Saturday, June 03, 2006

4LAKids: Excepting the unacceptable meets cause and affect.

4LAKids: Sunday, June 4, 2006
In This Issue:
L.A. SCHOOLS: GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN — Cities worried about mayoral control over LAUSD should be able to opt out.
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
READING TO KIDS: Read to some kids the second Saturday morning each month. Make a difference. Change some lives (including your own!).
The Blueprint for Effective School Reform: MAKING SCHOOLS WORK — Get the Book @!
THE BEST RESOURCE ON CALIFORNIA SCHOOL FUNDING ON THE WEB: The Sacramento Bee's series "Paying for Schools."
FIVE CENTS MAKES SENSE FOR EDUCATION- Target one nickel from every federal tax dollar for Education.
AT THURSDAY EVENING'S PARENT TOWN HALL MEETING on his own LAUSD Reform Plan, Mayor Villaraigosa - recounting his personal experience as a student kicked out of parochial school - touted public education as a great second chance for kids. Not to put too fine a point on the argument, but for most LAUSD students public education is the only chance.

The evening began inauspiciously as some parents were turned away, others had been "uninvited" earlier.

Quote o' th' day: "We weren't expecting quite so many of you!"

The Mayor's team presented their plan – in reality a more-of-the-same statistical Attack on the District bandying words like 'failure' in a postmodern/monochromatic/bilingual PowerPoint presentation — but were defensively unwilling to make copies of the presentation available. Ninth grade enrollment was compared to twelfth grade graduation figures and the 50% dropout rate was bemoaned to great public horror. Unacceptable!! And to question the numbers was equated with Accepting the Unacceptable!

The facts: Ninth grade enrollment – that first year of high school - is a statistical bottleneck nationwide - inflated with numbers of students who didn't pass one or another class in the previous year (in college prep a "D" isn't passing). These students haven't yet had a chance to make it up ….and though they think they are sophomores and are taking mostly tenth grade classes these students are technically still ninth graders. Most of these second-year-freshmen will make up their classes in intersession and graduate with their class. Because of this bottleneck comparing eighth graders or tenth graders with graduates produces a much clearer (if not-as-horrifying) result. [See Ninth Grade Bottleneck, below] But parents who would question the fuzzy logic are immediately accused of embracing the status quo.

Next parents were asked to make recommendations on how to effect change; these were diligently recorded and never responded to. The most popular suggestion – it certainly got the biggest hand – was an entreaty to stay-the course. Reinventing reform and changing direction very few years before results can be realized will never get anyone anywhere!

The mayor arrived about an hour into the program to close the deal. This isn't about power he explained; he has all the power he needs. He doesn't want to run the school district, he wants a superintendent who serves at the pleasure of the Council of Mayors (where he controls 80% of the votes) to run the school district …with parents and teachers and principals running the schools and the bureaucracy virtually eliminated. If he can do what he wants to do and takeover/makeover the District he promises to raise $200 million (A year? A week? Over eight years?) to help fund stuff. $200 million is 2% of the LAUSD annual budget – a week's operating expense.

"If you think the District is doing OK in spite of the overwhelming evidence you are entitled to your opinion ….but did I mention that my approval rating is 85.6%?" [smf notes: …on Monday; 69.4% on Wednesday — down 16.2%]

The mayor presented no educational initiatives. He did not mention lengthening the school day or the school year …perhaps those proposals are so "last week"? He likes school uniforms. He's for discipline. Special Ed and Adult Ed ("leftovers" in previous versions of his plan) are critical. Taggers should clean up their mess. Folks in his office should do a better job of answering his mail. No Child Left Behind is underfunded. Teachers should dress better. He doesn't make personal attacks but LAUSD is like the school in "Blackboard Jungle". Racism is bad. Parenthood (the PC version of Motherhood) is good. Urgency is the word of the day.

We were told that Mayor Villariagosa is a 'take charge' kind of guy and we should trust him to take charge. We were given evaluations to complete: "Yes Mayor Villaraigosa, I want excellence and equity at all our schools for all our children. Count on me." was already checked for our convenience.

I spoke with a Latina parent after, she said she felt like the mayor had extended a hand in outreach …and then slapped her and other parents! The entire meeting was about governance and politics; the most chilling statistic is that 0% of the time was spent discussing education. Zero.

ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON the Board of Education held their own staged-if-not-so-scripted parent event. The Board invited four parent representatives from four other cites – New York, Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco – to present "Case Studies" on Mayoral Involvement in their cites. The LATimes Editorial Board, cheerleader for the Villaraigosa takeover attempt, was correctly critical of these as case studies. [see: L.A. SCHOOL STUNT BACKFIRES]. The parents from Chicago, New York and Detroit are outspoken critics of mayoral control. Mayors in New York and Chicago run the schools – with huge infusions of cash from their state treasuries. Detroit voters overwhelmingly repudiated mayoral control after a very unsuccessful experiment there. Parents in all three cities have been disenfranchised; under mayoral control no one in the schools is or was accountable to them. And, let's check in with reality: No one expects Sacramento to infuse any cash to LAUSD!

However, just because an opposing viewpoint wasn't presented doesn't mean the presentations were wrong or that the Board of Ed (or LAUSD parents) should be expected to be impartial in this debate. The case to study is that of San Francisco — where the Mayor Newsom is engaged and working within the system to effect change*, improve governance AND reform education in San Francisco Unified. Without taking over. – smf

*NOBODY EXPECTS THE GRAMMAR INQUISITION — but it's "effect change", not "affect change." According to Strunk and White, the Great Gospel of Grammar, they're both valid English phrases, but they mean different things. To effect change is to cause change while to affect change is to alter change. Mayor Villaraigosa proposes to affect change because change in LAUSD has begun and is well underway; Mayor Newsom is effecting change because he is truly a change agent.

THE NINTH-GRADE BOTTLENECK: an enrollment bulge in a transition year that demands attention and action - from the Amer. Association of School Admins.


By Duke Helfand and Mitchell Landsberg, LA Times Staff Writers

May 31, 2006 - SACRAMENTO — The struggle over the future of the Los Angeles public schools played out Tuesday in dueling lobbying campaigns across the state.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pitched his district takeover plan to impassive labor leaders in the state capital, as disgruntled parents in Los Angeles warned the school board about the shortcomings of mayoral control.

Villaraigosa made his latest foray into unfriendly territory, informing officials with the California Teachers Assn. and the California Federation of Teachers about the basic components of his plans — even though he was aware that he probably would not win their support.

"There has been a lot of speculation and misrepresentation about what we are proposing," Villaraigosa said in an interview between meetings. "At a minimum I want people to be informed" about what they are opposing.

Villaraigosa has proposed that a "council of mayors" — representing the 27 cities served by the Los Angeles Unified School District — hire and fire the superintendent and adopt the annual budget. Though Villaraigosa would share power with the other leaders, he would retain the most influential role.

Villaraigosa's visit to Sacramento came as state lawmakers expressed a growing skepticism about the takeover plan, which needs their approval because the district covers multiple political jurisdictions. Some are concerned about placing so much power in the mayor's hands and question whether he has the background to take on a system as large and complex as L.A. Unified.

The mayor, who did not visit legislators during his one-day trip, stressed that his interest in the school district was not about a power grab but about an effort to improve a system in crisis.

He said a new schools superintendent, hired by the mayor's council, would run the district.

"I'm not putting the power in myself. I'm putting it in the superintendent," Villaraigosa said. "I'm not going to run the school district. The superintendent will."

He added: "We're putting the powers in the superintendent so we're not micromanaging. That's the key. We're not telling him how to run the school district."

Villaraigosa, a former labor organizer, was received politely by longtime friends from the teachers unions as well as others at the California State Parent Teacher Assn. and the California Chamber of Commerce.

As expected, he did not sway the teachers unions' officials, although he found common ground with them on such issues as increasing teacher training and promoting smaller schools.

"I don't doubt his commitment, but I feel as a relatively new mayor that there are so many other things on his plate," said Mary Bergan, president of the California Federation of Teachers, which adopted a resolution earlier this year opposing mayoral control of schools. "I don't know what kind of upheaval it would bring."

The California PTA has not taken a position on the takeover plan, but President-elect Pam Brady said she was impressed by Villaraigosa's overture to her organization.

"I felt like we were listened to, like he was open to us taking any position, whether it was in opposition or not," Brady said. "He honestly laid his plan on the table and understood that some people will like it and some people won't."

In Los Angeles, the mayor's takeover plan took a drubbing at a special hearing called by the Los Angeles Board of Education. The meeting was ostensibly held for the board to hear "case studies" of how other cities have managed mayoral control of schools, but, with one exception, no effort was made to present the mayors' points of view.

The board had invited speakers from parent organizations in New York, Chicago and Detroit, all of which have experimented with mayoral control of education, and a mayoral aide from San Francisco, which has not. Either implicitly or explicitly, all of the speakers warned against a mayoral takeover in Los Angeles. School board members responded with some of their sharpest remarks about Villaraigosa's effort.

Carmen Colon, a parent from Brooklyn who is president of the Assn. of New York City Education Councils, warned that the school takeover by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had marginalized parents with a relatively trivial advisory role.

"All I can say to you is, it's your city, it's your school, it's your child, and don't let them forget that," she said.

Ismail Vargas, assistant director of a parent group in Chicago, said the school takeover in his city by Mayor Richard M. Daley had resulted in a more aloof, less responsive school system.

"This is the problem of mayors trying to take charge of the public education system," he said. "We call this the public education system — it's for the public, not for the mayor."

Shanta Driver, a parent from Detroit, described the short-lived mayoral control of the schools there as "a complete disaster."

"Any time you have a proposal for improving the schools that you can't get a majority of the school board to back, you know that proposal stinks," she said.

The Los Angeles board members seemed particularly taken by remarks from Hydra Mendoza, education advisor to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. She described how Newsom had sought "a partnership and a collaboration" with the elected Board of Education, but had no interest in taking over the schools.

She said the San Francisco mayor plays a role in setting aside up to $60 million a year in city funding for schools, to be used for universal preschool, sports and arts, and for discretionary funding by the district.

L.A. Unified board member Julie Korenstein, noting that Villaraigosa was in Sacramento, said: "He's just marching ahead. I mean, he doesn't care who he knocks aside along the way.

"How wonderful it would have been," she said, if Villaraigosa had offered a partnership instead of a challenge to the school board. "Can you imagine having a mayor say, 'Let me help you raise money for the schools?' …. But that was never up for discussion."

A spokeswoman for the mayor, Janelle Erickson, called the hearing "a blatant public relations move and a questionable use of taxpayer dollars, at best."

An assistant to board member David Tokofsky, who presided over the hearing, said the district spent less than $2,000 to fly the parent representatives to Los Angeles. "I think the taxpayers got their money's worth," Sarah Bradshaw said.

She said it was probably far less than Villaraigosa had spent for a fact-finding trip to New York, where he discussed mayoral control of schools with Bloomberg.

At Tuesday's hearing, the school board invited several representatives of Los Angeles parent groups to not only speak, but to sit behind the dais where elected board members sit — an unusual gesture that the parents accepted gratefully, but with some skepticism.

"For the first time, people want to know what we want," said Mary Johnson, of the Parent Collaborative, an umbrella group of parent organizations.

L.A. Unified: An article Wednesday in the California section about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's effort to take over the Los Angeles Unified School District misidentified the duties of a district employee. Sarah Bradshaw, identified as an aide to school board member David Tokofsky, left that job last week and is now director of special projects and outreach for the district.

▲ LA TIMES EDITORIAL: L.A. school stunt backfires

Flying in parents from as far as New York to criticize mayoral control of schools is embarrassing.

June 1, 2006 - Faced with a hostile takeover attempt by the mayor of Los Angeles, the school board has laced up its boxing gloves and is prepared for a good fight. Unfortunately, like an insecure fighter at a pre-match news conference, it also has decided to engage in some stunt-pulling that benefits neither its reputation nor its cause.

The board just about shredded what remains of its integrity and dignity Tuesday when it pretended to have a meeting about parental involvement. In fact, it was a staged "mayoral control stinks" rally. The district paid about $2,000 to bring in parent speakers who oppose mayoral control in New York, Chicago and Detroit.

The board has every right to put up its dukes. With Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa owning a substantial bully pulpit, why shouldn't the board get speakers from the other side? And if the mayor can fly East to do photo-ops with New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, why can't the board fly a few parents West? Coach, of course.

But the board should have done away with the pretense and simply called a meeting of the Committee of the Whole Against Antonio. By pretending that these speakers were there to present "case studies" on parental involvement, the board made a mockery of itself even as it illustrated one of its weakest points: Information, or even balanced opinion, is rarely on the agenda at school board meetings. Only one of the invited speakers Tuesday was a mayor's representative — from San Francisco, where the mayor has rejected the idea of taking over the schools.

The tirades from these ringer parents prompted some whoops of approval from the audience as members of the board sat back with satisfied smiles.

The smiles faltered a bit when the mother from New York complained that Bloomberg standardized the curriculum throughout the district. One of the L.A. administration's proudest accomplishments has been standardizing the reading curriculum, which improved scores in the elementary schools. And the Chicago father's pep talk turned awkward when he railed against charter schools for giving parents no voice. The board has approved more charter schools than any other board, and the schools are so popular that L.A. parents queue up for spots in them.

The bash — in both senses of the word — turned more somber at the end, when the meeting opened to L.A. parents. Several lambasted the district, saying that their experience with the board was not exactly welcoming. One parent noted that this was the first time her group had been invited to a meeting. If the board weren't feeling the heat from Villaraigosa, she said, such an invitation would probably never have come. Her remarks seemed to embarrass the board members — or maybe they finally realized what an embarrassment the afternoon's charade had been.

▲ Letter to the Editor:

As a concerned and involved parent in New York City where the experiment regarding mayoral control of the Public Education system has had some successes but some notable failures, I find your editorial stance curious. Invocation of the Law of Unintended Consequences is always in play when there are major changes in the administration of a huge bureaucracy such as a public school system. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have created a model where "sound" business practices are imposed on the educational system. This may appear to be a wonderful idea and in some cases it has worked but there are significant costs because the teaching of children is not banking, the production of entertainment content, nor is it a typical "service" industry.

One of the real problems in the case of mayoral control here in New York City has been the marginalization of parents in the decision making process. Policies such as adding new layers of standardized testing or elementary school admissions procedures are created and put in place which impacts the lives children and their families without regard for those whom are being affected. There are mechanisms such as the Office of Parent Engagement and the Community Education Councils (the state mandated replacement for the Community School Boards) that are supposed to be the vehicles through which the parents were to have an influence over what goes on in their children's schools. In reality, these agencies are a sham with the latter structure having no power to do anything other than talk, and the former serving as a tool to quiet the restless natives. This may be appealing to the members of your editorial board who seem to be dissatisfied with the actions of your current school boards but you lack a nuanced understanding of what you are going to get through this consolidation of power in the hands of your mayor. To dismiss serious questions about how implementation will actually work on the ground does a serious disservice to the very people you are supposed to serve.

Paul Mondesire
Parent, Citizen, former Community District Education Council Member
(District 3 in Manhattan)


by A.J. Duffy, Guest Columnist, LA Daily News

June 1, 2006 — Most of us know that there are no simple solutions to complex problems. Take urban public education, for example.

In Los Angeles, literally hundreds of thousands of students go to school each day without proper medical or dental care, without a safe way to get there, and without an enriched learning environment at home. The schools they arrive at are likely to have some combination of overcrowded classrooms, insufficient books and supplies and a demoralized staff of teachers and site administrators.

For some, these difficult problems suggest a single magic bullet - district breakup, mayoral oversight, charter schools, merit pay. But none of these "solutions" actually addresses the causes of low student achievement and high dropout rates in the Los Angeles Unified School District. What is really needed is a sober analysis of those causes and an end to the blame game.

United Teachers Los Angeles, for example, has been working with several community-based organizations to promote a positive, progressive vision of school reform. This vision has formed the basis of our bargaining demands for the next contract and the legislative proposals we are crafting in Sacramento.

We propose improving instruction by giving teachers - not district bureaucrats - the time, support and autonomy to choose their professional development and plan standards-based lessons that meet the needs of all their students. And high-needs schools must have extra resources to attract excellent teachers.

It's critical that we allow teachers the freedom and support to develop a rigorous, culturally relevant, student-centered curriculum.

Moreover, the LAUSD needs an overall devolution of power. We need to empower school-based councils with the support to make key decisions over school budgets, staff hiring and scheduling. Schools should be able to partner with community-based organizations to increase the involvement of parents and other family members in working with teachers to improve student achievement.

To achieve these reforms, we must secure sufficient funding from the state and shift district resources from the central and local district bureaucracies to the classroom. This is key to significantly lowering class sizes, hiring more support personnel, expanding professional development, developing parent academies and - yes - increasing teacher salaries so that the LAUSD is competitive with other districts.

Yet rather than acknowledge these proposals and engage with them, some have focused solely on UTLA's salary demands. Worse, several media outlets have mistakenly announced that our salary demand is 14 percent, when the bargaining proposal clearly states that UTLA would not advance a specific salary proposal until the state budget is finalized.

Yes, UTLA did say that LAUSD teachers deserve to be among the highest-paid in the county, given the difficulties of teaching here and the high cost of living. And we noted that that would require up to a 14 percent salary increase. But this was in no way this year's contract demand, but a goal.

All sides in this discussion must be accurately heard and respected. Rather than rancorous divisiveness, the public wants good-faith cooperation and problem-solving between all parties.
A.J. Duffy is president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

L.A. SCHOOLS: GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN — Cities worried about mayoral control over LAUSD should be able to opt out.
LA Times Editorial

June 2, 2006 - One major obstacle to the Los Angeles mayor's plan to take control of the Los Angeles schools is that they aren't all Los Angeles schools. They're also the schools of Carson, South Gate and a couple dozen other cities, whose residents are understandably worried about having their schools governed by a mayor they don't elect. Paradoxically, the best way for them to retain power over the Los Angeles Unified School District may be to leave it.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's solution to the school district's patchwork boundaries is a "council of mayors" to decide budget matters and hire the superintendent. The other mayors find fault with this because the mayor of L.A., with 80% of the population of the district, would retain 80% of the vote. Nor have the mayors been appeased by Villaraigosa's latest power-sharing plan, giving them the ability to veto his decisions on these matters by a majority or two-thirds vote.

It's hard to understand why the mayors of these other cities think this system of school governance would be worse than the current one. But if they do, rather than stop progress because of outdated boundaries, it would make better sense to change those boundaries.

There might not be 50 ways to leave your district, but these cities have a range of options. The most obvious would be to secede formally but contract with the Los Angeles schools. If the L.A. district doesn't do the job right, the cities could move to their other options: contracting with one or more charter operators; contracting with or joining another adjacent school district, or banding together to form a district of their own.

From the mayors' standpoint, the best option would be to use the threat of secession to ensure that Villaraigosa takes care of their students. But first, secession has to be a viable threat.

Under current law, seceding from a school district is a long and uncertain process. But because the Legislature is already expected to consider a bill that would remake L.A. Unified, it could also consider a provision that would allow its component cities to secede if they wish. Villaraigosa may even be able to drum up more support for his takeover plan if he adds such an escape clause.

There would be complications. Who owns the school buildings? Who would be responsible for the district's disastrous teacher-pension commitment? Villaraigosa, however, is a master at smoothing over complications (sometimes, it must be said, at an unacceptable cost). In this case, the results — newly empowered small cities, school boundaries that make sense and, best of all, the removal of a political barrier to mayoral takeover and better accountability for the schools — could be worth it.

▲So the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board supports the worst of both worlds: Mayoral control and breaking up the school district! After all, they are not the South Gate Times, or the San Fernando, West Hollywood or Carson Times. —smf


Column by Dan Walters/Sacramento Bee, also in Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County times, Argus, Alameda Times Star, Tri-Valley Herald

May 31, 2006 — The State Supreme Court's landmark Serrano vs. Priest decision more than three decades ago was the forerunner to the perpetual political battles over school finance that have come to dominate the Capitol's annual dance over the state budget.

At the time, schools were financed largely by local property taxes, but individual school districts varied widely in the amount of taxable property that stood behind each child, leading to immense differences in their ability to raise money.

The court ruled that such a system was innately unfair to students in "low wealth" districts and, in effect, directed the state to begin equalizing school finances.

One might think that disparities of property values would somehow correlate to disparities in the personal finances of students' families and in some poor rural areas they did match, but mostly they didn't.

"High wealth" districts tended to be either those with huge underground pools of taxable oil, such as those in Kern County, or urban districts such as San Francisco Unified with immense tracts of office buildings, hotels and other commercial property.

In the main, moreover, "low wealth" districts tended to be in middle- or upper-middle-class suburbs with lots of kids and houses but little commercial property.

Thus, a judicial decision meant to help poor kids actually worked to the disadvantage of districts with large numbers of poor kids and to the advantage of districts with kids from more affluent families, giving the latter legal leverage for more equalization money — and that's why suburban legislators, mostly Republicans, were the most vociferous advocates of implementing Serrano vs. Priest.

Urban Democrats dreamed up ways to get around the equalization decree, primarily by creating a series of "categorical aid" programs that weren't subject to its provisions.

San Francisco Unified was especially blessed by the rules governing these special pots of money because the legislative leadership during the 1970s and 1980s was dominated by San Franciscans such as Assembly Speakers Leo McCarthy and Willie Brown.

The huge injections of state money into San Francisco became the stuff of political legend, such as permanently fixing the formula for distributing what was known as "urban impact aid" on the rates of welfare dependency that existed for one year.

By-and-by, the various forms of categorical aid amounted to many billions of dollars and school districts hired platoons of lobbyists to increase and/or protect their shares, no matter how illogical, outmoded or just plain phony the rationale for the allocations might have been.

Once the state became the primary source of school finance, categorical aids blossomed even more because governors funneled money into whatever trendy nostrum — reduced class sizes, for example — they had embraced to bolster their credentials as education advocates.

Categorical aids are, in fact, a form of educational pork barrel, but certainly not the only one. And the $37 billion package of bonds to finance infrastructure improvements, headed for the November ballot at the behest of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders, is a case in point.

One of the more obvious examples is a $1 billion piece of the school bond issue that's earmarked to relieve "hyperdense" crowding in schools.

Everyone in the Capitol knows the pot is a gift to Los Angeles Unified by how it defined uses of the money, and to the construction unions, because it must be used to replace portable classrooms with permanent facilities. In fact, by mandating that the portables be replaced, the money will do little to actually relieve overcrowding.

Politically, the most interesting aspect of the Los Angeles coup was that it represents a turnaround in Capitol power. San Francisco no longer dominates the legislative leadership the way it once did. The departure of the irascible John Burton as president pro tem of the Senate, combined with a perpetual claim on the Assembly speakership by Los Angeles, has meant a geographic switch. The current speaker, Fabian Nuez, and his three immediate predecessors all are Angelenos, including the new mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.

Or as they say in the Capitol, what goes around comes around.

• United States Senator: DIANNE FEINSTEIN
• 36th Congressional District: JANE HARMAN

• Governor: STEVE WESTLY — Go Steve and beat Arnold. And if you win Phil do the same!
• Lieutenant Governor: JACKIE SPEIER
• Attorney General: JERRY BROWN — Jerry Brown has the most impressive resume in California politics; it's safe to say he's not looking to feather his resume by becoming Attorney General. He is politically astute and while not exciting …is truly remarkable.
• Secretary Of State: DEBRA BOWEN
• Controller: NO ENDORSEMENT
• Treasurer: BILL LOCKYER
• Insurance Commissioner — NO ENDORSEMENT — There's too much insurance company money in this race!
• State Board of Equalization, District Four: JUDY CHU — What's with the True Crime Investigation TV ads from Jerome Horton?
• State Superintendent of Public Instruction: JACK O’CONNELL — O'Connell has done a good job contesting with Schwarzenegger's succession of Education Secretaries (who hold the real power of the education purse) in Sacramento. His advocacy for the Exit Exam is well meant and understandable and forgiven …but he really needs some new jokes!

• 20th State Senate: ALEX PADILLA — an active opponent of Mayoral takeover.
• 28th State Senate: JENNY OROPEZA — Anyone who ran against Fabian Núñez for Assembly Speaker can't be all bad!
• 41ST ASSEMBLY: Julia Brownley — Santa Monica/Malibu School Board Member Brownley promises to direct more funds into the classroom and make public schools her first priority.
• 42nd Assembly: MIKE FEUER — The Williams Consent decree was negotiated in part by Feuer; he must have picked up some valuable knowledge of public education in that. Go to Sacramento Mike and use the knowledge for good.
• 43rd Assembly: PAUL KREKORIAN — Former Burbank USD School Board Member gets the nod.
• 44th Assembly: ANTHONY PORANTINO — I really like Anthony in AD 44 …we need Democrats that Republicans can support—and (what a concept!) vice versa in government.
• 45th Assembly Democrat: ELENA POPP
• 45th Assembly Republican: SAMANTHA ALLEN-NEWMAN — Chavez runs on the family name, avoiding debates, controversy and the voters; de León on the political coattails of Fabian Núñez and Antonio Villaraigosa. Buelna seems to be running for City Council. Both Popp and Allen-Newman are opposed to Mayoral Takeover of LAUSD. This shouldn't really be an issue for our state legislators …but the mayor is intent on making it so!
• 48th Assembly: NO ENDORSEMENT
• 49th Assembly: MIKE ENG — OK, Eng is the term limited out incumbent's husband ….but he's also the Mayor of Monterey Park. Mike has a sense of humor and he's gonna need it in Sacramento.
• 51st Assembly: NO ENDORSEMENT
• 55th Assembly: WARREN FURUTANI — Furutani has been on the LAUSD School Board – back in the bad old days – and the Community College District, where he has served well. He understands the role of community colleges in Pre-K thru 14 education in preparing students with opportunity for higher Ed and the workplace. All that education background will be valuable in Sacramento.
• COUNTY SUPERVISOR: ZEV YAROSLAVSKY, THIRD DISTRICT — Incumbency in LA County elected office, devoid of term limits, is its own reward. It almost makes one hunger for term limits. Almost.

• LAUSD School Board Office #2 — Unfortunately NONE OF THE ABOVE. Write in someone else.

• Prop 81: Library Bonds. YES. Money well spent for a good cause.
• Prop 82: Preschool. NO. Money poorly spent for a good cause; we can and must do better!

If you think I'm right, please vote with me.
If you think I'm wrong, please vote against me.
But please: VOTE! Vote like the future depends on it. —smf

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213.633.7493
Phone: 213.633.7616


What can YOU do?
►PARENTS: YOU SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED THE LAUSD PARENT SURVEY IN THE PAST WEEK OR TWO. Please complete it today and return it in the postage paid envelope.

►CONTACT YOUR ASSEMBLYPERSON AND STATE SENATOR [link below to find them]. Tell them what you think about their wasting their time, effort and the taxpayer's money on the mayor's attempt at takeover or makeover – an effort that is patently unconstitutional and will never survive a court challenge. Their time, the mayor's time, the board of education's time – all of our time, thinking and hard work - is better spent working together rather than at odds to continue and support the very real efforts at reform already begun. Their time is better spent helping LAUSD find a new superintendent, guaranteeing an improved funding stream for all California schools and helping kids in the classroom, on the playground; during, before and after school.




• E-mail, call or write your school board member: • 213-241-6387
- office vacant - • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6385 • 213-241-6386 • 213-241-6383

...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think!
Call or e-mail Governor Schwarzenegger: 213-897-0322 e-mail:
• 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.

Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?

Scott Folsom is a parent and parent leader in LAUSD. He is President of Los Angeles 10th District PTSA and represents PTA as Vice-chair the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He serves on various school district advisory and policy committees and is a PTA officer and/or governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is also the elected Youth & Education boardmember on the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council.
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