Sunday, May 17, 2009

Total Recall.

4LAKids: Sunday, May 17, 2009
In This Issue:
Sandy Banks: IS ALL THIS REALLY FOR THE CHILDREN? - It's hard to believe that packing classes or protecting teachers' jobs is best for students.
ANGER OVER BUDGET CUTS BOILS OVER AT L.A. SCHOOLS: UTLA president is among 39 arrested at a sit-in outside L.A. Unified headquarters.
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.
Whether they are the Words of the Lord (printed in red) …or just good advice there is no arguing that to be led (or to follow) into temptation is not a recommended course of action. There is no question that temptation itself makes life interesting …but it is best for most of us not to go there much of the time.

Events of the last week tempted me to title this edition of 4LAKids: "Duffy in Chains" …but reality intervened. The reality being that "Duffy in Plastic Handcuffs" doesn't resonate quite as well. But already I digress.


TUESDAY featured a couple of moments of note. Superior Court Judge James Chalfont enjoined (why is the verb "enjoin" and the noun "injunction"?) UTLA from their proposed one day strike scheduled for Friday.

Also TUESDAY a ground-breaking (sorry) new partnership blossomed (sorry) around school gardens in LAUSD. (See?) In an outbreak of school based decision-making the community and some Hollywood celebrity do-gooders along with teachers and mostly some students planted a garden at Helen Bernstein High School; the first such garden at one of our many new schools. A garden… with dirt and plants and Nicole Ritchie. They may have even done it without bureaucratic permission or administrival niceties. But they did and the sun shone and it was a good thing.

THURSDAY gave us Governor Schwarzenegger's Bad News/Worse News May Budget Revise scenarios. As ultimatums (—a?, —ae?) go this one may have been the ultimate in unacceptable: "Go to the polls and vote as I say …or I'll really give you something to cry about!"

4LAKids is asking you to vote pretty much as he says… but also doesn't really expect very many Californians to vote on Tuesday — let alone as he says!

Someone needs to look into the constitutional provisions for undoing a recall election. Somebody needed to be doing that long ago. It isn't all Arnold's fault - but leaders need to be held accountable for their leadership and/or lack thereof; that was the rationale for the recall.

Apparently THURSDAY also saw (or maybe didn't see) Duffy and Cortines secretly negotiating a compromise settlement to the current version of the LAUSD budget impasse.

FRIDAY gave us the political theater played out in the middle of the 300 Block of South Beaudry Avenue as Duffy & Co in their news byte of civil disobedience were carted off in plastic restraints for blocking the roadway and creating a nuisance. No dogs, no fire houses. Nobody went to the slammer. There may be a Twitter, but no 'Letter from the Birmingham Jail'.

Nonetheless Superintendent Cortines played his role: he was shocked - shocked! "I don't think that's the kind of image I want for our system."

Gentle readers, I'm sorry. Is this a "system" worthy of an image at all? And what IS the image any of us want?

The school board hurrying though the agenda and ignoring parents?
Class size ratios of 40+ to one?
Promising new teachers laid off as sacrifices to 'right-sizing'?

Public education is not a just a consumer of tests and textbooks nor is it the primary provider of data for information mills, political theorists or social scientists. It does not exist to employ teachers or administrators or ivory tower academics or puzzle palace bureaucrats — or to baby-sit kids from 8AM-3PM five days a week while their parents are at work. It's not a budget line item to stop us from spending too much for the Defense Department or public safety. It neither a provider of labor for the workforce nor recruits for the military.

It is the way we as a society prepare our children - all of our children - for a future we may never see. It is the investment we make in making the world a better place. It is complicated and hard — and it is All of the Above. It is best not done in a hurry or on-the-cheap or without thinking. It needs to be proactive, not reactive. It's best done with our eyes on the long term outcome rather than the process or the system.

The image we want is bright young people in caps and gowns prepared for the next chapters in their lives. People who can figure out a job application, a college catalog, a 1040 form and a FAFSA application. People who can make heads or tails of a ballot measure and vote in an informed manner. Independent thinkers who can sort the metaphysics from the metaphor from the scientific fact and see the value in all three. It's an inner ring on the Circle of Life.

But I rant.


HOW TO VOTE: Democracy is NOT a spectator sport, YOU NEED TO VOTE! 4LAKids is asking you to vote pretty much as Arnold suggests. But 4LAKids also doesn't truly expect very many Californians to vote on Tuesday …especially as he says!

4LAKids recommends VOTING YES on the first three measures (1A, B & C) and VOTING YOUR CONSCIENCE on the last three (1D, E & F).

It won't do any good to hold your nose while voting; voting is done in the privacy of your cardboard box. I recommend holding your nose as you put your ballot in the ballot box. Wear your "I VOTED" sticker upside down. Promise yourself to vote for-and work-on behalf-of candidates - for the School Site Council, PTA Board, Neighborhood Council, School Board, City Council, Board of Supervisors, Legislature, Congress, Governor and President who will do the right thing next time. Despite the gloom and doom contained here - and uncontained elsewhere - THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME!

I'm not saying that the right things are raising taxes and giving teachers raises but I know the right things aren’t increasing class size and cutting education funding. We should not shortchange ourselves or the future, we need to decide what the right thing is and then we need to do it. And keep doing it until we get it right. And then keep working at it to get it better. Good. Better. Best.


Over the past few days I have been drawn into a number of philosophical and historical discussions on how we got here. The current recession/economic crisis is only the latest challenge in California's budget and education mess.

Public Education Funding has been in trouble since before Prop 13; from at least since the 1971 & '76 Serrano v. Priest decisions when the courts undid the funding formula that drove the Master Plan for Education - the engine that drove California Public Education to be the best in the nation and the envy of all other states.

Not enough money has been invested in California Public Education since the 1978 passage of Prop 13. Instead we have placed faith in quick fixes, from formulaic fixes like Prop 98 to just plain bad fixes like year around calendars, forced busing and bungalows on playgrounds. Occasionally wise repairs have been implemented: in 1999 AB 1 (Villaraigosa) actually created Teacher Merit Pay (it lasted one year) There was the K-3 Class Size Reduction of 1996 and the 1998 funding of preschools though the Prop 10 tobacco taxes (both compromised or eviscerated in the current mess).

Governor Schwarzenegger and all 120 of the current legislators inherited this mess; it was ongoing way before they took office — it was already catastrophic before the current recession. That it existed should be no surprise. It was what it was when they ran for office - every one of them presenting themselves to the electorate as being part of the solution. But if you remember your high school chemistry the solution is NOT the catalyst for change. And the plural of anecdotes is not data.

But that said Arnold and the current group have done nothing to make any of it any better, And in doing nothing they have made it worse and themselves part of the problem.

Here's the timeline: It was bad. It got worse. And then the recession hit.

Take a look at Sandy Bank's column (below). Measure every decision made at your school, at the local district and down at Beaudry, across the 110 at City Hall and in The County Hall of Administration; in Sacramento and in D.C. against What's Best For Kids. Make that your scoring rubric in your cardboard box in your polling station on Tuesday.

This NOT special interest/single issue politics, there are seven million California schoolchildren. That's the number of issues and very special interests.

¡Onward/Hasta adelante!


▼ STATE BUDGET MAY REVISION 2009-10: TWO BUDGET SCENARIOS (from the Governor's office)


Sandy Banks: IS ALL THIS REALLY FOR THE CHILDREN? - It's hard to believe that packing classes or protecting teachers' jobs is best for students.
by Sandy Banks | LA Times columnist

May 16, 2009 - One thing I've learned in 30 years of covering education is that every dispute, demand or decree rests on one claim: We must do this for the children.

That's why the teachers union tried to stage a one-day strike to protest budget cuts this week -- to "save the children," said United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy. And it's why district leaders went to court to block them -- to protect the "student safety," said Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.

It makes for good sound bites and political rhetoric.

But I have a hard time believing that children top the agenda in a district willing to pack 45 students in an English class. Or that students' rights matter much to union leaders whose primary goal is to protect teachers' jobs.


I was trying to figure out how a brief teacher walkout in a cash-strapped district where almost half the students drop out was supposed to help the children. So I asked UTLA Vice President Joshua Pechthalt to sit down at lunch and explain it to me.

Pechthalt and I go back 20 years, to when I was a rookie education reporter and he was a rabble-rousing history teacher at Manual Arts High, leading a radical faction of the teachers union. It was clear as we talked that he hasn't lost his passion for teaching or his vision of education as a social justice issue.

The current dust-up over budget cuts is not just a fiscal battle, but a philosophical one, he said. The issue is not just about how to spend the district's federal stimulus funds. It's also about how big of a sacrifice teachers will be asked to make.

Cortines wants to spread the stimulus money over two years to protect schools from gut-wrenching cuts down the line. The school board has approved laying off more than 2,000 teachers with less than two years on the job. Cortines plans to let individual campuses decide whether to use their stimulus grants to rehire lost teachers or to make up for other cutbacks.

The union wants all the available money used this year, and only for teachers' salaries. Schools would not have the flexibility to use it for anything else; that would keep class sizes from rising. If more cuts are needed next year, union leaders propose the district raise money by asking voters to approve a parcel tax.

It's an odd stance for a union that has spent years touting local control and decrying the fat cats' top-down decisions.

And it seems awfully optimistic to expect voters -- many struggling to keep their own jobs and homes -- to agree to buck up a district that was flush enough last year to approve a $500,000 golden parachute for a deposed superintendent.

Pechthalt told me the battle is not just over teachers' jobs, but the long-term health of the city's schools and students. "The fight to improve public education has to be waged in the streets," he said.

The sit-ins, walkouts and staged arrests are little more than political theater. "If you're fighting for something, people have to know 'these people are going a little crazy,' " said Pechthalt, who was among the 39 teachers arrested Friday.

"The single most powerful weapon any worker has is 'I'm not going to work today,' " he said.


I get why classroom teachers are angry, why 70% of union teachers voted to support the leadership's plan to strike.

I spent Friday morning outside John F. Kennedy High in Granada Hills, where 40 teachers were quietly passing out fliers and holding signs. Test scores there have been rising. Now teachers said they are hearing rumors that counselors' caseloads will rise from 400 to 550 students next fall, ninth-grade math will be eliminated and English classes now capped at 20 will have as many as 43 students.

That means 60 more English students over the course of a day.

"I try to give them challenging assignments, a lot of practice and essays," said English teacher Sophia Petkovic. "But there is no way I can give them enough attention with a class that crowded."

There was no chanting or fist-waving on the sidewalk outside Kennedy.

Teachers made a point of praising their principal. Students stood with them holding "Save Our Teachers" signs. Parents drove by and honked in support.

No one there knew that district and union officials had met earlier this week and worked out a potential compromise that could save teachers' jobs.

So wait. If they already had a tentative plan, why did we need all this street drama?

But that's the state of labor relations in this district, stuck in a time warp of posturing and muscle-flexing that demeans well-meaning people on both sides.

It all produced a signature moment on Friday. Union President Duffy praised protesting teachers waiting to be arrested outside the district's headquarters, telling them how proud he was of their act of civil disobedience.

And I can't help but wonder what that says to the teachers who filed into their classrooms when the bell rang Friday morning, and to the students waiting there for them.

ANGER OVER BUDGET CUTS BOILS OVER AT L.A. SCHOOLS: UTLA president is among 39 arrested at a sit-in outside L.A. Unified headquarters.

By Jason Song and Howard Blume | LA Times

May 16, 2009 -- The head of the Los Angeles teachers union was among 39 people arrested Friday during a sit-in outside the school district headquarters, one among dozens of peaceful protests around the city by teachers and students outraged by plans for deep cuts in education spending.

"Don't raise class size!" the protesters chanted before Los Angeles Police Department officers moved in to break up the demonstration.

United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy was among those who had raised his fist in response to police requests to disperse, and who was bound with plastic handcuffs and taken away in an LAPD bus for booking on a charge of blocking a public street.

All of those arrested were later released.

The protesters' ire was stoked by plans for layoffs of as many as 2,500 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers, the consequence of billions of dollars in statewide cuts to education.

Schools throughout L.A. were disrupted as hundreds of teachers called in sick and hundreds of high school students walked out of classrooms to protest the cutbacks at the district, the nation's second-largest after New York City.

Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said after the protests that Duffy and a top aide had met with him the day before to suggest a compromise: The district would spend more of its federal stimulus money than planned in the coming year, forestalling the need for any teacher layoffs, and the union would agree to concessions, such as a wage freeze or unpaid furloughs.

Cortines said he was open to such a deal, and that he might be able to offer jobs as long-term substitutes to laid-off teachers.

Duffy had no comment on those negotiations.

Danis Cybulski, a fourth-grade teacher at Aldama Elementary School in Highland Park, said she could accept a pay freeze or furlough days.

"I would stand behind the union as long as class sizes aren't increased and wasteful spending stopped," she said.

Earlier in the week, a judge issued a restraining order prohibiting the teachers union from holding a one-day strike to protest the budget cuts.

Cortines said the headquarters demonstration had not violated the order because the teachers involved were either on a break between semesters at year-round schools or had arranged for substitute teachers.

The superintendent, however, said he was not happy with the civil disobedience.

"I don't think that's the kind of image I want for our system," he said.

The school district reported that it had 3,152 requests for substitute teachers, or roughly 700 more than usual for a Friday in May.

Students walked out of class at several high schools and held sit-ins in support of teachers.

About 500 students at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles held a sit-in Friday morning in the school's central yard. Later, they moved to the athletic field bleachers, and the school provided a sound system so they could discuss why they didn't want teachers laid off. Garfield could lose 13 English and social studies teachers.

At Jordan High School in South Los Angeles, about 200 students gathered in the quad to show solidarity with teachers, and the campus was put on lockdown in what Principal Stephen Strachan called a routine security measure.

When students refused to go back into class, Strachan said, he gave them a microphone and about 15 students spoke out about the proposed layoffs.

"I'm very proud of our kids and their willingness to cooperate," he said.

Hundreds of students also walked out at Maywood Academy. And scores of students chose not to return to their classrooms after a morning break at Franklin High School in Highland Park.

"We care about the teachers," Jasmine Guerrero, a senior, said in a telephone interview. "But it's more about us. One teacher for 45 students, it's not a productive learning environment."

Meanwhile, about 150 parents gathered at Balboa Park in Encino and then marched to a local district office to demand, symbolically, their own place at the table. The effort was high in both good feeling and indignation.

Many in the group had their children in schools with middle-class populations, a relative rarity in the district.

They included school board member Tamar Galatzan, who represents the west San Fernando Valley, and entertainer and author Sandra Tsing Loh.

"I missed Woodstock and the protest against the Vietnam War," Loh told the enthusiastic gathering. "Many of us have found as moms we've joined the church of public school. We've found the faith."

Parent Erin Shachory said she didn't feel as though she could rely on either the school district or the teachers union to set the agenda for parents.

Another parent, Jane Poole, said the event, dubbed the Lemonade Rally, "put fires in our belly. We're being re-energized. This is uniting us."

●Times staff writers Victoria Kim, Mitchell Landsberg and Richard Winton contributed to this report.

AP/EISs ARE STILL BEING CUT: A Lose-Lose Situation

“Frankly, the Administration has not always been clear enough or vocal enough about whether their priority was jobs and economic stimulus or reform and improvement. And no one has clearly said what they expect schools to accomplish with the funds after two years.” Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools

from the May '09 Urban Educator | Council of Great City Schools

In Meeting to Track Education Aid News reporters covering education heard concerns about the distribution of economic stimulus funds to local school districts at the Education Writers Association conference held recently in the nation’s capital.

It’s not clear how much of the $40 billion education portion of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund of the federal stimulus package will be diverted by the states to fill their own budget gaps, Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, told the education journalists.

“State after state have been lowering their overall spending levels down to the Fiscal Year ’06 levels based on the amounts of resources they expect to get from the stimulus,” he stressed.

Casserly maintained that some states are indicating they will use the stabilization dollars to backfill their own budget deficits, replenish state pension systems – or even provide tax cuts to their citizenry.

“It is not clear that this is illegal, but it is clearly not consistent with the spirit of the law,” he emphasized, noting that the U.S. Department of Education’s threats to withhold the second half of the stimulus money are probably not enforceable.

As a result, most city school districts are now assuming that they won’t receive much stabilization dollars, he contends.

Casserly was one of three panelists to discuss “Tracking the Stimulus,” a conference session moderated by USA TODAY education reporter Greg Toppo. Education writers from across the nation packed the room to learn more about how to monitor the distribution and use of the $100 billion in federal stimulus money for elementary, secondary and higher education.


Of the other funds to be distributed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law in February, Casserly pointed out that the city school districts will probably receive most of the stimulus funds through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Although Title I and IDEA programs are highly regulated, there are some atgrade point averages, college readiness and attendance, and assume leadership roles in their schools and communities. tempts by states to cut funds in the amounts of those allocations, said Casserly.

“Ultimately, most of these funds should make it to the local level, but neither Congress nor the [Obama] Administration has been very eager to grant flexibility in their use,” he continued, indicating the highly restrictive provisions on the use of Title I and IDEA funds.

Moreover, Casserly said that many local school districts are confused by how to use the stimulus funds. “Frankly, the Administration has not always been clear enough or vocal enough about whether their priority was jobs and economic stimulus or reform and improvement [in school districts],” he argued. “And no one has clearly said what they expect schools to accomplish with the funds after two years.”

But Casserly noted that at least the dollar amounts are clearer under Title I and IDEA than most parts of the stimulus bill passed by Congress.

He said that many of the big-city school districts are planning expenditures using stimulus funds within the “narrow confines” of the Title I and IDEA provisions to build capacity, institute one-time activities and reform practices.

The Council of the Great City Schools is collecting data on stimulus money being received and how funds will be used, and advising and counseling its member districts on how to best use the funds effectively, wisely and transparently.

Casserly said that he knows urban school districts are building some of their planned Title I and IDEA expenditures around early childhood education, extended day, weekend and summer programs, and teacher incentives to work in hard-to-staff schools among a host of other activities to boost student achievement and reform efforts.


By Jeff Simering, Director of Legislation | Council of Great City Schools (from the May Urban Educataor)

If “too many cooks will spoil the broth,” then maybe “too many government officials can stifle the stimulus.” After winding its way through Congress and the federal executive branche; funneling through the states; and trickling down to the local level (something that still has not happened yet), the actual assistance provided by the education stimulus package appears less sizable or flexible than what many local school officials originally anticipated.

Topping the list of local school frustrations is the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, the largest single source of federal education aid in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Big-city school officials are reporting that some states are lowering state education aid beyond what is necessary in anticipation of replacing these state funds with federal stabilization aid. The “supplanted” state education funds are then slated for other purposes, including state pension systems or even the state “rainy day” fund. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education has yet to prohibit such “Bait and Switch” tactics regarding the State Stabilization Fund, a situation that could result in many local school systems effectively getting no additional funds at all.

To cope with losses in state and local revenue, school districts are particularly eager to have maximum flexibility in the use of remaining dollars to push their reforms forward. With the “gaming” of the $40 billion Education Stabilization Fund in some states, school districts have turned their attention to the flexibility provided under the 2004 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The amendments allowed school districts to use half of their annual IDEA funding increases to supplant local efforts. This would free up some $11 billion to be used more flexibly. Thousands of school districts—including the majority of school districts in some states—may be precluded from using this provision, however, by the Department of Education because of how it is being interpreted by agency staff.

Finally, even the most savvy local school officials are perplexed by mixed messages from federal and state levels on how the stimulus money can be used. Over $25 billion of the education stimulus funds are categorical in nature—Title I and IDEA—and retain most of their current requirements and regulations. Unfortunately, these stimulus funds are being subjected to the same type of inconsistent, restrictive, and questionable state guidance that typically frustrates local officials in dealing with any federal aid. Local plans to extend the school day in certain Title I low-performing schools, for example, have been stifled by state directives.

Local school districts are also getting mixed messages about whether they should be using the funds to promote school reforms or save jobs and stimulate the economy. It is possible to do some of both, of course, but the task is made more difficult without the flexibility.

Everyone is watching closely to see how the ARRA funds will be used in the nation’s schools, but the ultimate impact of the stimulus initiative may be affected as much by state and federal regulators as it will by local level educators.

Council of Great City Schools; Urban Educator (May '09 - Vol 18, No. 4)

Adapted by 4LAKids from the California Child Development Administrators Association (CCDAA) Website

●● smf's 2¢:"Flexibility" is one of those words like "choice"; a positive or innocent-sounding polarizing buzz word that spun the right-or-wrong way means different things to different beholders. i.e.: A woman's right to choose. School choice. The "flexibility" in categorical funding means the exact opposite of "accountability" - and is fraught with unintended consequences and collateral damage. In this case in point targeted support for teen mothers and their babies goes to the General Fund. [Among developed countries, the United States has the highest level of teenage pregnancy.] The funding isn't really eliminated - the money continues to come in - but in a moment of Orwellian Logic school districts are automatically considered to be in compliance with the program …even if they eliminate it!

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? In 2000, three former teen parent-baby programs were merged into the Cal-SAFE program. The consolidation had the consequence of shifting this program from being a stand alone into the K-14 Mega-Categorical (Educational) budget item.

1. The recent Budget Deal made a 15% across-the-board reduction to fifty-three K-14 categorical programs, totaling $944 million.
2. Simultaneously, the enabling legislation gave local school administrators (school boards) flexibility in the use of funding for the lowest (third) tier programs. The “flexibility language” permits all local programs in the lower tier to “be deemed to be in compliance with the program and funding requirements contained in statutory, regulatory, and provisional language” until FY 2012-13.
3. The Cal-SAFE program is in the third tier and, therefore, subject to the local flexibility funding option and its related standards waiver.

WHAT IS Cal-SAFE? The California School Age Families Education (Cal-SAFE) is a high school-based program supporting expectant and parenting students with academic and support services (including transportation) and high quality child care and development services for their children. The goals for students are graduation from high school, transition to college or work, decreased dependency on welfare, improved parenting skills, and fewer repeat births by teen mothers. The goals for the babies are healthy birth weights, health screenings and immunizations, and enhanced school readiness. Supported by Proposition 98 funds, the program funding in FY2007-08 was $58,395,000.

As of June 2007, Cal-SAFE served over 72,000 students and 42,000 babies at 590 school sites in 44 of California’s counties. Its 2005 evaluation found that over 75% of the students graduated from high school, with most planning to enroll in a local community college. Ninety-four percent of the babies were up-to-date on immunizations and benefiting from developmentally appropriate learning and play.

●●IN OTHER WORDS, this has been an extraordinarily successful program, serving young mothers and their babies in an exceptional manner. Up to now!

TODAY THE IMPACT ON CAL-SAFE PROGRAMS IS ALREADY BEING FELT. It is only two months since the above became law and already nine schools in California are closing their student parent programs as of 2009-10 and eighteen more are considering termination. Given local education shortfalls, it is likely that programs will end in most schools statewide (certainly by FY2013).

WHY SHOULD CAL-SAFE PROGRAMS BE SAVED? This is a very unique program focused on two vulnerable children: an expectant or parenting student (females and males) and their baby. Unlike most educational programs, Cal-SAFE is a financial “two for- the-price-of-one.” Here are some other reasons to save this program: • Successful outcomes. Independent research has found significantly higher graduation rates, exceptionally low second birth rates, babies with low birth weight at half the national rate, and baby immunization rates at nearly 100%.

• FOCUS ON ACHIEVEMENT GAP. The Superintendent is concentrating on closing the Achievement Gap. His strategy focuses on (1) early education (preschool), and (2) targeted remediation and assistance. Cal-SAFE successfully attacks the Achievement Gap at both ends.

• FOCUS ON GRADUATION. California’s high school graduation rate is approximately 60% and the rate for low income and minority students is often below 50%. Cal-SAFE students maintain a 75% graduation rate, with most planning to attend community college. This far exceeds the traditional 20% graduation rate for non-supported teen mothers.

• SECOND BIRTHS AVOIDED. The second pregnancy rate for California teenagers in these demographics is 25%. Cal-SAFE interventions have cut that rate to 1% for its students while enrolled in the program. With teen pregnancy rates on the rise, this is no time to eliminate or reduce this school support program.

• MINORITY AND LOW INCOME STUDENTS ARE THE MAJOR BENEFICIARIES. Given higher incidences associated with disadvantage and at risk, Cal-SAFE helps break generational cycles of teen pregnancy, welfare, poor parenting, lack of school readiness, and delinquency.

CONSEQUENCES OF INACTION. Here are some of the possible consequences of the failure to remedy this situation:

• Expectant and parenting students could be forced to drop out of school.

• Flexibility would permit Cal-SAFE programs to operate without requiring compliance with state regulations and standards. Babies are now experiencing unlicensed and unregulated child care, instead of the State’s highest quality, early care and education. CDE is now supervising child development programs with two sets of standards: Child Development and Preschoolcontracts with high quality (Title 5 and Title 22) standards and Cal-SAFEprograms with no standards.

• Schools and school districts may be subject to (Federal) Title IX and Special Education noncompliance and civil rights lawsuits.

• Schools are already choosing to eliminate or reduce program elements – such as transportation, child care, and reproductive health counseling – which are essential to the program’s success.

• Data collection and reporting by programs and school districts will cease or be interrupted. Vital information will not be available to decision-makers in the future.

OPTIONS: There are several approaches which could resolve this problem. Here are three:

1. Remove Cal-SAFE from the Tier Three list.
2. Make an exception for unique programs (e.g., direct service programs or “Twofer” programs) in Tier Three.
3. Modify the deeming language in the local flexibility provision.

For questions or comments, please contact:
Nina Buthee
Executive Director
California Child Development Administrators Association
1107 2nd Street, Suite 320
Sacramento, CA 95814

Please ACT TODAY or tomorrow and send a brief e-mail to the Senate Pro-Tem, Speaker of the Assembly, leaders of the Women’s Caucus, and any members of the CaliforniaWomen’s Caucus representing your district to SAVE the Cal-SAFE Program! Sending the email is quick and easy, just click on the links below.

…and contact your school board member - tell them this cut goes too deep!

The Honorable Karen Bass
Assembly Speaker
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249

The Honorable Darrell Steinberg
Senate Pro Tem
State Capitol, Room 205
Sacramento, CA 95814

Women’s Caucus Chair
The Honorable Lori Saldana
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249

The Honorable Lois Wolk
Women’s Caucus Vice-Chair
State Capitol, Room 3042
Sacramento, CA 95814

Sample Letter

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources

Sunday, May 17, 2009 12:43 AM
May 1, 2009 -- “There was a time when California was truly the Golden State; we understood that children were our No. 1 precious resource. In our Golden State there was a time when Californians recognized that a viable economy doesn’t just happen – you plan, strategize, and invest resources to build one. It is up to us to remind everyone that we must start with a vision and work together to make it happen. If we all pitch in and help, we can build the Golden State dream again. First, we need to look past our own discomfort and reach out and help others succeed. Because when we do that it comes back to us tenfold. There is a huge multiplying factor here that is capable of turning a state completely around. When the whole population joins together, we in turn build our internal capacity, and in the end, the state economy thrives. The essential ingredient in ensuring success is to ask ourselves if we have the will to make it happen. Do we have the will?”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:31 PM
On May 12, 2009, at 8:14 PM, a RIF'ed AP/EIS wrote: This is a copy of a letter that I sent to the parents at my school. [Despite assurances to the contrary] AP/EIS's (Assistant Principal/ Elementary Instructional Specialist) are still being cut. There will not be enough of us to be effective. It's a lose/lose proposition. 4LAKids background: The LAUSD definition of the AP/EIS position:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:34 AM
The new dropout number, 20.1 percent, is an extrapolation of reports from schools, rather than hard computerized data, which won't be available for several more years. By Dan Walters | Sacramento Bee Columnist May. 13, 2009 -- Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent of schools, released the new high school dropout rate Tuesday, declaring it to be "a very slight improvement" over the

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 3:55 PM
Published : Tuesday, 12 May 2009, 1:51 PM PDT Text story by City News Service from Los Angeles - The estimated four-year dropout rate for Los Angeles Unified School District high school students rose by more than 3 percent for the 2007-08 academic year, according to figures released today by the California Department of Education. According to the CDE, the estimated rate of ninth-

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 3:40 PM
Judge halts teachers' strike 12:47 PM | May 12, 2009 | LA Times blog A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has granted a restraining order prohibiting the city's teachers union from staging a one-day strike Friday. L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said he was "elated" regarding the decision by Judge James C. Chalfant, which was issued moments ago. "I’m hoping that this will provide the

The ‘L.A. Parents Union’ Reloaded: PARENTS ARE URGED TO DEMAND MORE FROM L.A. SCHOOLS: Green Dot charter operator Steve Barr wants to organize grass-roots power to improve public education.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 6:15 AM
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times - Organizer Shirley Ford talks to a parent about the Parent Revolution as she distributes fliers outside Grand View Elementary in the Mar Vista neighborhood. [A photo accompanying this story for a brief period tonight was said to be of Steve Barr. It was not.] By Howard Blume | LA Times May 11, 2009 -- Risk-taking charter school operator Steve Barr is

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 6:09 AM
LOS ANGELES TIMES A TIMES INVESTIGATION: Accused on complaints once police or prosecutors dropped criminal actions, leaving students vulnerable to molesters. By Jason Song May 10, 2009 The 13-year-old on the witness stand looked to be an ordinary adolescent, her diffident smile unveiling a set of braces. Her attorney began gently, with questions about her favorite band and trips to the

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 4:02 PM
Our City of Angels gets a new one in the garden …and new gardens in schools! Join LAUSD's School-District-Gardener-in-Residence Mud Baron, Nicole Richie, People Magazine and The New York Times (not, Mud assures 4LAKids, the four Horsepeople of the Post-Budget Crisis Apocalypse) at Bernstein High School on Tuesday, May 12 @ 10AM They're launching the (almost defunct) LAUSD SCHOOL GARDEN

The news that doesn’t fit from May 17th

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