Sunday, October 27, 2013

Implausible deniability.

4LAKids: Sunday 27•Oct•2013
In This Issue:
 •  The view from The Times: DEASY, LAUSD AT A CRITICAL JUNCTURE
 •  The view from the classroom: SCRAP THE iPADS, KEEP THE PIANOS
 •  Q&A: LAUSD’s JAIME AQUINO – on iPads, Board Fights, and Stepping Down + someone else’s 2¢
 •  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:
 •  Follow 4 LAKids on Twitter - or get instant updates via text message by texting
 •  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.
What just happened?
…and what does it mean?

On Thursday evening I was minding my own business, watching the World Series.
Daughter lives in Boston. Family comes from Boston.
But I met Stan Musial once; took him to an expense account lunch. (You gotta love the advertising business: you take the client and his celebrity friend to lunch, you make the bartender’s day and you mark up the tab 30%). Go Cardinals!

I’m debating with myself (I always lose) whether to pop some popcorn or start dinner.

John Lackey is pitching for Boston
Beltran flied out to center.
Holliday struck out swinging.
Adams singled to left center.
Molina grounded out to second.
(Somewhere in there my phone makes that beep it makes when it gets a tweet.)

The inning over I head for the kitchen and the popcorn while a commercial tries to sell me some prescription medicine, describing side effects – including death - worse than whatever the ailment du jour is …and be sure to tell my doctor if I have any medical problems or am allergic to the drug itself. I hope my doctor has been paying attention; I hope he prescribes the meds I need, not the ones Big Pharma wants me buy.

I check the phone for the tweet. What could possibly have happened in LAUSD at 6:34 in the evening?

@latimes 24 Oct
L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy to resign in February

Say what?

Hit the DETAILS button!

Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy has told Board of Education members that he plans to resign in February, according to high-level district officials, including some who asked not to be named.

As I fumble trying to figure out who to call: A second tweet.

@UTLAnow: Breaking @latimes reporting @DrDeasyLAUSD@LASchools is resigning in February. #UTLA will have more on this breaking story shortly.

I quickly retweet the Times message to the 4LAKids twtter unverse – knowing full well that the UTLA tweet quoting the Times tweet does NOT amount to a second source!

UTLA re-retweets the same message.

A reporter calls me. “What do I know?”

Just because I don’t know anything doesn’t mean I don’t pump her for what she knows. She is getting “no comments” – but no denials either. I give her a mealy-mouthed statement about how this – if true – will allow the District to move ahead rather than be submerged in controversy. Not distracted by iPads or Academic Growth Over Time and whatever other manufactured controversy is at hand.

Friends and followers and fellow travelers call, one after another, “Have you heard?”/”I just heard!”/”What do you know?” A verse+chorus of ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ is sung.

Someone I know who knows someone who knows Deasy calls his home or his cell phone or his aunt’s next-door-neighbor and gets a “There will be a statement in the morning” …which sounds as close to a confirmation as anyone’s going to get as the rumors go Ebola viral.

The breaking news updates on The Times’ website seem to be walking back from the edge; maybe those highly placed sources and unnamed district officials weren’t so lofty or official?

At 9:09 UTLA puts out a joyous press release that almost contains the words and music and dance choreography of “Ding Dong….”

And at 9:29 ‏@EdgarZazueta of LAUSD External & Government Affairs tweets “People on twitter need to calm down and slow it down a little bit tonight.”

At 9:37 @LADNschools (LA Daily News): “#LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy set to resign … @Playschools @Tulane - citing the LA Times as their source.”

Michael Wacha pitching for St. Louis
Victorino grounded out to third.
Pedroia walked.
Ortiz homered to left (375 feet), Pedroia scored. STL 1 - BOS 2
Napoli struck out looking.
Gomes grounded out to third.

John Lackey pitching for Boston
Craig struck out looking.
Freese walked. 2
Jay singled to right, Freese to second.
Breslow relieved Lackey.
Kozma ran for Freese.
Kozma stole third, Jay stole second.
Descalso walked.
Carpenter hit sacrifice fly to left, Kozma scored, J Jay scored, Descalso to third on throwing error by pitcher Breslow. STL 3 - BOS 2
Beltran singled to right, Descalso scored. STL 4 - BOS 2
Tazawa relieved Breslow. Holliday grounded out to second.

And that’s how it ended STL 4 - BOS 2

Too late for popcorn. Leftovers, more phone calls, little information. Bedtime.


The superintendent’s office said the resignation, if it was a resignation, wasn’t in writing. Maybe it was pretend resignation. Or a misunderstanding.

“I said I was resigned to have a Latte instead d of a Mochachino.”

Perhaps fingers were crossed. Or maybe Thursday was Opposites Day. “Did so!” / “Did not!

Later in the day some boardmembers said they don’t know what’s going on. As the elected representatives of parents and voters and taxpayers why should they be any different than the rest of us?

And Dr. Deasy’s office said they would have nothing more to say until after the Closed Session Board Meeting scheduled for noon Tuesday – where the superintendent’s annual performance review was on the agenda

The Video Trucks deploy around Beaudry and the Boardroom, raising their masts with the satellite dishes.

The Regular Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday – planned and anticipated as an in-depth examination of the woebegone iPad program - is abruptly postponed.

The Times prints the following two articles: The first struggles to imagine an LAUSD without Deasy. The second describes a classroom where he has never been.

And so the forces start to gather, surveying the battlefield. UTLA and organized labor mobilizes; Deasy’s fans in the Education Coalition, the United Way and CLASS start to mobilize. The media machines gear up for the blitz.

Stand by.

HOW MUCH OF THIS IS MISDIRECTION AND SLEIGHT OF HAND? During this bogus crisis we totally lost track of the imposed-from-Beaudry misbegotten mid-semester reconfiguration of ESL programs – a brief shining moment when parents were almost heard - and the best interests of children were almost served! [ / / ] How much of it is about John Deasy’s future - a man characterized elsewhere as the educational equivalent of Dick Cheney [] - and how much is about iPads and Apple and Pearson? How much is about the Billionaire Boys Club and the Educational Industrial Complex and privatizing public education? How much of it is about Dr. Vladovic's behavior ten years ago? How much is politics and money?

How little of it is about educating young people?

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


By Howard Blume and Teresa Watanabe |

October 25, 2013, 6:18 p.m. :: When John Deasy took the helm of Los Angeles Unified in 2011, he was backed by the school board, mayor and civic leaders in a bid to transform the nation's second-largest school district with bold measures to improve student performance.

Now Deasy's future — along with the district's direction — is in doubt at a critical point. L.A. Unified is facing new academic standards, major budget decisions and a massive iPad technology project.

On Thursday, just days before his scheduled performance review by a new, less supportive school board, the school chief told some top officials that he might step down. That, in turn, provoked strong warnings from civic leaders Friday to end what one called the "amateur hour" of political infighting that could endanger progress for students.

"I think the adults at the school district, across the board, need to remember that there are kids who are the collateral damage to any loss of leadership, any loss of momentum, and any dysfunction and fighting," Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Garcetti added that the district had moved "in the right direction" under Deasy by continuing progress in lowering dropout rates, improving test scores and completing school construction projects.

Deasy, 52, remained tight-lipped Friday, saying he would not comment on his future until after Tuesday's performance review. He has said he hoped to stay eight years because continuity was essential for lasting change. He noted that his evaluation marked a key juncture.

"I am going to do everything in my human power to model dignity," he said. "Kids watch this. That is going to be my guideline."

In recent months, Deasy has struggled with a more combative teachers union and a more challenging school board.

Amid the tension, Deasy's second-in-command, Deputy Supt. Jaime Aquino, submitted his resignation last month after complaining that the board's second-guessing and micromanagement made it virtually impossible to function.

Robert Ross, president of the California Endowment, the state's largest healthcare foundation, said he was aware of the tensions but was "taken aback" by news of Deasy's possible resignation. While he said Deasy needed to work harder to forge more collaborative relationships with the teachers union and school board, he gave Deasy an "A-plus" for boosting student achievement and health with efforts to improve school nutrition and campus safety.

"On behalf of the children, people have to figure out a way to make things work," Ross said. "We adults need to improve our behavior."

At the same time, however, Deasy fell short — in some cases far short — of most of this year's performance goals for student achievement in reading and math.

United Teachers Los Angeles said it welcomed the possibility of new leadership. In April, 91% percent of 17,500 members polled responded that they had "no confidence" in Deasy's leadership.

News of Deasy's possible resignation surfaced this week, when some district insiders said Deasy talked of leaving in February. But Deasy said he has not submitted a letter of resignation.

What actually transpired between Deasy and other top district officials is still unknown.

Board President Richard Vladovic said he had spoken with Deasy multiple times over two days. "I think the clouds will clear more on Tuesday once we all hear the same things," he said.

Deasy's growing frustration has been evident for months. He failed to win support from the union for his revamped teacher evaluations and had to settle for a reduced role for the use of test results in the reviews.

His recommendations to use new state education dollars to close a budget gap and to boost pay based on test scores and other factors met resistance. Some board members instead are pushing to hire more teachers and others to restore staffing to pre-recession levels.

And Deasy's $1-billion initiative to equip all students and teachers with iPads has encountered numerous problems.

Board member Steve Zimmer said he believed the iPad deal had serious flaws but supported the concept and did not see the challenges as fatally undermining Deasy's position.

"John Deasy has one of the most remarkable work ethics I've ever seen," Zimmer said. "And I've seen no fracture in his drive, his urgency."

Board member Bennett Kayser, a frequent Deasy critic, could not be reached Friday, but his office issued a brief statement that all but anticipated the superintendent's departure.

"I met with Superintendent Deasy yesterday," the statement said. "I wish him well in his future ventures. We shall continue to remain focused on what is best for our students."

One senior official expressed disappointment over Deasy's possible exit but put much responsibility on the superintendent.

"Is he the kind of guy who would up and leave because the iPad program is under scrutiny? I hope not. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I don't think that means out the door," the official said.

"There's a lot of amateur hour stuff going on," said a civic leader who didn't want to be publicly identified for criticizing the board. "It seems like a lot of adults are acting like kids."

Elise Buik, president of United Way of Greater Los Angeles, said community members are expected to pack the board meeting Tuesday to support Deasy. On Friday, United Way and 10 other organizations issued a letter to school board members urging them to retain Deasy and accusing some of "putting your own political agendas ahead of students' needs."

"After all of the progress that has been made, it is simply unacceptable to turn back to the failed policies of the past," the letter said.

●●smf’s 2¢: Is there a chance the United Way/CLASS letter, referred to above, should accuse board members of “putting your own political agendas ahead of our political agendas?" Just a thought.

The view from the classroom: SCRAP THE iPADS, KEEP THE PIANOS

LA Times Op-Ed By Jeff Lantos |

October 25, 2013 :: The Los Angeles Unified School District's plan to supply every student with an iPad is, to be charitable, not going well. Before any more school districts decide to spend millions on high-tech gadgets, let me offer a few words of caution. Why me? Because I was there in 1986 when Apple computers were first lugged into elementary classrooms.

This was at the Open Magnet School in West Hollywood, where I and other teachers first experimented with this new technology. After hours, we often hung out with Alan Kay, the leather-jacketed genius from Apple who would drop by to see how things were going. He had done pioneering work on the graphical user interface and the use of icons, among other things, while at Xerox Parc in the late-1970s. His informal job title at Apple was "visionary."

For this initial rollout, Apple provided not only the boxy Mac Classics but also some nifty glass-topped desks. The computers were tipped onto their backs and slid onto angled shelves under the glass so students could either point and click or put the mouse away and lay out books and papers. Every student had access to a computer. Essentially it was the one-to-one program being touted today by the U.S. secretary of Education, school superintendents and Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and current chief executive of Amplify, a company that makes digital tablets.

After a month or two it became apparent that computers were to the writing process what the Cuisinart was to cooking. Every part of that process — writing, editing, revising, rewriting — was easier. The walls in my classroom were soon lined with typed essays and stories, many illustrated with computer-generated stick figures.

Twenty-seven years later, computers and their offspring are still wonderful tools for word processing. The Internet also made it easier for students to do research and to communicate with peers and mentors. And for many teachers, computers have replaced work sheets that reinforce concepts taught in directed lessons.

Of course, high-tech gizmos can also be used for plenty of other classroom projects. For instance, my fifth-grade digital natives could easily spend all day creating Keynote presentations on the Jamestown Colony or generating book reports that look like Pfizer's annual report. But is that the best use of precious class time? And is that the best use of me?

The fact is I'm the last guy you would want overseeing any high-tech razzle-dazzle in the classroom. But I am your man when it comes to delivering content, piquing a student's curiosity, helping a hesitant writer formulate a persuasive essay and encouraging students to make connections across the curriculum. And unlike a computer, I can inspire, critique, counsel, model good behavior and put on five shows a week.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says putting textbooks on Kindles, iPads (and such) will save districts millions of dollars. I'm not so sure. I've been using the same math text for 10 years. Why shouldn't I? My students do well on the state test, and the concepts don't change. The commutative property is still a+b = b+a. With a $19.95 purchase price, that comes to less than $2 a year. And textbooks don't crash, need batteries or break if you drop them. And I've never heard of one being stolen.

Another argument you'll hear from Duncan, Klein, et al is that our public schools need a high-tech "disruption," a cyber-shock that will send students scurrying to their glowing screens where they will absorb the knowledge that will lift them to ever higher levels of achievement.

I have three responses. First, in my experience, what technology disrupts is classroom discussion, debate, collaboration, cooperation and social interaction. Many elementary students are going to spend the next 60 years primarily dealing with some type of tech tool. Before they go into those digital cocoons, shouldn't they learn how to relate to, have empathy for and communicate with classmates? Shouldn't they be taught how to respectfully disagree, to defend a point of view, to negotiate and to compromise?

Second, another thing computers disrupt is the desire to get some exercise. Staring at that screen has a drug-like effect on students. Many times I've had to tell the boys (yes, it's always the boys) to close their computers and go to recess. No surprise that one side effect of excessive computer use is obesity.

Third, if bureaucrats and billionaires really want to "disrupt" the traditional educational model, they should forget iPads and Androids. Instead, put a piano in every classroom and make piano lessons part of teacher training. Imagine an educational model in which music, dance and drama are part of every lesson. Imagine students singing about math properties, taking history from the page to the stage, dancing their way through the Constitutional Convention and the Lewis and Clark expedition, acting out scenes from novels, borrowing from Tom Lehrer and singing the periodic table of elements.

Kindergarten teachers have always made good use of music, dance and drama. Why stop there? Drama helps students develop oral language and people skills. Dance gets kids off their butts. Music fires up the neural synapses, improves retention of the material and brings a sense of joy into the classroom.

I have a piano in my classroom. My students start each school day with 15 minutes of singing and dancing. In January, I conducted an experiment. I said to my students: "We're facing drastic budget cuts. We have to get rid of either the 15 laptops or the piano. Which should it be?" I don't think I have to tell you the response.

Jeff Lantos teaches at Marquez Charter Elementary School in Los Angeles.

●● A longtime 4LAKids reader-and-friend writes: “Jeff is our cousin. He is exceptional. He has written educational musicals for elem. students etc.” Marquez Charter is one of the 1:1 pilot schools cited in the Common Core Technology Project (iPads for All) proposal.


Sunday, October 27, 2013
Re: AN OLD-FASHIONED TEACHER'S WISDOM Re “Scrap the iPads, keep the pianos,” Opinion, Oct. 25
Not only does Jeff Lantos speak truth to iPads, he knows that a classroom is a hollow experience without an effective, creative and keenly devoted teacher — you know, like Lantos, whose article should be distributed to all teachers and parents.
I bet they will smile and nod at the mention of dance, drama, art and music effectively used in the classrooms they may remember.
As a recently retired teacher of 38 years, I am still excited to see the wondrous things that happen when children are in the classroom of an exciting educator.
Janice Segall
Bravo to Lantos.
I am a retired fifth-grade teacher who understood the pros and cons of the new technologies infiltrating my classroom. The “educational fun” and interaction that brought life to the curriculum was being forced out, and the No Child Left Behind law certainly didn't help.
Let's hope that the powers-that-be will read and digest Lantos' wise thoughts.
David B. Housh
Lantos is a visionary. The songs he's teaching his students will stay in their memories and hearts long after the tsoris of dead batteries, smashed screens and, yes, even theft of high-tech gadgets.
His method — starting each day with 15 minutes of singing and dancing — is the best way to keep the music playing.
Plus, pianos are seldom stolen.
Joan Arndt
North Hollywood

Q&A: LAUSD’s JAIME AQUINO – on iPads, Board Fights, and Stepping Down + someone else’s 2¢
by Benjamin Herold in Education Week

Oct 25, 2013 :: For my recent story on the fresh controversies surrounding the new digital curriculum that is embedded on the iPads being distributed to tens of thousands of Los Angeles students [CURRICULUM PROMPTS NEW CONCERNS IN L.A. iPAD PLAN: By Benjamin Herold, Education Week | ...] , I sat down to talk with Jaime Aquino, the deputy superintendent of instruction for the 651,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District.

Aquino explained how and why the district selected the brand-new-and-untested-curriculum from education publishing giant Pearson, and how he thinks it will help the district with its transition to the Common Core State Standards

He also addressed head-on criticism that his prior employment with Pearson led the district to make an unsound purchase and called the ongoing questions over the district's iPad initiative "the icing on the cake" of his recent decision to step down.

The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.

●Q: What about this new curriculum has you excited?

●A: I'm excited about the shift to the common core and how those standards are reflected in the Pearson Common Core System of Courses. For example, in mathematics, the common core calls for the mathematical practice that is called mathematical modeling, which means more of the students' ability to apply their mathematical knowledge to the real world. If you look at that Pearson Common Core System of Courses, you see that many of their lessons begin with a video, in terms of having a problem for students to explore, that is a real-life [problem]. And students then say, "OK, how would you graph the speed of this student riding the bike?" That was exciting in terms of how it aligns to the real world.
Photo of Jaime Aquino, courtesy Los Angeles Unified School District>>

●Q: How did LAUSD select this curriculum?

●A: We knew that there were not a lot of digital materials available that were aligned to the common core, and we didn't want anything that was repurposed...When we issued the RFP, we were very clear that we were using the publishers' criteria that was put out [to guide] the selection of materials that are aligned to the common core standards. The committee used that to determine what was there.

●Q: Is the new digital curriculum from Pearson meant to replace the existing instructional materials for LAUSD, or supplement them?

●A: It's just another tool to teach the common-core standards...Do we intend it to become what would be considered the core instructional material? Yes, to be supplemented with many other things, at the discretion of the teacher.

●Q: There's lot of concern that this product is being rolled out even though it's not finished.

●A: In the RFP, we said that we understand that the common-core [standards] are new. And because we're asking [publishers] to present [content] in a digital format, many might not have it completed. In the RFP, we said [vendors] would have up to the fall of next year in terms of having it completed and having it approved by the state. But [they] had to give us a very clear description and a prototype of what [they] want to accomplish and what it would look like. Because if not, I can tell you that we were going to be getting something that was repurposed, and that was not truly aligned to the common core.

●Q: Why not hold off until you could evaluate a completed product?

●A: We knew we were going in phases...It gave us an opportunity to learn some lessons [and] also to be in the driver's seat, in the sense that we wanted to also have an opportunity to shape [the curriculum], based on the lessons learned in [the initial phase of the project] from our teachers... And we embedded that into our contract negotiations. We were very clear that if at any point, this did not meet our requirements, did not meet the publishers' criteria, there was some consequence...It's a unique opportunity for a school district to have that type of leverage and input, as opposed to the traditional way that we've done in education, that the publishers just produce what they want...and we have to take whatever they do.

●Q: Some experts say that giving out sample lessons in a scattershot way can actually be disadvantageous to students and teachers.

●A: Right now, there is actually no curriculum out there that I know of, in print or digital, that is completely aligned to the common core. So are these experts saying that we should wait and not transition to the common core until something is produced in its final format, and the exams are going to be administered in the spring of 2015? Isn't it better to have our teachers begin to practice with some units? As professional development, they become familiar, and they inform the publishers about what the actual field needs.

●Q: What will the process be like for gathering and incorporating that feedback from the field?

●A: We have staff...that are always in the field, they get feedback in terms of what's working, not working. We collect that. My curriculum team here, my content area experts, do the same thing. They go and visit. They look at the curriculum. They have been working with Pearson in terms of our scope and sequence, which units should be taught when...We have already provided a lot of the feedback. In addition to that, at every school, Pearson has assigned [staff], and they go and get feedback.

●Q: Some school board members say that they were under the impression before voting that the curriculum was finished and were surprised to subsequently learn that it was not.

●A: The administration does not control what [board members] read or don't read...There was constant communication provided to the board. The board had access to the RFP. Board staff attended the industry forum where I clarified that we didn't expect anything to be completed...We provided daily information, and then they act as if they have never heard any about this.

●Q: You recently announced that you are stepping down at the end of this year. Was the criticism around the Common Core Technology Project, or your previous employment at Pearson, part of that decision?

●A: I did not want to leave...As an immigrant and second-language learner, I'm honored and humbled to be the deputy superintendent of the second largest district in the nation...That's the dream I have for all students in this district, particularly those who look like me. Who come from immigrants, who are Latino, and who speak English as their second language. And I can tell you they're not going to achieve the American dream if they don't have access to technology...

The reason I'm leaving is because in this hostile political environment, I cannot lead a student-centered agenda. This has been a place where I feel the board has micromanaged. People think I'm leaving because of this? This was just the icing on the cake...

I came here with an impeccable, unblemished national reputation. In places where I have left, even my vocal critics would say we disagree with some of his positions and perspectives, but he was an amazing leader.* Here, there have been innuendos that this contract was because I worked for Pearson...First, history. I worked for America's Choice. And America's Choice was acquired by Pearson around December of 2010. I left in June of 2011 to come here. Do people wonder if maybe my reason for leaving Pearson was because I didn't want to work for a big [corporation]? When I came here and we were going through this, I disclosed [my work history], I went through legal and procurement [and asked] should I be involved? They said your cooling period has sunsetted. You can be involved. But even still, I was not involved in the process. A committee reviewed all the applicants. The only thing I did, I said here's the publishers' criteria. I trained them. I was not [privy] to which were the applicants, their applications. I came on board at the end when they had done the screening and said these are the last three. The last three happened to have Pearson. The others were discarded.

●Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add about LAUSD's iPad initiative?

●A: The level of excitement in terms of our teachers, our parents, our students and our principals has been overwhelming. I think the media coverage on this has been very discouraging and very biased...To call students hackers was totally inappropriate. [These problems have] been blown out of proportion by the media.

* …and modest! See After Jaime Aquino, what’s next? (EdNews Colorado May 8, 2008)

●● SOMEONE ELSE’S 2¢: a 4LAKids reader, who shall remain anonymous writes : “This article is full of lies and I could take pieces of the RFP, video of board meetings and vendor forums and make that point...but this thing is so blatantly fixed, I'm not sure why I need to keep pointing this out!”

- 4LAKids’ anonymous source continues, quoting the anonymous source – and ed-tech insider - who first forwarded the article:

"’The media journalists (and board) do not dig deep enough. The RFP called for adaptive software, not augmented PDFs. Jaime's former boss at America's Choice now heads Pearson's Common Core System of Courses. Perhaps your media friends can start asking. ‘"

By NATASHA SINGER, New York Times |

October 22, 2013, 12:01 pm :: A lawmaker who is a staunch advocate of children’s privacy is investigating whether the data collection and analysis practices of the growing education technology industry, a market estimated at $8 billion, are outstripping federal rules governing the sharing of students’ personal information.

On Tuesday, Senator Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, sent a letter to Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, about how K-12 schools are outsourcing management and assessment of student data, including intimate details like disabilities, to technology vendors. The letter cited an article in The New York Times this month about concerns over the proliferation of student data to companies.

“By collecting detailed personal information about students’ test results and learning abilities, educators may find better ways to educate their students,” Senator Markey wrote in the letter. “However, putting the sensitive information of students in private hands raises a number of important questions about the privacy rights of parents and their children.”

School districts nationwide are increasingly using digital technologies that collect and analyze academic and other details about students in an effort to tailor lessons to the individual child. But privacy law experts say that many schools are employing student assessment software and other services without sufficiently restricting the use of children’s personal data by vendors. Researchers at Fordham University School of Law in New York, for example, recently found that certain school districts have signed contracts without clauses to protect information like children’s contact details, the locations where they wait for school buses every morning, or the food items they buy in school cafeterias.

In his letter, Senator Markey asked Mr. Duncan to explain whether the Department of Education had assessed the types of student information schools share with private companies; whether the department had issued federal standards or guidelines that outline the steps schools should take to protect student data stored and used by private companies; what kinds of security measures the department requires companies to put in place to safeguard student data; and whether federal administrators believe that parents, not schools, should have the right to control information about their children even if it is housed by private companies.

“Sensitive information such as students’ behavior and participation patterns also may be included in files outsourced to third-party data firms and potentially distributed more widely to additional companies without parental consent,” Senator Markey wrote. “Such loss of parental control over their child’s educational records and performance information could have longstanding consequences for the future prospects of students.”

The letter, links and supporting data can be found here.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
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Breaking: @latimes reporting @DrDeasyLAUSD @LASchools is resigning in February.

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SEGREGATING ENGLISH LEARNERS IN SCHOOLS: The Los Angeles Unified School District has little choice in the matt...


MORE QUESTIONS ON L.A, UNIFIED’S iPAD PROGRAM, BUT FEW ANSWERS: District officials say they hope promise to p...

LA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS NO PLAN B FOR iPAD PROJECT: Annie Gilbertson | Pass / Fail | 89.3 KPCC http://b...

LAUSD iPADS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN FIRST BUDGETED: By Barbara Jones, Los Angeles Daily News | http://...

SCHOOL. LAUSD POLICE HQ EVACUATED DUE TO FOUL ODOR: Incident at the school formerly known as The Belmont Learn...

SCHOOL iPADS TO COST NEARLY $100 MORE EACH, REVISED BUDGET SHOWS: L.A. Unified will spend $770 per iPad, a 14...

LAUSD plan for non-English speakers: segregation or solution? Last minute plan separates ESL kids fm native speakers

LA Unified embarks on revamp of devastated adult education program |

Curriculum+Instruction, Budget+Facilities & iPads: LA Unified Bd of Ed Set for a Busy Afternoon of Committee Meetings



Developing working class consciousness: REDEFINING AND REBUILDING THE TEACHERS’ UNION: In the post-Occupy Wall...

L.A. teacher writes Diane Ravitch: JOHN DEASY IS THE EDUCATIONAL EQUIVALENT OF DICK CHENEY: By dianerav in Dia...

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
●Tuesday Oct 29, 2013
9th STREET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Time: 10:00 a.m.
9th Street Elementary School
835 Stanford Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90021
●● smf will speak at what may be - for reasons I will attempt to explain - the most important new school LAUSD has built.

●The School Board meeting about iPads on Tuesday Oct 29 has been POSTPONED - but the board will meet IN CLOSED SESSION at noon to discuss Deasy's future. There will be public comment, rallies and demonstrations!
●The Bond Oversight Committee is scheduled to meet on iPads on Wednesday Oct 30 at 1PM in the Beaudry Boardroom to discuss iPads and other issues - Call or check the info below for updates to the agenda.
*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.
• If you are registered, VOTE LIKE THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT. THEY DO!.

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

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for ten 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 2009 "WHO" Gold Award for his support of education and public schools - an honor 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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