Sunday, March 02, 2008

Two cities.

4LAKids: Sunday, March 2, 2008 — Dr Seuss' B'day
In This Issue:
NOTE FROM THE BOARD MEMBER: from the Feb 29 Galatzan Gazette
SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO GET HELP: Coachella Valley Unified faces the most severe sanction of the 97 not meeting targets.
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.
I meant what I said, and I said what I meant:
An elephant's faithful one hundred percent.

- Horton Hatches an Egg


School Boardmember Tamar Galatzan in her weekly e-mail newsletter/blog opens this week with Dickens most celebrated opening line - a first line as famous as that of Genesis or Caesar or Tolstoy's Anna K: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

In the context of this past week 4LAKids can only say "Indeed'.

Dickens 'worst of times' describes Paris in a time and place (Einstein says these two imposters are the same) known to history as 'The Terror'/'La Terreur'; his 'best of times' the flowering of the British Regency in London

The Convention Nationale did not invent terrorism, terror is a primal phenomenon from human prehistory. But Robespierre, Marat & Co. defined terrorism for our age: Misrule of-and-by fear.

THE WORST OF TIMES: Terrorism was upon us Wednesday at a South LA bus stop. A gangster/terrorist opened fire at rivals, missed his targets and wounded eight bystanders waiting for the bus, five of them children. The illuminating moment is that some of the wounded children fled the scene and returned to their school. That was their place of refuge from those mean streets - the place of help and hope and sanity where sanctuary might be found.

The terror echoed the next day as threats of retaliation and the hunt for the shooter kept children in the neighboring schools off playgrounds and confined to classrooms on one of those singular LA picture-postcard days of sunshine and clear air. On Friday we heard the fear resonate again as Pasadena's Blair High School was locked down in a gun threat.

THE BEST OF TIMES are harder to find and less often reported. On the day after the shootings I spent the day as principal for a day at Main Street Elementary School, 14 blocks from the shooting scene. At Main Street a dedicated faculty and staff - and a core of engaged parents - led by an outstanding instructional leader (on the other 365 days a year) light the Lamp of Knowledge on a year 'round overcrowded campus. And that light shines in the eyes and hearts and dreams and accomplishments of 1235 young people. I heard young people work out the Z axis and the Y axis and recite Dr. Kings Dream and deconstruct Paul Revere's midnight ride as poetry and history. To paraphrase Lincoln Steffens, "I have seen the future …and it's coming along quite well."

TUESDAY EVENING I sat in a crowd of concerned neighbors and heard an elected official say "Not that it's an excuse but…" gang violence has been the reality in the neighborhood since his own childhood. To say the words is to offer the excuse; gang violence is not and cannot be the reality - terrorism must be an anomaly and treated as such. There is no place in the Museum of Tolerance for that flavor of tolerance. The next day I heard the same at a PTA meeting: "This is the way it is in those neighborhoods". Words as ugly and unhopeful as they come.

This cannot be about Two Central Cities in the best and worst of times, or two Barrios, or the Barrio and the 'Hood. It is not of LA and Pasadena. It is not the City on the Hill v. the City Below. It is not Black and Brown and White and the rainbow of race or class or status. There is room for only one city; there is only this time and the future. There is only this once.

I am an unrepentant mixer of metaphors; if LA is to be a City of Angels WE - every last one of us - must embrace Lincoln's very American/very secular "Better Angels of our Nature". And we must reject the fear that bedevils us, the tyranny of terror. In school we teach our children to reject bullying and fear; how can they believe when it rules their streets?

¡Onward/Hasta adelante!


NOTE FROM THE BOARD MEMBER: from the Feb 29 Galatzan Gazette
by Tamar Galatzan, Member of the Board of Education, District 3, East San Fernando Valley.

We can be reasonably sure that when Charles Dickens wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," he did not have had in mind the Los Angeles Unified School District. But while it would be presumptuous to use words like such as "best" or "worst" in reference to our schools, LAUSD is currently experiencing highs and lows that recall Dickens' famous introduction to "A Tale of Two Cities.' On the down side, the unprecedented budget crisis threatens the future of public education in this district and others around the state. I mentioned last week that finding creative ways to establish financial stability will be a recurrent theme in the Gazette throughout the yaer. At the same time we are in the midst of a spate of reform movements that offer the hope of improved standards, a reduced drop-out rate, and an overall enhanced educational experience for our students. Clearly there are people throughout the city who have not given up on LAUSD. I support these efforts, while acknowledging the necessity of asking tough questions and remaining ever vigilant. I also recognize that for the general public and the educational community there is confusion regarding the specifics of the various plans being proposed and implemented. With the intent of lifting some of the fog, I am hosting a town hall on education reform in early April in the San Fernando Valley. I urge you to attend and ask your tough questions of the various panelists. You may come away believing that the "bet of times" is not just a phrase from English class. -Tamar

▲For more info on Ms. Galatzan's town hall, or to be added to the Galatzan Gazette e-mail list, e-mail


by Ari B. Bloomekatz and Paloma Esquivel | LA Times Staff Writers

February 29, 2008 -- On the way home from school Thursday, 13-year-old Magda Gomez and his friends walked past the South Los Angeles intersection where five youths and three adults were shot the day before.

One of the boys pointed out the splatter of dried blood that stained the sidewalk next to the bus stop at Central and Vernon avenues.

"Check it out," he said.

Gomez and his friends turned briefly to look and then kept walking.

"I saw the injured people," Gomez said of Wednesday's shooting. He said he thought to himself, "I hope they're OK. I hope it doesn't happen to me."

On Thursday, police arrested Billy Ray Hines, 24, who they said is a member of the 48th Street Crips and who they believe was responsible for shooting into a crowd of people at the bus stop. Police said the suspect's two intended victims fled the scene and remain at large

Surveillance videos from nearby businesses show the gunman trying to shoot at two people who dodged in and out of pedestrians on the sidewalk, said Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz.

The shooting took place in front of scores of witnesses, many of them students on their way home from nearby George Washington Carver Middle School.

All five wounded children, ages 11 to 14, are students at Carver, school administrators said Thursday. A 12-year-old girl, the most seriously injured, remained at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in stable condition with a bullet wound to her chest, officials said. The three wounded adults -- a 48-year-old man, a 49-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man -- were in stable condition.

"We're in shock, and we realize that we have to step up our security surrounding the schools," said Carmen Schroeder, a Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent.

Counselors were at Carver on Thursday to speak to students, officials said. And the number of school police officers on campus was increased from one to four for at least the rest of the week.

Parents dropping off their children at the school Thursday morning expressed concern for their safety.

"I'm worried because this is not the first time," said Elvira Sandoval, who lives nearby and whose son is a student at Carver. "There's a lot of violence here. I tell [my children] to be careful, to never leave by themselves."

Before school let out Thursday, about a dozen parents sat together on the steps at the campus' entrance. They were talking about Wednesday's violence when Rapida Rosales, 43, who was there to pick up her daughter, began describing how she was standing right behind a young girl who was shot.

"I saw it," Rosales said, her voice cracking. "It could have been my daughter," she said through tears. "She watched the whole thing."

Many of the parents expressed frustration with the LAPD, which they said has not adequately patrolled the neighborhood.

"It's always like this when a tragedy happens," said one woman, pointing at the dozens of officers who gathered in front of the school. "One or two weeks and they'll forget about it, and then it'll happen again."

Two mothers and a father then began listing violent incidents they've witnessed in the neighborhood: fights, gang members harassing students, men robbing youngsters on their way home from school.

"My son wants me to let him walk home by himself, and I always tell him, 'No,' " said Noemi Corral, 29. "Yesterday I told him, 'You see why I don't let you walk?' "

During an afternoon news conference, Police Chief William J. Bratton said the suspected gunman, who was on probation for a December burglary conviction, was arrested about 1:20 p.m. as he walked down the street a few blocks from the crime scene. Bratton said Hines is expected to be charged with at least 10 counts of attempted murder, which include the two intended victims.

The attack reinforces "that we still have a pernicious gang problem in this city," Bratton said. But he said patrols in the neighborhood would not change in the short term.

Amir Khani, 50, who has owned a discount store on Central since 1989, said the neighborhood has long been plagued by crime.

"If I wanted to tell you everything that's happened here," Khani said, "I'd have to write a book."


by Jean-Paul Renaud and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, LA Times Staff Writers

March 1, 2008 -- A Pasadena school student was arrested Friday on suspicion of bringing a gun to campus, police said.

The arrest occurred Friday afternoon, hours after a student reported that a classmate had brought a weapon to Blair International Baccalaureate School. Police and administrators ordered a lockdown of the 1,200-student campus shortly before 9:30 a.m. The lockdown continued through most of the day.

The suspect, a male student whose identity was not released, was arrested in the afternoon and led from the campus in handcuffs, said Pasadena Police Lt. Tom Pederson.

Police did not find the weapon but made the arrest based on witness statements, Pederson said. There were no gunshots reported.

A crowd of parents had gathered at the school. Many were especially nervous following a string of recent shootings from Oxnard to Los Angeles.

"There's a lot of stuff going on, like that shooting in L.A. You have to worry every time there's something," said Wanda Williams, whose daughter is a sophomore at the school. "You can't take anything lightly."

Students were kept in classrooms before being led to the gym, their hands clasped over their heads, where they were searched. They were eventually released to their parents' custody.

Some parents who gathered by an entrance to the school, in the 1200 block of South Marengo Avenue, were upset that the school did not contact them until early afternoon and that some students weren't allowed to use their cellphones.

School PTA president Darlene Kopplin Easley said she believed Blair was a safe campus. "We have not had these types of incidents" in the past, she said. "My son will be back here Monday."

SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO GET HELP: Coachella Valley Unified faces the most severe sanction of the 97 not meeting targets.
• It is obvious - or perhaps oblivious - that the Times headline writer either has (or hasn't) heard the old joke punch line: "We're from the government, we're here to help".

by Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

February 28, 2008 -- Offering ambitious rhetoric, but relatively few dollars, the governor and education officials Wednesday unveiled their plan to improve 97 school districts that face the stiffest sanctions for failing to meet federal academic improvement targets.

The crux of the strategy is to send out "assistance teams" to ailing school districts including the state's largest, Los Angeles Unified with 700,000 students, as well as smaller ones, such as Marin County's Lagunitas with 250 students.

"The goal is not to punish the school district," said state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. "We'll be working in a collaborative, constructive manner with each of these districts. Student achievement will occur much more quickly with supportive intervention rather than cutting money or closing schools or laying people off."

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, California could have closed schools, dissolved districts, fired superintendents and removed school boards. Instead, the focus will be on each district's curriculum -- the mildest option available under the law.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered a total onetime assistance of $45 million in federal funds for the ailing school districts. But districts still face more than $4 billion in cuts included in his provisional budget. Across the state, at least 5,000 teachers have so far received notice that they could be laid off, according to the California Teachers Assn.

At a Sacramento news conference, Schwarzenegger blamed boom-and-bust budget cycles needing permanent reform.

"It is a roller-coaster ride that we are taking our children on that is not fair," he said. But the governor added, "It's not just the funding that will help those schools, it will be also reforming the system and switching our personnel, and helping them in every way possible."

Wednesday's proposal is, by default, a remnant of what Schwarzenegger originally touted as his Year of Education. A few initiatives still are moving forward, including a system to track the academic progress of California students and proposed rules giving school districts more flexibility in spending money.

Federal law required the state to sanction "failing" school districts, which numbered 99 until two were taken off the list. By Wednesday, officials had grouped the remaining districts into three categories of severity. Two of the six districts in the bottom group are Keppel Union Elementary in northeast Los Angeles County and Coachella Valley Unified in Riverside County.

Keppel Supt. Linda Wagner said she looked forward to working with an assistance team from the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

"That will be helpful," she said. "They've done positive work already for us."

Keppel's demographics are typical of districts on the list: 83% of its 3,000 students are poor; half are English learners, a percentage that has risen sharply. In recent years, the district has replaced its superintendent and half of its principals.

The single most severe sanction was placed on Coachella Valley, which O'Connell proposed placing under control of a state-appointed trustee. In 2005, that district had agreed to face penalties in exchange for a $1.9-million grant if test scores didn't rise fast enough. It used the money to buy an elementary school curriculum and boost its efforts to help English learners.

"Every penny was well spent and I'd do it again," said Supt. Foch "Tut" Pensis. Coachella Valley serves 18,000 students, including 11,000 English learners.

Pensis also is dealing with cutting $12.5 million from a $160-million budget.

"We built programs to serve English learners and we're going to have to tear that down," he said. "People are going to come in to evaluate our district, and they will see a shell of our programs."

Other affected districts in Riverside County include Palm Springs Unified and San Jacinto Unified. In Orange County, Santa Ana Unified also made the list.

A different sort of problem confronts the Orange County Office of Education, which the state regards as an agency that is needed to help school districts in its region. The office may be unable to offer assistance because it too landed on the "failed" list, in large part because of the test scores of students it serves in Juvenile Hall, said Laura Wagner, administrator of the state's intervention assistance office.

Wednesday's announcement contained no surprises for L.A. Unified, said Supt. David L. Brewer. His district fell short because of its graduation rates and the English scores of English learners and disabled students.

"My whole high-priority schools plan was a reaction to this," said Brewer of a reform strategy that has triggered much local debate.

Other L.A. County school districts on the list include Palmdale Unified Elementary, Compton Unified, Antelope Valley Union, Montebello Unified and Pomona Unified.

The proposed action for 97 districts is scheduled to go next month (March) before the state Board of Education, which is expected to approve it.

▲smf 2¢: What's wrong with this picture?: The state is offering Coachella $1.9 million to fix things - and cutting $12.5 million at the same time! Coachella Valley USD is a district with a substantial number of migrant farm workers' children — poor, transient, primarily non-English speaking. Youngsters often needed in the fields if the family is make ends meet. It is also the teaching home of Chauncey Veach, the 2002 National Teacher of the Year — probably the ablest and most committed classroom educator I have ever met.

► A list of the 97 PI Year 3 school districts, recommendations and related information can be found here.

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations | UC Berkeley News

27 February 2008 – BERKELEY – A new report from Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) says California's public school students lag behind much of the nation in most areas, but have managed to hold steady or improve across subjects and grade levels, with graduation rates also eking upward in era of lagging resources, a growing population and increasing diversity.

"Although California's performance relative to the rest of the nation is a disturbing reminder of how far we have to go, we should not lose sight of how far we have come," says Jennifer Imazeki, an associate professor at San Diego State University who specializes in the economics of K-12 education, in the PACE report, "Meeting the Challenge: Performance Trends in California Schools."

PACE is a non-partisan policy research institute jointly based at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Southern California. It is affiliated with research centers at UC Davis, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara. The institute contracted with Imazeki to look at California schools' performance trends.

"Californians have high expectations for their schools," David N. Plank, executive director of PACE and an education researcher with UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education, said in response to the report. "We have a long way to go to achieve those expectations, but it's important to recognize that our schools are generally moving in the right direction, in spite of huge obstacles to their success."

In the brief, which will be online starting Thursday (Feb. 28) at:, Imazeki cites data from various sources that reflect that "the trend across multiple measures of performance is fairly consistent: all students are doing better, or at least holding steady, during a time when the system is serving a larger and more diverse population of children."

That's impressive, according to the economist, in light of a population of more than 6.2 million students enrolled in California's public schools in 2006-2007, 1 million more than in 1993-1994. Imazeki also points out the state's incredible diversity: More than 70 percent of California's K-12 students are non-white and just under half come from families poor enough to qualify for government-sponsored lunch programs.

"[It] is a testament to the dedication of our public school teachers, principals and staff," she says, that schools are functioning so well, even though California's per pupil spending is below the national average and the ratio of adults to students is dramatically smaller than in most of the country's large states. Imazeki says school performance also is impressive because nearly a fourth of all of California's public school students are new to learning English, and the state's system of finance and governance appears in need of an overhaul.

In her progress report, Imazeki notes:

* All fourth graders performed steadily better between 1992 and 2005 in reading and math proficiency on National Assessment of Education Progress tests, as did eighth graders across all racial sub-groups.
* Based on California's own standardized exams administered since 2003, the state's third graders have been doing increasingly well in math and reading, echoing results in other grades and all racial subgroups.
* California is one of the few states that recorded improvement in its high school graduation rate between 1992 and 2002, with a slight increase in the late '90s followed by fairly flat or declining rates in recent years, possibly due to the 2006 institution of the California High School Exit Exam.
* The number and percentage of high school students enrolled in chemistry classes from 1998 to 2006 increased, as did the percentage of students signed up for advanced math and physics.
* The number of high school students completing coursework required for admission to the University of California or California State University systems is on the rise.

At the same time, Imazeki warns that there are some distinctly rough edges around California's public schools' performance, such as persistent and fairly wide achievement gaps across grade levels and subjects between white and Asian students and their African American and Latino peers.

She also notes that state-level statistics can mask gigantic disparities, as reflected by some schools in which almost all eighth graders study algebra and other schools where no one does.

"How much better might our schools have done, and how much more might they do in the future, if California's school finance and governance systems actually supported student performance and accountability?" Imazeki asks. "If we are going to ask our schools for continued improvements, we must also ensure that they have the strong support that they need to do this vital work."

Such reform will no doubt be a challenge, Plank said, noting that while 2008 has been declared the Year of Education Reform in California, the state now faces a $16 billion budget shortfall.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
Loosely cobbled together from [mostly] the UCLA/IDEA Just Schools California Weekly News Roundup, Click link below to access full stories.

By Martha Irvine/San Francisco Chronicle
Her neighborhood, with its police cameras and abandoned buildings, isn't known for inspiring hope. Yet, 18-year-old Ariel Williams feels empowered. She's lobbied her state lawmakers to increase education funding. She and other students traveled to Iowa in December to campaign for presidential candidates. And now she can't wait to vote in November's election. They are the sort of results that happen when civics education is creative and engaging, according to a new study."

Battle begins to limit losses
By Laurel Rosenhall/Sacramento Bee
Laying off teachers, school bus drivers, librarians and counselors. Adding more kids to every classroom. Charging students fees to play sports. Getting rid of music. In e-mails and newsletters, during board meetings and rallies, school districts across California are telling parents that they have to do these things – and more – because of budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Today they'll say it again during a news conference at Valley High School, where leaders from Sacramento's biggest school districts will join the state superintendent to blast Schwarzenegger's proposal to slash $4 billion from next year's K-12 education budget.

State students deserve more aggressive efforts at improvement.
Editorial/Fresno Bee
We suppose the latest education announcement by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell is better than completely ignoring the problems in California's public schools. But not much. Schwarzenegger and O'Connell on Wednesday unveiled a proposal to help schools avoid federal sanctions for not achieving academic improvement goals. The state should have taken action to help these 96 school districts long before they were considered the worst of the worst.

► LAUSD'S COFFEECAKE A RECIPE FOR FAILURE … or Daily News uses typo in recipe to justify District break-up
Los Angeles Daily News, CA - Feb 29, 2008
IT'S starting to seem that the Los Angeles Unified School District cannot do even one thing right. Even the district's one shot at getting some positive attention - after months of justified public bashing over the payroll scandal that wasted millions ...

By Bess Keller/Ed Week
A leading model for professionalizing teaching and changing the way teachers are paid shows mixed capacity for raising student test scores, concludes the first independent examination of the Teacher Advancement Program. While elementary schools in the program do better than comparison schools, TAP middle and high schools lag behind their non-TAP counterparts in test-score gains, the study says. The research, presented this week at a conference on teacher pay organized by the National Center on Performance Incentives, based at Vanderbilt University, looked at annual gains in mathematics test scores over four years for about 1,200 schools in two states.

Los Angeles Times, CA - Feb 27, 2008
The tests were then shown to several other students before midterm exams last month, said Harvard-Westlake President Thomas Hudnut. ...
smf: What fun to wring one's hands and bemoan the downfall of the rich and privileged - but his story contains one of the great pieces of pseudo-scientific research jumped-to-conclusions of all time: "According to a national survey of high school students by the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute of Ethics, young people display deeply entrenched habits of dishonesty."

Here's a little song we can all join in with:
'Why can't they be like we were,
perfect in every way?
Oh whatsthematter with kids today?
wackado, wackado, wackado' - from Bye, Bye, Birdie

Opinion by Wendy D. Puriefoy/USA Today
Wendy D. Puriefoy is CEO of the Public Education Network, a Washington-based association working to advance public school reform in low-income communities
Listen to the fevered rhetoric of the presidential candidates and you get the impression that the country is in a state of crisis. They have talked pointedly about the war in Iraq, the ailing economy and the need for health care reform. Taxes, immigration and the war on terror? All accounted for. Yet one issue that's key to our nation's security, prosperity and future has barely been discussed in the more than 30 hours of debates: education. Nearly 50 million of our nation's children attend public schools, yet the men and woman who aspire to lead us have spent less time debating how these children are being educated than it takes to get a haircut or facial.

Two in mayor's program are being lent by another district.
By Howard Blume/Los Angeles Times
The mayor's office acknowledged Thursday that two top hires it introduced this week are technically on loan from the San Diego Unified School District. One of the employees is Angela Bass, who was presented at a Monday news conference as the superintendent of instruction for the two academically struggling high schools and four middle schools that will fall under the stewardship of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The mayor's team expects Bass and Staci Monreal to stay long-term in Los Angeles, said Marshall Tuck, executive director of Villaraigosa's Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. The loan arrangement allows both to continue earning credits in the California State Teachers' Retirement System.

Editorial/Riverside Press-Enterprise (Monday)
California's best strategy for reducing the number of students who drop out of high school: compile better data about pupil performance. Until the state has a system in place to track individual students' achievement, recommendations for stemming the flow of dropouts depend on educated guesses and approximations. So the governor and Legislature should not let a budget crisis delay a new data system that will track individual students' performance from year to year. The governor proposes to spend $10.9 million on the system next fiscal year, which is a worthwhile investment even given the state's budget deficit.

Blog by John Fensterwald/San Jose Mercury News (Monday)
The Legislature never should have signed off on the $3 billion out-of-court settlement two years ago between Gov. Schwarzenegger and the California Teachers Assn. over education funding that the governor had promised but withheld. But legislators shouldn’t cut it now; they should reject the recommendations of Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill. In the budget alternative that she presented last week, Hill suggested suspending next year’s allocation of $450 million of the Quality Education Investment Act, the seven-year, $3 billion agreement to funnel more money to low-performing schools.

Blog by John Fensterwald/San Jose Mercury News (Tuesday)
Thanks, EdTrust-West, for making it pain-free to find out how every school is doing — and other vital stats parents and teachers need to know. Raising the Roof is a terrific new data-mining tool that EdTrust-West introduced yesterday at the start of its conference in San Francisco on student achievement. It takes the state Department of Education’s kludgy data base, DataQuest, and makes it simple, even fun, to use. The state’s education data system is woefully weak; this year, by creating a state data commission and funding the next phase of a data bank, the Legislature may do something about it. Meanwhile, the Education Trust-West is making the most of what’s available.

Consolidating grants saves money and more
Editorial/San Diego Union-Tribune (Tuesday)
In a state Capitol full of grandstanders, lazybones and union puppets, Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill's pragmatism and professionalism stand out. This was once again on display with a key element of her proposal on how to tackle the state's massive budget crisis. Hill argues one simple reform could allow education spending to be frozen through the next fiscal year – wiping out at least $2.8 billion in projected funding increases – without any downside. That reform: consolidating 43 “categorical” K-12 spending programs mandated by state rules into four basic grant programs. We think this approach not only wouldn't have any downside; it would probably improve schools.

Editorial/Monterey County Herald (Wednesday)
Poor people and schools. Those four simple words are meant to nudge anyone who can help. There is a special need this year for Californians of all stripes to go to the defense of poor people and schools as the not-so-Golden State prepares for the messiest budget battle of recent memory. Many others will be hurt as well, but most are headed into this fight better protected than poor people and schools. Budget cutting usually starts with the poor, for reasons that include lack of an effective lobby. And while it might seem, based on the purported strength of the California Teachers Association, that the schools are well organized and able to fight for themselves, the results of many past budget cycles contradict that thinking.

Blog by Mitchell Landsberg/Los Angeles Times (Wednesday)
An organization started last year by the James Irvine Foundation to promote career and technical education -- the newfangled term for what used to be called vocational ed -- issued a report today with policy recommendations for California schools. But the president of ConnectEd, Gary Hoachlander, says that of the 10 recommendations, only four are probably realistic this year, considering the severe funding cuts that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing for education. You can find all 10 recommendations here.


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• Tuesday Mar 4, 2008
VALLEY REGION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL #13: Presentation of Recommended Preferred Site
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Panorama High School
8015 Van Nuys Blvd
Panorama City, CA 91402

• Wednesday Mar 5, 2008
Ceremony starts at 10:00 a.m.
South Region Middle School #2
3620 Gage Ave.
Bell, CA 90201

• Wednesday Mar 5, 2008
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Miramonte Elementary School - Auditorium
1400 E. 68th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

• Thursday Mar 6, 2008
Ceremony starts at 10:00 a.m.
Central Region Elementary School #16
120 E. 57th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

• Thursday Mar 6, 2008
RAMONA OPPORTUNITY HIGH SCHOOL: Construction Update Community Meeting
6:00 p.m.
Ramona Opportunity High School - Cafeteria
231 S. Alma Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90063

• Thursday Mar 6, 2008
SOUTH REGION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL #9: Site Selection Update Meeting
6:00 p.m.
South Gate High School - Auditorium
3351 Firestone Blvd.
South Gate, CA 90280

*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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