Robert Warren, one of the authors of the paper, said he doesn’t know why retention rates have declined, but is doing research to investigate the reasons.

California, which passed a 1998 law meant to reduce the promotion of students like Cortes, is an example of why the hype over banning social promotion hasn’t matched the reality in classrooms.

California education code states that students who don’t meet grade standards — as measured by state standardized tests at promotion “gates” in elementary and middle schools — must repeat the grade. Those gates are at second, third, and fourth grades and at the completion of middle school in eighth grade. But there’s a catch, which exists in nearly all state retention laws: A student can be promoted if the teacher decides retention isn’t appropriate for that child. That is how the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second-largest school district, where Cortes attended school, has been promoting failing students.

“People are kind of reluctant to hold a kid back,” said Arzie Galvez, a LAUSD district administrative coordinator who oversaw a committee of teachers and administrators convened in 2011 to study social promotion. “If you survey people they’ll say social promotion is wrong but when the rubber meets the road a lot of staff members are reluctant to (retain students).”

Retention rates in the district, much higher than Warren’s estimates of national averages, sit around 7.5 percent, according to Galvez. The district found, though, that promoting struggling students and letting them fend for themselves didn’t work either. While the LAUSD school board has not eliminated the possibility of a true ban on social promotion, in the meantime it is beefing up efforts to increase the number of interventions available for students passed along based on age.

At first, Cortes saw being so easily moved to eighth and then ninth grade as a positive. “I was happy because I didn’t do a year of school,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about grades.”

But things unraveled quickly at San Fernando High School, when he received no additional help or support and the work became challenging. To make matters worse, his teachers didn’t seem to care that he was behind, Cortes said.

LAUSD is now looking to promote struggling students with their class — so they don’t feel stigmatized, as Cortes did — while offering more attention when they move to the next grade.

“What we found is that if you (promote a student), you also needed to provide support, additional academic support, so that you could fill in those gaps,” Galvez said of the district’s renewed focus on intervening when students aren’t performing at grade level. “Social promotion in and of itself, it’s not bad.”

As they have been able to do for years, district teachers may recommend a student move forward and tap into intervention programs: The student may take double courses in a challenging subject, receive tutoring or work with counselors or aides.

The intervention program has many arms, says Javier Sandoval, an intervention administrator who retired from the district in June. He said the various parts of the program — intervention courses, summer school, credit recovery offerings, after-school tutoring — are all funded differently depending on the schools.

At the high school level, for instance, the district is funding a $4.1 million program, the Academic Accelerated Literacy program, which provides smaller classes in challenging subjects for failing students during the school day. LAUSD also spent $21.5 million this year to bolster its summer school intervention program — Beyond the Bell — that served more than 54,800 students in kindergarten to 12th grade, a huge increase from 6,200 last year, according to Janet Kiddoo, who replaced Sandoval as the program’s intervention specialist.

“The philosophy here in the district has been to pass the money on to the schools so that they can do their own programs,” Sandoval said. “We have much more local control and local oversight over what intervention programs are being provided.”

Some research supports LAUSD’s methods. Studies have suggested that students held back can be victims of bullying; they also may feel developmentally out of place or psychologically discouraged and often perform worse than their socially-promoted peers. Additional studies show that when kids are held back, academic performance even suffers among the student’s classmates.

Russ Rumberger, professor of education at the University of California Santa Barbara, supports the strategies LAUSD is adopting. “The reason I think retention isn’t necessarily a very helpful practice is that I think the typical situation is to simply repeat a grade and not necessarily address the reasons a kid was failing in the first place,” he said. “The idea is to give them the extra interventions in the grade level that they are in, such that they are not going to be retained.”

But Marcus Winters, a professor of education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, is hoping his research over the last decade will change people’s minds about retention. He believes that holding students back while also providing interventions can have a much more positive effect than sending them on to the next grade, even with extra help.

Winters looked at retained students in Florida after a retention law was instituted in 2003. Winters narrowed the pool of students to those within a small margin both above and below the cutoff for retention, which he said was basically the difference of one or two problems on the state standardized test.

Students below the cutoff were retained and given extra support during the following year, while students above were moved on to the next grade.

“We found that the kids who received this retention and remediation treatment in third grade, there’s big positive immediate effect in those first couple of years,” Winters said. “That effect tended to fade a little bit over time, but even by the time they were in the seventh grade there was still a pretty large — not only statistically significant but really meaningful — positive effect from receiving that treatment in third grade.”

Winters is still waiting on graduation data, but said he’s optimistic about the results.

“The high-quality research that has happened over the last couple of years has really pointed us in the direction that (retention) might be a productive policy,” he said.

Winters said most of the research showing retention has a negative effect on students was not as rigorous as more recent studies. He pointed to a 2009 study by Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis that looked at 22 studies on grade retention and found that well-designed research suggests that holding students back has no effect on student achievement.

Though researchers, such as Winters, use the study to cast doubts on the negative effects of retention, it fails to actually support the practice. The study included a caveat: “Given the expense of grade retention and the emotional toil retention exacts on students, a finding of ‘no significant difference’ for retention on achievement calls into question the educational benefits of grade retention policies.”

And even Florida — where retention rates jumped nearly a third in the 2002-2003 school year and which has been recognized nationally for its crackdown on social promotion — saw retention rates fall not long after social promotion was supposed to end. Within five years, the percentage of students held back had dropped back down to 2001-2002 levels and continued to decrease steadily.

Winters says though it’s difficult to prove, he believes declining retention rates could be a result of the retention policy having a motivating effect on teachers and students.

“We think that people might see that line in the sand and want to get over it before they fall behind it,” Winters said. “If you have this line in third grade, then it might be the case that schools respond to that … by giving a lot more effort to students and maybe moving the best teachers in or maybe a more motivated focus on reading before the kids get to the third grade in the first place and face the probability of being retained.”

Nevertheless, several large urban districts that had once routinely kept kids back are now rethinking their retention policies. New York mayor Bill de Blasio has argued that there should be more variables involved in student promotion than just standardized tests. In Chicago, the district slowly has been backing away from its splashy 1996 ban on social promotions. According to a 2004 report by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research Chicago’s retention rates dropped steadily after 1996 despite few gains in student performance; in 2000 the district increased the range at which a student could be promoted and increased waiver rates, allowing more students to pass through the promotional gates at third, sixth and eighth grade.

“Every couple of years there’s change in terms of what the threshold is and what it’s based on,” said Elaine Allensworth, a director with the research group.

Allensworth said there’s a lot of confusion over what’s actually best for students. She said politicians vilify social promotion without considering the consequences, which include social and emotional repercussions for students and decreases in the level of classroom instruction for the entire class.

“I think people just don’t think it through, they’re looking for a very simplistic solution to a problem and not thinking about how that fits into the whole system,” Allensworth said.

Los Angeles is using standardized tests and course assessments to monitor students in the intervention program. When asked to assess the success of the interventions, Galvez cited district reports on standardized test scores as evidence of improvement, although he acknowledged that district data shows test scores had been climbing before LAUSD beefed up the intervention program. State scores have generally been rising as well.

“Success is measured by the number of students who received intervention and showed improvement,” Galvez said. “Analysis of district data indicate that the district intervention efforts, along with efforts to ensure high-quality (teaching) in math and reading, have impacted positively student achievement.”

For Alberto Cortes, now 16, the solution was not simply to repeat a grade, but to find mentors and teachers who would take time with him and let him learn things his way — in a flexible environment where he could learn at his own pace.

A few months after he dropped out of high school, Cortes’ mother enrolled him in a Los Angeles County Office of Education alternative education program, which allowed him to meet one-on-one with a teacher at the El Nido Family Centers near his home.

He is now caught up and plans to graduate within the next year and a half. Cortes, the baby of the family, will be the first of his mother’s three children to graduate from high school.

“I do want to get at least my bachelor’s and my master’s,” Cortes said. “I want to do something in the medical business. But at (the time I dropped out) I always thought that I was going to end up in jail someday.”


LAUSD UNCOVERS CHILD ABUSE RECORDS …is “unshreds” a word?
By John Cádiz Klemack, KNBC News/NBC Southern California | http://bit.ly/1sNWedm

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 | 9:48 PM PDT :: The Los Angeles Unified School District now says some of the documents it admitted to shredding actually do exist.

After NBC4 confronted the school district in May about information released during the deposition of a former employee regarding the shredding of two decades worth of child abuse records in 2008, a spokesman for the district admitted the allegation was true.

"We felt we didn't have a right to have them," said spokesman Sean Rossall of Cerrell and Associates, an outside public relations firm hired by the Sedgewick Lawfirm to handle media inquiries about the continued child abuse litigation against LAUSD.

On May 2, Rossall released a statement claiming the district had "checked with LA County officials prior to" destroying the documents, telling NBC4 it was county law enforcement with which the District spoke.

After NBC4 attempted to verify the claim with the LA County District Attorney's Office and the LA County Sheriff's Department, Rossall re-released the statement in a revised fashion deleting the portion about who the district cleared the shredding with.

Now it appears some of those Suspected Child Abuse Reports ("SCAR") have been found.

In a "Motion for Clarification" filed by LAUSD attorneys in court Friday, district officials say they believe the state's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act does not permit it to retain the reports and it is asking the judge to clarify whether the recently discovered documents can be destroyed.

"The School District has recently concluded an extensive review of warehoused documents not related to this litigation," the filing states. "In the course of that review, a box was found that, although not indicated on its label, was approximately half-full of copies of Reports that had not been destroyed."

Rossall maintains the reports are copies of what law enforcement already has. In a statement to NBC4 on Friday he says, "We are acting transparently and bringing this discovery to the court's attention, so the court can make its own assessment about what should happen to the documents in the context of the litigation."

Attorneys for the Miramonte child abuse plaintiffs say the district is playing games with the court. Brian Claypool who represents 15 alleged victims says he's not surprised, "They have already been sanctioned $6,500 for intentionally hiding and concealing photographs of many of the children being abused."

Claypool is referring to the sanctions placed by Judge John Sheperd Wiley in June for what he called an "abuse of discovery."

John Manley, representing additional alleged victims says he doesn't believe the reports were "recently" found, believing rather that the district has known about the existence of the reports for months and "simply hid them."

"These reports identify many child molesters who were LAUSD employees," Manly said. "The District has simply concealed them including those related to Mark Berndt. The victims and the public deserve the truth about LAUSD's cover up of child molesters. We will be addressing this very serious matter with the court next week."

LAUSD officials would not say how many reports were destroyed in 2008 or how many were found in the latest discovery. NBC4 has asked repeatedly for information about who authorized the shredding of the child abuse reports in 2008 and that question has also been left unanswered. Claypool thinks the district's moves in the ongoing civil cases will not trick a jury, set for trial on Nov. 4.

"At trial in November, the community will finally see shocking evidence confirming a massive LAUSD cover up at Miramonte," he said.

NBC4 continues to investigate the LA School District.

Multiple requests for public records remain pending within the District's General Counsel office since June 16, including billing statements from the Sedgewick and Andrade law firms representing the LAUSD, with a pricetag believed to be upwards of $6 million for taxpayers over the last two years.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
6 STORIES ABOUT THE MiSiS MESS: “…WITHOUT A HITCH/…A FEW GLITCHES/…A DISASTER!” + smf'’s 2¢ http://bit.ly/1q95oLe

______

TEACHERS HAVE BIG HOPES FOR LA SCHOOLS’ NEW ARTS LEADER | http://bit.ly/1oHxilS

LAUSD'S OUTRAGEOUS 'PARENT TRIGGER' SUSPENSION - LA Times http://lat.ms/1p3qDSi

JUDGE TELLS CALIFORNIA TO TEACH ALL ENGLISH LEARNERS http://bit.ly/XiB6io

MICHELLE RHEE STEPPING DOWN AS HEAD OF StudentsFirst http://bit.ly/1mKNJII

“Blended” or ‘Traditional” …would you like Calculus with that?: NEW TWIST ON OLD DEBATE ON HIGH SCHOOL MATH | http://bit.ly/1uQBS0P

SCHOOL LEADERS OPPOSE BROWN’S RAINY DAY MEASURE http://bit.ly/1sV7pgT

THE A.P. COURSE & TESTING DISCUSSION CONTINUES: a critical OP-Ed + 2 stories http://bit.ly/1sV3Vev

SCHOOL CROSSING-GUARD CUTBACKS DRAW CRITICISM: LAUSD requested 510 crossing guards this year, only 331 were deployed http://bit.ly/1pOvkya

THE MiSiS MESS: 6 stories “…Without a hitch/…a few glitches/…a disaster!” + smf'’s 2¢ http://bit.ly/1q95oLe

L.A. Times: McKENNA WINS KEY L.A. SCHOOL BOARD SEAT, ACCORDING TO UNOFFICIAL RESULTS + other coverage http://bit.ly/1usc91n

Good morning!: IT’S McKENNA BY 7% …with an 8¼% turnout – and 2:1 vote-by-mail | http://bit.ly/1mJbQYf

George McKenna appears to have an insurmountable lead in L.A. school board race, altho Alex Johnson made it close.

[Tweeted from campaign HQ]: Two words: McKENNA WINS! …..and good night.

District 1 Election: 16,000+ MAIL-IN BALLOTS RECEIVED Read: http://tl.gd/n_1s3np7t

RHEE TAKES OVER (Husband’s) CHARTER MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION http://bit.ly/1sPQNHt

A picture = 1000 words -or- Entrepreneurial algebra for visual learners http://bit.ly/Y17w0O pic.twitter.com/apfpDsynEV

ACADEMIC DECATHLON COACH DRAWS ON HER OWN LIFE TO INSPIRE STUDENTS | http://bit.ly/1syI2oq

LAUSD KIDS HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL ...all watched over by machines of loving grace Read: http://tl.gd/n_1s3mcgd

PTA is celebrating #BacktoSchool and helping educate parents about how to support learning at home. http://ow.ly/Afdkk

Morning Read: Governor comes out against $9.0B school bond http://wp.me/p2fzpD-789

ACCUSE, TWEET, DELETE: Johnson campaign accuses McKenna of buying Jesse Jackson’s endorsement | http://bit.ly/ViHeFu

AN E-MAIL CLAIMING TO BE FROM GEORGE McKENNA: “What kind of school board member do they deserve?” | http://bit.ly/1swk4u0

e-mails fm @Monica4LAUSD+@TamarGalatzan say it's important to vote in the LAUSDDistrict1 election tomorrow. They are right, but Vote4McKenna

La Opinión: McKENNA FOR LAUSD | http://bit.ly/1uI72aI

Politico: TUCK MAY HAVE A SNOWBALL’S CHANCE IN HECK + ATLANTA TEST CHEATING CASE TO GO TO TRIAL http://bit.ly/1ukA1E4

'09 Jackie Goldberg speech about reducing staff that-like fine fine-gets better w/time.| http://youtu.be/v6uxdudkkDE | WE NEED 2 INCREASE STAFF. NOW.

PE = National Security: OLD WAR HORSES LOBBY FOR FITNESS OF THE YOUNG | http://bit.ly/XXRFAk

LAUSD’s AP EXAM PARTICIPATION RATE CONTINUES TO RISE: Participation rises 62% in 7 years, pass rate static at 39-42% http://bit.ly/1oEmiQk

Board District 1 Election:"George McKenna brings a school administrator's perspective. Johnson brings a politician's" http://bit.ly/1rjgQFW

Board District 1 Election: KNBC’s “ALMOST A DEBATE” + LA Weekly VOTER GUIDE: 5 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JOHNSON & McKENNA http://bit.ly/1rjgQFW




EVENTS: Coming up next week...
THE FIRST MEETING OF THE SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR (featuring the return of Stuart Magruder) TAKES PLACE ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014 @ 10:00 a.m. @ LAUSD HQ

*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
Boardmember-elect 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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