Sunday, May 22, 2016

On a scale of 1-to-10 - ten being mad-as-hell and one being not-outraged-at-all…

4LAKids: Sunday 22•May•2016
In This Issue:
 •  YET ANOTHER POOR SCORECARD FOR CALIFORNIA'S PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS: State spent $45 million more on early education ...and only enrolled 298 more kids
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
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“NOLAND, MARY ANNE ALFRIEND. 17 May 2016 :: Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68.” - Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch/Obituaries & In Memoriam |

Godspeed Mary Anne!


CAPT. CHESLEY "SULLY" SULLENBERGER, said Sunday people should not jump to conclusions about what happened to EgyptAir flight 804. "In many walks of life it's just human nature to shoot from the hip or jump to conclusions, but in safety-critical domains like aviation ... it's the evidence, facts, that we must rely on," Sullenberger said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation." |


@REALDONALDTRUMP | “Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness! 3:27 AM - 19 May 2016 |


LAST WEEK I wrote that these pages don’t usually repeat those news stories about Race Riots at High Schools and/or horror stories about lead or other toxic heavy metals in the municipal water supply.

[I can’t help but note that the mayor of Chicago is investigating school water supplies in his city as a cause of trouble there. | | Hint to Rahm: Investigate the man in the mirror!]

These pages don't usually waste a lot of pixels+outrage over LAUSD’s handing of child abuse settlements either – after all this IS the district that:
1. returned Steve Thomas Rooney to the schoolsite to molest again. And again.|,
2. hired child-abusing/defrocked-priest Paul Chapel III to teach in our schools | | and
3. retained+fired+re-retained an attorney to claim a 14-year-old-was legally capable of consent to sex with her teacher | .

History, Marx tells us, repeats itself. First as Tragedy, Second as Farce. He doesn’t go on to describe the third, fourth and fifth ordinals – but 24/7 Cable News and Reality TV must be in there somewhere! Maybe there’s School Board Meetings?

Down at the courthouse LAUSD might as well have a target painted on their litigation cases.

LAUSD has made itself a target for attorneys who would go after the district’s deep pockets.

They are a brand …we see them on the nightly news nightly. They have created a whole new category of tort law 1(800)SueLAUSD – preying on the voters and taxpayers and the District’s operating budget. It was the students who were the victims when the wrongdoing was about a sad+pathetic sickness ….and ultimately when the payout is about attorney fees the kids and taxpayers lose again.

Read L.A. SCHOOL DISTRICT REACHES $88-MILLION SETTLEMENT IN SEX MISCONDUCT CASES AT TWO CAMPUSES (following). It is populated by a lot people I know to be good and the recounted history shows how No Good Deed Goes Unpunished in a Gilbert+Sullivan musical-chairs bureaucracy both petty+political. (NOTE: Remember that whenever+wherever a dispute was between Dr. Deasy and Dr. Vladovic the politics WAS personal!)

At one time LAUSD had a Child Abuse Awareness Policy about Prevention, Identification and Reporting – with modules for Educators, Classified Staff and Parents.

It was implemented and it worked.

It was Called Darkness to Light.|

And then it was cut. And cut. And eliminated. We saved that money and paid it out in settlements and attorney’s fees. Over and over again.

LAST WEEK A REPORTER CALLED ME and asked my opinion about the $88 million settlement.

• Nice round number: $88 million.
• Eighty-eight keys on a piano keyboard.
• The number of constellations in the sky as defined by the International Astronomical Union.
• Eighty-eight symbolizes fortune and good luck in Chinese culture.
• White Supremacists claim it means ‘Heil Hitler!’ to them.
I told him I was outraged – but I doubt if I raised my voice; I’ve seen+felt a lot of outrage. And the morphine pain-moderation medication moderates my outrage.

Outrage as a Vital Sign: “On a scale of 1-to-10 - ten being mad-as-hell and 1 being not-outraged-at-all - how do you rate your outrage, Mr. Folsom?”

And then he shared his righteous outrage about the answers to the questions he was asking as a reporter …and not getting answers to:

“On Monday the LAUSD agreed to an 88-million dollar settlement with scores of parents whose students were victims of two pedophile teachers. The district has absolutely refused any comment what steps they will take moving forward to correct this, ensure it doesn't happen again, or hold anybody other than the two predators accountable. I am looking to speak with someone who’ll comment on the district's reckless and arrogant unapproachable stance whether the district as a whole will be held accountable and responsible for protecting LA's children.”

The settlements were of civil lawsuits; the pedophile perpetrators were removed from classrooms, fired, convicted+imprisoned under criminal statutes long ago. I spoke with the reporter later and the questions he was unable to get answers to are ones that shouldn’t+can’t remain unanswered – including nagging ones like “Can-or-do these teachers collect their pensions?”

What is LAUSD’s policy+strategy moving forward for dealing with Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention, Identification and Reporting? – and will there by programs for Educators, Classified Staff and Parents?

or do we just continue to agree to some acceptable level of abused children as Collateral Damage and pay out settlements to the Disputation of Attorneys at 1(800)SueLAUSD?

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

Richard Winton and Howard Blume | LA Times |

May 16, 20`6 | 7:04PM :: The Los Angeles school district will pay $88 million to settle sexual abuse cases at two elementary schools where complaints about the teachers behavior had surfaced long before their arrest, officials confirmed Monday.

The settlement with 30 children and their families, finalized over the weekend, is the second largest in district history, and brings a dark chapter to an apparent close.

The cases at De La Torre Elementary in Wilmington and Telfair Avenue Elementary in Pacoima, emerged in the aftermath of better-known sexual misconduct at Miramonte Elementary, south of downtown. Altogether, a spate of prosecutions and lawsuits led to huge settlements and spurred the district to announce a raft of reforms at the nation's second-largest school system.

"We’re glad that we’re able to resolve both of these cases so we can avoid potentially painful litigation and put these cases behind us," said Gregory McNair, a senior attorney with L.A. Unified. "We’re turning a corner here because we’ve resolved the last two very large cases that were involving the district."

The abuse scandals prompted the school system to better document and retain allegations against employees.

The district also focused on better training on recognizing and reporting abuse and set up a special investigations unit.

Attorneys representing the students said the change was long overdue and they remain concerned.

Plaintiffs' attorney John Manly likened the district's handling of these cases to the Catholic Church's failure to halt abuse by priests.

“We feel this is an ongoing problem in L.A. Unified and we hope this amount of money will promote a change of heart and change of attitude when it comes to victims," said Manly, who represents many of the students and families.

The De La Torre litigation encompassed 18 children and 19 of their parents (who sued separately). The Telfair settlement involved 12 minors. The agreement provides for a process to distribute the money fairly, but the average payout will be about $3 million per family, including sums that two of the Telfair students won through a jury verdict last year.

The two schools are at opposite ends of the sprawling school system — Telfair in the north, De La Torre in the south. And Miramonte was miles from both. All three schools served predominantly low-income communities and involved veteran teachers who had been relatively popular, but whose conduct had raised questions in the past.

Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt attracted the most media attention after his 2012 arrest because of the bizarre forms of abuse into which he lured dozens of students. The payouts eventually totaled $175 million. Berndt is serving a 25-year sentence for committing lewd acts.

“We feel this is an ongoing problem in L.A. Unified and we hope this amount of money will promote a change of heart and change of attitude when it comes to victims.” — John Manly, plaintiffs' attorney

The district's reputation continued to be battered as details emerged about other accused predators. At the time, Telfair teacher Paul Chapel III already was facing sex abuse charges.

L.A. Unified had no record that it ever conducted an internal investigation about him despite his dismissal from a previous job at a private school and his later trial — Chapel was not convicted — on allegations that he abused a boy. District officials said that the earlier incidents did not involve conduct at an L.A. Unified school, which may have limited their attention to the matter at the time.

But court documents allege that there also were concerns at his L.A. Unified workplace. Teachers at his first district school, Andasol Elementary in Northridge, warned that Chapel was placing children in his lap, attempting to take them on unauthorized field trips and closing his classroom door with students inside during lunch and recess.

In March 2011, a parent complained to an administrator that Chapel would kiss boys and girls in class. Several children confirmed the allegations, but even at that point, Chapel remained in the classroom for six more weeks, according to court documents.

Questions about Chapel's subsequent quiet removal led to a specific change in district policy: Families are now supposed to be notified when an investigation of a teacher involves alleged sexual misconduct.

In all, Chapel sexually abused a dozen students over a decade, including acts such as kissing boys on their genitals. He is serving a 25-year sentence after a no-contest plea.

Robert Pimentel's case also involves a long chain of accusations that led to little or no action, according to court documents filed by the plaintiffs.

Former district Principal Irene Hinojosa fielded complaints about Pimentel's aggressive affection for children as early as 2002, when she documented a conference with Pimentel about touching and slapping young girls' buttocks and touching their calves.

The teacher admitted the conduct, according to the document, with the excuse that he was on medication, which increased his sex hormones. Three years later, Hinojosa received a search warrant requesting “Mr. Pimentel’s employment and personnel files” because of an investigation into Pimentel's alleged abuse of a minor who was related to him.

In 2009, senior administrators learned of accusations against Pimentel from a report by social worker Holly Priebe-Diaz, who talked to a group of about 40 parents demonstrating against the principal.

An internal district memo, marked confidential, said soon after that “the district guidelines regarding reporting cases of child endangerment may not have been followed.”

Allegations about Pimentel filtered up through administrators Valerie Moses and Mike Romero — all the way to senior regional administrator Linda Del Cueto. The complaints, although not lurid, provided more than enough grounds to launch a full investigation, plaintiff attorneys said.

About a dozen students complained about sexual misconduct by Pimentel that occurred after the 2009 allegations. In abuse cases, liability is not established by the acts themselves, but by whether a school system could have or should have known about a potential problem, according to experts.

The district administrators accused of inaction repeatedly denied wrongdoing or declined to comment.

Del Cueto, reached at the district on Monday, said that at this point she is unwilling to discuss the case.

Then-Supt. John Deasy removed Hinojosa as principal and she subsequently left the district for another job, according to state records.

Deasy suspended the three other administrators, along with current Principal David Kooper. Kooper was, for a time, an aide to school board member Richard Vladovic, who represents that area. Investigators apparently found nothing incriminating against either Vladovic or Kooper. Deasy demoted Romero and Del Cueto.

Deasy's successor, Ramon Cortines, restored them to more senior positions. Moses has retired, according to district records.

"The LAUSD is more interested in protecting teachers and administrators than in protecting the children within the LAUSD," said plaintiffs' attorney Luis Carrillo.

Pimentel pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting four girls, including a relative, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

by Sean Cavanagh Senior Editor | EducationWeek Marketplace K-12 |

May 16, 2016 :: Few corporate brand names in education are as recognizable, and as polarizing, as Pearson, the giant education provider whose reach extends to virtual schools, testing, language training and an array of other areas.

Many educators these days see Pearson as the embodiment of commercial businesses’ continued push to turn profits from public schools. Pearson has been criticized for everything from its deployment of curriculum in districts’ 1-to-1 technology programs to the prominent role it plays in high-stakes testing.

Yet by its financial measures—including its $7 billion in annual revenues—Pearson is clearly providing products and services that are in demand in many schools, districts, and states, and among individual parents.

Pearson CEO John Fallon recently met with a group of reporters at Education Week’s offices and spoke about his company’s business strategies and record, and offered a defense against some of its detractors’ claims. He also talked about how he thinks policy shifts like the implementation of the common-core standards and the adoption of “open” educational resources are likely to affect the K-12 market, and his company’s work.

Here are takeaways from Fallon’s remarks in response to questions from a group of reporters, edited for brevity and clarity.

Pearson officials have been talking about shifting away from being identified as simply a publishing company for years now. Fallon described the scope of the company’s reach in different areas of K-12, higher education, and professional training.

Pearson’s annual revenues stand at about $7 billion, of which 50 percent come from courseware/content, in K-12, higher education, and across the professional space, Fallon said. Those resources are increasingly delivered in digital form. Thirty percent of the company’s revenues come from assessments of one kind or another, which includes professional certification and apprenticeship programs, as well as summative exams.

High-stakes testing, specifically, produces “less than 10 percent of our revenues, but feels sometimes like it generates 150 percent of the news flow,” quipped Fallon.

The remaining 20 percent come from services provided to schools and colleges, including virtual schools, [and] online program management at universities, he said. A Pearson business motto is “content plus assessment, powered by technology, equalizes effective learning at scale,” Fallon said, and after years of striving for that goal, “we only feel that it’s really now starting to come together.”

The company’s approach is to “define what we do by the outcome, not by where it happens physically,” he said. Pearson will continue to support “some pure online programs,” Fallon added, and “online program management and virtual schooling are two of the biggest areas of growth for the company. The weight of the activity will be in blended learning, and how you combine the benefits of face-to-face with purely online approaches.”

Pearson is a major player in virtual schooling, through its operation of Connections Academy and other programs. Recent studies, including one by Stanford’s CREDO project, have shown virtual schools producing poor results. Fallon was asked why parents and others should have confidence in Pearson’s online schools, despite the negative findings for virtual education.

“It’s important to speak in specific rather than general terms…It’s not always the case, but it’s fair to say there’s a disproportionate number of students in virtual schooling who are there because physical schools have failed them in some form or another. So it’s going to be important that we track value-added, or progress-added.

“We see technology as the means by which I can apply the benefits of teaching to far more people, and you can help free teachers up to spend more time with students, engaging students, learning from each other. Technology is not a panacea, it’s just a tool, and its primary value is in enhancing the power of teaching to reach more people.

“We publish studies that show the value that these programs do add. I think on the whole, the results are pretty good….But we are not complacent or satisfied, and all the time we’re looking to improve the value that is added. If you look at Connections Academy, the schools are incredibly popular with parents…[We measure the extent to which parents recommended our online programs among each other] and it receives an incredibly high rating.”

Many critics accuse publishers, including Pearson, of making exaggerated claims of having aligned academic materials to the Common Core State Standards, while having only made superficial changes.

Fallon was asked by EdWeek reporters about a review of a Pearson curriculum by the organization EdReports that gave one of the company’s curricula a poor rating for common-core alignment. Fallon official pointed a response by the company that argued that the EdReports analysis was flawed, and he said Pearson’s overall record in aligning its materials to the common core is “very good,” overall.

“We’re very confident that our products are aligned to the common core. The principles of the [standards] are hugely empowering and inspiring for teachers and publishers as well. It moves us from a world under No Child Left Behind where we were essentially teaching and assessing a child’s mastery of mathematical formulas and equations to a world where we’re teaching and assessing a child’s ability to solve real world problems, and more sophisticated problems.”

[O]ne of the mistakes that were made around the implementation of the common core was to think you could switch from No Child Left Behind, that you could click your fingers and it would happen in one fell swoop. It will take the better part of a generation for the benefits to flow through.John Fallon CEO, Pearson

But he said the implementation of the common-core is a massive task, and that support for educators and schools in making a transition to the standards has been lacking—one of the factors that has fueled mistrust in the K-12 community.

“You have to work with the gray—that is the day-to-day reality of the classroom. We [made] probably the biggest single investment [in the Pearson System of Courses, which] completely rethinks the way that numeracy and literacy are taught in the classroom. It would be the absolute poster child for the common core, and the new way of teaching…in the long run, it will prove incredibly liberating for the profession. But it is not a simple, straightforward thing to implement a program like that. It will take years, it will require very significant amounts of professional development. It will require you to rethink how the working day in the school operates. Those things take time.

“In hindsight, one of the mistakes that were made around the implementation of the common core was to think you could switch from No Child Left Behind, that you could click your fingers and it would happen in one fell swoop. It will take the better part of a generation for the benefits to flow through, because it’s such a fundamental step change. Frankly, where a lot of support from the teaching profession for the common core tipped over into antagonism, and concern, was because of the way the assessments were introduced. For example, there wasn’t an understanding in terms of tracking and measuring teacher performance against those standards; you needed to give a significant amount of time for it to bed down. Now, the reality is that it happened in the end, but it was done slightly late in the day, and almost grudgingly. It would have been so much better if everyone had been more open and honest about that much earlier in the process.

Big changes were required, yes, of publishers, but also huge changes in the way that schools were administered and led, and in the training of teachers. It’s a big, big change….You have to deal with the reality of life in schools…it varies by district, [there’s] variation by state, and not every school can move straight to a very different style of curriculum. It will take time.”

Fallon sees major educational benefits in the types of summative tests delivered today by Pearson and others, despite criticism of high-stakes exams, and despite frustration caused by testing breakdowns. [Pearson was recently faulted by New Jersey state officials for a disruption of that state’s assessments.]

“The move toward a world of fewer, better, smarter assessments that provide more actionable data more quickly to teachers and parents is important. We would say that an assessment should be only one measure of progress. It should be part of a richer dashboard, a more holistic view.
“We’ve been talking for 20 years about the convergence of formative and summative assessment, something the Every Students Succeeds Act makes more valid…that is something in our sights, something that is possible, in psychometric terms, in terms of technology—fewer, better, smarter assessments, and quicker, better feedback for teachers, parents, and students.”

McGraw-Hill Education got out of high-stakes testing entirely last year. Given the continued controversy around summative exams, and periodic problems associated with giving them, could you see a day where Pearson says goodbye to high-stakes testing entirely?

“Just to put it in context, Pearson successfully conducted 15 million on-screen tests last year. We did, as you know, have a problem in New Jersey, and we’re sorry about that. But the tests resumed the next day, and have been very effective since then. Our onscreen testing is very reliable, secure, it works, and we can provide much richer data, and we can provide useful information back to teachers and parents. And it’s what enables formative and summative assessment to converge. It’s much harder to see that if we go back to the world of paper and pencil, bubble tests….they’re not fit for what we need to prepare young people….to apply things to the real world.

“I can’t speak for other companies, but I have a lot of confidence in the reliability of our online assessments. Secondary, they will enable what most people in the education world want to see happen.”

Pearson was one of the companies, along with Apple, that was faulted as the Los Angeles Unified school district’s 1-to-1 iPad program, faced technical breakdowns and backlash. Pearson’s common-core aligned curriculum was supposed to come pre-loaded on iPads, and the company was criticized by those who said it wasn’t ready. The company recently agreed to pay more than $6 million to the district.

Fallon would not comment on the specifics of the settlement, but said this when asked about what lessons the company learned in L.A.:

“Moving to 1-to-1 learning, to where the role of the teacher becomes much more one of coach and [providing] support to children, where you’re trying to introduce more peer-to-peer learning…and do so in a technology delivered-world, that is a very different world than the reality that exists in many schools today. And it takes time. And the lessons to be learned, not just from there but around the country, are that there is still a lot of work to be done, to get really good, high-quality…e-commerce-grade tech infrastructure and experience in schools for students. That’s not to say there has been a lot progress—there has…But I think that is a prerequisite over time to giving teachers competent ways to deploy technology effectively in schools.

“And where you call it common core, or career-and college-ready standards, the ambition to the new higher standards, one that is much more around applied knowledge, is another very ambitious thing to do. You’ve got a lot going on, all at once. How you manage systemic change in those circumstances is not something you should underestimate. It will take a lot of time to do. It’s a real focus on technology infrastructure, a real focus on PD for teachers.”

And about the specific accusation that Pearson’s curriculum was not ready in time for LAUSD?

“That program has continued to be used in a number of school districts around the country, which are running pilots on it. The curriculum on it is fantastic. And if there’s any program that really did try to fully embrace the common core—and wasn’t just compliant, but went beyond—that was it.”

Many districts have embraced open educational resources—free materials created on licenses that allow their distribution, re-use, and repurposing. Fallon argued—as many providers of commercial materials have—that OER can provide benefits to some schools, but that commercial resources will continue to have value because of the tech-based enhancements, in analytics and adaptive learning and other areas, that they offer beyond academic content.

Open resources are “an important part of the landscape…Quite often, they’re used as supplements to a core teaching program. If you think about what the next generation of technology will look like, it’s a really immersive learning experience, that will provide learning analytics that enable teachers to have more actionable diagnostics that give them more personalized information around each student and creates much more personalized learning for students.

“That’s not something that can be done without continuous and sustained investment, and that investment has to funded from somewhere. Ultimately, it has to be paid for somewhere in the system. That’s why I think there will be a diversity and range of [materials]…I think there will continue to be a market for a long time to come for high-quality courseware, pedagogically sound, fantastic content, developed in a way for teachers that is an inspiration for them to teach and for students to learn, and [which is] providing much more adaptive learning and learning analytics. But it will be paid for if it demonstrates real value [in]…helping more students to be successful and make progress. If it doesn’t, it won’t, and it won’t deserve to.

“If [the education community goes] that [open] route, it’s not a free route. They will have to find a way to fund and sustain that approach. They might be able to fund it over time with voluntary labor extended over time from the teaching profession. But there’s a consequence for that; there’s only so many hours in the day, in the system…If you talk about ‘free’ in any other sector, [the resources] may be free at the point of use, but they’re being funded and paid for somewhere else. So ultimately, quality has to be paid for somewhere else.”

●●smf’s 2¢: EdWeek is a advertiser supported trade publication. If Pearson isn't their biggest advertiser; that potential exists. Cavanagh is their Marketplace editor - we shouldn't be expecting any heavy hitting from them!

When he thinks the "Pearson System of Courses" works, Fallon is supportive: "the absolute poster child for the common core," ....when it didn't (It was the vaporware on LAUSD's iPads) then: "that program has continued to be used in a number of school districts around the country, which are running pilots on it."

Pilots? Seriously??

▲Sean Cavanagh is Senior Editor of EdWeek Market Brief. He is also a reporter and editor for Education Week, where he has covered a variety of beats since 2002. His primary focus is on business and technology issues in K-12 education. Previously he covered math and science education, charter schools and school choice, and federal policy. Before joining Education Week, he was a reporter for daily newspapers in Tennessee and Florida.

YET ANOTHER POOR SCORECARD FOR CALIFORNIA'S PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS: State spent $45 million more on early education ...and only enrolled 298 more kids

Deepa Fernandes | KPCC / 89.3 FM |

May 12 2016 :: Even though California spent $45 million more on early education last year than it did the year before, the state only managed to enroll 298 more kids in preschool.

That's one of the findings that led the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University to rate the state 28th for early education in its latest annual report.

The annual report is a national snapshot of how states are doing with preschool access and quality. For California it examined the state preschool program, which is available only to low-income children. (The California Department of Education does not count any four-year-old enrolled in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) in its preschool category, as it sees this as the first of a two-year kindergarten program, so TK students were not included in this report.)

California does best when it comes to the number of 3-year-olds in early education, ranking ninth in the nation. But it’s downhill from there.

The state not only hovers in the bottom half of all states for 4-year-old access, it also does poorly when held to scrutiny against a range of quality standard benchmarks. Every year NIEER evaluates preschool quality through a set of general benchmark standards. These include teacher qualification level and access to in-service training, class size, staff to child ratios, and systems in place to monitor and oversee quality.

Of the 10 quality benchmarks, California only met four in 2015: The state does have comprehensive early learning standards in place; its teachers do have access to at least 15 hours per year of in-service training; teachers are required to have an early education specialization training; and the state’s programs meet the one teacher to ten child ratio.

However, there are six more areas where the state fails to meet high quality standards, from unregulated class sizes, to low teacher qualification expectations, to not providing screening for support services children may need. The state preschool programs do not all provide meals to children in the program, and the program does not have comprehensive program monitoring in place.

California has never met more than four standards in all the years NIEER has done this study, going back to 2003.

In the 2015 report, neighboring states do better: Oregon meets nine out ten benchmarks and Nevada meets seven out of ten.

The California Department of Education did not respond to KPCC’s request for comment regarding why the state fails to implement stand quality benchmarks before publication.
For 2015, the model preschool states were New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oklahoma and West Virginia, according to the report's authors. These states have highly qualified teachers, strong curriculum and high expectations of children and teachers.

They also demonstrate a “continuous improvement of the system,” said NIEER’s director, Steve Barnett, as well as “how to rapidly increase quality and access at the same time.”

One area that the report focuses on is teacher pay. California’s preschool teachers are not expected to have the same credential – a bachelor's degree – as elementary teachers and are not paid on par with their public school counterparts. In five states, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee, preschool teachers are paid the same as elementary teachers.

California does slightly better by its non-English speaking preschoolers. It allocates extra dollars and requires an in-home assessment in the child’s home language. Yet that’s not enough, Barnett said.

“Given California’s large Hispanic population, it’s crucial that the state put a strong dual language learner policy in place,” he said.

While NIEER reports have consistently found the state's preschool program to be wanting, previous studies have also criticized the state for its quality and access.

National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) Report

by Jonathan J. Cooper | AP from KPCC / 89.3FM |

May 16 2016 :: Children and teens brought illegally to the United States gained access to publicly funded health care Monday as California began allowing young people to sign up for the state's health care program for the poor without regard to their immigration status.

State officials expect as many as 185,000 children under age 19 to join Medi-Cal in the first year — about three-quarters of the estimated 250,000 eligible youth. About 121,000 will be automatically transferred from a limited version of the program that provides only emergency care, giving them the full range of medical, dental, vision and mental health coverage available for little or no cost with full-scope coverage.

In a rally outside the state Capitol, health care and immigrant rights advocates celebrating the expansion turned their attention to their next goals. They want Medi-Cal — the state's version of Medicaid — to cover income-eligible adults who migrated illegally and are pushing to allow those who make too much money to buy private coverage through the state's insurance exchange, Covered California.

"While Congress remains gridlocked with stereotypes and hateful rhetoric, California remains as a hopeful beacon that tells people, 'Immigrants, you matter. Immigrants, you contribute to our economy. Immigrants, you are people that deserve to have health care,'" said Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, who wrote the legislation authorizing the expanded coverage.

Critics question why California lawmakers are spending time and money to help people who immigrated illegally when there are American citizens in need.

"This acts as a magnet to the world — bring your children, bring your families to California illegally and you will get free health care," said Robin Hvidston, executive director of the activist group We the People Rising.

In his revised budget proposal published last week, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown included $188.2 million to cover the children and teens expected to get full-scope Medi-Cal coverage. While the federal government pays about half the cost of providing Medi-Cal benefits to citizens and legal immigrants, the state is covering the entire price tag for those who immigrated illegally.

More than 13 million Californians are enrolled in Medi-Cal, about a third of the state's population. The total state share of Medi-Cal funding is about $17.7 billion

Joe Mangia, president and CEO of St. John's Well Child & Family Center in Los Angeles, said the center has about 2,500 kids who will be eligible for the expanded coverage, and expects about 1,000 already have emergency Medi-Cal.

He said they've been reaching out to families to tell them about the option and set up appointments starting on Monday for people to come in and enroll. Health promoters have also gone out into the community to tell people about the program, he said.

Until now, St. John's has treated the kids but now they'll get much better and expanded care.

"Before, if there was a specialty need, we'd refer to the county, maybe they'd get seen in six to nine months," he said.

State officials have been working to make the transition smooth and will be watching for any implementation problems they need to address, Department of Health Care Services Director Jennifer Kent said in a statement last week.

"We're delighted at this chance to expand comprehensive health coverage to reach thousands more California children," Kent said.


By OW Staff Writer | From Our Weekly |

5/19/2016, midnight :: After eight weeks of bargaining on two reopener issues, United Teachers Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District this week reached an agreement, pending a ratification vote by members.

This cycle of bargaining had a limited focus on two key issues: class size and educator development and support.

“It is rare for this much progress to be made in contract reopeners,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “We made significant strides for students and our classrooms, and set a foundation for more improvements to public education in Los Angeles. We are proud that this agreement addresses equity for our highest-needs students.”

Key improvements to class size include:

• One additional full-time teacher at every secondary school for a new elective class or to reduce the class size of existing electives, such as visual and performing arts and ethnic studies.

• One additional full-time teacher for high-needs elementary schools to be used for class-size reduction in grades 4, 5 (or 6 if applicable), as ranked by the LAUSD student equity index.

• A cap of 55 students in PE classes for secondary schools

• District response time shortened from 30 to 15 days when caseloads are too large in Special Education.

• At secondary schools that have already have a Pupil Services and Attendance counselor or a Psychiatric Social Worker counselor in their local budget, the district will pay for an additional 17 days of work time.

Key improvements to educator development and support include a quicker turnaround from observation to feedback to educators in the classroom. It also includes continuing the work of the joint LAUSD and UTLA's Educator Development and Support Committee, working collaboratively on professional development and career-long growth.

The reopeners are part of the current 2014-17 contract, which last year included a 10 percent salary increase and set the stage for a successful agreement this year.

A member ratification vote will take place at school sites over a three-day period between June 1 and June 3. Votes will be counted on Saturday, June 4. The agreement is also pending a vote by the School Board

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
TUES MAY 24, 2016
May 24, 2016 - 10:00 - BUDGET, FACILITIES AND AUDIT COMMITTEE - Rescheduled from May 17
May 24, 2016 - 2:00 P.M. - COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

THURS MAY 26, 2016 10AM

*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: • 213-241-8333 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-5555 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6385 • 213-241-6387
...or the Superintendent: • 213-241-7000
...or your city councilperson, mayor, county supervisor, state legislator, 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. Volunteer in the classroom. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child - and ultimately: For all children.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE at

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

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and was Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and has represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for over 13 years. He currently serves as Vice President for Health, is a Legislation Action Committee member and a member of the Board of Directors of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT "WHO" Gold Award and the ACSA Regional Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award - honors he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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