May 14

“You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.”   ―     George Clooney
   The LAUSD would like a zero tolerance policy towards teachers who cheat on standardized tests.  This article from Sunday’s L.A. Times focus on one teacher and how he was treated following an allegation of cheating:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-cheating-20130512,0,4733695,full.story
   The author of this in-depth look at how the “parent-trigger” law was successfully invoked in Adelanto asks the very important question about whether parent empowerment was really achieved:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/16300-pulling-the-trigger    Another group of parents in the LAUSD has begun the process of invoking the “parent-trigger” law.  This time, however, they don’t want to fire the teachers or invite a charter to take over.  Their goal: remove the administrators.  The school:  Weigand Elementary in Watts reports The San Bernadino Sun:  http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_23234492/parent-trigger-law-invoked-kick-out-l-schools#ixzz2TI2x1BXs
   What happens when a 4th grader decides to surreptitiously film what his school is offering for lunch?  Answer: a 20-minute film is born titled “Yuck:  A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary About School Lunch” that shows what’s being consumed by grade-school students in New York City.  This New York Times story includes a trailer for the film along with other details:  http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-michael-moore-of-the-grade-school-lunchroom/
    Legislation is proceeding in California dealing with school safety concerns as a result of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.  A number of bills have been introduced in both the State Senate and Assembly dealing with the issue.  This article from the SI&A CABINET REPORT discusses what the measures are proposing:  http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=3807
   The LAUSD board is scheduled to vote today on a proposal that would ban the suspension of students for “willful defiance.”  This front-page story in yesterday’s L.A. Times provides statistics on the number of pupils removed from school, how it impacts individual kids and an innovative program called “restorative justice” and other alternatives that could be instituted in lieu of suspension:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-lausd-discipline-20130513,0,1402738.story?utm_source=feedly  Three letters to the editor at the Times were quick to respond to the above item:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-0514-tuesday-suspension-defiance-20130514,0,6463665.story Another issue on the board agenda today is a vote on the Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC) program.  The “Ed News” has highlighted several stories about the BIC and strong objections raised about it by UTLA.  This item from the L.A. Daily News over the weekend features one school, Limerick Elementary in Canoga Park, where the program seems to be a success:  http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23229344/limerick-elementary-makes-breakfast-classroom-program-success?source=rss&utm_source=feedly
   The LAUSD is “cracking down” with a zero-tolerance policy on teachers alleged to be involved in misconduct with students.  This item, also from the Daily News, reports that the number of teachers fired, forced to resign or who decided to retire jumped precipitously after the incident at Miramonte Elementary came to light:  http://www.dailynews.com/ci_23220307/lausd-cracks-down-teacher-misconduct-100-fired-200?source=most_viewed  [Ed. note: ALOED member Randy Traweek added a comment at the end of this piece].
   College enrollment figures are down, especially among African-American students, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics highlighted in this article from the Long Beach Press-Telegram.  Steep drops in post-secondary funding over the last couple of years bear much of the blame:  http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_23219490/college-enrollment-down-experts-cite-low-funding-high#ixzz2TCHLBFxE
   Finally some encouraging news on the education finances front.  Gov. Brown is proposing large increases in school funding in his May budget revision to help implement the new Common Core Standards and to boost general per pupil funding in the state according to this from the San Jose Mercury News:  http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_23237921/brown-proposse-1b-new-school-standards
   Valerie Strauss reports that Indiana has been added to a short but possibly growing list of states that are postponing the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for a variety of reasons: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/13/indiana-halts-common-core-implementation/?wprss=rss_national
   Remember that protest in Seattle against a standardized test that high school teachers objected to?  Guess What?  The teachers won!   The district’s superintendent sent a letter saying that the decision to administer the tests for the next year would be up to each high school’s leadership team.  You can read all the other details about this new policy in this article from The Seattle Times:  http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020980195_bandamapdecisionxml.html
   And finally, today’s L.A. Times reports on the filing of a federal lawsuit charging the Compton Unified School District and its police force with racial profiling and abuse in the treatment of parents and students in that troubled district:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-compton-schools-lawsuit-20130514,0,7790873.story
 
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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