Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm mad as a hatter ...and I'm not going to take it anymore!

Onward! 4LAKids
4LAKids: Sunday 10•July•2011
In This Issue:
Tdap: MIDDLE + HIGH SCHOOLERS MUST GET WHOOPING COUGH SHOT - 7th to 12th graders can not return to school without proof of Tdap vaccination.
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
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"Be careful what you ask for," the old saw says. "You might get it."

Last week I ranted against our/your/my LAUSD supe and board of ed for not following Governor Brown's excellent advice. They were wrong in rejecting cautious optimism about fiscal projections – opting instead for madcap pessimism and hardball cynicism – choosing to issue 3000 lay-off notices and cutting programs and employees despite the governor's advice for school districts to maintain staff and programs at current levels in the coming year,

Adding 3000 to the unemployment rolls isn't helping the economy. [LAT: DISMAL JOB FIGURES JOLT CONFIDENCE |] And The Times – eager to identity bad schools and bad teachers – concludes that involuntarily transferred, reconstituted and bumped educators have a rough time finding employment– and still can bump the less senior: TEACHERS FROM LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS FACE STIGMA ON JOB SEARCH.

Now it turns out that the budget bill and its implementing legislation – Assembly Bill 114 – MANDATES that boards of ed be optimistic to the point of incautious unconsciousness ...and I’m unhappy about that too! (see: AB 114: STEALTH ATTACK ON CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS )

AB114 takes budget authority away from local boards of education – and fiscal oversight away from county boards of education – and embeds it in the Jello of Sacramento. So much for local control and California's constitutional guarantee of non-partisan transparent local governance of public education.

AB114 also removes the requirement for school districts to prepare three-year budget plans. (Just as well – years 2+3 of LAUSD's current budget are disastrous by the superintendent's own admission.)

The current LAUSD board unflinchingly lives up to Mark Twain's maxim that "First God created idiots; that was for practice. Then He invented School Boards." Their elections were engineered by the especially interested and their tenure colored by not-well-hidden agendas ...but they are our/your/my democratically elected school board – accountable to us locally. Churchill didn't say that democracy sucks – but it's the best we've got. But he meant it.

Boards of Education really only have two things they have to do:
1. They set the district budget,
2. and they select the superintendent.
Now they don't have to do the former. The part-timeliness of their jobs is getting less consuming.

As to AB 114: The San Diego Union Tribune figured out the shenanigans and behind-the-scenes maneuvering last Saturday took the LA Times until this Friday to suss I out.

AB 114 started out as a spot bill in January, a blank page with a bill number. It was amended in early June for the vetoed 'bogus budget' - and then in the last week of June it was 'gut-and-amended' to guarantee jobs for teachers, devolve local authority to Sacramento and 'reinterpret' the meaning of Proposition 39 - the complex state constitutional guarantee of fair, equitable and adequate public school funding. How a budget consolidation bill interprets the constitution beats me, but...

There were no committee hearings, no public input, no debate. Just an up or down vote on the done deal. (D)s vote Yes, (R)s vote No.

I can guarantee that while I am writing this attorneys somewhere are writing briefs on legal pads. Stay tuned.

MEANWHILE AT THE BARACK OBAMA PREPARATORY ACADEMY IN SOUTH L.A. the parents, principal and local district superintendent are replaying the Misadventure of High School #9 from last year. [TURMOIL ROCKS SOUTH L.A. SCHOOL NAMED FOR OBAMA] Deja vu times two/Stop me if this sounds familiar: A principal popular with teachers, parents and students in a successful and well-received program is dismissed and replaced inexplicably at the end of year one at a brand new school for undisclosed personnel reasons. Strange Bedfellows vs. California - There is plenty to stay tuned for!


(The $14MM number may have been arrived at by the same police actuaries who estimate the street value of an ounce of pot at hundreds of thousands. Ponzi schemes rely on imaginary money, compounded imaginatively – combining the real and the unreal is confusing. Kinda like school finance in California.)

Had our moms been a little more Robin-Hood-like and used the ill-gotten-gains to fund an Arts Program or New Science Lab instead of enriching themselves I'd be posting their bail and buying the movie rights! "Susan Saradon and Meryl Streep and Pamela Anderson are 'Bad PTA Moms'" – a story ripped from the headlines. Alas and alack!

AND IN ATLANTA IT LOOKS LIKE JUST EVERYBODY WAS INVOLVED IN SYSTEMATIC CHEATING ON STANDARDIZED TESTS ...or at least just about all the adults! [Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "...nothing less than a fraud foisted upon the parents, taxpayers and, worst of all, the children of Atlanta."|] Remember that the No Child Left Behind high-stakes-testing regime is based on the 'Houston Miracle' – the miracle being that Houston Superintendent (and later Bush II Secretary of Education ) Rod Paige wasn't indicted for for cooking-the-numbers on the Texas tests!) This is where I note that the discredited Atlanta Public Schools superintendent was a graduate of the Broad Superintendent Academy ...except that she’s not! However all three finalists to be her replacement are – and the entire Atlanta Board of Ed attended the Broad Institute for School Boards in 2006! |

LAUSD MANAGED TO GET IT'S MOST NATIONAL PRESS ATTENTION over it's Homework Policy since Jamie Oliver left town – and stories over the change of Green Dot Locke High School [A LOCKE HIGH MILESTONE] and The Mayors Partnership Roosevelt High School [ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL ENDS ‘SINGLE-SCHOOL’, SINGLE-PRINCIPAL ERA] from comprehensive large high schools to campuses of small schools miss an important point. By doing this poorly performing programs with low API and AYP data and multi-year histories as Program Improvement Schools start out all over again with a clean slate ...without necessarily meeting any goals or benchmarks.

NO CHEAP SHOT UNTAKEN: The Weekly Standard – in an omnibus conservative editorial notes this about bad teachers, teaching gay history in schools, public employee unions and our general blue-state California nuts, fruits and flakiness:

"Frankly, students in California are lucky to learn anything, let alone gay history. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the second largest school district in the nation employing 33,000 teachers—and an L.A. Weekly investigation last year concluded that LAUSD fired only 7 teachers for poor performance in the last decade. Thanks to the state’s powerful teachers’ union, the legal bill for trying to fire these 7 teachers amounted to $3.5 million. (Note that the absurd job protections California teachers enjoy were engineered in 2000 by ambitious state assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa, now L.A.’s mayor.)"

So there you have it. Not bad for the first week of a long hot summer vacation.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

STEALTH ATTACK ON CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS: AB 114 was passed to appease the California Teachers Assn., to the detriment of school districts, which are already in serious financial straits

LA Times Editorial |

July 8, 2011 - Ham-fisted yet pandering, and fiscally irresponsible too, AB 114 perpetrates an abuse of state power that could wreak budgetary havoc in local school districts. But in that case, why hasn't the news been filled with details of this bad-government bill as it wended its way through the Legislature? Because it was hurriedly and secretively passed, quite literally in the dark of night, with no committee hearings and almost no public notice, and then quickly signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 114 was passed to appease the California Teachers Assn., which sought to stanch the flood of teacher layoffs. That's certainly understandable. Just about everybody would like to avoid the reductions in force that have harmed dedicated educators and their students.

But schools cannot operate on air and hope, which is what AB 114 requires. School districts no longer are allowed to prepare their own budget forecasts or even their own budgets; instead, the law requires them to assume that they will get as much money from the state this year as they did in the last, even though the projections on which the state budget is based are unrealistically rosy. School budgets will probably have to be slashed midyear, and school boards and superintendents will have to deal with it then, on the fly.

They aren't allowed to lay off teachers or cut programs to balance their budgets, not now or during midyear cuts. How will they stay open, then? That's unclear. The law allows for shortening the school year by seven days, but only if the districts can successfully negotiate that with their individual unions. Since the teachers know they can't be laid off, they'll be in a strong position to refuse any such cuts in the academic year.

Prudent school districts that have wisely set aside healthy contingency accounts to cover future expenses and keep the schools running smoothly will now find it hard to avoid spending that money. For those without substantial emergency funds, that means borrowing.

The law even eliminates long-term fiscal responsibility by suspending 30-year-old rules that required school districts to demonstrate balanced budgets for the upcoming year and the two following. Counties were responsible for overseeing this prudent practice; now they have been stripped of that authority.

More than 140 school districts are already in serious financial jeopardy, according to a state Department of Education estimate released in June. If Brown and legislative Democrats do not muster the courage to defy the California Teachers Assn. by repealing AB 114, they may push many more districts to the brink.


By San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board |

Saturday, July 2, 2011 at midnight - The prospect of an on-time adoption of the 2011-12 state budget offered beleaguered California school districts some hope for stability. Instead, the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, at the behest of the California Teachers Association, secretively enacted a school-finance law that may yield chaos in many districts – and nearly guarantees it in San Diego Unified.

AB 114 requires school districts to budget and preserve jobs as if revenue projections The Los Angeles Times calls “fantastical” will come true. If the projections are wrong, causing automatic midyear cuts in education funds, districts will have no ability to mandate layoffs. Since employee compensation takes up the great majority of district budgets, such layoffs are the only real answer to a revenue shortfall. But they could only be executed with union approval.

AB 114 also reduces oversight authority of county boards of education, the public’s first line of defense when it comes to school districts’ fiscal responsibility.

The result could be downright catastrophic for San Diego schools. District leaders are imploring board members to try to save money to prepare for the big hit the district will take in 2012-13 when scheduled raises of 7.2 percent for all employees are phased in. Now a state law exists that discourages such prudence and may give district employees a legal cudgel to block prudence – and it was adopted with zero public input.

This is irresponsible public policy. The purpose of K-12 education in California is supposed to be about preparing students to have productive lives. Instead, AB 114 undermines that basic premise through risky financial gimmickry, loss of oversight and a focus on adults rather than the children they teach.



As Amended June 28, 2011
Majority vote. Budget Bill Appropriation Takes Effect Immediately

SUMMARY : Contains necessary statutory and technical changes in the area of education in order to implement changes to the Budget Act of 2011.

The Senate amendments delete the Assembly version of this bill, and instead:

K-12 Provisions:

1)Update revenue limit deficit factors for school district and county of education to reflect ongoing base reductions and foregone cost-of-living adjustments for K-12 revenue limit (general purpose) funding in 2011-12. More specifically, establishes a school district deficit factor of 19.754% and a county office of education factor of 20.041% in 2011-12.
Deficit factors track lost revenue limit funding in recent years with the intent of eventual restoration in future years.

2)Amend and repeals various sections of the Education, Government, and Welfare and Institutions code to repeal the state AB 3632 mandate program, which mandated counties to provide mental health services to students with disabilities.
This mandate was suspended due to the veto of funding for the AB 3632 mandate in the 2010-11 budget by Governor Schwarzenegger. As a result of this elimination, responsibility for educationally related mental health services, as required by federal law for student with disabilities, is permanently shifted to schools. Pursuant to federal law, local educational agencies are required to update the Individualized Education Plan of each child that will experience a change in services as a result of this shift of responsibility.
3)Amend an existing categorical funding formula to provide $127 per pupil to new, non-conversion charter schools established after 2008-09. This formula funding gives non-conversion charters schools access to categorical funds included in the categorical flexibility program that began in 2008-09.
Requires school districts to pass through either $127 per pupil or another mutually agreed upon amount in categorical funding to new conversion charter schools.

4)Dedicate surplus county office of education property tax balances that are currently restricted, and cannot be expended for any purpose, to other education programs thereby reducing state General Fund costs.

5)Renumber Education Code Section 60422.3 to Section 60049 to correct a technical error in statute.

6)Requires, for the 2011-12 fiscal year (FY) only, local educational agencies (LEAs), for the purposes AB 1200 budget certification, to project the same level of revenue limit funding it received in the 2010-11 FY and maintain staffing and program levels commensurate with this funding level. For the 2011-12 FY only, eliminates the requirement for an LEA to demonstrate that it can meet its financial obligations for two subsequent Fys.

Ballot Proposition 98 and Realignment Language:

7)Deem specified revenue collected in the 2011-12 fiscal year as “non General Fund (GF)” revenue for the purposes of calculating the Proposition 98 funding formula. Specifies this section is operative for the 2011-12 FY and subsequent Fys as long as one or more ballot measures is approved by the voters prior to November 17, 2012 to do the following: makes the “non GF” determination and provides funding for school districts and community colleges in an amount equal to the amount they would have received had the revenues been deemed “GF” for the purposes of calculating the Proposition 98 funding formula.

8)If the voters do not approve one or more ballot measures prior to November 17, 2012, (as referenced above), the Director of Finance (DOF), in consultation with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, shall determine the amount of funding school districts and community colleges would have received under the Proposition 98 funding formula (had revenues been deemed GF).

a) Requires the amount of Proposition 98 funding determined by DOF to be distributed for the 2012-13 FY though the 2016-17 FY according to the following:

I) 17.8% of total funding to local education agencies
according to the following priorities:

(1) Reduce K-12 deferral;

(2) Repay K-12 mandate obligations; and,

(3) Other one-time purposes specified in statute
enacted after the effective date of this bill.

ii) 2.2% of total funding to community colleges
according to the following priorities:

(1) Reduce community college deferrals;

(2) Repay community college mandate obligations;

(3) Other one-time purposes specified in statute
enacted after the effective date of this bill.

Child Care and Development Programs:

9)Reduce the across-the-board unallocated reduction to all the child care services from 15% to 11%, effective July 1, 2011.

10)Reinstate child care services for 11- to 12-year olds which had been scheduled for elimination by July 1, 2011.

11)Amend the before and after school programs to provide preferred placement for children who are 11 or 12-years of age, as originally established before the March budget changes.

12)Repeal the increase family fee schedule by 10%, which had been scheduled for implementation by July 1, 2011.

13)Establish findings and declarations to clarify that the State Preschool Program and the After School Education and Safety Program fall within the Proposition 98 guarantee and that other child care programs that are funded from this appropriation do not count toward the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee.

14)Make statutory changes that conform to the provision of state General Funds – instead of Proposition 98 funds previously provided – for most child care programs in 2011-12 in the budget bill. Proposition 98 funding would be “rebenched” as a result of this funding shift. The budget bill continues Proposition 98 funding for part-day preschool programs in 2011-12.

Higher Education:

15)Suspend two mandates (Response Procedures and Student Records), both of which are already required by federal law.

16)Make a technical correction to ensure that the institutions that become ineligible due to their Three-Year Cohort Default Rate exceeding the established threshold for the 2012-13 academic year and every academic year thereafter, shall be ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at that institution.

17)Eliminate duplicative audits required biennially at each of the 23 California State University (CSU) campuses and instead requires a system-wide audit.

Trigger Reductions:

The following changes will be pursuant to Senate Bill 96 or Assembly Bill 121 of the 2011-12 Regular Session, as applicable:

18)Eliminate local education agencies authority to conduct an employee layoff process during the time period between five days after the enactment of the Budget Act and August 15 for the 2011-12 FY only.

19)Reduce the number of instructional days by up to seven days and reduces the home-to-school transportation program by $238 million, if the state receives forecasted revenue projections less than $2 billion pursuant to the determination made by the Director of Finance. This requirement becomes operative February 1, 2012, and is only operative for the 2011-12 FY.

20)Approve an increase across the board reduction to all child care programs for a total of $23 million in savings. This reduction would be effective January 1, 2012, if the Director of Finance determines by December 15, 2011, that the Legislative Analyst's November 2011 or the Department of Finance's December 2011 revenue forecast is less than $85.9 billion.

21)Increase the community college student fee from $36 per unit to $46 per unit, commencing in the winter term of the 2011-12 academic year. This student fee increase would be effective January 1, 2012, if the Director of Finance determines by December 15, 2011, that the Legislative Analyst's November 2011 or the Department of Finance's December 2011 revenue forecast is less than $85.9 billion.

22)Add an appropriation allowing this bill to take effect immediately.

AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY , this bill expresses the intent of the Legislature to enact statutory changes relating to the 2011 Budget Act.

Analysis Prepared by : Sara Bachez / BUDGET / (916) 319-2099

AB 114 Legislative History and Bill Text


Bottom Line By BETTY PLEASANT, Contributing Editor, Los Angeles Wave |

July 6, 2011 - There was a time when teachers and the public school system were next to God and the church in the population’s admiration and enjoyed the unwavering support of parents and the childless alike. But not anymore. And certainly not in South Los Angeles where the public school system is coming under fire like it’s public enemy number one.

Cases in point: The Los Angeles Unified School District Board’s high-handed turn-over of the public Henry Clay Middle School to the Green Dot education company last Friday, coupled with what the community views as another atrocity — the removal Tuesday of the principal of the brand new, 10-month-old and highly ballyhooed Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy.

What the school board did to Clay had already aroused so much antipathy among South L.A. residents that they organized to fight the school board, but the inner-city’s response to the school district’s action in regard to the Obama Academy has, as they say, gone viral.

It seems that the Southland’s educational power brokers — John Deasy, the new LAUSD superintendent, and George McKenna, the Local District 7 superintendent — decided last week to, first, fire Veronique Wills as principal of Obama, but later chose to transfer her to the continuation school at Fremont High School, to which she reported Tuesday. Wills’ removal, for reasons the district would only tell me is “a personnel matter,” has enraged the school’s parents, teachers and community volunteers who have worked closely with Wills since the school opened in September, and they’ve been meeting and planning protests since the Fourth of July.

A middle school, the Obama Academy, located on the corner of 46th Street and Western Avenue, was hailed as a wonderful thing when it opened last Sept. 13 with 1,300 students. It was billed as a site that would relieve the overcrowding at Foshay, Mann and Muir middle schools and provide a new age student-centered, college preparatory and career readiness curriculum emphasizing math, science, technology, world languages, diplomacy and the social and economic systems of other nations. Oh, everybody just loved it: the educators, the politicians, the parents. So, what went wrong during the academy’s 10-month existence?

According to the teachers and the parents — everything, from day one.
“The Obama Academy was under-resourced all year long,” declared Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi of the MA’AT Institute for Community Change, a group which has worked closely with the school. “All this school ever got from the school district were a lot of fancy words and ideas and nothing to bring them about. They were operating on a shoe-string budget and had to cut staff to get the place open.

“We volunteered to help keep the school clean because they didn’t even have enough janitors. Ms. Wills worked very hard to bring the basic resources to the school which the district did not provide. And even if she did have the resources, she would have needed more than 10 months to make a school work,” Jitahidi said.

One of the leaders of the protesting Obama teachers said: “The school opened in September and we didn’t even get textbooks in the classrooms until November. And when the district finally gave us some, they came without codes and we — the teachers, staff and volunteers — had to code every single textbook by hand before the students could use them.”

Another teacher complained that while the school opened in September, it received no Title I money until January or February; that despite its 1,300 student enrollment, it was given no campus aides, had only two office technicians and a plant management staff of five people, including only two custodians.

“If we wanted a clean classroom, we had to clean it ourselves — and we did,” the teacher said. “We had parents and community people who would help us sometimes, but it was a hard year and we had a difficult time getting our school going because we never received what we needed to operate.

“But Ms. Wills was our leader and she worked tirelessly against formidable challenges. In fact, Ms. Wills, acknowledging the importance of constant parental interaction, often stayed at the school late — until 6 and 7 p.m. — to accommodate working parents who wanted to confer about their children,” the teacher said.

Another Obama teacher is quite depressed over the turn of events. “We worked hard developing the plan for this school and the district didn’t support us in carrying it. I don’t think I want to be a teacher anymore,” she said.

Many of the teachers speak of a meeting McKenna had with the Obama faculty two weeks ago at which Julie Elliot, an LAUSD associate superintendent, apologized to the faculty for the problems the staff had during its first year and pointedly apologized for the district’s failure to provide the necessary resources when the school opened.

She said the district will make sure nothing like that ever happens to a new school again. Elliot is also reported to have told the 30 or so teachers present at the meeting that she found no fault with the academy and that no “corrections” would be dispensed.

“Imagine our shock to learn after Elliot’s speech that Ms. Wills — our principal, our leader — was being fired,” another teacher said. “They just keep playing us and blaming us. What do they want us to do? I believe we were set up to fail,” she added.

McKenna did not return my calls for an interview; Deasy was out of town, and LAUSD board member Marguerite LaMotte said: “While I’ve heard a great deal about this matter this week, I do not know the facts surrounding it. I have to investigate and ask questions of both sides to determine what has been done and why and whether it was fair to the people involved and in the best interest of the school.”

As far as Jitahidi is concerned, everything about this stinks. “Nobody knows anything, yet inner-city schools and their personnel are under assault. We’re all scratching our heads about this. Decisions are being made by unknown people for hidden reasons without input from the people. Coupled with Clay, this business at Obama is part of a continuing pattern of disrespect by the school district that targets and adversely impacts Black schools,” Jitahidi concluded.

●●smf's 2 cents: Is it just me…, or does this look and smell and walk like what happened at Central HS#9 – The Visual and Performing Arts High School (now Cortines High School) at exactly this time last year? |
Hopefully at Obama Prep it won’t turn out that the ‘personnel matter’ was initiated by a letter to the superintendent written by the spouse of the incoming principal!

Op-Ed in the Ventura County Star By Tom Torlakson and Darrell Steinberg |

July 9, 2011 at 1:07 p.m - Ask a baseball fan how good his team's shortstop is, and he can point to more than two dozen statistics, from the number of double plays turned to how often the player strikes out with runners on base.

Ask about the performance of a public school in California, and you'll get one lonely number based solely on one set of end-of-the-year test results.

It was never meant to work this way. The state's school accountability system, adopted a dozen years ago, was supposed to adapt over time as needs changed and new tools were developed. Call it one more piece of unfinished business in a state with a lot of work to do.

For students and schools, there are real consequences for allowing this system to limp forward unimproved.

First is what you might call testing tunnel vision. We ask too much of our current exams even while acknowledging they don't utilize the latest technology, cover all the subject matter students should master, or measure both academic knowledge and the real-world problem-solving skills students need.

No one would judge San Francisco Giants' pitcher Tim Lincecum's performance based on one inning. Why should parents and the public judge a school based on one set of tests?

But the even bigger problem is the important things we're ignoring while we focus exclusively on test results in limited subjects. Are students staying in school or dropping out? Are they ready to continue their education? Do they have the training and skills to start a career?

A test score alone won't answer those questions. In a difficult and rapidly changing economy, students and parents need those answers more than ever.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the majority of new jobs that will be created in the next decade will require at least two years of college. That will be especially true in California, where a great deal of future growth is likely to be concentrated in science and technology.

That means it will be just as important that students learn to think critically and solve complex problems as it is for them to fill in the right bubble on a multiple-choice test.

That makes it essential that California students leave schools not just with knowledge but also the know-how they need to succeed in college and the workplace — such as critical thinking skills, effective oral and communication skills, curiosity and imagination. They also need engaging courses connecting what they are learning in school to career paths that interest them. That's the relevance that keeps students on track to graduation, further education, and productive lives.

So, how well are our schools doing in these critical areas?

No one knows. And we won't know with certainty until we bring our accountability system up to date.

Anecdotally, we know many students leave school unprepared to meet the demands of today's workplace. That's certainly true for the nearly 100,000 California middle and high school students who drop out each year. But even many graduates find themselves unprepared. More than half of first year community college students and Cal State University students need remedial classes before they start college-level work.

We believe it's time to apply the lessons we've learned over the years to give students, teachers and parents a clearer, more complete picture of school performance. We've written Senate Bill 547 to take the first important steps in that direction.

Our proposal would connect the way we evaluate schools with a broader set of indicators that capture the skills and knowledge that make students successful for a lifetime. It requires the State Board of Education to implement a new accountability system — the Education Quality Index — that includes graduation and promotion rates, college preparedness and career readiness along with test scores in measuring school performance.

We do have something to show for 12 years of focusing solely on standardized tests in California — at least eight consecutive years of steadily improving test scores. That's quite an achievement in light of the deep cuts that have been made to school budgets in the last few years, and a testament to the dedication of teachers, parents, school employees and administrators.

Imagine what our students will achieve once we graduate from a system that amounts to academic batting practice and lets them swing for the fences in real life.

Tom Torlakson is California's state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Darrell Steinberg is the president pro tempore of the California State Senate.

SB 547 passed the Assembly ED committee on Friday and was referred to Assembly APPROPRIATIONS. You can review SB 547 HERE.

Tdap: MIDDLE + HIGH SCHOOLERS MUST GET WHOOPING COUGH SHOT - 7th to 12th graders can not return to school without proof of Tdap vaccination.

By Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou, EGP Staff Writer | Eastern Group Publications |

Middle and high school students will not be allowed to return to school in the fall if they have not been vaccinated for pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough.

A new state law that went into effect July 1 makes pertussis booster shots, called Tdap, mandatory for 7th to 12th grade students in the 2011-2012 school year. In subsequent years beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, incoming 7th graders will be required to get booster shots.

Read this story IN SPANISH: Nueva Ley Obliga que Jóvenes Reciban la Vacuna Contra la Tos Ferina |

Public health officials predict long lines at clinics and doctors’ offices if parents wait until the last minute to get their children vaccinated. A public awareness campaign was launched to encourage early compliance with the law.

“We hope parents will use the summer break to get a simple shot for their children. Parents can lead by example and also get vaccinated,” said Marina Alvarez, spokersperson for the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease characterized by severe coughing spells that could sometimes lead to vomiting. The coughs often have a “whooping” sound, hence the colloquial name for the disease. Serious complications include pneumonia, seizures and encephalopathy.

The disease is especially dangerous for infants under the age of 1 year old. Nine infants died in the past year, up from previous years when there was either one infant death or no deaths during the year, say health officials.

Because infants are too young to receive Tdap shots, caretakers and parents have been encouraged to get shots to prevent the possibility of infecting those who are more vulnerable, Alvarez says.

A spike in whooping cough cases prompted the new state law and the campaign by health departments around the state to encourage vaccinations for everyone 10 years or older.

Officials recorded 870 cases in 2010, making this the “worst epidemic” since 1947. Officials say they have not determined why there was an increase in whooping cough cases this year.

“Vaccines save thousands of lives each year… choosing not to vaccinate your children can have serious consequences,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MS, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer.

The price of shots range between $50 to $70, but health centers and clinics are providing shots at a much lower cost, around $20. Shots are often available for free to children under the age 18. To find out where Tdap shots are available, health officials recommend calling the county’s 24-hour information hotline 211 or visiting

In addition to protecting against pertussis, the Tdap shot also guards against diptheria and tetanus. Alvarez says the shot should not be confused with the Dtap shot.

Students are being required to get vaccinated because “schools are havens for infection,” Alvarez said, assuring that “vaccines are safe” and that parents should not be concerned about the side effects.

Montebello Unified School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Service Mike Cobarrubias says the new law applies to 15,000 students in the district, making the goal of 100 percent participation a “massive undertaking.”

In addition to passing out flyers to parents, recording tele-parent messages, and posting information about the requirement on their website, MUSD officials have also partnered with St. Francis Medical Center and AltaMed to provide mobile clinics offering free shots throughout the summer.

The district will cross-reference the California Immunization Registry (CAIR) vaccination database, used by 80 percent of vaccination providers, to ensure they have current information about which students have already gotten shots.

Cobarrubias says 44 percent of MUSD students who are required to get shots have already done so. As the new school year nears and the number of students who still need to get vaccinated dwindles, the district may call parents directly to ensure all students are ready for school on time.

Thousands of LAUSD students at year-round schools showed up Tuesday without the required proof of immunization, creating chaos as school officials and nurses attempted to either verify information or provide students with forms to be filled out showing they had received the vaccination before they can return to school. Schools on the year-round schedule include Bell High School, Fremont High School, Huntington Park High School, Gage Middle School and Ellen Ochoa Learning Center.

Students who have not been vaccinated may be sent home, or be assigned to an auditorium or non-instructional area until they have received the Tdap shot. Forty percent of all LAUSD students have already gotten the booster shots, according to school officials.

School officials recommend looking up clinic locations at and getting more information about Pertussis at or

You can view video examples of whooping cough at
and, as well as read the history of the recent epidemic at

●● smf: Students are encouraged to get vaccinated by their family physician. I was assured on Friday by senior LAUSD staff that sufficient Tdap vaccine will be on hand by the opening of school in September.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
T H I S . J U S T . I N :: L.A. TEACHERS UNION NEEDS TO GET ON BOARD: UTLA has been defensive, adversarial and obstructionist in response to a wide range of school reform efforts. It needs to start collaborating.
L.A. Times Op-Ed – by Ray Reisler and Leslie Gilbert-Lurie | http://l...



THE GREAT DISTRACTION OF TEACHER EVALUATION: Themes in the News for the week of July 5-8, 2011 by UCLA IDEA | ht...

A LOCKE HIGH MILESTONE: It's an emotional time for the last of the 'original' pre-charter students and a graduation (of sorts) for the school's counselors...

Tdap: MIDDLE + HIGH SCHOOLERS MUST GET WHOOPING COUGH SHOT - 7th to 12th graders can not return to school withou...

ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL ENDS ‘SINGLE-SCHOOL’, SINGLE-PRINCIPAL ERA: Class of 2011 joins the ranks of Rough Rider a...

Letters to The Times: HOMEWORK: letters to the editor of the LA Times | 8 July | Inside st...



Whooping Cough/Tdap: LA SCHOOLS ASK FOR WAIVERS WHILE AWAITING VACCINE: The Associated Press/from the Sacramento...

TEACHERS FROM LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS FACE STIGMA ON JOB SEARCH: L.A. Unified staffers say they're often judged b...

TURMOIL ROCKS SOUTH L.A. SCHOOL NAMED FOR OBAMA + smf’s 1¢: Bottom Line By BETTY PLEASANT, Contributing Editor, ...

AB 114: STEALTH ATTACK ON CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS +Bill Text: AB 114 was passed to appease the California Teachers As...

THE EDUCATION OF LAUSD’s STEVE ZIMMER: By Danielle Berrin | The Jewish Journal of L.A. | ...

RETHINKING LA/SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOLS - LADOT: Driven to Distraction: Stephen Box | CityWatch |

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: LAUSD should avoid diminishing homework's value in education + smf’s 2¢: Daily News Editoria...

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213-241-5183
Phone: 213-241.8700


What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member: • 213-241-6386 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-5555 • 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! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: • 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 Brown: 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. THEY DO!.

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 represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for ten years. 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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