Sunday, April 26, 2015


4LAKids: Sunday 26•Apr•2015
In This Issue:
 •  AALA explains it all for you in 400 words or less: LAUSD AND UTLA REACH A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT …but what about “Me too”?
 •  “VOTERIA”: AN ELECTION DAY LOTTERY DEMEANS THE VALUE OF VOTING – Pseudo Political Science, taken to an illogical extreme
 •  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.
[driv●uh n]

past participle of drive.
being under compulsion, as to succeed or excel

It’s always interesting or amusing or something when different folks come up with different conclusions from similar data. I often fear that we are being data driven, like Thelma+Louise, off some cliff in pursuit of vastly differing cinematic endings.

Two headlines from last week:

Zahira Torres | LA Times |
April 12, 2015 :: Latino voters consider California's standardized tests an important measure of student growth and school performance, according to a new poll that shows the state's largest minority group also feels strongly about teacher accountability and investing additional…

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | KPCC |
April 23, 2015 :: According to the nonpartisan research group Public Policy Institute of California, 55 percent of public school parents surveyed say they have not heard at all about the new tests that public schools are giving students grade 3 to 8 and grade 11 starting this spring.

Essentially the same questions, infinitely different conclusions. It would be wonderful to conclude that those Latino voters were somehow better informed…perhaps the Translation Units and Communications Departments at the school districts are overachieving?

For the most part, the numbers from the two polls agree – but the interpreters of the data are looking for different patterns in the bottom of the teacup.

The first difference to note is that The Times cites+polls “Voters” – and KPCC/PPIC refers to “Parents”.

We need to remember that the customers of public education are parents – who tend to be demographically Brown – while the supporters of public education, fiscally and at the ballot box, tend to be a little Whiter. If I were to go all cynical and capitalist and register as a Republican I might say that those voter-taxpayers are the true “customers” – and that parents are only providers of raw materials – but I’m not going to. But hold that thought.

The folks who did the parent survey, the Public Policy Institute of California, headline their findings as: “MOST PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS UNFAMILIAR WITH NEW ONLINE TESTS: High Hopes But Little Knowledge About Common Core, New Funding Formula” – with two notable bullets:

I refer all 4LAKids readers to the entire survey [PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians & Education|] - but let’s dig a little deeper into the questions The Times and KPCC are spinning here:

From the actual survey:
►PARENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENTS: In the latest chapter of a long history of standardized testing in California, students are taking their first Smarter Balanced tests, which are designed to assess their proficiency in math, reading, and writing. The Smarter Balanced assessments are a new set of tests designed to measure whether students are proficient in math, reading, and writing at their grade levels. Following the implementation of the Common Core standards, these new tests are being administered statewide for the first time this spring.

●How familiar are public school parents with the Smarter Balanced tests?

A majority of public school parents (55%) say they have heard nothing at all about the new tests. Only 8 percent have heard a lot about the Smarter Balanced assessments, while 36 percent have heard a little. Latino public school parents (54%) are much more likely than white public school parents (32%) to say they have heard about the Smarter Balanced tests.

Unlike the paper-based tests they are replacing, the Smarter Balanced tests are administered online. There has been some concern as to whether all schools have the computers, Internet bandwidth, and technology staff necessary to effectively administer these new computer-based tests.

●The question was: “California public school students will participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment testing this spring. Thinking about the Smarter Balanced Assessment testing, how confident are you that your local public schools have the computers and technology resources they need to administer the test—are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?”

Seven in 10 public school parents are very (29%) or somewhat (42%) confident that their local public schools have the technology resources needed. Notably, public school parents with incomes over $40,000 are twice as likely as those with lower incomes to say they are not too or not at all confident (35% to 16%).

►STUDENT TESTING: Californians are divided about whether standardized tests in general are an accurate indicator of a student’s progress and abilities.

●The Question was: “How confident are you that standardized tests are an accurate indicator of a student's progress and abilities?”

Half are very (12%) or somewhat confident (39%) in these tests, while 46 percent are not too (26%) or not at all (20%) confident. Findings were similar in April 2013 (53%), but confidence today is lower than in April 2006, when 63 percent of Californians were at least somewhat confident. Among public school parents, 62 percent are very (19%) or somewhat (43%) confident in standardized tests. Latinos (64%) and Asians (59%) are more likely to express confidence than whites (42%) and blacks (38%). Fifty percent of Democrats, 46 percent of Republicans, and 43 percent of independents are at least somewhat confident about the accuracy of standardized tests.

So The Times story is that Latinos are well informed and convinced while KPCC and PPIC and others like EdSource [] say that most people aren’t informed at all.

And confidence is slipping.

LAST OCT 31, Moody’s Investors Service - a bond rating agency - issued a report: GROWTH OF CHARTER SCHOOLS EXACERBATES LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ENROLLMENT – that said in part:

“...On October 22, KIPP Schools, the nation's largest network of charter schools, announced plans to more than double its enrollment in Los Angeles by 2020. The continued expansion of independent charter schools is credit negative for the Los Angeles Unified School District (Aa2 stable), because it will exacerbate the district's current trend of declining enrollment. LAUSD, the state's largest school district, has experienced a 20% decline in enrollment over the last 10 years, more than 40% of which is due to attrition to independent charter schools.

• Declining enrollment means lost revenues for school districts under the State of California's (Aa3 stable) revenue allocation formula.
• For every 1% reduction in enrollment, the district's revenues also fall approximately 1%.
• KIPP intends to more than double enrollment within the jurisdiction of LAUSD, from 4,000 students to 9,000 students, by 2020.” |

The full Moody’s report is behind a pay firewall and I have yet to locate anyone at the District who will share with me as an Oversight Committee member – let alone 4LAKids readers.

ON FRIDAY THE TIMES endorsed Tamar Galatzan and Ref Rodriguez for school board and got it wrong about George McKenna being on the ballot in the May 19th election | [Note to The Times: McKenna already won, he ran unopposed in the March primary and got 100% of the vote!]

The Times endorsement of Galatzan wasn’t quite as filled with misgivings as their misgiving-filled-one for her was back in the primary. [] In the editorial board’s opinion her knee-jerk support for John Deasy and failure to ask hard questions grows more palatable with the passage of time …much like their own.

They endorsed another candidate against Bennett Kayser in the primary, he didn’t make the cut so they’ve pivoted to Rodriguez. They say it shouldn’t be a race for-or-against charter schools or the teachers union …but they are the LA Times and we all know how they feel about about charter schools and labor unions!

The Times also endorsed Richard Vladovic without a good thing to say for him… other than they think even less of his opponent.

I’m sure Times publisher Austin Buetner (…and the Billionaire Boys Club, former mayors Bloomberg+Tony, the ®eformers on Jaimie Lynton’s list* [] and the California Charter School Association) would feel much more positive about the LAUSD Board of Ed if he could just install the Times Editorial Board in their place.

LA School Report – which likes to count money like ®eformers count test scores - reports: “Overall, the pro-Rodriguez groups have outspent the pro-Kayser groups by almost 9-to-1, with the charter group outspending the union by nearly 34-to-1” And that doesn’t count the Lotteria $! (see following)

Luckily, dollars spent don’t count on Election Day, votes cast count on Election Day. If you don’t think so just ask Boardmembers Luis Sanchez, Antonio Sanchez, Kate Anderson and Alex Johnson.

Consistency being the hobgoblin, 4LAKids continues to endorse SCOTT SCHMERELSON IN DISTRICT 3, BENNETT KAYSER IN DISTRICT 5 & RICHARD VLAODOVIC IN DISTRICT 7 – just like we did back in March.

The mail-in ballots have been mailed out, fill ‘em in and mail ‘em in. Early and often. Or go to the polls on May 19th. Tell a friend/bring a friend. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

* - Jamie’s moving to NYC, they can’t print it in the Hollywood Reporter if it’s not true! OMG: Who’ll run the LASR?

AALA explains it all for you in 400 words or less: LAUSD AND UTLA REACH A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT …but what about “Me too”?
●●smf: The administrators’ weekly newsletter puts the proposed new contract between UTLA and LAUSD into pretty fair perspective with the least amount of drama.

from the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update | Week of April 27, 2015 |

23 APRIL 2015 :: The Los Angeles Unified School District and United Teachers Los Angeles reached a tentative agreement in contract negotiations on Friday, April 17, 2015.

The agreement must be approved by both the LAUSD Board of Education and the UTLA membership.

●●smf: The Board approved the deal unanimously on Tuesday. UTLA rank+file vote between May 1 – 7. If ratified, the Board of Education will ratify at their meeting on May 12.

The parties agreed on a three-year, $607 million dollar contract that includes a multitiered evaluation system, summer school, reduced class sizes in 8th and 9th grade English/Language Arts and mathematics classes, increased counseling services and a multiyear salary structure.

The agreement was reached after seven months of sometimes contentious negotiations and a declaration of impasse, initiated by UTLA, which led to mediation and a successful agreement. Both sides expressed pleasure that an agreement had been reached.
A 10.36 percent salary increase covering several years is part of the agreement. Details may be found in the second bullet below.

According to the District’s press release, the following are the key components of the agreement:

• A 3-year agreement covering 2014-2017 with limited reopeners in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 which includes a salary reopener.
• A 4% on-schedule salary increase effective July 1, 2014; a 2% on-schedule salary increase effective January 1, 2015; a 2% on-schedule salary increase effective July 1, 2015, and a 2% on-schedule salary increase effective January 1, 2016.
• A 3-level final evaluation system, which will allow for additional flexibilities through the CORE Waiver.
• Additionally, a joint committee will be created with the certificated bargaining units to help with the development of the improvements to the teacher evaluation system.
• $13 million for class size reduction to English Language Arts and Math in grades 8-9.
• An additional $13 million will be provided to increase secondary school counseling services. •
• Continued protections for the District for budgetary uncertainties.
• A class size committee to explore options and strategies for further reducing class sizes.
• A more efficient grievance processing system that requires informal discussion prior to the filing of a grievance.
• Additional leave options to promote wellness among employees.
• Greater collaboration with UTLA in the assignment process.
• Substitutes will be provided additional rights to a meeting with representation.


AALA members are aware of the “me too” clause in the contractual agreements between AALA ( and other bargaining units) and LAUSD that allows a union the opportunity to reopen salary negotiations should the Board approve a higher raise for another union. In light of the agreement with UTLA, Dr. Judith Perez, AALA President, sent the following communication to Vivian Ekchian, LAUSD Chief Labor Negotiator:

“Consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the District and AALA dated June 27, 2014, I am requesting that the District schedule negotiations with AALA.

“On page 2 of the aforementioned MOU the following is noted “…should the Board of Education approve a higher general percentage increase on the base salary table for another group of employees, AALA will receive comparable treatment.”

“AALA is interested in quickly addressing and resolving the “me too” clause matter on behalf of our membership.”

Members should be advised that before any negotiations between AALA and the District can begin, the ratification of the District’s agreement with UTLA must take place. According to staff in the Office of Labor Relations, UTLA members will vote on the proposed agreement between May 1 – 7. Votes will be tallied and announced on May 8, 2015. If ratified, the Board of Education will consider it for adoption at their meeting on May 12, 2015, and since all Board Members have voiced support for the agreement, we assume it will pass. Once adopted, AALA can initiate the formal negotiation process with the District which should result in administrators being offered a salary agreement that is on par with their colleagues in UTLA.



by JCM | The following is from CDE’s federal update e-mail from advocates Brustein & Manasevit on federal issues

24 APRIL 2015 :: With Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) saying he wants to put legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) on the Senate floor before the Memorial Day recess, lawmakers are positioning themselves to offer amendments on a number of controversial issues.

Several amendments submitted during Committee markup of the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) were ultimately withdrawn by their sponsors in favor of floor consideration, including an amendment from Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) which would create a Title I “portability” option. This option would allow States to set up systems in which funds are allocated to districts and then to schools – including charters and private schools – based on their population of Title I-eligible students. There is a similar provision in the House’s ESEA reauthorization bill (which is still awaiting a final vote), but Congressional Democrats and President Obama have spoken out against it.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) offered an amendment regarding data which she also withdrew with the intention of reintroducing during debate on the floor. Her amendment would require cross-tabulation of student assessment data across various reporting categories. While cross-tabulated data does provide more information for teachers, principals, and analysts, it represents a significantly increased burden for data reporting.

A version of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination because of a student’s actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation, was offered as an amendment in Committee by Senator Al Franken (D-MN). Franken also quickly withdrew this amendment with the intention of reintroducing it on the floor. And both Franken and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) say they will bring up amendments on bullying – an issue that failed to gain traction during markup – in floor debate.

But not all the potential floor amendments come from Committee members. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation on Tuesday which would roll back some of the current testing requirements under ESEA, making such tests a requirement only once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high school. Tester has said that he plans to raise that legislation as an amendment during debate on the ECAA.

While some of these amendments will be offered during floor debate with the blessing of Alexander and Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), others threaten to slow down consideration of the bill or even stall it entirely. As the Title I portability provision in the House bill was mentioned in President Obama’s veto threat, Scott’s portability amendment could prove to be a poison pill for the Senate bill – and Senators will have to consider these kinds of implications carefully if they wish to see the President sign a reauthorization bill into law.

• Resources: Lyndsey Layton, “Sen. Jon Tester Seeks to End Annual Standardized Testing,” The Washington Post, April 21, 2015 |


●…but SI&A Cabinet Report reports: “The difficulty is getting a bill that Congress will approve that the Administration will sign into law.”

21 April 2015 :: Despite signs of growing bipartisan support for legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 52 percent of Washington’s education stakeholder community says it won’t happen while President Barack Obama is in office…”


By Evan Halper | LA Times |

22 April 2015 :: In the farm-to-fork-crazed city of Portland, Ore., campus gardens supply public school cafeterias and food service workers seek out chicken free of antibiotics.

But the school system's nutritional director finds there's one advocate for healthy food whose demands she just can't meet — Michelle Obama.

"We have tried every noodle that is out there," said Gitta Grether-Sweeney, the Portland nutritional director who says she is exasperated by the federal school lunch rules the first lady champions. "Whole-wheat noodles just don't work in lasagna. We are having to go lawless to use regular pasta."

The locally sourced macaroni and cheese the schools had been serving turned to mush when it was made with whole-grain macaroni to meet the new rules, Grether-Sweeney said.

That once-popular meal is now off the menu. So too are wraps, which she says won't hold together with the brittle wheat tortillas she now must use. Many fewer meals are getting sold at school, she said.

Food service directors like Grether-Sweeney have been warmly embraced by Republicans who are trying to undermine federal school lunch rules that they see as the cornerstone of a nanny-state agenda from the first couple.

In response, the Obama administration has put together its own coalition of celebrity chefs, health organizations and military leaders to mitigate the damage caused by its falling-out with the "lunch lady" lobby — 55,000 school cafeteria workers who were once a major ally.

Back in 2010, when it passed, the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act was seen as a landmark nutritional achievement for the most health-conscious White House in recent memory.

Now, as the Republican-dominated Congress decides whether to renew the law, school lunch trays have become a partisan battle zone. The law expires on Sept. 30, although the status quo will remain in place if Congress deadlocks.

"We should not have what is served for lunch at schools decided by bureaucrats in Washington," said Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who wrote one of multiple bills that would ease the rules. "This has become a burden."

The law and the regulations it spawned require school lunches to include significantly more fruits and vegetables and an infusion of whole grains; they also mandate a big drop in calories. Schools were told to cut the salt and sugar in foods they sell, even in campus vending machines.

Supporters of the law say that unwholesome frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets and other junk food that once were lunchtime staples helped drive the nation's epidemics of childhood obesity and diabetes.

They question whether the intense pushback against the new standards truly reflects the concerns of lunch ladies or the views of big processed-food companies that bankroll the School Nutrition Assn., which represents cafeteria workers in Washington.

"We believe they are being highly nudged by the interests that represent the frozen-pizza industry and some of the other processed-food folks that provide significant funding," said Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at the Department of Agriculture. "Regressive parts of the industry want to act like we are not in the middle of a crisis in this country."

And many schools are all for the new rules — particularly in California.

The former food service director at the Los Angeles Unified School District, where pizza is no longer on the menu, stood alongside the first lady last year as she kicked off her public campaign to defend the standards. State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has urged Congress not to weaken them.

Few things government does have as much impact as the school lunch program on the diets of Americans. More than 43 million subsidized lunches and breakfasts are served daily. They account for half of the calories many kids consume in a day.
Bill removing California vaccine exemptions approved by key Senate panel

The program was created in 1946 by a Congress alarmed that vast numbers of young men were ineligible to serve in World War II because they were undernourished.

Underfeeding is no longer the problem. Now, nearly a quarter of recruiting-age Americans are too overweight to serve, according to Mission: Readiness, a group of 500 retired military officials who argue that school lunch trays laden with junk food are a major culprit. Its leaders are confounded by the backlash against the new standards.

"It is amazing to us that this has become a political issue," said retired Maj. Gen. D. Allen Youngman, former head of the Kentucky National Guard.

"There are a lot of ways you can characterize 500 admirals and generals," he added. "But a hotbed of liberal thought is not the first thing that comes to mind."

The new lunch rules are strict. Schools are being told to restock pantries with ingredients alien to many students' palates.

If children pass up the fruit, cafeteria workers in many cases can't sell them a meal until they take some, leading schools to complain they are paying for produce that ends up in the garbage.

There have been other growing pains. The number of meals sold took a steep drop with the introduction of the new rules, according to the Government Accountability Office.

In St. Charles Parish just outside New Orleans, where more than half the public school children qualify for free or reduced-priced school meals, the fluffy biscuit that long enticed them to eat a hot breakfast has been effectively outlawed. The children look at its whole grain replacement with bewilderment, said Teresa Brown, the school's director of childhood nutrition.

"We are struggling to find a biscuit they are happy with," she said. "It is grainy. The texture is strange to them.... These kids don't eat these things at home. We don't have anything in our cafeteria anymore that is white. They haven't had time to adapt."

Nutrition advocates say they sympathize, but they point to studies suggesting that after the expected bumpy rollout, schools are figuring out how to make the new menus work.

Consumption of healthy food is on the rise, supporters of the program say. They point to temporary waivers that allow struggling schools to continue serving chewy, white noodles.

Some eager districts are engaging students in taste tests, surveys and promotional campaigns, using the nutrition mandates as a catalyst to elevate their dining experience.

A letter from 19 past presidents of the School Nutrition Assn. urged the administration not to bend to the demands of their own group. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Assn. and the American Heart Assn. have joined the USDA in campaigning against any weakening of the rules.

Suppliers like Domino's and Pizza Hut have reformulated the pizzas they sell to schools with whole grains and low-fat cheeses, and pasta companies are scrambling to figure out how to make whole-grain products palatable to children.

The federal government is providing grant money to bring in expert chefs to assist districts that need help overhauling their menus.

Other grants can be used to convert kitchens into facilities better equipped to prepare healthy meals. That might include replacing deep-fat fryers and microwaves with high-tech combination ovens that use a steaming function to make baked foods taste fried.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, visited a school in his home state last month that enthusiastically embraces the new guidelines, and he told student reporters there he was impressed by the meals being served.

But don't look to him to vote to renew the program.

"I just have a problem with the federal government," Roberts said in a lunchroom video interview. "I don't think our Founding Fathers sat around the table and said, 'I have a great idea. Let's mandate what people eat.'"

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Washington's failure at fixing school lunches |
Published 25 April 2015

To the editor: If only politicians knew as much about nutrition as they did about fundraising. The food fight is too political and based more on expected campaign contributions from the giant food suppliers than on science. ("'Lunch lady' lobby joins GOP to fight Obama's school lunch rules," April 22)

The obesity epidemic starts and ends with processed foods, from juices to bread to pasta to chips to any packaged item. Whole wheat does not ordain any health advantage to a processed food. The fiber it offers is insoluble and not the healthful, soluble fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables that our gut utilizes in maintaining the healthy bacteria and regularity we all need.

Michelle Obama, who supports the use of whole-grain pasta, missed the boat on food science.

It is time for our leaders to declare victory in the federal lunch program and prepare to tighten the students' belts. Maybe there should be a lunch voucher program based on the body mass index of the student.

Jerome P. Helman, MD, Venice
To the editor: This article fails to mention that schools in California and nationwide are struggling with higher costs and a lack of funding to meet new school meal standards.

In Santa Clarita Valley, we are committed to serving nutritious school meals that students consume and enjoy. We even hired a trained chef to help improve menus, making our nutritious dishes more enticing. Nonetheless, our program is losing money under the new rules, primarily because of rising costs. Our produce budget alone is up 10%.

The federal government says schools will absorb $1.2 billion in new food and labor costs this year under the regulations. That's about 10 cents per lunch and 27 cents per breakfast in added costs. Congress provided only 6 additional cents for lunch and no additional funding for breakfast to cover the costs.

Congress needs to increase funding for school meals and give school nutrition professionals the flexibility to do our jobs.

Lynnelle Grumbles, Santa Clarita

The writer, a dietitian, is chief executive of the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency.
●● smf’s 2¢: In LAUSD we continue to pay the price for Supt. Deasy’s sociopathic urgency and his belief in the beauty of his weapons - whether iPads or MiSiS or Vergara or Academic Growth Over Time. We pay for his “I know best” belief in getting rid of chocolate milk and forcing Breakfast in the Classroom upon the District no matter what anyone else thinks. Even those of us (me) who think BiC is a good idea/badly done!

“VOTERIA”: AN ELECTION DAY LOTTERY DEMEANS THE VALUE OF VOTING – Pseudo Political Science, taken to an illogical extreme
• A nonprofit voter group has a plan to turn around traditionally abysmal turnout for a key election to the Los Angeles Board of Education …it's going to pay one lucky voter $25,000

• “Gonzalez said his group has concluded that handing out a $25,000 cash prize is legal in California but would violate federal law” …what part of ‘violates federal law’ is so hard to understand?

• Venture capitalist/Alliance Charter Schools board co-chair Antony Ressler, on the District 1 LAUSD School Board Election: “10000 votes for School board race... Crazy that we have a publicly elected school board... This is NOT what democracy is supposed to be. No one in LA cares TR” - e-mail to Jamie Alter Lynton on Jun 5, 2014, at 10:04 PM | WikiLeaks Sony Hack #126221 |

●●smf’s 2¢: I am racking my brain and Googling like mad – and I haven’t found it yet: There was an absurdity by The Firesign Theater back in the sixties that followed the prompt: “Knowing that wrong thought creates electrical resistance, it seemed possible….”

The following is like that: Let’s muck about with the democratic process and make it better: What could possibly go wrong?

By Howard Blume | LA Times |

20 April 2015 :: Those who cast ballots in the race for District 5 in the May 19 election will be entered in a drawing.

The idea is the brainchild of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.

"This is an experiment, a nontraditional out-of-the-box strategy" because "participation has gotten so bad," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the organization, which focuses on increasing voter turnout, especially within the Latino community.

The March primary for the school board drew marginal voter interest in a citywide election that also failed to attract much interest.

Three board races are going to a May runoff. Southwest Voter Registration is especially interested in District 5, because about 57% of registered voters there are Latino.

Challenger Ref Rodriguez finished first against incumbent Bennett Kayser, who is seeking a second term.

Voter turnout was just under 12% in the area, which includes Los Feliz and Silver Lake as well as an economically diverse range of Latino neighborhoods, including the cities of southeastern L.A. County.

The most notable dividing point between Kayser and Rodriguez is over independently managed charter schools, which are exempt from some rules that govern traditional campuses.

Kayser has tried to limit their growth; Rodriguez co-founded one of the largest charter organizations, People Uplifting Communities.

"If overall turnout is higher, it's hard to say what the effect would be," said Dan Chang, who directs a political action committee that has endorsed Rodriguez. "If there is higher turnout among Latinos, the conventional wisdom is that Ref Rodriguez will do better — a Latino candidate with a Latino surname."

Both campaigns pushed hard to win the Latino vote in the bitter, high-cost primary and said they are doing so again.

Gonzalez's nonpartisan group hasn't endorsed either candidate. And his lottery strategy could increase turnout among all ethnicities.

He calls the idea "voteria," a play on the Spanish term "lotería," for lottery.

In its current form, the area's voting boundaries were carved out with the idea of increasing Latino representation in a school system that is more than 70% Latino.

That hasn't happened.

Kayser is white, and that seat has had white board members for 16 of the last 20 years.

The nonprofit has never before given out money but has tried other incentives. To increase turnout in the 2004 presidential race, it held drawings to give away a new car in each of four states: New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona. To enter, a voter had to recruit four others.

Gonzalez said his group has concluded that handing out a $25,000 cash prize is legal in California but would violate federal law. The plan is to publicize the contest through traditional media and social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

Other recent projects have included phone banking to turn out Latinas in the 14th City Council District who voted rarely or inconsistently, and regional training sessions for Latinos considering a run for office.

The nonprofit has teamed with Earth Day Network and the NAACP to launch a nationwide effort to mobilize a million voters over the issue of climate change.


►Editorial: VOTE, AND WIN $25,000: IT'S A LOSING IDEA

By The Times Editorial |

21 April 2015 :: Frustrated by the appallingly low turnout in local elections, the nonprofit Southwest Voter Registration Education Project is planning a cash lottery — or voteria — to get voters to the polls for the Los Angeles Board of Education District 5 race. Anyone who legitimately casts a ballot in the May 19 contest between incumbent Bennett Kayser and challenger Ref Rodriguez will be automatically entered into the drawing. After the election is certified, the group will randomly select one person from the voting pool.

The winner gets $25,000. The losers are the people who still believe in the integrity of the democratic process.

This gimmick perverts the motivation to vote. It demeans the value of voting. And it's the most superficial pseudo-solution to a very real problem in Los Angeles, which is the pervasive civic malaise that prevents so many eligible voters from feeling truly engaged. In fact, the voteria only underscores the cynical view that people don't care about their local government anymore and the only way to get them to vote is to bribe them.

When the Los Angeles Ethics Commission floated a similar lottery proposal last year, The Times called it one of the worst ideas put forward in a long time. But even that was better than the voteria. Why? Because at least a city-sponsored contest would be clearly non-ideological and not aimed at influencing one particular election. The Southwest Voter Registration Education Project is a well-meaning organization with a long history of working to increase voter participation in the Latino community — but what if this cash prize ends up being advertised more heavily in the Latino community in District 5? What if it brings out more Latinos than, say, African Americans? Is it fair that one demographic has more of a financial incentive to vote? What if in the next school board election an African American group decides it should pay voters even more to turn out? Or a Republican group? Or the teachers union or a charter school group? This is a troubling precedent that could easily devolve into an arms race among interest groups trying to get out their votes to influence an election.

Yes, low turnout is bad. It allows the few to make decisions for the many, and that undermines the integrity of our representative democracy. Angelenos were so concerned about low turnout that they voted in March to move local elections to June and November of even-numbered years to coincide with gubernatorial and presidential elections. That is a meaningful reform that should boost turnout simply by capturing local voters who show up for higher-profile elections. Groups like the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project are right to look for innovative ways to engage voters. But dangling money in front of polling places is not the way to do it.


●● Someone else’s 2¢
– A 4LAKids reader with a JD degree (it takes all kinds!) writes : Don't quote me here, I'm just musing:

So they snaked past the CA ELECTION CODE because they aren't explicitly urging the voting for one candidate over another (although they are quoted as saying they want to encourage Latino voter participation and Dan Chang muses over the effect of a Spanish surname):

18521. A person shall not directly or through any other person receive, agree, or contract for, before, during or after an election, any money, gift, loan, or other valuable consideration, office, place, or employment for himself or any other person because he or any other person:
(a) Voted, agreed to vote, refrained from voting, or agreed to refrain from voting for any particular person or measure.
(b) Remained away from the polls.
(c) Refrained or agreed to refrain from voting.
(d) Induced any other person to:
(1) Remain away from the polls.
(2) Refrain from voting.
(3) Vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or measure. Any person violating this section is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years.

And a lottery isn't illegal if you don't have to pay to participate, see CA PENAL CODE section 319

319. A lottery is any scheme for the disposal or distribution of property by chance, among persons who have paid or promised to pay any valuable consideration for the chance of obtaining such property or a portion of it, or for any share or any interest in such property, upon any agreement, understanding, or expectation that it is to be distributed or disposed of by lot or chance, whether called a lottery, raffle, or gift enterprise, or by whatever name the same may be known.

But what about the good, old-fashioned law against slot machines in California?

Isn't this scheme converting every voter machine in District 5 into a:

"mechanical device, upon the result of action of which money or other valuable thing is staked or hazarded..."

...and therefore subjecting every person who permits the placement of such a voter machine in place under her control to potential prosecutions for a violation of CA PENAL CODE section 330a? |

A stretch, maybe, but enough for someone/some organization to seek an injunction?

Everybody's bragging and drinking that wine
I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shine
Come to Daddy on an inside straight
I got no chance of losing this time
No, I got no chance of losing this time.
• Loser by the Grateful Dead | Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia

Additional Reading IDEA OF AN L.A. VOTERIA IS GAINING CURRENCY by Steve Lopez | LA Times :: Is powerball politics the best way to shake up the system?

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
WANT REFORM? PRINCIPALS MATTER TOO + Letters to the editor: The Importance of Good Principals |


LAO SAYS CA STATE REVENUE SURGES IN APRIL, could exceed estimates by billions through June | The Sacramento Bee |



AALA explains it all for you: LAUSD AND UTLA REACH A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT …but what about “Me too? |








VOTERIA LEGAL IN CALIF BUT WOULD VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW ...what part of ‘violates federal law’ is hard to understand? |

3 stories+1 cartoon+2¢: “VOTERIA” - Pseudo Political Science, taken to an illogical extreme |

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• The CA STATE PTA CONVENTION is this week in Sacramento |
• The CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION, & ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE meets Tues. April April 28, 2015 at 3:30PM
• Wed. April 29 is DENIM DAY |
• The BOND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE meets on Thurs. April 30 at 10AM

*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.
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• 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.

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

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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