Sunday, September 03, 2006

The "F" Word

4LAKids: Sunday, September 3, 2006 | Back2School
In This Issue:
Adventures in Mayoral Control: NYC SCHOOLS HIRED GUNS' FAT CHECKS
Dear Antonio, Sincerely Alan: THE BIG ORANGE v. THE BIG RAISIN
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

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4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
We heard a lot about failure during the argument over Mayoral Control and AB 1381.

Obviously we parents and LAUSD stakeholders failed to convince the state legislature that this bill is bad for Los Angeles.

We failed to convince the Mayor that he needs to have dialog with all stakeholders, not just the campaign donors.

The State Legislative Counsel said it – but failed to convince the legislators: This bill is unconstitutional – both before and after all the amendments were made to it.

There is a single high stakes test that we've all failed, a litmus test that all public education decisions must pass: "Is it best for kids?"

But the biggest failure is – as the mayor has claimed – in education. In years past we failed to teach youngsters who grew up – like we and the American Dream promised they would – to be public officials. We failed to teach them respect for the rule of law. We failed to teach them to keep the promise made when the held up their hand and promised to defend the State Constitution. We failed to teach them right from wrong.

Monday Senator Ortiz stood in the well of the Senate and said, in essence, that the Senate had done worse in the past, done worse on public disclosure and conflict of interest and accountability – with far more money at stake. She didn't like it then but and I quote directly: "We've already stepped over that line members, so let's go forward."

She said that and others followed her advice. They've done worse in the past so it's OK to do badly now? They have done worse, to be sure. But I always thought the goal of public service is to do well, …to do better, …to do good.

In another piece of convoluted logic quoted in the press (And in a semblance of fairness or the lack thereof: The press has been known to twist quotes to fit their storyline as badly as politicians torture logic to fit theirs!) Senator Romero argued that the Legislative Counsel is wrong about the bill's unconstitutionality for the very reason that this is something nobody has ever done before! Really? You think maybe nobody's ever done it before because it's wrong?

All is not lost. The courts will throw some - if not all - of this out. The court battles will cost a lot of the taxpayer's money —and a lot of time. Maybe the voters will throw some of the fuzzy thinking politicos out.

As parents we make a promise to our children every day of our lives and their lives; we promise to do the best we can for them. For the most part we do an imperfect but pretty up and walkin' job of keeping that promise. So we parents will continue do what we do with or without the mayor and the school board. We will parent; we will go to meetings and pack lunches and help with homework and we will continue to work for our children and all children. We will do these things because we really have no choice; the desire for the best for our kids is encoded in our DNA. But we also note that we weren't given a choice on this one by the very folks who say they are there for us.

Onward! – smf

► NEWS NOT FIT TO PRINT ….OR SOMETHING: (Aug 31 AP) — Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Wednesday the No Child Left Behind Act is close to perfect. "I talk about No Child Left Behind like Ivory soap: It's 99.9 percent pure or something," Spellings told reporters.

Spellings (cont.): "There's not much needed in the way of change."

by Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times

August 31, 2006 — LOS ANGELES, Aug. 30 — With a push of legislators’ voting buttons, Los Angeles on Tuesday night became the first American city west of Chicago to hand the reins of its deeply troubled public schools to the mayor, at least nominally.

“I cannot possibly convey the sense of hope I feel for our city’s future right now,” Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa said at a celebratory news conference on Wednesday outside a charter school in South Los Angeles.

But the measure passed by the State Legislature, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to sign sight unseen, bears little resemblance to those passed by lawmakers in New York, Boston and Chicago in recent years.

The legislation, almost certain to be challenged in court, gives little real power to the mayor, spreading it instead among myriad officials. Further, it leaves many important decisions in the hands of the very school board that such legislation usually seeks to marginalize. As a result, school management experts said, the legislation lacks the central component of most reform efforts: accountability.

“The typical argument for mayoral control is that it will focus responsibility and accountability with one person,” said Joseph P. Viteritti, a professor of public policy at Hunter College who closely follows school governing battles around the country.

“The thinking is that if the mayor is accountable for the school district,” Professor Viteritti said, “it will have more leadership and the mayor will focus more attention on the school district, and this is true in New York and Boston. The problem with L.A. is that you really are not unifying accountability, because the mayor is one of several chief executives who are in charge.”

Since he was elected 15 months ago, Mr. Villaraigosa had worked to take over the school system, the nation’s second-largest, which educates 727,000 students over a far-flung swath of Los Angeles County. He visited New York this year, vowing to emulate the governing structure of its district.

Like many other urban school systems, the Los Angeles Unified School District has had a dismal record for years, with a dropout rate of about 50 percent and more than 80 percent of its fourth graders lacking proficiency in reading and math.

But this summer, facing opposition from the teachers’ union as well as school board members and elected officials from around the region, Mr. Villaraigosa quickly reduced his proposal to something he and his aides thought would be more palatable, and continued to pare it as he struggled to get the votes he needed in Sacramento.

In the most significant concession, Mr. Villaraigosa, rather than hold sole authority over the system, will now oversee it with a “council of mayors” from 26 other cities that it serves. (He will have a louder voice on matters that come before that council, because its voting procedure will be based on population.)

The seven-member elected school board will lose virtually all its authority to oversee billions of dollars in contracts and the district’s $7.4 billion operating budget, ceding it instead to a superintendent. But the board will continue to choose the curriculum, the authority over which was a cornerstone of mayoral control in New York. And the superintendent will still be picked by the board, although the council of mayors will hold veto power over the choice.

Mr. Villaraigosa will have direct control over something: three underperforming high schools and their feeder schools, a scaled-down version of the chancellor’s district that existed in New York before the mayor took control there.

On Wednesday, Mr. Villaraigosa described his victory in language quite different from that he used several months ago when he began his campaign to take over the schools. “It wasn’t really a vote for mayoral control,” he said of the legislators’ move, “it was a vote for community control.”

But those opposing the measure on various grounds, some of whom spent much of Tuesday desperately trying to dissuade lawmakers from passing it, maintain that there is little in the bill that spells a fix for the troubled schools.

“There is nothing in this proposal that underlies any particular reform,” said State Senator Dean Florez, a Democrat from the southern San Joaquin Valley, who voted against the bill. “There is no money attached to it, no budget and no goals.”

Francis Shen, a Harvard University fellow who is writing a book about mayoral control, said he was skeptical of how much such watered-down legislation could accomplish.

“I would guess over the next three to five years there will be improvement,” Mr. Shen said. “I don’t think it will be miraculous.”

While the governor has said he will sign the bill, it will almost certainly face a legal challenge: the State Constitution stipulates that cities cannot control local school systems. But the bill’s supporters say that with Mr. Villaraigosa required to share power with the council of mayors from elsewhere in the county, the legislation will withstand a court challenge.


▲ YESTERDAY'S RADIO ON YOUR COMPUTER TODAY: Even among the Sacramento lawmakers who voted for Mayor Villaraigosa's governance bill, there was some question concerning the constitutionality of the plan. Others warned that it might infringe on civil liberties. The California School Boards Association is one of several organizations that may join in a lawsuit if the bill is signed by the Governor. Patt Morrison takes a look at the legality of AB 1381 and gets a preview of the court battles to come. Guests include Kevin Reed, General Counsel for the LAUSD, and Scott Folsom, President, Los Angeles 10th District PTSA.

COURT BATTLES TO COME from KPCC-FM 89.3 | The Patt Morrison Show | Wednesday Aug 30

Adventures in Mayoral Control: NYC SCHOOLS HIRED GUNS' FAT CHECKS

by Erin Einhorn and Michael Saul, NY Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, August 27th, 2006 - Seven of the high-powered consultants hired by City Hall to cut fat from the school bureaucracy are charging taxpayers more than a million dollars each for work over the next 18 months, the Daily News has learned.

The most expensive consultant, Sajan George, is billing the city a staggering $450 per hour as part of a $17 million contract that the city awarded his firm, Alvarez & Marsal, without competitive bidding, records show.

George's fees alone will cost taxpayers $1.7 million - more than four times what Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will earn during the same 18-month period.

And in an unprecedented move, the contract appears to make some of the consultants responsible for work historically performed by top Education Department officials.

Hired gun Sam Mehta - who will bill taxpayers for $1.6 million - is already sitting a few paces away from Klein's office at the Education Department's lower Manhattan headquarters. Until recently Mehta's desk was occupied by now-retired Chief Financial Officer Bruce Feig, who earned $178,156 a year.

Mehta has been introduced during meetings as the new chief financial officer, according to two city officials who requested anonymity. Mehta also has signed employee time cards, according to a source.

But Education Department spokesman David Cantor - who maintains the consultants will save the city hundreds of millions of dollars a year - said Mehta's title is chief restructuring officer. Cantor said a budget document that listed Mehta as CFO was a typographical error.

"For a one-time charge of $17 million, we're implementing internal restructuring that will cut at least $200 million annually from our administrative budget to give to schools," Cantor said.

"We're also developing financial systems that will help us to better manage our budget and give transparency to our spending decisions. We don't have the capacity in-house to do this kind of work - nor does any government agency or private company, as a rule."

As private employees, the consultants are not required to file financial disclosure forms or follow other rules governing public employees, though they oversee the schools' $15 billion budget.

Public school and government watchdogs expressed concern over the consultants' fees.

"If they drive more money to the schools [that the city has] been starving, then it's really wonderful," said Noreen Connell of the Educational Priorities Panel. "But if they don't, then it's another wasteful extravagance that's taking money away from other vital stuff."

"It boggles the mind," Connell added. "I think there's enough budget people in New York City who ... could do it at far lower costs."

The consulting contract is the largest of the roughly $120 million worth of no-bid contracts that educrats awarded during the last fiscal year - a total that far surpasses previous years, as The News revealed last Monday.

No one currently holds the title of chief financial officer in the Education Department. The former acting CFO, Susan Olds, is listed on the department Web site as executive budget director. When she was acting finance director, she was paid $162,000 a year, records show.

Klein's annual salary is $250,000. He is the second-highest-paid city employee.

City Council Education Chairman Robert Jackson pledged to hold hearings on all the no-bid contracts in the fall.

"If they'll save us $300 million, okay, it may be worth it," Jackson said. "But to pay $17 million on a contract that was not competitively bid and knowing the contract is paying employees over 18 months $1.6 or whatever millions, I think anyone has to question that."

The Alvarez & Marsal contract calls for its six highest-paid consultants to work 55 hours a week for 17-1/2 months. Another 13 consultants will work the same hours for shorter periods, ranging from a month to a year. The billing rates range from $275 to $450 an hour.

"Quite frankly," Jackson said, "those individuals are making more money than any city employee in New York."

►DREAM TEAM OF BEAN COUNTERS: What the highest-paid financial consultants are charging the Education Department:

• Sajan George, Project leader
$1.7 million

• Sam Mehta, Chief restructuring officer for finance
$1.6 million

• Michelle Lewis, Setting up system for principals to choose programs and services
$1.3 million

• Erin Covington, Overhauling budgeting process
$1.3 million

• Cory Schupp, Integrating financial accounting with operations
$1.3 million

• Andrew Thung, Assisting with budget overhaul
$1.3 million

• Nate Arnett, Chief restructuring officer for school food and student transportation
$1 million


by Lisa Snell, Guest Columnist, LA Daily News

August 26, 2006 - In California, bad education news gets spun into good news. Test scores are getting better! In reality, years after a supposed "overhaul" of the state education system, just 42 percent of California's students scored proficient or above in English (up from 40 percent last year) and only 40 percent of kids are at grade level or above in math (up from 38 percent last year).

As he moves forward in his bid for control of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa isn't getting overly excited about the improving, but still low, test results. With the support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, key legislators and the City Council, Villaraigosa seems likely to take power of LAUSD soon. And if improving student achievement is his end-game, the latest test scores have given him a map to success: Mimic San Francisco Unified's plan.

San Francisco is one of a handful of public-school districts across the nation allowing education funding to follow students. Former Superintendent of Schools Arlene Ackerman introduced the city to the weighted student formula, which requires money to follow students to the schools they choose while guaranteeing that schools with harder-to-educate kids (low-income students, English learners, low achievers) get more funds.

Ackerman also introduced site-based budgeting, so that school communities - not the central office - determine how to spend their money.

Finally, she created a true open-enrollment student assignment system that gives parents the right to choose their children's schools. And parents are taking advantage of the system: More than 40 percent of the city's children now attend schools outside their neighborhoods.

With students having the freedom to move, the city's public schools now have incentives to differentiate themselves. Once cookie-cutter public schools now include Chinese, Spanish and Tagalog language immersion schools; college preparatory schools; performing-arts schools that collaborate with an urban ballet and symphony; schools specializing in math and technology; traditional neighborhood schools; and a year-round school based on multiple-intelligence theory.

Each San Francisco public school is unique. And the number of students, school hours, teaching styles and program choices vary from site to site.

San Francisco, with 116 schools, and 60,000 students, is now entering its sixth year of weighted student formula reforms, and its test scores now top all the state's urban districts.

In recently released standardized test results, nearly half of San Francisco Unified's students - 48 percent - scored at or above proficient in both reading and math. Those scores are far above the state average and the LAUSD's results of 31 percent at or above grade level in math and 30 percent in English.

In 2005, San Francisco's students posted the highest test scores of any urban district on the Academic Performance Index. The state has set 800 as excellent. San Francisco scored 745; San Jose 737; San Diego 728; Sacramento 700; Los Angeles 645; and Oakland 634. Even San Francisco's low-income students outscored L.A. and other urban districts, achieving 706 on the API.

While it may be difficult to replicate a school-finance method that works for a 60,000-student district and scale it up to L.A.'s 700,000 students, the dramatic achievement gains in San Francisco make it worth a try.

The first step is to hire a superintendent who buys into the weighted student formula concept. San Diego County just hired such a person in Randy Ward. And San Francisco's Ackerman has moved to Columbia Teachers College, but might be available for the right offer.

Next, appoint an independent board to determine the appropriate per-pupil funding amounts and create an open-enrollment attendance system that allows parents to choose schools and leave low-performing schools. The mayor should also consult other large cities that have implemented weighted student formula, including Edmonton, Seattle and Houston.

The mayor's determination to improve our schools is commendable, but simply changing administrators isn't enough. Incentives matter.

When public schools have the incentive to compete for students and the freedom to create distinct curricula, they've proven they can boost student achievement. If he's bold enough to combine mayoral control with the weighted student formula, Villaraigosa could unleash a revolution that dramatically changes L.A.'s public schools for the better.

►Lisa Snell is director of education at the Reason Foundation. Write to her by e-mail at


by Samuel G. Freedman | On Education | NY Times

August 30, 2006 - Dear teachers and students, dear principals and counselors, as the new school year begins, let us reflect. Let us reflect on our reflections about reflecting.

Let us reflect on the triumph of jargon and buzzwords in the education field. Let us reflect on how a common-sense concept gets glorified as if it were brilliant innovation. Let us reflect on how badly educators need their own equivalent of "Dilbert" or "The Office" to puncture certain overly inflated rhetorical and theoretical bubbles.

To back up for the uninitiated, "reflection" as both word and action may be the trendiest trend in all of education. Education students learn how to be reflective teachers in education school. Then, in their own classrooms, they ask their students to write reflections on what they have read. After class, the teachers do reflections on their own lessons. Principals, administrators, other staff members — all are increasingly urged or even required to engage in reflection.

And what, a lay person might well ask, does reflection mean? A reasonable definition would be "thinking about what you're doing," as David F. Labaree, a professor of education at Stanford University, puts it with welcome and all-too-rare clarity. It means pausing to take stock in a journal of how you felt about the short story you just read or figuring out why the lesson you just taught faltered halfway through.

Ah, but to express the notion of reflection so directly is to unclothe the emperor, to remove the wrappings of classicism, intellectual depth, even spirituality from it. The exponents of reflection like to trace its lineage to Descartes, Rousseau, Tolstoy and John Dewey.

To which Lynn Fendler, an education professor at Michigan State University, has replied in an article in Educational Researcher magazine that these days the term reflection is "treacle" with a "confusing morass of meanings."

As Professor Fendler points out, Dewey viewed "reflective thinking" in such classic works as "How We Think," as a "triumph of reason and science over instinct and impulse." Seventy years later, reflection has largely become the very thing Dewey wanted to rebel against — the consecration of emotion and feeling.

By making every teacher and student the unchallenged arbiter of his or her own achievement, reflection dovetails neatly with progressive education's preference for process over content and with the confessional, therapeutic strain of American culture.

" 'Reflection' is a loosey-goosey term that sounds deep enough to be acceptable for the image that ed schools want to convey," said Sandra Stotsky, an education consultant who formerly served as deputy education commissioner in Massachusetts. "It's a substitute for real good, useful, hard words that used to be prevalent in talking about teacher's work — critique, evaluation, analysis," she said. " 'Evaluation' sounds like there are actually some criteria involved. Whereas if you 'reflect,' it sounds psychologically deep and relativistic."

Professor Labaree, author of "The Trouble With Ed Schools," made a similar point: "Reflection has got this scientific side — let's step back from automatic behavior and apply theory and facts to it — but it also captures this kind of romantic, naturalistic side of progressivism. That if you get in touch with who you really are, deep inside, you'll become a more effective teacher. Those two things actually don't go together."

While the reflection crowd may trace the movement's roots to the Enlightenment, the bonanza really began much more recently. The credit (or blame) belongs to a professor and management consultant, Donald Schön. In his 1983 book "The Reflective Practitioner" and the 1987 sequel "Educating the Reflective Practitioner," Professor Schön extolled what he called "reflection-in-action" or "knowledge-in-action" as a form of "teaching artistry."

Instead of studying the research on effective instruction and enacting those precepts in the classroom, Professor Schön argued, teachers should be "thinking about what they're doing" and "conducting an action experiment on the spot."

As for the students, he said, "They must plunge into the doing and try to educate themselves."

When Professor Schön died in 1997, his impact was being broadly felt, and it has only expanded since then. On one Internet search engine, for instance, the terms "reflection" and "teaching" turned up about 600 times in news articles and broadcasts in 1990 and nearly 4,600 times in 2005. When Professor Fendler of Michigan State surveyed the scholarly literature on reflection, 67 of the 84 works she cited had been published since 1990.

The 2006 conventions of the American Educational Research Association and the National Council of Teachers of English include such panels as "Reflections on and Implications of Research on Adolescents' Explorations With Everyday Texts," "Reflections on the Work Lives of Administrators," "Utilizing Collaboration and Reflection to Develop the Compleat Composition Student" and "Promoting Self-Reflective and Effective Student Writers."

THE more lucid advocates of reflection make the case that it helps students face, understand and correct flaws in their writing. In the form of journals or notebooks, reflection also affords students the chance to respond to works they have read and, in the process, to feel some sense of capability as writers. The better education courses have aspiring teachers reflect while watching videos of themselves delivering lessons.

But such concrete applications often feel lost amid the numbing invocations of reflection. Martin Kozloff, a professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and an expert on education jargon, groups "reflection" with such other examples of "fashionable folderol" as "developmentally appropriate practices," "brain-based instruction," "higher-order thinking" and "learning styles."

Deborah Meier, one of the nation's leading progressive educators, finds reflection's vogue particularly interesting now, at a time that standardized tests are the dominant measure of academic success. It is a case of lingo as palliative.

"Why is the word 'empowerment' in proliferation when we're actually taking more power away from teachers?" she said. "Maybe we're talking so much about reflection because we have no time to reflect at all."


by Ryan Nakashima, AP

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 1) - The Clark County School District kicked off the first day of school Wednesday with scant resources. But it got a major donation from the scantily clad.

The same day the nation's fifth largest school district began the year with some 400 teaching vacancies, the nonprofit corporation that supports it, the Public Education Foundation, accepted a $2,500 donation from a strip club, Scores Las Vegas.

"Thank you for your donation of $2,500, received on August 30, 2006," said a letter from foundation president Judi Steele to Scores' marketing director, Shai Cohen. "Thank you again for your willingness to support our community and invest in our children ... our future."

Scores raised the funds at an Aug. 23 back-to-school event called "Detention" that featured strippers dressed as teachers, schoolgirls and librarians.

"It's back to school time and you know what that means. Detention for everyone who has been bad!" one advertisement read.

The performers peeled off clothes and offered lap dances to customers, Cohen said. Patrons also left more than $1,000 donations in a jar that the club said would go to the Clark County School District. Scores matched the donations roughly dollar for dollar, he said.

"In this town, money is money, regardless," Cohen said. "We're a respectable business. We pay taxes like everybody else. We have a business license. It's for a good cause."

"Education is very important," he said.

The foundation's director of development, Deb Hegna, said the donation was gratefully accepted.

"From any licensed, legitimate business, we're certainly happy to accept donations," she said, adding the gentleman's club told them it had raised the funds at a charity event.

The money was earmarked for the foundation's exchange program, which provides new or gently used materials, supplies and computers to Clark County teachers for free or little cost.

The district, a sprawling area covering 8,000 square miles in southern Nevada with more than 300,000 students expected this year, is the fastest growing in the nation, said school district spokesman Steve Lombard.

The district has had difficulty hiring teachers to keep pace with growth, especially with the high cost of housing in southern Nevada, he said. The state ranks 46th in the nation in per-pupil spending, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report.

The district's associate superintendent, Karlene Lee, said the district was not informed about and did not condone the flier used to promote the strip event.

Lee had no comment on the fundraising activities of the foundation, a separate entity which raises about $5 million a year.

"The donation was made to the foundation and for the inner workings of how that functions, you can contact the foundation again."

• smf notes: The PTA President in 4LAKids is shocked ...shocked! The Fundraising Chair is not quite so shocked.

Dear Antonio, Sincerely Alan: THE BIG ORANGE v. THE BIG RAISIN
FROM: Mayor Alan Autry, City of Fresno
TO: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City of Los Angeles

August 28, 2006

Dear Antonio:

I have tried unsuccessfully to reach you regarding your education reform bill. I'm left with only one conclusion, that you felt the needed votes had been arranged and there was no need to return my call.

I can't tell you how disappointed I am. As you know, I supported your efforts for reform and crossed many of my fellow Republicans to do so. I did so with peace in my heart because I believed you genuinely cared about the welfare of all the children in California, many of whom live in the most impoverished region in the country – Fresno, California. It hurts me badly think you were apparently playing a political game for Los Angles and Los Angeles only.

The bill that passed the Senate today could have easily contained the intent language for Fresno that Senator Denham had fought for. All you and Fabian had to do was support it. It would have cost you and the speaker nothing. But you didn't. It has become painfully obvious to me that you do not believe the kids in Fresno are of equal value to the kids of L.A. I think they're all equally important and precious to this state.

Antonio, since I have been in office, writing this has been one of the most difficult things I have done because I truly do respect you. But answer me truthfully, if the shoe was on the other foot and you were the Mayor of Fresno with some of the lowest test scores and highest dropout rates in the state, would you say and do nothing? Would you stay silent after watching a similar reform for Fresno summarily and egotistically dismissed by the Legislature and along with it, the hopes and dreams of thousands of our most needy children? We both know the answer to both of these questions – no.

Since we don't have the capacity for intimidation here in the Valley that you and Speaker Nunez wield at the State level, I guess all I can say is shame on you, brother. But this I vow to you and the Speaker – I will do everything I can to expose his action for just what it is, political deal making at its worst that puts the desire for power over the well being of our most disadvantaged children.


/s/Alan Autry

cc: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Speaker Nunez
Senator Denham
Senator Florez
Senate Education Committee
Assembly Education Committee

[Facsimile of actual letter]

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
►TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 5th IS THE TRADITIONAL FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – Many LAUSD Students at year 'round schools have been at school since July 1st – but on this day all will be "Back to School."

Welcome, there is much to do and learn!

►Wednesday Sep 6, 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.
Russell Elementary School
1263 E. Firestone Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90001

►Wednesday Sep 6, 2006
VALLEY REGION BYRD HS RECONFIGURATION: Presentation of Design Development Drawings
At this meeting we will present the design of the project and discuss the next steps in the construction process.
6:30 p.m.
Byrd Middle School - Horowitz Hall
9171 Telfair Avenue
Sun Valley, CA 91352

► Thursday Sep 7, 2006
VALLEY REGION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL #10: Presentation of Design Development Drawings
At this meeting we will present the design of the new school and discuss the next steps in the school construction process.
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sutter Middle School - Auditorium
7330 Winnetka Avenue
Winnetka, CA 91306

► Saturday Sep 9, 2006
Please join us to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new community school!
Ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.
Central Los Angeles High School #9
450 N. Grand Ave @ Cesar Chavez
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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


What can YOU do?
AB 1381 is now on the Governor’s desk!!!

Help to convince Governor Schwarzenegger to veto AB 1381 (Nunez): Los Angeles Unified School District Mayoral Takeover

ON August 30th, AB 1381 cleared the Assembly floor and your help is now needed to convince the governor to veto this bill that could have far reaching implications for the entire state. Enactment of this legislation would set a precedent for similar efforts to shift decision-making away from locally elected school boards with no guarantee our children will benefit.

As LAUSD stakehiolders - Parents, Students, Educators and Community Members we need to inform the Governor we have serious concerns with the provisions of this bill which include the following:

► Equity Issues for All Students--The partnership schools created by this legislation and directly controlled by the mayor would affect only about 5% of the district’s schools, leaving behind more than 700,000 students who would not receive the additional support and supplemental programs.

►Meaningful Parent Involvement--The bill as amended does include a role for parents in several areas; however, the method of involvement and the process for selection of parent representatives is not clear.

► School District Governance--AB 1381 creates a governance structure that would provide for a school district to be governed by four separate entities: the school board, the mayor, the superintendent (whose appointment must be ratified by the mayor) and the council of mayors (committee made up of representatives from the 26 other cities that are within Los Angeles Unified School District). This type of governance structure would create unclear jumbled lines of authority and accountability. Parents and voters would be further removed from a point of contact with the school district, the elected school board and the communities served.

► Constitutionality--This legislation seeks to bypass the California Constitutional directive in Article IX, Section 6 that mandates that no part of a school system may be transferred “directly or indirectly” outside the system. Based on a recent analysis by the Legislative Council she concluded that AB 1381 in its present form is unconstitutional.

Please take a moment today to phone, fax or e-mail the Governor and urge him to VETO AB 1381.

Contact the Governor at:

Governor's Office:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633

Email: To send an Email please visit:

Be sure to include your name and address when you communicate with the Governor's Office. They do not accept e-mail attachments.

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

Hon. Antonio R. Villaraigosa
Mayor of Los Angeles[USD]
200 North Spring Street, Room 303
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213/978-0600 (Phone)
213/978-0750 (Fax)

...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think!

• Getting Deathly Serious: after Jan 1 you may also contact the Council of Mayors.

The following cities will have representation on the Council of Mayors:

• Bell
• Bell Gardens
• Beverly Hills
• Carson
• Cudahy
• City of Commerce
• Downey
• El Segundo
• Gardena
• Hawthorne
• Huntington Park
• Inglewood
• Lomita
• Long Beach
• Los Angeles
• Lynwood
• Maywood
• Montebello
• Monterey Park
• Rancho Palos Verdes
• San Fernando
• Santa Monica
• South Gate
• Torrance
• Vernon
• West Hollywood
• • • • • plus the five County Supervisors

• 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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