Sunday, May 19, 2013

Garcetti and Ratliff and Feuer, oh my…

Onward! 4LAKids
4LAKids: Sunday 19•May•2013
In This Issue:
 •  Los Angeles City Elections 2013: A CITY AGENDA FOR L.A. SCHOOLS?
 •  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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 •  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.

OK, this is an e-newsletter/blog – a conversation – about education. So why does it have endorsements about mayor, city council and city-wide offices? Read Bennett Kayser’s excellent Op-Ed (following) about why it should not …but these endorsements are based primarily (but not exclusively) upon how well the candidates would subscribe to Bennett’s insistence on the Separation of Powers embedded in the L.A. City Charter and guaranteed in the state constitution . And adjudged+affirmed, lest we forget, in LAUSD v. Villaraigosa.

When the events that led to that court case played out bright yellow t-shirts were issued to LAUSD parents that said: PARENTS – NOT POLITICS. (The other side’s t-shirt color was blue – they have changed names numerous times since – from The ©oalition for $chool ®eform to The Partnership for L.A. Schools to The LA Parents Union to Parent Revolution …but the color has remained the same). Parents – Not Politics was hogwash – putting on the t-shirt was-and-is a political act. The fight itself was political. It was never about kids. It was always about Power+Money. And those two imposters, gentle readers, are the same.

● GARCETTI: If one can have friends in politics Eric is a friend. When he was a brand new city councilman he delivered on a campaign promise in Mount Washington and freed up some ‘surplus’ federal funding the city had to help fund a joint-use project with the school district to build a library and community center at Mount Washington School. This was a paradigm shift in District project funding and design – and created the model that led to many other joint-use/joint-funded projects+programs between public and private agencies and the District. Eric’s continued support of LAUSD Adult Ed programs (and particularly the Aircraft Mechanics School at Van Nuys Airport) has been exemplary. He didn’t show up at the Board of Ed the week before the election … he was there advocating on the day that the board might have otherwise eliminated adult ed and early childhood ed and after school programs.

● RATLIFF: Monica Ratliff is and continues to be a classroom teacher in LAUSD, teaching fifth grade in an inner city school even while campaigning for a seat on the Board of Education. She is the right person for the job. And unapologetically going negative: Her opponent – supported by the (un)usual suspects, the empowered+entitled+well-connected - and funded by the ©oalition for $chool ®eform and the mayor of New York City, is not.

● FEUER: When the incumbent became city attorney he ended the city attorney’s office support for a groundbreaking and-truly-excellent public/private sector program that was making a difference at Markham Middle School – the kind of City involvement in District schools that must be fostered. I’m all for pot-stirring and troublemaking for-the-public-good – but his incumbency and track record has been downhill since. Better that the city attorney be a team player like Mike Feuer.

● CEDILLO IN CD 1. Gil Cedillo has been unjustly accused of being “One Bill Gil”, of for being a “Sacramento Politician” (for his service representing Northeast L.A. in Sacramento!) Two things: Cedillo’s ‘one bill’ is The Dream Act – opening opportunity to young people – how is that a bad thing? And Cedillo took the time one afternoon to connect to this constituent on a truly personal level. That is really all it takes, and on another level, all that matters.

● ANA CUBAS IN CD 9. Ana worked on the staff of former board president Jose Huizar in LAUSD and later on his staff at the city council; she listens and learns and returns phone calls – she has her education and government chops. There aren’t enough women on the city council. The billboard companies are supporting her opponent (Full disclosure, they are also supporting Cedillo.) The LA Times doesn’t think she’s ready yet …which I guess means they aren’t ready yet.

● MITCH O’FARRELL IN CD 13: I like Mitch, he doesn’t just answer my calls, he laughs at my jokes – and I his. Eric Garcetti took his sweet time but came out for Mitch on Thursday. The big money and the billboard companies say vote the other way. Go Mitch!

● RON GALPERIN FOR CITY CONTROLLER: OK, campers: what does the Los Angeles City Controller do? To those of you who said that person is the Chief Financial Officer of the city, you can all go back and take Civics again in High School. Oh wait, …we don’t teach Civics in LAUSD!

The closest thing to a CFO is the City Treasurer (combined with the Office of Finance in 2011) – the treasurer is appointed and removed by the mayor with the confirmation of the council – a free subscription to 4LAKids to the first ten readers who can name the L.A. City Treasurer. The elected controller is the city’s paymaster and chief accountant – but the office has no requirement for professional accounting competency. The Controller issues reports and does management and performance audits. The Controller is essentially a political whistleblower and watchdog - though that person does get to sign the checks – and often identifies the obvious with suitable outrage at a press event once it’s reported in The Times.

All of this said, 4LAKids endorsees Ron Galperin mainly because the billboard money supports his opponent.

● DAVID VELA FOR LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT SEAT #6. The incompetence and ineffectiveness at education and the ignorance of the public will/failure of the public trust …and waste, fraud and abuse in the building program (plus the deliberate appointment of an inexperienced lightweight as Inspector General) at the community college district has been rampant and well reported.

Voting the Rascals Out should be the mantra. Vela’s opponent may not have been the principal rascal – but the LA Times endorsement of her qualifies her as “a long time board member” and “one of the building program's main advocates.” Enough said: There is no fine line between mis-and-malfeasance at the ballot box.

MOSTLY: GO OUT AND VOTE. The turnout in the primary was abysmal and in all likelihood Tuesday’s turnout will be less. Or to spin it another way: More abysimal. We get whom we vote for. And when we don’t vote we get whom the billboard companies, the billionaires and the self-proclaimed-®eformers play for.

► IT WASN’T ME WHO CALLED IT “KABUKI THEATER”* …it was a newsman in an off-the-record conversation, But Superintendent. Deasy – who proposed to eliminate Breakfast in the Classroom by leaving it out of his budget – saved it and welcomed it back (complete with Wendy Greuel wringing her hands for the poor hungry children) from the abyss with open arms (and unanimous board support) on Tuesday – blaming UTLA for the “crisis” he manufactured.

► SUPERINTENDENT DEASY PRESENTED HIS PROPOSED BUDGET ON TUESDAY. It is, by his admission, totally dependent up two things:

● The governor’s Local Control Funding Formula passing exactly as it was proposed on January 10th and revised earlier Tuesday in the May Revise. (following)
● The federal sequester being rescinded.

I hate to be all cynical as the promise of nothing-but-blue-skies looms so brightly in the great new wonderful tomorrow – but neither of those things is going to happen. And the possibility of both happening is miniscule. And even then the budget is for one year, not three as required by state law.

Not one board member on the horseshoe asked about what Plan B would be. Not one of them.

● What if the Senate Democrats plan passes instead?
● What if there’s a one-year delay in implementation as both the Senate and Assembly Dems suggest?
● What if the sequester remains in force?

From the LA Schools Report (which generally is Th’ Voice o’ ®eform …not to be confused with Monica Garcia’s board district, which declares itself ‘Th’ Cradle o’ ®eform) – on a joint appearance by Brown and Deasy on Friday: “The Governor presented his plan as a small but important change in how funds are allocated to districts like LA. Deasy described its passage as a make-or-break $188 million game changer (for LAUSD) [ ] The LASR goes on to say Deasy’s “chief intergovernmental relations staffer noted that there were some LA-area legislators who hadn’t yet gotten behind the plan”. Really? Like John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) who happens to be Speaker of the Assembly? (see The May Revise: Summary+Evaluation/following)

► FINALLY: The emerging evidence suggests that the big train wreck (the real one, not the metaphorical one) on the East Coast Friday was caused by a section of broken track. Not an engineer tweeting and missing a signal; not a terrorist attack – but a failure of maintenance and repair of basic infrastructure. If we – We The People – don’t get our act together and start maintaining and repairing stuff …and making the investment in aging infrastructure – if we don’t commit to paying for Maintenance and Operations and things as critical to health+safety as school custodians and groundskeepers – systems and roofs and air conditioners and twenty-five-year ‘temporary’ bungalows in their fiftieth year of life will fail.

It wouldn’t be 4LAKids without a pop music reference from another time/another crisis.

This one’s by George Harrison: “Bangladesh”.

¡Onward/Adelante! – smf
* In common English usage, a kabuki dance, also kabuki play, is an activity or drama carried out in real life in a predictable or stylized fashion, reminiscent of the Kabuki style of Japanese stage play. It refers to an event that is designed to create the appearance of conflict or of an uncertain outcome, when in fact the actors have worked together to determine the outcome beforehand. Wikipedia:

Los Angeles City Elections 2013: A CITY AGENDA FOR L.A. SCHOOLS?

OpEd in the LA Times By Bennett Kayser |

May 15, 2013 :: For those who need reminding, I'll state it clearly: Neither the Los Angeles mayor nor the City Council has one lick of voting authority at the Los Angeles Unified School District. They can't set policy at the district, nor can they hire or fire its leaders. And when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tried to challenge that organizational structure, launching an unconstitutional attempt to take over the entire school district, the courts quickly slapped him down.

But those facts haven't seemed to stop candidates for city office from grandstanding about district schools, turning them into a political pinata as they attempt to score points with voters.

Bashing the district seems to be the default response when a candidate is asked a tough question about the city. Instead, we need elected leaders who are willing to pitch in and help.

L.A.'s school district faces huge challenges. More than three-quarters of its students live in poverty; about 29% haven't mastered English and an additional 13% are in special education classes. But despite that, even as class sizes have continued to rise and the budget has been slashed, students continue to make academic gains.

Part of that is due to sacrifices by district staff. District employees again took pay cuts this year so that children would continue to have after-school programs, art in elementary schools, early education opportunities, Academic Decathlon teams and an All-City marching band.

And yes, California just dropped to 49th in the nation in student funding.

Against this backdrop, there is an important role for elected officials to play, and it is one that goes far beyond politically motivated carping. A recent study noted that the average student spends just 18% of his or her life in school. The great bulk of a student's time is spent at home or out in the community. I'd love to hear the mayoral candidates commit to partnering with the district to create a better city for children.

If public officials in the more than two dozen cities served by L.A. Unified want to do something to help kids succeed, there are plenty of things within their purview: making communities safer, for example, or more economically vibrant and family friendly. Rather than looking east to cities where mayors have made power grabs to take over schools, they should look north to San Francisco, which stands as a model of how a city-school district partnership can work.

In Los Angeles a few years ago, the Department of Water and Power agreed to refund more than $100 million it had overcharged L.A. Unified and other public institutions. In San Francisco, public schools get deeply discounted electricity from the local utility under an agreement forged decades ago. While L.A.'s Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently shaved a small amount off the monthly bill of students traveling to schools on public transit, San Francisco recently instituted a program that allows low- and moderate-income students to ride for free. Many San Francisco museums are also free to students. And school policing costs come, for the most part, out of the San Francisco police budget, not the school district's. Furthermore, the city provides substantial funding to a variety of school programs, pursuant to an initiative approved by San Francisco voters, including for preschools, arts and student-support services.

If the mayoral candidates want more ideas for how they can lead on education, they might consider what Gavin Newsom did during his first run for mayor of San Francisco. He took the politically risky move of supporting additional city funding for schools. The measure he supported passed, and it has spared San Francisco schools from some of the worst ravages of state budget cuts.

L.A. Unified students need safe routes to schools, access to healthy food, open playgrounds and libraries, support for after-school programs, free public transportation to school, real access to museums, Internet in the home, summer jobs, violence-free communities, regular healthcare, clean air and water, safe homes, employed parents and a vibrant parks and recreation program that supports healthy living. Doesn't that sound like a perfect education agenda for the mayor and the City Council?

Bennett Kayser, a member of the L.A. Unified Board of Education, is a former teacher and administrator.

●● smf: Boardmember Kayser is absolutely right.

But reality trumps legality– and Mayor Villaraigosa was instrumental in the selection of the past two superintendents of LAUSD and has been influential (if not decisive) in every major decision made by the board of education during his mayoralty …probably more so than with the city council.

By smf/4LAKids based on confidential evaluations and news reports.

●Overall, state revenues are running about $4.5 billion ahead of expectations through April (due at least in part to more people paying their taxes early).
●Much of the new revenue will result in a significant one-time increase for K-14 education in the 2012-13 budget year.

●The Governor proposes $1 billion specifically to support the implementation of new COMMON CORE STANDARDS IN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ARTS AND MATH. No mention is made of Common Core Science Standards released in April - or California’s standards in other subjects including Social Studies, Arts and Music, Health Ed, Physical Education, etc.
●Local districts will HAVE FLEXIBILITY TO DETERMINE THE BEST USE OF THE MONEY OVER THE NEXT TWO YEARS, BUT BE REQUIRED TO DEVELOP A PLAN AND HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE PLAN. (In LAUSD a “Public Hearing” is usually an agenda item on the Board of Ed agenda – prefaced with the disclaimer: “This constitutes a public hearing…..”)
●No SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE GOVERNOR’S LOCAL CONTROL FUNDING FORMULA AS INITIALLY PRESENTED in January, in terms of the calculation of the formula itself. There is an additional $236 million proposed in the overall funding amount for LCFF. The Governor strongly re-affirmed his commitment to providing concentration grants as part of the formula, rather than directing more of the funds to restore and increase base grant amounts for all districts. Increasing the base grant beyond what he has proposed “would only delay implementation of the formula, direct new money away from those schools that need it most and perpetuate existing inequities…” (Page 15, May Revision.)

►LEGISLATIVE LEADERS - Assembly Speaker Perez and Senate President pro-tempore Steinberg - HAVE SIGNALED THAT THEY PREFER MORE FUNDING GOING TO INCREASE BASE GRANTS FOR ALL DISTRICTS. The concentration grants – which compounds increased funding for districts with more socioeconomically needy, English learners and/or Foster youth (LAUSD qualifies on all three) present s a challenge.
●"Any change in formula has to result in an increase in funding for all schools" Perez said. "We're very optimistic we can reach an agreement with the governor in this area."
●"The concentration grants treat thousands of disadvantaged students unequally," Steinberg said.

►Some important changes proposed to the ACCOUNTABILITY PROVISIONS. While the specific language has not yet been released, there will be provisions that:
●Tighten requirements that monies designated for English learners, students from low-income families and foster children MUST be spent to serve these children.
●Establish a more specific role for technical assistance, intervention and oversight of school districts by county superintendents and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
●“For school districts that fail to meet academic achievement targets set by the State Board of Education, including achievement goals for each sub-group of students, for two out of three years, the county superintendent may disapprove local plans that are not likely to improve student achievement. In more limited cases, where a Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) review deems necessary, a county superintendent may make changes to a district’s plan or overturn decisions made by a district governing board. The Superintendent of Public Instruction may intervene in place of the county superintendent in a district which is failing to meet academic achievement targets.” (Page 19, May Revision.)

●NO CHANGES TO THE 24:1 CLASS-SIZE REDUCTION TARGET as proposed in January budget.

●SPEEDS UP THE REPAYMENT OF DEFERRALS. The Governor proposes to increase the amount paid to reduce deferrals owed to school districts from past years.
●A total of $4.3 billion, up by about $1 billion from the January proposal would be used between the current 2012-13 year and the 2013-14 budget year to further reduce K-14 deferrals.
●By the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, the K-12 deferral amount would be reduced to a total of $4.9 billion compared to the $9.5 billion peak when the Governor took office.

●There is no additional funding proposed for early education programs, which have suffered nearly $1 billion in cuts in the last few years and are proven to help address the achievement gap and reduce future state costs.
The Obama Administration is focused on Early Childhood Ed – with a possibility of a federal funding match. The governor persists in conflating Child Care with Early Childhood Ed.

►THE MAY REVISE STEPS BACK FROM PREVIOUS PROPOSAL TO RESTRUCTURE THE ADULT EDUCATION SYSTEM. The May Revision states: “Given concerns raised with the timing and structure of the [January] proposal, the May Revision proposes to “maintain the status quo for existing K-12 and Community College Adult Education programs for two years.”
●The May Revision maintains the existing apportionment structure and school districts retain their authority to independently continue their existing adult education programs – “but over time it is expected they will join a regional adult education consortium.” (Page 25, May Revision.)

► With apologies to Shel Silverstein: MISSING PIECES -
● NO MENTION IS MADE OF ANY ANTICIPATED FACILITIES FUNDING; the governor proposes no new state school bonds and indeed may intend to fold facilities (capital improvement) funding into the General Fund – further compromising Prop 98 while failing to invest in needed infrastructure: School construction, modernization and repair.
●THE GOVERNOR SEEMS RETICENT TO APPROVE ANY CHANGES TO PROP 13 (such as lowering the parcel tax threshold to 55% or splitting the rolls on residential v. commercial property.
●He has stated opposition to an oil severance tax to support education.
●THERE IS NO PROVISION FOR TRUE LOCAL CONTROL AND/OR ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE SCHOOL SITE OR COMMUNITY LEVEL. Making school boards accountable locally might work in traditional school districts with a couple of thousand students. But LAUSD with almost a million students when you count adult ed – and encompassing an area that includes 26 municipalities or jurisdictions and covers over 600 square miles of urban landscape is a whole other matter.

Trailer bill language was expected to be introduced later last week.


Senate Dems; The Senate Democratic Caucus plan is contained in SENATE BILL 68: SCHOOL FINANCE: NEW PUPIL FUNDING FORMULA | SB 69 Senate Bill – AMENDED

Assembly Dems: BLUEPRINT FOR A RESPONSIBLE BUDGET - Assembly Democrats' Plan for Fiscal Responsibility, A Stronger Middle Class & Less Government Red Tape |



By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times |

May 17, 2013, 10:47 p.m. :: The race for a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education pits the political savvy of Antonio Sanchez against the education skills of Monica Ratliff. And when it comes to campaign resources, politics trumps all.

Sanchez, 31, has used his background in campaigns and ties to political figures to attract huge financial support from labor groups and a political-action committee headed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Ratliff, 43, has used her background as a legal-aid attorney and respected teacher in a high-performing school to impress editorial boards and educators.

In the March 5 primary, Sanchez claimed 44% of voters, with Ratliff next at 34%, setting up Tuesday's runoff.

The campaign spending has been lopsided for Sanchez. The Coalition for School Reform, the mayor's group, amassed more than $1 million for the runoff, with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and L.A. philanthropist Eli Broad the largest donors. To date, independent groups, including the L.A. County Federation of Labor and Local 99 of Service Employees International, have spent nearly $1.9 million for Sanchez.

His own fundraising totals about $132,000, according to the latest filing. Ratliff, meanwhile, has no outside campaign to help; she has raised about $42,000.

The candidates are vying to represent the east San Fernando Valley, a mostly working-class Latino area, on the seven-member board.

They don't have vast differences in their positions. Ratliff, however, has been inconsistent in her take on L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, saying most recently that she would not move to replace him. Sanchez is an avowed Deasy supporter — the key reason for his backing by Villaraigosa's allies. They support Deasy's efforts to limit seniority protections for teachers and they also back the superintendent's push to include student standardized test scores in teacher evaluations.

The county labor federation knows Sanchez from his service as a midlevel aide for last fall's successful campaign to defeat Proposition 32, a statewide anti-labor initiative. Sanchez also has the blessing of a phalanx of labor allies already in office.

United Teachers Los Angeles, which is sharply critical of Deasy, endorsed both candidates. Many teachers are upset that the union did not vigorously back Ratliff, the elected union leader at her school, even though she has not adopted the union position on some issues.

One factor was money — the union depleted its war chest to reelect incumbent Steve Zimmer in the March primary. Union officials said they were reluctant to borrow funds to contest a Sanchez victory that seemed inevitable — before Ratliff's strong primary showing.

But even without huge donations, the union could mobilize a small army of volunteers. Many individual teachers have volunteered for Ratliff, but the union's neutrality proved a massive benefit to Sanchez.

In union meetings, the leadership has said that Sanchez was being groomed for higher office by officials they needed to appease, especially if they wanted to prevail in the Legislature on laws affecting teaching evaluations and tenure rules, said members who were present.

Some high-level union members alleged that there was a deal for Sanchez to let UTLA choose his chief of staff — which top officials and Sanchez deny.

Some praise Sanchez's political instincts.

"He has the type of personality that is conducive to getting things done in a difficult political environment," said supporter Alex Reza, who was Sanchez's government teacher at San Fernando High. "He is a good listener and he sees perspectives of issues."

And Sanchez "shares the life experience of many of our students" — having entered local schools not speaking English.

Sanchez remembers this vividly: "I'll never forget the day I walked out of the apartment and thought: 'How in the world am I going to talk to anybody?'" Sanchez said.

Sanchez last year completed his master's in urban and regional planning at UCLA. Along the way, he was a field representative for a state legislator and for Villaraigosa.

"I'm used to being the youngest one in the room, with people either underestimating me or telling me I'm inexperienced," he said. "My passion is fueled by a very simple idea: We have to have more kids graduating from high school."

Newspaper editorial boards and some observers have concluded that Sanchez's resume is too thin for the job, especially when compared to Ratliff.

"We liked him, but his response to our questions lacked depth," said Judith Perez, president of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents district administrators. Ratliff "had a deep knowledge of teaching and learning. She was clear on the priorities of students in the district."

Ratliff, who is Latina and grew up in Arizona, won a scholarship to Columbia University, where she also earned her law degree. During work as a legal aid attorney, "something hit me like a lightning bolt," she said. "Poverty is the problem, and the solution is education."

She teaches fifth grade at San Pedro Street Elementary, a Los Angeles school that has achieved high test scores despite serving students from mostly low-income families.

On education matters, Ratliff said she's learned from her principal and her colleagues as well as her previous experience as a lawyer. What sets her apart, she said, is being "in the classroom for over a decade at a school that is much like many schools in the district — and that has been improving."


By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer, LA Daily News |

5/18/2013 08:20:42 PM PDT :: Spending has topped $1.8 million in the race to fill the remaining open seat on the Los Angeles Unified school board, with East San Fernando Valley voters deciding how the transformation of the nation's second-largest school district will play out.

Tuesday's runoff for the District 6 seat has become as much about the future of Superintendent John Deasy's reform agenda as who will succeed outgoing board member Nury Martinez. The winner of the contest between teacher Monica Ratliff and self-described education reformer Antonio Sanchez could become the swing vote as the seven-member board decides contentious issues like teacher evaluations and the growth of charter schools.

"The balance of power on the school board is still the most salient issue in the race," said Tom Hogen-Esch, a political science professor at Cal State Northridge. "You've got a division on the board between people who believe in the market approaches to issues like school choice and testing and accountability for teachers, and critics who think those kinds of approaches create an incentive for things like teaching to the test."

Demonstrating how critical the seat is to the reform movement, political action committees spent $1.2 million on Sanchez's campaign in the March primary, and $600,000 more since then. Sanchez has raised $67,000 in individual donations for Tuesday's election.

Most of the money came from the Coalition for School
Reform, a group formed by outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sanchez's former boss. The donations have funded glossy fliers and phone calls to the district's 252,870 registered voters, while Sanchez himself campaigns full time, knocking on doors and speaking to community groups.

Ratliff received no help from independent expenditure committees, instead relying on the $27,000 raised from individual donors to fund her grass-roots campaign. She's continued to work at her full-time job teaching fifth grade at San Pedro Elementary before heading out to neighborhood meetings and fund-raising receptions.

Both candidates were endorsed by United Teachers Los Angeles, which made two $500 contributions to Ratliff and none to Sanchez.

Ratliff, 43, is a former public-interest lawyer who turned to teaching as a way to help lift families out of poverty. Now the UTLA chapter chair at her K-5 school, she was openly critical of Deasy during her primary campaign but has since softened her stance.

"I'm interested in keeping a strong leader at the helm," she said last week. "I would (vote to) keep him unless he does something that makes it impossible to keep him."

She supports Deasy's effort to toughen requirements for teachers to get tenure, and to end seniority-based layoffs. She's in favor of expanding high-performing schools - traditional or charter - and also suggested that teachers be paid a bonus to work at hard-to-staff schools.

She believes the district is "on the right track" in using student test scores to evaluate teachers, but only to help improve their performance. And she spoke passionately about her desire to increase local control at neighborhood schools, empowering principals, teachers and parents to decide how to best keep their kids safe and help them succeed.

Ratliff is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother and a U.S. born-father who died when she was an adolescent. Ratliff's mother went back to school while raising Monica and her two younger brothers, an accomplishment that now helps her understand the challenges facing kids and parents today.

"I'm so very proud of my mother and my heritage," she said. "It connects me to my students. Their parents come here so their children can have a better life and they stay here so they can have a better life."

Sanchez, 31, also related his campaign to his experiences growing up in the East Valley and going to local schools. He recalled having to walk past a dangerous corner on his way home from Pacoima Middle School, a problem he doesn't want today's students to have to deal with.

"We need safe walking routes for kids and figure out how the district can work with the LAPD so we can collaborate on providing a safe environment," he said.

Sanchez has been an unwavering supporter of Deasy, voicing support for the superintendent's efforts to use student test scores to evaluate teachers and to bring accountability to turnaround efforts at low-performing schools. He's also an advocate of increasing the number of charter, pilot and magnets schools as a way to enhance parental choice.

But he said the East Valley isn't getting its fair share of district services, and he's prepared to fight for more resources.

Education leaders concede that the school board race may not have the sex appeal of the mayor's race, which will be on the same ballot, but that it's vital that voters get engaged.

"Political campaigns for school board seats can seem like inside baseball, but they have a huge impact on the future of the city," said Ama Nyamekye, executive director of Educators 4 Excellence Los Angeles. "The next generation of college students, workers and elected and community leaders hinges on the quality of education that LAUSD offers.

"The process of voting on the future leadership of schools is what makes 'public education' public."

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
JACKIE GOLDBERG ENDORSES MONICA RATLIFF: “We all need to help her win this very important race for the school ...

NO MORE WILLFUL DEFIANCE: Themes in the News: A weekly commentary written by UCLA IDEA on the important issues...


@DrDeasy:"Happy Breakfast in Classroom will continue 2 provide healthy meals so students can start the day ready to learn." But he axed it!

LA TIMES & ED WEEK ON THE MAY REVISE; Capitol Dems, Sacramento Bee and Center for Oral Health weigh-in …+ John...

Los Angeles City Elections 2013: A CITY AGENDA FOR L.A. SCHOOLS?: If public officials in the more than two doz...

L.A. UNIFIED BANS SUSPENSION FOR ‘WILLFUL DEFIANCE’: Zero tolerance policies adopted after Columbine lower ach...

PARENT TRIGGER GROUP GETS ‘THUMBS-UP’ FROM LAUSD: "Someone on our staff is talking to Parent Revolution, and we need to know who it is.”...

‘Working Hard, Left Behind’: CLOSING CALIFORNIA’S EDUCATION GAP: As the overall education level declines, the ...


State Finance Director: "The governor's budget assumes that the spending reductions made over the last several years are ongoing in nature."

LAUSD BOARD COULD BAN SUSPENSIONS FOR ‘WILLFUL DEFIANCE’ + smf’s 2¢: Backers of the resolution say 'zero to...

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Monday May 20, 2013
Manual Arts Wellness Center: Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Manual Arts Wellness Center
4085 S. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90037

*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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