Sunday, July 13, 2014


4LAKids: Sunday 13•July•2014
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The first stories out of Governor Brown’s address to the American Federation of Teachers convention in L.A. on Friday weren’t about education or teachers or school reform - or red v. blue politics -  they were about unaccompanied alien minors. As they should’ve been.

►JERRY BROWN CALLS BORDER CROSSING CONTROVERSY 'HUMAN TRAGEDY' -- In his first public remarks about recent border crossings of young immigrants into the United States, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday called children fleeing violence in Central America a “tragedy” and accused critics of exploiting the situation for political gain. David Siders in the Sacramento Bee |

►BROWN ADDRESSES INFLUX OF IMMIGRANTS | Katie Orr | Capital Public Radio |

THERE’S A LITTLE GAME WE PLAY with children at the borderline between the American Dream and American Reality, governed by rules we change at a whim.

• If you are a child and you make it across the finish line it’s Game Over.
• If you make it across the line unnoticed and uncaught you may be a winner. Or you may die in the desert. Or you may be a victim of human trafficking. Or you may be reunited with your family and live undocumented ever after.
• If you are caught and you are from Mexico you lose - we send you back to where you came: Back to Go.
• If you are from Salvador or Guatemala or Honduras we invite you to play another game in extra time - you take your chances with judges and bureaucrats. If you don’t have a lawyer one won’t be appointed for you.
• If you are from Cuba and we catch you in the water we send you back, on dry land you get to stay, an Instant Winner. Unless you are Elián González.

ONCE UPON A TIME, not so long ago, other young refugees from previous wars in the same places came to America and were granted amnesty. Tired and poor, huddled masses, wretched refuse, homeless, tempest-tossed. The usual.
“Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have
kicked you around some
Who knows, maybe you were kidnapped,
Tied-up, taken away, and held for ransom.”

They came as children and young adults to America, refugees from very dirty, very un-civil wars - and things didn’t go well for them here. Strangers, they were unwelcome in the Promised Land. They fell into bad company, they were denied opportunity, they were led into temptation.

The City of Angels failed them and the lesser angels of our nature prevailed – street gangs opened their arms and let them in or closed their fists and kept them out – the cause+effect was the same. The Salvadoreños learned the lessons of the street and learned them all too well. They started their own gangs and in time their gangs became the baddest of the bad. Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 was+is more violent and more feared than the Crips or Bloods or Avenues or Frogtown Boys. ¡Estos chicos son más loco que el más loco!

They became everything the honest citizenry most fear about foreign immigrants; they became vectors of evil.

When we caught them they caused trouble in the jails and prisons, disturbing the uneasily balanced power and electric peace between Brown, Black and White prison gangs - and the imprisoned and imprisoners. The powers-that-be-in-that-time-that-was had made Incarceration a growth industry (much like public education has become today) …and these crazies were upsetting everything!

So we – or those acting on our behalf – began rounding them up and sending them back to whence they came. An MS tattoo was a deportable offence. Tattooed, organized, institutionalized and criminalized – three-time-losers with skill sets in the dark arts of crime, extortion, human trafficking, drug dealing, and violence carefully honed …returned to a post-apocalyptic land they no longer knew – lands still reeling from abandoned proxy wars fought to a draw between homegrown oligarchs and homegrown leftist zealots. We deported entire Mareros cells into a vacuum where power was the only thing MS 13 understood.

What we did, as a foreign policy initiative of the City+County of Los Angeles, was to forcibly export one of our greatest products to the three small nations of the Triángulo del Norte: Organized street gangs.

MS-13 soon formed international alliances with the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel and proved themselves in blood in the wars with the Zetas cartel even as they consolidated their criminal power in the Triángulo – in the narrow waist of the Americas that separated the drug cartels of Mexico from the drug cartels if Columbia.

Welcome to Dystopia. What could possibly go worse?

THE TRANSPLANTED AMERICAN NIGHTMARE FESTERED. And fear (along with the false promise of welcoming arms at the Finish Line) entices the next generation of frightened children to make the pilgrimage to El Norte.

And the next children’s crusade begins anew and the new refugees begin the migration. The MA-13 is selling Golden Tickets to A Better Life. Behold: The welcoming colossus in the harbor, the Mother of Exiles, lifts her lamp, however dim, for her children.

We see and hear the echoes of the previous Salvadoreños y Guatemaltecos y Hondureños - and the memories of Mariel; and boatpeople of Southeast Asia meet the current reality of the North African and Middle Eastern migrants to Lampedusa - and Sri Lankans to Australia - and every Syrian fleeing sniper fire and barrel bombs to somewhere/anywhere else.

WE ARE ALL FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE, many times over/over countless generations. Every one of us carries the genes of refugees seeking asylum and amnesty and sanctuary from somewhere or someone or something.

We come From the Rift Valley of Africa, across the Bering Land Bridge from Asia, from Ur to Canaan and the exodus across Sinai from Egypt with our matzo and our covenant; dispersed again to the Waters of Babylon we weep - always remembering Zion. Persian and Greek and Roman pushed out in conquest; Hun and Visigoth conquered in. Tamerlane and the Mongol Hordes; we rode with them or away. Pict and Scot and Dane and Celt and Viking expanded outward; Saxon and Norman consolidated in. In 1492 Moor and Jew fled the Spanish Unification+Inquisition as their Catholic Majesties moved out to search for paths-to-the-Indies, for gold and God’s greater glory. Some bought passage on Mayflower; some were sold into the Middle Passage. Others sought or fled other interpretations of the same God: Catholics and Huguenots and Puritans and Pilgrims and Quakers gained a toehold on the Atlantic, crossed the Alleganies and the Adirondacks and the Ohio Valley to the Mississippi and across the prairies and the plains, from Nauvoo to the Great Salt Lake, across the Rockies and the Sierra to the Pacific.

Manifest Destiny and the Dream of the New Jerusalem meet the mythical paradise:
“Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks.
— Chapter CLVII of The Adventures of Esplandián (1510)

The English Enclosures, the Highland Clearances, the Irish Famine forced immigration; as did the Pogroms and the Polish Partition. Land+Birthright were no-less-fairly-and-squarely stolen from Native Americans and Mexicans – the Acadian Expulsion, The Indian Removal Act, and the Trail of Tears. The forced relocation of native born Chicanos from L.A.’s Chavez Ravine happened in the late 1950s. Japanese-American property confiscated in 1942 in San Pedro and Los Feliz was never returned. Dislocation and resettlement are euphemisms for darker things. The Oklahoma land rush redistributed Indian land. For every Gold+Land Rushing adventurer and Chinese railroad builder there were five or ten who had no choice.

Wikipedia’s List of Diasporas includes 165 entries, from the Afghan Diaspora to the Zoroastrian Diaspora (the 7th Century one and the 1979 one count as a single entry.)

Scholars say Forced Migration or forced displacement refers to the coerced movement of a person or persons away from their home or home region. It often connotes violent coercion. Hard line semanticists claim “’In the strictest sense migration can be considered to be involuntary only when a person is physically transported from a country and has no opportunity to escape from those transporting him. Movement under threat, even the immediate threat to life, contains a voluntary element, as long as there is an option to escape to another part of the country, go into hiding or to remain and hope to avoid persecution.’ On the other hand, some scholars of migration, especially those of the Marxian school, argue that much of the population mobility which is conventionally seen as being voluntary occurs in situations in which in fact the migrants have little or no choice.” (1)

Scholars don’t get to decide; it’s neither Choice nor Chance. Children fleeing out of fear - fear of murder/ mayhem/ MS-13 /starvation or trafficking into the sex trade or domestic service have little or no choice- and no chance at all. Parents who bring or send or call for children have no other option. (We need to accept the ‘human trafficking’ is a euphemism for slavery as commercially evil as that practiced on the Middle Passage. We also need to accept that smuggling refugees , children or adults, is a lucrative business for organized criminals. And that the pattern of taking refugees’ money, smuggling them – and then selling them into slavery is not uncommon – made all the more easy because the system criminalizes the victims.

And the nativist yahoos who wave their America-for-the-Americans flags and spew hatred as they stop the buses and the children at Murrieta are the descendents of the yahoos who stood at the state line during the Dust Bowl to keep the Okies out.

And they are, of course, the descendents of the Okies too.

And the children on the buses and the children in the refugee camps in Jordan and in the detention centers in Port Hueneme and Brownsville – the kids wading the Rio Grande or staring across the Mediterranean to the rocky cliffs of Lampedusa are, first-and-foremost: Children. Refugee or Deportee they are our children; they are us. We have waded that river and crossed that sea and confronted that hated and dreamed that dream since before the beginning of time.
“Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
And sing an American tune”

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

(1) Forced migration in Indonesia : Historical perspectives |


By guest bloggers Julia Koppich and Daniel Humphrey | On California | Education Week |

July 10, 2014 11:12 PM | The recent ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu striking down parts of California's long held teacher tenure laws has roiled California's educational landscape. Whatever the impact of the ruling, one thing is clear. Whether one supports or opposes the Vergara decision the ruling raises critical issues regarding teaching quality with which California policymakers soon must grapple in order to strengthen the state's system of teaching and learning. Addressing these issues will require thoughtful and careful state action that builds on a foundation of solid understanding of teachers' experiences in school districts throughout the state.

A year ago we released a study titled, "California's Beginning Teachers: The Bumpy Path to a Profession." (follows) That work focused on California policies, including tenure (called permanence in the Education Code) and evaluation, which shape beginning teachers' careers. Our findings reveal how California policy has failed early career teachers. Legislative remedies for these inequities could serve as a precursor to addressing the challenges posed by the Vergara decision.

Teachers Don't Get Tenure after Two Years

First, contrary to assertions about a too quick path to tenure, our research shows that most California teachers do not experience getting tenure as a 2-year process.

State policy assumes that teachers are hired into probationary positions and, after 2 years of successful teaching as measured by performance evaluations, are awarded tenure (permanence). This description does not match the reality for most California teachers.

According to available state data, most teachers are hired into temporary or other non-probationary status, and do not reach probationary status for many years. This pattern has continued for more than a decade. Under the California Education Code, districts replacing a teacher on leave of absence or filling a position supported by temporary funds (e.g., grants, non-mandatory categorical funds) can hire teachers on temporary status. Our study showed, however, that some districts cannot specify the teacher on leave teacher for whom the temporary teacher is filling in or the grant or special fund that is paying for the temporary teacher's position.

Teachers who are classified as temporary do not accrue time toward tenure. As a result, in 2000, only 31% of third-year teachers and, in 2012, only 45% of third-year teachers had permanent status. The 2-years-to-tenure policy bears little relationship to the experience of the majority of California's teachers. The amount of time it should take to earn tenure remains a valid topic of debate. What is not debatable is that, with regard to tenure, many teachers' realities do not match current state policy.

Evaluation Does Not Differentiate Between Effective and Ineffective

Second, evaluation does not adequately differentiate between effective and ineffective teachers. Moreover, for most teachers, evaluation is not useful, accurate, fair, or meaningful.

The Vergara decision states that 1% to 3% of teachers are "grossly ineffective." But not only is there no empirical evidence as to the number of ineffective teachers, our "Bumpy Path" study found that the current evaluation system does a poor job of determining teacher effectiveness. Most teachers find the evaluation system that is supposed to determine their effectiveness to be inadequate and inconsistent. More importantly, teachers say their evaluation is largely unhelpful in diagnosing their needs or designing support for them. Many principals we interviewed concur with this view.

To better understand the quality of teacher evaluations, we examined a sample of beginning teachers' official evaluation records. We found that these files contained little documentation of teacher performance and almost no guidance to the teacher about how to improve. The vast majority of teachers received an "effective" rating, though the basis for that rating, however legitimate, was unclear.

Compounding this dilemma, whether a teacher is supported or evaluated at all depends on the teacher's employment status. State policy requires only that probationary teachers--those on the path to tenure--be evaluated. Teachers serving in temporary status, even for several years, often are neither supported nor evaluated.

Remedying the challenges raised by Vergara hinges on an accurate and meaningful evaluation system. California should require that all teachers, regardless of status, be supported and evaluated. Policymakers, working with stakeholders should develop a system that ensures teachers are fairly and consistently evaluated and given opportunities to improve. Once teachers are identified as ineffective, they should enter a peer assistance and review program that offers a thorough assessment of areas of weakness, deep support, and a targeted path to improvement or exit.

Absent clear and consistently applied tenure regulations, accurate and meaningful evaluation focused on support and improvement, and a program for addressing ineffective teachers, California will be hard-pressed to successfully address the policy challenges that lie at the heart of Vergara.

● Julia Koppich is President of J. Koppich & Associates, a San Francisco-based education consulting firm. Daniel Humphrey is a Senior Researcher at SRI Education, a division of SRI International in Menlo Park, CA.

California's Beginning Teachers: The Bumpy Path to a Profession

By John Fensterwald | EdSource |

July 10, 2014 :: Members of the State Board of Education uniformly praised the way school districts have created plans to comply with California’s new school improvement and accountability system, but said Thursday that students should have more of a voice in the process. They agreed to move ahead with modest proposed changes in regulations while counseling patience before making more.

“Trust the process, be patient and thoughtful, not precipitous,” said board member Patricia Rucker.

“We’re close, with narrow areas of disagreement,” board member Sue Burr said, referring to regulations governing the Local Control and Accountability Plans, or LCAPs, that all school districts and charter schools passed for the first time last month.

The LCAP is a three-year master plan that lays out a district’s budget and academic improvement priorities. It’s a critical piece of the Local Control Funding Formula, the landmark school funding law that reallocates more money for “high-needs” students – low-income children, students learning English and foster youth – and transfers decision-making authority from the state to districts. As part of the shift to local control, the Legislature required that districts reach out to parents, teachers and others in the community in creating their LCAPs.

“We have never seen so much engagement and reaching out. We have changed California with the LCAP,” said Wes Smith, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators.

The state board is in the process of revising the regulations setting out what must be in each LCAP and defining how much flexibility districts have in spending the supplemental dollars generated by high-needs students.

Based on public comments and early LCAP reports from the field, the staff of the state board is proposing changes in the LCAP format to make it easier to read and determine whether a district is meeting its commitments. The staff is also proposing two seemingly small ­changes in wording that are generating some debate.

One change would make explicit the existing requirement that districts consult with students about the LCAP. About 150 students in a Student Voice coalition attended Thursday’s hearing. They included a contingent from Long Beach and Los Angeles that drove all night to make the case that the proposed language doesn’t ensure that districts will involve students in creating their LCAPs, rather than giving them the plans after the fact.

“We no longer want to be students sitting silently behind a desk with our hand held high, waiting to be called on,” said Maurice Lemons, a junior at Hamilton High, an arts magnet school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. “No, we want the opportunity to give input into the system that most directly affects our lives and our futures.”

Board members agreed, encouraging further tweaking of the proposed language. “The intent of the statute was to engage students early in the process and not merely present (the LCAP) toward the last week of school,” said board member Bruce Holaday.

The other proposed addition of a half-dozen words reflects ongoing disagreement between advocates for low-income children and organizations representing school boards and superintendents. The advocates want a detailed accounting of how money is spent on high-needs students, while the school officials’ groups argue the LCAPs should focus on academic results for underserved students, not dollars. Gov. Jerry Brown and the state board have sought a balance between the two camps, and the current regulations reflect that tension and ambiguity.

The proposed change, which the advocates groups support, would require districts to spend supplemental dollars in ways that are both “principally directed” toward high-needs students and “effective in meeting the district’s goals” for those students.

Brian Rivas, director of policy and government relations for Education Trust-West, which advocates for low-income and minority children, said the intent was to prevent districts from steering supplemental dollars toward across-the-board staff raises or debt payments that don’t primarily benefit high-needs students. John Affeldt, managing attorney for the nonprofit legal organization Public Advocates, said the new wording wouldn’t hinder the flexibility of districts to spend money on programs benefiting all students, but it would force them to justify the rationale to the community.

But more than two dozen superintendents and school board members testified that the proposal would be too restrictive. They said it would be the first step toward turning the LCAP into “just another compliance-based document” and a potential source of litigation.

Josephine Lucey, president of the California School Boards Association, warns that proposed language governing LCAP spending would be counterproductive.

“In our view, the term ‘principally’ is subjective and its insertion will result in less, rather than greater, transparency,” said Josephine Lucey, president of the California School Boards Association. “This term distracts from the goal (of the funding formula) – to improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps – and begins an erosion of local decision-making.”

The issue remains unresolved. The proposed changes will be open to an additional 15 days of public comment. Burr said she wants superintendents to be specific about how “principally” would limit their decision-making. The state board will vote on the language in either September or, if there are further changes, in November. A coalition of civil rights and advocacy groups is expected to propose additional changes, including a requirement that the LCAP detail all expenditures using supplemental funding.

Superintendent after superintendent praised the LCAP process and said it is working to engage parents and create new goals for student achievement.

Holding up a copy of his district’s LCAP, Morgan Hill Unified Superintendent Steve Betando said, “We made a commitment to engage our community and we did,” through six months of intensive meetings and daily conversations.

“We have never seen so much engagement and reaching out,” said Wes Smith, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators. “We have changed California with the LCAP.”

Board member Carl Cohn didn’t stop there. “This is the most exciting thing in American education today and makes me proud of our state. This is really big change.”

But there also critics and skeptics – parents who complained that their districts ignored them and that the LCAPs weren’t translated or written in plain language. San Jose Unified parent Jackie Gamboa said she didn’t understand her district’s LCAP after reading it a half-dozen times. In Stockton Unified, said Cynthia Chagolla, an attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance, “Parents had been told there was a place at the table but promises were broken.”

Dolores Huerta, the civil rights leader who cofounded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers, also spoke at the board meeting. Kern High School District – her local district – has one of the highest student suspension and expulsion rates in the state, she said. Instead of adding counselors, it is spending money on security. Instead of directing money to low-income students it is spreading supplemental money across all students, she said.

“What more can we do to make our high school district follow the guidelines?” she asked.

Board members struggled with the same issue – what to do about those districts that don’t follow the rules and are, in Cohn’s words “a poster child for bad behavior.” Who should respond, he asked: the state, the county office of education, the California School Boards Association?

“If I were a member of CSBA, I would be on the phone with them,” Burr said. “’How can we help you?’”

It’s the job of county offices of education to monitor districts and respond to problems, other members said. However, they said at this point they didn’t want to change regulations in response to the worst cases.

“We should not remediate too fast,” said board member Ilene Straus. “We have 1,000 districts.”

●●smf’s 2¢ re LCAP draft revision: ● A special tip o’ th’ 4LAKids cap to the students from Long Beach and L.A, - and from up+down the state who ”drove all night to make the case that the proposed language doesn’t ensure that districts will involve students in creating their LCAPs, rather than giving them the plans after the fact.” It is disheartening that students in LAUSD+elsewhere were treated exactly like the LCAP Parent Advisory Committee was ….and heartening to see the students took action.
● “What to do about those districts that don’t follow the rules and are, in Cohn’s words ‘a poster child for bad behavior’?”: The public comment window is open for an additional 15 days – and I would hope that the LAUSD LCAP Advisory Committee takes the opportunity to shout out that open window that they’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!



By John Fensterwald | EdSource Today |

July 8, 2014 | There is now an Internet site that lets you look up hundreds of districts’ Local Control and Accountability Plans – and to add your district’s LCAP to the mix.

“The state embarked on the LCAP effort and asked everyone to have faith that it would meet the goals of the new funding system,” said Valerie Cuevas, Education Trust-West’s interim executive director. “LCAP Watch is an opportunity to make early observations of whether we are hitting the mark.”

The LCAP is a three-year plan, updated annually, that lays out how a district will meet the conditions for school improvement and goals for student success that the Legislature set out in creating the new school funding formula. It also lays out a process of community engagement that is integral to the shift from state to local control.

LCAP Watch is the creation of Education Trust-West, a nonprofit group that advocates for low-income, minority students, along with three-dozen organizations and groups that have agreed to share information on districts’ newly passed accountability plans and to spread the word about the new repository.

LCAP Watch [] currently has LCAPs from about 250 districts and charter schools and plans to add hundreds more. It is collecting each district’s LCAP drafts, the version that school boards approved and eventually the final LCAPs that county offices of education have signed off on. There is also a demographic profile of each district. State law also requires that the state Department of Education provide links to districts’ and county offices’ LCAPs on its web site.

Education Trust-West plans to do a first-year LCAP evaluation to see what districts are planning for student improvements. It will include an in-depth analysis of a dozen districts’ LCAPs, said Carrie Hahnel, the organization’s director of research and policy analysis.

●● smf’s 2¢: RE CCTP WATCH- A commenter on the EdSource webpage points out that CCTP Watch was started by Education Trust – West (we must remember that ‘nonprofit’ is NOT a synonym for ‘altruistic’) …and that ET-W is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, James Irvine, and Walton Foundations.

That said, as long as CCTP Watch is only a library of all CCTPs: no harm/no foul.

But let us tread lightly lest we be deceived. Yes, ET-W has “Trust” as their middle name.
“Trust …but verify!” – Ronald Reagan

Later on, when ET-W does that first-year LCAP evaluation - and when they pick and then do those in-depth analyses of a dozen districts’ LCAPs, let us pay particular attention to which districts they pick… and exactly how they say what they say.

CPS OFFICIALS SAY FEDERAL PROGRAM WILL SAVE DISTRICT MONEY. The free lunches are part of a federal program to reduce paperwork for large low-income districts.

Published on WBEZ 91.5 Chicago |

July 3, 2014 :: Lunch money may be a thing of the past at Chicago Public Schools.

Under a relatively new program called the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) all school meals will be free starting in September 2014, the district confirmed to WBEZ Thursday.

Although the CPS initially rejected the program in 2011, it had expanded it to 400 schools by last fall.

This September, however, will be the first time "well-off" schools join the program as well. Entirely free meals reduce the labor of cash collection and tracking which students have to pay full and reduced prices for their food. This tiered system (with incentives for schools reporting higher poverty levels) led to fraud among CPS employees in the past.

“This transition will also allow us to improve quality of food and infrastructure in our lunchrooms, allowing us to redirect the dollars we no longer have to subsidize back to the classroom,” the district said in an email to WBEZ Thursday.

Under the CEO program, the federal government reimburses the district based on its percentage of low-income students, and CPS officials say that the continued rollout of the program has already meant savings.

“Our predominantly high [low-income] population—nearly 90 percent—allows us to meet the threshold to ensure that reimbursement rates won’t cost the district revenue,” a CPS spokeswoman said in the email . “In FY14, due to our expanded participation in the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) program (from 200 to 400 schools this year), we no longer had to subsidize the program with general fund dollars. We've also received a larger blended reimbursement this year of $2.93, up from $2.76 last year.”

CPS representatives also says a swipe card payment system will be rolled out for all students in the district by the end of 2014.



by Stephen Ceasar | Los Angeles Times |

July 13, 2014 :: In Beverly Hills, high school students can take a U.S. history course for $798 this summer; in La Cañada Flintridge, Spanish is offered for $775, and in Arcadia, a creative writing course costs $605, plus a $25 registration fee.

While summer programs in many California public school districts have been scaled back or eliminated, scores of students in predominantly affluent areas can pay for courses, bolstering their transcripts to be more attractive to colleges.

The classes, which have gained popularity in recent years, are offered by nonprofit foundations on leased high school campuses. They often are taught by district instructors and run by administrators hired by these groups.

The foundations carefully structure their programs to sidestep state law that bars public schools from charging for educational activities, by remaining independent of the school district.

They say, 'We just care about our kid's education' and you can understand that, but so do poor parents. - Sarah A. Hill, political science professor at Cal State Fullerton

Critics say the foundations, though well-intentioned, privatize public school, undercut California's guarantee of a free public education for all and contribute to an already wide inequity in educational opportunity by offering public school credit at a cost only some can afford.

"What about the kids whose parents can't create a foundation and pour money into it?" said Cal State Fullerton political science professor Sarah A. Hill, who studies public education finance. "They say, 'We just care about our kid's education' and you can understand that, but so do poor parents — they just don't have the resources to pay for summer school."

Jinny Dalbeck, who oversees the La Cañada summer program, said because the La Cañada Unified School District has cut summer school, her group is filling the void.

Students enroll for a variety of reasons: some seek to get a head start on the coming school year, or clear up space for more advanced courses, and others want to retake classes for a better grade, Dalbeck said.

"It's truly a stand-alone, private school for five weeks," Dalbeck said. "We're not a public school. We're meeting a need that the students have — to be able to work ahead."

About 675 local education foundations operate in the state, according to the California Consortium of Education Foundations. The groups raise money from parents as well as some local businesses with the express purpose of addressing shortfalls in state funding.

They have become a crucial fundraising arm for some schools, donating tens of millions of dollars each year.

A review of tax documents by Hill and others found that some of the more affluent groups provide campuses with thousands of dollars per student in addition to state per-pupil funding.

In 2011, the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation's total revenue was nearly $7.5 million; the Hillsborough Schools Foundation, which supports a 1,500-student elementary school district in the Bay Area, brought in about $4.2 million.

When local districts are most in need, the foundations spring into action.

The groups have saved or brought back services and programs such as music and art that were cut during steep budget shortfalls in recent years.

During those lean times, some school officials attempted to maintain programs and activities by charging students for such things as workbooks and extracurricular activities. Some districts provided summer school — for a price.

The ACLU sued the state in 2010 over these costs, but dropped the case two years later after a law was passed requiring the state Department of Education to ensure that schools don't charge illegal fees. The law also created a complaint process to challenge possible violations.

As a result, the foundations began offering classes on their own.

Dozens of complaints have been filed around the state in the past year by parents and others who contend districts are essentially outsourcing summer school, dictating class offerings and in effect charging students for credit.

The state has not found a school district or foundation in violation of the law.

The foundations contend that while there is communication with the local district, they remain separate entities.

"They're a public school and we're a fee-based school program," said Andrea Sala, executive director of the Peninsula Education Foundation. "They don't have any say in our curriculum — though it's the same curriculum because it's the same teacher — we run it independently."

David Sapp, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the state must ensure that districts aren't complicit in offering education programming for a fee.

"That would explicitly conflict with the free-schools guarantee," he said.

It is a line that can be easily crossed, said Claremont attorney Ronald T. Vera, who advises foundations.

Vera said he has declined to work with organizations that did not legally operate their programs. In one case, he said a district paid teachers to work in the foundation's summer school. He counsels groups who charge fees to be aware of the law and to maintain a distinct division.

"It's murky waters," he said.

Caroline Kim, 14, is taking biology at the Peninsula High campus in Rolling Hills Estates for $670 to get a head start on her sophomore year. In the fall, she plans to take physics. Caroline and about 1,200 of her peers are attending classes offered by the Peninsula Education Foundation.

The cost wasn't an issue for her family and it is well worth the price, she said.

"I'm really lucky to be in this school district and have this opportunity," Caroline said. "Summer school allows me to take advantage of all these opportunities and I'll be a lot more prepared for college."

Many summer programs are not approved by the Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges, which accredits public and private high schools in California. For credits to be placed on a student transcript, a principal must approve them.

High school students have long taken community college courses — at a cost of $46 per unit — and they also can take online courses to fulfill graduation requirements.

Many districts, such as Los Angeles Unified, have had little to no support from these types of foundations.

In 2007, the nation's second-largest system had a budget of about $40 million to offer summer classes at all levels, said Javier Sandoval, an administrator with the district's Beyond the Bell program, which coordinates after-school and summer programs.

Last year, funding plummeted to about $1 million and L.A. Unified could accommodate only about 6,000 high school students who needed credits to graduate. This year, the district is offering classes to about 36,000 students; about 198,000 high school students are enrolled in L.A. Unified.

Sandoval said families of students in L.A. Unified, nearly 80% of whom are considered low-income, are at a competitive disadvantage to their peers elsewhere.

"Those who have money can have their students go to summer school, and those who can't are stuck," he said. "It sets up an inequitable system."

The cost can be high even for some families in these more affluent areas, said Ronit Stone, president of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation. Some foundations offer scholarships.

"Nobody is required to take summer school," she said.

●●: Them that's got shall have
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own

Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don't ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own
That's got his own
- Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog Jr

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
George McKenna endorsed by LA County Democratic Party in LAUSD District 1 runoff Aug 12 | @electMcKenna | @LADemocrats |

SATURDAY (…and Friday recapped) @ THE AFT CONVENTION |

GOV. BROWN HIGHLIGHTS STATE’S APPROACH TO EDUCATION, says “No!” to testing every child, every year. |

Stete Board of Ed debates what to do about districts that don’t follow the LCAP rules and are "poster child(ren) for bad behavior"



Contrary to what you’ve been (mis)led to believe: MOST CALIFORNIA TEACHERS DON'T GET TENURE AFTER TWO YEARS |





"Surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold higher those who think alike than who think differently". –Nietzsche

@rweingarten spending significant time urging community outreach to parents and students to strengthen schools. #AFT14 #doittogether

@rweingarten: We will fight Vergara in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion. #aft14

@rweingarten: "Between NCLB and Race to the Top, fed educ accountability efforts have taken a very, very,very... very wrong!" turn #aft14

PUBLIC EDUCATION: "Not for Profit ...and for Free!" @rweingarten #aft14

smf: It's almost as fun–but not quite as funny–to watch the #AFT14 convention online as it is to watch a LAUSD Bd of Ed meeting!

"We—teachers & our unions—must engage and involve parents and the community in.. Read:

Ed Code requires ALL schools to teach ALL K-6 students ALL four art forms. Only 70 of 500+ in LAUSD do, to some kids!




NEA AIMS TO DUMP DUNCAN, CURB TESTING; Creationists aim to curb evolution. Read:

“The vast majority of white students, including poor students, are in classrooms with other students who aren't poor. But most minority students are in classrooms with other students living in poverty.” | The Economic Policy Institute: .


EVENTS: Coming up next week...
Monday July 14 is Bastille Day. Rise up and overthrow the status quo, storm the dark fortress and free the prisoners of narrow mindedness.  In the end it was the very troops guarding the Bastille joining the citoyens of Faubourg Saint-Antoine that led to the fall of the fortress. Just sayin'.

*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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