Sunday, August 23, 2009

Process or Progress :: A CALL TO ACTION

4LAKids: Sun., Aug 23, 2009 Process or Progress
In This Issue:
THE MAYOR'S PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS & THE GREEN DOT TAKEOVER: The Times says "Lackluster", the Mayor says "Real Progress"
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?

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Process or Progress :: A CALL TO ACTION

Half-full/Half-empty | Lackluster or Real Progress: In our quest for quality public education the incremental progress made is challenged as not being enough. Our glass is half-full and filling slowly …but not fast enough. We are urged to urgency or called supporters of the status quo.

Perfect, it is said, is the enemy of good enough; politics is the art and practice of compromise. And of course, "good enough" never is.

When we make good compromises we do not fail as long as pick up our values and take them onward with us. It is when we compromise our values that we compromise our mission.

RAFE ESQUTH, the 5th Grade Teacher from Hobart Elementary in LAUSD (Disney National Teacher of the Year/OBE from the Queen of England/ $100K from Oprah/author of 'Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire'/ his students consistently score in the top 5% to 10% of the country in standardized tests) when asked in this month's Edutopia how he would spend the federal stimulus says:
"Stimulus money being sent to schools should initially be spent on two projects:
• Matches can be purchased to burn all standardized tests, ending the absurd notion that these exams have anything to do with educating a child and preparing him or her for life.
• Leftover funds should be spent on travel expenses for great young instructors to observe and learn from outstanding public school teachers with classes that are rigorous, relevant, and joyful."

THE L.A. TIMES correctly called the CST scores posted by LAUSD, the mayor's partnership and Green Dot (both at Locke and at their 'traditional' charter schools) "Lackluster". Yes they are improved …but 'lackluster' is the word.

[An aside: the word appears in the body of the article, not just the headline. Headlines are written and edited by folks more given to colorful language than reporters and copy editors.]

MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA drinks his own Kool-Aid -- the scores posted at his schools show "real progress".

COMPROMISE. Reread what Esquith says about test scores; he is the battle-tested ace of test scores. He doesn't pussyfoot -- he says what he means and means what he says. He walks away with his beliefs and principles intact.

The mayor, on the other hand, compromises his stated mission. He embraces the status quo and his own previous definition of failure and calls it real progress.

TEST SCORES DO NOT COUNT IN A STUDENT'S GRADES; they are not weighed in his or her academic performance. You can score a zero in the CST (perhaps by bubbling-in a drawing on the score sheet) and still get an A in the class (perhaps by mastering the curriculum). There is no accountability or consequences for the taker of the test. - and if you're a street-wise kid from the 'hood or a gifted scholar from suburbia you've figured this out. You may as well say "I have a little red pencil box" as "I scored 956 on the CST" …it doesn't matter to a college recruiter or future employer.

BUT TEST SCORES AND THEIR STATISTICAL PERMUTATIONS API and AYP (and PI status - plus being less than minus- what's with that?) figure like the Black Monolith from 2001 in the Cosmos of Public Education in America.

NCLB says that habitually underperforming schools (PI Year 3+) can be broken up, reconstituted like frozen orange juice from concentrate, or given to someone else to run. It's there, in the federal law.

The Flores Aguilar "Public School Choice" Resolution says that NEW schools can be broken up, reconstituted or given to someone else to run. Why fix what's broken when there're new schools to give away?


1. On Tuesday the Board of Education votes to pass or fail the so-called Choice Resolution. (The "Choice" is theirs - they choose who runs neighborhood schools and who goes to them; not the neighborhood, not the community, not the parents and/or teachers.
2. Please read everything you can about this, don't take my word for it that it's a bad idea.
3. If you only read one thing, read Richard Slawson's letter to Board President García (link follows). Slawson has been a tireless advocate for schools in his term on the Bond Oversight Committee; he has never lost track that his advocacy is on behalf of voters and taxpayers and students first and his union brothers and sisters second. Skilled construction tradespeople have built our new schools - they didn't do this to see them given away to the highest (or best-connected) bidder. The subtext is clear: this is probably illegal; if it passes there will be an inevitable court challenge.

a. In such a case an injunction will block any reform for the time being while the courts sort it out - …blocking both the ongoing reform and the promised new reform.
b. The status quo will be the legal mandate. Time and money will be wasted, progress will be arrested.
c. Kids will lose.

Even though board members may have - in their own estimation - failed at reform -- it is a gross abandonment of the public trust for them to toss up their hands and say: "Let the charter school community (or the courts) sort this out".

And the process has already been initiated; the die cast. Next month the $108 million Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center in East LA opens as a new Mayor's Partnership school - with no pretense at community input or public process - not even a board vote.

THIS ILL-THOUGHT-OUT AND EVEN MORE POORLY DISCLOSED RESOLUTION (Where are the promised amendments?) will probably pass or fail be a single vote by the Board of Ed on Tuesday. PLEASE CALL, MAIL OR WRITE YOUR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER AND TELL 'EM WHAT YOU THINK.

Copy the entire board - the contact info is below. ("What can YOU do?")

Inevitably the swing vote will be Tamar Galatzan, a candidate for city council. If anything her candidacy should make her more accountable and responsive to her constituency …if you live in the East Valley get your friends and neighbors to call/write/e-mail her. There are no partnership schools in the Valley. Her board district has a different experience with charter schools than most of LAUSD - they don't have the high-end mega-operators like the national chain Green Dot. Instead they have conversion charters in popular neighborhood schools like Grenada Hills High School, Birmingham and Colfax Elementary -- and independent small start-up's. These are the kinds of schools the charter law had in mind -- not the likely beneficiaries of the proposed resolution.

The Daily News in an editorial yesterday supporting the resolution said "the fight over the resolution has been about protecting interests". The only interests worth protecting in this fight are the almost seven hundred thousand schoolchildren in LAUSD. They are the Special Interests; they are beneficiaries of any public education reform.

Free public education is the great gift of American Democracy; this resolution proposes is to deregulate public education. How well has deregulation served airline passengers? Or power consumers? Or savings & loan and bank customers? Small Wall Street investors? Borrowers in the credit market? Read the Stanford Report …there is no magic in charter schools. All in all charter schools are just other bricks in the wall.

Choice is not about Request for Proposals and lotteries and waiting lists or "my school is better than your school". Choice is about choosing the best school and program for your child, not having it chosen for you.

So, ¡Onward/Hasta adelante! with the homework …and thank you in advance.

- smf


THE MAYOR'S PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS & THE GREEN DOT TAKEOVER: The Times says "Lackluster", the Mayor says "Real Progress"
By Howard Blume - LA Times Staff Writer

9:30 AM PDT, August 18, 2009 -- The two highest-profile school-reform efforts in Los Angeles -- the mayor's schools and the conversion of Locke High into six charter schools -- achieved lackluster results in state test scores released this morning.

The picture was mixed for 10 schools overseen by appointees of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. At one school, Markham Middle School in Watts, test scores declined slightly. On the brighter side, test scores bumped up strongly at 99th Street Elementary.

Overall, scores at these schools rose, but so did scores at most other district schools, and the mayor's schools did not ostensibly separate themselves from the pack.

"We are encouraged, but not satisfied," said Marshall Tuck, chief executive of the mayor's Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. "We are showing real progress and continue to have a strong sense of urgency to work at these schools to increase student achievement and give these children the high-quality education they deserve."

At Locke High in South Los Angeles, an intensive makeover by an outside charter operator failed to bring up test scores. Last year, 12.7% of students tested proficient in English; this year the number was 12.4%. Last year, 2% of students were proficient in math; same for this year.

But there was an important -- if more subtle -- marker of progress in the view of officials from Green Dot Public Schools, the nonprofit management organization that took over Locke. The number of test-takers exploded because the campus had more students at the end of the year and a higher percentage of them took the tests.

In May 2008, for example, 1,546 students took the state's English test; this year, that number rose to 2,130, an increase of 38%. The number of math test-takers rose by the same percentage.

Green Dot officials claim its dropout rate plummeted by just over 86%. It counts 19 dropouts and eight expulsions compared to 223 dropouts the prior year. Those figures won't be confirmed through the state's dropout tracking system for some time, and the numbers could change considerably, but the final statistics are unlikely to wipe out all the gains.

Green Dot's analysis is that test scores remained stable even as hundreds of lower-performing students were kept in school.

"A big part of this is building a college-going culture and kids feeling safe on campus," said Kelly Hurley, a senior Green Dot administrator. "I think we're there, but we have a lot of work to do in getting kids to grade level."

Statewide, test scores were up, although little progress was made on closing the achievement gap separating black and Latino students from their white and Asian counterparts. Some of the increase results from about 2% of the lowest-scoring disabled students being removed from the test pool and allowed to take a modified assessment.

In L.A. Unified, schools with some of the biggest improvements in math included Playa Del Rey and Arminta elementary schools, Holmes and Portola middle schools, and Bell High School. Notable improvements in English scores were achieved by 54th Street and 74th Street elementary schools, Mount Gleason Middle School and Hollywood and Fairfax high schools.

by Antonio Villaraigosa - Mayor of the City of Los Angeles in the Huffington Post

August 18, 2009 02:21 PM - Today is a big day for the schools in California and, of course, for the ten Partnership Schools here in Los Angeles that I oversee. Test scores in English, Math, Science and other subject areas are being released.

So how did we do?

Test Scores are up.

In just one short year we have changed the culture of low expectations at ten of the lowest performing schools in Los Angeles. We have shown that even in schools that have been neglected for decades, when you raise standards and hold schools accountable, the kids will respond.

In English, nine out of ten Partnership schools improved their scores. And in Math and Science, eight out of ten schools improved.

Half of our schools out-paced the district in English scores and four out-paced the district in Math.

Our elementary schools soared, improving their English scores at a rate of 8.5% while the LAUSD elementary schools improved by 4.9%. Math scores improved by 3.9% compared to LAUSD elementary schools improving by 2.5%.

This is real progress and real change where it is absolutely the hardest to achieve.

While we are very encouraged by this improved achievement, we are not satisfied. We have a long way to go to get our middle schools and high schools on the path to achievement.

Congratulations to all of our schools -- 99th Street, Figueroa, Ritter, Sunrise, Gompers, Hollenbeck, Markham, Stevenson, Roosevelt and Santee.

Watch out next year, here we come!

Bill Ring writes to 4LAKids

There's a lot of heat in LA these days but little light, I'm afraid.

Mayor Villaraigosa's Partnership for Los Angeles schools (PLAS) has apparently been successful in replacing one bureaucracy with another.

Parents and community members around Roosevelt High are reported to be in open revolt to say nothing of the vote of no confidence by the teachers staffing the PLAS schools. While I fully agree that employees in LA public schools have always taken ownership of the schools without an authentic willingness to partner with parents in shared decision making over planning and policy, the resolution currently before our Board of Ed must be masquerading as an effort by certain boardmembers on "Public School Choice"- if, as The Center for Education Reform in Washington D.C. describes in recent correspondence, its genesis really lies with our Mayor. The same Mayor who launched a takeover of LA public schools legislatively via AB 1381 …which the court found in violation of our state constitution.

In light of what has transpired at the PLAS schools, what makes anyone think our Mayor has the answers?

• Yes, parents across our district want powerful schools with relationships that work - not a system that rewards failure.
• We want to move from a culture of compliance to a culture of accountability (how much of the achievement gap is an accountability gap?)

As Steven R Covey says in THE LEADER IN ME, "We only get one chance to prepare our students for a future that none of us can possibly predict".

What are we going to do with that one chance?

We agree bold action is needed…. but true public school choice means I have a choice as a parent as to the school my child will attend.


I choose.

• It doesn't mean I have a choice to be wait-listed for a
1) Successful,
2) Questionable, or
3) Untested charter school

….or to have my name thrown in the hat for a lottery (and I say this as a founding family member of New West Charter Middle School in LA and a supporter of public charter schools);

• It doesn't mean I have a choice to send my child to a school where the district is going to appoint a must-place principal or someone with poor leadership skills to replace a team-builder;
• It doesn't mean that I have a choice to send my child to a school where the as-yet untenured teachers who have been bonding with and showing success with students & developing strong relationships in the school community are going to be let go;
• It doesn't mean that under NCLB, the school district will put my child in a school of THEIR choice when I exercise my right to have my child moved from a Program Improvement (PI) school.

Authentic public school choice is more than this.

Further, the resolution as introduced ignores the fact that we have long had schools in LA characterized as PI 4, 5, 5+ schools - and under such designation, the school district has had the opportunity for years to reconstitute such schools, to turn them over to third parties or to convert them to charters. The real question may be: Why has LAUSD ignored Federal law?

As parents, we all thirst for real choice …but I'd rather stay thirsty than drink the Kool-Aid. I'll buy the next round if you'll drink with me.

• Bill Ring is a parent leader in LAUSD, former chair of the Parent Collaborative and the chair of the Local District 3 Parent Advisory Committee. He is the founder of TransParent® and holds the California State PTA Honorary Service Award. He can be contacted at The above echoes verbatim comments Nill made to the LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee about the Public School Choice Resolution last Wednesday.

Random Thoughts by Diana L. Chapman | CityWatch, an insider look at City Hall

Friday, August 21, 2009 -- I remember it clearly.

It was a pupil free day for Los Angeles schools and my son and his friends wanted to play a pick-up game of soccer. As other parents had done before, I drove them over to Bogdanovich Park in San Pedro and left.

As soon as I got home, Ryan was calling to come back and get them. The soccer field, despite it being a public Los Angeles park, could not be used unless the non-profit, AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) cleared it. No one was allowed to play there, accept for organized soccer games.

We left sadly: and a soccer field sat virtually empty for the rest of the day – despite thousands of children being out of school across Los Angeles.

As I wrote before, this same issue nags at me with the resolution to pack off our LAUSD schools to other organizations, such as charter schools, and non-profits – including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s partnership for schools.

Despite repeated steps upward in test scores, our public schools – in order to remain in charge– will now have to compete with these other organizations.

This will include all newly built campuses and any school that has failed to make the state/nation standards.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines should have a defined resolution by the Aug. 25, a school official said, to take to the school board that will clarify some of the concerns.

I’ll confess right up front. I’m nervous – and so are many others who emailed me after I wrote about the proposal.

Only two emailed support of this plan, and that was from LAUSD Board Member’s Chief of Staff, David Kooper and surprisingly, Former School Board Member Mike Lansing, who believes it’s time for change.

But many others, mostly parents, sent in a variety of concerns.

I know fear is not a reason to turn down a potential concept – but more than ever – I believe this needs a good, healthy debate.

My fear is that we will give away the store?

And if it doesn’t work, what do we have to do to get schools back?

Here are a series of comments I received:

“Thank you for your article on the resolution before LAUSD,”emailed Zella Knight, a parent of a gifted 16-year-old. “I have found that LAUSD has the tenacity with its varied leaders to author plans for change.... all of which still emphasize that "Houston we have a problem.

“The core element to this plan is that parents will not have a viable mechanism for input and accountability. LAUSD remains a program improvement district, with schools in varied areas that are not improving in their programs.

We still have a disconnect with the parents relative to addressing their needs

and alignment with the law for parent involvement. We can develop or morph plan after plan, the question and challenge is when will parents take charge with their children and what happens to them?”

John Mattson, who is fed up with the city after living initially in El Segundo where he felt his needs were met and later moved to San Pedro, said the resolution confirms what he already believed – both the district and the city need to be broken up.

“Right on the mark,” wrote Mattson, an advocate for all the suburbs to secede from LA, or at least splitting it into boroughs. “I compare LA and LAUSD to Frankenstein’s monster. It was created as a “good idea,” but turned into something with a mind of its own which no one can control. …It’s very scary to think that NY seems to run better than LA.

“It is time that local government is returned to the locals.”

Teresa Feldman, a parent whose children attend LAUSD schools and who serves on the Mid City West Neighborhood Council and works as a district aide, contends that the district was not mandated to build new schools through ballot measures to hand them over to charters and non-profits. Bond measures were passed to construct new schools for some of the neediest populations and she wonders if this action is even legal

Charters, she argued, may refuse some students who live in surrounding neighborhoods and are likely to “cherry pick” and “skew data.”

If the district votes for the proposal, they should force the charters to serve all neighborhood children first – and if the district had intended to hand the newly constructed schools over to charters, they should have spelled that out in the bond measures.

“I never voted to take prime sites away from the neediest and give them to a group that just "wants" the space,” Feldman wrote. “This is a terrible disservice to the neediest families in the district.

Imagine being a child in one of these neighborhoods; you watch the construction for years, and then you find out that it's being given away to some outside organization, and they may or may not take you.”

Further, Feldman argued, Cortines should go back to an initial plan that existed when he first worked for the district and had a report done to break the district up into smaller, autonomous divisions.

Lastly, Neal Kleiner, a former LAUSD principal who, in a contentious campaign ran against but lost to Vladovic in the school board race, said he too has many concerns about where this resolution is headed.

“I sincerely believe it's not whether the school is a "charter" or not, that makes the difference. It is the leadership at the school and the willingness of the stakeholders to work together for the benefit of the students. Yes, there are failing schools (and failing charters) and there are some excellent schools (and charters). You can spend time walking through a school/classrooms and you can tell if the place is functional or not.

“The School Board turning over 50 new schools to a variety of charters/mayor's schools, etc. is just a way to placate the mayor. It is NOT in the best interest of the public.”

(Diana L. Chapman was a journalist for 15 years with the Daily Breeze and the San Diego Union. She can be reached

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 -- HOW do we fix the schools, especially schools in urban school districts? That is the recurrent theme that grows more relevant as kids return to school in a few weeks.

Everyone has suggested fixes including, but not limited to, charter schools, greater financing, getting rid of poor teachers, getting rid of the administrative bureaucracy, giving teachers greater control of individual schools, eliminating the influence of unions, special tutoring for students who lag behind, developing stronger discipline policies, and parent involvement.

While many of these suggestions have a great deal of merit, there is one that begs greater attention from the educational community and society as a whole, and that is parent involvement.

Regrettably, a serious discussion of the causes of the lack of parent involvement in the schools is the deadly "third rail" of any public discourse relative to improving urban schools; that is, there is fear of openly discussing the virulent effect that generations of poor child-rearing practices - at every level of society, especially in poor communities - has had on public education.

Few in liberal, progressive or other circles wish to publicly recognize the destructive effects years of poverty and societal neglect have had on parenting practices. Doing so risks being accused of elitism, of "blaming the victim" or, worse, of racism.

The term "parent involvement" means different things to different people. For some it means involvement in parent-teachers associations or other parent groups at a school. For others, it may mean volunteering to assist with the myriad of tasks and responsibilities at a busy school. For others still, it may mean raising funds for needed activities at the school. And for the really committed, bless them, involvement may combine some or all of the latter.

Yet, the type of parent involvement that is desperately needed from all parents, and is the most difficult to obtain, is the type that takes active and daily personal interest in one's own child's performance with regard to both academic achievement and social behavior.

Involved parents make sure their children's daily attendance and punctuality is excellent. They supervise homework and make sure it's returned on time. They promptly respond to contacts by teachers and other school personnel. They regularly show up for scheduled parent conferences.

Involved parents let their children know, in no uncertain terms, that they are united with the school in their dedication to help their children grow and benefit from their time in school.

In fairness, teachers and administrators must treat parent inquiries with respect and not be threatened when negative allegations are made. And it goes without saying that teachers and administrators must acknowledge their wrong decisions and make amends when necessary. But involved parents must do the same - admit when their children have been wrong and correct them when necessary.

I would guess that if forced to choose, most people in schools today would favor the type of parent involvement I just described. But it comes at a cost. It calls for intensive parent training, and getting the parents most in need of the training to participate will be extremely difficult.

Who will be willing to identify the families and who will take the responsibility to design and implement public programs to assist them? Let's get the discussion going.

• Dr. Stuart Bernstein is a former administrator in the LAUSD who served as interim principal at Manual Arts High School last year. He is a senior adviser to the Amber Group, a private consulting firm dealing with issues in education.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
"The nation's public schools are slated to be major -- and deserving -- benefactors of President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. WHAT SHOULD BE THE FIRST PRIORITY IN EDUCATION SPENDING?"
from the September Edutopia Magazine

GET PERSONAL: Action to close the Achievement Gap begins with blunt talk.
by Linda Nathan | in the Sept '09 Edutopia | Illustrations by Wesley Bedrosian No issue in American education is talked about more or with more agony and frustration than the achievement gap. Current government policy, which I characterize wistfully as testing our way to equality, has done little to make things better. In fact, many of the practices introduced in the name of closing the gap…

SCORING THE TESTS - Re “Test scores offer reality check at mayor’s schools,” Aug 19, and “A Year at Locke: The real test,” Editorial, Aug. 19
Letters to the Editor of the LA Times | August 21, 2009 It doesn't matter whether the mayor, the LAUSD or Green Dot administers the schools. It doesn't matter if the teachers are brand new or long experienced. What matters is whether or not the parents emphasize education and make sure their children attend school every day and do their schoolwork at home and in the classroom.

by smf & LAUSD FSD staff for 4LAKids HEADLINE IN THE LA INDEPENDENT: LAUSD considers property tax increase: District could hike taxes without voter approval to help pay off school construction bonds Los Angeles Unified School District officials want to raise property taxes to help repay school bonds. The article goes on to cite: "little-known legal protections for bond…

The state's powerful teachers unions criticize the governor's sweeping proposals, including merit pay for teachers. The plan would help qualify the state for Obama administration funds.
By Jason Song and Jason Felch | LA Times August 21, 2009 -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called on legislators Thursday to adopt sweeping education reforms that would dramatically reshape California's public…

Random Thoughts by Diana L. Chapman | CityWatch, an insider look at City Hall 21 August -- I remember it clearly. It was a pupil free day for Los Angeles schools and my son and his friends wanted to play a pick-up game of soccer. As other parents had done before, I drove them over to Bogdanovich Park in San Pedro and left. As soon as I got home, Ryan was calling to come back and get…

By Lesli A. Maxwell -- Ed Week
August 21, 2009 -- Fed up with the slow pace of academic improvement in the nation’s second-largest school district, some Los Angeles education leaders are seeking to open up the management of 50 new schools set to open in the city over the next four years. Outside operators or in-house talent would compete to manage the schools, as well as to take on the task…


IT'S A CHARTER YEAR AND A NEW FUTURE FOR BIRMINGHAM HIGH: The Valley campus begins the school year independent of L.A. Unified control. Charter supporters had to overcome numerous obstacles, including internal dissension, cash shortage and lawsuits.
By Mitchell Landsberg | LA Times ( Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times / August 19, 2009 )

A Year @ Locke: STATE EXAMS AND THE REAL TEST - Results on the standardized tests were lackluster, but the school gets high marks in other indicators of progress.
LA Times Editorial A YEAR AT LOCKE smf notes: The Times’ A YEAR @ LOCKE editorialist (now into year #2 on this series) – has been an unabashed cheerleader for Green Dot. Green Dot has historically used test score results to attack LAUSD – yet, with ‘lackluster’ results in CST scores at Locke – and at other Green Dot charter campuses – seems to be a late adopter of other measurements of…

Transcript Of John Merrow Produced Segment on ohe PBS Newshour 18 August -- Two years into a bold effort to reform the city's school system, Washington, D.C., has seen gains in reading and writing proficiency among students. But while scores are up, critics are asking whether reforms have actually made district schools better off …

By Stu Bernstein | Op-Ed in the LA Daily News 08/18/2009 11:05:04 AM-- HOW do we fix the schools, especially schools in urban school districts? That is the recurrent theme that grows more relevant as kids return to school in a few weeks. Everyone has suggested fixes including, but not limited to, charter schools, greater financing, getting rid of poor teachers, getting rid of the…

from the Ventura County Star

Here is his statement: Colleagues, Please join me in an action to call for the restoration of State education funds. As you well know, Governor Schwarzenegger has led a confrontation over our state budget. Backed by a 2/3 vote rule necessary to raise any new revenues, the Governor's leadership has brought cuts to education which could be felt for a generation of…

by smf for 4LAKids
17 August -- Monday evening saw the latest (and smoothest running) in the series of districtwide meetings about what to do with New and Underperforming Schools. Those challenges are not one and the same …but if you have a hammer every problem looks like a nail This meeting was held at Hamilton High School in Local District 3, hosted by LD3 Superintendent Michelle King,…

EPA BEGINS MONITORING AROUND GARY, INDIANA SCHOOL … AND A LAUSD SCHOOL TOO! Samples will measure pollution to understand health effects on children.
By Gitte Laasby, Gary Post-Tribune staff writer August 12, 2009 -- GARY -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will start monitoring the air around Jefferson Elementary School in Gary for toxics starting Aug. 23. The move is an effort to understand whether toxic air pollution poses health concerns to school children. In Gary, the EPA will keep an eye on metal particles, volatile organic…

By SAM DILLON – New York Times “We’ll do everything in our power,” State Senator Gloria Romero said, “to make sure that California is in compliance with the expectations of the Obama administration.” August 17, 2009 -- Holding out billions of dollars as a potential windfall, the Obama administration is persuading state after state to rewrite education laws to open the door to more…

HARD-HIT SCHOOLS TRY PUBLIC RELATIONS PUSH: Districts Facing Declines in Enrollment Use Marketing Campaigns to Win Back Students -- and the State Funding They Bring
By STEPHANIE SIMON | THE WALL STREET JOURNAL AUGUST 17, 2009 -- Public schools in the U.S. have added professional marketing to their back-to-school shopping lists. Financially struggling urban districts are trying to win back students fleeing to charter schools, private schools and suburban districts that offer open enrollment. Administrators say they are working hard to improve…

Monday, August 17, 2009 11:14 AM
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer | Metropolitan News-Enterprise - A Los Angeles daily newspaper focusing largely on law and the courts 17 August - A former teacher at San Fernando High School may sue school officials whom he alleges forced him out of his job for complaining about how the school was run and engaging in off-campus political activities, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s…

The news that didn't fit from Aug 23rd

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 • 213-241-6386 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6385 • 213-241-6387
...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.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE.
• If you are registered, VOTE LIKE THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT.

Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD. He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represents PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee and the BOC on the Board of Education Facilities Committee. He is the president of his neighborhood council. He is a Health Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT 2009 "WHO" Gold Award for his support of education and public schools - an honor he hopes to someday deserve. • 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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