Sunday, August 29, 2004

Citius. Altius. Fortius.

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4LAKids: Sunday, August 29th, 2004
In This Issue:
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  4LAKids Book Club for August & September—THE HUMAN SIDE OF SCHOOL CHANGE: Reform, Resistance and the Real-Life Problems of Innovation—by Robert Evans
 •  What can YOU do?

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 •  MAKING SCHOOLS WORK: Get the Book @
 •  FIVE CENTS MAKES SENSE FOR EDUCATION- Target 5� from every federal tax dollar for Education
“Often the education of children consists in pouring into
their intelligence the intellectual contents of school
programs. And often these programs have been compiled
in the official department of education, and their use is
imposed by law upon the teacher and the child.

“Ah, before such dense and willful disregard of the life
which is growing within these children, we should hide
our heads in shame and cover our guilty faces with our

“Sergi [Montessori’s mentor, cultural anthropologist
Guiseppe Sergi] says truly: ‘Today an urgent need
imposes itself upon society: The reconstruction of
methods in education and instruction, and he who fights
for this cause, fights for human regeneration.’”

— Maria Montessori, “The Montessori Method” (1909)

• Last Thursday, in the shadow of the Olympic torch at
the peristyle of the LA Coliseum, LAUSD cut the ribbon
on arguably the most ambitious elementary school ever
built in this or any school district!

In my remarks I told the students:
“This project — an enlightened adaptive re-use of the
historic Armory — a joint use development between
LAUSD and the Science Center; a project that brought
the school district, the museum, the city, the county, the
state, the university and the private sector all to the table
is a huge victory for us all — for this community — but
most of all for you young people and for the generations
of young people to follow.

“What an incredible, beautiful building this is; dreamed,
designed and built by folks who listened, understood and
dared do their thinking outside the box.

“One of those thinkers was Dr. Ted Alexander, but this
building will not be TedÂ’s memorial. This is not TedÂ’s
greatest achievement. That is yet to come. TedÂ’s greatest
achievement will come when each and every one of you
kids dreams the dream that exceeds our dreams. When
your success is not measured against the color of your
skin, or your first language, or by the country of your
parent’s birth – or by your scores in standardized tests –
but in the length and breath and depth of your
achievements measured against your dreams.” —smf

TO STUDENTS: One Goal Of School Is To Help Close
Educational Achievement Gap

Posted: 2:29 PM PDT August 26, 2004 on www.nbc

LOS ANGELES — A K-5 charter elementary school
scheduled to open in Exposition Park on Sept. 9 will be
focused on science, math and technology instruction.

The Science Center School at Exposition Boulevard and
Figueroa Street will have about 700 students and will be
on a single-track, or traditional, calendar.

The school was created through a partnership between
the Los Angeles Unified School District and the
California Science Center.

"We are very excited about the opportunities that the
Science Center School will provide," said Superintendent
Roy Romer.

"This school will give these children a head start with
their learning by providing them with in-depth work in
science education at an early age ..."

The school will focus on math, science and technology,
but will also integrate language arts, social studies, fine
arts and physical education into the curriculum.

"The Science Center School is designed to serve as a
model for improving science learning through the
integration of science content and museum-style learning
with traditional school curriculum," said Jeffrey N.
Rudolph, president of the California Science Center.

The school sits on five acres and shares space with the
Amgen Center for Science Learning in the Wallis
Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation
-- formerly the Armory.

The majority of students starting this fall come from the
surrounding South Los Angeles neighborhood.

According to the LAUSD, one goal of the school's
partners is to help close the educational achievement gap,
where some minority groups tend to underperform
academically compared to white students.

The school features 28 classrooms, a library-media center,
a cafeteria, science labs, six research centers and
administration offices. Students also will have access to
computers, three playgrounds and science lab tools.

It is expected to relieve crowding at six local elementary

The Lawrence Hall of Science at University of California,
Berkeley was consulted on curriculum choices. Connie
Smith was named principal last year.

• CAHSSE STRIKES OUT: I would be very interested in
seeing the statistical correlation between tenth graders
who do not pass the California High School Exit Exam
(CAHSEE) and eleventh grade drop-outs. — smf

THE TEST AGAIN - Stress builds for high school
students who must retake part, or all, of state's new exit

By Duke Helfand - Times Staff Writer

August 27, 2004 - Edith Nicolas is worried.

The high school junior from South Los Angeles dreams of
going to college and becoming a pediatrician. But first,
she must pass California's new high school exit exam.

Nicolas failed the math section of the test earlier this year.
As she gears up for another try next month, she feels a
giant weight on her shoulders.

"It's too much pressure," said Nicolas, who attends
Manual Arts High School near USC. "I just want to get it
over with."

Nicolas has plenty of company in the Class of 2006, the
first students to face the graduation requirement.

Nearly 118,000 incoming juniors — about a quarter of
the total — failed the math portion of the exit exam,
according to scores released last week. A similar number
haven't passed the English-language arts section. (No
records are kept on whether the same test takers are in
both groups.)

High school students ahead of these juniors got a break
when the state delayed enforcement of the exam by two
years, from 2004 to 2006, to avoid denying diplomas to
tens of thousands of students who might otherwise pass
all their high school classes.

Now that California has joined 19 other states that require
exit exams, the prospect of mass failures has prompted
schools to ramp up their preparation. Campuses such as
Manual Arts are offering tutoring, Saturday classes and
other assistance.

Students are allowed six chances to pass the test, starting
in their sophomore year. They can retake it until they
pass, including once in the year after they finish 12th

"Right now we need to get as many kids through as we
can," said Manual Arts Principal Edward Robillard.
"We're going to do whatever we can to help."

Robillard and others added that students who don't pass
can later enroll in the campus' adult school, where they
will have unlimited chances to take the test.

Fearing the test will keep them from graduating in two
years, some anxious 11th-graders are grousing about the
new hurdle in front of them.

"It's not fair if kids are passing all their classes and they
can't graduate because they have failed the test," said
Manual Arts junior Alex Alcaraz, 16, who has to retake
the math section.

In California, education leaders and school administrators
are especially worried about high failure rates among
minority students who attend crowded schools such as
Manual Arts, a 4,000-student campus that operates on
three schedules that slash 17 days of instruction off the
school year. About 99% of Manual Arts students are
African American or Latino and about 90% have family
incomes low enough to qualify for free or discounted

The state's first batch of exit exam results showed that
74% of California's incoming 11th-graders passed the
math section of the test and 75% passed the
English-language arts section.

But just 54% of African Americans and 61% of Latinos
passed the math portion. Only 62% of both groups passed
the English part.

By contrast, 91% of Asians and 87% of whites passed the
math portion, and the two groups did about as well in

Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent of public
instruction, said the lower African American and Latino
passing rates were cause for concern.

"These results don't point out that the children are failing.
They point out that the system is failing the children,"
O'Connell said. "Are we providing the necessary tools and
resources to ensure that our students are able to

Some Manual Arts students answer no.

Junior Adriana de la Rosa, who grew up in Guatemala
and struggles with English, said she would benefit from
attention to fundamentals — such as vocabulary
development and reading comprehension — rather than
from reading "The Odyssey" in her English class.

"That's why I'm taking the classes on Saturday because I
think I need more help with my English," she said.

The exam, which is offered throughout the year, is
pegged to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade standards in
math, including Algebra I, and to material through 10th
grade in English. To pass, students need to answer only
60% of the English questions correctly, and 55% of the
math questions.

State education officials last year shortened the test, from
nine hours spread over three days to about 6 1/2 hours
over two days; they eliminated one of two required essays
and reduced the number of multiple-choice English

Manual Arts teachers and administrators said they were
doing all they could to make sure their students were
prepared. Among other things, teachers say they closely
follow the state's academic content standards on which
the test is based. And school counselors met last month
with incoming juniors who failed one or both parts of the
test, recruiting the students for the Saturday classes.

Administrators sweetened the deal by raffling off prizes
during the Saturday sessions, including movie tickets,
Target gift cards, Best Buy gift certificates and a
PlayStation game. The school newspaper, the Toiler
Times, recently featured an article about the weekend

Los Angeles schools Supt. Roy Romer said his district's
high schools were trying new approaches to better
prepare students for the exit exam.

For example, he said that ninth-grade teachers are now
using instruction guides that cover the tested standards,
and are assessing students regularly to make sure they are

"My attitude is that we have a responsibility to get
everyone through the test," Romer said.

Los Angeles' high schools generally posted lower passing
rates than high schools statewide on the latest exit exam.
At Manual Arts, for example, 39% passed the math
section and 53% passed English.

Some Manual Arts teachers and counselors say too many
students are not focusing on the test or its possible
consequences, knowing they have two years to deal with

"I tell them, 'This is a serious test and you have to pass,' "
said counselor Marie Ann de Leon, who proctors the
exam. "Some students don't take it seriously and just start
bubbling [answers]."

Some students are taking it seriously.

"I think it's important to pass it, to see if you've been
learning for the last [four] years," said junior Julio Sosa,
who failed the math section and now gets after-school
algebra tutoring twice a week. "I think I'll pass it this

With her hopes for medical school, Nicolas is eager to
improve her algebra skills and is signing up for Saturday
classes. But she has an additional motivation to pass the
exam on the second try next month. Her younger sister is
entering ninth grade at Manual Arts this fall. Nicolas
wants to set an example.

"If I don't pass it, I won't get to go to college," she said.
"It's a big thing."

SCORES— A new study from Ball State University's
Teachers College says that requiring a high school
graduation exam could result in lower SAT scores.

The study, conducted by Greg Marchant and Sharon
Paulson, professors of educational psychology, examined
more than a million test takers and every state's average
SAT score. Their findings were presented at the biennial
meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence.

The results showed that the average score in states with
high school graduation exam requirements was 34 points
lower on the combined verbal and quantitative
components of the SAT than average scores of states
without exit exams.

"The results are surprising, considering the general notion
of increased accountability leads to increased
achievement," Marchant said. "For college-bound
students, attending school in a state requiring an exit
exam may put them at a disadvantage."

Currently 20 states have mandatory exams: Alabama,
Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New
Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Five more states will be phasing them in during the next
five years: Arizona, California, Idaho, Utah and

A possible explanation for the findings can be found in the
nature of high school exit exams, the SAT and differences
in instructional practice. Whereas most exit exams are
achievement tests over specific standards or content
knowledge, the SAT is a verbal and quantitative test of
reasoning that predicts college success, not an
achievement test of any specific curriculum.

"Previous research suggests pressure to 'teach to the test'
leads teachers to focus on specific content rather than
innovative practices designed to stimulate critical-thinking
skills," Marchant said.

High school exit exams have come under scrutiny from
the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Education Policy
as well. In August, the center reported that most exit
exams were not helpful in predicting college success.

"Our study takes it a step further; not only are the tests
not helpful for determining success, but they might
actually be detrimental," Marchant said. "When standards
that are designed to guide instruction become the focus of
high-stakes testing, content and practice can be narrowed
in ways that are counterproductive to the overall success
of students."

The researchers included demographic characteristics in
all of their analyses. Some interesting statistics include:
• White students scored 13 points higher on SATs if they
were not required to take an exit exam.
• Black students scored an average of eight points lower
in states requiring exit exams.
• Black students in the top 10 percent of their class and
from families with higher incomes averaged 42 points
lower in states with a required exit exam.

There is nothing new about exit exams! Check out this 1895 8th Grade Exit Exam from Salina, KS. Could you pass it? Could Alan Greenspan?

• Do you think this could have all been avoided if there
wasn’t such an adversarial, “Us vs. Them” relationship
between the District and charter school operators? [see:

Maybe the State Board of Ed. or the County Office of
Ed. - rather than the LAUSD Board - should be the charter grantor and overseeer. —smf

FIRST DAY — by Jennifer Radcliffe - Staff Writer

Monday, August 23, 2004 - WOODLAND HILLS -- The
Los Angeles Unified School District board today will
consider revoking the charter of a startup school that
used a questionable enrollment policy to sign up 355
students -- 70 more than it is authorized to teach.

Just two weeks before Ivy Academia is set to open,
parents and school operators are frantic about the board's
decision, which at the least is likely to require the school
to carry out a new enrollment process.

LAUSD leaders say there have been too many
unanswered questions about the school, whose charter
they reluctantly granted six months ago.

"They seem to want to break all the few rules," school
board member Jon Lauritzen said. "They don't seem to
want to comply with their own charter, which is kind of
ridiculous. ... They wrote the charter, and we approved it
as written."

LAUSD officials said the school not only allowed an
additional 70 students to enroll, but also did not hold a
lottery for any openings, which is required by state law.
The school also added classes for children in first through
third grades and in seventh grade after its operators said it
would teach just kindergarten and fourth through sixth

Some board members also have separate concerns about
the school's ethnic makeup and its ties to a private school,
Academy Just For Kids, that the owners also run.

But operators of Ivy, at 6051 De Soto Ave., dismiss the
concerns, saying that they did not break any rules and that
their charter allows for expansion of the school.

Ivy Academia's charter says operators "intend" to open
with 285 students but expand to 915 students by 2011.
The pace of the growth is not detailed in the actual
charter, said Eugene Selivanov, the school's executive

"They interpret 'intend' to mean promise. That's never
been the case," he said. "They never gave us anything that
said, this is exactly the way you do it. So we just did it the
best way we knew."

Selivanov said it would be disastrous if the school's
charter were revoked or if Ivy Academia were required to
hold a lottery on such short notice.

"Let's not punish the kids for this," he said. "Just imagine
what's going to happen with holding another lottery. It's a
disruptive process."

Ivy Academia parents, who have been encouraged by
Selivanov to flood the district with calls and e-mails, are
distraught over today's vote. Most have already
purchased the school's uniform, and some have already
given up their children's spots at other schools.

"These are our tax dollars, our children, and how they are
educated should be our choice, not the choice of some
corporate paper pusher," Hector and Olga Gonzalez of
Reseda wrote in a joint letter to the administration and
school board.

Calling themselves "enraged that they are allowed to pull
the rug from under us," the couple further wrote,
"LAUSD feels threatened by alternative schools because
it is no secret that LAUSD provided substandard

Despite continuous tension between Los Angeles Unified
and its 50 charter schools, the district has revoked only
one charter since charter schools were founded in
California in 1992. That campus was Edutrain Charter
School, closed in 1994 for mismanagement.

Concerns about Ivy have been growing since May,
LAUSD officials said. They say they have had a hard time
getting information from Ivy operators and have received
complaints about the way children were enrolled.

A total of 850 students applied, which should have
triggered a lottery selection, LAUSD officials said.
Instead, they said the school operators held three separate
orientation meetings. All who attended the first meeting
were accepted, but only a portion of those who attended
the second and third meetings were enrolled.

"It suggests to us that there may have been some
preference given to people who attended the first
orientation," said Jean Brown, assistant superintendent
for charter schools in the LAUSD.

District officials worry that those at the first meetingcould
have been students from Just for Kids, a private preschool
co-owned and operated by Selivanov. School officials
deny that anyone received preference and said that just 10
percent of Ivy Academia students are former Just for Kids

Board member David Tokofsky, who also works as a
charter school consultant, said he has grave concerns
about allegations the school did not conduct a lottery.
Lotteries are the only device that keep charter schools
from handpicking their students, he said.

"My mind is open to hear what arguments they have to be
an exception to every other charter school in the state,"
he said.

CONDUCT LOTTERY — by Jennifer Radcliffe

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - The Los Angeles Unified
School District reached a last-minute deal Tuesday with
Ivy Academia that will allow the start-up school to keep
its charter, but requires the campus to hold a new
enrollment lottery less than two weeks before school

Despite complaints that Ivy Academia may have
handpicked its inaugural student body, LAUSD officials
decided Tuesday not to revoke the school's charter.

Instead, school and district officials will meet today to
work out details of a new enrollment lottery, a
requirement when charter schools have more applicants
than seats.

Ivy Academia leaders said they regret the chaos that they
have caused. Many students have already purchased
uniforms and given up their spots at other schools, and
they are counting on attending Ivy when school starts
Sept. 7.

"This is hurting kids. This is hurting families. It's a shame.
I'm sorry for whatever we did, but we have to think of the
kids," said Christina Gordon, Ivy Academia assistant

Ivy Academia, a new Warner Center campus ready to
focus on entrepreneurial skills, came under fire after
parents complained about questionable methods used to
select 355 elementary students -- 70 more students than
the legally-binding charter with Los Angeles Unified

Operators of the school at 6051 De Soto Avenue enrolled
all of the children who attended an initial orientation
meeting, but only a portion of those who attended two
other sessions.

Ivy Academia officials said part of the reason for that
strategy was to make sure the school is ethnically diverse,
which is encouraged under the charter.

"Ivy would have appreciated assistance from the district
with the lottery process, as it appears that Ivy's
understanding of proper lottery procedure may have been
inconsistent with legal and charter provisions," Eugene
Selivanov, the Ivy Academia executive director, said in a
written statement.

But LAUSD officials said open access to the school is
more important than the racial makeup.

"When you're not guaranteeing access and equity for all
children, we're not doing our job," said Jean Brown,
assistant superintendent of instructional services. "The
process they used to do the lottery basically put families
who got the information later at a disadvantage."

Ivy Academia operators will now contact current
students, as well as the more than 200 families on a
waiting list, to participate in a public, random drawing.

• The state law that sets school board salaries at $24,000.
a year makes sense for most California school districts,
which oversee half a dozen elementary schools and a high
school or two. Two meetings a month – and $1000. a
meeting – might seem downright extravagant.

Of course, if the publicÂ’s perception of how good a job
the LAUSD Board was doing was better, it might be
easier to get them a raise! —smf

• Serving on the L.A. Board of Education takes many
hours, but pay is low. Some members must have other

By Cara Mia DiMassa - Times Staff Writer

August 29, 2004 - As a Los Angeles school board
member, Mike Lansing serves 900,000 students and helps
administer a budget of $6.8 billion. That's twice the
number of people a state assemblyman represents, and
more money than the gross domestic product of Ethiopia.

But technically, being a board member is part-time duty.
It pays $24,000 a year. So Lansing juggles his day job —
directing two Boys & Girls clubs — with his other day
job, serving on the Los Angeles Board of Education.

Trustee David Tokofsky and board President Jose Huizar
understand his dilemma. The four other trustees are
retired or wealthy. Tokofsky, Huizar and Lansing are not.

But like their colleagues, the three sit through lengthy
board meetings, make small-talk with parents during
campus visits and perhaps scale playground equipment
with kindergartners. They hand out diplomas, cut ribbons
and break bread now and then with cafeteria workers.

This is not to suggest the role of school trustee is an
entirely altruistic endeavor. Trustees also devote a
significant amount of time to fundraising, meet-and-greets
and otherwise getting reelected.

"They are still politicians," said Jaime A. Regalado,
director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of
Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. And being on the board
can lead to other elected offices.

By comparison, Los Angeles City Council members make
about $130,000 a year and administer a budget that is less
than half that of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Los Angeles can be an expensive place to live, and even
with spouses working, some past school board members
have had to take out second mortgages on their homes to
make ends meet.

All of which raises a question about the job status of
school trustees: Which part is the part-time part?

As Lansing, Tokofsky and Huizar have discovered, being
a school board member and a part of the workforce
means finding an employer who is more than
accommodating and a job, preferably with above-average
pay, that doesn't present too many conflicts of interest.

During his packed days, Lansing pingpongs along the
24-mile route from board headquarters downtown to the
Boys & Girls clubs he oversees in Wilmington and San
Pedro, where a cluttered desk dominated by a computer
screen ringed by sticky notes awaits him.

A recent Tuesday was typical. Lansing began at 8:30 a.m.
at the San Pedro club, discussing plans for a new
gymnasium. By 10:30, he was in a closed-session school
board meeting downtown. A regular board meeting began
around 2. In between, he squeezed in a conference with
his district staff and met with schools Supt. Roy Romer.

"All these things blend in, meld in together," he said. "I'm
just trying to remember — who am I talking to again? It
gets nuts, but it flows together pretty good."

There are days when Lansing's chief of staff, Broc
Coward, offers to join him in the car for the trips between
San Pedro and downtown L.A. "I think about how to be
the body in the car to get him in the carpool lane, because
it's so bad," Coward said.

Lansing can't miss many meetings because state laws
mandate that school board members approve every
district contract worth more than $25,000, and every
personnel change. Because L.A. Unified includes more
than 950 K-12, adult and early education schools and has
embarked on a $14-billion program to build 160 schools,
the number of decisions to be made is staggering.

Then there are the meetings — committee meetings,
meetings with district staff, meetings with Romer. And, of
course, official meetings of the full board, which are
scheduled every two weeks but often occur weekly.
These meetings, which are televised, begin near noon and
stretch toward midnight with an alarming frequency.

The briefing books prepared for each board meeting are
usually 3 inches thick, and often come in multiples.
Tokofsky's staff routinely ferries documents to his car in a
shopping cart.

Some former and current members say that the district
needs to consider ways to limit the trustees' involvement
in the day-to-day running of the school system. Others
say that the district should consider lobbying for charter
reform to make theirs into full-time jobs.

Board members will admit they receive some perks — a
car allowance for starters, as well as a budget for an
office staff. But still, most worry that added in with the
very nature of the job — long hours, low pay and often
divisive elections — the part-time status limits who may
want to be a member of the school board.

"Who do we expect to run for these positions?" asked
Huizar, the board president, who is also an attorney.
Huizar, 35, and his wife, Richelle Rios, the assistant
director of L.A.'s Commission for Children, Youth and
Their Families, have one young daughter, with another on
the way.

"Not too many people are willing to make that sacrifice,"
he said.

The idea of a part-time school board, said Kevin Starr,
California's state librarian emeritus, is a holdover from the
Progressive Era, when Americans believed that education
should be exempt from politics. The Progressives made
panels such as school boards and port authorities
part-time to "buffer these entities from day-to-day
politics," Starr said.

Such a buffer doesn't exist today.

Unlike other elections, there are no campaign finance
limits on school board races. And in L.A. Unified,
elections mean big money. For example, United Teachers
Los Angeles gave $1.4 million to four candidates in the
last school board election; the rival Coalition for Kids
gave $1.1 million to four candidates as well.

This all calls for politicking. "They have to have the time
to run campaigns," Regalado, the government expert, said
of trustees. "That also whittles away at your part-time

The tension between part-time status and full-time work
presents a fundamental contradiction, Starr said, because
the Los Angeles school board, like most others, is elected
rather than appointed, as in New York.

And the fact that board members must work means that
their other jobs become political fodder as well. "In our
interconnected society, it's theoretically impossible for
anyone to be on the Los Angeles Board of Education and
be working for a living and not have multiple conflicts,"
Starr said.

Indeed, Tokofsky, 44, was a teacher at Marshall High
School in Los Angeles when he first won election to the
board in 1995. But because board members are not
allowed to work directly for the district, he had to give up
that position, which paid about $65,000 a year. Some
teachers who began in the district at the same time as
Tokofsky are now making $85,000 a year.

Since then, Tokofsky has hop-scotched around —
consulting for foundations and unions. Now, Tokofsky —
whose wife, Tara Neuwirth, runs the English as a second
language division of UCLA Extension — works as a
master teacher for Green Dot Public Schools, a charter
company that partly operates within L.A. Unified. He
helps to train and mentor young teachers and aids in
curriculum development.

Other board members face similar problems.

"It's hard to find a job that does no business with the
school district," said former board President Caprice
Young, who quit her job at IBM after taking office
because the L.A. school district had contracts with her
company. "I couldn't be a checker at Staples; I couldn't
work for Pizza Hut. Everybody does something with the
school district."

Some members recuse themselves from certain board
discussions and decisions — Tokofsky when Green Dot is
involved, Lansing when any one of the more than two
dozen Southern California Boys & Girls clubs is doing
business with the district.

Huizar resigned from a corporate law firm when elected
in 1999 because the company did a sizable amount of
business with the district. He then worked as a deputy
city attorney in Los Angeles — a job that brought its own
occasional conflicts — before joining a Pasadena law firm
last year.

Lansing, a widower, said that he may be too busy to run
for reelection when his four-year term is up in 2007.

"I have quite a bit of responsibility here," Lansing, 48,
said of his job at the Boys & Girls clubs. "And I've got to
make sure I can do all of my fundraising and
administrative duties here. That takes a lot of time. So, it
will be tough for me to consider running again, given that

The result: board members multi-task like mad.

Tokofsky, the father of two young girls, has developed
his own rituals. Almost every night, after he and his wife
put their daughters to bed, he goes out for what he calls
"8:45s" — evening meetings with constituents and others
seeking his ear. He heads out to a local Eagle Rock eatery
— he's partial to Camilo's, Casa Bianca and Swork —
where, as he describes it, he "holds court" for several

The fluid schedule by which Huizar, as board president,
must abide requires regularly interrupting family and
personal time.

Huizar's school board work, said his chief of staff,
Monica Garcia, "is the dominating force in his life because
of the magnitude of it. He asks for tolerance and support
of those around him so he can do this."

On recent vacations, Huizar was consistently interrupted
by phone calls about board business. Garcia woke him up
in Tokyo at 3 a.m. to answer questions from a reporter.

Once, when the Huizar family arrived back in Los
Angeles from Mexico, Garcia picked up the family at the
airport and drove him to the office for a 9 p.m. staff
meeting. It lasted past midnight.

"Every relationship, every marriage has its challenges,"
said Rios, Huizar's wife. "We just tend to have more."

As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ponders whether to call
a special election next year to ask voters to convert the
Legislature to part-time status, the issues confronted by
L.A. school board members may be helpful.

The pay, said former board member Mark Slavkin, "is
part of a syndrome of devaluing public serviceÂ…. That's a
little worrisome. We want it both ways. We want brilliant
people solving all the problems, but we don't want to pay
people decently."

Over the next year, Huizar hopes to tackle issues of
school board governance and examine ways that board
members can streamline their schedule — or, perhaps,
lobby for more pay.

It's too soon to know whether they'll have the time to get
to it.


>>>NOTE>>> A recent changeover in the mail servers in
LAUSD has apparently blocked 4LAKids being delivered
to some e-mail addresses ending in and perhaps for the past few weeks or so. The undelivered
messages donÂ’t bounce, they just vanish thereÂ’s no
way to track who is and who isnÂ’t getting what!

If you receive this issue and have one of those e-mail
addresses - or even - and you read this far
would you please just send me a reply with “Gotcha” in
the subject line?

The LAUSD IT folks are working on this. Thank you. —smf

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Tuesday Aug 31, 2004

Jefferson New Primary Center #6
Please join us to celebrate the ribbon-cutting of your new community school!
Ceremony will begin at 1 p.m.
Jefferson New Primary Center #6
3601 S. Maple Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90011

East Los Angeles High School AND Central Region Elementary School #19
CEQA Scoping and Design Meeting
The purpose of this meeting is to inform and obtain input from the community on the types of issues to be considered in a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This report evaluates the potential impacts that school projects may have on the surrounding environment.
Also at this meeting, the preliminary schematic designs for the new school will be presented to the community for feedback.
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Belvedere Middle School
312 N. Record Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90063

South Region Elementary School #2
Phase II Site Selection Update
Local District 7
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.
Miramonte Elementary School
1400 E. 68th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Central Region Elementary School #15
Phase II Presentation of Recommended Preferred Site
Local District 4
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.
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Magnolia Elementary School Auditorium
1626 S. Orchard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Valley Region Elementary School #8
Phase II Presentation of Recommended Preferred Site
Local District 2
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.
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Gridley Elementary School
1907 Eighth Street
San Fernando, CA 91340

Phone: 212.241.4700
Phone: 213.633.7616


4LAKids Book Club for August & September—THE HUMAN SIDE OF SCHOOL CHANGE: Reform, Resistance and the Real-Life Problems of Innovation—by Robert Evans
Publisher: Jossey-Bass Paperback: 336 pages ISBN: 0787956112

This book was pressed into my hands by a senior
educator, high in the DistrictÂ’s hierarchy.

We were wary of each other. She undoubtedly viewed me
as a wild eyed parent activist — intent on upsetting the
apple cart. I am a proponent of the bottom-up reforms
espoused by William Ouchi in “Making Schools Work”; a
would-be empowerer of parents and school site

I viewed her as the protector of the status-quo of slow,
steady improvement as measured by test scores — and
the great top-down centrally-driven bureaucracy that is

WeÂ’d both be right. I have no respect whatsoever for
apple carts; I come from the film industry and apple carts
are always the first to be smashed in the big chase scene!
I press Bill OuchiÂ’s book into as many hands as I can. She
and I discussed at length the LEARN reforms at LAUSD,
a too-brief wrinkle-in-time where principals and parents
were empowered ...until the interest waned and the
political will and money ran out. Until other agendas
took hold. Time passed LEARN by before it had a chance
to work or fail.

I expected EvansÂ’ book to be an apologia for things as
they are, instead I found a truly enlightening vision of
where we are in public education and just how difficult
the very necessary change will be. I returned the borowed
copy with many thanks and bought my own.

Evans is a psychologist - and his analysis is of the
teaching profession and the business of public education.
Imagine youÂ’re a teacher. Imagine you are faced with the
challenges of the classroom, the politics of the schoolsite
and the dynamics of the administration, children, parents
and school district. Now mix in the politicians – right, left
and center – and activists, bureaucrats and theorists. All
call for every flavor of reform imaginable ...and embrace a
new one with every lunar cycle! Even if youÂ’re a good
teacher every successful practice you have and every
decision you make is second-guessed and compared to a
rubric that measures success – or lack thereof – in a new
way every day. And all the while your friends from
college are making three times more money than you!

Evans analyzes management styles and models of reform
and suggests strategies for building a framework of
cooperation between leaders of change and the people
they depend upon to implement it. He is no fan of
top-down central-control — but he truly abhors
‘change-of-the-month-club’ reform! Evans does not tell
us to be slow in school reform, only to be thoughtful,
thorough and respectful of the true instruments of change:
Those in the classroom working with young minds.

Two thumbs-up, one for Ouchi and another for Evans!


• Dr. Robert Evans is a clinical and organizational
psychologist and director of the Human Relations Service
in Wellesley, Mass. A former high school and preschool
teacher, he has consulted to hundreds of schools and
districts throughout America and around the world and
has worked extensively with teachers, administrators,
school boards, and state education officials.

• Editorial Reviews:
"A unique, superb, and penetrating analysis of the human
side of educational change. Evans knows the human
realities of change and portrays them vividly in both
individual and organizational terms. His discussion of
hope and realism in the final chapter is a gem." —Michael
Fullan, dean, Faculty of Education, University of Toronto

"Evans certainly understands what gets in the way of real
school change and what the simple, key elements are that
can make it happen. No board member, superintendent, or
school principal should make one more decision or host
one more meeting without reading this book." —Judy
Cunningham, principal, South Lake Middle School,
Irvine, Calif.

"Evans has written a realistic yet hopeful book that sets a
new standard for providing the leadership needed to
implement school improvements. An engaging and
much-needed update of the critical, but often overlooked,
human side of change." —Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Lillian
Radford Professor of Education and senior fellow, Center
for Educational Leadership, Trinity University

"School leaders will find this book realistic about the
difficulties of change, rich in practical advice about school
improvement, and useful in showing how to transcend the
limits of their own experience to practice effective
leadership." —Thomas W. Payzant, superintendent,
Boston Public Schools

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 of 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 three 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.
 Â• THE 4LAKids ARCHIVE - This and past Issues are available with interactive feedback at

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