Sunday, June 11, 2006

Remembering Augustin

4LAKids: Sunday, June 11, 2005
In This Issue:
PANEL SEEKS DECENTRALIZED L.A. UNIFIED, Teachers Union to Begin Informational Picketing
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
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.
Teacher Vivienne Ortega wrote the Times on June 8th: "When I first heard about the student shot and killed Monday at Venice High School, I hoped it was not one of 'my students.' But I found out that it was a student I taught in the 2000-2001 school year.

"Augustin Contreras was a sixth-grade student in my ESL intermediate class, two hours a day, five days a week. Yes, I remember him well.

"He was articulate, bright, not a passive child. He was definitely a kid who wanted to learn and wanted to be educated. He was not an angry or an unhappy child.

"I have spent much of today remembering Augustin. I know that there are many others who are doing the same thing."

■ The tragedy in education of last week was not the failure of Props 81 or 82. Or which students will or will not participate in graduation because they did or did not pass the CAHSEE — or 'who said what to whom' at Academia Semillas del Pueblo. The tragedy was at Venice High School as kids with guns fought over jewelry and imagined insults. Gang related or race related, hate crime or theft; none of that matters because Augustin Contreras is suddenly and irretrievably dead. Augustin is the first student shot and killed on an LAUSD campus in a long time …but the last time should never have happened either.

The mayor and the school board can have their power struggle, and we can all weigh in — but if the power is ultimately held by kids with guns it is all for naught. Securing our schools and keeping our children safe at school – and between home and school – must be job #1 for the mayor and the school board and for each and every single one of us — it is so much bigger than test scores and textbooks and clean bathrooms. Students, parents and teachers have a right to be and to feel safe in their schools… in our schools. There should never be a difference in how safe one feels in the classroom, the hallway, the restroom, on the field or in the teacher's parking lot.

On the very eve of the United States' entry into World War II President Roosevelt proposed that there are Four Essential and Universal Freedoms that all of humankind is entitled to:

"The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

"The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

"The third is freedom from want …everywhere in the world.

"The fourth is freedom from fear."

Everywhere in the world. We have a way to go. - smf

We have heard that your Mayor is lobbying to obtain control of the public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

As parents in New York City and Chicago, we would like to warn you against allowing this to occur. Despite all the talk about how this will improve "accountability" and lead to improvements in your schools, we have experienced Mayoral control, and it has led to even less accountability than before.

The Mayors of our cities and their appointees now feel empowered to ignore the priorities of parents, teachers, and other stakeholders in the system, and have imposed radical changes from above without reference to research, experience, or conditions on the ground. This has resulted in more chaos, violence, and worsening opportunities for many of our students.

There is no genuine consultation with any of the people who best understand the needs of our children. There are no checks and balances on the erratic and often irrational decision-making of the officials in charge, and no respect for our rights to have a say in how our children's schools are run.

Some recent examples from NYC: a ban on allowing students to bring their cell phones to school, violations of state law as regards class size, a smaller percentage of funds devoted to instruction, increased overcrowding, more bureaucracy, more police in the schools, less transparency in spending, and huge contracts routinely bypassing the City Council, the City Comptroller, and every other independent authority.

In Chicago, schools have been closed and handed over to private contractors connected to the Mayor. Our elected parent-majority local school councils, which have an 18-year track record of successful school improvement, are being disbanded and replaced with toothless advisory boards. Scarce resources are being taken from the poorest schools and handed over to schools in more advantaged communities.

Even those educational initiatives that might have held promise, such as the formation of more small schools in both cities, have been botched because of poor planning, inept implementation, and the total absence of any attention given to the collateral damage on other schools in the system.

We have much in common with you, as parents of the three largest school districts in the nation. Like you, our schools are unfairly under-funded and our children have many unmet educational needs. We urge you to do everything you can to ensure that Mayoral control is not added to the list of the problems we share, so that your schools work for your children, not for any individual's political gain.


Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters, and NYC parent

Julie Woestehoff, Executive Director, Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), Chicago |

PANEL SEEKS DECENTRALIZED L.A. UNIFIED, Teachers Union to Begin Informational Picketing

by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer, LA Daily News

June 9, 2006 - A commission analyzing Los Angeles Unified's governance structure voted Thursday on ways to decentralize the behemoth district, while the teachers union ratcheted up its own push for greater school-site autonomy.

The Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance was created in April 2005 by the presidents of the City Council and the school board to recommend whether the structure of the nation's second-largest school district should be altered and how.

The panel decided, for instance, that budgets and lesson plans should be handled by individual schools, while the district's central administration should oversee transportation and school charter issues.

"What they're saying is decentralization will empower the local school to better serve students," said Bill Mabie, spokesman for Councilman Alex Padilla, who co-founded the commission. "The idea is that if there's more empowerment at the school level it also empowers parents because there are people who are accountable right there at the school site."

Meanwhile, United Teachers Los Angeles has scheduled informational pickets today as part of its effort to gain more resources and control at the school level.

The demonstrations coincide with the start of contract negotiations.

"We're going to be doing informational leafletting and talking to parents about our contract demands and our plans for working with the community," UTLA President A.J. Duffy said. "We're going to be stepping up our attacks on the bureaucracy. We're going to push very hard and these informational leaflettings are our opening statement to the district that we are serious and we need them to come to the table with all seriousness."

In April, UTLA proposed reforming the 727,000-student school district by eliminating the eight local districts and replacing them with six regional resource centers that would have no decision-making authority.

Most personnel from district headquarters and local districts would be moved into school sites, Duffy said.

UTLA also pushed for increasing the seven-member school board by two and making the positions full time.


by Andrew Taylor, Associated Press Writer | San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, June 7, 2006 – (AP) – Health research, school aid and social services for the poor would bear budget cuts under a bill approved by a House panel Wednesday.

But despite the cuts in a bill providing $141.9 billion for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, lawmakers found $1 billion more than last year for back-home projects unrequested by President Bush. Those include grants to local hospitals and clinics and research earmarks for universities and colleges in lawmakers' districts.

The House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee approved the bill by a 9-7 party-line vote Wednesday after Democrats such as Rep. David Obey savaged the bill for its cuts to the National Institutes of Health, programs funded by the 2002 No Child Left Behind education bill and for reducing the federal share for special education programs.

Overall, the NIH would be frozen at last year's levels, though almost every individual institute — including those funding research into child development, alcohol and drug abuse, mental health and general medicine — would face cuts.

"This bill defines our priorities," Obey said. He said the cuts to programs such as the elimination of $272 million in school technology grants were the inevitable result of a deficit squeeze brought on by several recent rounds of GOP tax cuts.

The bill also cuts grants to help schools recruit, hire and train teachers to meet No Child Left Behind mandates by $300 million, or 10 percent. The measure also cuts safe and drug free school grants by 10 percent.

Republicans countered that they had produced as fair a bill as possible in tight budget times. They highlighted a $100 increase in the maximum Pell Grant to $4,150 and a double-digit percentage increase for community health centers.

The bill would restore $4.1 billion worth of deeper cuts proposed by Bush for programs covered by the measure. For instance, Bush-proposed cuts to programs aimed at helping minorities enter the medical profession were significantly eased.

That still may not be enough to satisfy GOP moderates, who are pressing for $3 billion more to bring these programs up to levels approved two years ago. House GOP leaders have promised to find the $3 billion by the time the measure is presented to Bush, but that is unlikely to happen until a postelection lame duck session.

The impact of the cuts spread throughout the bill, Obey said, is intensified when inflation and population growth are factored in.

The draft bill is the single largest spending measure passed each year for domestic programs and includes another $455 billion for benefit programs such as Medicaid whose budgets rise as if on automatic pilot.

The panel's action also rekindles a battle fought last year over the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The bill would cut by 5 percent previously appropriated funds for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 and eliminate subsidies for educational programs and technological upgrades.

The bill also fails to provide future-year funding for public television as is the typical practice.

Congress created the corporation in 1967 to shield public broadcasting from political influence. It distributes federal subsidies to PBS, National Public Radio and hundreds of public radio and television stations.

Meanwhile, the House gave only cursory debate to a $3 billion measure funding its own budget. That represents a 4 percent increase. Floor action moved so swiftly that a half-dozen members who hoped to offer amendments such as a plan to block smoking areas in House office buildings lost their chance.

A vote on the legislative funding bill is expected later Wednesday while the Labor-HHS bill goes before the full Appropriations panel next week.


Editorial: Inside Bay Area | The Argus (Fremont, CA)

June 10, 2006 - The message implicit in Tuesday's drubbing of Proposition 82, the universal preschool proposal, was simple and direct: fix K-12 first.

If we can't lift our basic public school system out of the doldrums, we have no business adding another year of education and creating another bureaucracy to maintain it.

By most measures of quality, California's school system continues to rank near the bottom among the 50 states. Adding a year of preschool at a cost of $2.4 billion per annum isn't going to help much if K-12 remains broken. Fix it first and then we can consider a public preschool system.

After all, the existing preschool network, including private as well as publicly funded schools, isn't broken, opponents of Proposition 82 say.

What that means for the vision of actor/director Rob Reiner and supporters of Proposition 82 remains to be seen. About 65 percent of California's youngest children already attend day care or preschools.

While conceding defeat, Reiner called on opponents to support the idea of public preschool. But the loss was resounding. Sixty-one percent of California voters opposed the initiative. Yet, most local ballot measures funneling money into building or renovating K-12 schools passed, so it wasn't an anti-tax turnout.

Some say 82 lost because it raised taxes and didn't channel benefits to the neediest Californians. The latter may have turned off some liberals, while conservatives hate talk of more taxes — even if aimed only at the wealthiest among us — or a new state bureaucracy.

After all, the rationale went, $2.4 billion a year wouldn't significantly bump up preschool attendance, and a formal system would be hard to scrap once established.

Of the victors we ask: Would the same measure pass if the money went to secondary education, as opponents said they would prefer? And, would it pass if the money was aimed at preschool for low-income children, who studies say would benefit most from it?

Some voters were turned off by families who already pay for preschool getting it free. Proposition 82 also required preschool teachers to get bachelor's degrees and made them part of organized labor.

Private and public preschools already exist in California, with federal and state funds helping children from lower-income households to attend. Hope for advancement is tied to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger earmarking $100 million in next year's budget for preschools, and advocates in 13 counties, including San Mateo and San Francisco, implementing publicly funded programs.

Advocates argue that studies show preschools are a good way to help students from marginal backgrounds start on a level playing field, stay in school and graduate.

But if the K-12 school system that comes afterward doesn't measure up, it may not matter.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources


by Lisa M. Sodders, Staff Writer, LA Daily News

June 8, 2006 - Despite its campaign against childhood obesity, the Los Angeles Unified School District failed to provide its elementary students with the minimum amount of physical education mandated by the state, a study released today says.

The report, "Dropping the Ball," found that 51 percent of 73 California school districts with elementary students failed to provide youngsters with 200 minutes of physical education every 10 days - or an average of 20 minutes a day.

"Our priorities are tragically skewed," said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which examined data provided by the state Department of Education. "We're in the midst of a severe and growing childhood obesity epidemic, and yet most of our children are missing out on even the most basic school physical-activity opportunities."

Ironically, L.A. Unified was among the first to ban soda and junk food on its campuses to curb childhood obesity. But administrators say they've had to sacrifice physical education while beefing up efforts to improve academic achievement.

"When teachers are looking at the pressures of the day and everything on their plates to teach, I don't think they consciously leave physical education out. It just sometimes gets pushed off the plate," said Ronni Ephraim, LAUSD's chief instructional officer for elementary programs.

The district has launched a training program to help elementary school teachers incorporate physical education into a school day already crowded with required academic subjects, she said.

For example, a teacher could have students go out for a run and then calculate their heart rate as part of a science lesson.

Elementary school teachers are required to devote 2 1/2 hours a day to language-arts instruction and an hour to math, in addition to science, social studies, health education and other subjects, Ephraim said.

And more than half of the district's elementary school students are English-language learners who require additional instruction.

"To close the achievement gap," Ephraim said, "we have to give kids more time."

The additional teacher training will help, but it might take the district a couple of years to come fully into compliance, she said.

Because the state Department of Education has been monitoring compliance for only two years, it is concentrating its efforts on bringing districts into compliance rather than issuing penalties, said Rosie Thomas, compliance oversight manager for the department.

The problem is compounded by the fact that few elementary teachers have adequate training to teach physical education. Even so, schools need to make it more of a priority, Goldstein said.

"Physical education is the ugly stepchild in California public schools," he said. "There are children who need additional assistance - in learning language, for example - but that doesn't mean the time should be taken away from physical education. ... If physical education became a higher priority, students in LAUSD would do better academically. It's not either-or. It's both."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed spending $85 million to improve physical education in kindergarten through eighth grade, but the state Legislature wants to allocate that money as block grants schools could use as they please, Goldstein said.

"The governor has thrown a touchdown pass," he said, "and the Legislature is about to drop the ball."

►CHARTER SCHOOL FIGHTING BACK: As Academia Semillas del Pueblo holds an open house, supporters deny criticism that the campus promotes a separatist agenda.

By Carla Rivera, LA Times Staff Writer

June 9, 2006 — Academia Semillas del Pueblo, a charter elementary school in El Sereno, held an open house Thursday, where groups of children in brightly colored red and yellow shirts sat in circles and played games as others listened intently to teachers reading history lessons in Spanish or sang songs in Mandarin.

But the day's routines could not drown out the furor on the playground outside, where community members, teachers, parents and educators faced reporters and cameramen and defended the school against charges that it was teaching a separatist racial agenda and was lagging in student achievement.

Controversy surrounding Semillas del Pueblo exploded on talk radio and the conservative Internet blogosphere last week after assertions were made that the school enrolled only Latinos and was instructing students in Nahuatl, a native language of Mexico.

The school's critics, led by KABC-AM (790) talk show host Doug McIntyre, insist that Semillas del Pueblo is racist and should be shut down. Many critics also say that the statements of one of its founders, Marcos Aguilar, support extremist views.

Passions were further inflamed after a KABC radio reporter said he was physically accosted and followed after he had tried to interview school officials. Since then the school has received violent threats and has increased security.

Following reports of stressed-out students, the Los Angeles Unified School District has offered crisis counselors to help the students cope.

The district, which approved the school's charter status, also visited the school unannounced to investigate claims of discrimination and to ensure that students were learning in a safe environment.

"We looked specifically for any indications of any overt discriminatory practices on campus, such as statements on bulletin boards that expressed racial animus, were kids learning English, was math being taught consistent with California standards, and my understanding is they left satisfied that nothing of great concern was going on," said Kevin Reed, general counsel for the district.

The district is also looking at financial and business records.

But Reed said the school was an independent charter, which, under state law, mostly operates like a separate school district with authority to conduct daily operations, hire and fire staff, and institute work rules.

Supporters contend that the school, which opened in 2002, has been unfairly scrutinized and has been drawn into a cultural battle driven by the politics of narrow-minded ideologues. At Thursday's news conference, school officials denounced the dispute's heated rhetoric and played portions of an expletive-filled bomb threat that forced the school's evacuation last Friday.

"We want to thank everybody, including Mr. McIntyre, for reminding us that we live in America and what America is today," said Aguilar, a longtime activist in the Chicano rights movement and a former social studies teacher at Garfield High School. "That, with hate radio, a school can be turned into a target and that young children can be called future terrorists. Semillas del Pueblo has never been about exclusion. We want to grow and build bridges with other races … with everyone seen as the other. We stand with them and we're here to educate their children as well."

Parents extolled the school's curriculum and its emphasis on multicultural values. Its demographics reflect the community, which is predominantly Latino. But its enrollment this year includes white, black, Latino, Asian American, American Indian and native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander children, according to records.

"My 7-year-old daughter is in the first grade and she's been crying, saying that people just don't understand what the school is doing for us — all the art we're making, all the corn we're growing in the park," said Alfredo Woods, who identified himself as an Afro-Cuban American. "The school has brought so much insight to the community and the kids themselves."

But critics insist that the school espouses a covert separatist ethos.

"No, they're not putting up signs that blacks and Asians and whites need not apply, but if the school's original charter and website say they will teach inner-city kids in their own language and cultural values, well, it's self-segregating," McIntyre said in a phone interview.

"It's the antithesis of what Martin Luther King was teaching and what Cesar Chavez was teaching," he said.

McIntyre deplored the threats directed at the school but said he had received death threats as well. He argued that whatever philosophy the school was promoting, it was not advancing student achievement.

Semillas del Pueblo's Academic Performance Index score of 577 (out of a possible 1,000) ranks it among the lowest performing schools in the state. The L.A. school district is reviewing the school's charter, which expires next year, and is sending teams in to evaluate the curriculum, teaching methods and other aspects of the program. District officials said no decisions have been made about renewal.

Principal Minnie Ferguson said most of the students at the school are socio-economically disadvantaged and typically come with the lowest test scores from surrounding schools. And she said that other measures of achievement are more encouraging, showing Semillas del Pueblo students advancing to English fluency at a greater rate than L.A. Unified students overall. The school is working with a consulting firm to improve outcomes, Ferguson said.

"We're opening doors for our students and preparing them to become leaders in harmony with the world," she said.


by Sandy Banks, LA Times Staff Writer

June 8, 2006 — More than $73 million was spent making Los Angeles Unified campuses safer this school year. But it's the $300,000 that wasn't spent on Nobel Middle School that makes students and teachers on the Northridge campus feel secure.

While other schools lined up for money for guards and gates, Nobel — unfenced for 44 years — turned back a plan this spring to surround the school with a security fence.

The rejection has some school board members shaking their heads. The district lists Nobel as the only unfenced campus among its 550 schools.

"Sure, the neighborhood around the school is very nice, very safe," said Donna Smith, an aide to school board member Jon Lauritzen, who proposed the fence. "But would you leave your nice Jaguar unlocked on the street all night? I doubt it. We live in the real world…. Very bad people come through very nice communities too."

But fences are for locking students in, as well as strangers out.

At Nobel, the students "don't feel like it's a prison," Principal Robert Coburn said. "They feel like we trust them … and they are very, very proud of that."

More than 600 students wrote letters and circulated petitions opposing the proposed fence. Teachers and parents also protested. It's not just about aesthetics, they said, but also about the notion that freedom promotes responsibility, and students rise to the challenge.

The 20-acre campus — in an upper-middle class neighborhood along a busy thoroughfare, midway between a freeway exit and a shopping mall — has for years been a shining light in a district under fire for its foundering middle schools.

It has the highest test scores of any district middle school, even though half of its 2,200 students are bused in from other neighborhoods — some to attend the school's math and science magnet and others to get away from crowded inner-city schools. Its attendance record is always among the district's best and there is little crime or vandalism.

Still, district officials are not entirely comfortable with the open campus. "We understand why they like it the way it is," Smith said. "But the safety and welfare of students and employees is a primary responsibility of the district."

Smith is a former principal of nearby Chatsworth High School, which added a wrought-iron fence around its campus a decade ago. "We loved the feeling of the open campus too," she said. "But kids would come over from other schools and cause problems: fights, graffiti…. We realized we couldn't be out there all the time, supervising every corner."

Like every Los Angeles Unified school, Nobel is officially a closed campus. Students aren't allowed to leave without permission, and parents and other visitors are required to sign in at the front office and wear visitors' badges when they're on campus.

But unlike other campuses, there is no gate to pass through, no single entrance and exit. Its walkways, lockers and green-trimmed classrooms are open to the street, separated only by a low brick wall, a grassy lawn and a border of assorted greenery: pine trees, roses, oleander bushes, bottlebrush trees and hedges of fragrant rosemary.

"You come onto this campus — it's like coming to a park," physical education teacher Mike Tovey said. "We don't like to brag about it because we want people to leave us alone."

Tovey began teaching at the school 38 years ago when Northridge was considered the hinterland — there was little traffic on surrounding roads and horses were pastured across the street.

Today, that land is a development of million-dollar homes, with swimming pools and tennis courts, and Nobel draws many of its students from nearby gated communities.

Principal Coburn said new parents often are concerned about the school's layout and its lack of apparent security.

He worried too when he was assigned to the school 14 years ago. "I thought 'Good grief, there's no fence. How will we keep kids off campus on the weekend?' "

In fact, there are occasional trespassers when school is not in session. "Every once in a while, somebody will come on campus, drive a motorcycle across the grass, make a couple of circles on the eighth-grade lawn," Tovey said. "But it grows over."

The unsanctioned visitors are more likely to be parents teaching children to ride their bikes on the wide, empty paths that wend through the campus; skateboarders practicing their tricks in the parking lot; or teachers whiling away a Saturday afternoon in their quiet classrooms.

The school has safety advantages that other campuses don't.

It's in a neighborhood with one of the lowest crime rates in Los Angeles, and where hundreds turn out at community meetings sponsored by the police.

The campus is seldom deserted, because local sports leagues use the gym and fenced athletic fields for games and practices on evenings and weekends.

And because it is surrounded by homes, the students have little incentive to leave. "If we had a strip mall across the street, we probably couldn't do this," Coburn said. "There's very little foot traffic around here, no place the kids can go quickly and disappear."

Neighbors tend to call police if they see unusual activity. Teachers — many of whom live nearby — cruise past on weekends. An assistant principal has images beamed to his home from a security camera that surveys the campus.

"It's a true community school, the old-fashioned type," Los Angeles Police Sgt. Rick Gibby said. "People moved into that neighborhood because it was a great school for their kids to go to, so everybody takes responsibility…. It's kind of like Mayberry."

Physical education teacher Cheree Coyle said teachers "are not naive" about safety risks. They lock their classroom doors, monitor the campus between classes and have emergency walkie-talkies that connect them directly to the main office.

"If someone wacko wants to get on campus, they'll find a way," Coyle said. "But when you look at all the things this school needs — more computers, new PE equipment, a weed-eater because there are so many cracks in the blacktop — a fence is not on anybody's list."

For now, school board officials have dropped the plan. "We know people like that campus. It's the way things used to be in the past, and people are comfortable with that," school board aide Smith said.

But every morning, she notes, cars are lined up two deep, unloading children on the sidewalk outside Nobel.

"The parents say 'We don't need a fence. It's so safe around here….' Then they'll drive their kids a block or two and drop them right at the door. Because they're too afraid to let them walk to school alone."

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
►Monday Jun 12, 2006
6:30 p.m.
Mulholland Middle School
17120 Vanowen Street
Van Nuys, CA 91406

►Tuesday Jun 13, 2006
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 this project may have on the surrounding environment.
Your comments and concerns are very important. Please join us!
6:00 p.m.
49th Street Elementary School Auditorium
750 East 49th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90011

►Wednesday Jun 14, 2006
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Commonwealth Elementary School - Auditorium
215 S. Commonwealth Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004

►Thursday Jun 15, 2006
At this meeting we will present the design of the new school and discuss the next steps in the school construction process.
6:00 p.m.
20th Street Elementary School
1353 E. 20th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90011

*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213.633.7493
Phone: 213.633.7616


What can YOU do?
►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.
• In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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