Saturday, July 10, 2004

4LAKids: Saturday, July 10, 2004

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4LAKids: Saturday, July 10, 2004
In This Issue:
LET THE CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND PAY THEIR OWN WAY! — Cash-strapped N.Y. schools charge summer school tuition
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
4LAKids Book Club for June & July –CHOOSING EXCELLENCE: “Good Enough” Schools Are Not Good Enough
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
THE 4LAKids ARCHIVE - Past Issues and added features
FIVE CENTS MAKES SENSE FOR EDUCATION- Target 5¢ from every federal tax dollar for Education
Thursday afternoon after the School Board Facilities
Committee Meeting I tried to buttonhole a senior District
employee as he waited for the shuttle bus that runs
between LAUSD HQ and the Facilities Division Office.
He was in conversation with one of the speakers who had
addressed those of us on the committee; a property owner
whose house stood on a parcel of land LAUSD would
like to build a school on.

The conversation between the two was amicable yet
intense; this gentleman really didn’t want to be relocated
— something we on the committee were recommending
to the board. Committee Chairman Lansing had made it
clear that nobody wanted to take anyone’s house; not this
gentleman’s ...or anyone else’s. But we do need to build
schools in LA and the amount of vacant land available
just doesn’t fit the need. Other speakers had spoken to
the need to minimize the impact, to take the least amount
of residences; to build schools where only nine houses are
displaced rather than somewhere else where sixty families
are impacted. The committee felt pretty well that we had
made the right recommendations.

I’ve been careful to use the word “houses” here; but it is
“homes” that we take. Houses are property; homes are
sacred. Civilization is built on the cornerstone of the
home. As important as schools are in society, no one’s
going to say they are more important than home.

In the forgettable Sam Peckinpaw movie “Junior Bonner”
the violent cinema montage that the master of violent
cinema montage gives his audience is a slow-mo
bulldozing of a shack, the protagonist’s boyhood home.
The audience’s heart breaks along with glass of the
framed family photos. Before there was the Bill of Rights
- the foundation of justice - there was the English
Common Law, the bedrock: A man’s home is his castle.

LA is a city of immigrants. It is immigrant’s homes that
we take when we build schools. Legal or not these people
came with their dreams and they built a new life. Their
immigrant dreams become the American Dream. They get
a job ...but they build a home. Families build new homes
out of old houses; that’s how it is - it happens every day.

The gentleman talking to my colleague was arguing that
he understood the community’s need for schools; he loves
schools. He loves kids, he’d raised his own — in that
home. He kept his kids in school, out of gangs - but the
gangs had taken one anyway, shot him just as dead as if
he’d been a member or a drug addict. Just not his house
he said. This is not NIMBY - ‘Not-In-My-Back-Yard’
thinking’; ‘Not My Home’ is much bigger than that. It’s
not selfish, it’s not about property. It’s about family and
who one is. It’s about keeping the dream real.

The gentleman couldn’t let go, he couldn’t stop pleading
his case about his home. I wanted to talk about another
project, one of the very few where nobody’s home is in
the way; but his conversation was far more important.
Gangbangers killed his son; the school district is taking
his home. Freud says one has to talk this sort of thing out;
but we also must listen.

We must do the right thing, but we must be very careful
doing it.

Not the appearance of careful, but really, really careful.

By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer

Thursday, July 08, 2004 - After the downgrading of the
Los Angeles Unified School District's bonds earlier this
week, Moody's Investors Service on Thursday maintained
its triple-A rating for the district, but put a "negative
outlook" on the bonds.

Standard & Poor's is expected to issue its ratings today
for the LAUSD.

LAUSD officials did not return calls seeking comment.
On Wednesday, Fitch Ratings downgraded some LAUSD
bonds, which affects the sale of more than $5 billion in
voter-approved general obligation bonds and
board-authorized certificates of participation.

The action comes as the LAUSD is already facing $500
million in budget cuts and plummeting reserves. The drop
in reserve funds has forced the school district to pay
higher interest rates on money borrowed through bonds
for school construction.

By Jean Merl, Times Staff Writer

July 8, 2004 - For the second time in two years, a major
Wall Street rating service said Wednesday that it was
slightly downgrading the Los Angeles Unified School
District's credit score. Fitch Ratings cited the district's
deficit spending and still-unsettled labor contracts as
among the reasons for the change.

Fitch lowered the district's general obligation bonds rating
to A+ from AA- and the rating for its certificates of
participation, another common form of borrowing, from
A to A-. Although still relatively good, the new ratings
could cost the school district millions in extra interest.

District officials said they had not yet heard from the
other two major rating services, Moody's and Standard &
Poor's, which were meeting Wednesday and today,
respectively, to review the district's credit situation.

The ratings, an indicator of risk to investors, affect how
much interest the district must pay on funds it borrows.
The highest rating under the system employed by Fitch
and S&P is AAA. Moody's uses a different system.

L.A. Unified is in the midst of a record $14-billion
building and remodeling program, financed with a
combination of state and local bond measure proceeds.
Much of that comes from the nearly $9.6 billion in school
construction bonds that district voters have approved in
three measures since 1997.

Fitch's action could raise the interest rate on future debt
by the equivalent of one-tenth of one percentage point;
that would add, for example, $7.5 million in interest costs
to a $300-million bond issue with a 25-year payback term,
district officials said.

L.A. Unified plans to sell $250 million in bonds in the
next 60 days and issue $70 million in certificates of
participation within the month, said district Controller
Richard J. Knott.

"I was a little disappointed but not surprised," Knott said,
blaming the change in part on the budget gap-plagued
state's even lower credit rating, BBB.

School districts depend on the state for much of their
funding, and California's financial troubles were likely to
influence the rating services' assessment of local districts,
he said.

He noted that the board of education had taken steps to
improve the district's financial picture, including cutting
about $500 million from this year's $6.8-billion operating

"The board knows it has to correct the structural
imbalance" by bringing costs into line with revenue, Knott
said, adding, "The board took some major steps along
that road and will have to continue along that road in the

In February 2003, Fitch dropped the district's rating from
AA to AA-, the fourth-highest rating. It cited the district's
consecutive deficit budgets and increased indebtedness
and the state's financial condition.

The ratings services take a "very cut-and-dried look"
without recognizing the balancing act by the district in
continuing to improve achievement and build new schools
in the midst of a continuing state budget crisis, said Glenn
Gritzner, special assistant to Supt. Roy Romer.

"We think we are sort of holding the line in 100-year-
storm financial weather," Gritzner said.

ATTENDANCE: L.A. Unified officials hope to gain $29
million by cutting absence rate by one percentage point.

By Cara Mia DiMassa, Times Staff Writer

July 9, 2004 - The Los Angeles Unified School District
kicked off a new push to boost student attendance
Thursday, a move that officials hope will bring at least
$29 million in extra state revenue to the budget-crunched

The district aims to improve attendance through a public
relations campaign and giving students with high
attendance rates such incentives as special assemblies and
field trips. In addition, individual campuses would share in
any extra funds.

Overall, the nation's second-largest school district, which
has about 750,000 students in kindergarten through 12th
grade, reports an average daily attendance rate of 93.5%.
Officials want to raise that to above 95%. However,
attendance at high schools hovers around 90%, much
lower than in other urban California school systems,
district officials said. Each day, 30,000 middle and high
school students in the Los Angeles district are absent.

Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer said he hopes the
effort will remind parents, students, teachers and the
community of the academic and financial benefits of
getting students to school. It is a matter, he said, "of
having it first on our minds when we come to work every

Because the state funds schools based on average daily
attendance — about $26 per student per day — increased
attendance could bring a windfall to the district. Officials
have promised to give schools that boost attendance half
of the additional funds instead of putting them into the
general fund.

While shooting for a two-percentage-point improvement
in attendance, Romer and other officials have included a
more conservative one-point increase, to 94.5%, in the
2004-05 budget.

Such an increase would bring $29 million in additional
state revenue. Half already has been committed to
balancing the district's bottom line.

Each one-point increase would require that each student
in the district show up for two days more per year.

There is some doubt whether that goal is feasible. Jannelle
Kuninec, an advisor to the school board on budget
matters, called an improvement to 94.5% ambitious.
"There is very little margin for error," she said, warning
them against counting too much on the extra cash.

The board will consider a motion next week, proposed by
members Marlene Canter and Jon Lauritzen, outlining
more specific ways to boost attendance. Among the
possibilities are expanded partnerships with law
enforcement to reduce truancy, possible changes in the
way student suspensions are carried out and allowing
attendance to be a factor in grading.

Norm Morrow, principal of Thomas Jefferson High, said
his school's recent emphasis on smaller learning groups
has already improved attendance.

Teachers and administrators realize that there's "a big
correlation between being in school and academic
success," Morrow said. "And that's what we should be all
about…. We'd love to get the [additional] money, but that
isn't the issue. We just want to get kids in school. This is
their ticket to a better quality of life in the future."

Districts keep share of money

By Lisa M. Sodders, Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 07, 2004 - The Los Angeles Unified
School District and other California school districts are
depriving charter schools of their fair share of special
education funding by withholding up to 37 percent of the
money, according to a study released today.

The report by the Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan
public policy think tank based in Los Angeles, found that
most charter schools receive special education money
through their school district, which can decide how much
of the funding is allocated.

"There's really no excuse for such huge percentages of
money being pilfered from charter schools," said Lisa
Snell, author of the report and education director at the
Reason Foundation.

Snell said school districts often justify withholding the
money by telling charter schools that they are insuring
them against severely disabled students who may need
private placement later on.

She said LAUSD was particularly wasteful with the
special education money it holds for the charters in its

"The biggest problem for charter schools is because
(LAUSD's) special education program is such a mess. It's
just throwing the money that they are entitled to into this
very inefficient and wasteful system," she said.

But Donnalyn Jaque-Anton, associate superintendent for
LAUSD's division of special education, said LAUSD's
per-pupil special education funding is in line with other
districts with similar populations, and the funds withheld
are just the charter schools' "fair share."

Special education is underfunded by the federal
government, and school districts have to make up the
amount by using general fund education monies,
Jaque-Anton said. That difference is called

Under state law, districts can charge charter schools an
encroachment fee to pay for districtwide special education
programs, but the law does not specify a percentage.

"Every school in the district pays," Jaque-Anton said,
adding that the district does provide some special
education services to charter schools. "Charter schools,
because they are fiscally independent, it comes out
differently, because the other schools don't want
independent budgets."

The study included a survey of 35 California charter
school directors.

Charter schools are an alternative form of public
education based on teacher- and parent-driven curriculum
and student achievement.

The report recommends that per-pupil special education
funding should go directly to charter schools, instead of
passing through the sponsoring school district.

"The challenge right now for charter schools is that the
dollars don't follow the child," said Gary Larson,
spokesman for the California Charter Schools
Association. "They still follow the bureaucracy, and that
works against the needs of the students who need early

Charter school leaders praised the report, saying it
highlighted their funding disputes with school districts.

Joe Lucente, president of Fenton Avenue Charter School
in Lake View Terrace, said his school already pays for
such services as speech and language therapy and that
LAUSD shouldn't charge them as if it provided them.

"The district has chosen to totally ignore that and two
months ago, confiscated the entire 37 percent --
$220,000," Lucente said. "This could end up in legal
action. There's no way we're going to allow them to
breach our contract."

Chris Davis, assistant principal in charge of special
education at Granada Hills Charter School, said the
problem isn't so much being charged an encroachment fee
but the fact that the district doesn't give charter schools
an accounting of how the money is spent.

"We had some situations where we called the district and
asked for legal counsel, and it would not provide it for
us," Davis said. "We had to provide our own legal
counsel. There are expenses that the district picks up. But
what is covered and what is supported, we really don't

Reason Public Policy Institute Report: California School Districts Withhold Special Education Funds From Charter Schools

• from the New York Times, by Bruce Weber

July 8, 2004 — Oprah's Book Club may help sell millions
of books to Americans, and slam poetry may have
engendered a youthful new breed of wordsmith, but the
nation is still caught in a tide of indifference when it
comes to literature. That is the sobering profile of a new
survey to be released today by the National Endowment
for the Arts, which describes a precipitous downward
trend in book consumption by Americans and a particular
decline in the reading of fiction, poetry and drama.

The survey, called "Reading at Risk," is based on data
from "The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts,"
conducted by the Census Bureau in 2002. Among its
findings are that fewer than half of Americans over 18
now read novels, short stories, plays or poetry; that the
consumer pool for books of all kinds has diminished; and
that the pace at which the nation is losing readers,
especially young readers, is quickening. In addition it
finds that the downward trend holds in virtually all
demographic areas.

"What this study does is give us accurate numbers that
support our worst fears about American reading," said
Dana Gioia, the chairman of the endowment, who will
preside over a discussion of the survey results at the New
York Public Library this morning. "It quantifies what
people have been observing anecdotally, but the news is
that it has been happening more rapidly and more
pervasively than anyone thought possible. Reading is in
decline among all groups, in every region, at every
educational level and within every ethnic group," he said,
calling the survey results "deeply alarming."

The study, with its stark depiction of how Americans now
entertain, inform and educate themselves, does seem
likely to fuel debate over issues like the teaching and
encouragement of reading in schools, the financing of
literacy programs and the prevalence in American life of
television and the other electronic media that have been
increasingly stealing time from readers for a couple of
generations at least. It also raises questions about the role
of literature in the contemporary world.

The survey also makes a striking correlation between
readers of literature and those who are socially engaged,
noting that readers are far more likely than nonreaders to
do volunteer and charity work and go to art museums,
performing arts events and ballgames. "Whatever good
things the new electronic media bring, they also seem to
be creating a decline in cultural and civic participation,"
Mr. Gioia said. "Of literary readers, 43 percent perform
charity work; only 17 percent of nonreaders do. That's
not a subtle difference."

Still, in a world where information is more readily
available than ever, where people know more than they
ever have, and where visual acuity is becoming ever more
crucially utilitarian, it is worth asking: What, if anything,
does literature's diminished importance to Americans
represent? The study has already produced conflicting

"It's not just unfortunate, it's real cause for concern," said
James Shapiro, a professor of English at Columbia
University. "A culture gets what it pays for, and if we
think democracy depends on people who read, write,
think and reflect — which is what literature advances —
then we have to invest in what it takes to promote that."

On the other hand Kevin Starr, librarian emeritus for the
state of California and a professor of history at the
University of Southern California, said that if close to 50
percent of Americans are reading literature, "that's not
bad, actually."

"In an age where there's no canon, where there are so
many other forms of information, and where we're
returning to medieval-like oral culture based on
television," he said, "I think that's pretty impressive, quite
frankly." Mr. Starr continued: "We should be alarmed, I
suppose, but the horse has long since run out of the barn.
There are two distinct cultures that have evolved, and by
far the smaller is the one that's tied up with book and high
culture. You can get through American life and be very
successful without anybody ever asking you whether
Shylock is an anti-Semitic character or whether `Death in
Venice' is better than `The Magic Mountain.' "

The Census Bureau study upon which the survey was
based measured the number of adult Americans who
attended live performances of theater, music, dance and
other arts; visited museums; watched broadcasts of arts
programs; or read literature in the past year. The survey
sample — 17,135 people — makes it one of the largest
studies ever conducted on the subject of arts
participation, and the data were compared with similar
studies from 1982 and 1992. In the literature segment
respondents were asked whether they had, during the
previous 12 months, without the impetus of a school or
work assignment, read any novels, short stories, poems or
plays in their leisure time.

Their answers show that just over half — 56.6 percent —
read a book of any kind in the previous year, down from
60.9 percent a decade earlier. Readers of literature fell
even more precipitously, to 46.7 percent of the adult
population, down from 54 percent in 1992 and 56.9
percent in 1982, which means that in the last decade the
erosion accelerated significantly. The literary reading
public lost 5 percent of its girth between 1982 and 1992;
another 14 percent dropped away in the following decade.
And though the number of readers of literature is about
the same now as it was in 1982 — about 96 million
people — the American population as a whole has
increased by almost 40 million.

The survey found that men (37.6 percent) were doing less
literary reading than women (55.1 percent); that
Hispanics (26.5 percent) were doing less than
African-Americans (37.1 percent) and whites (51.4
percent); but that all categories were declining. The
steepest declines of any demographic group are among
the youngest adults. In 1982, 59.8 percent of
18-to-24-year-olds read literature; by 2002 that figure had
dropped to 42.8 percent. In the 25-to-34 age group, the
percentage of literary readers dropped to 47.7 from 62.1
over the same period.

"This won't be news to publishers," said Jim Milliott,
senior editor for news at the trade journal Publishers
Weekly. "It just confirms what we've known from other
fragmented surveys all along."

Last month the Association of American Publishers
released worldwide sales figures for 2003, indicating that
total sales of consumer book products increased 6 percent
for the year. Much of the increase can be accounted for
by sales of audio books, juvenile titles and nonpaper
e-books, sold online. Adult hardbound books, adult
paperbacks and mass-market paperbacks all showed
relatively flat revenues, in spite of price increases.

The one category of book to rise markedly was that of
religious texts, with total sales of $337.9 million, 36.8
percent over the previous year.

• smf notes: In Friday’s LA Times Yale Humanities
Professor Harold Bloom wrote an Op-Ed bemoaning the
results of the same survey. However Bloom took the
rather ivy-clad ivory-tower position that to properly
appreciate Shakespeare a student must have first read
Chaucer. What a crock! Can one read Chaucer without
first reading Beowulf? Most of Shakespeare’s audience
hadn’t read Chaucer or Beowulf; most of Shakespeare’s
audience couldn’t read! The real literacy progression goes
like this: First you read “Goodnight Moon” and you work
your way from there to “The Little Train that Could” and
“The Babysitter’s Club” and “Harry Potter.” From there
the road leads in infinitely wonderful directions; from
Shakespeare and Danielle Steele and Ray Bradbury to
Tom Clancy and James Joyce. And, if you take the road
less traveled, perhaps to Chaucer and Beowulf ...and even
Homer in the original ancient Greek.

But remember: Homer too couldn’t read!

Download the NEA survey; "Reading at Risk"

LET THE CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND PAY THEIR OWN WAY! — Cash-strapped N.Y. schools charge summer school tuition
• from the San Diego Union Tribune: CUTS CLOSE

By Michael Gormley/Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y/July 9, 2004 – As a growing number of
New York's public schools drop summer programs to
trim budgets, more students are paying as much as $200 a
class to get the extra help they need in a neighboring

Across the country, budget cuts are shutting down
classrooms during the summer and leaving students

"Our schools are having to make draconian cuts to keep
the doors open and the lights on ... summer schools are
one of the things that are going to get cut and reduced,"
said Dan Fuller of the National School Boards

"Nationally, I can't give you one number," Fuller said,
"but I can tell you we're hearing more and more that it is a
concern out there."

For some of New York's neediest students in grades 4-12,
the summer school sessions that opened Tuesday can
mean advancing to the next grade, passing a
state-mandated exam or even attending college.

But the students most in need of summer school usually
can't afford it and so their academic progress slips further,
said Mary Ann DeCostanzo, vice president of the New
York State PTA.

"It's a domino effect," she said.

"The schools can't afford to subsidize a summer school
and I feel many of our parents can't afford the tuition,"
DeCostanzo said. "And who's going to suffer? The
students. It's heartbreaking."

There is no number on how many students will have to
pay summer school tuition or were barred because their
families couldn't pay this year. But teachers, parents, state
officials, schools boards and administrators agree there is
a growing summer school shortage – especially for poor,
rural children.

"If your child fails, it is not your fault that the school
couldn't teach them or the child couldn't learn," said Ann
Marie Reeb, who helped found a parents' group opposed
to the fees.

Reeb feared her daughter might need help in three courses
– $600 worth of summer fees – but her daughter passed
all her final tests at Starpoint Central School District in
Lockport, near Buffalo.

This year, about 200 of the state's 730 school districts
don't offer summer school and six of the state's 38
BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services)
centers have no summer school, according to the state
Education Department. Neither state nor local officials
could provide a comparison to past years, but agree that
demand is rising as cuts are made.

"Kids need to be provided a quality education and if
summer school is part of that, it should be afforded to
them," Linda Hodge, president of the National PTA said
Thursday, adding that the concern is becoming evident

Charging tuition for out-of-district students is legal, but
charging fees to register or to take summer Regents
exams needed to graduate violates state law, said Ted
Wolfstich, an associate in the State Education
Department. Some districts unaware of the statute,
however, are charging the fees, he said. The education
department will inform districts next week that they
cannot charge for tests or registration.

"We have more students needing summer school,"
Wolfstich said. "With the way budgets have been in some
schools, especially in small rural areas, they can't find it in
their budgets and they can't find teachers."

Some districts are also cutting summer school bus runs.

Wolfstich also said summer schools that traditionally
offered only high school courses now have to offer extra
help to fourth- through eighth-graders who have
problems uncovered in new standardized tests. More tests
are planned under the federal act known as No Child Left

"It's a Catch-22 almost," said Barbara Bradley of New
York State School Boards Association. "It's one more
strike against the state system for education funding
because it's putting kids at risk."

Reeb's Starpoint Central School District has no summer
school and ended its summer school contract with the
local BOCES. Now, Starpoint students face up to $196
per course in tuition, a $3 registration fee and a $32 fee
per Regents exam. Students must attend either Lockport
public schools or the BOCES serving Orleans and
Niagara counties.

Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan said the district
dropped summer school in 2001, when it was forced to
adopt a contingency budget. Now the district is just trying
to keep up with a growing enrollment and the resulting
need for more teachers and resources.

"Summer school is very important," Whelan said. "There
are just a number of other important priorities."

• smf notes: The bulk of the $62 million cut from school
site funds in the current LAUSD budget was from summer school.

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
MONDAY, JULY 12, 2004

• Central Region Elementary School #18
Phase II Presentation of Recommended Preferred Site
Local District 5

At this meeting we will present and discuss the site that
will be recommended to the LAUSD Board of education
for this new school project.

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
28th Street Elementary School
2807 Stanford Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90011


• East Valley High School #1A AND Valley Region
Middle School #3
CEQA Scoping Meeting

The purpose of this meeting is to obtain input from the
community on issues to be addressed in the Draft
Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for these school

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Polytechnic High School
12431 Roscoe Blvd.
Sun Valley, CA 91352

*Dates and times subject to change.

South Region Elementary School #3
Phase II Site Selection Update
Local District 6

Your participation is important! Please join at this
meeting where we will review:

* Criteria used to select potential sites
* Sites suggested by community and by LAUSD, and
* We will present and discuss the most suitable site(s) for
this new school project

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Clara Street Park
Turner Hall
4835 Clara Street
Cudahy, CA 90201


• Weemes Elementary School Playground Expansion
Ribbon-cutting Ceremony

Please join us to celebrate the completion of the
playground expansion project at Weemes Elementary

Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m.

Weemes Elementary School
1260 W. 36th Place
Los Angeles, CA 90007

*Dates and times are subject to change.
Phone: 212.241.4700
Phone: 213.633.7616


4LAKids Book Club for June & July –CHOOSING EXCELLENCE: “Good Enough” Schools Are Not Good Enough
John Merrow - the documentary filmmaker and
corespondent behind the Merrow Report series of
education broadcasts on NPR and PBS - spoke to the
California State PTA convention last month about his take
on public education issues. Much of what he said was
reported a month ago in 4LAKids (see: May 9th: “NOTES

Merrow’s thinking is further developed in CHOOSING
EXCELLENCE (Scarecrow Press, 207pp) — first
published in 2001 but is still very applicable today. Some of
his thoughts re: charter schools (which at the time were
totally unproved) probably need reworking as the data
becomes clearer – but his take is 98% on!

(‘Choice’ in LAUSD means particpation in the magnet
school program - the ultimate choice is often made by a
lottery – ‘choice’ becomes a matter of chance!)

“Choice” has become a political buzzword in education,
often it really means school vouchers and the privatization
of public education. Not here. Merrow’s call is for
nothing-less-than excellence in education, and his mantra
that “‘Good Enough’ Schools Are Never Good Enough”

His critique of multiple choice standardized tests, his
description of the roles of parents, students and educators,
and his premise that excellence is a choice parents must
make – and his step-by-step guide on how to make the
choices – are well worth the read.

This is good stuff! —smf

Get CHOOSING EXCELLENCE from your local library, bookstore - or order it by clicking here.

What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member. Or your city councilperson, mayor, assemblyperson, state senator, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think.
• 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.
• Vote.

Contact your school board member

Scott Folsom is a parent and parent leader in LAUSD. He is Vice President for Education in Los Angeles 10th District PTSA and represents PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He serves on various school district advisory and policy committees and is a PTA officer and governance council member at two LAUSD schools. He is also the elected Youth & Education boardmember on the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council.
• In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited.
• This and past Issues are available – with interactive feedback — at