Monday, September 06, 2004

Labor Day/B2S?

8-Article Newsletter Template
4LAKids: Labor Day — Sept 6, 2004
In This Issue:
 •  LA Daily News Editorial: A LONG WAY TO GO
 •  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: A Blueprint for Meaningful School Reform! Get the Book @
 •  FIVE CENTS MAKES SENSE FOR EDUCATION- Target one nickel from every federal tax dollar for Education
Labor Day traditionally means Back to School - though
school at year ‘round schools - over one-third of LAUSD
students - started on July 1st. Students on B Track are
already off! And traditional calendars schools start on
Thursday. Thursday? WhatÂ’s with that?

Last week the first “numbers crunching” on the state’s
test scores came out, required under No Child Left
Behind to inform parents BEFORE kids return to school
....though - as noted previously - kids at year 'round
schools have been in school since July 1st!

The educrats are heralding modest improvements in the
API scores – and saying the numbers aren’t as bad as the
raw data initially looked last month! But when one reads
between the lines student performance is still lagging,
middle schoolers are doing really poorly as a group - and
half of LAUSDÂ’s eighth graders arenÂ’t graduating. And it
ainÂ’t just LAUSD!

But that kind of good news was good enough to allow
Education Secretary Rod Paige (A man who many
Texans say didnÂ’t just crunch numbers when he was
School Superintendent in Houston ...he cooked the books
to guarantee student achievement!) to trumpet the
success of the woefully underfunded NCLB at the
Republican National Convention.

The only thing missing at Madison Square Garden on
Tuesday was Rod’s flight suit and the “Mission
Accomplished” banner! —smf

• About 60% of schools improved their 2003-2004
Academic Performance Index, the number used by the
state to gauge overall performance.

By Doug Smith - Times Staff Writer

August 31, 2004 - Improvements made by the state's
lowest-performing students helped push a moderate
growth in the state's public school accountability
measures, officials said today.

About 60% of schools improved their 2003-2004
Academic Performance Index, the number used by the
state to gauge overall performance.

At the same time, the percent of schools meeting the
requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act
climbed from 54% to 64%.

Despite mixed results in the test scores released in
mid-August, many schools were able to improve their
mark on the state Academic Performance because of
gains by students who scored in the lowest-performing
category last year.

State officials offered restrained praise for the growth,
which was considerably less than the prior year when
90% of schools improved their state performance.

"I am encouraged that student achievement in more than
half our schools continues to be on the rise," said state
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, in a
statement timed with the release of preliminary
calculations to determine whether schools meet the state
and federal standards.

O'Connell had expressed disappointment when the raw
scores were released in mid-August, showing very little
progress in the number of students who became proficient
in reading and math.

The numbers posted today by the state Department of
Education are the first in a series of calculations to
determine whether schools and school districts met state
and federal performance targets in this year's standardized

The new numbers are only preliminary, and do not tell
whether any school actually passed or failed all of the
accountability requirements.

The API, a number from 200 to 1,000, is an overall gauge
of each school's performance on the tests. It gives more
weight to improvements at the low end of the
performance range.

The federal law requires schools receiving anti-poverty
funds to meet fixed performance goals, depending on the
type of district. In unified districts, for example, 12% of
students must be proficient in English-language arts and
12.8% in math, with 95% of students tested.

Both federal and state law sets separate goals for
subgroups of students, defined by such criteria as
race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

The data released today includes the subgroup results for
the federal standard only. The state said it will release its
subgroup results Oct. 21.

Though more complete, however, the federal information
does not tell which schools face sanctions by failing to
meet the standard two consecutive years. That
information is due out Oct. 13.

About 4.8 million public school students in grades 2
through 11 last spring took the tests that are used to
produce the accountability measures.

The results can be seen on The Times Web site:

LA Daily News Editorial: A LONG WAY TO GO
Wednesday, September 1, 2004 - As one of the most
dynamic and vibrant cities on the planet, Los Angeles
should have a school system to match. As standardized
test scores and federal performance results released this
week show, it does not come close.

As the No Child Left Behind Act has taken effect, the Los
Angeles Unified School District has shown steady
progress in the proficiency of its students in English and
math. But there are growing signs that improvement is
getting harder to come by, with losses this year in areas
such as graduation rates and the continued poor
performance of middle schools.

The LAUSD continues to lag behind the state average, so
there's still a lot of work to do until the nation's
second-largest school district achieves Superintendent
Roy Romer's goal of becoming one of the top big-city
school systems in the country by 2010.

True, Los Angeles schools face challenges that others
don't, such as twice as many students living in poverty
and a large immigrant population. But that only means we
need to speed up the pace of reform and boldly tackle the
problems of teacher and administrator accountability and
student achievement.

As an old guy who remembers the “Golden Age of
California Education” (Don’t get me started!) there were
shop classes: “Industrial Arts” — Wood Shop, Metal
Shop, Electric Shop, Print Shop, Auto Shop, Drafting -
often these were requirements for boys in Junior and Senior High, along with “Home Economics” (Sewing and Cooking) for girls. There was even “Boy’s Foods” and some girls in
some shop classes as WomenÂ’s Lib liberated us from our
sexist misconceptions. (Early adolescence is-and-always-
has-been ritualized sexist misconception!) I remember
that our Print Shop foreperson in high school was a girl;
and that my twelfth grade girlfriend was a really
accomplished cabinetmaker. SheÂ’s now a systems analyst
for a financial services company, but in a cabinet shop she
can still give the TV woodworkers a run for their
compound miter saws!

Those days are gone. Most shop classes are now
classrooms and Home Ec rooms have become science
labs because overcrowded schools needed the space.
Without waxing poetic on the good old days (They
werenÂ’t!) those classes were great opportunities; missed
now with the campus crush and academic pressure to
point every student towards college. WeÂ’ve got to get
real: Every student must have the opportunity to go to
college ....but every student isnÂ’t going to college! We will
always need professional and amateur cabinetmakers,
electricians, cooks, sewers and auto repairpeople ...and
some young people – if auto shop isn’t an option – aren’t
going to bother to go to high school!

Do we leave them behind? —smf


By Joel Rubin - Times Staff Writer

September 6, 2004 - Standing on either side of the
gleaming Volvo S60 Turbo, the two students anxiously
awaited the judge's signal.

An amplified voice was carried through the convention
hall: "Ten, nine, eight Â… "

Nick Young, stocky and soft-spoken, glanced through his
protective eyewear at Team Volkswagen to the right and
Team Buick to the left.

"Seven, six, five Â…. "

Bill Paddock, with his greased-back hair, tattoos and
bravado, took a final inventory of the tools, manuals and
computers they would use over the next three hours to
identify and fix dozens of "bugs" riddling the lifeless car.

"Four, three, two, one."

Voices from 37 teams burst the tension. Paddock and
Young huddled one last time with their high school auto
technology teacher, Robert McCarroll.

His firm orders: "Stay calm."

If there had been any doubt, qualifying for a spot at the
National Automotive Technology Competition in New
York City confirmed for Paddock and Young that their
futures are in automobiles. More interested in wheel
alignment than SAT vocabulary, they are two of the more
than 1 million American high school graduates who will
not attend college this fall.

Unlike many other teenagers who end their education in
high school, however, Paddock and Young will move on
to advanced auto training at a trade school.

That and the training they received at the Auto
Technology Academy at San Clemente High School put
the two at the center of a debate in California and
nationwide over what role blue-collar trades should play
in the public schools.

For decades, vocational education has played second
fiddle to classroom academics. With the "Nation at Risk"
school-improvement initiative in 1983, officials launched
an effort to raise academic standards. Concerned that
American students were losing ground to their
counterparts in Japan, Germany and other countries,
politicians and classroom experts called for increased
academic rigor, especially in math and science.

The trend intensified with the current, federal No Child
Left Behind law, which holds schools accountable for
student performance on high-stakes, standardized tests.

Many education officials would like to go even further.
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack
O'Connell, for example, has argued vigorously for
requiring all high school students to pass courses that
would allow them to enroll at a state university.

"It's time to change high schools from the inside out, to
focus Â… on their primary mission of preparing students to
higher standards," O'Connell said in a speech earlier this

The schools chief acknowledges that vocational education
has been neglected in California but insists his push for
tougher academics does not need to come at its expense.
He envisions vocational classes with enough academic
rigor that they would satisfy university admission
standards while still preparing students for the workplace.

Supporters of vocational education aren't buying it. They
decry what they say is an obsession with college
preparation that ignores the needs of the roughly 38% of
the country's high school seniors who do not enroll in
two-year or four-year colleges and who might benefit
from vocational training.

"Clearly, there are a set of academic skills everyone needs
to be successful in our society," said James Stone,
director for the National Research Center for Career and
Technical Education. "But does every child need to study

"The problem is that many people look at college as the
goal," said McCarroll, the San Clemente teacher who runs
one of the relatively few programs in California that
blends academics with traditional vocational training.
"College is not the goal. It is only one means to an end,
and the end is these kids' careers."

"We are trying to shove a lot of square pegs into round

In high schools across the country and in California,
comprehensive trade programs have declined in number
and in quality. At many school districts, as the focus has
turned increasingly toward core academics, such
programs have either become dumping grounds for
poorly performing students or have disappeared

In 1975, when McCarroll taught his first class, San
Clemente's vocational program cranked at full-tilt. Eight
full-time teachers offered beginner, intermediate and
advanced classes in auto shop, wood and metal working,
drafting and electronics. "This whole darn area went all
day long," he said with a sweep of his hand. "It was so
noisy you could barely hear yourself think. Now I'm the
only one left."

In 1987, the earliest year for which the state has data,
nearly 27% of California high school students were
enrolled in at least one industrial vocational education
class. Today, only 15% of students are taking such

Over virtually the same span, membership in the
California Industrial Technology Education Assn., which
includes trade instructors, has plummeted from 5,000 to

Several factors account for the declining numbers. Until
the mid-1980s in many school districts, minority students
were often disproportionately shunted toward vocational
education classes. Although recent research indicates that
such race-based tracking has largely been eliminated,
Stone said, urban districts continue to encounter minority
parents reluctant to enroll their children in vocational

A changing economy that includes growing healthcare
and technology sectors and declining manufacturing
industries has also made some vocational program

More pressing, however, is money. Running
equipment-dependent vocational programs is expensive,
and in the competition for classroom dollars, those
programs fade on priority lists.

"We have had to make hard decisions," said James A.
Fleming, superintendent of the Capistrano Unified School
District, where Young and Paddock attend. "Do we put a
wood shop and machine shop in a new high school, or
more academic classrooms? We have backed off from
those trade programs."

California has developed regional training programs that
offer day and evening classes for high school students and
adults at area campuses. Vocational education experts
praise the programs but agree that because of age
restrictions and limited access, they are no substitute for a
high school trade-skills curriculum.

The state does have some high school programs designed
to upgrade vocational education. McCarroll's is one.
Opened in 1998, the auto tech academy operates as a
self-contained school within San Clemente High. Students
satisfy basic graduation requirements and receive three
years of increasingly complex auto classes and on-the-job

The auto program is one of 290 state-supported
"partnership academies" in which school districts and
businesses — in this case auto dealers and mechanics —
team up to offer programs that train students.

"It is such a mammoth mission to put quality men and
women in this industry," said Larry Cummings, president
of Automotive Youth Education Systems, the group
formed by auto makers to work with school districts on
vocational programs. "We've got to have a school system
that can deliver this type of curriculum to the students."

But while California's academies are one of the country's
more ambitious vocational education initiatives, there are
still too few to meet student needs. Each year, McCarroll
turns students away — often as many as he accepts.
Moreover, relatively few of the academy programs teach
conventional trade skills such as agriculture, carpentry
and auto mechanics, focusing instead on white-collar
skills such as business, computer technology and health

Paddock and Young "are the exception, rather than the
rule," in receiving state-of-the-art training for blue-collar
work, said Stone. "We are becoming a nation of
test-takers," he said. "But we won't have kids that
understand the world around them or know the skills that
the labor market is saying are needed."

Paddock and Young say they feel fortunate to have found
the auto academy. Early on, the two students — and their
parents — recognized that they were not meant for
college. Barely getting by on poor grades and minimal
motivation, both said they probably would have dropped
out of school were it not for McCarroll and the sense of
purpose they discovered at the academy.

"I'm just not the college kind of person," said Paddock,
who struggles with dyslexia. "I'm not going to go to
English class and history class. It's not appealing to me.

"I think with these," he said, holding up his hands. "If
there is something broken, I can figure out how to fix it."

An hour into the competition, Paddock and Young had
made some small finds — a blown fuse in the
air-conditioner, a faulty headlight — but large problems

The team's "engine guy," Paddock was elbow deep in the
Volvo's high-tech power plant, perplexed that he still
couldn't start it.

He emerged and hooked a laptop computer to the car's
ignition system to run diagnostic tests. Paddock reached
for a digital meter on a hunch that electrical power was
not getting through to the ignition sensor.

Meanwhile, Young, "the body guy," had nearly crawled
into the trunk in an attempt to get the rear defogger

Somewhere in the room, a competing team's automobile
roared to life.

Time was running out.

The future of vocational education remains uncertain.

A state panel is working on standards and curriculum for
vocational education programs, but O'Connell concedes
that school districts will not be obligated to follow its

He offers few details on how school districts will be able
to fit both tougher academics and strong vocational
programs into an already-packed school year.

Bernie Norton, who heads the state's high school
initiatives office and is overseeing the panel, said it would
be difficult to build enough flexibility into school
schedules and find the money to fund extensive projects.

The issue confounds educators nationwide.

Although successful vocation programs dot each state, no
state is doing an adequate job overall of preparing
vocational students, said Assistant Secretary of Education
Susan Sclafani, who oversees the federal government's
vocational training programs.

Without more trade programs like McCarroll's academy,
disaffected students will continue to drop out or head
toward college life for which they are ill-suited, she said.

Congress, meanwhile, is debating the re-authorization of a
federal vocational education funding bill.

Sclafani said she wants to hold states more accountable
for the success of career programs and has proposed
withholding some funds from states until they improve.

The final half-hour slipped away. Paddock gave up trying
to get the car started without dismantling it. To test the
Volvo's spark plugs, the cumbersome turbo tube had to
come off.

Young returned to the still-broken defogger, and Paddock
set to work uncovering the plugs. Working in silence,
they kept their poise, resigned that they probably would
not start the car — the ultimate goal of the competition.

The final minute ticked off, and the two stepped back. For
a moment, they were disappointed that they wouldn't win
a new car, expensive tools or tuition to training programs
that were among the prizes. But the sting passed quickly.

"It's been good for us," Young said. "We are going to run
into these types of problems as mechanics. It gives us a
taste of what we'll be doing."

"A lot of people underestimated me," Young said. "It
feels good to have accomplished something in school.
And now I know what I want to do with my life. I'm
lucky enough to have found auto, liked it and been decent
at it. My talents came through."


By Rick Callaghan - Associated Press

September 6, 2004 - Just an extra hour of exercise a week
could significantly cut obesity among young overweight
girls, according to a study that researchers say could lead
to major changes in the way schools fight obesity.

The study -- the largest look yet at obesity among young
children -- did not show the same results for boys,
possibly because they generally get more exercise than

Still, Dr. Rebecca Unger, a pediatrician at Children's
Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said the findings show the
important role schools can play to prevent obesity and its
health ramifications.

She said the study highlights the importance of funding
daily physical education in the nation's schools, where
about 15 percent of children and adolescents are
overweight, according to government figures.

"This is incredibly serious if you consider the medical and
emotional consequences of obesity. The further along
these problems progress the more at risk these children
are," said Unger, who was not involved in the research.

In the study of 11,000 children, researchers compared
changes in the body-mass index -- a measure of weight
relative to height -- of obese and overweight girls in
kindergarten and first grade.

They found that the prevalence of obesity and being
overweight among the girls fell 10 percent in schools that
gave first-graders one hour more of exercise time per
week than their kindergartners.

Based on that, the researchers believe that giving
kindergartners at least five hours of physical education
time per week -- the amount recommended by the federal
government -- could potentially reduce the prevalence of
obesity and overweight among girls by 43 percent.

"This has the ability to affect tens of thousands, if not
hundreds of thousands, of children. The implications are
so big because this is something we can do as a society,"
said Nancy Chockley, president of the National Institute
for Health Care Management Foundation.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group recently
released a research brief on the study, and two other
studies of childhood obesity.

The analyses were done by the Rand Corp., a think tank
that used data collected by the U.S. Department of
Education as part of a long-term study of 11,192 children
from about 1,000 schools who entered kindergarten in

The results released so far are only for those youngsters'
kindergarten and first-grade years. Data on their
third-grade and fifth-grade years will be released later.

Yale University obesity researcher Kelly Brownell said
the findings are significant because they demonstrate the
importance of making sure children get adequate physical
activity -- in or out of school.

But he said exercise must be tied with better eating habits
-- including rethinking school lunch programs and the
presence of school vending machines laden with
high-calorie snacks -- to fully address the nation's
growing epidemic of childhood obesity.

"This is probably the strongest statement yet that physical
activity may help prevent obesity. But we have to
remember that it's not going to compensate for the
unhealthy diets kids are eating," said Brownell.

In the past decade, many schools have scaled back recess
time or physical education classes to provide more time to
prepare students for testing programs that are a key part
of school-funding formulas, said Dr. Vincent Ferrandino,
executive director of the National Association of
Elementary School Principals.

"Many of those schools that made those choices to cut
back on PE classes now realize that was not a good
decision in regards to their students' health," said


COURSE: Some campuses have banned peanuts to
prevent allergic reactions. But experts say restrictions
could create a false sense of security.

by Valerie Ulene, MD - from the LA Times

September 6, 2004 - Sugary soft drinks and high-fat
foods have their detractors, but it's the humble peanut that
strikes fear in the heart of school officials — so much
fear, in fact, that some have taken their anti-peanut efforts
to an extreme.

A growing number of schools across the nation have
banned peanuts and any products containing traces of
them because of their ability to trigger severe allergic
reactions in some children.

In highly allergic children, even a minute amount of
peanut can trigger a response. Although most allergic
children will have a reaction only if they eat peanuts or
products containing them, some will also react to skin
contact with these foods. (A small number of children are
so sensitive that simply being around these foods can be

"Peanuts and tree nuts account for the majority of fatal
and near fatal allergic reactions," says Gary Rachelefsky,
clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA, although milk
and egg allergies are actually more common.

The number of American children affected by these types
of peanut allergies appears to be increasing; a study
reported last year found that the prevalence of peanut
allergy doubled from 1997 to 2002.

The only certain way to prevent these allergic reactions is
to avoid contact with peanuts completely. That is exactly
what bans on peanuts in schools aim to do. But not all
allergy experts are sure that the bans are effective.

"There have been two studies that have reported that
there have been reactions in schools in spite of bans," says
Anne Muñoz-Furlong, founder of the advocacy group
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

Some experts say school bans may do more harm than
good, increasing the risk that allergic children will come
into contact with peanuts by creating a false sense of
security on campus.

Realistically, it's almost impossible to guarantee a nut-free
campus. Baked goods such as cookies containing peanuts
may be inadvertently packed in children's lunches, and
foods brought to school may be unknowingly
contaminated with peanuts because of the way they were
prepared or stored.

If allergic children trade or share foods with others —
thinking all foods are safe — dangerous reactions can
occur. Teachers or other school personnel may dismiss
allergic symptoms because they think the campus is
peanut-free. "I don't think a ban is a panacea," says Scott
Sicherer, an associate professor at the Jaffe Food Allergy
Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. "You
have to apply a certain amount of reason."

He says that what works in one school setting may not be
right in another. A peanut ban could benefit very young
children in day-care or preschool, for example, who can't
be relied on not to share food; for older children, other
methods of avoidance might be sufficient.

To reduce the likelihood of an accidental exposure, the
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
recommends that children should not be permitted to
trade or share food, utensils or containers. They also
encourage hand washing — by everyone — before and
after eating. (A study earlier this year found that the
peanut allergen can be easily cleaned from hands with
soap and water.)

"A compromise is to have a peanut-free area,"
Rachelefsky says. Some schools create a safe eating zone
for allergic children where peanuts aren't permitted;
alternatively, an area for children with food containing
peanuts can be created.

The most important steps schools can take are to educate
their staffs about food allergies and put emergency plans
in place, allergy experts say. All faculty and cafeteria staff
should be formally trained to recognize symptoms of food
allergies and be capable of reacting quickly if a reaction

Studies demonstrate that many schools are not properly
prepared. Researchers studied a group of 100 children
who had experienced an allergic reaction to peanut or tree
nut (such as walnut or pecan) in school or day-care. In
about one-third of the reactions, symptoms went
unnoticed by school personnel and were recognized only
at the end of the school day when the child was picked up
by a parent.

Even when school employees did detect allergic reactions,
they frequently didn't respond properly.

"If a child is peanut allergic and there's even a suggestion
that they are having an allergic reaction, they should be
given epinephrine," Rachelefsky says. (Epinephrine helps
abort the reaction, and its prompt administration
dramatically reduces the risk of death.) Epinephrine was
administered in less than one-third of all the reactions

Although peanut bans have not been proven to prevent
allergic reactions, the pressure on schools to adopt them
is strong, and the number of peanut-free campuses may
well grow.


GREAT OUTDOORS: Spending time in natural settings
appears to ease symptoms. Other experts remain

By Hilary E. MacGregor - LA Times Staff Writer

September 6, 2004 - Kids with attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder who have a few hours on their
hands might want to consider heading to the nearest
grassy park or tree-lined street.

In a study of several hundred children with the disorder,
researchers found that those who spent time in green,
natural settings reported fewer symptoms than kids who
worked on activities indoors or who took part in activities
in more urban areas.

"I think we're on the track of something really important,"
said study coauthor Frances E. Kuo, a psychology
professor at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, who is also a professor in the
school's department of natural resources and
environmental sciences. "We're on the trail of potential

The neurological disorder ADHD affects 3% to 9% of the
country's school-age kids, according to a study published
in August in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.
The disorder can create problems in school and
relationships and can lead to depression and substance
abuse, the study said.

Drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall are often used to help
sufferers focus, but they can have side effects and —
families sometimes feel — a stigma. As a result, many
families prefer to try nonmedical approaches first,
although these remain unproven.

Previous studies conducted by Kuo and Andrea Faber
Taylor, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of
Illinois who specializes in children's environments and
behaviors, found that time in nature helps adults and
children without ADHD concentrate. "If it works with
other kids, we thought, maybe it will work in kids who
have difficulty with attention," Kuo said.

For the study, researchers recruited 406 participants —
322 boys and 84 girls — who had been diagnosed with
ADHD. Most of the participants, ages 5 to 18, were on

The parents were interviewed by e-mail about how their
children performed after activities conducted inside,
outside in downtown areas without much greenery, and in
more natural outdoor settings such as a tree-lined street
or a park. The researchers asked parents to compare 56
activities and how their children fared afterward.

Regardless of whether they were on medication, children
who spent a few hours after school or on the weekend
playing outside in green, natural settings showed a
significant reduction of symptoms compared with those
who had spent time indoors or surrounded by asphalt and
pavement, parents reported.

But the study did not quantify how much symptoms were

"Unfortunately, all we can say is that it [the effect of
nature] is a real effect that is big enough that parents were
noticing it, and they were not looking for it," said Kuo,
explaining that parents did not know the objective of the
questions or the study.

Dr. James McGough, director of ADHD programs at
UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, was skeptical of the

"We know that with all behavioral treatments that have
been tested with children with ADHD, the positive effect
is there only while the activity is being carried out. It
doesn't carry over when the intervention isn't there," he
said. "There is no reason to believe that children exposed
to more green time will do better in the classroom.

"The best you can say is this is an interesting hypothesis
that needs to be tested in a scientific manner."

Dr. L. Eugene Arnold, professor emeritus of psychiatry at
Ohio State University in Columbus, said it was too early
to tell whether spending time in natural settings holds
much promise for kids with ADHD. He pointed out,
however, that a kids' summer program at the University
of Pittsburgh, which uses outdoor spaces and a
classroom, seemed to be getting good results.

"I would characterize this as an interesting and
provocative study which deserves further research,"
Arnold said.

Kuo said she and her partner were doing just that. They
recently completed a study in which kids were taken on
guided walks in different environments on the same day
of the week, at the same time, with the same person.
Afterward they tested the children's concentration with
objective measures, to move beyond people's impressions
and toward actual performance data. Results have not
been published.

Results of the current study appear in the September issue
of the American Journal of Public Health.

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• Tuesday Sep 7, 2004

Central Los Angeles Area New High School #1
(Metromedia) Community Update Meeting
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Le Conte Middle School Auditorium
1316 N. Bronson Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90028

• Wednesday Sep 08, 2004

Central Los Angeles Area New Middle School #1
Pre-Construction Meeting
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Esperanza Elementary School
680 Little Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

• Thursday Sep 9, 2004

Local District 6 Community Meeting
Phase III - Defining New School Projects
Please join us at a community meeting regarding the
additional new school seats for your area.
At this meeting, you will:
* Hear about new school projects being built in your area
* Learn about new opportunities to alleviate school
* Continue to help define new school construction
projects in your community
* Find out the next steps in this process

6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Walnut Park School Auditorium
2642 Olive Street
Walnut Park, CA 90255

Central Region Elementary School #13
Phase II Site Selection Update
Local District 3

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

6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Pio Pico Span School Auditorium
1512 S. Arlington Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

*Dates and times 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.
 Ã¢Â€Â¢ THE 4LAKids ARCHIVE - This and past Issues are available with interactive feedback at

 Update Profile  |  Unsubscribe  |  Confirm  |  Forward