|4LAKids: Sunday 15•Feb•2015 President's Weekend|
In This Issue:
Granada Hills Charter High School won the LAUSD Academic Decathlon. Again. Ho hum.
(I am being sarcastic – if I were given to emoticons and happy faces I’d go there …but I ain’t!)
The achievement of the GHCHS team – and all the competitors in the AcaDeca is truly astounding. That LAUSD routinely crushes all the competition in the state and national completion is all the more so. We are doing something right in L.A. Unified.
To those who bristle at the word ‘charter’ in the names of the one-two finishers, get over it.
Both schools started out as traditional District neighborhood high schools and both were AcaDeca powerhouses before they converted. They are both very large schools – larger and whiter and more-middle-class-than-the-LAUSD-norm demographics. They have the luck-or-good fortune of residential (as opposed to racial or ethnic) segregation, ghettoization by-zip-code/property-value [http://bit.ly/1vuvtrz] …but they also have real Title One inner city schools like Marshall and Franklin and Garfield and Bell breathing down their neck, gaining, keeping them honest.
The rising tide is raising all the boats. And there’s a King Tide next week.
I SPENT A COUPLE OF DAYS THIS WEEK in Sacramento, the legislative season is young, the bills don’t have numbers yet - and many of the politicians are getting used to their new jobs – or their new colleagues. They have closed-off the west entrance of the Capitol (architecturally the ‘front door’) - symbolically making the government safer and more cost efficient …and making it a little harder to enter+navigate a building only slighter easier to enter+navigate than 333 S. Beaudry.
I observed the touched-up larger-than-life former Governor Schwarzenegger’s larger than life official poster (I mean portrait)
And two things became apparent:
There is bipartisan support for new measles vaccine legislation – to make the personal exemption harder or impossible
And bipartisan support for a new state school construction bond – with only those working for the governor opposed.
I must add that there is grumbling in Sacramento about LAUSD’s funding of student computers and educational software with school construction bonds – and who better to grumble at? Here I state unequivocally that NO STATE CONTRUCTION BOND MONEY went to funding the project formerly known as the Common Core Technology Project – funding came from local bonds. That makes none of us here in L.A. any happier – but the politicos and taxpayers of the State of California are not on the hook!
WHILE I AM CORRECTING MISPERCEPTIONS: I wrote earlier that Superintendent Cortines was listed on their website as being on the board of the L.A. Fund for Public Education. While he still is listed as such [http://lafund.org/our-team], I have been reliably informed that he is not.
THE ED COMMITTEE OF U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES is busy marking-up and reporting-out legislation to revise No Child Left Behind/The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB/ESEA).
If it sells it will be the “Student Success Act.”
Hooray! This is long, long overdue… but the committee’s bill seems intent on eliminating the carrot and strengthening the stick (Cut funding, eliminate Annual Yearly Progress [AYP] and keep testing) and grants flexibility to states on how+where to spend the decreased funds. (“How about a statue of Stonewall Jackson carving the Ten Commandments into a stone wall? That’s educational!”) We called this ‘categorical flexibility’ when it was used to hammer education in California; D.C. is calling it “portability’. The White House is up in arms saying that ‘portability’ defeats the purpose of the original 1965 ESEA. The Republicans in the house can’t see the downside in that.
But we must realize the “The White House” in this instance is not necessarily the voice of progressive reason in the Oval Office. It is the voice of Arne Duncan defending his turf – he who brought us Race to the Top and the Common Core ‘State’ Standards and more Waivers than the amber waves on the fruited plain.
By the way, I was told in Sacramento the Common Core in are henceforth to be referred to as ‘The New Stronger California State Standards.” Get some today! This demonstrates the power and mystery of naming things. You may have noted I didn’t say “henceforth+forever.” That was not an omission. Stay tuned.
STOP PRESS: While I was editing and assembling this issue Sunday morning I was half-paying attention as the KLCS replay of Tuesday’s board meeting droned in the background (I missed the live show!) There was a deep discussion about the new Early Start Calendar …and the Board delayed their decision until the March meeting so additional research and thought could go into the process. While I agree that putting-off the decision makes making family summer vacation and childcare plans difficult,
I also agree that the conversation is needed – and invite all stakeholders, students, parents and educators – to weigh in. Please don’t wait for the March meeting - contact your board member and/or the superintendent at the numbers or emails below.
THE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: Later on in this issue I will make endorsements, to be taken with a grain of salt – or salt-substitute, if you are on that diet.
I need to rant a bit about the disreputable tactics of the California Charter Schools Association's political action committee CCSA Advocates’ locally sponsored independent expenditure committee: Parent Teacher Alliance.
(There are three degrees of separation – but they are attached.) Take a look at this: CCSA SPONSORED "PARENT TEACHER ADVOCATES" HITS NEW LOW IN ANTI-KAYSER TV SPOT | http://tl.gd/n_1skkv90 It is true that the CCSA never called Mr. Kayser a racist, but as Steve Lopez wrote: They implied it. Their TV ad last week doesn’t say that Kayser is a pro-pederast/”bad teacher” lover – or that’s he’s responsible for everything Dr. Deasy ever did-or-didn’t do. They don’t say he is given to dropping and breaking coffee cups as a metaphor for something a little darker …or something they don’t want to talk about like his Parkinson’s disease – but they imply it. They don’t claim to be The PTA, but they have the same initials.
On or before March 3rd please vote your heart, or your conscience or your professional affiliation. Don’t copy my homework, do your own! If the only reason you read this blog is to find out where I stand so you can vote the other way – more power to you! Just vote – let’s break the single digits on Election Day!
¡Onward/Adelante! - smf
GRANADA HILLS CHARTER HIGH WINS L.A. UNIFIED'S ACADEMIC DECATHLON
By Teresa Watanabe | LA Times | http://lat.ms/1JeBIv7
14 February 2015 :: Granada Hills Charter High School won Los Angeles Unified's annual Academic Decathlon, recording the highest team score in the competition's 47-year history, officials said Friday.
The school, a three-time national decathlon champion located in the west San Fernando Valley, earned a score of 54,292.1 out of a possible 60,000 points in the grueling 10-event competition that tests students in science, literature, arts, music, social science, economics and mathematics.
We're like a little family now, and it's really cool. - Elise Matsusaka, a South Pasadena senior and the county's top decathlete, saying her biggest payoff has been the teamwork she's learned
Irene Lee, a Granada Hills senior, tied the all-time individual record set in 2009 with a score of 9,461.4 out of a possible 10,000.
"I was in utter disbelief," she said.
To make room for the intensive study required, Irene said, she had to sacrifice time for her social life, orchestra and volunteering. But seeing her teammates blossom in confidence and esteem as they claimed their trophies Friday at the awards ceremony at Hollywood High made it worth it, she said.
El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, another perennial decathlon powerhouse with seven national titles, placed second with a team score of 53,423. The two schools will advance to the state decathlon in Sacramento next month, along with John Marshall, Franklin, Garfield, Bell, Hamilton, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Grant and Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy.
The high school decathlon features a broad theme — this year, alternative energy — and multiple-choice tests, speeches, essays and interviews. Each school's nine-member team must reflect varying grade-point averages.
Regional competitions are held to qualify for state and national contests. L.A. Unified counts as its own regional division; more than 500 students on 59 teams participated this year.
In the Los Angeles County decathlon, South Pasadena High School took top honors with a tally of 52,572.50 points, while Mark Keppel High placed second with 48,390.50. They will advance to the state competition with Beverly Hills, Edgewood, Redondo Beach, West and South. Nearly 500 students on 55 teams competed.
The county's top decathlete was South Pasadena senior Elise Matsusaka, who scored 9,119.2.
Elise, 17, said she began preparing last spring when the materials for the 2015 contest were released. She has put in about 30 hours a week during the school year — all on top of her five Advanced Placement classes.
This year's theme didn't initially spark her interest, she said, and she struggled to sort out the plethora of energy and environmental agencies, laws and policies. But before long, her intellectual curiosity kicked in and she enjoyed new arenas of learning.
The biggest payoff, Elise said, has been the teamwork she's learned and the close bonds developed helping fellow decathletes succeed.
"We're like a little family now, and it's really cool," she said.
# # #
GRANADA HILLS WINS LAUSD ACADEMIC DECATHLON CHAMPIONSHIP By City News Service | http://bit.ly/178Gadu
GRANADA HILLS CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL WINS LAUSD’S ACADEMIC DECATHLON COMPETITION by LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/1Ji0OJD
HOUSE COMMITTEE MARKS UP NCLB
By Caitlin Emma with help from Eliza Collins, Helena Bottemiller Evich, Allie Grasgreen, Maggie Severns and Stephanie Simon “ Politico AM Education | http://politi.co/1Jil9yo
2/11/15 10:01 AM EST :: The House Education and the Workforce Committee is marking up its proposed rewrite of No Child Left Behind today, the Student Success Act. On the menu are a smattering of amendments from Democrats and Republicans, so if you’re heading to the markup, expect to be there a while. Committee newcomers will have their first chance to propose K-12 policy ideas: Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.), for instance, plans to offer an amendment that would add new (mostly symbolic) states’ rights language to NCLB. Others are considering amendments that would change the authorization levels in the bill, according to a document obtained by POLITICO. Any of the proposed amendments could still be withdrawn.
— The one to watch: Indiana Rep. Luke Messer plans to offer an amendment that would make Title I dollars portable to private schools in addition to public schools. This is the one amendment that would seriously jeopardize NCLB going forward if it succeeds in committee, and sources familiar with negotiations said Tuesday it has drawn ire from opponents. Two key lawmakers who are trying to move NCLB in the House, Committee Chairman John Kline and subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita, both support private school vouchers but left them out of the bill because it would isolate moderate Republicans. “There’s a lot of privatization in this bill that stops short of vouchers — when you add the voucher angle it makes it a really stark choice for most people,” one D.C. lobbyist noted. Opponents hustled Tuesday on two fronts: To convince Messer to withdraw the amendment — and to shore up the votes needed to defeat it during the markup, if necessary. More from Maggie Severns: http://politico.pro/1ztVCHo.
— The Democrats’ approach: House Democrats plan to offer their own substitute bill. They’ll also offer amendments on standards and accountability, Title I portability and other programs that make clear their priorities for the NCLB going forward. And expect them to keep up the drumbeat for a more bipartisan approach to reauthorization. Oregon Rep. Suzanne Bonamici also plans to offer her testing bill [http://1.usa.gov/1zUeJOH] as an amendment; it would encourage states to study and reduce redundant tests. Bonamici said Tuesday that she’s been encouraged by the support her bill has received, both on and off the Hill. But two sources familiar with negotiations said they don’t think it will be adopted into NCLB even though it has garnered bipartisan lip service. Put simply, Republicans aren’t keen on adding extra language to study why testing is a problem — on the grounds that everyone already knows it is one.
— But does what Democrats do today matter? Yes. Kline has been clear he’s moving this bill without Democrats’ input in the House. But the priorities that ranking Democrat Bobby Scott lays out now will offer a window into what he’ll be looking for if NCLB gets as far as conference, where he’ll finally have some leverage.
LAUSD SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW + 4LAKids Endorsements
By KPCC Staff | 89.3 FM | http://bit.ly/1Da2wJi
February 6 2015 :: Four of seven seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District board will be up for election on March 3, so a lot could change after the votes are counted.
The next board has a packed agenda. Members get to select the new superintendent, one of the most influential figures in Los Angeles. They'll decide on whether to expand charter schools, lower class sizes, continue with the iPad program and approve spending items at a time when the district is projecting a deficit of $88.4 million.
Every classroom, every nurse, every after-school program, every arts program is either written into the budget – or not. So voters should look for candidates who share their priorities.
Here are the candidates with links to their backgrounds and positions, including information gathered by the League of Women Voters' Smart Voter project:
►DISTRICT 1 (Includes south Los Angeles and west around Culver City)
• George J. McKenna III (Incumbent and running unopposed)
►DISTRICT 3 (Includes west San Fernando Valley)
• Elizabeth Badger Bartels
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1D9Jxi7
• Tamar Galatzan (Incumbent)
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1D9Jxi7
• Filiberto Gonzalez
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1FbaSRP
• Ankur Patel
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1yCTZHe
• Carl J. Petersen
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1ABqICG
• Scott Mark Schmerelson
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1DS6dmd
►DISTRICT 5 (Includes Silver Lake, Vernon and South Gate)
• Bennett Kayser (Incumbent)
• Refugio "Ref" Rodriguez
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1uVVYvg
• Andrew Thomas
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1JeiA0j
►DISTRICT 7 (Includes San Pedro, Carson, Gardena and parts of South L.A.)
• Euna Anderson
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1768Y6l
• Lydia A. Gutierrez
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/19ioHk6
• Richard Vladovic (Incumbent)
--Smart Voter Profile: http://bit.ly/1vuj5rE
Additional KPCC LAUSD Election Guide info: http://bit.ly/1EciZKg
Board District 1: GEORGE McKENNA
Board District 3: SCOTT SCHMERELSON
Board District 5: BENNETT KAYSER
Board District 7: RICHARD VLADOVIC
EXPLAINER: Three incumbents are endorsed here even though to would be hard to grade the performance of the board of education over the past few years above a low “C”. This may be “social promotion”: there is plenty of room for improvement. However one must apply the “What have you done for me lately?” test – and eventually, recently, tardily and with-much drama the board rose-up-and-removed Superintendent Deasy. Kayser was Deasy’s greatest critic – and as such may have not been as effective at other things as he could’ve been. McKenna has been the board less than a year. And speaking for the genre: It’s great to see a truly talented old dog learn some new tricks! Valdovic was one of the last to come around and sometimes his leadership of the board was been absent-or-ineffectual – but his experience trumps that of his opponents. Galatzan’s obstreperousness is the biggest catalyst for an “Anyone but Tamar Campaign” …but “anyone” isn’t on the ballot and Scott S. is the strongest one there. The challenge ahead for the Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles is to hire the next superintendent and all the other things in the article above. The voter’s job is to put together 4/7th’s – a potentially deciding majority - of the team to do that.
But mostly the voter’s job is to vote.
By Braden, Age 11 | St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, San Juan Capistrano | from the LA Times Kids Creativity Corner | http://bit.ly/1Dv4Rxd
15 Feb, 2015 :: When you’re bored, the whole world is like a big sheet of paper with nothing on it. Everyone around you seems to be having fun with his sheet of paper, which of course has a wonderful story on it, but you just sit there and stare at the blank sheet of your life, not knowing what to write. I schlump over to my friends. They are snoring under an old oak tree.
“Hello? Guys? Are you awake? Do you want to go out and play ball or something?” No answer.
“These are my kind of people,” I think. “We’re on the same page.” So I plop down and fall asleep with them.
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
UTLA FORMS PICKET LINES, REJECTS LOS ANGELES UNIFIED’S PROPOSAL | http://bit.ly/19kZju4
Why are we not surprised?: HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES NCLB/ESEA REAUTHORIZATION, WHITE HOUSE SLAMS THE BILL | http://bit.ly/19gea9f
CCSA SPONSORED "PARENT TEACHER ADVOCATES" HITS NEW LOW IN ANTI-KAYSER TV SPOT Read: http://tl.gd/n_1skkv90
CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL LAUNCHES BUREAU OF CHILDREN’S JUSTICE: 1st focus is on Foster Youth | http://bit.ly/17q1jR8
NO PROFIT LEFT BEHIND: Pearson's philanthropy entwined with business interests | http://politi.co/17CBGgb
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
NO SCHOOL OR ACTIVITY ON MONDAY 16 FEB: PRESIDENT'S DAY HOLIDAY
[The LAUSD Board of Ed Calendar server was offline at the time of this writing: Check http://www.laschoolboard.org/ for details]
*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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