Sunday, July 05, 2015

We come in the ages' most uncertain hours and sing an American tune




4LAKids: Sunday 5•July•2015
In This Issue:
 •  2 NEW BOARD MEMBERS, A NEW PRESIDENT, SOON A NEW SUPERINTENDENT …BUT THE SAME OLD CHALLENGES …the clock is ticking, yet they take July+August off!
 •  LCFF/LCAP: SUIT CLAIMS LA UNIFIED UNDERFUNDING LOW-INCOME KIDS, ENGLISH LEARNERS
 •  EVIDENCE-BASED LESSONS FROM FERGUSON+BALTIMORE, and a study pegs futures to neighborhoods
 •  Commentary: REFLECTIONS ON MY FINAL DAY OF COVERING LAUSD BY VANESSA ROMO
 •  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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 •  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.
It happened last week: The New York Times published a recipe for guacamole that included green peas as an ingredient http://nyti.ms/1UeEF22. The ‘only-in-Texicans’ responded like some East coast effete snob was trying to rip down The Lone Star Flag from the ramparts of the Alamo http://bit.ly/1Ufgoc3 …and even President Obama tweeted forth on the culinary outrage [@POTUS: “respect the nyt, but not buying peas in guac. onions, garlic, hot peppers. classic..” By Thursday the story was in the “after the news headlines” teaser on the BBC.

POTUS has famously said; “There is nothing we can’t do.” Perhaps putting English peas in the Mexican avocado dip is something we shouldn’t do?

Sure, Greece and Puerto Rico are in fiscal crisis and ISIS+Boko Haram is running amok and the U.S. is about to have relations (¡Relations!) with the Castro Brothers in Cuba. Ferries are sinking and trains are derailing. As of last week the majority of under-five - set are children-of-color. The Supreme Court is sanctifying activity the Lord turned Lot’s Wife into salt for looking back upon mere millennia ago. And while that was going on a charter school official was sworn-in as an LAUSD boardmember and a guy whose first name and middle initial are “Scott M.” became another boardmember …and Steve Zimmer became board president.

It all pales compared with that extra-green guacamole. Nothing, gentle readers, is sacred.
Please keep your hands+arms inside the handbasket for the entire fiery descent.

“But we come on a ship they called Mayflower
We come on a ship that sailed the moon
We come in the ages' most uncertain hours and sing an American tune
And it's alright, oh it's alright, it's alright, you can be forever blessed
Still tomorrow's gonna be another working day and I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying, to get some rest.”

Happy 239th

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


2 NEW BOARD MEMBERS, A NEW PRESIDENT, SOON A NEW SUPERINTENDENT …BUT THE SAME OLD CHALLENGES …the clock is ticking, yet they take July+August off!
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED: NEW BOARD MEMBERS, NEW PRESIDENT, SOON NEW SUPERINTENDENT
By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1LKM72c

7/01/15, 7:40 AM PDT | Updated: 9PM :: The Los Angeles Unified school board seated two members, elected a president and discussed the upcoming search for a superintendent Wednesday.

The superintendent replacement, newly installed board President Steven Zimmer said, will be guided by current Supt. Ramon Cortines.

“If I was given the opportunity to have any one person in the country guide a superintendent search, I would choose Ray Cortines,” said Zimmer, who was elected president Wednesday in a 7-0 vote.

One of his first jobs will be coordinating the outreach for a successor to Cortines, who has announced he would leave in six months.

The process takes about seven months from the time a recruiter begins soliciting candidates. The school board, however, has yet to decide on an employment recruiter to tackle the search.

Zimmer said he hopes to call a meeting between now and the board’s next scheduled session on Sept. 1, but even if those plans fall through, he still expects a transparent process with plenty of community input.

Earlier Wednesday, the school board welcomed two members, Scott Schmerelson and Ref Rodriguez. Both won runoff elections in May, with the teachers’ union backing Schmerelson and its adversary — charter school advocates — supporting Rodriguez.

Schmerelson, a retired LAUSD principal who has worked at more than a half dozen campuses across the city, handily beat incumbent Tamar Galatzan for the District 3 seat, elected by voters in the western San Fernando Valley.

“After working at all of these different places, I know that I am responsible for all of our students, no matter what district they live in,” Schmerelson said.

Rodriguez ousted incumbent Bennett Kayser for the District 5 seat with the confidence of voters in areas including South Los Angeles and Echo Park. “We are unified in one thing,” Rodriguez said. “We are here to educate all kids — they come first.”

Two board members had their terms renewed Wednesday.

George McKenna ran unopposed this year after winning an election last year to finish out the term of late board member Marguerite Lamotte, who passed away in December while at a California School Boards Association convention.

Board member Richard Vladovic won his May runoff to retain the District 7 seat, which represents the South Bay.

All four members elected this year will serve longer board terms — five and a half years — because a ballot measure passed in May that consolidates their re-election bids with statewide ballots in 2020.
____________________

NEW L.A. SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ARE SWORN IN, BUT OLD CHALLENGES REMAIN
By Howard Blume | LA Times | http://lat.ms/1R7J33H

2 July 2015 :: Before choosing Steve Zimmer as their new president, L.A. school board members gave him a lecture: He would need to build consensus, welcome those with differing politics and varying approaches to education, and speak for them as a whole.

Their admonishments made it clear that the seven-member board remained split by sharp differences on how to confront an array of challenges — particularly as two new members were sworn in Wednesday.

The new board includes charter school co-founder Ref Rodriguez, who replaces teachers union ally Bennett Kayser, the board's most unrelenting critic of charter schools. And Scott Schmerelson, a teachers union-backed retired principal, defeated incumbent Tamar Galatzan, an opponent of the union on key issues.

The board faces pressing issues in the nation's second-largest school system — chief among them, the selection of a new superintendent. But first the board members acknowledged personal and policy disparities.

"I do believe the board president will have to do some healing and bringing together," Zimmer said.

The divides on the Board of Education reflect differences and doubts in the wider community, said Charles Kerchner, a professor in the school of educational studies at Claremont Graduate University.

The Los Angeles Unified School District "faces an existential problem that people have lost confidence in the district's ability to solve its problems and create a sense of excitement about the many good things that are going on," Kerchner said. "If this continues, there will be increasingly forceful calls to break up the district or radically alter its governance."

In coming months, the board will deal with an improved but limited budget, one that includes long-awaited pay raises but also layoffs. Sweeping academic challenges also persist, including the need to revamp the college prep program so that more students graduate. The district also has yet to resolve two technology debacles: a faulty student records system and an aborted plan to provide every student, teacher and campus administrator with an iPad.

Some analysts say the two incumbents lost their seats in large measure because opponents associated them with the costly iPad project, which became the target of an FBI investigation. Galatzan was an early supporter and Kayser, though a frequent critic, took a similar beating in campaign materials. The iPad effort had been a major initiative of former Supt. John Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October.

The new board represents an ideological shuffling, especially concerning charter schools, which are independently operated and exempt from some rules that govern traditional campuses. Most charters are nonunion, and the teachers union has sought to limit their growth.

The effect and oversight of charters could be a point of conflict.

But Rodriguez indicated he would collaborate with his colleagues.

"I will do everything in my power to ensure that we are unified," he said at the swearing-in ceremony at the Roybal Learning Center.

He implied that it was time to move beyond a vitriolic campaign that left bitter feelings between his supporters and those of Kayser, who included Zimmer.

George McKenna, who won his first full term in May after winning a special election in August, and Richard Vladovic, who won a third term, also took the oath of office.

The task of choosing a superintendent has become especially pressing since Ramon Cortines, who came out of retirement after Deasy's resignation, said he would prefer to leave by the end of the year. The previous board, pleased with Cortines' work, had put off any moves until the new members were seated.

The choice is about more than finding a capable administrator. By choosing Deasy, for example, the board had, in effect, opted for a particular direction in reforms, one that included the controversial use of test scores as one element in a teacher's evaluation.

The selection of the next superintendent is as much about philosophy as managerial competence. On that, the previous board — and five of seven members are returning — often struggled to find common ground on policy. The two new members are championed by vastly different constituencies, even though they all said they shared the same priority — the best interests of students.

Vladovic could not continue as board president because of a rule barring more than two consecutive one-year terms. Some board members had tried to change the rule — and thwart Zimmer — but failed.

So board members lectured Zimmer instead. Although the formal vote for Zimmer was unanimous, insiders said his appointment was based on a 4-3 majority, which included his own vote.

Monica Ratliff said she wanted the president to speak for the entire board but without getting ahead of it, while also acting transparently, without making alliances behind the scenes.

Monica Garcia reminded him that the position was "an opportunity to say out loud what we're trying to do," adding that "when we make comments about our beliefs," the views of the board president "get picked up at national and local levels in the way that individual voices do not."

Schmerelson talked about the need to be "open, sincere, even-tempered."

In an interview, Vladovic said he tried to bring the board together around important issues, such as support for Cortines and the successful resolution of contract negotiations with teachers.

Critics have questioned whether that deal is affordable, but Vladovic insisted it is — provided that all sides commit to solving long-term problems, such as how to keep paying for retiree health benefits.

"I tried to tone down the animus on the board even when there were strong feelings," he said. "I'm not an ideologue."

During his time in office, Zimmer has become more closely associated with the teachers union, especially after he relied on union backing to win reelection two years ago. One of his first moves Wednesday was to appoint a liaison between the board and labor groups. He asked Vladovic to serve in that role.

Schmerelson supporter Brent Smiley, who taught at a school where the new board member was principal, said he was hopeful.

"My sense was the school board members didn't like each other very much, and bringing people together is Scott's strength," Smiley said.

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ZIMMER WINS UNANIMOUS APPROVAL TO SERVE AS LAUSD BOARD LEADER
Posted on LA Schoool Report by Vanessa Romo | http://bit.ly/1UdwWBe

July 1, 2015 4:28 pm :: One week after it appeared Richard Vladovic was destined to serve as president of the LA Unified board for a third consecutive term, the members unanimously today elected Steve Zimmer as its new leader, giving the district its most teacher union friendly president in more than a decade.

Zimmer, who began his career with the district as a teacher, has been serving as board vice president for the last two years. Even so, the ease with which he ascended to the throne was a bit surprising.

Just last week, board members Mónica Ratliff and Mónica García had suggested they might seek to waive newly-adopted term limits for the presidency to re-elect Vladovic for a third term, but neither followed through.

However, just before the members were about to entertain nominations for president, Ratliff pressed Zimmer to identify his own successor as vice president. Zimmer said he would appoint George McKenna, who had been sworn in earlier in the day for a new term, along with newly-elected Scott Schmerelson and Ref Rodgriguez and the reelected Vladovic.

McKenna gladly accepted the nomination after Zimmer was elected.

While all seven members were united in their votes for Zimmer, Ratliff was the only one to qualify hers as each member made a choice orally. “I would like nothing more than to vote for a ticket with McKenna on it,” she chirped before voting yes.

Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence for Zimmer.

Still, Zimmer’s joy could not be stifled, and he wept in thanking Vladovic for being “my friend, my mentor, my colleague.” Then Zimmer presented Vladovic with a plaque.

“I’m going to make mistakes and letting people down and disappointing people is the hardest thing about this job and we all experience it in a very public way,” he said. That is why, he said, “I want to ask you for your openness, honesty, input, partnership.”

In recent weeks Zimmer has repeatedly spoken about the new president’s role in selecting a new superintendent for the country’s largest school district run by a board and he wasted no time today. He said the process will be undertaken in full collaboration with Superintendent Ramon Cortines, 82, who signed a year-long extension several months ago but then surprised the board last week saying he might leave by December.

“Now that the business of the budget, the elections, and today are behind us, we can move on to the next big question facing LAUSD today, who are we going to choose to lead,” Zimmer said. “Given the opportunity to have one person in the county to help guide our search, I would choose Cortines,” he added.

After Zimmer’s comments, the board gave Cortines a standing ovation.

Despite Cortines’s six-month warning — no formal notice has been delivered to the board regarding a resignation date — Zimmer says he doesn’t expect Cortines to leave before a new superintendent is hired.

But the clock is ticking, and today the board could not agree on a meeting date for the month August. The next meeting is scheduled for September 1, which means that the district can’t issue a Request for Proposals (or any kind of help-wanted ad) until September 2, at the earliest.

“I don’t know how it will work out but we will work it out,” Zimmer said. “There might be some timeline consolidation but it will get done.”

Besides a personal triumph, Zimmer’s ascension symbolized a triumph for the teachers union, UTLA, which has been among his strongest strong supporters since he first won election to the board in 2009. He follows Vladovic, who came to the board as a reformer with help from former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, before drifting to the center as board president.

Prior to Vladovic, Garcia, a staunch reformer, served as president for six years. Before she could serve a seventh, the board passed the term limit rule.


LCFF/LCAP: SUIT CLAIMS LA UNIFIED UNDERFUNDING LOW-INCOME KIDS, ENGLISH LEARNERS
By John Fensterwald | EdSource Today | http://bit.ly/1RYClrW

Jul 1, 2015 :: The first lawsuit involving the state’s new education funding formula is a big one, with potential statewide implications. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, civil rights attorneys charged the Los Angeles Unified School District with shortchanging English learners, low-income children and foster youth by hundreds of millions of dollars. The district disputes the claim.

Public Advocates Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that the state’s largest district is counting past spending that the federal government required for special education services to fulfill new spending requirements under the Local Control Funding Formula for English learners, low-income children and foster youth. L.A. Unified receives 33 percent more in funding for these children, which the funding law designates as “high-needs” students. The lawsuit says this money must be used to increase and improve services and programs beyond the special education funding that students are entitled to.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the Los Angeles County Office of Education from approving the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan, which lays out goals and spending plans for high-needs students, and to order the district to redo its calculations for determining programs and services for them. The county office has not yet reviewed the proposed LCAP for the new fiscal year. Halting the LCAP would have the effect of suspending the district’s $8 billion budget, which the L.A. Unified school board passed last week. It took effect July 1 and must be approved by the county office by Aug. 15.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, names L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines and Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Arturo Delgado, whose office reviewed and approved last year’s LCAP and budget as the district proposed. Public Advocates, the ACLU and attorneys from the law firm Covington & Burling filed the lawsuit on behalf of Community Coalition, a foundation-backed organization in south Los Angeles, and Reyna Frias, a mother of two L.A. Unified students, including an English learner who receives special education services.

In a statement Wednesday, the district said that the plaintiffs misunderstood the funding law. The Legislature, it said, “clearly granted school districts the highest degree of flexibility in determining student program needs.” Predicting it would win the case, the statement added, “we stand by our continuing commitment to serve our most disadvantaged students.”

The county office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

FAILURE TO ‘INCREASE AND IMPROVE’ SERVICES

The issues involved are technical but critical in determining the extent of efforts under the law to “increase and improve” services for high-needs students. The conflict dates to 2013-14, the first year under the formula, when districts were asked to calculate how much they should be credited for previous spending for high-needs students.

L.A. Unified said that it spent $653 million in general funding for special education programs that state and federal funding failed to cover. Because 79 percent of special education students are English learners, low-income students and foster youth, the district said it should be credited with spending $450 million for them. That, in turn, reduced the new money that the district would have to spend on these students through supplemental and concentration dollars.

Based on annual calculations tied to increases in funding, Public Advocates and the ACLU say that between last year and the proposed 2015-16 district budget, L.A. Unified will underspend a combined $414 million on high-needs students. That amount would increase annually as the state adds money while transitioning to full funding under the formula in 2020-21. At that point and every year subsequently, L.A. Unified should be spending $450 million more annually than the district claims is required, the lawsuit says.

“It is so obviously inappropriate that other districts have not had the temerity to try. Los Angeles is so big they think they can do anything,” said John Affeldt, managing partner for Public Advocates.

If ordered to do so, L.A. Unified would have difficulty reallocating money in the budget. This spring, the district and United Teachers Los Angeles negotiated a $1 billion health care package and a 10 percent raise, phased in over two years, that will add $250 million in payroll costs.

JOHN DEASY’S DEFENSE

The lawsuit was expected. Public Advocates and the ACLU first brought the issue to the district’s attention in a letter a year ago, and the county office of education in turn asked the district for an explanation as well. In an August 2014 response to the county, then-Superintendent John Deasy defended how the district apportioned its spending for low-income students, English learners and foster children. He said it met the county office’s “reasonableness standard” and the Legislature’s intent, under the formula, of giving districts spending flexibility. The county office approved L.A. Unified’s LCAP in September 2014 and has until Oct. 8 to sign off on the LCAP for 2015-16.

John Affeldt, managing partner for Public Advocates, said that a handful of the state’s 1,000 districts appear to be inappropriately counting special education services for high-needs students as meeting their obligations under the funding formula. However, he said the method and magnitude used by L.A. Unified are “particularly egregious.”

“It is so obviously inappropriate that other districts have not had the temerity to try,” he said. “Los Angeles is so big they think they can do anything.” He said that only L.A. Unified inflated what it spent for high-needs students in the base year by mixing in special education spending – a tactic with a ripple effect as the deficit is carried over in subsequent years.

The lawsuit says that L.A. Unified misread the funding law and the regulations guiding districts that the State Board of Education adopted last year. The law distinguishes between funding dedicated for high-needs students and funding for all students. Special education services are provided to all students who qualify for them, regardless of whether they come from low-income families and are learning English, and so these services shouldn’t be counted toward meeting the funding law’s requirements, the lawsuit says. In addition, the state board did not fold the state funding earmarked for special education into the funding formula; in deliberately separating it, the lawsuit says, the Legislature confirmed that money for special education services shouldn’t be counted as funds to increase or improve services for high-needs students.

The federal government picks up only about 20 percent of the costs of special education in California. The remainder is split between a state-funded “categorical” program and districts, through their general funds. Special education funding has become a point of contention in some districts, as it “encroaches” on base funding under the new finance system.

Deasy, in his letter last year justifying the district’s allocation of money, said that L.A. Unified has spent money to integrate special education students into general classes, to improve language skills of special education students who are English learners and to narrow the achievement gap of underperforming subgroups of special education students. And he added that “nowhere in the regulations” governing the funding formula is the district “precluded from including unrestricted General Fund expenditures” (the money spent on special education) as part of the base year’s calculation. The county office accepted that explanation when it issued a Sept. 5, 2014 letter approving the LCAP.

But Affeldt said that if L.A. Unified’s calculation is permitted, other districts may be tempted to take the same approach. In the extreme, the Local Control Funding Formula would be used to fund special education costs. That is not what the Legislature and state board intended, he said.

Brooks Allen, deputy policy director and assistant legal counselor for the state board, said the state board has not been asked to weigh in on the issue of applying special education spending to fulfill obligations to high-needs students. He declined to comment on the Los Angeles litigation or on unique “fact-specific questions” about a district’s compliance with the funding law. However, he said, if there were widespread occurrences that were inconsistent with the regulations, then the state board would consider issuing guidance.

● John Fensterwald covers education policy for EdSource.
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● LCFF & Special Ed: LAWSUIT ALLEGES LAUSD MISDIRECTED $126 MILLION LAST YEAR, $288 MILLION THIS YEAR http://bit.ly/1LKWq6q

● LCFF/LCAP: SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD THEIR DREAM HOUSE http://bit.ly/1dAdFs7


EVIDENCE-BASED LESSONS FROM FERGUSON+BALTIMORE, and a study pegs futures to neighborhoods
CONTROVERSIAL SHOOTING OFFERS MULTIPLE WAYS TO SEE ‘THE TRUTH’ ● STUDY MAKES CAUSAL LINK BETWEEN WHERE KIDS LIVE AND OUTCOMES ● VIOLENCE SEEN AS SYMPTOM OF DEEPER NEIGHBORHOOD PROBLEMS

By Nan Austin in the Modesto Bee | http://bit.ly/1TaSEnS

June 30, 2015 :: Stanford educators have created a series of lesson plans for middle and high school students based on the Ferguson, Mo., shooting of Michael Brown. Free for download on Edutopia, the lessons use source documents and discussion to delve into the complexities of the controversy.

“If there was ever an opportunity to design learning conditions in America’s classrooms that would allow for critical thinking about a volatile, timely, and tragic event grounded in a close analysis of documents (i.e., grand jury testimony), this was it,” they write in the Edutopia blurb accompanying what they call a mini unit.

They explain their approach quoting Oscar Wilde’s insightful quip, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

The goals of the lessons are to explore how “the truth” is shaped by our biases – be they from race, gender or culture – and specifically which version of the truth the Ferguson grand jury believed, and why.

"THE DEEP, COMPLEX, AND CHALLENGING ISSUES AROUND RACE AND CLASS ... CONTINUE TO PRESENT US WITH A TEACHABLE MOMENT" - Teachable Moments and Academic Rigor, Edutopia

They lay out four lessons: The first talks about points of view, having students look at eyewitness accounts of the shooting and study how the versions change by who is telling the story.

The second zeroes in on conflicting accounts, having students evaluate credibility and examine why they believe one over the other. Third, the students compare the officer’s account and grand jury testimony to evaluate eyewitness truthfulness.

The fourth and final lesson has students lay out a case for the conclusions they drew from the evidence, structured as what sounds like a formal student debate.

All told, the lessons lay out a blueprint for a civil discussion of civic unrest.

Though on the face of it, the recent riots appear to have been all about race, a thoughtful blog about Baltimore’s violence by Pedro Noguera blames deep cultural and economic divides.

The rioting over police shootings diverts attention from the root causes of unrest, Noguera writes, listing “widespread poverty, chronic interpersonal violence, and a nonfunctioning economy where work is scarce and drug trafficking is pervasive.”

“What has passed for ‘normal’ in Baltimore and countless other communities like it throughout America is unsustainable, and should be seen as unacceptable,” Noguera writes.

"ADDRESSING THIS TREND GIVES OUR SOCIETY ONE MORE TOOL TO FURTHER CHANGE, AND HELPS AMERICA’S CHILDREN LEARN WAYS TO BE ENGAGED AND RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS" - Teachable Moments and Academic Rigor, Edutopia

The work of two Harvard economists appears to support that premise, linking where children grow up to their chances for a better life as adults. In “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility,” Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren say they have documented a causal relationship between where kids live and what they earn later.

Proving location causes the problem was a key point for them, because conventional wisdom says existing differences simply put those with poor prospects in the same place.

They based the study on tax records of more than 5 million children whose families moved across counties from 1996 to 2012. Looking at where they moved and when, and comparing it to later earnings, they found every year matters in future earning potential, college attendance and probability of having children as teens.

Their results held for kids moving to better areas, and in reverse to children moving to lower-income areas. Comparing siblings showed the same upward (or downward) trend tied to their age when the family moved.

"AREAS WITH HIGH CRIME RATES AND A LARGE FRACTION OF SINGLE PARENTS GENERATE PARTICULARLY NEGATIVE OUTCOMES FOR BOYS RELATIVE TO GIRLS" - “The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility” summary

Two California counties made their lists of 10 best and 10 worst counties to which to move. Contra Costa in the Bay Area ranked fifth, with a 0.61 percent improvement in earnings found for every year of childhood spent there, compared with the later earnings of poor kids nationwide. Moving to Fresno County, 95th in their study, cost kids 0.65 percent in future earnings for every year growing up there.

The New York Times’ The Upshot offers an interactive map [4LAKidsNews: The Best+Worst Places to Grow Up/link follows] of all counties. Stanislaus, despite its proximity to Fresno, is a plus for poor kids, adding $1,360 to annual income for kids who move here as babies (about $70 per year of childhood). Rich kids moving here will do worse, the text notes, but the graphic focuses on what a move will change for poor kids.

By that measuring stick, Stanislaus County looks better than neighboring Santa Clara, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties, where a poor kid would do only slightly better, $420, $620 and $840 a year in higher earnings respectively.

Stanislaus is no Contra Costa, where baby newcomers can hope to make $3,170 more per year, but it sure beats San Joaquin, where new arrivals will make $1,020 less per year than poor kids make on average. Merced County also has a negative effect, with infants moving in likely to earn $770 less than average a year as adults.

All of which adds up to an imperative to raise educational levels here and attract better-paying jobs, making it economically sensible for our college and university graduates to stay put, improving civic life and economic outlook for everyone.

Speakers announcing the Stanislaus Education Partnership in June alluded to that generational spiral, and their hopes to get it moving decidedly upward.

This study suggests every year counts in making that happen.

LINKS TO FOLLOW:
• Teachable moments and academic rigor: A mini-unit | Stanford Graduate School of Education | http://stanford.io/1NCF0Gt
• Teachable Moments and Academic Rigor: A mini-unit | Edutopia | http://bit.ly/1HC8rIy
• The Roots of Baltimore's Violence | Pedro Noguera | www.huffingtonpost.com | huff.to/1JDAKbI
• The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility,” Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren | http://bit.ly/1M0edmR
• The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares - The New York Times | http://nyti.ms/1TaE4gf


Commentary: REFLECTIONS ON MY FINAL DAY OF COVERING LAUSD BY VANESSA ROMO
From LA School Report | http://bit.ly/1IySH9V

●Note: After two years as LA School Report’s lead reporter, Vanessa Romo is leaving LASR to pursue a fellowship at Columbia University in New York. She is among three journalists who were selected as the school’s Spencer Fellows in Education Reporting, for a program that provides participants the time and resources to investigate critical issues in education. Vanessa intends to examine new initiatives for Standard English Learners.
Vanessa came to LASR from KPCC, where she won a first place award from the Education Writers Association for a series of stories on the Los Angeles school district’s school discipline policies. More: http://bit.ly/1C6oPAD

_________

July 2, 2015 3:27 pm :: On my last day with LA School Report I’d like to take a minute (or ten) to do some navel gazing — reflect on the things I’ve learned as an education reporter covering this behemoth school district, a job for the most part I have truly enjoyed.

First, the things I won’t be missing about the daily beat: Without a doubt, I will not miss the stuffy, windowless press room at LA Unified headquarters, a room outfitted with a television set made sometime in 1982 and only two electrical outlets. The fact that reporters celebrated when a district consultant (shout out to Sean Rossall) brought in a power strip gives you an idea of how bleak it is in there. Not to mention cockroaches so brazen that they actually crawled up a reporter’s leg. Not this one, thank goodness, although rumor has it a colleague has video of me screaming like a little girl as I squashed one under my shoe.

The endless board meetings that go deep, deep into the night will be also be easy to skip. Sometimes they went on because board members took turns pontificating on the fundamental human right of a good education. A worthwhile exercise, to be sure, but not always appropriate considering the day’s agenda. Other times the board was simply confused over process — is this a vote for the resolution or the amendment to the resolution? And if so, does it change the timing of the original resolution or can we come back to vote on the modified resolution next month? Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Meanwhile, I’d curse myself for not packing a Cliff bar. “Why don’t I just buy a box and put it in the trunk of my car?” I asked myself time and time again. I never remembered.

Finally, the rigmarole involved in getting access to the 24th floor of LA Unified headquarters. Are you on the list? Does so-and-so know you’re coming? What time is your appointment? Are you sure it’s today? What’s your credit score? Perhaps, I’m showing my own hand here, and maybe other reporters had an easier time of it, but I wish it wasn’t complicated to pop-in for quick conversations to catch up on ongoing stories or simply avoid a six-email-exchange on what turned out to be pretty straight forward set of questions.

Still, I will miss it.

Because I’m a softy, I’ll miss the small, simple stories most, which I have to admit, I wish I’d written more often. The types of stories that are about one teacher, one classroom, or one program that is changing the life of students.

I went to public school. Not in LAUSD, but here in LA — Montebello Unified— where the demographics mirror those of the district. Mostly poor, mostly Latino, mostly behind the eight ball. And I remember loving school and all of my teachers, with the exception of Ms. Rita. You know what you did.

I didn’t know then what I know now: that virtually every student in the schools I attended would today qualify for concentrated and supplemental funds. We were all a combination of low-income, foster youth, English learners or special education students. In other words, we were the very “neediest students” I now write about.

Even through middle school I didn’t know that going to school year-round and going to class in a trailer meant the district was over-crowded and too poor to build new facilities. Or that kids in other districts used actual books not just copied packets of Junior Great Books short stories. (Remember the one about the gun that didn’t make a sound? Spooooooky!)

I was blissfully unaware, and that was probably due to the efforts and dedication of my teachers. School was just school, and I joined math club, the history club, played the violin, acted in school plays, stayed after-school for special GATE programs, and became a cheerleader followed by school president. Each one of those activities was organized and run by an adult who chose to devote extra hours to our growth as future adults.

Students today deserve that, and their success, however small, should be recognized.

While covering the minutia of politics behind the policies is its own sport, it’s only in the classroom that they are put to the test. Are iPads the answer to improving learning? Let’s see what happens when a group of fifth graders is asked to use them. Obvious, I know.

In covering this beat I’ve observed as one education dogma is swapped out for another, a newer (sometimes older) set of tenets now in vogue. It seems to happen every handful of years and each time, those in charge are convinced this is the right solution. Meantime, problematic schools remain problematic, and students are the victims of the revolving policy door.

For evidence look no further than Jefferson High, Crenshaw High, or any of the Reed schools, most of which have been reconstituted, broken up into smaller schools, reunified as a single campus or re-structured into magnet schools. Lots of change has resulted in little academic improvement.

IMHO, the biggest challenge facing the district is due diligence and follow-through, a dedication to stick with an issue and stay on top of it. A collective amnesia seems to take over. Time and again, the district adopts a new plan to solve a problem, board members call it a priority, a rally is held, and the toasting begins. Then it’s filed away until there’s a flare up or a new scandal arises.

It’s what happened with MISIS, which is about $70 million over budget. Shortly after the first meltdown exposing MISIS as an utter failure, former school board member Tamar Galatzan, complained, “We were never told about this!” Why not? At some point the board approved the initial $29 million expenditure. Didn’t anyone wonder how the money was being spent?

It’s what has happened with the A through G, a policy adopted 10 years ago. Every couple of years since 2005 a new analysis revealed that middle school students were entering high school under-prepared, schools were not offering the right courses, and many didn’t have the resources to do so. Yet, it appears to have come as a big surprise this year that only 37 percent of the class of 2017 is on track to graduate meeting the “C” standard. Eventually, the board was forced to drop it.

Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy is another recent example. It is a school embroiled in a legal battle for years because of the teacher and administrator turnover rate, yet vital teaching positions remained unfilled for more than a year. Seriously, no science teacher at a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math school? Somebody pick up the phone.

But I digress and I don’t want to go out as Debbie Downer on a negative note. I’ve enjoyed exploring the district, problems and all, and getting to know teachers, parents and students, even some of the board members. Most of you were nice to me — you know who you are — and I’ll miss you. I hope you miss me.
_____

●●smf’s 2¢: I think I first met Vanessa in the auditorium of Walter Reed Middle School on her first assignment for KPCC, sent to cover some eyewash meagerly-attended parent involvement outreach over an issue best-and-thankfully forgotten My first impression of her with the usual digital accoutrement of one-man-band radio reporters: Recorder, microphone, headset and five-six coils of multicolored cable not quite fitting into a blue canvas bag with the laptop and the Thomas Guide. – was that she wasn’t KPCC regular Adolfo Guzman-Lopez …but she definitely had all his stuff!

Her reporting that day was excellent; she noted the sparse attendance and eye-wishy-washiness – but she also engaged the few who there – both District and parents - to tease out and tell the story.

She has repeated that success in the years since, even as she went over to the dark side of LA$®: The truth well-and-joyfully told. It’s Sunday morning and I give you 2 Corinthians 13:8 “For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth.”

Radio reporting has gotten easier in the time since – the mic, recorder, headset, laptop and Thomas Guide have all been reduced to apps on an iPhone …though I met a new KPCC reporter/intern last week with the blue canvas bag and the wires – it must be a right-of-passage.

So Vanessa graduates LAUSD and goes on to her fellowship at the Columbia School of Journalism and I ask what I ask of all who leave our schools: That she learns what they have to teach her and comes back and teaches us what we need to know. I’m looking forward to some good journalism (not monographs, theses and dissertations) on Standard English Learners. Please!


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
BONFIRES+ILLUMINATIONS: Some jingoistic patriotism ….and a little bit o’ news for the 4th! http://bit.ly/1NGSdyE

BEST+WORST PLACES TO GROW UP: Kids who grow up in some places go on to earn much more than if they grew up elsewhere + B+W PLACES TO GROW UP: How L.A. County compares
http://bit.ly/1M0gLS5

EVIDENCE-BASED LESSONS (+LESSON PLANS) FROM FERGUSON+BALTIMORE ...and a study pegs futures to neighborhoods
http://bit.ly/1KCd71X

Briefly: CALIFORNIA REVENUE+CREDIT RATING+PROPERTY VALUES UP, ANTI-VAXERS MOBILIZE USING PROTESTS+GRAFFITI+JIM CARREY http://bit.ly/1Cg16OK

AB329: BILL WOULD MAKE COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION MANDATORY FOR CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS http://bit.ly/1RWrtL2

“You must pass the exam to graduate …and we’re cancelling the exam!”: 5000 CAN’T GRADUATE AFTER CAHSEE CANCELLED
http://bit.ly/1Ta2kPq

 
LAUSD Needs a New Chief. Pity the Poor Guy Who Gets the Job |  

DANIEL PEARL MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL WINS TOP HONORS FOR STUDENT JOURNALISM
http://bit.ly/1R9yE7N

LCFF/LCAP: SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD THEIR DREAM HOUSE http://bit.ly/1dAdFs7

WHAT SCHOOLS+PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW VACCINATION LAW
http://bit.ly/1en6eoJ

LCFF & Special Ed: LAWSUIT ALLEGES LAUSD MISDIRECTED $126 MILLION LAST YEAR, $288 MILLION THIS YEAR

LAUSD BdOfEd: NEW FACES, NEW PRESIDENT, SOON A NEW SUPERINTENDENT ...SAME OLD CHALLENGES …and they take July+Aug off!
http://bit.ly/1Ce20LJ

¡Well begun!: YESTERDAY WAS 1st DAY OF SCHOOL (Tracks B,C & D) AT BELL HIGH, LAUSD's ONLY YEAR 'ROUND CAMPUS. There was NO MiSiS Crisis!

LA Times Editorial: CALIFORNIA SETTLES THE VACCINATION QUESTION http://bit.ly/1NwN1fW

AB277: GOVERNOR BROWN SIGNS HISTORIC YET CONTROVERSIAL BILL BANNING PERSONAL BELIEF EXEMPTIONS FOR SCHOOL + PRESCHOOL VACCINATIONS

CALIFORNIA SENATE SENDS MANDATORY VACCINE BILL TO GOVERNOR (5 stories)
http://bit.ly/1eY8CDo

A LEXICON FOR EDUCATING THE WHOLE CHILD ….and Preparing the Whole Adult
http://bit.ly/1C31Wyg

MEASLES CARRIES RISK OF A TERRIFYING, ALWAYS FATAL AND RARE COMPLICATION
http://bit.ly/1QZASWY

Amplify: MURDOCH’S NEWS CORP ABANDONING SCHOOL TABLET MARKET
http://bit.ly/1C20vjw

Prevent another tragedy, TEACH CPR IN HIGH SCHOOL http://bit.ly/1Hqi64Z

5000 STUDENTS IN LIMBO AFTER HIGH SCHOOL EXIT EXAM CANCELLED, 400-500 in LAUSD
http://bit.ly/1NqbaFD

Only in Texas: SHOULD A HOMESCHOOLER BE HEAD OF THE TEXAS BOARD OF EDUCATION? | The Christian Science Monitor:
http://bit.ly/1fZkqFO


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
No upcoming events available

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


• LAUSD BOARD OF EDUCATION & COMMITTEES MEETING CALENDAR



What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member:
Scott.Schmerelson@lausd.net • 213-241-6386
Monica.Garcia@lausd.net • 213-241-6180
Ref.Rodriguez@lausd.net • 213-241-5555
George.McKenna@lausd.net • 213-241-6382
Monica.Ratliff@lausd.net • 213-241-6388
Richard.Vladovic@lausd.net • 213-241-6385
Steve.Zimmer@lausd.net • 213-241-6387
...or your city councilperson, mayor, county supervisor, state legislator, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: http://bit.ly/dqFdq2 • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at mayor@lacity.org • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail: http://www.govmail.ca.gov/
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.
• Speak with your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Stay on top of education issues. Don't take my word for it!
• Get involved at your neighborhood school. 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 at http://registertovote.ca.gov/
• If you are registered, VOTE LIKE THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT. THEY DO!


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




Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and was Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and has represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for over 12 years. He is Vice President for Health, Legislation Action Committee member and a member of the Board of Directors of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT "WHO" Gold Award and the ACSA Regional Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award - honors he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
• FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 4LAKids makes such material available in an effort to advance understanding of education issues vital to parents, teachers, students and community members in a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
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Sunday, June 28, 2015

’Tis grace hath brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home.



4LAKids: Sunday 28•June•2015
In This Issue:
 •  WHO WILL BE LOS ANGELES UNIFIED'S NEXT SUPERINTENDENT?
 •  ARNE DUNCAN ATTENDS PTA MEETING, ANNOUNCES FREE PRESCHOOL + AFFORDABLE COLLEGE DEGREES ARE “FAMILY+PARENT RIGHTS” + ISSUES PRESS RELEASE
 •  IS SPECIAL EDUCATION RACIST? Are minority students overrepresented or underrepresented in Special Ed?
 •  TREATING KIDS LIKE HAMBURGERS, PEARSON EXEC ‘FESSES UP’
 •  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.
Dylann Roof, driven to racism+insanity by the sight of the Confederate stars-and-bars flying on the statehouse lawn packed up his Glock 41 and headed to Mother Emanuel Church to start his race war.

That isn’t how it happened.

First: the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is not the ‘stars-and-bars’. Indeed that flag was never the national flag of the Confederacy …and it had little-to-nothing to do with the Civil War fought in South Carolina.

Second: Roof came to his racism the same way every bigot ever has: He was taught it.

These pages rarely quote show tunes – but Rogers+Hammerstein said it true in South Pacific:
“You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

“You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

“You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!”


Roof came to his racism the way impressionable young Muslims come to the Islamic State or naïve teenagers from Minnesota enter the sex trade: He was lured+self-radicalized on the internet – seduced by big-lie techniques – and Nutella and kittens. http://wapo.st/1LuWCp3 | http://nyti.ms/1NnassE

That flag is a symbol. It may be a symbol of racism – or of a glorious lost (and wrong) cause …or just a sticker on the roof of a ’69 Dodge Charger Hot Wheels Car. It is only as important as we allow it to become. If we take it down and some belittle the symbolic political correctness of the taking-down-of-it, we all lose.

[See Carl Jung or Rene Magritte on symbols.] I am conflicted here; as a compulsive mixer of simile+metaphor I am a lover of verbal symbolism. It’s a lifelong infatuation – but wordplay ain’t the real thing! Racism is Ignorance – and those two impostors together are the warp+woof of the fabric of evil. We are educators+lifelong-learners; if we are not agreed that ignorance is the enemy we are wasting our time and these children’s lives.


• Dylann Roof is a high school dropout.
• You must be a high school graduate to take up arms and join the armed services.
• Using the “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…” constitutional language maybe one should need to be have a diploma to possess a gun? It’s a thought.


THE GRACE the president preached and sang about Friday came to the author of that hymn slowly+late in a wretched life. John Newton was a slave ship captain who sailed the middle passage and saw The Light - and over time became an Anglican cleric and ardent abolitionist – living to see abolition in the British Empire. He wrote his epitaph: “Once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned and appointed to preach the Faith he had long laboured to destroy”.

Newton surely delivered Africans into slavery in Charleston in what the president called this nation’s Original Sin; recent events possess a exquisite irony the most secular agnostic can call Grace.

We have been living on hope in this country long enough; we can use some grace. And as the president said: “To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change – that’s how we lose our way again.”


THE MOST MOVING MOMENT AT TUESDAY’S BOARD MEETING wasn’t the genuine outpouring of respect for Bennett Kayser (and certainly not the quoting of this page’s earlier Bennett tribute http://bit.ly/1NnaWz9). It was not the fact the superintendent was visibly moved-to-tears in his presentation of his budget plan …along with his stated intent to leave after another six months. It wasn’t that brief mistaken moment when we thought all the RIFs were rescinded. No, the most moving moment came when the small coterie of about a dozen-or-so Hearing Impaired Adult English Language Learners (easily the smallest special interest group heard from in a $7.8 billion budget plan) were informed that their program was being saved. Supported by sign language interpreters they are not a vocally demonstrative group; but their joy and their smiles were overflowing and infectious. Superintendent Cortines wept that there would be no more gifts under the Christmas tree – but for them June 23rd was the first+best day of Christmas ever – and the joy+promise of learning, though mute, filled the room.

The second-best-moment came after a RIFed teacher announced he was taking his daughter on a planned European trip this summer even though he didn’t know if he’d have a job to come back to …because they both needed the vacation and it was the right – if impractical – thing to do. Someone pressed $200 into his hand to help with the trip. Such is grace in small places. Bon voyage, père et fille.


THE REST OF THE NEWS IS THE REST OF THE NEWS. Obamacare is saved. Gay folk can marry nomatterwheretheylive. Mr. Justice Scalia thinks Californians are granola: the ones that aren’t fruits are nuts and flakes. The state has a budget. MediCal will treat undocumented kids. If the governor signs it everyone who can be vaccinated shall be vaccinated. Adult Ed and Voc Ed have not been saved. SLRDP has not been saved. 328 teachers’ jobs have not been saved. Arne Duncan (whom we love to disagree with) says Free Preschool is a Parent’s Right; Governor Brown (with whom like to agree) is improbably with Scalia that this too is extra-constitutional jiggery-pokery! And Rafe Esquith is still in teacher jail.


THIS IS THE LAST ISSUE OF 4LAKids for the 2014-15 fiscal and school years. I know 2015-16 Summer School has already begun – and thanks for not waiting! The new year offers new opportunity with a new budget and new board members and new local supes; new classrooms with different teachers; new curriculum with new opportunities, new friends met and old friends down the hall. Change can all be good if that’s what we choose to make of it.

And everyone can now start playing Fantasy Superintendent Search!

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


WHO WILL BE LOS ANGELES UNIFIED'S NEXT SUPERINTENDENT?
By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1IhZEMq

Posted: 06/24/15, 5:44 PM PDT | Updated: 6/26/15 :: While the Los Angeles Unified school board has yet to take steps to find a replacement for Superintendent Ramon Cortines, there’s no shortage of possible candidates.

In an unexpected announcement, Cortines told board members at Tuesday’s meeting he would leave the district in six months — midway through the upcoming school year and six months before his contract is set to end.

The time frame only leaves board members next week’s meeting to talk about finding his replacement, before they recess for seven weeks over the summer.

Board member Monica Ratliff criticized the school board for not making the search a priority sooner and called for “transparency” in the process that picks Cortines’ successor.

“I admire his announcement, because it makes it very clear that the board cannot continue to put off its duty of finding his successor,” Ratliff said in a written statement.

Board President Richard Vladovic’s office did not return calls and emails seeking comment.

It took more than seven months from the time the school board started a national search for superintendent in February 2006 until it picked former Superintendent James Brewer in October of that year.

But in more recent years, the school board has decided to pick familiar faces.

Cortines, who twice before held the district’s top spot, was secretly picked to lead the school district in October. His appointment and former Superintendent John Deasy’s resignation were both sought behind closed doors and without public knowledge.

When Deasy was tapped in 2011, the school board skipped a formal vetting process. Deasy was then working as a deputy superintendent, a job he took after holding the top spot at the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Prince George’s County Schools in Maryland.

Cortines’ current second-in-command, Deputy Superintendent Michelle King, volunteered to serve as interim superintendent when news of Deasy’s departure broke in October. Ruth Perez, LAUSD’s head of instruction, is another high-ranking administrator with experience. She worked as superintendent of neighboring Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District before being hired by LAUSD in August.

Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana is second-in-command of LAUSD’s after-school program. She formerly headed Pomona Unified and one of the state’s larger school systems, Santa Ana Unified in Orange County. Additionally Melendez served as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education from 2009 to 2011.

Even within the school board, two members have worked as top staffers. George McKenna served as superintendent of Inglewood Unified, while Vladovic headed West Covina Unified in the San Gabriel Valley.

Outside the district and within California there may also be options. The second-in-command of California’s sixth-largest school system was looking to change jobs earlier this year. But Guadalupe Guerrero still works for San Francisco Unified after losing his bid for superintendent of Boston’s public schools.


THE NEXT LAUSD SUPERINTENDENT? What about the next Board President?



ARNE DUNCAN ATTENDS PTA MEETING, ANNOUNCES FREE PRESCHOOL + AFFORDABLE COLLEGE DEGREES ARE “FAMILY+PARENT RIGHTS” + ISSUES PRESS RELEASE
●●smf: . . . but hey, it’s a slow news cycle (ACA+Same Sex Marriage Decisions /Charleston Memorial/CA Vaccination Law) …and rights are established in photo ops and press releases by cabinet secretaries, aren't they?

from Politico Morning Education | http://politi.co/1QXmpuU:
26 June 2015 :: Speaking of Duncan, he's headed to the National Parent Teacher Association Convention and Expo in Charlotte, N.C., this morning where he'll make an announcement "about the importance of parent, family and community engagement," the Education Department said in a release. Duncan will "emphasize the importance of meaningful involvement in a child's education - from federal, state and local policymakers, to parents, families, teachers and school leaders." It's a familiar subject for Duncan, who attends all parent-teacher conferences for his children and is in regular contact with their teachers, a department official said.

__________________
U.S. Department of Education http://1.usa.gov/1LKbDBr
U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY ARNE DUNCAN ANNOUNCES A SET OF RIGHTS TO HELP PARENTS SEEK HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION FOR THEIR CHILDREN

June 26, 2015

Contact: Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today released a set of rights that outlines what families should be able to expect for their children's education.

"I want to describe educational rights that I firmly believe must belong to every family in America — and I hope you'll demand that your leaders in elected or appointed offices deliver on them," Duncan said during a speech to the 2015 National Parent Teacher Association Convention and Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina. "They come together as a set of rights that students must have at three pivotal stages of their life, to prepare them for success in college and careers and as engaged, productive citizens."

To help prepare every student for success in life, families have the right to:

Free, quality preschool;
High, challenging standards and engaging teaching and leadership in a safe, supportive, well-resourced school; and
An affordable, quality college degree.

The announcement complements work by the Education Department to reach out to parents—from the Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, to tools that can help families and students select the best colleges for their needs, to support of Parent Training and Information Centers and Resource Centers.

Parents are critical assets in education. Beginning in 1990, Dr. Tony Bryk and his team conducted a 15-year study across hundreds of elementary schools in Chicago where he discovered five features of a school that determine whether or not learning can thrive: a clear vision for instruction; a staff with the capacity to see that vision through; a student-centered learning environment; skilled leadership; and active and engaged parents. Schools that contained all five features at once were 10 times more likely to improve than schools that didn't. Dr. Bryk also identified a "special sauce" that emerged whenever you mixed all five features together thoroughly: a deep wellspring of trust between parents and educators.

When it comes to making the set of rights announced today a reality for every child, few voices will be as powerful as those of parents. Often parents want to be involved in their child's education, but they aren't sure of the best ways to support their child, or the right questions to ask to ensure their child is getting the education she deserves. The set of rights is meant to help empower parents to demand a world-class education for their children.

Free quality preschool

All children need access to high-quality preschool to prepare them for kindergarten and to close opportunity and achievement gaps. According to the Department's recent report, A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America, of the approximately 4 million 4-year olds in the United States, about 60 percent — or nearly 2.5 million — are not enrolled in publicly funded preschool programs, including state preschool programs, Head Start, and programs serving children with disabilities. Even fewer are enrolled in the highest-quality programs. The Obama Administration has made significant investments in early learning through the Early Learning Challenge and the Preschool Development Grants programs. The grants lay the groundwork for states to be prepared for the proposed Preschool for All program. The Administration has asked Congress for an increase of $500 million for Preschool Development Grants as part of the President's FY16 budget request to expand this program to serve more children.

High standards, engaging teaching and leadership in a safe, supportive, well-resourced school

Every child deserves to attend a school that will prepare them for success in college and careers. That means parents have the right to know whether their child is on track to success, with an accurate measuring stick, and assurance that their child is held to the same, high-expectations regardless of where they live in the state. In elementary and secondary school, our nation's students also have a right to high standards and engaging teaching and leadership in a safe, supportive, well-resourced school. And, across the country, we're making important progress. This year, more than 40 states are moving forward with high academic standards and next-generation assessments that can better help teachers and parents understand what students are learning. Graduation rates are at an all-time high. Parents can play a critical role in ensuring that we continue on a path to increase access to an excellent education for every student. Every parent wants to ensure that their child is engaged in learning and supported, and that means teachers and principals need ongoing feedback and support. States have developed unique plans to ensure that their schools improve the quality of instruction, increase equity, and close achievement gaps. Duncan has called on Congress to replace the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, with a strong, bipartisan law that delivers on the promise of equity and real opportunity for every child.

Affordable, quality college degree

As they prepare to graduate from high school, students need access to affordable, quality post-secondary education or training. Creating a clear path to the middle class and ensuring our nation's economic prosperity means opening the doors of higher education to more Americans. Today, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require education and training beyond a high school diploma. A generation ago, America led the world in college attainment of young adults; now, we rank twelfth. The Obama administration is committed to restoring our world leadership in college completion and ensuring that every student has access to an affordable and high-quality postsecondary education.


IS SPECIAL EDUCATION RACIST? Are minority students overrepresented or underrepresented in Special Ed?

● FROM THE AUTHORS: “Our findings indicate that federal legislation and policies currently designed to reduce minority over-representation in special education may be misdirected.”

● FROM THE STUDY: “Minority children were consistently less likely than otherwise similar White, English-speaking children to be identified as disabled and so to receive special education services. From kindergarten entry to the end of middle school, racial- and ethnic-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities, (b) speech or language impairments, (c) intellectual disabilities, (d) health impairments, or (e) emotional disturbances. Language-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities or (b) speech or language impairments.”

▲ IS SPECIAL EDUCATION RACIST?

Op-Ed in the New York Times By PAUL L. MORGAN and GEORGE FARKAS | http://nyti.ms/1GOr9el

JUNE 24, 2015 :: MORE than six million children in the United States receive special-education services for their disabilities. Of those age 6 and older, nearly 20 percent are black.

Critics claim that this high number — blacks are 1.4 times more likely to be placed in special education than other races and ethnicities combined — shows that black children are put into special education because schools are racially biased.

But our new research suggests just the opposite. The real problem is that black children are underrepresented in special-education classes when compared with white children with similar levels of academic achievement, behavior and family economic resources.

The belief that black children are overrepresented in special education is driving some misguided attempts at policy changes. To flag supposed racial bias in special-education placement, the United States Department of Education is thinking of adopting a single standard for all states of what is an allowable amount of overrepresentation of minority children.

If well-intentioned but misguided advocates succeed in arbitrarily limiting placement in special education based on racial demographics, even more black children with disabilities will miss out on beneficial services.

Black children face double jeopardy when it comes to succeeding in school. They are far more likely to be exposed to the gestational, environmental and economic risk factors that often result in disabilities. Yet black children are less likely to be told they have disabilities, and to be treated for them, than otherwise similar white children.

About 65 percent of black children, compared with about 30 percent of white children, live in families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line. From 1985 to 2000 about 80 percent of black children grew up in highly disadvantaged neighborhoods characterized by widespread unemployment, racial segregation, poverty, single-parent households and welfare.

Thirty-six percent of inner-city black children have elevated levels of lead in their blood. The figure for suburban white children is only 4 percent. Black children are about twice as likely to be born prematurely and three times more likely to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.

In a study published today, we report that the under-diagnosis of black children occurs across five disability conditions for which special services are commonly provided — learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, intellectual disabilities, health impairments and emotional disturbances. From the beginning of kindergarten to the end of eighth grade, black children are less, not more, likely than white children with similar levels of academic performance and behaviors to be identified as having each of these disabilities.

In fact, our study statistically controlled for many possible factors that might explain these disparities. Examples included differences in children’s academic achievement, behavior, gender and age, birth weight, the mother’s marital status and the family’s income and education levels. In contrast, many previous studies reporting overrepresentation have not adjusted for these factors. Instead, these prior studies have relied on school- or district-level data that did not adequately control for differences in risk factor exposure between black and white children.

It may be that black children are less likely to be identified and treated for disabilities because of a greater responsiveness by education professionals to white parents. Low expectations regarding black children’s abilities may also lead some professionals to ignore the neurological basis of low academic achievement and “problem” behavior. Even those black children who do receive a diagnosis are less likely to receive help. For example, despite being more likely to experience symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, black children are less likely than white children to be given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. And even among those who are given an A.D.H.D. diagnosis, black children are less likely than white children to receive medication to treat the condition.

The last thing we need is to compound these widespread disparities in disability diagnosis and treatment by making school officials reluctant to refer black children for special-education eligibility evaluations out of fear of being labeled racially biased.

Pamphlets describing a school district’s disability eligibility procedures are often written in dense legalese that may be hard for many parents to understand. Revising them might make it easier for parents to advocate for their children during the eligibility evaluation process. Community outreach programs can also help overcome cultural barriers to identifying children with disabilities.

Such programs have already been shown to reduce racial disparities in children’s health and health care access. We should be trying to identify children with disabilities and to provide them with an education adapted to their individual academic, physical or behavioral needs.

● Paul L. Morgan is an associate professor of education at Pennsylvania State University.
● George Farkas is a professor of education at the University of California, Irvine.


____________________________
NEW STUDY CHALLENGES PREVIOUS RESEARCH ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS
By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | KPCC 89.3 | http://bit.ly/1GxHqC5

26June2015 5:30AM/updated 8:48AM:: A national study by Southern California and Pennsylvania researchers is raising questions about previous reports that identify which students end up in special education.

Earlier research that looked at students nationwide suggest minorities are more likely to be placed in special ed programs compared to white students.

George Farkas, an education researcher at the University of California, Irvine, said that's not the case, at least not nationally. Countrywide, minority groups are less likely to be placed in special ed and less likely to be diagnosed with a disability than otherwise identical white students, he said.

The findings were published in the current issue of Educational Researcher.

California differs from what researchers found nationally. In this state, the numbers match the common view, and prior studies, that minorities make up the majority of special ed students.

The largest group students served by California special education programs are those in the “specific learning disability” category, which includes students with problems speaking, reading, writing or doing math, state data shows. Hispanic students make up 65 percent of students in this category while African-American students make up 10 percent of the group.

Both Hispanic and African-American children are overrepresented in comparison to their numbers in the general student population — and that could pose a problem for the state.

Overrepresentation of minority groups is a concern of many, from policymakers in Washington, D.C., to local school principals. They question if minority students are too often labeled as needing special education, which could take them out of mainstream classes and deny them a normal track through school and onto college.

But the study by Farkas and his colleagues challenges whether there is indeed minority overrepresentation in special education nationally.

“African-American kids, and in fact other minority groups, are less likely to be placed in special education and less likely to be diagnosed with a disability than otherwise identical white students,” he said. “Otherwise identical” is the key.

For example, a white student would typically be enrolled in a higher performing school. So if he is performing in the lowest third of the class, that would trigger special ed services.

A black or Latino student, Farkas said, would typically be enrolled in a lower-performing school where scoring in the lowest third on test scores may be more of the norm. Those students wouldn’t stand out for special education services as readily. The result: more white students than minority students receiving special ed services.

“I think this is ground-breaking research,” said Carl Cohn, former Long Beach Unified superintendent who chairs the Statewide Special Education Task Force. If minority students are underrepresented in special education as the study suggests, Cohn said it would compel school administrators to shift their thinking and more readily give those students special education services.

The study comes as the federal government is considering a limit on the number of minority students in special ed classes when they are overrepresented compared to the general student population.

“Our findings indicate that federal legislation and policies currently designed to reduce minority over-representation in special education may be misdirected,” said study co-author Paul Morgan of Pennsylvania State University in a news release.

“These well-intentioned policies instead may be exacerbating the nation’s education inequities by limiting minority children’s access to potentially beneficial special education and related services to which they may be legally entitled.”

For California and other states, such limits could have serious impact if they lead to fewer minority students receiving special education services that they need.

____________________________
Abstract: MINORITIES ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY UNDERREPRESENTED IN SPECIAL EDUCATION
LONGITUDINAL EVIDENCE ACROSS FIVE DISABILITY CONDITIONS


Paul L. Morgan1
George Farkas2
Marianne M. Hillemeier1
Richard Mattison3
Steve Maczuga1
Hui Li1
Michael Cook1

1Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
2University of California, Irvine, CA
3Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA

Abstract

We investigated whether minority children attending U.S. elementary and middle schools are disproportionately represented in special education. We did so using hazard modeling of multiyear longitudinal data and extensive covariate adjustment for potential child-, family-, and state-level confounds. Minority children were consistently less likely than otherwise similar White, English-speaking children to be identified as disabled and so to receive special education services. From kindergarten entry to the end of middle school, racial- and ethnic-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities, (b) speech or language impairments, (c) intellectual disabilities, (d) health impairments, or (e) emotional disturbances. Language-minority children were less likely to be identified as having (a) learning disabilities or (b) speech or language impairments.


TREATING KIDS LIKE HAMBURGERS, PEARSON EXEC ‘FESSES UP’


by Alan Singer, Social studies educator, Hofstra University/Huffington Post Contributor | http://huff.to/1KiVKog

6/25/2015 2:56 pm EDT :: You can't make this stuff up.

On June 23, 2015 the New York Times reported on Pearson mass Common Core grading centers where a college degree but no special knowledge is required to grade tests and temporary employees make between $12 and $14 an hour plus small bonuses if they "hit daily quality and volume targets." [4LAKidsNews:Grading the Common Core: NO TEACHING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED http://bit.ly/1KaaC8l ]

According to the article, Pearson insists "strict training and scoring protocols are intended to ensure consistency, no matter who is marking the tests."

Pearson advertised for people to grade the Common Core aligned tests on Craigslist and Facebook and hired about 14,500 temporary employees. To ensure "quality," already grading exams were sorted in with new exams to see if the graders come up with the same score. It is not clear what happens if they don't.

Bob Sanders, vice president of content and scoring management at Pearson North America compared the scoring of high-stakes standardized Common Core-aligned exams to making hamburgers at McDonald's. "McDonald's has a process in place to make sure they put two patties on that Big Mac. We do that exact same thing. We have processes to oversee our processes, and to make sure they are being followed." Mr. Sanders, of course, has a degree from the University of Iowa in business and has never been a teacher. According to his Linkedin page, he cares about children and considers himself a "A respected dynamic leader, strategic thinker, and creative problem solver within technology, retail, and the educational assessment industries."

Comparing Common Core grading with McDonald's is certainly a great analogy. A Big Mac combo meal (Big Mac, large fries, and 32 oz. Coke) has a total of 1,330 fatting calories, about 65% of a recommended daily calorie intact, with almost no nutritional value. You also get 54 grams of fat, 83% of the recommended daily intake, and 1,320 mg of sodium, more than half of the normal daily allowance, and 85 grams of sugar, double the recommended daily dosage.

This year about 12 million children in grades three through twelve took Common Core aligned tests and were processed like hamburgers at McDonald's.

Thank you Mr. Sanders and Pearson for so aptly describing the value of the Common Core diet.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
Editorial: DITCH THE SCHOOL RESERVE CAP http://bit.ly/1BZfcE3

FEDERAL ED UPDATE: New Federal Grant Regs, Ed Funding Bills OKed, Senate to Debate ESEA/NCLB, 8 NCLB Waivers OKed http://bit.ly/1ea4bnX

WESTCHESTER CHARTER v. LAUSD: Court of Appeal Affirms District's Discretion to Locate Charter Schools Under Prop 39
http://bit.ly/1JddGxt

TREATING KIDS LIKE HAMBURGERS, PEARSON EXEC ‘FESSES UP’
http://bit.ly/1Iix1yO

IS SPECIAL EDUCATION RACIST? Are minority students overrepresented or underrepresented in Special Ed?
http://bit.ly/1Ii5Wfa

THE NEXT LAUSD SUPERINTENDENT? What about the next Board President?
http://bit.ly/1GOn0Hi

LAUSD BOARD PRESIDENT EXPECTS LENGTHY AND TRANSPARENT SEARCH FOR NEXT SUPERINTENDENT
http://bit.ly/1GOhc0v

CALIFORNIA VACCINATION BILL CLEARS ASSEMBLY: What’s next?
http://bit.ly/1Hkn8Sq

ARNE DUNCAN ATTENDS PTA MEETING, ANNOUNCES FREE PRESCHOOL + AFFORDABLE COLLEGE ARE “FAMILY+PARENT RIGHTS”
http://bit.ly/1HkPPMY

Poll: WHAT DO YOU WANT MOST IN THE NEXT LAUSD SUPERINTENDENT?
http://bit.ly/1KeHHAa

SOME CALIFORNIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS FIND WAYS TO SUPPORT LOW-INCOME INFANTS AND TODDLERS
http://bit.ly/1eJ20sy

3 stories: THE LONG GOODBYE, THE NO GOODBYE, THE BUDGET, THE LAYOFFS + THE TEARS
http://bit.ly/1LCUl9i

AB277: YOUNG LEUKEMIA SURVIVOR WHO SUPPORTS VACCINES DELIVERS PETITION WITH 32,000 SIGNATURES TO GOVERNOR BROWN
http://bit.ly/1fCI7n4

2 stories: JERRY BROWN SIGNS $167.6 BILLION STATE BUDGET
http://bit.ly/1fCkuep

District Attorney: BURBANK SCHOOL BOARD VIOLATED BROWN ACT DURING SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH
http://bit.ly/1CtK1v4

SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKY: A profile of Oakland Unified Superintendent Antwan Wilson
http://bit.ly/1CtGAEK

LA TIMES’ HOWARD BLUME: Cortines is leaving LAUSD in six months …in 140 characters or less
http://bit.ly/1BB9KXx

LAUSD Headlines: $7.8 BILLION BUDGET RAISES SALARIES, LAYS-OFF 328 TEACHERS, CORTINES TO LEAVE IN 6 MONTHS
http://bit.ly/1CsJPMH

Not exactly a "Broadie": CAMI ANDERSON IS OUT AS NEWARK SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT
http://bit.ly/1GmKJMt

Grading the Common Core: NO TEACHING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
http://bit.ly/1KaaC8l

The Esquith Saga continues: TEACHER FILES CLAIM AGAINST L.A. UNIFIED, BLAMES CONTROVERSY ON JOKE http://bit.ly/1SGZMZ1

LCFF ACCOUNTABILITY: State board gets extra year to create measures of school progress + smf’s 2¢ http://bit.ly/1TLoDfN
0 retweets 0 favorites
Scott Folsom ‏@4LAKids Jun 22

GATES’ $223M SPENT ON COMMON CORE:
CCSS works.
We just know it does.
And teachers want it.
We just know they do.

The day that Gates gets tired of CCSS and decides that it is no longer a funding priority for his foundation will be an interesting day. But for now, CCSS appears to be Bill’s favorite educational toy.
http://bit.ly/1Cp7iyj

Video: SCHEDULE SLIPS ON ESEA/NCLB REWRITE; News on Federal Ed Spending http://bit.ly/1J0EIbm

Opinion: CALIFORNIA VOCATIONAL ED IN DANGER. Schwarzenegger pulled it back from the brink; Jerry Brown …not so much

NEARLY 14% OF LAUSD STUDENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS http://bit.ly/1GvKJc3

FIRST TEST SCORES... NOW GRADES? Atlanta Schools launch review of grade changes over last three years
http://on-ajc.com/1eEoL0y


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
WEDNESDAY, July 1, 2015 :: ANNUAL BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING
OATH OF OFFICE CEREMONY will commence at 10:00 a.m. at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center.
THE MEETING ORDER OF business will reconvene following the ceremony, at 1:00 p.m. at the LAUSD Headquarters.

Order of Business:
• Election of Board President
• Appointment of Vice President
• Adoption of Board Meetings Schedule
• Election of Board Member Representative to the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association
• Election of Board Member Representative to Vote in Electing Members to the County Committee on School District Organization (Education Code 35023)
• Election of Board Member Representative to the California School Boards Association
• Appointment of Board Representative to the Council of Great City Schools
• Appointment of Board Representative to the National School Boards Association
• Public Comment on Items to be Discussed at this Meeting
The public can address the Board prior to action on any item that will be approved by the Board at this meeting.

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


• LAUSD BOARD OF EDUCATION & COMMITTEES MEETING CALENDAR



What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member:
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 was Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and has represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for over 12 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 "WHO" Gold Award and the ACSA Regional Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award - honors he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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