Sunday, March 08, 2009

They're baaaack!

4LAKids: Sun., March 8, 2009 Spring Forward
In This Issue:
BRINGING BACK L.A. VOTERS: Want to boost the number of Angelenos taking part in city elections? Get rid of the nonpartisan ballot.
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:
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: an investment we can't afford to cut! - The Education Coalition Website
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.
• Manny's back in Dodgertown for two years – with an option to ankle in one.
• Beckham will be back with the Galaxy for some of this year, with an option to buy out his own contract afterward.
• And Mayor Tony's back for another four years ...leaving open the option to ankle after two.

Wednesday the Times deconstructed the mayor's victory. 55.6% against nine unknowns. His coattails not long enough for Jack Weiss or Measures B or E. Antonio got 8.3% of all registered voters. 127,955 folks voted for him, 102,348 voted against him. And 1,356,862 didn't bother. (9,071 voters showed up and voted on March 3rd …but didn't vote for any mayoral candidate …"none-of-the-above" came in fourth!)

In a system that rewards ennui Antonio Villaraigosa was the winner in a landslide

It's not Antonio's fault and/or doing that no one with money and/or name recognition challenged him. Or that LA city elections take place in March and May of even-numbered years rather than November of even-numbered ones. (Last November the LA County turnout was 81.9%)

The mayor, re: a possible run for governor, told the Times "If you were in my position and you had an opportunity . . . to be the governor of the state of California when you have the kind of experience I do -- big city mayor, Speaker of the Assembly -- would you just discount it? Of course not."

That's a discount worthy of a fire sale at a Circuit City.

And on the same Wednesday the Times deconstructed the landslide, District Attorney Cooley filed money laundering charges against two Florida Businessman/supporters of the mayor in his previous election. Those allegations were pretty well known. Why last week? Why not two weeks, two months, two years earlier? This is the same DA that wouldn't file charges against Steven Rooney the first time allegations against him were made.

An argument is made that off-year elections prevent municipal elections from getting lost in the national election brouhaha. How lost was March 3rd with 85% of the voters not showing up? If that's not lost …who exactly won?

A CALL TO ACTION – Two City Charter Amendments:
• LA City elections consolidated with statewide primary and general elections.
• A charter amendment empowering and registering all parents and guardians - regardless of registration or citizenship status - to vote in school board elections.

¡Onward/Hasta adelante! -smf

THE FRESH AIR FUND - The famous New York City Program that provides summer camp for inner city NYC children is looking for college student counselors.

from The Beach Reporter

●●smf's 2¢: I spent part of the past week at the State PTA Board Meeting in Redondo Beach and expanded my horizon beyond the usual media to the local press. The Beach Reporter – a weekly newspaper serving the communities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and El Segundo – reported the following local stories. The education funding crisis and the failure of the state budgeteers to solve anything presses down on small school districts where a budget shortfall of hundreds of thousands is exactly the same as a shortfall of hundreds of millions in LAUSD. Note that none of superintendents quoted below claim anything like "rightsizing" — or try to spin that anything going on here has an upside.

All of this is "wrongsizing".

The outcome is inevitable: Kids will be shortchanged, programs will be cut or eliminated and teachers, administrators and school employees will be laid off.


by Julie Sharp

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 -- Manhattan Beach School District Superintendent Bev Rohrer held a tissue in her hand and wiped the tears from her eyes during a recent School Board meeting where board members reluctantly voted to cut about 43 full-time positions in order to meet the $3.2 million predicted budget shortfall for next year.

School Board members fought to maintain their composure as students and parents alike pleaded with them at the Feb. 25 meeting not to cut treasured programs or staff members. Trustee Joyce Fahey tearfully commented that she had never cried in all her eight years of service on the Manhattan Beach City Council.

“We have to develop a balanced budget by June 3. Every program we have, we love — that is why we have it,” said School Board President Nancy Hersman at the beginning of the meeting. “This is daunting, it’s a daunting challenge.”

By the meeting’s end, about 35 nonmandated programs or positions on a 52-item list were voted to be eliminated, many funded by the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation.

These cuts translate to approximately 43 full-time positions and district staff will be passing out pink slips in the coming weeks as the March 15 deadline for layoff notification approaches. This is a mandated due process date for certificated employees within the district — basically for teachers with a teaching credential. District staff explained layoffs for classified employees — those without a credential — within the district will still take place but have taken a back seat due to their less restrictive 45-day time requirements for layoff notification.

With so much uncertainty in the state budget, things could get better or worse for school districts in the 2009-10 school year. MBUSD district staff has repeatedly said that it is making these cuts based on worst-case-scenario state funding and should things change for the better, any of the pink slips could be rescinded.

Deputy Superintendent Janet Schwabe said that not only could the pink slips be rescinded, but those who are laid off will also be placed on a 39-month re-employment list and as jobs become available those laid off will be the first in line to fill open positions.

The most controversial cuts proved to be the elimination of the elementary physical education teachers and the kindergarten-through-third-grade class-size increase.

Currently, with class-size reduction, the kindergarten-through-third-grade classrooms are filled with 20 students to one teacher. The layoffs would increase the students in the classrooms to 25, thereby eliminating 17 full-time positions, saving the district $226,223.

Eliminating the five elementary physical education teachers would save the district $373,316 and board members commented that P.E. could be taught by the classroom teachers since they are credentialed to teach it. Manhattan Beach parent Eric Karros voiced his concerns regarding the P.E. program.

“P.E. is physical education. It is not just about rolling out the ball,” said Karros. “P.E. impacts more kids than any other program.” Despite numerous parent and student protests to such cuts, board members could not come up with viable alternatives to cut approximately $373,000 from the budget.

Questions also came up about MBEF funds in light of the fact that the foundation currently funds the P.E. teachers. A letter issued by the foundation, titled “MBUSD Budget Crisis 2009,” addresses the role of the foundation. “Parents and teachers should understand that all MBUSD programs, regardless of the funding source, are under the purview of the School District administration — MBEF does not determine, design or oversee any curriculum, nor does it employ or select the teachers who deliver it.”

The letter further explains that the cuts need to be made in order to balance next year’s school budget. The foundation basically turned over funds to the district for the 2009-10 school year to prevent the elimination of core subject classroom teachers and to prevent classroom size from increasing to the maximum numbers allowed.

Schwabe said between March 5 and 13, she and Rohrer will make appointments with employees who are to be laid off in order to deliver the news personally.


by Eric Michael Stitt

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 -- The Hermosa Beach School Board gave layoff notices to about 15 employees, with the hope that it can salvage some of the jobs and programs down the road.

For the last several years, the School Board has handed out pink slips but has always found a way to bring back programs and teachers through fund-raising efforts. But teachers given pink slips won’t know if their jobs will reappear until June 30, the deadline for school districts throughout California to turn in their budgets.

Who ultimately stays and goes depends on the amount of money raised via the Hermosa Beach Education Foundation’s Excellence in Education campaign and that won’t be determined until June 26, according to School Board member Greg Breen.

The teachers and programs on the chopping block cost almost $1.5 million more than the district has available for the 2009-10 school year.

As of now, there have been 13 layoff notices for teaching positions in kindergarten through fifth grade. There is one teaching position from the science laboratory being cut; a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade music teaching position; a first-through-fifth-grade physical education teacher; the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade technology director; two positions in middle school programs that include technology, computer skills, health, geography, Spanish, art, multimedia, writing and academic counseling; and one second-through-eighth-grade assistant principal.

Prior to the board’s Feb. 25 meeting, School Board member Lance Widman said that the program cuts were going to be tough and he wasn’t looking forward to officially approving the list of layoff notices.

“There’s going to be some major reductions next year,” Widman said. “We’re going to get hit. There’s not a lot to smile about.”

All teachers will receive a pink slip officially notifying them of their layoff by March 15. Widman said there will be some shuffling of teachers because those who are the most recently hired are usually the first to go.

“It’s awful, you feel like your hands are tied,” Breen said. “Everyone detests it. You keep hoping someone is going to pull a rabbit out of the hat, but you wait and there are no rabbits or hats and no magicians.”

Breen said the only magic trick is if $1.5 million is raised by late June to keep all the programs that are currently not in the school’s $10 million budget for next year alive.

Despite the layoff notices, Widman said he is optimistic that a large amount of money will somehow appear.

“I’m hopeful people are busting their backsides and if we can get a million-plus that will go a long way to saving vital programs,” Widman said. “Right now fingers are crossed and there is a candle lit in the window.”


By Jennifer Evans

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 -- Following an emotional School Board meeting in late February where dozens of teachers, students and parents crowded into the board room giving tearful pleas to not lay off a cadre of El Segundo Unified School District employees, Superintendent Geoff Yantz issued a statement explaining the district’s desperate situation.

“The projections from the state and L.A. County forecast additional, and much deeper, declines over the next two years,” he wrote. “This situation puts the district in the most severe financial situation in memory. Because there are no quick fixes, and the issue is central to the lives of valued employees, students, and community members, the decisions ahead are going to be painful and probably lengthy.”

The pink slips, or layoff notices, which are being handed out to approximately 40 district employees are mainly aimed at language, drama, choir and woodshop teachers as well as school counselors and an administrator.

Parents, teachers and students let their voices be heard at the Feb. 24 School Board meeting, stating their disappointment in the district for having to make a move that they felt was drastic and not necessary.
Daphne Moote, El Segundo Teacher Association president, also suggested that administrative costs go down before teachers should have to leave. “Our district needs to reduce administrative costs and utilize the more than $3 million in discretionary reserves that go beyond what is required by the state,” Moote, who has been president for seven years, said during the meeting. “Morale among district employees is at an all-time low and cutting the budget on their backs will hurt our students, damage our schools and have a negative impact on the community.”

In response to her suggestion of using the reserves Yantz wrote, “Nearly 50 percent of the $3 million in reserves is dedicated toward the El Segundo teacher retirement benefit fund. Second it would only be useful once, since when it is spent it is gone, and will only prolong a program or service for one year, not maintain it,” he stated. “Third, the precarious funding timetable from the state has resulted in a statewide warning that cash flow is going to be an issue for all school districts, not just ours. We need to pay bills and payroll monthly, and if our payments from the state are late, we can’t pay employees. We will need to borrow $3.3 million from the reserve to meet payroll for this school year and each subsequent year. If the reserve is spent, we must borrow the money and pay interest on the loan.”

While some may think the worst of the budget cuts is now, Yantz wrote that it is predicted to get worse before it gets better. According to the state’s forecast, there is an expected shortfall of 10 percent of next year’s entire budget. Although the district will receive 90 percent of its expected revenue, it will not receive the entire amount until the end of the 2010 school year. “This means we must not only cut 10 percent of our expenditures, we must maintain enough cash to meet payroll and pay bills until state funds arrive,” he explained.

The idea of shortening the school year or issuing salary cuts was also suggested. However, Yantz said that although a 1-percent pay cut across the board would save the district approximately $200,000, it would need to be negotiated. However, at this time the El Segundo Teacher’s Union has rejected district requests to meet to work on such issues.

While the budget crisis means teachers, counselors and administrators will be out of work, it also means that students will have to suffer the lack of programs as well as endure more crowded classrooms.

El Segundo High School drama and choir student Emily Warlich stated during last week’s School Board meeting that she has been able to succeed through high school because of the support of the drama program. “Drama has been my life for the last four years, it has helped me through so much, I don’t know how some students would make it through high school without it,” Warlich said with her voice cracking. “You just can’t cut it.”

Yantz stated that any cut in a district where there are very few if any unnecessary programs is difficult. “In well managed schools, how do you cut $350,000 at each elementary level, $374,000 at the middle school level and $720,000 at the high school without losing staff, programs and services and good will?”

As far as a timetable of cuts, Yantz said that final decisions regarding layoffs will be known after it is discussed with the unions and would depend on factors, which are still unknown such as June retirements, resignations, enrollment projections and class size decisions and other cuts made.

Yantz said that school budget will be finalized by June 30.

“We intend to keep the information flowing and will post podcasts and updates on the district website,” Yantz said. “In addition to briefing all supervisors as decisions are made.”

A survey regarding the budget can be found online at found under “links.”

School districts everywhere are facing a budget crisis. Many districts will be laying employees off and cutting programs that are not considered part of the core curriculum.

• How do you think local school districts should balance their budgets?
• What programs do you consider off-limits?

Q o' th' Week: Send TBR Your Answer

From Eastern Group Publications [Eastside Sun, Northeast Sun, Mexican American Sun, Bell Gardens Sun, City Terrace Comet, Commerce Comet, Montebello Comet, Monterey Park Comet, ELA Brookyln Belvedere Comet, Wyvernwood Chronicle, Vernon Sun]

March 6th, 2009 -- Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Ramon Cortines announced last week a new joint venture to construct youth centers at five district middle schools. One of the proposed youth centers will be located at Nightingale Middle School in Lincoln Heights. The plan is the latest development in a partnership between the City Attorney’s School Safety Division and LAUSD’s Joint Use Development Program to promote safer schools across Los Angeles.

“We have seen that when we work together to create a safer campus with engaging activities for our kids, they respond with better grades, higher test scores, and improved graduation rates,” Delgadillo said. “And any gang prosecutors will tell you that the best way to keep our kids out of gangs is to keep them in school, because kids who cut class invariably join gangs.”

The plan to jointly pursue youth centers at middle schools is based on the success at Markham Middle School, where the City Attorney and LAUSD established a youth center where students receive after-school programming by established non-profit organizations and community groups.

In addition to Nightingale Middle School, the specific school sites currently being pursued include: Maclay Middle School in the East Valley, Berendo Middle School in Mid-Central Los Angeles, Audubon Middle School in Mid-South Los Angeles and Wilmington Middle School in the Harbor Gateway area. These sites are five of the nine schools that are part of the City Attorney’s Safe Schools Initiative.

“Our continuing partnership with the City Attorney’s Office to promote safer schools is a terrific example of how when we combine efforts, we can make better use of our resources to create a concrete benefit to students,” Superintendent Cortines said. “The education and enrichment these youth centers will provide not only helps keep students safe, but provides them a priceless advantage in life.”

by Steve Lopez | LA Times Columnist

March 8, 2009 - I made two trips to my daughter's public school on Wednesday, one to volunteer in her classroom and one to get shaken down for money. Either we moms and dads pony up an average of $1,000 per student by May, we were told by leaders of the parents group, or our beloved neighborhood school was likely to lose resources crucial to our children.

Guilt is a powerful motivator, not that it works very well on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or legislators. In January, the great state of California got an F from Education Week magazine, which put us at 47th in the nation in per-pupil funding when figured as a percentage of personal income. And that was before Sacramento announced billions of dollars in additional education cuts, which has prompted thousands of notices statewide on potential layoffs of teachers and other staff.

Let's start, however, with my volunteering effort at Ivanhoe Elementary, which is in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Supt. Ray Cortines is looking at having to slash roughly $700 million districtwide from the budget. He said it's not clear how much he'll get from the temporary federal stimulus package, but he knows it won't fill the gap. Which probably means we'll have larger class sizes and fewer employees, and an even greater need for parents to step up and volunteer.

I'm a bit of a laggard at Ivanhoe. Other parents, including my wife, put in far more time.

I was feeling guilty about that and signed up for an hour as a classroom aide to teacher Missy Morris, who, I can now say with authority, is vastly underpaid.

Ms. Morris divided the class into four small groups, two of which worked on their own. She took a third group and I took the fourth, and my instructions were to help the little rascals assemble a book using construction paper, crayons and glue.

Remember the guy on "The Ed Sullivan Show" who balanced spinning plates on sticks, running from one to the other to keep an entire kitchen from crashing down on his head?

That's how I felt.

I had kids on top of the worktable, kids under the table, kids yelling, kids determined to put an eye out with a stick and numerous fiascoes involving glue. Some of the glue tubes wouldn't squeeze, some gushed, and we had a spirited fight over one of the better tubes.

While this was happening, I glanced at Ms. Morris, who was able to instantly control her group with a simple clap of the hands, a trick that didn't work for me. I managed to survive the hour without any 911 calls, and would like to hereby say, to a certain teacher who honors the profession every day:

Thank you, Ms. Morris.

Thank you, Ms. Morris.

Thank you, Ms. Morris.

My return trip to Ivanhoe was harrowing in a different way.

About 100 parents gathered in the auditorium to hear the same message we heard a year ago:

All major credit cards accepted.

This was my second such meeting at Ivanhoe, and the price of academic excellence -- Ivanhoe ranks 14th out of 484 LAUSD elementary schools -- is going up fast. Last year we were asked to donate on average $500 per student, and this year it will take twice as much to hold on to programs and personnel the district is not expected to fund.

If parents can come up with $327,000, the school will be able to keep three academic coaches who, among other things, take the pressure off teachers in the overcrowded fourth and fifth grades. It would also pay for P.E. coaches, three kindergarten aides, library resources, computer replacement and technology support.

As I heard the pitch, along with the testaments to Ivanhoe and how lucky we are to have a great school that's been a neighborhood institution since 1889 -- yes, I said 1889 -- I was thinking the same thing I thought when I heard the pitch a year ago:

We really are lucky, because the school is so good, and because many of us are able to fork over a little extra, even in a recession. But what about the vast majority of schools that aren't as good and don't have as many parents who can write checks?

Friends of Ivanhoe offered some salve for that guilt. Nearby schools, we were told, get extra funding based on lower family income.

This being a column about education, I'm guaranteed to field the usual raft of e-mail from those who say the simple answer to budget shortfalls is to stop admitting illegal immigrants to our schools. So let me say once again that it's a little more complicated than that.

Until the federal government produces the desperately needed reforms, we're stuck with what we've got, and it's probably cheaper to educate all children who live here than pay the costs of not doing so.

I'm also sure to hear from those who say more money doesn't necessarily mean better schools, which is true, and it's also fair to say we've got some burned-out educators and bloated bureaucracies across the state.

But why is California content to spend roughly $2,400 less per pupil than the national average, particularly when an educated workforce is the only hope for a stronger economic future?

Why have public school parents been forced to become full-time fundraisers, selling everything from cupcakes and candy to advertising space on the school fence?

And why are we paying hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out inept financial institutions and the boobs and scoundrels who ran and regulated them, while putting the squeeze on schools that might produce a smarter generation of future leaders?

I don't think any of the parents at Ivanhoe will hold their breath waiting for those answers. In the auditorium Wednesday night, one dad, Erik Grammer, held up a check as the first donation and said, yeah, times are tough for a lot of people. But he realized he was paying $1,000 a year for cable TV, which he just canceled.

I wrote a check because I believe in the school and my daughter loves it, and, as Friends of Ivanhoe pointed out, private schools in the area charge between $12,500 and $26,800.

I just wish we weren't catching up so fast.

●●smf's 2¢: How many schools out there don't have parents who can contribute $1000. per student? Or can't do $1000 of bake sale baking? Or can't buy $2000 worth of gift wrap and magazine subscriptions? How many kids can't sell $2000 worth of candy bars - or don't have the mayor raising the $280 extra per kid per year his partnership gets? And how much of that pays for city hall staffers rather than coaches and aides who actually impact children?

"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves."
— John Adams, U.S. president, letter to John Jebb,1785

BRINGING BACK L.A. VOTERS: Want to boost the number of Angelenos taking part in city elections? Get rid of the nonpartisan ballot.
by Tim Rutten | Opinion From the Los Angeles Times

March 7, 2009 -- The municipal elections in Los Angeles this week were another in a long series of democratic catastrophes.

That's not to say that anything illegal or even irregular occurred. Actually, it would be something of a novelty -- almost a relief -- to run across someone who cared enough to subvert an L.A. election. The sad truth is that Los Angeles has long been the sick man of urban American politics, and the numbers tell the story.

The city's population is estimated at 3.8 million people. About 1.6 million of them are registered to vote, which actually is a fairly impressive figure, given the number of Angelenos under 18 and the large number of immigrants who are not citizens. Still, in an election with municipal offices to fill and local propositions to decide, just 239,374 of those registered voters -- 15% of the electorate -- turned out to cast ballots.

Antonio Villaraigosa was reelected as mayor of America's second-largest city with the votes of only 127,955 people -- 8% of the city's registered voters and 3% of its population. Jack Weiss and Carmen Trutanich both made it into the runoff for city attorney without cracking the 100,000-vote mark. (Weiss, who has been on the City Council for eight years, received just 80,985 votes citywide; Trutanich just 59,804.)

If those seem like pale mandates, consider those in the City Council races. Eight of the legislative branch's 15 seats were theoretically up for grabs. Just two incumbents -- Dennis Zine (14,782) and Bill Rosendahl (16,728) -- managed to persuade 10,000 or more voters to cast ballots for them, although each council district contains about 250,000 people. The two candidates who slipped into a runoff for the only seriously contested seat -- David Vahedi and Paul Koretz -- managed only 5,745 and 5,685 votes, respectively. The council's president, Eric Garcetti, received just 7,210 votes. Janice Hahn, who possesses a storied local political name, received only 9,250 votes.

The truth is that the council vote totals conceal one of Los Angeles' dirty little political secrets. Not a single council member running in a heavily Latino or African American district won his or her seat with more than 10,000 votes. In this week's election, Ed Reyes received 6,565 votes; Richard Alarcon, 7,380; Jan Perry, 5,801. Garcetti and Hahn, both white, represent districts with large non-white populations.

And the same patterns were true in the last election cycle.

In recent years, lots of old verities about L.A. politics have fallen by the wayside. Today, the city is more homogeneously liberal and ethnically integrated than it ever has been. Differences in social attitudes and voting patterns between the Valley and the rest of the city have vanished, as has the division between the Palisades (traditionally more Republican and conservative) and the rest of the Westside.

The one historic pattern that continues is a troubling one -- political participation in council districts with Anglo majorities outstrips those with predominantly African American or Latino electorates, just as it always has. The only sitting council members who won their most recent race with totals over 10,000 -- Zine, Rosendahl and, in the last election cycle, Wendy Greuel (10,575) and Greig Smith (14,749) -- represent districts where most of their quarter of a million constituents are Anglos. Something is decidedly out of whack here because black and Latino participation in the last presidential election was substantial. Moreover, more than one-third of the city's population has enough interest in electoral politics per se to register to vote. And it matters, because the city's African American (10.6%) and Latino (48.5%) populations together come to 59.1% of the population.

Moreover, this local disconnection between Angelenos and their electoral politics magnifies the power of small, disgruntled groups concerned with narrow issues, and creates a field day for special interests, who only have to swing a few thousand voters to decisively influence an election.

What ought to be done? Here's a radical reform that would make a difference: Abandon nonpartisan municipal elections. Without political parties, the only things around which people can cohere are ethnic identity and personality -- politics' lowest common denominators. Parties energize people and stimulate participation. They bring government down to the block level.

There's no need to stick with traditional Democrat and Republican designations. We could have local parties as well -- greens, labor, vegans for animal rights. It doesn't matter, as long as they function as parties can, connecting voters to the process.

Partisan elections would make a difference, but don't hold your breath.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
• SELLERY SPECIAL ED CENTER FACES CLOSURE: Budget woes may force LAUSD to eliminate Gardena school for disabled students.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
By Melissa Pamer, Staff Writer, Daily Breeze
Angeles Perez's 11-year-old son is mildly retarded, autistic and suffers from seizures. He barely speaks, and

• TWO FOUNDATIONS GIVE SCHOOLS $1.75M GRANT: Funds will be used to improve graduation rates.
Sunday, March 08, 2009 By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer | LA Newspaper Group (Daily News/Daily Breeze) March 7 - The Los Angeles Unified School District this week received a $1.75 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation to help with reform efforts. The grant will fund an 18-month program supporting three projects sponsored by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles that are

Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Press release from Teachers College @ Columbia University 3/3/2009 -- For Patricia Gandara, Co-director of the Civil Rights Project at the University California at Los Angeles, the educational outlook for Hispanics is grim: Although Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the nation, they drop out of high school at alarming rates

Tuesday, March 03, 2009
By You Jong Kim | Contributing Writer | Notes from the Field | The Daily Californian News Blog - The student newspaper of the University of California Tuesday, March 3, 2009 -- The UC Board of Regents approved major changes to their admissions system, including a decision to end a system-wide standard that required students to send in two SAT II Subject Test scores as part of the admissions

“ I don’t fault Democrats for using any means necessary to pass a state budget. But now that Propositions 1A-1F are on the ballot, voters don’t have to approve them – and the Democrats shouldn’t encourage them. ” Editorial by by Paul Hogarth | from Beyond Chron, San Francisco's Online Daily Mar. 03‚ 2009-- I’ve been on record supporting a special election to get the budget reform

Tuesday, March 03, 2009
SACBEE CAPTOLALERT: Edited by Shayne Goldmacher March 3, 2009 -- A new Field Poll shows that California voters are dissatisfied (55 percent) with the state budget passed by the Legislature last month. Those likely to vote in the May 19 budget special election are even more unhappy (65 percent). The plan contains a broad swath of tax hikes and deep spending cuts. Come to think of it, who are

• U P D A T E: Picking up the threads of 'Quilters'
Monday, March 02, 2009 by smf to 4LAKids You probably saw the article about how the poor Theater Arts Dept @ Chatsworth HS had to cancel the spring play in Sandy Banks Column in the Times on Friday, posted on the 4LAKids blog + email newsletter yesterday Sandy Banks Picking up the threads of 'Quilters' February 28, 2009 As the late Paul Harvey was wont to say, here is the rest of the story:

Monday, March 02, 2009
By Kevin Yamamura | The Sacramento Bee
How ‘sweet’ does it have to be before the diabetes kicks in? - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urges support for six budget measures – topped by a state spending cap and school funding sweeteners – in a special election May 19.

• NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACCOUNTABILITY: As it prepares to revamp the No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama administration must show what we're getting for the money.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Editorial From the Los Angeles Times March 2, 2009 - The conundrum of school reform is that you can't expect more accountability without funding, but you also can't add significant new funding without demanding accountability. As the Obama administration gears up to

• BIG MOTHER IS WATCHING: These days, children's grades, homework, even what they had for lunch is just a mouse click away. But if parents know all, how much of a private life is left for the kids?
Monday, March 02, 2009 By Karin Klein | Opinion/Commentary From the Los Angeles Times March 2, 2009 -- Time was, kids would come home to show off their latest test, adorned with a star from the teacher. At the dinner table, they talked about

The news that doesn’t fit from March 8

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Wednesday Mar 11, 2009
Central Region Elementary School #21: Pre-Construction Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Harmony Elementary School
899 E. 42nd Place
Los Angeles, CA 90011

Thursday Mar 12, 2009
Central Region Elementary School #14: Project Update Community Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Rosemont Elementary School
421 N. Rosemont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Thursday Mar 12, 2009
South Region Elementary School #2: Construction Update Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m.
McKinley Avenue School - Auditorium
7812 McKinley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90001
*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 leader in LAUSD. He is immediate past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represents PTA as Vice-chair on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He is a Community Concerns Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on various school district advisory and policy committees and has served a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools.
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