TRANSLATION ,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CARE TO FIND LAUSD IN ATLANTA?



CARE TO FIND LAUSD IN ATLANTA?

Corrupt Atlanta educators.jpg

For the last 5 years I have reported about purposeful and endemic corruption of public education motivated by massive profits and the continued dumbing down of predominantly minority students at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and other minority filled innercity school districts like it around the country. And yet no reporter at any major commercial or public media outlet has seen fit to cover this nationwide scandal- that is until now.

However, now the problem is that with the recent Atlanta public school scandal, that has convicted exclusively minority- mostly Black- educators in Georgia, reporters seem oblivious to the fact that the same language of inflated grades, test scores, and teacher coercion to describe what went on in Atlanta is precisely what I have been saying for years to describe what continues unabated at LAUSD with no legal action being taken to stop it.

We are now told it is just some minority educators in Atlanta, Georgia that are the only examples that reporters like Jenny Jarvie or Howard Blume of the L.A. Times can seem to find. Could it be that they are not looking to hard for fear of losing their own jobs by deviating too far from the acceptable dominant narrative of their bosses and the charter school privatizers like Broad, Gates, and Walton?

When Jarvie talks about Atlanta "Investigators accused administrators of creating a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation," it never seems to dawn on her or other reporters like them that this is what honest educators and bloggers have been decrying for years to no avail in getting it recognized in the corporate controlled media.

The obscenely profitable charter privatization wars that are being carried on relentlessly against any remnants of an egalitarian public education system for all Americans can only be carried on if students' grades and tests continue to be inflated at LAUSD and elsewhere in exactly the same way they were in Atlanta. And yet nobody sees fit to report this or go pursue the perpetrators.

In her article, Reporter Jarvie clearly lays out the administrative practice of using data as an "abusive and cruel weapon to coax employees into crossing ethical lines." And of course it never occurs to her or other reporters to look at LAUSD to see if the same clearly illegal practices are not going on there in the second largest school district in the country- too big to fail or be indicted?

Like in Atlanta, if LAUSD administrators cannot "coax employees into crossing ethical lines by fixing grades and standardized tests," then they are "threatened with demotion or even termination, if their schools did not meet targets." Could that be why there are approximately 14,000 fewer teachers at LAUSD than there were just a few years ago?

While my own experiences, censure, and punishment for not having gone along with administrative corruption at LAUSD might call my criticism into question as not being objective, the easily verifiable fact is that 75% of all community college entering students coming from school districts in California like LAUSD are taking remedial classes in junior college.

No reporter seems willing to pose the obvious question: How can a student pass all their high school classes and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and then abysmally fail the junior college entrance placement exams based on the exact same criteria? The logical conclusion, which no reporter seems willing to draw or look into further is that LAUSD is at least as corrupt as Atlanta. But clearly it seems easier to go after some persons of color in the South than a multi-million dollar LAUSD with friends in high places and allot of vendors feeding at the trough.

It is worth noting with the recent awarding of Pulitzers that they were for reporting on such non-controversial subjects as the drought and cultural criticism. It seems as if the days of real investigative journalism ala Woodward and Bernstein are behind us, much to the detriment of a truly free press or a truly free and well educated American people.


--
Leonard Isenberg
Lenny@perdaily.com
Leonard.Isenberg@gmail.com
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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
--Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: LAUSD BOARD OF ED CALLS SPECIAL CLOSED MTG TO APPROVE CONTRACT OFFERED TO TEACHERS TODAY @ 3PM; Committee of the Whole moved up to 1PM +Agenda

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: LAUSD BOARD OF ED CALLS SPECIAL CLOSED MTG TO APPROVE CONTRACT OFFERED TO TEACHERS TODAY @ 3PM; Committee of the Whole moved up to 1PM +Agenda

 

LA Unified board calls meeting to approve contract offered to teachers

by Vanessa Romo in LA School Report |  http://bit.ly/1DaAuI4

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA

April 20, 2015 3:02 pm  ::  The Los Angeles Unified school board is meeting [Tuesday] afternoon in private to vote on approving the contract agreement negotiated with the 35,000-member teachers union, UTLA, that gives district teachers a 10.4 percent raise over two years.

What that translates to in dollars is a work in progress. Tom Waldman, the district spokesman, told LA School Report today that the district's chief financial officer, Megan Reilly, is developing a breakdown of the costs in tiome for tomorrow's meeting.

The closed session had not been on the scheduled but was quickly arranged to put the deal before the seven board members for a vote.

Reilly has spent the last several months warning the board to observe fiscal restraint. She has has told the members that any raise above the district's earlier offer of 5 percent would put the district at risk of financial ruin.

In a presentation to the board on March 11, she reported that LA Unified is facing a budget deficit of $113 million for the 2015-16 academic year. The district also issued 609 possible lay-off notices for next year for a savings of nearly $51 million.

Further, the board sent an interim report to the Los Angeles County of Board of Education last month, saying that based on current projections LA Unified may not be able to meet its financial obligations. That report, which projected a deficit and recommended millions of dollars in cuts left blank a section which projected any additional costs for future labor agreements. (See here).

To further complicate matters, Superintendent Ray Cortines has not yet presented his draft budget — typically offered in early April, nor has Gov. Jerry Brown presented his revised budget, usually made public in May, that could bring the district $2 million more dollars than it is expecting. In short, board members may be asked to approve the contract with the teachers without knowing exactly how the district will pay for it.

The deal completed late Friday night still needs to be ratified by teachers, and it remains unclear when that will happen. A statement on the UTLA website says only, "Voting on the TA will take place at school sites soon."

If agreement by union members follows an approving board vote tomorrow, the deal goes back to the board for final approval.

In addition to a 10 percent salary increase over two years, the district agreed to spend an additional $26 million to hire more teachers and counselors. But that budget falls way short of funding UTLA's earlier demands of hiring 5,000 additional school employees including teachers, nurses, librarians, and counselors.

The new deal leaves out other long-standing UTLA demands that were fundamental to the "Schools LA Students Deserve" campaign, including:

  • A $1,000 stipend for all members for instructional and support materials, which district officials estimated would cost $33.1 million
  • Compensation for professional development time paid at members' hourly rate, projected at $12.8 million
  • Additional nurses, psychologists, secondary counselors, college counselors, librarians, and other student support services, which the district ballparked at $285.5 million

LA Unified leaves itself open to additional cost increases from other unions with which it has recently negotiated new contract deals.

At least two other of the district's labor partners have so-called "me too" contacts, which means their members are entitled to get the same increases the teachers get. They include the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, a union with two bargaining units — one for the district's 2,500 principals and assistant principals and the other for a group of 250 employees who serve in such positions as transportation directors and food service managers.

"The amount of compensation and the timelines are different from ours, and it will take some time for the district to propose a 'me too' for us," said Dan Isaacs, administrator for AALA. "But our 'me too' clause with the district is solid. We'll do an analysis to see what's in the best interest of our members, and I'm sure the district will be fair with us."

A group affiliated with the teamsters — cafeteria managers, office managers and plant managers — also have the "me too" deal.

The district's service employees union, SEIU Local 99, which represents about 35,000 workers, opted out of its "me too" clause earlier this year when members approved a contract raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for its lowest paid employees by 2015.

Among the non-monetary compromises reached between the district and the teachers with the help of a mediator is a new teacher evaluation system that would rate teachers on a three-tier system. It replaces a two-tier system, which prevented the district from being in compliance with the CORE Waiver, a federal funding program that could add $171 million over three years to district coffers.

Board member Steve Zimmer said he fully anticipates that board members will vote to approve the contract, which brings the teachers their first contract in eight years.

"We are going to hear from the superintendent and I anticipate he will have the full support of the board moving forward," Zimmer told LA School Report.

Zimmer added that "the salary agreement is the definition of compromise."

"It is the maximum we could do at this moment to show the most respect that we could possibly show in monetary terms for our teachers," he said.

Board President Richard Vladovic was also optimistic.

"There's nothing more valuable than our youth – and the people that are at our schools helping them day in and day out, are worth every penny," he wrote in a statement. "I encourage my colleagues to vote yes with me on this much deserved agreement."

 

Meeting Agenda

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Please help stop the eradication of classes for the deaf and disabled by the LAUSD - The Petition Site

Please help stop the eradication of classes for the deaf and disabled by the LAUSD - The Petition Site

Please help stop the eradication of classes for the deaf and disabled by the LAUSD

Disabled and Deaf students deserve an education. The North Valley Occupational Center (NVOC) in Mission Hills, California, offers invaluable, American Sign Language (ASL) classes for disabled and deaf individuals and other interested community members. These immensely popular classes are now targeted for elimination by the Los Angeles Unified School District. We desperately need your help to save these few classes that allow deaf and disabled students access to our educational system!

I can personally attest to the fact that these classes transform lives. A friend of mine has a severe, permanent brain injury from an accident. He can't speak understandably. So, he must use sign language to communicate. This ASL based program allows him a rare opportunity to fully participate in our educational system. He is inspired, motivated and truly values his time in class. He is progressing in ASL, grammar and math, and takes immense pride in his accomplishments. Both he and his mother also took the ASL class together and they can now understand each other! That outcome is priceless!

So, why are these few transformational classes being targeted for eradication by the LAUSD? There are many other duplicate classes that could be consolidated without such disastrous results. Are these students being cast aside by the LAUSD just because they are not vocal and are considered easy targets for elimination?

I hope you will join me in teaching the LAUSD that deaf and disabled community members are an integral and valuable part of our diverse community. They should join us in embracing these motivated students as welcome participants in our educational system and reward rather than punish them!

Please help these deserving students by urging the Board of Directors of the LAUSD to reinstate the American Sign Language classes that were excised from the school curriculum. You have the power to change lives for the better!


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CARL PETERSON : We Don't Need No Arne Duncan





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Contact: Carl Petersen

(818) 869-0309



We Don't Need No Arne Duncan


"The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina."

-Arne Duncan


In a time when it is difficult to find common ground between our two ruling political parties, Common Core stands out as an exception. Both "conservatives and liberals increasingly are voicing similar concerns: that the standards take a one-size-fits-all approach, create a de facto national curriculum, put too much emphasis on standardized tests and undermine teacher autonomy." Despite the fact "that we won't know for probably a decade" if these new standards and other "education stuff" will work, we have pushed them, untested, on our students.


The spread of the Common Core was solidified by "the Obama administration [who] all but forced states into it by requiring adoption of the new standards in order to be eligible for more than $4 billion in federal 'Race to the Top' grant money." Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, not only refused to listen to the concerns about these standards, but developed a reputation for leveling personal attacks against those who criticized them. Most famously, "Duncan said he found it 'fascinating' that opponents include 'white suburban moms who -- all of a sudden -- (discovered that ) their child isn't as bright as they thought they were.'" He also stated that "Common Core was a rallying cry for fringe groups," ignoring the bi-partisan opposition.


The LAUSD knows what it is like to be led by a divisive superintendent and is still paying the price for John Deasy's refusal to listen to his critics. For example, the FBI and SEC are currently looking into Deasy's $1.3 billion iPad plan and the district will pay approximately $98 million to fix MiSiS. Proving once again that she does not learn from her mistakes, Tamar Galatzan, ignores the fact that Duncan would be another divisive leader when she announced at last week's debate that she would be willing to "consider him" for the role of Superintendent. For some reason, she then added she would "not exclude anybody because he worked for...the Obama administration," injecting partisan politics into a non-partisan race.


As someone who voted for President Obama in the past two general elections, I can assure Ms. Galatzan that I do not oppose Duncan on the grounds that he worked in Obama's administration. Instead, I firmly believe that his inability to work collaboratively with education professionals and parents has harmed our students. The concept of a universal set of standards was not a bad one, but his failure of leadership has allowed a system to develop that has caused more harm than good. If Tamar Galatzan does not recognize this is not the type of leadership that the LAUSD needs, then this is just one more reason not to re-elect her on May 19.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF-0ulfQsaM



###

_______________________________________________

Carl Petersen

Working to make the LAUSD accountable to the students it serves

www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com


Monday, April 20, 2015

Oregon schools hiring by the hundreds, a welcome reversal in the teacher job market | OregonLive.com

Oregon schools hiring by the hundreds, a welcome reversal in the teacher job market | OregonLive.com

Oregon schools hiring by the hundreds, a welcome reversal in the teacher job market

After six years of anemic hiring, Oregon school districts will extend job offers to an estimated 2,000 teachers this year – a turnaround that has energized those doing the hiring as well as those securing jobs.

"It's a lot of work, but this is a great year for us," said Keith Hathorne, a human resources manager helping Oregon's largest district, Portland Public Schools, hire nearly 400 teachers this spring.

Logan Heyerly, a University of Portland senior who will soon be licensed to teach science and math, said every recruiter she's talked to has remarked on her good timing.

"I feel so fortunate," she said. "Teaching young people how to learn is the most important thing you can do."

From 2009 to 2012, with state funding flat and health insurance and retirement costs rising, Oregon schools shed 3,600 teaching jobs, 12 percent of the teacher workforce. Rather than hire new blood, human resources officers worked furiously to try to keep existing teachers on staff – a feat that was not always possible.

As human resources director for Beaverton schools, Mark Moser had his name on hundreds of pink slips handed out to teachers there in 2012, including some former students whom he had encouraged to enter the classroom. "It was ugly," he says.

Moser now oversees human resources for North Clackamas School District, which cut 24 percent of its teaching force over five years and will add back modestly for the first time this fall.

Jim Buck, who organizes a huge educator job fair held in Portland each April, predicts those hires will be among at least 2,000 if not more that Oregon school districts will make this spring and summer.

Districts are hiring big, both to fill newly created jobs and to replace retirees.

Most are adding positions, although not nearly as many as they have cut since 2007, human resource officers say.

Retirements also are creating a lot of job openings, they say. Many teachers who reached retirement age over the past several years kept working because of economic uncertainty but now feel confident enough about their finances to retire.

That sea change in the job market should rejuvenate teaching's image as a profession in which idealistic college grads can find steady paychecks and good benefits while making a difference for the next generation, educators say.

"The word needs to change. The trend is definitely that districts throughout the West and throughout the country are looking for qualified candidates," said Chuck White, executive director of the Oregon School Personnel Association.

"The story has changed so quickly" and for the better, said Sharon Chinn, who helps students in Lewis & Clark College's master's in education program find teaching jobs.

After years of turning away applicants by the hundreds, some Oregon districts may find themselves unable to fill all their openings – certainly in hard-to-staff areas such as special education, advanced math and bilingual education, but even in normally oversupplied areas such as language arts, White said.

If all those who graduated from Oregon's many teacher preparation programs in the past five years but were unable to find teacher jobs were to apply this year, there would be an oversupply, he and others said.

The big question is: Do they still want to teach or have they taken their skills elsewhere, never to return to an Oregon school?

"There is a possibility we have lost out on some real qualified teachers just because of the economics of the hiring cycle," White said.

The lack of jobs discouraged young people from considering teaching as a career. Schools of education in Oregon shrank rapidly as college students got the message that pursing a teacher's license was sure to build student loan debt but unlikely to get them a job, at least in Oregon. One program, the school of education at Willamette University, closed entirely.

This year, Oregon colleges and universities will graduate about 1,500 new teachers – a stark one-third less than in 2009, said Keith Menk, deputy director of Oregon's teacher licensing agency.

But leaders of colleges of education say they are optimistic their programs will stabilize and even grow as word gets out that teachers are in demand.

School districts say they want discouraged recent education graduates to know they're wanted.

"Before the economy tanked, if I saw a teacher come in who had finished their program and done student teaching and there was nothing on their resume related to teaching for three years, I would be wondering why," said Moser, the North Clackamas human resources executive director. "Now, that is not a filter I would apply or that anyone would apply. We know it's not that something is wrong with that candidate. They got caught up in a terrible economy."

Susan Rodriguez, Beaverton schools' administrator for licensed personnel, said her district is snapping up any substitute teachers it can find right now and will hire as many as 200 teachers for the fall. She says she congratulates aspiring teachers looking for jobs this spring on their great timing -- but then tells them they are jumping into a "saturated pool" that contains graduates from the past several years.

"I tell them, 'Yes, we are hiring, but you'd better bring your A game.'"

-- Betsy Hammond

betsyhammond@oregonian.com


The One about Silencing Teachers, Retribution and the Smell of Fear from the Reformers... - mrob's blog

The One about Silencing Teachers, Retribution and the Smell of Fear from the Reformers... - mrob's blog


I received the note below from a former student who is now a teacher. For obvious reasons, I won't identify her or where she teaches, but--shockingly--her story is becoming all too common...

"We had a union meeting yesterday where they warned us that the governor is going after the certificates of teachers that opted out their kids (of the state tests). The governor says it breaks our contract agreeing to protect and follow educational laws. Is this legal? Teachers are being targeted and warned to be extremely careful, especially on public media. I was just curious on your thoughts."


This theme of administrators and elected officials threatening teachers if they speak out publicly against tests, the Common Core State Standards, or other education policies seems to be growing stronger and louder recently, with reports of similar stories popping up in New Mexico (http://dianeravitch.net/2015/04/19/audrey-beardsley-the-silencing-of-the-educators-a-dangerous-trend/), Louisiana (http://www.westernjournalism.com/teachers-district-facing-retribution-criticizing-common-core/), New York (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/city-teacher-lost-fellowship-revealing-administration-fudged-regents-exam-court-papers-article-1.1990734), Arizona (http://www.azcentral.com/story/ejmontini/2015/03/27/legislature-arizona-school-board-association-sb-1172-free-speech-elections/70556134/), Missouri (http://www.stevenlin83.com/teachersfreepress/this-is-why-teachers-need-tenure-missouri-teacher-suspended-for-speaking-out/), and Michigan (http://stopcommoncoreinmichigan.com/2014/03/teachers-silenced/).


In Rochester, NY, an email from an administrator to the city's principals asked them to keep a list of teachers who might have shared information on testing for possible disciplinary action:

"An email sent from a high-level Rochester City School District official to principals is causing concern among teachers.


Chief of Schools Beverly Burrell-Moore sent the email Monday afternoon to principals she supervises. The email asks them to share names of teachers who have encouraged parents to refuse to allow their children to take state exams. 


"Per your building, please identify teachers who have sent letters or made phone calls to parents encouraging them to opt out their children from the NYS Assessments.  Also, identify teachers who you have evidence as utilizing their classrooms as 'political soap boxes.'  I need this updated  information no later than Tuesday morning for follow-up," the email states. (http://www.rochesterhomepage.net/story/d/story/rcsd-official-give-me-names-of-teachers-encouragin/69585/t4V1RVAqHk-lhmvN3pcetA)


Audrey Amrein Beardsley, a professor of education at Arizona State University, and the author of one of my favorite education blogs on the web, VAMBOOZLED, reports: "New Mexico now requires teachers to sign a contractual document that they are not to 'diminish the significance or importance of the tests" or they could lose their jobs. Teachers are not to speak negatively about the tests or say anything negatively about these tests in their classrooms or in public; if they do they could be found in violation of their contracts.' Beardsley wonders about the legality, and even the constitutionality of this sort of action: 'As per a related announcement released by the ASBA, this "could have a chilling effect on the free speech rights of school and district officials' throughout the state but also (likely) beyond if this continues to catch on. School officials may be held 'liable for a $5,000 civil fine just for sharing information on the positive or negative impacts of proposed legislation to parents or reporters.'"

While there is no doubt that these moves are indeed a "chilling" development in the education "reform" movement, I believe that they also reveal a quickly growing sense of fear and confusion among those in the reform community regarding the viability of their agenda. Indeed, the surprising strength of the "Opt Out" movement in New York, where as many as 200,000 students have reportedly refused to sit for the state's tests, has led to calls demanding the resignation of Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents.


If there is a silver lining to these threats it may be the impending crumbling of the reform agenda under the increased scrutiny from the public, the media and teachers. For far too long, policy "leaders" like Chancellor Tisch, Governors Cuomo, Kasich and Snyder, and Sec. of Education Duncan have responded to criticism of their agenda with either deafening silence or dismissive pandering, such as accusations that "painted parents as confused patsies of a labor action." Now, these feeble rejoinders are being exposed for what they have been all along: weak and arrogant responses to the legitimate demands for accountability from those so negatively impacted by these destructive policies.


These "leaders" are clearly scared, and they have every right to be. Now is the time to step up the pressure, and not let our voices be silenced. We are fighting for our students, our colleagues and our profession.


Let students learn, let teachers teach, and get the politicians out of education.

LAUSD'S MATT HILL CONTINUES TO FAIL UPWARD AS BURBANK UNIFIED'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT DESIGNANT - Perdaily.com

LAUSD'S MATT HILL CONTINUES TO FAIL UPWARD AS BURBANK UNIFIED'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT DESIGNANT - Perdaily.com

LAUSD'S MATT HILL CONTINUES TO FAIL UPWARD AS BURBANK UNIFIED'S NEW SUPERINTENDENT DESIGNANT

Matt Hill.jpg

(Mensaje se repite en Español)

In opposing the choice of LAUSD's Matt Hill as the new superintendent of the Burbank Unfied School District (BUSD), the Burbank Teacher's Union regrettably missed its strongest argument when it only faulted Mr. Hill for his not having ever been a teacher. While it has always been conventional wisdom that teaching experience is an absolute prerequisite for even being considered as a superintendent, the reality of that job shows that nothing could be further from the truth in handling the day to day running of what in the final analysis a more than 6 billion a year business.

The superintendent as fiduciary of the district in reality should have a normal adversarial relationship to the vendors of goods and services whose exclusive interest is in maximizing profit, which is clearly antithetical to that of the district. It Is Hill's lack of business acumen, along with that same deficit in Cortines, Deasy, and other prior LAUSD superintendents that continues to see the district being constantly raked over the financial coals with iPad, student records, and other very expensive scandals attributable to a culture of institutionalized bad business practices.

Where Hill has failed in the past and is likely to fail in the future is not because he was never a teacher, but rather because he is a bad businessman without the independence necessary to put LAUSD's or BUSD's interests above those of charter proponent and public school privatizer Eli Broad who initially artificially inseminated Hill into LAUSD back in 2009 during a prior tenure of the present LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines. At the time, Eli Broad was even willing to pick up the cost of Hill's salary, which I am sure that Broad viewed as a small cost for owning Hill in much the same way he clearly owns John Deasy, who predictably went to work for the Broad Foundation after finally being unloaded by LAUSD.

The clearly disengenuous nature of three-time and present LAUSD Superintendent Cortines is attested to by his reaction to his being told about Hill's being chosen as superintendent at BUSD: Cortines salutes Hill for "his ability to think out of the box," when it is clear when one looks at the involvement of Cortines, Deasy, and their subordinate Hill that they all live in a "box" where the interests of the Eli Broad Foundation, charters, and highly profitable privatization are always put above the interests of the district, students, teachers, and parents. I take a very different meaning when Cortines says about Hill, "There isn't anything he isn't willing to try and 'no' was not in his vocabulary," even when we now look at the iPad, student records system, and other fiascos that Hill was deeply involved in where his lack of any independent judgment lead to a blind following of Cortines and Deasy to the profound financial and consequential academic detriment of LAUSD.

If the experience of now three-time-loser ex-teacher Superintendent Ramon Cortines or his equally no business savvy predecessor John Deasy are any indicator they show again and again a business naivete that makes it easy for them to be hoodwinked by LAUSD's vendors who are not adverse to taking advantage of an LAUSD administration comprised of ex-teachers with little or no knowledge of either business or finance. In fact, I would argue that the main reason present three-time-LAUSD-loser Superintendent Ramon Cortines has never been successful in any one of the NINE SCHOOL DISTRICTS he has headed in his long and anything but illustrious public education administrative career is precisely the fact that he and his successor John Deasy were teachers with little or no business expertise required to run an 6 billion a year plus public education business, where such business acumen is far more important than whether a Cortines or Deasy had teaching experience.There is a certain sick irony to school districts targeting teachers at the top of the salary scale on fabricated charges of incompetence, while ignoring clear and convincing evidence of systemic corruption of administrators.

In writing about Matt Hill for the L.A. Times Broad-party-line reporter Howard Blume seems hard pressed to find anything positive that Hill has done during his tenure at LAUSD, so he tries in a rather tenuous manner to allude to questionable "academic gains over [Hill's] time." But what Blume and other reporters seem to have no curiosity about in light of the recent test cheating scandals coming out of Atlanta, Georgia- that is putting some administrators behind bars for many years- is how is it possible that "academic gains" somehow don't show up when LAUSD students go to junior colleges, where 75% wind up taking remedial classes and where the majority ultimately drop out. These students somehow passed the Caifornia High School Exit Exams (CAHSEE) and get valid high school diplomas at LAUSD, but nonetheless wind up finding 75% of them taking remedial classes in complete derogation of any claim of real "academic gains" at LAUSD or elsewhere. Could some administrators at LAUSD be cooking the academic books in much the same manner as was done in Atlanta? It seems if we have to wait for reporters like Howard Blume or the Daily News Barbara Jones, we've got a long wait- even longer when one takes note that Barbara Jones is no longer reporting but went to work for LAUSD Board member Tamar Galatzan. They say incest begins at home.

If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch:

Lenny@perdaily.com

Blogs We Love

Al oponerse a la elección de Matt Hill LAUSD como el nuevo superintendente del Distrito Escolar Unfied Burbank (BUSD), el Sindicato de Maestros Burbank se perdió lamentablemente su argumento más fuerte cuando sólo criticó Sr. Hill por su no haber sido nunca un maestro. A pesar de que siempre ha sido la sabiduría convencional de que la enseñanza de la experiencia es un prerrequisito absoluto para siquiera ser considerado como un superintendente, la realidad de ese trabajo muestra que nada podría estar más lejos de la verdad en el manejo del día a día de lo que en el análisis final, 8 MILLONES DE DÓLARES AL AÑO negocio.

El superintendente como fiduciaria del distrito en realidad debería tener una relación de confrontación normal a los proveedores de bienes y servicios cuyo único interés es maximizar el beneficio, que es claramente antitética a la del distrito. Es la falta de visión para los negocios de la colina, junto con ese mismo déficit en Cortines, Deasy, y otros superintendentes anteriores LAUSD que sigue viendo el distrito se rastrilló constantemente sobre las brasas financieras con iPad, registros de los estudiantes, y otros escándalos muy caros atribuibles a un cultura de prácticas institucionalizadas malos negocios.

Donde Hill ha fracasado en el pasado y es probable que falle en el futuro no es porque él nunca fue un maestro, sino porque es un mal empresario sin la independencia necesaria para poner los intereses del LAUSD o BUSD de encima de los de autor chárter y la escuela pública privatizador Eli Broad que inicialmente inseminada artificialmente la colina en el LAUSD en el 2009 durante una tenencia previa de la presente superintendente del LAUSD Ramón Cortines. En ese momento, Eli Broad incluso estaba dispuesto a recoger el costo del salario de Hill, que estoy seguro que amplia vista como un costo pequeño para ser dueño de la colina de la misma manera que él posee claramente John Deasy, que previsiblemente se fue a trabajar para el Fundación Broad después finalmente se descarga por el LAUSD.

La naturaleza claramente disengenuous del tres veces y actual superintendente del LAUSD Cortines es atestiguada por su reacción a que se le habló de la colina de ser elegido como superintendente en BUSD: Cortines saluda Hill por "su capacidad de pensar fuera de la caja", cuando es claro cuando se observa la participación de Cortines, Deasy, y su subordinado colina que todos viven en una "caja" donde los intereses de la Fundación Eli Broad, cartas, y altamente privatización rentable siempre se ponen por encima de los intereses del distrito, estudiantes, maestros y padres de familia. Tomo un significado muy diferente cuando Cortines dice sobre la colina, "No hay nada que él no está dispuesto a tratar de" no "no estaba en su vocabulario", aun cuando ahora vemos el iPad, el sistema de registros de los estudiantes, y otros fiascos que la colina estaba profundamente involucrado en donde su falta de liderazgo juicio independiente a un seguimiento ciego de Cortines y Deasy a la profunda detrimento académico financiera y consecuente del LAUSD.

Si la experiencia de ahora tres veces perdedor ex profesor Superintendente Ramón Cortines o su igualmente hay negocio antecesor experto John Deasy son cualquier indicador muestran una y otra vez una ingenuidad negocio que hace que sea fácil para ellos para ser rastrillado sobre las brasas de LAUSD de los vendedores que no son adversos a tomar ventaja de una administración LAUSD compuesto por ex-profesores con poco o ningún conocimiento de negocios o finanzas. De hecho, yo diría que la razón principal Superintendente presente tres veces-LAUSD-perdedor Ramón Cortines nunca ha tenido éxito en cualquiera de los nueve distritos ESCUELA ha dirigido en su larga y nada más que la carrera administrativa educación pública ilustre es precisamente la hecho de que él y su sucesor John Deasy eran maestros con poca o ninguna experiencia empresarial necesaria para ejecutar un negocio de más educación pública 6 mil millones años, cuando dicha visión para los negocios es mucho más importante que si un Cortines o Deasy habían enseñando experience.There es un cierta ironía enfermos a los distritos escolares dirigidas a los maestros con cargos falsos de incompetencia, mientras se ignora pruebas claras y convincentes de la corrupción sistémica de los administradores.

Al escribir acerca de Matt Hill por el reportero línea del partido LA Times Amplio Howard Blume parece difícil encontrar nada positivo que Hill ha hecho durante su mandato en el LAUSD, por lo que trata de una manera bastante tenue para aludir a cuestionables "logros académicos más de ese tiempo ". Pero lo Blume y otros reporteros parecen no tener curiosidad acerca a la luz de los recientes escándalos de engaño prueba que salen de Atlanta, Georgia que está poniendo algunos administradores tras las rejas durante muchos años se cómo es posible que "los logros académicos" de alguna manera no lo hacen aparecer cuando los estudiantes del LAUSD van a colegios universitarios. Estos estudiantes de alguna manera pasan los exámenes de egreso Caifornia Escuela Secundaria (CAHSEE) y obtener diplomas de secundaria válidos, pero sin embargo terminan encontrando el 75% de ellos de tomar clases de recuperación en derogación completa de cualquier reclamación de los "logros académicos" reales en LAUSD o en otro lugar. ¿Podrían algunos administradores de LAUSD estar cocinando los libros académicos en el LAUSD, de la misma manera que se hizo en Atlanta? Parece si tenemos que esperar a que los periodistas como Howard Blume o el Daily News Barbara Jones, tenemos una larga espera- incluso más si se tiene en cuenta que Barbara Jones fue a trabajar para miembro de la Junta del LAUSD Tamar Galatzan. Dicen incesto comienza en casa.

Why Getting a Liberal Education Matters | Taylor Dibbert

Why Getting a Liberal Education Matters | Taylor Dibbert

Why Getting a Liberal Education Matters

In Defense of a Liberal Education by Fareed Zakaria is a short and smart book. Zakaria notes that in the United States, "a liberal education is out of favor." He then tells us that "An open-ended exploration of knowledge is seen as a road to nowhere."

The reality is that earning a degree in a subject such as English literature is no longer viewed in an overwhelmingly positive light and far fewer students are pursuing liberal arts degrees than they were decades ago. Currently, students are more interested in pursuing degrees in subjects that they believe will lead directly to employment, such as business or accounting. Zakaria views this trend as problematic and persuasively explains why.

Crucially, getting a liberal education fosters critical thinking and writing skills. "Whatever you do in life, the ability to write clearly, cleanly and reasonably well will prove to be an invaluable skill." The second key benefit is that it "teaches you how to speak." Third, students are taught "how to learn" and pursue knowledge independently, long after their college careers.

Zakaria also decries the fact that the cost of college continues to rise and sees enormous potential in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). A liberal education doesn't just teach one how to think and communicate effectively; it also makes one more well-rounded and helps to build character.

The ending of the book left me thinking.

This much I will concede: Because of the times we live in, all of us, young and old, do not spend enough time and effort thinking about the meaning of life. We do not look inside of ourselves enough to understand our strengths and weaknesses, and we do not look around enough -- at the world, in history -- to ask the deepest and broadest questions. The solution surely is that, even now, we could all use a bit more of a liberal education.

This book will not convince everyone. In the coming years, it's unlikely that a degree in philosophy would be perceived as more practical than one in accounting or finance. Nevertheless, this book resonated with me personally because now, a decade after I graduated from college, I see the validity of Zakaria's arguments reflected in my own life. I majored in political science (and was not a stellar student), but my interests in literature, languages, history and foreign cultures expanded my horizons and opened doors that I didn't even know existed. And now, there really is no job where writing well and speaking articulately are not helpful.

And, above all else, I understand the value and importance of cultivating a lifelong love for learning. Towards the beginning of the book, Zakaria mentions that today in America the "open-ended exploration of knowledge is seen as a road to nowhere" and yet nothing could be further from the truth. J.R.R. Tolkein said that "not all those who wander are lost." Those words, more poignant than ever, need not be confined to the physical act of travel. Pursuing a liberal education can be challenging, fun, even exciting and bring with it lifelong benefits. Zakaria's refreshing book is a call for reflection and fresh thinking that hopefully opens the door to a thoughtful, wide-ranging debate on this important subject.

Follow Taylor Dibbert on Twitter: www.twitter.com/taylordibbert

SEC launches informal inquiry into LAUSD's use of bonds for iPads - LA Times

SEC launches informal inquiry into LAUSD's use of bonds for iPads - LA Times

SEC launches informal inquiry into LAUSD's use of bonds for iPads

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission recently opened an informal inquiry into whether Los Angeles school officials complied with legal guidelines in the use of bond funds for the now-abandoned $1.3-billion iPads-for-all project.

In particular, the agency was concerned with whether the L.A. Unified School District properly disclosed to investors and others how the bonds would be used, according to documents provided to The Times.

District officials said they were optimistic that they had addressed the SEC concerns.

The news of the SEC inquiry came the same week that L.A. Unified officials demanded a refund from computer giant Apple over curriculum supplied on the devices by Pearson, which sells education services and materials worldwide. Pearson was a subcontractor to Apple under a contract approved by the Board of Education in June 2013.

That fall, problems immediately plagued the rollout of devices to campuses, and questions soon arose about whether Apple or Pearson had an unfair advantage in the bidding process. An ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI is looking into that matter. Current and former district officials have denied any wrongdoing.

Apple has not responded to requests for comment. Pearson has consistently defended its actions, including on Thursday, when top executive Michael Barber said that L.A. students would benefit if the district stayed the course with the company's product.

The SEC declined to comment and does not, by policy, confirm or deny investigations. L.A. Unified acknowledged meeting with an agency attorney.

The federal agency is charged with protecting investors and maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets. Its enforcement division frequently looks into "misrepresentation or omission of important information about securities," according to the commission.

With the help of an outside law firm, L.A. Unified prepared a presentation, dated March 31, that outlined measures it took to inform the public and potential investors about how the taxpayer-approved bond funds would be spent.

"LAUSD was transparent regarding the program and its funding," and all necessary disclosures were made to the public, underwriters, rating agencies and investors, the district told the SEC representative.

The district also distinguished between the L.A. Unified bonds and different types of bond debt that are issued under other disclosure rules.

The L.A. Unified general obligation bonds are paid back over time through property taxes. Projects funded by the bonds have no role in generating revenue to investors, the district said.

"The particular use of the bond proceeds is not material," the district wrote.

California law allows school construction bonds to be spent on technology; districts also list the intended uses of bond funds in ballot materials available to voters.

L.A. Unified clearly designated funds for technology, but did not mention tablets. At the time of the district's most recent bond issue, in November 2008, iPads were still two years away from entering the marketplace.

But officials have maintained that tablets are a modern equivalent of the traditional computer lab and therefore a legal and appropriate use of bond funds.

A separate question has been whether the district acted properly in using bond funds to purchase curriculum on the devices. But that issue was not part of the district's presentation.

School board member Bennett Kayser said Thursday that legal questions regarding use of the bonds were not sufficiently examined before the project moved forward.

"I wish the SEC had looked into this over a year ago," Kayser said.

(Kayser did not participate in the original discussion or vote on the contract because he owned a small amount of Apple stock. He sold his holdings and emerged as a project critic, although he later voted to purchase additional devices for schools and for testing.)

The district's demand for a refund came in the form of a letter sent Monday to Apple.

L.A. Unified bought 43,261 iPads with the Pearson curriculum. The curriculum added about $200, for a three-year license, to the total price of $768 for each device. (The district purchased another 77,175 iPads under the contract without the Pearson curriculum to be used initially for state standardized tests.)

Pearson offered only a partial curriculum during the first year of the license, which was permitted under the agreement.

The product has not caught on in L.A. Unified. Only two schools of 69 with the devices use Pearson regularly, according to an internal March report from project director Bernadette Lucas.

The report cited a litany of complaints, including content that could not be fully adapted for students with limited English skills, a large group in L.A. Unified. The district also claims the curriculum lacks important features such as online tests and data on how and when students are using it. Another problem has been getting access to the online curriculum quickly and consistently.

Barber, Pearson's chief education advisor, acknowledged that there have been difficulties and said that Pearson, Apple and the district shared responsibility as partners in the effort. But he added that Pearson was willing to work through such issues.

With such sweeping change, "you're going to have glitches. You're going to run into challenges," he said. In the long run, he predicted, Pearson's product could help "transform teaching and learning."

"Once you get used to using these materials," he said, students and teachers would find them "very engaging, very empowering."

The iPad project was pushed by then-Supt. John Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October, largely due to fallout from the iPad effort and a faulty new student records system.

howard.blume@latimes.com
Twitter: @howardblume

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

Obama’s claim that every dollar spent on pre-kindergarten education earns ‘$7 back’ - The Washington Post

Obama's claim that every dollar spent on pre-kindergarten education earns '$7 back' - The Washington Post

Obama's claim that every dollar spent on pre-kindergarten education earns '$7 back'


(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

"Every dollar we put into high-quality early childhood education we get $7 back in reduced teen pregnancy, improved graduation rates, improved performance in school, reduced incarceration rates. The society as a whole does better."

– President Obama, Remarks at Working Mothers Town Hall, Charlotte, N.C., April 15, 2015

The president made a very specific claim about the cost-benefit ratio of high-quality pre-kindergarten education, which caught The Fact Checker's attention. He made a case for investing in early childhood education, a proposal he announced in 2013, with this figure on the return on investment.

Where does his $7 figure come from, and how accurate is it?

The Facts

The president made a similar claim about a 7-to-1 cost-benefit ratio during the 2013 State of the Union address. Our friends at FactCheck.org found he made a series of misleading claims, largely based in a narrow study of 123 students. The Fact Checker also examined a related, Two-Pinocchio claim about the impact of pre-K education on students' math and reading scores, graduation rates, getting a job and even forming stable families. We called his claims "a rhetorical leap of faith."

In the statement at a recent town hall, Obama said that every $1 results in $7 from all sorts of savings later in life. There is much debate over the long-term impact of pre-K programs. It is a difficult issue to study, partly because there are many factors that can influence the long-term outcomes and it takes decades to study this issue. The Fact Checker obviously has no opinion on the effectiveness of early childhood education.

There are three prominent evaluations on benefits of investing in pre-K, all conducted during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s of low-income African American students. Two of those studies appear to support the 7-to-1 benefit-to-cost ratio, in returns from teen pregnancy, improved graduation rates, improved school performance and reduced incarceration rates. There is no comparable evaluation of effects across different racial and ethnic groups, or across income levels.

One study that confirmed all of these outcomes was of students that participated in the Perry Preschool Program in Ypsilanti, Mich., who were tracked through age 40. Researchers found that each dollar invested returned at least $7 back to society. Subsequent follow-up found that the benefit-cost ratio rose to $16 to $1. But this study looked at an intensive program targeting 123 African American students, randomly selected. (The Carolina Abecedarian Project in Chapel Hill, N.C., also looked at randomly selected, low-income students and found similar results to the Perry study.)

The other study that supports Obama's 7-to-1 ratio is of Child-Parent Centers in Chicago. It tracked more than 1,400 low-income, African-American students who were not randomly selected. This is the largest-scale study that has been done on the topic, and found similar results to the Perry study. Subsequent estimates found the return increased, to about $11 to $1.

Arthur Reynolds, one of the researchers of the Chicago Child-Parent Centers study, said the 7-to-1 ratio applies to the larger national discussion. "The benefit doesn't have to be 7 for all students, and plus the nature of instruction is much better today than in the past," he wrote to The Fact Checker. The program has been significantly revised and is being scaled up in other states, and early benefits are strong, he said.

Under Obama's proposal, there would be a new federal-state partnership to provide all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds with high-quality pre-K. It also would expand these programs to reach additional children from middle-class families.

But here's the rub: None of the studies we have mentioned fit directly with his proposal, on a national scale. Initial expenditures in the smaller studies were also relatively high.

The federal government already provides early child development services for low-income children, and there have been mixed results. The 2014 Head Start report found "there is no indication" that high- or low-quality Head Start "in any dimension leads to program impacts lasting into third grade."

There are decades of research on small-scale programs that showed long-term positive effects for students. But some meta-analyses have shown that when applied on a larger scale, for universal pre-K programs for children from all income groups, the benefit-to-cost ratio decreases to about 3 to 1, or 5 to 1, according to the Society for Research in Child Development. This report also warns of generalizing study results to other populations, especially to higher-income families.

Steven Barnett from the National Institute for Early Education Research found that the Child-Parent Centers study is the most relevant to Obama's claims about the White House proposal. But that is a conservative estimate, he said, and a ballpark figure. It's a good marker, but there are too many uncertainties to give a definitive ratio, Barnett told The Fact Checker.

"I think people fixate on the number as if that's the number, and people use it because it's become familiar," Barnett said. "But it is a number that is embedded in a very large confidence interval."

The White House's own estimates show that the models that most closely correspond to Obama's proposal would yield benefits of about $8.60 for every $1. This calculation appears to be based on the Perry Preschool study, as evidenced in this Council of Economic Advisers' December 2014 analysis. About half of the $8.60 comes from increased earnings for children when they grow up, according to the report. The $8.60 includes benefits from earnings, reduced crime, reduced receipt of cash transfers and educational savings.

White House officials told us that although there are many studies out there with a range of estimates — somewhere between $3 to $16 per $1 — the estimate of $7 to $8.60 is the most accurate based on Obama's proposals. The proposal targets low- and moderate-income children, and aims to reach middle class families, so the aggregate effect of the program would be at least $7, they said.

The Pinocchio Test

While the 7-to-1 ratio has been used most closely with the benefit-to-cost impact of high-quality pre-K programs, it is unclear whether that truly will apply to Obama's pre-K proposal. The White House's estimates largely are based in a study of a small-scale program on 123 students, so it is difficult to see how that translates directly to the president's proposal. Different studies have shown that when other demographics are studied, the impact can decrease to $3 to $5 per every $1. For the disadvantaged population, the impact can be even greater than $7 per every $1.

Obama did not attribute the $7 figure to any source during the town hall with working mothers, who would care a lot about this subject. He did not attribute it to studies, a range of estimates, or even his own Council of Economic Advisers. At the very least, he could have said this was a White House estimate. Instead, he flatly asserted it as a fact. To cite this 1-to-7 ratio as a definitive impact of the White House's proposal on early education programs is a stretch, and lacks significant context.

Two Pinocchios

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