Sunday, September 19, 2004

I'll 'ave 'is Spam. I luv it!

8-Article Newsletter Template
4LAKids: Sunday, September 19, 2004
In This Issue:
 •  Daily News: AUTHORITIES BACK AWAY FROM PLEDGE - Goal of making the LAUSD a top district runs into pitfalls
 •  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?

Featured Links:
 •  MAKING SCHOOLS WORK: Get the Book @
 •  FIVE CENTS MAKES SENSE FOR EDUCATION- Target 5 cents from every federal tax dollar for Education
Welcome back to LAUSD staff and retirees who have not
been receiving 4LAKids for the past few months ...about 25% of our subscriber base! For those of you who thought 4LAKids had ceased publication for some reason: Think again ...or: Dream on!
4LAKids has been here all along ...tilting @ windmills!

LAUSD e-mail servers with e-mail addresses ending with, and have
automatically been blocking 4LAKids as “spam” –
apparently since LAUSD changed its e-mail software
early last year. Last February the (the
Facilities Division e-mail server) began “bouncing”
4LAKids - sending it back undelivered. However the and servers (handing the senior
staff, administration and educational end) simply deleted
4LAKids - the messages vanished into the ether and no
one - sender or addressee - knew the better!

I truly donÂ’t believe this was a plot to quash the First
Amendment and silence 4LAKids and as much as it was
some overaggressive anti-spam software programming. I
certainly understand that the District - which assigns
e-mail accounts to students as well as teachers and
employees - must be vigilant against e-mail abuse.
However, sometimes people have to monitor the software
and the hardware ...and once the good people in
LAUSDÂ’s Information Technology Department became
involved this problem sorted itself out quickly. Thank

• If you missed past issues of 4LAKids you can check
them out at
• And if you agree with the software that 4LAKids IS
SPAM you can delete yourself from the mailing list
once-and-for- all by hitting the UNSUBSCRIBE button
at the end of this and every issue of 4LAKids.
• One person’s spam is another person’s journalism: In
the immor(t)al words of Third Monty Python Viking from
the Left : “I’ll ‘ave ‘is spam! I luv it!!!” —smf

Past Issues

• “Don’t it always seem to be that you don’t know what
you’ve got ‘till it’s gone?”

This is another of those stealth budget cuts that no one
noticed until the unintended consequences bit them on the
butt. And isnÂ’t it interesting that the money to restore
unpopular cuts can always be found?

Isn’t it interesting that there is a “surplus” at all — let
alone $140 million left over – after last year’s
cut-to-the-bone budget? ThatÂ’s $187 for every child in
the District!

Maybe ‘interesting’ is too kind a word!

Hopefully the District will also ‘find’ the after school
program money for “Professional Development/Early
Dismissal” Tuesdays ....otherwise children will STILL be
unsupervised after school! —smf


By Jennifer Radcliffe - Staff Writer

Prompted by a deluge of phone calls from angry parents
and community leaders, Los Angeles Unified School
District officials agreed on Friday to restore an hour of
after-school care that had been cut to save money.

The Daily News reported Tuesday that the district had
given parents just two days' notice that it was shortening
the hours of its Beyond the Bell after-school program in
order to save about $3 million.

After being flooded by phone calls protesting the change,
officials realized that the shortened hours -- children had
to be picked up by 5 p.m. rather than 6 p.m. -- put some
of the 50,000 students who use the program in danger of
being left unsupervised.

"Whether it's one kid or 100, you can't just put kids out
on the street," said John Liechty, associate superintendent
of Beyond the Bell programs.

The hour should be reinstated by the end of September,
officials said.

"We are pleased to be able to return to our previous
schedule," Superintendent Roy Romer said in a statement.
"We fully understand that we must accommodate the
needs of parents in their very demanding time schedules."

School board member Jon Lauritzen said he was surprised
by the number of calls and e-mails his office received from
parents who were upset by both the shortened hours and
last-minute notice.

"I didn't realize just how many people were impacted by

The LAUSD will use about $2 million in surplus Title 1
federal funding -- provided to help educate economically
disadvantaged students -- to restore the hour at 540
eligible elementary and middle schools. Grant money will
pay to add back the hour at 46 other schools.

Because federal money is being added to the mix, the
LAUSD will have to add an academic component to what
had previously been a supervised play program.

"We will add a homework assistance program," Liechty
said. "We'll do some reading and literacy programs."

While there isn't enough money to provide individualized
tutoring, this will at least provide students a quiet, well-lit
place to study, he said.

The Title 1 money will be allocated from the
approximately $140 million in funds carried over from last
year. Some criticized the district for not allocating all the
money last year.

"We were all flabbergasted" by the high ending balance,
Lauritzen said. "It was a little disconcerting, to say the

Board and district officials said Friday that they are
looking into the substantial carry-over, which Lauritzen
said he'd like to use to hire more teachers and counselors
for impoverished schools.

Valerio Street School Principal Judy Franks said she's
thrilled that the district freed up money to restore the
extra after-school hour. Working parents at her school
needed the after-school care so much that Franks opted to
use about $9,000 of the campus budget to keep the
previous Beyond the Bell schedule in place.

"I'm delighted. I knew, in my community, that 5 p.m. was
just not doable," she said. "I'll be looking forward to
getting my money back."

Daily News: AUTHORITIES BACK AWAY FROM PLEDGE - Goal of making the LAUSD a top district runs into pitfalls
By Jennifer Radcliffe - Staff Writer

Thursday, September 16, 2004 -

Los Angeles Unified School District officials have backed
down from a highly publicized pledge to become one of
the nation's top urban districts, saying it's too difficult to
compare themselves with their peers.

After announcing the goal to nearly 2,000 campus leaders
at last month's State of the District meeting, board
members now say trying to develop a relevant ranking
would distract from the district's basic problems: high
dropout rates and wide achievement gaps.

"It was a great sound bite, but ... we really need to focus
on our own challenges here," said Marlene Canter, the
board's vice president.

But board members insist they will set high-reaching
goals as they adopt a mission statement and set specific
performance targets by the end of the year. They expect
to present their ideas to the public at town hall meetings
in November.

"It's an absolutely basic step for the board to have a
vision," board President Jose Huizar said. "The process
itself is just as important as the product."

In an editorial published in the Daily News on July 7,
Huizar said the LAUSD hoped to develop a plan that
would enable its students to perform among the top 10
percent of those in other urban districts. Both he and
Superintendent Roy Romer reiterated the goal at a State
of the District address in late August.

While teachers and principals welcomed the challenge, the
board started to realize the pitfalls of the "top 10 percent"
goal in discussions this month.

"They sort of jumped the gun. They got a little excited,"
Canter said of Huizar and Romer's announcement.

While the board still wants high goals, they've found it's
nearly impossible to rank school districts, officials said.

"There's certainly no noncontroversial ranking of districts
that's out there," said Jon Fullerton, vice president of
strategy, evaluation, research and policy for the Urban
Education Partnership, an independent, not-for-profit

The LAUSD could use the National Assessment of
Educational Progress assessment test, but it's not aligned
with California standards, he said. Results of the SAT
college entrance exam and Advanced Placement tests also
aren't good measures.

Board member David Tokofsky said he supports the
board putting in the work to develop a national standard
for comparison.

"It may be as hard as comparing (baseball) teams from the
American League and the National League, but in the
end, they're going to play in the World Series -- just like
the children of L.A. will have to compete in the big league
of work with the children of New York and Philadelphia."

George Clowes, a senior fellow with the nonprofit
Heartland Institute, said the debate over measures is a
distraction. School districts know the proven techniques,
including offering choices such as vouchers and charter
schools, that improve the quality of education.

"Talk is cheap and I guess most elected officials like to
say things that sound good," he said.

All politics are local and 4LAKids is about the most local
of politics. It was the politics of the elementary school
that got me engaged - the dynamic of parents, kids,
teachers and community working on a common mission:
The education of the neighborhoodÂ’s children. My child,
your child. The children of the village.

I have since been drawn in deeper than that ...and further
afield; into the deep, dark, downtown world of the school
district headquarters, the superintendent and the board of
ed. Into multi-billion dollar bond issues and
six-hundred-million-dollar cost overruns; into policy and
strategic execution plans and debates over standardized
testing. But always, ALWAYS itÂ’s about a local school -
that place where oneÂ’s own child and the children one
knows is supposed to be getting an education — that
takes center stage.

But things happen – good things and bad things – in other
arenas that effect our local schools. Decisions in
Sacramento and Washington drive what happens or
doesnÂ’t happen in our neighborhood schools; decisions in
other places can-and-do change test scores! And to
ignore them - or pretend that they are beyond our control
- is a perilous course.

No Child Left Behind, the Bush AdministrationÂ’s federal
education reform plan is an unmitigated disaster. It is not
a disaster because itÂ’s a poor idea or bad policy; itÂ’s a
disaster because it teeters in the nether-world between
unfunded-and-underfunded; between bait and switch. ItÂ’s
all stick and no carrot – a cruel hoax – not on the
taxpayer (because a great deal of our taxes ARENÂ’T
being spent on it!) but on the school children of this
nation (the ones who will ultimately pay the bill for all the
stuff the government IS getting ...but putting on the old
credit card!).

It makes a promise: “No Child Left Behind” that is truly
laudable; it MUST be good, it feels good just to say it!
NCLB sets important goals and high priorities. There was
an advertising slogan a while back that says it all: “You
get what you pay for” ...and the Bush Administration has
been consistently reducing itÂ’s investment in NCLB ever
since it enacted the legislation. This year itÂ’s cut $9.4
billion further. In addition entire plans for arts education,
parents and pre-school childrenÂ’s literacy and dropout
prevention are eliminated!

Trapped on a desert island with George W. Bush and
John F. Kerry I’d probably vote ‘em both off the island!
Both would be charming company IÂ’m sure, but IÂ’m tired
of the war stories. The future is not about Vietnam or
Iraq — those both are already history!

The future is about the kid who canÂ’t read and the teacher
who canÂ’t help. The future is about opportunity and hope.
The future is the dividend our children earn by our
investing in them now. They donÂ’t pay us back, they pay
THEIR kids back! We need to invest money in buildings
and textbooks and teachers NOW ...and not in that order!
We need to invest our human capital and our sweat
equity. We need to think hard and come up with good
ideas — and then we need to work hard to make them

Voting ‘em both off the island isn’t an option, so I say for
for this episode we form an alliance and vote W off.

Sorry George, the tribe has spoken! —smf


— Headline in Today’s LA Times


T W O • W A Y S • Y O U • C A N • H E L P:


TODAY – Sunday, September 19 — 3-6 PM
A Fundraiser Honoring Mary Rose Ortega ,2004 Winner
of the Ted Bass Award Recognizing an Outstanding
Teacher in Politics
Galleria Mundo
4022 Figueroa
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Special Guests include:
Congressman Xavier Becerra
Los Angeles Community College Board Trustee, Mona
LAUSD School Board Member, David Tokofsky
UTLA President, John Perez
Kevin De Leon
Candidate for Judge, Donna Groman

Live entertainment by
Suggested Donation: $25
Make Checks Payable to "Northeast Democratic HQ

The Bush administration has tried desperately to build the
appearance of progress on public education. But the
reality is that the White House and Congress continue to
shortchange our schools -- cutting billions of dollars
promised to our kids while burdening local districts with
new costs and new bureaucracy. And now, instead of
coming to the rescue of desperate school districts, a
memo leaked from the president's budget office reveals
Bush plans for even deeper cuts in nearly every education
It is time to hold Washington's feet to the fire, time to end
the pattern of broken promises and get serious about our
Next week, on Wednesday September 22nd,
will join more than 40 groups in co-hosting house parties
across the nation. The goal is to highlight the failures of
our national leadership on public education, and to begin
to build solutions. More than 2000 house parties are
already planned. With your help we will build the largest
national mobilization for public schools ever.
Despite his lip service, President Bush is NOT taking the
action our schools need. Washington is handing out tax
breaks to millionaires while forcing school districts to lay
off teachers. And while our tax dollars fund school
construction in Iraq, Congress has slashed the budget for
school construction here at home.
The facts speak for themselves:
More American children than ever are pouring
into already overcrowded schools.
Many attend their first day of school without the
preschool education so vital to learning.
America now faces the largest wave of teacher
retirements in our history, while young teachers
leave the classroom at alarming rates.
14 million children are home alone after school,
but after-school programs are the first to be cut in
the current budget crunch.
College costs are soaring, but loan and grant
programs are not keeping up.
The only way great public schools will become a REAL
priority in Washington is when teachers, parents, students
and concerned citizens join together to demand that
empty rhetoric be replaced with results. That's what
Wednesday night's house parties are all about.

Join us in this exciting movement to change America's
schools. We're growing, one living room at a time!

Sign up for the house party in your neighborhood by clicking here. Or go to

ThereÂ’s probably a notice about the PTA membership
drive at the school ....but also check to see that your child
isnÂ’t carrying too much weight. Statistically kazillions of
schoolchildren are injured each year by carrying
too-heavy backpacks!

The 15% rule (below) becomes interesting - especially as
an average history or biology textbook runs six or seven

(There is actually pending legislation in Sacramento
limiting textbook weight!) —smf

• Choose Right: The proper size backpack is 75 percent
of the length of the childÂ’s back - approximately the
distance between the shoulder blades and the waist.

• Pack Right: The maximum weight of the loaded
backpack should not exceed 15 percent of the childÂ’s
body weight. (a sixty-five pound child should carry only
9¾ lbs, a 100 pound child should carry only 15 lbs.) Pack
only what you need for the day. If the backpack forces
the wearer to lean forward to carry, itÂ’s overloaded!

• Don’t use just one shoulder strap. Use both shoulder
straps. They should be snug but not too tight.

• Make sure that pens, pencils and other sharp objects are
stored in a safe spot so they donÂ’t poke through and
injure the wearer or someone else.

• When lifting the backpack follow these procedures:
1. Face the pack.
2. Bend at the knees.
3. Using both hands, check the weight of the pack.
4. Lift with your legs. Apply one shoulder strap at a time.
Avoid slinging the pack onto your back.

And roller backpacks, though “un-kewl” and noisy in the
hallway, make tons oÂ’ sense!

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
NOTE: The public debate about the future of the
Ambassador Hotel and LAUSDÂ’s mission to site schools
at that location begins in earnest this week.

• Tuesday evening Sept 21st there will be a public briefing
at Berendo Middle School. (see below)

• Wednesday morning Sept 22nd a special committee of
the Bond Oversight Committee will hear the issue in the
LAUSD Boardroom at 10AM.

Check BOC website [] for details.

• Tuesday Sep 21, 2004
Central Los Angeles New Learning Center No. 1 aka
Ambassador Community Update Meeting

Please join us at a community meeting with School Board
President José Huizar regarding the new school project at
the Ambassador Hotel Site.

At this meeting you will learn about:
* Status of the project and timeline
* The Construction Alternative that Facilities Staff will
recommend to the LAUSD Board of Education
* Next steps in this process
* How you and the entire community needs to get

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Berendo Middle School Auditorium
1157 S. Berendo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90006

• Wednesday Sep 22, 2004
Central Los Angeles High School #11 aka Vista Hermosa
Pre-Demolition Meeting

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Plasencia Elementary School
1321 Cortez Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Oxnard Elementary School Addition Pre-Construction

6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Oxnard Elementary School
10912 Oxnard Street
North Hollywood, CA 91606

• Thursday Sep 23, 2004

East Los Angeles High School #1 Schematic Design

Please join us for a community meeting regarding the
design for East Los Angeles High School #1.

At this meeting we will:
* Review community suggestions and comments from the
previous meeting
* Present schematic design
* Collect community input on the design of the project

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Utah Street Elementary School Auditorium
255 Gabriel Garcia Marquez St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033

• Friday Sep 24, 2004
San Miguel Elementary School Playground Expansion
Ribbon-cutting Ceremony

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

Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m.

San Miguel Elementary School
9801 San Miguel Avenue
South Gate, CA 90280

*Dates and times are subject to change.
Phone: 213.241.4700
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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