Saturday, November 07, 2009

BQ ≤ Pu

4LAKids: Sunday 8•Nov•2009
In This Issue:
SIX LAUSD SCHOOLS RECEIVE BLUE RIBBON HONORS: Two Valley campuses on U.S. Department of Education's A-list
LAUSD REFORMS MAY SKIP PILOT SCHOOLS: District, teachers union at odds over expansion plan.
ENROLLMENT DIPS AT L.A. UNIFIED: The loss of students, apparently to charter schools in some cases, is bad news for the district's budget
NO WAY TO SECURE SCHOOL FUNDING + BETRAYING THE CALIFORNIA DREAM: We're destroying the education system that made the state great
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:
4 LAKids on Twitter
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.
Congratulations to the students, faculty, parents and staffs at
• 156TH STREET SCHOOL in Gardena
– named Friday as National Blue Ribbon Schools — the country's top honor for schools. Good job!


WHILE DRIVING ACROSS TOWN the other evening – minding my own business (something the LAUSD superintendent and Board of Ed would prefer I’d do more of) the pundits on National Public Radio engaged in a debate: “Is Afghanistan Ungovernable?” (Historically it has been …at least since the time of Alexander the Great.)

A déjà vu alert sounded somewhere in the deep recesses, disturbing old locker combinations and the atomic number of cesium – and an odd synapse fired in dim recall of similar rhetorical questions asked and unanswered - ancient and new:

• Is California ungovernable?
• Is LAUSD ungovernable?
• The city and county of L.A.?
• The state of LA – except by the likes of Jean Lafitte and members of the Long family?

Maybe ungovernability is a state of nature …like chaos.

If that’s true the charter operators are in for a rough ride …and the pilot scholars better fasten their seatbelts and stow their laptops deep in their flight bags.

Only a month or so back PILOT SCHOOLS were the flavor o’ reform o’ th’ moment; now UCLA is pulling back [see UCLA's LAB SCHOOL EXPANSION IS POSTPONED in 4LAKids 18Oct09] and (swap the ‘C’ for a ‘T’) UTLA is seeming to be having their own second thoughts. [LAUSD REFORMS MAY SKIP PILOT SCHOOLS] And Ray Cortines threatens: "If the union puts a moratorium on pilots, I will push for more charters."

The best headline this week is “FORD FOUNDATION GIVES $100 MILLION TO REFORM URBAN HIGH SCHOOLS”. Until one realizes that for every dollar invested by the Ford’s and the Hewlett’s and the Gates’ (or even the feds) the state is cutting the budget by a far greater amount. The Ford Foundation’s $100 million is a nationwide commitment over seven years. There are 27,468 US high schools; this represents $520 per school per year. $100M just becomes some bake sale money …not to mention the strings attached.

THE CITY COUNCIL, unable to balance the city budget or hire the magic bullet/benchmark of TEN THOUSAND POLICEMEN instead have mandated (or maybe requested) school uniforms at all LAUSD schools. Never mind that about one third of LAUSD is outside their jurisdiction …or that they have no jurisdiction in LAUSD anyway. And while we wonder in wonderment at them wasting their own time, wonder about this: Why didn’t the lottery money fix education funding? …or hiking the trash fees hire those 10K policemen? Do the Algebra: BQ ≤ Pu. The bloviation quotient among the electeds is exceeded by promises unkept.

MORE TO WONDER ABOUT: The feds are putting billion$ into the stimulus so that folks will spend and turn the economy around. And the State of California in rare bipartisan agreement is merrily increasing payroll withholding by 10% so that the opposite happens …and right at the beginning of the holiday shopping season to boot! Raising withholding is not raising taxes – it just takes the stimulus money out of circulation. Do the Econ: someone is failing elementary school Keynesian economics – and they are doing it in Sacramento.

Meanwhile Superintendent Cortines was in China this week - sharing best practices and lessons learned in his career in education – telling the Chinese how to run their schools. He is the guest of a group that identifies ‘élite’ (their word) Chinese students and qualifies them for ‘élite’ US and European university educations. These very young people – the future workforce completion for the kids he and we are educating here – are described by Thomas L. Friedman in “The World is Flat” as being the folks poised to ‘eat our lunch’ in the globalized 21st Century.

But, in truth, that doesn’t even come close. I have, over my desk, a poster from a Chinese university that asks: “What good is a 21st Century Education if it doesn’t prepare us for the 22nd?”

That, gentle reader, is the goal to which we must advance …Onward! -smf

SIX LAUSD SCHOOLS RECEIVE BLUE RIBBON HONORS: Two Valley campuses on U.S. Department of Education's A-list
By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

Nov 7, 220 -- WEST HILLS — Two San Fernando Valley campuses were among an elite group Friday to receive a National Blue Ribbon — the country's top honor for schools.

Parents, teachers and students at Hamlin Street Elementary in West Hills and Danube Avenue Elementary in Granada Hills cheered the good news.

"We don't always get a lot of recognition," said Victoria Christie, principal of Hamlin Street.

"This really lets us know that we are doing things right."

Beyond doing things right, to earn the top honor from the U.S. Department of Education a school has to excel on a number of fronts. It has to meet all of the federal government's goals for student proficiency in reading and math, or it has to have a dramatic improvement in test scores. The feat is so difficult that this year only 264 schools in the country - and six in the Los Angeles Unified School District - earned the honor.

"This recognition reflects excellent instruction, a strong focus on academic achievement, a learning environment that meets the needs of all students, and stellar results," said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

"These jewels of LAUSD outperform schools with similar enrollments throughout California and demonstrate one of our core beliefs: All children can learn and excel."

Across the district, Clifford Street Elementary in Echo Park, Delevan Drive Elementary in Eagle Rock, Solano Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles and 156th Street School in Gardena were also recognized with the designation.
'Hard work can pay off'
All six schools shared above-average test scores, based on the Academic Performance Index - the state's key standardized test benchmark that is graded on a 200 to 1,000 point scale.

Danube Avenue earned an API of 837 last year and Hamlin Street scored 886 — well above the state's goal for all schools of 800 and LAUSD's average score of 694.

Performing dances and songs from Hawaii, Japan and China, and sporting blue "Hamlin Husky" T-shirts and sweaters, students at Hamlin celebrated the big award Friday during a school assembly.

Fifth-grader Connor Ferguson even thanked his teachers for pushing him so hard in the classroom.

"This makes me so proud of my school," Connor said. "It shows that hard work can pay off."

Christie, who arrived at Hamlin five years ago, credited her teachers' use of student data and targeted intervention programs during the school day with boosting her school's scores.

"It helps us figure out exactly what kind of help every child needs," Christie said.
Nurtured by teachers
Danube Avenue Elementary School plans to host an event to commemorate the award next year, when the school gets its Blue Ribbon logo painted in the front entrance of the school, the school's principal, Sharon Geier, said.

She praised her staff for helping her students excel academically.

"It is our goal to ensure that every child achieves his or her full potential," Geier said.

"When any of us — an administrator, a teacher or a member of our support staff — see a test score, we see a child, not a number."

Teachers at Hamlin also stressed they pay attention to students' emotional needs. At Hamlin almost half of all students come from low-income families and a third are learning English as a second language.

"Sometimes we find ourselves playing several roles — teacher, parent, counselor — the bottom line is we will do whatever it takes to get our kids to do their best," said Ricki Averback, a second-grade teacher at Hamlin Street.

Mayby Iraheta, a mother of a fourth- and second-grader at Hamlin and a sixth-grader who graduated from the school last year, said her children also feel nurtured by their teachers — something she thinks ultimately helps her kids do better.

"Our kids excel here because teachers work hard and care," Iraheta said. "This has been happening here for a long time. It is just today that the rest of the world hears about it."

LAUSD REFORMS MAY SKIP PILOT SCHOOLS: District, teachers union at odds over expansion plan.
Cortines: "If the union puts a moratorium on pilots, I will push for more charters."

By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Newspaper Group/Daily News

Posted: 11/05/2009 09:33:32 PM PST/Updated: 11/05/2009 09:48:53 PM PST

Nov. 6 -- With just 10 days left before Los Angeles Unified begins accepting bids from outside operators to run some of its underperforming schools, the best option for the district to retain some of those schools might not be available.

Pilot schools — small schools where parents and staff have more influence, but the district still has control — have expanded in recent years as an alternative to traditional schools. They are also an alternative to popular charter schools, which are publicly financed but operate independently of the district.

Both types of schools are eligible to take over operation of traditional public schools under the district's ambitious "Schools Choice Plan."

But because the district and the teachers union have not been able to agree on a plan to expand the number of pilot schools, now limited to 10, it might not be an option at a time in the district's history when options and choices are needed most.

Since teachers at pilot schools work under a more flexible contract, the teachers union is uneasy about seeing them grow without more protection for teachers. District officials, which see the pilot schools as an innovative way of reforming schools without giving up control, want the union to step out of the way and allow pilot school expansion.

"I will not allow some teacher representatives to hold back educational progress ...," LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said recently in an interview. "If the union puts a moratorium on pilots, I will push for more charters."

The district would like to have an agreement by next week ahead of the Nov. 15 deadline for the first round of applications.

But United Teachers Los Angeles officials say certain elements of the contract need to be changed to ensure teachers are protected.

For example, UTLA wants to see teacher discipline handled by arbitration, rather than by LAUSD personnel, as the pilot school contract currently allows.

"I am trying to come up with contract language that expands pilots and that also has the possibility of passing a vote of my governing bodies," said UTLA President A.J. Duffy.

The pilot school model, imported to Los Angeles from Boston, has been generally supported by UTLA because it gives teachers more control.

At a pilot school, a board made up of teachers, parents, administrators and students in high school makes all budget, curriculum, calendar and staffing decisions.

But the amended contract under which teachers work at pilot schools — known as a "thin" contract because it is 70 pages compared to the standard 300-page contract — also streamlines several policies affecting teachers, including how they are hired, fired and disciplined.

As the union continues to work on a new proposal with the district, community organizations have begun to pressure UTLA to approve an expansion of pilots, and protests are being organized by local groups for next week.

Duffy said he understands the community's frustration.

"There are some very well-meaning people within the union who do not see change as something that is necessary, and I disagree," he said.

In the meantime, district officials in charge of guiding schools through LAUSD's reform effort say their hands are tied now as they wait for an agreement on pilot schools.

"The union is holding this hostage, and we find that unacceptable," said Edmundo Rodriguez, LAUSD's pilot school director.

"There are literally hundreds of teachers and thousands of parents that cannot stand to function in the same old educational system."

Currently there are seven pilot schools districtwide, all located around the Pico-Union neighborhood west of downtown, with 10 expected to open soon.

Rodriguez said an additional 40 schools across the district have now expressed interest in converting their schools to a pilot model, including at least half of the schools that LAUSD put out for bid under the school choice plan.

"I don't understand why the union would stand in the way of the most progressive option currently available for schools who want reform but also want to maintain district and UTLA affiliations," said Veronica Melvin, executive director of Alliance for a Better Community.

"It is so odd that they choose to do this now ... at a time when leadership is needed more than ever to allow reform to happen."

ENROLLMENT DIPS AT L.A. UNIFIED: The loss of students, apparently to charter schools in some cases, is bad news for the district's budget

By Howard Blume | LA Times

November 4, 2009 -- An apparent exodus of students to charter schools, combined with an overall enrollment decline, is disrupting Los Angeles-area schools and exacerbating an ongoing budget crisis.

Local independently run charter schools added more than 9,500 students this fall, a surge of almost 19% to more than 60,000. At the same time, enrollment is down more than 19,000 students, about 3%, at schools affiliated with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Total district enrollment has fallen to 678,441, down from a peak of 747,009 in 2003.

The drop has long-term implications, because school districts receive funding based on student attendance. Some ramifications are immediate: Schools simply cannot afford to employ more teachers than their student enrollment will pay for. The result is that many schools had to release teachers and distribute students into other classes a month or more into the school year.

The latest disruption comes on the heels of the layoffs of about 2,000 teachers in July. For the moment, no additional layoffs are planned, officials said. Edged-out teachers fill vacancies elsewhere or work as substitutes on full salary until a position opens. But that doesn't make the sudden changes any less disruptive.

By district calculations, Mulholland Middle School in Van Nuys had about eight teachers too many, though clever schedule shuffling and budget management reduced the casualties to four teachers.

Each of the four had been directly responsible for about 175 students, and almost no one among the school's 1,750 students escaped the effects.

Physical education classes, which already had been packed with more than 50 students, are now accommodating more than 60. At least one class ballooned briefly to 70. Elective computer classes ended; that teacher was needed for math. The band teacher agreed to mix beginners in with his advanced class, frustrating for eighth-grader Richard Catalan.

He also misses his former math teacher. "And classes are larger," he said. "It's harder for teachers to keep track of how the lesson is progressing."

Principal John White postponed back-to-school night for a month and Assistant Principal Jacqueline Purdy led a crisis team that reworked the schedule, giving priority to placing qualified teachers in core academic classes.

Purdy paid a former school clerk out of her own pocket to help out. The clerk had been bumped from the campus during the recent budget cuts.

Teacher Ricardo Stewart agreed to handle sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade history, tripling his preparation duties. Albert Estrada added on sixth-grade math and sixth-grade science to his eighth-grade science responsibilities. Match coach Gabriel Ortega added a math class to his full-time teacher-training duties while three other teachers gave up planning periods.

"It's hard getting used to new teachers, and new faces in the classrooms," said eighth-grader Emily Pinto. "It was a big adjustment."

Overall, the Mulholland faculty has shrunk by about 10 teachers and the enrollment by about 100 students, said Assistant Principal John Ford.

"The classes are kind of big," said Eva Vargas, Emily's mother. "And then they had to move all their schedules around. I'm worried that they're a little behind in math."

At the Santee Education Complex, a high school south of downtown, the faculty has shrunk from 140 to about 100 in a year, said Principal Richard J. Chavez. And ninth-grade enrollment was 200 fewer than expected.

Many factors affect enrollment, including birth rates, the availability of jobs and housing prices, but the growth of charter schools hasn't abated. Charters are publicly funded and operate free of many district regulations.

This fall, the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, a charter organization, opened five new schools, a connection not missed by Santee teacher Jose Lara.

"We think some of the students are going to charters," Lara said. "We've got to improve our educational program and prove to the community that we're doing a good job as well."


NO WAY TO SECURE SCHOOL FUNDING + BETRAYING THE CALIFORNIA DREAM: We're destroying the education system that made the state great
► NO WAY TO SECURE SCHOOL FUNDING: A bill that would attract federal school grants also includes too many disparate ideas to be practical.
Los Angeles Times Editorial

November 4, 2009 -- If California schools want a piece of $4.2 million in new federal education grants, they'll have to make some changes. Legislation* by state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) and several coauthors would pave the way for those changes, but the bill is so awkwardly constructed at this point, with so many unnecessary and possibly harmful additions, that it doesn't deserve the fast-track passage Romero is seeking.

The bill moves in the right direction in enacting common-sense reforms that were outlined by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan as requirements for states that want to compete for Race to the Top grants. The grants are intended to spur innovation at lackluster schools across the nation. One prerequisite: eliminating state limits on the number of charter schools that can be created. That's currently 100 per year in California. Romero's bill would lift the limit.

But from there, Romero goes off in her own direction with an unrelated proposal that would open enrollment throughout California's public schools. Children in low-performing schools could transfer to whatever school they wanted, in any district, whether or not those schools were open to taking more students, unless they could show they have no possible space. The Obama administration hasn't demanded any such change, and good public schools already have an incentive to welcome outside enrollment: They get more state money for each student. Legislation passed earlier this year will encourage more districts to admit students from outside their boundaries, but that's a decision each district should be free to make for itself.

Another provision would shut down some underperforming schools and send the students to surrounding schools. It's true that districts have been too reluctant to completely revamp failing schools, and the state needs a mechanism to force their hands. But those schools should be reconstituted with new leadership and staff and an improvement plan -- or be handed to a charter operator -- rather than having their doors shut. This bill would force students into longer commutes to schools that, in Los Angeles Unified at least, already are crowded.

Romero has tossed a hodgepodge of disparate ideas into this bill, some good, some poorly thought out, and others that already have been achieved through previous legislation. As her bill goes to committee this week, it should be streamlined into a simple piece of legislation that accomplishes one aim: qualifying California schools for the federal funds they urgently need.


CALIFORNIA'S HIGHER-EDUCATION DEBACLE: Watching the decline of the California State University system from within its boardroom mirrors the erosion of the California dream.

Op-Ed By Jeff Bleich | LA Times

November 4, 2009 -- For nearly six years, I have served on the Board of Trustees of the California State University system -- the last two as its chairman. This experience has been more than just professional; it has been a deeply personal one. With my term ending soon, I need to share my concern -- and personal pain -- that California is on the verge of destroying the very system that once made this state great.

I came to California because of the education system. I grew up in Connecticut and attended college back East on partial scholarships and financial aid. I also worked part time, but by my first year of grad school, I'd maxed out my financial aid and was relying on loans that charged 14% interest. Being a lawyer had been my dream, but my wife and I could not afford for me to go to any law schools back East.

I applied to UC Berkeley Law School because it was the only top law school in the U.S. that we could afford. It turned out to be the greatest education I have ever received. And I got it because the people of California -- its leaders and its taxpayers -- were willing to invest in me.

For the last 20 years, since I graduated, I have felt a duty to pay back the people of this state. When I had to figure out where to build a practice, buy a home, raise my family and volunteer my time and energy, I chose California. I joined a small California firm -- Munger, Tolles & Olson -- and eventually became a partner. This year, American Lawyer magazine named us the No. 1 firm in the nation.

That success is also California's success. It has meant millions of dollars in taxes paid to California, hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer time donated to California, houses built and investments made in California, and hundreds of talented people attracted to work in and help California.

My story is not unique. It is the story of California's rise from the 1960s to the 1990s. Millions of people stayed here and succeeded because of their California education. We benefited from the foresight of an earlier generation that recognized it had a duty to pay it forward.

That was the bargain California made with us when it established the California Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960. By making California the state where every qualified and committed person can receive a low-cost and high-quality education, all of us benefit. Attracting and retaining the leaders of the future helps the state grow bigger and stronger. Economists found that for every dollar the state invests in a CSU student, it receives $4.41 in return.

So as someone who has lived the California dream, there is nothing more painful to me than to see this dream dying. It is being starved to death by a public that thinks any government service -- even public education -- is not worth paying for. And by political leaders who do not lead but instead give in to our worst, shortsighted instincts.

The ineffective response to the current financial crisis reflects trends that have been hurting California public education for years. To win votes, political leaders mandated long prison sentences that forced us to stop building schools and start building prisons. This has made us dumber but no safer. Leaders pandered by promising tax cuts no matter what and did not worry about how to provide basic services without that money. Those tax cuts did not make us richer; they've made us poorer. To remain in office, they carved out legislative districts that ensured we would have few competitive races and leaders with no ability or incentive to compromise. Rather than strengthening the parties, it pushed both parties to the fringes and weakened them.

When the economy was good, our leaders failed to make hard choices and then faced disasters like the energy crisis. When the economy turned bad, they made no choices until the economy was worse.

In response to failures of leadership, voters came up with one cure after another that was worse than the disease -- whether it has been over-reliance on initiatives driven by special interests, or term limits that remove qualified people from office, or any of the other ways we have come up with to avoid representative democracy.

As a result, for the last two decades we have been starving higher education. California's public universities and community colleges have half as much to spend today as they did in 1990 in real dollars. In the 1980s, 17% of the state budget went to higher education and 3% went to prisons. Today, only 9% goes to universities and 10% goes to prisons.

The promise of low-cost education that brought so many here, and kept so many here, has been abandoned. Our K-12 system has fallen from the top ranks 30 years ago to 47th in the nation in per-pupil spending. And higher education is now taking on water.

At every trustees meeting over the last six years, I have seen the signs of decline. I have listened to the painful stories of faculty who could not afford to raise a family on their salaries; of students who are on the financial edge because they are working two jobs, taking care of a child and barely making it with our current tuitions. I have seen the outdated buildings and the many people on our campuses who feel that they have been forgotten by the public and Sacramento.

What made California great was the belief that we could solve any problem as long as we did two things: acknowledged the problem and worked together. Today that belief is missing. California has not acknowledged that it has fundamentally abandoned the promise of the Master Plan for Higher Education. And Californians have lost the commitment to invest in one another. That is why we have lost our way in decision after decision.

Today, everyone in our system is making terrible sacrifices. Employee furloughs, student fee increases and campus-based cuts in service and programs are repulsive to all of us. Most important, it is unfair. The cost of education should be shared by all of us because the education of our students benefits every Californian.

We've gone from investing in the future to borrowing from it. Every time programs and services are cut for short-term gain, it is a long-term loss.

The solution is simple, but hard. It is what I'm doing now. Tell what is happening to every person who can hear it. Beat this drum until it can't be ignored. Shame your neighbors who think the government needs to be starved and who are happy to see Sacramento paralyzed. We have to wake up this state and get it to rediscover its greatness. Because if we don't, we will be the generation that let the promise for a great California die.

Jeff Bleich is the chairman of the Cal State University Board of Trustees and most recently served as special counsel to President Obama. This is adapted from his speech to the board.

* smf: The Times' link points to a previous version of the Romero bill, SBX5/1. CHECK HERE for the most recently amended version.

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

UTLA & AALA continue to strongly oppose the school choice motion and are working with civil rights organizations and other district unions to investigate legal options to fight this motion. Tenth District PTA’s Board of Directors encourages PTA chapters and units – and all community stakeholders - to study the issue and circulate the petitions as they feel appropriate. The governance and operation of our neighborhood schools is a fundamental PTA concern. (more)

Friday, November 06, 2009 9:20 PM
By The Associated Press ●●smf’s 2¢: The class action suit: Aho, et al v. Florida, et al is interesting in that the defendants – essentially the students of the Palm Beach School District hold the plaintiffs – the governor and other statewide electeds including the state Board of Ed – accountable for alleged local shortcomings in their education – not the local school board.

Friday, November 06, 2009 8:52 PM
By Michele McNeil | Ed Week | Vol. 29, Issue 11 November 6, 2009 -- Even as the Obama administration tries to make good on promises of unprecedented transparency and accountability in economic-stimulus funding, the first reports from states and school districts show the difficulty of figuring out—in detail—how the money for education has been spent. In the broadest sense, the quarterly stimulus

Friday, November 06, 2009 7:10 AM
Science Daily (Nov. 6, 2009) — School-based physical education plays a key role in curbing obesity and improving fitness among adolescents from low-income communities, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and UC Berkeley. The study, which identifies opportunities for adolescents to improve their health based on routine daily activities,

Friday, November 06, 2009 5:38 AM
By JULIE PACE | Associated Press 5 November -- MADISON, Wis. — Pushing for a link between student test scores and teacher pay, President Barack Obama on Wednesday dangled $5 billion in federal grants to states willing to undertake a top-to-bottom overhaul of their schools in support of White House priorities. The day after fellow Democrats lost gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia,

FORD FOUNDATION GIVES $100 MILLION TO REFORM URBAN HIGH SCHOOLS: The New York-based organization pledges the funds to seven cities, including Los Angeles, to research and improve teacher quality, student assessment and school funding, among other things.
Friday, November 06, 2009 5:07 AM
By Mitchell Landsberg | LA Times November 5, 2009 -- The Ford Foundation pledged $100 million Wednesday to "transform" urban high schools in the United States, focusing on seven cities, including Los Angeles. The seven-year initiative is among the largest philanthropic efforts aimed at improving education in the United States and, as described, could both complement and challenge aspects of the

Friday, November 06, 2009 4:58 AM
Op-Ed by Hon. Esteban E. Torres | Eastside Publications Group [Eastside Sun / Northeast Sun / Mexican American Sun / Bell Gardens Sun / City Terrace Comet / Commerce Comet / Montebello Comet / Monterey Park Comet / ELA Brooklyn Belvedere Comet / Wyvernwood Chronicle / Vernon Sun] <

Friday, November 06, 2009 9:52 PM
by Howard Blume | LA Times LA Now Blog November 5, 2009 | 6:14 pm And the winner is ... no one. That’s right. Nobody won this year’s Legislator of the Year Award from the California School Boards Assn. because schools suffered so much from funding cuts approved by the state Legislature that the group didn't want to single out any lawmaker for praise. “Sure, there are some legislators who

Thursday, November 05, 2009 3:38 PM
from kabc-tv online Report typo or inaccuracy The Los Angeles County Unified School District? Where does one begin? There is no such school district. Councilman Huizar was once a school board member and twice the president of the board of education. That was then, this – the last time I looked, is now. The city council must have better things to do …like balancing the

Friday, November 06, 2009 10:12 PM
By Kevin Butler, Staff Writer Long Beach Press Telegram Posted: 11/03/2009 08:21:20 PM PST <<11/3/09 - L-R Volunteers, Ward Johnson, Ida Thompson and Cynthia Motex were off to a slow start at the Olympic Sailing Center in Long Beach voting on Measure T. Photo by Brittany Murray / Press Telegram Election results LONG BEACH - A ballot measure that would establish a five-year parcel tax

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:43 AM
from news stories The U.S. Department of Education has identified four states that are at “high risk” for economic-stimulus spending problems, according to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office. California, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas have been singled out for intensive technical assistance by the Education Department to help them implement good practices in using the

Friday, November 06, 2009 6:03 AM
by Amina Khan | LA Times LA NOW blog November 3, 2009 | 6:58 pm The California Education Supports project, a new joint venture between three nonprofit foundations, held its first forum Tuesday to address the effects of mental and physical health on California students. Nearly 100 community leaders, students, health and education professionals piled into a Manual Arts High School classroom to

CRISIS IN SCHOOL LEADERSHIP SEEN BREWING IN CALIFORNIA: Policy Experts Say State Lacks Comprehensive Human-Resources Policies for Principals
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 9:17 PM
By Lesli A. Maxwell | Ed Week | Vol. 29, Issue 10, Page 9 Published Online: November 2, 2009 November 4, 2009| In California, where school budgets are being slashed and achievement remains stubbornly low in many districts, there is mounting concern that the supply of principals is too limited to manage the financial and academic challenges facing public schools. Complicating matters, the

FALLING ENROLLMENT THREATENS LAUSD BUDGET: "The growth in charter enrollment, however, does not help the district's financial picture since the alternative schools are funded independently of LAUSD" – but 'Public School Choice' offers up 36 more this year!
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 9:01 PM
EDUCATION: District sees student numbers shrink 10 percent since 2002 By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer LA Daily News (Online from the Contra Costa Times) Posted: 11/03/2009 08:31:53 PM PST | Updated: 11/03/2009 08:33:33 PM PST 11/4 - Enrollment in the Los Angeles Unified School District has fallen to less than 680,000 students this year, nearly a 10 percent decline since its peak seven years

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 7:43 PM
by Sharona Coutts, ProPublica ^^A University of Phoenix building in Tulsa, Okla. (Flickr user Lost Tulsa)^^ November 3, 2009 6:00 pm EDT - After federal regulators accused the University of Phoenix of systematic enrollment abuses in 2004, the school's parent company paid out nearly $10 million to resolve the allegations. Phoenix allegedly had broken the law by tying recruiters' pay to

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 7:41 AM
Friday night's shooting jolts parents who consider campus to be the safest school in Long Beach. Odell Smith, 16, covers his face and grieves with fellow Woodrow Wilson High students at the spot where Melody Ross was shot and killed. "I just saw her moments before she was shot...she was smiling," said Smith. (Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times / November 2, 2009) By Seema Mehta | LA Times

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 7:40 AM
Many cities and school districts, hit hard by the recession, will ask voters Tuesday to approve new spending. By Jean Merl and Ann M. Simmons | LA Times November 2, 2009 - Across Southern California, recession-pinched cities and school districts are asking their voters for help in Tuesday's local elections. Besides choosing from among scores of candidates for city councils, school boards and

POLICY SKIRMISHING PUTS LAUSD REFORM AT RISK: Disputes by charter operators over boundaries and parents over where reforms are targeted first are threatening the Public School Choice initiative.
Monday, November 02, 2009 5:46 AM
LA Times Editorial November 2, 2009 -- It's back to business as usual at the Los Angeles Unified School District, and that's not a good thing. The district's potentially transformational initiative to open about 250 schools to outside management is in danger of being undermined as various interest groups stake out turf. The central goal of the program -- to radically refashion education for the

Monday, November 02, 2009 5:46 AM
By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer, LA Daily News Editor's Note: San Fernando Middle School is one of 36 campuses up for bid under the School Choice Plan, a reform effort that allows non-profit groups to vie to operate underperforming and new schools. The Daily News will follow this campus as it progresses throughout the controversial conversion this year. Oct 31, 2009 | Established in

Monday, November 02, 2009 5:43 AM
By WINNIE HU | New York Times November 1, 2009 -- MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- THE hot button in Tuesday’s election in this school-obsessed suburb is not Democrat or Republican, Corzine or Christie, but something closer to home: Who gets to choose the school board? Montclair, whose system of magnet schools has become a national model of racial integration, has one of the few remaining appointed boards

Monday, November 02, 2009 5:22 AM
Cara Mia DiMassa | LA Times LA NOW blog October 31, 2009 | 7:27 am A 16-year-old girl died after a shooting following a football game at Wilson High School in Long Beach.Two people were wounded. Long Beach police spokeswoman Sgt. Dina Zapalski said the shooting occurred Friday night at about 10 p.m., just as people were leaving a football game between Wilson and Long Beach Polytechnic.

The news that doesn’t fit from Nov 8th

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Monday Nov 09, 2009
Central Region Elementary School #14: Groundbreaking Ceremony
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Central Region Elementary School #14
1018 Mohawk St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Monday Nov 09, 2009
Central LA New High School #9 School for Visual and Performing Arts
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Central LA New High School #9 School for Visual and Performing Arts
450 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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 an elected repreprentative on 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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