Sunday, October 12, 2014

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends

4LAKids: Sunday 12•Oct•2014 Columbus Day
In This Issue:
 •  Sunday’s Page 1 Headline MiSiS Story: LAUSD’s STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM BECOMES A TECHNOLOGICAL DISASTER – and a quick fix is unlikely + more than 2¢
 •  HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  What can YOU do?

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 •  4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
 •  4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
After all the sturm und drang, after the attempted wit and solid investigative journalism, the accusations and denials, the framing+spin; after sworn testimony and letters-to-the-court and depositions+evidence …after the detailed stories outlining All Three of the Big Three: Waste, Fraud and Abuse – a single letter writer spells it out in the Letters section of Sunday’s LA Times: “We need honest and competent leadership to improve and preserve our city's public education system.”

Honest+Competent. Is that too much to ask?

A prediction has been made, a soothsayer has spoken:

“He will be gone by November first.”

So it was said and so it is written. November first.
El dia de los Muertos. How appropriate.

If one were writing theater reviews one could say: “You can cut the tension with a knife!” And go on about the high drama and the palpable inevitability of The Fall.

Calvinists could say it is A Fall From Grace – predestination undone – and hands could be wrung about How Are the Mighty Fallen. Götterdämmerung at Bayreuth, cue the fat lady. Tragedians could seek the Fatal Flaw. Was it his urgency? His hubris? His flat top or hawkish profile? Where are Bill or Eli or Arne when he needs them? One can almost sense the groundlings fall silent in the Old Globe as the soliloquy begins. Was it Richard Burbage who first spoke the lines: “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York?”

Made summer? Made slumber!

Give me a break.

Sorry elaborate conspiracy theorists and L.A. Noir fans, but this is third rate melodrama unworthy of a middle school production …and in its final scenes the plot and the scenery and the script are unraveling faster than the local baseball franchises. The lead actor is off on a junket to Korea and a judge from Alameda County is closing the show early. It’s another failed Southern California folly laced with fruits, nuts and flakes – offered up while the lesser players try to remember their parts. Last year the October surprise was tragicomedy. This year it’s farce; which research (Wikipedia) says is ‘often highly incomprehensible plot-wise (due to the many plot twists and random events that occur), but viewers are encouraged not to try to follow the plot in order to avoid becoming confused and overwhelmed’ with doors opening and closing and pratfalls and slapstick. This isn’t Moliere or even Laurel+Hardy. Think Three Stooges …but not very hard.

No Bill or Eli. Ain’t gonna be no deus ex machina.

Götterdämmerung maybe, but at Baywatch.

If you signed up for the subscription package, watch this space as we announce the next production. There will certainly be some new casting, but most of the familiar players will be back to continue whatever the next production will be in repertoire. The show must go on, the students and their parents have signed up for thirteen years …and the faculty and staff hope to make a career of it.

Will it be a hip new production with sophisticated dialog and novel situations? A happy ending? A revival of an old workhorse? Comedy? Tragedy? Farce? Perhaps a Variety Show? Hopefully it’s not a zombie play. Maybe the whole thing was a ‘Bobby Ewing in the Shower’ dream?

Do I end on Shakespeare and Henry VIII?
'Tis ten to one this play can never please
All that are here: some come to take their ease,
And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,
We have frighted with our trumpets; so, 'tis clear,
They'll say 'tis naught: others, to hear the city
Abused extremely, and to cry 'That's witty!'
Which we have not done neither: that, I fear,
All the expected good we're like to hear
For this play at this time, is only in
The merciful construction of good women;
For such a one we show'd 'em: if they smile,
And say 'twill do, I know, within a while
All the best men are ours; for 'tis ill hap,
If they hold when their ladies bid 'em clap.

…or ELP?
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside! Come inside!
There behind a glass is a real blade of grass
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

Sunday’s Page 1 Headline MiSiS Story: LAUSD’s STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM BECOMES A TECHNOLOGICAL DISASTER – and a quick fix is unlikely + more than 2¢
By Abby Sewell | L.A. Times |

Oct 11, 2014 5:41 PM :: With a few taps on a computer keyboard, a student's entire school history from kindergarten to high school graduation was supposed to show up on the screen. That perfect score on a third-grade spelling test, that trip to the principal's office for talking too much in class, that day of ditching math as a senior.

The computer software was supposed to help school officials schedule the classes a student needed to earn a diploma or attend college and to allow parents to track their children's grades and attendance.

“ The whole system needs to work. Having an integrated system allows someone to see the big picture. ”
Robert M. Myers, an attorney for the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit

Instead, the Los Angeles Unified School District's student information system, which has cost more than $130 million, has become a technological disaster. The system made its debut this semester and promptly overloaded the district's database servers, requiring an emergency re-engineering. In the days and weeks that followed, many teachers were unable to enter grades or attendance or even figure out which students were enrolled in class.

Because of scheduling blunders partly stemming from the new system, students at Jefferson High School sat in the auditorium for weeks waiting to be assigned classes. A judge became so alarmed he ordered state education officials to intervene.

But a quick fix to the problems plaguing the system is unlikely. More than 600 fixes or enhancements are needed in the software, and there are "data quality and integrity issues" that include grades, assignments and even students disappearing from the system, Supt. John Deasy acknowledged last week in a letter. It could take a year to work out kinks in the system just to enter grades, he said.

The district agreed to implement the student information system as a result of a federal class-action lawsuit two decades ago. The suit alleged that LAUSD violated special education students' rights, in part, by keeping such disorganized records that it sometimes lost track of those students' needs.

As part of a consent decree still overseen by a court-appointed monitor, the district promised to create a computer database that would track comprehensive information on every student in the district.

"The whole system needs to work," said Robert M. Myers, an attorney for the lawsuit's plaintiffs. "Having an integrated system allows someone to see the big picture."

Among the immediate concerns with the system is that seniors are not being scheduled for the classes they need to prepare for college and might not obtain accurate transcripts in time to apply.

On Monday, the monitor is expected to release a report assessing the district's progress in implementing the system.

The project has had a long and tortured history.

Armani Richards, 17, a senior at Jefferson High School, is one of hundreds of students who could not get into the classes they need due to a malfunctioning computer system. A judge has ruled the state must intervene to fix the scheduling issues. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
In 2003, the district signed a contract with Virginia-based Maximus Inc. to build most of the key components of the Integrated Student Information System, or ISIS. It was supposed to be finished in 2007.

The district spent $112 million building that system, but most of it was never put into use. Instead, after multiple delays and false starts, the project fell apart amid rancor and lawsuits against the vendors hired to build it.

In 2008, Maximus sold its education software division to another company, Harris Education Consulting. The district later complained in court filings that both companies "not only consistently failed to meet deadlines, they also delivered shoddy software releases that are plagued with major defects or bugs." Former project managers for the district said in interviews with The Times that in many cases, the companies did not test the software before delivering it to the district.

The companies acknowledged that there had been problems but said that was to be expected with such an ambitious project. They complained in court filings that "internal dysfunction" in the district, including frequent turnover in administrators and staff, led to "constantly changing requirements" that prevented the work from getting done.

The system was supposed to launch in late 2010, but the district put it on hold, saying too many bugs showed up in testing. The district stopped paying most of Harris' bills and began to look for other ways to complete the project.

One option the district considered was software that had been jointly developed by Microsoft and the Fresno Unified School District.

In the spring of 2011, the ISIS and Fresno systems were tested side by side. The difference was dramatic: the Fresno system, known as ATLAS, succeeded at about 20% of the tasks, while the ISIS software's success rate was 82%. Based on that, the district opted to keep working with Harris.

But in late 2012, the district changed course. Deasy and Ron Chandler, the district's Internet technology officer, told the court-appointed monitor that they wanted to use the Fresno code to develop their own system in-house. They cited continuing delays and design flaws in the ISIS system.

Chandler said the ATLAS software had made advances since the initial testing and could now be adapted to meet Los Angeles' needs. He said the new system would be easier to work on and cheaper to maintain because the district would own the code, which had been donated by Fresno. He estimated the move would reduce the district's annual maintenance costs by more than $1 million.

Then-monitor Frederick Weintraub — who died in May — eventually signed off on the change in direction but expressed reservations that the district was "proposing significant changes" at a time when it finally appeared to be on track to meet the consent decree requirements.

The district agreed to spend an additional $29 million building that system.

In the meantime, the district sued its former vendors, Maximus and Harris. The district asserted that not only was the software late and faulty, the contract with Harris was invalid and the company should pay back $12 million.

A panel of arbitrators found the Harris contract was valid, the vendors had delivered the software as required and "some of the problems the District complains about were caused or contributed to by the District itself." The arbitrators ordered the district to pay $10 million to Harris, which a Superior Court judge later reduced to $6 million.

The case was settled last month on appeal, with Los Angeles Unified agreeing to pay Harris $3.75 million. The district had spent an additional $2.3 million on outside attorneys.

Despite its rocky rollout, district officials have defended the new software system, known as My Integrated Student Information System, or MISIS. Chandler likened the changeover in student information systems to a heart transplant. He acknowledged that he knew the rollout would be "messy" but said the scale of the issues that cropped up during the first week of school had taken his team by surprise.

Chandler said that once the problems are ironed out, the system will free the district from the consent decree and provide a valuable tool for tracking and boosting student success.

"There will be information on every student across the life cycle of the student," he said. "We'll know where they are and who they are and how they perform."

While district Internet technology staffers work to fix the problems, school officials have resorted to work-arounds, including tracking grades and attendance the old-fashioned way: with paper and pens.

School board member Tamar Galatzan, who called for an audit of the MISIS rollout by the district's inspector general, said everyone agrees on the need for a centralized student record system.

"MISIS is probably that system," she said. "But it might take us a little longer than we had expected or hoped to get there."


To the editor: The scheduling problems at Jefferson High School require state intervention. It isn't surprising that bureaucratic decisions, inadequate funding, overcrowding, emphasis on testing over content and other factors contribute to poor school performance. Yet the focus for blame is usually on the teachers. ("Judge orders state to fix Jefferson High scheduling issues," Oct. 8)

The warehousing of students at Jefferson is a good example of the overall lack of comprehensive understanding of what it takes for students to receive a good education. For instance, an iPad in every student's hand will never trump a teacher with small, manageable classes and some creative freedom.

Marty Wilson, Whittier


To the editor: What am I missing here? The mess at Jefferson High was caused by the failed rollout of the Los Angeles Unified School District's new computer system, which is still causing problems today.

Wasn't Supt. John Deasy responsible for anything? No; he joins the lawsuit over the situation at Jefferson High.

Where does the buck stop?

Marc Pollard, Los Angeles


To the editor: Some readers will be shocked by the report that students have been waiting weeks for class assignments and instruction at Jefferson High due to the bureaucratic bungling of the new system implemented by LAUSD hierarchy.

I am not. As a retired 23-year veteran LAUSD high school teacher, I am relieved to see it noticed by the state and reported in The Times. Students are routinely ignored and inconvenienced by mandated district policies while upper administrators schedule adorable photo ops, invent complicated new acronyms and purchase expensive new equipment and programs.

We need honest and competent leadership to improve and preserve our city's public education system and stop taxpayers' money from being wasted on diploma mills and payouts for failed superintendents.

Teresa Nield, West Hills


By Karin Klein / LA Times Education Editorialist |

10/11/2014 || Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy weighed in on behalf of a lawsuit against the state, contending rightly that students were unconstitutionally assigned to do-nothing classes instead of the academic courses they needed. His action would be wholly appropriate if the state ran the schools where this was happening. But as it happens Deasy runs those schools. Or at least, he was supposed to..

“I can’t think of a better gift to give this school district than to expose this indefensible practice,” he said in a declaration in support of the lawsuit.

The indefensible practice of his not having taken steps to resolve the problem? So was this an admission of incompetence? A request for the state to take over schools that he and the school board could not manage properly?

I called Deasy to ask these questions last week before a judge ruled that the state of California had to step in and get the situation ironed out at Jefferson High School. A combination of a shortage of teachers and the fouled-up student tracking at scheduling system that Deasy oversaw had led to what amounted to an educational crisis.

Deasy’s responses during our conversation covered a range of excuses. The problem was the school board — even though he conceded he hadn’t raised this with the board, offered suggestions to them or asked for guidance. But he was concerned that they would not do what was needed to fix the problem. Seems to me that not talking to them is a guaranteed way to make sure they can’t fix the problem.

It was local autonomy for schools that was to blame, he said, even though Deasy is one of the biggest proponents of that autonomy.

It was lack of funding, even though the district got a big increase in funding this year but chose to spend the money on other items. (No, not iPads — bond money cannot be used to increase the number of teachers.)

Of course the additional funding doesn’t restore the schools to pre-recession levels. Things are still far too tight. But the district beefed up many other programs while leaving students in an untenable predicament at various high schools, not just Jefferson. It's not that the district didn't spend money in important things. But there is simply nothing more basic than teaching students. Teaching them, not assigning them to sit in the auditorium or worse yet, go home for a period or two.

Under a judge’s ruling last week, the state is supposed to make sure that L.A. Unified toes the line. The state is supposed to offer guidance, if needed, support and, if the district doesn’t have enough money, provide additional funding.

After the ruling, Deasy certainly sounded as though money was what he expected. "We look forward to meeting state officials to explain the new resources needed," he said. How about explaining how you left students high and dry while you’re at it?

That's not precisely how things are working out. Teachers have come up with useful proposals and, reportedly, the district has hammered out a plan to lengthen the school day. So far, the state is saying that the "new resources" will be coming from the district, not the state.

And that sounds about right. California recently moved to a fairer funding system under which school districts are given more autonomy over how they spend their money. If L.A. Unified doesn’t know how to spend the money where it’s most needed, then it might have to have expenditures dictated to it; the state can't just keep giving more money to districts that aren't covering the basics.

Deasy also blames the bell schedules at some schools for the problem, saying that under the teachers’ contract, individual schools get to set their own schedules. Some schedules are more conducive to offering adequate courses than others.

Deasy wants to change this in the contract, and he’s not necessarily wrong. It’s reasonable for districts to decide how many class periods their students need each day. But Deasy is the one who has pushed hard to empower schools to make more of their own decisions. Why not say to them: Look, if you can get all the students all their necessary coursework with whatever bell schedule you have, more power to you. But whatever you do, they have to have the classes.

And if they don’t, do whatever is called for under the local-autonomy plan — which should mean depriving them of some of their autonomy. The deal is supposed to be, more independence for better performance.

But Deasy wasn’t sure he could do that. Which raises the question: If there’s no real accountability under the autonomy plan, why is the district bothering with it?

Worst of all, while Deasy has been busy supporting the lawsuit, what he wasn’t busy doing was improving the situation for the district’s students. His reaction to the judge’s ruling sounded as though he had won a victory. Yet, though the ruling was against the state, the judge reserved perhaps his harshest words for Deasy, saying he wasn't acknowledging his responsibilities for knowing about Jefferson’s problems and hadn’t thought of a way to fix them, much less actually taken action.

This is a victory? For whom? The students who were enrolled in Jefferson’s sham courses will see improvement now, but a real victory would have been for Deasy to do something about this starting back in August. Two months into the school year, it will be a miracle if students catch up, even with extra tutoring. It will be interesting to see how this is explained as a victory to the school board when it looks at the improvement plan on Tuesday

By Howard Blume & Ruben Vives | LA Times |

Oct. 8, 2014 | 9:50 PM :: For weeks, Armani Richards sat in the Jefferson High School auditorium waiting to be assigned classes for his senior year. The student body president wanted to enroll in subjects that would help him pursue a career in chemistry or computer science.

But a malfunctioning computer records system meant that Richards and hundreds of other students weren't getting the classes they needed. Some were sent to overbooked classrooms or were given the same course multiple times a day. Others were assigned to "service" periods where they did nothing at all. Still others were sent home.

"Everything had gone so wrong," Richards, 17, said.

On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge ordered state education officials to fix the problem at Jefferson High immediately, ruling that students were being deprived of their right to an education.

Alameda County Judge George Hernandez Jr. ruled that students "have suffered and continue to suffer severe and pervasive educational deprivations" as the "direct result of Jefferson's failure to provide the students with appropriate course schedules."

The scheduling blunders affected honors students as well as those behind in credits and at risk of not graduating. Problems at the school continue even though the academic year began nearly two months ago, according to sworn declarations reviewed by the court.

Student schedules must be corrected and additional instructional time provided as necessary, Hernandez wrote in his 14-page decision. He said the state must ensure that "there are adequate teachers, classrooms, seats, desks and instructional materials and any other resources needed."

The state also must determine whether the Los Angeles Unified School District has the resources to correct the problems. If it doesn't, he said, the state must fill in any gaps "financial or otherwise."

The ruling was a rebuke both to L.A. Unified — for mishandling the situation at Jefferson — and the state, for its unwillingness to get involved.

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy had offered a declaration in support of Jefferson students last week and, on Wednesday, hailed the ruling.

"This is another victory for youth in challenging circumstances," he said in a statement. "We look forward to meeting state officials to explain the new resources needed."

The judge, however, did not spare Deasy or the Board of Education from criticism.

What this judge is saying is that the state of California -- and its education officials -- cannot turn its back on the students of Jefferson.... - Mark Rosenbaum, Public Counsel director

"Jefferson's scheduling issues and the resulting chaos have been widely publicized and communicated," the judge wrote. Despite the public attention, he said, "scheduling problems still persist and, more importantly, there is no evidence of any organized effort to help those students who have been assigned to courses several weeks into the semester to catch up to their peers."

The judge also chided Deasy, saying "he does not admit to knowing" about Jefferson's scheduling problems "or describe any actual or anticipated efforts by LAUSD to remedy them."

Deasy initially downplayed difficulties with the new records system across the district, but then assigned a team of senior administrators to address them. He did not recount these measures in his declaration to the court.

The judge's order applied to the state because L.A. Unified is not party to the lawsuit, which was filed in Alameda County. The underlying litigation is about whether the state should end or limit non-academic course work that hinders students from achieving their academic goals.

"What this judge is saying is that the state of California — and its education officials — cannot turn its back on the students of Jefferson by forcing them to enroll in sham courses and calling that an education," said Mark Rosenbaum, director of Public Counsel, which pursued the case along with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt.

State education officials had argued in court that course schedules and content were a local matter over which the state should not exercise authority. But a top official said the state would comply with the order.

"The department believes strongly that every child should have the classes he or she needs to graduate from high school," said state Chief Deputy Supt. Richard Zeiger. "This is a position I know we share with Los Angeles school officials."

Jefferson was not originally named in the lawsuit, although two other L.A. Unified schools had been cited. Attorneys added Jefferson and Dorsey High after problems exploded with the start-up of the new districtwide student records system.

School district board member Steve Zimmer said he saw the court order as an opportunity to work with the state to resolve "a serious problem."

Some board members were bothered that Deasy chose to participate in the litigation without first discussing it with them. The board is scheduled to conduct Deasy's annual performance evaluation on Oct. 21, and for weeks there's been speculation that the superintendent may quit or be forced out.

Monica Ratliff, another board member, said she was disappointed in Deasy's lack of leadership on the matter. "I find it hard to fathom that our superintendent would know of these issues and need a court order to fix them," she said.

The judge ordered the state to meet with Deasy right away, but that may not be possible. Deasy was scheduled to leave early Thursday for a long-planned trip to South Korea. Deasy said he would be representing L.A. Unified, visiting schools and meeting with government officials.

“The harms already suffered are severe and pervasive; there is no evidence of an imminent solution.”

• “LAUSD's superintendent, though ostensibly aware of these issues for more than a month is silent as whether LAUSD intends to take any steps to remedy these problems.”
• “Although Jefferson’s scheduling issues and the resulting chaos have been widely publicized and communicated to the Los Angeles School Board and Dr. John Deasey (the LAUSD Superintendent) in at least early September, scheduling problems still persist and, more importantly, there is no evidence of any organized effort to help those students who have been assigned to courses several weeks into the semester to catch up to their peers.”
• “Further, while Dr. Deasey expresses appropriate outrage regarding the assignment of empty, contentless “courses” to students, particularly those who are not on track to graduate or meet college eligibility requirements, he does not admit to knowing about Jefferson’s scheduling problems approximately one month ago or describe any actual or anticipated efforts by LAUSD to remedy them.”
• “From all of the foregoing, the court reasonably infers that neither the Los Angeles Unified School District nor Jefferson Senior High School are able and willing to take immediate and substantial steps to remedy this shocking loss of instructional time.”
• “Even those students who received timely class schedules are experiencing chaotic classrooms with constantly changing students, which has caused teachers to adjust their expectations and even hold off teaching some materials until schedules are more settled. Teachers have been required to review and re-review prior material. Some anticipate having to cut out significant instructional units later in the year.”
• “Thus, the failure to timely provide appropriate class schedules, and the ensuing chaos and disruption, has inflicted a variety of harms on a significant number of Jefferson students, few, if any, of whom have the resources needed to successfully recover from setbacks of this kind.'”
• Jeannie Oakes, an expert with more than 30 years of work in the education field, including in California. She states, “In more than 30 years of work in this field, I have encountered nothing that compares with the deprivations of educational opportunity being visited upon these students.”
• “LAUSD’s protracted and inexplicable inaction, coupled with the Superintendent’s statement welcoming a court order, suggest that LAUSD needs State intervention to adequately address the deprivations that have occurred.”
• “Put bluntly, the harms already suffered are severe and pervasive; there is no evidence of an imminent solution; Defendants disclaim their constitutional responsibilities; and the harm to students (who are among the State’s most challenged) is compounding daily.”
• “Defendants’ argument that there is an existing state policy and plan recently set into motion promoting “local control” was squarely rejected by Butt as a justification for depriving students of their fundamental right to a basically equivalent education.
• “Educational policy of local autonomy and accountability is not sufficiently compelling to justify extreme local deprivation.”



By Sandy Banks, Los Angeles Times |

11 October, 2014 | John Deasy notched what he considers a win this week, when an Oakland judge ordered state education officials to rescue students trapped in chaos and dysfunction at Jefferson High in South Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Unified superintendent called the ruling a "victory for youth in challenging circumstances."

What Deasy didn't say is that those circumstances have been made considerably more challenging by his inaction and his district's ineptitude.

Jefferson was thrown into turmoil in August by the failure of a new computerized system the district relied upon to schedule the school's 1,500 students. Hundreds of students have gone without schedules, been assigned to courses they've already taken or been locked out of classes they need for graduation.

Eight weeks into the semester, their schedules are loaded with space-fillers — periods labeled Service, Adult Class or Home, that offer no instruction and waste the time of teenagers already at risk of falling academically behind.

Those "content-less" classes are the target of a Northern California lawsuit alleging the state has ignored its obligation to ensure that all students have access to an adequate education.

Jefferson became a focal point because its troubles illustrate the issues at stake: Students hanging out in the auditorium or performing clerical tasks, or simply being assigned to go home because their schools don't have the will, the resources or the leadership to engage and educate them.

"We have kids at Jefferson with four of those classes in a day," said Mark Rosenbaum of Public Counsel, the pro bono law firm that, along with the ACLU, is asking state officials to correct conditions that deprive the students of their constitutional right to an adequate education.

The case won't be resolved for months, but after hearing the stories of students, counselors and teachers at Jefferson, Judge George Hernandez deemed the school's problems so outrageous, he ordered immediate fixes — and laid the blame squarely on Los Angeles Unified officials.

"There is no evidence of any organized effort to help those students," Hernandez's ruling declared. Deasy "expresses appropriate outrage," but doesn't seem to have done anything "to remedy this shocking loss of instructional time."

That's what is shocking to me.

This is the same superintendent who fired a substitute teacher on the spot because he felt she was wasting instructional time by having 12th-graders copy a list of classroom rules into composition books.

Yet he's allowed hundreds of students in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods to waste hours of instructional time every day for almost two months.

And when outsiders finally shine a spotlight on the problem, Deasy is on the sidelines applauding.


I'd like to ask Deasy to explain his hands-off stance, but he left this week for a tour of schools in South Korea.

I suspect, from past experience, he'd blame the teachers' union.

Deasy told my colleague Howard Blume that he's been trying to eliminate "non-academic periods" at district schools, but the union has resisted. If that's true, it still doesn't excuse Deasy's lack of knowledge or concern about the depth of Jefferson's problems — which one national education expert told the judge are "shocking, unprecedented and unacceptable."

United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl says Deasy's trying to pass the buck. "The union's role in that is 'zero' and he's never come to us," he said. "Clearly what happened is he made an edict that was not implemented and not followed up."

Follow-up seems to be an administrative shortcoming. Even the judge was baffled by L.A. Unified's "protracted and inexplicable inaction" as Jefferson's problems dragged on.

These are kids who desperately want to go to college and have nothing to do. - Mark Rosenbaum, of Public Counsel

The trial documents point to problems that go beyond a faulty computer program or one-time scheduling glitch: Administrative turnover, teacher burnout and student transiency make it hard for schools like Jefferson to achieve stability. Needs are high and resources spread thin. School becomes a sort of triage system, tilted toward remedial classes and littered with obstacles for high-achieving students.

"These are kids who desperately want to go to college and have nothing to do," attorney Rosenbaum said. "It's like you're asking for the moon if you ask for an art class, an academic decathlon class, a literacy class."


Jefferson's faculty met on Thursday and came up with a list of remedies, including a longer school day, more teachers and a new slate of college-prep classes. We don't know what district officials are proposing because the boss is gone.

The judge has given state officials a tall order and a short leash.

They are to come up with a plan by Tuesday's School Board meeting that gets students out of meaningless classes and into appropriate courses, provides help for those who enrolled in classes so late in the semester that they are far behind, and makes sure there are enough teachers, classrooms and supplies to accomplish that.

That sounds to me like it will require magic.

Rosenbaum was a bit more optimistic. Getting the state involved and an outraged judge on the job makes it more likely that efforts will continue after the headlines stop.

"If you're an adult, you get an F in this case," he said. That's because "everybody's looking for a place to point their finger instead of doing whatever it takes to help these kids.

"Now we put you in a room and don't let you come out until you find a solution. We will do whatever it takes to make sure every kid here gets the same education as the kid in Beverly Hills."

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

●●AND NOW FOR SOMETHING TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE: The British headline writer’s cheek (above) in incorporating ‘examination’ and ‘test’ is par for the course for the right side of the pond. I don’t know if you recall this bit of S+M kink artwork: (it's burned into my psyche - ruining my life!) …but the preceding headline’s ‘stern’ and ‘dominance’ has a bit of the Monty Python “hint-hint/nudge-nudge/say-no-more” about it – especially when you read on about Dame Marjorie and our Dr. John – and remember her gushing e-mails: “My mind was racing all weekend, and I was so impressed by your intelligent and committed and brave hold on the moving parts of the opportunity. I really can’t wait to work with you…”



LATimes: While Deasy has been busy supporting the lawsuit, what he wasn’t busy doing was improving the situation for the district’s students

DEFINITION OF STRANGE: John Deasy lauds ruling confirming his failures |




IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: the full restraining order re the MiSiS Crisis at LAUSD's Jefferson High in Cruz v. CA. |
0 replies

THE MiSiS CRISIS ADJUDICATED: “A maddening degree of mismanagement from the school and the District.” |




LAUSD BOARD CONTROLS MILLIONS IN DISCRETIONARY BOND MONEY: Spends are rarely, if ever, debated by the school board |

A BETTER WAY TO IMPROVE STUDENT LEARNING: MORE RECESS! Finns have 15 min break after every 45 min class. @pasi_sahlberg |


StudentsFirst: Michelle Rhee is " leaving a trail of disappointment and disillusionment in her wake." | .

The wait for Superman is over?: StudentsFirst PICKS WALTON FOUNDATION ADVISOR AS NEW PRESIDENT |

Letters to the editor: WHAT TO DO WITH LAUSD SUPT. DEASY |

L.A. SCHOOL BOARD, DEASY AGAIN AT ODDS …this time over his involvement in lawsuit |



You’d think the ©orporate ®eformers would learn to avoid tech that needs to be spelled with a lower-case ‘i’. |


THE GREAT CHARTER SCHOOL RIP-OFF: Fraud, financial mismanagement, lousy results. Reports highlight awful charters |

Bill Clinton: If charter schools don't OUTPERFORM the public model, they shouldn't get their charter renewed.

The question is: Does Hillary Clinton agree with Bill's understanding of 'the original charter school bargain'? |

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Start: 10/14/2014 10:00 am Agenda:
Closed Session Agenda includes:
▲Cruz, Jessy, et al., v. State of California, et al.-Alameda Superior Court Case No. RG 14727139
▲PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT/APPOINTMENT: General Superintendent of Schools
• General Superintendent of Schools
• General Counsel
• Inspector General

Start: 10/14/2014 1:00 pm Agenda:
Lengthy agenda includes :
• MiSiS Update from the Office of the Superintendent
• Motion to make public the Inspector General’s Report on the investigation of the Apple/Pearson contract

*Dates and times subject to change. Check the links for agenda updates!
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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