Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 in the rear view mirror

4LAKids: Sunday 29•Dec•2013
In This Issue:
 •  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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There is a tendency at this time of year to look-back and yearn-forward …and draw up lists o’ stuff – Good, Bad and Indifferent from the year past.

THE GOOD: Almost everything accomplished by youngsters with the assistance of teachers, parents, administrators and staff. Children learned to read. Kids memorized the seven-times tables, Graduates graduated and matriculators matriculated. As and Bs and Cs were earned and recorded in permanent records. Students mastered subjects and aced tests and academic decathletes from LAUSD crushed all comers. Models of missions were built. Term projects were completed. Essayists wrote essays and artists painted masterpieces that will adorn refrigerator doors and art gallery walls. The All City Band marched down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day - marching not-to-war but to music of their own making. And (spoiler alert) they do it again next Wednesday!

THE BAD: Adults behaved badly, misbehaved and did nothing at all when doing something was called for. There wasn’t enough moral fiber in some diets, ethics were compromised.
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity”
...And the upright?
Their hour comes round at last as they slouch towards Bethlehem.

: All the brouhaha about testing: The old tests and the new tests and tests yet to come. On further review the results are and were and will be meaningless; the proofs prove even less. We are only incrementally closer to wherever we were going and we have the data to prove it.

And next year, 2014, is the promised Year of No Child Left Behind: Every child proficient or above; all schools wonderful or closed.

Steve Lopez’ column Sunday morning outlines 2013’s scandals, corruption and incompetence – and includes:
“(L.A. Times reporter) Howard Blume has been all over an L.A. Unified School District in which political feuding and a botched attempt to hand every student an iPad may have factored into the resignation of a top deputy to Supt. John Deasy, who also threatened to resign. We still don't know why school officials agreed to the $1-billion iPad rollout with little planning and no explanation for buying unfinished software.” |

The smf who sits on the Bond Oversight Committee has warily supported the iPads initiative thus far. The smf who edits and writes for these pages is more critical. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini or pragmatic or bipolar.

I believe 1to1 computing and digital delivery of instruction is a part of the future of public education. I believe that the iPads can be a part of the educational infrastructure and that they can be a wise investment of school construction and improvement bond funds – when invested in a conscientiously applied and well-budgeted long-term program of construction, repair and maintenance alongside an annual general-fund operating budget that invests in teachers and school staff to support the capital outlay.

But dial back to those ‘can’s – “the iPads can be a part of the educational infrastructure and that they can be a wise investment”. And here my faith and support are challenged and doubt gnaws at the foundation of the infrastructure.

Questions exist as to the legality of the investment, especially if students take the devices home. I am convinced the premise is legal if properly financed with the right kinds of bonds – but those plans have yet to have been made public. Nobody has yet explained how the next generation of 1to1 devices is to be financed once these wear out in three-to-five years.

Darker questions exist as to whether the contract with Apple – and Apple and Pearson’s contract with each other – are in the best interest of the District.

And dark, dark questions swirl around the awarding of the Common Core Technology Project contract, the floating of the RFP and the relationships between some of the principals in the deal - including in LAUSD, Apple and Pearson Learning and its non-profit Pearson Foundation –implicated in other impropriety elsewhere [] and suspected farther afield [ ].

A senior figure in the deal from Pearson (who worked with Superintendent Deasy in other district[s] years ago) moved from the Pearson Foundation to the parent to head up the LAUSD operation, granted a puff-piece insider interview to the LA Weekly – and was abruptly transferred from LAUSD to the Inland Empire. And the new Pearson LAUSD project manager used to be an Apple project manager. The bedfellows get cozier.

Lopez’ prologue stated “I can't wait for 2014 to begin, because several of this year's cliffhangers are likely to play out in coming months.”

Stay tuned.

¡Onward/Adelante/Happy New Year! - smf

Compiled+Edited by Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet in the Washington Post |

December 27 at 4:00 am :: How hard is teaching?

Here are some answers to the question:

“Giving a presentation to NASA about how the thermal protection system of a spacecraft is connected to its primary structure is a cakewalk compared to getting 30 teenagers excited about logarithms.” – Ryan Fuller, a former aerospace engineer who now teaches high school in Colorado Springs, wrote in a piece on Slate. |

“Teaching is hard. Not only because of the curriculum, not only because of the new tests, new rules, new measures. Not only because there are tests, tests, and more tests. But because it so often feels like an insurmountable, thankless, stressful endeavor. The rules are always changing. The tests are always changing. And the blame for anything and everything that goes wrong usually falls squarely on our shoulders.” – Neyda Borges, teacher at Miami Lakes Educational Center in Florida, from this piece on the website of StateImpact Florida ][, a project of NPR.

“In the primary grades, we deal with gross bathroom-related issues. – Even a high school teacher could never understand some of the crises related to bodily functions that a typical K-3 teacher has to deal with on a regular basis. Potty accidents (and more instances too disgusting to reiterate here) are something that we can’t shy away from. I’ve had third grade students who still wear diapers and let me tell you – it’s stinky. Is there any amount of money or vacation time worth cleaning up vomit from the classroom floor with your own two hands?” – Beth Lewis, from About.Com |

“American teachers deal with a lot: low pay, growing class sizes and escalating teacher-bashing from politicians and pundits. Federal testing and accountability mandates under No Child Left Behind and, more recently, Race to the Top, have added layers of bureaucracy while eliminating much of the creativity and authentic learning that makes teaching enjoyable. Tack on the recession’s massive teacher layoffs and other school cuts, plus the challenges of trying to compensate for increasing child poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity, and you get a trifecta of disincentives to become, or remain, a teacher.” – Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, in this piece {] on Huffington Post.

“Teaching is a hard job with long hours (with no overtime). It’s no way a 9-5 job (nor a 7-3 job). My job starts way before the students enter the classroom, and it starts again when the students leave the classroom. I work after school and I work at home at night. Most of the work has to do with preparing lessons, contacting parents, grading papers, going to numerous meetings, extra help for students, dealing with tons of administrative paperwork, etc. etc. etc. I feel like the time I spend in the classroom with students is like the end result… you’ll have a good lesson and good rapport with the students because you did all your ‘homework’.
“Just know that you will not sleep much the first few years (at least). You will have to deal with difficult students, and even more difficult parents. You will have to deal with stupid administrative crap, You will be forced to follow curriculum and adopt teaching styles designed by people who probably have not taught in decades. You will not get much support from the administration. You will be pretty much on your own to figure things out. YOU WILL BE OVERWHELMED. And everyone around you will think that you have an easy job because your work is done at 3 pm (yeah, right) and you have the summers off (yeah, we don’t get PAID either).” — Ms. K on Yahoo.|

“We’re not just teachers. – The word ‘teacher’ just doesn’t cover it. We’re also nurses, psychologists, recess monitors, social workers, parental counselors, secretaries, copy machine mechanics, and almost literally parents, in some instances, to our students. If you’re in a corporate setting, you can say, ‘That’s not in my job description.’ When you’re a teacher, you have to be ready for everything and anything to be thrown at you on a given day. And there’s no turning it down.” – Beth Lewis, from About.Com |

“You know, this is precisely why I loathed being a teacher! Young people are so infernally convinced that they are absolutely right about everything.” – Professor Phineas Nigellus Black, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Teachers must take on a large agenda: to help students abandon the safety of rote learning; to instruct them in framing and testing hypotheses; and to build a climate of tolerance for others’ ideas, and curiosity about unusual answers, among other things. Teachers who take this path must work harder, concentrate more, and embrace larger pedagogical responsibilities than if they only assigned text chapters and seatwork. They also must have unusual knowledge and skills. They require,for instance, a deep understanding of the material and modes of discourse about it. They must be able to comprehend students’ thinking, their interpretations of problems, their mistakes, and their puzzles. And, when students cannot comprehend, teachers must have the capacity to probe thoughtfully and tactfully. These and other capacities would not be needed if teachers relied on texts and worksheets. In addition, teachers who seek to make instruction more adventurous must take unusual risks, even if none of their students resist. For if they offer academic subjects as fields of inquiry, they must support their actions and decisions as intellectuals, not merely as functionaries or voices for a text.” – University of Michigan Professor David K. Cohen in this paper, “Teaching Practice: Plus Ça Change…” |

►Strauss asks: Add some more in the comments [] and I’ll do another post with the best ones.

●●4LAKids edited/wordbutchered some of the continuing responses. Here goes:

GABBY2 :: Here's an honest answer: The hardest thing for me, as an elementary art teacher, was trying to persuade my colleagues to appreciate my contribution to learning. B/c they didn't take my job seriously, or respect my contribution to their students learning, it was hard for me to maintain my own enthusiasm year after year. I finally gave up and retired b/c my own intellectual and emotional needs were not being met.

ASCHWORTZ :: I taught at a community college for 8 years, which is much easier than public K-12. And then I returned to be a full-time graduate student working on my PhD in astrophysics. As a grad student I have more free time, less stress, I have weekends off, I can stop working when it's time for dinner, I don't have to pick up my work again after dinner, I sleep through the night, I rely on caffeine less, and I get fewer migraines. All of this is a pleasant change from when I was a community college prof. Yes, working on a PhD in astrophysics is easier than being even a community college teacher.

1. Just to clarify for the public yet again, teachers are ONLY paid for the 175 to 190 days they are contracted to work each year. The real time spent is more like a minimum of 10 hours per day.
2. Hardest part is knowing that the literally hundreds of decisions you make each day in your classroom on the run must all be the correct decisions. (And that's just during the part of your day that the public actually sees, the part when you're required to always be "on"--- 7:15 to 3:15.) Very little room for error without doing some kind of damage somewhere--either to instruction, a student's ego, the way in which your administrator views you, your working relationship with a parent.....
3. Keeping everybody happy: students, parents, department head, coaches, principal, district administrators, school board, the state DOE, and lastly yourself and your family. Many stakeholders, all wanting different things from you.
4. Next to no personal life, and even carving out that time takes time.
5. Lack of professional respect from everyone, with the exception of other teachers.
6. The politics: parents, teams and committees, building, district,
7. Meetings and committees----usually work assignments, expectations, obligations, and more work to do
8. Differentiated instruction---necessary, but means that each lesson all day every day must be taught appropriately so that the 3 to 5 layers of students in your room each get something valuable out of it---from the highest gifted to the lowest SpEd student, from the slow learners to the middle students, and including
non-English-speaking students, the behaviorally-challenged. those with emotional problems, those who don't care to be there, etc. Major balancing act, that. All under daily schedule time constraints, of course, and while honoring learning styles, and including movement, activity, choice, hand-on.
9. Not getting a lunch or planning time due to weekly meetings.
10. Staying on top of constant, daily change.

PALAN :: There are the technically hard parts (dealing with the pedagogical packing of your content for maximum effectiveness) and the extraneous hard parts (dealing with the unending clerical and management work of being your own "administrative assistant" and having to constantly prove to seven levels of bureaucracy that you are doing the job that you would have more time to do if you weren't constantly reporting to seven levels of bureaucracy).

But in some ways the hardest part is never being enough.

You know what, in a perfect world, you would do-- the assignments you would give, the personal attention you would give, the feedback you would give on assignments, the preparation you would put into units. You will never have enough time to do all of it, especially if you have a life of your own (and you have to, even if only to be able to connect to students), and so you must always decide what thing that ought to be done is not going to be done.

You grow every year (if you're any good) and you get better at juggling more balls faster. But every day is still educational triage and you are still bothered by the things you know you ought to do, but you don't have the time or the resources.

You will never be perfect, even though you have a pretty good idea of what perfect looks like. You will always be better than you used to be, but all good teachers know exactly in what ways they are failing.

PMICHAELS-ARTIST-AT-LARGE :: This is specific to teaching in the ARTS: your class is generally the last to be scheduled as English. Math and the Sciences get first priority. This means that your classes often have VERY wide discrepancies in the skills and knowledge of students: one student may have the drawing skills of a Rembrandt and another may barely be able to mix blue and yellow together to get green. Administrators constantly pull students out for various resource classes, sports practice, testing, etc. because "Art is just an elective". Often students with behavioral problems and little interest are 'dumped' in a class because it's not one of the 'serious' ones. An Arts teacher is constantly dealing with budget & inventory issues, be it fighting for supplies, ordering supplies, keeping track of inventory, or trying to figure out lessons that will go with the supplies available.

The above constraints interfere greatly with what should be one of the most joyous and creative, affirming environments in a school.

MS. SUSANNAH :: Teaching is a holistic practice that is more than just lecturing in front of a classroom and dolling out pre- and post-tests. It is the planing and thinking of how you will impart real world information with current implications that will help children connect the past to the future. This is not done within the confines of the 9-3 classroom. The lesson/activity is only a small portion of our factual research, planning of a lesson that will meet the needs of 25+ vastly different students, and gathering the materials (often at our own expense). At the same time we need to be sure we will be meeting all of the other needs of our students. We do not teach in a vacuum. What happens outside of the school impacts what we do in the classroom. We can do everything right but that child who suffered a trauma at home, albeit no breakfast, violence, poverty, a parent going away for business, or extreme change in routine, will not get the full benefit of that lesson. Compare teaching to someone in finance for a moment: The best investment adviser tells you to invest in widgets only made in Madeupland. You do pretty well but a war suddenly breaks out without warning over there. You loose money. Do you blame your adviser? Why blame the teacher?

ARTHUR CAMINS :: Teaching, that is, effective teaching, is hard not just because of all of the current challenges wrought by the current anti-teacher climate or the challenges of children’s lives constrained by relentless poverty. It is hard because children are wonderfully diverse complex human beings. It is hard because teachers are charged not just with helping students develop myriad skills and content knowledge, but also with teaching them to think, make judgments and learn what it means to be responsible citizens and friends. It is hard because becoming an effective teacher is not about learning a set of “best practices,” but rather to develop an enormous repertoire of teaching and insight into human behavior and relations and the nuanced judgment about when to do what with whom and under which particular circumstances. It is hard because effective teaching requires deep knowledge of subject matter, the ways of developing knowledge that are unique to each discipline, how children come to understand different concepts, their confusions along the way, and how to help them move along the journey from naïve to sophisticated understanding. It is hard because teacher need to negotiate the complexity of children and their relationships with their families and communities. In fact, it is hard to imagine a harder job.

PONTIFIKATE :: Many people in business can imagine this:
You have 5 presentations a day, every day and they can't be the same.
You have to prepare for those 5 presentations every night
You have to write critical yet encouraging remarks on the papers for the attendees of those presentation
You have 165 attendees every day
Those attendees are often restless, distracted, rude and disruptive
Your pay is low, you get no respect and are blamed for the whole business failing.

ENGLISH UPPER CLASS TWIT :: I spent a year teaching 10th Grade biology. The really bright kids who wanted to know everything I knew, and more, were a pleasure. The disruptive kids were a cost of doing business. The days when I was able to induce a light bulb moment for a not so bright kid were total pleasure. What drove me out were the bright kids - some very bright - who were only interested in accumulating A and A+ grades although actual learning was not part of their program.

By John Fensterwald, Ed Source Today |

December 20th, 2013 :: There’ll be no pre-holiday look at the much-anticipated spending regulations for the Local Control Funding Formula. Instead, the draft rules for California’s new school finance system will make a post-Rose Bowl appearance on the California Department of Education website on Friday, Jan. 3, state officials said Friday.

The State Board of Education had set a self-imposed deadline for Dec. 20, but staff are still working on it, taking in written ideas and suggestions from 50 meetings in the last six weeks with groups with various positions, State Board Executive Director Karen Stapf Walters said.

“We think we’re getting to a better place, but we are not there yet,” she said.

Samantha Tran, senior director of education policy for Children Now, one of the groups providing recommendations, said she saw the delay as a good sign. “The staff of the State Board heard the concerns and comments from the field,” she said. “They’re really listening.”

The half-dozen page regulations will instruct districts on how much latitude they will have in spending extra dollars that the funding formula, called LCFF, allocates for low-income students, children learning English and foster youth, the three groups that are earmarked for additional dollars. The law creating the LCFF said that a district must increase services and programs for high-needs students in proportion to the additional dollars they bring to a district.

But that leaves a lot open to interpretation, and groups advocating for minority kids, like The Education Trust-West and Public Advocates, and groups representing school districts and superintendents have very different opinions on what that should mean.

The advocates want strict accounting for the dollars tied to identifiable programs for high-needs students. School districts, arguing that base level funding is far from pre-recession levels, want more flexibility to spend on district programs and purposes that may benefit all students, not just targeted kids. The percentage of high-needs students in a district will likely determine the amount of flexibility a district will have. But establishing the threshold for tighter accountability has been one of the sticking points.

In November, draft regulations presented by WestEd, the consultants for the State Board on LCFF, were widely panned because the proposal gave districts an option of setting goals for academic and school improvement not tied to spending more money on high-needs students. That option won’t be in the next draft.

The spending regulations are key to guiding districts in setting annual goals, through a Local Control and Accountability Plan, detailing what actions they will take to improve student achievement, school climate, parent engagement and other areas among eight priorities in the funding law. Earlier this month, the State Board released a draft template of the LCAP. There may be further refinements in the next draft, on Jan. 3.

The State Board will adopt both the regulations and the LCAP template on Thursday, Jan. 16. The regulations are technically emergency regulations, adopted to meet a Legislature-imposed Jan. 31 deadline. The State Board will then open up a nine-month process to adopt permanent regulations, giving it a second chance, after a year’s trial and error, to rewrite them.

►Proposed template for Local Control and Accountability Plan, December 2013



By Alyson Klein - Politics K-12 - Education Week

December 24, 2013 2:00 PM :: So remember how California is planning to suspend most of its accountability testing for a year in order to help the state's schools get up to speed on new tests aligned with the Common Core standards?

U.S. Secretary of Education of Arne Duncan is none-too-happy about that idea, as my colleague, Catherine Gewertz, reported. And neither are a number of state and national advocacy organizations, including StudentsFirst, Teach Plus, The Education Trust-West, and the Alliance for a Better Community.

Their latest argument: Not explaining to teachers and schools how their students—particularly subgroup kids, such as English language learners—perform on assessments is a major missed opportunity for professional development.

The groups made their case in letter sent to Duncan on Monday. Reading between the lines of the letter, it sounds like they are hoping that the Secretary will include some additional reporting requirements for the state education agency when the department considers California's recent request for a "double-testing waiver." (Check out the full text following.

"The teachers, principals, and superintendents with whom we work have been very clear: they need to know how their students are doing," the groups write. "This is not only essential in assessing how schools are adapting their curriculum and instruction to meet the [common core standards], but critical to teachers in their own professional development and continuous improvement to meet the needs of their students."

Any waiver that the Education Department grants the Golden State from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act—the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—should, at a minimum, call for the state to "provide useful data on student progress back to the districts," the letter says.

Some background: More than 40 states and the District of Columbia have waivers from the NCLB law, but California isn't one of them. However, the Golden State was one of 15 that applied for the department's so-called "double-testing" waiver. That waiver allows states to get rid of some or all of their current testing programs in math and language arts to focus on the field tests being given this spring by PARCC and Smarter Balanced, the two common-assessment consortia. So far, California hasn't heard back on its request.

Clearly, the groups are hoping that Duncan will call for some additional data reporting to districts before green-lighting California's request.

Full text of CORE CA letter


By Nita Lelyveld | LA Times City Beat |

December 23, 2013, 6:21 p.m. :: No one saw the superhero in mild-mannered Clark Kent.

Jim O'Connor keeps his students fooled too.

In his algebra and calculus classes at St. Francis High School, he is stern — no excuses, no coddling. "If you look at the clock," said senior Michael Tinglof, who had O'Connor in his freshman year, "you're on his bad list for the rest of the class."

The 70-year-old teacher's look also is all business: spine straight, close-cropped silver hair. When he cracks a joke, he's so deadpan that the boys often miss it, senior Pat McGoldrick said.

"Like in our class, he'll put a problem up on the board and then someone will say, 'Oh, can you do it this way?' And then he'll respond, 'Oh yeah, I'll just do this and I'll just change that and I'll do all this extra work and I'll get the same answer. It's totally worth it.' "

Until they get accustomed, Pat said, "everybody thinks he's being really mean."

For the record, O'Connor embraces the reputation. "You want to teach a class with 30 boys, you've got to be strict," he said.

Michael and Pat might never have found out how little they really knew about their teacher if they hadn't signed on this year to recruit donors for a school blood drive.

One afternoon, the boys took a field trip to see where the donated blood would go. In the hallways of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, they were greeted like VIPs because they were associated with one.

"He was like a celebrity there. Everybody knew his name," Pat said of O'Connor.

They discovered one reason when they went to the hospital's Blood Donor Center, which has a plaque ranking the top donors. O'Connor's name is engraved in the top spot, 50 gallons — though that total is way out of date.

Since he first gave blood at Children's Hospital in 1989, at the urging of a friend's wife who was a nurse there, O'Connor has donated more than 72 gallons of blood and platelets.

That enormous gift — worth well over half a million dollars had it been purchased — has been especially valuable because he is a universal donor. His O-negative blood can be given to people of all blood types. It can be used for newborns and, in an emergency, before a victim's blood is typed.

Once a month without fail, O'Connor arrives at the hospital's donor center to give platelets, which are vital for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and for those who have had open-heart surgery or bone-marrow or organ transplants. It can take about two hours for a machine to draw his blood, separate out the platelets by centrifuge and then return the remaining components to him.

O'Connor also gives blood every other month, which is as often as regulations allow. He's been the hospital's top donor for years — by a long shot.


O'Connor grew up in New York. He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, doing electrical work on an aircraft carrier. Before becoming a teacher, he worked deep in the Holland and Lincoln tunnels as an electrician for New York's Port Authority.

College came late for him — and took a while to complete. He started with night school, graduated at 30 and came to California in 1973 to be an engineer at Hughes Aircraft. He coached youth sports on the side and enjoyed it so much that he decided teaching was what he should do with his life.

He spent a decade at St. Francis in La Cañada Flintridge, starting in 1976, before a 20-year stint at Harvard-Westlake. Rather than retire, he arranged to return to St. Francis part time. His schedule alternates from Monday, Wednesday and Friday to Tuesday and Thursday.

When he's not at school, he's usually at the hospital.

Before O'Connor ever set foot in Children's, he had given blood regularly at Red Cross drives, never knowing where his donations would go. But when he took a tour of the hospital wards, what had been an abstraction turned personal.

He saw newborns who had had major surgery, toddlers undergoing chemotherapy, parents under strain as their children's hospital stays stretched from days to weeks to months.

It didn't take long for him to ask what more he could do to help.

Soon he was rocking babies in his arms. Babies whose parents were working or at home taking care of other children. Babies whose parents could not visit because abuse was suspected.

O'Connor has never married. He doesn't have children. He was nervous at first, he said, especially about infants with tubes and wires attached, unhappy and sore after major surgeries or trauma.

But that faded.

Now, the nurses say, he is the one they turn to in the toughest moments. They have called him in to sit with babies who are dying and whose parents are too traumatized to be present.

"No matter how sick they are, no matter how devastated, he's just so caring, he brings such a warmth and peace," said Jeri Fonacier, a nurse in a general medical surgery unit on the fifth floor.

"We see him and we say, 'Oh Jim, oh thank God you're here,'" nurse Rebecca Day said.


The St. Francis boys heard that and much more when they visited the floor.

Before seeing this side of their teacher, Michael said, "we heard rumors. 'Mr. O'Connor holds babies.' I'm like, 'What? I don't see that. No, I don't think so.' "

Now it's different.

"I mean, if you really think about it, his whole life is service," Pat said. "Half the week he's teaching, giving knowledge to his students, and the other half, he's donating blood and giving his time to children who need it most. It's pretty amazing."

So will news of O'Connor's alter ego be kryptonite to his classroom control?

Ask him at the right moment, and he could not care less.

"When I hold a baby, my blood pressure goes down. I have to concentrate. Nothing else matters," he said on a recent afternoon as he stood holding a 4-week-old boy, who was twitching in a fuzzy blue onesie decorated with polar bears.

Moments earlier, the baby had been wailing. But then O'Connor lifted him into his arms and started to sway.

Eyes shut. The tiny body stilled. The hospital room was silent but for the strict math teacher who cooed, "Oh my goodness, what a face, what a face."

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
PEARSON + PARENT INVOLVEMENT - They have an App for that they'd like to sell you ...from 2008! |


STUDENTS ONLY KNOW A FRACTION OF MATH TEACHER’S GOOD DEEDS: Jim O'Connor is a strict disciplinarian at St. Fra...

GO FIGURE: ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson is a former teacher with a Masters Degree in Education |

®EFORM GROUPS PUSH BACK ON CALIFORNIA’S TESTING PLAN: A Who’s Who of Gates/Broad/Walton Ed ®eform: ABC, Deasy’...

The groundswell of support from the Astroturf grassroots had its desired effect: John Deasy - a mediocre headliner who was going to do an encore anyway - was encouraged to stay!

A tale of broken romance - L.A. TEACHERS & ED ®EFORM COALITION: IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES? + smf’s 2¢ |

TWEETED: Revising the #LAUSD EarlyStart Calendar to Make Room for Common Core Testing: CHRISTMAS HAS BEEN CANCELLED; GO DIRECTLY TO DYEING EGGS!

HO-HO-HO HUMBUG! Scrooge wasn't a tightwad skinflint, he was quoted out of context! |

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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