Sunday, December 14, 2014

4LAKids: Sunday 14•Dec•2014
In This Issue:
 •  Tuesday @ the Boord of Ed: MISCONDUCT, iPADS, MiSiS, CHICKENS, SCHOOL POLICE & IMMIGRATION POLICY …but no money for violence + abuse prevention
 •  WHY THE DEMISE OF FIELD TRIPS IS BAD NEWS: Children who attend a live theater show—and don't just read the play in class—do better in school.
 •  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.

Dec 13, 2014 :: Police in Portland have arrested a suspect in the shooting that injured three people outside an alternative high school.

Authorities said they stopped a vehicle around 1:30 a.m. Saturday at North Interstate Avenue and Going Street and arrested a 22-year-old man. A handgun was found in the vehicle.

Police were searching an apartment about half an hour later as part of the investigation. The apartment is about five blocks east of the shooting near Rosemary Anderson High School.

Detectives are investigating and will release the suspect's name and charges after he is booked into the Multnomah County Jail.

Witnesses told police there may have been a dispute outside the high school on Friday, just before the shooting occurred at a street corner.

The assailant and two other people fled, and the wounded students went to the school for help, a police spokesman said. A 16-year-old girl was critically wounded while two males were hospitalized in fair condition. Another girl was grazed by a bullet.

“Based on the investigation thus far, the shooting appears to be gang-related,” Sgt. Pete Simpson said Friday night in a statement.

Police gang investigators “feel comfortable saying this is a gang-related shooting based on some of the people involved,” Simpson added in an interview. Police said they believe the shooter has gang ties. “Simpson declined to say which victims might be linked to gangs.”

IT WAS AN ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL … FOR ‘THOSE KIDS’. The cops are “comfortable” that it was gang related. “Simpson declined to say which victims might be linked to gangs.” Because, gentle readers, victims linked to gangs are perpetrators after all.

Look inside the paper:
Some kids are being shot
The bullets - they are flying -
It should give us food for thought.

But it isn’t in our neighborhood
Though it really is a shame;
And the Feds might take away our guns
When it’s just the gangs to blame.

And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest
Outside of a small circle of friends.

- With apologies to Phil Ochs

Today marks the second anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Sandy Hook had state-of-the art security. A locked entrance door with a remote ‘buzz-in’ opener and closed circuit TV surveillance of the front entrance. There was a schoolwide intercom system and a staff well prepared and rehearsed in emergency procedure. The staff performed as rehearsed. It took the police two minutes to respond. In that time the shooter killed twenty six-year-old first-graders and six adults.

In the two years since there have been 21 deadly school shootings in the U.S., - about once a month – not counting the one in Portland Friday …which had no fatalities and was buried on page A13 in the Times.

• Since Sandy Hook total of 32 victims have been killed in school shootings (not including shooters).
• 11 additional victims were injured.
• 5 shooters were killed (including four who committed suicide, and one shot dead by police).
• The school shootings occurred across 16 states.
• 14 attacks occurred at K-12 schools, and 7 occurred on college or university campuses. One was in Santa Monica.
• During the same period, there have been dozens of other gun incidents on school grounds that caused injuries, as well as seven additional cases where someone committed suicide with a firearm, but no one else died. |

In that time the federal government has done zero/zilch/nada to prohibit/limit/restrict firearms purchases to the mentally ill or to restrict the size of ammunition magazines or the sale+transfer of assault weapons. In that time LAUSD has sent two part-time Security Aides to every elementary school, armed with a roll of yellow stickers, a clipboard and an orange vest. And while those folks are supposed to work exclusively at school security, they end up doing clerical work, filing, making copies, answering phones, etc.

Take a look at these two videos: + They show what we’re doing and what we aren’t doing. They hint at what we should be doing. Let’s do it.

IN OTHER NEWS the database software that controls London’s Heathrow Airport went south and they had to close down the airport …I guess because all the retired administrators and counselors LAUSD uses to patch its MiSiS system were otherwise employed. On the subject of recalling retired staff: How many RIFed and retired front office clerks and data entry folk have been called back by LAUSD to work the MiSiS Crisis …or are we letting the administrators do their own input?

LAUSD HAS A NEW ORG CHART. The old one can be filed with the previous policy on distribution of deck chairs and steamer blankets on RMS Titanic.

LAUSD’S PUSH FOR ETHNIC STUDIES as a graduation requirement has gained (Positive, for once!) national attention: The Times editorial board predictably weighs in otherwise: – and 4LAKids - proudly from an ethnic heritage of painting ourselves blue and being so fearful that the ancient Romans built a wall rather than attempt conquest, supports the move. (The plaid skirts and bagpipes came later.) A Times letter writer wisely suggests requiring Women’s Studies also: - Both the boys and the girls have a lot to learn from+about women.

ON TUESDAY THE BOARD OF ED took positions on MISCONDUCT (against it) , iPADS+CHROMEBOOKS (buy more for testing), MiSiS (fix it) , ANTIBIOTIC-FREE CHICKENS (buy ‘em), SCHOOL POLICE (maybe we don’t need more) and IMMIGRATION POLICY ( more deferred action). The Board and Superintendent invested $2.5 million in ARTS EDUCATION …but committed no funding for VIOLENCE+ABUSE PREVENTION! |

THE DEMOCRATS IN THE FCC voted more money for the E-Rate program to provide broadband access to schools+libraries – but the Republicans in the next Congress may not vote the appropriation. Because E-Rate reimburses rather that funds-up-front it’s going to take a lot of faith (as in tooth fairy belief) for schools to go down that road.

THE LA TIMES’ SERIES about migrant farm laborers and child labor in Mexico is heartbreaking. These people are raising food for our tables; their stories echo Steinbeck and ‘Harvest of Shame’ and the work of Cesar Chavez. It is globalization gone grossly awry.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


The LA Times has rolled out a new platform for student journalism: HS Insider - promoted as a forum for young journalists to develop their skills and share their experiences and connect the community with stories told for and by students. “Our goal? To connect the region using the strength of the L.A. Times brand and to get young people engaged in their communities through journalism.”

Aside from the claptrap about “the strength of the LA Times Brand” this a truly laudable enterprise – ever since the demise of the late lamented LA YOUTH there has not been a platform of student journalism in LA.

Currently HS Insider is exclusively about sports and sports related goings-on. Sports writing is an excellent entry point into journalism because sports writing is about Life+Death & Conflict+Drama on a deadline minus the body bags – but 4LAKids looks forward to a little more depth from the reportage. Good student journalists write about things that make adults uncomfortable at times – things beyond the gym and the gridiron; the Friday night lights shine on the things they want you to see. And who are “they” anyway?

HS Insider

Tuesday @ the Boord of Ed: MISCONDUCT, iPADS, MiSiS, CHICKENS, SCHOOL POLICE & IMMIGRATION POLICY …but no money for violence + abuse prevention
By Stephen Ceasar LA Times |

10 Dec, 2014 :: In the wake of the Miramonte Elementary School child abuse scandal, the Los Angeles school district will analyze past incidents of misconduct to determine how to better safeguard students in the future.

The Board of Education on Tuesday approved the proposal, brought by board member Monica Ratliff, directing Supt. Ramon Cortines to analyze the circumstances of previous misconduct events — including the number of adults present during the alleged misconduct, the work history and previous complaints against the accused employee, and when and where such incidents occurred.

Ratliff initially had called for a study on the feasibility of staffing all classrooms with two adults while children are present. That idea, however, was not included in the measure that the board approved.

The move is the latest in a series of board actions following the arrest of a Miramonte Elementary School teacher for sexual misconduct in 2012 that led to changes in state law and district policies. Teacher Mark Berndt pleaded no contest last year to 23 charges of lewd conduct, including feeding children his semen in what he called a tasting game. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The L.A. Unified School District last month agreed to pay more than $139 million to settle claims related to the case, drawing to a close the lengthy case. L.A. Unified already has paid about $30 million in claims to the families of 65 Miramonte students.

Another proposal by Ratliff would have directed the superintendent to provide a report to the board detailing the district's annual expenses over the last five years for the costs of litigation, awards, settlements and other costs related to criminal actions at district schools. It would have required that the report project the costs of additional safety resources on district campuses — including more cameras, police officers and school safety officers.

But Ratliff decided to pull that measure after speakers strongly opposed additional police officers on campuses.

United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl said students would be better served by finding ways to fund additional counselors and mental health professionals and by lowering class sizes.

"That's the report that we need generate — not something that will increase policing," he said.

Board member George McKenna signaled that he would not support the measure.

"I would not be in favor of expanding the role of police in making our schools safe," he said.

There was no discussion of the portion of the resolution that would have required an accounting of legal expenses related to recent criminal actions.

Also Tuesday, the board unanimously approved more than $11 million in additional funds to address problems caused by a new and faulty student records system.

The system caused problems districtwide this fall, with thousands of students unable to enroll in classes required for graduation or college. Teachers were unable to record attendance, and grade information was lost or corrupted.

"We are starting to see evidence that the system is stabilizing," Cortines said at the board meeting Tuesday. "We are looking at the issues that plague our schools, counselors, teachers and administration. We aren't saying they don't exist, but we are trying to resolve them."

A staff report said the system continues to have performance issues and new bugs arise on a daily basis. "The system, as it stands today, does not meet the needs of our schools," the report said.

The district has spent more than $130 million trying to develop a fully functional student records system, known as My Integrated Student Information System, or MISIS.

In other action, the board approved spending about $23.2 million for additional computers to use for students to take new state standardized tests.

The purchases are expected to include 21,665 iPads ($552 each) and separate keyboards ($29 each) as well as 7,770 Chromebooks ($305 each). The money also will cover some staffing and other costs.

The district won't purchase the new devices under a controversial, recently suspended contract for iPads that is now the subject of an FBI probe. Instead, the district will use an older, already available contract with Apple for the iPads. Chromebook contracts were negotiated recently under a separate process.


By Teresa Watanabe, LA Times |

10 Dec 2014 :: Aiming to bolster student health, Los Angeles Unified and five other major urban school districts announced plans Tuesday to ban the purchase of chickens that have been raised with antibiotics.

The action by the Urban School Food Alliance -- which collectively buys more than $552 million of food and supplies annually to feed nearly 2.9 million students daily -- will give the food industry a major market incentive to reduce the use of antibiotics in school meals, supporters said.

The widespread presence of antibiotics in food has produced bacteria resistant to it, increasing vulnerability to disease, according to health experts. The Centers for Disease Control has called antibiotic resistance one of the world’s most pressing health problems.

“This is a critical piece of ensuring the safety of our children,” said Mark Izeman of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental nonprofit that helped develop the alliance plan. “LAUSD and other districts are pushing the entire food industry to move away from chicken and other animals raised with excessive antibiotic use.”

Izeman added that healthful school food is especially critical for the largely low-income students in the six alliance school districts of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orange County in Orlando, Fla. School meals often provide more than half the food consumed by many of the students daily, he said.

The districts joined forces last year to adopt eco-friendly practices and leverage their collective purchasing power for lower prices and more healthful fare. They have replaced polystyrene and plastic with biodegradable trays and flatware, for instance.

Under the alliance plan, all chicken must be produced with no antibiotics and animal by-products in the feed, be raised on an all-vegetarian diet and treated humanely. If food vendors cannot supply the full volume of chicken under that standard, they will be required to submit a written plan on when they can meet it.

In a separate action Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Education unanimously adopted a requirement that chicken purchased for school meals be free of antibiotics and hormones. The poultry rule was added to the district’s 2012 “good food” policy that encouraged more nutritious school meals, sustainable environmental practices, more purchases from small, local farmers, humane treatment of animals and safe and fair working conditions.

Laura Benavidez, L.A. Unified’s deputy food services director, said the requirement would be included in requests for proposals to supply the 2.3 million pounds of chicken purchased annually at a cost of $4.8 million. The school system serves 115 million school meals yearly, second only to New York’s 170 million. It was unclear when schools would begin serving antibiotic-free chicken.

The action marked the district’s latest move toward more healthful school meals. Over the past few years, the district has removed flavored milk from menus, banned soda in vending machines and overhauled school menus to increase fresh produce and reduce salt, added sugars and fat.

“Having antibiotic-free chicken is not a privilege, it’s a right,” Benavidez said.


By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News |

The LAUSD is pledging to serve only antibiotic-free chicken to students. Five other large school districts are set to follow. (Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos reproduced under the CC by-NC license)

Posted: 12/09/14, 5:22 PM PST :: Los Angeles Unified’s school board Tuesday adopted standards that poise the district to become the first to solicit food vendors for antibiotic-free chicken to serve students.

Five other large school districts will soon follow LAUSD with standards set by the Urban School Food Alliance to curtail antibiotic-resistant sicknesses, which the world’s leading health organizations have called a crisis.

“These six school districts are saying in effect, ‘we’re not going to play chicken with our children’s health, we’re going to move forward with protective standards,’” said Mark Izeman, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit health advocacy organization that helped create the standards.

To reach its goal, LAUSD will solicit offers for suppliers to provide chickens raised without antibiotics, said LAUSD’s Deputy Food Services Director Laura Benavidez. Tuesday’s board vote would only require cafeterias to serve antibiotic-free chicken if it’s available.

While raising chickens without the drugs that fight diseases inside hen houses is more expensive, demand created by LAUSD and the 700,411 meals served to students per day will create purchasing power that should force suppliers to streamline the processes and bring the price down, Benavidez said.

“We’re confident we cannot help but reduce that cost and improve availability,” Benavidez said.

Schools in Orlando will follow in the spring, and the nation’s largest district in New York City plans to implement the standards in 2016, when its current contracts for food expire. Including other districts that also plan to join the initiative — in Chicago, Dallas and Miami – more than 3 million students will have antibiotic-free chicken on their plates in the coming years, said Eric Goldstein, chief executive officer of School Support Services for the New York City Department of Education

The six districts create purchasing power, Goldstein said, that will force food suppliers to change their practices even as legislators in the nation’s capital fail to pass regulations.

“It’s incumbent for us to take the lead because nobody’s doing this for our schools,” Goldstein said. “As the leading cities in America we have to show through action that we can move forward.”

Chicago public schools encountered supply problems when officials replaced two of four monthly chicken meals with antibiotic-free meat about three years ago. However, district officials struck a deal to buy chicken legs from a nearby Amish farm that sells breasts and other parts of antibiotic-free chickens to Whole Foods and Chipotle, said Leslie Fowler, executive director of Nutritional Support Services at Chicago Public Schools.

“It means that the farm can sell the whole bird without any scraps and it gets us prices we can afford,” Fowler said. “While it’s not enough quantity for us to serve on a weekly basis or as often as we would like, it’s moving us in the right direction.”


Annie Gilbertson, KPCC |

December 09, 08:10 PM :: The Los Angeles Unified School District board approved another $12 million Tuesday to fix the student data system that failed to schedule classes, take attendance and track students with special needs beginning last fall.

Under the new plan, the district will spend up to $2 million per week from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15 to have technology companies, including Microsoft, debug the system, stabilize servers, and expand use of the system known as MiSiS at charter schools, among other tasks.

The money will also pay for oversight of the work by an outside party and expansion of the help desk.

The new spending brings the total cost of the software system to $45.5 million, three times as much as was initially invested in it.

When the six weeks are up, the board will be presented with another, pricier spending plan for MiSiS improvements. Earlier estimates submitted to the school construction bond oversight committee showed the price of addressing the system's problems could double to about $85 million.

"I still believe it will take a year to resolve the issues with MiSiS,"said Superintendent Ramon Cortines. "We are beginning, though, to see evidence the system is stabilizing."

The school board also approved $22 million ($13 million in new funds) to buy more iPads and Google Chromebooks so students can take new digital state tests in the spring. The purchase brings the number of district tablets and laptops to 120,000 – a figure that does not include equipment in computer labs, which are are not tracked in district's central inventory.

Both funding measures passed unanimously without discussion by board members, even though just a week ago the FBI seized boxes of district documents in criminal probe of the district's iPad program. The newest iPads will be purchased under another agreement than the Apple and Pearson software contract under investigation.

When students showed up for fall classes, hundreds found their class schedules had been botched by the MiSiS system. Many piled into auditoriums and cafeterias waiting days or weeks for officials to fix their schedules. At Jefferson High School in south L.A., some students waited until October and after a judge's order to get a full day of classes.

School counselors then noticed errors in students' transcripts and rushed to correct them before November college application deadlines. The district hired retired educators to help check the transcripts manually.

by Craig Clough, LA School Report |

December 9, 2014 4:58 pm :: The LA Unified school board and union leaders moved today to help ensure that district schools are “safe havens” in support of President Obama‘s recent executive orders on immigration.

The orders, announced last month, potentially give deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants and their children.

A resolution introduced by board members Steve Zimmer and Monica Garcia pledges that the district will develop a plan to assist any students needing help with immigration records or applications.

The district today also announced plans to send a letter home with students advising their their parents and guardians “to be cautious of ‘so-called ‘notaries’ and dishonest lawyers (who) prey on the hopes of individuals and families seeking a better life,” according to a district press release.

The letter was signed by representatives of LAUSD, SEIU Local 99 and UTLA. Before the board meeting, Garcia and Zimmer held a press conference with leaders of the two unions, according to the release.

“The President’s Executive Action will bring great relief to students and their families,” said SEIU Local 99 Lilia Garcia, according to the press release. “I work with our school community every day and I see how much it impacts students when their mother or father is deported. The children come to school with fear or sadness. The President’s action will mean more stability for families, and this will mean students can focus on their education. I am proud that our union will be working with the District to ensure that parents can access information and resources in our schools.”

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl also pledged the union’s support in the release, saying, “As educators, we care about the whole child— not only their academic achievements, but also the social and economic wellbeing of our students. We support the School Board’s resolution on immigration reform and accountability. Students and their parents need our help and we are ready to do all we can inside and outside of the classroom.”

Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Update, Week of December 15, 2014 |

Dec. 11, 2014 :: Under the leadership of Superintendent Ramón Cortines, the Central Office and the Educational Service Centers have been restructured (see chart, following).

Notably, ESC Superintendents will oversee both instruction and operations. The Office of the Chief Operating Officer and the Divisions of Intensive Support and Intervention, Talent Management and Risk Management have been eliminated. Their functions have been absorbed by Human Resources (HR), the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and School Support (OCISS), the Office of the General Counsel and the new Educational Services Office.

Parent and Community Engagement and Operations will now report to the leadership of the Educational Service Centers (ESCs). An Office of Educational Services has been created and will be led by Chief Executive Officer Dr. Thelma Meléndez, formerly an administrator with Beyond the Bell and superintendent of Santa Ana and Pomona school districts. Educational Services will oversee many of the operations functions which were under the Office of the Chief Operating Officer, such as Food Services, Transportation Services, Procurement Services, School Operations, Student Health and Human Services, Adult Education, OEHS and Beyond the Bell. The options schools will report directly to the ESC in which they are located with the exception of Ramona, McAlister, Riley and Carlson which will report to OCISS.

The Division of Intensive Support and Intervention, led by Dr. Donna Muncey, will be absorbed by OCISS. Dr. Muncey will now serve as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Dr. Ruth Pérez, former superintendent of Norwalk-La Mirada School District. The Office of Risk Management is now part of the Office of the General Counsel. Matt Hill will remain Chief Strategy Officer, but will oversee ITD. The responsibilities of the Talent Management Division have been split between OCISS and HR.

These changes were effective December 1, 2014, and were “made to help the District operate more effectively and efficiently,” according to Superintendent Cortines.

Those who have been around a few years recognize that as the superintendency changes, so does the organizational structure. Each new chief needs the system to be structured in a manner in which he/she feels is logical and manageable. Many of these changes make perfect sense, particularly to move most options schools under the ESCs. These students deserve the right to be on the same educational trajectory as their peers in comprehensive middle and high schools, despite their challenges. The one reorganizational change with which we are puzzled is the inclusion of adult education under Educational Services. Isn’t adult education a function of instruction? Don’t adult students take courses which could lead to a GED or diploma? Why is this critical concurrent and community program lumped with support services?

The New Org Chart: You can't tell the players without it!

WHY THE DEMISE OF FIELD TRIPS IS BAD NEWS: Children who attend a live theater show—and don't just read the play in class—do better in school.
By Emily Richmond in The Atlantic |

Dec 9 2014, 9:00 AM ET :: In Watertown, New York, the local school district recently debated scaling back field trips for students, with administrators citing the cost of providing transportation and chaperones—money that instead needs to be devoted to more purely academic endeavors.

"The issue right now for us, mostly, is the fact that we don’t really pay for field trips unless they’re very, very tied into the curriculum," Superintendent Terry Fralick said at an October meeting of the Watertown school board.

Watertown is just one example of what’s become a familiar development in districts nationwide: cutting field trips in favor of more instructional time, or simply because there’s no money to cover the cost of the excursions.

But what if those field trips actually had a proven, tangible benefit to student learning? That’s the premise set out in a new study by Jay Greene, a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas.

Anything that isn’t directly related to test scores doesn’t attract as much of schools' attention or resources.

Greene evaluated 670 students, who were divided into two groups. The first group of students was chosen at random to see a live theater performance of either Hamlet or A Christmas Carol. The second group either read the texts of the plays or watched film versions.

When compared with their peers in the second group, the students who attended live theater scored significantly higher on a vocabulary test that incorporated language from plays, and they were also better able to answer questions about the plot and characters, according to Greene's findings.

The live theater group also scored higher on tests that measured their tolerance of diverse points of view and ability to detect emotions in other people. Those gains were still measurable six weeks after students attended the live theater performance, Greene said.

"Schools are increasingly focused on the things that we’ve told them to be focused on, namely improving math and reading test scores," Greene told me. "Anything that isn’t directly related to that doesn’t attract as much of their attention, their resources, or their time."

In metro Atlanta, field trips are being used as both a means of reinforcing classroom instruction and providing students with new experiences.

"It’s important for [students] to learn the standards and perform well on these standardized tests," Jason Marshall, a principal at an elementary school in the Atlanta area, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "But I think the way we’ve always approached it is the day they take a test is really just a snapshot of what they learn. We’re interested in them learning much more about their community, … their state, country, world and how all those things are interconnected."

But in a growing number of schools, field trips are now an incentive for good behavior, perfect attendance, or improved grades rather than cultural enrichment. That means the symphony takes a back seat to the local amusement park or bowling alley, Greene said.

The new study’s findings "demonstrated that there can actually be lasting and sustainable outcomes, educational outcomes, that are produced through students participating in these one-time, culturally enriching experiences," said Sandra Ruppert, the director of the Arts Education Partnership, a national nonprofit coalition. "It’s an important factor to take into consideration for schools and others that are thinking about reducing or eliminating field trips, thinking that they don’t add any educational value."
The symphony is taking a back seat to the local amusement park or bowling alley.

The study also speaks to the important role schools play in youths’ overall development—not just their academic knowledge, Ruppert said.

"These kinds of enriching experiences actually connect students and the school to the community in very meaningful ways," she said.

The methodology of the University of Arkansas study does raise a few questions, however. For example, researchers didn’t keep tabs on which film version of Hamlet students watched. (Might Sir Laurence Olivier be more effective than Mel Gibson, perhaps?) And it’s not clear how carefully students actually read the required texts.

Additionally, the study was conducted in a limited number of schools in Arkansas, and the student groups were fairly homogenous: Most were white and selected from advanced academic classes.

Greene said he’s hoping to replicate the study in a large urban area such as Chicago, which has a more diverse student population and a wealth of fine arts opportunities. And while his studies have revealed the short-term benefits of field trips, Greene believes there’s more at stake than just improving students’ vocabularies.

"The point of culturally enriching activities is to take students to a place they don’t yet know they like and allow them to discover it’s something they might want to do on their own," Greene said. "That’s how we create cultural consumers for the future."

• This post appears courtesy of The Educated Reporter: Emily Richmond is the public editor for the National Education Writers Association. She was previously the education reporter for the Las Vegas Sun.

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s 2015 Academic Decathlon will again be a two-day event.

You are invited to assist with this outstanding academic competition that has produced many state and national champions.

Your help is needed on one or both of the following dates: ●Saturday, January 31, 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., or
●Saturday, February 7, 2015, 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (or 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. for the Super Quiz), at Roybal Learning Center, 1200 Colton Street, Los Angeles 90026.
●Help is also needed to read essays on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at the Beaudry Building.

For more information, please contact Cliff Ker at 213.241.3503 or

Click here for a volunteer application and additional information.

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



ANOTHER SUPERINTENDENT, ANOTHER REORGANIZATION can't tell the players without another Org Chart! |




Sandy Hook+2: LOCKDOWN |

Politico: “PEARSON TO REVAMP PISA” …because the tower isn’t crooked enough?” |

Yesterday at the LAUSD Board of Ed:(cont.) ...but no money for violence + abuse prevention! |


LAUSD WILL SEEK OUTSIDE LEGAL ADVICE ON FED iPAD PROBE. Cortines: Inquiry may take long time; LAUSD will cooperate |

EVENTS: Coming up next week...

*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213-241-5183
Phone: 213-241.8700


What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member: • 213-241-6386 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-5555 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6385 • 213-241-6387
...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail:
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.
• Speak with your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Stay on top of education issues. Don't take my word for it!
• Get involved at your neighborhood school. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE.
• If you are registered, VOTE LIKE THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT. THEY DO!.

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

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for ten years. He is a Health Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT 2009 "WHO" Gold Award for his support of education and public schools - an honor he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
• 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.