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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Here’s who got the biggest Gates Foundation education grants for 2014 - The Washington Post

Here's who got the biggest Gates Foundation education grants for 2014 - The Washington Post

Bill and Melinda Gates watch daughter Jennifer perform in an equestrian event during the Hollywood Reporter Trophy class at the Longines Los Angeles Masters on Sept. 27. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for EEM World)
Bill Gates is famous for many things, including spending hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, promote and defend the Common Core State Standards. In 2014, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded millions more for the Core, plus other issues in the education world.

Teachers' Voice Radio | News and analysis for New York City teachers.

Teachers' Voice Radio | News and analysis for New York City teachers.

Teachers' Voice Radio

This week we interviewed Francisco Portales of the teacher support group, Don't Tread on Educators, the ATR Alliance and the Solidarity Caucus.

In New York state teacher evaluations were released this week with a range of responses. United Federation of Teachers member received a letter from their president Michael Mulgrew gloating over the results. Only 8.2% of New York City teachers had been rated ineffective or developing.

State officials noted the disparity in the results between New York City and the rest of the state. In the city only 9.2% of teachers were rated "highly effective." In the rest of the state this number was 58.2%. Board of Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch believe that the numbers for rest of the state were unreliable and that the process needs to be re-engineered.

According to a report by Megan Moskop on the ICEUFT blog, Mr. Mulgrew praised the current teacher evaluation as being better than the rest of the state. At the monthly Delegate Assembly Mr. Mulgrew happily told the audience that Commissioner John King thinks the New York City evaluation process is more reliable than elsewhere.

President Mulgrew seems to think that with state officials favoring New York City's results over the rest of the state things are going our way.

But this is not the case, especially as Governor Andrew Cuomo has joined the loud clamor to make teacher evaluations harder. He has indicated that he won't sign the bill that he himself proposed after negotiations with the state teachers union New York State United Teachers. This included a provision, the so-called "safety net" allowing teachers to be shielded from the results of the Common Core-based state tests. Under this deal the protection, which basically amounted to the ability of teachers to appeal ineffective ratings, would have lasted two years. This, as was reported last Spring, was meant to give the state time to improve the quality of the tests.

One of the factors in settling on a "safety-net" for teachers was the fact that New York had jumped the gun in rolling out a new teacher evaluation system at the same time it was introducing new state tests.

Now the state officials are singing a different tune. According to the online news service Pro Capital officials in Albany are proposing that: if more than 75 percent of teachers or principals are rated "highly effective" or fewer than 5 percent are rated "ineffective" on the component of the evaluation system that is based on observations, the lead evaluators in that district should be retrained and an independent audit might be appropriate, the department recommended.

What make this picture especially dismal is the role the UFT leadership is playing as cheerleaders for the existing teacher evaluation process.

As James Eterno writes as the teacher evaluation system is re-negotiated, the UFT is following its "usual failed negotiating strategy of asking for nothing while our enemies seek major concessions and then settling for new givebacks that are not quite as bad as the ones originally proposed.  Instead, the union should be asking to scrap the whole system based on junk science to move the center of gravity in our direction."

How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million Joshua Kaplowitz





It was May 2000, and the guy at Al Gore's polling firm seemed baffled. A Yale political-science major, I'd already walked away from a high-paying consulting job a few weeks earlier, and now I was walking away from a job working on a presidential campaign to do . . . what?

STUART LUTZ : PROOF THAT TENURE LAWS ARE NECESSARY



Carl Petersen's Statement on the Release of Stuart Lutz from Teacher Jail


Stuart Lutz, an art teacher with the LAUSD, returned to teaching today after being pulled from the classroom on April 21. By some reports he was being investigated for allegedly mishandling fundraising money for an annual field trip to Disneyland Art Studio.


Mishandling funds is certainly a serious allegation, but not one that jeopardized student safety. Why was it necessary to remove Mr. Lutz from the classroom during the investigation? Wouldn't it have been enough to suspend him from any after school activities until they found out that there was actual wrongdoing? Why was the board not asking these question as part of their oversight of the Superintendent's office?


To those who think that tenure laws give teachers too much protection, I ask how they think that these cases can continue to happen. It seems to me that Mr. Lutz did not have enough protection.




Carl Petersen is running for LAUSD School Board District 3 to give voice to the students, parents and teachers of the district. He is a father of five, including two daughters on the autism spectrum. With four children still enrolled in the district he understands the challenges facing the district and has a direct stake in seeing them addressed. He is currently the Director of Logistics for a manufacturer of security cameras in Glendale where he has been employed for the past nine years. For additional information please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com or call Carl Petersen at 818-869-0309.


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ED CODE AND CBA CONSPIRE AGAINST TEACHERS WITh the DISTRICT & UNIONS' Blessings



Note. Under the ca ed code. Classified Employees have more rights than Certificated. 
This is something we need to look at. Many teachers union contracts have no "for cause" language. 
This is how teacher jail, NUC/NUPs come into being. I will keep digging..

45113.  (a) The governing board of a school district shall prescribe  written rules and regulations, governing the personnel management of  the classified service,which shall be printed and made available to  employees in the classified service, the public, and those concerned  with the administration of this section, whereby these employees are  designated as permanent employees of the district 
after serving a  prescribed period of probation which shall not exceed one year. 

Take Note Humans: Monkey may be More Human than You are


4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: WHISTLEBLOWER CASE COSTS LAUSD A$3.3 MILLION JURY AWARD + smf’s 2¢



by Vanessa Romo, LA School Report | http://bit.ly/1wOSJo7

December 19, 2014 12:39 pm  ::  LA Unified sustained another legal blow this week in a "whistleblower" case that'll cost the district millions.
After nearly a month-long trial, a Los Angeles jury awarded retired Air Force Officer and Junior ROTC instructor, Archie Roundtree, $3.3 million, finding that the district had revoked his teaching certification in an act of retaliation.
This latest setback comes a month after the district announced a $139 million settlement in civil cases stemming from the actions of a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School.
Shortly after reporting a series of violations in the operation of the JROTC program at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, Chief Academic Officer Gerardo Loera began complaining to the Air Force about the veteran instructor. The Air Force subsequently revoked Roundtree's 15-year certification to teach JROTC cadets.
According Renuka V. Jain, a lawyer who represented Roundtree, "The jury awarded Roundtree $1,810,840 on the whistleblower claim, $1 million in defamation damages against Loera, and $500,000 against Assistant Vice-Principal Adriana Maldonado-Gomez. The jury also concluded that Loera had acted with malice, oppression or fraud."
"The settlement is good but he will never be able to get his certification back," Jain told LA School Report. "There is no appeal, there is no review. The only people who can get it back is Air Force and they're not going to do that," she said.
The district said in an email response it is "very disheartened" by the verdict.
"It is never the intention of the District or its administrators to engage in defamation or retaliation against any employee for any reason," the district said. "While the jury found in favor of Major Roundtree, the District believes and maintains that each of the administrators' actions were taken with the students' interests at heart and were not done in retaliation against Major Roundtree."
The district is currently reviewing the record and considering its options with respect to any challenges to the verdict.

2cents small I have some real problems with the reporting of this story – or perhaps the editing thereof.
    Roundtree
  • "Shortly after reporting a series of violations in the operation of the JROTC program at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley….":  Because this is a whistle blower suit I presume that Major Roundtree made the allegations - though to whom and what the allegations were are totally unclear. Did he complain to LAUSD?  To the Dept of the Air Force? …and what exactly were the allegations? …and even more critically: What is the timeline?
  • "….Chief Academic Officer Gerardo Loera began complaining to the Air Force about the veteran instructor".  Again, the timeline.  Loera was named Chief Academic Officer on December 1, less than a month ago. The trial was "nearly a month long" so one must suppose that Loera's action took place previous to him holding that job.

King of Common Core Pearson Closes Charitable Foundation Amid Legal Troubles

Common Core
by Dr. Susan Berry21 Dec 201426
Publishing giant Pearson Inc. is set to rake in billions of dollars in profits related to the implementation of the Common Core standards, but the corporation is now dealing with legal problems exposing some of its suspicious methods that have led to its status as the King of Common Core.
The Pearson Charitable Foundation states it is closing following "a decision by Pearson plc to integrate all of its corporate responsibility activities and functions into its business as a way to maximize social impact and to no longer fund the Foundation as the primary vehicle for its philanthropic and community activities."
The truth is, however, that corporate Pearson is closing down its charitable foundation following problems with the law that have exposed some of its methods in acquiring business.

Can a Retired School Teacher File for Unemployment if They're Laid Off From Another Job? | Chron.com

Can a Retired School Teacher File for Unemployment if They're Laid Off From Another Job? | Chron.com


Retired part-timers can draw unemployment, under certain conditions.
Retired part-timers can draw unemployment, under certain conditions.

There's no age limit on being laid off. Workers who retire from one profession and go back to work in another, can lose their jobs. If this is your situation, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits. The laws of the states control this process; your state will look at the conditions of your job loss and any other income you're drawing.

The Law and the Reason Why

If you lose your job due to a layoff, you can generally file for unemployment. Your retirement from an earlier job doesn't limit your eligibility, but there are other conditions. If you're fired for cause -- negligence, tardiness, endangerment of your colleagues, or insubordination -- then unemployment benefits are unavailable. The state agency that runs the program will contact your ex-employer to verify the reason for the firing.

Jobs for Laid-Off Teachers | Chron.com

Jobs for Laid-Off Teachers | Chron.com



Teachers have a wide range of skills applicable to a number of different fields.


Many educators who find themselves laid off due to changes in the economy can find employment in different industries that utilize their existing skills and training. A variety of occupations involve instruction, demonstration and educational components. Teachers with specialized skills sets may also find employment options in the fields related to their area of specialty.

Specialized Fields

Teachers who have experience in a particular subject may find employment in related non-educational fields. For example, a math teacher may be qualified for a role in an accounting firm; a biology teacher could apply her skills in a lab or medical office; or, a foreign language teacher may find work with a multi-cultural center as a translator.

What Teach for America Says When It Talks to Itself | deutsch29

What Teach for America Says When It Talks to Itself | deutsch29

What Teach for America Says When It Talks to Itself

As I was researching my "Bill Pays to Help Arne" post, I came across a discussion site, Wall Street Oasis, where those hoping to Make It Big on The Street are able to connect in order to solve issues related to their career ambitions.
The site has a link for Teach for America (TFA).
The link includes a number of revealing 2008-2013 discussion threads, particularly since many writers assume that they are interacting with fellow TFAers who desire what TFA founder Wendy Kopp promotes: A high-powered, lucrative, "real" career following a brief TFA stint.

Many assume the TFA promo of Ivy League Short-term Student Saviour, but not all.
Kopp advances the ungrounded idea that TFA recruits can "close the achievement gap" because they are the "best and brightest"– and that they can do so going into America's toughest teaching situations in two-year stints. And after "closing the gap," TFAers can fulfill the nation's need for their "best and brightest" leadership in key educational roles, including those of district or state superintendent, or charter school/education company "founder."
As to the Wall Street Oasis TFA discussion board: I repost here some of the more telling commentary as such reveals both TFAer career motivations and opinions about the TFA organization, mission, and/or experience.

What Teachers Need to Know About the Internet | open thinking

What Teachers Need to Know About the Internet

RaineComputerI recently presented "Internet Beware: What Teachers Need to Know About the Internet" at my old high-school in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. The presentation spoke to Internet/Media Awareness type issues which should be of great concern to most, especially as they relate to adolescent use of technology. I covered topics such as violent and sexual content, adolescents and instant messaging, online predators, technology and privacy, information literacy, and generally, how teachers can help students become critical consumers of information.

The presentation is available in the recent presentations area of my portfolio. If your school is interested in a similar presentation, please feel free to contact me.

(btw: The image is of my daughter proof-reading the presentation for me.)



rd

CHECK HIM OUT WORKING THE COMMON CORE WITH KLEIN THEN SEE How Greasy Deasy Funneled $1 Billion to Pals at Pearson, Apple


Howard Blume at the L.A. Times reports that L.A. Supt. John Deasy (the man from Gates) and his chief deputy "developed a special relationship" with executives from Pearson and Apple, the companies that won a billion-dollar technology contract. Blume says it raises new questions about the fairness of competition in the effort to provide a computer to every student in the nation's second-largest school system.

Rank Stacking According to Krazy TA

KrazyTA 
The heavy hitters in the self-styled "education reform" tend, in practice, to adhere to what W. Edwards Deming called "management by fear." One of its most salient features: that you can fire your way to excellence.
One of its variants: consider how stack ranking/forced ranking/rank-and-yank/churn-and-burn actually—not theoretically—work. Think about "kiss up kick down."
How badly can things turn out? Take a truly humungous business and its most famous person, Bill Gates, and then click on the following link. A sample:
[start quote]
At the center of the cultural problems was a management system called "stack ranking." Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees. The system—also referred to as "the performance model," "the bell curve," or just "the employee review"—has, with certain variations over the years, worked like this: every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor.

Angie Sullivan: Chaos, Turnarounds, and Disruption in Vegas | Diane Ravitch's blog


Angie Sullivan: Chaos, Turnarounds, and Disruption in Vegas | Diane Ravitch's blog

Teacher Angie Sullivan wonders why her school is being turned around yet again and how many staff will be fired again. This is, of course, the idea embedded in Race to the Top, the idea that scores will go up if part or all of the staff is fired, and the whole school is disrupted and "turned around." This approach negates the values of stability, consistency, and other old-fashioned notions in favor of disruption and chaos. "Creative destruction" usually turns out to be just plain old destruction, and it destroys trust.
Angie writes:
33 schools in Vegas are being considered for "turnaround".
My principal announced Standford Elementary was one. No one could really understand why – because most of the staff turned over last year and most of us just got there. The former principal had turned it around – and then they moved her out and someone new in.
In 2013-2014 we taught one set of standards – and tested in another because at the last minute we became the test school for SBAC. Our old computer lab computers could not even run the SBAC tests. So we lost all our stars – mainly due to confusion, new staff, old technology, and general disruption.
So I'm out with all the holiday shoppers buying a suit – because tomorrow I have to not only do parent conferences and my regular busy day . . . I have to interview for half an hour in the middle of the day.
Very disruptive. Congratulations! And Happy Holidays!
Are there about 2,600 (80 x 33) Vegas teachers going through this interview process right before the holiday?
I guess if you are one of the 800 long term subs (they have driven off the licensed teachers) – you probably get to skip the interview?
Pricey Teach for America get to skip it too I bet.
Which suit will help me keep on teaching my at-risk kids that I love? Red? Purple?
What is the official color of destruction, disruption, and devastation?
I hope I don't cry – I need all the self-respect I can get.
They keep saying not to worry – why do they call it an interview? Interview means . . . Worry.
Angie


rd

LA Times - To give their children a better education, parents launch new school

http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-82327274/

The Wisdom of Teachers: A New Vision of Accountability | Diane Ravitch's blog


The Wisdom of Teachers: A New Vision of Accountability | Diane Ravitch's blog

Anyone who criticizes the current regime of test-based accountability is inevitably asked: What would you replace it with? Test-based accountability fails because it is based on a lack of trust in professionals. It fails because it confuses measurement with instruction. No doctor ever said to a sick patient, "Go home, take your temperature hourly, and call me in a month." Measurement is not a treatment or a cure. It is measurement. It doesn't close gaps: it measures them.
Here is a sound alternative approach to accountability, written by a group of teachers whose collective experience is 275 years in the classroom. Over 900 teachers contributed ideas to the plan. It is a new vision that holds all actors responsible for the full development and education of children, acknowledging that every child is a unique individual.
Its key features:
1. Shared responsibility, not blame
2. Educate the whole child
3. Full and adequate funding for all schools, with less emphasis on standardized testing
4. Teacher autonomy and professionalism
5. A shift from evaluation to support
6. Recognition that in education one size does not fit all


rd

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rev.Pinkney Sentenced: Whirlpool and White Racism Imprison Another Black Leader





Published on Black Agenda Report (http://www.blackagendareport.com)
Home > Rev. Edward Pinkney Sentenced: Whirlpool and White Racism Imprison Another Black Leader

Rev. Edward Pinkney Sentenced: Whirlpool and White Racism Imprison Another Black Leader

Submitted by Glen Ford on Wed, 12/17/2014 - 12:05

Rev. Edward Pinkney Sentenced: Whirlpool and White Racism Imprison Another Black Leader

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

"In Benton Harbor, the Whirlpool Corporation was always 'Massa' – Rev. Pinkney's nemesis."
In sentencing Rev. Edward Pinkney to between two and a half and ten years in prison [1], the State of Michigan has shown that the Old Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow are the same damn thing – bitter fruit of the white supremacist tree. An all-white jury, presided over by a white judge, under the malevolent guidance of a white prosecutor, based on evidence gathered by a white sheriff, found the Benton Harbor, Michigan, activist guilty of five elections-related felonies. It was the same white power structure that, back in 2007 [2], convinced another all white jury to convict Rev. Pinkney of five counts of elections fraud, resulting in five years probation. A year later, when Pinkney, in a newspaper interview, quoted the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy to the effect that those who had persecuted him would be judged by the hand of God, he was sent to prison – the first American known to have been incarcerated for quoting the Bible [3].
This may seem like an Old Jim Crow story, about a preacher from a small, mostly Black town who wanted only to help his people through the voting process, but is set upon by backward whites determined to maintain their monopoly on political power. And, it is true; Old Man Jim Crow is alive and well on the banks of Lake Michigan. But it is the New Jim Crow, the Mass Black Incarceration State, that has snatched 66 year-old Rev. Pinkney away to what could become life in prison. The judge and prosecutor said that Pinkney's 12 past and present felony convictions make him a career criminal, even though each count stems from an elections process. The Old Jim Crow would have unapologetically sent Pinkney to the chain gang for being an uppity Black man, but the New Jim Crow simply piled on a bunch of felonies to put him away as a serial criminal, allowing the system to claim that race had nothing to do with it.
"The corporate rulers have Black allies."
Rev. Pinkney's life stretches between the old and new structures of Black oppression, one layered on top of the other. But, in Benton Harbor, the Whirlpool Corporation was always 'Massa' – Rev. Pinkney's nemesis. His convictions in 2007 and this year were both rooted in election petitions Pinkney circulated to recall officials considered stooges of Whirlpool, whose world headquarters is located in Benton Harbor, and which has tried to turn the desperately poor, 94 percent Black town into an enclave of luxury and recreation for the rich.
The citizens of Benton Harbor and every other Black city and town in Michigan were effectively disenfranchised [4], so that appointed emergency financial managers could protect the interests of Whirlpool and the rest of the corporate class. But still, Rev. Pinkney kept circulating those recall petitions that ultimately led to his imprisonment.
Pinkney was once president of the local NAACP chapter, but was ousted [5] when Whirlpool bought off the organization's state leadership. In the New Jim Crow configuration, the corporate rulers have Black allies – the same ones that collaborate with the police and the mass Black incarceration regime. Their hold on Black America must also be broken, as part of the struggle to destroy white corporate rule – root and branch – and to free all political prisoners, including Rev. Edward Pinkney.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and be sure to sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

It is time to END CORRUPTION IN LOS ANGELES TEACHERS UNION<< · Change.org


>>END CORRUPTION IN LOS ANGELES TEACHERS UNION<<


David Garcia
Los Angeles, CA
Dec 21, 2014 — Hi, my name is David R Garcia, I'm an honest hardworking teacher who has had it with the corruption poisoning the teacher's union in L.A. These people take YOUR MONEY but NEVER DEFEND YOU...some have even accused these thieves of going on expensive vacations all over the world using union dues...meanwhile 12,000 innocent teachers were let go by a corrupt Superintendent and district (LAUSD) that is now being investigated by the FBI. 
>>>DON'T SETTLE FOR LESS<<<
These corrupt pigs deserve to be in JAIL, not ruining the NATION'S SECOND largest school district!! 
...AND UTLA is IMPLICATED in this whole process, how can they NOT BE!!! START A NEW UNION, A REAL UNION that defends the rights of teachers, not a false district lackey that does whatever LAUSD tells them!!!

>>>YOU DESERVE MORE, YOU DESERVE BETTER<<<
END UNION CORRUPTION TODAY!! 
https://www.change.org/p/united-teachers-los-angeles-petition-to-decertify-utla-removal-of-current-representation-for-the-right-to-request-restructure-and-or-charter-a-new-union/u/9094756?recruiter=13979165&utm_source=share_update&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=facebook_link&fb_action_ids=903124099706979&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B616043645189603%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.shares%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

"Betrayed": The Myth of the Helpless Parent



-->
"Betrayed" - a blog on education        
"Betrayed" is an online chat forum for parents, teachers and community members to offer their thoughts on what's wrong with public education and how to make it work better for the students.

Welcome!

New on the blog:
Posted June 2, 2014"'I Can' statements are all the rage in our public schools. Students are to say 'I can' and then positively reaffirm something they feel capable of doing.

"I'm offering suggestions for 'We can' statements, directed to parents. ... Parents have been trained for decades to trust in America's K-12 government schools. This trust now serves the districts but not the students within them. ...

EduStank: The Department of Education: An Abomination Before Us (P.L. Thomas Weighs In on DOE, VAM, and -- Ronald Reagan????)

EduStank: The Department of Education: An Abomination Before Us (P.L. Thomas Weighs In on DOE, VAM, and -- Ronald Reagan????)

The Department of Education: An Abomination Before Us (P.L. Thomas Weighs In on DOE, VAM, and -- Ronald Reagan????)

Rarely to do my interests in comics-and-literacy and putrid corporate/market education reform mix so well as they do when I consider a piece written by P. L. Thomas regarding the nature of the Department of Education.

Another LAUSD MiSiS computer glitch delays teachers from entering grades


Another LAUSD MiSiS computer glitch delays teachers from entering grades




By Thomas Himes, Los Angeles Daily News

Another glitch in Los Angeles Unified's troubled computer system, MiSiS, has once again delayed efforts to enter grades just before the deadline for report cards.
The glitch shut down LAUSD's grading system at 11:59 a.m. Thursday, as middle and high school teachers attempted to input marks due Friday evening for report cards.
LAUSD's technology department fixed the problem Friday morning, spokesman Thomas Waldman said in a written statement, adding "roughly 88% of all final grades had already been verified" as of 9 a.m.

But campus-based educators who spoke on the condition of anonymity said while the system was available again Friday afternoon, it was "off and on."
The glitch became apparent to educators who had just finished grading finals and were entering the marks to meet a Friday morning deadline set by administrators at some campuses. An emergency faculty meeting was held at at least one high school to address the issue along with a series of emails, as confused teachers tried to figure out why they couldn't file grades and print mandatory rosters to verify accuracy.

Are Charter Schools Resegregating America’s Education System?


Are Charter Schools Resegregating America's Education System?

CIVIL RIGHTS-Charter schools are often promoted as a tool to address educational inequities, but a potential precedent-setting legal case launched earlier this month says the opposite. In filings with the U.S. Department of Education, two Delaware nonprofit groups allege that some of the state's publicly funded, privately managed schools are actively resegregating the education system—and in a way that violates federal civil rights law. 
The complaint, by the Delaware branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Community Legal Aid Society, cites data showing that more than three-quarters of Delaware's charter schools are "racially identifiable"—a term that describes schools whose demographics are substantially different from the surrounding community. 
According to the complaint, "High-performing charter schools are almost entirely racially identifiable as white" while "low-income students and students with disabilities are disproportionately relegated to failing charter schools and charter schools that are racially identifiable as African-American or Hispanic." 

Costs for LAUSD special ed services climb as parents feel the pinch | 89.3 KPCC


Costs for LAUSD special ed services climb as parents feel the pinch | 89.3 KPCC

Seventeen-year-old Passion Rencher can't speak. Cerebral palsy causes her head to lurch back and her hands to seize up. She presses her fists against her chest and needs help to stretch out her limbs.
Despite her disabilities, she greets everyone with a wide, joyful smile, and according to her teacher at Widney High, a special education magnet school in near Mid-City, Passion can indicate yes or no when asked questions.
Passion is one of Los Angeles Unified School District's roughly 82,000 special education students whose disabilities can be profound and whose services are increasingly costly to the district.
Changing demographics, advances in care and stronger advocacy by families are all combining to drive up the expense of providing for students' special education needs.
Sharyn Howell heads the district's special education department and manages an annual budget of $1.4 billion, about 20 percent of LAUSD's education expenses.