A Nightwish Come True

We were here!

                    - Nightwish

I was a little hesitant about buying tickets to see Finland’s Nightwish on their current tour. The press release promoting the tour was promising to feature “rarely heard material from the earlier era,” but these weren’t the songs that had drawn me to the band. I had discovered the band after stumbling across their Showtime, Storytime video on YouTube and the newer songs from their twenty-plus year career are the ones that had made them one of my favorite bands. These are the songs I wanted to see them play.

I should have had more faith.

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Los Angeles Charter Schools Allowed to Write Their Own Rules

First, the charter school industry bought the LAUSD School Board to ensure that charters weren't held accountable when they broke the rules. Now the charters are writing those rules!

Read the article on K-12 News Networks The Wire.

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Collecting Campaign Cash is Not a Progressive Value

Jesse Gabriel says that he is the progressive candidate in Tuesday's special election. The money trail tells a different story.

Read the article on K-12 News Network's The Wire.

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Ankur Patel Will Defend Public Education in the California State Assembly

26814916_143367379668978_5921430996742689002_n.jpgI am endorsing Ankur Patel in the California Assembly District 45 special election to replace charter industry favorite Matt Dababneh.

Read the article on K-12 News Networks The Wire.

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My Daughter Sings the National Anthem

My daughter is on the autism spectrum and spends a portion of her day in a special day class. However, due to the efforts of the teachers at LAUSD's Kennedy High School, she has several opportunities for mainstreaming including ROTC and choir. In this video, she had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem with a general education peer prior to a basketball game. This is what mainstreaming should look like.

I wrote about this program in this article.

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Three Headlines That Got Buried Last Week

Her current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency and we will make it honestly, look, it's gonna be virtually impossible for her to govern. Now, the Republicans have talked very tough and the Democrats. It's gonna be just another mess for another four years, folks. A mess. We've got to get back to work, right? I mean, we have to get back to work.

- Donald Trump, November 5, 2016

At no other time in history have we had access to so much information. Unfortunately, even with 24-hour news channels and the Internet, our news media provides us with very little depth. As an example, you probably heard plenty in the past week about trade wars, White House staffing turmoil and a possible summit with North Korea. But how many times did the talking heads and Internet pundits mention the following aspects of the stories:

 

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Parents Left In The Dark About Charter Schools

I think it is important that parents know what is going on.”

- Scott Schmerelson, LAUSD Board Member


Under the current rules of the LAUSD, “a charter school [is] required to notify all parents, guardians and teachers in writing within 72 hours when the District issues a Notice of Violations...and that the notification include the District’s rationale for the action”. However, no such notification was made after a Notice of Violation was issued to Granada Hills Charter High School on March 3, 2017, detailing unapproved alterations to the District-owned campus that “were a risk to the health and safety of [the school’s] students, staff, and other individuals.”  The Charter School Division staff did request “that they share that information with families because it was significant”, but the school’s administration refused to do so. To date parents and guardians have not been notified of the dangers existing in their children’s school and no formal action has been taken against Granada for breaking this rule.

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How Have Charter Schools Affected Students with Special Education Needs?

On February 20, 2018, the LAUSD School Board put the proposed Holding GHCHS Accountable to Their Charter on the agenda of their Committee of the Whole meeting. The following is the written statement that I provided to the Board:

Honorable LAUSD Board Members:

Chanda_Smith.jpgThis is Chanda Smith. She was an LAUSD student with special education needs who fell through cracks in the system. In 1993, lawyers from the ACLU filed a class action suit under her name. The result of that suit is a consent decree that the District is still struggling to comply with 22 years after it was signed.

Around the same time that Ms. Smith’s lawyers were filing their paperwork, California began its experiment with charter schools. Since charters claimed that this would give parents more choice, the LAUSD embraced these new types of schools and became the largest charter authorizer in the country. Did those in charge consider the effect on students like Chanda Smith? Were these students given more choices or were they left behind?

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Finding Hope in Florida

A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatized from this tragedy. This could have been prevented.

- Kyra

Rubio.jpgIf the shooter in Parkland, Florida had been named Mohamad, we can be sure that Donald Trump would have immediately taken to Twitter in an effort to use the tragedy as proof for the need of his Muslim ban. If instead, it was Jesus or Jose, the subject of those Tweets would have been his border wall. Instead, the killer was just a run of the mill domestic terrorist who used a gun to kill 17 people in a high school. Therefore, we will be told to offer hope and prayers and ignore that this was the eighth school shooting in this new year. To do otherwise politicizes the tragedy and disrespects the victims and survivors and their families.

Bullshit.

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Granada Announces Expansion - But Who Gave Them Permission?

It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.

- Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Granada Hills Charter High School has used its student-run newspaper to announce that its “Devonshire campus will open as a transitional kindergarten through eighth-grade school starting in the fall semester of 2019.” The article declared that “there is excitement from the community for this new change” but did not provide quotes from anyone in the community. In fact, Granada’s Executive Director, Brian Bauer, was the only person quoted by the author, which gave the article the feel of a press release carefully constructed by the school’s administration. While pushing Bauer’s agenda, it did nothing to address the many consequences for the surrounding community and the student body of Granada.

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