Sunday, August 17, 2014

The algebra of comedy

4LAKids: Sunday 17•Aug•2014
In This Issue:
 •  DEAR SCHOOLS, LET THE KIDS HAVE AUGUST. Starting school in August steals summer from kids. Do we not like them anymore?
 •  LAUSD UNCOVERS CHILD ABUSE RECORDS …is “unshreds” a word?
 •  HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
 •  Give the gift of a 4LAKids Subscription to a friend or colleague!
 •  Follow 4 LAKids on Twitter - or get instant updates via text message by texting "Follow 4LAKids" to 40404
 •  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.
What a week!

And what does any of it mean/forefend/whatever?

• School started in LAUSD on Tuesday; that is unquestioned. Or almost so. See Chris Erskine, following. (I note that one of the advertised reasons for the Early Start Calendar was to align LAUSD with the AP test schedule. While participation has improved …performance hasn’t!)
• The new Student Information Database rolled out and it was either Without-a-Hitch, glitchy …or an utter disaster. The rollout was either Completed as Planned, Modified, or Scrapped.
• The MiSiS Database is being heralded as 20-Years-in-the-Making and/or a last minute homegrown Hail Mary with inadequate prep+training.
• I am delighted I am not the LAUSD IT director (he has his challenges and knows what – and who – they are), but it is the new LAUSD Director of Communications that I’m really glad I’m not! [This is very selfish of me; I could do the job of Communications Director – I have the experience+skill set; the IT job is way outside my expertise!] The Communications Director’s challenge is that of a messenger who finds themselves asking the question: “What is the message?”
• There was the election on Tuesday in Board District One – 4LAKids makes no pretense at journalistic neutrality; we supported George McKenna with phone calls and editorials and blog posts and tweets and money. ¡Hooray McKenna! We won… as in: We also serve who drink the wine and eat the canapés.
• The election turnout, as predicted was abysmal – encouraging the LA Ethics Office to propose a raffle to encourage voter in future elections.

So: The Ethics Office is suggesting gambling to support voting – when only a decade back gamblers were suggesting voting to support gambling. Have we come full circle …or has the hand basket arrived at its ultimate destination?

And since the subject is ethics, however twisted: How ‘bout the Republican Governor of Texas being indicted for vetoing funding for the state’s ethics watchdog for drunk-driving-while-being-a-Democrat? Where have you gone Molly Ivens? The lone star state turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)

And there was Ferguson, Mo, where the local constabulary bulked up on surplus military hardware and attempted to live the myth of Delta Force doing battle with international terrorists masquerading as aggrieved citizenry. And were about as effective as a shoebox full of green plastic army men.

Ebola festers in Africa and takes the mind off the epidemic of Whooping Cough here in our bailiwick.

And there’s Iraq. And Syria. And Afghanistan. And Ukraine. And Iran. The crises collide, divide, metastasize and never end – morphing into episodic television. The Kurdish city if Erbil/Arbil/Irbil is reputedly the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the history of human civilization; its attackers allegedly practice genocide against an ancient religious sect almost that old. So much for history+civilization.

Hillary gives an interview. Barack has a photo op. Rand Paul plays the part of a responsible Republican.

Immigration and school funding and almost everything you can think of remains not just unresolved - but unaddressed.

Maybe the LAUSD Office of Communications doesn’t have that bad a challenge after all.

Maybe we just do what previous generations have always done and let the kids figure it out.

The Greatest Generation solved the Great Depression and World War II and left all the rest for the Baby Boomers to sort out. Look how well that worked out.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
– from Dead Poet’s Society, spoken by Robin Williams, screenplay by Tom Schulman.

Godspeed Robin Williams: Your verse was exquisite. If Comedy = Tragedy + Time, you couldn’t and didn’t wait.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

DEAR SCHOOLS, LET THE KIDS HAVE AUGUST. Starting school in August steals summer from kids. Do we not like them anymore?
Dear schools:
      If you carve away at August, you carve away at childhood.
Chris Erskine

By Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times |

Aug 15, 2014 :: We test them almost to death, we make them play sports till their arms fall off and their knees implode. Now we're taking away our children's summers. Do we not like them anymore?

Mine went back to school Aug. 12, along with students in many other local schools, which are just now catching up with other parts of the country, where some classes started Aug. 1.

Which is just insane.

I'm not the only one who's angry over these stolen summers. For parents, August is the only idle month left. In June, there is summer school, or soccer clinics or basketball in gyms toasty enough to bake bread.

In July, children are booked up with summer camp, or Mandarin lessons or baseball and softball in far-off places.

All good. A busy kid is a happy kid. Keep 'em moving, I say. When both parents work, such schedules are a necessity. For us, a three-month summer break is a burden as much as a relief. The endless activities are how we cope.

But we all need August … sweet, idle August.

August is when we would pack up the family car and head off to lakes at their warmest, sweet corn at its sweetest, s'mores at their s'moriest.

With the world in neutral, we'd head to family reunions and anniversaries and Grandpa's 75th birthday bash.

If you carve away at August, you carve away at childhood. It's just one more way we're inadvertently undermining the needs of the American family.

As it is, kids aren't outside enough. They grow thicker around the middle, and their retinas fill with the flickering images of cellphones and computer screens.

In a world like that, what are your fond childhood reference points? The seven hours straight you once played "Call of Duty"?

If I had more hair, I'd pull more out.

Summer used to be a stage light, a calling, a beckoning. Even my older kids had more summer than this. They would emerge in the morning, stumble out into the driveway, scratch their noggins before squinting upward at the sky.

"What is this?" they asked. "Some sort of sun?"

The way we treat our children today, you'd think they were prize livestock.

Each year, the standardized testing gets worse and worse. It freaks out the teachers and parents; it freaks out the kids.

"My iPad crashed twice," one of my son's buddies told me when I asked how a practice test had gone.

Yeah, they don't fill in little circles with pencils anymore. Under a new system known as Common Core, much teaching and testing will be computer-based. So not only are we throwing new teaching methods upon teachers, we're expecting them to be IT experts as well.

When it comes to teaching methods, Common Core is a mess as well, a growing target for wing nuts and more sensible people from all sides.

"My kids used to love math," comedian Louis C.K. famously said, in a rant against Common Core. "Now it makes them cry!"


Know how much I care about standardized testing? Not at all. No, wait, even less than that. And why are schools starting so ridiculously early? In part, because of our worries over standardized tests, particularly the Advanced Placement tests taken in high school.

But I digress.

In the bathroom, the little guy is brushing his hair for the first day of sixth grade. He is brushing his teeth, one at a time — this side, then that side, till they're as white as piano keys.

"I combed my eyebrows," he announces.

Could a dad be more proud?

He returns home with a backpack so heavy I can barely lift it myself. I weighed it with one of those scales you use for airline luggage, and his backpack came in at almost 20 pounds — about a third of what he weighs. It would be like you or me lugging 60 pounds around work all day.

Today's children are beasts of burden, carrying all of our outsized worries and concerns on their backs.

Tell me, do we not like them anymore?

At the very least, give 'em a few weeks to dig for goonies in the dirt and stare at the way the sun glints off airplanes.

Give them these juicy, sweaty last weeks of August, when they get so stinky that you have to throw a little more detergent in the wash.

As a buddy likes to say, these are the same people who will one day pick our nursing homes.

And, yes, we still really like them.

“ I am livid about this. I believe it violates the spirit and intent of parent empowerment.” - Former state Sen. Gloria Romero

By Teresa Watanabe | Los Angeles Times |

Aug 14, 2014 :: A controversial state law permitting parents to petition for sweeping changes in failing schools cannot be used this year in Los Angeles Unified, district officials decided.

In a letter from a district lawyer to former state Sen. Gloria Romero obtained by The Times on Thursday, officials said the school system is not subject to the "parent trigger" law because it obtained a waiver last year from federal educational requirements that are linked to it. Instead, L.A. Unified has joined with eight other California school districts to create their own changes and systems to monitor progress, the letter said.

Romero, who authored the 2010 law, said she was stunned by the district's position, which was laid out in a letter Wednesday from Kathleen Collins, L.A. Unified's chief administrative law and litigation counsel.

But Supt. John Deasy said the district still supports the law, and that low-performing schools would once more be subject to parent petitions for change at the end of the year. The federal waiver obtained, he said, simply restarted the two-year time period schools need to be academically substandard before they are eligible for a trigger overhaul.

"I wholeheartedly support the legislation and look forward to working again with eligible schools," Deasy said.

Collins wrote that the district "remains committed to addressing any issues and concerns from parents and community."

Under the trigger law, 50% of parents at a low-performing school can force changes in staff and curriculum, shut down the campus or convert to an independent charter enterprise, which is publicly financed and usually non-union.

Several other states have adopted similar laws. In California, parent groups at three schools have successfully used the trigger to overhaul their campuses, with mixed results. At one school in the high desert city of Adelanto, several teachers left after parents transformed the campus to a charter last year. But 91% of parents surveyed said the school was better after the change than before, said Gabe Rose of Parent Revolution, the Los Angeles nonprofit that lobbied for the law and has helped parents use it.

Rose added that parents at three additional schools won changes without using a petition campaign — most recently at West Athens Elementary. There, parents decided not to petition after Deasy agreed to invest an additional $300,000 in the school.

Rose said his group "flatly disagreed" that L.A. Unified was not subject to the parent trigger law this year. In a November letter, Parent Revolution Executive Director Ben Austin told a district official that his group "will ultimately be forced to bring the issue to a judge" unless the decision is reversed.

"There's nothing LAUSD can do to unilaterally take away the rights of parents given to them by the state Legislature," Rose said.

Rose said the group is not currently working with any active parent petition campaigns.

In a letter last year, a U.S. Department of Education official told Deasy the federal waiver did not exempt L.A. Unified from identifying schools for improvement, corrective action or restructuring, and did not affect any related state laws.

The state is shifting to a new standardized testing system so districts could vary in how they are able to make those assessments this year.

A leading opponent of the law hailed the district's position. Ingrid Villeda of United Teachers Los Angeles, who has spearheaded opposition to Parent Revolution in South Los Angeles schools, said the petition campaign has done more harm than good, dividing communities and allowing just half the parents to decide the fate of an entire campus.

"The law is flawed," she said, adding that all school and community members should have a voice to "create change that is effective and long-lasting."



17 Aug 2014 |

To the editor: It's outrageous that the Los Angeles Unified School District thinks it's above the "parent trigger" law by suspending it for the upcoming school year. ("LAUSD says it's not subject to state's 'parent trigger' law this year," Aug. 14)

In the letter to L.A. Unified granting a waiver from federal requirements, there was nothing that would condone or justify the circumvention of state law. Parent-trigger author Gloria Romero is rightfully livid, as this breach of public trust by district officials is in complete contradiction to the spirit of a law designed to give parents a voice.

Parents don't have the luxury of establishing a new timeline for assessing school performance; their children's learning needs are too important for that. Accountability and parental involvement are critical to a school's success, and it's a shame that the district feels compelled to undermine the positive relationship between parents and educators.

Kara Kerwin, Washington
The writer is president of the Center for Education Reform.


To the editor: As a teacher for 34 years, I saw the demise of public schools begin with the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. The decision-making started to be concentrated in Sacramento with politicians less familiar with education.

Parent-trigger laws, charter schools, teaching to the test and increased dropout rates and delinquency are the results of disempowering educators and giving politicians, lobbyists and corporations greater control over schools.

Give educators and school districts more control, allow the creative spirit back into the classroom, reinstate vocational, music, art and fitness classes, and engage parents in their children's education, and we might just become a higher-achieving country.

It does take a village to educate a child, and that village includes teachers, families and others. We must invest in our public schools.

Dee White, Capistrano Beach

Posted By Molly Callister to the Hechinger Report |

August 14, 2014 @ 6:00 am :: When Alberto Cortes was held back in fourth grade because of low math skills, he thought his world had come to an end.

“The first day of going back to fourth grade, I see all my friends with new teachers there in fifth grade,” Cortes said. “I started crying because I had to do fourth grade again and they got to go to middle school.”

At first the humiliation and embarrassment of retention motivated Cortes to try hard in his classes. But by seventh grade, he was smoking and doing graffiti to impress kids and shed his reputation as the “dumb” older kid.

When he was kicked out of his middle school, in the San Fernando Valley just north of Los Angeles, Cortes saw a chance to solve the problem. At the new school to which he was assigned, he asked to jump ahead a year, to eighth grade, so he could join the other kids his age. Because of his age, school administrators agreed. But by the time he got to high school — after only a couple months in eighth grade — Cortes was still behind academically.

After a few months, he dropped out.

Cortes’s experience — being retained because of his grades and later promoted despite them — is indicative of the confusion in districts across the country about how best to deal with struggling students. Research shows that often retention can have negative effects on students. Nevertheless, a growing chorus of critics over the past two decades, including President Obama, have urged schools to end “social promotion,” the practice of passing failing students onto the next grade.

“This notion that we should just graduate kids because they’ve reached a certain age and we don’t want to embarrass them, despite the fact that they may not be able to read, that is a disservice to students,” Obama said in 2010.

“People are kind of reluctant to hold a kid back.” Arzie Galvez, LAUSD administrator.

This logic has led 15 states and the District of Columbia to adopt policies requiring third-grade reading proficiency before a student can be promoted. Large urban districts, like New York City and Chicago, have also experimented with ending social promotion.

But despite promises and new policies meant to hold more students back until they’ve mastered grade-level material, a University of Minnesota study currently under peer review found that student retention is actually on the decline. Retention rates are not tracked annually on a national level and most data that exists is collected through surveys , so the researchers used grade level enrollment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate that retention rates hovered around 2.7 percent from 1995 to 2005. After that, the number of students held back actually began to decline, hitting 1.5 percent in 2009.

John Robert Warren, one of the authors of the paper, said he doesn’t know why retention rates have declined, but is doing research to investigate the reasons.

California, which passed a 1998 law meant to reduce the promotion of students like Cortes, is an example of why the hype over banning social promotion hasn’t matched the reality in classrooms.

California education code states that students who don’t meet grade standards — as measured by state standardized tests at promotion “gates” in elementary and middle schools — must repeat the grade. Those gates are at second, third, and fourth grades and at the completion of middle school in eighth grade. But there’s a catch, which exists in nearly all state retention laws: A student can be promoted if the teacher decides retention isn’t appropriate for that child. That is how the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s second-largest school district, where Cortes attended school, has been promoting failing students.

“People are kind of reluctant to hold a kid back,” said Arzie Galvez, a LAUSD district administrative coordinator who oversaw a committee of teachers and administrators convened in 2011 to study social promotion. “If you survey people they’ll say social promotion is wrong but when the rubber meets the road a lot of staff members are reluctant to (retain students).”

Retention rates in the district, much higher than Warren’s estimates of national averages, sit around 7.5 percent, according to Galvez. The district found, though, that promoting struggling students and letting them fend for themselves didn’t work either. While the LAUSD school board has not eliminated the possibility of a true ban on social promotion, in the meantime it is beefing up efforts to increase the number of interventions available for students passed along based on age.

At first, Cortes saw being so easily moved to eighth and then ninth grade as a positive. “I was happy because I didn’t do a year of school,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about grades.”

But things unraveled quickly at San Fernando High School, when he received no additional help or support and the work became challenging. To make matters worse, his teachers didn’t seem to care that he was behind, Cortes said.

LAUSD is now looking to promote struggling students with their class — so they don’t feel stigmatized, as Cortes did — while offering more attention when they move to the next grade.

“What we found is that if you (promote a student), you also needed to provide support, additional academic support, so that you could fill in those gaps,” Galvez said of the district’s renewed focus on intervening when students aren’t performing at grade level. “Social promotion in and of itself, it’s not bad.”

As they have been able to do for years, district teachers may recommend a student move forward and tap into intervention programs: The student may take double courses in a challenging subject, receive tutoring or work with counselors or aides.

The intervention program has many arms, says Javier Sandoval, an intervention administrator who retired from the district in June. He said the various parts of the program — intervention courses, summer school, credit recovery offerings, after-school tutoring — are all funded differently depending on the schools.

At the high school level, for instance, the district is funding a $4.1 million program, the Academic Accelerated Literacy program, which provides smaller classes in challenging subjects for failing students during the school day. LAUSD also spent $21.5 million this year to bolster its summer school intervention program — Beyond the Bell — that served more than 54,800 students in kindergarten to 12th grade, a huge increase from 6,200 last year, according to Janet Kiddoo, who replaced Sandoval as the program’s intervention specialist.

“The philosophy here in the district has been to pass the money on to the schools so that they can do their own programs,” Sandoval said. “We have much more local control and local oversight over what intervention programs are being provided.”

Some research supports LAUSD’s methods. Studies have suggested that students held back can be victims of bullying; they also may feel developmentally out of place or psychologically discouraged and often perform worse than their socially-promoted peers. Additional studies show that when kids are held back, academic performance even suffers among the student’s classmates.

Russ Rumberger, professor of education at the University of California Santa Barbara, supports the strategies LAUSD is adopting. “The reason I think retention isn’t necessarily a very helpful practice is that I think the typical situation is to simply repeat a grade and not necessarily address the reasons a kid was failing in the first place,” he said. “The idea is to give them the extra interventions in the grade level that they are in, such that they are not going to be retained.”

But Marcus Winters, a professor of education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, is hoping his research over the last decade will change people’s minds about retention. He believes that holding students back while also providing interventions can have a much more positive effect than sending them on to the next grade, even with extra help.

Winters looked at retained students in Florida after a retention law was instituted in 2003. Winters narrowed the pool of students to those within a small margin both above and below the cutoff for retention, which he said was basically the difference of one or two problems on the state standardized test.

Students below the cutoff were retained and given extra support during the following year, while students above were moved on to the next grade.

“We found that the kids who received this retention and remediation treatment in third grade, there’s big positive immediate effect in those first couple of years,” Winters said. “That effect tended to fade a little bit over time, but even by the time they were in the seventh grade there was still a pretty large — not only statistically significant but really meaningful — positive effect from receiving that treatment in third grade.”

Winters is still waiting on graduation data, but said he’s optimistic about the results.

“The high-quality research that has happened over the last couple of years has really pointed us in the direction that (retention) might be a productive policy,” he said.

Winters said most of the research showing retention has a negative effect on students was not as rigorous as more recent studies. He pointed to a 2009 study by Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis that looked at 22 studies on grade retention and found that well-designed research suggests that holding students back has no effect on student achievement.

Though researchers, such as Winters, use the study to cast doubts on the negative effects of retention, it fails to actually support the practice. The study included a caveat: “Given the expense of grade retention and the emotional toil retention exacts on students, a finding of ‘no significant difference’ for retention on achievement calls into question the educational benefits of grade retention policies.”

And even Florida — where retention rates jumped nearly a third in the 2002-2003 school year and which has been recognized nationally for its crackdown on social promotion — saw retention rates fall not long after social promotion was supposed to end. Within five years, the percentage of students held back had dropped back down to 2001-2002 levels and continued to decrease steadily.

Winters says though it’s difficult to prove, he believes declining retention rates could be a result of the retention policy having a motivating effect on teachers and students.

“We think that people might see that line in the sand and want to get over it before they fall behind it,” Winters said. “If you have this line in third grade, then it might be the case that schools respond to that … by giving a lot more effort to students and maybe moving the best teachers in or maybe a more motivated focus on reading before the kids get to the third grade in the first place and face the probability of being retained.”

Nevertheless, several large urban districts that had once routinely kept kids back are now rethinking their retention policies. New York mayor Bill de Blasio has argued that there should be more variables involved in student promotion than just standardized tests. In Chicago, the district slowly has been backing away from its splashy 1996 ban on social promotions. According to a 2004 report by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research Chicago’s retention rates dropped steadily after 1996 despite few gains in student performance; in 2000 the district increased the range at which a student could be promoted and increased waiver rates, allowing more students to pass through the promotional gates at third, sixth and eighth grade.

“Every couple of years there’s change in terms of what the threshold is and what it’s based on,” said Elaine Allensworth, a director with the research group.

Allensworth said there’s a lot of confusion over what’s actually best for students. She said politicians vilify social promotion without considering the consequences, which include social and emotional repercussions for students and decreases in the level of classroom instruction for the entire class.

“I think people just don’t think it through, they’re looking for a very simplistic solution to a problem and not thinking about how that fits into the whole system,” Allensworth said.

Los Angeles is using standardized tests and course assessments to monitor students in the intervention program. When asked to assess the success of the interventions, Galvez cited district reports on standardized test scores as evidence of improvement, although he acknowledged that district data shows test scores had been climbing before LAUSD beefed up the intervention program. State scores have generally been rising as well.

“Success is measured by the number of students who received intervention and showed improvement,” Galvez said. “Analysis of district data indicate that the district intervention efforts, along with efforts to ensure high-quality (teaching) in math and reading, have impacted positively student achievement.”

For Alberto Cortes, now 16, the solution was not simply to repeat a grade, but to find mentors and teachers who would take time with him and let him learn things his way — in a flexible environment where he could learn at his own pace.

A few months after he dropped out of high school, Cortes’ mother enrolled him in a Los Angeles County Office of Education alternative education program, which allowed him to meet one-on-one with a teacher at the El Nido Family Centers near his home.

He is now caught up and plans to graduate within the next year and a half. Cortes, the baby of the family, will be the first of his mother’s three children to graduate from high school.

“I do want to get at least my bachelor’s and my master’s,” Cortes said. “I want to do something in the medical business. But at (the time I dropped out) I always thought that I was going to end up in jail someday.”

By John Cádiz Klemack, KNBC News/NBC Southern California |

Friday, Aug 15, 2014 | 9:48 PM PDT :: The Los Angeles Unified School District now says some of the documents it admitted to shredding actually do exist.

After NBC4 confronted the school district in May about information released during the deposition of a former employee regarding the shredding of two decades worth of child abuse records in 2008, a spokesman for the district admitted the allegation was true.

"We felt we didn't have a right to have them," said spokesman Sean Rossall of Cerrell and Associates, an outside public relations firm hired by the Sedgewick Lawfirm to handle media inquiries about the continued child abuse litigation against LAUSD.

On May 2, Rossall released a statement claiming the district had "checked with LA County officials prior to" destroying the documents, telling NBC4 it was county law enforcement with which the District spoke.

After NBC4 attempted to verify the claim with the LA County District Attorney's Office and the LA County Sheriff's Department, Rossall re-released the statement in a revised fashion deleting the portion about who the district cleared the shredding with.

Now it appears some of those Suspected Child Abuse Reports ("SCAR") have been found.

In a "Motion for Clarification" filed by LAUSD attorneys in court Friday, district officials say they believe the state's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act does not permit it to retain the reports and it is asking the judge to clarify whether the recently discovered documents can be destroyed.

"The School District has recently concluded an extensive review of warehoused documents not related to this litigation," the filing states. "In the course of that review, a box was found that, although not indicated on its label, was approximately half-full of copies of Reports that had not been destroyed."

Rossall maintains the reports are copies of what law enforcement already has. In a statement to NBC4 on Friday he says, "We are acting transparently and bringing this discovery to the court's attention, so the court can make its own assessment about what should happen to the documents in the context of the litigation."

Attorneys for the Miramonte child abuse plaintiffs say the district is playing games with the court. Brian Claypool who represents 15 alleged victims says he's not surprised, "They have already been sanctioned $6,500 for intentionally hiding and concealing photographs of many of the children being abused."

Claypool is referring to the sanctions placed by Judge John Sheperd Wiley in June for what he called an "abuse of discovery."

John Manley, representing additional alleged victims says he doesn't believe the reports were "recently" found, believing rather that the district has known about the existence of the reports for months and "simply hid them."

"These reports identify many child molesters who were LAUSD employees," Manly said. "The District has simply concealed them including those related to Mark Berndt. The victims and the public deserve the truth about LAUSD's cover up of child molesters. We will be addressing this very serious matter with the court next week."

LAUSD officials would not say how many reports were destroyed in 2008 or how many were found in the latest discovery. NBC4 has asked repeatedly for information about who authorized the shredding of the child abuse reports in 2008 and that question has also been left unanswered. Claypool thinks the district's moves in the ongoing civil cases will not trick a jury, set for trial on Nov. 4.

"At trial in November, the community will finally see shocking evidence confirming a massive LAUSD cover up at Miramonte," he said.

NBC4 continues to investigate the LA School District.

Multiple requests for public records remain pending within the District's General Counsel office since June 16, including billing statements from the Sedgewick and Andrade law firms representing the LAUSD, with a pricetag believed to be upwards of $6 million for taxpayers over the last two years.

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






“Blended” or ‘Traditional” …would you like Calculus with that?: NEW TWIST ON OLD DEBATE ON HIGH SCHOOL MATH |



SCHOOL CROSSING-GUARD CUTBACKS DRAW CRITICISM: LAUSD requested 510 crossing guards this year, only 331 were deployed

THE MiSiS MESS: 6 stories “…Without a hitch/…a few glitches/…a disaster!” + smf'’s 2¢


Good morning!: IT’S McKENNA BY 7% …with an 8¼% turnout – and 2:1 vote-by-mail |

George McKenna appears to have an insurmountable lead in L.A. school board race, altho Alex Johnson made it close.

[Tweeted from campaign HQ]: Two words: McKENNA WINS! …..and good night.

District 1 Election: 16,000+ MAIL-IN BALLOTS RECEIVED Read:


A picture = 1000 words -or- Entrepreneurial algebra for visual learners


LAUSD KIDS HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL ...all watched over by machines of loving grace Read:

PTA is celebrating #BacktoSchool and helping educate parents about how to support learning at home.

Morning Read: Governor comes out against $9.0B school bond

ACCUSE, TWEET, DELETE: Johnson campaign accuses McKenna of buying Jesse Jackson’s endorsement |

AN E-MAIL CLAIMING TO BE FROM GEORGE McKENNA: “What kind of school board member do they deserve?” |

e-mails fm @Monica4LAUSD+@TamarGalatzan say it's important to vote in the LAUSDDistrict1 election tomorrow. They are right, but Vote4McKenna



'09 Jackie Goldberg speech about reducing staff that-like fine fine-gets better w/time.| | WE NEED 2 INCREASE STAFF. NOW.


LAUSD’s AP EXAM PARTICIPATION RATE CONTINUES TO RISE: Participation rises 62% in 7 years, pass rate static at 39-42%

Board District 1 Election:"George McKenna brings a school administrator's perspective. Johnson brings a politician's"


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
Boardmember-elect • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6385 • 213-241-6387
...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail:
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.
• Speak with your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Stay on top of education issues. Don't take my word for it!
• Get involved at your neighborhood school. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE.
• If you are registered, VOTE LIKE THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT. THEY DO!.

Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for ten years. He is a Health Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT 2009 "WHO" Gold Award for his support of education and public schools - an honor he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
• FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 4LAKids makes such material available in an effort to advance understanding of education issues vital to parents, teachers, students and community members in a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.