Sunday, May 24, 2015

It's complicated

4LAKids: Sunday 24•May•2015 Memorial Day Weekend
In This Issue:
 •  “No one wants to be the next LA Unified.” LAUSD’s iPADS: WHAT WENT WRONG? …AND WHAT DO WE NEED TO LEARN?
 •  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?

Featured Links:
 •  Give the gift of a 4LAKids Subscription to a friend or colleague!
 •  Follow 4 LAKids on Twitter - or get instant updates via text message by texting "Follow 4LAKids" to 40404
 •  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.
The electorate have spoken.

Probably only in the Electoral College do so few voters decide an election as was decided for the LAUSD Board of Education last Tuesday. 7.64% of eligible voters voted. $726.61 was spent by the campaigns and Political Action Committees for each vote cast. I’m sure I’ve read 20+ words for every vote cast about what it all means.

The most succinct appraisal was Diane Ravitch’s: “It was a wash.”

Being a pundit - if not a card-carrying/fully-fledged member of the pundocracy, at least a member of the pundit class - I can’t leave it at that.

Q: A Kayser staffer at the Kayser “Victory Party” asked me – just as the inevitable (washed down with beer and wine and cheese nibbles) was sinking in: Was I already writing my reaction piece?
A: I was listening and making note – the most elemental part of writing. Driving there I passed multi-car freeway pileup: all firetrucks, twisted metal and dazed survivors standing on the shoulder. Surely that was a metaphor. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Let me add my two-cents worth.

IT’S REALLY VERY SIMPLE. The voters voted the rascals out. It didn’t matter where they stood, how much money they raised or how many fliers they flew. If they were in – they were out. (Note: The previous line is best read with Heidi Klum’s accent.)

It was an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the current situation/the status-quo-of-the-moment/the stasis. And it leaves us exactly where we were …but with a couple of new faces on opposite sides of issues: A celebration of an Opposite Day that lasts for five-and-a-half-years

Two incumbents of completely different political persuasions+(in)sensibilities were defeated. One incumbent survived – but not by all-that-much when one considers that his opponent had little money and a reputation as a whack job. To Lincoln’s admonition “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time” – we need to add the caveat that you can apparently buy some of the people some of the time.

(In the City Council Race David Ryu, the outsider won handily even though his opponent Carolyn Ramsey was supported by the termed-out incumbent, the mayor, the city council president and the LA Times. Mayor Garcetti didn’t do well in his support for Tamar Galatzan either.)

There are some that say it was a referendum on iPads or educational technology. Or perhaps John Deasy. Or testing or Common Core or charter schools or Corporate ®eform. That Deasy supported Tamar Galatzan when her opponent accused her of being a Deasy supporter probably wasn’t $500-worth-of-helpful; Ref Rodriguez took Deasy’s money – but $500 was a meaningless contribution in his multi-million-dollar effort.

IT WAS A STRANGE ELECTION; many of the lessons to be learned are meaningless. We will never have another like it again because of Charter Amendments 1 and 2 - which passed back in March to move city and L.A. Unified school board elections to June, with a November runoff, in even-numbered years along with state and federal elections. No more March and May. No more odd numbered years. No more one or two races on the ballot in regular elections.

• In terms of politics, Scott Schmerelson framed his argument that Tamar Galatzan was a Deasy supporter. Time for a change. He won.
• Ref Rodriguez and his supporters framed his argument that Bennett Kayser was for iPads, against charter schools, brown children and was clumsy with a coffee cup. Time for a change. He won.
• Lydia GutiĆ©rrez got painted as a tea party Republican, had little-to-no money and got a hell of a lot of votes for someone so burdened in her race against Richard Vladovic (who was supported by the unions and the charter folks). Not quite time for that much change!
• In the city council race David Ryu was a Korean from Koreatown - a convincing argument on the face of it ...except Koreatown is predominantly Hispanic. LeBonge was old+old school - he wore us all out and we could vote against him and business as usual without actually voting against him. Time for a change. Ryu won.

The voters who voted – and 65% of them voted by mail, some voting almost a month before Election Day - decided that the incumbents were not effective at governing the District. More of a “I’m-Mad-As-Hell-and-I’m-Not-Going-To-Take-It-Anymore”/”Toss-The-Rascals-Out” mentality than anything else.

Sarah Bradshaw, Kayser’s chief-of-staff, in a moment of pure wit+insight said Bennett’s election was lost in the Absentee Vote ...because the campaign was absent when the voters were voting!

In voting early, early voters were not aware/informed of late developments in the races and of the obscene amounts invested by outside donors. In the Kayser/Rodriguez board race they missed the news that one of Ref’s PUC Charter schools was in serious legal and financial hot water; in all elections early voters missed how ugly the campaigning got. In Kayser’s case the traditional polling place voters skewed+trended in his favor …but the early voters trumped the surge.

THE SWINGING PENDULUM MEETS THE REVOLVING DOOR. In the case of Board District Three, the ®eform Inc. vs. Teachers’ Union incumbents have alternated in the seat. It was Caprice Young’s seat when Caprice was Mayor Riordan’s candidate; Caprice was defeated by Jon Lauritzen, a UTLA stalwart. Mayor Tony ran Tamar Galatzan against Lauritzen and now Tamar has lost to Scott Schmerleson, the union supported candidate.

In Board District Five David Tokofsky first had union and mayoral support, then lost the mayor but won reelection – then left the seat to have it picked up by Villaraigosa candidate Yolie Flores. Yolie was about as pro-®eform as they get, but didn’t run again. UTLA’s Bennett Kayser defeated Mayor Tony+Monica Garcia’s handpicked Luis Sanchez in a squeaker in ®eform’s attempt to buy that election – and now the pendulum has swung back to Charters+®eform Inc. with Ref Rodriguez.

End of the world? Not quite. Armageddon has been avoided, dystopia averted. Looking at the score card it looks like a draw/a wash/a flip-flop. Is a tie a win by more than one side? …or a loss equally shared?

FUTURE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS WILL BE DIFFERENT. It will be a long ballot and school board races will be deep down in it. Congresspeople and assemblymembers and state senators will be on the ballot; the mayor and half the city council. Judges. Initiatives+Referenda. The political money and effort will be spread thinner, the phone banks will be tied up – the political consultants already employed. It will be easier to get folks to vote and harder to get them to pay attention. Or pay money to your campaign.


• Things are going to be testy on the board as the players figure out what their roles are.
• The current board (with lame duck members) must set the budget the next board – with the ducks long gone – will be accountable for.
• The Inspector General has an investigation ongoing of PUC Charter Schools. PUC’s CEO is now on the Board of Ed. the IG reports directly to the board.
• Who will the next board president be? The rules say it can’t be Dr. Vladovic – but the rules can be changed. In a moment at the last meeting when he didn’t know his mic was on Dr. V. pretty much said he was looking forward to not being the president.
• Mr. Zimmer and Mr. Rodriguez – despite the campaign vitriol – are going to have to figure how they can work together when that makes sense.
• We won’t have the two attorneys from The Valley constantly trying to square off and argue every legal point while their attorney – the General Counsel – waits+watches.
• The political split will continue be generally pro-educator/®eform-averse. There will now be five members on the board with administrator’s credentials and six with classroom teaching experience.
• There will be surprises. Watch this space.

I MUST SAY THIS and then I need to step back from the ledge. This is Memorial Day weekend and the following is in no way In Memoriam: That honor and this holiday is earned+deserved by those who gave us their last full measure of devotion.

TAMAR GALATZAN is sometimes a disruptive force. She was brought onto the board to follow Mayor Tony’s lead and she really isn’t a follower. On occasion – when she wasn’t bored or just angry she could be a voice of reason – especially on issues that sometimes don’t get enough attention like procurement …although she let the iPad procurement slip-through unquestioned and defended it and the leadership that proposed it as it+they descended into chaos. She first won her seat by defeating a man with terminal cancer. That seemed politically heartless …but he really shouldn’t have been the candidate.

BENNETT KAYSER is one of the most decent men I have ever met – and a good friend to me and kids and parents and teachers and public education. There is a crazy selflessness that afflicts middle school educators like a mutant gene: ‘Who, in their right mind, would return there?’ Bennett possesses this in spades. The victory-at-all-costs campaign waged against him was particularly brutal and unnecessarily hurtful to him, his wife Peggy and his friends, colleagues and family. ‘It’s not personal, it’s politics’ is easy to say and tougher to live. Forgiveness+forgetting will be harder to come by from his friends than from Bennett.

“A righteous man does not conceive of himself as righteous; he is ‘only doing what anyone else would do,’ except, of course, that no one else does it.” ― Martin Berman-Gorvine, 36

Nothing to see here. We pick up the pieces and move along.

¡Onward/Adelante! – smf

MEMORIAL DAY, 150 YEARS AGO: An illustrated recounting of the first Decoration Day

by Annie Gilbertson | KPCC 89.3 |
Audio from this story | 0:58 Listen:

May 20 2015 :: When the Los Angeles Unified School District's two new board members take their seats, they'll face this glaring projection for the next school year: the district will have about 5,000 fewer students.

Tuesday's general election swept out two incumbents in a continuing show of voter dissatisfaction with the status quo. But it also swept in board members who are on opposite sides of an ongoing political power struggle between charter school interests and the teachers union.

After millions in campaign contributions and a dismal school board turnout of 7.6 percent of registered voters, the result was a political draw between the two forces.

Declining enrollment makes it all the more challenging for the new board to invest in improvements to stem the exodus. Each student who leaves is a loss of about $10,000 in state funds.

Scott Schmerelson, board member-elect for the West San Fernando Valley's District 3, said piquing parents interest so they send or keep their children in the district comes down to creating successful schools.

"It's not to fight with charter schools, but let them know traditional public schools have a lot to offer – open the doors, let them see," Schmerelson said Wednesday.

L.A. Unified's shrinking student numbers can be attributed in part to fewer school aged-children in Los Angeles County, and the growth in charter schools. Charters serve nearly 100,000 of the district's 650,000 students.

Ref Rodriguez, board member-elect for east Los Angeles and a charter school administrator, suggests all schools start sharing best practices in educating students.

"And, charter schools have a great role around incubation, but this is happening at many schools across this district," he said.

Board President Richard Vladvoic, the only contested incumbent who held on to his seat Tuesday, said the district could start making traditional schools more attractive by presenting parents with more choices.

"We may need, as a board, to offer more thematic schools and more alternatives," Vladovic said. Options may include expanding magnet school offerings that can tailor instruction based on students' interests or creating small learning communities with more individualized teaching.

While Gov. Jerry Brown's latest revised budget calls for billions more in K-12 spending statewide, much of the new funding will be one-time allocations, while falling enrollment has long-term implications.

The new board may find itself facing a choice: find ways to increase enrollment or shave services.

The new board members will be sworn in July 1.

“No one wants to be the next LA Unified.” LAUSD’s iPADS: WHAT WENT WRONG? …AND WHAT DO WE NEED TO LEARN?
Issie Lapowsky | WIRED |

05.08.15. | 7:00 am. :: When Los Angeles schools began handing out iPads in the fall of 2013, it looked like one of the country’s most ambitious rollouts of technology in the classroom. The city’s school district planned to spend $1.3 billion putting iPads, preloaded with the Pearson curriculum, in the hands of every student in every school.

Less than two years later, that ambitious plan now looks like a spectacularly foolish one. In August, the Los Angeles Unified School District halted its contract with Apple, as rumors swirled that Apple and Pearson may have received preferential treatment in the district’s procurement process, something the FBI is investigating. Then, this spring, the district sent a letter to Apple seeking a refund, citing crippling technical issues with the Pearson platform and incomplete curriculum that made it nearly impossible for teachers to teach. If a deal can’t be reached, the district could take legal action. (Apple did not immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment.)

Pearson, whose stock tumbled following the news, has publicly defended the curriculum it provided LAUSD, which included digital learning content for math and English courses 1. LAUSD’s director of the so-called Instructional Technology Initiative, on the other hand, denounced the material as utterly unusable in a memo earlier this year.

But while the the parties involved continue pointing the finger and picking up the pieces, the important question to ask now is what this fiasco means for the future of technology in the classroom. If one of the country’s largest school districts, one of the world’s largest tech companies, and one of the most established brands in education can’t make it work, can anyone?

Experts who have been following LAUSD’s troubled tech rollout say that while this does not mean education technology is inherently flawed, it does illustrate just how difficult a program like this is to pull off. Rather than proving these programs are hopeless, they say LA may have provided other districts and tech providers with an unfortunate, yet vivid, blueprint of what not to do. Learning from LA’s mistakes, they say, is critical to ensuring that already resource-strapped schools won’t continue spending precious funding on misguided programs.

“No one wants to be the next LA Unified,” says Michael Horn, executive director of the education program at the Clay Christensen Institute. “I think that’s healthy, and it will get people to pause and learn the bigger lesson.”


According to Horn, who also is author of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, Los Angeles is a classic case of a school district getting caught up in the ed tech frenzy without fully thinking through why technology is important in the first place.

“LA is emblematic of a problem we’re seeing across the country right now,” he says. “Districts are starting with the technology and not asking themselves: ‘What problem are we trying to solve, and what’s the instructional model we need to solve it?’ and then finding technology in service of that.”

At the crux of the FBI’s investigation into LA’s iPad program are emails exchanged between then-Superintendent John Deasy and executives from Pearson, in which Deasy expresses his excitement about being able to work with Pearson and Apple. The only problem is, the emails were sent a year before LAUSD started the bidding process with other vendors, indicating the deck was stacked before the district had a chance to vet other providers or come up with a comprehensive plan for using and managing the technology.

It’s not unusual even in an above-board bidding process for districts to start by choosing a vendor, instead of first discussing how that technology will be used in the first place

That’s an extreme example, Horn admits. But he says it’s not unusual even in an above-board bidding process for districts to start by choosing a vendor, instead of first discussing how that technology will be used in the first place.

“A lot of schools get into trouble when the conversation starts with the vendor,” Horn says. “Where I’ve seen these programs work is when the school starts off with its vision, and only once they’ve sketched out what the solution should look like do they go out to the hardware and software communities to mix and match to meet those needs.”


That was the approach that Cary Matsuoka, Superintendent of California’s Milpitas Unified School District, took when he began bringing Chromebooks into district schools in 2012. Milpitas, a town of 70,000 outside San Jose, often is held up as a successful example of how technology can enable more personalized education, even in a district school setting, and that has a lot to do with how Matsuoka went about designing the program. In spring 2012, he challenged principals throughout the district to present a compelling answer to the question: If you could design the school of the future, what would it look like?

The goal, Matsuoka says, was to give principals and teachers the autonomy to determine what would work best for their schools rather than mandating change from the top. “Any time you control things from the top, you get compliance, where people just go through the motions,” Matsuoka says. “We wanted to say: ‘Here’s the model. Come up with your version of it and go test it.'”

Any time you control things from the top, you get compliance, where people just go through the motions.' Cary Matsuoka

It was through that process that Matsuoka realized having one device per student wasn’t actually necessary. Instead, the principals proposed a rotation model, in which students would take shifts on the devices. “Part of that was about cost” Matsuoka admits, “but there’s also the important question to ask, which is, what would you do if you had the one-to-one environment? How would you take advantage of that?”

Instead, Milpitas started with 2,000 Chromebooks, because they’re less expensive than iPads and are cloud-based, so they can be centrally managed and updated. Now, the district has 6,000 Chromebooks for 10,000 students and may continue to scale, depending on which schools and classrooms could benefit from more devices.


But the abundance of expensive hardware wasn’t the central problem in LA. It was Pearson’s curriculum that proved most troublesome. In her memo, Bernadette Lucas, the initiative’s director, wrote that less than 5 percent of students had consistent access to the content due to technical issues, and that some students had no access at all for months. As of March, all but two schools had stopped using the Pearson curriculum entirely.

In a statement to WIRED, a Pearson spokesperson said, “This was a large-scale implementation of new technologies and there have been challenges with the initial adoption, but we stand by the quality of our performance.”

For Horn, such problems occur when ed tech companies design their software in a vacuum. “A lot of people will say, ‘Our program works great when you use it for this long and in this way,'” he says. “The question is: Do schools use it that way?'”

You can make a change that makes sense on its own, but when it’s introduced to the complex setting of a school, the net effect is negative.' Max Ventilla

That’s one reason startups like AltSchool are working on building schools and technology simultaneously. “It is so hard to be the setting in which a child learns in a school that if you don’t run schools yourself, and deal with all the practicalities around everything from technology to lunch to transportation, you risk missing everything below the water line,” says Max Ventilla, founder and CEO of AltSchool.

“What’s tough about education is things are so complex and connected that sometimes, you can make a change that makes sense on its own, but when it’s introduced to the complex setting of a school, the net effect is negative.”

And yet, according to Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, the stodgy education procurement system isn’t always set up to find the best technology solutions for schools, regardless of how that technology was designed. “There’s a rising tension between the folks who want to move new tools and learning programs into school systems and a pretty archaic procurement system that can easily stand in the way,” she says. “Smaller companies are saying, ‘We just don’t have a chance against the big companies.”

Lake says that is the fatal mistake LAUSD made, but the district is not alone. “School systems in general do not do a good job on R&D,” she says. “They’re built to work with one or two companies that will provide a one-size-fits-all solution, and that’s not how technology is moving.”

Horn agrees, adding that while schools need more thoughtful ways of selecting tech vendors, the vendors need to be more thoughtful about selling to schools. “Of course device companies are trying to sell devices, but if they don’t want this big blowback on edtech, then it’d be prudent to take a long term mindset and really help these districts think through a more strategic planning process before they implement the program.”

Lake says some cities, like New York, have found ways around this procurement problem. In 2010, the Big Apple launched its so-called iZone program, which was designed specifically to connect startups and developers to the city’s schools. “New York said, ‘We actually have to cultivate a marketplace if we want to find these solutions,” says Lake, who hopes to see more cities taking New York’s lead.
Not Giving Up

Los Angeles, for its part, says it’s not giving up on technology in the classroom. “We’re still very much moving forward in technology and continuing to deliver devices to schools,” a spokesperson for the district told WIRED.

For now, the iPads with Pearson’s curriculum are still being used in 58 schools, but students and teachers are using them simply to access other apps. Meanwhile, after cutting short its initial contract with Apple and Pearson, last winter, LA’s school board approved another $40 million for more iPads, as well as Chromebooks. Those devices aren’t loaded with Pearson’s content and are being used exclusively for testing.

The difference is now, under the leadership of Superintendent Ramon Cortines, the district is trying to learn from its mistakes and do some serious strategic planning before expanding the program further. The district has formed a task force, which will develop a new plan for using technology in the classroom and present it to the superintendent and school board next year.

Los Angeles has not given up on technology in the classroom.

The group has four key questions: What will students learn? How will students learn? What resources will be needed? How will it work? These are questions anyone can see the district should have asked long before it purchased a single iPad. But they are critical questions to ask, no matter how late they may be.

During the task force’s first meeting in April, Cortines emphasized how critical this process was in a statement to members, “You have a monumental job ahead of you,” he said. “We have spent more than $100 million dollars on this project and it is now time to regroup and develop a solid plan that allows us to move forward and leverage technology as a tool to improve teaching and learning for our students.”


WHAT WENT WRONG WITH L.A. UNIFIED’S iPAD PROGRAM? To put it simply: There was a complete breakdown in the planning and execution of the initiative.
by Tod Newcombe / Government Technology |

This story was originally published by Governing Magazine [] as:
How did Los Angeles spend more than $1 billion to buy an iPad for every student and instead end up losing its leader and being investigated by the FBI and SEC?

May 14, 2015 :: Two years ago, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) tried an interesting new experiment: give every student a tablet computer equipped with a digital curriculum. It was a bold move that was supposed to push Los Angeles public schools into the 21st century. It turned out to be a disaster.

The idea was certainly huge, requiring the purchase of 650,000 Apple iPads, networking gear and educational software from Pearson -- all at a cost of nearly $1.3 billion. L.A. Schools Superintendent John Deasy, who launched the program in 2013, also saw it as a way to help the city’s low-income students. Until Deasy’s announcement, students had limited access to digital education tools at computer labs, which couldn’t accommodate all students at the same time.

Today, LAUSD is exploring possible litigation against Apple and Pearson, the world’s largest education publishing company, to recoup millions of dollars; a criminal grand jury is investigating possible ethics violations by district officials; the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched their own inquiries into possible wrong-doing; and Deasy resigned.

So what went wrong? To put it simply: a complete breakdown in the planning and execution of the initiative. The Los Angeles Times labeled the mega-technology project “ill-conceived and half-baked.”

In fall 2012, Deasy announced to school administrators his plan to give a tablet computer to every student. Convinced the highly popular technology was going to be the future of education and that low-income students would struggle academically if he didn’t move quickly, Deasy gave LAUSD only a few months to generate a plan before putting the initiative out to bid in 2013, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Education.

In June 2013, the Board of Education approved a contract with Apple and Pearson worth $500 million and set aside another $800 million to improve Internet access at schools. The entire purchase was funded by construction bonds, which are typically used to build and repair schools.

LAUSD bought 43,261 iPads loaded with a curriculum, which the school district selected from Pearson based only on samples of a math and English program available at the time. Problems surfaced immediately during the rollout at 47 schools in fall 2013.

Internet connectivity was spotty at some schools, partly because the district’s facilities chief was not included in the planning process for upgrading school networks to carry the heavy data demands of so many devices connecting to the Internet. Teachers were ill-trained on how to use the iPads and curriculum, and faculty never widely embraced the tablet, according to the Department of Education report. And many students learned how to bypass the security features and just used the iPads to surf the Internet.

With problems occurring almost daily with either the technology or the curriculum, Deasy slowed down the rollout. But criticism of the initiative from teachers, administrators and the local media kept mounting, and under pressure, Deasy resigned in October 2014. In December, LAUSD officially ended the initiative and canceled the Apple contract -- though schools and students continue to use the existing iPads.

In addition to poor planning, the Department of Education's review of the initiative found LAUSD was too “heavily dependent on a single commercial product for providing digital learning resources.” While the district followed state guidelines for purchasing hardware that aligned with Common Core standards, a report released in August 2014 by the LAUSD board showed that the district had added detailed specifications regarding screen size and touchscreen functionality that heavily favored Apple and essentially excluded other technology options.

Media reports also detailed how bid requirements seemed to track with curriculum specifications suggested by Pearson in private email exchanges before the bidding process opened. The FBI has since launched an investigation into questions about whether Apple and Pearson enjoyed an advantage in the bidding process.

Beyond the issue of whether or not Apple and Pearson had an inside track in winning the bid, LAUSD has been faulted for choosing one rather expensive device when less expensive choices were available. Devices with keyboards might have been a better option, for instance, since older students could have used them to write papers. Google’s Chromebook, for example, is a laptop that can cost as little as $200, while LAUSD paid $768 apiece for its iPads, including the software, according to the Times.

The SEC in April also launched an inquiry into whether L.A. school officials complied with legal guidelines in the use of bond funds to finance the iPad deal. Using construction bonds to purchase Internet infrastructure is common, but the LAUSD also used money from the bonds to purchase the iPads, which break down after a few years. Some critics of the plan have said LAUSD should have set aside a sum from its operating budget to purchase the tablets.

Meanwhile, LAUSD took action of its own in April, announcing it would seek to recoup millions of dollars from Apple because it was “dissatisfied with their product.” The district’s demands for a refund stem from materials that didn't adapt well for students who weren't proficient in English and a lack of software tools to analyze how well the curriculum functions.

Government technology projects often fail because policymakers take too long to deploy them, so they miss deadlines and end up with out-of-date technology. But as LAUSD’s fiasco showed, moving quickly can be just as disastrous. Without proper planning, a technology project of this size and scope is bound to fail.

Another important lesson from this story is how a district’s reliance on one type of technology can end up limiting the value of that investment. Students of different ages have different needs and no one device is necessary or sufficient to solve all education problems.

Computers are nothing more than tools that can help educate students when they are used as part of a well-planned curriculum. Unfortunately, that point was lost when Los Angeles let the glamour of a new and popular product cloud its judgement.

• Tod Newcombe | Senior Editor: With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He is now a senior editor for Government Technology and a columnist at Governing magazine

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
NEW CALIFORNIA TEACHING CREDENTIALS DECLINE FOR 10TH SUCCESSIVE YEAR -- Fueling concerns about a teacher shortage that many educators have been worrying about for years, the number of credentials issued to new teachers trained in California has decreased for the 10th consecutive year, according to the latest figures from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Katherine Ellison and Louis Freedberg EdSource --

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS ACT TO MANDATE VACCINES FOR DAY CARE WORKERS -- California lawmakers acted Friday on a measure that would require workers in day care centers to get vaccinated as part of an effort to protect children from preventable diseases, including measles, for which there have been recent outbreaks in the state. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times --

LAO PREDICTS CALIFORNIA REVENUE WILL EXCEED REVISED BUDGET ESTIMATE BY $3 BILLION | The Sacramento Bee | ADDITIONAL $660 MILLION MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS - LA School Report Counting chickens before they hatch: “Due to LA Unified’s size as the state’s largest school district, it is expected to receive roughly 10-to-11 percent of the additional revenue, totaling around $72 million, which would be on top of the additional $638 million the revised budget is already setting aside for the district.”

In DISCONNECTED SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: 3 AREAS OF CONCERN Peter DeWitt says in EdWeek that there are 3 Reasons Why Your Faculty Meetings are a Waste of Time:
1. It could’ve been summed up in an e-mail
2. Teachers didn't help co-construct the meeting
3. It didn't focus on learning
Which leads him to this: “If we believe that faculty meetings should be one-sided venues for principals to talk at teachers then we must believe the classroom should be a one-sided venue for teachers to talk at students.”
He says more:









GALATZAN'S LOSS? Blame it on iPads, anti-incumbency and Galatzan - LA School Report |


CSEA: LAUSD CLERICAL WORKERS TO GET RAISES IN 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 |


WHY IS THIS LITTLE GIRL CRYING? | (Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles Times) |




Early News Reports: THE LAUSD ELECTIONS |



Political action committees are spending 15 times the cash they did six years ago on the LAUSD election today |


A: There was a complete breakdown in the planning & execution.


EVENTS: Coming up next week...

*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.
• 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.

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.
• FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. 4LAKids makes such material available in an effort to advance understanding of education issues vital to parents, teachers, students and community members in a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.