Saturday, October 13, 2007

2CIO's Missing/Inaction

4LAKids: Oct 14, 2007 ¡Los Lobos para Garfield!
In This Issue:
BREWER HAS YET TO MAKE HIS IMPRINT: The L.A. schools superintendent has gotten off to an uneven start and faces doubts about his leadership.
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
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This week's theme at LAUSD seems to be directed at or by Supt. Brewer. Monday's Times bemoaned that he hadn't done enough soon enough; by Friday the Times and the Daily News report too much reform, too soon.

ON MONDAY the Superintendent announced his dropout initiative.

TUESDAY Brewer actually put some meat on the bones of the Innovation Division with his plan to overhaul LA's lowest performing schools – in part reinventing-for-LA Superintendent Crew's School Improvement Zone [] in Dade County Florida. In so doing Brewer got out in front of the team he's asked to help design this reform. But after all, the job of leaders is to lead.

THURSDAY Brewer announced the anticipated Middle School Reform piece, again out in front of the team.

But read between the lines: Supt. Brewer is being hammered by the press and the mayor and the school board for not doing enough/fast enough while the school board is standing in the way of him appointing his own team. The big reform announcements made this week – and they have been in the making for a long time – are structural reforms. But ultimately they are about instructional reform. The Superintendent admits that he lacks a background in instruction – and yet the board won't approve his selection of a Chief Instructional Officer. That's CIO #1.

Similarly the Board of Education is reluctant to give Brewer a Chief Information Officer (CIO #2) in charge of lobbying, legislative, public relations and parent outreach — and this is especially telling. That CIO will craft and control the message – and that's a role the board and the mayor are not about to relinquish. "The message" isn't all spin and PR. It's not "wag the dog" – it's about informing parents, the public, the community – and yes the politicos and the media about what's going on at and in our schools.

Information is the key to accountability. La información es la clave para la rendición de cuentas. It's something that LAUSD has historically done – and please excuse the colloquialism – a piss-poor job of.

¡Onward/Hasta adelante! –smf

BREWER HAS YET TO MAKE HIS IMPRINT: The L.A. schools superintendent has gotten off to an uneven start and faces doubts about his leadership.
by Howard Blume and Joel Rubin | Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

October 8, 2007 -- Several months into his job as superintendent of the Los Angeles school system, David L. Brewer held court before students at Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks.

Barrel-chested and ramrod straight, he showered them with platitudes, perfectly at home as a schoolhouse version of a tent revival preacher.

"Repeat after me: If I read, I will succeed," the call and response began.

Students reacted a little sluggishly but gamely.

"A goal is a dream plus a deadline," Brewer continued. Students again repeated after him, a little louder.

"Mountain, mountain," he concluded, "get out of my way, because I have mind power!"

It was a telling morning, one that captured Brewer's style and enthusiasm, his comfort with students, his ease in the public eye. But, in the end, it was a one-off motivational talk that led to nothing in particular. And that, critics fear, all too well characterizes Brewer's superintendency to date.

Self-assured and eloquent, Brewer, in his first 11 months, has made clear his unabashed belief in his own ability to bring fundamental progress, or "transformation," as he puts it, to a deeply inefficient and bureaucratic Los Angeles Unified School District.

But critics and supporters alike worry that the 61-year-old retired Navy admiral, who has no experience in public education, has not yet altered much of anything. They fear he will -- or already has -- become a prisoner of politics and bureaucracy, rather than a liberator of ideas and a change agent.

"There are those who expected more from him by this point, and there are realists who know how hard it is getting anything done in this district," said Ted Mitchell, an education advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who recently agreed to help Brewer as well. "Now is the time for Supt. Brewer to establish his leadership, articulate his vision and move the district forward. The next three or four months will be absolutely critical."

Brewer has landed a few victories: helping to nail down a short-term teachers contract and getting a budget passed. He deftly sidestepped the long-running power struggle between the school board and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has pushed for more say over L.A. Unified. And last month, civic leaders praised him for cutting through bureaucratic lethargy holding up a long-planned pilot project at a group of downtown schools.

"Supt. Brewer is digging in as deeply as he can given the immensity of the task before him," said state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), a member of the search committee that delivered Brewer. "The politics that have swirled around his superintendency since his arrival have been daunting, to put it mildly."

Whatever the reason, Brewer has gotten off to an uneven start.

An "innovation division," which aims to create and replicate effective reform, has been slow to get off the ground. Separately, Brewer is assembling a task force to address the district's lowest-achieving schools.

Touted as an outsider who could tame the district bureaucracy, Brewer missed an opportunity to demonstrate his leadership abilities with his early handling of a poorly functioning new payroll system. To some, Brewer did not quickly grasp the scope of the problem, which has resulted in overpayment or underpayment to tens of thousands of teachers and other employees.

Now, months later, he remains mired in its fallout, trying to recoup $53 million in overpayments and dealing with combative union leaders. Staff and outside consultants, meanwhile, are scrambling to address the mangled paydays; Brewer warned last week that it could take months more to fix the system.

On some crucial issues, he has seemingly been unable to make sure that his view prevails. Last month, the school board debated whether to extend health benefits to part-time cafeteria workers, at an annual estimated cost of $35.5 million. Brewer had endorsed a staff analysis that opposed the blanket extension as too costly. But at an August meeting with the recently elected board majority that supported the idea, Brewer retreated into near silence. Board members had to draw him out, finally getting him to briefly reaffirm his stance. They approved the benefits anyway.

Was this a lack of leadership or simply a leader shrewd enough to pick his battles?

Another saga has been the battle to control Locke High School, one of the district's poorest-performing. Brewer had offered early assurances to charter school operator Steve Barr that a deal was doable to allow his group to take over the campus. But Brewer backpedaled when leaders of United Teachers Los Angeles, the teachers union, rose in opposition.

The superintendent was left to insist that he wanted to work something out but that Barr and the union would not negotiate a compromise.

It was a far cry from the quick retort he'd made a few months before about what he'd do if the union opposed his reform efforts. "I'll just go around them if they don't want to work with me," he said at the time. The Locke episode was an early lesson for Brewer that in L.A. Unified, rhetoric comes easily, but results do not.

An impatient Barr successfully pressed the new board majority to approve converting Locke into several small charter schools that he would oversee.

As much as anything else, Brewer's inability to fill top-level posts -- and to create his own team -- has caused concern.

In June, he failed to persuade his choice for chief academic officer, Gregory E. Thornton, to take the job. Ostensibly, negotiations fell apart over salary, but by the time Thornton walked away, Brewer understood that his selection of Thornton, who like Brewer is black, troubled some board members.

In a heavily Latino district in which nearly 40% of its 708,000 students struggle to speak English, board President Monica Garcia questioned whether Thornton embodied the experience and skills to revamp instruction for these students. Aware of this criticism, Brewer has since promised to convene what he called a nationwide summit on helping English learners.

Brewer stumbled again when a background check on his choice for chief technology officer turned up a personal bankruptcy and alleged gambling debts. Moreover, the district's top financial and communications posts, as well as the chief operating officer job, all are staffed with interim appointments.

"That is probably my biggest frustration, getting the team in place," Brewer said. "I'll be very frank with you. As we are going out nationwide looking for this talent to come in here, some people don't want to come here because it costs too much."

Brewer also has been ambivalent about the long-term senior staff he inherited from his predecessor, former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer. But Brewer recently tapped Ronni Ephraim, who headed elementary instruction, to fill a newly created top post, overseeing training for all district employees. The school board resisted, agreeing recently to only a one-year contract, a signal that the board doesn't trust its schools chief or that ethnic politics is at play. (Ephraim is white.)

"Half the battle is believing he can get the job done, and he does," said Arlene Ackerman, former superintendent of schools in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and now a Columbia University professor. Ackerman has been an informal advisor to Brewer along with Rudy Crew, superintendent of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. "I think if he can get a good team around him, he'll be all right."

Broadly speaking, Brewer frequently talks about improving how the mammoth district is managed. He draws often from his favorite management tomes, noting a need for every administrator to receive "executive leadership training" and to reshape the underlying culture.

"I am not this messianic leader coming over the hill that's gonna save the . . . day," Brewer said. "I've got to go out there and make sure that everyone understands that making music is not necessarily the opera. And the only way the opera is going to play is if the French horns, violins and all those people are in sync."

He invoked this theme in an August address to administrators with the image of Jaime Escalante, the Garfield High School calculus teacher who left the district amid tension and jealousy after the film "Stand and Deliver" was made about his work.

"What'd we do to him?" Brewer asked the assembled administrators. "We moved him out.

"In this culture," he added, "we kill our savants. We have to stop that. That is part of the cultural revolution that is going to happen under Dave Brewer."

Brewer acknowledges, however, that it will take several years even for successful initiatives to demonstrate significant progress, a point that is almost universally accepted by veteran reformers, including the mayor's top education advisor, Ramon C. Cortines. Still, with three years left on Brewer's contract, pressure is mounting in a city that is short on patience.

No major local figures are willing to criticize the superintendent on the record, but skeptics abound.

"He said to all of us, 'I'm going to put an A-team in, make things happen. Watch me.' And he hasn't put anybody on first base yet," said one businessman, who declined to be named because, he said, "I want Adm. Brewer to succeed so much. The cost to the kids of turnover -- having to find someone else -- is really high."

The superintendent is aware of the whispered doubts.

"I hear the voices. There is no question about that," he said in a recent interview. "But I resist that because I know that if you're going to make a long-term and sustainable change, you can't go for the flavor of the month.

"I've got to convince the public and those voices: 'Look, stick with me on this. In fact, partner with me on this, so you know what the vision is.' "

Brewer's own hiring, amid the battle between Villaraigosa and the former school board, set the stage for a challenging first few months. The political bickering ended in July, when the new board majority, closely aligned with the mayor, took office.

The relative calm, observers say, gave Brewer a fresh opportunity. But it was the board that commandeered the agenda, forcing issues that could potentially conflict with Brewer's efforts.

Garcia, the new board president, pushed through several unusually detailed directives -- on dropouts, English learners, staff training and more -- that require Brewer to meet numerous tight deadlines.

"My reaction was, initially, 'What the hell is this all about?' " Brewer said. "And then when we got into them . . . [I] realized that many are in line with my vision and goals. So I wasn't offended by them."

There's precedent, however, for Brewer to be concerned. The last time a "reform board" backed by an L.A. mayor took over was in 1999, during Richard Riordan's tenure. It wasn't long before Riordan's majority removed incumbent Supt. Ruben Zacarias.

Brewer could well be wondering what the board majority will judge as success. Will it want independent, assertive leadership or fealty to the priorities and prerogatives of the mayor and his allied board?

Garcia's praise of Brewer suggests some of both.

"He has brought energy around leadership, around accountability," she said. "And he has brought community engagement we did not have."

Looking forward, she added, the expectations will be demanding: "I definitely expect to see a year of action."


by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

October 9, 2007 - More than a year after rolling out a $10 million effort to keep at-risk students in school and re-enroll those who have left, Los Angeles Unified's dropout rate has seen little improvement.

But the nation's second-largest school district announced Monday that it will expand its anti-dropout efforts to the Internet and radio airwaves and send even more counselors door-to-door.

The new program - "My Future, My Decision" - is a broad effort that includes spots on KPWR-FM (105.9), a text-messaging campaign and interaction through popular social networking Web sites MySpace and Facebook.

While district officials said they are still waiting for full-year dropout data to be released, the most recent numbers - which include two months under the anti-dropout campaign - show a dropout rate of 25.5 percent or about 1.4 percentage points higher than the year before.

"We're getting a lot of good information from principals and local district superintendents so I would expect to see the (dropout) numbers come down," said Debra Duardo, the LAUSD's director of dropout prevention and recovery.

"We don't have the statistics for this year to report to measure how successful it's been. ... We'll see in a couple of months ... the impact of their work."

Duardo said the dropout rate increased in the most recent measures because it was the first year in which the state's Exit Exam was a requirement for graduation, so 12th-grade performance brought down the total average.

The ninth, 10th and 11th grades all experienced significant improvements in the dropout rate, but 12th-graders had 52 percent more dropouts compared with the year before.

District officials on Monday said they did not know how much the new efforts would cost, but said it would come out of the $10 million already allocated to the program.

When the LAUSD rolled out its Diploma Project in August 2006, the goal was to track about 20,000 at-risk students - even so far as going to their homes to get acquainted with the kids and their parents.

This year, district officials said they were able to reduce that to about 17,000 students.

Ultimately, district officials hope to reduce the LAUSD's dropout rate every year, including by 5 percent this year.

District dropout rates have been estimated at anywhere from 23 percent to more than 50 percent.

Under the program, the LAUSD has 80 Diploma Project advisers at 45 high schools and 34 middle schools to work with teachers and at-risk students to determine how to keep them in school - including through independent study, adult education classes or off-campus learning centers.

"The message is come back. Come back to school," Superintendent David Brewer III said. "Do not stay out there and become a statistic in our society."

At Watts' Jordan High School, where the district held the press conference Monday morning, there were about 20 students that the dropout counselor was able to bring back to school.

Rene Ahal, a diploma project adviser at Reseda High School, said the biggest challenge is that most at-risk students are so far behind in credits by the time they reach high school they feel helpless.

But Ahal said most also don't know about the options available to them - including making up credits at community college or adult school.

And Ahal said she also talks to them about how much money they can make and what kinds of jobs they can aspire to with high-school degrees.

"We expect to see changes, but the program's only been in effect for the past year," Ahal said. "Over time it's going to make a big difference."

Saul Hernandez, 19, said that although he had trouble with drugs in the ninth and 10th grades, he realized he needed to graduate from high school to have a better future.

Now, he said, he hopes to tell his story through the Internet to help others who aren't sure whether they want to get a high school diploma.

"I knew that if I wasn't going to get a good education, I wasn't going to make it in life," said Hernandez, a father-to-be who wants to work at a body shop and will graduate in June.

"It could make a change for other students. They can see us as an example to not be a dropout."


by Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 9, 2007 - A new campaign to lower the dropout rate in Los Angeles schools will rely heavily on popular Internet websites such as YouTube and MySpace, as well as radio spots aimed at vulnerable teens, school officials announced Monday.

The Los Angeles Unified School District initiative also features a new website, The site highlights alternative ways of earning a diploma and describes the district's many continuation schools and community college programs.

"For all of those young people out there who have dropped out, the message is very clear: Come back. Come back to school. We have resources for you," Supt. David L. Brewer told a news conference at a South L.A. school. "Do not stay out there and become a statistic in our society. . . . We believe in second chances."

Educators hope to attract teens to the district's website by posting student videos on YouTube, as well as testimonials from former dropouts on the social networking website MySpace.

According to state data from 2006, more than 1in every 4 of the district's roughly 200,000 high school students dropped out.

L.A. Unified has set a goal of reducing the district's dropout rate by 5% this school year.

by Naush Boghossian | Daily News Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 10, 2007- Aiming to overhaul Los Angeles Unified's lowest-performing schools, Superintendent David Brewer announced a plan Tuesday to essentially carve out a separate, targeted district for 44 of the neediest schools.

Brewer's senior staff and local superintendents are still developing details, but the new district would be made up of middle and high schools and would have its own rules of governance and separate curriculum and instructional planning.

Brewer hopes to launch the district next fall and said schools in the group would be candidates for drastic reforms such as all-boys' academies and neighborhood literacy centers for parents.

The plan is the latest designed to create separate, smaller groups of schools out of the massive bureaucracy of the LAUSD system.

"We're looking to try to reduce the size of the current local eight districts and bring these middle schools and high schools into one supervisory structure so that focused attention can be placed on these schools for improvement," said Robert Schiller, a consultant hired by Brewer to help develop the plan.

Brewer's plan comes in addition to a previously announced plan under which Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will manage more than 30,000 students in two groups of schools designated as among the district's lowest-performing.

On top of that plan, Brewer's proposal would pull at least 105,000 additional students out of the district's 708,000 population into a separate governance structure.

"It sure looks like the start of a breakup, which I think is something that is a long time in coming," said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, who submitted legislation proposing breaking LAUSD into smaller districts.

But Brewer emphasized Tuesday that his plan is not necessarily to create a permanent structure. Instead, after schools improve they would return to governance under the general district.

The 17 middle schools and 27 high schools in the special district would have their own superintendent and directors assigned to act as liaisons with central staff, Shiller said.

The new district would include a new set of core curriculum at the schools and outline specific training for teachers. It also will address boosted school safety, smaller schools and community and parent partnerships.

Under federal No Child Left Behind standards, LAUSD is in its third year of Program Improvement status, requiring LAUSD to develop a plan to help the lowest-performing schools.

Brewer said a detailed plan is expected to be finished by Nov. 1 and presented to the board for approval by Nov. 13.

Still, the plan drew concern from some that it is creating a fragmented district with even more bureaucracy and challenges.

"I am worried the district is getting fragmented, and that does not necessarily mean it's going to fix the problem," 20-year school board member Julie Korenstein said.


by Naush Boghossian | Staff Writer LA Daily News

October 12, 2007 - Just days after unveiling an overhaul plan for dozens of Los Angeles' lowest-performing schools, Superintendent David Brewer III on Thursday targeted nearly 100 underachieving and long-neglected middle schools for reform.

Brewer said he hopes to roll out "personalized learning environments" at all 92 of the district's middle schools by the 2009-10 school year to raise achievement and retention rates.

The move is significant for Los Angeles Unified School District middle schools, overlooked for years as the district focused on improving elementary schools, then high schools.

"It's our way to try to create more smallness out of largeness, so we can do something more immediate," said Michelle King, deputy chief instructional officer at the LAUSD.

"There's a fear there about sending youngsters to the middle school campus.

So it's critical that we look at those needs and be able to address the concerns and allay the fears of our students and of our parents and the communities." Until the district can reduce the number of students per campus, the reform plan is the answer to make middle schools seem more intimate, King said.

Seventeen of the middle schools would be "fast-tracked," with improvements started in the 2008-09 school year.


Much like charter schools, middle schools could adopt eight-period days or other schedule variations to have more time for intervention during the school day and more elective choices.

The schools would also focus on English and on preparing all students to meet the college-prep graduation requirements.

King said each middle school will develop its own particular plan with input from teachers, parents, students and administrators.

The goal is to create greater parental engagement and student-teacher connections at middle schools, where students are in their critical years of preparing for high school and college-prep courses.

School board member Marlene Canter said she looks forward to rolling out the efforts at middle schools.

"We need to know the student and make that student know that somebody will miss them tomorrow if they're not in their classroom," Canter said.

But Linda Guthrie, a teachers union official and a member of the Curriculum, Instruction And Educational-Equity Committee, said she was disappointed with the plan.

She said it does not call for parent centers, violence-prevention efforts and a psychologist or a social worker at each school to address students' psychological and emotional needs.

"I see nothing exciting about this. This is not what I think this district needs to do to turn around its middle schools," she said.

"You really have to get radical, think outside the box," suggested Guthrie, a United Teachers Los Angeles vice president who said a focus group spent 18 months developing a report on the problem.

Elementary schools have improved steadily and dramatically over the past five years on the state standardized tests.

That upswing was followed by improvements in high schools this year.

But middle schools have languished, and early in his tenure Brewer promised to make their reform a priority.

While test scores released in August showed elementary and high schools gained on the Academic Performance Index and outpaced California as a whole, scores at middle schools leveled off.

Middle school reform is the latest overhaul plan unleashed by Brewer, approaching his one-year anniversary - Nov 13 - as superintendent.

On Thursday, he announced that he had filled four key leadership posts with executives who will play a pivotal role in his transformation agenda.


Earlier this week, he unveiled plans to create a separate district with 44 of the lowest-performing middle and high schools - and more than 105,000 students - targeted for reforms.

And that came just weeks after he announced a partnership in which Brewer said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa would manage two groups of the district's lowest-performing schools.

School board member Julie Korenstein, representing part of the San Fernando Valley, said she's encouraged that Brewer proposes planning periods.

And she said she worries that too many reform efforts will falter.

"Any one of those things would have been a big piece to bite off," she said.

"I would have preferred doing one of the above and see how that turned out.

I feel like we're jumping from limb to limb, and I don't know how successful we can be if we do it that way." New board member Tamar Galatzan, who also represents the Valley, said that despite the risks, some changes must happen: "This district is certainly large enough that we need to try innovative strategies at different schools.

I truly feel that we need to start experimenting and bring a little innovation and reform into the district.".

BREWER FILLS KEY L.A SCHOOL DISTRICT POSTS: Board approves two of his latest candidates for major positions. One of them has experience dealing with a faulty payroll system.

by Joel Rubin and Howard Blume | Los Angeles Times Staff Writers.

October 12, 2007 - Nearly a year after being hired to run the Los Angeles public school system, Supt. David L Brewer filled some key cabinet-level posts this week and added to the stable of outside consultants trying to fix a faulty payroll system that has underpaid and overpaid thousands of employees.

To find the district's chief financial officer, Brewer, a retired Navy admiral, tapped the financial manager of the Navy's postgraduate college.

Brewer's choice for chief technology officer, meanwhile, currently holds the same job in the Los Angeles Community College District, where he helped address a payroll debacle similar to the one facing the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The moves, Brewer said, "are extremely important. To find the right people, sometimes you have to be a little patient." The district's elected Board of Education approved the two hires at a closed session Tuesday.

But the board resisted approving the person Brewer wants as the head of lobbying, legislative, public relations and parent outreach because of questions about his qualifications.

The board previously declined to give two other top deputies the two-year contracts that Brewer wanted.

Brewer has yet to bring on a chief academic officer, a position he has characterized as crucial.

The new chief financial officer is former Navy financial manager Megan K.

Reilly, who was given a two-year contract at $222,000 annually.

Reilly, 42, is the latest in a string of naval officers to join L.A.


Aside from Brewer, former Navy engineers have run the district's $20-billion school construction and modernization effort over the last seven years.

Tony Tortorice, 55, will leave his job at the community college district to take over technology matters.

He received a two-year offer that will pay nearly $213,000 a year.

Tortorice will oversee ongoing efforts to fix a computerized payroll system plagued by intractable problems since its launch early this year.

Tortorice joined the community college district in 2002, shortly after it had purchased a similar payroll system.

Brewer said he went after Tortorice precisely because of his previous experiences, saying, "You want somebody who has been through the war, and he has." Tortorice was hired the same week that board members raised questions about the small army of technical and human relations consultants brought on to help the district's under-qualified staff remedy the payroll crisis.

During an open session at Tuesday's meeting, member Tamar Galatzan expressed deep concern over Brewer's request that the board approve payment of up to $585,000 for two more consultants, who together charge more than $43,000 each month.

Brewer's team also includes two top hires from within the district, for whom Brewer failed to win two-year contracts.

Ronni Ephraim, 56, an instructional officer who oversaw the substantial rise in L.A.

Unified's elementary school test scores, will now oversee the training of all employees, a position Brewer has cited as crucial.

She will earn $225,000.

His other internal promotion went to Julie Slayton, 41, who will lead accountability and strategic planning efforts.

She had been Brewer's assistant chief staff and has an extensive background in program evaluation inside and outside the school system.

She will earn about $145,000.

Both Ephraim and Slayton received contracts that expire at the end of June 2008.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
►THE MYTH OF THE UNFIREABLE DEADBEAT: Lies About Teachers and Unions
A former union leader takes on the conventional wisdom that the Teacher's Unions Are What's Wrong with Public Education in general and LAUSD in specific. Maybe it's the conventional wisdom that's wrong?

The nerds, techies and bloggers at ZDNet weigh in on everyone's favorite IT Project Disaster. The writer obviously went to public school, addressing the Superintendent/Admiral as: "Dude". But why not? These are the dudes who'll have to fix the mess.

Preston Manning in the Toronto Globe and Mail thinks that Alberta's educational grass is greener than Ontario's. It's an old story in a new setting – and when conservatives are for "Choice" they mean "Vouchers"!

Speaking of the "greener grass": As LAUSD slips further and further down the political slippery slope and deeper and deeper into the educational quicksand – and some dream about how much better/simpler/whatever it would be if we only broke up LAUSD into more manageable parts – there might be some value into looking at how the next school district up the 101 is faring.

►HOW HIGHER ED CAN FIX K-12 from Inside Higher Ed
A UCI assistant professor writes that the Ivied Halls of Academe have the answer: The grass is greenest in Texas! Texas - those wonderful folks who brought us NCLB! Some folks are best locked in their ivory tower and the key conveniently tossed.

►Podcast - BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: Sub-Districts in the LAUSD
From Patt Morrsion | KPCC | Wednesday October 10
School Board Member Emeritus David Tokofsky holds forth on the Superintendent's New Clothes …er: Reforms – and Jaime Regalado, executive director of Cal State L.A.'s Edmund G. Brown Institute holds forth on what David said!


October 11 - Garfield High School, best known to the outside world as the setting for the 1988 film Stand and Deliver – starring Edward James Olmos as real-life math teacher and tough-love mentor Jaime Escalante – has always been an integral part of the East L.A. community. “It is the only high school in the unincorporated territory of East Los Angeles,” says Garfield Principal Omar Del Cueto. “So in this neighborhood, when you say old school, the only old school that comes to mind is Garfield High School.”

GARFIELD BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURING LOS LOBOS. Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, (818) 626-4440. Sun. at 5:45 p.m. Tickets from $39.75. Info: or

All of this week's news that didn't fit!

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• Wednesday Oct 17, 2007
10AM - LAUSD Boardroom | 333 S. Beaudry Ave, LA

• Wednesday Oct 17, 2007
Central Los Angeles High School #9 (HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS): Construction Update Meeting
6:00 p.m.
Castelar Elementary School
840 Yale St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

• Thursday Oct 18, 2007
San Pascual Elementary School: Community Meeting
6:00 p.m.
San Pascual Elementary School
815 San Pascual Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90042

► SAVE THE DATE: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20th from 9am to 1pm
Assemblymember Anthony Portantino's CHILDREN'S HEALTH FORUM: CHILDHOOD OBESITY & DIABETES @ Washington Elementary School, 1520 Raymond, Pasadena

The Assemblymember (AD 44) invites you to join him for a health forum to obtain information surrounding the prevention and treatment of Childhood Obesity and Diabetes. Presentations and demonstrations will be offered. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jarvis Emerson in his district office (626) 577-9944

*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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