|4LAKids: Sunday 18•Jan•2015|
In This Issue:
Friday would've been Martin Luther King, Jr's 86th
birthday had he lived. MLK, through his vision and example and deeds
and speech had already accomplished greatness at age 39.
He didn't need martyrdom for that.
THE LEAD in last Monday's page one story in the L.A. Times was: "Khaula Syed Ali remembers tucking her 8-year-old son's white school uniform shirt into his beige shorts and combing his hair. But the boy was pleading.
"'Mama, please don't send me to school,'" said Ahmed, who is in the second grade. 'The Taliban will kill me.'"
WERE HE alive, this is a story that would move old Dr. King to action. Because for all the Malala Yousafzais who stand up to the Talibans of this world - be they in Peshawar or Nigeria or Newtown - there are hundreds of thousands of Ahmeds who are afraid every day.
Gentle readers: The bullets are flying in Swat and Bama and Sandy Hook. In Cleveland and South Central and Highland Park children are attending schools - sheltering in their homes unable to play outside - and traveling back-and-forth between the two in the dark shadow of fear.
If Rev. King were alive toay we wouldn't have Monday off; they don't give anyone - not even saints - a day while they're alive.
It's for us to give MLK his day. Let's make this holiday a Day of Action.
Let's do something for peace.
¡Onward/Adelante! - smf
IN PAKISTAN, CHILDREN ATTEND SCHOOL IN SHADOW OF FEAR AFTER ATTACK
By Kiran Nazish, LA Times | http://lat.ms/1ugTPVb
12 January 2015 :: Khaula Syed Ali remembers tucking her 8-year-old son's white school uniform shirt into his beige shorts and combing his hair. But the boy was pleading.
"Mama, please don't send me to school," said Ahmed, who is in the second grade. "The Taliban will kill me."
As Syed Ali tried to get the boy out the door last month in time for the 7:30 a.m. school bus, she knew he was not alone in his fear.
Weeks after a devastating Pakistani Taliban raid on a school in this northern city, which killed 133 children and 16 staff members, students in Peshawar and across the country remain tormented by fear. The Army Public School opened Monday for the first time since the Dec. 16 attack amid tighter security and fresh coils of barbed wire atop the compound walls.
After winter holidays that were extended as a safety measure, hundreds of other schools also resumed classes, some after installing new security cameras and higher boundary walls as ordered by government authorities struggling to cope with the militant threat.
"The children in the neighborhood discuss the Taliban all the time," said Syed Ali, a schoolteacher, who recounted her son's fears in the days after the attack. "This has frightened him more. I fear this conversation among children has steadily replaced what used to be games in their playtime."
The raid underscored the vulnerability of Pakistan's schools, which have long been a battleground for militants who view the country's formal education system as inspired by the West and therefore un-Islamic. Attacks on more than 1,000 schools over the last eight years have sown fear among the population.
The assault on the education system has an added, and worrisome, impact, analysts say: The madrassas, or Islamic religious schools, that increasingly are replacing closed facilities have helped create a new generation of young men sympathetic to extremists.
Young pupils, especially in the country's volatile northwest, have seen everything from bomb attacks to the burning down of school buildings and point-blank shootings of teachers and classmates — most famously the teenage student activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived an attempted assassination by Taliban militants in 2012 and was award the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
By some estimates, extremists have destroyed more than 1,000 schools, most of them in the northern tribal belt. Local groups say the number is significantly higher, but it is difficult to gather exact data because of militant activity.
"Where private schools used to spend money on playgrounds and field trips, schools administrations now grapple with the security demands of parents," said Aslam Mehsud, a member of the teachers union in Peshawar. "We now spend that money on private guards."
Where private schools used to spend money on playgrounds and field trips, schools administrations now grapple with the security demands of parents. - Aslam Mehsud, a member of the teachers union in Peshawar
The attacks on schools began in 2007 and have accelerated in recent years. The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack said there were 838 to 919 militant assaults on Pakistani schools between 2009 and 2012, the most current figures available.
The schools are taken over by insurgents for use as hide-outs and transit camps, or by the army as outposts. Military raids on former schools have uncovered stocks of weapons and armor hidden by militants, according to officials in the tribal belt.
"These schools were destroyed by the Taliban at night and not during school hours," said Adnan Khan, an education official in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital.
To many, that is what made the Peshawar assault even more devastating: The insurgents attacked during the day and targeted students, mainly boys 12 to 16, at a school where most of the pupils are the children of army officers.
Analysts say the Pakistani Taliban — a loose federation of extremist groups aiming to overthrow the elected government in Islamabad — has also benefited because many bombed-out public schools are replaced by madrassas.
Many say the madrassa system — by providing students with shelter and thrice-daily meals — has created a generation of young people who are sympathetic to the Pakistani Taliban. In hundreds of small towns in Punjab, Pakistan's most populous province, thousands of young men graduate from the madrassa every year.
Javed Khan, a police officer in Peshawar, said "more than two-thirds" of militants arrested in violent attacks around the city were students of madrassas. The others are foreign militants, he said.
Irfan Muzaffar, a researcher who studies education reform, said the madrassas have separated children from their families. "There remains no meaningful contact between the parents and their sons after they are given into the care of madrassas," he said.
English teachers or those who spoke out against the Islamization of schooling have been targeted across the country by the extremists or religious groups that support them.
The attacks "helped them inflict an immediate sense of terror on the people they wanted to rule," said Sami ul Haq, a former principal in the Mohmand tribal agency whose school was bombed and destroyed in 2010.
Haq said his town's mostly moderate residents at first resisted the insurgents' ideology. But with each year, they became more hesitant to oppose them.
"Now no one wants to put their children at risk," Haq said. "In fact most of [the parents] ended up sending them to madrassas."
Nationwide, about 25 million children are not receiving an education either in formal schools or madrassas, with Pakistan ranking second in the world for the number of children out of school. Of the 700,000 children not attending school in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 600,000 are girls.
The violence has prevented Malala, the world's best known Pakistani education activist, from returning home more than two years after Taliban gunmen shot her because of her calls to keep girls' schools operating. Despite army operations that officials claimed drove militants out of Swat, a picturesque valley in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where Malala lived, advocates of formal education for both girls and boys still face regular violence.
Broken windows, sandbags for chairs and classrooms without roofs are what the few remaining schools have to offer to children in the city of Mingora. After Malala was attacked, schoolteachers and children continued protests against the extremists and demanded that destroyed schools be rebuilt. Some families opened makeshift classrooms on public lawns and in private homes, but many closed after receiving threats.
Hakim Khan Mehmood, a teacher who started one such alternative school, said he received letters for months warning, "Stop your activities or we will kill you."
Another teacher who supported Malala was stoned; plans to name a school after the girl were scrapped after warnings from ultraconservative religious groups.
"The military may claim they have had an operation in Swat, but the Taliban and other militants still live in the streets of Mingora," said Qari Abdul Samad, a moderate cleric in the southern city of Karachi. "They shop in the markets, and they threaten people under the nose of the Pakistani army."
Samad, originally from Swat, has been beaten and shot at and has moved multiple times. Even in relatively cosmopolitan Karachi, he said, right-wing religious groups challenge him for urging people to not support extremists.
"My children and my family have been threatened," he said. "It's impossible to counter the political manipulation of the jihad ideology in Pakistan. And it all originates from how people are educated in this country."
GOVERNOR BROWN’S BUDGET BRINGS NEW FUNDS TO LAUSD + (…or is it minus?) smf’s (negative) 2¢
From the Associated Administrators of L.A. Weekly Update - Week of January 19, 2015 | http://bit.ly/15cO1pv
Jan. 15, 2015 :: On January 9, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown issued his preliminary budget that provides increased Proposition 98 funds to LAUSD. These funds will reduce the District’s previously anticipated $321 million shortfall for 2015-2016 to an estimated deficit of $88.4 million. Funding for California K-12 education will increase by $7.8 billion more than funded for 2014-2015.
With increased state revenues, Proposition 98 per-pupil expenditures for 2015-16 will increase by $306 over 2014-2015, bringing per-pupil expenditures, from all sources, from $13,223 in 2014-15 to $13,462 in 2015-16.
A major portion of the state’s new money, about $4 billion, funds the Local Control Funding Formula. The District, with its high numbers of English learners and low-income students, stands to gain much-needed LCFF dollars to adequately support our students.
Brown’s budget also includes $1.1 billion in one-time dollars to districts to encourage spending for implementation of Common Core standards in English language arts and math, the new English Language Development Standards for English Learners and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Other highlights of Brown’s education budget include: $15.3 million for a projected increase in Special Education ADA, a one-time $100 million for additional investments in internet connectivity and infrastructure, $59.5 million for projected ADA growth in charter schools, a one-time $273.4 million for the Emergency Repair Program and a one-time $900 million for eliminating outstanding deferral debts, a priority of the Governor’s.
Superintendent Ramón Cortines, in a news release issued on January 9, 2015, indicated he was “grateful” for the Governor’s commitment to education. The new funds will help the District meet student needs and balance the District’s budget.
Dr. Judith Perez, AALA President, commented, “We appreciate Governor Brown’s demonstrated commitment to public education and share Superintendent Cortines’ optimism about the budget. We are hopeful that the Governor will find ways to increase funding for preschool and adult education, both of which are essential for the improvement of student performance throughout the state.” Dr. Perez anticipates that the District may receive more funds due to the continual rise in State revenues.
Education funding also includes non-Proposition 98 funds to support improving California’s teacher preparation programs, updating teacher performance assessments (TPAs), streamlining and improving teacher induction programs and developing an Administrator Performance Assessment to verify educator quality and determine the effectiveness and quality of administrator preparation programs.
●●smf’s 2¢: This is all very warm+fuzzy thinking… but here are the facts:
● All this smoke+mirrors ‘generosity’ means that the state of California – from which almost all school funding flows – next year will pay school districts and charter schools 87% of the amount it paid eight years ago in 2007-08, the year before the recession began and this batch of wholesale budget cutting started.
● The state is paying back money owed-but-not-paid to school districts (borrowed without permission!) and calling it ‘new money”.
● California funds K-12 public education at either 44th or 49th in the national spending - depending on whose numbers you use.
○ Under the Prop 98 Guarantee and Prop 30 and the Local Control Funding Formula using the promised Target Year ‘07-08 LAUSD should be getting $11,583 per student (ADA) next (‘15-16) year.
○ Under Governor Brown's Jan 9th budget proposal the state will be paying $10,103.
Be sure to also see: MiSiS: CRISIS WITH LAUSD’s COMPUTER SYSTEM COULD END UP COSTING DISTRICT MILLIONS IN STATE FUNDING | http://bit.ly/1wjYyoQ
Retweeted, recycled+regurgitated: JOHN DEASY + BEN AUSTIN RESURRECTED+REBORN + smf's 2¢
[CORRECTED 1/17: An earlier version of this story mislabeled the source “Schools Matter” as “Students Matter”. The two organizations are diametrically opposed, should never be left alone in the same room together, and 4LAKids apologizes for spreading its own ongoing confusion.}
Tweeted by @howardblume (1/12) · Another new role 4 former LA schools Supt. John Deasy. He'll be a board member/advisor 4 Students Matter, which pursued Vergara suit.
@howardblume · And Ben Austin, formerly of Parent Revolution, joins Students Matter to translate court verdict to changes in the classroom.
@howardblume · Austin, if verdict upheld: "We ‘re going to have a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-imagine portions of the education code..."
@howardblume · Austin: "...for largest state in the nation & "build it from scratch.” Says state mustn't return keys to "defenders of the status quo.”
DEASY, AUSTIN JOIN VERGARA SUIT SPONSOR, STUDENTS MATTER
by Vanessa Romo, LA School Report | http://bit.ly/1IUCisF
January 15, 2015 1:04 pm :: The non-profit behind the Vergara lawsuit, Students Matter, is adding two former LA Unified lightning rods to their ranks. Ex-Superintendent John Deasy and founder of Parent Revolution, Ben Austin, are joining the advocacy group.
Students Matter successfully sued the state of California and its public school teachers unions, overturning five laws governing tenure, seniority and dismissal that the student plaintiffs argued kept ineffective teachers in their classrooms. The state and the unions have appealed, vowing to defend the statutes challenged in the case.
It’s the second job-related announcement this month for Deasy, who will be serving on the Students Matter advisory board. He was recently named a consultant for The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems as a “superintendent-in-residence.” Austin will serve as head of policy development and advocacy for Students Matter, leading the organization’s “Courtroom to Classroom” campaign.
“By hiring Ben Austin and adding Dr. John E. Deasy ’s expertise to our board, Students Matter is expanding its commitment to fighting for political change that focuses on the needs of our kids,” David Welch, the group’s founder and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur said in a press release today.
Austin stepped down last month as executive director of Parent Revolution, a group he founded six years ago to aid parents pushing for change in their children’s poorly-performing schools. Under his leadership, the organization played a role in creating California’s parent trigger law and, later, helping three area schools use it. Three other schools used the threat of it to force changes.
Prior to that he served as a Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles under Mayor Richard Riordan and worked as a senior advisor to Rob Reiner and First 5 California. In 2010, he was appointed to the California State Board of Education.
Deasy resigned from LA Unified in October under pressure due to mounting criticism of his managerial style and several bungled technology initiatives. Since resigning, criticism of his three-and-a-half year tenure has continued, fueled by a federal grand jury investigation into his $1.3 billion iPad program.
It’s unclear whether he would be held accountable by the grand jury for any aspect of the iPad program, which sought to put an iPad in the hands of every LA Unified student and teacher.
During his years as superintendent, graduation rates rose along with student test scores, and dropout rates fell.
●● smf's 2¢: Deasy is the former Superintendent of four different school districts without much of a track record of success at any of them. At the Broad Foundation he will be Superintendent in Residence – presumably teaching Bad Superintendence to new bad superintendent candidates …and reminding us all of the cruel saw that “Those who can’t, teach!”
Austin left Parent Revolution last month rather quickly and unexpectedly. He didn’t really “found” that organization, it is the misbegotten spawn of the LA Parents Union - which sprung fully-formed from the head of Green Dot Founder Steve Barr.
DZ+BA will advocate for continued Intentional Disruption, Union Busting, Parent Ignoring, Algorithmic Accountability and Testing …testing …testing. Though addicted-to-data and anecdote-averse, they will translate court decisions and reimagine those portions of the Ed Code (established law) not imaginative-or-imaginary enough for their liking – firing “Bad Teachers” at will and reconstituting schools like so much concentrated orange juice.
I don’t want to seem gothic or threatening or anything like that, but the reanimation of the late-and-unlamented Dr Deasy and Mr Austin is disquieting at best.
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” - Edgar Allan Poe
Both have been removed from their previous jobs …we can debate the semantics of whether they were fired, resigned or asked to leave. They can argue whether it was for-cause. Both are under ethical clouds. They are innocent-until-proven-guilty ..but there are very real-though-unproven allegations of legal+ethical misbehavior outstanding against both.
Attorney Austin lost his license to practice law because he didn’t/wouldn't take a required ethics course. http://bit.ly/1IUIxg4
Schools Matter (not to be confused with Students Matter) writes:
The Ethics Commission that “gave Ben a pass” were appointees of then Mayor Villaraigosa.
In 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Ben to the State Board of Education. What could possibly go wrong?
Schools Matter continues:
Austin was not confirmed by the legislature and had to give up his seat, but he continued to lobby his former colleagues
Schools Matter concludes:
Letter notifying Parent Trigger Author Ben Austin of violating laws from California State Board of Education: http://www.scribd.com/doc/60687364
How can we miss John+Ben if they won’t go away? Maybe Dracula's nemesis Dr. Van Helsing was right – being dead is not enough. A stake must be driven through their cold cold hearts.
PS: The Students Matter Board also includes the following ‘formers’:
● Russlyn Ali, Arne Duncan’s former deputy and former EdTrust/West-er who imposed the OCR Settlement on LAUSD
●Maria Casillas, formerly of Families in Schools who endeared herself to the LAUSD parent Community as Deasy’s “Chief” of the the Parent Community Services Branch - by disbanding just about every parent advisory council in the District.
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
They can’t put it in the NY Times if it isn’t true!: ALABAMA SCHOOL MAY ARM STUDENTS WITH CANNED PEAS
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IN THE NY TIMES | http://nyti.ms/1yec4Bu
JAN. 13, 2015 :: A middle school principal wants to stockpile cans of corn and peas in classrooms for students to hurl at possible intruders as a last defense. In a letter Friday, Priscella Holley, principal at W. F. Burns Middle School in Valley, Chambers County, asked parents to have each student bring an eight-ounce canned item. The can “could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive,” Ms. Holley wrote. “The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure.” The school superintendent said the request had brought few complaints.
MiSiS: CRISIS WITH LAUSD’s COMPUTER SYSTEM COULD END UP COSTING DISTRICT MILLIONS IN STATE FUNDING | http://bit.ly/1wjYyoQ
LAUSD EXPANDS SCHOOL DINNER PROGRAM AS DEMAND GROWS NATIONWIDE | http://bit.ly/1wjS3lT
®etweets from the Faultline: JOHN DEASY+BEN AUSTIN JOIN STUDENTS MATTER …Unemployment office for formerly reformers?| http://bit.ly/1BEx2Jx
EX-LAUSD SUPERINTENDENT ATTRACTED MILLIONS FROM FOUNDATIONS — will they stay the course? | http://bit.ly/1DKSCOu
Margaret Spellings: DON’T BLAME NCLB… IT’S ARNE DUNCAN/RACE-TO-THE-TOP/COMMON CORE’S FAULT | http://bit.ly/155A90F
GOVERNOR BROWN’S BUDGET BRINGS NEW FUNDS TO LAUSD + (…or is it minus?) smf’s (negative) 2¢ | http://bit.ly/17PV60T
LAUSD CFO MEGAN REILLY’S PRESENTATION TO THE BOARD OF ED (1/13) & BUDGET COMMITTEE (1/15) ON THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET | http://bit.ly/1KTRdHf
Fanning the ‘firestorm’: LOCAL EDUCATION POLITICS HAS A WATCHDOG IN L.A. SCHOOL REPORT + smf’s 2¢ | http://bit.ly/1ICbT4q
Feds find lack of leadership, vision, planning on iPads, MiSiS: http://lat.ms/1y8rc3n + http://bit.ly/1y8rtDz + http://bit.ly/1IhKhja
Ex-LAUSD chief Deasy joins Broad Academy:http://bit.ly/1y6Qoao + http://bit.ly/1wbdWnw + http://bit.ly/1wbe3zi + http://lat.ms/1y8qrYc
"ARCHITECT OF NCLB” FIRES BACK: "No one ever expected all schools to actually hit 100 percent proficiency...” | http://bit.ly/1FRqYRJ
4LAKids tweets: In a memo to the @LAUSD Bd of Ed & senior staff @ 4PM yesterday Supt Cortines reports no significant issues in 2nd semester MiSiS roll out.
SILICON VALLEY TURNS ITS EYE ON EDUCATION | http://bit.ly/14Ne72E
THE PUSH FOR STANDARDS+TESTING IS SEEPING INTO ARTS EDUCATION | http://bit.ly/1z2eGm0
@howardblume: Former L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy will be consultant as "supt-in-residence" for Broad Center. Deasy will provide "executive coaching" to alumni leading school systems & also help w/ training sessions for future leaders.
BROWN’S BUDGET: (1/10th of 1%) more for Common Core, Internet, charters, special ed ...next-to-nothing for facilities http://bit.ly/1BZNqSn
LISTEN UP LEGISLATORS: People Want Better Sex Education Than What Many States Require | http://bit.ly/1y531RL
NCLB TODAY: The fierce urgency of now v. The soft bigotry of 'It's optional' v. “I can get you a waiver for that!" http://bit.ly/1Bc2kas
Politico: "BUCKLE UP! IT'S NCLB WEEK!!” http://bit.ly/1Bc2kas
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• TUES: January 20, 2015 - Committee of the Whole -
Start: 01/20/2015 2:00 pm
• THURS: January 22, 2015 - Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee -
Start: 01/22/2015 4:00 pm
*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
• SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:
• LAUSD FACILITIES COMMUNITY OUTREACH CALENDAR:
What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member:
Tamar.Galatzan@lausd.net • 213-241-6386
Monica.Garcia@lausd.net • 213-241-6180
Bennett.Kayser@lausd.net • 213-241-5555
George.McKenna@lausd.net • 213-241-6382
Monica.Ratliff@lausd.net • 213-241-6388
Richard.Vladovic@lausd.net • 213-241-6385
Steve.Zimmer@lausd.net • 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: http://bit.ly/dqFdq2 • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at email@example.com • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail: http://www.govmail.ca.gov/
• 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!
Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and was
Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is
Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and has represented
PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for
over 12 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 "WHO" Gold Award and the
ACSA Regional Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award - honors
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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