Sunday, November 14, 2004

The National Education Alert Level is GREEN!

8-Article Newsletter Template
4LAKids: Sunday, Nov 14, 2004
In This Issue:
 •  FEEDBACK – Re:
 •  Save the Dates: SPECIAL ED FUNDRAISER (11/19) + WORKSHOP: SCHOOL ACOUSTIC DESIGN (11/19) + GIFTED CONFERENCE (12/4) PLUS EVENTS: Coming up next week..
 •  4LAKids Book Club for October & November — ACHIEVEMENT MATTERS: Getting Your Child the Best Education Possible, by Hugh B. Price
 •  What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
 •  READING TO KIDS: Read to some kids one Saturday morning a month. Make a difference. Change some lives (including your own!).
 •  MAKING SCHOOLS WORK: Get the Book @
 •  FIVE CENTS MAKES SENSE FOR EDUCATION- Target one nickel from every federal tax dollar for Education
Let's see: Vice President Cheney is in the hospital for
tests ....and apparently Secretary of Education Rod Paige,
the nation's biggest proponent of testing, is on the way
out! Maybe Secretary Paige will take the John Ashcroft
'my work is done so its safe for me to leave' route? His
letter [see Feedback, below] certainly takes that tone!

The Times article (link below) quotes others as naming
Paige "the visionary champion of No Child Left Behind",
but the NEA publication Education Week (no friend of
Paige, who called the NEA a "terrorist organization"
earlier this year) reports that while the wire services
indicate that the decision to leave was Mr. PaigeÂ’s,
others are suggesting that is not the case.

"Two education experts outside the Bush administration
told Education Week on Nov. 12 they had heard that
White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card, Jr., had
phoned Mr. Paige recently to ask him to resign.

“I hear that he has been told that he’s going,” said one
source, who spoke on condition of anonymity."

Elsewhere the debate over Paige's legacy (or lack thereof)
in the form of the NCLB fulminates. [see: 'The Easy
School Fixes Are Over' + 'Few Parents Move...'}

Charter schools continue to be a hot topic for
conversation. [see: 'Compromise Cleared Way...' &
Feedback #3]

....and PTA's exemplary program of low cost dental care
for LAUSD students needs help. [see: 'Dental Program in

Even the good news is worrisome. —smf

LA TIMES: Education Secretary Paige Plans to Step Down


November 11, 2004 - The pace of school gains in
California has slowed, after years of slight but steady test
score improvement. The quick fixes have been exhausted
— standards established, class sizes cut, curriculum
revamped, teachers trained. New progress will require
education leaders to address intractable problems that
hold California's public schools back: unpredictable and
inadequate funding; growing rolls of poor, immigrant and
disabled children; and an aging teacher corps hamstrung
by inflexible labor unions. Unfortunately, courage and
creativity seem to be in short supply in the state's
education bureaucracy.

The state's 5-year-old standardized testing program was
supposed to be part of an Academic Performance Index
that would measure school achievement in several areas,
including attendance and graduation rates. Teachers and
schools that did well were to receive bonuses; schools
that didn't got intervention. But the bonuses stopped
when the money dried up, the intervention felt like
punishment, and the index never evolved to include
anything other than test scores — which tend to be low in
schools with low-income students and higher in schools
with middle-class kids. All schools are expected to show
yearly gains, but low-ranking schools must make up more
ground at a faster pace.

This year, fewer than half of the state's 6,500 public
schools met their improvement goals, down from 78%
last year. Los Angeles Unified schools did slightly better
— 52% made acceptable improvement, compared with
85% last year. Testing experts say the slowdown follows
a familiar pattern in assessment programs, in which initial
dramatic gains tend to slow as time goes on.

That's why it was disingenuous for state Supt. Jack
O'Connell to launch a finger-pointing campaign, blaming
teachers and parents for losing focus and suggesting that
scores will rise if we simply "redouble our efforts." His
obsession with toughening academic standards and
sending every student off to college must seem
frustratingly myopic at schools where half the kids have
dropped out by 12th grade.

State Education Secretary Richard Riordan is no better.
He has been conspicuously silent for most of his tenure.
Both O'Connell and Riordan spend plenty of time visiting
schools; they ought to use those trips as more than photo

It's clear even from this year's stagnant test scores that
some schools are succeeding against long odds. Here's
what works: Collaboration among teachers, support from
parents, frequent measurement of student skills and early
intervention with struggling students. Officials ought to
study successful schools and spread their stories, bringing
light, not heat, to the test score debate.


FAILING SCHOOLS: Federal law allows transfers, but
critics say it ignores the communal role of local campuses.

By Duke Helfand and Joel Rubin
LA Times Times Staff Writers

November 8, 2004 - More than 1 million students in the
nation's largest urban school districts have remained at
poor-performing campuses despite a federal law that
allows them a chance to escape to better schools.

The offer extended by the No Child Left Behind
education law is intended to expand school choices for
children in low-income communities.

But in Los Angeles, only 215 students switched to better
campuses last year out of nearly 204,000 who were

In Chicago, 1,097 students out of 270,000 transferred.

And in New York, 6,828 out of 230,000 students moved
to other campuses.

A lack of interest on the part of parents and a shortage of
available seats in good schools have combined to weaken
the impact of the law. Still, the Bush administration
argues that its signature domestic policy strengthens local
campuses by introducing competitive marketplace forces
into public school districts.

Administration officials also say they judge the success of
the law by whether schools improve, not by the numbers
of transfers.

"This is a real culture shift," said Eugene Hickok, deputy
secretary in the U.S. Department of Education. "For
years, the system did what was best for the system. Now
we are arguing that [schools] have to find ways to
respond to the needs of their customers. That's what
choice is about."

The Bush administration is expected to expand the
reforms of No Child Left Behind as the president enters
his second term, possibly extending the law's testing
requirements from elementary and middle schools into
high schools.

That could increase the number of failing campuses —
and thus the pool of students eligible for transfers — as
more schools struggle to meet the measure's demanding

Critics say the low numbers of students taking advantage
of the offer, however, reveal a significant flaw in the law:
Policymakers misunderstand the importance of
neighborhood schools to parents.

"The law does give real power to parents. It's just not a
power they are willing to use very often," said Tom
Loveless, director of the Brown Center on Education
Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "The
choice provision of the law is not Â… going to
revolutionize schools."

Even if children leave their local campuses, some district
leaders say they cannot accommodate more transfers
because their best campuses already are strapped for

And school districts must use valuable federal funds to
bus students to schools of their choice, siphoning money
away from low-performing campuses.

"In Los Angeles, you're going to move from one
overcrowded school to another overcrowded school. I
don't think that is much of a solution," said Los Angeles
schools Supt. Roy Romer, who believes the law unfairly
labels schools as failures.

Some districts have set limits on the numbers of transfers
for fear of swamping high-performing campuses.

New York City schools, for example, are not offering
high school students the opportunity to transfer this year
through No Child Left Behind, saying the city's high
school admissions process already allows choices.

And in Chicago, officials have reserved just 438 seats for
transfers this year even though 8,000 students have asked
to move.

Last year, the district set aside 1,097 seats for 18,000
students who expressed interested.

The district holds a lottery for the available transfer slots.

Chicago officials said an Illinois law barred them from
crowding schools to satisfy the requirements of No Child
Left Behind.

"I'm not going to put 40 kids in a classroom," said Arne
Duncan, Chicago Public Schools' chief executive. "I'm not
going to change the fundamental nature of what has made
a school successful."

Schools are labeled failures under the federal law if they
do not meet strict targets for improving test scores each
year; campuses earn no credit for partial gains.

Schools in low-income communities that fail to meet their
targets two years in a row are required to offer transfers
to their students.

Many districts reluctantly notify parents of their right to
better schools as required by No Child Left Behind, even
as they promote the benefits of campuses on the federal
watch list.

In the Anaheim City School District, officials encourage
parents to consider more than just test scores when
deciding whether to switch schools.

"When parents call, we explain that the programs and the
training for teachers is the same at every school," said
Ruben Barron, Anaheim's deputy superintendent.

"It is not about dissuading them — they have a right to
transfer if they want — but it is about making an informed
decision. We do tell them what their school is doing
right," he said.

Last year, 4,439 students at five Anaheim district schools
were eligible for transfers. Only three moved to new
campuses, the district reported.

None of the 600 students at Abraham Lincoln Elementary
transferred last year.

Principal Victoria Knaack interpreted the lack of interest
in switching schools as a vote of confidence even as her
campus struggled to meet expectations of No Child Left

"When they don't move, it means we're doing something
right," she said. "It's an affirmation for us."

Parents say Lincoln is a good school filled with dedicated
teachers. They say the campus, in the middle of a
working-class Latino neighborhood, is an integral part of
the community.

Lincoln offers an array of parenting and computer classes
in the evenings. Nearly 100 parents attended one recent

"It wouldn't matter if they told me another school was
100 times better, it wouldn't do as much for [my son] as
he gets here," Angela Vela, whose first-grader attends
Lincoln, said in Spanish. "It doesn't matter how good the
school is if the child isn't motivated and the parents aren't

Federal education officials say more parents don't take
advantage of the option to move because they aren't
notified until after the start of the school year.

Leaders in several school districts acknowledged the
problem but said it was not their fault. State education
departments, they said, release the lists of failing
campuses only days or weeks before school starts, leaving
districts little time to inform parents.

The Los Angeles Unified School District notifies parents
twice a year: around the time school starts in the fall and
again in December.

But parents cite reasons other than timing in their
decisions to have their children stay put. They say federal
policymakers fail to appreciate the social and communal
roles that schools play in low-income and immigrant
neighborhoods. At many campuses, parents get a chance
to serve on school committees and take evening classes.

"Here, we are family," said Rosa Villafana, 47, who
turned down the chance for her daughter to transfer out
of Loreto Street Elementary in the Cypress Park
neighborhood of northeast Los Angeles.

"The state and the federal government don't see the
sentimental value of a school," Villafana added. "If I
thought my child was failing, I would change. But I'm

Loreto Street is one of 178 campuses in the Los Angeles
Unified School District considered to be low-achieving
under the law. More than 400 students have asked for —
and received — transfers from those schools since the
start of the 2003-04 school year.

Daniel and Dinora Sanchez jumped at the chance to move
their 9-year-old son, Christian, to a better school outside
their east San Fernando Valley neighborhood.

Christian now attends Germain Street Elementary in the
northwest Valley community of Chatsworth.

The Sanchez family liked the idea of Christian attending a
diverse school with more high-achieving students,
something they didn't feel he had at their local school, San
Fernando Elementary. That campus, where 99% of the
students are Latino, rates a 2 on the state's school
rankings, which go from 1 to 10. Germain rates a 9.

"I wanted him to interact with different types of
students," said Dinora Sanchez, who teaches second
grade in Canoga Park. "I always felt that if you surround
yourself with kids who are doing better, your
expectations go up."

Christian said he was sad to leave his old school but now
feels more challenged.

"I kind of felt like I was the smartest kid in the class" at
San Fernando, he said. "There are a lot of smart kids in
my grade [at Germain]. I like my new school a lot."

The Los Angeles district must use some of its federal
poverty funds to pay for the boy's transportation to his
new school, as required by No Child Left Behind.

Like L.A. Unified, districts elsewhere must devote up to
20% of their federal poverty funds to pay for transfers
and after-school tutoring at campuses identified as failing.
Although district leaders see value in the tutoring, they
object to the added costs of the transfers.

The Clark County School District in Las Vegas had to
use some of its federal money last year to pay for 205
students to switch schools, out of 12,000 who were

Leaders in Clark County, which has the nation's
sixth-largest school system with more than 280,000
students, say the numbers of transfers could increase if
more parents become aware of the option and additional
schools land on the federal failure list.

"It's money spent for the wrong purpose," said Agustin
Orci, deputy superintendent of the Clark County system.
"I'd rather put that money into classrooms than buses."

The chart below shows the numbers of poor children who
were eligible to transfer from low-performing schools to
better campuses -- and the numbers of students who
actually moved -- in 2003-04 school year under the No
Child Left Behind education law.

School districts...............................eligible (transferred)

New York City...................................230,000 (6,828)
Los Angeles Unified..........................203,684 (215)
Chicago .........................................270,000 (1,097)
Dade County (Miami)...........................7,000 (321)
Broward County (Ft Lauderdale) ..........60,000 (869)
Clark County/Las Vegas.....................12,000 (205)
Houston Independent.............................226 (0)
Hawaii (has one district).....................55,000 (157)
Hillsborough County/Tampa...............45,000 (450)

Sources: The school districts.

NOTE: LAUSD is so big that it is the covered by two
California State PTA districts; 31st covering the San Fernando Valley and 10th covering the rest! These two PTA/PTSA (the trerms are interchangeable) Districts share another distinction unique to any PTA program in the nation: They operate Dental and Vision Clinics in cahoots with LAUSD and have done so in some form or another since the first LA City Schools/PTA Medical Clinic opened in
the early part of the last century. The Vision Clinics get
some financial support by the school district and are self-
sustaining; the Dental Clinics get no financial support
from LAUSD — without outside funding they are not

The following article from the Daily News focuses on the
financial straits of 31st District PTSA's clinics - but the
same is true for 10th District's clinics, which offer
reduced cost dental care to students from clinics in the
Pico-Union area, South Central and San Pedro. — smf

• DENTAL PROGRAM IN DOUBT: $75,000 required just to finish year

By Jennifer Radcliffe
Daily News Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 9, 2004 - CANOGA PARK — A
57-year-old program that provides low-cost dental care to
3,000 San Fernando Valley students may have to close its
two clinics next month after a steady erosion of corporate
and charitable donations.

The clinics at Hart Street Elementary in Canoga Park and
Telfair Avenue School in Pacoima -- which need
$150,000 a year to operate -- have just $15,000 in the
bank and little hope of attracting more funds, according
to the 31st District Parent-Teacher-Students Association,
which runs the program.

Three other PTSA Dental Program clinics operating out
of Los Angeles Unified schools are struggling to survive.

"Kids with toothaches can't study," said Robert Taylor, an
82-year-old dentist who has directed the program since it
started in 1947. "We need more money so we can provide
more services."

Los Angeles Unified School District board member Julie
Korenstein said she has tried for four months to help the
program find money.

"It's so horrible. I just haven't been able to figure it out

The lackluster economy has forced private companies and
nonprofit groups to scale back grants to the dental
program and other groups over the past several years.
The dental clinics have seen grants from such groups as
the California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente and United
Health turned down or reduced.

For many children and teens, a visit to the Hart Street and
Telfair Avenue clinics is their first trip to the dentist.

For a flat $45 fee, any student in the LAUSD can visit the
clinics for cleanings, X-rays, fillings and other work. A
majority of youngsters arrive with toothaches and severe

In the most severe cases, Taylor said, he's made dentures
for children as young as 5 who were malnourished or did
not take care of their teeth. Other children have serious
problems because they lack calcium and fluoride.

At the height of the program, Los Angeles Unified had 13
dental clinics. Ironically, the money is drying up while the
demand for the service is rising, experts said.

Canoga Park mother Patricia Gonzalez said the Hart
Street clinic is probably the only way she can afford to
take her 6-year-old daughter, Sandra, to the dentist.

"It's hard," she said. "With the private dentist, the prices
are very high."

Gonzalez said her temporary medical insurance roughly
covers the $45 flat fee, which she could not afford on her
own. The clinic relies on grants and donations to pay the
rest of the cost, which averages at least an additional $40
per student.

"That comes out of our grants, but since we don't have
any, we're in trouble ... Nobody's sending us anything,"
said Marsha Minassian, president of the 31st District
PTSA, which serves the Valley.

It would take at least $75,000 to keep the two Valley
clinics open for the rest of the school year, officials said.
And to sustain the clinics for several years, the
volunteer-based PTSA would probably need the help of
corporate sponsors or professional grant-writers,
Minassian said.

Both clinics have already reduced their operating hours,
and they don't have any fat to cut or reserves to fall back
on. The Hart Street clinic, for example, does not have
Internet access or fax machines.

But workers and volunteers continue to scramble for

"I've got a whole file of turn-downs," said Marilyn Ickes,
bookkeeper for the 31st District PTSA. "They say,
You've got a good program, but we don't have the

While Kaiser Permanente has given as much as $60,000 in
the past, it wasn't able to give anything this year, Ickes

Kaiser officials said increased requests for sponsorship
and state law requiring them to focus on community
needs, which include urgent health care for the uninsured,
has forced them to cut support.

"These organizations are telling me that fewer and fewer
businesses and corporations that have always been there
for them are not there now," said Debbie Hernandez,
Kaiser's community relations manager for Southern
California. "There's a lot more pressure on us and it's very
difficult for us to try to fund everyone."

Los Angeles Unified, which bailed out the program a few
years ago, has cut its own budget by more than $1 billion
in the past three years.

Kim Uyeda, the LAUSD's student medical services
director, said the district is trying to help the PTSAs find
a long-term solution that would improve the clinic's
business model.

But she said the LAUSD's main focus must remain in the

"We are a school district and we are really ... focused on
education," she said. "We are definitely trying to save the

The LAUSD, which leases the space to the PTSA, plans
to hold a meeting in December to discuss the matter.

Even the donations from other schools' PTAs are drying
up. They've fallen from $30,000 or $40,000 a year to
$15,000 or less, Ickes said.

The practice of school PTAs giving a portion of the funds
they raise to the dental clinics is also becoming less

"A lot of parents don't see the big picture. They want to
keep everything at their school," said Vicki Walker,
student aid bureau manager for the 31st District PTSA.

• INFORMATION: For information about helping the
dental clinics, call the 31st District PTSA (Valley) at
(818) 344-3581 or 10th District PTSA (LAUSD south of
Mulholland) at (213) 745-7114.

By Steve Young

Monday, November 8, 2004 - Both President Bush and
John Kerry have called for the country to put aside the
bitterness of the campaign and unite for the greater good.

'Scuse me, while I clean up the coffee I just spit all over
my keyboard. In Washington, conciliation and
cooperation are usually locked off in the same storeroom
with the Ten Commandments. Spoken of highly, but not
actually allowed to be seen or employed.

But there is hope _ if the politicos take a look at what's
just transpired in the Los Angeles suburbs. That's where a
war had taken place over whether 250 children could
actually inhabit a new charter school where they actually
wanted to get an education.

The war had all the down and dirty elements of big-time
politics. Lies. Propaganda. Scare tactics. Threats.
Passion. Hate. Worse, both sides claimed they had the
children's best interests at heart.

On one side, the legislators _ city councilmen, the Los
Angeles Unified School District board, the local
neighborhood council. On the other, the public _ parents,
school administrators and children.

Without going into the bloody (and boring) details of
permits and traffic studies, the kids were not able to get
into their school site for almost two months past the Sept.
5 starting date.

But the fact is, they are in school and at the location they
wanted to be: Ivy Academia at 6051 De Soto Ave.,
Woodland Hills.

What happened? How could two opponents join to
become one to make it happen for the children? And how
can those boys in Washington learn from the simple folk
of Woodland Hills?

It's not all that simple, because it came down to people
forgetting their own egos. And, in the faraway land of
Washington, it is near felony to concede pride and self.

But it did happen, and it began with the most powerful
gent in the hostility's mix: San Fernando Valley
Councilman Dennis Zine. While the councilman had
earlier stalled the school's opening _ registering plenty of
problems with both the school's site and administrators _
it was he who showed up big, stepping forward to cut
through the proverbial red tape to say, ``Enough.''

There were constituents who would never want another
person, child or adult, riding their busy thoroughfares or
occupying their precious vacant buildings. They would
not be at all too thrilled with pulling the Zine lever come
next election. And though not every t and i had been
crossed and dotted, Zine's gutsy endorsement had the kids
behind their rightful desks the next school day.

But there were many others who stopped dwelling on the
problem and chose to participate in the solution.

The LAUSD, which literally loses children and financial
funds with the opening of every new charter, chose to
work with the school's administration to move quickly
and efficiently to resolve every question and obstacle that
stood in the way of a real opening day.

City inspectors chose to move diligently and promptly
though the inspections. The school's administration and
parents chose to listen, cooperate and learn to ignore
what they had earlier believed to be appropriate shortcuts.

Each of the players in this not-so-small example of how
politics can really work chose getting things done over
``being right.'' They all learned from the mistakes and
failures. In doing so, everyone profited, providing a
mighty lesson for the children. In the end, the children
have truly benefited.

You'll notice there was no mention here of the Woodland
Hills-based Neighborhood Council, some of whose
members sought something akin to financial extortion
from the school, who chose not to partake in the answer
but instead chose to play the role of obstructionist to the
very end. And, in that end, they gained nothing but an
unpleasant reputation they must now surely regret.

Like many in national politics, for all their sanctimonious
bluster, they chose to not become part of the solution.
Hopefully, one day soon, they and those fellas up in
Washington will begin to learn from the example of this
local band of real winners. Then we will all benefit.

• Steve Young is an Ivy Academia parent and author of
``Great Failures of The Extremely Successful.''

• FEEDBACK: "Are Schools Building Minds or Machines?" (LA Times, Nov. 6 / linked in 4LAKids, Nov 7).

November 13, 2004 - John Gust seems to think the No
Child Left Behind Act has turned teachers into
automatons and students into robots Ironically, it's Gust
himself who mindlessly repeats arguments unsupported by
the facts. Under the act, California's schools have
received more than $426 million in Reading First grants
to train teachers in proven instructional methods, not
learning fads. Students are regularly measured so they can
receive help when they need it. And parents have more
information, choices and opportunities for involvement
than ever before.

As a result, nearly two-thirds of California's schools have
met their academic achievement goals in 2004, compared
with 54% a year ago. These goals were not spit out by a
computer in Washington, but developed by educators in

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Unified School District has
seen its Academic Performance Index scores rise at a rate
faster than the state's. Who deserves the credit? Not
machines, but hard-working teachers and students.

Rod Paige
U.S. Secretary of Education


Gust's expression of frustration with standardized
education was well written and sincere. As a parent, I
share his concerns. On the other hand, he is a teacher at a
math/science magnet school. Not all schools are fortunate
enough to have the caliber of student that I'm sure Gust
enjoys. I am also a California State University faculty
member. We have ample proof from our entrance
examinations that there is no longer any requirement that
students acquire even basic skills to be awarded a high
school diploma. Although the CSU admits only the top
one-third of the state's high school graduates, a majority
of them cannot read or do mathematics at the level that
the state standards mandate for high school freshmen,
much less college-bound seniors.

I would be happy to hear teachers' suggestions for
restoring the linkage between grades and actual student
performance in our public schools. Until such a plan is
proffered, standardized tests with real consequences are
the alternative that is going to be forced on the public

Stephen Walton

• FEEDBACK: Re - New Yorker Article "The Factory"
(Oct 18), about The Academy of the Pacific in Boston –
and readers' letters (New Yorker, Nov 8 / 4LAKids, Nov

A lot of the items pointed out in the letters were false. For
example, charters actually serve a higher percent of
special needs kids than non-charter public schools
taken as a group. What is true is that each charter is
unique. Not one could be replicated and serve all, but
collectively they serve a broad population more

Caprice Young
President/CEO – California Charter Schools Association

• THE BUBEL/AIKEN FOUNDATION was started by Clay Aiken from American Idol to assist with inclusion issues for kids with developmental disabilities. The foundation serves to bridge the gap now existing for young people with developmental disabilities between full inclusion and today's reality.

The Bubel-Aiken Foundation will have a celebrity benefit
fundraiser on Friday November 19th in Century City.
Check out the event website at:


Intended for: Educators, Architects, school facilities
designers and parents.

Students and teachers need good acoustics to learn.

This Workshop will discuss:
• Why good acoustics are needed
• What is “good acoustics” for schools?
• What the ANSI standard on school acoustics
S12.60-2002 requires.
• What architects and school designer need to know about
• How to implement good acoustics in new design and
• Examples of successful and not-so successful school
acoustic designs

This Workshop is presented in connection with the 148th
meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. A day-long
series of papers on classroom acoustics will take place on
Thursday November 18th at the Town and Country

When: November 19 2004 9 am to 4 pm
(On site registration starts at 8 am) Registration: $75

Town & Country Hotel
500 Hotel Circle North
San Diego CA 92108

For information and registration, contact Dave Lubman,
phone: 714.373.3050 or e-mail:

• Gifted Ed Conference: IMAGINE, ACHIEVE, BECOME. MAKING IT HAPPEN - Saturday Dec. 4th
LAUSD is conducting a one-day conference on
gifted/talented education in December to provide
educators and parents/guardians with an opportunity to
discuss issues of importance to the development of quality
educational opportunities for students designated as

The 31st Annual City/County Conference "Imagine,
Achieve, Become: Making It Happen" will be held
Saturday, December 4, at the Los Angeles Convention
Center in downtown Los Angeles. The event is sponsored
by the LAUSD Specially Funded & Parent/Community
Programs Division, Gifted/Talented Programs;
Professional Advocates for Gifted Education (PAGE),
California Association for Gifted (CAG), Central Cities
Gifted Children's Association and the Eastside
Association for Gifted Children.

More than 40 sessions will be offered to parents, teachers,
administrators and community members. Guest speakers
will include Diane Paynter, James Webb, Karen Rogers,
Sandra Kaplan, Dr. Paul Aravich and the Perez family.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Pre-registration is
required. Early bird registration must be postmarked by
November 19. Cost is $65. The cost to register after the
November 19 postmark will increase to $75.
Checks should be made payable to PAGE. School
purchase orders will not be accepted. There will be no
refunds after November 15, 2004. On-site registration is
available on a first-come/first-served basis.
Contact Sheila Smith at (213) 241-6500 for additional
Translation will be available.
HARDSHIP: Check with you SchoolÂ’s Title I or
Bilingual Coordinator — or with your Principal, GATE
Coordinator or Parent Center Director for information
on obtaining meeting vouchers.
A flyer is available on the LAUSD Master Calendar and
contains the registration tear-off.


E V E N T S • T H I S • W E E K:

• Monday Nov 15, 2004
North Hollywood New Primary Center #4
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Please join us to celebrate the ribbon-cutting of your new
community school!
Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.
North Hollywood New Primary Center #4
6728 N. Bellingham Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91601

• Tuesday Nov 16, 2004
Central Region Elementary School #18 Pre- Design Meeting
Join us at this meeting where we will:
* Introduce the architect
* Present preliminary design for the school
* Provide an overview of the school facilities, including:
number of classrooms, sports facilities, lunch area etc.
* Collect feedback on the project design for Central
Region Elementary School #18
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Jefferson Primary Center
3601 S. Maple Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90011

• Tuesday Nov 16, 2004
Huntington Park School Family
Construction Update Meeting
Please join us at a community meeting for an update on
all the new school projects being built in the Huntington
Park community.
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Gage Middle School
Multipurpose Room
2880 E. Gage Avenue
Huntington Park, CA 90255

• Tuesday Nov 16, 2004
Local District 3 Presentation of Phase III Project Definitions
At this meeting we will:
* Present and discuss the SCHOOL PROJECT
DEFINITIONS that staff will recommend to the LAUSD
Board of Education for review and approval
* Review the factors used to identify new school projects,
including community input
* Go over next steps in the school construction process
This is the final meeting on Phase III Project Definition
before we go to the LAUSD Board of Education for approval!
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Audubon Middle School
4120 11th Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90008

• Tuesday Nov 16, 2004
Rowan New Primary Center
Construction Update Meeting
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Rowan Elementary School
600 S. Rowan Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90023

• Tuesday Nov 16, 2004
South Region High School #2
Pre-Design Meeting
Join us at this meeting where we will:
* Introduce the architect
* Present preliminary design for the school
* Provide an overview of the school facilities, including:
number of classrooms, sports facilities, lunch area etc.
* Collect feedback on the project design for South
Region High School #2
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Edison Middle School
6500 Hooper Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90001

• Tuesday Nov 16, 2004
Valley Region High School #5
CEQA Scoping and Schematic 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
Also at this meeting, the preliminary schematic designs
for the new school will be presented to the community for
Your comments and concerns are very important, please
join us!
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
San Fernando High School - Cafeteria
11133 O'Melveny Avenue
San Fernando, CA 91340

• Wednesday Nov 17, 2004
Hamilton High School Addition
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Please join us to celebrate the completion of your new
classroom building!
Ceremony will begin at 1 p.m.
Hamilton High School
2955 S. Robertson Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034

• Wednesday Nov 17, 2004
Johnson Community Day School Addition
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Please join us to celebrate the completion of your new
multi-purpose building!
Ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Johnson Community Day School
333 E. 54th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90011

• Wednesday Nov 17, 2004
Local District 7: Locke School Family
Presentation of Phase III Project Definitions
At this meeting we will:
* Present and discuss the SCHOOL PROJECT
DEFINITIONS that staff will recommend to the LAUSD
Board of Education for review and approval
* Review the factors used to identify new school projects,
including community input
* Go over next steps in the school construction process
This is the final meeting on Phase III Project Definition
before we go to the LAUSD Board of Education for
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Locke High School (Hobbes Hall – Multipurpose
325 E. 111th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90061

• Wednesday Nov 17, 2004
Small Business Seminar
School Board President José Huizar, Korean American
Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles (KACCLA) &
Council of Korean Business Organizations of California
Invite You to do Business with the District
The Los Angeles Unified School DistrictÂ’s $14.4 billion
School Construction Program Needs Qualified,
Competitive Contractors, Engineers, Architects and
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Hobart Boulevard Elementary School Auditorium
980 S. Hobart Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Join Us and Learn About:
* How to Conduct Business with LAUSD
* Upcoming Vendor and Contractor Opportunities
* Professional Services (RFPs and RFQs)
* Architecture & Engineering Services Opportunities
* 25% Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Participation
* Contractor Pre-Qualification
* Small Business Assistance Services & Bonding
*“We Build” Local Worker Program
For further information and to RSVP, please call Small
Business Program (213) 633-7727 or KACCLA

• Thursday Nov 18, 2004
Local District 7: Jordan School Family
Presentation of Phase III Project Definitions
At this meeting we will:
* Present and discuss the SCHOOL PROJECT
DEFINITIONS that staff will recommend to the LAUSD
Board of Education for review and approval
* Review the factors used to identify new school projects,
including community input
* Go over next steps in the school construction process
This is the final meeting on Phase III Project Definition
before we go to the LAUSD Board of Education for
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Jordan High School - Auditorium
2265 E. 103rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90002

• Thursday Nov 18, 2004
Central Region Elementary School #15
Pre- Design Meeting
Join us at this meeting where we will:
* Introduce the architect
* Present preliminary design for the school
* Provide an overview of the school facilities, including:
number of classrooms, sports facilities, lunch area etc.
* Collect feedback on the project design for Central
Region Elementary School #15
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Salvin Special Education Center Auditorium
1925 Budlong Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90007

• Thursday Nov 18, 2004
Gledhill Elementary School Addition Pre-Construction
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Gledhill Street Elementary School - Auditorium
16030 Gledhill St.
North Hills, CA 91343

*Dates and times subject to change.
Meets This Wednesday Morning Nove 17th — @ 10AM at the LAUSD Boardroom, 333 South Beaudry Ave.

Agenda Items include: Inspector General's Investigation
of the Bond Oversight Committee and Transfer of funds
from the District's proposal to transfer costs from the
operating budget to contruction bond funding.
Phone: 213.241.4700
Phone: 213.633.7616


4LAKids Book Club for October & November — ACHIEVEMENT MATTERS: Getting Your Child the Best Education Possible, by Hugh B. Price
Publisher: Dafina Books, 256 pages ISBN: 0758201206

Hugh B. Price is the President of the National Urban League. On the face of it his excellent book is about closing the Achievement Gap that seperates poor children and children of color from high performing “white” students.

But his message is loud and clear — and every
parent can learn from it: Parents from underperforming schools must insist upon the same level of performance as suburban parents do. Every parent has a right to expect and insist-upon excellence from teachers, administrators and the school district; we must also insist-upon and expect excellence from our own children.

Price lays much of the responsibility for the Achievement
Gap off to what he calls the “Preparation Gap”; the
dearth of adequate pre-school programs in inner city
neighborhoods. But he is not easy on parents. All must
follow the example of archtypical "pushy" suburban parents: Be Involved in Your ChildrenÂ’s Lives and Education Every Step Of The Way!

This isnÂ’t about race and economics; itÂ’s about hard work at home and in the school and in the community!

• from Chapter Eight: DEMANDING – AND GETTING
– GOOD SCHOOLS: What Parents Can Do

Entrenched bureaucracies sometimes change out of
enlightened self-interest. In other words, they see the light
and reform themselves before it's too late, before a more
compelling alternative comes widely available. Other
times, it takes concerted external pressure to force
bureaucracies to change-for the sake of their "customers"
as well as themselves.

For far too long, public educators have kept their heads in
the sand, like ostriches, in the face of an urgent need to
improve urban and and rural schools. Parents, politicians,
and business leaders have grown restless with the sluggish
pace of school improvement. I urge parents, caregivers,
and community leaders to keep up the relentless pressure
to create straight “A” schools for your children and every
American child.

Even parents in comfortable suburbs must stay right on
the school's case. "I made an assumption that in suburbia
the school would place my child where she needs to be,"
says Mane, a stay at home mother from a well-to-do
community in New Jersey: “We moved here from
Brooklyn where my daughter, Taisha., was in an
overcrowded, understaffed kindergarten class. One of the
reasons we moved to this town was for its highly rated
school system When Taisha was in third grade, the school
sent me a notice that she was reading and doing math at
an eighth grade level. I called her teacher and asked him if
there were any special classes my daughter could take at
the school that would encourage her academic talents. He
said, 'Oh well, we do have a gifted and talented

“I didn't RECEIVE that call — I MADE that call!"

"My daughter was testing in the 90th percentile nationally, and if I hadn't found out on my own that she was eligible for advanced classes, she would never be there now."

So regardless of where you live and what your family
circumstances are, here's what you must do in order to
make sure that your children are well served by their
schools and placed squarely on the path to academic

1. BE VIGILANT. Make it your business to ask your
children what's going on at school. Look for possible
trouble spots such as teachers' negative attitudes,
tracking, discipline problems, safety issues, and so on.
Stay in touch with your kids and pay attention to what
they are telling you-and keeping from you.

2. BE INFORMED. Educate yourself about what your
children are learning in school and what the school offers.
Find out if the work they're doing is grade level or better
and whether it meets the academic standards imposed by
the states. Familiarize yourself with the standardized tests
your children are expected to take, when they must take
them, and how they should prepare properly to do well on
them. One school superintendent has the parents of
fourth-graders actually take the state reading exam from
the prior year so they'll better understand what their
children are expected to know for the exam. Read up on
national and state educational policies and regulations,
with an eye to how they will directly affect your children.

3. BE INVOLVED. Join the PTA. Attend parent-teacher
conferences and "meet-the-teacher" nights. Vote in the
school board elections — maybe even run for a seat on the board yourself. No one can fight harder than you for your children's right to a good education.

4. BE VOCAL. Speak up if you see a problem with your
childÂ’s schooling, even if you think there may be
repercussions because of your activism. Go to your child's
teacher or principal if you detect. unfairness in the way
your child is being treated. If you feel you — or your
child or your child-are being punished for your
outspokenness go to your pastor, the local Urban League,
or another community organization.

5. BE VISIBLE. Make sure the school knows that your
are actively involved in your child's education. Become
involved in the governing process of your local school
system. Attend school board meetings and get to know
your local elected representatives

6. ORGANIZE. Meet with other parents to discuss how
you can work as a group to help your children. Start on a
the grassroots level with neighbors, relatives, friends.
Many voices are stronger than one, and work in unison to
ensure that achievement matters much to your children's
school as it does to you.

* * * *

Children want to do well. When large numbers of them
fail its because adults-school administrators, teachers,
parents and their larger community-have failed them.

We all know it doesn't have to be this way. Lousy public
schools can be turned around if the adults mobilize to do
so: If adults will say: “No more excuses for school
failure!” I'm not downplaying the many problems that
many schools and the families they serve face. -Just the
opposite. While these problems may not go away. they
neednÂ’t defeat the efforts of determined parents and
educators to close the Preparation Gap and ensure that
children achieve, regardless of their family circumstances.

Get ACHIEVEMENT MATTERS 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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