|4LAKids: Sunday 12•April•2015|
In This Issue:
On Tuesday the Legislative Analyst’s Office issued the above report forecasting a surge in California revenues of perhaps multiples of billions of dollars. (The LAO issues “forecasts” using research and the scientific method – “predicting” is apparently done with tea leaves and divining rods.)
This is good news for public education because of the formula in Proposition 98 (Mandatory Education Spending Constitutional Amendment ) and the promise of Prop 2 (Rainy Day Budget Stabilization Fund Act ) – guarantees that increased revenue go to education – especially as decreased revenues in the past came from public education.
This is not necessarily good news for prison guards and bullet-train aficionados and any+everyone else whose special interest is not K-14 education - because those programs will not get the same amount of the surge as K-14. And none of this flood of new cash is going to fix the drought or seal the borders.
We will hear about the evil of “one-time-money” and how it will corrupt any-and-everything we hold dear. Plus profligate school boards will just spend the money on teacher’s salaries and fripperies like iPads and MiSiS. We just weathered the rainy-day-to-end-all-rainy days (a complicated metaphor in a water shortage) – we should save the surplus is a reservoir for the next fiscal crisis! Or spend it on shiny, sparkly things like prison guards and high speed rail.
“Algebra never changes; those books will last another year!”
I am being sarcastic – but there will be a great temptation in Sacramento to get creative with the education funding guarantee and call-it-or-spin smoke+mirrors as “long overdue funding reform”.
There’s a lot of money in play and it would be much better for one’s political career to spend it in some new+dynamic way – on some wonderful new program – rather than pay it back to the children it was borrowed from.
It would be nice if the creativity limits itself to funding Pre-Kindergarten programs for 4 year olds – enlarging Prop 98 to Pre K–14 …but the legislature+governor are far more creative than that. They will attempt to pass along more of the unfunded CalSTRS (teachers’ pension plan) liability to school districts – but STRS is a state plan guaranteed+administered by the State of California. They are the bankers. The obligation is with Sacramento – not West Wugwump Union School District or LAUSD!
Local control is all well and good when the locals are controlling diminishing resources …but this is something different.
Call me a cynic – but convince me otherwise.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office paints a rosy picture of the State of California’s revenue projections for the next two years – with a full Kodachrome treatment with those nice bright colors that give us the greens of summer that makes you think all the world's a sunny day for public education funding in 2015-16.
(For extra credit compare+contrast this music cue with the opening stanza of Paul Simon’s song - the part with the scatological reference to the high school curriculum.)
The LAO also goes out of the way to find the leaden lining in the bright silvery cloud.
On Thursday Kenneth Kapphahn – the LAO’s resident authority on education issues - addressed the LAUSD Board of Education’s Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee and presented his PowerPoint [http://bit.ly/1DStJBL] – doing his best to make it seem that the good news (“Revenue projections are for at least 1 or 2 billion dollars over the Governor’s original budget forecast – and might be as much as 4 or 5 billion over) is something to be cautious about. Nobody mentioned counting unhatched-eggs-as-chickens at any point in the presentation …but the metaphor was in there – pecking its way out.
The complications of all this money – not a windfall, but a surge in revenue - is complicated, especially for the governor and legislature – who may not want to see Public Education get all they (or “We”: you and I and six million California schoolchildren) are entitled to, statutorily and constitutionally.
And the Office of the LAUSD Superintendent is horrified by the prospect of “one-time-money” – seeing it almost as ill-gotten-gains to corrupt the morals and disrupt the austerity of our school district. LAUSD CFO Megan Reilly did her best to warn of the pitfalls of too much money and/or irrational exuberance. Megan may be a bean-counter – and the adjective’ ‘heartless’ is usually automatically appended to that job description – but she is not that good an actor. I daresay he is incapable of Dickensian villainy in any production of anything!
TWO KINDS OF “ONE TIME MONEY”:
• When questioned, Mr. Kapphahn identified “One Time Money” as money inserted into a budget during a current budget year to correct a budget shortfall, spending overage or unanticipated cost.
• The popular understanding of 1T$ is: Revenue in any budget – anticipated or not - that is not likely to be repeated: A grant that will expire, a philanthropic gift or a revenue surge that cannot be relied upon next year. Supt. Cortines believes Supt. Deasy relied far too much on this flavor of one-time-money to precariously balance his budgets.
For some additional background read these:
• TOO MUCH REVENUE, TOO LITTLE FLEXIBILITY. Is this California's fate? | http://lat.ms/1a6t81n
• Walters: CALIFORNIA’S REVENUE GAINS MAY BE A BUDGET PROBLEM | http://bit.ly/1D6bjKi
THE PERFECT STORM IS THREATENING: LAUSD is locked in negotiations with its teachers and there is more than enough mistrust and acrimony and ill-feeling all around. Three members of the board of education are campaigning against strong opponents – with outside money in play and outside interests huffing+puffing to blow the house down. John Deasy left a mess and it’s not cleaned up yet. Charter schools nibble at the edges. LAUSD probably won’t get the CORE Waiver approved by Arne Co. at the U.S. Dept. of Ed (which doesn’t pay its custodians the minimum wage | http://t.co/jlpZiZSdw5) …but NCLB – which was doomed+damning from the outset (“Every child will be proficient by 2014 or we will close their school down!”) keeps returning from the grave like a bad zombie movie.
There are tipping points at every turn. MiSiS and Isis and iPads, oh my.
In truth there will be more money next year and it both
A. won’t be enough…
B. and has to be enough…
and nobody is going to get everything they want.
Just like in real life.
SATURDAY WAS THE FIFTIETH ANIVERSARY OF THE ORIGINAL ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT: ESEA. The original law was less than 40 pages long, blessedly short for federal legislation – the newest proposed revision to ESEA (see CONGRESS MOVES A (BIG) STEP CLOSER, following) is 601 pages long. Until ESEA morphed/metastasized into No Child Left Behind (and spun crazily off into Race to the Top) it was a good piece of legislation – not perfect – but as a keystone in LBJ’s War on Poverty recognizing of the challenge that poverty and the lack of educational opportunity are a self-perpetuating cycle.
ALSO THURSDAY: just as the BFA Committee was getting the Good News-that-is-Bad-News about the surfeit of funding, the California Supreme Court “clarified” the Prop 39 Charter School Classroom Allocation Dispute between LAUSD and CCSA is such a way that both sides did a little victory dance. [http://t.co/PAUFfnmCfX] To be honest I don’t know what the decision means …maybe the courts can figure it out?
¡Onward/Adelante! – smf
Postscript: Godspeed Stan Freberg. Nothing is sacred, not even this.
USC/Times Poll: VOTERS REJECT TENURE+SENIORITY-BASED TEACHER LAYOFFS …but trust teachers most to improve schools | 2 Articles, Update +smf’s 2¢
► Press Release: CALIF. VOTERS REJECT TENURE, SENIORITY-BASED LAYOFFS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS …BUT VOTERS TRUST TEACHERS MORE THAN ANY OTHER GROUP TO IMPROVE CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS
USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Press Release | http://bit.ly/1DTKix7
Los Angeles – April 11, 2015 – Nearly a year after a landmark court case invalidated California’s tenure system for public school K-12 teachers, more than one-third of voters say they believe these teachers should not be granted tenure at all, according to the results of the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll. But data also show voters most trust teachers to improve the state’s public schools, consider them underpaid and back measures to support and improve their performance in the classroom.
When asked if and after how long public school teachers should be given tenure, 38 percent said they shouldn’t be given tenure – which comes with strong job security and makes it more difficult to fire poor-performing teachers. Another 35 percent said tenure should not be granted until a teacher has been on the job for at least 4 to 10 years, the poll showed.
“Californians want their children’s teachers to succeed and want to give them every tool possible to succeed, but they are also willing to take stronger steps to remove ineffective teachers in the classroom, said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and executive director of the Unruh Institute of Politics of USC. “At a certain point if teachers don’t succeed, voters want to replace them with people who will.”
When asked to choose from a list of reforms which they believe would improve the quality of public schools, the highest percentage of voters – 82 percent – chose providing teachers with a 1-year apprenticeship with a high-performing experienced teacher before they are given their own classroom. Seventy-three percent of voters said making it easier to fire underperforming teachers would improve the quality of public schools; 71 percent said putting more money into public schools in economically disadvantaged areas; 64 percent said tying teachers’ salaries to performance evaluations; and 52 percent said extending the tax increase that provides additional funding to public schools and other programs.
Voters also named teachers as the group they most trust to improve the state’s public schools. Half of voters said they most trusted teachers at schools in their community to improve public schools, followed by 48 percent who named parents of public school students. Twenty-two percent of voters said they most trusted teachers’ unions to improve public schools, followed by 17 percent who named school administrators and superintendents.
"Clearly when it comes to education, all politics is local. California voters trust teachers and parents far more than the teachers union, school administrators, or statewide officials," said Matt Rodriguez, a distinguished Unruh Institute fellow and Democratic strategist.
Voters also rejected the notion that teachers should be laid off based on seniority, a practice that was also struck down as unconstitutional in last June’s Vergara v. California ruling. When asked how California schools should lay off teachers when necessary, 53 percent of voters said layoffs should first target teachers who receive poor marks in classroom observations, and 26 percent said teachers whose students did not make enough progress on standardized tests throughout the year should be laid off first. Just 8 percent of California voters said layoffs should first target the teacher with the least seniority or classroom experience, the poll showed.
“Seniority is clearly the least important factor in teacher performance. Voters across all demographic groups reject the ‘last in, first out’ policy by overwhelming margins," said David Kanevsky, vice president of Republican polling firm American Viewpoint, part of the part of the bipartisan team with Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research that conducted the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.
When asked whether administrators should take into account teacher performance or years of teaching experience when making layoff decisions, 82 percent of voters said administrators should take performance more into account, as compared to 11 percent who said seniority should be taken more into account.
“The average voter may not know the name of the Vergara case, but they tend to approve of its basic tenets of accountability. At the same time, voters hardly fault most teachers; they see teachers as part of the solution, not the problem,” said Drew Lieberman, vice president of Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
Latino voters were more likely than white voters to support teacher apprenticeships (86%), putting money into economically disadvantaged public schools (82%), extending tax increases to provide additional public school funding (62%), and making teacher pay based on their performance evaluations (69%).
"While there remains broad based support for funding for public schools, socio-economic and racial divides exist on how to improve schools with Latinos showing greater support for enhanced funding in disadvantaged areas, teacher pay based on evaluations and student achievement,” said Michael Madrid, a distinguished Unruh Institute fellow, Republican strategist and nationally recognized expert on Latino voting trends. “This split shows the different approach between Latinos and whites on how to improve the education their children are receiving.”
A strong majority of voters also believe teachers are underpaid for their work. Fifty-six percent of voters said California public schools teachers are underpaid, 27 percent said teachers were paid “just about right” and 5 percent said teachers were paid too much.
When asked what should determine teacher pay, 86 percent of voters said a teacher’s education and training should be either the most important or an important factor, followed by 77 percent of voters who said their students’ achievement and progress on a range of measures including standardized tests, classroom observations and parent feedback; 77 percent said whether the teacher is at a low-performing school where students need the most help; 64 percent who said students’ achievement and progress on standardized tests; and 57 percent who said seniority in the number of years of classroom teaching experience.
Latino voters were more likely to support tying teacher pay to student achievement (85%) as compared to white voters (74%).
The latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, the largest statewide survey of registered voters, was conducted March 28-April 7 and includes a significant oversample of Latino voters as well as one of the most robust cell phone samples in the state. The full sample of 1,504 registered voters has a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.
About the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll: The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is a series of statewide public opinion polls in California, designed to survey voter attitudes on a wide range of political, policy, social and cultural issues.
Conducted at regular intervals throughout the year, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is one of the largest polls of registered voters in the state and has been widely cited, helping to inform the public and to encourage discourse on key political and policy issues.
About USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences: USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is the heart of the university. The largest, oldest and most diverse of USC’s 19 schools, USC Dornsife is composed of more than 30 academic departments and dozens of research centers and institutes. USC Dornsife is home to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 750 faculty members with expertise across the humanities, social sciences and sciences.
About the Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2 million and 3 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive local weekly audience of 4.5 million. The fast-growing latimes.com draws over 10 million unique visitors monthly.
►Poll: CALIFORNIA VOTERS TAKE A DIM VIEW OF TEACHER TENURE
By Howard Blume | Los Angeles Times | http://lat.ms/1EmqYaD
4/11/2015 :: Gisela Aviles is a 49-year-old real estate agent in Corona. Henry Yoshikawa is a 71-year-old former administrator for a tiny school district in Placer County. And Arianna Rivera is a 23-year-old bank teller in East Los Angeles.
Although strikingly different, they are among an overwhelming majority of California voters who shared remarkably similar views about teachers in a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. They agree that teachers receive tenure much too quickly. And they believe that performance should matter more than seniority when teachers are laid off.
They also favor making it easier to fire instructors — although, at the same time, they think highly of teachers and want more resources for public schools that serve disadvantaged children.
"There is a very important lesson here for California politicians," said Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. The poll findings indicate that voters "want to help teachers and support them ... but they're also more than willing to take stronger steps to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom."
Issues affecting teachers' job protections are at the center of a national debate over how best to improve schools.
On one side are foundations, business interests and the Obama administration, which have said students will benefit if teachers are held more accountable. To them, that includes making it easier to fire teachers who fail to deliver results, such as improvement on student standardized tests.
Teachers unions and other critics counter that targeting instructors weakens labor's ability to counteract proposals they believe are undermining public education. They want more focus on other factors that affect students, such as poverty, school resources and class sizes.
In California, nearly half of voters surveyed in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll favored a longer period to earn tenure than the two years granted under state law. Among those who favored some form of tenure, the largest group wanted teachers to earn it after seven to 10 years. More than a third opposed any form of tenure.
Voters also placed little faith in the seniority system that governs most layoffs in tough economic times. When given a list of options, only 8% said seniority should be the primary factor driving which teachers are let go.
More than half, 53%, instead said that teachers who have low marks when they are observed in their classrooms should be the first dismissed. And 26%, the next largest group, said that layoffs should first affect teachers whose students aren't progressing on standardized tests.
Their students have to be improving, so I believe that if you're doing a good job and your students are improving on the test scores, then by all means you deserve a raise. - Gisela Aviles is a real estate agent in Corona
Seniority — the main yardstick currently used to determine which teachers to dismiss during budget crises — fell far back in the poll, followed by teachers who have less advanced training than others.
Although these opinions don't coincide with state law, they line up with advocates who sued the state in last year's landmark litigation, Vergara vs. California. In that case, an L.A. County Superior Court judge threw out tenure, seniority and other traditional job protections. That ruling is on appeal.
Rivera came by her views about teachers through experience as a student in both traditional and independently operated, public charter schools. At the charters, which don't have to follow seniority and tenure rules, she remembers young, enthusiastic, hardworking teachers.
By contrast, at the traditional schools, "there were older teachers with tenure who don't care. They were not there mentally and emotionally," said Rivera, who is registered with the Peace and Freedom Party and describes her politics as liberal.
If tenure were earned after 10 to 15 years, schools would have time to weed out the less dedicated, she said. Overall, she said, performance should matter when layoffs must occur.
Pollsters found such opinions widespread in a telephone survey of 1,504 voters from March 28 through April 7.
The "last in, first out" system for handling layoffs is "rejected by overwhelming margins regardless of what group you are," said Dave Kanevsky of American Viewpoint, the Republican half of the bipartisan team that conducted the poll.
"The average voter may not know the name Vergara, but they tend to affirm the basic tenet of accountability," said Drew Lieberman of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the Democratic half of the polling team. Voters "realize that not all teachers are created equal and that separating the good from the bad is part of the calculus."
Public school teachers without tenure currently can be fired at the will of their school district. Tenured teachers can be removed immediately for gross misconduct or pending an investigation of serious allegations. But dismissing an instructor for ineffective teaching typically is lengthy and expensive.
In the poll, nearly three-quarters of voters said it was very or somewhat important to make it easier to fire underperforming teachers.
Unions have fought hard for tenure rights, characterizing them as due process to prevent unfair or arbitrary dismissals.
Yoshikawa, a registered Republican, said he helped establish the teachers union in the district where he worked, yet he opposes all forms of tenure. Having teachers work on an annual contract would result in a higher-quality teacher corps, he said.
For Aviles, who declined to state a party affiliation, accountability for teachers also should include pay raises based on merit.
"Their students have to be improving, so I believe that if you're doing a good job and your students are improving on the test scores, then by all means you deserve a raise," she said.
In the survey, 77% of voters said it was important to base teacher pay on a range of measures, including student achievement, classroom observation and parent feedback; 64% said student progress on tests and achievement should be important factors.
At the same time, pollsters and other analysts say, there appears to be a strong affinity for teachers.
More than half of those surveyed, including Aviles, felt teachers were underpaid. They also want more resources invested in traditional public schools.
"Californians want their children's teachers to succeed and want to give them every tool possible," said Schnur of USC. "But there is a limit on their patience."
California voters place more faith in teachers than anyone else when it comes to doing what's best for students, according to the poll.
Half of those surveyed put teachers first or second when given a list of groups they most trust to improve schools. Parents finished next.
Teachers unions finished well behind, but still ahead of school district administrators, Gov. Jerry Brown and "philanthropists who seek to change the traditional education system."
This dynamic played out in the recent race for state superintendent of public instruction between incumbent Tom Torlakson, backed by unions, and Marshall Tuck, who championed the court ruling that weakened job protections and who received key support from wealthy donors.
In that tightly contested race, the unions were able to associate Tuck with wealthy contributors and to link Torlakson, by contrast, with teachers, said Michael Madrid, a fellow at the Unruh Institute.
Policies endorsed by teachers unions often have prevailed at the ballot and in the Legislature. The last ballot attempt to extend the time needed to earn tenure was put forward in 2005 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Voters, siding with teachers unions, defeated it.
The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, higher for subgroups.
►UPDATE► On Sunday Morning The LA Times Expanded its Poll Analysis: POLL - 55% OF LATINO VOTERS VALUE SCHOOL TESTING; NEARLY THE SAME PERCENTAGE OF WHITES THINK IT'S HARMFUL | http://lat.ms/1DzKBLD
1. The 5% ‘Latino voter preference’ for testing MAY be within the testing margin of error for that subgroup.
2. The significant subgroup here would be of Latino Parents, not voters
3. Compare+contrast the above with: LA Times: 10 OF 11 CONVICTED ATLANTA EDUCATORS IN SCHOOL CHEATING SCANDAL SET TO BE SENTENCED MONDAY | http://lat.ms/1FMUViW
●●smf’s 2¢: OK: I haven’t drilled down into the detail of this poll as deeply as I will have in a day or two – but what becomes instantly apparent is that – while the actual telephone canvassers try to be as neutral as possible in their survey, the evaluators and analysts: Not so much. The first are paid by the hour, the second are compensated for results by the folks who commissioned the poll. What I am saying is that it is generally human nature (we are hunter/gatherers after all!) to find what you are looking for. And I found something else.
The sub-headline in the poll press release: “…BUT VOTERS TRUST TEACHERS MORE THAN ANY OTHER GROUP TO IMPROVE CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS” screams off the page at me ….which I suppose makes me more trusting of PR hacks than ivory-tower researchers.
And The Times Headline: CALIFORNIA VOTERS TAKE A DIM VIEW OF TEACHER TENURE? Really? The voters took a statistically far dimmer view of so called philanthropists, Jerry Brown and school district administrators hell-bent on reform.
It is kind of interesting that Black and Republican respondents favor parent opinion over teachers’ – I’m a parent leader and I’d like to find out which parents I’m to trust before I’d trust them!
If you dive into the poll (which is only of registered voters – God must love non-registered non-voters because (S)He made so many of them!) you will find a lot of information that is valuable – but the most important is that the folks polled have diminishing respect for reform initiatives initiated by
4. Teachers Unions,
3. School District Administrators (I suppose this means Superintendents and their ilk, not school-site administrators like Principals)
2. Jerry Brown and
I am not surprised and generally agree with that order and ranking (Finding what I’m looking for!) – but I wonder why big city mayors, Sacramento legislators, the Secretary of Education and the editorial boards of major metropolitan newspapers weren’t invited into that dodge ball game?
Classroom teachers are members of teachers’ unions – but they are not monolithically The Teachers Union. The level of participation by rank-and-file teachers in union activity is low – teacher turnouts in union elections (unless it’s a strike vote or a contract ratification) is somewhere between abysmal and single-digit LA City elections.
I am with the polling firm’s vice president when he says: “…voters hardly fault most teachers; they see teachers as part of the solution, not the problem”. Talk about burying the lead: That’s the message!
Finally: The LA Times can’t help it that they are intrinsically+institutionally anti-labor: The McNamara Brothers – noted union organizers – blew their building up back on Oct. 1, 1910. In the Editorial Boardroom that seems like just yesterday.
“A Matter of Equity”: AS LAUSD IS POISED TO ELIMINATE SLRDP EARLY ED PROGRAM U.S. DEPT OF ED REPORT CALLS FOR CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON PRESCHOOL
By Lillian Mongeau in Ed Week Early Yeas Blog | http://bit.ly/1H59Tm9
April 7, 2015 9:49 AM :: Only 41 percent of the nation's 4.1 million 4-year-olds are enrolled in publicly funded preschool, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.
To address this "unmet need," the report calls for Congress to include preschool and other early-learning programs in its looming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the primary federal law governing education in the U.S.
The reauthorization "must reflect real equity of opportunity, starting with our youngest learners," the report states.
"Without a deliberate focus on children's preschool experience in our nation's education law, we run the risk of limiting opportunity for a generation of children by allowing educational gaps to take root before kindergarten," it says.
According to the report, there is little equity for early learners now, at least when considered on a state-by state level. Using numbers from the National Institute for Early Education Research's 2013 report, the authors of the Education Department report point out that while Florida, Oklahoma, Vermont and the District of Columbia served more than 70 percent of their 4-year-olds in state-funded preschool, 11 other states served fewer than 10 percent of theirs.
The report also makes the case for the Education Department's existing programs meant to support early learning.
It details the Preschool Development Grant program—funds awarded to states to start or expand publicly funded preschool—and points out that 285,000 additional preschoolers could have been served if enough funding existed to award grants to all 35 states (and Puerto Rico) that applied. Only 18 of the 36 applications were granted.
Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge—another competitive-grant program meant to help states form and execute a more-cohesive early-education agenda—is also explained in the report.
Under President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2016 budget, continuation grants would be offered to current grantees under both programs, and the Preschool Development Grant program would be opened up to more states.
If you've been following early education policy closely for the past year, you'll notice that there is nothing very new included in this report. Most of the numbers have been reported previously on this blog, and the political strategies of offering competitive grants and including early education in the ESEA reauthorization are not brand new concepts.
However, the report does bring a lot of information together into one place and provides a cohesive picture of this administration's plans for expanding early education. If nothing else, the report leaves no doubt that early education remains a top priority for Obama and his education department.
STATE SUPREME COURT RULING CLARIFIES HOW SPACE FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS MUST BE DETERMINED …but please define “clarifies”!
by Annie Gilbertson, KPCC | http://bit.ly/1z37XUn
April 09, 11:54 AM :: The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday the Los Angeles Unified School District is inappropriately calculating space for charter schools, but the district may not be turning over more space to charters just yet.
The ruling is the latest development in a long-standing feud over how much space charters are granted on stand-alone campuses or those shared with a district school.
In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 39 requiring school districts to provide "reasonably equivalent" facilities to charter students, but the charter advocates disputed the method for determining the size of their designated spaces and charged the district was short-changing their students.
"For more than a decade, the [State Board of Education's] regulations and the underlying mandate of Proposition 39 have been the subject of considerable litigation," wrote Justice Goodwin Liu.
LAUSD used district-wide class size averages to determine the number of classrooms a charter school would need. The Supreme Court ordered the district to instead base the need on class size averages for the neighboring district schools where the charter is competing for students.
"This is because in large school districts the conditions in schools may vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood," Justice Liu wrote.
When the California Charter Schools Association sued LAUSD, it alleged the district was not considering all available space in divvying-up campuses and classrooms, leaving the charters cramped in limited areas.
In 2012, a trial court sided with the charter schools, but LAUSD won on appeal. The California Supreme Court then granted a review in 2013.
David Huff, the attorney representing LAUSD, argued the district's calculations were equitable. He provided the court examples where charter class sizes mirrored that of neighboring schools. If district schools end up with more space, it's because they offer programs outside K-12, including preschool and adult education, Huff said.
Using rooms for those programs in the calculation would tip the scales in favor of charters, he argued.
"It would have resulted in a two-tiered structure of a public school system with charter school students simply getting more classroom space than a district school kids. L.A. Unified thought that was unfair, and that’s why this challenge was taken all the way to the Supreme Court,” Huff said after the ruling.
The court agreed with LAUSD that classrooms provided for adult education or preschool can be excluded from calculating K-12 class-size average, but it declined to clarify if other school spaces, such as supply rooms, should be used.
So while the ruling clarifies how space for charters must be calculated, final numbers from the districts will determine whether charters get any extra real estate or lose ground.
Still, the California Charter Schools Association declared victory in the case.
The group said in a release the court reaffirmed the association's position that the district's methodology was "not legal or fair, and potentially denied classrooms to charter public school students."
Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the association, stated: "We're greatly encouraged that the California Supreme Court validated the notion that public school facilities should be shared fairly with all kids."
►Legal analysis: CALIFORNIA CHARTER SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION V. LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT - The Recorder | http://bit.ly/1JwE4BY
Cal.Sup.Ct.; S208611 | FULL TEXT OPINION http://bit.ly/1I50B8a
CONGRESS MOVES A (BIG) STEP CLOSER TO REWRITING NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
By Emily Richmond | Educated Reporter Blog/Education Writers Asso. | http://bit.ly/1IUXTlu
April 8, 2015 | A congressional compromise is at hand to rewrite No Child Left Behind, removing many of the more onerous provisions of the federal education law while giving states greater flexibility in accountability.
While the “Every Student Achieves” bipartisan bill announced Tuesday still has significant hurdles to clear before passage, it’s certainly the closest Congress has come to an agreement on revising the education law in nearly a decade.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the federal mechanism for funding the nation’s public schools, was due for reauthorization more than eight years ago. NCLB is the current iteration of that law.
As Education Week’s Politics K-12 reported first, the compromise bill is being sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Patty Murray (D-Washington). While there will certainly be negotiations behind closed doors to revise key aspects, the existing language offers plenty of important signals.
The bill would require states to continue disaggregating student performance data by subgroups including minority, low-income, and special education status. But states would have more flexibility in how those accountability systems were designed, and how struggling schools would be identified and supported. (Here’s something that’s not in the current bill: Alexander dropped his school choice proposal to have federal Title I dollars, which are earmarked for the poorest kids, follow a student who transfers to another campus such as a charter school.)
Annual testing of all students in grades 3-8 as well as grade 11, a central tenet of NCLB, would remain a requirement. Some policymakers had argued that “grade span” testing — such as one assessment in elementary, middle and high school — would be sufficient.
But education researchers and policy analysts warned that such a move would be a massive setback. Bellwether Education Partner’s Chad Aldeman, writing in the New York Times, warned that such a move would result in large numbers of “invisible students” who are likely to be already underserved minorities:
The grade-span approach would eviscerate the ability to look at particular groups of students within schools. Instead of having multiple grades over which schools could compile results, each school would be held responsible only for the performance of students in a single grade. Not only would this lower the quality of the data, but it would also raise the stakes of the tests: If you think the stakes are too high now, imagine being a fifth grader in a school where your score determines the results of the entire school.
That being said, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, was disappointed the new bill didn’t cut back the annual testing schedule.
“Are you going to give that third grader some relief from test and punish?” she told the New York Times. “Under this proposal, they still have to take just as many tests.”
“Punish” is a loaded word in the context of NCLB. The law’s requirements that states use standardized test scores to identify their lowest-performing schools, and sanction them if improvement didn’t happen fast enough, was arguably the most contentious provision of the law. But for the majority of the nation’s public schools, that’s no longer a concern. Frustrated by the glacial congressional pace of NCLB’s reauthorization, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan established the waiver process as a means of motivating states to implement key reform measures such as evaluating teacher performance. Currently 42 states and the District of Columbia have waivers in place releasing them from most of NCLB’s stricter student achievement requirements. It also gives states greater flexibility in allocating their federal education dollars, including money that previously had to be set aside for initiatives like tutoring and school choice.
So what’s next for the bipartisan bill? It’s headed to the Senate’s education committee next week for markup. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that the bill tackles a sizable controversy head-on: the Common Core State Standards. These grade-level expectations for what students will know and be able to do in math and English language arts, adopted by more than 40 states, began as a bipartisan compact among the nation’s governors. But the standards are now widely mischaracterized by critics as a federal mandate. Lauren Camera (one-half of the dynamic Politics K-12 duo) laid out how Alexander and Murray handled it:
As for standards, the bill simply outlines that states must establish “challenging academic standards for all students,” and, as expected, it name-checks the Common Core State Standards and clarifies that the federal government can play no role in the process of states choosing standards.
Here’s how the summary explains it:
“The bill affirms that states decide what academic standards they will adopt, without interference from Washington. The federal government may not mandate or incentivize states to adopt or maintain any particular set of standards, including Common Core. States will be free to decide what academic standards they will maintain in their states.”
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
Poll: 55% of Latino voters value school testing; nearly the same percentage of whites think it's harmful | http://lat.ms/1DzKBLD
LAUSD’s INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE TASK FORCE HOLDS FIRST MEETING http://bit.ly/1O3460x
USC DORNSIFE/L.A .TIMES POLL: "Voters trust teachers more than any other group to improve California schools" | http://bit.ly/1Onk4ob
LAO FORECASTS A ROSY REVENUE+ED BUDGET SCENARIO: Naysayers and gloom+doomers predict the worst | http://bit.ly/1yjqoJR
3 Stories: CA SUPREME COURT CLARIFIES HOW SPACE FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS TO BE DETERMINED - but please define “clarifies" http://bit.ly/1EikRUH
JANITOR WHO CLEANS ARNE DUNCAN’S OFFICE FILES “WAGE THEFT” CLAIM | http://bit.ly/1CCM5PZ
EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT NCLB…. http://bit.ly/1DKwUeG
Too much of a good thing? HIGHER REVENUE COULD BRING NEW HEADACHE FOR CALIFORNIA BUDGET :: http://bit.ly/1CgWSQP
CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOLS VIOLATING CAP+GOWN FEE LAW | http://bit.ly/1ItmKQG
UTLA files charge against Alliance schools alleging interference with efforts to form union | http://lat.ms/1CxAKR5
BIPARTISAN SENATE PLAN TO REVISE NCLB/ESEA LAW WOULD NOT MEASURE TEACHERS BY TEST SCORES | http://bit.ly/1ydtdvV
Bain v. CTA: CALIFORNIA TEACHERS UNIONS FACE NEW LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER DUES | http://bit.ly/1IGAx32
WHITE HOUSE WEBINAR ON COMMITMENTS FOR HISPANIC STUDENTS | Wed. April 8 11AM-Noon PDT | http://bit.ly/1E0FGUq
L.A. UNIFIED AND TEACHERS HAVE A TENTATIVE PACT ON HEALTH BENEFITS …but still don’t have a full deal | http://bit.ly/1DVbKZJ
NSBA: Hispanic+American Indian kids gain the most from high quality preschool – & are the least likely to be enrolled | http://bit.ly/1C852Lm
NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARDS ASSO. CENTER FOR PUBLIC ED ON MASTERING LITERACY: Whataya know–Hi-quality pre-K is the answer! | http://bit.ly/1C852Lm
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
• Regular Board Meeting Including Closed Session Items - Tues. April 14, 2015 - 10:00 a.m. -
• Regular Board Meeting - Tues, April 14, 2015 - 1:00 p.m.
*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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