Sunday, September 02, 2012

Houston, we've found the problem

Onward! 4LAKids
4LAKids: Sunday 2•Sept•2012 Labor Day Weekend
In This Issue:
 •  THIS LABOR DAY: A letter from AFT President Randi Weingarten
 •  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?

Featured Links:
 •  OUR CHILDREN, OUR FUTURE: What will California schoolchildren, your school district and YOUR School get when the initiative passes?
 •  Follow 4 LAKids on Twitter - or get instant updates via text message by texting
 •  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.
In what can be described as a bought-and-paid-for puff-piece interview in a blog funded by folk who support his efforts at reform, Dr. Deasy confesses: “Don’t take this the wrong way; I’ve never read a blog in my life.” |

Don’t take this the wrong way, but never is long time.

So, our superintendent – who employs a social-media director – has never read a blog? Not this one? Not KPCC’s Pass-Fail or The Times LA Now or his own LAUSD Insider (not updated since June)? Not Arne Duncan’s or The Gates Foundation’s?

SCHOOL’S BEEN OPEN FOR THREE WEEKS NOW – and the signature accomplishment – until the test scores came out Friday – was the getting rid of Styrofoam lunch trays. Gone like chocolate milk in a media frenzy of self congratulation.

Except, gentle readers, for this: When school opened on August 14th no LAUSD students attended schools on the Three Track/Concept Six/Year ‘Round Calendar.

Ring the bell: Ding Dong, Concept Six is Dead!

THAT is the signature accomplishment of the decade, promised a decade ago with Measures K, R + Y, approved by the voters, paid for by the taxpayers, delivered by the District – codified in the Williams Settlement – and delivered on August 14. Governor Romer promised this back when he was superintendent. And Roy Romer promised that school construction and modernization would deliver quality uncrowded neighborhood schools with rising Performance and Achievement and Student Success.

The test scores have been going up; the promise has been delivered.

And it took a press release from the ACLU to remind us – because LAUSD was preoccupied with the Styrofoam trays. Because the accomplishment was accomplished by the hard work of others than now occupy the superintendent’s office. By Strategic Execution Plans debated and discussed and agreed upon openly, transparently and accountably by the community …not issued unilaterally by the supe and the board president.

HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND. I include a letter from AFT President Randi Weingarten and some questions from AALA. I am not a knee-jerk champion of organized labor or teachers unions – but I can’t help but recognize the failure of the lege to address Teacher Assessment Based on Test Scores one-way-or-the-other …and the forced “bi-partisan” done-deal public employee CalPERS and CalSTRS pension reform from Sacramento without public debate. Both seem an affront to organized labor and the democratic process.

Let us now faintly praise the faintly praiseworthy: Life and democracy are imperfect and maybe these are the best outcomes that can be expected in the current situation from the current cast of characters.

The spin put upon the success of the Early Start Calendar during the Heat Wave puts some of this – and LAUSD labor relations - in perspective. The superintendent’s tweets congratulated employees for pitching-in to address the situation – an internal memo that threatened them for failing to comply with forced overtime sends a different message. |

TO THOSE THAT LABOR: whether in front a classroom, or in an office, or pushing a broom or driving a bus or serving a lunch or turning a small green screwdriver upon the right tiny screw – by speaking or writing or blogging the Truth-to-Power …or by doing your homework or helping a student with their homework: Thank you for what you do for and with children every day.

“Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.“ Garrison Keillor

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

THIS LABOR DAY: A letter from AFT President Randi Weingarten
Thursday August 30, 2012

Dear Scott,

Thank you for your work, your dedication and your commitment to the children and people you serve.

Labor Day means many things to many people—back to school, the end of summer, a needed respite from the daily grind. For us, as working people and union members, Labor Day stands for something special and profound.

It’s a day to honor the deep commitment each of us has to serve the children we teach, the families we heal and the communities we love. It’s a day to reflect on the values we hold dear—that every American should have access to a good job that can support a family, with access to affordable healthcare; that every child should be able to attend a high-quality public school in their neighborhood; that college should not be a luxury for the few but should be affordable for all; and that we should be able to retire with dignity after a lifetime of hard work, without worrying that we’ll be a burden to our loved ones.

Working people built this country—we did it together—brick by brick, school by school, town by town. Through these collective efforts, we built the middle class, each generation did a little better than the one before, we advanced the ideals of equality and justice, and we expanded opportunity for all.

The work you do builds on this foundation. Your work has value. It should be respected and honored, not just on Labor Day but every day.

Too many of us feel that the American dream we built is slipping further and further away. And with just 7 percent of our private sector colleagues in unions, we have seen growing wealth and wage inequality, and as a result, growing frustration and angst. At the same time, too many politicians and elites demean and disrespect our work while budget cuts and calls for austerity make it harder to provide high-quality services.

And no wonder. An unholy alliance of corporate interests and politicians—intent on slashing budgets and then blaming us for the harmful results, while at the same time finding ways to finance tax cuts for wealthy donors—continue to double down on efforts to polarize and divide us: parent against teacher, union member against nonunion member. Because if we stand divided, they stand to profit.

This is our new normal.

And our union is meeting this moment with a new vision of unionism: solution-driven unionism. It’s an approach that is relevant and appropriate to the 21st century. An approach that is creative and visionary. An approach that advances solutions that unite the people we represent and those we serve—our students, our families and our communities.

We must bring people together around agendas that serve all kids, all workers and all communities—to restore the middle class, strengthen our public schools, and invest in, not destabilize, communities.

We must counter polarization and anger with ideas and innovation. It’s what AFT members and leaders are focused on across the nation.

It’s why we’re advancing a Quality Education Agenda [] that offers specific proposals to create a first-class public education system for all children in America. And why we are attacking the fixation on testing in this country with a grass-roots campaign to get back to teaching and learning.

It’s why we worked with an innovative corporation to develop a digital filing cabinet of lesson plans and ideas for teachers called Share My Lesson. It’s a commonsense solution to help teachers who are being asked to do so much more with diminishing resources and without the supports they need.

It’s why we are mitigating the impact that poverty and other out-of-school factors have on students in places like Cincinnati, by partnering with the community to offer health and mental health services, meal programs, tutoring, counseling, after-school programs and other wraparound services.

It’s why in one of America’s very poorest regions, we are leading a coalition of businesses, community groups and educators to completely transform the educational and economic opportunities available to children and families in McDowell County, W.Va.

It’s what we were able to accomplish this past year in Ohio—linking with the community to stop Gov. John Kasich’s efforts to strip working people of their voice.

Because when we—the dedicated members of the American Federation of Teachers and other union members—propose solutions, it’s harder to demonize us, harder to cut vital services, and harder to divide us from the people we serve.

The best solutions come from you. It is your ideas that will strengthen our schools, hospitals and communities. Just as with the generations before us, it is your work and commitment that will propel economic and educational opportunity and social justice. Visit to share your solutions and ideas.

Our ability to advance these solutions depends on electing leaders who believe in public education as a pathway to our future; who believe that public employees and healthcare professionals provide essential services and must be treated fairly; and who believe that working people and their families are entitled to a voice in their destiny and a pathway to fairness, dignity and respect. The November elections will determine the future of our nation; this is a defining moment to stand up for our values and our vision for America.

I know that, together, we can turn a time of frustration and uncertainty into a time of action and promise.

I thank you for the work you do each and every day—through good times and bad—to serve your communities and imagine a better future for our nation. That is solution-driven unionism. And together we can turn our values into reality.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President

Questions awaiting answers: THE 2012-2015 STRATEGIC PLAN –WHOSE PLAN IS IT?

From the AALA Weekly Update of September 3, 2012 |

August 30, 3012 :: The Superintendent, Dr. John Deasy, and the President of the Board of Education, Mónica García, recently released a beautiful, colorful, artistically stimulating and above all, politically correct document titled ALL YOUTH ACHIEVING, 2012-2015 STRATEGIC PLAN. The plan literally constitutes a yeoman’s amount of work and is impressive, encompassing all of the current trends and buzz words in education and we were duly impressed. However, in all its glory, it does raise a few questions:

1. Where did it come from?
2. Who wrote it?
3. How much did it cost?
4. Who endorsed it?
a. Where are the rest of the Board Members?
b. Where are the unions and employee groups?
c. Where are the parent groups?
5. Who provided input? Where was the collaboration?
6. Although it is posted on the LAUSD website, has anyone really read it?
7. How many new initiatives are introduced via the Plan?
8. What does it really mean for those in the field?
9. Where do all of those happy, smiling people in the pictures really work?

We think this may be another blatant attempt to manipulate the public by dazzling them with a full press of education lingo and pictures of beaming, well-rested, jovial people. Is it another effort to divert attention from the real issues facing the District: tremendous lack of resources, exceedingly low morale, poor working conditions and leadership through fear and intimidation? Or is it the work of those paid “education experts” in the District or outside agencies who have not ever run a school or its supporting units?

We plan to read the Strategic Plan in depth, explore the various initiatives, review the Performance Meter and report to the membership key provisions that will affect working conditions. Prior to seeing the Strategic Plan, AALA asked the Superintendent not to burden school staffs with more new initiatives on top of CCSS, new evaluation procedures, new graduation requirements, new reporting structures and a new discipline policy, all with reduced resources and increased administrative norms. Alas, that apparently fell on deaf ears; so much for “dynamic and distributive leadership” (one of the tenets of establishing a positive collaborative, professional culture).

We encourage AALA members to share their views of Dr. Deasy’s “roadmap,” based on his “Theory of Change,” by sending us a letter via e-mail.

●●smf: As one delves into the Strategic Plan it becomes obvious that this is John and Mónica’s Strategic Plan; not LAUSD’s, not the Board of Education’s. Oh sure, the Board of Ed logo is liberally sprinkled throughout – but so are those of UTLA and AALA. When the nominative plural pronoun “We” is used, or its possessive “Our”… and the objective “Us” – it is John and Monica “we” are talking about. And maybe the Forces of ®eform, Inc.

Embedded in the Strategic Plan the Apollonian Goals of •100 Percent Graduation, •Proficiency for All, •100 Percent Attendance, •Parent and Community Engagement, and •School Safety. LAUSD’s record of Parent and Community Engagement is abysmal at best – and the current regime’s strategy of disbanding parent representative committees cannot be seen as a step in the right direction. However, on pp. 20 The Strategic Plan accepts that 86% of students feeling safe at their school is a goal achieved. 14% of LAUSD students don’t feel safe. What about them?

30 Aug | ‏@DrDeasyLAUSD: "Our first priority is the well being of our students..."

John+Mónica’s All Youth Achieving, 2012-2015 Strategic Plan

By Frank HaglerPolicyMic |

● “Romney made his most detailed remarks at a private fundraiser in Florida, where he said he would combine and eliminate federal departments, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and would either consolidate the Department of Education with another agency or make it a ‘heck of a lot smaller’." | LA Tines:

● "A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can out-compete countries around the world. America's business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That's why we’re working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child" - President Barack Obama, July 18, 2011

Sept 1, 2012 :: If the above quote from President Obama is true then, why hasn’t there been a discussion on education this election season? Historically, during presidential elections, education is a central theme. Education policy has the ability to tie central themes together, such as the role and size of government, the stability and growth of the economy, the future of our nation, child welfare, poverty, and the family unit. Education touches everyones life and makes economic, social, and domestic policy real to every American.

But, education has not made an appearance this year. Education was curiously missing during the Republican Presidential Primary debates. It has not been mentioned as a platform issue at the Republican National Convention. Mitt Romney has yet to give a major address outlining his education policy.

A white paper on education can be found on Romney’s campaign web site. According to the Romney website, “Mitt Romney believes that the long-term strategy for getting America’s economy back on track is ensuring a world class education for American students.” If that is the case, why haven’t we heard anything on education?

The Obama campaign has been equally quiet on education. In 2009, Obama heavily promoted his policy on education. He made a point of speaking about the importance of education as a parent. He attended parent-teacher conferences for his children. Obama made it a priority to save teacher jobs, not as a matter of ideology, but as a matter of economic stimulus. For her part, Michelle Obama wrote op-ed pieces and spoke extensively on education.

In 2009, education was so important to Obama that it was included in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Why isn’t Obama contrasting his education policy with Romney’s?

In a campaign poster, Obama extols that, “Education should not be a Republican or Democratic issue. It’s an American issue.” Well when does the discussion begin? To the candidates, I have eight questions for you:

1) What are your plans for the Department of Education?

2) Do you support Race to the Top? Will you extend it if elected/re-elected?

3) What is the role of unions? What is your plan to help local jurisdictions retain teachers? Do you believe teachers are being compensated fairly?

4) What is your position on charter schools? Are they effective? Do you believe we should use public funds and infrastructure to support charter schools? Are you prepared to make federal funds available to support voucher-based schooling?

5) A modern day workforce is required for a modern day market. What programs and policies will you put in place to spur the growth of Science, Technology, and Engineering and Mathematics studies?

6) What infrastructure program will you implement to address decaying school structures? Will you provide funding to build new schools? How will you ensure that all schools have full telecommunication capability, including wired classrooms, high-speed internet, computers and Wi-Fi capability?

7) What will you do to help restore arts and music programs to school curriculum? What about physical education? How are you prepared to support education for children with special needs?

8) What coordination is required between the FDA and the DOE to maintain adequate nutrition standards in school meals?

Obama and Romney need to start talking about education. Americans need answers, and it's certainly not unfair of us to be asking questions.

From the Summer 2012 issue California Schools Magazine, published by the California School Boards Association |

June 28, 2012 :: Joe Landon—executive director of the California Alliance for Arts Education—learned the hard way that being passionate about the importance of the arts isn’t enough to transform an accomplished artist into an effective advocate in the ongoing campaign to preserve visual and performing arts programs in California’s cash-strapped public school system. Although he’d spent more than two decades as a successful playwright and screenwriter in San Francisco and Los Angeles—no mean feat in that ultra-competitive world—Landon was in for a rude awakening when he took a job in 2002 as speech writer to then-Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg.

“What I learned working in the Capitol was that the skills set I had, had almost no relevance to what was going on in the system of how things get done.” Landon recalls ruefully. In other words: Caring deeply about a cause was just the beginning of any effective advocacy campaign.

After Hertzberg was termed out of office, Landon went to work as senior consultant for Assembly Member Wilma Chan, specializing in early childhood education issues. In 2006, he left the Capitol to become policy director for the California Alliance for Arts Education and was promoted to the organization’s top job last fall.

The Alliance, which was established 40 years ago by arts educators, operates on a budget of $600,000 that’s funded mainly by corporate and foundation grants. Its primary focus is on public advocacy and on building effective community partnerships in local school districts. The Alliance organizes constituencies to support arts programs in public schools and helps district and county office governing boards identify effective strategies for saving and even expanding these essential services in an extremely challenging fiscal climate.

Under his leadership, the Alliance has built a statewide network of local partnerships that bring together community leaders, parents, teachers, artists and arts advocates, elected officials and school boards to support the arts in more than 30 California school districts. It’s an advocacy network that relies on good working relationships with governing boards. In a recent conversation with California Schools magazine, Landon talked about how he’s bringing his experience as an artist and public policy advocate to his work with the Alliance.


How did you become so passionate about the arts?

When I was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley in the late ‘sixties, I started writing plays. I took to it immediately. It gave me a way to reorganize my experience in a way that made sense to me. It enabled me to articulate my own perspective. It taught me about discipline and about focus. But most important to me, I learned about what it was like to create something out of nothing. And that completely changed the direction of my life.

When did you make the shift from being an artist to advocating for the arts?

The reality was that after 15 years of making a living as a professional TV writer, I was increasingly disconnected from what had brought me to L.A. to write, and that was that inner calling. It felt important to make the distinction between what I was doing to make a living and what I was doing to fulfill myself as a writer. It was time to go. After I moved to Northern California, I taught theater and music at a private school in Marin County for about five years and then got a job working at the Capitol.

What happened when you arrived in Sacramento?

I realized pretty early on that no matter how wonderful your feelings or your issue might be, you had to have three things to make a difference: First, you had to be at the table. Secondly, you had to have partnerships with other organizations that could also exert influence; and finally, you had to have advocates behind you to back you up so that when you said you wanted something, you weren’t just speaking for yourself—you could demonstrate your political clout.

Tell me about how you got involved with the Alliance for Arts Education and what lessons you brought with you from your experience in Sacramento.

We sensed that decisions about education were increasingly being made at the local level and so, as policy director, one of my first responsibilities was to create grassroots organizing in local districts. I would go into districts that were cutting arts education and I would meet people who were precisely as committed to the arts as I was, but who had absolutely no sense of how politics works or how to effectively advocate for your cause.

Can you give me an example of your work with one district?

We went into Saddleback Valley Unified in Orange County, aware that [the district] had announced their intention to cut its elementary arts program, and we convened a breakfast. We invited local school board members, the mayor, the superintendent, and other leaders from around the community to come. The gathering provided unity and momentum to what had previously been disparate efforts to preserve arts education in the schools. What happened eventually was that the school board backed away from those cuts. Since then we’ve been building out on that system throughout the state. It’s not enough to love the arts, you have to understand how the politics work.

Where do local school boards fit in?

We’ve found that school board members are often deeply sympathetic to the issue and are struggling with difficult budgetary choices they’re being forced to make. It helps to have constituents who back the arts, who will say the arts are critical in our schools. That way local school board members can say: “I am responding to the voice of my constituents who say clearly that this is a priority.” And who can also make the case why it makes a difference.

You had a really interesting piece on the Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s TOP-Ed blog earlier this year about using Title I funds—which are targeted toward raising English and math skills among disadvantaged students—to support research-based arts instruction that’s integrated into the core curriculum. Can you describe your message?

I’m convinced arts education strategies can be an asset in achieving Title I program goals. A recent study from the National Endowment of the Arts, “The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth,” reports that low-income students who have access to arts education achieve higher GPA and test scores, are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college than their peers without access to the arts.

Unfortunately, there’s been some confusion around Title I funding and whether or not it’s appropriate to use arts education as a strategy to accomplish those goals. What we were hearing from districts was that they’d been told they could not use Title I funds for arts education strategies. I felt what we needed was clarification from our state superintendent of public instruction on the issue, so we pushed for that and eventually got a letter from Deb Sigman, California’s deputy superintendent of public education.

What did the letter say?

The letter acknowledged that if it’s a program that has demonstrated success in raising test scores that it’s possible to use those funds, provided the school district fulfill other requirements related to Title I. Some districts and county offices saw this as good news and said, “We’ve got those strategies and we’re ready to go.’”

But other districts are hesitant?

In the absence of clear guidance on this issue, there’s a concern at both the state and local level. Yes, Arne Duncan says it’s OK to use Title I in this way, which he had, and before him Rod Paige said the same thing, but the people underneath him, they’re reluctant to stick their neck out because who knows how long Arne Duncan is going to be there?” Districts feel the same reluctance because they’re concerned that the state might object to broadening the scope of Title I strategies.

What you’re talking about has less to do with arts education for its own benefit and more about effective educational strategies in general.

What I am talking about is arts integration, which is not to say that I don’t also believe in core arts programs where arts are being delivered for their own intrinsic value. [The arts] can deepen learning and improve outcomes across the curriculum, including literacy and numeracy.

Can we back up and get a basic primer about The California Alliance for Arts Education and how it came into being?

The Alliance started as a small volunteer effort about 40 years ago, and over the years has grown to be a robust organization representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Today our Policy Council is composed of representatives from parent, business, arts, labor and education organizations. We have built a network of over 30 local advocacy coalitions statewide. And we have an active, engaged group of “e-advocates” across the state who take part in action alerts and other advocacy efforts. We provide policy expertise and counsel and make recommendations at the statewide level, sponsoring legislation like SB 789 [by Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles], which would establish an Index of Creativity and Innovation, and taking positions in support of or opposition to relevant bills.

What do the local coalitions consist of?

They’re composed of arts organization leaders, educators, parents, business leaders who have some sympathy or interest in arts, practitioners—community leaders, it might be clergy. They work together on a grassroots level to advocate for arts education in local schools.

Then what happens?

It depends on the specific community. Each one has different strengths and is facing unique challenges. In some districts, our advocates have helped develop district arts plans, in others they have built partnerships with local business or provided advocacy training to parents. The general parameters are [that] we encourage these local alliances to have points of contact with the school board: in other words, school board members should be aware that there is a coalition in their community that is committed to this issue. We also encourage advocates to reach out to the media, to tell the story in various ways of how arts education is making a difference in their communities. We ask them to build partnerships with organizations like Rotary, PTA, other parent organizations wherever possible, and to be a part of our statewide network so that when we have a bill that we support or oppose they are available to be part of a statewide effort.

Why would the Rotary Club care about arts integration or arts education?

For the workers in the 21 century, it’s not adequate to have workers who have been trained to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. You need workers with the capacity to solve problems in a way that didn’t used to be the model of what a worker does. So it’s actually an economic investment consideration, which is that if you are going to have businesses in California and you want to have an effective work force, you need kids coming out of school with the capacity to think creatively, to provide innovation to what they’re doing, to have the ability to present themselves, to be disciplined, self-motivated, collaborative; and we consider all these skills to be the domain of the arts. Traditionally the reason business gets into education is because down the line, it’s going to make a difference to their bottom line. If they don’t have workers who are capable of doing the job, their businesses can’t succeed.

You mentioned Saddleback Valley USD. Can you talk about some other districts where alliance coalitions are really working?

Advocates in the South Bay and in San Diego have become a force to be reckoned with. They have built a large following on social media that helped activate support for the arts throughout San Diego County. When there’s a town hall or school board meeting, they put the call out and advocates are not only there, but they are prepared. They approach school board members as partners. They have a clear, consistent message, and they bring solutions rather than complaints.

County offices have really been taking leadership in many areas, haven’t they?

We’ve invested a lot of time and energy, partnering with Jim Thomas and the Orange County Department of Education, but there’s a robust system of support in Alameda, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, too, with long-term, substantial investments in arts education. Our advocacy work is most effective when it teams with the commitment of a forward-thinking district or county office.

Do you give strategic guidance about where to look for money? Your work on Title I was one way of helping districts find financial support.

Because we’re at the statewide level and we’re small, we’re less likely to know what money might be available locally. But I would say that if you get an alliance going, a lot of times what grows out of that is an exchange of information. It’s one of the side benefits of these efforts: when you have people in a room together with shared interests sometimes those kinds of connections occur.

Is there a typical person you contact within districts to oversee construction of these local alliances—an artist, or a professional grassroots organizer?

Often it’s a parent. In Orange County there have been a lot of PTA people who had an interest in the arts and became our local organizers. We’ve also established a partnership with the California Arts Council and their new executive director, Craig Watson. They’re a state-funded, statewide entity, with local arts councils at the county level, who share our commitment to promote arts education in the schools… In the coming year we’ll be partnering in the establishment of new alliances in Santa Cruz, Fresno, Placer, Mendocino and Amador counties. At the county level, we’re also working with [the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association] to leverage opportunities with county offices.

Can you talk about the impact of the economic downturn on arts education and about the emphasis on standardized testing and reading and math that accompanied the federal No Child Left Behind Act?

Every time there’s a cut, arts programs are perceived as the nonessential courses because they’re not at the heart of what’s being specifically tested for. And so the attrition has been considerable. You really see a system that’s no longer capable of providing comprehensive arts education because districts can’t continue to hire teachers who can provide those services. The narrowing of the curriculum under No Child Left Behind has exposed what happens when you don’t provide an education that really engages kids. Bubble testing doesn’t measure what kids learn or need to know, and it encourages teaching to the test. It’s a vicious cycle in which kids aren’t being given the opportunity to cultivate skills they’re going to need in order to be successful. The way we learn is deeply personal. That’s why the arts matter so much—because they call upon that personal response in every person.

My organization lauds the accomplishments of the tremendously talented students in the arts, but that’s not really what we’re about. We’re about ensuring that every student has the opportunity to both receive and to express the arts, in their own unique way. Doing that will benefit them throughout their lives as well as in school, and it will give them a place in which they are actually connected to their education.

Can I just add one more thing?

Please do.

The longer I go and the more I fight to stop this cut or to preserve that program, the more I’m convinced that arts need to be recognized at the core of education, not an add-on, an after-thought, a reward or an embellishment. The arts live at the core of our vision of what education is. And that’s really what I want to be talking about. How do we get to that?

Carol Brydolf ( ) is a staff writer for California Schools.

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

PENSION REFORM: Top-paid administrators to take biggest hit: By John Fensterwald, Ed Source Today | .

THE SHORT RUN. THE LONG RUN. AND THE RUN AROUND.: Themes in the News by UCLA IDEA, Week of Aug. 27-31, 2012 |

OBAMA AND ROMNEY EDUCATION POLICIES ARE LEFT UNSAID: 8 Questions Americans Need Answered: By Frank HaglerPolicyM...

AB5: CALIFORNIA TEACHER EVALUATION BILL ABANDONED BY LAWMAKERS: Legislative time runs out on the bill that educa...


Fuentes puts AB 5 on the shelf; not enough time for public hearing on last-minute amendments

The results are in: LAUSD MAKES ITS BEST SHOWING EVER ON STAR TESTS; State makes gains in English+Math: By Barba...


Day 17: WHERE IS KENNEDY HIGH COACH MANNY ALVARADO?: by Eric Sondheimer/Varsity Times Insider: Times reporters b...


YES ON PROP 38: Time to Fix California Schools: The Reporter: Opinion By Paul Boghosian. Op-Ed in the Vacaville...

CHARTERS DRAW STUDENTS FROM PRIVATE SCHOOLS, STUDY FINDS: The switch from private to public schools has added $1...

KEEPIN’ MUSIC BEYOND THE BELL: A Fun(d)Raiser Event for After School Programs @ The Conga Room on Wed. eve, Sept...

Eagle Rock Student Struck by Car Thursday Morning - Eagle Rock, CA Patch




Teacher Assessment: MORE AMENDMENTS COMING TO AB 5, INCLUDING SUNSET CLAUSE …and perhaps an “end-around” the cou...



John Deasy: THE TAKEOVER ARTIST?: Takeover Artist: from Wikipedia | “When [a] company ge...

DING, DONG; CONCEPT SIX IS DEAD!: by Hector Villagra. Executive Director, ACLU of Southern California in the huf...

“Don’t take this the wrong way, I’ve never read a blog in my life.” Dr Deasy to bought-and-paid-for blogger Hillel Aron|


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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