Sunday, January 06, 2008

Welcome to the Year of Living Educationally

4LAKids: Sunday, Jan 6, 2008
In This Issue:
CALIFORNIA SCHOOL REFORMS PRICE TAG: $6 BILLION: Proposed Changes by Governor's Panel Greeted Skeptically
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.
• "2008 will be the Year of Education Reform." - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, March 2007.

In a radio interview on Friday, Michael Genest - the Governor's finance director - talking about the state budget shortfall, the growing deficit and setting the stage for the Governor's 'State of the State' speech this coming week said that "education is part of the solution."

This was as tortured piece of double-speak as one can imagine; twisting logic and syntax into a frame that doesn't fit. He didn't mean "education"; he meant "cuts to education" — his meaning was "less education is part of the solution." He meant the opposite of what he said. And for that: Shame.

With the budget tightening we can expect cuts to education - and we can expect what education consultant John Mockler calls the "schools suck industry" to continue to beat the drum of failure: Schools need less money, not more. Teachers are bad. Parents are bad. With uncaring parents giving over students to bad teachers in schools led by bad principals and governed by bad school boards —what can we possibly expect? No - we need to empower those bad parents with "Choice" ("Choice" is bad for women who find themselves pregnant …but good for parents who find themselves parents!)

The answer is Vouchers and Privatization and Charterization; More Testing and Scripted Learning. "Break up the District … or the Union!" Toss out the school board, bring on the mayor. The gun is full of magic bullets …and one of 'em might actually hit something!

Remember what the slogan of IBM was, back when IBM was IBM?


What a concept.


Last week I called an LAUSD office to speak with the local district superintendent. The person who answered the phone informed me that the superintendent was on vacation. I put on my best mock outrage voice and trying be funny said that I didn't think senior management should be on vacation when kids are in school - working their scholastic fingers to the bone to improve rest scores and whatnot

"No kids are in school," she assured me. "It's winter break."

School IS in session at year 'round schools. Children and teachers on B and C track at Concept 6 schools ARE at work. There are 85 Concept 6 schools in LAUSD serving 183,141 kids; on Jan 2nd approximately 122,200 of them went back to school - slightly less than the total enrollment at San Diego Unified School District.

That's a fact anyone with enough seniority to answer a phone in LAUSD should know.

Happy New Year everyone.

¡And onward/Hasta adelante! - smf

HOW SUPERINTENDENT DAVID BREWER RAN AGROUND: The admiral's sinking ship — the article from the LA Weekly



by Paloma Esquivel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

January 3, 2008 - McKinley Avenue Elementary School in South Los Angeles is wrapped with a spiked iron fence. Its windows are shuttered with wire frames and its offices are equipped with motion sensors linked to an alarm.

None of those measures, however, was enough to stop vandals who broke into the school during the holiday vacation.

Whoever it was -- officials suspect a group of adolescents -- used metal cutters to bypass wire-shuttered windows, broke into the school's boiler room, made his or her way into 13 classrooms, the library and several offices, urinated on floors, drew on walls, tossed ketchup and mayonnaise on computers, took a few electronics and generally torpedoed the school.

"Every time we have a long weekend or a long break, schools are hit," said Tony Gonzalez, local district director of school services. Gonzalez, who was on campus Wednesday as cleanup got underway, said the chaos left behind was the worst he had ever seen.

The break-in was one of nearly 60 reported incidents of vandalism in the last two weeks at L.A. Unified School District campuses, said school Police Lt. Timothy Anderson. Break-ins ranged from seemingly professional operations, in which thieves targeted computers and electronics, to childish pranks, where an empty school became a playground for mischief-makers, he said.

L.A. Unified police say about 400 burglaries occur at campuses each year, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage and stolen equipment. During the 2006-07 winter break, authorities reported break-ins at 19 campuses; during the 2005-06 break, 63 were reported.

At McKinley, the damage was so extensive that school officials believe whoever broke into the campus during the break came back again and again until Friday, when school police noticed the vandalism, officials said.

The school has been vandalized several times, including a major break-in during the fall, said administrator Raymond Boutney, adding that he is frustrated by the "inability of the community to assist us in capturing the culprits who continue to do this to our school."

Officials still can't say why the school's motion sensors didn't trigger the alarm, Principal Gwendolyn Williams said. Some sensors were torn down and the main control system -- which should have set off the alarm before anyone got to it -- was tampered with, she said.

Empty schools and understaffed school police can add to the break-in problem, police said. Holiday staffing, with many officers on vacation, is "kind of thin to say the least," Anderson said. Last year, school police officials said about half of all break-ins took place during long weekends or the winter, spring and summer vacations.

Police are making moves to fight the problem, Anderson said. They've put up posters asking students to alert authorities to vandalism, and a recent grant will help them distribute magnets with the same message, he said.

Whether those programs will make a dent in the problem is unclear, officials said.

On Wednesday, rather than spend the day learning teaching techniques alongside UCLA writing experts, as was planned, teachers spent the day cleaning classrooms in preparation for Monday, when students are set to return.

They made quick progress in the morning hours -- painting over rows and rows of spray-painted pornographic images and derogatory terms in just minutes. The school became infused with the scent of ammonia as the teachers washed away signs of disruption.

"I have to get set up here quick. I don't want the kids to see it like this," said fourth-grade teacher Celest Danley.

Earlier in the day, she found papers tossed wantonly around her classroom, ketchup splattered on walls and broken bits of Christmas ornaments on the floor.

Although some laptops, VCRs, cameras and boomboxes were taken, it seemed that the vandals appeared mostly intent on making a mess, not taking valuable property, said Williams, who has headed the school for 12 years. Several new computers and other valuable equipment went untouched while a pile of notebooks filled with students' stories was destroyed with ketchup.

"It seems adolescent," Williams said.

For Danley, the incident underscores the important role teachers have in shaping the lives of young people -- and deterring them from mischief.

"We need to reach as many kids as possible when they are young so that this type of thing will not happen," she said.

But it can be difficult to know what motivates someone to break into a school, Williams said.

"Sometimes it's young people who are disenfranchised," she said. "Sometimes it's just young people who are looking for a thrill."


Column by Sandy Banks from the Los Angeles Times

January 5, 2008 — On the same day that a smiling mayor and police chief stood side by side at a news conference hailing a citywide drop in crime, grim-faced teachers at a South Los Angeles elementary school painted over obscenities on classroom walls, swept up broken Christmas ornaments and tried to salvage students' art projects.

Crime may be dropping on the streets outside, but inside Los Angeles Unified campuses, holiday breaks are criminals' party time.

According to an article this week by my colleague, Times reporter Paloma Esquivel, 60 campuses were hit by thieves and vandals during the Christmas break that's about to end.

At McKinley Avenue Elementary the burglars didn't steal much -- a few laptops, cameras, VCRs and boom-boxes. But they went on a rampage on the vacant campus, urinating on floors, dumping ketchup on computers and drawing pornographic images on classroom walls.

The 80-year-old building has motion sensors that should have tripped a silent alarm but didn't. Once the vandals made it over a spiked iron fence and snipped the wire blocking windows, they were free to roam the campus.

Now, school police are trying to find the culprits. In most school break-in cases, they turn out to be neighborhood teens. Police have put up posters, asking students to alert authorities to vandalism. And they're using grant money to distribute refrigerator magnets imprinted with that same plea.


During vacations, deserted schools are sitting ducks. Los Angeles Unified campuses are burglarized about 400 times each year, and almost half of those break-ins occur during the summer vacation, holiday breaks and long weekends all across the sprawling district.

Part of the problem is the district's puny police force. It hasn't been expanded in 20 years, even though the district has grown by more than 100,000 students and 70 campuses during that period.

L.A. Unified Police Chief Larry Manion has 362 officers and responsibility for more than 800 schools scattered over 710 square miles. His priority is keeping kids safe as they travel to and from school and while they're on campus, he said. "The vast majority of our officers work during the school day. That's what the community demands."

On nights and weekends, he's too short-handed to give campuses much patrol attention. "We don't have the troops," he said. Taking a page from Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton -- who credits the city's crime drop to more officers on the streets -- Manion wants to double the size of his force within five years. But even then, he wouldn't have enough officers to watch district schools 24/7.

Holiday break-ins have become a criminal tradition, he said. "And 95% of the time, when a burglary is committed, it's accompanied by vandalism or some distasteful comments written on the wall."

School social worker Petra Galindo is often called on to counsel children -- and teachers -- who return from vacation to find their classrooms defaced. "You try to protect the kids from seeing it. It's so disruptive to the psyche of a school," she said.

I told her I was stunned by the viciousness of the damage at McKinley Elementary. Smearing ketchup on children's writing projects? Urinating on classroom floors? But Galindo said she has seen worse: "Feces smeared on walls. Incredibly racist and obscene scrawls."

The vandals are typically teens "with an ax to grind," she said. "If they don't feel respected, in terms of how they're interacted with at school; if they're not doing well, truant a lot, disconnected at home . . . any little thing can set them off.

"Holidays bring on a lot of depression and sadness for people who don't have that sense of connectedness," Galindo said. "The schools are empty, no one's protecting them. The kids go in there as a group, it escalates, things get out of hand. . . . It's violent anti-social behavior. Schools are an easy target."


School police sometimes collar the culprits. Officers nabbed four burglars inside Budlong Elementary in South Los Angeles on New Year's Day and recovered $26,000 in stolen property. On Christmas Day, a silent alarm at Pio Pico Elementary drew officers "who caught the suspects in the commission of the crime," Manion said.

They could prevent more burglaries if all schools had security cameras and alarm systems that actually worked. "We'd like a monitor in every school, up and operable," he said.

District officials told me that most of the district's 700-plus schools do have "intrusion detection systems," though they couldn't tell me how many actually function. They're maintained by the district's information technology division, the same group that saddled school employees with a perpetually malfunctioning payroll system.

I guess it's too much to expect a district with a computer system that can't accurately pay teachers to provide campus security systems that are able to protect millions of dollars of equipment and students' priceless psyches.

If this kind of destruction were happening at churches or synagogues instead of schools, it would be considered a hate crime. City officials, civic leaders and law officers would be up in arms. But when vicious burglars rip through children's classrooms, we quietly hand teachers mops and ammonia and shrug it off as teenage vandalism.

I'm relieved that citywide crime is going down. But I wish politicians would stop patting themselves on the back long enough to figure out if there's a way to spread the good fortune to beleaguered schools and neglected students.

Last month, when he was stumping for endorsements for his reform plan, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa bragged that he "raised 50 million bucks like that" to spend at schools that sign on. Two years ago, alarmed by housing project crime, the mayor persuaded Motorola to donate $1.2 million worth of surveillance equipment to monitor Jordan Downs.

Spring break is not that far down the line. We know the thieves have wire cutters. Let's give more than refrigerator magnets to school police to fight crime this time.

CALIFORNIA SCHOOL REFORMS PRICE TAG: $6 BILLION: Proposed Changes by Governor's Panel Greeted Skeptically
by Jessie Mangaliman | San Jose Mercury News

January 4, 2008 - Setting the stage for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Year of Education," a panel he appointed has proposed a sweeping set of reforms that will help define the debate, including performance-based pay for teachers, universal preschool and full-day kindergarten.

A blueprint of the recommendations obtained by the Mercury News also calls for:

• Billions more to be spent each year to educate English-learners and other low-income students who are lagging behind more affluent peers.

• A sophisticated new data system to better track students' successes and failures.

• A school "inspection system" similar to those used in New York City and several European countries. To increase the accountability of schools, the results of the inspections would immediately be made available to the public.

Critics - and even supporters of the ideas - immediately pointed to the obvious obstacle in ushering in a major change to how California educates its children: a state budget crisis and a budget deficit estimated at $14 billion.

The proposals from the Governor's Committee on Education Excellence would cost an estimated $6.1 billion annually, but the panel maintains they could be paid for with anticipated school-funding increases in the coming years.

Based on recent projections, the report said, the state's education budget will grow by $6 billion to $7 billion in the next six years under Proposition 98, the state's
minimum-funding guarantee for schools.

The governor has not yet signed off on the 40-page report, which he is expected to release in two weeks. Schwarzenegger will preview the recommendations during his annual state-of-the-state address on Tuesday.

In a statement released Thursday by the governor's office, Secretary of Education David Long said the report, "along with other recent research, will play a vital role in shaping the policy discussion we will have over the course of the year to improve student achievement in our state."

Two years ago, Schwarzenegger appointed a panel of 18 current and former superintendents, education experts and researchers to look into overhauling the state's education system. The panel says the changes it recommends are critical to a "fundamentally flawed" system that faces a high school dropout rate of 30 percent and an achievement gap separating Latino and African-American students from their more affluent Asian and white peers.

But critics say the panel is dreaming, considering the state's current budget crisis. The governor, they note, has suggested a plan to cut state spending at least 10 percent in all departments.

"I don't think it distinguishes itself from . . . every other report that's been done on the subject," said Kevin Gordon, president of School Innovations and Advocacy, a lobbying firm that also represents the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

"It stands a good chance of being put on the shelf and gathering dust," said Gordon, who has not seen the report but is familiar with its major recommendations.

Added Bob Wells, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators: "Reforms without money are not any better than money without reforms. . . . It's clear we have high standards and we're trying to become the best in the world. But without addressing the level of resources, that's just a huge gap."

Some legislators familiar with the report are also pessimistic about the prospects of implementing the panel's recommendations, which include two costly initiatives: $1.1 billion to expand pre-school programs with free day-care and all-day kindergarten and $5 billion for a program for poor students who are learning English.

It also proposes streamlining the state bureaucracy and creating a new role for the state superintendent for public instruction, who would oversee school accountability and manage data systems.

State schools chief Jack O'Connell on Thursday declined to comment.

"It's an ambitious plan," said Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-San Mateo, chairman of the Assembly Education Committee. "There's a lot of merit in many of the findings, but they run headlong into a major fiscal crisis."

The proposed performance-based pay for teachers and administrators immediately drew fire.

"It's been around forever," said Sen. Joseph Simitian, D-Palo Alto. "People find it quite appealing as an abstract notion, but when defined as a workable system it gets tough in a hurry."

The state's biggest teachers' union, the California Teachers Association, has opposed merit pay in the past. A spokesman on Thursday declined to comment.

The proposal to delay the age at which children start kindergarten would bring California into alignment with most states. Children would have to turn 5 by Sept. 1 rather than Dec. 2 of the year they enter kindergarten.

The proposal would generate savings because it reduces the number of students entering the system. The report estimates that, as the smaller class moves through the system in 13 years, the state would save $700 million.

About one-quarter of California's kindergarten students are younger than 5 and unprepared when they begin school, said Carol Nicoli, president of the California Kindergarten Association.

Nicoli said she has not seen a copy of the report, but from what's she heard she is thrilled by the proposed new age requirement.

"I've always dreamed that it would happen," she said. "I have believed in this for many years."

The report urges California to move toward universal preschool in phases, starting with low-income families.

Peter Mehas, a member of the governor's panel who is a regent at California State University-Fresno, acknowledged the concerns of many who wonder how the state would pay for such sweeping reforms.

"If you don't have money on these recommendations, it's difficult to get an immediate response," he said. "The agenda has to be moved by finance."

But Mehas, who has served on similar state panels under previous administrations, said he is hopeful that - unlike education proposals he's seen in the past - the panel's work "is not going to go for naught."

The governor "told us from the get-go that he wants our best ideas, your best thinking, then 'I'll take it from there."

by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

January 6, 2008 - Charging that the Los Angeles Unified School District is wasting taxpayer funds and dragging its feet in filing a lawsuit against the company responsible for rolling out a problem-plagued computerized payroll system, a state assemblyman said he will introduce a bill Monday to urge the district to recoup any lost money.

Assemblyman Kevin de Leon said he will introduce Assembly Bill 730, which would prevent any contractor found by a court liable for breach of an information-technology contract worth more than $1 million - and the judgment is greater than $250,000 - from bidding on any new business with the state or any local government for five years.

De Leon said the bill was prompted by LAUSD payroll problems in which thousands of employees have been underpaid or overpaid since February 2007.

He charged Deloitte & Touche with conducting something akin to a "very sophisticated scam," in which - despite being paid $55 million to smoothly roll out the system - the company requested an additional $9.4 million to fix the problems.

LAUSD decided to pay another consultant $9.6 million to help fix the glitches.

"I just don't believe it's a good idea to throw good taxpayer money after bad by rewarding vendors who fail to fulfill their contracts with additional contracts," de Leon said.

"I want both Deloitte and the district to know how very serious we are about taxpayer funds being wasted in this situation, and it must be paid back - tens of millions of dollars belonging to students."

LAUSD officials are analyzing the measure and have not yet determined what position, if any, to take, spokeswoman Susan Cox said.

According to the LAUSD's Office of the General Counsel, as of Dec. 20 the district has paid more than $700,000 to two law firms working on litigation over the computer system: Miller, Brown & Dannis and Pillsbury, Winthrop Shaw Pittman.

If the district doesn't take legal action, the assemblyman said he plans to launch an aggressive campaign to urge LAUSD to file a lawsuit.

Officials at Deloitte could not be reached for comment.

The bill is scheduled to go to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on Jan. 15.


smf's 2¢: One cannot doubt de León's good intent, and certainly his thinking heads in the right direction. Before he was an assemblyman Kevin was a lobbyist for the California Teachers Association; as a teacher's union advocate turned legislator this puts him in the company of Antonio Villaraigosa and Fabian Nunez — this may well be more "message sending" rather than legislation.

This proposed bill goes into the quagmire of restricting public contracts where the law ties the hands of government agencies into selecting or rejecting contractors based only on low cost and/or best value. Past performance has little weight - this is intended to stop contracts from going to inside-track vendors. Court challenges will say this bill adds legislatively imposed penalties to court imposed ones – and attorneys will certainly argue such penalty applied in any LAUSD payroll software suits would cross into the US Constitution, Article I, Section 9; Clause 3 prohibition of bills of attainder or ex post facto laws - similarly prohibited in the constitutions of all fifty states.

That being said contracting agencies need to have greater latitude in evaluating contracting proposals - experience tells us some bids are low because they are inadequate. The real solution is for public agencies to lay out strong and iron clad Requests for Proposal and negotiate contracts that hold contractors responsible - and then require both parties to live up to their commitments. You learned it in school: Do your homework

Opinion by Bill Boyarsky | The Jewish Journal of Greater LA

Dec 28, 2007 — The meeting at Daniel Webster Middle School, in the heart of the Westside, embodied all the difficulties of convincing parents that their children will be safe when they leave the cocoon of the public elementary school for the unknown world of middle school.

"I know this is a scary thing," said Stephen Rochelle, principal of Wright Middle School, located near Loyola Marymount University. "Your baby is going into the sixth grade."

This is a big issue for the Jewish community, with its deep concern for education. Middle-class and working-class Jews either can't afford private schools or must strain mightily to pay the tuition.

But they know the public middle schools, comprising the sixth through the eighth grades, will be a huge challenge for their children. There are many more kids, coming in bewildering varieties of aggressiveness, shyness, intelligence, ethnicity, culture, economic class and interests, everything intensified by the dose of hormones hitting them as adolescence arrives.

I know the story. My daughter and son-in-law are among those worried parents, with a 5-year-old and a 10-year-old.

Interestingly, I covered the enormous changes that transformed the Los Angeles schools and led to the white flight to private education. I was there for the Los Angeles Times when the story began. It was in the late 1970s, and the Los Angeles Unified School District was under a court order to desegregate.

While there was no segregation by law, school boundaries were drawn to reflect neighborhoods that were segregated by long-standing real estate practices. As a result, a large number of schools were either predominantly white, black or Latino. Reflecting the neighborhood, schools such as Fairfax High School, were heavily Jewish.

The court order required massive busing. White parents rebelled and began to abandon the public schools.

I was also a parent. One daughter was in Mar Vista Elementary School and the other in Webster, then a junior high school. We didn't want them bused.

Burying my feelings to meet the constraints of journalism was a strain. The battle continued in the courts for years, and in the end, there was no mandatory busing. But large numbers of whites had left for private schools. That, plus the huge demographic changes in Los Angeles resulted in a predominantly ethnic minority school district.

Now, parents faced with increasing private school tuitions are joining with teachers and principals in a back-to-the public school movement.

It's not easy.

Raul Fernandez, principal of Mark Twain Middle School, just a couple of blocks from Venice High School, leveled with the parents at the Webster library.

"We're coming back from a declining enrollment," he told mothers at one of the tables set aside for individual chats about each school. He made a strong pitch for academic and extracurricular programs at the school, and said, "Whatever urban legends you have heard about the middle school, check us out."

One woman asked how long he would remain there. Mark Twain has had a heavy principal turnover. Fernandez said that was an important question, often asked by parents who prize a connection with the principal and faculty in a good elementary school.

"I'm committed to stay," he said. He sounded as if he meant it.

Kendra Nichols Wallace, Webster's principal, told of the many academic programs at her school. There are programs for advanced studies and for the gifted. Students take Advanced Placement tests in the eighth grade to prepare them for what's ahead. Each student is on a computer two or three times a week. If they are interested, students are prepared for the foreign language magnet at Venice High School.

Yet, with all this, Wallace knows how skittish parents are about sending their children to an LAUSD middle school.

"There's a trust factor," she told me. "Are we going to take as good care of your child as they did in elementary school?"

The next day, I checked the Webster Web site to see what parents said. The comments were generally favorable. A mother offered what seemed to be a smart and analytical view of the school:

"At first I did not want my child to attend this school. It wouldn't ever be my first choice. The only reason why my child attends is because she would be in all AP classes and there is one teacher that assured me my child would be OK.

"The over all school setting when my child entered in sixth grade (2004) was something to be desired. However, since they have a new principal who really knows her stuff there have been phenomenal changes.... Ms. Wallace is the best thing that has happened to Webster in a long time. Keep up the good work and stay focused!"

Convincing parents of the worth of LAUSD middle schools is a tough sell. But I hope the effort works. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is spending time and energy on the poorest schools, and that's a worthwhile cause. But Los Angeles always was, and still is, a city of middle-class people, and the mayor should also push the LAUSD to make sure our children have middle schools and high schools good enough to prepare these kids for college.

Until leaving the Los Angeles Times in 2001, Bill Boyarsky worked as a political correspondent, a Metro columnist for nine years and as city editor for three years. You can reach him at

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
Friday, January 4, 2008 - BURBANK — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell held a news conference at Burbank High School to announce that A Parent's Guide to MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph) in California: What You Need to Know, an informative brochure produced by the California Department of Public Health, is now available in 23 languages – from Arabic to Vietnamese.

In September, Woodland Hills charter school Ivy Academia expanded to include high school students, creating an increased urgency in the school’s search for a local facility that can accommodate both its smallest and biggest students.

Representatives of Ivy, a high-performing school with an entrepreneurial focus, say they qualify for state funds that would allow them to move into one of a handful of closed Los Angeles Unified School District buildings in the area. There’s just one problem. LAUSD has become a stumbling block as the school attempts to transition into one of these buildings, say Ivy officials.


An Oakland-based youth advocacy group gave low marks to the state of children's health and education in California today and urged leaders to boost funding and take other measures to dramatically improve those areas.

In its 2008 California Report Card released today, Children Now concluded that the well-being of youth statewide is generally poor and needs top priority even in the face of the current budget crisis.

Sindicato Escéptico Porque las Leyes No Destinan Recursos Financieros/Union Skeptical Because Laws Have No Earmarked Funding

Technical changes to existing laws on Special Education and continued assistance to students who do not pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) are two of the 49 laws that come into force this year in the California public education system.

►ONLINE GATE PD: UC Irvine Offers Online GATE Courses for United States K-12 Teachers
Courses Prepare Nation’s Teachers to Recognize and Teach Gifted and Talented Students

In an effort to help K-12 teachers around the country better understand and motivate gifted and talented students, the University of California, Irvine Extension is offering a host of Gifted and Talented Teacher Education (GATE) online courses. UC Irvine Extension is known for its exceptional GATE programming. Its programs provide options for K-12 teachers with focused professional development sessions; individual courses; and entire certificate programs, aligned with the California Association for the Gifted (CAG), the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and state standards for excellence.

Link to the stories above: The News That Didn't Fit from Jan 6th!

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• Wednesday Jan 09, 2008
CENTRAL REGION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL #20: Site Selection Update Meeting
6:00 p.m.
Frank del Olmo Elementary School
Multi-purpose Room
100 N. New Hampshire Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

• Thursday Jan 10, 2008
The Department of Toxic and Substance Control (DTSC) invites you to attend this very important meeting regarding the Draft Remedial Action Plan (RAP).
6:00 p.m.
Hammel Elementary School - Auditorium
438 N. Brannick Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90063

*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.
• In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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