Sunday, February 18, 2007


4LAKids: Sunday. February 18, 2007
In This Issue:
A RADICAL CHANGE FOR TWO UNION MILITANTS: Former dissidents, now powerful insiders, shaped the tough tactics that got teachers more than just a raise.
LAUSD'S PAYROLL FOULED UP: Questions raised on choice of new system, contractor
GENDER MATTERS: Educators battle over single-sex schools.
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
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.
THE GOOD NEWS THIS WEEK was that a teacher’s strike had been averted in LAUSD; labor asked for 9%, management offered 3% - and a compromise was struck (the pun is Freudian) at 6%! If that pay raise was the only part of the deal we could all say “Doh!” and have another Duff’s with our donut.

But also included in the contract is a commitment to class size reduction of “one or two students per classroom”. That’s not enough, but it’s big – and if some math teacher taught me correctly I think that means that LAUSD must place – by hiring or transferring non-teaching-staff – about 3 to 6% additional teachers in a like number of additional classrooms. That’s great …providing those new teachers are qualified, the classrooms and money to pay the teachers are there and those transfers aren’t the very folks previously moved away from the classroom in the best interest of kids!

WHILE WE’RE ON ABOUT DONUTS: A tray of these, sandwiches and industrial size pots o’ coffee are on hand in the lobby of LAUSD HQ to accommodate the huge number of folks with “paycheck problems’. For details on cause read LAUSD'S Payroll Fouled Up [below], but the effect is that LAUSD is hiring and paying substitute teachers so classroom teachers can come to Beaudry and spend the day waiting to speak to someone about getting paid.

(Note: Substitute teachers are wonderful people …but classroom teachers belong in their classrooms, paid.)

There is been a lot of downplaying-of-the problem and blame-gaming and going on. At first it was just a “glitch” – but when I asked a reliable source (a guy who delivers school mail throughout the district) I quickly found it it was huge. First the press was told it was the office clerks at the schools who were to blame, followed quickly with an official apology to that group. The president of the principal’s union even offered a mea culpa – because he shoulda/coulda seen this coming!

I’m going to state the obvious in my loud playground voice in my sometime role as an appointed watchdog over LAUSD finances: ORGANIZATIONS DO NOT IMPLEMENT NEW FINANCIAL SOFTWARE PROGRAMS – ESPECIALLY IN PAYROLL – WITHOUT HAVING PARALLEL BACK UPS IN PLACE. Murphy’s Law and the Law of Unintended Consequences ARE THE LAW! To those who argue that LAUSD’s payroll system was already bad let me point out that WORSE IS WORSE THAN BAD and CHAOS IS THE STATE OF NATURE AT REST! One can follow the misdirected media frenzy in blaming the software company or finding a conspiracy in the awarding of the contract – but someone made the conscious decision to not have a backup payroll process in place …and that person and anyone who agreed with their decision should be sitting in a folding chair in the Beaudry lobby and waiting for their paycheck. Forever.

ONE WOULD THINK THAT A WORLD CLASS CITY IN THE 21st CENTURY would pay its teachers on time and avoid pumping its sewage into the sea twice in one week. One would think that the mayor’s hand-picked Commission for Youth and their Families would show up for the meeting to hear the mayor’s team pitch his ‘Schoolhouse Framework: A revolutionary plan for school reform’. One would think.

ON A CELEBRATORY NOTE: THIS WEEKEND MARKS THE 110TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF PTA. In the first few years PTA worked to establish universal free kindergarten, pass child labor laws, championed an separate juvenile justices system and worked to guarantee parent rights within public education. In the intervening years PTA created the school nurse program, assured that polio was eliminated in this country by insisting upon a nationwide vaccination program in all schools, advocated for the school lunch program, after school programs, seat belt and car seat legislation. We have worked tirelessly to see that education and children’s health and welfare is the nation’s, states’ and local governments’ first policy and budget priority — all begun when two thousand mothers gathered in Washington DC on Feb. 17-19, 1897 – during ‘a storm of the century’ blizzard! And what has PTA done lately? Governor Schwarzenegger hailed PTA’s leadership and success last year in insisting on funding for arts education in the California curriculum and state budget.

Join us; we’re not finished! It isn’t just about punch and a cookie with the principal …but it almost always starts there! There’s a million of us in California and six million nationwide. Margaret Mead said to never underestimate the power of a small dedicated group to change the world, “…they are the only ones who ever have!” PTA is that small dedicated group at your school, speaking for our kids and every child with one strong voice.

WE COULD ALL USE ANOTHER NEW BEGINNING, and in the Chinese New Year this extended weekend we have one! Let’s take Monday off and hit the ground running on Tuesday. Gung hei fat choi and Happy Birthday PTA, George and Abe!

Onward -smf

LAUSD apology to clerks/AALA President’s comments

A RADICAL CHANGE FOR TWO UNION MILITANTS: Former dissidents, now powerful insiders, shaped the tough tactics that got teachers more than just a raise.
By Joe Mathews, Times Staff Writer

February 15, 2007 - At United Teachers Los Angeles, veteran classroom instructors Joel Jordan and Joshua Pechthalt were longtime outsiders, considered a bit too radical for a union long known for its progressive politics.

Now, as leaders at the nation's second-largest teachers union, they are applying their ideas in ways that could reshape Southern California's politics and schools.

On Tuesday came the largest practical demonstration of the union's new approach to date: a three-year union contract.

The agreement was sealed after months of unusually confrontational rhetoric and aggressive public protests staged by the union's leaders. And the deal's details — particularly its mandate for class size reduction and new job protections for union activists — reflect the long-standing emphasis by Pechthalt, Jordan and their allies on broadening UTLA's advocacy beyond salary and benefits.

"This contract is a representation of our vision, in a concentrated and limited form," Jordan said after a news conference to announce the agreement.

In the months ahead, union leaders say, they intend to use a similar approach in two other big battles: the March 6 elections, which could reshape the Los Angeles school board, and the implementation of a state law that, if it survives court challenges, could grant Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and perhaps the union itself greater influence over the district.

UTLA's more aggressive stance is personified by A.J. Duffy, the dapper, occasionally bombastic union president who communicates with the membership and tussles with the press. But according to people both inside and outside UTLA, the strategy has been shaped by the little-known Jordan and Pechthalt, self-described "union militants" who now hold key leadership posts.

Jordan, a top staffer, and Pechthalt, a vice president, have long ties to activist politics and to Villaraigosa, a former UTLA staffer who once represented Pechthalt in a grievance against the Los Angeles Unified School District. Along with Duffy and two other allies, Pechthalt and Jordan were unexpectedly swept into power in elections two years ago by a membership frustrated at stalled contract talks.

Their dissident status had been cemented over two decades. They staged demonstrations without the approval of union leadership. They supported bilingual education when California voters didn't, opposed standardized testing as it became popular and questioned whether homework was necessary. They published a newsletter criticizing the labor movement and their own union, particularly its focus on electing school board members to secure power and good contracts.

Instead, they said, UTLA should reinvent itself as the base for a social movement that would engage in aggressive organizing of parents and communities, confront even friendly politicians and use militant tactics rarely employed by staid public employee unions.

"UTLA has never realized its full potential, which is to organize at schools, with teachers, parents and the community," Pechthalt said. "We need to create a broader movement for public education."

But this approach has caused alarm among some in the union and in political circles. Rank-and-file teachers and even other UTLA officers suggest that in their zeal to change the organization, the new union leaders have neglected some of the nuts and bolts of unionism.

"UTLA is a labor union and has the structure and mechanisms and funding and politics of a labor union," said Warren Fletcher, a union chairman at City of Angels School downtown, who has been both ally and critic of Pechthalt and Jordan. "I'm concerned that we're approaching things from the perspective of some sort of grand movement."

Jordan, 64, an avuncular alternative-school teacher, and Pechthalt, a funny, mustachioed social studies teacher, met 20 years ago. They were introduced by a mutual friend, UCLA professor Robert Brenner, a classmate of Jordan's at Beverly Hills High School.

A trumpet player in his youth, Jordan became radicalized during the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley, where he was a student. He left graduate school to teach in the Oakland public schools. He quit to drive a truck and later became an organizer in Los Angeles for Teamsters for a Democratic Union. By 1980, Jordan had returned to teaching. He eventually took a job at Mid-City Alternative School and stayed close to Brenner.

"We both developed the same sort of emphasis, a first principle that the activity and organizing of the membership of a union, rather than the leadership, is the key to power," Brenner said.

Pechthalt, 53, took a class from Brenner at UCLA during the 1980s on social theory and comparative history. Pechthalt was the son of radicals. His father, a Colombian immigrant, was a chicken farmer turned politician who briefly moved the family back to South America when Pechthalt was a child. His mother, a bookkeeper, actively opposed the Vietnam War.

Brenner had a lasting impact on Pechthalt. The professor argues that the world economy and global capitalism are in decline, a view that Jordan and Pechthalt say they share.

"Joel and I developed a critique of the narrow trade union perspective," Pechthalt said. "With the tightening of the economic pie, the only way to challenge that was to build a broad-based social movement for public education."

During UTLA's last strike, a nine-day walkout in 1989, Pechthalt and Jordan organized a rally in Exposition Park with Villaraigosa's help. In 1992, Pechthalt led a one-hour wildcat strike at Manual Arts High School, which included 30 teachers and 1,500 students, to protest cuts. The district tried to discipline Pechthalt; Villaraigosa guided his successful grievance.

About the same time, Pechthalt and Jordan began publishing A Second Opinion, a newsletter that frequently criticized UTLA. Among their contributors were other dissidents, including Julie Washington, now a vice president, and David Goldberg, now union treasurer.

"We need to once more begin transforming the image of teachers as friendly Caspar Milquetoast do-gooders into a unified, mobilized and proud bunch of unionists," Pechthalt and Jordan wrote in August 2004.

By then, Jordan was running a campaign to take over the board of directors and three officer positions with a slate of dissidents called United Action. The slate did not field a presidential candidate, and did not think Duffy, the only challenger to incumbent John Perez, stood a chance.

But Duffy, an unsinkable sort who favors fine suits and two-tone shoes, was undeterred. The son of a Brooklyn insurance executive, he was slow to learn to read and "was a tremendous disappointment to my parents," he said. In his 20s, Duffy moved to Philadelphia, where he lived in a commune and started a day-care center.

After moving to Los Angeles, Duffy earned his teaching credential. He taught social studies at Drew Middle School near Watts and special education at Franklin High in Highland Park. He frequently ran afoul of principals but sharpened his fighting skills in grievances.

Though campaigning for the union presidency on his own, Duffy found he agreed with Pechthalt and Jordan on the need for militancy; United Action endorsed Duffy, and vice versa.

Their timing was good. In February 2005, the frustrated membership elected the entire slate, including Duffy.

The new leaders claimed some victories for their new approach. They persuaded teachers to wear red shirts on Tuesdays as a sign of union solidarity. They pushed the district to reduce some of the mandatory assessments of students that teachers complain take class time. They also supported other unions. Duffy and Pechthalt were arrested during a demonstration in favor of airport hotel workers last September.

The leaders' philosophy also led them to a deal they came to regret with Villaraigosa to support state legislation granting him more influence over the school district.

They opposed his initial bid for a full takeover, instead pressing him behind the scenes to pursue a partnership with the union. The compromise legislation, AB 1381, was negotiated behind closed doors in Sacramento. That secrecy, along with provisions granting more power to the superintendent, upset some of UTLA's rank and file, and opponents gathered signatures for a referendum on the deal.

After AB 1381 became law (it has since been blocked by a judge), members voted to overturn the union's support of the agreement, leaving UTLA an official opponent of the law its own leaders negotiated.

"Many of the current officers of UTLA do not have a clue what the rank-and-file membership has to say about educational reform or raising student achievement or protecting public education and does not seem to take the time to even bother to find out," former union vice president Becki Robinson wrote to The Times after the deal.

The reversal left Villaraigosa deeply skeptical of the union's ability to deliver on any agreement, said sources close to the mayor. In school board races this spring, the mayor and the union are backing different candidates.

Union officers saw the contract fight, in part, as a chance to make amends for AB 1381 — and mobilize as they had promised.

They sponsored a tour of campuses to highlight overcrowding and held two massive rallies of teachers. They broadcast radio ads calling for smaller classes and more authority for parents. And they repeatedly threatened to strike.

"We have to destroy this district," Duffy, 62, told teachers last month at Nightingale Middle School in Northeast Los Angeles. "We have to pull it apart. We have to dismantle it. The only way to do it is with conflict."

The contract was sealed Monday, as the union began a strike authorization vote. District officials said negotiations gained momentum when Jordan personally joined the talks.

The deal produced a 6% raise — less than the 9% the union had previously demanded but more than some school board members thought was prudent. Union leaders, for their part, emphasized their gains on non-salary issues that were often the subject of articles in the old dissident newsletter.

The contract includes both reductions in and caps on class sizes (which will average about one or two fewer students per class). It gives new protection to teachers active in UTLA; anyone transferred for their union activities can appeal to a mediator.

Said their ally Washington, who was on the negotiating committee: "This is just a beginning."

▲smf notes: I of course would never resort to rhetorical excess! Because AJ Duffy’s quote: "We have to pull it apart. We have to dismantle it. The only way to do it is with conflict." seems to feed directly into the Runner/Riordan/Smyth “break up the district” agenda I asked UTLA leadership to clarify it – or at least put it into a current context. Josh Pechthalt got back to me saying that he spoke to Duffy “and he said the quote was not correct. He was referring to the district bureaucracy; not the district itself.”

LAUSD'S PAYROLL FOULED UP: Questions raised on choice of new system, contractor
by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

Feb. 15, 2006 - Roiled by glitches in a new $95 million computerized payroll system that have left thousands of employees without checks, Los Angeles school officials said Wednesday that they will review the contracting process that led to the deal and might consider taking legal action against the suppliers.

Problems with the system have left more than 10,000 employees without paychecks for two weeks, and Los Angeles Unified School District officials expect similar problems next month.

And questions have been raised on the district's choice of SAP Public Services for the system despite a history of problems at other schools, a more-expensive software bid and a potential political connection to the LAUSD.

The lobbying firm Rose & Kindel represents SAP and also has a contract with the district for consulting and lobbying in Sacramento. It lobbied in 2005 for state legislation that allowed the district to use a less-stringent bidding process for major technology purchases.

"One of the things we always do when a system is rolled out is ... look for lessons learned. We have to go back and look at the history of procurement, certainly. ... We'll do our due diligence to see if it was a good deal," said Superintendent David Brewer III.

District officials have defended the contract award and say instead that the suppliers may have failed to adequately prepare for implementation.

But some also are questioning the timing of legislation that allowed the LAUSD to award the contract to SAP.


In October 2005, Rose & Kindel lobbied for legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine on behalf of the district to provide more flexibility in selecting technology providers.

SAP officials have said Rose & Kindel didn't lobby for the legislation on behalf of SAP - and has not lobbied for SAP on anything before LAUSD officials because of the potential conflict.

And LAUSD officials have said that because Rose & Kindel doesn't lobby district officials on behalf of clients, there was no conflict between the firm's lobbying for the district on the bill and having a Sacramento tie to SAP.

The bill was signed into law Oct. 4, 2005. Later that day, SAP announced its contract with the LAUSD.

"It certainly is strange in the sense that the reason for the legislation was we can't go with the lowest bid because it wouldn't perform as well as the highest bid," said Bob Stern, director of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. "And now it turns out the highest bid didn't perform well at all."

Levine did not return a call for comment.

So far, officials are aware of 10,000 LAUSD employees - out of more than 100,000 - who have been affected by the glitches, said Chuck Burbridge, district chief financial officer.

Bus driver Benny Bernal, an 18-year LAUSD veteran and incoming vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 99, said his check was hundreds of dollars short.

Bernal said other employees have told him the glitches have led to their accounts being overdrawn, rent checks delayed and mortgage payments missed.

"I found this system was used in other states and has failed," Bernal said. "Obviously they were aware of it, and I want an answer as to who made the final decision and what are we going to do to hold these people accountable," he said.


The district has set up a service center for employees who have questions or need emergency funds. Officials are also contacting employees' banks and expect district funds to pay any fees the glitches caused employees to incur, including overdraft and insufficient-fund charges.

While district officials said they don't yet have an estimate of how much it will cost, Bernal said redoing employees' timecards in the transportation department takes three hours per driver and totals about $75,000 a day.

Touted as a key to cutting inefficiencies, fraud and bureaucracy, the new payroll system is set to be completely operational by 2008.

But it has been riddled with problems at other educational institutions. Last year, the faculty union sued the nine Los Angeles community colleges over delays and incorrect paychecks. College officials blamed their new SAP system.

LAUSD school board member David Tokofsky said the board will consider whether to sue SAP and Deloitte Consulting, the company hired to implement the system.

"When there's a crash, often the responsibility is on all the parties, and we've heard a lot about L.A. Unified's fault," he said.

"But what we haven't seen in explicit terms yet is SAP and Deloitte's responsibilities, contractually and institutionally."

Deloitte Consulting received an 18-month, $55 million contract - the largest chunk in the new system's $95 million contract - because of the firm's familiarity with SAP implementation, Tokofsky said.

SAP Public Services did not return a call. Deloitte spokeswoman Christine Brodeur said in a written statement that Deloitte will continue to work with the district on the issue.


School board candidate Tamar Galatzan, who's challenging incumbent Jon Lauritzen, said in a letter to Lauritzen on Tuesday that the system has had problems around the country, including San Bernardino City Unified and Minneapolis public schools.

She called on the school board to ask the district's inspector general to audit the contracts awarded for the new system.

"Los Angeles Unified has a history of undertaking expensive projects only to abandon them, squandering taxpayer dollars," she said.

Burbridge said the LAUSD conducted a lengthy evaluation process in which more than 100 people reviewed the software and consultants before choosing SAP.

"We thought we were aware of the challenges, and we were hopeful we'd have a better experience than these other school districts," Burbridge said.

"However, at the end of the day, there are only so many payroll systems that are large enough to accommodate 100,000 employees, and sometimes you have to hold your nose and say yes, there are challenges with this. We thought we chose the best one."

GENDER MATTERS: Educators battle over single-sex schools.
By Amy Standen | Edutopia Magazine

Feb 7, 2007 - At the 49ers Academy, in East Palo Alto, California, it was the students who gave the thumbs down to going coed.

"They say they feel more comfortable in sex-segregated classrooms," says Heather Turoczi, the school's program director. "The boys don't feel like they need to put on a big show for the girls, and the girls feel like they can strive academically without having to dumb down their abilities."

The 49ers Academy is somewhat of a rarity, both in California and nationwide: a single-sex public school. Incorporated in 1996, the school caters primarily to low-income students, many who could be classified as high risk. The goal, says the school's Web site, "is to keep these kids in school." Middle school boys and girls here share a campus. Clad in their 49ers uniforms of white T-shirts and khaki pants, they squeeze in a few minutes of sarcasm and flirting as they cross paths on the quad but spend most of the day in single-sex classrooms, sharing the school's facilities on a staggered schedule.

Fifty-one completely single-sex public schools exist in America, and nearly five times as many offer some single-sex classrooms, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education. Those numbers may soon rise. In November, the U.S. Department of Education delivered guidelines that will, in effect, show how school districts can offer single-sex classrooms without violating Title IX, the landmark 1972 federal legislation that mandated gender equality in all aspects of government-funded education. Supporters of single-sex education welcome the new rules, but many others are wary of the change. In education as well as anywhere else, they argue, separate is not equal, and single-sex schools can undermine years of progress toward gender equality. Under the new legislation, however, it's less a matter of if than of how: How far must schools go to ensure that boys' and girls' educations mirror each other exactly? How do you preserve fairness in segregation?

The 49ers Academy dates to an older experiment. In 1997, then California governor Pete Wilson introduced legislation to create 12 single-sex academies in six districts. The state would grant $500,000 to each district to help fund the schools, with the requirement that the money be divided equally between boys and girls. The academies would operate as magnet schools within the districts, alternatives to -- but not replacements for -- coed programs.

[article continues - see link below]

▲ In the formation and design of Small School Learning Communities on our large campuses - high school but really mostly middle school - maybe we should consider twin single gender schools in the mix? – smf

Hot Link:

Gender Matters article continues on 4LAKidsNews blog.

By Sara Bernard | from the Edutopia Spriral Notebook (a blog)

February 13, 2007 - The Education Sector, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC, recently released a report titled “On the Clock: Rethinking the Way Schools Use Time.” The report explores the benefits of increased instructional time during the school day but warns that the quality of teaching is as important as the quantity, and makes specific recommendations for policy makers on how to use school time more effectively. Though many schools have begun lengthening the school day, some argue that more time in school — regardless of how it’s used — puts too great a demand on students and teachers, requires too significant an increase in funding, and may not even make much of a difference in student achievement.

▲ from the executive summary of the report:

“The logic of time reform is simple—more time in school should result in more learning and better student performance. But this seemingly straightforward calculation is more complex than it appears. Research reveals a complicated relationship between time and learning and suggests that improving the quality of instructional time is at least as important as increasing the quantity of time in school. It also suggests that the addition of high-quality teaching time is of particular benefit to certain groups of students, such as low-income students and others who have little opportunity for learning outside of school.

“What’s more, the politics and cost of extending time make the reform a tough sell. Additional days and hours are expensive, and changing the school schedule affects not only students and teachers, but parents, employers and a wide range of industries that are dependent on the traditional school day and year. It is critical that policymakers understand the educational and political complexities of time reform before they attempt to extend the school year or take up other time-reform initiatives.”

The full report: “On the Clock: Rethinking the Way Schools Use Time.”

► BILL TO REQUIRE HPV VACCINE STIRS CONCERN: Some believe making California schoolgirls get inoculated against the sexually transmitted virus would violate parental rights.

By Adrian G. Uribarri, LA Times Staff Writer

February 12, 2007 - George Warren didn't mind getting his 9-year-old daughter vaccinated against chickenpox. He didn't object to any of the 10 or so inoculations that California requires.

But a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts? For a preteen girl?

"She's not gonna need it," said Warren, a 30-year-old land surveyor from Rescue, Calif., about 28 miles from Sacramento. "I'm a good parent. I tell her what's right and wrong."

A bill in the state Legislature would require such shots for girls entering the sixth grade. And parents such as Warren are decrying what they consider an incursion on parental rights.

"I'm insulted by them trying to tell me what's right for my children," he said.

Written primarily by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View), the bill mandating vaccinations against the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted disease that causes 70% of cervical cancers, is still in its infancy.

Its prospects are uncertain, but one thing already is clear: This is a controversial issue.

Texas' Republican governor, Rick Perry, angered social conservatives in his party recently when he mandated HPV vaccines for girls by executive order. Parents there can opt out of the requirement for reasons of conscience — as they would be able to do in California.

Since the vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year, states have been wrestling with the questions it raises. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 have initiated legislation.

Parents or their advocates have raised a chorus of objections, saying that mandating the vaccine may encourage promiscuity and that it is too early to tell whether the vaccine is safe, particularly for young girls.

Last month, Maryland's Democratic state Sen. Delores Kelley withdrew her vaccination bill, saying she was responding to parents and teachers worried about excessive inoculation requirements.

In California, the bill is still in a legislative committee. Lieber, who recently drew criticism for introducing an anti-spanking bill, has since dropped her sponsorship. She cited a potential conflict of interest because her husband's family trust includes about $14,000 of stock in Merck and Co., the maker of Gardasil, the only available HPV vaccine.

Edward Hernandez (D-Baldwin Park), a freshman assemblyman who sits with Lieber on the Health Committee, agreed to carry the bill.

"What brought me to the table is the fact that I have a 16-year-old daughter," he said. "I'm looking at it from the public health standpoint of reducing cancer."

At least 50% of sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, according to federal statistics.

Among women with HPV, the vast majority do not develop cervical cancer. But the American Cancer Society estimates that this year, about 11,150 women will be diagnosed as having HPV and 3,670 women will die from the disease. As a result, many public health experts endorse vaccinating girls before they become sexually active.

Scott Folsom, president of the Los Angeles 10th District Parent-Teacher-Student Assn., said mandating the vaccine makes it more likely to be widely used.

"PTA was a great advocate for the polio vaccine in the '50s," said Folsom, who has encouraged his own 16-year-old daughter to get the HPV shot. "This is another opportunity to perhaps make that difference."

But opponents say HPV is not like polio, or most other diseases prevented by vaccines. State Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster) said HPV is the result of lifestyle decisions, not contagion.

"Is there a more productive way for us to spend the money that may help someone who's in a health situation that has nothing to do with their personal choices?" he asked. "Where do you want to focus your resources?"

The vaccine is relatively expensive. It requires three doses within about six months, each dose costing about $120. It is covered by some major insurers and, in the case of women between the ages of 19 and 26, Medi-Cal will pick up the tab. Girls as young as 9 can qualify for free doses under the federal Vaccines for Children program.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a public stand on the bill, which could change before reaching his desk, but his proposed budget for the 2007-08 fiscal year includes $11.3 million for HPV vaccines.

The California Department of Health Services has already distributed 60,000 doses of the vaccine to healthcare providers, and it is in the process of providing 45,000 more this month.

The Los Angeles Unified School District already offers the vaccine at its clinics. Female students are eligible to receive Gardasil with parental consent.

Ron Prentice, director of the California Family Council, said he does not object to having the vaccine on the market. But he wants a bill that would grant parents the greatest possible latitude for exemptions.

"Am I concerned that people may suffer from cervical cancer? The answer is yes," he said. "But the ultimate decision should remain with the parents, not the state."

Re "Proposal to require HPV vaccine stirs concerns,"

• I am amazed that George Warren won't vaccinate his preteen daughter for the human papilloma virus, the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. He says she doesn't need it because he is a good parent and tells her what is right and wrong. Is he psychic? He somehow knows his daughter will never be raped? She'll never have a husband who lies about his history or cheats on her? For all other parents who do not have such psychic abilities, please vaccinate your daughters and possibly save their lives.

Long Beach

• Texas Gov. Rick Perry has bypassed the legislative process and signed an order stating that girls ages 11 and 12 are to receive the HPV vaccine beginning in 2008. This order infringes on the rights of parents to make decisions for their children. As parents, we must guard our children carefully and stand up when anything threatens our autonomy as a family. We must let those who govern over us know that we will not be easily led to lose our freedom to parent as God directs us, and the freedom to choose and reject those who govern us.

Detroit, Texas

smf 2¢: Rick Perry, a conservative Republican, was George W. Bush’s chosen successor as Texas Governor. His wife is a nurse and served on the 50th anniversary celebration of the Salk Vaccine Trials – the program that set up the universal vaccination of all US schoolchildren and the elimination of polio. Their daughter attended public schools. The fluoride in the water did not lead to the triumph of godless communism.

From LA Times Staff Reports

February 14, 2007 - The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday postponed a vote on a new discipline policy at the request of the teachers union.

United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy told the board that he would like to "go back with my discipline committee and make sure all the Ts are crossed and I's are dotted." Duffy stressed, however, that he had no intention of changing the final document.

The board is expected to consider the policy again in two weeks. It would give the Los Angeles Unified School District a guiding document for dealing with student misbehavior.

•smf’s 2¢ So Duffy and UTLA are checking with UTLA’s Discipline Committee for T crossing and I dotting on a policy years in the making – but even if they find a T dotted or an I crossed there is no intention of changing the document? Am I missing something here?

THE FABULOUS $50,000-A-YEAR EDUCATION: College fees skyrocket/poor kids priced out as campuses pursue talented students and attractive facilities

• Thursday February 22: TALKING ABOUT RACE

Community Advocates, The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, and 89.3 KPCC-FM, Southern California Public Radio Present A Critical Issues Seminar:

A nationally broadcast forum with three outstanding and controversial advocates--to better understand America’s perennial issue

Join an array of community leaders in discussing the role of racial and ethnic identity in our lives---from individual conversations to the media and its news coverage to policy formation by our leaders. Where are we and where are we going?

• Gustavo Arellano | Commentator, OC Weekly Syndicated Columnist of “Ask A Mexican”
• Sandra Tsing Loh | Writer/Performer, Novelist, NPR Commentator, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic Monthly
• Joe R. Hicks | Vice-President, Community Advocates, Radio Host, KFI-AM
• Larry Mantle | Moderator Award winning host of 89.3 KPCC-FM’s AirTalk

Thursday February 22 7 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
Center for the Preservation of Democracy
111 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles 90012
(Across the Plaza from the Japanese American National Museum)
Wine and Cheese Reception 6:00 PM
Dessert Reception Following Program
RSVP (213) 623.6003 or by email to
Made Possible by Generous Grants from the Righteous Persons Foundation and the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation.


They were L.A. Parents who "just said no" to the crazy-making miseries of getting into magnet schools, charter schools and beyond


From Pasadena to the Eastside to the Valley to the Westside they were the parents who bucked conventional wisdom by choosing their (drum roll, please). . .

(Really?!? You’re kidding?!? What the--?!?)

MARTINIS AND MAGNETS (an LA Weekly Best Event) presents:


Plus special bonus topic. . .
Q: Who’s afraid of middle school?
A: Apparently everybody!

Join your fellow Los Angeles "points-impaired" parents for an intimate brunch
11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sunday, February 25
A cool kids’ store, yoga studio and music/art class mecca
6095 Pico (on north side between Crescent Heights and La Cienega)
Cool Baby Phone: (323) 935-3084

Free: We’ll provide (non-Cooks!) champagne and OJ
Please bring one potluck dish (because it’s the neighborly thing to do)
Childcare included, but please RSVP

• Tuesday Feb 20, 2007
6:00 p.m.
Main Street Elementary School
129 East 53rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

• Tuesday Feb 20, 2007
Join us as we kick off the site selection process for this new project.
6:30 p.m.
MacArthur Park Primary Center
2300 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057

• Wednesday Feb 21, 2007
Please join us to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new community school!
Ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m.
East Los Angeles New High School #1
1200 Plaza Del Sol
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Wednesday Feb 21, 2007
CENTRAL REGION HIGH SCHOOL #16: Schematic Design Meeting
At this meeting we will:
* Present schematic design drawings
* Receive community input on the design of the project
6:00 p.m.
49th Street Elementary School - Auditorium
750 East 49th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

• Thursday Feb 22, 2007
Please join us to celebrate the completion of your new classroom building!
Ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m.
Huntington Drive Elementary School
4435 N. Huntington Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90032

• Thursday Feb 22, 2007
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!
6:30 p.m.
Rosemont Avenue Elementary School
421 N. Rosemont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

• Thursday Feb 22, 2007
VALLEY REGION SPAN K-8 #2: Recommended Preferred Site Meeting
Join us to discuss the recommended preferred site and the next steps in the construction of the Valley Region Span K-8 #2.
6:30 p.m.
Germain Elementary School
20730 Germain St.
Chatsworth, CA 91311

*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! • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at • 213.978.0600
• 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.
• 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.
• FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 4LAKids makes such material available in an effort to advance understanding of education issues vital to parents, teachers, students and community members in a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.