|4LAKids: Sunday 8•March•2015|
In This Issue:
What if they gave an election and only 8% of the voters came?
We just had this election in L.A. – our home town – and now the question is: What Does It All Mean?
Did Charter School Promoters triumph, as they claim?
Did the Teachers Union triumph, as they claim?
No and no.
What we did learn was the power of running unopposed: George McKenna got 100% of the vote in District #1. Woo-woo! – these pages supported and endorsed Dr. George. The LA Times endorsed George. The charter folk endorsed George. Everybody loves a winner and George has won 3 elections in 9 months …give that man another 18 months in office!
We learned another thing. The question was asked: “Do we have too many piddly little elections in L.A.?” And 77% of the most hard core, “we-vote-in-every-election-no-matter-how-piddly” voters [The few/The obsessed/The 8%] turned out and voted YES!
That, ladies+gentlemen/boys+girls decided that. Decisively!
The rest of it?
Pretty ambiguous. In my council district they haven’t even narrowed it down to the top two finishers. The Community College District? Who knows?
In LAUSD the Charter Proponents almost won. The Teachers Union almost won. It was close-but-no-cigar in Districts 3, 5 and 7. Incumbents were bruised and challengers were bloodied. The cut-men are working feverishly in the corners. The whole thing will be decided later, in the next round. On May 19th.
It’s back to walking precincts.
Back to making calls.
Back to mailing mailers.
Back to tiptoeing around the rules and pretending your right hand doesn’t know what your left hand is doing.
Back to being shocked – ¡shocked! – at what your unaffiliated supporters are up to.
Back to raising money.
But of course it isn’t about the money; it’s about the kids.
And remembering that when it isn’t about the money ….that’s when it’s MOST about the money!
So the special interests and the especially interested will mobilize and fill mailboxes with mailers and there will be lies and half-truths and truth squads and half-truth squads. Bogus statistics will be employed to prove falsehood. The boogeymen of Dr. Deasy+iPads+MiSiS will be used by both sides to abuse the other.
Hopefully a lot of parents and community members will turn out on May 19th for what will be the last odd-year general election in L.A. history. And they/we will decide the issue based on what’s best for our 650,000 special interests – because the school board member sitting in that chair in districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 next August when new kindergarteners enroll – will still be in that chair when that class prepares to matriculate to middle school.
This coming term is the moment to do some long-term-planning and set a course. As the editorial in today’s LA Times says: 5½ Years To Get It Right | http://lat.ms/1FuOyzu. This Board of Ed, these four plus the serving three, will pick the next superintendent. They will set five annual budgets –hopefully not five stop-the-bleeding reactive Band-Aids – but a five year cycle of proactive educational+fiscal reform. Not Disruptive Reform but Authentic Reform. (School Reform, like change, is a constant – we have been practicing it since at least 1830 and Horace Mann …and this leaves Plato, Joseph Lancaster and J.J. Rousseau wondering: “Were we just chopped liver?’)
Because what’s best for kids and teachers and parents and voters and taxpayers is ultimately a single thing.
FALLING UP: The rumors have been swirling since the return of Mr. Cortines: How will he reorganize the District?
It was pretty well accepted that one of the first things to go would be the ISIC ESC (Intensive Support and Innovation Center Education Service Center).Alert the Dept. of Redundancy Dept.: How central can one be while decentralizing centrality?
In many urban school districts in thrall with ©orporate $chool ®eform, placing underperforming/low-scoring (unpopularly called ‘failing’) schools into their own mini-district is called ‘Superintendent’s Districts’ in EdReform jargon. Dr. Deasy created ISIC in this/his-own image –but decided not to affix his title to it.
(This may be unkindly likened to wiping the fingerprints off the candlestick/revolver/knife/rope/poison.)
It is pretty well conceded by the unknown knowledgeable who gather around water coolers in break rooms and the Beaudry Cafe that Supt. Cortines is not a fan of the “superintendent’s district” concept+practice …and that ISIC would be soon to go.
Other strikes against the ISIC program:
• ISIC schools (¿why is one is tempted to write iSiC?) are spread across the 720 square miles of LAUSD; everyplace is too far from everywhere else. The chain of supply+command is overextended. Logistics are untenable. Distance disconnects.
• The expected rapid turnaround of programs wasn’t.
• The MiSiS Crisis hammered ISIC especially hard. Jefferson High School, an ISIC school, became the MiSiS poster child and Crisis ground zero. – and the intensive innovation and support never materialized. The Courts and California Dept. of Education got involved. The quick fix cost $1.1 million. Dr. Deasy left town, never to return.
Last week it was announced that the ISIC superintendent, Tommy Chang, had been named superintendent of Boston Schools [http://bit.ly/1FruwWF] and 4LAKids wishes Dr. Chang and Boston well. Both are going to need it. See MORE ADVICE FOR BOSTON’S NEW SUPERINTENDENT [following].
I have always found Tommy Chang to be personable and forthcoming and much more accessible than others in Deasy’s inner circle – but I also remember what Casey Stengel said about nice guys. Chang didn’t last long enough at ISIC to really prove himself and the ISIC program was Deasy’s baby.
The Boston Globe heaps praise on Chang [http://bit.ly/1wPq4S9].
Sorry Tommy, 4LAKids isn’t about to go that far! Plus I’ve received angry email from the Jefferson community who choose to disagree with my praise for (and your handling of) the Nava College Prep Academy last week At least one person views it as Us v. Them, with NCPA as an unwelcome co-locator on the Jefferson campus.
I suspect that you’re looking forward to working in Massachusetts, #11 in per pupil funding at $13,361 per student. But I note the Boston media gives you credit (and sets expectations) for achieving success with less money!
Based on the way that Dr. Deasy catastrophically mishandled the MiSiS Crisis at Jefferson once it was his problem I hold him ultimately responsible there. His “non mea culpa” letter to the court was a confession of gross incompetence, total disconnect, utter cluelessness and worse.
John Deasy, the master of “Falling (or Failing) Up”, whose best practice has always been in dropping-the-bread and having it always land ‘butter-side-up’, originally came from Boston. Maybe LAUSD, in sending Chang to Boston returns the favor. Or maybe it’s all just a revolution of the Great Mandala.
To go all biblical, in Leviticus two goats are selected for sacrifice to the Lord. One is deemed to be pure and sacrificed. The priests assign all the sins of the community to the other – the scapegoat – and set it free wander to in the wilderness. It’s a lovely metaphor; feel free to cast the roles however you wish.
“We're not guilty, he was crazy
THIS WEEKEND is not just the 50th anniversary of that Bloody Sunday in Selma; it is also the 50th anniversary of the landing of the first US ground forces in Viet Nam. And the 50th anniversary of the death of silent screen star Harold Lloyd.
IN OTHER SPECULATION ABOUT THE CHANGES TO COME: Apparently ESC North (The San Fernando Valley) will be split into two ESCs. For all the logistical reasons this makes sense – but one would hope that it’s not divided in such a way that one of the new ESCs is overwhelmingly in Board District #3 (currently Galatzan) and the other in the other in Board District 6 (Ratliff). School Board members are accountable for policy, budgets and superintendents, not turf.
“CALIFORNIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS once viewed lifetime healthcare coverage for employees as a cheap alternative to pay raises. That decision is coming back to haunt school leaders…” - http://lat.ms/1A8EbxP
“SOME THINGS HAVE CHANGED since that awful day two years ago when a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and killed 20 first-graders and six employees.
“But some things have not changed, including the problem of gun violence in schools, members of an advisory commission established after the shootings said Friday as they wrapped up two years of work and presented their final report to Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.” | http://lat.ms/1E3Oo2l
GODSPEED: JOHN MOCKLER (1941-2015) – It has been said again+again that there are only one or two people in Sacramento who truly understand Public Education Finance. If there was one it was Mockler. As the Sac Bee says, "He left deep footprints".| http://bit.ly/1zY8JCn
LAUSD HAD ITS FIRST MEASLES CASE ON FRIDAY. The student attends Cal Burke High School, an alternative school on the campus of Panorama City High School. The initial data shows that the school has a very high vaccination rate – within the numbers that create community or “herd immunity” – so at the school this case should be an isolated instance, not an outbreak. Hopefully the infected student has not exposed siblings or other children to the disease outside the school setting.
Again, Measles is extremely contagious but usually not dangerous except in infants+toddlers too young to be immunized (under one year old) – or anyone with naturally or medically compromised immunity. Pertussis (whooping cough) – which is prevented by the same vaccine – is nearing epidemic proportions in LA County because not enough people have been vaccinated.
Let’s get those shots everyone!
¡Onward/Adelante! – smf
…and you did set your clock ahead for Daylight Savings Time, right?
MORE ADVICE FOR BOSTON’S NEW SUPERINTENDENT
By Yvonne Abraham, Boston Globe Columnist | http://bit.ly/1wPsb8O
March 05, 2015 :: Congrats, Tommy Chang!
Being superintendent of Boston’s public schools is a wonderful, maddening rollercoaster of a job. You’re probably feeling pretty nervous today, as the reality of your new responsibilities — not to mention the prospect of moving from sunny LA to this frozen hell — sinks in.
But take comfort in this: No matter how great your achievements here, boatloads of Bostonians will inevitably deride you. You can’t make one of this city’s many constituencies happy without ticking off another.
They’re all probably lavishing you with (conflicting) advice right now. Might I add my own? If you want a grasp of the problems you need to solve here, look not just to the system’s failing schools, but to some of its brightest stars, too. There, you’ll see success met not with rewards, but with bureaucratic and budgetary roadblocks.
You’ve no doubt heard of the Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury. After all, it’s a national model for improving the educations of the poor city kids a lot of people assume are beyond help. Under visionary head Andrew Bott, that failing school — avoided by families and teachers despite a sparkling new facility — transformed itself into a mecca for dedicated staffers, and for parents desperate to give their kids chances they never had. The school now offers kids art, and high expectations, and some of the biggest academic gains in the state (though many of its students still have a long way to go).
Its reward? This year, funding that falls $700,000 — 10 percent — below its needs. The gap comes because of rising salaries, as the young teachers Bott recruited several years ago gain experience, and qualify for higher pay; because of a change in the way the district defines poverty, which determines how much money each student brings into the building; because of undersubscribed (so, underfunded) special programs for English language learners and others for which the school nevertheless has to provide teachers; and other bureaucratic peculiarities too Byzantine to bore you with before you get here.
The Roxbury school’s current principal (Bott left for the saner Brookline system) is looking at eliminating ten staff positions, including six teachers. She’ll have to rethink the intensive literacy programs that have been keys to student success at Orchard Gardens. There will not be as many small-group learning sessions. For supporters, it’s death by a thousand cuts.
“It is maddening and mind blowing to me that the district isn’t celebrating the success of Orchard Gardens, but instead proclaiming ‘Mission accomplished,’ ” said Michelle Boyers, an education reform specialist who is on the school’s board, and is convinced the city has turned its back on the school.
Interim superintendent John McDonough vehemently disagrees. “Those who would say we are retreating from our commitment to Orchard Gardens are sorely mistaken,” said McDonough, whom you’ll succeed in July. He says the district has protected the longer days, the clear mission, and the partnerships responsible for the school’s success. He says the problems faced by Orchard Gardens beset all of the city’s schools, to some degree.
We can’t let this happen anywhere. It’s your job to make Orchard Gardens whole, sir. And all of the other schools — successful and failing — where principals are being forced to make agonizing decisions that could endanger hard-won gains. You’ve got to find the money — control labor costs, rein in the most expensive school bus system in the nation, reform food services, and yes, shut down some schools and consolidate others.
The good news is, McDonough and others have started on some of this, and they’ve got the bruises to prove it. Which brings us to the bad news: All of the things you need to do are going to inflict some pain. People will be very, very angry.
But let’s think happy thoughts, shall we? It’s months till you have to deal with this stuff. Bask in the glow of your new appointment — and that California sunshine.
By the time you start, we’ll have finally stopped complaining about the snow. Which will free us up to pummel you.
Your new job will never be as much fun as it is right now.
GAUCHOS WEAR PINK? SOMEONE MUST BE PUNISHED! – 3 stories +smf’s 2¢
►NARBONNE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM BOOTED FROM CITY FINALS FOR THINKING PINK
By Matt Lopez, Daily Breeze |http://bit.ly/1KDk1pY
3/02/15, 5:21 PM PST :: Narbonne High School’s girls basketball team won’t get its hard-earned shot at an L.A. City Section Open Division championship this weekend, all because it decided to “Think Pink” with its uniforms in its semifinal win.
The L.A. City Section announced Monday that Narbonne would forfeit its 57-52 semifinal win Saturday over View Park and be immediately removed from the playoffs because the team wore pink letters and numbers on their jerseys.
Narbonne had been scheduled to face Palisades in the City final on Saturday night.
According to Article 1305 in the L.A. City Section Goldbook, “Uniform colors may only be a combination of the official school colors as listed in the Board of Managers Gold Book.” Penalties include probation and forfeiture of contests.
Because pink is not a school color at Narbonne, the Gauchos needed to obtain a waiver to wear it.
Narbonne coach Victoria Sanders said she didn’t realize the team needed to apply for a waiver, and that the pink numbers were simply to show solidarity with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, which hosts “Play 4 Kay” every February to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund for breast cancer research. Yow was a former North Carolina State women’s basketball coach who died in 2009.
“Everybody’s baffled, it just doesn’t make sense,” Sanders said. “If you’re going to punish someone, punish me. I’ll take it. Tell me I can’t coach the game, but don’t take it away from the girls.”
Even more confusing for Sanders and her team was that Narbonne wore the same jerseys in a 60-52 win over University High on Feb. 20 in the first round of the playoffs.
“Nobody said a word about it then,” Sanders said.
The City Section said in its ruling that Narbonne would not only be removed from the City finals, but would also not be allowed to participate in the CIF State playoffs.
“I was outraged when I heard the news,” said Chris Cuaron, whose daughter, Nneka Anyaoha, is a senior on the team. “As I got a chance to read the rule I understood what it said, but what angered me even more is they allowed the girls to play in those uniforms in the first game. The officials had the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, you guys can’t wear that’ and they never did.”
Narbonne players were struggling to come to grips with the ruling late Monday.
“At first I thought it was a joke, but it’s completely devastating to have it end like this,” said Narbonne All-City guard Latecia Smith. “The punishment seems so harsh when it’s not the players’ fault. If we had known, we would have never disregarded the rules.”
Sanders said the school tried to explain the situation to the City Section, but was unsuccessful, particularly because the program already was on probation after playing a playoff game last year with an ineligible player. That incident led to a similar ending to last season for Narbonne, which was booted from the second round of the Southern California Regionals.
Narbonne will be replaced by View Park in the City final.
Palisades coach Torino Johnson said he was “in disbelief” when he heard the news.
“It has nothing to do with us, it’s nothing we did, but you feel torn apart for the young ladies who won’t be able to participate,” Johnson said. “But as a coach and leader we have rules and have to be held accountable to those rules.”
L.A. City Section Commissioner John Aguirre did not return a call for comment Monday afternoon.
►NARBONNE GIRLS' BASKETBALL REINSTATED, COACH BARRED OVER PINK ON JERSEYS
By Eric Sondheimer | Los Angeles Times | http://lat.ms/1weCzWN
March 3, 509 PM :: Narbonne High girls' basketball team thought it was doing a nice thing, wearing uniforms with pink letters and pink numbers to acknowledge breast cancer awareness.
Instead, their good deed got them punished — and nearly disqualified.
The team was reinstated to the City Section basketball playoffs on Tuesday by a three-person appeals panel, a decision that came a day after City Section officials had bounced Narbonne from competition because it violated a rule that prohibits teams from wearing anything but their official school colors. Narbonne's are green, gold and black.
Narbonne will face Palisades High in the section championship game Saturday at Cal State Dominguez Hills, but the Gauchos will be without Coach Victoria Sanders.
Sanders has been suspended for the remainder of the season as part of a trade-off that allowed her team to continue. That means she cannot guide her team in the title game or in the state playoffs should Narbonne advance. Also, the girls' basketball program will remain on probation through next season and the school will not be allowed to host a girls' basketball playoff game at Narbonne's home court in 2016.
"I can accept it," Sanders said of the punishment.
In a statement, the appeals panel said it reinstated the team as an attempt "to meet the spirit of the rule and place kids first."
High school competition in the state is governed by the California Interscholastic Federation. The City Section is the only one of the CIF's 10 sections that has a rule on uniform colors. Earlier in the school year, the North Hollywood High girls' volleyball team forfeited a match because it wore uniforms that were entirely black.
At what point does it lessen the honor to dilute playoff competition?
Roger Blake, executive director of the CIF, praised the appeals panel decision. In a statement, he said the original punishment was "not appropriate" and encouraged the section's leadership to review all of its bylaws and penalties to assure that any sanctions fit the infraction.
The decision to disqualify Narbonne was made by City Section Commissioner John Aguirre, who said the school's athletic director and principal were informed of the uniform violation at halftime of last Saturday's semifinal game against View Park. The Gauchos, the top-seeded team in the playoffs, won that game, 57-52.
Narbonne had worn the same uniforms in a quarterfinal win over University High and no one lodged a complaint. But an assistant section commissioner in attendance at the View Park game noted the violation there.
Commissioner Aguirre felt his hands were tied. "This is what the rule tells me," he said of his decision to order a forfeit and Narbonne's elimination. "I'm going to be consistent."
Coach Sanders said she was unaware Narbonne needed special permission to wear pink on its uniforms. "I was under the impression we were able to do it," she said. "I didn't know we had to fill out a waiver."
Several players were attending the funeral of a teammate's grandmother Monday when told their team had been disqualified.
Aguirre said Narbonne's "lack of communication to follow protocol" was a factor in his original decision. The school was already on probation because the girls' basketball team used an ineligible player during last year's state playoffs. That player received two technical fouls in a game, which automatically disqualified her from participation in the next game. Instead, she played.
"Administrators are responsible for making sure their teams and kids are doing the right things," Aguirre said.
Mark Pilon, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which raises funds for breast cancer research, was not aware of Narbonne's plight until he was told by a reporter.
"It's very unfortunate," he said, "this happened to young girls in sports."
Now, instead of Narbonne being disappointed, another team has had its championship hopes crushed.
View Park, which was told Monday it would be playing for the City title, learned Tuesday it would not.
Coach Corry Thomas said some of his players were upset. He was pragmatic.
"We didn't have the right to be in the championship," he said. "They have to understand they had their chance."
►HIGH SCHOOL COACH TAKES THE HEAT, AND TEACHES HER TEAM ABOUT CHARACTER
By Scott Simon | NPR Weekend Edition Saturday | http://n.pr/1EC84vv
Listen to the Story | 2 min 35 sec | http://n.pr/1He8BmW
March 07, 2015 8:25 AM ET :: Gauchos don't wear pink.
The Narbonne Gauchos high school girls' basketball team in southern California will play for the section championship against the Palisades High School Dolphins tonight.
But they began the week on the bench, tossed from the championships because in their slender victory last Saturday over the View Park High School Knights, the Gauchos wore pink.
They put pink letters and numerals on their uniforms, as part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association "Play 4 Kay" cancer awareness program.
It's a pink thing they've seen pro athletes do. Narbonne had worn pink in their previous game, a win over the University High Wildcats; no one said pink was prohibited.
But school conference rules require a team to wear only their official school colors: green, gold, and black for the Gauchos. Just last September, the North Hollywood High Huskies girls' volleyball team had to forfeit a victory for wearing black uniforms, when their school colors are blue, grey, and white.
It is the kind of rule that may sound small-minded and senseless. Pink can't make a player run faster or jump higher. But high school districts these days have to worry that an athlete, even inadvertently, may display gang colors.
LA City Section Commissioner John Aguirre disqualified the Gauchos from the playoffs. "This is what the rule tells me," Aguirre told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm going to be consistent." Such rules may often appear to be consistently ridiculous. But abiding by rules, even if you dispute them, is part of what high school sports is supposed to teach students.
Just as the team's months of toil, tears, hopes and sweat were about to be dashed, the Gauchos' coach, Victoria Sanders, made a suggestion.
"If you're going to punish someone, punish me," she told the conference appeals panel. "I'll take it. Tell me I can't coach the game, but don't take it away from the girls."
And the panel thought that made sense — "to meet the spirit of the rule and place kids first," they said. They suspended coach Sanders for the rest of the season. But the Narbonne Gauchos will get to play on.
Coach Sanders said, "I can accept it."
In a time when sports often seem to show youngsters all the wrong things about life, this decision about the Gauchos seems to do something right. The rules are upheld. But youngsters won't have to pay for the mistakes of adults. And a coach showed her team how real men and women accept responsibility.
●●smf’s 2¢: “Such rules,” Scott Simon says, “may often appear to be consistently ridiculous. But abiding by rules, even if you dispute them, is part of what high school sports is supposed to teach students.” I might’ve bought that, begrudgingly, if it wasn’t for the “…but high school districts these days have to worry that an athlete, even inadvertently, may display gang colors”.
Gang colors? Really? PINK?
Would that gang we’re afraid of be the “Pink Ladies” in “Grease?”
The team uniform color rule is only a rule in the City Section, not the Southern Section (all the area schools, public+private except LAUSD) or the California Interscholastic Federation. And the City Section is only LAUSD.
Let the kids play! And rather than throwing her under the bus, let their coach coach ‘em.
But alas, Cinderella was not to be. Congratulations to the City Champion Palisades Dolphins, who defeated the Narbonne Gauchos (in white and green) in an exciting and well-played game Saturday night: 60-56.
Please read the article following. The gangs and the terrorists and the things that go bump in the light have won.
The kids have lost.
And small-minded+senseless/insensitive “the rules are the rules” adults like the “assistant section commissioner in attendance at the View Park game” are the ones enforcing the “peace”.
CRIME IS AT ITS LOWEST LEVELS SINCE THE 1950's, BUT EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, FEAR OF THE WORLD OUTSIDE OUR DOOR NARROWS THE CIRCLE OF OUR LIVES. WHY?
Invisibilia: LEARNING FEAR :: From NPR: World With No Fear | originally broadcast January 15, 2015/Rebroadcast March 6, 2015 | http://n.pr/1BeQ0X6
●●smf’s 2¢: The last couple of days I have been reading essays by middle schoolers (why are they not scholars?) about the effect of violence on their lives. What I am reading is that these sixth, seventh and eighth graders – 12, 13 and 14 year olds – are deeply touched by violence, not every day but nevertheless in their everyday lives. It is palpable. In school. In their neighborhoods. Sometimes in their homes. They see it, they feel it, and they fear it.
Or they have been taught by others to fear it.
The following is from transcript of a radio program that aired Friday night. Apropos of everything in particular.
Listen 24:43 | http://n.pr/1EYj8U1
This is INVISIBILIA, stories about the invisible forces that shape human behavior.
LULU MILLER, HOST:
I'm Lulu Miller.
SPIEGEL: And I'm Alix Spiegel. And today we are talking about fear, and like many stories that involve fear, this one begins in the woods.
(SOUNDBITE OF ROGER HART FILM)
SPIEGEL: This is tape from a film which shows two little children, ages 4 and 5, together in a clearing in the forest. They're alone, two tiny bodies dwarfed by tall, dark trees. Close by in the brush, a man is watching them. By his side, there's a camera. But really, the children don't even seem to notice the man. They're too busy, absorbed in one of the most central, sacred activities of human childhood...
(SOUNDBITE OF ROGER HART FILM)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: (Imitating fart noises).
SPIEGEL: ...The production of fart noises. Now, this film is all about the fart noises, in a way. The man filming them from the trees was an environmental psychologist who was interested in what children do when they're alone because at that time - this film was taken in the 1970s - that work had literally never been done before.
ROGER HART: They just hadn't been studying children in natural settings.
SPIEGEL: This is Roger Hart, the environmental psychologist in the trees.
HART: Almost nothing was known about how children even explored the world, and then I came across a book on baboons. And I realized that we knew more about baboons' everyday behavior than we did about children's behavior outside of school.
SPIEGEL: And so you wanted to study children the way Jane Goodall studied baboons?
SPIEGEL: So Roger found himself a small town in Vermont, set himself up there and started tracking all of the children in the town.
HART: There were 86 children between 3 and 12 years of age, and I worked with all of them, all of the waking hours for two and a half years, I was with them. They were my life, these kids.
SPIEGEL: Roger would follow the kids throughout the day, documenting everywhere the children went by themselves.
HART: Show me the places that are dangerous. Show me the places that are scary. Take me to where you're not supposed to go, and show me where that is.
SPIEGEL: He then took that information and literally made maps...
HART: OK. Let me just find the chapter.
SPIEGEL: ...Physical maps that measured the distance each child was allowed to go by themselves and what the average was for every age group. And what Roger discovered was that these kids had remarkable freedom. Even 4- or 5-year-olds, like the ones in the woods, traveled unsupervised throughout their neighborhoods, and by the time they were 10, most of the kids had the run of the entire town.
HART: They had more than the run of the town. Some of them would go to the lake, which would be on the edge of town, and the lake, you'd think, would be a place that would be out of bounds.
SPIEGEL: But the parents weren't worried about the lake or their kids being abducted.
HART: Abduction wasn't something I ever heard anybody talk about then.
SPIEGEL: So there was no stranger danger?
SPIEGEL: The point is that these parents weren't particularly motivated by fear.
SPIEGEL: Which brings us to today. See, several years ago, Roger went back to the exact same town to document the children of the children that he had originally tracked in the '70s, and when he asked the new generation of kids to show him where they played alone, what he found floored him.
HART: They just didn't have very far to take me, just walking around their property, really.
SPIEGEL: The huge circle of freedom on the maps had grown tiny.
HART: There is no free range outdoors. Even when they're much, much older, parents now say, I need to know where you are. I need to know where you are at all times.
SPIEGEL: What's odd about all of this, Roger says, is that the town is not more dangerous than it was before. There's literally no more crime today than there was 40 years ago.
HART: You know, 35 years later, it's remarkably the same.
SPIEGEL: Same physically?
HART: Same physically and demographically, in terms of living in the town, very similar.
SPIEGEL: So why has the invisible leash between parent and child tightened so much? Roger says it was absolutely clear from his interviews. The reason was fear.
ANDREW COLE: You know, you just never know who's out there and what these crazy people are doing.
MILLER: Now, this frightened parent is actually somebody you've already met before.
(SOUNDBITE OF ROGER HART FILM)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: (Imitating fart noises).
MILLER: Andrew Cole, the very little boy playing unattended in the woods at age 4, all grown up. Even he told Roger he was too afraid to let his kids roam free.
COLE: I think when we were children, you know, my parents wouldn't worry if I was gone for an hour, you know, or up in the woods. But here, if my girls are gone for five minutes, I start to, you know, think, OK somebody could be turning around at the end of the road and - or, you know, whatever. So that makes a big difference.
SPIEGEL: And what Roger found in this small town, you see it again and again across America. Crime is at its lowest levels nationally since the 1950s, but everywhere you look, fear of the world outside our door narrows the circle of our lives. Why?
RALPH ADOLPHS: Are you rolling? Yeah. He's rolling. So I guess we're ready.
SPIEGEL: This is Ralph Adolphs, a professor at Caltech who spent decades studying fear in the human brain. And when we were talking, he said something that really struck me. He said our overall fear threshold - that is what triggers our fear - is something that evolution has set and set at a high level for a very good reason.
ADOLPHS: You know, if I just hear a slight creak in my house at night, I feel fear, and 99.9 percent of the time, there's no burglar in the house. And it's all safe. But nonetheless, I felt fear. So you have a lot of false positives. But that's as it should be because you don't want to miss any.
SPIEGEL: The problem, Adolphs says, is just that modern life - it's constantly triggering our fear in all kinds of ways that our natural world didn't.
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)
SPIEGEL: This is the sound of the first mass murder captured on film in American history. It was recorded in Austin, Texas, in 1966 after a lone shooter named Charles Whitman stormed the balcony of the clock tower in the middle of the University of Texas campus and started firing at random.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: There must have been a hit that last time. We hear people outside of our building in an area where we can't now look safely saying, let's help that boy. Does he need help? Someone must be down.
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Ricochet bullets bouncing off the top of the...
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)
SPIEGEL: It is chilling to see this footage - the puffs of gun smoke floating from the deck of the clock tower, the people falling to the sidewalk in the hot Texas sun and not getting up. It's terrible. But today, of course, it's not exactly novel.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORT)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: This morning in Michigan, police have arrested a man who's suspected of chopping off up his wife.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORT)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: A stranger seized a child.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORT)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: Three men accused of abducting and holding the women hostage.
SPIEGEL: Horror inflicted on other people surrounds us. And Adolphs argues that because of our wiring, we are just not set up to ignore it.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORT)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #4: A serial killer...
SPIEGEL: And so it distorts our experience of the world, activating our fear when we don't need it.
(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORT)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #4: And police say it's only a matter of time before he strikes again.
SPIEGEL: Essentially, Adolphs is saying that a lot of our modern First World fear is totally unnecessary.
ADOLPHS: I think not being able to experience fear is mostly lethal if you're in the wild. But in today's world, I mean, I'm sitting here in my office, and, you know, other than a microphone in my face, there's not a particular threat going on. So our environment, which of course isn't the environment in which we evolved, you know, there just aren't that many hazards around.
SPIEGEL: Which got Lulu and I thinking. What would happen to us if we somehow disappeared our fear?
This is INVISIBILIA.
MILLER: I'm Lulu Miller.
SPIEGEL: And I'm Alix Spiegel
CANOGA PARK HIGH SCHOOL WITHDRAWS PETITION TO BREAK AWAY FROM LAUSD: Educators have abandoned their effort to make the 100-year-old school an “Indepen
By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News | http://bit.ly/1EDpR5v
Posted: 03/06/15, 12:14 PM PST :: Days before a vote that would have allowed the Western San Fernando Valley’s oldest high school to leave Los Angeles Unified after 100 years together, backers pulled their petition.
Canoga Park High School educators behind the effort to break away in favor of forming an independent charter with another ex-LAUSD school, El Camino Real Charter High School, have withdrawn their petition, district officials said Friday.
Teacher Dennis Clancy said the petition was withdrawn because district staff recommended board members vote to deny the effort at their meeting next Tuesday. Clancy said educators will re-tool their proposal, addressing concerns raised by district staff, and return to the district for approval. A time frame, he said, has yet to be set.
“We’re not defeated, we’re not bitter,” Clancy said. “We still want to create the best Canoga Park High School we can, and we want to continue that effort.”
Late last year, 73 percent of the campus’ 71 educators voted to leave LAUSD control. Canoga Park High has 1,693 students.
School district staff cited insufficient planning in their recommendation the school board stop Canoga Park from becoming a charter. Among other problems highlighted by district staff, the petition did not adequately specify how groups of students would be served, including English-language learners.
Additionally, governance of the proposed charter was questioned by LAUSD staff, who faulted plans for El Camino’s board to represent parents and educators of Canoga Park High.
“In summary, petitioners have not yet laid the solid foundation necessary to develop and present a fully formed and comprehensive proposal to convert Canoga Park High School into an independent charter school operated by El Camino Real Charter High School that is ready to be implemented and is custom-designed to meet the specific needs and interests of the students, families, and community of Canoga Park,” according to documents drafted by LAUSD staff for the school board’s vote Tuesday.
Canoga Park High educators spoke passionately last month about the need to break away from LAUSD as a means to improve learning at the first of two public hearings in front of the school board. The second of two public meetings, and first and only vote, was scheduled for Tuesday.
By forming an independent charter separate from LAUSD, Canoga Park High would have more control over its budget, receiving revenue directly from the state of California.
Canoga Park would have become the 18th independent charter in LAUSD and 11th in the San Fernando Valley.
●●smf’s 2¢: Also see the “Here We Go Again” heading in the Feb 8 4LAKids [http://bit.ly/1ErqLna] wherein the independence of an independent charter totally run by another charter school was questioned. Though it needs to be remembered that in 2011 former (now current) Superintendent Ramon Cortines told the Associated Press that he expects the charter conversion trend to continue and foresees the day when the district's enrollment of 650,000 will plummet to 400,000.| http://huff.to/1Bjq5fD
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
SANDY HOOK GROUP'S FINAL REPORT CALLS FOR CHANGE: 'We must do something' - LA Times http://lat.ms/1E3Oo2l
UH-OH! “School districts once viewed lifetime healthcare coverage for employees as a cheap alternative to pay raises" http://lat.ms/1A8EbxP
Geronimo: A CALL TO ARMS http://bit.ly/1BaNuzR
DID MONEY BUY ELECTORAL LOVE IN LAUSD BOARD RACES? Kinda/Sorta (3 stories) | http://bit.ly/1wY1BVh
ELECTION SETS STAGE FOR L.A. UNIFIED BATTLE BETWEEN CHARTER SUPPORTERS AND TEACHER’S UNION | http://bit.ly/1GZwbE4
TEACHER UNION WILL CONSIDER SUPPORTING GALATZAN’S OPPONENT IN LAUSD RUNOFF ELECTION | http://bit.ly/1CBoVzh
Federal Court Rules That Principal Might Have Reported Parents for Child Abuse as Retaliation | http://www.realcleareducation.com/articles/2015/03/03/principal_reported_parents_for_child_abuse_as_retaliation_1164.html …
Chris Christie vowed to remake Newark’s schools. That hasn’t happened. | http://wapo.st/1NdaSDa
Narbonne girls' basketball reinstated, coach barred over pink on jerseys | http://fw.to/CD7hhDH
LAUSD's ISIC Supe Tommy Chang named Boston Superintendent | http://fw.to/cszmOaZ
LAUSD Board Election Results: What does it mean? | http://lat.ms/1BSErY1 smf/4LAKids: It means there's lots o' work to do!
OBIT+GODSPEED: JOHN MOCKLER – Premier Education Consultant, dead at 73 http://bit.ly/1zY8JCn
It is said that there was only 1 or 2 people in Sacramento who understood Ed Finance. If there was 1 it was Mockler.http://bit.ly/1M423rY
JOHN MOCKLER, SACRAMENTO’S TOP EDUCATION FINANCE GURU, DIES AT 73 | http://bit.ly/1M423rY
WHEN IS A TEACHER A COP? + IT WAS ALL ABOUT A CHILD AT RISK | http://bit.ly/1GgzJEo
GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR NCLB REAUTHORIZATION? | http://bit.ly/1F5SMNU
STATE LABOR BOARD SETS DATES TO MEDIATE BETWEEN L.A. UNIFIED AND TEACHER’S UNION + smf’s 2¢ | http://bit.ly/1CqRj7l
NARBONNE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM KICKED OUT OF PLAYOFFS FOR “ANTI-CANCER” PINK ON UNIFORMS | http://bit.ly/1FSmWV5
"L.A. SCHOOL BOARD EXPANDING ROLE BEYOND EDUCATION INTO 'SOCIAL JUSTICE'” - a turf war Bd of Ed v. Times Ed Board? http://lat.ms/18iid3D
Scott Folsom @4LAKids - Mar 3: BE AMONG THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE VOTERS: Today's the Day to vote in L.A. VOTE EARLY+OFTEN McKENNA KAYSER SCHMERELSON VLADOVIC
¡OMG! - A typo in Sunday's 4LAKids blogpost. VOTE FOR SCOTT SCHMERELSON IN LAUSD DISTRICT 3 (not 2!)
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• REGULAR BOARD MEETING INCLUDING CLOSED SESSION ITEMS – Tues. March 10, 2015 - 10:00 a.m. -
• REGULAR BOARD MEETING – Tues. March 10, 2015 - 1:00 p.m.
• BUDGET, FACILITIES, AUDIT COMMITTEE – Thurs. March 12, 2015 - 11 a.m.
^ all above in the Boardroom at 333 S. Beaudry ^
• DIANE E. WATSON CAREER TRAINING CENTER RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY
Thursday Mar 12, 2015 - Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Diane E. Watson Career Training Center
3833 S. Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org • 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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