Saturday, April 07, 2007

The parable of Eastover.

4LAKids: Sunday, Sept 21, 2007
In This Issue:
BIG PUSH FOR SMALL CAMPUSES: Mayor wants middle schools to have option to downsize
LAURITZEN PUSHES FOR CHARTER REVOTE: Critics say LAUSD board member is bowing to political pressure.
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
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AND IT CAME TO PASS IN THOSE DAYS that the children living in the City of the Angels were many and they overflowed the schools and there were more children than there were chairs and books and teachers.

And so some of the children, those who were most crowded and had the least among them in fortune and opportunity were divided into tracks, some enumerated as A and B and C, and others A and B and C and D.

And the schooling of these children was made to last throughout the year, broken into segments with interruptions with time added to the day and removed from the number of days and the rulers in the North said: “This is good for they are no longer too many.” But the children and the parents and the teachers saw that it was bad because the children were not learning in the schools.

The holiday break that happened in the springtime was eliminated and the children on the tracks numbered A and C on the tracks numbering three, and A and C and D on the tracks numbering four said “Why is this week unlike all other weeks?” And the wise teachers said: “It is not, for you must come to school when other children play, but you are not overcrowded because the counters of beans say it its so.”

But the children said: “But haven’t the counters of beans in the Tower of Beaudry miscalculated your pay and are some of you working not for money but for promises?” And the teachers, beginning to doubt their wisdom, said: “This is true, but study hard and do well on the test or we all will go into Program Improvement and the wrath of the Rulers in the East will only increase. But if we do well the Rulers in the East will pass over us with their vengeance and perchance even feed us of the carrot rather than beat us with the stick.”

And as it was so, it is so in the Season of Eastover.

SPRING IS UPON US, that nest of hummingbirds right outside my front door prohibits use of the front entry – the family comes and goes through the side door, the mail person leaves letters in a cardboard box on a patio chair – and the hummingbird parents dive bomb the poor cat. A metaphor for the mayor …or a coincidence in syntax?

IN OTHER NEWS ‘Big Push for Small Campuses’: Marshall Tuck, the mayor’s newest surrogate/would-be-superintendent complains that things are headed in right direction in LAUSD but didn’t go fast enough in the past. Duh! Isn’t this kinda/sorta like complaining that the right things are happening without mayoral control?

Tuck and the mayor are absolutely right that progress towards Small Learning Communities in LAUSD has been slow – and it has been little too focused on high schools at the expense of middle schools.

But we are not living in the past, we are hastening towards the future. Hastening may be an exaggeration – but LAUSD is actually on the cutting edge of reform in implementing SLC’s at Middle Schools. Critics of the District – and of the Gates Foundation’s single/narrow minded focus on promoting and funding SLC’s exclusively in high schools (myself among them) have been saying all along that SLC’s are probably even more relevant in middle schools. The District has heard us! Even Gates is getting it. LAUSD schools have been working at it; SLC programs are happening in programs like Holmes, Reed and Milliken Middle Schools – these are just three I’ve visited recently. And now the mayor and his team are saying it too! Run to catch up …and we’ll help you aboard — we are lumbering towards the future!

IN NEWS NOT COVERED HERE the mayor is cutting the city budget, which is not balanced — nor will it be after the budget cuts. Perhaps he should account for how much his efforts to take over LAUSD has cost the city taxpayers – and perhaps some cuts need to be made in that office.

WHEN YOU READ ‘Leaders in L.A. District At Odds over School Reforms’ and ‘Lauritzen Pushes for Charter Revote’ you will see that the adults are modeling bad behavior for schoolchildren: Compromise and collaboration are signs of weakness, it’s for all or none of the marbles …and the best interest of the marbles themselves are not in consideration.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports that the parents and principals are restless over school fundraising [‘Parents Rebel…’] – a multibillion dollar for-profit industry where candy, cookie dough, magazine and gift wrap sales and merchandising are outsourced to unpaid domestic labor, some of it child labor, as parents and kids work to pay for free public education.

AND NOW THAT last year’s API has been calculated it’s time to raise the bar for next year’s AYP - which the CDE has done in conformity with NCLB. [CDE Announces API Targets, etc.] There seems to be a disconnect between the DOE and CDE over the interpretation of NCLB and IDEA – but it will all be worked out in the end. Monday will have alphabet soup on the menu at schools through California – and eighteen percent of children will return to class hungry. —smf

BIG PUSH FOR SMALL CAMPUSES: Mayor wants middle schools to have option to downsize
by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer, LA Daily News

April 6, 2007 — After years of voicing support for smaller schools, Los Angeles Unified is starting to break up its behemoth campuses - an effort that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says must be expedited and expanded to reduce the dropout rate and reform the struggling district.

As he considers ways he'd like to improve the LAUSD, Villaraigosa said it's imperative to provide a more nurturing environment for students - something that's nearly impossible to attain with as many as 5,000 pupils on a single campus.

He also said he would use his political clout to obtain the money needed to convert more campuses to small learning communities. He would start the program at the middle-school level, he said.

"There have been plans upon plans at the Los Angeles school district to create smaller schools," said Marshall Tuck, the mayor's education adviser. "What we haven't seen is the urgency and commitment to carry it through nor cutting the bureaucracy to give the small schools the control they deserve."

LAUSD officials concede that the district's efforts to create smaller campuses have been inconsistent over the past decade, but they say there's now a firm commitment to reform.

"I don't think we had any coherence before. Each school did their own thing. ... There's accountability now," said Shelley Weston, the LAUSD's assistant superintendent for the office of school redesign.

School board member Mike Lansing, who heads up the facilities committee that oversees small schools, agrees with education experts that sixth- through eighth-graders - struggling with adolescence - also would benefit from smaller campuses.

"We need to accelerate the pace on getting some middle schools at least in the planning stages of small learning communities, so it doesn't take as long as the high schools did," Lansing said.

UCLA education professor Jeannie Oakes noted that the personalized attention offered by smaller campuses would help the district better prepare middle-school students to tackle the mandatory college-preparatory curriculum in place in all its high schools.
“The mayor's group is right to focus on middle schools as well as high schools," said Oakes, who is also co-director of UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education and Access.

"Catching kids early is very, very important."


Within the past year, the LAUSD board has approved plans to create 165 small learning communities at 25 existing high schools - essentially dividing the campuses into minicampuses that ultimately will be autonomous.

By July, 21 more schools are expected to pitch their breakup plans, which would result in small learning communities at 46 of the district's 54 high schools.

District officials hope that all of its high schools will eventually house small learning communities but are leaving it up to each campus to decide.

Although the district is committed now to smaller campuses, it's been criticized in the past for its slow pace in embracing the concept. Some education leaders said former Superintendent Roy Romer was unwilling to relinquish control to individual schools, an accusation Romer vehemently denied.

However, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested millions of dollars to help develop small schools nationwide, said it has held off in establishing a permanent relationship with the LAUSD until the district's programs are more evolved.

Since taking over 15 months ago as head of the district's restructuring efforts, Weston has set goals and benchmarks for small learning communities - everything from parental involvement to strength of curriculum - and has been working with schools to get their breakup plans through the approval process.

"Prior to last year, I don't think there was a real focus and it was moving way too slow. Now I see the real work is at the school sites, and that's being accelerated now," Lansing said. "Before, people were floundering on their own."


Monroe High School in North Hills, for example, has distinguished itself by creating a system of six small learning communities - but its success was driven by the school, not the LAUSD, Weston said.

"What I feel it's up to us to do is to ensure that we have the coherence across the district," Weston said. "I think it's an absolute commitment and we've got some promising early results because we are measuring this."

But the district's efforts are too little, too late, Villaraigosa's education adviser said.

"Is there a separate budget for the schools?" Tuck asked. "Can the school hire employees separately from the larger school? Is there a real meaningful control over hiring, budget and influence over curriculum? And how many are in separate, isolated areas of a campus?"

But Weston said the district is moving as quickly as possible and has begun training educators and support staffers in how to work - and thrive - in a different environment.

"This is a journey that you take. You don't just overnight have everybody trained and ready to go," Weston said.

David Rattray, vice president of education and work-force development for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, said the mayor's criticism of the LAUSD may have sparked its efforts to create small learning communities.

"The district at any one point in time is full of great, dedicated people that are trying to advance the agenda, but there's an enormous bureaucracy, so a single voice like the mayor, and his stature, is certainly a situation where you can create a singular focus," Rattray said.


The key is to get the large district to be more nimble and innovative in creating smaller schools, Rattray said.

"It's been difficult for the bureaucracy to move at a rapid cadence that is befitting the challenge ahead of us," Rattray said. "But I'm finally seeing progress on the small learning communities and small schools that's happening at a much more accelerated pace in the past year and in the last few months."

Rattray said that while there are differences in the urgency and execution of plans by the mayor and the LAUSD, their goals are very similar. That's why the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is urging the mayor, the school board, the superintendent and the teachers union to sign a compact and develop a shared agenda.

"This is a movement ... that is at a point now where I think we are going to ensure this happens successfully because it's too critical, and I think many leaders in the district have reached that conclusion with us," Rattray said.

"The challenges we have is it's going to take the business community and civic community to work with the school system and demand, as well as help to make it happen for kids."

By Lesli A. Maxwell | Education Week

April 6, 2007 —When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa revealed plans last April to take over the sprawling school district that serves his city, the charismatic Democrat had an abundance of political capital to push for the changes he believed necessary to raise student achievement and boost the dismal graduation rates that have dogged the city for years.

Now, after a bruising, yearlong battle with Los Angeles Unified School District leaders that has yet to be resolved, a big question remains: Will the mayor’s aggressive campaign to reshape the public schools end up being a catalyst for dramatic change, or a high-profile failed effort to reform the nation’s second-largest district?

A state appellate court is now weighing whether the law that was passed last year to give the mayor partial authority over the schools violates the California Constitution. A ruling is likely later this month.


In the seven months that have passed since Mayor Villaraigosa won state legislative approval to intervene in the city’s schools, debate has stirred anew over who, or what, can best raise achievement in the 708,000-student district, especially in its high schools.

That debate turned even more heated late last month, when a divided school board voted 3-3, with one member recusing himself, to turn down the expansion plans of one of the city’s most promising charter school operators, Green Dot Public Schools. Green Dot currently operates 10 small high schools in some of Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods.

Will the prime force for reform be Mayor Villaraigosa, whose law—known as AB 1381—was to have taken effect on Jan. 1 until the school district sued him and a superior-court judge ruled it unconstitutional?

Could leadership come from the seven-member school board once a May 15 runoff election determines whether the mayor will have enough allies to push through his strategies—especially his bid to run three low-performing high schools and the middle and elementary schools that feed into them?

David L. Brewer III, Los Angeles Unified’s still-new superintendent, has pledged to work with the mayor and to forge ahead on his own priorities, including improving middle schools.

A.J. Duffy, the fiery president of United Teachers Los Angeles, insists that the teachers’ union wants “homegrown reform,” as well as collaboration with outside groups—so long as they are not charter school operators.

And then there are the outsiders like Steve Barr, the founder and chief executive officer of Green Dot, who has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to persuade education leaders in Los Angeles to let him run one or more of the city’s failing high schools. (EdWeek: "Charter School Activist Gains New Influence in L.A.," Nov. 8, 2006.)

“Our best hope for reform is still the mayor, but it’s probably not going to be with 1381,” said David Abel, the chairman of New Schools/Better Neighborhoods, a Los Angeles-based civic-advocacy organization. “A lot of the experts seem to think he can’t win this one in court, but his backup position has always been the school board elections and getting a majority of people on there who will support what he wants to do.”


Among his peers in other major cities who have sought control over public schools, Mr. Villaraigosa has had the toughest fight. The mayor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

In the nation’s capital, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who was elected in November, this week easily cleared the first hurdle to win authority to run his city’s 58,000-student system, when the District of Columbia Council approved a takeover proposal he unveiled just three months ago. A second council vote and congressional approval are expected later this spring. ("New D.C. Leader Explains School-Control Plan," Jan. 10, 2007.)

Mr. Brewer, the retired U.S. Navy admiral hired last October to lead the Los Angeles Unified system, said change in his district ultimately won’t hinge on who prevails in court.

“We have been talking to the mayor about how we can move ahead regardless of what happens with 1381,” Mr. Brewer said in an interview late last month. “We have all kinds of initiatives to push.”

Among them, he said, is setting up an “office of innovation” in the district to devise reform strategies and import those that are showing results elsewhere. The innovation division also would seek outside collaborators to work with on improving student achievement, he said.

Middle schools, he said, are at the top of his list. He suggested that the district could borrow strategies from the city’s two high-performing Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, charter schools to see how they are producing strong achievement in the middle grades. Mr. Brewer said he also will focus on the low performance of many African-American male students, and said he may want to create single-gender programs, or even a special boarding school to serve black boys deemed at risk of academic failure.

Marlene Canter, the Los Angeles school board president and one of the mayor’s fiercest opponents on the takeover, said she is now optimistic that the district and Mr. Villaraigosa can forge a partnership. She and the mayor have recently begun talking about ways to collaborate, she said.

“I support his involvement in the district outside of 1381 and always have,” she said.

The board president also favors using an innovation division to “find the best practices wherever we can and bring them to the district.” For weeks, she and Mr. Brewer tried to negotiate a joint reform plan for troubled Locke High School in the Watts neighborhood with Mr. Barr, the Green Dot chief.

The teachers’ union balked, she said, pushing Green Dot to seek charters instead. Though Green Dot teachers are unionized—unusual in charter schools—they are not affiliated with UTLA. Many of Green Dot’s teachers left their jobs at district schools to work for the charter organization.

“I’m disappointed,” Ms. Canter said. “If we couldn’t all agree on a partnership, I wanted Green Dot to get the charters because I believe it’s what is best for kids.”

The three school board members who voted against the charters have had strong political backing from the union. Mr. Duffy, the UTLA president, makes no apologies for the Green Dot vote.

“Look, we have shown that we want reforms and we are willing to negotiate with the district on a variety of things,” said Mr. Duffy, whose union is affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. “But we are not going to budge on these charters. Positive changes in public education does not necessarily mean charters.”

Mr. Duffy points to a recent deal forged by the union, the district, and community groups to create 10 “pilot schools” in the city’s Belmont attendance area that will have autonomy in hiring, spending, curriculum, and scheduling.

An angry Mr. Barr, who said he will still open two new campuses in Watts next fall with charters that were approved last year, has appealed the school board’s decision to the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

“It’s not like we are some first-year, unknown charter they turned down,” he said. “We’ve got a substantial track record, with community support and money raised. You can’t just turn somebody down because you don’t like them, but that’s what they’ve done.”

LAURITZEN PUSHES FOR CHARTER REVOTE: Critics say LAUSD board member is bowing to political pressure.
by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer, LA Daily News

April 7, 2007 - Locked in a tough re-election battle, LAUSD board member Jon Lauritzen plans to introduce a motion similar to one he rejected last week that would have granted eight charters in Watts to highly successful Green Dot Public Schools.

Lauritzen, who was heavily criticized for his vote, said Friday that he voted against the plan to create charters at low-achieving Locke High School because there was no clear plan for how the district and Green Dot founder Steve Barr would collaborate.

The motion that Lauritzen plans to introduce next week would call for Green Dot and all other interested charter operators, as well as Los Angeles Unified School District officials, Locke teachers and the Watts community, to cooperate in reforming Locke.

"I think we've got a motion that will enable us to include the charters and still make Locke an effective community where the parents can be involved and the students can be guaranteed an equal opportunity," Lauritzen said.

But Barr said he believes Lauritzen's about-face is an effort to appease pro-charter voters in the San Fernando Valley, where the incumbent faces a tough run-off election in May.

"The people are outraged and it's an obviously calculated move," Barr said.

He maintains that United Teachers Los Angeles pressured Lauritzen and members Marguerite LaMotte and Julie Korenstein to vote against his plan because the union doesn't want to lose members to the charter movement.

The UTLA, which has denied applying pressure, is Lauritzen's primary backer in his re-election campaign.

Lauritzen's challenger, Tamar Galatzan, recalled that the incumbent once called for a one-year moratorium on charter school applications, and questioned the motive for the revised Green Dot plan.

"When he saw the negative feedback, and realized that charter schools are one of the bright spots in L.A. Unified for Valley voters, he read the writing on the wall," Galatzan said.

"This is a man who has had a very clear legislative history of opposing charter schools at every turn, so any flip-flopping now is obviously politically motivated and the voters are going to see right through it."

But Lauritzen said he wasn't trying to derail the charter process with his Green Dot vote, saying he knew that Barr could take his plan to the county Board of Education.

Under state law, a school district can reject a charter application only if the plan is academically or financially unsound.

"To a certain extent, we knew there was going to be some kickback on this ... but quite frankly, I don't think we realized the plan was inadequate and we would have to vote against these charters," Lauritzen said.

Ed Burke, Lauritzen's chief of staff, said the board member realized his vote would be criticized but thought it was the right thing to do.

"We will withstand the flak in order to do the right thing and get something positive out of it," Burke said. "We know all the cynics say Jon was forced into this.

"We're in a no-win situation, but we're in a win situation because we feel we're doing something and we're getting a plan from the district."

-smf 2¢: Barr is right, Lauritzen is trying to do the right thing in a tough election. It’s amzing how the right thing becomes the wrong thing when one is the millionaire self styled spokesperson for the charter community, all parents whether they agree with you or not, the future of public education and now for valley voters – even though you live in Silkverlake.

See LAWeekly:The Secret of His Success for more of Barr’s thinking – just send the kiddies from the room!


by Jeff D. Opdyke | Wall Street Journal

March 29, 2007 — Want to buy a bucket of cookie dough?

Like so many parents, Beth Eagleson has grown weary of that question, the sign that another school fund-raiser has arrived, invariably requiring that she do much of the selling for her sons in elementary and middle school.

"Someone is always trying to raise money," says the San Clemente, Calif., mom. "It's to the point that it's almost a competitive sport -- 'My school can raise more than your school.' "

Like Ms. Eagleson, many parents gripe about fund-raisers -- the time required to sell and deliver the products, the time taken away from classroom studies, and that some go to pay for events like school dances instead of educational needs. Chief among the complaints: the fact that schools often receive, on average, less than 50% of the money raised, according to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors & Suppliers, a trade group. The rest goes to the for-profit fund-raising companies supplying the products.

"Parents are tired of getting hit up by fund-raisers," says Ms. Eagleson.

It is a backlash reverberating in many homes across America. From band clubs peddling gift wrap, to school auctions, raffle tickets and charity car washes, to Girl Scouts flogging cookies, parents feel increasingly besieged by fund-raising appeals.

It's not just parents who are disenchanted. A survey to be released today by the National Association of Elementary School Principals reports that 64% of school principals would stop fund-raising if they could, worried that the duties have become too much of a distraction, place too much pressure on young children to sell, and are burdensome to teachers and parents.

Now, some schools and parents are taking action against traditional fund-raisers, each of which, on average, raises about $3,000 for schools, according to the industry group. Instead, they're donating money and gift cards directly to teachers, skipping fund-raisers altogether and giving cash to schools, and, in some cases, starting new fund-raising businesses that are also attracting interest from schools around the country.

Ms. Eagleson, for one, says she has become "the school jerk" because she no longer lets her nine- and 14-year-old sons, Cooper and Nathan Reynolds, participate in fund-raisers. Instead, she donates cash and gift cards directly to their teachers so they can afford supplies for the classroom.

When Kathy Hernandez took over as PTA president in 2002 in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., she took aim at fund-raisers, and the larger PTA council ultimately scrapped events like the fall poinsettia sale.

She is now PTA president at a local junior high that runs just one fund-raiser a year, a home tour, in which four locals open up their houses for the day to people who buy tickets that cost between $30 and $35. "This takes less parent time to raise a similar amount of money," says Ms. Hernandez.

Bradley International Elementary School, a public school in Denver, held its first "spelling challenge" in February, raising more than $6,000 by having kids solicit donations for each word spelled correctly on a special test. All the money went to classrooms. To raise a similar amount, the school's PTA estimates it would have had to sell roughly $15,000 worth of other products.

The spelling challenge, says PTA president Nadine Davis-Green, "is now our No. 1 fund-raiser, so that we don't have to ask parents to sell other stuff."

At Dutch Neck Elementary School in West Windsor, N.J., more than two-thirds of the school's families voted to do away with traditional fund-raisers two years ago and to instead rely on a "Just Write a Check" campaign. The school raises about $15,000 annually with the new campaign, slightly less than a traditional fund-raiser, "but parents like this program so much better because they don't have to solicit donations," says Anita Grueneberg, the school's PTA president.

The upshot: Even as fund-raisers proliferate, industrywide sales of products sold at these events are falling. The latest data show sales dropped 11%, to about $3.7 billion, between 2001 and 2005, according to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors & Suppliers. Of that amount, schools kept about $1.7 billion.

Yet traditional fund-raisers are likely to remain part of the educational landscape, given that governmental cutbacks mean schools must tap other sources to pay for programs and services that otherwise would wither. Fund-raisers have become "a necessity," says Cheryl Baughn, the principal of Bernice Ayer Middle School in San Clemente. Indeed, Bernice Ayer typically holds just one fund-raiser a year, a magazine drive in the fall, but will add a second fund-raiser later this spring.

"To maintain the technology and other programs to the level that students deserve, we have to do fund raising," Dr. Baughn says.

The association of principals survey shows that 76% of schools expect to hold between one and five fund-raisers during the 2007-08 school year -- and 3% of schools could hold as many as 15.

Recently, a crop of new Web sites has popped up, hoping to benefit from the parental backlash. Gene Haba, whose daughter attends the St. Ann School in Bridgeport, Conn., created a Yellow Pages-like school directory in which local businesses pay $35 to $50 a year to be listed. The directory costs St. Ann's nothing to produce and is given to parents free.

More than 80% of the businesses listed in the St. Ann's directory "had never sponsored our school before," Mr. Haba says, and between 70% and 80% of the money raised ended up in school coffers. Now, schools elsewhere in the country are calling Mr. Haba, who has set up a school-directory business, He expects to do about 75 directories this year.

Last fall, the Calvary Christian School music booster club in Columbus, Ga., put together a directory with Mr. Haba and sold space to 50 business in less than three weeks. The club expects to clear about $4,000 when a new directory comes out in the fall. "We'd be hard-pressed to make that with some of our other fund-raisers," says Phillip Blackmon, the club president.

Later this year, Denver-based Game 7 Entertainment Inc. is set to launch a new fund-raising model, called, built on Internet gaming technology. Kids and parents will be able to solicit donations by sending emails to friends and family who, for their contributions, will be able to play a range of videogames built for everyone from kids to retirees. The company expects that schools will be able to keep about 80% of the money raised.

Charles Best, a former high-school social-studies teacher from the Bronx, N.Y., created, a not-for-profit Web site that teachers in more than 5,900 schools have used to raise nearly $12 million in the past few years. The site lets teachers, students and schools alert parents, friends, families and businesses via email and word-of-mouth to the individual projects that teachers need help funding. The philanthropically minded go online, read about the project and its needs, and then contribute. The site currently works with schools in just 10 states. It will roll out nationally in the fall.

Meanwhile, Entertainment Products Inc., a unit of New York's IAC/InterActiveCorp and one of the nation's leading fund-raiser companies, says it's revamping its business to focus on goods and services parents use every day. "Parents are just overwhelmed, burned out and just tired, and they want a better way to help their schools," says Entertainment Products CEO MaryAnn Rivers.

CLICK for this article with pictures, links and additional information.

from California Dept of Education press releases

April 6, 2007 - Schools across California just learned how well their students are expected to do in their set of tests this spring. The Academic Performance Index (API) scores released in late March show that the median Base API score for high schools is 700, compared to 758 for elementary schools and 724 for middle schools. These base scores are the starting point for determining the growth targets for spring 2007.

► You can find details for each school and district plus the state as a whole on the Accountablity/Base API tab at
The school reports include rankings data as well, both statewide and in comparison to similar schools.

The growth targets are more challenging this year because the bar was raised for the subgroups in each school. English learners, students with disabilities*, various ethnic groups, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students are all supposed to meet the same score as the school as a whole, which is a minimum 5-point increase over last year. Previously they had to reach 80% of the school's target.

► For a refresher on the API, go to
and select the "Understanding the Academic Performance Index" article.

COMING SOON!: Ed-Data will be posting the newly released 2005-06 financial data for school districts and county offices of education, including expenditures according to activity (such as instruction, pupil services, general administration) and instructional program (such as regular education, special education, and vocational education). You'll also find a new report showing expenditures according to their revenue source or program.


April 2007 — SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s release of final regulations under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

"Students with disabilities, like all students, deserve a rigorous education that prepares them for success in the workforce or in college after graduation.

"The federal regulations released today provide California with important flexibility to measure the academic achievement of 20 percent of students with disabilities through the development of modified assessments. These regulations support the ongoing work by the California Department of Education to develop tests to appropriately measure the knowledge and ability of students with disabilities, while keeping absolute faith with California's commitment to world-class standards.

"Continued development of the California Modified Assessment will allow us to maintain the benefit of flexibility for hundreds of districts across the state for up to two additional years so that districts and schools are not unnecessarily labeled as failing.

"I appreciate the flexibility offered by the federal government that allows us to hold students with disabilities to high standards, but also measures their knowledge and abilities with an assessment that is appropriate to the students’ unique needs."

▲ TYPO OR DISCONNECT | Twenty percent… or two percent?

SUPERINTENDENT O’CONNELL SAYS: "The federal regulations released today provide California with important flexibility to measure the academic achievement of 20 PERCENT of students with disabilities through the development of modified assessments.”

THE US DOE REGS SAY: “….states may develop alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards. States may count the proficient and advanced scores on those assessments when measuring adequate yearly progress (AYP) under NCLB, as long as the number of those scores does not exceed 2.0 PERCENT of all students assessed.” —smf

USDOE final regulations under NCLB and IDEA

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
►Tuesday Apr 10, 2007
SOUTH LOS ANGELES AREA NEW HIGH SCHOOL #3: CEQA Scoping and Schematic Design Meeting. 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 school projects may have on the surrounding environment. Also at this meeting, schematic design drawings will be presented to the community for feedback. Schematic design drawings show the general layout, form and overall appearance of the school and the site. Your comments and concerns are very important. Please join us!

6:00 p.m.- Budlong Elementary School
5940 S. Budlong Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90044

►Tuesday Apr 10, 2007
CENTRAL REGION MACARTHUR PARK ES ADDITION: Site Selection Update Meeting. Join us at this meeting where we will present and discuss the most suitable site(s) for this new project.

6:30 p.m.- MacArthur Park Primary Center
2300 West 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057

►Wednesday Apr 11, 2007
BURBANK MIDDLE SCHOOL DESIGN/MASTER PLAN: Seismic Mitigation Follow-Up Community Meeting At this meeting, we will discuss the school new Design/Master Plan, results of the earthquake fault investigation, and collect parent and community input.

6:00 p.m. - Garvanza Elementary School – Auditorium
317 North Avenue 62
Los Angeles, CA 90042

►Wednesday Apr 11, 2007
SOUTH REGION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL #5: CEQA Scoping Meeting and Pre-Design Meeting
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. Also at this meeting we will provide overview of the school facilities, review LAUSD design principles and receive community input on school design.

6:00 p.m.- Miles Avenue Elementary School
6720 Miles Ave.
Huntington Park, CA 90255

►Thursday Apr 12, 2007
SOUTH REGION SPAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL #6: 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.

6:00 p.m. - 61st Street Elementary School
6020 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90003

*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.
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