A Chartered Data Breach

“At Granada Hills Charter High School, we are always looking to give our parents tools to advance their children’s education. That is why we are proud to partner with the California Charter Schools Association. CCSA is here to educate, engage, and empower parents of charter school students to stay informed on issues that affect their school and all charter schools in California. To help get that relationship started, we will be sharing our school directory with CCSA, so you can hear directly from them.”

-Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS)

The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) likes to argue that “charters [sic] schools are public schools." While it is true that these schools do receive public tax dollars, there is little else that qualifies them as a public entity. By their own accord they are “free from most rules and regulations governing conventional public schools,” even when that “red tape” was designed to protect students. While their website promises that “if a charter school cannot perform up to the established standards, it will be closed,” the LAUSD, Los Angeles County Office of Education and the office of California State Superintendent of Public Instruction have all displayed an unwillingness to hold these schools accountable to the laws governing public schools. Worst of all, charters have not proven to be any more successful at providing children with the education that they need. Despite their ability to cherry pick the easiest to educate students, recently released test scores showed that independent charters within the LAUSD were “below the state average” and “almost even with [the District’s] traditional [schools] and affiliated charters.”

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Ignoring a Problem Does Not Make It Go Away

“As required under California Government Code section 6253, the District will make a determination within 10 days as to whether or not a request is seeking records that are publicly disclosable and, if so, to provide the estimated date that the records will be made available."

-LAUSD, August 4, 2015

While running for a seat on the School Board I had the opportunity to give voice to the victims of bullying by the LAUSD. I listened to the stories of those in Teacher’s Jail and repeatedly heard about the abuses of power within the District. Every time I wrote an article a voice in the back of my head reminded me that this could be the time that a teacher was actually at fault, but that never happened. In retrospect, that makes sense; clear cut cases of wrongdoing do not require an extended stay of paid leave while the district conducts an “investigation.”

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Everyone Knows Someone Who Always Thinks That They Are Right

They are controlling, do whatever they want to, and never apologize -- that is the LAUSD.

It doesn’t matter who the Superintendent is, who the Board of Education members are or who the top district administrators are.

The LAUSD does what it wants to and never apologies:

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Testing--so wasteful of money and instructional time!

LAUSD elementary students are completing the wasteful, monotonous DIBELS today.

Each teacher in Kindergarten through fifth grade has to sit in front of a computer with each student one at a time, while the student reads to the teacher. 

The teacher must hear the same passage over and over again. The tests take 7-8 minutes per student for fourth and fifth grade. Thirty or more students are in the fourth and fifth grade classes.

The rest of the class must work independently while the teacher concentrates on the test. Kindergarteners and first graders have to work independently, which is not easy for them.

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More LAUSD waste: Lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations—while air conditioners need service

Our tax dollars pay for lobbyists in the LAUSD Office of Government Relations with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento. 

While class sizes are way too high!

The district uses high priced outside law firms while the Office of the General Counsel has a Facilities Legal Services Team consisting of 41 lawyers.

While "LAUSD has 2,600 requests for air conditioning repairs."

LAUSD has a Communications and Media Relations department with eight staff members and that does not include clerical personnel. 

While schools are filthy!

 

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Battle Scarred Schools

WhiteboardThe function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals."

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

It had been years since my sister and I had been back to the neighborhood where we grew up, but last month we had the chance. In New York for a family reunion, we took an afternoon to roam Rockland County for a trip back in time. We already knew that our childhood home had been bulldozed long ago as had the Nanuet Mall where we had spent many weekends as teenagers, so these would be visits to addresses rather than childhood shrines. However, the schools we attended are still standing, so these held the possibility of giving us physical connections to our youth. As we pulled up to Elmwood Elementary School, eagerness quickly turned to shock. My sister turned to my mother and asked, “How could you have sent us to such a shithole?”

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Shortchanging Summer

LA Kids Deserve Summertime - Start School After Labor Day and Fix LAUSD Calendar Now"

-Change.org petition

Last week, students were stuck in classrooms as county health officials declared a heat alert in parts of the district, including the San Fernando Valley. The District used to be on what one teacher called the “Oh my God, it’s hot in L.A. in August” calendar and started school after Labor Day, but not anymore. In an effort led by failed Board Member Tamar Galatzan, the calender was changed several years ago “as a way for high school students to complete the first semester before winter break.” Board President Steve Zimmer agreed saying that “instruction is best aligned when [students] do not have...that extended gap during the first semester.” What the District never answered is why the students even have that extended gap.

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LAUSD: Can't they do anything right?

Recently, more than ever, the media is filled with headlines and stories about investigations into LAUSD food services and the F.B.I. investigating the iPad mess, and much, much more.

Don’t forget the tens of millions wasted on MiSIS; starting the school year during the intense heat of August without all classrooms having functioning air conditioning; and the secrecy behind the search for a new superintendent.

LAUSD just added $4.5 million to the previous settlement of $30 million for Miramonte, a situation the district could have prevented.

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$250,000 for LAUSD for a search firm. Why?

"School board President Steve Zimmer said the board needed to pick a search firm no later than Sept. 15 and preferably sooner. The board has set aside as much as $250,000 plus expenses for the contract."

Why? 

I can suggest a few people who are civic minded, knowledgeable, have no affiliation with the the district, and most importantly their sole concern is for the education of the students of LAUSD!

Why spend another quarter of a million dollars when the district has so many other needs?

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The LAUSD Superintendent Search Continues Behind Closed Doors

Staff proposes that the Board of Education authorize staff to negotiate and enter into a professional service agreement or agreements to provide executive search services...for a maximum amount of $250,000."

-LAUSD

When I ran for the LAUSD District 3 seat in this year’s elections, one of the planks in my platform was to make Board meetings more accessible to the stakeholders. Since holding some of them on weekends was one suggestion that I put forward, it was very exciting when the District announced early this month its plans to hold a rare weekend meeting. However, any thought that this was done for the convenience of the parents was soon put to rest as the location of the meeting was not even announced until just a couple of days ago. To alleviate any doubt, the agenda released by the district indicated that the Board would adjourn into a closed session right after hearing public comments.

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