Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mind the gaps.

Onward! smf SchoolBoard!
4LAKids: Sun 17•Sept•2010 Health Education Week
In This Issue:
Firing “Frazz”: LAUSD SAYS “NO” TO PLANT MANAGER PLAN + SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO PROCEED WITH PLANT MANAGER CUTS
HEAD OF TROUBLED CHARTER SCHOOL COMPANY RESIGNS: Mike Piscal, 44, who founded and ran ICEF Public Schools, steps down amid an ongoing financial crisis
LAUSD, 6 OTHER DISTRICTS TEAM UP TO PURSUE EDUCATION REFORMS + MORE + CONNECT THE DOTS…
COUNT ALL STUDENTS, COMMIT TO ALL STUDENTS
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.
"So far hype has won out over reality despite very poor results,' writes Deborah Meier on whether awaiting 'Charter Superman' is worth the wait. | http://bit.ly/bGC44B. "It has distracted us not only from looking more carefully at schooling, but also from the fundamental ways in which America must rethink its economy and policy if it wants to "compete" with the countries with higher test scores! It has distracted us from even thinking about the connections between democracy and schooling which so absorbed our founding fathers."

Maybe "Superman" is like Beckett's "Godot"? As in not coming. Or O'Neill's "Iceman" - a fiction so distorted and hopeless that it lacks all truth.

Opening with Moynahan's warning that 'everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts' - the editorialist at UCLA-IDEA is disturbed that some of the data-driven in the education/reform debate are not only picking-and-choosing their facts but failing to determine exactly (or even inexactly) what the facts are.

In addition to the Transparency+Accountability there is a Veracity gap.

I hope 4LAKids readers already know my harangue about the Taxonomy of Knowledge: DATA > INFORMATION > KNOWLEDGE > WISDOM. Data are not facts; they are the Legos in the box.

To be data-driven in the current context is to declare the starting-point the aha! moment and not follow the path at all - neither (to totally mix the metaphor) down the well-worn nor the less-traveled path.

Plus - the aha! moment is more-often-than-not where the problem becomes clear ...not the solution.

The destination in scientific inquiry is not a goal, it is the truth.


THE REST OF THIS WEEK'S ED NEWS IS ABOUT MISSTEPS MUS-LABELED: The LA Board's elimination of small-school plant managers:"The Clean and Safe School Initiative". Schools are not made safer. Schools are not made cleaner. Schools are only made cheaper - at the initiative of bean-counters. One recalls the whole sad history here: low-wage 'bathroom attendants' were brought in to clean and open closed-down bathrooms by Superintendent Romer and the board because bathrooms were locked-up or not well maintained. Now those low wage workers are replacing the plant managers as the whole school custodian.

...AND POLITICS AS (UN)USUAL:

THE TIMES INTERPRETATION OF THE ACLU SETTLEMENT|http://bit.ly/apLgPw ...and The LA Weekly's interpretation of the Times interpretation (http://bit.ly/aX1k8Y|It's Yolie Flores doing! It's Steve Zimmer's fault!!)

PLUS VARIOUS+SUNDRY SUPERINTENDENTS and/or charter operators in various+sundry locales got fired,qu it or plead not guilty and/or are rumored to be following the Facebook money to New Jersey http://bit.ly/9WLmtc|http://bit.ly/8YiPg3 . (The Facebook $100 million to Newark, by the way, is not money - it's stock. It's not Superman we're waiting for ...it's his stockbroker.)

AT A PARENT LEADERSHIP/ACHIEVEMENT GAP SEMINAR SATURDAY Erick Witherspoon, the principal of Preston Elementary School in Rialto quoted the Hopi elders | http://bit.ly/18BUM0: "We are the ones we have been waiting for."

No more waiting: ¡Onward/Alelante! - smf


Firing “Frazz”: LAUSD SAYS “NO” TO PLANT MANAGER PLAN + SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO PROCEED WITH PLANT MANAGER CUTS

LAUSD SAYS “NO” TO PLANT MANAGER PLAN
STAFFING: Board's decision upholds cost-cutting measure.

By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News |

frazz_spot 10/12/2010 08:47:50 PM PDT - After a lengthy and heated discussion, the Los Angeles Unified school board on Tuesday sided with Superintendent Ramon Cortines over a controversial plan to reduce the number of plant managers at district schools.

On a 4-3 vote, the board rejected a plan to restore the staffing of one plant manager at every school, a proposal that had led to Cortines threatening to resign last week.

The resolution would have overruled a previously approved cost-cutting plan drafted by Cortines to cut up to 250 plant managers - who oversee maintenance and facilities issues at schools - to save the district about $11 million.

Cortines was so upset by the last-minute resolution that he wrote a memo to board members late last week expressing his opposition and offering his official resignation, which district officials said he later retracted.

"We asked you to help us think out of the box and to help us save jobs. ... I cannot support a resolution that undoes exactly what we asked you to do," said board member Yolie Flores.

"If the choice was to keep things as we had them years ago, then the decisions would be clear, but the old system is gone, we simply cannot afford it anymore," added board member Tamar Galatzan.

Under Cortines' plan, 250 small elementary schools will no longer have a full-time plant manager and instead will get teams of custodians to cover between 12-16 hours of cleaning time per day.

Historically, every district school has had a full-time plant manager to deal with everything from opening the school to handling all facilities-related matters during an emergency.

Richard Vladovic, one of three board members who authored the resolution, stressed that eliminating the plant managers would hurt schools and place more burden on overworked principals.

"We've cut gardening services and maintenance services. ... If something goes down these people know what to do. ... Let's not cut one of the lifelines," Vladovic said.

Several parents and principals also pleaded with the board to keep plant managers at all schools because of safety and security concerns.

Jennifer Gomez, president of a parent group at Franklin Elementary, said eliminating the position would especially hurt small schools where principals are already doing two and three jobs after losing office workers and assistant principals.

Gomez even offered to help raise funds to keep the positions, and former LAUSD board member and state legislator Jackie Goldberg urged the school board to launch a pilot plan to ensure that the team- cleaning approach could work before they rolled it out to so many schools.

"There are places where this might work magnificently, others where this may be a dismal failure and everything in between," Goldberg said.

However Cortines stressed that he'd laid out the plan to cut plant managers eight months ago and said his staff had held several meetings with principals and parents to work out the kinks.

He also said schools would be allowed to opt out of the plan, but they would have to be prepared to cut something else from their budgets.

"I have done everything possible in this district for almost three years to provide stability, continuity, accountability and deal with the issues as they arise," Cortines wrote a memo to board members.

"It is obvious that the majority of the board does not practically and realistically recognize the situation that the district is in."

Board member Nury Martinez also said she took "personal offense" that some of her colleagues on the board were writing a resolution to bring back some employees but not others.

"I wish I could write a resolution to bring back library aides, office technicians, to help our employees that took a 17 percent pay cut this year," Martinez said.

"Or how about reinstating the five instructional days we took from our kids this year. ... Why isn't anyone fired up about that?"


SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO PROCEED WITH PLANT MANAGER CUTS: LAUSD says no to plant manager plan
Members vote 4 to 3 to keep the budgetary move that will affect hundreds of elementary schools after Supt. Cortines threatened to retire early. Parents express concern.

By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times | http://lat.ms/cwUsoU

October 13, 2010 - The Los Angeles school board voted narrowly Tuesday to keep intact a budget cut that will eliminate plant managers from hundreds of elementary schools, a move that critics say will result in dirtier and less-safe campuses.

In response to concerns from parents and employees, board members had attempted to restore the positions. But L.A. Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines, who proposed the cut to deal with a budget shortfall, denounced the board's intervention in an internal memo and threatened last week to resign early over the issue. Cortines said that reversing the cuts would have cost about $16.3 million.

In his Friday memo to the board, Cortines moved up his retirement to the end of 2010. He previously announced that he expected to leave in 2011, after working out a budget to address next year's anticipated deficit.

In an interview, Cortines declined to address his vow to retire sooner. "I'm not going to discuss that," he said near the end of a wider-ranging interview.

On Tuesday, a 4-3 board majority sided with Cortines.

"We either trust this man to figure it out for us or we don't," board member Nury Martinez said. She cited various difficult cuts, including shortening the school year. "It's a messed-up situation. We've done some really horrible things to kids and it's not OK."

The resolution at issue, sponsored by three board members, was to restore plant managers for the current school year, stating that they are "integral to keeping our schools safe, clean and secure during the school day."

Plant managers oversee custodial and maintenance operations and handle a range of school emergencies, including broken tree limbs and water pipes as well as sewer leaks. They secure the campuses and deal with assorted other tasks.

A typical elementary school formerly had a plant manager and two maintenance workers. Under the latest staffing reduction, such a school has one building and grounds worker. A smaller number of plant managers will then oversee the cleaning of three to five schools after school hours.

The strategy, in essence, replaces some 240 higher-salaried managers with a larger number of lower-paid workers. This exchange is necessary after two consecutive years of 20% cuts in maintenance budgets if schools are to remain clean, said James Sohn, head of the district's facilities division.

"Principals are very worried," said Judith Perez, president of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents administrators. "We've been saying this is unwise and dangerous."

Parents from seven schools also expressed concern at Tuesday afternoon's board meeting.

Ivanhoe Elementary parent Alex Kapp Horner said that without the Silver Lake school's plant manager, "we are putting our kids at risk."

"We cannot ask our principal to do more," she said, saying that parents rely on the plant manager "to be educated in emergency procedures, safety procedures and the general safety of our students."

Board member Richard Vladovic, a former principal, said he meant no insult to Cortines, but "I can't do justice right now to all the characteristics of a plant manager — you have to live it."

He added: "It is difficult enough to be in a school today. Let's not cut one of their lifelines."

Cortines responded in a conciliatory manner.

"This is a very tough call," he said.


HEAD OF TROUBLED CHARTER SCHOOL COMPANY RESIGNS: Mike Piscal, 44, who founded and ran ICEF Public Schools, steps down amid an ongoing financial crisis
- THAT WILL RESULT IN SLASHING THE ORGANIZATION'S PAYROLL ABOUT 25%

By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times | http://lat.ms/9JtSUf

October 9, 2010 - The founder of a troubled charter school company, one of the nation's largest, has resigned amid an ongoing financial crisis that will result in slashing the organization's payroll by about 25%.

The departure of Mike Piscal, 44, who started and ran ICEF Public Schools, was confirmed Thursday night at a meeting with more than 1,000 parents and staff. The austerity measures, which will include midyear layoffs of an undetermined number of teachers, are both fiscally necessary and required by benefactors who stepped forward last week to pledge help, said interim chief executive Caprice Young.

ICEF, which serves about 4,500 students, also wants help for its 15 campuses from the Los Angeles Unified School District, Young said. ICEF is seeking space at district schools to reduce leasing costs and wants the district's assistance in obtaining short-term loans at low interest.

Young, a former Los Angeles Board of Education president, was scheduled to meet Friday with L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.

"These are very preliminary discussions," said district spokesman Robert Alaniz.

School board member Steve Zimmer said he had high regard for Young, but added he won't pledge financial assistance until ICEF serves more disabled students and English learners. Charter schools frequently are criticized for enrolling low numbers of those students.

In 1994, seeking to work with low-income minority students, Piscal left his job as an English teacher at the prestigious private school Harvard-Westlake. Two years later, he had pulled together a modest after-school program with seven students.

But then his operation took off, especially in heavily African American neighborhoods, which embraced the white New Jersey transplant as offering something superior to L.A. Unified. Two of Piscal's 15 schools now have a majority Latino enrollment, but the overall enrollment remains overwhelming African American. L.A. Unified, in contrast, is 73% Latino.

In an interview, Piscal said he decided to take a break from a nonstop role that has taken a personal toll.

"This will give me time to lose 40 pounds and find a Mrs. Piscal," he said. "I made promises to people in the community that I would get their kids into college. I'm always going to be available for anything they need me to do, but it's time for me to step back."

Local philanthropists, including former Mayor Richard Riordan and billionaire Eli Broad, offered financial support to the ICEF schools last week; Broad donated $500,000 and Riordan $100,000. Both are longtime supporters of charter schools, which are independently run and publicly financed.

At that time, the board brought in Young, and Riordan agreed to head the board of directors. Piscal initially accepted a lesser role heading instructional programs. ICEF's financial problems stemmed in large measure from a rapid expansion that incurred debt amid diminished state funding and philanthropy.

Cynthia Garrett was among the parents at this week's meeting who wanted to know if ICEF's rich extracurricular programs in sports and music would be maintained. Her son has played rugby abroad through ICEF, she said.

At that point, Riordan noted that he'd been an All-American rugby player in college.

"I'll make these kids run like hell," he said, signaling that rugby would continue.

Many parents expressed their gratitude for ICEF programs but are also worried about large class sizes that are likely to increase further. And one parent said ICEF's internal operations have been too secretive. In interviews, employees have talked about supply shortages and being expected to work extra hours without compensation.

Young promised transparency and offered reassurances.

"We are going to make sure we stay true to the secret sauce of ICEF, which is a balanced program" of academics and extracurricular opportunities, she said.


LAUSD, 6 OTHER DISTRICTS TEAM UP TO PURSUE EDUCATION REFORMS + MORE + CONNECT THE DOTS…
LAUSD, 6 OTHER DISTRICTS TEAM UP TO PURSUE EDUCATION REFORMS
By The Associated Press – from The Daily Breeze -http://bit.ly/9V60pA

10/11/2010 07:16:19 PM PDT - Los Angeles Unified said Monday it will team up with six other school systems to pursue education reforms that previously failed to gain widespread traction with districts and unions throughout the state.

The seven superintendents, who represent some of the state's largest school systems and more than 1 million students, announced the creation of a nonprofit organization called California Office of Education Reform. The group will be launched with $3 million in donations from philanthropic foundations, including California Education Partners.

CORE said it will pursue accountability and review procedures for teachers, common standards for English and math instruction and effective ways of sharing data. Another initiative is working collaboratively to turn around struggling schools.

And the group also plans to work with state lawmakers to pursue school reform legislation, said Michael E. Hanson, superintendent of the Fresno Unified School District and the new group's president.

"CORE's purpose is bottom-up education reform that is nimble enough to pursue funding and reforms outside the politics of education," he said in a statement.

The districts - Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Fresno, Sanger, Clovis and Sacramento - agreed to pursue the changes as part of the state's entry in the Obama administration's Race to the Top competition for federal funding.

California did not win the funding after the reforms were resisted by many districts and unions, but the application process opened up communication among reform-oriented districts.

Superintendents said forming the nonprofit will give momentum to the effort.

CALIF. GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER APPLAUDS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CORE: CALIFORNIA OFFICE TO REFORM EDUCATION

California Newswire - Edited by Valerie Gotten | http://bit.ly/ceiVAE

Mon, 11 Oct 2010 – 20:05:06 - SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today applauded the establishment of the California Office to Reform Education (CORE). CORE was established by the seven superintendents representing those California school districts that served on the working group for the Race to the Top (RTTT) Round Two application, along with California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss and the California Department of Education.

“The launch of CORE is a historic achievement that demonstrates to both local and national education leaders that California is serious about education reform,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“The status quo is not acceptable when it comes to educating our children, and CORE will strengthen California’s education reform efforts by creating a cooperative organization where state education leaders can collaboratively work on reform. I applaud the efforts of the great local school district leaders, representing over 1 million students, who have established CORE. I look forward to continue working with them to reform our education system.”

CORE is a nonprofit organization created to continue pursuing the education reform agenda each of the seven school districts committed to during the last round of competition for RTTT. The seven participating superintendents included: Ramon Cortines, Los Angeles Unified School District; Christopher J. Steinhauser, Long Beach Unified School District; Michael E. Hanson, Fresno Unified School District; Dr. David Cash, Clovis Unified School District; Marcus P. Johnson, Sanger Unified School District; Jonathan Raymond, Sacramento City Unified School District; and Carlos A. Garcia, San Francisco Unified School District.

CALIFORNIA EDUCATION LEADERS ANNOUNCE NEW NONPROFIT TO IMPROVE SCHOOLS
Samantha Yerks | Staff Reporter | Neon Tommy/USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism | http://bit.ly/dqlGwf

October 11, 2010 - A new nonprofit organization headed by state education leaders will focus on a unified education reform agenda across the state, said California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss in Los Angeles on Monday.

“The status quo is no longer acceptable,” Reiss said. “California knows every child is capable of the right education…of going to college, getting a career.”

Reiss, along with five represented superintendents, gathered at 122nd Elementary School in Los Angeles to announce the creation of the California Office of Education Reform and its commitment to education reform across district lines.

The idea for CORE developed after seven superintendents collaborated on the second round of Race to the Top, a federal program created to fund states committed to education reform. California was one of the finalists in the second round but ultimately did not receive a federal grant, partly because of their plan to use test score analysis as part of a teacher’s evaluation, which would require negotiations with teacher unions.

Despite the failure to receive federal money, the superintendents acknowledged the need to address the “civil rights issue of the 21st century,” said Chris Steinhauser, superintendent of Long Beach Unified School District.

Using the plans that were developed in the application for the Race to the Top, CORE will focus on implementing new forms of assessment of English/language arts in grades 2, 4 and 7, and mathematics, with an emphasis in algebra, in grades 3, 5 and 8, Steinhauser said.

The leaders of CORE repeatedly stressed the significance of collaboration, both between districts and at individual schools between principals, teachers, parents and students.

“Working together as districts, rather than competing…we can improve education for children wherever we are,” said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

Every school will be addressed individually according to the needs of the students and teachers, Cortines said. But CORE will begin new lines of communication between districts to enable the sharing of information and knowledge. This will allow struggling schools to implement methods that work based on collected data.

The nonprofit will also redirect the resources the schools do have, ensuring they are used most effectively. Not relying on government funds will enable flexibility, Steinhauser said.

California Education Partners gave $3 million to CORE in initial funding and aid in raising additional funds, said senior partner Rick Miller, who said he recognizes that superintendents are “stronger as a team than individually.”

“It is incredibly exciting and transformational to have our local communities taking a joint leadership role in advancing California public schools,” Miller said.


CONNECT THE DOTS… A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON C.O.R.E + CALIFORNIA EDUCATION PARTNERS:
WHAT WERE STATE ED OFFICIALS THINKING IN RACE TO TOP APP?

By: Lydia Ch├ívez | Mission Loc@al – San Francisco Mission District News | http://bit.ly/dsO0ZS

March 18, 2010 – 6:18 am | Follow instructions, write clearly, pay attention to organization. It’s all advice teachers in California commonly give public school students.

But a close reading of the state’s failed application for millions of dollars in Race to the Top stimulus funds – the biggest bonanza of federal education dollars in decades– shows that California officials failed to adhere to any of it.

“One thing that does seem a clear distinction (with the winners) is the specificity with which many of the states went into in their applications…” Rick Miller, [Deputy Superintendent of California Department of Education’s the P-16 Policy and Information Branch, which is responsible for developing policy and practices to close the state's achievement gaps and for identifying best practices and developing strategies to better use data and share solutions. In addition, the Branch also oversees internal and external communications – Miller left CDE following failure of the RttT application – smf] , told local districts and other stakeholders in a March 8 conference call.

The finalists “had a very clear idea of exactly what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it,” he said.

Miller and Kathryn Radtkey-Gaither, undersecretary for education [part of the governor’s office – smf] , urged those on the call to read California’s application. Let them know, Radtkey-Gaither said, if there are any “Oh-my-gosh-what-were-they-thinking-moments.”

Understanding how the state fell short, both said, will help as California prepares its application, due June 1, for Phase 2 Race to the Top funding.

Because a majority of San Francisco’s low-performing schools are in the Mission District and funding here is crucial, Mission Loc@l read the state’s failed application, reviewed those of some of the winners and spoke to Miller about some oh-my-gosh-moments.

First, the background.

It was only last November that Washington announced the Race to the Top rules, but by the January deadline 40 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications.

Reviewers read and scored each for a total of 500 potential points. Four days before Miller’s call to stakeholders, Washington had announced 16 finalists. California was not on the list.

It was unclear by how many points California trailed the finalists, but Radtkey-Gaither said the state “lost at least 100 points.”

Still, there’s an opportunity to do better, state officials said.

At the same time the Phase 1 winners are announced in April, the scores and reviewers’ comments will be made public for states to use in preparing their June 1 applications. Washington has said that at least half of the $4.35 billion in Race to the Top Funds will be saved for the second round.

Until April, no one will know for sure where reviewers found California’s application wanting. But other news emerged about the finalists.

Fourteen of the 16 winners, Education Week reported, got technical assistance grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

California never applied for a Gates grant, Miller said Wednesday, because one criterion was that states have policies that offer tenure in three years rather than two.

Nonetheless, California had plenty of help. The core team of eight staffers that drafted the application drew on the governor’s staff, education department, state board, and consultants from West Ed and the American Institute of Research, according to Miller.

It proved too many.

OH-MY-GOSH-MOMENT #1: FORM

The application guidelines suggested a basic A to F outline that allowed applicants to earn points in increments. Take, for example, Section D, “Great Teachers and Great Leaders,” for 128-points. The feds broke this down into nine subsections worth anywhere from 5 to 28 points.

New York and Florida, two finalists similar to California in the size of their public school systems, addressed each subsection in order, using the federal description, the possible points to be earned, and making their cases. Then, they moved on to the next subsection.

California too used the basic A to F section heads, but then departed from form by combining subsections, a move that made scoring – very clearly delineated in titled subsections – difficult.

“We noticed that as well,” Miller said Wednesday about the difference. “Our theory was that it was going to be more sort of readable and understandable. We did notice that we were different than the other states and it’s maybe something we correct.”

Both Florida and New York also helped reviewers by using a repetitive structure of bold headings throughout each subsection.

New York used a framework of Goals, Activities, Timeline and Responsible Parties.

Florida’s included Key Highlights, Responsible Parties, A Timeline Chart, and Outcomes.

California’s application generally, but not always, opened with Our Foundation, followed by Goals and Strategies. But too often, it bounced around among subsections. The effect was confusion as to what was being addressed.

“I think that we were trying to tell a story, a narrative,” Miller said by way of explaining why California had failed to devise its own internal framework for subsections. “But I think we are seeing what seemed to work for the reviewers and we will adjust.”

OH-MY-GOSH-MOMENT #2: CONTENT

New York and Florida offered concise arguments, buttressed with charts to match. Although at 136 pages, California’s application was much shorter than the others (it could have been the size of the font used by other states) it often reads like a disorganized argument that’s poorly backed up.

Take, for example, the section, “Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance.”

New York states its plea early: “Our teacher and principal effectiveness reforms begin with new and more rigorous professional standards for teachers and principals.” The authors quickly lay out a plan to develop standards, using the new funds.

California also begins clearly with the state recognizing “the need to restructure and re-orient its systems for teacher and principal evaluations…” The section then devolves into an internal debate with itself.

On the one hand, “state law already requires the use of student achievement data in evaluation,” to support teacher and leader evaluation, a law clarified by recent legislation, the authors assert.

On the other hand, the next paragraph cites a 2007 study finding “weaknesses in California’s typical teacher evaluation process,” with officials “skeptical of the quality of the data that are collected through classroom observations typically used in performance reviews…”

Miller defended the internal contradictions. Even if the laws have never worked, he said, reviewers needed to know that the state has “the statutory framework to accomplish goals.”

He agreed the finalists offered more specifics throughout their applications. He pointed, for example, to the section on teacher evaluation systems. Finalists included various percentages of a teacher’s evaluation that would be tied to a student’s progress.

California mentioned no firm number. Instead, despite discrediting its efforts to date in an earlier section, the state promised to develop “voluntary state models for evaluating teachers and principals” and encourage local districts to develop their own models.

The lack of details makes California appear reluctant to commit to anything. Miller said the vagueness was, in part, intentional. The state needed time to work out the details in collaboration with hundreds of stakeholders.

Those on the March 8 conference call were warned, however, that the timeline for collaboration would have to be moved forward to develop details for sections the authors now suspect fell short. They named three: the section on teachers and leaders, low-performing schools and the states success factors.

In the next round, Miller said, California must “be a little more clear in how as a state we intend to move forward.”

Miller, however, will not be along for that ride. He said Wednesday he’s moving on to create a new consulting firm, New California Education Partners.


COUNT ALL STUDENTS, COMMIT TO ALL STUDENTS
Public Counsel Press Release | http://bit.ly/b5xGGq

15 October 2010 - As part of the Dignity in Schools Campaign's National Week of Action to End School Pushout, the members of this alliance, CADRE (Community Asset Development Re-defining Education), Public Counsel, and Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS), are dialing up attention on the problem of rampant school "pushout" and the fact that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has a very viable solution in its hands – if it would only fully implement the mandatory School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Policy (SWPBS Policy) that it passed in March 2007.

THE LAUSD SCHOOL-WIDE POSTIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT POLICY MANUAL IS ONLINE HERE: http://bit.ly/9KPvZj

"Norm day is Friday. We want the District to not just count all of our kids, we want the District to commit to all of our kids, especially the children who are struggling in school and need extra help. LAUSD must take action," says Roslyn Broadnax, South LA parent and member of CADRE. "If LAUSD immediately puts a full faith effort into implementing its SWPBS Policy, ten months from now we believe there will be more students still in school with an opportunity to learn."

Nationwide schools fully implementing SWPBS have seen up to a 60% reduction in disciplinary problems and out-of-school suspensions; secondary benefits include reduced dropout rates, improved academic achievement, higher teacher retention, and a more positive school culture.

The alliance's recently released publication, Redefining Dignity in Our Schools: A Shadow Report on School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Implementation in South Los Angeles, 2007-2010(1), shows that LAUSD's failure to fully implement the SWPBS Policy in South Los Angeles has resulted in unacceptably high suspension rates and disproportionate numbers of students of color being removed from school. Yesterday, alliance members testified at the school board meeting, demanding that the LAUSD School Board hold the District and all Local District Superintendents and Principals strictly responsible for immediately implementing the SWPBS Policy.

The alliance has been meeting with South LA Local District 7 Superintendent Dr. George McKenna, who has expressed willingness to confront the report's findings, indicating that "LD7 is committed to full implementation of SWPBS guidelines in all schools. We are also pleased to work with CADRE, Public Counsel, and MHAS to more effectively respond to student conduct issues and reduce the rate and number of suspensions by establishing specific goals and guidelines that are more supportive of staff, parents and students. Trainings in SWPBS and LD7 Student Standards of Conduct guidelines have been held for all LD7 School Discipline Teams during the past three weeks and we will continue to monitor and support the implementation of school based activities."

The report comes at a time when school exclusionary discipline rates are the highest in the nation's history. Among other things, the report reveals that African American students in South LA continue to be disproportionately subjected to exclusionary discipline, making up 47% of suspensions, while only comprising 18.9% of the student population.

(1) Full-length report and executive summary available at http://www.dignityinschools.org/content/report-redefining-dignity-our-schools; complete data tables available at http://www.mhas-la.org/RedefiningDignityReportData/DataHome.htm.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
Randi Weingarten: DESPITE IMAGE, UNION LEADER BACKS SCHOOL CHANGE: By TRIP GABRIEL | New York Times |http://nyti.m... http://bit.ly/ceN182

Education Week: Student-Led Conferences Benefit Parents, Kids edweek.org/ew/articles/20…

Former principal of Canoga Park charter school pleads not guilty - LA Daily News http://bit.ly/bDV5bd

Michael Jackson sign is restored at Hollywood school latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/10/…

COUNT ALL STUDENTS, COMMIT TO ALL STUDENTS: Public Counsel Press Release | http://bit.ly/b5xGGq 15 October 2010 -... http://bit.ly/91jMGI

ADDING TRANSPARENCY TO ACCOUNTABILITY: Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. -Daniel P... http://bit.ly/dhyzF5

L.A. UNIFIED CONTRACTS WITH OUTSIDE CONSULTANT TO ISSUE ITS OWN ‘VALUE-ADDED’ RATINGS OF DISTRICT SCHOOLS: Louis F... http://bit.ly/c5JJup

THE PARENT MEETING ABOUT REMOVING PLANT MANAGERS FROM SCHOOLS YOU WERE NEVER INVITED TO: Today Oct 15 11AM @ GLENF... http://bit.ly/a33NDp

STEVE ZIMMER ANTI-REFORM, YOLIE FLORES FOR REFORM: The Stark LAUSD School Board Drama Unfolding After Historic ACL... http://bit.ly/aX1k8Y

MICHELLE RHEE, CONTROVERSIAL EDUCATION REFORMER, MAY BE HEADED FOR NEW JERSEY: By RAJU CHEBIUM • Gannett Washingto... http://bit.ly/8YiPg3

SUPERINTENDENT TURNOVER/EMPANADA DE SUPERINTENDENTE: follow up to ‘Compton Superintendent Fired + D.C. Chancellor ... http://bit.ly/9WLmtc

Silent Cal offers his review of “Waiting for ‘Superman’”: ….everyone else has! by smf for 4LAKidsNews ... http://bit.ly/93i1eO

FIGHTING THE BULLIES: The recent suicides of five gay teenagers who were harassed were horrific, and highlight the... http://bit.ly/czfsal

L.A. UNIFIED SETTLEMENT OF LAWSUIT MUSHROOMED INTO ASSAULT ON LONG-HELD DISTRICT PRACTICES: An effort to lessen la... http://bit.ly/apLgPw

STUDY CHALLENGES STATES ON “FAIRNESS’ OF FUNDING: By Sean Cavanagh – Ed Week - Vol. 30, Issue 08 | http://bit.ly/a... http://bit.ly/bLwZXK

LAUSD RECEIVES $11.3 MILLION FEDERAL GRANT TO FIGHT SCHOOL DROPOUT RATES - Two Valley schools included in the effo... http://bit.ly/d6pY1L

COMPTON SUPERINTENDENT FIRED + D.C. CHANCELLOR MICHELLE RHEE QUITS: Compton Superintendent of Schools Fired! post... http://bit.ly/czGcvD
13 Oct Favorite Reply Delete
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Scott Folsom
4LAKids Scott Folsom
WHAT CULPRIT-SEEKING ‘SUPERMAN’ LACKS: COMPLEXITY. ‘The real mystery of Waiting for Superman is how, despite all i... http://bit.ly/9QMHQm

PTA RESPONDS TO CANDIDATE’S COMMENT: “Without a doubt PTA is the ‘kids association’ that defends the interests of ... http://bit.ly/boAgqD

LONG BEACH SCHOOLCHILDREN ARE A MODEL FOR HEALTHY EATING: The mayor, a congresswoman, a county supervisor and Heal... http://bit.ly/bqvIbW

Firing “Frazz”: LAUSD SAYS “NO” TO PLANT MANAGER PLAN + SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO PROCEED WITH PLANT MANAGER CUTS: LAU... http://bit.ly/9K5Peh

HOW TO FIX OUR SCHOOLS: A manifesto by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and other education leaders: Op-Ed in The Washing... http://bit.ly/aQDZWJ

ED NEWS WRAP UP: Manifestos, talented teachers, test scores and taxpayers: Education Writers Association | posted ... http://bit.ly/aCPikc

More standardized-testing Looney-Tooniness: THE RISE AND FALL OF NEW YORK STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT - On New York School... http://bit.ly/9QbTO8

STANDARDIZED TEST CHEATING INVESTIGATION FOCUSES ON ATLANTA SCHOOLS + FEDS PROBE ATLANTA SCHOOLS: U.S. Attorney's ... http://bit.ly/bbMvRN

ANOTHER WAITING 4 SUPERMAN REVIEW ...don't miss it unless you possibly can! - from Morning Edition Via @nprnews: | n.pr/93FuvZ

Off-topic/On-the-mark: BBC INTERVIEW WITH FORD CEO ALAN MULALLY: by smf for LAKidsNews 12 October 2010 - As a ret... http://bit.ly/9M6lm1

LAUSD, 6 OTHER DISTRICTS TEAM UP TO PURSUE EDUCATION REFORMS + more + connect the dots…: By The Associated Press –... http://bit.ly/a6th11

BULLIED TO DEATH: 1 Ohio school, 4 bullied teens dead by own hand: By MEGHAN BARR - Associated Press Writer - from... http://bit.ly/aegC3t

Someone’s happy!: CHARTER SCHOOL GROUP APPLAUDS GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE FOR A BUDGET THAT PROTECYS AND PROMOTES C... http://bit.ly/buxs0x

HEAD OF TROUBLED CHARTER SCHOOL COMPANY RESIGNS: Mike Piscal, 44, who founded and ran ICEF Public Schools, steps d... http://bit.ly/bSpXU4

GOVERNOR'S VETO AX FALLS HEAVILY ON WELFARE, CHILD CARE AND SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS - latimes.com http://lat.ms/ci2f8G


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
• SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:
http://www.laschools.org/bond/
Phone: 213-241-5183
____________________________________________________
• LAUSD FACILITIES COMMUNITY OUTREACH CALENDAR:
http://www.laschools.org/happenings/
Phone: 213-241.8700


• LAUSD BOARD OF EDUCATION & COMMITTEES MEETING CALENDAR



What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member:
Yolie.Flores.Aguilar@lausd.net • 213-241-6383
Tamar.Galatzan@lausd.net • 213-241-6386
Monica.Garcia@lausd.net • 213-241-6180
Marguerite.LaMotte@lausd.net • 213-241-6382
Nury.Martinez@lausd.net • 213-241-6388
Richard.Vladovic@lausd.net • 213-241-6385
Steve.Zimmer@lausd.net • 213-241-6387
...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: http://bit.ly/dqFdq2 • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at mayor@lacity.org • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Schwarzenegger: 213-897-0322 e-mail: http://www.govmail.ca.gov/
• 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 and is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represents PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. 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 as 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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