Saturday, July 21, 2007

22 days without a budget

4LAKids: Sunday, July 22, 2007
In This Issue:
CALIFORNIA'S DROPOUT PROBLEM: A State Senator Offers a Package of Bills That Could Help Keep In School Some of the 150,000 Kids Who Drop Out Each Year
JUDGE TO RULE ON LAUSD CHARTER FIGHT: Green Dot Public schools accuse district of bias against the alternative school program.
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
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 new fiscal year started July 1.
• As of this writing the constitutionally mandated by June 15th state budget is not done.
• California has been operating 22 days w/o a budget …but the budget is actually 37 days late.
• School Districts – which rely on state funding – have begun the new school year. Books are being bought, teachers are being hired. In some places - including LA - classes are in session.
• The Assembly has left Sacramento for a four week recess …the Senate until Wednesday.
• As 4LAKids stands foursquare for preserving recess in the schools we stand on shaky ground denying it to lawmakers …But Judy Lin in the Sacramento Bee (blue CLICK HERE link below) says the Assembly bailing may be unconstitutional!

The budget process – or lack thereof - has been about as political as can be – the "post-partisan era" in California politics has been anything but! Early in the week there were rumors that compromise had been reached by slashing the Education budget – then that was quashed and it was Transportation that would be slashed! Against this backdrop were more alleged compromises and conspiracies that would lead the state head long to heck-in-a-hand-basket of unintended (…or were they?) consequences.

Take this all with a grain of salt: Bad-intent, conspiracies and compromises take a level of higher thinking so far lacking in the course of inaction. We don't have an entrance exam for our lawmakers; maybe we need an exit exam they must pass before they're allowed to come home?

Onward into the recess! —smf


Education Coalition Press Release

• The Education Coalition is a broad based alliance of parents, teachers, students, administrators, school staff , elected and appointed officials — including California State PTA, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), the California Association of School Business Officers (CASBO), the California County Superintendent Educational Services Association (CCSESA), California Federation of Teachers (CFT), the California School Boards Association (CSBA), the California School Employees Assocation (CSEA), the California Teachers Association (CTA), and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Friday, July 20, 2007 – Sacramento – Representatives of the Education Coalition today urged the governor and lawmakers to work together to pass a state budget that continues the investments that have been made in public education, protects the integrity of Proposition 98 and provides COLA and growth for all K-12 and community college programs. Today’s announcement comes as the Legislature has yet to pass a budget agreement and many schools have already approved their budgets for the new school year.

“We have the opportunity to make California schools some of the best in the nation again for all children, but our schools cannot do it without adequate funding. We’re calling on the Legislature to make education the funding priority that it should be,” said Pam Brady, president of the California State PTA.

“Many schools and districts are preparing to begin the new school year next month. Any cuts could jeopardize class size reduction programs, student-to-teacher ratios, libraries, counselors and other important programs and services. ACSA urges the governor and lawmakers to uphold their commitment to protect the integrity of Proposition 98, and to provide full COLA and ADA growth for all K-12 programs in the state budget,” said Bob Wells, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators.

“Our students and schools are making progress. Cutting education funding now would threaten the gains we have made and will cause chaos for local school districts. California teachers are counting on the Legislature and the governor to give our schools the money they are owed under state law,” added David A. Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association.

Dr. Kathy Kinley, president of the California School Boards Association said, “California schools are not backing away from their commitment to teach to the toughest academic standards in the country. The Legislature should not back away from its responsibility to give schools all the support they need.”

“Californians, their legislators and all of us working on behalf of students need to paddle in the same direction. That means working collaboratively to ensure students in every legislative district in the state have the resources they need to achieve success,” said Brian Lewis, executive director of the California Association of School Business Officials.

CFT President Marty Hittelman said, “Research released this past spring confirmed what we've known for years: that our schools are under-funded. Reducing funding for education undercuts the resources for educational achievement - smaller class sizes, increased professional development opportunities, adequate quantities of up-to-date learning materials including text books, and quality mentoring and support for new employees. All of these require funding. We call on the Legislature to provide the funding necessary for student achievement.”

“Even the governor has come to recognize that our schools need to be able to count on stable funding to continue the progress we’re making toward meeting our academic standards,” said Rob Feckner, president of the California School Employees Association. “Lawmakers need to understand that funding cuts at this point in time would be very disruptive to our schools.”

►For further details, rumors, leaked memos and innuendoes masquerading as news CLICK HERE for the inside scoop.

CALIFORNIA'S DROPOUT PROBLEM: A State Senator Offers a Package of Bills That Could Help Keep In School Some of the 150,000 Kids Who Drop Out Each Year
LA Times EDITORIAL: July 17, 2007

CALIFORNIA'S CHILDREN are abandoning school at the rate of about 150,000 a year — a number equivalent to the population of Torrance, or Irvine, or all of Imperial County. Fewer than 70% of ninth-graders statewide will graduate from high school, and in some districts the percentage drops to less than half. Shockingly, this is not particularly a problem for schools, which are ranked primarily on their test scores. If marginal students leave, it only helps their averages.

The result is a calamity in education that has almost no effect on schools, and that paradoxically has allowed schools to remain on the margins of a public debate about how to keep kids in the classroom. Fortunately, the Legislature is taking note.

The stakes are high. In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa forced an awareness of the dropout crisis in a district that has coolly accepted the slide of thousands of children into failure. We can squabble about the exact percentage of students leaving schools in L.A., but more than 35,000 students disappeared from the class of 2005 between the first day of ninth grade and the last day of 12th grade. Where do they go? Too often, dropouts fall into gangs and crime. Los Angeles is the gang capital of the nation. California has the largest prison population in the country, and more than 80% of the state's prison population did not graduate from high school.

Reducing the dropout rate statewide will require a profound rethinking of how we encourage students to stay in school and how we hold schools accountable for keeping them there. State Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has introduced a package of bills that starts that process, creating a sturdy framework for reform. The legislation, now in the Assembly, would hold schools accountable for their dropout rates and offer funding to help them engage students in the classroom, and it takes a thoughtful approach to curtailing the excessive hours some students work.

Most notably, SB 219 would add dropout rates for eighth- and ninth-graders to the Academic Performance Index. By law, 60% of the API must be devoted to test scores, but the other 40% is in play. How much the dropout rate would count toward a school's API would be determined by the state schools superintendent and board of education, but including that information would give a more realistic measure of performance. A school with high test scores but also a high dropout rate, for example, would see its API dip.

This bill would also assign API responsibility to the school and district of origin for students enrolled in alternative education programs — which is not currently the case. That would remove what Steinberg calls "a perverse incentive" for schools to stand by as the least able students walk out the door.

Another bill in the package, SB 405, would help schools in the lowest third of the API increase the number and quality of college prep and career tech courses they offer. This sounds like common sense, but it is actually a visionary attempt to eradicate the 100-year-old bias in education that allowed career tech to become a second-tier option to college readiness.

The voluntary grant program created by the bill would provide schools with $100 a student. Schools could, for example, add a "shadow" algebra class for struggling students (shadow classes reinforce lessons previously taught in regular class) or Advanced Placement chemistry for those who excel. They could meld career tech and college prep in an "auto physics" class, like the one taught at Duarte High School.

How will this keep kids in school? A report released last year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found that almost half of dropouts say they left school because classes were not challenging and they did not see any real-world, or work-world, applicability to what they were learning. Steinberg's SB 405 would advance what should be the ultimate goal of education: fully preparing students to perform capably whether they enter college or the work world.

Work brings us to another bill in the package, SB 406. One reason U.S. students often lag behind their international peers, research shows, is that they work outside the home more and study less. California permits 16- and 17-year-olds to work a Dickensian 48 hours a week. Steinberg's legislation would tie work to school performance. Students with lower than a C+ average and less than 90% attendance could work no more than 20 hours a week; students with a C average or lower and attendance that dips below 80% in the current semester couldn't work at all. The bill would, however, allow principals to consider extenuating circumstances, such as student and family economic necessity, and grant exemptions.

More policy work remains to be done if the dropout rate is to reverse course, but these bills set the state on the right path. They deserve the support of the Legislature and governor.

► Editorials are NOT news stories, but the LA Times so underreports education one loses track. Thank you LA Times editorial board for sharing …and for the cheap shot: "…in a district that has coolly accepted the slide of thousands of children into failure".

Read your own writing: this is a problem statewide — a national problem in urban districts. For only two of the past eight years has the LAUSD Board of Education not been controlled by candidates the Times supported.

LAUSD is as much the school boards the Times has elected as the faceless bureaucrats, union activists, classroom teachers, uninformed parents, underachieving dropouts and overachieving academic decathletes. LAUSD is every one of us in Greater LA from the mayor's office to the classroom to the editorial boardroom. Accountability and culpability, dear Brutus – and cool acceptance – work both ways. Perhaps the Times needs not find fault or seek relief in the stars …but in themselves? –smf

LINKS: Constantly Updated Bill Information:
SB 219
SB 405
SB 406

By Shirley Dang | Contra Costa Times

7/19/2007 - Students who sued over the exit exam have reached a tentative settlement with the state, California schools superintendent Jack O'Connell announced Thursday.

The settlement is contingent on passage of state legislation that would entitle 12th graders who fail the exam to two more years of instruction.

The settlement would cement the California High School Exit Exam as a prerequisite for graduation, ending years of confusion over its legal validity.

"Final agreement to this proposed settlement will put to rest this challenge, leaving the exit exam in place," O'Connell said in his statement.

Arturo Gonzalez, the lawyer who represented Richmond, Newark and Oakland students in the lawsuit, called the settlement a far cry from the ending those students had hoped for.

However, he said, his firm will continue to monitor how schools follow this new law, which must be approved by the state Senate and the governor before going into effect. The Assembly has passed the bill.

"We're not just going to walk away from the case," Gonzalez said. "If any district fails to comply, we will come knocking on their door."

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman approved the tentative settlement Thursday. A public hearing on the agreement has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the court.

Under the proposed legislation, schools would ensure failing students the right to return for additional classes. That may mean students re-enroll as seniors, sign up for independent study or receive some other type of service, said Hilary McLean, department of education spokeswoman.

"Those services may look different depending on what's best for the student," McLean said.

The state Legislature approved the exit exam as a graduation requirement in 1999. O'Connell, then a senator, wrote the bill as a way to restore meaning to the high school diploma and set a baseline for expectations of what a graduate should know.

Passage of the test as a graduation requirement was scheduled to begin in 2004. But, in the face of poor test results, lawmakers delayed the requirement until 2006 and changed the difficulty of the exam, which now measures eighth-grade math and sophomore English skills. Students must pass both parts of the test to earn a diploma.

Students, including five from Richmond High School, filed a lawsuit over the test in February 2006. They complained that not all students received the quality education necessary to pass the test and said the state did not examine other options as demanded by the Legislature.

The appellate court upheld the test last summer, but did not resolve other parts of the lawsuit. The two sides resumed talks to reach a settlement.

At last count, 92 percent of the class of 2006 -- about 404,150 students -- succeeded on the exam.

Special education students filed their own lawsuit over the test, earning them the right to ask for exemptions. Lawmakers are expected to debate the merits of that loophole this year. O'Connell and the state Board of Education have indicated they would push for the test to cover all students.

Meanwhile, six of the 10 students named in the lawsuit have since passed the test and dropped out of the legal action. Those who did not pass remain plaintiffs and attend community college in the Bay Area as they prepare to take the test again, said Johanna Hartwig, another lawyer at the firm representing the students.

Mayela Barragan and Laura Echavarria, formerly of Richmond High School, are enrolled in summer school at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Hartwig said. Their former classmate Liliana Valenzuela, the namesake of the suit, also takes college classes, Hartwig said.

Ahmed Abd El Rahman, who attended Newark High School at the time of the suit, now takes a full load at Ohlone College in Fremont.

"We're very proud of all of them," Hartwig said. "They continue to try and pass the exam."

Smf 2¢: " The settlement is contingent on passage of state legislation that would entitle 12th graders who fail the exam to two more years of instruction."

This is all well and good, but as individual school districts (including our own) raise the bar beyond the CAHSEE – mandating the A-G admission requirements for the UC/Cal State U be the requirements for a diploma – we must allow students the two extra years of instruction if necessary to attain their high school diploma.

There is a name for someone who takes five or even six years to get a diploma. It is High School Graduate! - smf

By Lesli A. Maxwell | Education Week | Vol. 26, Issue 43, Pages 1,18

July 18, 2007 - After nearly eight months on the job, Superintendent David L. Brewer III has rolled out his strategy for improving student achievement in the 708,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District. Three new, reform-minded members also have been sworn in on the school board.

But so far, the momentum for improving high schools in the nation’s second-largest district has been coming from outsiders, centering largely on the fate of one troubled campus—Locke Senior High School in Watts.

Earlier this week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $7.8 million grant to help one of the city’s most successful charter school operators open small high schools in Watts, which would be alternatives to Locke. Green Dot Public Schools, already preparing to open two new charter high schools there this fall, will now expand its portfolio in that neighborhood to 10 schools within the next year, said Steve Barr, Green Dot’s founder and chief executive officer.

Mr. Barr, who for months has been challenging the district for control over the 2,800-student Locke campus, said he still hopes to work with Los Angeles Unified officials and United Teachers Los Angeles on a joint plan, rather than open charter schools that would siphon students from the school.

“Look, we want to transform Locke for all the students who go there and not set up a ‘have and have-not’ situation in Watts,” Mr. Barr said in an interview last week.

Los Angeles has been slower to embrace the district-led initiatives that have shown promise at the secondary school level in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia, observers say. When there has been dramatic change—such as the adoption two years ago of a requirement that all LAUSD high school students take a college-preparatory curriculum—the pressure has come from the outside.

“We are beyond ready to see this district be a force for change,” said Veronica Melvin, the executive director of the Alliance for a Better Community, an advocacy group that organized support to stiffen high school requirements. “What we’ve seen for a long time has been a defensive school board, and not one that has said, ‘We have a district that isn’t performing for too many of our kids, and here is what we need to do it turn it around.’ ”
‘Be Patient’

Attention to the district’s education woes has been intense. Citing high dropout rates, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lobbied for, and then won, a new state law last year granting him partial authority over the district, which encompasses his city and 26 smaller municipalities. (EdWeek: Calif. Lawmakers Grant L.A. Mayor Partial Control Over School System, Aug. 30, 2006.)

But the school board fought back, winning a battle in state court earlier this year to keep the law from taking effect. (EdWeek: Mayor of L.A. Appeals Ruling Against Law on School Governance, Jan. 10, 2007.) Instead of appealing to the California Supreme Court, the mayor turned his efforts toward raising millions of dollars for three school board candidates who would support him in his bid to play a role in operating one or more of Los Angeles’ struggling high schools. (EdWeek: Mayor’s Candidates Win Board Seats in L.A., May 22, 2007.) The mayor’s allies won, giving him a majority on the seven-member board that includes the president, Moníca García.

“New York and Chicago have had stable governance in their systems, and that is really the key point,” observed Donald R. McAdams, the president of the Houston-based Center for Reform of School Systems. “When Los Angeles gets governance stability, then there can be some meaningful change. With the new board and new superintendent and a mayor who helped get everyone focused on the performance of Los Angeles Unified, the opportunity seems to be there.”

Mr. Brewer, a retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy who was named to the superintendency last fall, believes that Los Angeles Unified itself will become the driving force for improvement in middle and high schools. His predecessor, Roy Romer, is credited with raising scores at the elementary level.

To that end, Mr. Brewer has formed the Innovation Division for Educational Achievement Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which he said will develop plans on two fronts: with outside groups focused on turning around low-performing schools; and internally, with LAUSD teachers and principals, to “replicate across the district the best programs and schools that we already have.”

The innovation division, he said, will consider everything from longer school days to single-gender academies. Reform models like the series of small, college-preparatory “pilot schools” that are to begin opening this coming school year in the Belmont attendance zone would be candidates for replication, he said. An agreement on the pilot schools, negotiated by community and business organizations as well as UTLA and district officials, took three years to hammer out.

Frustration at the district’s slow pace on high school improvement has been mounting and has not been confined to Locke, where teachers this spring signed a petition to turn the school into a charter under California law. Teachers at two other high schools have since met with Mr. Barr, who said he has also had calls from faculty members at several other high schools.

Mr. Brewer said he took a clear message from the events at Locke.

“That was the teachers crying out that ‘we want change,’ ” he said. “We just told them to be patient—that change is coming, and it’s coming through [the innovation division].”
‘Something Drastic’

In May, a majority of the tenured teachers at Locke signed a petition to support converting the campus into a series of smaller charter schools run by Green Dot, which now operates 10 charter high schools in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Though Locke was divided into theme-based “small learning communities” a few years ago, graduation rates hadn’t budged. Last month, 332 seniors graduated, out of the 1,300 students who had started 9th grade at the school four years earlier. A group of Locke teachers reached out to Green Dot officials, who had been tussling with the district over a joint reform plan for the school. When those talks broke down, some teachers opted to try for charter conversion.

“There was not uniformity about whether to support turning Locke into charter schools, but I think a lot of us felt that the only way to get some real change here was to do something drastic,” said Susan Slanina, a chemistry teacher at Locke for six years who signed the Green Dot petition. “We felt like we were all alone and we were losing these kids. I mean, I’m a chemistry teacher and I am teaching kids to add two and two together.”

Confusion and chaos erupted. District officials and UTLA leaders said some faculty members hadn’t understood what they were signing. Locke’s principal, Frank Wells, was relieved of his duties. District and union officials convened hasty meetings to offer alternative reform plans to Locke’s faculty, including the option of becoming an “affiliated charter,” which would keep the school in the district’s fold.

Then, late last month, district officials announced the petition was not valid because 17 teachers had rescinded their signatures. Mr. Barr of Green Dot said state law doesn’t allow for district administrators to unilaterally decide the petition’s fate; the school board must act.

Richard Vladovic, a new board member and a former LAUSD administrator, introduced a measure last week that would force the board to vote up or down on the Green Dot petition next month.

In the meantime, Locke’s teachers remain in limbo. “It puts us in chaos again,” said Ms. Slanina.


Green Dot isn’t the only charter manager expanding in Los Angeles. The Alliance for College-Ready Schools, which uses a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum in the seven schools it currently runs, has won multimillion-dollar grants from the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to add to its network of small middle and high schools across the city. The Broad Foundation also has financially supported Green Dot.

“The models for success—and certainly the brightest hope for students in Los Angeles—are high-performing charter school organizations like the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools,” Eli Broad, the founder of the philanthropy, said in a statement when the grant for the alliance charters was announced in May.

In the meantime, Mayor Villaraigosa’s education team has put together an improvement plan for one or two low-performing high schools in the city, a partnership that Superintendent Brewer said wouldn’t be in place until at least the fall of 2008.

Ms. Melvin, whose Alliance for a Better Community was a leading proponent in the grassroots campaign to require high school students to take more rigorous courses for graduation, said the district should be immersed in preparations to support what will be an enormous change.

The new curriculum mirrors the minimum subject-area requirements for freshman admission to the University of California system, core academic courses and electives known as the “A-G sequence.” Approved by the Los Angeles school board in 2005, the courses are to become the default high school curriculum starting with the freshmen who enter high school in fall 2008, and will require a more demanding course load, including Algebra 2.

Now a member of an advisory committee set up to help district officials develop a strategic plan for implementing the tougher curriculum, Ms. Melvin said she is concerned that the district has not taken advantage of the three years it was given to prepare teachers, students, and parents for “this huge cultural change.”

Mr. Brewer said the district will be ready. “A-G is alive and well,” he said, “and fits in with our overall vision to make sure that our children graduate college-ready and career-ready.”

But Ms. Melvin believes time is running out. “I think as long as the district stays in this holding pattern, charter schools are going to be the option that more and more parents turn to,” she said.

▼SIDEBAR: Los Angeles District Under Pressure

Won partial authority over the school district last year through a state law that was later found unconstitutional. Now hopes to run a cluster of low-performing schools beginning in the fall of 2008.
• A.J. DUFFY | United Teachers Los Angeles
Helped create the Belmont Zone of Choice, a network of public college-prep schools slated to open this year in downtown L.A.
• ELI BROAD | Broad Foundation
Financially backs Green Dot and the Alliance for College- Ready Schools, another charter operator in the city.
• STEVE BARR | Green Dot Public Schools
Plans to expand his portfolio of small charter high schools by opening 10 more in Watts in the next two years.
Alliance of parent and community groups pressed the school district to increase graduation requirements.
Charter school operator won $6.5 million grant from the Broad Foundation this spring to expand its network.
• DAVID L. BREWER III | Superintendent
The superintendent says the district’s new Innovation Division for Educational Achievement will partner with outside groups to turn around low-performing schools and will work with district educators to replicate successful programs. “Change is coming,” he says.

• EdWeek Coverage of district-level improvement efforts is underwritten in part by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

JUDGE TO RULE ON LAUSD CHARTER FIGHT: Green Dot Public schools accuse district of bias against the alternative school program.
Daily Breeze - from news services

Saturday, July 14, 2007: A legal motion by Los Angeles Unified to move a dispute between the district and two charter school operators out of the courts and into arbitration was taken under submission by a judge Friday.

Green Dot Public Schools, which runs charter schools serving Lennox and Inglewood, and Partnerships to Uplift Communities filed a complaint against the LAUSD in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 17.

They allege that the district has violated state law by not giving them enough classroom space. The space is available, but district officials and members of the school board are biased against charter schools because they consider them competitors, according to the complaint.

The two sides argued Friday before Judge Robert H. O'Brien before he took the LAUSD's motion to compel arbitration under submission.

Attorneys for the district maintain that LAUSD agreed when the operator's charter schools were established that they would first mediate, then arbitrate, any dispute between them.

"But the thrust of (Partnerships to Uplift Communities) opposition consists of little more than the naked plea that the district's motion to compel arbitration should be denied because `this case cries out for a judge to examine LAUSD's conduct,"' Fredric D. Woocher, an LAUSD attorney, wrote in court papers.

But James L. Arnone, a lawyer for the charter school operators, states in his court documents that the dispute does not arise from his clients but from the school district's alleged violations of Proposition 39.

Proposition 39 was passed by voters in November 2000 and requires districts to provide facilities for public charter schools.

"This dispute arises from an initiative statute that forces school districts to provide facilities to public charter schools - whether they like it or not," Arnone said.
``This dispute arises from an initiative statute that forces school districts to provide facilities to public charter schools - whether they like it or not,'' Arnone said.

• 4LAKids Factoid: One of the board members of PUC is Gabriel Sandoval,
Deputy Legal Counsel in the Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — involved in the Mayor's unsuccessful defense of AB1381.
• 4LAKids Factoid #2: State Board of Education members Yvonne Chan, Johnathan Williams and Ted Mitchell are fine educators and great human beings – Yvonne Chan may be the educational entrepreneur of the age: administrator, educator, leader, fundraiser - a true visionary.

But there are eleven members of the state board of ed , all appointed by the governor - and these three are inexorably connected to the charter school movement in Los Angeles:

 Chan founded and rums runs the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacoima,
 Williams is the co-founder and co-director the Accelerated School in South Central,
 and Mitchell is the President and CEO of New Schools Venture Fund, a financial backer of charter schools – including PUC and Green Dot.

There are currently over 600 charter public schools in California, serving close to 220,000 students. California has more than seven million children and young adults in more than 9,000 public schools. Charter schools represent 6.6% of California public schools educating 3.1% of California schoolchildren – but charter interests from Los Angeles represent 27% of the State Board of Education. LAUSD comprises just over 10% of both California schools and students – but has no sympathetic representation on the Board.

What's with that? - smf

▲Data from CDE, California Charter School Association and New School Venture Fund.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
►ANTONIO'S KITCHEN CABINET: Patrick Range Mcdonald in the LA Weekly reports on the team that advises the mayor how to fix troubled high schools. Most haven’t fixed any.

►In JOHN DEWEY FOR TODAY (Ed Week for the week of July 18) Timothy Knowles, Stephen Raudenbush & Henry S. Webber from the University of Chicago report on the role of the research university in urban schools – and specifically the operation of charter schools in Chicago opened by the university’s Center for Urban School Improvement. It is interesting to note that the U of C has no school of Education. The authors state that: "operating multiple schools poses financial and organizational challenges and puts the university’s reputation on the line. Complicating matters, public education is a highly politicized arena, and success might not always be within the complete control of a university. And questions inevitably will arise about whether such initiatives can achieve scale—how will our work at Chicago, for example, be made relevant in Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Boston?"

smf wonders how can the lessons of Chicago be applied in Los Angeles …where charter schools are operated as individual non-profits – or as franchisee/subsidiaries of for-profit or not-for-profit charter operators/entrepreneurs? The State Constitution says that public schools cannot be operated outside the public school system – but that certainly leaves the door open for University of California, Cal State U or even community college partner/operators. - smf

JOHN DEWEY FOR TODAY: Chicago Refines the Role of the Research University in Urban Schools [EdWeek]

►REVISE THE RULE by Katarina Berger

One of 4LAKids pet peeves (the list is soooo loooooong!) is the early start time for LAUSD secondary schools — so much more adult friendly than kid friendly! There are all kinds of studies identifying increased student achievement with later 'first bells'. Adolescents are not 'morning people'; it has nothing to do with teenage sloth (a phenomenon 4LAKids does not deny!) – it has everything to do with their internal biological clocks. When "Red Teams" take over schools for low performance they fire teachers and principals willy-nilly – and set start times later. It is only the last remedy that has scientific justification …it is only that that guarantees better achievement.

The following is from the Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal (SLEEP) website:

Get up! Get up! You’re really late
The eggs are ready on the plate
Come on! Come on! Don’t be the fool
We've got to get your butt to school!

I know you’re tired but really, babe
You went to bed at - MUCH too late!
The homework, yeah, I know it took
You extra time to read the book

Come on now, love, give me your hand
I’ll pull, you push, and UP you stand
Oh, no you don’t! You can’t lie back
I’ve got to go. I’ll get the sack!

Your socks are here, I’ve found your shoes
I’m going down, and don’t you lose
Momentum now - you’re doing great
Maybe we won’t be all that late!

Oh, God - the time! This drives me crazy
It’s not at all ‘bout being lazy
The clocks, the rhythms, melatonin
Thwart her sleep and start her groaning

Then off she goes to start the car
And I call, before she gets too far
Now love, I want you back alive
So please - eyes OPEN as you drive!

But I wouldn't have this grumpy teen
She wouldn’t pout or be so mean
If only they’d revise the rule
And set a normal time for school!


►FROM THE WONDERFUL FOLKS WHO BROUGHT YOU THE KINDERGARTEN ENTRANCE EXAM – there was a news story on NPR that said Texas was getting rid of TAKS – the granddaddy of all High School Exit Exams!

That is true – but be careful what you wish for!


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213-241-5183
Phone: 213-893-6800


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

...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 immediate past 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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