Friday, December 15, 2006

Mendoza v. California, Act I

4LAKids: Friday evening, Dec 15, 2006
In This Issue:
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
smf4LAKids: The political campaign - Scott Folsom for School Board!
4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.

"I don't think you mean 'the voters', I think you mean 'the legislature'!"
— Judge Janovs to the lead attorney for the respondents – after he enthusiastically championed AB 1381 as 'the will of the voters'.

The Three Branches of Government:
Legislative :: Executive :: Judicial.

• The people: 'We the People of Los Angeles' - the voters and taxpayers and parents – never had our voices heard in the legislature. And certainly not at the ballot box!

• We remained unheard and uninvited when the mayor presided and the governor executively inscribed at the bill signing.

• The people had their day in court today. Notably absent (or at least silent) were the key players to date: the Mayor, the Assembly Speaker, Senator Romero, the Governor, and Superintendent Romer. School Board President Marlene Canter was in the audience, as was David Tokofsky – observers of the theater in the courtroom rather than players .

The star was indisputably Judge Janovs. Thorough, deliberate, well prepared, brusque yet witty - asking the right questions and moving things along without rushing. The verdict will be in by next Thursday; it would be premature to presume an outcome but cautious optimism is the mood. In the hallway press conferences the Complainants (School District / Parents / PTA / Principals' Union / League of Women Voters / California School Boards Association) were confident; the Respondents (Mayor / Governor / State) spoke of this only being "Round One".

I cannot pretend to be a disinterested observer. Both sets of attorneys were well prepared with arguments well grounded in law; ours were just better prepared and more well grounded! I have a horse in this race; I am a plaintiff/complainant and I am vocal opponent of the mayor's takeover. (The mayor argues that it isn't a takeover – but he hasn't listened to my arguments or even had a dialog with other-than-hand-picked parents so I feel entitled to ignore his arguments: It's a takeover!)

I argue that the mayor's plan is bad educationally and bad for kids – another no-plan/quick-fix/this-weeks-flavor-of-reform in an endless succession thereof – in a school district with a poor record of following through already. The mayor's plan focuses limited resources on his schools at the exclusion of others – if you don't believe this look at the Verizon grant to LA's Best announced this week. The mayor's schools get $1Million/other schools get nada. (below) True school reform isn't about the mayor's schools, the superintendent's schools or Steve Barr's schools. It has got to be about ALL schools and ALL kids.

The court arguments Friday weren't about the schools or about what's good for kids; they were about the law and power. Judge Janovs isn't there to judge educational value or curriculum, she is there to rule on the law. She is there to rule on stuff like: "notwithstanding any other provisions of law" – which I think means the same as "everything previously thought to be illegal is now legal". At one point the attorney for the mayor said that the city charter acknowledges that the legislature may from time to time increase the power and authority of the mayor – but then continued that the mayor might be able to pick and choose if he or she didn't want the power or authority! Apparently the mayor, unlike the subject of the country song, CAN have his Kate and Edith too!


• Is the legislature's authority over public schools plenary (absolute) or is it limited constitutionally?
• Can the legislature declare that an entity (the mayor or the council of mayors) that previously wasn't part of the public school system now is? (Everyone's favorite hypothetical: Could the legislature declare a Jiffy Lube franchise is in charge of public education in... say... Oildale?)
• Does the legislature have the authority to write laws specific to a single school district when local school district governance is traditionally municipal?
• Can the legislature empower another agency to take over a school district without establishing in law that the district is failing or misspending state funds? (as in Oakland, Richmond or Compton)
• Can the Mayor's Partnership – not a Local Educational Agency as defined by the Ed Code – have authority over spending state funds without accountability or liability?
• Can an appointed authority (the Council of Mayors* and or The Mayor's Partnership) supercede an elected one without diminishing voter's rights? [*The members of the CofM are elected, but they are appointed to the council by the legislature]
• The City Charter of LA gives authority for operation of LAUSD to the Board of Ed. All voters within LAUSD – including those outside the City of LA – voted on that charter provsion. Does AB 1386 constrain or diminish the voter's authority?
• And – at one time there was a severability clause (saying that if the courts ruled one part of the bill unconstitutional the rest would remain) in AB 1381 …but it was amended out in a legislative compromise. Does that mean that the intent of the legislature was that the bill was inseverable/all-or-nothing? (Senator Runner …are you reading this?)

Stay tuned. ...and hope that I'm not writing next week about how wrong the judge got it!

Onward! - smf

A school board member draws on his own classroom civics lessons to show why the courts should stop the mayor's LAUSD takeover.

By David Tokofsky – OpEd in the LA Times

December 15, 2006 - Nearly 20 years ago, my students from John Marshall High won the U.S. Academic Decathlon — a first for a California public school. I was a third-year teacher, recently out of UC Berkeley with a degree in American history, and I was proud to coach the diverse immigrant children who bested affluent kids from states that spent three times what California did on education.

I was particularly proud when my team aced the Super Quiz, which covered the U.S. Constitution, landmark legal cases and American government — the topics I taught at Marshall. What were the lessons I wrote on the blackboard each semester? They were foundational ideas of American democracy. Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." James Madison, wondering "whether men were angels?" If yes, would government be necessary? What did it mean to have checks and balances? Why did we elect officials rather than appoint them? Of course, my students read Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," which Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also cites as his favorite book.

With enthusiasm similar to that which swept our popular mayor into office two years ago, my students encouraged me to take my passions and ideas about government into elective office. My students, teacher colleagues and friends walked precincts with me when I ran for the Los Angeles Unified School District board in 1995. I won by only 76 votes, and my students, who themselves could not vote, learned the value of the franchise.

Those lessons on governance served me well during my three terms on the board, which will end June 30. To the boondoggle Belmont Learning Complex project, which cost the public hundreds of millions of dollars, I applied Madison's checks and balances, creating the office of inspector general to find waste, fraud and abuse. I also created the idea of a Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, which I believe gave the public confidence to pass our first school bond in 30 years with 70% voter approval, and three more since.

No one disputes the major accomplishments of this school board. We hired two extraordinary superintendents. Elementary test scores are rising faster than anywhere else in California or any other major urban area. Middle- and high-school test scores are moving upward faster than the state average. Sixty-five schools have been constructed, and 80 more are on the way.

My colleagues and I knew that, like Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia, we had to build the public institution both in bricks and mortar and in virtue.

I am not so sure that supporters of AB 1381 — the state law that shifts control of our schools from the school board to the mayor — have considered the latter. The law removes the simple accountability of local schools and elected school boards. Instead, it puts in charge a convoluted hodgepodge of government officials who know little about education and have other municipal interests and responsibilities.

AB 1381 replaces the rights of moms and dads concerned about their local public schools and gives that responsibility to a cabal of political bosses who chose to not even trust the voters with the ultimate social concern: the education of children.

Proponents such as the mayor wrap AB 1381 in the soft rhetoric of school reform, only to deform the clear language of Los Angeles' City Charter and California's Constitution, both of which specify a separation of the school system and local government. According to the texts I taught my students, this is the behavior of despotism, not enlightenment.

Today, L.A. Unified lawyers will argue in Superior Court that our state legislators knew AB 1381 was unconstitutional before they passed it; that their own legal counsel published that very opinion. So why didn't our bicameral Legislature stop this bad law? Because reasoned and open discussion was squelched.

A manufactured "crisis" in student learning ensured that legislators would not think critically about the California Constitution, the City Charter or voters' rights, not to mention transparent, inclusive government. Passionate pleas to do something, anything, for our kids led to placing "a significant part of the public school system" under the mayor and a convoluted Council of Mayors. The Legislature ignored how California voters resoundingly approved a constitutional amendment — Section 6 of Article IX — that took cities out of the business of running schools.

As a participant in the 1998 charter reform discussions in Los Angeles, I heard firsthand how the charter commissioners explicitly avoided reunifying City Hall and the school district.

Why didn't a law like AB 1381 face a vote by the people and parents of Los Angeles and its schools? I can imagine how my former students would respond: The creators of this bad law did not want any internal or external controls, particularly voters.

When AB 1381 was rushed to Sacramento, a handful of ambitious politicians and legislators crafted a backroom deal consolidating a mayoral power grab that the city's lawyers will plead today is a "modest, reasoned law." Yet in Sacramento, I personally heard several legislators say: "The court will strike it down, and I can still preserve my committee chairmanship/friendship with the bill's sponsors." How would my championship students respond? "Beware the tyranny of the majority; we must be a government of laws, not men."

Today, the court should find AB 1381 unconstitutional. Otherwise, perhaps in my last few months on the L.A. Unified board, we'll have to revise our civics textbooks to reflect our city's new ban on open debate and voters' rights.

By Howard Blume, LA Times Staff Writer

December 15, 2006 - The conflict over Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plans for running the Los Angeles public schools got its day in court today as a judge repeatedly challenged the centerpiece of the school intervention efforts: Villaraigosa's desire to assert direct control over more than three dozen schools.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs questioned the limits of the legal rationale for the Legislature assigning Villaraigosa or anyone else full authority over local schools that would serve an estimated 80,000 students — equivalent to the state's fourth-largest school district.

The essence of her questioning: What would stop the Legislature from handing schools over to Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton or to the district attorney's office?

Attorneys for the Los Angeles Unified School District jumped on that reasoning, asserting that this logic would give legislators the authority to hand over school to a "dogcatcher" or to "Jiffy Lube."

Janavs said she would issue a ruling by the end of next week. The law is supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1.

The legal wrangling today occurred even as the mayor already has hired staff and solicited private donations to run the schools that would fall under his jurisdiction.


LOS ANGELES, December 15, 2006 - A law giving the mayor partial control of the Los Angeles Unified School District violates the city charter and could lead to conflicts in decisions involving both the city and the schools, an attorney for the district argued Friday.

"One is going to get short-changed," attorney Frederic D. Woocher said as arguments got under way in the non-jury trial of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the legislation.

The suit, filed Oct. 10 in Los Angeles Superior Court by a coalition of district parents, students, administrators and the League of Women Voters, maintains that the legislation is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights of voters.

The plaintiffs want Judge Dzintra Janavs to overturn Assembly Bill 1381, which was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September and gave Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa some authority over the district, though far less than he originally wanted.

In front of a large courtroom audience that included school board president Marlene Cantor and Villaraigosa attorney Thomas Saenz, LAUSD General Counsel Kevin S. Reed said AB 1381 was passed despite the Legislative Counsel's conclusion it was unconstitutional.

But Assistant City Attorney Valerie L. Flores said the city has a vested interest in the education of its young people so they become productive members of society.

The impact on a city's economy can be directly tied to school graduation rates, Flores said.

Flores cited the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as an agency in which members wear two hats while working on both a local and regional level.

Flores called AB 1381 a "minor intrusion" into the education system that "introduces the concept the LAUSD needs to coordinate with other officials to take a whole regional approach to educating students."

Deputy state Attorney General Susan K. Leach, representing Schwarzenegger and state Controller Steve Westly, said AB 1381 is "not a takeover of the LAUSD, but is a statute aimed specifically at education reform in the LAUSD."

Villaraigosa, the state, Schwarzenegger, Westly and Los Angeles County schools Superintendent Darline Robles, who oversees the county office of education, not the LAUSD, are all defendants in the case, which mayoral aide Matt Szabo has called a "frivolous lawsuit and a desperate attempt to preserve the failed status quo."

AB 1381 shifts most of the decision-making authority from the seven- member LAUSD board to the district superintendent; creates a Council of Mayors, giving a significant role to Los Angeles' mayor in managing the nation's second- largest school district; and gives individual schools greater control over their budgets and curriculum during a six-year trial period.

The mayor also gets direct control over the district's three lowest- performing high schools and their feeder campuses.

Before the bill was signed, the school board voted 6-1 to challenge AB 1381's legality.

• smf notes: Los Angeles County schools Superintendent Darline Robles oversees the LA County Office of Education (LACOE), including all school districts in LA County - INCLUDING LAUSD. LACOE approves LAUSD's budget, oversees District finances and actually writes all LAUSD checks.



Verizon Press Release

SYLMAR, Calif., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- To support Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's efforts to improve the quality of education in Los Angeles schools in underprivileged areas, Verizon today announced it will provide a $1 million grant to expand a major after-school education program

The grant to LA's BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow), a key component of the mayor's Community Partnership for School Excellence, will enable the after-school program to expand to additional elementary schools. The program will also create best-practices sites, where staff will be trained for similar programs at other schools

"Verizon applauds Mayor Villaraigosa for championing quality education in Los Angeles' schools," said Tim McCallion, Verizon West region president. "Verizon is investing in the network of the future, and today we are investing in the education of the children who will be the leaders of the future." McCallion, Villaraigosa and LA's BEST President and CEO Carla Sanger made the announcement at Sylmar Elementary School, one of the 10 original LA's BEST schools when the program began in 1988

"This grant will apply the knowledge, experience and research-proven programs of LA's BEST to expand after-school enrichment opportunities for children throughout the Mayor's Community Partnership," said Villaraigosa. "Extending the school day and giving our children the extra help they need will be key to improving their achievement." Currently more than 25,000 children aged 5-12 take part in LA's BEST at no cost to their parents. The program reaches children in some of the city's lowest-performing and most-distressed areas. The additional schools that will be part of the expanded program will be announced later

"LA's BEST does not apply a one-size-fits-all approach," said Sanger. "Students have unique needs, and that's where LA's BEST really shines. These sites will demonstrate how an after-school program can connect with the regular school day but not be more of the same. We are confident that sharing these model programs will bring added value to all after-school providers in the clusters, as they seek to enhance students' learning beyond the classroom." Each LA's BEST learning center will provide professional development and program support to expand the proven teaching techniques of LA's BEST in after-school programs throughout the Mayor's Community Partnership Schools. LA's BEST staff will offer unique opportunities for teachers and after-school providers to observe and learn, and will provide the practices and policies that have made LA's BEST such a successful partnership

In the 2001-02 school year, researchers from the Developmental Studies Center in Oakland, Calif., conducted an evaluation of KidzLit in eight LA's BEST sites. Children in second and fourth grades showed a significant increase in the amount of reading overall and in their positive feelings about their reading ability. Spanish-speaking students showed significant increases in the proportion of correct words that were answered in English

Key to the success of these after-school learning centers will be high standards and measures of accountability. Evaluation of the learning centers will include an independent study by UCLA's National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST). The study will look at increase in school attendance during the regular school day, students' willingness to read as a result of the literacy program, and survey the staff to assess the value of the teacher training in the learning centers

LA's BEST was created by Mayor Tom Bradley to address an alarming rise in the lack of adequate adult supervision of children during the critical hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. From its inception, LA's BEST has maintained a balance of high-quality standards for education, enrichment and recreation guided by a mission of providing a safe and supervised after-school education, enrichment and recreation program for elementary school children ages 5-12 in Los Angeles

LA's BEST -- Better Educated Students for Tomorrow -- is a nationally recognized after-school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 25,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources throughout the City of Los Angeles. LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program provides a safe haven for children, ages 5 to 12, at 153 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after school -- at no cost to parents. Established in 1988, LA's BEST is a partnership including the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector.

►MAYOR STEERS DONATIONS TO HIS TARGETED SCHOOLS: Villaraigosa earmarks millions for campuses he is trying to control. Critics say he is pitting 'haves' vs. 'have-nots.'

By Joel Rubin, LA Times Staff Writer

December 14, 2006 - Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is steering money to the schools he seeks to control, announcing Wednesday that a major telecommunications company has pledged $1 million for after-school programs on those campuses.

Under the terms of the agreement between Verizon and the nonprofit LA's BEST program, the money can be spent only on the clusters of schools the mayor seeks to control as part of a new law giving him increased authority in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

"We're directing and focusing resources in a strategic way," Villaraigosa said as he rushed off from a tightly scripted midmorning news conference at Sylmar Elementary School. "You're going to see a lot more participation on the part of the business community in support of our education reform efforts, it's as simple as that."

But to critics of the mayor's months-long, acidic battle to wrest some control from the district's seven-member Board of Education, news of the gift was anything but simple.

They said Verizon's check, plus an additional $1 million given recently by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, raises troubling questions about fairness and possible dissension between schools if the new law survives legal challenges and goes into effect Jan. 1.

"We are disappointed by the strings the mayor apparently has woven in," said Kevin Reed, general counsel for L.A. Unified. "It is a shift away from the partnership ideal, where the money goes to the kids who need it the most and instead is driven only to where the mayor wants. His schools will be 'haves,' while district schools will be 'have-nots.' "

The mayor's office fired back at such charges. Janelle Erickson, a spokeswoman for Villaraigosa, said the mayor was committed to increase funding for all district schools but "is going to be unapologetic about bringing more resources into the cluster schools, which will be some of the lowest performing. He sees them as an opportunity to show you can change the equation in schools that far too many people have given up on."

Such comments contradict those of the mayor's top education advisor, Ramon C. Cortines, who told a teachers union gathering last month that these schools would not be "exclusive" and that they would not receive "special treatment." Cortines was in New York City on Wednesday meeting with more potential donors, Erickson said.

On Friday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments to the reform law in a lawsuit brought by the school board, parents groups and others. They contend that the law, including the section that calls for the mayor to take control of three high schools and the clusters of campuses that feed into them, violates the state Constitution. The mayor has not identified the schools yet but is assembling a team to help run them.

If the judge issues an injunction against the law or strikes it down, LA's BEST would still keep the donation. If the law is upheld, the program would pour the money into two of the mayor's clusters and "blitz" those schools, offering students a menu of some of their most successful academic, arts and sports programs, said Carla Sanger, the group's president and chief executive officer.

"We want to show what happens when you have all the possibilities and you have the funding … for all the best we know how to do in one place," she said.

The program, started in 1988 by then-Mayor Tom Bradley, has grown into an expansive, well-respected organization that offers tutoring and recreation activities after school each day to more than 26,000 low-income students on 168 campuses. It relies on a mix of public funds from the district and city and private contributions to meet its nearly $28-million budget.

The size of the donation marked a notable step up for Verizon, which has given about $175,000 to the program in the past — most of it in 2001, when it made a $150,000 contribution. The company has no new deals pending before the city, according to a company spokesman, but has an existing $20-million contract to install communication systems in city buildings.

Verizon executive Tim McCallion, a close friend of the mayor who has contributed to his election campaigns, said it was important for the company to support the mayor's reform plan. The hope, he said, is that the cluster schools will produce results that can be implemented elsewhere.

Sanger acknowledged the restrictions on the donation but echoed McCallion, saying she believes the clusters could be "a laboratory" for the rest of the district.

"Is it fair? No, it's not fair…. But we're working on that…. You've got to do what you can do and then push to make it equitable and have access for everybody."

• smf notes: Verizon is by contract LAUSD's cellular carrier.


By Linda Jacobson, EdWeek

December 13, 2006 - California students are unlikely to meet the meet academic goals for mathematics and English under the No Child Left Behind Act unless policymakers continue to improve the quality of the state’s teaching workforce, a research study suggests.

The report, released last week by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, based in Santa Cruz, Calif., says that 18,000 of the state’s more than 300,000 teachers are still “underprepared,” meaning they don’t have, at minimum, a preliminary teaching credential.

Though that figure has been declining since 2000, weaknesses in the teaching workforce still hit poor and minority students the hardest, says the report, based on research conducted by SRI International, of Menlo Park, Calif., and data from the California Department of Education.

Students in the state’s lowest-achieving schools are more likely to have the least-prepared teachers, the authors say. In high-achieving schools, for example, one 6th grader in 50 has an underprepared teacher. But in low-achieving schools, one out of every four 6th graders has a teacher without the required credentials, says the report.

“Given the incredible hurdles the state faces in improving student achievement, there is an urgent need for highly trained and effective teachers,” Patrick Shields, the director of the Center for Education Policy at SRI and a researcher for the report, said in a press release. “Meeting that challenge will require not only an increased focus on the quantity and qualifications of teachers, but on the quality of teaching.”

The center, however, doesn’t suggest that state leaders are ignoring those matters. It gives Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and the Democratic-controlled legislature credit for passing a legislative package this year that includes a streamlined teacher-credentialing process, improvements to teacher-intern programs, and the development of a data system that will provide additional information on the workforce.

“The state is making targeted investments to improve the conditions in the lowest-performing schools in hopes of improving teacher quality,” the report says.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell also announced late last month that 14 county offices of education will begin receiving a total of $2.1 million to train bilingual teachers. The local education agencies provide training to teachers who work with English-language learners. This year’s state budget also provides an additional $350 million under California’s “economic impact aid” formula to schools with disproportionate numbers of English-language learners.

The research center report, however, stresses that much more remains to be done if achievement gaps in the state are to be reduced.

Just last month, Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, a think tank based jointly at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University, released a review of state education policies showing that, after narrowing in the 1990s, achievement gaps have widened in some grades between students from low-income and middle-class and families, and between students proficient in English and those still learning English. ("Some Calif. Achievement Gaps Are Widening, Study Finds," Nov. 29, 2006.)

Margaret J. Gaston, the executive director of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, said the legislature has moved to strengthen the skills of teachers who work with English-language learners.

Lawmakers this year passed a bill that adds training for those teachers to the state’s Mathematics and Reading Professional Development Program—an $80 million-a-year initiative enacted in the 2002 fiscal year that aims to provide 176,000 teachers statewide with 120 hours of training each.

A new report from the state auditor’s office, however, shows that after five years, only a few more than 7,200 teachers have completed the program, and that about a quarter of them had their training paid for by other federal or state sources.

“Although not specifically required to do so in statute, the [state department of education] has done little to actively promote the program,” the auditor’s report says. “It appears that a more concerted outreach effort is warranted.”

In a written response, Chief Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Gavin Payne said the department would work with the state board of education to develop an “outreach plan.” But he also blamed other factors for the low completion rate, including “competing use of a teacher’s available time.”

Jamal Abedi, an education professor at the University of California, Davis, who specializes in the education of language-minority students, agreed that instruction for English-language learners “suffers from the lack of experienced teachers.”

But he also attributes some of the achievement gap to assessment tools that are intended for mainstream students and that don’t present an accurate picture of English-learners’ abilities. The state, he said, could do more to develop a comprehensive plan that would “address classification, instruction, and assessment of these kids.”

"California’s Teaching Force 2006: Key Issues and Trends" is available from The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. Requires Adobe Acrobat

"I am going to support having the best teachers in the classroom period," Brewer said. He said three days of professional development training per year is not enough. [From AP Story Nov 28/4LAKids Dec 3]

Mike Dreebin, former Elementary Vice President of UTLA writes 4LAKids:

There is lots of Professional Development in LAUSD schools - way, way more than the three Professional Development Buy Back days:

There are 26 "Banked Time Tuesday" professional development meetings in elementary schools.

There are also Professional Development sessions held on the two Pupil Free days at many schools. The contract says that the principal may schedule up to 3 hours of meetings (including Prof Dev) on each of the two Pupil Free days. that equals one full six hour day.

There are also Professional Development sessions done as part of many Faculty meetings (like training teachers and other support folks on Child Abuse Reporting).

At many schools there are also hour long "Grade Level" meetings once a week held during the instructional day - where the students go out for an hour of P.E. with the aides (illegal).

And there are many times that teachers are taken out of their classes and sent to Professional Development training, while a substitute takes the class. (I subbed in a friend's 4th grade at Brentwood Science Magnet for three days a few weeks ago while he was taking training on Into English on-site. I took his class one day last week while he was at Math training off-campus.

The problem is not that there is not enough Professional Development but that current Prof Dev does not meet the needs of the teachers and students. Teachers are not asked what they need. Much of the time an Asst Principal, coordinator or coach (Literacy and Math) lead the Professional Development sessions so that they get experience and so they can add something to their resumes. I often had the exact same training year after year, but by a different person each time.

And I also learned first hand as a member of one of the Program Improvement Validation teams last year that at many schools (most that we visited) no one ever monitors if the Professional Development is actually being implemented in the classrooms. For example, teachers go to a Banked Time Tuesday session, and then go back to their rooms and continue doing what they were already doing. Neither the administrators nor the coaches visit the rooms and observe.

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Monday Dec 18, 2006
Valley Region High School #4: Pre-Demolition Meeting
6:30 p.m.
Patrick Henry Middle School - Auditorium
17340 San Jose St.
Granada Hills, CA 91344
*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213.633.7493
Phone: 213.633.7616


What can YOU do?

• 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

...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.
• Register.
• 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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