Sunday, April 06, 2008

Everyone Loves Ramón

4LAKids: Sunday, April 6, 2008
In This Issue:
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
The return of Ramón Cortines to LAUSD is hopefully a good thing. Hope, says Emily Dickinson, is a thing with feathers. Hopefully this hope has wings.

Some might see here a potential conflict of interest; Mr. Cortines currently being the Deputy Mayor for Education and the mayor's chief education advisor. In light of the recent attempt by the mayor, rebuffed by the courts, to take over the LAUSD such concern is unavoidable and understandable. It is amplified the mayor's political role both in campaigning for the current board majority and the role of the mayor in his Partnership of Schools — which may see further legal challenge.

However Ramón Cortines is not Antonio Villaraigosa, nor is he Antonio's man. He has bona fide credentials and experience and has earned deserved respect as a teacher, administrator, superintendent and federal government official; he has done this before in LA, New York and Pasadena, etc. He has proven himself and really has nothing to prove. He knows the territory and the politics. Welcome back and good luck.


► Probably the best news of the week happened simultaneously on Wednesday:

• THE GRAND REOPENING OF DORSEY HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM, upgraded, refurbished and made state-of-the-art in a joint effort by Hollywood show-biz power-players ICM and the school district, and:



The governor has made a big deal about his ten percent "across-the-board" budget cuts in light of the state fiscal crisis; you have read here that "ten percent cuts" is the dictionary definition for the word "decimate" – itself from the quaint Roman custom of executing every tenth legionnaire in units suspected of cowardice.

"Education", says the Governator, "must bear its fair share of the cuts."

• Business, Transportation & Housing: 0.1%
• Corrections & Rehabilitation: 4%
• Environmental Protection: 11%
• General Government: 8.6%
• Health & Human Services: 9.6%
• Higher Education: 9.5%
• K-12 Education: 10.5%
• Labor & Workforce Development: 2.1%
• Legislative, Judicial and Executive: 9.7%
• Resources: 5.6%
• State & Consumer Services: 1.1%
Source: CA Dept of Finance

▲" 'Our children's future depends on their education and America's future depends on our teachers,' First Lady Laura Bush said at the Manhattan campus of Mercy College, which educated more than 600 teaching fellows this year for the New Teacher Project." - NY Newsday, September 3, 2003

▼"The real problem with the (NCLB) law is its obsession with preparing students for tests, testing them and then agonizing over the test results. We will never close the achievement gap if all we do is measure it."
- Howard Miller - Letter to the NY Times March 19, 2008 - Miller is director of the New Teacher Residency Program at Mercy College.

¡Onward/Hasta adelante! - smf


by Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 5, 2008 - Veteran educator Ramon Cortines has accepted a job as senior deputy superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District's No. 2 position.

The school board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the contract, which was hammered out with schools Supt. David L. Brewer. Details of the pact were not released.

Cortines, 75, formerly headed the New York City school system but spent much of his career leading school districts in California, including L.A. Unified on an interim basis eight years ago.

"We are fortunate to have the experience and support of somebody like Ray Cortines, a national expert on education," said school board President Monica Garcia.

Since mid-2006, Cortines has been a deputy mayor and top education advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

►HIRING OF EX-SCHOOLS CHIEF URGED TO HELP TURN AROUND L.A. UNIFIED: Some encourage Supt. Brewer to make Ramon Cortines the district's No. 2 official.

By Howard Blume - Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 4, 2008 - A move to bring veteran educator Ramon C. Cortines into a top Los Angeles school district leadership position could offer short-term political relief for an embattled superintendent. And backers say his appointment also might improve the city's schools.

Facing mounting internal and external pressure, Los Angeles schools Supt. David L. Brewer discussed a possible job offer Thursday with Cortines. He currently serves as top education advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and formerly headed the school systems in New York City and, briefly, Los Angeles.

If an agreement could be reached, the well-regarded Cortines, 75, probably would join the Los Angeles Unified School District in the long-vacant post of deputy superintendent. He would report directly to Brewer, a retired Navy vice admiral who became the schools chief 17 months ago with no prior public school executive experience.

Brewer has yet to fill several key positions -- which has caused critics to question whether he can turn around the troubled school system.

Cortines met with Brewer in the superintendent's office Thursday, a follow-up to earlier conversations. Brewer called Cortines a friend and valued advisor, but said he has made no decision about offering him a job, even though some people inside and outside the district are pushing him to clinch a deal.

Hiring Cortines could help Brewer allay the worries of some members of the elected school board.

"I'm incredibly concerned that Brewer doesn't have a No. 2 a year into the job," board member Tamar Galatzan said. "He needs to act swiftly."

Cortines also casts a long shadow, and some observers see his possible arrival as ominous for Brewer's longevity. Others have questioned whether Cortines would be coming in as a sort of Trojan horse for the mayor. Still, civic leaders said the hiring of Cortines would bolster Brewer.

"This would be a major step forward," said former Mayor Richard Riordan. The push for Cortines, he added, did not emanate from Villaraigosa, who has relied on Cortines to spearhead reforms at a group of schools that will partner with the mayor's office.

"This is not about Mayor Villaraigosa taking over the school district," Riordan said. "There are a number of reformists, including myself, who are desperately urging Brewer and the school board to go along with the hiring of Ray Cortines."

Most of the school board, apparently, needs little persuading. Board President Monica Garcia has long admired Cortines. Her reticence in pressing the issue has to do with Cortines -- who told her that he would decline the position if Brewer were pressured to offer it.

Less certain would be support from board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, the board's only African American member and an important ally of Brewer, who also is black. Brewer's hiring by the previous school board enjoyed broad support in the city's black community.

Last year, close allies of the mayor unsuccessfully opposed LaMotte's bid for reelection. She had run afoul of the mayor for fighting his attempt to gain direct authority over the school district. Anyone associated with the mayor gets LaMotte's close critical scrutiny.

Cortines saw LaMotte on Thursday -- a meeting he called "cordial." LaMotte could not be reached for comment.

"She and I have always been friends," Cortines said. "Remember, I was her superintendent."

Cortines served as interim Los Angeles schools superintendent for six months in 2000, when LaMotte was a high school principal.

The current situation contains echoes of that time, when a new school board majority was disenchanted with holdover Supt. Ruben Zacarias. That board forced lawyer Howard Miller onto Zacarias' cabinet. Miller officially answered to Zacarias, but many observers said the move sidelined the superintendent, who was soon forced from office.

At the time, Cortines refused to come on as interim superintendent until Zacarias endorsed it. The two then worked together briefly. Cortines quickly won the confidence of the school board.

Cortines, who did not seek the superintendent's job at the time, was succeeded by former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer -- the product of a national search.

Cortines said he broached the possibility of rejoining L.A. Unified with Villaraigosa a few weeks ago: "He was somewhat shocked by that," Cortines recalled.

The mayor said Thursday he would comment "when and if it happens. Right now, it's speculation."

Villaraigosa dismissed suggestions that, through Cortines, he was seeking to extend his reach into the superintendent's office.

Cortines spoke directly to that issue: "I work for the mayor. I'm not owned by the mayor . . . . I would never work for Mr. Brewer unless he wanted me."

As Villaraigosa's deputy, Cortines has good relations with employee labor groups.

His hiring "would fill a very serious void that still exists at the top level," said Michael O'Sullivan, president of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles.

Teachers union President A.J. Duffy called Cortines "highly competent." But he added: "I'll be surprised if it happens because Ray Cortines is not a second in command."

Former district board member Caprice Young acknowledged that the strong personalities of Brewer and Cortines could clash, but she predicted a different outcome.

"Brewer brings a lifetime of leadership from military service and a passion for the kids," said Young, who now heads the California Charter Schools Assn. "And Cortines brings a lifetime of depth in the education establishment and the knowledge of what it takes to really educate kids."


►Book Review by Ramón C. Cortines: WAITING FOR A MIRACLE

In June 1998 The School Administrator, the magazine of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) asked prominent educators to identify a book that has had a powerful impact on their thinking as it applies to running a school system or educating children.

Ramón Cortines chose WAITING FOR A MIRACLE by James P. Comer

Few books that I have read sum up the lessons of both a life and a career as successfully as does James Comer’s Waiting for a Miracle (Dutton, 1997). At the end of his book, Comer summarizes these lessons by saying, "Schools can’t solve our problems, but we can." His lessons resonate with my own experience and my work as a teacher, principal and district administrator.

Comer, a child psychiatrist and member of the Yale medical school faculty for 30 years, begins the book by describing his own upbringing in a caring family with high expectations for their children and tough but fair discipline to reinforce those expectations. He goes on to tell how his childhood development served him as he moved through his schooling and into his professional career.

Generalizing from his life story, Comer describes three interrelated networks, all of which must function well for the individual to realize his or her potential. The first is the network of family and friends, churches and clubs that nurture a child from the dependency of infancy through the increasing independence and responsibility of adolescence and early adulthood. The second is the network of school and workplace. The third network, he says, is made up of "policies and practices established by business, political and other leaders."

Much of Comer’s career has been devoted to connecting the first and second networks. His School Development Program, now being implemented in 650 schools across the country, has been particularly successful in building a partnership between parents, administrators and teachers that is devoted to creating the conditions under which children can learn and grow successfully.

When he turns his attention to the second and third networks--schools, the workplace and the policy environment in which they operate--Comer reminds us of two pervasive myths that continue to undermine confidence in the idea that all children can be successful learners.

One of them is the myth that white people are successful and people of color are not. The other is that success is exclusively the result of genetically determined intelligence and will.

The first of these myths is relatively easy to dispel, as Comer does when he cites the successful careers of African-American leaders in many fields. The second is more difficult to attack because it is so fundamental to our culture of individualism. That culture leads us to believe that individuals succeed because they are bright and driven. It also leads us to believe the inverse of that idea: If individuals fail, it is because they lack intelligence and drive. In doing so, it utterly ignores the role that opportunity or its absence plays in individual success or failure.

Comer argues that we must begin to engage in what he calls "human capital development" to ensure that opportunities are available where they are needed. Human capital must indeed be developed in the home, the community, the workplace and the civic realm. It is critically important that it also be developed in our schools.

For individuals to realize their potential, they must be given the opportunity to learn well. That opportunity will only be available when there are high and rising expectations for academic achievement in place for everyone involved in schooling--for students, of course, but also for parents, teachers, administrators, board members, government officials, policy makers and legislators at every level.

As Comer so wisely points out, it’s not a miracle that will solve our problems. Rather, it’s high expectations and hard work.

by Naush Boghossian, Staff Writer - LA Daily News

April 4, 2008 - Although still near the bottom in writing skills compared with other large urban districts, Los Angeles Unified eighth-graders have made significant gains in the past five years and outpaced both state and national improvements, according to a national report released Thursday.

The LAUSD - along with districts in Atlanta and Chicago - improved overall writing scores "significantly," according to the Nation's Report Card from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The assessment is designed to measure whether students can communicate effectively in essays, letters and stories.

"For our middle schools, this was really a significant growth and an improvement," said Esther Wong, assistant superintendent of planning, assessment and research at the LAUSD.

"Just to outpace California and the nation is really very good for our middle schools."

Average scores on the 2007 national test increased nationwide for both eighth- and 12th-grade students compared with assessments in 2002 and 1998.

Wong attributes the gains to improved teaching methods, preparing students for a seventh-grade writing assessment and more emphasis on language arts.

LAUSD eighth-graders increased from 128 to 137 points in writing assessments in the five years since 2002 - twice the statewide increase and four times the gain nationwide, Wong said.

Comparisons with other large urban districts are difficult, however, since only four participated in the 2002 assessment while 10 took part last year.

Of the districts assessed last year, the LAUSD tested the most English-language learners and those students outperformed those in Boston, Houston, New York and Austin, Texas.

Latinos and students with disabilities also showed marked gains.

"Everyone improved. It is very, very positive," Wong said.

But while the percentage of students performing at or above the basic level of achievement has risen in both grades since 2002, there has been no change in the percentage of students reaching the higher proficiency level at either grade since 2002.

And while performance improved, average scores for the participating urban districts - also including Cleveland and San Diego - were still below the national average. Charlotte, N.C., was the only exception.

"These overall results are encouraging, not just because writing skills are improving, but also because that improvement was most pronounced at the lower-achievement range," said Darvin M. Winick, chairman of the National Assessment governing board.

The NAEP writing assessment also includes results for 46 states and jurisdictions and for 10 large urban school districts that voluntarily participated at the eighth-grade level.

More than 165,000 eighth- and 12th-graders took part in the writing assessment administered by the national Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education.

Students were asked to complete two 25-minute sections, each featuring one writing task intended to measure how well they can write for different audiences while being able to show their ability to narrate, persuade or inform.

"While I am pleased by the score gains made in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the results ... show that these districts face many of the same challenges that our state and the nation face in improving the progress of students and reducing the achievement gap," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.

"We still have a long way to go, but American students have gotten better," Schneider said.

THE NATION'S REPORT CARD: Results of the 2007 NAEP National Writing Assessment

►O'CONNELL RIPS BUDGET CUTS: Schools chief says state priorities are misplaced

Michael Sorba, Staff Writer - San Bernardino Sun

April 5, 2008 - The state superintendent of public instruction on Friday blasted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to cut $4.8 billion from public education.

Jack O'Connell called the 10 percent cut "nothing less than devastating to education."

"The governor says we have a spending problem," he said. "What we have is a problem with our values and principles."

Trying to close a projected $14.5 billion budget gap, Schwarzenegger has proposed closing dozens of state parks, releasing thousands of prisoners early, and cutting 10 percent in everything from social services and transportation to schools and health care.

"Some might say that it sounds easy to just cut across the board by 10 percent, but let me tell you, it is very difficult," Schwarzenegger has said.

O'Connell made the comments at Juanita Blakely Jones Elementary School in San Bernardino. He was joined by local education leaders and concerned community members.

O'Connell said the governor's proposal is a "hostile suspension of Prop. 98." Proposition 98, which was approved by state voters in 1988 and re-approved in 2004, sets a minimum-funding level for K-12 public schools and community colleges.

If the governor's budget passes, O'Connell said education funding will likely drop below the minimum level and undermine the will of voters.

As a result, class sizes will increase, the quality of education will be lessened, and fewer programs will be provided, he

"Simply put, this budget is a giant step backwards," O'Connell said.

James Kidwell, deputy superintendent for the Ontario-Montclair School District, which oversees schools in Montclair and a majority of schools in Ontario, said the proposal would trim the district's budget by about $13.5 million.

"Any cut that the state makes to the educational budget will impact children," he said. "When you make cuts, it affects the people who work with the children on a day-to-day basis."

If the budget passes, Kidwell said the district won't have to lay off teachers but that changes will be necessary.

"We're hopeful when all is said and done everyone will still have work in the school district, but they may not be doing what they're doing now," he said.

According to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools' Office, the county's 33 school districts would lose $225.6 million, or $700 per student, under the governor's proposal.

O'Connell pointed to a recent report by Education Week - a weekly publication that covers education issues nationwide - that ranked California the 46th state in the nation in dollars spent per pupil.

According to the report, the state is $1,900 below the national average in per-pupil spending. California is even $1,500 below Louisiana, which endured Hurricane Katrina in 2005, O'Connell said.

If the governor's cuts are implemented, California will likely drop even lower in per-pupil spending, he said.

"The budget of the governor says anything but the schools are a priority," said Herbert R. Fischer, the county's superintendent.

Massive cuts to education will hobble local economies for years, because it affects the public education system's ability to create an educated work force, he said.

"We know the No. 1 issue in this county isn't crime or smog ... it's the fact that we have an uneducated work force," Fischer said.

Tim McGillivray, spokesman for the Pomona Unified School District, which would have about $12 million trimmed from its budget if Schwarzenegger's budget passes, agreed with Fischer.

"Education is crucial to the short-term and long-term health of our state," he said. "I think that's what's perplexing a lot of educators and parents.

"How can you cut public education so much and expect it to have a positive impact on our future economic situation?"


By Judy Lin - Sacramento Bee

Friday, April 4, 2008- While Democrats continue their push for taxes by highlighting cuts in the classroom, Assembly Republicans on Thursday unveiled a package of education bills that they say would free up existing funds.

As the state faces budget problems, Republican leader Mike Villines said, lawmakers should untether school districts from state-issued mandates. He said handing financial flexibility back to local school officials would help them weather difficult times.

"The key of what we're trying to do is strip some of the handcuffs that are put on them," said the Clovis lawmaker. "Most of them will say if they can use funds in different ways to manage tough times, that's what we want to do – give them flexibility to do it."

Under the GOP proposal, schools would be allowed to carry over any unspent money from funds known as "categoricals" – money dedicated for specific purposes, such as special education and class-size reduction. The current budget devotes nearly $15 billion to support such programs statewide.

Another of the bills would consolidate the number of categorical programs from 62 to six, which would allow schools to tap funds to better meet their needs, said Assemblyman Mike Duvall of Yorba Linda. Duvall is carrying that bill.

Bill McGuire, associate superintendent of administrative services at the Clovis Unified School District, said the Republican package would free up money from those programs to help his district deal with $8.7 million in anticipated cuts. The district is considering eliminating administrative positions, leaving non-teaching jobs unfilled and not hiring any new teachers.

"The most important thing is it has to happen now, because we are currently preparing for the '08-09 school year," McGuire said.

"These items of flexibility, if they are given to us now, would mean we do not have to do those things," McGuire added.

Steve Maviglio, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, criticized the Republican plan as an attempt to gain political cover after GOP members voted down a bill to close tax loopholes on privately owned boats, planes and RVs.

"Flexibility is nothing more than code for cut," Maviglio said.

Other bills in the package would relieve school districts from state mandates when the state doesn't cover the costs.

Another measure, Assembly Bill 2406 by Villines, would require schools to give third-grade reading report cards to let parents know whether their children are reading at their grade level.

▲4LAKids2¢: Last things first: How about empowering parents by letting them know whether their child IN ANY GRADE is reading at grade level? And requiring schools to do something about it? And funding the effort?

"Flexibility" is another political buzzword like "Choice" and "Change" that means different things to different folks. Here it is, as Mr. Maviglio describes - and anyone following the pea is it moves under the shells can easily figure out: A deliberate mask for funding cuts. "Flexibility" stretches the truth - it proposes to sugar-coat funding cuts by allowing school districts to spend what they have left on "whatever they want". It takes money from education and pretends that that is a good thing.

NO cuts to education, NO compromises; no way, no how.

LA Times Editorial

April 6, 2008 - For too long, high schools and states have played hide-the-dropout, artificially inflating their graduation rates. In many places, a teenager practically has to show up at the principal's office and shout "I'm a dropout!" to get counted as one. Considering that the dropout rate is, even by sunny estimates, distressingly high, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is right to plan a standardized method of reporting nationwide. The public won't demand change when it cannot clearly see the problem.

This is one subject, though, that calls for delicate handling -- not the bludgeon-like approach of the rest of the No Child Left Behind Act. Depending on who's doing the counting and how, the dropout rate in the Los Angeles Unified School District is somewhere between 25% and 55%. Spellings can do more harm than good if she devises rules that make schools look unrealistically bad. A case in point is the study released last week by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, which placed the city's dropout rate at 55%.

The study over-counts dropouts by failing to take into account that 27% of L.A. Unified's students move each academic year; those who move out of the district are considered dropouts even though many may be attending school in a neighboring city. In addition, the district rightly requires about 20% of its ninth-graders to repeat the grade to bring their work up to high school level, but the study counts anyone who doesn't take a diploma within the traditional four years as a dropout. So much for students who need an extra year to pass the exit exam or who earn an equivalency degree.

The only way to count dropouts with reasonable accuracy is with a student identification system, something that California has promised for years but never delivered. If Spellings is committed to meaningful dropout figures, she will require -- and fight to fund -- student identification throughout the nation. An important side benefit of student tracking: It allows states to measure actual student progress year to year, a better way of holding schools accountable under the federal act than the current process.

When Spellings talks about giving the public comparative figures, she should consider whether those comparisons will hold up to scrutiny. Will states like California, which has a high school exit exam, be counted the same as states with lower expectations? After all, it's not too hard to boost graduation rates, if that's what the U.S. Education Department wants. Just let the students warm classroom seats for four years, then hand them a diploma, whether or not they can read. Such shenanigans were the main impetus for the school accountability movement in the first place.

Instead of narrowly defining high school graduation as four years or you're out, Spellings should encourage schools to move away from structures that no longer hold meaning for many students, especially immigrants who struggle to learn English at the same time they're trying to graspalgebra. Who said high school has to consist of the traditional three years and 10 months? Spellings ought to reward schools that innovate with a second, remedial "superfreshman" year, or that launch post-senior classes to help older students pass the exit exam, rather than labeling these schools as failures on the dropout front.

Spellings deserves praise for insisting that schools break down their dropout numbers to reflect which groups -- black, Latino, impoverished -- leave school in the greatest numbers. She seems to possess a sincere passion for improving the educational lot of poor and minority students. After years of ignoring its vanished students, Los Angeles Unified is finally paying attention. As the district tries to turn this situation around, the question is whether the federal government will be its ally or an impediment.

▲4LAKids 2¢: The Times is right, the country needs it! But NCLB's requirement for a tracking system is an unfunded federal mandate on the states. NCLB isn't going to be renewed during this congress or administration; this administration isn't going to be renewed either. Whatever ESEA comes out of the next congress and administration won't be NCLB.

The state's educational data collection system is proving to be technologic challenge, large scale information systems do. (Remember the LAUSD BTS/SAP payroll program anyone?) There are about four bills in Sacramento attempting to define and tweak it but the legislature and the governor aren't stumbling over themselves to fund the puppy – preferring in times of plenty to fund actual education programs and in times of want to cut everything. There is much to be said for being "data driven" …but words quoted elsewhere on this page resonate here: "We will never close the achievement gap if all we do is measure it." —smf

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
►HEALTH CLINIC OPENS ON SUN VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMPUS: The facility aims to serve low-income families who lack other options for medical care. Perched against the mountains on the northern tip of Los Angeles, Sun Valley is used to being ignored by City Hall. The gritty community of old landfills, power plants, auto-body shops, junkyards and industrial sprawl was home to massive quarries that produced the sand and gravel that helped build modern Los Angeles. But residents have long complained that the city has given them little in return -- except for trash hauled into the local landfill. on Wednesday, however, many residents said officials finally provided something they need: the Sun Valley Health Clinic on the grounds of a local middle school.

►CHARTERS: COMING TO A SCHOOL NEAR YOU?: Charter schools could be getting some much-needed space on LAUSD campuses. Charter schools have been offered space at 39 traditional schools across Los Angeles, including Westchester High near LAX and Taft High in Woodland Hills. The offers far surpassed those in past years, but so has demand: 54 charter schools requested space for nearly 17,000 students, a near three-fold increase. In a related move, officials have frozen popular permit programs at affected schools to see if they will still have room to accept students from outside the attendance area.

►CITY STUDENTS LESS LIKELY TO GRADUATE THAN SUBURBAN KIDS: Students in urban public school districts are less likely to graduate from high school than those enrolled in suburban districts in the same metropolitan area, according to research presented Tuesday. A new analysis finds that nationally, only 52% of students in urban areas' main school districts finish. The rate is even lower at LAUSD.

►LAUSD TALKING ABOUT SPEAKING MORE CHINESE: to help students compete globally, new classes might be offered. Acknowledging the growing force of globalization, the Los Angeles Unified School District is gearing up an ambitious program to offer Mandarin Chinese language and culture courses at all of its middle and high schools.

►PASADENA'S MUIR HIGH IS ON A NEW PATH: Pasadena 'school in crisis' requires all teachers to reapply for their jobs as part of arduous rest "A major component of the proposed fix requir(es) all teachers, administrators and counselors to reapply for their jobs. The school is in its fourth year of state monitoring because of poor test scores. District officials were able to launch the rehiring plan without approval from the United Teachers of Pasadena. But the union weighed in on how the restructuring would occur."

►Dumb Teacher Tricks - POLICE: TEACHER TOLD STUDENTS TO HIT TARDY CLASSMATE A Grand Junction, Colorado high school teacher is facing child abuse charges for allegedly telling students to beat up another student who was late for class.

It is one of most widely accepted axioms in math education: Good teachers matter. But what are the qualities of an effective mathematics teacher? The answer, as a recent federal report suggests, remains frustratingly elusive.

►EXAM CHEATING GOES HI TECH, BUT ITS CAUSES ARE NOTHING NEW: Students invent new methods, schools counter with new safeguards. But the underlying issue of honesty has changed little.

The news that didn't fit: CLICK HERE FOR ALL THESE STORIES + more!

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Join us Saturday, April 12th, 2008
(8 a.m.-1 p.m.)
& Educational Information Technology Fair,
Los Angeles Convention Center

• Monday Apr 7, 2008
Ceremony starts at 12:30 p.m.
South Region Elementary School #1
8919 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90003

• Tuesday Apr 8, 2008
Open House & Tour
4:15 p.m.
Loma Vista Elementary School
3629 E 58th St.
Maywood, CA 90270

• Wednesday Apr 9, 2008
CENTRAL REGION MACARTHUR PARK ES ADDITION: Pre-Design Meet-the-Architect and CEQA Scoping Meeting
6 p.m.
White Elementary School - Auditorium
2401 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90057

• Thursday Apr 10, 2008
Ceremony starts at 1:00 p.m.
Central Region Elementary School #17
900 E. 33rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

*Dates and times subject to change.

►FRIDAY APRIL 11, 2008
Visit, Call, Write, Fax or eMail your state Assemblymember and State Senator on the day they're in their local office. Tell them, their staff and the whole world on behalf of your child and every schoolchild in California: PLEASE- NO CUTS TO EDUCATION! / NO CUTS TO CHILDREN'S HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS! / NO COMPROMISES/ NO HOW! / NO WAY!
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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