Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two thousand twelve

Onward! 4LAKids
4LAKids: Sunday 1•Jan•2012 Happy New Year
In This Issue:
LOOKING BACK AT 2011+ Not Yet LAUSD: Mini- ®eformish
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

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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.
2011: As years go, that was one of them …best gone.

Personally darker than I'd prefer, generally bleak – not a good one for public education. Best done with, dimly remembered and set aside. Tomorrow is a better day – or at least another one.

The LA Times ("a miserable year of bickering and brinkmanship") in their finite and (since Dec. '08) bankrupt wisdom made a top ten list of goings-on in L.A, LAUSD and education from preschool-to-higher appears nowhere on it.. No ascent of Deasy, no landmark labor/management agreement, no budget woes, no opening of new schools, no LACCD building scandal (which is their story!), no televised expulsion of chocolate milk or suspension of the new lunch menu – no mention of the successful high school graduates or even the dropouts, nothing of another Academic Decathlon victory. Not a word about the county problems in First5 or foster care. The Daily News made an unenumerated list that got some of those things (LOOKING BACK AT 2011/follows). The AP made a top ten national list: The Penn State sex scandal is as close as they came to education. NCLB? Pizza the vegetable? Race to the Top? Nada.

Our job, gentle readers, is to get The Times and the politicians and each and every one of us – and our kids in the classroom – to focus on education and the welfare of children on everyone's calendar in 2012.

2012: The midnight hour crosses the dateline in Samoa+New Zealand and the New Year sweeps westward around the globe. It becomes official in Times Square as the ball drops …but it isn't truly real until the parade marches counter intuitively eastward down Colorado Boulevard.

Through a century old covenant between the burghers and clergy of Pasadena and a twentieth century covenant between the NCAA and the NFL guaranteeing the sanctity of Pro Football on Sunday – the Tournament of Roses and the real start of 2012 will be on Monday the 2nd this year.

New Years Day, whenever it is, is a metaphor for the year to come. For the 40th year in a row the LAUSD All District Band will march down Colorado Boulevard. The band is unfunded in next year's budget – this may be their last march.

For the first time in forever an LAUSD co-ed (there's an endangered word – hovering on the brink of extinction from political incorrectness) will be a Rose Princess. Sarah Zuno, a senior at Franklin High School, is serving on the 2012 Tournament of Roses Royal Court. In addition to her academic achievements, Sarah is Franklin's Glee Club co-president and plays on the varsity basketball and softball teams.

In the day before the parade and the game and the real beginning of 2012 we can make resolutions – promises we make to ourselves – or we can make a commitment to the children in our lives and in our schools – to make 2012 a better year.

We need to stop paying lip service to the idea of Arts and Music Education – it's not an idea or even an ideal – it's a requirement! Parent Involvement and Engagement and Science and Phys Ed and Health Ed and health+wellness themselves are not compliance issues to marginally met or waived – they are keys to student success. We need to stop missing Driver's Ed ("Where did all these idiots learn to drive?")…and start bringing it back. The nurse's office isn't a place to store files – it's an Office. For the Nurse. A health practitioner and an educator. Likewise - a school library without a librarian is a bookroom.

● We need a short term plan to get us though these times of not enough money.
● We need a mid range plan to get us from where we are to where we wanted to be.
● We need a long range plan to get all these kids to where we want them to be -- not with 100% graduation or a laptop-or-tablet in every book bag and wireless connections for all – not with a 4.0 GPA or API 950 -- but as young people prepared, engaged and connected to their futures. Education is the most forward thinking and hopeful thing we do as a civilization; it needs to be done incrementally and passionately and joyfully – with premeditation and flexibility.

Socrates taught Plato, Plato taught Aristotle. Aristotle taught Alexander. Alexander conquered the world and built a greatest library ever known.

These pages make a resolution every week: Let us here be newly resolved: ¡Onward/Adelante!


TESTING TESTING: The 4LAKids Holiday Break Quizzes

LOOKING BACK AT 2011+ Not Yet LAUSD: Mini- ®eformish
By Susan Abram Staff Writer | LA Daily News |


12/31/11 :: Reform-minded educator John Deasy started his first full year as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, promising to improve the performance of students and teachers alike. And he delivered some of those with several "firsts" within LAUSD.

LAUSD and its teachers union forged a first-of-its-kind contract that grants charter school-like autonomy to individual campuses and demands greater accountability in exchange. The pact ends the district's controversial Public School Choice program which allowed outside groups to bid to operate dozens of new and failing schools.

Students got their first taste of a healthier lunch menu, one that tries to reduce their intake of fat, sodium and sugar and increase their appetite for fruits and veggies.

Thousands of teens marked their first day of high school at new learning academies that opened in Granada Hills and San Fernando. And Granada Hills Charter High School captured the national Academic Decathlon title in its first-ever appearance at the prestigious competition.

But LAUSD officials also struggled to overcome massive budget problems.

Thousands of teachers and librarians received pink slips in the spring, although most were eventually rehired after employees agreed to take unpaid furloughs.

In December, a multibillion-dollar shortfall in new revenue at the state level triggered budget cuts that wiped out LAUSD's transportation fund for the rest of the school year. The district has filed suit to block the cuts, arguing that its busing program is key to mandated desegregation and special-education program.

And the district is already projecting a $532 million deficit for 2012-13, and has recommended cutting adult and early-childhood education if addition revenue isn't found.

The year also didn't offer promise to California college students, whose tuition soared in the wake of deep budget cuts. At Cal State Northridge, students paid 23 percent more, while community college costs jumped from $26 to $36 a credit.

And that doesn't include the year-end decision to hike CSU tuition 9 percent and community college costs by another $10 a unit in 2012.

CSUN President Jolene Koester, credited with rejuvenating the campus during her 11-year tenure, announced her retirement by the end of the year. Provost Harold Hellenbrand is taking over in January as interim president.

Early in the year, CSUN's $125-million Valley Performing Arts Center opened with great fanfare.

4LAKids NEW FAVORITE ANONYMOUS TEACHER/BLOGGER NotYetLAUSD puts some of the recent urgent+strange goings-on somewhat in perspective:

►On the cafeteria food silliness: TEENAGERS COMPLAIN!

12/18 :: notyetLAUSD will not back down from bold and innovative food. We are certain that next to learning the subject/verb agreement, learning to eat something other than carnival food is in the realm of possibility for LAUSD students. LA Times story about LAUSD's capitulation to whining teenagers can be found here.

►On the "landmark"/"breakthrough"/"milestone" labor agreement: 870 TINY WOUNDS

12/14 :: I'm trying to figure out this UTLA/LAUSD contract. UTLA doesn't lose any members for the next 3 years because of a hold on PSC (PSC was probably going to die anyway). Schools now get to get create mini-reformish experiments. Up to this point I am neutral, no real negotiating and as I mentioned, I think this was a mercy rule decision.

My paranoia: I can only see teachers fighting with each other at schools. In the end its not the reforms the district is pushing or the saved jobs that standout. In the end its moving to a school culture where there is more hostility within the school among teachers. Now a small fraction of teachers get to work together to change the school towards a few predefined acceptable reforms. In reality only a small number of teachers will believe enough in these reforms and have the will to make it happen, most likely in the face of a variety of oppositions. Changing a school would require at least 50% approval on the changes. Some people will just want the status-quo either due to apathy or they are veterans and know how to get their way regardless of the ed-reform fashion. I'm not interested in these people. What about the teachers that want to make changes, but they don't fall in-line with pre-approved script of reforms negotiated by UTLA and LAUSD, these people will also fight. I've been part of a PSC school and I know that only a few teachers at a given school will have the will to write 300 page plans.

I don't think anyone really comes out ahead on this …but hey: it's reform!

by CHUCK BARTELS, JEANNIE NUSS Associated Press/from the Chicago Tribune |

8:25 p.m. CST, December 28, 2011 - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas cannot cut off millions of dollars in funding for desegregation programs in Little Rock-area school districts until the state asks a federal judge for permission to do so, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision comes after U.S. District Judge Brian Miller ordered an end to most of the payments, calling them counterproductive. He accused the districts of delaying desegregation to keep getting state money.

The appeals court ruled that Miller decided to end the payments without the state specifically asking him to do so. The court said the state must ask, in a separate court action, before a judge could make such a ruling.

A spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Wednesday that no decision has been made about whether the state would file such a request.

Arkansas is required by a 1989 settlement to fund magnet schools, transfers between districts and other programs to support desegregation and keep a racial balance in the North Little Rock, Pulaski County and Little Rock school districts. Those costs currently add up to about $38 million a year, according to the appeals court's ruling.

State lawmakers have long wanted to end the desegregation program funding, though the districts say they're still necessary.

Battles over school desegregation in Little Rock date back to 1957, when nine black teenagers needed the protection of federal troops to integrate Central High School. Little Rock sued the state and its two neighboring districts in 1982, and two years later a judge agreed that the districts hadn't done enough to help the city schools desegregate.

Miller issued his order to end the payments earlier this year, after hearings about whether two of the three school districts in question — North Little Rock and Pulaski County — should be declared unitary, or substantially desegregated.

"That came kind of out of the blue," Stephen Jones, the lead attorney for the North Little Rock district, said Wednesday about Miller's ruling.

Miller wrote that the payments should end in order to avoid "an absurd outcome in which the districts are rewarded with extra money from the state if they fail to comply with their desegregation plans and they face having their funds cut by the state if they act in good faith and comply."

But the appeals court said Miller did not make "specific findings of fact" to support his decision.

Miller, who referred to himself as "a middle aged black judge," instead wrote: "After reading the briefs, the transcripts from the various hearings, and the scores of exhibits filed herein, it is very easy to conclude that few if any of the participants in this case have any clue how to effectively educate underprivileged black children."

The appeals court also reversed Miller's decision to deny the North Little Rock district's request to be declared unitary. Miller had denied the request in part because he said the district offered only anecdotal examples of its efforts to recruit black teachers.

The 8th Circuit disagreed, noting that more than 16 percent of the district's educators are black, compared to 9 percent statewide.

Miller didn't return a phone message left at his chambers Wednesday. But he removed himself from the desegregation case earlier this year, saying he could no longer make unbiased decisions after the state took over his hometown's school district in eastern Arkansas.

Jones, the North Little Rock district's lawyer, said he was pleased with the appeals court's decision to deem the district unitary.

"In a sense, it's anticlimactic because I don't think it really changes how we're going to conduct our day-to-day business," he said.

Another federal judge had previously declared the Little Rock district unitary, but Miller refused to declare the Pulaski County district entirely unitary in his May order. The appeals court upheld that part of Miller's ruling, which found the Pulaski County School District lacking in nine areas in which it had to make changes to be considered desegregated.

Wednesday's opinion notes that Miller found the Pulaski County district "has given very little thought, and even less effort to complying with its desegregation plan. Complying with its plan obligations seems to have been an afterthought."

The appeals court "found no reason to disagree" with Miller's conclusion.

The Pulaski County Special School District's lead attorney, Sam Jones, declined to comment Wednesday.

The Little Rock district's lead lawyer, Chris Heller, praised the appeals court's ruling, adding that part of Miller's decision in May "concerned issues that had not been presented to the district court."

McDaniel said in a statement that Arkansas is moving toward ending the legal action surrounding the decades-old desegregation case and in turn, "taking the courts out of the classrooms" in the county.


●● smf: If you only read one legal opinion this year, this should be the one …so far!

Whether or not the precedents here are precedential in California & LAUSD – the court’s writing on replacing bungalows (pp.19), construction cost escalation (pp.18-19), and particularly over-assignment of black males to special ed (pp.21-22.), and likewise in discipline referrals (pp.17), …and especially the statistical manipulation of data in assessing the Achievement Gap (pp.24-26), is enlightened+enlightening.

The Court's Opinion: Little Rock School District v. Lorene Joshua | U.S. Court of Appeals Case No:11-2130


By Matt Stevens, Los Angeles Times |

December 27, 2011 :: Every day, fourth-graders Lesly Heredia and Paulina Sanchez watched as their classmates tossed uneaten school lunches into trash bins before bolting to the playground.

The 9-year-olds found it hard to see all that food going to waste, so they came up with a plan: Why not give it to needy families in the area?

"We thought about all the kids who didn't have food," Paulina said. "They could get injured or get sick. It makes me feel proud that we came up with an idea."

The girls, who attend Jaime Escalante Elementary School in Cudahy, decided they needed to quantify how much food was going to the garbage. So they counted every trashed lunch.

They discovered that their classmates discarded more than 500 items a week. And they made a graph to display their work.

While on a visit to the school, Cudahy Mayor Josue Barrios was approached by Principal Beth Fuller, who told him about the girls' plan.

"This is not something I would ever have thought of," Barrios said. "When I was in fourth grade, I was more concerned with pulling girls' hair."

But these fourth-graders used their recess in a more productive fashion. They composed a letter to Dennis Barrett, Los Angeles Unified School District's food services director, and then they followed up.

"Once we sent the letter," Fuller said, "I think every day they came and asked me, 'Did we get a response yet, Ms. Fuller? Did we get it?'"

At the end of September, Barrett wrote back. He explained that the Board of Education had passed a resolution in April that laid out a food donation policy allowing nonprofit agencies to collect and distribute unopened lunch items. He added that the girls might set up a "common table" where students could leave school food they don't eat for others who wanted seconds or who wanted to try something new.

Currently, 71 schools in the district donate unopened food to 21 agencies across the county, Barrett said.

Los Angeles Unified introduced a new menu of more healthful offerings this year, but many students across the school system have rejected those options. The district announced that it would revamp the menu to better accommodate the students' tastes.

On a recent day, menu items at Jaime Escalante included chicken curry, vegetable lasagna and the coveted pizza calzone. About 81% of the school's students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

But when the calzones were gone, older students stood on tiptoe and peeked at the common table, – a cart stacked high with small plastic food containers.

And although several students did pick up seconds, most of the calzone seekers struck out.

"The little kids are always first in line," Lesly said as she placed chicken curry and pear on the cart. "It's unfair."

In January, representatives from the Southeast Churches Service Center will begin picking up leftover items on the common table. The center expects to take more than 100 items per trip, including entrees, fruits and vegetables and unopened cartons of white milk.

To facilitate the donations, Barrios connected the girls with Andy Molina, executive director of the center.

Molina said his organization typically serves about 1,200 families, but during the holiday season, the number has spiked to 3,000. The school's donations will help to see the center through its busiest period.

Based on their research, Lesly and Paulina concluded that sweet potatoes are students' least favorite item.

"They're sort of orange and curly," Paulina said. "For me, they're too sweet."

Molina, who met with the girls and heard their complaints about the school lunches, said his center buys certain products at the families' request. As it turns out, there is one particular item families crave.

"People actually ask, 'Do you have any more sweet potatoes?' " Molina said. "When are you getting some?'

"So when I heard that, to me, it was great."

by Sarat Pratachandran , School Planning and Management Magazine, December 2011 |

●●smf: In my work on the LAUSD Bond Oversight Committee I was frustrated by government's inability to address issues of school+children's health+safety in a timely manner, with the urgency that the subject deserves. The images of parents in China recovering their own children's bodies from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake haunt me. California took one month from the Long Beach Earthquake of '33 to enact the Field Act – which set new school construction standards. A third of century after Love Canal the feds have moved – not with law or standards but with guidelines.

THE EPA'S FIRST-EVER FEDERAL GUIDELINES FOR LOCATING SCHOOL FACILITIES encourage high-performance schools, stress the importance of locating schools near populations and infrastructure and promote schools as diverse centers of communities. They urge communities to consider children's ability to walk to school, access to public transportation and how to locate schools away from potential environmental hazards.

In 1978, Young homemaker Lois Gibbs was struggling to raise a family near Niagara Falls, but soon discovered that her home and those of her neighbors sat beside 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals. The 99th Street School and the Love Canal neighborhood incidents that led to the relocation of 900 families are synonymous with bad school siting decisions.

Thirty-three years later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just released the first-ever federal guidelines for locating school facilities. The 143-page comprehensive School Siting Guidelines was launched on Oct. 1, 2011.

“We are very excited that the EPA has finally launched the school siting guidelines. It all began with the 99th Street School then, and it is fascinating to see that it has taken 32 years or more to write these guidelines. We are happy that we got it,” says Gibbs, now the executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), a Virginia-based grassroots environmental advocacy organization.

“This is a victory for the faceless people out there who have worked hard,” Gibbs says.

Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) in December 2007 and asked the EPA to work in consultation with the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to develop model guidelines for the siting of school facilities. The act asked that the guidelines take into account broad categories dealing with the “special vulnerabilities of children to hazardous substances or pollution exposures,” modes of transportation available to students and staff, efficient use of energy in transportation and the potential use of a school site as an emergency shelter.

EPA worked extensively with external stakeholders to develop the guidelines. They are voluntary in nature and highlight the importance of meaningful public involvement in the school siting process.

Addressing a webinar organized by the National Safe Routes to Schools on Oct. 11, 2011, Peter Grevatt, Ph.D., director, Office of Children’s Health Protection, explains: “These guidelines focus specifically on environmental factors concerned with school siting. There are many other considerations that local jurisdictions need to consider when making school siting decisions."

The contents, split into eight sections, give an overview of the process behind establishing the guidelines and include topics like meaningful public involvement, environmental siting criteria considerations, environmental review process, evaluating impacts of nearby sources of air pollution, recommendations for states and tribes, a quick guide to environmental issues and a “frequently asked questions” section.

The guidelines begin with highlighting the importance of community involvement in the school siting process. They address steps communities can take before beginning the school siting process and urge school districts to undertake an environmental review, develop a school siting committee and communicate with the public and other stakeholders about their plans for locating a school facility.

The guidelines encourage districts to allocate resources for school siting and advocate long-range facility planning. “Long-range planning is important because it provides an opportunity for a school district to consider more than just its immediate facility needs,” says Gary Marek, director of School Facilities, Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The guidelines encourage high-performance schools, stress the importance of locating schools near populations and infrastructure and promote schools as diverse centers of communities. They urge communities to consider children’s ability to walk to school, access to public transportation and how to locate schools away from potential environmental hazards. The frequently asked questions section at the end provides clear, succinct answers for communities regarding environmental factors affecting the school siting process.


EPA’s school siting guidelines encourage meaningful public involvement at all levels of the siting process. “The more involved the community is, the more supportive they tend to be,” says Tracy Healy, REFP, president, DeJONG-HEALY, a firm that provides planning services for school districts across the country.

Healy cited the example of the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, a rural district where the firm “spent a few years with the community identifying potential facility options for their aging school facilities and focusing on community engagement.”

Another example of active community involvement is Ohio’s Oletangy School District where community members are part of committees that discuss what’s happening in the district and provide recommendations and updates to the board of education.

In certain instances, municipalities and school districts take decisions in isolation when locating school facilities. According to Renee Kuhlman, director of Special Projects, Center for State and Local Policy at National Trust for Historic Preservation, “School districts and municipalities can start by sharing data — both demographic data and land-use data (e.g., showing areas slated for redevelopment or new housing, etc.) — this is a new process happening in Billings, Mont., and it is yielding good results for both the district and local government.”


“The EPA guidelines lay a framework for evaluating environmental impacts associated with school siting. That’s a great step forward compared to what was available prior,” says Jeff Vincent, Ph.D., deputy cirector, Center for Cities & Schools at the University of California, Berkeley.

According to Vincent, the guidelines give states and school districts something that goes beyond a useful tool. Communities can “show processes and metrics needed when school districts are looking at siting a new school. This enables communities to hold their institutions accountable on school siting issues.”

He adds that “better guidance is needed on the other aspects of siting decisions, linked to community connections and school design, which can complement the School Siting Guidelines on environmental aspects.”

According to Matthew Trowbridge, MD, MPH, assistant professor, Associate Research Director at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, “The need for meaningful community involvement is important. EPA guidelines are voluntary and do provide a good framework for local and regional discussions that highlight the complexity of this issue. Not every community can be expected to do all the research.”


The guidelines strongly encourage environmental assessment of the potential site and outlying areas. “In concept, it’s extremely practical because underlying the guidelines is that there is better analysis for the various costs associated with school site choices. Some of these are environmental and health, but they still can be monetized. Some economic benefits will come to school districts, others to families and communities and cities,” Vincent says.

Budgetary issues sometimes make it tough for school districts to do an environmental assessment “but makes it very important as they want it to be more protective of the environment,” Healy says. “The will is there but time constraints do not get much focus and more progressive school districts in Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania are already doing this.”

The guidelines also empower communities to seek environmental justice. Gibbs says CHEJ will take a “pre-emptive” strategy at the grassroots level so that communities are empowered with school siting guidelines even before they decide on locating schools.

“We plan to get this into areas even before schools plan to site areas and have stakeholders understand the guidelines,” Gibbs says.


According to Kuhlman, “The new federal guidelines can be used to help states and tribes put in place policy and practices that encourage renovation of our existing infrastructure.” She says it will help encourage more public participation in the process.

“If the community and district receives good guidance from the state, they can fairly evaluate all of their choices — renovate versus replace. Often, it’s difficult for localities to know what all of the costs will be including land acquisition, renovation, new roads, sewers, etc. because those costs are often borne by different agencies, but ultimately by the taxpayers.”

However, location will be a primary factor in determining whether renovation and upgrades are needed. According to Gibbs, “These guidelines will help in renovation or build out efforts, but how far they will be needed will depend on the school location. For instance, if the school is close to a refinery in Houston, it might be difficult to go in for a full-fledged renovation, but a historic school in Quincy, Mass., could benefit from an upgrade.”

In recent years, the economic recession has prompted school districts to renovate and upgrade existing facilities. According to Kuhlman, “The slowdown has, however, put the emphasis back on ‘fix-it-first’ mentality, and we’re seeing some districts, like Buffalo, N.Y., invest in their existing schools — in Buffalo’s case, they’re renovating 40-plus schools to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars in a five-phase project. School districts have also used the American Recovery Act (ARRA) funds to modernize their facilities.”

California is encouraging renovation of existing facilities, while in New Hampshire the Department of Educational Facilities works with local school districts to not only choose renovation as their first option but also to explore “joint use” opportunities.

“School renovations with public funding attract private investment. On the other hand, schools built far away from the residents they serve tend to have unintended consequences,” Kuhlman says.

According to David C. Edwards, chairman, Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI), “The decision to maintain or renovate an existing school versus constructing new is influenced by a number of factors which have to be weighed against each other. No two facilities, communities and specific sites or educational program requirements are the same. Of key importance in the decision process is to determine if the existing facility is capable of accommodating the desired educational program in a healthy and safe environment.”

Edwards adds, “The current condition of the facility and site is also a major factor to be considered in the decision, with respect to the amount of dollars invested in a renovation, where the desired end product may have compromises versus the amount of dollars invested to construct a new facility.”


The guidelines encourage “joint use” facilities, which Vincent says “is a key concept for ensuring that schools are centers of their communities — that is, that they are seen as community assets and widely used and supported. They are publicly funded, local places that should see widespread use by all kinds of residents, young and old. But to do so, they need to be seen that way and funded in that way, especially with regard to building upkeep and modernization.”

According to Trowbridge, “The choice of where to put community resources is critical. Schools need to be designed to be flexible and must be useful to the entire community, and joint use is probably one good way to go.”


Kuhlman explains, “The greatest benefit of community-centered schools from the perspective of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is that they help sustain our older and historic communities. We believe there is no greater public institution more important to the vitality of a neighborhood than schools.”

Kuhlman believes the guidelines will help communities locate schools “to meet a multitude of community goals — including combating childhood obesity, improving air quality and revitalizing older neighborhoods.”

The location of a school has multiple influences on the community surrounding it. According to Trowbridge, “Where you place your school has an influence on transportation patterns and other issues that impact the whole community.” He says issues like childhood obesity need to be addressed through environmental policies.

Gibbs thinks that schools built based on these guidelines will enhance community pride. “This helps more communities, especially of low wealth and color, to have a decent place for kids.”


The guidelines encourage building green, healthy schools and school districts in different parts of the country have already started this initiative. In Ohio, for instance, the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OHSFC) has started requiring all schools in districts approved for funding after September 2007 to be at least LEED Silver certified with a goal of meeting LEED Gold.

“Something like this has never existed before,” says Dr. Trowbridge, highlighting the importance of the newly released federal guidelines.

Download the Report

The U.S. EPA’s School Siting Guidelines can be downloaded at:

Sarat Pratapchandran is a writer specializing in education, environment and healthcare. His website is

See the following Interview Transcript with Renee Kuhlman, director of Special Projects, Center for State and Local Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation

● How do you develop meaningful community involvement?
● How has the recession impacted community-centered schools?
● What is the greatest benefit of community-centered schools?
● What states are encouraging preservation and renovation of schools? How are they doing this?
● Role of deferred maintenance of schools: What is the impact? What are the solutions?
● What is the link between school renovation and residential development?
● How will schools look in future?
● How useful will the EPA guidelines be?


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources

THE HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT DILEMMA AND SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS: Policy Brief + Full Report by Martha L. Thurlow and David R. Johnson/California Dropout Research Project/UCSB |



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26 Dec


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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