Sunday, October 05, 2014

The fingerprints of failure

4LAKids: Sunday 5•Oct•2014
In This Issue:
 •  Atlanta Cheating Scandal: ARE SCHOOL TESTING STAKES TOO HIGH?
 •  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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“Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people; do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle. There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. Forward!” —Walt Kelly, June 1953

I was on a radio talk show Thursday, all expert+observant: the senior citizen of parent engagement. /listen [mp3]: I proposed that the fault in The Current Situation doesn’t lie with John Deasy and/or the Board of Education and/or the teacher’s union - but in the failure of the superintendent and the board and the union and the parents and the administrators and classroom teachers and students and the politicians and powers-that-be: All The Moving Parts/We the People - to agree and move on.

The host quite wisely challenged this: “Is that possible in a district this size? Is it realistic?”

He is quite right. But Hope springs infernal.

I responded that it is possible. But it won’t be perfect and it won’t be pretty. It’s democracy.

L.A.’s poet-philosopher Rodney King, a complicated, bruised Black man steeped in equal measures of substance abuse and pathos, inserted unwilling into the melting pot Where It Never Melts/It Just Explodes –Rodney, beaten-and-not-stirred – said it when the unintended consequences exploded upon us all: “Can we all get along?”

Rodney’s philosophy and my philosophy and Steve Zimmer’s philosophy is an easy philosophy to believe in, and a hard one to live. It is Blessed are Peacemakers. A beatitude. A key to heaven.

Sainthood only comes after two miracles are confirmed; but before even that one must be dead. Always tiptoeing on the narrow border between peachiness+sacrilege: Christ was crucified and Rodney drowned in a backyard pool. Not a California dreamlike David Hockey pool - all aqua+sun-dappled – but in black midnight water in Rialto.

Q: Can we all get along?
A: Yes.

But probably only in a world where the superintendent is not John Deasy with all the baggage he has brought.

To Miramonte and Telfair and De La Torre – and the failure to report child abuse to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing; to Vergara and iPads and Apple+Pearson emails and MiSiS and the déjà vu of yesteryear’s evaluation – to his prickly urgency and his bulldozer reforms – we can add his letter to the Alameda Superior Court sent in support of the plaintiffs in Cruz v. California, – in which LAUSD is a unnamed defendant.

“L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, who oversees Jefferson High, supported the lawsuit in a letter to the court. He wrote that the practice of enrolling students in non-instructional classes is "indefensible."

"These courses serve no conceivable pedagogical purpose and defy every norm and standard adhered to by professional educators," Deasy wrote. "The fact that these courses are used anywhere is antithetical to education, but the fact that they are being assigned to students who are academically behind and have not fulfilled graduation and college entry requirements is outrageous." - LA Times 10/3/2014

Lest we forget: Superintendent Romer reconstituted Jefferson High School in 2005 under No Child Left Behind. Superintendents Cortines and Deasy took over and “transformed” Jefferson High School under Public School Choice 1.0 (citing NCLB) in 2010-11 - bringing in a handpicked principal, reforms and staff. Excuse my language, but doesn’t his letter to the judge testify to his failure in the ‘transformation’? And admit to what a crappy job he’s done (and is still doing – the current court action specifically addresses failures at Jefferson in the past eight weeks) being superintendent?

Sure, you can’t win ‘me all …and winning doesn’t always make you popular when you do. But what has Deasy done besides going on Jimmy Kimmel Live and announcing the End of Chocolate Milk in LAUSD that we can all agree has worked?

There has been progress as measured by test scores …but there has been similar incremental progress in almost every district in the state. In spite of budget cuts and RIFs and charter schools creaming the better students.

The Friday Surprise Announcement: “L.A. Unified reports big rise in its graduation rate” is exceptional+unruly.

LA Times: “But the good news comes with a substantial caveat. The rate is calculated based on students enrolled in comprehensive high schools, and it leaves out students who transfer [or are transferred] to alternative programs — which frequently include those most at risk of dropping out.

“For example, Bernstein Senior High in Hollywood had a graduation rate of 62%; Alonzo, the "option" school on the corner of that property, had a graduation rate of 5.2%. Santee Education Complex, south of downtown, had a rate of 68%; Kahlo High School, the alternative campus on its perimeter, had a rate of 10%.

“Once the alternative campuses are factored in, L.A. Unified's rate drops to 67% — much less impressive (then the claimed 77%) but still surpassing what the district has accomplished in recent history. The previous year's rate of 65% also did not include students in such programs.”

"If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything."

There are no half-victories in the battle between disruptive reform and the politics of nice.

We, all of us, superintendent, board, parents, teachers, unions, staff, community and the media are spending, have spent, and continue to spend way too much time on John Deasy.

Enough already. There are the futures of children at stake.

Can we all just move along?

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


By Stephen Ceasar | LA Times |

Oct 2, 2014 – 7: 55PM :: Civil rights organizations asked a judge Thursday to order the state Education Department to remedy problems at Jefferson High School in South Los Angeles, where attorneys say some students have languished for nearly eight weeks without the appropriate classes.

The Alameda County Superior Court judge is expected to make a decision Monday.

The request stems from a lawsuit brought earlier this year that alleges the state has ignored its obligation to ensure that all California students receive a minimum level of instruction. Attorneys say the state is primarily abandoning its responsibility to students who are minorities and from low-income families.

“Each day that they're sitting in a content-free course or being sent home they are falling farther behind.” - Public Counsel attorney Kathryn Eidmann

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Counsel and others, contends the lack of quality learning time for these students is in violation of the state Constitution's equal protection guarantee because the state does not ensure that all students have access to an adequate education.

Last month, hundreds of students at Jefferson walked out of class to protest the scheduling snafu and what they contended was inept management by administrators that had severely interrupted their education.

Some students have been assigned classes they do not need or have already passed, others have multiple free periods, or are given administrative tasks rather than courses with instruction, according to the lawsuit. Others are simply sent home. Some classes have up to 50 students, the lawsuit said.

Public Counsel attorney Kathryn Eidmann said she was optimistic that the judge would force the state into action.

"These are students who have been incredibly resilient and care deeply about their future and education," she said. "Each day that they're sitting in a content-free course or being sent home they are falling farther behind."

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, who oversees Jefferson High, supported the lawsuit in a letter to the court. He wrote that the practice of enrolling students in non-instructional classes is "indefensible."

"These courses serve no conceivable pedagogical purpose and defy every norm and standard adhered to by professional educators," Deasy wrote. "The fact that these courses are used anywhere is antithetical to education, but the fact that they are being assigned to students who are academically behind and have not fulfilled graduation and college entry requirements is outrageous."

Jefferson High Principal Donald Foote could not be reached for comment. An assistant principal declined to comment.

Senior Jason Magana, 16, a plaintiff in the case, was initially enrolled in a graphic design class he had previously taken and passed, but lacked economics or government classes — which are requirements for graduation. After missing four weeks, he was placed in an economics class.

Magana is now enrolled in eight classes, two of which are "home" periods — free time without instruction — allowing him to leave school at 11:20 a.m. two days a week.

about not being prepared for college," he said, adding that he encouraged his younger sister to attend a different high school.

The attorneys have asked the judge to force the state to ensure that no student at Jefferson who is not on track to fulfill requirements to enter college be assigned to any class that lacks instruction; that no student be assigned more than one of these classes; that no student be enrolled in a class in which they've already received a passing grade; that all students are assigned to classes that provide a desk and chair for each student; that all students be allowed enrollment in classes needed to qualify for college; that the entire teaching staff adhere to the judge's directives; and that students be given instruction time to make up for the time already lost.

Cruz vs. California was initially filed on behalf of students from seven schools, including campuses in the Los Angeles and Compton school districts; Jefferson was added to that group.

Plaintiffs' attorneys say the lawsuit aims to protect students' rights as the state fails to address a wide disparity in educational opportunity.

The class-action suit asserts that the state is aware of but fails to act to bridge the gap in instruction time as students fall behind, drop out or advance unprepared for the rigors of college because they are not provided as much learning time as their peers elsewhere.

The complaint contends that students at these schools lose days, weeks and months of classroom instruction over the course of their education careers as a result of chaotic campuses that lack resources and stability.

Among the suggested causes: unstable and transient staffing of teachers, counselors and administrators; a lack of course offerings that can lead students to be assigned to free periods or administrative tasks rather than courses with instruction; the frequent interruption of class by violence or security issues; chronic student absenteeism; and a lack of mental-health professionals.

The litigation calls on the state to establish a system of tracking the days and minutes of instruction that accounts for time lost, rather than relying solely on the academic calendar. When a school falls short, the state should intervene to correct and prevent further lost time, according to the lawsuit.

The schools named in the lawsuit include Fremont High School and Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School in L.A. Unified; Castlemont High School and Fremont High School in the Oakland Unified School District; Nystrom Elementary in the West Contra Costa Unified School District; and Compton High and Franklin S. Whaley Middle School in the Compton Unified School District.


●DemoPride writes: I stopped teaching at Jefferson because the district would not let teachers, students and the community continue our improvements at the school. The district ripped apart our Small Learning Communities, stripped us of a college counselor and saddled us with consultants and outside programs. I really do believe that the district is conspiring against this community. Deasy and company want to get rid of Jefferson High School and hand it off to an outside operator....
● I laughed when I read about Deasy's supportive letter for the case. He did NOTHING to support Jefferson High School. IN fact, he helped destroy the school.«
● Ridgeley writes: This is exactly the mess that Deasy refuses to take responsibility for. He's held his position for 4 years, he can't blame anyone else for his lack of oversight, organization or accountability. Then it follow that if he's called to testify in court he'll have to testify against himself. That would be fun to watch. "L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, who oversees Jefferson High, supported the lawsuit in a letter to the court."
● Re-educator writes: And we haven't even heard yet about the problems schools will face when it's time to send out transcripts for college applications. And, will teachers be able to correctly enter grades for the first marking period? If yes, can it be done in a reasonable amount of time?
I also wonder why there was NO mention on MiSiS, even thoughl these problems are due to the failed computer system.
● Holy Toledo writes: MISIS CRISIS
Richard Wagoner writes: This story, from a newspaper whose editorial board supports Deasy, the single person responsible for the problems here.
● E. Winston writes: "L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, who oversees Jefferson High, supported the lawsuit in a letter to the court. He wrote that the practice of enrolling students in non-instructional classes is "indefensible."
● Really? This couldn't be the same John Deasy who green lighted the administrative gutting of Jefferson this year and the failed rollout of the district wide class programming computer system which led to this truly "indefensible" situation of creating such a chaotic and stressful working... » more
● Pdcool writes: I'm confused, isn't Jefferson High School part of LAUSD. The superintendent of the school district is criticizing district staff for not being able to work with a computer system that he instituted. What's going on here. DZ said that the MSIS was fixed, only 1% of students were affected. You see what I mean about incompetence. When it rears its ugly head, DZ blames others for his mistake. Amazing.

●● smf’s 2¢:
“L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy, who oversees Jefferson High, supported the lawsuit in a letter to the court. He wrote that the practice of enrolling students in non-instructional classes is "indefensible."

"These courses serve no conceivable pedagogical purpose and defy every norm and standard adhered to by professional educators," Deasy wrote. "The fact that these courses are used anywhere is antithetical to education, but the fact that they are being assigned to students who are academically behind and have not fulfilled graduation and college entry requirements is outrageous."

I’m sorry. John Deasy is the superintendent of LAUSD. He has the power under NCLB to “transform” Jefferson High School. And he has! He has installed a hand picked principal and staff. Indeed, all the named LAUSD schools have been reconstituted or transformed at least once.

And it obviously hasn’t worked. In what world is he not accountable?

Instead he wrote a ‘friend of the court’ letter supporting the lawsuit. I don’t think that excuse lets him off. In what world is he not accountable?


By Hillel Aron, LA Weekly |

Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 5:09 PM :: We've written the "John Deasy's days are numbered" story so many times, the words have lost all meaning. However, it sure looks like Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy's days are, in fact, numbered. Like, in the single digits.

The seven-member LAUSD board, which sets overall district policy and can fire the superintendent at will, held a super-secret closed meeting Tuesday and pinky-swore to keep that discussion secret. But somebody went and leaked it anyway to the L.A. Times' Howard Blume, who reported the LAUSD board "has authorized its attorneys to discuss terms of a possible departure agreement with schools Supt. John Deasy."

That was interpreted by some to mean the board members are about to fire Deasy. This is probably not true. Deasy is more likely to walk away from the contentious school board.

"The board’s not gonna fire Deasy," a source close to the school board said, claiming that just two board members would vote to fire him if given the chance – Bennett Kayser and Monica Ratliff.

Instead of a plot to fire him, "The four-hour discussion was, 'Do we pay him or not pay him if he quits?'"

Deasy declined to say if he'll be quitting, although when pressed, he did allow to L.A. Weekly: "You see where this is going. This is not good."

Indeed. Feelings between Deasy and the unofficial faction of three to five members of the school board, never felt warm and fuzzy, are at an all-time low.

One source who knows the superintendent says that lately, his general attitude has been, "I'm done with this s**t."

A few weeks ago, Deasy told the L.A. Times, "I have thought about whether I have the ability to do what I need to do effectively. I think about it all the time."

The LAUSD board majority and the superintendent are like a couple that want nothing more than to break up, but neither one wants to make a first move. Neither wants to be seen as the bad guy who ended the reign of an outspoken personality whom admirers view as having turned the schools around.

And so a complex set of negotiations is needed in order for the breakup to appear orderly — and mutual.

Deasy may be asked to stay on while the board searches for a successor – a process that could take upwards of a year and, over the decades, has generally been fraught with political intrigue.

How bad are things?

When Deasy got slammed for meeting with and communicating with Apple executives and Pearson software company in the months before the school board voted to hand Apple and Pearson a huge contract to supply laptops to students, Deasy responded in an unusual way: He put through a California Public Records Act request to see who, on the board, had been talking to 18 tech companies who sell computers and software to school districts.

Deasy's move looked aggressive and petty, the bureaucratic equivalent of shouting, "I know you are but what am I?"

If Deasy exits more quickly than the year it may take to replace him, (Deasy does everything quickly), maybe Senior Deputy Superintendent School Operations Michelle King can step in, as she herself has suggested to the school board.

Deasy was swept into office by a very different school board in 2011, the majority of whom had been elected with the help of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, an ardent school reformer.

In the last year and half, Deasy's leadership has been characterized by an almost hyperactive impatience, a bullish drive to increase student academic achievement and make Los Angeles a leader in school reform.

By a number of measurable metrics – student test scores, graduation rates, truancy – the district is heading in the right direction under Deasy.

The big exception is the number of students enrolled. In LAUSD, enrollment keeps falling — a trend that started well before Deasy took over but has been powerless to stop, as more and more parents opt for charter schools and move outside the LAUSD district.

Fewer students means less revenue which means (usually) fewer teachers and fewer special programs.

Deasy has made missteps, too, most notably his plan to get an iPad into the hands of every student and teacher by the end of this year. The project, widely criticized as expensive, rushed and poorly planned, has now been put on hold, although Deasy's original laptop pilot program at 47 schools is still in effect.

But if Deasy leaves, it won't be because of the iPad brouhaha.

It will be due to two reasons:

Firstly, the political landscape has changed. School reformers had a number of successes electing their candidates to the LAUSD Board of Education during both the Richard Riordan and Villaraigosa eras. But reformers have lost the last few school board elections. In general, the school reform movement has failed to catch on with voters, even as parents have voted with their feet, placing children in charter schools.

Even the money to back Board of Education reform candidates has slowed from a gush to a steady trickle. And when Deasy threatened to quit last year, a whole coterie of school reformers rushed to his defense and he was persuaded to stay on. This time, the civic leaders who back Deasy managed only a one-page letter signed by eight people, but not including big names like Eli Broad.

The second reason? Deasy's own failure to get along with people he genuinely doesn't like. If he had just played a little politics. But that was never his way.

●● smf: You gotta ♥ the LA Weekly. The story has a gratuitous naughty word – “I know a guy who knows a guy who said…” attributed to the superintendent – that 4LAKids had to bowdlerize in the off-chance the LAUSD email servers would let this issue through anyway. And the Related Contents links on the website are to “Lust in L.A.: Hot, Sticky and Bothered!” – and “Last Orgasm in Hollywood”.


By Emily Richmond in the Educated Reporter blog | Education Writers Association |

September 29, 2014 :: In Atlanta this week, opening arguments are underway in a racketeering trial where prosecutors will argue that public school educators engaged in a massive conspiracy to cheat on high-stakes tests.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s coverage of Monday’s opening arguments:

“This conspiracy was cleverly, cleverly disguised and the purpose of the conspiracy was this – to illegally inflate test scores and create a false, false impression of academic success for many students in the Atlanta Public School system,” said prosecutor Fani Willis. “It was done to those students’ detriment.”

The defense is expected to blame a corrosive environment where boosting test scores had become the sole priority, and that teachers and administrators were motivated by fear – rather than personal gain – when they changed students’ answer sheets on statewide exams.

Some of the most damning charges have been laid at the feet of 67-year-old Beverly Hall, a former national Superintendent of the Year who prosecutors say fostered a work environment where dishonesty was rewarded. The judge in the current case ruled over the summer that Hall, who has been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, would not stand trial with the 12 other defendants. If her health improves she will be tried at a later date, according to the AJC.

A state investigation implicated more than 180 educators at 44 schools, according to media reports. Charges were originally brought against nearly three dozen Atlanta public school employees, many of whom took plea deals. The AJC’s investigation into testing anomalies in 2008 triggered the district attorney’s inquiry, which later led to the subsequent indictments. More recently the paper looked at problems nationally with how high-stakes tests are handled before and after the questions are put to the students. And Rachel Aviv’s profile for The New Yorker on one of the indicted teachers is a must-read.

Even as the Atlanta scandal is grabbing headlines, it’s important to remember that reports of cheating on standardized tests nationally represent just a tiny fraction of the total assessments administered each year in public schools. However, in a 2013 report, the Government Accountability Office reported 33 states had at least one incident of school officials’ cheating on tests in the prior two years. The feds clearly have a stake in the state-level accountability systems, having spent more than $2 billion to help develop school tests since 2002, according to the same report.

High-profile school cheating allegations with potential criminal consequences are also in the news in Philadelphia. And in Dallas, five teachers and an instructional coach resigned amid cheating allegations, and the district confirmed that separate investigations were underway at another three schools. The superintendent even took the extraordinary step of sending a letter to teachers reminding them “not to cheat,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

While the Atlanta investigation focused heavily on erasure analysis (tracking how often the wrong answers were erased and replaced with the correct ones) there are plenty of other ways districts can cheat, according to FairTest, a national advocacy group. Just one example: Schools might “skim” the student population by identifying kids who are likely to be weaker test takers, and then reporting them as absent so that their answer sheets don’t have to be turned in. (For more on the skimming angle, take a look at the Columbus Dispatch’s award-winning investigation from 2012.)

So why does this matter? When educators cheat, there’s more than just the lost of public trust in the school system. If an assessment is considered a valid measure of what a student has learned during the academic year, falsifying their answer sheets can hurt their long-term academic progress. In some cases kids may have have missed out on qualifying for interventions and services that could have helped them make legitimate academic gains.

To be sure, frustration with high-stakes testing appears to be reaching a tipping point. On the most recent Gallup Poll, the percentage of parents who said they wanted teacher evaluations to be tied to student test scores dropped to 38 percent from 52 percent in 2012.

Some states are scaling back not only the number of tests students take each year, but also the emphasis that’s being placed on the outcomes of those exams. In August, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a two-year moratorium on requiring states to link student test scores to teacher evaluations as part of a previously approved federal waiver. That move was tied in part to many states’ transitioning to new assessments aligned to the Common Core grade-level standards.

In the meantime, the Atlanta trial is expected to fuel the national debate over high-stakes testing, and whether cheating is an inevitable result of the current school climate.

“This scandal is a cautionary tale,” Tim Callahan, a spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, told the Los Angeles Times. “If we continue to overemphasize test scores, there will be more bad apples.”


by Steve Lopez, L.A. Times |

10/4/2014 :: In its most basic form, the idea is pretty simple. The bell rings, students file into class, and teachers share knowledge and tap into natural curiosity.

But the grown-ups just can't seem to get their side of things right in public education. School officials embrace one national education reform fad after another, administrators and teachers can't get along, and school board politics are corrosive.

If Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy is still on the job as you read this, the question is for how long. He may well have reached the point of irreconcilable differences with the school board. And if he walks or is forced out, the district will be shopping for its fourth superintendent since the year 2000, and good luck to the winner of that derby.

In Deasy's wake, what would the next superintendent inherit?

A possible teacher strike that would erode what's left of public confidence in the district, inconvenience families and handicap students.

A continued shortage of resources for basic school maintenance and materials.

The reboot of a tech plan following Deasy's iPad debacle.

An ongoing war with school board members over who should run the district.

And the continued tension between so-called reformers, who want teacher evaluations tied in part to student performance, and union leaders who feel teachers are being scapegoated for funding shortages and economic challenges beyond their control.

You'd have to wonder about the sanity of anyone who'd want such a job, so I checked in with a couple of former LAUSD war horses for their take.

Roy Romer was superintendent from 2000 to 2006, and A.J. Duffy was president of United Teachers of Los Angeles during Romer's last couple of years on the job. They went at each other, but they also established a working relationship and mutual respect that led to a number of accomplishments, including the establishment of pilot schools that operate with greater autonomy and teacher input than regular schools.

It was the kind of relationship you don't see among the combatants in today's LAUSD.
In L.A., you've got to have a good instinct for what education should be, but maybe 50% of it is that you have to have an understanding of politics. - Roy Romer, LAUSD superintendent from 2000 to 2006

"Are we getting to where we're ungovernable, or to where we can't even get the right people to apply for these jobs?" asked Romer. "You're right as to the increased difficulty of the job [of superintendent]. But it's got to be done and it can be done, and there are people willing to do it.... I think education is fundamentally the most important investment we can make in this nation."

Romer, an education consultant and Denver resident, is a spry 86 and hasn't lost his passion for his favorite topic. So I asked if he'd be willing to come back for another tour of duty in Los Angeles, but he laughed off the suggestion.

He also declined a chance to comment specifically on the Deasy situation, although he said he winced at stories on the $1.3-billion iPad deal, which Deasy championed only to pull back under intense criticism that's at the center of his current troubles.

"It's a tool," Romer said of technology, "but damn, you can't use that as the whole platform for a reform movement."

Romer was more comfortable talking in general terms about the complicated dynamics of a superintendent's job.

"In L.A., you've got to have a good instinct for what education should be," Romer said, "but maybe 50% of it is that you have to have an understanding of politics."

That's a keen observation. Romer, a former governor of Colorado, was a crafty pol who won community support for new school construction and other initiatives that sometimes required overtures to his biggest critics.

Deasy, who is neither the godsend his supporters describe nor the devil union leaders make him out to be, needs remedial work in politics. He's got a laudable sense of urgency but a stubborn conviction that he knows best. And he has a bad habit of alienating foes rather than winning them over — not that his contempt for certain board members is misplaced.

"Roy was a consummate politician. He knew exactly how to get things done in a political world," said Duffy, who, despite his differences with Romer, found common ground with him on contract negotiations and an informal system of peer review and assistance for teachers.

Duffy, now working as a consultant, said he had encouraged LAUSD board members to hire Deasy but warned them he would need "a collaborator" he could work with at UTLA. That hasn't come to pass.

"People on both sides have to start talking," said Duffy. And if Deasy is out, "the board needs to find somebody who's willing to reach across the table and say, 'Look, we gotta talk.' I don't know what agreements can come out of it…but you've got to start by talking, and not screaming and yelling."

One irony, Duffy said, is that Deasy and UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl share a passion for social justice that could be the centerpiece of a healthy working relationship. But it's been squandered.

"If you're going to win the battle for public education, it's going to be won in the inner city, with students who live in poverty," said Duffy. "Alex is coming from the same place as Deasy. That's the tragedy of the oppositional relationship between [them]."

When you break down the mission of public education, Romer said, the key is to establish the standards to reach for, provide the curriculum and resources to get you there, and support, train and recruit good teachers.

Sounds simple enough, but with or without Deasy, will the grown-ups ever get it right?

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

Amid Backlash, Colo. Board Rethinks U.S. History Review |


DEASY UNDER FIRE/FRIDAY SURPRISE: LAUSD reports rise in graduation rate, but leaves out the students most at risk |






4 STORIES ON THE DEASY DRAMA: Nobody’s talking, but everybody’s writing about what they didn’t say |

LACOE HEAT ALERT: Advisory/notice sent out to the 80 district superintendents of L.A. County |

OVERHEARD: "Everyone thinks we LAUSD board members fired Deasy last night. Everyone who doesn't know us." - SZ

CALIF. CHARTER SCHOOLS 8th in U.S. Bad news: Low Minority, Poor, Special Ed, ELL participation + low math scores |


"Some schools in LA have a vaccination rate on par with South Sudan" |




MESSAGE FROM MICHELLE KING, Senior Deputy Superintendent - School Operations |

BROWN VETOES TWO BILLS AIMED AT CURBING TRUANCY; signs two others | Truancy …apparently it’s a law enforcement problem, not an education problem |

Updated (3 stories): “WE HAVEN’T DECIDED ANTHING” …as names are floated for interim supe to replace L.A. Supt. Deasy

PHOTO: Note the empty chair at today's board of Ed meeting.

L.A. UNIFIED’S BOND COMMITTEE DEMONSTRATES HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT iPADS | How does L.A. Unified know how many iPads or laptops it needs when it doesn't know how many it has?


SEIU Local 99 endorses Deasy, urges school board members to focus on improvements made under DZ’s command. |


Two groups urging LAUSD board to be objective, transparent …and give good Dr. Deasy a pass! |

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Budget, Facilities, and Audit Committee - October 9, 2014
Start: 10/09/2014 11:00 am

Early Childhood Education and Parent Engagement Ad Hoc Committee - October 9, 2014
Start: 10/09/2014 2:00 pm

*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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