Saturday, May 24, 2008

Remembering Dr. Goldstein

4LAKids: Sunday, May 25, 2008 - Memorial Weekend
In This Issue:
SCHOOLS CAN'T SPARE TIME OR DIMES FOR FIELD TRIPS: Visits to art, nature and science exhibits are rare as more hours are devoted to studying for tests
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
What can YOU do?

Featured Links:
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: an investment we can't afford to cut! - The Education Coalition Website
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.
MEMORIAL DAY IS UPON US, a three day weekend that heralds the onset of summer, marks the end of testing, and memorializes heroes.

On May 11th the children of Los Angeles lost a hero and a friend in Dr. Charles Meyer Goldstein, who ran the USC Mobile Dental Clinics, a fixture in our inner city schools. In addition to his work among the needy in L.A. Dr. Goldstein provided dental services and created programs to serve migrant worker children and adults in California and Palestinian children in Israel and the West Bank.

He was a teacher who taught young people to be dentists; he showed them how to do it with humanity and generosity. My most recent encounter with him was at a oral health town hall in Central LA; even as he was promoting oral health he was recruiting young people to the profession - and like all excellent teachers he was he was exceedingly good at it.

Charlie Goldstein described himself as an "accidental dentist" - his first calling was to be a veterinarian - but he couldn't get into a veterinary medicine program. His real calling was as a humanitarian. As his son said: "He thought the highest calling of humans was to serve others; he did that as a dentist."

We don't need to mourn Dr. Goldstein, but to honor, memorialize and celebrate his 87 years of life, his accomplishments and his vision. And then continue his good work to carry on as he would have us do. The work will be harder without him but easier because he has shown us the way. The children are still out there, they still need the care; let's close ranks and do it together

¡Onward/Hasta adelante! - smf

Obit: CHARLES MAYER GOLDSTEIN, 87; "Accidental Dentist", USC faculty member organized free dental clinics

commentary by smf

The following is a sad story of a very unfortunate case; but in spite of the ugliness it's a story of the right things being done correctly.

I am a parent at Marshall High School, when the first allegations surfaced in staff room, hallway and school yard rumor - and later in the media - I shared the community's revulsion, abhorrence and shock.

• There was an investigation and a speedy arrest, the alleged perpetrator was removed from campus and most important - from where he could endanger any more children.
• For a short time there were reporters and news vans with microwave masts - counselors and psychologists were engaged to work with the victims and their parents,
• As much information as could be shared was shared with the school community, with parents and students and teachers.
• Charges were filed, there was a trial. Thre was due process. There may still be a civil action.

There was neither a witch-hunt nor a cover-up. People with questions had the questions answered or were directed to someone who could answer questions:

---------------begin story---------------

FORMER SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER AT JOHN MARSHALL HIGH IS SENTENCED IN SEX CASE: Fred David Johnson is ordered to three years in state prison after pleading no contest to charges involving four students.

LA Times From The Associated Press

May 22, 2008 - (AP) - A former teacher who pleaded no contest to sex-related charges involving four special education students was sentenced Wednesday to three years in state prison.

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Henry J. Hall denied probation for Fred David Johnson, 60, a former special education teacher at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz, noting that the crimes were against "particularly vulnerable" victims entrusted to his care.

Johnson pleaded no contest in January to oral copulation of an incompetent person involving a 14-year-old boy, child abuse involving a girl and boy, both 17, and battery on a mentally disabled 19-year-old man.

In a letter read by his family's attorney, one of the victims said he wanted Johnson to serve 20 years or more behind bars. Three victims' mothers gave tearful statements.

Johnson has been in jail since being arrested in August.

Attempts to find a phone number for Johnson or his attorney were unsuccessful.

---------------end story---------------

One can dispute whether the sentence fit the crime but it's hard to dispute that the school, school district, law enforcement and prosecution did their jobs as they should've.

One can only hope that the lessons learned and best practices from the above are applied in the future. - smf


SCHOOLS CAN'T SPARE TIME OR DIMES FOR FIELD TRIPS: Visits to art, nature and science exhibits are rare as more hours are devoted to studying for tests
By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

May 19, 2008 — Scores of second-graders scrambled through the airy Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, huddling inside simulators to feel the shaking of an earthquake, building mini-ski jumps to learn about speed and shaping wet sand into riverbanks to observe erosion. The hands-on experiences allowed them to test theories they had only read about in textbooks or heard about from teachers.

"A couple of kids have asked me, 'Is this really science?' " said Kathleen Carney, a teacher at Deerfield Elementary School in Irvine.

At a time of shrinking budgets and increased emphasis on standardized testing, such class visits to science centers, museums and zoos are becoming increasingly rare, according to educators and site operators.

Sixty percent of teachers surveyed across the nation reported decreased funding for field trips in recent years. In California, that could get worse as school districts grapple with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget, which would cut about $4.8 billion in education funding this year and next.

Field trip coordinators, school principals and teachers attribute the decline in student visitors to increased classroom hours devoted to the high-stakes English and math testing required by the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as budget cuts.

'Money is a huge issue'

"Everything is geared toward that testing," said Linda Kahn, a vice president at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana. "And money. Money is a huge issue for each and every school."
Between the 2005-06 and the 2006-07 school years, student visits to Bowers' "First Californians" exhibit about mission life dropped nearly 50%, to 880 students, she said.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has seen a sharp decline every year since 2004-05, when 241,075 students visited. Last year, the number dropped to 172,764, which museum officials attribute squarely to increasingly crowded school days and concerns about funding"

It makes me terribly sad," said Carl Selkin, the museum's vice president for education, who grew up in New York City. "I still remember when I was a kid in school how exciting field trips were. I just grew to love museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also the American Museum of Natural History. Those are images I still carry with me."

Because it does not charge admission, the National Zoo in Washington does not keep track of student visitors. But teachers routinely tell officials about the obstacles they face in taking trips to the 163-acre zoo.

"We've heard from many teachers the same sorts of problems -- it's cost-prohibitive, they have to test to the standards so there's not time for field trips, there are not enough chaperons. We hear that all the time," said Elise Bernardoni, an education specialist with Friends of the National Zoo. "A lot of schools just flat out can't pay $300 for a bus, and frankly, there's nothing we can do about that."

Myra Ruedal and two other fifth-grade teachers at Emperor Elementary in San Gabriel received a grant to take their students on field trips last year -- a priority, not a luxury, the teacher said.

"Because of the low economic [level] of our students, they don't get to go anywhere," Ruedal said. "We're taking them beyond the borders of Temple City and San Gabriel. They get to see there's life outside of this community."

As part of a spending freeze, the Riverside Unified School District in January ordered its schools to reevaluate the necessity of any field trip not funded by donations.
Teachers were told to "ask yourself if the expenditure is absolutely necessary for the well-being of kids," said Dianne Pavia, a district spokeswoman.

In Moreno Valley, one of Supt. Rowena Lagrosa's first tasks when she took over in 2006 was to scale back field trips. Some were not educational, such as end-of-the-year excursions to amusement parks, she said. Others no longer fit in schools' crammed schedules, she said. The district takes 40% to 60% fewer trips than it once did.

The 37,351-student district has been named a "program improvement district," which means it is struggling to meet math and English goals under No Child Left Behind. The standardized testing has already been blamed for decreased arts and music education in some districts across the nation.
"Time is our most valuable asset," Lagrosa said. "Our school years are just not long enough, and our school days are just not long enough. We want to ensure that when parents send students to school, it's for instruction."
In February, a charter school in Watts canceled a trip to a screening of "The Little Red Truck," a documentary about a touring children's theater, because of the $400 transportation cost.
"Buses are incredibly expensive," said Dinah Consuegra, principal of Animo Locke Tech Charter High School. "The funding just wasn't available for us to go."

The filmmakers responded by bringing the film to the school. But Consuegra fears that future experiences, as well as arts education, simply will be eliminated because of the governor's proposed budget cuts.

"If those kinds of resources get cut from our school, I think our dropout rate will be much higher," she said.

Getting in alignment

Some museums and other institutions are responding by aligning their programs with state and federal standards.
After the 1998 opening of the Discovery Science Center, 84,781 students visited on field trips during its first fiscal year. But the numbers began to dip, and within three years it had lost 23,000 field trip visitors annually. So center officials redesigned the exhibits to emphasize their link to California science standards, which dictate what concepts students must be taught at each grade level. The museum also focused on a specific grade level each month. "We upgraded the field trip experience," said Leslie Perovich, vice president of the center.

"We use large-scale exhibits to teach science concepts tied into the grade level."

It worked. The numbers began climbing, and in the fiscal year that ended in June, 83,949 students visited the center.
Kahn said Bowers held a workshop for elementary school teachers in April to show how the museum could tie into their lesson plans and expects to hold more in the fall.

Schools that continue to take trips increasingly rely on parental fundraisers and grants. Some turn to city councils for help in paying for buses.

The Anaheim City School District paid for field trips at every grade level until budget cuts about five years ago, according to spokeswoman Suzi Brown. Today, the nearly 20,000-student district spends about $19,000 annually to pay transportation costs for a kindergarten trip to a farm and a third-grade trip to an Anaheim history museum. (PTAs, fundraisers and donations pay for a limited number of trips at other grade levels.)
To deal with Schwarzenegger's budget, district officials are discussing eliminating the kindergarten and third-grade trips. "It's scary," Brown said.

Laura Magana of Anaheim says she is worried that her year-old daughter, Katelyn, will not have the field trip experiences her older children enjoyed. Magana fondly remembers her 15-year-old daughter Briana's fourth-grade trip to Upper Newport Bay, where she learned about the Native Americans who once lived there, native plant life and the birds who forage in the water.

"Kids get bored of being taught constantly out of a book," she said.

The Target Corp. began offering grants after a 2007 survey of 400 U.S. teachers revealed that nearly two-thirds reported field trips had been reduced in their school budgets.

"I was stunned, quite frankly," said Laysha Ward, Target's vice president of community relations. "There's a huge need."
The company responded by offering 800 grants of as much as $1,000 each in the last school year. Some 16,000 teachers applied, without advertising. This year, the company doubled the offer to $1.6 million.

Last spring, Ruedal at Emperor Elementary used an $850 grant from Target to take about 100 students to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. It was one of five field trips the teachers took last year.

"That one day," Ruedal said, "they learn so much more than what a textbook can show them."

The Office of the Attorney General, an allied agency of the State PTA, wants to know what parents and school leaders consider the highest priority safety needs in their schools and communities. At their request, we are passing along to you the following important information about school safety:

The School/Law Enforcement Partnership (S/LEP) is a partnership between the California Department of Education and the Office of the Attorney General. Through this program, school districts and county offices of education can apply for grants for up to $500,000 for a five-year period to address school safety violence concerns in K-12 schools. The regulations that govern the School/Community Violence Prevention (SCVP) Program require the S/LEP to consult with school safety practitioners to identify the highest priority school safety needs.

This survey will assist the S/LEP to identify school safety needs and should take no more than ten minutes to complete. If needed, we (Office of the Attorney General) can provide you with a paper copy if you are unable to access the survey. We request that you complete the on-line survey no later than July 3, 2008.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer this survey. It will provide the S/LEP with information on priority school safety and violence issues in the state, leading to efforts to focus resources on the most pressing needs.

If you feel that you are not the appropriate person to complete this survey, feel free to pass it on to others in the field. We are especially interested in obtaining youth input and ask that you encourage youth in your school or in specific focus groups to complete the survey.

If you have any questions, please contact Deborah Cramer at the Office of the Attorney General at (916) 322-2799 or or Stephanie Papas at the Department of Education at (916) 445-8441 or

Deborah J. Cramer
Crime Prevention Specialist - School Community Violence Prevention Program
Office of the Attorney General
1300 I Street, Suite 1120
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 322-2799
Fax: (916) 327-2384

Use THIS LINK to access the survey and follow the instructions on-line.


• A majority of surveyed voters (56%) thought that tax hikes should be part of any budget solution, along with spending cuts.
• The Legislature's marks are downright pathetic: 26% approve, 57% disapprove.
• Not surprisingly, 67% of voters think California is headed in the wrong direction.

by George Skelton: Capitol Journal From the Los Angeles Times

May 22 2008 — SACRAMENTO — Californians seem willing to be talked into accepting a tax increase to help balance the books in Sacramento.

But that will require political leadership, and currently voters don't detect much emanating from the state capital. People are pretty disgusted with the politicians.

"The public is not very impressed with the kind of money management taking place in Sacramento," says Mark Baldassare, president and pollster of the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. "Here we are back with the same kind of mess we started with four years ago."

That was shortly after Arnold Schwarzenegger got elected governor vowing to "end the crazy deficit spending."

He and legislators now are peering into a projected deficit hole of $15.2 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Baldassare released a new statewide survey today showing, the pollster says, that "voters are divided along party lines just like the Legislature that represents them."

It also shows voters to be conflicted and confused.

Last week, Schwarzenegger revised his $144-billion budget proposal and offered as its centerpiece a scheme to borrow against future lottery profits.

The lottery would be modernized and expanded. Wall Street investors would pay the state $5 billion a year for three years and get back at least $38 billion -- principal and interest -- over 30 years from the presumably enhanced lottery take.

If legislators and voters didn't like that idea, or if the revenue fell short of erasing the deficit, the governor offered a backup: Raise the sales tax by 1 cent on the dollar for up to three years.

Voters surveyed by Baldassare could stomach the sales tax hike a lot better than borrowing off the lottery.

Asked their view of Schwarzenegger's lottery-borrowing plan, 62% opposed it. How'd they feel about Plan B: raising the sales tax? That was favored by 57%, including a slim majority of Republicans.

"It's about as close as you can get to a consensus -- 57%," says Baldassare, "given how negative people are about the direction of the state and the leadership of the governor and Legislature."

A majority of surveyed voters (56%) thought that tax hikes should be part of any budget solution, along with spending cuts.

But for the most part, the public is polarized on taxes. By nearly 2 to 1, Democrats believe that "tax increases should be included in the governor's budget plan." Republicans disagree by the same ratio.

Dig into the data and you find confusion and confliction.

Once again, the public says it wants government services, but doesn't want to pay for them, at least personally. It thinks someone else should pay.
Asked about raising taxes on corporations, 62% were all for it. And 64% favored socking it to "the wealthiest Californians." Never mind that the top 5% of income earners already are paying 68% of the income tax.

When asked once more about raising the sales tax -- this time in the context of choosing between it and taxes paid by corporations and the rich -- 57% were opposed.

Voters (63%) also didn't like the idea of extending the sales tax to items "such as legal and accounting services, auto repairs and haircuts."
At the same time, 76% expressed concern about the governor's proposed deep cuts in health and welfare programs. Mostly, however, voters wanted to protect K-12 education.

Schwarzenegger did largely protect school funding in his revised budget. Yet, 57% of voters said they were "dissatisfied" with the governor's plan.
That probably, to some degree, is a reflection of the deteriorating Schwarzenegger brand name. Fewer people now approve of the governor's job performance than disapprove: 41% to 51%. His approval has slipped nine points since January.

The Legislature's marks are downright pathetic: 26% approve, 57% disapprove.

Not surprisingly, 67% of voters think California is headed in the wrong direction.

Clearly, to sell voters -- let alone Republican legislators -- on a tax increase, Schwarzenegger needs to employ all his marketing skills. But he isn't.

In fact, he now seems to be disowning the sales tax boost that he suggested only last week.

Lobbying for his proposed reform of the budgeting process before a friendly Coronado crowd Monday, Schwarzenegger didn't mention the sales tax. In fact, he regressed to his old rhetoric: "I'm against raising taxes, and I always promised the people of California I will not raise taxes."
But he did concede, without using the T-word, that "the only way you can solve [the deficit] is two ways: cuts and raising revenues. And this is why we have a combination in our budget."

And he also warned, referring to legislators of both parties: "If they all stick to their principles and if they all stick to their ideology, this state will go off the cliff."

The lottery as a revenue source is tempting for many legislators, even if the plan does smack of more gimmickry and another expansion of gambling in California. At least it would save cuts in healthcare and reduce the need for tax hikes.

Nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Elizabeth G. Hill endorsed the concept Monday while suggesting a scaled-down version.

But veteran Sen. Michael Machado (D-Linden), chairman of a Senate budget subcommittee, echoes some of the eye-rolling opposition: "There are a lot of ways to balance the budget besides relying on alcohol, tobacco and gambling. If we're going to do that, we might as well tax prostitution."
Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), the designated next Senate leader, suggests raising the sales tax and using the cash to pay off debt. Maybe Republicans will go for that, he says hopefully.

"Everyone agrees that the federal government's huge amount of borrowing is a drag on the national economy," Steinberg says. "Well, the same can be said for the state economy."

Californians will listen and can be sold. But there needs to be a credible salesman who believes in the product. From Sacramento, that must be the governor.


HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
The news that doesn't fit from May 25th



· NOVICE ENGLISH TEACHER LEARNS HIS LESSONS QUICKLY : A Southeast Middle School, one instructor shows that inspiration starts with 'I.'

· WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE THE POSITIVE" - A bit of the old mixed messaging from a school board member.

· SHIFT'S HAPPENING @ LAUSD: Small Learning Communities:The YouTube Video!

· NEGLECT CITED AS PART OF PROBLEM AT LOCKE HIGH: : Turmoil has increased as the campus awaits its transition to charter school status. A district official concedes that inattention from LAUSD has made the interim more difficult.


· The PPIC Survey: SCHWARZENEGGER AND REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS LOSING WITH CALIFORNIA VOTERS ON BUDGET ACCORDING TO PPIC POLL: Californians want a balanced approach of spending cuts and tax increases

· GOVERNOR’S REVISED BUDGET DRAWS SKEPTICS: Although Schwarzenegger adds $1.8 billion to education programs, school officials say it isn’t enough.

State Superintendent O'Connell: “The state revised budget is clearly better than the budget in January that the governor initially put forward. But let’s be clear: Many of these programs are still facing a 10 percent cut.”
State Senate Majority Leader Romero: “We all knew 2008 would be a painful year for the state, but the governor’s latest proposal is based on short sighted trickery — massive borrowing, fund shifting and a dangerous bet to use uncertain future lottery revenues to balance the books.

· LAUSD TEST SCORES BETTER, STILL SUBPAR: Elementary and high schools improve, but not middle schools


Luis Barraza's claim with the district contends he was forced out of South East High after informing South Gate police about a student's allegation she had sex with a substitute teacher.

· REWRITING THE LOCKE HIGH SCHOOL STORY: Violence plagues the South L.A. campus, but the real travesty is that poor kids are denied a quality education




“Our major concern with the governor's plan ... is that it makes overly optimistic and potentially unobtainable assumptions about the ability of the lottery to increase profits,” Elizabeth Hill, the state's nonpartisan legislative analyst said in her review.

· THE GIANT FOAM FINGER: Sandra Tsing Loh tries to create the perfect protest sign as she takes on education cuts.


FOLLOW THE LINK for the stories above: The news that doesn't fit from May 25th

EVENTS: Coming up next week...

•A group of students at Colfax Avenue School in Valley Village will host a lemonade and cookie stand to raise money to help those affected by the recent devastating earthquake in China. Alice Goldstone and her first grade daughter, Tess, are spearheading the effort behind the lemonade stand, which will be open for business, Tuesday, May 27, immediately after school lets out at 2:30 p.m. The stand will be set up outside the main office on the Addison St., side of the school. Tess Goldstone was born in China and, since the earthquake, has been asking her family how to help those affected by the quake, according to her mother. All proceeds will be sent to UNICEF to go toward quake relief. Colfax Avenue School is located at 11724 Addison St. Principal is Joanie Freckmann. Phone is (818) 761-5115.

• A construction update meeting regarding the new L.A. Unified School District Roy Romer Middle School, also known as the East Valley Area New Middle School #1, will take place Wednesday, May 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of Roy Romer School, 6501 Laurel Canyon Ave., North Hollywood. The school will offer 1,809 two-semester seats and 67 new classrooms. The new school is designed to ease over-crowding at Walter Reed, Sun Valley, and Madison Middle schools. Construction is complete and the school is scheduled to open in September of this year. The meeting will provide a project update, a forum for addressing questions regarding the school, and an introduction of the school’s principal, John McLaughlin. Questions can be directed to Sandra Monrrigo of LAUSD Community Outreach, (213) 893-6838 or Maria Cano at (800) 704-1267.

Wednesday May 28, 2008
South Region Middle School #3: CEQA Scoping and Schematic Design Meeting
6:00 p.m.
Walnut Park Elementary School
Multi-purpose Room
2642 Olive Street
Walnut Park, CA 90255

Wednesday May 28, 2008
Roy Romer Middle School (aka East Valley Area New MS #1): Construction Update Meeting [see above]
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Roy Romer Middle School
6501 Laurel Canyon Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Thursday May 29, 2008
Central Region Elementary School #20: CEQA Scoping and Schematic Design Meeting
6:00 p.m.
Virgil Middle School - Auditorium
152 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Thursday May 29, 2008
Valley Region Enadia Way ES Reopening: Construction Update/Meet the Principal Meeting
6:30 p.m.
Canoga Park Elementary School
7438 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Canoga Park, CA 91303

Saturday May 31, 2008
Thomas Jefferson High School Track and Field: Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Ceremony starts at 2:30 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson High School
1319 E 41st St
Los Angeles, CA 90011

*Dates and times subject to change.
Phone: 213-241-5183
Phone: 213-893-6800


What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member: • 213-241-6383 • 213-241-6387 • 213-241-6386 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6385

...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • 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 Schwarzenegger: 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.
• Register.
• Vote.

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

Scott Folsom is a parent and parent leader in LAUSD. He is immediate past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represents PTA as Vice-chair on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He is a Community Concerns Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on various school district advisory and policy committees and is a PTA officer and/or governance council member at three LAUSD schools.
• 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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