July 2

Thursday is the July 4th holiday.  Happy Independence Day! 
“Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid,
the vast limits of their knowledge.” ― Mark Twain
   The Inglewood Unified School District, possibly facing dissolution over severe financial difficulties, has a new superintendent selected by the state Dept. of Education after it took over the district 10 months ago.  Don Brann is the third leader since the state took over and is facing a daunting task according to a story in Saturday’s L.A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0629-inglewood-schools-20130629,0,3629763.story
   Randy Traweek send along this article from the L.A. Daily News about the LAUSD purchasing new insurance policies after previous ones had limited coverage.  The 5 new ones do not cover molestation of students and will cost the district $2.2 million.  Be sure to read Randy’s comment at the end of the piece:  http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23564806/lausd-loses-molestation-coverage-new-insurance-policies
   Crenshaw High School (LAUSD) was recently reconstituted because of low-performance.  All faculty and staff were forced to re-apply for their positions and less than 50% were invited back.  This item from yesterday’s L.A. Times suggests that boat-rockers and dissenters were targeted for removal.   Read it and see if you agree.  [Ed. note:  The Chief Commissar retired from Huntington Park High School (LAUSD) 2 years before it was reconstituted and 70% of the teachers and staff were not rehired.  He heard the same charges from his former colleagues about who was removed and why]:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-crenshaw-teacher-20130701,0,677234.story
   A bill making its way through the California legislature (AB 420) would revise school discipline codes to prevent students from being suspended or expelled for “willful defiance.”  Districts will need new strategies to deal with this change.  LAUSD, by the way, voted to do this in May.  EdSource revisits the issue in light of the Assembly bill:  http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/willful-defiance/34515#.UdG3Uz75nyd
   California enacted the first “parent trigger” law in the country in 2010.  Since then 7 other states have added them and others are contemplating it.  This story from STATELINE (the Daily news service of the Pew Charitable trusts) looks at the controversial issue, what’s been happening in other states and where it’s headed:  http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/parents-revolt-against-failing-schools-85899487344
   Diane Ravitch published a letter that she wrote with Randi Weingarten that was made public yesterday in which they implored Secretary Arne Duncan to intervene to save the public school system in Philadelphia which is in crisis due to savage budget cuts.  You can read her comments and a copy of the letter on her blog here:  http://dianeravitch.net/2013/07/01/randi-and-i-to-arne-please-intervene-to-save-public-schools-in-philadelphia/
   Anthony Cody, in his blog at EDUCATION WEEK, rails against everyone who demands that teachers be held accountable while politicians, banks, oil companies, credit rating agencies, etc. seem to get away with all kinds of malfeasance:  http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2013/07/teachers_want_accountability_f.html
   The 100% satirical newspaper the ONION has a short but very funny story about a charter school in Atlanta that discovered how to find ultimate success in education–eliminate all the students.  [Ed. note: Please remember that this is SATIRE and enjoy it.]  http://www.theonion.com/articles/progressive-charter-school-doesnt-have-students,33009/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview%3A1%3ADefault
   Last year the “Ed News” brought you a story about a couple in San Diego who sued the Encinitas Union School District because they were teaching yoga to their elementary school students.  Yesterday a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled that this did not constitute the promotion of religion in a public school.  Today’s L.A. Times brings you the latest development in this story:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-yoga-schools-20130702,0,807099.story    The judge in the case explained how he reached his position in this item posted on the Times website this morning:  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-san-diego-public-school-yoga-20130702,0,819739.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29    Robin Abcarian of the Times offered her perspective on the decision.  She agrees that the yoga, as it was taught at the schools, was a form of exercise and did not include even one iota of religious advocacy:  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-religious-objections-yoga-public-schools-20130701,0,3519128,full.story
   Gov. Brown signed into law on Monday several education related bills including his massive overhaul of how schools are funded in California known as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).  The L.A. Daily News has the details:  http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23579957/gov-jerry-brown-signs-law-that-gives-more?source=rss
   When newest member Monica Ratliff takes her seat on the LAUSD board today the balance of power could be shifting.  Members allied with outgoing L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and current superintendent John Deasy will have fewer supporters while those backed by the teachers’ union and other groups would seem to have increased their power.  An editorial in today’s L.A. Times urges all sides to remember who they really work for–the students:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-lausd-board-ratliff-deasy-20130702,0,2877765.story
   For the LAUSD the money comes in and the money goes out.  This time it’s the former as an appeals court ruled that the county of L.A. must return redevelopment property tax money that it has withheld from the district over a number of years.  Sound complicated?  The L.A. Daily News attempts to sort it all out:  http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23580056/l-county-must-pay-millions-lausd?source=rss
   And finally, Valerie Strauss writes about WHY a judge ordered the removal of the superintendent of a school district in Connecticut.  It all seems pretty straight forward–he didn’t follow the law:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/06/29/why-judge-ordered-paul-vallas-removed-as-bridgeport-schools-chief/
[Ed. note:  Due to the July 4th holiday, stories in the Friday edition of the “Ed News” may be held over to Tuesday.]
 
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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