Sunday, February 16, 2014


4LAKids: Sunday 16•Feb•2014    St.V/President's Day
In This Issue:
 •  THE LAUSD BOARD’S TURF WAR: Its decision to close two excellent charter schools is a reminder of what prompted school reform + smf’s 2¢
 •  REPAIRS NOT iPADS? The world is watching …and there’s an app for that!
 •  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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This marks the 500th weekly edition of 4LAKids.

I have written this puppy from five or six different desks and/or kitchen tables in four different houses; from hotel rooms all over the place, from accommodations above the pub in Scotland and from buses in Spain, from aircraft tray tables and from ships at sea. If there was something you really liked please let me know; or if something provoked action or disgust or offense or outrage. There’s a ten year anniversary coming up in a few months – an excellent opportunity to get all maudlin+retrospective.

Writing and editing 4LAKids is a pleasure and an obsession. I hope my sharing has been thought provoking. I try to shine a light, not to be enlightening or even illuminating but to selfishly connect my own thoughts to what I see in those moments when I’m paying attention. To those who stop me and say thank you I can only say thank you for reading. To those who don’t stop and thank me I still say thank you for reading thus far and not stopping me!

A teacher told me that FDR said: “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

Folsom’s First Law of Communications says you can always find a snappy quotation by some famous bozo to justify any preposterous position you care to defend …but I think they should put FDR on the dime and elect him president four times over for saying that. I thank the teacher who told me that and I thank all the other teachers for all the other stuff they told me – even the ones that said “Just say no” when I already knew “yes” was my last-and-final answer.

I thank Mrs. Robertson who taught third grade in Greenfield, Mo. for teaching me the importance of The Story – you were my Joseph Campbell. I thank Mr. Schaeffer, sixth grade teacher at Prince’s Gate American School for teaching me that education is too important to be taken seriously. We Americans are Mark Twain’s children; the Brits are Rudyard Kipling’s and that’s all you need to know about that. Thank you Miss Hamm (who wasn’t a Ms. yet in 1961) at Le Conte Jr. High – not for teaching me how to write, but to write.

Building youth is like herding cats, organizing parents or educating educators. Or teaching an apocryphal pig to dance.

Our children in the end are our hopes and dreams made flesh and blood and run completely amok – our best laid schemes gang agley – all complicated and confusing and unexpected and funny. “What were any of us thinking?” we laugh.

Thank you gentle readers for everything you do for children every day.

THE LESS SAID ABOUT LAST WEEK’S BOARD OF ED MEETING the better. (see "TUESDAY’S BOARD MEETING: Six votes in search of a censensus" in Highlights/Lowlights below)

ON FRIDAY THE APPLE COMPANY and the Common Core Technology Project invited me and some others down to Fullerton to visit Robert C. Fisler Elementary School – an Apple Distinguished School. Fisler is a K-8 ten years into a 1-to-1 computing program (all Apple laptops) a school master-planned into a master-planned affluent community with free universal Wi-Fi and a pair of Lexi, Audi, Mercedes or somesuch in every garage. The work done by teachers, staff and students at Fisler is extraordinary …but so are the demographics.

First they eliminated poverty and then they gave every child a laptop.

In the debrief we were asked to address+enumerate the barriers to that level of success in LAUSD. A teacher long ago taught me to avoid 'laundry lists'. Friday was Valentine's Day - so let me simply allude to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s exquisite list in Portuguese Sonnet 43: “Let me Count the ways…”

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


By Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times |

February 14, 2014, 5:40 p.m. :: A new bill introduced Friday would prohibit California school districts from using voter-approved construction bonds for non-facility related items -- a move spurred by the Los Angeles Unified School District’s $1-billion plan to purchase iPads for every student, teacher and administrator.

L.A. Unified’s iPad project, launched last year, is funded with one-time, school construction bonds paid back over about 25 years. The plan, which includes network upgrades at schools, is expected to consume all the technology funds available though the bonds.

Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills), who authored the bill and has been vocal in his opposition to the iPad program, said the public is led to believe that bond money will be used to build new schools or refurbish aging ones and not for other, unrelated purposes.

“It is important that construction bond money be used for school facilities, and not for things like iPads,” Hagman said.

Los Angeles Unified Supt. John Deasy has been steadfast in asserting that the technology upgrade is an essential academic initiative.

Deasy could not be reached for comment.

The bill would prohibit districts from purchasing “instructional materials” – including “textbooks, technology-based materials and other non-facility related items with a short usable life.”

Those items should be purchased with money allocated from the state for those purposes. “That’s what they should be buying this stuff with – not long-term debt money,” he said.



INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Hagman

FEBRUARY 14, 2014

An act to add Section 15267 to the Education Code, relating to school bonds.


AB 1754, as introduced, Hagman. School bonds: instructional materials.

The California Constitution limits the maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property to 1% of the full cash value of the property except for ad valorem taxes or special assessments that pay the interest and redemption charges on certain bonded indebtedness, including bonded indebtedness incurred by a school district, community college district, or county office of education for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities, approved by 55% of the voters if the proposition includes specified accountability requirements. This bill would prohibit proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized and issued pursuant to the exception described above to be used to purchase instructional materials, as defined.

Vote: majority.
Appropriation: no.
Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


SECTION 1. Section 15267 is added to the Education Code, to read:
15267. Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized and issued pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 1 of Article XIII A and subdivision (b) of Section 18 of Article XVI of the California Constitution shall not be used to purchase instructional materials, as defined in subdivision (h) of Section 60010.

●● Somewhere between OUR DINNER WITH DR. DEASY from AALA and LAUSD DISRESPECTS OUR SACRIFICES from UTLA lies the truth of union solidarity in LAUSD. There is an unfortunate tendency in the office of the superintendent (“Management”) to approach any-and-all communications, accountability or community outreach/engagement – whether with the Board of Ed or Parents – whether about LCFF, LCAP, The CORE Waiver, The Common Core Technology Project, the Budget or Whom to appoint to fill the District One Vacancy as a adversarial negotiation – to be contained in a Cone of Silence and discussed in orchestrated meetings. Data is unquestioned and Information is a one way street.


From the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update Week of February 17, 2014 |

13 Feb 2014 :: On Monday evening, February 10, 2014, Superintendent John Deasy hosted a dinner meeting with leaders of all LAUSD unions. This was a first. While this event was nothing like the memorable meal portrayed in the film, My Dinner with Andre, it did provide the opportunity for the Superintendent to share some important budget-related information with the union leaders, while allowing us to offer our candid views and ask some critical questions. We look forward to a continuing conversation with the Superintendent on this and other matters of importance to union members.


At the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday immediately following Dr. Deasy’s dinner, the LAUSD union coalition, this time represented by CSEA’s Letetsia Fox, again made comments regarding our unions’ shared priorities. Following is our joint statement which we also shared the previous evening with Dr. Deasy:

Recent budget reports from the Governor show promise that the California economy will continue its rebound, and that school districts stand to receive increased funding overall. Particularly, with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula, LAUSD will receive much needed supplemental and concentration grants in addition to the base grant. This boost to LAUSD funding is critical to improving the quality of services and programs to our students and communities.

As the District begins its development of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), input from all stakeholders must be meaningful, and the process must be transparent. As stakeholders, employees play a vital role in the delivery of services in the District. As such, LAUSD unions must play a critical role in the development of the LCAP. Our unions have a united viewpoint as to what the LCAP should look like, and we intend to jointly express this in any LCAP development meeting.

We ask that the leadership from all our unions, certificated and classified, be invited to participate jointly in any future meetings scheduled to receive input from employees on the development of the LCAP. Together let’s develop a plan that addresses all eight priority areas of the LCAP to make our schools:

• Safer
• Cleaner
• Better supervised with improved delivery of essential services such as instructional support, school to home communication and involvement of parents, students, staff and community members.

We believe a service and program restoration plan must include the restoration of its service providers—the hardworking men and women of LAUSD. Let’s also repay these hardworking men and women for their years of sacrifice which kept the District afloat. The coalition of LAUSD unions concurs that a balanced approach for salary and staffing restorations should be a high priority in the LCAP’s implementation of the LCFF.


LAUSD DISRESPECTS OUR SACRIFICES: We saved the day, and we're being stiffed
UTLA President’s Perspective |

Jan 31, 2014 :: "We are angry that the same people who came to us during the recession, hat in hand, expecting us to essentially bail out the District by taking pay cuts, have now conveniently forgotten those hard sacrifices and are ready to embark on half-baked spending sprees for things like iPads."

Last week, I sent the following letter to Superintendent John Deasy, with copies to the members of the Board of Education:

Dear Superintendent Deasy:

On January 15, the UTLA House of Representatives, by a near-unanimous vote, directed me to communicate to you, and to the School Board, UTLA’s salary negotiations demand for immediate bargaining and for implementation retroactive to the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

UTLA’s demand is for an increase in salary of 17.6%.

This demand reflects the undisputed fact that, since the beginning of the recession, L.A.’s teachers and health and human services professionals have, again and again, voluntarily made deep financial sacrifices in order to keep the District afloat. We have made these sacrifices even as workloads have greatly increased, and while the cost of living has continued to rise. Simple equity demands that these sacrifices be repaid.

This demand also reflects a new economic reality. In light of both the passage of Proposition 30 and the steadily improving California economy, the governor and the Legislature have made it clear that it is their intent to fully fund schools and to repair the damage done to schools by the recession, including a commitment to making teacher salaries competitive. It would be a travesty if these statewide commitments to our schools and our children were not translated to reality in Los Angeles, where the children’s needs are the greatest, and where the sacrifices by educators were the deepest.

I look forward to your response.


Warren Fletcher
UTLA President

cc: Members, LAUSD Board of Education

Under our union constitution, the UTLA House of Representatives acts as the elected voice of the teachers and health and human services professionals of Los Angeles. And there can be no question that, when the House spoke on that January evening, they were giving voice to the feelings and frustrations of the credentialed professionals at every school in the District.

Put simply, L.A.’s educators are tired and angry.

We are tired of ballooning class sizes. We are tired of seeing hundreds of our dedicated colleagues remain in laid-off status, living month-to-month without permanent contracts, more than a year after the passage of Proposition 30. We are tired of seeing vital services for our students (like libraries and student mental health) slashed during the recession, but not restored as funding now becomes available.

And we are angry. We are angry that the superintendent and his Beaudry staff (and even some of our supposedly “friendly” School Board members) have decided that restoring teacher pay is simply not a priority. We are angry that the same people who came to us during the recession, hat in hand, expecting us to essentially bail out the District by taking pay cuts, have now conveniently forgotten those hard sacrifices and are ready to embark on half-baked spending sprees for things like iPads. Most of all, we are angry at the sheer disrespect that all of this shows toward us and toward our profession.
Turning anger into action

Some of the greatest triumphs in our union’s history had their genesis in righteous indignation. It’s important to remember that even our 1989 strike was less about salaries and benefits than it was an expression of professional anger and frustration at the District’s upside-down spending priorities and top-down directives.

The District was rescued from the fiscal abyss by our sacrifices and by Proposition 30. And make no mistake about it, Prop. 30 would not have passed without the hard work of L.A.’s teachers and health and human services professionals. We saved the day, and we’re being stiffed. But it’s not enough for us to be angry alone. We need to make sure that parents and the community are angry as well. They need to know that the clear intent of Prop. 30 is being ignored in LAUSD.

That is why I have reactivated the UTLA Crisis Committee. Throughout our history, UTLA presidents have called upon the Crisis Committee to plan and coordinate parent and community outreach and mobilizations, as well as member militancy activities. I have asked one UTLA officer and one of the UTLA Area chairs to co-chair the committee. The Crisis Committee will regularly report to me (and to the UTLA Board and the House of Representatives) on planned actions. Their first order of business will be to coordinate citywide informational picketing at every school site in the District. Parents and the community must be made aware of LAUSD’s refusal to fulfill the promise of Prop 30.
A pro-active, pro-student vision

It is important to remember that our message to parents and the community must be about more than just our salaries. Fortunately, UTLA’s bargaining demands are not limited to issues of pay and benefits.

In April 2013, the UTLA membership overwhelmingly voted for the “Initiative for the Schools L.A. Students Deserve.” The initiative commits UTLA to a broad-based set of demands around the issues that teachers and parents truly care about, including smaller class size and full staffing, safe and clean schools, and adult ed and early ed restoration. At the same House of Representatives meeting at which our salary demand was adopted, dozens of proposals around these demands were also adopted. Parents can have confidence that our vision for repairing schools and keeping the promise of Prop. 30 is a vision that goes beyond simply our paychecks and that embraces better, safer, and healthier schools for their children.
We mustn’t settle for crumbs

In the end, our ability to secure our demands depends on our unity, our discipline, and our focus.

Throughout the recession, Deasy and the District tried to divide us, to pit young teachers against experienced teachers, register-carrying teachers against health and human services professionals, and K-12 people against adult ed and early ed. They thought that during times of cuts and scarcity, they could get us to turn on each other. It didn’t work. Throughout the trying times and the heartbreaking cuts, we stayed true to our students, true to our profession, and true to each other. We were a union in the best sense of the word.

Going forward in our fight, we must continue to live and embody that same unity and solidarity and commonality of purpose. And we must not settle for less than we deserve. If we send a message of disunity to the District, they will respond by offering us crumbs, secure in the knowledge that they can get away cheaply by playing us off against each other. If that happened, it would be a tragedy. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.

As it says in the Book of Job, “It was when we were tested most severely that we shone forth as gold.” We proved that during the recession, when we saved the schools for our students. Now we need to show that same resolve in order to secure the schools that our students deserve.

We will be united. And we will win.

THE LAUSD BOARD’S TURF WAR: Its decision to close two excellent charter schools is a reminder of what prompted school reform + smf’s 2¢

Editorial by The LA Times editorial board |

February 16, 2014 :: It was just like old times at the Los Angeles Unified school board meeting last week. The board voted to close two excellent charter schools for reasons that had nothing to do with the quality of education they are providing to students but rather over provincial concerns about turf.

This was the kind of board behavior — common a decade ago — that drove so many frustrated parents and policymakers into the arms of the school reform movement. We had hoped those days were over.

At issue were charter renewals for two Huntington Park schools run by Aspire Public Schools, one of the most highly regarded charter operators in California. At both schools, more than 90% of the students are poor enough to qualify for subsidized lunches and at least half are not fluent in English. Despite student demographics that are usually associated with low performance, these schools' Academic Performance Index scores are above 800, which the state has set as the target for a school's proficiency.

What riled the majority on the board was that the schools had contracted outside the district for state-required special-education services. All schools must sign up for such services, which provide professional development and oversight to ensure that special-ed students are receiving a sound education. Most schools must do this through their regional special-ed agency, but charter schools are allowed to go elsewhere for cheaper or more helpful services.

This would be a problem if there were any evidence that Aspire's students were suffering as a result. But parents whose children have severe disabilities — traumatic brain injury or autism, for example — praised the schools to the board. Even the district's head of special education said that from everything she's seen, the schools are doing well with their learning-impaired students.

Regardless of the quality of education, board members Steve Zimmer and Monica Ratliff said they want to ensure that all charter schools contract with L.A. Unified for special-ed services.

Not only is that wrong thinking, it flouts state regulations. L.A. Unified has gone to pains to lower the prices — and improve the services — of its special-education wing, but that doesn't give it the right to look askance at those who make other choices. Aspire contends that the agency it uses in El Dorado County provides the same amount of oversight and better data services for less money.

Aspire will appeal to the county Department of Education, which should quickly and enthusiastically approve the charter renewals. As for the school board, what it should do is feel ashamed for once again putting students, families and educational achievement at the bottom of its priority list.

●●smf’s 2¢: “In 1974, the California State Board of Education adopted the California Master Plan for Special Education.
“This statewide plan to equalize educational opportunities outlined the process of developing a quality educational program for the disabled students of California.
“The Master Plan required that all school districts and County Offices of Education join together in geographical regions in order to develop a regional special education service delivery system. A region might be a group of many small districts or a large single district, but each region must be of sufficient size and scope to provide the full continuum of services for children and youth residing within the region boundaries.
“The service regions were named Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs).” – from the California Charter School Association Website:
• SELPAs do not provide Special Education services; they are planning areas that provide program support and oversee that the services take place.
• THE TIMES IS RIGHT, Aspire’s performance in handling Special Education needs at these two schools is exemplary – not “just for a charter school” but truly outstanding.
• THE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS RIGHT: SELPAs are “geographic planning areas” serving “children and youth residing within the region boundaries”. Aspire is affiliated with the El Dorado County Charter SELPA headquartered in Placerville, CA, 423 miles from Huntington Park.

Call me cynical; I’m not the only one. The reality is that years ago charter schools banded together and cultivated the El Dorado County Office of Education Charter SELPA to avoid local accountability+oversight of their programs by electing to keep the overseers as far away from the parents, meddlesome school boards and questioning+scrutiny of stakeholders.

There are ten charter schools in El Dorado County; there are 190+ charter schools in the County Charter SELPA. Aspire’s success in doing it their own way creates a mythology that the El Dorado Charter SELPA is effective …when Aspire is an outlier in a very sketchy scheme.

Should Special Ed parents wish to challenge Aspire’s process or the SELPA’s decisions – or just attend a meeting of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) the legally mandated group formed to advise local governing bodies about issues which affect children in special education. - they must travel 423 miles to Placerville. If The Times wants to cover a meeting of the SELPA they must travel to Placerville. Neither happens. 4LAKids believes that charters should be able to select their SELPA partner …but it should at least be in the same county as the school!

...and what part of serving “children and youth residing within the region boundaries” is so difficult to understand?

REPAIRS NOT iPADS? The world is watching …and there’s an app for that!
by smf for 4LAKids

16 Feb 2014 :: The Repairs Not iPads Facebook Page [] has grabbed the notice of the powers-that-be at a Beaudry; folks in the Facilities Services Division and LAUSD Maintenance & Operations are watching. Folks in Superintendent’s office and the boardmember’s offices are watching. The Bond Oversight Committee is watching. The local and national media are watching.


As a political animal I recognize that the intent is to question the superintendent’s commitment to technology (and Breakfast in the Classroom) at the expense of maintenance and operations/safety and repairs. I cannot report that the folks on the 24th floor have given up on iPads and BiC to fix and maintain plumbing in LAUSD. That’s probably not going to happen as long is this regime is the regime - but the attention is paying off …and increased attention and effort and commitment and hopefully funding is going into the M&O effort.

It’s working!

One complaint that the Facilities bigwigs make is that problems and photos on the Repairs Not iPads Facebook Page do not identify – or misidentify - locations of the problems.


• Download the LAUSD Service Calls App (see following) to your smartphone and use the reporting function when you encounter graffiti, vandalism or the need for repair. Take pictures. It is possible to report anonymously [in Settings] if you so desire – but be sure to correctly report the location of the problem. Use the phone’s location function if you can. And yes, it is possible to track the results of your service call.
• Then post the same photo on the Repairs Not iPads page if that is your desire – the public pressure helps!

The Service Calls App was created before the District’s iPad initiative so the App is not available for iPads at this time – but I will advocate that iPads be added to the platform base – which will add students to the reporter base!

from LAUSD FSD |

Are you tired of seeing graffiti, vandalism, and repairs needed in our schools? Ever wondered how you can report these issues? We have an App for that! Introducing LAUSD Service Calls.

LAUSD Service Calls is a free and easy to use mobile service that allows anyone within the LAUSD boundaries to report maintenance service calls using their mobile phone. Principals, Teachers, Students, Parents, and the public as a whole will be able to easily report issues to maintenance services (Graffiti, Vandalism, Repairs) for quick resolution.

LAUSD Service Calls support three major mobile application platforms: iTunes, Blackberry, and Android. LAUSD Service Calls will be available in the Windows Mobile and Palm platform later this year.

To download the LAUSD Service Calls App simply access the iTunes, Blackberry or Android stores and search for 'LAUSD' …or FOLLOW THIS LINK

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
REPAIRS NOT iPADS? The world is watching …and there’s an app for that! by smf for 4LAKids 16 Feb 2014 ::...


THE VIRAL PHOTO OF THE FRUSTRATED GIRL: Don’t blame it on Common Core …It’s the Worst Job in the World!: This...


UPDATED: TUESDAY’S BOARD MEETING: Six votes in search of a consensus. Now with more stories …and less consensus! |

TUESDAY’S BOARD MEETING: Six votes in search of a censensus: I watched Tuesday’s festivities from the comfort ...

CALIF RANKS 6th IN US ON AP EXAM PARTICIPATION + smf’s 2¢: The Associated Press FROM The Sacramento Bee | http...



AB 1442: CA BILL AMONG MANY PROPOSALS TO PROTECT STUDENT DATA: by Kimberly Beltran, SI&A Cabinet Report :: The...



THE iPAD IS NOT A LAPTOP: iPad Be Nimble, iPad Be Quick: Technology Integration from Edutopia | http:...

KEEP CALM AND KEEP MAKING A PROFIT FOR PEARSON: An Interview with Alan J. Singer by Michael Shaughnessy Edu...

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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