Sunday, April 01, 2012


Onward! 4LAKids
4LAKids: Sunday 1•April•2012 April foolishness
In This Issue:
 •  3 from The Times: Adelanto “Parent Trigger” - ANOTHER MISFIRE
 •  State Chiefs to Duncan: “DON’T ‘UNDERMINE’ US WITH DISTRICT WAIVERS” + EdGuess’ CA 2¢
 •  An open letter to the School Board: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
 •  HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not neccessariily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
 •  Follow 4 LAKids on Twitter - or get instant updates via text message by texting "Follow 4LAKids" to 40404
 •  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.
The presentation to the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee of the Board of Education on Tuesday afternoon started inauspiciously enough – reporting the results of online opinion polling re: the recommendations of the A–G Graduation Requirements, Social Promotion and Homework Policy Task Forces.

• SOCIAL PROMOTION has been controversial for decades. Nobody likes it and everybody wants to (but nobody will) do something about it.
• The District has invested a lot of fiscal, educational and political capital in implementing the A–G GRAD REQUIREMENT. As a work-in-progress the progress is excruciatingly slow …and the outcomes confused by goals: Is it All Students College Ready AND Career Prepared?. …or All Students College Ready OR Career Prepared? And going all Clintonian: Who exactly do we mean by ALL?
• And HOMEWORK POLICY? That was a brief cause célèbre earlier – before other cause célèbre became more celebrated.

The presentation continued with a PowerPoint [] of some suspect and very unscientific online polling data – the desired poll results proving the correctness of the District’s vision and the undesired results indicating that the poll takers needed more education in the correctness of the District’s vision. (The concept of the visionaries acceding to the popular opinion was never contemplated.) After this there were Recommendations … based on the worst case political and fiscal realities …and the clear vision and will of the Powers-That-Be.

On SOCIAL PROMOTION there was sturm und drang und kvelling – but with no money and no staff and no summer school or intervention programs there was No Way. Maintaining the Status Quo is the recommended path. The can, kicked down the road.

On HOMEWORK POLICY the reform-that-isn’t, proposed-from-above was recommended for approval – supported by the polling if not by the public meetings where the few teachers and parents who attended excoriated the policy for being too simple or too complicated, too much or too little, and in universal agreement: too top down. But what can we expect from a policy dictated from the 24th floor of 333 South Beaudry dictating the throughput and work product of first graders working on their own time at home?

And A–G — the unkeepable promise of College for All (whether they want it …or if there’s room for them — or not) is too hot an issue to change – and too expensive a policy to implement well with no money. The state higher ed system is not holding up their end of the promise …and LAUSD isn’t holding up ours. There aren’t enough places in the CSU’s and UC’s for all the “A” and “B” students even when they can afford the tuition. The college admissions offices don’t recognize the grade of “D” as passing. But LAUSD awards alleged A–G diplomas to straight “D” students – and doesn’t have the capacity to allow most “D” students to repeat their classes.

IF – and this is the big if – LAUSD recognizes a “D” as a passing grade it must admit it really doesn’t have an A–G College Preparatory Graduation Requirement.

AND BURIED ON PAGES 11 THRU 13 OF THE POWERPOINT: LAUSD’s Office of Curriculum and Instruction proposes to eliminate the minimal elective requirements (the classes students want and choose to take) and also proposes eliminating the requirement for a one semester Comprehensive Health Education class as a graduation requirement. 20 weeks, 5 days-a-week; 100 hours of Health Education.

• The L.A. City Schools have included Health Education in the Curriculum since 1901; a critical piece in educating the whole child.
• I am looking at the Health Education Content Standards for California Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve. They are 70 pages long.
• We are in the midst of an epidemic of obesity and adult onset (type 2) diabetes in children. Both of these can be defeated not through immunization but through education.
• Our children and young people face issues of sexual health, social, emotional and mental health and substance abuse.

…and LAUSD’s answer is to eliminate Health Ed from the curriculum?

How can a District that has repeatedly gone on the record over student health and has invested an unprecedented $28 million of taxpayer’s money to build School Wellness Centers be so off the mark here? Every one of us uses the values and lessons learned in Health Class back-in-the-day every day (…or we should!) Most of us will only use what we learned in Algebra 2 to help our children with their algebra homework. Geometry and Trig prepare kids for college; Health Ed prepares kids for life.

An Alameda USD student responding to a question on the importance of school based health said: "Without it we are doomed".

We have already lost Drivers Ed and Industrial Arts and Home Economics from the curriculum – they were once graduation requirements. Were we suddenly to change our minds and bring them back in a ‘what were we thinking?’ moment we no longer have the facilities or the textbooks or the teachers to teach these subjects. We have cut Phys Ed from the last two years of high school – because, I suppose, sixteen and seventeen year olds don’t need exercise.

Our schools need to offer a rigorous college curriculum to all students; High Expectations is a three way path: of-and-for students, of-and-for parents, and of-and-for educators. But there are many other career destinations and opportunities besides the UC’s and CSU’s. Neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates graduated from college.

And because I don’t know when to shut up and leave well enough alone: We need to teach Health Ed early and often – not as a grad requirement. Because the dropouts and pushed-out - who are over there by the fence even if we wish they weren’t - need it.

And let’s ask the Regents to raise the bar – and add a course of Comprehensive Health Ed to the entry requirements – because they have an interest in a healthy Student Body+Mind. A thru G plus H.

Change/reform/progress is not easy. The BREAKFAST IN THE CLASSROOM/GRAB AND GO roll out of the school meal program ( – which is very good news!) has been the work of many folks, organizations and advocates; staff, politicians, board members, policymakers and volunteers working for a decade in LAUSD, in Sacramento and up and down the state not just the photo opportunists at Figueroa Street School on Thursday morning. You know who you are, thank you.

Saturday March 31 was CÉSAR CHÁVEZ BIRTHDAY, a state holiday and a day we need to honor with far more than a day off or designated furlough day, a street name or a poster on the wall. Chavez was a quiet voice and a powerful moral and ethical presence – a voice we still hear and a presence we still feel. "Sí, se puede" He was a wayfinder for leaders and an elevator of consciousness for doing the right thing.

THE STATE AUDIT REPORT OF THE LA COUNTY DEPT OF CHILDREN’S SERVICES is very disturbing: “Widespread deficiencies found in L.A. County's oversight of abused children” |

Parents will be notified in a timely manner of suspected abuse; Public School Choice 3.0 is final with the superintendent doing all the choosing.

The Daily News looks back at DEASY’S FIRST YEAR. |

And, Best for Last: Congratulations to the Students, Parents, Educators and Community members of the forty LAUSD schools named as CALIFORNIA DISTINGUISHED SCHOOLS. Good job! |

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


OpEd By Bill Boyarsky,Jewish Journal OF Greater L.A. |

March 29 2012 :: In a city where some of the very rich are willing to pay $1 billion-plus for the bankrupt Dodgers baseball team, why can’t anyone spare $500,000 to support an Academic Decathlon program that brings luster to the often criticized Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)?

Unbelievably, funding for the annual Academic Decathlon, which pits high school students against their peers in a test of wits and knowledge, would be eliminated in the cuts proposed in the worst-case budget approved by the LAUSD board.

These cuts are planned unless teachers agree to four-day unpaid furloughs or voters support a parcel tax, an additional tax on property. Among the other cuts contemplated are the closing of all adult schools and abandonment of afterschool programs and English-as-a-second-language classes. Thousands of teachers would be dismissed.

News of the contemplated death of the Academic Decathlon program came out just as the Granada Hills Charter High School team won the 2012 California Academic Decathlon on March 19, its second consecutive win, completing a grueling period of preparation — with some sessions lasting eight hours a day — studying history, music, physics and math, learning to answer questions orally as well as on paper. LAUSD schools have won the state title 18 times since 1987, and 12 national titles.

I find it a bit suspicious that Superintendent John Deasy and the Board of Education would pick on the Academic Decathlon program in the midst of the budget crisis. Its cost is a relative pittance; its pluses are huge. Threatening to eliminate something so valuable sounds like a familiar LAUSD budget scare tactic.

“Every year, they go to the same filing cabinet and bring out the same old cuts,” said former school board member and teacher David Tokofsky. He’s the father of L.A.’s Academic Decathlon competition, starting the string of national and state victories with his Marshall High School team in 1987.

But let’s assume Deasy and the school board are not bluffing, that they’d really be willing to sacrifice this adornment to the school district to save a few dollars. Is there an alternative?

I talked to Tokofsky about raising money from private sources. He agreed with me about the availability of rich potential donors. He noted that some of them, and their foundations, are already putting money into the district to promote their own ideas of school reform, including paying salaries of some administrators they like.

There are others he figures would be willing to help. “There are really famous rock stars from Garfield and Banning and other schools,” he said. “There are athletes. We are so busy beating up the system that we don’t celebrate the people who could help us. We should hunt down the alumni who have the most romantic views of their schools. They’re out there, yet nobody is harvesting them.”

Tokofsky gave me a rundown on the approximately half a million dollars a year needed to finance the competition. The money goes for coaches, supplies, travel and food for the competitors, and salary for the official who administers it, Cliff Ker. Coaches, who are teachers, saw their extra pay cut this year from $5,000 a year to $2,800. Coaches work with the teams two or so hours daily at first, then five, six and even eight hours a day as competition nears.

“It’s very hard to find coaches,” Ker said. “It’s a lot of work, there is a lot of turnover — we have between 20 and 25 coaches leave each year, about a third. They are dealing with very bright kids, some more motivated than others, requiring many hours of study with very few tangible results until it is over. It has to be a very special individual who is dedicated, can put in the time, [is] disciplined, kind of a whole bunch of John Wooden clones,” said Bruins fan Ker, invoking the name of the famed late UCLA basketball coach.

“Part of my job is to get donations,” Ker said. “David [Tokofsky] has helped me. But the most we have raised in a year is $100,000. Recently, we have raised [only] $50,000 a year. I have gotten leads, but I don’t know whether it is my [lack of] fundraising skills, or I’m not connected, but I have only been able to raise that $50,000.”

The district could help more. The Academic Decathlon makes headlines during competition time, but Deasy and his media staff could turn themselves into John Wooden clones and do much more.

The high school students and their coaches bring something positive to a district flooded with gloomy news about test scores, labor management disputes and investigations into a few perverted teachers. And now, with the stroke of a pen in their bureaucratic hands, Deasy and the school board are threatening to kill something so good.

Los Angeles can’t leave it up to them. We’re loaded with rich people — film executives and stars, athletes, Midas-touch financiers, developers, etc. They give to museums, universities, charities, foundations and political campaigns. Synagogues, churches and many other causes. A small portion of this wealth should go for LAUSD’s amazingly successful Academic Decathlon teams.

Bill Boyarsky is a columnist for The Jewish Journal, Truthdig and L.A. Observed, and the author of “Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times” (Angel City Press)

3 from The Times: Adelanto “Parent Trigger” - ANOTHER MISFIRE

ADELANTO SCHOOL LEADERS REJECT PARENT TRIGGER EFFORT: Supporters of changes at struggling Desert Trails Elementary say they will fight the vote in court.
By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times |

March 29, 2012 :: Mojave Desert school officials late Wednesday denied a petition by parents to overhaul their children's failing school, dealing a major blow to forces aiming to win the first reform under the state's pioneering parent trigger law.

Adelanto school board members unanimously rejected the petition to turn Desert Trails Elementary into a charter campus, finding that it failed to win the support of parents representing at least half of the school's 642 students, as the law requires. The school has the lowest standardized test scores in Adelanto, with fewer than half the students proficient in math and English.

Petition supporters, who allege that opponents doctored documents to sink their campaign, said they would challenge the board decision in court.

"While we are disappointed and outraged, we are hardly surprised by the board's decision tonight to rely on fraud and forgery to defend the status quo," said Doreen Diaz of Desert Trails Parent Union, which launched the petition campaign.

But Lori Yuan, a parent leader on the other side, expressed relief: "Now we can focus on making actual improvements to the school rather than be distracted by outside issues."

The vote capped weeks of mounting conflict and mutual charges of deceit between two groups of parents, one assisted by the California Teachers Assn., a union, the other by Parent Revolution, a Los Angeles nonprofit that lobbied for the parent trigger law.

The 2010 law allows parents representing at least half the students at low-performing schools to close their campus, transfer management to a charter operator or change the staff and curriculum.

In Adelanto, parents representing what they said was 70% of the school's students submitted a petition in January asking for a charter school. But the board rejected it last month, saying it fell 16 students short of the required threshold after dozens of parents complained they were confused about the campaign and rescinded their signatures.

Under the campaign's strategy, two petitions were circulated — one for district reforms and another for a charter school. Supporters told parents they preferred the first option but submitted the second one as leverage, they said, to press school officials to carry out their desired reforms.

Board President Carlos Mendoza, among others, has criticized the two-petition strategy as confusing and on Wednesday called the rescissions "justified."

But Parent Revolution, in examining the rescission documents, uncovered evidence that at least four of them had been doctored. The group, joined by several state legislators, has called for an investigation into possible fraud, a complaint under review by the San Bernardino County district attorney's office.


By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
March 28, 2012 :: ...Parents at Desert Trails Elementary in Adelanto, where fewer than half the students...rejected the petition for errors. In Adelanto, Ramirez and others initially submitted...several elected officials representing the Adelanto area and the bipartisan sponsors of the... More>

Op-Ed: By Gloria Romero

March 28, 2012 :: ...seen it in the Antelope Valley town of Adelanto. In both cases, more than half the...consumers with few choices. In both Adelanto and Compton, parents trying to engage in a last-ditch battle in Adelanto. What it denies is that it did anything... More>

State Chiefs to Duncan: “DON’T ‘UNDERMINE’ US WITH DISTRICT WAIVERS” + EdGuess’ CA 2¢

By Michele McNeil, Ed Week |

March 26, 2012 8:53 PM :: It's unclear just how serious Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his top aides are when they talk about pursuing waivers for districts in states that choose not to take advantage of a broader waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act.

But state chiefs have a message for Duncan nonetheless: Back off the idea of district-level waivers. (Okay, so they put it a little more nicely than that.)

During an hour-long Q-and-A session in Washington Monday at a legislative conference of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Duncan mostly danced around the issue of district-level waivers, saying that he wouldn't grant them to districts in states that had already secured a waiver from the department. But what about flexibility for districts in states that do not obtain a waiver? All he would say is: "We'll look at where we are at that point."

Later, the department would only clarify that district waivers are one idea "under consideration."

The chiefs' antennae went up last week after top Education Department aide Michael Yudin told urban school superintendents that officials are pursuing district waivers for states that choose not to pursue a waiver from the department by the September third-round deadline. (California, Texas, and Pennsylvania could be among those.) He said the debate within the department had moved on to what such a waiver process would look like, and how the department would manage it.

Mindful of those comments, state superintendents pressed the secretary. Virginia's state chief Patricia Wright said such a move would "undermine states." Colorado's Robert Hammond said such a move would "bypass" state authority and result in "unintended consequences."

Duncan, in his response, urged them to help those districts that want to go above and beyond their accountability systems to innovate. He pointed to the department's decision earlier this month to grant waivers to Kansas, on behalf of three individual districts, to use alternative exams for accountability purposes.

Kansas commissioner Diane DeBacker pushed back, and pointed out that the part of the state's district waiver application that officials thought was most innovative—allowing alternative exams in lower grades—was rejected by the feds.

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis asked Duncan whether there were any other options for flexibility besides the formal waiver route the department has set out. (And besides a one-year temporary halt to increasing annual academic targets that the department is allowing for a few states that need more time to write their applications.)

Carmel Martin—one of Duncan's top aides who accompanied him to the conference—jumped in and told Tomalis, basically, no. She said just handing out waivers and expecting nothing in return would put the department in "uncertain waters." (I don't think Tomalis was expecting a waiver for free, but that's beside the point.) She even said that Duncan has a "legal obligation" to offer waivers closely aligned with the original principles of the law that improve student achievement.

After Duncan's remarks, Tomalis told me in an interview that he had "serious reservations" about district waivers.

"To allow districts to go directly to the feds to get waivers ... it would be difficult to see who is exactly responsible for accountability and reforms in their states," said Tomalis, whose state is still evaluating whether it will apply in September. "Districts are creatures of state government."

For its part, CCSSO is opposed to district waivers unless they are pursued in cooperation with a state, said executive director Gene Wilhoit.


By John Fensterwald - Educated Guess |

Posted on 3/29/12 :: State chiefs of education apparently let U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan have it over the idea of letting individual districts apply directly to him for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law.

Their message to him, during an hour-long face to face on Monday, was, according to Education Week: Stay off our turf; we run districts.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has made it clear he’s no fan of Duncan’s waiver offer, which he considers expensive and intrusive, a swapping of one bad set of rules for another; California may not seek a waiver, not under Duncan’s conditions.

But Torlakson, while in Washington, didn’t attend the sit-down with Duncan, and his spokesman, Paul Hefner, said that Torlakson has no objection, in principle, to California districts applying for an NCLB waiver directly from the feds. But he does foresee practical problems that would have to be thought through – if Duncan actually moves ahead with district waivers.

That’s fine with Rick Miller, a former deputy state superintendent and now executive director of the California Office to Reform Education, the seven districts that led the state’s Race to the Top effort. CORE districts (now eight, with the new addition of Oakland Unified) want a waiver, believe they’d qualify for one, and will pursue it as soon as Duncan makes up his mind. They want relief next year from NCLB’s sanctions and the chance to spend more Title I dollars as they choose.

EdWeek quoted Gene Wilhoit, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, as saying his organization opposes district waivers unless they’re done in cooperation with a state. Miller says the districts want Torlakson’s support; the CORE districts don’t see the waiver as an end-run around the state.

Miller said he spoke at length this week about the district waiver possibility with State Board President Michael Kirst and will talk with Torlakson, too. The districts will work through the potential roadblocks.

In an email, Hefner listed a few of them:

Who would be responsible for monitoring compliance with requirements associated with the waiver? The state? The federal government? How would those costs be absorbed?
If a district was required as part of a waiver to adopt a new or modified accountability system, would the state be obligated to modify its data system to accommodate those changes? Who pays for that? Who sets the timetable for system modifications?

Miller agrees that an alternative system of compliance has to be worked out. The cash-strapped state Department of Education would not be involved at all in the district waiver, and the feds won’t have the resources to monitor individual districts ­– potentially dozens of them, if not more. Critics will charge that direct federal oversight would violate states’ rights, even though, Miller says, NCLB does have provisions for district waivers.

Miller suggests that one option might be peer monitoring, with districts holding one another to account.

The CORE districts (Fresno, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Sanger, San Francisco, Sacramento City, Clovis, and Oakland, all unified districts), Miller says, agree on the requirements that Duncan has set for a waiver – creating data systems, developing Common Core standards and alternative teacher and principal evaluations, identifying and improving the lowest performing schools – in exchange for suspending NCLB’s sanctions. And they want to move ahead as soon as Duncan decides whether and how to grant district waivers.

Earlier this month, Torlakson proposed that the state seek a California waiver on its own terms, ignoring Duncan’s conditions. Recognizing that Duncan would likely reject it, the State Board took no action. Torlakson agreed to seek other ideas, with the possibility of resubmitting it to the Board in June.

An open letter to the School Board: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

By Warren Fletcher, UTLA President | United Teacher |

March 23, 2012

Dear School Board members:

Last month, you made an announcement that gave teachers and health and human services professionals in Los Angeles a reason to hope that, this year, things might be different.

On February 14, you were set to adopt your annual "Fiscal Stabilization Plan" (otherwise known as the School Board's annual RIF Plan). The superintendent and his staff had asked you to authorize the immediate issuance of 5,400 RIF notices.

But amazingly, all seven of you voted to delay mailing out those pink slips. You instructed the Beaudry staff to bring back "less draconian" alternatives to the proposed RIF plan. It appeared, for at least a moment, that—for the first time in four years— teachers and students and schools would not be victimized and destabilized by thousands of unnecessary RIF notices.

This month, you demolished those hopes.

On March 9, you mailed out an astonishing 9,507 RIF notices to UTLA-represented employees.

To put that into perspective, you issued pink slips to more than onefourth of the certificated employees of the District. If we add to the calculation the 2,200 administrators who also got RIF notices, you have issued more than 11,000 total certificated pink slips this spring. That is a record number for one year in the history of the state of California.

If you, as a School Board, are seriously considering finalizing all of those pink slips on July 1, you will, quite literally, destroy this District. LAUSD cannot survive the destruction of one-fourth of its educator population any more than an organism could survive the destruction of onefourth of its body. When combined with the previous RIFs of the past four years, the trauma is simply too great. LAUSD cannot survive the loss of an additional 3,302 elementary teachers, of 1,254 secondary teachers, of 188 psychologists, of 137 elementary and secondary counselors, of 90 PSA counselors, of 75 nurses, of 50 librarians, and of 49 psychiatric social workers. And our communities and the local economy will be devastated for years to come if you make good on your plan to abolish all early education centers (687 RIFs) and to close all adult education sites (3,617 RIFs).

The state of California gives school boards the authority to issue RIF notices during periods of economic downturn. But it is an abuse of that authority if a school board issues a number of RIF notices that is far in excess and out of proportion to the actual economic situation in the District and in the state. Since it is clear that neither the state budget nor the District budget is experiencing anything close to a one-fourth reduction or shortfall this year, it is logical to assume that issuing pink slips to one-fourth of your certificated employees is either a sign of bad management or an act of bad faith toward your employees.

It appears that you, as a Board, have intentionally decided to issue many times more RIF notices than could possibly be necessary, or even implementable, in the current situation. Put more bluntly, it appears that the District, on your watch (with or without your cooperation), has made a cynical decision. To gain leverage in bargaining (by creating a climate of demoralization and desperation among teachers and health and human services professionals), LAUSD has chosen to issue literally thousands of unnecessary pink slips.

That type of economic gamesmanship, with the stability of schools and the education of children in the balance, has no place in any public school district, particularly one with as many high-needs students as LAUSD. On behalf of UTLA, I assure you that I will never engage in it, and I ask that you do the same. We, both the District and UTLA, have a sacred responsibility to our students. We must always resist the temptation to allow our adult agendas to take precedence over the adult responsibility we all share: to do right by children. The first step must be to stabilize their schools. And that can be best accomplished by reversing as many of the pending RIF notices as possible, as soon as possible.

We can, together, take a first step toward reversing the RIFs today. During January and February of this year, the governor and the state legislature made changes to the funding levels for school transportation and for per-pupil allocations. The result: An additional $180.5 million is now available to restore LAUSD teacher positions for next year. These are funds that neither the District nor UTLA expected, but both UTLA and the District now agree that the money is there and usable. That allocation can be applied to reversing more than 2,000 of the RIF notices immediately.

If you, as a Board, truly wish to do what is right for our students, apply that $180.5 million and reverse that first set of 2,000-plus RIFs today. You will be sending a powerful message to parents throughout the city that safe, stable schools are your priority too.

The teachers and health and human services professionals of LAUSD have, in each of the last three years, made real, painful economic sacrifices in order to help stabilize this District. But our patience is not infinite. The mere fact that you have issued pink slips to a staggering one-fourth of us, when, by any objective standard, the economy of California is in slightly better shape than it was last year, leads us to believe that you are not yet serious about working together to stabilize the schools.

Immediately applying the newly available $180.5 million to rescind 2,000 or more of the RIFs would be a constructive first step. But it would only be a first step. Our ability to engage in discussions and negotiation with you is dependent on our level of trust. And your annual practice of issuing excessive, almost outlandish, numbers of RIFs makes that trust nearly impossible to achieve.

It's time to stop unnecessarily putting thousands of educators' jobs in jeopardy.

Do the right thing. Begin rescinding the RIFs today.

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

®EFORM PLANS PASSED FOR UNDERPERFORMING LAUSD SCHOOLS: By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer | LA Daily News | http://...

State Chiefs to Duncan: “DON’T ‘UNDERMINE’ US WITH DISTRICT WAIVERS” + EdGuess’ CA 2¢: By Michele McNeil, Ed We...

GO BUY A TICKET!: CA Schools will get $100 million/LAUSD $20 million from lottery payday: The Myth of the Lotter...

ADELANTO CAMPUS CALM AFTER 'PARENT TRIGGER' PETITION REJECTED: But petition supporters reiterate their outrage a...

L.A. SCHOOLS TO NOTIFY PARENTS WHEN TEACHERS ARE REMOVED: They'll be told within 72 hours if an instructor is pu...

LAUSD ADOPTS 72-HOUR NOTIFICATION POLICY IN SEX-ABUSE CASES: By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer | LA Daily News | ht...

HOMEWORK POLICY: from the Office of ...



“The Superintendent’s recommendation is final – there is no vote by the Board of Education”: Superintendent Appr...


SAVE THE ACADEMIC DECATHLON: OpEd By Bill Boyarsky, LA Jewish Journal | March 29 2012 :: ...

POLITICS OR KIDS?: Molly Munger, PTA's initiative makes more public policy sense than Brown's, but less political...

Adelanto “Parent Trigger”: ANOTHER MISFIRE: 3 from The Times: Adelanto school leaders reject parent trigger eff...



EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• TDAP BOOSTER SHOTS ARE REQUIRED FOR CHILDREN OVER THE AGE OF 10 TO PROTECT FROM WHOOPING COUGH. Here's a heads up on the immunization schedule starting after spring break!

The Arts Education Branch, in collaboration with the Parent Community Services Branch and Special Education, will host an Elementary Family Arts Summit on the morning of Saturday, April 28, 2012, at Cortines High School. This summit will be to raise awareness of the importance of the arts education in the education of children and to give parents advocacy tools to strengthen the arts programs at their schools.
450 North Grand Avenue, LA 90012 map:

The PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest is a national-local contest designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning. The Contest encourages children in Grades K-3 through communities across the country to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own. http://

The SAS student application schedule and timeline is as follows:
•Application opens April 9, 2012
•Application Deadline May 9, 2012
•Notification of applicant deadline June 8, 2012
(SAS transfers may be extended throughout the school year, as space permits)
For more information contact: LaRoyce Bell, Coordinator, at 213-241-6500 or

*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.
• FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 4LAKids makes such material available in an effort to advance understanding of education issues vital to parents, teachers, students and community members in a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.